Whelp, Monday I saw a new shrink. I didn’t WANT a new shrink, but… Kaiser…
If you don’t know, I’d like to form a terrorist cell just to take down Kaiser…
So, I made the appointment in March. Waiting four months to see someone isn’t something I’m happy about… but I made it. She’s a weird little mousy white woman that could be 26 or 50. I’m honestly not sure how old she is, but she’s extremely proficient with a computer. All she did, really, was ask me questions and type the answers into the computer at lightning speed. I feel like my awe is how other people feel when they see me type without looking and whatnot.
I’m never really happy about rehashing my whole mental health history. It was a long, unpleasant journey from my mother thinking I was just a a moody teenager to being a diagnosed bipolar that fought really hard to get off medication… Not to mention in the middle of all that was my mom not really accepting the idea that I was bipolar, and all the meds I tried, and how all the meds I tried effected my life and relationships…. It’s was a whole thing, and every time I get a new shrink we have to go over all of it. The records should really just be digital and able to transfer in 2017… I feel like that’s not an unrealistic expectation.
She did ask me what my diagnosis was with my other doctors, in particular if they were classifying me as BP 1 or BP 2. I was honest… it varies. She laughed a little and explained that it’s because I’m right on the cusp… So you could either call me a very sever BP2, or a pretty mild BP1. Based on the fact I have managed to avoid arrest and hospitalization, she decided to classify me as a BP 2, but also said that it’s really just semantics since they treat it the same way.
Anyways, after my interrogation, she decided we should try Abilify. It was a decision based on a couple of things: 1, I told her that I refuse to take Lithium, and 2, the other stuff she considered was shit I’ve already taken that didn’t work. I just have to say…. I FUCKING KNEW SHE WAS GONNA TRY TO PUT ME ON LITHIUM. When I looked at Kaiser’s formulary, I noticed that the drugs they have for psychiatric use are old drugs. There aren’t a lot of them, and a lot of them have been around for a long long time. Apparently they only get new stuff when the patent runs out, and until then they don’t support you trying it for any reason.
If you download this formulary, this is at the top:
Kaiser Permanente will generally cover brand-name (when no generic is available), generic and specialty tier drugs listed on our formulary as long as the drug is medically necessary, the prescription is filled at a Kaiser Permanente or a participating network pharmacy, and other plan rules are followed.
BUT IT’S A MOTHERFUCKING LIE! THEY COVER NOTHING UNLESS A GENERIC IS AVAILABLE. FUCKING LIARS!
Anyways… When I looked at their formulary I knew… But I refuse.
Lithium is sedating. It primarily treats mania… I like my fucking mania. I don’t really care to get rid of my mania. Lithium is dangerous. The thereputic level for Lithium is like a hair away from overdose levels, which will wreck your kidneys and liver. Fuck that noise… I’m not doing blood draws for the rest of my life because they wanna use an old drug. Lithium tends to make you not care after a while. It’s sedating, as I said, and seems to work in people with bipolar the same was prozac works in people with depression. It’s not that you feel better, it’s that over time you kind of feel nothing. That’s just what it normally does. The list of side effects is concerning as all get out.
So no, I was not interested in taking a drug first used in 1871 and “perfected” to Lithium Carbonate in 1886, when there are so many new drugs with less severe repercussions.
(BTW, this shit is so dangerous that the FDA didn’t approve it for us to treat mania until 1970, and only under very specific conditions, i.e. lots of blood draws to monitor toxicity. That’s 84 years between “perfected” date and “sure, let’s use this on crazy people,” and it’s been 47 years since then… we have better shit…)
Anyways, I’m done ranting about the dangers of Lithium.
I’ve taken lots of meds before now… Lamictal, Trileptal, Topamax, Risperdal… So between what I’d already tried and my objections, to my surprise Miss Shrinky-Dink actually put some thought into it and told me why she picked Abilify (Aripiprazole).
A, It’s the closest thing to Latuda that they have. Since I’d previously saw another shrink and tried to get Latuda, she took that into consideration. I think it’s a little bit of a cop-out, to try and piggie back off another doctor, but I appreciated that she was trying to stay in the same vein.
2, Abilify should not be sedative. I was very clear that I didn’t want to be sedated and that I do not tolerate unwanted side effects very well. While Abilify has a list as long as any other antipsychotic of side effects, it’s not reported to be sedative. It was also less likely to cause me to gain weight (since I’m already a whale) and she hadn’t had any other patients that had experienced a side effect that caused them to stop taking it.
D, It should STABILIZE my moods, and it’s often used to treat persistent depression. The idea right now is to level me out and see how I feel when I’m not up and down and up and down again all the time. Once I’m kinda stable, if I’m still having depressive moods she said that she could add an antidepressant later. She doesn’t like to use antidepressants alone, or in high doses, because they have a tendency to de-stabilize bipolar people. I get that. When I was on Effexor I was real manic. I liked it, but people around me were less of a fan.
So, overall it felt like maybe she actually listened to my concerns and took them into consideration. I also immediately did some research on Abilify myself… and I actually think I took it for a while toward the end of my last jaunt with meds. At the end I was just mad that we kept changing meds and they all sucked, so I’m not actually sure that I gave it any kind of chance. I was also real manic at the time… for like a month. So, while I’m pretty sure I’ve taken it before, I’ll give it a chance.
So Mousy Head Shrink ordered blood work, because there IS a risk of increased chance for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes on Abilify, and I’m a big fat person. So yesterday morning I went to the facility by work that has a lab and the pharmacy where she put in my meds. All my labs were totally fine, as they tend to be. My old primary used to test me for all the fat diseases every single year, so I was pretty sure that wouldn’t be a problem.
I was going to wait until the weekend to start my meds, but 4 days on the starting dose and then bumping up to twice as much… no matter how I tried to play that it was gonna fall on a week day… So I started last night. This morning, I am tired, nauseous, achy, kind of out of it, and really thirsty. I was expecting all of that. Everything but the thirst should subside the longer I’m on it. Apparently drinking a lot of water is just what I do now. It’s not the worst side effect, though. The body aches should go away, or people said that some magnesium pills will make it subside. So…
That’s where I’m at today… and I’m at work… so… all of that is BLARGH feeling… but hopefully I start feeling less depressed.
Also, I’ve read a few reports where Abilify made people loose a crazy amount of weight… If there was ever a side effect I craved, that would be the one… I’d like to lose like half my body weight… is that a side effect I could have? Please?