The medication game is a constant struggle. Which medication is having which effect, and especially when you’re dealing with multiple diagnoses and mutliple medications with many side effects, it’s a balancing act.
We’ve been steadily increasing my Latuda, and I’m back on the Abilify, which I had gone off of because of weight gain and blood sugar problems. Unfortunately, or fortunately, Abilify really does make a significant difference in my suicidal thoughts, so I need to stay on a low dose of it for now. I’m also finding that the Latuda, while it’s meant for bipolar depression primarily, is actually starting to lessen my anxiety, specifically the type of anxiety caused by one of my other medications.
There are many different types of anxiety, and I fight with a lot of them. My social anxiety got way worse when I started on Topamax, which is primarily for my headaches.
Topamax is jokingly known as dope-amax because it slows down a lot of thinking, literally takes away your words for things, causes memory problems, problems retaining information. That whole feeling of “the word is on the tip of my tongue” is very common for me and I never do find the word because it’s just gone. I feel like my speaking, and writing, and even my thinking has lost multiple grade levels, and it gets worse each time we increase the medication.
But, it keeps me from spending days at a time locking myself in a dark room because of headaches. And it keeps the intracranial pressure at a safe level so I’m not taking a chance on damaging my vision.
However, I’ve always had a feeling of not being good enough, not being smart enough, and not measuring up. Topamax just made that so much worse, to the point that when I was with other people I was constantly worried every time I opened my mouth. I was worried about ordering food in new restaurants. I was worried about conversations with people who didn’t know me. I was worried about conversations about topics that I wasn’t well versed in. That type of social anxiety got so much worse because I knew I wasn’t functioning at my “normal” and I felt like everyone could tell. I froze constantly and had to fight my ass off to keep functioning in new situations.
However, Latuda seems to be helping me to overcome that type of anxiety. I feel more comfortable in my own skin again. I feel confident in my abilities and less like I need to compare. I’m not even sure why I felt like I needed to compare in the first place but I think we all do it.
We have a medication plan in place over the coming months, something that can always be changed as needed. It’s scary because I’ve seen the suicidal thoughts come back once, but medication management is a case of constantly finding the balance.