Will 50mg of Quetiapine a day keep the bipolar psychosis away?
The count down is on. My calendar is marked for June 15th, 2018. Sounds exciting right? Like maybe I’m going to visit Mickey or fulfill my dream of seeing Celine Dion? Wrong. This is the date the Universe will again render me psychotic. How do I know this? I’ve had a psychotic break, relapse, crisis or whatever the heck you want to call it, same hell different name, every 8-8.5 months, and this has repeated 4 times. I call this my Bipolar Biorhythm.
My most recent crisis started on October 17, 2017, so that is day 1. From there I count 8 months, which takes me to mid June of 2018.
The date could be as early as June 1st and as late as July 1st and I’ll explain why. I stared having signs of an impending crisis on October 1, 2017. Since I was on a med free kick, I tried to resist taking meds until it was unbearable (a long story), which was on October 17th. So if I count October 1st as day one and have an 8 months cycle, the next tsunami in consciousness will be on June 1st of 2018. If I count October 17th as day 1 and have an 8.5 month cycle, my brain will be in the shitter on July 1st. This feels kind of like counting out my menstrual cycle.
The first 2 cycles I had were a bit shorter, but I’ve managed to stretch them out to 8.5 months the last 2 times. The most recent crisis in October I was hoping would never happen. I thought maybe I was taking care of myself in ways that would prevent it and I was blindsided with my eyes wide open. It was like pretending that a war wasn’t going start while dressed up in fatigues on the front lines.
So this time, I’m going to be prepared! I’m not going to pretend it’s not going to happen and I’m not going to resist it. Unless…
Okay okay. I just can’t help myself. I have to entertain the idea that taking 50mg of Quetiapine a day might just keep the next bipolar psychosis at bay. Why is it this that I say? Because something has changed in my medication regime that I have not experienced in the previous 6 years of surfing the waves of Bipolar Disorder. Before the last few months, I hadn’t ever taken antipsychotics on a regular basis. I was a Lithium Carbonate and Trazadone girl. And for the first 4 years, I took Zoloft. At one point, I was on a low dose of Lithium Carbonate only. I thought that was pretty good. This didn’t prevent me from having a crisis, but I could stay well for 5 months or so.
Recently, I tapered off meds and was medication free for 5.5 months. I was super happy with no one to party with as nobody celebrates tapering off psych meds. It’s more a sign of ones craziness at this point than anything else. And yes, the crazy did return and then some. It was like Psychosis Strikes Back. The Death Star had been rebuilt and it was coming to get me (I love how autocorrect capitalized “Death Star”). Long story short, I lost the use of the force and the Empire sodomized me in front of my favourite teddy bear, metaphorically speaking. Oh sh*t, I hope your teddy bear isn’t triggered reading that.
I wrote about my cold tofurkey switch to Lithium Orotate from Lithium Carbonate. After having my ass kicked by the inner Universe I figured what the hell, I’ll just screw with meds and supplements even more. And, three weeks in, I’m fine, though my pee stinks a little (I’m currently using the Neurofuzion brand that has extra botanical goodies added in).
So now I find myself in a curious situation that has never happened my entire Bipolar career. I’m on “healthy” and not harmful Lithium Orotate, which is like not being on Lithium at all, or at least a dose that is not even close to ever being toxic, so I’m going to say it’s negligible, yet I can’t stop taking these darn tranqs without being violently woken up while falling asleep as psychosis interrupts my drifting into the realm of dreams. That damn nightmare won’t stay away!
I’m “stuck” on 50mg of Quetiapine at night, and I’m okay with that, for now. Usually I strongly oppose being on antipsychotics daily because I don’t like the way it makes braincells shrivel up like pubes torched with a barbecue lighter. But it seems I’m stuck on them, so I’m going to work with what I have to work with. And that leads me to my next experiment. Since I’ve never been on antipsychotics daily, I’m wondering if this will be the golden key that will prolong my Bipolar biorhythm. Will I be able to go crazy in late July or late September instead? Or maybe it’ll never come back if I just keep on tranquillizing my brain every single day for the rest of my shortened life. I was totally against this, but maybe I can be on 50mg of antipsychotics and not have a relapse, instead of the old route of 750mg of Lithium Carbonate with no antipsychotics (even though that destroys my kidneys and thyroid). Anywho, this is sort of the scenario of finding the least amount of harm, though there is always harm. It’s like when a doctor says, if I surgically remove your asshole you’ll have a 50% chance of living but if I don’t you’ll have an 80% chance of being an asshole, or something like that. I’ve read that antipsychotics cause brain shrinkage in the frontal lobe. Who needs the frontal lobe anyway. The Apple TV remote is pretty straight forward. And, I have a pretty big head so I think I can make due. You know those standard “female” size baseball caps, the ones that have the team logo but the entire thing is baby pink? Ya, those never fit me. So go ahead Quetiapine, shrink my Bipolar brain (pun intended!). See if I still can remember to care.
This will also set up a future experiment. If I do feel some eventual cognitive decline being on this crap daily, can I get my braincells to grow back when I eventually do taper of them, if I can still figure out how. Neuroplasticity says f*ck yes I can. So, I’m going to put my faith in that fact.
One of my major motivators for staying on this antipsychotic for the next 4-6 months is that I DO NOT want to go nuts in the Summer. Summer time is short here and I don’t want to spend the Summer psychotic. I haven’t been crazy in the Summer since the very first time in 2011. I spent most of mid May to mid August in the psych ward that year. And I will say that the weather was super awful that Summer, so you definitely don’t want me stuck inside because then Mr. Sun is less apt to come out and play. Seriously. So ya, the fact that I’m usually not crazy in the Summer is also in favour of prolonging the fall into the abyss. Or, maybe it’ll happen early and I’ll have a premature psychosis.
So here I am again, resisting the apocalypse, the crisis, the brain implosion. Here I am saying maybe it won’t happen, or maybe it’ll be delayed, or maybe I can have more months of wellness than is in my Bipolar deck of cards.
I’m still going to prepare for the worst and I’m going to share how I’m going to go about doing that along the way. Hey!