By: The Bipolar Diva
Imagine living most of your adult life in chaos and not knowing why. That’s they way I lived until I was 46. My world was jumbled and made no sense. Finally after a meltdown of epic proportions I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. I knew nothing of the disorder or how to control it. After being stung with the diagnosis I was pelted by a flurry of “miracle” medications on the market, all claiming to control the disorder. I’ve tried most of them, or at least it feels like I have.
Some made me gain an immense amount of weight, some left me feeling like a zombie and others made me feel hyped up and jittery. After several years we settled on a mood stabilizer, an anti depressant and an atypical antipsychotic that took away the symptoms of mania, stabilized my moods and lifted the depression. I thought I’d be okay. I wasn’t. I had no joy, my life felt flat lined. I seemed to have had no motivation, no happiness, as a matter of fact I seemed to have no personality at all.
While, in a way, it was better than living in a world of the upheaval of emotions and the taunting reality of self-harm, it was also as if I was incapable of any emotion. I felt nothing, all emotion seemed to have fled. I constantly had thoughts of giving up all of my meds just to be able to feel something, to feel anything, again. Logically I knew that couldn’t happen. The highs were great, but the lows were too low, too dark and too scary for everyone in my life.
That’s when I began relying on my research instead of just listening to the doctor and relying on what she usually prescribed for her patients. I was different from her other patients, I was unique and why shouldn’t my medicinal use be tailored to me?
With that realization I began researching everything I could on Bipolar and th medications used to treat it. During my research is when I first learned of an atypical antipsychotic called Generic Ziprasidone.
I read research articles on the medication and I read patient testimonials. The patient testimonials are what intrigued me. Most spoke of renewed interest in life and the side effects seemed minimal. I decided to ask my doctor if I could give it a try. To my surprise she said she rarely used it but was willing to test on me, especially since I was in such a low place emotionally and we were running out of options.
Most of the research I read said Ziprasidone treats mania or mixed states, but many patients reported the return of their personalities and the return of happiness without the hypo mania or mania they had before associated with feeling good.
My psychiatrist told me I needed to start at a low dose and that Ziprasidone was “activating” at low doses. She said I would probably be more chatty than usual and possibly a little on edge.
She was partially right. I talked up a storm, but I felt more like myself than I had in all the time of taking other medications. Gradually I increased my dose and the constant chattiness went away, I just felt good, I felt great. I felt alive and I felt “normal.” I felt that I had a life I could finally enjoy.
Today I’m willing to consider adjusting my other medications, but the Ziprasidone is one that I’m not willing to change. For me it’s truly been a life changing medication. My moods are stable, my mania is under control and most of all I feel alive.