The Bipolar Roller Coaster: Medications and Apps

Good Morning Team Banana Phone! It’s another lovely day in the bipolar neighborhood! Today so far (because that changes like every 4-6 hours) I am pretty good. It’s Rose’s birthday today, so that is exciting even though we are approximately 400 miles away from each other currently. But come April, she’ll be moving in with my crazy ass. Exciting stuff!

Currently, I am titrating up on a medication called Lamotrigine (Brand Name Lamictal). Lamotrigine is classed under anticonvulsants, but can also be used as a mood stabilizer for things like…you guessed it, Bipolar Disorder! With a lot of medications, especially ones for psychiatric conditions, going slowly up in dosage is essential. Going up too quickly prevents the body from adjusting and can lead to either uncomfortable or sometimes even dangerous side effects. So if you are like me, and just starting your foray into mood stabilizers, anti-depressants, etc., it can seem like a grueling and slow process. Patience is key though because we don’t want any of those crazier side effects.

Medications like Lamotrigine are typically used in concert with anti-depressants. Before going into a beautiful inpatient facility (there will be many future posts about all the fun, silly, sad, and enlightening things about my time there) I was only on Sertraline (Brand name Zoloft). I didn’t know for sure that I had Bipolar Type 2 until I went inpatient and finally had access to a psychiatrist. One important thing to note about taking anti-depressants if you have or suspect you have Bipolar Disorder is that if you do not have a mood stabilizer along with it, mood cycling can increase in severity, which of course is incredibly dangerous.

If you are starting on any new medication, follow your doctor’s/psychiatrist’s orders carefully. They are having you adhere to a specific plan for your safety. Also, don’t be afraid to give them a call or go to the emergency room if you are having a low grade or what you think may be severe reactions. Read up on the material your doctor or your pharmacists provide you with regarding your medication(s). The more you know, the better prepared you will be if side effects start popping up.

I know it may seem tempting to take a little bit extra of something because you want it to work faster but please do not do that without an OK from your medical team. These medications can be dangerous if not taken the proper way, and I would like everyone on Team Banana to be as safe as possible! It’s a frustrating process, but it is crucial that it is done slowly. As has been said a million times over “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” and that remains true for a lot of things, not just medication.

Alright, I’ll get off the medication soapbox and move onto an app I’ve discovered recently called Daylio!

This cute little app is great for keeping track of moods over time.  If you don’t like the title of the feelings, you can switch them. I changed meh to ok for example. I also love that you can add your activities or modify the ones that are already in the app. It is useful to see what moods are connected to which activities. I find Daylio to be more useful for me than another great app, Pacifica because I am a visual person. Give it a try and see if you like it. I think it can help in identifying triggers as well because you can write a small note while selecting activities with each mood entry.

 

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If you find that you would like to switch the title of your moods and add your own activities like I have down below, simply click the little gear at the bottom right corner of the screen that says settings. From there, click edit moods or edit activities to change things to your liking.

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I hope the information and tips in this post will be helpful for guys. If you have any questions, suggestions, or ideas for me or Team Banana, leave a comment or shoot me a message through the contact section! I would love to hear from you! Thanks for reading!

 

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If you haven’t watched any of the videos of this kid, that’s your homework for tonight. God, he is so freaking weird…

 

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