From the time I was 16 to age 24 I was hospitalized 6 times. The first 5
time the doctors said I had Schizophrenia. They put me on Thorazine and after a few months I went back to normal-until the following summer. All of the hospitalizations took place in the spring or summer. Finally in 1981, the last time I was hospitalized, I was told I had the bi-polar form of manic depression. They put me on Lithium. For the next 7 years I was almost cured. But at the age of 30 the symptoms started to return despite being on the proper dose of Lithium. I again had to use Thorazine to control the mania, and Doxepin to control the depression-along with the Lithium. I was unable to work and had to go on disability, but I was going to college. In April of 98 I had to get off the Lithium because my hands shook so bad I couldn't write or hold a cup still. I now have
Diabetes Insipidus (this is a condition which causes frequent urination and constant thirst-it
is not the Diabetes that has to do with sugar or insulin-that is Diabetes
Mellitus), and Hypothyroidism-These two conditions are from 17 years of Lithium use, and are now permanent despite being off Lithium for over a 3 years. (I don't want to scare anyone from using
Lithium. Lithium is a good drug which can control bipolar well.
Not all people will get these side effects).
I am now using Depakote (1000 mg) in place of the Lithium. The Depakote did not control the mania and depression by it self in my case, so I had to use a combination of drugs. In the summer I used Klonopin with the Depakote to control the mania. It worked well but, it can be addictive, and I gained 20 lbs. When the winter came I needed to take an antidepressant. The doctor tried me on Serzone for 8 weeks. This drug did not work at all for me. In Nov 98 I started using Remeron (30 mg). This new drug worked well. It had few side effects. I stayed on it all winter. I wasn't sure what would happen in the spring when I usually get mania. I was able to stay on the Remeron and Depakote throughout the spring and summer with no mania. I graduated from college in Jan 98 and then started going for my masters degree. I got off disability and I returned to work in July 99. I worked full time until July 2001, when I was laid-off. I am looking for a new job and continuing with my masters degree. I was able to lower the dosage on my medications to Depakote (1000 mg) and Remeron (15 mg). I have been on this combination for over three years and it has been controlling both the mania and depression. I am experiencing few side effects. I believe that age is a great factor in bipolar. Most bipolar people will have there toughest time in there early 30's. I am now 43 and the illness has gotten much better. (See Clinical Description Page 1).