I’m really lucky the meds I started in 2009 are still working like little champions to curb my mania and depression. Not everyone finds a drug cocktail that works. Wellburtin and Trileptal have been my saviors.

I’ve tried so many antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and antipsychotics it’s been hard to keep count.


So let me see if I can remember all the meds I’ve taken and what they did for me:

Neurontin (when I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder).
Effects: Nothing.
Result: I stopped taking it because I didn’t notice a difference.

Concerta (my doctor thought I may have ADD – I was diagnosed ADD when I was a kid).
Effects: I was cracked out, like I had taken speed.
Result: Since my doctor only gave me 1 pill as a test to see if I had ADD, and I reacted the way I did, he deduced that I didn’t have ADD, so I only took that one pill, once.
INTERESTING SIDE NOTE: I’ve heard from both doctors and people who suffer from bipolar that bipolar kids are often misdiagnosed with ADD/ADHD.

Effects: None.
Result: Stopped taking it under my doctor’s supervision because it did literally nothing.

Effects: It just made me really sedated and sleepy, and I gained fifteen pounds. I can’t put up with weight gain. I get so upset that I’ve gained weight (hello lifelong eating disorder) that I just refuse to take the meds. It helped my mania a teeny tiny bit but not enough to make me OK with gaining fifteen pounds.
Result: Stopped taking it under my doctor’s supervision.

Effects: I was suuuuuuuppppppeerrrr slow and sedated on it and I gained weight. So nope.
Result: Only took it for 2 weeks and then stopped on my own.

Effects: It calmed me down a bit but I felt so sleepy and sluggish and I lost myself in it. I felt catatonic.
Result: Stopped taking it under my doctor’s supervision.

Effects: Worked great as a temporary band-aid for my depression-induced anxiety. It was the ONLY thing that stopped my crying spell that went on for two days.
Result: I still take it occasionally. I try not to take it unless it’s an emergency though because I read a recent study about benzos possibly causing dementia, and that’s what my dad had right at the very end of his life.
SIDE NOTE: I’m terrified that I might get dementia someday because my dad got it and I know I’ve obviously gotten bipolar from him. Now that I’m in menopause, I’m noticing some memory loss and I’m trying not to panic but it’s scary. I’ve always had a great memory (I memorized tons of Shel Silverstein and the long poem from James and the Giant Peach when I was a kid) and I’ve always been the person who knows the right word when someone says “what’s it called when…?” Since entering the joys of menopause, I’m starting to forget the words, people’s names, movies, etc. It’s something I’m trying not to worry about too much because there’s nothing I can do to prevent dementia.

Effects: Wow. I’ve never slept so much. At least 12 hours every night. I felt less manic but that was probably because I was always asleep.
Results: I can’t sleep 22 hours a day. Stopped taking it under my doctor’s supervision.

Effects: No wonder they call this side-effexor. Geez! Weight gain. Lots of weight gain. No help either. It did nothing to help my depression or mania. Just gave me a spare tire around my middle and made me feel sluggish.
Result: Yet another drug I can’t take because it made me sleepy and I gained weight. Stopped this one too.

Effects: Where have you been all my life?! I LOVE YOU! It erased my depression within 48 hours, never caused weight gain, and gave me back my energy.
Result: Of course, why does this one med have to cause mania?!!!
I still take it every morning. It’s my good old dependable friend. But I have to combine it with a mood stabilizer or it’s mania city.

Effects: Ever heard of muscle pulling? Well, the third day after I started taking this, I turned into a pretzel for about three hours. I don’t think I’ve ever been so scared. My head was involuntarily forced to the right and my tongue was curling. I called my Dr. in the middle of the night and had to take a bunch of Benadryl and thank goodness it went away.
Result: Never took it again. Scary stuff that was.

Effects: It seemed to have a small effect, but plateaued. Four times we had to up my dose and it just kept plateauing and stopped working, and then I crashed into a major depression.
Result: Stopped taking it under my doctor’s supervision.

Effects: Worked for my depression without sending me into mania. It seemed to even me out for about six years, but then it stopped working. It didn’t seem to have side effects at all. But if I’m taking meds that stop working I stop taking them.
Result: Stopped after six years, under my doctor’s supervision.

Effects: Wow. This is the one I’m on now. My doctor thinks anti-convulsants seem to work better for me better than the dopamine blockers (Abillify). I am so grateful for Trileptal. I’ve been on it for nine years and it’s evened me out. I got pulled over for running a red light about two weeks after starting it, I was so polite and calm that the police officer let me go with a warning. It was either the meds or the fact that I had a Fraternal Order of Police sticker on my back window.
Result: Still taking it. Yay!

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3 years ago

I’m on lexapro and it makes me tired. I’m also bipolar 2 but never really experience hypomania. I feel like I’m always tired and that part is frustrating.