Bipolar, no meds? - Page 4 - Mothering Forums
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#91 of 116 Old 08-03-2006, 12:39 PM
 
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CherylAnn

I, too, know what you're talking about and I'm sorry that you're "flailing".

As velcromom was asking, what kind of support network do you have? Do you have a therapist/counselor that can help you through these episodes? Do you use cognitive behaviorial therapy?

Something that really helps me at times like these is to remove as much stress from my life as I can. Rely on DH. If you have family/friends near, ask them if they can watch the kids for a few hours to give you some time to try to relax yourself. Don't let worries pile up (you know that cycle you can get into where one worry turns into 600.)

Hoping to hear from you soon! And thanks for saying you're fine with me posting
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#92 of 116 Old 08-03-2006, 12:48 PM
 
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velcromom: Thanks for the to post on this thread

You are SO right about meds helping in that process to get your head clear enough to focus on other ways to manage BP. Using CBT and other techniques makes me feel strong and more in control. I don't live in constant fear of the next episode, b/c I know I will handle it.

I don't know if there's hope for me getting off meds completely. I do think I'll be able to reduce at some point. I just came out of a 3.5 year period of rapid cycling (mostly really depressed but some hypomania). That was as close to hell as I care to get. It is SO wonderful to feel like myself again and be able to deal with random anxiety/depression/irritability. My belief is that its a combo of meds, serious therapy and a desire on my part to manage this thing come hell or high water

However, I really respect people that try the no-meds route and do OK with it. It takes a lot of willpower, understanding yourself and your illness. In any case, it brings me comfort to read other's stories regardless of how they choose to cope.
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#93 of 116 Old 08-08-2006, 09:24 PM
 
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Hiya mamas. Feeling better in some ways...the craziness has started to subside, and I got to get away this past weekend...Took DS up to the cabin at DH's Grandmas for some out of the city time. Helped a little. It's nice and quiet up there. Lot's of mosquitos though...ugh. <scratches leg...> Feeling kinda low now. I'm expecting Aunt Flo in about two days. Hope after she's gone and I feel less bloaty, cranky, and otherwise mentally impaired, I can better assess how to move forward.

Thanks to all of you for your support and kind words. They have helped me more than you may ever know.

Talk to you all sooner than later.

~Kate
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#94 of 116 Old 08-08-2006, 09:48 PM
 
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Tyedyedeyes< glad to hear it's getting better. getting into some quiet space is always a good thing.

Wanted to mention that this month, with the full moon and my having gone up a bit with my meds, plus watching sugar intake and b complex addition it REally seemed to make a huge difference ... remind's me: gotta go get my B
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#95 of 116 Old 08-08-2006, 10:11 PM
 
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I don't mean to get up in the middle of your discussion, but just wanted to point out an amazing website run by this guy I know who specializes in mood disorders (namely bipolar). He's a real no-BS kind of dude, and on his site he gives TONS of info about meds and some alternative therapies, which are all backed up with scientific data. Fascinating stuff. Anyway, thought somebody might get something out of it if you'd like to poke around! It's at

www.psycheducation.org
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#96 of 116 Old 08-09-2006, 12:22 AM
 
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I just wanted to say that while I'm not bipolar, my mother is and has struggled with it for years, but was never properly diagnosed. The doctors kept changing her meds and upped her doses until she attempted suicide by overdose last summer. She almost succeeded and was in ICU on a ventilator for 4 days.

When she got out, she went to see a new therapist who diagnosed her with bipolar disorder rather than just "chronic depression" and put her on seroquel and some other stuff to help her regulate moods. So far, it's worked. She's able to function and doesn't have SEVERE lows. She also has some difficulty sleeping and some anxiety issues, so she was prescribed klonopin and that's helped her a lot too. She was initially really upset over the diagnosis because she thought it meant she was "crazy" rather than just depressed, but she's gotten over that now and knows her meds are helping.

Bipolar disorder almost destroyed my mom, so I feel very strongly that anyone experiencing symptoms should seek professional help. I just want to add that I think it's wonderful that you all are doing just that. Your family will thank you for it!!

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#97 of 116 Old 08-09-2006, 12:30 AM
 
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Originally Posted by perl
I don't mean to get up in the middle of your discussion, but just wanted to point out an amazing website run by this guy I know who specializes in mood disorders (namely bipolar).
That IS an amazing website! Thank you for the link.
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#98 of 116 Old 08-09-2006, 10:56 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tyedyedeyes
Hiya mamas. Feeling better in some ways...the craziness has started to subside, and I got to get away this past weekend...Took DS up to the cabin at DH's Grandmas for some out of the city time. Helped a little. It's nice and quiet up there. Lot's of mosquitos though...ugh. <scratches leg...> Feeling kinda low now. I'm expecting Aunt Flo in about two days. Hope after she's gone and I feel less bloaty, cranky, and otherwise mentally impaired, I can better assess how to move forward.

Thanks to all of you for your support and kind words. They have helped me more than you may ever know.

Talk to you all sooner than later.

~Kate
You know, Aunt Flo always made me feel like I was going straight over the edge and not coming back. I could tell exactly when I started ovulating and things usually continued to slide downhill until a few days after AF finally made her appearance. Hormones...what a b*tch!
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#99 of 116 Old 08-09-2006, 09:21 PM
 
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hello ladies!
i actually found MDC about a month ago while doing some research about bipolar disorder and pregnancy. i am so, so, so grateful that google pulled up a link to this particular thread.

i have bipolar I and am an ultra rapid cycler. i have been taking lithium for almost a decade now. dh and i were married last november and we would very much like to start ttc this november. so....i have begun the dreaded (but hopeful) process of slowly discontinuing the lithium and plan to be med free at least until the beginning of the second trimester (and as we all know, that could be a very long time ).

last month i started taking my prenatals and a whopping 10g of fish oil per day (4g of EPA). i'm exercising daily and charting my moods (and my cycles). the whole getting the body ready/getting the brain ready combo is actually working well together.

anyway, i am increasingly nervous about what life without meds will be like. but i am also excited, because everyone should know what that feels like at some point, right? and when/if i have to go back to my old friend lithium, i will wiser and more aware of what place it has in my life.

so, at this point i've been at 900mg for a week (down from 1200, my dose of the last however many years) and all is well. next month, down another 300 and so on. and once we get to zero, it's all TTC all the time. (that's how i change the nerves into excitement .)

Rachel. Devoted wife and joyful mama to Beatrice June(2/25/08) and Leona Agnes (8/10/10).
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#100 of 116 Old 08-09-2006, 11:08 PM
 
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Mosesface> ( super name btw!) Glad you found us and i wish you all the best. If you stick around here on the entire community site you will find things that might make you really and things that make you and things that make you

Oh and truly i hope you eventually feel compelled to :
And so.... thanks for letting us share in this new adventure with you
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#101 of 116 Old 08-10-2006, 10:13 AM
 
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Mosesface:

I just wanted to say Congratulations on making your decision to ttc and starting your weaning process! I know that weaning must feel a little like working without a net. I'm glad to hear that you are doing it slowly.

So your doc says you could begin lithium again at the end of the second trimester if you need it? Are there any other bipolar meds that are safe to take during pregnancy?

In the vein of lauraess, how tough is it to BF while on meds if you should need to be on the them again? Are there any that are safe beside a few anti-depressants? If I remember correctly, I couldn't take any anti-anxiety's, of course, but I believe I was also limited in the meds used to treat BP.

I really am excited for you! Please keep us up to date on how the weaning is going. There's a web site I used a lot during and after pregnancy to answer med related questions: http://www.psycom.net/depression.central.bipolar.html

Take care of yourself and keep up the mood journal and cycle tracking. Share all this info with your therapist and you guys can work together to get you through the rough patches. And feel free to PM (private message) me if you want.

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#102 of 116 Old 08-10-2006, 01:00 PM
 
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thank you all for the warm welcome!

familylove -- lately i have become quite the bipolar/lithium during pregnancy research junkie. i've started keeping a big fat binder of articles from psychiatric journals etc., and i try to sit at the library long enough to read through drug trials.

from all that i have read so far (and from information from my doctor), lithium is actually the safest psych drug for bipolar disorder to take during pregnancy and bf. since it is the one of the oldest and most studied, there is a TON of information gathered on it.

the greatest risk to the fetus comes with exposure in the first trimester which creates an increased chance for ebstein's anomaly (a serious heart condition). for a very long time it was thought that this risk was far greater than it has been shown to be (about 1/1000 to 1/2000 which, while low, still 10 times greater risk than without lithium exposure).

after the first trimester, lithium shows no signs of causing any teratogenic effect. the risk now shifts to issues of lithium toxicity. obviously, if the mother is taking lithium during pregnancy, so is the baby. during and after delivery, the baby must be monitored for signs of toxicity (which may manifest in something called "floppy baby syndrome", low muscle tension, etc.). if the baby shows no signs of toxicity, then bf is fine. lithium is secreted in breastmilk at a fairly high level and children who are breastfed tend to have lithium levels about 25% that of their mothers. there have been no studies that have shown any developmental or neurolgical effects of lithium in breastmilk affecting children -- unless they become toxic. toxicity in infants and children can be fatal (for all the reasons it can be fatal in adults), so they must have their levels checked frequently and watched very closely for any signs. if signs of toxicity show up, you must eliminate the lithium (which means, stop bf).

it all sounds so scary, but women who resume their medication during pregnancy and do not relapse have a 50% better chance of avoiding postpartum relapse (something that terrifies me far more than getting sick during pregnancy) and the absolute risks of lithium exposure are very low. AND we all know the benefits of breastfeeding.

the key, of course, is to always weigh the risks and benefits. if you must take medication then you must take it and make the wisest choices from there. and if you can live without the meds, then praise god!

Rachel. Devoted wife and joyful mama to Beatrice June(2/25/08) and Leona Agnes (8/10/10).
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#103 of 116 Old 08-11-2006, 10:33 AM
 
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[QUOTE=mosesface]thank you all for the warm welcome!

familylove -- lately i have become quite the bipolar/lithium during pregnancy research junkie. i've started keeping a big fat binder of articles from psychiatric journals etc., and i try to sit at the library long enough to read through drug trials./QUOTE]

That's great that you have all that info to help you make decisions and feel more confident about what you are doing!

I think one of the first things I learned when dealing with mental illness is that you have to be an active participant in your own treatment. The more research and knowledge you gather, the more things you can suggest to your doc. Not to mention that it helps make sense of a very confusing illness. So you and me are on the same page with the massive info gathering

How often would your babe need to be tested for toxicity?

I *completely* understand the fear of relapse and worsening of symptoms after pregnancy. I don't think I prepared for this properly and wish I had done more research.

I look forward to hearing more about your journey and would love to check out any sites and/or books that you felt were particularly helpful in your search.

Take care!
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#104 of 116 Old 08-14-2006, 02:33 AM
 
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Treating bi-polar symptoms with meds is called orthomolecular medicine. I am just starting it now and it seems to be helping. I wanted to find something I could do to treat it while nursing. Since nothing other than zoloft is approved to take while bf'ing(according to my Lactation consultant, and psyc.). I had to go off my medds when I found out I was preg. cause they have been proven to cause major birth defects as well as causing growth defects from bf'ing. If you like here is the link I refered to when checking this out:
http://www.doctoryourself.com/
It has lots of resources and info to read. It was really helpful when I was getting my rapid cycling back last month and needed a way to treat my symptoms. It took about 2 weeks to get under control but now I seem better.
Best Wishes

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#105 of 116 Old 08-14-2006, 09:34 AM
 
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Originally Posted by jess12808
Treating bi-polar symptoms with meds is called orthomolecular medicine. I am just starting it now and it seems to be helping. I wanted to find something I could do to treat it while nursing. Since nothing other than zoloft is approved to take while bf'ing(according to my Lactation consultant, and psyc.). I had to go off my medds when I found out I was preg. cause they have been proven to cause major birth defects as well as causing growth defects from bf'ing. It was really helpful when I was getting my rapid cycling back last month and needed a way to treat my symptoms. It took about 2 weeks to get under control but now I seem better.
Best Wishes
Thanks for the link, I'll look at that later today.

I HATE rapid cycling. That is a major symptom of my disorder. I get a lot of hypomania too, which I can stand just fine, I just get jittery.

I didn't find out I was pregnant until 10 weeks in to the deal and had been taking my meds regularly until then. I started reading some of the research and panicked that DS would have spina bifida among other things, since that is a possible outcome with Lamictal.

Jen

Messianic mama to 3 boys, C (4 yrs), E (22 mths), B (newborn)
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#106 of 116 Old 08-14-2006, 11:08 AM
 
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I have an error correction. I ment treating bi-polar withOUT meds but naturally with nutrients and antioxidants is called orthomolecular medicine...I was really tired when I originally posted and the screan was kinda fuzzy..LOL

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#107 of 116 Old 08-14-2006, 12:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jess12808
I have an error correction. I ment treating bi-polar withOUT meds but naturally with nutrients and antioxidants is called orthomolecular medicine...I was really tired when I originally posted and the screan was kinda fuzzy..LOL
okay thanks for that. i was tired when i read it and was :
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#108 of 116 Old 08-15-2006, 12:50 AM
 
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isn't it frustrating.....as if we didn't have enough to worry about when ttc or finding out we are pregnant!

i feel very fortunate that i'm able to give my body the head's up regarding pregnancy and that i'm able to learn as much as i can about this disease, the meds i take, and the best way to care for myself and my family during pregnancy.

as for where to find information, there seems to be more everyday. the center for women's mental health at the massachusetts general hospital seems to do a great job of keeping articles and information logged. i have found some great resources here on their site. a lot of the articles they have listed also include references that can be found at the public library.

there are a couple of textbooks that i am looking forward to checking out (since they go for close to $150 used!). i will be sure to post here again if they turn out to be worth finding!!

Rachel. Devoted wife and joyful mama to Beatrice June(2/25/08) and Leona Agnes (8/10/10).
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#109 of 116 Old 08-30-2006, 02:58 AM
 
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hello everyone! i don't know if anyone is still reading this thread, but i just really needed to sit down and cry for a little bit and thought this was as good a place as any.

i saw my psychiatrist yesterday afternoon for the official pregnancy and meds talk. i went into it ridiculously confident that he was going to tell me that i was going to be just fine without meds and that pregnancy was just going to be bliss for me. i probably should have prepared myself better....but there's just no cure for babylust optimism.

anyway...we talked for a very long time before he very gently but firmly told me that he could not, in good conscience, recommend that i discontinue lithium for any length of time. my history (even while on meds) shows a pattern of instability that almost guarantees a relapse if i discontinue.

i told him that i was far less concerned about being sick while pregnant, that i would consider taking lithium after the first trimester so that i could be well in the postpartum. but he didn't budge....instead he taught me alot about what mania and depression do to the body and how those effects alone are statistically more dangerous than exposure to lithium (not just what i might do while manic or depressed, but what the effects of the chemicals and hormones that are increased in an episode may do to an unborn child).

so...
what now?

now i'm just scared. i know that it's my choice, ultimately, to stay on lithium or not while ttc and pregnant. but i trust my doctor. he has made it clear that he has my (and my future children's) best interest in mind. he feels confident that the risk of harm to my child is greater if i am off medication than if i am on.

he did agree to drop my dosage down to the lowest dose and see how i do there for a couple of months. if i respond well, then he'll leave me there until late in pregnancy. so that much is good.

and add to all of this the fact that here, just a couple of months before we seriously ttc, i am having the LONGEST cycle ever with no ovulation in sight.

i don't know how much more stress i can take. the more i worry about the lithium issue, the more my body freaks out and the fewer chances we will even get to conceive. it's just a vicious cycle!!!

i think i just need a week long massage.:

Rachel. Devoted wife and joyful mama to Beatrice June(2/25/08) and Leona Agnes (8/10/10).
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#110 of 116 Old 08-30-2006, 04:32 AM
 
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Was doing some reading and found this:
For example, exposure to lithium during the first three months of pregnancy is associated with a slightly increased risk of "Ebstein’s Anomaly", a heart valve defect. The risk of this heart valve problem in the general population is approximately 1 in every 20,000 births. The risk to a baby which is exposed to lithium during the first three months of pregnancy is between 1 in every 2,000 (0.05%) to 1 in every 1,000 (0.1%) births. Thus, although lithium increases the risk above the general population risk, the risk of having a child with this problem remains relatively low.
So if your psyc agreed to lowering the dose, for your first trimester, then that should help greatly lower the risk of this commonly found defect.
Check out this website(National Institue of Mental Health) too is has good info on med interactions:
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/
that is the main page and here is a helpful info page:
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/publicat/bipolar.cfm
My best wishes to you, and {{{{{Big Hugs}}}}}

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#111 of 116 Old 08-30-2006, 10:55 AM
 
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Hey, I just wanted to write in support of you. My bipolar history has been pretty mild so I was able to discontinue medications while pregnant and while breastfeeding. I guarantee that I would go back on them the minute I started not being able to handle things. I'm doing really well so far with magnesium and vit B complex.

I think with hormones, things can get pretty out of whack. See how it goes and do the best you can. I'm crossing my fingers for you.

Jen

Messianic mama to 3 boys, C (4 yrs), E (22 mths), B (newborn)
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#112 of 116 Old 08-30-2006, 02:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by poxybat
and dont post when youre manic
I need to learn not to write emails either when manic OR in the middle of the night- or both! UGH. Never turns out well, but i'm SURE at the time I'm getting the most brillian ideas down. (Not officially manic/depressive- just "depressive" but we're getting the ball rolling to see...)
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#113 of 116 Old 08-30-2006, 05:42 PM
 
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thank you jessica and jen!

i'm still in a mild panic, but i'm feeling a little better today. i'm just going to keep my head down in the research and make the best decisons i can without worrying myself into a full blown episode.

i really appreciate your support.

Rachel. Devoted wife and joyful mama to Beatrice June(2/25/08) and Leona Agnes (8/10/10).
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#114 of 116 Old 08-31-2006, 10:46 AM
 
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Hi Mosesface: More support from me on your efforts ttc! Its hard when you're presented with what seem to be impossible choices (Take lithium and run the risk of anomolies or don't take it and run the risk of your symptoms flaring and causing damage to your babe anyway.) Its so difficult to put your trust and faith completely into your doc. But, like you've said, you have the added benefit of being so informed about the facts yourself.

While I didn't take mood stabilizers during pregnancy, I did take Celexa during pregnany and BF. My feeling was that, as your doc said, the potential harm to a babe from Celexa was probably outweighted by the harm of having a depressed, anxiety-ridden momma. And if your doc has expresed concerns that you will relapse without lithium due to mood instability, I think that is exactly what I would be concerned about. You know how hard it can be to get healthy when in the midst of a full-on flair up of bipolar symptoms.

I'm so sorry that you are faced with all these extremely tough decisions! But you're intelligent and well-researched and, it sounds like, you have a doc you are comfortable with.

Keep posting and letting us know how things are progressing.
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#115 of 116 Old 08-31-2006, 12:05 PM
 
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hey mosesface - glad you are feeling a little better. I'm ttc w/o meds. It's a bit touchy at times. Just wanted you to know I'm reading along & hoping it comes together in a way you are comfortable with. Keep us updated!
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#116 of 116 Old 09-07-2006, 07:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Nathan1097
I need to learn not to write emails either when manic OR in the middle of the night- or both! UGH. Never turns out well, but i'm SURE at the time I'm getting the most brillian ideas down. (Not officially manic/depressive- just "depressive" but we're getting the ball rolling to see...)
That was written on 8/30. Just diagnosed as bipolar today. (9/7)
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