I've seen so many therapists. Tried so many medicines. It has taken an unbelievably long time, great persistence, and impossible moutain moving effort to get where I am today. To be completely honest, it’s a a little short of a miracle that I’m not dead, in jail, living under a bridge and then consequently dead or in jail. (Because in some ways, homelessness is pretty risky)
In the last 6 years, starting in Summer 2012
- Non medicinal help: I have seen no less than 13 psychologists, therapists, clinical social workers, counselors, etc. Only 4 of them were good (for me). Meaning, only 4 of them were a match and that I continued to see until it was clear to both of us that our sessions were no longer needed.
- Medicinal help: I have seen no less than 6-7 psychiatrists. 1 being someone in the ER. It’s harder to determine the effectiveness here because medicine is a practice. They don’t know for sure. They just try stuff out, experiment with things recommended for your ailment and see what works.. They’re marketed medicines and read up on how they work. Different things work for different people. Not much is available to tell us why outside of differing genetics and biology. Off-label use is a thing that further complicates the process. But still, only about 3 of these specialist would rank as good(for me).
- I have been prescribed no less than 7 different medicines. I can’t remember the names of all of them. Some worked well for a time. Some I never actually tried. Some had excessive negative effects. Some mood stabilizers had a sedation effect that was just horrible.
- 2 prescriptions I never filled because I threw them away immediately. It was the first time a doc told me I had Bipolar 2 and I simply refused to give that any kind of validity.
- Vyvanse. It is a an amphetamine derivative and schedule 2 drug. Boy o boy did it work. The really bad side effect was the increased anxiety it could bring if i wasn’t careful and active in preventing and reducing stress. It definitely gave me the motivation to get done all things I wanted to complete. Productivity and focus were up. Sense of accomplishment was up. I was actually able to read. It worked well for some time. But after long, it turned into perceived productivity but not actually accomplishing meaningful work. I would do stuff and feel busy but not really have anything to show for it. I was taking it everyday which was far too much for me. I became afraid to stop taking it because I might lose my ability to do anything at all.
- I currently take something just for the bipolar, and it happens to be off label usage. Saying that is incredibly hard to even admit to myself. It works though. My psych recently increased the dosage and that was also painful.
Back to all those therapists. Can you imagine seeing that many professionals and going through that many medicines for only 7 out of 20 and 2 out of 8 respectively to work well. That’s kind of preposterous. I don’t even know myself to have that much patience and long-suffering. It’s pretty wild.