Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Danny Bonaduce: World's funniest former mental patient

I rely on my sense of humor to defuse anger and anxiety. It was something I reached for as soon as I woke up from the coma: "That's what you get when you overdose," I told myself (I couldn't talk because I was on a ventilator). "They tie you to the bed. It's not a gesture that inspires trust."

I wanted to call myself the world's funniest former mental patient, but I think that title rightly belongs to Danny Bonaduce, former child star, dj, actor, and reality TV force of nature. I was thinking about him tonight because I remember a great line from his reality show, "Breaking Bonaduce": "I'm bipolar. I take enough pills to get full."

I thought about Danny tonight as I swallowed my handful of pills. They include:
  1. three pink 300-mg tablets of Lithobid, a time-release form of lithium, which is used to treat bipolar disorder
  2. one white 45-mg caplet of Remeron, an antidepressant, the maximum dose; and
  3. one yellowish-green/teal blue 60-mg capsule of Cymbalta, another antidepressant, the maximum dose.
On top of that I take:
  1. a multivitamin;
  2. a calcium supplement -- supposed to help me sleep; calcium helps relax your muscles (this is probably why people recommend a glass of warm milk at bedtime);
  3. chromium picolinate -- supposed to boost my metabolism, since I'm trying to lose the weight I gained while taking Risperdal, which helped me for a bit and then stopped working, and during my last depressive episode; and
  4. two softgels containing fish oil. Fish is brain food, as the old saying goes; omega-3 fatty acids are supposed to be a natural antidepressant. I have to be careful with these -- when I took a higher dose, I developed a low-grade fever and lassitude.
At least I only have to take pills once a day, at bedtime. When I was put on Neurontin, an anticonvulsant thought to have mood stabilizing properties (it's no longer used for that purpose; no studies have shown it to have any effect on mood), I had to take it three times a day because it's metabolized so quickly. If I were taking an SSRI like Prozac or Celexa, I'd have to take them in the morning because they're energizing, so I'd be popping pills twice a day. Instead I take everything at night.

Also, I'm down to three medications, whereas only a few months ago I was taking five. Part of me wonders if it was smart to discontinue the other two, since I've been feeling down lately, but that could be due to other factors. Moreover, when I start school my health insurance is going to be more limited in scope than the insurance I get through my current employer, so the less I spend out of pocket, the better.
Copyright (c) 2006 "Ayelet Survivor"

No comments:

Post a Comment