Lamictal.

medication, ptsd, stigma, three hopeful thoughts

Supposedly, this is the drug that is going to make everything okay.

I met with my psychiatrist yesterday and learned that while it’s usually used as an anti-seizure medication, it works very well for the depressive portion of bipolar disorder. She’s hopeful that this will stabilize my moods and make everything feel less dismal, though I have to build up to the maintenance dosage slower than other patients because it can cause a nasty rash (I had a terrible full-body rash as a reaction to amoxicillin when I was a child, so she wants to be extra-careful).

She warned me that there’s a chance it could trigger a manic episode if I do, in fact, have undiagnosed bipolar disorder. I’m young, and it could be lying dormant for now–she said it wouldn’t be at all unusual if I remained in a depressive state for decades before experiencing mania for the first time.

I feel that, as an advocate for mental illness who tries to do something to fight the stigma every single day, it’s not great for me to say this…but I am secretly afraid that I’m bipolar. My mother is bipolar and when I was young, “You’re just like your mother!” was thrown at me whenever I was being difficult or acting out.

I’ve been educating myself on the disease, though, mostly through memoirs written by women with bipolar mothers. I know that it’s just another chemical imbalance and that I have nothing to fear, but at the same time, it seems like the proverbial big black dog, looming just out of sight. And there is a tremendous stigma surrounding bipolar individuals, which is awful. I am taking comfort in the knowledge that if I do indeed have the illness, I can do a lot of good work to help fight that stigma, too.

But is it so wrong for me to be terrified of being “just like my mother”? It’s not just the possibility of being bipolar that scares me–I was conditioned to fear and avoid any behavior that was even remotely reminiscent of the woman, though now I’m beginning to “take it back” by trying to take the positive aspects of her personality into myself–her carefree, fun-loving nature that I remember so well from her “good” days.

My relationship with my mother is a complicated one, so I’ll refrain from discussing it further in this post; I feel it deserves at least one post of its own, if not a series.

Did anyone else grow up with a mentally ill parent? How has it affected you?

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One thought on “Lamictal.

  1. I know several people that have been diagnosed with Bipolar disorder, they seem to function well with whatever medication they are on, but I know a few that feel great so they think that they don’t need to take their medication and that is where the trouble starts. I think that my youngest may have a mental disorder but its soo difficult to diagnose, she is nice one minute and then yelling at me the next and its very difficult to deal with. I have taken her to a neuropsychologist but I was told that she has sensory processing disorder and Adjustment disorder with mixed disturbance of emotions and conduct, now I think she may have ADHD as the only thing that stood out on her kindergarten report card is she is below average for her attention span. I am thinking about making her an appointment to see a psychiatrist as she has already seen a pyschologist and the only thing that was accomplished was play time there and she would fight me to go each time. 😦 Frustrating how confusing the brain can be!! I hope your new medication helps you to feel better being yourself!

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