Does my diagnosis define me?

Another epiphany this week! Over the past year I have struggled to find a decent therapist, the correct fit for me. This week I decided to go back to my original psychiatrist in NYC who also doubles as a psychoanalytical psychotherapist, an unusual thing. I was so relieved to see him and although I was quivering when I first arrived (that may have more to do with the 1000 mg of depakote pumping through my veins than nerves!), I settled down and he talked sense. He was really surprised to find out the strength of medication I’d been prescribed in the UK, he put it down to crisis management which to be honest, back in December it was. He was reluctant to talk about my illness as bipolar as he called it a ‘waste basket diagnosis’ which looks at a generic illness and not the symptoms of the individual. This made a lot of sense to me. I had, as you know, cried out for a diagnosis but what is more important is my whole picture of symptoms. Crisis management was critical in December, but moving forward I want to manage my symptoms as the individual I am. Of late I have been so knocked off by the drugs (20mg olanzapine, 1000mg depakote per day) that I can’t function properly. Dr S compared my dosage to that of a horse. I was told about possible liver damage when the depakote was prescribed and I signed a waiver to say I wouldn’t try to conceive as it has high risk of foetal damage. If possible I’d rather not live on such a high dose and instead look to managing my every day symptoms. Anxiety is a big problem for me and at its worst I spiral out of control in to a full blown episode. I’m not anti-medication at all but if it is anxiety rather than mania causing my illness I would rather treat that at the source.

2 thoughts on “Does my diagnosis define me?

  1. Interesting to think Depakote 1000 mg is a high dose. I was told it was the minimum therapeutic dose although I’m on less olanzapine/ zyprexa than that. Maybe together that’s a lot. Whatever’s the minimum that keeps you stable makes sense to me.

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