After the episode in 2008, I kept mentioning to my nurse practitioner that I did not feel like myself. At one point she told me that I might not ever feel like “myself” again. Those of you of in recovery can probably relate. The anti-psychotics can relieve the negative symptoms, but they can also take away the good feelings and in my opinion, change aspects of your personality. My illness caused me to have intense emotions including positive ones. Hypomania can be a beautiful thing. The meds calm my mind, but they make me less creative and dull my sense of humor as well. I don’t laugh as often and it takes more to get me excited.
I had to give up alcohol for the most part. Drinking with the meds did not mix well. I became overly emotional after only a couple of drinks. This was a big adjustment for me and my husband. We spent our twenties partying so it was a major lifestyle change when I stopped. Hanging out with drunk people was annoying to me when I was sober. I wasn’t as much fun and stopped wanting to go out to bars with friends. The anti-psychotic that I took in the evening made me so drowsy that I could barely stay awake when we were out. This caused Chad and I to argue. He got tired of making up excuses for me and missed that time with me. I’m on the right combo of meds now that I can go out and enjoy a few drinks and still keep my illness in check.
I also had to start taking better care of myself. I had to eat on a regular basis. I went into psychosis briefly while standing in entryway of the Indiana Pacer’s stadium because I had not eaten anything all day. I can’t eat a lot of junk either. I have to watch the caffeine, sugar, and processed carbs which can make me anxious and affect my sleep. I started having issues with my blood sugar as well. I don’t know if either it causes some of my symptoms or if the illness causes the blood sugar fluctuations. I feel better when I eat every few hours and drink plenty of water. Sleep is also very important. I have to make sure I am getting plenty of rest. No more late late nights for me. I’ve been told that I should be going to sleep at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning. This has been a challenge for me since I still struggle with insomnia a couple of times a week.
Checking in with my therapist every 2-3 weeks also keeps me on track and I look forward to our talks. I also attend a NAMI support group that gives me support and allows me to help others. Overall life is much better than it was before meds. It has just been an adjustment. I still miss parts of the old me, but the stability that the meds provide is totally worth it.