Friday, September 30, 2011

Lamictal 150 mgs: Fun with Flea Control

Lamictal is a med known for its ability to cause skin problems.  People complain of dry skin, acne, dermatitis, rashes, and then of course there's The Potentially Fatal Rash.

I've had dermatitis off and on since starting lamictal.  It was worse when I first started, and has gradually decreased as I've titrated up.  Nonethleless, my skin is still more sensitive than it used to be. The elastic on a pair of underwear may never have bothered me before, but now it's itchy and irritating.  The itchy irritation of bug bites are exacerbated.  I got a few spider bites several weeks ago, and ordinarily they'd have healed by now -- but they're still red and angry looking.  At least they've finally stopped itching!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lamictal 150 mgs: Sleep Returning to (Almost) Normal, Dry Mouth Interfering

The good news is that after nearly twelve weeks on this medication, my delayed sleep phase seems to be fading.  I have to credit this to my sunlamp.  Last week, with the official onset of autumn, I started using my sunlamp for half an hour in the morning and half an hour around sunset (sometimes an hour if I'm feeling particularly low).  I've also been trying to stay in bright light until 8 or 8:30, as per the instructions of my brain doctor.

Within two days of starting the sunlamp, I began to wake up on my own around 9:30.  I had been waking up at 11, but only with the help of my alarm clock, and it was sometimes a struggle.  At night, I'd been staying up until 3 am.  Most of the time I simply couldn't fall asleep until then, even if I was exhausted.

The last several nights I've been turning the light out at 1 am, but I haven't really been able to sleep until 2 or 2:30.  I think that much of this is due to the hellish dry mouth I'm enjoying, courtesy of lamictal, vyvanse (a stimulant), all of my allergy meds, and my sunlamp.  I'm drinking what possibly amounts to two gallons of water a day.  This is (I think) four times the "eight cups of water" that's recommended.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Lamictal 150 mgs: ADHD vs. The Lamictal Stupids, and More Problems with Word Finding

I've been on 150 mgs of lamictal for three weeks now, but for some reason it wasn't until the past few days that I've had a recurrence of The Lamictal Stupids.  For instance, it took me several tries to write the word "recurrence" just now.  I kept trying to write "reoccurence", which of course is not a word, and I know that.

I've had all kinds of word-finding problems since the middle of last week.  Trouble finding simple words like "collaborative".  There are several other instances, only I can't remember the specific words I was having trouble with (ha!).  Times when I reach for an everyday word and it's simply not there.  I'm not talking about those times when the word is on the tip of my tongue and it takes a few seconds to find it; at best, it takes up to a minute for me to find the word, if it's there at all.

There's a difference between the Lamictal Stupids and my ordinary ADD stupid.  ADD stupid, at least in my case, is usually as a result of rushing through something and making a careless, stupid mistake as a result.  With the Lamictal Stupids, the mistakes I make are carefully considered stupidity.

Lamictal 150 mgs: Sunlamps, Sleep, and Side Effects

About a week ago I started using my sun lamp in the mornings.  I could feel my mood slipping as the days grew shorter, and after what happened last year, I needed to nip that in the bud.

The bitch of it is that sun lamps have their own side effects.  I don't know why this is, because they're only supposed to simulate the amount of sun you would get around noon on a clear day.  I've been outside at noon on plenty of clear days.  I've never experienced "side effects".

The common side effects of light therapy are what you'd expect from suddenly exposing yourself to a bright light source that you're not used to -- eyestrain, headache, etc.  Less common side effects include those of many psychiatric medications.  Like dry mouth.  And constipation.  And sleep problems.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Depression, ADHD, and Radical Acceptance: When You Can't Make The Changes You Need (Right Now)

There's an excellent post over at 18 Channels about "radical acceptance".  Radical acceptance is probably called many things by many people, but the general idea is that when you're facing a situation you really can't change, you need to just accept it and live with it until you can change it.  I guess it's a mindfulness practice, really.

It's a valuable thing for me to keep in mind right now.  I've lost a lot over the past year.  I lost my job.  I had a bad injury to my neck and shoulder.  I lost my mind to psychotic depression.  I lost several months of my life to the wrong med.  And I lost the relationship I thought I had, the one that I thought was working, the one thing that I used to look at and say, at least I've gotten one thing right in my life.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Lamictal 150 mgs: Investing in Prunes, Gas-X, and Ginger Tea

I used to enjoy the stomach of a concrete elephant.  I never get the stomach flu.  Hell, I never even throw up.  Haven't since I was 12.  OK, there are two exceptions to this; the first was after three strong drinks, several clove cigarettes (I don't normally smoke), and a stack of strawberry pancakes.  The second was a few years ago when my husband's two-year-old cousin had the plague and every singe person who even touched her was knocked down flat.

I am now 36.  I have barfed exactly twice in 24 years.

As for other digestive complaints, I don't have 'em.  I'm not prone to indigestion, acid reflux, diarrhea, or constipation.  When I start a new med, I pretty much ignore the GI tract side effects because I know they won't bother me.  As I said, concrete elephant.

Until I went up to 150 mgs of lamictal, that is.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Lamictal 150 mgs: The Days Grow Shorter, My Mood Grows Lower, I Break Out the Sun Lamp

After feeling pretty damn good for awhile, mood wise, I think I'm beginning to slip.  I've noticed it over the past couple of days.  I feel slightly depressed throughout the day, even in the morning, and then slump in my usual late-afternoon time slot.

The Fall Equinox doesn't happen officially for another couple of days, but there's been something about the quality of the light recently that tells me it's fall.  The days have grown noticeably shorter.  The shadows have grown noticeably longer.  The angle of the sun is different.

The sad thing is that autumn used to be one of my favorite times of year.  I love it when the leaves change, when the harvest comes in, and when the energy around me speeds up in preparation for winter.  I guess I love seasonal changes in general, which maybe makes California a silly place for me to live.

Anyway, since coming off Zoloft a few years ago, and basically un-sedating myself in the process, autumn brings apprehension.  At the very least, I can expect my concentration to suffer.  Some years it's my mood.  Last year it was my very sanity.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

ADHD and Exercise: Should You Dial It Back If You Take Stimulants?

A question came up in an ADD Forum thread last week about exercising while on stimulants.  One of the forum members had been told by her pdoc that since she was on Adderall, it was important to keep her heart rate below 160.  If she didn't she might go into cardiac arrest!  On the one hand, she loves to exercise; on the other, she'd prefer to avoid cardiac arrest.  She wondered if any of the other forum members could speak from experience.

I can speak from experience.  Her doctor is talking up his ass.  His advice is based on research that was done in the early seventies on patients with heart disease.  It was never meant to be applied to the general population.

About a year ago, I too was concerned about my max heart rate.  When I ran on the treadmill, I would inevitably hover at 185, and could easily get up to 194 for several seconds at a time.  According to the helpful heart rate chart on the machine, my "maximum" heart rate is 184.  You're familiar with those Helpful Chart, right?  They're the ones that determine your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220.  By subtracting still more numbers, you learn your "target" heart rates for anaerobic and aerobic exercise.

Image credit: Morgoth666, retrieved from on 9/19/11

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lamictal 150 mgs: Possibly Too Much Information

For the past two weeks, since titrating up to 150 mgs of lamictal, I've been having some ... issues ... with certain side effects.  If you're squeamish, you may want to browse the rest of this blog.  If you want to hear about my GI and urinary tract issues, please click through.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Lamictal Day 67: Muscle Weirdness, Balance Issues, Appetite Returning?

I seem to be regaining my appetite.  I finished breakfast in under an hour today!  And it wasn't even hard work to eat.  My pdoc is keeping me at 150 mgs for a month, and then titrating up to 200 mgs, so I should have some normalization of appetite for a little while at least.

As I wrote in an early post, muscle stiffness is a common side effect of lamictal.  This has something to do with its anti-convulsant properties, but I'm not sure exactly what.  As with all brain drugs, though, paradoxical effects are not uncommon (remember those black box suicide warnings on antidepressant medications?).  I've been blessed with one of these -- my muscles are more relaxed and loose than they've ever been in my life.

The odd thing about this is that I can still develop huge knots in my muscles.  I've recently started to do interval training on the days when I'm not weightlifting.  For me, this means running on pavement.  Since my route is basically a circle of several blocks, and the sidewalk slopes down toward the street, there's some kind of stress being put on the muscles in my left leg.  I have a truly huge knot in my left calf, and another in my left IT band (that's the outer side of your leg, running from your hip to your knee, and keeps you standing upright like the homo sapiens that you are).

Appointment With My Pdoc: Some Thoughts On What The Hell Is Wrong With Me

I had an appointment with my pdoc  the other day.  I was hoping to get my diagnosis straightened out.  I feel like my current diagnosis of major depressive disorder doesn't quite fit.  I cycle seasonally, and when I'm unmedicated (or under-medicated), I cycle daily.  There's no diagnosis for these symptoms in the DSM, but I can say that I relate more to stories from folks with bipolar than I do to those about straight-up major depression.

My pdoc thinks the issue is hormonal.  He says that the human circadian rhythm involves changes in cortisol levels throughout the day.  Night owls, he says, have more variable cortisol levels, and we hit a low point in the late afternoon/early evening.  Maybe I'm just extremely sensitive to this shift?  He's sure that there's an issue with cortisol levels, so he's going to do a literature search and get back to me.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Self-Care For Mood Disorders: Preventing Overwhelm

Whether you have a mood disorder or ADHD, having the support of your family can make all the difference in how well you cope with your disorder.  For me, just knowing the fact that my partner is in the other room helps me to feel stabilized.  Living with another person helps us keep to a regular schedule and feel less isolated.

A few years ago, when I was healthy, I was able to enjoy the times my partner was traveling on business (and these times were many).  I used that time to do my own stuff -- write, work on art projects, etc.  I missed him, sure.  But I was fine when he was around.

This past week was not so easy.  The difficulty was compounded by the fact that my partner and I have been having some fairly serious problems.  Even though we finally had a productive discussion the night before he left, I spent most of the week with feelings of shock, grief, anger, and betrayal.  Until three weeks ago, I thought my marriage was healthy and sound, built on a bedrock of honesty.  Oops.

If my partner had been in town, I would have been reassured by his presence.  We could have continued to talk out our issues.  Instead, he was in another country, in a time zone eight hours ahead of me.  I had to cope by myself, and it was damn hard.  The upside is that I learned some important things about protecting myself from being so overwhelmed that I make bad choices in self care.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Lamictal 150 mgs: My Mood This Week, and Coping with Relationships

My mood this week has been pretty good, considering.  Considering the stress.  Considering the anxiety.  Considering the sadness, anger, and feelings of betrayal.  The lamictal is definitely helping me feel more stable, less depressed, less apocalyptic.

Last week my partner and I finally had a productive discussion about our difficulties.  On the one hand, it was a huge relief to hear why my partner had been so cold and distant the previous few weeks.  On the other hand ... well, on the other hand, it was hard to listen to the hurt he's been holding in.  It was hard for me to learn I'd caused so much of it.  Most of all, it was hard to learn that my partner has spent the last several years violating what I thought was the foundation of our relationship -- honesty.  Our relationship worked because we both valued the truth.  We don't lie to each other, and we don't hide things from each other.  At least, we didn't used to.

After the productive discussion, my partner and I have felt closer than I have for some time.  Unfortunately, we could only enjoy a few hours of this before he left for a ten-day business trip.  The previous few weeks we'd been struggling like hell not to withdraw from each other completely, and suddenly here we were, feeling emotionally close.

Confused?  Hell yes.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Day 61, 150 mgs of Lamictal: Muscle Weakness?

Yesterday I lifted weights, and noticed that I couldn't lift as much as usual.

This isn't uncommon for people doing strength training.  Sometimes there are days when you're just off.  And maybe I'm being paranoid -- just because I'm on this drug doesn't mean that everything that happens is a side effect of this drug.

I first noticed the feeling of weakness when I was carrying my weights out to the deck where I usually work out.  I can typically one-hand my case of barbells (about 40 lbs), but I found myself using both hands to carry it.  Given that fact, I decided not to up the weight on my front squats, but at least I could get through them.  I had to take the weight down for all of my single-leg exercises, like lunges and step-ups.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Is Your Therapist Really Helping You Treat Your Mood Disorder?

My sister and I have been having an on-going conversation about therapy.  We've both have mood disorders (her's is depression with severe anxiety disorder) and we've both done tons of therapy.  She also works as an administrator of a chemical dependency program, which has given her a lot of insight into the therapeutic process.

Basically, my sister has noticed that there are huge differences between therapy for chemical dependency and traditional therapy..  The crux of the matter is that therapy for chemical dependency is goal-oriented.  The goal is to get you clean and help you stay clean.  Very specific steps are followed in order to help the client meet this goal.

What is the "goal" of therapy for a mood disorder?  How do you know you've met your goal?  What exactly are you doing to achieve this goal?  As a client, it's pretty hard to figure this out.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Lamictal Day 56, 150 mgs: Dry Mouth Creating Sleep Problems

With my husband out of town, and all the stress we've been having lately due at least in part to my mood disorder, that I would take the opportunity to just let my body do what it needed to in terms of sleep.  I've been going to bed when I feel like it, usually between 2:30 and 3, and getting up (sometimes with my alarm, sometimes without) around 11 or 11:30.

The quality of my sleep has been much higher since I started doing this.  Last night was an exception.  I felt sleepy by 2:30.  I turned out the light and started drifting off ... only to have to get up to pee every 15 minutes. The last time I looked at the clock it was nearly 4 am.  I was up at 11:30, and 7 and a half hours is really not enough for me.  I could have let myself sleep in even later, but I really don't like getting up after noon.  It just feels wrong somehow.

I think the titration up to 150 mgs has something to do with this.  My mouth has been dry, I've been exercising hard as I usually do, and I've been drinking tons of water.  When you drink water, you have to pee.  I need to come up with a way to taper off the water in the evening so I can get some damn sleep.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Lamictal Day 55, 150 Mgs: Some GI Advice

Let's just say ... when you're on this medication, and you gotta go, YOU GOTTA GO.  Now.

That is all.

Are you a Patient, Consumer, or a Client? Or Something Else Entirely?

If you haven't gathered by now, I'm a big fan of John McManamy's work.  If you don't know McManamy, he's a patient advocate who's articulate, intelligent, and knowledgeable about the science of mental illness.  He is an unapologetic critic of much of the psychiatric establishment.

One of his articles concerns the use of the word "consumer" to describe those of us who live in the mental health morass.  McMamany decries the use of this word mainly because "consumers" have choices.  Most mentally ill people have very little choice in the services we receive and the medication options available to us.  Moreover, he points out, "consumers" are usually consulted as to their needs and wishes, and their experience with the product.  He writes:

"Tell me, when was the last time someone invited you to participate in a Risperdal or Abilify focus group? When was the last time your psychiatrist asked you to fill in a customer satisfaction survey?"

The answer, of course, is "never".  We are not Big Pharma's customers, the health insurance companies are.  We are not the insurance companies customers, employers are.  Your employer does not give you a choice in insurance providers -- some of them only offer minimal coverage, others only offer coverage through one specific HMO, and others will give you a choice between one specific HMO and one specific PPO.  That, of course, assumes that your employer provides health insurance at all.  Or maybe you rely on an underfunded, overstaffed public program.  Or maybe you're unemployed and uninsured.  How much choice do you have then?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Day 56: First Day on 150 mgs of Lamictal

And I felt good (mostly -- read up on the not-quite-good part after the jump).  There was no sign of my mid-afternoon mood trough, but that could be due to the fact that between 4 and 8 pm I was enjoying some pleasant distractions.  From 4 to 6, I was having my hair done by a good friend of mine.  She was the only one in the salon, so we could actually enjoy a personal conversation.  She's just starting out, which means that her schedule has and will continue to be crazy -- so finding time to hang out when she's not doing my hair has been difficult.

My friend is also going through some grandmother drama.  Her grandma had a couple of severe strokes a few weeks ago, and at the age of 90, is not expected to recover.  Fortunately for my friend, her parents were able to find a nursing home and hospice center in their town.  Her parents are able to visit her grandmother daily.  Their town is close enough that my friend can visit weekly.  She greatly values the fact that she can share her grandmother's last few months.

I told her about my own grandmother.  How it's so hard to be so far away.  How it's crazymaking that my aunt and uncle, whatever their intentions, made a decision that went against my grandmother's wishes, and probably against her needs.  They bought a house using grandma's money, and if she needs a nursing home, the money will not be there.  How the difficulty is compounded by the fact that my father and my uncle -- the ones who have financial experience --live so far away from her, and were not consulted when this decision was made.

Sleep, Light, and Mood Disorder

If you have a mood disorder, whether it's bipolar or depression, you have a sleep disorder.  Your body may make you sleep too much or too little.  You may suffer from insomnia or delayed sleep phase, or you may wake up too early in the morning, exhausted but unable to get back to sleep.  Depending on your medication, these symptoms may be exacerbated.

There's been some interesting research done on this, and a fair bit of evidence has piled up to suggest that "blue light" can be a valuable treatment for mood disorders -- but too much blue light, at the wrong time of the day, can really mess us up.  For this reason, mood expert John Phelps, MD recommends that folks with mood disorders turn off their TVs and computers by 10 pm to reset their circadian rhythms.

Why turn off just your TV's  and computers?  Why not turn off all the lights?

Well, most household lightbulbs produce warm, yellowish light.  TV's and computers need to produce white light in order to render color accurately.  White light, as I'm sure you'll remember from high school physics, contains all the colors of the rainbow, including blue.  It's like from this end of the spectrum that tells you whether it's dark outside.  If you surround yourself with blue light, it tells your brain that it's daytime.

In other words, even if you watch TV in the dark, the light from the TV may well keep you awake.  Reading by the light of an incandescent bulb may not.

Are You Here Because You Searched on "Northstar Lamotrigine"?

I was taking a look at the stats for this blog, and it seems that the most popular search terms have to do with NorthStar lamotrigine and its side effects.  This makes me wonder -- who else out there had a horrible experience with NorthStar lamictal/lamotrigine?

Google tells me that at least a few people besides me have had it run them off the rails.  If you've also had this experience, and if you feel comfortable sharing your story in the comments, please do so.  I think it would help a lot of people.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Lamictal 100 mgs: Some Observations On Mood and Side Effects

My mood has been much better since titrating up to 100 mgs of lamictal.  I'm having fewer mid-afternoon slumps, and when I do have them they're not as severe.  My cognition, motivation, and concentration have continued to improve as well.  Yay!  I might just get my mood to a truly good place before the Equinox heralds the dying of the light.

The side effects of lamictal have continued as well.  Most of them haven't been too problematic, except for loss of appetite, which can lower my mood if I don't make myself eat.  Anyway, here are my observations in greater detail.  I've put the main points in bold for those of you who aren't interested in the greater detail. :)

My sleep has gotten better, though if I keep all the lights on my my living room it can easily be 2 am before I notice.  But I sleep more deeply, and I don't awaken as often during the night.  If I can get to sleep at a reasonable hour, sometimes I can even wake up before my alarm goes off.

My appetite has gotten worse -- much worse.  For most of the day, food just seems unappetizing to me.  I have trouble eating breakfast and have no interest in lunch.  The upside to this is that I've lost the weight I gained on the cursed NorthStar lamotrigine, and I'm beginning to lose some of the weight I gained from Abilify and Lexapro last winter.  The downside is that if I don't force myself to eat breakfast, my mood can suffer.

I'm not sure why, but my body seems to want salt and fat (maybe it wants fat because it craves calories, if not food?) .  The breakfasts that have been appetizing, that I've enjoyed, have been my really weird omelet, a brunch last week that included scrambled eggs and salmon, and a mushroom and spinach empanada I ate yesterday at the farmers' market.  Not sure what's up with that.  I'd love to hear whether other folks taking this med have noticed anything similar.

(Click on "Read More" for observations on skin and muscle tone)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Lamictal Day 54: 100 mgs. Relationship Stress Decreases, yet Appetite Problems Continue,

For the past ten days, I've been hard pressed to differentiate between loss of appetite due to stress and loss of appetite due to medication.  Learning that your mental illness and learning disabilities are fucking up your marriage can do that to you.

Yesterday I experienced a breakthrough with my relationship drama.  My partner expressed some frustrations he's been withholding from me.  I had the opportunity to express some of my own frustrations.  We got to a place where we agreed that our current patters were royally horked, and came up with some creative solutions to address them.  All in all, we both woke up this morning feeling better about our marriage than we have been in days.

I was expecting that the reduction in stress would mean a reduction in my appetite problems.  But no!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Replacing the Myth of the Chemical Imbalance: The Brain as Ecosystem (with thanks to John McManamy)

I've been spending a lot of time on John McManamy's Depression and Bipolar Web recently.  In addition to having a lot of critically important advice for folks living with mood disorders, he's a really smart guy who gets into the science, and his writing is often pretty funny.

A few years ago, he wrote an article about the need to replace the "chemical imbalance" myth with something that has, you know, some actual validity.  You remember the chemical imbalance theory, right?  It's the one that tells you that you're depressed because of a "serotonin imbalance", or that you have ADHD because you don't have "enough" dopamine.  It was a working theory that seemed to have some explanatory value, and it provided a simple metaphor that patients could understand.  (It also provided a simple metaphor that drug companies could use to market their medications directly to the public, but that's a rant for another day.)

In an article entitled Systems in Collapse, McManamy proposes that we think of the brain not as some sort of soup, to which pungent oregano can be added to enhance the flavor of the tomatoes and to balance the sweetness of the basil, but as a complex ecosystem.  Neurotransmitters are just one of many actors in this ecosystem.  There are also the various regions of the brain, and the ways in which these interact.  There's also the question of what neurotransmitters do once they get inside your cells.  As you can see, it's much more complicated than "not having enough" serotonin.

So let's pretend the brain is a fish tank.  A fish tank is a closed ecosystem, where the inputs are what the owner of the tank decides they are, so it's already an oversimplified version of your brain.  But it's simple enough to work with, so I'm going with it.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

My New Mood Action Plan

Yesterday I wrote about my Mood Action Plan.  There was some room for improvement, though I got a few things right.  Hotbrain, who's been at this longer than I have, agreed that telling your partner and your pdoc, if you have one, are both good things.  If you live with roommates it probably helps to let them in on your action plan as well, and let them know if you're feeling a little wonky.  This, of course, depends on how much you trust your roommates.

At our last MCBT class last night, we paired up with other class members to discuss our plans.  My partner also happened to be a visual artist.  He said that he'd had the chance to put his plan into action the day before (yay! depression!) but he'd run into some problems.  For instance, one of the items on his plan was to draw, because it makes him feel better.  That is, it makes him feel better when he feels like the sketches are going well -- and of course, when you're already depressed, you won't feel like your sketches are going well.

This made me think to add art to my own action plan.  It also reminded me of a story I'd we'd read and discussed in my MFA program about a ceramics class.  Half the class was told that their grade would be determined by a single bowl, so they needed to make the best bowl they possibly could.  The other half of the class was told their grade would depend on how many bowls they made -- the quality of the bowls didn't matter.

Guess which group made better bowls?

Yup.  The pressure was off the second group.  Their bowls were more beautiful and showed more creativity.  Why?  Because they could take risks.  The quality of their work didn't matter, and the result was the quality of their work was better.

I digress into this story because it's all too easy for someone in a depressive state to judge themselves harshly, like my group partner was judging his sketches.  A way around this, I thought, was to assign one's self to make 10 sketches, spending two minutes on each one.  If they don't turn out, who cares?  You only spent two minutes on each of them.  But I've worked this way before, and I know that chances are better that at least two or three of them will be worth pursuing further.

If only I could come up with an analogous practice with music ...  Anyway, here is my revised action plan, with revisions in red:

My Action Plan for Mood Symptoms Consists of the Following Steps:

  • Breathing Space (use breathing space to check in: would meditation be helpful or harmful at this time?  What is the best self-care I can give myself right now? What steps do I need to take next?)
  • Make a choice of what practices are most helpful to me and start using them (be nice to know what these are … sitting meditation or yoga? Try walking meditation?)
  • Take specific actions, including the following steps:

    1. Inform spouse
    2. Inform pdoc *** if spouse is traveling, this is Step 1 ***
    3. Determine what would be the best action toward self-care and do it immediately Choose among the following things:
      1. Play some Bach (if order needs to be imposed on the universe) or Chopin (if feeling emo)
      2. Make art (work on current project if it can't be "screwed up"; if current project is in a delicate state, make 10 sketches, taking two minutes for each one)
      3. Spend time with friends/make plans with friends
      4. Do housework (yeah, I know; I've somehow become one of those people who finds this soothing. Please don't hate me)
The one thing I think I need to add to this is to enlist friends who I can check in with. My partner travels a fair bit, and might not me around to notice a change in my mood, or to do anything about it if I tell him. My psychotic episode, for instance, happened when he was in Germany on business. Poor guy came home to a house full of aluminum foil.

Lamictal Day 52: Weird Reaction to Sugar

At a couple of points in the past week, I've been at social events where sugary desserts have been available.  Both times they've crashed my mood and my attention span.  It was almost like being drunk, with only the unpleasant parts.

I don't have sugar very often.  I actually don't have a sweet tooth, something for which I am very grateful.  But usually I can handle eating a single goddam peanut butter cookie without it impairing my driving ability!

The only time I've experienced anything like this was several years ago.  I had gone off my meds entirely, and was managing my ADHD symptoms (my mood symptoms were not an issue at that time) purely through diet and exercise.  I completely cut out caffeine and sugar, and wasn't even eating many carbs at all.  The effect was that if I were to, say, eat a piece of wedding cake, the icing would completely end me.  I would struggle to make basic conversation.  My speech was probably slurred, I don't know.  What I do know is that starting Vyvanse for my ADHD normalized me enough that I could have a breakfast pastry or a dessert without losing my faculties.

Is this a lamictal thing?  Is this a lamictal thing at higher doses?  If you're on lamictal, have you had an experience like this?