Is it really just psychosomatic?

My husband worries about me and calls me a hypochondriac because I will take the symptoms that I have and use a symptom checker (Web MD has a great one) and then I will be like….”well…It could be this (maybe hay fever or depression-duh!) or I could have THIS which is probably what it is (Multiple Sclerosis!!!)” (coz I’m a dramatist) No, seriously. that is what it came up with. Now, in all seriousness I know that I don’t have multiple sclerosis, but other possible options were hypothyroidism, etc. Which is totally believable even though I had all my blood work done 6 months ago (including thyroid test) because we were ruling out just that possibility.

The point of all of this is this: I was diagnosed Bipolar I w/ depression, and also Adult Inattentive type ADHD 2 months ago. Now… I know that the symptoms have been there (lack of focus/concentration, easily distracted, constantly in motion even when sitting (shaking feet, etc), hearing someone speak but not comprehending because I can’t focus on what they’re saying, having to have spoken instructions repeated and clarified several times….etc,etc, etc.

But, I have noticed that some of them symptoms have become more prevalent since I was diagnosed. Obviously some things have gotten better as I’m on like 87,627,465,807,728,934,657,836 types of medicine for it all (exaggeration, of course) but my ADHD medicine I am maxed out on the dosage and I still have problems concentrating and focusing. I still start things and never finish them. I still start 12 things at the same time and forget what I was doing and start something else. I still forget what I was talking about mid-sentence. I did this with my psychiatrist at my appointment on Thursday. We were talking about my adderall, and she asked me how I was taking it and how it made me feel. I explained that I didn’t really feel any more focused, but more irritable, and that I missed it for one day and was overly tired (more so than usual) all day long. I didn’t even realize I hadn’t taken it until that night when I took my bedtime meds. Somewhere in the middle of that statement I forgot why I was talking about my adderall. Anyway, it ended up getting increased for 20mg bid to 30mg bid.

I also have been kinda emotionally all over the place and SUPER SUPER irritable (David says maybe that’s just the way I am which is why the meds aren’t changing the irritability) So she asked me how I thought my Lamictal was working. I said…”well, what is it SUPPOSED to do?” She said that it is supposed to help keep my moods stable. (Thus why it’s called a mood stabilizer) So I said…”yeah, it’s not doing that so much” so we doubled that one and I am now maxed out on it at 400mg. She is having me titrate up right now, I am taking 100mg qam and 200mg qpm for two weeks, then supposed to do 200mg bid after that. I am afraid that I am going to go through all this and end up having to have it changed to something else.

I don’t know how much of it not seeming to work is me thinking that it’s not working and how much is it actually not working for me like I think it should be. Am I being emotionally unstable because I am caught in this downward spiral of BEING my illness instead of just having my illness and trying to control it? Or is it REALLY just not working for me?

I also am taking 100mg Seroquel QPM which I know is actually a fairly low dose, but even with that I am SO tired about an hour after I take it. I sleep like the dead, and then am groggy most mornings, feel sleepy around 10 am even after 30mg of adderall at 8:30am, and am still very irritable which I guess I feel the seroquel should be helping with. Isn’t that the point of anti-psychotics? To make you not so psychotic? I mean if it’s not doing that, I can take a benadryl to knock me out at night and leave me with a hangover the next morning, it would be a lot more cost effective.

I have worked in pharmacy for four years, I have been certified for 3 1/2 of those years and I am a quick study, I learned as much as I could from the various pharmacists that I have worked with as well as my own medication experiences and access to databases with extensive medication information. (,, plus stuff at work) So going into this maze of medications I am more informed than most people, or at least as much informed as some people. I have been fortunate thus far to not have experienced TOO many side effects. I have the dry mouth, and the nasty taste in my mouth like I’ve been sucking on spare change, if I exert myself I get the fluttery feeling in my chest, I am sweating a lot more than normal now ( I am ALWAYS hot, when I have always been the one wearing long pants and a jacket when it’s 80 degrees out), I have like ZERO appetite (which is actually kinda OK for me as I am 100+ lbs overweight) those are the biggest things that I have dealt with so far.

I honestly have been so much better since quitting my job. I have had maybe 1 headache since I got out of the hospital on March 5, 2009. I have had one anxiety or panic attack, the day I went to the SSA office to complete my application, which is totally justifiable and not completely random like so many have been in the past.

The thing that was the point of all of this is this: How much of mental illness is actually illness and how much is illness caused by what we perceive to be our illness?  And then the question to that is: isn’t that the definition of mental illness in its most basic form?  Irrational thinking, delusions, a skewed belief system, alternate reality (and I don’t mean like in Sci-Fi Movies).

What do you think?  Comments? Feedback?



my daily sanityThese are the meds that I am currently taking everyday.  It doesn’t look like a whole lot and I know some people are far worse off.  I take 11 pills a day. ELEVEN!   I used to take none, or one.  then went to 3 when I started back on the zoloft and addes prilosec.  Before that I was just taking claritin when I remembered.


~ by falloutmommy on April 26, 2009.

2 Responses to “Is it really just psychosomatic?”

  1. Super post, Need to mark it on Digg

  2. hey, I just found your blog. I’m 21 years old and I was professionally diagnosed with moderate-to-severe bipolar disorder (also type I, I think) and a more mild anxiety disorder about a year ago. I’m taking about 225mg of lamictal and 1 mg clonozapam.

    I can’t imagine what it is like to take 11 pills a day! Jesus.

    I don’t think that what I have is psychosomatic (well, maybe it is to some extent). Looking back at my genetic history, it seems that my father and his brother have a serious case of bipolar disorder.

    I think that my condition is genuinely caused by a chemical imbalance. I will feel euphoric one instant, and suicidal the next. I have a panic attack every day without fail, and keeping track of my journal it seems as though I suffer from suicidal thoughts at the very least once a week. I used to feel euphoria on almost a religious level, almost being in a state of dreamlike hallucination, an experience of orgasmic bliss.

    I don’t mean to say that these thoughts and feelings are beyond my control (well, not at the moment anyway). Being a casual observer of my emotions, I am able to see just how my condition affects me. Sometimes the feelings are so overwhelming, I can’t even describe – maybe you know how it feels too.

    I guess it’s hard to tell whether you really have a disorder or if you’re just freaking your mind out into believing that you have one. I don’t know if there’s a litmus test for that… just kind of how you observe yourself.

    I’ve noticed that whenever I talk to a counselor, therapist or psychiatrist about my feelings, I always feel very depressed afterwards just in the awareness of the fact. So maybe that awareness that, “Hey, I have a problem…” might be getting to you – the awareness of the fact that you have a problem might freak you out into hypochondria. Then again, I’ve only read this one post, so I don’t really know anything about you.

    I feel like my medication is a crutch. I think maybe when you become so dependent on medication (or too dependent on anything in general, really), you just make it harder to recover on your own…

    I find it really hard to believe that you are taking that much medication! I hope that you are able to scale back…

    All the best,

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