At times, little changes can make all the difference in the world.

It has been a couple of weeks since I finally got what I desired most this year, a real change in my medication, and finally some light going into 2018. So far I have seen major changes in my anxiety at night which have meant during my day I am not dreading going to sleep with anxiety levels through the roof.

In “Light in all the darkness” I talked about the changes my new psychiatrist made in my last doctor’s appointment. My doctor gave me the ability to take up to 4mg of Ativan a day up from just 2mg a day, which my previous dosage a few years ago was 3mg throughout my day, and it has been a success so far.

In the first few days, I took all 4mg of Ativan throughout my day just so that my body would get used to the new, and much better, dosage. Since that time I was able to adjust on normal days to take 3mg a day, and those days where I am more out of my safe space I can move up to my max dosage.

It’s not a cure-all but I think it helps in the interim so I can refocus my efforts on fighting my anxiety. I even had two different nights where I didn’t need my night time dose of Ativan (that hasn’t happened in years.) Since changing my dosage my anxiety levels have gone back down to very manageable which is great.

I still had a bad day over the last couple weeks, but I am realizing the more I talk about my issues here on my blog the less these days affect my week.

I am hitting a stretch run in my final two weeks on my last semester of 2017. I am so close to the end of my bachelor’s degree and to be honest it has been a tough and long journey. Still, 2018 is shaping up to be a good year. I will be starting my master’s program in the summer, I graduate, and I am hoping big things with my writing projects.

The other change in my medication has also helped me adjust to a better nighttime routine. Prior to my last appointment my Seroquel dosage I took every night was an interesting one. I had 100mg tablets with the option to take anywhere from 300-600mg at night. It was never the same every night and it made my sleeping schedule very erratic. Some nights 400mg would suffice to get me to sleep while others it took 500-600mg.

The upside of the higher dosage is I slept okay for six hours a night, but it would take me three hours from the time I opened my eyes to get out to bed (one of the side effects for me with more Seroquel in my system is that when I wake, the medicine is still in my system and if I fail to fully wake up for hours.) It stands to reason the lower dosage I take the better chance I have to wake in the morning in a better mood.

After explaining this to my new doctor he made the decision to change my individual dosage while still keeping the options open every night. I now can take up to three 200mg tablets at night. I have found in the last two weeks that I can sleep well enough most nights with just taking 400mg. With my original dosage, I took 300mg right away and then moved up to 600mg as needed throughout the night. It meant sometimes three hours before I would go from laying down to actual sleep.

Again its just a few weeks in so I have no idea what the long-term effects will be when it comes to the two most important medications that I take. I think the next logical step would be a change in anti-depressant because my current one just doesn’t feel like it is working.

Change is good, and I feel as if I can really look at the possibility of finally getting my social anxiety and my general anxiety back under control to a functioning level. My new nighttime routine has helped me get to sleep earlier and sleep better. I still wake up during the night way too much, but one issue at a time.

I have really felt so much better. I have been able to start my day with a small dose of Ativan and it helps me get through my late afternoon before having to take another dose. My anxiety level, which was hitting 9-10 over the last month has been a more manageable 5-7 level most days. I logged one day in the past week that was an eight, but if I can somehow get into the 3-5 range it means I am managing my anxiety again.

So that is where The Bipolar Writer is at the moment. Looking forward to getting through the next two weeks and having some much need break time from school.

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit: unsplash-logoRoss Findon

33 thoughts on “Changes

  1. My faith in diagnosticians as a whole has been bettered by your writing this day. PRAISE GOD!!!!!!!! I went off of my Zoloft for a week, cold turkey, and let me tell you-as an EMT, and nurse I should know better. I am a very impressionable person, and while down with the flu, I watched many deliverance videos. As an addict, and having no where else to be, these vlogs took me to a place of anxiety, depression and doubts about my faith. After watching a deliverance video in which the pastor said “cigarettes are an antenna to hell,” I convinced myself that my depression, my self harming, even my medication were due to demons within me. The results were disastrous, and I am happy to say I am back on track. I bought a pack of cigarettes not to relapse, but I only smoked a few a day-and at least I no longer smoke in the house. My entire raison d’aitre is to help others through the journey of mental illness and recovery. I am going to be having “the conversation” with my physician on Monday. And, depending upon the outcome? will find a psychiatrist who embodies compassion and ethical treatment of human beings. Well done. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for sharing your story with me. I am glad you found a place of solace within the confines of the mental health community bloggers. I often find myself getting things together when I am reading the stories of others. I hope you find even more strength to get back on track.


  2. Dear James, You are an inspiration…Look how much you manage to do. In spite of the many challenges, you are always finding ways to help yourself and share your experience with others. I hope things stay on a more manageable level for you. Anxiety is a most challenging issue. I am terribly anxious in cars, and I have been reading your posts about driving. Anxiety can be crippling. The fact that you push yourself to go past the crippling fear is a feat in itself. Thank you for sharing all that you do. Glad your dialogue with your doctor is providing the help that you need. All the very best for a happy relaxing break. Warmest wishes🌻

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for your kind words. When I started this blog there was so many unknowns and I had no idea if anyone would ever listen to my words and my experiences. It’s comments like yours that really help get through the worst of it. Sharing my experiences has opened up a whole new world for me. So thank you for inspiring me.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I really like your posts because you are authentic. You are open about your difficulties and your daily struggles. And you always figure out ways to manage the toughest of issues. That takes enormous strength. I like your honesty about your vulnerabilities. People can relate to that. I don’t like to see you struggling, however, your blog will be impacting in positive ways and reaching many with similar issues. Imagine how many feel reassured that it’s not just them struggling with these issues. Plus you help others to consider solutions, such as, going to see your doctor and discussing your situation. I am delighted you were supported. It might encourage others to start that dialogue too. Even though life has been challenging, you display a huge capacity to give. You clearly care about others. You haven’t lost your humanity. That says so much about you.
    Your Mum loves you because she understands your inner struggles. Why wouldn’t she love you? Mums know us, heart and soul. Mental illness can be crippling. It can render people incapable of having a happy, peaceful life. She sees your fortitude, your determination to move forwards. She sees how huge your heart is.
    See your inner beauty, James, … we do, and many others do too. You can never fail. You are just trying your best to find a way to live a happier life. And helping others in the process. Keep going with your blogging…. As long as it is helping you, it will always be helping others.
    Warmest wishes, James 🌻

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank for this and wow it means the world to me that my blog has helped and touch people. In the beginning I didn’t know where this blog is was going and it has surprised even me. I really hope I can continue my work over the next months and even years. Thanks again for the kind words that you have given me in this comment.


  4. Hi James, thanks for following my page and giving me the opportunity to discover yours. I spend the majority of my blog talking about my weight, but its really just a symptom of my Bipolar II disorder. I take Seroquel too, its a blessing and a curse. I used to be a size normal, then a size smaller than normal, then verging on scrawny and scaring my mom, my husband and my co-workers. It was due to soul-crushing anxiety. I didn’t realize I had finally gotten to a place where I was so damn anxious I just plain stopped eating, and it was starting to show. I also didn’t know how to verbalize what I was feeling, I thought it was just a symptom of my “crazy” and kept it to myself. I thought it was the stress of my job. I thought it was anything and everything but something to do with being Bipolar *forehead slap*. It felt like someone had reached inside my chest and grabbed me by the heart and lungs and just squeezed. I was sleeping 4 hours a night and generally was miserable and running on pure cortisol and caffiene. I even had severe back pain from it. My Psych put me on 300mg of Seroquel and shortly after, that fist gripping me by the heart and lungs went away, the back pain that had been debilitating went away and I got my appetite back and started eating again. Well, now I’m hungry all the time and I’ve gained 80lbs argh. The phrase my therapist used was that it was a choice between “sanity or vanity” so I’m still on it. My question to you is, have you ever had this problem with Seroquel?
    Wow, enough about me, good grief. What I came here to say is I think what you are doing here kicks ass. I very hesitantly post about my experience being Bipolar but am still not de-stigmatized enough inside to use my real name. I’d rather not put out into the tech sector that I have this imbalance in my life that I struggle with. I’m just not there yet. I’ll keep reading, you are making me braver. Kudos to you for being open and honest and writing what is real for you. You make me want to strive to do the same…! Congratulations on your upcoming graduation and for carrying on with a Masters the very next month. Don’t forget to take a little time off for R&R. May I recommend the beaches of California?
    Keep on keeping on!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you sharing your experience on my blog. It was really brave of you and it couldn’t have been easy. I have had weight issues up and down related to Seroquel. Over the years I gained a lot of wait almost 50 pounds. Then I lose a bunch two years ago and it went up again. I have been on the side of not eating much so recently I lose a lot of weigh in a very unhealthy way. Part of it comes with my Seroquel and stress. I tend to eat less when I am stressed

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: My Social Anxiety Life Part Seven – The Bipolar Writer

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  7. I’m glad your anxiety is better! And congratulations on almost finishing you bachelor’s!

    I myself had issues with depression, and it got in the way of my studies. I’m better now, after four years of struggle- I should have been on the way to graduating by now!

    However, I will be giving another go at university next year, now that I’m better 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow! Change looks good on you with all of your accomplishments and feeling better. I know you’re excited to be finishing your bachelor degree, then moving on to the master degree. You have a lot to be proud of. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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