How long till you found the right meds?

I was diagnosed ADHD when I was 10, and bipolar I when I was in college. I’ve been on and off meds almost my whole life and I feel like I’ve never found something that works for me. I’m really good about exercising, getting enough sleep, and eating well. All of these things help, but I’m starting to see there are some things I can’t manage with a lifestyle change. When I’m not on meds I’ll just start trying to self medicate with nicotine, or other things. Last year I tried a new med that worked OK at first, but then it made me feel worse over time. On top of that, it was so insanely expensive, even with good health insurance. The doc just kept giving me samples he got from the pharma rep because I couldn’t pay for them out of pocket.

For those of you on meds, how long did it take you to find something that worked? Was it worth the effort?

I tried SSRIs and related drugs at various times, starting about 13 years ago or so, but they never worked (often made things worse) and had lots of side-effect, so for a long time I refused to give meds another try. Self-medicated with SJW for a long time, which sort of worked in the sense that I could induce slight hypomania with high enough doses. Didn’t know about the bipolar thing back then.

I’m now taking a combination that worked great for 2-3 months; it seems to be a little less effective now, but still much better than I’ve ever been, so definitely worth it. Still cycling a bit, but I don’t want to try other mood stabilizers. I’m picky about what I’m willing to take after having done lots of research. I also have the atypical form of depression, so I can always lead the lows to real life events (or, more likely, non-events). I’m hoping it will be enough to finally work towards some longer-term goals.

So I guess in total that’s like 16 years or so, counting from when I first started considering I might need medication. I believe I still wouldn’t have the right medication if I hadn’t done my own research.

Glad to hear it. I find it interesting you mentioned SJW. I started using it this past winter and I think it helped. I haven’t been taking it in any regimented way, just in tea form on occasion. So its difficult to know how much I can attribute to it. I might try taking a specific dosage at regular intervals and see what that does.

I think its good to be picky. I had a pretty bad experience with some meds a few years ago and I know others who’ve had similar experiences.

There are only studies on regular use in standardized form, and most of those on WS 5570 (Perika and others), so trying that may give the best results. I’ve never tried it as tea, but I imagine it would only have short term effects.

I have co-morbid Anxiety/Panic Disorder as well as Bipolar II rapid cycling. I was diagnosed over 10 years ago. It literally took me 6 years to find the right combination of medication to keep me stable and give me my life back.

I’m currently on 1.5MG of Clonazepam for Anxiety and 10MG of Asenapine (Saphris) for the Bipolar symptoms. I’ve tried several medications throughout the years and this is the only combo that has me rock solid stable.

So yes, it took a long time to find the right, “cocktail” but it was totally worth the journey to find some relief.

I’m glad the Saphris works for you. The last combo I tried was Vyvanse and Saphris. I stuck with the Saphris for a year at my doctor’s suggestion, even though I felt like it was making me more and more depressed (and sluggish). After only a few weeks of stopping it I felt the clouds clear. I may go back to the pdoc again in a few months but I’m feeling a bit fed up at the moment. For now its vaping and lots of exercise.

Thanks, the Saphris definitely helps keep me at a baseline. I will say that the Saphris can make you feel very “flat” and affect your sex drive so that’s one thing to look out for. The flat feeling can definitely be perceived as depression, but it’s slightly helpful for depressive episodes.