My thoughts are quicker, sharper. My sleep is intermittent. I’m more irritable, having little patience for those not thinking as fast as I am. My creativity has returned. I can write again!
All are, I believe, a consequence of my extreme reduction in Latuda – from 100 mg to 40 mg in less than one week earlier this month. The consequence of distressful side-effects.
I expected my body and mind to react to this sudden change. In fairness, I expected my depression to worsen and I paid close attention to that mood. But it remained stable and I took heart, foolishly thinking there would be no repercussions to my withdrawal.
I was so intent on depression that I almost missed the change to hypomania. At least I think it’s hypomania.
The return of creativity was first. I’d decided to share what happened on March 9 and began to write. The writing flowed, the words forming of their own volition. It was smooth and calming and it was glorious!
Sleep was next. I’d awaken at 3:00-3:30 am, fully refreshed. I made an offhand remark to a friend about this and tweeted about the poor sleep. I admit, hypomania never entered into the picture.
When I spoke to my psychiatrist about the side-effects Latuda was causing, he asked about my sleep. Thinking only of my sleep apnea and an upcoming mask change, I cavalierly said my sleep remained hit and miss. Again, I wasn’t thinking about hypomania.
Next came speed of thought. During those early morning hours, my thoughts were coming non-stop, thought after thought after thought. No slowing, no pause. They jumped from idea to idea, flitting about, illuminating one then another. They came fully formed, precise, sharp. It was chaos. I couldn’t keep up.
Irritability came with the thoughts. Impatience too. This I kept to myself. I know how hurtful they can be and I certainly didn’t want to hurt anyone.
It all coalesced after a question from my psychiatrist. We were talking about the side-effects of the Latuda, the slurred speech, the mask-like face where my lower jaw feels rubbery and uncontrollable. We spoke of the nausea, headaches, extreme agitation of my arms and legs, the spikes in heart rate and blood pressure.
During this discussion, I commented that since I’d reduced the Latuda I could write again. My psychiatrist asked: “Did I feel better after the Latuda was reduced?” Did I feel better? I answered: “Better” might not be the correct word. I’m not sure if I feel better. But I don’t feel worse.”
The question stuck around, reverberating in my mind. I pondered. Then I realized, I do feel better. The malaise I’d been in, the Black pit, the depression, just wasn’t there. So what was?
At last it made itself known, identified itself. And the sharp chaos of my thoughts, the growing irritability, the interrupted sleep all made sense. Everything came together, coalesced. I understood.
Now I watch my mood for a different reason.
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay