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We Asked People With Bipolar Disorder How Their Medication Affects Them

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Although bipolar disorder is one of the most common mental illnesses, it’s also one of the most misunderstood. To shed light on bipolar disorder, we asked members of our bipolar disorder community what makes them hopeful and what makes them nervous about the medications they take. Here’s what they had to say.

• What is Bipolar disorder?

What makes them nervous:

1. Medication side effects.

“Side effects of my medication.”

“My medication makes me nervous because it affects my memory, and I have mixed episodes, which are exhausting.”

“My doctor wants me back on Lithium, but I won’t do it because it makes me too constipated.”

2. The mood changes.

“Low highs make me nervous.”

3. Developing other health conditions.

“Taking some medications long-term can lead to other health conditions.”

4. The potential physical damage.

“My medications make me nervous about what physical damage they could be doing.”

5. Changing medications.

“I’m worried that my doctors will insist I change medications.”

6. Medication making chronic conditions worse.

“Medication has exacerbated two of my existing conditions — chronic migraine and pancreatitis. Since being on medication, my [migraine episodes] are out of control, and my pancreatic disease is … chronic.”

Pie chart showing the parts of medication that made Mighties feel anxious. Text reads: 36% said managing medication side effects makes me feel anxious. 64% said taking the time to find the "right" medication makes me feel anxious

What makes them hopeful:

1. Feeling even-keeled.

“Having an even keel of emotions.”

2. Feeling stable. 

“My medication has given me the hope to keep relatively stable and functional.”

“My bipolar medications have kept me stable for about 18 months now, so I’m confident they are working well for me.”

3. Staying out of the hospital.

“My medications make me hopeful that I’ll stay out of the hospital.”

4. Having fewer relapses.

“With medication, relapse can be less frequent.”

5. Having better sleep.

“I am able to sleep on a consistent schedule with the aid of medication, and good sleep hygiene could help to reduce the symptoms of bipolar disorder.”

6. Feeling better overall.

My medication made me hopeful because I was slowly getting better.

7. Having a life worth living.

“It took a long time to find the right medication mix for my bipolar I diagnosis, [but] I am grateful for the ultimate result. Medication made my life worth living.”

Pie chart showing the parts of medication that made Mighties feel hopeful. Text reads: 100% said finding mood stability, balance, or control over my symptoms makes me feel hopeful

If you’re living with bipolar disorder and want to connect with others with similar experiences, join our Bipolar 1 Support community or follow #BipolarQuestionOfTheWeek.

Photo by Danilo Alvesd on Unsplash

Originally published: November 25, 2021
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