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The 'Funny Feelings' I Get When I Miss a Dose of My Bipolar Medication

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Editor's Note

Please see a doctor before starting or stopping a medication.

I take medications for my bipolar disorder. These medications keep me emotionally and mentally regulated and grounded in my life. Every day, with breakfast, I take my pills for the day. I get up quite early for work, and I give myself just enough time to get ready and get out the door for the 45-minute drive. I grab my yogurt and fruit, throw my daily pillbox in my purse, and I am off to work.

• What is Bipolar disorder?

Once I get to work and I am more awake for the day, I eat my breakfast and take my pills. Then it is just a regular day of living. Sometimes I am happy, sometimes I am sad, and sometimes I am just even-keeled as anyone would be on any given day. I do not have the super extremes of depression or mania which happens with bipolar disorder. This is how the pills help me.

Every now and then, something happens and I miss my morning pills. This happened today. When I was at work, I got my fruit and yogurt out to eat and grabbed my pill box. I looked, and the pillbox was empty. “Oh no,” I thought. “This must be the one from yesterday.” Right then, I knew that later in the day I would be feeling “funny.”

Let me explain that. “Funny” to me means anything odd, different or strange that I feel.  “Funny” feelings are mostly the physical things and sensations that change within me. These sensations usually come on between 3-5 hours after I have missed my daily dose of medication.

“Funny” feelings:

1. Sight gets fuzzy.

2. Taking long exaggerated blinks with my eyes (trying to make things clear again).

3. A sensation of dizziness at times.

4. Odd skin sensations.

5. Tightness or clenched jaw.

6. Clenched fists or other muscle tightness.

7. Digestive issues.

8. Tightness in the chest.

9. Sounds become far away or like waves in my ears.

10. Brain zaps, like the feeling of being buzzed.

11. Being “not with it.”

12. A sensation of separateness from what is happening in the present.

These “funny” feelings are not so funny, so I make sure to get back on my regular medication routine as soon as I can get to my pills. Usually then, within an hour or two, I am back to “normal me.” Today, I was able to leave work early and go home. I have taken my pills, and am now back to feeling even-keeled this evening. Just another reminder to always stay alert to doing what I need to do to keep mentally healthy.

Staying mentally healthy for a person with bipolar disorder is an everyday thing, including many different aspects. One aspect of that for me is taking medications. I must think about this every day. I must remember.

What I go through with bipolar disorder is not what everyone goes through. Each person is unique. I write this just to help you understand a side to taking these types of medications that you may not know about. And, if I am having an off day or feeling “funny,” this might be why. Please be gentle with me. I will come back around.

Originally published: March 7, 2018
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