So after four years I'm coming to the end of a long term relationship… with Lithium.
I'm two weeks into withdrawal and it's as much of a bitch as the medical professionals said it would be. Like an irked ex lover keying your car, this beast is scratching its way out of my body.
As withdrawal goes the physical side effects of lithium withdrawal are minimal – headaches and nausea are an annoyance but manageable. Although the exhaustion is overwhelming, I can't sleep yet it's all my body and mind is crying out for. My mind is at war, my rational mind and my bipolar mind at odds with the chemicals in my brain like a fishing boat trying to navigate the currents at sea.
Navigating unsteady waters
And as they do all I feel is confused and angry… confused because I can't grab on to anyone thought long enough to make sense of it, my body is awash with anxiety – on high alert, jaw clamped, chest tight and heavy. Angry as I realise what the drug has done to my body; thyroid issues and weight gain. The weight gain I'm most frustrated with – as I count the stretch marks on my thighs and stomach, I count the pounds this drug has added to my once slim body.
And no I am not naive enough to blame it all on Lithium. But no medical professional warns you of the way these drugs ravage your body, sure it keeps the war in your mind at a level of truce but as a 31 year old woman with food issues the level of support around this has been almost laughable.
The doctors are convinced my bipolar stems from a personality disorder so Lithium isn't the right treatment for such things… something I've been screaming at them about for years but at last I've been heard and so the unknown awaits me…
I'm hoping that the removal of lithium from my body will relieve some of the anxiety surrounding my weight issues and I'll finally find some peace in this foggy mind of mine. I'm scared nothing will change but unless I change something then nothing definitely will.
I hope that I'll have more good days then bad and the heavy weight I've been carrying with me like a keychain I've been meaning to take off for years, will find its way into the trash… I hope, I hope.