I’ve had 600 mg of lithium since last night and I’m already experiencing effects like thirst, dry mouth, and frequent urination. I’ve also got a strange aftertaste that isn’t normal.
I am also noticing some things I didn’t anticipate, like feeling more hypomanic. I feel restless and distracted. It’s hard for me to follow my own train of thought, let alone that of my students. Several times I’ve had to ask them to repeat their questions. During the student presentation, I just hoped they were getting information right because many times I realized I had no idea what was going on. I was going to give one of my favorite talks today but I am too disorganized. I am having trouble forming sentences and sometimes have to correct my words. Once I realized the disorganization in my thought and speech patterns, I realized there was no way I could lead a discussion. I am worried: how am I supposed to provide timely grades? I need to create a study guide for this week’s exam too, but I can’t imagine sitting and focusing on anything. What about my extra-teaching responsibilities? Thankfully, I had a backup documentary that corresponded with today’s material, which we’re watching now. I’m really just counting down the minutes until I can get back home.
This agitated feeling is combined with the strange sensation that I would really like to take a nap. Sleep for the rest of the day, perhaps. I got 8 hours of sleep last night, but it was from 7p to 3a, so by the time I had to get up for class I was ready to go back to bed.
Another interesting and unpleasant change in experience that I’ve noticed lately (not just associated with lithium use) is that I am very sensitive to sound and light at times. Two nights ago, I had to tell my ex-boyfriend to lower his voice. It sounded like every syllable reverberated in my head and that there was even an echo in the room. Same thing today: I noticed it right away when I walked in class. The fluorescent light was on and my students started talking to me right away. I winced at how loud it sounded. Even shuffling papers or the tick of the clock seem unnaturally loud.
As the minutes ticked by, quite obviously I might add, my anxiety steadily increased. So I reached out to ex-boyfriend so that perhaps he could give me some support and relief. I hadn’t yet told him about my decision to take lithium and I was honestly surprised about his reaction. In fact, it ended up stressing me out more. He even just stopped responding mid-conversation. You may be wondering why I expect my “ex” to be supportive. We are technically broken up at this point, but we are working toward resolution and getting back together. More on that later.
I’m so frustrated I’m going so far as to share part of the conversation here: