That’s the question my psychiatrist asked me yesterday, because it’s easier for me to list what I have not taken, than the multitude of meds I’ve tried over the years. He decided to add a low dose of gabapentin, which I have taken in the past but at a higher dose and not for the purpose of a mood stabilizer. Which brings me to another subject…my own surprising ignorance (not to say I know everything) about the purpose of a mood stabilizer. My understanding was that a mood stabilizer makes one “flat.” Instead, he described it as an accordion. People with mood disorders have broad and unreasonable swings of depression and mania; while “normal” people also have mood swings, they’re just not as drastic. The mood stabilizer, when prescribed correctly, will act as an accordion to push those out-of-control moods into a more manageable range.
My feelings of not trying hard enough were discussed as well. He said he wouldn’t put it that way, but I do need to force myself to do more non-medical/non-traditional self-care (this is why I love my holistic psychiatrist). Starting the DBT class next week will be helpful, but exercise and doing things I used to enjoy (even though I may think I don’t want to do them) will be vital to the prevention of sliding all the way back down the other side of the hill.
So I’ve tucked my new bottle of pills into my arsenal and have begun my trek back up from where I stopped my slide. When the alarm went off this morning, I put on my shorts and my sneakers, grabbed my iPod, and went directly to my elliptical in the basement for 20 minutes. Then I had a healthy breakfast, and while drinking my small amount of coffee I wrote a reasonable to-do list (I usually end up with too much, then get overwhelmed) and ordered some posters (it’s boring to stare at a blank wall even though I listen to an audiobook).