Static Medications…Am I Normal?

I’m currently on medication for bipolar II and OCD. I’m lucky in that I only take 1 medication for each. I take 150mg of topiramate (Topamax is the brand name) and 10mg of escitalopram (Lexapro) per day. Topiramate for bipolar and escitalopram for OCD, which is I guess kind of obvious.

Now, topiramate was an interesting choice that my doctor suggested for me. I know that it isn’t a standard bipolar drug to try…at least not as a first pass. But, I’ve had issues with anti-depressants when my doctors and I were trying to manage my “clinical depression”, and all those failed. So my new doctor decided to try me on something rather unorthodox. Topiramate may not be the typical bipolar treatment, but it was what she suggested for me. I started off on a very low dose, and worked my way up to 100mg. I was on that for about 10 months, until some major stress led to us agreeing to move my dosage up to 150mg, which is helping me manage my bipolar better than the 100mg was.

I’ve been on escitalopram before, as a strict anti-depressant. It failed as an anti-depressant for me. However, once my bipolar was under control, my doctor and I agreed to start a medication to help manage the anxieties that my OCD causes. So I’ve been on the 10mg of that for 9 months now. It helps mellow out my anxieties and allows me to calm myself and regain control of myself. So something that failed as an anti-depressant works well as a treatment for my OCD.

Now, as to my title post here, “static medications”.

My family has a history of being treatment resistant to medications for mental disorders. Granted, it’s always been depression, but still. I went through I think 9 different anti-depressants, all different classes and none worked. So I’ve told my doctor that I’m worried about this. After all, I’m on the original medications that we started me on over a year ago/9 months ago. Given the history in my family, my own personal history with medications…I am worried about what will happen. I know that, according to my doctor, most bipolar patients have to go through several types of medications to find one that works, along with other strategies to cope with the disorder. Same with OCD.

I mean “static” in the sense not of dosages, but of actual types. See, being on the original medications that I was given after my diagnosis and learning what I really had, that isn’t really what I was given to expect. So I wonder how normal it is. I mean, how many people can say that they haven’t had to, 1.25 years in, had to tweak even something? And given my history of medication failures, I’m not sure how at ease I am with this. I don’t want to bother trouble for myself in worrying too much, but I am aware of what the risks are. And switching medications is not going to be pleasant (should it happen), because I know how much time that’s going to take, and what I’m likely to go through.

It’s just not what I was led to expect at all. Medication is supposed to be a finicky beast that requires constant tinkering and monitoring. (Not that I don’t monitor it, my doctor and I are constantly monitoring my medication) It’s supposed to be difficult to find something that works. Or at least, that’s what I thought would happen. I’m just not sure how usual it is to be able to have a steady, mostly stable self on the very first medications that one is given.

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