Quetiapine, end of first month.

End of first month, and I have mixed (sic) views. The past two weeks have been Quetiapine XR 300mg at bedtime. (Remember, it was 25mg+25mg+100mg for the first two weeks.)

Straight away, I felt less woozy by the afternoons – although dragging myself out of bed much before 11am has been quite an effort; and a mostly futile one at that. I’ve even taken the car out, one afternoon this past week. A shopping jaunt, much overdue.

I still marvel at the many comments online detailing how 25mg has knocked people out for 12+ hours and solved all their insomnia problems. How come 25 works for them but 300 doesn’t work for me?

The past few days I’ve noticed a difference again; the meds seem to be having less of a beneficial effect on my bipolar II symptoms, particularly anxiety and OCD. Strangely, I think the C part of the latter has been eased a little, whereas the O is as overwhelming as ever. Actually, a bit worse. Having bipolar is bad enough; add OCD into the mix and life can be pretty awful most of the time. Actually, always.

Yesterday I felt so anxious I thought sod it. Sod it, I’ll self-medicate again, and had a couple of small glasses of white wine. Well, it’s helped for decades, and although I’ve not touched a drop of alcohol for a month, I felt it was worth a try. After all, it doesn’t seem to be banned; just not recommended. What’s the worst that can happen? Well, falling asleep, it seems. And that would be a good thing, not bad.

As it was, I didn’t feel at all more sleepy and the wine did seem to ease my anxiety to some extent.

At my last psychiatrist appointment (when the Quetiapine dosage was doubled) she mentioned that when we next meet (at the end of the month) she’ll see if I can tolerate 600mg a day. That’s quite an advance from my initial 150mg isn’t it? I assume higher the dose, the more side effects.

I’ve done some walking, very little exercise bike work, watched what I’ve eaten, and have only put on 4-5lbs during these 4 weeks of meds. It seems I’ve got off very lightly – so to speak – in that respect. There are some horror stories online!

The most successful effect of the meds has been a ‘topping and tailing’ of my moods. Although I’ve sensed some hypomania, until this afternoon it hasn’t made a nuisance of itself. And while my default position as ever is ‘mildly depressed’ I’ve mostly remained at that state. Yesterday and today, with the anxiety making an unwelcome house-call, there have been some mixed episodes – always the most dangerous for me, with all symptoms becoming more acute but especially anxiety, restlessness and the feeling that every cell in my body is buzzing and shaking.

I’m also getting a bit peeved by the frequency of comments on social media saying that ‘hypomania can be pleasurable’. Well, come and spend an hour in my metaphorical shoes when I’m hypomanic and then tell me how good you feel. I’ll wager the answer is ‘not very’.

I have some spare Quetiapine 25mg tablets and I’m tempted to increase my prescribed dose independently. Say, one of those mid-afternoon? I’ll declare it to my psych of course. But for the next two weeks, I feel I need something and obviously wine isn’t going to solve many problems. Is it?

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