Up and down, up and down

My moods haven’t swung TOO wildly, but they’ve definitely been cyclical. I can’t remember the technical term for it, but my psychiatrist indicated my form of bipolar was on the milder end of the spectrum, i.e., my highs aren’t too high, though I’d be stunned if my lows could be lower. Well, that seems to be changing, and I’m wondering if it’s due to hormonal changes.

I’ve experienced about half a dozen truly manic episodes in the last several months, and I can see why some people are reluctant to take their meds for fear of losing those highs. I’d walk around feeling FANTASTIC for no reason whatsoever…far better than my circumstances would dictate. I couldn’t shut up. Every idea I had for the future was GOLDEN, and was CERTAIN to pay off. And I had enough energy I’d practically skip down the hall at work. I haven’t had one in a week or so. I’m kinda missing them now. 😦

My hubby and I watched a documentary called “Food Matters”, and it had some interesting things to say about electric cars. See what I did there? I made a funny. The documentary focused on what foods we consume and how they effect our health, and how nutrition is rarely considered in disease management. The idea is that for critical injuries, the medical profession has got it going ON, but for disease management, they get a big fat F. The SAD (Standard American Diet) has been shown to be detrimental to our health and we don’t eat enough healthy foods. They talked alot about super foods and one dude was very much into juicing and a raw food diet.

Hubs and I don’t like to drink anyone’s Kool-aid, so we did some reading on our own and decided we’d try some of the suggestions made by the doctors, professors, and nutritionists interviewed in the film. We bought a really nice juicer (my vegan co-worker has very impressed with it) and have been doing more shopping at the farmer’s market. I’ve always taken vitamin supplements and we switched to things like brown rice and whole grain bread years ago. Well, now we’re eating vegan butter and a) it’s fantastic and b) no way in hell we’re becoming vegans….it’s just a substitution we like. I’ve always eaten a lot of fish and very little red meat, so that doesn’t need to change.

But one thing I hadn’t tried was adjusting my supplement intake in an attempt to get off my meds, which I very much want to do. One of the things brought up in the film is the use of Niacin (B3) in the treatment of depression. After doing some reading, I found plenty of research to agree with this particular expert’s recommendation of at least 3000 mg. I also read through the warnings concerning overdose and the accompanying symptoms.

So, what did I do? What did I, college graduate, IQ over 140, thoughtful and reasonable person do? Did I start with the smallest possible dose and work my way up? Nope. As soon as I had Niacin in hand, I popped 3000 mg into my mouth and washed them down with abandon.

Twenty minutes later, my face started to feel hot. My arms and legs and hands started to itch. I go into the bathroom to see my face turning bright pink. By the time I got into the living room to ask my husband if my face looked red to him, I was lobster girl, and my face felt like it was on fire. My husband looked mortified as he directed me back to our bedroom (“we must not scare the child!”) and brought me a cold, wet washcloth.

About two hours later, I was back to normal. Well, as normal as I get. That, boys and girls, was my introduction to the physical phenomena of “flushing”. It actually wasn’t too terrible, because my mood shot up, so I was feeling a little manic while I burned. 🙂

Ten days later, I decided to try again, this time with the lowest dose. Derrrrrr. An hour later, I was flushing again. Maybe a bath in drawn butter would help.