Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Latuda--The Double Standard

I went the other day to see my psychiatrist while Thomas was with Dr. N.. The two doctors share an office so the thinking is, my psychiatrist will be more of a counselor to me than anything while Thomas gets his meds adjusted. Things began to change for my sessions as my mood began to shift into darker waters. My psychiatrist began to think about some sort of antidepressant for me that is more on the hard core side. Her statement to me, in fact, was "it will take an atom bomb to get you out of the place you are in now." Not really encouraging words when you want to get out of where you are, and fast. She went back through my 5 inch thick records and assessed all the meds she and I have tried for my summer depression. The truth of the matter is, nothing has ever really helped, we have more just limped me through the summer on whatever cocktail we could dream up. This time though, with the whole "atom bomb" prospect, I wanted to find something, anything to help this. You see, what worries me about my depression is how it affects Thomas. I could almost bear the weight of it for myself if it weren't for my boy and his uncanny ability to pick up on every mood of mine and make it his. As a caregiver of someone with schizophrenia, you really must take care of yourself too because there are layers of things that can go wrong if you don't also care for yourself. Much easier said than done as you have seen by my posts lately--taking care of myself that is.

After talking a while, she mentioned Latuda as an option for me. She told me that she had already had a huge success rate with it in others with bipolar depression. She had one patient who had bought a gun and was planning on killing himself soon and she had asked him to wait and give Latuda a try and it had worked. Here's the thing though. Like all antipsychotics, one of the biggest side effects is weight gain. I already weigh a lot. I'm 50 pounds over my ideal weight and I hate myself every time I look in the mirror. So adding Latuda and 30 pounds just doesn't sound like an attractive option. Then again, it has been successful for so many others.

The biggest success I have witnessed with my own eyes has been Thomas. While Latuda has been added to his repertoire to help symptoms of schizophrenia, it has still been a successful trial. Even knowing that, I'm not keen on taking it myself.

So what's with the double standard here? As someone who has a say in Thomas' meds, I was easily willing to have Thomas try it. I was desperate to get him out of the paranoid/delusional/anxiety hole he was in and I encouraged him to take it but why am I citing weight gain as enough of a reason for me to NOT take it when I find myself in a comparable hole edging toward suicide? It's a bit aggravating to be so shallow about myself that I'd risk my own life (if this depression goes on too much longer) to not take a medication that has great promise. Would I play this same roulette with my flesh and blood, my boy?? As you well know, there's not a chance that I would. He is my life and I would do anything to make him happy. So why, then, do I not see that I deserve the same respect and (self) love that he does?

I don't know. I don't know but I better know something here pretty soon because I find myself in increasingly dark places in my head as the days and weeks wear on. So, we shall see what I ultimately decide for myself. I see my psychiatrist on the 24th and I could agree to the Latuda then. Truthfully, in a small way, I am like Thomas in that I have reached a point where I'm not thinking totally rationally and the decisions I am making for myself aren't the smartest ones available.

I am curious though. Will Latuda be the great success for me that it has been for Thomas? I have always stated how great Risperdal is for me, that it's my miracle drug, but Thomas couldn't even take a half of a milligram without becoming violently ill so who's to say I'll enjoy the same success on the Latuda that he does?

I have a lot to consider and I had better make a decision soon. I am no good to Thomas if I am not a fully functioning caregiver.

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