The mind/body infinite loop


So, there are only 2 things that I’ve always struggled with, my mind and my body. Weight has always been a struggle to keep in check, for both mental and physical reasons. When I was finally correctly diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder 1 (rapid cycling) back in 2005 I started taking all sorts of drugs. My brain began to slowly stabilize but my body grew. Since I was taking a complex cocktail it was hard to pinpoint the source of the accelerated weight gain. That plus the unhealthy 100% travel lifestyle I was living at the time made it even harder to figure out. Even though I stabilized mentally, I was never happy with the drugs I was on. I always felt foggy and underwater and I knew they were contributing at some level to the weight. Years later they also started to eat through my stomach so I decided a medical overhaul was due. I took a bit of a sabbatical from the drugs, let my insides heal, and moved on to a new job, a new city, and a new psychiatrist. She was convinced that Depakote was *the* drug for me….the best for rapid cycling. When I began taking it I felt great, as if my brain was working properly for the first time ever. I was no longer under water or foggy. The thing was, the weight gain was insane. When I finally bothered to look it up (I know, I should have done that first) I realized that of all these drugs, Depakote was the most notorious of them all. Most of the bloggers I have read have tried and abandoned it for that reason.

I had a hard, unfair decision to make. Do I choose a healthy mind or a healthy body? So for the past year I chose my mind. It’s been a great year professionally but my body reached that tipping point, more like a domino effect, where I was in serious danger. My liver blood work was dangerously bad which can ironically be caused by either or both obesity and Depakote. I won’t list the trail of ailments that have plagued me the last year but let’s just say when I flipped the coin on mind vs body I may have made the wrong call. I have to do something fast. So, I’m having surgery next month…a sleeve gastrectomy (for weight loss) ,gall bladder removal (already have a huge stone and the majority of the people who have the sleeve end up losing the gall bladder anyway later on). They will also biopsy a lesion on my liver (likely unrelated but they’re right there so why not go for the organ trifecta?)

I’m hoping with this quick weight loss I will undo some of the damage I have done to my body recently. I don’t know if the Depakote will hinder my progress and whether or not it’s the culprit on my liver enzymes. I’ve dragged my feet on a drug change since my brain is so highly functioning right now but I guess a badass brain doesn’t do you much good if you are dead.

My point being, should we have to choose between mind and body? It hardly seems a fair choice, I mean, we kinda need both. Maybe I’ll get lucky post surgery and everything will fall into place. If not, I guess I will have to find a part of me to compromise….literally and figuratively. I wonder, given that choice, what the correct mind/body ratio is. Sort of makes you think. With me luck on Feb 11!

4 thoughts on “The mind/body infinite loop

    1. Hi Ruby, Thanks for checking in. I’m 6 weeks to the day post-op. I felt pretty good after a week and back to normal after 3. I’m down 32 pounds and going strong. Only challenge is while I’m glad to be rid of the Depakote, I’m on that agonizingly slow Lamictal rampup so I’m a bit under medicated right now and slightly hypomanic (which I have to admit feels good, but I need to keep an eye on it.) Hopefully another week or 2 of Abilify will slow it (and me) down.

      1. I’m so glad to know you’re doing well. Thirty-two pounds is fantastic! I had good results with both Lamictal and Abilify, actually they’re two I did best with, so wishing you lots of luck! You’re very smart to watch the hypomania, as nice as it may feel, we know it isn’t so good in reality. 😉

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