Bipolar Treatment Changes - I’m Scared of Getting Worse

December 1, 2010 Natasha Tracy

I have been through very long, dark nights of the psyche. I have been in pain I didn’t think I could survive. I’ve been in pain I almost didn’t survive. I have done things I never wanted to do. I have done things I never thought I would do. I have been to places most people wouldn’t even come up with in their nightmares.

And when I’m not there, I’m grateful. No matter how much I might think things suck, I’m not sitting in that particular pile of blood and muck. No matter how I feel today I can honestly say it can get worse. Every time I think I’ve hit bottom I’ve found there is actually more bottom beyond that. It is unfortunate but true, there is no maximum to pain.

And any time I even think about changing meds I’m worried I will go there again.

Bipolar Can Get Worse Over Time

We know that if a person is treated to the point of remission, their long-term outlook is much brighter. Depression and bipolar seem to feed on themselves; they seem to build a deeper and deeper groove in your brain that becomes easier to fall into. If you’re successfully treated into remission, the groove doesn’t get any deeper. It doesn’t mean you’ll never be sick again, but it means your chances are less than those who achieve only partial remission.


And So, As I Age, I Find More Pain

It’s hard for my crazy brain to judge but I think my symptoms have worsened over time. Not linearly, and not as bad as before treatment, but a gradual decline since I once was successfully treated. As I mentioned, people with worse symptoms do worse over time so this decline may be quite typical.

I’m Constantly Terrified of Making It Worse

I cannot tell you how much I do not want to be in more pain. I cannot express to you how much I don’t want to be desperate, on the floor, suicidal, drenched in tears and agony. I cannot tell you what it’s like to be there or how scared I am of going back.

Changing Medications Can Make You Worse

And let’s face it, when you change meds, for one reason or another, you run the risk of making things worse. You may have to switch a med due to side effects, for money reasons, or to try and make things better, but this may end up making you worse in the end.

Even Innocuous Things Can Make Bipolar Worse

I went on a low-carb diet a few years back because it was recommended by my doctor to deal with the weight I had gained on antipsychotics. It seemed like a good idea at the time. And I didn’t really mind it so much. I bought a book and followed it religiously. The food was OK and it wasn’t a huge deal.


Until I started getting more depressed. After about two weeks on the low-carb diet I couldn’t take the depression anymore and had to go back on an average-carb diet. When I looked into it I found that this actually made sense and there was some literature supporting that bipolars don’t do well on low-carb diets. Your brain needs carbs to work and being that my brain is already shackled with a mental illness, further hampering it by loosing carbs just worsened its performance.

I had no idea that would happen. I had no idea that could happen. But mental illness is surprising that way.

If You Always Do What You Always Did You Always Get What You Always Got

That old gem is true; if you change nothing then nothing will change. You can’t get better without taking some risks. Some things are riskier than others, naturally, but if you don’t at least try a treatment, you can’t expect to do any better than you are today.

I Have To Do Something

So I have to do something if I don’t want to sit here in the same mess for the rest of my life. And I really don’t.

You can find Natasha Tracy on Facebook or @Natasha_Tracy on Twitter.

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2010, December 1). Bipolar Treatment Changes - I’m Scared of Getting Worse, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 14 from

Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate, and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. She's also the host of the podcast Snap Out of It! The Mental Illness in the Workplace Podcast.

Natasha is also unveiling a new book, Bipolar Rules! Hacks to Live Successfully with Bipolar Disorder, mid-2024.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleX, InstagramFacebook, and YouTube.

Linea Johnson
December, 4 2010 at 10:14 am

I completely understand the feelings of terror when it comes to changing meds or treatment. I find that the stress of tweeking or changng my meds always brings worse anxiety and depression, until the right meds kick in or the anxiety turns to acceptance. I have just had too many times when the meds my doctor gave me made me worse. I know that they were doing there best but sometimes the human chemistry is just too complex. We still have so much to learn. But like you, I know that I want to get better, so I keep at it. The chance and possiblity that we may find the right meds is much higher then the chance that we will get it wrong, and in the end I know that my doctors care about me and will do there best to work until we both find the right treatment.
Thank you,

Natasha Tracy
December, 1 2010 at 4:44 pm

I do many things outside of medication. There's no one that works harder than I do to try and incorporate a variety of methods.
- Natasha

Pam Isaac
December, 1 2010 at 4:06 pm

I would ask what else do you do besides taking medication. Medication is only part of the treatment. Exercise, hobbies, time with friends, family, sometimes forcing myself to engage and sometimes it is easy. I also have a great relationship with Jesus Christ with attending a bible study filled with strong Christian women that support and challenge my thinking. I did do the merry go round with medication. I do feel blessed to have a good psychiatrist and medication that works for me (Seroquel and Zolfot).
Prayers for you.

Leave a reply