I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder nine years ago and have been hospitalized three times within six years, due in part to nonacceptance of my condition, coupled with severe side effects from lithium—resulting in my discontinuing use of meds.

During this time I left two high-level corporate positions due to my condition—the stress basically put me over the edge. Two years ago I took part in a lamotrigine trial/test program, and have since been stable after building up to my baseline dosage, within 3.5 months. What a relief to finally be free of the manic-depressive “rollercoaster ride.”

There are virtually no side effects with this specific medication. Admittedly, severe situational issues have affected stabilization (death’s and illness). None of which have resulted in a manic episode, but there have been a few times when I have been depressed due the afore-mentioned.

However, depressive episodes have been easily reversed by additional drug therapy. I consider myself blessed to be stabilized for the first time in all of these years due to lamotrigine therapy, and am definitely an advocate for this medication. Life has greatly improved, allowing me to function normally and productively without any symptoms typical to the disorder, which in my case, were quite severe seeing as I am a rapid cycler.

I now have a very successful business that I can maintain without a second thought, due to being stabilized. One other note: I do certainly agree that a routine schedule as well as adequate sleep is a necessary part of treatment, and have found that if those “ingredients” fluctuate, I do in fact suffer from symptoms. However, these symptoms are indeed short-lived, and very controllable. It certainly helps being an informed mental health consumer, enabling me to accept results of not adhering to basic routine, and in turn knowing what to expect and how to deal with the resulting behavior patterns. I believe that an important part of recovery is taking responsibility for one’s own health, and being as well informed as possible.