8:30 AM: 300 mg oxcarbazepine; 150 mg oxcarbazepine; hydroxazine
2 PM: Same thing as the morning dose
Before bed: 600 mg oxcarbazepine, 300 mg oxcarbazapine, melatonin
I have to take my meds with food, which means I've actually had to insert an "afternoon snack" into my daily routine in order to take the middle dose. I'm diligent about this, and will stop mid activity or conversation to take meds if needed. But sometimes, shit happens, and I forget/can't take them as planned. So what happens if I miss a dose?
Hollywood would probably tell you that I'd flip out. Jump from manic to depressive suddenly and extremely. Run around being promiscuous or raging on someone and ending myself in jail or the hospital or some other precarious situation. Those that don't understand my condition may well believe the same.
So let me tell you what actually happens to me (note: I can't speak for everyone, this is my personal experience). First off, my meds reminder will remind me three times to take it. So chances are, I won't forget. But sometimes I just not in a situation to take them. For instance, I'm somewhere that I physically can't take it, I haven't gotten enough food in my stomach, or don't have a drink with me at the moment, so I have to delay it. An hour or so after I forget, I can often feel my thoughts racing slightly. Not drastically, kind of like if you've had about half a cup of coffee too many. If I go another hour or two, I start to feel a little shaky and jumpy. At this point, I usually think, "crap, I never took my meds" and do so. If it goes much longer, the "drank too much coffee" feeling intensifies further. If it's at night, I generally have trouble falling asleep, I toss and turn and wonder what's wrong (besides my general ineptitude for sleep, which is rather standard), and it then occurs to me that I have not taken my meds. This is rare, as it's part of my bed time ritual - yes, I have a bed time ritual, like a five year old - and happens most frequently if I've been out for the evening and am particularly tired when going to bed, or am traveling and out of my usual routine. At this point, I take my evening dose, the strongest of the three, and generally fall asleep rather quickly (translation: my meds knock me the *%&^ out).
I might be more irritable and quicker to react if I've missed my meds dose. Perhaps slightly more jumpy and on edge. If I miss numerous doses, it has a snowball effect, and eventually, I'll swing into a hypomanic episode. But I have never, ever "gone crazy" because I've missed, or been late taking, a single dose of meds. Now, this doesn't mean it's good to miss meds, and I'm certainly not encouraging anyone to do so by any means. But it's not as drastic as those on the outside, those who haven't gone through it, would have you believe. So next time you see that show or movie that depicts someone spinning out of control after missing a dose, or even a day, of their meds, don't feed into the media hype. It's quite simply Hollywood, or the media, doing what they do best - distorting the truth to make it more exciting, even if it's at the expense of creating an unjust stigma.