The Well is (Abruptly) Running Dry

You might remember that in my last post I mentioned that I had six months of refills on my medications, so it wasn’t a huge deal that I couldn’t get in to see a psychiatrist right away.


Apparently I, having no concept of time whatsoever, didn’t realize I’ve filled all those. The bottle I had put half of this month’s Lithium in for my trip to Florida was old, and the promised number of refills available on the label isn’t actually true.

So now I’m in a position that I’ve chastised others for being in. I have five days worth of Lithium left, and then…

…well, I don’t even want to think about what comes next. I’ve experienced extreme withdrawal symptoms from having my medications stopped abruptly before, and I am terrified of the consequences. (The ironic part is that the withdrawal symptoms I had were so traumatic that it kept me from wanting to be medicated for eight years, I never wanted to be put in that position again.)

My options seem as thus:

1. Attempt to refill the prescription as normal and request my pharmacy ask my (old) psychiatrist for another prescription. (Done.) This is a real long shot, but my old psychiatrist has shown pretty much nothing but mercy for me up to this point. Maybe he’ll set me up with one little month’s worth? I understand his hands might be tied on this, but I figure there is no harm in trying.

2. Express to my therapist the direness of the situation and see if she can pull some strings to get me a replacement prescription prior to my intake with their psychiatrist. (I’ll take care of that in a few hours.) I realize this too is a long shot, but since I am in a precarious position I don’t have any qualms about trying anything and everything to try and get this figured out before my time runs out.

3. Make an appointment with my primary care provider (hopefully before my time runs out) and request a month’s prescription to last me until I can (hopefully) see my new psychiatrist. My PCP has had a lot of qualms about the notion of prescribing psychiatric medications (something I respect but can also put me in a bit of a pickle) and to top it off, he is one of the most popular doctors at the hospital I go to for care (so he usually is booked a week out in advance). I think the best route to take here is to try to make an appointment near the end of the week, and then cancel it if plans 1 or 2 should happen to work.

4. My only other option is to cut back. I take 1200 mg a day (four capsules) and if I immediately cut down to three capsules a day I could give myself one, maybe two extra days to scramble and figure things out. This is obviously my last choice of my options, but again, I am terrified at the notion of having to jump from 1200 mg to zero mg. I feel fairly confident that I can get one of options 1-3 to work so I am not going to immediately titrate down, so lets hope I get lucky somewhere down the line this week.

Frankly I’m a little upset at myself for not having caught this sooner (but I’ve been out of town, so really how could I?).

I find that I get confused most easily by medications that require me to take multiple tablets or capsules per day, because when I look in the bottle it always looks like there are a lot in there. Realistically, even if there are 20 pills of Lithium in there, that is only 5 days worth of medication.

Like I said, I feel pretty confident that one of these plans will work in my favor… but you’d better believe I am going to make a big fuss when I get into my local clinic to see my therapist today about needed to see the house psychiatrist as soon as possible. Way to light a fire under my ass, Lithium!

8 responses to “The Well is (Abruptly) Running Dry

  1. Good luck with options 1-3. Running out of meds is a major pain, and withdrawal is even worse…

  2. You live in Seattle right? I believe that Harborview Outpatient Mental Health Center takes (same day?) appointments to get emergency med refills, take apple health, and they have an on- site pharmacy. It’s located on Jefferson and Broadway. I’ve never seen a psychiatrist there but I used to go for their DBT program. Might be a possible solution to fill the stopgap until your new p-doc. Good luck, that sucks. 😦

    • Great resource tip, thanks! I usually try to avoid harborview (I’ve had issues with them before “loosing” my paperwork several times) but it is good to know that is a good emergency backup tool. Thanks again!

  3. Good luck, I hope something works. I’ve had that happen, looking at the wrong bottle and thinking I had more refills than I did but I get my prescriptions from my PCP, she won’t refer me to a psychiatrist…

  4. Ughh, I hate when that happens. Last night I just went to fill up my “daily” pill box. If I don’t use that I always forget one set of doses.
    I thought I had plenty of time. Somewhere along the line my full bottle turned into the lonely single pill at the bottom?
    What makes it worse, half the time I have to call 4 places to get some filled. Nope sorry we don’t have that in Stock. We could order it an it be here in a week or more?
    Who goes in that much in advance?

  5. Good luck……I hope one of your “plans” has worked!

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