So frustrated today. I was taking Depakote for my bipolar II and it was going really well; I was balanced, positive and productive, but I had to stop taking it because my hair fell out like crazy. My psychiatrist and I agreed that it would be best that I try yet another drug. So he put me on Lithium. I’ve been on it for a week and a few days ago I noticed an odd smell in my house. Then I realized, it was me, I smelled bad.

About an hour after I shower my allover body odor starts to reek. I’m a woman in my mid-thirties but I smell like a 70-year old man who’s been smoking his whole life. So I told my therapist today: I want to stop taking the Lithium and try something different. She spent the whole session trying to get me off that idea, to get me to be “positive” about it and just generally not listening to me or hearing me properly. I ended up getting really mad. Saying “I’m 34-year old divorced childless woman who’s so poor that she has to accept money from older family members and wear clothes with holes, walk around hairy as a yeti because I can’t afford waxing and with 4-inch roots because I can’t afford to dye my hair. I am DRAWING THE LINE AT STINKING!”

She kept on anyway. 

I left the session feeling so dejected. I just wanted to be heard. Am I really overreacting at the fact that I STINK? Nobody wants that.

I’m very sad.

Finding someone is really hard in this city. It’s extra hard when you’re over 30 and looking for something serious. I don’t think adding “smells like old man” on the laundry list of things that make me less-than desirable is going to help. Don’t get me wrong, I have many good quialities, but I don’t think any guy out there is dying to jump on someone who’s got mental issues. (Some may think they are, but when it comes down to the real thing, they usually aren’t).

I don’t feel super desperate. I just want it to be an option to date. And MOST OF ALL, I want to feel good about myself. One of the reasons I want to take meds for my BPII is that I want to be confident, positive and happy. I won’t feel confident, even if I do my best to look and feel good, inside and out, if I’ve got an ever-present stench eminating from my every pore. 

  1. bridgie101 6 years ago

    So are you clear that it’s your body stinking, not your nose smelling things wonky?

    If your psychiatrist isn’t playing ball, is it possible you don’t stink? Couldn’t she smell you if you stank?

    I don’t recommend having a relationship till life is sorted out. Life’s too short to be in the wrong relationship. It’s worth waiting till you’re in a state to attract the kind of mate that you will want long-term.

    xx You have heaps of time.

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  2. sullengirl76 6 years ago

    Twired, I am sorry you are going through a rough patch right now.

    Earlier this year, I was laid off from a job and lost my health insurance for a month, which meant I was without my anxiety meds for that month. I knew ahead of time so I planned a slow tapering off but, regardless, being without anxiety meds is no picnic. During this time, I *constantly* smelled cigarette smoke. No one in my house smokes and never before in this house had I smelled this. And frankly, since being back on my meds, I have not had that smell either. I am sharing this because I know, firsthand, how important a properly-working medication can be.

    I am not a professional, but I would say that if you are having these anxieties, it could be a sign that your medication is not working correctly. There is also the possibility that it is a sinus infection. Sinus infections can cause phantom smells. Even if you have no other obvious signs, it is worth checking out just to say you ruled it out, you know?

    As for dating… I have been through SO many med changes over the course of my relationship with my husband. I seriously thought we were heading for a break-up because of them. I would not recommend starting a new relationship until you are settled into a steady treatment. Dating can be scary enough without the added anxiety about whether or not your meds are working, etc.

    As far as finding people willing to date someone with a mental illness… yes, the stigma is real and can be difficult to overcome. This is all the more reason why bridgie101 suggested, and I agree, that you hold off on worrying about dating until you feel more stable. That said, no one who is not willing to take you at your worst is worthy of seeing you at your best. A quality partner will take the time to educate themselves about your illness and how they can support you during the rough times. That said, it is still stressful and painful to find that out about someone you clearly liked enough to plan a date with. That kind of stress is not good for anyone, least of all someone who is changing treatments and not yet feeling stable.

    Take care and please feel free to drop a line if you feel like you need to talk to someone.

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