Please note: I am not a physician or a chemist or a pharmacological engineer or anything of that nature. I'm only your friendly neighborhood blogger who comes across interesting things to share, and more importantly musings and observations from my own peculiar vantage point on the world. So you know to take what I'm about to say for whatever that's worth.
That said, this is by now something worth putting out there. Maybe others have had the same thing happen to them. I'm very eager to find out if that's the case.
Hay fever is the bane of my existence. Come every spring and the yellow residue of pollen collecting everywhere, those damnable grains infiltrate my nostrils, set off the chemical receptors and flood those inner tissues with histamine. And so the cascading effect ends with me sneezing my head off, my eyes and forehead scrunched together in writhing unrelenting nuisance bordering on agony, my nasal breathing nigh impossible because of blood vessels so swollen that they cut off the passage of air. All the while my nose trickles water that I have come to learn is actually plasma from my blood stream, seeping through the walls of my nasal capillaries.
This time of the year is the second worst for my allergies, after ragweed in August. April, going on into May and early June, I am a ticking time bomb of histamine-laden mast cells set to explode if even a single point of pollen flits by. A few years ago it was so bad that I had to miss several rehearsals of our community theater guild's production of The King and I. Hay fever had reduced my vision to bare squints so, that I could barely see the stage, much less blocking with other actors.
To summarize: I am a textbook study in the deleterious effects of hay fever, also known as seasonal allergies.
But here's the thing: this year so far, in the midst of a pollen-heavy season, I haven't had hay fever at all.
Not one sneeze. Not one runny nose. No watery eyes. No symptom of hay fever whatsoever.
And it's been like this for almost a year. I went through most of last spring without pollen-induced allergies. All throughout the summer and on into ragweed season and beyond, there was no indication at all that I'm severely susceptible to pollen particles... and seemingly any other airborne pollegen.
It has totally mystified me. So of course I set about to understand it.
I've gone over everything related to my medical situation, what it's like now and everything I'm doing to maintain it, and its status more than a year ago. And I keep coming to the same conclusion about my own case:
I think being on lithium carbonate for treatment of bipolar disorder has made me immune to pollen.
It was late last April when I was put on lithium carbonate - more often referred to as simply lithium - following a very suicidal bout with depression. The lithium has been a tremendous boon in that regard. Although the episodes of depression still come and go, I've no doubt that lithium has helped me focus my mind through it, and given me enough grasp over the situation to know that I can and will get through it. Last April, my depression was so severe that it very nearly destroyed my freelance writing. I'm still trying to make up for it. Having a means of managing the worst symptoms of the depression is going a long way toward that. As well as toward my goal of writing my book about life with manic depressive illness.
Lithium carbonate is a very simple drug. So simple in fact that it barely qualifies as a "drug" at all. It's an elemental salt: something that doesn't need a hunnerd-zillion dollar drug factory to churn out. I don't know if that has any bearing on my case, but there it is. I'm only putting what I know out for consideration.
I've been taking lithium for almost a year and in that time I have had no symptom of hay fever. If there's anything at all, it's a very mild "scent" of pollen that my nasal receptors pick up and have a tiny recoil from, but that could be just a reflex action.
It beats the heck out of me. But in my particular case, it really does seem as though I'm managing my bipolar disorder and completely staving off seasonal allergies, all in one shot.
I don't know if this is something that most people would want, though. I mean, to be on lithium in the first place you have to be in some pretty dire straits mood-wise. Definitely not something that I would want anybody to have to experience firsthand (or secondhand either for that matter). And it's not a matter of simply popping a pill into your mouth once a day either. Two days ago I went in for periodic blood work: putting my red vino on tap so that it could be analyzed for lithium concentrations which, if too high, could result in liver damage.
I don't know if there's any real correlation between the lithium carbonate and what is now a year-long lack of hay fever. But, it certainly is a very intriguing coincidence. And one that, until I know better, I am happy to abide.
So I'm wondering: anyone else out there on lithium and also allergy sufferers noticing this?
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