When you look at your schedule of illnesses, you list bipolar, type I. That's the clue to what you're experiencing. It's the chemical imbalance that controls your feeling tone. If it's bothersome for you, you need to discuss your medications with your doctor to see if changes are called for. It's more difficult to maintain the balance in bipolar, Type I disorder than it is in simple depression or bipolar, type II disorder, so you will need to resign yourself to the fact that you're going to have to deal with more frequent visits to your psychiatrist from time to time to change the way you take your meds or the amount and type of medication you take.
Sometimes you can avoid the side effects of medication by taking them at bedtime so that you don't feel the full effects of strong dosages.
Lamictal acts on the electrical system of the brain to slow the rapid firing in the brain which is characteristic of bipolar illness. Maybe that one needs to be adjusted.
Bill, on the bipolar forum, finds exercise to be extremely helpful to him because it expends excess energy and fine tunes the body's systems. I find altering the diet to be extremely helpful in correcting feeling tone in bipolar, type II illness.
Doctors know now that bipolar illness is caused by an inflammation of the brain, but they don't know yet what causes it. They know, also, that aspiriin will help relieve the symptoms. One day soon I think they're going to have a breakthrough in the illness.
Your doctor has told you, I suppose, that you must eliminate alcohol and caffeine from your diet if you want to improve. They both make the illness worse and you should not take them in any form. I would also add chocolate to that list, since it contains high amounts of caffeine.
In answer to your question about whether depression alters the intellectual functioning: yes, it does depending on the depth of the depression; it lowers intellectual functioning and can make you feel almost as if you're in a fog. When the fog lifts, you think more clearly and more strongly. You don't lose your reasoning capacity, however, until the brain slips into psychosis, which is another matter altogether and not likely to happen as long as you are diligent about taking prescribed medications and have no heavy psychological blows thrown at you by some very low intelligence activity out there in society.
Keep us posted on how you feel and what helps, won't you?
Post Edited (It's Genetic) : 1/29/2011 10:35:02 PM (GMT-7)