Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Oh my GOD! Why did I just write that??

Sometimes I read a post I've written and think "Oh my GOD! Why did I just write that??" Does anyone really want to know about my pubic hair? Apparently, yes. It's my most popular post, by a long shot. A long, long shot. Much like the hair. My second most read post is the one on Lexapro and Wellbutrin, and my insanity. Two of my most revealing posts are actually the most popular, so I guess people like crazy, hairy people. Or at least making fun of them. So, in the theme of raw, ugly honesty I have another brutal post to present. I reread the aforementioned post about the medication and realized how much had changed in the 5 years since I wrote it. Aside from the sex change.

I've been holding onto this post for quite awhile, not sure if I should hit the publish button. Then I got a message (that made me cry) from someone who said she was going through similar things and my blog was actually a help to her. So, even if one person finds something of value in my posts, even if one person finds it helpful enough to write to me and let me know...that means this whole blog is worthwhile.

When you've been on countless antidepressants for over 15 years and you're still suicidal and cutting the hell out of your arms with a box cutter, you begin to doubt a lot of things. Your sanity. Your worth as a person. The fucking point of anything. You lose faith in doctors and psychiatrists and all the homeopathic remedies you've tried. You begin to realize that there is no hope... that there is nothing left. Your family, your kids...they'd all be better off without you. You honestly believe that; it's not just a cliche. They wouldn't have to worry about your tantrums, your freak outs, your silence. There are plenty of articles that tell you how great you'll feel after you start antidepressants; I have yet to read any that tell you what to do when every one of them has failed.

An accurate portrayal of my existence and the state of my house. Photo credit.
I spent nearly 3 months on the sofa, face towards the wall. I built myself a cave, wrapping a heavy, ugly blanket around me, no matter the temperature, with only my eyes visible. I let my children fend for themselves entirely to often; a thought that now makes me cringe with guilt. I was angry and violent; I destroyed cabinets, doors, clothes (one of which was a  pair of pajamas that I mourn to this day), the linoleum on the kitchen floor. I drank. A lot. And lied about it. A lot. I made a lot of really, really stupid decisions. I charged stuff I didn't need and didn't even really want, on credit cards. I blacked out, in non-drinking related incidences, for hours at a time. I'd suddenly come back, not being able to remember what I'd been doing. I came to once, sitting on the kitchen floor in a panic. (Apparently, I called my best friend and she was there shortly after, helping me and putting the kids to bed. She just sat there with me. No judgement, no advice. Just company.) I got mad at my husband one morning for breaking the bathroom door; turns out I did it, and just couldn't remember.  I was taking a walk one night, to clear my head, and sitting on the sidewalk in front of me was a woman who looked just like the girl from The Ring. I took off running, as fast as I could. I had never seen anything so terrifying in my life.

Like this, but not dressed as nice. Photo credit
When I got home (and double and triple checked the locks on all the doors) I realized how implausible it really was. But either way, it was real to me and that was enough. I found myself sitting in a new doctor's office. I ended up going through several doctors and psychiatrists, one of which had me on 8 different drugs at one time and I took them, because so what. I wanted to die anyway. I was finally referred to a depression/bipolar specialist. He sat behind his desk, a small man with red hair, pale skin and a gap between his teeth. He made me think of St. Patrick's Day. We talked, and after about an hour, the little leprechaun diagnosed me as having bipolar. I laughed, because what the hell would a tiny, mythical creature know about mental illness? But then I realized that if anyone was an expert on mental illness, it would be a tiny, mythical creature.
Only it's filled with lithium. Photo credit.
So, I humored him and took his prescriptions and the name of a therapist and went on my merry way. I started the prescriptions... Lamictal and Lithium, and set up an appointment with the therapist. During the first session, the therapist charged me $5 for her personal CD of affirmations ("I am worthy, I am beautiful, I am amazing, I am blah, blah, blah."). And then I gained a lot of weight and found out I had lithium induced hypothyroidism.   I was put on a medication for that. Then I decided it was a bunch of crap and stopped taking everything.

Of course, that didn't work out well for me and I ended up back in his office. This time he tried Nuvigil, which is approved for sleeping disorders, with an off-label use for bipolar. And it's a stimulant. And holy hell, did it stimulate. It made my heart palpitate, and gave me headaches, but I was awake. I was always awake. I may have still been miserable, but damn it, I was going to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed while wallowing in my misery. And the most interesting part was the side effects: "Mental (psychiatric) symptoms, including: depression, feeling anxious, sensing things that are not really there, extreme increase in activity (mania), thoughts of suicide, aggression, or other mental problems" (www.nuvigil.com) Maybe the leprechaun thought the new symptoms would cancel out my existing symptoms... Either way, it didn't last because when I went to pick up my refill, the total came to $453. For a month. Instead, I opted to buy food for my children.

To make a long story, well, not as long, I ended up on Lamictal again. Aside from a few annoying side effects, so far so good. I'm supposed to go back in and start Risperdal, but I may or I may not. Time will tell. But I'm sure I'll tell you all about it.

I've done things I wish I hadn't done, I have scars I wish I didn't have, I've said things I wish I hadn't said, I take medications I wish I didn't have to take...but here I am. And I'm thankful for a forgiving husband who bought a book on bipolar, to learn more about the disorder, to try and understand. I'm thankful for my children, whom I love more than anything in the world; they are my biggest motivation. I'm thankful for a supportive family, and non-judgmental friends. And I'm thankful for the people who read this blog...it's always nice to know you're not alone.

9 comments:

Party of 5 said...

OMG, I so know what you mean lol. It's hard to write an honest blog when people are likely to think you're off the rails.

Suffered and still suffer from depression but never write about my down days because on my up days I feel like an idiot...

You are you! I love your honesty.

Karen Mortensen said...

I don't know what to saw. I am so sorry you have to go through all of this. It must be so hard for you. I am glad you are on the road and are feeling better. I am glad you have a supportive family and friends. All the best.

Janet Krugel said...

Mental illness sucks balls, big time! But once you do find the right medication, life can be semi-normal for a little while. It's worth trying what they give you until they get it right.

Shell said...

I think it's brave of you to share your story. And I think that people respond to your honesty. It's easy to present a rose-colored view of our lives online, only sharing the shiny happy parts and leaving out our tough times. But I've found the best connections I've made with people have been when I've shared my tough stuff or they have- and we can say "me, too, I'm not the only one."

BNM said...

I am not sure what to say..I am sorry you are dealing with so much and I truly hope things get better with the medications

Willoughby said...

I'm so glad you've got a supportive family to help you through. I hope things continue to get better for you!

{@rachhabs} said...

I think it is so brave of you to hit the publish button, and be so honest. I think those end up being some of our best posts. Even if they are the most helpful, and therapeutic for us. No one lives a perfect life, and sometimes it's nice to just be real.

Crystal Green said...

I'm so glad that you hit that publish button. I love reading about someone's real life.
I also struggle with depression and mood swings. I have only tried one type of medicine and couldn't stand the side effects, so of course, I didn't pursue many more options.
However, if I had solid insurance I'd be open to finding relief for my depression and getting my hormones in check to help me with my weight issue. (I do know that is a problem because a doctor has already stated I need medicine to get regulated.)

Crystal Green said...

I'm so glad that you hit that publish button. I love reading about someone's real life.
I also struggle with depression and mood swings. I have only tried one type of medicine and couldn't stand the side effects, so of course, I didn't pursue many more options.
However, if I had solid insurance I'd be open to finding relief for my depression and getting my hormones in check to help me with my weight issue. (I do know that is a problem because a doctor has already stated I need medicine to get regulated.)

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