Fear and Loathing in Pittsburgh

Tomorrow at 11:45AM EST, I will be meeting with my OB/Gyn for my surgical consultation that I’ve put off for three months. And I’m more scared of this than I was of my induction of labor.

Tomorrow, I face my biggest fears.

I face a serious surgery, no matter how benign it may sound. I don’t like doctors. I am terrified of hospitals as a result of my most previous experience. And, I’ve never been put under before.

The surgical procedure alone presents enough potential threats. I have had a life-threatening reaction to an epidural. What will I do once I’m hooked into an IV? Will my blood pressure tank again? Will the anesthetic wear off? I’m not sure I can endure that pain.

Then, there’s the aftercare. The complications are numerous. Do I face a serious hemorrhage? Anemia over the Pittsburgh winter is unbearable. I may not be able to get back on my feet as soon as I’m expected to. How can I possibly take care of my son? Who can I call on to help? I do not have a great support network.

And then, there are future complications. I may have deep scaring. The surgery may cause me permanent future pain. And what about getting pregnant again? Studies indicate a small percentage of women have one of two fertility issues after having the surgery. In one scenario, I may suffer scarring that causes me to be incapable of natural fertilization. In another scenario, I may suffer miscarriages and / or premature births. If I can get pregnant, then I may never be able to carry to term.

And what will happen if this surgery fails like the last one did? How much many more times will I have to go through this? And what’s the next step after that? Hysterectomy, if it gets any worse. Can I stand the idea of losing any hope of having more children? I’m too young to lose my reproductive organs. I can’t be menopausal in my late 20’s. Do I face hormone replacement therapy for the next 15 – 20 years? How would that serious chemical shift affect my BP?

Worst of all, I have to face all of these unknowns alone. C.S. and I decided it would be more wise to save his PTO days for after the surgery. I didn’t agree as much as I had to accept. I am so scared of being alone for this.

I am terrified of being alone. If the news is bad, I’m going to be alone in that office. I am embarrassed to cry in public. But there I’ll be, in the heart of Downtown Pittsburgh, on the streets holding back. I’d be holding back from the office, to the stop, all the way back home, where I’ll have to face my parents. And when I get home, I’ll have to hold back some more. For my son’s sake.

But inside, I’ll be falling apart.

And that’s all before I even go through with the surgery.

At the very least, I have the whole day off to soak it all up, and likely cry it all back out.

A Peach and A Catalyst

This one was inspired by Colonial Punk’s Post.

Stress.

A one syllable word that is so commonplace in everyone’s life. When am I not stressed? I can’t answer that. It really is always something.

It’s more about how stressors are processed that produces the effects and thus, the consequences. I’m probably not a prime example of how stress is interpreted. I have been known to buckle under the weight. I am guilty of allowing my situations to become critical.

How stress manifests for me is a complicated thing. It depends on the particular stressor and the source that it is coming from. In addition, it depends on my particular mood, the emotion, and the intensity of emotion that the stressor produces at the time.
I’ve been running a little high lately. I’m out of the hypomanic episode, thanks to a virus or something. But, if I had to describe the state I’m in right now, I’d call it a 6 or 7 on the mood scale with panic attacks. (In all fairness, this started before the abnormally high stress). Honestly, I’m used to running at about a 4.

I mentioned in Just Got Served, But It Wasn’t Dinner that C.S. is being sued. That was Thursday. That comes with a whole host of problems for both him and me. We finally have the name of an attorney. Any further than that and I’m really not at liberty to publicly detail the rest. Legal problems are at least in the top 5 of my “Worst Things That Could Happen List”. (Medical is number 1. We’re getting there.)

My typically benevolent boss is coming down on me. I understand her concern. My boss has a difficult time delegating and the Winter Concert is in my hands. Her anxiety has to be off the charts. It would be absolutely embarrassing if this project flops.

The electric company has recently determined that we are financially ineligible for services. Now, we’re stuck with a budget amount of $430 a month. That’s up $200 from what we were paying on a “just making ends meet” budget.

T.D.’s Early Intervention services ended October 16th, when he turned three. This is complicated, so try to stay with me. He was supposed to have transitioned into school-aged services at this point, but it didn’t happen.

Adding fuel to the fire, C.S. isn’t sure if he wants to take this promotion on the cusp of some serious financial detriment and before the holidays.

I mentioned problems with T.D.’s pediatrician giving me some serious trouble in The Farris Wheel. I won’t go into the complete story, but I have a ton of things I have to face now with his health and development.

And I have this surgery looming.  My consult is finally scheduled in stone for October 28.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

Blah.

The reactions varied. When I saw the papers for the suit, I sprang into action. It was an insult. I was angry.

When my boss came at me, I flew. It shook the very foundation of my work experience. I’ve always considered work to be a safe zone. I became so anxious that I responded with annoyance, fear, and paranoia.

All of T.D.’s things are overwhelming. I’m treading into unknown territory and I’m not sure how to proceed. It froze me in fear to know that my child has something wrong. And I felt like the worst mother in the world.

I’ve never had a major surgery. There are a lot of unknowns. I’ve been dodging it because I don’t want to walk around blindly. Too many what if’s. How am I going to handle news that something bad has happened?

And as for the bills, what am I going to do? We can handle it, but we’re going to be on a tight budget. We might have to make some heavy sacrifices. I am upset. I can’t stand the idea of living in extreme poverty again. I am almost to the point of tantrums. I still need a couple new staple clothing items (white t-shirts), new contacts, and new glasses. When will these needs be satisfied, if at all? Rawr!

So, as you can see, stress produces a wide variety of responses. But, the end result varies. Either, I crumble into a depressive episode because of the feeling of helplessness and hopelessness. Or, I go manic and power through with serious ferocity. Or, I am frozen with anxiety, and if I approach the situation, I’m overcome and retreat.

Spin the wheel. It’s hard to tell what stress will trigger with bipolar disorder.

Take two, three or four pills and call back in the morning.

The Farris Wheel

Manic Monday recently wrote a post entitled Surgery Date that talked about nasty, unprofessional health care professionals. I spoke to her about their disgrace and the extreme agitation it caused.

I have been through the situation many times. I have a certain amount of animosity toward health care professionals as a result. I have been misdiagnosed. I have been diagnosed and not treated correctly, if at all. I have been treated as a hypochondriac and a liar. One clinic took the wrong course of action and made a condition worse. I had cruel nurses during my delivery and one that popped my hip out. I’ve had overzealous doctors want to pump me full of drugs when unnecessary. Others refused me much needed medications such as antibiotics until I developed a worse condition. And the worst of all was the incompetent doctor that botched my last surgery and left me on the table to fend for myself.

Worse, there are doctors that have mistreated my son. They’ve attempted to withhold antibiotics, and advised me against taking him to the hospital when he had a fever of 105F. But they are eager to pump him full of brand new, live vaccines, which have not been tested in the long term. I am almost convinced they are attempting to kill my child.

Dr. W., T.D.’s psychologist that diagnosed him with PDD-NOS on the ASD, was the worst of them all. At his diagnosis, she essentially handed me a stack of papers and sent me on my way. And still, she failed to include some crucial information.

T.D.’s pediatrician appointment did not start well. Dr. F. had a nasty demeanor. She started a physical exam when C.S. and I mentioned T.D. suffers from chronic diaper rash. She snapped, “Well, why is he still in a diaper.” I answered in a snotty tone, “Because he has Autism Spectrum Disorder.”.

“Oh.”

Yeah, oh. Bitch.

She certainly changed her tone after than. Until, we got to the vaccinations. You see, we started vaccinations until T.D. was a little over a year old. That is when my FIL (father-in-law) was diagnosed with stage 3 lymphoma. He started chemotherapy and it was recommended that T.D. stop the vaccines until my FIL was declared in remission. In that time, C.S. and I decided against them.

Don’t get me started on the vaccination debate. Suffice it to say, I’m not going to change my mind. But, I got those looks like I’m a terrible mother for signing that waiver.

Worse, they uncovered an ear infection in both of his ears. T.D. showed no symptoms and didn’t complain of pain. How was I supposed to know? He’s still largely non-verbal!

She treated me like a terrible parent all around and T.D. like he was retarded. I got crap for him not seeing a dentist. WTF?! Most dentists won’t see patients younger than 3. On top of that he has special needs!!! Do you think he’s going to sit still for an oral exam when I can’t get him to sit for a haircut? I don’t think so.

And here’s the cherry on top of the sundae. His BMI is high. So now, we all have to keep a constant and detailed food journal. Yeah, as if I’m going to be able to get all of his sitters on board with this. But, it has to be. I’m sure the next step is a dietitian and CYF at this point.

And at the end of our visit, she made it pretty clear that she doesn’t believe the diagnosis. Excuse me, are you a child psychologist? NO!. Don’t make judgments you aren’t qualified to make!

I do feel like a failure of a mother. Even when I know a doctor is trying to guilt trip me and fear monger me into doing things her way. I know my son better than any doctor could hope to.

At the very least, I’m pointed in the right direction as to where to get the referral for services. And unlike other pediatricians, she was not hesitant to prescribe medicine. Those are her only redeeming qualities.

I still absolutely detest that woman. I am rescheduling his appointment with another doctor. I never want to see her again.

Just another reason on the pile as to why I despise medical professionals.

Radio Silence Breaks

It’s been five days since my last post.  I realized the huge gap in posting and attempted to write something on the bus on the way to work quickly.  That ended in my phone crashing the app and me seething over lost work.  So, here’s an update on the RL that’s been eating my Lulu life.

Saturday, October 15, 2011
That was the day we held T.D.’s third birthday party.  The morning started out with a breakfast buffet at Eat N Park.  T.D. is an incredible eater.  What made the buffet worth it was the fact that I knew he would eat an adult portion, though C.S. and I may not have.

C.S. and I put T.D. down for a nap when we came home.  Then, we feverishly cleaned the house before our guests arrived.  It’s not as if we keep a dirty home.  In the past week, I’ve been sick, so the domestics got a little behind.  Really, we could have gotten it done in about an hour, but we opted for the deep clean.  I won’t bore you with the details.

T.D. had a lovely party.  His Grammy (my MIL), Poppop (my Dad), and his Grandma (my mother who he actually calls “Gram”), all stopped by to open presents and have birthday cake.  The rest of our guests weren’t able to come until later due to other obligations.  But that was fine.  T.D. considers our friends to be his friends, too.  He has his favorites, and they all managed to make it.  He really loved it.  And I’m so happy that he had such a wonderful party.

Saturday, October 16, 2011
This is my little dedication to the birth of T.D..

We all must have partied a little hardy and woke up later than usual.  We were sitting at the breakfast table when I noticed the time.  I said, “At this time, exactly three years ago, Mommy was hooked up to all over her IV’s.”

I had an induction with T.D. at 38 weeks.  My pregnancy was riddled with problems.  Most of them were normal pregnancy symptoms – acid reflux to the point of vomiting, migraines, etc.  When the doctor asked that Monday morning if I was ready to have the baby on Thursday, I was overjoyed!  There’s nothing I wanted more than to not be pregnant anymore.  My stomach was so big that I couldn’t even lean forward anymore, much less bend down.

I also had more threatening pregnancy problems.  I had placental problems and cervical dysplasia at the time.  Additionally, I’m a small woman.  There was an issue with narrow hips, and the question as to whether I was going to be able to deliver naturally.  On his last ultrasound, T.D. was about 6 and a half pounds and his lungs were fully developed.  It looked like we were ready to go!

A little later in the early afternoon, while relaxing with some television, I noted the time again.  I said, “At this time, Mommy got her epidural that didn’t turn out so well.”

The doctors and nurses urged me to schedule my epidural ahead of time so that I wouldn’t miss my window of opportunity.  Personally, I didn’t want to get it until it was absolutely necessary.  However, since I had to schedule, I had little choice.

They cleared everyone out of the room, and I panicked.  I begged for my husband to be allowed to stay, but it was hospital policy that no one remain.  Apparently, some had fainted at one look at the needle.  I was scared.  I tried to remember what other women had told me; “By the time I got the epidural, I was in so much pain I didn’t even feel the needle!”  But I felt it.  I screamed when that needle was shoved into my spine.  The nurse and doctor were jerks about it.  “It couldn’t have hurt that bad.”

We hung around in a silent room for awhile.  Finally, I asked, “Why are we waiting around?”  It was hospital policy that the doctor and the nurse administering the epidural wait for fifteen minutes in case something happened.  Nothing did happen, and everyone was allowed to come back in.

It wasn’t even ten minutes before something did go wrong.  I kept telling C.S. that I felt like I was going to vomit.  I was spinning and everything blurred.  A hazy black formed around the edges of my vision and enclosed in while voices seemed to drift away.  In my mind, I thought, “This is what dying feels like.”  I was brought back to with a shot of adrenaline.  The epidural caused my blood pressure to tank out and I lost consciousness for just a moment.

Later on, more toward the evening, I noticed the time again.  I mentioned, “This was the time that Mommy’s epidural wore off.”

My doctor and nurse expected me to have delivered around dinner time, and we had gone past that now.  I was in absolute screaming agony and begged that my nurse get someone to give me more medicine.  She told me to wait.  Wait?!  Wait for what?!  Finally, my screams attracted enough attention to get a boost of epidural.  It was a relief, but not enough to bring the pain down to a manageable level.

And this is where my memory gets a little fuzzy.

There was a clock across the room and a TV underneath of it.  I was keeping time based on both the TV programming and the clock.  I could have sworn that the doctor came in and told me around 10 that we were going to do some practice pushes.  I know that’s the time that they cut me off from the epidural.  But C.S. seems to think differently.  To say the least, T.D. was born into this world after between 45 minutes and an hour and a half of pushing labor.  They told me, “He’s out!  He’s out!”

“I know.”

They rushed T.D. off to the little cart. I didn’t hear him crying at first. I asked, “Is he OK?” They assured me he was fine. But, I didn’t hear him. It was the longest minute of my life, but I finally heard his voice.

Today, T.D. is alive and well. And my hips remained two inches wider.

Green, Silver, Yellow and Orange

Are you wearing any of these colors today?

It was brought to my attention by Manic Muses’ Post.

The statistics are sobering. Per NIMH, 26.2% of American adults are afflicted with a mental illness. (I only use the term mental illness when referring to symptoms causing significant dysfunction correlated to a diagnosis). That is more than one in four! In addition, 1 in 17 live with a serious mental illness. So, I’m not a 10. I’m actually a 17. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you are too.

Those statistics are compiled from census data. That means, people who were already diagnosed. Can you imagine the numbers if the people who are falling through cracks had a head count?

I’m at work, wearing my silver sweater and my green t-shirt today. I have love written on both of my arms over the beaten path of scars past. I will be happy to explain if I am asked directly. I am taking my first baby steps out of the shadows. Because, it breaks my heart too much to see people fall through the cracks because they lost their voice.

I have a voice. From this point forward, I vow to use it. Not just for me, but for everyone who is struggling too.

Why should I hide when the numbers are so big? Chances are someone may whisper, “Me too.

Construction Zone – Self Improvement in Progress

Per Brandon who writes The Daily Bipolar, I’ve been inspired by his post Too Much At Once?.  In his post, he was examining goals for himself and prioritizing.

Obviously, I seriously have a problem with that.  I’m often stuck in the here and now situation.  I tend to focus on the most pressing problem of the moment instead of continually striving for the bigger picture.  It wasn’t always like this.  I’ve really lost faith in my ability to carry a plan all the way through.  And worse, I have been neglecting responsibilities through extreme procrastination.  In order to reorganize my priorities and get back on track, I’m going to make a list of the things that are most important to me, instead of the most pressing issues.

Make Appointments and Keep Them:  I have difficulty keeping appointments.  Typically, this is because of the pressing issue at hand.  If I am deep into a depressive episode, I’m not motivated to go.  Especially if I know that it’s going to be bad news.  Even so, I’m still fearing the bad news that is coming my way and the challenges that are ahead of me.

Since when did I start living my life in fear?  I’m not sure how that happened.

Quit Smoking For Good: I made what started out to be a very successful attempt to quit smoking between last April and last June.  I was down to between five and seven cigarettes a day.  That’s quite a record drop from 12 to 14.  I was so close to being able to throw out all of my ashtrays.  (Except the Kennywood one.  My mother bought that for me.  I was going to turn it into a hard candy dish).  Smoking is literally killing me.  My doctor and I have concluded smoking is the reason the cervical dysplasia continues to return.  My asthma is getting worse.  It’s bad for my heart which is already having problems.  And more than anything, I want to be a good role model for my kid and the children I teach.  How can I possibly tell them smoking is bad when I wait until I’m in Downtown to jump off the bus and light up?

Return to Journalling: I have been severely neglecting my journal.  It’s not really on purpose.  I had a few Pendulum posts that I wanted to include in it.  However, I do not have a printer, so I’ve had to transpose them by hand.  It was taking much longer than anticipated.  I’m really behind now, although I do leave post-it’s of important thing I want to talk about within it.  I really need to spend some time catching up and make the concious effort to spend at least one hour a night working at it again.  I was doing a lot better when I was keeping a constant log to work out my emotions.

Regulating My Biological Cycles: I am having some difficulty regulating my sleeping and eating cycles due to mood changes and, of course, stress.  I have to make a real effort to sleep and eat when I know that I need to.  It’s unhealthy and obviously is a trigger for disaster.

Start Taking Time for Myself:  I don’t care if anyone around me thinks that it is selfish.  I am starting to realize that it is perfectly reasonable and absolutely necessary.  I think that a number of factors went into my most recent episode(s?).  One of those was being over-extended.  I was performing duties that I was pressured into doing in the here-and-now.  After that, there was no time for me.  Obviously, I’m burnt out, and I’m not taking it well.  I’m holding it together, but there are some serious cracks in the walls.  I don’t want to crumble.  And I don’t want to start over.  Not after I’ve worked this hard to get it all built up again.  If I have to take this time by force, I will.

Become More Focused: Obviously.  But, in order to do accomplish that, I have to continue to keep a set of goals in tangible form.

Appreciate the Pretty Things: I wrote a blog post called All the Pretty Things back in July when I faced the possibility of another surgery.  I need to refer back to the pretty things and update that list frequently.

Start Confronting My Emotions: Talk is cheap.  I could probably go on eternally about the things that are currently upsetting my emotional state.  Sometimes, I do.  What I need to do more than anything, no matter how painful it is, is start conflict resolution.  I must grow the chutzpuh in order to confront situations and people that are harming me.  Action is what gets things done.

Most of all, like it has been pointed out to me, I don’t have to take on the mountain in a day.  This didn’t begin in a day, and it’s not going to be resolved in a day.  It took God six days to create the universe.  Why should I expect to do the same?

I am not God.  I am Lulu.  That’s it.  And I will have respect for myself in knowing that I am capable of doing anything I want to do.

Antidepressants – Which Witch

“Can you turn the light off?”.

I touched the brushed metal lamp, and the dim light flickered off. There was a quick glance at the alarm clock – 12:38PM in glowing red numbers. Only a computer monitor playing Netflix illuminated the room. I was like a moth to a porch light in the summertime. It’s not the light you have to worry about. It’s just the attraction.

My eyes were fixed on the screen. I was entranced by the show, but it was just one screen in my mind’s eye. On another screen were stacks of paper and nameless faces of children. The tube next to it featured me, practicing endless monologues of the words no one will ever hear. Notebooks, pages flipping, with black cursive scrawled across each page. Blurry flashes of days, nights, people, and places past.

Yet, I was not compelled to do anything but sit idly and watch everything fly by at a speed that could’ve put a breeze through my hair.

This brain is entangled in itself while trapped in this useless body.

Another glance – 1:31. While my body was finally exhausted, my mind was still churning out the video feeds.

Finally, I let the screen go black. 2:14. And T.D.’s Developmental Therapist was scheduled for 9AM, which meant that I would have to be up at 8AM. Another less than 6 hour night. No dreams. Just darkness.

Why did I suddenly stop dreaming?

In A Mixed Bag, we determined that it was ultra-rapid cycling, probably brought on by a med change or an antidepressant.

I stumbled upon an article from psycheducation.org about controversies with antidepressant treatment with bipolar disorder. Here’s the problem. The depression and fatigue were crippling before. I couldn’t hold a job or take care of my life. Now, I am hit with rapid cycling every three months for about two weeks as opposed to four month of depression and one week of hypomania.

Which witch is the good witch and which witch is the bad witch?

Where I End and “It” Begins

There is great mystery and confusion that surrounds us when we try to differentiation symptoms and personality. James, who writes the award winning blog James Claims, inspired me to finally write a piece on this subject with his shout out. Which is which? Episodes surely have a profound affect on our cognition and behavior. Then, what about medication? Does medication give or take when we are defining traits and types in studying our own personality?

Have you ever taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality test? If not, take a moment to review the MBTI. It doesn’t matter if you’re having an episode. The results are very reliable on a test-retest reliability scale, regardless. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

(Pause.)

Anyhow, this subject of personality and the MBTI spawned from a conversation with Brandon who writes The Daily Bipolar. I had mentioned the MBTI and how we can get a more stable idea of ourselves.

I started taking the MBTI in 2007. I have taken it every six months since then. Each time, I scored ENFJ (Extroverted, iNtuition, Feeling, Judging). That is, until the most recent retest. Suddenly, I scored Introverted, iNtuition, Feeling, Judging – INFJ. How could a person go from a well established extrovert to an introvert?

Before I was diagnosed, I was all over the place. When I was hypomanic, I was the life of all of the parties. I could throw down with the best of them. I was always prone to doing things that were strange, dangerous, and / or illegal. And having friends that would be in awe and amazement at my latest stunts only added fuel to thay fire.

But in those days, I didn’t isolate myself when in a depressive state. I really leaned on my friends. I had no other support system. If I lost my friends, I lost everything. In those days, friends would take 3AM crying phone calls. A boyfriend would dedicate his Friday night to talking me through a depressive compulsion, like self-harm, and not think of me differently. Before we were together, C.S. used to insist that I come to his apartment to stay for awhile.

I was already married with a baby when I was diagnosed. I have been in treatment for Bipolar Disorder II for two years. By treatment, I mean several different psychiatrists have shuffled pills at me, and I faithfully swallowed them. I went through a lot of life changes in that time, too. I settled into my domestic life and started a career path.

What’s different now?

Firstly, I am a mother and a wife. Week long benders and non-stop parties are out of the question. In fact, most of my social life crumbled. I have a strong dedication to my family. I will do anything to ensure their health, well-being, and happiness.

I had dedicated myself to school and am beginning my career. I have great enthusiasm for teaching and music. Many of the dreams and ideals that had been trampled in my past have begun to emerge once more. Arts, music, literature, philosophy, politics, and the pureness of real love were all resurrected.

My vast social network dissolved. And do you know what? I don’t really care. After all of it, I’d rather be alone. I much prefer using my time to enjoy family and intellectual pursuits. These activities would be art and literature mainly. That is opposed to wasting time investing in people who will never be a good friend.

Much of this wouldn’t have been possible for me without the medication. I have more control. Having the ability to regulate my emotions has enabled me to have a more solid marriage. It allows me to be the best possible mother I can be. Even on a bad day, I can still pull myself together and responsibly honor my obligations. My judgment is better and I’m more logical than ever.

I regained and retained all of the great things about myself with only a small fee. My short-term memory is shot. It wasn’t great to begin with, but Lamictal completely did it in. Unless I repeatedly write something down, like a name or a phone number, I will immediately forget it. And by getting the bipolar disorder under control, I unearthed a terrible underlying anxiety.

In my adult life, my attention has been focused inward. When I was officially diagnosed, I knew that I couldn’t escape it any longer. It is time to work on myself.

And my E changed to an I.

Pillbox

After working through numerous scheduling conflicts, I finally had my visit with the psychiatrist today. And I finally had a chance to express to him everything that has been going on.

His first reaction was not what I had expected. Instead of generalized anxiety disorder or a medication reaction, my doctor seems to think I’ve had underlying panic disorder. He wanted to change my antidepressant to Effexor. I very kindly reminded him that my depression had caused significant weight gain in a short time. He changed his sights to Prozac. I stopped him there.

I didn’t think it was the antidepressant that was the problem. We just changed the dosage on my Wellbutrin and there was no change. None. Not better and not worse. But we haven’t moved anything around with my mood stabilizer or my anti-anxiety meds in six months or more. I told him that irritability was always the calling card of destabilization. And I’ve been a firecracker lately.

So I have some new things to add to my pillbox. Xanax, 1 mg 3 times daily, and temazepam 30 mg once daily. C.S. added a couple of nutraceutical add-ons to help.

My daily regimen looks as such:

Morning:
300mg Wellbutrin
1 capsule Cogni-flex
1 capsule Ubiquinol
1 capsule Adrenomend
1mg Xanax
100mg Lamictal

Afternoon:
1mg Xanax

Bedtime:
1mg Xanax
30mg Temazepam
150mg Lamictal
1 tablet Orthosept
1 capsule Quell
1 capsule L-glutithione
1 capsule Seditol

As needed:
2 puffs Ventolin
1 capsule Maxalt

Note: The nutraceuticals are not all aimed at mood support. I take some for heart support, weight management, and immune support. Some psychiatric medications lower white blood cell count and leave a person susceptible to infection.

I am also aware of the potentially dangerous interactions between several of these medications. Don’t worry. Dr. Husband (with some sarcasm) has vowed to look after me. Mainly, we’re concerned with too much sedation. Orthocept increrases Xanax and Xanax and Temazepam are both benzo’s. Temazepam isn’t forever – it’s temporarily treating the insomnia until we can get things under control$

If you see something I might have missed, let me know.

Holding My Medicine Hostage

If only there were chains...

Today was the big day. I was rescheduled to see my psychiatrist’s nurse. I had to beg my mother to babysit T.D. and bribe my father to drive me the 15 miles up there in rush hour traffic, but I made it.

Here’s the big deal about going to see my pdoc. He’s located 15 miles away, I don’t have access to a car because C.S. takes it to work, and I have no one to watch T.D.

To be honest, I don’t have a great relationship with my parents or siblings. We don’t feud anymore, but decades of doing so has left our relationships strained. The state of our relationship only matters a little. They aren’t very giving people, and each “favor” ends up being a debt that can be called for repayment at any time. I’ve known more understanding loan sharks.

My friends work. And I’m also very particular about who watches my son. I prefer mothers, experienced nannies and babysitters, or female teachers. Those seem like high standards for babysitting a kid for an hour, but I consider it to be reasonable for a child with PDD-NOS and a significant speech delay. Would you leave your baby with someone with limited experience with babies? Though T.D. Is not quite a baby chronologically or physically, the same principals apply.

I actually made it there early, despite the traffic. But, it was certainly a “hurry up and wait” situation. Not only did I end up waiting the 15 minutes that I was early, I waited an additional 15 minutes past my appointment time. That is 45 minutes that my father had to wait around in the parking lot for me.

And all for what? Exactly what I predicted – a pitiful, unproductive, and largely inconvenient appointment with a nurse practitioner who probably shouldn’t be dealing with the likes of me.

I outlined the problems and ineffectiveness of my medication very clearly for her:

      I’ve been so depressed that I gained 10 lbs in three months. She answered,

“That kind of weight gain is practically impossible on Lamictal and especially Wellbutrin.”

      Yeah, I know. Both of them are notorious for weight loss. I have a genetic predisposition for extreme weight gain. That’s why I chose them.

My anxiety is unmanageable. I have regular anxiety attacks over every little thing. I’ve developed migraines over this again.

I don’t sleep anymore, apparently. I’ve been taking supplements for insomnia and now they don’t work. I started taking over-the-counter medication for it, but you can only take that in moderation without risking frying your liver. So, now I’m stuck with increasing sleeplessness.

It’s been about 6 hours a night off and on for two months now, and has been every night for the last week. And some nights, it’s 5 or less. Last night, I slept 4 and a half hours. I used to become hypomanic when this occurred. Now, my brain and my body are so tired that I am in a perpetual fog where I am completely dysfunctional.

    My moods are all over the place and I am highly reactive. This began slowly about two weeks ago. It started as only certain things that could trigger an unpredictable response. I would laugh hysterically, cry uncontrollably, or fly into a fit of rage at the drop of a hat, for seemingly little reason. Now, it’s progressed into constant states of arousal. I’m either delirious with hilarity, extremely irritated, or crippled with depression.

The nurses solution? Increase the dose of Wellbutrin and let the doctor determine the rest two weeks from now. My suspicion? She’s not allowed to adjust any medication other than antidepressants.

So now I take my medicine like a good girl and hope that I can manage my life within my two week period of the waiting game.

I decided that I hate nurse practitioners masquerading as psychiatrists more than I hate doctors.

Ugh.