Daily Archives: May 15, 2014

COBRA Is Evil!!!

So I just got the Cobra paperwork from my former employer, enabling me to continue my healthcare benefits.  The cost is SEVEN HUNDRED DOLLARS per month!  $700.00!!!  That’s a seven and two zeroes.   On my greatly reduced Disability pay that should just about break me.  And God knows I can’t go without insurance!  I see the doctor and get zapped at least a few times a month, not to mention a bucket of prescriptions.  I’m not gonna lie.  I want to get stoned and pretend none of this is happening.  The bitch of it is, I seem to be getting some depression hangover every time I get stoned any more.  God damn it!  What’s a girl to do when the drugs stop working???


Filed under: Bipolar, Bipolar Depressed, Bipolar Disorder, Bipolar ECT, Bipolar Pothead, Psychology Shmyshmology Tagged: Bipolar, Cobra, Fucking Health Insurance, Hope, Mental Illness, Psychology, Reader

Unsafe

Trying to explain the feelings that come with mental illness proves challenging at times. Because unless you’re *there* or have *been there*, it sounds nutsy kookoo trying to put this stuff into words.

At the moment, following an uneventful but semi productive (on the homefront) day, I am feeling overwhelmed and “unsafe”. This happens a lot, especially if I am subjected to a lot of activity or noise. And my kid has spewed nothing but a bucket of noise, kicking and stomping just to piss me off when I do manage to get her to be silent ten seconds. My nerves are not made of steel. In fact, I am quite certain they are made of gelatin and stimulation acts like heat, melting them down to frazzles of liquid.

So I wind up *here*, in this “place*, where every sound no matter how small sounds like it’s being amplified through a thousand bull horns and a stack of Marshall amps. And the anxiety and irritation build and my brain starts to have these little short circuits, as if screaming ENOUGH!!!.

My paranoia tells me I must fall back, regroup, everything is a threat and I must PROTECT MYSELF because  I am vulnerable and unsafe. I know logically I am not in danger. Not physically. But my psyche feels like it is under a full scale attack and fight or flight instinct is on overdrive. I just want silence. No cats climbing, no kid yapping at me and climbing me, no phones ringings, NO NOISE AT ALL. No stimulation. I am overdrawn. Tapped out. My ass has been kicked.

Some people feel tired.

Mine manifests as angry fear and paranoia. I am unsafe and I must go to a small place and ban all else from that space until I no longer feel I am under attack.

It sounds nutsy kookoo even to me.And this is my life.

 


Give Us This Day Our Daily Meds

pills

This is the miracle drug “cocktail” that keeps me alive and well and (reasonably) sane. The top nine are my daytime meds, AKA the Breakfast of Champions; the bottom eight are my nightly Handful of Sanity. “Better living through chemistry” isn’t just a saying…..it’s a fact, because some of these tiny objects keep my blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels down, and the rest make my bipolar illness manageable.

There are some who would turn up their noses at the idea that these meds are of any benefit. I’ve read a fair amount of material from the anti-psychiatry crowd that claim medications are actually harming the mentally ill and that psychiatrists are little more than legal drug pushers. But while I’m sure these groups’ intentions are good, I worry about the more gullible among us who might reject treatment based on nothing more than a few peoples’ opinion that psychiatric medications are evil.

I realize that not everyone needs medication to control their mental health issues. I envy them. I don’t particularly like being reminded twice daily, every day of my life, that I have an incurable disease that could be lethal if I don’t stay on top of it. But the same is true of my diabetes and my high blood pressure, and I learned long ago to live with the chronicity of those conditions. Why would bipolar be any different?

It’s taken over two years, but I’m FINALLY coming to terms with all of this. I started this blog almost a year ago, and I can see the progress I’ve made over that time in my posts. The turning point came last fall when I got to thinking that maybe my diagnosis was wrong, and then proceeded to have one of my worst manic episodes ever, which was swiftly followed by a crash into depression. That was when the denial went away and I got serious about dealing with my “nonconformity”.

I can’t say that it doesn’t alarm me that the number and dosage of medications I need to manage my MI seems to keep increasing. I’ve gone from two meds to five, and a couple of them are pretty hardcore. But judging by the way I’ve been feeling the past couple of months, it’s exactly what the doctor ordered, because I’ve never felt quite this mellow in my entire life. I mean, I’m not even panicking over the fact that the brakes on my car are going out, the employment division is once again taking its time determining my eligibility for benefits, and I only have a couple hundred dollars to my name.

Now THAT is steady. And by gosh, if it takes this batch of meds to stay that way, then I’m going to stick with the program. End of story. :-)


Mania Strikes Again

Why does it always happen the night before I have an appointment?  Not even an anxiety-inducing appointment, just a regular one that I simply need to get myself to and show up for.

Last night I took my bedtime meds at the usual time, did my whole pre-bedtime ritual: take meds, brush teeth, give Noga the Wonder Dog her brief nightly training session and resultant treats; get into bed with a book.

In general, by the time I make it into bed, I’m crashing, and sometimes don’t even make it through the “putting on pajamas” stage, but wake up in the morning to find myself half naked and freezing. The nights here are still chilly and I might not have got to far along as to pull up the covers.

The important part out of all of this is sleep.  I have never been good at sleeping.  Even as a child I spent many nights wide awake reading by flashlight under the covers.  At about dawn when the birds were waking up and sleepily cheeping, I might fall asleep for the two or three hours before it was time to get up for school.

Last night there were warning signs.  An hour after my bedtime cocktail of 50 mg. Seroquel, 1 mg Clonazepam, 1 mg Lorazepam, 10 mg Ambien, plus 300 mg Lithium, I was not remotely sleepy.  Not good.  I waited another hour.  No dice.  The book I was reading became hilariously funny, and I convulsed with laughter.  My Psychiatric Service Dog, Noga, alerted, and left her spot at the foot of the bed.  She peered into my face, assessing my condition.  She parked herself nearby, keeping an eye on me.

Noga, the Angel Puppy

Noga, the Angel Puppy

I started my prescribed protocol for incipient mania.  First try to knock it down with benzos: a couple more milligrams of Lorazepam, another milligram of Clonazapam.  Wait another hour.  Nothing.  I’m starting to look for a wall to climb.

Time to pull out bigger guns.  Another 50 mg of Seroquel.  Wait another hour.  Nothing.  Another 50 mg.  Nope.  Another 50 mg.

All this while, I am feeling like I have bugs under my skin.  Antsy, fearful that this is going to go into full-blown mania with hallucinations and everything.

It has started to pour down the rain, buckets.  By morning my rain gauge would measure two inches, and the river below my dwelling raging out of its banks.

My whole-body arthritis, aggravated by the weather, is making it hard to play solitaire on the iPad.  That’s my usual ticket to boredom leading to sleep, but after a couple hours of painfully tapping cards, I give up and take a pain pill–a very mild one, ten mg. codeine and 500 mg. acetaminophen.  Not enough to dangerously interact with the piles of pills I have already ingested, but by this time the only thing that concerned me was what would happen to my dog if I died.

Meanwhile, Noga the Wonder Dog has glued herself to my side and won’t budge, even when I jockey for more room in the bed.  I move her over and slide over myself so I won’t fall out when the drugs finally (hopefully) hit. She immediately sticks herself back in position against my body, licking whatever parts of me are exposed.  We snuggle and smooch for what seems hours.  She loves snuggles and smooches.  She is my Angel Doggie!

I send my morning appointment an email apologizing for canceling.  Of course I lie, saying that I was sick due to something I ate.  I turn my alarm off.

It’s three o’clock and I’m finally slowing down and getting sleepy.  Noga is cuddled up by my head.

I wake up around noon.  Fine, except that I really do have to go into town today (town is an hour away) to get some things for Friday night dinner.  I struggle out of bed, make a strong cup of coffee, get into my recliner under my “happy light.”  I’ll go as soon as I’m safe to drive, when the muzzy druggy feeling wears off.

Noga starts vomiting.  Why do they always have to throw up on the carpet when there is a perfectly good expanse of bare floor available?  I catch her before it comes up and place her on the floor, petting her while she pukes.  Lhasa Apsos routinely vomit when their stomachs are empty for a long time.  She’s been watching over me for 14 hours now, setting her own needs aside in favor of taking care of me.

After she gets done puking I call her over to the “treat station” and put a few yummy things into her tummy.  Her food is in her dish, but she ignores it until her dog treat hors d’oeuvre piques her appetite. She gobbles down her breakfast and hops up to her usual place on the left arm of my recliner, where she is now firmly established.

She literally stuck with me all night, watching over me and caring for me as if I was a sick puppy (I was).  And now she’s back on the job, after a bit of breakfast and a drink.

Through depression, through mania, she is my Psychiatric Service Dog, always on the job. She takes her job seriously.  I would love her anyway, even if she weren’t my Service Dog Angel, but the psychic connection between us is so strong that she’s like an extension of me.

I wish everyone could be so blessed.


The Lovable Neurotic

I think it’s safe to say that I’m more than a bit neurotic. I’m pretty anxious and insecure at times. Despite that, I have been lucky enough to have had several wonderful romantic relationships in my life. Not all of them ended well, in fact, two ended terribly, however, all of them began wonderfully. There’s […]