>Sometimes Even my Pills Take Pills
>So… I’ve come to the conclusion that my new pill isn’t working out so well for me. (Though I’ll continue taking it for one more week until my follow up appointment, since maybe it is just my body adjusting to it, and I want to give it a fair chance.)
But I have yet to do more than allude to my mental health issues in this new blog… so here’s some back story…
When I think back on it, I’ve had pretty much the same issues all my life, but it didn’t come to light until I suffered a car accident in 2002. I was a passenger in a single car accident that left me with 8 broken bones… 4 of my 5 left metatarsals in my foot, both the fibula and tibia of my left ankle, my right femur (a clean break straight through), and a burst fracture of my L-1 vertebra. I was hospitalized for months, in a wheelchair for many more months, and endured four (i think) surgeries and many metal implants to put me back together. And during this time in the hospital, I had several depressive & suicidal incidents and was forced to talk to a psychologist in the hospital. But I thought it was just because of the pain I was in, and I refused psychiatric medicine. But when months later I was walking again, back at work, back to my social life and I didn’t “bounce back” is when I first realized that it wasn’t just circumstantial and there was a problem. So I asked for a recommendation of a psychiatrist and was pointed towards an excellent one in NYC. She didn’t accept any insurance and was expensive, but only required a few visits to “check in” and was pretty understanding of finances. She was a great listener, understanding and I related well to her. She wasn’t judgmental or condescending. So she medicated me for chronic depression, anxiety/phobias… I was put on drug “P”, then the dose was increased … then again… then again … then once more. And I was given Drug K for extreme occasions. I was on this medication for a couple of years. Then we added drug “W” to the mix at one dose, then doubled that too. It was a lot of medication I suppose, but it was working for me, I think. With every increase, I felt better, I felt some of my “symptoms” being alleviated. I was on these two for a year or so, when at a follow up visit and more talking, she diagnosed me with Bipolar II disorder. Though it shares a name with bipolar disorder, it’s not the same. It is often heavily characterized with depressive episodes with sometimes only sporatic, infrequent manic episodes, which are often very minor or high-functioning. So she added another medication to the mix, drug “L”, one that is often used for bipolar depression, but is known to not trigger manic episodes. And I was on this cocktail of P, W, and L all mixed together for about 6-10 months, and I think I was doing awesome on the combination if I remember correctly. But in late 2007 I stopped taking ALL medications to get pregnant, and I got pregnant in 10 miraculous days (talk about lucky) and so I was off medication for 9 months… plus the first few months of breastfeeding. But then I needed to get back on.
So at the end of 2008 I went to see a “family practice” type doctor (Dr C) where I live now and I gave him a little of my back story and said I needed to get back on some meds and that I was breastfeeding. He wasn’t too sure what could be taken and what couldnt while BF so he had to look them up on his Palm Pilot and he declared that Drug W was unsafe but Drug P was safe, and so he prescribed me a small dose of Drug P (33% of the dose I was on before getting pregnant) and told me to start there. A few months later, I went back and told him I needed an increase, and so he doubled it (and so 66% of my previous dose) and he said he wasn’t comfortable going any higher than that, that the dose he gave me was a standard dose. And about going back on Drug W… well, he never mixed them, and so I was better off just staying how I was. So that’s what I’ve been taking for a year, more than a year actually. The 66% of my dose of Drug P only. And it isn’t cutting it. I still have major depressive episodes, severe PMDD, social anxiety, phobias, and a poor self image. I can’t attribute everything that is “bad” or “unhappy” or “hard” to mental illness, I know many things in my life aren’t as they should be and are things I need to work on, I’m not trying to place blame, but I do know that I have felt better before, and I have had an easier time with my mental issues and so I’d like to be medicated properly.
So, I went back to Dr C, who happens to be a notorious pill pusher, and told him that I’m in a “cyle of bad”… I have these bad feelings… which lead to these bad behaviors… which leads to these bad physical symptoms… which just lead back to the bad feelings, etc. and that I needed help breaking the cycle. I also complained of chronic fatigue & joint pain. I told him my current dose of P wasn’t enough and I asked for an appetite suppresant to help me get a jump start on dieting, because weight loss will help break the cycle as well. Well, he said he couldn’t prescribe any diet type pill because it would just trigger the anxiety and manic episodes and that he thought the P wasn’t right for me at all, so he was switching me to Drug “S”. He told me to start taking S immediately, at night time, and to wean myself off the P (which I told him I can’t do, because my dose is a single gelcap that can’t be cut), so he said to keep taking it until my next appointment. So now I am on P + S and I feel absoultely no better.
So when I got in the car, I looked up Drug S on the internet, and I saw it was an anti-psycotic. Previously I had only taken anti-depressants and anti-convulsants (which are often prescribed for anxiety and other disorders). It is used for the treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, insomnia, OCD, PTSD, RLS, and as a sedative for people with sleep disorders. Reading this, i thought he may be crazy! My sleep disorder is that I don’t want to wake up… ever! I don’t need help sleeping more, but I decided to trust him. So the first night I took it, after 60 minutes I felt exhausted and went to sleep… and slept for abour 12-13 hours. Waking up was torture, I felt so heavy and sleepy! All day I walked around with my heads in the clouds, I was “there” but also somewhere else. It made my mind race, but I felt like my mind was a seperate being from my body. I was drowsy and dopey and extremely introverted (even more than usual, and that’s a lot!) But I knew it can take a few days to adjust to new medications. So day two, slightly less fatigue and less fogginess. Then I forgot to take it on night 3, and the following day, I felt so CLEAR. I felt better. And day 4, I had to drive 5 hours, so I purposely didn’t take it so I wouldn’t be drowsy to drive. Then last night I took it again… I was drowsy this morning, but less than the previous days, so perhaps I am adjusting to it in that way… but I still don’t see any of the reasons I need medication to begin with being alleviated. So it just has me feeling drowsy and dull, but not any better. Dull is a good word for it. Dr C didn’t talk about any of my reasons for wanting medication or taking it in the past, I think he saw the word “bipolar” and ran with it, maybe not even realizing exactly what bipolar II is, it being a lesser known and underdiagnosed disorder. Plus, he didn’t write me an rx, he had sample boxes of Drug S to give me, which sometimes makes me nervous that doctor push certain meds because of samples or other reasons. I have insurance, I can fill a prescription for any drug he writes, I don’t need a free sample.
So I go back next week, and I guess I tell him this isn’t right for me. I can’t imagine what he’ll suggest next, but trying new meds is no fun.
Why don’t I just go back to the original doctor i rave about?? Too expensive. She charges by the half our and your first visit in a while has to be for an hour. And as I said, she takes no insurance. And it’s a LOT of money, and even if we had it, there are more important things to spend it on, when I can see another doctor for free. So… I wish I could, but I can’t. If Dr C doesn’t give me good solutions, I’ll look into seeing someone else, I just have no idea who. I don’t know many people where we live to even recommend someone for me.
I just wish it wasn’t taking two years for me to figure this all out and get on the right medications. Sometimes it takes 2-3 weeks to even see the effects of a new drug and/or a dose increase. But I know that I’ve been walking around in a fog for a week, and I don’t think this one is right for me.
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