It’s been two months since I’ve seen my doctor. I didn’t think it was that bad until I got in there this morning and started talking, then I realized that a lot has happened in the last two months.
I’m on my second job since the hospital, I left due to my hours being unsteady, but I’m supposed to be prn. The first job I got after, was an hour away from my home, starting at 6 am. Meaning I had to leave before 5 to get there on time to work twelve hours to drive an hour home. So this new one that I started, I’m working the night shift. And I haven’t worked night shift in four years. To he honest, I like it. It’s just taking some time to adjust. Like today, I haven’t slept but an hour, maybe two. But I’m feeling ok.
I’m having intrusive thoughts about my legal mother and fears of people breaking into my home and raping me. Like this morning, I couldn’t differentiate the dogs scratching on the door, I thought someone was trying to break in. And then the cat scared me and sent me over the edge. All I could see were two men coming to take me away with me screaming and Marcus being asleep. So I woke him up and we talked, we played “real or not real” until I felt better. And then we left for the appointment.
We got there and she asked how I was doing. I told her that I was better than I had been. I’ve been up and down. I’ve been anxious. I’ve been spending a lot of money. Which, then she had to ask how much I spent, i said like $200. Marcus said it was more than that. And she asked if we were able to pay our bills, to which I had to say no.
We talked about Marcus going into the hospital and how traumatizing that was for me. And she said she wasn’t following me. “Didn’t you want him to get help?” Of course I did. I’m the one who took him to the er, but I wanted to take him to the facility. And I don’t like being alone, he’s part of my routine, he’s my rock. I need him. I told her that they took him away from me and it felt like he died. She didn’t understand why I was so upset.
We talked about donna and the nightmares that she’s in. The intrusive thoughts about her.
We talked about my anxiety which is at a higher level than it should be. Increasing panic attacks.
We’re testing my blood for my thyroid and prolactin, and my annual labs.
So we’re increasing my Zoloft. She wants me to see a counselor. Im not sure how I feel about seeing a counselor.
And that’s the latest.
Some people have a hard time taking medications, some people take them no problems, some people have opinions on what other people should be doing with their medications – and I don’t mean doctors.
I believe that, along with the stigma of mental health, there is a medication stigma. It’s like, God forbid you need to take meds to keep your moods in check or something.
Here’s a picture of my mental health medications… the first one is my emergency pills, which I had to rely on heavily over the last two weeks. The next two are mood stabilizers, they also help control my appetite. Next, is the new one I got last week, an antidepressant that’s supposed to help with the anxiety. I’m only taking half of the full dose right now, but I’m already feeling better. Then, we have an anti-psychotic, for the bipolar disorder. And finally, a sleeping pill, because I just wasn’t sleeping. I’ve been on that one about a month now and can finally say that I’m getting used to it and getting the sleep that I need.
— Now, this list would be a little different. When I first started this post, this was a list of my medications. But they’ve changed, and I’m not ashamed. I am now taking Lorazepam (for emergencies), Topiramate 100 & 50 mg (have to be two separate prescriptions because they don’t make just one pill), Zoloft 100 mg, Rexolti 2 mg, Lunesta 3 mg, and Trazadone 50 mg. All of these help me stay stable. I don’t like the amount of pills that I’m taking. But if it keeps me sane, it’s a good thing. It keeps me going. It keeps me able to go to work and live my hectic life and not break down like I should have done by now.
I’ve heard several people’s opinion about what I should be doing about my meds. I need to get off of them. I need to not take so many. Why don’t I try something holistic? Try meditation. Try prayer. Try just being happy. You know, the usual, your mental health doesn’t require medication. And I can understand some of it. Because I want to have a baby. And I know that to have a baby I can’t be on all of these medications, or that I seriously need to talk to my doctor. I’ve already talked to one doctor, and he said that he’s delivered healthy babies to bipolar mothers who were on medications, but I need to talk to my psych doctor to see what we can do about the medications and what the risks are.
I don’t want you to be ashamed of taking your meds, no matter how many you have to take. As long as they keep you functioning, you need them. And maybe you won’t need them forever, but that’s a conversation for you and your doctor.
What about you? How many medications do you take? Do you have a hard time with them? What do you do when people have opinions about what you should be taking.
To remind you, or let you in on what I’m talking about, I work in a hospital. And where I work, we don’t have a mental health unit, we don’t have mental health doctors. In fact, in this area, we barely have anyone who treats mental health cases. We have MHMR, one private doctor, and a mental hospital that, apparently/supposedly, releases people before they are stable.
So with that little bit of knowledge, when we have patients that have a mental health diagnosis, some nurses seem to think that they are more difficult because of their diagnosis. Or that they are crazy, or something. But bipolar, that’s the one that always gets whispered.
I don’t really understand it. I know that some bipolar patients can be difficult to work with because of our swinging moods, but that doesn’t mean that we’re crazy or trying to be difficult.
Understand, too, that there are people in the hospital that just aren’t all there in their mind, regardless of their mental health diagnosis. And this particular patient was talking out of her head, kind of like she wasn’t all there. I was being kind and trying to help as much as I could. But she said that she wanted to report a couple of nurses. So I went to talk to the charge nurses, who was giving report to the night charge. They were both very understanding of the situation. They knew that she wasn’t all there mentally and that she “says things that just aren’t true.” But then the night charge goes and says, “Well, you know she’s bipolar.” By this time I had been closing the door, thinking the conversation had been over, but when I heard that, I said excuse me and he repeated his statement. To which I replied, “Well so am I but you don’t see me talking out of my head!” They both just looked at me for a moment. Unsure of what to do or say. And then he was saying something about her being severely bipolar. I was walking away already.
How is it that in a hospital setting, we have such a stigma on mental health? Shouldn’t there be less stigma in a hospital setting, you see these kind of people every day. People who are sick and dying or whatever, needing life saving medical attention who happen to have depression or bipolar disorder, it shouldn’t change the way we approach them, how we treat them.
The stigma is everywhere. And I want to change that. If it takes standing up to one nurse at a time who thinks that bipolar is something to be whispered and is something that is scary or makes someone difficult, then that’s what I’ll do.
Around the house, around the yard, at work… On my days off it’s a lot worse.
It’s like I can’t relax, I can’t rest. The longer I sit still, the more upset I get. I have to move. I have to do something.
At work, it’s not so bad. There’s plenty to do, so I just stay busy. But when there’s a lull in how busy it should be, I’m moving. Because I can finally sit, for a minute. But the minute ticks by and I have to move.
This weekend should have been fun and relaxing. We went to visit a friend. And I was anxious the whole way up there. When we got there I started pacing. Sitting on the edge of the seat, fidgeting with my hands, pacing again. I finally took an Ativan, it helped a little. I’m having to take them a lot more.
The same thing happened today. More pacing. Another pill, this time I went and took a nap because I just couldn’t handle it.
I go to see the doctor Thursday. So I plan on telling her that I’m more anxious. That I’m having to take my emergency pills almost every day. That my sleeping patterns are still off and that I need some kind of help. Something needs to change. I can’t go around feeling like this all the time.