Archives for June 2017

We Are Breakable Breakable Breakable Girls and Boys

So (I like to start with “so” because it feels conversational and I like to think of my readers as friends), I’ve been MIA for a while. I didn’t intend to be, but that’s what my brand of mental illness does to me. At times (and for long stretches) it makes things I love like writing and art and makes them nearly impossible or unbearable to do. I’m aware that it’s happening, but I can’t open my laptop. I’m sorry I’ve been away. And no, not “away” as in the hospital this time. But I do have a story.

My psychiatrist has put me on different medications and taken me off medications trying to find the specific cocktail that will work for me. I think we have it right this time because I feel more myself than I have for a while. I could tell I was hypomanic for a good few months. That’s over. The anxiety is still there, but I’m almost convinced that’s a dark passenger that will always be along for the ride. Oh well.

A few months ago I finally got in to see a neurologist who put me on preventative drug for migraines. It’s a medication to be taken everyday, so I did. Four weeks into that medication, as Vivi said in The Ya-Ya Sisterhood, “I dropped my basket.”

I experienced a depression darker than I ever had. I pretended I was ok on the outside, but I spent most of the time in bed. Like Brian Wilson. I was going to bed at 7:30 pm. I wasn’t eating. I didn’t enjoy life anymore. I waited for my psychiatrist appointment which was at the end of that week, where I was sure he would put me in the hospital. Everything made me cry. I talked about suicide a lot. I had a plan. A perfect plan. I was convinced I had nothing and no one. Entering my psychiatrist’s office I started crying. I told him everything I was feeling; he typed away on his laptop and went through the list of my medications. After 30 minutes he said I had to wean myself off of the migraine drug over the weekend and to call my neurologist because I was having a severe reaction. It turned out I was in the 1% that had the rarest reaction of suicide ideation, which is what you want when you have the psychiatric history that I have. I cannot express how miserable I was. It was dark. Breakable, like the Ingrid Michaelson song. Dying from the inside out. Not feeling human anymore. Not feeling anything.

And so I started to wean myself off of the medication and just threw it away by that Sunday night. Coming off of it was super weird. Talk about not being myself. I was super chatty and sleepy and felt tipsy for four days. That Sunday at church my husband kept shushing me because I was talking to him throughout the service at my usual voice volume, but I thought I was whispering. My apologies to the people sitting around us. Actually, my apologies every week to the people sitting around us. My memory was bad. My balance was off. I didn’t feel fully awake. It took a full four or five days to get back to my normal, but I wasn’t suicidal or even depressed.

On Friday I went back to my psychiatrist. That’s me in the photo and that’s how I usually sit. Yes, it’s a sofa, but as often portrayed in comic strips, one doesn’t lie down in the psychiatrist’s office. It’s a relatively short visit. It isn’t therapy, it’s to identify illness and treat it. So, I come in, drop my purse on the sofa and plop down with my feet up — always. I don’t know why. That’s how I sit at home and I’m pretty at home with my psychiatrist since I’ve been seeing him for three years. This time was a little different. He asked me how I was doing as he always does, but this time we went over the visit from last month. I told him I was in a completely different place and confessed that I was convinced he was going to have me admitted to the hospital before. He told me he thought about it, but thought it would make me worse in the short term. Then he said “man, you were bumming ME out.” I laughed. If you have a psychiatrist and he/she doesn’t have a sense of humor then you need to get a new one; but you can’t have mine. Then he read some of the things I said. I wanted to use the When Harry Met Sally quote, “no one’s ever quoted Me back to Me before!” but I didn’t. It was surreal. The person he was quoting wasn’t me. I didn’t recognize that person.

It’s been a month and I can say that you should definitely read all the side effects when you begin a new medication. I only know one friend who was in a 1% rare side effect situation before, but it definitely happens. I’m proof. And my psychiatrist saved my life by spotting it.

Thank you, unnamed shrink, who for funnsies I will call Dr. Bi-Polar for Dummies because he has that book on his bookshelf. Again, no, you cannot have my psychiatrist.