Time for a new therapist

Today, I meet my new therapist.  This will be the tenth psychiatrist/therapist I’ve gone through. Tenth.  And out of those ten, TWO have believed me.

The other eight….some misdiagnosed me, a few (ironically the ones with the PhD’s) told me I wasn’t sick, and another couple told me I didn’t want to get better.  I’ve also been told I need to pray more.  That therapist didn’t know what to do with me and broke up with me over text. Real professional. I’ve been told that I was manipulative and had BPD, but she didn’t want to diagnose me with that because she believed I could change.  I’ve been told I have an eating disorder because I have a tendency to not eat when I’m depressed.  I saw another therapist temporarily when mine was out for surgery.  She told me that I didn’t strike her as an anxious person.  My therapist laughed at that one.

Needless to say, I’m a little gun shy about these new people. All they know about me is whats on my intake. Which, if I’m being honest, I fibbed a wee bit because I didn’t know the lady interviewing me.  You try spilling your guts to someone you just met about things that you weren’t even able to tell your (awesome) therapist you saw for two years.

They can’t deny that I have depression this time around, I have just about every symptom and its bad.  But I’m worried that my functional self who can’t identify hypomania/mania will lead them to say I don’t have bipolar. Or that I don’t experience psychosis because I’ve never had a dramatic psychotic break. As much as I hate that I have it, someone saying I don’t would do more damage than not.  When I spoke to my old therapist the last time , she told me to tell them to call her if they denied that I had bipolar.

But I have to remind myself.  I know myself much better now, and can articulate what I go through reasonably well. My past isn’t as fuzzy to me as it used to be, and I have two months worth of info of my symptoms.  I’m in control of the situation, and if I think this person is an idiot, I can ask for a new one. If it really is that bad, I can text my old therapist and go “that sucked, what should I do?” She already told me that she would help me navigate the system if I needed her to.

It will be OK.

 

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Memory

Yesterday at work I was asked a question.  This question was something I should know the answer to.  It’s one of the most obvious questions in my field of study.  Hell, I’ve taught on the subject I don’t even know how many times. But I couldn’t remember. I couldn’t even hazard a guess. It was like one of those wild west movies where you see tumbleweeds blowing across the desert.  There wasn’t anything there. When I do remember information, I can’t remember where I got it from, and sometimes I wonder if I just made it up.  I don’t trust myself.

For months, I have been complaining about my memory-that it isn’t as good as it used to be.  I have trouble remembering the obvious and the brain fog is unbearable at times.  I swear its a symptom that is getting worse, but its the one symptom I have a hard time convincing people that it is an issue.  As it has always been, I present well.  I remember schedules and I’ve never missed a therapy or psychiatrist appointment. I keep track of my meds and I never forget to take it. (Now there have been times where I’ve made the choice to not take it, but that is another story.)

But there are so many things I forget.  Things I’ve read, conversations I’ve had. Lectures I’ve given. Something I’ve learned in school.  Something I’ve taught in school.  What tv shows are about.  What jobs I’ve applied to and when I’ve last done something. When I’m supposed to bring something somewhere.  My concept of time is completely shot.

I’m continually told this is normal. But it can’t be.  If I haven’t done it, used it, or read it in the last 30 seconds, God help me if I have to recall it. It makes me feel stupid. I don’t trust myself.  My processing is pretty bad too, which I’m sure doesn’t help the memory.

I’ll have to bring it up with the new therapist and psychiatrist, and hope that 1. they believe  me and 2. something can be done.

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Person-first language

I am Bipolar. I know the politically correct thing to do is person-first language.  But lets face it, Bipolar touches every part of my life. The depressions leave me in tears and cloud my thinking. The psychosis makes me hear voices and when it isn’t treated, leads me to believe people hate me.  I can’t recognize the hypomania in me.  At least I think its hypomania. I know there have been times where I’ve thought I was better than everyone else, or that I was put on this earth to serve a special purpose as a teacher.  I used to have times where I was super productive.  There was a semester in college where, when you added up all the zero credit classes (thank you education labs) I had to take, I was enrolled in 24 credits, AND I was directing an opera at the same time.

At the same time, in the midst of one of the worst and longest depressions I’ve had, I’m living independently.  I work 40+ hours a week (which needs to end NOW).  But I am miserable.  In the past month I’ve spent more days in tears than not.  I enjoy nothing. I can’t keep up with cleaning my apartment. I dread work. Very rarely can I force myself to do something.

Now that I think about it, there are a few instances where I could say that I’m a person with Bipolar as opposed to a bipolar person. When I’m with my family and when I’m with my best friend. They have seen me at my worst, but still see me as a person. But I still see myself as a bipolar person. I can’t let go of things I wish I could do. Work more than 40 hours a week and not pay for it later. Be in a relationship without doubting my ability to care for someone. Have a self-image that isn’t clouded by the bipolar.

I think once I get this under control and I’m in a place where the symptoms aren’t smacking me in the face every 30 seconds, I’ll feel more like a person with bipolar than a bipolar person.  I can’t bear to think that there is a chance that may not happen. That in itself is depressing. It feeds the fear that I’m just going to get worse.  It feeds the fear that I’m going to end up in the hospital.

What it comes down to is I’m tired. The kind of tired when depression sucks the life out of you. I’m tired of fighting.  I’m tired of being miserable. I’m tired of feeling like a bipolar person.  When do I get to have a life when I get to make the decisions instead of my illness? Shouldn’t it be my turn now? I want to be a person with Bipolar.

 

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Stronger than you think.

We were on vacation and my mom pointed out a card and said she was going to get it for me. There was a Winnie the Pooh quote on it.

You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. ~ Christopher Robbin

I brushed it off for two reasons. 1. That’s what I do and 2. If I didn’t I was probably going to start crying.

But then I thought about it.

It’s true. Even if it doesn’t feel like it sometimes, it’s true. And I have to remember that.

My boss may see someone who isn’t always productive and is forgetful at times, but I still go to work everyday while fighting some of the hardest battles in my head. I can push through the voices and depression and anxiety and still do my job. I do the best I can with what I have. I have a full time job and live independently. That’s not easy when you have a brain  that sometimes wants to kill you.

My friends may see someone who bails occasionally and when we finally get together has a tendency to be quiet and not fully functioning. I see someone who still fights for friendships. Someone who can still laugh in spite of the crushing depression. I still care even if I can’t show it. I’m learning the difference between not doing something because of the depression vs not doing something because I need to take care of myself.

I am high functioning. This does not mean I’m not as sick or am fighting harder than someone who isn’t working. My fight is just different. Every fight is different. You can’t compare. As the saying goes, you can’t compare apples and oranges.

Anytime I share my story with someone new, whether it’s telling my boss that I have depression to explain my suddenly different performance, or telling my best friend every sordid detail so she gets why I act the way I do, I am being brave. Setting foot into a new doctor or therapist office is brave. Waking up every morning in spite of everything in me screaming to stay in bed is brave.

As I move forward into this journey with a new therapist and psychiatrist, my greatest fear is that they won’t believe me. That I won’t be able to articulate what I need to.  I feel like it’s my job to convince them that I’m sick. I compensate well. I can put on a pretty good game face when I want to.

So today, when I woke up with the cloud of depression hanging over me and the chatter in the back of my head, I’ll remember that for me, I’m being strong and brave going to work anyways. 

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New beginnings

Yesterday, I said goodbye to my therapist. I had been with her for a little over two years. She helped me through a lot. I’ll miss her.

But it’s time for me to move on.  Saying goodbye is sad but I know in my heart that making this switch for a new psychiatrist is the right thing.  I’m scared and nervous about switching to someone new, which means some of my symptoms are triggered. But I guess the fact that I can recognize that means that I have made some improvements over the past few years.

I’ve come a long way.

But the fight isn’t over.

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Next step

I got a phone call this morning.  There was a cancellation at the psychiatrist office I’m trying to into, and could I come Right Now?

Um. Ok.

So I texted my friend and said I was going to be late getting to her house, hopped in my car and drove to the office.

This was my first formal intake. There is all the housekeeping stuff and discussion of their procedures if there is a crisis (which never gets easier to listen to). Scheduling of future appointments and family history. Then there is the symptom eval.  Nothing like coming clean on every bit of crazy that runs through your head.

Did I mention that we had to do all of this in about 25 minutes because they were squeezing me in so I didn’t have to wait another two weeks?

At least I walked away with a good feeling about this place. Knowing that they have a crisis center is more comforting than having to walk straight into the ER for what ever reason.  

So in the end, I don’t get to see the psychiatrist until December.  I am going to run out of meds before then. Praying that something works out before then. They can’t just leave me hanging, can they?

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Bad weeks

It’s been a rough week. For me to get a new psychiatrist I have to get a new therapist. Not happy about that. I can’t get a hold of my current psychiatrist to get me off this one stupid med that has put me in this cycle that is getting worse. I have spent to the last two days crying at work and today doesn’t feel like it’s going to be any different. I should take the day off but I can’t talk myself into it.  My mom and my therapist have been trying to talk me into calling off work. I just can’t.

I can do this. I have to do this.

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The things depression steals

I’m applying for a new job (yay!) and its one that encompasses one of my favorite parts of my job. (double yay!)

As I sit here writing my cover letter I’m reflecting on the past year and my job performance, I’ve come to the following conclusion:

Depression has kicked my ass this year. I didn’t take advantage of professional development opportunities. I missed the boat on a lot of things I should have done, or didn’t do them as well as I should have.  I should throw out there that 95% of the time I have unrealistic expectations for myself, but I truly believe I’m in the other 5% this time. I’m also going to blame it on the fact that I’m pulled in so many different directions in my job and apparently I don’t handle that as well as I thought I would.

This year, depression stole my ambition. I’m hoping I’m on the upswing right now and will find it again soon.

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Time for a new psychiatrist…

I was supposed to have an appointment last night to completely reevaluate my meds.

Supposed to.  

I got a text from my nurse practioner at 7:30am telling me she has to cancel. Again.  She cancels more often than not. In the year and a half that I’ve been seeing her there has probably been a handful of times she hasn’t cancelled on me. I was upset. Then I took thirty seconds and thought it through.

This woman is not reliable. She waits until the last minute to get me meds. Then I have to pick them up at various locations because she cancelled on me. We are at the point where she’s not sure what to do with me.  I find out from my mom that because she is a nurse practitioner I’m supposed to be seen every so many months by an actual psychiatrist.  I’m not. The last couple times she’s changed my meds its happened so quickly I’m not sure if the meds have had time to work. She has me on two different drugs that are new that insurance won’t cover so I have to live off samples.

After thinking this through I was pissed. Why the hell was I still seeing this woman?

I texted my therapist what happened and told her I was done seeing this lady and I’m finding a new one. She supports my decision.

I then called my mom and asked her to find someone for me because I had to go to work. (Also finding doctors is like my moms superpower. She apparently had to make approximately 20 phone calls to find someone. If I were not stable-ish and had to do that myself…..how could I? ) 

What I want to do is tell my nurse practitioner I’m done, get enough samples to last me until I can get an appointment with this doctor, and hope my stubborn side can save my ass while I wait. I am most definitely not doing any other med changes with this woman.

In the meantime I’m going to refine my symptom tracker, and make a list of all the medications I’ve tried, why I was put on them and why they were discontinued.  I can remember probably 95% of them. Then when I finally get an appointment I can just hand the doctor my notes.

So there you have it. The next chapter in my mental health saga.

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I love you, but you don’t get it.

Yesterday my sister came over for dinner. I mentioned the bullet journal I have to track my brain. We had the following conversation.

Me: yeah, so this is nice because I can just hand this to <therapist> and not have to try and remember everything.

Her: I used to write things down too. I only have to go to therapy once a month. I’m getting better. Maybe I won’t have to go at all soon. (She has anxiety. I think. I don’t actually know, she’s never told me).

Me: I’m jealous. I’ll probably never get to that point. I go every week.

Her: At least <therapist> is nice!

And then she changed the subject.

I love you sister, but this isn’t about you. And quit dismissing my struggles. You have no idea.

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