This totally just fucking happened.
I can’t tell if she just didn’t notice because we were just having a casual conversation or if she’s so polite as to not call me out on my amazing comment. THIS IS WHY I LIKE TO SPELL THINGS OUT PROPERLY HOLY SHIT
So yeah, in case you were wondering, despite all the dumb shit I deal with, I still have time to be completely socially awkward.
I’ve been waiting to wrap up my story; kind of rolling it around in my mind about how I would end this tale of crazy. During my nearly month long procrastination session, I’ve discovered something that’s been eating away at me: There isn’t really an end to this, is there? This brain melt is something that I am going to have to live with and monitor and be forever vigilant. I really want to wake up one day and just be not crazy. But then the reality sets in and I know that if I really felt that way, it would probably mean I was ultra-mega-man crazy.
I started this draft on 10/31 and I’m just now getting back to it today on 11/9.
I’ll get back to all the other details in another post because right now I want to talk about what kind of horrible garbage it is to get mental health treatment. Basically,
I was released from the hospital on May 12; that was exactly 182 days ago. Ideally, with any sort of long term chronic illness, you want to get better, not worse. When I was being treated at the hospital, I literally felt as if a fog was being lifted from me. It had been such a ridiculously long time since I had felt anything other than suicidal. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t like I was going around with razor blades sticking out of my wrists or anything. I was however, faking every thing. Every second I was alone, even if it was just going to the bathroom, felt like a palpable darkness. It’s amazing how different you feel and perceive the world when your brain functions properly. The part of my depression that takes the biggest toll on me is knowing that the line is so thin between well and not well. The realization of all of those thoughts. The knowledge of what kind of impact your suicide would have on others when you’re well, and the complete disregard for it when you’re unwell. This is how I imagined my life would be emotionally after proper medication:
I thought I’d be at normal-ish now. Not what I’d consider a “happy” person, but stable and for lack of a better phrase “okay with stuff”. I knew I’d hit some unrealistic peak while my medication was being adjusted and I knew it would be difficult. Easing back into a “normal” routine when just a few days/weeks/months ago I knew exactly how I’d kill myself. I’m a planner and a list maker and this was no exception. But now I should be better! Thing should go as planned! I should be better equipped!
Yeah, no, not so much.
The first hiccup was on the day of discharge from the hospital. Discharge instructions: follow up with a psychiatrist. Poof! Easy! Again, not so much. No referrals or suggestions and the doctor I saw in the hospital was a geriatric psychiatrist. Super great but also super busy. I asked flat out if he would see me and he said he only saw geriatric patients. The social worker said “oh, just tell them you were just discharged and they’ll work you in”. Who? Anyone? Everyone? Yeah…
It took two months for me see a psychiatrist. I had serious criteria though: they had to take my insurance and they had to have not treated me like shit in the past. Oh, they also had to be open to doing some crazy shit like setting up a new patient appointment with me. This immediately ruled out three doctors in my area, (one didn’t take my insurance, one was a dick to me when I tried to seek help before and one absolutely did not take insurance and charged $275 per hour. And he was booked through September). Yikes. I worked with my primary care to at least refill the medications I was prescribed in the hospital, so thank the universe for small favors.
Second hiccup: the doctor I ended up with. He was recommended by my therapist based on what previous patients had noted. Luckily for me, it seems that as I started to go to him, all kinds of garbage started getting back to her about how shitty he was. He changed my diagnosis. He took me off of drug A (of A, B and C prescribed in the hospital). Then after an initial increase , he replaced drug B and C with drug D. Drug D gave me a possible allergic reaction so he put me back on…only drug C, even though drug B and C are generally used in tandem. You lost yet? Then he added drug E. And at my last visit he took me off of drug D and E cold turkey and put me on drug F. Drug F has only been FDA approved and on the market since November 2013. This all happened within a five month span. Guess how well drug F is working?
For two weeks now I’ve been running the gamut of standard side effects: diarrhea cha-cha-cha, vomiting, diarrhea and vomiting at the same time! Another side effect is a runny nose which I totally scoffed at but paid for it when I realized that a constant runny nose puts me right back to drainage down the back of my throat and into my lungs and coughing like I have pneumonia. I did get a nice infection and while the ever loving azithromyacin did its job, the cough never went away. TMI: the kind of cough that is so uncontrollable that you pee your pants. I AM A PLEASANT AND DAINTY LADY.
Also, one of the side effects is literally “possible increases in manic behavior”. Who? Me? Totally immune to the effects of drugs, sleeping two hours a night if I’m lucky, hopping on the deck and flopping like a fish (okay, it maybe just feels that way, but constant fidgeting), racing thoughts. And let’s just put that all on top of the suicidal thoughts that I’ve been having since the ridiculous medication roller coaster starting falling off the tracks.
I have not been a silent okay, doctor, anything you say, doctor, you know best, doctor kind of patient. What I have been is a patient patient. I had to have some faith that this guy wasn’t out to kill me and I was prepared for (and terrified of) a lengthy test period to find out just the right dosages/meds that I would need. But every time I’d question something he would give me a relatively sensible answer as to why he wanted this drug or this dose or this diagnosis. I’m not a doctor so at some point I had to defer to what should have been a professional with many years of experience. I do know that he took me off of medications without even the slightest adjustment. I do know that he likes to look at his phone when I’m in his office. I do know that at some point after my hospital stay I was getting better slowly but surely but has been steadily declining and now plummeting with the addition of this new drug. I was thisclose to going back to the hospital and that was the worst feeling in the world And I do know that I am 100% done because I literally can’t even.
My primary care is not comfortable changing my medication and I respect that. I do. But I don’t have a new psych appointment until 11/24 with one of the only doctors that takes my insurance (I have United Healthcare, not some weird sold-out-of-the-back-of-a-van insurance). I am on the waiting list for the doctor that I want to see locally….in December. I’ll get a call.
So I’m doing the thing that I’m not supposed to do: I’ve stopped taking drug whatthefuckever. I’m going to see if I have enough of my old medication to get me through to the next appointment and take that. My primary care is waiting on a call back from the psychiatrist to get an opinion for dosing but who knows. I have a good primary doctor that genuinely cares if I’m well or not and he likes my jokes so he’s pretty much all I could ask for in a person that has to hear me describe pooping and peeing and puking on a regular basis. I AM A DELICATE FLOWER. Yes, I know that stopping medication suddenly is bad news, but killing myself is generally regarded as bad, too and unfortunately that’s where I’m headed if I stay on this medication. I haven’t puked in like, a whole day now and I am slowly becoming less fidgety. I’ll also have you know that I only had to change my pants twice today which is an insane improvement.
I want to blog about less dumb stuff, but oh well for now. I will eventually finish my story, hopefully not in about 65 or so more years.
I mean, I guess today is October as well. October, too. October Two.
I’m not done with my story, but I’m a real slackass if you haven’t noticed. In the mean time, let me tell you about October first. October, first.
Autumn is my favorite time of year. Period. Winter is a super close second and only gets second place because it comes so late in the year. Autumn is the time for knitting, football, pumpkin pie everything, Halloween, Thanksgiving and FOOD. The cooler weather is the herald of hibernation season and it is the time for stews and chilies. I had decided that October First would hence be known as Chili Day. Truthfully, I was planning on making chili like, every day before that day but it was so stupid hot. You can eat chili when it’s in the upper 80s, but why would you want to? Long story short: Wednesday was the first and I was bound and determined to make some goddamned chili.
And then disaster struck.
Meat, sausage, onions, and garlic in the pot. Making good sounds and good smells. Time for dry ingredients: chili powder, flour, salt, all the other stuff. Bullshit thing number 1: I was out of chili powder. What in the holy hell? I’ve got 4 lbs of meat cooking on the stove and no chili powder. I’m the worst. THE WORST.
I decide I’m going to mix the rest of the stuff so everything is ready and prepared: 1. go to the store, 2. get chili powder, 3. ?, 4. profit. Time was ticking because Wednesday is Tae Kwon Do day and chili takes forever if you want it to be chili-y so I was scrambling. Time to add the salt to the dry mix! Yay! Open the mini metal drawbridge on the cardboard can and pour. Then the real fucking disaster struck:
This. Thing. Was. In. The. Salt. The can was closed. THIS THING WAS ALIVE. Suddenly, salt. Salt everywhere. This piece of shit stink bug flew up towards my face and by sheer force of will and screaming did it fall down into the bowl again with the flour and everything else but chili powder. I had to flush a bowl of flour and bug into the toilet. I was over 9000% done. NO chili powder. The meat was cooled and put in the fridge and I made chili today sans motherfucking flying stink bug and it was delicious.
Today also marked the first trip to the eye doctor in 3 years. The glasses I have been wearing are at least one year older than that–my prescription wasn’t that different and I wore contacts most of the time so there was no real reason to buy glasses. I have been meaning to go, and I desperately needed to. I am near-sighted with astigmatism and I couldn’t see the damn cable guide from the bed. SRS BSNS. Also, as I was laying in the dark, I noticed that my right eye’s vision was obscured by a shadow. Not a floater, not a solid black, but a shadow. My left eye was fine. I panicked, looked in the mirror, shined lights in my eyes, used eye drops, sacrificed a goat–the whole nine yards. I was crying because I was sure I was going blind.
The doctor was great, checked everything, not going blind. Did not have a retinal detachment. Did not have glaucoma. Could not confirm if I saw a ghost. Two out of three ain’t bad. The astigmatism in my right eye was literally double the amount of bad it was last time (I have no idea how they measure it, but it was double) AND I could probably use some reading glasses. Yay. She was funny though, “as we become more wise…” instead of “bitch you old”. Free pair of contacts. Much like the first shot of heroin is free to try because YOU WILL DEFINITELY NEED MORE.
I have other medical conditions that can screw up my eye-bowls so I always get them dilated whether I want contact lenses or not (I doooo). It is always hilarious because I always feel like this:
For those of you with eyes that actually work, they put drops in your eyes that sting just a smidge and after about 10 minutes you can’t read a thing. Too much light going into your eye. The best part was having my seven year old was read the price tags of the frames and lamenting the cost (why are they over $200? That’s crazy!) and critiquing every pair I picked up.
Not enough color.
I also got to wear the cool sunglasses they give you when your eyes are dilated, and by sunglasses, I mean a strip of curled darkened plastic that wraps around your head. I looked awesome, as always. So all in all, a decent day.
I will update and finalize my hospital experience soon. In the mean time I’m just trying to live this life.
The first night I was actually admitted to the mental health unit of the hospital, it was already late, around 10 PM. I spoke to a nurse and had to tell my whole life story yet again. He felt so bad he just hugged me and let me cry. I was scared and totally alone. I wouldn’t talk to my husband. I never told him where I was–at that point, I was sure he didn’t care. I rememer wanting to scream “this is all a mistake!” but obviously I didn’t. That would sound crazy.
I just wanted some peace and to sleep in a quiet bed. I had just a few hours of sleep in the previous two days. Yeah…. it’s nice to want things. First, the air conditioning was broken and no one seemed to realize it. I’m already a very warm natured person–my home A/C is set between 68 and 70 F. I had no idea the temperature in the ward but it didn’t help that my bed (and every piece of furniture) was basically vinyl/rubber with a single sheet on it. There was never any air circulation so each night I was there I would drench the sheets and my hospital gown with sweat. This repeated each day and night until the day I was released.
The first night was one of the worst ones. My roommate was an older woman and I honestly have no idea what her diagnosis was. She hardly spoke, save for the occasional belting out of Unbreak My Heart which earned her the nickname Toni Braxton. When she did talk, I could barely understand her. That first night I went to bed first, too scared and upset to really talk to anyone. I had my eyes closed when I first heard her come in. I pretended to sleep while she sat on her bed and stared at me. It wasn’t so much the noise or her presence that made me start to panic, but the smell of an unchanged adult diaper. It may sound like an exaggeration but the smell brought tears to my eyes. First, I have a very good sense of smell and it was overwhelmingly disgusting; secondly, it was a stark reminder of where I was. I wanted to be out of there so badly. I didn’t belong there! And then I cried because I did belong there. When the smell would disappate, she’d move and a whole new wave of stench was released. She left the room and wandered the hallway. She’d come in and lay on the bed with her shoes on, get up, wander around. When I did finally fall asleep, I woke up again to hear and smell her coming into the room. She went to our bathroom and did…something. I can honestly say I have no idea what she was doing but the smell was making me gag and the sound was simply awful. Later I heard a nurse helping her get cleaned up. In the morning I made sure to ask if the bathroom had been fully cleaned before going in because it literally sounded like the entire bathroom had been sprayed from floor to ceiling.
After what seemed like an eternity (but in reality was one or two days) I was able to have a short conversation with my husband and asked him to bring me some clothes. Mind you, it was my choice to not speak with him. He would call and try to speak to me and I wasn’t having anything of it. It wasn’t until I had been on new medications could I bring myself to call him. I had only the clothes I went into the hospital with: jeans, sandals, tank top, a hooded sweatshirt and underthings. It took the nurses about a day and a half to wash my clothes so I’d take showers and put the dirty clothes back on which I found disgusting. I don’t even like putting socks back on after I’ve worn them, even if it was just for a little while. I’m just weird like that. It feels dirty. Those dirty clothes, worn for about four days in a row, smelling of sweat and hospital, really highlighted how awful things were. I didn’t allow any visitors, so a nurse delivered the clothes to me. It made a world of difference, this small, petty thing that I had always taken for granted. The very same day as my new clothes came and I was feeling ever so slightly less shitty (at least clean), a nurse who didn’t bother to read which patient was in which bed decided to dress my roommate. In my clothes. Which she subsequently shit and piss in. All I wanted to do was cry and scream at the nurse that she was dumb shit but I was too afraid to. Everything I did was prefaced with “will they think I’m crazy if I do this/say this/? I didn’t want to be an asshole because it wasn’t my roommate’s fault and I sure as hell didn’t want to be one of the “screamers”.
Another night I had to leave my room because there was a giant cockroach in my room. Not just like, eww, a bug, but three-plus inches of cockroach. On the wall. Above my bed. It was like a conspiracy to make my hospital stay the worst experience of my life.
I didn’t scream (again, let’s not be crazy) and I got two nurses. They were unconcerned until they saw it in all its gigantic horror. They made a valiant attempt to fight it but THEY LOST IT IN MY ROOM. Did I mention this was on the wall OVER MY BED? WHERE I SLEEP? They said I should just not worry about it and go to bed. Are you kidding me? Even now, thinking back four months ago, it gives me the creeps. One of the nurses who was equally as terrified as I stood by my side as we gingerly tore the blanket and sheet off the bed, shook out the pillows, moved my nightstand/drawers out into the hallway. You know, just in case. They then locked my clothes wardrobe which made me laugh, as if that would keep the cockroach out (or in!) there. I slowly calmed myself down and tried to go back to sleep. Eventually had to go to the bathroom and lo and behold there he was, sitting in the corner of the room waiting for me. Back to the nurses who then called a male nurse from another floor to come and kill it. He laughed at us. I absolutely didn’t care. It was funny and would have been even more hilarious if it wasn’t happening to me. It was the first times I felt normal there, able to laugh at my own panic, knowing that others were having the same feelings. All over a giant cockroach.
Not all of my stay was bad, and again, it was necessary. More on that another day.