Tag Archives: medications

I never realized how depressed I was…

…until I tried fetzima and I could suddenly function again. I wish it had worked out better. Maybe one of the other two will work w/o such crappy side effects?

Seriously though, for the first time in a long time, I could get out and do things without extending a huge amount of emotional effort. I was so used to having to drag myself kicking and screaming to things that it felt normal. Sure, the med made me a bit hypomanic, but before that point… it was nice to be able to move off the couch, and be more social without dreading it. The anti-anxiety aspects helped also… too bad it started making me a bit psychotic.

I’ll have to talk to the nurse about something less intense (though I was only on the lowest dose, and for longer than they generally suggest).

Wtf with all these meds making me impulsive and suicidal? Can’t I just get the anti-anxiety & anti-depressant effects without all the added junk?

I miss functioning like a normal human being…


 Fun with meds (<–sarcasm) 

So… that new med I started is having a strange effect. I’m not sure I know how to describe it… 6 days in, and it feels like my brain is short-circuiting itself. I’m simultaneously experiencing a brain fog/wanting to sleep, and racing thoughts/insomnia/feeling hyper. It’s a very strange combination. My brain feels like it’s buzzing, but also like it’s stuck in thick mud… it doesn’t make sense though, because the two feelings shouldn’t be able to happen at once. They’re contradictory… 

I’m not sure I’m explaining it right, but I don’t really have words for this experience. 

L sees an improvement. I’ve moved off the couch and started doing things again, only I feel like I can’t stop. A few days ago, it was that agitated depression. Today it feels almost hypomanic (but through mud)… 

My brain is running circles around itself. In one moment, I can’t shut my thoughts off as they race around with the million things I need to do; in the next, I can’t stay awake another minute, and I can’t form words or sentences that make much sense (even just in thought). 

I feel like I’ve taken a massive dose of sedative and a massive dose of an upper, and they are both working full-strength at the same time. One takes over for a bit, then the other overpowers it. They go back and forth like that all day & night. 

I’m toying with the idea of at least telling the APRN what’s going on, but then I wonder if I’m not just being anxious about it all… I’ve crashed so hard on meds in the past, but I can’t remember if it felt like this. Maybe this is just my body adjusting to the med, and things will calm down shortly… but what if things don’t calm down? What if they get worse, and I miss the warning signs? I definitely don’t want to end up hospitalized again. It’s such a horrid experience, and they just push more meds. That would be the last thing I need…

Other than the psych side-effects, two of the physiological side effects are sticking out as noticeable. The main one is that my heart rate is definitely up by about 30bpm on average (it’s high to begin with). The other is not really one I care to talk about, but it’s sufficiently annoying…

I dunno. 

Maybe I should just text her to describe the brain buzzing/brain fog thing? Even if for no other reason than to express my frustrations about it… I might not be bothering her if Dr C were not away this week, but not having that other objective set of eyes makes me nervous… maybe just schedule the text for tomorrow so it doesn’t go to her at midnight, and hopefully feel better about at least having mentioned it to her? I dunno…


Every Little Thing – Carly Pearce

My current song obsession is “Every Little Thing” by Carly Pearce.

It’s written about a guy she wants to move on from, but the majority of lyrics can work for traumatic memories & flashbacks…

:shrugz:

I dunno.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, mostly because I haven’t really known what to write… lots has happened since I last wrote, and most is just stressful and overwhelming. I’m still not really sure what to write about any of it.

Currently in a depressive funk. Finally gave in and got med samples for a class of antidepressant I haven’t tried before (the most recent ones that they hadn’t released at the time I was last on medications 6 years ago). I got them last week. I haven’t taken them yet, still building the courage. The nurse and I are in agreement that if the impulsiveness shows up, I’m stopping the med instead of piling anything onto it… needless to say, I have very little faith in it 1) having any positive impact, and 2) not sending me into a terrible spiral… I might try them tonight, since I’ll have a few days without having to be at work or engaging in mandatory activities. The art show I’m a part of is closing Saturday, but I can probably make that 2 hour commitment unless side-effects are outrageously bad in 3 days (it’s been known to happen with me and meds, but supposedly this class of meds works better with my system. We’ll see).

This is also that time of year that is traditionally difficult. There are a handful of anniversaries that give me trouble at the beginning of summer. Hopefully it will all be over after the first week of July, and I can get back to dealing with the present stressors…

I dunno. I thought I’d be better by now. I thought I’d have my life together and I’d be back working in a field that I not only enjoy, but one in which I can make a decent wage… instead, I’m struggling to get to a part-time job 2 days a week that pays minimum wage, but should at least be fun. I’m not even sure I know what fun means anymore. L showed me a video this morning that she found hilarious. I think, if I weren’t so down, I’d probably have found it hilarious too… :/

I’m just so tired and spent. I’m sure L is even more spent… I’m ready for 2017 to be over, and for things to greatly improve.


well then…

That day of respite from all the heaviness yesterday is over today. I’m trying so hard to beat this thing. Is there treatment that actually works?? I’m doing the behavioral stuff I’ve learned over the years, going to outpatient therapy, doing meditation…

Meds tend to make things worse, but I am about ready to give them another try. Worst case I totally tank on them and everything finally ends.

I just don’t know anymore.

The only suggestions I keep getting from my treatment providers is to keep doing the stuff I’m doing, it’s just not helping…


Every demon has it’s reasons **triggering**

This post has been hanging out in its infancy stages in my draft folder since April… I keep meaning to add to it, to flesh it out, but I have trouble articulating.  I think I am just going to hit post and hope for the best. I know I didn’t say everything I wanted to, but maybe this can be an ongoing thought process.   TRIGGER WARNING for talk of child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence…

Recently I’ve been seeing that a county in Florida is posting “public service announcement” signs declaring the residence of sexual predators as such. I’m filled with mixed emotions in this. The survivor in me is happy that others will know, but the clinician in me cringes.

As someone effected by sexual violence, I want others to know that it’s not ok if it’s being done to them. It’s not ok to ever be hurt like that. It’s not ok to live with that fear. I want to be able to spot a “predator” from miles away and warn anyone that may come into contact with them. I don’t ever want anyone to go through anything like that again.  I want all failsafes in place to forever prevent situations like that. I want that as a professional also. I hate to see clients hurt like that. I want to stop the cycle of abuse and victimization. I want to be out of a job (or the prospect of a job, since I don’t currently work). I understand all too intimately the struggles of victims. I know the emotional torture these situations can bring about.  I know the lasting effects af assault and abuse.  I have taught classes on the effects of trauma.  I have interjected my personal experiences to these theoretical classes.  I can speak with some authority on it, but I wish I couldn’t. So totally I understand the need to point out dangerous people and situations.

The other side of me however, balks at the idea of signs proclaiming the presence of a “sex offender” plastered outside their homes. Don’t get me wrong, I most certainly do not ever want to see anyone else harmed like that, but I also know (from training and experience) that most sex offenders have some sort of trauma history.  Most offenders did not get to the point of harming someone else without first being harmed themselves.  Take the story of Aileen Wuornos (made into a movie, Monster, in 2003). She was one of a handful of female serial killers who murdered men in Florida.  She was tried, found guilty, and executed in 2002.  On the surface, she was a horrifically scary woman who seemed to kill her “johns” for no reason.  But if you dig into her story, you find a scared, damaged little girl who responded to the world in the only way that made sense to her at the time.  No, not all (or any? I can’t remember the full story at the moment) of the men she killed harmed her, but several others did.

I think there’s a very fine line that keeps some victims from becoming perpetrators themselves.  Many of us don’t ever cross that line, but some teeter on the edge, and some do cross it.  And not everyone that crosses that line is dangerous.  I worked in a clinic once where a “sexual predator” was receiving services.  To most people, he was a sick bastard who like to get off under women’s windows, or in the backyard by the kids toys.  He was arrested several times for exposing himself and “voyeurism”.  When he came to the clinic, he was quiet and shy.  He looked and acted more like a wounded animal than anything else.  Once he opened up to his clinician, we quickly figured out why he was doing the things he did.  Initially, all but one of the clinicians that had been asked to work with him had refused to do so.  Because of so many being reluctant to engage the client due to prejudices, his case was used in on-going training everyone at the office was required to attend.  The first training had almost all staff leaving either in tears or in a slight fog.  We were floored by the horrific abuse this man endured as a child.  One of his many punishments was being stripped naked and tied outside by his penis for hours at a time in all sorts of weather, and for seemingly innocuous “transgressions” (eating outside of a meal time, taking more food than allowed, not returning home at the appropriate time, simply existing).  He lived this his entire life.  No one made a move to take the child out of the abusive situation. No one helped him when he was “bad”. In turn, he learned that exposure and sexual discomfort were appropriate punishments for being “bad”, and that being bad could be as simple as thinking the wrong thing, or being early/late by a few minutes.  He learned to punish himself. After he grew up, he would stand outside a family’s home and expose himself.  He would stand there until someone called the police, or until he felt he had been sufficiently punished (sometimes hours in the snow). He replayed the same abuse he grew up with, only we didn’t see that part of his story.  All we saw was “some creep” being inappropriate around families, and it scared us… I still cry thinking of his story.

There’s a huge disparity in the treatment provided to victims vs offenders.  This is evident not only in the way we treat sex offenders, but in the way we treat perpetrators of domestic violence, or anyone in the criminal justice system.  We tend to forget that traumas wound deeply. Sustained traumas or early traumas tend to wound more deeply than later ones, but all of them have long-lasting effects on the people who experience them.  I think a good recent attempt at illustrating this is the Netflix show Orange is the New Black.  While it centers on one woman’s journey through the prison system, it does a good job of telling the stories of others also.  The characters we are introduced to as vile and unsavory turn out to be some really endearing and struggling women.  I don’t like every character on the show, and I don’t agree with all their life choices, but I can understand them.  And the show reminds me to take a breath before judging someone.  I try to let the anger wash over me, but then wash away.  I try to remember this for myself also when I get too down on my actions and behaviors.  I could easily have been one of those perpetrators with a sign in front of my house, but I’m not.  I had the presence of mind (and the support of others) to realize that certain actions are not ok.  I wasn’t pushed as far as some others have been, but that does not mean that if I had been in their exact situation I would have behaved differently.  I still very much struggle with the concept of some of the thoughts I used to have as a child.  It’s something I had only started admitting to De very recently, and only in the most vague sense (there is SO MUCH shame around it).  But I think it’s very important to realize every action or inaction has a reason. The more I learn about trauma and abuse, the more I deal with in my own personal life, the more I begin to think that the “nature” side of the debate is less and less pivotal than the “nurture” side of things.  Yes, there are very much differences in the way people are wired. There are different levels of sensitivity and resilience that have no known root in nurture, but nurture goes a long way in dictating the rest of our lives.  Had I not had the conversations with my mom and aunt that I did as a kid, had I not overheard their conversations, or seen the way they and others reacted to some horrific stuff, I doubt I would have set out on this “different” path than some others who became perpetrators.  I could have easily become the violent and out-of-control “monster” my father was (and still can be). I could have easily been in jail by now, but I’m not.  And I’m thankful for that every day…

I don’t want anyone to think that this blog is meant to advocate no punishment, or no consequences for actions, because that is certainly NOT my intent.  I just want to get wheels turning and people thinking.  I want to advocate compassion in everyday life, and an awareness that sometimes acting out is just the tip of the iceberg.  There are certainly people who are beyond scary. There are people who will likely not benefit from treatment or leniency, but there are also a lot of hurting people out there in the world.  I think we need more compassion for that…

I’m suddenly reminded of a TED talk that I first heard about last year or the year before.  It’s a different way to look at mental illness, and it speaks about “psychosis” with similar insight. It’s definitely worth a listen (or re-listen). Abuse and trauma has long-lasting effects, and maybe as a society, we need to start being more trauma-informed when dealing with perpetrators of abuses and crimes. We certainly need an over-haul to the mental health system in this country.


coercion as standard “best practice” (vent/rant)

I thought about this all weekend.  I finally worked up the courage/resolve to call the IOP  that had refused to let me back.  In speaking with the case manager (who had never actually met with me in the 2 days I had been there), I was told that any consideration of readmission would depend on my agreement to take psychotropic medications.  She heard/listened to nothing beyond me refusing meds. I tried to explain that I have had really bad experiences on meds, and they tend to de-stabilize me more than I can do on my own.  I tried to tell her that I am better able to control my impulses and urges to harm myself when I am not taking anything. She brought up the meds I was discharged on from my inpatient stay.  I reminded her that I had only been given something for sleep.  I told her the only medication I was willing to take would be something as needed (for sleep or anxiety).  She tried to tell me that antidepressants were not PRN meds, to which I responded that I was not willing to take antidepressants.  She clarified that I was looking only for a program to provide support and not med management, then reiterated that I would not be accepted back to their program if I did not agree to take medications.  She asked if I had kept the med appointment the hospital discharged me with.  I told her again that I was not willing to take medication on a regular basis, so I did not want to waste my time (and a doctor’s) on a useless appointment.  The case manager told me she will call the original program she had mentioned to the hospital social worker to confirm whether or not they accepted my insurance.  She said that she would get back to me by the end of the day.

After I hung up with her, I thought of who I may be able to contact about my change in presentation once off meds.  Clearly, because I have an mh diagnosis and am refusing medications, I must not know what I am talking about and simply be resistant to treatment.  I need a professional with credentials to tell them that I tried way too many meds, and they all just mess with me.  I think I may contact the IOP I attended several times and ask for my records.  I may also contact my old therapist and see if she would be willing to speak with whichever service provider I end up trying to utilize…

When the case manager called back with some referral numbers for me, we again spoke a bit about medication options and the things I had tried.  She spewed one of my most hated lines: “There has to be some combination or med that you have not tried that would work, you just have to find it.”  Why is it so difficult to understand that I am no longer willing to put my life on the line to go through more chemicals that make me worse instead of better?  Why is it so difficult to believe that meds do not work for everyone, and sometimes people just need support and talking?  The other numbers she gave me also all have a med requirement… ugh!  Maybe if I just tell them I am willing to sit down with a psychiatrist to talk about options, I will be able to get in somewhere?  The issue then becomes whether or not they discharge me for refusing to take anything.  L had suggested I accept a prescription for something along the lines of citalopram (Celexa) and just never fill the script or take the med.  I don’t want to lie to my providers.  That just seems counter-productive.  I may end up having to do that though.  I really still want the added support of a day program at least through the holidays.

The practice of forcing people into a corner to get them to take medication is very frustrating, and I will argue also very unethical. Why is it so common practice in mental health?  A physician could not coerce me this way if it were for a physical ailment.  I am allowed to search for non-medical alternatives to physical ailments, but it is out of the question for mental illness.  I hate that they are allowed (and encouraged legally) to force unwanted treatment, even to the detriment of the client/patient…


back

Things came to a head last Wednesday, and I asked to go inpatient.  I got out yesterday evening.  My brain’s a bit numb at the moment.

It was an “interesting” experience.  The doctor became highly irritated when I said I only wanted the physical safety/containment without any meds.  He wasn’t listening to begin with, but then walked out as I was trying to explain to him why I was refusing meds.  Despite going in voluntarily, they set me to involuntary status as soon as I told then I was suicidal.  They changed that status back to voluntary the following day on the unit.

I have to say, as frustrating as the hospitals were up north, they are so much worse down here.  The doctors talk to you in passing.  There is no contact with the social worker outside of the initial bio-psycho-social assessment they rush through in 20 minutes or less.  There is no discussion about after-care that I was involved in (they simply told me what they were setting up, without ever asking me what I may be looking for or explaining their rationale).

Most of the stay was bearable, however I had difficulties with flashbacks one night.  I had already refused my sleep meds (I hated the way they made me feel, and the dose he had me on knocked me out for the whole rest of the next day) when they started.  I had no way to ground myself.  The day room had been closed for the night.  None of the staff wanted to talk to me (I’m sure they figured I was just trying to be difficult).  When I asked the nurse if I could still get the Trazodone, she told me she had already sent it back to the pharmacy and marked it as refused.  She said she “knew” I would change my mind about my refusal but did not want to re-order the med.  I told her I was having unexpected difficulties with flashbacks, and really needed some help to quiet them.  She sent me back to bed dismissively.   I chose to walk the halls, as it was lessening them a bit.  Finally, the tech came out of the nurse’s station to ask what was wrong.  When I told her, she insisted that I needed to pray.  I expressed my difference in opinion and requested that she refrain from talking to me about religion.  She continued to try to convince me that I needed to “turn to god” to get through things, all the while telling me it was my responsibility to have left the abusive relationships in my life… I must have asked her 5 times to stop before I finally walked away.  I returned to my room to sit on the bed (since walking the halls was no longer an option without being preached at).  The nurse arrived a few minutes later to tell me she had re-ordered my sleep med (at least the tech helped me out by talking to her).  The nurse proceeded to ask about the flashbacks, but chastised me for “allowing the assaults to happen”.  She told me I should no longer be effected by any of it, and that 17 years was long enough to “get over it… especially since it was [my] fault.” She also mentioned my lack of faith in her “god” as a reason I was still struggling with all of this.  She told me that, had I gone to the police (and church), I would be better off by now.  I took the meds and returned to bed.

It never ceases to amaze me how bigoted and just plain ignorant some people in the mental health profession can be.  It has taken me years to come to terms with not claiming all of the blame for myself.  I know I should have gotten out of the relationship sooner.  I know I should have told someone.  I know I should have been more forceful in my “no”.  But I wasn’t.  I can’t change that now…  and no amount of religious belief would have changed it, ever.

Needless to say, I’m glad I’m out.  It did what it needed to (get me over the hump of the worst of the suicidal thinking), and now I’m ready to move on.  I was not accepted back into the IOP program, as they deem me too much of a “risk”.  No other local program will accept my type of state insurance, so I will not be doing any type of day program (though the support would be nice).  De was off yesterday, so I am not sure if she will be referring me out or not.  They hooked me up for meds with the one place I refuse to have dealings.  I will not be following through with that appointment.  (I also refuse to take meds that only serve to make me more of a risk to myself).  I’m pretty much back where I started in terms of supports assuming I can still see De for individual.  The mental health care system down here needs some serious over-haul.

Also, I was reminded again of the dismissive attitude of health care workers when you are struggling with mental illness.  My cold returned while on the unit, and it took me being unable to get through the 30 seconds with the doctor without coughing violently to finally get cough medicine.  I asked to get something for an ear-ache and sore throat as well, but my requests were flat-out ignored.  I asked my nurse each shift, I asked the doctor, and I told the techs (hoping ONE of them would at least believe me) to no avail.  They seem to think all symptoms are a result of my diagnosis, and nothing other than that needs to be addressed.  I will end up having to find a walk-in clinic that takes my insurance and hope that they will be able to do something for the ear ache…  I miss my providers up north, at least they listened.