Tag Archives: mental-health

“Out of the norm”

So much better today! Still got a touch of vertigo, and congested, but the brain zaps and the psychotic thoughts are mostly gone.

It’s nuts what some of these meds can do to people…

How many unsuspecting folks take drugs prescribed to them, hoping to feel better, but end up with something so much worse? How many people find themselves trapped in a vortex of side effects that medical professionals insist are not side effects simply because they are out of the norm?

For all we have advanced in medicine, we still know so little about so much of what goes on in our bodies.

I tend to be weirdly sensitive to meds; some work way better than they should, while others work in very weird ways. My reaction to gabapentin is just one example. I’ll also sleep for 3 days straight with 5mg of haldol; meloxicam works like speed when I first take it; geodon & abilify have a heavy intoxication effect; mood stabilizers, antidepressants, and gabapentin make me hypomanic & psychotic; Novocaine only works at really high levels, but then it takes forever to wear off…

My body works differently than most doctors expect, yet they dismiss my experiences and chalk them up to mental illness because they don’t fit the mold.

I’ve had more than one doctor deny my sore throat, because it didn’t look inflamed when I complained about it. Then they are surprised if I walk in with all the physical symptoms of one, but I don’t feel the pain anymore because the swelling and redness show up after it no longer hurts.

Having “norms” to judge disease by is great, as long as the person in front of you fits the norm.

There are people out there with low baseline blood pressure. Unless they’ve been seen & measured at their normal baseline, no one will figure out that what looks like normal blood pressure for everyone else is really high for them (and that’s only assuming they’ve seen the same provide or group enough to establish a lower baseline, and have it flag for said provider when it goes up).

Anyway, I wandered off on a tangent, sorry.

Keep advocating for yourself out there. Know that not everyone fits the “norms” medicine has established, and sometimes you might need to put your foot down if you are not being heard. I’ve been lucky enough to find providers that are willing to listen, and people willing to help me advocate for myself. Hope you can find that too. You got this!

(Sorry, brain is still a bit zappy & foggy, so this might not make the best of sense)

holy links batman!

Ok, so in a (seemingly futile) effort to find an article on parenting to the emotional needs of your child that my brother wanted to read, I keep stumbling across a bunch of other stuff I want to read. I have no time at the moment to devote to the tons of articles I’m finding, however I do want to save them for later. If I simply bookmark them, I’ll never look at them again…

So, in case anyone else is also interested, here’s a dump of some of the stuff I came across today. I have not read any of them yet, so I dunno how useful or interesting they are, but either the topic or title piqued my interest:

now that I have those written down, time to hurry my butt up and get to work – doggie play day!!!! ūüėÄ I love when my boss puts me into camp.

Oh, also, if anyone finds any articles on parenting to the emotional needs of your kids, could you link me to them? a week later and I still can’t find the article I’m looking for. The wealth of info available on the internet is amazing, but quite overwhelming at times!

frustrations with the system…

It was suggested that I call the state to see if they could help a bit more with my insurance through them. ¬†As it stands, I need to run up monthly medical bills of more than $1068 before my insurance kicks in. ¬†This makes it nearly impossible to go to the doctor for anything unless I head to the emergency room. ¬†Aside of being a huge inconvenience, it ends up costing the state more. ¬†If they simply covered my doctor’s appointments at a PCP, they would not be paying over a grand when I need medical attention. ¬†As it is, I will be heading to the ER after therapy today so I can get this vertigo figured out. ¬†It’s interfering with my ability to drive or concentrate, which is a huge inconvenience. I can’t be upright for more than 15-20 minutes without starting to feel buzzed and dizzy. ¬†It also happens when there’s too much activity around (heavy traffic, a lot of people moving around) ¬†It brings about dissociation by virtue of being so disorienting. ¬†Everything starts to spin and wobble. ¬†I’m relying on others to drive me because I had 2 scary close-calls over the last 2 weeks. ¬†One day I ran a red light and nearly plowed into a bunch of crossing traffic (no idea where my head was, but the light looked green to me). ¬†The other time I backed into bushes without realizing it, as if I had been driving while drunk. ¬†I can’t risk losing my license or worse: hurting someone… I wish I could just go to a doctor’s office, but they would charge too much for me to afford, but not enough to meet my “share of cost”…

I looked into the healthcare marketplace, but everything is prohibitively expensive per month, with outrageous co-pays and deductibles higher than I make in a year. ¬†How is any of this helpful to someone? ¬†I heard there was potentially “free” insurance, but it’s all via tax credit which translates to having to pay up-front, then being given a credit on my taxes. ¬†That would be fine and dandy if I 1) had the money up front to pay all that, and 2) didn’t already have a tax exemption due to being on disability… It was a great theory, but only for the insurance companies who are now guaranteed customers because we get fined if we don’t buy it. ¬† Thanks for looking out for the big guy.

100-theme challenge 2014

I have participated in 100-theme challenges twice now, and I really liked some of what I produced because of them. ¬†This year however, I wanted to put my own spin on things. ¬†I wanted to come up with one myself. ¬†A lot of my list can be interpreted in therapeutic ways (though admittedly, some were inspired by objects/events in the living room at the time of its creation), so I thought I would post it here in case anyone wants to participate. ¬†The rules are simple: interpret the prompt however you see fit. ¬†You can choose to post your work publicly somewhere, or keep it to yourself. ¬†It can be in any form you wish as long as it can be considered creative in some way (drawing, painting, sculpting, writing, music, sounds, pictures, words, collages, performance, anything). ¬†It’s really just supposed to give you topics you may not have thought of on your own to help spark creativity… I have liked the challenges in the past because I did things I never expected to do. ¬†It forced me to take time out for creativity and story-telling. ¬†Since I have been focusing more on my own art therapy of late, I figured this next one could be a way to help me express to De what I need to get out. ¬†I will try to post anything I do of relevance. ¬†I must warn you however, I go in spurts with these things. ¬†Sometimes a whole bunch of work will show up at once, other times, there will be months without anything. ¬†What I’m trying to say is: don’t hold your breathe for me to get the list finished in a timely manner. ¬†I have had 2013’s list for the past year and only this past month have I started it… ¬†I really liked that list though, so I will continue working on that one as well (rather than incorporate stuff from that list into this one).

Without further adieu, here’s my 2014 100-theme challenge:

1) candlelight
2) magnified
3) left standing
4) aftermath
5) breaking ground or ground breaking?
6) reaching out
7) trust
8) broken
9) in the daylight (everything is different)
10) rats in the walls
11) shattered
12) open to interpretation
13) flashbacks
14) heaviness
15) lighter than air
16) combustion
17) lights
18) hope/hopeless
19) under pressure
20) disclosure
21) history
22) presence
23) disappearing from…
24) gone away
25) at the dinner table
26) unbalanced
27) highlights
28) even snakes get the blues
29) enlightenment
30) despair
31) rave with me
32) the itch you can’t scratch
33) slippery slope
34) in my travels
35) it’s the end of the world
36) here there be dragons
37) firefight
38) spirals/spiraling
39) a blank canvas
40) just a thought
41) reflections
42) big trouble
43) happiness
44) wrath
45) associations
46) to the world
47) on the inside
48) truth in advertising
49) memory
50) deception
51) hollow
52) survival
53) turmoil
54) bad choices
55) comfort
56) falling (is like this)
57) open up
58) feety pajamas
59) what would you do?
60) superpowers
61) once upon a time
62) AWOL
63) hunger
64) the light’s gone out
65) running
66) awareness
67) transition
68) humility
69) conscience
70) memorable
71) convergence
72) destroy
73) buildings and bridges
74) the last time
75) vision
76) burning bridges
77) why
78) the first time
79) meditation
80) technology
81) walls
82) containment
83) distraction
84) anxiety
85) heart
86) it hurts like this
87) play it again
88) talk to me
89) open book
90) animals
91) brutality
92) nature
93) family
94) obsession
95) release
96) skeletons
97) peak performance
98) water
99) drowning
100) rescue
In case anyone is interested, the list I’m working on for 2013 is this (I think I have pieces to cover 7 of the topics… I’m seriously slacking!):
1. Break Away 2. Bites the Dust 3. Innocence 4. Drive 5. Sound of Settling 6. Mother Nature 7. No Time 8. Standing Still 9. Two Roads 10. Foreign 11. Breaking the Silence 12. Keeping a Secret 13. Blind Man’s Bluff 14. Waltzing 15. Traps 16. Mischief Managed 17. Lazy Days 18. Hot/Cold 19. Anyone Out There? 20. Seeing Red 21. Through the Fire 22. Between the Raindrops 23. Safety First 24. Puzzle 25. Gateway 26. Fantasia 27. Everyday Magic 28. Irregular Orbit 29. Change in the Weather 30. Nowhere and Nothing 31. Charge 32. Turn the Car Around 33. Colorless 34. Assassin 35. Daughters 36. Instant 37. Don’t Be a Hero 38. Born Without Time 39. Sound Effect 40. Little Bombs 41. Freak 42. American Boys 43. Clue 44. True Believers 45. Portable 46. Caption 47. So Close 48. Under the Red Hood 49. Dragon 50. Making History 51. Rivalry 52. Death 53. Excuses 54. Colors 55. Family 56. Music 57. Off Topic 58. Black and White 59. Memories 60. Song Title 61. Fighting Chance 62. Childhood 63. Shenanigans 64. Elements 65. First Time 66. Lost 67. Strangers 68. Insanity 69. Mirror 70. Silhouette 71. Zodiac 72. Dreams 73. Hope 74. Misunderstanding 75. Relationship 76. Stay Gold 77. Beauty 78. Alice in Wonderland 79. Runaway 80. Our Own World 81. Kiss 82. Little Things 83. Secret Admirer 84. Sweet Dreams 85. Past 86. Present 87. Future 88. Forgotten 89. Human 90. Silence 91. Breathe Again 92. Breaking the Rules 93. Fairy Tale 94. Death 95. Umbrella 96. Pattern 97. Season 98. Clothing 99. Animal 100. The Ones We Left Alive

The Hunger Games trilogy is great, albeit a bit triggering…

L and I went to the movies today. ¬†It ended up being a bit of a bumble. ¬†First, we went to the wrong theater, then got to the right one too late – our original movie was sold out. ¬†We also wanted to see the Hunger Games sequel, Catching Fire, so she got tickets for that. ¬†It started an hour later, and lasted an hour longer, but it was REALLY good! ¬†I was a bit on edge most of the movie, but it was an “ok” on-edge feeling. ¬†The first several scenes involve her going through various PTSD symptoms, and I picked up on the others throughout the movie too. ¬†Either this movie did better presenting the symptoms, or I read a whole bunch more into it than I did the first one. ¬†I could feel her fear, anger, hyper-vigilance… I know it all too well. ¬†But anyway, it was good. ¬†And it leaves you hanging. ¬†Fuckers.

Most of the way through the movie, I remembered that mom had expected us home around 4pm… oops! ¬†It was now 5:30 and the movie still had 30 minutes. ¬†I knew she wouldn’t check her texts, but I shot her one anyway. ¬†I called her as soon as we got outside, and apologized for not showing on time. ¬†Normally, this isn’t a big deal, but being Christmas and all, she was a bit miffed. ¬†We got home in time to watch her down more wine and finish the last bites of her chicken. ¬†We will have to atone for this with a gift of more alcohol sometime in the near future. ¬†We really didn’t mean to get to off-track, but we rarely do. ¬†After apologizing and chatting for a while, the tension eased and we enjoyed our dinner. ¬†L even tried to translate some words into Hungarian through the internet, and we found the weirdest translation for cheesecake yet: “pictures of naked women’s legs to look at”… we laughed at that for a good 20 minutes. ¬†I think either slang has gotten really wacky, or someone is trying to screw up poor, unsuspecting English speakers when they try to translate stuff to a language they don’t know…

Anyway, I’m again renewed in my desire to read The Hunger Games books, but I have to find them in hard-copy ( there’s just something “not right” about reading books on a tablet… I guess I’m old-fashioned that way. ¬†I really like the feel and smell of a book, and they never run out of charge just as you get to the good part). ¬†I wish we had paid better attention to the books my landlord had ¬†left us before we donated them. ¬†I know we had the whole trilogy, but I managed to keep only the second book… then that was donated when we moved out of the place. ¬†oops! I should have known better, I liked most of the books C had left behind…

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…


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.