bipolar mom shares her insights on everyday life

Posts tagged ‘psychiatrist’

Time to Check in With the Doctor

I’ve had a rough week.

After a busy and tiring weekend, this week went downhill. On Monday, I slept most of the day. Which didn’t really surprise me after the weekend I had. But then on Tuesday I had a mindset of hating almost everything. I hated my house, I hated our yard, I hated just about everything that was usually fine and dandy. Very much the opposite of the way I usually feel. I’m usually a Pollyanna. Look her up if you don’t know who she is.

Wednesday was meh. I decided to bake since that is something I enjoy and hoped it would get me out of my “funk.” Well, the pie that I made for Sunday’s church picnic (and took 3rd place, thank you very much) didn’t turn out nearly as well on Wednesday. It was undercooked. I mean soupy. I was near tears. My folks came over to taste this great pie, and it turned out like…well, you know. We talked about my mood in general lately. As we have learned over the years, my parents (particularly my mom) will notice a change in my mood before I do. Apparently, several weeks ago, she mentioned to my dad that she thought I was headed for a down-turn. I promised to re-evaluate the situation in a week and go see the doctor if I hadn’t bounced back.

Thursday came crashing down. When I got up and went to work, I was doing pretty well. Then I screwed things up at work and what should have taken me 30 minutes or so, took an hour and 30 minutes. I was so bummed. I get paid by the hour, but I felt like I shouldn’t have charged my boss for that extra hour, since my screwing it up was the reason it took so long. So, I came home from lunch, and really started to crash. Not in a sleepy way, but in a mental way. I made a pizza and sat down to watch Modern Family which is one of my favorite shows. I didn’t laugh once. Now I knew something was wrong. I picked up the phone and called the doctor’s office. His receptionist got me an appointment for the very next morning. (today) I called my boss and said I just couldn’t make it in that afternoon. (Bonus points for the job I have. Bonus points go to my boss as well)

I called my mom and went over to my folks’ house and spent the rest of the afternoon over there. My mood picked up quite a bit. I didn’t take my daily nap because, honestly, I was worried I wouldn’t want to get out of bed. Ever.

I went to Guys and Dolls rehearsal because it was devoted entirely to choreography for one of the few songs I’m in. Choreography is not my strong suit, so I knew I couldn’t miss it. I did fine. I was exhausted and went to bed as soon as I got home.

Now, I’ve brought you up to speed to today. (About time, huh?)

After explaining all this to the psychiatrist (including the daily naps), here is what was decided. Take Lamictal at night since that could make me sleepy. Increase the Prozac and the Abilify to battle the depression that I obviously was battling. (When he heard me say that I was hating myself on Wednesday, he said, “That’s depression.) So, in a few days, I expect to see a change in my mood and my sleep habits.

Here’s hoping…(prayers would be nice too, if you don’t mind.)

I Need Charging

I went to the psychiatrist today.  Just a periodic check-in, but it came at a good time. 

The first thing I asked him was to check back into my file and see how past Mays have gone.  Last year was fine.  The year before:  very tired, sleeping a lot, weepy, losing patience quickly, etc.  I said, “Uh, yeah.  Check.  Check.  Check.  Check.” 

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been on a roller coaster for the last few weeks.  And, I’m about ready to shout, “Stop the ride!  I wanna get off!”After expressing my concern to the doctor, and telling him that I was very anxious about increasing the dosage of my medication, he suggested adding Lithium to the batch.  Oh, sure.  What’s one more pill?  Good grief.  I got teary-eyed and told him I was a little scared.  I was reaching the maximum dose of Lamictal (a mood-stabilizing drug), and so that’s why he’s suggesting Lithium (another mood-stabilizer).  I told him, “You know, I’m 43, and I’m almost at the limit of Lamictal, and now we are adding Lithium.  I’m scared about what the future will mean.  Will I be on 56 different drugs?”  He smiled and said, “Moods are not static.  They change, and so we need to adjust when they do change, so that you can level off again.  And, hey, let’s think positive, this may work!”  Then he told me of a patient that was on all kinds of mixtures and wasn’t doing well.  Probably headed for the hospital (aka looney bin).  Not exactly what I wanted to hear, since that was what kind of scares me.  He was telling me this, though, because he wanted me to know there are lots of things to try.

So, yep, I’m going to start supplementing my current drugs with Lithium.  Yep.  Like the battery.  Right off the Periodic Table.  AND, it’s been used in thermonuclear weapons!  Neat!  It’s also the original mood-stabilizer.

When I went to fill the prescription at the pharmacy, I suddenly felt very self-conscious.  Uh-oh, now this chick knows I’m nuts.  Then, I had to smile.  I think I’d rather be picking up a prescription for Lithium than one that is used to treat an STD.

Is that Pollyanna-y enough for you?

I Wanna a New Drug

As Huey Lewis sang, “I wanna new drug.  One that won’t make me sick.”  I hear ya, Huey. 

In about 20 minutes, I am going to go see my psychiatrist and ask him for a change in medication.  As I mentioned in a previous post, this Cymbalta seems to be really messing with me if I even miss one dose.  I have no idea what the half-life of it is, but the brain shivers start 7 hours after the missed dose.  Kent, my therapist, doesn’t think it is possible that the Cymbalta is causing those, since it is such a short amount of time, but the data shows a different story.  Granted, I’ve only missed two doses in the last month, but both of those times, the brain shivers took over.

I have mentioned in other posts that I have tried just about every other anti-depressant on the market, and Cymbalta seemed to work just fine.  Now, though, I am willing to try ones that I have used previously, since I used them before I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and therefore, prior to Lamictal.  Surely there is another drug that can boost the Lamictal for depression.

I’ll let you know.  Oh, and yes, I will be educating Dr. Rifkin about brain shivers.



Amazingly, Dr. Rifkin acted as though he had heard of brain shivers today.  Huh.  Got smarter in two weeks? 

He agreed to change my medication, so I’m going to start Prozac.  Seriously, I didn’t know anyone still took that!  He was going to give me samples of Cymbalta in order to help me gradually (and I stress “gradually”) detox my system.  It will take about 40 days.  All the while, though, I will be on Prozac as well.  Unfortunately, there were no samples of Cymbalta in the magic sample cabinet, so I have to return later this week to start weaning off the evil drug.

You’re a Damned Train-wreck

A year ago, that’s what my internist told me.  I had just gotten out of the loony bin, found out my thyroid was low, have sleep apnea, and who knows what else he was looking at.  Most people might find that insensitive, but I love this guy, and he meant it as a strange compliment.  In other words, “You’ve been through a lot.”  He also mentioned that he was impressed that I hadn’t started drinking in order to survive day to day.  🙂

Well, now, friends, we can add another malady to the list.  Gentlemen, you may now quit reading.  This gets female in the next paragraph.  Okay, you’ve been warned.

I am having a hysterectomy on March 4th.  I am 42 years old.  And, a damned train-wreck.  I have fibroids on my uterus that are really causing trouble, so after other conservative measures, a hysterectomy is the last choice.

I’m fine with it.  Which is probably surprising a lot of people.  The comment I get the most, including from my therapist, is “Ooh.  Major surgery.  That must be scary.”  No.  Not in the least.  I think this is where my faith in God kicks in with a vengeance.  There is truly nothing I can do in order to help or hurt this surgery.  I know it is the best thing for me.  If I come out of it on the other side, great.  If not, I spend eternity in heaven.  What’s to be worried or scared about?  I’m treating it the same way as getting a wisdom tooth pulled. 

I’m a little unsure as to what to expect during recovery, but Tom will be taking time off, my parents will be on-call and taking care of the kids while I am in the hospital, so that is all taken care of.

My biggest concern last week was how being thrusted into menopause was going to affect my bipolar disorder.  Was I going to be all over the place?  Would I sink into a deep depression?

Kent gave me the greatest news of my life (aside from the two times I took the EPT tests that told me I was pregnant).  He said that often hysterectomies affect mood disorders in a very very positive way!  WAHOOOOOO!  Because hormones have A LOT to do with mood disorders, the reduction of the hormones will most likely help stabilize my moods.  No more PMS!  WAHOOOOO x 2!

So, while I get to add this to my list of “issues,” I’m looking forward to coming out the other side of this feeling much better.  Both physically and mentally.  (Oh, but when I asked my psychiatrist about what to expect after the surgery as far as the bipolar disorder goes (and not telling him what Kent had said), his response was a hesitant, “I’m optimistic.”  What the heck?!  He also asked me what I felt about the economy.  What was I supposed to say?  “Well, you know, Robert,  this week, the Commerce Department reported retail sales crept up 1 percent in January as stores slashed prices. It was a small rise after six straight months of declines, and economists cautioned that sales were likely to slip again as consumers curtail spending.”   Not one of my better sessions.) 

Well, Pollyanna here, is VERY optimistic.

Okay, Not Quite Ready for the Tote Board Just Yet

A couple of days ago, I wrote about the downslide I was having emotionally.  I wrote before the end of the day, which pretty much ended like it started.  Major sobbing.

Yesterday was a little better, but not a lot.  Fortunately, I had already scheduled an appointment with my psychiatrist.  (I had scheduled this six weeks ago, so what a God-thing on this timing!) 

After talking to him, he, of course talked about raising my meds.  (That’s what psychiatrists do, basically.  Whereas a therapist talks you through stuff.)  But, I did basically just yak and yak about what has been going on and how cruddy I felt.  He offered to up the Lamictal (the mood stabilizer), but I told him it wasn’t the moods that were swinging, I was just going down.  So we upped the anti-depressants.  Plus, suggested taking the Xanax three times a day instead of “as needed.”

As is often the case, I felt better by the afternoon.  Probably because I know there is a plan. 

Better living through chemicals, baby!  Look for that tote board tomorrow.  Maybe Jerry Lewis could stop by….

Ewww! What is wrong with them?

I was sitting in the waiting room of Kent’s office.  The door opens and in walks a teenage girl, a woman (with a broken foot, so she’s in a wheelchair), and a man.  My first thought was, “Hmmm.  I wonder which one of them is in for counseling.  Or is it all three?  I wonder what is wrong with them.”  Part of this is because whenever I walk in, I can almost hear the thoughts of the people in the waiting room, “Wow.  What’s she in for?”  I want to shout, “I have bipolar disorder!  What’s wrong with YOU?”  But, I restrain myself.  Plus, they might all shout, “Well, we knew it wasn’t anorexia, Lady!”  (This office is littered with eating disorder pamphlets.)

As I sat there, I realized that this was the only place I did this kind of thinking.  I enter my psychiatrist’s waiting room, and I never think about it.  Everyone that comes and goes, does so without my even taking a second glance.  (Except for the possibility that I might know them, so I do take that first glance.)

When I go to my OB/GYN, it is pretty obvious why many of them are there.

Even at my Internist’s office, I never wonder, “Hmmm.  Do you think they have strep throat?  Oh, how about Lyme Disease?  Oooh, maybe Bornholm Disease!”  (I actually had that.  Look it up.)

Why is this?  I realize many people may do this at any doctor’s office.  But, do you go to the post office and think, “I wonder what they are shipping?”  Doubtful.  How about the bank?  If you actually go into the bank, that is.

When you take your child to the pediatrician, there isn’t much reason to guess.  Most around here have well-visit hours, and hours to examine children who are ill.  Doesn’t take Louis Pasteur to know that a kid with a runny nose has some issues and to steer clear.

It would make it a lot easier on those of us who do wonder about these things if everyone would just come in and write their malady on a 4×6 index card and hold it up for all of us to see.  Think that would catch on?  Yeah.  Me neither.

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