Today has been a very busy day, but at least I get to go to a hockey game this evening. It can be difficult because of the crowds, but my husband supports me and helps me enjoy myself.
I had an appointment with my therapist earlier today. I told him that I had started thinking about volunteering at a local horse ranch. I started riding when I was in Kindergarten, and it’s been years since I’ve been around horses. I don’t mind mucking stalls, cleaning up, groom, and more. So, I wrote a message to a ranch near in my area. I’m not sure, but maybe something will come out of it.
Memory loss is a side effect I’ve been experiencing from ECT. I have been on 2 medications to help with memory loss for several months now. When I saw my psychiatrist, I told him that my memory is not improving or stabilizing; at least not from what I can remember. He told me that for his patients that have been on these medications successfully definitely noticed a change. If I wasn’t sure if the meds were helping or not, then they most likely weren’t helpful. So, I’m tapering off of Donepezil and I should be off it completely in under two weeks.
I wonder if there’s anything that can help my memory. If the medications I’ve been trying aren’t helping, what’s the next step? I already write everything down and even record certain things when need be. However, ECT continues to screw with my memory. It appears as if my memory will just continue getting worse because I’m doing ECT once every two weeks.
I wish I could stop ECT. It feels as if my mind and body can’t take much more of it. However, I know that if I stop now, with nothing to replace it, then I’ll slip further into my depression. So instead, I continue to go along with what my psychiatrist wants me to do, as long as he explains the reasons why he wants me to do each specific treatment.
I have been home for five days now, and I still haven’t gone grocery shopping or done laundry. I plan on doing that stuff every day, but for some good reasons, they keep getting pushed to the next day. Yesterday, my husband and I spent the entire day with his mother getting a second opinion on her cancer. We are very grateful that we went there. The Mayo Clinic was wonderful.
Today, we’re having someone come and spray in and outdoors. I think we’re having it done 4 times a year, just to be safe. I keep finding crickets around the house, so I know it’s necessary.
I have to get my monthly Clozapine blood work done soon. I have enough meds to get me through for another 9 days. Instead of pushing myself way too hard, I will make an appointment for Monday and allow myself to catch up on everything else that I missed while I was away.
I’m sitting at a gate in the airport. It’s not even the gate that my flight leaves out of. It was the empty gate when I got here, so I thought that it would be a good place for me to sit. I don’t like crowds, especially when people are all around me, including behind me. I was sitting for less than 5 minutes, when suddenly everyone else thought that the area I was in would be a great place to hang out. UGH!
I made it through security alright. Granted, I did forget to take my laptop out and remove my phone from my pocket. The excuse that I’m using is that I’m taking a red-eye flight and I’m simply overly tired. That’s a good excuse.
I have decided to take only some of my night meds. I don’t want to take my Clozapine because that knocks me out cold. If that happens, then if someone next to me touches me or if the fight attendants wake me up for some reason, I would wake up terrified. Plus, the Clozapine makes me drool (so annoying). And I don’t mean I drool a little bit. It’s a lot. Way too much. So I will take my night meds, minus my Clozapine, and add in a Valium. So that’s the plan. I guess I will let you all know tomorrow how this all went. I’m hoping for the best (at least I’m going into it with a positive attitude).
These questions are from Therapy Bits: Who asked to hear my experiences with bipolar symptoms, how I manage them, and how they effect my life.
I don’t remember most of my experiences due to the side effects of ECT. The biggest, most memorable experience was in 2009. My doctor tried taking me off my medication slowly, because he thought that it was possible that my mental health issues could have been caused by my drinking and using (I’m now sober 13 years). We found out the hard way that I really do have bipolar disorder.
I went into a major manic episode. It was so bad that I couldn’t work. I worked for home for a while, but even that got to be too much for me to handle. I was unable to handle my life due to my manic and then my depressive episodes. I moved in with my mom because I couldn’t manage my own life and I needed someone close to me to do that for me. I’m lucky that I had someone in my life that was willing to help me out.
My bipolar disorder turned my entire life upside-down. I’ve been on disability since 2009, and I can’t seem to get things back together. I continue to go through episodes and I have to deal with the side effects from the treatments I use. This biggest side effect is memory loss and confusion, which are from ECT. I have both short-term and long-term memory loss. I tried stopping the ECT treatments after I had been doing them for quite a while, however, once I stopped the treatments, my depressive episode came right back. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to stop ECT again; I’m too worried that I’ll end up going back into another manic or depressive episode.
I’ve been dealing with my bipolar disorder since I was 13 or 14 years old, and I know that it is something that I’ll be dealing with for the rest of my life. Going to a psychiatrist, a therapist, and taking medications is second nature for me. I actually take 13 different psych meds, which is a lot to manage. At this point, I go to ECT once every 2 weeks. I used to go to a bipolar support group once a week, but I stopped going a while ago. I still talk to and see some of my friends from that group, which really helps. This blog has also helped me manage my bipolar symptoms.
I have been through many depressive episodes as well as several manic episodes. When I was 24, I first started going through a major manic episode, then a huge depressive episode; I had absolutely no control over either. My job was trying to help me through it. They let me work from home for a while, but my symptoms just kept getting worse. I went on short-term disability, then long-term disability, and then finally on social security disability. I ended up moving across the country to go live with my mom because I couldn’t take care of myself.
After I made it through a pretty big depressive episode when I was approximately 25, I got another tattoo to remind me of what I went through. The tattoo is on my left hip and the drawing is actually based off of me (I was skinnier then). I stayed with my mom for approximately 2½ years. I moved back to Arizona in 2011 when I started dating the guy who is now my husband. We were best friends for years before we started dating. He always said we would end up together, and I always told him he was wrong. I had to admit that I was wrong and he was right. Most of the time, my husband or my mom notices when I’m beginning to go through another episode, and when I’m beginning to make noticeable changes and come out of an episode. They recognize my symptoms and do what they can to help. Every episode and all of my symptoms appear slightly differently every time.
My depressive symptoms generally include some mixture of a lack of energy, over-sleeping, overeating, feeling worthless, and physical pain. These are only some of the most common symptoms that I can think of. There are many more symptoms that I can’t think of at this moment. My manic symptoms are often more easy to see. They include no sleeping, excessive energy, easily distracted, racing thoughts, and more. I make sure that the people close to me know what my symptoms are and what normal is like for me so they can help me catch my episodes early. We don’t have to go through our episodes alone.
I have been on disability for many years. I have thought about going back to work, so I discussed the idea with my therapist. When I do go back to work, I would need to start slow, probably with only about 10 hours a week, and I would need to work from home. I brought this idea up to my therapist, and he did not like it. He doesn’t think I’m ready to go back to work.
I miss the feeling of satisfaction that you get from working. I know I’ll go back to work some day, at least I hope so, I just don’t know when.
Yesterday was my husband’s birthday. We had a family get-together at his mother’s house to celebrate. There were 12 people there, two of which were kids. We brought Achilles with us because we didn’t want to leave him home alone. Everyone absolutely loved him! All he did was lay down, sleep, and give people kisses. He is the most mellow dog I have ever known.
I’m actually thinking about seeing if I can register him as a Therapy Dog. I’m not sure what kind of therapy dog would help me the most; maybe an ESA, Emotional Support Animal, or a Psychiatric Service Dog. He would be great at it, and I think it would really help me reduce my anxiety to a manageable level, possibly. It’s something that I’m going to talk to my therapist and psychiatrist about the next time I see both/either of them.
The Psychiatric Service Dog seems like it would be more helpful for me. This type of service dog can help people with depression, anxiety, and PTSD, and I am diagnosed with all of those issues. For example, the service dog can create a physical barrier between the owner and others around them, providing the owner with more personal space. The service dog could help me get out of the house more often. These are things that my husband does for me to get me out of the house. Having a dog capable of those things could really get me out into the world.
Being on disability is not easy. I’m on it because of my bipolar disorder, PTSD, and borderline personality disorder. As most of you know, dealing with the effects of these mental health disorders is difficult and exhausting. I have so many doctor appointments to manage. Going anywhere new is extremely difficult for me. In fact, my husband has to come with me whenever I go somewhere for the first time because I’ll have a panic attack. I don’t do well dealing with new people, specifically physical contact, I think that is from the PTSD. My social life is small because it’s difficult for me to meet and connect with people. I also struggle to keep in contact with the friends I already have because of the depression.
I wish I could contribute more to our financial status, instead I contribute in other ways. I keep myself busy managing my life and my husband’s life. I don’t know if my bipolar disorder will ever be stable again. It hasn’t been stable since 2009. I don’t know what my future holds, but it doesn’t appear to be a mentally stable state.
I’ve been on Medicare parts A, B, and D since 2011. I receive these benefits because I’m on Social Security Disability. Part A is hospital insurance, Part B is medical insurance, and Part D is prescription drug insurance. My medical co-pays have gotten to be way too expensive. I am working on picking out a new prescription drug insurance plan and possibly a Medicare Advantage plan.
I tried to look things up online, but I was very confused because there was so much information. I called a woman whose job is to help people figure all of this out, and she was fantastic. She answered all of my questions and will be mailing me more information. I’m hoping that I will be able to find the right plan for me.
The one thing that sucks is that the only other medical insurance I can get is a Medicare Advantage plan, which for me, they are all HMOs. I don’t know if I will be comfortable with a HMO. I will do a lot of research and find out what plan is best. Maybe there is a plan that has all of my current doctors ‘in-network’. I’ll probably do the research tomorrow, I’m pretty tired tonight.