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Christmas is over and bipolar is still here.

I’m starting to come back around to my baseline of constant low level anxiety.  I got a couple weeks out of my med changes and now they are slowly failing me yet again.  I will go to next pdoc appt and request an increase of klonopin, which she will give me.  That will hold for a couple weeks and then I’ll need more.  So we’ll change to something else.  She loves messing around with my prozac dosage, so I’m sure we’ll do some of that as well.  Can’t increase lamictal or I’ll lose my memory again.  Can’t increase Seroquel XR or I’ll stop losing weight and start gaining again.  Latuda?   Immediate fail.  Zyprexa? Immediate fail. Lexapro?  Been there, done that.  Cymbalta? Couldn’t pay me enough. Celexa?  Eventual fail.  Trazodone?  Eventual fail. Saphris? Immediate fail.  There are more.  I’ve been through all the sleeping pills and all the anxiety rescue meds more than once.  We just keep cycling through them as their effectiveness wears off.

It’s an exhausting cycle which many people go through when confronted with mental illness.  There just isn’t a good enough solution.  We’re the guinea pigs of our own treatment.  We get fat from our meds.  We get dry mouth and horrible breath.  The depression meds make us manic, but if we don’t take them we move towards suicidal.  Some of the meds take away our personalities.  We become emotionless robots, plodding through our days, enjoying little to none of it.  We lose our memory.  We lose our creativity.  Many of us don’t regain the ability to rejoin the workforce.  But, obtaining disability is a multi-year odyssey in humiliation and poverty during which we struggle to pay our doctors and purchase our ridiculously expensive meds.

And, as if all of that was not enough, we are told to suck it up.  We are told that if we exercise we won’t need those meds.  We are told that suicide is selfish.  We are told we are lazy.  We are told we are a drain on the system.

If we are fortunate enough to eventually obtain disability, we live in poverty.  And disability can be taken away, regardless of our doctors reports, leaving us to wean ourselves off dangerous medications without medical supervision.

The stigma of mental illness will keep many of us from getting the treatment we need.  We will endeavor to keep our families and friends in the dark about our conditions for fear of losing them.  We berate ourselves for being so weak and crazy.  Because our illness can’t be seen, it is hard to accept.

We remain anonymous, even to each other.  Being known, speaking or writing publically could make the government decide that we are, after all, capable of doing the things our doctors say we can’t.  It wouldn’t matter that it is taking me hours to write this.  I would never be able to commit to speaking anywhere, as there are days I can’t bring myself to get out of bed. Or shower.  Or eat.  Or hear loud noises.  Or have conversations with others.  Or see the sun.  And there are rarely warnings that those days are coming.  So, we don’t trust even the people who live with the same problems as ourselves, with our real identity.  Which I believe hurts us in the long run.

I wish I knew how to make it all stop.  A med that will help everyone with a minimum of side effects.  A removal of stigma so that our condition can be openly dealt with, as it would if we had cancer.  And a government that would listen to the opinions of our doctors and help us when we are no longer able to help ourselves without a helping hand.  After all, I paid into that system for 25 years.  Instead they are forcing us to fight battles we don’t have the strength to fight to get the money we are were told we were entitled to when we were forced to pay into the system.

It would be so wonderful if we could all speak in unison of the trials and tribulations of mental illness.  But those of us with the most need are those whose suffering prevents them from doing much else but suffer.

 

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