she rides the sky in a chariot drawn by the horse Hrimfaxi

Dear Internet,

This has been my normalized state as of late; the moods cycling like the ever changing weather. I get some work done until my brain decides to be broken and then I stop. I rest. I wait. And then I do what I do best, I hide.

It does not take me long to get tired of these routines, because they are not healthy and also frustrating as fuck. I have shit to do and having a broken brain is not pushing me forward. So I do what anyone in their right mind does in these situations, I make a plan.

I went over that plan with Dr. P. Monday and there were a lot of tears spilled as I spoke (though to be fair, I probably would have cried at the leaves rustling I was so heightened by emotion). And I’m sure, absolutely sure, when this is all said and over, there will be more spilt tears and my own heart is going to be broken a million times over. That was hard to swallow, that realization I had to do this not only alone but that I was going to break my own heart repeatedly to get through to the other side.

A big chunk of that plan is getting back on the drugs. Two weeks ago I contacted my GP to make an appointment to get that recommendation. But her schedule for such matters isn’t free until mid-September. With my appointment with Dr. P. much sooner, I asked him for recs to see if I can get this quick started earlier. I am not in crisis, but I am in pain.

(For those of you playing at home, my previous medicating therapist, Dr. H., is not being contacted for this next journey because he does not take insurance and charges $300/hr. YAY being crazy!)

That conversation with Dr. P. on Monday was the apex of the appointment and I thought my request was easy enough. Apparently, not quite. There is an aging population in Grand Rapids in regards to psychiatry so finding someone to do treatment AND within my insurance network can and could be difficult. Dr. P. gave me a few easy things to begin the search while I wait to see my GP.

The first was to search my provider’s website for medicating therapists, which surprise, turned up no results. They want me to go through the GP first. Okay, sure. That appointment is already made in September. What’s the next step? The second of Dr. P.’s recommendations was to go through a local psychiatric hospital and get in on their day patient list to see a medicating therapist whose sole job is to keep my meds inline.

This is the same hospital where Mumsy was committed after she attempted suicide back in 2001. I can still recall the emotional naked vulnerability of the patients and how desperate I was (and still am!) to not end up in that place. That was my arrogance then, how I was that much stronger than they were. I could handle myself better. I was faster, stronger, and more in control of my disease. Jesus, even as I write this I cannot believe this is how I often feel at times. Like they are weak and I’m the superhuman who could save the world. (But I can’t and my own arrogance is also my own shame.)

Even when I had been adamant for ages on not getting back on the drugs again, it changes because often I feel defeated about my brain. I feel so fucking broken at times that everything with me is opposite of what is supposed to happen. Giving up on the drugs, claiming it is easier to go without then to fix, seems reasonable after you been psychotic because of drug interactions. It all seems reasonable. (It really isn’t.)

But I am telling you, seeing people get their lives together and seeing someone have pure unadulterated joy can begin the digging deep of what you need to change one’s mind. And there is a LOT OF DIGGING.

Here is where the system falls short. The phone calls I’ve been making to the psychiatric hospital? There is a wait. There is always a wait. I am not in crisis, so my needs are not as important. Yes, there is no reason for me to continue being in pain (or suffering), but I am waiting. This is my life now, I wait.

I leave messages and wait for phone calls that come a day later. Which, of course, I miss because I did not hear my phone ring or I’m on the another line. When I return the call, no one answers, and it goes directly to voicemail. I leave my message and the clock resets. This has been the theme of dealing with this hospital this week. They have still yet to return my latest telephone call and it has been over 24 hours. (And they still have not returned my call.)

This morning, however, luck finally decided to hitch herself to my side. I tried the third path of Dr. P.’s which was to call several medicating therapists offices directly and see if they were taking new patients and if they took my insurance. Snake eyes. One of them accepts my insurance AND she’s accepting new patients.

Thank the gods in all their glory for listening to me again.

But there is a catch. (Always.) I need to get my GP to sign off on it (medicating office will fax her the referral, they will fax their assent. Since I already have an appointment with the GP next month, this quickens that process and I can more than likely cancel the appointment). Then my records from Dr. H. need to be sent over, which is a truck load. Then they need to pull my records from 2005 when I was outpatient at another local psychiatric hospital. They can pull out the full list of my drugs from all of the combined records and figure out what drugs I need to get on next. (No SSRIs and no ADHD drugs. Definitely not. I am not depressed. If the bipolar gets stabilized, then I will not need the ADHD drugs.) Then they can schedule me in as a new patient, probably in early October. Now I have a time frame.

Nine years ago, not long after TheBassist and I broke up and I was simultaneously preparing for undergrad graduation, I started looking at getting a more definite clue as to the status of my brain. I wanted nothing more than to be stable and ready for the new life ahead of me. After receiving the results, I said,

There are three main things I want to accomplish with this:
1. I want to be stable. I want to not to feel the alternating mood swings, crying jags, suicidal thoughts, and what have you on a almost daily basis. I want to be able to maintain a job, social network, and intimate relationships without feeling like these are difficult things.
2. I want to keep my personality. I like my personality, just tone down the aggressive behaviour and some of the exhibitionist that seems to pop up occasionally. My experience with legal drugs in the past have left me meandering as a zombie and felt like I had zero control; I don’t want to go through that again.
3. Manage my life more efficiently without this constant UP swing that seems to prevail where I get lots of work done coupled with weeks/months of time where nothing is done and shit just slips by.

And here we are nine years later, better in a lot of ways. Able to handle the impulsivity and other traits better. Able to recognize when the crazy hits and when my brain is on fire.

But even with all of that self-check in place, I am still broken by the hypomania that continues to wreak havoc in my life.

But those three tenets from nearly a decade ago? Those have not changed. They were what drove me back to getting on the drugs two years ago and what drives me now. This may be the recurring pattern in my life — get on the drugs, let me body go to war, go off the drugs. Rest. Began the battle again.

I do not want to exist in this place as a mass of water and bone, just waiting it out until I can collect my pension and then one day die. (If I do not take my own life before hand, because this is also a truism. If I cannot get my brain sorted, I have no problems doing just that. Demons not of your making that cannot be exorcised, haunt me.)

I want to have a fucking life. I want to enjoy the world and not be imprisoned in this gilded cage of my own making.

xoxo,
Lisa

 

This day in Lisa-Universe: 2013, 2003, 1999

 

  • pandamans

    “I leave messages and wait for phone calls that come a day later. Which, of course, I miss because I did not hear my phone ring or I’m on the another line. When I return the call, no one answers, and it goes directly to voicemail. I leave my message and the clock resets. This has been the theme of dealing with this hospital this week. They have still yet to return my latest telephone call and it has been over 24 hours. (And they still have not returned my call.)”

    — this was my experience recently and it sucked because making the effort was hard enough. Eventually I grew exhausted and just stopped bothering to look up new numbers and make new calls. Things have kinda evened out lately – so I haven’t exactly renewed the search – but will if it gets to be too much.

    This was / is a huge frustration for me and I find it completely unacceptable.

    Also – share your 3 tenets.

    all the best.