Hell is a Place Full of Uneducated Psychiatrists

Oh, have I got a story to tell you.

Firstly, my anxiety and symptoms came to climax yesterday. I have been feeling chest pains- more specifically, it feels like sharp pains centered around my heart- for the past 2-3 weeks or so. Yesterday, the pain became consistent and was accompanied with numbs fingertips, tingly lips, and dizziness. I was alarmed, but even more so alarmed because I was withdrawing off of the lithium.

So, we journeyed to the Urgent Care by work. They couldn’t really do anything, so they sent me to the Emergency Room. I checked in there and long story short, they told me my symptoms were just a manifestation of bad anxiety. I was relieved, yet my inner hypochondriac wanted to scream, “But! It’s my heart! I think! Am I really okay?!?! Are you sure?!?!?”

They gave me a dosage of lithium and sent me on my way. I began to feel better an hour and half later.

Now, I had my first psychiatrist appointment yesterday evening. I left work, arrived at my destination early, filled out all of my paperwork, and waited. I waited for 45 minutes. Alright. I’m just going to bullet point all the STUPID AS FUCK things my psychiatrist said. I was livid.

This is during the initial interview. I filled out all the relevant information (suicide attempts, family history, abuse, trauma, drug use, diagnoses, etc..)

• She asked me, “Tell me about your suicide attempts, how did you do them?” I told about the first time and when I came around to the second attempt, I said, “Well, I tried to jump off of a building…” She promptly dropped her pen and asked dumbfoundedly, “Why would you do that?” (Insert uncomfortable blinking here) “Why would you try to jump off a building?”
• She noticed my scribbled in heroin history in my drug use summary. She said, “So you grew up with mom and dad and saw them doing it so you just thought it was okay?” No, bitch, my dad COMMITTED SUICIDE and my mom ABANDONED ME so I didn’t get the basic privilege of watching them shoot up while I was enjoying an edge-of-your-seat episode of Blue’s Clues.
• She asked me what my official diagnoses was at the hospital. I told her it was Schizoaffective. BRACE YOURSELES. She said, “That can’t be right. You don’t look to me like someone who is schizoaffective.

You must have PTSD.” Are you kidding me? I don’t look like someone who has Schizoaffective…I’ve never in my life….well, actually no that’s not true. Kayden, where are you? You mentioned this happening to you, too. But oh my dear Christ on a sunflower, I’ve never heard anything more unprofessional.
• She was reluctant to write me a prescription because she didn’t feel she should be giving me medication for PTSD, but because I was in the damn emergency room yesterday, she wrote me a script.
• She asked me if I was sexually active and use protection. I said yes I am but I’ve been with a girl, so I’m not getting pregnant anytime soon. She got quiet and said half under her breath, “Oh…so homosexual…”
• THEN, at the end of awful experience, she was mid-sentence talking to me as her eyes widened and she exclaimed, “OH! I have another appointment. Oh no! Is she here?” She whips around in her chair, glances at her calendar and she said, “Oh! She’s here already! Here, sign these…” She rushed me through some paperwork and my script. I waited for 45 minutes AND my appointment was cut short.

At least I got what I needed. I have my prescriptions and that’s what matters. But oh my god…

Psychiatrist from hell.

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Goldie and Micah’s Anathema

I haven’t been on in a few days- I have lots of comments to answer to!

Firstly, thank you for the birthday wishes, everyone! I had a fantastic day. I binged on Netflix whilst wearing my PJs and snacking. Allie hung out with me on my birthday throughout the day. Then, I went to my girlfriend’s house and spent much needed quality time with her. It was absolutely the perfect ending to my birthday.

On Sunday…I didn’t do much. Allie was chattery and all over the place. I felt as if she was pin balling everywhere, with all kinds of ideas and thoughts. I couldn’t contain her. Then, she reminded me of Micah’s foreboding anathema, and my stomach cramped. He had so graciously given me “50 days left,” and now those 50 days are done on March 26th.

Therefore, my anxiety has been all over the boards.

I’ve been queasy, sometimes unable to hold even water down. Last night, I hardly slept, being awoken by my own nightmares, then another episode startled me. I’ll get to that in one second.

Monday I had group. It was a bit emotionally arduous- not only for myself, but because I’ve developed an empathetic connection to these people and when they hurt, I hurt. It sounds selfish to say it, but I relate to one of the girls so well, I lost myself to my own painful memories yesterday.

During group, my therapist asked me if I heard voices. I said yes. Then, she asked me if they were ever religious- which was relevant to the group conversation. I said yes and proceeded to tell her about this one very awful entity. This is a story for another time. All you need to know is his initial begins with H, and he is one million times worse than M. He manifested from an obsession I had with the ouija board. I swore to myself I would never say his name aloud. Yet, I did. And he appeared. He’s with me now, draining my life force away from me.

Also, something else happened over the weekend that kind of hit a nerve. A very sensitive, touchy nerve and it sent me spinning through my own head. So, during group, I processed about how I felt as if I am unloveable “forever.” In my personal opinion, I think people fall in love with me quickly because I’m interesting. They’re fascinated with my fucked up mentality…but soon they realize that I’m batshit, and that I’m work. I’m hard work. Whether or not this statement is true is irrelevant, because due to said circumstance, a little piece of my heart irreparably scintillated and seared on Sunday.

And surprise, a new one introduced herself to me. Her name is Goldie. She’s a tough cookie. Allie brought her in as a reinforcement, because she’s worried. Allie has also brought back Celia as my “emotional accountant.”

Last night, through my nightmares and all, I woke up, and realized I was standing in front of my body mirror, conversing with Goldie. She spoke through me in her badass Jersey accent. She put me to bed when she realized I was awake, and told me not to worry about it anymore.

My girlfriend was scared because the other night, Allie spoke to her for a split second through me. I think I just let her slip out.

She’s been talking to me a lot, along with Allie, and now Celia is here, asking questions. I feel that I am losing my grip on reality, slowly. Which is fucked up because tomorrow is my LAST day at the hospital. I’m not ready. I need help. I’m slipping and I don’t want to admit because c’mon: all this time, after the meds, after therapy, I’m still not better?

I know this sounds stupid, but I feel possessed. I hate it.

Day 5 of Partial Hospitalization- Learning to Love Myself

Today was Day 5 of my PHP! Technically, it’s my last day, but luckily my insurance approved me for 5 additional days. I’m going to finish PHP through this Friday, then starting Monday I’ll drop down to IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program).

Group therapy was difficult for me this morning.

In my second group, I processed through my childhood and my sexual molestation via my father figure and cousin when I was 12. I dove into my first suicide attempt as a 14 year old. The feelings of betrayal, abandonment,apathy, and hurt came floating to the top. The whole conversation came about with my origination of “I don’t feel anything.” During the past 5 days, I haven’t felt a damn thing. I can talk about my dad’s suicide, about my attempts, about my homelessness, heroin addiction, self-mutiliation, etc…not one tear or lump in the throat. Our therapist then pointed out that disassociation is a classic symptom and effect of abuse and molestation during childhood. It makes total sense. That’s how I survived- by building barriers around myself, pushing my feelings way down into my psyche, and carrying on with my life. I never really thought about it in that way…

There’s a new guy with us now. He’s really awesome. In the past  year, he has attempted suicide 3 times. He also has a 6 year old daughter. Our therapist asked him, “Where does your daughter fit into your attempts? Did you ever think about how your suicide may effect her?” He replied with, “In the throes of my depression up to my attempts, I thought my daughter would be better off without me in the world.” I broke down crying. I hope that that thought never went through my dad’s mind when he took his own life. I turned to him in group and I told him, “My dad killed himself. I wish he was in my life. You are a blessing to your daughter. Keep going.”

Something really hit me today in group. After I talked about my childhood and really stirred up the memories, our therapist said it’s time to really look back, as an adult and knowing what I know now, I can go back and be with that young child who was hurt, who was abandoned, and angry. I can love and nurture that child. I can stand next to her and hold her- something I didn’t have when I was going through that trauma. The therapist also suggested that I take a picture of myself when I was a child so I could visualize my innocence.

Well, I did just that. And it hurts a lot. I’m in tears right now as I type away. I’m at this critical point in my life where I’d like to be with that child, to forgive myself, to love myself. Which is difficult, because I harbor a lot of unwarranted guilt and resentment towards myself. However, I need to love myself and heal.

So, I’m dedicating this song tonight to the child-me, from the adult-me. Here’s to healing, forgiving, loving, and ultimate recovery. We all deserve inner peace.

When you’re feeling sad and blue
Don’t you know that I will always be here for you
When everything just makes us go out of our mind
Just know that I will always have the time for you
You say that I am your influence
You should know that you inspire me, now until the end
I’ll help you get through the thick and thin
And I know you’ll remember when, I say…

You are strong strong as a soldier
Even when winds are tough you’ll always keep it together.
You are strong, strong as a soldier
I know you’ll get through anything
‘Cause you’re strong, strong, strong as a soldier.

When the waves are crashing down, can’t get up
Just know I’ll pick you up from the ground
When it feels like everything goes wrong,
Just remember to listen to this song

You are strong strong as a soldier
Even when winds are tough you’ll always keep it together.
You are strong, strong as a soldier
I know you’ll get through anything
‘Cause you’re strong, strong, strong as a soldier.

Don’t you worry about the obstacles to your happiness
If you let them get to you, you’ll end up just like the rest.
I know you’re better than those people who get in the way
Just remember what I always say…

You are strong strong as a soldier
Even when winds are tough you’ll always keep it together.
You are strong, strong as a soldier
I know you’ll get through anything
‘Cause you’re strong, strong, strong as a soldier.

You are strong, strong, strong as a soldier
Strong, strong, strong as a soldier

PS- An extra song for us women 🙂

Malingerers- The Bitching Edition

Please excuse my dear aunt Sally.

Please excuse this second post, seeing as I’ve already written one post 5 minutes ago, but I have something on my mind and I didn’t want to smoosh it on the tail-end of my previous entry.

Malingering.

I have spotted- or think I have spotted- a potential malingerer in my vicinity and I would like to take a moment (just sit right there I’ll tell you how I became the prince of a town called Bel Air) …take a moment and vent a little bit.

Malingering is so goddamn stupid. Not only stupid, but ignorant, hurtful, and dangerous. It’s hurtful because malingering is offensive to those of us who are doing the work. We struggle with real issues. It’s not a walk in the park. It sucks, it hurts, and a lot of the time, people die over this shit. So, I don’t see why anyone in their right mind (maybe that’s the problem, they’re not in their right mind) would want to brand themselves with a disorder. It’s not a badge of honor.

It’s hurtful because of THEIR ignorance, WE have to suffer the misconceptions of the disorder WE have to live with. Malingerers create such erroneous portrayals of real mental illness.

It’s NOT a game.

Yes, it IS obvious they’re pulling “symptoms” out of their arse.

God bless America. WordPress, I’m sorry for the whiny bitching. Thank you for reading.

I’m also real sick and tired of hearing of/seeing people zoom over to Web MD and self diagnosing. Oh. Oh man. I can’t. I can’t even.

Here’s a great little number from one of my favorite bloggers, Autumn Asphodel. Take it away, Autumn:

Day 3 of Partial Hospitalization- 600 mgs of Mania

Day 3, done.

I felt so incredibly manic today. I haven’t felt that wound up in a very long time. Once I got to group, it was pretty apparent. I could barely sit still. My attention was all over, as well as my speedy speech. I felt as if I was bursting out of my skin; complete with anxiety and rapid auditory hallucinations.

I brought it up to my doctor. When I was first admitted to PHP, I had let them know in my assessment that I felt a manic and/or psychotic episode coming on. (I have had several intense psychotic breakdowns in the past, so I know the onset symptoms well, now) She said that it sounds like the mania is setting in before the psychotic crash. She had me up my dose to 600 mg tonight- which I took 30 minutes ago.

I was so incredibly anxious before I took the meds. The anxiety attack started around 7:30. I felt it buzzing beneath my skin…then, it all set in. I began crying uncontrollably, desperately gasping for air. I wanted to harm myself, I wanted a drink to diminish the panic. It was all okay in the end. I’m really looking forward to the lithium working.

Today was very quiet and mellow. There were only 4 people in group today so we had a lot of time to really delve into ourselves and such. During fourth group, we participated in a guided meditation. Ahh, finally, relaxation. I was elated to greet the fresh blankets and pillows. I napped and I napped hard. So did everyone else. The heater softly blew tepid air into the room as we listened to the rain propelling down onto the bungalow roof.

I left a message for my primary care physician. The plan is to get an approved leave of absence from work for 1 month from my medical doctor. That way, I won’t have to totally jeopardize my job because they won’t know I’m in behavioral treatment. While I’m in PHP, I’ll be able to work on myself some more, adjust my meds, and just get better- the ultimate goal.

I cleaned the shit out of my apartment when I got home. In 30 minutes, I had picked up the living and dining room, vacuumed, dusted, wiped down the tables, washed the windows… mania is good for production purposes.

As of right now, I feel kind of dazed and detached from everything around me.

Lithium, Orange Badges, and Art Therapy

Diagnoses: Schizoaffective Bipolar Type (hasn’t changed)
Rx: Lithium, 300 mgs

I started my Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) today. It went really well! They signed me in, took my vitals, and I received a PHP badge so I could access the designated bungalow for outpatients. I’m there from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm for 5 days. I was assigned a psychiatrist, doctor, social worker, and psychologist. The days consist of 4 intense group therapy sessions led by the psychologist.

During the first session, she went around and checked everyone’s basic how-are-you-doings, medication issues/concerns, sobriety check-ins, etc. The second group session consisted of processing through areas each person needed to work on.

Side note, they had coffee throughout the day which was available during breaks. I was very happy about that. Third group session was an educational session. Today’s topic was mindfulness and breathing mechanisms. In guided meditation, the psychologist had us listen to the sounds around us, both inside the room and out. After about 5-10 minutes of this, we shared our experiences through the meditation. Then, we had lunch. Everyone was so welcoming to me! I shared some of my stories about the Church of Scientology. We talked about medication, our lives, what it’s like living with our disorders, and music.

Finally, art therapy came around, which is the last group session of the day. We journaled. The psychologist had us close our eyes, and she read 3 quotes about anger. “At the root of all anger is pain…Do not teach your children to not be angry; teach them instead how to be angry….” The last quote is escaping my mind at the moment. For 5 minutes, we were told to write. The only rule was to not stop writing for those 5 minutes. This was the poem I created during that time:

Dear mother, dear father
this anger, sick, sick, reverberates
it pushes and lulls within my marrow.
through blue heroin
you speak, you cry, you birth.
my dear parents, this anger rises
from the silver needles.
my small veins soak with it. and how angry you’ve felt…
4 years gone, dear father,
you vanish. trickling behind you were
photographs of my first birthday,
still wet with ink.
suicides- they don’t always die
yet the great, grave flesh burns and turns.
you have betrayed us.
dear mother, the absence of you has
embroidered itself within my heart,
stitching thoughts of
you were too worthless to be loved.
still, I loved you and had forgiven you.
this unrelenting fury an anguish lingers.
you had given this to me, this sick disease.

We all shared the pieces we wrote. I realized through processing how much anger I have been carrying towards my parents and myself. I didn’t really think about how angry I was for allowing myself to become my parents. I had taken on addiction, alcoholism, and suicide attempts. Now, I am on the road of forgiving myself and realizing that I really need help. It nearly brought me to tears.

It was so relieving to be able to speak freely, unafraid of judgement. It was also wonderful to be with people who understood. We were able to support each other through tears and laughter. I felt really safe and I wanted to share with the group instead of isolating myself.

Tonight I start 300 mgs of lithium. I’m a little anxious of side effects. Next week, I’ll start an antipsychotiic.

I’m also going to give sobriety the good ol’ college try. Irritability, here I come!

I feel better. I still feel wildly depressed and mind-fuckingly anxious, but knowing that I have a support system- my current and new- I think I’m going to make it out alright. PS- Here’s some related humor because without it, everything just sucks

The Price is Right and Assessment Papers

I bit the bullet and went in for an assessment today at a mental/rehab facility.

Allie sat with me in the passenger seat all the way to the hospital. She reassured me that no matter what happens, no one will take her away from me. So, in that, I found comfort. Although I was beyond anxious about it, the minute I stepped on to the grounds, I felt a little bit of relief. The outside of the facility itself was so calming and soothing.

I called last night and told the receptionist that I’ve been feeling very suicidal. When I walked up to the check in desk, she happily exclaimed, “I’m so happy you decided to come in!” They even gave me hot chocolate- so I was sold right then and there.

I didn’t have to wait for too long. I found myself laughing at the overly giddy Price is Right contestants on the lobby television. Then, my name was called. She took me into this small assessment room with cozy love seats. First, she took my blood pressure and heart rate. Then, the usual questions. What brings you here today? Have you had thoughts of suicide? History of drug abuse? Are you on any medications? Any recent losses?

I found myself tripping over my words. It was incredibly difficult admitting to her all of the gory details of my depression and psychotic episodes. We touched briefly upon my past and present opiate abuse, my alcohol reliance, suicide attempts, psychotic breaks. The more I talked the more I wanted a drink.

I was accepted for an intensive outpatient program, which starts tomorrow for 5 days. After those 5 days, we can reassess my situation and schedule more appointments and such. So, from 9 am to 3 pm I’ll be spilling my guts to my psychiatrist and working with other people.

I’m scared shitless, I’m still sad, I still feel floopered, but I know that tomorrow I will at least have the opportunity to alleviate some of this unbearable pain. By unbearable, I mean just that. I mean I just don’t want to be alive anywhere. The emotional agony is absolutely intolerable. What makes it worse is I really feel that I’m alone; I’m suffering from an invisible and seemingly phantom anguish that no one else can see or understand.

It will get better. I just need to pull myself up by the boot straps. Holy hell, this is a bad ride.

I keep hearing knocking on the window next to me and it’s slightly frightening.

Anyways, readers, thank you for being there. I’m going to try my damnedest to make it through tonight alright. I may come back on here and just write. I can already feel it creeping and weaving through my fibers.

The Red Briefcase

You ask me what I feel right before I black out and lose control of my thoughts. I think about it, briefly.

“Its like taking a thousand steps back from a huge festival with lights and music and kids laughing on all the rides. All of that commotion just kind of dies down until it becomes a quiet vibration. Echoes of voices and trickling water sound in my head. Then I get really, really…tired.”

I close my eyes. I can hear your pencil scribble on your notepad.

“Does that make sense to you?” I ask. You do this weird thing with your eyebrow. It makes me uncomfortable.

“Of course it makes sense. Thanks for telling me that, I wanted to get it from your perspective.”

I nervously tug on a thread hanging from my sweater. The office is cool and doctor-like.

“Do you, do you ever feel like people are talking to you through the television?” I nod through tears. Check. “Alright, do you ever feel as if people are reading your thoughts?” I reach for a tissue as I nod again. Check.

The clock ticks. It’s time to go. You gather up all of your papers and stuff them into your red briefcase. Then you mutter your line, “Until next Monday. We will discuss medication options for you then. As for now, try to relax. Take some time for yourself to unwind.”

We stand up, I shake your hand, I walk to the restroom. Broken-hearted, I fall to the floor, clutching the small blade that I’ve been carrying. I hold my wrist out, weeping over the thought of my mental health slipping away.

I put the blade away, pull myself up, and leave.

Day 12- 31 Days of Bipolar

12. Who was/is your favourite doctor (any kind) and why?

I had this wonderful psychiatrist in high school. The sad truth is I don’t even remember his name. His first name was Chris.

He was patient, totally understanding, empathetic, and just got me. It was incredibly easy to talk to him about anything.  Chris was also chipper, as well. But not annoyingly.

His office was really cool, too. Throw pillows everywhere, a nice personal library, even the tissue box was interesting.

I think he moved somewhere back east.

Medicine Cabinets; the Elusive Psychiatrists Edition

Psychiatrists are elusive.

I tried to contact the referral psych I’ve been mentioning. All of his numbers are disconnected. I called another recommendation that my insurance gave me, and that doctor isn’t qualified for my Glitter Rainbow Imagination…I did some research and called another one that did specify in schizoaffective disorder and schizophrenia. However, now he stopped taking my insurance. Why is this so difficult? I’m even trying to find support groups.

Well, yesterday was fantastic. Little to no issues.

This morning, however, I was abruptly woken up to a new voice I’ve never heard before and he said, “I’m going to fucking kill you.”

I promptly threw the covers off of me, stumbled to the restroom, flung the medicine cabinet open and grabbed the bottles of pills. I don’t know what was going through my thought process. I just kind of stood there as he spoke to me, clutching the plastic tightly. My body was shaking. I remember thinking that I looked insane. It’s as if someone else was operating my body. I felt like I wanted to reach inside of myself and rip my skin to shreds. I know that’s an awful visual… Then, I went numb, standing there, staring at the water faucet, The voice was laughing at me.

My dog sprawled her body across my feet and I snapped out of it. I tried to wake my boyfriend up to tell him that I didn’t feel safe. I was unsuccessful. The doorway looked dark and eerie to the living room. I crawled back into bed and it grew louder. I tried to calm myself down. I hate being woken up like that. It’s one thing to be awake and to feel it coming. At least I can prevent it somehow. I can help myself. But when I’m woken up, I’m thrown into a panicked battle arena. I can’t find a weapon quick enough.

As of right now, I’m doing better. It stopped and now it’s quiet.

It’s gloomy and rainy outside. My favorite weather.

-SJ