Ok, after posting about my new med and rereading my past posts-which are, quite frankly, erratic and chaotic like my brain is ALL. THE. TIME.- I felt that I should go into a deeper and more clear post about my diagnosis and ALL of the meds I’ve been on in 8 years So, without further ado, I present, Shannon, BP 1 with Mania and PPD *aka, Sassafrass*
Ever since I was little, probably 8 or 9, I’ve always felt the tugs of “unhappiness” around myself. I always thought it was my personal comparison to my sister, because she was the skinny and prettier and smarter one. I’ve always struggled in school where academics were concerned, but I SOARED where creativity lives. I-still-like to think I’m musically gifted. I got the lead female role in our summer drama class production. I was in girls show choir and color guard in high school. These were the ONLY times I focused on anything. My academic classes I struggled in all the way back to first grade. I remember having to be separated from the class-my desk was moved to the corner by the class room door-just to FINISH my work in my yellow folder. The “To Finish” side was ever-growing, while the “Finished” side remained empty. These should have been clues, but this was the middle 80’s and I’m sure there was little to NO research about kids and mental illness-other than ADD/ADHD. I really don’t like yellow, or the feel of those textured folders to this day. I struggled so badly, that my senior year of high school I was missing TWELVE of my required credits to graduate. My grandpa died a few weeks before my senior year started. I didn’t care, my parents didn’t act like they cared. So I dropped out.
I remember the night of my first suicidal ideation. I was 20 and I had worked at my first health care job for about a year. I was on the schedule for evening shift. I got in my car and left the house to go to work. I just drove. I don’t remember much, but I remember that I drove around 465 looking for a pole to crash my car into. When I had finally found a pole, there was construction work being done on the new 74 interchange so I had to stop. That saved my life. It brought me out of the fog and I said out loud to myself “What the FUCK are you THINKING?! Just go to T and Jessie’s.” So I did, and I bought a baking bar sized Hershey’s Special Dark, and ate the ENTIRE THING sitting in their floor while Jessie gave me the most AMAZING back massage. It’s one of the few times I’ve ever been completely tension free in my life. I went to work like nothing happened and my DON asked me what happened and I was honest to her. She was so worried she almost had me sent to Valley Vista by police escort. I told her I would be ok if I could just call my sister and have her take me home. I made the call, and she let me go and gave me some time off. This is my first dance into medication management for my “depressed mood”. It was Prozac that made me so high that I forgot to eat and all I wanted to do was clean. So we switched to Paxil, and all that made me to was eat and be numb to everything. Cute kitty videos-flat feeling. Death of a high school friend-flat feeling. Pretty much made me feel empty. Stopped that shit REAL quick.
I couldn’t tell you my first manic moment. There are so many that stand out. I just always remember spending money hand over fist like it came from a faucet-the money tree would never have been able to keep up with me. Shit, there are a lot of days now that it can’t. There were SO MANY nights that turned into days, and days that turned into nights that turned into days. I think the longest I ever stayed up straight was 48 hours. There was LOTS of drinking and sex. Let’s just say that between 19 and 24 I was downright shameful. There are some men I never knew their names. I got pregnant with my son and had him at 22-again, another life saver. I love my little dude, as he will be 13 in week. *Cue an ocean of tears*
I met my husband and things were still unstable. I tried going to school and taking care of my son, but the relationship between my husband and I was just emotional turmoil from the beginning. I had to drop out of school and work-which made me miserable and resentful. That started down the more unstable path. I got pregnant with my daughter and my pregnancy was just straight emotional abuse, that added to the eventual emotional snap. Minutes after having her, I felt myself fall into the pit of ever consuming darkness. And I stayed there for three months. Two weeks of my life I can’t remember from the PPD. I don’t know how I functioned, or how I kept my kids alive. I finally called my local behavioral health office and I got so lucky to talk to a wonderful therapist that told me to call my Dr ASAP and tell them I was suicidal and I needed to be seen. I got in that day, and my WONDERFUL nurses Andy and Jamie supported me as I broke down. So I started on Lexapro-and that helped lift the fog I was in. And that fog was fucking THICK. But I emerged, and my insurance didn’t cover Lexapro so I had to be switched to Zoloft. It wasn’t as immediate or as intense as the effectiveness of the Lexapro, but it helped maintain my precarious mental state.
The woman I talked to at the behavioral health center on the phone became my therapist, and she was a God send. She helped me to navigate my newly diagnosed self as Bipolar 1 with mania, ADHD and PPD. GAWD that PPD was HORRIBLE! But, now I can empathize when the news talks about a new mom taking the lives of her children. It’s not her fault, it’s a fucking chemical imbalance, and people need to be more aware of a struggling mother. I didn’t have PPD with my son, only my daughter, and we still aren’t sure if the PPD triggered the BP! or vice-versa. We will never really know. So, now this leads to my MANY psychiatric ventures.
Over the course of 8 years, I have been suicidal twice, needing hospitalization one time-only 3 days because uninsured mental illness patients are HIGHLY frowned upon in my state. God forbid that I have to choose between feeding my children or keeping my sanity. Option 1 always won out. Right before my hospitalization my grandmother had a stroke that left her partially paralyzed one side, so I would visit her every night after work, and help her bathe two nights a week. This is my gramma, one of my biggest supporters and champions before my diagnosis and the fucking cheer block afterward. Needless to say I was beyond stressed and I snapped, but I knew it enough to go see my then third psychiatrist. By this time I has been on Lamictal that made me psychotic and I got that RARE side effect of a sweet tooth, therefore leading to homemade chocolate chip cookies EVERY DAY and a 20 pound weight gain in 6 weeks. There was lithium that made me sleepy, Abilify that was my miracle drug, Lexapro again but it made me too sleepy to take care of my children-I slept 14 hours on my days off, Cymbalta that made me feel like I was swallowing a little maracas EVERY TIME I TOOK IT. Enter my first introduction of Xanax. I was getting married and I was having SERIOUS anxiety that manifested in agitation and anger. I took two the day I got married.
After getting married and being off my meds for….PFFFFBT I don’t even remember at that time, I FINALLY got to see a WONDERFUL APRN that listened to my history and all the meds I had been on and told me that the Cymbalta isn’t good for people with BP, because it can send them into mania. WONDERFUL! Shouldn’t the LAST psychiatrist caught that?! Honestly, no, he shouldn’t have. He was over worked and I got a 10 minute med check and he never really paid attention to any of the shit I said. I probably could have told him I see psychedelic hefalupms and he would have nodded in agreement and said, “Good, good. Come back in 6 weeks.” Shameful. Anyway, my APRN started me on a new med regime. We did Wellbutrin, Depakote, and Abilify. The Wellbutrin was wonderful for the depression. The Abilify was great for keeping the BP mania in check. The Depakote? NOT SO MUCH. Sent me into a mania that, again, manifested as agitation, irritation and anger. Hmmm…see how it manifests for me? So, off the Depakote I came, and started Trileptal. That’s been great. But…I again had to choose between providing child care for my kids so I can work, or my sanity. Work won out, again. Anyone else see a sad and shitty pattern here? So, off my meds, yet again, and it eventually led to a mixed episode brought on by work and marital stress. My APRN had me off work for two months. My mixed episode was so bad that I sat in my house, in the quiet, with my dog next to me on the couch, reading for eight hours a day. Yes, I wrote that correctly-EIGHT HOURS A DAY. I read approximately 4,000 pages in the two months I was off work. That’s the first 4 books of Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” series-which EVERYONE needs to read. 😉 I eventually went back to work, BACK on my meds, and I was pretty much made to resign after not even a month of being back. New boss, had NO idea of my past mental “issues” and that place is shit now anyway. Blessing in the end.
On to another job that was more flexible with my hours, less pay, but a job none the less. Stayed there a little over a year, but YET AGAIN, went off my meds due to bills or sanity. My husband and I separated in April and I was devastated-but that’s a whole other can of worms. I ended up at Valley Vista this summer, back on the Trileptal, and a new diagnosis of “trauma”-PTSD in my opinion. I had my first flash back last month and lemme tell ya, that was SOOOOO much fun. -_- I spent the summer blasting my radio driving down the road with my windows down. Enter Florida, then his subsequent departure that lead to listening to NO music for a while, and my stability was in SERIOUS jeopardy.
So, after AAAAAAALLL those meds, I am now on the Trileptal-300 mgs in the am, 600 mgs at noc, and the new med Latuda-40 mgs at noc as well. The 40 mgs is starting to spiral me into a little mania, so when I see my APRN, we will discuss going back to 20 mgs. Either way, I’m fucking STAYING on my god damned meds this time. The Latuda is $110 for a 30 day supply through the pharmacy, but there is a co-pay assist card out there, and y’all are DAMN FUCKING SKIPPY that I’ll use that mother fucker. I don’t want to end up hospitalized again, because I know this time, I’ll probably be there for a while. I can’t leave my kids at the hands of their worthless and assholey and selfish “dad”, and I have a DAMN good reason to stay stable.
There might be a med or two I missed..I’ve been on a lot in 8 years…OH, there’s been Seroquel, Ambien, and Geodon all for sleep. Maybe my next BP 1 post will be on my feelings when I’m too high or too low…who the fuck knows?