Saturday, May 30, 2009

The next steps

I'll be calling a psychiatrist next week. Thank you, Vickie, for offering to ask your doctor if he knows anyone good down here. I checked our insurance & it looks like there are over a dozen psychiatrists on our plan. Yes, we have insurance, & my copay is $30 for a specialist. It won't cost that much. I'm just tired of doctors and the drugstore. It was simply an excuse, I suppose.

I talked with Mark last night, showed him the test that I found online to see if I should investigate bipolar II (AKA mood swings without mania), & I scored in the "GO SEE A DOCTOR" camp. He read the list & said he's seen these signs in me for over a year.

One of the explanations on the website I found says that antidepressants can make bipolar II worse. They can cause you to cycle through moods more quickly, as quickly as DAILY mood swings. I felt like I'd been punched in the gut when I read what antidepressants can do to you if you actually have bipolar II. It's exactly what I've been going through, getting increasingly worse.

I have NOT self diagnosed myself, even though it kind of sounds like it, doesn't it. I am seeing a doctor as soon as possible. I just did the little test & am recognizing a lot of symptoms that I didn't even know were symptoms! As in, my husband asking me, "What's wrong with you?" when I felt great & happy & silly. I just thought I was feeling good when I'd make funny comments sometimes. Apparently I can be irritating, instead of funny, when I'm like that. Turns out that's a symptom--"people think you act oddly." Who knew. This happened to me in high school a lot, too. So it's not just Mark's opinion that's skewed or something.

I have to tell you, if this is indeed what's wrong with me, I feel a little freaked out. I don't know why I think it's OK to have depression but not bipolar disorder. Maybe because of all the negative connotations that come with that word. I don't know. I just know it's going to be hard to accept. Interestingly, on the "non medication" treatment list I read, one of the first is "accepting that you have the disorder." I guess that means I'm not alone in feeling this way.

Mostly I just feel relieved that I've finally figured out I need help.

I'm praying whichever doctor I work with will respect my insistence that I will not take any drugs that cause weight gain. It looks like there are one or two medications that don't, but the rest do. I'm just not going to medication weight gain land again. Ever. God willing, I won't have to.


Heather said...

I think that admitting that you need help and might need medication/therapy is a good first step because it is often the hardest and until you do, it doesnt matter what you go through. If you arent ready - nothing will help. as someone with a psychology degree, I see that all the time. I even see it with my own sister. there is such a stigma out there about mental diseases and taking medications,etc. when the reality is, most people are on some type of drug or in therapy. its not rare anymore. sure the news plays up any shootings or incidents of people who are in need of mental help so it makes it seem like if you have something like that, you must be that crazy too when its not even like that. thats why my sister wont take her medication (and she is bipolar) because she thinks that the world then views her as crazy. its sad to see because people should realize there is nothing wrong with needing help. if you were sick, you would take medication to feel better. same thing for how you feel mentally - if you are sick, do whatever it takes to feel better.

jen said...

I think going to the psychiatrist is a good idea, but remember all the stresses you've been under lately and realize feeling irritable, angry, frustrated, sad, hopeless, etc., could also just be a side effect of everything you've been dealing with. Whatever the diagnosis, you will still be the same you that you've always been.

Hope that you figure out a way to feel better, whatever that is.

Candace said...

I can't remember how I found your blog (probably googling diet stuff), but I wanted to say I enjoy reading your blog.

Bipolar runs in my family. I was never diagnosed with it, but I did suffer from some depression when things got rough for me. I took Lexapro for a while, as well as Lamictal. The combination worked wonders for the depression (not so much for other things). When I felt better, I went off of them.

Anyhow, I hope you get to feeling better, whether through meds or not.

Cindy...154 said...

I am glad you are checking it out. I have always thought I might be mildly bipolar. The reason I always got the depression diagnosis was that I only sought help when I was depressed. I guess when I was up I thought I was fine. My moods have gotten better since menopause but you have me pondering now...

Jill said...

Laura lots of people have bipolar - I personally don't think it carries any more of a stigma than being depressed. Honey, my SIL is a paranoid schitzophrenic - there's not a worse stigma than that - but she takes her meds and she's okay.

You will be fine - even with the disorder. Just breathe and take it one day at a time.


debby said...

Jill said exactly what I was going to say. In addition, I think that as humans, there is a whole range of symptoms and function within any area of the human body because it is so complex. From so mild that it might never be noticed, all they way to completely without function because it is so severe. At most what you have is mild, because you are functioning very well, and getting the right diagnosis and right drugs will only enhance that.

Vickie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vickie said...

I actually feel/felt safer on the meds I am on NOW (than when I was on the antiD's). It seems like these are more specific to what I need. I think that the AntiD's felt more like a bandaid. These feels like it is treating the REAL issue.

I think it might be good for you to grieve (a little). What you describe is sort of what I felt when I realized my perception of 'normal' was never going to BE. And that was the major turning point for me in this whole process and in my life. Everything even-ed out when I accepted reality. And I do think that I grieved a little at the thought that there was no magic. . .it isn't that reality sucks. It is more the thought that I have to DEAL. Once I accepted that (and the meds and my life) everything got better.

I didn't have the reaction (to the diagnosis and the meds) that you are having when I first started with my psychiatrist - but I did a full year after that - it was like one day I got up and felt like I now fell into a 'check box' on a medical questionaire.

Never mind the fact that before I knew - I was in much worse shape than now - medical questionaires do not take treatment (being better) into account.

My therapist used to talk about the fact that those that get help are NOT the ones to be worried about.

It is the ones that don't know they need it or refuse it that are the truly 'sick' ones. No matter what the diagnosis.

I guess I just look at my 'stuff' as chemical. And perhaps that means - to me - I didn't do it. And I can see that many of the things that I DID DO - had a great deal to do with my off balance-ness.

I can see where mine comes from - family tree wise - and those people did not have any options (like I do) and lived pretty upset/disjointed/disordered lives.

They and their families paid the price for the fact that there was no treatment available.

One of my dad's sisters is now on appropriate meds. I am glad for her - but sad that her five kids had to grow up with her on NO meds or the wrong meds - it definitely impacted their whole lives and the adults that they grew into. I feel worse about that than I do the life she had to lead.

I am still sitting here looking at two different families with terminal cancer (one dad, another family's mom) and am very glad that I have something treatable . . .

Vickie said...

delete was me - had to fix several things.

Vickie said...

And I don't think it is an accident that I am on the right meds and able to maintain. . .

Anonymous said...


LG said...

I can't add anything else to what the other wise people who have responded (minus the Asian characters above me). I think you are grieving and it is scary but I am proud of you for seeking out answers and help. If you are bi-polar, you have a very successful life and pretty much have most of it in order. :-)

Frances Kuffel said...

I almost envy you. Bipolar is Virginia Woolf and Van Gogh and all the cool kids in the Nutso Genius class.

But it must also be exhausting. I'm glad you're seeing someone. I'm of the school that anti-depressants should be prescribed by psychiatrists for pretty much this reason. Good luck & God bless.

MCM Mama said...

{{{HUGS}}} I have no real advice, but I'm glad you are going to see a doctor. Hopefully you can find something that makes things better for you.