the caged bird sings.

written, designed, and edited by Bee Butler

That sinking feeling.

Bee ButlerComment

In the last two years, my depression has been well-managed. I almost feel wrong in saying that, because I have by no means been happy for two years, or even okay. I've had moments where I seriously considered ending it all. I've had insane breakdowns (usually prompted by relationship problems) and I have had my share of weepy, ugly crying days. HOWEVER: I have been on medication steadily for two years, and even though it's been tweaked, it's worked.

I haven't been to the psychiatrist this year. It's April. I actually don't think I've been since October, which, holy shit, self, that is so fucking dumb that there aren't enough cuss words to sprinkle into this sentence. I know better than that. Like, WAY better. The reason I haven't gone (and have been a total butthole to my poor urgent care doc, more on that in a minute) is because I genuinely do not like my psychiatrist. He's not a bad guy, but he doubts everything I say, is sort of rude, questions me or asks me to repeat myself when I talk about meds in a way that makes me feel that he thinks I'm a drug-seeker, which, fuck you, asshole, I never asked to be thrown on meds as a child, and I definitely need medication. I don't want it. I need it to survive. Fuck. Off.

This guy seems to be one of those people who thinks that no patient really NEEEEDS meds, so he's spent the last year weaning me off every. single. medication that my previous doctors have put me on. And that is not okay. That is not why I see him. That is not why I shell out my hard earned money to sit in his grubby little office.

Fuck. Can you tell how much I hate this dude?

He told me that nobody needs Xanax and forced me to stop taking it even though I was on 3mg a day (which, yes, that is a shit ton, and no, I didn't NEED that much, but a team of therapists, doctors, psychiatrists, nutritionists, and treatment-teamers decided that it was a good idea that I take that much, so who the fuck are you to tell me I need exactly 0mg for the rest of my life?!) and also tried to remove my mood stabilizer, and that ended SPECTACULARLY and resulted him in upping it past my previous dosage when all was said and done. He does not get me. He does not think medication is necessary for my wellbeing, and because I have spent 26 years in this body and brain and 15 years on medication, I know for a fucking FACT that I DO need medication and will continue taking it for the rest of my life. I get tweaking dosages and changing medications when things stop working. That is totally fine and I'll even advocate for it when I feel it might be necessary. I also desperately wish that I didn't need meds.

Which brings me to the point of this post.

In the last six months, I've been going to Urgent Care and getting the on-call doctor there to call in an emergency prescription on my meds. Three months ago I went in thinking I had severe lung problems and had a very sweet, understanding doctor look me dead in the face and say, "Abby? You've had panic attacks your entire life. Do you not recognize that this whole breathing problem is actually just a severe panic attack? I think Xanax is a good idea."

I cried from relief when he told me that. I thought I was dying. My body was actually just being an evil little shit. That doctor has been prescribing and refilling my psych meds for me for half a year. That's pretty illegal. He understands why he's been doing it, though, and hasn't really pushed me. In 18 days, the insurance I have that allows me to GO to Urgent Care will expire, and I will be forced to go on the state emergency plan, commonly known as MediCal. It is extremely shitty, but I am very, very grateful that I will be insured, and that I will have zero copays. I'm very sad, though, because this plan covers one group of psychiatrists/therapists (the Encinitas Psychiatric Group, if you're interested) and they happen to be the ones I was already seeing. When I made my first new-insurance-appointment there, I requested to see a nurse practitioner until a different psychiatrist was available, because I cannot keep going back to the man who has made me feel like an idiot for so long, and because my love affair with Urgent Care is coming to an end. As of April 18th, if I'm sick and need immediate care, I can go to the Minute Clinic (blech) or shuttle myself to the emergency room. I am really unhappy about that.

As you can imagine, my Urgent Care system occasionally slips through the cracks and I've run out of meds as a result. Several times, in fact. And this last time left me without antidepressants or anti-anxiety meds for nearly a month. And I am not okay.

I'm really surprised, though, at how well I've been coping. No self harm, no suicidal episodes, none of the things that typically mark a med-free period. Something else has popped up instead.

I'm pushing the boundaries of what I thought my OCD would make me do. I'm starting to feel like I have ADD as well. And I've been manic. I've had maybe 10 or 11 manic periods in my entire life, and all of them were the result of mismanaged meds due to incorrect diagnoses. My doctors thought I was bipolar for a long, long time, but because of some major red flags and stop signs in my history and behavioral patterns, I ended up with a major depressive and chronic anxiety diagnosis, along with a nudge that I have borderline personality disorder. You can go look that up for yourself, because I'm incredibly embarrassed by it. I was fine with OCD, anxiety, and depression. I could even swallow my PTSD diagnosis, because I knew exactly where it came from and it isn't looked at as a "crazy person" illness... more of a soldier struggle, and that was fine with me. BPD is often lumped in with bipolar disorder and occasionally schizophrenia (even though they are NOT EVEN SIMILAR, dammit), so I've kept my mouth shut about having it.

The mania, though, that's a thing now. It's helped me to get this house really fucking spotless, and I've been able to channel the mania into productive shifts at work and some household cleaning and organizing projects that made me feel good about myself. It's also lead to a couple of stupid spending sprees and nine or ten sleepless nights that are about to push me over the edge. 

Tonight, I called my pharmacy and explained my situation, and I'll have all my meds back tomorrow, with the exception of Xanax. I've got to make one last trip to Urgent Care for that. And then, in May, I'll have my first sit down with my NP, and we'll see what happens.

 

All that to say this: I need medication and I am not okay without it. If anything, my problems morph into giants I cannot conquer and new symptoms I'd never struggled with surface as I start to sink. I can't keep my head above water without these drugs, just like diabetics will die without insulin and organ transplant survivors are dependent on their anti-rejection meds. I'm not sorry or ashamed, just very, very sad, because navigating appointments and rude doctors gets really difficult when the pills that keep you sane are on the line.

 

It's 4:12 AM and I'm wide awake. This manic spiral is about to make me cry. And I need to wake up the boyfriend for work. I'll have some breakfast and then lie in bed for eight hours and hope to eventually drift off. Until then,

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