Tag Archives: medication

Why is there no in between sane and not sane?

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Recently a friend of mine was feeling off. She called her therapist and after speaking with her therapist it was decided she should go to the mental health hospital. She was not suicidal. She was sent away. She was essentially sent away because she was not suicidal so therefore fine. We were discussing how this is so vastly unfair. Further reflection led me to say, “This only goes to further feed the mental health stigma. You are either sane or not sane. There is no in between.” I know most of that boils down to funding. I am not finding fault with the mental health hospital itself. It is the system. It needs to start from the highest level. Government needs to start stating openly, mental health is just as important as physical health.

When I worked in probation I saw how broken the system was. I saw how many probationers were really mental health clients that could not receive help. Most often I heard they will give me medications but they won’t give me therapy. This in turns fuels the stigma that there is a “magic” pill that fixes the mental imbalance. While medications are part of the answer. They are not the only answer.

Mental health tends to be more like a puzzle. The problem is it is not just one puzzle. It is a puzzle based on each individual. Finding out how that person’s puzzle can be put back together , is the hard part. It also doesn’t help that you can’t glue the puzzle together so it stays together. It can and often does fall apart and has to be reconfigured. This makes it frustrating not only to the Doctor treating it but, also the person dealing with it. It is easy for the person dealing with the mental health issue to think there is nothing wrong. The system really does encourage that. I know this all too well.

I am estranged from my Mother and youngest sister. I  had already been in therapy for  four years by the time the ties were cut. When it was pointed out that I was relying on medication in order for me to deal with this situation I knew something had to be done. If nothing else this showed me how toxic it was for me. Not just emotionally, physically as well. No medication is completely side effect free.  I had chronic pain issues on top of this. My kidneys and liver were not happy.  Where as physical abuse is so much more obvious, Emotional abuse is much more subtle. Verbal abuse as well. We tend to tolerate a lot more from close friends and family than we ever would others. It came time though for me to love myself more. I am not going to get into the specifics. It is not for public consumption. The details don’t really matter to others.I often reflect on the situation. I do hear things here and there. What I hear still convinces me it was the right decision. We need to realize that emotional physical verbal and social all tie together in our health. They can not be out of balance.

Three years later and my kidneys and liver are back within normal ranges. I am on much less medication. I am aware I won’t get completely medication free. I understand it is a chemical imbalance in part. I am also completely okay with the fact that I will probably be in and out of therapy for the rest of my life. I don’t understand so much of the stigma around admitting to a mental illness. I don’t understand admitting an imbalance and working to improve that imbalance being a weakness. It is something that has to start from the top levels of our government AND from the bottom level of every day interactions with people. It is way past time for us to realize this.

I struggled with this when I was on medicaid and dependent on the system for my mental health care. Luckily I had years of private insurance therapy first. I knew what I did need and what I didn’t. Still they tried over medicating me. I won’t lie, I did go along with it for a bit. It took me a while to realize that over medicating is just as bad as under medicating. It is a balance. The problem is when you are in the middle of psychosis and are over medicated, it is really hard to realize that.  It is easy to see why people go off medication. Over medication made me feel like a zombie. It increased my brain fog. It made my mood swings even more unpredictable.  I was lucky that we were able to get back on insurance. I was lucky that I found a physician who listened to me. Who was willing to fine tune medications to the right mixture.  Having gone through the medicaid system I know how hard it is. I understand how broken the system is.  I had to go off all my medications for two months because I was not suicidal. They didn’t know how long it would take me to get through the waiting list. I was just needing maintenance.  The problem is if medication is part of your maintenance and you are denied that medication, you are no longer maintaining.

We need to fix our broken system in all the areas, not just physical health. We need to let people know there IS an in between. There is a work in progress level. That mental health is so much more than sane and not sane.

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#Depressedbutdressed an on going battle

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Even when the depression is at its least intrusive it is there.

It is always there.

When I am smiling.

When I am doubled over in laughter.

It is there.

No matter what I am doing, anyone with depression is doing, it is the dark cloud that is always there.

Depression is very tricky. It lets you think that you are not depressed. It reels you into feeling safe.

I am not depressed anymore so I don’t need my medications.

I am not depressed anymore so I can lower my medications.

Sometimes it even lets you stop your medication.

That was when it was the easiest for it to strike again for me.

I don’t even second guess anymore that I need an anti-depressant.

It is just a fact that I do.

I also need an anti-anxiety medication.

Not everyone with depression is the same.

Depression is rarely exactly alike in two people.

I have a friend who when hers flares she sleeps and sleeps and sleeps.

When mine is bad, I can’t sleep.

There are areas that people who have depression can relate to.

It makes you feel helpless.

It makes you feel alone.

It makes you feel broken.

Depression is not just sadness. It is so much more than that.

Just like there are different types of people, there are different types of depression.

I was so easily deceived by depression. I was diagnosed with clinical depression. It was not explained properly to me so it got a good hold on me before I realized it. Clinical depression does not just mean a chemical imbalance. So much of what I was feeling is also common in OCD, which is my primary diagnosis.  That constant feeling of impending doom, you don’t know why its there but it is. There is no reason for it to be there. Some people get a feeling of despair. For me it has always been that waiting for the other shoe to drop feeling.

This is why I absolutely loved the hashtag depressedbutdressed. It’s creation was my friend Jen’s brain child. Go check her out (http://www.itsnotmyworkout.com/) Depression has many faces and this hashtag is a way of making people realize that.

I don’t remember to use it everyday. It does not have to be something you hashtag you use everyday. Actually I think if you do it looses its effect.

We need more people showing they did the hardest thing that day. They got up , they got dressed even with depression. They may be depressed but they are dressed and that is the hardest thing for someone with depression.

********** feelings of suicide or suicidal thoughts are a very real aspect of depression. If you are having such thoughts there is hope, There is help. There is a national number that can help you get the help you need. YOU DESERVE THE HELP. Don’t think these thoughts will go away and you will be okay. Pick up the phone and call. CALL NOW! 1-800-273-8255 ************************************

”I’m

Prepare prepare prepare

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The thing to do when you have chronic illness is pace yourself. There is something to do before that though. First you need to prepare. If you know in advance that is, if not its all about recovery.

We have a huge big group hike that we have been planning happening tomorrow. Well if it is Thursday it is happening today but, I am writing this Wednesday.So we kept activities very minimum and flexible as well. I even came home and took a nap. I really did not have much of a choice actually. I came home from a rather short activity for me and laid down. Tried to get into the computer with my tv on like I normally do. I knew  shortly after that I needed sleep. It was a good way to start preparing for tomorrow.

Tonight I will take an epsom bath and when I wake in the middle of the night, as I inevitably will, I will re-medicate without hesitation. I normally wait. I don’t like to take anything if I can get back on my own. Tonight however, sleep will be imperative. I will also stagger my melatonin and other night meds, for whatever reason they work better if I take them about an hour apart. The only thing I can think of is it is like stepping your body down from the day. I will probably take the magnesium first with half dose of melatonin. My heart meds the next hour and then the last one will be benedryl so I can breathe.  (I know there are other things to take, Benedryl was what my ENT and I settled on).

In the morning it will still be about preparing. Coffee of course will happen. A good breakfast will be vital today especially. A good bowl of quality oatmeal, some chopped almonds tossed in.  About an hour after breakfast I will drink some green juice mixed with some soy protein.  Lunch will be light. Probably Cheese and crackers and apple. A pocket full of almonds and cashews, a bottle of water and we will be off. It sounds like a lot. Especially when you think that is just to get me ready and not the kid. At eight though she pretty much takes care of herself. We go on hikes enough she knows to drink lots of water and she will probably have the same lunch as me.

The last thing I will do is take my multivitamin right before we go. Its kinda like a little pep before we go.Just one more way to give my body a little oomph.

This is what works for me. It has taken me literally years to know how to prepare and not just recover. There was a lot of trial and error. There was a lot of thinking or over thinking or under thinking going on. There were even a few I found by accident, like stacking my medications. Only stack your medications like that if they are not scripts. If they are scripts talk to your Doctor first. I can not stress enough the importance of water. When you think you are hydrated, drink some more. I would encourage only water but whatever it takes for you to be hydrated. Often we get the Mio electrolyte additive drops for flavor and a maintaining hydration. The key to finding what works for you is to journal it. Jot down notes when you can about what you did , how it worked. I kept mine in just a microsoft word file for the longest time. There are also a lot of good pain journal apps that will help as well. I still use one off and on.

The last bit of advice is remember to this will NOT stop you from hurting after a big activity. It is to reduce the impact. It is still important to pace and to recover. Do not consider this pampering yourself. This is self care and it is vital.

Also…if you have followed me for even a little bit….you know there is a hike post coming as well!

I don’t exercise like you and that’s okay.

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I was recently told that I don’t walk fast enough to make it effective exercise.
Now there are two ways I can take that. Well if its not going to be effective exercise…I might as well quit now.
Or I could take it as a comment by an uniformed person.

The muscles and tendons and ligaments in a Fibromyalgia patient are different from the patient who is in overall good health. We have to start super slow. We have to increase super slow. Sometimes just a minute longer than we did last time. That minute can seem like the worlds best form of torture to us.

I am not a patient person. I know it took me so long to adjust to the length our normal walk is because I pushed it. I continually pushed it and it took eight months before I could increase. and even then I did a half mile increase instead of stepping it up just a little bit at a time. There were many days that I didn’t walk at all.

The idea that I need to get my heart up and pumping is just utterly ridiculous for me. Every time I tried during physical therapy my heart forgot that it was suppose to increase steadily and when I stopped start to decrease. It took very little to push it over to irregular.

The dogs on our favorite walk

The dogs on our favorite walk

1.5 mph is kinda pushing it for my walks…Sometimes that’s how fast the dogs walk..my most comfortable is just a few notches down at 1.3 mph. Like I said though these were slow increases and there are still days that 0.9 mph seems like we are racing.

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We are the tortoise of the exercise group. Slow and steady wins us results.

When i started physical therapy years ago I could only stand five minutes and that was pushing it…..Then when we got to ten minutes we switched to warm water therapy and pushed it to twenty minutes….by the end of six weeks I had gotten to thirty minutes. This was at three times a week though. I didn’t continue because at the time I did not do enough self care. I was worried about how much time away from work this was and a zillion other things. Not only that I had days of intense pain which made work and parenting even harder.

We tend to know our bodies very well. Listen to what your body says. It is going to go slow. It is going to require patience. It is going to require you to be forgiving to yourself. All things that come with time.

It is hard to tune out what others say. It keep doing what you are comfortable with. To do what your body is comfortable with. Activity does help. Moving does help. If you feel its a good workout, its a good workout.  I will say the more consistent I am with walking. The less time it takes to recover.

What I can do with my illnesses is probably not what another person with the same illnesses can do. We are different and that is okay.