As I mentioned in a recent post, I just got health insurance.
I’ve managed my medication with the same Nurse Practitioner (ARNP) for years.
Lately I’ve become discouraged with her fast-paced office and unwillingness to budge on my disagreements with treatment.
Am I being irrational? Do I have the right to think this way?
Am I crazy, or just human?
I have doubted myself so much, dissected the illness so much, that I don’t know up from down.
I often can’t discern whether I am mentally sick or just going through a tough life change like anyone else.
“the greatest Americans
have not been born yet
they are waiting patiently
for the past to die”
It’s fairly official…
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I too have health insurance.
The first premium is withdrawn from my bank account, and I am enrolled. I am waiting for the cards, and I can start using benefits on March 1st, 2014.
I won’t accept it as completely official until I leave a doctor’s office with that insurance card.
Over time, the doses have increased, and the medication combination, or “cocktail”, has diversified.
With the increase in medication comes the inevitable increase in unpleasant side effects.
The following are my top five worst side effects from medications psychotropic medications, the type of medications I must take for the rest of my life to stay well:
I’m pretty sure lithium is the main culprit–I noticed symptoms of extreme thirst and pesky dry mouth shortly after being prescribed this “gold standard” for bipolar disorder.
Dry mouth is a side effect of many psychotropic medications.
Some of the suggestions I’ve received from clinicians include mouthwash for dry mouth and drinking an adequate amount of water.
The degree of thirst subsides a bit after the first few months, but what doesn’t subside is the milder but constant symptoms and the inability to handle too much summer heat or exercise in humid weather.
The higher the psychotropic dose, the more sensitive my stomach becomes.
After years of multiple medications, I have developed an irritable gastrointestinal tract and an increase in stomach aches.
I attribute some of my stomach issues to anxiety, but my symptoms also became worse as I climbed the ladder of more potent drugs and higher doses.
I’ve been told to eat a healthy diet, incorporate more fiber, drink a lot of water, exercise, and avoid problem foods.
I cannot take my medication “cocktail” without eating something. If I don’t eat enough, I get a terrible, burning stomach ache that I never experienced before I took psychotropic meds.
It’s side effects like this that make medication compliance difficult.
Everyone says your energy level decreases the older you get–but I am way too tired for 25.
I can’t keep up with my friends, and I need a considerable amount of sleep to function.
I can hardly stay awake past 12 hours of daily activity.
Since I decreased my medication a bit, I have noticed a spike in energy, and I think some improvement in diet and an increase in exercise would …
Last month, you read my post about opting for online psychotherapy sessions.
My therapist abruptly moved to Virginia just before the holiday season, and we decided to try therapy via Skype.
In the last month, I received both positive and negative feedback about online counseling.
A few therapists have suggested against it, which I respect greatly.
In contrast, consumers and family members have regarded it a bit differently.
Like some of my consumer friends, who are also members of Gen Y, I do not immediately see any issues with online counseling.
Everything I do these days is via Internet.
Only recently did I become familiar with the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation.
And now, I know why. This organization was formally NARSAD.
They were originally founded in 1987, and are paramount to the progress of treatment for bipolar disorder.
One of the most important things we can do to understand bipolar disorder is research.
We need to study the brain, medications, new technologies, and ways to better track and control our symptoms.
The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation has awarded more than $300 million in over 4,000 NARSAD grants to more than 3,7000 scientists around the world.
“We always talk about your illness”, my husband said.
I don’t know if he’s being vindictive, or honest.
I can’t help but talk about living with bipolar disorder.
I don’t care how successful, beautiful, bright, or loving I am.
The reminder that I have bipolar disorder is always with me. Always.
It’s the anxiety I feel in the morning, the depression I feel during the day, the anger and restlessness I feel in the evening.
I emailed her last week letting requesting to delay our session one week until I settled in.
She emailed me back with quite a surprise response:
I am moving to Virginia in a couple of weeks. My husband got a new job, and with the holiday, we have to have the movers come right away. Is there any way you can meet me for a weekend session?
I was stuck between understanding and disappointment—even a sense of loss.
Why did you have to email me about it? Was also I understand you are going through a change and don’t have a lot of time.
I cannot believe she’s leaving balanced Change is inevitable.
Negative thinking can have a devastating impact on one’s life. For me, it’s a personal hell. My co-workers and friends rarely notice anything is wrong; I keep it to myself, but with because I keep it to myself, it is hard to cope.
The more I rehash negative thoughts and feelings about myself in my head, the more likely I am to feel sad and anxious.
With all of the time we spend taking care of ourselves, it is easy to forget our significant others deal with a significant amount of stress due to our chronic illness.
Our romantic partners are fully exposed to our symptoms, which can include everything from irritability and anxiety to suicidal behavior and hospitalization.