Over the past couple weeks, my wife, who happens to have bipolar, has not been sleeping well, which is always a bad sign. For two weeks, she’s been trying to get something to help her sleep – to get her through the often manic days that seem to reach full bloom about the time school lets out. You can read the whole account, “Tragedy of Errors” on our Bipolar Blog.
What really got to me this time around is just how messed up the system is for dealing with bipolar (and probably other mental illnesses). We knew what was going on. My wife knew what helped her sleep in the past – temazepam, and still she’s teetering on the edge of full blown mania because the system is so irresponsive. The doctor refuses to prescribe temazepam because he’s afraid she’ll develop a dependency. The insurance company denies coverage for Ambien CR, because it’s too expensive. The doctor prescribes Lunesta, instead, which helps my wife sleep 4-5 hours but has her waking up WIRED. And all the time, the bipolar is raging out of control.
My wife calls it frustrating. I call it stupid and irresponsible. It would be like firefighters showing up at your house to put out a small kitchen fire and then arguing about how to proceed as the house burns down.
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Last reviewed: 9 Sep 2010