Anxiety Society: Meet "City" And Her BPD, Bipolar II, and Panic Disorder(This is the thirteenth post in a series called “Anxiety Society,” in which I interview everyday anxiety suffers from all walks of life about their struggles, their triumphs, their coping methods, and more. I believe that the more we openly talk about our mental health, the less of a “thing” it becomes. Conversation can reduce stigma, and my interviewees want to be a part of that.)

They say bad things comes in threes.

It certainly can’t be the puppies — no way. Meet City Panicked. She’s a “twenty-something NYC-dwelling chick” who loves dogs so much that she owns not one, not two, but three of them.

She enjoys the puppies.

She does not, however, enjoy any of her three DSM-IV diagnoses.

City and I talked earlier this week via the internet.

Summer: So, what type of mental illness (or illnesses) are you dealing with? I can tell from reading your blog that you seem to be struggling with more than just one, right?

City: Well, I am one of many people with multiple diagnoses. Currently on the roster and up to bat are: Borderline Personality Disorder, Bipolar II and Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia.

S: How did you get that many different diagnoses? Were they from multiple doctors? And, pardon me while I briefly imitate a psychotherapist, but: how does that make you feel?

C: Yes – they do come from multiple doctors, though the last shrink I had an ongoing relationship with had brought up all of them at one point or another. And BPD, being the problem child of the personality disorders, tends to hang out with Mood and Anxiety disorders quite frequently. Frankly, I wish I had just ONE issue to deal with. A lot of medications end up being contraindicated and it is so frustrating.

S: Can you share what kind of meds you’re on — or, well, not on because of the contraindications?

C: I’m not supposed to take Wellbutrin for depression because it can aggravate my anxiety. I’m not supposed to take Ambien even though my anxiety keeps me awake because it can make the depression worse. Any benzodiazepines are also not recommended for people with depression but have been a life saver for me in the past.

S: So, is there anything at all that you’re taking right now or is virtually everything that might be helpful for you contraindicated somehow?

C: Well, right now I am not on anything at all. I’m in between psychiatrists and have been off meds for about 4 weeks.

S: Wow. Was it your own choice to get off the meds?

C: Nope. Not at all actually. I had just started back on a medication that had previously worked really well for me…except this time it made me suicidal in less than a week.

S: That…sounds horrible. What medication was it?

C: Pristiq – it is metabolically similar to Effexor – but it doesn’t give me the same physical side effects.

S: It’s really weird how that can happen, isn’t it? A drug works fine at one point in your life, but not in another. So damn frustrating.

C: Incredibly! I was SO looking forward to taking this magic little pill that had made me feel so normal before. Except it didn’t. I felt like I was crawling out of my skin. And then I was unbearably sad.

S: So, what did you do after it made you suicidal?

C: I was seeing a new psychiatrist and a new therapist and we decided it was best that I go to the hospital. Worst. Best. Idea. Ever.

From City’s blog:

Last week I started having increasingly severe panic attacks which over the course of 24 hours progressed to severe depression and thoughts of suicide. For the first time in my life though, instead of acting upon these thoughts, I went for help. I setup an emergency appointment with my therapist and we decided after speaking that going to the hospital would be best. She called 911 and smoked a cigarette with me until the EMTs arrived and that is when it all went downhill.

Check back later this week to find out what happened when City checked into the psychiatric ward of an NYC hospital.

Creative Commons License photo credit: almostsummersky