Medicine, More Harm Than Good?

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With my chronic and mental illnesses I have been through so many medications I don’t have a clue what they have done to my body. I moved states recently so I am off the main medication I took for my Lupus because I have yet to find a rheumatologist.  Don’t get me wrong the insurance “issues” here are much better than Florida, but you do have to jump through hoops to find a specialist. Luckily my Lupus is staying quiet, shhh……don’t wake the wolf.

I am very happy with the mental health specialists here. I see a counselor either biweekly or weekly and a doctor every month or so. My meds have been adjusted but my diagnosis have stayed the same, thankfully. It was like they just couldn’t get them straight in Florida.

Problem is all these medicines are poisonous. We all know that. Ever watch a medicine commercial on television? Listen to the side effects at the end.  They should just say “may the odds be in your favor”. I take medicines 7 times a day. That s a lot of poison. All of them cause sleepiness and so does Lupus, so we go through a ton of coffee through the week. Oh and the other side effects.  You like to go to the bathroom (yeah I mean number 2)? Well forget about it. Not without drinking a bottle of those disgusting liquid laxatives.  Too much information? Try living it. The last medicine I was on I would take at 10 pm at night and then have to be woke up at 7 to take meds, then woke up  again at 9. Eventually I could wake up on my own but not happily. So I got approved for the next new med. All the rage. That was fun.

Since it is the new med it took a week to get approved. Guess who got to go through withdraws? Yep, you guessed it me. Did you know hallucinations suck?! Standing in bed in the middle of the night thinking something is in the bedroom with you. Yeah, I can do without that. Thank you doctor for not weaning me off properly so that wouldn’t happen.  Anyway, the new medication has helped and I am up between 4 and 6 in the morning, mostly due to when my 6 year old gets me up.

I was miserable without the medications. I am better with them. Just exhausted and sick and tired of swallowing pills.  Hopefully since my change of location and a supportive, protective and caring man in my life I can eventually get through all this and one day wean off some of the pills. Yes, I am aware that nothing I have is curable, but with love and support I can have a better quality of life and with the meds for now, have a longer life to live.

More on Self Harm: Cutting

downloadSomething we hear about more and more are people who cut themselves. I personally don’t believe it is because it is happening more, but people are opening up more about it.

So, why do people cut? If you talk to someone who cuts, it sounds counterintuitive.  Many will say they will cut to stop the pain.  Stop the pain by causing pain you may ask?  It is a distraction from one’s own mind. Often, cutting is the only way one knows how to deal with negative emotions like depression, rage, guilt, emptiness and self-hatred, according to TeensHealth.

Cutting isn’t for just teens though.  You probably walk by a few people daily who hide their cutting with long sleeves or pants.  Whatever the cutter needs to do to hide his or her possible embarrassment.  Cutting can be a way to forget about something that lingers in one’s head for a man or woman with PTSD.  It can make him or her forget about the war or rape trauma they experienced. Giving them control of their own body if only for a minute. Cutters may cut because they are depressed and it stops the numbness for just a moment.

Some cutters may use cutting as a form of self punishment for something the cutter believes he or she did wrong. To help deal with a guilt, even though whatever happened to trigger the cutting isn’t even one’s fault. “According to the Mayo Clinic, cutting actually aggravates the person’s feelings of shame or low self-esteem. Cutting only temporarily resolves the negative emotions and does nothing to resolve any longstanding emotional issues. This causes the emotions to build over time and they can then overwhelm the patient.”

There are other complications that can occur with cutting, infection is one.  If the cutter isn’t using good self hygiene the cuts could become infected and lead to damage. There is also the risk of an accidental suicide if the cutter hits a major vein or artery. Yes, accidental suicide. Not all cutters are suicidal, but there is an increase in suicide with cutters due to the underlying causes of the cutting.

Cutting can be a short lived thing. It can be something that one did years ago but then under high volumes of stress reoccurs.  Cutting can also become addicting.  Some people want a drink or use drugs when they are upset or stressed, cutters need to take a blade across their skin.

Don’t mistake cutting as an intention getter, even if the person isn’t trying to hide it.  If the cutter  isn’t hiding the wounds he or she may need you to help  get the help the cutter needs.  Cutting can be dangerous mentally and physically and always needs an intervention of some kind. Sometimes just having a therapist to talk to is enough. Other times the cutter needs hospitalization.

Look out for the one’s you love my friends.

Happily Ever After?

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So I have been away from the blog for a very long time, mostly because I have been going through many changes in my life. I left my marriage with was toxic for both of us and also moved states.  I am living with what I guess you could call my childhood sweetheart, someone I have known forever, and had a crush on when young. We just recently admitted feelings for each other.

So I should be happy go lucky right?  I wish.  I know this man loves me more than anyone has ever loved me before and does everything to help me, including helping me to the bathroom (thanks to my lupus), but also sorts my meds and makes sure I take all my psychological meds. This has become very important since I have almost accidentally overdosed twice.

I don’t think he had a clue what he was getting himself into even though he researched my conditions.  Especially when it comes to the rapid cycling of my Bipolar and my cold hearted Borderline Personality Disorder.  It has been very frustrating because this was supposed to fix everything correct?  He has been the best father my son has had and I have become the closest thing to a mother his daughters have had.  I hide my conditions from the kids although they know I need more rest and have a lot of doctor appointments.

I have had some medicine changes which have helped, but I still struggle daily so hard.  Luckily I have someone who will not give up on me no matter what.  I applied for disability today and pray it goes through quickly since I cannot work at this time.  I am still hoping to write a book soon. Hell I have too many conditions not to. Glad to be back blogging, but it is time to watch Lucifer so I am out!

A Letter to My Abuser

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**My therapist recommended me to confront or write a letter to any abusers. Give it to them, burn it or tie it to a balloon. So, I decided to do it this way and maybe I can help at least 1 person. I’m not going to use his real name, well because I don’t want to protect his identity but my own in a way.

Dear Abuser,

I am curious to what type of person I would have become if you had not abused me. Would I have been a happy teenager, not have panic attacks to the point that I would be in a ball in the halls of my hallway crying? Would I have married the first guy who seemed attracted to me at 19? Only to be abused by him for 5 years?  Wasn’t he right, no one would ever want me, I was tainted.They cycle continued and continued. Loveless marriages. Affair after affair. You made me believe that to be loved I had to have sex.  I wanted to be loved so badly, sometimes I didn’t even care who the person was.

You literally changed my personality. They call it borderline personality disorder. There isn’t even a treatment for it. It is literally part of my personality now.  I cut myself, I starved myself, hell I still do the later. Punishing myself for something you did wrong.  How would I be if you had not hurt me?  Would I understand what real love is, would my heart have been broken so many times? Would I have broken so many hearts and hurt so many people? Would I feel so dirty?

I hid it well, it was our little secret for decades.  I hid it too well, over 3 decades and 3 marriages. Even though I had already tried to end my life several times.  Would you have went to my funeral and shed a tear and pretend it had nothing to do with you? Did you even know what you were doing was wrong?

Yet it took me finding out you were being investigated for hurting your own daughters.  Even fathered some of their children. Do you care about the guilt I felt?  I should have told, they were just little girls when you hurt me. I could have had you thrown in jail where you would never have hurt them.  Oh, the guilt took over.  So what did I do? I had yet another affair. I needed to feel something other than guilt.  It didn’t work this time, like it had in the past.  I felt guilt from the affair also, maybe a change in my personality?  I couldn’t handle the anxiety, depression, the guilt. It was eating me alive. So I had myself admitted.

Five medicines now.One for depression, 2 for anxiety, 1 mood stabilizer, and 1 for bipolar and hallucinations.  I know you did this.  Because of your sick, bad, decisions I have to take medication every 2 to 3 hours. How am I supposed to function like that. You can’t hide the fact that your alarm goes off on your phone and you pop a pill or 5. Why am I the one being punished when you are the one who did something wrong?  I was just a confused teenager and you turned me into something else.  Now I take handfuls of medicines that make me feel loopy and weird.

Oh did I mention the PTSD you contributed to?  Oh yeah, for years my own friends or family could even give me a hug. I finally got out of that stage, but just a tough or brush against me in a way would make me have flashbacks.  Smells, someone that might look like you.  I’d hide my emotions as much as I could, just like I did when you hurt me. The nightmares though, that’s when they would come out, when you’d come out to haunt me.

Yes other things happened along the was to give me PTSD.  I can’t blame that on you, but I can blame you for 3 failed marriages and countless failed relationships. I can blame you for making me push anyone who gave a damn about me away.

Did I fight back, no, I froze. I hate myself for that now. I have taken tons of self defense courses to stop it from ever happening again, not from you..not from anyone. I didn’t know what to do.  Someone twice my age was doing things to me that I didn’t understand. I blamed it on your father being sick, but it happened again, on and off for 2 or so years.   Now, finally Karma has come to get you. How does it feel?  I pray I never see you again. If I do, I will be protected now. I know you can never hurt me again physically, and yes I may have some flashbacks but you don’t control me anymore.  Have fun in prison, I heard they like child molesters.

Signed,

A damn strong woman

 

 

SHE’S ALIVE! SHE’S ALIVE!!!

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I feel  like I have been off here forever. So many things have happened, and I will get into them one by one. I’m an open book, remember?  To begin with you may have noticed that I deleted a post written by another person on alcoholism. This is because I had to put a stalking restraining order on him. I tried to walk away from our friendship when he proceeded to make (in my mind) a threat to me.  He was upset and stated that the alcohol was going to kill him, he never quit, his eyes were yellow as he spoke to me indicating liver damage in my non medical field knowledge.  Then he said “no, I won’t die first. You will, then I will die. We can die together.”   Hello!!!!! Is that not a murder suicide threat?

So I just began ignoring him, he blew my phone up with texts. I finally began to screen shot some of them, followed by blocking his number.  He got another number…same thing.  FB pages….again, block and delete….stating each time to never contact me again. I still didn’t go to the police. So after no way of getting a hold of me, and no address. He shows up drunk at my friends house one night. Telling everyone to shoot him because he couldn’t live without me etc, etc. Finally he was arrested for disorderly conduct or something stupid. I went to file a police report and temporary restraining order the next day as soon as the police station opened.

I was denied the temporary, but a week later within seconds of in front of the judge (all I had to do was state my name). He approved a final restraining order. What a relief off my shoulder.

Point is my friends, don’t be so trusting. People will make you believe what they wish you to believe, and if someone tells you that something doesn’t seem right…don’t brush them off like I did. You cannot fix people that don’t want to be fixed but they sure can destroy you.  Also, if for any reason you find yourself in a recovery unit they will warn you not to keep in touch with any of the other patients.  This is precisely why they say that. No matter how sweet and innocent they seem…..just don’t.

Be safe and have a great weekend.

**note…. he and his friends have continued to contact me but living in a new state good luck asshole. One more time and he can go to jail.

 

Dealing with a Manipulator

  • 362099608_0be70c2242_q*Note these things may not be from personal experience, or may be from a friends. Not your job to figure it out. It is for information, and hopefully help someone not be manipulated, or to recognize it when it is happening.

Some traits manipulators show are the flattery, threats, guilt and demeaning the person they want to control. Is it due to a mental illness, multiple personalities as an example, or just an evil person in general. Either way, not the type of person you want to deal with.  They seem to go after people who seem weak and for whatever reason need the flattery. People who want to help other people, and so forth.  Now don’t take me wrong with being weak.  The person may be weak due to depression or dealing with life troubles.

So how do you recognize the manipulator?

  1. Flattery- Flattery may be the hardest part to recognize. Who doesn’t want to hear they are beautiful or handsome? They pour on the compliments, sometimes to the point they are overwhelming. They may give you gifts, anything to pull you into their manipulation.
  2. Threats-Threats can be subtle or severe. You may not even realize they are threats at the time. Manipulators are bullies, and like most bullies they are cowards on the inside.   However, never take any threat lightly.  They can go through with it.  Document now, run if you can. Because her comes the guilt……
  3. Guilt- Manipulators will make you for guilty for things you didn’t even do.  They took drugs or drank, it is your fault even though you were nowhere near them.  If you stop talking to them they will kill themselves, etc, etc.  A non manipulator will take the guilt to heart. It make them die a little inside and even feel guilty. They may find themselves apologizing for something they did not do.
  4. Demeaning-When things don’t go their way it is all your fault. They become mentally and sometimes even physically abusive. The manipulator will try to wear down your self-esteem to the point it makes you physically and mentally ill. They usually have a very low self-esteem themselves.

Things to remember:

  • YOU CANNOT CHANGE A MANIPULATOR NO MATTER HOW YOU TRY.
  • Get out of the “relationship” as soon as possible, even if you have to involve Law Enforcement.
  • Respect yourself, you have done nothing wrong, no matter what they say to you.
  • Block and delete, screen shot anything that could help you with a restraining order if necessary. Thankfully we have cyber bulling laws that not only protect teenagers, but adults too.
  • Respect yourself and protect yourself. Self defense classes, conceal and carry classes and permits. As I said they can become violent.
  • Be smart and get out as soon as you recognize the type of person you are with. The longer you wait the harder it is to escape.

Hello “Psychiatrists”!!!

woman-1146386_640Something has been bothering me immensely the last week or so, to the point I am up at 5:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning. When I left the hospital (this is discussed in my post called “Four Days in Grey”) I had several diagnoes by a medical doctor who took days, including social histories, exams, and discussions with him and several nurses.  He diagnosed me with Borderline Personality Order, Depression with Suicidal Ideation and PTSD. When released from the hospital I went to our local clinic to make an appointment to follow up with what I thought would be another psychiatrist. Moving on…..

Several weeks later I met with who I originally thought was a psychiatrist, but found out she was a nurse practitioner who did a lot of typing, diagnosed (from a book) and prescribed. Only when I saw my actual prescriptions did I realize she wasn’t the doctor.  Here is one thing that bothers me, she changed my diagnoses within meeting me after a 3 minute talk and the paper that only listed the original doctors diagnoses and medications he had placed me on.  She started typing and did most of the talking, she agreed with many of the diagnoses but did some changes and proceeded to changed all my medications, even though I had not been on them long enough to be effective.

Then, ta ta da da…………….she said the magic words, “you do not look like you have Borderline Personality Disorder, so I am changing it to Bipolar 1. It looks better on paper, even though no one should ever see your files because of HIPA”. What? I had just came from work wearing a dress, heals and make up, yes I fit in with society…..but I don’t “look” like I have BPD, said without any examinations or social history.  So what does BPD look like; what does any mental illness look like?  Having Lupus I have heard words “you don’t look like” so much that at that particular time it went over my head, I took the prescriptions and filled the new medications and started taking them.  The next 2 times I went to her she increased the dosages of all the medications because they were not helping me.

So I decided to do my own research; hell if she can use an old dusty book then I can use the internet. Let us start with my original diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. I obtained my information from NAMI-National Alliance of Mental Illness. According to NAMI, Borderline personality disorder is a condition characterized by difficulties in regulating emotion. This  leads to severe, unstable mood swings, being impulsive, poor self image, and trouble in personal relationships. BPD also causes one to have a huge fear of abandonment and can manifest into destructive behavior and suicide attempts.  It’s estimated that the people with BPD may be as high as 5.9%.  The majority of BPD diagnoses are women, but it is believed that many men may have the illness but have been misdiagnosed as PTSD.

Symptoms Include but are not limited to: 

  • Strong efforts to avoid being abandoned.
  • Unstable personal relationships that alternate between idealization—”I love you” to “I hate you”, sometimes within the same day.
  • Negative self image which can cause issue with relationships and personal goals.
  • Impulsive behaviors, such as excessive spending, unsafe sex, substance abuse or reckless driving.
  • Suicidal and self-harming behavior.
  • Periods of intense depressed mood, irritability or anxiety lasting a few hours to a few days.
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness.
  • Inappropriate, intense or uncontrollable anger.
  • Disconnecting from your thoughts or sense of identity, or “out of body” type of feelings.
  • Stress-related paranoid thoughts.
  • Severe cases of stress can also lead to brief psychotic episodes.

I will admit, because the entire reason for this blog is awareness, that I have at one time suffered all of these symptoms.  Yet, instead of accepting what the psychiatrist said, the nurse practitioner  took some of the symptoms such as the inappropriate anger and anxiety (which are listed in BPD) diagnosed me with Intermittent Explosive Disorder and two types of panic disorders.  Now how does this “look better on paper?”

On to Bipolar 1 Disorder. Web Md states the following:

Bipolar 1 is also known as manic-depressive disorder .   To be diagnosed with Bipolar 1  a person affected by bipolar I disorder has had at least one manic episode in his or her life. A manic episode is a period of abnormally elevated mood and high energy, accompanied by abnormal behavior that disrupts life. I cannot remember the last time I have had any energy.

Often, there is a pattern of cycling between mania and depression. This is where the term manic depression comes from. In between these episodes many people can live normal lives.

Symptoms of Bipolar are but not limited to:

During manic episodes:

  • Jumping from one idea to another
  • Rapid and loud speech
  • Increased energy and decreased need for sleep
  • Inflated self-image
  • Excessive spending
  • Increased sexual activity
  • Substance abuse
  • May become delusional and behave in bizarre ways

If left untreated, an episode of mania can last from a few days to several months. Normally depression can follow shortly after or appear a few weeks or months after a manic episode.

Many can have a lack of episodes for a long period of time. Others have “rapid cycling” in which the patient has four or more episodes of both mania and depression within a year.

Symptoms of depressive episodes in Bipolar Disorder are:

  • depressed mood
  • loss of pleasure
  • low energy and activity
  • feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  •  thoughts of suicide
  • depression symptoms can last for months but rarely longer than a year

Here is where my problem lies, I do have some of the symptoms of Bipolar, but I have been depressed my entire life so that part is definitely not a symptom.  I also do not have but a few of the symptoms of the mania.  The rapid cycling mentioned above, which the nurse practitioner says is what I experience when I go from feeling somewhat normal to very depressed several times daily, does not match the above symptoms.  So why change a diagnosis where I meet every symptom to one that “looks better on paper?”  Luckily for me they are treated with most of the same medications minus one or two.   I will be looking for a 3rd opinion soon, who ever I can find that is an actual psychiatrist that my insurance will allow.

Feel free to comment and express your feelings on the subject.

Thank you for taking your time to read.

 

 

 

 

Beauty and the Beast

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The most awesome thing about having any invisible illness, yet several ones is no one knows! Yes, I am being sarcastic.  Today I woke up feeling terrible. In tears in fact.  My head pounded, every joint in my body ached. My muscles hurt from a few falls that I have had recently, doctors say its from muscles weakness….yet outside;  I still look like the girl on the left, but boy did I feel like that creature on the right but after being beaten by a baseball bat.  If someone had pointed a gun to my head this morning I would have begged them to pull the trigger, just to make the pain stop!

So, to just go on with the today before I get into my rant.  I had an infusion, which is done by IV injection and takes about an hour. Not chemo, its a new drug called Benlysta that was made specifically for people with Lupus. I had my 5 year old settled down in the chair next to me playing games on his tablet and I see my doctor walk by. I didn’t have an appointment to see anyone today, just my treatment. He waved and I waved him to come here. He being a good person came in running, and the tears started falling again.  I am not a crier, never really have been. I will bottle it up as long as I can. Had three kids with no pain killers and didn’t shed a tear. OK, back to my story….you get the point. He grabs my hand while I tell him how much I am hurting and I keep falling down for no reason. He said he could tell I had lost a lot of weight, 13 pounds since the last time I saw him. He then told the nurse I needed to see the Nurse Practitioner TODAY!

I finished my infusion, got a shot for pain, was put on steroids for a month and recommended to go the physical therapy for my muscle strength. I do squats almost every night…not sure how they are going to make me stronger. Where am I going with this? Please, please don’t judge people from what they look like on the outside. Yes I am thankful I don’t look how I feel, but when I tell people I have lupus I don’t want to hear “you don’t look sick”.  In fact that is the worse thing you can say to someone with a chronic illness. When the nurse practitioner saw me at my “psychiatry” appointment (because you don’t actually see a doctor anymore he just signs the script), she said you don’t look like you have Borderline Personality Disorder, so we will write Bipolar 1, it looks better on paper.  Yes, we will discuss this in another post.

So I have guys tell me all the the time how beautiful I am. Took me years to realize, alright, I must be decent looking or there are sure a lot of blind me; but I get it, almost 6 foot tall, thin, long dark hair and blue eyes.  Yet, looks not only fade but are not important and have never gotten me anything other than a free drink. People are beautiful inside, but sometimes you can be pretty inside and outside while you fight some terrible monsters. I have some beautiful friends who are suffering inside. Lupus, Sjrogrens, RA, Raynauds, PTSD, BPD, Anxiety Disorders, Suicidal Ideation…..do you see them when you see the girl on the left?  I don’t in the photo, but when I look in the mirror I do. I see deep down and see all these monsters that for some reason God thinks I can handle. I see so much that at times I want to put my face right through the mirror; there is nothing pretty about that.

So you guys that see the girl on the left, can you handle the monster on the right? Can you handle the days she can’t get out of the bed because the pain is so intense.  Can you take her to the hospital when she can’t drive?  Hold her hand when she goes through testing. See her going on chemo and losing her hair, not so pretty anymore huh.  Give her shots of chemo in her muscle because she is too scared?  ….RISK losing her, Lupus can kill and does every day.

Still only see the pretty girl on the right, don’t be surprised if I shoot you the bird if you cat call or whistle at me.  Seriously, don’t judge people by their looks….they mean nothing.

Have a happy Friday!