I woke up feeling fatigued today; one of those days I knew was going to be tough to slog through. And it didn’t get any better.
I’ve been trying to find a psychiatrist who takes my insurance for quite a while now, and today we exhausted our search. The closest pdoc who is taking my insurance, and accepting new patients, is over 60 miles away from me. I can’t tolerate being in the car that long some days (I have panic attacks), so that’s out. Hopefully, my primary care doctor will be willing to hang in there with me, because I don’t know what to do if she won’t.
I told my mother this evening that if I wasn’t crazy before I started the search, I definitely would be after dozens of calls with no help in sight. I can’t believe in a city this size, I’m unable to find a pdoc. It’s … well, it’s insane. (haha.)
I’m going to bed early tonight and hoping I can wake up refreshed and ready to face whatever comes my way.
Next mood swing in 3 … 2 … 1.
(p.s. If I seem flippant, I’m not. I’m just trying to laugh rather than scream.)
My primary care doc is awesome and is trying to help me with the psych stuff until I can find a new psychiatrist (which has been an ordeal because no one is taking my insurance at the moment. Anyway.) so she started me on Abilify a few weeks ago. Ever since, I’ve been sleeping shittier than usual. I wouldn’t say I’m full-on manic, but I sleep for an hour, wake up, sleep,wake up, sleep … you get the idea. Even taking sleep aids doesn’t make a dent. And I’m restless and twitchy, which aren’t good qualities in someone like me who started off that way to begin with. Yet I find myself loathe to tell her to take me off of it, because I have gotten more done since I started it, and I want to continue that side of things. Yet … I know sleep is of the utmost importance. When I get sleep-deprived, my moods are more erratic and I don’t have the best judgment.
So, what to do? Ride the abilify wave but be bleary-eyed and feel like I’m moving through mud, but get things done that I’ve been meaning to for months? Or tell my doctor and maybe get some sleep again. (ahhh. sleep.)
In thick files, there are strings of letters following my name. Not PhD. or Esq. or anything like that. My letters are BPD (borderline personality disorder), C-PTSD ( complex post traumatic stress disorder), ED (eating disorder – bulimia). There are debates about whether I’m bipolar type II or whether I have major depression with psychotic features (currently bipolar disorder is winning). There are notations about my anxiety disorder, the repeated sexual abuse, the severity of my SI (self-injury), the suicide attempts/ideation and how “difficult” I am to treat because of the time span of my “problems.” (As if it’s my fault I wrote my first suicide poem at the age of nine and thought I was “fat” at the age of six.) Every set of letters comes with its own hellish set of stigmas. Because just having a mental illness isn’t enough evidently; they need to make it more judgmental and stigmatizing.
Those letters follow me everywhere I go — including in my own mind.
A former therapist told me I should say “I have …” instead of “I am …” because he said I am not my illness. But if you look at my file and all those letters that add up to a hellish picture, it’s hard to believe that I’m not my illness. When people (including family members) think it’s okay to call you “psycho” as a nickname (“oh honey, we’re just kidding”), it’s hard to believe I’m not my illness. When a licensed professional tells me that my problems are “too complex” for them to treat and dump me, it’s hard to believe that I’m not my illness.
But I am not. There are other letters you could use to describe me, like c-r-e-a-t-i-v-e. Or i-n-t-e-l-l-i-g-e-n-t. Or l-o-y-a-l. I can be loving and funny and full of joy. There is more to me than those thick files could ever hold. So all I ask is that you don’t judge me solely on labels. Erase the labels and see the person. Get to know me in all my moments of normalcy and madness.
People are more than arbitrary letters. Please remember that. End the stigma.