In case I forget.


Stop it. Just stop it. And oh yeah, don’t call me, OK?
June 29, 2007, 11:39 pm
Filed under: Counselor A, Dr. Neuro B, Dr. PCP, Dr. Psych, Fear, Husband, Mental Health, RX

I remember when I last saw Counselor A. I told her that I just wanted to stop. That I was only willing to do what is absolutely necessary to get by and nothing else. So I go to work. I take a bath. I eat. I try to sleep, often with little success.

Sometime on Wednesday I realized that I’m doing things that I don’t absolutely have to do.

I don’t have to see a psychiatrist. I went to see Dr. Psych  yesterday and I told her that. I told her that I can’t afford to see her since she is out of network and that the only thing she can do is give me pills anyway.

One of the other things I realized is that I don’t have to take all these damned pills. I told her I am quitting the Lexapro. I told her I wanted to know how to get off the Effexor. She didn’t think any of this is a good idea but you know what? She doesn’t live in my head and she doesn’t know what it does to me every time I dump a handful of pills into my palm every  morning and night to swallow. She asked if she could talk with Dr. PCP about this and I told her it was fine, and that I would be seeing him that afternoon anyway. She asked if I would talk with him and tell him and I told her yes, of course, I don’t keep things like this from him. She gave me the names of two psychiatrists she knows who are on my insurance and said that if I can’t see her that I should see one of them. I don’t absolutely have to, and I don’t see the point anyway.

I don’t absolutely have to see a counselor. I’ve talked with Counselor A since November and it sure as hell hasn’t helped. I’m in much worse shape now than I was then. Understand, that isn’t her fault. She was so kind and I felt so safe sitting in that room with her. Our time together was good. But I was going down instead of up.

I don’t want to go down any farther.

I did see Dr. PCP yesterday afternoon. I told him I want to get off all these pills. He didn’t comment but he did tell me how to do it. I don’t know what his thoughts are, which is strange, because usually he tells me. I showed him how my hands have started to tremble over the last month or so. He stuck his finger in the air and had me move mine from my nose to the tip of his finger. He kept moving his finger farther back. He said the tremor got worse the farther back he moved his finger. I told him I’m seeing Dr. Neuro B on Monday and he said I should talk with him about it.

I had actually set the appointment with Dr. PCP because I needed to have blood drawn for Lamictal levels to take with me on Monday. I told him that I know he can’t code me for just a blood draw and asked him to look at some sores in my mouth. They’re small and white, and when I scrape the top off them there is a depression inside. (Depression. Ha. HA!)  Dr. PCP said the thinks it might be thrush. THRUSH???

He wrote me a prescription for Nystatin. I said, “It’s not a pill, right?” He said no, it’s not a pill. He said take a teaspoon or so, swish it in my mouth and then spit it out.  I said, “Swish and spit?” He said yes – that he was even going to write that on the RX. And he did. Made me chuckle when I got the bottle. I did it for the first time this afternoon. It didn’t taste so bad. Until about ten minutes later. A horrible, revolting, sour, metallic after taste. Hours later it is still there. A couple of times I thought it would make me throw up. I have to go do it again soon. I hope I can do this for five days and that it works.

I said to him, THRUSH??? He said that’s what it looks like. And then. THEN. T H E N he said he wanted to take a tube of blood to run an HIV test. I asked him why? It’s like my brain stopped. When he said thrush I immediately thought of a friend who has HIV and who also has had problems with thrush for a long time. I thought thrush=HIV. Of course, that’s not necessarily true. BUT. Dr. PCP said HIV test. I agreed and went about my day. Now, a day later, I’m stunned. I’ve been in a monogamous relationship for fifteen years. I reminded Dr. PCP of that when he said HIV test. He said to do it anyway.

So I’m stunned. I’m thinking of what it’s going to be like to be off all the psychiatric meds, and tonight I am sitting in bed terrified that on Monday he won’t just email me my lab results. If he calls me instead, I am pretty sure I won’t stay here. I’ve seen so many people slowly waste away with HIV. Back in the 1980’s my friends were dying left and right. A couple of them who were infected back then are still alive and their lives, how the disease has changed them and warped them, it’s horrific. When I said in a previous post that I know people with HIV who take fewer pills every day than I do, I was serious. But HIV is something I can’t face.

My first thought is that if Dr. PCP calls instead of emailing that I will loose my husband and job and home and car because I will have to be put in a rubber room. Or, I will go on and execute (Ha. HA!) that “How bad is it today?” plan because that will be the day I will have to say “Yeah, it’s that fucking bad.” Sitting across that exam table from Dr. PCP an pretending that I can even in my wildest dreams think of any way to deal with that talk, the “This is why I asked you to come in” talk, is so outside the realm of possibilities that I think it would be easier to fly across the sky. So I hope he emails me. If he calls me on Monday I don’t think I’ll answer the phone.

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And the beat goes on
June 24, 2007, 4:21 am
Filed under: Dr. Neuro B, Dr. Psych, Fear, Mental Health, RX

Ladi dadi di. Ladi dadi dum.

Dr. Psych codes me for “Major Depression” and “PTSD”. Words words words.

Drugs drugs drugs. I tell her I can’t take the Risperdol. She offers me another a-typical. I tell her I don’t want it. She is concerned about my sleep problems. She offers my Ambien. I tell her I’ve read the studies. Those sleeping pills are big marketing bullshit. I tell her a swig of NyQuil works better than the bigPharm drugs for a good night’s sleep.

She says that the Effexor doesn’t seem to be doing what I need. She says we need to try something else. I agree. How about giving up and just going down as far as it takes? I don’t tell her this of course. Those sorts of things concern psychiatrists. She says she wants to switch me to Lexapro. You know, I actually have a friend who went through a very black depression that was dramatically improved with Lexapro. I don’t even care. I don’t think any drugs will work. I think there are TOO DAMNED many drugs already. I took my pill box with me and dumped out one day’s worth of pills in my hand. “Look at this! I swallow all these every day!”

So the tapering off begins. Now I have to take 5mg of Lexapro a day in addition to all the other stuff. She said to come back in 10 days. She will probably increase the Lexapro and decrease the Effexor at that time.

My hands have started to tremble. I have sores in my mouth. I’m worried about the Lamictal. I go back in about a month to Dr. Neuro B and I’m afraid that these are both due to the Lamictal. I’m terribly worried that if I tell him that he will take me to a lower dose or stop it all together. I can’t deal with the seizures getting bad again, with being out of control again with the one thing that is getting better slowly but surely. I know that 900mg a day is a very high dose. I’m not willing to give it up.



Don’t Pee on the Sofa
June 12, 2007, 9:22 pm
Filed under: Counselor A, Dr. PCP, Dr. Psych, Husband, Mental Health, RX

Counselor A called me back the Monday after I left her the message that I’m taking a break. She was very nice. She said she had gotten my message and then “You’re right of course, I don’t agree that this is the best thing for you”. We talked a bit and I explained that I’m just worn out – physically and emotionally. That I think it’s pretty obvious that I’m not making progress. Instead actually I’m getting worse. She asked if it was OK for her to talk with Dr. PCP and I told her yes. She asked if it is OK if she calls to check on me in a couple of weeks. I told her yes again. Such a nice lady. Not her fault I’m such a mess.

Dr. PCP called me the next day. Such a kind man. Wonder what I ever did to deserve him? Wonder what he ever did to deserve me? Poor guy. We talked for about 15 minutes. We talked about how everything is getting worse. He was very supportive and reinforced Counselor A’s belief that I should consider continue seeing someone, if not her. He told me he wants me to think about seeing a psychiatrist. I told him that all they do is write pills and I didn’t see the difference between them writing them and him. He said that psychiatrists can be more “aggressive” than he can with my kinds of needs. He said he would continue to pray for me. He touches me deeply by just caring for my with such sincerity.

I thought about our talk a few days and I went to see him Friday. His schedule was running behind and I had to wait about half an hour. I don’t mind this – I know that he works hard to be on time. I know that if he is late it is because another patient needed more time with him, and I respect that completely because heaven knows he gives me as much time as I need, often as much time as HE thinks I need which is sometimes more time than I want. I was very stressed about everything that is going on, and that I was going to have to talk with him since I am so embarressed to be what I consider is burden on him. I was rubbing my fingernail back and forth across the back of my hand in a line from the bottom of my index finger to the bottom of my thumb. I started rubbing it harder and then really digging in. I didn’t draw blood but I did dig a big gash in the skin. The next day it was a big dark scab. I’m keeping Neosporin on it and I hope it doesn’t scar badly.

Dr. PCP and I talked about where I am in my head. I told him that I had thought about his psychiatrist suggestion and that I had printed out a list of network providers from my insurance company’s web site. I gave him the list and he circled four names. He said that most first appointments for psychiatrist take about two months. He said that he doesn’t personally talk with the four he circled, but that he knows people who go to them. I asked him to write the name of some that he personally talks to and he did. We talked about how much trouble I’m having staying asleep – that I’m waking up all night an sometimes it’s very hard just to get to sleep. I told him I take a “swig” of NyQuil and that helps. He wanted me to try another drug, Seroquil. I said I had never heard of it. He said it is an anti-psychotic but that I shouldn’t worry – he doesn’t think I’m psychotic (“I don’t treat psychotics.”) but that it is used off-label to help with sleeping and depression. I had a hard time agreeing – one more damned pill for the pill box. Finally I said OK and he gave me some samples. He asked me to email him and let him know how I was doing.

I asked him to look at my thigh and tell me if he thinks anything is infected. He did and said, “No. You’re healing.” I told him it had been two days since I had cut.

None of the doctors he circled were available for at least two months – just like he said. I called the doctor that he knows and got an appointment in late June. He’s out of network but I think I can afford it since you really don’t see a psychiatrist regularly.

I tried the Seroquil that night. This is the email I sent him on Monday:

Hey Dr. PCP-

I took 50mg of Seroqiul about 10pm Friday night.

I slept as if in a coma until 1pm Saturday. Got up, paid homage to the pill box, went back to bed.

Woke up at 4pm sprawled sideways across the bed, on my belly and naked. My panties and t-shirt (which I had been wearing when I went to bed) were at the top of the bed in a big pile, along with my blankets. My head and left arm were hanging off the bed and my dog was stretched out by my side, my right arm wrapped around him in a death grip.

Got up, got dressed, had something to eat. Read for about an hour, until the words started swimming in circles on the page. Went back to bed about 6pm. While going to sleep my hands kept reaching up to turn the page of the book I had left in the living room. I kept thinking “there is no book here” but also kept trying to turn the page. I could feel the paper and hear the sound of it turning. That was really, truly weird.

Woke up around 8pm. Watched a movie with Husband. Stayed up until 2am, took another round with the pill box and 50mg of Seroquil, and woke up Sunday at 8am.

Fell back asleep at 11am and the day continued with weirdness. Staying up for a couple of hours, falling asleep for a few, and waking up again.

At one point I was sleeping on the sofa and became about half awake. I needed to pee but was so drugged I didn’t think I could move. I had a serious conversation with myself which involved a debate about just peeing on the sofa. The argument on the side of not moving included “There is a blanket under me. It will absorb most of it. The sofa is leather so I can just clean it when I get up because it won’t soak in.” I am proud to say my potty training won out. (As I’m sure Husband is, also.)

All of this plus some of the strangest dreams I have ever had (and that is saying a lot). I can see why this drug is used to control a psychotic. It knocked me on my ass. I didn’t take it Sunday night and don’t think this is the answer for me.

I did call the psychiatrist offices that you circled. As you said, next available appts Aug and Sept. I called Dr. Psych’s office. Next appt. June 27. I booked even though he is out of network and we’ll see how that goes. I have an appt with you before that but I’m going to cancel it since I don’t know that there is much of a point to it until we see that Dr. Psych says. So please let me know when you want to see me next. Very much want to visit Mr. Razor Blade but keep chanting in my head “Dr. PCP would not approve”. See? You help even when you don’t know you’re doing it.

I hope you slept a lot less than I did this weekend and didn’t seriously think about peeing on your sofa. Thanks for your time and help!

We emailed back and forth a few times yesterday and he asked if I want him to call Dr. Psych’s office and see if he can get me in earlier. I told him that I wouldn’t turn it down if he could. We’ll see.

I want to cut. I had planned to tonight when I was driving home. When I got out of my car I brought my blades into the house. I got tied up with email and snail mail and before I could cut my husband got home from work. He’s practicing guitar right now and I think it would be safe to do so. All my other cuts are healing. They’re past the scab stage and have progressed to the pink, itchy stage. We’ll see how it goes tonight.



Tattle Tale
June 3, 2007, 11:43 pm
Filed under: Counselor A, Dr. Neuro B, Dr. PCP, Fear, Mental Health, RX

Because I always try to do what Dr. PCP says, I talked with Counselor A about cutting. She was so freaking irritating. “Do things to distract yourself!” “Write about it!” “Exercise!” “Play a game!”. What a lot of twaddle.

I told her that I’m just tired. I’m tired of being the strong one. I’m so tired of being on edge, waiting for the next bad news. I thought it would all be over. I thought if I put everything I had into rehab and making my body work again that it would be over. But it will never be over. Ever. And I just don’t think I can face that. I didn’t do anything wrong. In fact, I did everything right. And I’m stuck with this for the rest of my life.

When I went up to 700mg on the Lamictal like Dr. Neuro B told me to the burping started getting a little worse. Then when I went up to 800mg about 10 days ago it got really bad.  I mean almost as bad as it was when we started this whole thing what was it – more than a year ago? Gasping for breath, long, strong series. Totally demoralizing. I called his office and spoke with his nurse. Told her what was happening. She said he wanted a Lamictal serum level. So I went to Dr. PCP and he took the blood. That’s when I told him about the cutting. He sent me the results this past Tuesday and told me they were “normal”. The range is 2.0 – 20.o and I’m at 10.0. Seems normal to me, too!

But when I got a call back from Dr. Neuro B’s nurse she told me that he wants my level to be much higher, and said that I should go up to 900mg. NINEHUNDRED?? Holy frankincense I feel totally beat up. So now I’m taking more drugs. You should see the pile of pills I dump into my palm every morning and night. I feel like a freak.

I told Counselor A that I just couldn’t keep it up. That I was going to shut down as much as I can. I’m only going to do the things I absolutely have to do. She asked me what that included. I told her, I have to go to work. I have to take a bath. I have to have clean clothes. I have to drink and eat. That’s it. She kept urging me to do the things that used to give me joy. Creative things. Artistic things. I kept telling her I have no interest – have had no interest since the accident – in any of those things I used to enjoy. None. She went to far as to suggest that if I feel so compelled to cut that I might want to consider taking a break and go into a hospital. She laughed when she said it because she knew what my reaction would be.

I’m just so tired. I’m empty. I don’t have anything else to give. There is too much pain, too much hurt, too much bad news. That’s where the cutting comes in. When I told Counselor A a couple of weeks ago that I was thinking about it she suggested that I use ice instead. She said if I held a piece of ice to my skin that it would start to burn and the pain would be similar to the pain of cutting. When I left her office on Wednesday she asked if I had tried the ice. I told her “Yeah. It numbed the skin so the razor didn’t hurt as much.” I’m pretty sure that’s not the answer she was looking for.

She doesn’t get that it’s not the pain I’m after. I don’t like the pain. Pain is a big problem for me. Pain in my knees. Pain in my pelvis. Pain in my brain from just being overwhelmed and exhausted. I explained to her that the blood is very satisfying. I’ve found that watching it, soaking it up with a paper towel, pressing the wound to clot it, is a mesmerizing process. I told her that every day it helps me focus. It helps me put my mind in one place, instead of having it fly around to all the problems and pain. Every time I take a step I can feel the scabs rubbing against my thigh. Every time I cross my legs I can feel the pressure on the wounds. I can think just about that an nothing else. The focus is tremendous.

This past Wednesday when I was with Counselor A I had looked at the clock and could see that we had gone over my time. I said, “We’re done.” She looked confused. I pointed to the clock and said we’re past time. She got up and we left. On Friday it struck me that what I had said was true. We’re done. She can’t help me. It’s not her fault. I left her a voice mail early this morning telling her that I’m not going to be seeing her anymore for a while, that I’m not making any progress, that I am grateful for her time and concern, but that I need a break. Apparently she isn’t on the list of things I absolutely must do.