The only time I almost killed myself it was an accident. I had been diagnosed a few months and the psychiatrist decided I needed to go down and eventually go off one of my medicines. Problem was that was my first effective medicine. It stopped the racing thoughts, the visions of violence and it added no sorrow with it. He wanted me to go off it and I couldn’t. Like a dangerous lover I wouldn’t detach.
I went in for my menagerie of tables, capsules and horse pills and added a few of the newly forbidden pills just for good measure.
Within minutes I could hardly think, focus my eyes or breathe without opening my mouth. Soon after that I walked in around in a stupor. I took long naps. My husband pushed me to do things like take our child to swim lessons, where I was required to get in to the water with the baby, and go to sing alongs. I didn’t want to, but I know he thought it would snap me out of the catatonic state, but it didn’t work. At all. Times like that he becomes paternalistic. I know it bothers my friends and family but if they saw what goes on. Usually his precepts are right, (Even if I ignore them) but in this situation, he was wrong.
When B and I went to the shrink and as soon as the the doc saw me he was distressed. I told him what I did and he told me I was emotionally attached to the drug. He wanted me to go to the hospital, but I wouldn’t. (I’m not against hospitals, but I feel they are for very ill folks, and I did not recognize myself as one.) He finally told B to make me rest, that meant no work, no chores and no childcare.
Although I didn’t recognize it then, I am extremely lucky I didn’t put myself in to a coma, or worse. I knew better than to adjust my medications. Or did I? I don’t remember. I may have thought I knew better than the doctor, after all, it was my brain. Problem is, I didn’t have a cazillion years of medical school and decades of experience treating bipolar. He might know a tad bit more about bipolar than me.
This is the same doctor that hooked me up with Stanford Medical Center where I saw the utmost expert on bipolar in the United States. He really didn’t help. (And, in his report, he called me “overweight”. Shut up, Po Wang) After that my regular shrink arranged for me to go to the Women’s Wellness Clinic, which essentially works with women whose depression is related to her reproductive system. That was not me. (However, I have to add that psychotropic medicines all but banished PMS symptoms from my body.)
The suggested no useful changes, said I was on the right track and spanked my butt on the way out. I felt like there was no hope. I would gaze at people that did not want to be gazed out. Inanimate objects were more understanding. I was so zonked I would drool, so much that I often had to wipe it off the table. I am not kidding.
Two years later. I was dissatisfied with the hew doctor who when I told him of my elaborate suicide plan, said he was concerned and wanted to see me two weeks later.) Feeling that this doctor had no true concern with my health and well-being, I found someone new that took my insurance and within days I walked in to a small practice in a suburb of a slightly bigger town and met a tiny Pakistan-born and educated psychiatrist. She took one look at me and said she could tell I was on psych meds. She prescribed a drug that all but took away the side effects. Within a few weeks, she also diagnosed me with ADD and OCD. I stopped drooling and staring out into space and started being okay.
I added some vitamins (can’t tell you which, I’m not the doctor.) and things have been better. Not perfect. I have breakthroughs and sometimes sleep too much. I have one day a month I overeat, but I’m not overweight any more. I’m being much more careful. I must take my pills on time – even an hour off can put me out of balance. I don’t take drugs not prescribed to me, am careful with OTC drugs and if I add a vitamin I check with my doctor.
I know meds are not the only answer. But, although I have a list of things that have worked for me before and work for me now I believe I will always see medication at the top of this list, including my vitamin supplements. Other things on the list include Bible study and prayer, therapy, writing this blog, making junk food a treat rather than a way of life, yoga, other exercises. It’s an holistic treatment plan that is potentially dangerous only if I deviate from it. I don’t do all of them every day (hello, Cheetos) but they are as important as anything else I do.