Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What Wouldn't I Give for a Beer, Right Now...

I would love a nice cold beer in a bottle, right now. There's about 24 of them in my fridge. But I'm in the middle of TESTING OUT NEW PSYCH MEDS HELL right now so I really would actually have to be nuts to try a beer at the moment.

I am not only in psych meds hell, I am also in "exceptionally bad time finding the right psych meds" hell.

It all started with Strattera. Not enough consistency, and the weighty feeling was a little unnerving., great stuff. For a few days...then not anymore...then a higher dose...same thing, great for a few days and then...not so much...then a higher dose and nope, doesn't seem to--oh it that the Vyvanse isn't working or is it just that I feel COMPLETELY NUTS because this new antidepressant has made me into a HOT MESS?!

Hmm. Not sure. Hard to tell. Hard to tell anything really, when you are alternating between so doped off your ass you feel like you just smoked about 3 joints by yourself...and so drugged that you are slurring and can't walk straight and can't hold up your own head...and so irritable that if you didn't really love the cat you'd sort of like to throw it out the window because you can't stand the sounds it's making (no actual cat throwing has occurred, or will occur! I am simply using figurative language to achieve a literary goal!)...and so nervous you can't think straight...and so paranoid that every time you talk to someone (because until you left the house you didn't realize how socially inappropriate you were) you worry that they think you are crazy, because you know you seem kinda crazy, and you have to stop yourself from explaining your self and then actually, in fact, acting crazy. Just really hard to tell ANYTHING about your very straightforward stimulant when the anti-depressant is making your anxiety 18 times worse than anything you're even in treatment for. And that's just the last 24 hours! And, might I add...only 15 mg of anti-depressant. Did I mention that I'm med sensitive? Well I WAS NOT JOKING. Sheesh. And did I mention that I can't drive, at all, like this? I shouldn't be operating a toothbrush, nevermind driving a piece of machinery.

And this is after the great citalopram experiment...where 10 mg was we moved up to 20mg...and I had horrifying anxiety, which I waded through because I knew that I needed to get past that side-effect to see if there would be any benefit for me from the drug. At about week four things were GREAT. Wow. That's how I know the Vyvanse wasn't screwing with me. I was taking both, and I felt focused, CALM, and for the first time in my entire life, FREE of anxiety. It was amazing. Then of course I refilled the prescription from another pharmacy whose supply came from a different manufacturer...the debilitating anxiety came back. My prescriber and I discussed whether or not I wanted to try to get back to that good point, by reducing the dosage, or trying to get the drug from the original manufacturer again...until I showed him the huge, disgusting bruises all over my legs, that had appeared during the time I was taking the citalopram. That put my prescriber over the edge (and also meant he had to ask me some questions that would have been really embarrassing to have to answer if I wasn't me, and didn't have the boring, normal life that I have). I believe the quote was "give me back the prescriptions, now". He wrote me a new one.

So here I am in the throes of the great Remeron experiment. And all I can really say, 15mg and 24 hours later is: HOLY SHIT. No...seriously...if you've read this blog for five minutes, you know I'm an articulate person but...HOLY SHIT. I described the effect above, and it is no exaggeration. Within ONE hour I was a slurring, stumbling, giggling, hungry, passing-out disaster. Some people would pay big money for this payoff, me, I just want to escape from it. In addition to the above described wackness, I also spent my entire day completely unable to stop myself from fidgeting...tapping, moving constantly, worryworryworrying, making a ton of unnecessary phone calls, totally OCD-ing out...I felt like a prisoner in my own mind. Misery.

Now addition to my prescriptions, my prescriber said to me...because I SUCK at asking for help or identifying when to ask for help, even when I'm having something bad happen...said "YOU MUST CALL ME IF ANYTHING HAPPENS that is bothering you". Okay. I considered this an additional prescription because I am so lame about admitting that I need help. Usually when I call to tell him something I am unable to say "I feel bad and need help"...I say "oh that's okay, I'm okay, I'll just talk to him later" and other such stupid, self-effacing things. And they always say "we can have one of the other prescribers give you a call back, are you sure?" and I always refuse. And then he gets upset with me because I didn't tell him how bad things were. Well NOT ANYMORE I said.

So tonight, terrified (bordering on hysterical) to take another full 15 mg of this insanity I called the mental health center...and they said "he's not here, he can call you tomorrow or someone else can call you back today" and I said "okay, let's do both because I'm feeling pretty bad". Good job Miss K! Good job! call because I am an overwrought mess because of the meds and I'm terrified. Waited longer. Agonized. Finally called again...and got a person who apparently forgot to screw their own head on this morning before they went to work to answer a phone at a mental health center. Here's an approximate transcript of our phonecall:

"Hello, XYZ Mental Health Center, how can I (not) help you?"
"Hi...I called earlier and really needed someone to call me back but didn't get a call."
"Oh. Who are you trying to reach?"
"Mr. Potatohead, but he won't be in until morning."
"OH! Cool, you can talk to him then!". Clearly she thought this was a sufficient response.
Me says "Right...and I will...but I'm having a problem now...and it's really hard for me to admit when I might be having a problem and call, so...can you just tell me, is there anyone in who is legally authorized to prescribe meds because I really need to talk to someone."
"Oh...hold on. (LONG PAUSE) Nope, sorry, Dr. Soandso isn't in."
"Right...I'm not even a patient of Dr. Soandso...look, is anyone there that can answer a meds question?"
"No. Just call your pharmacy." (Picture me taking phone away from ear and staring at it.)
"Right.'s the deal. I'm taking psychiatric medication and I'm afraid because it's doing really bad things to me, and I'm actually SO afraid of my medication, that I am simply not going to take my medication if I can't talk to a medical professional--is there no other number I can call?".

Wait for it...wait for it...what do you suppose the genius...that just told a psych meds patient threatening non-compliance to just get over it and wait until morning...what do you suppose this genius said?



What you should know reader is that I was sitting there in front of my computer screen LOOKING AT THEIR EMERGENCY HOTLINE NUMBER. Why didn't I just call it? I said...I am the WORST at being able to tell when I'm having an emergency and I will put up with far too much before I will ask for help...and thinking processes were so scrambled a few hours ago, when I had this conversation, that I could barely think, nevermind exercise decent judgement. I was in no position to help myself...and clearly, neither was this idiot, who didn't bother to mention the emergency number...and who incidentally, I hope is fired after I talk to my prescriber tomorrow. I'm not so annoyed about how she treated ME per se...I'm terrified that if I had been actually psychotic, or suicidal, or harmful to myself or other people...all possibilities when someone is calling a freaking mental health center...that she would have done exactly what she did to me. This woman had no idea what it took for me to even call in the first idea what a struggle it is for me to ask for help...and none of that matters, because no matter what, if you are answering the phone at a mental health center, at any time of day, you should NEVER say to someone what she said to me. (To be totally, totally clear...this is not normal when you call this center...they are usually much more professional.)

I cried hysterically for a while...then called a pharmacist to ask some questions. He assured me that this is apparently TOTALLY NORMAL when you first start this drug. And that typically this drug is prescribed to people who have sleep issues in addition to anxiety (which I don't have) or could stand to gain some weight (and I could definitely stand to add some pounds to my fact I would LOVE to). This shit gives you the munchies like none other. I've been eating Doritos and nacho cheese all day... at least I wasn't hungry while I was feeling awful in every other way.

So I asked the pharmacist "sir...I know you're not a prescriber...and you're not my prescriber...but honestly, I don't want to take the full dose of this medication, it freaks me out. Will I turn into a pumpkin if I split the dose in half tonight before I get to talk to my prescriber?". He said "Sounds like a plan. Then talk to your guy in the morning.".


So...if only I could wash that half a tablet down with a beer. But I can't. And I won't. But the ice cold beer in my imagination right now tastes soooooo goooooood.

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