This is not the post I intended to make tonight…

(10 points if you know which show the subject of the blog comes from)

Today I finally saw my doctor for the first time since I disengaged with the CAT team. I left shocked, angry & in tears. After a lecture she then proceeded to ignore me and talk to my husband like I wasn’t in the room. It seems my mental illness has gotten to the point where I am no longer deemed able to make a rational decision about my treatment.

I better back peddle a bit and tell you what has been going on.

Firstly sleep is amazing! I went almost three full weeks where I slept every night and was not only awake through the day…but able to function like other adults seem to. I would get up before 11 (the first week, then before 10 the second week and now before 9am). I would shower, eat breakfast, brush my teeth, get dressed, put make up on. All the things I always wondered how people managed it all. Then I would spend all day with my kids. Or reading. Or researching treating bipolar naturally. It seems when I sleep my brain actually works. I can understand medical articles and research papers. It seems when I sleep I am a happy person. A friend came to visit and she seriously said “Oh my god….you just smiled”. Yes folks she has known me two years and that was the first time she saw me smile. If nothing else the CAT team introduced me to an impressive sleeping medication that does nothing more than put me to sleep… I wake up refreshed, rather than groggy or stoned (like I have when trying other sleeping meds) and 3 weeks on they are still working (others have stopped working after 2-3 days).

I did have a few setbacks with sleep. The first one was after I did my nightrime routine (I know sleeping meds are only temporary so I am using the fact that I know I will sleep to my advantage. If I can build a routine in the lead up to my sleep then hopefully when I go off the meds I will be able to continue my routine and my body will just recognise its bedtime…at least thats the theory) about half way into my meditation/sleep app my brother called. I had forgotten to put my phone on airplane mode so it rang. It was 10pm and he never calls my mobile so worried, I answered. I ended up talking him through a horrible day (apparently his girlfriend – who also has a mental illness – had cheated on him while he was away working and he was 100km away and couldn’t get home and was a mess). But by then it seems I had missed my “window” of when the meds work and I barely slept all night…leaving me totally grumpy the next day. Then the very next night (I also should add that these three days in a row I was out of the house all day every day) a certain someone who I happen to be married too decided just after I got to sleep was the time to attempt to rebuild our, *ahem*, martial relations….I don;t think he expected to end up sleeping on the couch after that one. So of course I didn’t sleep well after that.

Then two days ago I ran out of sleepers and couldn’t get to the doctor to refill them til yesterday (I had to see a different dr as my GP wasn’t in) and I didn’t sleep at all for 36 hours. I was not only miserable but I seriously felt the whole day feeling like everyone would be better off it I moved out. It was this day that made me realise that maybe, just maybe, my bipolar is actually better treated with sleep than anything else.

For those that are wondering…I was diagnoses with chronic insomnia at nine years old. Not surprisingly it followed my dad moving out and me having a bipolar mother who’s world had just collapsed. It got even worse at 12 when my mums new boyfriend decided he was more attracted to me than my mother and visited my room nightly. I was 13 when my dad finally had a doctor do something about my sleeping and I went on sleepers for the first time. Of course no doctor that I have ever met thinks sleeping pills are a long term answer…they do however think antidepressants and mood stabilisers are.

I haven’t felt this good in years. At first I was worried I was starting to get manic as I was accomplishing more and more each day. I was tackling things I previously would have thought were impossible (like the sewing a skirt in one day) or batch cooking 4 different soups in one afternoon even though we only have one suitably sized pots. But then I thought again. My thoughts weren’t racing. I was able to concentrate on each thing I was doing. I wasn’t talking a million miles and hour and the real kicker…I was sleeping (my record for not sleeping around 11 days straight when I was manic). I was happy. I was smiling. I was socialising. I was still exercising, though not as much as I was busy seeing people and going places. I started to get a taste of how much life I had been missing out on. This was the reason I wanted to get off all the medications I was on last year … all it took was sleep.

Which brings me to my doctors appointment today. It started with a lecture on the fact that I haven’t seen her recently (my last three appointment were cancelled by the surgery as she wasn’t coming in that day). Then she wanted to know why I went to hospital. I barely got two words out when she started telling me I was now what was considered an “uncooperative patient” who clearly had no interest in actually getting better. (can I take a moment to mention here she didn’t ask me how I was going…otherwise she would know I have been doing amazing). Then she told me that my claim for disability payment would be denied unless I agreed to the “treatment plan” recommended by the CAT team and seconded by her. She then told me if I went on the medications recommended and then stopped (as I have done before) she would call centrelink personally to have my payment discontinued. So now not only was I being told I HAD to go back on medication (even though I am doing better) but she said she wanted to stop my sleeping meds. I wasn’t allowed to say anything in my defence. I was just told over and over again medication is the only answer and that if I wanted to get better it was the only thing I should be doing. Then when she was done she turned to my husband and ignored me completely stressing to him how important it was to do this…basically whether I liked it or not. She then bought up the fact that I hadn’t seen a psychiatrist. Even though she gave us two numbers…one ended up being a mechanic and the other was disconnected. We let her know about a month ago…she told us she was wrong and called the numbers in front of us (which of course went to a mechanic and the disconnected number). Then she said she would give us a call with numbers for others and then never did. As I wasn’t terribly keen on seeing a psychiatrist anyway (as his only job seems to be putting you on medication) I forgot pretty quickly. I have however become diligent about my vitamins, diligent about my sleep routine (which includes turning my computer off at around 8:30), become even more strict with my eating (I used to grab a lot of canned soups ect. now I make all my own to make sure there is no added sugars), I am exercising, I have booked in with a new psych who also allows me to talk to her via email until I can get in to see her (I was booked in for tomorrow but hubby made the appointment…and totally forgot I have tickets to see Annie with Miss 12 tomorrow…booked and paid for 3 months ago and in the calendar). I have done everything I can for my mental and pysical health EXCEPT go back on medications that I have tried in the past (and I have tried them for months – years at a time…not a week and then given up).

Before we were even out the door I was in tears. I was angry and terribly upset. This is usually where I would spiral down. Especially as it was pay day and we were at the shops. I am a compulsive shopper….especially when I am upset (which in the past has led to some dire consequences including us loosing a rental property). I bought myself a magazine….that was it. We got groceries for dinner. We got Miss 12 her first slip (she has a few new dresses that would IMO be immodest to wear without one. The only unplanned purchase of the day was drinking glasses. It’s hubbies birthday party on Saturday and we are down to 3 after one smashed yesterday. Target had packs of six for only $5 so we got some. Watch out big spender.

I ranted on twitter while I was out. I ranted to hubby while we were out. Then I got home. I remembered how great things were going. I decided right then and there this wasn’t going to suck me back in. I wasn’t going to let it. Then I reapplied my lipstick, fixed my hair and went for a run. Yup I had pretty vintage hair & red lipstick while I went for a run. For the first time in, well possibly a lifetime, I am happy. I am content with my life and not desperately wanting to feel better and thinking food/shopping/a new hair cut will fix it this time. I am just so lucky that last night I slept. I hate to think how today would have turned out otherwise.

So todays post was *suppose* to be about how great life is, how much I love baths and jazz music, how tomorrow I am taking Miss 12 to see her first “proper” musical at a “real” theatre, about how we have started to make the switch to local organic produce, how running is still amazing, how in 4 weeks my fitness has improved so I knocked a full 1min 43s off my 1km time trial…and have gone from not being able to do any pushups to managing a whole 7! How sewing is awesome, the things I want to knit using the vintage knitting pattern book I bought last year, how Miss 12 & I are planning to embark on making a quilt for her, some recipes…instead it turned into a doctors suck post.

So the hunt for a doctor continues. This one clearly didn’t work out (not sure if I mentioned it but she cornered hubby in one of his appointments to try to convince him homeschooling was a terrible idea and clearly I had come up with the idea because I was mentally ill). But I will not let this stop my progress forward. Life has been so amazing to live for the first time in forever…I am not giving it up without a fight.



6 thoughts on “This is not the post I intended to make tonight…

  1. I wanted to say that I love this post because despite the intention I think your passion, vibrancy and happiness still shines through.

    She sounds absolutely vile and not at all what you want in someone who is meant to listen to you. There is a group on Facebook ‘mental health consumers taking action’ that might be of interest to you too.

  2. I can totally relate to the never-ending search for a good doctor. Luckily I now have a really good one. It’s great that you are dealing with your bipolar naturally BUT have you totally stopped taking any meds (besides sleeping tablets). I tried to go without meds for about 6 months but finally admitted defeat. I now use a combination of the meds and natural remedies. I agree SLEEP is the best thing for bipolar besides sunlight. Whenever I feel an ‘episode’ coming I take myself to bed. Sometimes I can’t sleep so I put on a hypnosis relaxation CD just to help my racing thoughts.
    I think you are really really coming ahead in leaps & bounds & well done on the controlled spending. Don’t take it as a set-back if you need to go back on meds. It’s just like if you were a diabetic or epileptic. Sometimes people just HAVE to take meds. Take care of yourself.

    • Hey Vicky, nope – I have been on seroquel for two years and am continuing to take it even though I have reduced it by half. I stopped reducing it when I realised that I wasn’t stabilising like I had after reducing it the time before. After my recent visit to hospital I was once again attempted to be bullied back onto a medication that has not worked for me in the 16 years they have tried to push it on me (and it isn’t like I haven’t given it a good go…I was on it for two years at one stage). It has always made things worse. And with bipolar I can’t just be given an antidepressant, I need to also go on additional mood stabilisers to prevent me from going manic. Anyway the point is…I am not anti-medication, nor am I saying anyone else should or should not take medication. But in the years I have experienced with these drugs not one has ever made me feel better, only worse. The drug combination they had me on previously saw me so heavily sedated I didn’t leave my bed for two years bar drs appointments. This is the exact same combination the cat team tried to bully me back on. Also I have diabetes and chose to treat it with diet and exercise instead of the medication the dr. wanted to give me. Three weeks later I had normal blood sugars. 4 months on if I was to take a blood test it would show I don’t have diabetes. Some people do have to take medication, some people don’t…either way it should be my choice and not the choice of someone who has met me for all of three minutes and has decided I should be treated in the exact same way everyone else should. Again, much like diabetics range in their tollerance, I struggle to eat any carbs at all with out my blood sugars spiking….other people can eat bread three times a day. My children and my husband agree that I am a happier, nicer, more vibrant and stable person off medication than on. The doctors I have seen aren’t interested in my opinions, my thoughts, my feelings – nor are they interested in whether or not my family support (and cheer me on) my decision.

      Anyway not trying to rant…more so trying to explain. I don’t believe medication is a cure all, but I totally support those who need/want it. If it makes you feel better (thats the most important thing) that is so awesome, for me medications destroyed my life, gave me diabetes and made me truly miserable. The only solution the doctors had was to give me more medication.

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