Stigma

On Facebook earlier this week, I saw a video of Lady Gaga talking to Prince William about mental health.  The caption said something to the effect of “Be Brave, Talk about it”.  I got extremely pissed off at that.    I clearly have no qualms about discussing the fact that my brain does not do what, I suppose, it is meant to.  By someone’s standards.  Well, legitimately, by my own standards, I’m not a huge fan.  Should I have a say in my brain’s makeup, I would lose the constant nagging pressure of my chest as my thoughts race with every conceivable thing that could go wrong in that moment of time or fending off worthlessness and hopelessness like flies on poop.

I digress…Anyway, this video got me thinking about my bullshit, because I tend to do that.  I don’t even know what number bipolar I am.  Isn’t that weird? Shouldn’t I have a complete diagnosis of whether they think I am 1 or 2? I mean, when my psychiatrist easily dismisses me as “not being used to not having mania to get your life in order…” I find that deeply depressing.  Am I to understand, then, that I can’t clean my toilets or accomplish shit that used to matter to me because I don’t have .. mania?  If that is the case, I kind of want my mania back, because my toilets are gross.

The video made me angry because I do, in fact, talk about “it”.  The problem for me, and I’m sure many others, is that the people that write the fucking prescriptions do not listen.  I get 15 minutes with my psychiatrist.  In 15 minutes, this woman gave me life-altering diagnoses that essentially say that I need to be medicated for my entire life, and that’s that.  The alphabet soup I have right now is astronomical.  This woman said I am bipolar (number tbd?), borderline, PTSD/CPTSD, OCPD, GAD, MDD, PMDD.  Holy shit.  She claimed to have sent my psychologist a treatment plan, but my psychologist seems to not know what email is, or how to read, or in fact, no treatment plan exists.  I understand, she’s focusing on her private practice now, so she spends half of our appointment doing shit she said she was going to do last appointment, and offering to see me privately for “Aetna’s rate of $80, so it’s easier on you” When I told my psych the Seroquel I was on made me feel like I was dying, she snapped at me and said, “Look, you need to take something, you are bipolar.” Well! Thanks!  I should stick to a medicine that made me struggle to breathe, hold a conversation, or lucid thoughts.  I’m unclear why I have to educate a doctor on the fact that medication affects everyone differently.

Obviously, people say bipolar patients are notoriously med non-compliant.  I get that.  Everything I have taken robs me of the things I actually enjoyed about myself.  Do I like being impulsive to the point of danger/damn near stupidity? No, of course not.  Do I enjoy frequently fighting off intrusive suicidal thoughts? A psychosis where I was convinced I had put myself and family in danger? No, obviously not.  I do, however, enjoy having energy and the ability to work through things as opposed to being paralyzed.  I once fancied myself highly intelligent and creative.  That, regardless of the letters, my brain did work differently and I was all the better for it.

Should I really have to “fight” or “advocate” for my right to maintain my mind? Do I really need to cowtail to a woman who spends 15 minutes with me ever 4 weeks and condescendingly remarks how I’m “better”?   How the FUCK could you know what my better or worse is? As I said to you, 30 minutes prior to leaving for this appointment, I was trying to manage through another massive panic attack.  I’m glad, though, that I was able to fight my way through it, sobbing and frustrated, so you could sit there and tell me I seem better because I’m not “babbling”.  I’ll take babbling, even about crazy shit, to rocking back and forth sobbing with my chest caving in.  What do I know? I’m not a doctor.  She knows what’s best for me.

Isn’t it weird that, if you were to break your leg, a doctor would spend more time assessing you and a visible injury? If a bone is broken, it’s there, it’s clear.  I mean, yeah you have to do x-rays and everything, but seriously, a broken leg is kind of straight forward and you get more face-time with doctor(s) than a person who is dealing with something as critical as your MIND.  I mean, what do you have in life, if you don’t have your mind? “I have flashbacks that make me scream in terror and hide in the basement for 3 days, but damn my 6 pack looks amazing”??

“Talk about it” so, to whom? When I talk about it to my friends, most get uncomfortable and/or tell me to talk to my doctor – who tells me I’m wrong…about myself.  I have lost most of my friends as it is.  I “talk about it” with my psychologist and she tells me that I am “overthinking”.  She told me that the psychosis was clearly mania, and also MDD has psychosis.  So…by this logic, I was both manic AND depressed at the same time.  The nightmares that prevented me from sleeping are apparently irrelevant, and if I’d just stop wondering what the fuck is wrong with me, I’d be fine.

Clearly, I should switch providers, right? This would be my 5th? 6th? doctor/therapist combo.  This is where the mentality of “Fuck it, I’ll just be crazy” comes in.  I know I’m not the only one that is going through this.  I know I’m not the only one that looks at the pile of pills they’re popping and thinks, “what the fuck?” I’m currently terrified to NOT take meds, because I have an aversion to people with melting faces and almost driving into a sign or telephone pole or something at 60mph, but I’m equally unhappy with my inability to obtain effective treatment.

If nothing else, it would be helpful to feel as though I can talk about the things that concern me and receive advice on how to manage that, or not be put down for feeling/struggling the way I am.  I read somewhere that it can take a year or more for people to recover from psychosis.  That fact alone is eating at me, because I understand.  As I sobbed to my ex, “What if I was with the kids when this happened? What if I was alone? I could have killed myself!”  This is not something temporary that will fade with time.  I’ve gone from relishing my alone time to being terrified of it, because I am scared of my mind!  “Focus on the progress you’ve made!”

“Uh, okay, I don’t see melting faces, but I can no longer stay awake for longer than 2-3 hours at a time…” To tell me that is my “loss of mania or hypomania” Ah! My mental disorder(s) hid narcolepsy! This is the problem.  You cannot understand something like someone’s MIND in 15 goddamn minutes.  Particularly if you are half listening, because you applied your labels, you tossed your script, and you are done with the issue.  Medicine doesn’t solve everything, and the wrong medicine can make everything worse.  As I’ve tried to explain to both of these chuckleheads, this is even more traumatic for me, because my diagnoses have never remained consistent from doctor to doctor.

Imagine if someone had been bounced around with benign breast cancer, changed to pancreatic cancer with 2 months to live, then the flu, and lastly, strike that, it was appendicitis.  I’m supposed to trust this? In the mental hospital, I was diagnosed with GAD, MDD, PTSD, Borderline, and PMDD.  Upon discharge and with 15 minutes with this new psychiatrist, all of that plus bipolar.  I just don’t understand.  The last psychiatrist I had? “I see absolutely no evidence of bipolar” and she took me off the bipolar drugs I was on.

The thing is, I don’t care.  All I truly want is balance in my life.  To me that is, the ability to manage my normal, day-to-day stressors, carry out my life and maintain a level of okay-ness with myself.  I don’t know.  I am just venting.  The point is, talking about this is not going to do shit if the system stays as completely fucked as it is.  I get that people don’t want to ask for help or talk about what is going on.  If you don’t have these sort of issues in your life, it is extremely difficult to understand.  When someone is aware that they suffer these issues, their mind focuses on that and reminds you of it constantly.  No matter what you say or do, there is a nagging, “You are crazy and they know…” As much as everyone craves human interaction and connection, for most people, isolation feels safer because they know they’re different.  Separate. Unequal.

The stigma is certainly a problem.  The problem is mainly thinking shoving a pill in someone’s face is going to fix it.  As anxiety and depression diagnoses increase dramatically amongst children and teens, suicide rates skyrocket, and pharma companies dole out new meds like skittles, as well as the clear correlation between addiction/abuse/mental illness, maybe people need to stop fucking talking about the issues and actually look to change.  I’m “privileged” because I have insurance which is providing me, clearly, the bargain basement crap that I keep encountering as I attempt to fix myself.  Unfortunately, I don’t have 300-400 extra dollars a month for a private doctor (on top of the 300+ I pay just to have insurance).  What about people who can’t afford either? A friend of mine was prescribed Latuda in the mental hospital.  She doesn’t have insurance.  She went to fill her prescription and was told it was $700.  Naturally, she cold turkeyed off the meds and ended up back in the hospital in psychosis.

Even if you are able to manage those feelings, there’s still paranoia.  Every time you screw up, your mind immediately goes to your diagnosis.  Especially something like bipolar.  When the shit happened with my car? Bipolar was the FIRST thing that came out of people’s mouths.  I’m so tired of being looked at as a diagnosis and not a human being. I guess, maybe from now on I should introduce myself as Bipolar (number TBD); maybe then a professional will listen to me…. In the meantime, I’ll just be inspired by Lady Gaga and Prince William and keep talking to everyone, because we are not alone – even though most of us isolate and feel like shit.  We can all talk to our doctors and get ignored and google shit until we find ways to maybe help ourselves.  Eventually, I’m sure we can all medicate ourselves out of our issues while we talk about how brave we all are.

#blessed

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18 thoughts on “Stigma

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  1. i can tell how frustrated you are… i pray that you do find something that works for you…it is difficult to go through all of the trial and errors of this…I feel the same way about my psychiatrist… he’s just there to give the medicine, not really to listen to me.. at least that’s how i feel.. although he does ask how i’m doing… but still i dont feel that he really cares… go figure.. but he’s good for giving me my prescriptions though… i can tell ya that… best of luck on your search for medication that actually works for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks chica. Yeah, I’ve been down this road a few times. I always end up saying “Fuck this noise” and going off my meds. It only makes it worse, though, because like, everytime I fuck up, it’s “oh my god, see if you would just take your medication…” I know with how..insistent I am, I’ll figure out the right combo, but I very much do not appreciate some chick who doesn’t know me telling me condescendingly about me, because she studied the DSM V. Good for you lady, so did I! It’s all good, though. I figure ranting about it will make me feel less crazy and probably make other people feel like “oh damn it’s not just me” haha 🙂

      Better out then in, as Shrek would say 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was glad to see the video. And when Jenny Marie posted it I re-blogged. I think anytime the spot light is shined on an issue that needs attention it’s helpful.

    But I get everything about what you’re saying and I agree wholeheartedly. It’s fucking frustrating. And as with anything else, there are two sets the rules. The haves and the have-nots. If you’re lucky enough to be rich and famous you can afford all the treatment in the world and get better care physical or mental. That’s the sad truth of it. And yes maybe people are dying it equal rates since despite all the money in the world sometimes you can’t save yourself. But it still fucking sucks for anyone who does not have all the advantages which the prince and gaga have. And then there is the ability to find an adequate care. Oh my fucking lord don’t get me started on that. The first time we tried to get help for Lulu she found someone who herself should’ve been locked away in a rubber room for all of eternity. After a 10 minute consult we walked out of the room with four diagnosis and six fucking prescriptions that you would’ve needed a flow chart to fucking figure out. Yep that’s right a 10 minute consult for a then 16-year-old. Needless to say we got a second opinion never started on the plan. Her second shrink was not much better. The diagnosis anxiety and depression. Two not four diseases and then there was only a single medication not a fucking boat load. And currently she ditched the second shrink for a GP. Might not be the smartest thing but it’s really not that big of a difference; their just a pusher anyway.

    Takes a long time … years to figure out what ails us and it’s all based on self report. Which is why we need to find someone who will listen to us. No cookie cutter crap. I liked my guy when I had him. Dr. B. He listened and he admitted he didn’t have all the answers. He was there to monitor me. And help me along the way which he did for the time that I needed it.

    What I’ve always thought was ridiculous was when I would be asked at each med check are you suicidal? I could answer that any fucking way I chose. I might’ve been but you think I would say I was? fuck no. Actually for me and fortunately I never had a suicidal ideation. In fact quite the opposite death fucking terrifies me. As suck ass as this life can sometimes be, it’s a known evil. What happens after is unknown. That I can’t hang with. From the age of two I’ve known death. I fear it. Anxiety though, depression yeah check check.

    And you may not agree but the truth of it is “you are not alone”. We are legion. The world is full of crazy mofos and I’m proud to be one of them. Suck it to all the beauitiful people. And sweet Marilyn Manson’s beautiful people is blasting from my speakers. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally get what you’re saying. When Lady Gaga started talking about her issues, I was really happy. She and Russell Brand have been nice to listen to and not feel alone. I just feel frustrated and angry that something as important as mental health is the most difficult thing to actually get help for. But yeah, I mean, it is helpful to know that there are so many people out there who have the same/similar issues. It makes me feel like I am not crazy. My rage is more – everyone else is completely accepting and supportive. Shouldn’t the fucktards that “help” the crazy people be equally … helpful? I think more people talking about the reality of this bullshit would be more helpful. It’s one thing to talk about depression, anxiety, and be supportive, but no one can really help anyone with the fact that psychiatrists/psychologists are by and large a part of the problem and feeding the stigma. Not to mention, insurance companies make this entire process even more difficult, you really do just get shitty, shitty providers.
      In general, I just think I shouldn’t have to fight for proper medication. like this should be a collaborative process. In some situations, yeah you do have to suck it up and deal – no one is like “Oh my gosh, yeah I totes wanna do chemo!” but likely “I totes don’t want to die” overrides that. I don’t know. There’s no solution I can provide, for sure, I generally just think it’s braver to be honest about the shitty reality of things. Not that I’m trying to get in a pissing contest of “oh my god, I’m SO much crazier than you.” but more “I ended up hospitalized 3 times thanks to being unable to find/schedule an appointment with a psychiatrist sooner than 4 months! and when I did, she completely changed my meds around and turned me into a robot!”

      To your point, honestly dude, that’s my biggest problem. This shit is CHANGING me, and not (in my opinion) for the better. I enjoy the fact that I’m nuts, I really do. It’s hurtful when someone puts down the shit you love most about yourself as “you are just manic” well fuck you lady! Let’s see you clean 3 toilets, write some poetry, cook a nice dinner, work 10 hours, and still enthrall the world in christmas jammies. I donno. IF mania is what helped me be what I am, I truly have no idea what the hell to do now besides sleep in my christmas jammies. The people of Wawa need me! 😛

      fucking LOVE that song. ahhh Manson ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh girl! Preach it!!! Tis true … ALL OF IT! I for one am going to spread the sH!it around. By sH!t, I mean truth … the damn truth about the underbelly bullshit people go through when seeking help! Not all sunshine and unicorns in pretty medicated packages .

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hell yeah!! That’s all I’m sayin’. Don’t put a cherry on my shit sundae. Just look at it and understand that it looks, smells, and tastes like shit 😛 (Austin…it is shit!, Oh good it’s not just me…)

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Well yeah. I ranted about asshole drs in my blog ‘Dear Doctor’, because they are so totally inhumane, uncompassionate, stupid, ad nauseam, that it’s no wonder so many thousands of bipolars take to hard core drugs. Anything to stop the pain and the crazy!

    Like

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