I had my first appointment with my new psychiatrist yesterday (my old doctor unexpectedly retired last month). Yesterday’s appointment had to be via video because of Covid. I was super anxious about it beforehand, not knowing what he was like or if we would be a good match. For a first visit, I would MUCH prefer an in-person appointment, but that wasn’t an option for now.
Fortunately, he seems caring and understanding and listened to me very well. I felt like he was trying hard to understand my situation and symptoms and that he took all of my concerns seriously. I guess I couldn’t ask for much more.
Because my anxiety and depression have both been bad lately, we are trying a new medication combo to see if that helps. I will no longer be taking the Seroquel and instead will be taking Lamictal. He is hoping I might be able to wean off the Prozac too if the new med works, since the antidepressants don’t seem to do much for me anymore (and if I take higher doses it tends to cause hypomanic symtoms).
Lamictal is known for not causing as much weight gain as other mood stabilizers, so I am all for that! I hope I won’t have many side effects from it, but we’ll see.
I’m struggling right now mentally and emotionally. Here are some of the reasons:
- I found out yesterday that my psychiatrist is retiring at the end of the month, so I have to start seeing someone new, beginning with my next appointment in June. I think one of the worst things is that I won’t get a chance to say goodbye and I really liked my current psychiatrist. He was weird, but in a good way. I feel anxiety and fatigue at the thought of having to start over with someone new and share all my issues from the beginning.
- My husband is in a bad funk because of the quarantine. He desperately misses work and since school has been cancelled for the rest of the year, he won’t be able to get back to work until at least the next school year starts, if then. His constant low mood is making it more difficult for me to keep my head above water mentally-speaking.
- I’m feeling lonely and disconnected, perhaps due to the quarantine? Although it is certainly a feeling I was familiar with far before all this madness began. Maybe the social distancing just heightens what was already there.
- I have no desire to do anything. I don’t want to write this blog, but I am pushing through. I don’t want to do my normal housework, online work…any of it.
Yesterday I saw my psychiatrist. We spent a lot of time talking about the dark, morbid interests I have and whether those might be contributing to my depression and anxiety. I’ve always been drawn to studying the dark side of things, whether it be the occult, serial killers, suicide, the dark side of history, horror movies and books, or psychopaths. I know these interests may not be the best things for my mental state, but they are all things that fascinate me and it is hard for me to resist things that fascinate me.
At one point in the conversation, my psychiatrist asked if there were any happy interests I have. I told him I love cartoons, but then I told him one of my favorite cartoon movies is Anastasia, which he pointed out is about the mass murder of the royal family lol, so maybe not so happy after all.
Today I have an MRI scheduled on my head and neck to try to figure out what might be causing my recent migraines. I’m really not looking forward to it. I hate MRI’s, especially on the head and neck because I feel really claustrophobic and hate not being able to move for so long.
I’ve started livestreaming on my YouTube channel just for something to do and another way to connect with people. I’m doing most of the streams on my personal channel, rather than my toys and books channel. My personal channel has a lot less subs (around 200 compared to over 3,000), so if you are a YouTube watcher, please consider subbing to my channel! Here are a couple recent livestreams if you are interested:
The YouTube playback for the livestreams is a bit blurrier than normal vids, but I’m working on that! You probably want to watch them in the highest quality available to minimize blurriness.
You ever go to a doctor’s appointment and feel like you somehow disappointed them? That’s how I’m feeling today. I went to see my psychiatrist and while he didn’t say anything overly negative or mean, I just left with the feeling that somehow he was a little disappointed in me.
Perhaps I am projecting here, but I kind of feel like he isn’t quite as supportive as my other doctors about my going on SSDI. Not because he doesn’t think I have real problems and medical conditions, but because he seems to think I have a lot of potential and maybe he thinks if I get disability I’m just going to sit around and do nothing the rest of my life.
This may be partly my fault if he has that impression. After all, I don’t normally talk about all the stuff I do enjoy doing while there. I only see him every couple months for a short visit, so I tend to focus on what is going wrong, not what is going right. I don’t talk about all the art I make and sell or the books I write and sell. I don’t talk about my blogging. I don’t talk about all the people I correspond with on social media. I didn’t mention that I was recently made a board member on the International Board of Sensory Accessibility. I didn’t tell him about the art contest I submitted three artworks to this month. I don’t tell him about the online communities for chronic illness, chronic pain, autism, and other conditions that have given me a chance to support others and receive support myself.
I kind of wish I had mentioned some of those things now. Maybe next time.
I found out recently that my Social Security Disability (SSDI) hearing has been set for February 2019. When I found this out, I contacted my attorney’s office to ask for a copy of my medical records since I honestly don’t even know what all is in them other than what my doctors have told me and what little is available on the online portals. I was rather shocked when they told me that they could give me the physical health records, but it is a HIPAA violation to allow me to see my complete mental health records.
To be honest, this bothered me. I’m not allowed to see some of my own mental health records? This doesn’t seem right to me. Maybe I could understand if I were violent or a real danger to others and they feared me getting pissed at what the doctors wrote and trying to harm them or something, but the closest I’ve ever come to violence is just having a meltdown and yelling at someone because I was overwhelmed (normally this has only happened at work places when I was put under a lot of pressure). Even yelling is pretty rare for me though. I am much more likely to just burst into tears, lock myself in the bathroom, or try to get away from the situation by finding another “safe” area where I can be alone.
Am I alone in being frustrated by the seemingly patronizing system hiding my own truth from me? Who else deserves to know my doctors’ real, honest perception of me more than myself? I’m not a child. I can handle knowing what my doctors really think of me and maybe knowing those things would help me in my own personal growth.
For at least a year or two now, I have been debating with my husband whether we should get a handgun for home protection. You see, I have an intense fear of home invasions. I often have nightmares about it. I think part of it may stem from being robbed at gunpoint when I was 17 years old. Or maybe some of it comes from living in several areas over my lifetime that were crime ridden in one way or another. A history of physical abuse and c-ptsd certainly doesn’t help either.
That is why I believe that I might feel a little more safe with a handgun in the house (most likely locked up in a safe). My husband worries about keeping a loaded gun in the house though because of my intense periods of depression. I have bipolar type 2, and while I have never had a psychotic episode, have never tried to commit suicide, and do not think I am generally a danger to myself, my husband has seen me go through some extreme emotional lows that worried him. He fears that if we had a loaded gun in the house there is always the possibility that in a moment of intense depression I might make a rash decision.
I am thinking that perhaps I should discuss the possibility with my therapist and psychiatrist. I know both of them have said they do not think I would ever actually commit suicide. Personally, I agree that I am very unlikely to commit suicide unless my husband died and I was somehow left all alone without any help in the world. I do not think I could kill myself unless the prospect of living genuinely became worse than death. I also would not want to cause anyone who cares about me pain, as I know first hand what it is like to lose someone close to suicide.
I figured I would do a short follow up post about my psychiatrist visit a couple days ago. It went ok I guess. Instead of switching me off the Prozac, he decided to try upping it one more time to see if that would do the trick, but promised me that if that didn’t make me feel better we would try something new next time. He did mention Wellbutrin as a possibility, which I have never taken. If anyone has experience with that drug, please let me know your thoughts on it!
The first few minutes of our visit, we talked about Netflix and the shows I have been binge watching recently (Black Mirror, Atypical, Stranger Things, American Horror Story). Then he asked how therapy was going, and I felt like at that time I needed to admit how bad my depression had gotten and that my therapist was actually worried about how low I was feeling.
My psychiatrist asked me why I didn’t bring that up immediately when our session started and he kind of jumped to the conclusion that I was trying to be “a good patient and not complain”, but I had to explain to him that his assumption was wrong. I wasn’t trying to make things easier for him, it is just simply hard for me to talk to anyone in person about how bad I really feel when at my lowest. It makes me feel vulnerable and exposed, and I hate that.
I know that last sentence may seem weird, considering the fact that I am so open and bluntly honest in my blog writing about how low and horrible I feel sometimes, but it is just easier for some reason to write that all out to a blank page and post it to the ether of the internet. Being in front of a living, breathing human, it is so much harder to peel the layers away and let my real self be seen.
I’m not in a good place right now. I wish I was, but I’m not. For the past couple months, I have been struggling off and on with what almost feels like a new low level of depression. Half the time I can’t stop crying, and half the time I feel almost absolutely nothing. I swing between numbness and despair, with a few almost decent days thrown in here and there. This may sound strange, but I am even too depressed to entertain suicidal thoughts. I just can’t think that far ahead right now or drum up the energy to make a decision like that.
There seems to be no rhyme or reason. For several days I may be weepy and lethargic, skipping meals without even meaning to, and only finding comfort from burrowing in a pile of heavy blankets or laying on our swing outside. Then out of the blue, I might have a decent day where I can get myself showered, dressed, and actually get a few chores done or do a little shopping…but the very next day, I’m likely to be right back huddled up on the bed or the couch.
I guess the only good news is that today is my appointment with my psychiatrist, and I am praying he takes me off the Prozac and can get me onto an antidepressant that will actually work again, because the current cocktail of medications doesn’t seem to be cutting it anymore.