Last week my life as I had blissfully known it, for the past year at least, came to an end.
I have been struggling very hard to write something to update everyone, and failing, and failing, and failing.
I wanted to explain more of the situation, but that’s not going to happen, so here are the bare bones.
I can no longer take Carbatrol, which has been my mainstay in mood stabilization. Not ever again.
I have been through every drug and then some; when I stopped counting in 2010, there had been more than 70. So I am at a point of patching together what I call the “least worst” solutions for my future. I have a three-inch thick binder filled with my notes, my doctors’ notes, medication inserts, pharmacy info, articles from different websites, and I’m basically using that, along with a grip of reference books, to decide which drugs were the most effective and the least intolerable.
It’s only been five days, but things have really gone incredibly badly to start. I don’t want to talk about it.
I’m actually very well-equipped for this, in one way, in an important way. I have been through this fire, for five-and-a-half years I went through it, and I came out the other side alive. I know what to expect, and I know that I can get through again.
The thing that is knocking at my infrastructure is that I honestly and truly believed that this was it for me, I had found my cocktail and that was what I would be taking until I drew my last breath.
Also, there is the added element that I’m giving serious thought to looking for a new psychiatrist. I am undecided here, as I need to sit down and discuss some things with mine first. Additionally, I went through this process a little more than a year ago, for the first time since I’d sought help in 2006. I got my first psychiatrist on the second try, and I didn’t know how lucky I was.
When I went through my search last time, I had very few doctors recommended to me, because my then-psychiatrist and my primary just didn’t believe there were many equipped to handle my case. And, in fact, of those few, all but two said that they didn’t think they could help, because they honestly didn’t know what could be done that hadn’t already been tried. I appreciated that frankness.
Essentially, what that means is if I do need to find a new doctor (still a big if), there is more than likely only one whom I can go to locally. And that’s if he is still around, and still taking new patients. I do have information I saved on several national options, but there are enormous practical and financial considerations there. So, we shall see.
My parents are being very supportive, in their way. After Thursday’s appointment, I told them I am no longer going to discuss with them what medications I am taking, because the last thing I need to be thinking when trying to figure out how to make the best out of a bad thing is, ‘Mom and Dad are going to freak out about this one.’ That really should not be in my mind at all. Mom took it surprisingly well, she understood completely; Dad, well he will learn to deal with it. He just loves his baby daughter and worries about me so much. They both do, after these past years of seeing me hysterical and blanked out and taking me thrice weekly for ECT and rushing me to the ED many times and sitting up nights watching me because they were worried I would stop breathing. Those are memories a parent can never erase.
So that’s the gist of it. That’s how my life changed completely over one Thursday in January. I was one month and four days shy of a perfect year. But I’m glad I didn’t know that time had an expiration date stamped on it, because if I had, I wouldn’t have loved it as carelessly and blissfully as I did. I wouldn’t have assumed and made plans and, yes, taken things for granted. Taking things for granted is not always the monster it’s made out to be, my loves. And if I have to spend another six-and-a-half years, or the rest of my life, striving for eleven months more like these just past, I will say that it’s worth the trade. The reward is worth the fight. More than worth it.
I’ll get through and find something, but it’s probably going to be an endless road of different drugs and dosage adjustments and changing this for that. I won’t say I’m delighted, but neither will I sit here and wonder and wail that I can’t deal with that prospect. To me it has never been a question of “how long” or “an end” or “too much”, it just is and I keep going, because this is the life I am living, and that is the only choice I have. To keep going, to plunge ahead, to try something else.
I will always keep myself afloat, even if it means clinging to the fin of a shark.
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