I refuse to gloss over this topic with an alliterative title.
It’s been a difficult week. Two celebrities were found dead this week and both have been reported by the media as suicides. I had no emotional connection to Kate Spade but the outpouring of messages on social media brought many lovely tributes and reminders to seek help – listings of suicide hotlines, etc. Those messages are helpful, but it seems to me that they are the bit of hope that people hold onto when it’s too late for someone else.
I saw a post (paraphrased) that if someone like Kate Spade, with all outside signs of success and resources to seek help commits suicide then what hope is there for those of us who are struggling and living barely within our means? Medications are expensive and therapy even moreso. There are many private insurance plans that don’t even cover mental healthcare. Indigent and sliding scale programs have waiting lists that range from months to more than a year (I’ve been on both over the years).
The news of Anthony Bourdain hit me very hard. The topic was already on my mind; and I’m more familiar with Bourdain than I was with Spade. I’ve watched his shows and read his books. The news that his daughter was the same age as my son hit me the hardest. I sat in my car over my lunch break and sobbed – all I could think about that little girl.
Mental health and addiction issues are all around me. I’ve written about my personal story here previously. The struggles of my loved ones aren’t for me to speak about in depth but I live with the constant anxiety that I will someday get that call that changes your entire world in an instant.
So what can you do for someone who is struggling?
Be the voice outside of someone’s head. Send the text or make the call. Leave the message and do it again. Be the voice that is pulling or guiding them back to life. Be the voice of support; the voice of hope. Be the voice to speak for those who can no longer speak for themselves; for those who lost that battle. Be the voice for those who are left behind.
These words are my voice, sent out into the world. Can you hear me?
Today, I met with my new Psychiatrist.
Due to the change of insurance at work, I’d been forced to find a new provider to manage my treatment (medication). I’ve lived with Bipolar long enough to know that going off meds is not ever an option for me.
I was anxious about meeting with her – mostly because I’m always nervous about change. Given the fact that she is literally the only provider taking my insurance this felt a lot like an all or nothing situation. If it didn’t work then I had no clue what the next step was going to be.
The intake was pretty standard stuff, no surprises there. I’m in a pretty stable place as far as my mental health. I mentioned that I’m working with my PCP to figure out an issue with my thyroid and we detoured the conversation to that for a bit.
About a year and a half ago, the decision was made to reduce my Lithium dosage because I had developed a tremor in my right hand. After discussing it with my PCP there were labs run and based on my symptoms and labs I was diagnosed with Reynauds Phenomenon. It’s not anything major – the cold sensitivity and random loss of circulation is just bothersome. My hair is thin and I have a nickel sized spot where I’ve lost hair. I’ve seen a dermatologist and get screened yearly for Lupus.
My yearly panel, done last month, was normal according to the nurse when she called me with the results. So when he called me back in last week to discuss my thyroid I was a little confused. Although the rest of my thyroid panel was within range, my TPO antibodies are elevated and my thyroid was ‘generously’ enlarged when he checked it that day.
We’re going to redo the labs and check back in next month. The hope is that things will be back to normal. But the reality is that I’ve been on Lithium for nearly ten years and it’s possible that it plays a role in my current issues. So a decision was made today to start the process of weaning me off Lithium and introducing a new medication.
This medication is better geared for Bipolar II, which is less manic and more depressive. I’m hopeful that I’ll continue to be stable on this new med and perhaps my thyroid will settle down. It’s really a 50/50 shot at this point.
Here’s to better health!
Today is not what I would classify as a ‘good’ day. But I am here, still able to write about it – and that is a positive for me. That means that I have won the battle. I am not silenced or buried by my thoughts. That is a win.
I found out today that May is Mental Health Awareness Month! This post is inspired in part by a conversation that I had with a fellow blogger. I felt like it is important to share my story and I’m hoping that it might bring comfort to someone else who feels alone.
This post is extremely lengthy and detailed. Please be advised it contains mentions of (but not details) experiences and symptoms relating to depression, self injury, hospitalization/treatment and bipolar disorder. Continue reading