Saturday, March 10, 2012

Down but not Out

After a very long depressing Winter I am finally thawing out and feeling the sun on my face.  As I wrote in my last blog article which was months ago that I was struggling with the idea that my Psychiatrist of over 10 years was thinking of changing the scope of his practice and moving to a new career path.  He finally made his decision at the end of last year and I had been stuck in the "grief" phases since then.  To me losing him as my doctor was similar to a death.  To me it was like losing a member of my family.   He has helped me through so many rough times and the ups and downs of my illness.  He helped get me through a very painful abusive marriage.  He helped me decide that applying for SSDI was the right decision for my life at that time and helped me every step of the way.  The first time I saw him he said God has sent you to me and I am here to help you.  He made more progress with me and my illness then any other Psychiatrist.  He truly treated me with dignity and not like a number as some can.  He truly cared about my well being and I felt like I could share anything with him.  He made me realize that I was much more than my illness and the I had an illness and that I was not my illness.  I trusted him with everything about my treatment and he knew me as well as my parents and just about anyone in my life.  So the thought of losing him in my support team was something that I could not accept for awhile.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross stated in her book titled On Death and Dying, that most people dealt with grief and tragedy in five stages.  Well to me losing my main link to my well being and stability was like a huge tragedy.  I feel like I went through these phases losing my doctor.  First I was in huge denial.  I felt "Oh he won't stop treating me and this can not be happening to me".   That lasted almost six weeks.  Then I was very angry at him for leaving and moving on to other areas of his field and not going to be there to help me.  Yes this was all about me and me and me and it was all about me.  I didn't think of the new patients he would now be helping and that maybe they needed him more than I did.   This I admit was the selfish phase. This stage only lasted for a few days because I could not be mad at the person that saved my life many times over in so many areas of my life.  In the bargaining phase I begged and prayed to God that he would not leave and change his mind.  But then I received the official letter and that was it because the words were in black and white.  It was hard to deny that he was no longer going to treat me for my illness.   However I think the letter helped because  he stated it was a difficult decision for him to move onto a new career change.  That was the day I knew I had to find a new doctor very soon because my depression was getting worse by the minute.  I think I spent a total of 3 weeks in bed mostly and cried and ate all the worst food ever and watched brainless television and did nothing productive for weeks.  I had to call in my support team of my parents and my husband and they got me through this rough time.   I even attempted to put two suicide attempts in place over one week.   That was about two weeks ago.  One was that I looked around my home and tied a scarf around my neck and tried to find the right place to hang myself and then another of locking myself in the bathroom with all my medicine and sitting in a bathtub wanting to take them all and just never waking up again.   My family was close enough and watching me and I never got too far into the suicide plan.  This might seem silly to most people getting this upset over losing my doctor but he was my main lifeline in my care and now it was gone.

However I truly believe God has a plan for my life and that the last ten years was just a season and maybe it was time for me to not be selfish and think of others and all the people that he will help with their mental illness.  So after my most darkness moments,  I finally found  a doctor's name in my old records that treated me in an inpatient care facility when I was suicidal in 2002.  I remembered he did a great job during my stay and that maybe he might be an option.  I called and they had an opening and that was that the start of the closure of my old doctor and crossing the bridge to my new journey with my new doctor.  I was on the way to start another chapter and move on with my recovery.  I had my mom go with me because I was having terrible anxiety about seeing someone new that did not know me or my history.  I was shaking and a nervous wreck and could not drive or go by myself.  I sat there in the office and cried before the new doctor came in because I knew that when that doorknob turned it would be a brand new face and I had no idea what to expect.  I also knew I would not see the bright shiny face of my previous doctor and I was so scared.   My session went as well as it could with all the changes but I felt good about his treatment plan he put into place.  He put me on a new anti-depressant, Wellbutrin SR and a new mood stabilizer that I had never heard of before called, Lamictal.  Thankfully he left me on my anxiety medicine to treat my social anxiety and my OCD.  Well I know it's too soon to tell but I feel very hopeful for once in a several months.  I feel fairly stable at the moment and my head feels clearer. 

Another good thing that happened was that I am a Christan but due to my social anxiety I had a hard time going to a church with a lot of people that I did not know.  I really hated this because that was something huge missing in my life that I truly needed to get through each day.   But I finally made it back in the doors of the church and the people could not be kinder and I feel so much better and closer to God.  My faith in God has always helped me get through the tough times of my illness, but over the last few years I felt a great distance from God though I know he never left me and has been carrying me all this time.    I am so grateful for my family and my wonderful husband who are always there for me and try to help my stability rather than bring me down.  I know it is not my time to die and that taking my own life would have been very wrong and would of  hurt so many people that I love dearly in life.   I am just grateful God and my family were there to save me.  Bipolar Disorder is a roller coaster and I know my moods will still rock up and down but at least now I feel better I have a doctor in place when there are bumps in my path.   It just shows anyone that might be reading this that even though I have been in treatment for almost 23 years that I still struggle each day and treatment is vital to be stable.    I will turn 40 this year and hitting that number does not make me sad it makes me happy that I am still fighting the fight and made it another year. Bipolar Disorder seems to always knock me down but I come up swinging and fighting and refuse to let an illness control me but rather control it.

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