Tag Archives: psychiatrist

FUNNY FRIDAYS

 

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California Bipolar Foundation – Anti Stigma Video

Good Days and Bad Days, This Blog Has Helped and Will Help Me

I used to write all the time.  I had a journal on blogger and I wrote and wrote and wrote.  I wrote about my depression, my frustrations, how much I hated life.  I would write suicide notes and good bye letters.  I wrote about how I thought suicide was ok and how those who loved me should be happy I was gone because I wasn’t in pain anymore.  I had a physical, tangible journal too that my therapist gave me, and I wrote in that periodically as well – I would scribble down any thought that came to my head, over and over again, rambling on about everything – but it was always the bad stuff.  I never counteracted any of the negative thoughts with good things.  I never put any positive self talk in there or reminded myself about what was going on that was good.

I couldn’t see anything good around me – at all.  There was good stuff though.  My siblings cared a lot about me.  I live no where near them, we are all in different states.  We don’t even talk very much, but when we do, I can cry and let all my emotions out and they listen and understand.  Each day, I have food and an apartment to stay in.  Sure, I struggle to pay the bills and have food to eat — but I have it.  There was a time in my life, that I basically was kicked out of my apartment and had to move back home or be homeless, and I attempted suicide because of it.  I did not want to live with my mom.  Now, I have those things.  I have to think about that.  I have a mental health team, I am able to have my medicine.  I hate taking medicine, but it makes me stable.  There were times I couldn’t pay for my medicine – now I can and it is works fairly well.  I have struggled incredibly hard to find a good therapist and psychiatrist, but I have those now.  I have a team that wants me to get better.  There are good things in my life.  I may think that life is horrible and miserable, but not everything is working against me like it may seem.

I started this blog because I was so focused on the negatives in my other blog.  WordPress is a really active community and I wanted to be able to be involved with interacting with others.  I wanted to discuss mental health issues.  I wanted to be involved with reading about other interests of mine.  I wanted to focus on positives.

I still have horrible days.  Just two weeks ago (or something like that), I broke down.  I called the crisis line and then a day later called my dad and about went to the psych hospital.  I thought I was going to kill myself.  Life isn’t perfect for me.  My days can still get really shitty.  I still get super depressed.  But, I want to help people.  And writing on here has helped me feel better.  And talking with others on here has helped me feel better.  Connecting with others that are going through the same thing, knowing I am not alone.

I’m going to eventually have the posts where I am hating life again, but I am hoping that those are few and far between.  I’m sure starting grad school is going to make them happen a lot more frequently – bringing back memories related to my sexual abuse and rape.  My PTSD is going to be stirred up even more than it has been lately with therapy.   I hope to use this as a way to vent still, and get my frustration out, but in a more positive way than I was on my other online blog – which was quite negative as I was simply writing out my plans for death.  Here I can just write out my thoughts and even ask for advice.

I really think that writing on here and connecting with others on here and seeing this as a support has really helped though.  I hope that it continues to do that.

I Think I’ve Hit a Road Block – And I Need to Find the Detour

I saw my psychiatrist today.  I wasn’t really the greatest appointment.  I actually left feeling very discouraged and I’m not in the greatest mood.  I think I’ve hit a road block.

I’ve really been struggling with my anxiety.  I’ve always had bad anxiety.  It was pretty well managed the last few years, although I was pretty overloaded on my last anxiety medication.  When I was in the state hospital, the environment was very controlled and I thought I had gotten over it, so I transitioned off of my medicine (the valium).  Upon moving though, I knew no one, was in a brand new state, and also began working on trauma therapy — my anxiety has been at an all time high once again.  I deeply regret ever getting off anxiety medication.  I cannot get my psychiatrist to give me medication other than vistaril, which has done nothing, and buspar which simply made it 100x worse.  I understand that other medications are addictive, but I only want something to help me when I go into a panic attack just while I go through this trauma therapy, even if it just a few pills a month to get me through the worst of times.  I am getting exhausted living like this – it has made me depression horrible.

He told me that he went through my medications I have tried in the past – not specifically anxiety, but everything.  I have gone through a lot – and he said that medications don’t work for me.  I was pissed, because the regimen I am on now has done a pretty good job for the last 1.5 years.  I have been more stable than I have been in like 4 years.  He has only seen me twice now (I go to a medical school, so they switch residents every two years when they graduate).  He doesn’t even know me! Yes, he has my records, but I highly doubt he has read them! Does he really want to see me off my medication – because I am really considering just stopping it since he claims that they don’t even matter, despite the fact that I have seen how much they have changed my life.  But if he says that, why would I waste my money?

He wants me to compliment my trauma therapy with DBT.  Which would be fine, except the only place around me that does it, is 1 hour away (ok still doable), but they also don’t take insurance, or any insurance for that matter (not doable).  I am already paying out of pocket to see him (supposed to be $124 dollars-what I was told….but I keep getting billed over $200 and while they tell me they will fix it, it never gets done).  I live on disability right now, I cannot afford to pay out of pocket for more therapy that my insurance wont pay for. 

I guess I am just frustrated though because he basically told me that if my anxiety is that bad – I need to go to the hospital.  What is the hospital going to do?  Why can he not just help me?  If he can’t help outpatient, why would the hospital be able to do anything different?  Would they be able to prescribe me a medication?  If they do–would he actually keep me on it?  I’m not going to go spend a ton of money on a hospital stay when I feel like this should be able to be taken care of on an outpatient basis.  I thought psychiatrists were supposed to try to keep you out of the hospital. 

I have grown so much since 2011 when I first started having serious problems with my mental health.  And I believe that each day I grow stronger.  I know I also fall back though.  I just feel like this is a set back for me.  Or I shouldn’t say set back – its like a road block.  A wall in my way.  Another challenge.  I don’t have help this time though. I don’t have a psychiatrist to help me get through it.  And it sucks – it just sucks.  I’m facing my pain and anxiety and depression on my own. I mean, I guess he cares in that he suggested the DBT, but he also knows I cant pay for it and he clearly doesn’t want to help me with medication – so I don’t feel like I have support.  Now, I have to find the detour, the way around it – get past this road block.

I’m going to get through it.  I just am going to have to work a hell of a lot harder and figure something out.  I don’t know what yet though.  I feel like I have tried a million coping skills. 

So, I’m going to try to write some still, but I may be a little less frequent.  I have some posts that I wrote ahead of time that are scheduled to be posted though, and those should show up.  I am still going to try to get on here though, cause it does help.  Ill just have to see how it goes I guess. 

Sleep! Not too much, Not too little, Just right!

Too much sleep, too little sleep.  Too manic, too depressed.

Sleep plays an incredibly important role in keeping my mind balanced.  I remember when I set off on my trip to Malaysia for a month back in March, my psychiatrist specifically told me I needed to watch my sleep.  “Make sure you bring your Ambien!  If you don’t sleep well, you are going to go into a deep depression or a huge manic episode.”  Before that, we had talked about trying to regulate my sleep for months.  Even after I got home, we were talking about regulating my sleep.

I have noticed, when I get enough sleep, my mood is much more stable.

When I get too much sleep, I am really depressed and want to sleep all the time.

When I don’t get enough sleep, I go into manic mode.

When I am in manic mode, I have to force myself to sleep, and when I do, my mood slowly begins to regulate.

When I am depressed, I have to force myself to get up and not be in bed all day, and my mood regulates more.

Now of course, many people with sleep problems need medication to help them overcome their issues.  But there are other ways to help regulate your sleep –

Creating a regular sleep habit:

  • Taking a shower every night and brushing your teeth at the same time
  • Turning off all electronics (not watching TV, being on the computer, or looking at your smart phone) for 1-2 hours before bed.  The light emitted from these keeps you up.
  • Only use your bedroom for sleep (or sex)
  • Keep the same sleep-wake schedule (i.e. wake at 8am everyday, sleep at 11pm everyday)
  • Don’t nap during the day, if you have to – keep it short (no longer than 30 minutes), and not close to your bedtime
  • Exercise regularly but do not do it too close to bedtime.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine completely – but especially at night if you do use them at bedtime

Ruminating on My Thoughts and Using Cognitave Behavioral Therapy to Escape It

Continually thinking about your problems can interfere with your concentration. Most people expect that thinking through their problems will help solve them. But continual thinking and thinking usually can’t solve a problem. For example, if your spouse leaves you, running this fact through your head a thousand times won’t change things.

                                       -Dr. Neal Houston, Sociologist

 

I ruminate all the time!  I saw this quote and it struck me as completely true!  Sitting and thinking about something over and over again does not fix anything.  Sure, I come to conclusions about things sometimes, but usually I can come to those conclusions fairly quickly – but I still will continue to think and think and think, and question and question and question.  My therapist calls this the snowball effect – it pretty much is just that.  I think one thing, ask a question, think of that, ask another question, think of that, and so on and so on.  It progressively gets worse and worse. The thoughts get more dangerous.  For me personally, they can lead to a deeper depression and even the suicidal ideations.

I have to nip them in the bud.  This is where Cognitive Behavioral Therapy comes in for me.  The whole Triangle thing comes in – for those of you who have taken CBT. My thoughts affect my emotions affect my behavior and back to my thoughts.  I have to change one of those things to change the others.  So for me, it would be to change my thoughts so that I don’t act out on a behavior (the suicidal thoughts) and my emotions (my depressive thoughts) do not get worse.  Or I need to do a behavior (a distraction – painting, reading, writing, etc) – so that I can quit ruminating on my thoughts. 

triangle

Found on: http://creationsmindbody.com/bond-theraputics-2/cognitive-behavioral-therapy

 

This is such a hard thing for me to do and remember to do.  I will get so sucked up into thinking that I do not even realize that I am going over and over the thoughts in my head until it is too late and I feel like I cannot even get out of it.  I begin to get so overwhelmed, anxious, and depressed and then do not even want to do anything or feel I cannot do anything to get out of the situation.  It is so important to not get stuck in this sort of situation.  Practicing this CBT is very important to keep our thoughts on the right track.  I definitely do not do it enough. 

 

Psych Hospitals – The Not So Scary Truth

Don’t take me!  I don’t want to go.  I’m not going!!!

Going to a psychiatric hospital can be incredibly scary.  There are a lot of horror stories about them.  And for the most part, in today’s society, the horror stories are not true.  I say “for the most part” because I know that for some people, they have had bad things happen to them.  But, in general, most facilities are safe places, where people can go and get the care they needed.  They are not strapped down for hours and hours, stabbed with needles, and/or drugged up and drooling on a couch.

As I have mentioned a few times on here before, I have a little bit of experience with psychiatric hospitalizations. 17 different hospitalizations to be exact – at 7 different facilities. 

  • 1 in Texas
  • 4 in Indiana
  • 2 in Florida

Out of all of these facilities, I would say I had bad experiences at 2 of them, and out of those 2, only one of those was a really horrible experience, and I would say I would absolutely never want to be admitted to that hospital again.  Despite that, I know people that have been admitted to that hospital, and have had completely different experiences than me – so I don’t know, perception of how I compared it to the other hospitals I went to maybe?

All of these hospitalizations ranged in time differences – from as short as 3 days to one as long as 6 months at a state hospital (that hospital was probably the best hospital I was ever at). 

The reason why I really am writing this, is because far to often people talk about their bad experiences at the psych hospital.  No one really talks about how much it might have helped them. This tends to scare people off from actually going and getting help when they need it.  They are scared they might lose their kids, or they will never get out, they will be restrained and tied to a bed, they will be treated bad. 

This isn’t true though.  I can’t promise every hospital is going to be amazing.  It isn’t a 5 star hotel, and some hospitals are newer and better than others.  But it is a safe place if you are in danger of hurting yourself or others.  It is a place for you to get help.  Unless there is abuse or neglect of your kids where they are in immediate danger, they wont take away your kids if you have someone to watch them while you are there – you will get them back (per every situation I have ever encountered with people that have had kids).  You might be there 1 day (unless you are under a 72 hour hold), or you might be there a month – but that is between you and the doctor and how you feel you are doing.  If you are not a danger to yourself or others though, they cannot keep you in there against your will. 

I know it might not seem like the hospitals helped me at all, considering I was in and out of them so much.  But they did!  They saved my life.  If it wasn’t for them, I would be dead.  I would go on and off my medication, I was non compliant.  I didn’t think I needed help.  I didn’t know how to accept the help.  Every time I went in I hated life and wanted to die – or had actually attempted suicide.  They would bring me back to reality, get me back on my meds.  Get me into the group therapy there, the techs would talk to me, the psychiatrist would talk to me.  I relearned how to use my coping skills.  I got stabilized.  For the time being anyway.  For me, it took more than an acute care hospital – it took the state hospital.  For most, it doesn’t take that though.  But for me, that state hospital literally saved me from destruction. 

I spent 6 months there and I was scared to go.  When they told me I was being committed I was scared.  Yet, I didn’t even think much of it at the same time.  I was so over hospitals and assumed I would kill myself no matter what it didn’t phase me.  In the end, after 6 months, I was a new person.  Yes, I still struggle, but I think about how much time and effort everyone put into teaching me how to live again, not just survive in life but actually live.  The psychiatrist, nurse, medical doctors, therapists, psychologists, techs, recreational therapists – it was amazing how much everyone cared. 

People at psych hospitals do care.  It is a not a gloomy place where patients are catatonic and drugged up, tied to chairs and beds.  Groups take place, patients make friends, support is given. I still have friends from some of my hospitalizations in the acute care hospitals and friends from the state hospital.  And we keep in touch more often than other friends because they understand me much better.

If you need help, reach out.  Take it.  It is there.  Don’t be scared.

Lack of Mental Health Resources

There is such a lack of mental health services and even if there are resources available access to them is quite hard.  For example, I live in a larger city (Tampa, FL), and there are quite a few psychiatrists and therapists around.  Many of them do not accept insurance at all (only self pay), many only take a few insurance plans, and those that do accept most insurance plans have long waiting periods to even get an appointment (3-6 months to get an intake).

What are you supposed to do when you need medication but you cannot get in to see your doctor?  Go to a hospital?  You aren’t suicidal and you don’t have insurance – but the only way to get your medication is by getting admitted to a psych hospital?  And in some areas, they do not even have enough psychiatric beds in hospitals even if you are suicidal, so they simply send you home when you are in danger (sadly, this does happen).

I was lucky enough to live in a town in Indiana for 6 years where I obtained great services.  I unfortunately was not functioning well enough to get much help from them, but they provided therapy 2x a week, case management 3x a week, psychiatry 1x a month, a clubhouse that was open 7:30am-3pm, and on call services 24 hours a day.  They had their own hospital affiliated with their clinic.  When I had insurance they accepted it.  When I didn’t have insurance they worked with me for a reduced rate ($11/apt).   This was completely unavailable when I moved to Florida though.  I left the state hospital in Indiana and moved to Florida with absolutely no services for the most part.  I had a 3 month wait for the psychiatrist (luckily it was set up while I was still in the hospital, but I still had 1 month after I moved here).  This office was horrible though.  My appointment would be at 1pm, but I wouldn’t see the psychiatrist til 5 or 6pm.  And this was a regular occurrence – I wouldn’t actually see the psychiatrist until 4-6 hours after my schedule appointment time.  I couldn’t handle it and finally scheduled an appointment with another psychiatrist, but it took a 3 month weight, and of course, this one didn’t take my insurance so I am self pay.

There are just far too few mental healthcare professionals today.  They are one of the lowest paid specialties in the medical field.  With the high cost of medical school, few people choose to go into the field.  In many areas, there are only private practices as well and not community mental health clinics.  Private practice clinics do not offer many of the services that a community mental health clinic can offer such as case managers, medication management, and most importantly a reduced/sliding scale fee that many people may need.

More attention needs to be focused on increasing resources geared towards mental health.  Not simply just creating awareness, but actually doing something about it.  Fixing the system.  Adding more healthcare providers.  Getting people more inspired to go into the field.  Adding more psychiatric nurse practioner programs to help aid reducing the time patients have to wait to see someone.  Increasing funding for hospitals so that patients are not turned away.  If someone goes to a hospital for help, they should not be told that they cannot get it.

This lack of mental health resources needs to be addressed.