Monday, October 12, 2015

JM - 2

This Friday past was National Depression Screening Day.  I marked it with a post on the JTI,  , containing a link to the full story on the Journal Times site.  I did quote a snatch of the article: "'It feels sad every day,' said Todd. He battled depression for 18 months before he finally got help."

I suspect that most people consider that to be depression: "feeling sad" all of the time.  Maybe it is, and I'm not doubting Todd Hopkins' diagnosis.  Like I said, maybe this is what "depression" is to other people.  Unfortunately, I'm not that lucky.  My depression is aggressive and unforgiving.  It's trying to kill me.

I was sick with gastrointestinal problems for over three years.  I lost 30 lbs.  My gastroenterologist examined my GI track from top to bottom. I received an endoscopy, a colonoscopy, and CT scans (with the nasty tasting dye) of the middle of the GI tract where they can't see with the other tests.

After all tests were in, my gastroenterologist said, "There's no organic cause for your problems.  They must be psychological, probably your depression."  I felt utterly defeated.  This was during a time when I wasn't seeing a psychiatrist.  When I asked the doctor to recommend a psychiatrist, he demurred, saying that he knows psychiatrists but he doesn't know if they're any good.

My puking and diarrhea continued.  "Luckily," my sister's husband died a few years earlier and now she was more available to take care of mom.  This was a big step.  My sister hated my mother.  Always had.  But she would be civil towards mom, most of the time.  I saw mom almost every day for years and I was the one who promised to keep her out of the nursing home for as long as possible, but my stomach problems were interfering.  My sister had wanted to put mom in a "home" as soon as mom broke her hip.

I had continued the meds I was on from my first psychiatrist by having my primary care physician prescribe them.   I remember my primary care doctor once saying, "Don't be surprised if you need a psychiatrist again."  Luckily, I found one not too far away from where I lived and I started seeing her.  She's a psychiatric nurse practitioner.   

At the first appointment, they give you and the psychiatrist an hour to get to know each other.  Subsequent visits are 20 minutes each.  At the end of the first appointment, my psychiatrist listed my three major diagnoses as Major Depressive Disorder (Clinical Depression), Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and a "touch" of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  The exact same three my previous psychiatrist had diagnosed me with. However, she was much more willing to change and rearrange my medications.  

My depression makes me loathe myself, makes me forever remorseful for fucking up my life, makes me hate myself.  There's a broken record in my brain that constantly repeats, "You're a piece of shit, you're a piece of shit, you're a piece of shit, . . ."  It's there when I wake up and when I go to sleep.  It never stops, never.  

My depression attacks me in many ways, but some of the symptoms have been reduced greatly, and others eliminated completely.  I don't know whether to credit  my meds, but my anger level has dropped dramatically.  My psychiatrist says depression is hatred turned inwards.  Sometimes, it gets turned outward.  That happened with me a lot, especially in the form of road rage.  I was wiling to fight anyone for any reason.  God, what a lunatic old man.  (Btw, that's the title, "old man," that most of my "enemies" would address me by.)  

My psychiatrist and I worked on knocking down some of these symptoms. She doubled my dosage of Buspar, and scripted me one-and-a-half times Lexapro's supposed therapeutic dosage.   She added Seroquel to my regimen and the results appeared quickly.  I was less anxious and far, far less likely to start a fight with you.

I used to hang out of the window screaming at cars.  Now, I might curse them under my breath, but fuckit, it's only traffic.

My  depression is forever finding ways to attack me.  For the past month, I have started to have some urgency issues with my urination.  I had an appointment last week with my  primary care doctor and I told him about it.  He said as we get older, sometimes our bladder spasmsThey're gonna run "tests."  God, they love their tests.  Anyway, I get home and for the ret of the day there's no urgency problem.  Since then, I've had a little, but I think just hearing that it's probably normal was enough to end the constant pees.  

Do you have any idea of how to get proper healthcare when your subconscious can and will decoy you with some sort of suffering?  How much self-hate does it take before something explodes?  I have no idea what my body will do.  It's insane.  I'm insane.

"You're a piece of shit, you're a piece of shit, you're a piece of shit, . . ."        


Anonymous said...

Sounds like anxiety more than depression.

OrbsCorbs said...

I take one and a half pills a day of one drug for depression, and five different drugs, in varying dosages and frequencies, for anxiety.

A drug that I refused a couple of times, Seroquel, I now credit with giving me control over my stomach problems. My shrink and I were starting to work on my explosive anger issues. I once lived and breathed road rage. That rarely happens anymore. Unfortunately, my shrink is retiring, and i get to start all over again with a different one in August.

The last time I saw Nancy, my shrink, there was someone new at the front desk and she told me I had to pay my bill or I couldn't see her. Bullshit, I said, in that case I'll leave. OK, she said, and went to the back, supposedly to tell Nancy. I stayed at the front desk. She came back a few minutes later and said I would have to see their financial person before I could see Nancy. Fine.

When it came time, the financial person asked me to come to her office (next to Nancy's, whose door was open. So was this one. The financial lady invited me to sit down, but I said, no, I'd rather stand. I told her that I couldn't afford the whole bill, but I mailed a $20 check. She checked her computer and said there's no record of payment. I was about to get hot when she said let me check last month's mail. She opened a filing cabinet drawer and pulled out a folder full of papers. She looked through them shortly before finding my statement, with check attached. OK, she said. Go back to the lobby and wait for Nancy.

A few minutes later, Nancy called me back to her office and commended me on how I didn't go batshit crazy over the check issue. She said she heard it all. You didn't raise your voice, she said.

That's another issue I have: I get loud quick when I'm pissed, often without realizing it.

Anyway, I take my pills, and hope for the best.

Anonymous said...

My mom Took seroquel, that and neurontin (sp?) (even though i guess there was some kind of hazard when you took the two togethwr, I think she got the seroquil from friends when the doc wouldn't prescribe it). It left her drooling on the sofa for 6 to 12 hours whenever she took it. At the time I was always relieved because otherwise she wouldn't sleep at all, and would be in and out of the apartment all night long while I tried to sleep. Plus my cat had kittens and she would get into these sort of manic rages where she would just stomp around the place, mad at something and she would have nearly killed a couple of them if hadn't been there.
Like you, very true to her emotions.
The seroquil helped. I don't know what it's for, it can't be just for anxiety. It did wonders for my mom's bi polar and manic episodes. I was half scared of what she would do if she didn't take her meds.

Anyway, the difference between anxiety and depression is the emptiness. Anxiety makes you feel wound up, it makes you overthink everything and make you feel like everything you've done is wrong,your insides churn and your orifices want to spew whatever they're holding because your body is so buzzed and hyper. It can lead to you physically harming yourself because you can't shut your mind off and all you can focus on is how much you have failed (regardless of the reality). You can also get highly irritable at small things that typically wouldn't phase anyone.
Depression is emptier. You want everything to be empty, you feel like everything you've done is pointless even though you know it was good. It wouldn't matter if you lived in a garbage can or a.mansion, at the end of the day you feel complete disconnection from things, just one more burden.
Both can be physical, but anxiety much moreso.

OrbsCorbs said...

Seroquel is labelled as an anti-psychotic. That's why I didn't want to take it. I didn't want to be considered psychotic. However, as you stated, it's prescribed for a lot of things and in different dosages. Some schizophrenics are treated with Seroquel, but they're taking amounts way above what I'm receiving.