26 June, 2008

I'd like to buy a diagnosis, Pat.

So where have I been? MOVING. Honestly, that's been the biggest, busiest thing lately... Between April and May it was all about looking for a place to move into once our lease expired in June. From May to the middle of June I was packing and working and cleaning constantly so that we'd be ready to make the shift on June 13th.

And now we're here!

The new place is absolutely freaking gorgeous and I love it. You know that place where you walk inand just know that you're home? It was kinda like that. Not sure why, but even entering the furniture-free, blank apartment just felt right. It's a bit pricier than our last place (and it's just the two of us paying this time, no help from the mostly-worthless roommate) and because of all the security deposits and fees and costs of moving it's been a huge, constant financial scramble. Particularly seeing as we moved in on the 13th, which is mid month and therefore left us with only two weeks to gather the entire next month's rent.

In addition to the constant working, my depression has been worse worse worse. I doubt it could be picked up too well from the sparse updates I've been giving, but my meds started giving up the ghost about a month and a half ago... Conveniently coincident with moving and financial stress... Go life. Isn't it just lovely like that?

I was able to save up for an appointment to my psychiatrist two weeks ago and up came that old freaking label I can never manage to escape: Bipolar. I've been given this diagnosis by pretty much every psychiatrist I've ever had, given familial evidence and personal instability, but continue to balk at it. Granted, I have had one certifiably manic episode. No one, not even myself, can deny that. It was full-blown mania with psychotic delusional symptoms and all. However, this episode was also one hundred percent chemically induced. I started on Lexapro and within three days was delusional, unable to sleep, suffering paranoid hallucinations (inanimate objects seemed to be conspiring and attacking, for one thing), talking my head off and incapable of maintaining a single train of thought. I wasn't out buying snake bite kits or trans-European vacations but it wasn't that far off.

Reasons I've used in defense of my non-bipolar-ness:
-Chemically induced, and the only true manic episode I've ever had. There have been hypomanic episodes but never anything close to the Lexapro incident.
-Similarities between DID patients and Bipolar patients, due to instability within the self and conflicting displays by alters.
-Lack of true manic episodes or strict demarcation between highs and lows.
-The fact that Bipolar is the diagnosis en vogue right now. Twenty, thirty years ago, I probably would have been labeled borderline. Fifty years ago, schizophrenic or schizotypal. And now: Bipolar. How should I feel about this? Accept it as accurate or refute it because of the commonality?

A couple factors have lately made me start to reconsider the label. For one thing, every doctor I've ever worked with, even from the very beginning, has thrown it at me. Yes, Bipolar may be the favorite label these days, but does that mean it is always illegitimate? The very fact that I deny it so much makes me think I should reconsider... After all, strongh denial always seems to be characteristic of those people who truly deserve any particular label.

One other consideration is that I trust Dr. Christensen more than any psychiatrist I've ever worked with, perhaps excepting the doctor I had in DC. He really does know his shit. When I told him about the diagnosis in the first place and that my manic episode was purely chemical in origin, he nodded and said, "All right." Then we moved on. "Now, though, he's been working with me pretty intensely for about six months and, very carefully, brought the issue up again at our last appointment. After this amount of time, I know that he knows me as more than a case file. When he gently said that he didn't want us to "fully dismiss the possibility" I don't think it was because he just wants me to have another label to add to my list.

Additionally, I have been on mood stabilizers more than once before, and they have helped me significantly. Previously I've attributed this to it helping with controlling the DID (mood stabilizers have been known to help ballance multiples out) but it's possible I'm just trying to explain away evidence because I don't want Bipolar added to everything else. Depression, anorexia, even DID can eventually be cured in many cases, but bipolar stays with you forever because of its physiological foundations. I can't stand the idea of being medicated the rest of my life.

Soooo... Not sure what my opinions are on this matter, but I'm back on mood stabilizers. Lamictal helped me a lot before and the only reason I stopped taking it was that I hit my prescription cap with insurance. This time Lamictal is just about to become available in a generic form so I'll actually be able to afford it long-term! The brand name is an extremely expensive medication so it's a relief to know I'll have the generic available.

Lamictal has to be increased really slowly because of risks of complications with the body's tolerance, and I've only been on it a week now, so I'll let you know. I should be at a therapeutic dose in another three or four weeks.

So that's what's going on right now. Yay.

In other news, GO OBAMA!!!


Lindsay said...

Sorry for the random comment...

What was your LJ name? I'm almost certain I found you through there and a LJ you stopped using but I can't remember your username...

Anonymous said...

Found on a website on prayer:

June 22, 2008
I am here to thank-you Lord, my King, for bringing me out of my long years of depression. Without You, I would surely be lost. Thank-you for never leaving me and thank-you for letting me see love and light again. For because of You, my wonderful Savior, I have hope again. Amen Cassandra

There is hope Tina. (Dad)

Vickyann said...

Hi Tina,

Moving house is in the top 3 biggest stressful events, it can easily trigger depression or makeit worse but you've got there and having a place that actually feels like home can make such a difference to your life.



laurie said...

good to see you around again

you sound like you're doing awesome... hi crystal :-)