Well, when I tell the truth and no one listen, of course I get upset. When I was told by that nurse first time I saw her that they will increase my dosage of medication for unsustainable reasons after I've presented to them the real me, calm, clear minded and most important of all with organised and logical thoughts; instead they make assumption based on one consultation and some notes (very few I believe, one has to understand that they are very busy, they have so many cases on hand) and listen only to what they want to listen instead and unfortunately to my closest – my husband who is biased, then they decide that I'm on the verge of a relapse. I'm fully aware that they didn't have time to go through my old file so on the first consultation I tried to fill them with a bit of my history just to give them a picture of who I am, how many years I've taken to come to be the now me, what achievements I've made (not that I need any credit for those things) and most important of all why I contacted the crisis team. But they have so many patients to attend to and it's the crisis team and that's how they work (confirmed by my knowledgeable husband). But what disturbed me and still is that after I made it so clear that I am fully aware of my symptoms because I know them like the palm of my hand for having already four breakdowns and each time the same symptoms, the same vicious cycle. When I told them what are the symptoms and they agreed that yes those are the symptoms; but based on two consultation and a nurse who saw me once only and one who doesn't know much about mental health or ethics they insisted that I am a bit too talkative and getting more irritated then of course I'm going through a manic episode. They did not mention again the only symptom that they could think of which was of course fed to them by my beloved husband who told them in the exact words, “She thinks she can do anything.” There, there that's a serious symptom – grandiose thought. But I asked them why they thought that I had such symptoms, please quote an incident, an example: I am doing things all within my capability like helping out in the household work, playing with my grandson (and here I told them how happy I am because my daughter and son-in-law is trusting me with their son and they have helped me to slowly gain back my confidence which I have gained after stopping the medication, a confidence which means so much to me and so important to someone who was considered mentally ill was almost gone, disappeared), checking my emails, continued to help my students with problems of school project, browsing on facebook which I do whenever I have a free moment, keep writing, keep posting my thoughts but does anyone hear of any complaint about the psychiatrist or the nurses or irresponsible truth about my decision to stop taking my Bipolar medication? I was told, I did not consider that a threat before,it's just a warning but today I've found out that it was a threat – if I don't agree to increase my dosage I will end up in hospital SOON! They disregard the fact that I have a clear and well organised mind.
When a patient is undergoing so much pressure and she can still be so positive and she is complying to what the psychiatrist decided after the first consultation – I'll be put on the most minimum dosage 2.5mg of Olanzapine. Yes I'll comply because I want my family to be at ease and not to worry about me. But there is a bottom line and I can't step over because once I step over I'll be turned into a doormat and I won't be able to stand up again. I've accepted a lot of things which I shouldn't have accepted because of what? Because I don't want my loved ones to get hurt and I've realised that I need harmony, especially in my family. If I'm just pretending in order to get my way, tell me how can I pretend for so long and be so consistent with my attitude. I don't hide that I'm shaking but think if anyone has any brains and see what turmoil it is within me they will understand. And when I explained to them that I'm just having an acute anxiety and I tell them why I'm burping so much, to the extent that I have to vomit the gas trapped in me, and that it may be also because of indigestion since I lost my appetite for several weeks and then it comes back and I tend to eat a bit more since I love eating. So I take action, apart from a big, healthy breakfast every morning I'll watch the amount I eat, not too much, and make sure I'm full but if I need it I'll have more meals instead. Then I was a bit irritated when they are not listening and I began to ask them questions all vital ones, for example have they thought of asking about my weight? I have lost 10lbs since the day I called and made arrangement to see a psychiatrist through the crisis team. But as of today I have gained back at least three lbs. Would that happen if I'm sick? Yes I was sick coughing, it's been more than a month now and I decided to see a doctor about it because it's getting serious, and I'm glad I insisted despite my husband not happy about it. Although the doctor did not prescribe any antibiotics and only honey even though the diagnosis is bronchitis. I was a bit worried the second night, was he doing the right thing? Have I put myself into the hands of a wrong doctor. Then I began to think positively, he has a vision, he believes in building my immunity, but it won't happen in a day or two. So patiently I wait and to my surprise my cough has eased a lot as of today.
My husband loves his family very much, no dispute to that. But sometimes he makes me very angry. When that time I was coughing so badly that I told him I needed to go home and rest, what I got was a short, cold laugh; then I told him I couldn't eat, he said you had to be at the dining table; when I told him in the car that I just vomited before we left our daughter's house, he sarcastically said 'nothing special about it'; when we got home he screamed at me when I told him something's wrong with the dishwasher and I'm responsible for I've done something stupid and caused the breakdown of the machine. For God's sake I was too sick to argue and I just did the right thing and went to bed. You know what? when he came to bed I think he gave me a kiss, I don't know what's that for may be he has discovered that the machine is too old and it broke down that day, nothing to do with my being stupid.
I was so hurt, it's very good to show his fatherly love but at my expense? I'm not a step mother, I love my daughter and her family immensely too and I know my priority, them first. So much so for that, I've never complained or mentioned this to anybody, until today I was forced to tell the psychiatrist and that nurse who didn't want to believe me but my husband because he confirmed that I had symptoms. I've realised the hard fact, everyone for herself or himself.
He is a hard man, I've known that since our dating. I always appreciate him looking after me and I believe that he feels good about doing things, deciding things for me and he's so used to treating me as an invalid and suddenly I've decided I won't be an invalid and I'm showing him that which I have conviction about that he thinks he has lost something, as he has been saying that all the time, I want to be the boss now. I have no intention to be a boss it's just that I want to make my own decision sometimes when I believe that what I decide is right, at least good for myself, and I insist on that. I fully understand it is hard for him as he's been retired for so long now and I'm the only person he can boss around and sadly to say he's like a mouse in front of our daughter, yes a good father and a good husband but he's only slaving away when he feels that he's needed, doing anything physically to show his love. He's wrong, but he won't realise it and he doesn't see that I'm trying hard to influence him, to show him he's still a loving father and a loving husband and he does not have to slave himself to do things for us. I hate to have defamed him like this but I have no choice, I need to explain what's bothering me and what's making me so upset. And if the psychiatrist don't want to believe what I told her then I have to do something about it. I did not want to make a big stir but I have to afterall when need arises. I do need to protect myself and defend myself. I have softened each time thinking that my consistent behaviour speaks for me but very disappointingly I have to take this measure speaking up for myself and making it public because people just don't believe what's troubling me when I keep on being silent. I'm no saint or great or amazing, I do not like those compliments. I just want to be myself. I want support if anyone's feel like giving it. Even if I have to fight this battle all by myself I'm prepared.
Yes, going back to my psychiatrist and the nurse. Oh they are concerned, they are worried about my sleeping and they don't want me to go into the hospital which will be a worry for my family. If she is a good psychiatrist she will understand if I don't get enough sleep because I'm high will I last this long? No, definitely not, I would have a breakdown already. But I don't like threats especially when they said if my daughter also agreed to my increasing of dosage because I've told them how important it is for my daughter and family be able to migrate with a restful mind which was why I complied. I've told them it has to be a very good reason but I know my rights and no one can force me to take medication or any treatment I don't agree to. I know my limits and I am sure those threats are bullshit. No matter how difficult it is to convince others, and I don't really have to, but what I've been doing is sound and I stick my guns to my belief. This is a free world and I won't be locked in a mental hospital when they do not have reason to put me under the Mental Health Act, not to mention that they have not found any substantial proof about me having any symptom. I mean they don't even dare to answer my question when I ask about the blood test result or mention it when last time I saw that nurse she said they're concerned about my having the blood test done as soon as possible because I've been off medication for so long. To my surprise this is the best blood test result I have since I can't even remember how long ago. They don't even dare to talk about it. May be I'm showing too much of my knowledge re mental health they are not comfortable and they just want to do their duty by going by the book, drug me, that's the safest thing for them to do. They didn't know that I've been posting on facebook and my blog and my website about my progress or may be they simply do not have enough expertise to give me a good diagnosis. Play safe that's all they are concerned, why stick their neck out for a patient? Quickly get rid of me, I'm a hot potato.
Once again I urge those patients who are taking medication, don't just follow suit. I have been built up by a lot of people and a lot of things over a long, long period. My insight to my illness and my confidence do not, I stress do not just come in a short time. The whole reason about my taking the risk is that I do not have a choice or may be I was wrong but I didn't have a better one. My plan was just to see how it goes and I was going to seek expert advice at the right time which I did but things don't just work out easily. So under the circumstances I call the crisis team. I thought psychiatrists are to help people whether it's my first consultation and if I tell them the truth and I'm consistent with my behaviour they will understand. Of all medical profession I believe that it is more important that they know they are dealing with mental state of a human being who are complex and they cannot just make judgement without first finding out the background or try to understand. One important fact is that they never bothered to find out what good I've discovered and what emboldened me to stop the medication. To mention just a few, my heartburnt disappeared the day I stopped medication, my balance was amazingly good when I cut down on Epilem – from 10 mls to 7.5mls – (may be because stopping the medication does 40% or 50% of the job and the rest is due my being more confident of myself), the itchiness around the vagina has gone, for a while there have been no more leg cramps except for two nights when I coughed like I'm going to die and I tried to relax by reading and then I felt like sleeping (I was yawning and there was the urge to sleep) I was woken by leg cramps and coughing but the leg cramps seem to have stopped after I got better with the coughs.
Well, we are particularly of the emotional ones and they need to address that, they cannot just give us drugs without any understanding. If someone is not strong enough especially if they are in a vulnerable state such a mishap can destroy the patient. I have no intention to jeopardise anyone's livelihood, I have been extremely patient but things work out differently and I do need to protect myself, I should be excused for my selfishness.
I hope I can do research on stigmatisation and discrimination and on medication which can help patients and if there is any other way that can help apart from medication. It sounds like who do I think I am, with that bit of knowledge and I can arouse concern and consensus. But I'm prepared to try. If one shys away and stop at any obstacle which seems to be in their way of achieving their dreams, what are dreams for? How can we tell our children, teenagers that dreams are important, setting goals are important, because these are their motivation no matter how big their goal is or how little it can be, motivation is important.
One last important thing is that my family has been very supportive even my husband whom I defamed earlier. He took up all the cooking when I told him that I need a rest to recuperate from overwhelmed emotions. So don't get me wrong that he does not love me, it may be his way of showing love. But I don't want to be a cripple and he has to keep me from falling whenever he felt my sudden drifting involuntarily to the right or left by holding my hand each time we go out. Holding hands are a show of love and not a way to help a cripple.
Oh dear, it's past 1a.m., I should be sleeping. But getting this stuff out of my system has really relieved me and may be I don't need a sleep pill tonight. Good night!