I started this 3 part series it was because I was reminiscing how far I’d come in the past couple of years. Everything in parts 1 and 2 were leads to this post, which is most of what I was pondering the other day.
Before losing my job I began having seizures and the vertigo. I didn’t tell anyone about the seizures, not even Maurice. I used them at work as excuses, but other than that they were my secret. I had enough to worry about as my anxiety and depression grew. The vertigo I could not hide. It was horrific.
I try to explain what it’s like to hang tight to the bed as it spins uncontrollably, but I don’t think it’s understood unless it’s experienced. It’s a lot like eating a huge family meal and then getting on a roller coaster. Not only is it scary, it’s sickening. It made me nauseated, increased my anxiety, and I began to become agoraphobic. Neurology didn’t find anything wrong with my brain (this is the first time I fooled them in the past two years) so I was sent to an Ears Nose and Throat guy. He determined the vertigo was caused by allergies and low and behold he was right. I researched online and learned the other symptoms I had (anxiety, depression, agoraphobia) were normal parts of the vertigo and that I should expect them to go away. Once again, Bradley would prove he is special – they got worse and I had to go on medical leave.
After 90 days leave my company cut me loose and quickly I could no longer afford the $600/mo insurance. I was a nine months away from eligibility for medical aid. This was one of the most difficult times in my life. Just as difficult as getting sober. Thankfully I was sober or I’d never had made it through. The frustration and pain of knowing help is out there but being told you can’t have it. My symptoms continued to worsen. My agoraphobia became so pronounced I rarely left the house even to the mailbox. If I was able to get out I was limited. Supermarkets were the worse. Many times I would have panic attacks and run out the door at warp speed gasping for air. My world became darker, lonelier and more depressed. Thank God I had Maurice to love me and be my caretaker.
At this point my minister became involved. She is wonderful. She saw what was happening and that we were sinking fast. She refused to believe that there was nothing out there to help me – there had to be some program. It wasn’t long before she threw in the towel. She was dumbfounded – just as shocked as we were there was nothing I could do until my medical aid kicked in. She and Maurice were very scared for me.
Then a great thing happened…I became suicidal again! When I say great, I mean that with all sincerity. Maurice and my minister took me back to the emergency room where I was checked into intake immediately. (If you ever need to go, take your minister along…it speeds the process). I received the usual “interrogation” in the psych ward and was told they were not going to check me in because with Maurice and my minister, I had a safe, supportive environment to return to. (Yes, because they can watch me 24 hours a day. Sigh) When I refused to go, I was promised that I would be scheduled an appointment with the nearby county mental health clinic. This is the same county mental health clinic which told me to come back when I got worse. I guess I finally got worse. This all I’d been asking for all along. Still depressed, I went home and curled up under a blanket, but at least a little hopeful.
Los Angles County, like most counties where I have lived, is not the speediest agency, but eventually I received intake and was assigned a pdoc. This is where the miracle started to happen. I ADORE her. We discussed why my anti-depressants weren’t working any longer, got to know each other and she diagnosed me as bipolar. We work together as a team. My visits are typically an hour (compared to most people who get 15 minutes with their pdoc). We discuss various med options, read the effects and side effects together and make our decisions together. I couldn’t ask for a better doctor in the world.
It’s amazing it took a two year haul to get here. It’s disgusting actually. I would never have been able to deal with the situation had I not been in a relationship. I can assure you I’d be dead right now. Is it any wonder that 1 in 5 people diagnosed with bipolar disorder are successful in a suicide attempt. I go to group every week and sit among people going through exactly what I was going through. I do my best to guide them through the hoops and show support but it breaks my heart. Like I was, they are just exhausted and many have no support at home.
Am I 100% repaired? No, I never will be. I suffer from a life long incurable illness. It’s possible I may never be able to go back to work again. On the other hand, I very well may. Check my past post here to see those who were very successful who suffer from depression or bipolar. For now I’m just taking it day to day and happy that I’ve moved forward from what it was before.
I know these haven’t been my usual light-hearted posts over the past few days. I hope I’ll be forgiven. Sometimes things just need to be said simple and straight forward.