New Medication Developments

(Or: At Home – Day Fifty-Three)

I do not have much by way of mental health progress, though I wish I did.

The main point of interest right now is that I spoke to the GP regarding options for my weight. Now let’s be clear: I’m not obese, by any stretch of the imagination, but I am overweight. I am also extremely unhappy about this fact, and it has a huge effect on my mental health. The GP is prepared to prescribe me orlistat, BUT I cannot take carbamazepine (or similar anti-epileptics) at the same time.

So, I am considering options. My mood is unstable. I’ll be seeing a psych soon(ish). I intend to discuss coming off carbamazepine – which to be honest, I’ve not been wildly keen on – and considering alternative medications. I want to stay on quetiapine. The only reason I’m coming off it now is because of weight, and if that is negated, that’s a whole separate kettle of fish. With my mood this unstable I’ve been extremely frightened of reducing my quetiapine, so staying on that would be absolutely ideal. I’m also interested in looking at aripiprazole, which had nasty side-effects when I was younger, but was regrettably a very effective drug.

Many things to think about, and will be simpler when I see a psychiatrist. I have a fairly solid idea, though, of what I think would be best. It’s now a case of waiting, thinking, and sleeping on the idea. Impulsive decisions would be a bad idea, esp when considering very serious medications.

We’ll see.

Gaming Saves the Day (again)

(Or: At Home – Day Forty)

Today involved a fuck of a lot of people. And travelling. My partner had a meeting in central London (= early morning + tube + time spent alone + tube again) and I was meeting some friends in the afternoon (note: multiple friends = multiplied stress + buses + people) and now the GP/pharmacy have cocked up my meds (quetiapine manufacturing issues + having changed pharmacies + new prescription that NOBODY IS COMMUNICATING TO ME ABOUT) so I had hit sensory and stress overload and decided that the rest of my life will be spent playing Dragon Age Inquisition because reasons.

I am going to ask to see a psychiatrist. I’m getting a bit fed up of the medication cocking-about. I’m reducing quetiapine for self-effect reasons, should be increasing carbamazepine, no clue what’s going on and my mood is weird. To put it mildly. But that’ll be okay. I hope.

Don’t want to think about that right now. Right now, I want a few days of peace and quiet. So instead, I’m seeing lots of friends. Because becoming a hermit is definitely a bad idea.

In the meantime: Dragon Age. (go me)

My Fault?

(Or: At Home – Day Thirty-Seven)

It’s been a remarkably long time since I last vomited, due to being under constant supervision. This is, of course, a good thing. My digestive system is confused as fuck, however. Thirteen years of bulimia will do that to a person.

My mother appears to blame me for my relapse, in other news. Going non-compliant on sodium valproate back in January was a bloody stupid decision, yes, but does not mean my current mental health state is my own fault. That’s hit me pretty hard, I have to admit.

Anyway. Still exhausted. Sleeping now.

People Are Awesome (sometimes)

(Or: At Home – Day Twenty-Six)

I woke up today and called my care co-ordinator (who, for those of you new to the blog, is an honest-to-god angel and, without a doubt, the best person involved in my mental health care throughout my entire life thus far) – and spoke about the “I’m gaining weight still this isn’t fair” problem.

Her immediate response: “I completely understand, we’ll sort it out. I’ll have a work with the consultant psychiatrist, and we’ll go from there”. I’m now reducing my quetiapine (seroquel, for those who go by brand names) which is, for those who don’t know, absolutely notorious for weight gain. Genuinely, google it. I’m in the position of having gained 40lbs (nearly 20kg, in metric) over the last two years since starting quetiapine, and have never managed to shift it. I’m also taking 800mg of the stuff, which is the highest possible dose, so it’s probably not surprising…

I’m seeing said care co-ordinator in person tomorrow, and am going to discuss it in more detail. However, it makes a nice change from my usual battles with the NHS, and goes to show how much difference a single person can make in a person’s entire holistic mental health care.

Saw my grandmother today. She has just been diagnosed with cancer, for the second time. Pending further tests, remaining quietly optimistic that it might be treatable, but it’s difficult. My grandfather is palpably struggling with everything (and he has congenital heart failure to contend with, too, so is also in and out of hospital). Wish I could be more help, but as my brain is doing its level best to kill me, I’m a tad useless.

Final thing: I have the best friends ever. Ever. Several have clubbed together to get me a new laptop, completely out of the blue, because my current can’t Skype (or do very much, really…) and in their words, should I go inpatient, I’ll need a laptop to Skype them and stay in touch. It got delivered today, and I had no idea (other than suspicions, because bless her, my partner is occasionally subtle as a flying mallet, which I’m grateful for, because if it had been a complete shock, it would probably have finished me off). I cried. It’s wonderful.

So despite a day of mood erraticisms and some difficult circumstances, I’m finishing today feeling exceptionally bolstered by other people. I often forget that I’m really not alone. Mental health can be a lonely business (you spend a lot of time talking to yourself and wondering what constitutes a ‘delusion’, amongst other things) but today, a lot of people in a lot of places have shown me how to be strong, optimistic, loving, surprising, efficient, thoughtful, persistent, dependable, honest, trustworthy. And I owe it to them to keep fighting back, because god knows they’re fighting for me. So I’m trying. Whether it works or not, I’m trying.

Getting Fat. Not Happy.

(Or: At Home – Day Twenty-Five)

I want to crawl out of my own skin.

Eating disorders are shit. They’re really, really shit. I haven’t been allowed to purge (due to constant supervision, 24/7) and I am loathing everything about my body right now. This is hell. This is my own personal hell, and I am getting – impossibly – fatter with every passing day.

Now, this isn’t normal. Even in the realms of eating disorder recovery, this is simply not normal. I am going to my GP tomorrow to ask about my options. I can’t risk coming off my medication, but I also can’t continue like this – I swear to god I’m looking more like a beach ball with every passing moment. This is not through lack of effort or through major dietary issues, this is evidently medication-related and I need some type of option. I don’t know what. I don’t know if there is a what.

This isn’t fair. I am doing my best, I really am. I am trying to practise self-care and mindfulness and looking after myself. This is not fair, and I’m fed up of life shitting on me when I’m dealing with quite enough as it is. I struggle every fucking day to get up and get dressed and go out and respond to people around me, be something that resembles a normal human being and I can’t, I can’t keep doing this. I don’t have much left in me, I’m in pieces. I’m fed up. I’m tired, I’m angry, and it all hurts a fuck of a lot. And I’m really, really, really tired of hurting.

In Which Quetiapine is Having Manufacturing Issues

(Or: At Home – Day Fifteen)

I felt today like I coped, remarkably well. Went out for an exceptionally belated birthday meal (my birthday having come and gone whilst inpatient) and then discovered that apparently, quetiapine is having manufacturing issues. Went to multiple pharmacies. Nobody can get hold of it.

Nearly lost my mind. Quetiapine is my primary mood stabiliser. I have been on 800mg (the highest dose possible) for about two years now – and there aren’t many alternatives. With psychiatric medication, you have the medication you’re on, and that’s kind of all your options.

Cue a visit to my GP, who I swear is a god. I have been transferred onto the quetiapine extended release – which I was originally prescribed, when I first started the medication, but is apparently not covered on the NHS (because it’s better, and therefore more expensive!). My GP somehow pulled strings to ensure that I would be covered by the NHS, I have no idea how, and I’m stupidly relieved.

It definitely reminds me how fortunate I am to have the NHS. Which, if you’ve followed this blog at all, you’ll know is a rarer statement: the NHS psychiatry in this country is desperately lacking, and often the GPs are too. I’ve had particularly bad luck with it. My last GP was impossibly shit, and I can’t afford that when I desperately need continuity of medication and help.

BUT: once in a while, I get reminded how lucky I am. I am able to get medication. I am able to afford it. I am supported and helped by my GP surgery. I can go to hospital, both A&E and acute, without being financially massacred.

It is in no way perfect, but I would be dead without it.

Complete Overload (for me, anyway)

(Or: At Home – Day Thirteen)

Today has not been my best day, I have to admit.

I cannot cope with large amounts of input right now, and today was a very obvious indication of that. Currently, I have a huge level of anxiety and stress about the following:

  1. Money (as I am unable to work).
  2. Claiming benefits (this is also because I have a huge amount of associated shame about claiming benefits. This is not to say I judge those on benefits in any way; simply, that I had hoped to never be in a position of dependence, on the state or otherwise).
  3. Getting the correct medication (after all, it took me THREE WEEKS to see a psychiatrist for an URGENT medication alteration!).
  4. Going outside.  (I don’t know why. It really stresses me out at the moment. There’s just so much going on, constantly, it’s an assault on the senses).
  5. Timings and organisation. (I am always a stickler for timings. I need to know how long it takes to travel to different places, when they close, when they open, will I be able to get there, etc etc etc).
  6. Watching my partner continue her acting career, while I fester in non-working boredom and mounting upset. (It’s not her fault. I’d never, ever ask her to stop. It breaks my heart every single moment, however.)
  7. The fact that I am under constant watch (because it’s very intrusive, despite being necessary. I love my partner with all my heart and soul, but I also kind of want to throw things at her after a certain point).
  8. Not having heard from the treatment programme I’m desperately hoping to get accepted onto.

Every single one of the above was pushed to the brink today. It’s been a very difficult day. Part of this was my lack of communication with my partner; I find it hard to admit weakness, and I’ve been really trying to seem ‘normal’. Ever since my tube-station-breakdown (which is exactly what it sounds like – I basically had a full scale nervous breakdown outside a tube station! I was admitted to acute inpatient a day or so later) something has snapped in my brain. I used to be able to cope, or at least seem like I was coping – now, I’m completely raw.

I ended up scratching myself again. I’m not proud of it. Hurts like a bitch and I haven’t told my partner yet, so she’ll be very unhappy. The only twenty seconds I had when she wasn’t eyeballs on me, and I ripped my leg to shreds. First time in a couple of weeks. Just as the previous ones were healing over…

Trying to force attention onto the positives – I’ve been out of the house every single day this week, I’ve got a huge amount done, and this has been an important lesson regarding my ability to cope and how this plays into my overall recovery.

Anyway. Tomorrow is going to have some difficulties as I have somebody coming over, and it’s not somebody I know very well, and it’s another actress – so that’ll be challenging for me. I am nevertheless determined to stay upbeat about it, and enjoy the time with her.

One step at a time.