Friday, April 30, 2010

I stopped taking my lamictal. It wasn't helping and is making my skin break out. I don't trust meds anymore, and while I had been willing to give it a chance, I periodically get terrified of having weight creep up on me like it did with zyprexa. I cannot survive that again. And unless the benefits seriously outweigh the costs, I don't want to take all these things that no one even knows how they work. I was reading about lamictal today, and my favorite sentence was "Lamotrigine binds to melanin-containing tissues such as the iris of the eye. The long-term consequences of this are unknown." I also didn't realize that it is the only FDA-approved mood stabilizer (and I have been on a few). Not that that says much; pharmaceutical companies have their hands in everything.

I am not anti-medication, but I spent years being overmedicated on SSRIs, mood stabilizers, and antupsychotics. I'm sick of prescribers handing me things that I shouldn't even be on. Like it didn't dawn on my psych or anyone at McLean that I shouldn't be on Wellbutrin, with the risk of seizures in ED patients, as well as the fact that I have a history of hypomania. There was also the whole Effexor thing, where I was never told about the horrible withdrawal, then when I went off of it my psych was going to stop seeing me, blaming the awful effects on my poor health. I'm done with the trial-and-error, the side effects, and adding other medications to fix the side effects of the others. No more.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

overmedicated and incarcerated

"The door had locked behind her before she had gotten her bearings enough to know that she couldn't just walk out, and she was stuck here at the mercy of a total stranger's judgment about her own internal life.

I found this bitterly amusing, and so indicative of the state of psychiatry today. They admit a person to the hospital based solely on what she tells them about how she's feeling. They diagnose her on that basis, too. Yet once she's in the hospital her word is no longer good enough. She has been magically diagnosed, and that diagnosis supersedes her testimony. Suddenly the doctor knows better, even though he knows only what you have told him."

-Voluntary Madness by Norah Vincent

Lately I feel so disillusioned with the mental health system. I don't mean this from a place of denial, that people are telling me I need help or have a diagnosis, and I don't believe them. nor do I think therapists and psychiatrists are trying to wield their power over me and force me to do things I don't want to, or get help when i don't want it. the problem is, it's not the help I need, it's not effective. I feel like this is a natural progression for many people who have been in this system for a long time. I have gone from feeling like maybe being locked up on a psych ward is the best/safest place for me, to realizing that that is actually a place where things get worse.

it's a bigger issue than insurance, and how rushed hospital stays are. I remember getting sectioned, and placed on the "Intensive Treatment Unit" of a psych hospital, the worst of the worst,where apparently I was supposed to be getting help my therapist and psych couldn't give me. What it really amounted to were days and days of sitting in dirty, run-down rooms, with staff who were not trained in the mental health field and barely spoke english. Getting ignored and treated as less than a person. Although it was supposed to be "intensive treatment," it was really just a holding pen for lost causes. "Groups" were a couple optional arts and crafts activities. then 2pm-7pm were visiting hours, i.e. more sitting and doing nothing.

I was followed around by a boy who was constantly trying to touch me inappropriately, while also thinking he was Jesus. There was a violent man who attacked two patients and a nurse, but was never removed from the ward because there was no worse ward to put him in. i didn't shower the almost 10 days I was there because there was no bathroom door, and jesus boy would constantly sneak into the women's room.

To me, psych wards are not a place to get better. They are a place to scare you and depress you enough that getting back to the life that made you miserable seems desirable, enough to keep you on your best behavior for a little while so that you at least can cling to your freedom. Each time I have come out more depressed and hopeless, feeling like nothing more than a diagnostic label, a person who is broken and who can't be trusted.

Have any of you ever had a "healing", valuable psych ward experience? One not caught up in power trips and punishment and restrictions and endless time?

Each time my therapist tries to send me back, I fight it. I have never threatened to kill myself. But whenever things get to the point where she doesn't know what to do with me, where she has no answers or suggestions or no way of helping me, she ships me off. And I feel like that's for her peace of mind, to get me out of her hair and feel like she's doing something.

People act as though psychiatry has come such a long way. I just see more medications with different names and still no science to them, ECT that they're kind enough to sedate you for, and rooms with barred windows, labels based on 10-minute assessments from people with medical degrees but no emotional intelligence, and no rights or voice. That's worse to me than being stuck alone in my messed up mind.

So the question is, what do you do when years of medications and standard "treatment" are not enough?

Monday, April 26, 2010

If prison is a cell then its raging in my blood


I'm sick of them. The ones you build yourself, the ones you find yourself in, the ones other people put you in. Every day is made up of so many cages, keeping me confined. My body is a cage, the walls of my room, my stupid job, my lack of words, my lack of strength to move to eat to go out to grow to change.

I realize I've put myself in many of these cages. Not consciously,or if it was, it was while thinking I had the key to get out when I needed to. I guess I never did have that key, and now that the cages keep getting smaller and smaller, I have no idea where to look. I've looked so long to others,and that has been useless. they dangle ideas of keys in front of my face, but they aren't the right ones, or ones I'm strong enough to grab onto. There are too many other things blocking the way. Sometimes I poke my foot out between the bars and find there is no ground beneath me.

Other cages I've been thrown into without a say. Psych wards, treatment centers. Diagnostic categories. And labels that define my worth; weird, freak, loser, nothing. Scars like prison bars across every inch of my arms scream "unstable, stay away." say lost cause, damaged.

Sometimes cages are safe. They are the Known. They keep people out. They are a ready-made excuse for staying stuck, a perfect reason for not succeeding, an isolated little world. But through each bar you see what you are missing, the people and things you can't seem to reach or have reach you, the light that can never touch you fully.

I've become my own cage.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


nothing much to say except that things have been bad and i don't know what to do. I'm in so deep and i don't see a way out.

the only thing insurance would pay for was two weeks at McLean Hospital's day program. I got out and nothing's changed. if anything it's gotten worse. most days I can't leave the house because i feel too fat and disgusting to be seen. i missed my therapy appointment today because of that, because it took me hours to get dressed and i just sat there, time ticking away, clothes strewn around me, my body gross and exessive no matter how many layers. my head is a funhouse mirror, distorting everything. i dont know what's real anymore.

i don't have a life anymore. i had to leave school because i'm so depressed i can barely move, and am so exhausted from starving myself. I have a job i despise that makes me feel worse about myself. i have no hobbies or passions or identity left. i feel like a nothing, a waste of space.

i don't know how i can keep existing like this. nothing helps. i need a drastic change, something other than the same hospitals I'm forced into over and over, in and out as quickly as insurance can enforce. i can't do any more power struggles, deal with one more person trying to label me and pathologize everything I say, tell me I just don't want to get better and aren't trying hard enough. i'm doing all i know how to do, what i can to stay alive.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010