After years of frustration of not being able to get mental health treatment here, with or without health insurance, I was able to get into mental health clinic. I mentioned this back in February. Since I’ve bitched for years about the lack of services available, it is only fair that I discuss having services.
I met once a week for two weeks with one therapist who did an intake. While we talked about my situation, it was primarily a bunch of standard questions, you know, to fit me into a box so they could figure out a treatment plan. It was thorough enough for an intake. No complaints. Then I waited over a week to get another therapist assigned to me. The first therapist just does intakes.
I met my therapist. I think I have food in my fridge older than she is. That’s not a complaint (yet), just an observation. Our first meeting was about how the program works. Our second two meetings were about setting up a treatment plan. So, five weeks in and no therapy has actually begun! The clinic is in a situation where they have to do it that way, as they are beholding to a lot of bureaucracies.
Ummmmm… apparently I excelled in being nuts.* I am in their enhanced program. That means all hands on deck. This is: weekly sessions with the therapist, visits with the psychiatrist for medication issues, at least once a month caseworker visits, possibly various support groups… Plus they signed me on for eighteen months of this (to be reviewed). That might have something to do with me being very honest about suicidal ideation and living with what I call The Big Book of Death under my bed.
I met with the psychologist yesterday, also a kid but not as young as my therapist. I liked him, but he was funny about apologizing all of the time about asking me the checklist questions. Eventually I started wanting to be all maternal and tell him to just take charge and be the doctor, but I didn’t.
Everyone seems to be agreeing, in their own ways, about me being depressed. Honestly, if they didn’t get that one, I’d stop going. I claim my official diagnosis on that is Depressed AF. Yes, they agree about the PTSD, but each of them has their own viewpoint on how the PTSD works. I liked the psychiatrist’s view the best. I have anxiety. I may or may not have bipolar II (as I’ve been saying all along), and if I do it is a weird kind. I’ve developed behaviors that I don’t know (yet) how they are classifying. They’re a little OCD without being OCD, like ripping my fingernails down to nubs and being unable to stop it.
The doctor and I discussed medication. I’m already on the maximum dosage of Celexa. I was prescribed Celexa for my IBS over a year ago, and I thank the gods for it. I know it is working. Without it? I’m not sure I’d be here. Is it the best medication? I don’t know. I told the doctor that I don’t feel like right now is the time to change a medication that I know is working with the hope that there is something better. Things are too precarious right now. If things settle down with the potential homelessness and dire poverty, then yeah, maybe experiment, but not now. I’m staying on the Celexa. He wants to add buspirone for the anxiety. That starts at 15 mg per day and may possibly end up at 30 mg twice a day. I haven’t started taking that yet, so we’ll see. There are some potential risks, like an increased chance of the serotonin syndrome (increased risk over just taking the Celexa), but there are potential benefits, too. We’ll just monitor and see what happens. The main thing that appealed to me was that if anything the buspirone would augment the Celexa for the depression and also treat the anxiety.
The caseworker is the person who helps me navigate the real world of food, shelter, clothing and transportation. She can help with filling out paperwork when my mind explodes. I was very happy to learn I had someone like that available to me.
My depression has actually gotten worse in the past two weeks, but that is not a surprise to me. The clock is running out on my unemployment. There is still no word on my disability (and I now obsessively check the website each night). What little social support I have has been scarcer and scarcer, and I believe it is only going to continue to do so. The news about the forced slavery for Medicaid pushed me over the edge. I’ve been sleeping a lot, or at least staying in bed a lot, sleep isn’t a given. And yes, I’ve let my team know about this. My Team. It takes a village?
*By the way, before people get mad, offended, triggered, whatever: I will refer to myself as nuts or crazy. I will not refer to anyone else that way. I don’t even think of other people that way. (OK, one person, that effing troll I dealt with, I refer to as bat-shit crazy, because s/he is, but that’s it.) When I read mental health posts written by others, I do not think Wow, she’s crazy. Part of referring to myself this way is actually self-protection humor. It keeps me from taking it too seriously. Those serious labels are daunting: bipolar, depressed, PTSD. Cray-cray, not so much.
Featured image is an original photograph from Second Life. No post production, it is a raw screenshot.