Monday I went to see my shrink. It had been about 5 weeks since I'd seen her last. Because she had fired me as her therapy client, wanting to switch to 'medication management' meaning we'd only meet once a month. She said I needed more intense and frequent therapy than she could provide. I explained that seeing her twice a month was already more than I could afford and I hadn't found any cheaper services in the area. She said she would look for me. Right. Whatever, I didn't care because the therapy didn't do much anyway.
But I looked forward to this appointment. I was scared of my emotions and the sudden instability. I wanted to talk about it and maybe suggest that I might be some kind of unusual bi-polar. I had a good 3 or 4 weeks. Then suddenly, everything was bad again. I could trace a pattern of good year-bad year all the way back to the 6th grade. She was unimpressed. She wasn't listening. I said, "I feel crazy. I can't control myself. I'm crying for no reason." She gave me a new medication with a lecture about how this one is dangerous so I can't play around with it. I can't just stop taking it like I have some of my other meds. Blah blah. That's why she hadn't given me the scrip earlier. Wrong, I refused to take a new med before now, but ok.
At that point I gave up. I could tell she wasn't interested. She actually told me there wasn't anything else we could do about the depression, but I should try to stay hopeful because I've pulled out of it before. I tried to explain that it was different this time. (P.S. Don't tell a depressive there's nothing she can do but wait it out!!!) I tried to tell her I was scared. It had never lasted this long before and never made me stop caring about everything like this. She dismissed me. Made another appointment. Gave me the scrip. Now I remember that I was wrong, it lasted this long when I was 19-21.
I don't like to think about that time of my life. Nightmare doesn't begin to describe what happened. The panic attacks became regular events the spring of my freshman year. So I went on the Paxil. It made me pass out in the hallway. And I had to drop my art class because my hands shook so badly I couldn't make the stupid squares straight for my color chart. My sophomore year I barely remember. I had some crazy episodes. One night I ripped all the pages out of the phone book, one at a time and threw them out of my dorm window. I drew a mural over my bed with magic markers. I threw dishes out of the window so I could hear them crash. Alienated my best friend and roommate. I remember stacking all the furniture one night. Gained weight. That summer I stayed in Atlanta instead of going home. I lived in a crappy house with a psycho racist control freak, one friend and one acquaintance. I had 3 jobs, waitressing, legal secretary and record promotions intern. No car. No air conditioning. The first few weeks I slept on the floor. I bought myself one knife, fork and spoon and 2 cups. The Olympics were in town. Life was uncomfortable.
Then I met "Nasty". My first college boyfriend. I had a crush on him because he played amazingly beautiful songs at open mic night at the Red Light Cafe. But he looked like Butthead from the Beavis and Butthead cartoon. He even dressed like Butthead. After 2 weeks he scared me with his 'devotion'. He wanted to fly to Arizona with me, I was going to see my mother. We had dated for 2 weeks! He gave me some dorky present too. A homemade necklace with a crystal, a mix tape of himself, and some other junk--he was 28. I wanted out but didn't know how to do it. He was manipulative and passive aggressive. He didn't have a car either and his hippie friends had B.O. But he gave me attention and affection which was new for me. He wrote me songs. That summer, I went psychotic.
All day long my mind said "You should die." A theme with several variations. For months that thought, like an evil voice in my head abused me. I've gone off track of this story....Anyway. I broke up with Nasty finally and after a few days of psychosis I took all my pills. Made sure no one was home. Turned out the lights and lit some candles. I played a Moby song on repeat. I wanted the things in my head to stop. I wanted peace and quiet. If I didn't wake up in the morning even better. Yadda yadda yadda stomach pumped, ended up in the psych ward against my will for 72 hours.
Fly back to Florida for my brother's wedding, stayed with my father to rest and hide from the mess I made in Georgia. Returned to school in the fall and dropped out in October. Ended up living with my mother in Phoenix where I developed a near catatonic depression. I was too depressed to bother with suicide. That was my first bout with agoraphobia. At the time I thought the eery landscape of Arizona caused it. I had grown used to the forested city of Atlanta. This desert place looked like the moon. The sky felt oppressive and I feared it would obliterate me if I went outside. Crazy. Mom took me to a series of mental health professionals, one made house calls. He meant well but suggested I join a gym. Exercise? It was a good day if I got out of my pajamas. Finally my mother checked me into a hospital out-patient program. (These were the good old days when I was on Pops' health insurance.) They put me on Wellbutrin. I went hypomanic about 3 weeks into it. They declared me better and I drove myself back to school in grandpa's car that I inherited. Just in time for the spring semester. Overnight I was better. I had a great year after that.
But, back to the original story. My shrink rushed me out of her office with nary a tissue for my tears. On my way out, I couldn't stop crying so I went to the bathroom to finish it. Locked myself in a stall and sobbed for an hour. Messy, snotty, coughing, loud sobbing. One woman asked if I was allright and did I want her to get help? I told her I was crazy and she just left without a word. This was in a hospital. I did hope she'd return with someone. She didn't. I got tired of standing and went to a waiting room where I called in sick to cancel my classes. Then I stood outside my shrink's office wondering what to do, still crying. I left. Still crying on the street outside the hospital I called my doc and left a message explaining where I was and that she didn't understand the seriousness of my condition. I filled the new scrip for the anti-convulsant Lamictol.
She called back. She asked if I wanted to go to the hospital because that was all she could do. I said yes. She had to check on space and would call me back. She did. She and her supervisor think I should be hospitalized. But I would have to pay for it. There are social workers though who work with patients to help them get medicaid. I told her I make too much money. She said I might need to reduce my income to qualify but once I did it would apply retroactively. I yelled. "I can barely pay my rent as it is! How can I cut my income?" She said, "You need to figure out what you really need right now. You need insurance." "I need a home! That's crazy!" Blah blah, she just wanted to make sure I knew all this before blah blah did I want her to reserve a bed? You couldn't check in until tomorrow...I asked if this was the cheapest hospital. She didn't know.
I sat on the wall facing 9th Avenue. Still crying and holding my sweater tight against the wind. All of this was too complicated. All I knew was that I felt completely unstable, out of control and terrified. My thoughts ran like this: I should be responsible and find the cheapest place instead of just checking in here--What difference does it make? I can't pay it anyway no matter how much. I might qualify for some aid in Jersey, I should look into that. She asked again if I wanted a bed. It was cold and exhaustion from the sobbing set in. I just wanted to go home. Too many decisions. Too complicated. I told her I was going home. I wandered around Chelsea instead. Eventually made my way to Times Square and the short bus.
So, the more I thought about it, the worse this whole thing smells. Apparently, it's standard practice for people to quit jobs so they can get medicaid. Well if I did that then I suppose I'd qualify for food stamps and maybe Section 8 housing assistance too. I DON'T WANT TO LIVE ON WELFARE. What has become of our country? In order to get the care I need, I have to make my situation worse and even more expensive.
My friend gave me another suggestion. His friend works in a public hospital in Brooklyn. He told him how easily one can avoid hospital bills. All I have to do is check in under a fake name and fake social security number. And I should do it at the end of the month when the regulars check themselves out to pick up their disability checks which they spend on crack only to return to the hospital when the money is gone. Public hospitals get government funding according to their number of patients, so at the end of the month they will take anybody to fill beds. They won't even check my fake SSN. I don't much care for that suggestion either.
Both of those scenarios require cheating and severe violations of my integrity. I may be able to cry all over myself in the street in front of the hot dog man and everybody else but I can't stomach that other mess. So I numbed myself and waded through the rest of the week. Not knowing what else to do.
The new drug makes me very drowsy. I didn't shower today or do anything productive because I felt so crappy. While getting changed for bed I noticed all the new bumps on my legs. The doctor told me if I got a rash from the meds I should go to the emergency room because that could kill me. Nice. But these look like hives more than a rash. There is no redness. I read the warning paper from the pharmacist. It says to go to the hospital if a rash develops. But if one has an allergic reaction, extremely rare, just stop taking it. Hives are listed as signs of allergy. So I didn't take the stuff tonight. I'll tell my doc on Monday.
So that's where I'm at. I'm tired of fighting. I'm not suicidal. I'm not feeling hopeless, just frustrated. But my mind is quiet in that blissful and disturbing way. The break from incessant uncontrollable thoughts is nice. But it's creepy too. I'm empty. I have nothing to say to anyone. There's nothing I want to do. I can't think about anything long enough to make any decisions. It's taken me 5 days to write this post and I'm only typing it now because I can't sleep.
This is life. I'll keep slogging on because that's what we have to do. I know I'll be ok eventually. I'm not so sure about this country. Something is going to break and it will be ugly.