I haven’t posted since April 22nd.
Some friends have asked why, and the answer is because I’m still not better.
I want this blog to be transparent, and I want to be brave and powerful, but I don’t feel that way.
I feel like someone who has failed.
And I know in my mind that isn’t true-
Since February 2nd, I have tried Everything in my power to get better, and it hasn’t worked, and that is not my fault.
I’ve been sleeping 8 hours a night, eating fairly healthy, taking Vitamin D and iron supplements and fish oils, and getting as much exercise as possible.
I’ve been forcing myself to get up and out of the house. I’ve been socializing to the best of my abilities. Even when all I want to do is stay in bed and ignore the world, I force myself to get up and get out and do as much as I can that day.
I’ve been meeting with my psychiatrist once a week since the depression started, and I’ve met with a psychologist, and I’ve started weekly therapy with a social worker who specializes in postpartum mental health.
In order, I have tried All the most-recommended medications for people suffering from bipolar depression:
When all of those failed, I tried the SSRI’s Prozac and Zoloft.
Those were my latest attempts.
I was So, so eager that these treatments would work. I wanted So badly to have antidepressants work for me like they do for neurotypical people.
Instead what happened was that SSRI’s activated extreme anxiety in me due to my bipolar.
June 9th, I spoke with my psychiatrist about the anxiety I was experiencing from Zoloft and I asked if I could double my dose like neurotypical people do to make their SSRI-induced anxiety symptoms go away.
She explained that for me, because of my bipolar, doubling my dose would just double my anxiety.
She told me to stop taking the SSRI’s.
I was crushed.
I’ve now tried everything most-recommended for bipolar depression and the top two meds most-recommended for postpartum depression, and it All hasn’t worked for me.
I’m halfway into the 5th month of this illness.
Every day still feels like a struggle.
That’s over 130 days of struggle so far.
At this point- I would do Anything to enjoy my life and get back to feeling like myself again.
I have one more treatment I can try, and I’m So, SO eager for it to begin, and so, SO hopeful that it will work for me.
At this point- all I have left is Hope- and the odds of this treatment working are 70-90%.
The treatment is called Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT).
It’s invasive and it has a bad track record (if you’ve ever seen One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, you’ll remember the scene,) but it’s come a long way since its inception and the odds of it working are worth the risk to me.
ECT involves general anesthesia, a muscle relaxant, and a team of skilled doctors applying an electrical charge to my brain. The electric charge stimulates the brain to have a one-minute long seizure, releasing multiple neurotransmitters. They describe it as a way to ‘reset’ the brain’s natural chemistry.
If I get into the ECT program, I would go into hospital on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings for hour-long treatments. The full course of treatment would be 3-4 weeks long.
The hope is that at the end of it, I will feel like myself again.
Since I ‘failed’ antidepressants on June 9th, my anxiety has been raging. I am finding it Very, very difficult to focus on anything other than when I can start ECT.
I described my attempts at treatment to Ryan the other day as a series of mental monkey bars. Since this depression started in February, I’ve been swinging from one failed treatment to the next. Lamictal didn’t work? Let’s try Latuda! Latuda didn’t work? Let’s try Abilify! I’ve been able to keep the depression and anxiety at bay by believing in the power of the next treatment.
And when SSRI’s failed on Thursday, I feel like I reached the end of my monkey bars of hope. I feel like there is nothing immediate for me to swing to next, and that is killing me.
This morning I woke up in a roiling ball of anxiety. The day stretches before me. I don’t know how to fill the minutes. I don’t know how I can possibly summon up the strength and motivation to live one more day. It takes everything in me to force myself to get out of bed.
I have fought this battle for more than a third of a year now.
I am exhausted and anxious and feeling hopeless.
I need something to give.
I need something to change for me.
I need to feel like my tomorrows are worth it.
I need to feel like my todays aren’t so damn scary.
I am putting all of my eggs in the ECT basket and hoping to high heaven that I am in the lucky 90% bracket where ECT obliterates a person’s treatment-resistant depression.
My psychiatrist is on board with me receiving ECT. In order to get it started, I have to have the signatures of two psychiatrists who agree that ECT is a viable treatment option for me.
My files are being sent to the second psychiatrist in question today, and I’m hoping he’ll sign off on them as soon as possible.
Tomorrow, I’ve been instructed to call the ECT clinic coordinator in the afternoon to see where my case is at.
I do not personally pray, but I do believe in the power of prayer, and in people directing their energy towards a worthy cause.
If you are the praying kind, or the energy-directing kind, can you please, please join me in hoping that I get accepted into the ECT outpatient program and that my treatments can begin as soon as possible?
I would be Over the moon excited if I could receive my first treatment as soon as this Wednesday. I know that’s not likely- but with the state that I’m in- it would be the best case scenario.
And if you’ve read this far, thank you. Thank you for reading along on my mental health journey. Thank you for keeping me in your thoughts. Thank you for becoming educated on just how Damn difficult it can be for someone to live with a mental illness. Thank you for sending good thoughts my way. Thank you for believing in me, and for believing that I will get through this.
Please keep me in your thoughts over the next few days; things are pretty shaky for me right now and I’ll take all the love and hope I can get.