Pre ECT: Hospital Consult

Today I had the ECT consult at Boulder Community Hospital.  It was a marathon appointment lasting three hours.  My oldest sister came with me as they like family members to attend.  The psychiatrist took a full history and I’m sure I shocked the shit out of my sister with my lively history of drug and alcohol abuse going back to my teen years.  She is clean as the driven snow.  I shed many a tear speaking of my crushing depression and suicidal ideation I have been experiencing, as well as how hard it has been to try to function in my job.  I feel like I have lost about thirty IQ points.  The doctor explained that there is a loss of cognitive functioning with severe depression.  This was comforting to me as I wondered why I have been doing so many extremerifically stupid things.  This explains it.

The treatment protocol for this hospital is more intense than the other one I was considering.  It is four weeks of three treatments per week, then one week of two treatments, then a week of one treatment, then it goes to more staggered treatments.  I’m looking at two months off of work.  Right now my work only knows that I’m gone for a month.  (Yikes).  That’s all I can deal with right now.  Also, I will spend the first two weeks of treatment in the hospital.  I’m REALLY not excited about checking back into the loonie bin, but I’m trying to focus on the positives, like, being allowed to scream whenever I want, and no one caring if I pee my pants.

Well I’ve got one more day of work left, and I’m hoping I don’t get fired tomorrow.  I just found out tonight that the HR department didn’t notify my boss that I was going out on FMLA next week, so it was up to me to tell him, today, that tomorrow is my last day at work, and then I’m gone for a month.  So hopefully they don’t can me tomorrow.  That would really negatively affect all of these carefully made plans.  If I come back tomorrow and post pure cuss words, you’ll know the worst has happened.  I’ll be back soon to tell you of my latest ECT plans…until then…Peach Out Homies!

Pre-ECT: Doctor Clearance

Today I had a full physical in preparation for ECT.  If you want to have your brain to go sizzle and pop, there’s a lot of preparation involved.  When you think about how low-functioning depressed people are, it’s really a miracle that they ever make it into ECT, because there are so many prerequisites, and they all feel like mountains to be climbed.  On a good day it’s hard to get me to the doctor.  Today the temperature was forty degrees colder than yesterday, (twenty instead of sixty), and snowing.  How in the hell did I get in to that car?  I guess I want my bean fried.

The doctor gave me a thorough examination, including an EKG (fully functioning heart, thank you very much) and I got oodles of tubes of blood taken out of me.  I have no idea what kind of blood tests they are.  CBC-whatchumafuckit was all I read.  It must be serious.

Just for shits and giggles I got a flu shot as well.  You know last year’s flu shot didn’t do shizznit for me, I still got the flu (RSV?  TB?  HIV?  Something like that) and I had to miss Christmas.  Yeah.  It was a bad one.  So why I took the shot again I don’t know.  I guess if I got the flu, and I didn’t get the shot, I’d be bitching at myself and saying “You should have gotten the flu shot!”  Now if I get the flu I can just say hey, I did my best to avoid the damn plague.

The workday was another struggle from one task to the next.  I guess I have resigned myself to the fact that it’s going to be a struggle right now.  There’s something organic up there in my brain that makes things seem hard.  I don’t know what it is.  I look forward to this being different in the future.

The next big challenge is Tuesday’s ECT Consult.  I need to work on my pages of paperwork.  It feels like homework.  I will do it this weekend somehow. 

Well I am going to try some Bipolar on Fire!  Fire!  Fire!  in the kitchen wizardry now…beware!  This might be magic!  Then again it may just be chicken pot pie.  Something for a cold night.  Peach out homiezzzzzzzz and thanks for reading.

ECT Paperwork. Of Course, There’s Paperwork.

Today I made an appointment for an ECT consult at a second hospital.  A good friend of mine just had ECT at this second hospital, Boulder Community.  She had ECT about 20 years ago and she has done pretty well in life, she is a lawyer and a social worker, and just finished her MBA.  Oh, and she’s a mother!  So, to say that she is a rockstar at functioning is a bit of an understatement.  She’s dipped down lately into serious depression and so she had ECT again, but the fact that her last ECT treatments put her in good stead for 20 years gives me hope.

So!  I made this appointment at Boulder Community and I got an email with just a scant FIFTEEN pages of paperwork to fill out.  Should take me the next five days before the appointment to do it.  I filled out two pages tonight.  It’s the ECT Depression Index Inventory.  There are some things on this inventory that I found very interesting and maybe even a tad bit validating.  Like, #5, a measure of guilt going from “I don’t feel particularly guilty” to “I feel guilty all of the time” (I chose “I feel guilty a good part of the time”).  Feeling guilty is a measure of depression?   Or, #12, which ranges from “I have not lost interest in other people” to “I have lost all of my interest in other people” – where I chose the option just above that, “I have lost most of my interest in other people.”  Is that just my depression?  I started to feel like it was just, like, me!  Like, what’s wrong with me?  Why am I always alone?  Am I anti-social?    And #14!  It starts with “I don’t feel I look any worse than I used to” and ends with “I believe that I look ugly.”  I chose the second option, “I am worried that I am looking old or unattractive.’  Worrying about looking older?  Or looking like shit?  That’s my depression too???  I’ve always been a person who puts on makeup, fixes her hair, wears nice clothes…and now?  I just don’t care!!!  Sometimes I think I look like a bum.  I worry that I look like an old lady, or that I’ve lost my looks.  It might not be entirely rational since I’m only in my 40’s..  Here is  one of the most significant losses to me, the loss of sex drive, #21.  It goes from “I have not noticed any recent change in my interest in sex” to “I have lost interest in sex completely” which is the option I chose.  I’ve always been a very sexual being, I’ve enjoyed sex, a lot!  (How much, you ask?  Remember, this blog is titled Bipolar On Fire!  A LOTTTTT!!!)  And to be utterly disinterested?  It leaves me feeling like half a person.

I wonder if there is help for me.  I don’t “feel” like there’s help for me but I hope there is.  I guess that’s why I’m going through with this, even though I hear that I’ll be quite the space cadet after the treatments.  And I worry about being able to go back to work.  Hell I worry about remembering my name.   But right now, I am less and less able to function at work every day.  The depression is like a fog that is drowning out all other functioning.  Pretty soon there will be nothing of me left except a hard shell.  Soon my only remaining job prospect will be as a crash-test dummy.

I will work on my fifteen pages of paperwork tonight, and if there’s time left, I’ll look into the crash-test dummy gig.  It’s always good to have a back-up plan if this one goes south.

The Work Dilemma

I had a big A-HA today.  This evening, actually.  You may have heard this one before.  Are you ready?  Ok here goes….drum roll please……ahem!  I want to do work that I love.  There.  I said it.  It’s so simple.  Yet….so not!  I have been doing this job that I really hate for a couple of years now, being paid extremely well, trying to be grateful for it, but to tell you the truth working in IT just doesn’t tickle my gonads like it used to.  Even taking care of people, which I used to love, doesn’t do it for me any more.  Could it be something as simple as burnout?  Am I just being a spoiled American?  I mean, people in third-world countries aren’t complaining about how unfulfilled they are with their work in the factory, sewing our clothes for twenty hours a day, are they?  They just do it.  They work their asses off, just so they can live in abject poverty, twelve to a room, not enough to eat, sleeping in shifts, never a day off, never enough, etc., etc., etc., and they would laugh!  Laugh!  At my complaints.  You hate working eight hours per day?  At a desk?  Taking a break whenever you feel like it?  For sixty five thousand dollars per year?   HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA they would call me a punkass bitch.  I just know it.  But anyway.  I wish I could do something I loved to do.  There.  I said it twice.  What that something might be, I don’t know.  I just know that I used to get up in the morning and I was excited about what the day might hold.  I want to get back to that.  Even if I have to go back to college at this advanced age of mine.  I have a lot of working years left and I don’t want to spend them being miserable at work.    If I could get paid to write a blog I would have it made in the shade, dawg.  But I’m just dreamin’ now.  Anyhoo, catch ya later.  Peaches.

ECT Delayed

I am going to require 24-hour care when I start the ECT (much to my shame and chagrin), and my caregiver, MY MOTHER (how can this be?  My Mom will be MOMMING me again?), has asked me to wait until after Thanksgiving to start my ECT treatments.  This is quite a blow to me.  I feel like I am just “hanging on” until the treatments.  Now I have to wait three more long weeks.  Three more long weeks of work, three more long weeks of cringe-worthy mistakes at work, three more long weeks of darkness and rage-fueled sleep.  My sleep is so angry!  It is not the vacation from reality that it used to be.  I am just hanging on by my fingernails for this treatment.  Will it be what I hope?  At the very least I think the sedation by Ketamine might provide me some relief from the dark cloud that follows over my head.  I wish I could have a shot now.  I am still off the evil weed, as much as I’d like to use and abuse.  The company I work for got bought out and the new company required us to take a drug test.  Luckyyyyy me that I had stopped the weed.  I’m scared to start again, what if they ask me to repeat my drug test?  If so I’d be out the door, baby.  They don’t care that cannabis is legal in Colorado.  So, I am trying to be drug and alcohol free, and I’m miserable.  No relief in sight!  Why is my reality so hard….really I am fine.  It’s just this damn cloud!  I feel like the Abilify commercial, it’s following me.  I need something to shoot it with.  Oh well…lunch break is over!  Back to work, will try not to fuck up majorly again until tomorrow.  🙂

Oh by the way I want to give a medication update, I am OFF the Lamotrigine totally, which was fucking up my creativity and making me flat as a pancake, and I am off the Latuda which was not doing shit for me.  I have had it with these Bipolar Designer Drugs.  I think my doctor had me on wayyyyyy too fucking many drugs and it pisses me off.  Not happy with Dr. Drugs at all.  I am still on a shitload, Topamax, Wellbutrin, Oxcarbazepine and Perphenazine.  So you see I am not one of those crazy Bipolars who want to go off all their medications.  But I don’t want to take shit that either harms me, or does nothing for me.  Anyhoo…that’s the news for now.  I hope to get off more meds with the ECT.  Ta!  TA!

Today’s Lesson . . .

Today was one of those days where I couldn’t do anything right.  I was in a fog.  My brain just wasn’t firing on all cylinders.  This freaks me out.  I feel out of control and totally scared that I’m going to get in trouble with my boss.  What can I say to him – that my brain isn’t working right?  This is just so outta hand.  I have new compassion for people whose brains move slowly, because I have now joined their ranks.  I need to remember to always be kind, be kind, be kind, not impatient, with those who are struggling.  Because it is so much harder to be the one who is struggling.

They Keep Turning . . .

Keep turnin’ those wheels.  Spoke to HR.  I am going to go on Short Term Disability.  60% of my pay.  First week unpaid.  Oh God Oh God Oh God how am I going to survive.  Leaving it up to this same God.  I have to do this.  I am going to do it after my next payday which means the week after the 15th of November.  That’s it.  I’m doing it.

The Wheels Are Turning

Well I’m doing it.  I’m actually pursuing this wild and crazy idea of having ECT.  I’ve contacted my HR Department about going on FMLA and am waiting to hear back.  I’ve contacted the hospital about getting insurance approval, and again, waiting to hear back.  I’ve let my family know, and they are very supportive.  I guess my bottom line is, even though I’m not suicidal, I’m far from not-depressed, and I think I’ve been so depressed for so long, that I don’t even have an idea of what it’s like to be me, not depressed, any more.  My brain needs a reboot.  I’ve come to the end of the road with medication.  It just turns me into Bland Betty.  I can take enough medication so that I’m not suicidal, but I never actually come out of the depression and live life like a normal person.  I REALLY want to go back to be a vibrant, alive, engaged human being.  If there’s even a chance of that (and I think there is), I have to try this.  I can’t stand my little teeny tiny life of near-nothingness anymore.  I will be chronicling the journey to ECT and beyond here, so stay tuned.

I’m Gonna Do It!

I am now 96.5% convinced that I am going to do ECT treatments.  It sounds so scientific doesn’t it?  I chose that number out of my head just to mess with you :).  I’ve just been thinking about the person I used to be, someone who had vitality and a genuine interest in life and someone who embraced life and I am so, so far from that.  Even though I am a lot better than I was over the summer, I am still so socially isolated and I don’t want to socialize (part of me wants to very badly yet there is a broken part of me that resists and the broken part wins).  I don’t know if anyone can relate to this, I would really love to hear from you if you do.  This goddamn disease called Bipolar Depression is a real bitch and it really gets me down but I am ready to go to the ends of the earth to fight it and try to get back to some piece of me which means I will try ECT.  I am so scared for my job security, what would I do without my job and healthcare but I will have to take it one step at a time.  I just feel like I have a long life ahead of me and I need to try to go for quality of life instead of feeling like I’m just existing which is how I feel now.  Right now I struggle struggle struggle to do everything that is good for me and frankly I don’t have it in me every day to fight the good fight!  It can’t be this hard every day!  Do you know what I mean?  There’s got to be more to life than work and tv and reading books.  Right?  Right.   I want to get back to that wacko who sold everything and ran off to Paris and made more friends in a few weeks than she had in years.  And got a job singing and waitressing in a bar and said “How do you say fork in French?”  Ok well that’s a little manic but I want to find my life-force again and somehow I think maybe scrambling my brains might do it.  I’ve heard great things about ECT.  I will keep you posted as I buck up and call HR and get my road on the show.

 

Just as an aside, I texted my best friend and told him of my total-carbs-diet today and asked him if he’d still love me when I weighed 450 lbs.  He responded that he would gladly roll me around.  Now is that the true love of a friend, or what???  Something to be grateful for….