I’m not the first to have said this lately, and I’m certainly not the last, but it’s been hard! A hard week; a hard month; and definitely a hard year (or two, to be honest). Yes, Covid-19 restrictions have taken their toll, but my mental health has taken a big hit from circumstances other than Covid-19.
One of those circumstances has been my inability to write. I haven’t written since May, some four months ago. For me, that’s a clear indication that my mood is declining. It’s also a loss I find hard to bear. Writing is something I enjoy and to lose that ability isn’t easy. I know it’s a temporary loss, but it still affects me by adding to my declining mood.
Another circumstance was an extremely rapid withdrawal in late-February and early-March, from a medication that was causing me a great deal of distress. This withdrawal replaced the depression I was then immersed in with hypomania. In time, that hypomania wore off, as it always does, becoming a rapid-cycling mixed-episode. This lasted until quite recently. Now, my mood is declining once more and I feel myself slipping into depression.
Accompanying these mood fluctuations are significant changes to my medications. Many of us have been through this process, one that has us try one medication after another until we find The One (or two or three…you get the point). Going through this is always hard. There’s no doubt that these medication changes themselves influenced my unstable moods.
On top of mood instability and medication changes, I’ve now learned that my psychiatrist is closing his practice. He’s yet to confirm if he’ll transfer my file to a colleague or to my nurse-practitioner. Instability of a different sort. Not to mention a cause of significant anxiety.
All of this instability disqualified me from participating in two different treatment programs. Ironic, isn’t it, that when I most need help, it’s denied me? Too many of us face this roadblock to care. I’d rail about how this shows the system is broken, but the truth is, it isn’t. It’s designed this way. Both treatment options rely on strong positive treatment numbers to gain financing. Dealing with difficult patients lowers those numbers which reduces financing. Hard illnesses, hard cases, are shunted aside. Stigma in action.
I’ll share with you how I learned of my exclusion from one of those programs in an upcoming post!
On top of all of this, friends, both real and virtual, have struggled. This too affects me as there’s little I can do to help. This is hard to take and adds to my sense of inadequacy, bringing a barrage of negative self-talk. And I’m very good at this self-abuse.
Physically I haven’t been my best. I’ve had an injured back and an injured calf. It’s my own fault because I live a sedentary life. This is a habit I’m finding hard to escape. And that becomes another source for self-abuse.
The good news is I’m currently participating in an out-patient program for mental health (virtual) hosted by my local hospital. I’m being taught new coping skills and I can already see how some can be added to my Self-Care Plan. My hope is to update that Plan and share it with you.
Additionally, my local hospital hosts another mental health program that appears to have a component specifically for those with bipolar disorder. My psychiatrist said he’d refer me to it before he closes his practice. I hope he follows through on that.
We’re all caught up! I can’t promise timely posts, but I’ll do my best. It all depends on how hard this growing depression hits me. I can say this, writing this post hasn’t been easy. But I’m glad I did it. I’ve been silent for too long.
Image by Michael Schwarzenberger from Pixabay.
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