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Monday, October 18, 2021

Medication mementos

So, it's been a few months since I last shared anything with all two of this blog's regular readers (actually it's more than two, and I am thankful for every visitor, including our friends in County Meath, Ireland).  Lots has happened since then... and relatively little of it much good.

Let me go back a bit to earlier this year.  I had been having some issues with the medications I take to manage my bipolar disorder.  It was so bad that I took two weeks off from work to address them, at a daytime outpatient facility.  It did enormous good in some aspects.  The involuntarily shaking of my body when certain memories arose, that has been remedied with the addition of one new med.  When I got back to work, things were pretty good... for awhile.

But then it seemed that other problems arose to take the trembling's place.  Serious lethargy, chronic headaches (especially in the morning), some weight gain, an increase in racing thoughts, elevated depressive episodes... these and more became the bane of my existence.  What did I do to counter them?

Yup.  More meds.  So many during these past ten months that I can't remember all of them by name.

In August I was prescribed another medication.  One I had taken already, mostly in the early years involving my diagnosis of bipolar disorder.  This was going to make me less lethargic, it was thought.

I wish that I could tell you what happened after that, because I have no solid memory at all.

My neighbors have told me that they found me outside in the rain, dancing about barely clothed.  At one point I was trying to open other people's car doors.  There was other bizarre behavior also.  Some of it I only discovered later.  Like, how I found an oven mitt in the washing machine.  The mitt was filled with my dog Tammy's dry food.  The bottle of pink salt in a closet.  My toothbrush on the coffee table.  I have not one whit of memory about any of this but I trust my neighbors.  One of them said that he had seen this before in other people: a medication reaction.

Then came the next day, when I was found face-down and unconscious on the asphalt on the side of the road next to my house.

I don't remember the ride in the ambulance.  I remember my face hurting like hell though.  I also vaguely remember thinking that I had been attacked by someone.  Now, I'm not sure at all about it.  My face was beaten to a pulp.  It could have been somebody hitting me. It could also have been simply me falling forward face-first onto the side of the road.

At the hospital I had to have stitches in my left knee, and was given a CT scan.  I barely remember a sheriff's deputy taking me home that night.

My supervisor later showed me some of the texts I had sent her.  Something about a Dr. Pepper can "pulsing" and one about Perseus and Medusa.

It had all been a reaction to the new medication.  Thank God I didn't do anything else, or did something that would have harmed my dog.  It's an enormously disturbing thought, that I could have gotten behind the wheel and tried to drive off.

Well, I'm blessed to have some very good people in my life.  One of my best friends and her mother came to my house the next day and we agreed that I needed some time in an inpatient environment.  I called the same place where I had been earlier in the year as an outpatient, and arranged to voluntarily check myself in.

I was a patient for a little over a week.  That's the second time I've been voluntarily admitted to a psychiatric facility.  Involuntary?  Four or five.  Which is almost certainly what would have happened had I not gotten off the med.  That med was the only one of my regimen that I was not given during my stay.

And now?  After missing almost an entire month I'm back at work, as a peer support specialist for the local mental health center.  I'm trying to regain confidence in me, because this ordeal has caused me to no longer fully trust myself.  If I don't remember most of one month, what else don't I remember?  Were there times in the past where I was an entirely different person, but I have no memory of it?

I really could have ended my own life during that month, and not even know that I was doing it.  There have been times when I've had suicidal ideations.  Some of them, quite recently.  But there was always something stopping me from going too far.  I think that letting down my friends, and not being there for my dog, are what keep me from straying past the line.  But what if I lost my faculties completely, and did something to harm myself without my conscious mind knowing it was happening?

Suddenly, my world is a very different place.  One that I can no longer take for granted or believe that I can have complete control over.

And that's what's been happening these past few months, my friends.  Nothing more or less than trying to hold onto some shred of sanity.

Will have more to write again soon.