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Still fighting

Guest Author: Marianne

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Hi!  My name is Marianne and I have Bipolar Affective Disorder Type 1 with ongoing depression.  Over the years, I have tried many medications and even went so far as to try ECT (electro convulsive therapy).  It’s been 11 years since I was diagnosed and I work really hard to try and stay well.  I am careful about taking my meds at the right times, timing my sleep patterns (keeping them consistent), I push myself to get out of the house especially when I don’t feel like it, I try to eat healthy and stay hydrated, and exercise, even if it’s just a short walk around the block.  I don’t get overstimulated, I take supplements, I talk to a therapist, I try to take good care of my physical health, if I need help I ask my parents or sister or friend. I have to remind myself of this frequently, but I AM TRYING!!!

I had been seeing my psychiatrist for about 18 months when she told me she was going on maternity leave.  She was more than 7 months pregnant and I hadn’t even noticed, so this goes to show I wasn’t doing very well! Anyway, I really wasn’t feeling well with my meds but she was unwilling to change them as she was leaving.  I tried to manage, but side effects from one of my meds (Seroquel) were getting worse and worse.  

I had been talking for 18 months to a person who wasn’t even listening.

So I went to my family doctor who put together a package of information about me with a letter to CAMH ER asking for help.  She strongly suggested I go.  I was really scared because I didn’t want to be kept in a hospital and was concerned about what I might be pressured to do.  I asked my best friend for help and she came with me.  What I found most upsetting about reading through the package from my family doctor was realizing my psychiatrist (who I liked so much because I thought she was ‘nice’) totally didn’t understand my major issues and was incorrectly reporting them to my doctor.  So I had been talking for 18 months to a person who wasn’t even listening.  

We spent 6 hours in ER, which was a trying experience, but I was fortunate enough to get a referral to the Mood & Anxiety Clinic at CAMH.  No one forced me to stay, everyone was kind and supportive.  In the Mood & Anxiety Clinic, I met a really kind psychiatrist who recognized that I am ‘medication sensitive,’ meaning my body does not tolerate large doses of meds without totally rebelling with side effects.  It even happened when I had ECT.  I was told ‘I may’ experience headaches, nausea, confusion and memory loss.  Might?  I had those symptoms every day for the 8 months I went through ECT and I did it all to get very brief relief, and then ultimately experienced permanent memory loss and subsequently fell into another cycle of dark, deep depression within a few short months.  The depression started 3 years ago and I am still fighting.  

From the psychiatrist in the Mood & Anxiety Clinic, I am now having a DNA test to determine which meds I can take.  Yay!  Maybe no more trial and error and being a human guinea pig!!! Also, I have been referred to a specialized Bipolar Depression clinic.  On top of all this, my old psychiatrist that I used to see, is willing to take me back as CAMH will only treat me for a few months and then refer me back to my family doctor or community psychiatrist.  So after having no treatment for 2 months and being scared and feeling unsupported, I went to having my old psychiatrist, help in the short term, understanding of my unique needs and a referral for specialized care.  

Never hesitate to ask those around you if you need help.

All of this took over 6 weeks of trying.  One minute at a time, one hour at a time, one day at a time, it slowly came together and became a viable solution.  You can do it to.  Never hesitate to ask those around you if you need help.  At #SickNotWeak, we can work to make healthcare better and make sure no one is left behind without treatment.  It was joining this community and getting encouragement from others that are also struggling with mental illness that helped me stay inspired and I truly realized what my family doctor has been saying to me all these years.  Never Give Up!  Fuck You Depression!  You may slow me down but you will NEVER HOLD ME BACK!

Comments

Erika
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I have been in a deep depression for the last 3 years or so..finally a few months ago I decided not to settle with this. Around a month ago I started a new coctail with my new psychiatrist, I am in group therapy, and have been happy and normal for last 3 1/2 weeks, to my disappointment my symptoms returned four days ago…I’m foggy, zombie like, almost lethargic, and absolutely no joy in doing anything , even playing catch with my son, in fact I hate everything, I just want to be alone and sleep…help me

Marianne
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I’m sorry to hear you are struggling Erika. I’ve had little to no relief for over 3 years. I feel pretty discouraged at times but I keep slowly working away at finding another solution. You are not alone, we can encourage each other and we can keep fighting. One moment at a time, one hour at a time, one day at a time.

Stitch
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I can relate to a lot of your story . It’s a tough ride that’s foresure . For me I am extremely sensitive to meds and had some horrible reactions. Believe it or not those side effects are even less understood than mental health issues. They are almost buried . Like we are told they don’t exist and its part of a mental illness.
Took 5 doctors to diagnose akathisia for me . I would be very careful about using meds now. I dont know what the answers are but I wish to g-d I could go back in time and not have been a guinea pig with meds. It can take years to heal from that harm .

Goodluck I wish u peace

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