International Bipolar Disorder Foundation, La Jolla, CA

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Involuntary Psychiatric Hospitalization

When I think about involuntary hospitalization, I feel vaguely violated. It was sudden, and it wasn’t my choice. I was deceived before the police showed up and slapped on the handcuffs.  It was personal and not. It hurt, bewildered and shocked me. Terrifying? For sure. Transformative? You tell me.

Due to a devastating divorce, I was trying to reshuffle my life. I had been in three states and had three shrinks in two months. Then I moved back home to California. Fourth and fifth shrink. Ouch. Don’t I learn from the past? There was a reason I left there in the first place. (By this point, I was picking and choosing from the prescriptions from the last four doctors like it was an a la carte menu.) I was messed up.

Then the phone rang. Usually it was me calling others, lonely and in need. It was Douglas from Florida, from the 80’s in LA. He invited me to visit. I flew out to Florida and never returned.  A month went by. Now I needed a new psychiatrist. I got a referral from a local pharmacy. 300.00 in cash, no insurance accepted. He was supposed to be ‘The Best.’ I choked that down.

On my first visit with this South Florida ‘Supershrink’ I was honest with him.  He went: “Get off of everything.” How do I do that? I tried but it was too hard. 2nd visit one week later: The money changed hands first.  His nurses tell me up front that they need my keys to move my car. The next thing I knew, the police showed up and hauled me away with no explanation. Ouch! They locked me in a holding cell at the police station. I was handcuffed for two hours on a gleaming steel table. I screamed and yelled that “I’ve gotta go to the bathroom” and finally peed my pants.

At the hospital it was explained to me that I had been “Baker Acted” because I was a danger to myself and/or others. A 72-hour hold or 72-year-old? My three roommates were all shrill, screaming, senior citizens with dementia. I had never seen such fury and disorientation.  I wondered, are they incontinent or are they acting out in anger? I never figured it out. The staff would not clean up after them. In addition, there were bugs and cracks in the walls and panels.   There were no programs, no central relaxing area, merely a dining room, a hall and our four patient bedrooms. I was frightened beyond words.

The second day a doctor showed up and I saw a famous actor in him (he reminded me of Richard Dreyfuss). I had a feeling about him right away. He was cynical, wise and compassionate. He studied me quite closely. For the first time, I knew my bipolar disorder had met its’ match.

“This is some kind of mistake. You’ve got to get me out of here,” and more rambling. I was still quite manic.

“Allison, relax, stay for a few days. I’ll put you on some medication and you will feel a lot better.”   It all came true. I knew that I wanted him to be my psychiatrist and asked him.  He wouldn’t agree right off the bat. That made me anxious. I was used to getting my way.

I still see Dr.  Rosenthal after fifteen years. Continuity of care comforts me. Others agree that it’s important to have a doctor who ‘gets’ you. He and I collaborate. He shares information on medications and research freely. He doesn’t give orders.  Sure, there have been side effects and rough patches. He has fished me out of the canal every time.

This hasn’t been easy but it hasn’t been nearly as disruptive as surrendering most of my individual choices to the one-size-fits-all rules and regulations that institutions need in place for patient safety and licensing.

Over the years I’ve seen ten or so other psychiatrists for second opinions and know who else is out there and how they think. One doctor didn’t allow me to speak. He looked at my paperwork and immediately threw me out of his office because of the meds I’m on. I think that he wanted to assert his authority over me. Ouch! Yes, sometimes I bite back. (But that day I didn’t-He could have Baker acted me if he wanted!)

I met my psychiatrist of 15 years in the ickiest place in the worst situation, or so I thought at that time. It worked out really well for me, though. At the very least, I learned to be extremely watchful over my mental health and careful about who I confide in. I haven’t been hospitalized since. But I would go if my life depended on it. I’ve had some close calls. Knock on wood.

Read more of Allison’s posts for IBPF here or at her personal blogs here and here.

Comments

Is this where I can ask Allison a question?

met ITS match!

I had been “Baker Acted” because I was a danger to myself and/or others – In UK we call this “sectioning”.

That’s my girl!And I am proudto say that. I am Allisons “husband” for almost 13ys.now. Sept.22 will be the full 13. I am so proud of you Allison not only for your writing which is superb but mostly for the wonderful warm strong and loving womanyou are. I love you girl, bipolar and all!!!!

involuntary-psychiatric-hospitalization

The Emptiness of “Likes”

I don’t ‘like’ it when people ‘like’ my posts. I write my posts because I am reaching out for someone who might be able to help me, someone who has been through it, someone who knows about a book or something better than just a fucking ‘like,’ what good does that do me? What does it tell me? It tells me that you read what I wrote and only had time to ‘like’ it. I have never in my life simply ‘liked’ someone’s post since I’ve been on here. A ‘follow’ or a ‘reply’ I can understand, but ‘likes’ have come to characterize what is wrong with our society today. We don’t have time for each other. Not even a kind word for someone who is suicidal and wondering if it relates, a month later, to Adderall Withdrawal.

The way these cries for help from me on WP are going, I might as well be pissing in the wind, as my best girlfriend says.mommybriefcase

depression 30 days later, is it still adderall withdrawal?

I haven’t been this depressed since the 90’s. Waking up in the morning, thinking of ways I can kill myself. There’s go to be a better way to live. Back then, I would abuse Seroquel on the worst days so I could sleep through them. in a matter of days, I’m bipolar, the mood would turn around. Now, because of Tardive Dyskinesia, I can’t do that anymore, I will start thrashing about. So I have to totally sit with my depression, and make my own house a rubber room of sorts. I do this by keeping food in house, having a lot of reading material at the ready, and keeping up on the new shows coming on the networks and cable. All day Saturday I managed to sleep. I must have been tired. Sunday I had to face the music. I’m wondering about MAOI’s and/or tricyclics. Also, I went to my drop in center and we talked about my depression and that just made it worse.

Music metaphor: there’s like a tape loop in my head that runs its’ course, then announces, “you’re depressed, remember?” And It hurts. If I could find a way to interrupt that loop …which I try to do with music, reading, and TV, I’m in good shape.

Weight Gain from Antipsychotics/Tardive Dyskinesia

Many of us bipolar and schizophrenics take antipsychotic medicine. I’m one of those who developed Tardive Dyskinesia, a syndrome of involuntary muscle movements. Normally they are seen in the mouth and jaw. The person looks like they are chewing constantly. Some people have it in their neck and their head bobs from side to side, rolling around all day. Most people can take Cogentin for this and it’s an easy deal for them. I was not so lucky. I get blackouts from Cogentin and Topamax, for that matter.  I went for a search for symptom control that lasted three years. One of the drugs that helps me with my symptoms, paradoxically is the first of the atypical antipsychotics developed, Clozaril.

Clozaril is a big weight gainer. I got up to 220 lbs. A former Model and actor, I have body image issues you can’t believe. There is more to the story of the risks of antipsychotic meds. The weight gain leads to metabolic syndrome (a disproportionate amount of weight around the stomach and into the internal organs), hyperinsulinism, and finally diabetes type two.

Once on Clozaril, I became a person with “Binge Eating Disorder.” Eating, itself, made me ravenous. I would be hungrier after an entire meal than if I never ate at all. Due to the fact that I also have ADHD, I went on the new FDA approved for Binge Eating Disorder drug, Vyvanse. I would visit the doctors who I see bi-annually and they would say, “Allison, you seem different, so clearer, there’s a light in your eyes, what are you doing differently?” (and that was before the weight came off!)  A psychiatrist I saw for a second opinion occasionally for the Tardive Dyskinesia was so impressed with the change in me that he doubled my dose without me even asking!  I was enthusiastic, happy, motivated to write.

Vyvanse is not on my formulary, so it cost 100 a month to be  on it. The weight fell off, taking a year to lose that 50 lbs. I craved salads and fruits, rather than sugar. I got tired of paying for the Vyvanse, and because it simply metabolizes as Adderall in the body, I started to use Adderall.  I had a good three years there. I had no food issues. But recently, I became uncomfortable with how the Adderall was making me feel. It wore off too fast and I was ravenous again. So I stopped taking on Memorial Day. And boy have I been depressed. Paid a high price for physical health. Let me ask you, what’s worse, depression or diabetes?  I’m still trying to figure this out .It’s almost been thirty days and I’m gaining weight quickly. So I’ve eliminated bread and sugar. I’m seeing an acupuncturist for weight control and depression. I don’t want to go back to this:   tribal 013outofthewater-001

Skype took over my Outlook, can’t check emails anyone else have this issue?

I can’t access my email. Every time I turn on my email, it get’s blocked by an entire page pop up for Skype. I’ve turned my computer off and rebooted. I’ve closed and reopened internet explorer 10 times and the advertisement just won’t go away. I wanted to communicate with my mother but I can’t. I had stuff I wanted to say.

I’m angry. The tech companies and their ads have taken over our time and our lives to push their products. I have my screen and I don’t want it changing on me. It helps me reach out to people and wake up in the morning. and now I can’t. Does anyone else have this problem today? It’s Tuesday.

Adderall/Vyvanse: Withdrawal Depression, Day #25

On Memorial Day I decided that Adderall’s Risk/Benefit ratio wasn’t paying off. I knew I’d have a rough couple of days and I did. The first four were miserable, both physically and mentally. I sweat so much I couldn’t believe it.

I’ve been depressed ever since. Depression is an odd thing. Anhedonia (the inability to feel pleasure) is even weirder.

But in my 25 years of being bipolar, I have a war chest full of coping strategies to make this syndrome a little more tolerable.

I’m going to do a ‘top ten’ list tomorrow. Today, despite the fact that I have a broken toe, I’m going take  a short walk and try to get sunshine in my eyes.  I broke my toe 12 weeks ago and haven’t been  able to exercise. I think exercise would help me get some traction on my mood. It will be interesting to see if I enjoy it.

From what I see on the internet, this withdrawal/depression syndrome can last as long as a year. I’m going to have to make the best of it!! And if I ever do recover, it will make a great chapter for a book.

I know that I have something to say on the business of bipolar disorder, but haven’t figured out just how to say it!

bipolarbrainiacfighting mad

Another Depressive Phase: I want out!!!

The first ten years were easy. Prozac and Tegretol did the trick and I almost forgot I had bipolar. When the bottom fell out of the Prozac, (it’s affectionately chuckled about clinically as “Prozac Poopout” hahah joke’s on me!) I panicked  and self medicated in between seeing different psychiatrists and taking meds that didn’t work. I suffered for three years. Next med protocol worked for 6 years, followed by a 1 year depressive phase. Suffice it to say I’ve been in and out of depression the last 15 years and the only meds I’ve never tried are the MAOI and Tricyclic classes. I’m depressed now. I went on Brintellix. It’s not working. The last time I took it, it worked in three days.

I know that  many of us are depressed right now. I know I’m not the only one in this boat. That makes it a little easier to bear.  I’ve been depressed for nine days straight. Yuk. I can write, but I don’t enjoy it much. I’ve been reading a lot too.

Seems the only thing I enjoy is watching and rewatching House Of Cards!morriseysad

Get Well Soon

Tail Spanish Rouge 001SuzysGiftThe story I wrote about involuntary psych hospitalization was the first piece I had written since I quit taking Adderall and fell into a depression. Add that to the broken bone in my foot and dental problems and I had to really nurture myself. Luckily for me, I have some well wishing family members who have sent me gifts to let me know they care. Tail Spanish Rouge 001

Involuntary Pyschiatric Lockdown

When I think about involuntary hospitalization, I feel vaguely violated.  I can’t run this blog through a filter.  Here goes.  It was sudden, and it wasn’t my choice. I was deceived before the police showed up and slapped the handcuffs on.  It was personal and not.  It hurt, it bewildered and shocked.  At the least, I’m now watchful over my mental health and careful about who I confide in.  It was a hell of a ride.

Don’t I learn anything?  I was alone, having been divorced because he didn’t want to be married to someone with Bipolar disorder. That’s a quote. I had moved back home. Ouch. Don’t I learn? Moving from state to state I’d had several shrinks.

The phone rang.  Usually it was me calling others, lonely and in need. It was Douglas from Florida, from the 80’s in LA. He invited me to come visit. I flew out.  I moved out.  A month went by.  I knew I needed a new psychiatrist. I got a referral from a local pharmacy. 300.00 in cash, no insurance accepted.

Insert: By this point, I’m picking and choosing from what the last three doctors had given me like it was  a menu.  On my first visit with this ‘supershrink’ I’m honest with him and he goes: “Get off of everything.”  How do I do that?

2nd visit two weeks later: His nurses tell me up front that they need my keys and to move my car. The money changes hands. The next thing I know, the police show up and lock me in a holding cell at the police station. I’m handcuffed for two hours on a gleaming steel table. I scream and yell that I’ve gotta go and finally pee my pants. It’s explained to me that I have been “Baker Acted” because I’m a danger to myself and/or others.   Is it a 72-hour hold or 72-year-old? My three roommates are all shrill, screaming, senior citizens with dementia. Are they incontinent or are they acting out in anger? I never figured it out.

There were no programs, no central relaxing area, merely a dining room, a hall and our four patient bedrooms. Just another holding cell, I thought.

The second day a doctor showed up and I saw a famous actor in him. (Richard Dreyfuss) He was cynical, wise and compassionate. I’ve always liked good doctors and smart people.

“This is some kind of mistake, I don’t belong in here! You’ve got to get me out of here,” and more rambling.

“Allison, I think I know what’s wrong. Just relax, stay here for a few days, I’ll get you on some medication and you will feel a lot better and you’ll be released.”

I believed him. For the first time I knew my bipolar disorder had met its’ match.  He was right.  I had been on some of the right stuff and some of the wrong.

I asked for something to read and was handed 3 big hunky Reader’s Digests. I made a quick meal of them.  After five days, I took a taxi home to my new rental condo.

I still see Dr ______ after fifteen years. No more Baker Acting.  Continuity of care is of comfort to me. I have had antidepressant burnout six times since. He’s fished me out of the canal every time. There have been side effect and rough patches and referrals to intensive outpatient therapy in order to help me stay out of the hospital.  Dr. _________ stopped doing hospitals a few years ago, citing “administration hassles” as his reason.

I haven’t wanted to lose my continuity of care. My fear is of a doctor rewriting my entire protocol and me ending up on planet Mars. But now, Dr. __________works with a doc at a local hospital and I will have that contact if I have to go in.

This hasn’t been easy but it hasn’t been as disruptive and disturbing as losing all my choices to the one-size-fits-all rules and regulations that institutions have to have in order to keep a large group of mentally people safe in the same time and space. Ouch! Yes, sometimes I bite. But not all the time.

As you might imagine,  Dr. _________and I collaborate. He shares information on medications and research freely with me. He doesn’t give orders. We decide together. I’ve seen other psychiatrists for second opinions and have a good idea of who else is out there and how they think. One doctor (who is the head of