please vote in my poll on the right-hand side of the page.

today i met with Dr. Chua from Mental Health Services. she gave me a mood stabilizer called Geodon and a lot of good advice.

the medication is going to be free for up to six months and after that i'll be hooked into another service and i can pay on a sliding scale. the doctor (who was very, very nice) also said that she wouldn't prescribe me something i'd have to pay more than $4 for - so nothing that isn't generic. Geodon isn't generic, but they have "professional samples" there. i am willing to try anything at this point, although i am sort of surprised that she saw me as someone who needed treatment for bipolar rather than depression. i have experienced mood swings in the past, and she told me that antidepressants can often lead to pronounced and sometimes severe mood swings.

she also pointed out that the side-effects of this Geodon are much milder than most antidepressants - drowsiness (you take it before bed, so i don't think that's a problem and it may even help me sleep), nasal congestion (which she called "very tolerable"). the one she said that was the most serious was involuntary snake-like motions - sort of a temporary, serpentine form of parkinson's. so if you notice me slithering any time in the next month, let me know.

if anyone out there has any anecdotal experience with Geodon, i'd be happy to hear it. i'll be doing my own research, of course.

i am apprehensive about starting a regimen of medication, but i figure i'll eat any chemicals i can lay hands upon anyway, so why not try this one? if i don't like it i can always switch or just quit entirely.

now i have to find a free therapist. luckily i have a list of phone numbers.

my mood is about at 7 today, on a scale from 1 - 10, with 10 being "supreme omnipotence, absence of all fear or doubt, and total oneness with all matter and energy in the universe," and 1 being "bottom of a ravine with two broken legs, two slit wrists, a bucket of whisky, an assload of pain pills, and a shotgun." i had a really super-neat couple of days and i'm on the upswing. also i completed my FAFSA today and so am happy about that.

Dr. Chua also recommended that i start waking up early (like REALLY early) and also taking 15-30 minutes of sunlight once a day, as well as finding an exercise regimen. i am hoping that these things combined with therapy will make it possible for me to survive even if medication turns out to not be an option for me.

next appointment is in two weeks.

additionally, i recommend the movie Coraline for anyone who hasn't seen it, especially Phil and all of Teen Girl Squad. it made me gasp with delight more than once.

last but not least, i wrote a good poem about leopard slugs yesterday, have been thinking up new bits and pieces for the novel left and right, and am going to be going to the Bureau of Vocational Resources next week and hopefully they will hook me up with a jorb. i think a little disposable income and my own place to hunker down would make everything about my life a lot easier.

shit. i guess this means i'm going to have to quit drinking for awhile.


elly_or_esther said...

You know, I think the biggest part about seeking out some sort of medication/treatment/therapy is realizing that not everything works for everyone. My doctor when asked told me that basically how they prescribe anti depressants is trying the pills that seem to work for most of their patients, waiting a month, and then switching it to something else if it's not having any effects/negative effects. It can be a very frustrating process, and it's good to keep in mind that just because one doesn't work there are several other options out there. It's also good to have an open mind (which it seems in your post.) You know if you're seeing a good doctor if they listen to your hesitations and try to address them.

As for therapy, it's good that you're trying to seek out a therapist. Same with the medication, there are therapists that work for you and therapists that won't. I've only managed to find one that I felt comfortable talking with out of the 4 that I've tried. Worst case, if the therapist you find doesn't work out, you'll just have to go through another intake and try again.

It's really hard to make that decision to try medication/therapy, so I'm proud of you and wish you luck. The sunlight treatment will be a lot easier for you once the weather warms up, but I know in my personal experience the days where I don't leave the apartment at all are the days that I feel like crap. Definitely let us know how that works out.

Tim said...

i voted yes in your poll because you are my friend and i want you to have money.