Thursday, December 5, 2013

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

The bottle was full.  Well, one or two might have been missing but that was all. I sat on the edge of the bed on that late fall day, filtered sunlight coming through the bedroom window, and stared at the bottle.  I’d been on the medication for a couple of months and loved the way it just knocked me out at night.  One minute I was awake and the next I was waking up in the morning, my book nearby and my reading lamp still on.  Blissful.  Near-instant oblivion.  

As I sat there staring at that bottle, I wondered what permanent oblivion would feel like.  For all the darkness, all the psychic and physical pain to be gone forever.  Oblivion.  I remember smiling…not a big “Wow, I’m happy!” smile, but the peaceful smile of someone who just found the answer to every problem in life.  I removed the cap and shook the bottle.  They were beautiful. 

Then I stopped.  What was I doing, for goodness sake?  What was I thinking?  How could I even consider taking my own life?! And what were these pills I was holding? 

Oh, I knew what they were.  Prescription sleeping pills.  My doctor…who is an excellent doctor, by the way…had found a quick and easy answer to my insomnia problem.  And boy, did I sleep!  Oblivion. Nearly instant oblivion.  But permanent oblivion?  Where did that thought come from?  I knew I’d been depressed, but not to that extent.

Because those pills were the only ones I was taking at the time I decided to research them.  Google to the rescue!  I searched the manufacturer’s website, several medical websites, and a few other sources before stumbling across one termed, appropriately enough, “Crazy Meds”.

Remember from blog post 1 how I mentioned the administrator of a site had saved my life without even knowing it?  I, uh, also mentioned a site with some colorful language.  Well, this is the site.  Right on both counts.  The site was poorly organized by someone who described himself and his fiancée as having “brain cooties”.  (And you thought I coined that term!  Sorry.  Stole it.)  But the information was amazing!  And after searching, there it was, the medication I was on, and in itty-bitty print, amongst all the possible but unlikely side effects was “suicidal thoughts”.  Sigh!  I was apparently in an elite group, but I’d rather not have been in it to start with. 

Still, it was nice to know what the problem was and know that the “cure” was to stop taking the medication. That was pretty simple.  I went on a different one and it worked well without putting me into the “slight chance of…” category.  No more elite-ness, which was fine by me.

So, anyway, this is the website.  http://www.crazymeds.us/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HomePage
It’s undergone changes since my discovery and is much better organized, but some of the language is still a bit colorful.

Enter at your own risk, but be assured there’s a wealth of information put into terms that are understandable.  And not just about mental illness and drugs for mental illness, but information for other “mentally interesting” people.

“Crazy Meds is the site for the obsessed and depressed, the manic and the panicked, the schizophrenic and epileptic, the migraineurs and bipolar, those with GAD, SAD, OCD, PTSD, in pain or have an otherwise non-standard brain.”  Don't you just love that?  I think many of us with "non-standard brains" have to take at least a slightly irreverent look at it.  Oh, I know my ailment is serious but I don't take it seriously.  Does that make sense?  You may have to have a non-standard brain to get it.

Sadly, I just discovered the forums at another site, the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=home) are no longer running, but the site does offer an online support group that meets at specific times and days.  Even though it does not have any forums, I do recommend it for all the information that can be gleaned.

That fall morning marked my initial foray in the world of crazy meds.  I realized just how depressed I really was and decided it was time for serious medical help.  This led me to the therapist who reminds of Flo from Progressive Insurance commercials, who led me to the diagnosis of bipolar disorder, and then led me through a zigzagging course of meds and psych doctors. 

You see, I’ve discovered I’m in another elite group, and one I can’t just leave.  Turns out I respond atypically to brain cootie meds.  Hurray for me!  As someone with BP, Prozac and other meds for unipolar depression should cause me to have to be peeled off the ceiling in a full bore manic mode.  Of course, not me.  I get to be “different” on top of being, well, different.  No, Prozac and other similar meds put me into an almost catatonic state, with no desire to do anything but sit and stare at the wall.  Watching TV takes too much effort. 

That wraps up this episode, kiddies.  There’s so much more to talk about, some of it experiences from my own life and some of it information about depression and bipolar disorder.  What should my next posting be about?  Any suggestions?