Day Twelve Out of Hospital

Simply must update, even though I am feeling entirely unmotivated to do so. I was discharged 12 days ago having completed the requisite 20 TMS sessions.
At this point, I feel I have very little to report regarding the outcome of the therapy. I have only been out of hospital for 12 days and it’s always such a difficult transition that it’s hard to gauge my improvement, if any.
I feel strange at times as though I am percolating, if that makes sense? It’s like somebody has installed a dimmer switch in my mind and is slowly turning it up. The result? Well not unlike a room that becomes brighter when you turn the light on; my mind feels similar. The point is, when a room gets lighter, it’s not necessarily better, it’s still the same old room but it is easier to see. So it’s true I am seeing with more clarity, but what good is clarity without the motivation required to makes the appropriate changes?
It is my hope that things are stirring up “up there” and I will start to feel more positive soon. I have heard a few accounts of patients feeling better up to a month after the treatment. I don’t mind being a late bloomer if the result is some respite from the debilitating condition I have endured for the most of my life.
In the meantime, I feel as if I’m only just functioning. I still suffer from some pretty intense anxiety, I’m tearful and often agitated. I can’t even think of going back to work without breaking into a cold sweat, I’m paralysed with fear because I haven’t done my taxes and life’s everyday pressures are often unendurable. (Oh my God, the heater has stopped working, I’m going to kill myself.) I’m still taking Benzo’s daily (which I hate doing), albeit only a very low dose at night. I’m not getting “out” enough and I’m getting pretty freaked by the thought of school holidays starting next week.
I am told to go on, I am told it will get better. I am told, what doesn’t kill me will make me stronger. But what if it doesn’t? Make me stronger that is. What if it does kill me? I wouldn’t be the first. I plod along everyday hoping that this will be the one that turns things around, but I’m doing it blind. I’m doing it blind and I have never wanted to see more than what I do now.

I feel I have had some measurable success with the TMS treatment. I started to feel this around treatment 7, but Iv’e been keeping it pretty close to my chest for fear of “putting the moz on it.”It all began when a fellow patient asked me a question in the dining room and before I knew it, I was answering and conversing freely without thinking about causing bodily harm, hurling abuse or running screaming from the room. It’s fair to say that the symptom of irritability has always presented itself rather clearly in my depressive episodes.

So when I found myself chatting merrily, okay not merrily, but congenially, to this patient; I realised that there had been a definite shift in my mood. The next day I joined in on a conversation in the dispensary room and the day after I actually had coffee with another patient! Crazy shiz fo sho. Now, at treatment 15, that initial feeling of not wanting to become homicidal towards other patients is starting to expand and filter to other areas.

They may seem like small things, but those of you who have been hounded by that almighty black and relentless dog know the significance of the following. Over the last week, I have:

Put make up on three times

Shaved my legs

Went to a ‘Group Session’ at the hospital

Took two walks

Went to the library

Cooked some meatballs

Painted a picture

Plucked my eyebrows

drove the car

and

did some laundry.

Practically cured, I reckon. Well, on the way at least (with any luck.) Unfortunately I have still been unable to accomplish the following:

Change the bed sheets (nowhere near a personal best, but still a significant run at five weeks.)

Stop yelling at the television for being so stupid

Get up before Midday

Shower daily

Roll my eyes when anyone mentions The Glee Project, or anything relating to vampires.

Relinquish sarcasm as a necessary means of communication

So after 35 days of hospitalisation, 15 Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation treatments, a hefty $30,000 charged to my health fund and the same pathological need to scream “The Fucking Fonz is not fucking cool!” at the TV every night, I feel like I could finally be on my way to recovery. Now that’s cool.

Image

Seriously, does this guy look cool to you?

What do You do When Your Psychiatrist Shows Signs of Delusional Behaviour?

My current psychiatrist is Hungarian. It’s the first thing he said to me when we met three months ago during my third admission to a psych facility. “Heyllo my neyme iz Ductor P, I em from Hun-ga-ree.”

“That’s nice,” I replied. Initially, I was so grateful to Dr. P for taking me off SSRI’s which I had struggled with for almost twenty years that I overlooked some of his “quirks.” Now I wonder if his decision to put me on MAOI’s was less visionary and more pure fluke.

I had some good success with the Aurorix he prescribed and had a glimpse of how life could be, however it was short lived and seven weeks after my discharge I ended up back in another psych facility with Dr. P recommending TMS treatment. In the short time on “the outside” prior to my current admission I visited Dr. P in his rooms twice and started to notice some unorthodox behaviour. The problem is: he talks about himself! For your average chap on the street, that’s no big deal, but I’m the patient here and I really only want to talk about me. I would also accept listening to him talk about me and possibly listening to him talking about others like me.

However I have little to no interest in being regaled with stories of his boyhood in Hungary, his aborted professional swimming career, Cold War Europe, the delights of Korean food, the merits of the Carlton Football Club, golf, Diet Coke and Lance Armstrong. Though I do like Diet Coke.

As time passes I figure he will expand his repertoire, but he just starts bloody repeating himself instead. I keep trying to convince myself that he is just overworked and he will start to pay more attention to me soon enough but then I overheard some other patients talking about him.

“Oh God I’m so sick of hearing about fucking Hungary!”

“I know, if I have to hear one more time about how he could have been an Olympic swimmer, I’m going to pull my hair out!”

“I don’t even know who Lance Armstrong is.”

I didn’t need to inquire who they were referring to and there were general nods and sniggers from others who were obviously his patients. I even gauged some knowing glances from the nurses. So up until this point, I’m dealing with doctor who is repetitive, boring and self absorbed, but it wasn’t until his next visit that I realised he was probably also delusional.

He arrived in the afternoon after I had had my daily TMS treatment. I had been discussing with the treatment nurse about my psychiatrist being a bit repetitive and when I did my “let me tell you about ven I vus a boy in Hun-ga-ree” impression, she looked shocked and said “Oh my God, Dr. P?, don’t tell me he does that to his patients too?” We had a chuckle and she said that he told her the same story that very day as he did when they met six years ago.

When he met me in my room later that day and I mentioned that I had been talking to that particular nurse, his eyes lit up. “Oh ziz nurse lovves me, I am her favour-rit ductor!” So there you have it, possible Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Delusional Ideation. Sigh, I know I shouldn’t analyse the analysts between you’ve had as much therapy as I have it comes with the territory; even they’ll tell you that.

I should mention that I do like Dr. P and frankly, not a lot of people have that going for them so I’m not likely to let him go, but I don’t see a future for him as my therapist as such. But it cannot go without saying that I am eternally grateful to him for paying some attention to my history and taking me off the roller coaster ride of SSRI side-effects and complications.

I have been given a psychologist who specialises in psychotherapy (no CBT for me thanks!) for sessions while I am an impatient (typo intended) who, throughout our three sessions has only nodded (as all good psychotherapists should) while I’ve sobbed, burbled swore and grunted (as all good patients should.) He wears a Yarmulke and I like that. I always think of that Adam Sandler song “So Put on Your Yarmulke” and I like that too. Not The Glee Project though, I fucking hate The Glee Project.

 

You May Remember Me from Previous Blogs.

Photo by hungrybison

It has been over a year since my last blog. I not only made the decision to quit, but I entirely erased my blogging history too. I try not to regret things because at the time that’s what you really wanted, but I regret it. Mostly because my memory is so poor (with the exception of being able to quote The Simpson’s and stupid things my husband has said ) so it seems unfortunate to have had a whole lot of crap written down I could have referred to, but can’t.

I probably wasn’t ready for blogging before and there is no solid evidence to suggest I am now, except I have embarked on a new course of treatment for my depression and I would like some feedback from those who have some first hand experience and a record of how I am feeling throughout the process.

The new treatment is TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation.) A brief synopsis by The Mayo Clinic follows:

“Transcranial magnetic stimulation is a procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of depression. Transcranial magnetic stimulation may be tried when other depression treatments haven’t worked.

With transcranial magnetic stimulation, a large electromagnetic coil is placed against your scalp near your forehead. The electromagnet used in transcranial magnetic stimulation creates electric currents that stimulate nerve cells in the region of your brain involved in mood control and depression.

Because transcranial magnetic stimulation is a relatively new depression treatment, more studies are needed to determine how effective it is, which treatment techniques work best and whether it has any long-term side effects.”

So the professionals here at one of Victoria’s leading psychiatric hospitals (my home for the past three weeks and four more to follow) are tinkering with my brain. It’s come to this and after twenty years of little to no respite from my depression, it feels like my Last Chance Saloon.

Officially, the first treatment did not go well and I was in a lot of pain for the twenty minute duration. I was told in the process leading up to the treatment that the main concern would be “the loud clicking noise” throughout and I would only experience minimal discomfort if any. Not surprising to anyone who knows me, this was far from the case. It was very painful and the next day of treatment was aborted after only several minutes because of the pain. It was decided that the treatment side would be swapped from left side to right in hope of minimising the pain.

The third day was a big improvement with only the expected minimal discomfort and I just finished my fourth treatment. I haven’t experienced any side effects with the exception of some slight muscle spasming in my left bicep. There is very little documentation on first hand experience, but I have been told not to expect any improvement for at least fifteen days of treatment.

I have nothing to do but wait and try to remain hopeful the TMS will be successful, but it’s not easy. My mood is exceptionally low, the food is crap, my new psychiatrist seems overly intent on regaling me with stories from his boyhood in Hungary and the hospital inexplicably just removed the vending machines. There’s nothing on TV because of the bloody Olympics, I’m lonely and bored and strangely enough, all the other patients in here are crazy! Any feedback by anyone who has had TMS would be greatly appreciated.

The following is a short video of  me having a treatment. The current causes my left eye and left side of my mouth to twitch. Don’t watch if you think you might find it a bit ooglyboogly, because it is. On the flip-side though, my permanent eyeliner looks great.