(Just Like) Starting Over

Just like I figured, Dr. Awesomesauce did not judge or get upset with me for screwing up with the pills last Sunday night. He was disappointed, but only because he knows how proud I was of staying sober for so long. As he reminded me, it’s a conscious choice EVERY DAY to not drink/use, and he wants me to attend at least one 12-step meeting within the next 30 days to get back into that mindset.

He also “prescribed” church attendance at least once (but preferably) twice per week for the next 30 days, and to go to Confession because he knows I believe I need absolution in order to move on completely. “You are a woman of faith,” he told me, “and you need to be infused with that faith, because it’s so much a part of who you are.”

Is this guy good, or what?? My own parents never knew HALF of what he knows about me. I’m not sure whether that speaks well of Dr. Awesomesauce, or ill of them; it’s probably a combination of the two.

Once again, I am in awe of the way he remembers such intimate details about his patients, the way he studies what really makes them tick and then tailors therapy to their individual circumstances. I know he always reviews his notes before a session; there’s no way he could memorize every patient’s quirks, job situations, and passions. But even after 19 months in his care, I’m still amazed at my incredible luck in having a doctor who is a healer in the fullest sense of the word.

Anyway, I feel 110% better now, and I’m still doing so well mood-wise that we didn’t even address the bipolar, except that he’s going to leave me on my current med regimen even though he really would’ve liked to reduce the Geodon. We may revisit that again in a few months if I can maintain this level of stability, but I think we both know that if it ain’t broke, it’s best not to try to fix it.

I’d better explain about the Geodon. Those of you who’ve been following my blog know the story about how I wound up on antipsychotics; what you probably don’t know is why it’s not a great idea to stay on them forever. The old ones, like Thorazine and Haldol, often left patients with permanent side effects such as tremors and drooling, as well as memory loss and a shuffling gait. The newer drugs are less likely to produce those effects, but there’s still a risk that rises with the dose and the length of time a patient takes them.

Being in the mid-range of safe dosing and having been on Geodon for only about eight months thus far, my own risk for these problems is still pretty low, but of course it would be better if I could reduce the dose (and even better if I could do without it entirely). However, as I keep having to remind myself, getting hung up on a number—or a label—is a waste of brain space, because neither of those really matter as long as the medicine works!

And boy, does it. I cannot believe what a difference all of this has made in my life. I haven’t had a single screaming fit since I’ve been medicated. My road rage is all but gone. I don’t get upset with the grandkids for being kids, and I can even tolerate political opinions that are different from my own without feeling the need to point out how freaking stoooopid they are. I almost got myself banned from my favorite website for that a couple of years ago; now I’m regarded as one of their most valuable posters.

Yes, I’ve come a long, long way since I first crawled into my pdoc’s office and perched nervously on his sofa, waiting for God-knew-what to happen. Despite the relapse, I’m feeling more sure-footed than I did even a couple of months ago, and I’m even looking forward to the holidays this year.

Thanks, Doc.

Published by bpnurse

I'm a retired registered nurse and writer who also happens to be street-rat crazy, if the DSM-IV.....oops, 5---is to be believed. I was diagnosed with bipolar I disorder at the age of 55, and am still sorting through the ashes of the flaming garbage pile that my life had become. Here, I'll share the lumps and bumps of a late-life journey toward sanity.... along with some rants, gripes, sour grapes and good old-fashioned whining from time to time. It's not easy being bipolar in a unipolar world; let's figure it out together.

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