I've been on Allnurses for ...well I don't remember how long. I'm sure it says somewhere but I don't have the urge to look for it. I've come to this board time and time again for advice. Everyone has always been supportive and kind.
I have been through countless jobs since becoming a nurse. Each one ending up in disaster. Nothing life threatening (for the patients anyway) or license threatening. Yet I find myself repeatedly in the same situation. Feeling out of control, out of my realm, that others are insane, that the workload is crazy, that .... heck everyone else is a problem.
Suddenly, most recently, I had a mind-blowing discovery about myself. Well, I shouldn't say suddenly, it was coming on for months, yet I still didn't recognize it, nor made any move to correct it.
One word. DEPRESSION.
It hit me like a freight train about a month or so ago. I didn't get out of bed for 3 days, ended up having an ulcer, getting treated for said ulcer, quitting yet another job, and getting yet another one.
The most recent one had me out of the house the entire time my family was home.
Now, suffice it to say, I have been clinically depressed for 13 years now. Went through several medications (antidepressants) and after a couple of years on each, they just seem to quit working, and I go into a major depression, get into the doctor, get meds changed, and go on with life. Great scenerio, it worked for 13 years, so whats changed now?
I went into work last week Wednesday, in my scrubs with a statement typed up of problems I was having on orientation on my new job. Lack of 'actual' orientation. In all honesty, I have done that same exact thing in half the jobs I quit. I have built up a reputation for myself in my area, which makes it extremely hard to find a job.
In either case, went into work last wed with note in hand, and had a complete meltdown trying to talk to my DON. I said, "I think I need to get my head together, I'll call you next week" only briefly talking about the issues I had planned to talk about and basically left it at that. I talked to her that Friday (picking up my check) She said to call us back when your feeling better. So I hope that means I'll actually have a job to go back to, because I have burnt every single bridge from here to there and everywhere inbetween.
Then, last weekend was my birthday, my parents were set to come down, I had to clean the house (which had been terribly neglected for who knows how long.
As I was cleaning, I took a break and got on the computer.
I did a google search for severe depression. Anyone ever do that? It comes up with more links to Bi-polar than 'depression'. That got me thinking, reading, doing tests.
I realized that I have had major manic phases. Severe ones that I'm 1. lucky to have lived through, 2. lucky to still have a family through, and 3. lucky to not be living on the street.
For years I've brushed off these 'episodes' as I just flipped out. Everyone does it from time to time right? BUT do you know of anyone that does it for 3 months straight? Who feels completely out of control and cannot think, not sleeping, rarely eating (lost 65#s) and inviting people you don't know, from another country to come and live with your family (with the impression 'I" was unhappy in my marriage). Which the unhappiness in my marriage was in itself untrue. BUT I wasn't getting the attention I used to. So I turned to the internet, where I got all the attention I needed plus some.
So I invited this man to come live with us (my husband, children and myself) thinking it would sort itself out. WHAT IN THE WORLD???!!!
Who would think like that? All these years (it's been at least 8) I thought I just was 'addicted to the internet' and that 'I just flipped out for a while' I'm normal right? Other people do this too right? I spent, all 8 years living with what I did to my family. Yes we're still together, I one day realized what a mistake I had made and sent him back home to his country. Life moved on, however with quite a bit of difficulty.
Well..... with that story in mind, it occurred to me (after reading a lot about bipolar on the net) that geez, I've done stupid stuff like that on and off since I was 14 years old! I can think of at least 6 instances where I completely went off the deep end, and doing things that NORMAL people don't do. Yet turning around and looking at these instances like, no biggie. I'm mortified by my actions after I do them, but during the time, it seems perfectly reasonable. These periods of oddness usually happened for minimum of 3 weeks, usually lasting up to 6 months, where, during this time, I feel absolutely happy, very sure of myself, confident and most assuredly NORMAL. Yet by and large, I was FAR from normal.
Now, I'm in a very VERY low state of depression, to the point I have considered suicide (no I'm not suicidal anymore). I did at the time, have a plan, had the means. You name it I had it, yet didn't have the energy to do it (Thank god).
What's funny is, the first time I was 'manic' I was actually put in a mental institution. My parents did it when I was 14 to keep me away from my 18 year old boyfriend (who I was about to run away to Mexico with at the time). During my time in the mental institution, I was never labeled anything but a genius (did a darn IQ test on me). So after I was released, I secretly keep seeing this 'boyfriend' for a while, then started getting together with a lot of guys (so to speak). I didn't get treatment, I didn't get help, and I was never diagnosed.
First time seeking help was when my second husband cheated on me. I was at my wits end, couldn't focus, was deeply in mourning (for our relationship) and didn't know where else to turn. Went to a family doctor, was given Buspar. Which was brand new at the time. It worked for a few weeks, then nothing, went back and was given prozac. On to my life on antidepressants.
SO - I've been through 2 or 3 doctors since I had my first child (at 18) and all of them diagnosed me with severe depression. So I've been treated, and treated and treated, when in the end, each time ends up with a 'manic' or 'hypomanic' episode (this is another thing that JUST occurred to me). Of course, after reading, when your 'manic' you don't feel like anything is wrong. In fact, everything is awesome. So until you have another meltdown (depression) then your fine.
So in essence I have been likely riding the Bipolar roller coaster of doom since I was 14 years old. Do I have a confirmed diagnosis of this yet? No
But I have been to the doctor (a new doctor - my old one is getting senile). The doctor said, well, it sounds like bipolar to me, but I need to talk to our NP because she's seems to have a niche for Psych. I told him, great, please do and soon, I don't know how much more I can do this. On came the "are you suicidal?" questions and so on. That was THIS Wednesday. Still no word from the doctor. He did however switch my antidepressant (yet again) and I'm still waiting on word of what the NP said. I'm giving it another hour and then I'm calling the office.
I have so many times thought of others as being bipolar, but NEVER once did I look at myself and my insane actions!
On top of the glaring fact that my dad is bipolar (untreated) and my paternal grandmother was bipolar (untreated) both diagnosed though. What other idea could I possibly get? What took me so long to figure this out?
What doesn't help a darn thing is, I DO NOT HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE!!! So I made sure that was clear to the 'new' doctor and that I can't afford multiple visits since I can't work in the state of mind I'm in. So I don't know.
I'm scared to death that I'm going to go 'manic' again after this new med change. However, I have tried to get off antidepressants countless times in the past, only to end up a blithering idiot back at the doctors office 2-3 weeks later (maybe more), begging for help. Then, back to the same old routine, absolutely AWESOME for a while (manic) then hitting rock bottom (depression) then repeat. I'm sure there is some normal times in my life, somewhere, some time. But for now my future looks horrible.
I don't know what I want to get across from posting this. Maybe it's a vent, maybe it's a private (well now public) therapy. I don't know. Maybe I want advice, but I'm not sure what about. I just feel absolutely hopeless right now, and feel as though I have no where to go, no way to get there, and I just want, more than anything else, to FEEL again. I cannot think clearly right now, can't focus. I feel like a puppet in someone elses horrible rendition of my life. Like I have NO control, no future. Again, I'm no longer suicidal (seem to be past that).
I clearly need help, I have tried to get it. Tried first to get it at a local community action program which supposedly goes on income, and well....I couldn't afford the 'first' appointment. So, that's when I decided I need to find a new doctor. Found one that was suggested by the nurse at my old doctors and tried to get help.
He seemed concerned, and I know he's 'conservative' in treatment. But why haven't I heard back from him? I can't afford to make another appointment to see someone else. I am NOT religious, so talking to a pastor is out.
My family, well...as supportive as they are, they DO NOT understand what I'm feeling, and just tell me to 'snap out of it' or 'go back to work, keep yourself busy'. That's what sent me this direction in the first darn place. What do I do now? Besides call the doctor in a ½ hour? I just hope he has an answer for me. I cannot keep going like this.
I'm so sorry this is so long, it's all built up on me for so many years, and none of it made sense until now. And NOW no one is listening to me. I feel like that girl in the movie "Titanic" I'm standing in a room full of people screaming at the top of my lungs, yet no one is hearing me.
I guess that's all for now. There's so much more I could explain, could go into detail about, yet I'm sure by now you get the gist of it all. So it would be pointless. Thanks for reading this.