Before I get into the update, I wanted to thank the person or people who linked to my last post. My settings on WordPress allow me to see that many, many visits came directly to that post from Facebook. I imagine the reason was positive. I don’t get a lot of attention on my blog ordinarily, so seeing my stats climb for a few days, plus the comments and the email in response to my post made me feel good. Thank you.
When I last wrote, I was in a terrible place. My mood was mixed and I was rapidly cycling through the emotions I described in the post. I wrote it after some time of taking 10 mg of my medication, every other day. I am prescribed 15 mg, daily, so this was quite a drop in dose. The reason I did this has to do with becoming uninsured, not being able to afford the medication and being on a wait list to see a psychiatrist who, at my appointment, ended up being able to provide me with samples of my full dose to get me into January of this year.
I have since signed up for my own insurance through the Affordable Care Act. Unfortunately, I did not understand the plans well enough and still cannot afford my medication. There is no generic for it, currently. There won’t be until after April 2015. My medication costs nearly $900/month. I have a $1,000 deductible for prescriptions, so I would pay for the first month’s supply, in full. After exhausting the deductible, my insurance pays 70%, and I pay 30% co-insurance. That’s nearly $300 a month, which I still cannot afford.
I could have done a little planning ahead, had the prescription department been on top of their game and able to respond to my queries about the cost of my medication. Unfortunately, it took three weeks to find out how much my medication would cost, and in that time, I watched my supply dwindle to nearly nothing. When I found out the cost, I had a week’s supply left. I rationed it out over a week and a half, and now I am feeling the effects. I suffered a few days of depression and am now feeling hypomanic.
Fortunately, because of the insurance I chose, I have a little team of medical providers working on helping me either get assistance for the cost of my medicine from the pharmaceutical company or to find another more affordable medication that I can switch to. The doctor and social worker/health coach were able to get a one month’s supply of my medication to me. We are using the month ahead to come up with the next plan.
Knowing that things will be ok soon is comforting. Knowing that my medication will likely kick back in and make me even again is equally comforting. Living with this feeling is the pits. I have watched my life change over the last five months, as though it has breath, arms, a mouth and mind. My life changed with little regard for me, my wants and my needs. Somewhere inside this body, somewhere inside my warped brain, there exists a version of myself that I am happy with. For now, I don’t know where it is. I don’t know who I am.
I have long believed that my bipolar disorder is not simply an illness I must pound at in order to survive. That it isn’t something to look to for an explanation for the things I do. That I am responsible for the things I do, bipolar disorder related behavior, or not. That I must work with it, not fight with it, because it will always be there, and the worst of it may come back again- with or without medication.
I have been questioned and even argued with over this way of thinking by one of my favorite past doctors and once by a classroom full of social workers when explaining my beliefs to them during a NAMI In Our Own Voice presentation. Both my doctor and the social workers explained that my bipolar disorder is not me. I am not my illness. I can still argue back. How can my illness not be me when it is an all-consuming part of what I feel, think and do? I still feel this way, however, today I feel a bit of understanding for the other side of things. That perhaps it isn’t my responsibility what this illness does to me and to those around me. I didn’t ask to be born this way. I didn’t do anything to deserve what it does to me- causing me to lose friends, overspend, over speak, not sleep then sleep too much, overeat then under eat, yell, cry and laugh, nearly all in the same breath and tear my home apart on a grand idea that I will never be able to turn into anything worthwhile. And when I am well, I become suspicious of everything I feel, think and do. I can’t trust myself. I hate it. Maybe they were right and I am not responsible for the worst of it. Or maybe, today, I’m just mad and want to fight.