Health Magazine

Doctors and Diagnoses

By Gray Eyed Athena @grayeyedowl

This week was low.  I pushed my limits but scared other people (and myself) with my clearly sleep-deprived mental state.  I cannot describe the level of frustration and desperation I felt, and feel, at the catch-22 of my predicament.  On the one hand, I was prescription-free as of January 18th, giving me a complete sense of ability and empowerment.  I took pride in my cold-turkey quit of Remeron (Mirtazapine) and although I knew that sleep was an issue, I believed it would get better.  It didn’t get better.

Although my sleep deteriorated night by night, I still was able to buoy myself up on the certain knowledge that at least I was clean-functioning, with no side-effects or residual sedation to get in the way of me operating as me.  The frustration I felt at 2am, however, was all-consuming and infuriating.  When my eyes would open without my bidding and my body would lie in wait for the sneaky prey of sleep to wander past and I would order, beg, threaten, haggle with myself and some god to please, please, please allow me to sleep… that is the epitome of frustration.  Eventually, those many nights of waking added up.

This week was awful.  I think I would have pushed through until the bare and bony end if not for the concern I felt from B, my family, my friends, and even the concern voiced here in our blogging community.  It was the ultimate defeat and frustration, to know that I was obligated to take the Seroquel prescribed by my PCP in order to preserve what little sense of self I had left.

I left work at midday on Tuesday and got in my car, snow flying down in a late-winter blizzard, and sobbed, high-pitched, keening, animal sobs, leaving me breathless and dizzy.  I cried because I knew that my last piece of power was going to be taken from me when I got home.  I knew I was going to take the Seroquel because that was my only option (other than…. what?  Suicide?).  That my only desire to be a healthy individual without the aid of a prescription, even that, was going to be seized and overthrown by obligation to take the drug and put myself to bed.

I didn’t take it last night, and don’t plan on taking it again.  I also woke up at 2am this morning and did not go back to sleep.  I think I can get by for a couple weeks on the few days of rest I’ve had, until I meet my new psychiatrist on April 3.

Here’s what I’ve learned this week:

I do not believe I am Bipolar, and I strongly resent the fact that my PCP is operating under the assumption that I am not a human being but rather, a singular diagnosis with an acutely narrow-minded treatment plan.

I do not believe that my sleep issues are related to my mental health.

I believe that my sleep issues are directly related to my 9 concussions.  This pattern of insomnia (while semi-successfully medicated the past two years) really began after my second ski accident (and 9th concussion) in March 2010.  There is a lot of research out there to show a link between TBI (Traumatic Brain Injuries) and all kinds of chronic issues, including insomnia.  I desperately hope that my new psychiatrist will be open to my hunches and will allow me to explain my views on my diagnoses.  I also would like to ditch my PCP for someone who sees me as a individual, rather than a diagnosis.  I am also planning on following Robert’s (my therapist) suggestion of talking to sleep disorder doctor and getting myself into a sleep study.

I can handle anything, as long as I can sleep.

Oh, and as far as weight goes, since weight was one of the primary reasons I was resistant to Seroquel in the first place:  I gained 2 pounds this week.  I don’t really care since I know how out of sync my whole body has been.  I am getting myself back into routine and restriction and am confident that I will soon put this whole week (and its weight gain) behind me, for good.

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