No Assurance With Insurance

Having completed my TMS treatments last Wednesday I was certain I was on the road to recovery.  I had successfully finished and was discharged from the “Intensive Outpatient Program”that included Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in my case. (Simply put, my insurance did not cover TMS so it was administered for free by my psychiatrist, and was entered as IOP as a way to “trick” my insurance company into at least paying for my time spent at the doctor’s office.) In addition to the TMS to treat my symptoms, I have also been prescribed nearly an entire cabinet full of medications, from Seroquel as an antipsychotic, to propanolol and hydroxyzine as beta blockers to help with anxiety, to Trintellix, Wellbutrin, and Rexulti as antidepressants. Rexulti is one of the newest meds on the market and is known to work wonders as a booster to a regular antidepressant (which is Trintellix for me).

Rexulti was added to my medication list after my sixth TMS treatment. It was supposed to “boost” me over the hump so I could get back on track sooner rather than later. I feel like the Rexulti, in conjunction with the TMS, literally saved my life.

Now, because Rexulti is new, it’s apparently expensive. Too expensive for the likes of my insurance company, so they refused to pay for it. I have taken all of the samples they gave me, and I am currently on day 4 of not having Rexulti. I must admit I am quite nervous the depression and anxiety will come back without it. But, unless my doc can get a large supply of samples, I’m just shit outta luck. Because mental illness….what is that? Is it even a real thing? I think it’s all in your head……

This is me on “This Is Us”

So I found a show to watch. More like, I was given a show to watch. Pretty much forced to watch the first episode by my best friend. But my God I am so glad she made me.

Never have I ever thought that a show could save someone’s life. (Except for The Oprah Show, and now more recently, The Ellen Show, because let’s face it, if you ever watched their shows it makes you want to be a better person. And if you’ve been on either show I’m sure your life is better than it was before because those women touch people’s lives for real.) This Is Us is different though. It is filmed in a way that makes the characters more relatable than any show I’ve seen before. (Except Roseanne.) It touches on real issues that happen in real life. Sure, I wonder how Randall and Beth got so rich, and how did Kevin make it anywhere in Hollywood because the odds are so slim, and what in tf does Kate do for a living to survive? But besides all of these obvious wonders, the show is about real life things and real life feelings. And it hooks you early, right from the start.

I started watching This Is Us halfway through the first season in 2016. I got episode 1 On Demand and binge watched the episodes leading up to the current one, so I would be ready when it came on Tuesday night. Allison convinced me to watch the first episode when I was on maternity leave that winter. I had just had Francie Jolene and I was suffering from debilitating postpartum depression (go figure!) so I just knew a TV show would not hold my interest. My focus was solely on my misery. But 10 minutes into episode one, I couldn’t take my eyes from the screen long enough to even be depressed. I became engulfed in the lives of Jack and Rebecca Pearson. While I breastfed, I caught up on all of the episodes I missed. I was able to almost escape from myself while I watched The Big Three grow up.

Cut to season 2. I didn’t start watching faithfully like I had planned, because I knew that I would definitely catch up at some point. After my extreme, severe anxiety hit me in November, I didn’t give two shits about Jack and Rebecca Pearson. I just wanted my life back. So for weeks, through therapy and medication and hospitalization, I tried to get my life back. When I got home from the hospital I finally started season 2. I did it begrudgingly though, because I thought for sure I wouldn’t be able to focus.

Once again, Jack and Rebecca Pearson saved my life. I was instantly taken into their world and distracted from my own misery, finally, even if it was just for a little while. Of course I cried every episode, but these tears were caused by somebody else’s sad life, not my own.  And I could instantly connect with Kate because my dad died too when I was an 18 year old girl.

I talk about the show to everyone and anyone that will listen. I tell people that it’s saved my life. But then I remember that Allison made me watch it. So really, Allison saved my life. Probably more times than I can count.

Dermatillomania and me

As I mentioned in my tag line, I carry around a few diagnoses with me daily. Having a name for each of my quirks makes me feel better about each. Like, no, I’m not the only one. One of the “side effects” of my obsessive compulsive disorder is Dermatillomania, or skin picking. It sounds so ridiculous, I know…. Like who in the world could become obsessed with something so utterly ridiculous. I don’t know. I struggle with an answer to that on the regular. Daily. As in, all of the time. You could say I’m obsessed with it. I am obsessed with why I am obsessed. And so on and so on. It’s a downward spiral, really.
I hated my picking so much that I finally spoke to my therapist, and then my psychiatrist, to find a solution to the picking problem. I had always responded well to prozac,with the exception of the picking. But at this point I was totally willing to switch up my meds to manage my OCD more effectively, so that’s what we did.
I was very hopeful when we started switching things around. I started a relatively new medicine called Trintellix, and I thought it was smooth sailing. I felt better, I stopped picking, and things were looking up. But suddenly, all of that dissipated and I was left feeling raw, and anxious, and completely depressed. I wasn’t picking, but I continued to be more and more miserable. Week after week, and med after med, I was still suffering. The anxiety was debilitating. I couldn’t function, I couldn’t do daily tasks. I couldn’t care for my children to the degree that I desired. And the guilt from that skyrocketed my depression until hospitalization was necessary.
Now, the experience I had during my hospitalization is a blog post all by itself, possibly 2. But for now, we’ll simply say it wasn’t as effective as my family and I had hoped. So a new year was rung in,and I was no better. I reported to my usual psychiatrist as soon as I was released from the hospital so I could continue the drug regiment that I received at the hospital. I spent a few more weeks trying to stay hopeful, but overall I was dying inside.
Seeing that I was no longer responding to any medication, including Prozac which had worked wonders in the past, my psychiatrist set me up with an Intensive Outpatient Program, which includes Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation treatments and intensive daily cognitive behavioral therapy sessions.
Finally I’m feeling the relief that i have longed for since November 2017. I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.I am ecstatic to say the least, but I am also trying to remain cautious so I can identify my triggers without swirling out of control again.
So that’s my story. Which brings me back to the original subject: Dermatillomania and Me. I currently pick my skin from time to time. Often times, more than I wish to admit. I am also obsessed with any whiskers on my chin. They. Must. Come.Out. But I’m not (severely) anxious, and I’m not miserably depressed. I would trade one for the other any day. I vow to never, ever fuck with my meds again to relieve something so petty. You couldn’t have told me that 9 months ago though. And it has taken just that long to feel like myself again. So I have accepted it. I will continue to try not to pick as often, however if this is the worst it gets, I’ll take it over hospitalization any day. 😉

Marcy, My Secret Sister

I’m under the magnetic pulse of the TMS helmet as I type this. Today is #12, and I will leave here and go to my daily therapy session with a wonderful woman named Millicent.  She is helping me identify my triggers (things that make me anxious) and she is also talking me through my trauma….which I didn’t even realize was there…..

So every day I’m learning something new about myself and my recovery, which is awesome. I always joke about being 2 different people: myself, who is witty and compassionate, and Marcy, my twin sister, who lives only inside me due to my bicornuate uterus. Simply put, I have 2 of everything: uteruses, cervixes, you name it…… and extra crazy hormones to match. I have 2 vaginas. I was told that when my mom was pregnant with me, there were 2 heartbeats up until 14 weeks gestation. So clearly, I swallowed up my twin sister and all that’s left is her lil vagina, making it impossible to forget about her or leave her in the past.

Now that my current treatment has begun,  a third character has introduced herself…. The severely depressed, debilitatingly anxious, fucking miserable character that I do pity, but that bitch is not welcome here again. I’m naming her Marissa, after a poor soul I met while I was hospitalized in December. However, sometime relapse is inevitable. So I have to remember that I must love myself, no matter what kind of mood I’m in or “who” I feel like each day……easier said than done, let me tell ya.

PS: I don’t believe I am 3 different people. I’m simply trying to express how it feels for me when I am moody or depressed, or even happy 👍😀😀

Starting at #11

My first post comes after session #11 of my TMS treatments. At the moment I totally understand why I am beginning with number 11. Today is the first day in nearly 3 months that I have felt good enough to begin documenting my journey. As if I woke up brand new. I am so grateful to have woken up to see this day. I appreciate things on such a different level, starting today. There is a part of me that is quite hesitant to even discuss my current situation. However I do know that if I am able to help anyone by starting this blog, that is my #1 priority and I am so excited to do just that.

I started Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation treatments on Tuesday, February 13, 2018. It was a last resort, as I did not respond to any of the plethora of medications I was prescribed to try. I was severely depressed, debilitatingly anxious, and just a complete wreck. Desperate for relief, I began my treatments. In tears. Because that’s how I spent my days anyway. In tears.

During the first few days I read as much as I could about TMS therapy. I joined a TMS Support Group on Facebook, which offered opinions, thoughts, and feelings of all degrees.  Overall, most people responded well to the treatment. Largely, relief came after 8 or 9 treatments. So it makes sense that it took this long.

When I began I could hardly hold my head up….I was drowning in a misery that was inexplicable to anyone. I was also drowning in night sweats. Almost literally. Every. Single. Day. Today I slept in until 7 by accident. No excrutiating anxiety to jolt me awake at 5:24am. It was absolutely grand, to say the least. I put makeup on today. And get this: jewelry.  So I’m feeling better. And it makes me want to cry, but in a completely hopeful, fulfilling way, unlike yesterday, when this life was nearly unbearable.