Life, Uncategorized

FREE BOOK DAY

IT’S FINALLY HERE!  I’m so nervous and excited! t’s 6:45am and I’m hoping that I get a lot of downloads today of my book. So far I have 3 and it was just released 3 hours ago! Get it for free ASAP! “Should I Have Told You That?” on Amazon Download my book it’s FREE TODAY ON  It’s 6:45am! Listen to me! Should I Have Told You That?Should_I_have_Told_Y_Cover_for_Kindle

Life, Uncategorized

Everyone Asks How I Got Disability… Let’s Start with YEARS.

Okay, so like I mentioned before this will not be an easy answer or a short explanation.  I will break it up into as many chewable bites as possible.  It is not the same for everyone, and from what I have heard from various other people who receive disability, all of our cases were approached a different way.

I applied overall five times.  Five times over six years.  9 of 10 times you will be denied straight out the first time that you apply.  I have only me ONE person who was never denied.  A big question is, “What do you do when you are sick, and can’t work because you need to be on disability?”  The answer.  You work.  Okay, that’s a little hypocritical coming from me.  For the last application through acceptance I lived with my parents, and did not work.  I was extremely lucky.  When you wake up blind some mornings or can’t get our of bed for various reasons, you can’t go to work.  If you do make it to a job when you are working sometimes you get written up for being late, or calling out too much.

When you are bipolar you have ways that you cope with what is going on with your life.  I was a women’s clothing retail manager for almost fifteen years, and there is a saying that “If you work in retail you have to be on something.”  It’s true.  Over the years, a lot of coworkers would arrive for their shifts stoned so that they could deal with customers, coworkers, and management.  Before I was diagnosed, I coped after work by drinking a lot. a lot.  After I was diagnosed, I was doped up on psych medications.  Anyone can literally drive you crazy in retail.  The worst are your direct managers, and here are a few of my favorites…

First of all, not everyone needs a college degree, but if you have a degree, like I do, in the field of Apparel and I am in management of an apparel store, I kind of have an idea of how to do my job well.  Much of the time people who did not go to college end up being your manager because they had an extra four years of work on you while you were in college.  So, sometimes they feel intimidated by you and are threatened and will take your job.  I had a manager that was only a couple years older than me, and she was the literal definition of hot mess.  She would do things like call out from work because her “step daughter’s vagina hurt” and she had to take her to the doctor.  She let her three year old play with a cactus, and constantly yelled at me for making any decision regarding staffing.  Once she was so angry that I hired an employee that we did not agree on, but we had to hire someone for the holiday weekend that she called the store screaming at me on the phone.  She was so loud that my sales associates heard the entire tirade by just standing near the phone’s receiver.  I could tell you a million stories about her, but I finally got so unstable that I went to see my psychiatrist and he immediately put me on short term leave.  To shorten the outcome of this work environment, when I came back three months later, the manager was gone.  The company knew that you were not allowed to let go an employee from the company immediately after they returned from short term leave, so they waited three months, found a replacement and then wrote me up three times in two weeks so that they could punish me for taking a leave.  Mine was for mental health.  Another ex-coworker had the same experience except she had a hysterectomy.  I won’t say the name of the retailer but I will say that the last name of it is another name for someone who does alterations.

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(Just before I took my immediate short-term leave for a “mental break” as ordered by my psychiatrist.)

That is my story about a crazy manager for the day, but it was around then that I applied, and was denied for the third time for disability.  When you receive the letter, you have the option to appeal the claim.  You should. I did not the first four times.  Most people think that it will cost money to do it.  The only initial cost that I had was from my psychiatrist.  After you appeal and are rejected, you can find a lawyer, and you only pay them, if you win/receive disability.  For example, I appealed, met with a paralegal, filled out forms, and got forms for my doctors to complete.  My psychiatrist filled out a large stack of papers, probably ten or more pages front and back, regarding my medical history.  The only charge I had was $60 from her office for the time billed to do the paperwork.  The other doctors, if you have them for other issues fill out their papers.  All of that goes to your paralegal.

It gets more complicated.  Next time I will tell you about age, severity, and what is seen by the government if you are working while you have applied, and how you actually have a job, i.e. money to live.

This is just the tip o the iceberg…

Life, Uncategorized

An Excerpt From “Should I Have Told You That?” FREE THIS WEEKEND ON KINDLE!!!

When I was twenty-seven I was in an elaborate wedding where the maid of honor decided to have a lingerie and bridal shower/brunch for the bridal party the morning of the wedding I was in… at 9am.  Me, and two male friends were the ONLY single people attending the wedding.  We were out until 3:30am.  This takes place the next morning when I was still drunk, then hungover.  Enjoy (and download my book Saturday or Sunday while it’s free.)

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(Hair of the Dog… Mimosa #2)

‘”It was 9:15 am when I finally made it to Jo’s lingerie shower in a bland, eggshell colored room probably used for group events.  I found a basic conference style room chair, metal with thin wool over a cushion, and pulled myself into the circle, gift bag in hand.   Twenty sets of eyes, over the age of fifty-two were staring at me, the only single girl, that smelled of stale cigarettes from the night before, and vodka still coming out from her pores.  ‘Who has a lingerie shower, the day of the wedding at nine am?’ is still my question eleven years later. As the group sent around boxes, and gift bags of silver, and white, I joined in on the ooo’s and ahh’s of basic bras, thongs, and the occasional teddy that women of that era found “racy”. Following my ill prepared arrival, we were migrating to another location for a “brunch” at a nearby spot with French finger foods, mimosas, and Jo’s gifts to her bridesmaids…  cubic zirconia matching earrings and a necklace.

So, there I was, twenty-six-year old, painfully thin ninety-eight pounds, with platinum blonde hair walking around a cobblestoned gardened area with rod iron chairs that twisted and the back for form a heart shape to cradle the back of whoever sat on it, with shabby chic rod iron tables painted white.   Holding a mimosa, and posing for official bridal photos, all I really longed to do was to be around people that seemed real, and my age… I seriously do not know how I was there, awake, and still exceptionally pleasant, other than that I was still young enough to be able to drink a lot and wake up without a headache.  Don’t get me wrong, I was extremely tired, and sat as much as possible, in those rod iron chairs that seemed like the most uncomfortable chairs, only beating out metal foldout chairs usually found in rec rooms, or elementary school gyms reserved for PTA meetings.

After the reserved amount of time had passed, I shared a ride with someone, and then quickly darted back to my room where I left not only a bed, but a twenty-five-year-old man who would probably be curious of why I was not there, and I no note or text was left for him, just clothes trailing from the bathroom into the main room.  I walked into the still dark hotel room, with the curtains still closed, but some rays of sunlight were peeking through two, one-inch slits showing enough light for me to see when I walked in. I heard sheets moving, and then I looked down and turned towards me was Jacob.  I sat on the side of the bed, thankful for something soft to sit on, while he looked up at me trying to piece together the night before, and why I was sitting there now in a dress, with a look, and vibe of defeat, and it wasn’t even noon yet.  His dark brown hair was ruffled, overnight scruff was shadowing his face, and his blue eyes were slowly widening.  Wearing a white tee shirt, and rubbing his face, in a soft voice, a combination of confusion and worry, he asked me where I went.  It was a sweet moment, that I still laugh about because it was one of the most genuine moments of my life.  A point where your brain just says what it wants without all the planning of how to say something to be polite, just an honest reaction that you rarely get from anyone in life. Then in a hoarse voice he squinted at me since he did not have his contacts in his eyes, “Where have you been?”’

Life, Uncategorized

You’re Giving Me What? You Had To Pee Where?

IMG_3134.jpgI know that I was going to talk about going on disability, but I was reading a lot of your posts today about issues with your medication, and I wanted to tell you about what happened to me this past November.

This past summer was terrible, well to be honest the year just was not great.  The only two psychiatric meds that I take are Klonopin and Lamictal, and they work great for me. Previously I had taken up to five or six medications at once.  The only time of year that I add a medication is during the holidays, and it’s Wellbutrin.  Because the year was not going so great I stayed on it throughout the year due to a lot of just things that kept piling on due to my disability appeal/hearing process, then I had to put down my dog, and then three months later the family dog had to be put down.  In the middle of all of this I got the flu and the nurse practitioner I saw at urgent care prescribed me doxycycline (the devil antibiotic) which wiped out all of the good bacteria in my body and what was working for my psychiatric medications AND migraine medications.  So, after that my body was a real hot mess.  My psychiatrist kept me on the same medication though, but I had to go back as an inpatient in a hospital for head and neck pain in Michigan because my migraines.

So, to make it short, I returned in early September, and because I was still having some depression issues my psychiatrist added on Lithium.  She sent me to get a test to check my levels before starting treatment.  The labs messed up my samples, but it was too late because I had already began taking the medication.  When I saw her a month later, I was still having issues with sleeping, etc. so she decided to double my night dose… without having my Lithium levels checked first.  I should probably tell you guys that my thyroid was removed six years ago, so symptoms associated with your thyroid being off can mimic a lot of other disorders.

It was time for my six month check up with my endocrinologist, and he did a full blood panel.  I  knew  that something was wrong because I was constantly exhausted, weak, and all I wanted to do was sleep, and I was not hungry.  He did extra blood work, but once again, things were fine.  Never the less, he adjusted my medication.  Over the next few weeks I became worse.  I did not leave bed, I was in my pajamas all day, and I needed someone to help me walk up and down stairs.  My hair was coming out in fistfuls, and I constantly had a headache and nausea.  I literally thought that I was having a complicated migraine, which is rare in winter for me.

Finally, I was in the Emergency Room and my mom was with me and asked the doctor to pull a Lithium blood level test.  He did, and then said that it would not be ready until the next day, which we thought was weird that the lab was closed for that test.  He treated me for a migraine and I left.  Five hours later the EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT CALLED ME (when does that ever happen?) to let me know that I needed to return immediately because they did test my level, and it was double the toxicity level.  When I arrived, they basically put me in an Emergency Room immediately, and double bagged me in two ports with saline to flush out the Lithium.  I spent the night in the Emergency Room waiting on a room in the ICU, which I finally got at six am.  I will spare all of the gruesome details, but I will tell you what the bathroom situation was.  There wasn’t one.

There was a curtain on the side of the room to cover the toilet and you while you did your business, which was a lot because you were hooked up to a constant stream of saline (and heart monitors, blood pressure cuff, and pulse monitor).  After you were finished, there was no sink or water, just hand sanitizer.  It was gross.  By the third time I was over calling a nurse so I learned how to unhook myself from the machines to go pee by myself.  They just overlooked it.  But the bathroom experience was one of the most dehumanizing things I have ever had to do.

By the way, this was the same week my best friend was visiting from the northeast for a wedding that I was to be her date.  She came three days later, and I rallied up for the weekend in time.  Lithium toxicity was a bitch.  It’s almost six months later and my hair is just growing back long enough to fill in the parts that fell out.  The patchy and splotches in my skin has finally went away, and other weird things like my face becoming really pale and dry has finally turned around and is back to normal.  I’m still sad about my hair (hey I’m a female).

Was I angry with my psychiatrist?  Hell yeah!  Do I still see her?  Yes.  Why?  It’s called “practicing medicine” and if doctors knew what to do to fix everything, then we would not need them.

Life, Uncategorized

Fun Times at The Emergency Room

Yesterday I mentioned that I was having a difficult time focussing, and I found out why… I started taking Topamax for my chronic migraines about a month ago, and it is amazing.  I have had problems in the past, which I will go into later, with migraine preventatives, but then a tornado and heavy storm rolled into the city.  It hit everywhere except the area around my part of the county, and I live in a pretty large city.  But, because of all of the air pressure and weather frenzy my occipital nerves went on fire.

I began to notice the tell, tell signs significantly after my post yesterday.  I started to get very tired, and I was already not focusing, and I am quite the multitasker.  Then, I decided to drive home from the coffee shop/bakery that I spend a lot of time writing at during the day.  On the way home while driving I bursted out crying with a panic attack.  I knew something was going on.  Migraines rarely sneak up on me, so I knew that I had a few hours before it became full blown.  At first I thought that it was just a panic attack, so I went with my mom shopping to kinda occupy my brain, but within an hour I was at the Emergency Room, and within another hour I a room.  I had one of both my usual PAs and paramedics to take care of me.  I got my usual cocktail of Benadryl, Haladol, and Toradol.  I rarely get Haladol because it can cause long term issues with shaking, etc., but because both Morphine and Dilated are produced in Puerto Rico, the hospital was out of both.  Within an hour I was better.

I would never say that I was scared.  By this point, I have spent so much time at the hospital, that I would not say that I find it comforting, but I am not frightened that anything bad will happen.  And honestly I was extremely glad that I got my usual paramedic and Pennsylvania for many reasons.  Not only do they know me, and the medications that I take, so they order them immediately, but they do not question whether or not I am there just to get medication to “get high”.  Also, my paramedic always gets my IV started on the first try.  If you have to get IVs started a lot you know what I am talking about.

So, I told you about the Topamax.  When I was diagnosed as Bipolar II in 2007 I went through the whole bevy of medications.  I had psychiatrists tell me that I would never get out of bed again, or function in anyway.  So, when 2010 rolled around and I started migraine medications I had already tried a lot of the medication options.  I know that seems like a strange statement.  Some mental illnesses and migraines are located in the same part of the brain, so psychiatrist drugs are used a lot to treat migraines.  They are called “crossover drugs”.  On top of those medications I already had, I was on a slew of other psychiatrist meds to treat the bipolar issue at hand, so there was never a balance.  No matter what drug I tried for either disorder there was always a complication.

Now, I am only on two medications, and they are both crossovers, and Topamax was recently added on.  I have had great success with it.  The only slight issue that I have had with it is that it makes me have a little more anxiety, but not enough to stop taking it.  I would rather be a little too much on top of things or worrisome than in bed all day.  Plus, part of the nervousness is my impending move, and getting everything on target for that.

The journey to my move to New York will probably be the next thing that I talk to you about.  It is not as easy as just planning to move.  It has been a three year process involving getting disability status from the government.  It’s so complicated that It may take a few weeks to explain it all.  Even my bestest friends are still confused after being around for the entire process!