Wednesday, September 30, 2009

the future

Do you ever get scared? I don't mean the kind of scared in a movie theater during a scary movie, or the moment right before the glass mayonnaise jar hits the tile floor, or when you have a hangnail that is bugging the CRAP out of you and you can't find your fingernail clippers in your purse.

I don't even mean the kind of scared you get when you think you've locked your keys in the car, or you can't find your checkbook. Or when you go in for the last bite of fried chicken and you realize it wasn't cooked all the way through.

I mean the pit-of-your-stomach, cold sweats, what-the-hell-is-gonna-happen scared. The kind of scared you get when your car starts to hydroplane.

Hi, I'm Stacey, and I'm scared.

I've been on Geodon for my bipolar disorder since the beginning of April. It's the stuff that sent me to the ER and the neurologist and the MRI a few months ago, but I went on a lower dose and it doesn't do that anymore, so that's good. It's helped me a LOT and I've been very happy with the effects.

I'm scared that I'm dependent on it for sleep. Before I started it, I hadn't slept in weeks, and any time I try to sleep without it, I absolutely can't. Now, mania is part of bipolar disorder, and insomnia is part of mania. The Geodon is a mood stabilizer, so it brings the mania down a notch, and helps me sleep. It's also highly sedating - within 3 hours of taking it, I can't keep my eyes open. When I wake up in the morning, I'm hung over for a good hour. I stupidly took it during my BFF's bachelorette party dinner, BEFORE we went walking in the Quarter, and by 11, I felt like absolute hell. By 1 when I finally went to bed, I could barely walk. I feel pretty guilty about that. I should've taken it later.

Still, I don't mean that it knocks the mania down so I can sleep, I mean that I'm actually dependent on it for sleep, the way people get dependent on sleeping pills.

I don't want to be on this stuff for the rest of my life, I really don't. I've come to the realization that I would like to eventually get pregnant again, and this stuff hasn't even been tested on pregnant women - that's how much *they* know it's bad for pregnant women.

Still, I don't want to get pregnant again if it means that I won't sleep for the months I'm trying and the months I'm gestating and the year I'm breastfeeding.

Am I like every other psychiatric patient who gets their sh*t together with the help of meds, then thinks their lives are hunky dory, then decides to go off the meds, then loses their sh*t again? Is that going to be my life? Am I officially, irretrievably crazy? No going back to not being crazy, even though you weren't crazy for 28 years? Sorry, you're done, this is your life now?

Am I going to have to give up my dreams of being pregnant again because I cannot sleep without this drug?

These questions have been absolutely haunting me lately.

It doesn't keep me awake at night though. Horses, a film crew, an airplane, and Billy Mays' ghost couldn't keep me awake at night.


Crawdaddy79 said...

You can sleep without it. You just have to figure out how.

With me, I think of shapes. When my mind wanders, I go back to shapes. Simple shapes. Complex shapes. Three dimensional shapes. Morphing, changing, disappearing, and fading in at random.

Sometimes, when shapes don't work, I think of driving on a road. Random curves, random hills. At night, in the fog, or broad daylight.

You get your mind to focus on something mundane, yet letting it be random, and you'll get to sleep pretty quickly. Or, at least it does for me.

I think that you are right to be scared.

JesusThroughMary said...

Read John 16 very slowly. You should be able to sleep.

Jen said...

you should print this post and take it to your THERAPIST!! LOL! Seriously, those are ALL legit questions and honey, I don't have the answer....I would *hope* they would have something you can take and try to get pregnant and so forth. SOMETHING SAFE...but all questions for your doc :)

I love you for thinking about it all though, seriously, some women would NOT think about it, at all and continue on and hurt their unborn child. (I know of some from my days at the daycare, and even now, it's sickening)...

HEATHER said...

Stacey, I have no advice for you. I know how much you want to grow your family. Please know that you are in my prayers every night.
Now please don't think I am being an ass, here but my mom was also diagnosed as a BiPolar 2, and she could not be less manic. I was recently made aware of this article
It's worth reading. SUNY-Stony Brook psychiatrists Joseph Blader and Gabrielle A. Carlson (2007) found that from 1996 to 2004 rates of bipolar diagnoses among adults increased 56 percent, increased 296.4 percent among adolescents, and increased 438.6 percent among children!
Now in no way am I substituting my judgement for your doctor and you shouldn't either. Just be informed. Maybe you could discuss your desire for a child with your doctor and they could recommend something different.

Mrs.H said...

I have a question for you: When you were pregnant with Ace, did you sleep more than you did before you were pregnant? I did. In fact, that's what first tipped me off that I was expecting the next 2 times. When I was nursing, I could fall asleep anywhere. In fact I don't think I've ever slept that well in my life, before or after. Think back. There might be some demands on the body that just put you to sleep when you're pregnant or nursing.


Allison said...

Being dependant on medicine for any reason stinks so I get what you are saying. And I get that you are scared. But, you have to remember that you have come a long way since April and remember how scared you were then? Talk to your doctor. Pray about it. I will pray for you, with you, whatever you need. Don't "what if" your life away Stace.

Rob the Webkahunah said...

Talk to your doctor about your concerns, and tell him that you want a long term goal to be to get off the junk... The fact that you want to get off the stuff proves that you aren't crazy. A question you should ask him is if it's the lack of sleep that leads to the mania, or the mania that leads to the lack of sleep.

For what it's worth, I have the same worries about my sleep apnea machine.

i'm black betty said... know i'm gonna chime in because i know first hand all these feelings.

first, you have a chemical imbalance or the meds would not work. if i took geodon, i would not have the same effects as you because i am not bi-polar, so the drug is doing what it is suppose to do. keeping you level is good. :)

second, there are other drugs out there that will assist with sleep that have been tested during pregnancy. i would consult with the psychiatrist and your obgyn and come up with a game plan in the event you become pregnant or being trying. there are alternatives.

third, look how far you have come. seriously, months ago you couldn't sleep, you couldn't function. this ONE pill has changed your life. i don't think a dependency on this should warrant fear. i think you should fear going back to where you came from more.

my mother loathes the fact that she has to take meds, but if she were to stop...well, folks, you wouldn't want to be in the same town. she has a chemical imbalance that requires medicinal treatment.

you are such a wonderful woman, and i'm so glad you have found a drug that works for you. it took my mom 20+ years to find geodon. i think of all she went through, all we went through, and it makes my stomach ache.

with the help of God, your psychiatrist, and your OBGYN, you WILL get through this fear.

love you. mean it.

Watercolor said...

I am terrified every day of my life. Will I go blind? Will the drugs stop working and I'll have to have brain surgery after brain surgery and will I have brain damage?

I totally understand the fear of the drugs. My drugs keep me alive. Literally. They aren't tested on pregnancy either. And I have no idea anything about yours. I know for mine, my neuro and I talked about if I ever did have a baby she would totally support it. And we talked about my meds. It is a risk/benefit analysis. If the risk to me to be off the drug is 80% and the risk to the baby for me to be on it is 2% and if the benefit to me to be on it 100%, then for me, the benefits and risks to me FAR outweigh the risks to the baby and she would want me to stay on it. And she has had many patients have babies on it. That's the main drug. The other one, she'd want me off because the risks to the baby are MUCH higher and the benefits to me MUCH lower. But my health during the pregnancy would be closely monitored by her and an high risk OB of her choice and my OB and if I ever needed to have the drug reinstated, we'd talk.

That's the kind of conversations you need to have with your doctor and with a high risk OB who has dealt with patients on this drug.

If this drug helps you, why would you want to stop it? Why does it bother you that it helps you sleep? I know I had to wrestle with those questions for me. And I had to finally say, so what I have to take these drugs forever. They keep me alive. That's a good thing. And I finally made peace with that.

So, so what. Your body needs the meds to be healthy and balanced. And so you can sleep. That is ok. Don't every let anyone tell you otherwise.

Yes the drugs are making you better. But don't make the mistake of thinking because you are better you don't need the drugs. If it is the drugs making you better.

And being on the drugs doesn't mean you can't have more children. They never test drugs on pregnant women. Doesn't mean it isn't ok.

Hugs. This stuff is terrifying. Don't forget to breathe.

Watercolor said...

and Black Betty is a genius.

Jo said...

I think Black Betty and Watercolor have said everything I would have thought to say and more.

Big hugs to you,Sistah!

Laurie said...

I am totally with Black Betty and Watercolor on this one! I've seen my bro go through all of this, but it took him 1 1/2 years to find a good 'cocktail.' You are so lucky to have found yours in such a short time! You (and I, lol) have a chemical imbalance and this small thing keeps us functional, lets rejoice in that (did I just say rejoice?)! I am such a better parent/spouse on my med, I just keep focusing on that, and that has helped me.