10 December 2009

Outpatient Therapy, Day 22

Yesterday was the first day that I have driven anywhere outside of my own neighbourhood area for a couple of weeks, since I sideswiped the 18-wheeler on the interstate. I have not had one of those dissociative episodes when driving in a while, so I thought I would take a chance yesterday and drive myself. The weather was just awful. It was pouring and visibility was cut to almost 500 yards/457 metres. I left an hour early just in case and was quite anxious about driving on the interstate the whole way, but I got there OK.

Had the weather been fine, having arrived so early, I could have sat outside and smoked until group started, but I was relegated to sitting in our room for a while before some of the others started to file in. I had my daily check in sheet already filled out since I do it from home before I get there (gives me more time to think and try to remember the details).

After the huge group split we started out “sharing” routine. I volunteered to go first as I had to leave early since I had an early appt with my GP yesterday as well. I had a good report to share and even had a smile on my face that everyone made a big deal about. Afterwards, the therapist commented that I was showing marked improvements exponentially. I think it has a lot to do with my psychiatrist putting me on the Lexapro a couple of weeks ago. I asked the therapist if she could mark some time for me after one of our sessions as I want to talk with her about my discharge from the program. While I have made huge strides over the last eight weeks (it was eight weeks ago today that I tried to commit suicide), I knew it was getting to the point that I could no longer afford to be in this program. Yes, my insurance is helping, but 10% of this, that, and the other adds up with all of the appts I have been having. I feel that my seeing my individual therapist now, along with my psychiatrist should be enough to continue with my recovery. I do not necessarily want to leave the group, but I have to make some decisions financially.

I cannot believe it has been eight weeks since I tried to commit suicide. The whole memory seems like such a hazy nightmare to me. On the one hand, I want to forget about everything. Yet, I have to remember it all to keep where I am at now in proper perspective. I have made some huge strides since then and I cannot forget this. So much has changed for me. There are more evenings than not where I can be in my house all alone at night and be safe. I am not sure what “normal” is supposed to feel like, but I do know that I am not as profoundly depressed as I have been. It seems that my bipolar is slowly being reigned in. The positive aspect is that I haven’t swung onto the manic side since starting the Lexapro, a valid concern my psychiatrist has as giving anti-depressants to bipolar patients in a profound depression can kick off a manic episode since the anti-depressant can kick you over to the other side. I have been carefully watching for that. I am getting more sleep now than I have been, and my talking does not seem to be any more excitable than normal. When I am manic, that is the first sign I can spot. I will get on the phone with someone and not shut up the entire time and I talk fast and excitedly. So far, I do not see any evidence to that.

Could it be that my bipolar is finally coming into balance? I am almost afraid to think that one aloud. Once my bipolar is in check, then I can start looking at my borderline personality disorder issues that, for obvious reasons, have been put on the back burner. I can continue that work with my psychiatrist and individual therapist, although I am not sure how to begin that whole scenario. There are some deep-seated issues that I have to work out, and this is going to take some time.

Meanwhile I am socialising more. My friend A called me as she was leaving work last night to check in with me and I asked her if she wanted to stop by my house on her way home. She enthusiastically said yes and I thoroughly enjoyed having her visit for almost 90 minutes. It is so nice to have people with whom I can talk about every day things. This is one area that I have seen positive changes in me. I am not isolating nearly as much. Right now, all my socialising is one-on-one; I have not tried to be in a group of people yet outside of my group therapy sessions, so I am not sure how I am going to handle that. I am going to try to start attending the NAMI meetings (National Alliance on Mental Illness) that take place Monday evenings right around the corner from my house. It is going to be similar to group with a different twist. According to the facilitator I spoke with the other day, there are only about 10-12 people that attend regularly and I will not have to say anything if I do not want to. I imagine I will just sit quietly for the first couple of meetings until I can get the lay of the land.

I am still on full-time short-term FMLA disability, but that runs out January 18th. Right now I am approved through December 16th, but I am now going to have my psychiatrist (instead of the group therapist) put in for the remainder of the time to see if they will approve the extension. My psychiatrist does not think I am ready to return to work anyway, and he wants me to start back only working half-days. I’m thinking, with the deadline coming up (yes, I could always convert to long-term disability, but that’s only at 70% of my pay which I cannot afford) I could put a return to work start date for the 4th of January to work half-days until the 18th. I personally think I need more time than that, but I am financially constrained. To tell you the truth, what I dearly wish I could afford is to go on full time SS disability, but I cannot afford what they would pay out, and Medicaid will not kick in until you’ve been on disability for one full year. I cannot afford to be without insurance. Sure, I could get COBRA from my employer, but since I cannot already afford what disability would pay, there is no way I could also afford the COBRA coverage. Caught between a rock and a hard place.©2009


  1. I can relate! My short term is expiring Dec 15th and I am waiting to get approval from the insurance company for long term. I will only get 60% of the first $2500 and get 45% of the remainder (strange how they put that together) so money is going to be super tight. I'm just not ready to go back.

  2. @Blissseeker...I envy the fact that you can live on the long-term disability payout. I wish I could as I am nowhere near ready to go back to work either...the stress alone, I'm afraid, will undo the tremendous strides I have made so far.

  3. You really have made so much progress as you say. It's been evident to me both from reading your musings here and from our non-blogging interactions, and it has been a delight to see. You deserve to be happy. I don't know that I fully believe in 'happiness', to be honest, but I believe in balance - and I hope you are achieving it. I believe you are :)

  4. @SI...I'm not sure I believe in "happiness" either. I am striving to feel a balance at some point. And it isn't because it hasn't been fraught with some setbacks along the way. I'm just trying to keep moving forward.