I am in what seems to be an intractable situation, due to a number of major errors on my part. Help needed for someone on the edge of a precipice.
posted by anonymous to health & fitness (20 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I am 35 and for the last two months have been living with my parents for a few complicated reasons. I had a manic in the spring. Medication fixed it, and I felt basically ok until a depression set in, which was due in part to me slightly decreasing the medication too soon. (The medication, lithium, numbed my feelings and thoughts, and I gradually decreased in the hopes that these things would come back. This was mistake number one.) I re-upped the dose, but the depression continued, and was joined by insomnia and severe sleep deprivation. During this time, my intellectual and emotional capacities dwindled to the point that I felt essentially unable to cope by the end of June. I didn't get proper help during this time, which probably would have been adding an antidepressant to the medication I was on-- this was mistake number two. I was prescribed medication for sleeping; they made me feel confused and anxious.
During this time, my emotions disappeared entirely, and my ability to think clearly and intelligently (I have a chemistry degree from a fancy university and a graduate degree in philosophy) went away as well.
In late June, I moved to my home state and in with my family. After essentially 2 months of sleep deprivation, medication changes, and depression, I felt cognitively shut down, emotionally numb, and very very unlike myself. I essentially felt like a new personality had worked its way into my head, and that I'd lost the person I'd known up to this point.
Also disappeared: my planning and memory skills, my ability to focus, my interests, hobbies, and desire to be with friends. I feel like my past happened to someone else.
At home, I saw a new shrink, who decided to add an antidepressant, and I followed this regimen for 5 weeks, during which time I continued to have severe sleeping problems and feel intellectually squashed, and like a different person, w/o thoughts and feelings. After 5 weeks of no improvement, I decided to wean myself off the meds. That was two weeks ago-- I continue to feel the same.
I am worried that there is permanent damage to my brain.
Up to this point, I'd been keeping my parents in the loop about what was going on-- they'd been incredibly supportive/worried this whole time, and were a major source of help to me during the mania and afterwards. I knew they would freak out about me stopping the meds, so I didn't tell them, until last night. They said essentially that if I want to continue to stay at their house and have their support, I have to go back on medication; otherwise, I'm out. They're also justifiably angry and feel betrayed that I didn't tell them what was going on.
As far as I see it, all my options are dead ends. I felt horrible while on the meds (lithium and prozac) and not sleeping. The other medication the psychiatrist suggests (Lamictal) has side effects of cognitive dulling and sleeplessness because it works by inhibiting electrical activity in the brain. I'm already incredibly dulled and sleep deprived. The option of doing nothing, as I am now, means I'll continue feeling unlike myself (slow, unable to think and be myself, and missing the essence of my personality and emotions) and also be w/o a home and family support.
I feel I have lost or am in the process of losing everything -- my mind, my family, my sense of self. My friends don't know what to do or how to help and are exhausted. I've had self-destructive thoughts because the situation seems intractable, and I have strong suspicions that some damage has been done and I'm never going to feel like myself or be able to do the things I was able to do again.
It feels like a hopeless situation, and I don't see a way of it getting better. I can try a new medication and see if it helps, but if it doesn't, and I go off it, my family will be outrageously angry again.
I was not "mentally ill" before this incident this spring. I've been productive and happy most of my life. Now it feels like my mind and life are in shambles. Is there an option I'm missing? I've read forums on hopelessness where folks have said that just because you can't see a solution doesn't mean that one doesn't exist. I can't see a solution.