Today marks my first full day out of my most recent hospital stay (there have been 6 now in the past year) and it also marked my return to intensive outpatient (IOP) group therapy. Now when you consider that I’ve spent three of the past six weeks inpatient one can only imagine the mountain of mail awaiting my return; if not the picture to the right is close to what my stack of mail looked like. Throw in severe depression, anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, relationship implosion, etc. I haven’t been very good about going through the mail; I can’t afford to pay the bills so why bother? Besides, with the way my anxiety has been until recently it would have caused a massive panic attack!
Knowing I could only put it off for so long, I mustered up the courage to open the mail; now I wish I hadn’t (well, sort of). The first bill up was from one of the hospitals I’ve had the joy of visiting this past year…total of just that one bill? $22,079.13 out-of-pocket (meaning the part of the bill I am responsible for paying for those not familiar with the term). My anxiety of course shot way up! But unlike a few weeks ago, it didn’t induce a full on panic attack like it would have before. Reading the bill a second time I notice they are only asking for my proof of income so they can decide if I qualify for financial assistance. Okay, anxiety levels reduce some. And so it went, bill after bill wanting money I don’t have; best I can do is to write everyone, explain my situation, and see if they have any financial assistance I can apply for. Worst that happens is they say no and then I try to figure things out from there.
One thing that came out of my recent hospital stay was anxiety medications that I can take. One of the reasons my recent inpatient stay lasted as long as it did was because I kept having reactions to the medications they were giving me. About 1 1/2 weeks into my stay they finally hit upon a medication I didn’t have an allergic reaction to (I have over 120 known medication allergies, almost all of those psych medications too) or caused really bad side effects (they had to do a number of fall reports on me since I have low blood pressure and the meds would cause me to black out when I got up too quickly; also nurses apparently hate doing fall reports).
While inpatient your interactions with the world are really limited, so sometimes side effects of a medication are not always evident until after you leave the hospital. Today I found a side effect to my anxiety medication that we somehow missed while I was in the hospital; they seem to make me bounce off the walls. I couldn’t sit still today in IOP, some part of my body always being in motion; this I can live with and hopefully it will reduce in time. So far that is the only side effect to this new anxiety medication that I’ve noticed…
Hum, or it could because we more than tripled my anti-depression medication…but given that my depression level is still running close to a 10 (0 – 10 scale, 10 being worst) I’m not sure my anti-depression medication is working but it sometimes takes a few weeks for the effects to become evident, so only time will tell.
While sitting in IOP today they were finishing up the section on substance abuse/addiction, which technically self-harm, i.e. cutting, is considered an addiction, it occurred to me that it’s been 10-days since the last time I cut. For those of you paying attention, yes, that means I did find ways to cut while I was inpatient; something they were definitely not happy with me about either. After my first day inpatient I wasn’t allowed to have a knife with my meals, by the third day my room became subjected to random searches for cutting tools and I was routinely inspected for any new cuts.
It wasn’t until day seven when they changed up all my medications that I stopped cutting. I can’t say why exactly, but the need to cut was dramatically reduced with that medication change. Now, the need to cut was reduced but my wanting to cut never really went away, so the wanting to cut is still there to some degree but I’ve tried to control those urges and so far I seem to have things under control…
Been a busy day and one of my friends will be picking me up later tonight to go out for coffee 🙂
Peace, love, and contentment.