Tag Archives: abilify

Health Insurance, School, and Money

Our new healthcare plan rolled out and I’m totally screwed.  Both of my doctors will now be out of network.  The deductible for out of network providers is $2500 per person $5000 for the family.  Once I hit that number, they only cover 60% of each visit.  My therapist charges about $170 for an hour so that’s $340 a month right there before the deductible gets met.  Then I have my med doctor and I haven’t asked her what she charges yet.

Then there’s my medication.  Abilify will still run me a whopping $150 a month.  Most of my medications will now classify as maintenance medication and will be 100% covered so that saves me about $25 a month.  My Adderall isn’t covered so that’s $10.  My Xanex isn’t covered so that’s another $10.

On top of my crazy, there’s my migraines.  My shots cost $200.  My pills cost $150.  My doctor for that is in network at least and will be covered at 80% after meeting at $1500 deductible for each individual or $3000 for family.

My rough estimates put us at somewhere between $12,000-$16,000 next year in health care costs between the actual cost of the insurance, doctor visits, medication, and a few potential ER visits that happen every year.  If anything major happens that number will skyrocket.

I honestly dont’t know how we can afford over $1000/m in healthcare.  That’s ridiculous.  How can they get away with charging people that?!  If I don’t take my meds I can’t function.  If I don’t go to the doctor I can function, but not as well.  It’s imperative that I stay on track but damn if they don’t try to make it impossible.

I found a clause that’s called “transition of care” that says if you have a major medical condition and your provider will no longer be in network that they could offer in network benefits for a certain timeframe due to the change over.  I spent THREE hours on the phone with the insurance company and my HR department in regards to this.  The insurance company was fairly helpful but said they would not have full details until next month.  They said to contact my HR department since my benefits enrollment was now to see what could be done.

I called HR who said they didn’t know what I was talking about and to find another doctor.  My hatred for my HR never ceases.  I had to walk them through their own website to show them the clause.  They got their supervisor who proceeded to also say to get another doctor and was I sure I double checked both healthcare options to make sure they weren’t in network on one of them.  I got quite pissy and read them the page word for word and gave them the checklist of why exactly I qualified and asked them why they weren’t willing to provide benefits in accordance with their policy.  They said they’d have to research it and get back to me.  *SIGH*

In light of the crazy increase in my healthcare alongside with my husband’s company’s lack of work and sending him home early – we are officially broke and likely will continue to be so for some time to come.  Registration for spring semester is coming up and I have a big old $0 available for tuition.  I can’t get a loan from anyone and my mom has officially decided she will neither sign nor give me funds.  So at this point, going to school next semester is a no go.

I don’t much care for wasting time and energy.  Both are resources that are limited and precious to me.  Giving them up causes me stress and exhaustion.  The way I figure, if I can’t go to school, I might as well drop this semester as well.  Why bother spending all the time if it doesn’t amount to anything?  I’m stressed as hell lately, depressed, overwhelmed, just…ugh.

Mom says she is willing to pay for me to go back not this coming semester but the next if I take one or two classes at a time as the cost will be lower and then take breaks when money is low.  So she says I should finish this semester because then that’s four less classes I’ll need to take should I be able to go back.

At this point though I’m so tired and exhausted I’m just done with it.  If I go back I’ll just take the classes again.  I only started in late August so it was only a waste of about two months.  Classes don’t end until end of December and I don’t think I can do three more months of this right now.  I need some time to collect myself.  Work and health insurance has me done in.

Now my mom is pissed with me as usual because she thinks I should at least take two classes and only drop two.  I have an all or nothing attitude (which she hates).  I’m either gonna finish all of them or just drop until I can afford to go back.  She keeps yelling at me and saying I don’t listen to reason and that I’ve wasted money etc.  She always makes me feel like shit.  I know she doesn’t intend to, but that’s what she does.

I don’t know what to do because I don’t want to piss her off but I don’t want to finish the semester either.  I tried to get an appointment with my therapist today but she was on vacation.  I discovered today that I am unable to make big decisions without my therapist to tell me what to do.  Well, walk me through to coming to a decision.  On my own I just make mushy decisions that I can’t quite commit to.

I’ve already pretty much screwed myself if I decide to stay in for the semester because I had a math test tonight and decided to say screw it and didn’t take it.  So yeah.  I’m just done with it all.

Just for good measure once more – screw shitty health insurance for putting me in this predicament.

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Geodon=legal coke??

I’m now convinced Geodon is the prescription version of cocaine.  I’ve never actually done that aside from traces in my otherwise lovely pills from yesteryear, but when they had them in it I felt exactly like I did on Geodon.  The withdrawal has been similar as well.  I still can’t sleep (taking Ambien, Xanex, and Melatonin).  I’m now sick (drugs that function like that seem to lower your immune system).  I’d hate to see what happened if I took this pill for a year and came off of it.  I think more testing was needed before big pharma released this one.  For all that, someone just write me a script for MDMA and let’s call it a day.  Less side effects, happier me.

I don’t know what to make of Abilify.  It’s not making me sleepy (plus), my head is still mostly quiet (plus) but I seem to be spending money again (not so much a plus).  I also feel like I’ve gotten very boring and I can’t think of things to talk about which isn’t so great for my job.  Watching my weight closely because if I gain more than 5 pounds this pill can go to hell and we’ll try again.

Finally up to 100mg of Lamictal.  Only seemed to take a year to do.  Debating going to the doctor tomorrow to up it to 200mg and maybe up the Abilify to kill off the last of the crazy.

Side note, I hate news.  I have to keep up with these things because of my job, but before that I had stopped paying attention because news literally stresses me out so bad my heart races.  Nation deficit?  War?  Murder?  Economic recession?  Panic.  These are things therapists say are out of my realm of control and thus I should not freak out over them.  Nothing I can do, move along.  All well and good in theory, but all that bad stuff makes me start to think the world might really end in 2012 or something because everything seems so awful.

Because I couldn’t learn to stop worrying, I just stopped paying attention.  Ignorance is bliss after all.  Alas, now I must keep up to date.  More than ever, I’m starting to buy the BS doomsday folk spout off.  If the world does end, I’m blaming the media.  Perhaps if they didn’t make everyone feel like the world was ending every day, things would be better.  I know my clients and I would sleep better at night.  No clue if that idea has any merit, but it’s my opinion and I get to have it.

I also used to be big into politics and now I refuse to vote for just about anything.  Generally I disagree with everyone and I can’t bring myself to vote for someone who has stupid ideas.  I’m too small government for either party.  Democrats spend too much on stupid things and Republicans spend less and say “small government” but then turn around and want to say who you can marry and if you have to have babies.  That’s still big government in my eyes.  So none of you asses get my vote.  I’d go vote Libertarian, but why wait in line for an hour to vote for someone with no shot of winning?  If there was a shot, I’d wait however long I needed to.  But there’s not and I’m lazy.  Plus I don’t think I should be forced to pick between two shit choices.  Given crap choice A and crap choice B, I choose not to pick.

My mom says this means I don’t get to bitch about politics anymore.  Mostly I don’t (again – stresses me out), but if someone does something stupid, I get to complain regardless of if I voted or not.  So there.

Ending the rant.  News overkill does that to me.  I need to go back to CNN Money instead of constant news stream on my radio all day.


Bitch bitch bitch

I have spent the last two days annoyed with just about everything.  I cannot figure out why.  The fact that I don’t know why is annoying me more.  Work was good on Saturday.  I got things accomplished, new coworkers were happy to have me, and office got organized enough for me to function.  Spent Saturday and Sunday with my family.  My son has been kinda bratty lately, but other than that things have been really good…or at least okay.

So why am I so grumpy?  Every time someone talks to me I bite their head off.  Even if it’s something nice.  I try to bite my tongue but instead out comes a big load of grump.  My husband has been super nice to me lately and all I can do is yell at him and apologize all day.  Fussed at my son.  Fussed at my mom.  I feel like the last two days have been circles of scream, say sorry, scream, say sorry.  I feel like such an ass.

Could it be Geodon withdrawal?  I’m not sleeping worth anything even with the addition of Ambien so I know I’m having some issues coming off the med.  Could it be a side effect of Abilify?  Could I just be in a bad mood for no reason?

I’m gonna keep an eye on it.  I was hoping to not have to see my doctor on Friday before I leave, but if this keeps up we need to discuss before I run all the nice out of my husband and family.


Update

So I’m officially stopping the Geodon.   Sad to see it go on the mood end, thrilled to be done with the side effects.

We opted for Abilify because apparently I had the pills in the wrong order in the “more likely to put you in a coma” chart.  My doctor said Abilify was best and Seroquel and Zyprexa are heavily sedating.  We debated starting it today (she wanted tomorrow, I wanted today so I can see how I reacted before work tomorrow).  Opted for half a dose today as a compromise.  Also added Ambien (another pill that scares me) because Geodon withdrawal makes my insomnia go crazy.

Took my half pill around 4pm.  So far I haven’t passed out so that looks good.  Geodon knocked me on my ass within an hour every time.  By “knocked out” I mean so tired that taking my bedtime pills or even just getting to the bed was a challenge.  It was like a mixture of feeling exhausted and just outright drugged as if someone put something in my drink or something.  This morning with the full sedation in full effect when I woke up I was walking into walls and I can’t recall most of the things my husband (or a glance at my phone) tells me.  My doctor called me, but I couldn’t remember calling her.  My car was moved and when I asked my husband if he knew why he reminded me I asked him for a Frappe.  I kinda remember the coffee, but not anything else that happened.

I’ve always said I would never take Abilify because of all the side effects, but the low side effect meds are officially ruled out now, so all I’m left with is long term side effect meds.  I’m hoping the Lamictal (will hit 100mg in a day or so) works because I really hate to have to take Abilify long term.

Side note, now that I’m done training and back actually working and now commission only once again I feel my workaholic self coming back in full force.  I’m trying to figure a way to get my husband a car to chip in his part of picking up our son from daycare a few nights a week so I can work late.  Going in tomorrow to make up for time lost today and will probably do so the following weekend again.  Luckily I work somewhere that closes and doesn’t let you (though some do) take work home.  So at some point they’ll kick me out and my day will be over regardless of if I made money or not.  When I was self employed and no one told me to stop working there were many nights I was home around 11pm or later after getting in around 7am or 8am.  That’s not to say I’m lazy with a base salary or hourly pay, I just don’t get quite as workaholic-y.

Hopefully workaholic tendencies won’t slow down my posting, but I guess it remains to be seen.

This blog has been a help in a lot of ways, so even if I’m swamped I’m going to try to make sure to take time for it.  Getting everything out is cathartic and going through my tag reader and subscriptions is a nice reminder that I’m not alone.  Free individual and group therapy sessions basically.


I knew it wouldn’t last long…today bipolar sucks again

Was my last post the Zen one?  If so this post will be the oxymoron to that one.

So Geodon side effects have gotten way worse.  My mouth and face are twitching like crazy starting around 2pm, sometimes earlier.  I’m grinding my teeth all day.  I’m hot and cold at the same time all day, which makes me have cold sweats, which means I stink (sorry TMI).  My heart beat (I tracked it) goes from 70 to 90.  Then 80 to 110.  Then 80 to 120.  Then 70 to 100.  It’s all over the place.  I thought I was going to die last night.  In the best words I know, it was like all the bad parts of a roll.  Not everyone know what that is, but it’s the part of the roll that sucks and is the reason I don’t do it anymore.

Last night I felt so awful I didn’t take any meds except Xanex because I couldn’t move enough (temperature would go to “freezing” and my shaking would get worse) to get to them and was too busy trying not to die.  The lack of Geodon gave me insomnia bad.  I took 2mg regular Xanex earlier in the evening to try to stop the side effects.  At 1am I took 1mg Xanex XR to try to sleep.  At 2am I finally ate something, took the Geodon, and finally passed out at around 3am.  Had to wake up for 4:45am for work, woke up at 6am.  Couldn’t open my eyes, walked into walls, generally was fucked up.  Called my boss and said I could come in and look crazy in front of clients and potentially pass out at a desk or stay home.  He said stay home.  I hate missing work.

Called the doctor.  Going in at 3 today.  Having to come off the Geodon.  God damnit.

You know, for all it’s AWFUL side effects, it worked amazing.  My speech is still forced and fast plus my energy levels are high, but other than that everything is normal.  Normal thoughts, normal spending, no hallucinations.  Not sleepy every morning!  I’m beyond pissed I can’t take this pill.  Absolutely livid.

Doctor mentioned Depakote on the phone in addition to Lamictal.  No go for me on that.  I hate Depakote.  I won’t stay on it and I know it.  It doesn’t work well enough to deal with it’s crap.

I worked up my own plan, but not all doctors let me do their job (which is understandable and all, but it is me taking the pills).  I haven’t been to this doctor enough to know how much say I get.

I wanna try Lamictal (I’m almost at 100mg) either at 100mg or 200mg if I can go up quicker.  Low dose Zyprexa (short term, lowest possible dose).  I’ve never tried it but I have that business trip not this week coming but next so I cannot a)be unable to wake up or b)be manic.  I think a week should be long enough to test Zyprexa to see if I’ll be able to wake up with no one out of town with me to drag me out of bed.  Off the Xanex XR because it hasn’t worked well for insomnia and makes me too drowsy all day.  Keep regular Xanex and 10mg Adderall.

Long term I’m hoping I can monotherapy the Lamictal for bipolar and have a Zyprexa or something else as an “as needed for impending mental breakdown” type of thing because of the long term side effects.  If it has to be long term, I’ll go vegan again because there are studies that say this diet prevents diabetes (which you can get from Zyprexa and other similar pills if you take them a long time).  I’ve got one lifetime illness and I don’t want another.  Especially not caused by the meds for the first long term illness.  What a crapshoot that is.  The Xanex and Adderall have to stay because I don’t function without them.

I’m not comfortable on mood stabilizers alone though.  I’m still too borderline hypomanic to risk it and my manias are never the good kind.  Antipsychotics are the only thing that keeps that half at bay.  I have breakthroughs on mood stabilizers alone regardless, but the antipsychotics at least stop them from including hallucinations.

I’m running out of meds to try and I’m freaking out.  I’m young still.  If I go through every possible med and nothing works what the hell am I supposed to do until I’m 80 or 90?  Wait for some new, untested, and expensive bipolar med to come out and hope it works?  The meds either don’t work, kinda work with awful side effects that aren’t worth it, or work with even more awful side effects.  Geodon was the lowest side effect antipsychotic (supposedly) and it’s had the worst ones yet for me.  I’ve never felt like I was going to die on other pills.  I literally was about to head to the ER last night.

“About to die” is not a side effect I can tolerate.  Especially the irregular heartbeat which you actually can die from.  So now I can pick from side effects ranging from “sleepy” to “exhausted” to “in the bathroom every five minutes.”  All of which suck but suck less than “about to die” so that should hold me through about two weeks of any of those side effects before I decide they too are unacceptable.

This all just plain blows.  So today, unlike a few days ago, I really hate bipolar.  Although I still do think it makes me good at what I do.  But, you know, I’m not at work doing it right now.  That’s pissing me off just as much as the med issues.  Finally done studying, out with clients, and now I’m home because I was too messed up on pills to go to work.  Me at home = Not making money = Pissed off me.  Plus I love my job and I don’t like not being there.  I’m missing important stuff that I may or may not be able to recreate a different day.  Can’t I at least be better long enough to manage to bring home a paycheck??

Anyone reading this on Zyprexa or another atypical (Abilify/Seroquel)?  I’ve always refused to take them but I’m running out of options here.  Would love some feedback on good and bad experiences with these, side effects and how long they lasted for, ect.