Tag Archives: medication

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.


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.


Xanex is not a mood stabilizer & why a completed to do list spells bad things

Not one, but two doctors told me I should take my Xanex to slow down my hypomania. Both of these doctors were wrong. It is a sugar pill to mania. It’s a miracle for my anxiety issues. There are days I wouldn’t have gotten through without it because of that. But for hypomania/mania, I might as well take Advil or something. Advil might be better, because it might not make things worse, and I’m starting to wonder if the Xanex might.

According to my app, at 11am, I was sleepy but light hypomanic. By 12pm, I was exhausted. At 1pm, my son would not nap, I lost it completely, called my mom in for backup, and generally freaked out for thirty minutes. At 1:30pm, I took a Xanex. My mom stayed from 2:30-4:00-ish and the whole time I talked a mile a minute and never got to take the nap I wanted so badly. The napped I lost my mind over not getting because my son wouldn’t take his. My mom told me she could only understand half of what I was saying because of how fast I was talking and had to tell me many time to slow down or stop talking altogether. WTH???

Xanex needs to stay in my back pocket for bedtime and anxiety, but in terms of a primary med for bipolar/mania/general crazy, it’s pretty freaking useless. It’s either not doing anything or making me worse. I’m kinda betting “doing nothing.”

I feel like I am exactly where I would be without the meds minus hallucinations. So yay to my antipsychotic arch nemesis Risperdal for that I guess. But otherwise, I’m still all messed up.

My husband was happy cause I cleaned. He still does’t get how a clean house can ever be a bad thing, even though it almost always is for me. I tried to explain how I felt, but I was probably talking to fast for him to even comprehend. I try to explain sometimes, but it feels like wasted air a lot.

He said he could understand some of it, because he does have streaks of hypomania in his everyday personality. He spends a lot, he’s reckless, he usually has a lot of energy. But thoughts so fast you can’t keep up, so fast it makes your head hurt…that’s a foreign concept. Grandiose schemes and plans that I fight not to start because when I ultimately never finish it’s just one more thing to hate myself for on the down swing, that idea got a side head tilt he was so confused. I said “I have all these great ideas! But I can’t do them, because I know it’ll be bad if I do later.” He said “just do them.” I said “I won’t finish them. The ideas are big and expensive and time consuming. I won’t be able to follow them through like my head tries to tell me I can, and when I don’t do finish them, I’ll feel like a failure.”

I fight these ideas every day, because my head is a good sales person and wants me to think I CAN do them. When manic, all things are possible. But I’m realistic and know (or at least hope…) that mania is not forever and “sad I never started” depression is better than “I can’t ever do anything” depression. My head asks “what if you dismiss a good idea as a manic one and miss it?” I don’t have an answer. This is how some tasks get started anyhow. Some of them just get sold better to the bit of my brain I can control. At a level 10 mania, there’s not a lot of the part left, so I hold on to the bits I can control pretty tight so long as I have them.

Rational brain says Big Ideas are all Bad Ideas in current state, even if perhaps some of them aren’t. But “quest for perfect skin!” managed to sell it’s way through somehow. Maybe it didn’t seem big enough. I think I’m up to $400 in skincare in two weeks. I don’t know how that number didn’t fall into “Big Idea.” Generally anything over $100 I classify as “Big” in manic states, because above $100 and five minutes later it’s $1000. That’s not including lots of other dumb ass things I’ve bought. I hate my spending issues when manic. They cause depression, too, when I have to try to fix them all later. Red on my budget software makes me sad, but apparently not sad enough to kick me into depression.

Not that depression would be better, but I’m nearing three or four months of this manic nonsense and I just can’t deal.

I think I posted ramblings last night, though I only vaguely remember doing so and haven’t gone back to read it because it’s probably scary to look at. At least it is if you’re the person that wrote it and doesn’t recall much of it.

These meds better work, because this is the longest spell of “up” I’ve had in a long time, and usually the ups are shorter than the downs. The down on this one is gonna be bad if the meds don’t work. Bad, bad, bad.

Hypomania can be fun. For a day or maybe a week. When it’s “light day” hypomania and I’m not creating problems. After that, it’s pretty awful. Self – read this next time you’re depressed and wishing for mania. It sucks on this end, too, you just forget.

Hope the doctor calls me Monday. I need a Xanex for bipolar. Something that does what Xanex does for panic attacks, but for mania. That’s what I said at my last appointment. I was told Xanex should do it. Well, it’s not. So let’s try again. Bring on the Seroquel or something. Inject me with Abilify. Just make this nonsense stop. The only thing keeping me from classifying myself “hospital level manic” is lack of hallucinations.

I have some grip left on reality, but it’s not a lot. I’m fighting for that little bit every second of every day, even if it doesn’t look like it. If you see me sitting, reading a book at work, inside my mind I’m at war. It’s a war I fight every day, but right now I’m in the heat of battle and I’m losing ground. Me versus bipolar. Every day of my life. Until the day I die. A war I can never really “win.”

This is an awful way to live. Fighting ideas like they’re demons. For most people, a Big Idea is a good thing. A new task, a new hobby, something to accomplish. For me, it’s just another thing to be depressed about later and spend money on now. For most people, a complete to do list, a clean house, and a list of extra things accomplished is a productive day. For me, it’s symptoms of a bigger problem.

It’s funny how if I sniffle, everyone asks if I’m depressed and have I been taking my meds, but when extra stuff gets done no one sees a problem until it’s full swing mania. I get a cold and people worry about depression because they hear me blow my nose and think I’ve been crying. A clean house at midnight and no one asks questions. Mild depression has a negative impact on others and they certainly don’t want the risk of major depression. Mild hypomania makes everyone else’s life easier and they can just cross their fingers and hope it doesn’t escalate and negatively impact them. It’s selfish, but I can see why they’d do it. I don’t get much accomplished outside work hours anytime other than hypomanic or greater. People end up having to pick up household slack for me a lot. I’ll give them the happiness over my cleaning and organizing.

Other than losing it this afternoon, my son and I had a great morning. We played with just about every toy in the house. I wore him out for once. He was giggling and happy and super lovey-dovey all day. I called my mom as soon as I got irritable with him because he didn’t deserve it and I didn’t want to yell at him. It’s not his fault I have issues and I don’t want him to pay for them. Once I knew she was on her way, I could bite my tongue easier on the things he was doing that annoyed me. I hate feeling annoyed by him. It gives me a major case of mommy guilt. It’s not like he can understand “mommy is having a moment, go play in your room for a while.” If he wants to interact, he wants to interact. I tried that, by the way. He went in his room and when he saw I wasn’t following he stopped and held his hand out and said “room” in a sweet voice. How do you say no to that? You can’t. So I didn’t. But we did sit quietly until my mom got there to lessen noises and such that might set me off. I don’t like to fuss at him, let alone raise my voice. Irritable me raises my voice a lot. Thus, backup called the first time I yelled.

Hopefully tomorrow will go a little smoother and then hopefully the doctor will call Monday and someone will give me something that will work quickly. Quickly being the key phrase. I was gonna try to do something with a friend of mine tomorrow, but I’m thinking maybe not now. I dunno. I’m beyond broke and a little on the nutty side to be socializing. Maybe going out would do me some good though. I guess I’ll see how I feel when I wake up. If I can get me and my son dressed and ready in time, perhaps I’ll go. It won’t be the biggest expense I’ve had in the last week and it will be something for him to enjoy and thus a truly reasonable expense.

EDIT: Read last night’s post. Reads much like I remember feeling, which is to say all over the place and generally crazy.


The trouble with medications…

I’ve never been a very med compliant person.  When I was younger, it was because I felt like the medicine changed who I was, that I liked who I was, and if you didn’t, then you could screw off.  I couldn’t separate the bipolar from me.  We were one and the same.  To medicate the illness was to kill my sense of being.  I’ve since (somewhat) realized that I can be eccentric and different without having to cycle all over the place to do it.  I don’t have to be cookie cutter normal to be considered “doing okay.”

I still always come off my meds, but now my reasons are different.  They’re the reasons I used back when I was younger, but now I mean them I’m not just using them to get off meds I don’t want to take.  I can’t find the medium between “crazy” and “comatose.”

Last night, after I posted, I moped around kinda sad for about 15 minutes.  Then I was hypomanic all night.  I kept trying to talk as fast as I was thinking and I could hear the words running together.  It always reminds me of that scene in Harry Potter where he asks Cho to go out and says “wannagoballwithme” or however they spell the sentence-as-a-word.  That’s how all of my sentences sounded last night – giant words.  My husband somehow kept up and pretended to be interested in my new skin care products, and work stuff, and thoughts on pregnancy, and probably other things I’ve now forgotten.

Midnight came and went, and I was still up.  Thinking.  What do I have to do for work tomorrow?  What should I wear?  Why can’t I sleep?  How will I wake up if I don’t sleep?  What’s on TV tomorrow?  What’s on TV now?  Shut up, brain.  Go to sleep.  Sleep.  Sleep.  Sleep.  I think one A.M. came and went as well, along with 1mg of Xanex, 9mg of melatonin, and 1 gallon of lavendar aromatherapy.  At some point I must have passed out…because I woke up.

I woke up exhausted.  Because of the medicine hangover.  I couldn’t concentrate on anything and I was passing out in the shower.  I was distracted doing my makeup, but not in a hypomanic way, in an ADD way.  The difference seems to be the speed at which the distraction and thoughts occur as best I can tell.  I didn’t wanna make things worse, so I avoided the Adderall.  Big mistake.

On the drive to work, I almost killed myself no less than five times.  Not on purpose, but from inability to keep my eyes open.  I was literally banging my head on the head rest to keep myself awake and my eyes were still closing.  When they were open, they had a cataract haze to them and I was still distracted and looking at everything but the road in front of me.  Worst of all, my son was in the car.  If I wasn’t so busy trying not to kill us, I’d have been furious.  I don’t know at who or what, but just furious at….someone, something, anyone for putting me – no for putting my son- in this spot.  Not that anyone can do anything, but it’s very frustrating.

Most of my drive is highway, not city, so I can’t pull over and take Adderall.  I’d have to dig through my purse on the interstate, and in the state I was in, that would have been a bad move.  I generally don’t pull over on the side of interstates either, because too many cop shows have video of someone slamming into the pulled over car on the interstate, so even thinking about it freaks me out pretty bad.  When I got to city, I took the Adderall.  It kicked in, and I could concentrate and my eyes were not glued shut.  I was still tired, but in a less deadly type of way.

But now, I’m hypomanic again.  I can feel my blood pumping faster and my brain spinning and I had to not take a lunch today because it’s the only way I could trick myself into not spending money.

Is it just because Lamictal takes a year and a half to work?  Is the Risperdal not enough anymore even in high doses?  Could my Adderall be causing the hypomania to last forever when I need it to go away?  If it is, I’m screwed.  I can’t work without it.  Any job requires ability to concentrate and ability to safely drive to work.  I can do neither without Adderall.  I could probably chase the Adderall with Xanex about thirty minutes after to offset, which I’m kinda supposed to be doing anyway.  If I didn’t have a test, I would be.  Sadly, my memory on Xanex is even worse than my normal non-existant memory. So I’d have to chase with .5mg, which probably won’t do anything.

I’m trying to figure out some temporary cocktail in hopes that Lamictal will swoop down in a month and fix all my problems, and that’s a long shot.  I need the Adderall, today proved that much.  It’s deadly for me to try not taking it.  But it’s possible it’s prolonging the hypomania.  What the heck do I do?  I think I’m gonna try smaller Xanex doses during the day in combo with the Adderall in hopes that I’ll be able to concentrate, but also still recall what I was concentrating on the next day.

If that fails, well, I have no clue.  I’m gonna throw my hands in the air and call the doctor before our appointment, I guess.  I can’t be crazy, but I can’t be in a vegetative state all day either.  Neither of these options are viable.  I need somewhere in the broad spectrum of normal.  I’ll take a little doped up or a little crazy, but I have a kid to take care of.  I have a job.  I have responsibilities.  Car wrecks from med hangovers and hypomanic lack of sleep are not part of the equation.

Something has to work one day, right?  I mean, this can’t always be.  I can’t wake up 70 and still be waking up each day and having to pick “well, do I want to stare at a wall or be nuts all day.  Need to decide before ten or my brain makes the call for me.”

What concerns me most is my uncle, who is also bipolar, is doing just this.  He lives heavily medicated.  He can hardly form a sentence.  I haven’t seen him smile or laugh in years, and not because he’s depressed, but because he’s in that medication coma where you just don’t feel anything.  I’ve been there and I hate it.  But I’m here now, and I don’t like it much either.  I’ve been depressed, and that’s just as bad in a different way.  All roads lead to shit it seems.

This is why I’m always off the medication bandwagon.  A lot of days, the crazy seems like the better option.  I know it’s not, but at least with unmedicated bipolar I do get some normal days.  Medicated, they’re all foggy.  But unmedicated, the non-normal days are much worse that the sedated days.  Lose on this side, lose on that side.  Lose behind Door A, lose behind Door B, lose behind Door C, lose behind the freaking window.  My life is filled with a lot of losing.

My motto these days seems to be slowly becoming “good thing I’m hypomanic or I’d be really depressed right now.”  Can I find a crack in the wall that has a winning option please?  Some medication that doesn’t dope me up, make me stupid, or require five other medicines with equally horrible side effects to combat the first medicine’s side effects?  Or some magic fix all shot for when I get a mood swing like I get when I have a really bad migraine and go to the hospital for the migraine shots that work in all of two minutes.  I need a bipolar shot.  Someone invent this.   I think they have an Abilify shot, I read somewhere.  I don’t know how to get in on that, but I bet it’s not as effective as the migraine shot.

FML and F the medication merry go round.

I’m sorry.  I’m really grouchy today.  And I think I’m girl cycling on top of my mood issues, and that hasn’t happened since before I had my son and got my Mirena, so it’s making me even more grouchy than my mood already was.  But still, just fuck everything today.

I’m not even rereading this.  So if nothing is coherent, I’m sorry.  But I’m pissed and I’m gonna rapidly rehash it in my head anyway, so I don’t wanna reread my pissy thoughts until I have to talk to my doctor.

Let’s play the Glad Game.  I’m glad my son said “coozie” (the thing that holds soda cans – no clue how to spell that) today, because it is now my second favorite word that he says.  It’s adorable.  I have a video.  I plan to watch it on repeat until I can’t help but smile.  I’m glad his speech therapy is going so well.  I’m glad he’s home.  I’m glad the lotion I bought was delivered today when it wasn’t expected until tomorrow.  I’m glad said lotion is in my favorite perfume scent that is like aromatherapy to me sometimes.

But in general, I’m still pissed at the world.  So a lot of good that did.