Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Limited Artistic Ability

For a while, I was able to paint and draw again. I'll admit that this is when my medications were less effective. I was on a lower dose of the Lamictal, and before that I'd run out of Trileptal, eventually causing my trip to the hospital. However, I'd managed to come up with a couple of coping strategies that sort-of helped me. I'd begun making art again, which felt great since I hadn't been able to think that way in a long time. As soon as I started treatment for bipolar disorder, it helped curb my suicidal feelings, but I could no longer think like an artist. I couldn't come up with ideas for photographs, paintings, or whatever. Anything I'd begun before that, I was suddenly stumped with, like how would I finish it? I was at a loss. So, suddenly being able to see where my paint colors should go, come up with ideas as to how to relate my experiences with mental illness in images, etc., felt fantastic. I painted like a madwoman, constantly having a piece of paper or canvas at least in the process of priming, if not painting.

The other thing I'd begun to do was to go hiking with my dog. Not only was I getting loads of exercise and spending time with my baby, who desperately needed to get out of the apartment and relieve his boredom, but I was dealing with my anxiety of doing things by myself. I have a fear of being ambushed by someone while I'm in the park, falling and being unable to call for help, or getting lost and unable to find my way back to the parking lot. Climbing the rocky hillside was dangerous, of course, and I almost fell backwards a couple of times, scaring myself into thinking I could have ended up with a head injury or worse. But, I kept going and actually enjoyed the time to think. Any time I'd feel stressed and like I couldn't stand being in the apartment (I still have a strong dislike for the neighbors and their noise--and their rude attitude towards the other neighbors), I would head out to my favorite park, that being Eisenhower Park on the north side of town. I rarely ever see wildlife at this park, but it is fairly large and has a variety of trails, welcomes dogs, and provides decent maps with information on the different flora. I did however, see a roadrunner ( a fairly large one, about the size of my papillon) run across the path in front of me. Luckily, Bucky was looking in a different direction and did not try to chase him!

Anyway, of course, I ended up in the hospital, which made me feel incredibly closed-in and trapped, since I could no longer get out into the open air to deal with stress. In fact, we were assured upon admission that we had the right to go outside, however this was not a possibility. The doors were locked and we were not allowed to go out of the ward at all. In the 5 minutes I spent with their doctors, they did change my medications. I felt groggy, but could not sleep in the hospital. It ended up being a total of 5 days (since I hadn't slept much for the previous 2 days, and ended up in hospital for 3 days) that I was sleep deprived, and ended up sleeping for a total of 22 hours straight after my release. I had trouble waking and slept more than usual for the next week. I had no energy at all. By the time I finally felt a little more normal, the weather had changed and it was suddenly dangerously hot to spend an hour or so walking in the park. I really didn't have the energy to do so, but I would have at least made an attempt to get back into the habit. Also, I couldn't think like an artist anymore, either. I was incredibly disappointed, and now I have an unfinished painting, which I can tell is a little off, but cannot think of what I need to do to correct it, or at least make it look more like what I want it to look like. It's been a couple of months now, and I still have no idea what to do. I need to get back into exercising, but have hardly the motivation or energy to do so. Wish there was some way I could feel happier without curbing my artistic instincts. Anyone, got any tips or ideas? I could certainly use them. I'm not happy if I'm not creating.

Dr. Martinez, Jr.

Usually, I like to keep going to the same doctor. However, my lack of funds and my continuing fight with Social Security sort-of prevent me from seeing my usual doctor. So now, as I've previously ranted about the University Health System, I've seen the new doctor they assigned me. He seems nice enough, although more businesslike than I usually like. Plus, he seemed hard of hearing or something, constantly asking me to repeat statements that I thought were a little loud for my privacy, since the doors are only so thick. Plus, there are things that I've read about bipolar disorder that he didn't seem to know, like the more current research. He seemed more interested in what medications I was taking than my actual symptoms and what has worked and what hasn't. Like, he was considering putting me back on Depakote! Hell, no! I don't want to go through all of that again! My hair all fell out (well, I'm exaggerating...not ALL, just a LOT) and I got really bad tremors in my arms, legs, hands, fingers, mouth, etc. Unfortunately, the tremors have not gone away after I went off the medication. I certainly don't want to do anything that could make it WORSE! Not to mention that he thought Lamictal was an antipsychotic and not a mood stabilizer as I've read. The antipsychotic would be the Seroquel. He didn't think I needed to be on an antipsychotic, which I really don't agree with. There's a reason I'm on it. I had problems concentrating and focusing when I was on only a mood stabilizer. My doctor said the anipsychotic would help me concentrate, which I didn't believe at first. But it really did work and I'm not about to go off of it. I like to read, and I couldn't do that before the antipyschotic. I couldn't remember anything I read and had to read and reread passages since I would forget how the paragraph started by the time I reached the end. Sometimes, just a sentence was incomprehensible to me. There were other problems as well, of course. I also had some hallucinations. They were very infrequent and I could always tell it wasn't real, but I'm glad to have them gone at any rate.

Anyway, I'm not pleased with this doctor and I hope I don't have to continue to see him for very long. If I have problems with him, I hope they'll let me switch, or else I could win my disability case and then seek my own doctor.