I’m No Longer Human; I’m Just a Patient

Water lilly

The doctor saw me less than 20 minutes. In that amount of time, he prescribed me two medications and told me to stop taking one I had been given less than a week earlier. One of those medications cost nearly $150 with insurance even when using the generic instead of the brand.

He didn’t say a word about the cost. Just gave me the slip and sent me on my way.

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What I Wish That I Learned in Eating Disorder Treatment

Figures of women in Oxford

Figures of women from a museum in Oxford

The past few days have caused me to realize that there are many things that I wish I learned in eating disorder treatment, important aspects of living a normal life with food in it. Without these lessons in treatment, I have struggled greatly to try to adapt to the real world and maintain my recovery.

Now, most of my time in treatment was instructive, healing, and motivating. Health care providers gave me hope with their optimism and constant support. Fellow friends in recovery stood by my side and told me their own stories. Therapy groups taught me to use music, art, CBT, or my faith as a coping skill. Dietitians crafted a meal plan to support my body, lifestyle, and other needs. Acupuncture, yoga, family nights, outings at restaurants – all of the different activities allowed me to heal and explore new aspects of myself that had lay dormant for years.

However, something was still missing. More was needed in my treatment to help me further along in recovery.

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Coping Skills: #76. Get Another Opinion

“Your weight is only part of your overall health,” my doctor comforted yesterday morning when I told her that my dietitian worried about my weight gain. “It is not much at all. Plus, your vital signs and overall health have never been so good. This can be difficult, but please try not to dwell only on the number.”

Hearing my doctor say this did not erase my hatred of my body. However, her response was helpful after feeling extremely fat and ugly. Perhaps my body is more healthy at this weight even if I feel huge. After all, my goal range with my dietitian was on the low end of the BMI range for my height. That is not the point, however. What I discovered yesterday was the importance of getting a second opinion.

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Thoughts after Taking a Day off of Medication

Laughing with friend

Even with friends, I know that part of me is different because of my medication.

Because I saw the late night premier of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies last night, I did not take one of my evening medications which makes me very sleepy. The lack of it kept me riled up and awake until a bit after 4:00 A.M. Still, my alarm was set for 8:30 because I have so much work to do.

When I awoke this morning, I felt strangely perky. “You will crash in a few hours,” a friend warned. But I did not.

Without my medication, I sprung through the day with a strange energy. For the first time in a long time, liveliness pulsed through my body. It was almost like I was a new person.

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Deciding to Take Medicine

Choosing to take medication for mental illness is a difficult choice. People may ridicule your choice, side effects might be brutal, and you might need to go through many different dosages until you find what you need.

However, people who struggle with depression, anxiety, bipolar, and other mental disorders can be helped by medication. That decision to take medication is between each person and his or her medical team. However, I encourage that you do not eliminate the possibility that medication can be helpful in recovery.

This video really inspired me. The faith element of it as well as the honesty really inspired me.

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Top Ten Ways to Adjust to New Medication

Many people who have struggled with health know the roller coaster ride of finding the right medication. Sleepiness, not knowing what dose is right for you, weight gain, decreased attention span, having to wait several weeks to see if your new prescription works – these are just a few of the challenges faced when trying a new medication or altering an old one. Sometimes, it does not even seem worth the effort, but finding the right one can be life-saving.

Flower heart

A flower heart that I left on the grave of J.R.R. Tolkien

Last night, I forgot to take my evening medication. At 1:30 AM, my brain was still racing which altered me to the fact that something was wrong. Seroquel, one of my pills, makes you extremely sleepy and helps me to make it through the night restfully along with calming my intrusive thoughts. Taking it late was not a big issue – until this morning. At 8:30, I awakened with my head throbbing as if someone had hit me with a sledgehammer. Maybe this is what it feels like to be hungover, thought my naive brain once it adjusted to the pain. All morning was a struggle to simply function. Walking, talking, and typing seemed like laborious tasks.

The reason that I bring this up is because it reminded me of adjusting to new medication. That process can be simple or painful and aggravating. Often, I wish that someone would have given coping skills and helpful tips to me. Sure, doctors explain all of the potential side effects or dangers. However, that is not the same as someone sitting down and comforting you through the uncomfortable journey.

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Being Direct to Get What you Need

When I want or need something, I rarely admit it.  Instead of being honest, my tendency is to skirt around the issue.  People end up hearing my apologize, compliment, and mumble more than say what is needed.  In the long run, this approach takes more time and effort.  However my fear of being a nuisance holds me captive.

However I spoke up a few days ago instead of being quiet.  Instead of bending over backwards to please someone else, I said the truth in a polite but very direct way.  Doing so surprised me but helped me receive information that I needed and let the other person know how I felt.  Interestingly enough, most of the times when I used this tactic because of anger or a sense of justice, people stopped and took me seriously.  Instead of being the sweet quiet girl, I transformed into a woman who stood up for the rights of other and myself.

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My Dietitian is Leaving

My Dietitian is Leaving

Saying goodbye doesn’t mean anything. It’s the time we spent together that matters, not how we left it. – Trey Parker

So several months ago, I blogged about my doctor leaving unexpectedly.  This even shook me greatly.  I still have not recovered from the sorrow of losing a doctor who I trusted so much.

Now, I found out that another part of my care team is leaving at the end of this month.  Today, my wonderful dietitian told me that she is leaving my treatment center.  Shocked, I just stared at her.  How could she leave?  After all, she had promised that even after I had recovered, I could swing in to say hello.  Why would she abandon me?

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Goodbye to a Doctor

Unless one says goodbye to what one loves, and unless one travels to completely new territories, one can expect merely a long wearing away of oneself and an eventual extinction. - Jean Dubuffet Goodbyes are always difficult for me.  Not only do they disrupt the structure my Aspergian brain craves, they also leave me feeling broken.  Part of me seems to leave with the other person.  Thus each farewell in life weighs heavily on my heart.

Now, many people struggle with saying goodbye.  However, most take consolation in the hope of seeing their loved ones again.  Excluding death or complete separation, most goodbyes on this earth do not last forever.  Phones, e-mails, Facebook, cars, and planes help us to stay in touch with just about anyone even if they live miles away.  That is one of the benefits of living in this generation.

Yet there is a goodbye that I have said numerous times that usually lasts for the rest of my life.  Those who have dealt with physical, mental, or emotional health problems have gone through this as well.  It is the parting from a doctor, psychologist, nurse, or other member of your care team.

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