This is the fifteenth in a series of episodes, detailing my dawning realization, that I have some mental issues, that I must address, or risk losing those around me, who mean so much to me. I do not know how many installments this will entail, because I do not have an outline, for this particular avenue, that my Life has chosen to pursue. Because I have always found writing to be therapeutic, I am going to share my journey with anyone, who cares to read along. Believe me, I am not having that much fun.
Not bad for Beginners
Having Annie reach the conclusion herself, that the prescribed meds were pretty scary, without me having to face that recognition on my own, is huge. For one, it lets me know that Annie still trusts her own judgment, and is not willing to blindly do as Dr. G suggests, at least until she has gained more information. We had been to see Dr. Garratt, on Tuesday in Comptche, but after obtaining the prescription at the pharmacy, we both had been alarmed by examining the medication, that was supposed to help me sleep.
It sounds peculiar to think in terms of my side and their side, as opposed to our side, but it’s a new world out there, and I suspect it does not come with warranty. In my new world, medication is channeled to caregivers, and administered to care receivers. It all sounds copacetic, until I remember that I am still a thinking, functioning adult, and until a week or so ago, I had no idea those around me thought I was losing my marbles.
OK, for the sake of argument I will concede that I lost my marbles ages ago, but I did not know that I was becoming bipolar in the process. Have I always been bipolar? I keep saying to Annie, that before I can cop to it, I need more information, and I need to believe it is so. It will take more than a clinical analysis, done by a person who is just meeting me for the first time, to convince me. And Annie got so upset at my use of “cop” that I told her I would find another way to say that I was only willing to accept the doctor’s assessment, if I could buy into it one hundred percent of the way. I was not accepting anyone’s “word” for it.
The way I explained it to Annie is this: I understand that it is not my fault, if I have displayed bipolar symptoms, and I am certainly not affected by any stigma, not in my retirement age, but I must be informed enough to be able to understand the process that leads to an eventual diagnosis. Otherwise, I will be incapable of accepting either a medical prescription, or a diagnosis with which I do not agree. As long as my actions, around those who care about me, are not continuing to exhibit the symptoms of bipolarism, that should be all that matters.
I feel that there is a great deal of room for mind-over-matter thought, in this process, since it is a suspect mental mechanism that is being examined/discussed. If I am aware that people view my actions suspiciously, would I not take steps to curb that behavior, if indeed, I were interested in keeping those same people, within my sphere of influence? Ah ha! I must first be aware that my behavior, either is, or is not, other than what it should be. I maintain that I will not engage in the same type of behaviors, that raised others’ concerns, now that I understand that people perceive them to be unacceptable.
I either will, or I will not be able to keep it together. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Not being aware before, that people viewed me in one light, did not help me either change my behavior, or even allow me to know that it was odd. At least now if I amp, I will know that I am not able to keep my actions under control. At that point, come and talk to me about meds. Until then, I am going to go with the homeopathic philosophy.
So how can I address Dr. G’s concern that I get enough sleep, to allow the other part of the psychiatric examination to proceed? This is a specific task, that I can undertake, that will allow me to accomplish what Dr. G wants, while at the same time allowing me what I want, not to have to take the Seroquel, until it is determined that I must.
The first thing I did was eliminate all but one cup of coffee from my daily routine, and no, that one cup is not a seven-quart saucepan. It’s two half-cups, stretched out over an hour or so. This one cup is in lieu of a full pot plus each morning, plus maybe the occasional iced coffee in the afternoon, if I wanted to stay up and watch a ballgame. I also eliminated the iced tea that has caffeine in it, and have decided to drink 7-Up if I want a soda, because it does not contain caffeine. I am also going to keep a log of the number of hours I sleep within each 24-hour period.
The first night was Tuesday night. I went to sleep at 7:30, and slept until 12:30, whereupon I got up, until 3:30, when I returned to sleep, for another 90 minutes. Coupled with an hour nap between 11:00 and noon, that gave me seven and a half hours during the first time period. The second night was Wednesday night, when I went to bed at 7:30 again, and again slept until 12:30. This time, when I returned to bed around 3:45, I slept for two and a half hours, making it seven and a half. Together with another hour-long siesta before noon, that gave me eight and a half hours for the second night. No meds required.
I am averaging eight hours of sleep, for my first two 24-hour periods. Not bad for beginners. I feel I am on the right track, and look forward to seeing how Dr. G responds to my program.