thunder

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  1. A lot of times universities will have student health insurance plans. These would meet ACA standards including mental health parity and no pre-existing condition exclusions. I'd check to see if your partner can get insurance from the school, and then if he can add you to the plan. Schools vary on what they offer for insurance, but I know at least a few allow international students to get the same basic plan that is offered to citizens, and at least some will allow you to add partners/dependants to your plan. Then you would be able to see any doctor/medical provider that takes that insurance plan.
  2. I'd probably see if there is someone cheaper. I've always found psychiatrists to be somewhat of a crapshoot. My current psychiatrist is my favorite of all the ones I've had, and I ended up with her by literally calling all the psychiatrists/clinics in my town that took my insurance (to be fair this was 3 private pdocs and 2 clinics) and taking the earliest appointment that was available. My least favorite was one recommended to me by a therapist who I really liked. If I ever have to look again, I'd most likely start with the most convenient (based on price, location, and availability), see how it goes, and then work from there.
  3. Yes and no. Finally getting a firm Bipolar II diagnosis after years of being diagnosed with MDD was important to me, not only because it has helped guide what appears to be a more effective treatment, but also because it made me feel like I was finally being listened to after having pdocs blow off my hypomania as being young, what "normal" feels like after being depressed, or not real because I wasn't doing anything that they considered to be in and off itself sufficiently irresponsible or destructive. On the other hand, I've never really cared whether a given doctor diagnoses me with GAD or if we just talk about anxiety as a side issue, or if we say I have social anxiety or say that my anxiety in social situations is just another realm of a broader anxiety disorder. I'm not sure why this isn't as important to me. I think maybe because the various anxiety symptoms I have are less disruptive than the mood stuff, so the mood takes precedence?
  4. Sorry if I missed this elsewhere on the board, but if I counted correctly it's been about 9 weeks since you posted this, which is when you said the term would be done. Did you manage to make it through your courses?
  5. @Flash I really like the idea of flipping the med bottles over in the morning/evening. I have a phone alarm, which works great for the evenings, but finding a time that aligns with my morning schedule is tricky and sometimes in the morning I'll turn it off by accident without taking my meds or such.
  6. Personally, I'm not sure how much I would rely on fantasies while masturbating to tell me about my sexual orientation or other sexual interests. I certainly have fantasized about people, situations, and activities that I have no interest in doing in real life. It's hard to do, but it may be best not to try to label it for now. Be interested in whatever you are interested in during the current moment. When not manic, allow yourself to safely experiment if you are so inclined. Over time, you can choose a label that seems to fit, or just continue dating, sleeping with, or having a relationship with whoever you want, so long as you are open with potential partners and protect yourself while doing anything casual.
  7. Since you say that you were initially prescribed it for depression, and that it never really helped with the depression, my first thought is that you are experiencing underlying symptoms rather than the things like apathy, poor hygiene, low mood, self harm being caused by sertraline. 50 mg is generally considered the minimum dose, and depending on who you ask may not even be considered a full therapeutic dose, so you might need more in order to effectively treat your depression. I would be more concerned about the anger and irritability, and make sure your prescribing doctor knows that as well as the fact that you still are depressed. They may decide either to increase your dose while monitoring the other stuff, or may feel that a different medication would be better.
  8. I have an alarm on my phone. It's set to vibrate, so it's not disruptive to other people that I might be around, but is enough to remind me.
  9. For me it seems that generally when I start questioning whether I really have a mental illness is often when I am starting to become hypomanic. For a long time I was misdiagnosed with only depression, there were several episode where I concluded that not only were my meds "working" but that I was ALL BETTER and in fact, nothing had ever been wrong or I had solved all my problems and didn't need these meds anymore. Then I would crash, and eventually start the cycle all over again.
  10. I usually spend the drive to my therapists office and any time in the waiting room thinking about what I want to talk about. Other than that, I don't really prepare most of the time. I will sometime prepare if I have something major I want to talk about, but is hard for me to talk about, in which case I'll go over what I want/need to say in order to psych myself up to talk about it. We'll often end my sessions with a topic that needs to be continued in the future (sometimes we don't get to it next time, because something comes up in the intervening period) so that gives us something to go to.
  11. Nine weeks is a long time. You say you have a job offer, but is it 100% contingent on completing your courses by a certain date? If you have one class that is giving you particular difficulty, would you be able to take an incomplete and finish it while working - I know some people who have had this sort of thing happen, but it depends on the courses and the job. I realize this may be more stressful, and therefore not a good solution if it is even possible. Or if you do withdraw, could you postpone the job offer? Regardless, no degree or job is worth your health. I had to learn that the hard way. It sucks to have to give something up because of your illness, but in the long run, its better to do that than try to stick it out and do irreparable harm. But hopefully it doesn't come to that, and you're able to make it manageable. Good luck!
  12. I'm on 250 mg of lamotrigine and 75 mg sertraline. I'd been on 100-150 mg of sertraline for about 2 years before my new pdoc finally listened to me when I described my cycling and diagnosed me with bipolar. We added the lamotrigine and then dropped the sertraline down to 75 mg (I was super depressed when I started the lamotridge, after crashing off of a hypomanic state). I've been at these doses for about 3 months, after a couple months of tapering and adjusting doses. We decided to leave the sertraline for now since I tend towards depression at it seems to be working well at these doses so far. We're keeping a close eye to make sure I don't start trending towards hypo, in which case we'll drop the sertraline. So I haven't been on the combo for long, but so far, so good.
  13. Since (correct me if I'm wrong) this is your first time in therapy, it can seem a little weird at first, and can be difficult to figure out what you should be talking about.That being said,your therapist should be working with you to determine goals, and help you identify what you need to work on. If you know what you want to discuss - either in general or on a specific day - they should pretty much let you talk about that. And if something doesn't feel right with this therapist, try someone new. It can be okay to take a little bit of time before you spend much time on the big stuff if you need some time to develop rapport with your therapist.When I first started therapy, I had a difficult time naming my feelings and identifying what I needed to talk about, and it can take a bit for a therapist to get a context for you and your life that will enable them to steer the conversation during those silences. But, in that case they generally at least ask substantive questions about my life - what do you do for work, what do you do to relax, what are your hobbies, are you in a relationship, what's your family life like. That way at least they are getting to know you as a person, which can help later on, or it might bring up a starting point for conversation.
  14. I have a similar issue. One thing my therapist recommended was to track not just mood, but other factors like sleep, energy, irritability, anxiety, social activity, concentration etc. The idea is that while I may not always accurately label my mood, we can catch if say, I'm sleeping more, but yet less energetic, that I may be trending towards depression. Or if I'm irritable, not sleeping, and have excess energy I may be hypomanic. I've only been doing it for a month or two, so I can't really say how well it works, but it seems like a good idea. I've been using an app called MoodDiary on my phone (Android). I chose it because you can customize it to add whatever categories you want, but the chart/visual output isn't as clear as ideal, but it works okay.
  15. I don't know of anything that would help significantly long term. Support groups might be of some use, if one is open to those and there are good ones around. I also had found these online meetings http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=peer_Online_Support_Groups when I was working on finding good treatment in a new location. I was always to nervous to actually participate, so I have no idea if they are any good. I also know some people who have gotten short term support from clergy members if that's your thing. Not from, "just accept God and he will solve all your problems" religions, but from pastors in more liberal denominations who will meet with congregants and offer more real-life support and problem solving. It likely will only go so far, but I've known people who this has helped them get through a particularly tough time, or help them fill a gap when for whatever reason they do not have adequate current mental health providers.