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Bipolar depression is back, falling off the cliff again


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I don't know how much more of this I can take. I was in my worst depressive episode ever, and was brought out of the abyss by ECT that started in February. I was supposed to taper down to (probably monthly) maintenance treatments to prevent relapse starting in April. Then the pandemic hit and ECT was stopped due to the danger of having patients coming out from under anesthesia and coughing, which apparently happens to everyone while they're still unconscious. You can't put a mask on someone unconscious, so there's no good solution to keep everyone safe. At any rate, ECT is off the table for the time being. I see my p/tdoc weekly and he's adjusting my cocktail, but it hasn't kicked in yet. 

Through ECT I had become mostly better, if not all the way well, and was experiencing positive things, and now I'm all the way back down to where I was before I started ECT. It seems cruel that I could have felt so good, and then have it all go away in such a short time. My last ECT treatment was on April 3rd, and today is May 31st. Because I was feeling so much better I went back to work on May 4th, and now I'm falling apart again and have no idea how I'm going to do my job tomorrow (today is Sunday). My job is technical and complicated and challenging even when I'm at my best. I'm already dealing with the stress of being put on a 60 day probation because of my poor performance due to depression right before I had sense enough to take a medical leave of absence. 

I just feel broken in a million little pieces and my brain doesn't work right anymore and now what the fuck am I supposed to do? My pdoc tells me I'm resilient but this is ridiculous! There is too much pain in my head.

To top it all off, I've been going through a huge amount of physical medical issues over the last months:

  • I was already fighting this depressive episode when I had my first knee replacement last September - I was hoping that the knee pain relief would help my head get better.
  • While still recovering from surgery and still on major pain meds I got a stomach bug and became so dehydrated that I became delirious and ended up hospitalized with acute kidney failure. After a few days my kidneys came back on line and I got to go home.
  • As part of the emergency treatment for kidney failure,  they pulled all my psych meds, which was basically like pushing me off the edge of the cliff, and put me into this full-blown depressive episode.
  • I went back to work in October as planned, but I was too depressed and flaking out and unable to do my job so started my next medical leave in November instead of December. I had a planned leave set up for December to replace my second knee. The surgery and recovery went well, but the depression was still killing me.
  • Mood-wise I was just getting worse so I started ECT in February and over a couple of months it really helped.
  • About halfway through my two month initial ECT treatment, I tripped and fell and broke my wrist and ended up in the ER. 
  • The following week I was back in the ER again because of blood in my urine. Over the next several weeks they did a bunch of tests for possible bladder cancer, which all came back negative, although they did tell me I had some kidney stones, which they said didn't require treatment. 
  • About the time the hospital shut down the ECT program in April when I was just finishing up my two month initial treatment, I caught the coronavirus myself, and although I was really sick for a few weeks, I dodged a bullet and didn't get any respiratory symptoms. But I had to wear my wrist cast for a few extra weeks since they wouldn't take it off while I had an active infection. 
  • I went back to work on May 4th (working remotely from home), and have been barely hanging in there. Like I said earlier, I'm on a 60 day probation period due to my lack of performance because of heading downhill fast before I took off on medical leave.
  • Last Thursday, May 28th, I ended up in the ER (again!!!) first thing in the morning because I was going through the incredible pain and stomach upset of passing a kidney stone. I sent my boss a picture of my discharge instructions so he wouldn't think I was just laying out of work. I was physically okay again on Friday.

It's all just overwhelming me and my mood has totally tanked. I want to quit my job and just drive out west (where I used to live) and maybe that will stop all this pain in my head. But I live alone and really need the paycheck so that doesn't make any sense, although why anything has to make any sense at this point is beyond me. At least quitting would prevent the ignominy of being fired.

My pdoc takes great care of me, and I have good friends who love me, and although they know I have a serious mental illness, they don't really understand what that means. It would only scare them to death to know how bad things have gotten, so I won't do that to them, and hopefully I can survive till Wednesday which is when I have my next weekly p/tdoc appointment.

This is so hard. I just want the pain to stop. Thank you for being here.  

 

  

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That is so much to have to deal with, I am so sorry. I know it doesn't help to hear you're resilient, but I agree you're tough. I hope things stop being so crazy, and that the new medication helps. Try to remember that there are always new treatments you can try, even if it doesn't end up working.

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Finally, some excellent news to report!

The ECT program is back in action and my next treatment will be Friday, June 12th. I'm so excited!!!

After all the shit I've been through lately, I can make 11 more days, no problem! I never thought I would be so excited to go to the hospital, I can't wait!!!

And as an added bonus, I might even get to have the treatment by the pdoc that I have a celebrity crush on!!! It's either him, Andrew Cuomo, or Dr. Fauci, all attractive older men (I'm 60)!   I promise I'll behave, but no one sticks on scalp sensors quite like that pdoc does, hahaha!!!!   😄😄😄

 

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Happy for you!   I got stuck in a bipolar depression for nearly 2 years and it's horrible.  I never tried ECT, a little scared of it.  But it's such a hard place because typical antidepressants don't do squat for bipolar depression, besides make everything in life worse. If it happens again I may swallow my fear and try it.  I have a friend with very similar treatment - resistant depression and ECT got her out and back to normal.  

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