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My name is Itch. You can call me Mr. Itch, Señor Itch, the Man Known as Itch, the Itch-Meister, or just simply Itch.

 

That's not really my name, of course, but merely the one I've chosen for this dramatis personæ.

 

Alright, let's not get all fancy up in this. Here's the basics: I am Bipolar I, so I'm told. I also got some Generalized Anxiety, Panic, and Social Anxiety rolling in my posse. I'm in my early thirties and all man. I'm an illustrator and front-end web developer. That sounds awesome, but it doesn't really pay the bills. I've had every job you can think of, seen a million faces, and rocked them all, but every one of them ended abruptly with forced resignations or voluntary disappearances due to mental episodes. Since 2011 I've been receiving SS because a judge and two vocational experts looked at the evidence and decided "that boy ain't right." I truly think it has saved my life. Every job I worked ate at me, drove my physical health down the shitter and effectively killed the "normal" periods between cycles to the point where I would get two or three manic-depressive phases back to back over the course of 6 or so weeks. Then I'd be lucky if I went a full two months without another. This of course caused me to miss countless days from depression, and become a dangerous rage monster whilst manic.

 

Where was I... Oh, I found this little hotbed of mental action whilst surfing the waves of the net. I was hoping to find some sort of support community because in the last two months things have really gotten worse. My wife of two years (5.5 years of total commitment) walked out on me in December. I've not been physically alone for nearly six years, and now all of a sudden most nights I am sitting by myself in my apartment with nothing but my paranoia and despair to keep me company.

 

I have started dating and am currently about 7 weeks into a relationship. I have definitely had problems adjusting to not seeing the person I care about every day. I do still miss my ex sometimes, despite all the awful things she did. I've always had abandonment issues and that definitely did not help. My GF is pretty understanding about my issues and so far has been very accepting. She got to witness a full blown hallucinatin' manic episode a week ago. Even when I told her all the ugly details, she was supportive, or at least as supportive as you can expect a woman to be only 6-7 weeks into a relationship. At the end of the day, she didn't run away, so that earned her many points.

 

I am currently transitioning from one p-doc to another, due to conflict of interest. Turns out, unbeknownst to me, that prior p-doc is the step mother of my now girlfriend, which I was surprised to find out the big family dinner where I got to meet everyone.

 

I'm rambling now. Back on course!

 

My current major concern is that there is something else going on with me other than my previously listed diagnoses. My mental issues began late high school. They were severe but I hid them from my mother. It wasn't until I was 21 that my PCP decided I was depressed and that I needed an SSRI. He issued me zoloft and sent me on the way. It was, of course, a disaster. Things got worst. His answer was to increase the dose. Worse still. He finally sent me to see a p-doc, who turned out to be the most awful doctor I have ever had the displeasure of seeing. He continued to treat me for depression, never once considering that there was anything else wrong with me. I stopped seeing him after about 6 months, because the type of care I was receiving did not constitute the $60 bucks I had to pay every visit, which more often than not was just a 5 minute drug deal.

 

I was then unmedicated for about 6 years. It was one of the worst periods of my life.

 

It wasn't until I was 29 that I finally found a p-doc that actually investigated my problems further. After a few months, he finally got underneath my skin and got through my bullshit defense system and found the ugly root of my problems. He started treating me for Bipolar II.

 

Things did seem to get better, though it took a while. The severity of my mood swings lowered. I was experiencing fewer hallucinations. However, things still were not doing good. I went from depakote to lamictal after the gaining about 40 pounds. I was forced to transition from him to another p-doc due to insurance issues.

 

This one turned out to be just as bad as my original and really soured me on psychiatrists once again. Every day I would enter his office and complain about problems with my meds and he would nod and scribble and hand me my scripts and sent me out into the world. I tried to get transferred a few times to another doctor in the practice but it wasn't possible.

 

At my disability hearing, the judge read over this doctor's notes, and he reported that at every visit I never reported problems. That doctor nearly caused me everything. Thankfully the tons of other medical records were overwhelmingly the opposite, even including the state-appointment p-doc that assessed me early in the disability process.

 

Apparently enough people complained about that p-doc that he was actually fired from the practice and I was transferred to a nurse practitioner. I was at first worried because it felt like I was being downgraded, but once we met it turned out really well. She adjusted my meds based on my concerns, added some things and scaled some other things back. I had a really decent year under her supervision. Granted, I would still cycle every other month or so, but they were much less severe. Also, having eliminated the stress of a 9-5 did wonders.

 

Now I am journeying on back to a p-doc. I would be worried, but the NP personally saw to it that I see this new doctor and assured me that she is top notch.

 

So now I sully forth, and now nearly four years into my bipolar treatment, I am starting to worry that there is something else lurking down below. I have often complained that even when I am "normal" I don't feel normal. I generally feel off all the time. Paranoia and unreasonably lonely; I often feel "out of my body", like I'm just watching some poor slub stumble his way through life, just waiting for the gavel to drop and his time to run out. I've complained about this dissociation before, but I never insisted that it was a major problem, so we never investigated it further. I am starting to worry that these little things are not little at all, and pose a major threat to my mental and physical well being. Are they just further issues associated with Bipolar and anxiety disorders? Or is it something else?

 

I've never attempted to commit suicide (though I have self-harmed many times). My lack of suicidal tendencies (all I wanted was a Pepsi) has kept me from being admitted to any of the regions mental health hospitals, though I have been put on emergency lock down numerous times. Most often in today's medical environmental  if you aren't actually trying to off yourself, they are happy to just let you wait out whatever insanity is plaguing you and then send you with a note to contact your personal physician.

 

The idea of being admitted to a mental health facility scares me. I don't think I would handle it very well, which would just make things worse.

 

Wow. That's a lot. And I was certain I'd have a hard time coming up with anything. If you've read all of this, then you are a better person than me, and you have earned yourself +5 internet cookies.

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