Stream of Consciousness

Doctors That Didn’t Treat Me Like a Human (it’s scary)

I recently had to get tested for covid (as I’m sick and someone around me came up positive) and what really struck me was the TREATMENT I received.

And not just me, my entire family.

My body thinks it’s job is to attack itself, so I’m not a very healthy person. I see a lot of doctors. And there are two times recently that doctors have just blown my mind in a bad way.

The second, was when going to get tested. It was outback of my doctor’s office, where they pointed for us to park, then disappeared for half an hour.

They were nervous, that was obvious, and I get it. I don’t want to catch the corona-virus and they don’t either. But they barely even looked at me or my family as we were getting tested. They had us get out of the car and sit in this little area they constructed right in front of us without saying a word.

They stood there talking with one another and entirely ignoring me. Like I’m not a human who is nervous that I might have a virus that is killing people, who’s sick, and about to have a swab jammed up her nose into her brain.

It’s like I wasn’t there. Like I didn’t matter. Like their fear of getting the virus was more important than the fact that someone was sitting there.

And again, I get it, doctors can’t get too attached to their patients or they’d get emotionally torn up. But pretending I’m a robot or not even there at all, is messed up.

To not even speak to me except to tell me to look forward and I can go now, is not okay.

 

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I see a lot of doctors who are AMAZING. So I know it’s not impossible to treat me like I’m a person with feelings and fears, too.

 

The first time this past month that a doctor blew my mind was when I went in sobbing, to talk about my mental health. To ask for help, again.

And INSTEAD

I found out from my primary care physician that my last psychiatrist has entirely messed up my medical history. It says I took a medication for a year, which I took once. It doesn’t detail why I had to quit taking mood stabilizers due to extreme symptoms. It doesn’t detail that he told me I needed to be committed and he couldn’t help me anymore.

Which – at the time I believed him, so I went to the hospital. The people who interview you to commit you or not were blown away and suggested I see a different psychiatrist. They said they’d get laughed out of their boss’ office if they tried committing me, and that I was doing great for all the health issues I was dealing with.

They also suggested I go see my regular doctor because they believed I was hallucinating simply due to lack of sleep, caused by a sudden case of restless leg syndrome (a symptom of the mood stabilizers, which no one ever mentioned, even though it’s a health issue my family all has). I DID go see my doc and she gave me a prescription and POOF I could sleep. And what do you know? My hallucinations went away.  Because of restless leg syndrome. Even though my psychiatrist said it was my bipolar and I needed to be committed.

 

Safe to say, I never saw that psychiatrist again. He didn’t listen to me, didn’t tell me what possible symptoms could happen, or really hear anything I had to say. I was pretty scared of the idea of seeing a psychiatrist ever again. So I just didn’t go see him anymore. I kept up with therapy and for years, I’ve been doing totally fine.

Yeah, depression and anxiety mess with me. But the mood stabilizers caused my other health issues to keep me from functioning at all and didn’t actually help the depression or anxiety AT ALL. So not taking them wasn’t a big deal to me.

Until I had a job that was messing with me for several bad reasons. It was a very unhealthy situation and I was in a lot of pain.

 

So here I am, asking my primary care doctor for help and then finding out my last psychiatrist had messed up my medical history.

But this was all backstory. This wasn’t what upset me!

It was my primary care doctor’s response to me.

She acted like I was a lying crazy person who obviously just didn’t have any integrity or memory power.

As if my psychiatrist was right and I must have…. FORGOT that I took a medication for a year??? Or that I was lying and filled a medication I wasn’t taking for a year (because, yeah, she insinuated I’d filled it and just not taken it)??? When in fact, I filled it ONCE and never again…

I’m on the bipolar spectrum. I don’t have the scary Bipolar 1 or 2 that some people have to deal with. Or even that third one that starts with a “c”. I’m simply on the spectrum.

I don’t have hallucinations unless I’m only getting 20 minutes of sleep a night for a month straight because of restless leg syndrome, caused by a mood stabilizer because my psychiatrist didn’t pay attention to my family medical history and decided to give me a medication that CAUSES restless leg syndrome if the patient has a family history of it. … (And restless leg syndrome didn’t go away just because I stopped taking the mood stabilizer. I now take a pill for it DAILY that helps most of the time.)

I don’t EVER have mania, only hypo-mania. I NEVER have had a psychotic break or delusions of grandeur or anything like that. I just feel A LOT of depression and anxiety and I FEEL TOO MUCH.

But my doctor was acting like I was a full blown crazy person who just must not remember what she did. *in a huge condescending tone*

I was blown away. How do doctors like this handle people who DO have psychotic breaks? Do they just believe those people are incapable of knowing the difference between life and hallucinations? I mean, how is it that a DOCTOR can treat another human being like they’re an idiot who knows nothing? Or are all lairs because they have a mental illness? The huge wall that I just felt go up between us was depressing, to put a word to it.

Like I was suddenly an unreliable narrator in a story and couldn’t be trusted.

And what’s so infuriating is that I’m such a goody two shoes! On purpose! I hate lying!

 

It was just too much for me. And after all that, my primary care doc didn’t actually help with the depression or anxiety, but referred me to a new psychiatrist, who I’m terrified to see.

On the upside, my therapist agrees that I’ve had terrible experiences and understands why I’m now afraid to see another psychiatrist.

Although, now that I’ve quit that job, I’m feeling much better and don’t feel as pushed into NEVER ENDING MISERY as I did a few weeks ago. So do I even need to see a psychiatrist? Do they TALK to you or just throw meds at you? Because the meds make my health worse. (which by the way, can we talk about how i legit thought you could take anti anxiety or depression meds and they just fixed you? without any symptoms?? aaaahhhhh…. the naivety…..🤣🤣 …. I wish I’d been smarter and looked into possible symptoms or interactions on my own, years ago, before starting that journey.)

 

And then I went on twitter and between the coronavirus and all the hate…. I just couldn’t anymore.

So I had to take a mental health break. From everything, everywhere. Because sometimes life just hurts. And all I can do is hide under my shell like a turtle until the hurt doesn’t outweigh my own ability to breathe.

And if you need to do that? No shame. Social media has a way of putting a megaphone to things, whether good or bad. For someone who already FEELS THINGS MORE INTENSELY cuz I’m bipolar… not good. Add bad health and feeling out of control of my own life.

Just too much.

So I took a week off twitter and blogging.

and it felt GREAT, to be honest

 

but yeah, i just needed this all off my chest. there are FABULOUS doctors out there. but this really scared me. i find it hard to be honest with doctors BECAUSE of situations like this.

(and no, i don’t have my covid test results back yet 😫)

I’m not saying don’t see a psychiatrist, I’m just saying, find the right doctors for YOU. Who SEE YOU as a person and treat you with dignity and respect. 💜

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Stream of Consciousness

Humans Are Messy

(i know this is a long one, gals and guys, but i’ve needed to get this one out for a while)

 

I have issues.

I’m sure you do to.

It’s called being human.

But the world and all the social media and unrealistic read:fake news, reality shows, and images, etc., would have us believe that there is such a thing as “The Perfect Human”. And not only is this perfect version of a human being real, but there are loads of them, living daily, normal lives all over the world. In fact, most people are perfect and we’re just a rare messed up breed with issues.

So we should pretend. Fake it til we make it. Put on a mask. Ignore parts of who we are and shove them deep down inside where they will then technically not exist.

Because no one wants to see your “human”.

 

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I don’t think it is humanly possible for me to roll my eyes any harder.

 

Everyone is messy. Emotions are messy. Life is messy.

We are constantly changing, adapting, growing, or we are becoming stagnate and atrophying.

Humans don’t come with a Non-Mess Version.

We have problems. We struggle. We feel a wide range of emotions and think a vast amount of conflicting things – all at once. We’re pretty amazing. So why do we look at this like we’re bad, wrong, or defective if we don’t only feel one thing?

 

I’ve had enough of feeling like I can only do a blog post, tweet a tweet, or record a video when I’m in a FANTASTIC mood.

At this point, I’m beginning to feel fake.

I’m not lying or acting as if I feel something I don’t. I’m not making stuff up or putting on a mask. But I AM hiding my entire personality.

A lie by omission is a lie nonetheless.

My struggle is thusly: I want to uplift and inspire and help others. I want people to know how amazing this life can be and what wondrous things they can do. That everyone has the choice of becoming who THEY want to become, no matter their circumstances and struggles.

Honestly though, I feel like a fraud. A fake. A phony.

 

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Because I’m really struggling right now.

With my gut disease – which has literally taken over my life and made it hard for me to do any real living. I’m struggling with chronic pain and exhaustion from other chronic issues. With the reality that I might not get better and will have to figure out how to deal with the way my health is (and it’s gotten much worse lately) and still work part-time, participate in life, and still try to do things that I enjoy. I’m struggling with a lot of shame over not working full time because my body literally stops me. With the shame of not being in a good mood all the time. I’m struggling with bi-polar depression and anxiety that are swallowing me whole. I’m struggling financially and with the shame of not being able to financially support myself. With restless leg syndrome that won’t let me rest during the day at all and keeps me from sleeping well at night, even with the pills. I’m struggling with lack of sleep and lack of calories and not being able to eat anything I enjoy.

I went off sugar for a month, for crying out loud! And nothing happened. I swing back and forth between eating only what my gut disease lets me and getting physically sick of the foods to the point I stop eating – and eating something I like and suffering for it (and looking like I’m gaining weight due to inflammation, which causes a whole host of other internal pains).

I know people aren’t in a good mood 24/7. But lately, I’ve grown apathetic, angry, bitter, overwhelmed by depression, numb, and scared. I’m swarmed by these struggles for days or weeks on end. It’s exhausting to force myself out of bed.

I don’t want to be the person who is grumpy and drags people down. I don’t take my upsetedness (yes, I know that’s not a word, but I’m a writer, I’m allowed to make things up) out on others. But I’m not as peppy all the time any more. It takes a lot for me to focus past the pain and remember how to be a human and do the human things.

 

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And no, I don’t look sick. My chronic illnesses are invisible. I’m not missing a leg. I don’t have swollen arms or oozing puss. I don’t have rashes or any sort of visible symptoms.

It’s all inside. And I try to ignore it as much as possible.

But it’s getting to me. And I feel ashamed about that too.

 

But I’ve had enough of expending what little energy I have on pretending that I’m not in pain. On being there full tilt for everyone else and ignoring my own health.  Expending my energy on digging deep into the optimistic and peppy reserves I’ve got left and forcing it out.

Something occurred to me.

You might be struggling with the exact same thing.

Maybe you’re a mess too.

Maybe you feel like you have to pretend to be totally okay and happy-go-lucky, as if it’s your responsibility to be in a great mood and capable of doing all the things everyone else around you can do, so that everyone feels comfortable around you or uplifted and supported by you. As if others’ emotions and happiness are your responsibility. (It’s not, by the way.)

ENOUGH

I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to be an inconvenient truth. It’s okay to be a mess. EVERYONE is a mess to some degree. We are all struggling and pretending we’re not so that others won’t judge us or exclude us.

We, as a society, don’t like to look at things that make us feel uncomfortable.

But you know where the magic happens in life?

In the UNcomfortable moments.

 

So be a mess out loud.

I’m not saying emotionally vomit on everyone that walks past you. But be honest. Don’t exhaust yourself trying to be happy for someone that happens to exist in the same space as you.

The people who love and respect you will understand and support you. And what’s more, they’ll probably feel a bit more comfortable around you because you’re giving them the room and safety to be NOT perfect too.

 

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Shadow Poetry

I’m Not Waiting Any Longer

And I sit there on the floor

Legs not crossed like a lady

But crossed like I’m four again

Sitting at school on the carpet

Waiting for the teacher to explain.

 

Okay, I’m ready.

For you to let down your wisdom

Breathe the secret into my ear

Pull back the curtain

Ignite the barren emptiness

Of not knowing

 

Only

I sit there, on the floor

Waiting

Rubbernecking like nobody’s business

Wholeheartedly believing

Now I’ll understand

Now it’ll all make sense

I’ll get it

Understand

I’ll know what this life is all about

What I’ve been missing

 

I’ve lived into my how-to manual

People will come rushing through the terminals

Hard earned years of enlightenment

They’ll bustle in their hurried fever

Of needing to get on with their lives

Because they have so much to live

What, with all that understanding

Due to age…

 

Only

I sit there, on the floor

Realizing the room is empty

It’s a stage with polished floors

And vaulted ceilings

Rows and rows of chairs

The nice cushy ones you might’ve fought your grandpa for

When you were four years old

 

I look around and see

The lights are off

I’m the only one on the stage

The crowd is empty

Those nice soft seats, void of any life

Any know-how to impart

 

That’s the first lesson I really learned

About everyone else,

Outside of my skin.

It didn’t knock off any innocence

I wasn’t shiny or brand new by then

That got rubbed off before I could speak

But I’d kept some silly hope that when you said

“When you’re older you’ll understand”

…that you spoke the truth.

 

You did not.

The truth is

No one knows.

 

I found this out, sitting cross-legged

Like a child

Vibrating with enthusiasm

And excitement

Ready to warm my hands

At the fire of everyone’s experience

 

With the heat of age

That’d crept into my body

That everyone told me, made me

Better, somehow

Like numbers of lived life

Ups your worth in some cosmic game

And so you earn more lives

And redeemable information to trade

For a bunch of useless tasks, you performed…because….

 

Still sitting on an empty floor

Holding a ticket that leads nowhere.

 

By Daphne Shadows

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Photo is property of Daphne Shadows

Stream of Consciousness

Peace in the Holiday Bustling

 

This holiday season is different for me.

Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years.

If you celebrate something different than Christmas, no exclusion here. This includes you too.

 

Difference of perspective is what I wish we would all accumulate this year.

Peace instead of rat racing about, hurrying for this sale or that. Running to this relative’s house with every present we can find, ignoring sneers and petty comments because that’s what we’re supposed to do. Love instead of yelling and snapping when someone drops a feather on top of the stress-filled weekend because that’s what family does. Respect instead of ramming shopping carts into toddlers so that one sale doesn’t evade. Hope instead of miserating over aloneness.

Peace. Love. Respect. Hope.

Let’s go with those.

Instead of “shoulds”. Instead of “because that’s what family does”.

Should is a quick fix if you want suffering.

And for the record, family is respectful. Genetic donors are not. Family is understanding, forgiving, and will allow you to hold your boundaries without childish or spiteful vitriol. Genetically related individuals don’t’ make those loving choices.

Because let’s get honest. It’s a choice. Every moment is a choice.

We each have a choice.

Holiday spirit is real. If we chose to feel it. To make room in ourselves for it to enter.

To make room, we must cut some things out. Like hate. Resentment. Bitterness. Doubt. Rigidity. The belief that we have no control over ourselves, our lives, or the treatment we receive from others.

 

Peace. Love. Respect. Hope.

That’s my goal for this holiday season.

My hope for you, is the same.

 

 

I’ll just leave these thoughts here for you…. (they’re really resonating with me right now)

 

“Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.”

 

“Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.”

 

“Where there is ruin, there is hope for a treasure.”

 

Rumi

 

Stream of Consciousness

Replace Hate

Hiya crazies!

How goes it?

It goes well here. Well, kinda well.

 

Anywho…

I teach a Sunday second hour class every other Sunday and thought I’d share something we and the kids did a month ago or so.

If you balk at organized religion, this is more about being human than anything. Or, I should say, humane. Which, if you ask me, is something we seem to lack. But that’s a rant for a different day.

There’s this teacher dude with this awesome “Erase Meanness” thing.

I’m real articulate today.

Dude is here. Check it out. Really. Go.

Now!

 

You back?

Yes, that was Kevin Bacon on his page-thingy.

Okay.

 

I went in a half hour early and wrote negative words on the board. In the center of the board, I wrote “Satan is Hate”. You can re-word this as “replace hate…”

 

I then had the crazies erase a word and replace it with a kind word. In the center, it then read, “Christ is Love”. Again, for a non religious example, you can simply write “with love”.

 

We can all replace hate with love. We can treat each other with respect and kindness.

Not saying that I wouldn’t protect myself or those I love, I’m simply saying we don’t need to be so needlessly, ridiculously, bloody cruel.