Monday, May 16, 2016

Time Spent in Purgatory: Hello Dad, I Am Here

The following is a True Story. All events and conversations are accurate, to the best of the author's ability. Artistic liberties are smattered throughout. Names have been changed where deemed necessary.


[Shelia: Man O Man, I am so proud of her, she's getting it! She's REALLY getting it!
Tom: I know, I know, I can barely keep up – 
Bill: I'm thinking about retiring. Checking my 401k / Stock Options...
Ashley: This is like, so FUN!]


I am walking. Walking down a street. It is 5AM in the morning.

There are birds, the First Birds, churpping and chirpping and cawing. They are telling me that it is A.OK that I am awake and burning off the Energy. And I am really getting it, you guys. I am getting it. What is it...

IT is knowing your own Mind. IT is grasping the answers to Oneself. IT is knowing that no matter what. No Matter What. NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS [I promise you] Humans can and will persevere.

Friends. If you feel like you are struggling...If you are feeling unwell in your Head, Please consider the following Steps:

1. Go to the hospital right away if you are considering #suicide

2. If you are not considering ending your life but you are, indeed, miserable, go see your Primary Care Physician immediately, make an appointment to see a Psychiatrist.

3. If you do not have access to Health Insurance, you must seek access to Health Insurance. You can become a Barista Starbucks and if you work 20 hours per week, you will have access to health insurance. You can also seek resources online. Health Insurance is a Right, not a Privilege.

3. Do an intake with the Psychiatrist. Listen to her / him and try to be as articulate and honest as your head will allow when you attempt to describe your symptoms. [If you are Depressed, especially if you potentially have Bipolar Depression, you truly are at risk and you need to trust what the doctors tell you.]

4. If you are prescribed Medication [i.e. Haldol [[this is only if you are Psychotic. "Psychotic" means you are seeing things, hearing voices, "talking with God," etc. ]] or, perhaps Lithium, Xanax, Paxil, Lexapro, Seroquel, Klonopin, Abilify, Latuda, Depakote, Lamictal, etc, etc] YOU MUST TAKE THE MEDICATION, RIGHT NOW.

5. Take the medication everyday, at the same time. Everyday. Did I mention everyday you must take the medication!??

6. You may or may not experience the following symptoms: Dry mouth, lethargy, dizziness, weight gain, appetite increase and / or decrease, etc. Read the entire prescription you are given by your Pharmacist.

7. YOU MUST ACCEPT THESE SIDE EFFECTS and know that it will get better. It gets better, I promise you.

8. I recommend [this is a personal choice] talking with your close friends and family about your experience. Tell them how your head is feeling right now. Do not be ashamed.

9. If you feel like you need to sleep, SLEEP. If you are so miserable you cannot get out of bed, then do not get out of bed. Just sit. Just wait, just be. Make sure you Eat Some [In Defense of Food] every single day. Drink water. Your body will need water.

10. Please wait at least one to two months before you make a value judgement on your medication.

11. If, after say, eight weeks, you feel worse, talk to your Psychiatrist. Tell him / her exactly how you are feeling. Try the new medication, if prescribed.

12. Bonus advice: Try Meditation, Try yoga, Try "tapping" [gently taping yourself with a bean bag], Try buying some nice markers / pens / pencils and purchase an adult coloring book. Color in the shapes. Do this for 10 minutes a day, Try the Square breathing technique. [Google what the Square Breathing technique is, there most likely is a TED talk about it that can teach you how to breathe.]

13. And, above all else, please Trust me that you must Keep Trying. Bipolar / Depression / Schizophrenia / Generalized Anxiety Disorder / Anorexia / Obsessive Compulsive Disorder / Adult Deficit [ and Hyperactive] Disorder and more are ALL TREATABLE ILLNESSES.

And finally, if you are suffering, I am here. I am not a doctor, but I play one on TV. No, for real, I have suffered for 12 long years managing Bipolar Type I. You can do this, you can do this, you can. Life is a gift. Don't allow yourself to be ill inside your brain and end it. You can be OK. You know how to reach me.

Thanks for reading.
Susan Andersen
Susan B. Agony