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Old 12-20-2014, 07:15 PM
 
28 posts, read 44,396 times
Reputation: 46

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Hi There! I don't know if anyone will be able to offer me any advice on this forum but maybe someone has been in my situation before and can let me know what happened with you if so?

A little bit about my history:

Mostly life-long sufferer of depression. 48. Been diagnosed biplar II as well as just unipolar. I have been through about every medication in the book and I have ended up with worse, more recurrent, and deeper depressions, possibly caused by the chronic long-term antidepressant use (this was verified by a doctor I spoke with as well who told me that some people get worse on them over the years long-term.) I now become manic and agitated on certain medications.

Over a year ago, while moving around trying to find a place to move after Denver started getting really expensive, I ended up in Michigan with a family member. I seem to get seasonal severe bouts with depression that would usually start around end of January, sometimes February and often last until the middle of June or July. My psychiatrist finally referred me for ECT since everything else had been tried. I saw a neuropsych in Detroit who advised me to try going off of my medications to see how I feel. I took many months to very slowly ween off of Adderall and Cymbalta, while still moving around some.

I was feeling OK and sort of handling minor low-grade depression on and off, until I moved to Asheville, North Carolina. I knew the area had more cloudiness than I am used to, but someone with SAD said it was not that bad here and others said no problem, we only get that occasionally. Well, within a month of moving here, I started to notice more severe and lasting depression that was not lifting as well as I thought it did months prior. I noticed more days of cloudiness as well and have since spiraled deeply into a severe depression episode a lot earlier than I am used to doing. I use a light box, get out in it for over an hour a day, try to stay busy, meditate, practice yoga (now feeling too exhausted to get through my usual routine), and manage to keep working as much as I can. I was socializing pretty well until the paranoia about my condition made me feel self-conscious and my body started feeling too numb to exert the extra energy if it wasn't essential to my survival.

I think the whole move put me in a bad place. I really have a bad case of culture-shock going on though it is supposedly very progressive. Honestly, I don't feel like I belong in this town, nor care for my social options that I've explored so far, but I can't afford to go back to Denver. I now feel trapped and I just feel like it was all too much for me and the change may have set off another episode. On top of it now, I am dealing with SAD.

-------------------------

So my issue is that I am having a horrific time finding mental health care here now. My primary doc referred me to a psychiatrist practice that has caused me a delay in treatment by denying my referral for no good enough reason (when I called, they said took my insurance and were taking new patients but denied me (they didn't even have my psych records). Then a nurse practitioner, who was then referred, has not picked up the ball, nor returned my calls. I have called a few places that do not call me back or don't take someone on Medicare who is under 65. I find the receptionists to be somewhat rude and unhelpful. My doctor in Colorado is finally faxing a referral to one place that only has two people left to review them and won't be able to get me in until the end of January. I can't have my doctor refer me for ECT because they want it to be a local person. I am really starting to freak out. I don't want medication - other than maybe I did not give lithium enough of a try (because it made me feel sick and built up in my blood too fast so I ditched it.) But I think I am beyond lithium now. I am worried about the potential of ending my life or suffering badly for months trying to get help and yet I am scared to show up in an ER like I was directed to by some receptionist when asked what do I do if I can't wait for a doctor to see me and refer me or help me?

I am worried I will be drugged again against my will and called non-compliant if I don't want that. I have been in psych wards in my distant past and I learned to avoid them because they caused me trauma over time. And I have no idea what a psych ward could be like in Southern Appalachia. But at least they have two hospitals here who do ECT and I met one woman who says it is helping her (and believes she has a competent doctor) and that is the place I am trying to get a referral to for a regular doctor who may refer me.

So I am wondering if anyone has been in my situation and what happened when your depression got so bad and you didn't have a doctor to rely on and how you got help finally when you thought you couldn't take it anymore. Sometimes I think I am hanging in there as I have ridden out severe episodes before and then other times I am worried I am going to completely snap and start planning on ending it. I don't know how it is going to go with the weather here added in this time.

Thanks!
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Old 12-20-2014, 09:13 PM
 
Location: Up above the world so high!
45,269 posts, read 90,937,721 times
Reputation: 39977
Quote:
Originally Posted by catw1101 View Post
Hi There! I don't know if anyone will be able to offer me any advice on this forum but maybe someone has been in my situation before and can let me know what happened with you if so?

A little bit about my history:

Mostly life-long sufferer of depression. 48. Been diagnosed biplar II as well as just unipolar. I have been through about every medication in the book and I have ended up with worse, more recurrent, and deeper depressions, possibly caused by the chronic long-term antidepressant use (this was verified by a doctor I spoke with as well who told me that some people get worse on them over the years long-term.) I now become manic and agitated on certain medications.

Over a year ago, while moving around trying to find a place to move after Denver started getting really expensive, I ended up in Michigan with a family member. I seem to get seasonal severe bouts with depression that would usually start around end of January, sometimes February and often last until the middle of June or July. My psychiatrist finally referred me for ECT since everything else had been tried. I saw a neuropsych in Detroit who advised me to try going off of my medications to see how I feel. I took many months to very slowly ween off of Adderall and Cymbalta, while still moving around some.

I was feeling OK and sort of handling minor low-grade depression on and off, until I moved to Asheville, North Carolina. I knew the area had more cloudiness than I am used to, but someone with SAD said it was not that bad here and others said no problem, we only get that occasionally. Well, within a month of moving here, I started to notice more severe and lasting depression that was not lifting as well as I thought it did months prior. I noticed more days of cloudiness as well and have since spiraled deeply into a severe depression episode a lot earlier than I am used to doing. I use a light box, get out in it for over an hour a day, try to stay busy, meditate, practice yoga (now feeling too exhausted to get through my usual routine), and manage to keep working as much as I can. I was socializing pretty well until the paranoia about my condition made me feel self-conscious and my body started feeling too numb to exert the extra energy if it wasn't essential to my survival.

I think the whole move put me in a bad place. I really have a bad case of culture-shock going on though it is supposedly very progressive. Honestly, I don't feel like I belong in this town, nor care for my social options that I've explored so far, but I can't afford to go back to Denver. I now feel trapped and I just feel like it was all too much for me and the change may have set off another episode. On top of it now, I am dealing with SAD.

-------------------------

So my issue is that I am having a horrific time finding mental health care here now. My primary doc referred me to a psychiatrist practice that has caused me a delay in treatment by denying my referral for no good enough reason (when I called, they said took my insurance and were taking new patients but denied me (they didn't even have my psych records). Then a nurse practitioner, who was then referred, has not picked up the ball, nor returned my calls. I have called a few places that do not call me back or don't take someone on Medicare who is under 65. I find the receptionists to be somewhat rude and unhelpful. My doctor in Colorado is finally faxing a referral to one place that only has two people left to review them and won't be able to get me in until the end of January. I can't have my doctor refer me for ECT because they want it to be a local person. I am really starting to freak out. I don't want medication - other than maybe I did not give lithium enough of a try (because it made me feel sick and built up in my blood too fast so I ditched it.) But I think I am beyond lithium now. I am worried about the potential of ending my life or suffering badly for months trying to get help and yet I am scared to show up in an ER like I was directed to by some receptionist when asked what do I do if I can't wait for a doctor to see me and refer me or help me?

I am worried I will be drugged again against my will and called non-compliant if I don't want that. I have been in psych wards in my distant past and I learned to avoid them because they caused me trauma over time. And I have no idea what a psych ward could be like in Southern Appalachia. But at least they have two hospitals here who do ECT and I met one woman who says it is helping her (and believes she has a competent doctor) and that is the place I am trying to get a referral to for a regular doctor who may refer me.

So I am wondering if anyone has been in my situation and what happened when your depression got so bad and you didn't have a doctor to rely on and how you got help finally when you thought you couldn't take it anymore. Sometimes I think I am hanging in there as I have ridden out severe episodes before and then other times I am worried I am going to completely snap and start planning on ending it. I don't know how it is going to go with the weather here added in this time.

Thanks!
Cat, I don't have many answers for you, but I had to write and let you know I'm hugging you in my heart.

What you are going through is so horrendous and I am so very sorry. Unfortunately there is a real shortage of psychiatrists in NC and many people wait at least 8 weeks to get in with one.

If you scroll down in this report you'll see NC (and many other states) receive a "D" when graded by the NAMI http://www.nami.org/Content/Navigati...9_Findings.pdf

Any chance you have any family or friends in Ohio, Wisconsin, Connecticut or Maine? Those states are some of the top ones for offering mental health services. Mentioning it just in case.

In your situation you seem like the perfect candidate for ECT so I am glad you are pursuing that!

In the meantime, if you have transportation and get to a breaking point, drive down to Charlotte. There is a behavioral health ER, separate from the hospital, which I've heard good things about in the last year. Here is a link for them: 24-Hour Help Line | Carolinas HealthCare System > NC

Do whatever you can think of to distract yourself while you are waiting for all these referrals to come about. I know the waiting is so painful but hang in there please. I care and I am wishing you all the best.
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Old 12-20-2014, 09:29 PM
 
28 posts, read 44,396 times
Reputation: 46
Default Thank you and bless your heart!

Thank you so much for taking your time and your kindness and advice. Yes, by now I definitely have the idea that this area is pretty poor on mental health care when you really need it. One option would be to go where I went when I stayed with my mother in Southeast Michigan. I might even be able to see the neuropsych I saw there for ECT. What happened with that, was that by the time I got an appt. it was mid-July and my depression was on the cusp of lifting and so he said try getting off the meds and see how you feel. But the cloudiness is even worse there, but when I do get an appt. there with a regular doctor I saw before, I could simply drive up for it and then come back for ECT if I needed.

I can't rule out all my options at this point.

Thank you for the Charlotte idea as well. My other option is to try and get into their structured outpatient program at Mission, but I don't want to be labeled non-compliant if I become too ill to complete it. And who knows how long that might take to get in. But at least I would have a doctor overseeing me who could refer me for the ECT. I am no longer afraid of the the idea of ECT at all. I am afraid of this depression ruining my life or potentially killing me. I know myself and I know it is time to try ECT.

I already went through one of those structured outpatient things and got nothing out of it but highly annoyed. I've done so much therapy it doesn't really matter that much if there is a fire-storm going on in my brain. On the other hand, it would give me people to be around with a common issue because I am feeling totally bizarre and worried about how I am talking to just about everyone else lately.

Thanks so much! Will definitely look into the Charlotte place and will hang in there with keeping busy and distracting myself as much as possible.

Last edited by catw1101; 12-20-2014 at 09:43 PM..
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Old 12-20-2014, 09:33 PM
 
28 posts, read 44,396 times
Reputation: 46
Oh, and I did get responsive and fast care when I lived in Akron, Ohio for a few years. So I know what you mean about Ohio. My mother no longer lives there but there is potentially a way for me to get care there possibly. Maybe....
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