Are you talkin’ to me?
Dying to be loved.
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Hi, my name is Maddie. I'm here because I have a long list of medical issues and might like to share my story and see if anyone else has had anything I have and see if I can learn more. Beyond what I told The Mighty I have I also have Ataxia, Primary Sclerosing Cholongitis, and Colitis. Specifying the type of Depression I have is Episodic Depression. Also my medication causes insomnia and makes me immunocompromised. I’d really like to know how people deal with and live with an oppressed immune system. I’m currently unemployed because I’m so afr
Reflections on Viewing LIfe through a Skewed Lens
Part 1 of 2 For 37 years I practiced Podiatry and for 13 years I ran a Foot and Ankle surgical residency. In my early years I had issues with #Anxiety , sleeplessness, and anger. At times I was overconfident, impish, and impulsive. However, my parents never felt it was necessary to have me evaluated by a mental health professional.
Around my 40th birthday, my wife noticed a bizarre surge of overconfidence in my personality. I was not sleeping very well, and I was talking fast. She insisted that I see a psychiatrist. He thought my “manic” actions were consistent with #BipolarDisorder disease. The medication I was given caused some untoward complications. I found myself pacing and the medication exacerbated an existing skin condition. I became frustrated and stopped taking the medication. I was in denial. But after three weeks or so, the #Mania subsided, but it was followed by two months of severe #Depression . Eventually the depression subsided as well.
For the next 20 years or so I consulted with psychotherapists and psychiatrists for anxiety and anger issues. When I turned sixty, I developed #EssentialTremor in my hands. Suddenly, I was faced with the reality that I would have to stop practicing medicine. Before I knew it, I was in a deep depression. Large doses of antidepressants threw me into a hypomanic state. Some of the newer generation mood stabilizers where prescribed, but I took I took them inconsistently. I understood that I was having a manic episode, but I did not perceive my actions as unusual. Eventually, I stopped taking the medication all together.
In the blink of an eye, I bought a BMW, had an earring put in my ear, started smoking marijuana and drinking tequila. While reeling in this hypomanic state I committed domestic violence and was incarcerated for eight months. The judge agreed to release me if I could be transferred to an acceptable mental health facility. I was stable for eight months in jail before I was brought to an inpatient institution. It was nice, with colorful townhouses, a pool, and a ping-pong table. Unlike what I would have expected. I received daily psychotherapy, individually and in groups. There was art and music therapy, yoga, and meditation.
My medication was carefully titrated with input from the entire team. I was incredibly lucky to have this type of exemplary care. It was all arranged by my amazing wife who clearly understood that I had a mental illness that needed appropriate care. I then spent three months at an outpatient center. I liked the camaraderie I had with the other patients. We shopped together and had group meals. I was able to come and go as I pleased. My medication was still carefully monitored. I learned to practice Mindfulness and developed patience.
After 14 months I finally went home. The dogs greeted me as though I had never left. Many of my old friends alienated themselves from me, but others accepted my condition as they would any other illness. Today I liken the aftereffects of a major fire at Yellowstone National Park to improvements in my life situation. When my wife and I took our children to that park many years ago, there had been a devastating fire that left burnt debris all over the ground. But if you took a second look, you could see small, bold green sprouts popping up everywhere. To me they are symbols of new life, new #Relationships , strength, and hope. Through devastation we can endure, grow, and succeed.
I was stuck, when I got home, and I just did not know what to do next. My wife is not a big advocate of self-pity. She said, “you could learn how to cook and clean.” “You could even take a crack at doing laundry.” “You would even consider making me some homemade soup. I looked at her like she was crazy. You get soup from a can or from a deli. Just before leaving for work one morning, she told me that every soup starts with celery, carrots, and onions. That day I looked up a recipe for split pea soup. I bought organic carrots, celery, and sweet onions. Gave them a good scraping and then a bit of dicing. I sautéed and let them sweat for a while. Then I added some chicken broth and split peas. What do you know, it came out pretty good. In time I bought an immersion blender, so I could give the soup a creamy texture and I also augmented the recipe with spicy chicken sausage. Before long, I was making Lentil, Pasta e Fagioli, and Gumbo. I even learned how to make a Roux.
The thing about soup is it spends a long-time simmering. I started to use this time to write. I self-published a book about my struggles with mental health. I was invited to lead discussion groups at mental health facilities and started to do th
Reflections on Viewing LIfe through a Skewed Lens
Part 2 of 2 is on a regular basis. For entertainment I attended a storytelling slams. Now that is a lot of fun. I even started participating.
My wife claims that I rely on planned incompetence to get out of cleaning and doing laundry. She encourages me though, by telling me how sexy I look with a vacuum cleaner in my hand. I still have a fair amount of downtime, but being a good grandpa fills it up. I am no longer unhappy. And it all started with celery carrots and onions.