Bipolar and the Hall of Shame
First of all, let me say that if I was to tell you every negative, embarrassing, humiliating, horrible, awful, thing I have ever done because of having bipolar disorder, this would be a book, not a blog. Not that I blame all my bad behavior on my illness. Just most of it. Some days I’m just a bitch, and no amount of medication is going to fix that. That’s just me being me. But usually, most people who know me will tell you that I am a laid-back easy-going kind of person. One friend once told me if I got any more laid-back she was going to check me for a pulse. I am a confirmed introvert, a homebody, almost a hermit. I don’t go out much. I don’t do much. I am happiest at home in my comfortable little nest with my loved ones and my wi-fi and my books. I don’t start trouble. Generally. Hardly ever. So the story I am about to share with you will shed some light on the power of mania in a bipolar person’s life. The following is the biggest trouble I have gotten into while suffering a manic episode. I won’t say it’s the worst thing I’ve done, because technically there are things that are morally far worse, but anyway….
It all started because I had a doctor’s appointment at 9:00am, which is a reasonable time, unless you work 3rd shift and get off at 6 am and have to stay awake and wait for that appointment. I was tired and stressed when I got off work at the police department where I was a dispatcher. I tried to take a short nap, but to no avail. I made it to the appointment, more tired still, where I proceeded to wait in the waiting room for two hours. TWO. HOURS. I did not complain or ask what the holdup was. I knew there was no point. You’ve all had to wait at the doctor’s before; you know how it is. I suffered in silence, becoming more and more exhausted.Finally, my turn came to see the doctor. He breezed in and looked at my chart for about two seconds and wrote me some prescriptions and left. I got out of there and went to the nearest pharmacy on the corner, not even wanting to go to my usual pharmacy. I remember it was a warm September day, the kind of day where you knew fall was coming, but it was still comfortable outside. I walked into the pharmacy and was blasted with cold air. The air conditioning in there was unreal. I wondered if I had wandered into a meat locker. There were others ahead of me so I sat down, crossed my arms to keep warm and put my head down. I stayed like this for a long time. I think I began to fall over, because I overheard one woman ask another if I was passing out and if they needed to call an ambulance. I sat up then to let them know I was ok, but I was really feeling bad. I wanted to lie down on the floor. Finally, the pharmacist called me up and apologized for the wait and told me the problem. My doctor had prescribed me a medication that was contraindicated with one of the meds I was already taking. He had been on the phone an hour trying to get him to give him a substitute. AN HOUR. He said, “I’m so sorry, honey, it might be quicker if you just go back over there and see if you can pick it up from the nurses’ station.” I said thank you. I must have looked like a zombie. Flat affect, flat dead voice. I felt half frozen. I shuffled my way to the door, and went outside to my car. I don’t know if it was the sunlight or the heat that affected me more, but suddenly, I was wide awake. Wide awake and mad as hell. I got into my car and tore around the corner back to the doctor’s office. Thank God no one was in my way. I got out, slammed the door, marched into the office, slamming every door I came to, marching like going to war until I met the receptionist who, I noticed for the first time, was behind protective glass. Probably because of people like me, I thought. And laughed. I felt high. I felt invincible. Nobody was going to tell me no today! I walked up to her and told her I needed to see the doctor RIGHT NOW. She skittered away, apologizing profusely and came back with a nurse in about twenty seconds who led me straight to an exam room, the door of which I SLAMMED as she was saying “The doc will be right with you.” It slammed a lot louder than I expected. Really, really loud.I started to talk to myself in my head. OK. You are out of control here. You have got to stop. But I couldn’t stop. I was still trying to calm myself down when the door eased open an inch or two and a hand appeared with a prescription, then finally a whole nurse looking nervous came in with it and handed it to me. One was for a drug for fibromyalgia, which I don’t have, which I threw back in her face with a look of disgust and said, “I’m not taking THAT” and the other was the one I needed. I got up to go and asked if I would just sign for them at the nurses’ desk. I said of course and I said “May I leave the doctor a note, since he is obviously too busy to see me?” My voice was pure sugar coated sarcasm. They all nodded. “Or maybe you all could just remind him that next time he writes someone a prescription he should maybe check and see what other drugs she’s taking so he doesn’t waste her time, make her sick, or GET HER KILLED!!!!” Then I stormed out, slamming all doors behind me, and got the hell out of there before they called my own police officers to come and arrest me. I got home safely, took my meds, went to bed and slept like a baby. As far as I know, they didn’t do a police report. No one ever talked to me about it at work, and after a few days, I breathed easier. But about two weeks later, I got a letter in the mail telling me that I was banned from all doctor’s offices within that group, which was practically every doctor in town. They didn’t say “banned”. They said something like they were “discontinuing services” or some such nonsense. But it meant banned. Because I called a doctor later that I wasn’t sure was part of the system, and his receptionist told me that “Dr____ doesn’t feel that he can be of service to you now.” Alrighty then! So that’s basically how I got blackballed out of medical care in my hometown. I’m not sure how far it spreads. I assume the ER won’t turn me out, surely. But, I live elsewhere now, anyway, so, it’s all good. And now you all know, there’s another side to me, a side you want to avoid seeing if at all possible. There are many sides of me, actually.”More sides than Sybil!” Just kidding. I DO NOT have multiple personalities. If I did, I would make them write their own blogs.🙂
Originally published at heathersavann.com on August 15, 2016.