Update, a week in the psych ward

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. As I mentioned in my August 21st post, things weren’t going well. They got worse, lots of problems. The depression came back with a vengeance.

There was a reason for this, beyond and as well as what has been going on in my life. I had been taking Geodon, an atypical antipsychotic. I had been gaining weight at a lower pace than I had on others, but my weight was too high, and so was my blood sugar. Also, Geodon had a bad interaction with another med that I had taken before and we wanted to try again.

With my ANP’s (advanced practice nurse) help, I tapered off the Geodon over a four week period. Miserable. The Geodon withdrawals were worse than the Xanax withdrawals I’d had five years before when I tapered off it. Chills, “zaps”, a feeling of crawling out of my skin.

Then the depression started. Bad depression. One night, a Sunday, I found myself quite suicidal. My wife got me to the hospital.

At the hospital I saw the on-call therapist and she called the doctor. They were worried, but all the inpatient beds were full, and “since I was on the bubble as far as my suicidality”, they didn’t think they could get another hospital to take me. We went home.

The next night was worse. I was definitely planning suicide that night and had very detailed plans about how I was going to go about it. Back to the hospital. This time they didn’t mention any bubble, they wanted me inpatient. There were beds by then, so off to Ground Northeast, which is the name of the inpatient ward here.

I spent a week there, with only a few other patients for the whole time. It was as boring as usual, especially since there was only one person who was verbal while I was there, and she was quite delusional. So I watched a lot of TV, awful because of the commercials, totally alien after watching Netflix for years. So it was a lot of reading, at least after the first few days when I was too depressed to read.

At least it was peaceful most of the time, except when one of the patients attacked a nurse, and later stabbed another staff member with a pencil. I’ve been inpatient many times (I’ve lost count) and this is the first time I’ve seen violence. I don’t know if charges will be filed, but he did get over 10 hours of seclusion after a big dose of Thorazine each time.

Therapy? Treatment? They put me on Latuda, another atypical antipsychotic, and that was it. Warehousing is the word that comes to mind. Not a single therapy or recreational group the whole week. I did get to talk to the chaplain twice.

I’ve been out over a month, and they have me in what’s called “Partial Hospitalization”. I’ll be starting my fifth, and likely last, week tomorrow. Partial hospitalization is four hours of intense therapy a day for five days a week, usually for two to six weeks. Plus I get to see a psychiatrist at least once a week. He’s raised the Risperadol and added Buspar for depression.

At first in partial, I was switching back and forth between depression and mania at a rapid pace. I think I was in what is known as a mixed state. Lots of irritability too. Fortunately, this mixed state wasn’t as miserable as some I’ve been in. I slowly switched into a mania, mostly euphoric, the first time in years. It’s been tapering off, and the depression hasn’t hit in a week as of yesterday.

Of course, the mania was only visible after I woke up for the day in the morning. About the time group (8:30am-12:30am) ended. The Latuda was knocking me out really good. So hey switched me to Risperadol, yet another atypical antipsychotic. First a small dose that did nothing. Then a larger dose that seems to be helping a bit, but at the expense of being sleepy again, but not as bad as the Latuda.

I’m feeling a lot better now, but now I’m on Risperadol, another atypical antipsychotic, and who knows what that’ll do to weight. My blood sugar isn’t too good either. I fear that I’ll need another med change and I’ll start the roller coaster ride from hell again.

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