Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Clinical Observation: Emergency Home Visit

I overdosed on Monday. I had been drinking too much for a while. Just wine. Never seemed like very much at any one time, but just some kind of constantly. My sleep cycle had gotten more and more disorganized (always a challenge for me), so I was gradually drinking earlier in my wake cycles since they often began in late day. It certainly wouldn't have been enough to be life-threatening in itself, but I take a lot of strong medications which require strict scheduling, and I was unable to regulate them adequately. Monday I was feeling both physically bad and extremely depressed from my period starting, and I kept taking Geodon - which is a medication my psychiatrist has wanted to me to be take at higher doses than I have been willing to, so in my lack of clarity and urgency to feel better, it didn't seem wrong to keep taking more and more of it. I don't know how much I took, but it was definitely more than I ever had before, and more than my psychiatrist would have approved. I don't think I was being suicidal - I was just desperately trying to feel better.

Another part of "the mix" as my psychiatrist was later to refer to it, was that I hadn't gone to the pharmacy to pick up my weekly mediset, and had been keeping up with all of my regular medications - having extras of at home - except my antidepressant. I think I kept reaching for the Geodon (a mood stabilizer) to make up for the lack of antidepressant.

Whatever the reasons, I was barely able to call for help. My psychiatrist got two other people on the phone to help evaluate the degree of my sedation, concerned, as he said later, that I would stop breathing.

It was determined that I was in trouble, but probably not in immediate life-threatening danger, but a crisis team was sent to my apartment to evaluate my situation and level of disorganization to prevent my doing it again. Even when I am not drinking, I have cognition and memory problems. That's why I need some of my medicines. They - the crisis team wanted to see my medisets, to make sure they were correct and not within too-easy reach. They wanted to make sure I had food here, that my cat was being taken care of, and that I was not in danger of purposeful self-harm.

It was all very scary, and humiliating. I wasn't allowed to take anything temporarily, to minimize risk until the problem was evaluated, and to detox, so I was in withdrawal from everything. I was very sick and my pupils still very dilated for more than a day.

I was scared to restart my medicines since, and have stopped alcohol completely, to everyone's relief but mine. I think I was drinking a lot more than I realized, although it has been decided that it was the Geodon overdose that was the cause of danger. I have no desire to drink (out of fear and association with the after-feeling of being poisoned), but I am am going through physical withdrawal, even to the point of having "the shakes." (Seizure risk is increased with that kind of withdrawal which matters with me since I have a seizure history.)

I have to strictly regiment every little thing I do to reestablish "normal" habits - (the correctly-dosed medicine is definite relief) - and I'm am having trouble being patient with myself being so slow to accomplish simple daily things - which is exacerbated by the feeling of exposure by the crisis team investigation although I understand it and am grateful for the concern.

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