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On-Line Kick Depression Party! Come, Celebrate!

love heartIt takes a village to kick depression.

Come to the Party!

On-Line Kick Depression Party

suggested by our readers.

Open to anyone who has or has lived with someone with depression.

Let’s celebrate by sharing with one another the good stuff that has happened to us.

Let’s celebrate the times we have kicked depression,

even if it is just a tiny glimpse of the good life.

When: August 15th

Where: Depression’s Collateral Damage Blog at https://depressionscollateraldamage.wordpress.com/

What’s taking place:   A sharing of all the positive times that depression has disappeared, whether for a moment or for a length of time.

Write a comment on what happened or any thoughts you have about kicking depression.

Send it to depressedlovedone@gmail.com before August 10th

We will post them on August 15th.

And please, between now and then,

pass this onto your friends

on facebook, tumblr, twitter,or those in your address book or any other place.

We want this party to reach people

so they will all know that depression can be overcome in some way, shape or form.

And together we can kick depression.

Let’s get that support going and growing.

Let’s beat the stigma.

Come, kick depression with us.

people on world

Seven Hundred Dollars

pillSeven hundred dollars every 30 days.

That’s how much – with health insurance – one medication costs for my husband.

And that number does not include the other three that he takes.

Seven hundred dollars every 30 days to have someone begin to feel the depression lift.

Seven hundred dollars every 30 days taken off of the budget for food and other essentials.

Seven hundred dollars every 30 days which is over 1/3 of his social security check.

Seven hundred dollars every 30 days that takes the edge off the happiness because he knows the money is taken away from other needs and wants.

Seven hundred dollars every 30 days for the chance to feel better.

“All magic comes with a price”…..Rumplestilskin in Once Upon a Time

– Bernadette

A Word of Caution

caution

We have all done it.  We’ve received a prescription from the doctor and with just a casual glance, have thrown out (or hopefully recycled) the information sheets from the pharmacy.  We know what the medication is supposed to do.  We are not worried.  

Guess what?  Those sheets need to be read thoroughly for the safety of your loved one and for yourself.  

The past five days have been a huge struggle in our household.  My loved one talked of a hopelessly empty feeling inside, one he hadn’t felt before.  He complained of his body twitching.  And he had thoughts of suicide because everything seemed so very, very empty.  

Needless to say, we did a lot of talking together.  During one of these conversations, he said that he just remembered that he had not taken his lamotrigine (also known as lamictal) for about four days as he had run out and had forgotten to get it refilled.

This particular drug can, on sudden withdrawal, cause convulsions, thoughts of suicide, hostility, anger and uncontrolled spasms in the body.  It also has a black box warning (such a warning points out significant concerns about the drug) that I don’t believe the pharmacist or psychopharmacologist pointed out to us.

The next move was a call to said doctor with an explanation of what was going on.  He promptly called in a prescription to be filled immediately and with instructions for a face to face meeting later in the week.  Almost immediately, things began to change.  The feeling of emptiness began to lift, the twitches settled, and my loved one was well enough to go out and join friends for a night of football and conversation. 

I’m not so sure the miracle was in the drug but rather in the feeling that this emptiness was able to be addressed and controlled, that the craziness of the past days was not another hurdle to be met but rather controllable and even erasable.  

So, my friends, read those circulars, question your doctor, find out about the drugs you put in your body or the drugs your loved one takes.  Most caregivers don’t know all the medications taken by their depressed loved one.  Make it a point to learn about at least one of them today.

– Bernadette 

Every journey is different.

Passing judgement. Offering advice. Speaking out of turn. Adults with no kids of their own (but who are certain they’d be perfect parents if they actually had kids) make lofty pronouncements about parenting. People with little experience or knowledge of brain illnesses make judgements about other peoples’ treatment choices.

It all needs to stop.

I found a great post this morning about a mom and her journey through ADHD with her son. Check out Look, It’s Something Shiny. Everything she had to say resonated with me, as the wife of a depressed and severely ADHD man and the mother of a moderately ADHD son.

Every human being is unique. Every illness is unique, including the many types of brain illnesses. Every path to healing and wholeness must therefore be unique. What works for one may not work for another. There is no one person who has every right answer.

So how about instead of judging or offering unsolicited advice we all just support each other? How about we consider how difficult each person’s journey is and honor their challenges, their pain and their decisions?

How about we just appreciate every individual for the unique creations they are?

-Amy

Medication Frustration

20130523-192940.jpgIn the last week I’ve been to the pharmacy for different medications for myself and for family members six different times (it’s infection / allergy / asthma season in Kansas), so admittedly I’m over-exposed to this issue. But the first pharmacy run-in in the string, which took place late last week, had nothing to do with acute symptoms with relatively easy solutions. It was about antidepressant medication, which is something you just DON’T mess with.

Background info: My husband had three days worth of his antidepressant left, having run short due to an increase of his dosage a few weeks ago.

Here’s the summary of what went wrong:
-My husband forgot to mention that he was almost out of meds. Because we have a mail order insurance “service,” refills need to be ordered at least a week and a half ahead of time.
-As I tried urgently to get a refill called in, the doctor’s office insisted on leaving  messages on our house phone even though my husband repeatedly asks them to call his cell so he can get calls while at work.
-The receptionist at the doctor’s office literally never answers the office phone – it always goes to voice mail.
-Apparently, neither the doctor’s office nor the local pharmacy knows how to get new dosages approved.                                                                                                              -The local pharmacy very generously offered to sell us two days worth of medication due to the immediacy of the need – at a cost of $25 for four pills. Our normal co-pay is $8 for a month’s worth.

After this final indignity, I saw red and explained (in incredibly controlled tones, considering the provocation) that the pharmacist’s offer was completely unacceptable and that I would take matters into my own hands as they were obviously unable to handle this situation, which surely they confront on a daily basis.

I was finally able to take care of it all with calls to the mail-order insurer’s member service (which is ridiculously hard to get through to but when you do get them they’re extremely helpful and pleasant). Because it was a “code red,” meaning it was a med that can’t be just dropped, they had the pharmacist call for an override code (which, according to the member service representative is actually standard procedure), and we got a full month’s worth of antidepressant at the new dosage, and at the regular co-pay price. I wish I could say I found it amusing when, two days later, a three-month supply of the medication – at the old dosage ?!? – came in the mail from the mail order service. We still don’t know how or why that happened.

I expect the whole tragedy (certainly not a comedy) of errors will have an encore in a few weeks when we have to order refills at the new dosage.

My take on this ridiculous incident:
• If a medical doctor prescribes a different dosage, insurance companies have no business holding veto power. Who went to medical school? Who better knows the needs of the patient? Certainly not a for-profit pharmacy run by people we’ve never met.
• Doctor’s office staff and pharmacy staff should be in the business of helping patients get what they legitimately need. They should be conversant on procedures and on patients’ contact information, based on the records the patient has provided. Throwing up their hands in defeat is not acceptable. Especially when you’re talking about a medication you can’t just stop cold turkey.
• My husband is an adult. Why was I in charge of fixing this debacle? Yes, my schedule is exponentially more flexible than his. I offered to step in because it was urgent and I had more time (I have to throw in, though, the fact that I was extremely ill during these few days.) But having been, by default, my depressed husband’s personal life manager and detail wrangler for so many years, I sometimes feel resentful.

Dealing with depression and with the nightmare process of finding adequate combinations of medications is hard enough. Depressed people and their families shouldn’t be thwarted at every turn simply because they’re trying to follow their doctor’s orders.

-Amy

Daring to hope for fast-acting antidepressants.

Over the last several months, I’ve been hearing about initial positive results in testing a new type of depression medication that brings about improvement within a day or two, rather than the typical time frame of two to three weeks for most antidepressants currently on the market.  One of these new medications, ketamine, is a club drug that has also been used as an anesthetic.  In initial trials, ketamine has been so effective that blind studies are becoming difficult; it is too easy to tell who has taken the actual medication and who receives a placebo. Continue reading