Brien screwed over by medical system
There is a short version, don't leave! And if you can't manage to donate $5 or more, PLEASE share this!
I have had Bipolar disorder, along with Generalized Anxiety Disorder for a very long time now.
If you're not sure what Bipolar Disorder is, you can read my experience here: Bipolar Disorder: my personal experience and what it is for me
I also have multiple sclerosis, frequent severe migraines, and am in constant pain.
For years, I've done a lot to contribute to the mental health community, raising awareness and attempting to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.
I've written articles anonymously because I felt it was a good thing to do, not because I wanted credit for it.
I've stayed up for many hours helping people who were depressed or suicidal or otherwise in need, even though I was incredibly tired/exhausted or in a bad place myself, in attempt to help them.
But I need help now!
You can also read more about me in general at my web site or on my Twitter.
For the past several years, it's been decently under control with the exception of some minor ups & downs which are acceptable to me. I had been going to the same psychiatrist and therapist for 3 years and had no issues with them.
I felt comfortable and I thought everything was going to be fine for the long run.
I got screwed over by my neurologist prescribing the wrong medicine, my cold-hearted psychiatrist accusing me of abusing meds & doctor shopping which led to him taking me off my medication.
Being off my medication caused me to go into a manic state which led to impulsiveness and it got me into a lot of debt, which I cannot pay back because I have very limited income due to my poor mental and physical health.
I'm also in dangerous of losing access to mental health care because my psychiatrist has told a lot of people in the area who seem to have spread the word about me not to take me as a patient; plus, a lot of them are not taking patients in general or don't take my insurance.
However, I may be able to do video psychiatry if I get enough money.
All of this is causing me enough stress & anxiety that I have actually vomitted. It's on my mind all of the time and I can't deal with it anymore.
I've had to ruin my credit before and the debt collectors, letters, not being able to have emergency access to funds, get an apartment, possibly a job, car, home, or who knows what I may need within 7 years - it's driving me crazy.
And I've been off medication before and I'm very scared of how I will feel and behave. I may even become suicidal again.
Please help if you can, or at least share this.
Thank you very much.
Long, detailed version
Note: I take Clonazepam (which is one of the biggest issues discussed here) for the GAD & also because it has been time-tested to nearly fully control my manic episodes.
However, things changed. I also have multiple sclerosis and see a neurologist to manage it.
One day, I called to have my muscle relaxer (Cyclobenzaprine) refilled. I later picked it up at the pharmacy, not thinking twice about it. But when I got home, I noticed it was actually Clonazepam, which I also am prescribed. I immediately called the neurologist and told them that they messed up. They sent the right prescription in this time. I didn't think it was going to be a problem, but at my next appointment with my psychiatrist, when he went to prescribe my medicine, he saw that I picked up the Clonazepam and immediately accused me of doctor shopping, abusing drugs, then even claimed that he always suspected I did, likely do illicit drugs as well, and am likely an alcoholic too!
He told me he wasn't going to prescribe me the Clonazepam anymore, at all - and this is after I had been on it for YEARS. My first reaction to this was shock, because he accused me of these things and obviously had no trust in me at the point, if he ever did.
This hurt my feelings a lot and made me question a lot of things.
Then I started panicking because it's DANGEROUS to be taken off benzodiazepines (such as Clonazepam) cold turkey or too quickly.
I told him that he needs to be responsible and at least give me a safe taper - and I had to BEG him to give me something!
He finally agreed to give me some Valium after I nearly cried, and it was only enough for a few days, which is ridiculous.
After this, I went to the neurologist's office and complained to them, telling them what happened because I felt it the whole thing was started by their carelessness.
They prescribed me a controlled medication that they never prescribed me before, just because it was on a list of medication that they had for me and it looked similar to one that I called in!? And it caused this to happen.
But there's more to that, as pointed out by someone who contacted me: The pharmacy should never filled the prescription either. Apparently, by NY law, you're only "7 days early over the life time of the medication", with most pharmacies policy being to allow 2-3 days max early per a month's prescription. Mine was 17 days early, although it was from a different doctor - and I don't know if this changes the rule.
However, the neurologist's office uses electronic prescribing. "Electronic prescribing of controlled substances reduces fraud and keeps patients from getting multiple prescriptions for the same drug, but only three states require it and one doesn't even enforce its law" "New York. The state's 2012 e-prescribing law, which requires doctors to check the PDMP database before prescribing narcotics, went into effect March 27. Nearly half of doctors in the state now use EPCS, up from about 13% last year. Those who continue to use paper pads are subject to fines, jail time or both."
So, this means that not only did they prescribe me the wrong med - warning by it being a controlled med - but they saw that I had a previous clonazepam prescription not too long ago and shouldn't be needing another one!
There were many mistakes made here, and they should be helping me out of this mess. Maybe somebody should be getting in trouble, too. I don't know!
So with that said: I ended up going to my GP for more of the Valium, and she wasn't happy with me either - also thinking that I was abusing the meds, and believing that I didn't need a slower taper, but eventually giving in to a 3 week taper. Even though I had a 3 week taper of Valium, I went through a TON of physical pain, unbelievable anxiety - even worse than before I took the Clonazepam, violent panic attacks, uncontrollable shaking/trembling, sleepless nights, and eventually became manic.
While manic, I became very impulsive and started spending a lot of money - both "cash" and on credit cards on things both for myself and for other people that weren't needed or were beyond the level of quality/price of what I'd normally get. I also became delusional, and (for example) sent my psychiatrist some letters, telling him that I'm manic and need help ASAP - which he ignored. I eventually ended up (regretably) threatening to take him to court, reporting him to various agencies and so on. He never responded; he stopped answering my calls, my therapist never made any further appointments with me either. I was basically abandoned. I had no medicine at all.
Eventually, I left a voicemail begging him to please call me so we can work this out. And to my surprise, he did call back after a few days. I had extremely pressured speech on the phone and he said I was difficult to understand etc. and wanted me to come in the next day - but to write a letter explaining everything that happened and to say I'm not going to sue him or do anything harmful to him etc., so I agreed and met him the next day.
At the appointment with him, we both got emotional. I was crying for a lot of it. I told him how I felt incredibly insulted by his words and actions (ignoring me and abandoning me etc.); he actually surprised me by looking like he was going to cry too.
He told me he would see me and prescribe my meds, including the klonopin - but he didn't want to see me anymore, so only until I found someone else. Of course, I had to take that option because I had no others and I was desperate.
Eventually, after coming out of the manic episode and going back to him, after a few months, he kept becoming colder and colder to me. And I still had no therapy.
I have tried to contact several psychiatrists since this has happened, and a lot of them have seemingly been notified that I'm abusing drugs and won't take me as a patient!! Gee, I wonder how that happened.
Other than that, some don't take my insurance or new patients. When I finally did find one, I filled out paperwork for an hour and waited over a month for them to call me back for intake -- only to find out that I would have to go to appointments for MONTHS before they would prescribe my current medication that I've been stable on!?!? I've never heard of such a thing!
And my psychiatrist has been getting impatient with me already, plus...
The last time I went to my psychiatrist, it was horrible. I was extremely calm, I went in and told him how difficult finding someone else is right now and that I feel comfortable going to him (even though that isn't 100% true) and feel it's best to keep going to him -- that I even had a plan to only see him 4 times a year, so he won't have to see me so often. And that I'll never ask for an increase in my Clonazepam etc. I said I would sign a contract. Reasonable? I thought so... But no.
He said he would still like me to find someone else. I asked why. Do you not trust me? He said I trust you or I wouldn't be helping you until you find someone else. I said well, it doesn't seem like you trust me because if I wanted to do something I could do it whether I come here or not, and you should know better than anyone that what I did was because of my mental illness; it seems like you are judging me because on that and worsening the stigma against it. He had no comment. I kept asking him. I told him I might just go off of my medication and started crying. He said nothing, no emotion. And on top of that, he gave me a drug test for the first time ever!! He said he would see me in a month "if I don't find someone else by then" and I left, looking at him, shaking, crying, extremely disappointed in the poor mental health care I've been given.
Note, this isn't the first time I've experienced something like this.
So, now, I still don't have a new psychiatrist, my GP won't prescribe me the meds. I even went to another GP and she won't either. My neurologist won't do it. Nobody will do it. I'm still doing my best to find somebody. And for now I'm stuck with this asshole who clearly doesn't give a crap about me / his patients.
To quote a tweet from my last appointment: "So, he asked how I was and started asking about my family etc. - I asked if he really cared and actually he admitted "no" ... REALLY? He also told me he's only going to see me 1 more time, even though I've had no luck with anyone else yet. Awesome guy. A+ appointment" ...
So anyway, with that said, I racked up a debt of around $9,000 in a matter of months. And I don't have a lot of income right now. As I said, I have bipolar disorder AND multiple sclerosis playing havoc on my ability to do things and be productive. It sucks.
This is incredibly stressful for me, and I can sometimes barely afford essentials I need while paying these extra bills. I may have to ruin my credit for 7 years, which I really don't want to do, in case I need it!
I'm incredibly stressed about this. If you follow me on Twitter, you may know I even went as far as resorting to self-harm after years of being "clean" from that.
Stress is also a number one trigger to all of my mental health problems! This has been on my mind CONSTANTLY. It's draining my energy to be able to focus on anything else.
I don't want to beg for help, but I would really appreciate if anyone out there is willing to help me at least bring down this debt somewhat. I know it's still my responsibility, and I can't blame him or my mental illness fully - but they definitely played a big role in it; I never do this normally.
Thanks a lot for your time reading this. If you can share it, or if you donate, then thank you VERY much. I appreciate you greatly.
Note: If I can manage to get $100-250 per month (the cost of my medicine), it would help me tremendously and I would be very grateful.
I have also found out that a possible solution to my psychiatrist problem may be to do video conferencing. My insurance will not cover this, and it will cost somewhere between $100 and $200 per month.
- Doctor (neurologist's assistant) prescribed the wrong medication. A CONTROLLED medication, which they never prescribed me before, just because they have it on my medication list and somehow confused it - and it requires additional steps to process this type of prescription. It also requires checking that the database to see when I was last prescribed it and how many etc.
- Pharmacy didn't seem to think twice about it. They didn't seem to follow the 7 day extra rule, if it applies to multiple doctors.
They didn't ask my doctor why they were prescribing me more. They didn't question why suddenly another doctor was prescribing the same med I've been getting from another doctor for years.
- Psychiatrist accused me abusing the meds, because of these errors, even though I explained the mistake and told him I didn't need another prescription that month. Instead, he decides to take me off the med(s) that been keeping me stable for years.
- Psychiatrist didn't listen to my cries for help. I told him I was in pain, I told him I was having extreme anxiety, panic attacks, and that I was manic and needed my medication. I told him I just wanted the same amount as I always get and nothing more. But he ignored me.
- Instead of helping me, psychiatrist adds to the stigma of mental illness by becoming afraid of me and telling other doctor(s) in the area about me being "dangerous" (because I was delusional - a known symptom of bipolar disorder / mania), which seems to have spread even more since, also making it more difficult to find a new doctor. He wants to abandon me. He also induced fear into my therapist, who I had a close relationship with for years; she now locks herself in her room when I am there and I have not seen her face in months.
- Psychiatrist no longer treats me like a human. He shows no emotion or care towards me. When I gave him my best argument as to why I should keep going there because I felt comfortable and this is stressing me out a lot, he just told me "the plan was for you to see someone else" and he won't change his mind. He wants to get rid of me ASAP, and has given me notice that I only have 1 appointment left even though he admitted there is not many options for me right now unless I travel further out which is a big hassle for me considering my situation. As I mentioned earlier, he showed no emotion to me mentioning that I may come off my medication completely, he showed no emotion when I was crying in front of him, he admitted to not caring how I or my family is - and the worst yet - what I didn't mention before is he even went as far as reacting to my comment of "I might just kill myself" by saying "Oh" (long pause) "That would be unfortunate."
This guy shouldn't be practicing. I wish I had recorded the sessions. He should have sent me to a hospital when I said the last part, but he didn't even do that.
- The therapist shouldn't have, ethically just "stopped seeing me", especially without notice.
Thank you for reading all of that?!
Now, do you think you can take your time to donate a few dollars? :(
I would appreciate it so much, more than you know.
If you really can't, I would love if you share this with anyone you can. <3
Go read, and retweet this?? Vote for something -not terrible- please!
Now I'm hoping for ~$200 by the end of the month so I can try video conferencing with a new psychiatrist.