If you could plan the best possible treatment strategy for your bipolar self,
what would it look like?
This is a fairly difficult one. A lot of what I’m currently doing is working, but there could be more.
I’m currently in individual therapy weekly and that’s essential. I have a great deal of trust in and respect for my current therapist because she listens and won’t cosign my bullshit — instead pushing and challenging me to recover in a rational way.
My psychiatrist is great and I feel like he truly listens and has been gentle with any medication changes, and he very much understands the LGBT stuff at play. Medication definitely plays a major part in my treatment and I need to be working with someone that I’m not afraid to speak openly to about my medication and its effects on my brain and body — I am lucky to have that currently. I see him monthly, but his door is always open and we check in almost weekly.
The physical aspect is also extremely important being a transgender man. Until recently, I was seeing the only medical professional I’ve ever truly trusted as my PCP. He’s uniquely qualified as a transgender man of medicine to completely understand what a transitioning body and brain is. My voice and taking care of preserving it was a priority, and I am thankful for that happening. He recently left the clinic I’ve been seeing him at, and that’s been tough on me. My PCP got me through some of the toughest shit imaginable, especially in the weeks following my assault. I hope to find someone that I can build that trust in again. Someone that completely understands the nuances of living in a transgender body, preferably from experience. I need a PCP who will not only be respectful, but also understanding. Someone that I can completely trust to understand the importance of my transgender identity in medical care.
I also regularly attend 12-Step meetings. While I’m an atheist and don’t buy into the preachy deity stuff in the slightest, the camaraderie is important to me. I have 2.5 years clean from cocaine, molly, alcohol, and other substances by following a non-theist version of the Twelve Steps that’s more of an approach geared towards a better understanding of why I got high in the first place and something using practical work on myself without the reliance on some non-existent deity to solve my problems..
What I need in my treatment is more consistency and structure. I’m hoping to get into an intensive outpatient. I was set to start one, but Medicaid wouldn’t pay for it unless I had dirty urine. They won’t count marijuana, because that’s legal in PA. I’m currently working with a caseworker to figure out a better course of action. Not being able to work has left me without structure, and that’s something that’s essential to keeping me out of the hospital. I’m surprised that I’ve been holding on so long without being hospitalized.
And lastly, for now, my cat is very important to my treatment. Lilly is absolutely purr-fect in every way. She’s been through a lot in her short life, but she’s been there for me. She calms me down and helps alleviate the impact of nightmares. Sometimes, she farts in my face to remind me that she’s a cat. But at the end of the day, there’s nothing I look forward to more than going home to her doing her little hop and flop before rolling around on her back meowing and purring loudly in my direction to worship her. Lilly is my everything, and often the only reason I keep going. I stay out of the hospital for her, and sometimes her alone. I could never hurt my little lifesaver.
We’ll see what the next few months hold. Hopefully, they will be better and more stable.