00:01 – A pharmacy error (and still struggling)

11 Sep

I think it would be fair to say that I’m struggling a lot at the moment. On the outside I’m trying my hardest to appear ‘OK’… maybe even better than OK… I started back my part time home based university course yesterday and it took me the entire day to get through 8 short pages. Nothing seemed to be sinking in even though I knew the information was at a reasonably basic level. So I ended up getting myself super stressed out and wondering how on earth I am going to manage to do double the workload that I did last year. I’m doubting myself massively and I really don’t know if I will cope with it and we’re only two days into the new term.

Anyway, last night things kept building and building inside me, my head was full of urges to self harm. The urges are nothing new but my ability to fight them off feels like it’s lessening day by day. And the thoughts were stronger than just thoughts… there was no voice as such but the urges felt more like commands. No matter how hard I tried to ignore them they just got louder and more and more frequent. So by the time it got to bedtime my anxiety levels were starting to get out of control and I knew it was only a matter of time before I reached for my tools to cut myself with. As a last ditch attempt to get the anxiety under control I reached for my emergency Lorazepam and swallowed one down. About half an hour later I started to feel strange… my thoughts were all muddled and my body felt totally different to how Lorazepam has ever made me feel before. Usually I find it to be really good for anxiety without much sedative effect but my anxiety wasn’t calming down and the overall weird spinning sensation was probably making the anxiety even worse.

At the time of taking the tablet I did notice that it was yellow in colour and the only Lorazepam I’ve ever had have either been little blue tablets or little round white ones. There were only a few in the box though that had been cut from a strip and all I could see printed on the blister was the letters LO and 1mg underneath. So I just thought they were a different generic than what I’ve had before. But I just knew this wasn’t a normal feeling for Lorazepam and something made me go back and look at them again. The label on the outside of the box definitely said Lorazepam 1mg tablets but then I took out the patient information leaflet and it was only then that I saw the leaflet said along the top ‘Loprazolam 1mg tablets’.

So I began to really panic. I didn’t like how it was making me feel. Even though I’ve tried plenty of benzodiazapine drugs this was making me feel really odd like I couldn’t think straight at all. For the first time in ages I consulted some peeps on Twitter and if any of you read this – thank you so much for helping to calm me down! I remember being given one of the Z drugs a while back, I can’t remember if it was Zopiclone or Zolpidem, but it made me feel all disconnected and like my head was spinning and this Loprazolam made me feel pretty similar to that. Thank fuck I didn’t take 2mg like I usually would take of Lorazepam. So I stayed on twitter for a while, then decided to go and lie down to see if the spinny dizzy sensation would calm down a bit, put a relaxation track on my iPod and spent the next 90 mins or so battling a horrible panicky sensation. I don’t know if it was the Loprazolam making me feel like that or just me freaking out because I’d taken something I’d never taken before. Eventually I fell asleep.

After I got up this morning and walked the dogs I went to the pharmacy and took the box, leaflet and remaining couple of tablets with me. The pharmacist took me into a side room and sincerely apologised. The normal pharmacist is off at the moment and they have had a lot of locum’s in over the past few weeks. Somehow someone had made a mistake but the pharmacist said that Boots take this kind of thing very seriously and we had to sit and fill out a form so that they can launch an investigation into who dispensed it, how the error could have happened and report to their head office with what measures they are going to put in place so that it doesn’t happen again. They will also write to my GP to inform her of what happened. The pharmacist said Lorazepam and Loprazolam sit very close to each other on the shelf as it’s all in alphabetical order and that’s the only reason she could see for the error happening but she did make a point of saying that that was no excuse. She asked me if I wanted to be informed of the outcome of their investigation but I said it was fine. I’m just glad that the tablets I was given weren’t anything that could have caused me any major harm, it was lucky it was another benzodiazapine even if the symptoms that particular kind caused weren’t very pleasant. She then gave me the correct tablets and that was it all sorted out.

Then best friend phoned me and asked if I’d like to go to a little birthday party they were having for her new boyfriend’s little boy – it was his 1st birthday and I really didn’t feel like being in a room full of babies and toddlers but equally I didn’t want to be shit and say no when I always go to both her little boys birthdays and I guess if the new man is sticking around for the foreseeable future then I have to see his little boy as part of their family. So I went to the toy shop and got a little present for him and a card, came home and wrapped it up, then went out to the party at 5.30pm. When I got there the house was pretty full, there was at least ten kids under 5 and four mums and dads as well as best friend and her boyfriend. Then one of them had to ask me “don’t you have any kids? don’t you want any?” and I just didn’t know what to say, so I just smiled politely as I felt the anxiety starting to rise and said “not yet”. I hate it when people ask me that because I want to proudly say “yes I have been pregnant, yes I have carried a baby, yes I felt a baby kick inside me, yes I went through a very long and extremely painful labour and yes I gave birth to a beautiful little boy… just way too early and he didn’t survive” – the only reason I don’t say all of that is because of their reaction… the look on their face when they just don’t know what to say. So instead I just smile and say “not yet” even though I feel as though I’m really letting my little angel down by saying that.

Anyway I managed to escape after an hour and took the dogs for a long walk to try and de-stress again.

Tomorrow morning I have an appointment with the gynaecologist at 9am so it’s going to be an early start getting up around 7.30am. This is the first time I’ve asked to see the gynae since shortly after losing my little man in 2007. But I know my PCOS is getting worse, I haven’t had a natural period since I lost him and PCOS also plays havoc with trying to lose weight (admittedly the Quetiapine and Mirtazapine also don’t help the weight issue). So I think I’m going to give the diabetic drug Metformin another shot, I’ve tried it twice over the past ten years and both times couldn’t tolerate the side effects it has on your stomach, apparently this is the most common reason why people stop taking it. I don’t really want to take any more medications but Metformin does have pretty good success rates for controlling your blood sugars and that in turn makes it a little bit easier to lose weight.

I’ve always struggled with my weight since my late teens and couldn’t understand why as I ate relatively healthy and did a reasonable amount of exercise. Then at age 20 or 21 they diagnosed the PCOS which certainly gave me some reason as to why I found it so hard to lose weight. But then when I was about 23 I went on the Atkins diet after lots of research telling me that cutting out carbs and sugars was one of the most effective ways to lose weight when you have PCOS. Over the course of maybe six months I lost four stone (56lbs) so it was pretty rapid weight loss and I got myself down to a slim and healthy 9 and a half stone. Kept the weight off until about 2009 when I split up from my fiance then rapidly gained a crazy amount of weight over the next year as I comfort ate my way through thousands of calories a day. By the time I was sectioned for the first time at the end of 2010 I had gone up to 15 stone! I’ve lost a bit of weight since then, although not much, but I’m now about 13 stone 10lbs and really I want to be around the 10 stone mark so I’ve still got a way to go yet.

So I guess I’ll go to the appointment with the gynae in the morning and see what she suggests and if Metformin is what she recommends then I’m going to ask to start on the lowest dose the tablets are made in and build up from that slowly to see if that helps me to tolerate it a bit better. Then I plan on coming home and spending a few hours studying.

I need to try and keep myself busy and distracted at the moment because as soon as I let myself just sit and think I end up with a head full of thoughts and urges to self harm. And I really don’t want to because I’ve managed to go for five months now without any severe self harm wounds. Plus every time I look down at my legs I want to recoil in horror at the permanent and extensive scarring that’s all over them. I hate the sight of the scars on my legs they look horrendous even though some of them are quite old, I have very fair skin and they still look awful. The tops of my arms aren’t much better although the ones on my forearms have faded enough that I now feel comfortable to wear 3/4 length sleeves. I think people notice my tattoos on my wrists before they bother to look at the other side where the scars are.  I hate that I’ve permanently damaged my body and I truly do hope that I can find the strength not to act on these intrusive horrible urges but they are eating away at me and it’s starting to feel like it’s going to keep on getting worse and worse until I just give in and do it. But I’m not going to give in without a fight. Little superficial cuts I can deal with but no more huge angry permanent scars 😦

On that note it’s now midnight and I’m up in just over 7 hours so time to try and get some sleep. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better and brighter day.

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6 Responses to “00:01 – A pharmacy error (and still struggling)”

  1. savemefrombpd September 11, 2013 at 09:23 #

    Hope your appointment goes well.

    Thinking of you.

    The self-harming is a tough one, like we’ve discussed before. I hope at least no angry bad cuts. Take little steps. You are doing well. Really well. 5 months with no bad cuts is a long time. So stick with it.

    And remember that you are only human.

    Much love x

  2. goldenpsych September 11, 2013 at 09:25 #

    Have you tried the extended release Metformin? That’s what I have. I also have PCOS. I did start on the normal Metformin but it didn’t agree with me. They put me on the extended release and it works much better for me.

    • mycrazybipolarlife September 11, 2013 at 22:44 #

      Gynae said to start on 500mg for a week or two then 1000mg then 1500mg if i struggle to tolerate it again I’ll definitely ask about the ER version. Do u mind me asking what benefits have u had since u started the metformin? I have no natural periods at all and the weight issues, gynae said today that it should help lose weight when combined with healthy eating and if I get 10-20% of my body weight lost then my body might start to have periods again… just wondering if the main benefits of it is the helping with weight stuff or helping regulate menstrual cycles xx

  3. thebigfarm September 13, 2013 at 18:06 #

    Hello.
    Recently I picked up my Lithium refill at the local CVS (US pharmacy chain). After a couple of days I noticed there were both tablets and capsules in the bottle. Luckily I hadn’t taken any of the tablets (sheer dumb luck). When I called the pharmacist to see if the tablets were also Lithium he asked me to return them. When he took them back all he said was “sorry”. I still don’ t know what they were. I know we all make mistakes sometimes but ultimately we pill takers must be careful and look out for ourselves. Doc

  4. Angela Berg September 15, 2013 at 22:31 #

    Your blog is remarkable! In my fast moving state I don’t have a long attention span but your blog kept me very interested. With bipolar 1 I have a lot of the same experiences you’ve had. I’ve struggled with the urge to self harm since I was a teenager. Please keep writing! I may try metformin soon to help me lose weight because I have gained a lot. Thank you.

    • mycrazybipolarlife September 18, 2013 at 22:11 #

      Hi 🙂

      Thank you for such a lovely comment, sorry it has taken me so long to log in and read it! I’m always very flattered when people enjoy my blog especially when I feel as though all I do is ramble on and on! To my knowledge, the metformin is only helpful for people with insulin resistance i.e. those who have PCOS or those with type 2 diabetes. I’ve got mine now but haven’t tried them as yet as I’m now thinking the extended release version might be a better move due to all the gastro side effects normal metformin has!

      Hope you are doing ok at the moment..xx

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