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I was in the hospital, the Intensive Care Unit actually, this past week for three days and the doctor there said while he felt the symptoms I presented with — numbness and weakness of my left arm and leg, which were the symptoms of the stroke I had in 2018 — were very real, real enough to warrant TPA (tissue Plasminogen Activator, a strong “clot-dissolving” medicine), they may have been exacerbated by stressful events in my life.
Tingling and/or numbness are also symptoms of low potassium and I found out once I was in the ICU that my potassium was low. The nurse didn’t tell me the actual level, but they gave me a couple of bags of it (that stuff burns going in through the IV, let me tell you). I don’t know if the original numbness could have been caused by the low potassium. It didn’t occur to me to ask until I got home andstarted looking into the subject further.
Even before the doctor suggested it, going back to therapy with Dr. Lev — or at least scheduling an initial appointment with her to talk about the possibility — had been on my mind. I’ve been struggling a bit with depression. I thought my insomnia would improve once I was off the steroids, but it hasn’t, I’m under financial stress with a really high insurance deductible this year and frankly, I used to hop in the shower regularly, but there have been some mornings where dry shampoo has become my best friend. That and Zoom hide a multitude of curly hair sins. (In case anyone wasn’t aware, my current position is as a telehealth psychotherapist, doing sessions over Zoom.)
I’m still able to 100% fulfill my work responsibilities, and my responsibilities as a dog owner — although Shelby is more than a “responsibility”; she is an enormous comfort and my saving grace.
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While I’ve checked in with Dr. Lev a couple of times a year, I haven’t been in regular therapy since 2019. I terminated transference-focused psychotherapy with her at the end of 2016 and returned to psychotherapy with her in mid-2018 when I fell into a severe depression following my stroke.
Dr. Lev still manages my medications; two antidepressants and a second-generation antipsychotic, which acts as an adjunct to the antidepressant. Additionally, when I’ve become severely depressed — as I did in 2014, when I attempted suicide and was hospitalized twice — I tend to become psychotic and hear voices. I know that I will be on medication for the rest of my life, which I’ve accepted and am okay with.
Additionally, returning to regular therapy will definitely put a strain on my finances as Dr. Lev is a psychiatrist and does not take insurance. That is a factor I need to take into consideration. I will most likely make at least one appointment for an assessment and to discuss my options.
Source: © Andrea Rosenhaft