Daily Archives: March 5, 2014

Existence is Futile

That title is probably only funny to a Star Trek: Next Gen nerd like me. Oh, well, bygones.

I had a good day the other day. It was vodka infused.

I paid dearly. Worth it to have one day out of how many months where I actually didn’t want to spit on people…I am trying to mend fences with those my depressive isolation has offended. Except…I’m still in my depression and in all honesty I am not ready to be social. I’m not feeling it. If anything, I am feeling the opposite. Which means my attempts at assimilating into the “good mood and optimistic” person they want me to be are going to be a colossal failure. But…my kid wants a playdate which mean mom has to suck it up and pretend to want one with the adults. Hopefully liquor will be involved and I just might pull it off then come home and vegetate and recover for a couple of days.

My brother has to go to court AGAIN, same girl has a restraining order against him AGAIN because he was “allegedly” overheard saying he wants to run her over with his truck.At this point, the whole family does, let her get orders against all of us. My brother has the emotional age of 8, but he’s 19 and they placed him in a school with “normal” kids that age…Is it any wonder he has issues? Today stepmonster had to drive 80 miles out of town to take him to see a shrink because he is threatening to hang himself over it all.

Apparently,being mental really does run in the family.

Myself…Those zaps I was feeling where I thought the anti dep was working…They’ve gone away. Mostly I feel like I am surviving. Good spot here and there but so fleeting it’s hardly worth all this damned effort. And whereas my public panic/whoozy meltdowns used to seem exclusive to Wal-mart( cos i don’t do well well large spaces and crowds) they are becoming every time I go out. Like I am allergic to the public.

Today might not be the best day for me to post, I have cramps and that hormonal psycho hose beast thing going on but at the moment…existence really does feel futile.


Ten Days In Lockdown Part III

After a long nap on the second night of being in lockdown in the psych ward, I needed to get up and move around. I became like the rest of the zombies there and wandered the hallways wearing my hospital gown and a blank face. I did meet a tall drag queen who was reading … Continue reading »

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I Want a New Drug

Remember that song by Huey Lewis and the News from back in the 80s?  C’mon, sing along with me: “I want a new drug, one that won’t go away.  One that won’t keep me up all night, one that won’t make me sleep all day.”  There ya go!  You did it!

After discovering that I have bipolar disorder…and trying the myriad of drugs out there to combat this crap…that song…and those lyrics, in particular…took on a whole new meaning.  How many of you battling brain cooties found success with the first weapon your doctor prescribed?  Don’t be shy.  Raise your hands.  HA!  That’s what I thought.  Not very many.  So, those of you who did have success on the first go ‘round, how many have stayed on the same drug for an extended period of time with continued success?  Yeah, I thought that would cause a few hands to go down.

Well, let me tell ya somethin’.  My brain LOVES new drugs.  Absolutely adores them.  I feel the party goin’ on in my head, let me tell you.  But it doesn’t usually last long.  My brain, it appears, gets bored.  Tosses aside the serotonin like an old shoe into the reuptake cycle.  It wants something new, something shiny, something pretty. 

Now, as much as I love my doc, I do have to say he looks at me a bit strangely when I tell him my brain is bored with a drug.  All right.  I’ll be honest.  With my current doctor I’ve only said this one time and that was a week and a half ago.  I’d been battling the blahs for months.  I wasn’t horribly depressed (most of the time) but I also just didn’t feel good.  No energy, motivation, drive.  I looked forward to sleeping. I was even ready to toss out my hard-acquired crafting materials.  Yeah, that bad. 

So, I made an appointment with my doctor.  Let me back up.  I already had this appointment.  Sorry.  Wrong appointment.  Saw my therapist first (she’s a doll and very good at what she does) then my doc.  He always goes over the therapist’s notes so he can compare what I tell him with what I told my therapist for any additional clarification.  After discussing my lack of oomph, my doc and I decided it was time for a change.

But it couldn’t be just any change.  You see, I’ve taken soooo many meds for my brain cooties…used so many weapons against it…and most of them failed.  Oh, they might have worked for a bit, but like I said at the opening, my brain just gets bored and wants a new drug, one that won’t keep it up all night or make it sleep all day, and sleeping all day seems to be my biggest issue with psych meds.  I mean, come on, I have bipolar disorder.  Prozac, Paxil, Wellbutrin, etc. should send me into manic mode.  Instead, I have what the good doctor calls “atypical reactions”, meaning they put me to sleep. And even if I don’t sleep, I feel drugged with no more energy than it takes to hold down one end of the couch.  I see you nodding, you know that feeling, don’t you?  That’s what many meds do to me. “…one that won’t keep me up all night, one that won’t make me sleep all day.”  Yeppers, Huey Lewis knew.

My doctor was honest with me.  I’ve only been on one medication…besides mood stabilizers…since seeing him and, lucky me! I was the first in his practice to be prescribed that medication.  However, the reason it was prescribed is that I’ve gone through many, many other medications that just didn’t work, or did but for some reason stopped working.  He explained that there just weren’t too many options left out there, but did mention one that’s only been on the market for about a year.  No, not the one that’s advertised all over the place…the one that’s specifically for bipolar depression.  I was actually kinda hoping he’d prescribe that one ‘cause the people in the ads look so happy!  And skinny!  And I wanted all that!  But he mentioned another one I’d never heard of before and I agreed to give it a shot.

Took my samples home and started at the recommended dose.  Now, what’s cool about the newer generation of drugs is that they don’t take 4-6 weeks to see results.  In fact, doc chuckled when I asked about it and said no, it activates pretty quickly.  Boy, was he right!  I could feel it swooshing into my brain and my brain saying, “Ahhhhh!!  Now THAT’s better!” (Does your brain talk to you, too, or is it just me?)

As directed, I titrated up one week later.  Gotta back up a bit again.  During the previous week I’d noticed a little itching, but nothing too bad or distracting.  No rash.  But after a couple of days I wondered if it was due to the medication.  Nothing bad, mind you, and only mildly annoying.  Okay, so, I titrated up.  And scratched the ankle on one foot until it bled.  Those of you in the Midwest, you know what chigger bites are like.  Horrible things.  Much, much worse than mosquito bites.  Well, it felt like two or three chigger bites in one place. 

Went from itching a bit to being driven crazy!  Mostly my feet, but my eyes, my head, my stomach.  It was awful.  I called the doctor and spoke with his nurse.  When she heard what was going on she managed to get an appointment for me the next day.  Yeah, allergic reactions to medications will do that for a person.  The velvet rope just drops on down. 

I told him I felt great, except for the itching.  I’d even lost 2 pounds since my previous appointment just a week earlier.  That made me feel even better!   

I really like the way my doc makes me part of my medical team, which is the way it should be.  Since I was feeling good otherwise, he suggested we…or I, actually…stay at the lower dose.  Then he prescribed another medication called hydroxyzine.  Now, I don’t like mentioning meds by name because I don’t want to influence anyone, but this is an all purpose medication.  It’s mainly used as an antihistamine.  Apparently it was developed in the mid-1950s for that reason.  But, hurray for me, in its list of other uses is one that jumped out at me.  JUMP!  Like that.  It’s also used as an antianxiety medication.  This is beautiful because the last med I was on was for depression as well as anxiety and I was getting anxious about what I was going to do about the anxiety.  Ironically, one of the potential side effects is upset stomach, but it can be prescribed for nausea.  I love little ironies like that, don’t you?

I was worried it would put me to sleep, but it doesn’t.  At least not at the dose I’m at.  I wonder if it should be increased, though, ‘cause I start itching again overnight and also if I wait too long during the day to take it.  Just looked it up and I’m well under the potential dosage.  In fact, for anxiety I’m at half the usual dose, which is fine.  I don’t want more chemicals in my system than necessary.  And I'll be a good girl and not mess with my med dosage on my own. I will say, this was a good call on the part of my doc.  I don’t feel hypomanic and I definitely don’t feel depressed.  I feel (dare I say it?) normal.  I keep pinching myself to make sure I’m not sleeping, but I have to stop before someone blames my hubby for all the bruises I’m causing. 

I don’t know how long it’ll last.  Is this just a high before my system crashes again or is my improved health due to the medications?  This is the hell of brain cooties, isn’t it?  Especially bipolar disorder.  Is it part of the usual cycle or is it the medication doing its job? 

I’m not sure at this point.  I’m just enjoying the ride for the moment.  

Spring Fever

It was 63 degrees today. The sun was out for part of that time, the breeze was soft and almost warm as it kissed my rain-frizzled hair, and over the sounds of traffic I thought I could hear birds chirping as I munched my tuna sandwich. I almost didn’t even need a sweater.

Spring may still be a little over two weeks away, but signs of it are stirring all over, including on the inside. I want to dig in the dirt. My appetite is going away and I’m sick of junk food. I can hardly wait for Daylight Saving Time to begin this weekend. And I’m not sleeping well even though I’m sticking to the script.

Yeah……oh, shit is right.

I get it every year, this spring-fever thing. Only I’ve learned to recognize it for what it really is, and warning bells are going off even as I lose myself in pleasant imaginings of the blooming flowers and warm twilights to come. All winter long I dream of sunny spring and summer days, and the intoxicating aromas of roses and watermelon and grilled steaks. Even now, with more rain to come in the days ahead, I’m ready to stash all the dull, dark clothes far back into the closet and bring out my bright turquoises and yellows. I want short sleeves and gauzy skirts and a tan.

And then I wonder for the 457th time how a perfectly innocent time of year can be so seductive, and yet hold so much danger for the poor schmuck who just happens to have bipolar disorder.

I’m not manic. Not even hypo, even though I was bordering on it as recently as a week ago. I don’t feel like I could jog the 40 miles home like I do when I’m in that state. (Broken toes don’t allow for much jogging, anyway. Neither does being too-many-hundred pounds and badly out of shape. Besides, I hate jogging.) I’m still fighting my asthma and I’m not healthy enough yet to actually go outside and start prepping my flowerbeds.

But I have the feeling that it wouldn’t take very much to turn the tide. I’m not sure if I can describe what the sensation is like; it’s almost as if your head is slightly abuzz, and the rest of your body is thrumming with anticipation—of what you don’t know, but it’s something you can hardly wait for, even as your logical brain says “oh, no you don’t either!!” It’s like Christmas and your birthday and all the days you’ve ever looked forward to in your whole life rolled into one glorious event, and you can hardly breathe for the excitement.

Ever wonder why people like being manic? There’s your answer.

Thankfully, the practical side of me is still in control and it knows that spring fever or no, I can’t have an episode of any kind right now. I’m at a crucial point in my training where things could either go well or suck rocks—not a good time to have to deal with this pesky illness. So I will turn the salsa music off, resist the temptation to have both the heater and the fan on to simulate a night in the tropics (um, yeah……I do that sometimes), and take my meds no later than 9 PM so I can at least wind down a bit before I attempt to sleep.

Wake me when it’s May, will you?

 

 


I Cried With My Nose

Jimi Hendrix - If 6 Was 9
(Yeah) 
(Sing a song, brother) 
If the sun refused to shine, 
I don't mind, I don't mind. 
(Yeah) 
If the mountains fell in the sea, 
Let it be, it ain't me. 
Got my own world to live through 
And I ain't gonna copy you. 

Now, if 6 turned up to be 9, 
I don't mind, I don't mind. 
If all the hippies cut off all their hair, 
I don't care, I don't care. 
Dig, 'cos I got my own world to live through 
And I ain't gonna copy you. 

White-collar conservatives flashing down the street 
Pointing their plastic finger at me. 
They're hoping soon my kind will drop and die, 
But I'm gonna wave my freak flag high . . . HIGH! 

Hah, hah 
Fall mountains, just don't fall on me 
Go on mister Businessman, 
You can't dress like me. 
Nobody know what I'm talking about 
I've got my own life to live 
I'm the one that's gotta die 
When it's time for me to die 
So let me live my life the way... I want to. 

Yeah . . . 
Sing on brother, 
Play on brother . . .

*******


I actually hit the snooze on my alarm this morning, which is something I haven't done since I had a job, which was about 7 years ago (?). Maybe I was subconsciously dreading the meds management shrink appointment that I had to get to today. I could swear it was by accident. The spouse was already up and called something to me. I replied, but I don't remember what I said, but he then told me that it was Tuesday, and that I had a Dr appointment to get to.

I got up, grabbed my jeans, and went into my very own closet of horrors, where there are clothes that range from everything from size 0 to 10 or 12. Some are even boys' and mens' clothes (t-shirts, hoodies). I grabbed some new undies, socks, t-shirt, and coat. I decided what t-shirt to grab by the color of lipstick I was going to wear.

I am at an age where I should probably be dressing "older", only I don't think I know what that is, and I don't think I'd really want to. Something tells me that it would be buttass ugly. No can do. I have very long, nearly black hair, don't dye it anymore, and no visible gray hairs. I don't have a face that I should have. It should look like I've barely managed to weather all the shit storms I've been through in my lifetime so far + booze and drugs: I don't have wrinkles. I guess you could say I'm blessed with some good Mexican genes. Maybe Aztec. Maybe Mayan. Who knows? All I know is that I can pass for someone much younger, I'm not trying to "dress younger". I don't want to look ridiculous.

I just want to be comfortable and feel confident in the clothes I am wearing if I am out in public. I want to walk confidently, and feel 5 inches taller, and a baddass, like I used to feel when manic. Maybe that's why I'm growing more and more attached to my favorite stack-heeled leather riding-ish style boots. I feel taller, and more confident, even if I'm anxious. Gawd knows how much I paid for them on a crazy wacko cabin fever online shoe shopping spree No regrets on those, though. None.

So the spouse was a little bitchy about waiting for me to finish up my makeup so that we could leave for my appointment. He was hurrying me along, which I was trying not to let stress me out. That is the exact kind of shit that stresses me out but I would be damned if I was going to let him rush me this morning. He says he hates waiting for others. Maybe he's just a selfish ass. Either way, he's a pain in the ass in the morning, but I didn't let it get to me at all. My attention was on the car ride to the clinic up on ghetto hill.

I always have to have something biggish, like my purse, on my lap and have my arms wrapped around it, unless I'm smoking at the time. I am hyper aware of all shit going on around us, hating the spouse's yelling about the shitty driving of others, hating his driving, hating his raised voice, hating that I'm in the front, and don't feel strapped in tightly, hating that there's so much traffic, hating that there's nothing to hang onto. I gotta have music and smoke. I have PTSD (and not just for this), and this car thing will never go away, except when I am drunk, I have a deathwish and don't care if the driver is drunk.

We made it to the clinic in one piece, and I saw the shrink. I've been sort of downgraded, and I'm maxed out on meds, he says, unless I want to try something else. When we talked about what was going on, of course I started my usual crying thing, but this time, my eyes just welled up, and I fought it like fuck. Not a tear spilled. I got a runny nose instead, which was much less humiliating. I was so proud. So anyway, Officially now, I'm BPII with some Borderline traits, PTSD, and Anxiety Disorder. I feel a bit better about that. It would be something to rub my sister's face in, that I'm Bipolar not Borderline, just some Borderline traits. Not just me me me, like she likes to think sometimes, and used to think. Funny, my spouse thinks that of me too, that I'm just me me me. I'm sure some of that he got from my sister. Well, first I gotta fuckin'' take care of me, pull myself out of whatever to try to get to a place somewhere near the level that everyone else is on. So, FUCK. ALL Y'ALL.

Maybe I'm starting to feel a sort of mania coming on since I'm not really depressed as such, sometimes sad, but that wears off pretty quickly. I do get irritable, but have managed to contain my growing rage because that damn tax form still hasn't been signed yet. One good thing though, is the spouse picked it up late this morning and asked if it was ready to be mailed. I told him it was, but just needed his signature and SSN. I'm thinking too that I'm not feeling so anxious about going to the therapist tomorrow, regardless of how I get there, and the fact that I need to go to the drugstore afterward to get more clonazepam. The whole prescribed dose and amount of pills, FFS! I could ask for a ride back from the shrink's, with a stopover at the drugstore. The weather's going to be shitty. I want that damn tax form signed tomorrow, and sent out! So I still gotta play it cool. Maybe he'll see how shitty the weather is and offer a ride? Hmm...

I think I'm going to try and hit the starbucks in the morning again, but leave when a little light has come out, and try not to freak out. Baby steps. I'm bringing some extra "free coffee" bags in case I pass a waking homeless neighbor. Maybe a few. I can't seem to use as many of them as I have saved. A bunch!

I'm not feeling anxious about tomorrow yet. It's weird. It's fucking WAY weird. Something's up, I better fucking enjoy it if I can, as long as I can, and share the wealth (coffee and cigarettes) tomorrow if I have the opportunity!!!

I don't plan on crying, but plan on talking about anxiety shit and getting the fuck outta the house. I'll bring my own tea. If the sting of oncoming tears starts to happen, I'll only cry through my nose again! I WANT CONTROL.

Foundations/Enjoy the Journey

Like most of America, I was moved by Lupita Nyong’o’s Oscar acceptance speech. It was emotional and inspiring and one thing she said really struck me and got me thinking. Ms. Nyong’o said “It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s”. Besides the obvious connotation in her work on the Oscar winning film on slavery, this applies so readily to our own lives, for many different reasons.

Think about the things and people you love, the relationships and belongings you treasure. What price did you pay for them? I don’t mean money, not exactly anyways. How many hours of overtime did you work to buy a new car? What sacrifices had to be made so your child could join that sports team, have the proper equipment and get to all the games? In terms of a different price, how many nights did you miss tucking your children in because you were at work or taking night classes? That great guy you are dating- how many times were hearts  broken before you two met? The corner office came at a price- was it having a family?

It’s not about being a martyr or being materialistic, it’s about recognizing how things came to be. This doesn’t mean being depressed over what you have, but rather recognizing their true worth. Appreciating the journey –  how hard you worked, how long you held on, how much sleep you lost, how many tears were shed- can be eye opening and help you realize how blessed you really are.

My own life is full of these blessings brought about by pain or sacrifice. Seeking help for my mental illness was something I did for myself, as my own great grandmother didn’t have that chance. During that era, mental illness was not talked about, so she suffered in silence for years. I am very fortunate to have so many resources for finding help that she did not and my life is improving as a result of getting help. My mother continues to make sacrifices for me even now that I am an adult. Despite working a full time job and keeping her own house, she reminds me to take my medicines, lets me know when it seems I am cycling, goes out for coffee dates with me and just pretty much helps me keep my crap together. In a million years, I’d never be able to even come close to giving her what she has given me.

Are there things or relationships in your own life that mean more to you simply because of how they came to be? Please share them in the comments!

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credit: salisasaki.com

Filed under: Self Discovery Tagged: journey, life, love, movies, moving on, quotes, sacrifice