Daily Archives: May 23, 2014

Out of the Darkness?

Well, it has been quite a while since I have written in this blog. I figured that people were rightly as sick and tired as I was reading this crap as I was writing it. Nothing but fucking anxiety and misery!

Well, suddenly there's something different going on in this not-so-miserable apartment! I believe I was poisoning myself to... implosion? death?

I wanted to die last year. I wanted to fucking blown my brains out alone, drunk or drugged in a hotel room somewhere. Kill myself and just end my motherfucking misery. No one who gives a damn in my family would know. I even started writing a bunch of suicide notes to all the people that I thought I'd bother to write one for. Some I didn't have much to say to. I wrote it all down in a little notebook that I carried around with me in my backpack. Of course my spouse had no clue...
I was taking increasing amounts of (generic)Seroquel last year until I got to the point where I had to completely drug myself up, dope-like (on top of other meds I take: (generic welbutrin, clonazepam, prozac) to ride a bus, pinch myself and pull my hair constantly to stay conscious. I'd nod out just like a junkie on a route that just happened to have the occasional junkie riders. Nice. Barely, just barely, would I make it to the Dr's office or the right bus stop. I'd gone past a few times.and walked back a few times though. My eyes were always so thickly glazed and covered by sunglasses. When indoors, in the office, I had to take them off, otherwise I might nod out again. I could barely think, if at all. 

That was all until somehow I woke up and realized that I was having anxiety attacks, every day, from then on, getting a bit worse with each day until I ended up taking 200mg + 3mg clonazepam during the day, 400mg at night (on top of other meds) and it would all do NOTHING. I asked... begged my meds shrink for more, for something more for anxiety, something! For help! He said I had amazingly good liver metabolism, but for my size, he could not possibly give me anything more, any more medication. He felt terrible and it was all over his face. I'd known the man for over 21 years. I had a feeling he had probably already pushed it a little just to try to give me some relief, thinking it was probably temporary.

Anxiety attacks came on earlier in the day until I couldn't fucking take it anymore. I had some beers that night. I woke up with the crazy idea that, like lithium had done to me, I was being poisoned by generic Seroquel. Fuck it, NO MORE. I stopped taking it then and there, continued with generic: welbutrin 450mg, 150mg topomax, 40mg prozac, 4mg clonazepam for the rest of the day, and I had a few symptoms of anxiety - warm cheeks, tense shoulders, but nothing else.This has gone on since Sunday, and I have not felt this good in more than a year. I still have not gotten over my agoraphobia and gone out by myself on a whim yet, But I have at least been outside, down to the recycling bins, to the mail boxes, out on the deck to smoke, and out on the deck barefoot this morning, in shorts to look up at the clouds, and catch the rain all over me! Laughing! Happy! Not caring what the weird neighbors thought of the crazy lady that was out there at 6.15am, before the rain in sunglasses, having a smoke with a tall man and a little black cat. Even that bastard that accidentally caught me in my long t-shirt and undies! You couldn't see anything!

For some reason, without the meds, it makes it harder for me to jump out of bed at 5am and run and make the coffee, but I go to bed later now, because I have more going on in my head that's not too tired to let out, unlike before. Everything physical is more difficult, but I'm just going to start pushing again after I see my Doc and feel like my body's more ready for torture (exercise).

One thing that I did and didn't like at the same time was that my husband stayed at home. He didn't want to go to work on Monday or Tuesday and called in "sick". He was mad at me for not taking my meds. He made me explain all my meds several times, what they were for, yadda yadda, and never paid attention, never bothered to look the shit up on his fucking own. And he bitched at me for not taking the Seroquel. He thought I was going to have a psychotic break, not that he knew what one was. He threatened to stop taking his citalopram. I said that's fine, I don't think it's doing anything for you anyway, that you need to see your Dr, get a referral to the shrink and try something else and talk about what's up with you. Of course he got mad at me. As if I don't know my own crazy better than anyone else?

U2 - With or Without You

He asked if I was going to call my Dr and I told him that I've been on this shit before and ditched it several times, that it's no big deal. He got mad again. Finally, to shut him up, I asked sarcastically if he wanted me to call my Dr and tell him. He said yes, of course, in an angry voice. I said fine, that I would leave a message on his main number. I left a very clear message about what was going on, what I was doing, etc and hung up. I have an appointment with the man after the holiday FFS. My husband keeps asking me if he's called, and I tell him, no, and that things are fine, that I am so spoiled by this Dr/Professor/Big Cheese that he gave me his pager number, and told me to call him if I need a hospital bed at "his" Psych Ward hospital wing he oversees (one of many things he does), and he will do whatever he can to help me asap, as he has done in the past, and literally saved my life. Why? Fuck knows.

I woke up early this morning... before 5am from a dream in a "dreamworld" that I have been to before. I closed my eyes, laid there, and pictured as much as I could. It was some unknown place in England... I ran into a man (younger than me) that I had been with before in this dreamworld. I knew his neighborhood. In the dream, he told me his name, James, and that I remember him and his neighborhood. I did remember, and pictured it in my head. Wow. I was definitely not married in that "world". His "dishwater blond" hair had grown a bit longer. I had nowhere to go. He looked at me, knew it, and he told me to come back and stay at his house. I was a bit surprised, but this time he had a son that had his own room to stay in. Somehow that made me feel less self-conscious. He didn't tell me his name, but he smiled at me. We got into this man's old red sports car with soft top that was a bit damaged. It let in the wind and rain a bit, but it only made me smile, and feel more alive. We looked at each other and smiled. He put his son to bed when we got to his house as I stood by a crackling fireplace. He came back, put his hands around my face and kissed me without stopping, and I can't remember anything after that, but I'm sure I was just fine. I snoozed a bit more.

This isn't the only "dreamworld" I have visited and remembered vividly. I didn't have thoughts in my head as those below while I was off in la la land. That happened after I threw some clothes on and went to make a pot of coffee for us, even though I have no business getting up at 5am every morning.


So finally I get a break to sit and write without distraction this afternoon, I thought... but husband called me - for once - and told me he's coming home early. He came home, changed, then went out for a drink with someone he used to work with. He hardly said one word to me this morning. I even asked if he wanted to talk and he said no, and that he had to think about work today. Work. Work that he was telling me yesterday that was only going to take half a day, at the most. He didn't even say goodbye. He wasn't gone long before he was in his PJs and complaining about how bored he was. I suggested he take a nap. I wanted to be alone for one damn day and be able to write without being asked what I'm doing (he still doesn't know), and we shall leave it that way.

I shall hope for a better, less physically painful, and more energetic day tomorrow. A miracle.

Long Weekend Link Up!!

Here’s a quick post to catch you up on what’s been going on and what is in store for this weekend as well as interesting tidbits from around the web.

I cannot wait to go buy my veggie plants and herbs for this summer! I only have a balcony to grow on, so I’m maximizing my space with this brilliant idea from Sunset magazine. This is tops on my to do list, you know, right after I’m done working.

My coffee addiction has been brought to a new level with the addition of cold brewed coffee, here’s my cold brew recipe from earlier in the week. This is powering me through some overtime at the hospital and just delicious!

Living in the Keystone state, I thought this was a well written interesting story regarding the impact of tourism on the Amish community.

I’ve been living with migraines for over 25 years and it’s a condition a lot of people either don’t take seriously, don’t understand or just flat out don’t believe. This article lists horror stories experienced by migraine sufferers in the workplace, and sadly, some sound really familiar.

So much yes in this awesome post from the awesome Sarah at Yesandyes.org. So much of the “self love” edicts spewed on Twitter don’t work for me, mostly because of my bipolar.  It’s great to see an agreeing opinion as far as this is concerned.

When you date a police officer, things like this ring suddenly seem a million times cooler. I want one!

My friend Jenna has re-launched and redesigned  her blog! Please take the time to check it out! Her bravery and honesty are amazing and she’s putting a new face on bipolar college students for sure!

Hope everyone has a great holiday weekend, but definitely take time to remember what it’s all about!

 

 

 

 

Filed under: Blog Stuff Tagged: coffee, DIY, Etsy, links, migraines, tourism, weekend

Let the new fresh hell begin….

Last day of school. Bex and I went to her end of school picnic. All that sunshine and kids in bright colors was about to give me a brain bleed. Bex is recovering from a week of overstimulation. Tonight we brave my brother’s high school graduation. I am not looking forward to it. I don’t do unfamiliar places and large crowds with any grace. And the spawn is going with, so it should prove to be living hell.

All week Spook has been in prime brat mode. Like a machine gun to my fucking brain. I am so sick of the “kids will be kids” argument. NO. My kid is outside the boundaries with me. At home she is one person. When she is out and has an adoring audience, she is another. The questions never end. The tantrums never end. The defiance never ends. My nerves are already frayed and I am just now embarking on three months of 24-7 of this shit. I have a feeling my Xanax stash is gonna be hit very hard. Yesterday was so bad with her, it literally drove me to drink.

She is dividing her smothering technique between me and Bex. Every time Becca gets out her ipad, Spook is in her face, distracting her, driving her nuts. At one point she literally said enough and went to her room to escape. I sent Spook to her room until I calmed down then I went and gave a stern lecture. She just kept sticking her tongue out at me, an inch from my face. Those who think I have no impulse control are bloody fucking morons. Every time she turns the defiance up to ten and I don’t eat my young…That’s hella impulse control.

On the plus side…Now I have someone who has witnessed the flip side to my little angel everyone else sees only the well behaved side of. Now I have someone who knows I am not being a bitch, not exaggerating, not trying to make my kid look bad by complaining about little things. This is 99% of our time. I live for the rare days she is manageable.

The other day I said something to the extent of “Four year olds are essentially bipolar” because of the way Spook will be bawling and telling me I am mean one minute then climbing on me and telling me I am the best mom ever. So I am trying to view her behavior as others view my illness. She’s just being a kid and kids are basically sociopaths without social conditioning. Not really her fault. (I lie on that one because I do hold her accountable for some things.,) I think of how pretty much everyone in my life has abandoned me because they confuse my disorder with my personality. Rather than think, “This is typical of bipolar, it will pass and it’s not personal,” They can’t wait to take it personally and dismiss me as some unpleasable misanthrope.

I don’t want to cast my kid in the role of lost cause when she is just being a kid to a large extent. The dividing line for me is the fact she knows how to behave at school and for others. And she does it. Yet with me, suddenly she doesn’t know or forgot or simply wants to drive me to jump off a bridge. The counselor needs to spend 24 hours in my shoes. Her divine patience, education, and experience wouldn’t mean shit when faced with Tasmanian Spook. But then again, my kid doesn’t act that way when there are witnesses. She must think she can manipulate Bex and therefore she can act out around her.

The counselor says Spook is pushing boundaries. I think she has some sort of selective oppositional defiance disorder. I say go play outside, suddenly she doesn’t want to. I tell her no, you can’t, she has an hour long tantrum insisting she wants to go out. I feed her apple slices, she doesn’t like them. The school gives them to her, she loves them. It’s maddening and I don’t think at nearly 5 it is totally normal.But what do I know. The problem is apparently all me, according to the counselor.

And i think while she may have good ideas and some logic, she is also full of shit buying into Spook’s angelic act.

Moodwise…It’s not been so bad since the other night. I am hoping the split and increase in Paxil will make a difference on the night time crashes. Anxiety is off the charts, though. All these outings are wearing me down. Too much. People, kids, sunshine, heat. It’s got me on edge.

The beauty part though is, after 30 years of absolutely loathing others and waiting with bated breath for them to go away, especially if in my home and personal space..I have found the one person who does not make me feel threatened. I have no problem with her helping herself to food or tv or stereo. (Normally such things send me into meltdown.) We have space, we have companionship. No arguments. It is an amazing thing to spend your entire life feeling so alone because no one gets you and then…you find someone who pretty much does and likes you anyway. I’ve been told so many times “You don’t like anyone, you can’t be made happy.” No I’ve just spent all my life surrounded by people who don’t get mental illness and don’t do a goddamn thing to help make it suck less.

Now I have someone who does.

It makes a difference. It doesn’t cure but it does help. I hope she feels the same way because I really hate when people say one thing to spare my feelings when they mean the opposite. I would never want to make anyone miserable. Well, maybe some people who are assholes to me. I’m petty that way.

Now…back to the Uzi to the brain. I love her madly but honestly, there should be mommy time outs. Five, ten mins to regroup, go back to having my brain turned into swiss cheese by her verbal chatter bullets and screaming mimis. Rinse, lather, repeat. I know I am the mom, I am supposed to be more mature, blah blah blah.

I still want my fucking time out. And a kevlar helmet would be nice, though I doubt even kevlar would useful against Spook. ;)


Fun With Mood Charts

Like a lot of people with a science background, I’m a bit of a geek who has an enduring fascination with charts and graphs. I can understand almost anything that’s presented to me in such forms, so if you want me to grasp a difficult concept, just make a pie chart out of it and watch the light bulb come on over my head. I may not understand all the nuances, but I’ll definitely capture the basics.

Accordingly, I enjoy studying my own mood charts and have actually derived a good deal of information from them over time. I may have mentioned that I have two of them, one online and the other a simple paper form that allows me to plot my moods on a graph and jot notes as to what’s happening on a given day. I do one in the morning and the other at night. What’s fun is putting together several months’ worth and seeing the effect the events in my life are having on my moods, as well as what (if anything) my various med changes are doing.

I did this tonight with my February-May charts, and I’m happy to report that the line of dots from late March to the present day is almost completely flat and in the normal range. I am not kidding. It doesn’t get any better than this, not in my bipolar life anyway. I knew things were going well and have been for some time, even with losing my job and dealing with some pretty hairy financial issues, but those charts are the visible evidence that adding the Zyprexa in mid-March was the turning point in my current recovery. It took me about a week to settle down, but I’ve been stable ever since, and those poor little manic stirrings underneath the shield of medications just don’t have anywhere to go.

Oh, it’s not that I can’t feel it. I know it’s there, and the recent spate of good weather has made it want to come out and play. But the lid is on firmly and it can’t escape, so what I’ve ended up with is a generally sunny, optimistic mood without the crazy. Like I said: it just doesn’t get any better than this.

However, I am under no illusions that this is the end of it. I read something yesterday from my friend Sarah at bi [polar] curious which absolutely floored me…..it was about a phenomenon called the Denial Relapse, and I immediately recognized myself in the discussion of what people like us do, especially in the area of ambition and setting limits for ourselves. (Yeah, I know—what limits??) Denial Relapse is what happened to me last fall when I suddenly got it into my head that I wasn’t really BP, I’d merely been in an existential crisis for a few years and I finally snapped out of it.

But while denial really isn’t just a river in Egypt, it’s all too tempting to indulge in it, particularly when you read another article on Highly Sensitive Persons and see yourself all over the place in it. It’s much too easy to think, “Hey, maybe THAT’S all that’s wrong with me”. Then you go back and read some of your own blog entries from back when you weren’t making a lot of sense, and maybe take a gander at your medication list, and it tends to straighten you out really, really fast.

And if that doesn’t do it, you can always go back over those mood charts you’ve kept so faithfully over the years and see the pattern of peaks and valleys interspersed with flat lines. Even when you think you’ve got it all together for good, there will always be another high…..another low…..and sometimes both at the same time. You can count on it. I do.

 


Surviving High School (and Reunions)

I’ve only ever gone to one of my high school reunions – the 25th. Now the 40th is nearly here.

I was terrified then. This time is not as bad. I don’t have the energy or the attention span to get all worked up about it. Will I go? Probably not. It’s like the Tower of Terror at DisneyWorld – I did it once and I’m glad I did, but I have no desire to do it again.

My difficulties with the reunion even made the local paper. I went to a high school friend, Mary, for advice. She was quite helpful. She also, with my permission, wrote about my panic in her newspaper column.

Here’s what I told her: “Over the last quarter century I’ve confronted and dealt with a number of pieces of my past and tried to make my peace with them. High school, however, is not one of those things. I’m afraid I’ll have flashbacks.”

Mary did note that “Janet had more reason than most to be apprehensive. While I had been actively ignored, she had been, at times, actively picked on – one of those kids too brainy, too head-in-the-clouds, to comprehend how to navigate the social firmament.”

Pretty close. Except that I wouldn’t have called it “actively picked on.” High school was merely another part of the continuum of bullying and harassment that I experienced from childhood on. In high school no one threw literal rocks at me, but by then they didn’t have to. I was conditioned to cringe.

The head-in-the-clouds part was also not entirely accurate. As I walked through the halls between classes, my head was down and my nose was in a book. I was trying to perfect my “invisible” act and practice that advice that the bullied always get – “just ignore them.”

And I wouldn’t call the social milieu in high school “the firmament.” Just sayin’.

I did go to the reunion, though. I got my hair done for the event and told my stylist to make me look “successful and sane.” She replied, “Oh, no, here comes the wish list.” “At least I didn’t ask for young and thin,” I pointed out.

I went, taking along my husband and telling him not to leave my side. I’m sure the husband came as a surprise to most people there, proof that I had at least managed to navigate that particular social firmament. And if my hairstyle did proclaim some degree of sanity, that was likely a surprise as well.

I survived. My big insight: “Not everyone hated me.” I should have known that already, since I had friends like Mary and a few others I’m still in touch with. But old fears die hard.

Mary was much more philosophical: “In adolescence our images are refracted through so many distorted lights – the way we see ourselves, the way everyone else sees us, the way we fancy everyone else sees us. What mattered was that we could all talk face to face, as adults, as equals, as friends.”

She may have been right, though “Not everyone hated me” was, in its way, a major alteration in my outlook and pretty much as far as I’d gotten by then in my continuing struggle to come to grips with my life.

Things have changed a lot since then and so have I. Now I realize I have nothing to prove, and no need to try.


Bullseye

So I’m taking this edX class on resiliency and the science of stress management.  This week’s lesson (it’s only 7 minutes, you can handle it) includes instructions for something called the Bulls Eye Activity. It’s about looking at the different “hats” we wear (domains) and then thinking of value statements for each one. Next you’re supposed to think of behaviors that would be consistent with said values, followed by figuring out whether we’re actually acting in consistent with our value statements and then identifying what’s stopping us from doing said things. It’s ridiculously difficult and I for one am so overwhelmed and kinda disappointed in myself and how far away I am from living in commitment to my values and am choosing to put mine away and go to bed, but I think it’s a really great way to force yourself to think about the whole continuum.
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I hope the link works!


Should I, Or Shouldn’t I?

Laura P. Schulman, MD, MA:

Yours Truly asks a pointed question on A Canvas Of The Minds. Canvas is a very special collective of very special Mental Health Bloggers. My answer to this question will be posted either here or there soon….stay tuned…..

Originally posted on A Canvas Of The Minds:

Soul Survivor new

Click to read Laura’s bio

In a perfect world, all doctors would know that people with psychiatric issues are regular humans, just like everybody else.  They would not look at our diagnosis, our health history, our med list, and automatically assume that we are drug seekers.  They would not automatically write off our symptoms as being “psychosomatic.”  I use quotes there, because the word “psychosomatic” means that the mind is causing a disorder that is expressed by the body.  I happen to be of the school of medicine that believes that virtually all physical illness is caused, ultimately, by imbalances of body chemistry that are initiated in the brain; therefore, all illnesses are “psychosomatic.”  And guess what, folks: they’re real illnesses.

Unfortunately, most doctors are under the impression that if you have a DSM diagnosis, that automatically puts you in the category of “crock,” which means your symptoms are…

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