Daily Archives: September 12, 2013

Cracking up

It may be just me but some days I wake up not in a mood, but with an attitude. Today was one of those days. Ya know, doing what you have to do for your peripherals, kids, pets, house, et al…But pretty much ignoring your own needs outside having a pee, fetching a drink, and smoking a cigarette.  I knew I had to leave by 8:10 am…7:55 am comes and I am still sitting at my desk listening to Wednesday 13, no pants on, no hurry to go dig some out of the clean  but not folded laundry…Just this “fuck it, give me points for being awake” attitude.

And I was out the door on time, with pants. Some days it feels good to not be under self induced pressure “Better do this, I gotta do this NOW, omihgod the world will crumble if I don’t have my socks and shoes on by 8 am…” I wouldn’t mind waking with that attitude  every day.  But the tides turn too swiftly for there to ever be any constant in my world.

I fetched my kid from school and took her to mom’s so I could serve my time here at the shop. And Mom told me Rick (friend of the family) got his kids taken out of his home last night by the cops because one of the kids’ friends (an 8 year old) claimed he was raping the girls. No investigation, no proof, never mind his girlfriend’s constant presence because she doesn’t work and he is technically NEVER alone with the kids…An  8 year old said the right words to the right people and now three girls have been yanked from the one parent who has actually been there for them since their worthless mother abandoned them years ago.

This started a panic attack that is still running an hour later, not to mention setting off my anger issues and out of control paranoia.

Everyone says stupid shit like, “Oh, they don’t take kids away for no reason, he must have done something.”

Bulllshit. I was present back when R’s ex wife had his kids taken from him based on lies, he was guilty til proven innocent. (And I know they were lies because I was present for all the stuff she claimed happened, none of which actually happened.) This shit scares the shit out of me because I have witnessed that the system does not fucking work.

Losing my kid would be the one thing I could not survive.

So knowing this shit has happened, finding out it is still happening, and knowing the venomous little brats my daughter has befriended could say anything they want about me if I displease them by not letting them set my house on fire or whatever…

The panic is crippling.

And it’s been all damned week. Nothing has significantly changed in my stress level or situation except for all this flux with my meds. The doctor told me going off Cymbalta would give me sleep problems. She never mentioned that the panic disorder would somehow metastasize. And it has become like a cancer, devouring me this week on a daily basis, causing me to hyperventilate, to sweat, to tremble, to feel dizzy to the point of passing out. I am accustomed to the low level frequent panic attacks, those are just my life. But I have had at least six major panic episodes this week, which is more than I’d had in a six month period.

Panic, paranoia, brain zaps, side effects, and a cloud of terror of losing my kid hanging over my head…is making me feel like I am cracking up.

I keep telling myself it’s the meds in flux, hang in there, et al.

I think 80% is the med situation.

But I think a central issue is that I live in terror of some circumstance taking my kid away from me. It’s not enough to be a good parent when anyone at any time can make some crazy statement and the wheels of the system start turning. Now that she is in school and has friends, I have basically opened myself up to walking target status, waiting for someone to take a shot by taking issue with some aspect of my parenting. And as a mentally ill mom who also has some serious personality quirks…

It feels like the start of open season.

And I want desperately for it to be some facet of the mental disability, corrupt sensory input or something making me feel paranoia and terror.

But I keep thinking of what mom said, about how those three girls were doing their homework and the cops knocked on the door and removed them screaming and crying from their home….

My terror is not a mental illness, it is very very real.

And I am very very scared.

Because it is not about whether you’ve actually done anything to harm your child. It’s about who claims you have. Mentally ill or not, I think the prospect of “guilty until proven innocent” is scary as fuck.

Who? When? Where? How?

Several years ago my therapist gave me a memory test. This took place when I was in the midst of despair and my pdoc and I were working together to find the medicinal cocktail that was right for me. Naturally my test results were abysmal.
One part of the test involved my therapist listing 10 words out loud and I was to repeat back as many of the words I could recall. At no time was I able to repeat back more than 2 words. During this same period it was next to impossible for me to carry on a conversation. I would get halfway through a sentence and have no idea what I was talking about. I would struggle to recall what I was going to say. Rarely was I successful. As a result I became more withdrawn and either avoided personal contact or would join a conversation which did not require much of a response from me. Heaven forbid I join a conversation that required me to actively listen.

I was excited, a few months ago, when my therapist said it was time to do the memory tests again. I knew I was going to do much better, and I was right. Not only did my scores improve, but I surpassed the national average for men in my age group. This was such exciting news that I stood before the congregation at church and announced my success. I received much applause and a few even gave me a standing ovation. There is just one problem – I still struggled with my memory. I can’t deny there hasn’t been vast improvement. Stopping mid-sentence and forgetting what I was talking about does not happen as much. I am able to be an active participant in conversations. But there is still a black hole where a large amount of memory is falling never to be seen again.

When I expressed my concern with my therapist, he told me that in all likelihood the memories that had been lost were likely to remain lost. That made some sense to me. I decided I’d adapt and went on my merry way. I began to feel less merry when it became obvious that I still am forgetting more than I should. Sure, as the test results showed, my short term memory is doing well, but beyond that my memory is shot to hell. I brought this concern up with my pdoc. I told him about all the recent movies I never heard of, but learned I had recently seen. I brought up recent conversations, places and activities that I could not recall even after Maurice would explain them to me. My pdoc’s response was that it’s a normal part of getting older. I wasn’t buying it. Sure we do lose some memory as we get older, but the problems I am having are above and beyond normal in my opinion. Hell, I won’t even be 50 for another couple of weeks. I love my pdoc, but the man is older than God. No wonder he thinks this is normal.

Well, I have my agenda item for my next therapist appointment as well as my next pdoc appointment. I want to find out what is going on and how it can prevent it. If I’m told it’s a natural reaction to my medication, I can live with that. I can accept that answer, adapt, and get on with my life. What I’m not willing to accept is being told is huge gaps in memory loss are normal for a 50 year old man.


Zzzle Crash Quest

I woke up yesterday, had a soda and a bowl of cereal… and then crawled right back into bed. I slept from… 9? 9 or so until 4:30pm. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised; after all, it’s been a long time since I’ve needed a catch-up day, and it is in the middle of trying to shift my sleep schedule around that little bit. I ended up taking an extra 25mg non-extended release Seroquel last night and some Melatonin in the hopes it would help me get to sleep reasonably. I might have tossed and turned a bit and not felt like I was getting to sleep at the start of the night, but I woke up feeling vaguely human. So hopefully that’s sorted and out of my system now.

I also ended up skipping Stitch ‘n Bitch because of it. I fell back on the logic my parents used to annoy me with in childhood — if you’re too sick to go to work/school, then you’re too sick to go out. Even if it wasn’t illness per se, it made sense to me to stay in and focus on trying to correct my nth sleep error. I did get some knitting done though, so that was also good. Still, the irony amuses me — I’d very much intended to be there to make sure the person who triggered my anxiety so severely didn’t think I was missing out because of her. But ah well, nevermind.

So now I’m at work like a good worker bee, and I shall start to get dived into that. I hope everyone out there is doing well.


The post Zzzle Crash Quest appeared first on The Scarlet B.


Yesterday I felt pretty well mentally. Avoided the shop, hung out at home, stayed cool…Then my kid’s friends came over and it all went to hell in a handbasket because she turns into Damien around those two girls.

Today…I was just flustered from the get go. (What kind of mom forgets to brush her kid;s hair and sends her to school with rats?) I needed to make a phone call and had such a violent panic attack doing it (I;d put it off for two weeks just to avoid this panic) that my extremeties were vibrating with the tremors. My head got so dizzy I had to sit down. My heart beat so hard I thought it was bruising my chest cavity. Yes, I survived and yes I was relieved once I had done it but…

I will take a gaping wound over that level of panic attack any day.

My mood seemed to run the gamut over the course of the day. I am having some wicked side effects from the Lithium. My scalp feels like it is crawling with bugs and from the research I have done, that’s a lesser occurring Lithium side effect. Which means if I mention it to my shrink she will dismiss it as impossible. Apparently, they are only legit side effects if 99%  of people have them. Never mind us oddballs who react differently.

The nausea, even though I have been eating in small increments to stave off the weight gain from increased appetite, is a bitch. I feel like I am going to throw up eighty percent of the time.

It’s been in the 90′s here all week. Lithium tends to make on feel dehydrated no matter how much liquid you drink and for whatever reason, it makes the nausea worse for me.

My head’s been aching.

R called and he wants my presence tomorrow, blah blah blah. He kind of made my mood crash. I will be there, of course, as I still owe him for fixing the car exhaust, but I do not look forward to it. There are some people who simply have such an oppressive or stressful impact on me that avoiding them is the only healthy thing to do. Him and those satan kids would be prime examples.

Now…it’s 11 opm and I think I have had all I can handle for one day. But first I need to hand feed my kittens. The mother has rejected them, refuses to care for them, and I can’t watch them die. So the woman who can barely remember to brush her own teeth is hand feeding three week old kittens in a desperate effort to keep them alive.

It;s shit like that that confuses me. How people can tell me I am cold and heartless and a bitch and only care about myself…

But I am handfeeding two kittens whose own mother rejected them…I can’t be too evil.

Oh, ouch, brain zap. They are gone for the most part. The short ones, anyway. No I get the longer brain zaps.

Hopefully this is the end of the Cymbalta bullshit. Calling it withdrawal is such a misnomer. I don’t want another dose, ever again. Whatever these withdrawal affects are, it’s not some cracving that a quick hit would fix.

I can’t think straight. Bedtime.

Getting off the bipolarcoaster for today.


I wake up every morning at six to take a pill.
Every night before bed, I take nine more.
Sometimes I feel like my life is contained in these plastic bottles with child-proof caps. I know that without them, I couldn’t function. I can’t imagine my life without these tablets and capsules.
When the doctor saw the desperate scratches on my left arm, he prescribed me Prozac. He said it would make life a little easier, and I didn’t think twice about incorporating this new pill into my routine. But instead of relief, I found terror. I couldn’t stop thinking about ending my life, and I began cutting more regularly. I stopped going to school. I refused to see my friends. I was drowning in fire.
The first thing my new doctor did when I can to America was take me off of the Prozac and put me on Zoloft. I tolerated the Zoloft for a long time, but eventually it just stopped working. When I went to the emergency room with suicidal thoughts, the pediatrician told me that I was experiencing “Zoloft poop-out.” After a while, he explained, sometimes your body starts to tolerate the medicine, making it ineffective. We set up an appointment with my psychiatrist to discuss options.
My then-psychiatrist, who I affectionally call Dr. Ass-hat, still did not believe that I was bipolar. His reasoning? I had straight As. “You’d be struggling in school if you were bipolar.” I considered ripping his diplomas off the wall and smashing his desk to demonstrate my case, but I decided against it. He put me on a very weak dose of Topamax, an anti-seizure medication that has an iffy track record for helping people with bipolar. I think he was just trying to get me to shut up.
After this, I confided in my therapist that I needed to get Dr. Ass-hat out of my life. I got an appointment with my current doctor, Dr. Awesome. She got me off the Topamax and got me started on Lexapro, an anti-depressant. For a mood stabilizer, we added Risperdal.
Some of my problems were solved, but I was still having manic episodes. After a long discussion, we decided to add Lithium to my little medicinal cocktail. Honestly, I was scared to take Lithium. I thought taking it would mean that I was officially crazy. But I was willing to try anything to get some relief. 
I should mention that I was taking a relatively high dose of Lexapro, and that that is probably why I ended up in the hospital. People with bipolar have to be careful when taking antidepressants, and my Lithium levels weren’t high enough to prevent my manic episodes yet. In the hospital, they took me off the Lexapro and I felt great! For almost a month, I had no mood swings. 
Then the depression hit. With the Lexapro was completely out of my system, I crashed. Sure, I wasn’t experiencing mania, but the depression was debilitating. We decided to put me on a low dose of Lexapro, but it was going to take 4 to 6 weeks to get me at a therapeutic level.
Fast-forward to now, when now it’s the Lithium that is no longer working effectively. We’ve added Lamictal to the mix, and we’re waiting to get that up to a therapeutic level. Everything is a waiting game. Six week here, a month there, more blood tests, more side effects.
There are times when I wonder if I’m masking “the real me” by taking medicine. Sometimes I get frustrated that my body was made in a way that it can’t properly function without outside intervention. I wonder if I would be more creative, more intelligent, more me if I didn’t have to swallow ten pills a day. But I eventually come to the same conclusion every time:
My pills let me be me. My pills let me get out of bed and explore the world. They let me write blog posts, go to class, and make friends. They also keep me safe. The chemicals I consume free me from depression and mania (or at least they will when we get the dosages right).
I embrace modern medicine, and I choose a higher quality of life through chemistry. Even though sometimes I feel limited by my medications, I know that ultimately they help me. I don’t just take my medicine for myself; I take it for my family, my boyfriend, and my friends. 
These little pills help all of us.