Author Archives: nineshadesofcat

I did it.

Re-started on the Celexa, I mean. It does feel like a failure, but I just spent another night nearly completely without sleep, even with the antihistamines. I am nearing that place again where I am just a bundle of electrically charged nerves which are under tension 24/7, without any real reason. Everything becomes more important or scary than it is, little things assume enormous proportions, OCD rules. No, I don´t like that place, and I will not stay there. It has been an important summer without the meds, I did manage to feel well and do some great stuff, but now the days are getting shorter and darker, I can´t spend as much time outside as I want and my brain chemistry resents that majorly. I tried alternative stuff, I tried mental gymnastics, but I guess I am just not in a place yet where I can do without a little chemical help. 

And so I just took my entry dosage of 10 mg, after talking it through with my family too, who all, without exception, encouraged me to do it also. They too had noticed me getting more and more antsy and nervous and worried over the last weeks, and that simply isn´t right, with things in my life actually going well on all counts all around. 

So now to a few weeks of whining about side effects, obviously. No way around THAT, for sure, but maybe they won´t be that bad, seen how it is not that long since I was on the medication last. Let´s hope. 10 mg for a week, and then up to 20 again, and I sure hope that will be enough, it should be, since I haven´t arrived at levels of crazy and angst like last time, things are still mostly under control, and the minimum dosage should do the trick and make life manageable. I don´t want to knock myself out, just be able to deal with things again without everything threaten to become an insurmountable obstacle. Life isn´t easy, and I don´t ask for that, but it shouldn´t become terrifying either, right? 

This morning I also received the news that I have been accepted into a very restricted self help group which deals with emetophobia, under the guidance of a therapist, and I know that in order to be able to get something out of that experience, I need to confront some stuff which I still keep very deep inside myself. Another thing I probably wouldn´t be able in the state I am in now, so another reason to use the chemical help. Little steps… !

Ok, enough rambling, there is work to be done, the more the better, so I don´t have time to start obsessing on the side effects of the meds 😀. Wish me luck!


Every day, what am I saying, every hour, I am of a different opinion regarding medication.

In some moments, I feel great. I don´t really have any problem with depression in this period, my mood is mostly upbeat and optimistic.

But.. the anxiety and the occasional temper tantrums are worrying me. Sleeping is going so-so, some nights I manage ok without any medication, and others I either can´t fall asleep until impossibly late, or I wake up around 2-3 am, and can´t sleep any more. Brain monkeys going completely crazy.

Also, small stuff upsets me sometimes to no end, for hours.

The medication I got from my psychiatrists (opipramol) does help somewhat with the anxiety, but it makes me terribly tired and apathetic. Ok for the night, but during the day, not so good. Really not different from the benzo stuff, only that it is supposedly not addictive. Fortunately it hasn´t any other side effects, as far as I have seen until now. But when I have to drive or do stuff which requires my full attention I simply can´t take them, and that thwarts the whole purpose, as I need them for work and other trips, where I need to be alert, and often drive a car myself. Sigh.

This morning I felt so anxious that I seriously considered to go back on the Celexa again. The psychiatrist has told me to be myself the judge on when I need it, for him, I should be on it always, I have a 2-month reserve of the pills at home and he trusts me to start on them again when I (or the people who live with me) think that the situation is becoming unsustainable.

I am planning to give myself until after the trip to Italy in 3 weeks. Depending on how I will react to 2 days of complicated, chaotic traveling and 2 days of trade fair full immersion with tons of stuff to do, stress and people around me, I will then evaluate if I can do this simply with the Opipramol or if I need constant medication.

For now, I will try with enough physical exercise, good nutrition and some herbal supplements. But I have sworn myself that I never again will let things get bad enough that my life is a burden to myself and those I love. As much as I wish to be able to live without the chemical aids, I know also how much I owe them.

Always the same title.. long time no post :D

..which actually is a good thing, seen how my thoughts aren´t so much concentrating on all the mental stuff 😀

Yes, I have been doing quite well over the last months. Ups and downs, sometimes, but nothing unbearable, actually. In addition, I discovered something new about myself, which isn´t that new really. I am a Highly Sensitive Person, in short, HSP. The definition has apparently been around since the 80ies, which makes me wonder why I haven´t happened on it before, seen how I do spend quite some time analyzing the state of my mental health usually. 

The good thing is, being a HSP is not an illness, but a feature 😀. The bad news: not being an illness, there is no cure. 

I have posted links to the definitions and questionnaires regarding HS all over my FB and other blog pages, so no need to go into it again here. Suffice to say that I recognize myself in every single issue pointed out. And quite a few of them have been rather eye-opening about a lot of problems I thought were only mine, or of other, ehm, challenged people like me. Nope. We aren´t crazy, we aren´t out of our heads, we just perceive stuff in a more intense way and react to it also more intensely. Very often, with pain, anguish and panic. 

On Friday, I have an appointment with my psychiatrist. Originally, this was because I was considering going back on the SSRI medication. Now, I am not so sure any more. I am still certain that if I reach a determinate level of anguish and insomnia, there are only the meds to make a halfway “normal” life possible.. but right now, I am realizing that when I avoid over-stimulation of any kind, I am quite happy and also don´t sleep to bad. The problem is, that there are days, even weeks, where it is possible to avoid the impact of too many stimuli on my sensitive body and mind, but others, where for work or other reason it simply isn´t.

And overstimulation can be anything – traveling, singing in a concert, going out with friends, having guests – nearly never things which I actually dislike or find difficult to do, but whenever there is a lot of time in my day where I am exposed to other people, sounds, visual impressions, odors, feelings, and other “signals” and emotions, without at least the same amount of time to “decompress”, i.e. nearly completely isolated, I get stressed. Meaning, my heart races, my body sweats, my GI tract reacts doing unpleasant things, I can´t sleep, I eat too much and unhealthy stuff at that. Mathematical. 

I already knew these mechanisms.. but ascribed them to a problem of MY brain chemistry, which still might be true, but it is something built in, and can be, hopefully, if not resolved at least improved, with a different attitude towards the high sensitivity. If, until now, I knew I would be an useless wreck for a few days after a work trip, but not why, I now know that this is the consequence of biochemical reactions caused by a constant stress my body and mind were under in the days where I was “forced” to be confronted with  nearly constant over stimulation. (What I call over-stimulation for a non-HS person would not mean anything, but for me it is for example having to eat at least two meals a day with other people, spending time on public transportation or in cars with more than one person, listening to a lot of different people talk, being in rooms with more than 2 people, being exposed to loud or continuous sounds, strong lights, unusual odours and colours. There is more, but that is the most usual).

I am not yet sure what exactly I can do to minimize this – renouncing the work trips is not an option right now, it is how I earn my living and also necessary to do the work I like. I have though started a part time job near home, which is wonderfully boring, meaning that I come home after 3 or 4 hours working there in the mornings not completely exhausted or overwhelmed like in many other occasions, but rather relaxed. 

One of the “funny” things about us HSPs is that we do exhaust easily when stimulated.. but also, we often search for the new, the exciting, the interesting and the fascinating. Insulating oneself in one´s home  isn´t really an option for most of us for our whole lives, even if a lot of us actually prefer working from home, or in “familiar” and quiet circumstances. 

So, the question is how to manage my “outings” into the world in a way that they don´t damage my health, and cause me an off-time of days afterwards. The main issue will certainly be to dose excitement and relaxation cautiously. For example, a ride on a crowded train for a few hours should be followed by a dinner on my own, early bed and (maybe with medicinal help) a sound night of sleep. If I have to hold a seminar for a whole day, I should at least try to not eat lunch with the participants, as unfriendly that might seem. That one hour for myself, in my room, or outside in a garden or park, could be the difference from being completely exhausted and feeling sick at the end of the day, or simple, normal tiredness after exertion. I have always WANTED to do that, but felt guilty for my “unsocial behaviour” and therefore usually didn´t, fearing how it could be interpreted. Now that I know that it is something my body and mind require, things might be different. I don´t know. But it is certainly worth a try.

During the psychiatrist appointment I will bring up the following issues: 

– High Sensitivity: does he know about it, and does he have ideas on how to make life easier with it?

– My doubts about me being actually bipolar. Analyzing the mood swings over the last years, I can clearly see they have been caused every time by things/people/events which made it impossible for me to take enough “down time” for myself and “hide” from outside stimuli/worries. 

– Possible alternatives to constant medication. Over the last weeks I have clearly seen that I can thrive quite well with a regimen of healthy food, enough physical exercise and balanced exposition to outside stimuli. There is need though for some solution for those periods where that is not possible, and I still need to function. Sleeping meds for the night.. and what could I take during the day in order to lower the strength of the impact of outside stimuli on my senses, and my reaction to them? Beta blockers do work sometimes, but mostly they lower my blood pressure so much that I can´t function any more. Which other temporary meds are there?

A full program 😀. I am curious what he will say.. I am very happy with the idea of not being SICK but simply differently wired, but he might see things differently. I need to decide what to do if he reacts refusing what I say and simply wanting to put me back on regular medication. 

We´ll see. One step at a time. Still, I feel I am on the right road!

Long time no post..

.. no idea why. Things are ..ok. Ups and downs. Here the bullet points: 


  • Not great, I have to take sleeping pills (antihistaminics) at least 2-3 times a week because otherwise things reach fast that freakout state where I sleep 2 hrs a night and become a zombie. With the meds, I kind of make it work. 
  • Less tired during the day than while on the Celexa. I rarely sleep in the afternoon, only if I have had a particularly bad night. When on the meds, I always got very very tired around 2 pm
  • I generally need less sleep, but it is difficult to understand just how much that is. Sometimes I feel ok with just 4-5 hours, other times even 6 leave me exhausted.


  • Much more than on the Celexa, alas. I am always “ready for flight”, so to say, and even little things make my heart beat like crazy. 
  • I worry a lot more. About real stuff, and also about imaginary one. 
  • Not nearly as bad as before starting on the meds though. I generally am able to get myself under some kind of control when I start to freak out, by breathing deeply.


  • The emetophobia is worse again, agh. I see that when eating with my father, who has Parkinson´s disease and sometimes gets a hiccup while eating which occasionally (very seldom though) causes him to gag and vomit, he mostly makes it to the WC in time, but not always. When on the Celexa, I was somewhat uncomfortable when he started to hiccup, but managed to continue to eat myself and stay seated. Now, I basically continue to want to stare at him for the first signs of hiccup, and am seating like ready to get up and run away (haven´t done it until now, but came close). I also can´t eat when he starts to hiccup and feel totally terrorized, therefore avoid eating with my parents when I can. Not good. 
  • Less prone to nausea than while on the Celexa, therefore less Domperidone-chugging. Good, I think. 

General health

  • More headaches, and heavier ones than while on the Celexa. Not sure if that is due to me being generally more tense, or if it has brain chemistry reasons
  • Period totally out of whack (now 7 weeks since the last) but that did happen occasionally before too. Probably more a middle aged thing 😀
  • Some weight loss, due to consistent dieting for a month, not enough though. 
  • Intestines more sensitive: While on the Celexa, the occasional gluten poisoning seldom resulted in major intestinal upheaval, usually just some discomfort. Now if I get even some slight contamination, oh boy. Insides want out. And it lasts longer too. 

Depression and bipolar

  • There are no really extreme highs and lows, mostly. At least none which last more than a few hours. I have been at the “I want to die NOW point a few times, but that was more from nervous exhaustion than real depression. I think. And it never lasted long. I also haven´t had real “OMGEVERYTHINGISTOTALLYAWESOMEIMGOINGTORULETHEWORLD” moments either, have kept mostly decent body hygiene and not exaggerated with the chocolate either. So I guess that all makes me do pretty welll on the “normal” scale of things 😀
  • Definitely I get more worked up about single events than before. When the hail hit my garden and field, it took me a LOT of time to come down from the total desperation that had caused me. 
  • I am doing an exercise on my other blogs, trying to find at every end of the day five happy things to say. This has been an astonishing help, because it forces me to SEE all the good stuff happening in my life, which I tend to somewhat ignore when I´m not in the best of moods. Focusing on those good things makes me feel all warm and mushy inside and does wonders for my endorphines 😀. Seriously, more often than not it helps me falling asleep with one or more happy things to think about. 

OCD and other brainweirdness

  • Ritual stuff is worse. I often have to force myself to just break out of my patterns sometimes. 
  • Nail biting still in full force, I try and try but then when I am nervous about something, they get nibbled off in a moment. 
  • Monkey mind galore. Particularly bad the word-repeating, when some sentence just gets stuck in my head and gets repeated over and over and over. Or things I want to say to somebody. Or else. 
  • Less money spending than before. Good thing, because we have none 😀

Procrastination and memory

  • The same, I´d say. I continue to push stuff I don´t want to do into a dark corner, and forget about it. Some days are worse than others. 
  • I am a bit disappointed about my memory not getting really a lot better after stopping the Celexa, because I had the impression that while on it I had a harder time than usual remembering things, from memorizing musical parts to where I had put my keys. This hasn´t really changed, and I sure hope it does because I´m too young for that stuff. 

General stuff

  • Still trying to keep moving as much as possible. No running though, as it messes my joints up too much, I need to lose at least 30 pounds for that being possible again. Sigh. And I seem unable to lose some real weight if I do´t run. I can´t win, right?
  • The rage thing seems to have calmed down a bit. I had a really bad time with that a few weeks ago, but now I do get cranky but don´t want to immediately rip peoples´heads off. Progress!
  • I have difficulty to deal with more than one thing at the time. If there are more things/people vying for my attention, I get all hot and nervous and start to mess stuff up. That was not so prominent before, no idea if it is part of getting simply older or what. I want my multitasking ability back, though!.


Time flies..

.even if you aren´t having fun. Being busy is enough. A few updates:

– Did some serious traveling including having to spend an hour on a bus together with some teenagers who were well on their way to getting drunk. High panic potential, and I won´t lie, I was quite nervous, but I managed. 

– Before a very intense day (family celebration and trip) I took a beta blocker (propanolol) which did help to make me less prone to freak out in crowded/chaotic moments. I really need to remind that I have these meds, and can take them whenever I suspect there will just a bit too much action for my frail nerves. The thing is, I have to remember beforehand.. for me, they start working about 2-3 hrs after I take them, so if I am in a panic situation already, no sense in taking them. 

– While I did manage during the stressful days, the crash afterwords has been quite violent. My whole immune system more or less up and died, and I have been quite ill both with intestinal and respiratory stuff for nearly a week now and am also suffering from very strong fatigue and muscle/joint pain. These are things which happened under medication too after stressful periods, but a lot less intense. Now, I am completely out of commission. Not funny. 

– Must find a way to get a grip on the fingernail biting stuff. It is really getting out of hand. I tried all the usual things, putting hot/bitter stuff on them, paint them, keep the hands covered.. but somehow I always end up biting and nibbling until it bleeds. I can´t believe that just a few months ago I had wonderful, cared for nails. Sigh. 

– Started on yet another effort to keep my weight under control. I have arrived at nearly 88 kg, That is 194 pounds. Which means, a BMI of more than 30, which puts me into the heavily overweight category. So not cool. Other than making myself hate what I see in the mirror, it is also very unhealthy. The problem is, cutting down the carbs means automatically increase the anxiety and mess up my brain chemistry. Been there, gotten a whole wardrobe of T-Shirts. I don´t need more serotonine imbalance than I already have. So I need to lower my caloric intake, but still get enough (healthy) carbs into my body to make the brain happy. Not easy due to my gluten intolerance, which does not allow me quite a lot of “healthy” carbs. Those I CAN eat, like potatoes and mais, are caloric bombs, woe me. Anyway. I´m trying. 

– Missing physical exercise. With my respiratory system rather completely messed up right now, running, cycling or other intense physical activity is totally out of the question right now. I can barely walk up the stairs without feeling like passing out. 

So, is there anything positive to report at all? Not really. But that is just life.. and will get better soon, I hope 😀

Too Busy To Post

It has been a few intense weeks and somehow I never got around to updating. So, bullet point time for the situation – it is about a month off the meds now

  • over the last days tending towards the manic. Probably because of lots of light which always makes me feel less depressed, but ups the hyper-ness. 
  • Sleep: rather bad. I can get more than 3 hours of continuous sleep only taking my anti-allergy meds, I don´t have any other sleeping meds at the moment. Trying to not take the allergy meds not more than twice a week because I am afraid they´ll lose their efficiency. It is just too precious to have something which makes you reasonably drowsy but not completely messed up the morning after.
  • OCD: Getting a bit worse all over. Nothing really crazy, but stuff out of order starts really to bother me again.
  • Emetophobia: Not perceptibly worse, I was feeling nauseous a few times and took something for it, but didn´t panic particularly. 
  • Social Phobia: Holding up well. Had guests last week, and while I was a bit nervous and stressed from time to time, it did not compromise the positive experience of having those friends staying at my place. Which I am very grateful for! It has to be said that it was not a stressful visit, because the friends are very understanding, uncomplicated and give me space to “recover” when needed 😀
  • Agoraphobia: It has gotten a bit more difficult to force myself to go out in “crowd” situations. I am not giving in though. 
  • General Anxiety: Somewhat worse. I do find myself quite often all tensed up and breathing shallowly, until now though it has been manageable with deep breathing and conscious relaxation. No real panic attacks, I sure hope it stays that way.
  • Self-Control: A bit worse over the last week, have eaten a lot more than necessary. Still better than on the meds though. Finger nails are bitten down to the quick. 
  • Procrastination: Not significantly better. 
  • Creativity: Stalling over the last week due to lots of other activities
  • General Health: A bit worse. Intestines were better under meds, also, joints ache much more now. No increased headache until now, fortunately, not even under PMS. Period extremely regular. 

All in all, things seem positive, I really can´t complain. I need to increase physical exercise, which should help with the anxiety. And eat less. For the rest, I just hope the manic stuff doesn´t get worse. 


Work trip to a nearby big city today. Journey in rather full train, walk through a very crowded train station, waiting for 10 minutes in a bustling underground station and ride in very full subway. And back. 

All mastered with flying colours. No panic at all, just a bit uncomfortable at times. 

Coping mechanism: Verdi Requiem full blast over the earphones 😀 

And I even ate some take away food in the middle of a big crowd in a shopping center. 

Go me. I did these things while on the meds, but before them, I haven´t been able to do most of them for years. Now just to fix this stuff in my head, that I can do it, even if I AM more nervous than while on medication, but it is not incapacitating nervous, just a bit antsy. Yay.

Control issues

This morning, I was thinking about control issues, while looking at an article posted by a friend on FB. ( )
Without doubt, this stuff DOES bother me, and without doubt, my OCD is worse without the medication.
There are good and bad things to this. The good first:
– Self control. Something which I really lost quite a bit, particularly on high dosage of the SSRI. Whenever I felt like eating sweets, I did so. Tons of them. When I felt like spending money, I went on Amazon and did so. No ENORMOUS amounts, not even I am that stupid, but too much for what we can afford right now. Mostly books, so no throwing away money, I will have stuff to read for.. years :D? I also wasn´t able to exercise any kind of control over myself about sensible dealing with deadlines etc, resulting in terrible backlogs. I don´t know if that has gotten MUCH better, but I kind of feel more responsible all over. Also, I am getting better at pushing myself to exercise.
– Forgetting things: Lately, I was really starting to be afraid I´d be getting Alzheimers or something. I just couldn´t remember ANYTHING, be it appointments, stuff to do, things people told me or song lyrics. In one ear, out the next. Now, it seems my brain is taking control a bit again, and I can retain a few more things in that sieve of brain of mine, and hope it will get better.

The bad? Well, that worrying about stuff which COULD happen and over which I have no control at all which is getting a bit worse. Like, people or animals I love dying on me, ending up poor and sick, things like that. And I angst too much about work stuff right now. Need to find a way to relax a bit more, a middle way between getting things done but not stressing over them. Easy enough, right :D?

One step at a time. We´ll get there.

Working on that brain chemistry

Yesterday, for the first time in nearly a year, I went for a run. A very slow one, because the last thing I want to do is to mess up some ligament or joint immediately, giving myself yet another convenient excuse to stop exercising again for months. 

Well, it was wonderful. There really is no other sport which gives me this feeling of deep cerebral relaxation like the slow, rhythmic falling of my feet on the road. I tend to forget it after some time, but as soon as I try it out, it comes back. I really hope I´ll be able to run again at least twice a week now, I am sure this will go a long way towards mental and physical balance.

In other news, I am sleeping quite well, without any kind of medication. Not more than 6 hours a night, but that is enough, really. Physical exercise (walking, cycling and work in my field, other than the running) nearly every day is sure helping a lot for that. 

 As for the emotions, I continue having these moments where tears are threatening to break out in the most inconvenient moments (and for really weird reasons too) but usually taking a deep breath everything goes back to normal. Same as for short feelings of anger, also readily calmed down with regular, deep breathing. The secret lies just in REMEMBERING these deep breaths 😀

I feel generally motivated and full of purpose, but not manic, at least not perceptibly. I do worry a bit more about stuff than while on medication, but on the positive side, I am also more inclined to DO something about the things I am worried about. Not enough, but something. Little steps.  

And I have been writing REGULARLY on that crime novel. Not enormous amounts, but steadily something every day. Way to go 🙂

More stuff

A few more things I notice, in random order, just to keep track of them

Libido: It really is back. And I nearly had forgotten how nice it is to actually not have to work for an hour or so to get an orgasm 😀. It just makes the occasional quickie so much more enjoyable 😀

Emotions: all over the place. And no PMS. This stuff where I cry at the drop of a hat, didn´t remember that. Nothing particularly dramatic, just that my throat closes and tears come to my eyes seeing pictures of sick animals or hearing about some happy event or whatever. Total sentimental. It isn´t really unpleasant.. only unexpected. 

The anger stuff hasn´t reappeared fortunately, even if I do get these moments of feeling overwhelmed/out of control for the most stupid stuff. Like, a jacket getting tangled in a clothes hanger. Go figure. 

Teh body. Going on those meds made me put on about 5 kg (10 pounds) and I was overweight before. Two of these kilos have gone already (have been avoiding the sweets for a few weeks now though) and I LOOK different. From both birth control and psych meds, somehow my upper chest and shoulders and neck all ..blow up. Difficult to describe, but I just get this weight lifter physique in my upper body, while below, I seem pregnant. Lots of it apparently is water retention, and that is getting a bit better. I soon might fit again in jackets and blouses from 2 years ago. 

A few thoughts on procrastination: This bane of my life actually got a lot worse while on the meds, just with a different motivation. Without meds, I procrastinate because certain things make me feel anxious. On meds, I procrastinate because I just don´t care. Both are damaging, in particular to my work situation. So I will have to establish a routine where I work specifically on the stuff which makes me angst, with EFT, until it doesnt any more. Or something. Still trying to put that together.

Still, one thing is progressing, which has been put on hold more or less since I started medication 2 years ago. Yesterday I downloaded a writing software, in order to put the hundreds of annotations, character drawings, outlines and whatnot I made for that crime novel I was working on in a shape which allows me to finally DO something with it. It has kind of run away on its own, with several different plots and outcomes, and I need to decide which one to work on. I can´t wait to have a few hours of uninterrupted time to start on that, and that alone is a completely different situation.. until a few weeks ago, the thought of the unfinished thing in my computer and notebooks made me feel uncomfortable, nothing else. Now my fingertips are burning to start working on it again 😀

Overall, mostly positive stuff, I´d say. I sure hope things continue like that!