Good News, Bad News

Last time I saw my psych she ordered blood work.  The depression has been coming back and the fatigue was getting to me.

Good News? Blood work came back normal.

Bad News? Blood work came back normal.

Why is this bad news? If my vitamin D levels or some other such thing were off…I could point to it and go “Aha! YOU are the reason I feel like shit.” But alas, I cannot. I’m still stuck with a brain that wants to do its own thing without an instruction manual.

We also reduced the anti-psychotic that was possibly making me irritable and fatigued and potentially causing memory problems.

Good News? It worked.  The irritability is gone.  I’m not quite as exhausted.  I feel like I can remember things for more than 30 seconds.

Bad News? My other symptoms are coming back.  Namely the one where my brain talks to itself in the third person. I hate that one.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Med change #7545

I’m two weeks into a med change.

Pros:

  1. I’m not constantly irritable. I don’t hate life, I don’t hate my job, and everything isn’t getting on my nerves any more.
  2. My memory has improved. I can hold things in my brain for more than 30 seconds and remember to do things from one day to the next.
  3. I’m still tired all the time, but I’m not completely exhausted.  There’s a difference.

Cons:

  1. The noise in my head is back.  And I by noise I mean the feeling that someone is constantly yelling at me in my head. My thoughts are being interrupted by phrases like “You deserve to die” or “You’re making stuff up” or “You want to be like this”. And yes, it really happens in the third person.

So what does this mean?

I’m not done with the medication changes.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Side effects.

Over the past several months I’ve been bitter.  It’s been a gradual thing, and something that I never really spoke of to my therapist.  Over the last month or so the bitterness started to turn into anger. Still, I didn’t really think anything of it. I figured it was just a product of my situation.

So last week, when my psych. asked me if I was irritable (yes), fatigued (hell yes), or having memory problems (yes),  she said it was a side effect.

A side effect. Who knew?

It’s been about a week since we reduced the dose on the one med.  I can tell a difference.

Here’s to hoping that this adjustment solves the problem.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

How I know I’m not in a good place

  1. I have zero motivation.
  2. It’s been weeks since I’ve seen my bedroom floor because of all the laundry.
  3. My mom offers to take all of said laundry home to wash it.
  4. The thought of going to work makes me burst into tears.
  5. Time feels like its going faster than I can handle.
  6. Everything feels like too much work.
  7. No amount of sleep will fix the tired I feel.
  8. I give a whole new meaning to procrastination.

    and…

  9. I feel like shit.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Ugh.

Well kids, what have we learned in the past 24 hours?

That I can make bad, bad decisions.

As I mentioned before, I decided that I didn’t want to take my medication. So I didn’t.  For two days.

Last night I went to bed slightly dizzy….cause that’s what happens when you decide to suddenly stop psych meds.  I turned out the lights for approximately .2 seconds and my brain started to wig the hell out. I started to panic. I kept thinking I saw things. I tried to turn out the lights twice then gave up.  I slept with the lights on. Well sorta slept…as much as one can with a glaring overhead light in ones face.  I was scared enough to want to take my meds, but I sure as hell wasn’t going to open the bedroom door where it was dark.

So now I’m exhausted, I’m dizzy, and I’m supposed to be at work in an hour. I don’t know if its going to happen.

And what worries me?

I still don’t want to take my meds.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 2 Comments

My Crazy is showing

Well. My crazy is sorta showing again.

2 things triggered me. (And I get points for being able to acknowledge that right?) We don’t need to rehash that shit right now, but this is what I’m left with.

  1. I’ve stopped taking my meds.
  2. I’m not really eating a whole heck of a lot.
  3. Time is seeming to move really fast.
  4. I’m not tired.

I don’t know about y’all, but I see a problem.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

My Story, Part 2.

Part 1

The years that followed were a mixed bag of being OK and not OK.  In 10th grade it was like someone flipped a switch again, and I was fine.  That is the last time I remember not being symptomatic.  After that it was downhill.

I struggled through the remainder of high school and college.  I didn’t know it at the time, but I had started cycling through the hypomanias and depressions of bipolar. The highs weren’t high enough to send up red flags, and the lows I did my best to keep hidden. The anger I couldn’t hide…I took it out on my family.  I started having panic attacks.

After college I moved back home and the symptoms got worse. I tried to find help on my own and ended up with someone incompetent.  Those were hard years.  We were trying to blame my symptoms on the wrong things, which just made them worse.

Grad school….my symptoms spiraled out of control.  My anxiety was so bad I was regularly waking up in the middle of the night with panic attacks. The cutting got worse again. I started having cognitive symptoms…I could no longer follow discussions in classes. The years of keeping everything a secret caught up with me.  I thankfully found people I could talk to that helped push me in the right direction. I went through 3 different counselors in a year and a half.  The first two told me that they thought I was fine. The third recognized that something was wrong and sent me to a psychiatrist, but was ultimately not helpful.

The psych. put me on antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds. That’s when my crazy came out in full force. I started to rapid cycle in and out of mood swings.  I was waking up at 5:30 or 6 in the mornings, would clean everything in the apartment by 8 am and then be impatient because I was ready to do things and no one else was.  I remember one weekend complaining because the library wasn’t open at 7:30 in the morning.  Other days, I couldn’t drag myself out of bed, and when I could I would sit at work and cry.  I went through periods where I was more suicidal than I had ever been before.

During this, I couldn’t keep up with school.  I remember sitting at my computer crying because I couldn’t string words together to write a paper.  I had to contact all of my professors and tell them that I currently couldn’t “do” school and could I please have extensions on everything. I was afraid I was going to have to drop out.

After a semester of going through different medications, I called it quits. I was done with the meds. At this point, someone should have recognized my reactions to meds as a sign that something else was going on.  Instead I was told that I wasn’t really depressed.  Again.  After a bit I was talked into trying medication again, and we found something that didn’t turn me into a complete rapid-cycling mess. Instead I just felt like I was going to throw up for 3 weeks.

I graduated and moved home from grad school. Things jut got worse. I was sicker than I had ever been.  I can’t even describe it.  This time around I let my mom find me a therapist because I couldn’t do it.

3 months later I was diagnosed with bipolar. This was the fall of 2015.  I’ll never forget the day when I was sitting in my therapist’s office, and as I described what I was going through she looked at me and said, “That sounds like bipolar.”  I went home and looked it up.  The descriptions….that was me. She talked me into seeing a psychiatrist again, and she confirmed it.

I wish I could say that we found the magic drug and things got better.  But they didn’t.  I got worse.  The first med change helped.  The next four months was a series of med changes that made my life a living hell.  My therapist was convinced I was experiencing psychosis and she pushed until a psychiatrist recognized it. Delusions. Voices. Those kinds of things.  I’m convinced that if we hadn’t found the right drug I would have started to hallucinate.

I found myself actively suicidal. Just a year ago, almost to the day actually. It was scary. I will never forget it. I was close to landing myself in the hospital.

Meanwhile I was mostly functioning as a fully competent adult. I had my job.  I had my friends. I was living on my own.  As my therapist says, I compensate really well. I was miserable, but I was functioning.

Now,  I’m mostly OK.  I know how to take care of myself. I don’t always take care of myself, but I know how.  I don’t see my struggle as a secret anymore.  It is what it is.  I don’t have the life I thought I would have, but who does?

Moral of the story? Use the scary words.  Suicide.  Depression.  Words like that. Don’t treat mental health like a dirty little secret.  That day in 9th grade when I ended up in the guidance office set the tone for the next 14 years.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

My Story, Part 1

I told my friend that I’d tell her my story. I wasn’t sure where to start, or how much to tell.  I couldn’t tell everything…16 years is a long time. 16 years.  Over half of my life.  This is Part 1. Heads up:  I talk about suicide, cutting and an encounter with my high school’s guidance office.

My story starts when I was 13. That’s when all of this mess started. Like so much has been since then, it was like someone flipped a switch.  All of a sudden I was depressed, and then the cutting followed.  All of a sudden I was thinking about suicide.  I started writing notes to my friends about how miserable I was, and they quietly started dropping out of my life. I wasn’t bullied and my grades didn’t fall.  Good for my education, bad for adults to spot that something wasn’t right. I wasn’t even sure something wasn’t right.  Books I’d read and stories I’d hear…they were so dramatic, full of signs for adults to pick up on.  I didn’t match those.  Was something really wrong?

9th grade got worse…and I really think that year was the defining moment for so many years. Until grad school.  That’s a long time.

I started the year depressed. I remember writing in my journal that I wanted to die.  I found a few new friends and started writing notes to them about how miserable I was. So many things stick out in my head about that year….

Crying on the band bus on the way back from games and trips.
Writing poems and giving them to  my English teacher, hoping she’d pick up that something wasn’t right.
Wishing that my other teachers would say something to me.
Marching around the school at band practice daydreaming about what would happen if I died.
I don’t remember the angry outbursts, but apparently they happened because all of a sudden my family was afraid of setting me off.

And that was before October.

What really sticks out in my mind is when my best friend talked me into going to the guidance office.  She was worried about me and the only one with the guts to push me to do something about it. Needless to say, they called my mother and had her come in.  I remember everything, who said what and how I felt. You don’t need to know the blow by blow, but here are the parts that really stuck with me.

My mother was intent on keeping it quiet.  She had me switch seats so no one would see me through the window.  She (and the guidance counselor) fabricated an excuse for me to tell people about why I missed class. (Never mind no one bothered to ask me, including teachers….probably because an e-mail immediately went out to them). I still don’t know if she told my dad or sister.

No one used the words suicide, cutting, hospital, depression, therapy, etc. They didn’t even ask me if I was suicidal, they asked me if I wanted to hurt myself, or have ever tried to hurt myself.  I didn’t even understand what they were asking me. I thought they were talking about cutting, not suicide. Very different answers.

They brought in other adults. I don’t remember who they were….probably part of some sort of crisis team. This part is fuzzy.  I was really upset at this point.  They told her that either A) they were going to send me somewhere (I don’t think they used the word hospital or psych ward) or B) My mother could take me. My mom said she would take me to a counselor.

And then I went back to class.  I only missed 1st period.

That was on a Friday.  The following Monday, my mom took me after school to a counselor.  Three things I remember.

  1. My mom asked me if I was really hurting myself (again, no one would use the words).  I said no because I was terrified.  She said “I thought so”.  My mother just told me that she didn’t believe I was cutting. Or at least that is how I saw it.
  2. I was crying so hard I couldn’t talk.  The hour was spent with the guy trying to calm me down.
  3. The secrecy.  I think it was supposed to make me feel better, but it didn’t.

Did I mention that this guy was the father of one of my friends?  He should have told my mom that he couldn’t see me.

The next day I told my mom that I was fine and didn’t need to see a counselor, that I was just overreacting.  She believed me and told me I didn’t need to go back.

Everyone thought I was actively suicidal, and yet it was remarkably easy to get out of getting help.  It’s easy to pretend everything is OK when everyone wants to believe you are OK.

It was never spoke of again.  No follow up from the school.  No words from my family. Like I said I still don’t know if my dad even knows. I don’t want to know.  Either I’ll be pissed at my mom for not telling, or pissed at my dad for not saying something. I don’t need to go there.

It was a secret. The worst kind to have.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

What to tell, when to tell

I’m talking to this guy.  We haven’t officially met yet, but we are talking. So far so good. Last night we were texting when the announcement came on TV about Syria. I told him because I thought he’d want to know and I knew he wasn’t watching TV. He mentioned he was going to wait to hear what Trump had to say.  I wanted to, but knew that if I stayed up late I would regret it.  He knows that I go to bed kinda early and asked if I was going to stay up. He also knows that I don’t get up at some ridiculous time. In short, if he did the math he’d know that I sleep 10-11 hours a night.  That’s not normal.  I had a couple options to respond:

  1. Say nothing. That’s rude.
  2. Say I was going to stay up and then go to bed anyways.  That’s a lie.
  3. Say I was going to bed and appear that I don’t care.  That’s a lie.
  4. Tell the truth.  I’m going to bed because if I don’t sleep I get sick.

I settled on the truth. Lies make me uncomfortable.  It’s OK if its a acquaintance or coworker or a friend that I’m not that close with. But not with someone I’m trying to build a relationship with.  If I start with all of these little lies, there is that much more I have to explain if we get as far as me telling him I have bipolar.

I encounter these little moments all the time. For instance, drinking.  When offered a drink I have to say no. I never really drank in the first place, but now I can’t. Do I say I don’t drink, or can’t drink? Do I go out for “drinks” and then have a coke instead?  Do I use the excuse that if I’m driving I won’t drink? (which is true, I always refused to drink if I was the one driving; I’d prefer to not take my chances.) Eventually though, you run out of excuses, especially if you walked somewhere and the polite thing to do is have a drink, or they don’t have water or something else to drink (I swear I’ve had this happen). Or if you are with pushy people you don’t know well.

Bottom line is when things come up like this, do I tell the truth? Or do I bend the truth a little bit?  I hate coming up with excuses.  It makes me feel like an antisocial liar. These things I do or don’t do, its because I have no choice.  I don’t want to live like this, I have to live like this. I hate having to hide that chunk of my life.

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Dear Self

You are tired.  You are stressed out. You’re angry.

I know.

It breaks my heart to see you so bitter. You weren’t always like this.  In fact, a year ago, things were different.  Those memories that pop up on Facebook….you still loved your job and some things even made you excited in spite of your depression. You took on challenges with determination and you did what you needed to do. You were still you, even if the illness was slowly sucking the life out of you.

Then the bottom slowly fell out. You lost the ability to care. Your get up and go got up and left. You are phoning it in–doing the bare minimum to get by. It’s been subtle, but thorough.

Now, a year later, you are miserable. You are not proud of what you have done. You are cynical. You’ve lost sight of what you are capable of. There has been a definitive negative shift in your thinking.

So why am I telling you this?  Why am I reminding you of everything you are not?

Because you are tired.  You are stressed out. You’re angry.

I’m not going to tell you that you’ve been here before, because you haven’t.  This is a new kind of depression to you. It’s a hurt so deep that any reminder of who you once were makes you cry.  It’s a kind of depression you can’t find the words to describe.

Please don’t give up.  Don’t surrender to the nonsense in your head.

You are tired. You are stressed.  You are angry.

But you are not hopeless.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment