Thursday, January 31, 2008

Rants- On Meds

My meds were adjusted this week. I am on a new med cocktail.

Right now I am on lithium,
Haldol (new drug).
Clozeril (new drug)

The Geodon has gone buh-bye, because it gave me a rapid heart beat and sent my blood pressure through the roof. I never had high blood pressure before. I have it now. Geodon also gave me anxiety. I never was anxious before. I am now. 

In two weeks I go back and one more drug will be added. Yes, on Valentine's Day I  won't get chocolate. I will get Lamictal.  What fun!

All I know is since my meds have changed, I am sleeping 18 hours a day. I am vomiting, copious amounts even. 

I am tired. But it's beyond physical tiredness, it's my soul. It's just tired. See another doctor, and get a new med cocktail. Take the meds. Regarding side effects , well, you just lost 35 pounds, so what is it to you if you put on 5 back? What's it to you if you have clumps of hair coming out, the important thing is you feel better. (And the insurance won't pay for a wig or hair extensions). How do other people do it and keep their sanity?

What is it to the doctor when you tell him or her that everything tastes like bile, and you just cannot eat anything? Then drink an Ensure. Make sure you take your multivitamins. 

I'm a good girl. I follow directions. I look both ways before I cross the street, I believe in the doctors and follow directions.  I put my pills out and take them with something like milk or food like I am supposed to . 

And what am I getting in return? Nothing but the chance to get stable, to have some semblance of a normal life.  Two visits in the hospital. 6 psychiatrists since November. Upteen med cocktails and adjustments since then. 

I'm not complaining, but I am frustrated. And tired. My body is tired, my soul is exhausted.  I hope I can find peace soon. 

A cat's anniversary today

I adopted my fuzzy baby 5 years ago today.

She had her yearly physical today, got her rabies shot, feline distemper and leukemia. And her front paws were clipped. 

She got a can of Fancy Feast tuna when she came home. I wanted to give it to her this morning, but she has a habit of getting car sick.

Her actual birthday is next week (seriously, it is) but today is her adoption day birthday and we need to celebrate. 

I wish a great day to all the critters who share our lives with and make us happy.

Holly makes my life livable. She gives me unconditional love and her antics bring laughter in my life. She gives me companionship.

All unconditional. Just feed, change the litter box and love back.

I know it's silly but the fuzz ball is really my best friend., 

And I am grateful and blessed her paws have treaded on my heart.

p.s. Holly was a shelter cat. She was at a no kill shelter, but was housed there for 2 years because she was considered unadoptable. 

I cannot say enough for animals shelters. 

Sunday, January 27, 2008

I hope I get it-I think I got it!

Woke up Saturday morning thinking I was having a heart attack, but didn't really sleep more than a couple of hours. 

I had a stressful day on Friday. I had to get a restraining order against a former friend. I won't go into the details, suffice to say I had to change my cell number and block a few numbers on my land line. Saturday night I get an unexpected visit by the local police over this matter and another one and they stayed in the apartment for some time discussing these matters with me at 11pm. 

Anyway this has been causing me all kind of anxiety, worrying foolish about things that will never happen, but in my mind's eye they are. I called the pdoc on Saturday and she wouldn't refill my Ativan, telling me I still had Seroquel left and that should do me for the anxiousness. 

She also told me to work it through, she believes in me. I have never had a doc tell me they believed in me before. That was a blessing. 

I took a couple and continued to pace. Went outside for a long walk, came home, and tried to think rationally. Wrote down my fears, realized what was triggering me, and then sought out a calm way to deal with it. Made a few phone calls to make the triggers go away, and curled up with the cat, watching an old Film Noir on TV. 

I feel better and realized something. 

1. I can make myself better by taking positive steps to find the triggers, isolate them and get on with it. 

2. By working on the triggers I made the anxiety go away and had a real good afternoon and evening. 

I feel better now, I am not powerless. I am empowered. I am human, hear me meow. 

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Even the smallest creatures can teach us

I am just relaxing at the small stuff today. Holly waking me up at 5 am because she heard birds, and then sitting on the chair by the window and watching them as dawn rose.

She got me to go in the living room by constantly meows, and when I was behind her, she jumped on the windowsill and I sat on the old chair behind her that was my dad's chair for most of my life. We sat together and watched the birds fly back and forth.

I should explain. I live in a large apartment complex, with 190 apartments spread out over a couple of acres. Rows of apartments, 10 to a row. One apartment upstairs, one down.  Some are one bedroom, some have one and a half bedrooms and some have 2 bedrooms. They were built during the Nixon administration,  so they are slightly bigger than all the new ones that have popped up on this NYC corridor. But they don't have any modern things in here, the electrical system is 35 years plus and I get a lot of time with the fuse box. No dish washer. But I do have hard wood floors, no carpeting. So it's all good.  I am on the second floor so I have a tiny balcony, with hanging plants, (fakes, but they still look good. I cannot reach them to water so I had to get fakes).

Right over my apartment there is a hole on one side of the roof, which goes straight to the attic. It's a small hole, one that a bird can fit into. So the birds live there when the weather is clement, when it rains, when it's cold. I can hear them fly around sometimes and have seen them come and go. Once a squirrel got in there and the manager had to call in a pro to catch it. The birds were also removed, the whole boarded up and it was fine for a couple of years. This past fall the birds figured out a way to get back in, much to the happiness of one Holly cat. 

Holly watched the birds this morning , wagging and thumping her tail in delight. She made small little meows, as if the birds could actually hear her, and quiver in fear. 

When the birds eventually flew away after the sun rose, she went to the kitchen, tipped over her water dish and meowed. I put more food in her bowl, opened a can of wet as a treat, and gave her fresh water. She was happy. Ate. And purred.

After she ate, she crawled in my lap, purred a bit more, putting her purr at maximum level, got some scritches and a kiss, and then crawled off to bed to snuggle with her stuffed panda bear. 

Life is simple.

Life is good

Today's lesson and goal  BE LIKE CAT


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Faking til I make it- NOT

I've crashed, I've hit bottom as low as it is going to get short of one other thing. 

I am truly a pathetic creature. 

 But this was (and still is) the first time in my life that I realize that my life is so existential and there is no purpose, no meaning no hope. No fucking hope. 

The things in the past which scare me more than anything, my mother finding me, and the worms weren't important. If I wasn't Jewish I would ask to be creamated, but they don't do it. 

Bottom was easy in AA. I talk about it freely in meetings. Bottom was waking up on the floor in a pool of vomit on Sept 26, 1996 and freaking out because that is how Janis Joplin died and I didn't want to die. Checked myself into state rehab that afternoon, after going to an AA meeting and getting the address. Dealt with 2 days of DT's chained to a bed with plastic sheets and left there while beasties and other things tried to crawl on my arms, legs, invade my vision. I was restrained so I wouldn't try to claw them, or remove the IV in my arm. After 2 days they tried to feed me, keep food down and get me better. After 4 days they sent me home with a copy of the Big Book, and a list of AA meetings. I went to everyone, hanging out in a 24 club going to as many as 8 meetings a day. After 30 days it was easy. Want a drink? Think of where it took you. I don't miss it to this day. 

But this time, it's been occuring since August, and gotten worse since November. I am so acutely paranoid right now I don't know what to write. It's like Holden Caufield-don't tell anyone anything because then you will miss them. 

I've been too honest with my friends on line and in real life, and it's too much for them. I understand. I had a friend die normally and I was the last person he ever spoke to. I had a friend in college who suicided, and I was the last person he talked to. I still have guilt over these two.  

I have a few friends I love, really outright love, the type where I would give them a kidney if they needed it love. And they are backing off now. I don't blame them, who wants to look at the train wreck milliseconds before it happens? Some people get spun by looking at the wreck on the highway. We want to look, but when they are covering up the poor sod who was killed and you see it's someone you know.....that's different. 

I have a couple of choices. Intense outpatient therapy ( which I am going for).  Another 2 week hospitalization, this time at Carrier. 

Or a 3 month stay at some type of private hospital. If I do that I will no longer have a cat, among other things. It's the last resort. The cat and my friends are the only things keeping me sane and alive right how. Actions speak louder than words. I gotta get better so I am a better friend to my friends, and I gotta get better so I don't loose Holly. 

So next week starts a totally new drug regimine, where among other things, I believe my lithium will be replaced with Lamictal. Anything to get better. Anything to keep my friends. Anything , and everything to keep Holly. The other hospital isn't an option til after Dad has his surgery and we know he is OK. 

I don't want the 3 month hospital stay, I would loose my apartment, have to put my stuff in storage, give Holly away. And cash in my 401 to pay for the thing. I won't have any retirement money left at all. And I would do it for my friends, for my mother and father. See I do love them. I don't tell them that enough, maybe it's I am afraid they will think I am a lesbian or something, or the 2 male friends I have in my life will interpret it the wrong way. I don't know. 

When I was 4 years old I use to think there were beasties and the boogeyman who lived under the bed or in the closet. I would run out the room when my mother was listening to the radio and "Puff the Magic Dragon" came on the air. My father would leave the nightlight on, shut the closet door and stay with me until I fell asleep, but not before he checked under the bed for monsters. 

40 years later, the monsters still exist. They are in my mind, eating at my brain, letting the gray matter decay, wither, as it starts to collapse apon itself. 

I haven't been this scared since I was a little girl. This is bottom, it isn't going to get any worse ever, other than the few people I know who have backed off won't come back. Ever. 

To me that is something worse than being dead. 

Monday, January 21, 2008

It's a great day to be in NJ.

The Giants won! The Giants won!!!

New Jersey is going to the Super Bowl! 

(Yeah, I know NY thinks they own the Giants, but heck, they PLAY in NJ!)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

more baby steps and feline philosophy

Things are going better. It's a matter of baby steps. I take a couple of steps forward and plop! As I land on my fat bottom.

Right now I have started with a new pdoc, the 6th one I have seen since November. I am counting the docs I saw in the hospital, inpatient and out in this tally. I really like the new pdoc, she is probably a few years older than me, but I haven't had that kind of rapport with any doc since my first pdoc, who was the best pdoc I ever saw.

I start with a new therapist on Monday at 10. She sounds nice. We have spoken a bit on the phone and she seems really caring, and she said she wanted me as a client. 

Holly is doing much better, but she doesn't want to drink her water as much as she use to. She is still drinking a lot, but she moves the water dish away from the food bowl, which is unusual behavior for her. I just got a postcard in the mail from her vet that all her shots are due in February. Poor girl. I hate taking her to the vet for these shots. Not because getting her in the carrier can be an ordeal, not because she throws up in the car. But because I feel guilty and sad when I see the needles go in her fuzzy bottom and she meows in pain. 

I am trying to get out of my head. The new doc lowered the dose of Seroquel and Geodon (Yeah)and I feel, well, sadder than I was earlier this week. The Seroquel was also making me eat too much and I put back on 5 pounds from the 35 I just lost. 

This time the recovery is so hard. It was like a cakewalk when I stopped drinking. 

I decided if I had to take myself out of my head and this dark place I was going to, I needed to do some volunteer work. Yesterday I was at the animal shelter, the one where I got my baby girl. They had an open adoption day and it was fun to be with the animals. 

One of the puppies, a Golden Lab baby had to go. I got to put a leash on him and walk him. I love dogs, but I really like Golden Labs. When the toilet paper commercial comes on that features the Golden Lab puppy,I drop everything I am doing to look at that beautiful creature. 

There was a litter of kittens. One got adopted, the rest went back for next week, along with the dogs and two beautiful adult cats. I wanted to take the kittens and cats home with me. I never had a kitten. Cleo was about 8 months old when I adopted her. Holly was 3 years old. 

When I was married about a year, hubby wanted a kitten. The vet I use had a whole cat family up for adoption, six kittens with the same mom. We found one in that litter, a black and white spotted one with long hair and beautiful green eyes. His name was Colby, his brother and sisters were all named after cheese. We took Colby into a private room at the vet's, and opened up the carrier containing Holly.  Colby was enjoying stretching his little legs, sniffing around, and trying to climb up hubby's long legs. He saw Holly and went over to say "Hello" to her. She swiped him and threw the biggest temper tantrum. Then she tried to attack him.

 Colby was handed back to the vet and placed back in the window with his brothers and sisters. The vet told me he found a very good home a few weeks later.

I felt bummed out. Holly doesn't like other cats. They told me that when I adopted her. She has to be an only cat.

It would have been nice to share my love with 2 fur babies.

Today, Sunday I am volunteering in the battered women's shelter.

I am familiar with them. I stayed there a few times when I was homeless. It should be a good experience for me, and humble me. It should ground me again, like it did before.  And help me take another baby step forward. 

And isn't that all what it's about? Baby steps til you can walk by yourself? 

Friday, January 18, 2008

headline writer needed

i really need a headline writer or an editor. 

I've always had editors in the past who are good at making up clever headlines. I suck at it! 

Waxing philosophically on the loss of friends.

I have been dreading this day since New Years arrived. Today would have been my 4th wedding anniversary.

Let's face it. My wedding day was the single best day in my adult life. I know a lot of people who can say that men and women, so this is not a big deal. 

But this past year I have taken a long, heart wrenching look at my marriage and it's subsequent break up and I came to several solutions. All revealing. All painful.

A month ago I told a friend the breakup was 100 percent my fault. That is not the case. I know that not to be true. It takes 2 to tango. It takes one to leave. 

I know he promised to love and be with me until death parted us. I know he was warned, graphically warned before we married by my pdoc at the time and a friend of my parents how sick I really am. He was told explicit detail about my hospitalizations (He was and never has been hospitalized) my rapid cycling, etc. That my med cocktail was far more severe than his and some days I am so sick from them I cannot work.  It didn't matter at that time. It did after we lived together a few months. 

My mercurial moods were too much. I understand that. He couldn't take being around a real bipolar person, I understand that too. 

In all honesty, I think the marriage was a mistake before it happened. We were doomed. We were too different in what we wanted out of life to make things work. I admit this freely, though I have never said it to anyone other than my pdoc. The things that spun him left me cold. I cannot say what spun him out loud, suffice it to say I once asked him if he could be published and make money in his lifetime but be unknown after his death, or write and publish during the time he was alive but get famous after death. He said the first one. Show him the money during his life. I picked the latter. I would rather suffer for my art like Van Gogh and know that 100 years in the future kids are reading Cliff Notes on my novel.  I know he was motivated by material things. I am not. 

Maybe it was the age difference. I don't know. 

The fact that the marriage was annulled, something very hard to get in Judiasm, says volumes.

I'm not upset the marriage ended. It was a move for the best. 

But still and all today has left me feeling mixed and melancholy. We had our good times. I really enjoyed his company and I loved being married.

So that is why I feel so blue today. Not that the marriage ended. But because when he left the marriage he promised to stay in touch and to be friends. That never happened. He hates my guts for some reason. I don't have many friends in real life. I can count them on one hand and still have fingers left over. I have acquaintances, lots of people I know through networking and volunteer work. People I know from the internet.

Marriages end all the time. People move on. I mean, even Peter Parker and Mary Jane are getting divorced. The world might shake, but we will continue on.

So maybe today while I sit here and write, ultimately I feel sad for the loss of a friend. Maybe not a close friend, but a friend nevertheless. 

Thursday, January 17, 2008

we are all mere mortals

Things are going really well as I take baby steps back into recovery. I found a couple of books on the subject at home which were left behind by the ex and they have been helping. I have a volunteer job which is giving me confidence to get back into the working world and do something there. It feels good to be around people, the one thing I have noticed as a writer is sometimes, way too often I start writing about 9 am and the next thing I notice it's evening and I've spent the entire day just in the company of the cat. Not good. It was great when I lived in a big city because I could go out at night or in the afternoon and get back to writing again.  I would take my mac into a Starbucks or some other place like that and write all day surrounded by people. But I am in the burbs and it just seems like too much of a hassle to get in the car, drive 10 miles to a Starbucks and hang out. There are 3 Duncan Donuts near me, within 2 miles, but none of them have a place to plug in my mac, since the battery died and I don't have the money to get a new battery. 

I lead a meeting the other night, I hadn't been there in 2 weeks. Everyone was thrilled to see me. The 35 lbs I lost in the last 2 months was noticed!  (Although I am starting to put it back on thanks to the Seroquel). I was told my eyes were clear and bright, and shining. I was animated and happy. I lead the group like old times for 2 hours and was thrilled that I did it. I even wore makeup, something I don't normally do.

Yes, the old me is starting to come back! 

Then I went to supper last night with my parents. Mom and I were talking in the kitchen, typical girl things, as she made supper, and my father was on the computer watching his stocks go by on a ticker and monitoring the rest of them. I use to do this for him when I worked on Wall Street. Now that he has a computer he does this himself, buying, selling, day trading before the word was invented. 

Mom gets all serious all of a sudden and tells me that dad had seen a doctor last week and then again earlier this week. He has cancer. He is 81 years old. My parents have been married almost 54 years. Because they are so happy and in love, I have spent my entire adult life looking for someone that I could be married for 50 years and love me the way they have. In hindsight, I realize I held on to my marriage long after it was dead and we both were upset because of this. 

Dad has an operation next week. The prognosis is good. He is elderly though which they say is actually better than someone my age. They don't think he will need chemo. 

My mother was laughing about it and made a joke about my dad started to make his own "Bucket List' like the movie that is currently out. Tonight he watched the Devil's game and added Devils tickets to it. He told me that I will be going to a Devils game sometime this season with him. Kinda neat, I've never been to a pro hockey game. 

Maybe I never thought about it, yes, I have, but not really, the thought is too horrible to bear. I know your parents eventually go before you,thatis the way of the world. My parents are mortal. This for some reason is as upsetting to me as the time my freshman year in college, I went back home for Winter break and heard my parents "rocking the casbah" one morning. Eww. 

My parents are mortal just like we all are. They are going to pass away sometime, most likely before I do. This whole thiing has brought that home. That my parents won't always be here. I don't like that thought. 

Monday, January 14, 2008

Kitty Prozac?

Last night while watching TV before bed, I heard the cat meow. Now she is a very vocal puss, but this was a meow I had never heard. Sad. In pain. I went over to her and she wouldn't let me near her. She bit me, hard drawing blood when I tried to hold her. She's never done that before. So I called the emergency vet who said to just keep her comfy until the morning, and try to get her to eat. Check her box to make sure she does what she needs to do in it. 

I put out a can of Fancy Feast tuna, her special treat and she ate it and used the box. She slept most of the night with me but would not let me near her.  Finally when it was morning, I took her to the vet. 

I just got back about 10 minutes ago from the vet with the striped one. She is fine, having puked in the car and all over the carrier. She is eating and exploring the house now, making sure that no strange felines have been in the house while she was away. Cat patrol, I guess.

The vet I use is kind, and has a large practice. She lives on a farm with her life partner, her girl friend, and they have quite a menagerie of animals. Dogs, cats, horses, etc. I like her because she really seems like she likes animals and has a gentle touch with them. She adores cats. And Holly and her predessor bough feel comfy with her, which is everything. 

The doc looked at Holly, felt her tummy area and said "she has a tummy ache". She gave her kitty pepto or something like that, Holly burped (I never heard a cat burp) and seemed to be OK.

She continued to examine Holly, looking in her ears, eyes, listening to her heart and feeling her organs under all the fur. She looked at me and said the cat seemed sad somehow, depressed. I told her I was going though a very bad patch of depression right now, the worst I have ever experienced in my life and since Holly is my best friend, it must have rubbed off on her. She picked up my vibes. 

I was told I need to get her to play more and be active a bit more. And get better as well and quickly as I can, so kitty will feel better. Or kitty can go on a dose of kitty Prozac.

Kitty Prozac? Prozac was one of the 25 drugs I have taken in my quest for wellness. I didn't do very good on it and was off it in about 2 months time. I wouldn't put Holly on it for love or money. I want my baby to be OK. I have to take better steps to get well so she will. 

Holly has quit exploring and is now snoozing on the electric blanket. I think I will go over to Petco later and get her some catnip toys and wands and play with her later this afternoon til she is exhausted. 

I love my fur baby. I would do anything for her. Now I have to start living for her. I really need to take more active steps in my recovery. 

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Words or amends?

Saturday was another good day. I made myself get out of the bed, where it was nice and cozy, thanks to a new electric blanket. ( Thanks Santa!), washed my hair, went out to get food, had the car washed and put gas in her. 

I got a call to speak at an AA meeting next month. I accepted.

I have been reading the Big Book, something I have not read in a decade or so, and realize that a lot of my bipolar illness is like what I went through in AA to get sober. 

And what drew me to this?

The step where you ask for forgiveness to those you hurt.

I am thinking of that constantly, this last bout which in a sense has been going on since August. And now I have been thinking about making amends to those friends I may have here, that I might have upset. 

It pains me that I might have unintentionally hurt someone because I was too caught up in my own head. 

Am I overreacting, or feeling guilty? Do my friends really need an apology, or is getting better and showing them I can get better and back on track worth more than mere words?

Friday, January 11, 2008

I wish life was as simple as this

Tonight, while watching a Family Guy repeat, I saw the following scene.

Brian(the family dog) is in heaven, sitting at a table with 3 other men, all having a pint of beer. 

Brian Griffin: Wow, look at me! Hanging out drinking with Ernest Hemingway, Van Gogh and Kurt Cobain! Still, it feels like we got here a little earlier than we should have. 

Hemingway: Yeah, well, I finally collapsed under the weight of my own genius and shot myself.
Van Gogh: I could not reconcile my passion with the way people around me were living so I shot myself.
Kurt Cobain: I hated the thought of my music become come part of some bland corporate mechanism so I shot myself. 
Brian Griffin: (sheepish) Yeah, I uh,.....I got into the garbage and ate some chocolate. 

What first struck me as brilliant satire, really got in my gut and has me thinking. Ok. Three famous people, all dead by their own hand by the same method. What else do these three men have in common?

They ran out of hope. They took their own lives when no hope was left. Now I am not talking about some of quoted line in a Don Mc Lean song, I am being serious.  What keeps people alive during the most horrible things is hope. Ask someone who is a POW from a war, or a survivor of a camp.  When hope died, so did the soul and the spirit.  I honestly believe in my heart this is why Primo Levi and Bruno Bettelheim both killed themselves  in late life. 

I think depression is like a death of the soul, with one caveat, usually the soul comes back to it's person like a phoenix, stronger, more resilliant, and holds them together until the next episode, where it comes back again. 

At least in theory, it should. When it doesn't, and in the midst of it you cannot see the exit, you feel like you are trapped in an Existential play, waiting for Godot who never comes, eating your gun might be a reasonable alternative. After all, hope has left the picture, there seems to be no reason to get out of bed and live each day if each day will be like the one you are living now...

Hell. You are in hell, and you don't have the energy to keep walking though it to get to the other side.  

You have to get through it somehow. Suicide isn't painless, I don't care what the MASH song says. It not only destroys yourself, it wounds the people you leave behind, those who might find you. 

I know it's hard. I lost a 2 friends with this last bout, and over the period of my life, have lost just about every friend I ever had when my moods got too melancholy for them to deal with. My family is about ready to write me off. I am weaving cautiously around the few friends I have left, not telling them how I really feel at the moment in fear they abandon me too. After all, why shouldn't they? The Titanic is going down, why put me in the life raft when they can save themselves and another?

It all comes down to hope. It's gone out of my life right now, but I am sure as hell trying to find it again. Cause I don't want to go into that good night.  As I write now the dawn is breaking. Maybe today is the day I can find hope again. 

Thursday, January 10, 2008

What I did for love

I have a Latin phrase on my blog, "Those whom a god wishes to destroy, he first drives mad".
I think this is a verity. I saw the 6th psychiatrist I have seen since October yesterday, and got another med fix.
Since I was first diagnosed when I was 22, I have been on the following medications.
(In no particular order)
Valproic Acid
Lithibid (Lithium)
I have also had ECT.
All given in an attempt to feel better, to get out of crippling depressions, for some sense of normalcy and living a life.
The other night PBS broadcast a Frontline special about Bipolar children. If anything can be learned from this cautionary tale, it would be "be aggressive, question everything". I heard Kay Jamieson say this back in 03, "badger (the pdoc) badger, badger".
I have to confess, it wasn't until about 18 months ago I started to tackle my illness agressively. Before that, I took the meds as perscribed by the pdoc, without questioning them, or asking what they would do for me. With the exception of Lamictal, which had to be stopped when I developed a rash, I did not question the doctor. He had a degree in medicine. My education, though it's good, couldn't hold a candle to his learning. I figured he knew best.
I know differently now. I don't take meds without questioning what this is and if the dosage seems too high or low, I question it. I badger the doctor to the point he almost hates writing scripts for me. But I feel informed and seem happy
But I cannot help but wonder, with all the trouble I have had with all these different meds, if I am being tested. Right before I had ECT I remember telling a very good friend of mine "I would do anything to feel better. Anything".
And that is what I am currently doing. Anything.
ANYTHING to feel better, which includes meds and talk therapy.

So I am currently on a new shrink, my first woman shrink in private practice. She adjusted my med cocktail- I was hoping she would lower it, but it's now

2200 mg of lithium daily,
160 mg of Geodon, lowered from 180, taken at night,
and 125 mg of Seroquel taken 5 times during the day. It makes me sleep most of the day, and when I wake, it's time to pop another pill.

I still have to take Nexium every other day because all these years on lithium have caused me to develop a case of GERD. I will never be able to eat spicy food again.

And why do I put up with all this chaos, this psychic pain, plus the wear and tear on my body?

Because I want to get better. I want to be the old me, the me I am when I am well. I like that person. The person who is a good friend, and daughter. The person who embraces life with both hands and enjoys it. The person who gets joy from simple things, seeing a rainbow after soft rains, seeing squirrels outside my apartment gathering food for the winter. Snow.

What I do for love. The love of me, the love that I will find hope again, and a reason to continue. I know it's out there, I have friends and family who believe in me. It keeps me going, when right now taking one step in front of the other is hard, very difficult.

Today I signed up for a 60 mile walk in Philly for breast cancer. It will take up the entire weekend. I've never walked that much before and need to start training for it. Fortunately, it's not for quite some time so it's all do-able.

But I got thinking about cancer, especially since I had a scare earlier last month with a mammogram. If someone suffers from cancer, people understand. They don't so much understand about mental illness, which was the purpose of me writing this blog. I intended to be as candid as I could about my struggles with this illness and share the not so pretty parts not sanitized or bowdlerized that other people write about. There is still a lot of "Snake Pit" unfortunately out there and people need to be educated.

Putting all those meds in your body over a 20 year period is hell. The side effects from them, from mild diarrhea to the latest which involved suicidal ideation with a med that had a black box warning and an aborted attempt and subsequent hospitalization. I have anxiety now, something I never had before, and have been told it's a side effect from the current cocktail.

Which makes me wonder, would a "normal" person go through this? Would a normal person subject their body to the slings and arrows that come from all these meds? 24 in 20 years, that's almost one and a half meds per year. All in the attempt to feel "normal" to be able to live?

I don't think so. I look at the people I know who haven't gone through this, they wonder how I can do it. I don't know if they could, chances are they wouldn't be able to.

Yes, I am a survivor. Maybe that is not visible, but I am doing the best I can. I may only be treading water now, but as long as I don't drown it's OK. Someday I will learn how to swim. Maybe it's today.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Is Britney the new poster child for bipolar?

From today's news .

This terrifies me for some reason. Bipolar people do need someone prominent to tell the world what it is like and how to live with it. But Ms. Spears is clearly spiralling down and has been for some time.  This is why, I think, people are so scared of other people with bipolar.    This is why I don't tell people in real life I have bipolar.

I just hope she gets the help she needs. 

Friday, January 4, 2008

Searching for hope

I am trying not to drown. Cannot sleep, slept in fits and starts and no good sleep. The sleep I got was horrible, worst dreams I have had ever. Dreamed of A bombs blowing off and dying. Maybe I shouldn't have watched the caucuses! I also dreamt of places you can go when you die that aren't angelic, and it scared me.

The apartment is a cool 68 degrees and it's only 15 degrees outside. I am in a cold sweat. 

Took some OTC sleeping pills to try to sleep and some Seroquel to take the edge off. 

At 4am Holly decided to go crazy and tore up the apartment. I don't have the strength or the will power to fix the floor, the toilet paper she shredded or anything. I just want to sleep.

I am obsessing with the money I gave away and I vomit. It's not a lot of money, but when you don't have any and are a tight budget it is a lot of money. It was my savings from the last two years so I could travel this spring to visit a friend or two out of the state.  Now there won't be any traveling for quite some time. 
 But it's the principle of the thing. 

I try to relax and I cannot do it. Last night I took the phone off the hook to try to relax, to no avail.

I cannot slip too much farther, the hospital would involve Trenton Psych, not a nice place to go to. 

I'm not suicidal. I really think my guardian angel is looking after me. It;'s just my insides are broke as well as my brain. The band aides I am putting on it aren't working. I need something stronger.

I need a good night sleep. And hope, somehow, I need to find hope again.

Without hope I am lost. 

And being lost right now seems to me a worse fate than anything else I can imagine or live. 

Thursday, January 3, 2008

On wellness and avoiding emotional vampires

Before I got sick and was hospitalized, I was very entrenched in my recovery.  I did talks, and was very involved with my local DBSA. I had my recovery undercontrol, I was giving back, and my med cocktail was working fine. No worries. I had friends and activities that kept me busy. It wasn't the life I had planned, but it was a good life. 

Early in July the meds stopped working, and I got a bout of suicidal ideation. Acute paranoia set in, something I never experienced, and I was sent off to the hospital for a week. 2 weeks later, during outpatient work, flipped out again with the same symptoms. 
What brought me to the emergency room was feeling like a heart attack, I was lying in bed with a racing heart and pain in my right arm. I thought I was having a heart attack. Went to the emergency room where it was confirmed no heart attack, but put in a room by myself, with a guard as they said, "high anxiety" and some other words as the one on one continued, and I was brought to the hospital about 3am and stayed for a fortnight. 

This hospital stay was different, I never had anxiety before, I am normally a calm person.   Meds are adjusted again and this time I actually meet people to hang with. 

After more out patient therapy, I feel very fragile right now. Very broken. I had a brush with an emotional vampire I tried to help, and realized some people are beyond help. 'Cutting him out of my life was one of the hardest things I have ever done. Right now I am cycling back down to depression, with the realization that good people don't exist and everyone is out there to hurt me. I hope it's just the paranoia talking, not real life. Because if this is what real life is, with  no hope, bad people who hurt me, It will be hard to go on and stay strong.  And that is what recovery is all about. 
Related Posts with Thumbnails