Quiet Composure

One of things that has been bothering me lately is that I am taking this unemployment situation with graceful composure.  With the exception of a couple of down days, I’ve been working through this unemployment problem with no actual outward sign of mental illness.  Although I am still laden with some depression and my Moodscope chart puts me in the teens in terms of emotional state, I am by all appearances, calm.  Even behind closed doors.  DH & I talked about this the other day.  He was surprised that I am not more upset.  He came home from work and told me how he was feeling stressed out over our situation.  We hugged and talked… even with his admission, I remained oddly calm.

Is this me?  Is it the real me?  Am I hiding something from myself?  Am I in denial?  Or is the medication numbing me?

I talked with my new therapist about this yesterday.  We didn’t come up with an answer, other than maybe my mind recognizes and accepts that this situation is not as bad as previously similar situations.  This time I have savings (which will be eaten up quickly by my mortgage and COBRA), and I do not have a $450 a month car payment.  But we do have a $300/mo student loan payment for my husband’s education that we didn’t have before.  Our mortgage is $500 a month more, and my husband had a job with health insurance last time so we didn’t need to COBRA.  Our medical and phone bills are certainly higher. Maybe we aren’t so much better off this time after all.  Damn, why did I have to follow that train of thought?

This morning I began to feel a crack forming in my calm facade.  A thin stream of mental instability shot through the opening.  Maybe I am not as composed as I think I am.  I’ve not been taking Klonopin because I am trying to avoid it whenever possible.  Stubborn me, I’ll suffer before I ask for help.  At least this time I have people to help me.  My therapist might be young, but she is enthusiastic and genuine, whereas last time my therapist was only interested in dragging out my therapy and not focusing on things that would impact me immediately.  The pdoc I had last time was nice, but he didn’t have the same amount of insight or time invested with me as my current pdoc.  I have a better support network of friends now, even if none of them know I am bipolar.  Last time, my friends abandoned me when I lost my job or perhaps just before because I scared them all away with my wild mania.  Odd, isn’t it, how quickly people will turn tail and run rather than try to help?

I’m walking on paper-thin ice here.  I fear the day it cracks and I fall into the dark cold of depression.

 
© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Did I get up?

One of my goals while I am fighting this depression is to force myself to do things that feel like so much effort. Like getting out of bed. Taking a shower. Washing my hair (and it’s short). It may sound strange that taking a shower is such an effort when you aren’t physically disabled. (I’ve got the arm issues but they don’t prevent me from taking a shower.) So anyway, yesterday I decided that sleeping 11-12 hours a night is absurd when there’s no physical reason for it. I set my alarm for 9:30 am. My phone went off at 8:30 with a reminder call about my therapist appointment tomorrow (boy do I need that!) and I should have been able to get up then – I’d had 8 hours. I dozed until my alarm went off. Then I turned it off.

So, did I get up? No. I didn’t get out of bed until 11:30. AGAIN.

My days are filled with nothing. I lie in bed and worry about so many things – work, money, health. I do nothing to aid my situation. My therapist once asked me to write out why I procrastinate. She asks, “What’s the worst that can happen?” Probably what’s already happening. Somehow results by default because of inaction work for me in a sense, but it’s in a bad sense. When it’s over, I just think, “This was my fault. The result of my inaction. I deserve this.” So it all comes down to self-punishment.

I had the exterminator come over today and look at our door. Yes, we have termites. $1200 to fix/prevent the problem from returning. Lifetime guarantee, transferable to the next homeowners. He was very surprised that we have them at all since our neighborhood is usually clean of them. Lucky, lucky me.

I HATE HOME OWNERSHIP!!!

All I wanted was a new kitchen.

Maybe I should have stayed in bed all day.


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Too Much TV?

Is there a limit as to how much television a person can watch? A person can drink only so much water (at once) or it will kill them. I wonder if TV has the same limitations and if I am reaching them. I watch TV all afternoon, evening and weekend. Life is passing me by and I am missing it because I’m watching TV.

It’s not that there aren’t things I could be doing. There are. I could read. I could look for jobs. I could surf the web even. But using the computer one-handed is a pain in the ass. Seriously, try it. Take your dominant hand and set it in your lap and don’t move it. Now surf the web, reply to email, and write your blog. Use the mouse with the “wrong” hand. It’s a hassle isn’t it? Consider expanding this one-handed experience to using your phone, eating, and personal grooming. Imagine doing this for weeks on end. Imagine too that your “good” hand isn’t all that “good” either.

Am I whining? Maybe just a little. But it’s been like this over a month. I’m trapped in a house that I love but I see all its flaws. Repairs that need to be made and the $$ that will be required to make them. I cringe when the heat kicks on because it means there’s more $ flying out the windows. One entire room is closed off from the house in part to help with the bills, but mostly to hold my OCD demons. One of the things that makes reading so hard is that my “good” wrist cramps up while I’m holding the book. Add to that anxiety and depression… It’s hard to focus. 😦

Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for all the wonderful people in my life and for all the things I can do that I talked about in a previous post Things I’m Thankful For. But today is all about the things I still can’t do and all the things that keep me from doing more. Anxiety, fear, depression, frustration, pain and their result: a bored little coward that watches TV ad nauseum. Yes, I’m even nauseated.

I’ve been told before that people look up to me, respect me, even admire me for my successes in life, but they don’t see the real me. The sad creature in heap on the floor, draped in a blanket of worthlessness, enveloped by a cloud of depression, attacked by flies of fear, anxiety and self-doubt nipping at a hypersensitive soul trapped within a cage of my own creation. It sucks to be here. Why can’t I get out?

 

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Under the Knife

I get my elbow reattached in the morning.  I’m not sure there is enough Klonopin for me to deal with this. There are a million things going on in my head, but I don’t feel manic.  I do feel anxious.  VERY anxious.  I called the pre-op department today because I had forgotten to tell them about my Lyrica and I mentioned that have severe PTSD from a past medical trauma.  (For a brief description see Donation: One Slightly Used Gallbladder.)  She asked what the trauma was from and I said a car accident that nearly killed me. I told her how I get very upset and start shaking and my blood pressure goes up, etc.  Then she asked what time I was due to be at the center and I said 7:30am.  She said not to worry, I would be the first one on the schedule and they would get me set up with an IV and a sedative.  I forgot to ask if my husband can come back and keep me company while I wait for the surgeon and anesthesiologist to make their rounds.

I’m already trembling, how will I survive the hour long drive down there?  And I certainly hope they give me something to keep the pain at bay for the long drive home.  (I’m assuming that I will get a script but it will take time to fill and I still have to get home.)  I’ve prepped a pillow for the car ride and a spare bottle of old Lortab in case they won’t give me a parting dose for the ride.  I have backups upon backups and still I don’t feel safe. I worry about the procedure, I worry about the recovery, I worry about everything.  Worrying doesn’t do any good, I know, but how do I stop it?

Today I was really busy with therapist & doctors appointments and the like.  I just settled down to write this about an hour ago.  Just to update on other things – worker’s comp appointment wasn’t as bad as I feared.  He is sending me to a hand specialist to check but it seems that I have inflammation in the wrist joint that will probably go away over time.  Maybe.  We’ll see.  Oh and I was able to get a copy of my job description from my nurse case manager.  I’ve never had one before.  It’s interesting to note that my job description (as a professional with a PhD) is the same description as the technician’s job.  Remind me again why I went to college for 10 years???

Thank you all for the good thoughts for tomorrow.  I’ll post when I can.

Freak Out

OK, so I haven’t been blogging much lately.  Lots of things going on, and yet, nothing going on.  Same as usual.  I guess.  Well, not exactly.

I’ve been having freak-outs lately (as in 3 in the last 3 days).  It’s never been this bad.  DH says it’s like I was before the diagnosis.  So why isn’t this damn anti-psychotic working???  Or maybe it is, but it’s not treating my freak-outs.  They may be related to depression.  I thought I was over the depression because I was feeling better last week.  I found out that Geodon does act like an anti-depressant because it inhibits serotonin & norepinephrine reuptake, so I thought it was working.  But maybe it’s just not enough.  This week I am back to the same old thing: procrastination, self-recrimination, and a general sense of no self-worth.

Then there are the freak-outs.

WARNING:  I am not suicidal, but there is a discussion about suicide below, so if this bothers you, then abort now!

Now, to explain the freak out.  It’s somewhat complicated and difficult to put into words, but I will try.  DH & I were at the mall.  He wanted to look for new sneakers.  He pointed to the store he was going to look in.  I wanted to look somewhere else first but then I would meet him in that store.  When I went to meet him, he wasn’t in that store.  I called his cell.  He didn’t answer.  I was so angry all of a sudden that I wanted to throw the damn phone down a level, where it would land (coincidentally) in front of the Apple store.  Fortunately, a small bit of logic remained in my clouded mind and I was able to refrain from destroying a $300 phone.  When I finally found him in a different store (we disagree as to which store he had pointed to) I was a snarling, rabid thing.

Last night, we had some kind of disagreement, and I was off reaching for knives and threatening to slit my wrists.  The night before, I stormed out of the house saying that I was planning to go “play in traffic”.  Mind you, I was perfectly fine when I saw the psychiatrist Monday morning.  I had had about 4 or 5 consecutive days of “normalcy”.    I don’t know what prompted this disaster.

How can I describe a freak out?  It’s like there is something inside you that when triggered you just lose it.  You become a wild, mad thing.  It feels as if all of your synapses are firing at once, but none of them in the correct direction.  You can’t slam the door hard enough, you want to crush what is in your hand, scream, cry, rage, slam, punch, kick – you name it – anything to release the energy that is built up inside you.   When it’s over, you feel drained and no longer taut like a bow string about to break.

A lot of times, these outbursts involve suicide threats.  Am I really suicidal?  I don’t think so.  Could I do myself harm in one of these states?  Quite possibly.  This is where you tell me to go to the hospital, right?  It wouldn’t be worth it; by the time I got checked in, it would be over.  These states are very short-lived, typically less than an hour.  Today’s freak-out for example, was only about 10-15mins.

So, I know I have to call my doctor’s office, but I really don’t know what to say.  I’m freaking out, just doesn’t quite seem to cut it.  And how do you explain the situation to a nurse/receptionist in 10 words or less?  I’m at a loss.  But I need something. NOW.

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Geodon

Oh Geodon, what have you done to me?

The Depression Train was coming for me. It was. I want it to veer off, but it won’t and I can’t move off the tracks. It not only does it run you down, but it grasps you and takes you for a ride. Flinging you into a pit of despair when it’s done with you.

Geodon has slowed the train for me.  It’s still there, the blaring headlight blinding me into submission, the great black steel body intimidating me into compliance.  And it will catch up.  I know it will.  It’s smokey tendrils have already grabbed a hold of my ankle and are trying to knock me off balance.

But can this powerful drug save me? Not completely, not at 40mg, it seems.  And there are other trade offs as well.

Pros:

1) Geodon appears to work.

2) It has not caused any weight gain.

3) Blood sugar levels remain within normal range.

Cons:

1) It makes me dizzy/sleepy so that I have to go to bed within a couple of hours.

2) It has to be taken with a full meal.  (minimum 500 calories)

3) It works best taken twice a day because its half-life is 7 hours.

4) Low levels of Geodon cause anxiety.

Taking it twice a day is impossible because of con #1, 2, & 4.  Let’s start with con #1 –  I need to be a functional individual.  I took 80mg the second night (as prescribed) and I could not move for 14 hours! (2 half-lifes!) So now I take 40mg at night.  Sounds like a good plan, right?  Except that by mid-afternoon, I am a total ADD/manic-depressed nutcase.  No, seriously.  This stuff doesn’t just cause anxiety, this creates mayhem!  So by my rough calculations, this means that there is approximately 10mg of medication in my system leading us to #4.  The problem with #2 is that the only time I eat a total and complete meal is at dinner.  I rarely have more than 200 calories for breakfast.  The other problem is that if I have to travel for work (conferences, etc.) I can’t control when I am able to eat.  It might be 6pm or 9pm, then I would have to be up by 6am the next morning.  And I only get ~2hrs (sometimes 3) between taking the pill and getting knocked off my ass with side effects.  How is that going to work if I have to wine & dine a colleague?

So what’s a girl to do?  All the anti-psychotics cause weight gain and/or blood sugar issues.  Most docs would say, well, I’ll just give you some Metformin and be on our way.  No.  I did not work for a year to lose 40lbs and bring my glucose under control just to take a medication that will kill off more pancreatic cells.  I would rather be crazy.

Plan of Action:  I am going to try to take 80mg at night until I see my p-doc on Monday.  (Don’t worry, this plan is doctor approved.)  Hopefully, this will give me enough data points to draw a conclusion regarding the tapering off.  Can I wake up after 6-7 hours of sleep and be functional?  Does it keep that damn locomotive at bay later in the day?  Otherwise, what’s left for me?  Abilify, with a 30% chance of weight gain at $10 a pill, or lithium.

By the way, has anyone out there ever taken lithium?  Would you be willing to share your experience?

Update: I have found that higher doses of Geodon help so that I am not running into the really low does at the end of the day. Klonopin also seems to help with the anxiety.

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Missing: One gallbladder

I thought my life (health) was supposed to get better after surgery but I’m starting to debate that theory. DH made me a nice, low-fat meal this evening (I confess I ate a bit too much) but now I am SICK! Not really bad sick, just ill. The gas, the nausea, the pain – how can something that isn’t there hurt??? (Phantom pain I suppose, but it is weird.)

OK, so I am only 2 weeks out of surgery. But this was laparoscopic – easy stuff, right? Recovery is a bitch. I’m still wearing sleep clothes that are 2-4 sizes too big because otherwise the waistbands encroach on the bellybutton incision and – ouch!  I wore jean capris all day today and boy am I paying for it now.  I can’t find anything that will make my waist area feel OK.  I can feel the scar tissue building up around the smaller incisions… they feel like little knots.  I know, it’s weird.  And it’s hard to explain.

And now I’m nauseous, even with the nausea medicine.  It’s the weekend and I don’t know what to do.  I don’t know that there is anything I can do – I can’t call the doctor’s office.  And even if I could, what would I say?  ‘You’ve given me nausea medicine and I still feel sick.’  Yes, I suppose I could, but is it worth it?  Sometimes there just isn’t anything they can do.  Take it easy – rest – that’s not easy for a anxious bipolar.  Am I anxious right now?  You bet I am.  After all, I feel sick – just as sick as I did before they took my gallbladder.

Maybe I need it back.

 

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