Turning Point

I’ve been reluctant to write this post in fear that I may jinx myself, but I think I’ve reached a turning point in my depression. I’m not out of the woods yet, but neither am I being rapidly consumed by a voracious black hole of despair.  The flood of Paxil seems to be helping my depression, now the worry is switching.  Sadly, Paxil may be responsible for some of my weight gain as well.  I saw my psychiatrist and she said we will give the Paxil another two weeks and see what happens.  It’s always been my go-to drug in desperate times… how dare it make me fat?!?! There has to be another way to deal with the weight.  I hope the walking will help soon.

Today was marginally easier to get out of bed.  It was definitely easier to take a shower.  I wouldn’t say I was excited or anything, but it didn’t take as much out of me as usual.  I did my PT exercises early in the day (before my shower) and my arm doesn’t hurt as much today.  It hurt a lot yesterday, so I missed my exercises. 😦  It’s really difficult to push past the pain so this is something I need to address with the doctor when I see him next week.  I seriously doubt he will keep me off work any longer, so I’ve got to get prepared.

This afternoon, I made some phone calls and started getting the ball rolling on my house.  Tentatively, the week after next.  (Just when I should be going back to work.  Oh joy.)  But it will be so nice when it is done.  I’ve got another exterminator coming on Friday for a second estimate, but he already told me it will cheaper ($600-800 instead of $1200).  I’m also going to have to get the front door worked on too to replace the destroyed wood and clean it all up. There’s not a single termite in our neighborhood except for my house.  Why me?

I went walking with my husband and the dog this afternoon.  It was another nice day out.  (We’ve been lucky to have a mild winter this year – knock on wood.  No excuse for the snowblower I bought though!)  I’m not sure today’s walk was as long as yesterday’s was but I was still aching when I got home.  I will be so glad to see my massage therapist tomorrow.

Tomorrow I get to meet my temporary councilor too.  My therapist is out on maternity leave for the next two months so I am seeing someone else in her office in the meantime.  I may have to cut back my sessions from every week to every other week.  For one thing, they don’t take my insurance anymore so it will cost more.  For another thing, I’ll be back at work and all these doctors and therapist appointments will be a lot harder to schedule.  I’m overwhelmed with the thought of it.

Well, I guess I have caught up on the boring world of the down and out, so maybe I will be able to tackle all the lovely awards that Lulu has given me.  🙂

 
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More Depression

My depression is sinking fast. I am fighting – clawing, grasping, anything to keep my head above water but something is weighing me down, dragging me under. It’s so much effort to push through the surface for that next breath of air. It feels like there is a pit in the center of my chest and it sucks away any hint of joy, it drags the tears from my eyes so I can’t release my pain, it even grabs at my throat choking me. I don’t feel the sharp sting of severe agony like usual, this is a dull, quiet hell I’m in now, paved with boredom and listlessness. My life is passing me by and I can’t even be bothered to watch it go.

All day
Staring at the ceiling
Making friends with shadows on my wall

All night
Hearing voices telling me
That I should get some sleep
Because tomorrow might be good for something

-Unwell, Matchbox 20

I have a playlist titled Depression.  When my depression is acute this usually kicks me out along with a good cry. The depression I’m in now is not so cooperative. I can’t even cry.  It’s a chronic soul sucking monster of a black hole.  I don’t know which one is more dangerous: sharp and short (usually accompanied with a dysphoric mania) or this long slow sense of slowly falling into oblivion.

I’m making an effort to “fake it until you make it”.  I (eventually) get up in the morning. With great effort, I take a shower. I do my PT exercises. I keep all my appointments. Yesterday I went to lunch with a friend.  I dressed up in nice slacks and sweater.  I wore heels and foundation.  (No eye makeup, I had an eye exam later that day.)  I looked good but I felt like crap.  I enjoyed lunch – I’m starving for contact with the outside world but I can’t seem to get off my couch to go out there.  It’s just too much work.  I had a therapist appointment afterwards. I told her my psychiatrist is watching me carefully for switching while we rapidly ramp up the Paxil. I told her (my therapist) that I must look worse than I thought.  She said from the outside I look great. Until she looks at my face.  There’s a sadness and pain in my eyes. Eyes are the windows to the soul.

Why is Paxil not working???  Did they give me a fucking placebo by mistake? I feel like slamming my head against the wall.  Maybe I can jump start the chemicals. Shake something loose. Like when your candy bar gets stuck on its way out of the vending machine. A good shove will shake it loose. Paxil always works. Why is it not working this time???????????????????

Maybe a part of it is that I am feeling my age. I had to get my first pair of bifocals.  $244.  It sucks to get old. But I had to knuckle under and do it. Putting my glasses on top of my head is really getting to be a pain in the ass. One more body part(s) to fall apart.  I can’t lose my sight.  I don’t think I would have anything to live for then. I’ve already got Pars Planitis (an inflammatory eye disease), floaters, I’ve had a retinal tear, and I have a small epi-retinal membrane.  My eyes are about 40 years older than the rest of me.

I think having to admit that I need bifocals just added to the list of things making me feel like crap. I already procrastinated for two years, but there’s no avoiding it anymore.  I need bifocals.

I’m getting old.

I’m getting old before my time.

Will I live long enough to retire?

Will I ever find a job I can stand that long?

Every day is a struggle.  I’ve been in worse situations in my life and not felt this bad. This level of depression has only hit me a few times before: during an abusive relationship, after I left that relationship, when I was unemployed, and now.  Why now?  I’ve got medication coming out of my ears.  I take nine prescription medications. NINE. That does not include supplements. I hate answering the question: how is your general health? Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor.  How the hell do I answer that question? I have so many (weird) things wrong with me but do fairly well despite it all.

Imagine if I had had children and passed on all these weird genetics? Bipolar would be the least of their problems. At least, some of the time. Other times, it’s the worst of the beasts.

All of these thoughts are traipsing through my mind. They aren’t running, scattered to the far corners, sprinting and chasing like mania.  No, I feel the furthest thing from mania.  I feel hollow, my mind just rambling along and my fingers telling you about it.

I guess it’s time for my rambling to come to an end for today.  I hope you all are doing better than I am.

 
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Estimate

Note:  I started this post yesterday but got too tired to finish it, so I’ll separate the days.

Yesterday:

First things first, I met with my pdoc today.  She seemed very concerned about my depression, so she is increasing the Paxil gradually up to 40mg.  I asked if that was a good idea, but she said we would watch closely for switching.  Apparently, the more depressed you are, the more likely you are to switch when when things start getting better.  She commented, “We’ve got to get you out of this depression.”  Which makes me think that maybe I look worse than I thought. I meet with her again next week because she wants to watch me closely for any sign of mania.  If I didn’t have 6 months worth of Geodon sitting in my pantry, I’d throw up my hands and say: let’s try lithium.  Why I would rather take three meds than one is probably beyond any rationalization, but I have my reasons.

On to the title… the husband of a good friend of mine is a general contractor.  We had him come over to our house and give us an estimate on updating our kitchen.  The estimate was a little disappointing, but pretty much right where I expected it to be – just under $5k.  One of the biggest expenses will be the tiles I want, so I went to Lowe’s this afternoon to look around at options.  (I watch too much HGTV and I wanted those little glass ones, which run about $12/ sq. ft. whereas regular tile costs $3-$4/ sq. ft.)  I found some stone tile that I’ve fallen in love with that will probably knock the price of tile in half, more if I don’t add the decorative ones.  Which would bring the total under $4.5k.  It doesn’t sound like you get a lot for that money, when you consider all that I get is new counters, backsplash, sink and faucets.  However, this would completely change the look of the kitchen and really modernize it.  Yes, it would be cheaper for us to do the work ourselves, but we would never do it if left to our own devices.  We are terrible homeowners.

Today:

Well, to pick up where I left off… yes, we are terrible homeowners.  I HATE home ownership.  If I could, I would live in a townhouse, except for one thing: privacy.  I like my privacy.  I like being able to sit on my back patio and read and not have the world watching me.  Maybe it’s a little paranoia, but I always feel like I am being watched.  I know I am at work because everyone watches everyone else so that they can draw false conclusions and develop gossip. Maybe our jobs just aren’t interesting enough so everyone feels the need to indulge in gossip.  This is the most gossipy place I’ve ever worked.

Back to home ownership… I found this wonderful tile, so I bought one of the decorative ones to take home and see how it would match up with what we currently have in the house and it goes wonderfully with everything!  I think it will go well with the stainless steel sink and the new counter tops (which will be jade green concrete), it also works with the tile we already have and the white cabinets that will stay white until we can afford to have them painted and glazed.

The decorative tile I want

Retail therapy works really well for me.  I’d been planning on spending $3-5k on the kitchen anyway.  DH and I are not handy with tools and such.  I love my drill and electric screwdriver, but I have a saw I bought 4 years ago that still sits in its box.  (I was going to make bookshelves.  Yeah, right.)  I even have a small saw bench for safety. Never been used. (Obviously.)  We barely hang up pictures.

I slept for 12 hours last night.  This depression is really kicking my ass. I know I’m worried about money, but I think putting a little bit into the house is worthwhile.  This is not the only thing that needs fixing… we might have termites too around the front door.  I wonder how much that is going to cost to fix.  At least a new kitchen will look pretty.

Argh! It’s always something…. 😦

 
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Writing

Writing has been very difficult for me lately. Even though I can now type with two hands, I feel like I have nothing to say. A little bit of depression, I fear. So the question is: why isn’t the Paxil working? It’s always worked like a charm, easing the sadness away starting at two weeks. It’s been three now, and I am getting used to the side effects, but it’s NOT working. WHY?????????

There is another factor in this equation, and that is that we lowered my Lamictal a bit. I’m still above the therapeutic dose so I should be fine. We did this to see if it would improve my memory and my estrogen levels. Yes on the estrogen, still unknown on the memory. But Klonopin reduces memory too – so just call me screwed. (For those of you on Xanax, it can cause memory impairment too. Maybe all the benzos do.)

I’m a little wound up today because the nurse didn’t fax in my paperwork last Friday. Or if she did, then the fax didn’t go through. I don’t know what to do. I left her a message on Friday, but she hasn’t called me back yet. Since the doctor is in the office today, she will be hard to get a hold of, but tomorrow is her desk-day so I may be able to get a hold of her then. I can keep checking my work email too just in case she sent it in but hasn’t bothered to call me. If she tries to tell me that she never got it, well, that’s a problem with their office. I dropped it off, paid my $5 and have a receipt. I have a few more days on the paperwork, but it’s got to get in there soon. I hate dealing with big places with stupid rules. I’m not sure it’s worth it, even if they are supposed to be “the best”.

Sorry this is another rant-day but I needed to get that off my chest. I will try to post something interesting one of these days.

Personal Blog Copyright

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Bipolar 1.5

I saw my psychiatrist yesterday.  It was my 3 week checkup on the new Geodon dose.  She asked how the Celexa was doing, but I said I didn’t think I could adequately answer that question since it’s only been a week since I titrated off the Paxil and onto it.  So another followup in 2 weeks to check on the Celexa.  I think this “medication soup”, as I called it, is bringing my moods into line.  But I wonder… how much control do I really want?  Will I never get excited about things?  Will I never experience sadness again?  Yes, I want to feel better but I don’t want to lose myself in the process.

So we talked about a lot of things, and my time even went over by 10 minutes.  I love talking to her.  I feel completely respected, almost as if we are equals, but at the same time master and student.  We talked about panic disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).  She read snippets from the DSMV-IV.  We agreed that since my anxiety problems are not something that happens more often than half a week, and usually stem from specific events or situations, I do not suffer from GAD.  (I do have OCD.) We talked about medications and we talked about bipolar.

Then I asked her the question: do you think I am bipolar type I or type II or NOS? I was originally diagnosed NOS, but I’m not sure that has much meaning to it. She took a moment to collect her thoughts and then she said, I think your symptoms resemble bipolar type I more so than type II… but it’s really a spectrum… She pulled out a copy of Stahl’s Essential Psychopharmacology where he describes the bipolar spectrum and read some of the classifications to me.  But at that point, my brain had stopped listening.  I had the answer to a question that’s plagued me for a long time, but I’m not sure I really wanted it answered.

My first reaction to the call was to make light of it and say, “Well, if you’re going to do it, you may as well go all the way!” This is not meant as a slight to any BP IIs out there, it’s more of a statement as to my coping mechanisms.  I affectionately refer to my time in outpatient therapy as Daycare for Psychos.  I have my chill pill (Klonopin), my crazy pill (Lamictal), and now I need good names for Geodon and my antidepressant.  I once introduced myself to a pair of interns at the neurologist’s office with, “Hi! I’m crazy.”  (The neurologist politely corrected me saying that I wasn’t crazy but rather bipolar.)  Labeling myself, my medications, my experiences with these terms somehow lessens the emotional blow.

Yes, this is the same woman who won’t tell her best friends that she is bipolar.

Because I don’t trust them or because I don’t trust myself?  I don’t know.  Silence is a burden, but it is better than ridicule or pity.  I don’t want to be known as the bipolar friend.  One of my friends already has a bipolar friend and I hear about her every so often.  All the crazy things this woman thinks and does.  When we bought our house, our realator wouldn’t shut up about her crazy ex-daughter-in-law who was bipolar.  I think I wrap myself with twisted humor as a shield against the true face of stigma.

While my brain and my soul are still wrapping themselves around the idea of being bipolar I or perhaps bipolar 1.5 might be a better description, I still have to contend with my impending surgery.  I will try to post a little something tomorrow as it is my last day of two-handedness for a while, but if I can’t eek out the time, I guess I’ll report in when I can get the iPad to cooperate with WordPress.  (It ate half of my original post.)  Good thoughts requested for Thursday AM! 🙂

Last week

Last week was very stressful.   I told you about the incident with the nurse on Tuesday.  This continued on Friday when she told me that she wouldn’t fill out my work paperwork unless I scheduled my surgery for next week!  Otherwise she won’t fill out the paperwork until next week when the surgeon decides if he will keep me on the work restrictions the specialist gave me.  Flippin’ bitch.

Fortunately, I was able to work things out with my nurse case manager at work so that I have extra time on my paperwork due date.  She is just the sweetest, most supportive person, and I really like her.  I should probably email her boss and tell him what a great job she is doing.  It’s end of the year performance review time.  So I think I will put this on my todo list.

I am thinking about moving my surgery date.  If I can shuffle things in my schedule, then I can do it on the 3rd instead of the 10th.  It means that will be a stressful week of medical with my pdoc appointment (not bad) and worker’s comp appointment (bad) but it would give me less time to dread and be anxious about the surgery.  It also will mean that I would be in a bit better shape for our anniversary (12 years!) the following week and Thanksgiving.  So it would be more convenient in a lot of ways.

This is all so much stress.  I told my therapist on Tuesday that the Paxil was starting to help but it wasn’t helping me deal with the surgeon’s nurse.  Her response was, “Honey, there’s not enough Paxil in the world to fix mean people.”  She has a point there.  The Paxil side effects are getting better, but it’s still making me jittery during the day.  I can’t take it with Klonopin because then I get sleepy.  Sometimes I take a quarter Klonopin and it’s OK.  I have to talk to my pdoc about all these meds.

I’m out of stuff to talk about for now.  I still have some comments to put on your blogs, but please be patient with me.  Thanks. 🙂

 

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Dear Paxil

Dear Paxil,

What happened?  We used to be such good friends.  We were happy together.  I know we haven’t seen each other since 2004, but are you holding a grudge?  You need not make me anxious just to prove a point.

Perhaps you are angry because I have let Geodon into our family.  Please, it’s not personal… well, OK it is, but I was hoping you would understand.  You make me happy – too happy – we just can’t be left alone together.  Geodon is our chaperone.  I swear, it is nothing more than that.

We were united twice before – once in 1997 and once in 2003.  You didn’t treat me like this those times.  Or is my memory just hazy from the beauty of mania we have shared?

Please Paxil, I beg of you, send your side effects away.  I wish to be friends, good friends, but not BFFs as we once were.  I need you to do this for me, because Klonopin does not play well with Geodon, so he must be used sparingly.

I plead my case.

Thank you,

Monday

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