This month I’m going to do something very different, I’m going to try to keep a running journal of the month, so you might get a bit tired of me.
The idea behind this is two fold, I want to pay attention to my moods, and really see how this new antidepressant is working; and I also want to have a goal of accomplishing at least one thing a day, no matter how small that one thing is.
I’ve been feeling pretty low lately about how little I’ve been able to accomplish because of my pain, I want to prove to myself that I am more than my pain and accomplishments come in all sizes and all should be celebrated. I’m hoping by committing to posting about this on a regular basis I will force myself to stop thinking of the things I can’t do and pay attention to the things I can.
Today I woke with the continuation of a migraine from yesterday, that continued from the day before. I had an appointment with my therapist at 11am so I took a Maxalt and drank a little caffeine hoping it would take the edge off and make the day more bearable, unfortunately, it didn’t. In the waiting room there was a lady sitting directly in front of me and one sitting beside me, they obviously new each other and were having a conversation in normal tones. I was struck by the fact that I could not understand more than the rare word here and there despite the fact that it was a very quiet room. Once again I wondered how I could meet people and socialize. When I left I planned to go by the grocery store to pick up a couple of things but the pain was so great I thought I would throw up before I made it home. I took a second Maxalt when I got home, but again, it simply did not work. I decided to message my doctor and ask if there is another rescue medication I can try as Maxalt seems to have stopped working. I am still hopeful that the Emgality will help, but I need something to get me through the moment.
Today I made it to my therapist appointment! I had a lovely mindful moment with my dog, and a few other mindful moments too. I attempted to do a Body Scan meditation, but I didn’t finish. I will try to do it again before I sleep tonight.
I’m trying hard to not focus on the fact that I can’t cook dinner tonight, or get the dishes out of the sink because my back and head hurt so damn bad. So I’m avoiding the kitchen.
I saw my psychiatrist today, it was an interesting visit. I am feeling much better than I was. No more rage, but Stuart did admit I’ve been talking more, which was quite obvious in her office. I just talked so much and so fast it was crazy. I seemed to have been extremely happy and just couldn’t control it. I was thrilled that she was finally speaking up and I could hear her. She was even trying to slow down. She is normally very soft spoken and talks very fast with a Russian accent which makes it impossible for me to read her lips well. If I can’t hear her better, I’m lost. Stuart normally has to take the lead in my visits. Today I got the giggles, and when we got outside I busted out laughing. I thought it very funny that I was bouncing off the walls in her office. The whole thing seems very surreal.
It is now obvious that I am still having a manic episode, but it’s much better than it was. The main symptoms have been the extreme talkativeness, sleeping very little, and doing more than I’m really physically able, and today uncontrollable giggles. My Fitbit says that I’ve been getting at least twice as many steps per day than I normally do. I’m thrilled about that and hope I can keep it up; however, completely reorganizing my house and cleaning like crazy, that is taking a bit out of me, but I’d really like to finish. Oh, and I’m forgetting things, someone can tell me something or I can tell someone something then I can’t remember the conversation…that’s weird.
She asked me if this was normal for me when I have an episode. I told her I haven’t had a severe episode in almost 30 years, or more! This is new territory for me. I have had a couple of depressive episodes when my medication needed to be adjusted, but I could always tell myself that I knew it would end, and that got me through it until I could get my medication leveled out. True mania hasn’t hit me in a very long time. To be honest, when I had manic episodes before I was stable I would paint like crazy (often days at a time), lose time (meaning time would pass and I didn’t remember I didn’t realize it, or remember what I did during it), spend a lot of money (I once bought a Jeep on a manic swing), do very risky things (like drive to DC and meet with someone I’d only talked with on the phone) and be very promiscuous. Now, I’m not doing all of that, I did always talk a lot though. After I was diagnosed talking a lot was a sign to me that I was a bit manic, but nothing like I’ve been the past few months.
I’m grateful that we have found medication that seems to be working, it just needs to be adjusted. I hate that it’s taking more meds than I’d like to take, I’m hoping after I get stable for a while we can work on getting me off a couple. Today she increased the main med, took away something, and added another to help me sleep, hopefully. I’m having to take another drug to stop the akathesia that started with the new mediation, it’s an anti-psychotic and I’ve had trouble with those in the past, but this is a newer one that is less likely to cause this problem. Yeah, right. The drug that stops the akathesia is normally a blood pressure medication, weird huh?
So we’ve solved the riddle of why I’ve been talking so dang much. I can now stop telling myself to just “Shut the F up!”
so how’s your day been?
**photo of self manipulated with PhotoLab app. Sole ownership belongs to me.
Today’s Mindfulness Monday is not really quotes on mindfulness, they are mindful quotes on mental health. There are more quotes than usual, I actually found over 30 that I liked and finally cut it down to these 7. After each quote I will explain why I chose that particular quote. I hope you will bare with me, as most of you know I’m working through a mental health crisis of my own, and working on this post has helped me feel not so alone. ***Please note that this post contains a frank discussion on mental health issues including suicide ideation.
“Beautiful fake smile.
All it takes is a beautiful fake smile
to hide an injured soul and
they will never notice how broken you really are.”
I chose this quote because we I often use a fake smile to get through the day. Whether it be because of my physical or mental illnesses, that fake smile makes others believe I’m okay, and that makes dealing with the general public, and sometimes even those closest to me, easier. I don’t have to explain, I don’t have to deal with the awkwardness…..the fake smile, is a shield I use to deflect the judgments from others.
“Be proud of every step
you take towards stability,
no matter how big or small.”
I have been feeling like all the work I’ve been doing to overcome this crisis has shown little improvement. I chose this quote because it reminded me that even the smallest steps toward my stability are worth being proud of.
“I’m still me no matter
my mental health”
Earlier today I texted a friend how afraid I am that this is my new normal, all the anger, and simply being a bitch all the time. I’m no longer a nice person. I told her, “I feel like I’ve lost Wendy” I chose this quote simply because it reassured me that Wendy is still in there somewhere.
“It’s exhausting to fight a war
inside your head
every single day.”
If you don’t have a mental illness I don’t think you can ever understand this quote, if you do, I doubt I have to explain why I included it. This constant battle going on in my head is driving me insane….or perhaps I’m insane is why I have the battle in the first place….these are the kind of questions that bombard me all the time lately. Every… Single….Day
“Surviving a psychiatric crisis is one thing.
Overcoming one is something completely different.”
I hope to somehow understand this, and hopefully so will my husband. Right now we are in survival mode, overcoming it is going to be a long, hard process. (I’m not sure it will ever happen completely)
“The bravest thing I ever did
was continuing my life
when I wanted to die.”
Okay, I’m admitting something here so other’s my hear my pain, and will perhaps not feel so alone. Each day since this crisis began has been a fight for my life. More than once I’ve thought it would be best if I were not here. I’m not being selfish, of looking for the easy way out. I’m hurting the person I love most, over, and over, and over again. When I’m having the most severe emotions, rage, despair….and the psychosis (auditory hallucinations) I cannot see that removing myself from this world would hurt him worse, I can only see that I’m causing him so much pain, and at that moment I believe that if I’m wasn’t here it would be better for him…and others I love. I want to remove myself from the situation. Actually, that’s exactly it, I am simply trying my hardest to get away from the war inside me, I simply need to escape. The pain is just too great. Please do not judge me, if you do, keep it to yourself, my psyche can’t handle it right now. I am not in danger, my husband and my psychiatrist know about this and I’m being watched….like a child….I hate it.
”You know when you’re in a bad dream
and you’re trying to run, punch, kick, or scream,
and your body just won’t move?
You open your mouth and nothing comes out.
You feel frozen or in slow motion,
and no matter how hard you try to fight it,
That’s how it feels to battle mental illness.”
When I read this quote I thought….Yes!! It is often like that. I feel like I scream and scream and even when I’m making noise it makes no sense. I’m stuck, I can’t get out. I just want me back again! There are so many people who feel like they aren’t themselves after they start their psychiatric medication, especially those who are bipolar I, like me. I will admit, when I first started my meds I wondered if the changes in my moods were making me less….me. I was losing part of who I identified as me, but after I was stable for a while I realized that the real me was the stable person. I no longer had times of extreme mood swings, I no longer did so many dangerous things, I felt more in control. Yes, I missed being able to pain for days on end, I don’t feel I’ve been as creative, and I miss the times I could read 2-3 books in one day, but I don’t miss buying a car I couldn’t afford, or having sex with someone and not remembering it, or losing days that I don’t remember. That wasn’t me. When I’d relapse, which has never been as bad as this crisis, I’d run to my doctor immediately for help. I didn’t like that feeling at all, I was suddenly not me. And suddenly after 20+ years, I’m having a severe crisis. It scares the hell out of me. I will say, I think I’m better today than I was 2 weeks ago, but I still have a long way to go.
I just want to be Wendy again.
***by the way, the photo above is a self portrait I took a few years ago. I haven’t been in the mood to take many pictures lately, and I felt this photo was appropriate. (all right’s reserved)
You may recall my post back in December where I talked about my fear of gaining weight. I felt like I was handling that better, and things were going well. I was trying to focus on nutrition and not on weight. I have been trying to eat more mindfully, more intentionally (appreciating the food, accepting it’s nourishment, paying attention to my hunger cues….)
I say try on all of these because I haven’t been doing a very good job recently.
I promised I’d write a post about mindful eating last week, and well….. yeah, I didn’t get that done. I started getting very obsessed with food this week.
The fight with food is strong in this one (ha, I sound like Obi Wan..or Yoda).
I was doing well when the scale was staying the same, and even went down a little. Yes I still want to lose that last 10 pounds. I think I’m more anxious about my weight because I still have not gotten to the weight I want to be at, if I can get there I think I can keep it off, but why will these last few pounds not go away? yeah, I know there’s more to it than that, but it’s very hard to voice what I’m feeling.
I know it’s not healthy to be so obsessed with my weight, but I also feel like if I’m not very diligent I will end up back where I was. I really don’t want that. I feel better about myself now (no, really I do!!). I’m more confident when I meet people. I have more stamina….. I know how bad I feel when I’m bigger, both physically and mentally, and this is better. Even though I’m obsessing about weight gain, it’s better than beating myself up over being fat all the time. Hiding my body, not wanting to wear clothes that show skin, not wanting to be intimate, avoiding looking at myself in the mirror, cringing when I’d catch sight of myself in a store window…these are not healthy things. My fear of gaining weight is part of that. I don’t want to feel so out of control any more.
I am seeing a therapist about this. After a friend shared that she had been seeing a therapist through an online counseling site, and she had a very positive experience. With all the barriers I have trying to go to see a therapist face to face, I decided to give it a try. I’m so glad I did.
I’ve been “seeing” my new therapist for a couple of weeks now, and by golly this woman has earned her money! I was not in a good frame of mind this past week. Food issues, anger, racing thoughts, insomnia…..mania. Yep, I had a manic swing. It wasn’t as strong as it has been, and I’m pretty proud of how I handled things, but it I was not my normal self. I’m sure my new therapist didn’t think I was handling things very well when I bombarded her with emails for 2 days, but I just had a live chat session with her and it’s all good. (by bombarding her, I mean that I wrote her 5 emails within about 3 hours, all of which were looooong. If she weren’t my therapist I’d be embarrassed. Okay, I’m still embarrassed)
I’m going to close for now. I just wanted you all to know that, I’m not dead, I will eventually write a post about eating mindfully, and I am seeing someone about these issues of mine.
Have you ever thought about online counseling?
Would you try it, or not? why?
I’ll share more of my experience soon…..no, really, I promise I will.
Today’s #HAWMC prompt is: First, let’s get to know each other! What drives you to write about your health? What do you want other Health Activists to know about your condition and your activism? Reflect on this for 15-20 minutes without stopping…GO!
What drives me to write about my health? Since the prompt says to write for 15 – 20 minutes I’m going to write stream of conscious, if I repeat myself or have grammatical errors please forgive me.
I started writing about my health for the same reason I still write about it, to help others who feel alone when faced with the same conditions I have been faced with. I’ve found support through my blog and I hope I give the same.
I try to bring awareness about Meniere’s Disease, Chronic Migraine, and Bipolar Disorder and let other’s who have these diseases know they are not alone.
I also have other illnesses that I mention along the way. Like Degenerative Disc, Hypothyroidism and others. I’ve also recovered from Avascular Necrosis in my hip and like to give others with this condition hope.
What drives me is my illnesses and my love for others. My compassion for others and myself. I write because it helps me and in turn I hope it helps others.
What do I want others to know about my conditions and activism?
Well there’s an awful lot to know about my conditions, as there is more than one condition to cover. I’ll pick just talk and see what comes out.
Meniere’s Disease – Meniere’s is diagnosed by the symptoms, there is not definitive test for it. The symptoms are: Random attacks of Vertigo, Fluctuating hearing loss, the feeling of fullness in your ears, and tinnitus. If you have all of these symptoms and they have ruled out other illnesses then by process of elimination they diagnose you with Meniere’s Disease. The progression of the disease can be different for different people. It is normally only in one ear, it can attack both ears. I have it in both ears. It used to be thought that the disease would “burn” itself out. As the patient lost more hearing the vertigo got better, until there was a leveling out period where the patient no longer has vertigo. As can be seen with me that is not necessarily the case. I am deaf now and still have vertigo often. There is not sign of a “burn out” for me. I do want everyone to know that this disease does not progress the same for everyone. just because I lost my hearing does not mean other people will, I still have vertigo, but that doesn’t mean other people will. I’m in a very small minority.
Bipolar Disorder – I want people to know that people aren’t crazy when they have this. Being Bipolar doesn’t stop me from living a normal life. I want people to know that not everyone is the same with this too. I am lucky. With medication and therapy I am doing very well, and have been for years. Others are not so lucky. Medication does not work for everyone. Everyone with this disorder has to work hard.
Chronic Migraines – I want people to know that migraines are not just a headache. They are so much more than that. They make you sick all over. Having a migraine for more days during the month than not can put a huge damper on life.
It takes a lot to face the world with a smile on your face when you are faced with these illnesses and more, but with the help of mindfulness and a support from those who care about me I get by better than I could ever imagine.
This is some of what I want you to know about me and my illnesses and why I write. I hope you will join me on this month long journey. Wish me luck that I can accomplish this goal of posting every day this month!
Hello. My name is Wendy. I just turned 53 years old and I have chronic illnesses, including Meniere’s Disease. Unless something amazing happens, they are not going to go away. Sometimes I feel I need to make this statement before anyone speaks to me.
Recently I was asked a few things about my health. This was not by people who see me often, or have much knowledge about my illnesses. This is how I handled a few of the questions, some of it was good, some not so good.
Have you tried yoga? It can really help your balance. I used to do yoga regularly until the Meniere’s Disease got so bad and I ended up on my face during a class. It can only help your balance if you have some to start with! After having a disease ruin your balance system, yoga isn’t possible. (ok, this may have been a bit harsh, and some people with Meniere’s may get some help from yoga, I don’t know. However, anyone as advanced as I am, who has been through Vestibular Therapy and still has balance issues all the time, cannot do yoga. And if you have had a disease the compromises your balance for as long as I have, do you not think I would have heard about YOGA by now?)
I heard about these positions you can get in that will make vertigo go away. Why can’t you just do that? There are maneuvers you can do to help certain types of vertigo. However, there are numerous causes for vertigo and what causes mine can not be helped by those maneuvers. (do people think my doctors would just let me suffer this much if it was so simple to “cure” my vertigo?)
Do you think this could have been caused by all the drugs back when you were younger? Okay, this one caught me off guard. I thought, what the heck is she talking about? I may have experimented a little when I was younger, but she wouldn’t have known that. I must have looked shocked and said,“nooooo?”She then explained, “All those psychiatric drugs they put you on.”I was shocked. How could someone think that the treatment I received for my mental illness caused me to get chronically ill? I’m sure I looked shocked when I answered,“No.”“Well I was thinking….” I stopped and said,“I know many people with Meniere’s disease and really we have nothing in common except some of us have relatives with the same disease. They have no idea what causes this.”“That’s good to hear, I’ve been so worried about it.” “Well there is no need to worry about that. The medication I’ve taken for my Bipolar did not cause me to get ill.” AHHH!
This last question has continued to plague me. Is this one of the reasons people do not seek help for their mental illness, they are afraid of what side effects the medications may cause?
I have Bipolar I disorder. I take medication for it. I also try to keep a good sleep schedule, eat well, keep my stress controlled, and see a therapist…there is a lot more to taking care of yourself when you have a mental illness than just taking your medication.
I have never been afraid of taking my medication. Each time my medication is changed my doctor and I talk about it. We discuss exactly what it is supposed to do, any side effects, if it will react with any other medications I’m on at the time, and if the side effects are worth it. I don’t just take a medication not knowing what it will do to me. No one should do that. If your doctor does not automatically discuss these things with you make sure you ask BEFORE you fill your prescription and start taking a medication you are not familiar with. I also advise you to read the information the pharmacist gives you about your new medication just in case your doctor forgot something. It happens, doctors are human too.
I have decided to take a medication even though I knew there was a chance it could cause damage to my thyroid. It did. I now have to be on medication for hypothyroidism. Am I upset that the medication caused this side effect. No. I went into this with my eyes wide open. At the time there were very few medications to treat Bipolar I and I decided the pay off from the drug was worth the side effect that it may cause. I’m still happy I decided to take that medication and have those years as a stable person. Truthfully, I would take it again today if that was the only medication that would keep me stable.
I would hate to think that people would not seek out treatment for any illness because they are afraid of the side effects of the medication they might be put on. Become informed. Know what the medications will do. Know how it will help you and the side effects it may cause, you decide if it is the right medication for you.
Many of you may be thinking that there are times that a certain side effect is unknown. You are right. There are many stories of someone who took a medication and had a severe reaction. There are stories of people taking a medication and years later they find out that it hurt them in ways they never knew it could. These stories are not typical. We simply can’t live in fear and not be treated because of the “what ifs”.
I can tell you, if I hadn’t been treated for my Bipolar for all these years, my life would be totally different, and not in a good way. I can almost tell you for certainty that I would not be alive to write this post. I will never regret taking the medications that helped save my life.
On this the last day of Mental Health Awareness Month I’ve decided to tell a little about me. I have a story. I feel it needs to be told. If for no one else, this is for me. (This is the very condensed PG version.)
Something was wrong. I didn’t know what it was, but I was wrong. I was wrong inside. I didn’t react to things the way other people did. I knew it. I could see how other people were different. I was always told to be myself. But I just wanted to be like everyone else, I didn’t understand what it meant be “myself”. I spent days in tears feeling like I had this black cloud over me. At a very young age I longed for my life to end. Other days I was flying high. I could not control my thoughts from going everywhere, I could not control my actions, I could only follow them. This wall all considered a natural part of growing up. I was just a moody child, then a hormonal pre-teen, a troubled teen…. I look back and don’t know how I, or the people closest to me, survived. There are many stories from this time that are very hard to tell. They may come out at a different time.
My ups and downs carried on for years, and years, and years…. the older I got the worse it was. After all when you get older your actions have many more consequences. However, when the moods were swinging to either end, those consequences simply didn’t exist in my mind. On the down swings I was fighting for my life, literally. On the up swings I couldn’t rationalize things. I couldn’t see beyond the emotions.
After a failed suicide attempt at 25, I finally started getting some mental health treatment. I was told I suffered from Manic Depression, and was put on Lithium and an antidepressant and started seeing a therapist. Maybe if I had just been able to stay the course that I was originally put on life would have been different, but things changed.
I was re-diagnosed a number of times. Things changed so much over the next few years it was a constant battle of up and down trying so hard to get a grasp on reality. The biggest mistake that was made, I was told that I did not have a mental illness, I had hypoglycemia and the fluctuating blood sugar levels were causing my mood swings. I was so relieved that I didn’t have a mental illness. I was normal like everyone else. I simply had to watch my diet and everything would be alright. I believed this for years and tried so hard to control everything with my diet. If things got out of control, I would beat myself up for not following my diet strictly enough.
People couldn’t see just how bad I was because I was still able to hold down a job, even if I changed jobs frequently, I seemed normal, I was just “moody”. I went through friends like water. Friends I made when I was manic, couldn’t stand the depressive side, and friends I made when I was depressed, didn’t understand the up me. Friends I made when I was in my normal state couldn’t understand my swings and they simply disappeared.
I had a job, but I also had a lot of debt. I lost days. There are huge gaps in my memory. I’ve met people while I was in a normal state and had no recollection of meeting them before. I didn’t remember men I obviously knew very well. I did drugs. I stayed up for days. Risky behavior? There were no thoughts of the risk. Nothing could hurt me. And if it did, so what? In both states there was not much thought about my own safety.
Then the day came when the depression took hold so tightly I held a razor to my wrist and started to slice. I just made the most cursory of cuts, deciding exactly the way I should do this, how deep did I have to go, how much would it hurt, how long would it take….then suddenly I thought….The Mess. There will be such a mess and my roommate will find it. Someone will have to clean up the mess. That thought saved my life. That thought gave me enough pause to call a suicide hotline. I would not tell them where I lived but I promised to go to the out patient center of the mental health department and talk. I drove there, and when I got there I talked and told what happened that night. I could not promise I would not harm myself if I left. I honestly don’t know if I could have or not, but I knew I needed someone to help me. I needed to know for sure that I could get through the next day. I knew if I said I would not be a threat to myself or others then I would not get the help I desperately needed.
Since I was not able to say I would not harm myself I was not allowed to leave, I was told I as going to be admitted to a mental health facility. I admit I actually felt a relief. I suddenly felt safe, at least for the night.
The police came and took me to the hospital. I was entered as a non-voluntary admission. That is the only way my insurance would pay for this, but I had insurance now, this was what got me into this facility instead of the state hospital. I had no idea the amount of debt I was about to get into. I needed help, that is all I thought about. I no longer cared what people thought of me, I no longer cared if this would follow me forever, I only wanted to lie down and never wake up. I knew these thoughts had to stop, I knew if something didn’t change I would end my life, soon.
(If you would like to know more about my stay in the mental hospital please see my post: Inequality in the Mental Health System.) The stay in the mental hospital changed my life forever. I was there longer than I thought I would be. The little overnight stay turned into two weeks, but when I left I was in the mental health care system. I had group sessions set up, I had an appointment with a new psychiatrist and therapist. I had a new lease on life. With another wrong diagnosis, Borderline Personality Disorder.
Soon after starting to see my new psychiatrist it was then determined that I do indeed have Bipolar I disorder. I started being treated with Lithium and other medications again and things finally started to get on track.
It took some time to get the medication just right. It took a lot of time in therapy. It takes a lot of work to get things right and get better. It takes a lot of work to keep struggling through the system. It takes a lot of work to help yourself when there doesn’t seem to be an out.
I’m a lucky one. I was able to find help. I was able to get a correct diagnosis. I was able to get a treatment plant that worked. I’m still able to get the help I need, when I need it. So may people are not as lucky as I am.
There are many obstacles in getting mental health care. I fought hard to get where I am today. I still fight hard to ensure my mental health is a priority. I will never give up.
Too many people are fighting for mental health care and have so many obstacles in their way. If you are one of these people, please don’t give up. Reach out. In my experience, things don’t always go smoothly, but getting help meant my life is so much better than my life was before.
Recently someone asked me to write a post on what I felt depression was like. Funny thing, I had just read a post over at Bipolar BarbieQ that included that very thing, I think everyone could get a lot from her post I’m the Queen of Run-on’s it is an honest gut wrenching post and I wish all of you would read it. (yes this is the second time I’ve shared this post, I really like it.) She also had this really cool graph in her post, so I’m going to steal it.
Most people think that Depression means you are Sad. Even Webster’s Thesaurus will say that Depression and Sadness are synonyms. Well yeah, you are sad when you are depressed, but there is so much more, so very much more.
When someone says they are depressed, that means they are sad, when someone says they have depression, this is a mental illness. When you look up the definition of Depression you get both answers, “(1): a state of feeling sad :(2): a psychoneurotic or psychotic disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
I think feelings of Depression can vary from person to person. Profound Depression is all-consuming. You don’t just feel sad, it consumes you. You have difficulty doing anything else because your feelings are so torn up. It spirals down to the depths of your soul and you are trying your best to claw your way out. Depression can also have states of severe anxiety mixed in, feelings of paranoia, feelings of suicide. When you are just sad, you don’t have all of these other emotions consuming you. With depression you often just feel numb most of the time. Nothing can bring you out of that darkness. You find joy in absolutely nothing.
The definition above mentions “difficulty in thinking and concentration”…yes we can click that off my list. “A significant increase or decrease in appetite”…oh I eat, I want comfort food, or anything that might make it in my mouth sometimes. I’ve actually envied people who lose their appetite when they are depressed. “Time spent sleeping”…now this one is tricky. Sometimes I sleep a lot, sometimes I can’t sleep at all. Normally, I have a very hard time sleeping when I’m very depressed. “Feelings of dejection and hopelessness” YES! That is the overwhelming feeling that I have, HOPELESSNESS. “Sometimes suicidal tendencies”..this depends on just how deep my depression gets. Normally I am not suicidal but I’ll wish I wouldn’t wake up. I’m just so tired and hopeless, I don’t want to have to deal with it anymore.
Something they don’t mention, I cry, a lot. I’m an emotional person anyway, but when I’m depressed I cry every day, many times a day. Not just a few tears, I sob.
There are other feelings that get all mixed up when I feel depressed. I feel very guilty. What right to I have to feel depressed when there are so many tragedies in the world? What am I putting my husband and friends through when I’m like this? Why does it keep coming back, it must be me?
I get angry. Angry at me, angry at everything. I try not to speak to people because the thoughts in my mind are so snide. Why can’t they get it? Why can’t they do things the way they should? Yes, in my mind everything needs to go the way I think it should, then I’d be happier. I want to control, everything. I think that’s because I feel so out of control. I lash out. Some of this must be someone else’s fault, if I can find out who then I will have to feel better. I feel so alone. I try to isolate myself from other people so I won’t hurt them, even though being alone is the worst thing I could do. I never said I was being logical.
When depression takes hold of me I used to believe it would never end. Now I know it will and that helps me get through it. It makes me seek help. I keep telling myself, “This will end. This will end.”
I do not just have Clinical Depression, I have Bipolar I disorder. That means that, unless I’m stable, I will have severe manic states and depressive states. As I said, I used to think when I was depressed that nothing could pull me out of it, but then I’d be okay for a while and couldn’t believe I ever thought that way. Then I’d go manic and think that nothing could harm me. After a manic swing, I couldn’t believe I ever felt that way. I’m lucky that I’ve been mostly stable for a long time now. I will have break through depression sometimes and need my medication adjusted. My new psychiatrist told me that often when people get older they have fewer manic swings but battle depression more. That’s why he prescribed a drug that is for Bipolar Depression, and it seems to be working well.
If you are having any symptoms of depression please seek out professional help. It doesn’t just go away. Psych Central lists the first steps to getting help, and a list of professionals in your area. You can find this information here. Where To Get Help For Depression.
If you are having suicidal thoughts please call
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1 (800) 273-8255
Thank you all for the outpouring of support and encouragement about my blog and writing and well just me being me.
The comments here and on Facebook, emails….well, everywhere…I was overwhelmed by the love!
I’m sorry I haven’t posted before now….I’ve had some bad and ugly days recently….there’s been come good and pretty times in there too, maybe not whole days, but I’ll take it!!
First right before I went to the appointment I’m about to talk about, I broke my pinky toe. Yep, I mean within the hour before, I caught my toe on my nightstand and OUCH!! I saw stars and everything. Pretty little stars. *snort* It’s been a while now…it is still slightly sore, but it has all healed, finally!! It did mess up walking on my hip a bit though….same leg. But I didn’t fall!! Good thing!!!
I was very excited the beginning of June I saw a new neurologist here in Charlotte. She runs the Carolinas Headache Clinic in Matthews, NC…so it really isn’t in Charlotte, but it is so close it may as well be. The first appointment I had with her she spent over 2 1/2 hours with me. I don’t know if that is her normal time for a new patient or not. I know she sets aside a longer appointment for a new patient, but I was also her last patient for the day so she took her time. She gave me a very thorough exam and we talked at length about my medical history. She was very interested. I was very impressed. I love my neurologist at Duke, who also specializes in headache pain (my doctor at Duke recommended this doctor, they know each other well).
As much as I have loved my doctor at Duke, I think this doctor will be able to really concentrate on me more. She won’t be so over whelmed with all the influx of patients from the system at Duke. (I hope that makes sense) The doctor here is very interested in my Chronic Persistent Daily Headaches. (I have a headache all the time, it ranges from about a 3-5 on a scale of 0-10 pain scale, I have had this headache since I was 11 years old, right after my first migraine) She believes if we can break this headache then we can break the migraines and cluster headaches. Wouldn’t that be nice?
She started me on a new medication, it was to hopefully help with the daily pain of my head and my all over pain. Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked. However, I don’t think we can judge it fairly. I am on a drug called Limbrel, this helps with inflammation and I had problems getting my prescription for over a month. (long story short…the doctor faxed in the prescription but the pharmacy said they never got it…this happened over and over, finally they got it straight…why it took so long, well I have no idea, but I finally have it! 3 months worth, thank goodness. I had no idea how much this was helping my joints and all over pain, I was having trouble typing my joints in one of my hands were hurting so much.)
The past month has been filled with the worst migraines. Let me give you a little run down….Out of the last 25 days I’ve had 22 migraines, 1 cluster headache, and 15 attacks of vertigo. On July 2nd a vertigo attack started around 3pm and lasted until after 3pm on July 3rd. (July 2nd was my birthday…I will just have to celebrate 364 Un-birthdays!! Want to have a Mad Hatter Tea Party with me??)
Can you guess why I haven’t been posting? Or reading my dear friend’s blogs?
I admit the depression took hold of me and jerked me around a bit. I think I had some reasons, even if I didn’t have Bipolar I disorder, but I admit my emotions do go a bit extreme because of my illness. The demons didn’t knock on the door, they busted it down! For a while there I thought I was lost. I was drowning, big time. I was having panic attacks, heck I’m still having a few of those. I’ve been having trouble going out of the house again for few of having attacks. I hadn’t been doing my mindfulness practice…except during vertigo attacks, and sometimes not then, sometimes I would completely freak out. (however, I’m relieved to say that most of my vertigo attacks have been mild, by that I mean slow rotation, they haven’t been rapid spinning….but I won’t go into detail about what they were like. Just know they aren’t as scary. However, I will just say….they are exhausting.)
I’ve been trying hard to pull myself out of the depression. The odd thing about this, the medication that the neurologist put me on is actually an antidepressant. I was really hoping it would help with this too. However, I think the fact that I was in a lot of pain, and had so many headaches and vertigo when the medication I was taking was supposed to be helping…well this was making me more depressed. Makes sense right? Plus I have a few other things going on in life that are stressing me out too.
Recently I’ve been diving into my mindfulness studies again, and trying to meditate. Meditation doesn’t fix things, but it just makes me be here. I was so caught up in the fact that I was in pain, that is where I was, I was hurting, angry, sad, scared, did I mention angry…oh you would not believe the anger that was popping up! wow! I hate it for Stuart the past few weeks. At least he couldn’t hear the even more snappy things I was saying in my head. ewww.
So, I’m focusing on just being here. I’m taking a lot of deep breaths, and I’m just trying to be me.
On a different note….I’m in physical therapy now to help my hip get a bit stronger and have more range of motion. I have a day in the gym one day a week and a day in the pool one day a week. The pool is wonderful. However, I’ve had to miss a few sessions because of the pesky vertigo. The last PT session, the therapist really showed me that I am not as strong as I thought I was, she kicked my butt!! Whew! However, I’m afraid that the new exercises that I have been doing have aggravated the back injury. I have been in so much pain. The sciatic nerve has been shouting at me. It’s not just yelling on my left side now, it’s screaming on both sides. I’ll talk to her at my next session tomorrow. I may have to go see the spine doc again.
Well….I can’t think of much more to say today.
I don’t know if I’ve covered good, bad, ugly…and a little pretty, or not. But there is some of all in my life.
Good….focusing more on mindfulness again.
Bad….vertigo, migraines, back pain…being really mad there for a while.
Ugly…umm, vertigo sometimes, and you don’t want to see my face when she’s kicking my butt in PT. hahaha
Pretty….My new headache doctor, she’s really pretty – but not as pretty as my Physical Therapist, oh my! The feelings I get from both my new headache doc and my PT.