Mindfulness Monday – Hatred

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“Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world.
By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased.
this is a law eternal.”

~ Buddha

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom,
I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind,
I’d still be in prison.”

~ Nelson Mandela

 

*photo by W. Holcombe.    Love everyone always.  xo

The Boot and The Back

Friday was a normal day.  I didn’t have a lot to do (bored).  I’d been sitting in my chair reading when I got up to let our dog out.  I got about a two feet and I ran into this:20170718_112901

again…..and did this

broken foot

happened…..again.

About 4, or was it 5, years ago, I tripped on my walker and broke my foot.  At least that time I was using it.  On Friday it was just sitting beside me.  I haven’t needed it lately, but I keep it close, just in case.  A little too close to my foot as it turns out.

It hurt, like it does when you stub your toe, I didn’t think it was broken.  It just didn’t hurt enough.   I had this discussion with another chronically ill friend and she said the same thing about when she broke her foot.  It really speaks volumes as to how differently we feel pain.

Stuart talked me in to going to Urgent Care to get it checked out since I’d broken it before,  and was told it would be easier to break again, I decided it’d probably be a good idea.  (I hate to say it, but knowing we have met our out of pocket maximum for the year, made it an easier decision.)  I hobbled in Urgent Care, got checked in and was seen right away.  I had an x-ray and the attending physician said my x-ray showed irregularities.  She couldn’t tell if what she was seeing was all from the last break or if it was a new break.   She thought it was broken, but a radiologist needed to read it to be certain.  I was sent home with The Boot, and the radiologist would call on Monday.  They did, and it is broken.

This time it’s not as bad as it was the first time.  I didn’t twist my ankle or anything like that.  I’ll be in the boot for 4 weeks instead of 12.   It’s hot and heavy, but it is taking good care of my broken foot, for that I love my boot.

On the other end, I started physical therapy (PT) for my back last week.  What’s wrong with my back you ask?  I’m not exactly sure.  I did fall, so I might have wrenched it then. (that was over a month ago).  I had severe akathisia (the need to keep moving) for over a month.  This caused me to constantly tense my muscles.   It’s possible, my back just never calmed down.   I also have arthritis in my neck, this is causing a lot of pain recently.  PT will hopefully help that as well.

So far, I feel like the PT has been aggravating my arthritis.  I discussed this with my physical therapist yesterday and he did a few things differently.  Hopefully, these changes will improve the pain and still help me get stronger.  If not, I know I can talk with him about it and we will work to make it better, to make me better.   I’m so impressed by this office.  Appointments are supposed to an hour long.  As most of us know, that normally means you are actually seen about 45 minutes, sometimes less.   My normal amount of time at this office is 1 hour 15 mins.  Yesterday I was there for an hour and a half.  I hope I get the results I’m looking for, it won’t be for lack of trying.

I’m happy to say that my migraines are still much, much better.  I’ve had a few, but nothing like I was.   I haven’t had a lot of vertigo.  This past week I’ve had a few times where I’ve had really fast spins that last for just a couple of seconds, or very slow movement that I can barely see (but it makes me very nauseous).  Overall, I’m feeling healthier than I have in years.  I don’t know how long this will last, so I’m trying hard to make the most of this time.

I made him cry. Bipolar Rage

Saturday was a day that I will always remember, some very good, some very, very bad.

We started the day running fun errands.  Going to the library, and then to Michaels.  I got a lovely gift card for my birthday.  Can we say…YARN!  🙂  Then we had a fabulous lunch at a restaurant that we’ve been wanting to try.  They focus on sustainable seafood.  I had grilled fish over greens with fresh pickled vegetables.  Then we shared homemade gelato for desert.  It was a divine meal to top off a lovely morning.

Then we got home.  Stuart was doing laundry (something I can’t do) and I noticed that he hadn’t treated a shirt that I asked him to.  I saw RED!  I flew into him.  I was so angry!!  I told him exactly where I was putting 2 shirts that needed to be treated and he was just disregarding what I asked and was going to ruin my clothes…..I have no idea all of the things I said.

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self portrait – w. holcombe

After HOURS of arguing, of me closing myself in the bedroom, then getting mad that he didn’t come after me…..over and over.  It was so bad.  I look  back on it and it is a whirlwind.  However, at the time I could not see that I was out of control.  I felt completely justified in how I behaved.  When for a moment I thought I was overreacting about a silly shirt.  (Both of these shirts are shirts I only wear around the house and to bed.  They could be stained, who would care.  However, even if it had been a $200 shirt, it would not have excused the way I acted.)  I blew up about the fact that I can’t do laundry.  How if I was doing laundry and he told me to treat something I wouldn’t have forgotten (yes, I was suddenly perfect!)  He just didn’t pay attention because he didn’t want to do it…..ect, ect.

Finally, it was 10pm and Stuart was trying to go to bed, but I wasn’t finished.   I was still all upset.  It would appear I was calming down now and then throughout all of this, but then it would come back full force.  That’s what happened at bed time.  I was getting ready for bed, then I fell apart, and started yelling again.  I then left him to the bed and said I would see him the next day.  Soon he came out and wanted to talk.  Fine.  Talk.  He was so confused.  He wanted to know what had changed.  He told me that I have been very defensive for the past few weeks.  I’ll be fine one moment then snapping at him for no reason.  He said I’ve been taking much of what he says in a negative way.  I just sat there and fumed.   He then broke down.  He wanted to know if he had changed, had he caused this change in me?   I made my husband cry.  At that moment, the rage lifted, I still felt it’s presence but I took a deep breath, calmed myself and came back to center.  Suddenly I felt relief.  Then I thought: “What have I done?”

It’s been a long time, I didn’t even recognize the signs.

Bipolar Rage

 

All this mess with my medication, well it appears I’m not on the right mix yet.

But do I blame all of this on medication?  Why did I not realize I was being more confrontational then usual?   Normally, I’m very aware of changes in my behavior.  I know when things are off,  I’m very proactive about it.  This time, I was blind sided.  All of my coping strategies out the window.  How can you incorporate coping strategies when you don’t see anything is wrong?

I’m much more aware now.   I’m doing a lot of deep breathing exercises and trying to meditate more.  Exercise would be good, but I’m not allowed to do that until my back gets better.  (I haven’t mentioned I hurt my back yet?  I’ll try and write that up soon)  I’m trying to stay in this moment and not beat myself up over what happened on Saturday, or what has been happening over the past few weeks.   Remembering to be gentle with myself.  And I’m pampering my husband as much as I can.  He needs to know that it isn’t him.  He needs to know that no matter how bad I act, I still love him and would NEVER hurt him on purpose.

 

Read more about Bipolar Rage:

Bipolar & Anger: Getting Control of Irritability and Outburst

Bipolar Disorder and Anger: Stuck on the Rage Road.

Bipolar Disorder Symptoms and Triggers  this gives a rundown of all the symptoms associated with Bipolar Disorder.  It’s not just mania and depression.

Sitting is a Luxury

This will just be a short update on what’s going on with me and Akathisia. (literally meaning “inability to sit”).  I found a great article explaining this complex side effect to various psychotropic drugs including antidepressants and antipsycotics.  If you’re interested: Akathisia by the RxISK Medical Team.

The turmoil I have experienced with akathisia has been unbelievable.  The need to move has been overwhelming.  I can’t express how intense this sensation has been, it was consuming every part of my life.  You can read more about my experience with this side effect in my post “I can’t be still”.

I saw my psychiatrist last week and she took away one of the new medications, but kept me on an antidepressant that often helps with akathisia.  I’m happy to say that I’m much, much better.  I feel that sitting still is such a luxury.

Finally after a more than a month the restlessness is easing.  I still feel figetty and just want to shift and move a bit, but I no longer feel the need to pace until I drop, with still the need to move.   My back is still very tense.  The muscles have been tense for over a month, they simply do not want to settle.  I’m in a quite a bit of pain because of it.  I think I may need physical therapy to help calm it down.  I’ll be seeing my primary care doctor next Friday for my 6 month visit, I’ll see what she has to say then.

How about side effects with the new medication?  After all, can an drug actually cause no side effects?  I’m not sure it’s the medication that’s causing it but I’m having a hard time with my cognitive function.  That, sounds like I’m brain dead, I promise I’m not, I’m just having a hard time thinking.  I have brain fog and I’m very easily distracted, or my short term memory is shot….I’m not sure which, after all my brain is not thinking clearly.  Hopefully this is a side effect that gets better.  If not, we may be on the search for a new antidepressant.  sigh.

I promised this would be short, I’m keeping my promise.

I’m leaving you with a few articles about Akathisia that I found useful during all of this.  I learned so much.  I’m surprised I haven’t heard of this before.

 

Mindfulness Monday – Pain

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“Do not resist your pain.
Surrender to the grief, despair, fear, loneliness,
or whatever form the suffering takes.
Witness it without labelling it mentally.
Allow it to be there.
Embrace it.
Then see how the miracle of surrender transmutes
deep suffering into deep peace.”

~ Eckhart Tolle

 

“With mindfulness we have the choice of
responding with compassion to the pain
of craving, anger, fear and confusion.
Without mindfulness we are stuck in the
reactive pattern and identification that
will inevitably create more suffering and confusion.”

~ Noah Levine

 

*image taken by S. Holcombe, permission is required for use.

I can’t be still…….

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Today is the first day I’ve had any relief from the restlessness caused by my medications.  In my post about my side effects I mentioned that my antidepressant caused me to have restlessness and my doctor put me on something else to counteract the side effects.  I thought it was going to work at first, but it didn’t.  She changed the medication to a new one that should have helped with the side effects, instead it made it worse.  And my hair started falling out!  (not in clumps but my brush has to be cleaned at least twice a day)

The restlessness has been severe.  On Thursday I was at my therapist office pacing, and sobbing as I couldn’t be still and my muscles have been so fatigued they just can’t keep going.  I’m amazed I haven’t lost a ton of weight. (I have lost some, just not a lot compared to how much I’ve been moving)  I’ve been moving constantly.  and I do mean c-o-n-s-t-a-n-t-l-y!  I don’t feel like I can portray just how horrible this is.  I feel like my muscles in my back are tightening up all by themselves.  My back HURTS.  I just need to move.  It is very hard for me to sit here and type this post because I really NEED to be up and moving.  And yes, this is a better day.

My therapist talked with my psychiatrist while I was in the office.  She was concerned I might be going manic.  I’m not.  I do feel a little like it, the motion, the antsy feeling….but it’s different than this.  This is different.  It is in no way good.  When mania first starts with me, it feels good.  (unfortunately, that’s why people shy away from treatment so often, it can feel good, but things change)  I think my psychiatrist finally understood just how bad it was.  I don’t think the messages she was receiving portrayed the situation correctly.  Poor Stuart was calling her office a LOT.

After she talked with my therapist she changed up my medications.  Possibly because I said I wanted to be off anything that MAY cause restlessness.  Just start over.   Yes, I’m risking my sanity by switching antidepressants, but I’m doing well and I’m very aware of what I’m doing so if I start getting depressed I’ll know what is causing it.  That is the first step in dealing with it for me.  I know it will stop.

I wrote the previous part of this post yesterday (Saturday), today I’m not doing well at all.  I don’t know why I felt somewhat better yesterday, today is hard.  I wish I knew exactly what I have.  The name it is called.  She mentioned kinesia, but that encompasses so much.   From what I’ve read it sounds like I have Akathisia (A feeling of muscle quivering, restlessness and inability to sit still, sometimes a side effect of antipsychotic or  antidepressant medication – Mayo Clinic)   I’ve  been reading that some of this can become permanent.  “Please do not let this last forever.  Please don’t let it last much longer.”  I really feel like I just can’t deal with it much longer.  This is the stuff a nervous breakdown is made of.  My mental health drugs have caused extreme physical changes, this hasn’t been helping my mental state of mind, but I’m not manic or majorly depressed at this moment.  yes, I’m a little depressed, but who wouldn’t be under these circumstances?

Unfortunately, today is a bad motion day.  I do have moments where I feel somewhat normal, but that is normally when I’m really concentrating on something else.   I just want to get up and move.  But moving really doesn’t help the feeling get better.  I just NEED to do it.  I’ve never had a feeling like this and it is very hard to explain, I hope I’ve made it understandable.

I’m confident that things will get better, but I must admit I have the fear in the back of my mind that it won’t get better.  Then I try to bring myself back to the present and deal with it one moment at a time.   I CAN DO THIS!

 

*all artwork on Picnic with Ants created by Wendy Holcombe unless otherwise noted.  Please do not use this image without permission.

Side Effects….again.

I’m happy to say, for the most part, I’m doing well; but I’m having a heck of a time with side effects from one of my medications.

Normally I don’t mention the names of medications I’m having troubles with, but feel this would get confusing if I don’t use their names this time.  Please remember that medication side effects hit different people differently.  Some will have no side effects, others will be allergic.  Be smart about your medications.  Keep up with your side effects and discuss them with your doctor.

I’ll start from the beginning of this tale.

Last year my psychiatrist put me on Latuda for Bipolar Depression and it worked very well.  I was very impressed.  However, in January when I had to pay over $1000 every month for Latuda until my deductible with my insurance was met.  I decided to try a new medication.

Enter Geodon.  My psychiatrist had seen similar results from Geodon as with Latuda, so we decided to give it a try.  It didn’t help my moods as much, but I wasn’t on a high dose.  Then the muscle spasms started.  My back started hurting so much.  I could not get comfortable.  This can be a side effect of Geodon.  At this point I had met my deductible so I went back on Latuda.  I was sure all would be fine then, but it wasn’t.

It took me a while to understand what was happening to me.  I simply could not sit still.  It got worse, not only could I not sit still, I felt the need to pace.  I would pace the house.  I would exercise throughout the day.  I just had to keep moving.  It was driving me crazy.  I had a lot going on this past month so it was difficult for me to figure out it was Latuda causing my problems.  I just never suspected it, I didn’t have side effects when I was on it before, but evidently when you go back on a medication it can produce new side effects.  Finally I decided to look up the side effects for every medication I am on.  I wasn’t even going to check Latuda because I had no side effects before, but I decided to look them up.  One of the first side effects listed that you need to discuss with your doctor is restlessness.  I hate it was my beloved Latuda, but glad we figured it out.  I really have been going crazy.  Having to move all the time is overwhelming.

I told my psychiatrist how I was so restless and how it gets worse within 30 minutes of taking Latuda.  She said, “shit”.  She’s a really cool doctor, she was just saying what I was feeling.  Aw Shit!  Now what?  We decided to add a drug (Cogentin) that will help with the side effects instead of taking away the Latuda at this point.  Latuda has helped my depression so much, I hate risking my mental health by changing antidepressants, but I also hate taking a medication to stop the side effects of another drug.  Not a good place to be in right now.  I’ve decided to try the Cogentin for a while.  I may decide to change antidepressants in the future.  If the Cogentin doesn’t work, I’ll be going off of the Latuda if I want to or not.

I started the Cogentin yesterday and I have to say, I feel much more calm.  I’m a little antsy, but I’m not pacing.  I can sit still for a bit at least.  I hope it keeps on working and works even better.

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photo by w. holcombe

I had to drastically cut down on my knitting because my back was hurting pretty bad.  Today I’m able to knit more.  That’s a huge improvement.

I’ll close today with a short list of things I’m grateful for right now…..

I’m so grateful that most everything with my health is doing well.  I haven’t had a flare in quite some time, even though I pushed myself too hard recently.  I’m grateful that I have such a great psychiatrist, who listens and is willing to help me find the best solution.  I’m grateful that is seems the Cogentin is working.  I’m grateful I have friends I can reach out to when I’m not feeling my best and they “get it”.  I’m grateful for my blogging family.  I’m grateful I can knit again!

and….I’m grateful for you.