What’s Wrong With You?

I made it back to the pharmacy last night to pick up my prescriptions and had the kids in tow. Sam was feeling sick and threw up (even though he made a rather suspicious recovery when I brought the tacos in), so I took the kids to pick up drugs and supper, since my stove hates me.

“Mommy, why are we picking up medicine for you? Is something wrong? I thought Daddy was the sick one,” Little Man asked.

I had just pulled up next to the window to get my meds, but quickly told him that I was fine.

After giving the pharmacy tech my name, she said she had three prescriptions for me and asked if that was right.

“Yep,” I answered, since I was picking up the Prazosin, the increased Lamictal, and Ambien.

“Holy crap!” Little Man shouted out. “That’s a lot of medicine! What’s wrong with you?”

I ignored him and handed over my ID and debit card.

“Mom,” LM said sharply after I was given my medicine and pulled away from the window, “is there something you aren’t telling me? There’s something bad wrong with you, isn’t there? We’re always getting medicine for you.”

I sighed. It’s hard to know what to say exactly. I’m not telling him the diagnoses, of course, but figuring out what’s age appropriate that also won’t lead to ten million questions that further put me on the spot is easier said than done.

“I’m fine. People just need medicine sometimes,” I told him.

“Well, what’s yours for?” he asked. “You don’t look sick.”

“Not all illnesses are obvious,” I answered. “You don’t have to be sick in the way you’re thinking–fever, throwing up, sore throat–to need medicine. You know how you have trouble at night [with wetting the bed] and how your doctor said there’s a medicine that could help with that–it’s like that.”

“Then what’s wrong with you that I can’t see?”

“Different things.”

“Tell me one.”

I was quiet for a moment, thinking of what to say.

“Come on, I’ve told you my secrets that I wouldn’t tell anyone else. You won’t tell me at least one thing?” he prodded.

“Well. You know how I have a hard time with sleep and how I get moody sometimes?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he answered.

“Two of the medicines are to help with sleep and one is to help with my mood.” Okay, that wasn’t such a difficult explanation after all.

“Well, that’s good,” LM said. “I hope they help.”

“Me, too.”

At least I wasn’t picking up birth control. 😉

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Medication Changes

After putting off my appointment to see the shrink last month, I had to go in today. I had a few things to talk about–anxiety and the nightmares. I also wanted to talk about my mood swings and see about lessening depression symptoms.

I had everything written down on a note on my iPhone, that way I wouldn’t blank on what I needed to discuss as I usually do.

Despite the preparedness, things didn’t get off to the best start though. Almost as soon as I pulled up into the parking lot, I realized I had forgotten to put my hearing aids in after my shower.

Fuck, fuck, fuck. 

Cue an anxiety attack. (Good thing I got there early.) It really shouldn’t be that big of a deal, since the shrink knows I have difficult hearing and helped out by sitting beside of me when my battery died before, but it was in that moment. I considered canceling it at the last minute and coming back another day, but didn’t since the office is an hour from my house and juggling things to make sure Sam can watch Baby Girl for these appointments isn’t always easy.

After getting myself somewhat calmed down, I went in and signed in, but still felt very off. When the shrink came out to call me back and we sat down, she made a few comments that I couldn’t hear, so I let her know what was up. She moved to sit on the couch beside of me and commented that it didn’t look like I was having a good day.

“No. Like I said, I forgot my hearing aids, which has made me feel extremely anxious.” Plus some other stuff was going on this morning and my mood was shit, but it was mostly the anxiety.

She asked how my family was then got down to business. “How’s the depression?”

I showed her my mood chart so I could point out the depression free couple of weeks I had, then showed her how the depression is still higher than I’d like. (Well, I would like it not to be present at all, but I’m pretty sure that’s not happening.) It’s improved compared to six months ago, but still present a lot of the time and can make things pretty fucking tough.

“Damn, your anxiety is all over the place, too. Not a lot of hypomanic days,” she commented, looking over the three months worth of mood logs.

“No. There are days where my mood is all over the place–up and down, normal and down, lots of shifts within the same day sometimes, but that isn’t really represented on the chart, since I can only do one log for each thing.”

“Let’s see what we can do about that. How would you feel about increasing your Lamictal a little? Not a lot, but just enough to see if it helps with depression and the mood swings. If it doesn’t we can try a higher dose or something different.”

I told her that was fine. I’m a little wary of Lamictal, between reading about others’ reactions to it and knowing how my memory is getting spottier by the day (side effect), but she didn’t want to increase it by a lot, either, so I’m willing to try.

I then told her about the nightmares, which she thinks is probably due to things getting stirred up in therapy. She asked if I’d be comfortable trying a new pill at night called Prazosin. It’s an alpha-blocker that, in addition to treating high blood pressure, it also helps with anxiety and nightmares related to PTSD. So I’ll start that tonight, if I’m able to get back to the pharmacy before it closes.

I have to go back in a month to see how things are going with the increased Lamictal and the Prazosin. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that this helps cross things off my mental health Santa list.

A Mental Health Santa List

For the past few weeks, my husband has played Radiohead’s No Surprises when rocking Baby Girl at night. It plays over and over until she falls asleep. Every night he’s played the song, a super depressed feeling hits me right around the chorus.

Weird, I thought the first few times. But then I started wondering why and it hit me–the last time that song got stuck on repeat like that was when I was going through a really bad depressive period earlier this year.

After maxing out Wellbutrin and Zoloft and feeling even more depressed, my doctor switched me over to Effexor. That made things even worse, and I decided to quit that, on top of the sleep pill and anxiety pill I was taking regularly at the time.

Not a great idea. At all.

Between barely sleeping for days, the depression, feeling like I had the flu, experiencing brain zap after brain zap, and generally feeling like I was coming out of my skin, things sucked. Towards the end of that withdrawal period, Baby Girl got sick and I was up all night with her sleeping on my chest in the recliner.

That song was playing the entire time.

The only thing that’s more maddening than all of the withdrawal stuff and being up all night again is both of those things while hearing the same song at least 50 times back to back.

While thinking about that, I realized that it’s been almost seven months since I was diagnosed with Bipolar II and started the mood stabilizers. That doesn’t seem like a long time, but it’s just under half of Baby Girl’s life. And it’s been almost five months for therapy.

A lot has happened this year mental health wise. Hopefully next year will be more boring on that front.

While on the mental health stuff, I have an appointment with the shrink coming up next week, so I’ve got to start analyzing the past four months and figure out what I’m going to say. My mood chart has been all over the place for the most part, so I’m not sure there’s any point in continuing that. It’d be great if I could pick up on some trends, but there’s nothing there.

Off the top of my head, there are some things I’d like to see change: the number of nightmares and times I wake up throughout the night with anxiety attacks reduced; a decrease in anxiety (which gets worse at night); less mood swings, especially the ones throughout the day; more consistent “normal” feeling (which I had for a solid 2-3 weeks); less days where I feel completely depressed.

Do I sound like the kid who puts a ton of super expensive toys that his parents couldn’t possibly afford on his Santa list?

Hopefully the shrink will be able to figure something out at least on the sleep front. If that’s improved, then maybe I’ll see improvement with the other things.

Well, I’m off to get myself ready for a Halloween party Sam and I are attending tonight. I couldn’t come up with anything interesting this year, but I did find a hat and beard combo at Target, so I decided to go as E the Dude. I’m sure I’ll write a post either talking about having an amazing time or complaining about social shit tomorrow. 🙂

 

Exactly Like Eeyore

“I offered Andrew one of my Pokemon cards today,” Little Man told me after I picked him up from school one day last week. “He doesn’t have any and I wanted him to have one.”

Aw. “That’s sweet,” I told LM. “You’re a good friend.”

“The weird thing is, he didn’t act like he wanted it at first. He said he’d have to think about it. Andrew is a lot like you, Mom.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah, he’s really quiet. And moody. And thinks a lot. But he isn’t funny like you.”

Well, at least I have my sense of humor.

“You guys are kind of like Eeyore. Exactly like Eeyore. He doesn’t get excited or really happy over anything. Even when his friends are having fun, he’s just like ‘whatever.'”

Okay, then.

Truthfully, I’ve never paid much attention to any of the Winnie the Pooh movies. I didn’t watch it as a kid, and the bit I’ve watched as an adult I found too annoying because of Tigger. My husband thinks they’re awesome, though. Thanks to the little I have seen as well as the memes posted on Facebook, I know that Eeyore is pegged as the depressive one, though.

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All things considered, I guess it makes sense that he associates me with Eeyore. Except for my sense of humor (unless Eeyore is funny in his way). Even when I’m not depressed, I’m still fairly quiet and reserved with my behavior. And I doubt the high feeling hypomania causes is obvious to him, outside of me running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Even if it is, it’s certainly not part of my normal behavior.

So why am I writing this? I think that comment would probably have made me feel like an awful parent a few months ago. I don’t care too much, now, though. I am who I am, and Little Man will learn more about what makes his mom tick as he gets older. But I’m not apologizing for that, nor will I glue a fake smile on my face or fake enthusiasm. LM is a good bullshit detector (with me), and I’d rather him see his mom for who she is rather than think I’m a fraud. Some people might consider their child associating them with Eeyore (or otherwise not being smiles all or most of the time) as a bad thing, but I consider it progress for me since it indicates that I’m becoming more accepting of who I am.

And in case you were wondering, LM said the boy did end up taking the Pokemon card after thinking about it. “He didn’t act excited to get one, but I know he was happy because he’d talked about wanting them before, but said his dad thinks they’re too expensive.” I love how he thinks of others.

The Wrong Side of the Bed

“You sure woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.”

I can hear my grandmother’s words as plain as day. She’d tell me this (when I lived with her from ages 15 to 21) when I’d wake up in a foul mood. Which was often. I’d feel absolutely miserable, like I hated the world and wanted no part of it. Like I wanted to cease to exist. And not understanding these feelings would piss me off greatly on top of it. 

When I felt like this, I’d often go in silent mode to keep from biting off anyone’s head with my words. I could go days without speaking to anyone at school beyond a few mumbled words. I’d isolate myself from my friends (and I use the word “friends” loosely), and in most classes, a quiet student was a good student, so no problem there. 

Care to guess which side of the bed I woke up on this morning? Sam has already asked me half a dozen times what’s wrong and what he can do to help.

My answer: nothing. Because I don’t know. 

It’s so fucking frustrating to suddenly feel empty and angry at the world at the same time for no obvious reason. After days of feeling quite normal and good, at that. 

Maybe it’s just the random bad day everyone is prone to having. Maybe it’s due to being cooped up for a few days. (As introverted as I can be, I hate not leaving the house for more than one day.) Maybe it’s the two weeks of rain having an effect. Maybe it’s the several nights of what seems like constant nightmares screwing with me. Maybe it’s all or none of the above. 

All I know is that the next time I feel inclined to write a post (which is gone now since it seems like such a joke) about having a stretch of good days, I’ll find something else to write about, as it seems every time I do, I jinx the hell out of myself. 

*fingers crossed for a better tomorrow*