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.

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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*

Slipping And A-Sliding

After about a solid month of being in either a fantastic mood or really good mood, things are finally feeling familiar again.

And by familiar, I mean shitty.

I’ve shied away from blogging as much as I usually do (which means maybe I’m posting a normal amount) because trying to force the happy face online and in person is a bit much, but fuck it.

I wonder how much the fear of one’s mood crashing in the back of one’s mind could contribute to a mood slippage. Or make it happen sooner, anyway. Hmm.

“Things haven’t been right with you all week,” Sam told me on Saturday night after I snapped at him over something trivial, as I had been doing the past couple of days.

Well, no, they haven’t, as my lovely mood chart confirmed. Over the past week things have been nosediving. I guess I should be happy that I had a nice little run–and I am–but it’s also frustrating to know how good I could feel versus how I actually feel.

I hate that, though–the snapping at people. It’s one thing to be in my own personal sorta hell because of my moods, but taking it out on others? Not good. And even when I do refrain from being snappy or grouchy, I wonder if they sense how much I’m seething underneath, how much darkness is there.

I know this will pass eventually and then I’ll be back at…something. I’m not quite sure what normal is for me yet. But for now I’m trying not to let those thoughts consume me again, push those feelings away as much as I can. According to the shrink, this shouldn’t be as rough as in the past or last as long, so here’s hoping she’s right.

On a somewhat related note, the new mood chart app I switched over to several weeks ago, called T2 Mood Tracker, has yielded interesting info. You can track several moods or even input your own stuff. I did this to track hypomania (along with depression and anxiety), since the mood tracker I was using only let you say things were good or bad. Not enough information.

Anyway, this tracker shows that my anxiety and depression symptoms are almost always inline with each other. When the anxiety is low, the depression symptoms are low. When the anxiety is high, the depression symptoms are also high. What does this mean to me? I dunno just yet, but thought it was interesting.