Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Very brief

I stayed out of my room 4 hours today.  The let me have my headphones to block noise.   I need to go back there now though.
I made a collage and actually had a really good time.  Anything that is easy and lets me focus helps so much. 
I just changed my sheets and have clothes in the washer.  I may get out Tuesday, although I realized I'd rather wait for Wednesday.  That lets me see Dr. Mind the day after I get out and I am still wobbly enough to need that.
Regardless, I'm better today and I got my diet restrictions modified which makes me love my doctor.
Only thing is that there is nothing going on here on weekends.  One 30 min group I hated. 
The good thing is that the group I hate the most doesn't seem to happen on Friday.
i have many pages of notes to tell you all about this this.  I've filled half a notebook since we got them Wednesday.
Guess that shows how much I miss you all.
Just Me

It's Just Me for a Brief Moment

I do have the ability to post remotely via email.  It's just been easier to ask Julia to do it because she could make things coherent when I wasn't, she could put together all the pieces of several emails when I'm living so much minute to minute that I couldn't.  And that's still true, and I'm going to impose a little longer, although I will probably post as I can now.
However, I wanted to take a quick minute while the computer is totally free and i'm alone to share that not only do I feel a little better for the 2nd day in a row (yesterday had 3-4 really nasty hours and otherwise was ok), I have finally (after 5 1/2 days) figured out how to brush my teeth with the stupid auto-off sink.  all  you have to do is have your belly touch the sink and arch your back and don't bend forward ever and the water runs long enough to succeed.  It's painful and a choke risk, but it's at least possible.
(See, I'm feeling better......)
Starting to make a long list of things I look forward to when I leave.  It's weird what some are.
I'm also writing about each day.  I did that last night because I am already blurry on some of the week and I want to remember.  I also have a list of thoughts going, so lots of blogging to come.
Thank you all for your support.  You can't know what it has meant and still means.  I've reread every email I've received a few times.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Another Day

I'm pretty sure that it's just another day to Just Me, but she is heading into to the weekend, so I worry about the routine and staff and the impact of change on her. Things in hospitals are just loose on the weekends.

Just Me's first email this morning (1 of 4) so that she has a record of what is going on sounded pretty upbeat, all things considered. She'd had a decent breakfast, felt a little groggy but slept okay, needed an anxiety med, but didn't feel like "crawling up a wall."

She thinks she will be there until mid-week, which is what has her asking for another week off work. She didn't want to return home mid-week or later and then have to go to work on Monday. I think that is good planning on her part and just more proof how she is her own advocate.

She reported the meds were making her very VERY thirsty. And that she was quite enjoying art therapy.

She's having some food issues - mostly wanting different food than she is being served or requested. They've put her on a special diet because of the new med. But she is very emotional. She was very emotional when a package arrived from her mom and didn't contain the puzzles she'd wanted.

I think her emails sound better than a couple of days ago and it seems her concentration is better.

Hoping the weekend bring more peace for Just Me.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

What I know.

Just Me slept much better last night. She felt good she asked for Seroquel. She slept through the middle of the night checks (for patient safety).

But she has been anxious and mostly in the mornings so she's looking for a new med. She thinks she looks awful. She is talking more to people and she said she laughed twice Wednesday night during group - which I think is a huge plus.

Everything she has emailed me has been real. But to me, the most honest thing was, "And I only sort of want to kill myself."

She's also been eating a little bit and she saw the sign of evening wanting to eat as a good one. Clothes aren't fitting and the staff made her consult with a nutritionist. It all might result in her having to add a supplement.

I figure that is one reason she is there; everyone else gets to monitor everything else. She just has to exsist until meds kick in the way we hope.

She says that baby steps are feeling like big steps, you know?

Just Me emailed me a panic email in the middle of the day because her work emailed her about here "resignation" - um...she didn't resigned. I guess in interest of her privacy the higher up kept some paper work private to not let people know where she was and assumptions were made and now all it good. But she didn't need that today. Anxiety rose, and meds were needed.

In an early evening note to me she said that she was feeling better, that she'd had a real conversation with someone for the first time, but was still feeling very anxious. Hoping, hoping med adjustments comes through (tonight maybe?). There was mention of meds keeping her from climbing the walls, but she lost me a bit on that sentence. It was about med adjustment pending though, so hopefully that happens for her. Oh, and no blood draws for the day. She was happy about that.

All in all I think JM sounds better. I am not sure she would agree. But her notes to me are not as desperate sounding.

Prayers and good thoughts are still needed. Thanks.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ups and Downs

Just Me emailed me a few times today, uncensored. She was feeling very down and frustrated all the way to better.

The facts...
Just Me was very appreciative of the emails/comments. She said she really needed them today. She was having a "very, very hard time" with the lack of antidepressant.

During the day, she cried for 2 plus hours until they gave her more sedatives and let her sleep a few hours.

She hasn't eaten much (not surprising to me).

Just Me asked to have the Serequel increased to help her calm down and she also has 2 anxiety meds.

She did get her patch this morning (new med). She doesn't know how long it takes to enter the blood. She is hoping to feel better in a few days, but for know she's feeling worse.

Tonight she sent a quick note saying she was feeling better and good enough to eat a little and participate in group for the first time today. She didn't feel so much like sobbing, so I am seeing this as progress in the right direction.

She felt like sleeping.

And with that she wrote, "Good night."


Please keep Just Me in your thoughts and prayers. Directly from Just Me this morning:

However you want to pass this on, I'm really struggling right now. I had a very bad night and a bad experience I'll write about when I'm home. I never realized how very much control I gave up when I signed that green paper.

I'd really appreciate prayers.

On the other hand, I can tell you that I've mastered the dance (literal) required to brush my teeth with the stupid automatic sink that works only if I step up and back while brushing, or find a way to wiggle my fingers in front of the sensor while brushing.

And hospital showers, at least where they restrict things so much, might as well be done with the water from a garden hose with low water pressure.

Lots of complaining. Little sleep and a couple of very bad nightmares. One of which I suspect caused some screaming. Also cried for 2 hours last night.

New med today. I hope.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Day 2

I heard from Just Me this morning, of all things she was checking in on my daughter's procedure and on my son. She admits, she's more worried for my son (because of the state of his mental health) than my girl this morning.

There is more to do at the hospital and that is helping pass the time, to stay engaged. Although she prefers to be alone just because of sensory issues; but then staff could see that as troublesome.

She's had her labs drawn, seen an OT for an evaluation, seen the doctors and is happy to be starting the new med tomorrow. Finally. She just wants to get on with it already.

As for the first night, Just Me says she slept okay, all things considered. Plus, she actually ate today. It's been nice to have the pressure off of her while this is going on, so I think she's really relieved to be there.

Oh, and she did cry on the phone with her mom, who is taking care of some things at Just Me's place because she was so unwell recently.

Thanks for the messages, she's really appreciated all of them. Keep'em coming.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Safely Admitted

Just Me reports that admittance went off without a hitch even though the man who did it was sarcastic and impatient. He knew it was a voluntary admittance which made Just Me very angry.

Just Me has a "nice private room." There were tears through most of the time until art therapy today. Later things settled down a bit. For reasons unclear they took away the weighted blanket (to ground the body, promote good rest) and fidgets (things to keep the hands busy) that Just Me brought along. Apparently they were returned later in the day. Oh, and pj bottoms, removed then returned.

No doctors were seen today, but blood was drawn, so someone was overseeing the case. Just Me feels relieved to be admitted. There was computer/Internet access and emailed me three times I was happy to see. Early in the day I got a text message that only said, "Admitting sucks." It wasn't that admitting was going on, but referred to the above mentioned sarcastic/annoyed employee.

I'm usually an end of day updater, but I will make extra effort to check and forward supportive emails from Just Me's readers/supporters. All the supportive, encouraging words can and will be used this week. Feel free to send an email if you don't prefer to leave a comment.

Just Me is one of the bravest people I know.


Here Goes

I'm off. I'm to go to admitting, so I assume my insurance went through. More later via Julia.


I have 10 minutes of getting ready left. I have to call up there in a few minutes to confirm. And then it's time. My cats very clearly know something is up; I've had one or both cuddling for the past 10 hours. My boy-cat (a very, very relaxed boy who last night I noticed trying to track a lady bug; the lady bug was on his nose and he wasn't even trying to get rid of it) discovered last night that he could rest with his cheek on mine. He was so very proud of this discovery; I've never heard him purr so loudly and he is not a quiet cat. We've also played his favorite game: he makes a noise, I try to imitate it back, he makes another, I try again. Each one is more emphatic, like he is trying to show me what I'm doing wrong. The girl-cat knows something is up and doesn't want to leave my side. She's probably afraid the Source of Food is leaving and she might STARVE. She also knows she gets treats when I leave for a while. In Boy-Cat's mind suitcases equal "oh NO!". In girl-cat's mind suitcases equal "oh YES!". (To be fair she also really likes to travel. She and I made many long trips back and forth to grad school, 8-10 hours each way depending on where my mother lived. She's the road-tripping kitty).

I'm pretty close to fully being in a mixed state. Well, I am in a mixed state but not as bad as it often is. However, the only thing really left is not sleeping and so I'm sure if nothing is done that will commence shortly. In a way this is bad because I don't sound as bad as I did a few days ago but it's just the mania. Hopefully people who don't know can pick that up. That's one of the hardest parts of my ability to function: I'm so used to acting that turning it off can be really hard. Dr. Mind has said several times in the last few weeks that it is very obvious that coming to see him really helps me relax and has asked why. I never really had a good answer until now: I don't need to act with him and I feel safe enough to stop and be how I am.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

This is why this is ok

For many years I have fought tooth and nail against hospitalization. I've avoided it many times, through a combination of knowing the right language, my doctor knowing me very well, and begging. Up until now if I had needed the hospital like I do now I would still have had a hard time because I was so opposed to the whole thing.

But this is ok because the time is right. For one thing even I am convinced all other options have been tried. That's a big part of it. For another, I know my doctor well enough to know she wouldn't do this without reason. And finally, by some miracle about 6 months ago I realized I wasn't terrified anymore. I even remember saying that to Dr. Mind, pretty much out of nowhere since I was doing extremely well.

It's good when life comes together to work well. I should be there in 14 more hours.........Amazingly I think I'm even going to sleep tonight. I'm tired and haven't even taken meds yet.

The weirdest part right now is the admission. I have read so many admission reports that I know a lot of what they will look at. And that's weird. Like the fact that I'm wearing a shirt that is too large (because I only have shirts that are too large and shirts that are new) and what will undoubtedly be an unruly ponytail because I'm not messing with my hair in the morning (I want to shower tonight which means either soaking my hair in the morning or wearing it back and tomorrow is stressful enough that I want to be comfortable) will make me appear more depressed. Which I guess is true, I'd find other clothes or iron a blouse if I didn't feel like a slug. Although truthfully today more more manicky and I've got some energy. However, it's been daily cycling so tomorrow isn't likely to be manicky.

I didn't expect to be sleepy tonight......


So I guess I'm ready. All that really remains is changing the kitty litter and taking a shower where I shave my legs for the last time for a while.

Then in the morning I call up there, and when I get an all clear I'm off.

I look like I'm moving in. I just wanted to be sure I didn't miss something. So I've got one big and one little suitcase. The little one though contains only my pillow, weighted blanket and SAD lamp.

More nervous posts to come tonight I imagine.

Promises, promises

One of the things that I've discovered while waiting for this hospitalization is that very few people seem to be very open about psychiatric hospitalization. Even the little I've found hasn't answered some of my big questions.

As I've said, I plan to email in a few posts. I don't plan for these to say much though, probably just "doing ok, new med makes me dizzy, they don't have soup here" type of things. But when I am back and well enough I will write about this, as much as I can, so that it is out there. I will write suggested things to pack, because I can't even really find that. What I experience won't be the absolutely typical unit because it is a small and specialized one, but it is a locked unit and the same restrictions will apply. Besides, as units like this become more popular, more of my bipolar/serious depression readers will be on units like this.

I also said I'd repost this before admission. So, here it is:

So, here's where I ask for help from you. During the time I'm in the hospital I'll have access to email. I hope to post from my blog via email, at least a few sentences from time to time. I will be sending my comments and of course usual blog related email to my blog email, masterofirony@att.net . Julia has agreed to check that account for me, make sure things are appropriate for the hospitalized for severe depression recipient, and will forward them to me on my "real" address. I would love to hear from you. Anonymous comments are fine. Just anything to help me remember I'm not as alone as I'm likely to feel. Even a simple "hi" will be much appreciated.Thank you, and thank you simply for reading all of this.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


As a former biology major with a focus on more of the environmental than the stuff that would normally inspire in a current healthcare worker (but those classes were too hard and I only have a biology degree because of a prideful insistence on finishing what I started), from about week 3 I knew it wasn't the life for me), I try to be at least somewhat environmentally friendly. That has caveats of course; I can't manage dishwashing, so to preserve basic hygiene I use paper plates and plasticware. I use environmentally sound products as I can, but where I live they aren't as readily available so I'm not fantastic on that either. But I try where I can.

One source of pollution in water is medication. Not only is it excreted by people into the water, people often flush old pills. It's better to mix them in with yucky trash, like coffee grounds or the like. Which I try to do. But I just realized that it was no longer safe for me to have the whole bottle of antidepressants around. I kept the 2 I need tomorrow and dumped all the rest into the sink. (The type of antidepressants I have been on are pretty lethal in overdose. I have lithium which is also dangerous, but having had serious lithium toxicity totally cured me from ever risking that type of overdose because I wouldn't ever want to survive it. That kind of sick is a once in a lifetime event.)

Since I had quite a large supply leftover (I filled the bottle right before the taper and since I accidentally refilled it instead of something else I didn't have a chance to ask Dr. Brain for a script for far fewer pills as I'd intended), it was a lot of medication. So I'm thinking Cow Pastureville is about to feel a bit uplifted......


So the not being able to wake up or feel like writing at all thing wasn't so much about being tired and was a lot about how severely depressed I am. I realized this after I laid for many hours without being able to do anything, including bothering to eat or go to the bathroom.

Then the agitation hit. I'm almost done packing. I just need one load of laundry to dry. I've even almost finished changing my sheets. That will motivate me to shower.

I've progressed into where I suspected I'd be by now, the place where if I didn't already have the hospital stay planned I'd be going anyway. I think I told Dr. Brain that I'd get there about Saturday, so I was pretty accurate.

I did manage to eat an orange, the first food I've had that wasn't soup, a Nutrigrain bar, candy or a cookie I ate only because I had no other food available 12 hours after I last ate, in over a week. It's been almost 2 weeks since the last time I ever tried to eat something besides those things or oatmeal, which I've also moved past. I hadn't even realized. I've lost just about 10 lbs this month, and I certainly haven't tried.

Earlier today I told a friend that I'm nervous enough about my insurance trying to deny my need to be in the hospital that I would lie if I had to about feeling suicidal. While I am NOT and please don't worry about it, I also realized today that I've reached the point where the only reason I'm not actively suicidal is that I am way, way too tired and because I am very focused on there is an end in sight to this awfulness. If I hadn't arranged this for now I'd be admitted this week anyway, something I sort of knew but now realize is really, really true. So now I just have to be honest when being admitted. Which is harder than I can tell you. If it was Dr. Brain or Dr. Mind it would be one thing, but it's not and I'm so used to putting on my "social face" with everyone else that being like this for the new dr. is going to be hard.

It's actually amusing now to take depression scale and anxiety scales. Because I normally would score with some symptoms, it's pretty funny to see what happens when you score at the absolute top of the scale. Some websites even will send you to a special page about how you need help NOW. No kidding. (ok, so at this point anything that isn't asking questions about what happens is fun.)

I took my meds so I guess I need to get ready for bed. Either I fall asleep very quickly or very, very slowly these days. Impossible to know which.


Right now, yesterday and today, I just don't feel like saying much. That may change and probably will if I begin to feel nervous in the next day or so. For now though, I seem to be out of of thoughts.

Yesterday was tough. I got everything that needed to be done caught up at work. I was smart enough to admit that I wasn't going to eat what was ordered out for lunch and stuck to my soup. I talked to the admission person at the hospital; she was working on my insurance and having a hard time. Apparently it's unlikely to actually be preapproved for admission just on the basis of my doctor says so, instead I'll be approved after the hospital doctor says yes, I'm actually that badly off. I had a really hard time with giving her the info she needed about how I was feeling because I was deeply into "dealing with patients" mode and it's hard to go from that to "I feel horrible" while sounding like that, back to professional in 5 minutes.

I then came home and took enough ativan to really let me sleep soundly and that seems to still be wearing off. Plus I'm just tired. It was a tough week and emotionally draining. And I'm now decreasing my antidepressant fast; it isn't like it is actually doing anything and the sooner the better. So Dr. Brain said I could go down 10 mg last night and then 5 tonight and tomorrow. So that probably is adding to the tired.

So, I'm sure I'll write again today or tomorrow, but I don't seem to be feeling as talkative as usual, so if I'm not writing a ton that's why.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Like getting into college

I've been accepted to the mood disorder unit. Good thing since my dr. emailed this morning that it was the only place she'd let me go. (Which really means she'd make sure I got in there). Nonetheless, I'm accepted. I don't know details yet, but I'm pretty sure I go Monday. Weird to get accepted not on achievements but on pathology.

I told work before I even knew this that tomorrow would be my last day. I just can't do it anymore. Tomorrow will be a long, long day I'm sure.

I had a really nice thing happen. When I saw Dr. Mind he told me how worried he's been about me. Apparently my more appropriate actions during this have earned me new honesty. Anyway, he told me he was less worried today because I didn't seem manic anymore. He was careful that I saw how delayed my speech is, something I'm already aware of because it is getting frustrating. Plus it shows up in writing; I keep spelling things weirdly and using the wrong words or leaving words out. It feels like my thinking has to pass through 20 lbs. of jello on the way out. I also was made aware of exactly how low my functional score is. No wonder I feel so awful. He was also honest enough to tell me this may get worse before this is over. Which I knew but the honesty is so very appreciated.

That wasn't the nice thing. The nice thing was that I now have one more benefit of going where I do and having gone there so long. It's quite likely I'm their longest continuous patient, since I've gone there since it was only a couple years old. The office staff have known me for many years, and the various therapists have helped with finding ways to treat me over the years. They also have at different times taken on coverage when Dr. Mind was away and I've been at risk enough before to have had someone made aware of what I might need. Plus, it's a small place and if nothing else everyone has seen me hanging around waiting rooms. Anyway, I guess at their staff meeting this week they all prayed for me and have continued to do so. That was the thing that actually made me cry today. I can't believe that Dr. Mind even cared enough to do that. I guess I can be sure I'm not just a substantial chunk of his paycheck......

So tomorrow I should find out details of the admission. I hope. They're supposed to call me.

I'll be home this weekend. I've got a lot of comments I want to answer, you've said some wonderful things, but right now I can't. I doubt I will this weekend, but when I get back home I promise responses. I love you isn't a phrase I throw around much, but those of you who have gone out of your way to make me feel cared about and listened to, those of you who just read and who support me quietly, I love you.

More tomorrow after the ordeal of notifying my contract.........

I probably know

I got an email after I was asleep explaining that Dr. Brain requested placement and didn't hear back as quickly as usual. I should be admitted on Monday, and I should know details today.

It is indescribably better to know this.

It also is a good sign of how badly my mind is working that I'm having trouble typing and spelling simple words. Of course yesterday I also left my car key in the door of my parked car all day while I was at work.

I remember once Dr. Mind wanted me to admit myself and I was refusing. I kept telling him I wasn't going to hurt myself. He pointed out that the way I was feeling and acting it was a matter of time before I accidentally hurt myself. I still refused, but now I see his point.

Just a few more days.......

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I don't get this. I mean I do, my stuff must have gotten buried in Dr. Brain's pile after being off for a number of days. But....I haven't heard from her. No call, no email. She's been known to call late, but that was before when she was in private practice, not remotely recently. So, I have spent the whole day jumping when the phone rang, or someone else's phone rang, and furiously rushing through the last 2 hours of my very long day sure that I'd have at least an email. And nothing.

So, I'm giving her a while longer to get back to me tonight. If I haven't heard by the time I'm ready to go to sleep I'll call and leave a message for Dr. Mind that I am getting worse and I need badly to speak to him because I need him to call Dr. Brain. Then I'll explain to him the situation and that I cannot go back to work Monday. I just can't. Today I nearly cried because I'd already had this hugely busy day and got called to go to my 2nd building for 2 evals. I did the minimum possible on both because I could not work any longer than I already had. It had to be done or I'd have had to go tomorrow and that would be even worse, but it still was awful. I can make an 8 hour day, but this week is far beyond those and I just can't. I'm beyond tired and all I want to do is curl up in a ball and sleep.

I hate this. Admitting I can't do something, especially something like this, is so far from my normal that it is pretty much unprecedented, much less my admitting I need a hospital sooner rather than later. And then to not have anything happen, not even a "working on it", or a "if you wait until Monday you can go to the better for you unit", or whatever, is so hard. And it's not like this is all over when she says ok. I have to pre-certify with my insurance, a process I have no idea how to do. I have to find the strength to pack beyond making a pile of things to take. I have to say goodbye to my cats, one of whom has already climbed totally inside my suitcase.I have to tell work.

Even though I know what has happened and I know that I may have been one of 75 people who felt they had an emergent situation, because I'm feeling the way I do it also makes me feel like I'm called "dramatic" and "she'll be fine". I know this is not true. However, I've been trying to get questions answered and telling her I'm not ok for several weeks now and I am angry. If nothing else, she knows I only call if things are really wrong. The last time I called her I was trying to resume lithium and had some toxicity on the dose I was taking. That was 3 years ago. Otherwise I email. But I also know Dr. Mind will effectively take care of it. Hopefully he'll be moderate enough to keep me out of the hospital until I've had time to say pack. I think so, I think he'll listen, but I also suspect he'll be rather unhappy with Dr. Brain.

Maybe it's my fault. I may have understated this with the secretary. Maybe I should have worded it differently. I thought that "the psychologist and I think I need to be hospitalized sooner" should have said it, but who knows how that was typed by the secretary. That has happened before that a message wasn't given as I said and so Dr. Brain didn't react like she would have normally. That required Dr. Mind's intervention as well.

The only thing I know if that this sucks. A lot.

Not a good sign

So it's 7:13 AM, I am not even dressed yet, although I have showered and been waiting for my SAD lamp to shut off (it just did), and I've already had an ativan. This does not bode well for the rest of the day.

I don't want to do this. I had to email my boss with the whole "um I know we worked this out, but it looks like that doesn't matter......." thing. That was great fun. I love messing with things like my income......I guess though that doing horrid work has the same effect.

I don't care to the point I don't even want to find something to wear and iron it. Not interested. I just want to stay home and sleep. Although I've asked to go to the hospital Saturday I am in a way hoping to be told I can see Dr. Mind tomorrow and then go in Friday. I need the extra day so I can organize better, but I just want this over.

Packing for the psych unit is weird. I threw my toiletries in a plastic bag, then realized I can't take it there. I'm cutting strings out of pants. This actually involves destruction with some pairs because the cords are sometimes sewn in. I wish I'd known to look for this. Hopefully I will never need to know again, but I guess if I do I'm experienced now.

So tired of this.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rock bottom

I have a call in and an email requesting admission this weekend. For various reasons I want to try to make it a few more days. But that's as much as I can do. Today started the very non-exciting experience of repeatedly finding myself thinking "I want to die". Not "I want to kill myself", just "I want to die". I'm crying far too easily, I can't think, I'm doing crappy therapy, and I just want to stay home and sleep. That part isn't happening, but I also no longer can see even a possibility of staying out of the hospital more than about 4-5 days. I cannot live like this and the longer I taper the medication the longer it goes on.

Julia has been added as a blog author, or at least she's been invited. Her life sucks now too, so if she's able she can post if I go to the hospital differently than anticipated (I'll email her).

Things are so bad that my mother noticed. Just from my voice. That means it is BAD. (Which I of course had kind of figured out).

So, pretty much falling apart. Need to take meds. Hate the thought because I feel like the meds are making me worse. I know that's not true, but the antidepressant sure isn't antidepressing.

Monday, October 19, 2009

As bad as I thought

Dr. Mind doesn't think I can do this for 3 more weeks either. Dr. Brain is out of town, but I'm under strict orders to talk to her ASAP. I'm definitely showing signs of mixed crap, I'm apparently appearing rather miserable (which is an accurate reflection of how I feel), and I am needing too much ativan and still being agitated. I think hospitalization is imminent, probably within the next week. I honestly don't know how I'm going to be feeling, so I'm not going to promise to be posting much the next few days. I'm so unbelievably tired and emotionally drained. At the minimum I will try to email the blog if I'm admitted, and I'm also going to give Julia the password so she can post for me if that happens. I'm starting to understand that I may not care enough to say much at that time. This could be way worse, but it's starting to scare me.

Julia, I'll try to email you in the morning. Jen, who posted a wonderful comment below, thank you. You are very right, and working some of this out is going to have to be part of my life when I can think again.

Otherwise, i'm going to go to bed now. I think I ate enough to qualify as something and when I finish my juice I then just have to do my relaxation tape and drift off.

What a long, long day and tomorrow isn't going to be pretty either.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

How You Can Help

This is just the first time I'm posting this. I'll post again closer to time, probably a few times if I have control. I'm starting early because I'm beginning to question my ability to do this for 20 more days. I badly want/need to make it about 10 days more due to work staffing, but at that point I may need to go to the hospital. I'm feeling pretty rotten and I do not know if I can manage that long. I'm trying to break it into chunks: make it through tomorrow, see Dr. Mind. Make it to Thursday, see Dr. Mind. Make it to Saturday, sleep as much as I need to for 2 days. Repeat Monday and Thursday with Dr. Mind. See Dr. Brain that Saturday. That visit is key. And if I can make it to that visit I'll make it the final few days, I think. But I'm not sure I can, not without becoming unable to function.

So, here's where I ask for help from you. During the time I'm in the hospital I'll have access to email. I hope to post from my blog via email, at least a few sentences from time to time. I will be sending my comments and of course usual blog related email to my blog email, masterofirony@att.net . Julia has agreed to check that account for me, make sure things are appropriate for the hospitalized for severe depression recipient, and will forward them to me on my "real" address. I would love to hear from you. Anonymous comments are fine. Just anything to help me remember I'm not as alone as I'm likely to feel. Even a simple "hi" will be much appreciated.

Thank you, and thank you simply for reading all of this. I'm seeing more and more errors as I re-read, and I'm sorry. I just don't care enough to fix them.

Just Me

If someone you know is depressed

For anyone in my mother's situation, I figured I might as well point out why I was so upset with her this morning.

If you know something dealing with severe depression, bipolar, self-induced, or not, there are ways to deal with them that will help, and ways that won't. Calling and saying "I'm going to do ________, you're welcome if you feel up to it" doesn't feel like pressure or a demand. Approaching it as "it won't be as much fun without you" is somewhat manipulative and causes guilt, which the depressed person already has enough of.

During the time the person is most ill it is really important to let them determine what they can do. Doing something you don't feel up to because of guilt or because you're being forced to doesn't feel good and it doesn't make me feel one bit better. In fact, it simply increases the exhaustion. We really don't need to do that.

This is a time in a pesron's life when it is best to give in to what they want. If I don't want visitors in the hospital, if I just don't want to see me on a locked unit, then respect that. If I want to be alone it has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with me. I'm not being selfish, I'm trying to survive.

Please do not expect me to argue or give reasons for how I feel. I can't. I'm tired and I don't feel good and I know that some of what I want may not seem to be good for me or that it might not be what you would choose. However, I can only handle existing right now, and I shouldn't have to justify anything I need to do to make that happen.

Don't expect this to be over in a day. No medication works that fast, and the worse you are the longer it will take for it to work. I'm not going to be better all that soon.

Don't minimize this. You might love me, but that doesn't not mean that I'm not just as much at risk for suicide as anyone else. Maybe you've experienced depression. That doesn't mean you have a clue what this is like. I've got plenty of experience with severe depression and even I don't know how this is going to feel day to day.

This is not happening to me because of something I'm doing wrong. In this particular case yes I chose the timing. But it would have happened anyway because the med wasn't effective for me anymore. Spending time outside, going places, not staying in bed so much might make YOU feel like I'm getting better, but all it does is make me more tired.

Don't criticize anything I'm doing to survive. If I need to see the psychologist several times per week, that's what I need to do to be safe and deal with some of the feelings that go with this. If I need to not do something you want me to do, that's me taking care of myself. If I want to be alone, that's normal. If I need to be in the hospital be glad I'm somewhere safe and that I was able to make that decision for myself. Respect that I know what I'm doing and that the professionals I trust know me, know what I can handle, and also know when to insist on more help.

Take nothing personally. No matter what you think is directed at you, it is really about me surving anyway I know how. It won't be pretty. I'm only doing what I have to do. Trust me when I say I'd rather it be any other way. But it's not.

Do not give me the lecture about this is no different than any other illness and therefore I shouldn't want people to treat me differently than if I was in the hospital for anything else. That's a load of crap and we both know it. The psych unit is the ONLY place that they lock you in, that you can't wear shoestrings, that you can't go for a walk if you are physically able, that you spend your days in one group activity after another. It's the only place that minors can visit simply because the patients might be scary. It's the only place my belongings will be searched upon admission and where they will constantly monitor to be sure I've not harmed myself. It is very, very different and I have every right to want to experience this without anyone else forming images of me in that situation.

Remember that I'm probably not telling you everything. I'm not comfortable talking about some of this. I don't like to think about how I am overly aware of how bad some of my pills can hurt me. I don't want to tell you I need the support of the psych unit, and I may need it sooner than I had hoped. I'm not talking about how much I will miss my cats, or my freedom. I'm not talking about how panicky locked units at work make me. You don't get to know everything.

Mainly though, please just be there but limit it to how I ask you to be. If that means talking to me about other things only, then do that. If that means letting me do this my way when you don't agree, let me and don't tell me how you feel. Remember that none of this is about you.

It's all about me. Not the way I want things to be, but right now it is.


Here's how much my mother doesn't get this.

For the first 23 or 24 years of my life one of my best friends was my cousin. We grew up spending as much time together as possible, writing tons of letters, and enjoying sharing out lives. We were 6 months apart in age, so we went through everything growing up simultaneously, although she had the benefit of sane parents.

Sometime in grad school she simply stopped answering my emails or calling me or talking for more than a second if I called her. I took the hint pretty quickly. In the last 10 years we've spoken once. I still have no idea why, what I did that she didn't like, and I still miss her terribly. I also avoid her because it hurts and I have no idea how to demand to know why she decided she didn't like me.

My mother knows this. We've been through it over and over. But she just can't seem to understand that forcing me to spend time feeling hurt won't fix anything.

I just got a call, fairly early for someone who needs as much sleep as I do right now (although I was up), to tell me that my mom wanted me to drive up to see that cousin and her kids today. I said no, citing tiredness, and once again could hear that impatience in her voice. Why am I insisting on sitting around when being out would be good for me? Why not just face the cousin because surely it won't be at all awkward and no painful memories will come ot the surface? In fact, I'm sure we'll be best friends again without a minute.

So it's starting: she's getting mad at me for not doing what she thinks I can/should do.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Someone else's denial/And, what the heck????

One of the things that is hardest with this whole thing is that I'm barely able to handle how I feel, and my mother is incapable of understanding a lot of it. I've written about this before. Too tired to link, but around the end of September.

I keep thinking about this, because the harder it is for me to cope the less I am able to cope with her. I have tried to explain this, but so far that hasn't worked very well. There have been a plethora of comments that have frustrated me, ranging from "a week? But you'll be so bored!" to "What do I TELL people?", to anger that I won't let her visit me (nobody who doesn't understand this may visit, I am not putting on my strong face during this time) to the latest (when told Dr. Mind instructed me to cook now), "You're really going to feel THAT bad after a week?". She has no clue how bad I feel now. She gets upset that I don't want to do things on weekends (she wants to clean my house. I couldn't care less as long as I have clean work clothes). Today I actually called and offered, but without enough advance notice. I needed that extra sleep..... So instead she tried to assign me jobs to do. In my own house. Which is plenty annoying, reminiscent of a big fight the year I moved in about THIS IS MY HOUSE NOT YOURS TO CONTROL, but also just so disrespectful of how I feel. I've tried every way I know to explain that this is going to make me feel rotten. She continually expresses surprise when I even begin to show it.

I can't even begin to imagine how I'm going to handle her during the next couple months. I can't imagine how she is going to take my refusal to participate in Thanksgiving. Dr. Mind says I can blame him, and I will, but my feeling crappy and her not being able to begin to understand this is going to suck. Especially if it gets to the point that I need to point out to her that she needs to calm down, because right now Dr. Mind is telling me that we'll determine if I'm allowed to do Christmas closer to that date. Thanksgiving off was my decision, although he would have told me to think about it if I hadn't. I had no concept of skipping Christmas, but he's right.

I remember several years ago, the year I was so extremely sick with ulcers and lithium toxicity and a mixed episode, and my assistant had been fired and I was working 50-60 hours per week, and I skipped Easter. She gave me an incredibly hard time. I couldn't hold down food, I hadn't had time to myself in weeks and she was angry. So this should be even bigger fun. I'm about half-tempted to have her go see Dr. Mind so he can deliver the news, but first I seriously doubt she'd go (I couldn't even get her to go the Dr. Brain's waiting room when she went with me to an appointment) and second he'd make me be there and I am not comfortable with that. I may have him write a note though. I think he would do that.

And I need to go change soups. 3 down, cooking.

Now for the big question of the day: I know depression has different sets of symptoms, and I know this is bipolar depression, and I know that beyond that I'm bipolar and typically any episode becomes mixed, but for weeks it's been all I could do to stay awake all day. Now, suddenly, I'm about to take a big dose of ativan because I'm far too wide awake. What?????????????

The dividing point

So it turns out that today is the day that marks the end of "this is unpleasant" and becomes "this is getting really awful". Today is the first time I have cried totally unprovoked. Today is the first time I have curled up in a ball and laid in bed doing nothing because nothing is interesting in the least. Today is the first day I've really, really wanted to quit this whole thing and learn to live with the severe side effects and not feeling great of the higher dose.

I've been less and less able to read. The last week or so I'd been playing more computer games, cards and yahtzee, but today I'm not able to do that well. I'm getting upset if I lose, even knowing it's just chance. The cards require strategy so I quit even opening the window a couple days ago.

The cooking actually is ok. I like to cook and this is making me feel like I'm accomplishing something. Plus it is so nice to have lots of choices of foods since I'm so limited on what appeals right now. The rest just is feeling pointless. I am so incredibly tired and nothing is interesting. I don't even feel like writing this, but I promised myself at the beginning to write about going through this, even when it started to get ugly.

So, here goes ugly.

That was informative

Out of curiousity I just did one of those depression inventory things. I knew I wasn't feeling great, but it's also weird because I do not feel as bad as I thought I would. Obviously I still have a ways to go before I get to the worst of this, and some parts of any screening don't make a lot of sense when you have made a decision to do this to yourself, but I took two and both times scored severely depressed, and not just at the low end of that either.

The thing that is amazing though is that while those scores are a little off due to this not just being a random occurence, I truly wouldn't have guessed I was there yet. I have felt so incredibly much worse than I do right now, and I have lived that way for literally years without a break.

It's one of those many times that I am amazed at how little I know about how sick I was. And I am so, so glad I don't remember so much of it. I pray that I wn't remember this time well eventually.

(And for those keeping track, I am now almost done with 2 pots of soup. Lots more to go. I'm going to hopefully get one more done this evening, then I'll throw one in the crockpot before bed, and hopefully I'll get things prepared to start the next without any real work in the morning. I am so glad Dr. Mind told me to do this. I am already so tired it's hard. Next week it would have been too much. I am still so incredibly tired just from the shopping last night.)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Like any good scout

I was a Girl Scout, what seems like a lifetime ago. I made it through Brownies, Cadettes, and part of Juniors. I quit adruptly, the only time my parents ever let me, because of the formation of a very mean clique in my so-called troop. I was always on the outskirts with that group of girls, and I think I only continued so long because my grandma wanted me to, but it came to an ending the day we had a meeting and then everyone but me and one other girl were invited to stay for a birthday party/sleepover. For the most part I never spoke to any of those girls again. But I guess some things stick with you.

Dr. Mind made the very good point yesterday that I need to be prepared with food for the next month or so. I knew that but hadn't really acted on it. All I want to eat right now really is soup, and so I went and bought ingredients to make a lot of crockpot soups and meals, plus one simple cooking meal, and all the things can be frozen. I bought lots of containers to do that as well, along with stocking up on things I'm not going to feel like dealing with/do not feel like dealing with, like toiletries, cat foods, detergent, paper plates and cups, etc. I tend to eat vegetarian-ish things, so I feel like I just bought out the produce department. I bought enough broth to take a bath in (should one choose), and discovered that for some reason vegetable broth is hard to find. Also, some foods are assigned to the ethnic aisle that really could be elsewhere. Like dried black beans. Why not the dried bean aisle? And the store was out of parsnips, of all the odd things. Did parsnip suddenly get popular? I don't really like it, so I'm going to simply skip it, but still. Weird. Regardless, as long as the crockpot is going pretty constantly this weekend I should have quite a bit of food prepared.

Another thing accomplished is picking up some things I get in the city for my mom. Living rurally deprives you of access to certain brands etc.

I also am almost prepared for the hospital in terms of accumulating stuff. I've got clothing pretty much covered, I think. I got my wonderful new weighted "wrap" (which will double as a blanket) today. I see lots of use in it's future. Judging from how I feel now, I am going to want the thing most of the time in the hospital. But it is also wonderful in the car. I think it's going to do a bit of traveling for now. It may even go to see Dr. Mind. Anything that helps keep me calm that is not more ativan. My need for that is increasing, although sometimes I need it and miss it because it's inconvenient. I don't like carrying a narcotic in my pocket, so if I can't sneak to my purse I can't take it. I've got almost enough clothes, etc. Now I have 3 weeks to mentally prepare.

Today was a very, very rough day. I did 5 evals plus one check and discharge because the woman was in better shape than I am. Plus I did several treatments. 3 of the evals were very difficult. One woman had just fallen when I went to see her. Another was in severe pain. The third man has a whole bunch of issues that turned into a total inablity for the patient to stand no matter how much help we gave, and then to keep him from falling we had to do this crazy thing that involved my leg between the other therapist's legs, and then we wound up picking up totally up and laying him down. I hurt. Quite a bit.

Anyway, I need to take pills and sleep for a very long time. More tomorrow. Be watching for my new post, how you can help me.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

An odd (lovely) problem

As I've been talking about incessantly for months now, I have been losing weight. Since January I have now lost 44 lbs. My goal is to get to 50 by the end of the year. At the rate I'm losing lately that will be more like by Thanksgiving.

This is wonderful. I'm healthier, I look so much better, I've got more energy, etc. But one thing nobody tells you about losing that kind of weight: It is EXPENSIVE. In January I wore a size 20 pants and 1X to 2X shirts. I now wear size 14 pants (12 in the jeans I just bought), and size XL to Large tops. For a time I transitioned from my regular clothes to scrubs. Those no longer fit, and before I started this job in August I bought new clothes. They fit then. I've then had to buy long-sleeve blouses, new pajamas, clothes for the hospital, new jeans (which I had to go to buy wearing jeans 4 sizes too big because they were all I had), etc. And now that I have enough pretty much? I haven't been hungry thanks to the med thing, and I'm down another pants size. Which means that my work pants lasted a whopping 2 months. I've been trying to ignore it because I simply have used my clothes budget for a very long time, but today I realized I don't have a choice. In the next week or two I have to get new pants. I'm trying to hold out because I'm probably approaching a size 12, and I don't want to spend the money on 14s which are likely already starting to get loose. But I also don't want to run around with my pants falling off.

It's really a small problem in the scheme of things. But my inability to cope with things is growing and this is gnawing at me. For now I'm hoping I can make it until I go to the hospital, and then I'll buy whatever size I need before I go back to work. I think I can make it 3 weeks. But truthfully that may be pushing it; I'm losing 2-3 lbs. per week right now and I doubt these will make it 6 more pounds.

And I have no ability to problem solve right now. And so I worry. Worry is very, very bad........

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

One very good thing

One of the things that has been stressful is that part of my job is that I work in places in 13 week chunks. I can either be renewed or move on at the end of that period. It's nice because it made it easy to time my 2 weeks off to be in the hospital. It's tough because every 13 weeks things change.

I was really hoping that I'd be able to continue this contract. The last thing I really need is to have to start working somewhere new when I feel bad. I didn't know if they'd be interested or if they'd be able to swing my time off. I just got home to a brand new renewal contract. Which means I do not have to face the stress of a new job environment when I still won't be feeling fabulous and at the busiest time of the year. I am so very happy about this. And it means I can do something that will be at least somewhat fun: in the last week before I go to the hospital I'm going to bring a Chinese lunch in for everyone. I won't be able to eat Chinese after I start the MAOI because I can't have soy/soy sauce, so that will be a nice last time to eat it for who knows how long.

Today was better. I didn't take ativan at all. I probably should have, but the time to take it passed while I was on the just-had-fluoride-can't-drink period after the dentist (1 cavity, one filling to replace. Blagh). I got caught up on paperwork that was a bit behind, and (crap, I forgot to fill out a form though), and I got home relatively early. Talking to Dr. Mind yesterday helped. Thursday we're going to record the session, so that I can listen to it and be calmed (hopefully) at home. Some of the anxiety is simply because I have limited people to talk to about this.

I'm also hopeful that Dr. Mind may know more when I see him. He said originally he was going to call Dr. Brain, but he hadn't yet. He told me last night he'd try to do so this week. If he has he'll know some of the facts that I'm impatiently waiting for. I hope. They communicate well (they used to work together), so that is a very good thing. I'm pretty sure he'll get some of that information because he knows some of what I'm questioning.

Otherwise, focusing on reading and writing (and any movies, DVDs, etc) is getting a little more difficult. Please forgive me if I'm hard to follow as this goes on. Writing here helps more than I can explain, but it also is done when I'm tired. Also please forgive me when I'm slow to answer emails. I really am trying. It's just hard to make sense and say what I want to say. I'm starting to place Freecell more and more because I can do that and the hint function helps me a lot.

Starting tonight, 50 mg. That means 30 more to go.......

So, so anxious

The next stage of this decline is here. I've been anxious, nearly constantly, for weeks now. But this has now progressed. Suddenly I'm needing ativan to function. And not just occasional ones. Yesterday I took 2 and should have taken 3. It's hard to believe I can be so agitated and yet so very sleepy. But I am. I relaxed some when I saw Dr. Mind, but it didn't last long after I left the "safe place". And partly that was because we're methodically watching this and it has now reached a point where it's time to develop a safety plan, in case. I hate that; it's just a sign of how really bad this kind of is.

I still haven't heard from Dr. Brain. I'm about to give up. Apparently I'm not going to know anything until I see her again on the 31st and then I'll have a few days to adjust.

I think I've reached enough clothes. Since this is hardly formal I've decided to just wear the shirts I've got if I need to, even if they are too large. Who really cares?

Otherwise I've got a cat telling me how much she loves me and how I shouldn't leave her to go to work, I've got another 4 minutes on the SAD lamp, and I then will have 15 minutes to iron clothes, put on make-up, brush my hair and teeth, and get to the dentist. Yippee. (Although is IS good that they got me in. I had to cancel my appointment because of the hospital and go on the waiting list and that worked very quickly).

Have a good day.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

That went fast

This is post 800. The last 100 posts have certainly come fast compared to the speed I had been writing. Looking back over the last year, I can see just in the scarity of blog posts how wrong that last job was for me. I'm writing about as much in a week as I was in a month. I'm sure I'm posting more because it has been a very difficult few months and I've had a lot to say, but there was a decently long period of time between starting this job and the countdown to the psych ward, so overall I'd say even with working full-time I've got a lot more time. I certainly feel like it. If only I didn't have to go through medical torment right now I'd probably feel pretty good. Considering what I'm doing to myself I actually do feel relatively ok. This is not fun, but I'm not dangerously depressed, at least not yet. Mostly I'm just very, very anxious and very, very tired.

I finally gave in to the anxiety a bit and wrote to Dr. Brain, asking for any specific information she has. I need to know what is happening. Right now I know nothing more than I did at my visit 2 or 3 weeks ago. And at that point much of this was tentative, depending on what the dr. who will treat me inpatient said. But I still know nothing more than that. I don't even know if I'm tapering at the right pace or when specifically I will be admitted. I don't even know for sure if I'm going to be on the little unit, and I really want to be there. Not knowing is making this so much harder. I hate bugging her; I feel like I'm whining because she's not answered me "fast enough", and I know there are many reasons for her to not respond. But I also know that I'm more anxious by the day and that knowledge will make some of this easier to handle. And she's the only one who can give me that knowledge.

I also am feeling that it is very important to do everything for the next few months that I can do ahead now, before I feel worse. And that's a good thing. But some things are dependent on her before I can do them. I need to do some insurance stuff prior to admission or else I have to pay a huge premium along with my deductible. But before I can do that I have to know what I am doing when.

I just really hope she answers. I really, really need to hear from her. Even if she knows nothing at least I need reassurance that, well, I don't know. That something. That this is real. That this is being handled by someone. Because I can't do it all. Partly because some of it isn't my decision, and partly because it is too much. I'm doing enough to manage at home. I'm realizing that it is time to start getting rid of any meds I no longer take and possibly to start handing over things that might be dangerous to Dr. Mind. I dread this simply because getting rid of pills is challenging. Flushing isn't good for the environment; dumping whole bottles isn't good if someone gets in the trash, and doing what you are supposed to do and mixing it into nasty trash is annoying. Oh well. It's all for the sake of survival.

Let it out

Many years ago I had a 3 week period where I slept only a few hours total. It was before I was diagnosed and I had started an antidepressant relatively recently. Since we had no idea antidepressants were risky for me nobody thought much about that being the cause of the problem. Some very difficult things were occurring in my life at that time and we all thought it was the stress. During that same time period I was unable to see the psychologist of the day for several weeks. Some emails were sent and there was a phone call when I started feeling suicidal, but I didn't feel I could begin to explain parts of what were going on until I could do so in person.

By the time we finally had that conversation I was holding on by a thread. I know now that I was deep into a mixed episode and that corresponded with hearing the most difficult news I've ever heard. It turned into a therapy session that stretched on for several hours and ultimately helped me relax enough to sleep, then get on medication that actually helped within the next day or so (maybe the same day? I don't remember).

During that long therapy session I started out talking very factually about what had happened. After an hour or so I was out of facts and started crying. The therapist handed me some tissues, sat back, and told me to just let it out. I cried for the next hour or so. Crying has never felt so good after all that time of forcing myself to be strong. I am not very good at crying; it is something I've had to learn and while I do cry with Dr. Mind it took years. In 7 years with Dr. Brain I think she's probably seen me cry 3 times.

The fact I'm not good at crying doesn't make it any less helpful to do so sometimes. For years now I've had periods when all I wanted to do was cry, but I couldn't. Right now I'm entering one of those phases. I cried-hard-whole-body-collapsed-to-the-floor crying when my friend died last week. I am now at a point where I just want to cry, and it doesn't happen. Hopefully tomorrow with Dr. Mind I can relax enough to feel that some of this awful emotion is gone.

Regardless I just want something to let up. All of these feelings and the anxiety are starting to feel very heavy.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


As of today I'm done Christmas shopping except for ordering one thing closer to the holiday and picking up a few smaller things for my brother and sister-in-law. I always shop early because I know I can't handle crowds and because December is usually my busiest month. However I usually shop in an organized fashion with a list of how much I've spent on who to keep things even. This year I just got things I know people with like and they'll have to deal with unevenness if it exists.

About 50% of my gifts are off Etsy. It's nice to think "hmm, they like ______", enter that in, and have a unique gift. It wasn't exactly fast, I looked through 200 pages of things to find something for my brother-in-law, but I did succeed eventually.

I am so glad to have one stress done with. This way regardless of how I feel after I leave the hospital, and regardless of whether or not I feel like participating in Christmas, at least there'll be gifts from me.

I also was able to do this more easily thanks to a miracle. My insurance is paying for my counseling sessions. We don't really know why, they said I had this huge deductible when the insurance was verified, but they'll paid anyway, so I have a credit with Dr. Mind's office that will get me through a month of bi-weekly visits.

Now if my neighbors would just quit blaring music.....it's probably revenge for my yelling at their kids.

I'm the scary grouchy neighbor

I have neighbors who I've discussed here before. They are extraordinarily unfriendly, having never said "hi" to me in 6 1/2 years. They are also rude. One of them guns his truck engine for extremely long time periods nearly every day, which has made me cry in frustration because the noise bugs me so much. Their dogs make it impossible for me to enjoy my backyard because if I'm out there the dogs bark at me (and any guests) incessantly. The woman was clearly offended once when she heard me tell the dogs that "This is MY yard, please shut up!". And their grandchildren think it is ok to ride bikes and ATVs in my yard. Which it is NOT.

So today I'm exhausted. I got a haircut this morning and then took a 4 hour nap. I ate some supper, but didn't bother to put on a bra or redo my ponytail. I'm planning to go to bed very early.

I was sitting here when I heard a rock hit my window, followed by a lot of giggles. The grandchildren are outside and clearly threw it. I opened the window and yelled at them to not throw things at my house. There was one little girl (about 9) staring across the fence and laughing. She ran away. In fact all of them sound as if they went back inside.

This wouldn't be that bad if I weren't scary looking, or if this wasn't a small town where I'm now likely to get a reputation as a nasty person. On the other hand I'm tired beyond belief, I want to cry for no reason, and I'm stressed in 42 ways, most of which are simply me not dealing well with the lack of meds.

I'm going to be a barrel of fun in another 4 weeks....

Friday, October 09, 2009

So much for being a patient person

I am a very patient person. I don't get upset by most things that happen in my typically chaotic days, at least not things caused by patients. I get more upset by staff who don't do what they should do, but in general I can handle that with deep breaths. I am less able to handle my assistants doing crappy work. Generally I'm ok with explaining how I want things and with putting up with variations, but I also expect basic things. I need to be able to read documentation and know what exactly is done with the patients. I need to be able to read it without resorting to drawing lines, which I actually had to do today. I expect it to be done when I need it. One day late is one thing, many days late is another, especially when the assistant knows I'm coming to see that patient and need to be able to make clinical judgments from that information.

One of my assisants is making me want to scream. I've tried to be patient. I've tried to be directive. I've tried illustrating precisely what I want. Instead she doesn't even fill in a grid of goals and status correctly, she doesn't do things that a first semester student knows to do, and no matter how many times I ask her to do things a certain way, with reasons, she ignores me. I inevitably have to spend time off the clock working on things she's left undone. It makes me so mad, and nobody has really supported me. Once she changed something to make it look as if I'd made a mistake, then she admitted this to me but not to her boss who made me do the work on my own time.

She's going to be very angry with me Monday. And I'm getting less and less interested in keeping her happy. It's my mood, but it's going only get harder. I don't know what is wrong with people. She admitted to me once she does this for money. I'd said something about taking the path I'm on now with the contract work as a way to increase my income for a while (contract work pays really well), and she told me that money is the only reason to do this. That is so very wrong. Therapy is a relatively lucrative field, and geriatric therapy pays a lot more than other areas, but you have to want to do what I do or you are rotten. Patients know.

I used to express frequently my frustration that people who have no reason to feel crappy all the time do crappy work and put forth a minimal effort while I work as hard as I can just to be able to keep doing this a little longer because I love it. That feeling is starting to re-emerge as I'm having to work harder to do what I need to do.

And now I'm going to celebrate Friday night with a traditional depressed activity: I'm going to bed at 9 pm.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Cancelling holidays

I just got home from Dr. Mind's. From now until this is over I'll be seeing him every 3-4 days. This lets me deal with the anxiety, lets me talk to someone about this, and allows him to monitor how I am. There is always the risk that this will get really bad and I'll need the hospital sooner. That's his call this time. I will not fight him. Probably should mention that part to him....

As we talked tonight something came out of my mouth that I can't believe I didn't realize I'd been thinking about. When Dr. Brain and I discussed this she mentioned Thanksgiving coming soon after my hospitalization, just as a note that I'll have a day off my first week back to work. And as I've been thinking about things to make this all easier I've apparently added in the idea that Thanksgiving may not happen for me this year. I first said it tentatively, as part of a discussion about dealing with my sister-in-law (who is overbearing and thinks she knows everything about psych issues because she was a clerk on a psych ward) not being high on my list of things to do right away. First I said something about maybe not participating this year. Dr. Mind agreed and said I may not even be up for Christmas. With a late Thanksgiving this year that may actually be true, although I'll probably not totally boycott that one. But the more I talked the more I realized that I just don't need Thanksgiving this year. It's going to cause waves, and I'm not bringing it up until much, much closer (probably soon after I get out of the hospital in mid-November), but I am pretty sure that I'm taking one holiday off. At the very least I'm leaving it that way in my mind because the relief from that was immense. In fact, that decision makes me feel more relaxed than I have since this became a reality.

In other news the absent-mindedness is growing. My cell phone broke this morning and I had to go get a new one because I need it for work. When I paid with my debit card, the same way I pay for nearly everything, I had a terrible time remembering my PIN. I've had this account for 2 years and have used that card thousands of times. I also deliberately checked the size in a pair of pants last night and ironed them. This morning I put them on and they wouldn't even stay on my hips. I'm down another full pants size, but I don't have any in that size yet. These were at least 4 sizes too big. Then I checked and ironed another pair, only to discover they were 2 sizes too big.

I'm also starting to lose weight from this. I'm all for weight loss and even though I've lost 43 pounds I still have a nice long way to go to get back to an ideal weight (about 25 more lbs), this isn't a good way. I'm just not hungry. I'm picking more than eating. I do ok with breakfast, but the rest of the day I'm barely eating. I'm just not hungry. I'm sure it's depression, but it is not an ok way to lose weight. I've lost 3 lbs since I knew about the long hospital stay (until that time I knew it was likely I'd need to be in the hospital, but not that I'd need to go pre-emptively or that it would be for so long, or that I'd need a full 2 weeks off work.) So I bought things to make several things over the weekend that hopefully will keep me eating through next week.

Overall though, I'm really doing ok. I'll be glad when it is over, but I'm making it. Which is better than I thought possible. I guess it is something that I have made it through 2 weeks of this, even if I'm not enjoying it.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


I knew all along that how I made it through what I'm doing right now had a whole lot to do with what happened in my life. If things stayed relatively even for this 6 weeks I'd have a lot easier time than if they didn't. If I had to work a lot of overtime I wouldn't do as well. If Dr. Mind had a day off it would be very, very hard. But I never anticipated what did happen.

I grew up in a small town in a very rural area. There were around 400 kids in my high school, including probably 100 that really went to the vocational school several towns away but were considered to have the same "home school". So, essentially there were 300 of us. There were 50-60 in the band. The cross country team had maybe 15 girls. Being in band messed up schedules, so band kids spent a lot of time together in various classes. And for some of us scheduling from about 5th grade on dictated we spent time together. That group was the tiny group of students in the gifted program. I think there were maybe 7 per class, although my 8th grade year there were only 5 of us. Not only did we have the 2 classes together that the program provided, we were constantly involved in projects as a team, and we also were encouraged to participate in extra-curricular activities open to only certain kids. The way were had classes in junior high actually influenced our schedules in high school for at least the first 3 years. That meant that I knew the kids in the gifted program who were one year ahead of me essentially as well as my classmates.

There was one girl who I spent a ton of time with. She was also in band, cross country, track, and the gifted track. I believe we were in other extra-curriculars together as well. The common scheduling plus the sports and band meant we got to be friends. She was one of those very rare teenagers who is simply nice, not discriminating between popular and others (I was an other). She even went out of her way to help me fit in more, without being asked. I remember her teaching me how to peg my pants in gym class, and fixing my hair. I do not have any memories of her being mean to anyone. Which is rare in any high school, and in one so small I think it is more rare because the lines are so clearly drawn.

She was in the class ahead of me. I am pretty sure she was about 6 months older, if that. This morning she died of breast cancer. She'd fought it for many years, a huge part of her adult life.

I lost touch with her (with everyone) after graduation. I threw away my past the weekend I went to college and my friendships went with that. I knew she was sick and that it was very serious. And you'd think with what I do I'd not have been shocked to hear about it. But I've never had a friend die. Grandparents, acquaintances, many patients (including a few who I have truly loved), but one of the things that happens in such a small town is that there are fewer kids, so even though cancer still hits at whatever rate, it takes longer to have the thousand kids or whatever. It didn't happen when I was there.

And so it turns out that this is what it takes to make me cry. Really, really hard. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done to pull myself together to get to my 9 AM meeting on time.

This did however make me realize I've been expecting too much of myself. I've been trying to force myself to try to cover. Which has worked fairly well, but I'm noticing more changes now. (I'm now repeating "one-third weaned, one-third weaned" to myself a lot). So I talked to my co-workers, simply explaining I've had to come off an antidepressant I've been on for years to switch to a MAOI and that I may be kind of spacy, and that I was doing relatively well until this loss woke me up to how sad I really feel. So they know to please treat me normally, but to also not get mad if/when I forget things or have difficulties with simple things.

I just still cannot believe it. She's someone who I remember really loving life, really living life. And just 15 years later she's gone.

Beyond a Deductible

When I first knew I had to be admitted to the psych ward I was a bit taken aback by the amount I have to pay out of pocket as my deductible. Then I realized that my deductible, which is high, is actually going to cover my first day, and probably not all of that. Since I'm expecting to be there a full week, that changes the perspective on that.

What I did not realize is the amount of money it would cost in little things. As I said yesterday I have to buy clothes to have things that fit. I also need clothes because the casual things I'll need are things that I don't have many of in the best of times. I rarely have time that I dress for a number of days in casual clothes, and if I do have a week off I just do laundry. Now I'm having to purchase what I need. Unfortunately there are not nearly enough cheap things out there in this economy. I had really hard time last night trying to find pajamas that are what I want but either don't have ties or the ties can be removed. I finally found some, but bought the wrong size and have to trade them in. I hope. I don't remember if they had the next size up. I also had to (ok, wanted to but it makes a huge difference in how I sleep) have an appropriately sized weighted blanket. I had to buy slippers; I wear them all the time in the house and the ones I've had for 4 years now are worn out. I have to find some kind of hair product similar to what I use normally to take with me because I don't want to take the big container I have now with me and risk losing it since it's expensive, and it doesn't come in smaller sizes. And after all that I still need to buy some books to take along. I need to be prepared to have trouble sleeping between the whole new environment, being anxious about being there, and what my body is going to be going through. For now it looks like I'm going to be very tired most of the time, but that may change when I actually start Emsam.

And there are other costs to this. I will have no paycheck for 2 weeks. I'm not yet clear of my pre-existing condition clause on my short-term disability, so that period is just not covered. My mother thinks she'll be able to come feed and pet my cats, but if something changes I'll have to pay the pet-sitter to come up a few times. Since the one I use is the one my mom uses, she drives a reasonable distance to do this. However, I trust her and she really cares about the animals, so I'll continue to use her. There are extra counseling sessions, probably about 5 of them. There is gas to get to and from the hospital (which will be about a tank) and then to see Dr. Mind a few times while I'm off work, and possibly Dr. Brain will want to see me as well.

So the whole thing is no cheap venture. And of course other things keep popping up because money is tight; my iron broke yesterday and I seem to need a new patio door because mine is leaking. I also need the plumber to come for a drippy pipe. It's amazing how this all works.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Losing my mind

I am getting more forgetful by the minute. I'm fairly sure it's the med change. As of tonight I'm on 20 mg less than I was a few weeks ago. How I feel emotionally varies. Mostly I'm tired and feeling more sensitive. But I keep forgetting things, not figuring simple things out, etc. I seriously am thinking I'm going to have to go back to keeping a little notebook with me with what I need to remember, all day every day.

And of course I'm still quite anxious, which probably doesn't help a thing. I think it is a bit less than a week ago, because at least now I have Dr. Mind on my side and set up to help and monitor as this gets harder. I've also gotten a number of things I needed to have done taken care of. I bought blouses today so I can make it through a week of work. I have nearly enough shirts for the hospital. (Since I have lost over 40 lbs in the last 10 months I don't have much that works from a year ago.) I bought pajama pants tonight, but they have to go back. I guess the wrong size. I ordered slippers today, and a sleep bra because I won't be comfortable not wearing one at night, and the things I wear during the day are very comfortable when awake, but not so great for sleeping. I got my TB test that I needed for work taken care of, which is also very good because it's one less thing to do later this month when I'm likely to feel worse. I need to change a dental appointment, and I have to get on the list for a H1N1 shot (I really, really want that before I'm admitted, because there's nothing like being locked up for a week or more with 9 other people and a limited number of staff to make sure germs get shared.). As a healthcare provider I'm high priority for the shot. I'm also horrified at how many people in healthcare plan to not get it. I feel a responsibility to get it, not only because I know that any illness I get is easily spread to my patients (who are at lower risk of H1N1, but I'm sure elderly people who are well enough to live in the community will be less susceptible than my patients), but because if healthcare workers do not get immunized and the outbreak is worse than expected, there may be a shortage of people trained to provide care. I might be a therapist, but I can also provide all basic care and some more advanced care. If enough healthcare workers are unable to work I will be needed to fill in as needed. I saw how important this is a while back. I was finishing my day when we had a tornado warning. Per the newly established protocol at that facility I went to a designated meeting area where all staff not assigned to a floor were to meet. Given the time of day it was me, a few housekeepers, a receptionist, and the kitchen staff. I was sent to a certain area with 2 kitchen workers. We had to get all patients possible in wheelchairs and into the hall. If a patient can't be moved you protect them the best you can (per a protocol) and the reality is that patient isn't very likely to survive. A privacy curtain and a blanket offer little protection against flying glass. So these poor kitchen workers were suddenly thrust into getting patients up. This requires the use of techniques they didn't have. I was getting 3 or 4 people up to their one, and I was getting people up on my own who weren't even really able to stand. The kitchen staff did what they could, but if in an emergency they are pressed into that kind of role it will not be nearly as smooth or safe as if someone with training of any sort is doing it. (Oh, and the tornado missed us that night). Another time this became clear was a week when the place I worked had a terrible ice storm and we had no electricity for about 9 days. Everyone in the whole place, and really the town, had to come together to do things they had no idea they'd ever do. (One of our buildings had to be evacuated and community members showed up in a large number to help.)

Oh, and in case it's not obvious......this blog is probably going to be less structured and more rambling. I know that is typical for me. One of the things that is hard is that I haven't experienced "just" depression in so very long. I always have mixed episodes. So I don't really know what to expect, even with something I am very experienced in.

And now I am going to enjoy my new, earlier than ever before, bedtime.

Monday, October 05, 2009

This company deserves love

I've written many times about my weighted blanket. After I tried a commercial 9 lb one and discovered that it helped I asked for and was given a custom one for Christmas a few years ago. I researched carefully and chose a place that I liked the construction technique, had free shipping, made very heavy and full-sized blankets, and let me choose the fabric to meet my own sensory needs. I wound up with a 22 lb. blanket made of fabric usually used for baby blankets called Minkee dots. It is extremely soft and "rubbable" (which must be a real word; spell-checker didn't panic. Huh), and meets my need precisely.

The place I used, weightedblanket.net, is not the cheapest when you look. However, the free shipping is worth a great deal, especially with an adult sized blanket. They also don't charge more for certain fabrics, which a lot of places do (and Minkee dots are the most expensive fabric usually).

I now owe them a great amount of loyalty. I ordered a smaller blanket for use in the hospital yesterday. I thought it was pre-made, then the confirmation made it seem otherwise. I contacted them to clarify and got a nice email back that it wasn't pre-made, but they will prioritize it and send it by the end of this week since I need it soon.

Therefore Dreamcatcher blankets has officially earned place in my (very brand-loyal) heart. It's now up there with the one brand/style of dress pants I wear, the detergents and soaps I choose, the very specific bra I go out of my way to buy, and various other preferences I've made into my lifestyle in a rather obsessive way.

Sunday, October 04, 2009


To the best of my knowledge (meaning nobody is giving me any facts), I will be admitted in one month and 2 days. It's not soon enough. I want this month of waiting to feel worse and worse over. I'm now on 65 mg. I have to get to at least 20. That is assuming that the hospital doctor has agreed to do this the rather experimental way.

There are so many things I need to do in this time. I ordered a smaller weighted blanket today. Hopefully they'll let me have it. If not I'll have one to travel with. I need slippers. I want a certain kind and dread the trip to the mall to get them. Ordering them means paying shipping which is dumb when I go past the store daily. I need pajamas. The ones I have don't fit well enough to wear in public. I also need a few more pairs of pants I can wear there and at least 5 more shirts. Losing so much weight (41 lbs now!) is great, but it also means having almost no clothes because very little fits from last year. And that's on top of needing several more blouses for work. I also have to figure out work (they're not telling me anything), remember to have them hold my mail, change a dental appointment, arrange for my 6 month check-up and labs, get some books and other things to do while I'm incarcerated, get rid of all food in my house that is soy-based or contains other ingredients I won't be able to eat anymore, try out a recipe I want to make for Thanksgiving and won't feel like messing with after the hospital, make and freeze some meals, get all my prescriptions ready for when I come home and won't feel good, and arrange for people to help out with a few things.

I think the worst part is that I feel out of control. My mood isn't fabulous and rather that take something to improve it I'll be doing things that make it feel worse. For years I've been trained to react as soon as something feels wrong and now not only am I not doing that, I'm actually doing something every few days to feel even worse. I don't what is happening; I don't know even where I'll be working after 11/6. That's the thing with traveling work, everything is in 13 week increments. I thought that at week 6-7 we started figuring out a new contract, but this is week 8 and I know nothing. I want to know what the hospital looks like. It seems so simple but apparently it isn't.

So, after many years of being terrified of the hospital now I just want it to happen already. I want it over with.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

It's definetely started

Almost immediately after my first dose cut I started feeling a little different. I've been terribly anxious since this all because something that was going happen rather than something that might happen. The anxiety has grown to immense proportions because nothing is developing into a firm plan and that's frightening. I haven't heard a word from Dr. Brain. Sometimes her email gets messed up, so it might be that. Or she just doesn't know. Except that some of it she's the one who SHOULD know, like what the taper schedule is for the old antidepressant. Which means more than likely it's her email, but it's still stressing me out terribly.

Today though I realized that it's hitting more and more. I've gotten teary a couple times in the last few days, but today was the first time I was crying about something that wasn't worth tears; my DSL connection got messed up and took me 45 minutes to get it back and I was about to lose it totally. And my mom is kind of pressuring me to do something tomorrow and I really can't do it, and that upset me. Which turned into being mad at my mother. She's not getting this very well and I know that, but she also just puts out of her mind the parts she doesn't like. She also seems to think this is a very stupid decision. While she has worried about what to tell people about me being in the hospital (duh, you tell them the truth?), and about what if I gain weight from the new med, she has yet to ask how I'm feeling or how I feel about this happening. She finally called me grouchy today and I pointed out that if someone took away her antidepressant she might be cheery either. Then that revelation was shocking.

I have little patience for that. I told her I would be feeling bad over the time we're tapering. I told her that as plain as day at the beginning. She never processes what she doesn't like. It gets so very old.

And I'm still grouchy and I'm tired, (I got a new bed today and the assembly and organization of the project was exhausting, but it is soooooooooo comfortable. It's a memory foam thing that was actually shipped her in a box FedEx. So far I love it) so I'm going to stop writing and work on getting sleepy.

Tonight is my 2nd dose reduction. I'm going to reduce from now on by a half pill at a time and take 3 days on a half pill, then 4 days on the whole pills, then 3 on a half, until I'm down to the goal.

Maybe this week someone will tell me something.......I feel like there is so much I need to do before I go to the hospital and I want to do as much as possible as soon as possible while I feel ok but I also just want to have a firm plan. But it seems that is too much to ask......

Friday, October 02, 2009

There is one answer

I have been feeling some effects of my lowered antidepressant dose already. It's kind of hard to sort them out from tired, because I've had a very busy week, but there's definetely changes. I've been a little grouchy, a lot anxious (of course that does have a reason), wanting to sleep more, and a little scattered. All of that is probably going to be increasing, of course.

I've felt emotional, but I've been waiting to see when the tears started. I found out. Thankfully it was a good reason. I got home and checked my reader, going first to Julia's blog first. The entry was partly about me. And it was very sweet. And then I was able to watch the segment that was on the news where they live, which was done by a reporter who followed the story so closely she was actually in surgery filming. (This is where I saw pictures of the healthy kidney beside of Quinn's. Doing what I do I've got a pretty strong stomach, but I have to admit to feeling horrified that that thing was in the body of a child and was supposed to be keeping her alive. It was one ugly body part.)

That clip made me cry. Thankfully the first tears were tears for a good reason, and they were happy tears. I appreciate life so much more. Which is something that will be a good thing over these next weeks......

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Harder than I thought

So this whole thing with my antidepressants is going to be harder than I anticipated. I really thought I'd be ok for a while. Instead I'm on day 4 of the first cut and I am ok, but I do feel a difference. In a way this is good, because it means that we definitely are doing the right thing and that I didn't have a chance of surviving SAD without any room to increase. However knowing that doesn't totally negate that his isn't going to be easy.

Today is my first day this year with my SAD lamp. We're hoping that will give me a boost as we continue the changes. Because of the type of lamp I have I am able to adjust the intensity, so we're starting at the lowest setting and then I'll go up as my meds go down. For now it is really interesting my cat, who has so far made me turn it off when I grabbed at it, and finally it is sitting at a bizarre angle because he kept knocking it over. It says in the book that cats are sometimes attracted to the lights. I don't remember my cats ever caring, but my mom's cat loves it.

The thing I'm having the hardest time right now is that I have no definites. I don't know precisely when I'll be admitted. I don't know if I'll have to be totally off by then or if the hospital doctor has agreed to do this the way Dr. Brain hopes. Work hasn't responded when asked about the time off between contracts (which is killing me. Last night I dreamed they fired me.). I don't know how I'll feel in 5 weeks, the last week of my contract. I don't know if a few things that are so important to me at night will be allowed, namely my weighted blanket and my own pillow. I don't know yet if Dr. Mind will be able to increase my visits for a while to monitor me while I do this and to help reduce some of the stress I'm going to be feeling.

You know that old Cher song about "if I could turn back time I could find my way"? Well I would never, ever want to turn back time. My past is not something I want to relive. But right now I would love to turn time forward. Just 5 weeks and 2 days. Would that be too much to ask?