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

Friday, October 29, 2010

Never had that happen before

I just got in from the emergency room. No big deal, just a bruise that had to be checked because it was work related and because it could be germy.  I got out of my car and my pt's dog got really aggressive so I stood still and did all the calming the dog things. It saw it's owner and ran over and bit my foot.  Thankfully my foot was up so most of the bite hit the very thick thanks to my orthopedic shoes sole and most top teeth hit the leather edging.  So only one tooth hit skin.

Regardless, annoying way to end the week.  And embarrassing since I could hear the nurses complaining about why I was there at all.  Work made me, would be why......I'm complaining to the hospital.  That's more than once I've been there (out of the 4 times I've ever been in an ER and listened to them talk about me).

One nurse even thought it appropriate to suggest I shouldn't have reported it.  Um, my co-workers go there too. Should I let someone else get bitten because I didn't want to have someone see my bruise?

On the really other hand I just made an offer on a car........Holding breath......

The worst day of my life plus 365

I don't remember a lot from the hospital.  I remember the 28th.  The 28th was the day that I overheard one of the least sick people in the group say he was feeling better.  He was admitted because he needed faster titration of his antidepressant dose than could be done outpatient and then he went home.  He was the person I liked the most there, and I was happy he was feeling better.  But all I could think was that I had just that day finally started my new med after being there 2 full days and nights, meaning I was going to be there for what seemed like forever.  I felt worse, not better, and I was so very tired of feeling worse.  I started crying and did not stop until after the 2nd time I tried to find a nurse to help me I finally found someone, got the words "I.......can't.........stop" out, and then had to wait first for the doctor to order more meds and then for the pharmacy to bring them.  By that point I'd been sobbing with my whole body for hours and the nurse had me calm enough to be laying down. The med put me out and I slept most of the rest of the day.  But during those hours when nobody was helping me and I was too scared to leave my room in that shape I was so serious about wanting to kill myself that any barrier that had ever mattered no longer did.  I cared only about not hurting like that.  Nothing was a deterrent, not knowing I'd get moved to general psych if I hurt myself, that there was no way to successfully hurt yourself using an ink pen rapidly enough to not be noticed on hourly checks or that I had no way to kill myself.  That was the main source of the tears, I wanted a way to kill myself and instead had locked myself up in the safest place on earth.

I am so much better now.  A lot of sense of trauma still exists from that day.  (although not enough to keepme awake apparently). But it's so hard to not remember some of that horrible feeling.  It's why I wasthere, but it was still the scariest thing I have ever felt.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I'm going through this kind of weird thing this week.  This was when I was hospitalized last year and the reminders of how bad it was sometimes keep creeping back.  It's much nicer to be free.  I hate that I'm fighting with my illness, but it's so much better.

Last night I had no power.  It came  on at 3:30, so guess when I got up?

Also, work is crazy.  A full day is considering 4 evals or 4-6 treatments depending on driving.  Today I did 4 evals plus 3 treatments, one of which was a discharge (extra paperwork) and I drove 70 miles just between pts. and not including my commute at all.  Needless to say a lot of paperwork came home with me.  I'm finishing this one and leaving the last for morning.  But I had a LONG day and see no end to being ultra-busy.  The OT chart reviewer person sent me a huge packet to read and I just laughed.  I know she's going to want it ready by next chat with her Monday and I seriously doubt it.  I'm not spending a ton of time reading that on my own time and I don't have any extra time this week at all.

As you can probably tell I'm stressed.  It's partly hard because I keep trying to convince myself it's ok to feel sad and stressed and symtpomatic this year even if it's not as bad as it was a year ago.  If I weren't tired I'd follow that logic, but I am tired and so it's hard to keep myself straight.

So more from Jen's world soon, but it may be Saturday before I can be coherent.  But now back to getting this eval finished.

Monday, October 25, 2010

One year ago today

365 days ago I was sitting on this bed.  My bags were packed.  I had flushed harmful meds down the sink a day or two before because I was so suicidal.  I'd removed the plastic bag I'd automatically packed toiletries in.  I had no idea if I was a direct admit or if I had to go through the ER.  I wouldn't know until after 8 AM.  I knew I'd be admitted as the statement "I would kill myself if I had the energy or ability to formulate a plan" was very true and I knew that all it would take was one short burst of mania and I'd be entering very risky waters.  I also knew that soon I would be totally unable to function at all.  Somehow I was managing hygiene, if barely.  But I was also barely functional with anything else.  I'd gone from only eating a little to basically not eating and was living on water.  There was not one thing that was not an effort.  I could not longer be nice or polite.

I can't describe how it felt.  I kind of remember, although mostly my memory stops when I realized I had to go inpatient NOW and picks up when the hospital became unbearable thanks to Cynthia the nurse I hope retires before I ever go back there again.  I know that I knew I was doing the right thing and that after years of resisting hospitalization it was definitely time to go, and without delay.  I think that was my greatest fear, that they would send me home.  I remember telling a friend several days before that I would like if I had to go through assessment before admission and say I was actively suicidal.  I also remember admitting a few days later that I was in fact not going to have to lie about that.

The depths of my desire to end my life still haunts me.  I was safe enough or Dr. Mind would have put me in the hospital days before.  There is no doubt about this.  If I hadn't been scheduled for admission that Monday he would have had me admitted against my will if needed, I have no doubt about that.  But a few days before I was "at risk" but had no plan or real concept of what I wanted.  But by the time I got to the hospital I wasn't organized enough to have a plan (something they are really cautious about) but I was ready to do anything impulsive I could to harm myself.  I simply could not imagine living another minute like I felt and I did not feel strong enough to take on everything I was about to take on--groups, monitoring, being kept safe from myself, almost no privacy ever, and a new med that had less than 50% chance of working, for me probably way less. And then by the end of the first day I knew that it was going to be harder than I thought as I waited and waited to see a doctor (it took almost 30 hours and then it was not my doctor so he was thumbing through my chart scanning while talking to me rather than having had an intense discussion with Dr. Brain about me, and that doctor started pushing a med I've had a severe allergic reaction to that he said I could avoid, requiring an email to Dr. Brain to have her tell him NO.  I wasn't about to take it, but her support helped.

What I remember most about 365 days ago?  My male cat doesn't like to be held.  He does like attention and spends much of his time lying beside me, and when I lay on my side or back and turn out the light he comes and lays on me for a while.  Well, that night I didn't expect to sleep well.  Noah however knew what I needed.  He not only lay on my side as per usual, he figured out how to rest his cheek on mine and he stayed that way and purred for about an hour.  He's never repeated this for even 30 seconds since; all I can guess is that he knew how scared I was and knew how much I'd cried about leaving my kitties.

One thing about reaching this week of looking back, it makes me realize that my episode now is frustrating and long and feels like it's been forever when it's really only been several months and that I had a really good period for a week or so, and that I feel much, much better right now than I did a week ago and 700 mgs of Seroquel is having no adverse effects.  Which is a miracle.  This recent period had been so hard, but it is nothing like choosing to be locked up to prevent me from killing myself.  Admitting that and making that decision were so incredibly hard, I hope to never get that sick again without realizing it is time to go.  With the MAOI I'll likely wind up inpatient again since there are so many interactions and so many difficulties if I need to change drugs, especially if I have to come off the MAOI.  But it will never be as hard as this night one year ago.

And now that 700 mg of seroquel is making me unble to type, so goodnight.


Long before I negotiated for my new job I did a lot of research, wrote out a lot of my arguments in advance, and was READY.  And I got what I wanted.

With the car the same thing is trying to happen.  I'm actually having fun with this process.  I already have a good deal on the table and am working to lower it. I have plans, i have offers and counteroffers in my head, and I'm playing dealers against one another.  The internet makes this totally different.

The other 2 times I bought cars I didn't do a lot of this.  The first car I bought my brother kind of pressured me into, and  then did not help me bargain much.  So I wound up with an awful car that I finally sold at 46000 miles because it was broken 50% of the time.  That meant the next car was bought rapidly, although there wasn't a ton of bargaining with 0% financing already in place.

This time I have power.  I don't need the car for a while, I have done lots of research and know what it should cost and what I'm willing to pay.  I also know a lot about how to shop for cars now.  And I know that I can afford the cost of this even if I don't get anything else out of them and get a higher interest rate.

It's almost fun....

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Please explain this one

I feel totally paranoid with any explanation I come up with, yet this makes NO SENSE.

Last year for Christmas my mother gave me this little 6 pack of tiny cactus plants.  Cacti grow slowly, so they are all still in the same little pots they came in, waiting to be big enough to transfer together.

Today I realized I hadn't watered them for a while and went to do so.  This is when I discovered one cacti does not have a pot. I truly have no idea when this changed as it's not something I'd necessarily focus on while running around, yet I have watered the plants monthly or so, which is what you're supposed to do.

They are sitting on a table by my sliding door.  Therefor one explanation  could be the window installers dropped and broke the pot (which would be weird since it's plastic) and put the plant back.  However, the soil is pretty intact for that, although with cacti root systems I suppose it could just be held together well.

The only other things I can think of are things like the neighbor kids came in the slider if I left it unlocked at some point (likely) and took it.

How does a tiny planter walk away, leaving an intact plant and 5 other intact plants IN pots beside it?

(ETA;  There is dirt scattered across the little table but it was cleverly concealed by rearranging everything on the table.  Leaning strongly towards window installation team).

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Strange day

I spent today doing things that felt abnormal.  I took my cat with renal failure in to the vet for a check since she now wants  to eat 2-3 cans of food daily.  The last time I saw a new vet who kind of gave up my mom's cat a few months ago, and when Anna's renal failure was diagnosed her recommendation was further testing via straight catheter.  This time I requested the owner, who is very experienced and who worked so hard to save my other cat's life in the fall of 2008.  He tends to take a different view and saved my mom's cat by giving antibiotics as a "can't hurt her at this point of her life" (the cat is 20-22 years old) and the cat is still having a happy life nearly 6 months after we thought she was dying for sure, twice.

I told him upfront that I knew she had renal failure, I knew it would eventually kill her, and that I know the treatment is to change the diet and that I was not going to do that, that food is her main pleasure in life and that she is old and when her time comes it is her time; we're not preventing death at a young age.  (Anna is 15).  He said that would be his choice for his pet as well.  He answered my various questions, including discussing when/if/the likelihood of euthensasia (probable if it advances too long) and told me to just keep feeding her.  As long as she isn't getting sick she needs the food.  So that's what we'll do.  She's not lost as much as I thought, which is good, and the only thing to do is bloodwork every 6 months or so to monitor, which I seriously doubt I'll do.  She hates it and it's not going to change anything except tell me a number that says she's getting closer to dying.  I know that she is, although hopefully I'll get several more years with her.  I know she'll tell when when it is time.  This cat and I have a cement bond and I'll know.

Then I've spent a lot of the rest of the day playing car dealers against one another.  The truth is that I really already have a good deal, but I think I can get it a little lower with bargaining.  I've never done this.  Internet car buying is a GOOD thing.  I'm using edmunds.com for help, which is why I'm know I'm being offered a good price, but I'm going to keep trying.  Can't hurt, and I know a first offer is never the lowest.  I still have bargaining to do with my car too; they say $500 but the internet says more like $1000-$1200.  Therefore I'm going to do my very best to get $800 or a little more.  And it's a load of crap they gave me that they'll sell it for only a few thousand; it's not in great condition so it has more miles than this other car, but there is a similar one (same year, same features, 50,000 less miles for sale near here for $7950).

The thing that stinks is that I really want to buy the car from this one person who I've been working with for some time.  However I have to put my "like her" aside unless she has the best price.  For now she does and partly that's because the car includes NOTHING which I initially didn't like until I realized I can get the things I want (cargo net, cargo cover) online for the same amount or less than the dealer and since they aren't necessary waiting a few weeks to pay rather than adding several hundred dollars to the financing isn't a problem.

Hopefully I can get this all worked out to be done Nov. 13, at least if I buy from her or the one other place that are on the way to Dr. Brain.  The only thing is that my loan I paid off won't be on my credit score yet, but from what I can tell it's not going to matter much anyway.  I'm going to be about 20 points for top financing and nothing I can now is going to change that.  However for now there is no pressure about this, which is good.  (OK, the only pressure is me stressing out because it's SO MUCH MONEY.)

But that's my day.  I'm gathering a lot of useless information about a lot of stuff I don't care much about.....

Friday, October 22, 2010

Looking back

A year ago this week was the most afraid of killing myself I have ever been.  I was spending a great deal of my time curled in a ball on my bed thinking "I want to die.  I just want to die", and most of the rest of my time working and pleading with God to let me die rather than listen to one more person complain.  I remember one patient I seriously thought would drive me to the absolute edge because I couldn't take her whining and I wanted to get away from her so very badly and the only way I could think of to get away from her was to die.  

Last year this week I wrote the following:

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.
This was written the day after I told Dr. Mind it was time to go to the hospital, and he was so very glad I said that because he was going to push it that day.  At the very beginning of coming off my antidepressant I told him that while I realize that at all times he can get me in the hospital if he feels it is necessary in the past I had fought every way I could, including ensuring Dr. Brain agreed to let me stay out and it's her final call unless he has me involuntarily admitted and even then I think she could stop it, and he won't do that unless I'm totally out of my mind, that he was in charge on this one.  I do know though from the past that he will make my life pretty miserable if I fight.  And when I'm well I know he is right and I probably should have been hospitalized at least twice in the time I've known him but my strong opposition kept me out.  (I can't count the times I should have been inpatient before that.  Many, I just didn't know that until he and I started our fight about it that lasted for a few years.)  He'd decided it was time to take charge when I walked into his office, burst into tears and said I needed to be in the hospital.  And that session I scared him some because I was so far from myself.  I can't believe now that I did this, but I insisted that if I could possibly do it I wanted to finish the work week because my assistant had quit and the new one hadn't started yet, and also I wanted one more counseling session before I went.

It's so weird to look back at all that and realize it was a year ago.  It seems so close, yet so very far away.  It's hard that I'm not doing well right now; I almost never (more like can't remember ever since being diagnosed with depression) done well in late October and my SAD lamp only helps so much.  And I did everything right this time and got back on high-dose meds as soon as I had symptoms and I am better than the beginning of the week.  A long way from better, and definitely back 3-4 weeks in the recovery process,  but as much as I hate that it's part of this and that I've been struggling to some extent for many months now (sometimes better, sometimes worse) this is not last year.  And I am so grateful for that.

I suspect there will be a lot of posts in the next two weeks with the theme of then versus now.  Now wins.  I'm having a moderate mixed episode, but compared to a very severe one/very severe depression a year ago this is easy.  A year ago this week I was learning what they meant when they taught us that suicide often happens after the worst of the depression lifts because with the severe depression you are too sick to plan, but as you recover you are more of a danger.  Because if I could have followed any plan at all I would have.  In fact this very thing bought me extra time inpatient, because when I felt better and was handed something that could have hurt me with effort I freaked out because I was scared of using it to hurt myself. It's probably still in the heater in room 620....I've never said this before at all, but honestly the only reason I did not use that stupid paperclip to do as much damage as possible between someone being suspicious of my hour in the bathroom while I hacked away was that I knew that would result in a transfer to general psych and probably refusal to admit me to the small unit ever again, and I knew general psych wouldn't have things like a private room, the compromise about my sensory equipment, and that it would be much louder than where I was.

This is just a strange time, knowing that I'm not well, I'm not even really ok at the moment (I refuse to believe that I'm ok if I need 700 mg of Seroquel XR (different dosing) to function and when I feel like I do, but I'm still so far from the person who heard those doors click while someone took my bags and someone else took me to my room and started asking me a thousand questions.  That person couldn't even drive the same route taken monthly to get to the City to see Dr. Brain without getting lost 3 times (and it's a straight shot).  That person couldn't even think a whole thought or get words out.  How I feel now is so odd, because I feel bad and need to acknowledge that, but my perspective is forever different.

And speaking of 700 mg of Seroquel, it's taking over so I should shut up.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Way more important that my drivel and mood swings in written form, please go to Julia's blog and see how you can support their family in the annual walk for PKD, the disease Julia's children were born with and which caused both of them to need kidney transfers at very young ages.  PKD is surprisingly common for something I have never treated or heard of until I stumbled into Julia's blog several years ago.  Last year Julia was busy organizing this while additionally doing me the favor of posting on my blog while I was too sick to do so in the hospital.

Julia is my longest term blog friend and her son Gage holds a very special place in my heart because we have many ways we are alike (although very different too).  Gage is the reason that I decided that my anonymity on this blog that I had insisted on for so many years was wrong and was merely feeding into the bad thing where mental illness is a shameful secret.

If you are able to sponsor Julia, Gage, and/or Quinn (the cutest little girl who had the ugliest kidney I can imagine removed last year) and help get rid of a disease that affects far too many people, please do so by following the link.  I am frustratingly not able to get into my bank account to see my balance, but as soon as I'm able I'll be donating.  Thanks to bipolar I'm no longer allowed to be a bone marrow donor and although organ donor is checked on my license they would opt out of many/most/all of my organs because of the strain my meds have placed on them (my kidneys are affected and other organs like the heart can be over time), but money is something I can do to help cut the need for transplants by finding easier treatments.

Bipolar is so much fun......

There was this song that we had on a tape at the camp where I worked that was supposed to go with using rhythm sticks "Lummi sticks are so much fun, come on now everyone, click with MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE".  Because when I'm manic song phrases glue themselves into my head even if I haven't heard the song in years this is one that haunts me.   I have a few others right now that are also driving me crazy, phrases from a CD I dared to play maybe a month ago.  I played it ONCE.  I am still singing 2 phrases over and over and over.  Dr. Mind thinks this is part of a variation on OCD since I also focus on thoughts excessively (or used to, less so now), but please MAKE.IT.STOP.

Except really I am.  I want badly to answer the comments on the post from this weekend about sexual abuse, but first I have to get through some things inside me.  I realized things weren't right Monday and emailed Dr. Brain to warn her.  I upped my Seroquel to where it was last week and when that wasn't sufficient last night I went back up to the incredibly high dose.  I'm still anxious and manic but the depression that felt like it was going to beat me up seems to be improved.  Thank God Seroquel works fast.  I'm going to stay at the high dose at least through the weekend and if I'm still tolerating it will stay  on it until next week.  When I go back to the still-extremely-high dose I'll be staying there for some time.  Sometimes kind of a pulse of higher dose antipsychotic works.  Apparently not for me.  I weaned off too soon and felt pretty crummy for a couple days to prove it.

Things may have resolved with the patient who had me so upset and which kind of put me over the edge into this place.  Not that I wouldn't have been here, it was just the last straw.  Another would have come along.  Anyway, God works in mysterious ways; I had a chart review done by a corporate person today and he looked at the chart and indicated he does not feel this patient qualifies for home health. If that is true I won't even have to go back.  I also found out the patient's conversation with my boss mostly included a lot of complaints about things that can't be complained about or that didn't happen.  Thankfully my boss has been aware of everything going on and is supportive of me (I think especially after that phone conversation with the patient) which helps too.  I'm just so glad this is maybe over.

I also finally am hired for my new job, aka what I'm doing now.  I have a letter and everything.

I had a weird conversation with my mother a little while ago.  I've been starting to talk about considering moving down here in a few more years if I'm still liking the job.  I said it would be nice to be closer to my sister as we develop this tentative relationship and my mother (yes, MY MOTHER) said that I also needed to consider that someday I'll need to be where my sister can help me if I need it.  I've never been able to talk about that except a bit with Dr. Mind, but they've discussed it and my sister knows that someday she may have to help me sometimes when my mother is gone/can't.

It's not even 7 pm and I'm getting tired.  I think I'm going to wait and write notes in the morning again.  I only have a maximum of 45 minutes of work, and while I try to not have paperwork to do in the mornings right now I'm changing the rules in favor of sleep, which is mostly what Dr. Brain is prescribing right now anyway.  So I guess it's about meds time, and that I'm never going finish my niece's fleece car seat sack.  Ever.  Oh well, maybe I can glue it together.  The sewing should be fast, I'm just sleeping all the time I'm not working it seems like.

That's the other issue right now; I get very anxious about what I "should" have done and that isn't helping.  Things can wait, life goes on.  This weekend I'll be up on Saturday anyway because I'm taking my cat back to the vet.  She's losing weight much more rapidly than I thought and eating like a horse.  This says to me that maybe it's NOT her kidneys and so I'm seeing the vet that I know and like from when he cared for my poor cat that was killed by being fat and then not eating because of a bowel obstruction, because fat cats' livers shut down if they don't eat and they die frequently from that.  We tried everything but he died, and I trust this vet a lot because of how humane he was then.  No matter what is wrong with Anna if it can be slowed or she can be comfortable I'm all for treating, but if it is treatment with decreased quality of life I will just take her home again knowing the time with her will be shorter than I hoped when she was diagnosed.  And he'll support that, and if the day comes that euthenasia is part of the experience (please God no) then he will do that with dignity for both of us as well (meaning he'll be doing it in one weird position because if she is going to go that was it WILL be in her favorite position.  We'll both lie on tbe the table on a blanket and she'll be in the crook of my arm. And I know this vet will allow that).

Which shows how emotionally unstable I am; just those words has me crying and she'd FINE right now, just losing weight, eating too much and has had a few accidents and noticeably smellier pee.

Like I said, time for meds and bed.  Obviously.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I woke anxious, I'm going to work anxious, and I'd really prefer to hibernate.  I do not feel like sitting through meetings, and then I have to go around and feel stupid dealing with the stuff from last night's patient.  I do not want to go through that.  I feel like an absolute idiot with the conversations this makes me have, and I do not understand why this patient has no problems with anyone in the agency but me.  I do know, it's because it's "my" body part that is affected but the patient has made good, even great progress, and now the patient is hurting their own progress by refusing to take instructions from me.  I just don't know.  What I do know is I NEED vacation.  3 more weeks, I think.  I haven't even asked what is happening to my patients that week.  I am that desperate for time off.

And now I have to go so I can get my water bill paid before they turn it off.  Again, stressed anyone?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Bipolar: What NOT to do

As is probably fairly obvious I have been taught my cognitive ways to control my illness as well as medications, lifestyle management, stress management, etc.  I know a lot about it, I know that I have to monitor it all the time, and I know when to react.  I know how to talk myself down from panic when I know I have symptoms, and I know (more or less) when I need to react simply by making one of the (many) med adjustments under my control and just notifying Dr. Brain, when I need an extra visit with Dr. Mind, when I just need rest, when I need to give it 3 days to see a pattern and when (today) I need to decide that those 3 days don't matter, I can tell what is going on and I need to do things to fix it NOW.

I am also supposed to be careful of where I let myself go.  After talking about gynecological visits in my last post I'll continue that example.  Until now those visits have been so painful and unless the doctor happened to be good at keeping me focused (until the current doctor that would be one out of the say 6 I've seen; I've never gone back to anyone because the only one who was not horrible and awkward handling my PTSD moved away before I could see her again) and engaged in what was happening now and not what my mind might be bubbling up that we simply knew they'd be traumatic.  Now I have one coming and we'll prepare, but not like it used to be because I feel a lot safer knowing I'm not in for horrible pain and an uncomfortable doctor (how a gynecologist could be uncomfortable with sexual abuse/assault is one of the great mysteries in life), but until now those appointments have required about 3 months of off and on discussion, usually 2-3 cancellations before I made it in because I have to be in the right place to handle it.  Essentially I have to be aware of myself.  I have to be ready to do it, and I have to be ready to back away if it doesn't work.

What I'm saying is that I need to pay attention to myself and my symptoms.  I also need to pay attention to what my reactions are.  When I knew Friday I was overreacting to things because I was so exhausted I did 2 things wrong. One was that I didn't pay enough attention.  I didn't think "Is this symptoms?" because I had multiple things I assumed it was instead.  I thought that it was too soon to have symptoms, despite the fact I was at risk because I reduced my Seroquel dosage last week back to normal with the additional PRN.  I thought it was tired and stressed about money/job change/buying cars, and that resting some this weekend would help.  Even during the weekend when I had a dream indicating I was worrying way too much about something and that it was the kind of excess that means "needs meds" I ignored it.  The second was I reacted wrong.  Friday night I got home and fell asleep without meds.  That shouldn't have happened; I shouldn't have done anything until meds were in me when I was that tired and overwhelmed.  Dr. Brain has said before that if I'm having or recovering from the kind of episode I just had and can fall asleep unmedicated when my brain is used to the HUGE hit of meds then I am completely exhausted.  Completely exhausted is not where I should be, even though some of it wasn't my fault (see motel stay with middle of the night call and clock set to the wrong hour tricking me into being awake at 3).  Then when I was so exhausted I was right to rest, but I did not pay attention and so was up very late (mania, not just whatever distraction I thought it was; there is no distraction so great as to surmount my meds, on purpose) before I thought to take the extra Seroquel.

So what's now happened is that my symptoms are back.  Under control because I reacted today, and monitored because I've let Dr. Brain know both "my sleep is screwed up" and then later "I am screwed up" and so I'm immediately back on the increased dose of Seroquel which I will not be likely allowed to wean down from for some time now.  I've been worse.  Much, much worse, but even the last several months have had plenty of "worse".  But I am very tired and my patient made me cry after I left his home and I don't want to go back there and I don't have a choice.  He just makes me SO. TIRED. because he basically thinks that it is my fault that his recovery hasn't been faster (it's ahead of where I would guess it would be on average for this condition with this severity) and that I haven't helped at all, yet it is my responsibility to achieve 100% recovery and my fault if that doesn't happen.  I can't ever promise anyone that.  You can break your finger, wind up in a cast, have difficulty pulling up your pants after you pee and I can not promise you it will be exactly like it was before.  So I have to go and humiliate myself tomorrow asking people to back me up.  This patient really has a good outcome to date and I am beginning to fight to believe that it really is true because the patient has me believing I have destroyed their life.  Oh, and I'm allergic to something like I've never been allergic before.  No runny nose, but my face and neck are burning and itchy and blotchy and my eyes puff up and I have made my face bleed scratching at it.  I'll take zyrtec tomorrow, I can't tonight because I took a derivative of it earlier to stop the itch when it was all I had, but wow.  I don't know what it is, I've never had fall allergies like this.

And now it's time to sleep.  I even left a patient note for tomorrow.  Granted it will take 10 minutes, but I'm just too tired to do it tonight and so I'm convincing myself I can do 10 minutes of it in the morning.

Gonna be a long week......

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Always Virgin

So I accidentally erased this just as I finished it a few minutes ago.  So given the immense revisions I'd already done to get it just right, meet version 3 of this post.

I've gone from being very specific about how I was molested to not liking that to not feeling like telling the stories too closely again.  Here's what has been written in the past: one.  (OK, there isn't a two).  Generally, the best way to say it is that I was never raped but very little else that can be done sexually to a child was done between my father and grandfather, from the time I was a baby until I was a teenager. My grandfather furthered the trauma after I told on him inadvertently (didn't know it was wrong) and the solution the adults arrived at was he wasn't to be alone with me, but of course he was so he instead threatened me and my mother if I ever told.  He was responsible for a lot of abuse and exposure to things young children never, ever should experience.  He is why I have a hugely elevated gag reflex (the cause is what you think).  But my father, who I've already explained was a pedophile, was the really disgusting abuser.  Dr. Mind was able to help me understand some memories that never fully made sense because I had filled in what happened and what was used in the assaults with things I knew about but which always didn't seem to make a ton of sense.  A little education on some sexual aids/toys and I know my father was very deliberate and planned in advance very specific, ugly scenarios. Along with this my father was very deliberate about controlling sexual development.  Throughout my teenage years he came into the bathroom, opened the shower door and poured cold water on me nearly every shower I took.  If I locked the door unlocked it.  If I hid the key he removed the doorknob (put on backwards as a safety measure when we were small children, at least allegedly, although he would have removed that DOOR if the doorknob wasn't an option).   So my childhood included exposure to nearly anything sexual imaginable.  At least rape was never completed.  However, for some time last spring while I was dealing with too much PTSD to talk about details, the remaining question in my mind was why not?  I knew from physical exams that it was unlikely it had been completed, although it could have been attempted or partially completed.  I couldn't ask though because I couldn't talk about that stuff until I wasn't having panic attacks and constant nightmares.

In May I saw a urologist/gynecologist for an exam preceding a procedure everyone thought I needed but which I managed to avoid.  This exam included a pelvic, and it was the first time during a pelvic someone has shown me muscles to relax.  It was also the first time that it was not extremely painful.  I've never been able to tolerate a tampon, so you (women) can understand at least somewhat what a pelvic felt like.  Well, that doctor told me FINALLY why.  It's not because I don't relax, as every previous doctor had told me.  It's because I have a condition called vaginismus.  That means there are muscle spasms if something tries to come in that work hard to keep things out.  It's protective, and it's why I wasn't raped, probably.  That seems to be the usual cause from the little I've bothered to read.

Many years ago I committed to saving sex for marriage due to religious beliefs.  The only time that may have really been a necessary commitment was during a few rebellious years I had when I was so angry at my past I would do nearly anything to fight it.  But in reality well, first I have had very few relationships and none that got serious.  There was the one that serious wouldn't have mattered because I was so manic, but the truth is that I have issues big enough that when he tried to kiss me (would have been my first kiss) I punched him in the gut.  Oddly, he no longer liked me after that.  After that I knew that before anything happened in a relationship there would be a lot of counseling.  At first I thought for me, and later as I've come to understand things better I've known (been told?  Seems like Dr. Mind and I've discussed this) that it would involve intense work for me AND as a couple.  I could still see this as possible for a while.  And then I realized I am TIRED.  I have fought for everything.  Fighting for that would be more than I think I care enough to do.  I'm not really embarrassed to talk about the abuse anymore, and with Dr. Mind's help I could share the details needed.  I do not know that I could sit and basically learn about how to have sex without freaking me out, how to handle it if I did, how to keep my PTSD, fear, and panic from ruining a relationship (because no matter how much you love someone, imagine having to go to counseling for months, then getting married, then having sex turn into a nightmare that requires you to spend the early part of your marriage, what should be magical, working on the most private things in the world with a therapist, one you know already knows more about your wife than you probably ever will and that isn't going away anytime soon,  And that's true for me too, not just whomever would be brave enough to try this path.)  So I knew a couple years ago that I had very little interest in going through what it would take for me to handle sex.  (I remember now that I did discuss this with Dr. Mind, once when I was talking about how it bothered me that NOTHING in my life has been without fighting and that something as basic as sex would be a minefield and huge battle, so what I'm describing is what he thought it would take back then).  But vaginimus adds another level.  The treatment for it is a very specialized PT, using gradually increasing in size dilators to teach the body to allow safe experiences.  It would mean having the PT done in the big city, 2 hours away, because it's not common.  I assume that would mean taking a disability leave for treatment and staying in the city.  And can you imagine a more invasive therapy?  Which would mean that I'd either be dealing with all that previously mentioned counseling AND this, or I would have to do the PT and deal with it and then the other.  Truthfully I can't imagine that all this could result in anything but a very remote, mechanical idea of sex and then all that it would require would make it hard for it to be well, what sex is supposed to be.  It would never be about intimacy as much as about work and putting all those pieces together.  It would be 100% clinical, can I touch you here, are you ok, can you touch me, let's work our way from safe to where it is scary, are you ok?, and then followed by are you ok?  did it hurt?  Can you sleep?  What was scary and what was ok?  There would not be one drop of spontaneous, maybe not ever, and I doubt seriously that it would be all that good because the possibility of my having a "flashback" (hate that term) and freaking would always be there because I can never be sure I remember everything.  In fact I'm sure I don't, and that what I don't remember is for good reason.  But I know well that just because I am ok not remembering today that if something triggers the memory tomorrow that then I'll have to deal with it, and having that hang over a relationship would kill it.

So no, it's not a likely option for me.  Obviously I could be wrong and the right person who is willing to go through all that with me and still love me if it's not effective might come along.  At least by my age I'm getting further from the part where I'd have to make someone choose to not have children; at my age I'm sure the thought of a childless life has occurred to men as well as women.  And if I'm right about my crazy periods and my doctor agrees I'm hoping to have a procedure to stop my periods and also my fertility (which is inconsequential to me) sometime in the next year.  When I think of dealing with that much physically and emotionally, and counting on my mental health to stay stable at the same time for a long time to allow progress not interrupted by 6 months of PTSD followed by mixed episodes like has happened as a consequence of my going NEAR this stuff (and learning of the vaginimus) this spring seems rather risky.  And that's not even mentioning all the other consequences of marriage to someone with severe bipolar and all that is involved in my life.  Asking someone to handle that is asking a LOT.  

Again, (Ok, not again I said this in the deleted version) this is NOT the typical experience of someone who has been sexually abused.  This is severe sexual abuse for 18 years some of it with 2 people doing it (at separate times) in the same time period.  This is having very little about sex I haven't been exposed to and none of it by choice.  This is other sexual trauma that I'm not going into here, that Dr. Mind doesn't even know about.  This is vaginimus, which is rare enough that people don't even know to diagnose it, especially when it's not someone complaining of not being able to have sex or having serious pain with sex.  I've not tried that so we've not gotten that complaint.  It's bipolar mixed in, bipolar that makes everything more complicated anyway  So at least this not the story most women who have been abused, every severely, are going to tell.  Lest someone thinks it, this is NOT related to strict religious convictions that make everything else worse.  I simply believe that sex is for marriage, that's about it as far as "strictness" and that's really just something that comes down to a choice for anyone, religious beliefs or not, based on how much you value monogamy, when you fall in love, etc.  It doesn't take conservative Christianity or other religious paths to choose this, and it also doesn't cause all the problems I have.  Not to be defensive, but some people would ignore the trauma and blame that one personal decision so I'm putting that in to prevent someday getting that comment.

Some story, eh?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Diagnosis: Who knows?

(NOTE:  I posted another post just a few minutes ago because I fell asleep before hitting send last night.  Please read it; it's more important that this which is for my memories as much as anything.)

I saw my family doctor yesterday for lab work (the annual junk like cholesterol, diabetes testing,etc.). We discussed my hormonal issues because I wanted any labs the gynecologist might want to be done now if possible while my deductible is met.  Essentially there's not much to do besides the gynecology exam in February and consider/discuss with Dr. Brain if I can go on birth control pills/patch.  I have been on them before to help regulate my mood and it wasn't very successful in that I had mood swings from the hormones, but there weren't nearly as many choices back then as there are now.

I thought it was funny though.  Nobody wants to say this is peri-menopause, but everyone has a hmmmm when they hear my mother had it at my age.  And Dr. Body especially keeps coming up with alternative diagnoses.  So far we've considered endometriosis, polycystic ovaries (which my meds, esp. one I took for years but am off now) put me at high risk for anyway, and "typical changes".  I have a new diagnosis of menorhhagia, excessive menstrual bleeding.  In doing research I've been reading about endometrial ablation and I'm going to be asking a lot of questions about that route.  I'm not having children so why should I put up with this?  If I'm a candidate I'm probably going to have that done.

I also get to have my annual diabetes check, aka the annual time I stress out because I am pretty high risk and don't need another issue.  Because of my family history (3/4 of my grandmother's children who survived adulthood have died from diabetes at young ages-73 is the oldest) and my high-risk meds (Seroquel) I get checked at least 4 times annually for glucose level and then one annual test that tells my blood sugar average of the past 3 months (hemoglobin A1C).  This year I'm having one more test done because apparently my repeated yeast infections around my bra line is a sign that diabetes would be possible, although unlikely given that we know my fasting glucose was about 80 not so long ago.  It's more likely that I just picked up a susceptibility to some kind of resistant yeast through my work.  I'm also a healthy young adult who has had thrush, which is atypical as well, except that I had 3 patients who kept passing back and forth UTIs followed by yeast infections, over and over for all of them.  They were roommates and finally the reason turned up:  the staff were sharing one bedpan between the 3.  (I know, gross......)  Combined to constant exposure to yeast infections and my having been on antibiotics a lot for several years and the result is I may just have topical yeast.  We'll know soon I guess.  I'm hoping to get these drawn this weekend.  I'd love to this morning but I don't know where I can get it done as early as I need to.  We've agreed the hospital I typically use is too annoying as they've lost blood, don't send results despite repeated requests, etc.  Which means going elsewhere.  Which is a pain as there are not a lot of options.

Oh well, I need to shower.  I still smell like my patient who smoked about 300 cigarettes in an hour yesterday.

Making it clear

I said this the other day, but today feel strongly that it needs said where it is very obvious.

I want to be sure everyone knows I love questions.  I don't care what they are about.  Abuse, bipolar, psych treatment, the hospital, sensory integration issues, OT, curly hair, cats, whatever.  I gave up about a year ago worrying about what is written here.  I want people to learn from what happened to me because maybe it will  help some other kid, give someone else hope, or take away fear.  If I don't want to answer I won't, but I can think of few things that one won't write about when they have written more than one post on why it is likely that they will never experience sex, in detail, or shared some of what I have.  I've written about some of what I experienced in detail and some in kind of a reference thing, and the overall result is that I don't care.

I know that this may make my blog a place of curiosity for some people.  Frankly that is fine with me.  Please, learn about what I have experienced both because of my illness and because of the other things to me.  Feel free to email me if you're not comfortable posting, just know I don't check that email box extremely often happened.  I am tired of my life being a secret because talking about things that have a huge impact of who and waht I am are taboo.  No more.  I decided that probably 6-12 months ago and haven't regretted it.

The thing is that I have no idea what I've talked about in some regards, as well as not knowing what I have said about what I did say.  So ask away, and I'll clarify or given answer.

You won't find a lot of people willing to do this, so please take the chance to learn about abuse, mental illness, and how they have interacted.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Never going to see that Zero

As I've mentioned a bunch of times I paid off a student loan last weekend.  Their system was down for several days while I waited to see my $0.00 and finally today I got to see it.  Only to find out that I still owe $.27.  It won't take it online.  Their phone pay costs $15.00, which I am not pay for a $.27 payment.  So I have to call back when they are open and try to get them to take their stupid $.27 without charging me for it.  And as long as that twenty-seven cents is there my account isn't closed for credit report purposes.  Ack.

I did do one good thing.  I may have mentioned before that my sister wanted to cloth diaper my niece but doesn't have enough diapers.  So for quite some time I've been buying a few diapers every week.  This was the last week for diaper purchases and I wanted good overnight diapers.  I had found what I wanted and they had a package size that was a great deal.  But when I went to order they only had 2 instead of the 6 I needed.  After some 3 AM googling I found an older version of the same diaper for a really good price and was able to get a 15% off coupon from retailmenot.com (check it out if you ever order anything online--millions of coupon codes) and then free shipping, so I wound up with 5 diapers and 5 of the things you put inside to make them really absorbent at night for quite a bit less than 6 diapers alone would have been in the package I was intending to buy.  Now I just need to buy some more diaper covers and they should be set.

I did not get back to sleep.  I rested for a while but it wasn't enough to make me less tired.  I'm letting my hair dry some now and then I'm going to get into work.  I can't get my computer to transmit my stuff from yesterday and I have some things I can do for a bit in the office before seeing patients.  Hopefully everyone is easily scheduled.  I'm not in the mood to play phone tag.  Which is a common part of my day.

So, the next report will probably be about how grumpy I am.  Because once the tired really hits that is all I'm going to be.

This should help my fatigue

This is the night I generally spent at a motel where I work so that I can quickly get to work and get a lot done before I leave early for Dr. Mind.  Today I have Dr. Body too so am really pressured to go, go, go.  Last night I was so tired I was sound asleep by 8:30 and even left a note to finish this morning (unheard of).  So first I was wakened by a noise I couldn't identify when I was sound asleep into the deepest, most medicated part of the night.  It was the motel office asking me to do something or other with my a/c unit as there was some kind of problem and my having my a/c on was causing someone else to not have heat.  I was so confused; it took forever just to figure out it was a phone and find it.  Worst of it was that I don't remember anyone saying "sorry for waking you".

I have a special clock that helps me wake up more easily (I control the beep volume).  Last night, like all work nights, I set it, set the alarms, set the motel clock and went to sleep.  When I woke up at what it said was 4 I was ready to go.  Too bad that it was only 3.  And I'm pretty awake.  I'm going to see if I can get a few more minutes of sleep here because this is a long day, but I can't believe I fell for the "change the motel clock to the wrong time" trick.  Ugh.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Oh so very tired

Yesterday was crazy busy. I finished my paperwork just before I fell asleep about 9.  I have too many patients this week.

I think I messed something up, badly.  I hope not.  I am dreading getting to work to find out.

I also forgot to dry my jeans, which I need to wear tomorrow and I'm staying down where I work tonight.

I have nothing interesting to say.  My left leg is the most interesting part of me.  First I fell through a chair (the seat doesn't attach and I leaned on it) and bruised about 6 inches of leg.  Then I tripped on something and my ankle gave and I fell into the coffee table, resulting in more and deeper bruises.  So I am bruised from above my knee to on my ankle. Lovely.

Anyway, must pack and get ready for tomorrow (and today).

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My most hated possessions

Have you ever thought about what you hate the most that you own?  Or that that just me?  I don't remember thinking much about this before, but one thing has taken the lead.  It is this:
Kwik-Up Curtain Rod Bracket

After I got my new curtains my mother convinced me to get these brackets that allegedly fit over the corner of the window frame tightly and stay in place while holding the curtains up.  She's got them and loves them.  It seemed like a good idea.  But oh how I hate them.  They do not stay up on my windows which must be too think for them.  This means they fall down.  All the time.  A cat climbs in a window and I have to get a ladder out (I don't even put it away anymore), balance on it, and try to get both corners to stay in place while I hook on the rod.  On of them tonight developed an even more fun trick that each time I got one side connected the other turned upside down.

These stupid things have mad me cry, yell, plead, and yell at my cats to not touch the windows (right, especially after I've trained them to enjoy watching outside).  I can't replace them easily because I don't know exactly how and don't want to do too much hammering until the wood has been treated.  So instead I HATE them.  I think rage displaced from all over the place goes into the hatred of these things; I cannot describe how much I hate them.

What do you hate that is smaller than your hand and costs about $5/pair?  (Or otherwise shouldn't be worth pure hatred)?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Yesterday's Psych Appointment

I realized that I have a lot of new readers and that I probably should explain some of how my psychiatry care works, because it is a huge part of why I do well and it is very different than most people.  For one thing, something that amazed Dr. Mind back when I first started seeing him because it's apparently quite unusual, I see Dr. Brain every month and I have for the entire 7 1/2 years she's seen me.  There have been 2 appointments that either I was sick or it was too snowy for me to drive so far that we've done on the phone, and she missed one appointment last year when she had surgery (and will miss one this year for reconstructive surgery as well I think although she's not mentioned that again for a long time) and that's it.  Otherwise every single month.  The 6 months prior to that, (the first few I was diagnosed) I saw a psychiatrist every other week because I was in the clinical trial.  They strongly recommended ongoing monthly appointments, and my therapist at that time talked to Dr. Brain about this because she felt we'd be a good match.  At that time Dr. Brain came to the counseling center where I have gone for about forever several times per month, and after reassurance I wasn't dangerous she agreed to see me after her regular appointments (we were alone in the building, that's why the safety thing) every 4 weeks.  Later she moved to where she is now and has one Saturday per month that is mostly a clinic type thing for something not related to me, and me.  She knows it's the only way I can see her, work, and not have to admit to work about having serious psych needs, which isn't ideal.  It also allows for long appointments, which is important for me at times.  Dr. Brain believes that everyone should get the time they need and so she tends to run behind a lot, and you're just warned that this is part of being her patient.  I think she's tried to do this less significantly in the last few years, but my appointments tend to be long because of my unique situation.  So I still spend 45 minutes to 2 hours with her, depending on whether I'm losing it or not.  Two hour appointments generally mean I've hit another wall with med options.  Since I drive 2 hours each way and usually wait 30-90 minutes, it's an all day adventure. These last months we've been talking more as well about some of the hard things I've been dealing with, so there's been a counseling component involved too, which has been on and off over the years.

Anyway, yesterday was a good visit.  We discussed my crazy hormones and she couldn't find any sign that my meds are at fault, which I assumed as there hasn't been any correlation to med changes and what's been happening.  She was concerned and agreed that something isn't right.  Everything is now documented too,right down to gaining weight and incredible carb cravings.  She agrees with seeing the gynecologist and with my plan to ask Dr. Body to do a FSH level, which will give some information about whether this is peri-menopause, although it isn't definitive.  However I have met my deductible for the year and would rather have hormonal testing that the gynecologist is likely to want done now than to pay for it when I see her in February.  I think he'll agree that this makes sense, especially as something is clearly going on whether it is menopause starting, a hormonal imbalance of some kind, endometriosis, or something else, and having some information when I can see the gynecologist (I had to schedule it far out because I wanted to have time to log things, but I also won't have paid days off for a few months after I start my new job.  I actually am scheduled for the 2nd day I'm eligible for PTO, which is actually not something I planned since I didn't plan at the time that was scheduled to take a week off between.
We briefly talked about my need for ankle surgery and she verified my fear that they'll want to do this with a spinal/epidural, which I'm terrified of.  She said when we get closer she'll see what else is an option.  Anesthesia and MAOIs don't mix.  But with notice like this she'll find a way around my terror.  Just like the hospital.

We talked a bit about last year leading up to the hospital.  She kind of missed that month of my life because ti was when she was diagnosed with cancer. But we were talking about how I've changed so much in the last year and how much the MAOI has helped me and what some of last year was like pre-hospital, how frightening I found what I felt, and how glad I am that I don't seem to go there anymore, even as tough as parts of this year has been.  (She also said I am the best I've been in a long time, and since this episode is still not entirely over that is saying a lot.)  But talking about it made me remember sitting in a therapy room with this patient who tended to try my patience on the best of days and in response to every sentence she would say I would think "I'd rather die than do this."  "I just want to die."  "I hate this.  I want to die." because I felt so horrible that listening to whining about something relatively minor compared to 99% of my patients and to what I was dealing with was way, way too much for me.  I have had patients who annoyed me before.  I have never felt that desperate to get away.  In fact, the session I realized that this was my line of thought was the session I realized I needed to be in the hospital.

I really have come a huge distance.  Not just as discussed yesterday, but in how well my meds work and how much more control we have now.  As bad as I've felt lately we've had a lot of control over what I've felt.

I just realized I forgot to eat dinner.  So maybe that starvation thing is changing too?  Who knows.

(And then I forgot to post.  And made dinner but forgot to eat it for 40 minutes.Distactible anyone?

Saturday, October 09, 2010

I don't know what to say/longest post ever

Thank you.  Thank you all for the encouragement and  support. I can't tell you how much your blog people have helped me in the last year.  There's a pretty clear pattern that I usually start talking here before I do with Dr. Mind, but this is how I can be ready to do something with him.

This post is going to go on and probably sound more like bragging that acknowledgement of what you all said yesterday.  And that's not what I mean.  What I mean is that while I am pretty sure that people can handle more than they think and that I've handled much of what I have because I've felt I had 2 choices, suicide or keep going and thankfully I'm too closely watched for suicide to be very easy.  Which has meant that I had to keep going because it was the only choice.  The thing is that's not a very happy way to live and this last year has finally fixed that because I finally have both peace and happiness.  But the last year has been amazing to me because I have finally seen there are more choices and that "fixing it" is still an option. I believed that for so long, and I did fix so much but then it seemed my life had hit a point where it just was not going to improve  anymore.  It seemed the illness was going to prevent progress past a certain point. I even accepted that as the truth. And then things changed and I no longer feel limited by illness.  That gift has come so much from this blog and all of you that I really find it important that you see what I'm writing today.  But understand please that I'm proud of all this, but I'm not as strong as you say.  I've gotten here with a LOT of help and pushing, a lot of support and prayers for me when I wasn't well enough to do that myself, and a lot of awesome people who have helped me clarify so much.  B and Elise, you have no idea how much some of the questions you recently asked about my mother/family have helped me understand some of the rage I've carried around for literally years.  I'm not at the point I can deal with it, but I am able to admit it is there and for the first time Dr.  Mind is doing what I think he's wanted to do for years and prodding at that and how I can start to forgive her.  It's invaluable when you all ask questions, even when it's probably hard for you to do (and don't feel bad ever, I'm an open book or all this wouldn't exist.  I've made conscious decisions to talk about this stuff, and in fact it feels GOOD when people ask because I want so badly for my story to help someone understand mental illness, understand child abuse, understand sexual abuse of children and how these things affect at least one person, but also that they do NOT mean my life is over before it started.  I used to think that and it took several years of counseling a long time ago focused on abuse before I could believe that it did not ruin my entire life and that what happened might statistically put me in a high risk group of various things but I didn't have to be typical of anything.  Others give support other ways and overall all of you have made me a stronger, hopefully better version of myself.

Because most people in my "real life" don't know that just makes it doubly special and helpful that I have total strangers who give so much to me.  Although I did hurt some people to the point that I ruined our friendships there also were a lot of people who walked away from me.

About 18 months ago I wrote about how that year had been the year I learned about grace.  Until that time I thought so concretely (and had been hurt so badly by other Christians who simply said what I do/did was wrong) that I bought that.  I thought of myself as sort of an "on the edge" Christian because I can't go to church, I can't follow a Bible most of the time, and I can't live in some sort of idealistic life I thought a Christian had to do.  It wasn't until then that I was well enough to realize that God CREATED my illness and that only He knows the path it will take, that only He knew that I would get the right  med before I ran out of options when it appeared that was almost inevitable.  It also was God who took control and has put Dr. Mind, Dr. Brain and a few other people in life at exactly the right time.  Although I somewhat resent that the therapist who treated me when I was first diagnosed did not refer me on to someone with more experience (she took classes and did a lot of research but it was very quickly evident that Dr. Mind's experience with bipolar was invaluable), the truth is that if I'd met Dr.Mind then I wouldn't have been ready and wouldn't have benefited so much.  Dr. Mind is a chameleon and would have adjusted to where I was, but I would have found him too forceful.  Now I rely on that forcefulness when I'm not brave enough to do this on my own, which is a lot.

Another way God has shown me grace is by the people on this blog.  In January this blog will be 5 years old. In 5 years I have had to delete a grand total of 4 comments that weren't spam.  Two were in response to my questioning something someone had written on their own blog and I may even have left them up.  If I did delete them it was because I was mad that she blocked me from her blog but then  continued to argue on mine.  The other was someone who was hurt when I posted that I was impatient when someone who has been diagnosed for only a short period of time and who stabilized rapidly was insistent that their experience was like mine.  It was the thing where it's not fair to say I'm sicker than you, etc.  There is a point to that I think, but the comments were rude so they went.  But seriously, less than 1 per year.  I know someone who deletes at least that many per POST, because people come to that blog to argue. Once I agreed to have something I'd said to my friend privately altered a bit to hide identity and posted as an example.  The comments ranged from people saying that my bad experience was my own fault because if I want to identify as a Christian and have my basic values (in this case related to my beliefs about sexuality) respected by my treatment people I should see only Christian therapists, to someone who actually claimed that first my friend was probably making me up and he was pretty sure he'd read that story somewhere else.  I actually had to write a comment giving more details to prove I was real.  It was a strange experience compared to here.

But one of the greatest gifts you've all given me is an ability to see myself more clearly.  Last year when I had to decide to go on the MAOI and go into the hospital I had to overcome a lot of fears and prepare to have a lot of my life disrupted by scary food and med restrictions and just overall changes, plus the chance that I'd go through 6 weeks of withdrawl, weeks inpatient, and still fail outpatient and then have to go back inpatient to be weaned off and started on something new (and to go off this takes 2 weeks.  If/when that happens I'll have maybe 3-4 days of it being in my blodstream and then I'll probably be inpatient for safety until  I am responding to whatever is next, which is probably an older MAOI since nothing else is left).  There was a very long time when Dr. Mind would tell me I was courageous.  It wasn't until I made those decisions and went through them last year that I believed it.  And now you've all helped me see myself clearly enough to start to have the confidence to both admit to someone I hurt badly that I did so and that I was wrong even if I was sick.

But I followed that by crying through a very large part of my hour this week discussing how far I've come in this year and how proud I am of that.  And I truly am.  I'm not sharing this to brag, I'm sharing my amazement and also my joy with you because each of you matters.  Even if you don't ever say a word I see my stats and knowing you are there matters a lot.  I don't comment much on other blogs, so I totally get the silent support thing.  In one year, off the top of my head, I have:

  • conquered my terror of hospitalization
  • gone on a scary med and had incredible results
  • survived some really tough times with work
  • met a goal, specifically the goal when I started traveling, to do this for 1 year and pay off debt.  I've paid off debt AND I've made home improvements,big ones.  That's huge.  I also made it over a year and am moving into a position that is perfect for me instead of refusing to try change and insisting on nursing home work when  I wasn't even that happy with it anymore and when it had gotten to be physically too much and emotionally had been too much for many years. This morning I paid of the last $750 of one of my student loans.  That leaves one small (under $2000 loan and one huge one that I'll pay until I die meaning my payments which were over $1000/month at one time are now half that).
  • learned to be so much more open.  When I decided to blog (aka have Julia blog) about my hospitalization in detail I did so because I couldn't find any blog that did this for this kind of hospitalization or for bipolar.  I decided at that point to throw out a lot of my last remaining fears of losing anonymity, and ultimately that led to my even having a real name, not "Just Me".  (Ironically "Just Me" came from all the years of knocking on patient doors and yelling that as I entered.  Now I go to pt. homes, knock, and enter with "Hi, it's Jen".)
  • Agreed to what seemed like the scariest medical procedure ever, the camera in the bladder thing.  And when the doctor terrified me I found someone more qualified and smarter, who did another simple test and said the scary thing wasn't needed.
  • I talked about so many things I'd refused to ever discuss before, right down to the "here's what I mean when I say molested" list for Dr. Mind.  And I learned a lot from that until PTSD turned my life into chaos for a while, but someday we'll talk about some of it more.
  • I have learned to confront people.  Not always, but I'm beginning.  At my age that's a good thing.  I even confronted Dr. Mind for scaring me once.  And I'm forcing negotiations for my salary at my new job.  This is also awesome since I've always taken what was offered even when I was making much less than I should have.
  • I'm gotten a lot better at facing fears and I think even at figuring out what fears are rational and what aren't.  Again,this is a big deal after living a life of fear.
  • I've learned to have fun, to have hobbies.  To enjoy things again.
  • I've been strong enough to decide without even asking questions that my beloved cat gets "hospice" care, not treatment that might prolong her life but would take away her greatest pleasure besides annoying me, food.  I didn't let anyone tell me that this decision wasn't right for us.  Losing Anna will be one of the hardest things I'll ever experience, I'm teary just thinking of it, and I don't think it is going to happen for a long time, but deciding to make my own decision, to not pursue testing to see how bad it is or how long she might have but instead using my judgment and observations to guide us, that's right for us.
  • I've learned to love.  Not that I didn't love before Anne, but never have I loved like this when I was so terrified of doing so, or with such abandon.
  • I've learned trust.  In so many ways.  I don't have it perfected, but it's not just baby steps into it either.
And apparently I've still not learned how to SHUT UP because this post is ridiculously long.  I'm reiterating so much of my session with Dr. Mind, and the point is that thanks all of you I have learned to see myself more clearly, which has helped me so much  in  this year.  Dr. Brain said  today when she realized where I was a year ago that I've come so incredibly far. She also said today is the best I've been in many months, so I apparently really am better now.

So, thank you.  thank you both for the support to do this (I feel like a PBS telethon) and also for the many ways you have all helped me take steps toward fixing some of this stuff.  Thanks for the affirmations and for saying nice things and sharing Bible verses or stories or so many things that come when I really need them.

I could not do this without you all.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Wow Again. (And why I shouldn't type when medicated)

HUGE clarification:  I spent 10 DAYS on a locked until last October/November. It felt like 10 years, it felt like it would take 10 years off my life, but I meant 10 days.  Stupid sedatives.

Wow also for the awesome compliments/comments.  I'll respond more tomorrow.  When I'm not apt to mix up days and years.....

Dr. Mind, he knows me well. And I surprised him

I really didn't want to go see Dr. Mind today. I was so, so tired.  Tired as in I took a 45 minute nap, something I never, ever do.   But I went, because I needed to talk about what I did this week, and we had a really, really good session.  The truly awesome thing is that he was actually called out for some consulting thing at my appointment time today and when he realized it was me he remembered last week and decided I was more emergent.  He said he had a feeling.  He was right. He had no clue I had any intention of sending the note(s) to my sister; I wasn't ready when I left there.

It was a very positive session, yet I cried though a lot of it.  Sending those notes to my sister (I sent a 2nd one, promising that Anne will never see me out of control and that while I hope Anne grows up with an age appropriate understanding of what is wrong with Aunt Jen, the ultimate answer to Anne's questions will come when she wants to know why Aunt Jen doesn't have children, and the answer, the only answer although it will have to be taken out of religious context, is that God wanted me to be able to love Anne even nore that I would otherwise.)  My sister didn't answer that yet, whether because it's hard to find an answer or she doesn't know how to trust that or whatever, but I don't care, I said what I needed to say.

Usually I only will say "I've made great gains" if Dr. Mind makes me.  Today I talked about them myself.  We talked about the session about 3 years ago where he sat me down and basically said "I'm going to talk now and then we'll discuss it" and told me that I had to make a choice, that if I could trust him and Dr. Brain that I could get better.  And after consideration I agreed and they consulted and decided to heavily treat my anxiety for a while, so that I took 4 low-dose antihistamines daily to keep me relaxed plus ativan for sleep plus my other meds.  I promised to be very faithful with all 4 doses and I think we did that for about 6-8 months.  And ultimately I did start trusting him (and her although trust is less of an issue with her) and then we started dealing with my past.  I had no idea how much my past still hurt, and how no matter how much I dealt with more bubbled up to the surface.  I told him that I think the bubbling up is slowing and that while I have memories I only partially have or things I don't remember I don't think I'll remember those things and so finally the amount of my past coming to the surface is adding to a growing pile.  Not that I don't like not remembering, but there's not much I can do about that and I now accept that I may not want to know some things.

But today, I think for the first time ever, I talked about how I realized this weekend that a year ago I began crashing rapidly into the disaster that signed commitment papers and spent 10 dayss on a locked unit, so afraid of my suicidal feelings I threw a paperclip into a heating vent.  And for several months after that things were really, really hard.  But after that I've done some of the best things I've ever done for myself in that I've talked about the hardest things I've had to deal with and the pain that accompanied them.  I've shared details I can't even say out loud.  And while I may be getting through an episode and I may have had a hard time for a while here I also have come out able to start to re-establish my place in the world rather than blindly bouncing around.  And now I'm starting to work on my own role in what hurt me, adn making myself see that I may have misinterpreted things along the way.

So overall I'm doing well.  Tired, very, very tired in fact because these recent sessions are draining, but thank God Dr. Mind had the intuition to see me and I forced myself to have the energy to do it, because this may have been one of the best sessions ever.

(ETA:  so well I fell asleep before hitting the post button)

Wednesday, October 06, 2010


I thought I'd said everything to my sister.  I've been so anxious to tell Dr. Mind I did it.  But now I realize there is more.  I think she knows this, but I NEED her to know that I will never, ever hurt my niece, that until Anne is old enough to understand that Aunt Jen has issues that I will stay away from her when I need to in order to let her see me as a good, safe person.  I want her to grow  up  knowing that Aunt Jen has an illness and I want to be very open with her as she is old enough to grasp it, but I also want my sister to know that I will do everything in my power to keep my niece from ever being hurt by my illness.  I can do that, I do it  all the time with my strict rule that I do not work if I can't handle being nice, and that rule works very well for me.  So it will work in this new way too.

My hope is that for the most part Anne always just knows, and as she gets older she can ask questions like "what is bipolar Aunt Jen?", "Aunt Jen, why do you sleep so much?", "Aunt Jen, why don't you have any children?" (answer:  So I can love you more than I love anyone else in the world), etc.  I already bought her a really neat book about disabilities and plenty more will come as I find them.

It will be interesting to see if she asks about my birthmark first or my bipolar.  I suppose that has a lot to do with whether her own birthmark fades alone or if she has treatments.

Anyway, I need to go to sleep.  I'm so tired I don't even need meds.  I'm just going to feed my cats, take my pills, and curl up and read google reader until I'm unconscious.  I forgot to bring in my computer to charge so I guess I'll go get that too.

Tomorrow is crazy.  I have to pack for 2 days away and leave at 7.  I have an 8:30 pt, then a drive, then back-to backs through noon.  I want to try to see 2 more people tomorrow. I can't get hold of one and can't decide about the other until I talk to the first.  When I'm done  I have to go let my mom's dogs out, drive home and  get my mail/packages from the post office, then come home and pack my car and feed my cats.  Then I go see Dr. Mind, go back to my mom's and spend the night, then Friday and go to her house.  She'll be home late Friday.  I need to wash my car Friday evening as I'm test driving a couple cars on Saturday (yay) and want it to be less like "I drive on backroads a lot" than it is now.  Packing is also nuts in that I want to take some sewing, which is easily done, but I also need to pack up the cloth diapers I've been gathering as my sister's Christmas gift (they don't have enough and really wanted to do cloth; now they can) because I need to take them to my mom's where my Christmas boxes are so I can get them wrapped before they are icky.

And then Saturday is Dr. Brain and car testing.

Life is just insane right now.  I have a weird schedule next week, and  then an all-weekend course.  I have to go in for my yearly bloodwork and  check-up because I met my $3000 deductible and therefore want EVERYTHING that could need tested in the next year that isn't done more often  than that done.  I'm going to see if they'll do a hormone profile as well since it won't cost my anything and will help know what's going on by the time I see the gynecologist in February.  I'll also get a flu shot (bleck, but it's going around heavily already).

Anyway, back to that go to bed plan I had......

Monday, October 04, 2010


Wow one is my sister blessed me with the best answer ever (although she'd never use that term) "no worries".  So I won't.  I thought that might be hard, but it's not.  I believe her somehow.  I think our relationship has changed forever with Anne's birth.  Can you believe that was 11 weeks ago?

One of the things I'm going through with the apparent peri-menopause is that I've had the most blessed "woman's life" possible.  Literally I have barely had a single cramp since junior high and if I did it meant I really had a UTI, not cramps, never had facial breakout (ok, that was my severely dry skin benefitting me), and while I've had mood swings with PMS mainly the only problem I've ever had besides irregular cycles in the first few years on depakote which I've been off for some time now is  migraines occasionally and those stopped with depakote too.  I've never purchased a "heavy" or "nighttime" product.  I've rarely had to clean up stained clothing or sheets.  But all that has changed now and I have 3 colors of Always in my bathroom.  And impressively today I was smart enough to use a so-called "extra heavy overnight" (purple) one for the morning that was at the end of it's life by 1.  I've had a migraine all day, I fought pimples last week, and for months I've complained that my patches don't stick during my period because my skin is oily. This is a whole new world and I don't like it.  Hopefully I can move my gynecologist appt. up some as 3 months of tracking shows something is crazy.

Michal suggested calcium.  Thanks to my meds causing severe constipation my doctor has had me try to avoid it.  However, since my mother who went through this as this age also has full=blown osteoporosis at age 63 I'm going to add it and deal with it; I think the med I'm on now for constipation with take care of it.  But you're right, I do think there is a connection to my need to drink so very much milk and this.  I like milk but I have never wanted it like this.  I think calcium supplements are also supposed to help with the migraines etc. and as this one dissipates hopefully for real (it's faked me out twice) I'll do nearly anything to avoid that again.

I met with them about my new job today.  More on that after I do some calculations and make a counter-offer.  I've never actually done that part before; it's a little scary.  But I need to; they are offering basically the average salary for someone in this field and I've got 10 years of experience.  I have to do some math though to see if what I'm thinking of asking makes much difference.  It's just hard to comprehend a pay cut this big.  On the other hand all the extra money has gone to debt, so it's not like I'll really have a change, aside from I'll pay less to debt.

Bad idea mid-migraine:  I use natural detergant called soap nuts.  I highly recommend them, but I add tea tree oil and wanted to start adding lavendar.  I got a bit of lavendar on me and it is making me really nauseous and like all sensitivity with migraine it won't wash off.  No more laundry tonight for me....

Don't Wanna

I don't want to work today.  This is what happens when I have to work on the weekend.  Monday comes and I'm not ready.  I'm tired.  I'm cold.  I have an early meeting followed by a boring phone conference and then negotiations for my new job.  (That I dread a lot; I hate that part). This means less visits get done.  And then this week is nuts anyway because I'm watching my mom's dogs Thursday and Friday, so I'll be running like crazy those days.  I ordered some shoes through Zappos that for some reason came as signature required so I have to make sure I leave work exactly on time Thursday to hit UPS to sign, but I have to first stop and let the dogs out, and then go see Dr. Mind, so I won't be home until 9 or so and then Friday I have to get home as soon as I can to let the dogs out again.  Saturday I go to see Dr. Brain, which is an all day thing.  Then I'll have Sunday to rest.  The following weekend I'll be gone all weekend at a training.  So I am going into today knowing it's the beginning of a long spell of being tired.

But that's ok.  I'll live and eventually I'll wake up enough to not be grumpy.  Don't know why I woke up grumpy today but I did, even at 4.  I made myself sleep more and still grumpy.

OK, time to see if I can avoid ironing.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Update on my body

Along with bipolar there of course is a physical body here.  And in this case we have a physical body that is pretty clearly starting perimenopause.  My mom was my age when it started.  My doctor thought it was rare and that it was more likely endometriosis since my pain issues would prevent me from acknowledging pain easily.  I've been tracking and it's very clearly hormonal.  I had put off my gynecologist appt. to assess this until February; depending on how time off works with my new job I may move it up as the pattern is clear.  My periods are getting LOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNGGGGGG, starting to eat up a week or more plus another week to 10 days of PMS.  They are heavier than I've ever experienced.  I have cramps and even pimples for the first time ever.  And I have a serious carbohydrate craving issue.  I also crave milk like crazy, drinking at least a gallon a week and very often 2 pints just in the morning.  That doesn't bother me, but it is weird.

So that's the next fun step of my life.  Yippee.

I did it

One I'm sorry email sent, to my sister.  Many more to go.  I only cried a little.  Maybe I really am ready for this? Who knows.

Responses to comments

Each comment I've gotten so far from yesterday's post deserves a response.  So here they are.  And thank you. I arrived home tonight realizing I am ready to apologize to my sister.  Not who I thought would be first, but she has forgiven me enough  that today I was one of the very first people to ever get a giggle from my niece.  Most awesome feeling ever.  So I'm going to start that tonight or tomorrow.

Anyway, in the order they are listed:

I do feel safe.  Strangely so.  Dr. Mind was very wary when I wanted to do this now, as the usual plan is to provide some adjustment time after an episode and then move gradually into something hard.  So he was quite surprised to hear I felt fine after the first session on this, and while the 2nd was harder and more tearful, I came home and slept like the dead, which has ONLY happened when I was really medicated lately.  I think I felt such weight lifted just going near this that instead of the upset he expects I just feel relief.  I think this stuff has been waiting to turn into words for a very long time, and yet it took precisely the wrong hurt and the precise dose of anger at my mother for it to cohere enough to become words.

Thank you for the perfect verse.  There was a time many years ago, about 18 months before I was diagnosed with bipolar and still thought I had severe depression that I could not stop crying.  I could make it through work, but then the tears were in control.  At that time I thought crying was wrong and a friend spent a lot of time trying to Biblically prove that it was ok to cry.  I remember during that he finally made me read the story of Elijiah and how when he was emotionally worn down God himself made him eat, rest and then try again.  The story made such an impression that I named my next kitten Elijiah as a reminder that God says the way to handle depression is to take care of yourself (which in my case included having an Elijiah). You have just handed me the verse to help me feel strong during a time that feels very weak. I have told you I can't memorize verses, but I will write this out and keep it with me during this experience.

Welcome and thank you for taking an interest in a subject most people want to avoid.  I wish more people would get interested and learn because so many people have mental illness and so often people don't realize this and adopt an us/them mentality that is often the worst part of the whole experience.  Thank you also for knowing about child abuse and not avoiding it as "icky".  I can't imagine what it is like to be a parent and look at your own child and imagine them in that situation.I think that one thing that is very helpful with abuse though (as well as detrimental) is that it is often all you know of childhood.  At least for me that's true.  There's no "before and after" like so many bad memories we gather during our lives.  Abuse is a terrible thing and I wish that as a society we worked harder to prevent it.  If you read more you'll eventually know that I grew up in a small town where virtually everyone knew what was happening in our home and while there were calls to child protective that went nowhere (because my already assigned caseworker would like to protect her friend my mother) and there were the coaches who protected me quite a bit, but that was about it.

And yes, my father's girlfriend and I were in school together.  He was a teacher/pedophile (this story will make you want to remove your children from public circulation) who we believe molested various girls over the years.Somehow this one first he started with all this special treatment, gradually brought her to our home more and more, ignored the rest of us (including my mother) in favor of her and would become unhinged if his time with her was disrupted.  He got sick with MS soon after this and the school board pushed his disability retirement through the system rather than deal with the legal mess and publicity.  This was at a time cases like this were huge national news because of a few cases that I don't remember adequate information to name right now.  Eventually she moved in with us and he had an affair (if you can call it that when the 2nd woman isn't even a woman yet, she's 15 or 16 year old) in the basement while the rest of us functioned upstairs.   So she and I went to school together; she was 2 grades ahead.  It was not good.  At all.    He was even more physically (and obviously sexually and emotionally) abusive to her than the rest of us, which is saying something.   Later on when I was in college my parents divorced, he married his girlfriend, they had a baby when I was about 21 and then she realized what he had done/was doing and left.  A messy divorce where his visitation status was all over the charts occurred and by the end all parental rights were terminated.  After that eventually I lost tough and my brother will be 14 next month and I will not have seen him in 10 years.

My life is not typical, praise God, but it is also not boring......That's probably the craziest true story you'll read for a while......I hope anyway because it was a very hard life.
 and that's the nutshell version.


I know this gets confusing, there are just so many factors involved.  Please feel free to ask anything.  If I don't want to answer I won't (don't see that as likely ) but am going to be talking about stuff that is confusing if you haven't had time to read 1200 plus posts written by someone who tends to be long-winded and sometimes makes no sense, and even then some of the posts with explanations felt too detailed and were removed.  And I have no clue where to link for explanations; tags would be nice but let's face it, tagging 1200 posts takes time and I have a 3 hour commute daily.  However, I'm planning to have my ankle operated on in 2 years and when I do that I'll have about 12 weeks of sitting at home, so that's on the list of things that might help keep me sane.  But I don't mind.  My past hurts, but not because someone asks.  It's not like you are reminding me of something I'd forgotten, and if you do that's probably a good thing.  It is through comments on this blog that I'm really able to start doing this project, and that's an awesome thing.