Sunday, May 29, 2011

Work in progress

Well, Friday I got brave enough to remove the towel I had stuffed up between the wall and my cupboard where the bat had flown into.  Imagine my surprise when ~ no bat! Oh great. If the bat is not up there, then where is it? I shudder to think. So for the past two days I have been walking into rooms very gingerly.Turning on the lights and then looking around carefully. With every cupboard, drawer or closet I open I expect this thing to come flying out at me. My poor nerves are frayed. Where is this thing??? I may as well resolve myself to the fact that I have just inherited another pet. Maybe I should just give it a name and be done with it. “Boris”  maybe? Or how about  “Barrack O’Bat’ma?”  Maybe I should set out a bowl of food for it every morning like I do my cat. Afterall,…. how bad can bats be? (Oh God,… I just shuttered involuntarily thinking of answers to that question) Rabies,… that’s what. I worry that Maggie will eventually come across its hiding place and it will bite her and Oh,… don’t even want to go there,…. Bottom line,… It’s just a bad situation. I’m doing my best to just not think of it and get on with it. Who wants to take bets of when and where it will eventually turn up?
 I guess it’s time to finally admit that I have slipped back into a depressed fog again. For the past 3 weeks or so I have been fading down, down, down,… I have been exhausted, sad, un-motivated with no energy. I feel this loss of emotional expression ~ a flat affect ~ an empty mood. I see the signs of it getting worse too. I am isolating again.  Socially withdrawing. My sleep has been a huge problem too. Insomnia when I don’t take my Seroquel and sleeping way too much when I do take it. I have trouble concentrating on the simplest of things. My memory is horrible and I can’t seem to make a decision to save my life. In short ~ I have once again been visited by “The Black Fog”.
As you have read in the past few weeks, I have been trying hard to over-come it by trying to stay active and motivated. But I think it’s time to admit that it just isn’t working anymore.
So Friday I went to the Doctor. She agrees that things seem to have gotten worse even from when she saw me just over a month ago. I’m to stay on my medication ~ FULL DOSE! God how I hate taking the full dose of that stuff. It just makes me sleep. and sleep. and sleep,…. But she insists it’s better than the alternative. I grudgingly agree. So I’m back on the elephant tranquilizers for a while. She has put me on an ‘urgent’ waiting list for a psychiatrist and hopes that I can get in to see one in the next 2 to 3 months. She had just received my charts from my last doctor that week and hadn’t had a chance to read it yet so she told me to sit tight and she would go through my chart thoroughly in the next day or two. Hopefully then she’ll have a better idea of how to proceed forward. I am being patient. I know it’s taking much longer than I want it too, but she is doing it thoroughly which is what I have wanted all along. But it doesn’t change the fact that in the meantime I am just waiting at home drugged to the eyeballs and barely able to get out of bed. It’s not a nice existence. Depression is a horrible disease. But I will do what I am told to do. because in the end, I do want to get better and I know this doctor is working hard to achieve that. The big picture shows a positive outlook. The little picture has me holding on patiently feeling like shit. But I am aware that it will get better and that professional help is just around the corner. Hold on Jacquie,……Keep looking at the silver lining!!!!
And that is where things stand right now. I am in a sort of “holding tank”. Knowing I will feel better but having to go through the motions of feeling terrible first. So,…
My positives,….
I may be un-well right now but I know I won’t be forever.
I am happy that as I have gotten older, I am understanding this disease a bit more and therefore I am able to recognize the signs and symptoms and  ASK FOR HELP.
And lastly,…. Summer is on the way! Even if mother nature hasn’t finished with the water works quite yet. But soon it will be shorts & flip-flop weather once again. :-) Never under-estimate the power of good weather on a persons psyche

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Pondering why I OD when I get so depressed

*** Please note that I am not going to take an overdose. I am simply reflecting on how I get to a point in my life that I take this drastic step. I have tried to OD over 8 times so I really would like to learn why I do it. This rambling entry is just me thinking out loud ~ So don't worry ~ I am safe***
When I cannot articulate my pain into words, then I feel this overwhelming compulsion to express it in other ways.
I used to cut. But I don’t like the pain. It hurts. And it leaves scars that I can’t explain away. I am a word cutter. My thighs are my canvas. I have had M*******” and H*****” (daughters names) and “I hate me…” I’ve carved “Ugly” and “fat” and “stupid” and “die”. I have started my own self deprecating dictionary on them.  
The scars take months and months to fade away. Even now, if I get out of a hot shower I can still see little white traces of these words visible. But once the red skin from the hot water disappears, so do the words…  But just to be sure, I never wear shorts.
Unlike most cutters I don’t enjoy the pain from doing it or watching the blood that seeps out. I can only guess I do it because it startles me into reality.  I haven’t cut in nearly a year.
Another thing I do which is far more dangerous is to take pills. When I feel that overwhelming pain and sadness inside of me it becomes all-consuming.  Sometimes it lasts for days on end. I become so depressed. Despondent. And if it gets worse over time I eventually go into a state of numbness.  I retreat into an anesthetic bubble of nothingness. I feel nothing I literally detach myself from my feelings. I don’t “feel” anymore.  I can no longer reason. I know I have a family that loves me but consequences aren’t relevant. I don’t want to say that I don’t care that I am going to hurt my family,… It’s more that I don’t understand that my actions will hurt them,…  I don’t have the capacity to know that I will be hurting myself or the ones I love. I just go into this dreamlike state of floating. All I can think of is taking pills that will put me to sleep. So I no longer have to exist. All pain will be gone.
I know people think that when I overdose I do it to be dramatic. That I think things like “This will get their attention” or that I ‘stage’ the scene to make it look dramatic. Nothing could be further from the truth. One time I did it in a hotel room and the police said I cut myself and I had pictures of my babies with me and I drew all over my body with pen and other stuff that I don’t ever recall doing. I don’t even remember driving the two hours there or checking in! My mind is way too detached at this point to involve anyone else’s feelings or consequences. (This means I no longer have a conscience to stop me from following through with it) No one else exists to me while I am in this state. I am outside my body no longer in control. I am too far gone. Please believe me when I say I do not overdose to get attention. I overdose to stop the pain. My dreamlike state that I have climaxed into is a result of days or weeks or even months of severe non-stop depression that my body shuts down from eventually. My mind and body can no longer take it so it automatically goes into this dissociated state as a defense mechanism. I goes into this ‘trance’ and once I’m at that point I am no longer in charge. That’s why acute and prolonged depression is so dangerous for me.
 Because I spend so much time alone I don’t know how long I am in this state. Is it hours? Days? I never remember going into it. And I don’t recall much when I wake up in hospital.
Can anyone relate to any of this or am I really just rambling on in my own little world tonight?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Doctors appointment tomorrow

I have my second doctors app't tomorrow with my new GP since I moved here on May 1st. Last app't she made it clear she wants to help me but she will do it by the book. Because she didn't know me she wouldn't change my medication (Seroquel that I have been on for nearly 5 years and turns me into a drugged out zombie) but instead told me to be patient while she waited for my old doctors to send my charts over to her. I took this as a good sign as it means she wants to diagnose properly and prescribe medication to help that diagnoses. She warned me it could take months, not weeks and that I really do need to be patient while she starts treating/diagnosing my health care from scratch. I've been wanting this for YEARS!!! It seems that over the past 10 to 12 years no one has taken the time to deal with my mental health properly.
Anyway,.... I used to work in a medical clinic so I know how these things work. You wouldn't believe how many mental health patients are just passed around from doctor to doctor because no one really wants to deal with them. Here in Canada Psychiatrists under OHIP are so back-logged it can take years to get in to see one so in the meantime GP's (family Doctors) just throw meds at you once a month and call it done. I have had no counselling in over 7 years. I talk to no one except my old psychiatrist who I saw for about 5 minutes every 4 to 6 weeks. He gave me seroquel (would never allow me to change that no matter how much I told him I hated it) and sent me on my way. I didn't even have a family doctor for the past 2 years.
So really I'm feeling optimistic about my future care. (but guardedly,... I've been promised loads of care in the past that just didn't materialize) Having worked in a clinic myself I also know that it can take MONTHS for a chart to be transferred. So if my new doctor still hasn't received any of my past charts I know she will not change my medication. I will be forced to wait another 4 to 6 weeks for my next app't with her in the summer.
All I want,... have ever asked for in the past 7 or 8 years is someone to take the time to give me a proper and accurate diagnoses and then treat that illness. I've been given so many diagnoses over the years I can't even keep track of them all. It astonishes me that I end up in hospital (usually after an attempted O/D) and the doctor sees me 3 or 4 times in that 3 or 4 week hospital stay and gives me a brand new diagnosis. How the hell can they tell what I've got after only seeing me 3 or 4 times??? But when i get out, My GP would get those notes and would change my diagnosis to what this new psychiatrist says. It's been frustrating to say the least.
I know I'm not a doctor so I know I can't diagnose myself but I really do wish SOMEONE would. So I'm crossing my fingers and saying a little prayer that this new GP I'm seeing tomorrow is taking the time to do just that. One can only hope so that's what I'm doing. Being hopeful.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Still trying to push through

Here I sit. Sunday night, or rather very early Monday morning, wanting to sleep but can’t.
I’m still struggling to push through the sadness and lethargy that I am feeling because of the depression. As unmotivated as it has made me I am determined to push through it. It’s like that old song,… (“smile when your heart is breaking”)  Even though there is an air of sadness all around me and I can’t seem to muster up any motivation I am pushing through anyway.

I have gone back to taking the full prescribed dose of my Seroquel because of this descending depression over the past week. Hoping it will take it away. But that in itself is creating the “other” problem. The medication zonks me out so bad I can’t get out of bed. This morning, just like yesterday, I didn’t wake up until after noon. And even then I felt so drugged I could barely keep my eyes open. I had coffee and watched TV until late afternoon unable to move or function. It wasn’t until 3 that I was even able to get into the shower. But once my head cleared a bit I did force myself to get outside.

I drove into Elora and parked the car and went for another long walk. I hiked the trail along the gorge which is breathtaking. The fresh air and the beautiful scenery did end up lifting my spirits so that I did feel much better by the time I walked back to my car. And then, as luck would have it, my brother called and asked if I wanted to drop by his place for a chicken BBQ dinner. Which I did. Living in apartments for the past 5 years I don’t have a barbecue. So this was a real treat for me. (Had no idea my brother was such a great cook!) It just felt so nice to have gotten out of my apartment and live a bit. It made me feel almost ‘normal’.
And, just for you Liz,… this blog will again end on a positive ( or at least a bit humorous) note. Tonight,… another “It could only happen to me” moment,….

It was around 11:00 and I was sitting in the living room watching TV when I heard this rustling noise coming from the kitchen. It went on for a few minutes so I decided to get up and investigate. Thinking that my cat Maggie was up to no-good I didn’t think much of it. But as I turned on the kitchen light a bat,… Yes,… that’s right,… a BAT! flew across the kitchen just missing my head! I screamed bloody murder. It’s a wonder I had none of my neighbours banging on my door I screamed so loud. I HATE bats! I ran out of the kitchen and grabbed a broom. Taking a deep breath, I went back in and actually chased this damn thing around my kitchen. It eventually flew into the inch of space between my cupboards and the kitchen wall. I quickly grabbed a towel and stuffed it up the crack in the hopes that it would now be trapped up there. Ew, Ew, Ew,…. By this time I am really freaked out. I’m actually shaking. All I can think of is this thing getting back out and coming at me in the middle of the night. So now, I’m too afraid to go to bed. Hell,… I’m too afraid to turn off any of the lights. So here I am,… 3:00 in the morning on my computer because I won’t go to bed. Theres no way I can crawl into my bed and turn my light off and CLOSE MY EYES! No, no, no,… Because I know that the minute I close my eyes this thing will find me!  So I will be up watching TV until morning light. Bats don’t like the light so I will be safe then. (right? I WILL be safe then right?????) Oh God,… I’m such a girl,… But seriously people,… Bats are CREEPY!

So with drink in hand (yup,… succumbed to strawberry daiquiri to calm down the frayed nerves,…) I am sat in living room with one eye on the towel-stuffed crack and one eye watching taped movies. I am the worlds worst scardy cat
.
But,…in keeping with my New Years Resolution,  I will still look at the positives.

 A)My brother has very generously said he is buying me a NEW TV to replace mine cuz it just died !! yeah,… so happy,… awesome,… (doing jazz hands,…)
B) Fergus/Elora has turned out to be an awesome place to live. Beautiful here. So much to do
C) The silverfish are still tormenting me but at least they’re not COCKROACHES!
D) I may have a bat in my belfry but at least it’s not a ,… er,.. um,… ok bad example there,… Bats are the worst
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~ ~~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
 ” Light up your face with gladness,….
Hide every trace of sadness,…
Although a tear may be ever so near,…
That’s the time you must keep on trying,…
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile,….
If you just smile,…”

Friday, May 20, 2011

Glass half full! Glass half full!

It’s been a topsy-turvy couple of days. I feel like I’m sinking back into “The Black Fog” again but I am struggling hard to avoid that.
Just to remind you,… I actually set up this blog as an outlet for me to talk freely and honestly about my illness. Depression. And that is what I am going to do here. Talk about “it”.
Depression is a mood disorder. And the past 3 days I have been struggling greatly with my mood.
It all seemed to start to go south on Tuesday. I had an appointment in Brampton. It had to do with my Mom.  (Need I say more?). The whole meeting lasted only 10 minutes. But it changed my mood completely. I obviously couldn’t stop thinking about Mom and her passing. It just hit me really hard. And that’s the way a mood disorder works. For most people, when they are hit with an emotion or situation they can regulate their mood. They can feel it,… own it,… and then move on. I can’t do that. And so there are times that I find myself feeling quite good when I get up in the morning. But the smallest of things can change my mood to the point where I plummet into a depression and can’t seem to shift that mood. So I guess you could say I don’t have a ‘regulator’.
I knew when I woke up that morning that my mood wasn’t the best. I have a cold so that wasn’t great. The weather was wet and gray. It rained the whole drive to Brampton. The meeting was of course all about Mom and that was upsetting to me. I left the building feeling sad and missing Mom. The long drive home just seemed to cement the mood in place. By the time I got home I was teary. I was once again struggling with that dreaded demon ~ depression. No matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t shake the “black fog’ off. I ended up curled up in my chair mindlessly watching program after program on the TV. And once you’re in a depression the rest of the world becomes distorted. You lose self-confidence. You lose motivation. You lose hope. You lose yourself. You become a big sad blob that can’t function. And that was what happened to me on Tuesday.
I don’t know the reason a depression hits me. It just does. I think a lot of times it’s caused by life situations that I find hard to cope with. But other times there just doesn’t seem to be any logical reason for the mood change. it just appears. I’ve seen it many times in people who are intelligent with great jobs and lovely families and on the outside they have nothing to complain about. But that’s the sneekiness of depression. you don’t have to have a reason. It’s a chemical imbalance in your brain that shifts everything in your mind to “glass half empty” when you have no real reason to feel that way. I have always wrestled with the question of why I suddenly plummet into depths of depression that are horrible. But I don’t have an answer. I don’t think anyone does or there wouldn’t be millions of Canadians suffering from this debilitating disease.
Anyway,… The next morning I woke up still in “The Fog”. I had taken my Seroquel the night before so I was really groggy and tired so I stayed in bed until noon sleeping. (Always my first symptom I’m slipping,… all I want to do is sleep) But I finally got up and had a shower and made my bed and,… blah, blah, blah,…. all the ‘normal’ stuff  ”healthy” people do every single day with no effort. Then I forced myself to get outside. I did some errands and then went for a walk. I was still feeling heavy and sad in my heart but at least I was making the effort to try to get out of this funk.
The next day (which was again overcast & gloomy ~ not helpful to a depressed mind) I had to get up early as the furniture store was delivering my new loveseat. Most people would have been happy and excited about this. I was still feeling “blah” and couldn’t muster up the energy to feel anything. But again I forced myself to do stuff. Make my bed. Do the dishes. Do some laundry. When a person is in a depression these small everyday tasks feel gargantuan and impossible to carry out. But I managed to do them. Suddenly the sun came out. So after the couch was delivered I put on my walking shoes and went for a nice long walk around town. That seemed to help a lot. I came back home feeling much better. RELIEF! Could this past few days mood just be a short-lived occurence? I hoped so. But a mood disorder is so unpredictable that I never know how I’m going to feel from one hour to the next.
And with that,… I again woke up really late this morning (at noon ~ really that Seroquel medication leaves you feeling like you’ve been shot with an elephant tranquilizer!) But again, I have forced myself to get up get on with it.
So,…  It’s the Canadian Long Week-end. And I have told myself that I am NOT going to waste it by feeling sad and depressed sitting in my apartment. And even though the weather is once again wet and dreary and overcast I will get outside. I think tomorrow I might hop in the car and drive down to Elora and get out walking and explore there. I’ve texted the girls to see if they want to go to a movie at some point. I have a new book I can start (bring a chair to a park and read maybe if the weather gets better) The hard part about living in an apartment (with no balcony) is that if you want to get outside you have to actually go somewhere. It’s not like you can putter around in your garden or sit on your patio,… so I have to use my imagination and find places to go (that are free). It’s a good thing I like to walk and hike. I may be out of shape right now after a long winter of being inside all the time but I do want to fix that by getting back into my walking every night after dinner. In short,… I want to be healthy mentally. It can be a struggle to do that but I want to work on it.
And that’s where I end my post today,…. struggling but determined to move forward.