Tag Archives: mental health

I found the solution

It’s April. I started dieting December of 2010. I have lost about 33 pounds. If I lose four more I will qualify for Lifetime Membership, which means I met a goal weight and don’t have to pay $40 a month anymore. I’ve talked about this before, but I have quite a new new readers, so I’ll tell it again.

At 207 pounds I thought I was probably about fifteen/twenty pounds over weight. I took funny pictures of myself looking sad eyed at the camera. I was pretty fat, but not all that fat, I thought.

I lost fifteen pounds and I was excited! That calls for New Pictures! Imagine, to my astonishment, I was not only still fat, I was still very fat. The weight began to creep off and I did (most) everything right. I tracked my meals on eTools program, exercised some, and showed up to meetings. (As of press I have missed two meetings in almost 2 1/2 years.) I got down to 173. And it stayed there. Every week I was either up a pound, stayed the same, or down .2. This has gone on for months now and I’m tired of it. I know how I lose weight: Follow the Weight Watcher’s Program. I will do that, guzzle water, counting points of everything I eat and exercise.

But wait, there is more. It’s warm out and I really wanted a cold drink, like a freddo from Pete’s. I decided to save a dollar and go to McDonalds. Shamrock Shakes are here for just a little while, and I have good memories of a friend who has fallen by the wayside, and Shamrock Shakes. While I was there, I’d get a “Mini Meal” A hamburger, french friends and Diet Coke. (For the record, Diet Coke and mood disorders usually don’t mix. I popped an Ativan just to get through it.) They did not have Shamrock Shakes.

Bait your breath no longer: I managed to find another milk shake. It was good – I sucked it down. It had 2/3 of my Weight Watcher Points Plus for that day and I am pretty sure the hamburger and french fries knocked the rest of them out of the park.

Why would I do such a thing? I am so close to my goal and, when I am asked if I’d like fries with that, my answer is, low and breathy, “yes, oh yes.”

Here some of the reasons I might do such a thing:

I prefer being fat – As T so elegantly put it I want to hide under a huge mound of fat.

I don’t want to reach my goal. I’d rather have the life of gobbling whatever it is that I want, anywhere or time than I want than that of health and wellness.

I hate myself and am going to let my body know it through a steady diet of junk.

I’m afraid of being thin or attractive.

I don’t want to succeed at this or anything else. Keep me plain, chubby, unaccomplished. It’s easier this way. Except for it’s not easier. I could have popped in to Trader Joe’s and got any of their deli lunches. It would have taken about the same time as it did for me to go through two drive-thru menus. Being destructive is a chore with physics on its side. Being constructive needs creativity and planning. I am creative. Sometimes it is difficult to put this creativity in motion. It’s like words that catch my ear and sound beautiful. It’s like a just right jar of red paint – on clearance. Maybe if I saw my body as an act of art I would take better care of it.

I want a tattoo that says, “TOSKA” except for in Cyrillic. I won’t get one. He says they are too expensive and that it would be even more expensive when I decided I didn’t want it anymore. He won’t get one either.

“Toska – noun /ˈtō-skə/ – Russian word roughly translated as sadness, melancholia, lugubriousness.

“No single word in English renders all the shades of toska. At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. At less morbid levels it is a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning. In particular cases it may be the desire for somebody of something specific, nostalgia, love-sickness. At the lowest level it grades into ennui, boredom.”
― Vladimir Nabokov


Prescription pain killers

If I were trying to be cool, I would wake up every day the same way I woke up today: in a cold sweat. I thought it was Thursday. I leapt up and ran down stairs looking for a calendar to confirm the disaster. Not only was I unprepared for the rest of the week, but I had missed marriage counseling. I mean, we missed marriage counseling. I hate missing things. I hate forgetting things. I have been doing better, but I still forget about appointments, assignments.

It is Sunday, 5:15 am, and I’ve been up an hour.

The last important thing I forgot was Small’s family tree assignment. We threw it together last minute, and it was beautiful, but it didn’t have a lot of the things it should have had, and would have if I looked at the assignment sheet. I didn’t and I still feel terrible.

But back to me. Two nights in a row I took Xanax to sleep. Last night I lay awake for an hour. I am not familiar with insomnia so it was frustrating and strange. I finally got up and took a Flexerill. It took about a half hour to put myself down.

Tomorrow I will not take anything to sleep. (Who died of an over-dose, or misuse of prescription medication in the last couple of years?) “…commonly abused prescription drugs like OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax, Soma and the newly popular Fentanyl, which has 100 times the pain killing abilities of morphine, cause more deaths than cocaine and heroin combined.” (Emphasis mine) http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/01/18/surge-in-prescription-drug-overdoses-causes-drug-induced-deaths-to-top-motor-vehicle-fatalities/) Heath Ledger, Michael Jackson, and Brittnay Murphy, all had high levels of legal, prescription drugs in their systems when they died.

I didn’t know Sara Teasdale died by suicide. Have been convicted I want to do more for the cause – considering the Out of the Darkness Overnight. More about that here http://theovernight.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donordrive.eventDetails&eventID=501

No more for now. Don’t want to think about it.

I’ve Got a Rock

I’ve got a rock in my belly in the form of a Devil’s Food Glazed Doughnut. Why did I do it? I do not know. But it’s too late to undo.

I spent the morning with Dr. RH, PhD. We discussed important things and not so much important things. First of all, she wanted to know about Marriage Counseling by Dr. PP, PhD. I told her it felt productive. I asked some questions about the way the brain is made, and did she think it was possible bipolar was caused by brain damage found in the amygdala, the emotional center of the brain. She said probably not and that we will never know. If there is a problem with the brain, it is probably caused my the neuro-transmitters faulty firing.

She asked about my goals in our one-on-one therapy and she gave me a Career Assessment Inventory. I’m going to bring it back and she’ll send it to the company so they can process it. I’m also to organize my business paperwork and bring it so she can see it.

Personal goals in therapy and relationships and life:
Think before I speak and speak kindly
Take care of my body with exercise, yoga and thoughtful eating
Support and love and care for my family – help them work towards making all their dreams come true.
Find meaningful, productive work and do it diligently- consider whether the book will qualify and if so, when?
Be able to follow Jesus by following principles he put in to place.
Organize tangible things in such a way I can find them and use them later.
Make beautiful things that people are happy to see.

More later.

Bells Might Ring

A lot of my friends are getting divorced, or want a divorce. It seems kinda funny to me, but I’ve heard this story before. Most of us marry in our twenties. A lot of us divorce in our thirties/early forties. Some of us want to remarry, and divorce with the hope they will find someone better, others swear they will never marry again.

My therapist is about six feet tall and has a Ph.D. She has been married five times and told me that her husband of many years is almost perfect. She says that moving out to California was a challenge before because of her liabilities, namely the height and education. I don’t know if Californians are less intimidating here in California or what, but she met her husband that day she moved here. Good for her. She is a smart cookie and I like her much more than I thought I would.

She rarely works with bipolar patients, but that is okay. She said that I do quite well. Many of her patients lie on the couch and watch t.v. all the day. I do creative, productive things and have relationships. I liked that she said that. I wonder if it is a disguise or what. My illness doesn’t spread over everything I do. There are days I am totally in control, and there are others where I run up a $350 bill on art supplies. Last week I had really bad cycling. I had minutes where I said, “What is bipolar, anyway? I don’t have it, I feel great.” By the time I parked my car I was ready to die. That went on about three days. It was thrilling and disappointing. I wasn’t sure if it what would happen. There was no living in the present. I like that idea, living in the present can be wonderful so some people, but when one is suicidal, there is nothing to comfort yourself in that moment. To live with a mood disorder means living in the next moment, and knowing that the moment will change.

More about that later.

You were lucky, says the pharmacist to me.

Pills are always a bone of contention for the taker and just about everyone else. My brilliant book will be called, “Sorting My Pills”, which is about the wrestlings of a mentally ill person and her treatments, family and everyone else in the world. I like to tease my dad about the number of pills I take and prescriptions that are a part of my life. He is uncomfortable with the joke, so I tell it to him every chance I get.

Inderal is a heart/cholesterol medicine. As you can guess, it lowers the heart rate. It also has the side effect of causing the shaking, caused by Lithium, to go away. It has anti-anxiety properties. I thought I was supposed to take the little blue tablets three times a day. I frequently forgot the midday dose, but ultimately got that taken care of by taking it at 11, when Small eats lunch. I went off it when I developed Serotonin syndrome about a year ago. As of December 16 – fourteen days ago – it was re-prescribed.

Yesterday evening I checked the pills I was about to take. I do a cursory pill counting glance every night, but for some reason zeroed in on the yellow tabled I had been gulping on morning and evenings for the last two weeks. I just followed the instructions without considering what they were. (This is not like me – usually I do a lot of research and have much discussion with my doctors before I add a drug to my regime.) I find a cool website that identifies pills and find out I was taking two sixty mgs of Propranolol. I didn’t know what it was so I go on the chat with a Walgreens Pharmacist. It turned out it was the trade name for Enderal. I was already taking Enderal. In fact, I was taking it almost three times a day, at 20 mgs a slug. Somehow the prescriptions overlapped. Let’s do some math here. 60 x 2 = 120. 20 x 3 = 60. I was taking 180 mgs, an abundance, of a drug that slowed heartbeat. I typed to the pharmacist such, “I am lucky.” She answered to me, the medical facade dropped, “You are lucky.”

I haven’t really cried yet. I have worked on processing this – I could have killed myself without the intention. It hasn’t scared me, yet. I looked at my child and my spouse with more shock than sadness. When I am seriously depressed I look at them and feel so sad and sorry they will have to go on without me. This sort of death is more of a spectacle. It honestly never occurred to me I could accidentally hurt myself. These drugs are safe, right? So long as a I follow their instructions, everything will be fine, right?

Not so much. I’m not sure how to prevent this from happening again. I have so many daily prescriptions, so many different prescriptions it’s hard to keep up with it all. This is true for the mental patient I am and for anyone who is emotionally connected to their illness. I don’t know if people who take statins have the kind of relationship with medicine that I do, maybe they do. If they don’t they can detachedly open a bottle and swallow a pill or two. They don’t need to think or resent their pills. They keep them alive longer than they would, and that’s that. I would do better if I was more detached. I don’t hate taking pills – I know they extend my life and my health, but there is still something emotional going on here. If i wasn’t would I be in the situation I was last night?

Time cards are for geniuses

For this otherwise glorious job, I have to fill out timecards once every two weeks. I’ve never managed to get it right. I write down the wrote date, forget to give myself credit for hours I’ve worked and once had to pay for days I actually worked because I screwed up so badly. It sucks and I hate it. I wish I had a job with a personal secretary, a competent, good one, because I need it. I need a housekeeper, too. Those are two tasks beyond my level of skills. I think I always thought I’d have those things, so I didn’t focus on two very important tasks. My house remains a mess, and often visits the world of shambles. I am not sure how to handle this well. There is this book my mom got me, “Sidetracked Home Executive” and it is effective. But I have to remember to use it, and not just skip things in to the back of my 3×5 cards labeled with important chores and activities. Some of the things are like: Tidy kitchen. That usually means putting my husband’s eggs away. Other things like: Put on makeup, frequently get ignored. I think I’m prettier at 35 than i was at 25, but I’m really not the one to judge.

I had another bad morning. Yesterday was terrible. I just feel, I don’t know, unusual. It’s like I skipped an important medication, or got treated differently than I am used to be treated. It throws me. It looks like the Malakoa who thought she could do anything was wrong.

I read the other day how bipolar people believe they can do things they cannot do. This is true, and I wished I had known it before. It’s not the same as having dreams, dreams are important. There are some folks with bipolar who think they can fly, or know how to solve California’s budget problems. I believed I could roller skate and invited friends out skating. (I do not roller skate.) The confidence is compelling, so sometimes we get jobs based on claims we make in job interviews. Yes, in college I read 100 pages an hour. Now, I sometimes take 1/2 hour to read three.

I can think of two great big examples of how I screwed my college education up. One was my major. I studied Comparative Literature and thought I could go to graduate school. I spoke pretty competent Spanish but could not read and write it well. I took the Spanish 25 class, which it like English 1A. You are expected to know Spanish, but not be familiar with the skills necessary to write essays or interpret readings. I got a “C”. I didn’t take this as a sign that I should change my major, which required upper division work in Spanish. I just plugged along, got a tutor and kept getting those “C”s. I do not know what I was thinking.

Another thing I did was decided I wanted to take a graduate level class in Anglo-Saxon literature. I was not earning good grades and I was not regularly attending class. However, my enthusiastic demeanor earned me a space in the small, exclusive seven person group, filled with the finest English graduate students in the United States, and me. I did horribly in the class. I was asked to drop it, but instead hung around and didn’t quite get why I wasn’t doing well. I never dropped the class, and what’s more I arrive an hour late to the final because I wrote the time down right but read it long. I didn’t take the final at all. The teacher felt “betrayed” and refused to even give me a grade in the class.

It really screwed up my GPA, which wasn’t so great in the first place.

I didn’t know then, but my behavior was classic bipolar nonsense. I can’t go back to school and fix things. I earned my Bachelor’s degree with out commendation and had similar troubles in graduate school. I dream of going back to school and earning a psychology degree so I can work with other mentally ill folks, but the truth is I don’t have the chops. My memory is not good and there are probably not a lot of schools that would take me. National University, maybe? I’m not too proud. But we’re wise enough right now not to go into debit so I can get a degree for a job I may or may not get. I can’t work too much, it’s do much responsibility. I don’t want to be in charge of anyone either. I like my Genesis job. I do not like payroll, but you can’t like everything. If you do, it seems to me, you are not paying attention. It’s silly. Do not always be silly, all your credibility will be gone and no one likes that.

Not working

Last night my medicines didn’t work.

This morning I wasn’t allowed to to work.

I have not been around because mid-morning I’m back to work. 9-12:30. I like my job very much. I don’t love it, but I do love the little boy who God has entrusted me with. (I’m a behavior therapist for autistic two year-olds.) I write mid-morning. The house is empty, and cool because we’ve trapped the night air into our house. Chores are not done because chores are a mid-afternoon thing; I don’t mind a cluttered house. Friends are usually busy. The time is all mine.

Yesterday I ate five cookies for breakfast. It set the tone for the rest of the day. I didn’t feel good, and I ate more junk. It was like I told Weight Watchers to go poop on itself. I feel like I’ve gained weight and I deserve to. I was scattered and kept repeating myself. I made pumpkin enchiladas that were not good. (I am a good cook, usually). I went to bed at seven. My scrambled egg brains were not good for anything. Mrs Medication (me) is disillusioned with the meds I am on. I won’t go off Abilify (takes away racing thoughts) or my ADD meds (a stimulant that enhances the marital bed). Vitamin B Complex is here to stay as well (I don’t lose my car in the rain or anytime else.) I am open to adjusting or adding or dropping the rest but that is probably never going to happen. (I take a lot of meds, rapid cycling bipolar does that to a girl.)

My husband wants me to call my doctor. I called to see if I could bump up my appointment, but the receptionist said she didn’t have anything Friday. (Pdoc only works at my office Mondays and Fridays.) Frustrating.

On the way home today, I kept trying to thing of ways to get the head exploding feeling out of my head. It’s like embers in my head. I understand how people use guns to ameliorate this situation, but I won’t do it. It’s more like a fantasy or meek suggestion than any real suicidal thoughts. One of the driving reasons I have never actually tried to die by suicide is because I fear for the person that might find my body. One time in my life I had an elaborate plan which involved going to a hospital where they were used to finding people dead. I never did it, as badly as I wanted to. I won’t get in to the rest of my plan. Descriptions of suicidal intentions just spur on already sick people and dramatize the situation. Suicide is murder. It’s not the result of selfishness. It’s an act of desperation. That does not give us permission to do it. I include you in the “us”. Don’t. Do. It.

I’ve noticed tugging on my face to be a sign I need an Ativan. So I took one. I also need to exercise but I won’t until B gets home. He wishes I would do it during the day but so far that’s not worked out. I feel like I have things to do. Sometimes the thing is to watch my favorite (and only) tv show, “America’s Top Model”. I am not proud of the fact that I love it.

I took the Ativan and now I feel like my blood is burning. Is this what happens when you mix Ativan with Ten Calorie Dr Pepper? My life is so weird some times.