Steps Backwards

So.
I have high blood pressure.

My mom has high blood pressure and I’m incredibly fat and inactive… so, it’s not like this is unexpected or anything. What was unexpected is how stressful high blood pressure can be.

Let’s bullet this real quick.

  • So, I saw a shrink. She put me on Effexor. She requested some blood work.
  • My primary saw the blood work and wanted to talk about it, as well as just see me for the first time, since I finally picked a Kaiser doc.
    • My blood pressure at that appointment was high. She asked me to come back in like a month to recheck that it’s okay, because I thought it might be White-coat Hypertension. I don’t like doctors.
  • Before that recheck I saw my shrink again, just to see how I’m doing. I was doing great. Felt lots better. Started exercising. Woke up feeling pretty good on the daily. Wanted to increase just a little for weird depressive episodes.
    • Shrink had a nurse take my blood pressure since she saw it was high at my last doc visit, and Effexor CAN increase blood pressure.
    • My blood pressure was hella high. Like, to the point the nurse asked if I was having chest pain.
    • She got a higher ranking nurse to take it to confirm.
    • Blood pressure spooked my shrink, so she cut back the Effexor and gave me Wellbutrin.
  • Went to my blood pressure check.
    • Blood pressure was crazy high.
    • Nurse got panicky look and went to get higher ranking nurse to confirm again.
  • Doc scheduled me for an EKG and started me on Procardia.
  • Go to EKG. Take mom for moral support.
  • LPN is nutzo.
    • Can’t find the EKG order.
    • Tells me I don’t need to be there cuz it’s prolly White-coat Hypertension.
    • Brings me a 10XL gown to put on.
      • I’m fat, but I’m not THAT fat.
      • #bedsheet
    • EKG is fine. No damage to heart.
  • Take Procardia, Wellbutrin, and reduced dose of Effexor.
    • Feel bad.
    • Hard time waking up.
    • Very tired.
  • Get tired at work, so bosslady sends me to Rite Aid to check my BP.
    • BP is 183/123 according to machine.
    • Panic.
  • Mom takes me to Kaiser to have a nurse check my BP in case Imma have heart attack.
    • Nurse is cute guy named Joe.
    • BP is fine. 130-something / 80-something.
    • Advised that home devices and public machines are inaccurate.
      • For best results, sit for at least 5 minutes before taking BP.
  • Email Shrink about tiredness after mental breakdown over frittata.
    • It’s Effexor withdrawal.
    • Prescribes smaller pills.
      • Week 1: 1.5 pills
      • Week 2: 1 pill
      • Week 3: 0.5 pill
      • Week 4: Stop Effexor
    • Should help withdrawal.
    • Wait.
      • We’re stopping Effexor?
        • Not what I thought was happening.
      • Are we going to increase the Wellbutrin?
      • What if the Wellbutrin doesn’t work?
      • Panic.
      • Sadness.

And that brings us to today.

I picked up the pills… so I was up to 75mg… She knocked me down to half a pill (37.5mg) and added half a pill of Wellbutrin. So then she called in 37.5mg pills of Effexor, and I’m to take 1.5 of them this week to combat tiredness and withdrawal. Then decrease till I’m off Effexor.

That’s fine, I guess… but I feel like we’re moving backwards. I was doing great on Effexor. I’m on blood pressure meds now. The only up I’m seeing with Wellbutrin so far is that I don’t have the urge to smoke, even though I’ve been stressed out and sad. Great! But I’m supposed to be on vacation next week and I was really hoping to feel motivated to live so I can get some shit I wanna do, done. Right now I just want to sleep and cry. I’ve wanted to sleep and cry for years and I was finally kind of out of it, and now… we’re back here…

So I emailed my shrink… and asked when we’ll be increasing the Wellbutrin… because maybe it’ll work. It’s fine, if it works, but I am not currently fine. I had a freak out yesterday over cutting tomatoes… It was daunting, TO THE POINT OF TEARS, to cut tomatoes to put in a cake pan with eggs. That’s not better. That’s some shit I’d do before I started Effexor.

I feel very discouraged… I dunno what to do other than try to trust my shrink, but I’m not… great… at trusting mental health professionals…

In better news, I’ve lost some weight. Not a noticeable amount of weight, but 5lbs in 8 days. So, that’s good. I’m trying to keep up on exercising. Mom and I have been walking the dogs around the block a few times every night… we can’t go far cuz she’s still on oxygen at home, and all of us are out of shape, dogs included, but we’re doing SOMETHING. We didn’t go last night cuz of the freak out and general fatigue, but I did force myself to get on my stationary bike. I made it 12 minutes before my legs felt like they were going to explode… It’s not impressive, but it’s not bad for my first time in months.

I just… want to get better… Why is getting better so hard?

If I feel better, I can take better care of myself.
Not sad = can exercise & less binge eating.
Can exercise = will exercise. Less binging = less caloric intake.
Exercise + less calories = weight loss.
Weight loss = better heart health & better mood.
Repeat as needed.

But… that’s just not where I’m at right now.

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Purple Spots

Kaiser is so fucking weird. Last time I wanted to see a shrink it took THREE MONTHS before I could get in… and I was really worried I wasn’t gonna make it that long. Today I called to get in and they’re like, “we could get you in with the shrink you saw last time early next week, but if you wanna see a new shrink we can get you in first week of April.” Really? Just two weeks? And it’s only that long because I didn’t want to see the same shrink I saw last time (as she is dead to me after her blatant disregard of my disdain for sedative medication).

Anyways… I get to see a new shrink! So… that’s fine. I mean, life’s been bad, and getting worse, but I’m having a weirdly good day for someone who didn’t sleep last night. I tried really hard, but yesterday was super hella blue.

Let’s backup.

Monday.
I made it into work, but on the way home I was just… defeated as fuck. We’re still down a biller, I’m training three new people, and the title gal went on vacation this week because she’s moving. I cried all the way home, and my mom encouraged me to go to my book club even though I was super blue. So, I bought some cigarettes, chain-smoked the whole way there, and actually had a really good time. I really enjoyed the book this month: Annihilation. It was really Lovecraftian, and I flew through it. I started book two when I got home from book club, and it’s really different, but I think I’ll finish the series anyways.

Tuesday.
For the first time in my life I found getting out of bed almost impossible. I’ve had low days, but Tuesday is one of the lowest days I’ve had since all this mood swinging like a wrecking ball started in eighth grade. I managed to get out of bed, and even shower, but then I couldn’t imagine leaving the house. It was 100% outside of the realm of things I was physically capable of doing. So, I called bosslady and told her I had a cough and issues breathing, and asked if I could work from home. I wasn’t opposed to working, but I just… couldn’t leave the house. I actually got a lot done from home, and it was fortunate I’d brought stuff home anyways. #YayRemoteAccess

Wednesday.
Hump Day was hard. I woke up, and I was determined to get into work, but I ended up about an hour late. I informed bosslady, obviously, and she knows I’m having problems, so she said that was fine, and that I could leave early. I did not leave early. I had some kind of mixed episode where I was pretty much hysterical but channeled it into trying to do EVERYTHING at once… and it literally startled bosslady. She tried to get me to go home at four, and I ended up staying a full eight hours “because there’s too much to get done.” But like… I was breaking…

So I went home. Mom had me try on some clothes she got me for Easter, to be sure they were the right size. I went home and refused to eat dinner… meditated on the idea that maybe I just wouldn’t eat again… and how last time I lost a lot of weight in a short period of time no one was concerned, because when you’re a fat girl that stops eating, or exercises herself to death, or binges and purges, people think the weight loss is great and no one asks how you lose 30 lbs in a few weeks. With my head spinning and my stomach feeling familiarly vacuous, I couldn’t focus on TV, so I played a few rounds of Star Realms before heading to bed with a book. Figured I’d wind down for an hour and be asleep by ten.

I was not asleep by ten. I was very awake. I put on white noise and laid in the dark for an hour. When the white noise shut off, I was still awake. So I turned on all the lights, got up, did a few things, turned on a fan and the humidifier, and then laid back down with some soft lo-fi hip hop to relax to. An hour later I was still awake and I had this pop song called RIIICH stuck in my head. It was annoying.

I tried thinking STOP STOP STOP or SLEEP SLEEP SLEEP, I counted sheep, I tried sleeping on the floor, I tried sleeping sitting up, I tried meditation, I took a 30 mg temazepam, I opened the window, I turned everything off…¬†I got up and went downstairs, and in the dark biked on the hardest setting until my legs ached in an attempt to wear myself out. I was still awake… and all I wanted to do was sleep… and it broke me.

I’m not new to self harm or various creative ways to do it, but this¬†was the first time I got so angry that I pretty much beat myself into submission. I slapped myself in the face, hit myself upside the head, punched and smacked my thighs till they burned, screamed, cried, and when it was all said and done I took to this weird game I’d played as a kid. I don’t remember why, but when we were kids there was some game where the punishment was someone hitting you with two or three fingers on your wrist or forearm. Every time my brain tried to think, after I laid back down, I’d hit myself on the arm. By the time I had calmed down, my arm ached like I’d slammed it in a door. This morning I woke up and thought it would be all kinds of colors, cuz it still hurt. Fortunately for me, it was just splotched purple. Still hurts like a bitch, though. There’s a definite swollen spot, but it’s not noticeable to anyone except me.

I never did sleep, I don’t think. I just managed a general nothingness till the alarm went off this morning. The dogs were concerned, but they are regrettably used to this kind of behavioral outburst. I hate that they’re used to it…

Thursday.
For someone that went totally batshit crazy and didn’t sleep, I’ve had a weirdly good day. I put on a nice purple sweater and cute boots. I’ve been very pleasant at work. I had a breakfast burrito and then meatloaf for lunch, in case you’re worried I didn’t eat today. I’m planning on Schlotsky’s for dinner, and I’d really like to maybe finish one of my books I’m reading tonight, but also get in some Star Realms time. I bought a ticket to a concert for tomorrow night, too.

Am I manic? I dunno. I’m terribly unfocused, but I’m not hyper, optimistic, or particularly chatty. I’ve just been enjoying my new playlist (and I took RIIICH off all but one playlist) and having a moderately pleasant day. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t fine a little bit of happiness in every time my arm taps something and I get a small shock of new pain amidst the constant ache. I’m sure that’s some secret to my good mood… some messed up bipolar thing.

I’m not even tired… I’m just disinterested in work today. It’s super weird, and all of this isn’t LOST on me. I can only hope that I sleep tonight and the mood continues.

Anyways….

I’m gonna go see this pdoc and see what she says in a couple weeks. I don’t wanna take anymore antipsychotics, though… and I have always said I didn’t want to take Lithium… so I don’t know what they might give me. I’m willing to negotiate, but I really want a shrink to listen to me. There are side effects I can’t tolerate (like falling asleep at work), and I need to be respected when it comes to that.

So. We’ll see.

The Bottom of the Deep Blue Sea

I found a new band / song that I must listen to until I hate it.

I’ve been hanging out in the blue a lot… things haven’t gotten better at work… things aren’t better in my life, either… I can’t always keep up the optimism… and that really just adds to the feeling that I’m failing, even though I’m working as hard as I can on things in life.

I started writing a book. Scifi novel. I gotta get back on it before I’m away from it too long. I think it’s gonna be a good one if I can get it all down. Writing is a new hobby for me… but I think it could be therapeutic. I got a lot of feelings… maybe I can get some out via my novel.

I put my stationary bike together! But I haven’t ridden it yet… maybe tomorrow… I’d like to do it. I’m just so tired…

I dunno… life is hard right now… but… when is it not?

Life & The Year Of Content

I made a hard decision, and I ghosted D2.

It’s not an easy thing to decide to cut someone out of your life, but I couldn’t deal with our one-sided friendship. Things were always about him. We were always at his house. We hung out with his friends if we did go out. We talked about HIS illness, HIS treatment, HIS problems. I guess I thought that eventually the newness of his diagnosis would wear off and we could just be people who were friends. It just never happened. His newest relapse and hospital stay proved this. He’s not where I am and he’s not going to be there any time soon. So, for my own mental health, I cut him out.

I feel like this is the part where I’m supposed to say that I miss him, or that things have been harder without him, or something… but just the opposite is true. I’ve been happier, and I’ve even been doing things with other people. It’s like a weight has been lifted, and maybe it has.

I’d mentioned learning to play D&D last entry, and I’m still working on that. It only took me a year to do it… if you ca believe I’ve been thinking of learning since last year. Cat had me, her friend Haley, and my friend Bren over to play my little game. It was only supposed to last a couple of hours, but apparently I overdid my little game, and it went on for six hours and we still aren’t done. I still don’t have all the nuances of the rules down, and I think I’m not making the characters do things exactly right, but we’re having fun. If there’s a question of if someone can do a thing, and I don’t know the technical rule, I just make them roll against me for it. I hope to get better at actual rules later… but I might switch to Pathfinder rules… D&D has really technical rules… maybe Pathfinder is a little easier? (I don’t know… tell me if you know.)

Last week D1 was in town! I saw him for an evening at Heidi’s place. It’s good to see him. He looks great. He’s happy. He’s all around doing good shit with his life and enjoying it. We heard a little more about the Rabbi, which was neat, and I really enjoyed seeing him. Also, Heidi invited me over every Thursday to watch Supernatural. So… unexpected win.

I’ve known Heidi since high school. We were never really FRIENDS, but we were never really NOT FRIENDS either. We just kind of knew each other and never hung out without other people around for social lubricant. That’s weird, because Heidi and I have always been kind of similar. We’re both introverted nerds who like people but often hole up and don’t see anyone because we’re hermity. Being invited over for the new season of Supernatural is really cool, and I like Heidi, so I’m excited to have a weekly thing. Also, it’s not on a Friday or Saturday, so that still leaves weekends open! She also lent me a book, so I gave her one back. I dunno how long this will last, but I’m excited to do a thing with someone.

I also went to my first book club meeting on Monday. My friend Evan has been badgering me to come to his book club, because he is a rather hermity, socially awkward human being, and he goes to socialize and read books he otherwise would not. I don’t really like reading books I otherwise wouldn’t, but they read a book that was already on my reading list, so I read it and showed up. I nearly had a panic attack walking in the door, but I honestly had a good time. I’m gonna read the next book and go again, I think. Would I like it more if all the books were scifi and horror? Yes, but this is a start, and maybe I can find another book club later, or even start one of my own. In general, I’m proud to have done a thing.

This weekend, I’m to hang with Bird, try to finish my costume for Halloween, and be a person. I’m feeling pretty good about myself, and I’m pretty happy. I hate to say that this is because I dropped D2, but it might be. I don’t have someone reminding me I’m crazy, that at any second I could spin out into a manic episode, or spiral into a depression. I’m just a person, living and doing stuff. It’s a nice feeling.

I turn 29 in a couple of weeks. I don’t like my birthday, but it’s how I gauge a year. Nothing happened this year. I started by having a breakdown about how at 28 I wasn’t married, had no kids, and no prospects for starting a family. I’ve done that for three years in a row. I don’t wanna do it this year. I started this year in that state of mind and everything went so horrendously anyways, between the election, and mothership getting pneumonia, and just… it was a bad year for me.

This year, I’m dubbing the YEAR OF CONTENT. It’s a term I’m blatantly stealing from one of my favorite YouTubers, Caitlyn Doughty of Ask a Mortician. She dedicated herself to a certain number of videos a week this year, and she’s kept to it. My year of content will be similar, in that I was to do at least two social things a week. It’s going to be hard… I’m not social… but I think it will be good for me, and maybe I’ll meet some people. I might join a gym. That’s a pretty easy social activity, but I hate the gym and it makes me wanna die… so maybe not. I’d like to be more healthy, but more than that I would just like to be happier. If the gym doesn’t make me happy, it probably isn’t my best choice.

Anyways… I’ll be starting that next week, although I should be able to hit my goal this week, too, since I went to book club Monday and I’m to see Heidi Thursday, and even Bird this weekend… So much social.

For accountability reasons, I’ll also be posting at least once a week to check in on if I did my two social activities… ^_^

And… yeah.

Lying to Mental Healthcare Professionals

Friday sucked. Actually the whole week sucked. I started the week with weird dreams. That progressed into NO SLEEP Tuesday and Wednesday night. I had to take a literal mental health day on Thursday because I was losing it, and on top of not sleeping I’d spent all week trying to cleanup a schedule that should have been clean. It was genuinely frustrating.

I spend Thursday in bed, and then when the house got too hot to sleep I went to buy shit to make cookies. I don’t bake, but I wanted to make cookies. I made four batches total, two of which were totally inedible because they were overwhelmingly gross and salty, one was fine but dry, and one was legit good. I was kind of listless. I don’t know why I wanted to make cookies. I didn’t want to eat them; I had two cookies from the okay batches and gave the rest to mothership. I just liked making them. I can’t really tell you why.

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I’d been suffering through the side effects of my Abilify. The worst were the hot flashes. I would get REALLY hot, which I’m always kind of hot anyways, and then dizzy and nauseous, and it was just flat out sucked. I’m 28; I didn’t need to get a preview of menopause. So Friday night I debated taking my pill because I was going out. I ended up taking it, because I’m responsible, but I then ended up sweating to the point my friend was concerned for my health and took me home. Let’s not mention that I spent two hours picking an outfit and trying to look cute, or how my makeup melted off my face, or how when I got home I was so disappointed that I cried and went straight to bed.

I emailed my pdoc the next morning, but because it’s Kaiser, she didn’t get back to me till today. In the time between the two events I’ve quit cold turkey… but I didn’t tell her that. It was on accident, really, because Saturday night I went to David’s for an anime night, and forgot to take it before I left. I wasn’t about to take it the next morning… I have played that game and it was too terrible. So, I forgot. Then Sunday was such a good day for me, I just decided not to take it anymore. My pdoc doesn’t know that… I told her I wouldn’t tamper with my meds until I heard from her, but…. I’m tampering.

Saturday was a nice day, though. Mom and I started by taking the dogs to the vet. I was still visibly sad about the night before, but I tried to be in a good mood. The chihuahuas, Bdo & Guy, did great, except that Guy is overweight. Afterwards we took some time apart, and then went to get mani-pedis. It was nice. I got a weird beetle green. And to wrap up mom-time we went to a seafood place and got fried seafood plates.

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That evening I went to D2’s for an anime night. I subjected him to Paprika and Metropolis while we ate $60 worth of sushi (because stoners and fat kids like sushi). It was a lot of fun. We’re having a follow up night on Friday to watch Howl’s Moving Castle and Wizards, which isn’t really anime, but I consider it honorary anime. Bird was supposed to come, but I guess she got wrapped up with other things that feel through, and she essentially slept through it all.

Sunday morning I got up, dressed like a Time Lord and went to the Renaissance Festival with my mom. We stopped at a hat shop, and I finished off my Time Lady look with a nice hat and a flower-tie thing. I wanna make those now… I need to hit Goodwill. And figure out where to buy a sewing kit… We had a lovely day at RenFest and walked until we both thought we were gonna drop.

On the way home we hit the grocery, and I spent the rest of the day not standing.

It turned into a good weekend… but it’s been a trial… not gonna lie.

Getting Dragged Down

So I’m Bipolar. Amongst other things.
Let’s start there.

You may have heard the phrase “trigger” being thrown around the internet by people. Usually, and I don’t care who hates me for saying it, this term is used when someone says something that offends another person on the internet, or brings up something that reminds someone of something they’re trying to forget. It’s kind of a bullshit term for, “I can’t handle this, but I don’t have the common sense to get the fuck off the computer.”

As a person with mental illness, well out of my teen years, I’m not really into that scene. If you say trigger to me, I stop talking to you. I can’t even deal with your bullshit. I have my own, and I don’t run around trying to tell people not to say or do things just because they make me feel like I’m full of worms and decayed flesh. That’s not real life. Real life is a word stabbing pain into your gut like a knife, and you swallowing hard before plastering a smile across your face anyways as people laugh at something that brings you excruciating pain. Real life is getting up and dragging your ass out of bed even though your whole being is begging you to just lie there in bed until you die. Real life is feeling your world crashing down around you, and still just going about your life like any other person. Real life is going home and drowning your pain in some vice of your choice, and still getting up the next day like it never happened. That’s life.

When I say trigger. I mean a trigger. I mean that in the midst of all this fake living I do for the sake of appearance and normality, something has managed to work its way deep into the recesses of my inner being and poke at just the right spot to cause my chest to cave in. I mean that I’ve managed to crash through the floor of my depression, and that I now have to spend some time wallowing around in the black ink of despair for a while, all while maintaining the best outward expression of normality that I can. It’s quite exhaustive.

My trigger, more often than not, always comes from my mother. That’s not to say that my mother is abusive, or that she sets unrealistic expectations for me, or any of that. My mom’s great… But she is horrifically depressed. Most days I can more or less brush it off, but sometimes it just eats at me like a disease. I mean any conversation with her feels like she’s not even remotely listening to me, which bothers me immensely, and any time I ask her about things she puts such a grey cast on it that I can feel myself getting pulled down with her.

If you don’t know, there are levels of to mood… I arrange them by color.
The white zone is mania. I love the white zone. I can get so much done… I’m irrationally happy… I am just excitement and awesome and life is grand.
The red zone is manic anger… I like that one, too, but it’s because I come up with the cruelest revenge plots… I don’t usually get to act on them, though, because I burn through the adrenaline too fast.
The blue zone is contentment. That’s the moment when I wake up feeling refreshed, and I look around at my dogs and just smile to myself and spend all day reading and sipping tea, and everything is just kind of okay. I don’t get to spend a lot of time here.
The beige zone is what I imagine most people live in. I’m not up, or down. I’m just kinda here. It’s where usually am when I go out with friends, because I like going out, but I don’t usually like whatever my friends might have dragged me to.
The gray zone is where my mother lives. It’s sad, but it’s not bawling or anything. You just feel shit, and you enjoy nothing, and even if you think you might enjoy something, a piece of your brain kicks on that reminds you why you can’t enjoy this moment… I don’t spend much time here, myself… instead…I end up in the black. That’s usually a term for not being in debt, but I’m crazy in debt… For me in the black refers to the void. When I get dragged down, you can see nail tracks in the grey as I speed past it down into the black. It’s where my soul goes to die. I don’t like it there, as you might imagine. It’s like my brain is stuck in a tar pit. Everything I try to do to get out makes the experience worse. I get dragged farther and farther down until I can’t even see a glimmer of the white zone anymore. It’s usually when I curl up somewhere (the shower is a great curling spot) and just try not to feel anything.

Feeling nothing is better than the black. Or maybe it’s part of it. I’m never sure. I just know that if I can manage to feel nothing, I can resurface somewhere in the gray or beige zone and work from there. The important thing is to get out of the black… to find some way to rise up out of the darkness and not kill myself or something equally as irrational and stupid (because all that shit makes perfect sense in the black).

At work or anywhere that isn’t home, however, I can’t curl in a ball somewhere and wait it out. No, instead I have to figure out some way to claw my way out of the black without losing my composure… without anyone noticing. Some attempts are better than others. Sometimes I can sit at my desk, take a Xanax, and listen to music until I’m kind of okay. Sometimes I end up snapping at people. Sometimes I end up hiding in the bathroom until I’m sure I’m not going to lose it. None of these things are particularly effective. I’m going to be in the gray or the black all day. There’s no way to pull myself out, because I have nowhere to reset.

Today that overwhelming feeling of of black has decided that I’m not going to eat. Fortunately, I’m fat from all the binge eating I usually do when I’m upset, so I won’t actually suffer for it, but it does give me a queasy feeling that makes me irrationally sad. Also, I’m cancelling things I love… I might re-up later, but when I get like this I just want to get rid of everything I own or do, and just stay in my house forever…. never seeing anyone, never leaving, just me and the dogs… maybe order some books from the internet to occupy my mind… It’s a bad feeling. I don’t like it. I don’t like this side of me. I don’t like the monster I turn into when my moods change.

Werewolf

I’ve been told that his is what it’s like to watch my moods change.

Nothing’s going to make this right, right now. Maybe when I get home eight or so hours from now, then it will all be fine. Maybe I can crawl into bed and sleep it off, or cry it out, or throw something at a wall and watch the shattered pieces as a metaphor for my insides…