Just another manic Friday?

I am incredibly symptomatic following Wednesday’s epidural steroid injection. I’ve been agitated and pacing. Broke out into a hot, rash all over my face last night. Had the hardest time sleeping, constantly being roused from the edge of sleep with palpitations and chest pain. My body seems to be feeling the need to get up and run, which I guess is no surprise considering how much I’ve been laid up with the back pain prior, but it’s not allowing me to let my spine heal so that I can.

I swear, I feel like I’m caught in a perpetual Catch 22.

Trying to avoid pain medication and the potential fatal mix that can come with my other medications which all somehow fall into the central nervous system depression category, but still it. Trying to workout and lose weight without adding insult to injury. Trying to eat better but not being able to eat the fruits and veggies I crave while on a low residue, gastroparesis diet. Feeling as though I was doing much better at self-medicating with marijuana when I was younger, but not being able to do so because of my contract with pain management from which I need these epidural steroid injections, oh and that illegal thing. The same steroids that exacerbate my mental health issues and insomnia.

This is why Im a strong proponent for, at the VERY least, medical marijuana. Alcohol would be a better drug to scheduled illegally. If we can do better than Big Pharm, naturally, we should. Bottom line.

I am done with this vicious cycle and I just want off this nightmarish merry-go-round.

Stream of consciousness (narrative mode)

Ive come to write here several times and I just end up sitting,  watching the blinking cursor in front of me, not knowing where to start and what to say. So, Ive decided to put my phone in talk to text mode and just let go … without giving more thought than is really necessary to what I’m thinking as I think it. I cannot keep pushing it down.

Stream of consciousness, narrative mode…

The last post I wrote, on Monday, was written through tears. The mask shattered. I crashed and it burned. I did nothing but cry. All I could do was cry. I didn’t get out of bed until noon and I was crying. Everything hurt. Physically and emotionally. I didn’t want to hurt anymore. I didn’t want to try anymore. It all seemed futile. Pointless. I thought of ways to dull everything out. Then there was suicidal ideation.

I was standing at the kitchen counter, cutting up the pineapple, crying, when I accidentally slipped and cut myself. I actually admired the sharpness and welcomed the pain. That’s when I knew I was in trouble. I attempted to get out of the house for a while. I walked the dogs and made the phone call to reach out to someone but I couldn’t stop crying long enough to continue the conversation with my  father or even get myself ready enough to go anywhere with him. I just couldn’t.

It was then that I knew I had to put my plan in place. The plan I have in place in case it gets to this point. The point when I start to tell myself things like:

I don’t want to be here anymore”. 

Step one, I call my husband. I told him how bad it was and he urged me to call my psychiatrist, which I didn’t want to do because I knew what would follow. My sister is getting married on St. Patrick’s Day, my parents are all tied up with that, there are a lot of things going on with the kids this week, I didn’t want to set anybody off into panic or worry with so much in the balance. But my husband asked me to stop and think what I would do if none of those things were on the table and the answer, with everything else aside, was easy. I wasn’t safe and I needed help. Everything else aside, I would call my psychiatrist or go to the hospital. So I did.

Step two, I call my psychiatrist. I tell her how bad it is. She urges me to come in to see her for admission. Again, I hesitate. I struggle with what it is going to mean to everyone else. And I set it aside. It’s time to go. I want to live.

Step three, I commit to commitment. I reach out to a friend to tell them the decision that I’ve arrived at so that I am accountable to it. In doing so, I reached out to the only person in my life who understands my darkest moments even when I’m keeping my issues close, Biscuit. She knows my plan. She understands it personally. We are each other’s “check mate”. It makes the conversation about it very short and self-explanatory.

Unfortunately since Biscuit lives on the other side of the country and because Hubster was at work and I still only have my temporary driver’s permit, I had to reach out to someone else for a ride. Fortunately, in my haste it was someone who I normally wouldn’t reach out to but who I found out cared for me more than I could have ever imagined. Sometimes you don’t know how much someone really cares until you allow them to.

My Dad arrived at some point in the steps. I couldn’t say which. We had a rather unfair conversation in which he attempted to be compassionate and I was very frustrated and didn’t want to hear about praying and what God’s role was in all of this. I told him that which  afflicted me was not something that could be prayed away and if I thought it would fix me I’d likely spend a lot more time on my knees instead of pacing the floor in my manicness, but that’s not how brain chemistry works. He also started to talk to me about my childhood in an apologetic way. I appreciate this now, but in the moment it was more than I could handle and as my friend pulled in the driveway, I rushed out the door, away from all of that and into my friend’s arms. My Dad thanked her and we went on our way. She thanked me for giving her the chance to be there for me. It meant as much to her as it did to me and that felt really good in a moment of such vulnerability. I felt safe.  

That’s how I ended up in the hospital for two days. Turned out that my mood stabilizer required 300-400 calories to be ingested at the time of dosing in order to be properly absorbed and because I have been so sick recently and not eating, I really wasn’t getting my medication. They switched over to a sublingual that won’t come with the food requirements and that is making a huge difference already.

Im currently back home and bed bound with a migraine and nausea while Hubster and the Diva are at Jedi‘s school play. I don’t feel great about that. In fact, I feel like a shitty parent because since I was in the hospital, I missed the deadline to make transportation arrangements for Pickle as well. Speaking of shitty … I’m not. I’m all backed up which is likely just adding to the nausea I’m dealing with. Thank you, gastroparesis. I don’t know how I’m going to handle going through another flare up. I guess I’ll just cross that bridge when I get to it. In the meantime, I’m just laying here in the dark, listening to ‘House, M.D.‘ episodes. It is too much to ask for just ONE episode where someone presents with my symptoms and diagnoses? I feel like I’m just the sort of case House would have loved to dissect.

On the plus side, my circulation issues allow my fingers to be the most nimble sort of ice pack over my eyes … so at least there’s that.

 

Testing

Im at the Cleveland Clinic today for more dysautonomia testing. Im currently waiting to have a biopsy. Im shaking my leg incessantly. Wanting to crawl out of my skin. The worst part is I know it’s not that Im all nerves in relation to the testing.

Im on the edge of insanity. Manic. Rapid cycling.

If I were able to continue self-medicating and numbing I might be able to fool myself into believing I can keep testing how far I can go and how intriguing it may be to see how much I can get away with while blaming my mental illness. The slowing and sitting gives me too much time to think. Checklist. Intentions. Consequences. This is when I wish I were dumber. Ignorance would be blissful. But, fuck…I know too much.

At least I slept last night. That only required 2 beers and medication, music, a movie and a book…all at once to stop the voices from creeping up. The ultra religiosity. Im finding it hard not to scour The Book for salvation.

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Hyper Sexual Women and Mental Illness

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I have a hyper sex drive. I’ve had it since before puberty. That might seem strange but I can remember having sexual longing as far back as eight or nine years old. I can remember “making out” with girl friends at that age. It wasn’t until I had kids of my own that I had the slightest hint that this may have been abnormal.

After hearing too many stories of child sexual abuse, I began to wonder if something had happened to me as a child that I was suppressing. Then just over the weekend I was watching ‘Dirty Dancing’ and remembered that I had seen it around the same age. My older cousin had conned our naive grandfather into buying our tickets. When I remembered that, I thought, “OhMyGAWD! This is what has been wrong with me my whole life. This movie ruined me!” The dancing, romancing bad boys who were best is bed, the “Nobody puts Baby in the corner” rescue. AHA! This was it!

I began talking to my friends about this theory, to which most agreed that movies have set us up with unrealistic expectations in our relationships. When I explained that I thought my exposure to this specific film at such a young age may have made me hyper sexual and voiced my sexual frustration, I was looked at like an alien. In all of their marriages their husbands are sexually frustrated and they have little to no interest in sex. That didn’t make me feel better.

Upon further examination I realized that while I do have a few other friends who can relate to being hyper sexual, as Im calling it, all of us had one thing in common: mental illness. Diagnosed or not, it was the only common denominator we shared. Except for me, all the others were also victims of child sex abuse.

I just finished a short conversation on this topic with the friend I can share anything with and vice versa. She told me this is probably the number one issue she’s had in every single relationship. Even going in if she says “I have a REALLY high sex drive”, they always say the same thing “Me too, I know what you mean, that’s awesome” and EVERY SINGLE TIME they get annoyed with her because she wants sex all the time. It becomes an issue and they feel emasculated and it usually spirals from there.

So I can conclude that it is normal to have these feelings for any woman with a mental illness and to be a normal woman … sexual suppression and lack of interest?

What then of men and their sexual appetite? Why does it mean there’s a problem when a dude has no sex drive?

Is it just me or is that a double standard?

Is it just a double standard though?
OR Is there a connection between hyper sexual women and mental illness?

The Problem With How We Treat Bipolar Disorder – NYTimes.com

I dont think I’ve ever seen bipolar detailed in such spot on, excruciating detail.

The only issue I can take with it is the author’s experience of psychosis. Correction: Its not her experience, its that many readers will assume, incorrectly, that all those with bipolar also experience psychosis. This is absolutely of no fault of the author or her experience. Its ignorance and stigmas connected to mental health disorders.

But THIS is a clear start to real discussions and understanding. I applaud this author’s brutal honesty.

The Problem With How We Treat Bipolar Disorder – NYTimes.com

For The People?

I dont usually do this, but I have to opine about the Senate’s vote today in Washington.

First, let me say this: I firmly believe in the 2nd amendment. I am a gun owner and I appreciate the right to bear arms and protect my family.

However, I also suffer from a mental illness. For many personal reasons, which aren’t even relevant to this subject, I was hospitalized last year. When my husband came to see me at the hospital I asked that when he went back home that he move our firearms so that I shouldn’t know where theywere.

Was I mentally ill enough to take that firearm and hurt other people? No. Had I thought I could EVER take a life with a firearm, without being in fear for my life, I wouldn’t have even allowed one in our home to begin with.
Was I mentally ill enough to take that firearm and harm myself? Probably not, but as a responsible gun owner I know statistically that the chances rise for suicide when a firearm is available.

Having said that I want to say this:
Today’s vote WAS shameful. What was presented were basic, common sense provisions that RESPONSIBLE gun owners can AND should get behind and our supposed “representatives” let us down.

Look, as gun owners we cannot rant about our right to bear, buy, own arms and shake our guns in the air and say you can take it over my dead body, “from my cold, dead hands” without owning the responsibility. We need better background checks and common sense provisions in place.

Gun shows and online sales should be done away with. As a RESPONSIBLE gun owner you should WANT to buy your firearms from a reputable, knowledgable dealer. Frankly, I think you should be required to go through gun safety training before you’re issued a license to use a firearm. You know, think about someone who buys a motorcycle. Most states require that you go through a motorcycle safety/riding training before they issue you a license to operate it. Does it make any sense to put an untrained motorcyclist on the road? NO! But untrained gunowners? cmon!

I also think you should have to renew that license every couple years. Additionally, I don’t know why on Earth we need assault weapons. Everybody likes to claim that our founders gave us the right to bear arms and so we have the right to bear ALL arms. Sure, ok, but Im pretty sure our founders did not envision the arms that exist in our world today. Or the brazen disregard and ignorance so many citizens have now. We text while driving vehicles 60mph – stupid! My point is that maybe people who want to own the same weapons the government is entitled to should be required to go through government/military training. Why on Earth does it make any sense for any Joe Schmoe with no training to buy an ASSAULT RIFLE?!?

Also, if you’re going to stand up for your rights please know what you are standing up for. Read the bills being voted on. Stop being ignorant. No one is making a conspiracy to take away our firearms. A gun which kills people is not the same as forks that make people fat and they die so outlaw forks. You are not making a great case for the gun rights cause. Guns are made for the sole purpose of inflicting bodily harm. There’s a HUGE difference. Really, any person who wants the right to bear them should realize that.

No, gun control will not prevent all crimes because criminals will still sell and buy unregistered firearms to commit crimes. On that note I think there should be more allowances for concealed carry because realistically, its not the people with this training and licensure that we need to worry about AND honestly, if some whack job starts popping off,  Im hoping someone with a concealed carry is ready! If criminals think someone trained to shoot and kill has a weapon to defend people in their vicinity, I’m betting they’re gonna second guess the crime. Concealed carry in  most states, like my fabulous Ohio, are stupid. We can have a concealed carry license but if a sign is posted on the door that no firearms are allowed, and they’re posted everywhere, you can’t carry your firearm. Basically it gives me the right to conceal carry in my car and in fresh air. DUMB!

Really, instead of the ridiculous amount of money of government is speanding in riot gear and biohazard suits in South Dakota , it should go to something smart, like average people having access to emergency response training. Here’s a good example: the stupid color coded terrorist system Homeland Security has provided. Does ANYBODY even know what the colors mean or what response we should have to them? It means absolutely NOTHING to the public. And who is everywhere, all the time – THE PUBLIC! See something, say something? What should we look for? What should we say and to whom? I see and say stuff everyday but I don’t think any of it is going to stop a terrorist. Look it up, on average it takes something like at least 7 mins for trained personnel to arrive to an emergency. I think if someone is already trained and on the scene we are in much better shape.

I don’t know how to fix the system. I don’t have all the answers, but we have to start brainstorming, talking and coming up with solutions instead of digging our heels in for our own political/personal interest which is not going to do ANYTHING for ourselves, our families, our communities…our country.

It is what it is

Yeh. It’s been one of those days.

I cried. A LOT. Just bouts, or spells, of crying sporadically. Yes, like a crazy, hormonal woman. Just like that.

The first crying spell came in the car ride with my Dad to DBT this morning because it occurred to me that I had an appointment with Dr. Sue this afternoon and had no way to cover my co-pay because of the ongoing expense of DBT. That sucked.

Then I just couldn’t get it together from there. This led me to “call in reinforcements” for my emotional walls and I completely shut down and was unfocused for much of DBT. I was asked to “check-in” for the day and was evasive. I just would not. Even this small opening to utter words made the tears start again.

When getting in the car to head home with Mom, I was instantly agitated when she inquired if I “think this is working”. This being DBT. As if it were some magical wand that could be waved around and “POOF!” *all better*. Then, I snapped at the kids which made me feel horrible. So again, the tears came. I shoved headphones in my earholes and cranked some music which wasn’t meant for soothing. Obviously, that was unproductive. Oddly, no, not oddly at all food was the rescue. Gross but instantly gratifying, McDonald’s food. (Note to self: Back to food log, do the next right thing.) I definitely don’t want that to get out of control again.

The thing that actually did help, was sharing my new slideshow and music app on the iPad with Mom and the kids. There’s something about soaking in good memories.  (Side note: Mom seems more emotional lately too – this also made me snap back into emotional shape. That’s deep rooted, but not going there today.)

Talking with Dr. Sue also made me quite emotional, but it was a good conversation.

Dinner with the family at the table worked well at improving my mood, as well as working on a project together. I had the kids help me prepare a care package to my dear friend Darryl in Afghanistan. I was also to get some validation from therapist Lynn about my frustrations with DBT. Bottom line: I need to lower my expectations and just attempt to take away 1 new thing that works, for me, every session.

Here, at day’s end, I feel more at peace with the world that 12 hours ago when I was contemplating another inpatient stint. Really, its the last thing I want, well suicide would be the last I want and if it stops that, then I suppose it’s a very desirable thing when Im not feeling safe with myself.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I’m happy to have gotten through another day.

As Diva pointed out with a laugh the other day, I already have a life worth living because of my amazing kids and wonderful family, I just have to learn to LIVE it from moment to moment.

Turning bullshit into fertilizer

I was discharged from the intensive outpatient program (IOP) today. That was a step that followed the partial hospitalization (PHP) that I entered upon leaving my admission on the psych unit.

I realize now that I haven’t done much journalizing. There really was soooooooooo much processing in PHP & IOP everyday and mostly through group therapy that I could have noted, but it was heavy and uncomfortable. They say that’s how you know it’s working. Learning to sit with your discomfort, to acknowledge it and sit with it is one of the most unhinging experiences I have had. That’s tough stuff. Sure, there were emotions, sadness that brought me to tears and anger that made me want to storm out and away … anywhere else. But I’m glad I stuck with it though and didn’t throw something at Larry. Nicknaming him LarBear in my head definitely helped me cope. SEEEEEEE? Coping. Check.

I find a mentor in mindfulness in my psych nurse, Maureen. I love Maureen. What a calming presence she is. I took so much away from her lessons about the way thoughts can control you and how you can acknowledge, identify, process and actually release them. Fang v. Wise Mind.

Wow! Just so very much.

Tomorrow, I start Dialect Behavior Therapy (DBT) which supposedly changes the way you talk to yourself regarding your thoughts. I think personally that if you can change your thoughts,  you can change your world and it’s time to change my world.

Im also back in individual counseling. Lynn is someone I can respect. Im starting to identify and deal with my traumas. IT makes me feel like crying. The body reactionary things that still happen because of the traumas that El Chuba Douchebag caused … I need to deal. I don’t want him to still have any effect in my life now. That piece gets me very frustrated.

I realize now that these traumas have been resurrected because of control issues. Me losing control to the medical mishaps led to me mentally reattaching to the last place where I lost control. Unfortunately, that all revolves a very abusive relationship.

BOOM! I got this shit down.