Category Archives: Mental Illness

Yep, I’m crazy, all right.

Progress report

I didn’t exactly work out on Tuesday, but I did do quite a bit of wandering spindle spinning which is both walking and an arm workout! It finally dawned on me that spindling is probably what gives me these lovely firm triceps, and maybe some of the other arm muscles too. Just for tracking purposes, my waist measurement is 34.5″, high hip 40″, full hip 43.5″. Sure, the waist-hip ratio is okay, but I still can’t button any of the pants I want to wear. That high hip is just messing it all up. ;p Actually, I didn’t do my workout for the rest of the week. What is it about setting a goal that makes me lose all interest in it? But we did go hiking on a short but hilly trail. Good thing Noodle Girl is a good hiker!

I’ve been grazing pretty lightly. I do feel hungry occasionally but not in an uncomfortable way. Breakfast is never going to be my favorite meal of the day, and I’m having a hard time making myself eat less than two hours before I wake up. I’m still having two caffeinated sodas a day which is probably a bad idea but it has been helping with the sinus headaches and of course my overall energy level. I have eaten probably too much guacamole this past week but it’s sooooooo yummy!

I really need to go to the doctor and adjust my medication. I quit taking the Lexapro because I couldn’t sleep no matter when I took it, and it’s possible that the lower dose of Wellbutrin just isn’t enough on its own or maybe it’s time to change meds again. We still want to have another baby so I’d sort of like to try Zoloft again; we already have one healthy child who was exposed to it in utero and through breast milk, so I’m comfortable using it again in that situation. Either way, I have to do something. It’s getting hard to get out of bed every day and I am angry way too often. And hey! We may have (crappy, inadequate) health insurance again soon so I don’t have to feel guilty about needing a hundred dollars of medication every month!

No sir, I don’t like it

I have got to get journaling again. Things have gotten really crazy and writing it down usually helps me cope. Or at least remember it correctly later, for comparison. Humans are built to forget the really yucky times, and I’m afraid this is one.

We’re all familiar with the current economy, right? It’s way overdue for a remodel, and I think that’s part of what’s happening to it. However, right now it sucks. We’re both unemployed. The husband was rather suddenly fired, and I haven’t been interviewed seriously for a job since I quit working retail. And of course we have no health insurance now, no prescription coverage, no hospitalization.

Oh, our families will help us out, but I hate taking money from our parents. We’re plenty old enough to fend for ourselves, dammit! I’m perfectly fine with letting family buy Noodle Girl whatever they like, though,especially shoes. ;) Unfortunately, if it takes longer than 3 months for us to find new jobs, we’ll be scrambling to make mortgage payments. Thank goodness we have no car or credit card payments!

Inflation hasn’t hit us too hard yet, but we do have a growing child that can drink a gallon of milk every 9 days and outgrow shoes every 3 months. We’ve been making good use of our warehouse club membership, and I shop thrift and resale whenever possible, but still. We are cooking at home from closer to scratch, and cutting out anything we can. Except cable and internet. Those will be the dead last to go, after one of our cars.

The unemployment office just underscored how sucky things are. We weren’t the only couple there, and a few people had half their extended family there too. The staff was super efficient, though, and after the initial application one makes weekly claims online or by phone. The husband resisted going, but it’s his income we live on anyway. I didn’t apply for unemployment for now since I’m going to school. After finals, I’ll get less picky about the jobs for which I apply, because hey, it’ll be summer anyway.

So I’ve been having paranoid feelings, sleeping oddly, but I feel okay otherwise. Of course we’re both stressed out by the situation and the lifestyle changes we’re having to make, but at least the mister is getting some time off. Noodle Girl knows that something is different, but hasn’t really changed her behavior much, so it isn’t affecting her too badly. Just her toy acquisition! We’ll be okay. We just won’t like some of it.

Oh yeah…

Somehow, I forgot to mention that I’m pregnant again! Not very far along, about 6 weeks, due around the end of June. A few weeks ago, I started tapering off the Lexapro because I was so tired all the time, and the Wellbutrin because I was feeling nauseated about an hour after I took it. The situation is producing some deja-vu; here I am not working and pregnant just like with Noodle Girl. I’m looking for a job, though. Staying home is not for me! I’ll just have to work around my school schedule for now. But hey, I’m a nationally certified phlebotomist now so just maybe, even in this screwy economy, I can find a nice flexible job that pays better and stresses me out less than retail.

Noodle Girl is sort of excited to be a big sister, although she has moments where she tells us that she’s the baby. She usually says it’s a baby brother in Mommy’s tummy. And, thanks to my Mom, she pats my tummy and talks to it sometimes. We are sort of hoping for a boy, but of course we’ll take any sort!

Back to my story

Yes, I’ve been a bad blogger. But it’s been an interesting three months. I quit my old job, Noodle Girl started preschool, I started school again, started a new job, had a visit with a friend from out of town, took up some new crafts, drowned in a pile of laundry, battled fleas and ants, and the mister started actually leaving the house for something other than work. Luckily he’s so good about helping Noodle Girl go to bed before he leaves that it’s not a pain for him to go out.

However, we are going to have to find a babysitter or something so I can go out too! Taking turns works, but to me it’s not as much fun to go out separately all the time, and at least twice a month I want to go do something on a Saturday morning when the mister is asleep (or supposed to be). A nearby babysitter; it’s really wasteful to drive out to my mom’s or sister’s when I’m coming back to Springdale for a guild meeting or belly-dance class. The dance I can do on Thursdays when I’m done with work, but the guild meetings (Handweavers and Handspinning Artists Group at Shiloh Museum) are each at 10 one Saturday morning a month.

Ok, so I took up weaving. Sort of a tapestry style with extra string heddles for more texture. Not that I’ve finished or even photographed any of this! I have several spinning and fiber photos to upload as it it. I made some more spindles and got some decorative wood pieces to make more spindles. I have over 1000 yards of finished yarns and probably 200 more yards of singles waiting to be plied. When I finally get the pics uploaded I have a monster post about it all. And a Noodle Girl post, too.

FAITH COMES IN CANS
FEAR COMES IN CANT’S – Local church sign

cant – noun:
1. insincere, esp. conventional expressions of enthusiasm for high ideals, goodness, or piety.
2. the private language of the underworld.
3. the phraseology peculiar to a particular class, party, profession, etc.: the cant of the fashion industry.
4. whining or singsong speech, esp. of beggars.
–verb (used without object)
5. to talk hypocritically.
6. to speak in the whining or singsong tone of a beggar; beg.
Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.

Which pretty much sums up my feelings about organized religion. Canned, insincere, whiny-begging.

Anyway, my therapist and doctor and I decided that I could discontinue the Depakote, but I should start taking Wellbutrin. Basically, we’re pretty sure I’m ADHD not bipolar. As Noodle Girl says, “duh Mommy”; I’m pretty sure they would’ve diagnosed me with that when I was two, if the diagnosis had existed in the seventies. Since I’m experiencing a major depressive episode, the Wellbutrin and Lexapro together should help with that and the ADHD. So I’m tapering off the Depakote (I’m down to 250 mg) and I feel less bleh already, though it will take a few weeks at least for the Wellbutrin to kick in. I’m really hopeful that this combination will keep me well enough to get through the MLT program I’m starting this fall and maybe even do some more bead and jewelry making teaching.

A pause

I took a week off at the beginning of January, and it did help. What helps more is not having any classes this semester! Mom and I cleared out the office for Noodle Girl’s new room and rearranged the living room. My parents bought new carpet and paint for her room – blue – and Mom painted it. The bedding set Noodle Girl picked out goes perfectly! She was so excited that she slept in her own big bed (twin size) for a few nights. Actually, if I put her in her bed after she falls asleep in mine, she stays in there all night.

I still don’t want to go back to work every other day or so, still not up to dealing with the public. Another job would be fabulous, but the only ones available for my qualifications in this area are more of the same or candidates for Dirty Jobs. Which would be okay if the pay were better. It isn’t, not by enough to be worth it. Dratted economy anyway. It’s too expensive to move where the jobs are, especially in child care. And don’t get me started on housing!

It isn’t really the job, though. It’s winter dark and (occasionally) chilly, my defective endocrine system, and the medication to regulate said endocrine system. Most people don’t really think of mental illness as an endocrine malfunction, but I suspect it’s that as often as it’s a receptor malfunction or brain disorder. My glands don’t secrete what they’re supposed to when they should, or something. Adding birth control pills has screwed up the near-balance I had with the Depakote and Lexapro; I’m crabby, tired, and slightly achy when I get up in the morning. It’s the same way I feel after a bad night’s sleep or a too-short nap. And I still want to hibernate.

I hate winter!

Jane, get me off this crazy thing!

Hope you had a happy holiday, whatever you celebrate. I finished the traditional ornaments for the adult gifts just in time, and forgot to get any pictures. The kids got too much again, as usual, but lots of good food was eaten and family enjoyed. We had to borrow my parents’ Explorer to get Noodle Girl’s presents home in one trip, which is ridiculous; she can’t get to half the toys she had already!

I’m working on being aware of my emotions as they appear. My therapist didn’t assign me a journal or anything, but it might help to keep one. I’m so used to squashing and otherwise ignoring emotional input that it’s pretty hard for me to haul them out into my consciousness. But it’s possible that until I learn to recognize and actually deal with this input, stress will affect me in really negative ways. As it has been this year. Something else he mentioned, that I will try, is to pick back up activities I used to enjoy ‘before’. Before adulthood, marriage, motherhood. I realized that I don’t paint, play the drums or any other instrument, sing (much), dance, sew, design much of anything, code by hand, or even play video games like I used to.

A lifestyle change that I’m considering is getting a quicker certification than the 2-year MT/CLS and getting out of retail already! Going to school and working and being a wife and mother is apparently too much for me. Oh, fine, it’s really too much for most people, but I still feel like I should be able to do it. Anyway, the pros are that I’ll be less stressed, we will have more money, and my hours should be more regular. The cons are that it won’t be as much money as it would be with the MT certification, the hours are likely to be long, and it won’t be what I really wanted. But I could go back for the certification later, maybe after we have another child.

I dunno. I just want to stop long enough to metaphorically catch my breath. Maybe literally, too.

Yup, crazy

Insanity — a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane world. – R. D. Lang

Insanity destroys reason, but not wit. – Nathaniel Emmons

Insanity is often the logic of an accurate mind overtaxed. – Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809 – 1894)

Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead. – Charles Bukowski (1920 – 1994), From “Betting on the Muse”

I’m not entirely sure why I feel the need to document this in such a public way, but I do. Maybe it will help someone else. Myself, even.

So, I take medication for depression, paranoia, and anxiety disorder, and have on and off for the last decade or so. I took Zoloft for almost five years, but last winter the old symptoms came creeping back to the point of not wanting to eat. Really, it’s a wonder that it held up so long. So my doctor and I tried increasing my dose of Zoloft this past winter (didn’t help), then changed to Cymbalta this past spring. Cymbalta worked great for about four months but I started feeling increasingly more disconnected and antisocial, even apathetic. I reached the point of just sort of functioning in my daily life. I am zombie, hear me groan!

So, back to the Zoloft while we figured out what to do. That’s when I started having fits of rage and really irregular sleep, neither of which are good signs. I think I frightened my doctor a bit, actually; she recommended a mood stabilizer, one of the newest SSRIs (Lexapro), and consultation with a specialist. Well, the specialist for this kind of illness is a psychiatrist. Which I haven’t actually seen yet. I am taking the medications and going to therapy, and waiting to see how this new combination of meds will affect me. So far, so good at 6 weeks into treatment.

No worries

You probably wouldn’t worry about what people think of you if you could know how seldom they do. – Olin Miller

Irrationally held truths may be more harmful than reasoned errors. – Thomas H. Huxley (1825 – 1895)

I certainly don’t worry about what people think of me! Probably to the point of being a bit antisocial, at this point. Actually, I haven’t been worrying at all. Turns out that the extreme disconnection is an atypical reaction to a med with a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. So my doctor and I decided to discontinue the Cymbalta, temporarily return to Zoloft, and figure out whether to try a combination of meds or refer me to a specialist. This particular level of not-caring isn’t really compatible with a busy family and a retail job. I don’t really want to deal with a specialist, because it’s likely to be a psychiatrist, but that’s probably the best option until we have baby #2. I doubt psychotherapy will keep me functional enough to work, go to school, and take care of Noodle Girl and the husband, but it’s the least risky option.

No, I’m not pregnant right this instant. But there is a roughly 1% chance of an often fatal pulmonary problem in babies born to women taking SSRI’s during the second half of pregnancy, a possibility of brain defects when SSRI’s are taken during the first trimester, and the jury is still out on whether a combination of meds including seritonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine reuptake inhibitors increases those risks. Maybe a couple hundred thousand dollars will fall out of the sky, and I won’t have to work or anything for a while, and we can hire me a keeper to make sure I don’t hurt myself or others!

Too bad the Zoloft isn’t really working. I’m comfortable with the associated risks, and I’ve gestated one smart, beautiful, healthy child while taking it. Being antisocial isn’t even a major problem; it’s the cognitive issues that keep me from being functional. I can’t focus or remember things, and the problem solving skills that I rely on seem to wander off and get lost. All of these symptoms make it hard to so much as carry on a coherent conversation, much less learn human anatomy and take care of a two year old child. Heck, you wouldn’t believe how much I’ve had to edit this one entry!

Independence

You’ve got to party for your right to fight. – Cartoon Network ad for Naruto marathon

It may be time to change the medication or something. It’s harder to get to sleep, stay asleep, and get up in the morning, and I’m having little muscle tics. As usual, most of that can be blamed on the stress of my summer work schedule. However, the sheer blahness of everything and my lack of appetite point towards mood disorder all over again. Pesky biochemistry anyway.

You have no idea how much I hate needing medication to function in society. I hate it. I hate needing anything; but something like this, to keep on an even keel, acceptable in the world, is particularly loathsome. Sometimes I’d rather give up, quit managing side effects and timing the meds so I can function, and just go through a time when I don’t go to sleep and wake up every day knowing my bodily functions are altered by medical intervention.

I may do it; quit taking Cymbalta, at least. Many interesting and annoying symptoms have suggested that I’m pregnant, though two preg tests so far, taken a week apart, have been negative. I won’t go back to Paxil, obviously, but maybe not Zoloft, either. I go to the doctor on Thursday, either way. I’ve had it.