Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A call for cooperation

Fear. That's what it boils down to.
In one of my last updates I told you that we're looking at ECT (shock therapy) as the next line of treatment being that my fabulous shrinky dink has "no plan b" for this last med trial. We're putting our hope in this last medication and I have several weeks before I'll see a result, if I see one at all.
Now, while I researched this treatment and introduced the topic to her several months back, I have to admit, now that it's a much more realistic possibility, I'm quite terrified.
I know that it's safe. It's been done since the 30's. It's been refined since those first cruel decades to a much more stable and comfort minded procedure. It's done under general anesthesia with a muscle relaxant to help minimize physical effects. I'm not as apprehensive about the procedure itself. I know that ECT is one of the safest and most effective treatments for medication resistant depression. I also know that people frequently feel some relief after just two to three sessions.
My trepidation is born of the known effects, namely memory loss. It's that potential that has me feeling a significant dread.
"ECT can effect memory in several ways. You may have trouble remembering events that occurred before treatment began, a condition known as retrograde amnesia. It may be hard to remember things in the weeks or months leading up to treatment, although some people do have problems with memories from previous years, as well. You may also have trouble remembering events that occurred during the weeks of your treatment. And some people have trouble with memory of events that occur even after ECT has stopped. These memory problems usually improve within a couple of months."-According to The Mayo Clinic
I have always had, with the exception of my childhood, a near impeccable memory. Not only do I rely on it heavily but so do those close to me. I am rather distressed at the possibility of losing any of it; after all, I have two kids that rely on me.
There's the memory issue, and the foreboding feeling that it won't work. After all, I have failed everything else. Why should such a radical treatment used to stave off severe depression in others work on me? All the drugs I've been on are supposed to work too...
I have such a sense of failure. Like I'm fighting a losing battle.
I know, I know, that's no way to look at it but I can't help it. That's part and parcel of the whole depression thing... An inability to look at things positively.
I'm trying, I really am. I'm trying to put my faith in the good prospects but it's difficult.
I need help friends. I need help seeing the positive.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The results are in...

Well friends, you may or may not remember, after all, it's been almost 2 years, but I filed an ethics complaint against my 1st disability lawyer's office. After crappy to no communication throughout the application process and subsequent waiting period, they acted on my behalf to the Social Security Administration after I had already terminated their representation.
Well, I received notification today that they (the lawyer's office) were issued an admonition as a result of the investigation.
They got told they did a no-no by violating a rule or two but there will be no charges filed. No punishment.
The decision feels rather anti-climactic for me.
After The Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility saw fit to do a full-on investigation all they deemed was necessary was a talking to? A written slap on the wrist?
Bah!
Don't get me wrong. I'm grateful they did the investigation at all. After all, my complaint could have been dismissed, but I feel like the lawyer's office deserves more than just a 'shame, shame. You got caught breaking a rule.'

Anyhow....that's what I've been privy to learn today.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Confidence curtailed

So about a month, month and a half ago, I was feeling a little more confident and committed to begin karate again. Partly to support the little one who just made it to the big leagues in karate and wanted me to do it with her due to her own self doubt, partly for myself. I started strong and felt good about what I was doing. I believed that I could really see it through and make it to black belt.
Then the confidence disappeared and was replaced with doubt and anxiety.
I'm quite certain now that there's no way that I can ever remember the forms or the combinations.
Plus there's the whole I'm way too tired all the time, desperately just want to hide from the world issue.
Oh yeah....that.
And, there is the legitimate issue of the tremor in my legs thanks to the Ritalin (that I've stopped) that's still bothering me significantly.
So there is my dilemma. I've made this commitment both to myself and to my daughter and now I'm failing miserably in following through. I just can't bring myself to do it. The anxiety, the almost pain at the thought of getting dressed and getting out in class.
I feel absolutely horrible about it all which is not helping with the depression, as I'm sure you can imagine.
So that's me....

Monday, August 11, 2014

Let's spin again, please

Yes, you guessed it. It's medication roulette time again. And today was special. Not only because we're adding yet another med to my regimen but because it's one we had previously thought I failed. After looking back through the record my fabulous shrinky dink determined that the symptoms made much more sense coming from a different medication that we know for a fact caused other reactions.
So... we're trying Lamictal (lamotrigine) again.
I'm good with this. I have high hopes that it will bring me up and out of this damned depression. Especially since she then proceeded to look at me and inform me that she has no plan B.
~deep breath~
We're pretty much looking at ECT (shock therapy) if this med doesn't work.
Now, at the end of the appointment she mentioned another atypical antipsychotic that we might potentially consider but it's not for sure. I have a feeling that we're looking at ECT. She also mentioned TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) but medicaid doesn't pay for it so that's out. Plus, I may not be a candidate given my pacemaker anyway.

So that's where we're at as of today.

I hope your day was well!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Your cup of tea

What, pray tell, is it? That go to thing/act that gets you back to you.
Is it having a hot cup of coffee/tea by your lonesome?
Is it sitting and listening to your favorite song?
Is it meditating somewhere quiet and soothing?
Is it going for a long walk?
Is it going to some coffee/tea house and writing on your blog?
What do you do to help reset and find yourself again?

For me it's several of the above.

There are so many coping strategies that people can and do use to get through and I find myself increasingly interested in them all. As Depeche Mode said, "I'm always willing to learn when you've got something to teach".    (10 points if you can name the song without looking it up!)

Music is essential in my life, not to mention my coping skills. As I sit here, I have my earbuds in and I'm jamming out to an absolutely fabulous mix of my favorite songs. Music helps me calibrate and reconnect; to myself, to life. I battle such extreme obstacles, namely depression and anxiety, that anything at all that I can use to maintain myself, even if only a fraction of myself, is highly prized.
As a matter of fact, I find listening to my music through my earbuds is the most effective. I can truly focus on the music; hear every instrument, every aspect. It transforms the experience completely. I am able to relish in the intimacy of just me and my music. Whether I'm writing, people watching, or just sitting quietly listening.
A few deep breaths and a great song can really transport me to a place of peace.
What more can you ask for?

What do you do/use to cope with life's twists and turns??

A calming beginning

Last time we met I wrote about a "crisis letter". Well I received my letter from my boyfriend and it's wonderful. As a matter of fact, since I've been having such a hard time with getting up every day since stopping the Ritalin, I've started reading it when I wake up. It's a wonderful way to start a day that is so difficult to begin. It's filled with positive imagery and calming techniques.
I'd already drafted my letter to my boyfriend and, as it turns out, they're remarkably similar. His response to this observation was "great minds...". I suppose that's true, after all, we have been drawn back together after 18 years...

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Dear...Me?

So I read an article yesterday about irritability in bipolar. It talked about how tracking irritability can be a better indicator of mood shifts than tracking other emotions. It also listed multiple coping strategies that various people use when they sense irritability becoming a factor. One of those strategies was to read a "crisis letter".
Now this is a new concept to me. I was interested in finding out what exactly a crisis letter is.
Turns out, a crisis letter is a letter you write to yourself to read when you're in a bad place, whatever that may mean for you. A letter to read that will boost or empower you to get through whatever it is that you're experiencing or, in the very least, help you calm down in the immediate.
I like this idea. So did my boyfriend. As a matter of fact, it gave me an idea; for us to write letters for each other instead of for ourselves.
What better way to get a boost than from someone who loves you?
So, that's what we've done. We've written letters for each other.
I look forward to reading the encouraging words from someone who not only loves me but knows that I can make it through whatever I may be facing at the moment.
What do you think??

Monday, August 4, 2014

One of Those....

Everyone knows those people...
Those people that can make life miserable. Those people that always have something to bitch about. Those people that make everything about them and find a way to make drama.
That person that takes crazy to a whole new plane...
Yeah.
I mean, I'm crazy, don't get me wrong. Certifiable, as a matter of fact. But I'm talking about that psychotic person, most always female, that takes bitching to a new level of torture never before experienced.
Yeah...
Got one of those in life right now.
This particular breed of psycho bitch, while not interrupting our lives in the way I'm sure she hopes to, makes an annoyance of herself rather effectively. Nothing that isn't totally dealable and dismissable though. And believe me, she's easily dismissed!!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Renewed

Let me tell you a story...
Circa 18 years ago I met a kid (we were both 16) who became my first love. We had significant hurdles to overcome (for a more complete picture see the post A pretty big bullet...point) and we didn't make it together. We were together a whopping 6 months before we, quite naturally (if you read the above post), unraveled.
I spent about 14 years with a baseless, albeit rational, fear of him not to mention a strong dislike until one day I decided I was done. I came to a life altering realization; he did nothing wrong. Not truly. And, as I've said in the above mentioned previous post, it had been oh so very long ago.
Time to move on.
So I did. I even went so far as to contact him to let him know that I had moved on and was open to a renewed friendship should he see himself willing and able.
A number of months went by and he finally contacted me back with a willingness to cultivate a new friendship, of which we began immediately.
Fast forward approximately 4 years, lots of life hurdles that we've worked through together, and near constant daily contact later, we find ourselves in a new situation.
We have fallen back in love with each other.  : )
Yay!
We presently only have one obstacle and that is distance. He is currently 1300 miles away. While he's been here for 1 visit and will be coming back out in less than 2 months, he won't be moving out here until the beginning of the year.
This has certainly been a boost in my life although I still struggle significantly with my depression and anxiety.
He and I are very well matched and understand each other in a way that neither of us has ever found in the past. We're very excited about the future and the possibilities that lie before us. We understand that no road is perfectly smooth but we look forward to tackling anything that comes our way together with teamwork, communication and understanding.
So there you have it. My big announcement. The newest update.
: )

Thoughts? Questions?

Light, gone

Last time I updated you I mentioned being put on Ritalin to try to boost me out of this ridiculous depression that has had me locked in for oh so long.
Well, as of a few days ago, despite it doing what now seems like wonders, I am off of it.
I had a seemingly small but incredibly annoying and worsening reaction to it.
My legs were shaking. And it worsened to the point that they shook so bad, even when standing, that I constantly trembled. It was a rare occasion that I was able to find a position that they could relax and be still.
I was advised by a nurse, after having missed 2 days worth of doses due to a clerical error, to go ahead and stop it because of the reaction.
Since then I have noticed just how much it really was helping.
Since stopping I have been sleeping later, wanting to retreat from life more again and I find that my mind is not as clear as it had been. While I realized at the time that I was able to get up easier and had a little more energy I didn't fully realize the positive impact it truly had. And now that I'm off of it I miss it. While the shaking still has not resolved, it is improving which I'm thankful for.
So that's where I'm at most recently with my medication challenges.

Hoping you're all well-

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Deforestation

That's what I feel like I've contributed to now that I'm done printing out the divorce paperwork.
Talk about excessive.


That's all for now...

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Goin' off the rails...

It's been so long since I've written and yet I have so little to say...
I know, I know. Me? Have "little to say"? Shocking!
But it seems to be true. There is so much to discuss and yet I find myself lacking the power of conversation. Let's see if I can run through an update for you...

As a few of you may know, my partner of the last 6 1/2 years and I have recently decided to separate. It was a painful decision but one made in the best interest of the kids and with each other in mind. It was, by no means, an easy conclusion to come to but we feel that it will improve the situation for all involved. And while we are all going through a major adjustment period, to say the least, there has been some relief and that's something to be thankful for.

Amidst this heart wrenching decision has been my seemingly unending battle with bipolar depression. I have struggled significantly with medication failure after medication failure. As a matter of fact, within the last month I was put on Ritalin, in addition to my 4 other meds, in the hopes that it would boost my body enough to give my mind a chance to follow suit. So far it has made a small difference. One that I'm grateful for.

My disability appeal is now a little closer to conclusion. My doctor was finally able to finish her "medical rebuttal" to the various falsities and inconsistencies in the judge's decision. That was the final piece needed to submit it all. Now we wait...

There are so many more details that are begging to be divulged but my debilitated brain is adamant in its dissent. At least presently...

Please remember, you're always more than welcome to contact me with any questions, comments, or additions to my ramblings. Leave a comment here, contact me via facebook , or drop me a text or call.

Hoping you're all well

Unnamed

The release
built up tension
The sweetness
no comprehension
A rush, a flood
the sudden surge of blood
To calm a weary mind
To purge the weary soul
A release
pure and whole

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The road

This journey is a lonely one.
Mental illness, no matter how well concealed, is a very lonely battle.

I cannot help but contemplate this a great deal this evening. I have so very many things on my mind and yet I find myself without a soul within which to confide completely. Whether this is a self-imposed solitude or a natural by-product of the 'nature of the beast' I have yet to determine.
Whatever the cause, its effects are undeniable.

I feel so very very alone in this world. People in which I used to confide are beyond my reach, people who seem close now still remain at a distance. There are those that claim friendship but who have no wish to be weighed upon by the struggles of others. There are those that might be close were it not for the wall that I defend so well in the interest of not burdening them with troubles not their own.

Whatever the combination of factors, the seeming finality of 'truth' is unwavering.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Beaten and bashed

Here I am again.

This time, I'm a few weeks post the denial of my appeal for disability.

Yes, my appeal was denied. Not just denied, I was called a liar, as were my providers, and the judge went so far as to declare that I was not disabled as of the date of decision meaning I can never file a new claim. My only hope at this point is to appeal the appeal, which I am doing.
This judge wrote a 17 page decision wherein she essentially called me a liar stating frequent inconsistencies, a few false 'facts', the apparent ineptitude of multiple providers, the omission of my severe anxiety attack during the proceedings as well as the omission of records from 1 provider. (I need to double check the exhibit list to see if she's on there)

Needless to say, I feel completely invalidated, impotent and hopeless.
This decision has had such a significantly negative effect on me. So much so actually that a friend even went so far as to inquire about possible action against the judge, something like seeking pain and suffering. I don't know about pursuing that, if it's even possible, but I tell you, there are grounds for it...

My lawyer has asked me to formulate a letter making a point by point reference to all the issues but I have yet to be able to do that. I am having a very hard time with it. I was able to go through the 17 pages and highlight the issues but I can't seem to get past that step. This damned judge has me afraid of being too articulate. Of having too high a level of function. Since apparently, according to this judge, my ability to occasionally write on this blog clearly proves that I'm high functioning.
True story.
It was specifically mentioned in the decision.

As was my apparently, at some point, returning to school for nail design or something.
Yeah...the only thing I've ever done with nail polish is occasionally buy it and watch it flake off my nails within 24 hours. I haven't been to school in years!! For anything! Where the hell this info came from is beyond me but it managed to help make a case against me.
As did my ability to parent my children. Although the decision has sited several times that I'm able to do so completely on my own part of the time, which is soooo untrue. The only thing that I'm able to do completely on my own is be crazy and anxious and a wreck.
That's all me.

There were several other things within the extensive discrediting that I can't even wrap my brain around. Suffice it to say that it's successfully scarred and weakened me.

So there you have the update.
It's time for me to leave this topic for now...

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

More squeeze please?

No thanks, I've got plenty!!

I've had a constant pressure in my chest and feeling of apprehension for the last week or so.
Do you have any idea what that feels like? Anybody?

It's only actually gone away a couple of times and only for a very short time. The rest of the time it is constant with fairly frequent increases for no damned apparent reason.

I'm getting anxious texting a friend. I'm getting anxious sitting on my couch watching a movie, I'm getting anxious getting dressed, I'm getting anxious opening my computer, I'm getting anxious getting into bed.

Aaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrgh!!!!!

I think I may have slipped right off the edge.

The edge of reason
The edge of rationale
The edge of sanity

I mean, what the hell?!

If this is a result of waiting for my damned disability determination...well, let's just say that I'm not thinking nice things about the judge right now. If she could feel what it feels like to be me everyday.... If anyone could feel what it feels like to be me everyday...

Until then...just know that it's agony.

As Tom Petty said.. "The waiting is the hardest part
                                    Every day you get one more yard
                                    You take it on faith
                                    You take it to the heart
                                    The waiting is the hardest part"

Monday, January 20, 2014

I'd like to spin the wheel please

That's right folks, it's medication roulette yet again!
Woooo!
I got to see my fabulous shrinkydink this past Thursday and we played some more.
I'm now, finally, on a daily maintenance med for my anxiety as it's gotten so out of freakin hand! We also decided to try halving my Seroquel to hopefully help with the extreme sleepiness.
So far...it hasn't made any noticeable difference but as tomorrow will be my 1st early morning since I've halved it, we shall see how much, if at all, easier it is to get up. If it's not, then I'm going back to the full dose to get the most efficacy for the depression.
But I'm now on twice daily Buspar for my anxiety in addition to my clonazepam. I'm hoping to see a result soon....
I can't wait!
I have had to titrate up and I think tonight will be my 1st full dose.
Let's go effects!

Well...shit.

My brain has gone again.
I haven't the foggiest clue as to what else I was going to write.
Damn it!

Well, this is gonna have to do ya for now.
You're used to this by now right??

Friday, January 3, 2014

The last ditch drug?

I knew there was something else I had forgotten to tell you.

So the last med I was on, the second to last resort, or so I was told, went out the window about a month ago. I'm now on the last one on my fabulous shrinkydink's list.
Latuda (sounds like something my kid would make up) is gone and Seroquel is here.

It's been a few weeks now. The biggest effect noticed thus far has been the extreme sleepiness it induces.
Like 13ish hours of sleep.

I couldn't even take it the night before my hearing because I knew that I never would have been able to wake up in time.

So I've tried to take it earlier and earlier in the evening so that I'm not asleep for my kids' whole morning. It's only kinda working.
On the sleep that is.

I think it's actually making a difference in the depression.

Maybe.

I'm still down, I still have the feelings of hopelessness, despair over everything, my desire to not live like this anymore, but they seem somehow lessened. Like there's a barrier somehow preventing me from getting all the way down.

I'm taking it, for sure. There has definitely been ZERO improvement in the anxiety department unfortunately. Granted, antipsychotics aren't meant to affect anxiety.
Unfortunately.

I'm wondering if my nightly clonazepam needs to be increased. Or maybe I need something else.
Or maybe I just need a padded room.

I see the doc in a couple of weeks. We'll see what comes of that visit.

Overdue...as usual

Anxiety, layoffs, hearings, anxiety, holidays, anxiety.... Oh my!

Let's see here. You're definitely due a big one.

First off, I hope that you had a wonderful holiday season. I wish for you all reading this nothing but the most wonderful possibilities in this new year.

As for catching up..let's see.

It has just come to my attention that I disguise my anxiety rather well. So well in fact that people that have known me for some time (45 minute visits 2-3 times a week at the karate studio) didn't know that I had anxiety.
HA!!!
How'd I manage that??
I wish I could hide it from me!
My meds don't even manage that and I'm on daily maintenance for that purpose! I still have random freakin anxiety attacks probably 3 days out of 5 not to mention the anxiety attacks that actually have an identifiable cause.
It's freakin exhausting! And I can't take meds for all of these attacks either. If I did, I'd end up doped to the gills and my kids need a mom. It's bad enough they're stuck with the broken one they've got, I don't need to make it worse.
So there's that.

Speaking of anxiety, that brings me to my Disability Appeal Hearing. Yes. The hearing was on the 17th of December. I was having some fairly serious anxiety starting the day off so I took a pill on the way to the hearing. We met my lawyer there and proceeded to a room to "prepare" for the hearing where I had to take another pill as my anxiety was rapidly increasing. I mean, this was a cluster fuck if ever there was one. I was in a strange place, with something incredibly important on the line, with strange people-one of which was male who had to sit right next to me, and I had to talk. To a judge! About my complete and total lack of sanity!
Yeah.....I ended up having to take a 3rd dose right there in the room and the judge actually paused the proceedings because I was frickin hysterical.
Yep! Way to hold it together! Keep that composure girl!
I mean, on one hand I see how it could be beneficial for the judge to see me lose it that severely over something as small as sitting in a room with 2 strangers. On the other hand, I can't believe that I came so unglued in front of a judge!
I just couldn't help it. I was totally and completely unable to handle it. Of course, why should I be surprised? I had a full on anxiety attack the other day in the grocery store for whatever known reason. I made the quick trip with a friend.
Oh my god! All of a sudden, for no apparent reason I was shaking, sweating, my heart was racing, my stomach was upset SEVERELY, and I was dizzy.
Full on anxiety attack after spending less than a minute in the same grocery store that I've gone to for 2 years now. But then again, it's because of events like that increasing in frequency that have prevented me from doing the regular shopping, laundry, bank errands, etc. Because I never know when or where some random certifiable spaz out is going to occur.

Yeah.
Fun times!

In other anxiety worthy news, the Hubby got laid off on the 11th. There just wasn't enough work for the company to keep him on. They totally want him back but don't expect to be able to bring him back until May.
May!
So the whole unemployment gig was done only to find out that he won't be getting nearly what he was making (which was barely enough at the time).
At least food stamps and medicaid return. Thankfully. The Husband and I desperately need the medicaid back. His MS needs to be evaluated. He hasn't seen a Neurologist in about 2 years. And then of course there's all my meds and my cardiac stuff.

So....yeah.

Oh! Regarding the disability hearing-the judge asked to see my blog.
Aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!
Apparently my therapist, way back when, had mentioned my writing in her notes. Course, that was back before the hospital when I had been able to write on my old blog regularly. I told her that I hadn't written on it in about a year (at least) but that I had one now that I write on occasionally. She asked to see both of them. Well...turns out that wasn't such an easy task. My old blog is no longer accessible on the internet. I don't know where it went but it isn't out there in the world anymore. It was being hosted on a friends' co-workers' server but it's not there anymore. So yeah. Bye-bye to all that work...
As for this blog, I printed it all out and turned it in to my lawyer for submission.
When talking to a friend about it yesterday, an interesting point came up.
She said that it was like an invasion of privacy. This blog is very much a journal for me. I don't actually write it for anyone to see, I write it to get it out. I'm not even sure how many people, if any, see this blog. I get no feedback from readers here on the blog and very little feedback from people on the facebook page for it. I have no idea if it reaches 1 person, no people, or 30 people. But in any case, as I write this as a way to express myself, just like a journal, it should not have any bearing on my disability case. It should not be considered in any way. Especially when considering that while I may be able to post things on here, sometimes just getting one quick post up can take me days. And so many things never make it up because I can't bring myself to get them out. Anxiety or inability to focus or complete lack of articulation...all of these play major factors in my ability to write my thoughts out.
So anyway..
That was that.

See...here we go again. My mind has wandered off point and I can't follow through.

Grrrrrr!!!

Well, I'm gonna call it good here.
I'm not sure when I'll hear about the disability. Hopefully soon. The judge had said that the printed blogs could be submitted when she returned to her office on the 2nd of January (yesterday). They were submitted before Christmas (to my knowledge) so hopefully she'll make a decision soon. Goodness knows, if she bases it, as she should, on my ability to handle the proceeding and on my doctor's notes, I'll be approved. Let's hope that she sees that I truly can't handle the big wide world and helps provide our family with that which I can not. At least financially.
Here's to hoping that I don't continue to be as useless as I feel.