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?
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


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...
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.
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


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.  : )
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-