Avoidance

I haven’t been myself lately, so I haven’t been writing… but I think that’s part of exactly when I should be writing. When everything’s a mess but still fine but not. That’s a part of our lives too.

I started my new medication last night. I also think I’m getting sick. I also think my lithium level is off because the medication I just came off and the one I’m going on both affect it. Please don’t worry, I know the toxic symptoms and I’m not, I promise. The reality is that it’s just not effective right now at its current level.

My throat is sore and I spent over an hour with tears falling from my eyes for no discernible reason. My hands, my arms, my legs fall asleep for no reason. I have been so irritable that I have picked fights with friends online, but my loneliness from the depression seeping back in keeps me from avoiding my friends, so more fights.

I whine constantly. I bitch about tiny things that don’t matter and I have no ability to focus. As it stands, I’m smoking a cigarette, drinking tea, binge watching charmed, checking my phone games and writing this… so if it’s a little disjointed, it simply wasn’t written all at once and I keep losing my train of thought.

I didn’t write… because I didn’t want to complain… so I avoided this, but if I don’t tell you about the bad days, what can you possibly understand about me?

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

Medication switches…

I’m SUPER not excited about the upcoming couple of weeks but I am actually a bit excited about the prospect of being on a medication that does not cause widespread chronic pain. Side effects of medications, whether they’re for physical health or mental health, can often suck. Switching medications gives you this window where you’re finishing off the old side effects, no longer getting the benefits of the old medication and starting a new one to get new side effects… Let’s be honest. The process sucks. A lot.

I did finally get to see the new neuro-op for the intracranial hypertension thing I have. If you’ve joined us recently – basically the pressure of my cerebro-spinal fluid is too high and creates a migraine that lasts 24/7 and can actually take your vision away. I temporarily lost a third of the vision in my left eye. The doctor was concerned it might be permanent (but I got it back). I’ve been on one medication for it for most of the last five years, and when I thought it was a temporary thing (which for many people, apparently this “rare” freakin condition resolves itself… ) I was willing to handle the loss of libido, the increased joint pain. Vision’s kinda important to me.

Mine is most likely caused by one of the medications I’m on that I will be on for the rest of my life. That makes this condition life-long for me. All of the sudden having no sex drive and ever increasing chronic widespread pain was not feeling like something I could handle. So I got a new doc…. I got a new prescription…

This means a few weeks where the old medication won’t be high enough to help, and some time to start the new one. This means likely a couple weeks of crippling headache pain. YAY! … no. not yay… but if this new medication doesn’t have the same horrid side effects as the old one, it WILL be YAY.

Unfortunately med changes are trial and error… It’s all risk/reward. The same is true of mental health medications. Yes, some of them may make you sleepy, or even worse… but then you change them and sometimes you’re lucky enough to find the ones that help without making things worse…. The ones that make you start to feel like you can live your life again rather than just survive it. Note: some people are medication resistant and a lot of this won’t apply, but some of us need to be reminded that it can take more than one or two tries to find what we need.

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

I have no excuses…

Well, I have plenty of excuses but what would be the point? It’s been over a week again. I kept saying, “I’ll write tomorrow.” Tomorrow is a fictional time that never comes.

I have to make a lot of phone calls Monday and it’s scaring me because I don’t do these types of calls well – initial appointments, billing and insurance issues. I’m truly terrified. A lot of us talk about phone-phobia and I don’t have it as bad as I used to, but there are certain times it “flares” up.

I self sabotage. That’s why I’m awake. Bed time is 6:30pm and it’s three hours past and I’m wide awake. This is something my mind does when I fear tomorrow. I don’t have control. I took my ‘as needed’ medication and it’s not enough to calm me for this. This happens so I’m stuck in a state of overtired and barely functional the next day. Even if that happens, these calls are necessary.

Some of you reading this are thinking “Just call them, it’s not that hard.” Some of you know that for many of us, it’s really that hard. It’s paralyzing. It’s “crying on the floor in the kitchen until your sister dials the phone for you” hard sometimes. Love you, sis, more than you know sometimes.

I didn’t do the things I had to do last week, so I am trying to phrase this as “need to do Monday” rather than tomorrow, because tomorrow never came last week, and I can’t afford to let that happen again. I need to hold myself accountable. I want to do this, even though I totally don’t want to do this…

So here’s the deal… I will post again when my calls are finished. If you have something you need to do but are putting off, feel free to comment here, and when we get to the next post, we can congratulate each other on completing our necessary tasks. Things like showering, going to the doctor, cleaning the kitchen, calling your mom… anything counts. Wish me luck, and I wish you luck as well.

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

 

Obsession and Procrastination

So my insurance has been switching. Can we just talk a moment about how hard it can be to get the help you need? I’m still waiting on one of the tests needed for my brain pressure but I have to clear up the billing from the MRI. I have to talk to my Neuro about billing… I need to “give prescriptions” to my new insurance company from a doctor I don’t even see anymore. Thinking about all of this gives me panic attacks…

So why am I forcing myself to write it? Because it gets it out of my head. It puts it somewhere different. This is a way to see what I’m handling without obsessing because I know if I put it aside for a moment, this will be here to remind me.

I have subconscious selective memory. I think many of us with anxiety do. When we’re afraid of doing something, we either obsess, or we shove it so far back that by the time we think of it, it’s probably too late to do anything. I don’t mean to do this. I don’t WANT to do this, but I know that I do it.

I wish others understood that it wasn’t intentional. I think sometimes those close to me forget that my brain doesn’t work the way theirs does. I think sometimes they don’t realize that maybe my brain works precisely as theirs does. Relating to people can be hard.

I still don’t have a new psychiatrist. I still don’t have an appointment with the neuro-ophthalmologist that I want to see. I still need to take a shower. I need to do all of these random things and it’s 11:30 at night… not really a time to do any of them.

What is one thing that you have been putting off that you can try to do this week?

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

Worse than I think I am…

It’s strange when my actions don’t really match what I think my emotions are. I have been off lately and I’ve been trying to figure it out. I haven’t been up for talking to most people, especially not one on one. Conversations about myself are still down to “How are you doing?” “Oh, I’m okay.” We all know I’m not but I’m okay enough to get away with it.

I can’t get away with it at therapy though. I don’t remember if I gave him a “name” or not, but for today, we shall call him Jim. Jim doesn’t let me get away with “I’m okay.” It’s pretty much his job to call me out on that. So, I started going through the fact that hygiene is getting more difficult to handle again and I’m losing interest in most of my games and my shows that I usually love. It hits me. These are signs of depression.

Some of this stems from being so sick as a side effect of my body getting used to a medication again. A lot, actually, because besides ‘feeling sick’ – I’m also isolated right now because leaving the house for more than an hour or two makes me even more sick the following day. I can’t change this. I need the medication for now until we can at least discuss other options. I need tests done for that. I am working on it all the best I can…

However, I’m still more depressed than I thought I was. This doesn’t usually happen to me. I’m usually much more self aware, much more able to gauge my own emotions. Being sick for a month will screw with your perception of everything though, I think, including yourself.  I am safe, I am not in danger of any type of harm to self or others, I’m just not quite emotionally available to people right now. Not as much as usual.

I will drink my peppermint tea (which I am so tired of but it helps), and I will snuggle with the cat. I will find new games to play for now for distraction and new shows to hold my attention until I’m more myself again. There’s just a lot of stress and sadness and grief in my life recently and I need to take time to process it.

I hope if you find yourself in a similar position, see signs of depression in yourself before you really “feel” them, that you give yourself permission for self care. Don’t just wait for it to get worse, do whatever you can to stay even or move forward, so when it passes, you’re ready to keep going in life.

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

Life gets in the way

I’d been doing this mainly topic based because most things in my life relate to a topic enough that I can expand them so that others can learn more about an issue instead of just about me. For the past few weeks, my depressive and mixed states along with other shit has just completely drained me of the motivation to handle even my own shit, let alone add to it.

This has left me very quiet here and I don’t apologize for it. Self care and reinventing one’s ideas on how to create is necessary sometimes. I have been drinking so much peppermint tea, I can barely stand the smell of it but it’s the only thing that reliably keeps the nausea at bay. I can’t think straight most of the time.

Even on facebook, my statuses are few and far between. Sharing has become frustrating and draining because I feel like a broken record. “My tummy hurts, I’m still grieving, I can barely leave the house…” After a month, people ask how you are and you just say ‘fine’ because it’s easier than explaining that yes, you ARE doing everything you can and yes it’s been a month, and no it doesn’t just ‘go away’.

I’m tired of feeling like I have to explain my inability to function ALL the time. It is frustrating though, because if you say nothing, people assume you’re all better. No, no I can’t go out next weekend. No, I can’t make plans yet. Just because someone stops telling you they’re in pain, never assume the pain is gone.

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

Life after Neurology, or during it

I may have underestimated how much I have going on in my life currently. I said I would be back after my crash, but then Monday I had my neurology appointment and Tuesday was therapy, so they each came with their own downtime.  We’ll get back to my Sunday and my crashiness another time. Right now my high brain pressure is what’s overtaking my thoughts, so I’m going to go there for a bit. My neurologist, Dr. J., is consulting with another doctor, Dr. M, who I may be seeing as well to get his thoughts on my condition and my treatment issues.

I have to, at least temporarily, restart the medication that kills my sex drive as we don’t want this to worsen while we work on finding a treatment plan. The reality is I may have to continue with that medication the rest of my life. Not something I consider with any sort of happiness, but the reality is that between my vision or my sex drive, I would rather keep (both, but if not…) my vision. So, back on the pills I go, and immediately notice another side effect that I hadn’t realized. Yay. Trading pain for misery and pain isn’t high on my list of things to do, but we do what we have to in life.

Dr. M is a neuro-opthalmologist, so basically brain/eye issues, he works mainly across the river but has office hours on this side. I didn’t know whether or not there were any neuro-ops on this side, honestly, which was why I went to the Dr. J in the first place. He works at the same practice as the man that diagnosed me five years go – the one that retired… If you’re looking for a specialized specialist, it feels prudent to get the referral from someone else in the same field.

Explaining my problem to Dr. J. I broke down crying three times, maybe more… it’s a good thing they keep tissues on the desk. I was trying to explain the difficulties in making it to appointments across the river, the fact that although I have gotten past a lot of my agoraphobic issues, I can’t travel alone to the city yet, the difficulties with the side effects, how terrified i was that this was still happening…

I had to stop myself and just explain that I’ve been having a really rough month, that although IIH was plenty reason to be upset, I’m usually more composed in these situations. He’s a nice doctor, he just nodded and said “Well we get through it, right?” Right. So apparently, for my condition there are medication treatments (the other easy one of which I’d already been on for psych reasons and had an adverse reaction), there is putting in a shunt – which is actual brain surgery, and there is a type of eye surgery that I do not know much about nor do I know if that’s even a possibility for me. These are why I need to see Dr. M. … after I get brain scans and follow up with Dr. J.

I am scared. Often IIH (idiopathic intracranial hypertension) will resolve itself. In many patients, it does. For some of us, it doesn’t and then they try harder to find out why – is it a medication, is it something else? We don’t know. So right now my brain is acting like there is a tumor in it, even though there is not (hence the other name for it – pseudotumor cerebri). I am scared… That kind of scared where you just want to curl up in a ball and cry. But I won’t, not yet. I have too many other things to handle. Medications, finding a psychiatrist, discussing blood tests with my GP, grieving the loss of a friend, trying not to isolate myself even though I want nothing to do with people.

I may be preoccupied with my health lately, and my own life situations, but I feel like I have enough going on that it’s a valid way to react. I am used to putting myself aside for others and right now I can’t. The situations going on could land me in the hospital if I’m not careful so I need to put myself first. If others can’t see how this is a healthy way to cope, that’s just not my problem. Luckily, most of my friends, if I don’t respond to their messages, understand that I see and hear them, I just can’t invest myself right now. I have really good, very supportive friends. I am lucky in that while my health may be a problem, my support network is part of my solution.

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~