The Odd Couple

I’ll be the first to say that when you wake up in the middle of the night having to pee like your life depends on it and your Asperger’s sister who has no sense of time or urgency is sitting in the bathroom and you can hear her ripping a square of toilet paper at a time after BEGGING to get into the bathroom “just to pee less than a minute!!!” it really makes you mad. Then you hear the toilet paper ripping stop, and you knock on the door hurriedly again, she starts up again…after a little while, you’re in the hallway doing a dramatic pee dance and she EVENTUALLY finishes. You run into the bathroom, pee, wash hands and when you come out she’s in the kitchen STILL washing her hands. I don’t care how insensitive it sounds, when it’s YOUR sister, and you know how high functioning she is, how spoiled she acts and how much you work to take care of her and the rest of your family she still rolls her eyes and won’t even look at you, in the middle of the night…it REALLY makes you mad.

Since there are no anti-PO’d medications (waka waka), I just asked my brand new psychiatrist this past Monday to refill my prescriptions for Luvox and Lamictal and asked him to put me back on ADHD medication. He had a file in hand from the hospital I used to see my doctor at before she moved to Colorado which specifically listed ADHD as a diagnosis and wrote about how we had talked about my very expensive time-consuming ADHD testing and how she was going to try me on Strattera, and he still acted like he wanted to ask me to get ADHD testing before he gave me any medicine. I was ready to swing at him, particularly because he had the attitude of one of those “I really give no F’s about you whatsoever” attitudes. He’s the kind of guy that made me jump into the psych field out of the business field and blow the last several years of my life working toward my bachelors. Mind you, I haven’t seen a psychiatrist in a little over a year and my GP had been refilling my OCD/Bipolar cocktail and had finally gotten sick of it, but I’d been off Ritalin most of the past year and my ADHD wreaked havoc on most of my life. I was determined to get back on it, and I have, and I’m thankful. I kind of wish the guy tweaked my Luvox prescription, because my intrusive thoughts have been getting out of control the past several months, but we’ll see what happens in the future med wise. I literally have no time for myself, let alone therapy by the way. I’m hoping that session 2 with this guy is a lot better than session 1. I’ll see him in another twenty-some days.

My current struggle since I last blogged has been that the stress at work has triggered a major depressive episode. The doctor asked how many manic episodes I’ve had in my life and I replied that I get one every year or two, but I have a worse problem with depression. He asked if I’d tried Latuda or another antidepressant. I said no, and was expecting him to prescribe one, but he didn’t. I was too anxious at the time to speak up about it, but next month I plan on it. AFTER a little research on Latuda, in particular.

I stumbled upon an article the other day, the full text here, which is entitled, “Bipolar patients’ brain cells predict response to Lithium”. The sample size for the study wasn’t very large, which lowers validity, but it was an interesting read. The scientists collected skin samples from clinically diagnosed BP patients and turned the cells into neurons (don’t ask me how the heck they did THAT) and compared them to the neurons from “healthy people”‘. They tested the cells’ response to a Lithium bath, and found a diversity in excitability of the cells. Lithium didn’t do much for me, because like I said, I have a larger problem with depression than I do mania, which is why I’m on Lamictal, which I highly recommend trying if you’ve got the same problem. Our body chemistries are all different, but it’s got a high success rate among people with my kind of problem. On that note, my own research is driving me insane, because I work overtime all week at the CILA, then cram my efforts into lit reviews and test preparation just to find out that I need to re-do something or add more to my paper before I can run my tests. I’m doing a capstone right now, which is the last thing I need to graduate. The stress between that and work has taken me back to the mindset where I really just wish I could live off disability comfortably. I’m sure that the way American economy is going, disability funds are going to quickly evaporate, so even if I were to get on it, I doubt it’d be something I could benefit from the rest of my life. It’s frustrating enough to be a late twenties adult (eh, just being an adult in general), let alone a Bipolar one with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and ADHD.

Besides the obsessive skin picking that’s super embarrassing to admit I’m succumbing to again lately, my house is benefiting from my re-decorating and cleaning of the place (as much as is tolerated by the rest of my family). I think back to when I was a kid, undiagnosed with all this junk, and how on a monthly basis I’d spend an entire day ripping my bedroom to shreds in order to re-organize the whole thing. Scrubbing the walls, re-lining up my stuffed animals in a different order, dusting…Now, with my sister having grown into her Asperger’s and us still sharing a room in the same house since she was born, I can’t touch half the stuff in the room, and it drives me insane, but I still mess with what I can. (Insert the “Odd Couple” theme song here). Boy oh boy does it feel good to even move one or two things around every other night. Now onward to my last work day into a weekend where I plan on suffering through more paper editing, and lecturing myself on how I need to stop isolating myself and spend physical time with my friends if I want to keep them. Then there’s supporting my long time boyfriend who is having a bigger problem with depression than I am, and handles it WAY worse than I do…

“I can’t take it anymore, Felix, I’m cracking up. Everything you do irritates me. And when you’re not here, the things I know you’re gonna do when you come in irritate me. You leave me little notes on my pillow. Told you 158 times I can’t stand little notes on my pillow. “We’re all out of cornflakes. F.U.” Took me three hours to figure out F.U. was Felix Ungar!” -Oscar Madison, 1968 film, The Odd Couple.

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Quit that Pickin’!

This is my third full week at the women’s CILA (Community Integrated Living Arrangement). I work with 3 (soon to be 4) adult women of varying ages with developmental and intellectual disabilities. I fought for the position for months and finally got the main full-time position which has been the focal point of my life right now. This is after nearly a year working at the larger group home that houses 100 individuals with these disabilities at the workshop where we teach life skills.

If you follow the BBQ blog, you know how frustrated I was with the laziness and unjustness of the job, and Lord let me tell you how much better it is to be at the CILA. I’m good at my job, I care very much about the women, and I rock at paperwork. Most importantly I’ve lasered off the incompetence of the workshop staff, and finally feel like I have some control. I’ve been calling myself the “house-mother” because, well, I am! (We spent over an hour on our first big grocery shopping trip today and remembering I’m teaching people how to live and behave in the community from scratch can be pretty rough.)

If you were to ask me if I had kids I’d have to say yes my oldest is 58 and my youngest is going to be 3. Remember for 4 years I was a nanny before all this, and if I never have kids of my own I can say I’ve been able to put my motherly personality to work. I’m proud of that. I’ve always had a big heart and a lot of love to give. I’ve also for the longest time felt bad complimenting myself. It’s a tremendously rewarding job and equally as tremendously difficult. I’ve been keeping my spirits up through the rough spots, and the amount of love the girls give me makes me beam. Anyway, on the side I’m carving out my research for my last semester of my undergrad and trying to take care of the family and maintain some semblance of a social life. Take that 3 and a half years of severe agoraphobia that ruined my mid twenties! You can suck a ****. Look at me now! (No worries life, I’m still kinda miserable and that should be reason enough not to need to jinx me).

I’d have to say the hardest part of life right now is waking up. I feel all the little Lyme Disease critter bacteria I’ve been host to for 14+ years crawling under my skin and traveling to work to make me achy and tired and hypersensitive and itchy and all around miserable. Learning to live with chronic physical illness has been a long process but if I can learn to handle living with my chronic mental illnesses as eloquently, I’ll be in good shape to live out the many more decades I hope to be able to.

On that note, I’m at that point in my life where I need a new man…maybe a woman, I mean don’t judge me here…I’m desperate. I need someone kind and understanding who I can laugh with and most importantly who is a psychiatrist who can up my dosage of Luvox. My OCB’s (Obsessive Compulsive Behaviors) have been out of control and my intrusive thoughts have been throwing frat parties on the regular. My skin picking and fear of my house burning down in particular are REALLY bad right now. I’ve also been off of Ritalin way too long.

If I get one thing done tomorrow before my shift, I’m going to try to make it find a doctor who will take my insurance and my hours and get myself there ASAP. I can do this. I can do this…I can do this. Right?