Take 2 Emotional Asprin and Call me in the Morning

I started practicing writing in Morse code in my paper diaries so that I could vent what I needed to but not have to trigger bad memories if I ever flipped back through the journals. But today, the pen feels like it’s a thousand pounds. I’m emotionally drunk and tonight’s poison is despair.

More than anything recently I’ve been dealing with massive amounts of anxiety. I thought it’d be a great idea to find some guided meditations on YouTube to lay down and listen to and the plan was to find at least 2 or 3 that I could share on the blog here. Results: I found nothing! Nothing that works for me anyways. The closest I got to finding something that I felt was worth listening through to the end/going back to was an amateur who could not keep pace when she was reading the meditation. There are some real calming voices out there, but missing the right words and some lovely oceanic sounds, but without the words to hold my hand I just get bored with and start cluttering  my mind with thoughts again.

I remember from about 6 years ago when I was in therapy there was this one meditation that my therapist read for me ONCE that I remember to this day. It was fabulous. It was about imagining myself as a leaf floating down a river. Once in a great while I’ll admit I try it out again just kind of winging it. As long as it works right? But then eventually I lose concentration. I’d probably be the worst Jedi ever.

Last week I put my resignation in and now I have one week left with the agency I’m at. I was hired at a higher quality, better paying job which I’m pretty qualified for, which’ll send me in the right direction in my career. It’s a big deal. I’m thrilled for it but nervous. My job I currently have a week left at I’m stressing tremendously from. The administration hasn’t been that great about it, but I just need to keep counting the days.

My health is poor, and the first opportunity I have to get things REALLY straightened out is a month away. Also, my relationship I’d say has been going the best it has been for years until a couple weeks ago when my boyfriend REALLY got down about his shitty life, and when he’s REALLY down he puts the verbal bullets right through every kill zone in me. The shots fired today of course, which has me in a coma where I haven’t said a word to anyone in the past six hours.

Since I couldn’t pick up the pen and vomit it all out, I figured I could flitter my fingers for a while. My biggest recommendation for anyone in a similar situation is to stay distracted. Right now I’m blogging, watching Netflix, and moving everything from one notebook to the other which is a nervous obsessive compulsive behavior that I just let happen because it gives me something to do at least.

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Sleep is really easy and unhealthy to do for 70% of your day off, but it’s also the best way to keep your mind off of things. So don’t sleep all day alright? Only I can do that.

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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.

100 Minute Panic Attacks & Other Fine Feelings

For an hour my mind had been processing at over 100 wpm. I say words per minute (wpm) because I know I type on average 100 wpm and I was thinking way faster than I could type everything I wanted to say. In fact it had been one of those wormhole experiences where the electrical signals in my brain were playing tag so fast that only my body was responding at that point. My heart also surpassed the 100 wpm mark which made mindful deep breathing a chore and light-headedness a constant. I was having a full-blown panic attack and screaming quite loudly, internally, of course. The whole house was asleep for the night and I’m far too medicated to freak out like a feral child over my first toaster surprise experience.

So what the hell set me off? I won the lottery! Not the fun never-have-to-work-another-day-in-my-life lottery, but the knowledge lottery. Check this THE HELL OUT! http://psychology.tools/download-therapy-worksheets.html

During my in and out-of-body experience I downloaded/saved/printed 100 or so worksheets and handouts (100 is a popular number tonight). I made extra copies of some of them, so I’d have a few to go off of before I’d need to make more copies for a thought log CBT diary, etc. I want to have one master hard copy of them all in addition to the saved .pdf’s I made. I wanted to cry at how glad I was that people had come together and made these resources and shared them FOR FREE. You know, when I go digging around online for grade school and special ed teaching tool worksheets there are websites that limit the amount of downloads you can have per month and other websites that want you to pay money for worksheets on identifying basic coins or color by numbers. It’s the reality of the internet, which makes finds like this site even more golden. The thing that makes this a “Mega Millions” kind of win is that people put these resources up to aid other counselors, educators, and seekers of self-help, “just because”. That’s what I’m here to do, that’s why I got into the field, and I’m so damn lucky for someone who struggles with bipolar and OCD on a daily basis as well as someone who is studying to help people who need these resources implemented in a therapeutic environment to get better to have access to these materials.

(I may laugh and/or groan tomorrow if I find this all way less exciting than I do now after admitting it to my WordPress community in writing, but let me not get ahead of myself.)

On my journey to build a bigger better therapy binder (for personal use, I need to get back on the structured recovery and maintenance track) I’ll find other sites, other resources and feel really really bad that I blew through so much ink…but I’m trying on a daily basis to fight the good fight, and this is a great achievement even just to collect materials I know I need and will help me, and then to use them. My obsessions are getting a little out of control lately and my catastrophic thinking is becoming more problematic than usual. Believe me, there’ll be lots of highlighting, section dividers and spazzing about how to organize it all in the days ahead. Of course I’ll sneak in the replying to posts and catching up on blogs too, because that is at the top of the priority list after every entry I make!

Milking the Mind

My daily thoughts and grievances have been thrown into the minds bottomless junk drawer the past few weeks. Items big enough to ruin my day and feed my depression but not clunky enough to blog or talk about. Depression stunts your social skills. All of my unpasteurized thoughts are both rich and creamy, but unannounced to the rest of the world, tainted with the sort of bacteria that sometimes festers in unpasteurized milk. The kind of bacteria that one may be a carrier of, and may pass on to their newborn who, without medical attention, can’t survive. I don’t want to be a bother with my thoughts, and let their bacteria-esque essence damage my words or actions, which leaves me silent, no birthed words for days at a time, followed by a lot of pent-up guilt.

If I can’t bring myself to communicate online or on the phone, I find myself writing in my journal, but not necessarily about the events of my day.

When I was a kid, one way my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder manifested itself was into hordes of information about celebrities (Robin Williams being one- RIP) into a teeny little binder with lined paper and japanese characters. As I got older the lists grew into cataloging every spell cast in the Harry Potter series and what they did. Some years I re-create the same ol’ lists with a few new items tucked in. Artists I’ve listened to (regardless of my liking for them), 13 years of songs I’ve enjoyed written in a by-year fashion, what I’d like to do on family vacations (to the WI Dells and Walt Disney World in particular) as well as what the budget would be for those trips.

It’s calming to write and re-write said lists in every new journal. I’ve even gotten better in the past few years at finishing an entire journal, rather than leaving the last quarter or half blank for no good reason other than the gross need to start all over again in a new one.

Sometimes I cheat. I’ll leave a few pages at the end blank or write REALLY BIG to fill a page. I’ve fallen under the, “write until your hand hurts and then keep going keeping your handwriting and spacing uniform and appealing” spell more times than I can count. Even while journaling, if I need to cross something out it must be neat, and more than once a page for balance or it leaves me unsettled.

Unsettled, yes. I feel unsettled with the world around me. May my lists be long and my tongue un-stick itself so I can go back to showing support to the people who I know care enough to want to support me. Fellow bloggers included.

Lows and the Supernatural

For starters…

One major anxiety I have is saying goodbye when I’m with friends. I never had a problem doing it with Chris because I was my most comfortable with him, just like I have no problem doing it with my family. (Aside from the paranoid ‘what if something bad happens to them when they go do whatever they’re out doing?’) But friends, I don’t see everyday, and I’m close to my friends, it’s a grey area. I have problems thinking that people I love don’t love me as much as I love them, which makes me need to WORK to KEEP that love strong and then I have to keep up some sort of smiling face all the time so- that- I don’t even know. I just want everybody’s time out to be a GREAT time out worth remembering. Even if we’re just watching movies and eating pizza. Or playing board games and eating pizza. Or going to Comic Con and eating gyros. My brain goes into full-on monologue mode where my logical mind thinks things out with my anxious mind and I try to keep my vitals from peaking into panic attack mode.

The next thing on my mind.

I see discounts on boat rentals, paintball and packages at Starved Rock which I ALWAYS wanted to go with Chris to. It’s a little more painful today than normal (who am I kidding, it’s wayyyy more painful) because I saw him leave flirty comments on a girls picture of her taking a selfie in her underwear. It pretty much killed my day. On the other hand it makes me feel like a 13 year old. He’d probably roll his eyes if he heard that, and I wouldn’t blame him. I forgot about it for a few hours watching Supernatural (doing this whole study- but then take an 8 hour break to marathon Supernatural), but it’s back to haunt me now. I need to sleep the next couple year of my life to get over the guy, I’m telling you. I “unfollowed” him on my facebook so I hopefully won’t see what the hell else he’s saying to women. GOD it hurts.

 So what’s Supernatural got to do with anything?

I’ve seen a ton of random episodes over the years, but on Netflix wanted to start marathoning something, so I figured why not Supernatural? In my most trying times, the best distraction has been to find a TV series, an empty room, a pillow and blanket to camp out with, and press play. Dean and Sam Winchester are nice eye candy too. I used to think Sam looked like a fish, but due to the phenomena of ‘mere exposure’ I think I may have developed a fictional character crush on him. Him and you know, Tuxedo Mask, and countless other strong male leads in cartoons, novels and movies.

Last thoughts?

Thought of Chris when I saw this.

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Just wanna be happy again.

Day Hospital Part 3

In goals group we fill out our purple medication sheets to make sure we’re all taking our meds properly and haven’t fallen since the last time we filled out the form, and on MONDAYS we fill out a yellow sheet on which we record our progress as well as what we’d like to work on, our satisfaction and dissatisfaction with the program, read them, and get feedback from the rest of the group. We read the yellow sheets in the Psych Ed time slot (the third group of the day) which makes Monday’s the best day of the week for that time slot because every other day Psych Ed is pretty boring. This weeks theme is assertiveness and boundaries, which I can use some sharpening of my skills on however.

This is officially my last week of the program (Day Hospital) and I’m both relieved and saddened. I take night classes so I DON’T have to wake up at 7:30am on the regular, but doing so has also led to some positive structure in my days. During my down time I’ve had a habit of sleeping every moment available which could be hours at a time, sometimes oversleeping and missing out on important events. Sleeping is the easiest escape any anxious or depressed person can depend on unless you’re going through a bout of insomnia like some of my group members were talking about earlier today. The only time I ever really have a problem making it to bed is when I’m manic, and that’s under control for now.

Marlene can’t sleep though. Marlene is stuck. She’s 61 and had her first manic episode a little over a month ago. She was admitted to Day Hospital the same day I was. She was really quiet the first couple weeks but then started to participate in small group psychotherapy and does a LOT of crying, more than I’d like to see anyone do. She just feels hopeless, she’s not coping with the fact she’s got bipolar disorder particularly so late in life and she has to take pills everyday and she feels so overwhelmed by everything she feels she has to do as well as compares herself to everyone else from people on the street to television stars. She’s been stuck in her rut the entire five weeks I’ve been in the program and no matter how much support we seem to give her and all the ideas we try to blossom for her she seems to think she’s too weak to implement any of it, and therefore…she doesn’t. And it’s hard to see, because we all just want to see each other get better.

Robin (from group) finally got her hearing aid over the weekend so she’s been living up being able to hear everyone. She’s got a mass in her skull that’s pressing on her brain and has one of her ears 100% deaf and the other, which has the aid, was 60% deaf, but is now getting some amplification.

After my meltdown last week in group after the bad news I got from Suzanne about Taz’s accidents in the upstairs bedroom I thought nothing could possibly get worse, then I got to school on Saturday and checked my e-mail.

To preface the story, I had missed the prior Saturday’s class because my medication was making me physically ill, so I got a doctor’s note, a note from one of the staff in the program, told my professor in an e-mail that day that I would get said notes and provide them on the coming Saturday of class and sent her the powerpoint presentation I was supposed to have presented that day. I checked my e-mail every day over the course of the week expecting to hear back from her and on this past Saturday, as I sat down in class and turned on the computer to check my e-mail I saw she had responded an hour earlier. No one else was in the room yet, so I left right after reading it.

It read that she would not accept my presentation NOR my doctors note, and thus giving me a 0 for the assignment the highest grade I would be able to receive in her class was a D meaning that I’ve failed out of the class. (And basically, no graduation in the Spring for me) She said that both heads of the department both got a copy of the e-mail she was sending as well as agreed with her on her decision. She told me to withdraw. I was shocked, in denial, I don’t know what I was feeling but my heart was surely racing and I didn’t know what else to do, so I went back to Lisa’s house (where I was babysitting the night before and slept over because it was closer to school than my house) and told them the situation. Both Lisa and Tony (her husband) were livid and thought it was an extreme abuse of power and that it was an unwarranted judgement and told me I should and CAN fight it, so I will. I’ll take it to the dean since the head of the department seems to think that this professor made a brilliant decision…

At least I had somewhere supportive to go when that happened, and the kids were glowing when I came back. I had spent Thursday babysitting them, then came back Friday, stayed overnight and around 2am the five year old came downstairs and wanted to sleep on the couch with me, so we cuddled and it was adorable. Those kids love me and let me know it too. I’ve been helping raise them since they were tiny things and I feel like they’re my babies too. I know they’ll take care of me when I’m old, as long as our bond continues to grow which I’m sure it will. That entire family sees me as family too and vice versa.

Everyone in small group was very supportive of my decision to fight the judgement I received and both my friends Marissa and Lucy pointed out over the course of the weekend how far I’ve come and how proud they were that I handled this situation in such a calm way, because a month ago I would have broken down and not known what to do with myself, but now here I am facing big girl issues and kicking their ass. Group really has helped with a lot.

Today is my last day tutoring which will be a HUGE burden off my shoulders. I quit for my own health and for the fact that I was making pennies on the hour of what I should have been making, and it’s not worth my time to do it anymore. So here I am making progress in my life. Baby steps.

Rank my mood today 1-100: 60

Feeling Physically?: Tired.

And emotionally?: Hopeful, grateful, scared, frustrated, angry, impatient, sad and anxious.

Just your average day.

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OCD and Deep Dark Fears

The best of the web comic featured on tumblr, Deep-Dark-Fears which as an OCD person (like, clinically not socially) this is kind of funny to me in a morbid way because I get obsessive thoughts similar to these anytime my medication is wrong or I for whatever reason am off of it (have run out, etc.) Anyway, I thought I’d share these because they’re pretty spot on brilliant and down right scary.

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