Yesterday I had a quick manic episode. I have only been brought down by a heavy dose of medicine designed to quelch mania. It made me sleep most of the day. I don’t know whether I will be manic again or not when I come out of this haze.
I heard the frost on the trees. They were French. My spirit left my body. I drove across town writing erotic poetry in various parking lots. There was a lot of random stuff.
I exhaust myself.
I saw a new psych doctor 50 miles away from home. The trip itself went badly. I was a nervous wreck driving that far by myself (Craig had a swing shift and couldn’t take me), and on top of that our poor babysitter was sick and I had to bring Angelica with me. I had major anxiety the whole way there, even though Craig found me a route that kept me off the highway. Staying off the highway is better for me anxiety wise.
I cried during the 1 hour drive home. By the time I pulled into the garage I was screaming so loudly that I frightened myself. It was as though I could hear hell welling up from the depths of my screams.
The actual appointment was alright. She didn’t seem up to date and I am not sure we clicked, but she gave me refill prescriptions of the drugs I am on, and since those haven’t been enough she added a second mood stabilizer. Latuda. It has been years since I was on Latuda. I really hope that in combination with my other stabilizer it makes a big difference. I love winter as a season, but winter of 18/19 has been a really hard one overall.
I am hopeful and trying to stay positive. I need this combination to work. I have also added Buspar to lower my overall anxiety levels. Lately the anxiety has been so bad that I am using Clonopin more than I would prefer. Buspar does nothing for panic attacks, so it is not a substitute for benzodiazepines. However, by lowering your overall anxiety levels it can decrease the number of times a week that you reach the point of panic.
Main stabilizer and antidepressant are the same for now.
Hopefully this spring things will be on the rise. There is so much I want and need to do.
Thanks to an overly high level of Serotonin I have not been able to sleep much for the past couple of weeks. Since I have gradually weaned myself off that high level I’m having the opposite problem. I am just exhausted. Today I took Angelica to tutoring by myself while Craig slept in in preparation for his swing shift and then staying up late for his first mid of the cycle, which is tomorrow. When we got home from tutoring we ate lunch together. Craig was awake and he had picked up Little Caesars, which is my favorite. I like the bread sticks with buffalo ranch dip. And immediately after that I just crashed. I laid down for about three hours this afternoon. I was in the living room where anybody could get at me if they needed me. Our new sofa is extremely comfortable to sleep on so I was happy there. But I was just out of it for 3 hours. And all I did was take Angelica to tutoring.
I have tried to get a little bit done around the house tonight while Craig is working. When I woke up I took a shower, which I needed. When I am doing poorly it is hard to take showers. But I got showered and I took out some recycling and I set up the house so that the Roomba could go around and clean. I also ran some laundry. Angelica and I did some school before bed since I was sleeping for much of the afternoon.
I don’t think the new med combination I am on is the right one. It’s better than what I was on since that completely burnt out, but I don’t think I am where I should be. I am making incremental improvements, but everything feels so overwhelming and tiring that sometimes it’s one step forward and two steps back. The housework feels insurmountable.
Craig ended up running the newsletter for UMW by himself. I stayed home and slept off anxiety meds. I intended to go and do my job. Craig was going to be accompanying me to offer support. But my anxiety was so high that breathing was difficult. Craig told me to stay home. I feel so guilty that he did it himself.
The literary magazine that I do online is suffering from my mental state. I published no one until yesterday, and I couldn’t focus when I did. I ended up having a huge typo in a title. I have submissions to go through in the inbox that I just haven’t been clear headed enough to read. I don’t read submissions unless I am sharp enough to appreciate them. I haven’t been. Perhaps Craig will look things over. He is also editor. I just can’t wake up.
bows over my fraught mind.
Messieurs Blood and Cloud.
Somewhere in the city
Freud soaks my jaws
in alkaline water.
My tongue has always been
a working girl.
In my perspiring frontal lobe,
a waltz coated in epoxy.
You have wrapped me like a gift
Messieurs, I must dash.
My fun is running away
October was worse. I haven’t written in a month, or even read much. My mind hasn’t been clear. I’ve tried to edit massive amounts I’d already written and my mind was just dry. It wasn’t a creative block. It was depression and mixed mania. Half the time I was too depressed to do much. I fell so behind on housework for a few weeks that I felt terrible when J came to clean. The house was a mess from floor to ceiling. We alternated between running on dirty laundry and getting dressed downstairs when the laundry was clean because I couldn’t muster the will to bring it upstairs and put it away. We went to get the car washed and I had so much anxiety waiting for it to be detailed that I tried to walk off and leave. Craig had to bring me back. At one point I lost my mind and engaged in some brief self harm.
Last Monday Angelica and I went to our first social event for the Peterson Wives Group, even though we’ve been here since the end of February. So many of them have nothing but strangers there and have tons of people going. I have so much anxiety that I can’t seem to get up the courage to go. But a nice girl I’ve talked to before hosted this event, so I decided to take the plunge. It was an adorable thing where the kids could paint little pumpkins. Angelica had a wonderful time and it was so good to see her get to play with other kids. She really hit it off with K, the hostess’s, son. We want to get them together again for a little playdate. The other women there were so nice and I enjoyed the conversation with all of them. And yet….toward the end I felt like crying. When I got to the car and buckled in I did cry. I cried on the short drive home and I cried when I got in the house. I was no use the rest of the day. It was a wonderful event and the company was superb, but I just fell apart afterward.
Craig has had a hard time with me for awhile now. I just haven’t been good company. I’ve been so low that he has resorted to letting me watch Real Housewives even when he’s home and stuck in front of the TV. It’s a mercy thing to raise my mood. Usually I like scary shows, surreal stuff, and nature documentaries. But for some reason I love the Real Housewives franchise. I never put it on when Craig is home out of consideration, but it is mindless entertainment and can help me while away hours when I’m really not up to do anything else. Poor Craig. I have been living as much life as I’ve been able to, but it isn’t easy. The other day I wasted two hours of the babysitter being here so that I could sleep.
For now, Trazadone is no longer part of my nightly med regimen. Last summer I was waking up early naturally. I’ve been sleeping later and later and it has just been adding to my misery. Not only does my day suck and I accomplish very little, but I have even less chance of making something of myself and my day than I usually do because I’m asleep for half of it. I pulled myself off and I’ve started waking up early again like I like. I’ll keep it on backup for when I go to high to sleep. I also have some other medicine I can take if I go to manic. I haven’t had a full blown psychotic mania this season, which is odd. But I’m grateful.
Instead I’ve had those delightful things they call mixed states. That is where you are manic and depressed at the same time. So I’ve gone through periods of super high energy and agitation, combined with hopeless and suicidal feelings. These spells haven’t lasted long (otherwise my house might have been cleaner), but they’ve been miserable when they’ve happened. I’ve had to walk out of restaurants countless times. It isn’t constant. I’ve been able to eat out without trouble a few times. But it has been a regular issue.
Hopefully I’m on the rise again. They have doubled my mood stabilizer and my antidepressant. I have had to go to the psychiatrist each week for weeks. I’m tired of waiting for table scraps of life – for just a few moments or hours here and there when I can be of use to my family or shop or hang with friends. I want to be able to write again, and have the focus to read. As I write I’m listening to music. I haven’t sat and just listened to music in weeks.
For the past few days I have been in a mixed state. Not a full-blown mixed state, which is where you are Manic and very depressed at the same time. But rather a softer mixed state. I am hypomanic and depressed at the same time. I am agitated, struggling with patience, creating until my mind gets so tired I can’t function, obsessed with reading and bright colors and research and music, dying to be alone, wanting someone to talk to, exhausted, and unable to stop moving and thinking. Simultaneously.
Mixed states are really hard. On one hand I’m grateful that I’m still creating and using my mind and living a life. On the other hand beneath all that I still don’t feel good. I long to be alone and I can’t be until the babysitter comes back to work tomorrow. She has been away for 2 weeks. I am constantly having to bite my tongue because I feel so short-tempered that I’m even in a bad mood with my family. I don’t want to yell or say anything short-tempered or unkind, so I keep silent. I have been biting my lip a lot!
If I could do anything right now I would take some art materials and books to a hotel room and just work and think quietly by myself for a couple of days. Or I would pay for a father-daughter weekend for Craig and Angelica and I would stay home and wander from room to room by myself. The whole time I would be lost in my mind without repercussion. I am very lost in my mind now, but that is a negative thing since I am not alone.
I had to take Klonopin and a sleeping pill in order to turn my mind off and get some sleep last night. I hope I do not have to do the same thing tonight. But as long as I get some decent sleep I’ll be happy. It’s probably the only thing that can stand between me and Mania. I just pray I don’t crash into depression.
For the past couple of weeks I have been on edge. High anxiety, stress, feeling over stimulated, overreacting to things, mood fluctuations. I am tired and hyped up and short tempered and withdrawn all at once. I have had a couple of days, and sometimes a few hours a day, where I feel fine. The rest of the time not so much.
I hope I bounce back on this medication. I hope it still works. I was doing great until that horribly stressful end of my trip back to Virginia. Since then, I have been unsettled.
Tomorrow I have to take Angelica to Vacation Bible School by myself and pick her up by myself. Same thing on Friday. Craig is starting his rotation again and will be on day shift. Bringing her to Vacation Bible School really shouldn’t be a big deal, but I dread the noise and the throngs and all the kids running around and the music playing. I wish I could take a Klonopin before we go, but I can’t drive like that obviously.
Lately I have been so frazzled that I crawl into bed at around 8 and I just kind of shut down. Some days I do better than others. I have been able to go to the grocery store, although I got uncomfortable, and I have been able to hang out with a friend. I have also been homeschooling Angelica. So I have had enough stability to get some stuff done and have a little bit of fun too. So this is definitely not the worst I’ve ever been . But periodically I just crack. All of a sudden I take a dive into depression or I get really irritated for no reason or I get so over-stimulated I start shutting down.
I’m trying to make the most of the time when I am doing well to do housework or to paint. Painting makes me feel better, and of course house work is necessary. And truthfully housework can even make me feel better when I am able to do some. I don’t do as much as I should, but what I do makes me feel accomplished.
I am trying to keep learning, cleaning, reading, writing, homeschooling, and painting. I’m trying to make sure that life goes on and that I am accomplishing something. But underneath things are not so good.
I have been on Depakote, with very few small breaks, for 8 years. The day I was put on it it made me tired. And on the rare occasion I was off Depakote I was often on something else have at least moderately sedating. But Depakote was always the worst. I have been sleeping in till 10 or 11 almost constantly for years. I would miss half the weekend with my family and miss out on going to church because I could not wake up. I would set all kinds of alarms. I would ask my husband to help me whenever he could. Everyone kept telling me that I needed to change my body clock, that I needed to get up early whether I was ready or not, that it was lazy not to be awake by 8, that I needed to start going to bed earlier, and all sorts of other advice or criticisms. But the thing is I tried to change my body clock. I went to bed between 8 and 9. When my husband would force me to get up while I was still that tired (usually at my request the night before) I would end up too exhausted to move all day and I would have a mood swing. And no matter how many days I did that my body still wanted to sleep and sleep.
Past a certain point I privately began to wonder if people were right. Maybe I was just lazy. I didn’t know anybody who laid in bed as much as I did. Everyone else got up in the morning. Not at noon. Some people get up for their jobs, some people to do activities with their kids which I was missing out on, and even the people who periodically sleep in as late as I was sleeping in were capable of getting up earlier and being functional people, especially when they needed to do something. For me it didn’t matter what I needed to do it was a nightmare to get up in the morning. But I seriously wondered if maybe I was lazy. I wondered if it was a character flaw.
Over the past week I have been vindicated. The doctors pulled me off Depakote. Initially that wasn’t good because I went manic, but since then the other drugs they have put me on have kicked in and they are much less sedating while still keeping me stable. I’ve been getting up naturally between 4:50 and 7 every morning without setting any kind of alarm. I get up and I spend time with my family or I do work around the house or I get ready for church. I spend a full busy day doing stuff and enjoying my life. I am not laying around in bed, and I feel great. I really hope this continues and that these drugs work as long as possible. But even if these burn out, as almost everything I have ever taken has, I have learned that I will refuse to go on Depakote again. I will never ever take that drug again. It’s heavy stabilizer and it prevents Mania, but that’s not worth what it does to you. You miss half your life sleeping.
I am just enjoying being awake so much! And it feels so good to know that it really was the medication and not something morally wrong with me. I felt so bad. I think a lot of people don’t realize just how strong some of these medications are and how many different bad side effects they can have. And sleeping all day is not even the worst thing that can happen to you. But long-term it’s a pretty serious consequence of the medication because sleeping 12 to 15 hours a day is no way to live. I will never go back to that again.
I had a hard weekend. Saturday it was difficult to get and stay out of bed. Sunday was slightly better, as I was able to go out to lunch with my husband and daughter, but I still struggled with depression and anxiety all day. I haven’t been doing well since I was in the hospital, but the situation became more acute this weekend.
Now I am taking double doses of Prozac and waiting for my new antidepressant to arrive. This past summer I was on Prozac but asked to switch to something else because I felt like it was burning out. I wanted to switch to trintellix but initially balked at the price because it’s not fully covered by insurance, so I went on Zoloft instead. For me taking Zoloft is a lot like eating Skittles.
So when I realized last week that the Zoloft just wasn’t going to kick in and do anything I called my doctor back and requested a prescription for the trintellix. But to save money I’m getting it through Express Scripts Pharmacy and they are taking forever to fill it. They got the order last Wednesday and it is now Monday and they still haven’t filled my order so nothing’s even in the mail yet. So I’m just hanging out with my old Prozac, since it’s better than Zoloft, and waiting.
Everything feels like it takes so much energy when I am like this. Getting out of bed, brushing my teeth and my hair, driving, housework… The list goes on.