Throwback Thursday!

This post is inspired by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

Prompt #1 Throwback Thursday: Choose a photo from a previous April and write a poem or a blog post.

Okay I’m taking some liberties with this prompt in that this post appeared March 31st of 2014 and there was no picture. But I was glad to read it and it made me happy that I’ve had my own blog since May of 2009 because I might not have remembered this.

The title of the blog was “Stupid” and it went into some detail as to the effects depression was having on me. Two years ago I was unable to read a book or a newspaper because my concentration was so poor, or I was unable to watch the news. I mostly just sat around watching “Golden Girls”, “Sex and the City” and game shows. I would do it for hours.

I wondered if I would be “stupid” for life.

Two years later my concentration has greatly improved to the point that I can read a book every three to four days and read USA Today every day online. I hardly watch any television, though I do admit to watching Netflix but I would say no more than the average person!

I also wrote about how difficult it was to find topics to blog on, I felt so uninspired. Two years ago I am still struggling with that.

But as I look back I realize how far I’ve come. I am still having trouble cleaning the house and managing my mail and getting going in general but I am a lot better than I was!

I search on Twitter every day for #depression and I read how really bad it is for some people and how horrendous it was for me, enough for me to attempt suicide four years ago. I also haven’t needed to be hospitalized due to depression since early 2013.

I am grateful for all that, believe me, but at the same time I can’t help wanting the sadness and despair to go away and I feel like it will always be with me. Is it too much to wish to be happy and have some energy?

One step I have taken is to switch psychiatrists. I feel like nothing is changing any more with my current one and maybe I can do better to the point where I consider myself a balanced person, neither depressed nor manic. I see my new psychiatrist in July. A long time from now but that’s how things go with the Cleveland Clinic.

Meanwhile, I do have a bit of a smile on my face. I was able to participate in the Writer’s Workshop, making me feel somewhat of a “normal” person!

stock-photo-stack-of-old-books-isolated-on-white-110298509

The Neuropsychiatric Test, etc.

After waiting five months, I finally took my neuropsychiatric test also known as a neuropsychological test. For the last couple of years, I have been having difficulty with memory, including forgetting what simple things are called, forgetting conversations and losing the thread of a conversation if there was a pause.

I don’t know how I did on the test, which lasted about three and a half hours. Some of it was hard, but some of it was supposed to be hard. I had difficulty building towers from the largest to the smallest pieces while only moving one piece at a time. The administrator did say that was one of the harder tests. I was also shown designs for ten seconds at a time and then had to draw them. Then about ten minutes later I was asked to draw the designs from memory and I could only remember about three out of 20.

Other tests included being told a number of words and asking to repeat them, describing words shown to me and a test on a computer where you had to figure out the changing patterns of cards.

I am supposed to get the results from my psychiatrist later this week.

I also saw my primary care physician for a follow-up to the nausea that has plagued me since September. I take a lot of medications which have nausea as a side effect and she said a side effect can happen at any time one takes a medication, not just at the beginning. The medication that I take for diabetes, Metformin, is particularly rough on the digestive system and since my blood sugar levels have been pretty good, she took me off the medication to see if this was causing the problem. I feel a little scared going off of it because before I took it I was almost passing out when my blood sugar was too low.

I am also afraid to try going off some of my psychiatric drugs. I am leaning towards depression but for me it is much preferred to mania and I don’t want to upset the balance that I have.

I am also going to seek a second opinion from a Gastroenterologist for my nausea.

Have you ever experienced nausea as a side effect? Have any of the side effects started after you had been taking the drug for a while?

Computer-blue.svg

Disinterest

My depression has been increasing of late, although not at all to the point of suicidal thoughts. Add to that anxiety with a little agoraphobia thrown in and it makes for one useless human being.

I’m okay when Tyler is home, I can manage to take him out, but when he’s with Grant I stay home under the covers with showering being optional. I read or watch Netflix or I sleep. My house is a mess but I can’t get up the motivation to get off the couch or bed. I know I should be exercising and I hate the way my body looks but I just can’t get moving. As soon as I am done with this blog I am spending the rest of the day in bed until Tyler comes home from school. He doesn’t care if I look a mess or not but I know someday he will.

Whenever I get really depressed my blog suffers because I have absolutely no inspiration. I’m scarce on social media too, not being able to see the smiling faces of my friends and family on Facebook. I’m not interested in reading other people’s blogs, even though I may learn something. And I’ve pinned so many depression and chronic illness pins my feed looks like one big funeral.

I’ve been having some money problems so I’ve had to put off going to the psychiatrist and therapist, although I am taking my medication. My meds are obviously not working but I’m afraid to try something new because of the side effects. Or maybe this is the best it gets for me? I’m grateful I’m not manic so I suppose depression is better? Is it too much to hope for a balance?

Whenever I go to my therapist all she tells me to do is breathe. Breathing is the answer for everything. I’m tired of breathing, I just want to be better.

So that’s where I’m at right now. I know when I don’t post I lose readership, another depressing thought.

So for now I’m just hanging out, hoping for better days ahead but scared the best is behind me.

800px-Depression-loss_of_loved_one

Telling Tyler My Truth

I’ve hidden my mental illnesses from Tyler because he simply hasn’t been old enough to handle them. But yesterday when he teased me again about always wearing pajamas, I felt the time was right to tell him about my depression.

I described depression as feeling sad and that sometimes there wasn’t any reason why I felt sad, I just did. He said, “Just think happy thoughts”, and I told him that sometimes that didn’t work. I emphasized that my depression was not his fault and that he was not responsible for my happiness or my sadness.

After talking, Tyler asked if he could come and sit by me and hug me. We wrapped our arms around each other. “Let’s just stay like this”, he said. And we did for a long time.

I hope I did the right thing telling Tyler about my depression. I know it will be a long time before I tell him about my bipolar disorder and my mania.

And I pray he will never know the pain, sadness, and exhaustion of depression.

photo copy 41

The Thing I Can’t Change

This post was inspired by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

Prompt 2. If there was one thing you could change about yourself, what would it be? Why can’t it change?

If I could change anything about myself it would be my mental health. My problems began shortly after I had Tyler and since then I have never been able to get a grip on my brain.

On January 24th, 2012 I attempted suicide. While in the hospital I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. I was hospitalized for two weeks with Intensive Outpatient Therapy to follow. For months I remained depressed with Suicidal Ideation which is fantasizing about suicide.

I had a few months of feeling pretty well when we moved to Ohio and then I started cycling towards Mania. This was right around the time Grant and I split up, December of 2012. I credit my hypomanic state for giving me the courage to leave my marriage, but eventually I went Manic and had to be hospitalized.

Tyler stayed with Grant while I was in the hospital. Being paranoid is part of my mania and I thought Grant would use my mental illness to sue me for custody of Tyler. I felt like I was imprisoned during my hospitalization, I couldn’t wait to get my son back. I didn’t understand that the doctors were trying to make me better. Thank God I had my new boyfriend, Jacques, coming to visit me.

I stayed in the hospital for two weeks and felt better but the medication made me zombie-like and foggy and soon caused me to be depressed. I felt like I was moving through molasses. About a month after being released from the hospital for mania, I went in again for depression. Another two week stay and I was released feeling no better. Tyler was staying with Grant because I didn’t feel functional enough to take care of him.

I started to get better and went back to having partial custody of Tyler. I always felt depressed, although I was able to take care of Tyler. Jacques helped out by doing the cooking and cleaning for me.

This isn’t the post for me to write about what being in a psychiatric hospital is like but I will say that for me, they can be scary places. Rubber rooms, padded cells, straightjackets, shots to calm you down if you are out of control…they have them all, although I have never needed them. Seeing people worse off than you can be scary as well.

My last manic episode was this past May. I had been put on Ritalin in the hopes of clearing up my brain fog and mania is a possible side effect. I got off the drug pretty quickly because I started having symptoms. My paranoia was back and I had a huge fight with Jacques, accusing him of making me sick. One day I felt faint and was having chest pains. I couldn’t breathe so I called 9-1-1. I was alone and scared to death.

When I got to the hospital I had a full-on manic episode. I was hooked up to the heart monitor and I had an auditory hallucination that it had stopped beeping and made the steady sound like I was dead. But I was still moving around. In my delusion I felt that I had died and was a prophet, kind of like Jesus. (Damn, but I am a crazy bitch aren’t I?) Religious delusions are actually quite common in mania. I’m not quite sure what I said in the emergency room, what was real, what was in my head, but I told the doctors and nurses that I had died and death was painless.

I obviously got sent to the hospital. I was still very deluded and so this stay was a peaceful one. I saw signs of Jesus all around me, like in the graffiti. I thought all the patients, doctors and nurses around me were either angels or devils. I was smart enough to keep these thoughts to myself. I stayed in the hospital again for two weeks, but mostly to monitor my physical conditions because I had also been diagnosed with diabetes and asthma.

When I got released, Jacques picked me up and my delusion went away.

Since then I’ve been on the depressed side, not suicidal, not thinking about it in any way but just struggling.

Every time I get out of the hospital I say that this time will be my last but I can’t say that for sure. I don’t know if I will ever feel balanced again. I know that some people can live normal lives with bipolar but that hasn’t been my experience. In the meantime I just take my medicines, go to therapy and hope that there will be a better course of treatment for me.

bipolar_by_anasoriano-d5a0zan

Photo credit: anasoriano