I'm afraid that this is a good as it gets. That from here and from now it is just a long steady decline into endless, existential angst.
Because things are good right now...
I have a place to live in a neighborhood I like.
I have a job that I adore.
I have a great little family including a Spouse whom I adore.
My kids are in good schools.
None of us are hungry or Sick.
I have a faith community that suits my peculiar approach to religion (#quakersrule).
I have (but don't really go out of my way to see) a handful of amazing F/friends.
The weather is gorgeous and the trees are clad in fire and topaz.
And with all this going my way I am just barely treading water. Did I mention I have great healthcare that includes mental health providers. And I am medicated for my serious mental illness. I got no reason to be where I am. But here I am.
I've been having idle recurring thoughts--more of a recurring image, like a dream but while waking--of putting a long jagged scar along the length of my left arm. And imagining that the only reason that I don't do that is because I have a heavy beaded cuff around my left wrist.
I don't think I am going to actually do anything. But it is a disturbing recurring thought to have. The vivid image takes me by surprise and makes me feel ill. It feels almost like a flashback, only there is nothing to flashback to.
When I was in middle school I had a habit when my anxiety was overflowing. I would absentmindedly scratch through the skin on the back of my left wrist. Not deeply. Just enough and often enough that there was a remnant of a scar there for a long time. Not really anymore. I don't think.
I started making beaded cuffs a few years ago when I fell into this habit against my will (briefly and before beginning treatment for bipolar) after decades of not engaging in deliberate/unthinking self-harm.
The cuffs call my attention to what I am doing in general. Not that there is any great impulse to fall back into my old habit. Almost never. The cuffs are for something else now. Something more general. Grounding.
The thoughts of the long jagged scar on my arm--of putting the jagged scar on my arm--feel the same as my fear of jumping out of a chairlift while downhill skiing. I would never do this. But I am afraid, nevertheless. I am not afraid of falling. I am afraid of jumping. But not really.
Intention is not there. Only fear.
I got observed at work. And the bonus of being in a Depressed mood state was that I didn't get overly anxious. I just didn't think it would matter when she came to see me because whatever she saw would suck. I am not happy with how things went, but we were favorably reviewed. So there's that.
This is a depressing post.
I can smell ginger squash soup simmering. My daughter is playing happily with her friend. Elderboy is a work doing a job that he really enjoys. Spouse will be home soon. Tomorrow I will get up and bathe in a tub with a working drain (since I fixed that today). I will go to work with coworkers I value and enjoy. I will put one foot in front of the other. I will smile and laugh and feel like an actual human being. I can fake that for a few hours and it makes me feel better, really.
I know that staying home and not doing anything or seeing anyone is not good for me. I am just afraid to do anything else. Fear is my overarching emotion at the moment. No intention. Only fear.
I hate being afraid. It makes me feel weak. I can't tolerate weakness in myself. But it's all I can see.
I wish I saw myself as strong. I know I am. I know that I kick ass as a human being.
If I met me, I think I would be friends with me. I have pretty solid ethics. I'm loyal. I won't say anything behind your back that I wouldn't say to your face, for the most part. I'm just mad enough to be interesting but not enough to be terrifying.
20 mg -- but I don't think it is magically dealing with my Depression as it has in the passed. *sigh*
I was going to post more than the ominous "not well," but I was posting from my phone and it didn't work and I already felt like everyone and everything sucked, so I couldn't be bothered to try anymore. Try posting, that is. Don't freak out.
I must say that I do hate everyone and everything right now. Except Spouse. And my Workplace Accommodation. And the students in my homeroom class. And I guess maybe (when they aren't loud and bickering) my own children.
Which is why the only reason I can bring myself to get out of bed in the morning is because Spouse wakes me up, Workplace Accommodation picks me up to take me to school, my personal children say nice things when they are just waking up, and I start my work day with my homeroom students.
Work is my occupation as therapy.
If I didn't go to work I wouldn't bathe or brush my teeth or eat regular meals other than tea and sugar. I wouldn't get out of bed or turn on the lights or talk to anyone. I sure as damn hell wouldn't leave the house.
Weird things have been going on in my neighborhood, which pisses me off. I don't want to go into it. The dog that bit my Spouse and scares the Sh*t out of me still lives next door and I am afraid to go in my own front yard. So it looks like my house is abandoned.
Weeds have taken over the non-native-prairie portion of the yard. They've taken over what was supposed to be a square-foot garden. They've taken over the flower boxes. And the kidney-shaped berry garden. The raspberries look like tiny strangled trees with thorns. Our baby oak tree has crisped, dead leaves on the road-side in the boulevard. The peach is leaning over like it is badly and staggeringly drunk.
Every time the next door neighbors mow their lawn or use the leaf-blower or the weed whacker I feel guilty as hell and have to hide in my room with the blankets around my head. And they mow all the damn time.
I have changed my meds. I quit the fluoxetine which was clearly doing zero good even though I doubled the dose. I clearly was NOT manic, but Depressed as hell and getting worse. So I started my lurasidone, which is my go-to when Depression sucks. And I am supposed to call Psych NP but I don't want to because I can't imagine things ever getting better.
My hair is in greasy strands at the moment. Even though I worked I couldn't make myself wash my hair this morning. I took a semi-adequate sponge-bath and was semi-presentable at work. But just barely. No one passed out from smelling me anyway. Tomorrow I'll need to bathe. I hate the thought. Don't know why. This happens when my Depression sucks.
I can still smile at people at work. Which I suppose is a good thing. Things are still funny sometimes. And I talk to people.
But I've been forgetting things at work. Like what I am supposed to be doing.
I went downstairs to talk to a friend of mine and when I was looking right at her, I couldn't connect her name to her face. Different from calling someone the wrong name. There was a disconnect. I can't explain it. The experience was scary and weird even though I laughed about it.
I'm afraid of everything. I never want to leave my house. I don't want to see the Psych NP. I don't want to call her. I don't want to see Glinda the possibly-good-witch. Because it means I will have to leave school in the middle of the day. There is no good time to take care of my mental health.
I have a reason to dread every day of the week. Thursdays are particularly brutal. Everyone has something extra. And I feel like I can barely handle a regular day.
I'm in my observation window at work and I don't even care. I'm not anxious about it because I'm pretty sure it's just going to suck anyway, so why worry.
I'm on lamotrigine (3 pills) and lurasidone (one red pill) and I can't be bothered to remember the dose.
I'm getting enough sleep. I'm eating relatively well (too much sugar lately, but oh well). Not really exercising since Elderboy's summer swim season ended. I think I'll charge my fitbit and try to walk and stuff. Maybe fix the treadmill downstairs. Maybe see about doing pilates at the Y again.
But I still don't think that the SSRI is doing its trick. I've taken antidepressants when they work before, and this is not working. I'm on pretty much of a baby dose so I think I'm going to leave a message for Psych NP and see if I can increase my dose. She just didn't want to risk provoking manic. That has not happened. I am nowhere near manic.
There is so much to do and yet I seem to spend most of it watching the clock and waiting for time to go by. But not like I'm really waiting for anything. I just am paralyzed with not knowing what to do. Or not wanting to do. Hard to say, really.
I like it better when Spouse is here. Which I guess is a good sign for my marriage. Much better than if I didn't like it when Spouse was here. Is that what I'm waiting for? I don't think so. I'm just at loose ends. When I do something it's mostly because I feel like it will mean I am a better person.
I did the dishes=proof that I do not suck.
It occurred to me the other day that when you watch movies and read books and stuff so little time is spent on doing the things that everyone needs to do just to get by day to day. Who washes their laundry? Or cooks dinner? Or cleans out the litterbox and empties all the garbage cans. I'm not saying I want to see these things. I just need to remember that it is yet another way in which fiction is not like real life.
Not everyone is pretty.
Not everyone has an awesome wardrobe and a personal stylist.
Not everyone has someone to take care of the minutia of everyday life that bogs you down.
Who matches their socks? Seriously. Socks are the bane of my existence.
I'm reading a superhero book in which the main character/first superhero has schizophrenia. It's pretty cool.
I met Not Glinda this week. I had trouble remembering her name. Now I do. It is not Glinda. She seems fine. We did the getting to know you stuff. I didn't cry in her office. I mentioned that I wasn't really suicidal. That sort of thing. I have a handout from her about Depression and Anxiety and all the lies your brain tells you.
It was kind of a nice refresher course at this time. Because I read a whole bunch of Really Familiar Thoughts and realized that they are Depression and Anxiety thoughts and nothing original. Taking one little thing and making it The Biggest Thing Ever. Feeling bad about something and then turning it into the fact that I am a rubbish human being.
I know these things are not true. I am not fishing for reassurance. I mean, I guess it's nice to be reassured that I am not rubbish. It doesn't hurt to be reminded since I forget.
When I was a new mom and my kids would cry, my IQ would drop 50 points. Luckily I have a few points to spare or it would have been a huge problem. Now I hear a dog bark and the same things happens. I don't like mean dogs, have I mentioned?
This seems ridiculous to me...
A mean dog barked at me this summer. I had a fairly extreme Anxiety response to this in part because my Anxiety was through the roof to start with. Now dealing with the after-effects. Unfortunately the mean dog lives nearby.
I am looking forward to the start of school so I can have routine thrust upon me. Elderboy did great with the summer running plan he got from his XC coach. If the plan said he needed to run 7 miles, he ran 7 miles. I feel like I need that sort of plan. But I don't think I could plan out the entire summer.
My younger 2 kids have a bingo sheet for reading. Like read a nonfiction book, read out loud to a younger kid, read a book and tell your parents about it. Maybe I could have a summer bingo sheet. And shoot for blackout.
I don't know.
All I know is summer is hard.
This summer I allowed my entire front yard to go feral. There is a plant version of this word. Riot? Chaos?
Just when I had summoned up the will (far too late) to tackle some of the mess, the mean dog barked at me and I became scared of my front yard. Which is where the offending plants live.
Now snow is practically going to fall tomorrow and there is just no point. There is a single tomato growing in my tangled garden. It looks sad and lonely. I don't have the heart to eat it.
On an entirely different note, I have received the second of my rejection letters from agents (go me!) so there is that. Don't get me wrong, it isn't fun to get a rejection letter. But it is a point of pride because it means I submitted. And I am crossing one off the list. If they don't love my stuff, I don't want them as an agent and vice versa. It's like getting married. You can't marry everyone. Thank god.
I still feel Depressed as hell. Clay faced and crabby. Hard to smile since I'm crap at faking it now, apparently. I know I will be honestly happy to see my students, so there is that. Real smiles around the corner, presumably.
10mg fluoxetine (waiting for this to have any kind of positive effect)
Ack. Wrote post. It disappeared. Here is the summary: stressed out. Depressed. Dealing with plumber, electrician, auto mechanic, water mitigation specialist and insurance agent. Also interviewed new therapist. School starting again soon. Stressed.
So, the drug that I had in my system that was BAD for me (Vraylar) is finally out of my system. Unfortunately it did a decent job of combating Depression and hypomania. So I don't have that benefit anymore.
But of course it caused MAJOR ANXIETY, which was LESS GOOD.
I wrote this blog post once and then my computer shut down and the post disappeared. So now I am rewriting it. Which is a pain. SO this version will be LESS GOOD.
Psych NP is putting me on a baby dose (10mg) of fluoxetine (Prozac). Because Depression. And because fall and winter and the disappearance of light. Not spring and summer and the need to do everything at once. So Depression probably more of a long-term and ongoing problem at this stage.
Still have lurasidone (Latuda) in my back pocket if things suddenly really suck.
Right now things do not significantly suck. I just have some major symptoms of minor Depression. I don't care. I don't want to do anything but write (symptomatic on both ends of the spectrum). I don't want to be around people. This includes you. And me. But I don't care. Oh well.
On the A.A. Milne scale of mental health, I am much more on the Eeyore side than the Tigger side. (Piglet goes along for the ride either way with his flipping anxiety.)
I don't like mean dogs. This is not a non sequitur but I'm not gonna go into it right now. Because I can't be bothered to figure out how to say what I want to say.
I am worried about school. I am worried about what I will be teaching. It will be fine. I am worried about my Workplace Accommodation who lost her sister this summer. I don't want us to be split up to teach four new classes between the two of us.
Next week I will meet the woman whose name is not Glinda to see if she is a Good Witch or a Bad Witch. Then she can be my therapist (Good Witch) or not (Bad Witch). Unfortunately it can be hard to tell with just one visit. I hate auditioning witches.
I have written and am editing 2 YA novels with LGBT characters. So now (to keep my hands off the first two books) I am writing a superhero YA novel with LGBT characters. Because why not.
I would write more, but I just don't want to.
300 mg lamotrigine
soon to be 5mg fluoxetine (for 1 week)
I have decided that there are some people that I like. One of them might even be you. Although I often phrase it as, "I don't like people. I like person."
Had coffee/tea with a friend today and it reminded me how much I like person. Often I forget this and want to just hunker down and not see anyone. Ever. Because all-or-nothing thinking.
Soon I will go back to work and need to deal with people. But it's okay because I know them and have limited contact with adult people--and young people are a whole different ball of wax. I am fine being around groups of teens. Don't know why. But that is #whyIteach. Right.
I do not teach for summers. Back before children I would get a different job in the summers--working through a temp agency and doing stuff in database whatever. That's totally a thing. But since children I have mostly worked either VERY part time in the summer or not worked at all.
The very part time just made me feel guilty that I wasn't home.
The not working at all makes me feel guilty that I am not doing more to get my kids into the wider world.
The not working thing also makes me feel guilty that I haven't fixed EVERYTHING in the house and live a Martha Stewart life (not the one in prison).
Like I should be doing amazing things all the time. But the only thing I can think about is the fact that I should be getting everything done around the house. And then not doing that either.
I am writing. I am editing. I am happy with the progress on YA book #1. I feel a little bad for the people who slogged their way through the first edition. But I appreciate their humoring me.
When Psych NP wrote her first prescription for a mental health med, her mentor said, "You are now keeper of the poisons." Which is totally true. There are drugs that work for people and drugs that really don't and it is her job to help you figure out which ones are which.
So far lamotrigine is my go-to. Takes most of the edge off of mood episodes. People near me might not think so, but trust me--this is the milder version of me. And treating bipolar is always better than not treating bipolar.
Note: do not try to talk me out of being on medication. There are people who are so anti-any-kind-of-medication that they feel free to tell me how bad it is to take meds. These are often the same people who still think of mental illness as a personality defect. I try talking to them sometimes to educate them a little bit, but most of the time it is in my bets intrerest to just not engage.
Back to Psych NP...
She put on my chart that I am "allergic" to Vraylar. I never even bothered to learn its real name.
I also got a recommendation for a therapist who is in the same building. Which is only a few miles from my school and my house so it should be easy to get there. Unlike the OFP who was clear across town in terrible traffic.
Her name is not Dorothy or Glenda but for some reason I am tempted to ask her if she is a good witch or a bad witch. I don't think I'll open with that. I don't really want to talk about the head crap. I want it just to go away. I want to be able to JUST take medication. Right. Only I don't want that either. I want to miraculously be cured AND never have any other mental health issues. Because that is totally an option.
I am trying not to want to do EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW. It is very hard. I think I am a little manic-lite right now. Maybe.
Today my legs are weak from overexerting them on the stairs of BIG LAUNDRY. My hands are tired from what... wiping things down? My breathing kind of sucked this morning from disturbing the dust in my room.
next week made plans with a friend
2 weeks from now will meet with the good witch or the bad witch
3 weeks from now will see if we need to add a second mood stabilizer
Also 3 weeks--back to work
I am thinking of socks as a metaphor right now as I sit on a pile of literal socks that I am meant to be sorting. There are all kinds of things I am supposed to be doing. All the musts and the shoulds sitting around out there making me feel guilty. I did some of some things. Including matching socks.
Like the metaphor of nothing ever coming out even, right? You still have a bunch of socks left over. Or the ones that don't quite work together. They are the same brand and style, but one of them is mysteriously much dirtier. Or has a slightly more stretched-out.
And NOTHING is coming out just right. And things are uneven. And I'm stressing over things as minor as socks thinking that if I can't even manage that, how am I supposed to handle things that actually DO matter?
I will be seeing Psych NP tomorrow. And asking her for therapist recommendations. I didn't like the one person I saw there who was a psychiatrist. That was before I knew that Psych NP could diagnose bipolar as well as prescribe medication. I don't remember that woman's name though. She was probably OK.
I really just need a person I can get along with who can remind me about all the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy things that I already know. Or maybe some other kind of therapy is the best. I don't know. I will ask Psych NP.
Maybe we should all just go barefoot. Year round.
300 mg lamotrigine
0 mg vraylar (stopped taking 4.5mg... four days ago?)
Quaker, teacher, parent,