Do I have patience for you when you can’t find your homework after trailing your backpack
klunk klunk klunk
along the snowing path
then collapse into angry tantrum kicking feet crying with your jaw sticking out at me... and can’t find the damn pencil sharpener...
When all I can think over and over is
cat out of the box
cat out of the box
cat out of the box
since ever your brother told me about the friendly cat who only comes out of its cozy box for meals and to use the loo
and I recognized myself
so when I can’t be in my box cocooned in a silk duvet from China my mom brought back... heavy in a lavender Pima cotton cover
and instead I drive around to bus stop and snack stop and piano lesson stop and Spouse stop (because necessary) and piano stop again and swim practice stop and dinner stop...
when I just want to stop
and curl into myself
and be warm
cat out of the box
it has no patience for your human emotions.
Seventh day back to only mood stabilizers. No antidepressants. Just this off-label anti-seizure medication.
Only big change I can see is I’m able to sleep better. Escitalopram and me don’t mix. Glad to see it gone.
I looked back over posts from the past year and I seem to have been in a Depressed Mood State for some time.
Playing around with different meds and dosages and combinations of lamotrigine, escitalopram, lurasidone and bupropion.
But it doesn’t seem like those worked really. I seem to be sometimes less Down. But never really Not Down.
I don’t think it’s just that I miss hypomania. Which I do. Mightily.
I feel like my hypomanic self is my true self. And I miss me.
Gonna try to not shut myself in room prior to dinner. Quarantined. Also taking break from FB. Reach me by messenger or text.
Coteacher was amused by my need to reshuffle deck of UNO cards Right Now.
“I know you... just don’t get depressed. I don’t know what to do then.”
You and me both.
Here's what is supposed to have happened... I was supposed to have taken 1/2 dose of escitalopram for 4 days starting 5 days ago. Instead I just stopped at the same time that I stopped the lurasidone.
What I did correctly: stop lurasidone and up the amount of my lamotrigine from 200-250 mg. This will go on for 14 days total before progressing to 300mg lamotrigine. The literature says that doses above 200 don't get you anything more than the 200 does, but Psych NP has found differently in her practice depending on the person and how they metabolize/react with the drug.
I have been on higher doses before. I have put myself on higher doses before. I don't remember if it worked. I know Psych NP has notes on all this stuff. But the notes are long and complicated and I don't have copies of them. Maybe I should ask for copies of them. I can, right?
Today I started crying into my ears... okay I started crying while lying down and I thought it would be fun to see if I could aim the teardrops at my ears. It only worked on one side, which was deeply disappointing.
This prompted Spouse to ask if I had followed the directions on my medication change. Which he had reminded me to write down immediately after my appointment AND to set up an alert on my phone AND appropriately fill pill minder.
Now that I just have the one drug I'm not doing the pill minder... but I did set the calendar alert for when I start the 300 mg. (December 2 I think. It's a Tuesday.) And I do have the instructions written on a scrap of paper inside a paper bag holding additional samples of lurasidone that I am saving for a rainy day next to the surplus cutting boards and dried fruit.
Why was I crying? That's probably why Spouse asked about the meds. It was because he pointed out that we need to do a better job of checking in with elderboy with respect to staying on top of his homework. Which made me want to hide under my bed (which I can't because there is no under). Instead I pulled the covers up over my head.
Elderboy went to a friend's house and they have a cat that is very friendly but basically just lives in a box with a little hole cut out. It comes out to eat and use the litterbox, but other than that it is cocooned away in its cozy cardboard shell.
That's what I feel like. I hole up in my room and surround myself in darkness. And come out only for necessities. And work.
I imagined today as people came in to Quaker meeting that in Quakerspeak we all carry the Light Within. For the theists they talk about "that of god" within everyone. We'll go with light for this metaphor.
So it is important, because of this, that we worship in community because we all only have a bit of light and when we come together we can share and it gets brighter. But then I imagined too-large meetings or too-big crowd and thought of being blinded.
NOT THAT MUCH LIGHT!
And imagine that in my dark room there is just a little flicker. And it's all the light I think I can handle. But it probably isn't. Just that my eyes are used to the darkness so any increase in light seems blinding.
A Friend wants me to remind her to talk to me about her son going off meds. I'll try. I ran out after meeting today without talking to anyone. Because I was crabby...
Two people's phones made noises during worship, which is a huge pet peeve of mine.
And there was someone sitting next to me with heavily scented Tibetan prayer beads which were activating my asthma. And we are supposed to have a "scent free" meetinghouse. But I'm too Minnesotan to know how to address the issue. I like this person and she will likely sit by me again next time.
Spouse mentioned that he came across some quiz that could tell where you were from based on your answer to this question: What would you do if someone stepped on your foot.
Funny because I was thinking to myself, "If only I could have an asthma attack that would clear up the issue quite nicely..." but I didn't. So now I will have to shove her. *sigh*
I need help. (Like how a buried the lead here?)
Having been largely uninvolved in my life for the past many weeks/months... everything is a disaster and I am overwhelmed at trying to figure out where to start. So the temptation is just not to start. (And while amazing, Spouse can't possibly keep up with the chaos provided by the children and mostly me.)
So, I need help.
What help do I need? People who will come to my house some times between 4:00 and 5:30 and sit and drink tea so I will do things. They don't need to help sort or declutter or clean. They just need to be present so that I can't go back in my box.
They just need to provide a little light.
I have been thinking a lot about medication these days. Largely because I have switched medications several times this fall. Partly because I have been combing through the archives to determine my medication history.
Partly because I was contacted by a friend who is doing a blog and podcast about his experiences going off meds for his bipolar disorder and asked if he could read my post Drug Addict on his podcast. I said yes.
And oh, the lure of zero meds is so... alluring. I found references to so many times that I had a mental health crises that was brought on by medications.
(Imma use the brand names here since that's what more people know. Usually I don't advertise for the drug companies, but I'll make an exception here.)
-nearly drowning due to rage induced by reaction to Celexa
-first manic episode due to being on high doses of Effexor
-nearly driving off a bridge due to reaction of reducing Effexor
-sleep disturbances caused by Lexapro (resulting in zombie afternoons and WIDE AWAKE 3:00 am)
And then later when Wellbutrin was not helping with my Depression well enough, I let them put me back on Effexor! Which in retrospect I cannot believe. As far as I am concerned is the Medicine of Death.
What was I like before medication? I know I struggled with Depression, but was it this much of a struggle? I know I had bouts of hypomania, but how bad were they, really? Didn't they just get worse once I was put on anti-depressants?
The extreme productivity during and after my pregnancies (painting all the walls, redoing the floors, staying up all night to write short stories, novels and memoirs...) were all done while on anti-depressants.
I know there must have been a reason I went on the anti-depressants. So there must have been a problem.
And apparently this whole doubting thing is pretty common for Bipolar People.
But I feel like especially with Bipolar II (which is a newer diagnosis) might turn out to be fake. And they just don't know as much about it. And the medications don't work for people the same way. And they don't always work. And there might need to be different combinations.
Really it feels like my approach to treating difficult stains in clothing. Because not all stain removers work the same on different fabrics and different stains... I do some research on what is supposed to work the best for the specific stain (because research)
and then I end up just throwing everything at the problem in an attempt to get something that works. And in the end I don't know what worked because I did EVERYTHING.
On meds right now I am not doing a good job of self care that I know is important to control my bipolar symptoms. I am not exercising. I am doing an okay job of eating well, but not nearly enough fruits and veggies. I don't see my therapist. I don't get enough sleep. Or I do but at the wrong time.
So I am concerned that going off meds I would not be any more compliant in these things. And if there is any chance that going off meds would spark a mood episode... ugh.
If I were independently wealthy and didn't have a job and maybe didn't have kids and had a personal trainer who came to my home gym... and a chef... and a therapist who made house calls that were scheduled by my Personal Assistant... then I feel like I could reasonably consider going off meds.
But it is sooooo alluring. What if I am not who I am supposed to be while on medication. What if I am meant to have wider moods. What if I am just supposed to figure out how to deal with those. Fatalism.
After all, I have lived with this condition into my forties without being properly treated. If in fact this is proper treatment.
What would be nice is if I could take a brief "meds holiday" in which I could dip my toe in the waters of not being medicated at all just to see what I am like. And to see if I would be okay.
But the word is that Bipolar People can have really long stretches of being OKAY between mood episodes and so are supposed to keep on taking their medications. Which would nicely mean that my meds holiday would prove nothing.
I can see why so many Bipolar People decide that marijuana (to lessen mood swings) cocaine (to blunt depression) and alcohol (to cool mania) are preferable treatments that can just be applied as necessary for specific symptoms.
"The journal Current Psychiatry publishes that as many as 60 percent of those diagnosed with bipolar I disorder also suffer from a substance use disorder at some point in their lives." (from this)
Oh, don't worry. I haven't started yet. It is unlikely to become a problem for my rule-bound self. Remember: never been drunk, never had a drink until I was legal age, never used any sort of "recreational drugs." Because control freak. And laws. And just because.
I love meds
I hate meds
I am grateful for meds
I am indentured to meds
What if all my meds were illegal? What would I do then? Or if I couldn't afford them? Just some thoughts.
I am writing so much because I am avoiding getting ready for a craft show I am in this evening and tomorrow afternoon.
Two things: the god that I don't believe in is on speaking terms with me again. Ha. Which means that I experienced the heart-pounding, palm-sweating precursor to vocal ministry at Quaker meeting this past Sunday.
And I sang. It was kinda funny though because we are "experimenting" with the use of a microphone. Really the experiment is long over. Now it is just that we are using a microphone for vocal ministry.
Only I sing loud.
And if I hold a microphone while singing my voice gets all shaky and weird. So typically if I am going to speak I stand and wait for the microphone. And if I am going to sing I just sing.
Only this time... I stood to sing and closed my eyes and didn't realize that I was miked (except that my quiet voice seemed awfully loud) until I leaned forward a little bit and ran into a microphone.
Okay, now to the N of 1..
I didn't take my escitalopram on Sunday morning (couldn't find it at a cursory glance and hadn't filled my pill minder).
I was lethargic but not sleeping during the day. Mostly I just didn't want to do anything. Spouse has gotten wise to the fact that I should not just be shutting myself away all day. And I might have to be a grown up about the whole thing.
Also, having not taken the 10mg of escitalopram on Sunday morning, I did not wake on Monday morning until 5:15.
Is this an indication that the escitalopram is what is interfereing with my sleep?
Does this mean I should try a lower dose?
What will it mean in terms of going off the lurasidone?
Should I try taking escitalopram at night and see if it has less effect on my sleep? That seems dumb.
did not sleep excessively during the day
took my meds
10 mg escitalopram
20 mg lurasidone
200 mg lamotrigine
It may seem strange to you if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time... but I can have a calming effect on people.
Was told this recently by a friend but it’s not the first time.
As I say this it seems like a joke. Like someone prone to anxiety can calm others...
Also not do good at calming myself. For dang sure.
Of course I looked at the warning label for acactual Xanax and apparently I can also...
...cause paranoid or suicidal ideation and impair memory, judgment, and coordination. Combining with other substances, particularly alcohol, can slow breathing and possibly lead to death...
Which is less good. So I’m glad I’m not actual Narcotic and instead have a side effect free calming thing going on sometimes.
I also have an overall cheerful demeanor. Which flies in the face of my unbridled pessimism.
I know I am a good person but I never feel quite good enough.
I would like to have a friend like me, most days. Except consistency would be nice. Will she or won’t she be reachable by any means whatsoever?
I would just have to know that the lack of connection is never personal.
Lately I have felt mostly like a bad friend. With moments of good friendship towards a few people.
Mostly bad with a little good. Good enough. Not saintly. I value friendship but I am better at theoretical than applied friendship.
If you want someone in the thoughts and prayers department that’s where I’m at right now apparently.
Not quite up to the more practical tasks of friendship/spousehood/motherhood/daughterhood...
But here’s why I’d like a friend like me.
I don’t really want to actually see people right now. But it’s nice to know they’re thinking of me.
Even if I don’t want them to tell them they are thinking of me. Because that might require too much interaction. Depending.
Can’t tell if I’m prickly or soft at the moment. One of my students naps aggressively to combat ADHD symptoms.
What am I fighting off?
Still waking early sleeping early and doing nothing but sleeping at home. Talking to psych NP next week.
Stop regarding man
in whose nostrils is breath
for of what account is he
My phone battery died so I decided to read the Bible.
Psalms was Spouse’s first guess. His second guess was Isaiah. Darker.
I don’t frequently read my bible. Especially when not researching for writing.
What is more laughable than a crisis of faith from the faithless?
A friend asked if I thought belief in god was total crap. I may be paraphrasing. No. I don’t. It’s just not accessible to me.
I envy a belief in god. Just can’t imagine having such belief. It seems like it would be of great comfort.
Time is moving faster than it ought to. Already it will be thanksgiving next week.
awake at 4:12 with 5 hours of sleep.
i am a Christian Quaker atheist/nontheist
upset because god is not on speaking terms with me.
recurrent thought this morning like a mantra not a message:
Shortest bible verse in King James bible. Talking about Lazarus.
Cheery morning thus far.
Friday I spent all afternoon standing in a loud gymnasium with 600 students. And it was loud.
I had earplugs in. I also supplied them to my own home room kids. Ha. Still loud. And out of routune.
Is this part of the reason that I slept all day Saturday and still fell asleep by 8:30?
This blog is becoming nothing but a sleep journal. What a yawn. Ha.
Went to Quaker meeting today. So calm with no messages... no need to rise and speak or sing. I think I nodded off at some point.
Did this concern me? Yes and no.
In the past 14 years I have had many many meetings in which I did not deliver vocal ministry. Stretches of silence that did not concern me.
Only recently the messages have been so regular that their sudden absence is noteworthy.
So I wonder if I only hear the Light when I am Sick. Or under-medicated at least.
To my knowledge I have never had hallucinations... unless that is what vocal ministry is for me.
I hope not.
Today I thought what if that is okay. What if I only am given messages when I am at my worst. Isn’t that when I might need them most?
However, if I am just delivering raving babbles or singing songs that speak to no one else...
then I’m just the crazy relative that no one wants to sit next to at thanksgiving.
Who has 9 cats.
And talks about herself in the third person.
And there is no reason to speak even if the need should arise.
I can bite my tongue.
I can stay seated.
I can quake within and not make a sound.
I don’t want to be eldered.
I don’t want to be told that my voice should remain silenced.
Don’t want to be fired.
Maybe I should quit.
Quaker, teacher, parent,