Wow. I knew it had been a while, but had no idea how long. I have been writing up a storm on my fiction projects. So that's good. The world is in a global crisis right now, which is less good.
I was discussing with a friend of mine who has anxiety and we decided that in some ways we are uniquely equipped to deal with scary situations. (Mostly this is a joke, but kind of not.) Because we have dealt with our own panic before. And we have some skills.
Anyway, not gonna write much. I don't want this to be a covid journal. However, I will say that tomorrow I am starting an indefinite period of time socially isolating with my family... Spouse and I working from home and children learning from home through internet.
Alternately bored out of my mind and terrified because of the uncertainty. (How long will this last, will people be okay, when will things go back to normal.)
Today I cleaned out a place in my room to make a "home office." I have until April 6 to get ready to deliver content to students.
Well, that's about it. I'm not on Facebook right now because it isn't good for my mental health. So if you are FB friends with me and want to reach me, your best bet is text.
Stay healthy, stay sane, read a lot.
Wow... I feel like I have nothing to say. That could be fine. I mean nothing is terrible. Things seem fine. That's good, right? I haven't seen my friends for a while (other than my school friends--I'm lucky to have those).
Now I'm trying to write while the daughter is singing a song about Chinese Zodiac. It is surprisingly difficult to focus on what I'm typing in English even though I can't understand the Chinese.
Okay, now I'm not even gonna try.
Still writing. Have found a nice community of writerly folks. They are supportive and awesome. Which is nice.
Daughter wants to be an editor when she grows up. That's cool. Elderboy thinks physics is cool. Youngerboy is all about math right now, but that's becuase he's doing some crazy program at the University.
I am not making any predictions about future studies or occupations based on current interests. Not even for Elderboy.
I'm just making myself write this so I don't wonder what the heck happened to me in late January. Nothing. I was just fine.
I do have to call the pharmacy to see about a possible recall of one of my meds. They called me. Now I need to follow up. Which I have not done.
Right. Brain being eaten by Chinese New Year songs. Must go now.
300mg lamotrigine (possibly contaminated)
I haven't been writing here a lot, but I have been writing regularly on my fiction WIP (work in progress). I would like to use the sewing/knitting term and call it a UFO (Unfinished Object). It's both. Completely outside my regular realm of writing. It's superhero stuff.
And it's fun to write. I mean, I love superhero stuff. I have read A LOT of X-men comics. And I love me the superhero movies.
I read a lot of everything, I guess. I've been READING. Which is cool, because for a while, I wasn't really. I can hardly keep track of my serial obsessions sometimes.
Right now, it's READING works on Wattpad written by people that I interact with on the writers' forums. They are all amazingly talented and really cool people. So that's fun.
And also making myself write at least one chapter per week on my WIP. That isn't so much fun. It isn't writing itself the way my slice-of-life teenfiction novels did. Largely because while I was a teen, I have never been a superhero.
I struggle while participating in the online bookclubs because when we are randomly paired... sometimes the other persons work is... crappy. Unfocused. Ungrammatical. And they think that my work needs more explosions and incest (okay, maybe not... but that it needs more EXCITEMENT right away. And it's just not that kind of book).
So I'll get comments from them like: Good Grammar. Nice Spacing. Easy-to-read font. Because that's all the good they can see in mine.
And then I have to struggle to find what to say to them... because they don't have good grammar, nice spacing... and the font is pre-chosen by Wattpad!
I have gotten great feedback from people who read my book by choice... people who are reading in their chosen genre. I may just not enjoy the online bookclubs.
Now that I've found the forums, that might be my preferred method of interacting with other authors. I'll hang out in my current bookclub for a while.
In February I plan to participate in the Open Novella Competition, which should be fun. I will never do Nanowrimo--which is when you have to write a full-length novel in November. That would kill me. Not literally. But November is not a good time for me to be devoted fully to writing.
The nice thing about ONC is that it lasts for 3 months and the work cannot be any longer than 40,000 words.
Regular life seems fine. I think.
10 mg fluoxetine
I've been panicking a little bit (mostly just a normal-person-amount of panic) about some changes at work. Because change is always bad. Ha.
And I met with my admin. who essentially just allayed all my manufactured fears and now I mostly feel better.
EXCEPT she said "You're so lucky that I understand." Meaning that because she has experience with mental health crap--particularly anxiety and depression--she has no trouble understanding my reactions. And because she understands, I am very candid with her.
I guess another staff member dealing with Depression came to her and was afraid of losing their job due to Depression-related issues. She told them she understood and asked how she could help. Because she is awesome that way.
Then I started overthinking things... what did she mean by "you're so lucky." Did she mean that if I didn't have such an understanding admin I'd lose my job? Or that people would think I was a bad teacher?
Do other people think I'm a bad teacher? Or a defective person? Because of my mental health crap?
Do the mentor-teachers talk about me in some bad way? Are they the ones who don't understand? Most of the time I just want to be a mental-health crusader and make them understand that bipolar people can have regular lives and be kick-ass at their jobs.
Because let me tell you... I hold it together in class. I don't have anxiety issues in front of students (with the single exception of a classroom-observation involved incident, but my co-teacher gave me a graceful exit and I don't think it was noticeable to the students. Really.) And I don't cry during class.
I'm a kick-ass teacher. And my admin knows this. And so do I. Mostly.
Okay. Done overthinking.
Right now I am meant to be writing my fiction novel. Which elder boy has started reading. And it's a work in progress... so he is anxious for me to continue! That's pretty cool.
10 mg fluoxetine
300 mg lamotrigine
Yup. Survived 2019. And it wasn't so bad, really. A few bouts of pretty bad Depression. I'm still in kind of a funk, honestly.
Just realized that I haven't written here since November, so it's probably About Damn Time.
I STILL have not called my psych NP after
All of these are things that would have been given her blessing--but she likes to be informed. And I did not inform her. Now I'm back to what her charts say I'm taking.
Had REALLY BAD HEADACHES throughout winter break and did some poking around and came to the conclusion that my headaches were Depression related.
This is not well-researched. I just picked around and found articles like this: Morning Headaches Linked to Depression
I also spotted one (that I now can't find) that suggested these Depression headaches were often a problem during holidays and on weekends due to the different stressors that these unscheduled times can have.
I got the chance to see most of my family members--all the ones who are in town plus some awesome ones from Indiana. That was nice. I meant to spend some time with friends. Meant to write more. Meant to clean the house.
Instead? I didn't bathe, ate one meal a day and binge-read poorly-written teen fiction on Wattpad. Why? No one can say.
I have obviously MAJORLY slacked off on my blogging here. I have been writing regularly, though.
I've written 2 YA LGBT novels on Wattpad (you can find them under KGBuchanan should you be so inclined).
I've been involved (and still am) in some online writing groups. Connecting with other writers is frightening and good and irritating and helpful and no good whatsoever.
And now I'm working on a super-hero novel (link below). With another idea in the works for YA slice of life.
I'm trying to learn how to use Twitter as an author. Which means I need to think of myself as an author.
In between this I'm trying to be a good teacher and good parent and good Quaker. Ha.
Mostly I just feel like I'm a little bit drowning and a lot numb. Emotions still not really going anywhere beneath the surface level.
I'm gonna stop checking in now.
10 mg fluoxetine
This is probably part of what people with bipolar are afraid of. That when we are medicated against mood swings, medicated to try and control the ups and the downs, we will lose the euphoria of emotion. Because there are times of euphoria. And they are awesome.
I have described this before though as feeling like I am just a raw open nerve and everything feels too much and too strong. And my emotional reaction to everything is TOO MUCH. Real, but not realistic from an outsider's point of view.
I am used to this feeling.
Lately, I have not had this feeling. I still feel the ups and downs. And the overall layer of anxiety regardless. I feel like a semi-worthless human. But there is also a layer of numb. The emotions are not able to touch my... soul? My actual self? I don't know.
I have less of a physiological response to emotion than I am used to feeling.
I don't like it.
This is not anhedonia. Not really. It's not that I don't get pleasure from anything. It's just that when I am sad or when I am happy, it feels only skin deep. Not bone deep. Not deep into the depths of my being. That's how I'm used to feeling things. Which I guess is a hard way to be. When left to my own devices I take things too seriously on the emotional front.
But I miss that. I miss really FEELING things.
Here are some good things about this not being the case at the moment...
I am experiencing workplace stress. And while this did send me crying to my admin's office one day, those tears--shed and unshed--didn't remain like a toxic kernel within me. I cried and then I was empty. The tears poured out and then I was hollow.
Now I am routinely filled with toxic stress when exposed to the root of the problem (which happens alternating weekdays). But I don't retain that stress as crushing sadness or crippling anxiety. It turns to anger. Or confusion. Irritation.
Sometimes minor despair.
I feel like I need to reassure people. Or not whine. I feel like I am missing the up parts of my ups and downs. But I'm afraid to reflect on this and I don't want to tell people that. Why do I write? Because I want this. I want to remember what this felt like and why.
Because somewhere I have faith that I will feel Better in the future and then I can look back on what this felt like and remember that this too was truth. In fact there are times now that I feel better. Just not right before I write. Or not for long enough that there is much to write about?
I am fueled with tea and candy.
I exercise by sleeping with all my muscles tensed.
Is it any wonder I'm not doing well?
I am self-indulgent and whiny. I am not doing the things that I wrote this blog to do. I am not holding myself accountable. I am not doing anything but popping pills in an attempt to control my mental illness.
I AM TIRED OF HAVING A MENTAL ILLNESS.
But here's the thing. Even if I didn't have a mental illness, I would still need to take care of myself. So I should just stop being whiny.
I should make an appointment to talk to Glinda the possibly-good witch. She seemed nice enough. I should call my Psych NP. She doesn't know what meds I'm taking now.
I marked my arm with my fingernails yesterday. Truth in advertising. Not advocating for self harm. And it's not like this is very harmful. Just a little painful. Thought I should put that here. Maybe. I don't know.
I don't even want to write about what this does for me--this habit of scraping my skin absentmindedly--because it is not something I do as an adult. Only three times. Once this year. Once last year. Once just before my bipolar diagnosis.
I'm trying to write this more often.
The thing I am doing ALL THE TIME now is reading books on Wattpad. It's like fishing. You have to be prepared to catch nothing worth keeping.
There are so many REALLY REALLY BAD books on Wattpad and I am always reading and reading and trying to find the good ones. A process I find really enjoyable for whatever reason.
I am made of tea and candy. It's a good thing I don't do drugs. Or I would do all of them.
200 mg lamotrigine
20 mg lurasidone
10 mg fluoxetine
When I get sad--the kind of sad where I'm crying and I can't stop--it's not usually about whatever it is that started the crying in the first place. So when people ask me what I'm sad about it seems stupid.
I'm not sad about that. This is the fire. That was the spark. And the fire sucks. It sucks all the light from me and eats all the oxygen in the room.
I'm sad now. Or I'm angry. I can't tell. There was workplace crap in which someone said things to me that were not appropriate. What i would like to happen is to never have to see this person again. Instead what needs to happen is I have to have a polite confrontation with this person.
I don't do polite confrontation.
I do polite.
So I'm mad that the situation has forced me into this position that I'm not comfortable with. I'm sad. And I'm angry. And I can't stop crying. But I'm not this sad about the the inappropriate statements. I'm just upset. And now it is the upset that is the problem.
A stupid turtle that is on its back and can't right itself. A sailboat that has capsized. And now it is turtled. Just sitting there. Rocking back and forth in the waves. What are you sad about? How did you get here? Why are you not right? The world turned upside down. Now it doesn't matter. Now the matter is you need to figure out a way to right yourself.
I'm glad I have Workplace Accomodation. She is not the one who made inappropriate comments. If she did, I would just stick out my tongue and threaten not to catch any Pokemon for her on the way to work. Because I know her. And she is in my court.
I have a light schedule for the rest of the day. I am on my prep--no more classes to really teach today either. Which is good. I look like hell. My eyes are red and my face is blotchy. I don't want to fall apart in front of students. I'd rather not fall apart at all.
So I'm writing this. And it helps.
But I don't know how I can possibly be productive today. My brain is wasted. And I have a good brain. It is such a pity to waste it. My brain is one of my favorite things when it is functioning.
Tonight I need to be social and engage in the neighborhood and go Trick or Treating. All I want to do is nothing. Nothing and nothing and nothing.
200 mg lamotrigine
20 mg lurasidone
10 mg fluoxetine
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.
Quaker, teacher, parent,