Wednesday, May 24, 2017

And so it begins.

It's happening, I'm afraid - the ugliness that comes with weaning.

For the last three-ish days, I have been a roller coaster of emotions.  My moods are swinging so much, you'd think they were in an open marriage in the 30's.  

My poor family is getting the crap end of the stick.  Well, both ends are crap, really, but it's not fair they should have to suffer, too.

I've gone from just fine to down-right *itchy in a matter of seconds.  I've felt horribly out of control of what comes out of my mouth, not to mention the thoughts that have been going through my head.  And I hate it.  

I had to keep reminding myself, last night, that this isn't me.  This was expected when I chose to go off my meds.  I knew this could happen.  I had hoped it wouldn't, but it is, unfortunately.  One thing I'm trying with all of my might to hold on to, is my clarity.  It was so hard, last night.  I felt I was getting swallowed up; like I was being dragged down.  I prayed and prayed, so desperately, for Heavenly Father to stay with me, even though I felt I didn't deserve it.  I was afraid to open my eyes after I got in bed - I was convinced there was evil lurking in the dark corners of my bedroom.  So much, that I was convinced one of my children was invoking evil spirits into our home.  I was afraid I was hallucinating.  It was very scary.  (My husband's out of town, else I would have had him perform an exorcism of sorts.)

I was convinced my husband would be better off not being married to me, that my kids would be better off not living with me.  I was convinced people wouldn't believe that it was the medication screwing with my head, that I was really losing it and still need to be on it.  I felt if I told them, it would expose my weakness and have them either treat me as broken or not take me seriously because of my mental instability.  

I have to get out of my head.  I have to write this down and work my way through it with words.  If I don't, I might forget this isn't me.  I might lose myself and be swallowed up.  I might not make it through this with poise and grace.  That's actually not as funny as I would originally hope it to be.  I said some things on a social media website that made me look like someone I'm not.  I find myself raring for a fight, not wanting to back down, with an increasing desire to yell at people and say things I can't take back.  It took me a while to come up with a me-like response to a humbling couple of comments, a couple of my friends made.  I felt betrayed by them, but I knew I deserved what they had to say. 

There was a fire at Walmart, last night, and I was so pissed I had to leave without getting the rest of my things (I was partially through the self-checkout process, I could've been done in a matter of minutes).  There was no visible fire, just some smoke coming from the side of the building, somewhere.  I was certain I would've been fine.  Still am, but that's beside the point.  I was angry.  And loud.  And super stubborn.  And my daughter, who was with me, was not pleased with her mother's behavior.  She and I were supposed to watch a movie, together, last night, but she couldn't bring herself to, because of her anger towards my actions.  She had a right to be angry.  These last few days, whenever she expresses an opinion about something, I pretty much jump at the chance to tell her how wrong she is.  Or so she says.  And I don't let up.  I keep going till she says, "this is turning into a lecture".  I do not want to ruin the pathway of communication between us, because I can't control my words at the moment.  I want her to know she can still talk to me and I will actually listen with respect and love.  It takes continuous effort and self-affirmations that I can do this.  I'm trying to think before I speak or react.  It's not easy.  Like, at all.  

I feel like I want to tell someone all of this, but I can't.  I don't want people to think I'm suicidal (which, I'm not), nor do I want them to think, like I said, that I need to be on meds, that going off of them was a mistake.  I don't want people (ok, I say people, but I mostly mean my family), to not take me seriously or treat me with more disrespect than they already do, because "Mom's just a psycho".  I don't know how long this is going to take, but I sincerely hope my family and I can make it through this, relatively unscathed.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Weaning - Day 19

Headaches.  This is the only real thing I notice whilst going off my meds.

Also, I feel more crisp and controlled in my thinking.  If I'm faced with a thought that would normally have me spiraling down, I simply take a step, back, and rethink.  The hopelessness and not being in control of my thoughts is starting to dissipate and I love it!

I've started coming down on another of my meds (there were two for my brain).

I also want to look into natural alternatives for my thyroid.  I found one that has good reviews, but I still want to do some research.

Anyway.  I just wanted to log my progress for my own sake.  

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Weaning - Day 13 - Remembering Me

One thing I remember about myself before the meds was how clean I wanted everything.  I was quite the nag when it came to getting things done... and the right way.  I was afraid I'd go back to that - the intense, irritable, anal, perfectionist.

It's hard to recognize what's me and what isn't.  I want things clean, these days.  Not that I didn't, before, but now, it's as if I've become fed up by the laziness of my family.  I got pretty intense with one of my kids, last night, about their habit of just leaving the mess after they're done with whatever.  I think all in my family are guilty of this in some form or another.  I know I am.

I guess what I'm saying is, once upon a time, my mom said the meds I was on at the time (different ones) made it seem like I saw the world through rose-colored glasses.  Things that were crappy, around me, didn't phase me.  All was well.  I remember the moment I realized I had anxiety issues - it was when I noticed they were gone.  (The first time I took the meds, I'm on, now.)

What I can't stand the thought of, is people in my family not taking me seriously or blaming my determination to end their laziness as a result of me going off my meds.  I hate that so very, very much.  Not much angers me more than having to defend myself and trying to convince others of my sanity.  All too often do I wish I could just leave them all, behind.  Unfortunately, that is not really an option, as I actually do love these people and I have the guide of a strong and not-often-silent conscience.

I am a passionate person.  I experience extreme emotions.  I'm impulsive and trusting and unrelenting.  And I like things clean.  I think the meds were definitely making me more lax about certain things.  More tolerant, maybe? Or, less uptight, I guess would be the right way to say that.  I found myself not caring about messes.  I also found myself being lazy.  I stopped caring about getting dressed or showering or pretty much anything.  Once in a while, I would snap out of it and have a major cleaning/getting things done frenzy.  I recognized those as my manic moments.  Maybe they weren't.  Maybe those were just the times when my brain would break through the medicine fog and catch up on the things I would normally do.  I was active and cared and moved.  It was great! I looked forward to those moments.  I also recognized that one tiny thing could set me off... meaning, one little thing would make me sad, then a flood of emotions would break though the medicine dam and I would feel all the sorrow and stress and guilt I seemed to have been avoiding or whatever, all at once.  I think the meds have been dulling who I really am.  And I think the major influxes of emotions were what led me to believe I was bipolar.

I really am glad I'm learning this all, now.  It's been quite a journey of healing.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Progress - Day 8

I feel like I put up this facade of not being a failure; of holding it, together.

Then something happens and I fall apart.  I drop the heavy load that I've been struggling to hold up, and it crashes down on me.

And I feel all failure-y, again.

So many things stress me out, and I either avoid them like a boss or pretend I can handle it.

What a crock.

Something I've been using to my advantage as I wean off my meds, is I can control myself.  I can control how I handle things or react to things.  I don't have a mental illness to blame.  (Well, that's to be debated; but for now, I blame the meds for my idiosyncrasies.)

I've been holding up, rather well, I think.  I've read stories of others who go off the meds I'm on, only to struggle through a year of withdrawal or have to go back on them because their brain can't handle thinking on its own.  I know I have the Lord on my side, and I couldn't be more grateful for that.  So, though I am not handling stress as well as I try to show that I am, at least I'm handling it.  I have the choice to fall into a depression.  The mind is a very powerful thing.  Inner strength has always been one of my better qualities; I think I've lost sight of that.

I feel super tired, lately.  I also feel motivated to accomplish things; and not in a maniacal way - just a normal because-it-needs-to-be-done way.  And I do them.  And it feels good.

I still have one med to start weaning.  I plan to do that, today.

As for the stress? I have a new bike that will take care of that.  (Well, not new - but perfect, just the same.)

Friday, May 5, 2017

Living Proof

So, I'm doing a bit of research on natural mood stabilizers.

Turns out, medications for such things can aggravate either the manic side or the depressive side.  

Huh.  Who knew?

Weaning - Day 3

Yesterday, I felt a little off balance, in the morning, but not as bad as the first day.

Today, I don't remember feeling that, at all.  I feel pretty darn normal, actually.  Well, as normal as I've ever felt, I guess.  No extreme withdrawal or whatever.

I know it takes several weeks for this process, but I'm hopeful.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Weaning - Day 1

I did it.  I started taking a smaller dose of my meds, last night.  With my doctor's guidance, of course.

Well, there are two and I could only afford to refill one (I still have some left, of the other).  So, I'm reducing one of them, starting last night - I take my pills with dinner.

I'm not entirely sure what's going to happen.  I'm anxious.  I wanted to keep a record of what seems to be going through my head, so I can keep my mind clear on what's going on as much as possible.

I slept almost 8 hours, last night; yet, I feel like I only slept for three.  And my balance is being affected.

When I first started this medication, it was because of postpartum depression.  It was bad.  But that's another blog post, altogether.  So, essentially, I've been on this particular medication for five years.  The side effects were weird:  tinnitus, decreased pupillary reflex, loss of equilibrium, my nether regions were slow to react (if you know what I mean.... TMI? Yes.  Yes, it is.).  I can't remember if I had any others; those are the ones I really noticed.  One time I went into the bathroom, turned around to close the door; next thing I know, I'm on the floor.  I fell.  Just lost my balance.  It was weird.  It was also weird to watch my pupils react as if I were high.

I still have the ringing in the ears.  I get a headache if I forget my meds for a day.  I also get brain buzzes if I forget.  I think I also got those at the beginning, for a while, too.  Look it up - it's a thing.  It feels as if someone is plucking a guitar string in my brain.  From the research I did, it's my brain forming connections because of the medication.  Or something like that.  ha ha

I took my first lower dose with dinner, last night.  This morning, I could tell my equilibrium was off.  So much, that I was nervous about carrying a full laundry basket down the stairs.  I was slightly worried about driving my son to seminary.

And I'm tired.  I'm always tired, though, so it's hard to tell if this is because of the other.  I know I hate it, though.  I can't read a book or watch a flick or, in general, sit for very long without being tempted to sleep.  It sucks.

I asked my husband to give me a blessing, this evening.  I know that will help.

I'm having anxiety about doing this.  I have to keep reminding myself that it's ok - I don't feel like I shouldn't.  **I just had an epiphany (Divinely inspired, I'm sure):  If it ain't broke, don't fix it.  That's what's kept going through my head as I've been praying about this next step in my mental health.  My following thought would be, "It's not fixed.  It still feels broke."  Which led me to believe my meds weren't working.  Here's my ah-ha moment:  My mind isn't "broke".  Therefore, I don't need to "fix it".  I don't NEED the meds, anymore! I'm past the postpartum depression, I'm sure.  I don't need them! Well, this is just cool - I feel all kinds of better, now! And lighter... this is the right thing to do! What a relief! I'm so grateful for answered prayers!


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Rock Bottom

I lost it on Friday.  I think I was finally pushed over the edge.  Maybe I fell.  Who knows.

Whatever the case, I hit hard when I reached the bottom.

I'm recording this because I feel it will help the healing process.

I realized something about myself that I've been fighting to convince my husband (and myself), otherwise, for years.  It was a hard hit.  I think I needed it, though.  In order to be able to fix it, I needed to drop my shield of denial and expose it for what it is.

I felt raw and maybe a little fragile, Friday night and Saturday, which was hard because we were on a camping trip with friends.

Sunday, I felt a little better.  I felt like I was beginning to take control and heal.  I felt a little hesitant, but knew that I needed to keep moving forward.

I felt broken.  That's the best way I can describe it.  I truly felt like I really did suck at life.  I felt super insecure; my confidence had been shattered, or so it felt.

But, Sunday, I felt a little better.  I felt like, if anything was going to change, I had to make it happen.

I went to get blood drawn, yesterday.  One of the things my new PCP is looking for is a genetic defect that affects the brain and heart, among other things.  I did a little bit of research on it, and it sounds like it could possibly be a fit.  The reason she thought to test for this is because of my dad and my son and our similar temperaments.  Also, the heart thing.  My dad's dad died from a heart attack (his second one), and my dad has had nine heart attacks since the age of 35.  I'm 39.  My cholesterol has always been high, even when I was physically active and totally fit.  I know my son and I have some chromosomal abnormalities; a few of them are the same.  I don't know if my dad has them or if they have anything to do with this genetic defect, if it even is a thing.  I'm almost hoping it is, because then I have proof - something solid I can research and treat and understand.

I'm still moving forward.  I can't afford not to.


*** UPDATE ***

I do not have the genetic defect.  I was bummed, to be honest.  But, if you'll read one of my next few posts, I've come upon a realization that pretty much changes everything.








Monday, April 17, 2017

It's Come to This

My mind has been plagued with thoughts of going off my meds.  I couldn't keep track of all my thoughts, so I took a notebook with me to church, yesterday, and just started writing.

Here's what I wrote:

I need to write this down.  My head is full of constant thoughts of crazy.  I normally would've typed it out.  My brain goes faster than my hand.

I want to get off my meds.  I need to get off my meds.  I feel like I'm getting worse.  They're certainly not helping.  I feel like a failure.  I feel like I can't function.  I'm on the verge of tears all the time.  I feel like I'm on the edge and it won't take much to push me over.  I'm married to someone with high expectations that I can't live up to.  I don't want to be constantly reminded of my "flaws".  I don't want someone to have to live with them, but even more, I don't need a reminder that I can' even live up to my own expectations, let alone someone else's.

Do I even need medication? I was thinking, this morning - when did this start? I was trying to remember as far back as I could.  Early high school.  That's when I stopped being as physically active as I was as a kid.  I got sick and had to specifically avoid physical activity.  I was tired all the time.  I slept a lot but it was never enough.  My dad said Quin is just like him and needs physical activity.  Quin needs physical activity or it affects him in a negative manner.  He can't cope.  My dad has never not been physically active.  I used to be, then I couldn't, and that's when it all went downhill.  For as long as I can remember, whenever I prayed for healing or comfort or guidance, exercise and reading my scriptures was the answer.  Exercise.  I've always felt so aware of myself, like I was on the outside, looking in.  No, that's not entirely accurate.  I feel like I can see what I'm doing and feel what I'm feeling, but can't do anything about it - I can't control it.  I always feel the need to make excuses for my behavior, like I need to tell people this is why I suck at life.  But, I'm always afraid I'll sound like I'm making it up.  Maybe there's something to that.  Maybe I don't fully buy it, myself.  I'm a strong person - always have been.  Is there such things as high-functioning bipolar? Maybe I started feeling depressed in high school because I wasn't constantly moving.  Maybe I'm not bipolar.  Maybe I'm not anything.  Maybe my meds really are just messing with my head.  I feel they're starting to mess with my train of thought.  I'll be talking, then, mid-sentence, lose my words.  It's like my brain will hit a brick wall.  Maybe I am just a passionate person, prone to extreme emotions because my body simply cannot handle my mental capacity.

I have a higher than average IQ.  (I've taken several tests and they all average out to the same number.) I don't need meds for that.  I need to stay close to the Lord and keep my body going so it can keep up with my brain.

This is coming from my Heavenly Father.  (My thoughts are being guided.)

I want to start from scratch.  I want to be medicine - free.  I want to get all drugs out of my system so I can see what my body truly needs.

Before medication, I remember being irritable.  I remember still feeling ups and downs.  And being impulsive.  I'm still impulsive.  Manic? It comes and goes.  Not able to function? It comes and goes.  Extreme emotions.

I know it will be hard to "self-medicate".  Exercise and scriptures will have to be a huge and regular part of my every day life.  Just thinking about it exhausts me.  Trying to fake happiness is becoming unbearable, though.  Not being able to function is becoming unbearable.  Always questioning and being plagued with guilt for not being good enough is becoming unbearable.

Aren't people who really do suffer from mental illness oblivious to the problem? I'm so aware, I feel like it shouldn't be real.  What if it's not? What if I've been fine, but I'm such a control freak, I had to label it or have something to blame so it would be easier to not have to work hard to change it.  Maybe it's the meds that's been causing my problems, all these years.

I believe the body and the mind can heal itself.  I believe that's how Heavenly Father made us.  I believe I have access to part of my brain that few do.  I've always felt that.  I believe I have it in my power to maintain a healthy mental state.  I know it will take constant work, physically, mentally, and spiritually.

I think I'm going to go off my meds.

Here's Why

I want to let those who read this to know something.

I don't do this for attention.  I do this so others can maybe understand a little why I do some things I do.  I do this because writing it out, helps.

I do NOT want people to feel sorry for me.  I hate sounding like I'm making excuses, though.  I hate feeling like I have to tell people I've let down it's not my fault.  It's my brain's.  So, I usually don't tell people.  I just apologize and keep moving forward.

I generally can't stand it when people constantly talk about their mental issues.  It almost seems like they're glad they have them or they like people saying, Oh, you poor thing.  Honestly, I would really rather no one know this about me.  I don't make it known when I've created another post, like I do my other two blogs.

I feel like, in saying these things, I AM seeking attention.  I feel slightly hypocritical for saying I don't like it when people talk about themselves and draw attention to their situations.  Here I am, posting about my inner workings - the ugly ones, anyway.  I guess if you want to know why I do this, go to the very first post.  I'm actually going to go read it, myself, to remember what it is I even said.  haha

Anyway.  There it is.  I like that nobody comments.  I like that there are only a few people who read this.  I would even prefer it if they were people I don't know.  I know this sounds lame; it sounds lame to me.  I just wanted to let people know I'm well aware of the possible assumptions that people could make (because I'm likely one of those types of people).  Think what you will, of course, but know that I mostly do this for myself.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Not Me

Stress-paralyzed.

I learned that phrase from a movie, once.

I haven't been able to shake this down phase.  It's been going on for like a month or something.

I have been avoiding.  The opposite of that would mean thinking of and listing every single thing that needs to be done and since I can't do it all right now, I freak out and shut down.  So, I avoid.

Have I always been like this? I can't really remember.  I can't remember times when I wasn't on medication vs. the times I was.  It's all blendy.

I keep thinking, maybe if I go off my medication, it would be better.  I don't feel like it's doing what it's supposed to be doing.  I feel like I'm being pushed down; sometimes held down.  I feel like I can't function.  So, I Netflix.  I Netflix until I'm numb.  One episode after the other.  I can't stand to not shut down; it's too much.  My brain tries to think of everything all at once and I feel anxiety and like I'm failing because I'm not getting it all done.  I feel like my children are seeing me as a failure and my husband is seeing me as a failure.  He has said as much.  There are times when he understands and is so patient, but other times, I can tell he can't stand it.  And I hate that.

I remember yelling a lot.  I remember being stressed and easily irritable.  I don't do that, medicated.  I don't ever want to be like that, again.  But I hate this.  I hate wondering if I need medication.  I hate wondering if it could be better.  I hate wondering if it would be the same as being medicated and I'm just pumping my brain full of unnecessary drugs.  I'm afraid of withdrawal if I do decide to go off of them.

Scriptures and exercise.  Those are the answers I've always been given when I pray about what to do.  This was before medication.  I'm sure it still stands.

I do remember certain things about not being medicated, and they're no different, now.  I would think medication is supposed to help those certain things.  I would think being on an antidepressant should make it so I don't get depressed.  I would hope it would make it so I don't get stress-paralyzed.  I would think it would make my manic moments less... manic. So I don't know what to do.  I don't know what to think.  I know it'll pass.  I don't know when and I hate having to explain to my family why I can't seem to get dressed until 6pm, some days.  12pm, most days.  I don't even shower that much, anymore.  I hate it.  I feel like I can't control it.  I feel like I can think about it and think about it and see myself doing it and know that I need to do it, but physically, I just sit there.  I can't bear the thought of actually doing it.  It would mean having to find clothes.  It would mean having to do something with my hair.  It would mean taking 30 minutes out of my day when I could be doing other things, those things that pile up and overwhelm me in my head that never get done because I choose not to get dressed.  I choose to shut down and Netflix.  I choose to escape my life.

What if the medication is making me this way? What if it isn't? What if this is as good as it's going to get?

I can't stand it.  I hate feeling like a failure.  I hate feeling so.... stress-paralyzed.  I hate it.  And I feel like I can't figure out what to do about that.  I wish I had someone to tell me.  I wish I didn't have to hear about how the house isn't clean, again.  I wish I didn't have to hear about the dishes not being done or the laundry not put away or dinner not being ready.  I hate it.  And I don't know what to do about that.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Finding My Way Back

"So, how do you do it? How do you get through my ugly periods?" - me

"How do I do it?  I just look past it and know that the real you is in there somewhere and will come back." - my husband


I've been going through a down period.  It's only been about a week, but it's been a very, very long week.  I know I always find my way, back, but this time it just seems like it won't happen.

I have triggers that bring me down... I need to start looking for triggers that bring me back, up.

I wish I could do this without medication.  Medication is so meddlesome.  I almost want to see what happens if I go off it.



Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Night and Day

Last week, I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned.  I vacuumed the couch, kind of cleaned.

This week? It's all I can do to get dressed.  Showering is just something I can't seem to fit into my schedule.  I feel blah... like not doing anything... like not wanting to be touched or talk to anyone or make dinner or not sleep...

I'm ready for manic mode, again.  I have two more bathrooms to clean.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Change-up

Pretty much anything that's ailed me, over the years, have gotten these answers for a solution when I prayed about them:

Exercise.

Read my scriptures.


I seem to be self-sabotaging.  I think we all sort of do this, once in a while.  Maybe it's a habit... who knows?

Whatever the case, you'd think if God was telling me these things, over and over, again, that I would grab hold and just run with them.

Well... I haven't.  I have a knack for thinking, "I need to do that", but then never actually do it.

I'm in a comfort zone.  Uncomfortable as it may be, I'm here, just the same.  This is what I know.  If I commit to making my life better by doing these things, I might actually have to do something about it.  I will be held accountable for my actions.  I won't have excuses, anymore.  Things might be different.  I hope they would be, actually.

I came across something a friend told me about, a long time, ago.  It's a supplement that's supposed to help with what ails me.  It's non-medicinal.  It means going off my meds to try it, if I'm thinking it will work.  I want to talk to my doctor, about it.  I would love to not have side-effects, but, going off meds like the ones I'm on, is scaryscaryscary.  For many reasons.  For them to work, they have to mess with your head.  To go off of them - well - messes with your head.  I'm not keen on being messed in the head anymore than I already am.

I think it's time for a change, though.  Time to step up my game.  Time to listen to God.

I'm a little hesitant.  I don't want to fail.  I don't want it to not work.  I can't just dip my toe in the water, if I choose this - it's all or nothing.  I can't do it, halfheartedly.

If you're reading this, and you're the praying type, I wouldn't mind if you sent one or two my way.


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

One more thing...

I found out I have a thyroid problem.  Hypothyroidism, to be more specific.

I've been tired since junior high.  Well, 9th grade.  I missed a lot of school because of this.  I slept through a lot of classes, because of this.  I thought it was because I was sick.

I wasn't.

I remember a nurse being quite rude when I (or my mom, can't remember) asked if it could be my thyroid.

Guess what, jerk - it was.

My doctor, now, actually listened to me.  I know we were in, quite a bit, when I was a teen.  We didn't know what was going on, only that I was depressed, gaining weight, and tired, all the time.  I was very physically active and didn't eat terribly... we were baffled.

My doc suggested a certain blood test be run that he said most physicians don't run.  It's a more specific test - I can't remember what it was, though, just that it showed him what's been plaguing me all these years.

So, I've been on medication, for this.  I think I'm still suffering symptoms, though.  It's frustrating because, what if what I'm feeling is a result of the other crap I face? What if it's a side effect from one of my meds? How can I tell what is causing it??

Lame.

Onward, ever onward, I guess.