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!