Posts Tagged ‘psychiatrist’

The Good Life

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Greetings from nature!  …And by nature, I mean very swank “cottage” owned by friend’s wealthy father.  I think it still qualifies though.  I’m sure somewhere outside the vast and gorgeous kitchen there must be rabbits and squirrels and stuff.  Or at least a bug or two.  …Do bugs come with expensive granite tops?

I jest.  Kind of.  Sort of.  Okay, not really.  But we are near the water, and the air smells amazing, so I think I can suffer through the luxury somehow.  I know.  I’m terribly selfless.

On the plus and down side, Friend-Who-May-Or-May-Not-Like-Me wasn’t able to come up.  Which if he really is okay with me now is a shame, because he’s a nice guy and fun to be around.  But if he isn’t quite okay with me is a relief.  I’m calling it a victory.

And yes, there are four of us currently sitting in the living room, three one laptops and one playing video games on the big screen tv.  In the middle of the afternoon.  At a cottage.  With a gorgeous day outside.  We’ll be outside lots too, and there’s a fantastic lake-scented breeze coming in, but yes, I acknowledge some of the irony of travelling hours to do this.  I never claimed not to have rather geeky tendencies at times.  We should probably just go ahead and learn Klingon.  We’re not fooling anybody.

A quick conversation with a friend of mine who has also struggled with depression also confirmed my already-huge resolve to make a change in psychiatrist.  His guy, like, does therapy and stuff.  And discusses lifestyle changes.  And is willing to fill out paperwork.  And chooses medications based on specific symptoms and reactions to other drugs rather than chronologically.  And, you know, takes notes, and records what he’s prescribed him from time to time.  I’m tempted to see if I could get in to see him even just for a one-type consultation so that I’d have a plan of which medications might be a good fit for me if I ever decided to go that route again.  If I actually thought there was some reason to hope for a better result, I might even be willing to consider it.  …Eventually.  …Once I’m starting to go senile and my memory of the last year and a half has failed.

I should probably comment eventually on the SAM-e (aka SAMe, aka A-Adenosyl methionine) as well, as it actually seems to be doing what it claimed to, and though there were a few side effects to start, they seem to have faded down now.  I know that some people do have significant side effects from the SAM-e, but it seems that I, whose body seems to generally roll over in close proximity to any medication, am not one of those people.  Score!  I’m just now getting up to the suggested minimum starting dose of 200mg/day (which is still only half of the suggested minimum therapeutic dose), and it should take another week or two to know what this dose is doing, but so far so good.  Of course, as with everything else, it’s tough to tell sometimes whether changes are the result of the pills or of other natural life changes, but I am finding that I’ve got WAY more energy than I did.  And energy means motivation, and capability, and other good things.  Still have the occasional meltdown, but I’m hopeful.

Of course, I’m one of those people who gets quasi-euphoric from a cup of coffee, so I guess it shouldn’t be surprising that feeling slightly hyper all the time has improved my mood.  But it’s pretty great.

In addition, we on the way up here, we passed a vending machine that sold bait.  With a great big, very fecal-looking worm on the front.  Now who’s mood wouldn’t be improved by that?

But I cover well

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

So…I was just reading through a website talking about various anxiety disorders.  I can’t tell for sure whether or not I have issues with anxiety.  I tend to think that I probably do.  Health professionals tend to tell me definitively (without doing any investigation) that I “don’t seem like someone with anxiety” and drop the subject. …Except for my psychiatrist, who (without doing any investigation) is convinced that my anxiety level is off the charts, completely debilitating, and clearly requires sedation.

At any rate, this website listed telltale behaviours like collecting a great deal of information about things, so as to be as well-informed and well-prepared as possible.  And I thought that might sound like me.  So I immediately started collecting all the information I could find about anxiety self-help treatments, strategies, resources, etc. to try just in case.

…Somewhere in there is the answer to my question.

He’s also a little bit roguish, but in a completely responsible way, I swear.

Friday, July 9th, 2010

It’s our anniversary on Monday, so we’re celebrating this weekend.  Second year of marriage, ninth year together.  I end up saying that a lot, because I don’t want to let those extra seven years go.  He is bright, and clever, and determined, and witty, and charming, and spontaneous, and devoted, and stubborn, and rebellious, and ingenious, and honest, and passionate, and perceptive, and introspective, and adaptable, and trustworthy, and generous, and bold, and just the right amount of both cheeky and geeky for me.

And I’m kind of smitten with him.

Tonight I surprised him with a nice dinner, because he’s got a bunch of work to finish still later on this evening but I wanted us to be able to carve out a little couple time together (normally he does the cooking except for on major holidays, which suits me just fine, but every now and then I do make something.  You know.  So I don’t forget how the stove works).  I realized partway into the preparation that the theme of the meal was pears and thyme.  …Pairs.  And Time.  How appropriate.  Sort of.  …Okay, it’s a stretch, but it’s closer to romantic than asparagus and salt.

Plans for tomorrow revolve around cotton, in honour of the traditional gift for a second anniversary.  Also around fresh baguette and cheeses.  I’m sure I read that on the list somewhere.  Second anniversary – cotton, bread and cheeses.  Next year is leather, bread and cheeses.  Could get interesting.

To summarize other news, Dr. Douchecanoe was still a douchecanoe while my husband was there, but much much less so.  And I managed to get out of the appointment without an armful of new medications.  Unfortunately I still have to keep seeing him, because the new therapist isn’t a doctor.  On the plus side, the new therapist does seem good.  She took some time at the first session to inquire about my diet, supplements, exercise, and other things that I find reassuring.  She seems well informed (no new information, but at least I wasn’t telling her things she didn’t know. …See Dr. Douchecanoe above).  She seems willing to explore various options for treatment.  And when I mentioned my history with antidepressants, she gave me kind of a horrified/sympathetic look and comment rather than ignoring what I said (*cough* Dr Douchecanoe *cough*).  I will admit that it was kind of relieving to have someone other than me, who seems vaguely competent, taking some responsibility for my treatment.  It’s been stressful feeling like I need to carry it all on my own shoulders.

I think I’m going to continue seeing free therapist too, though.  Can’t hurt, right?

And plus, if I add one or two more health professionals, I can form a baseball team.

Also, it was brought to my attention again today that I have a very difficult time getting angry.  I just take too much personal responsibility for things, so if something goes wrong, I automatically assume there was something more I could have done to prevent it.  Wrong leg got amputated?  Should have double-checked and confirmed with the doctor one more time before going into surgery.  Tree fell on my car?  Should have foreseen that as a risk and parked somewhere else.   There’s not a lot that I can’t claim an active role in somehow.  Meteors, maybe.  Granted, I did choose to live on Earth, but do you know how cold it is on Neptune this time of year?  Plus, dude, I hear the commute is hell.

In other and completely unrelated news, apparently someone in my area was having a yard sale on “Friday.”  They had a big old salmon-coloured sign on the main road.

Does that mean I need to be there by Wednesday if I want anything good?  Are they trying to throw off the cops?  Bending space-time?  Do they not believe that Friday is real?  I almost got out my cell phone to take a picture, but the light changed too soon so I drove away and missed out.  …Okay, I almost got out my cell phone to take a picture, but the guy behind me gave a polite honk as I sat at the green light spaced out thinking about it, and I drove away and missed out.  Still, classic blog of unnecessary quotation marks moment.

In a similar vein, this is pretty damn funny too.

You know, The Scream. Like that expressionist painting, except with more fur.

Monday, July 5th, 2010

My cats amuse me.  Both kitties are very attached to us, and delight in following my husband and I from place to place. …Except when it comes to the office.  You see, the office contains many delightfully tasty wires to gnaw on, and as such, is locked behind closed doors unless we’re in there.  And of course, the fact that it’s sometimes off limits makes it ever so enticing the rest of the time.  The boy-cat has picked up enough English to understand exactly when it’s time to leave the room, and consequently makes a break for the farthest corner under my desk at the earliest opportunity.  Then once I crawl under there to manhandle him out, he very consistently resorts to what we like to call the flop defense (this may be trademarked, although I haven’t actually seen him file the paperwork yet).  This is that mode in which wherever he is and whatever he’s doing, the slightest touch drops him to the floor in a floppy mass of purr.  And floppy masses of purr are infinitely endearing, but also infinitely difficult to pick up and/or manoeuvre.  He is aware of both of these things, which makes it the perfect action when he’s somewhere he wants to stay and doesn’t want to give us the option of being annoyed with him for it.  LOVES being removed from the office in an arduous and precarious manner.  Strange tastes, that cat.

Of course, he also has a habit of rolling our doormat over himself like it’s made of money.  Or tuna fish.  Or whatever it is a cat would most want to roll in.  He looks absolutely euphoric there, rubbing it all over his body.  We haven’t yet figured this one out.

The girl-cat is less interested in being in there than she is in making sure she’s living life on her own terms, I think.  She protests loudly when she’s moved somewhere that wasn’t her idea, even when it’s somewhere she’s happy to be.  This afternoon I was ready to move out of the office, so I tried to pick her up out of my husband’s office chair where she’d curled up, and she gave me the indignant saucer eyes and a repeated Silent Yell.  If you have not experienced the Silent Yell, let me just say that it looks much like a Normal Yell, except the sound emitted is in potentially too high of a register to be perceived by the human ear.   All I could get was a kind of light clicking sound.  Like when she’s tracking an insect.  Or swallowed an alien. It was like she was so shocked and appalled that I could be contemplating moving her that she was rendered speechless.  At any rate, today I randomly decided to just roll her into the hall instead, chair and all.  Where she sat for the next hour or so, looking like she wasn’t quite certain whether she should be incensed or triumphant at this development.

Today was a fairly productive day for me, in which I did many productive things for productive reasons.  I wanted no part of the highest priority items on my to-do list, but I decided for once to just skip them and get some other stuff done rather than run away screaming.

Silent screaming, mind you.

Like somebody was trying to move me off a comfy office chair.

I am definitely not yet quite balanced out, but life continues to be much better in the absence of the Luvox.  It’s sort of like at the moment I’m living in a car with no brakes.  So as long as I’m cruising along the highway in the right direction and nothing unfortunate happens, I’m just as fine as all the other cars.  …But the moment something derails me, or pushes me off course, I’m in a crap load of trouble.  That’s pretty much my life right now.  Fine, fine, fine, BLARGH!!!!!!, fine, fine, fine.  At least there are more fines than blarghs these days.

I’m scheduled to see a new therapist tomorrow.  On the plus side, she came highly recommended.  On the down side, she came highly recommended by Dr. Douchepsychiatrist, so I have to take it with a grain of salt.  I love how at the last session, he was confused at why I wasn’t making faster progress this past year, since I seem to be willing and fairly motivated.  And I tried to bite my tongue and politely remind him that the past year has been a haze of unconscious/nauseous/unstable/anxious/suicidal medication hell.  …Which he seemed to brush off, since in his mind it still “wasn’t a significant problem.”  Yargh.  We’ve decided that my husband is going to come along to my appointment this Wednesday.  We figure it’s got to go in one of two extremes.  Either he’ll treat my husband like just as much of a brainless insignificant peon as he treats me, or he’ll be totally ingratiating towards him.  I’m not currently sure which one will make me more irate, but I’m sort of pulling for the second one on the chance that it helps us actually get somewhere with a treatment plan I can live with.  Maybe he’ll be more willing to acknowledge somebody “sane.”

Seriously, I’m making alien clicking sounds as we speak.

Speak up. No, wait! Speak…More vowelly.

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

I have an odd reaction to distressing events sometimes, I think.  It’s like once they pass a certain threshold, my psyche just doesn’t know what to do with them anymore.  Someone could tell me that my faucet was leaking, and I’d be like “Gaaaaaaah!  Why me??  Why today???”  Someone could tell me my whole house had burnt down, and I’d be like “Oh.  …Do you have any Fritos?”  Some things are just too big and too unchangeable not to just be accepted more or less.

I got Fritos-grade news a couple of days ago.  I spent about a week a few months ago with this intense ringing in my ears, and I’ve had the sneaking suspicion since then that my hearing might be worse.  Or maybe not so much a sneaking suspicion as a very large and slightly drunk suspicion with geese on its feet.  There has been a lot of “huh?” and “what?” and “can you repeat that once I’m off the toilet?” around these parts.

Anyway, I went to see an audiologist on Tuesday, prepared to hear that there had been a slight drop in my hearing, and motivated to jump all over finding out what caused it.  To be honest, I was sort of hoping to hear something to that effect, as I was certain enough that it had to be either my hearing or my mind that I was losing.  And I still use my mind now and then.  What I was not prepared to hear was that I had around forty percent hearing loss, and lets talk about hearing aids, and look they come in pretty colours like Fuchsia and Bread Mold Green.

Forty percent??!  And I can still communicate relatively normally?  Did I have some extra unnecessary hearing I was carrying around?  Was I born with the window seat of hearing?  The freshly grated parmesan?   The little bow on the front of a bra in the world of listening to things?  Admittedly, I have a heck of a time watching TV these days.  I get the drift, but half the time when something funny or dramatic seems to happen I have to ask my husband what it was.  But still… You’d barely notice if you met me.  It’s not something it would occur to you to comment on.

Or you might, but I wouldn’t hear the comment anyway, so it hardly counts, now does it?

So…yes.  I have Moderate Hearing Loss.  Basically the parts of my ear that perceive volume and vowel sounds are perfectly fine, but some of the parts for distinguishing consonants are a bit lacking now.  …Which means I can’t tell you the lyrics to a song to save my life, but damned if I can’t do a good rendition like someone with their tongue removed.

Good points:  Apparently not all hearing aids look like those giant beige extra ears that I remember grandmothers wearing.

Low points:  My step-father now wants to ship up the giant beige extra ear that his now-deceased mother “almost never wore.”  Ummm…

(I tried to explain that ew, and that also she may not have needed the same kind of corrections I do.  He’s determined, though.  It was an easier-to-just-say-thank-you moment)

And as a nice little cherry on the fluffy badness, hearing aids to compensate for my problem should set me back around $2000-$5000 or more out of pocket.  ?!??  I should check the fine print on our insurance.  I’m sure there’s got to be something in there.  If I do end up getting some eventually, I bet it will totally be like those “there are leaves on trees??” moments that people who got glasses talk about.  I’m sure that my brain has learned to adjust and compensate in a lot of ways, but there’s got to be a lot out there that I’m not taking in fully.  Loudly, but not fully.

So I ate a lot of questionable McDonalds food products on Tuesday (which were kind of gross, by the way.  Damned improved eating habits have ruined my ability to gorge for comfort), and have since slipped into a sense of false apathy about the whole thing.  I can tell that it’s bothering me, as I’ve been extra grumpy, and extra bored, and extra apathetic about any number of other unrelated things.  I’m not quite ready to deal with it head on, though, I think.  I need some time to wrap my head around it.  And to try not to think about the fact that since they don’t know what caused it, there’s nothing really saying it couldn’t happen again.  I feel low, and kind of numb, and I don’t really want to do anything at all (which is why I kind of sort of haven’t written here yet this week. …Sorry).

Oh, and as the syrupy red nasty sugar goo around the cherry on the fluffy badness, my husband is going to be working crazy late hours for the next week or so (including the weekend), so I’m sort of on my own in working through all this.

In good news, I got my doctor to agree to refer me to a different psychiatrist.  On the down side, she said I need to keep seeing Dr. Douche until the new one pans out.  …And I’m not 100% sure that doesn’t mean that I now have to take the over-the-top medications he was insisting on or risk being reported as “non-compliant with recommended treatment” to my insurance.  Ugh.  I’m not sure how much diplomacy I have left in me either.  Do you think it would hurt my case for not needing sedatives if I sank my teeth into his nose?

And if so, how much?

Because if there’s a chance that I could get away with it, I may have to consider…

As a plus to all of this, I spent the remainder of Tuesday reading the Harry Potter book that was a prize from the lovely Sarah P.  No, I hadn’t read them yet.  Yes, I’m from Earth.  No, not a cave-like part.  I just…hadn’t gotten around to them.  It was fun.  I think I may pick up the others to devour over the coming days.  Many, many thanks to Sarah (who by the way drew a very appropriate and not at all penis-related stick figure drawing on the card).  Now that’s the kind of restraint I need.

Honestly, NOBODY could be any worse. That “Weakest Link” woman would make a more supportive ear.

Friday, June 4th, 2010

For some reason every time I cut or paste anything into Word recently, it adds “A FAIR AND EQUITABLE DISABILITY TAX CREDIT” to the top of whatever I’ve inserted.  Just like that, in all-caps.  I can’t recall ever adding that phrase to my clipboard, but it is apparently something my computer feels strongly about.

More power to you, computer.  More power to you.

…Just not too much at once.  That’s what the surge protection power bar is for.

So my psychiatrist is still an asswipe.  I was not as firm in my conviction after the previous appointment as you all were.  I make a lot of excuses and allowances for other people, and do a lot of analyzing over any potential biases or misperceptions on my part.  Nope.  Definitely an asswipe.

Perhaps a well-intentioned asswipe, but an asswipe nonetheless.

Beyond the priceless “Meh, just continue to take the disruptive and ineffective medication forever” comment from last time, I’ve added a whole new level of wrong from the most recent appointment.  Like, seriously, unbelievably, kick-in-the-teeth wrong.  A wrong so sparkling clear that even I can’t justify it away.  …Which is probably a good thing, since it’s given me the certainty to ramp up the timeline on looking for a replacement.

I went into my last appointment with a pretty good idea of the direction I was hoping to take with things.  The way I figured, if I do manage to successfully finish getting clear of the Luvox, I am never, ever, ever going to want to go near another SSRI again.  …Which is probably okay all things considered, since even ignoring the side effects most of them seemed to make me much worse rather than any better.  Still, though, if I was going to give anything along those lines a shot, this would be the time to do it.

The only time that I’ve noted a significant improvement while on medications was over a year ago, when for a brief period I was taking Cipralex and Wellbutrin.  I was also meditating and taking good care of myself, and in quality therapy, so it’s hard to say what was the defining factor in the improvement, but if it’s possible medication has helped me, that would be the time.  The Wellbutrin by itself this time around has been…different.  I think it’s making at least a small positive difference, but it hasn’t been nearly the dramatic experience of those few weeks last time.  So if the medication was responsible for the improvement, it was either a difference in my reaction to the particular generic brand I was taking that time (which the doctors seem to think is impossible, but I have heard from others has been their experience too.  I had way different and harsher side effects last time too, which I find odd if there is apparently no difference in how the body reacts to them), or it was the combination of Wellbutrin and Cipralex together (the Cipralex by itself gave me nothing but side effects).  This seems possible.  One of the major random changes at that time was that I didn’t give a crap what anybody else thought of me, and Cipralex is often prescribed for social anxiety too.  So if I was going to give something a try, it seemed to make sense to try out that combination again now that I’m on a version of Wellbutrin that doesn’t give me hives.  …Right?

I’ve also now amassed an unfortunate quantity of evidence that “average” doses of these medications are WAY too much for my particular chemistry.  I’ve also come across a number of cases in my research in which too high of a dose of antidepressants has had a huge negative effect on a patient’s mood, while a lower dose actually helps them quite a bit.  So I’m thinking, since we’ve reached the stage of “throw random pills at it in case something happens” anyway, why not try a smaller-than-conventional dosage of an SSRI?  And since I’m on the Wellbutrin anyway now, and the Cipralex might have been helpful in combination, why not try that?  Add a little dose of Cipralex.  If it works, great.  If it doesn’t, I haven’t lost much, and I can just wean off that one instead.

…Except this is how the appointment went down.

-First thing, P-doc asks how things are going as he usually does, and I mention noticing abnormal and dramatic anxiety (almost certainly a side effect of the corresponding doubling of my Wellbutrin dosage). He asks for details and examples.  I explain my barbeque meltdown.  He proceeds to spend ten minutes or so telling me why my reaction to that situation was illogical (and not in a “change your thinking about the event or reframing” kind of way, but in a “that’s dumb.  You make no sense” kind of way).  I tell him that, yes, I recognize that.  That’s why I’m calling it “abnormal” and “dramatic” and am thinking that it needs to be fixed.  He continues to tell me why it’s silly that it upset me at the time.  I grit my teeth and try again to tell him that I realize that.  If I was anxious because there was a bear in my house, I would not have mentioned it as a problem.  He again tells me why my reaction makes no sense.

-P-doc asks me what I plan to do from here.  I ask for clarification of the question.  He seems to be talking about work.  I tell him that depends on what kind of a difference there is in things once the depression in under control.  I’ve likely been depressed the whole time I’ve been in my career, so it’s hard to say what difficulties are a result of the job and which are a result of the depression.  I say that obviously I wouldn’t be able to handle it now, but that I hope it might be different once I get into some treatment that’s working for me.  He looks confused and gruffly says “what do I mean I couldn’t work now?”  Um…that I’ve been curled up on my sofa the last several weeks, so nauseous I was afraid to move?  That just before that I was sitting in a parking lot literally for hours, crying so hard that I couldn’t drive myself home?  That until recently I haven’t been able to stay conscious for a consecutive six hours during the work day?  …And that’s if you ignore that whole “depression” thing that they pulled me off of work for in the first place.  You  know, the part where envisioning killing myself was calming?  We’ve talked about this…  He brushes me off.  He asks me why I would want to change my job.  I detail all of the ways that it feeds into my biggest problems and stressors, and how I end up working myself to the bone.  He says clearly I need to change my job.  What did I like about my job?  I detail the thinks I really liked and found fulfilling.  He says I love my job.  I say…um…refer to previous list.  I alternately love and hate my job.  He asks me what I dislike about my job.  I repeat my previous list.  He brushes me off by telling me every job is stressful.  I try to tell him that I thrive on some types of stress and give some examples, but that the particular stresses of my current situation aren’t good for me.  He brushes me off by telling me every job is stressful.

-In addition to the anticonvulsant he has now prescribed for the sleeplessness that was a side effect of the Wellbutrin, p-doc now wants to prescribe an antipsychotic medication as well, because it sometimes has heavy sedative effects and might counter my anxiety.  I tell him that the anxiety was so strong only since the increased dose of Wellbutrin, so since he has agreed to lower the dose back down, I don’t think I need more medications to deal with the side effects of other medications.  He tells me to take the antipsychotic.  I tell him I am not really comfortable adding another medication unless absolutely necessary since my body seems to be so sensitive to side effects.  He tells me to take the antipsychotic.  I tell him I am not sure I want to add another medication to the mix while my dose of Luvox is still not stable, since it’s still having a significant effect on my physical and emotional situation, and I wouldn’t be able to distinguish whether problems or benefits I noticed were related to the changes in Luvox, or to the addition of the new drug.  He tells me to take the antipsychotic.  Then he tells me the effects of the Luvox are all in my head.  I remind him that we did not one, but TWO double blind trials which he had previously agreed determined beyond reasonable doubt that I was sincerely reacting to the Luvox and not imagining things or creating them for myself.  He brushes me off.  He taps his index finger to his temple with a condescending knowing look.

-I explain the reasoning I outlined above, and ask if it would be possible to try a very small dose of Cipralex.  He asks me if I want to try a full dose of Zoloft.  I repeat my reasoning about Cipralex in particular, and smaller doses in general.  He asks me if I want to try a full dose of Zoloft.  I say no, but that if I was going to explore the Cipralex option, I would like to do that before I go to all the work of getting off the Luvox completely, because it has been unpleasant to say the least.  He taps his temple.  All in my head.

And my very, absolute favourite,…

-When I begin to get frustrated that he is not in any way listening to what I am saying, or addressing my clear level of discomfort with the treatment he is suggesting, he tells me in the most patronizing way possible and with a “pat pat” hand gesture that I should take the antipsychotics because they will “calm me down.”  I am in no way hysterical or anything.  I just have some concerns that he has not yet addressed.  I continue to present very rational points that I would like addressed before we proceed.  He gives me the condescending knowing look of “see, you’re agitated” and tells me again in that placating way to “take the antipsychotics.”  I continue to try to ask about concerns.  He cuts me off and tells me to “take the antipsychotics.”  I explain to him that the levels of uncomfortable anxiety I’ve had have come from the Prozac and the Wellbutrin, and are not an intrinsic part of my personality without those drugs in my system.  He cuts me off and tells me to “take the antipsychotics”.  He did this several more times, all with that look on his face that said clearly I was irrationally anxious and not REALLY FUCKING FRUSTRATED because the outcome of all of this is kind of important to me and he was being an insensitive douchebag and would not even HEAR OUT WHAT I WAS SAYING.  I swear that man didn’t register one thing I said the whole hour.  Not that he heard me and disagreed, but just simply didn’t listen.

-Then he tells me that he’s going on vacation for a little over a month.

I am not sure that I have ever been so frustrated.  Not being listened to, especially about something important, is one of the very few things that can get me truly irate.  This is the kind of thing that I have nightmares about.  Nightmares in which I bite off people’s faces.

So in conclusion, I will be asking for a referral to see someone else, and in the meantime am hoping that my family doctor will be willing to support me in making a change and take over my medications for a while.  I’ve also started daily meditation again, which I think was crazy helpful last time.  Ideally I think I’d like to just focus on that for a while and give myself time to get off the Luvox before adding any more craziness to the mix.  I don’t even know what I’m like anymore without side effects.

At any rate, there is stands.  And I would very much like to take the antipsychotics, and shove them somewhere very unpleasant for him.

Reaching

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

In research news, if you ever happen to meet me in person and I am determinedly reaching up and to the right, this is why.

Sometimes I cheat in writing here.  What comes out here is mostly the product of my best hours.  If I am feeling inspired and energized a little, I can write here easily.  If I know that it’s been a rougher stretch, I will most often try to find the best little window I can and force myself to write then.  I’m trying to get to it at least a few times a week. …But there are days, like today, when the self-imposed deadline is steamrollering towards me and I would like to politely decline its invitation to run me over.

Today was not a particularly happy day.  The last few haven’t been.  I have come to accept this as my current normal, but truth be told, I don’t think it’s even really coming from me.  I think it may have a lot more to do with the roller coaster of Luvox dosage I’ve been on recently.  I know the medication changes affect me like crazy.  So things are going to be a little rocky for a while.

It’s tough to write in these moments, though, because all I want to do is curl up somewhere protected and sit there until I feel better.  I want to lie on the couch, and pull a blanket over me, and hug my cat (who is very good at hugging).  Either that or hug my blanket and pull a cat over me.  That sounds good too.

The most comfortable place he could find right then, apparently.

I do not like my psychiatrist.  His solution to my super-sensitivity to the Luvox, by the way, is to just keep taking it forever.  This medication that makes me sleepy, and sometimes queasy, and makes my emotions volatile, and does not help things at all.  I told him I will be trying again to wean off.  Then we proceeded to his complete lack of understanding that sometimes it takes me a while to work myself up to taking care of stressful things (like the aforementioned paperwork), or that when I’ve extended myself to do them anyway, I sometimes need some stress-free time to recover.

The psychologist I used to work with was totally different.  I really felt like she understood where I was coming from, and had compassion for the challenges I was facing.  I had to write her this year to ask for a tax receipt.  I felt really bad about it because it would be extra work she wasn’t paid for, and had I known better I could have kept the original receipts she gave me.  I was nervous that she would be put out by my asking.  This is the first paragraph of what she wrote back to me:

You see, Mister Psychiatrist?  This makes me feel better.  Take notes.

My psychiatrist is…not like that.  We ended the session with him telling me that he will not agree to help me get the disability reimbursement I was hoping for, and making me feel (unintentionally, I’m sure) like a complete idiot for asking.  I was hesitant to ask, but apparently lots of people with extended depression are able to claim it.  The criteria do mention some crazy low-functioning examples, but also things like taking a really long time compared to regular people to make decisions, or follow through on goals.  It took me a freaking hour a few months ago just to change my cats’ water.  That sounds like a long time to me.  So I figured I was silly to be worrying that he would make me feel dumb for asking.  I figured it was one of those times like the e-mail to my psychologist.  Nope.  He sort of laughed at me.  I left the office in tears.

So no, today has not been a good day.  And I am not always great these days at shaking off the bad stuff to focus on the good.  It sort of clings to me like negative emotion plastic wrap.  But not the regular cling wrap stuff that only forms little negative emotion balls with itself.  The press and seal stuff, where you can turn dishes upside-down and all the sadness won’t fall out.  Like that.

I once read a quote from a book by Margaret Attwood that went

“’Good egg,’ he says. Small things like good eggs delight him, small things like bad eggs depress him. He’s easy to please, but difficult to protect.”

I feel like this sums me up pretty well.  I get really and truly pleased by small fortunes, and in a stress and judgment-free world, I would be the sunniest person you’d ever meet.  …But it is a very delicate, innocent, vulnerable happiness.  In a sensitive moment, it doesn’t take much for me to be totally derailed.  I am derailed at the moment.

Derailed to the left.

Good Intentions

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Hey, you know how you set an alarm clock, and then in the morning it makes this annoying “beep beep beep” noise?  …That’s really under-appreciated feature.

In my normal life, I set two alarm clocks.  One that plugs in, and another that runs on batteries (in case there was a power outage overnight).  Because I am hyper-conscientious that way.  Lately it has mostly been my husband who has somewhere to be in the mornings, and he has somewhat flexible work hours, so we haven’t had to worry so much about what would happen in the case of alarm clock failure.  This morning, I was the one with an early appointment, so before we went to sleep I wanted to confirm that everything was in order.

“Did you set the alarm clock?”

“Yes.”

“Did you set two?”

“The one that plugs in is broken, remember?”

“Oh yeah.”

At which point, I immediately start down my normal path of uber-responsible thought, and think to myself that I should probably get out of bed and go down to the basement and see if I can find another alarm, in case something happens to go wrong with the one that we’re using tonight.  But I am learning.  I realize almost immediately how paranoid that seems, and in the spirit of letting things go and trying to be more easygoing about things, I give myself some quick mental reassurance that there is no reason that the alarm would choose this night to malfunction after working perfectly every other.

She can be taught!  Call the papers.

And lo and behold, the alarm goes off as expected this morning.  It beeps, and we snooze it, and it beeps and we snooze it.  …And then I wake up and look at my watch.  And I turn sharply to the alarm clock to compare.  And the alarm is flashing its “Zzzzz” like it does when it’s emitting noise.  Except it is not emitting noise.  Not a beep.  Not a peep.  Not a small alarm whimper.

It is about a 40 minute trip to my psychiatrist’s office.  It is currently five minutes before my appointment.  Images of the “here is my huge cancellation fee, okay?” form that I had to sign at my first appointment flash through my mind.

At this point, the conversation goes something like as follows:

Me:  Fuck!

Fuck, fuck, fuck!

FUCK!!!
Fuck!

(I may be paraphrasing.  …It may have been the second fuck in all caps.)

The fucking (the non-fun, non-athletic kind) continued for at least a good fifteen minutes, I think.  Swear, desperately search for solution, swear, desperately search for solution.  The stress of the whole process left me feeling like I wasn’t sure that I could bring myself to drive forty minutes only to walk in with ten minutes left in my appointment time, have them ask me why I bothered (and of course, in my head, also sneer at me in judgment.  Ignorant, irresponsible girl, missing her appointment like that.  Only whores and kitten-killers miss appointments.), and then drive all the way home again.  Or almost worse, have him let me in, have to sit there abashed while I ask him if he will fill out these tax credit forms for me with the remaining time, and then leave.  Eventually I decided to search online to see if I could find the phone number for the receptionist in the department I was looking for (my psychiatrist himself never lets his phone ring – it goes straight to voicemail).  I had to get my husband to make the call.  I am not proud of that.

We were told that he “didn’t want to see me” so I should just stay home and may have to soak the missed appointment fee.  No new meds, no tax form.

And I didn’t even get to use my smug smile.

But I have learned that I can be taught.  I can be taught that at least half the time I try to be more relaxed about something, it slaps me across the face.  Next time I plug in the damned second alarm.

I am trying to deal with the whole things with belated grace.  I have much still to be thankful for.  Like having arms longer than the width of my head.

Stick Doing Push-Ups

Stick Doing Push-Ups

I win! …Sort of. …Okay, maybe not.

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

A-HA!  I was right!  Experiment number two to help determine whether I’ve created all of this misery on my own has officially concluded, and…(drum roll, please)…Nope.  Not crazy.  Just a freak of nature.  The days that I got the microscopic dose of Luvox things were normal, the days that I didn’t I was psycho.  Completely and noticeably psycho.  Like “Oh my God the world is ending because I don’t know if this is a restaurant in which we are supposed to sit down or to wait for the waitress” kind of psycho.  That’s a damn lot of trouble for a drug that never helped my mood any in the first place.  Though I do feel a little better knowing all the craziness over the past couple weeks wasn’t really me.

So today I feel empowered.  I feel vindicated.  I feel belatedly angry with the medical community for dismissing me, and not believing me, and causing me to doubt myself and my instincts, and looking at me with those smarmy smug little knowing smiles when I talk about the side effects and withdrawal effects I’ve been having.  Because you know so much better, mister psychiatrist.  Because never, in history, has anyone been sensitive enough to react to that small a dose of medication.  Because it’s not possible.  Thank you for quoting the medical guidebook to me.  That cleared that right up.

Except that over three separate trials in which I had no ability to cheat and no way of knowing what I was getting, my body has reacted.  And not subtly.  In more of an in your face, bring on the crazy, kind of a way.  Like a bag of squirrels and hammers.  Like that.

I am sort of looking forward to getting to talk to him about this.  I think I’ll bring my smug smile.

On the other side, there is a small and frightened part of me that would have been a little relieved to hear that getting free of this medication might be easier than I had feared.  It kind of sucks that I have had to be so focused on managing side effects, and withdrawal symptoms, and crazy rare and unfortunate reactions to these meds.  So focused that finding one that actually works or doing other things to get me better has taken a major back seat for the past year.  I am trying very hard not to think about how much this is costing us every month.

This has also been a bit of a blow to my hope that the doctors will be able to understand my physiology and know what to do with it.  I can’t really go with the “they’ve seen this a hundred times before and know what to do” angle.  They haven’t.  They’ve told me so.  And when I have mentioned things that my own research has discovered, they generally know what I’m talking about in only the roughest ways.  I have spent a year doing it their way, despite my instincts.  And I am farther behind than I was when I started.  Sometimes it feels like such a relief to turn things over to somebody else and let them handle them, to walk away from the burdens of responsibility and decisions.  But I almost always regret it, in any context.  Maybe it’s just because I’m no much of a distorted perfectionist, so nobody will work as hard as me.  Either way, I think it might be time to put this back on my shoulders again.

Good thing I’ve gotten so buff carrying these squirrels.

Hives are only fun when they are on T.V. and full of bees.

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

So I am now quite officially a total oddity (which yes, we all already knew…).  My p-doc yesterday told me that he has never, ever, in his entire long career, heard of anyone having any withdrawal effects when discontinuing Luvox, unless they were taking high doses for a very long period of time and then stopped very suddenly.  I was taking the lowest dose.  I took it for a month.  I have discontinued as gradually as humanly possible.  I was shaving edges off the pills!

In addition to the crazy emotional sensitivity, and extended sobbing fits, and calming thoughts of suicide, and dizziness, and nausea, and desiccated-head-feeling, I am having the metallic twang sound again today sometimes when I blink (Which as nuts as it sounds is actually a relatively common side effect in cases of bad discontinuation syndrome.  So the internets told me when I thought for damn sure I must have been losing it).  I couldn’t make that shit up if I tried.

I am a freak of nature.  Document me.

Historically, as yesterday, any well thought-out plans (or partially thought out plans, or any plans at all, really) tend to go promptly out the window when I am actually sitting in my psychiatrist’s office.  I get the impression that his career has made him very adept at trying to keep control of a situation, and guide people where he needs them to go.  I can understand that.  In terms of severely mental ill people, I am a roll in the park with fuzzy rabbits.  Tough habit to break though, I think.

At any rate, I am not now taking a break from the medications, or waiting until I have weaned off of the Luvox fully before adding anything to the mix.  He tossed me a sample bottle of name brand Wellbutrin.  I took one today since it isn’t supposed to interact with the little Luvox pebbles I’m still working on.  Now we get to wait and see if I break out in hives.  The hope is that the whole period of time when my skin COULD NOT HANDLE ANYTHING TOUCHING ME was more of a reaction to the fillers, colouring, etc. in the generic brand pills than to the medication itself.  Worth a try.  Things did seem better on the Wellbutrin.  I can’t bring myself to get my hopes up anymore, but it would indeed be pleasant if this worked out.

Next step after this is looking into mood stabilizers instead of antidepressants.  My p-doc broached this subject by out of nowhere asking me if I ever get high.

And yes, my brain interpreted that question in probably exactly the way that you are now.

High like manic, he meant.  High like manic.

That’s the part where you think that you’re great and get an over-inflated sense of your own capabilities and feel unstoppable and smart and creative and wise and sociable, right?  No.  No I don’t think so.  …And can we go back to that part where I thought you were asking about drug use?  Because that’s going to eat me up for a while.