Anxiety, Depression, Health, Medication, Mental Health, Notes, PTSD

Psychiatry Monday

BTW:  I’m writing these as sort of a record of what’s going on.  It helps me keep track of changes and reactions to meds and therapy.

 

Today was a fairly normal visit with the psychiatrist.  I’m feeling a bit better.  It’s getting there a little at a time.  I’m still hearing voices, but they are less frequent and less intense.  Dr. W isn’t as concerned as she was earlier in the month.

A few changes today.  I’m going down again on citalopram.  In need to get off of it because of interactions with the Lupron.  With that change, Dr. W decided to go up again on the Zoloft.  The only other big change is going up on the Haldol.  11 mg at first and then 12.  I’m hoping that will have to be the last dosage adjustment up.

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Anxiety, Child Abuse, Emotions, Mental Health, Positive things, PTSD

Out of Left Field

I love ER.  I have since the first day it aired.  Now I found in syndication and it cheers me up; at least for an hour it does.

Tonight was not one of those nights.  The plot and the characters weren’t important.  But seeing them examine a 6 year old to confirm sexual abuse was out of left field.  I guess I should start reading the blurbs that DirecTV has.

It wasn’t the exam part.  I never went through that.  It was the thought of the little girl being violated that got to me.  I got pretty close to that flashback spiral.  It didn’t hit me so hard that I couldn’t control it.  I went out to the kitchen immediately and took my PRN anxiety med.  That helped.  I got out of my room so I didn’t have to deal with the bedroom stuff.  That helped.  I turned to a mystery novel to get my head in another place.  It helped.

I have a feeling that Dr. D would be proud of me.  I did the right things to keep my head in the present.  And that’s been hard for me all along.  I can only take one day at a time.  I made it through 19/20 radiation sessions with that attitude.  I know this is a long trek for me and I will have bad times.  Right now the bad seems to outweigh the good.  But I’ve got friends who support me.  I have a fluffy white kitty on my lap right now and another mutt hanging out under the blankets on my bed.

Baby steps.  Just remember baby steps.

Anxiety, Depression, Emotions, Mental Health, Nightmares, PTSD, Self Injury, Therapy

Therapy Thursday

What a rough time today.  Going two days in a row is rough.  But I didn’t expect it to be this rough.  I pretty much picked up where I left off.  I know Dr. D is concerned.  It’s hard for me to understand why.  The same goes for Dr. W.  On Dr. D’s urging, I left a message for Dr. W.  The panic attacks.  The flashbacks.  They have gotten worse lately.  I think I didn’t share this with Dr. W for fear of ending up in the hospital.  I bet that isn’t a rational thought.  They don’t throw you butt in the hospital unless you’re a danger to yourself or others.  What I know, however, isn’t working to calm down what I feel.

For the first time in however many years I’ve been going, I admitted to Dr. D about the cutting.  People sometimes get the wrong idea.  For me, it was to externalize the pain I was feeling.  I talked about how long it’s been since I last cut.  I talked about the urges and how they’re getting stronger and stronger.  Dr. D took it in stride.  I had expected some sort of belittling.  I don’t know.  Scolding maybe.  But all she showed was compassion.  She asked the usual questions.  When did I start?  What made me stop?  Did I feel in danger?

Today was another day.  I couldn’t cry.  I thought I was going to.  I pinched my leg to try and keep it under control.  I hate tears.  I hear my mom’s voice.  “If you want to cry, I’ll give you something to cry about!”  It usually ended up with the belt.

She asked about how structure of childhood kept me functioning (although not in those words).  I was trying to respond that it was some sort of normality in life.  All of a sudden I was hit with flashbacks harder than ever.  I’m pretty sure I was having a panic attack too.  I vaguely remember hearing my name.  But I couldn’t snap out of it.  It was like I was in a film on a repetitive loop.  As I calmed down, I could only stare at the fish.  I couldn’t look Dr. D in the eyes.  We talked some about what I went through in those last 5 minutes.  It was all so overwhelming.  I went back to the thought of routine and only could say there was nothing normal about it.  But it was sort of a loose routine.  I went to bed.  He came in.  He molested me.  He left.  I went to sleep.  Every single night.

I tried to hide.  I don’t know why I bothered.  He always got me out.  Sometimes it was with extraordinary anger.  He almost ripped the closet door off once or twice.  I finally gave up on hiding.  There was no point.  There was no stopping the abuse.

All of this came out today.  Dr. D asked if there were any new memories.  Nope.  The same old ones.  The ones that still hurt so much.  I need to let her know I need her to be more aggressive in trying to get me out of that loop.  Like I said, I kind of heard her calling my name.  But it wasn’t enough.  It didn’t break though the images, sounds, feelings or panic.  The one thing she did try to get me to do after I calmed down was to keep my eyes open.  I totally understand that.  In my history of therapy, that was something I definitely learned.  It hard sometimes.  I really want to block out everything.  But by blocking out everything external, I get caught up in my head.

Dr. D asked me to come back on Monday morning so we can keep on top of everything.  What was I going to say?  I suppose I could have said no.  But that didn’t seem wise.  I know I need to keep working, especially through the radiation.  Speaking of which, I’m almost half way done.  Yay for me.  So, I’ll go back on Monday.  If I make it through the weekend that is.  Dr. D gave me her cell phone number so I can always call or shoot her a text if need be.

Anxiety, Fears, Mental Health, PTSD, Suicide, Therapy

Precipice

So today’s prompt is “Precipice”.  How fitting.  I seem to be teetering on one myself.  Even with the med changes (and un-changes), I’m still really struggling with depression and anxiety and voices.  I realized how bad things were when Dr. W spent 40 minutes with me rather than the usual 30.  I love going to UH because they book med checks as 30 minutes.  I once say a psychiatrist who a) always ran late, b) tried to hoist me off on his NP when insurance was paying for him and c) was lucky to spend 5 minutes with me.  I have no idea why I stayed with him so long.  Another plus side to UH is that they are on the same electronic medical records system so all my doctors can keep up with my (very) long med list and conditions.

Back to precipice.  I wrote last time that I was hearing voices and it had gotten worse.  I started hearing them again back in February.  I didn’t tell anyone because I was afraid to.  I just kept saying I was getting better as I walked toward the cliff.  Even though I was having suicidal thoughts, I kept covering everything up.  I guess I still am.  I haven’t been totally honest with what the voices are saying.  They’re getting quite nasty and telling me that I should kill myself for various reasons.  I don’t know why I don’t want to tell Dr. W and Dr. D.  I think it might be because I’m in the middle of radiation and I don’t want to be hospitalized right now.  Do I need it?  Maybe.  I’m looking at a long way down off the precipice.

Most of all, I’m scared.  When I was having symptoms like this before, I did end up in the hospital.  Twice.  I don’t know if I can do that again.  The second time was useless.  No med changes.  Not that I wanted them to change meds.  But seeing a psychiatrist more than once in 6 days would have been useful.  No therapy to speak of.  You were basically left to fend for yourself all day.  It didn’t help they didn’t get my med list and I was off things for almost a week.  Although I was a UH hospital, their EMR wasn’t hooked up with the central EMR.  Looking back, I was safe from falling off the precipice, but it didn’t do much to pull me back from it.  I pretty much lied to get out of there.  I though I could make more progress with Dr. D and Dr. W than I could just hanging around all day.

I don’t like this brink of the precipice thing.  The voices keep getting worse despite how much Haldol Dr. W adds.  I was up to 10 mg before, so it’s not surprising the 1/2/4 mg dosage wasn’t working.  I’m up to 6 mg now in a divided dose.  I think once I get the voices under control, I’ll be able to step back from that ledge.

I’m tired too.  The fibro makes me tired.   Fatigue has always been part of my depressive symptoms.  And now I have the fatigue from radiation.  I’m sleeping at least 10 hours at night with a couple hour nap during the day.  I’m asleep more than I’m awake.  I wonder if this is anyway to live.

I’m tired of telling people I’m tired.  They don’t understand.  My family doesn’t understand mental illness.  And even if they did, they wouldn’t care.  That much I’m certain of.  And part of me doesn’t care anymore too.  I’m too tired to care.

Standing on the precipice looking down.  What to do?  What to do?  Closer.  Closer.  Closer.

Anxiety, Emotions, Fears, Mental Health, PTSD, Therapy

Mask

https://www.flickr.com/photos/exfordy/128576390
Flickr Photo

I live my life behind a mask. My mask is happy.  My mask is confident.  I’m good at wearing this.  Despite how I feel inside, I don’t reveal my honest feelings and fears.

I don’t really let people see the “true me”.  Hell, sometimes I don’t even know what the “true me” is.  I’ve hidden behind a mask for so long that maybe that is the “true me”.

There’s an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where a character has a bunch of laws to live by.  Her law number one was “You always have to rely on yourself”.  I totally agree with that.  But my law zero is “Trust no one”.  If you can’t trust, it’s hard to show your “true self”.  It’s hard to take off that mask.

I’m slowly learning to trust Dr. D and Dr. W.  It’s been a rough couple of weeks for me.  Last week, I tried to cancel my appointment with Dr. D and quit therapy all together.  I made a deal to come that one time.  Ordinarily, I would have hidden how bad things were and just tiptoed around the issues.  But I didn’t.  I sat there and talked through the flashbacks.  Making myself that vulnerable was extremely scary.  And although nothing bad happened, I still want to put that mask on.

Maybe this is a turning point for me.  Maybe it’s okay to drop the mask and let safe people see what’s underneath.

Anxiety

Two Views

I have two views about children.  What I think about me as a child, and what I think about all the other children in the world.

When I think of me as a child (looking back on the past), the only thing I see is what a horrible person I was.  I was was clearly at fault for what happened.  I can only blame myself.  It’s full of shouldas.  I should have told someone.  I should have fought back.  I shouldn’t have hid.

When I think about other children, particularly ones in situations like my own, I see nothing but innocence.  How could you blame them?  It’s like their lives are out of control and they’re doing the best they can.

I have a hard time reconciling these views.  On the surface, it seems so easy.  But when I try to tackle it, all those negative thoughts come racing back.

Anxiety, Emotions, Fears, My story

Showers and Stuff

One of my biggest challenges has been taking showers.  There were countless times where my father fondled me while washing my hair.  I came to hate showers and associated them with pain and anxiety.  And the fear and anxiety led to what I call the 3 minute shower.  In and out just as fast as you can.

I’ve been struggling with shower issues for years.  I finally buckled down and got my fears under control.  It took a lot of time.  I started by just standing in the shower, fully clothed, for increasing amounts of time.  Once I felt comfortable there, I moved to standing in the showers with no clothes on.  That was really hard.  But with time, I was able to be in the shower for increasing amounts of time.

Then it came time for actual showers.  This brought back the panic full force.  I just had to power through it.  Now, I was doing all this in the daylight.  Nighttime was nearly impossible.  So once I finally got comfortable with showers longer than three minutes I started back at the beginning, but after dark.

It feels like the entire process took f0rever.  Now it’s to the point where there isn’t any anxiety surrounding the shower.

Anxiety, Medication, Mental Health, Plans, Sleep

Coping Skills

I’m learning to live with the side effects of the Cymbalta.  Yogurt is my new best friend.  It’s easy on my tummy and I found a flavor I like (Yoplait’s Whips in Chocolate).  They’re 100 calories a pop and I can usually get two down.  I’ve been eating those for breakfast and lunch and trying to choke down whatever we’re having for dinner.

I actually started adding Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner in my to-do app.  It’s definitely got a game type vibe to it, and that helps motivate me to actually open it up.

I’ve given myself permission to take a Klonopin during the day if things get really rough.  Yes, I get the doctor’s point that she doesn’t want to change too many variables at once.  But there’s no use in torturing myself.  All that accomplishes is making me want to eat even less, which feeds back into the anxiety.

Thankfully, I seem to be sleeping better.  The increase in the Trazodone has helped on that front.  I was hoping the sleep would help with my pain, but alas, that doesn’t seem to be the case.  In fact, it seems to be worse than before, with a lot more muscle tension and spasms.  I’m going to start back up on the magnesium supplement I was taking since the Cymbalta (or lack of food) is screwing with my lower GI tract.

Finally, I’m taking it one day at a time.  That’s the only way I’m going to get through my life.  I’ve quit looking toward the future because I don’t see it dramatically changing any time soon.

Anxiety, Medication, Mental Health, Stress

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

I swear I can’t win.  I started on the Cymbalta almost a week ago.  The good news, it is starting to help with the pain.  The bad news, it killed my appetite.  I’m lucky if I get 1000 calories a day.  I’ve lost 5 pounds since I started.  While that’s a welcome loss, it isn’t healthy nor sustainable.  My anxiety has also gone into overdrive.  My blood sugar is running low because of the not eating thing and that tends to trigger anxiety.  Despite telling the doctor this, she doesn’t want me to go down on the dosage (I told her 30 mg had worked fine for me in the past but she insisted on putting me on 60 mg even though I’m incredibly sensitive to medication).  She also doesn’t want me to take a daytime dosage of Klonopin.  She essentially wants me to ride it out.  I’ve got enough Klonopin to take it twice a day before I see her again, so I might use it as a crisis kind of thing.  Oh and she isn’t worried about the not eating thing either.

I’m debating whether to try a different psychiatrist (see previous entry about the psychosis thing) or see if she works out.  I don’t like doctor hopping and it’s my general rule not to do it unless the person is truly an ass or incompetent.  But she doesn’t seem to really give a damn.

*sigh*

One step forward, two steps back.  That’s the story of my life, or so it seems.