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.

Emotions, Mental Health, Positive things, Therapy

Therapy Thursday

Today’s discussion centered around feelings.  The one observation I had was I know how to label the basic emotions; happy, sad, angry.  But I can’t label things that are more complex.  I like labels.  I like to know what things are.  Sometimes the hardest question to answer is “What are you feeling?”.  Sometimes I throw around names such as jealously or anxiety.  I’m not always sure that that’s what I’m feeling.

We also talked a bit about automatic thoughts.  Things that I jump to so fast that I don’t even think about it.  Two of those thoughts are guilt and responsibility.  I jump and don’t even know it.  I’m trying to challenge those thoughts after jumping there.  I’m reminded of a passage from “The Magic Tollbooth” where the dog flies out of the car and onto an island by jumping to conclusions.  That’s me.  I jump to conclusions about the abuse and who’s responsible.  No more.  I’ll jump but not land.  I won’t be perfect, but trying is the key.

Anger, Emotions, Family, Mental Health, PTSD, Relationships, Therapy

Therapy Monday

Wow.  Today was intense.  It started with a discussion about Father’s Day.  And all the loving posts you see on Facebook.   And the whole industry we have.  And how it makes me feel.  Jealous.  Green with envy.  I don’t love my  dad, or grandpas, or God father.  Nope.  No way.  And that good old Catholic guilt and “honor thy father and thy mother”.

From there Dr. D asked about something we talked about a few weeks ago.  One of the things I felt was that I lost something of myself with the use of Lupron.  I lost the ability to reproduce.  Not that I want to reproduce.  I read somewhere (maybe on Not My Secret) about defining yourself by what society considers to be the defining traits of a woman.  That post really resonated with me.  So we talked a bit about other ways I could define myself.  Funny.  Blah Blah Blah.  Dr. D said that I was smart.  I couldn’t say no fast enough.  Which of course lead to another whole discussion.

In the end, I said that my mother said I was smart when it suited her, when she got to brag.  Any other time, I was dumb, and idiot, etc.  Then I said something really significant.  I said that I hated her for that.  That was really significant.  I had never said that word before.  I didn’t know how deep it ran.  That scared me.  It felt overwhelming at the moment.  Thank God that Dr. D was there because I was overwhelmed.  I was shaking and crying.  On some level it felt good to let out those emotions.  On the other hand, it was really scary.  I knew I had a safe place in her office.

I tend to stuff things down.  Dr. D told me it was a defense mechanism.  And now that I’m home, the old defenses are coming back.  I don’t feel safe to experiences the anger and sadness that I felt earlier.  At least I know now that I can feel without becoming overwhelmed or out of control.  I was even going to write a blog post in all caps.  I still may.  Maybe I can do it at the library where I feel safer.

It’s amazing how seemingly innocent trains of thought can lead to breakthroughs.  I see Dr. D again on Thursday (and on Mondays too).  I think at this point, that’s what I need.

Child Abuse, Family, Mental Health, My story, Nightmares, PTSD, Therapy

Pink Pajamas

I’ve tried to write this out many times in the past.  In fact this is the seventh time the post was titled “Pink Pajamas”.  Today is Therapy Thursday and the topic took up a solid half hour.  Me just sitting there trying to get the words out.  Working hard to keep my head in the present.  Posting this is hard even though I just talked about it.  Here goes nothing.

I was 7 or 8 years old.  It was Christmas Eve.  We read the Bible and ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.  We hung up our stockings.  It’s a Christmas tradition to get new pajamas on Christmas Eve.  Mine were those one piece pajamas with the feet.  Mine were pink.

It was time to go to bed.  But I was warned that bad little girls got nothing in their stockings.  And I sure that I was a bad little girl.

Later that night, my dad came in and undressed me.  I remembered how cold it was.  He whispered in my ear that he knew how to make me a good girl.  Then he had his way with me.  He didn’t dress me though.  I slept all night naked.

In the morning, my mom came in to wake me up.  She asked why I didn’t have my pajamas on.  I told her I got hot.  I put them on and followed her to the living room.  I guess I was a good girl because my stocking was full and there were presents under the tree.

Dr. D pointed out that things came with strings attached.  And they really did.  That’s the topic for Monday.  I thought in light of everything going on, I should probably see her twice a week for a little while.

Cancer, Health, Medication, Mental Health

Psychiatry Wednesday

I met with Dr. W today.  A ton of stuff is going on with my cancer treatment and its intersection with my psychiatric treatment.  I had two options.  One was going off the Wellbutrin and going on Tamoxifen.  The other was using Lupron to shut down  my ovaries and using the drug for post-menopausal women.

I was going to start with the Lupron combo because I was having so much trouble coming off the Wellbutrin.  But…  Yes, there’s always a but with me.  Lupron doesn’t play nice with Haldol and Celexa.  I found out after looking up side effects of Lupron.  I came across the drug interactions.  There were big red stoplights next to the two drugs.  Some kind of cardiac problem that I simply don’t understand.  I guess that puts me between a rock and a hard place.

So after some discussion with Dr. W, we decided to go with the Lupron option.  The Wellbutrin was working so well for me.  I’m going to go down on the Celexa along with up on the Wellbutrin and Zoloft.  Together we decided to go up another two milligrams on the Haldol over the next few days.  That seems like a funny decision, but with other things changing (Zoloft up, Celexa down, Wellbutrin up) it’s best not to change too many things at once.  But up on the Haldol because the voices are still a big problem and are quite distressing.

I see Dr. W again in a week and half.  We’ll make some more adjustments then.  I’m not looking forward to this transition, but it’s necessary.

Cancer, Health, Medication, Mental Health, Therapy

Therapy Thursday

Another week.  Another day of therapy.  And as usual, it didn’t disappoint (just kidding).

Since I’ve been talking about cancer treatment there, I went through what the oncologist said yesterday.  Basically I have two medical options for long term treatment.  I can go with Tamoxifen but it requires getting off the Wellbutrin.  And that doesn’t seem like it’ll happen anytime soon.  So medically, my other option is shutting down the ovaries with Lupron and treating with Arimidex.   That’ll cause menopause.  The other option is removing the ovaries and going with the Arimidex.  At the moment the choice is Lupron and Arimidex.  The long term plan is to go off the Wellbutrin and then switch to Tamoxifen.

We talked about control and losing control of my body.  Losing what makes me a women.  In other words, the ability to reproduce.  Not that I want to reproduce, but the thought of it.  I don’t know why it bothers me so much.  But it does.  Perhaps that’s something to explore next week.  The other small topic on this was going to the dentist next week.  It’s my worst nightmare.  Why?  At least I can answer that one.  Feeling exposed.   Feeling vulnerable.  Having someone (turns out it’s a woman) standing over me.  Yeah.  Nightmare.

On of my usual comments was X is my fault.  In this case letting the depression and voices get so bad without asking for some help.  I got the usual “It’s not your fault”.  Fault and responsibility is something I struggle with everyday.  I don’t even know how this came up.  But it did.

I guess it’s a matter of putting one foot in front of another.  Hopefully the increase in Haldol will help with the voices and the Zoloft will help with the depression.  And now that radiation is finished, hopefully the fatigue will subside.

Cancer, Depression, Health, Medication, Mental Health

Psychiatry Tuesday

You know things are bad when the doctor tells the scheduler that you are a priority for scheduling.  My chin almost hit the floor.  I mean, things aren’t good.  And there has been a lot of pain (both physically and emotionally) lately.  But I certainly didn’t think I fit into priority territory.  Priority.  Minimizing.  I do such a good job of it.

I have four appointments scheduled between now and the beginning of July.  She’s going on vacation for 6 weeks starting the middle of July.  She once to see me once again before she leaves.  Unfortunately, that means I’ll have to take what I can get off the cancellation list.  That is if any appointments come up.

I’m trying to get off Wellbutrin because I can’t take the estrogen blocker with it.  Wellbutrin renders the other med useless.  When I tried to go off before, things got dicey.  I see the oncologist tomorrow and have no idea what to tell her other than I tried and it’s going to take longer than anticipated.

So Dr. W started me on Zoloft.  Yippy skippy.  Another med to add into the mix.  She upped the Haldol and wants to be a bit more aggressive with it.  I’m still hearing voices…  almost constantly now.  Depending on how I’m doing, she may start weaning me off the Wellbutrin next week.  Yes.  Next week.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a psychiatrist that often since I was in the hospital.

It all seems so complicated right now.  Appointments with the medical and radiation oncologists.  Appointments with Dr. W.  Appointments with Dr.D.  Maybe moving up to twice a week with her.

I keep hearing people say that I will feel better once the radiation is finished.  I finished yesterday (yay me).  But it’s not like a switch.  Really recovering will take about as long as the radiation took.  In my case, four weeks.  The only one who gets how I feel is my primary care, Dr. M.  Dr. M went through radiation himself.  He said it’s not uncommon for people to get more depressed right after finishing.  I totally agree with him.  You’re in the middle of treatments and running around.  And it feels like you’re doing something active.  Now I have to wait on the Wellbutrin and see what the oncologist says.  It’s like I’m not doing anything at all.

I have some Haldol and Trazodone in my near future, so I better sign off.  I’m really fighting sleep right now.  Better to give in.

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.

Depression, Emotions, Fears, Medication, Mental Health, My story, PTSD, Therapy

The Day After

So I saw Dr. D yesterday.  It was tough, complete with a panic attack.  She encouraged me to call Dr. W.  Since I seen her earlier this week, I didn’t think it was a good idea.  But Dr. D gently explained that Dr. W would be concerned that I let myself continue to suffer needlessly.  So I called.  I got a call back that evening, which surprised me because she’s on vacation.  She asked what was going on and I told her everything.  Well almost everything.  I didn’t tell her how long things have been going on.  She gave me hydroxyzine, which she has given me before.  Dr. W said she’s hesitant to prescribe a benzo at this point.  Not because she’s worried about addiction.  But rather given the amount of medication I’m on.  I understand her point of view, and I respect it.  What it says to me is that she’s being conservative, but is willing to go with something more powerful if I need it.

Dr. D wants me to come back on Monday.  I don’t really know how I feel about that.  I do have somethings I want to talk about related to the physical abuse.  But I’m not completely confident that I can get through it without losing myself in the flashback loop.  It makes me scared just thinking about it.  I’m going to copy/paste it in here so I can just read it if need be.

It was my grandfather. The summer after kindergarten, my parents made me stay there while they took my grandmother out of town. I don’t remember what I did that was so bad, but I got punished but good. He took off all of my clothes and made me lie on the bed. He put my arms over my head with my hands together and told me to stay that way. If I moved or cried, he hit me with a leather belt.

I don’t know how long I stayed in that position. It was so cold in there. He had the air conditioner on as cold as it would go. It felt like it was forever. I had almost fallen asleep when he came back into the room. I laid there while he felt my whole body, from top to bottom. He was on the bed with me. Then he left and told me not to move or I’d get it with the belt again.

I tried not to cry, but I did. As soon as he heard me, he came back and punished me for disturbing his baseball game. He told me that I better not move again. So I didn’t. I laid there and counted the cracks in the ceiling, over and over, and over again. But I couldn’t help but listen for him. I was terrified he would come into the room again.

After what seemed like forever, he came back into the room. And he got on the bed again. I was so afraid he’d get the belt out again. He wasn’t touching me anymore. He was on top of me. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t breathe. He was so big and heavy. The penetration was extremely painful. I wanted to scream and yell, but I couldn’t. It hurt too bad.

All of a sudden, he jumped off of me and the bed. I put my arms down. He started to scream at me. He told me that he had said not to move. He told me I was an evil child filled with the devil. He was right. He got the belt again and told me to put my hands back up or he’d punish me again. I begged him not to, but that made him really angry. He took me by my shoulders and shook me. He kept yelling how little girls should obey their elders. He put my hands back over my head and made me stay like that.

I laid on that bed for hours. It was so cold in that room. I really had to go to the bathroom, but he told me not to move or say anything. I had to go so bad, I ended up wetting the bed. When he found out I had wet the bed, he beat me again. And then he was on top of me again. It must have gone on like that for hours. I remember watching it go from day to night.

I hurt right now just thinking about it.  I think I’m going to sign off, take some hydroxyzine, and eat.  Toast for breakfast and not eating anything else doesn’t cut it anymore.

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.