We are changing my meds up this week. This is directly because of the issues in my last post and finally managing to tell my doctor about it. My basic antidepressant is staying the same, my supplemental antidepressant is being cut in half for a week and then removed altogether, and to combat the sedative effect of the supplemental antidepressant I have been given a stimulant. I’ve never taken a prescription strength stimulant in the long term, and the dose I’m starting on is moderately high.
Today is Day One of this new medication array, and I expect it to be the day when the stimulant’s impact is most startling. I got up an hour earlier than usual to take advantage of it, and by noon I was dressed (!!!), had putaway three loads of laundry and started a new one, cleaned the bathtubs and toilets, scooped the cat’s litter, watered the garden, worked in my BuJo, and gotten the kids going on schoolwork. It is three times what I have accomplished in an entire day in recent weeks. I know this isn’t likely to be a long term solution, but it feels nice to have access to this energy. I don’t feel high, which I was afraid of. Instead I feel alert and like I have access to the healthy energy levels that have previously been inaccessible.
Once I finish this post, it will be lunch time for the kiddos, then I will work out a plan for dinner and maybe we’ll all walk to the playground. Contrary to the title this post, I can’t actually taste colors. What I can do, today at least, is live up to my own standard regarding what it is reasonable to accomplish in a day. I could cry.
I’m having a rough month. I have no energy, I’m struggling to get out of the house, and even in the house I am hardly moving. Today is the first day in a week when I have been able to write. I don’t expect to get far.
(Note: I really didn’t get far. Those four sentences sat on my computer for a full week without anything else happening.)
The bad days of depression creep up on me. I don’t know how it works for other people. One day I’m muddling along just fine, the next I’m sleeping 15 hours per day and can’t focus on anything for long enough to be productive.
How do I write about the nothingness that is depression without suicidal ideation? It echos. I don’t particularly want to hurt myself. I don’t particularly want anything. I shift from sleep, to staring vacantly, and then back to sleep. My poor kids. Today they are off on a great outing with their daddy while I try to find the will to finish this post and do a little laundry.
The bad days of depression happen in the broadest sunlight, with the windows open and the birds singing. They happen even when I’m taking my meds and exercising daily. The bad days of depression feel like a slow grey suction draining the ability to work effectively; to enjoy the things I usually love; to make use of time that I know is a blessing.
How do I talk about the bad days of depression without sounding like a cliche? This isn’t much of a post. The sun is shining. A bird is singing in the lilac bush. It’s just all exhausting and grey.
Alex’s semester is over! While we wait for his grades to arrive, we are planning our time. The a babies are used to being home alone with me, and Himself is used to being away and on his own all day. He’s spending this week home with us, then starting next week he’ll spend 3 days weekly at the library doing job hunting and prepping for his first actuarial exams.
Yesterday we sat down and planned the summer semester routine. Having a routine planned, even if we strain against it or are challenged by it, lets us and the children know what is expected of us at any given time.
We don’t tightly schedule the routine. Daily, we set up who wakes up at what time, and what needs to be done for The Morning Routine. After that we set when is lunch time, when is dinner, and when the kids head to bed. Weekly, we settled what days and times Alex with be studying and what the general plan is when he’s home. There are real challenges to his doing school full time, so we are trying to take maximum advantage of the positives in the situation. He will be taking the girls for outings once a week, giving me a chance to have some quiet, personal time to do whatever without their sweet fingers all up in my productivity.
I am so grateful that things came together for this trip. My sister-in-law let us use her timeshare condo without charging us the fee. We found a cheap hotel for the mid-trip overnight, so I didn’t even have to boondock camp between Denver and Corpus Christi. Once we were there, it was a beautiful rhythm of visiting the pool, the beach, the fishing dock, and relaxing with videos. And rather a lot of eating.
My kiddos fell in love with fishing, which will never not feel shocking. My suburban princesses found a friend on the dock who taught them to reel, let them stroke the teeny fish he caught, and then stood with them on the dock for hours when the fish weren’t biting. Mr. Rocky was an absolute saint. He helped us with gettingout dusty rental rod into functional condition, teased us over using neon pink artificial bait, and then afterward sent us a card in the mail thanking us for sharing the dock with him.
I’m grateful for the last day we went to the beach, when the water and sky were so blue I thought I was in Florida. The wind was light and pleasant. Rosebud got over her fear of the surf when it was calm and rippling instead of stormy and gray. Jujubee made a friend with a little local girl and built a pair of excellent sand castles.
I’m grateful that this was my month to have a mild round of PMDD symptoms. I got home with my sanity essentially intact, even though I was on the road for what is the most acute phase. I didn’t break with reality at all! My worst symptom was an increase in social phobia that had me fleeing the community pool when the neighbors got too chatty.
Ok bitches. Things is about to get real. REAL, I say. I am the heaviest I have EVER been, thanks to casual snacking and a new medication
I am going to the beach in 2 weeks. I have swimwear that fits, but I’m not happy in it. I have a wedding to attend in 52 days and my corset busks don’t close. (This is like a fucking pricey dress that won’t button, for you non-corsetry peeps.)
My commitment: Slim Shakes or an equivalent meal-bar for breakfast and lunch. Sweets only on Thursdays and game days. Food journaling to keep me honest. One fast day weekly, probably Tuesdays. Yoga or cardio 4 times weekly. I MIGHT lose as much as 5 pounds before the beach trip, but that should get me into my corset by the wedding.
Want to see more of my fitness battle? Join me on MyFitnessPal. My name there is “FragileSound” and I would be utterly delighted to see you.
Nothing special to report today. The dog lives on, sweet girl. The weather is increasingly spring-like, though we could still get snow in Denver before the month ends.
My energy is strange today. My doc suggested that I shift one of my meds to AM dosage instead of PM and it does seem to make a difference. I’m not more awake, and inertia remains an hideously powerful force in my life, but there is a meditative quality to my lethargy that is quite pleasant. Instead of being worked up over what I should be doing, I’m able to simply rest. Once I do get my butt moving I’m pretty productive.
Take today. I got up at 0845 with the girlies, arranged breakfast then laid down on the couch to doze while they ate. I was up and down, alternating between taking care of the kids and dozing on the couch until 1130. Then I got dressed, wrote a blog post, started the laundry, made lunch, played a very small amount of a video game I haven’t indulged in in eons, and now that the girls have eaten I am back at writing. I feel strangely good. Small changes in routine, med management, and lifestyle can really make huge difference.
A week ago, admittedly during the worst part of my cycle, I was self injuring and crying uncontrollably. Now i’m contemplating a walk with the kids, grocery shopping, and speaking to the neighbors. My girls have made friends with the girls next door, which is totes adorbs, but I have not yet managed to get to know the parents. I’m not good at small talk and the idea of getting to know them is terrifying. Today, though, I’m able to contemplate it a little.
For those of us on a cocktail of meds and supplements, pill boxes can really help ensure that we actually manage to take everything everyday. I have a system of 7 boxes, each with 4 compartments. I use one box for two days worth of pills; morning and evening. It used to be that I would fight the fight to keep them filled myself. Now Alex fills them for me, bless him.
Pill Box Day, when I would lay out all of my prescriptions and be confronted with the reality of my various diagnoses. I would get sucked into a vortex of excessive introspection, thinking and recriminating myself for being a sick person. I knew that this happened, and so I would avoid Pill Box Day for as long as possible. My old system could hold as much as 60 days of meds, if I could coordinate my supplies that well.
Three to six weeks in between sessions still wasn’t enough, though. I would end up off of my meds for days or weeks, and we all know that is no help at all. How does your family support you taking your meds? Do you have a special way of getting through yours version of Pill Box Day?
I had a bad feeling this morning that I just couldn’t shake. I was supposed to go shopping with my mother-in-law and the kiddos, but when the time came for Alex to head off to class and for me to get to work, I was hit with a powerful dread. Bad things were going to happen Out There.
It is a little early in my cycle for the agoraphobic paranoia to be taking over, and we all know it. I talked edgy/weird self into the car for errand running, meant to culminate in a trip to Target: Land of Wonder. My kids live in old hand-me-downs, so the prospect of a Target run for new shoes (“Thank you Grandma!”) is tantamount to a trip to paradise.
The boring errands went well, but I got turned around, flustered, and harried on the way to buy vacation shoes and turned left into traffic. WE ARE ALL FINE. Clearly. But I was instantly triggered; shaking, flinching, crying, and generally making an enormous scene. It was slightly worse than a fender bender. Both cars were able to drive away from the scene.
Now, though, hours after the fact I’m still around the bend. My mother-in-law is calm and cheerful in her gratitude that we are all safe. I’m up in a metaphorical tree. I’ve taken my emergency anxiety med and a nap. I have had food and tea. I’m still shaky and prone to zone way way out. I want to lay down with a book or a TV show, but with MIL right here I’m trapped trying to appear productive. Type-ity type-ity type nothing to see here! I can hear my blood in my ears and my heart feels like a galleon jug shoved into my chest, but we are all fine here!
I can hear the crunching metal, over and over in my mind. I want to drown it out. Maybe David Attenborough will help. That’s a healthy choice. We have already done a kindergarten piano lesson, two games of Candyland, had a brawl about the ownership of a few coloring books, and had dinner. Two hours until Alex comes home. Then I can go to sleep, reboot, and try again tomorrow.
Tomorrow is its own problem. I’ll deal with it then.
Oh, Hank Green. How this speaks to me. I start all sorts of projects, and frequently drop them in the middle because I’m not living up to my own impossible standard. Manuscripts, quilts, paintings, poems, afghans, blogs, furniture, murals, and samplers have all gotten bundled away never to been seen again because they weren’t good enough. I don’t want this project to fall down that rabbit hole, so I’m aiming for Mr. Green’s 80 percent.
I’m still looking for direction on this site. I want to offer stories of successes over a variety of mental and neurological health difficulties. I want to discuss advice I’ve been given over the years, about parenting and my health. I want to show windows into my life, when it is good and when it is bad. I want other parents with these troubles to find my site and see that they aren’t so alone. I want to reduce the cultural shame and isolation by standing up and saying “I have a mental disease AND I am a good parent. They are in no way exclusive.”
Isolation is a common symptom of mental health troubles, across the board. For me when my symptoms are rampant, I am loath to leave the house. I struggle to reply to text messages, let alone phone calls. I frequently reach out on the internet to find other people like me, but can’t engage even in internet conversations. Today, I’m on the other end. Today, I know that there are thousands of other families out there fighting to keep their heads above water with these kinds of illnesses. I know that my case is not particularly unique. And today I want to reach out to people so they can find their way back. You are not alone. WE are not alone. Comment below, even just a mood emoji. Reach out. There are people in this world who miss you since you have been gone. Don’t let your disease steal them away.