Is it possible to be having an episode without having an episode? Oh, and I may be going through menopause at 36. Or have lupus. But it’s never lupus.

As the title says, is it possible to have an episode – that is, the symptoms of an episode – without actually having an episode? I’m angry, irritable, irrational, moody, cynical, unimpressed by things that should thrill me (*cough cough Endgame cough cough*). But my mood itself feels fine. Or mostly fine, at least. I don’t feel like I normally do when I’m having an episode. I honestly think I’ve just been beaten down so hard by the world the last few months that all of the emotions are starting to vomit all over me.

Like I said in one of my last posts, I’m about ready to give up.

Back to the point. I’m angry, and I anger very easily. I feel very unsupported. Simple things will irritate me until the anger builds until it almost explodes. Unfortunately the tipping point is often my husband. Which isn’t fair to him. But he and I need to have a completely unrelated conversation about how I’m feeling very unsupported, unappreciated, and unloved. But that’s a post for another time.

Moving on.

Those damn irrational thoughts are back. Mostly anger driven. But still very irrational. I think. To be fair, I don’t even know the difference any more. And I’m not sure I care. Because even the irrational ones lead to thoughts or ideas that are based in reality. They just tend to veer into the worst case scenario realm, which is where half of my “normal” thoughts are any way.

I’ve always been a very cynical person. But it’s gotten to the point over the last week or two that has been previously unreached. For example, I didn’t hate Endgame. I actually quite liked it. But there was a lot I didn’t like about it. And when we left the theater I was very cynical about all of it. I reacted similarly to the latest episode of Game of Thrones. To be fair – winter has been coming for eight freaking years. And it lasted an hour. It didn’t even get past Winterfell. I wanted winter in King’s Landing, damnit. This obviously ties in with the not getting enjoyment out of things part.

Oh yes, the early menopause. Ok, so we don’t actually know what’s happening right now (went to get some blood work today for a start), but I get the hot flashes from hell. To every woman that has gone through it, is going through it, or will go through all of it (ok, so all women). I AM SO SORRY YOU HAVE TO DEAL WITH THIS. It’s absolutely horrible. They strike at random – during the day, middle of the night, in the shower, at work, at home, in the car, working out, doing nothing on the couch (have one right now). Sometimes I’ll only get one or two a day, others I get one or two an hour for 14 hours. I had my thyroid levels tested 2 months ago with my normal psych blood work, and they were fine. So were my kidney levels. So this time we’re testing hormone levels, liver levels, and a CBC with diff to rule out infection. I doubt the CBC will show anything – I just donated plasma last week and got the email today that my blood was on the way to the hospital, so I’m sure if there was any indication of an infection they wouldn’t send it out. If all of these look fine, it’s off to my Gyn for more thorough hormone testing and possibly an endocrinologist or a rheumatologist to see if this is something autoimmune. It is also entirely possible that this has at least something to do with having lost 22 pounds in 2 and a half months. After years of psych meds, who knows what was stored in that fat. And then there’s the added bonus of my brain saying hey, we’re 1.5 stone lighter and we have no idea how to regulate ourselves! Party time!

Anyway, yeah. That’s the latest and greatest this week. I’m still chugging along. Pieces are bent, but they’re not broken.

Anxiety lies

There’s been a lot of posts on Facebook and Instagram recently (at least on the pages that I follow, which to be fair there’s more than a few about mental health) about anxiety and how it doesn’t look like a lot of people expect it to. Even when I first got the “official” anxiety diagnosis a year or so, I didn’t realize that a lot of the things that I was experiencing could be attributed to anxiety. Headaches, upset stomach and digestion problems, irritability, insomnia, jumpiness, anticipating the worst (I honestly thought that this was a bipolar thing, which it very well might be, but I personally think it’s the anxiety).

But how can you trust yourself when your brain is constantly lying to you? Telling you that you’re not good enough, making up scenarios with absolutely no evidence and then convincing you to believe them (things like your husband is cheating on you while you’re at work, that everyone is just pretending to be your friend and they really can’t stand you, and on and on and on), making you reinterpret things that happened into something totally different.

My anxiety, at least, gives me these really dark, fucked up thoughts. These are not rooted in any kind of reality, but these are the things that my brain has convinced me are legitimate fears, no matter how times I’m told these are not going to happen.

***This is going to get a little graphic, so feel free to skip this paragraph if you have a weak stomach.***

We have an alarm system on the house. Not because we’re worried about things getting stolen, but because I’m convinced that someone is going to break into the house and mutilate, maim, and disembowel the cats and hang their bodies on the wall. I know, this is totally fucked up and has no root in reality, but this is one of my greatest fears. Not many people know about this, but the ones that do all agree that this is one of the most fucked up things that they’ve ever heard and very not likely to actually happen.

I know that. I know this is irrational. But I can’t make it go away.

***It’s safe to start reading again***

I’ve talked about these dark thoughts in therapy (and believe me, this isn’t the only one, but probably the most common for me), and the best solution we’ve come up with is to acknowledge them, understand that this is not reality, and try to move on.

Yeah, easier said than done.

What people don’t realize is that when your own brain is the one that’s lying to you, it becomes really hard to differentiate what is real and what isn’t. Mike and I have played the Real or Not Real game a few times when I really need help sorting through these thoughts. Sometimes they get so bad that I really can’t make sense of things.

I wish that there was a better course of action other than the “acknowledge, understand, move on” bullshit, because I have to tell you, sometimes this is almost impossible. Please don’t take this as bragging, but I’d like to think that I’m a fairly intelligent person. Which makes not being able to trust myself that much harder. I hate it all. I don’t wish this on anyone.

Anxiety lies, and she is also a cruel mistress.