“Sleep, those little slices of death — how I loathe them.” ― Edgar Allan Poe

My sleep is seriously fucked up. About half the time I fall asleep quickly, but when I don’t I toss and I turn and I get up to pee and then I have to get a drink and when I finally fall asleep it’s fitful. I get up at least three times during the night, one more than one occasion I’ve gone sleep-walking around the house (all of the doors require a key to get out so there’s no danger to me getting outside and playing in traffic). And then waking up. I. Cannot. Wake. Up. I sleep through 15 (no joke) alarms. Most of the time I wake up exhausted, and because I’ve missed so many alarms I’m generally running around like a mad woman trying to get to wherever I have to be.

I blame the dose of Zyprexa that I’m on.

I’ve read that there’s evidence that it’s beneficial to sleep, but I’ve read a lot of user reviews that have the same complaint that I do. It sucks. I’m always tired (and hungry, but that’s a whole other post entirely), I never feel rested. I dread going to bed a lot of nights because I never know what the morning is going to look like.

I emailed my doc tonight; we were going to lower the dosage when I see him in May, but I think that that needs to happen now. I think the benefits outweigh the potential downsides, but I feel like I’m in a good place stability wise and can handle halving the dosage. I’m very lucky in that my doc and I have open conversations about my meds, and he takes what I have to say heavily into consideration. He understands that I know my body and I know my mood best. He doesn’t force medication or his opinion on me, which I really appreciate as I’ve had doctors do both. Those ended up being the times that I was non-compliant. I lucked out when I found him.

The hardest part about reducing the dosage is seeing what my anxiety does. Every time we’ve increased it, it’s been because of anxiety. We’d drop down the dosage, and a few months later I’d find my anxiety singing an aria in Carnegie Hall and we’d have to increase to dosage back up. I think my whole relationship with this drug is going to be a series of ups and downs. Like, lithium is my constant. My dosage hasn’t changed in 12 years, I think? It’s my stalwart friend. The constant. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it, right?


A quick check in

Just a quick check in. Everything still going along swimmingly. Had some good conversations with higher ups at work, made some tough calls, made some social plans, donated plasma, been going to the gym… so yeah. All good things.

But. There’s always a but. My mood has been kind of blah. I mean, things are going well, the weather is getting better (even though it was never really all that bad this winter), cats are happy, husband is happy, roommate will be hopefully moving out soon. And yet? Blaaaaaaaaah. Well, maybe that isn’t entirely accurate. I feel pretty good, generally. But I don’t feel like I’m at my best. I hate the change of seasons. Summer to fall and winter to spring are always my worst times. Which is funny considering those are my favorite times of year. I’d like to blame the time change, but it hasn’t happened yet. Something in the air, maybe. I don’t know. I had my labs done last week and everything looks good. My lithium serum levels are right where they should be.

I think at my next appointment we’re going to try to lower my dose of Zyprexa. We raised it due to stress and a number of other things bringing my anxiety to the forefront and making it almost unmanageable. But by the time I see the doc in May all of the major stressors (for the most part) will be gone, contained, dealt with, etc. The side effects suck, and I definitely don’t suffer nearly as much at the lower dosage. The main concern is the weight gain/increased appetite. It’s making it really hard to lose weight in the first place, and then I just want to eat ALL OF THE THINGS. Seriously. I ate an entire jar of salsa (twice) in one sitting. I have tremors, I occasionally stutter, and I have memory issues. I can’t stress enough how much I’m looking forward to halving the dosage.

So in February I read Don’t Panic: Douglas Adams & The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Sandman Slim, and Sword and Pen. I’ve been a big Douglas Adams fan since I was a teenager, so reading a bio of both Adams and the series was really interesting. It was written by Neil Gaiman and I love his style of writing. Sandman Slim was a recommendation from our roommate, and while I didn’t hate it, Mike Carey and his Felix Castor Series. Lastly was Sword and Pen, the last of the Great Library of Alexandria books. It was worth the wait. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole series, and while at points slow, it was a good wrap up to the series. There was a lot to tie up, and I’m happy with the way that things ended.

That’s it for tonight, kids. I’m headed off to try and get some sleep (which is still crappy, I’m thinking again because of the Zyprexa, so more reasons to look forward to a dose change). I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Setting the record straight

I’ve been talking a lot recently about my mood, and I’ve had a few people shoot me messages making sure that I’m ok.

Yes, I’m ok. In fact, I really think that I’m better and more stable than I have been in quite some time. And sometimes that feels weird to me.

I really do appreciate the concern, though.

At my therapy appointment last week we talked a lot about my mood and things that have been going on – both recently, and in the past. How events, situations, traumas, successes, hell even people, affect my mood and it’s natural fluctuations.

Every one has changes in their moods throughout the day. It’s normal. It’s expected. Those little peaks and valleys as you move through your day. What concerns me is when those peaks and valleys become mountains and abysses. Over the years I’ve become hyper aware of what my mood is and when and what might be causing it.

That holds true today.

But I have to admit – I don’t really know what true stability – euthymia, if you will – really feels like. I’ve had periods where I thought I was stable, and maybe I was for a short time. But to feel that stability, day in and day out, with the normal hills and valleys of mood changes throughout the day, I just don’t know.

Maybe it’s because I am so hyper aware. I’m constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop, for one of those little changes to become a big change. For one wrong change to turn into an episode.

I hate mood disorders. I hate my mood disorder. I hate the fact that I have to deal with this day in, day out.

People have told me that dealing with this makes me a stronger person. I say fuck that. (I’m not entirely sure why, but I hate hearing that, but I do. If you want me to dive into that one day, I will. But know that anything that comes out of it will be weird and disjointed and probably not make a lot of sense.)

Honestly? I think at this point I just need to turn on my heated mattress pad, crawl under my weighted blanket and go to bed.

Depression, the new cat, and other things

You know, I find it odd, and slightly macabre-ly amusing that in this day and age people refuse to see the signs of depression in someone and how fast they are to write them off as symptoms of something else. Case in point – we spent the weekend with my in-laws. Our nephew is exhibiting what we both recognize as signs of depression. But everyone else wants to call it symptoms of a concussion he had a few months ago. I won’t count that out as a possible reason, but this kid practically screams I’m depressed from his actions and behaviors during the brief time we spent with him, and what everyone else has told us. Luckily, he’s already in counselling for something unrelated. I just hope that he gets the help that he needs. And I really hope that people start calling a spade a spade.

It’s such a shame that even today people refuse to acknowledge mental illness – even if it’s fleeting and not something lifelong like what I deal with. There’s still so much stigma attached, especially when dealing with teenagers. I’ve seen it with friends and family both. Oh, they’re just hormonal. Oh, it’s typical teenage angst. My kid isn’t depressed, they’re stronger than that.

Fucking stigma.

How many people – again, teenagers especially – suffer needlessly because of this? How long did I suffer in the late 90s before something was done for these same reasons?

New cat is settling in nicely. Very little drama now that the pecking order as been worked out. Namely the fact that Rosie is at the top and you better not forget it.

My mood is mostly stable. Thursday I was feeling a little manicky in terms of everything that I had to get done that day before we left. A few days before I was feeling a little down. Nothing major, and nothing that lasted. Just goes to show that while my meds are working, they’re not perfect. There’s still some slip-through. But these little moments didn’t last more than a few hours, and I was able to pull myself out of them eventually.

So that’s the Sunday round-up.

More to come later in the week.