Scared, but back

I am slowly turning human again. A human that has to live in the dark, yes, but human nonetheless. But I don’t feel well. And I start a new job this week, and my first night is a 30 hour shift.

I really wish I had tried to delay starting by another month. But no one forced me to, and I’ll always punish myself if I can, so I said I’d start. Never mind that I am worn down. My mood now is nearing normal. Does the fact that I just went through four months of hell make a difference? It is hard to say. On a practical level, there are many things I neglected during that time that all need attention. This makes me busier. And lying in bed for weeks on end does not do much for one’s physical shape. But I suppose I am back to something resembling health.

My question is something like this: after a severe mood episode, is one expected to be back to normal once the mood is more or less stabilized? The symptoms are gone now – so one should go back to full function, right? And the drugs will only work better as time goes on, since I’ve been taking them for less than two weeks – things should only improve as they kick in. I should be fully functional right now.

But I feel like I am standing on terribly shaky legs. I am not sure if my strength is there underneath or not. Though all my symptoms are mostly gone and nothing is wrong with me now, the proximity of the episode, the loss of control, the fear and the pain, the horror of how hard and fast I could fall, did fall, seem to be near. My usually unstoppable confidence, boldness, fearlessness are not back yet. I still feel like the real me is lost.

I wish one of the doctors involved had stepped in and told me, recommended strongly, that I take more time. But, of course, I in my stubbornness, my denial of this illness, my refusal to allow it space in my life, made it almost impossible for anyone to say such a thing, even for my own good. But I wish that one of them had been big enough to brave my rage, to trample the independence they give me out of the deference for my profession. I probably would have been angry. Definitely would have. I might not have listened. Probably wouldn’t have.

But I might have. Then I could have taken the break gracefully, blaming them for making me take something that I myself am unable to admit that I need. Sometimes people do need to be saved from themselves.

Who knows? Maybe moving on as quickly as possible, acting like nothing happened, is better. Sometimes I think back and count up the months and the years that this has sucked from my life, and it horrifies me. Depending on how I count, often, the years taken away are more than the years I have had. Maybe that alone is a good enough reason to run back into a full schedule as soon as I can.

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What do you think? What do you do? When the episode lifts, do you rush to embrace your life again, or do you enter timidly? The episode seems to have vanished, and the wake left behind is invisible, internal, so much so that only you know it is there. Is it enough to rock you?

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Mixed states?

I can’t sit still and can’t find anything to do, having finished a million projects today and now I am filled with an insatiable appetite for anything physical. Sex, food, violence, motion. I forgot how strange a trip it is from starting medication to the phase where you are balanced again. Crossing all sorts of strange valleys, strange depressions and strange manias. The med has done enough to drag me out of depression but not enough to make anything feel right.

This leaves me pacing like a wild animal. All instinct, no intellect. Normally, in this state of activation, I’d write, but my cognition is still too slow to do anything like that successfully, my mind is still depressed. So instead, I pace, clench and unclench muscles, feel cagey like an animal. Eat apples again and again – something about their crunch is satisfying, raw, the just-right substrate for my fangs. I feel like prowling the streets, looking for sex or a fight. I feel like growling and hissing.

And, unpleasant as it is, at least when it is unsatisfied, I am not altogether sure I want this feeling to end. It feels like me at the core, stripped away to my most raw, untrapped by drugs, society, identity. While there is no place for this person now in my life, my location, I wouldn’t want her to disappear forever. I just wish I knew what to do with her, what she needed, what she is trying to say.

Onion link fun

Just a quick update, I probably won’t post in the next couple of days. I’m back on the old med, sunburn be damned, and hope to feel something closer to back to life soon.

This is more or less the situation: http://www.theonion.com/content/news/area_man_makes_it_through_day

And then…things you don’t want to hear your doctor say

come morning, my bedmate started yelling, “Your eyes! Your eyes! What the fuck happened to your eyes? You look like a fucking alien!”

So I wait until it’s a decent hour, then call the shrink. “Whaaaaat?” he says. “Really? I’m going to have to go Google that and get back to you.”

Mydriasis, or my pupils got stuck open all the way. Yep. Google Effexor. It’s there.

Adverse Effects: Effexor

Yesterday mid-day I took the first dose of 75 mg extended release Effexor. Since then I can’t sleep, am shaking with my teeth chattering, want to throw up, and have bad akisthisia (when you can’t keep still) and racing thoughts. My eyes hurt inside and are fuzzy. Every muscle in my body is screaming. I ran around all night and am exhausted, yet can’t stop. I need to work at a million things this week, which is terrifying in this state.

I am terrified to take the next dose. Does this get better? Is this normal for starting, or an unusually bad reaction? I think back in the early days of Prozac, I had the same kind of nausea at first. But nothing like the rest of it. And I understand that to get the norepinephrine effect that is the whole point of me taking it, I need to take a much, much larger dose.

Anyone? I am afraid to keep taking it, afraid to stop, and afraid of later trying to get off. It is still too early to call the doc. Who has been there?

My Dealer and I

A nice surprise. No lamotrigine, no carbemazepine, actually he came up with the idea of trying Effexor alone. I was sort of surprised, as it was his first suggestion and I was okay with it. So I’ve already taken the first pill. It has made me feel a little spacey and pukey, but that’s alright. Hopefully, it will be the solution, and will work fast enough to get me functional by the time I need.

And I’m off to the races trying to get everything done that I need to this week. I got a call from my third job that they need me to come do something. This job isn’t worth the hassle, not enough money to be worth my time anymore. But I always feel so fucking guilty and obligated. When that phone call came in, I almost lost it, almost broke down crying right then and there. One more thing that is going to take a half day or whole day that I have to run and do. I am so, so achingly tired.

I have a new med that doesn’t make me panic at the thought of swallowing it, though I do suspect it will kill my emotions and sex drive. Probably my writing as well. But for now, I can live with any of that, just as long as it gets rid of this horrible insomnia, and inability to sit still. Later, I can worry about being me, having a life that is worth something.

I still came out of there feeling pretty bad. I was late because there was a huge traffic mess on the way, and the thing is, I really am at the end of what I can take here, but I think nobody ever really notices that. “You’re still working, right?” they ask. “Then it can’t be that bad.” I guess maybe they are right. Maybe I really am ok. But I always get the sneaking suspicion that I might be that one kind of person who looks fine and does everything perfectly and then one day jumps off a bridge and everyone says, “What the hell? She just was at work like usual. Nothing seemed wrong.”

Do you have to be unwashed and uncombed to be depressed? I certainly have had those days, but the idea of being homeless because of not paying bills is a huge motivator. I just can’t see how that will help me. I certainly haven’t been working well, not a valuable employee or anything, but I’m not one of those people with a family to fall back on, someone who will help me out of trouble, so I keep showing up.

Anyway, I am exhausted, to put it mildly, and my reserves are winding down. Despite the med solution, this meeting was terribly…well, whatever the opposite of comforting is. Intrusive without really being helpful, misunderstood (again, we both are working in a language that is not our native one, where nuance is often lost), and dismissed. Accused of being too judgmental, the real ache apparently invisible. Exhaustion and more exhaustion. I guess that’s sort of a good description of my life.

Executive Decision

That’s it. Everyone has a breaking point, and six months of non-function, of, let’s face it, non-stop insanity, is mine.

This med has been enough to get me out of the wicked depression and into a horrible agitation. It is once again 5 AM, I have been awake for hours, unable to shut the fuck up in my head, angry, suicidal, cruel, and terrified. I have one week left to pull together all the shit I haven’t been able to deal with before starting this new job, and I can barely move.

Tomorrow, I am supposed to meet with the shrink about whatever the hell med disaster is next. But I know the options, and unless something comes to the table that I wasn’t expecting, I am making the executive decision to go back on the old med, and apologize formally to the universe for ever thinking burnt skin was bad enough to justify complaining. I know I have said that I sometimes hate Super Sara, but right now, I need her.

I wrote a long time ago about rage dreams. Last night offered me a new twist – I had the typical dream, but whereas in every previous dream, I flew into the same rage and woke up shortly after, this time, I had the same rage, but the dream kept going. Because of the rage, I was considered out of control, and dragged off to a mental hospital.

Thank the shrink for that dream. I guess I’m still furious about that. But I know that finding another doctor isn’t the answer, not really. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men don’t have any magic drug to offer me. And since I still cannot speak the words “manic depression” or “bipolar,” going to another shrink would probably just delay the diagnosis again. There’s no way I would go to another doctor and honestly tell them that. Not after all that this diagnosis has brought me. The best I can do is listen to this guy’s take on the meds, take the opinion for whatever it’s worth, and try not to put my fist through a window while I’m there.

The worst thing about being crazy is that you lose the right to your emotions. Anger, sadness, existential angst, even happiness – it’s all a disease. You are a child, irrational and unreasonable, and anyone is allowed to pass judgment on you, to dismiss you. None of your good qualities, achievements, or contributions count for anything nearly equal to your crazy. Nothing you could ever do could ever possibly compensate for that.

And the fact that this will hover over me every day, over everything I do and everything I touch, for ever and ever, until the day I die and probably beyond, into whatever pathetic posterity I may merit, makes a more than adequate case for suicide, does it not?