Hamster Wheel – A medication Journey

we decided to call it quits and try something else. …

It’s true I’ve been absent again. It’s been another roller coaster ride the last few weeks. The Latuda was so hopeful when it started. That first week on it I felt like I was coming to life. But as we adjusted and the medication built up the hypomania gave way to pure unadulterated panic attacks. These weren’t like anything I had ever experienced in my life. At least twice I was ready to check myself into the ER because I was coming out of my skin. So my doc gave me some anti-anxiety meds – Clonazepam with a side of Hydroxyzine – it took about a week for me to be able to sit still again and sleep. Honestly it was one of the worst mental health crisis I’ve had in awhile only to be topped by the coming depression. I was incapacitated. Couldn’t sleep, couldn’t watch tv I was that agitated. Plus now I was on 3 meds instead of one which I despise. Additionally because I was so sensitive to the Latuda and it has no XR option I had to take it 3 times a day split up to keep from going into freakout mode. Now this wouldn’t have been so bad but they had to be taken at very specific times and I had to eat 350 calories minimum when I took them. Eating when you take them helped them be better bioavailable but also prevented nausea. (I tried to cheat a few times and the nausea was BAD) So my days felt like I was tied to my meds. No mistakes allowed. So after three months of trying, and only getting up to 40mg (for like 3 days immediately had to drop back down to 30) and after gaining 8lbs, and after so many terrible panic attacks- we decided to call it quits and try something else.

But BOY HOWDY DO YOU DO – trying to fight the panic/mania triggered a depression and then coming off the Latuda? well that’s when I knew for sure it was good at keeping depression at bay because it was like falling off a cliff. I wasn’t just down I was out…I was in freeze mode. Dissociation mode. Can’t Even plus ultra mode. And no amount of ANY suggestion was getting me out of it. I could barely eat. And at the end of it all I spent a whole day just crying. that was fun. My suicidal thoughts came back triple fold and again I had a few days were I wondered if I needed to be under observation. I do not like to feel that way…mostly because logically I know I don’t want to die but my brain goes off the rails and the thought was nearly constant in a way I hadn’t experienced for a few years and hope it stays away for a long, long time.

So I started on Lithium. 150mg to start for the first week. And then about 6 days ago I upped my dose to 300mg. (we are hoping to get me on XR tablets because I just seem to do better when things are spread out and not happening all at once) and in the last three days it’s like a veil has lifted. I did get a little hypomanic today so I have to watch myself and not take on too much or make too many crazy decisions. Sometimes coming out of a deep depression I can get over zealous because it just feels so good. But I was able to make plans and PHONE CALLS this week without freaking out, even answered unknown phone numbers a few times today — that’s crazy! LOL (for those that don’t know me I have suffered with terrible phone phobia for over a decade and it has really affected my life fairly significantly so this was a pretty big deal)
Normally? panic attack city being on the phone at all, let alone answering an unknown number… today just casually said “Good Afternoon this is Aminda”. So nice.

So once again feeling hopeful and hope we can get a dose that keeps me out of the depths but doesn’t send me into a frenzy. Last week when I was still deep in the depression my therapist and I discussed things like ECT (Electroconvulsive therapy) for people who have medication resistant depression. I’m hoping that this time we can not go down such dark paths. See I’m anxious to get this mood stabilized a bit because we can’t focus on my ADHD until that happens. So fingers crossed this medication can get me to a place of alert without being a basket case. OH also my appetite is back to normal so that feels good!

Anywho that’s about it for now. Just a peak at the trials we have to go through to get our medication right. I’m 4 months in now and we are still trying so if you are going down this road you have to have patience and persistence. I hope I’ve found my therapeutic answer, and I hope you do too!

Which came first anxiety or depression (One Shot Poetry)

my mind, my heart, my soul cry out
LET ME GO

Sitting in the darkness eager for the light
my heart beating a syncopated rhythm
desire to fly overcomes my soul
the shackles of fear keep me tied down
struggling against the status quo
my mind, my heart, my soul cry out
LET ME GO
and I wonder sitting in the darkness
is there even light or just a mirage
heaviness envelopes me
flying seems like it’s a lie
a fantasy sold to me by charlatans
and yet my inner voice screams
LET ME GO
thoughts rattle in the darkness
fears scrape in the shadows
hope, faith, trust cower in the corners
reaching out they try to shine
pain, mistakes, recrimination lurk
my dreams and desires and designs call out
LET ME GO
Trapped inside my head
anxiety begets depression begets
anxiety begets depression ….
the cycle never ending
the only form of flow I know
inside I’m crying out, trying to break free
LET ME GO

Woke up feeling trapped, and just majorly stuck in a cycle of physical and mental health dilemmas and I just want a major change, a way to break free. It feels good to express that feeling with poetry, oddly that feels like at least some progress.

For those that don’t know #oneshotpoetry I write free flow and do not edit what you see is what comes out raw. I do that so that I don’t overthink it or destroy it’s original intent. It’s one way to silence the inner critic and get to the heart of any true feeling.

I’ll give you something to cry about

More importantly most of us have been taught our feelings are wrong, inappropriate, inconsequential and our pain is not “enough”, …

Feelings. Emotions. They are the cornerstone of how we interpret, interact, and react to the world. And so many of us simply don’t know what our feelings are or what they mean. More importantly most of us have been taught our feelings are wrong, inappropriate, inconsequential and our pain is not “enough”, others have it worse, others are less sensitive, others have more control. etc etc etc. And we are subsequently taught we are fundamentally “wrong”. At least that’s been my life experience so far. And this makes sharing very very difficult. I was reminded of a story about someone’s reaction to the book “Eat Pray Love” during my morning pages and I think it exemplifies why so many people struggle with being emotionally honest. The world is pretty judgy.

Now however you feel about “Eat Pray Love” for a lot of people it resonated and for a lot it was a dream to be able to deal with emotional hurt in such a tangible and relaxed way. But that’s where I got the biggest kick from someone I thought of us a friend (this is where I remind you what you say about others can absolutely harm people you care about if they see themselves in you recriminations, food for thought) I was reading the book at work and was really enjoying some of what Elizabeth had to say, I was especially moved by her pain when to an outsider her life “looked great’ that more than anything struck me. We can have “things” that might seem like we have it all but we can still be hurting and feeling hollow and alone. And a woman at work went on a TIRADE.
“I hated that book what a whiny b*tch”. I was taken aback… Me: “Surely you can see that people can hurt deeply no matter what their outside life looks like and no matter what they have”? Her — “are you kidding she is just a selfish person who wants too much” …. this went back and forth for awhile until my relationship with this person was forever changed. I was never ever going to tell her again anything that I felt. Because I had felt that from so many people my whole life and here was more proof that people judged our pain and anguish and compared it. Did I realize that my loveless marriage was not the same as someone in a war torn country? yes OF COURSE but yet it doesn’t’ take away my feelings of emptiness, failure, and loneliness. But I was just shown that this was not a safe person to open up to and honestly I approach most people like they are just judgemental time bombs waiting to go off. I’m super sensitive and have an almost outsized sense of injustice and want everyone to be happy and be treated well. But that means I can’t compare people’s suffering. I do not ever want to belittle someone’s pain. But it happens so much how are any of us to ever be able to be honest. But I suppose that is what finding the right people is all about – finding the place where you can be real even if you to some your pain seems trivial or inconsequential, we don’t get to determine that for others.

But doesn’t it all start in childhood. Did anyone else here the phrase “I’ll give you something to cry about” — has it ever hit you as much as it did me recently how belittling that is to your feelings? Have you ever thought how much our faith in ourselves was beat (for some of us literally) out of us? How the hell are we supposed to understand our feelings when we are always told they are not the right ones. When our honest reactions to life are questioned and weighed. When tears are see has warfare?
I may not have the same trauma as the next person, objectively what some people experience is far worse than the next person, HOWEVER that does not diminish or negate the pain one person feels. This is why I am starting with self compassion. Because I want to store up enough compassion to understand that everyone is struggling and until we let them freely express their pain they will simply continue to lash out. Violence, depressions, anxiety, addiction, cultism all are the voices of the unheard, the misunderstood. If we want to change the world we have to start listening without judgment and hearing what people’s fears, hurts, and desires truly are. Start with yourself and go from there. No one’s pain or shame needs to be ridiculed it needs to be healed. As #brenebrown reminds us about the “Gifts of Imperfection” to be honest and to feel brings us #courage #compassion #connection and that is how we heal the world. I have something to cry about everyday and that is the suffering of the unheard.

Full Moon

washing away the old so that I may be freed

Blessed Full Moon

I come to you full, so l may be emptied.

releasing all that no longer serves me

washing away the old so that I may be freed

ready to receive your blessings

Words are whispered beyond my hearing

longing to hear your voice again

I will wait patiently, quietly,

listening for your wisdom

open to all that you have to offer

It was I that abandoned our connection

denied my blood and my soul

I allowed the words of others

to steal my power

to dim my fire

so it is I that begs forgiveness

returning humbled

yet empowered

I wash away the weight

of judgment

of fear

I am renewed

I hear your song

I am home

Rediscovered Poetry – Outside In

and I heard myself think it’s not very good,

From a FB post last year – I almost didn’t share. I am trying to write “a thing” every day. A story, poem, non superficial thoughts, and I heard myself think it’s not very good, felt nearly fear and shame at the thought of people seeing it and realized it’s one of my monsters I need to slay. A story I need to untell…. So I had shared it in my private #thewayofyourinnervoicegroup originally, so now it’s time to be a little less scared and share here. Also I have not written a post in 10 days TEN days…it has been some rough times. Partly because I’ve started to come back to the world and do my work and it’s harder than I imagined. So this is still all I have for now. A rehash but still so relevant

The Scratching the clawing

Fighting to get out

Or in?

Outside in, inside out

Impossible to tell

The voices come

Either way

crawling under the skin

words trapped in between

Heart barely beating

Blood rushing

You’ve been at this door

Pounding screaming

Pleading

So many times before

Crying

Hoping

Dreaming

Door cracks

Light enters

Don’t stop now

It’s finally time to go

Jan 29 2021

From the deepest corners…wipeout

… Man this is where I wish I knew if you have seen “Doom Patrol” (and if not why NOT??) because it would be so much easier to understand if you knew Jane, if you understood the underground. ANYWHOOOOOO….

This morning my Inner Voice Exploration Practice (AKA modified #morningpages) spat up a deep dark core belief that I have joked about but honestly didn’t realize the actual depth of this feeling and wow it really gets to the meat of my bipolar dilemma. These are the words that came out of my head, “… I’m kookoo bananas and inconsistent and no one can rely on me, not even myself”.

and boy am I mad about it, because it’s not WRONG perse. But I want to kick and scream it’s not ME. I – ME – MY personality is so very disparately reliable but it’s buried under all this. *gestures vaguely* . And then I stop and ask, but is that true as I look out on ….all this…. I realize you can’t really separate me from the brain chemistry. You can’t just pretend I don’t have terrifying mood swings. We can’t just laugh away my grown ass meltdowns. We can’t whistle while I weep uncontrollably because I’m just so happy. We can’t just pretend nothing is wrong and that I’m stable and can get shit done.

I will cancel plans. I will be late. I will forget. I will panic. I will get sick. I will have to back out sometimes. All of these things are real. And yet I’m a ride or die bitch in my heart.

See, it’s like the main me, the real me is trapped inside this meat puppet and there are a few different puppeteers… Man this is where I wish I knew if you have seen “Doom Patrol” (and if not why NOT??) because it would be so much easier to understand if you knew Jane, if you understood the underground. ANYWHOOOOOO….the point being there are these factors these parts of me that interfere with being the person I want to be.

ENEMY NUMBER ONE IS FATIGUE. I feel like if I wasn’t so exhausted maybe I’d have more resilience to ride the waves. But as it is I feel less surfer and more fearful white knuckled passenger.

It’s endlessly tiring to constantly be fighting yourself and your #neurotransmitters #moodswings and #meltdowns OH MY. And let me be clear I’m still just talking about dealing with the bipolar issues we haven’t even glanced at the ADHD, OCD, and smattering of part time phobias that lurk about.

UGH it still all sounds like excuses and that my friends is where we come to our crossroads. Where half of me wants to embrace the bipolar and learn to work with it and not be so exhausted fighting and the other half wants to be “normal” (whatever the bleep that is) and do things when I want without having to form a committee of barely functioning parts of myself who, honestly don’t agree on a lot of things. Having some “Crazy Alice” vibes right now.

It’s really REALLY hard to know thyself when that “self” is interrupted by mental struggles that you often have no control over. Want to visit friends today? OH no we will have a panic attack instead. Want to write today? OH no you will lose all focus and concentration. Sure it gets done eventually but a girl can’t make a living like this.

Dear employer can you hire me to work sporadically when my brain is functioning? When and how often will that be? Well that is definitely the million dollar question.

You see therapist I have so much proof that I’m unreliable. It’s hard to build self-love and self-worth on such a basic tenet. Today I’m smart and charming, tomorrow I may be recalcitrant, or perhaps just a titch agoraphobic. I may want to be around 100 people or I may wake up the Grinch. I’ll be so productive you’ll wonder where I’ve been all your life and then it will dry up, whither and turn to dust. Teeter Totter Teeter Totter.

and maybe one day will discuss what all that has done to my physical system….

But for now this is your warning. Healing is messy, it hurts, and you gotta face some shit my friend. I’m a little hurt with myself. She’s not being very compassionate. But I’m pretty impressed she was able to admit such an icky truth. Maybe now that it’s out of the shadows we can work on making it a little less ick and figure how to build a life that has room for the waves. Don’t need a new ocean, or a new rider, maybe I just need some new moves and maybe a new board. (Surfing is too easy to use as a metaphor it should be illegal like a writing cheat code, but hey it fit) OH maybe I DO need to find different waves…..

Are you riding the waves you want?