Undoing Crazy

Pets and Therapy

In the partial hospitalization program you attend group sessions from 9 am to almost 3 pm.  They give handouts in the beginning of the week telling us all what the groups will be throughout the day.  Today I was very excited for pet therapy.  In pet therapy we ended up just talking like regular group therapy but with a Rottweiler puppy in attendance as well.  We went around the room with treats for her and pet her after all the treats were gone.  She took a particular liking to me, which is good because I love dogs.

Because I can’t  have dogs or cats in my condo that I am renting, I decided to get a couple of guinea pigs for some companionship.  I’m amazed at how mentally absorbed I’ve become in my guinea pigs. I’m excited to get home to them and sad when I have to leave them.  I often think of them throughout the day and worry about them as I would a child.  I like that I have something to think about and occupy my mind because I often used to just worry about every random thing.  Thinking about them is a refreshing change.

I’m also excited to report that I actually started to feel hopeful today.  In expressive therapy I was able to work on a collage of what I wanted my future to look like, I know that I wouldn’t have been able to do that a month ago.  I was also able to make a list of goals.  Here is what I came up with in order of which I feel I could accomplish most easily.

  • Try acupuncture. *I went to a place in town and actually made an appointment for this Friday. I’ll keep you updated on how it went.
  • Get into a writing habit.
  • Get my apartment cleaned and organized.
  • Get my guinea pigs to trust me and want to be held by me.
  • Happily return to work.
  • Sell items I don’t use on eBay or at a garage sale. Donate what won’t sell.
  • Do volunteer work.
  • Look into a secondary insurance plan.
  • Keep an eye out for a first shift/challenging position using my degree or that requires a bachelors degree.
  • Get my debt payed off.

I also started seeing the psychiatrist I’ve been assigned in the program and so far I don’t mind him. He changed my meds again, I’ll be going back to Effexor and starting Abilify.  Hopefully that can do what the Fanapt is not doing.  I just want to feel better.

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“How can you hide from what never goes away?”

The title of this post is also a quote from the book Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel.

I thought that I was done with feeling suicidal, turns out I’m not.  I was struggling with thoughts of wanting to die and not seeing a purpose again Sunday and Monday.  And today, I’m not really sure were I’m at with things. I don’t feel well, but I don’t feel completely hopeless either.

I hung out with my two baby guinea pigs tonight.  I love the two of them to death, they are so funny and my desire to see them grow and to get them to enjoy being held and trust me is probably one of the only things keeping me going these days.  Despite expanding my friend base after the first rough patch of this episode, I’m still struggling with feeling alone.  Maybe it’s because it’s my first day in outpatient treatment and I’m not used to the people yet, I’m not sure.

I had a little talk with my mother tonight and she agreed that she didn’t feel I was at the point in which I needed to go into inpatient treatment, but last Tuesday I could have sworn that was what I needed.  I’m scared I’m never going to get the right meds, because I’m starting to believe that this doesn’t have any reason other than being a true chemical imbalance and that’s why it’s taking so long for me to deal with and get better.  I was talking with my therapist the last time I had a session and she said that inpatient is the fast way to getting the right meds because you are seeing a psychiatrist everyday and being constantly monitored. I’m not sure, I still feel like it’s just a big crap shot and getting the right combo.

My sleep is back to being completely off the wall. I think I’m talking to my assigned psychiatrist tomorrow, I need to make a list of all of these things.  Although sometimes I never really know what to tell the doctors because I keep forgetting things or it’s been so long since I’ve dealt with them.

I’m going on my fourth month of feeling completely crappy and not being able to deal with day to day life, I’m just sick of having to feel this way all the time.

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Naming my dog

It’s 11:40, I’m exhausted, I’ve been up since six a.m. and running since 10, and I still can’t find it in myself to go to sleep.  Tomorrow will be another long day. I can’t wait for Wednesday night to be all to myself and my girls.  I wish I could shut my mind off, not even the Ativan is doing that for me. Although it is helping me to make more rational decisions.

Depending on who’s around, I’ve decided to name the monster in my head either The Devil/The Bitch.  And it really depends on the day which one takes over. It seems now a days it’s either one or the other or both on the same day.

I just really need some sleep,

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“That is all I want in life: for this pain to seem purposeful.”

The title of this post is a quote from Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel, my current read.

A week ago today, despite everyone’s advice against it: I decided to stop taking my meds.  In all fairness, I was already feeling horrible and slept through my medication alarm on my phone and when I woke up the next morning (Tuesday, my birthday) I was feeling fine and thought I could handle not taking them.  I went to work all the while telling myself that I could make it without meds, and that I could pretend I was doing just fine even though I was falling apart on the inside.

Work started out fine, then about an hour in I started crying for reasons I can’t explain.  Then, I started to think about the meeting I had the day before about a job I had messed up before I went on leave and thought about the fact that I had delayed pediatric luekemia patients their last chance drug because I didn’t ask questions about the barcode. I also thought about the fact that I am feeling hopeless because I can’t find meds that work for me either.  I’m not a leukemia patient, but at times this thing that lives in my head seems just as bad, like it could kill me at any time.

I left work after my boss saw me crying and suggested I go home to try to deal with whatever was going on with me. (I still can’t tell you why I cried although I have a feeling it may be all the pent up emotions that I should have been feeling that my meds weren’t allowing me to feel.)  I took Wednesday off as well and went to group therapy at night hoping it would have the same empowering effect as it did the week before, sadly it didn’t.

Thursday morning I had an appointment with my psychiatrist at 10:20, at 10:35 I still hadn’t been in to see him and a guy randomly showed up to talk to him about issues he was having with his medication and he pulled him in his office to talk to him.  At that point, I was irrate. I was having issues with my meds too, and I had an appointment!  Finally at 10:45 I went into his office and just went off telling him that I was still mad and that he wasn’t listening to me and that I needed new meds. Sadly, he took me off Effexor and kept me on the antipsychotic for schizophrenics that I feel isn’t doing anything but making me fat.  Now I’m on the antipsychotic twice a day, Cymbalta at night, and Ativan when needed.  I had an appointment with my therapist at 11 so I couldn’t stick around and have the session that I truly needed to have because he has no concept of time.

I made it to my therapy appointment with a little time to relax and try to cool down from yet another terrible psychiatrist session.  When my therapist called me back to her office she asked how I was doing and I just let out a huge sigh.  When I explained to her what was going on and that I had thought about admitting myself to the hospital on my birthday she immediately took me out of work and told me to go back to IOP. Actually, I’ll be starting PHP (Partial Hospitalization Program) tomorrow.  It differs from IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program) in that it last longer through the day and you also see a psychiatrist once a week.  She even said that hospitalization could be a good option for me to get my meds straight the quick way.  I decided to save the hospital for when I really feel like I want to jump off a cliff again. (Which, the suicidal ideation came back last night)

My sleep is starting to be completely off and crazy, I was awake at six am today.  And I’m also eating like crazy.  Sadly, I have to go into school today and drop my creative writing class because I can’t kick this stupid guy that lives in my head.  I wish I could let the people at work that are disappointed in me and think I should just come out of this see that I have no control over what my mind does or thinks right now.  Hopefully with more work in CBT I can start to at least get some of it under control.

The guinea pigs are doing great, although Bella still has a hard time being held and they are both too afraid to take advantage of the multilevel aspect of their cage.  I bought them treats yesterday to feed them while they are being held and I also bought them so grass that I’ll grow for them.  They are a couple of spoiled little girls, despite the fact that I’m super broke.

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What’s wrong?

I feel like Bella, always wanting to hide in my cave and only come out for food and water.  If only I could be like Stella, she enjoyed when I took her out and held and pet her for while.   I was reading a fellow bloggers post today and wish people could understand that depression affects the way people feel and the way their mind works and thinks.

I don’t always know whats wrong, I wish people knew that too. Depression doesn’t always have to have reason.

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Are these things working?

I don’t know what happened, Saturday night and into Sunday I was in such a good mood and so excited to have my new babies.  Then Sunday night I took a turn for the worst, so to speak.  I was contemplating discontinuing my meds, I have no idea if they are working but they don’t feel like they really are.  Here are a few reasons I think my meds suck:

  • Although I’m able to get out of bed and do things everyday I still don’t feel particularly motived.
  • I haven’t been able to giggle like an idiot which I used to be before I went off the deep end.
  • I can get out of bed, but my mood is often still gloomy.

I’m sure I can come  up with more, but that’s all I can think of at the moment. I’m considering going back to doing therapy twice a week, and hopefully with cognitive that will help more than plain psychotherapy.  I also see my favorite (insert sarcasm) psychiatrist on Thursday, lets see if he just keeps me on the same meds and hopes for the best again.

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The happy momma

For the first time in a long time I could say that I was happy when I found the perfect two guinea pigs. I’d been searching for them for several weeks without luck.  When I saw them there were four that I was trying to decide between and when I saw the two that I bought fight over the same piece of hay I knew I had found the ones, they made me laugh and touched me in a way I hadn’t felt in a long time.

When I first decided I wanted a pet my thought when straight to a cat because it could be a great companion and I didn’t have to take it on walks and devote as much time as I would have to for a dog. Just coming out of a deep depression and knowing it could happen again, even though I want a dog I knew it wouldn’t be a wise decision. I asked my landlord and after about a week of not hearing from him he finally told me I wasn’t allowed a dog or a cat.  I thought all hope was lost until I talked with one of my bosses and discussed the several things that had upset me that day including the inability to get a pet, he suggested a hamster or a rabbit.  I couldn’t get a hamster because they remind me too much of mice and I wasn’t sure about a rabbit.  Finally, I decided a guinea pig would be right for me.

After reading about them though, I found that in only having one that the pig could become depressed.  There was no way I could let my pet get depressed after going through it myself, so I finally decided on two females.  They just woke up and I was trying to be very quiet while I knew they were asleep.  I’ve been talking to them since I bought them, and I can already see an improvement in my mood. I just hope it can last for a while.

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Meet my new writing corner partners…..

Bella Louise on the left

and Stella Capri on the right

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The Family Business

Every doctor, therapist, psychiatrist, and hospital that I have gone to on this crazy ride have asked me the same question “do you have a family history of depression?”  And at the time I was being intensely treated I could only give the answer of “not that I’m aware.”

Through a recent family death on my maternal side I was able to find out that not only is depression prevalent in the family, but alcoholism as well.  Thankfully for me, I barely touch alcohol. I just hope I can keep that up in the long run.

Also, the other day I posted a youtube video and a quote about depression urging people not to minimize the disease and received a “like” from an unsuspecting individual, one of my cousins on my fathers side.  With that, I decided to send her a private message asking if she had gone through it and if she knew of anyone else in the family that had.  She told me that she is also on Effexor and that several people in the family have been recommended to take meds but have decided not to.

I’m absolutely amazed to find out that it is prevalent on both sides of my family tree. Hopefully know that I know that I can find out how it effects them and how they handle the ins and outs of things. But overall, it’s soothing to know that I’m not the only one.

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Addressing the Elephant

Since I’ve been back to work I’ve been walking on eggshells.  I’m sure it’s all in my head, but anytime someone turns the other way or whispers something I’m worried it’s about my leave.  I know that a few people are aware of why I went on leave and know the facts from me first hand, but word spreads around my shop like wildfire anytime something happens.  The anxiety was killing me and a couple people in group therapy said that if it was bothering me so much to just address it head on.

Last night I went around telling each person in my work group that I wanted work to be as easy as we could make it for all of us and that I didn’t want them to be afraid to talk to me.  I also opened the floor up for any questions they might have about what’s going on with me but everyone just seemed to feel like it was personal and they couldn’t talk about it.  I almost wish a few people would have asked me flat out what was wrong so that I could tell them “I’m living with depression, this isn’t the first time I’ve been through this, I’m sure it won’t be the last. But at least I finally sought out treatment.”  I’m finally comfortable with it, I hate the stigma that it has to be a secret though.  Ugh!

Work was slow last night as well so I worked in another department doing mindless work and thought about so many different things.  I’m unsure about how I feel about my meds, I’ve had about three really bad days since I started finally coming through the dark clouds.  Although Wednesday at group was the only time when tears welled up in my eyes and I started to show some real emotion even if it wasn’t carried out all the way.  I’ve noticed I’m a lot more patient with my best friend (and everyone else around me) who always takes forever to return my messages. (in all fairness, he is a really busy guy)  But I’m curious as to when I’ll become my old giggling-at-everything self.  Will it ever come back?  Or did I just finally mature in the time I’ve been in treatment?

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