Undoing Crazy

“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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Back to work…

Returning to work after a leave due to mental illness can be extremely nerve-racking. At least for me, anytime someone looks at me I feel like all they are thinking is “look, the nut job is back.”  I’ve only been back for four days now and everyday has been a challenge for me.  Yesterday I woke and really missed being apart of group therapy and thought maybe I should think about twice a week therapy sessions again.  Because my mind couldn’t stop racing, I called into work again.

I know I shouldn’t be so hard on myself because I’m going to have bad days, but I still feel guilty for missing work.  Although attending group therapy last night was a very good decision for me, it made me think even more about how I really need that and can’t get it because of my work schedule.  I’m perfectly fine talking about whats been going on with me now, but it’s one thing talking to someone who’s been through the same things and another talking to an “outsider.”  People who have been there can give a lot better advice than the ones who haven’t.

I started a creative writing class this week.  I’m surprised how mental health and creative writing mesh together and become such a big writing topic.  I’m curious to hear the reactions of my classmates when they read the memoir I have planned to write.  My biggest challenge so far is carving out time to write and sticking to it.  From what I’ve gathered so far, time after work is off limits.

The search for two female baby guinea pigs that don’t resemble mice/rats seems almost as hopeless as my recovery from depression.  I’ve gone in search of them the last two days and came up short.  I have their home all set up and ready for them, all I need now is my babies.

I’ve started a new therapist that I really enjoy so far.  I’ve only been to her once, but she seems to be a good fit for me.  She’ll be working on talk therapy and CBT.  I’m curious about how it works and fits in. She’s already given me a homework assignment.  And I need to be more diligent about it, not surprisingly.

Finally, I feel like my meds are finally working and stable although now my anxiety is through the roof.  I’m sleeping wonderfully at normal hours when nothing exciting is coming up or anything bad has happened.  I’m just not anywhere near how I used to be, I’m able to laugh now but not giggle incessantly like before.  Maybe I’ve just grown up through this, or maybe I have more work than I think I do to get better. I’m not really sure what to expect of this experience. The only thing I know is it hasn’t been the first depressive episode I’ve had, probably won’t be the last, but it’s the first time I’ve had help for it and I’ve very grateful for the help I’ve received so far.

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I’m trying to come up with a good topic to write about today, but I can’t currently come up with anything. I’m plagued by a terrible headache that won’t go away and unfortunatley just feel like going to bed.

With any luck though, I’ll go home, journal, work on my Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Workbook, read, and go to bed.

Tomorrow is my last day in IOP, maybe that’s part of the reason I’m feeling crumby today.


If we treated all illnesses the way we treat mental illness…

A perfect example of the stigma surrounding mental illness. Although I’m not sure how I’ll handle negative feedback when it comes to me (and I know it will) I’m finally confident that I’m making the right decision with getting treatment. I wouldn’t expect myself to “just deal” if I had cancer.

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“We’re a feeling-phobic society.”

The title of this post is a quote from the book Hide & Seek by Wendy Aron and it paints the picture of what brought me to the hospital in the first place. (I’m sure you’ll be seeing a few quotes from this book as it’s my current read) I started going to therapy because I was in pain all the time without explanation.

My stomach would bother me and my entire body would ache. I visited my primary care physician thought it was the product of stress. One day I was in so much pain I needed to see a specialist. I visited a gastroenterologist who took a countless number of tests and told me I was completely fine.  With two doctors telling me I was fine I began to evaluate myself and realize that I spend a lot time worrying about things I can’t control.

I seeked out a therapist to try to get this under control and about a month in to my sessions I became more and more withdrawn from people. I started going even further into darkness when she cancelled my session out of the blue. I showed up the next week with textbook signs of depression. She asked me if the cancellation of my appointment made me feel like I was unimportant, and the short answer was “yes.”

Throughout my month or two in individual therapy I was able to talk about the facts but when she asked the deeper questions I would resort to “I don’t know.”  After a couple weeks of feeling depressed I called and changed my appointments from once a week to twice a week in hopes the the combination of therapy and meds would help me recover faster. During my second session of two-a-weeks she mentioned partial hospitalization.

It was hard enough having the secret of going to therapy but to be institutionalized was unheard of.   After much thought and many more “I don’t knows,” I reluctantly agreed to an intensive outpatient program.  For the first week of the sessions I was mostly silent and attentively listening to my peers hearing stories that I knew all to well.  It’s amazing how similar we all are.

After two weeks in outpatient, I can say that I’m feeling okay about the future and although I’m a little scared of the weekend I know that I can keep myself busy. I’ve been pretty good at it this week.


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Hello world!

Whether we like it or not, often times the mental illnesses we face are seen and judged by others. For a depressive like me who is already sensitive to people’s judgements and reactions, like many depressives, the way we are perceived comments can mean staying in a deep depression for longer than we plan.

It’s easy for people to say, but it’s hard for me to believe not to care what others think and that it IS okay to seek help for your mental health issues without the worry of being stigmatized as a lunatic, crazy person, insane, demented, or mad.  In fact, everyone that I have met in my various forms of therapy are far from any of the stereotypes. They’re just like everyone else in the world.

Although I’ve only received negative feedback from a few people (you know, the old “buck up and move on”) it’s still in the back of my mind that most people think I’m crazy.  Going to therapy and starting antidepressants was hard enough for me to accept, getting a recommendation to enter a mental health facility was almost impossible for me to accept at the time.  Opening up to my parents and supervisors would prove to be even more difficult although everyone around me knew I was in a downward spiral.

At my worst I would miss work at least an average of two days a week, and when I was at work I came and did my job without saying more than three words. I dreaded going to work, and more days than not I couldn’t even get out of bed to make it there.  Although I didn’t see it, and they didn’t seem to show it, I was told many people were worried about me.  At the time, I was only fixated on how bad my life was and barely thought about anything but that. I made the decision to take a leave of absence to work on myself and get better a week ago and since then I’ve had two coworkers inquire about my health.  It turns out that even though I thought no one would care if I went missing, people did take notice.

At the beginning of my treatment I started seeing my primary care doctor to prescribe antidepressants. The first to try become an off brand Zoloft.  The two weeks I was on it I couldn’t eat without feeling sick, barely wanted to move because of it, and worst of all started to plan my own death.  When I switched to an off brand Effexor, side effects became much more tolerable but the desire to kill myself was still there. I simply didn’t think that life was worth living, although I didn’t have a plan on how to do it.

I’m now seeing a psychiatrist once a week, although I’m not the biggest fan of my current psychiatrist.  I’ll be meeting a possible new candidate next week.  And I’m also still in an outpatient behavior health facility that is giving me new insight into myself.  Without it, I wouldn’t have found out that I enjoy writing about my feelings much more than talking about them.  I actually find writing to be quite a therapeutic experience for me.  I haven’t actually written anything since college and I know my writing in college was far from perfect but I would really enjoy even the possibility of writing a book on my personal experiences as well.  Practice makes perfect.  I’ve also discovered that my worry about the stigma surrounding mental illnesses was holding me back from truly gaining the most out of my therapy experiences.  I would love to volunteer or write about ways in which to break the stigma or at least make efforts in trying to do so.

I’m going to try to make this a habit like I have started to make daily journaling a habit as well.

Thanks for listening,


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