one twelfth of an hour

i am waiting for my turn to see the head doctor. i screwed up and got here an hour earlier than i was supposed to be.
this morning, while we were gathering enough energy and motivation to get up and get in the shower..
me: i am kind of.. something.. about taking lithium. apprehensive? but that isn’t quite the right word.. what I knew of lithium before this led me to think that it was the kind of drug that only really crazy people take.
daniel looked at me with a sort of self-evident well, yes look.
but i didn’t think that i was that crazy.
but it kind of made me think: have i underestimated the severity of this condition that affects me? is that why i have struggled so much, because i have thought that i wasn’t ‘that bad’, because i thought that there were people way, way worse than me – people who get committed, people that need straight jackets and medicine in cups that they watch you take to make sure you take it, people who live in rooms with padded walls. people who need lithium.
i don’t think i’m anywhere near needing all of that stuff, but maybe the space separating me from people who are suffering that badly is not as wide as i thought. maybe i am just lucky because despite it all i have known deep inside that it is not right and not me and wanted to feel like i do on good days, every day.

it’s later now. evening.

i’m not going to be becoming a battery just yet. daniel understood this when i said it to him. i was somewhat surprised at that he got that to be honest. :)
turns out that a blood test the head doctor sent me for showed that i am deficient in iron and vitamin b12 and he thinks that i should have that fixed first because that could account for a part of why i have been so bad lately. vitamin b12 is apparently quite important in things the brain does. it could be that with those fixed and going to get some more counselling, the efexor that i am taking will do the job that it used to be doing effectively, again. or it might not.. and in that case we can consider giving the lithium a go in a month or two. i also have to get another blood test to check for a bunch of other things to try to find out why i have this deficiency. i think i need to have iron supplements to address that part too.. apparently i have heaps of empty capacity for iron in my cells but just not actually enough of the iron. something like that anyway. i asked for a copy of the results so that i could google all the acronyms afterwards (i didn’t say that bit about the googling, of course) but he said he was going to send one to my gp and seemed to think that fulfilled the request. but apart from those two things everything else was good, i have no anaemia, my neutrophils are as good as my mother’s (post neulasta), my cholesterol is good, my thyroid is good.
so i am going back to luke now, to have the iron and b12 things taken care of and to organise getting some counselling happening. may have to wait until next week to see him now, since it will take a couple of days for blood test results to get to him and by then it will be thursday or friday, and thursday is nanna’s medicine day™.

didn’t feel very good this afternoon and evening. it is tiring articulating the mental things and i had a headache and sore neck, i think that is from the chairs in the waiting room at the hospital. then when certain young persons started being disagreeable… well, that didn’t go well.

please note: we frequently refer to ourselves as “crazy”. this may not be the accepted vernacular for people suffering from mental illnesses, but it’s not meant in a bad way. i guess it’s vaguely like the way gay people reinvented ‘queer’ to their own purposes rather than the derogatory way it was first intended. so please no offense being taken.

one twelfth of an hour

three hundred seconds

it tends to get later than one plans and you realise that you still haven’t spent that five minutes you told yourself you were going to spend, and part of you really just wants to chill with sudoku or the book of the moment but it would be really, really lacklustre to fail at the five minutes a day after just one day…
so, if there is in fact anybody other than my mother reading this, it occurred to me that perhaps some elaboration on yesterday’s outpouring would be useful. a few months back I noticed that I wasn’t feeling as I should be, at the time I took a brief mental note of it and decided to be aware of it, to see if it was a bad week or something or if it was something actually not working properly in my head.

and it slowly declined over a few months – probably not helped by the life-changing events of late, but not caused by it; this was there before all that started. after a couple of serious low episodes I knew it wasn’t a bad week, and I knew that it was time to get help. so initially, luke increased my dose of efexor, with a one month return date to discuss the effectiveness of the change. that put me up to 450mg a day, which is quite a high dose.
didn’t work. when we went back, we talked about the options available – another increase in dose or a switch to a different drug. another increase would really start to go into the uberserious high range, which he felt was going past his comfort zone as a gp rather than someone specialising in nutcases who has more familiarity and experience with the effects of those kind of levels of the drug. Since the increase we already did failed to make any noticeable difference, he thought that perhaps trying something else would be better, and also to refer me to a proper head doctor because maybe i was severe enough to warrant the consideration of other treatments such as ect.
it was at that point, when he started to talk about weaning me off the efexor in order to try something else, that Daniel and my mother practically begged him to not make me be drugless for any stretch of time. Could he give me something else to balance it out, they asked. what if this, what if that, they asked. basically, he said, was that what it came down to was living through it or sedating me through it, which is obviously not a particularly practical option. in the end, we decided to leave the drugs as they were and just go with the referral to the head doctor, so that they could advise us on the best course of action.

so two weeks ago daniel and I went to the head doctors, and I explained in great detail my life story and the exact nature of the darkness that invades my mind, which took several hours and a lot of effort, as sometimes it is extremely difficult to translate into words the feelings and non-verbal thoughts that I experience, and where they come from and how I percieve them and how they affect me and how I fight them, and about how the war has not been going well..

the good thing is that head doctor man (who I don’t think looks old enough to be a head doctor man) doesn’t think that i am at the level yet to consider ect, he thinks that there are more pharmacological options to try before we get to that point. The bad thing was that in order to try some of those pharmacological options, I had to wean down to a lesser dose of the efexor before I can have another drug added in. so that has been going on for the last two weeks, two dose reductions a week apart. the first was the worst, the first three days in particular I felt like absolute shite – shaking, nausea, retching, sweats, vagueness, tiredness. it was like that the second time too but to a much lesser degree.

and now tomorrow I will go back to head doctor man and tell him about the last two weeks and he will check the blood test results he sent me to have. we are supposed to also talk about getting some further counselling since it has been beneficial to me in the past, and then talk about/arrange the introduction of a new drug: lithium.

three hundred seconds

five minutes

I am really out of the habit of recording the processes of my brain, and I would like to fix that. I decided to set a new rule for myself to try to do at least five minutes of thought pouring each day.
One of the the reasons I want to do this again is because the processes of my brain are somewhat in flux at the moment and I would like to keep a record of that. last week we went to toft and we did the exercise we sometimes do where we each select a card and then everyone else tells us what they see in that card. I had a few differing responses to my card, but one of the things that i got from it was that darkness can’t be removed or erased without rendering the light meaningless. darkness and light are rely on each other to exist, to have definition. light cannot be defined as the absence of darkness of there is no such thing as darkness. so in order to be able to live in the light, I need to accept and allow that the darkness must be there. I must know what the dark looks like and feels like so that I can reach towards the light and so that I can recognise when I am there.
this is not to say that I think I didn’t or don’t know that, but that maybe I have been forgetting it a bit as the darkness grows and I feel a desperate need to have it fixed, taken away, cured, banished before it drowns me. I don’t want to drown, i want to float on top of the water… But I want to acknowledge the monster below and respect it’s power so that I can enjoy the breeze and sun on my face as i bob along the surface without being in constant fear that it will leap up to eat me.

my card was ‘comparison’ from the osho zen deck, which I borrowed from my mum since I forgot mine.

five minutes

backwards

This afternoon I stupidly reversed into another car as I was leaving kinder after I collected Abigail. I was about to pull away from the curb, I wasn’t going very fast, but there was a bump. The other person’s number plate got a decent dent in it from our towbar thing. Their bumper has a small dent. My car is fine, since it was only the towbar that touched the other car.

My head, not so much. Driving and cars have the potential to make me very anxious. When I do something stupid like reversing into someone, that potential is realised. Even if I am trying to park somewhere and misjudge or something and then have to back up and come at it again, and there are people waiting to go past me, I just get really flustered and that just makes it even harder to do what I am trying to do. The parking in front of Stephanie’s school is parallel parking which you have to reverse into. Yes, this is generally one of the more difficult types of parking to do. But that knowledge doesn’t make me feel better when I have misaligned myself the first time around and backed into the space only to have half the car sticking out into the road still. Trying to go back forwards and fix it doesn’t work because there are usually other cars waiting to drive past you, there are other parents standing around outside the school staring at you while they hold their idle chit-chats. If I miss it the first time I have more than once just driven straight back out and gone around the block to let the people forget about me and come back able to start fresh.

This kind of paranoia isn’t restricted to driving type issues and situations, I just have it particularly intensely in those kind of situations.

Before I learned to drive I wouldn’t have thought that I had any psychological problems with cars and driving. Maybe not.. before I learned to drive. Maybe it would be better to say before I was old enough to learn to drive. If you aren’t old enough to drive then no one expects you to. Once you are old enough to drive, everyone assumes that you have a license. Once I started trying to learn to drive I think it woke up some kind of suppressed fear in me, about making mistakes, or having an accident. Or hurting someone. One would assume that these worries stem from having been injured myself in a fatal car accident. I don’t know if there is any way to fix this problem in myself. Other than not driving, of course, which is really not a practical option.

Driving is something that normal people do and I have become aware or been made aware of how I am sub-normal in so many ways that any mistake in a driving related situation makes me feel stupid and useless and so very very not right. Not right in the way that a serial killer is not right, not not right in the way that someone who wears tea-cozies on their head is not right. I try to escape that conditioning and sometimes I’m quite good at it. Sometimes I have a bad day though and I hear the voice and see the face that shows disgust and disdain at my flaws and I can’t help but to feel those same things for myself.

backwards

self-medicating

Study finds chocolate has anti-depressant qualities

A study of 3,000 people by the Black Dog Institute found 45 per cent of people with depression craved chocolate.

“Of those 45 per cent, 60 per cent found that the chocolate improved their mood when they were depressed,” Joanne Crawford, study co-author said.

This is hardly new news though, I have read of studies like that before. And I’ve been conducting a long term, small sample study of the phenomenon myself for, oh, my whole life. :)

They believe it is the endorphins and opoids in chocolate which make people feel more relaxed.

“The opoids are morphine-like and lower pain and that also flows through into mental wellbeing,” Professor Gordon Parker from the Black Dog Institute said.

One does love those opium-like substances.

self-medicating