Feelings of uselessness

It’s days like today… the past few weeks, actually, that the MS really rears it’s ugly head. Forgetful, addled, clumsy,…

Is it the “new” medication? Is it not working as well? The infusions seemed to work better, but I can’t take them anymore because of JCVirus and the risks involved with PML (which I think I explained in a previous post). So I’m on a pill, and I don’t know how well it’s actually working. Mention it to the Dr., and she says (reminds me) that stress can cause the MS to “bleed through”. So avoid stress.

Stress? Let’s talk about stress. I’m aware that people have it worse than me, but that doesn’t help (and don’t bother telling me to think about it, I won’t respond because if I do, I WILL go off in a big way). So, what are my current stresses? Let’s list them:

  • Trying to get rid of the house in Chattanooga that needs repairs. Yes, there are repairs going on now, but in the mean time, we’re still paying mortgage on it, to the tune of $800. This is on top of our rent here.
  • Having been out of work for 2 months and having to use some of the insurance money for living stuff, and now having to come up with the money to pay for the repairs on the house.
  • Finding out there are more damages once they’ve gotten through some of the demo for fixing the house. This means getting the insurance adjuster out and having them take another look, and hoping they’ll be willing to give more money for repairs.
  • Jon having hurt himself and having been out of work since May. Thankfully he has short term disability and is getting paid regularly, but not paying any medical bills.
  • Having fought with Jon’s worker’s comp for so long that his treatment got very delayed and he’s still not really gotten any answers.
  • Trying to get myself back into the swing of things at work and having a hard time because of brain fog. I “get lost” sometimes while I’m working on something, and this sends me into anxiety. And with having taken so much time off, I don’t want to ask to go home because of it even though I have a hard time functioning.
  • Medical bills. Paying them off little bits at a time, but they’re just hanging over my head.
  • All of the kids being behind on their shots due to lack of money for it. And Percy is back to chewing himself so bad that he’s getting hairballs again. Few things quite as disgusting as a dog hairball.
  • Doing shows by myself because Jon can’t manage it (this I don’t blame him for, I was where he was and I don’t want him making himself worse). Yeah, I could not do the shows, but I need to try and get another inflow of cash.
  • Keeping up with custom orders while still trying to make stuff for shows.
  • Trying to pick good shows and having failed at that at the beginning of the year, meaning that I spent money to sit and not sell anything or barely sell enough to make the price of the table/booth.
  • Trying to keep things together at home: cooking, laundry, what little cleaning I do (which I will admit isn’t much). Also, grocery shopping, picking up medications, any other little things we need
  • Having my show tent break at a recent show and having to cut what could have been a profitable show short because I couldn’t use my tent. And now having to fix or replace it, or just not do any more outdoor shows. (and the worst part of this is realizing on my way home what I could have done to be able to stay… which just made me feel like more of an idiot)
  • Taking the dogs for their walks alone and just not being able walk them as far as they need. The heat is hard on me, and makes my brain fuzzy if I’m out in it too long (another problem with the outdoor shows. The most recent one left me feeling like someone had toasted my brain on high, and it felt like that for days. Crunchy brain.).
  • Having to be overly careful to not fall on my ass/face because it’ll likely undo the surgery I had. As someone who has always tripped over her own feet (and pebbles, and flush cracks in the sidewalk, and dust bunnies, and leaves, and….), this does make me self conscious, and again, feeling like an oaf who’s almost 43 and still hasn’t figured out how to use her own body yet.

So, what has all this caused? Brain fog where I get lost with what I’m supposed to be doing, both at home and at work. This makes stuff at work take a little longer because I have to double check to make sure I’m doing things right. Anxiety attacks where I just want to curl up in a ball and not doing anything for… well, honestly, days. I have to push through it with anxiety pills and willpower to be able to get anything done. Agitation with any little thing… the dogs needing to go out, needing to stop what I’m doing to do something else that’s necessary, the dogs barking at anything, the post office not delivering a package because they’re incompetent, the idiot driving in front of me that’s doing 25 in a 35 zone, the seat cushions on the couch moving out of place, the cats getting into things they shouldn’t. Finding myself constantly typing the wrong word… and I’m not talking about typos, I’m talking about typing “park” instead of “wouldn’t”, or typing a completely wrong name at work when I’m looking for a client. Not being able to come up with the word (or words) for what I’m talking about.

I just feel constantly on edge and at the point of breakdown pretty much all the time. And I just keep waiting for the next bad thing to happen. If I take any kind of drive, I’m often blaring Nine Inch Nails through the stereo in the car, which is my go to overly stressed album. And I feel bad, but there are a lot of times I just want to be alone. With Jon not working, he’s home and that’s not something I’m used to. We’re good in that we don’t have to constantly be in each other’s business, but it’s still a big change from what I’ve been used to for the past, oh…. 12+ years. And I hate feeling that.

The bipolar of course isn’t helping. The medication that was working fine now isn’t cutting it, but I hate the idea of upping things again. I’m an advocate for staying on medication, but that doesn’t mean I really like taking it. I still mentally fight myself with sometimes feeling useless because I need it.

I’m sick of being strong. I’m over being strong. But I don’t have a choice in the matter.

All things mental part 2

I mentioned how I was on the ‘med dance’ now and it was getting better. I think hit a hiccup, and that was the fact that after two weeks and dropping to a lower dosage, I was still seriously out of step. So I talked to the doctor and she said to go to a yet lower dose. Which I did. And felt even worse. Because it was late at night I was left with the internet to see if I find out what the problem was. I did find out. And the answer pissed me off.

Apparently the doctor had put me on a medication that has some seriously fun withdrawal side effects.

Yay.

So now I have to have a discussion with my doctor on what medications are and aren’t acceptable to put me on. I think I also need to be a little more assertive. I know, I know, this might surprise some people but I tend to close up quite a lot when I’m unsure, and I’m very unsure when it comes to my mental health. It makes me nervous and I think I don’t make my thoughts as clear. This could have made my current situation a little more difficult. We’ll see on Wednesday if my new doctor will continue to see me as I know I’m gonna likely be a little terse when talking to her.

But really, withdrawal effects?! This is what you develop for a medication when you often have to bounce around on medications until you find the one that works? Something that takes a month to see if it works and then might take a month or more to get off of? Some of us work for a living and can’t afford that time to get off a med where one of the withdrawal symptoms is insomnia. As someone with a mental illness in the first place, I don’t need something that makes me even crazier.

I ended up doing something I normally wouldn’t do, and I know I’ll likely get yelled at by more than just the doctor… I decided to stop taking it. I have an extra long weekend (4 days) and after feeling like I was gonna die and having taken a full 10 mg ambien and 4 benedryl to try to get to sleep once I moved down in dosage and my body started to react badly, I decided to take advantage of the long weekend and ‘force’ myself off the stuff. I knew full well that going from 80mg to 20mg meant I likely had another few days at least of withdrawal, so why not go the rest of the way.

The doctor will likely give me some grief for it, but not nearly the grief I’m gonna give her for putting me on something that has this type of problem. I’ve walked out of doctor’s offices before, I’m not adverse to doing it again.

So I’m single pilled for the moment, and will be that way until at least Wednesday. And whatever we discuss putting me on then will get major research before I take pill one of it. I’ll also be ‘dominating’ the conversation on Wednesday about what’s generally going on with me instead of ‘letting’ her take the reigns of the discussion. Yes, she likely knows better what my diagnosis will be, but I do know better what I’m doing daily and what my problems are. I won’t deny being bipolar 2, but if that requires medications that have effects like this, I’ll find a different way. I’m not going down that road, that’s for sure.

All things mental

I’ve recently had my mental health diagnosis changed from ‘depression’ to ‘bipolar 2’. I still haven’t decided exactly how I feel about that but there it is. I’m now a little crazier than I was before.

Bipolar 2 is a less extreme version of bipolar disorder. I found a good definition from the Mayo Clinic website:

Bipolar disorder — sometimes called manic-depressive disorder — causes mood swings that range from of the lows of depression to the highs of mania. When you become depressed, you may feel sad or hopeless and lose interest or pleasure in most activities. When your mood shifts in the other direction, you may feel euphoric and full of energy. Mood shifts may only occur only a few times a year, or as often as several times a day. In some cases, bipolar disorder causes symptoms of depression and mania at the same time.

Bipolar II disorder. Bipolar II is less severe than bipolar I. You may have an elevated mood, irritability and some changes in your functioning, but generally you can carry on with your normal daily routine. Instead of full-blown mania, you have hypomania — a less severe form of mania. In bipolar II, periods of depression typically last longer than periods of hypomania.

So, that’s ‘now’ me. It’s actually been me for quite a while, I just didn’t realize it before. Now I do and can move forward, I hope.

Mental illness is  very much like getting any diagnosis… it’s scary, it’s unnerving, you go through denial or anger at it… but that doesn’t change the diagnosis. This one is hard for me because it’s ‘that one’, that’s the one person that someone knows that snapped and did something stupid or dangerous and suddenly have everyone mad at/afraid of them. I don’t want to be that person, I don’t want that disease! But I also didn’t want my allergies and definitely don’t want the asthma… just things I have to deal with. Just need to add this one to the pile of ‘who I am’.

I wouldn’t be ashamed if I had diabetes… or was short…. or had irritable bowel syndrome… Why should I be ashamed of this? Why is this disease one that people still step back and start talking very gently to you when they find out… or ask ‘What are you sad about?’ or ‘There’s nothing wrong with doing things out of the ordinary, that’s normal’. There’s no education to regular people about what’s really going on, how to really handle and talk to someone that suffers from this disease. It’s all news reports about how this person had mental illness and killed his family or robbed someone at knife point, or just snapped and drove through a crowd. They don’t put the person that drove to work, did their job, had lunch and drove home without anything going on. That’s boring, that doesn’t make people watch. But it would help those of us with some form of mental illness get through a day without getting a sideways look from someone that knows we have it. It would show that the extremes are not the normal way we react, the way we handle ourselves day to day.

My meds have been changed and that’s taking a little time to adjust to. Been over a week now and I’m better this week than I was last so that’s a step in the right direction at least. Just hoping they work, the ‘med-dance’ is not my idea of fun., but it has to be done. My dancing shoes are just old and don’t protect me so much anymore.