Monday, August 29, 2016

Here we go again

We just got back last night from a long 4 day weekend away with Shawn's family for his parents' 50th wedding anniversary. It was jam-packed with activity. That can be exhausting for anyone, but there is an extra level of exhaustion for people with anxiety and depression. I did my best to make it through.

Now that I'm back, another taper of meds is starting. Shawn was the one who came up with the plan to hold off the taper until we got back. That was wise, so not surprising that Shawn thought of it. Last night's med cocktail was the start of the taper.  We were in the car on our way home when my medication alarm went off. Since we were alone and on our way home, I figured it was okay to start.

I hate tapers and med changes. I hate things not working out to fix me. But, it's really something to go through with Shawn. He says, "We" when talking about my med schedule. When I was trying to remember my changes he says things like, "We're going down to [whatever dose]." He is so strong and supportive.

I love him.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Minding the gaps

I touched on my memory issues a few entries ago. The last few days it's really been causing me some headaches which, in turn, lead to heartache. Some of the fuzziness is from earlier in the year, before I even started ECT. Those aren't the ones that are really breaking my heart now.

The gap in my memory that is really causing me grief right now is from mid-late June. That was when Denver Comic Con was happening and that brought our BFFs to town. Shawn is half of the creative team of The Specialists Comic and he and his partner always get a booth at the convention. And, his partner is married to one of my best friends from high school. So, they both come to town for the convention and then a little vacation-ish visit.

I remember very little, actually next to nothing, about this year's visit. There are little things around the house that caused me to ask Shawn questions, but even when he answers, it doesn't help fill in the holes. The other day, I found a can of Bush's Baked Beans in our pantry. I never buy them because Shawn doesn't like baked beans and I'm not going to eat a whole can. He said it was leftover from some groceries our friend bought for some cooking she was going to be doing. Um, okay.

We all went away to some hot springs somewhere. I asked Shawn about that. Did we have bathing suits and was there a pool somewhere? Yep and yep. No images come to mind about any of this. My head is pounding with the stress of trying to form memories out of nothing.

The latest discovery in my memory holes has to do with supplies for the convention. I've been doing some inventory of some of the products the guys sell at the convention. While going through it, I came across a box that was different than any I recognized. I asked Shawn and he told me it was a new part of the booth display. He described it to me. Nada, zip, zilch in my memory.

It is probably silly to be moved to tears about these things. But, the strain it all puts on my head really gets to me

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Through the years

Yesterday I had an appointment with my psych nurse practitioner. Shawn goes with me to these appointments. It was that way in the beginning in order for Doc to get a broader perspective about me, but it never stopped. During yesterday's appointment, Shawn told Doc that she wouldn't get nearly the information about me as she gets now if he wasn't present. I had no argument with him about that.

A few days ago, I was going through some old stuff and came upon some psych personality summaries from years ago. There were two different summaries that were done when I thought the convent was my calling. As I was reading through them, they pretty much prove Shawn's point. So, at 41 years old, I'm not all that different from my late 20s. That's kind of sad, isn't it? Well, maybe this blog demonstrates some change.

One of the summaries had this to say about my interpersonal relationships:
"In interpersonal relations, she may be characterized as somewhat introverted, preferring privacy to interpersonal interaction. Noteworthy in this respect is her tendency to shyness. She does not easily talk about personal matters and may be hard to get to know except at a surface level. She is a trusting, accepting and accomodating [sic] person who has a great deal of concern and compassion for others. She may have difficulty expressing anger, assrting [sic] herself, or handling conflict. In terms of her current emotional state, she is relatively at ease with herself and will probably be able to tolerate some interpersonal stress."
My biggest disagreement with the above assessment is the last sentence. I honestly don't think I have ever been in anyway at ease with myself. Anxiety has always been more present than any ability to tolerate internal stress.

Holy crap, though, the rest of the above is so much the nail on the head. Over the last week, the topic of anger and conflict came up. Yes, all these years later, I still have a crap ton of difficulty handling my anger and any kind of conflict. These are traits I didn't learn well. As a kid, anger wasn't really something I found myself aloud to express. Conflicts were pushed aside and after enough time passed, life moved on. I tend to feel too much guilt and over apologize just to smooth things over, even if it isn't something for me to feel guilty about or for which I should say that I'm sorry.

The second assessment I found tends to agree with the previous one. I'm going to share highlighted portions. Pronoun usage goes back and forth from 2nd person to 3rd person, so just giving a heads up here.
"PERSONALITY...low on extraversion and low on independence -- shy and unassertive...need for personal privacy...hard to get to know, friendly without being particularly sociable...timid and self-effacing...think poorly of themselves because of their difficulty in speaking up for themselves...effective followers...prefer to take a back seat...compensate by being careful and diligent workers...stresses in their lives...anxious and blame themselves...Persons of this type tend to take on the needs of others and are often easily hurt...too sensitive for their own good."
Perhaps I should have asserted myself more in pursuing some help with this.
"PROBABILITY OF LONG-TERM DIFFICULTY...very low assertiveness and shyness will probably pose problems for her much of her life...lack of natural assertion will cause problems and possibly considerable stress...find it hard to speak up for herself in addition, so she needs to be careful not to take on too much."
Seriously, 14 years after this assessment, I'm still struggling. The next section is the best. Didn't the people requesting the evaluation find any of this worth addressing? Why did I have this summary buried away?
"SUGGESTIONS FOR COUNSELING...Ms. [Me] is likely to be a willing and affable advisee for a spiritual director or counselor, but she will find it very difficult to reveal personal matters. Disclosure does not seem natural for her, but it is important and both she and an advisor will have to work at it. Furthermore, she is introverted in general, not merely with regard to personal matters, almost to the extent of social maladjustment. She likes to belong and to have positive affiliative relationships with others, and she cares about others, but not with the ease that some people have.
"She won't be resistant to suggestions, and will be diligent in carrying out the suggestions that are made and agreed upon. She is thoughtful and perceptive, willing to pursue even troublesome topics, but she will find it difficult to persist with her own views when challenged or pushed. Sometimes people like this, not finding it easy to present their own views, may seem stubborn when holding fast to a point of view out of principle. This is because, lacking facility in assertion, they sometimes fall back into a tenacious stance rather than engage in further discussion."

WTF? I've been my own worst enemy all this time.

Friday, August 12, 2016

A day for ECT and the D-O-G

We are going to be away at the end of the month and Jarvis can't go with us. So, we had to make some arrangements for his care. This has been adding to my regular feelings of stress and anxiety. Today, he had a doggie playcare test run at a large kennel. I was anxious about him doing well there.

Also, this morning was an ECT treatment. We were taking Jarvis to the kennel and then going right to my appointment. Traffic was a tied up nightmare. I was starting to loose my cool as my anxiety about leaving Jarvis was being compounded by my anxiety that we would be late for my ECT appointment.

Traffic was out of our hands, as Shawn kept trying to remind me. He would put his hand on my knee and tell me that being late is something that happens and isn't always in our own control. We wouldn't be the first or the last people to run late. I tried to take that in and breathe out the stress. There was a little bit of getting choked up, but no full on meltdown with tears.

We got to the kennels, got Jarvis checked in, and were on our way. The route from the kennels to the hospital was clear of traffic tie-ups. I started to rest a little easier about running late and was just dealing with other anxiety of leaving Jarvis and my appointment, since it had been about a week and a half since the last one.

Some tears came at my appointment. One of my doctors asked me how I was feeling. That's when I got teary and explained how the morning went. I told him about leaving Jarvis and that it was stupid for me to get worked about that. I said that I was acting like he was my kid. He said of course it's like your kid. Then I added that I was worked up about traffic potentially causing us to be late. At this, he came to my side and said that all was fine because we made it.

So, ECT went as planned and a good chunk of the is a blur due to napping for a bit. But, later in the afternoon, Shawn woke me up for a prescription run followed by a Jarvis pick-up. Jarvis had a really good report card, so I rest easier about his longer stay while we're away.

My day ends with my med cocktail
complete with drugs from my prescription
Jarvis' day ends with being tuckered out
from doggie playcare.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Whistle while you work

This is a little less intense than yesterday's post. There are still tears, but less urge to vomit and less diarrhea.

Since starting ECT, I have stopped working. It was initially going to be a leave of absence, but ended up as a much needed, according to Shawn, resignation. The resignation was a hard pill to swallow, not because of love for my job, but because unemployment does not sit well with me.

Tonight, I was crying as I thought about how I need to get a job for a few different reasons; to make money; to fill my time; to be a grown-up; and, to have a sense of purpose and value. But, I can't get a job at this point in my mental health treatments. So the time on my hands makes me think about wanting a job to take up the time on my hands. Just like the wheels on the bus, these thoughts go round and round.

Something Shawn brought up to me tonight was that I was brought up with a very strong work ethic and that that was a good thing. Now, it's time to be okay with taking a break from working. It's time to recognize I'm not in a place where employment is an option.

So, I'm trying to accept the fact that it's been a few months since I've been whistling and I don't know when I'll whistle again. I do get to look back at a very long timeline of whistling as I worked.

There's helping my parents with volunteering and being a sidekick for my oldest brother on his paper route as far back as I can remember. Then, in 4th grade, I got my own paper route. I delivered the Plain Dealer from 4th grade into college. Babysitting was an added gig once I hit about junior high age. This still included volunteering.

Once high school hit, without giving up any of the previous gigs, I started to work for my city's parks and recreation department; winters at the ice arena and summers in concessions for the baseball diamonds or for the summer day camp.

In college, I eventually gave up the paper route and the parks and recreation gigs. I took a job working at Perkins, which I did along with the Plain Dealer delivery for a little while.

When I graduated from college, I stuck with Perkins while I looked for some kind of degree related job. After a few months, I got a full-time editing job with a legal publishing company. For a little while, I tried to keep my Perkins job on weekends while working my editing job full-time Monday through Friday. But, eventually I had to stop this because it was too exhausting.

My publishing job became my main source of income. I did really well with advancement at this company. It may have been my only paying job, but there was a lot of volunteering outside of work, too. After almost 8 years, I resigned from this job to move to Colorado.

The last 11 years I've been in Colorado. In this time I have whistled in retail, temping, volunteering, and retail again. Until now, as I deal with some pretty major bipolar depression, the whistling has come to a rest.  

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Wishing I Could Just Throw It All Up

As I sit here to write this, I'm dealing with anxiety that has caused me to be nauseous and, sorry for the TMI, to have diarrhea. I'm trying not to cry, yet again, today. This morning already had one ugly cry. And, I can say with all honesty, I do not remember the last tear free day I've had.

What happens is a spiral. It's a spiral of self-hate. I can't get out of my head. Today I even told Shawn that maybe it's time to consider in-patient. I wasn't 100% serious, but there is a tiny part of me that doesn't see things getting better.

My ECT doc and Shawn both talk about the progress they see in me. They are thrilled with me using the treadmill several days a week. Also, they see progress in me for my cooking dinner most nights. For me, the treadmill is just another opportunity for me to run a marathon full of self loathing in my head. As for cooking dinner, I used to be good at being able to time multiple dishes to be ready all at once. Well, now I've gotten good at fucking things up so that pots and pans boil over and other things go wrong.

In all of this, Shawn is my cheerleader. He hates my "I'm a loser" mantra among other things I say in my blubbering, messy moments. He wants me to understand that ECT and meds aren't going to cure it all. He wants me to do more to unlearn all the negative traits I've carried for my 41 years. He'll work side-by-side with me to get through things, even if it is some kind of cheesy therapy activity from my therapist.

There must be someway out of this whole mess. There must be a way for me to get back to some of the better times.

I cried again today.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Crazy Eights

This year we add to our triple 8s wedding anniversary another 8. It's been 8 years since our 08-08-08 wedding.

That day was so great! Shawn and I had a blast and pretty much regret nothing about how it went. Everyone got to experience what I love about Shawn, especially his humor. His vows may have had some laughs involved, but they did demonstrate his loving nature.

We didn't use traditional wedding vows at our ceremony, but those vows have certainly played a huge role in our marriage. Unfortunately, they have been lived out in a lopsided way. Shawn getting the short-end of the proverbial stick when it comes to sickness, for sure.

I love him and am ever so grateful for his love for me.

Friday, August 5, 2016


Obviously, I can't speak for every person who has struggled with infertility. I really get that. But, I can't help but think there is at least a little sting when getting news about someone's pregnancy.

The other evening I got a phone call. It wasn't an unexpected call. The way behaviors were playing out, a pregnancy was not a surprise. And, this is when the sting really sets in and eats away. Like I said, it wasn't all that surprising, but it certainly isn't planned/wanted. Two teenage lives are forever changed. I wanted to have my life changed forever. I was prepared to change my life; to have my life changed.

Hearing that someone got knocked-up is a harder pill to swallow when you are infertile.