Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Oh my GOD! Why did I just write that??

Sometimes I read a post I've written and think "Oh my GOD! Why did I just write that??" Does anyone really want to know about my pubic hair? Apparently, yes. It's my most popular post, by a long shot. A long, long shot. Much like the hair. My second most read post is the one on Lexapro and Wellbutrin, and my insanity. Two of my most revealing posts are actually the most popular, so I guess people like crazy, hairy people. Or at least making fun of them. So, in the theme of raw, ugly honesty I have another brutal post to present. I reread the aforementioned post about the medication and realized how much had changed in the 5 years since I wrote it. Aside from the sex change.

I've been holding onto this post for quite awhile, not sure if I should hit the publish button. Then I got a message (that made me cry) from someone who said she was going through similar things and my blog was actually a help to her. So, even if one person finds something of value in my posts, even if one person finds it helpful enough to write to me and let me know...that means this whole blog is worthwhile.

When you've been on countless antidepressants for over 15 years and you're still suicidal and cutting the hell out of your arms with a box cutter, you begin to doubt a lot of things. Your sanity. Your worth as a person. The fucking point of anything. You lose faith in doctors and psychiatrists and all the homeopathic remedies you've tried. You begin to realize that there is no hope... that there is nothing left. Your family, your kids...they'd all be better off without you. You honestly believe that; it's not just a cliche. They wouldn't have to worry about your tantrums, your freak outs, your silence. There are plenty of articles that tell you how great you'll feel after you start antidepressants; I have yet to read any that tell you what to do when every one of them has failed.

An accurate portrayal of my existence and the state of my house. Photo credit.
I spent nearly 3 months on the sofa, face towards the wall. I built myself a cave, wrapping a heavy, ugly blanket around me, no matter the temperature, with only my eyes visible. I let my children fend for themselves entirely to often; a thought that now makes me cringe with guilt. I was angry and violent; I destroyed cabinets, doors, clothes (one of which was a  pair of pajamas that I mourn to this day), the linoleum on the kitchen floor. I drank. A lot. And lied about it. A lot. I made a lot of really, really stupid decisions. I charged stuff I didn't need and didn't even really want, on credit cards. I blacked out, in non-drinking related incidences, for hours at a time. I'd suddenly come back, not being able to remember what I'd been doing. I came to once, sitting on the kitchen floor in a panic. (Apparently, I called my best friend and she was there shortly after, helping me and putting the kids to bed. She just sat there with me. No judgement, no advice. Just company.) I got mad at my husband one morning for breaking the bathroom door; turns out I did it, and just couldn't remember.  I was taking a walk one night, to clear my head, and sitting on the sidewalk in front of me was a woman who looked just like the girl from The Ring. I took off running, as fast as I could. I had never seen anything so terrifying in my life.

Like this, but not dressed as nice. Photo credit
When I got home (and double and triple checked the locks on all the doors) I realized how implausible it really was. But either way, it was real to me and that was enough. I found myself sitting in a new doctor's office. I ended up going through several doctors and psychiatrists, one of which had me on 8 different drugs at one time and I took them, because so what. I wanted to die anyway. I was finally referred to a depression/bipolar specialist. He sat behind his desk, a small man with red hair, pale skin and a gap between his teeth. He made me think of St. Patrick's Day. We talked, and after about an hour, the little leprechaun diagnosed me as having bipolar. I laughed, because what the hell would a tiny, mythical creature know about mental illness? But then I realized that if anyone was an expert on mental illness, it would be a tiny, mythical creature.
Only it's filled with lithium. Photo credit.
So, I humored him and took his prescriptions and the name of a therapist and went on my merry way. I started the prescriptions... Lamictal and Lithium, and set up an appointment with the therapist. During the first session, the therapist charged me $5 for her personal CD of affirmations ("I am worthy, I am beautiful, I am amazing, I am blah, blah, blah."). And then I gained a lot of weight and found out I had lithium induced hypothyroidism.   I was put on a medication for that. Then I decided it was a bunch of crap and stopped taking everything.

Of course, that didn't work out well for me and I ended up back in his office. This time he tried Nuvigil, which is approved for sleeping disorders, with an off-label use for bipolar. And it's a stimulant. And holy hell, did it stimulate. It made my heart palpitate, and gave me headaches, but I was awake. I was always awake. I may have still been miserable, but damn it, I was going to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed while wallowing in my misery. And the most interesting part was the side effects: "Mental (psychiatric) symptoms, including: depression, feeling anxious, sensing things that are not really there, extreme increase in activity (mania), thoughts of suicide, aggression, or other mental problems" (www.nuvigil.com) Maybe the leprechaun thought the new symptoms would cancel out my existing symptoms... Either way, it didn't last because when I went to pick up my refill, the total came to $453. For a month. Instead, I opted to buy food for my children.

To make a long story, well, not as long, I ended up on Lamictal again. Aside from a few annoying side effects, so far so good. I'm supposed to go back in and start Risperdal, but I may or I may not. Time will tell. But I'm sure I'll tell you all about it.

I've done things I wish I hadn't done, I have scars I wish I didn't have, I've said things I wish I hadn't said, I take medications I wish I didn't have to take...but here I am. And I'm thankful for a forgiving husband who bought a book on bipolar, to learn more about the disorder, to try and understand. I'm thankful for my children, whom I love more than anything in the world; they are my biggest motivation. I'm thankful for a supportive family, and non-judgmental friends. And I'm thankful for the people who read this blog...it's always nice to know you're not alone.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Food Quirks

We all have our eating quirks, right?  Some of us don't like to eat in public. Some people don't like their food to touch. Some people don't like to eat at the Y. We all have our thing.

As a child I'd have to count how many times I chewed, because I just knew that I was going to choke and die and then I'd be forever known as the girl who choked and died on her chicken noodle soup/tacos/ice cubes/toothpaste/whatever.
Because we all know what they say about Mama Cass...

It would take me so long to eat that after several weeks of this, the rest of the family stopped waiting for me. They'd leave the table and shut the light out. I'd sit there in the dark, counting, and crushing every tiny potential choking hazard to mush. And looky there...I didn't choke. Doesn't sound so ridiculous now, does it?

But my youngest son...oh, he takes quirky eating to a new level. I think he has a lot of the typical 5 year old eating issues...his sandwich has to be cut right, his waffle has to have the exact right amount of syrup, his crackers cannot be broken, etc. etc. The breaking of these unofficial food rules will result in hysteria and tears. But I think that's pretty normal. Because kids are manipulative bastards.

But then we have his other issues, which appear and disappear, and are completely unpredictable. An innocent word can be said at the dinner table, maybe something like "feet", and he suddenly collapses onto the floor screaming about how he can't eat now. His brother and sister are the cultured variety of hellion, and they apparently like dinner and a show. So they start listing all the gross things they can think of.  "Toenails!" "Armpit!" "POOP!"  "Fart!" "Nick's face!" "Delaney's...um...socks!" "I hate you!" "Shut up!" "MOM!" But by then, the initial damage has been done, and he usually will refuse to eat.
Admittedly, her socks could be used in chemical warfare. Photo credit

Once he saw a dead bird, and wouldn't eat ground meat for a week.We had soup the other night and god forbid, I put pepper in it.
"Mom! There's a bug in here," he yells.
"No, it's just pepper."
"But it looks like a bug!"
"But it's pepper."
"But it looks like a bug. I CAN'T EAT NOW!"

Cue hysteria and tears.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Conversation Candy Heart Complex

Ah...Valentine's Day. One of my favorite times of the year; but not because of the cupids and the love and the obligatory sex. No. It's the only time of the year that you can buy candy conversation hearts. And I love candy conversation hearts. A lot. (But they have to be the Brachs brand. But not the pink ones. Those are just gross.) I've gone through seven (yes, seven) bags since they came out. It's gotten to the point that my son has threatened to hide them from me. I'm very health conscious, so I don't allow my kids to eat too many. All that sugar and chemicals and dyes? No way. If I have to sacrifice my health for my children, I'll do that, no hesitation. Because that's what a mom does. It's been suggested that if I lack the will power to not eat them all, then maybe I should just not buy them. But that's ridiculous. I have the entire rest of the year to not buy them.

Oh, I do. I really, really do. Photo Credit

In elementary/middle school, when I'd get them for Valentine's, I'd stare at them, trying to decipher any hidden messages. "Sweet"...what does that mean? Does that mean that he thinks I'm sweet? Or is he just referring the the general state of the candy? "Be good"...well, what? What does that mean? I'm always good. He may have well just called me boring. "So fine"...oh, he thinks I'm fine? Like fine in cute, or fine, as in just OK? "Crazy for U"...he likes me, he really likes me! Or do I annoy him so much, it makes him crazy? "You rock"...I knew it. I knew I rocked. "No way"...wait, does that mean no way? Like no way? "LYLAS"...love you like a SISTER??  Hmph. He didn't look at these at all, did he?! He just dumped them in the bag! I knew he didn't really like me. His mom probably made him give Valentine's candy to everyone...and so on, and so forth. It's the only candy in existence that can give a girl an anxiety attack.  (I actually still have a bag that I kept from a middle school boyfriend. I'm still looking for the hidden message. And also, because I'm a hoarder.)

Now, they say things like "text me", "LOL", and "OMG".  The romance is gone. Of course, now that I'm an adult and more mature, the sayings no longer matter. I eat them so fast that I really don't have to time to read each one.


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