Medications & Bipolar

Trying to maintain a good attitude about everything when I’m struggling to find the right medication for my bipolar disorder is difficult. It’s not easy day to day, when I feel like everything is going wrong, to keep a smile on and tell everyone that I’m doing well when all I want to do is crash to the ground.

I’m starting to do better with my meds, but I’m still dealing with side effects.

The last medication I tried, Lamictal (generic: Lamotrogine), wound up with me in the ER. I took it two years ago, so I’m not sure what changed in that time. But I immediately stopped taking the medication – per doctor instructions – and started taking the Abilify 5mg for a week and then upped to 10mg.

I want to be able to say that I’m doing good with it, but it makes me sleepy all the time and I get dizzy too. Not like massively affecting anything dizzy, but it still sucks. Although there are times where I can’t do much of anything because my dizziness is so bad. My focus isn’t here so I can’t always keep track of something as easily as I used to. There’s worse side effects that I could be dealing with, I know, but any side effect sucks to deal with.

I’m not giving up on this fight yet. I really want to because it’s just too much to handle sometimes. But I know that I have to push through the difficult times in order to find the good ones. I’ve got people standing behind me pushing me along when I want to give up, so I know I’ve got good people around me.

Support? And Stigma Fighters

A lot of times, when I go to a friend to rant about something that’s bothering me, they try to fix the problem for me. But that’s not what I want.

I just want them to listen to me. That’s it!

If I want their help, I’ll ask for it. But when it’s just pushed on me, I get kind of offended. It’s not their fault, because their intentions are good. I just feel like I want to do things in my own time and on my own, that when others try too hard, it’s just … wrong.

I love my friends, I really do. I just wish that some of them would understand this.

Being part of Stigma Fighters has given me people to talk to who understand what it’s like, what I’m dealing with. They don’t push help on me. They’ll give me advice and their sympathy/empathy, but they can’t force anything on me. It’s kind of nice.

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How did I get involved in Stigma Fighters? There’s a, kind of fun, story behind that.

I’m not sure how I found the website to begin with, but I thought it was a really cool concept. So I wrote up my essay and emailed it to Sarah. A few weeks later, she asked me if I wanted to write something for her. I told her I had, but apparently she’d never gotten it – there was an issue with her email. So I sent it again, and it went up on the blog. Then about three or so months later, I sent her another piece – this time anonymously. After that we started talking more. In December, I had another post go up, my anniversary post.

Around that same time, I’d also had the idea of turning the blog into a book. I pitched it to Sarah and she loved it. So she put me in charge of pulling all the essays together as people said yes, and editing them. I only did that for a few weeks, before it was sent off to an editor at Booktrope.

But before it was sent off to the official editor, I got an email from Allie Burke asking if I would like to be the executive assistant for Stigma Fighters. It took me by surprise. I hadn’t expected that at all. I mean, I knew that Sarah had gotten all the paperwork done for Stigma Fighters to officially become a nonprofit, but I didn’t know that I would end up working for it. Don’t get me wrong, I love it, it was just a huge shock. I did accept the position.

So now I’m doing tasks here and there for Allie and Sarah when I can as I’m adjusting to my new medication (I’ll put up another post about that later – date TBD) and the new school semester.

Hello 2015 … What Do You Have For Me?

I haven’t written anything yet this year. I don’t really have an answer as to why. But I don’t have to. This is my blog, and I’ll update it on my schedule.

The deadline for the Stigma Fighters book came and went on New Year’s Day. I think I’ve got something like 4 essays in it.  We have a legit publisher so it’s going to be an e-book and in print.

Today I was asked to be the Executive Assistant for Stigma Fighters. It came as a total shock. I didn’t expect it at all. I let it sink in for a little before making a decision. I did accept the job.

Since Stigma Fighters is a non-profit in its first stages of growth, the position is currently uncompensated. But that’s okay. I’m not doing this for the money. I’m doing it because I truly believe in the cause. We need to end the stigma surrounding mental health. People need a place to safely tell their story and find support from those who know what it’s like to deal with these things.

Things are busy for me because I’m trying to get things set for school, but there’s an issue with a class so I’m stuck in a holding pattern till I can get in touch with the assistant dean of the ASL department. I need her to approve me to take the level 4 class over again. Otherwise I can’t continue toward the Interpreting program. I need to be taking level 5 when I’m in the program, and I can’t do that until I successfully complete level 4. But things aren’t working the way they should.

Waiting Games

Honestly, this whole thing is like a massive waiting game. Wait to see if the drug you’re given is gonna work. And then wait to go back for a follow-up about it. I’m currently in that situation. I’ve almost hit the three week mark where it should be starting to really work. It’s frustrating because I’ve been on this medication for 20 days now. I got back for a follow-up in 13. I wish I could say that I feel like it’s finally starting to work like it should, but I can’t. But it’s not doing that. Or at least it doesn’t feel that way.

I don’t know what the problem is exactly, but things just don’t feel right.

I feel just as bad as before, if not slightly worse. I’ve had some really weird dreams. I can’t fall asleep at night; when I do fall asleep, I can’t stay asleep for very long. My emotions build up and come out when I least expect it. Sex doesn’t hold the same appeal that it used to. If I take my meds too far from the same time every day, I get a headache.

It’s getting more difficult to push myself to get all my school work done. The only thing I seem to be doing ok with is my online math class. Go figure… I guess cause I can see immediately that it’s done and graded. But I’m not doing as good as I thought cause I got a really crappy score on my first test.

My ASL 4 class is difficult since it’s the last thing before I go home and I’ve been sitting around campus for almost 6 hours before I go in.

My Deaf Culture class is just a lot of reading. It’s all interesting, but it’s tough to force myself to push through the text when it’s boring and repetitive. The discussions in class are always hilarious because of the students and Paula’s comments/comebacks.

My VGC (Visual Gesture Communication) class is first thing in the morning and we’ve got to think outside the box because we’re not allowed to use any signs. It’s not my favorite thing, but some of the girls in there make it tolerable. 

I’m starting to get really anxious having to wait for my dr appt. The closer it gets, the more difficult it is waiting for everything to happen. I just want the answers now. But I know I can’t get them yet and I have to get through each day till then.

People are either irritating or terrifying. I want to be more outgoing than I am, but it’s difficult. I’m always afraid someone is going to sense something off about me and make a judgement and walk away. It’s just something that I’m scared of. I know it seems absolutely ridiculous, but it’s true. I just fear the judgement of others for things that aren’t even relevant to what’s happening.

Trying to Save My Sanity

Those days where you look outside and the weather matches your mood? Today is one of those days. It’s chilly and rainy and horridly dreary outside. And I’m feeling pretty crappy today. I’m not quite sure why, but I am. And that’s really just the way it goes sometimes.

Maybe I’m missing someone.
Maybe I just woke up on the wrong side of the day.
Maybe I’m dreading the math test I was supposed to take today – but forgot my exam pass and wallet so I can’t take it now, which means I have to come back today or tomorrow to take it.
Maybe I’m just simply having a bad day – and it’s 2pm so that’s possible.

I don’t have the answer. But that’s ok.

What sounds good right now is: curling up at home in the library, under a blanket, with a mug of vanilla chai, with a book to read. Yes, that really is what today makes me want to do. But I’m stuck at school. 14 hours on campus. It makes for some long days.

I may go through books on my kindle and see if I can find something to read. I’ve got plenty there – it’s just a matter of choosing one and starting to read.

I really don’t know what I’m trying to accomplish here, with this post, but I needed something to do, so this is what I came up with. Sure, I could be doing a million other things. However, there a words/thoughts flying around in my brain preventing me from truly focusing on anything besides releasing anything else.

My partner and I did our presentation in deaf culture that was supposed to be done on Monday. There were all kinds of technical difficulties that prevented more than one and a half groups from going. But oh well. I’m done now and that’s all that matters to me.

I ran into someone from church after my class finished and walked with her to her next class. Next Monday she said I’m welcome to come hang out with her and she’ll take a break from grading papers for a bit to chat. So that’ll be something different. And it’ll give me a chance to do something else besides homework or blogging in my massive gap between classes.

Long Days

Being at school 14 hours straight makes for a very long day. It’s not easy finding ways to keep busy all day long. There’s only so much school work I can do in one sitting. But then I’m tired of sitting where I am, so I have to go find somewhere else to work. And after a while I get tired of working on school stuff, so I’m forced to get creative: 

  • What YouTube videos haven’t I seen?
  • What (free) books am I interested in on Kindle?
  • What else can I add to my birthday/christmas list?
  • What blog posts haven’t I read yet?
  • Is there a blog post I could write for mine?

My online math class started yesterday, but I didn’t start it till today. It’s more than likely going to be the death of me. However, I’ve got a friend who’s willing to help me with stuff so hopefully I won’t get overwhelmed, drown, and fail the class. I know it’s gonna be a lot more work now on top of all my ASL classes, but that’s just the way college is.
I’m actually going to the school library tonight to start working on my math class. It’s gonna be a challenge/struggle for me because I’ve never taken an online class, much less an online math class.

I think part of my shortened attention span has to do with my depression – or at least I’ve read that that can be an issue. I’m hoping that my medication will help with that, but I don’t know for sure.

Last night was the first time I slept through the night since I started taking my medication. I don’t know if that’s a good thing, or if it was just a coincidence. I guess I’ll find out tonight/tomorrow after I’ve either woken up several times or barely remember falling asleep.

Stress…

It’s a pretty common thing in my life. It’s something I can find at home, at school, with friends, pretty much anywhere. Honestly, I think it’s a common thing in everyone’s lives.

The most recent stress I had was when a friend who hurt me pretty bad last month (see this post for explanation) asked me to do something for him while he’s trying to make amends with me. A friend that we both know has some of his stuff. I reminded her last night the he wants his stuff back today. Apparently she didn’t show today – I had nothing to do with it. So he asked me to get the stuff from her for him – because he doesn’t want to deal her. Is he serious? I told him: “No. I’m not going to be in the middle of this anymore. If you really want your stuff back that bad, you need to talk to her yourself. I’m done doing things like this for other people. I’ve gotten hurt doing it too many times. I”m putting my foot down about it once and for all.

I could see doing that if this was before he did what he did last month. But at this point? I’m not playing this game anymore. I’m not going to do things like this for him, or anyone at all for that matter. People need to learn to do things for themselves even if they don’t like it.

Guess what? Welcome To Life – the place where almost every single thing you have to do, you’re not gonna like.

We’re not 6 anymore. We’re all in college. It’s about time that we learned now to grow up and just do what needs doing. It may hurt your heart/pride/ego, but if it needs doing, then you need to just friggin get it done.

On your own. I’m not your mom. I’m not doing this stuff for you. Ever.

Holy Stupidity

I started back to school today. While I’m glad to get out of my house, I also hate having to deal with all the people. But being in classes also means that I have things to do during the day. There’s chapters I have to read for my deaf culture class and then write blog posts about. If something’s interesting enough, or I just have no other ideas, I’ll put it up on here for y’all to read. So that class is gonna be fun – despite the 3 research papers and the group presentation.

My math class on the other hand, that was a freaking adventure today. I was in a class I wasn’t supposed to be in because it was an honors section. According to the person I talked to at the school, I shouldn’t have even been able to register for it. I found another class that fit into my schedule, but I wasn’t allowed to swap into it. Why? The school started a new policy – you have to be registered by 11:59pm the night before classes start or you can’t register. I was already registered in this honors class and just wanted to swap into another class. But there are no exceptions to the new policy. It’s gonna screw people over and make them want to leave the school. If I had another school I could go to instead I wouldn’t stuck around here. However that’s not the case so I’m stuck dealing with the backlash of the school’s new system. 

I’m still enrolled in a math class, but it’s not a full 16-week or on campus. Instead I’m gonna have to suffer through an 8-week online course. I’m gonna be living in hell for that class. I already have enough issues with math, and now I’m not gonna be in a classroom to learn it – therefore everything is gonna be on me, so I’m wondering how I’m gonna make it work… 

Possible Backsliding

  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • Overeating or appetite loss
  • Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts

I feel like I’m falling back into a lot of this stuff. And that honestly scares me. I know depression isn’t something that’s once and done, it comes and goes for years. I just don’t want to be slipping back into depression right as school is starting. I want to be able to focus on my class, and not feel like it’s too much and I can’t do it. 

I know I can sit here now and say that I can do it, but things are always different when you’re in classes. I always say that I’m gonna be able to handle everything, but I often tend to underestimate how much work there’s gonna be. I know the math class is gonna take work, obviously. And my ASL classes are gonna have their work, but I’ll be more likely to do that because it’s more interesting/fun for me. 

Another thing I worry about is the toll that this would end up taking on my relationship. I’ve never been dating someone, at least not like this, when I fell into depression. It’s an unknown for me, and him, that I don’t really want to deal with but I know we’ll both have to.

  • I start to pull away from people I usually talk to all the time. 
  • I hide away in my room.
  • I can’t stay focused on anything for very long. (just writing this has taken multiple sittings over multiple days)
  • I constantly feel tired, and sometimes that means I take a nap in the middle of the afternoon. 
  • I frequently feel like I’m not worth what other people say/think I am. 
  • I have issues falling asleep at night, and I wake up multiple times before I can actually function enough to get out of bed. 
  • I get easily frustrated over the smallest things, and I feel like I just can’t sit still even when I’m watching TV. 
  • I don’t get pulled into books or writing like I used to, and even Netflix doesn’t hold me the same way it used to. 
  • I either eat nothing or I eat all the time. 
  • I have headaches that come and go all day, and my shoulders/back always feel like they have knots in them. 
  • I start feeling significantly worse at night, but I pretend like I’m fine when people are around. 

I see all of this in myself, but I don’t want to tell anyone about it. I think it has to do with how I see these things day-to-day. They don’t seem that bad. Not bad enough to worry other people with them. I know I really should, but I just don’t see what good that would do. They could probably help me, but I’m too stubborn and I push help away unless I feel like I truly need it. 

I just don’t quite feel like myself anymore…

I’m Slowing Coming Back to Life

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I haven’t put up a post in almost a month… And I figured I should get back to this whole blogging thing since my goal was once a week and I’ve miserably failed at that. I’m kicking myself for that because I really wanted to get into writing more, but there just wasn’t anything to say. Or if there was, I didn’t know how to say it in a way that I thought people would want to read. Not that I think many people read my blog anyway. This is really just for me. If anyone reads it or whatever, then that’s great, but it really doesn’t matter to me all that much I suppose.

Things have been a bit crazy for me lately. Tests and projects and snow days have been quite abundant. Along with plans being cancelled at the very last minute. And all of that has put a stress on me. A stress I wasn’t exactly prepared to deal with. The stress pushed me into myself, to the point that I didn’t want to talk to people. Meaning I was isolated from everyone, which didn’t help the situation any. And of course on the day that I actually want to talk to people, there’s no one available.

Next weekend I’m going away on a trip with the youth group at my church so that my brother can get some of his community service hours. (That’s a whole ‘nother story that I’m not going into now, or probably ever.) There’ll be something like 15 kids there. So that’s gonna be a fun challenge for me. For two reasons. One: Some of them don’t think of me as someone they have to respect because I’m in college and not really an adult. Two: I’ve got to take my laptop so that I can get schoolwork done. I have a video project due the day after we get back home. I have biology that always needs doing. I have three labs due the Wednesday we’re back in classes.

I desperately want to spend some time with my best guy friend. I’ve seen him for all of half an hour in the last three weeks. I’m aching so bad for his hugs it’s depressing. He means everything to me. He’s the one person I can talk to about anything, no matter what. There’s a reason for that, but I’m not in a position that I can disclose that information. All I can say is that while I understand what’s going on, I’m still upset about it and wish like hell that I could see him and talk to him at night.

I’m trying to find ways to relax, but it’s not easy. There’s constantly something going on at my house. Something that someone needs my help with. Something that’s not really possible to ignore. I know that it sounds like I’m making excuses, but welcome to my life. I don’t really have time to myself. My escapes are when I’m sleeping, doing homework (which is far from relaxing), watching Netflix, or catching up on Switched at Birth once a week. (Speaking of which, I might do a post on that after the winter half season finale on the 17th.)

I’m actually really really excited about the video project that’s due on the 17th. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s the truth. We have to pick a famous person and sign about their life for two minutes. Now, that might sound easy, but it’s not. Picking a celebrity was more difficult than I thought it would be. Originally I thought I would do Sean Berdy (he plays Emmett on Switched at Birth), but there wasn’t enough information to be found. So I thought I’d do Marlee Matlin, but then I realized that she seemed like too obvious a choice since this is for my ASL 3 class. I text my sister and asked her to help me brainstorm people to do. In the end, I wound up deciding on Ellen DeGeneres. She’s a name that people know well, but they probably don’t know much about. I had a lot of fun reading about her and finding life events to put into the video.
– Her parents divorced two years before she graduated high school
– She only went to one semester of college
– She was the first openly gay/lesbian person to host the Academy Awards
– She’s a comedian
– She’s written three books
– She’s the voice of Dory in Finding Nemo (don’t make fun of me for not knowing that before…)
And that’s not even everything that I have for the video; that’s just the major stuff I can list 
without specific years.

I don’t know what else I can say without my brain trying to explode. I’ve basically sucked it dry. I mean, this is the longest post I’ve put up yet…