Feeling Better

I waited a couple of days because I didn’t want to jinx it, but I am definitely feeling better. 

I started feeling better on Saturday after working at my internship. After a couple of days, I started feeling not just better, but GREAT! That’s where I’m at right now. Everything that bothered me less than a week ago doesn’t have an impact anymore. I was going insane from all of the people last week. This week? Not a problem. I even enjoyed socializing. 

Guess who was right, then, about it being chemical? This guy right here.There’s no way it was situational like my psychiatrist thought because I wouldn’t be feeling better right now since things haven’t changed. I’d be feeling the same level of shitty, if not worse. Unless it was situational and the meds just kicked me up high enough that I don’t give a shit about the situation anymore. Possible. 

Either way, I feel fucking great. That’s the nifty thing about having bipolar disorder (working on saying having not being)–your mood will almost always end after a while.

Now, this all begs the question: am I hypomanic? I suppose we’ll see.


Psychiatry and Self-Doubt

I met with my psychiatrist again yesterday (we’ve been meeting all of the time since NYE) to tell her how I’ve been feeling lately and maybe get some sort of solution. As you can probably guess, that didn’t happen.

I talked a lot about how I’ve been feeling and what’s been going on in my life. Rather than believing that this is probably a distorted view on events caused by depression, my psychiatrist thinks it’s a depression reaction to events that genuinely suck. I was really hoping for a “you’re right–your brain does suck” kind of reaction because that means either my brain will fix itself or we can fix it. If my doctor is, in fact, right about it being situation, then I’m kind of fucked. 

I’m in a program that I don’t really like, but I can’t leave because 1) the loans are paying for my housing, 2) there are limited job opportunities without the degree and, most importantly, 3) I really want to be able to give people therapy and this is the only viable option to make that happen. I don’t have the best friend situation, but I’m too socially anxious to really change it. Yes, I know, I should be working on overcoming it, but fuck that. My job isn’t particularly satisfying, but it pays the bills. I’m uncertain about the supervisor I have for my internship, but that’s who I’ve got. There’s not a lot of room for “fix the situation” until after I graduate, which is why I was hoping for something that would lead to me being medicated into feeling happy.

I left the session with a kind of “fuck you, it’s chemical!” attitude and a bit tearful. I was so damn certain that it was my brain chemistry. Now, after a day of watching the depression ebb and flow, I’m thinking maybe she was right. I can’t tell anymore. Good events seem to make me feel better, which I don’t think would happen so much in chemical depression. Maybe it would. I’m just doubting the validity of how I feel, probably because there is a component of hoping that it’s chemical. 

Either way, I left my appointment and am sitting here without the solution I was hoping to have. I just want to know when I’ll start feeling better and I don’t think I have that answer. I really need that answer. 

My Brain is Shit

I’m trying to get my thoughts in order. There’s so much I could write about right now. I try to keep my blogs focused on a specific topic, but it’s looking like the topic will be how shitty life is right now.

My depressive brain is lying to me, or is it? It’s telling me that I’m a burden to everyone, that no one actually likes me, that they’re all going to leave me. It keeps telling me that if I say any of this to other people, they’ll leave me. It freaks out when I actually do it and screams at me again and again, “Don’t do it!” I think maybe it’s right, which means I’m really hitting a low point because I’m getting tired of fighting off the negative thoughts.

I’m tired in general. When I’m home, I just lay on the couch listening to music, waiting for an acceptable hour to officially go to bed. And then I sleep and I wake up so tired. Some days I skip showering just to have the extra few minutes of sleep and I never have a proper breakfast. I haven’t cleaned my apartment in weeks. 

Not much interests me anymore. I don’t even want to watch Doctor Who and I love Doctor Who. Don’t even get me started on readings. The most excitement I’ve felt lately came from getting my DSM because, to me, it means I’m on my way to becoming a therapist. Or am I? I don’t know that I’m well enough anymore to become one even though my therapist tells me that I don’t have to be perfect to be a therapist. 

And people, ugh, people. I can barely handle them. One, maybe two, at a time, okay. More than that and I just can’t. They’re too noisy. They’re too demanding. They’re too alive. Being around them reminds me of how isolated and alone I feel. 

The desire to cut has become more frequent and my aim is my wrists. It’s the kind of cutting you do to make yourself feel again. I don’t think I’ll do it, but I get less and less confident in that statement every day. Were I not working where I work and in the field I do, I’d have slash marks all over my wrists by now. 

I don’t know what else to bitch about. I apologize if you actually got through all of this garbage. 

Difficult child…

Distorted Thinking

One of the many, many things that sucks about being depressed is the distorted thinking. It’s not the awesome thinking that comes with being manic where you think you’re the most amazing person in the world. Instead, it’s the thinking that tells you that everyone around you is an asshole and that you deserve it because you’re shit.

As you may have guessed from my previous post, I’ve either got this going on or the person I surround myself with really are assholes. The deserving it part is definitely distorted thinking, though.

I think maybe getting out what’s been going on will help, though. Or it’ll just piss me off more. I’m not sure.

Basically, the relationships are very one directional. It’s them talking about their issues and me listening. If it gets close to the opposite, they just inquire about my therapist and leave it at that. I, on the other hand, listen to them, try to help in any way I can, and only then do I mention the therapist issue. It’s feeling very unequal. This extends past just talking about my problems. In fact, it feels like I have no room to ever talk, even though I think it’s frustrating them that I never talk. I even had one friend, sitting next to me, say that if she lost one of our mutual friends, she would have no friends. That was special.

One conversation with a friend is particularly illustrative of the issue. After listening to him complain about his relationship issues for several minutes, I said, “I wish I knew when I’ll stop feeling so shitty.” His response was to ask me if my therapist was helping (no questions of why I was feeling so shitty), to which I replied that he wasn’t really helping. The issue didn’t really get explored afterward, despite saying another couple of things indicating I needed to talk. I ended up backing down from everything I was saying by saying that he didn’t need to worry about me. His response? “I’m not.” I wanted to type back (this all occurred on Facebook Messenger) that he should be, but decided against it.

Even though I think they’re shitty right now, I’m really afraid they’ll leave me and they’re all I’ve got. Before anyone makes the argument that I’d be better off, consider the reality of having no friends. I’m inclined to cling to what I’ve got. I’m mostly worried they’ll leave because I’m no fun to be around when I’m depressed. I don’t talk much because I don’t want to be a burden and, apparently, that bothers them. What I really want to do is pull away, but I’m almost certain that’ll end everything and I’ll end up alone.

From the reality I’m sitting in, this is a pretty terrible and lonely situation. I’m stuck with friends that don’t really care about me and are more interested in themselves than anything else.

Is that objective reality, though, or is it just a product of distorted thinking? Maybe it’s a bit of both? I really wish I knew because I’m worried that I’ll blow everything if I stay in this episode for much longer.

I’m Back

For a while, I thought I was doing better and that I was too busy to use this blog. So, I stopped. But I’m back because shit got real again.

After approximately 9 months episode-free, I backslid into a depressive episode. Like most depressive episodes, I didn’t see it coming. I was just excited to spend my break sleeping extra and watching Netflix. Except sleeping extra became 12 hours of sleep with no interruptions and I lost interest in Netflix, even Doctor Who (if you know Doctor Who fans, you know how much of a deal this is). I tried drinking some energy drinks to get my drive back, but it didn’t help. In fact, they may have made things worse.

It all became clear to me as an issue on New Years Eve when, out of nowhere, I realized how unhappy I’ve been for the last few months (long story, but I hate my program), started crying, and wanted to cut. I called the after hours number for my college’s health office in hopes of getting my medication adjusted so I would feel better. I ended up on the line with the counselor on call, crying for the duration of the 30 minute call. In fact, that night I cried for over an hour, quite the feat for someone that never cries. Things got better pretty quickly, but I have been consistently low since then, despite my psychiatrist upping my Abilify due to me not being able to sleep longer than 2 hours for a couple of weeks following NYE. 

You’ve probably got the picture: things are shitty.

Why am I back, though?

Well, the support system that I thought I had built up in my new school seems to be failing miserably. Then again, that could just be my distorted depressed thinking. Basically, all they seem to do is talk about their own issues. They do have some stuff going on, so that’s valid, but I’ve been in the counselor role despite my misery, shouldn’t they do the same? I even had a Facebook conversation with someone that included me asking when I would stop feeling so shitty. I was asked if my therapist was helping, and I replied “not really.” Later in the conversation, I apologized and backed down from my depressive statements, saying “You don’t have to be worried about me.” The response I got was, “I’m not.” I felt like screaming, “BUT YOU SHOULD BE!”, but, of course, I didn’t.

I do have a good support in my new therapist, but, due to treatment limits at my college, can only see him 3 more times before August. He’s been fantastic, but there’s not a lot he can do when he barely sees me. I should be able to lean on my friends, but, as I mentioned above, that doesn’t seem to be an option. 

So, I came back here, hoping that at least writing this down will make me feel better. At the very least, it’ll be out of my head, so there will be plenty of blog posts to follow this, at least until I work my way out of this funk. 

Phil Collins and Energy Drinks

In order to make it through grad school, I have resorted to chemical manipulation of my brain and it’s only been a month. In my defense, I’ve been having issues with motivation, concentration, and energy that have been getting in the way of getting things done. It’s hard to keep up on 300+ pages of reading when you’re too exhausted from medication side effects to focus and read.

So, I follow the Phil Collins and Energy Drink method on the weekends to get caught up/ahead on work as much as possible. The approach originates from the bad old days before I started taking medication. Actually, I was on medication, but the lamotrigine wasn’t up to therapeutic levels at the point.

Anyway, I came up with this method one day when I was writing an 18 page paper that was due the next day. Desperate to get it done, I started drinking Monster to make myself hypomanic. The Phil Collins was largely incidental, but it did seem to help me get more hypomanic. Strange considering he usually mellows people out.

I’m sure you’re thinking disaster resulted, as is usually the case when you fuck with your brain chemistry. Not the case. I finished the paper (including research) in 5 hours and got a 98%. While the entire process was incredibly self-abusive, I count it as a success. After all, how many people can pull that shit off? I would argue that not many can do that, especially at the caliber of school I was attending at the time.

So, I learned that day how to manipulate my brain and have, on occasion, resorted to it since that day. In my defense, it’s not something I do lightly. I know the potential for overshooting my goal and crashing the next day. For the most part, it just gives me a little boost without going into hypomania, so it’s safer than it seems. More importantly for me now, it gets me through my readings and papers. If it didn’t help me do that, I wouldn’t be doing it, but it does.

Aside from that little defense, how do I feel about it? Ambivalent is the natural answer. On the one hand, I enjoy the high and getting my work done. On the other, I know it’s a slippery slope that ends in having mood episodes. For that reason, I’m doing things other than chugging energy drinks to “Can’t Stop Loving You“.

Namely, I’m in the midst of a med adjustment of my lamotrigine down from 200 mg to 150 and have moved from 10 mg of Abilify to 7.5. It’s only been a couple of days on the full dropped dose, but it seems to be helping. I was on a reduced dose last week (175 mg), but the depression that hovers around my birthday was keeping it from working that well. I spent the entire week fighting to get anything done. This week, I’m set to have all of my reading done by tomorrow (I have class Monday-Wednesday), so I can focus on the upcoming group project, test, and paper. So, it’s getting better.

Hopefully, next weekend I won’t even need energy drinks and can get by with just Phil Collins. No, I don’t think I need to quit him. To my knowledge, there are no negative health consequences from listening to cheesy music.