Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Little Bit Better Today

I feel a little bit better today- not a lot. But enough that it makes a difference. I function a little better at work, I don't drown so much in the paperwork. When I remember, I say my "loving kindness" mantra to myself.

But it is still bad. And I come home and collapse in front of the TV, and I do nothing. I eat comfort food. I know that what my body needs is to exercise, but I don't. I am disgusting. Dishes pile up in the kitchen.

I know that it is never going to be easy to do the right thing, to do the things that I need to be doing- but today it is just too damn hard. I don't even try, beyond work. That is enough for today.

I didn't cry in my car at lunch. That was an improvement. I wanted to, but I didn't. I did yesterday.

I think I feel better physically today. The past couple of days I have felt bad physically, like I was coming down with something. I was sneezing a little, I felt chills, but it didn't get any worse than that. And getting a virus is often enough to through me into a depression. Today I feel better, just tired, and with terrible heartburn. But I had pizza and a chocolate bar for lunch, what did I expect?

I know that I have a lot to be depressed about, if I look at my life from a certain perspective. I feel like I don't have the life I want, and I feel incapable of working harder to make a better life. I feel like I am stuck.

Then again, I am alive. I have a job, and they have not fired me. I have parents who care about me. I have a brother I love who is going to have a daughter this year. I have relatively good health, especially given how much I weigh (thank-you Zyprexa), and no diabetes.

I need to find ways of making some things in my life easier, so I can do the things that really matter. Like studying hand therapy. Like doing yoga and hiking and going to the gym. Eating healthier- but making it easy. Somehow, something has to get easier.

Today when I felt so bad, I tried to think of one thing that would make me feel better, that my body was asking for, and I decided that it was a massage. Unfortunately that costs money. But I get paid this Friday. Maybe it can happen. I could get massages every week, and it would still be cheaper than my Abilify.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Depression is Back

The last two days I have been very depressed. I even skipped my therapy session today because I was too depressed to go- I had to run home after work and go to bed.

I work in healthcare- basically in the service industry.Which is a hard place to work with a mental health issue, because it is not enough to do your job. You have to do it with a smile. And I understand with my patients- but with my coworkers too? I wish that I never got asked the question by a co-worker, how are you. That is a terribly personal question. I don't want to tell you the truth half the time, but I don't like to lie. So it is never a satisfactory response from my side when I feel like hell.

And that really is all too often. I am starting to wonder if I am in the wrong profession, but then I don't think that there is any right profession. I feel like I have to be so close to 100% every day to not only treat my patients right, but also to get my paperwork done, and treat my co-workers cheerfully. And I'm just not 100% everyday.

Is there a job where you don't have to be on top of your game everyday?

Is there a job these days that has no paperwork? Where you don't have to smile when you feel bad? When no one will ask you how you feel or how your weekend was, when you stayed in bed depressed all weekend? If there is, I want to know about it.

And yet, I love what I do. Just not all of the time. But I love being an occupational therapist. It is the best thing in my life right now. And the biggest burden. I guess that is normal.

When I am depressed, the one thing I have to do is work- I can let everything else go. But I have to work. So I wind up getting very angry about it, because it is so hard. But a girl has to make a living! I have been on disability, I don't want to go back there, assuming I could even get back on it. I have to make this work, no pun intended.

Today I have the running retrain "I want to be dead" going through my head, which I tried swapping out for "loving kindness." Did it help? Maybe some. But I felt bad that I was just using these words with such bad feelings, like they didn't have any meaning themselves. But I think it did help a little, and did make me feel a little more present with my patients. And I'm all about my patients when I am at work. I know I am there for them, no matter how bad I feel.

I'll feel better on Friday, when I get my next paycheck, and I can put a little more towards my new car fund and towards my credit card debt. I can't believe that it is almost the end of the month.

But for today, here I am bitching. Because in my day to day life, there is no place for this.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

What Makes Us American?

The storm is over, and so I have been spending my time doing laundry and watching BookTV on CSPAN. One the the authors was Christine O'Donnell who basically said that the problem with socialism is that the state decides what role you should play, but the American dream is to work as hard as we can to get a good car and a good house. Somehow this wasn't very inspiring.

In American we have a limited social safety net, so we have to work very hard. We have to fund our own retirement, and increasingly our own healthcare. This makes it all about money, whether we want it to be or not.

How does it all come down to money? It is just a human construct, it is a make-believe thing. Why is it worth more some days than other days? I have sold my soul- or at least my time- for the make-believe thing. I go to work everyday. If I won the lottery, I would want to work just enough to value my time away from work. Maybe two days a week. That would be heaven.

Maybe someday. When I am done with therapy, paid off some debts, when all my meds go generic. Maybe I can work less hours. How un-American.

It's All a Little Disappointing

Yes my power did go off Saturday night- way earlier than I expected, but then it went back on by Sunday morning. I did get to test out my hand crank radio/flashlight, which is worked pretty well. But the storm itself seems not to be living up to the hype.

I don't know what I expected- Manhattan to float away? And I guess there is still the potential for a lot more flooding- now the rivers may flood. Which is more of an issue than the ocean where I live. But I think we dodged a bullet. Which is a good thing.

And yet the little kid in me says, is that it? After all that hype, is that it?

There are certainly enough people who are very effected by the storm, and for them, it is no small matter. But it seems that the buckets and pots and pans of water that I filled were filled for naught.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Weather Channel in All Its Glory

We have Hurricane Irene on our doorstep, supposed to get here tonight. I don't think it will be so bad where I live, a bit inland, I am mostly worried about power outages. And maybe trees down.

With 24-hour news channels, you never know what to believe. How bad is this going to be? They will play up anything for something to say. And I guess the answer is, when it comes to the weather, we don't know. We can't predict things with 100 percent accuracy. The storm could go a little bit this way, or a little bit that way, with tremendous consequences.

I have to get myself out and do some grocery shopping, because I really don't have much food. I was going to go last night, but I was too upset after I nearly had a melt down at the pharmacy.

I wanted to fill my Abilify prescription. And I knew that I only had less than 100 dollars left in my deductible. But they told me that when they tried to put it though, I would have to pay the whole 525 dollars. So I didn't fill it. I still have some left- but I don't know what to do. I don't know how to fight this. Maybe because I still haven't met my full deductible, I have to pay the full thing. So I just need to find something cheaper to get to my deductible, and then I can try to fill it again, and just pay my co-pay. I do not have 525 dollars in my health savings account at this time.

Every job I have had, the insurance has been worse. When you have a high deductible plan, you feel like you don't even have insurance half the time. Plus they keep finding reasons to deny things, like lab work, etc. that they say is experimental or not needed.

So anyway, I was too upset to go grocery shopping, so I have to go today. I wonder if the shelves will be bare. I have heard from my patients that bottled water is sold out.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Good Day to Watch CNN

An exciting news day. The rebels have entered the capital of Libya, it is happening faster than anyone expected. The TV is full of images of people celebrating in the streets. Joyous voices and faces.

I hope that there is a little bit more freedom coming to the middle east. I think America's star is waning, I am actually quite pessimistic about our long term future. But I hope that the freedom that has for so long been represented and protected by America will be found in other countries, whatever happens here.

Before watching CNN I was watching CSPAN, and Mark Steyn talk about the coming economic collapse of America. He was preaching to the converted- I have believed this for some time. But I don't know what to do about it.

Democracy has been a great experiment- but what happens when the electorate realizes that they can vote themselves more government benefits than they pay taxes for? What happens when our president tells us that we can go to war and not raise taxes to pay for it? We must not be teaching math is school anymore.

But I digress. The scenes in Libya are wonderful. I hope the joy is not momentary and fleeting, but that some of it can last through the hard process of trying to create a functioning government.

Today is Better

I'm feeling a lot better today. I'm back up to the full dose of 10mg of Abilify- this is my 3rd day at the full dose. I've been doing the light therapy for a week. And this morning, I feel like something has shifted, I feel tremendously better. I feel at peace. I actually did dishes this morning.

I hate to admit that I need so many meds. I mean, TWO antipsychotics? Am I that crazy? Apparently so. I think t0o many people are taking too many meds.I think antipsychotics are overprescribed. I think that polypharmacy has gotten out of control. And yet- it works for me. 10 years ago I was in and out of psych hospitals, on disability. Now, while my life is still very hard, I haven't seen the inside of a psych ward for 8 years, and I am working full time. Well, actually I have seen the inside of a psych ward- but as an occupational therapist treating patients, not as a patient.

I am probably on the least sedating "cocktail" that I have been on in years, so I shouldn't complain. If I can forget the weight gain- and I am no longer gaining (just haven't lost), the side effects aren't too bad, probably the best they have been in a while. Long term effects, yes, I worry about. But lets face it- I never thought that I would live this long (or want to live this long). And I almost didn't. So I'm really living on borrowed time. Without meds, I think I would have killed myself by now.

So I need to stop messing with my meds. Yes, keep taking all of my supplements, hoping that they will mitigate the bad things that my meds do- but I need to agree that for 1 year I will not touch my medication dosages.

Friday, August 19, 2011

I Need Abilify?

The past week has been the week from hell. I have been so depressed, I amazed myself by being able to get myself into work. Some days I think they should give gold medals for that- but I guess that is what a paycheck is for.

By 3 or 4pm things seem to get somewhat better, and I'm not so tearful, not so afraid that I'm going to be audibly repeating the words "I wish I were dead" that repeat constant in my head. But it is still bad. I go home and collapse.

Of course I have gone back on the Abilify. And I am doing my light therapy again, which I don't always do during the summer- but it has been so cloudy and rainy that I think I need it.

And then Tuesday I dragged myself to therapy after work. Somehow. And I am glad that I did.

I have always said that therapy does nothing for me when I am really depressed, except maybe let me vent. But my new therapist, who is big into DBT, focused on mindfulness, and that is something that I have never tried when depressed. And it helped. No, it didn't make the depression go away. But it did make it more bearable.

Depression takes so much away. When there is nothing that you want, life becomes just something that you have to push through, waiting to die. But I'm not suicidal, somehow. I guess there is still a part of me that is telling me this is probably just due to coming down on the Abilify, and that going back up on it will fix it. I hope. If not, I don't know what I am going to do.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Forever Meds?

How many of my meds are forever meds? If I listened to my psychiatrists, it would be everything, and I'd never come off of anything. I would just keep adding or raising at each new crisis, and never reduce. No doctor has ever tried to get me off of anything except klonopin.

But I have successfully taken myself off of a couple of things, and reduced some other dosages. And then, sometimes I haven't been able to. Maybe I didn't go slowly enough, or maybe I really need it right then.

But after going on the Abilify for a short period, I am ready to go off of it. I am better. My life is better. And I don't want my brain to get too used to it so that I will start needing it, and then withdrawal will be harder. But I am going off of it slowly. And I know that it is there if I need it again. Which I probably will, someday. I hope not someday anytime soon. But I know that Abilify really works for my depression, and fast.