Saturday, November 30, 2013

I'm a real American now- I went shopping on Thanksgiving eve

Thanksgiving was a good day. Mom was here, and we did the local "Turkey trot" in town. We walked of course, as they had both a walk and a run. It was fun. We went home and read and napped. Then we went out to a very fancy restaurant for Thanksgiving- no way I was cooking for two people. The food was very good. Afterward we went to Staples.

I have never gone Black Friday shopping, let alone on the Thursday before. But I needed a new computer, and there was one that I wanted that was hugely discounted, and my coworkers pointed out it would probably be sold if I waited. There is a Staples pretty close to me, so on the way back from the restaurant, we went. I think that Staples opened at 8pm, at least that is what the website said. I think we got there at 8:10, and it was pretty crowded. I was amazed.

I went home with my computer after a very long line. I convinced my mom to get a Kindle Fire for pretty cheap- at it was their last one. It was pretty successful. If we had waited, mom would not have got her kindle. I don't know how many of the computers they had, and if they would have sold out by the nest day. I am glad we went.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Wonderful weekend

I went to my brother's this weekend. I saw my niece, who is almost 2, and just adorable. It was great. I have also learned that my brother and his wife are buying a house (pending inspections, title search, etc.). We went to see it- it is very nice. And it is a sign that hopefully my brother will be staying put for a while- for much of his adult life he traveled overseas, and I was afraid of a return to that.

Now I am home and my mother is staying with me for a week. It is going to be a hard week. She is cleaning, and for that I am grateful- but she cannot stop talking. I feel like she takes up the oxygen in the room. And we are so different in so many ways. There is no harmony, no easiness in our relationship. I just want to get away, I just want her to stop talking.

Friday, November 22, 2013

To klonopin or not to klonopin?

I started feeling increasingly anxious and depressed as the day wore on today- despite being busy and productive at work. And I had a bunch of errands to do this evening as I am going away this weekend.

I went in to Panera bread for some soup and a sandwich, hoping to relax and feel better. I didn't. I decided to take a quarter of a milligram of klonopin. It helped.

I don't know. Should I just fight the anxiety? Try to push through on days like this? Just be miserable, and hope that in the long run it will make me a better person? Is taking the klonopin on days like this only giving me more days like this? I never know.

I think that if I take it too frequently, and give in too easily, it becomes a problem- it will actually start to affect my mood. Then again, my mood is not so good if I am taking it a lot, so I don't know which came first. But I also know that not taking it does not keep these days away, and that taking a tiny bit can be the difference between getting things done vs going home to be miserable.

And I did get a haircut, go shopping for presents for my niece, and do some grocery shopping. Not too bad for a work night for me. The only think I haven't managed to do is clean. I'm not that good. I'm going to get up early and see if I can clean a little before I leave. I get to see my niece this weekend!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A slow, mellow weekend

I didn't do that much this weekend except laundry. I watched bookTV on CSPAN2, and learned of a new book, "The Unwinding," that sounded good. So I bought it and got it on my kindle (instant gratification) and have been reading that. I was very bad and made an ice cream run. But I actually think that, calorie-wise, I did okay today. Just way too much sugar.

Even though I didn't do that much of what I wanted to get done- grocery shopping, exercise, church, etc., I still feel good. And I can't decide if that is a good thing or a bad thing. Maybe I do need to be harder on myself at times. But instead, I just feel mellow today.

Keeping with the good mood I gave 100$ to the American Red Cross. Why do good moods make us feel more generous? Why do bad moods often have the reverse effect? Our brains could have been wired the opposite way. I wonder if you get the same effect in primates.

I have a lot to do in the coming week. I have some paperwork to get caught up on an work. And we have a journal club meeting that I am organizing, and I have to finish preparing. I have to go grocery shopping. Buy a present for my niece before I see her this weekend. And do some cleaning before my mother comes. And yes, I am going to make it to all of my yoga classes. In fact, I am going to try out a new class on Wednesday evening as well.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Winter Sucks

The past week has been a good week at work- but I run home at the end of the day. I don't want to do anything. I want to eat and sleep. I cannot believe how hungry I am. But before sunset, my mood is pretty good. After sunset I just want to hibernate. I even blew off yoga yesterday.

I am struggling with trying to lose weight, or at least not to gain. I know the season is a factor- but I know that the Zyprexa increase is also a factor. I am also tired of always being hungry and thinking about food. I am thinking about trying to decrease it back down to 5mg. But mood-wise, I really don't want to have to do that. I will give it another week, and see what the scale says.

When I first went on Zyprexa, I gained tremendous amounts of weight. So I'm not surprised that the increase is doing this to me. I just was hoping that I could fight it. When I first went on the Zyprexa, it made me so numb in the beginning that I really didn't fight it at first. Plus, I didn't realize a drug could be that terrible when it came to weight gain. It was still pretty new. Now I know.

This week I have got to get myself together and start doing things.

Next weekend I go to visit my brother and his family, which will be nice. My mother will be coming, and then coming to visit me for a week. I have mixed feelings about this. I hope it goes well. The key to having good visits with my mother is to keep them short and to have activities planned. We will go out for Thanksgiving dinner. Normally I go to my dad's, but I don't think this would work.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Not sick, just cold

I was so cold at work today. I have a sweater, but it is really light. Usually I don't get cold, I am always the one who is hot. I wonder if my thyroid is running lower because of the lithium.

I thought I was getting sick. I started getting getting so achy by the end of the day. All of my muscles were hurting. I thought I must be coming down with something. And then when I got into my car to go home, and put the heat on full blast- I realized that I wasn't sick, just cold.

Now in my warm apartment everything is starting to feel better. I'm just sorry that I had to run home. I really needed to get a haircut. And I wanted to go to the gym afterwards, but I would have settled for a haircut.

Otherwise it was a good day, and my mood and concentration continue to be good. Interesting patients, and some good challenges.

Now I just need a life outside of work. I really do. I just need to find the energy to create that- energy that is harder to come by this time of year.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Really good day

My mood was really good today. At one point, someone said something funny as I was walking out of the room. I laughed and smiled. And then I realized that when I got to where I was going, I was still smiling! My smiles never last that long.

It was a light day, so I managed to get all of my notes done. I was able to concentrate. This is good.

The only bad thing about today is that I am still not used to the time change. It was one of my late nights when I work evenings, and my last hour at work I was losing it. Thursday I think I will resort to coffee, and hope I can take it late enough to be helpful, but not so late as to stop me from sleeping.

I am grateful for today. I hope it continues. But I know not to try to hold on the good times too hard- just enjoy them. Isn't that supposed to be the root of all suffering? Attachment?

I was attached to having sunlight when I got out of work. It made it easier to do things and have a life. Now I just want to go home and bury myself in my comforter. I will have to get used to a world without sunlight. Maybe I will become a vampire for the winter.

Doing better

I am doing better. I backed off on the meds that I had increased over the weekend- they did their job, and I am a lot better. Evenings are still very difficult for me with time time change, but hopefully I will continue to adjust.

Yesterday it was good to have yoga to go to after work, so I didn't go home and go straight to bed. I think I would have been tempted. Since the time change, I start getting really tired really early. But it was a good yoga class, and my back didn't bother me at all- but I did limit my forward flexion a little bit. Just in case.

I am very frustrated with my weight. I had been using this calorie counting app, and lost a few pounds. Then I had one bad week of depression, and I didn't even think I was eating that much- but I gained it all back plus a pound. So today I am back to counting calories.

I am trying to get my breakfasts and lunches the same every day, so then it is just the snacks and dinner that I have to count. I can't make this too complicated. And I am guessing that I really have about 4 dinners that I typically make. And I don't eat a lot of snacks- just a chocolate milk on the nights I go to yoga straight from work (I know bad, sugar). Or a protein bar or soup on the nights I work evenings.

I have to lose a little of this weight. Otherwise I have to lower my Zyprexa. I'd rather not right now- maybe later but not right now. So I have to make this work and lose some weight. I can't keep gaining.

Saturday, November 9, 2013


I'm experimenting with meds over the weekend, to see if I can feel better. I'll call my doctor if I have too- but there is a part of me that feels like that is failure (as in I couldn't figure it out myself...). Plus, I really don't to bother him between sessions if I don't have to.

I have a good psychiatrist right now, I really do. I have had some unbelievably bad ones at times in the past, which has warped my thinking about psychiatry, but the guy I am seeing now is one of the good ones.

I also made sure to have my window shades up today (although I did not make it out of the house). And I did my light therapy in the morning. And I am trying to eat healthy today, but that is hard as I really don't have much food left in the apartment- I am reduced to eating backpacking food for dinner. Gone are the days when I lived in the city, and I could just call for delivery!

Phone call with my mother

I had a phone call with my mom, with whom my relationship is tricky. She also doesn't believe in psych meds. Or that I have a mental illness, for that matter.

I'm not really sure how to define a mental illness, I'm not going to argue with her that I have one. But I do have the experience of depression, and at times hypomania and even mania, that becomes intolerable and stops me from leading my life. And my depression right now has been getting to that point.

But I didn't want to tell her that, because then she would only say that I shouldn't be taking all of these medications if I still feel this bad. I tend to agree- but I don't know what else to do. I tried going off of my meds twice (although not in the best way). The first time I become psychotic and wound up in four point restraints in the hospital, while the second time the depression, which I didn't think could get any worse did get worse, and I tried to kill myself.

She doesn't have any answers for me. Or at least, not answers that I agree with. I don't think I am possessed- one of her theories. I don't think a nutritionist will cure me. She once took me to a nutritionist who put me on a bunch of supplements- it did not stop my plummet into depression. And now I take more supplements than she does. I really do believe in them, but I do not think that they can do it all. Also- perhaps this is just the control freak in me- while my mom wants me to go to someone to tell me what to take- I feel like this is the the one thing I can "prescribe" myself, that I don't need to go to a doctor for. And I'm not going to give that up.

I know she wants to fix me. I'm guilty of the same thing, I want to fix her life. I can't. She can't.

Friday, November 8, 2013

My mood continues to be challanging

I am still really struggling. I think the season changing and the time changing has just pushed me a little too far. I am still hoping to just come out of this, but I am less and less confident that I will. I am trying to will myself not to be depressed, to make myself function. But I am starting to give in to it- I didn't go to yoga today. And I can feel my mind starting to go, my paperwork time is pretty unproductive.

But hopefully the weekend will give me what I need. I wish that there was something I could do when I feel myself falling into a depression, to catch it early, to stave it off- but if there is anything to do, I haven't discovered what it is. Sometimes temporarily raising my Zyprexa has helped, and I'm open to that as long as it is temporary- but it can be very sedating too. Which doesn't always help with functioning.

It was dark and cloudy today with a little bit of rain- really not what I needed. I fled to my car during lunch time but didn't get to sit in the sun. There was no sun. I wonder what the weather is tomorrow.

I have a social obligation tomorrow. I am wondering if I should cancel it. Maybe I won't be able to make myself go tomorrow- or I'll just hate it anyway. And if I am not going, it is better to cancel today than the last minute. I don't know. This is the dilemma the depression gives you. How hard do you push yourself? And do you take on commitments that you know you might not keep? Do you say yes when the depression is saying no? Or do you spend the rest or your life in bed?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Feeling somewhat better

Yesterday had started out as a really bad day. I was still in that bad place, telling myself all the bad things that were going to happen. I started thinking I was really going into another depression. I really felt myself sliding down the hole. And then, miraculously, it started to lift at lunchtime. I didn't bring lunch, so I went out for pizza. Then I sat in my car in the sun and listened to music on the radio. By the time I got back to work, the dark spell had started to lift.

It hasn't totally lifted, but I don't feel like I'm doomed to another depressive episode the way I was feeling. I am better but not all better. But it is good to know that I can get so close to the edge and not go over it.

Otherwise nothing too exciting. I got out early from work because I had to go to the dentist. But I actually had patients to treat today, that was good. And tomorrow I have a fairly full day as well. I don't like it too busy- but too light can be even worse I am discovering.

I'm trying to get used to it being so dark so early. I hate the time change in the fall.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Why I eat fast food

There are two times I eat fast food. The first is when I am travelling, usually taking a road trip, and don't want to take much time to eat. And it is kind of a tradition for me. The other time I eat fast food is when I am too depressed, irritable, hypomanic, etc., to walk into a grocery store. And that is what happened yesterday.

Sometimes I can manage a convenience store even if I can't make it in to a grocery store- and the options are getting a little healthier there. In Wawa's I can find salads and humus with pretzels, along with subs. But sometimes I can't even manage that- and I go to a drive through. I don't have to get out of the car, I barely have to talk to anyone.

Yesterday I had a bad day. With the time change, I had a really hard time sleeping. Then I had something happen at work that was very little, but enough to get my mind running through a hundred negative things, and decided my life was over. I was also feeling anxious and irritable.

I did drag myself to yoga after work- no easy feat- but that was all that I had. I couldn't go grocery shopping afterwards, I just did a drive through. It seemed so wrong to be eating a burger after yoga. But I did.

Today, hopefully, I will make it to the grocery store.

Despite my mood, and despite the fact that I was totally not present for the yoga class, it was good to be back. And my back did okay. I just have to remember to keep the curve in my lower back and not do too much forward flexion at my lower back. It is good to know that I can still do yoga.

I woke up today feeling a little better, I hope that it lasts.  

Saturday, November 2, 2013

At peace with my meds, for now

I made my peace with the Zyprexa increase after going down, and having to come back up on it. And now, I have made my peace with my very high dose of Effexor, as I have had to go back up on it. I am willing to take these meds and doses if I need them, I just want to be sure that I need them. For the moment, I am pretty certain that I do. By "need" I guess I mean that they give me a better quality of life by taking them. Although if I gain anymore weight on the Zyprexa, I will really reconsider.

I wanted to get down to 300mg of Effexor. It doesn't do such bad things to my blood pressure. My insurance company will gladly pay for 300mg, but for 450mg I have to get my psychiatrist to appeal. And some psychiatrists don't feel comfortable with such high a dose- once when I was looking for a new psychiatrist because my insurance changed, the person I made an appointment with said that I was taking too much Effexor, he would switch me to Cymbalta. At the time I was doing very well, and had just started working after 7 years on disability. This made me feel very vulnerable- although I was ultimately able to find someone who would prescribe my medications. But not in my plan.

I think I have tried going down on everything that I take. And some of the meds I used to take more of, so over the years I was able to cut down a little. But for the moment I can go no further. And other than the weight gain, side effects are really not too bad- although it is annoying to have to pee so much in the mornings with the lithium. It seems like mornings are the worst- and I take extended release lithium. I wonder if I took instant release lithium instead- if it wouldn't last as long into the day. Or maybe then I'd wake up in the night to pee. That would be really bad.

So I am generally at peace with my meds. I can't make any promises for the future. But for now, I just want to think about life, not meds.

Friday, November 1, 2013

The waiting game

I went up on my Effexor yesterday. I know it was the right thing to do. I have not been feeling very good recently, just not very alive- even though I wasn't really identifying it as depression until yesterday. I took the higher dose again today. I did feel that norepinephrine kick, it helped- but I know that the full antidepressant effect will take a little bit of time to really kick in. And in the mean time, I am having some side effects going up. I know they will go away, but for now the higher dose is making me anxious.

So I have to wait out the side effects, wait until I get the full antidepressant effect. And be patient with myself in that time. And not let my life fall apart in the meantime- keep doing the things that I really have to do.

I actually think that the higher dose helped my cognition already. It was easier to focus at work. And work went well today, I had a good number of patients. I didn't feel useless. After work I impressed myself by making it to the bank to get cash and quarters for laundry. But then I didn't make it to the grocery store, I just wanted to go home. I stopped at WaWa's (I love WaWa's). I bought a salad, a soft pretzel to eat with hummus, and some milk. And then I came home and plopped in front of the TV.

I watched about an hour of CNN's coverage of the shooting at LAX. These shootings are getting so frequent- MSNBC and Fox News weren't even covering it. But really, there wasn't much to say at this point. CNN is good at saying nothing over and over again. I want to know who the shooter is, what his story is. That is what I want to know.

But I actually think the shooting is big news- because it just points out what I have often said. It easy to attack an airport as long as you do it before you go through security. Airports are becoming "soft targerts," and our security is not set up to address that. I'm not sure you can address that without becoming a police state.