I am not amused, but I’d like to be: Laughter

Fact: The average person laughs 10-15 times a day.
I was reading a collection of random facts this morning and stumbled upon this one. It actually made me pause and think. My first thought was: that can’t be right. So I did a search to find it “confirmed” by many sources… you know, b/c the internet is the supreme ruler of indisputably reliable information =P
My next thought was: Clearly I am not average. But I knew that. I’m guessing you probably knew that too. I’m sure I’ve had days where I’ve laughed that much, but on average? Definitely not.  I consider it a miracle if I laugh even once during the day. Happily it’s been a little more frequent as of late since I started hanging out with my coworkers more, but even then, 10-15 times per day? I wish!
Things I do 10-15 times per day:
Berate myself for the way my body looks.
Daydream about my current crush.
Feel a stab of jealousy or resentment.
Check my blogger stats (It’s a compulsion, you know you do it too)
Tell my cat I love him (You would too, he’s the bestest fuzzlove ever).
Make wishes that will never come true.
Check my appointment calendar to make sure I’m not late for anything.
You get the point. See? None, of those things is laughing. ::grumpyface::
And I wonder: Is it because of my depression that I don’t laugh so much? Or that I don’t laugh so much that contributes to the severity of my depression? Is this an intrinsic part of my borderline personality disorder? Or something that just exacerbates it? Do I just not have enough amusing influences in my life? Or am I predisposed to finding things less amusing?
Curiouser and curiouser.
Laughter is good for your physical health and mental health.
  • Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
  • Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
  • Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
  • Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
  • Laughter dissolves distressing emotions. You can’t feel anxious, angry, or sad when you’re laughing.
  • Laughter helps you relax and recharge. It reduces stress and increases energy, enabling you to stay focused and accomplish more.
  • Humor shifts perspective, allowing you to see situations in a more realistic, less threatening light. A humorous perspective creates psychological distance, which can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed.
Using humor and laughter in relationships allows you to:
  • Be more spontaneous. Humor gets you out of your head and away from your troubles.
  • Let go of defensiveness. Laughter helps you forget judgments, criticisms, and doubts.
  • Release inhibitions. Your fear of holding back and holding on are set aside.
  • Express your true feelings. Deeply felt emotions are allowed to rise to the surface.
Laughter might really be the best medicine. It makes me a little sad. And envious. I love to laugh. I would love to be one of those people that laughs that much. I think all our lives would improve a little if we were able to add a little more laughter to them.
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Lucid Analysis – Trials in Therapy

Another night of therapy comes and goes. Therapist is so positive sometimes I wonder if she listens to me or is able to be realistic. Then again, maybe I’m too ready to believe the negative. I expect the worse without hoping for or even thinking towards the best.  Every week she tells me I’m a good person and a good friend, a joy to work with. I hear her words, but I still feel like she must be talking about someone else, some other idea of me that only she sees because I am a bad person. Though the people around me seem to support her to. I don’t know how to see myself as ‘good’, or at the least ‘not bad’. 

Therapist asked about the situation with Roommate. I talked to Roommate a few days ago. She thinks staying the full 6 months until the end of our next lease cycle is very reasonable. It’ll even give her more time to save and be more financially secure as well. That’s a huge relief to me. The holidays, especially December, is such a hectic time for everyone, and so fiscally strenuous, I couldn’t think of a worse time to add more stress. We ended up having dinner together and just spending a couple hours chatting. She also brought up that she wants to hang out more because we haven’t been doing that for a while. I can’t tell you how much better that made me feel. I’d been thinking the same thing, but you know me, I don’t think anyone remembers me when I’m not around, so to hear that she does think about me and wants to hang out more is reassuring. It gives me hope that even when she does move out we’ll be able to stay in touch and that she wants to make the effort to keep me in her life.
Reassurance. I hate that I need so much of it sometimes. I’m always afraid to ask for it. The thought of coming across as needy or clingy grates at me so I bury how much I need to hear certain things. This creates its own problems of self-doubt and loneliness though. Traits that I feel make me weak and bad. If I feel these things are bad, I can only believe that other people will believe it too, and who wants to be around someone like that? So I put on a mask of stone and solitude and slip slowly into myself. And really, who wants to constantly expound on the importance of having a particular person in their life? I’m sure it would get annoying after a while. I just can’t allow myself to come across as the kind of person that needs this. I don’t want to be an annoyance or a burden. A burden. That’s what I imagine having to provide this constant reassurance would be. I don’t want to be a burden on the people I care about. I should be able to take care of them, not a burden when they’re dealing with their own stuff.
Therapist was thrilled that Roommate gave me this kind of validation though. She also noticed that I didn’t seem to be personalizing Roommates reasons for moving out, and amazingly, I realized she was right. Roommate and I are good friends, she still wants me in her life, in no way is this meant as a way to surreptitiously end our friendship, she’s is just approaching a time in her life where she needs to take a new step. I’m going to miss her, I’m still not sure what I’m going to do and I can’t even conceive of living with someone else yet, but at least I don’t feel like it’s my fault and I don’t think I’ll lose her friendship.  
Therapist doesn’t think I’m an alcoholic either. Yay for me. If I were to start drinking multiple bottles of wine by myself every weekend; that would be a concern. If I wanted to stop drinking, but felt compelled to pour myself another glass and couldn’t stop; that would be a definite problem. The choice to sit down and drink, even a lot, as a conscious decision is pretty normal, though possibly not the best judgment. So she’s not worried about that so much, surprisingly, my trying to pick a fight with Friend was. That was what she found interesting. She said clearly I still have a lot of anger towards him that I’m trying to repress. And she’s right. I still have moments where I don’t understand why he would remain with someone like her when there seemed to be so much more passion in our attraction. That he does makes me feel like I must be even less worthy of a person if I rank below that. The displays of affection he/they put on in front of me, is like a constant jab reminding me of what was taken away. It’s compounded by the fact that I have so little respect for the kind of person that woman is which makes me doubt how much I can really respect myself. It’s the power that these things still have over me that really makes me angry. Alcohol sort of releases that cork that I’ve used to help bottle up my feelings. We talked a lot about expressing anger. I don’t often see my anger expressed in a healthy manner. I rage, I drink, I pick fights, I cut, when I was younger I would kick down doors and put my fist through walls and windows. I do have one healthy outlet for my anger, and that’s the gym. Running and working out are at least one way to channel that aggression into a constructive outcome. Therapist had a homework assignment for me but she forgot it at home so next week we’ll see what my formal assignment is. This week I’m to start getting back into my journaling which I’ve sort of let slip. Bad girl.
Med Update: The Pristiq seems to be working well for me. My weight is fluxuating a little, but I think this is more due to stress then the medication. My energy has been really good too. My mood does seem to be a little higher on average. My head is clear. I can concentrate better. I’m more productive at work. And so far it doesn’t seem like I’m having any side effects at all. Except the dreams. I’ve always been a vivid dreamer, but lately my dreams have been EPIC. I feel like I’ve lived days and nights between the time I lay down and the time I wake up.
Then again, that might just be the excessive sleeping I’ve been doing.  That’s been a switch from my insomnia for sure. For the last few weeks all I’ve wanted to do is read and sleep.  I found myself falling asleep at 8:30p the other night! I think I must have turned 70 at my last birthday haha. I’ve been so stressed out from my job and from people it’s all I’ve had the strength to do. I’ve almost completely withdrawn from the world around me, losing myself in the escapism of my books. Except for this blog I’ve shunned tv (not that I watch tv), movies, and even the internet. Therapist sort of dismissed this as needing some down time. I’m not so sure. I’ve been completely incapable of facing the real world. Completely cutting myself off from the outside. As soon as I’m home from work I shut down and retreat into the fantasy world of my books. Or maybe I’m just a little obsessive and this book series is really JUST THAT GOOD. Haha. Nah, idk.  I do feel like I should make an effort to get back out into the world though. Maybe branch out and expand my circle of friends. I still fight with myself regarding how close I should be to Friend. I’m afraid of losing him, but I don’t know how good it is for me to have him so close. I do know that spending more time with Roommate is a wonderful idea though and we are already making plans to do stuff this weekend =)
All in all therapist thinks I’m making a lot of progress. I’m in a pretty stable place, even a pretty stable headspace for me. I do sort of feel like I’m floating though. I’ve had many days where I question what my purpose here even is. I feel like I’m living each day simply to see the next and I wonder if that’s enough. Is that all there is? I’m missing something. There’s a hole somewhere that still needs to be filled to really ground me to where I am, and I’m just not sure what it is.

And the Medication-Go-Round Continues: Pristiq

Hello Everyone! Well I survived the Hurricane. Not unexpected. The storm wasn’t really so bad. I woke up with half a tree in front of my front door and we were without power for 3 days but generally speaking we were well prepared. Mostly the whole thing was just very, very inconvenient. I know a lot of people in our area still don’t have power so we’re fortunate in that ours is turned on already. Personally I think if we’re going to have major weather events they should at least occur during the work week so it doesn’t screw with my time off but that’s just me. Oh well. Back to the real world!
I’m apparently starting a new drug. I’ve been off the Abilify and medication free for about a month now. On the anger punching side my mood swings have actually been alright but I’ve been swinging pretty low from my depression on the other side. As soon as I stopped taking the Abilify I felt my energy jump right back up to where it usually is and I’m actively functional again. Even really getting back into the swing of my exercise routine! I went and saw Psychiatrist on Thursday. I hadn’t planned on going back on medication but like so many things in my life I made a split second decision. Sitting there I was afraid that I would lose something if I didn’t try something new. Maybe the approval of my psych. Idk. Logically I know I started going to my psych because I hate always feeling like this, but everything we’ve tried so far has only been a detriment so I’m incredibly weary of new things. Especially anti-psychotics.
Mood stabilizers aren’t really what I need since they only seem to “stabilize” my good moods and not my depression. I find that to be rather unfair. This time we’re just going to try and treat my depression with something totally new. Pristiq. Pristiq/Desvenlafaxine is in a class of medications called selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). It works by increasing the amounts of serotonin and norepinephrine, natural substances in the brain that help maintain mental balance.
I have a question. Who the hell names these thing? Seriously?
She allayed my usual concerns and said there has been no reported weight gain or sexual side effects (I don’t really believe this) and the norepinephrine aspect actually gives people a motivational boost so I shouldn’t have any fatigue either. Yay! So what side effects might there be?
Constipation
         loss of appetite  <—– We can hope
         dry mouth
– dizziness
– extreme tiredness <—– Hmmm, watching out for this
– unusual dreams <—— Probably my favorite aspect of anti-depressants
– yawning
– sweating
-uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
– pain, burning, numbness, or tingling in part of the body
– enlarged pupils (black circles in the centers of the eyes)
– blurred vision
– changes in sexual deesire or ability
– difficulty urniating
And the more serious CALL YOUR DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY ones:
–         rash
– hives
– swelling
– difficult breathing
– fast heartbeat
– cough
– chest pain
– fever
– coma (loss of consciousness for a period of time) <—- Seriously?!?
– seizures
– hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist)
– fever, sweating, confusion, fast or irregular heartbeat, and severe muscle stiffness
– unusual bleeding or bruising
– nosebleeds
– small red or purple dots on the skin
– nausea
– vomiting
– diarrhea
– headache
– difficulty concentrating
– memory problems
– confusion
– weakness
– problems with coordination
– increased falls
– fainting
Seriously. This is all very ridiculous. The list isn’t as long as for the Abilify but there’s still a hell of a lot to look out for. She did say headaches and nausea were typical for the first week or two. That should be fun.
While I’m at it I’m going to quit smoking. Not that I smoke much at all but still, I’m determined. It’s an  ugly, awful habit. I really hate it but I get addicted to habits and repetitive motions and patterns easily so it’s hard for me to give up things once I’ve established them somewhere in my life. Drinking too. I need to stop entirely. I’ve been drinking more and more lately from all the stress I’ve been dealing with and this just isn’t healthy. In the past I’ve tried to just focus on fixing one thing at a time but that doesn’t seem to work so well, so this time I’m going to throw all in and see if I can’t fix it all at once. Here goes nothing.   
I’ll keep you updated.

 

Lucid Analysis: Trials in Therapy – Free Your Mind

Lucid Analysis: Trials in Therapy
Yesterday was a double whammy. Maybe a triple or quadruple one considering how my moods swung. I had both an appointment with Psychiatrist and then another with Therapist.
First. I am now officially off medication; the Abilify anyways, I still have the Trazadone to help me sleep.  Psychiatrist was not incredibly thrilled with the idea but ultimately understanding. I was nearly in tears as I explained how much of a zombie I’ve felt like, how hard it’s been just to sit up and how absolutely functionless I’ve been because of these meds. She had 3 things to offer: 1. We could switch medication and try something new entirely, 2. We could try taking the Abilify at night so hopefully the tired would wear off before I woke up and it might help me sleep, or 3. I could go off meds completely. I outright refused option 1 (for now). Option #2 wasn’t unreasonable but if I feel like I zombie all day regardless, when I take it isn’t going to make much difference.  So I opted for 3. I’m so happy. My small confession is that I’d been forgetting to take my meds for a day or two already so I’m not bothering with the weaning off process. I know this is probably really bad, especially considering yesterday morning.
I woke up at 330a.m. and wanted to die. I was exhausted, uncomfortable in my own skin, I felt like I’d gained weight and just looking at myself made me want to tear out my insides. I was so frustrated with how weary and fatigued I was, that I knew I would get no sleep and be useless and ugly. I was sure I’d be fired for not being able to sit upright and get my work done. I didn’t want anyone to even look at me let alone speak to me or be near me. I considered calling off work. I wanted it all to end. Pointless, there was no point in going on if all my energy was gone and everything I do to make myself better only results in feeling the way I did right then. So what did I do? Miraculously, nothing. I managed to talk myself into taking it one minute at a time and hauled my ass to work. As I was sitting there typing up my post for yesterday, just forming the ideas of ways that I work to help myself I felt my energy begin to come back. By the end of my writing I can’t say I was ready to hit the gym, but sitting straight wasn’t a chore and my thoughts were in a completely different place of light outshining the darkness.
Moral: Don’t just stop taking your medication without first consulting your doctor.
Then I went and talked to Therapist. She’s being incredibly supportive of my decision to switch careers and go back to school. She did some research for me and found some authors I might enjoy concerning object relations and constancy (since these are big issues for me). That she thinks about me outside of our sessions is always a shock to me, then again, I wouldn’t have a lack of object constancy if it weren’t.
She’s also very supportive of my decision to go off of medication. She believes that my drive and self-awareness will make my disorder manageable without. She was very reassuring that she can tell the difference between the patients she sees that need to be on medication and those that do not need to be and she thinks that I’ll be just fine.
She said something funny to me. Every week she tells me how much she enjoys working with me (even when I’m crying and full of rage) because I’m intelligent and I make her think. Apparently how I approach my disorder and my daily problems help her evaluate how she approaches her own problems and make her reflect on the choices she makes. She says that’s a quality that comes naturally for me and she’s experienced with me often. It’s little statements like that which make me really believe that I’m making the right decision to follow a different path.
We talked about my relationship with Friend a bit. Things are nice and neutral here though I feel like I really need a break from him and his wife for a little while (fortunately I’m going on vacation next Friday). Therapist told me that I was really making excellent progress in dealing with my dissociation. That if it were possible to turn that aspect of my disorder to my advantage, I was doing it, in my ability to maintain a progressive friendship with Friend. My detachment and inability to connect preserved the aspects of myself that I needed to keep removed and safe from his emotional influence, while allowing me to remain friends with him to work on pushing past the incredible pain and grief that I felt afflicted with. It’s not perfect, or complete. Clearly he still does things that are confusing and conflicting, but I keep on trying and she says that’s admirable. Sometimes I think it’s just me being stubborn and masochistic but other times I can truly appreciate the aspects of our friendship that bring me as close to contentedness as I am able to recognize.  
Like, I finished my next light saber! It’s fully sculpted, the electronics are in and it works fabulously =) I’ll post pics when I remember.  The next one will be better.
I feel like lots of pictures today =)
The fact that our friendship has survived a complete devaluation and my hating him at points, to come back to a place where I can enjoy his company but no longer feel like I need him for my life to be complete, and even am looking forward to some time outside of his influence, is a major deal for me.
After therapy I went to the beach. I just sat and listened to the waves crashing on the sand. I had intended to stay longer but there were shrilling, screeching children that I wanted to feed poisoned candy to and I just couldn’t find the peace and quiet that I’d been hoping for. I know, it’s a terrible thought, but I don’t like kids (with few exception). Still, I left feeling more calm.  
I already feel better today. I woke up able to do a full ab workout. I am determined to go to the gym after work, no excuses. I can sit up straight without feeling like my gravity has been turned to 10. Now with any luck I should be able to get some costuming done this weekend!

Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder: Medication

Something that has been on my mind a lot lately. Treatment. So let’s take a leap down the rabbit hole and see where treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder takes us.
There are 4 basic strategies that are utilized for treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder: Psychotherapy, Medication, Hospitalization, and Self-Help strategies. Over the next few days I’ll start on the last 3 and then I’ll just take a dive into some of the therapeutic techniques that my therapist specializes in, what we work on, and what is beneficial for Borderline…. And not. Because let’s face it, every person is different, every disorder is different, and some strategies just don’t work well enough on their own to be effective for every case.

Psychotherapy forms the foundation of treatment for borderline personality disorder with medications playing a lesser role. While there is no known medication that can target Borderline Personality Disorder on its own, prescription medications can address many of the common symptoms of BPD. This is something my Psychiatrist told me upon diagnosis. There is no medical cure for Borderline Personality Disorder. However, we can work to manage some of the symptoms and co-morbid occurring issues in order to improve quality of life and aid psychotherapy so that treatment will be successful.
Medications typically used in the treatment of BPD include antidepressants, mood stabilizers, anti-anxiety drugs, and antipsychotics.
 Antidepressants Used for the Treatment of BPD Symptoms
A variety of antidepressants have been studied for use in treating the low moods, sadness, and depression that can occur with BPD, including the following:
          Fluoxetine (Prozac)** <~~~~ Check
          Sertraline (Zoloft) <~~~~ Check
          Citalopram (Celexa)
          Escitalopram (Lexapro) <~~~~ Check
Mood Stabilizers Used for the Treatment of BPD Symptoms
Medications with mood-stabilizing properties, such as lithium and some anticonvulsant (anti-seizure) medications, can help address the impulsive behavior and rapid emotional changes associated with BPD.
Mood stabilizers used to treat the symptoms of BPD may include:
          Divalproex sodium (Depakote)
          Lithium carbonate (Lithobid)
          Lamotrigine (Lamictal)  <~~~~~~ Check
Anti-anxiety Medications Used for the Treatment of BPD Symptoms
Anti-anxiety (anxiolytic) medications can help with the intense anxiety some people with BPD may experience. However, there isn’t much research that supports the use of anti-anxiety drugs to treat BPD. Some research actually indicates that one class of anti-anxiety drug — benzodiazepines (e.g., Ativan, Klonopin) — may actually worsen BPD symptoms for some people.
Examples of anti-anxiety medications used to treat the symptoms of BPD include:
          Alprazolam (Xanax) <~~~~~ Check
          Clonazepam (Klonopin) <~~~~~ Check
          Lorazepam (Ativan)
          Diazepam (Valium)
          Buspirone (Buspar)
Antipsychotic Medications Used for the Treatment of BPD Symptoms
Antipsychotic medications can help address occasional breaks from reality as well as the paranoia, anger, or hostility that people with BPD may experience.
Some antipsychotics used to treat BPD include:
          Olanzapine (Zyprexa)** <~~~~ Check  
          Risperidone (Risperdal) <~~~~ Check
          Aripiprazole (Abilify) <~~~~ Check
          Haloperidol (Haldol)
          Paliperidone (Invega)
** Symbyax was the atypical anti-psychotic Psychiatrist had me on. It’s a combination of Olanzapine and fluoxetine.
My medication-go-round has been a bit exhausting. And by a bit, I mean, I am more tired and have less energy now than I have ever had in my life, even in my worst depression. At my lowest point I’m still a very high-functioning person and could at least stick to my routines of get up, go to work, go to the gym, shower, eat, bed. At the very least. I no longer have the energy to go to the gym, which makes me have even less energy to do anything else. I have begun to lose my motivation for the things I love. I just feel weighed down by everything. The weather has even cooled down a little so there’s no attributing it to the heat. My only conclusion is that it’s the medication because, surprise, that’s when I started to feel so off.
I understand why Psychiatrist put me on the Symbyax even though it ended up exacerbating my eating disorder. I was harming myself and bordering on suicidal and he wanted something that would help me immediately. Unfortunately this was not good for me in the long run. The Lamictal didn’t work at all. Because of the issues with the Symbyax I’m afraid of anti-psychotics but agreed to the Abilify.

I do feel a little more stable, but I also feel deadened and weighed down. Nothing is as fun, nothing is as beautiful, being with people is not as enjoyable, I don’t feel love and I can’t get swept away. This is not the kind of stability I’m looking for. I’m constantly fatigued. Getting out of bed and sitting upright are a chore. I’m losing my desire to do things I love. I look forward to the day ending so I can sleep. Then when I wake up all I want to do is continue sleeping. This. Is not me.  This has never been me. I refuse to accept that this is how I should be. Friend once told me that the meds might just be making me ‘normal’, “now you’re just not a superwoman, you have a normal person’s energy, you’ll get used to it”. If this is the energy level that normal people have than no wonder our country is so slow. I hate it. I am not a slow person. I think sometimes they like me on these meds because they don’t feel so bad being lazy themselves. The meds are bringing me down to their level and it makes them feel better about their own short comings. Screw that. Or I’m paranoid. (indicator of meds not working? Eh?) Whatever.
I’d rather be a little crazy but fully functional, then mostly ‘normal’ and utterly immobile.
I’m going to talk to Psychiatrist tomorrow about going off medication. At least for the rest of the summer. Give it a trial run. See if my energy ramps back up. If it does, then it’s definitely the medication that’s slowing me down and I’ll know. Which means what I’m on is not ok for me. If I continue to feel this way off the medication than there’s something else going on and I may have to go back to two sessions of therapy a week to work on stuff. It’s a process. I’m still open to the possibility of medication, but right now I feel I need to reestablish my baseline and get myself back to a healthy normal for my body. The funny thing about taking care of your body, your mind usually follows….

Lucid Analysis: Trials in Therapy – Career Change

I’ve been very bad about posting about therapy. I switched therapy to Thursday. I’ll be honest. I really did not want to go in yesterday. I was very worried about it in fact. I was consumed with RAGE. I wanted to crush and destroy everything around me. I can usually contain it but there was no bottling it up yesterday. I worried that my therapist would reject me and my mood swings like is so stigmatized with BPD. Of course, my fears were unwarranted. If anything, she was even calmer and less scattery than ever.
I was frustrated and angry when I went in. All she said was anger is normal and expressing anger in ways that are not impulsive is healthy. Almost as soon as I sat down my frustration bubbled over into tears because I didn’t know what to do, why I felt this way, or what to do about it. She assured me that by just expressing that I was angry and allowing those emotions to surface was good, especially as I was not engaging in unhealthy impulsive displays like thoughts of suicide, cutting, binging or the like. So cheers to me.
The combination of the massive heat wave and the stress from work, I think, are what really set me off. Fortunately, we talked about my plan. I brought up the fact that I was thinking about going to school again. That I was interested in Clinical Psychology and as a secondary study Art Therapy. She was a little dubious at first since this was the first time she was hearing about it, and she wanted to make sure I wasn’t being impulsive. However we talked about my growing interest. I’ve been doing this blog for almost 8  months now and my interest is still consuming. The comments and feedback I get from people are very encouraging in a way that makes me believe what I’m doing has benefit. I feel fulfillment. Which is something I do not feel with engineering. I work. I produce. I do not feel like I am contributing something worthwhile (though obviously the things I design are beneficial and crucial to the projects I work on). Worthwhile in a deeper sense. I find more satisfaction in almost everything else that I do and I want to bring that to all aspects of my life. We talked about my plan. Currently I’m waiting on my transcripts from my previous University. Then I’ll sit down with an academic advisor and figure out which courses transfer, which I need, and go from there. I will begin part time, probably night courses.  One or two classes at a time to start, to see how it fits and if it’s something that does truly grab me. Financially it is well within my means, especially if I do classes at night and keep my current job.  I have no children, no mortgage, no real obligations to anyone else other than myself. And lets face it, worst case scenario, I start stripping again. J/k. Sorta.
Therapist reassures me that I have a positive, healing energy about me. She believes that some people are good at psychology, but it’s those people that have had true need for it in their personal lives that make the best psychologists because they’ve been there. You have to be mindful not to over identify with patients, but since there has been personal experience and need, it brings a greater depth of understanding. I hope she’s right.
I also talked to my parents about this. They’ve known I haven’t been happy with engineering for a long while now. As soon as I mentioned it my mother was like, “Go. Go now. Go talk to an academic advisor. Sign up for classes. You’ll be amazing.” My father was also very supportive even though he grumbled a bit about believing that I should pursue costume design for a local theater. I found that cute but pretty typical of him.

By the time I left therapy I felt worlds better. I’m sure the Klonopin kicking in helped too. Seriously. I hate this Abilify. As far as I can tell it makes me feel sluggish and body exhausted all the time. I’ve never before felt so useless until I started medication. Therapist agrees that it does not seem like any of the medication I have been on has been helping me. She’s had plenty of patients that are on medication that have occasional ups and downs but are basically steady and happy. They might miss the super highs, but the lows are no longer there. This is not the case with me. I am still fluxuating all over the place and I do not have anything resembling a baseline of happy or okay. I’ll be discussing this with Psychiatrist on Thursday. The only things that have ever helped me at all are the situational benzos my last GP had me on (Klonopin and Xanax). I’m actually a little afraid of benzos and their addictive tendencies so I’m very careful about only using them in the most necessary of situations, but they calm me down, help me sleep, and don’t make me feel like I can’t function.
Honestly I feel like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. I won’t be quitting my job, but I have a plan for the future and the means to work towards a more fulfilling life.

Choosing a new direction

Med Update

I’m exhausted.
I saw Psychiatrist Thursday (actually Psychiatrists PA).  She upped my Abilify to 10mg/day. So far I’m more fatigued than ever. I seriously feel like a zombie. I hate it. I have no drive, no motivation, no caring. My body feels sluggish and weighed down like someone turned up my personal gravity. Every movement is a major effort. This is not fun and it’s not ok. I have to go back next week to talk about how it’s affecting me so hopefully I’ll either be over the initial side effects by then or, idk. He’ll give me something new? I kind of don’t want to be on medication. Back to this. I know. I’m so tired of feeling so tired. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. My moods are mildly more stable but not in a significant way. I’m still depressed, but now I’m sluggish too so it’s harder for me to concentrate and exercise. Which makes doing anything that I love difficult to do. It even makes blogging hard. Seriously. I have a whole series of blogs I want to write concerning the neurological contributors to impulsivity except reading is just too tiring. Sitting upright takes to much energy. I went to the gym before work this morning and only managed a half hour of cardio and upper body lifting. Ok, before you get on my case that I was at the gym for an hour at 6a.m. anyone would be tired… this is not normal for me. The tired, not the 6a.m. 6a.m. is normal for me. I should have plenty of energy for an hour of cardio and lifting should not be a struggle in motivation. Additionally, I should have MORE energy after leaving the gym. Counterintuitive? Nope. I always used to feel more energized after working out. Now I just feel like I stole all the free weights, tied to ropes around my waist, that I’m dragging across the parking lot.
Part of the problem is, I was super fatigued when I went in to see her and I’m not even sure it’s from the damn drugs. I’m not sleeping terribly. They always ask about my sleeping. I’m back down to only taking 50mg of Trazadone a night because I don’t want to be groggy in the morning, and that seems to be fine. So I’m averaging about 6.5 hours of sleep. Yay! 7-7.5 seems to be optimal for me, but as long as I’m getting more than 4, I’m happy. 
So who knows. Maybe this is all a wash and I’m med resistant. I definitely believe I’m hypersensitive to the chemical changes in my body but apparently not in a way that is helpful.
I’m beginning to truly understand what Amy Lee was piping about in Lithium.
The only productive thing I’ve done so far is submit my entry for the Expressive Arts Carnival. It’s a weird word cloud this month and I pulled inspiration from a poem I wrote back at University. I really love the concept of this site. Stringing 4 words together has never taken so much energy. And not from mental taxation either. I’m just typing slow today.

Medication, Obsession, or Insomnia?


Alright I lied. I’m posting. I’m exhausted. I’m  rambling.

Can’t sleep. Can’t seem to balance. I think I’m falling to the artists’ obsession with their medium. I would love nothing more than to quit my job and stay home painting. I stay up painting as long as I can, wake up and instantly my mind is on my palatte.  I can’t fall asleep. Can’t stay asleep. Wake up early. Can’t fall back to sleep with the thoughts of color combinations, shading, lining, running, racing through my mind.

Or it’s my meds, or the weather, or maybe I’m anemic. Saw Psychiatrist yesterday. He was welcoming as always despite being upset with me last time. That was a relief. I told him that I’ve been incredibly fatigued and not sleeping.  I have Trazadone for sleeping. If I take too much I’m hung over and groggy all day. If I don’t take enough I either don’t fall asleep or don’t stay asleep. I also suspect that it slows down my resting metabolism when I’m asleep. It’s just a theory.

Last night I woke up at 230a… around 330a I took about a quarter of one just to help me fall asleep again. I woke up before my Cantina Band alarm went off and preceded to Snooze it once it did. Dragging myself out of bed is ridiculous. This never used to  be my problem. I was never a Snooze button person. Regardless of how little sleep I get I always just got right up. Everything feels heavy and slow. My brain feels thick. I hate feeling like this.

Therapist thinks it’s the new meds. Friend thinks it’s the weather and/or just need to give side effects a chance to pass. Psychiatrist isn’t worried at all and doesn’t even feel the need to see me for another month. So I’ll be continuing with 5mg of Abilify for the next  month. I’m going to try my damnedest to really limit, if not eliminate, my drinking. I’ve been doing really well with this.

I also realized that the only iron I’m probably getting is in my multi-vitamin and really you only absorb a fraction of what the label says.  Might explain the nosebleeds too. Time to invest in an iron supplement I think.

NAP. Nap. nap. Zzzzzzzz……….

Abilify my life

Psychiatrist clearly has no faith in your standard anti-depressants for me. With the Lamictal and now with the Abilify it seems to be as if he’s treating my BPD almost like Bipolar. Lamictal is used for Bipolar-II depression. Abilify is used both to treat Bipolar and for people without bipolar as a supplement to a currently utilized anti-depressant. As I have no anti-depressant and we’re going to be ramping up my dose to a therapeutic level… idk, that’s just what it seems like to me. If he is doing that it does make a certain amount of sense to me considering both are marked by extreme mood fluxuations. Borderline Personality Disorder and Bipolar Disorder share a lot of features actually. Maybe I’ll post about that sometime soonish.

I figured it might be beneficial to give periodic updates about how my meds are reacting with me. So far I’ve been on Abilify for all of 5 days at 2mg/day. On Monday I go up to 5 mg/day. Then back to see Psychiatrist to make sure I’m actually taking them properly and am not displaying unacceptable side effects. I have a feeling he is going to watch me very closely. 2 weeks between visits is a very short leash ::frown::. The first day I was clearly rage-tastic, but after that first day I’ve actually felt Okay. On a scale of Severely Depressed to Manic, my average is mildly depressed but wild fluctuation throughout the day. This week I’ve been relatively steady and up which is very unusual so I can only attribute it to the meds (or the nice weather and dating an amazing woman). I even feel pretty today for my date. Like a little gothic princess. Too cute to function.  But anyways, here’s a list of side effects! I mean seriously. Is it any wonder I have hesitations when it comes to psych meds?
In these studies, the most common Abilify side effects included:
· Headaches — in up to 27 percent of people
· A sedated feeling — up to 23 percent  (little bit)
· Agitation — up to 19 percent <~~~ cuz I need more of this
· Insomnia — up to 18 percent <~~~~ and this
· Fatigue — up to 17 percent <~~~~ I get this with the Insomnia
· Anxiety — up to 17 percent <~~~~ Have you met me?
· Drowsiness — up to 16 percent
· Nausea — up to 15 percent
· Vomiting — up to 14 percent <~~~~ The non-bulimic kind
· Restlessness — up to 12 percent
· Constipation — up to 11 percent. <~~~~ Ew.
  
Some other common side effects (occurring in 2 percent to 10 percent of people) included:
· Dizziness
· Indigestion or heartburn
· Shakiness (tremors)
· Weight gain <~~~~ I will be so freaking pissed off.
· Restlessness
· Fatigue
· Dry mouth <~~~~ I propose weed as an alternative
· Joint pain <~~~~ The non weed alternative
· Throat pain
· Blurred vision
· Abdominal pain (stomach pain)
· Pain
· Cough
· Nasal congestion
· Increased salivation
· Swelling or water retention in the arms, legs, or feet.
Serious side effects include but are not limited to:
· Signs of diabetes, such as:
o    High blood sugar
o    Increased thirst
o    Frequent urination
o    Extreme hunger (see Abilify and Diabetes)
· Large or rapid weight gain <~~~~ I will be even doubly more freaking pissed off.
· Suicidal thoughts <~~~~ Sweet. In all fairness, it IS tough to be depressed when you’re dead. Just sayin’.
· High blood pressure (hypertension)
· Dizziness or fainting when going from a sitting or lying-down position to standing <~~~~ Wheeeeeee!
· Feelings of internal restlessness or jitteriness
· Any abnormal muscle movements (these movements can become permanent if Abilify is not stopped quickly)
· A painful erection of the penis that does not go away (priapism) <~~~~ This probably won’t happen.
· Signs or symptoms of neuroleptic malignant syndrome, which can include:
o    A high fever
o    Stiff muscles
o    Confusion
o    Irregular pulse or blood pressure
o    An increased heart rate (tachycardia)
o    Sweating
o    Irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias)
· Signs of an allergic reaction, including:
o    Unexplained rash
o    Hives
o    Itching
o    Unexplained swelling
o    Wheezing
o    Difficulty breathing or swallowing.
These less common Abilify side effects include but are not limited to:
· Anemia
· Vertigo (a spinning sensation) <~~~~ Double wheeee!
· Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) <~~~~ So irritating
· Low thyroid (hypothyroidism) or high thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
· Gas <~~~~ Gross
· Gastroesophageal reflux disease(GERD)
· Hemorrhoids
· Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
· Canker sores
· Gallstones
· Yeast infections
· Arthritis
· Carpal tunnel syndrome
· Kidney stones
· Impotence, also known as erectile dysfunction or ED <~~~~ Doubtful
· An increased or decreased sex drive <~~~~ Either way I’d probably be ok with this.
· Acne
· Eczema
· Hair loss <~~~~ Not cool
· Varicose veins.

Day 1

On my new meds and so far….
I’ve been too tired to stay awake at work. I took a nap in my car at lunch.
Sitting up straight was exhausting.
Clearly I couldn’t go to the gym even though I didn’t go yesterday so now I have guilt on top of fat.
The sound of human voices makes me want to rip out peoples tongues and shove them straight into their lungs.
I want to break… everything. Everything. Throw things against the floor, put my fists through walls, and tear the shit out of everything that so much as comes within my peripheral.
HULK. SMASH. RAGE.
I swear by all things unholy that the next person that tries talking to me in IRL is going to experience first hand what my fist tastes like.
I want to tear the world down and watch it burn.
On top of everything else, I’ve quit drinking.
ARRRRGGHGHGHG GRRRRRRR!