Thursday, June 12, 2008

2:06 p.m. Huh

I feel . . . befuddled today. Slightly off. Not necessarily depressed, but not necessarily well. I feel confused, and a bit sharp, with some back and forth between the two. My focus still wanders, and the four walls close in when you're not working, and I haven't been terribly useful, but I did quite a bit of reading today, which means my mood is shifting. I'm starting to wonder if I didn't go into the hospital manic instead of depressed. Because I don't remember being depressed. I do, however, remember being suicidal, and my research has told me that suicide is more likely when a patient is in a manic state. I know I'd had a shuttery, jittery, can't sit still, hyperventilating sort of breakdown the morning I was hospitalized. Once I knew I was leaving my job and that it was unlikely I'd be back soon, I packed up all my things and ran. I couldn't wait for Jb to come get me. I had to get out. I had to get away. I went to wait at Starbucks to be picked up, and I could barely keep everything in. In the hospital, I was irritated, angry, antsy, often walking the halls, going from room to room, unable to sit through a whole group therapy session. But . . . I don't know. Every emotion is put into question now, and I don't know how I truly feel at any given time. Maybe that's why I feel so befuddled. Are mentally ill patients emotionally stunted? Unable to know how they're feeling because they have no sense of what a "normal" baseline feels like?

10:11 a.m. Check-In

Meds: Did not take them last night. Yeah yeah: bad me. Took my morning dose. Added Protonix to the mix again today. Stomach's bothering me.

Mood: 4. Not feeling well today. Could be allergies. I'm going sans-allergy meds this allergy season since they're all OTC now and expensive. Short of patience. Generally annoyed. Cranky.

Sleep: Woke up at 4:30, then again at 7-something. Had a hard time falling asleep last night. Was 11 p.m. when Jb went to bed, and I laid there for a long time trying to sleep. Yesterday afternoon, I was tired, but also couldn't sleep for thinking too much. Unable to relax. Feel vaguely hung over today: still tired, but unable to sleep restfully.

Misc: Don't feel like writing today. Feel as if blog isn't a substitute for a therapist. Also feel don't need therapist. Contrary as hell today. I don't know that I really have anything of importance to say and feel as if all this blogging has been egotistical navel gazing. Hate the blog. Hate myself.

Hearing Things: Heard humming in the kitchen last night. Melodic. Human. Was odd.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

2:15 p.m. Run to the Water

And as quick as that, I've this sudden compulsion to run to the water. I wish it could be the Chesapeake, salt water, water wide and deep with the tang of salt and wind and weather. I will ask Jb for that tonight, to take me to the water this weekend. Great Falls, somewhere. Water calms and centers me the way few things do. I don't know why that is, but I need it.

There was water last night of a different kind: a storm that sparked from the heat in the air. Only thunder and lightning for the longest time. Jb went out to smoke and watch it coming on. I've been trying to cut back, so I stayed in, but it was brilliant enough for Jb to come get me. 10 p.m. and we're sitting under the awning on the steps of the house, watching the wind whip up the trees, following the lightning strikes in the sky, counting out the thunder, and I lean against his shoulder and remember why it is I love him. We stay like that until the clouds finally let loose with large plops of raindrops that almost instantly leave you soaked. I still feel numb and withdrawn, but nature is large enough, for a brief moment, to flutter up a memory of wonder and awe.

Mixed State?

I'm depressed and irritable. My irritation is extreme. For example, Jb and I went to the store the other day. He usually can't stand the store, tries to rush me, acts out, won't go unless I have a list, but yesterday, he is all good humor, making smiley faces on the freezer doors, chattering at me, trying to get my attention, and I keep brushing him off, keep giving him looks, rolling my eyes. I cannot stand the constant nattering for attention. I'm irritated, so irritated I don't even want to be touched. Jb's ADD-like conversation and actions are overwhelming to me. I don't want to be pestered. I am upset at having to be at the store, at having to focus on the list I've made. I am functioning because I have to, because I can't let Jb down, but even then, the aisles are too many, the list too long, and I don't give a damn what kind of bread we get, or how much anything costs. I know I'm being cold to Jb, hurting him. But I can't help it.

We get through the store with only two brief brushes of rushing, snapping words. I can tell I'm wounding Jb when I don't appreciate the humor of his actions, or the way he's being so good at the store, helpful even. The rest of the trip goes fine. We drop the groceries off, pick up food. We get home, though, and it's suddenly a whole other game. We're arguing again. I'm not even sure about what, except I know, I know, Jb is trying to box me in. There's a sort of hopeless anxiety about it, where I want to cry because I can't do something simple like watch a movie. The argument gets way out of line, as they seem to these days. I'm going places I don't mean to go, saying things I can't take back, and Jb's had enough that he won't put up with it. I am being irrational. When we quit, Jb's the one who comes over and tries to talk to me, to tell me that I need to be more proactive in our relationship, that I need to participate in it. I have, obviously, been withdrawn. Jb is frustrated because I am not accessible. I am the burden. The depression deepens and I withdraw more.

Today, I know I am supposed to unpack something, one thing, sort through a bag of clothes, but I wander around, knowing I should do something, but unable to make myself do it. Instead, I'm online, in-game, blogging, reading, getting up, sitting down, and none of these activities last for more than 10 minutes at a time. I am unable to focus. I am writing in fits and starts. I am thinking about calling Jb to tell him I love him and that I'm sorry. I am thinking about cleaning. I am thinking about eating. I don't do any of it. There are things I should be doing: following up with my unpaid leave status at work, calling the county to check on my assistance and status, calling the credit counseling center or rescheduling my bankruptcy class. I have done none of these things. I break down and take Protonix and Levsin for my stomach and IBS. My stomach has been killing me. I only eat to calm it down, and that only lasts a little while. I probably wouldn't eat otherwise. IBS tends to be seasonal, and stress-related: both conditions are being met.

My symptoms are symptomatic. I can't focus, I feel awful. When Jb asks me how I feel, it's always, "I don't feel well," or, "I'm tired," things that mean, "I'm depressed. I'm unstable right now." Sometime toward the end of the night, during a CSI episode, I suddenly have this need to just kick and thrash about. Jb looks at me awkwardly, and asks what all that was about. All I have to say is, "I don't know. I just had to." A sudden surge of hypomania? Of wanting to crawl right out of my skin? I honestly don't know. Is this a mixed state? The depression is there, my anger and irritation are extreme. I don't care about anything. I have very little focus. I'm wanting to do something, then not wanting to do it. I stumble from one "diversion" to the next, not diverted, not really interested in doing anything at all. The tv annoys me, the internet is boring, gaming is unsatisfying. Of course, the IBS takes everything to another level. Not only do I feel mentally unstable, but I feel physically ill, as well. It's a double-hitter that makes the depression and irritation worse.

Slippery Slope

I'm heading for a depression. I can feel it coming on. I've lost interest in most everything again: reading, computer games, movies, sex, going places, doing things. I am angry at myself about this, so I'm cranky all the time and restless. Sometimes, instead, I'm listless and passive. The IBS and GERDs is acting up as well. I'm beginning to stress about things like Jb coming home at night. While other things, I don't care about at all: like whether the bills get paid, whether we have money or not, whether we have food or not. When Jb tries to ask me about these things, I get annoyed, short with him. He is constantly yelling at me for snapping at him. My temper and patience are nonexistent. I resent Jb's intrusion into my "world." More and more, he says things to me like, "You know, maybe you should try living here in reality, like everybody else."

This morning, on waking, I remember having a very vivid dream about living in a city with Hitler and being somehow close to him. Because he's a despot and mercurial of mood, everyone is always on eggshells around him, not wanting to curry his disfavor. I am someone he favors, and even I am very careful about what I do and say. It is stressful, this living on the edge, never knowing whether he'll be kind or cruel. And he can be very kind, as well as very cruel. There is a small resistance in the town. They know each other by the books they read. But those loyal to Hitler know them by the books they read as well. I try to sneak past a Hitler supporter with one of these books tucked among many. I make it, barely, out to a terraced park full of students and wildflowers, and there are two women who oversee the whole body of supporters. L-----, from the psych ward, is there in my dream. She screams out at a line of nuns who walk past the park; she was always screaming out about freedom and being closed in.

The dream is telling. I am having a hard time dealing with being home all day, then having Jb come home and disrupt my little world. It's like Jayne says in Firefly, "[He] damages my calm." It also sends me back to my childhood--when I lived in fear of my mother's moods, never knowing what they might be from minute to minute. I have to admit to myself that I've felt this way for the last year or so. Even when Jb was picking me up from work, the last hour of work, before I knew he was coming, I'd start to get sick to my stomach, I'd taste cigarettes in my mouth, and my IBS would suddenly flare up, so that I missed almost a half hour of work at the end of the day, every day. I think, perhaps, this is an inability to deal with change on a small, localized scale. And like in my dream, I used to escape into books. But since the hospitalization, I've had trouble concentrating enough to read them, except in small snippets.

Jb also gets on my ass--understandably so--about not having started to unpack. I took a week off because I needed it after the move, but I've no energy for it. It's been up near the 100s this week, so I tell myself it's because it's been so hot and I've been trying to keep the A/C off during the day. But the truth is that I simply don't have the motivation to do it. And Jb's losing patience with me. We had another fight last night. He told me that I've ruined every night so far in the new apartment, that I no longer participate in our relationship. And I'm left hurt and shamed and guilty and small--and angry at him for making me face the truth. I wish, sometimes, I could not listen. That I could wrap the bubble of my quiet day alone around me.

I cannot blame Jb, though. He is working hard, for both of us. He has every right to resent what he must see as my laziness. And it's like work all over again. How many times can you say, "I don't feel well," before they begin to look at you askance, like you're lying, or making it up. Depression isn't an excuse, but it comes across as one. Unless you've been there, deep and alone, you cannot ever truly understand what it feels like. Mild depression is not the same as major depression. Trying to follow each mood swing is exhausting. Depression is depleting. You are told, expected, to be this or that, but you can't be. Part of you no longer even cares that you can't be. Another part of you is angry and bitter, guilt-ridden and ashamed. And still, even though you want to meet someone's expectations, you can't. The will to try sputters and flags like a flame about to go out, and you're left feeling helpless, and you know it's all you're fault. You are the one who is broken. You are the one who is wrong.

6:00 a.m. Med Check

Woke about 5:45 a.m. Took my meds. Ate them with some cheese and crackers--got my protein in. I now sing Kate MacLeod's "Me and My Medicine" in my head every time I have to take my meds:

"I'd rather be a pillar of salt
Then to leave my self behind"
Didn't sleep very well. Vivid dreams again. More on those in the next post. Woke up achy, probably still because of sleeping on the floor. Went to bed around 11ish last night.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

9:59 a.m. How Do I Feel Today?

It's one of those "activities" they make you do in therapy and at the hospital. In the hospital, you rated yourself on a scale of 1 to 10. In therapy, I had a sheet of faces with the names of different emotions beneath them. Often, there wasn't an emotion that ever fit how I felt, or I couldn't quite name how I felt. On a 1 to 10 scale? About a 3 today. I'm feeling numb. I don't care about much. There will be no shower today. I will put my hair up in a makeshift bun with a hairband. I will not unpack--something I haven't really done since we moved in. I will not play on the computer. I will not read a book. If I do either, it will be for 10 minutes, maybe less. I may turn on the tv, but I will not watch it. If Jb comes home and asks anything of me, I will be upset and put out. I'm supposed to make a grocery list today. I will wait until the last minute to do it. When we go to the store, I will shuffle around from aisle to aisle without really seeing anything. I will not want to be there. I do not care about eating, though I will when I'm hungry later. I ate half of one of Jb's Nutty Bars because I couldn't be bothered to make anything more complicated. Jb will probably be upset that I did. I don't much care. He will take that as me not caring about him, or his feelings, but it's simply apathy. He can be mad at me if he wants to--he often is these days--and I don't care. I do not want to write. That is how I feel today.

7:43 a.m. Med Check

"Me and my medicine we are
So hard to take
Me and my medicine we are
So hard to take"

Kate MacLeod, "Me and My Medicine"

Meds: Took 'em. Didn't want to, but did.

Jb spent half the morning, I think, slamming every drawer in the file cabinet to find every single freakin' pen because I said I needed one to make a grocery list. I swear it's the stupid, petty things like this that make me want to give it all up. Why bother taking my meds? It's not as if it helps anything. I'm still down. Jb and I still fight. And almost always it ends up being my fault: I've snapped at him, I can't control my moods. It makes a person tired.

Breakfast: I don't feel like eating.

Now back to bed so I can sleep out the day rather than deal with it. I'm too damn tired. And again, that's just another way of saying I'm depressed, down, not up to dealing with the day.

Dreams: Vivid, but I don't remember them.

Monday, June 9, 2008

2:07 p.m. Upkeep

After a bout of depression and mania, I think--understandably--that when a person starts feeling better, they become leery of certain things (i.e. communing with Sharp Items of Peril (TM)). My hygiene is the first thing to suffer when I hit a depressive episode, and I'm still having trouble with physical upkeep, even as I'm straining to continue with my mental upkeep. That often overwhelms the more earthly need to keep up appearances. But when your boyfriend looks at your legs and deems them "furry," that's a hint--perhaps--that some things have gone on too long. Especially when you, yourself, look down and wonder how on earth things got so out of hand.

I knew today I was going to make myself take a shower, shave, shampoo. This doesn't sound like a monumental task by any means, I know, but it's something I've had to work myself up to. Not the shower or shampoo (well, possibly a little), but certainly the shave. There was a point, not overly long ago, when I stood looking in the mirror, trying to keep the pressure in my head in, and wondering how everyone couldn't see it throbbing to get out when they looked at me. It was one of those times when I understood implicitly why cutters cut. And Jb's razor was on the sink. And I picked it up. And I looked at myself in the mirror. And I wanted to cry so hard and shout out anything to alleviate the pressure in my head that I took the razor, and rather than cut myself, cut through a few fingers worth of hair, chopping it off without any regard for how it'd look. Now, on muggy, humid days, I have this little curl in the middle of my forehead that makes me feel like a Parkerism:

There was a little girl
Who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead
And when she was good
She was very, very good
And when she was bad,
She played with Sharp Instruments of Peril (TM).

Needless to say, there was no temptation today. Possibly because I was too busy trying to keep the new bathtub from overflowing long enough to shower, shampoo, and shave. (Apparently, it has problems that require Drain-o-like finesse. Yet another perk of living in a house from the 40's.) There was some wary speculation of each other between the razor and myself. But we came to some sort of truce that seemed, blessedly, normal. I didn't press my luck, though, and was very quick about everything, which was just as well when the tub began backing up on me.

Post Secret

Found this on Post Secret yesterday.

I'm really not sure how I feel about it, but it stopped me cold.

Vivid Dreams, Recurring Themes

Spent some time last night listening to some people talk about their children and babies, and started up a side conversation with a buddy about how I didn't think I was mommy material. So, of course, last night this leaked into my dreams. And so did a few other things I wasn't prepared for.

In the first bit of my dream, I've had a kid with my ex, a little boy, but I haven't been raising him for some reason. And the first time I see him, he's a little man--about 5 or 6? -- in jeans and a dusty, light blue polo, just like the one his dad is wearing. He has wispy blond hair for some reason, though neither me or my ex do. And we're all meeting at the movies, where I discover this kid--my kid--is the sweetest thing, and I've missed this terrible thing all these years, and now I'm dedicated to setting up time to be with him. Because we fit together perfectly.

The next dream is the gender bender, three-way, recurring theme dream. In this type of dream, there is always a love triangle, and I'm always the third wheel, the odd one out, the one looked over, the one who loses. The girl who usually wins the man or the dream is a girl I once knew in grade school--almost always. I don't know why it's always her, though I understand the underlying fears and issues of the dream for the most part.

Anyway, in this version of the dream, I'm male. The girl I once knew has had a child, my child, I think, and we were married once. We definitely aren't anymore, and I'm desperate to setup time to visit with my child--because her family is keeping him from me. At the same time, the dream warps forward and I'm in Dylan McDermott's house. Apparently, this is her finance. Like two men who've loved the same woman, we sort of eye each other, then come to a tentative sort of truce for the sake of the wedding, the woman, and the child involved.

Somehow, I find that their relationship is on rocky ground, but they plan to go through with the wedding anyway. The reception is a mess. Me and my friends are sequestered at a table far distant from the wedding party, and I'm not allowed to see my kid. I raise a ruckus about it, the bride's parents make it difficult for me, and my friends do everything they can to sabotage the reception. Eventually, the bride's parents try to make us pay for the meal. I reply, "My parents paid $11,000 for your daughter's first wedding. I think you owe me a meal."

Chaos ensues. Including a chase through some underground sewer. Don't ask me about that one. Then suddenly we're at the bride's house. All the reception favors have arrived late, they're too big, they're not right. The bride sits wilted in her chair. The fiance is nowhere to be seen. I approach her, crook my finger, and whisper in her ear, "I want to set up time to see my son." She nods, exhausted, as if she's given in. I crook my finger again and whisper, "I wish you all the luck with your new husband." She replies, bitter, "As if I could with the wedding we've had."

And then, I wake up.

8:01 a.m. Med Check

Lamictal and Wellbutrin taken. Breakfast: salmon cream cheese and bagel. I've taken my pills and eaten--like a good girl. I'm fairly miffed at having to do this and beginning to resent it.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Everybody's Comin' to Get Me

Last night, paranoia hit me hard. It's been hitting me on and off for a long while, though it gets stronger and weaker at times. But it's only last night that I think I started seeing it for what it is. Half the time it manifests itself in the usual ways: thinking people are always watching me, talking about me behind my back, thinking mean thoughts about me, conspiring about me at work. Now I'm starting to think it manifests itself heavily in my relationships. I start thinking things about my significant other like, "Oh, he doesn't really love me. I just want him to admit what I already know: he doesn't actually love me." And there's paranoia about what they're doing, thinking, mostly in regards to me or how it affects me. Are they cheating? Would they ever? Do they want to? What are they hiding on their computers? What are they hiding in their lives? Why don't they ever want to spend time with me? The computer/tv/object must be more important than I am. Maybe I'm not capable of being loved. Etc., etc.

My thoughts were on the mental downward train last night because Jb was on the computer most of the night, watched a tiny bit of tv with me, then zonked out. I immediately started in with the whole, "He never wants to spend time with me anymore. He must not love me. The computer and tv are more important than me. This is just like my last relationship. I'm losing him. What if he cheats on me? He probably doesn't love me anymore. He probably hates me and thinks I'm crazy." Which he should when I think things like that. Because, you know, he couldn't possibly be tired because he's had a long week at work in 90 degree weather, which would be enough to sap anyone. So this becomes just another symptom to bring up to my psych doctor.

Also, I willfully didn't take my meds last night. I didn't want to. I didn't want to have to be taking meds, and certainly not so damn many. Most of the time, I'm extremely faithful to the idea of being med compliant. But last night, I was so down with the paranoid thinking that I didn't see how it mattered if I took meds or not. I didn't care. I didn't care about me.

On a better note, I did take my meds this morning. Lamictal and Wellbutrin down. As far as my sleep schedule, tried to go to bed around 10:30-ish. Not sure when I actually got to sleep. Slept until about 10:30-ish this morning. 12 hours. A little too long, maybe.