Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Three latches.

I am listening to the sounds of my ever-changing life.

...Stella got a new (100 year old) violin today and will begin lessons.  She is playing it by "ear" and doing fairly well, considering she has never played a violin in her life.  She has always been musical.  She is so thrilled.  She is going to be a talented musician...

"Here's how you take care of it mommy...  then you don't just close one latch... one two latches... you have to close all three!  Otherwise someone might pick it up and it will fall out and break to pieces."

...I am listening to Sam and Michael play their new PS4, Which they really, really needed and not just wanted.  They bought it after Christmas with any money given to the Sam and I, or to Michael.  They are playing Battlefront, a Star Wars game.  They are yelling at the TV, and at the console, and to each other...

...I am listening to Stella, now, tell me stories of her snow adventure this morning, following kitty prints and fox prints and tramping around the yard.  I had a migraine.  I should have been more aware of what was happening with my children....

Sam bought more rum, today.  Every bottle is the last bottle to be purchased, and we will taper... There is always a new bottle.  I don't know what to do... because I want to drink... I want to stop thinking and feeling and wondering... I want to stop everything except the good things that are happening in my life right now, and pretend the not so good things aren't real...  and the good things from the past, that are no longer real were never real.  I want to just listen to a 8 year old play a violin and a boy yell at a video game and tune out everything else that could corrupt my thoughts and make me feel anything but that this is the life... This is my life...

Life.

I truly understand no one reads this.  I'm not stupid...  Any "views" that show up are because I've cleared the history and cache on my computer and need to reset the settings to "do not track your own views.".   Isn't that sad...  I feel like it's very sad... I'm sad... that I write to the air, and empty space, and no one at all...

Looking at it now
It all seemed so simple
We were lying on the couch
I remember
You took a Polaroid of us
Then discovered (then discovered)
The rest of the world is black and white
We were in screaming color
I remember thinkin'


Are we out, are we out, are we out of the woods?
Are we out, are we out, are we out of the woods?
Are we out, are we out, are we out of the woods?
Are we in, are we in the clear yet? Good

Looking at it now
Last December
We were built to fall apart
And fall back together
Your necklace hanging from my neck
The night we couldn't forget, when we decided
To move the furniture so we could dance
Like we stood a chance
Two paper airplanes flying, flying, flying

Are we out, are we out, are we out of the woods?
Are we out, are we out, are we out of the woods?
Are we out, are we out, are we out of the woods?
Are we in, are we in the clear yet? Good
Are we out, are we out, are we out of the woods?
Are we out, are we out, are we out of the woods?
Are we out, are we out, are we out of the woods?
Are we in, are we in the clear yet? Good

I remember you hit the brakes too soon
20 stitches in the hospital room
When you started crying, baby I did too
When the sun came up, I was lookin' at you
Remember when we couldn't take the heat
I walked out and said I was setting you free
But the monsters turned out to be just trees
And when the sun came up, you were looking at me


Are we out, are we out, are we out of the woods?
Are we out, are we out, are we out of the woods?
Are we out, are we out, are we out of the woods?
Are we in, are we in, are we in the clear yet? Good
Are we out, are we out, are we out of the woods?
Are we out, are we out, are we out of the woods?
Are we out, are we out, are we out of the woods?
Are we in, are we in, are we in the clear yet? Good

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry and Bright.

I felt like I should add an addendum, yet to the beginning of the post, about my "recovery."  I don't feel so much better.  I think it was the Christmas magic, and seeing my children in their glory, and going to church, and being "supermom" Christmas Eve, getting everything ready for the babies to see...  I don't feel so much better...
***
I feel better.  I feel better...  I feel better!

Why? Why do I feel better? I probably shouldn't question it.  I probably should just feel, and not think too much about it...  But I always think too much...

Maybe because it's Christmas?  Maybe it's because the Lamictal and Prozac have mostly left my system... maybe it's because I'm on less medicine?  Maybe it's because I am taking all my vitamins?  Maybe it's because I'm not in my luteal phase right now, and I'll just be batshit crazy again in 14 days? Maybe it's the SAMe I've been taking?  Sigh...

Maybe it's because I realized I was holding myself hostage in sadness and depression, and it hit me all at once two nights ago:  I had given up...  I had let myself feel bad for a long time.

Oh and yeah, maybe it's because the newest thyroid tests actually showed my levels are off!  (Yeah, I knew it!).

I started taking Nature-throid again, last week, right after my blood test.  Because, duh, I knew that it helped me in September, but I was worried about taking something that my doctor hadn't approved of, and how it might interact with other new medications I was being prescribed, told not to take, prescribed, then told to stop taking that medication...

But I'm smart.  And I know it helped.
But I'm dumb too, because I also knew the pretty serious medications I was trying weren't working, yet I kept at it, wanting to be a good patient, and hoping for a miracle.  Pills aren't a miracle.  No pill will just SNAP! Fix ya right up. I just read Silver Linings Playbook, (which is much better than the movie), and one thing you see is, yes, you might need to take medications, but you also have to work at getting better in other ways.  You can't just wait.  You have to do something.  You have to do something.

Finally, I understand that I need to stop drinking alcohol.  Duh.  I have known that for a long time now, but I kept drinking when I started to feel things, or think about things, that I didn't want to feel or think about.  Alcohol is a crutch, and a numbing agent.  I know I actually need to really just think about fucking all of it, and feel everything that comes my way, no matter how much I know it will hurt.  I have to face it, and understand it, and move on.  I have to stop hiding.

You know, I also just don't want to hurt my body anymore.  I want to be healthy, and alcohol really isn't healthy: certainly not for a woman with PMDD.  It can be fun, sure, and it took away my brain nausea... but that's just because it was impairing my normal brain function.  That's no good...  No good at all.

Most importantly, I stopped pushing Sam away.  I stopped believing he could never help me.  Sam loves me more than any person has ever loved me, and he has never left... he never left...  I was never alone.  I felt so lonely, and I realized I was the one who was making myself feel alone.  I wasn't seeing Sam, when I thought he wasn't seeing me.  I didn't believe in him, when he has never stopped believing in me.  And love makes everything better.  Being loved, so honestly and faithfully, is good medicine--No, it's the best medicine.

I feel better!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Better watch out, better not cry...

One year.

How can so much change, yet not change at all in one year?  

How can a person's beliefs and truths be so solid, then completely challenged and fall apart in a year?

How does everything make so much damn sense, and then make no sense at all?  Is this what life is? Is this what being human is?  Once we grow up, and we have reached the stage of adulthood, are we are set up to gain and to lose, to grow and to wither, to fight and then give up the fight...  And then maybe it all starts again?  I've said I move around in circles... Is that what we all do?  Am I different from anyone else?  Are we all just living in a circular pattern, and the ups seem like a change in shape, but the centrifugal force is only pulling you around, and maybe it just feels like more of a rush for a moment in time?  

Is that how we, as adults, are supposed to live?  Is that why everyone gives up something, whether they realize it or not?  Or are some people less scared, and less cynical, and less stuck, and do they propel into the unknown and keep going in that direction, forever growing up?  They still make mistakes and feel pain and have losses, but they don't give up or wither... 

I am battling two mind fuckers right now:   PMDD, and the after affects of Prozac, which reacted terribly with my brain.  I have to wait for the Prozac to leave my system.  There is no quick way to get the bad feelings, and physical reactions to the medication to go away.  I have to wait it out.  And then luteal phase hits, and I'm doubly fucked.  I shouldn't swear so much.  I don't know how else to describe what is happening to me right now.  

But I'm not giving up and crying all day, and I'm... alive...  I'm here.  I never thought I could survive PMDD if it felt worse than it already did, yet I have felt it, and I have survived.  I am confused, and tired and anxious, and depressed, but each day I tell myself it's almost over...  I hope..  God, I really hope it clears, that my mind clears, and I am myself for Christmas.  I think of my children, who are amazing people and deserving of the greatest gifts of love and attention and support, and I want to and need to be their mommy, fully and completely, without anything weighing me down, and pulling me away from them.  Mothers should never get sick.  Mothers should never have PMDD.  Mothers should never be this sad.  And I think... well, I am that fucking sad, but then again, I am reminded of joy and good and beauty because I have children.  And that knowledge keeps my head above water.  


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Full of Something.

I already have something good to write about:  It's about people.  It's about good people: Family, and love.  It's about the feeling there is no hope, and things looking very bleak, and then family is suddenly there, just when you need them, to hug you and tell you they love you, and help you.

And we went to the Mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.  The kids had catechism and then we went to Mass right after that, at 5:30.  The kids were attentive and good.  I closed my eyes and tried to let all of my Faith, all my childhood, all my Catholic family history, the love of my family, the love of Mary and the Heavenly Father, and a belief in myself as a human being to come to me.  I made it there.  I was there in church, not in my bed.  I could close my eyes and pray and feel blessed by God.

I have a long way to go.  I know I am loved.  I know my family loves me.  I have family, and I have love.  I'm not alone.  I feel so lonely, so often, but I'm not alone.  I matter.   When you are loved, you matter.  You matter.  You matter.

How do people know to come and help you right when you need them to?  How can they hug you at just the right time, when you feel so untouchable and empty?  And they make you feel full of something good.  You fill up with something good.  Even if you have a lot of healing to do, you are full of something good.  And you aren't alone.


                                                                          Save Me



You look like... a perfect fit,
For a girl in need... of a tourniquet.
But can you save me?
Come on and save me...
If you could save me,
From the ranks of the freaks,
Who suspect they could never love anyone.

'Cause I can tell... you know what it's like.
A long farewell... of the hunger strike.
But can you save me?
Come on and save me...
If you could save me,
From the ranks of the freaks,
Who suspect they could never love anyone.

You struck me dumb, Like radium
Like Peter Pan, or Superman,
You have come... to save me.
Come on and save me...
If you could save me,
From the ranks of the freaks,
Who suspect they could never love anyone,
Except the freaks,
Who suspect they could never love anyone,
But the freaks,
Who suspect they could never love anyone.

Come on and save me...
Why don't you save me?
If you could save me,
From the ranks of the freaks,
Who suspect they could never love anyone,
Except the freaks,
Who suspect they could never love anyone,
Except the freaks,
Who could never love anyone.



Monday, December 7, 2015

Prozac Haze.

Okay, now listen: If you feel really terrible and it doesn't makes sense in your cycle, or it's worse than you usually feel if you suffer from depression, it's a big deal.  It's not normal, and you have to stay on top of it.  Even I, who researches tirelessly, and keeps close track of my moods, and medications and feelings, can forget... and fall down and forget to try to get back up.

I have been feeling so badly, so awful, and it didn't make sense for me to feel worse than ever during my luteal phase, and to feel almost equally low and lethargic and numb during the follicular phase.  I started to just sink into it, and forget that I've felt better than this: I don't always feel like I want to be dead.  I feel okay sometimes, and better than just okay when PMDD passes.  I have even felt fairly well, within the past few months...  It also takes a while for the newer medications to start taking effect, and the old ones to leave your system.  Your body has to adjust, and that adjustment doesn't mean it will turn out well.

 This crippling depression; this staggering brain nausea; the shaking; the staring at nothing for the entire day; the lack of interest in living' all of which were preventing me from functioning like a human being were allowed to go on for a bit too long.  When I feel that badly, I am not going to call my doctor, I am not going to tell anyone, I'm not going to ask for help... I'm going to sit and stare and rock and write and whisper to myself... whisper to myself...  And Sam heard me whispering to myself as my eyes focused on nothing and I hadn't left my bed all day, and realized he should call my doctor.
And you know, I know this...  I know this!  The best way to track why you ever feel worse or better is to understand what has most recently changed...  What medications have changed, what has changed in your life, what has changed in your lifestyle.  In this case my medications had changed drastically.

I had started Lamictal, which is a mood stabilizer, and switched from Lexapro to Prozac. I've tried Prozac before, at high doses, and it rendered me almost emotionless and made it difficult for me to even contrive ideas or think at all.  I remember taking it in college and the professor noticed immediately that I was messed up.  Yes, I was the student who always contributed to class discussions and came in with lots of ideas to talk about from the reading homework.  I was always social and friendly.   And I sat in class, not knowing at all what was going on, and remember when she asked me a question I started to try to formulate a sentence and trailed off and said, "I don't know.  I don't know."

 After class she asked me if I was okay and I told her that all I could think of was this new medication I had started, my first dabbling in antidepressants, called Prozac, and I thought maybe it was having adverse effects.  I didn't feel like myself.  She urged me to see my doctor, which I did, and he changed me off it immediately.  Why would I want to try it again?  I don't know.  See?  It's still in my system...  It's still numbing my thoughts.  This is a boring and lifeless post.  I am just writing words and sentences, and not really paying much attention to how they fit together...

I think I thought Lexapro wasn't working anymore.  I think my mother told me I should try Prozac, because it had worked for her for years.  I was crying and she came over that night because I called her and couldn't talk, I think I choked out, "I need to go to the hospital," and I was just crying.  And she wanted to help me.  And she sat with me and talked to me until I could talk again, and promised to bring me to the DHMC ER the next day if I didn't feel any better.  I did feel better the next morning.  I understand the Emergency Rooms, and hospitals can only help me to a certain extent, and the only immediate things they can do for me is tranquilize me.  I have enough of my own Klonopin here.  I know how to zonk myself out.  I know what to do when I can't stop crying.

Anyway, realizing that it was just about the time the new shit would be doing the "work" now, made me realize it wasn't working at all.  It was just fucking me up.

I'm off Lamictal, and I'm off Prozac and back on Lexapro, and I see Dr. A on Thursday.  And where will we go from there?  I don't know.  I do know I have to make it through the holidays, and do all the things mommy's do to make this time of year for for their children.  I'm doing that.  I'm trying.

I'm sure Dr. Abney will have some ideas.  I do too... better ones than taking Prozac.  Take care of yourselves.  I have to be reminded by others, and remind myself often that how I feel, this deep depression and apathy is not normal.  It's not normal for me, and it's not normal for anyone.  And it's not okay to feel this way.  

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

I'm funny.

I want so much to write a lighthearted post about some funny thing, or at least speak with a sense of humor of something that's not super funny.  I used to do that.  I'm so dark, lately.  I've been so dark, and not very clever at all.  I'm repeating myself in posts, and talking in circles.  Although I feel better when I write, I'm not writing anything that is making me feel better.  That's not normal for me.

There is nothing poetic in complaining and lamenting symptoms of a disorder I still haven't gotten a handle of.  It is all in a numb, stilted voice.  There is no lilt, or creativity.  I've gone back to not being able to read, or draw or sew.  I was doing those things, and I was helping Sam build...  I used to be able to crank up some music and clean the house with a bit of energy and purpose.  It can't have been that long ago.  There are times when music, voices just bring on a feeling of nausea, and that's what is happening now.  I can't listen to music.  I've tried all types, and it all accosts my senses.  That's not normal.

There was time when I felt this badly, and I didn't read at all, which is something that makes me feel happy.  It was almost a year, after I left teaching.  When I started reading again, I felt renewed and my brain felt like it was doing something positive, and not just torturing me with it's crazy chemical imbalances.  I keep trying, but I put the book down because I'm just staring at the pages.  I don't have any desire to keep seeing the words.  I just want to look at nothing.  I would like to be in a room that is blank and empty and quiet and be alone.  That's not normal.

I have a painting, which I also attempted to recreate in pastel, that I have painted over 5 times now.  I work on the body position, and the skin tones, and the light and shadow, and then I paint it all over with blue.  The water which the figure is kneeling in.  I am better with pastels.  I drew it that way, on a big textured paper and, even though you think you can't just wash away or cover over pastel, I found a way...  I rubbed it all out with mineral spirits, so it's one big blue, green, and brown mess.  Sam says that drawing, that image I've wanted to paint for a very long time, is my white whale.  I am chasing it, and it evades me.  It evaded me, and I gave up. That's not normal.

I've changed medications, three changes at once as prescribed by my doctor, Prozac instead of Lexapro; 150 mg of Wellbutrin instead of 300 mg; a new mood stabilizer called Lamictal...  So maybe this is all part of the adjustment period.  It takes weeks, sometimes over a month to know if an RX treatment will "work."  I have been through these months, of trying something that might work, yet it didn't at all.  It didn't work, and I had to start again with something else.  That's the way depression and PMDD are treated... we keep trying, the doctors and me, until something helps me. We keep trying, and I keep trying.  I want to believe that this will be the combination of medications that will work.  I want to believe that, because starting from a beginning point, seems intolerable... impossible when the holidays are upon us, and my children are so full of hope and light and cheer.  I beg the calendar, as I count the days, to have my good days for Christmas.  I have been afraid to count this year.  I don't want to know.  Maybe if I don't know, I will be okay.

Maybe it's the knowing, and the expectation of darkness coming that makes me feel so... dark?  Maybe I do this to myself?  Maybe I would be okay if I just told myself I don't have PMDD at all and there will be no day where I suddenly go from Joanna, to someone who is numb and empty and sad...  and crazy.  Can I just think it away?  Can I make it go away if I just ignore the idea of it all together?  Is there a placebo effect?

Wouldn't that be so wonderful?  Wouldn't that be the most beautiful thing in the world?  Haven't I felt happy when I was luteal?  Haven't I been "okay," and above ground, instead of at the bottom of the deep hole, not even bothering to look up?  I have.  I have.

And I can't get it out of my head, those questions of "what was different?"  "What made me feel so much better?"  And the answers are impossible and only make me more sad and defeated.

Help me.  I want to say that to just the right person who will really be able to do that.  I want to not whisper it to myself, while I'm crying and holding my knees, rocking back and forth trying to clear my head.  I want someone to fix me.  I want someone to tell me how to fix myself.  I want to be all better and never live in this Hell again.  I keep thinking I can will it away, just focus so diligently on good things, until all the bad things leave my body and my mind.  I often feel like writing must help me get it out, because once I've written it, maybe I can keep it in typed or words written in my journal, and they will be gone, gone, gone from my mind.  A relief will come, I think.

Help me.  This could kill me.  I know that.  I feel it.  And I want to believe that I'm supposed to keep living and no one wants me to disappear entirely.  Could a person save my life?  Could a medication save my life?  Can therapy or hospitalization save me?  Can anything save me?

Please.  I know I'm difficult and my problems are not something anyone would want to burden themselves with, but I don't know how to do this by myself.  I'm giving up, a little bit, and that's not normal.

(Be careful with Lamictal...  It can really mess you up... I'm starting again... stopping one med and trying something new.  Sigh...)







Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Hiding.

My daughter goes up and lays in her bed, sometimes, after school or on the weekends.  She watches shows on the ipad, under the blankets in her bed.  I realize she is learning this behavior, this way of coping, from me... learning to be like me.  And I never want her to be like me in that way...

This isn't me, is it?  This isn't the Joanna I used to know.  I don't want to stay in my bed and live looking through the open doorway, while I sit here and write or read, or just think, and feel, or not think and not feel.

I am horrified that my children may never know "me" and just know a ghost of a mother.  Me being in bed is normal.  I can't find another place in my house to feel comfortable...  I walk out, and I wander around, looking, and then I get back under my covers.  I look for a place for me, and I can't find one.  Does that mean we need to move our furniture around, or does that mean, I have found comfort in being in this solitude and this one single spot in my house, where no one else ever sits.  It's just where I go.  I don't come here when I feel happy.  I don't come here when I feel normal.  Yet, here I am, most of my life.  

I'm hiding from something.  I know, ever since I was a little girl, I needed my blankets tucked in on the bottom or I couldn't sleep; I didn't feel comfortable with the possibility of my feet being uncovered.  I felt safety in the blankets wrapped securely around the mattress and my feet protected from everything, because they were tucked in there.  And I tuck myself in now.  I tuck myself into the covers and I often feel frozen in space, in this place.  I am cold when I am exposed.  I am not safe when I am exposed.  Blankets cover me, and make me feel warm and less scared.  

When I can get up and out, sometimes, I realize I am not truly out, anywhere.  I am still hiding from people.  I hide from phone calls, and I don't leave the house, and I sometimes will avoid the people I love the most.  I could be with my children... so close...  I can see them from the open doorway, from my spot on the bed, yet I don't get up.  I stay.  I stay.  

I hate this spot, even though it gives me comfort.  I hate this place, and I don't want to be here, or even sleep here, even though that's all I should be doing under my bed covers.  I shouldn't be here, sitting and thinking about all the things I could and should be doing, yet not doing.  I should get up.  Get up!  I curl up further, into myself, and burrow down.  My legs disappear.  Do they even work?  

I should feel better tomorrow.  I know that.  I know I will feel better tomorrow, and this darkness and fear and detachment will lift away.  I know it is the time that it should.  I am always scared that it won't happen... That I will not leave this spot, and I'll be here, even when I'm supposed to feel better.  I'm scared of being trapped here.  The blankets begin to feel like they are wrapping around my legs, twisting up tightly, and binding me here.  They start to suffocate me, and suck me down.  They don't let go of me.  

You could tell me, just as I tell myself, just pull them off you and get the fuck up.  Just get up and do anything but lay there and let them hold you in that place.  And I listen.  I listen and I rip them back, and say, for more than 12 days a month, my children will come home from school and not find me here.  I think, I'll get something done, and I won't just be overwhelmed by everything and take one small step at a time, and see each small step as an accomplishment...  Each time my feet touch the floor, I'm winning a battle:  I'm doing better than I was, when I was bound to the single spot.  

But I keep coming back.  I am drawn back in and under.  And I am terrified there will be a time when my legs stop working all together.  1, 2, 3, ready or not, here I come!  like the child who is too young to realize that hiding under the table every time he plays the game, means he will be found every time, in that same place.  Children get older and realize they have to be tricky, and change, and move. That hiding spot was good for one round, but it won't work again.  

I don't want to be here, in this single spot, living my life with this one view... this view of the light through the open door, and the clutter on my nightstand, and the closet full of "teacher" clothes I haven't worn for years, and out the glass doors, outside... where it's dark and raining right now, but it keeps changing... it's changes from light to dark, from bright to cloudy.  It is cold, it is warm.  Outside it's never the same.  How did I become so singular, and so stagnant, and so shallow?  I'm right here, you don't really have to look for me.  I'm under these covers.  

Update:  Lamictal...  It made me feel comatose and confused and stuck.