Waiting for today...

4 Disorders That Resemble Depression, But Aren't

"Diabetes is diagnosed through blood tests, cancer is diagnosed through biopsies and medical imaging, and mental illness is diagnosed through checklists of self-reported symptoms."

Sunday, October 23

Too Late?

In boasting of my new found motivation and plan to finally get on board with something at least resembling a physical fitness plan, I wouldn’t have guessed I’d have to endure some of the worse news I’ve received since my psychiatric diagnosis in 2013.  It is well known that many psychiatric meds wreak havoc on the gastrointestinal (GI) system.  And I’ve had GI problems since college due largely in part to anxiety.  It was later, a few years after college, that I had a noticeable change in my bowel pattern.  But, unless I was having symptoms, I didn’t think enough of it. I’ve felt like hell the last few days.  Actually my woes began…

Saturday, I have no idea o’clock...

After an awesome night of music, drinking and Wii sports but then a disappointing morning of napping on and off until the early afternoon (what the hell man?), I finally got out of bed. Always second on my list is food.  Except I felt full.   As though everything I ate and drank Friday was just sitting on my stomach.  It wasn’t terrible but it was odd to me that I ended up only eating two or three small meals, snacks really, that day.  

Sunday, noonish…

Now uncomfortably full and a bit nauseous, I started to feel like my fluid & electrolytes were off.  And of course?  I hadn’t been able to fully hydrate after drinking beer AND wine Friday night.  Also, because I knew I was a bit constipated, I was deathly afraid I would have a vomiting episode which would’ve further disrupted my flu-lytes (yup! I made that word up).  

So I decided to be proactive and try to relieve my constipation. But there was barely any difference in the fullness I was feeling. So once again I wasn’t able to sleep through the night.  Thankfully I wasn’t scheduled to work until 1pm the next day.  And no vomiting.

Monday, 10:30am...

I felt like death as I walked into work.  Although I moved at a snail's pace, it was a steady one and thinking the whole time “I definitely have undiagnosed IBS”.  It was after having a near fainting spell that I made up my mind I would visit the ER.  I was ridiculously tired and didn’t want to sit in the ER for hours.  But having to work the next day I needed to know what was wrong and get fluids fast, at minimum.

Tuesday, wee hours in the damn morning…

After labs, intravenous fluids and a computerized tomography (CT) scan which showed a hiatal hernia, I attempted to get my prescription for pepcid filled at a 24 hour pharmacy. Unfortunately, it wasn’t and I said “hell naw” to finding another one only to find out later pepcid is over the counter.   I went into work with every intention to finish Monday’s charting, that day's assignment and then leave.  But after tearfully updating my manager about my ER visit, she suggested I finish my charting and go on home.  Great suggestion! ‘Cause I barely got through one case before feeling as if I would pass out.  

So I came home, had an Ensure and got in bed.  When I woke up, still feeling full but less, I took a pepcid and managed to get down some chicken noodle soup, tuna salad and a few crackers.  I slept pretty well that night.  On two to three pillows as instructed for my newly diagnosed hiatal hernia.

Wednesday, 10:00am...

Feeling much better but still a bit weak, I spent my entire morning securing appointments. Thankfully I was able to rest a bit before going to work since my awesome boss gave me permission to come in at 5:00pm instead of 1:00.  

Thursday, too early...

I met my new gut doc who believes I have gastroparesis in addition to indigestion due to the hernia.  I’ll have to have a gastric emptying study and an endoscopy to further investigate.  Next was my pelvic and transvagninal ultrasound (US).  The reason for my tears on Thursday: two ovarian cysts.  One about the size of a golf ball.  I know the complications of abdominal surgery; they scare the shit out of me.  So I’m hoping for laparoscopic drainage or removal.  But it may not be up to me.

Now, I wait...  

I wait for my general practitioner appointment, the US results, my GI tests.  I wait to see if my mind, mood and the little faith I have will sustain me through the physical and mental stress of now living with a physical illness and the inevitable trauma of surgery.  That is, if depression will allow them to.  About eleven weeks out from my last mood swing, I’m hopeful for now.  Insecure... but hopeful.
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2016 Waiting for today...

Monday, October 3

Take Luck

This year has brought a few surprises so far: I passed my certification exam, finally moved back to discharge planning at work, down to one letter sized file box of paperwork and I’m less apologetic about not forcing protracted relationships that have probably run their course.  Another shocker?  My motivation to put that self-care regimen into practice.  

Unfortunately it takes me a while to “wrap my head” around certain things before taking any course of action.  Reason being?  I don’t want to waste my time, I don’t want to waste my energy and I don’t want to… fail.  It’s the part of my personality I call “paralyzing precisionism”.  

noun  pre·ci·sion \pri-ˈsi-zhən\
: the quality of being precise : exactness or accuracy

In other words: I’m anal retentive.  In many other words: I get so consumed with doing things the right way, I get myself worked up into a fear of failure which leads to a lengthy procrastination.  This is bound to pull me into negative thinking.  Next stop, no doubt, is mood swing.  *Le sigh*   

But I finally decided a few months ago that mindfulness would be my starting place.   It’s the simplest thing I can do for my heart and mental health.  I found some awesome flashcards to motivate me and keep boredom at bay.  But I’m always reminded of the benefits of diet and exercise on mental health.  Diet, exercise, diet, exercise.  Oy!  They’ve always been the bane of my existence.  I finally settled on taking a 10 minute walk most days per week.  That seemed easy!   Except I haven’t taken a 10 minute walk in weeks.  Months!  If exercising involves more getting ready beyond a warm up chances are I'm not doing it.  I have a similar problem with diet.  

I can’t be bothered with all the steps: shopping, prepping, cooking, cleaning.  Not mention boredom with leftovers.  And the more complex, i.e. the more pots I have to use, the more pots I have to clean… HA!  I’ve always paid for convenience.  Which is why I consider myself a take-out queen, occasionally pay to have my clothes laundered and do much of my wardrobe shopping online.  On my wishlist this year: a treadmill and a crock-pot.  If I set up a treadmill in front of the TV, I can get my 10 minutes and then some!  With multiple training programs I can really make ‘em count too.  And although grocery shopping will still be a pain in the arse, one pot to cook and one pot to clean may just make up for that.  With so many simple recipes, I can actually have homemade, nutrient dense meals more often without a lot of guessing.

I feel ashamed not being able to take on a diet and exercise regimen comparable to others my age.  I know people who prep healthy meals each week and drink nearly a gallon of water each day.  Leg day and arm day at the gym is a thing.  Thirty day ab challenges.  I envy those people.  I envy those women.  They look amazing and I'm sure they feel that way too.  But I just can’t.  I’m not built that way.  But I’ve gotta do something.  Right?  

One step at a time...

Title is a play on the phrases “take care” and “good luck” from Brian Regan Live by Brian Regan

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2016 Waiting for today...

Thursday, September 1

Feeling... Insecure


“... I've vowed in moments like these I would remain silent.  To make any other
choice would also be to choose to once again pressure myself to be someone I
can’t.”  For more about me outside of my struggle with mental illness, visit me
here on Google Plus

Saturday, July 16

Tuesday the 5th: So Wilbur Robinson


Had a scary few days last week...
my mood dropped within about 30 minutes one day at work.  Then the day after, I was almost 2 hours late for work.  I got up somewhat on time.  But laid on the couch for an hour or so.  I’m fine now... thank God.  I guess I just hadn’t gotten enough down time.  Or maybe I’m doing a piss-poor job of staying hydrated this summer.  I don’t know.

And of course!  
I’m still adjusting to my new hours: a 12 and three 8’s.  But I’ve also made 2 trips to Philly a month apart.  This last trip?  I drove on about 3 hours of sleep after working two 8’s (the last turned into a 12... sigh) just to turn around and drive right back home the next day.  One day off and it was back to work.  Back to three 12’s because a colleague had the week off.

No.  Not that one.  
That one is on the underbosses radar.  She realizes that she takes a lot of time off and I’ve been covering for her.   I’m the only one that can because of my second position (totally confusing).  It finally hit the underboss after I worked about 100 in a pay period.  She decided it was best to have a meeting with the boss and the emergency room care coordinators.  But first my colleague would get upset when I wouldn’t cover for her again 3 weeks later!

That’s that bullshit *in my Will Smith Bad Boys 2 voice*

Speaking of the couch.  
I’m obviously still sleeping on it.  Sigh...  I just can’t seem to move back into my room.  I even have a TV/DVD combo and a Firestick now!  If I could keep up with the kitchen and bathroom i.e. “the filthiest rooms in my apartment”, I would spend more time in my bed instead of piles of clothes .  I’m thinking about calling in a housekeeper sooner to do just that.  Problem solved!  I hope.

It’s month 7 on the tretinoin...
and my skin looks great!  My body?  Sigh...  I haven’t hit 200 lbs!  Yaaaayyyy meeee!  Yet.  Sigh...  I am learning to accept my body though.  Grueling.  Still need a new wardrobe.   I’ve just about run out of clothes that fit well or fit at all.   If I could only find the energy to smartly shop for girly-tomboy threads to drape this spoon-shaped body complete with a cauldron-type pot belly, I may come into greater acceptance.   

Monday, June 20

Blog Post: “High-Functioning” Bipolar Disorder

“You seem to be doing alright.”  Couldn’t believe I was hearing this from my psychiatrist of all people.  This was not too long after I shared my diagnosis with my boss.  It was when I found myself in the pit again.  I was asking her to fill out paperwork for partial medical leave; permission to temporarily cut my hours to part-time.  I was scared.  I knew depression was affecting my productivity.  I put myself out there for help but I was also begging to be scrutinized.

She didn’t sign them.  She wanted to “treat me first”.   I get it.  But it would take two weeks for the new medication or dose to take effect.  Probably also the time it would take for me to be warned about my productivity and to later be fired when it didn’t improve.  “Can I have limited hours during that time?”  I should’ve asked.  But instead I did what I had to do.   I surrendered to defeat.  I put on the mask some days and called out other days.  Thankfully my boss not only told me she understood but she showed that she at least had partial understanding by not penalizing me for calling out.   More than my psychiatrist showed.

Thankfully that’s over.  I came out of my latest mood swing determined not to overwhelm myself with trying to put my life back together to it’s pre-mood swing condition.  I had the understanding that certain things just didn’t matter.  I claimed to have had this understanding many times before though.  Just never treated myself like I did.  This time I’m taking it one day at a time, being easy on myself, nonjudgemental, but determined to keep moving forward.  It wasn’t until months after my mood swing, though, that I found the missing piece.  The piece that may possibly keep me from spiralling down into the pit of depression every few months: it’s been 6 ½ months.  One of my longest periods of normalcy!

That piece?  My hierarchy of needs.  Lovingly inspired by Maslow, I realized I needed to throw out everything I thought I knew about building a self-care plan to just focus on the foundation. For now.  I started by being completely honest in the most selfish way I ever have.  I admitted that I just didn’t give a fuck about many things anymore.   And in the end I recommitted to my mantra that my mental health mattered more than anything.  Anything!  Including earthly relationships.  And rest, a basic physiological need,  would be the easiest way to get there.  

While my psychiatrist has not diagnosed me with bipolar disorder (BPD) she and my therapist both agree that I have features of BPD.  The following blog post, a personal story, validates how I feel being my best but also tethered by invisible chains to a debilitating disease and stigma. However it has also helped me to feel less guilty about what I need to do and more proud of myself for having the courage to do it.  

The trouble is, using all my control, sanity and energy during the week to try and produce enough work to pay my rent then leaves me with a really large deficit when I’m not working. I’m crazy. Remember? Not normal? I’m just faking the normal. And faking normal requires more effort than you can possibly imagine.”

con’t reading ““High-Functioning” Bipolar Disorder” by Natasha Tracy published at HealthyPlace.com.  Retrieved on April 22nd, 2016 at http://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2011/01/high-functioning-bipolar-disorder

Wednesday, June 1

Feeling... Fatigued


“... I've vowed in moments like these I would remain silent. To make any other choice would also be to choose to once again pressure myself to be someone I can’t.” For more about me outside of my struggle with mental illness, visit me here on Google Plus...

Friday, April 8

Then & Now...

image original found at Montereyplazahotel.com, also available at istockphoto.com

In my early 20’s, before going off to college, I would take a a few Saturdays per month to pamper myself.  I would style my hair having washed it the night before and letting it air dry overnight.  I would take a nice long bubble bath, exfoliate, shave, give myself a mani-pedi.  I would take hours: writing in my journal by candlelight, music playing… usually classic r&b or neo-soul  I remember it being a huge stress-reliever, making me feel better about myself and helping me to forget about feeling as if almost everyone in my tiny world was constantly against me.  

These days I can barely shower.  I average about twice per week.  Birdbaths have become the norm.  Shaving? Ha!  I’ve only recently started paying for manicures because of to feel more feminine.  Was only getting the every 8 to 12 week trim but now I’m seeing my hairstylist about once per month ‘cause sometimes that's the only time my hair gets washed. My $60 massage membership barely gets used.  I believe I’m up to five sessions to my credit so far.  That’s five months.  And I just cancelled a 1 ½ hour appointment last week ‘cause I just didn’t have the energy to get dressed.