Friday, August 31, 2007

I Know Who Lila is.

Ha, ha...last night as I was going to bed I realized who Lila was in my dream.

  • Lila was a girl I knew who became a camp COUNSELLOR

  • Lila is my family DR

  • Therefore: Lila is a Dr. and a Counsellor

Lila = Dr. X (he's my Pdoc and therapist/counsellor too)

So I thought...why am I trying to save my psychiatrist in the dream? or is Lila a shape shifter in the dream?... because at the same time Lila went outside two wolves appeared...and when I was trying to get her back in the house...a pile of clothes was left at the door when a wolf snuck into the house.

Am I concerned that my pdoc isn't completely on my side? I don't think I'm trying to save my pdoc. I think I am afraid of losing him, because in the dream I go to great lengths and at great risk to myself and others I hold the door open for a magical 10 seconds hoping he will come back inside.

My counting to 10 represents how the unpredictable nature of my illness makes my important decision making almost impossible. For example, how do I decide to get a job, or even quit my old job, when every time I seem to begin to begin that climb towards wellness I end up crashing and burning a few days or sometimes a week or two later?

So I am left making my decisions by other means...i.e. counting to 10 and praying I've made the right choice. It is impossible with my illness to make a rationally based decision so I am stuck making decisions based on dreams or some kind of magical thinking.

I know if I could just get my mood stable I would make these choices and move on with my life. I think that's where my fear of losing Dr. X comes in. If I just get stable I won't need to see him anymore...and I would really miss him and his support. I wonder sometimes if my connection with him is so strong that it impedes my growth? He says I can continue to see him, even when I become well, but I think he just says that so I don't not get well for fear of losing him.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Wolf in People's Clothing

I have been having vividly realistic and frightening dreams over the past few weeks. In a few of them I have been violently violated and I swear I can feel the pain and the sensations and smells from the dream sequence seem to linger when I wake up. When I do wake I am absolutely terrified. Last night I again had a nightmare. It wasn't about being raped, but it was nonetheless terrifying.

I dreamt I was in my house. The house had an open design with windows everywhere. I went outside and out of the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of a huge black and grey wolf. I was scared and went back in the house, but I thought I might have imagined it.

It was after dinner and my dog Bert had to taken for a walk. I started to take him. He peed, but as I was about to take him farther a wolf stepped out of the woods. I put the lead on Bert, and, even though I knew the walk was important, I backed up and quickly went into the house.

It was dark, the house was now an office of the huge corporation I worked for before I became too ill to work. The windows and sliding glass doors were wide open. I glimpsed a gigantic (3X normal size) wolf. It's hackles were up and it was snarling and vicious. I ran and locked the door, closed and locked the windows and sliding glass door, but I was terrified it was going to break through the glass. I started to close the blinds, hoping the blinds would create the illusion of a more solid wall, rather than a window.

Two more wolves came snarling out of the trees. At the same time I heard someone say Lila had gone outside. I was terrified and yelled, "get her back in here". I ran to the back door and started letting people in - but I knew the wolves were coming.

I started counting down from 10 and was going to permanently lock the doors when I reached 1. I reached 1. People were pouring in, but I knew the wolves could shape shift and was afraid some of the last people would be wolves.

As I reached the #1 I went to slam and lock the door and simultaneously I looked down and saw a set of clothes crumpled on the floor. I knew there was at least one wolf inside the building. I woke from the dream absolutely terrified. Heart racing, sweating and afraid to get out of bed for at least 2-3 minutes.

I have had these wolf dreams before and they are always so frightening. Usually the wolf has me pinned to the ground and is growling ferociously in my face, about to tear me to shreds, when I finally wake.

What was the dream about?
  1. Before I fell asleep I had been thinking of returning to work part time...the wolf could represent the job that terrified me, filled me with anxiety and depression and threatened to kill me (via suicide).
  2. The wolf could be my LTD insurance company as I am so at odds with being paid for being ill from a job that I know I cannot return to , even if I become well...because I will become ill again.
  3. I had been thinking of how I could survive on my government disability...about the hidden costs of giving up my employer's disability...the cost of my medications for example (the wolves were hidden in the woods, kept appearing magically and disappearing in the same way)
  4. I was thinking about how I haven't been depressed (but instead extremely anxious, irritable and not sleeping) for 3 weeks, no depression = a return to work...but would I survive that?
  5. I was thinking about my depression disappearing, reappearing, the unpredictable nature of the course of this illness and how it makes it hard to make a decision to quit work, try something new, or return to work, or stay off work and on disability. The wolves in my dream are unpredictable like this...magically transforming, disappearing, reappearing etc.
  6. Lila...I once knew a girl named Lila who went on to become a camp counsellor and saved a six year old from being dragged out of camp by a cougar. Lila is also my g.p's name.
  7. I had been thinking about what Dr. X. thinks about what I am able to do, or should be doing now that my mood is better. Of course, my first thought is he thinks I need to work...and that scares me because I am afraid I won't stay feeling better.
  8. I think all the glass in the house and the corporate office represent people watching me, tracking me, judging old fear of being spied on and seen to be more competent than I feel...and in the end forced to go back to work before I am well.
  9. Shape shifting wolves: fear of those around me (Dr. X., husband, insurance company, company etc.) transforming into the enemy and forcing my hand when it comes to working.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

What I have Enjoyed in my Life: Meme

I got this meme from Jame's blog @ "Letters from the Sanitarium". Thought it might show me as more of a 3-dimensional character:

Thanks James....this was good for think of the things I can do, can accomplish and enjoy.

Four Jobs I Have Had or Currently Have in My Life:

1) Currently Volunteering as an Art Instructor/Mentor: At an Art Studio that is a rehabilitation clubhouse for people who have severe and persistent mental illnesses (schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression). I have co-taught printmaking classes and helped with teaching an older adults pottery class (handbuilding). I am about to start co-teaching a beginner's drawing class and just finished the 8th of 10 lesson plans yesterday. I love this place and am a member there as get to use the space to do my art and attend classes.

2). Just finished volunteering at my city's Shakespeare festival...I worked in the concession last year and was a bartender this year. I had to quit because of my symptoms this year, but hopefully can go back next year.

3). "Facilitation and Development Specialist" a HUGE, massive, gigantic corporation. I developed training material and classes, as well I facilitated workshops for managers. Before that I had been a trainer in the organization for years. This job took me down. It was so high stress and involved travelling across the country to deliver workshops. I left this job and went on disability. Ironically, the last day I worked was the day I completed and did my first workshop around ensuring the organization creates a workplace that is open and accessible to people with disabilities. They speak the speak...but when it came to walking the walk...What a joke. I saw so many people with mental illness treated so was sad. Glad I left.

4). Bartender, hostess, waitress at a busy restaurant. Did this throughout University and I loved it. The place was fun, always busy and relaxed. The people I worked with were amazing. The restaurant might as well have been a bar on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. It was one of the busiest places in the city and I just loved working there. Kind of weird because now something like that would terrify me.

Four Countries I Have Been to:

1) British Virgin Islands: My husband and I rented a 34 foot motorboat with another couple and cruised around the islands for 2 weeks. Can you say BLISS. It was the best vacation I ever had. I spent most of my time in the water. As you may have gathered from my name I am a waterbaby. The second I touch the water I am free.

2) England (London): Visited my best friend for 10 days. I love this city...Even after 10 days I did not even scratch the surface of what is available to experience there. I was blown away by the National Gallery and the Tate Gallery. Also, their underground is amazing and easy to figure out. They have the simplest maps of the city at the underground...they fit in your back pocket. Truly a city geared to tourists.

3) France (Paris): Did the whirlwind one day walking tour. It was so incredibly beautiful. I have never seen anything so gorgeous. It was a beautiful spring day and we walked all over and ended up in the park that encompasses the Louvre. The day was exhausting...but worth it. I want to go back for a longer period of time.

4) USA (Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Arizona, New Mexico): Took many different trips. Camping down the Oregon/California coast, to San Francisco when I was 22...loved it!!, to the Grand Canyon a few years back...unbelievably gorgeous...especially the North end (I think...the undeveloped end anyways...stunning). I always had a great time in the US but, I'm scared to go to the states now because I'm afraid to cross the border. It freaks me out how much power those uneducated people have. They have more power than the police...scary. Not that I'd do anything illegal, but I get scared nonetheless.

Four Places I'd Rather be Right Now:

1). Canoeing and Camping on Sakana Lake...I go there in my head when I get really stressed out.

2). London, England...I love that place

3). Tofino, B.C....I got married on the beach there and it is beautiful...the huge wave, the sound of the ocean, the seclusion....ahhhhhh!

4). My pdocs office. The second I get there I feel safe. About 10 minutes into my sessions I usually become extremely calm. He soothes my soul.

Four Foods I Like to Eat:

1). Chinese... especially Schezuan

2). Japanese...sushi...yum

3). Indian

4) Mexican

Four Personal Heroes-past or present:

1) My Mom...she was all about being caring and compassionate. I don't think I ever heard her say a bad word about anyone. She had this incredible ability to see from other's perspectives. I loved her more than anyone on earth.

2). Jesus...the man...I'm not religious at all, but when you read about Jesus in the new testament it is amazing to see a man so accepting of everyone. This is where it makes me sick that Conservative Christians twist his words and deeds into hatefulness for people who are different from them. Jesus the man accepted all and was kind, compassionate and good to all. I think (if he existed) he was a great role model. Even if he's made up, he's still a great role model.

3) Mahatma Gandhi: Peaceful Resistance...need I say more.

4) Buddha: Any being who helps others survive their suffering is a great being in my books. I am struck by how much Buddhism is like western psychology...interesting.

Four Books I have Read or Are Currently Reading:

1). A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry...If you want to smell, see, feel what it is like to be lower caste and struggling to survive in India...this book will take you there. Beautifully written.
2) Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain....This man suffered...The book is well written and will make you think twice about the benefits of fame.
3) Existential Psychotherapy, by Irvin Yalom...This book got me to finally leave work and helps me take responsibility and move forward in spite of my mental illness. He writes fiction too that makes some of his theories more accessible (read: "When Nietzsche Wept"...It will make you take charge or "Lying on the Couch"...a play on words...the book is a really fun and sometimes disturbingly honest look at psychiatry).
4) The Heart of Buddha's Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace Joy and Liberation, by Thich Nhat easy to read, easy to understand introduction to Buddha's philosophy. I was awestruck both by the author's writing and by Buddha's teachings. I love the way Thich Nhat Hanh views the world. It makes you want to survive your suffering.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Is it me? You know that hypomanic charisma...

I'm not sure what's happening, but today two separate men at the studio where I volunteer and do my art at started talking to me about how I "have a sexy figure", how "hot" I looked in the clothes I was wearing....jeans and a t-shirt...go figure.

While it is nice to be noticed, I feel really uncomfortable with their comments. The Studio I go to is a place for people with mental illnesses to go and do their art in a safe and comfortable place. It is bringing up issues I have had previously. Issues that almost cost me my marriage.

A few years ago I was in group therapy and one of the men was coming on to me in a big way. I guess because I was having marriage troubles, and because I hadn't had that kind of attention in a long time, I played along with the flirting. I thought it was harmless and had no intention of acting on the flirting. Then it got totally out of hand and the person threatened to commit suicide if I didn't see them. My pdoc recommended I completely cut contact with the person for my own safety and well-being. I did, but not before my husband caught wind of what was going on and went ballistic.

Now I try to be more clear about my intentions and boundaries, but one of the people today seems to want to push the subject. I have made it clear that I'm married. As well, I do not think I am acting flirty or anything to attract this kind of attention.

I don't want to make a big deal out of it. I just want them to stop saying those things to me because it makes me feel a bit scared of going to the studio and I don't want it to stop me from going.

I'm not sure how to deal with it because one of the people has confided in me that he says things sometimes, pushes the limits in a conversation and then feels intensely bad about it afterwards. I do not want to make him feel bad. I just want him to understand that I am not comfortable with the way he talks to me. What do I say?

If he says something again I was thinking maybe I could say, "because I am married, I feel uncomfortable with that kind of comment from another man"...but then I may hurt his feelings as he might feel like he has done a bad thing. I think if he says something again I will just jokingly say...hey, that kind of talk makes me uncomfortable...please stop it...or I'll have to beat you up...ha, ha!!"....or something " he gets the point, but saves face.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

What is Happening to Me?

I don't understand what is happening to me right now. I haven't slept more than 2 hrs straight and and average of 3-5 hours total a night. I have more energy, but it is BAD energy. I am feeling so much anxiety that today I began panicking at the laundromat. I couldn't breathe and I began feeling like my body was swirling and I was going to faint and then I just felt I was outside myself, or covered in foam or something was between me and reality.

I went on a trip to a dude ranch/spa last week. I did lots of things that should have been relaxing and fun; horseback rides, hayrides, ATVing, massages, facials, body wraps, swimming...all things I would usually enjoy and find relaxing. I went with my sister and her kids who I always love to be with. This time it was different though. I did not feel anything good at all.

I could not feel any of the enjoyment...all I felt was intense anxiety and bad energy surging through me. I felt disconnected from every thing I did and everyone I did it with. I enjoyed nothing. I was so anxious the whole time I couldn't sleep. If I did manage to fall asleep it was for an hour here and there. I would wake up having anxiety attacks all through the night.

I can't take much more of this. I don't know what to do. I feel like I have tried every medication out all has attempts to become well have failed and there is nothing that will help me. I feel helpless, hopeless and lost.

My husband is after me for not enjoying anything anymore. I tried to explain that is a symptom of my depression and anxiety...the joy disappears from life. He keeps talking to me like I'm choosing to be this way. Get a job and you will feel better, he says. He just doesn't get that I am ill and if I felt like I could manage a job, I would be the first one to go get one, but I can barely manage to get out f bed, or do the dishes, or the housework. How can I get a job when all I want is to die?

I am trapped. All I want is to die, but I cannot hurt my sisters by allowing myself to die, so I stay for them. I am trapped in this hell forever. God I hate this existence...please just let me die.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Can the Dead Talk to You?

I just came back from taking my dog for a walk in the flower field. Any elation in my mood has disappeared and is quickly being usurped by my anxiety and my depression. As I was walking I started thinking about suicide again...visualizing myself jumping off the city's highest bridge ...that would give me something to be anxious I see myself hit the cement like water and break into a thousand pieces. I already feel that way. Broken into a thousand pieces.

...And then I look up, and in front of me, at the end of a row of dahlias, is a lone "Shoo Fly" plant.

My mom and I went to a "Seedy Saturday" a number of years ago, and she found seeds for this plant. In her loving care they ripened and sowed their progeny everywhere in her garden. She was delighted and told me I needed some in my garden, as she, in her giddy, funny way sung:

"Shoo fly don't bother me,
Shoo fly don't bother me,
Shoo fly don't bother me,
'cause I belong to somebody..."

I took some seeds for the next year and delighted in them popping up in my own garden as they had in hers. Eventually, they disappeared, stopped sowing themselves and I have not seen any anywhere in the garden for years.

My Mom died a little more than a year and a half ago. I can barely write those words. She was too lively, too caring and compassionate, too needed by all of us who loved die so young and too soon. She had three months to prepare herself and her family for her death. One of the things she said to us before she died was, "I will see you in the moon, the stars and the sun". It was a powerful image that left me with the impression she would always be around in one form or the other.

Recently, I was laying in bed at 2:40 a.m. still wide awake, hardly able to breathe I was so anxious and agitated. I tried to make the anxiety stop, but it held my chest in a vice grip, suffocating me. I wanted to die.

I started imagining myself stabbing my chest over and over with a huge knife until finally my chest deflated and the anxiety dissipated. I think thoughts of suicide calm my anxiety sometimes. I see this in the thoughts I have of slitting my wrists and watching all the sadness pour out of me.

I got out of bed and stepped outside. What should be the first thing I see, but a huge full moon. I could feel Mom passing me a message of hope. I went back to bed and thought about it...scoffed at the idea but, finally, fell asleep.

I woke again at 5:40...thinking what a dumb belief. Mom's dead, she's gone...god why couldn't it have been me. I have no life and nothing to live for. She was needed and wanted and her life was priceless to our family. I wish it had been me. I would give anything to have her return.

The sun had just started to come up and the sky was that dusky shade of twilight blue. There, framed between the fog encased blueberry bushes and the the wide open sky, sat the full moon, huge as it began setting into the horizon. The image, and my belief Mom was trying to be there for me again, was haunting.

This afternoon as I walked through the flower field I came upon that row of blood red dahlias; and at the very end of that row, reaching out to touch me as I passed, was that lone "Shoo Fly" plant. None had been planted in the cutting field, and none had been in my private garden for years. I felt Mom brush up against me as I walked by...and I swear I heard, "...cause I belong to somebody".

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

My Senate Hearing on Guilt

This past week I have been really thinking about how to rid myself of the guilt I feel for not working and relying on disability payments from my work to take care of myself. I have been off work for more than 4 years now due to my depression and it's symptoms. I swear everyday I feel bad about not working, about not getting better so I can get back to work, about collecting money for doing nothing, for being a drain on society in this way.

So in my session today I tried to get rid of this obsessive guilt once and for all...but the guilt is so is unreasonable to assume getting rid of it that easily is possible.

However, my pdoc used a good metaphor for working through this problem. He said there were varying opinions in my "senate" about the best way to deal my guilt and the factors contributing to my guilt. So we spoke of having a hearing and giving voice to all those opinions so I can see everything clearly defined and then vote.

Factors contributing to my guilt:

  1. I have a strong work ethic and I want to work. In fact I have never not worked since I was 15. When I am well I love working and feel good about contributing.
  2. While I can see other people on disability because of similar symptoms and accept that it is okay, and in fact beneficial, for them to not have the pressure of working while they are trying to recover or become well; I think I should be able to work despite my illness. (Don't ask...even I don't understand how/why I can feel this way).
  3. I know that it took 2 years of coaxing and coaching from my pdoc in order for me to feel I could leave work to take care of myself. I also know that when I finally got the courage to leave work to save myself, I was the closest I have ever come to committing suicide. Still, there is a part of me that thinks it was just too convenient that I was able to leave a high stress job that was killing me and still be receiving money.
  4. I have a very black and white view of what is considered work..."being off disability, and making enough money to take care of myself" ...volunteer work is not work...I need to make enough money to feel safe.
  5. I know, that even if I become well enough to work again, I will never be able to return to my employer's workplace. The work and the company is just too stressful and competitive for me to stay and remain well while working there.
  6. Although I enjoyed the teaching aspects of the job, I felt a complete and total disconnect with the moral structure of the organization. Everyday I went to work I felt like I was doing and being the opposite of who I believe I am. This destroyed me. I require a job that is meaningful, purposeful and fundamentally in line with my belief systems.
  7. If I know I cannot go back, then I should resign. If I do not resign, I am not telling the whole truth and am receiving money under the pretense that I will go back to work when well.
  8. I worry I am not getting well because of this existential nightmare...Maybe because I hated my job, I got sick because of that, and I remain sick because I am afraid I will be forced to return to the job I hated.

If I feel so guilty...why not quit my job and discontinue my disability payments?:

  1. I worry that I will quit to relieve my exitstential angst and guilt...and it won't help. I'll still be sick and in an even more stressfull situation...(i.e. sick, unable to work, and have no income). I honestly cannot handle getting more sick than I already am.
  2. My symptoms are as bad as when I left work...intense anxiety, suicidal ideation, mood cycling up and down, fatigue, lethargy, amotivation, irritability, agitation, difficulty concentrating/focusing, memory problems (ECT related? depression related? and/or often medication side effect related....remember Epival? Benzodiazepines?), poor sleep.
  3. So far my depression and its symptoms have remained treatment resistant to all therapies and medications... and I've tried tons...Antidepressants (SSRI's, SNRI's, Novel Anti-d's, Trycyclics), Mood Stabilizers Anticonvulsants, Antipsychotics, sleep medication, Benzodiazepines, and stimulants, weekly/or twice weekly therapy, hospital stay, ECT, outpatient day program, group therapy...etc., etc.
  4. If I am still sick, but I am continuing to try to get well, but nothing is that my fault?
  5. Isn't the disability insurance there to protect me when I am ill and unable to work?
  6. What if I never get well, or it takes years more to get well...I need to eat and pay for my rent. If I just give up disability and do not become well enough to work I will run out of money and end up mentally ill and living on the street.
  7. I am why do I feel bad about feeling too sick to work?
  8. My pdoc, although he said it would be a powerful decision for me to make, said it would be rash to call up the insurance company and cancel my insurance given the symptoms that made me leave work are still with me.

What are my options?

  1. Resign from my job, lose my benefits and my disability insurance...I think this would be the dumbest move. It may relieve the guilt, but I can see it would increase my anxiety about not being able to care for myself, and my frustration with not getting well/ or even better, in a timely manner. I think overall, this would destabilize my mood even more.
  2. Return to work while still in a MDE and unstable...I would kill myself.
  3. Continue on disability leave until my pdoc/ or my self decides I am well enough to return to work, and then resign and look for another job. Note: If I choose this option...I have to know I will be able to do it "guilt-free" and accept I am sick, this illness is disabling, I have disability insurance for this very purpose. Accept that.
  4. Phone the insurance company and tell them I will not be able to return to my workplace regardless of my health and ask if their is any provision for retraining into another occupation. (maybe Dr. X. would help me call, or meet with an insurance representative?). Note: If I choose this option I still have to be well enough to learn another occupation. I have been practising with my volunteer work, but even with the work I love to do I have been plagued with symptoms. Also, the stress of making commitments and then being unsure if I will be able to follow through is overwhelming.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Hypomania? Benzodiazepine Withdrawal? or Just a Messed Up Personality?

I did not sleep again last night. I went to bed at 10:00pm and tried . At 11:30 I was still wide awake, tons of energy buzzing through me. Then the rest of the night I would fall asleep for 1/2 hr to 1.5 hrs and each awakening couldn't get back to sleep for 1 hr or more.

By 5:30am I was freaking out about not sleeping, but fell asleep for 45 mins sometime after 7am and then was wide awake and, once again, full of energy, albeit extremely anxious energy.

I feel this drill seargent inside me....go, go, go!!! I am flitting from task to task, rushing, pushing myself to go faster. I walk the dog, try to read the paper to relax, can't focus on any one story so I skim and get no relaxation and no information, check my e-mail, write a this quick, but very long (is "pressure to speak" through writing viewed as pressure of speech???), blog and get out and garden. I am high, irritable, anxious and untrusting all at the same time

As I was walking the dog I started to think of my last therapy session. Thinking of how Dr. X., asked me if I thought I was hypomanic, but he didn't allow the energy I have right now to be seen as something negative. "Use this energy to push ahead", he said. I like that he does not pathologize everything.

I have mixed feelings about one thing though. When I gave up my hoarded meds it was with the belief that he would help me if I had trouble sleeping or with anxiety. I feel a bit annoyed that I trusted him enough to give those meds.

He knew I had no sedatives at home. He knew that I had , over the previous week, stopped taking all of the 15-20mg Valium I had been taking. I'm sure he knew I was going to be anxious and have trouble sleeping. The first week of no sleep I recognize I was probably having some withdrawal, but I wonder if that is still happening? Or am I hypomanic?

What I would have liked is for him to acknowledge I was having, or going to have withdrawal symptoms. I guess what I'm trying to express is I would have liked to know this is what would happen if I went off Valium too quickly. He did try to get me to go off it slowly, but I always fell back and ended up increasing, because I would get so stressed out and not sleep. I would have liked an open/honest discussion about my "addiction" to Valium.

I would have liked him to express what I suspect he was thinking...that now that he had all my hoarded meds, I had no sedatives to sneak into, to "self-medicate" with, and now was an opportunity to get me off Valium for good.

Which is what I want...even though I'm whining and freaking out about not having really is what I want. I suspect wants me off the Valium too.

What's my point? I just want him to talk to me, about me, like I am a colleague. I want to know exactly how he sees me, exactly what he thinks my diagnosis is, exactly what he would tell another health care worker about what is stopping me from getting well.

Why he is letting me go through all this mixed high, both intensely powerful and horrible at the same time. Powerful, because finally, I have leaped out of my cocoon like bed and started doing tons; horrible because of my mounting anxiety/irritability and no sleep.

I am glad he stood his ground and did not give me sedatives, but at the same time I feel like I really need to sleep. Is he doing it to see if I do have bipolar? Maybe before I was always sedating my hypomania, so I never went up and stayed up for an extended time? I just want to know what he is thinking when he makes these decisions...but I feel it is not my place to ask, or I feel like he is not telling me the whole truth.

Next day...
I'm scared too because I'm going away with my sister and her kids next week and I can't be totally psycho around them. Plus I want an enjoyable holiday, not one filled with the agitation I was feeling all day today. I just lost it today. I feel explosive anxious I feel like I'm being suffocated by someone squeezing my chest shut.

I am so irate I am mumbling and talking to myself in angry tones (even in public!!) embarassing. My mind is on high speed, I can't concentrate. I kept messing up at my volunteer job last night...dropping thing, distracted, miscalculating things, missing what people were asking for, just not getting it at all. All day I have been ready to blow up at everyone around me.

We have a house guest right now and this a.m. I went from excited and energetic (but really anxious), to severely anxiousand agitated in the same hour. Within the next hour I became so agitated I could not sit still. He started noticing my behaviour was getting bizarre and he came up to me to try to calm me down and help me relax with some type of yoga relaxation I was doing the exercise I just broke down crying and having the worst anxiety attack. I have way to much raging, racing energy inside me for how little sleep I have had. I'm scaring myself.

I won't last like this for 2 more weeks. I can feel that any "elation", caused by finally having some energy over the past week or so, is quickly disintigrating and becoming an anxious and agitated depression.

I don't want to ask for sedatives. I don't want to start or ever take any benzodiazepines again. I don't want to lose my energy. I just want the energy, without all the bad feelings. I want to enjoy my time with my sister and neices next week when we go horseback riding. Is that too much to ask? And what do I ask for? A new brain?

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Hypomanic? Can I keep up this pace?

I have not had this much energy in a long time. Problem is I am sleeping on average 2 - 4 hrs/night (and that's with it being an hour here and there and awake the rest of the night), but I have more energy than I have had in ages.

It has not all been good energy. I am so anxious it is brutal. I've been having some of the worst anxiety attacks I've had in a long time. I feel this anxious energy racing through me. It feels really physical...I can't breathe, get a deep breathe, chest pains. It is not stopping me from doing things though, like it usually does. It is almost like my anxiety is pushing me to do things..

I keep thinking of Dr. X. saying... "I want you to use this energy to push forward". It has become my mantra since I saw him on Tuesday.
  • On Wednesday:

I volunteered at the studio all day. The older adults pottery class I was helping with was having an "end of class tea". I was so energized setting up for class and had to try really hard to SLOW down during the class (didn't want to freak anyone out...but I was extra bubbly/effervescent quite a few times...just can't contain the energy). By the end of class I was just pacing like a caged cougar....let me out!!!!

I thought I would be bagged by lunch...but my energy kept increasing and was so bad (anxious/irritable/depressed) and high (surging energy inside, can't sit still, want to just go, go, go), both at the same time, I thought I was really losing it. I thought about going to the hospital or calling Dr. X. (something I rarely do...I've called him maybe 3-4 times in 6 years), but I kept thinking...push forward, push forward.

I managed to get back to the studio and help interview a secretary for the position we posted. (I love that they involve me in these things...what a great place!!!). I was ON....I really felt that even though I was feeling REALLY distractable. I saw and shared so many things that were important during the interview...things I don't think my slowed down mind would see. I felt productive and intelligent again...a combination I have not felt in eons.

  • On Thursday:

I got out of bed early...after no sleep and was just racing with energy again. I was so stressed out/anxious/irritable, but I managed to think about how I could use all this energy positively. Swimming is my favourite thing in the world, but when I'm depressed I just cannot motivate myself to go. With my mood mixed with depression and this energy I had the energy, but was having trouble with motivation still. Jim said, "just go to the pool and swim one length". I felt so supported and thought, yeah, I could do that.

So I went to the pool and I swam MORE than 1.2 km... that's 48/25m lengths ...I lost count after that, but kept going for quite a few more. I finally stopped because I thought...Oh god, I'm going to be sore tomorrow, given I haven't swam a single length in more than 2 years. That thought only occurred AFTER I had done the damage...I was in pain that night...but felt so good about what I had done.

  • On Friday:

Even though I had tons of energy in the a.m. it was all mixed up anxiety/depression/irritability. I still managed to push forward. I went to the studio all afternoon. I was so up, high and talkative. Maybe verging on annoying and/or obnoxious at times. I get a bit pushy/overexcited/interruptive when I feel like this. So I really had to try to back off and slow down in a meeting I was attending. One of the O.T.'s said I was so high I was energizing her. And she meant it.

  • On Saturday:

I leaped out of bed after 3.5 hrs of sleep in my hour here, hour there fashion. Did the dishes, tidied the house and then more...

I have needed to go shopping for some clothes and things for months now, but get so much anxiety about getting to and being in the stores (anticipatory anxiety) that I just cannot get myself to go. Today I went, despite feeling even more anxious than normal...use this energy, push forward, push forward. Wasn't that enjoyable, but I went to 2 different malls. That's pretty motivated., because I hate malls and I was severely anxious and I got there anyways.

Then I came home and mowed the lawn (this is no tiny lawn and not easy to do), then I finished that and off to the BIG grocery store to buy some food....something that usually takes me forever to talk myself into....and I am, as you can see by the length of this post, still going a million miles an hour. All on no sleep.

This week I have done more than I have done in ages. I felt like I could barely get out and stay out of bed two weeks I don't know if this is hypomania, or if I am having this rebound energy after going off valium fairly quickly 2.5 weeks ago...or is this normal and my depression just disappeared?