Friday, March 27, 2009

Introducing Myself

video

I am taking a huge leap of faith here. I hope you don't think it's too corny. I had to hold my voice back quite a bit, because my webcam's microphone starts reverberating if I sing to loudly, or powerfully. Also, sounds much better with a piano, but I can't play, so here is me singing "Nevertheless" all by my lonesome...Hope you enjoy.

Monday, March 16, 2009

I Am Disappearing

My sister and nieces have just left. I feel tired and exhausted. I feel nothing. We went bowling this morning and I cheered, and yelled good job when my nieces were bowling. I went through all the motions of being a supportive and loving Aunt, but inside I felt nothing. No love, no excitement, no passion...I felt gone; somewhere else, like I had disappeared.

I can't explain. If you saw me with my family you would believe I was a great Aunt, all loving and kind. I am not, because it is all a facade. I am really an empty vessel. A body missing its soul. The material that is left behind when the spiritual dissipates into the wind.

I am disappearing more and more every day. I can "act" like I am something, and almost fake my way through my daily routine. I can act, that is, if I can find the energy to act. Otherwise I lay in bed unable to move, or do anything. I am so tired and sleep does nothing for me. I hate this life.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Hell and More Hell and More Hell and More Hell

All I want to do is lay down, hide under the covers and sleep. I don't want to do art, teach art, sing, write, shop, dress or even get out of bed. Everything I manage to do takes an enormous effort to do. Everything is annoying me. My dog keeps "talking" at me to go out all the time (even if I just took him outside not long ago), my husband, the staff at the Art Clubhouse...everything and everyone. I can't cook, or clean, do the dishes, shop, or do laundry. The house is a mess and my sister and two of my neices are coming tomorrow. All I want to do is sleep.

I've been crying off and on throughout the day, because I struggle so much with wanting so badly to be better. I want to be better. I try to help myself. I know I don't do enough; if I did all the things I was supposed to do I would be better. It is me that is stopping me from getting better.

For some reason I always run out of steam, or I seem to gain momentum in getting well and then I fall right back into the blackness I have been mired in for so long. I garner the hope, I make the effort. I try. I fail. It is getting more and more difficult to continue trying.

Dr. X. says it can always get better, there is always something we can do to help me, there is hope...but the longer I live with depression the more I am certain of my bleak future. I have tried so many medications that at this point I pretty much think none will help me more than a tiny bit. That is not enough.

My husband thinks I'm lazy. He repeatedly mentions how much I am sleeping and how little I have done, am doing, have been doing, around the house. It is as if he thinks I don't notice what a crappy housekeeper I am; as if he thinks I don't recognize I have a problem. He thinks he needs to tell me because obviously I am not noticing I am a shitty wife.

I do recognize. I do know I am not doing my fair share at home. I feel intensely guilty about this. I always had so much energy before I became depressed, even when I was depressed before this depression I managed to work, cook, clean etc. Now I can't even manage to eat properly, or go for a decent walk, or stay out of bed.

Today I was looking at my hoard of medications. Thinking about taking them, over and over. This afternoon I felt so mad at myself, so enraged by my inability to make myself change: I wanted to shoot myself, stab myself over and over; kill myself. I don't have a gun. I am afraid of the pain a knife would cause. I have no energy to kill myself: to plan, to execute the plan, to end it all. All I want to do is sleep.

I wish I could let go. I wish I could disappear. I wish I would die. I wish I had the resolve to do what I have wanted to do for years.

But I don't. So I stay stuck and tormented in this hell. This is what I have to look forward to...a life in hell. And when that ends I will probably end up in hell again because I didn't live my life the way I was supposed to. Ironic, fucking ironic!

Stalked

Another day begins, that I wish would end, not hours from now, but now. I feel lifeless, empty, slow, tired, lost, depressed, anxious, isolated...alone. I feel like depression will always haunt me, always overpower me, never let go of me. It hides behind my mood when my mood is good, and stalks me...just waiting for me to drop my guard. I can't take it much longer.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sex and Aggression


"The Rape of Hera"
It is interesting that Hera is both the Goddess of Marriage, yet her marriage to Zeus came out of him raping her...disturbing.

I have cycled down into a deep depression again. I suppose if I cycled down, I am down from somewhere that was "up". I suppose that should be reassuring. Dr. X explained to me as much. He said I had had a good cycle up. I have had several small cycles up, but this last one lasted a long time and the pattern is showing more cycles up. I guess I should feel good about that. I don't.

Every time I cycle down from a high I feel worse than if I had just remained low. I think I learn to live with the lows over time and do things in spite of them. When I go from high to low it feels like I have been bulldozed over by a huge machine. Something giant machine outside myself is digging a massive hole and trying to bury me. I feel dead.

In my appointment today we discussed my being "sexually assaulted". Dr. X. called it that. He said I was assaulted. I think I knew he thought so, but sometimes when he sits silent I fill in the blanks with all kinds of negative thoughts...like with this example.

My wondering if Dr. X. thought it wasn't rape is actually me wondering if I didn't lead the guy on too much...because I remember really enjoying kissing and playing around. I was naked, in bed, sending mixed messages. I was even lustful, until he started to force me to have sex.

Dr. X. and I also talked about how my sexual fantasies relate to this assault. My fantasies all revolve around being forced, either mentally, or physically; my feeling "taken" by someone, or unable to say no, or (in my fantasies) raped. Dr. X. reassured me my fantasies are within the realm of normal. He did however talk about the link between my being forced to have sex and my fantasizing about sex this way.

There were some good feelings happening before the man forced me, and afterwards sex with other men became so much better because during the aggressive sexual encounter something happened that made sex not hurt like it had prior to this act.

Before the assault intercourse had been really, really painful, afterwards it was not. I suspect in my previous sexual encounters (which were not very much) my hymen had not broken completely. After the aggressive sex during the assault it tore completely and sex suddenly was no longer painful.

So perhaps I associated this violent act against me with some good things to...the feelings of being aroused beforehand, and the freedom from painful intercourse afterwards. Also, sex with my previous boyfriend had been beautiful, caring and extremely lustful...but it had also been very, very painful to have intercourse. I assumed sex was painful. Perhaps my brain began then to associate pain with sex. Whatever the cause my brain closely links aggression and pain with sex, leading me to fantasize about being taken against my will, or my better judgement.

Dr. X said I could get help for this, but I am not sure my fantasies are a bad thing, and Dr. X. says the thoughts are normal. In many ways I feel my thoughts are about creativity and wanton lust...something I value in myself...as long as I don't act on the lustful thoughts outside my marriage.

It feels good to be able to talk with Dr. X about these things. I am surprised I am able to talk with a male therapist so openly. Dr. X makes it easy to be so open. I appreciate that.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Fears of Abandonment?

Last night I had a dream:

...I dreamed that a friend of mine decided to stop taking her medications (in the dream MAOI's and Ativan). She phoned me and told me to watch for them in the water flue beside my house. Every morning, first thing in the morning I would go to the flue and there I would find her 4 perfectly preserved pills sitting on the edge of the water. I felt suicidal, so I began hoarding these pills.

One day when I went to pick up the pills there was a note beside them. It had been torn in two, along the bottom. I pieced it together. It was written by my friend and read: "Dr X will be seeing only 9 patients a week. He will no longer take new patients and will stop seeing the patients he has until he sees only 9 original patients"

I was desperately sad, and severely depressed. I needed help. I wanted to kill myself. I was planning on taking the hoarded medication, not because I thought he was leaving me, but because I was depressed. The only hope I felt was in my therapy sessions with Dr. X.

I had an appointment the next day. I got to his office and found a man in his office. Dr X walked in and didn't say anything to me. Inside I was getting angry, because clearly he knew he was going to dump me as a patient and he wouldn't get rid of the other man in the room. Someone knocked on the door and two women came in. Dr. X began reading the paper, the 3 others began talking amongst themselves. I tried to talk, but no one was listening and I felt uncomfortable bringing up Dr. X's impending departure and my impending suicide.

I was becoming both distraught and absolutely furious for the way I was being treated in my appointment (i.e. ignored, other people in the room, no respect for my privacy, Dr. X obliviously reading the paper). I could not bring up my suicidal thoughts, or my hoarding medication, because I was afraid he would think I was being manipulative and trying to make him not leave me. No matter how much I knew this was not true, I could not stop believing this is how the information would be perceived.

I started yelling very loudly at him..."Are you leaving your practice? Am I one of the 12 patients? Why are you ignoring me? Can't you see I am having trouble? Can't you see I am not well yet?

He looked at me and said he had found money in his child's account. $45,800.00 (maybe $43,800.00??unsure). He had figured out that financially he did not have to work like he did anymore.

I asked him if I was going to be able to see him. He ignored every question I had, and everything I said except he told me I was being unreasonable for wanting the others out of the room. That if they stayed in the room maybe I would get better.
I raced out of the room, climbed out an open window and took all the pills I had hoarded.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Is It Over Yet?


It is 6:01pm. I woke at 7:00am, went back to bed at 9:30am, woke a couple of times for less than an hour, and slept the rest of the day...almost 8 hours more sleep, after I already slept 8 hours.
I know this is not healthy. I know it, yet I am so tired and fatigued and I have such little desire to be here that I sleep to disappear. My sleeping makes the day go away without me having to experience it as just another day I want to go away.

For someone with so much death anxiety you would think I'd at least experience what little time I have on earth, but I can't. I just want to know: Is it over yet.

My death anxiety is not really about being afraid of death, rather it is being afraid that I will not live a meaningful life before I die. I fear I will always be stuck, always cycling, depressed; avoidant. I fear my life will end before I have the opportunity to really live.

In my session on Dr. X asked me what I have been eating...because I have been eating very poorly, especially these past few months. On top of that my blood tests came back with low iron, which definitely could be feeding my fatigue.
So what do I do when I discover I am eating all the wrong things in all the wrong amounts, and leaving out the things I need (i.e. fruits and vegetables and iron and vitamins)? Do I eat better? Do I take my iron and vitamins consistently? And when I recognize that my exercise routine is much like a snail's daily workout...do I pick up the pace? Do I take care of myself?

Absolutely not. Why the hell would I do that. That would make too much sense. Why would I want top lose some weight, to have higher iron, to get important nutrients into my system?

Dr X asked me why I am eating so much food that is bad for me. I got off track and didn't answer, partly because I have no idea. Partly because I don't have the energy to prepare any food for myself, partly because I don't want to be here anyways, partly because I am self destructing.

All I really want to know about my life is this...Is it over yet?

Friday, March 06, 2009

Disdain

I had two dreams the other day about Dr. X. rejecting me. The theme in both was the same, but I can only remember the details of one:

In the dream I have met a man and am enjoying his company. Soon I discover Dr. X is his good friend. After a few days the man dumps me while we are in some kind of theatre or concert venue. Dr. X is sitting beside this man when the man breaks up with me. As I am getting up to leave Dr. X gives me an intensely hurtful look of disgust and disdain; a look that betrays his hatred of me and his loathing for me.

The look sends me many messages, all awful. His look tells me I am not good enough. I am stupid. I am laughable. I sense there is a huge line drawn between him and people like me. I am not worth anything. I am worthless. I do not belong anywhere near "people like him". (successful, knowledgeable, intellectual people)

I woke up on the verge of tears.

I feel that way quite often. Like I am less of a human being than others. That I am bad and disdainful. That others are so much better than me. I sense a divide between people who are well, intelligent and successful, and myself, like I have failed at what is expected of me; that I have not met the standards for valuable people.

In my appointment Dr. X asked me if I recognized that this isn't the case..no I don't. I suspect it is the case but people only talk about it behind my back. That people I know laugh at me, think I am a bad person, think I am completely messed up, think things like if they weren't friends with my husband I would not be worth seeing.
I know some people feel like this, feel the divide between me and them. I see it when they talk with me. I felt it in my choir on Wednesday. Like I was trying too hard to fit in. At one point the two sisters next to me, who I thought liked me, started talking in sign language a few times when I made mistakes. I am certain they were making fun of me. That made me feel intensely self conscious, sad and lonely.

I feel like I will never be normal, never fit in, always be "outside the circle"; that circle where the people who matter , or people who count, exist.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Thank You

Dear Dr. X,

Thank you. I felt completely understood and immensely cared for in my session today. I really needed to experience belonging and connection. You really helped me feel less alone than I was /am feeling.

At one point when I was telling you about something intensely personal and highly embarrassing for me to admit out loud I saw your face change to sudden sadness....not about what I was talking about, but at my expression of fear that you might judge me, or feel I was a bad person for things I have done.

At that moment I knew you would never be judgemental of anything I have done, or might do; that I need not fear speaking any of my truths, past or present. The encouragement you gave me was incredible.

When I felt like an outsider you helped me recognize that often it is the outsiders who are talented and interesting beings. You encouraged me to embrace my "outsiderness" rather than try to fit in. You helped me become aware that often my being an outsider is a gift, a talent, it is (ironically) what draws others to me. That was a great lesson. You are a great mentor for me.

Thanks,
...aqua

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Be Embarrassed and Do It Anyways

Today, I woke up depressed, flat, apathetic, a feeling of dissociation throughout my mind...detached, disconnected. Alone.

I met with my friend "Z" and went for a late breakfast and then she took me grocery shopping... a task that I dread and fear when I feel like this.

As we sat having breakfast I felt so cared for and understood by her. I was going on about some "bad girl" stuff and she told me I was like a train...impossible to stop. She meant it as a compliment...like, even when depressed, I have a powerful joie de vivre and head straight into everything I do at full blast straight ahead.

I really like that imagery of a train plowing where it is destined to go, or wherever it desires to go. It made me feel like my old wild self. It made me feel valued for who I am. It also made me recognize I am strong and powerful and there is no stopping me once I get going. Getting going is the hard part.

I have had an awful cold/sore throat for a few weeks now. I cancelled my singing class last week because I didn't think I could sing. When I walked into Dr. X's office and told him I cancelled he suggested I reconsider. He did so for a couple of reasons. He said I could still learn things other than the singing aspect of singing...things like timing or style. He also he wanted me to challenge my fears about making mistakes.

I was afraid to go to my singing lesson because I had completely blown a solo in choir the night before. I was so embarrassed...mortified might be a better word, and I felt sick about my mistakes. He told me that feeling the embarrassment and doing it anyways was a great form of behavioural therapy. This was a great opportunity.

This morning when I woke up depressed and still sick I kept trying to tell myself I shouldn't go to choir practice tonight. I tried to nap and couldn't and as I realized why I couldn't. I clued into the fact that it was not because I felt sick, rather I was ruminating about the mistakes I had made last week. I was AFRAID to go.

I realized this is exactly when Dr. X. explained to me I need to go (which I did). Go, and even make the same mistakes (which I did) and survive the embarrassment (which I also did...though I feel sick about it again)...at least I went and tried.

On my way home, despite my embarrassment and some difficulties feeling like I was "outside the circle" or detached from the group, I felt really good about all I did and accomplished today. I felt good that I recognized a pattern and challenged it head-on. I didn't back out of or cancel because I was depressed. Because I was powerful and challenged myself my mood lifted and I sang to my favourite songs all the way home.

Waves



Radiohead: Reckoner(from "In Rainbows" album)

...I love Radiohead and feel like the mood of this song right now. At one point the lyrics say: "You are not to blame..." This is hard to believe, but I want so desperately to KNOW that.

When I was a child the waves were a giant toy to be played with,
Now they threaten to drown me.

Monday, March 02, 2009

At What Point is There No Hope Left?

I volunteered to teach a class today. I was dreading teaching the whole time beforehand, even as I drove to the studio. While I was teaching I felt some relief; I was too distracted by the complexities of the lesson to think about how much I wanted to die. The second I touched the door to leave I was exhausted and fell once again into myself and all the hell that brings with it.

When I look objectively at what I have tried to do to to help myself make the depression go away it frightens me. It scares me that I have tried so much, and so many things, and still nothing is consistently helping my depression dissipate. My mood still continues to cycle, I still feel angry and frustrated and depressed, anxious and panicky, and can't sleep, or sleep too much, eat too much, avoid everything, have difficulty leaving the house, doing things, cleaning, cooking, laundry, dishes, sex, lose interest in everything, lose hope...All this never goes away for any length of time. When it does it feels like temptation threatening to drown me as soon as I begin enjoying myself. I feel like Satan sits and waits for a good mood to begin inside me...and then BLAMO! he whacks me upside the head just to show me I am still lost to hell. Paradise; a life of enjoyment and happiness, is lost.

It gets to the point where I begin to ask: Is it worth it? Am I worth it? There is a lot of money, medication, time and effort, both on my part, and the part of others, going into helping me become well. If, as I suspect, I will always cycle in and out of depression: What is the point of all this trying? From a utilitarian perspective it makes no sense at all to keep me here.

Why take medications? Why continue in therapy? Why continue living? If life is going to be as hard as it has been these last 7.5 years and the two years, with a two month reprieve before that...and the too numerous to remember episodes of depression before that, if life is going to be this hard a struggle forever...why keep trying? At some point don't you just give up and say it will never get better. Live with it, accept it, give in, or die. Dr. X said let him carry my hope, but at what point is that futile? At what point to we both concede to having been beaten by this illness? If you review all I have tried you will think the same thing:

1. 19: Journals filled with writing

2. 304: Number of blog entries

3. 425: Psychotherapy sessions with Dr. X. (give or take a few)

4. 21250: Minutes of therapy with Dr X

5. 14.75: years in my life lost to depression (conservative estimate)

6. 6.2: Number of years spent unemployed because of my depression

7. 104: Number of days on top of the 6.2 years lost employment because I could only manage working 4 days/week

8. 29: Number of years underemployed because of my depression

9. More than 8640: Number of pills bought to try to treat my depression if prescriptions were all one pill per day (many weren't/aren't)

10. 288: Number of bottles of pills purchased

11. Hundreds: of Visits to the pharmacy

12. 33: Number of psychotropic medications tried**

13. 9: Number of different vitamin/supplements tried

14. 8: Number of ECT sessions received

15. 177: Approximate number of months I have spent depressed in my lifetime

16. 5384: Approximate number of days spent depressed

17. 40: Number of years spent anxious and wanting to hide

18. 36: Number of years I remember having difficulty sleeping

19. 6: Number of therapists I have seen

20. 3: Number of psychiatrists I have seen

21. 2: Number of psychiatrists/ therapists I connected with

22. 1. Number of Psychiatrists, Doctors, Health Care Workers I trust.

Supplements/Vitamins I have tried/++Supplements/Vitamins I am currently taking:

  1. St. John's Wort

  2. Valerian

  3. Salmon Oil (took 6 grams/day)

  4. L-Tryptophan 2grams/day

  5. Iron supplement twice daily++

  6. B100 Complex (B1 100mg) ++

  7. B12

  8. Folic acid 1.0 mg

  9. 100mgs of each B vitamins++

  10. Multivitamin++

SSRI's

  1. Prozac 60 mgs
  2. Paxil
  3. Celexa
  4. Effexor
  5. Luvox
  6. Zoloft
Novel Anti-depressants:
7. Wellbutrin.
8. Remeron
9. Moclobemide

Tricyclic Antidepressants:
10. Nortriptyline
11. Amtrytiline (took for trauma symptoms...for 5 days after a traumatic incident)
12. Desiprimine

Anticonvulsants/Mood Stabilizers:
13. Lamotrigine 200mg
14. Lithium
15. Epival
16. Gabapentin
17. Lithium (800-1200mg)
18. Carbamazepine (800-1000mg)

Benzodiazepines:
19. Clonazepam
20. Diazepam
21. Lorazepam
22. Temazepam

Beta blocker:
23. Propranolol

Other:
24. Low dose Doxepine
25. Clonidine

Atypical Antipsychotics:
26. Seroquel
27. Risperdal
28. Olanzapine

Hypnotics/Sleep Medication

29. Trazadone (25/50mg/100mg/200mg/300mg)
30. Zopiclone (7.5mg/15mg)

Stimulants:

31. Ritalin
32. Dexedrine (tablets and spansules 5-20mgs)
33. Modafinil

Note:
Also tried numerous combinations of above medications

Am I doing something wrong? Am I making things not work? If so What? and Why? Does this happen to other people? Am I the only one who never gets better? Why? I used to want so badly to live a beautiful life. Now I have no desire to live.