Sunday, January 24, 2010

I Can't Sleep

Argh...I have so much energy running through my brain that I cannot fact worse...I am WIDE WIDE awake. I went to bed at 11pm and I thought I was really exhausted. I seemed to fall sleep for a while, but then started getting restless for about 45 minutes, so got up for a while. When I looked at the clock to see what time it was when I got out of bed it was only 12:10 which means I slept a grand total of 25 minutes.

I look exhausted, with huge bags under my eyes, but I feel wired for sound; not even a tiny bit tired. I'm going to try to sleep again now...drank some warm milk and am comfy, cozy. I really hope the ECT isn't triggering this insomnia...I don't do well with less than 8hrs sleep/night.


I guess I should explain what happened with my boyfriend situation and why I would return to him after how he acted (see a couple posts ago).

First, I really care about him. I'd say I love him. He is not without his faults (as am I), but so much of him is full of love, affection and kindness. He is most often, thoughtful and fun to be around....but he has a mental illness too (Bipolar), and while his medications seem to keep his symptoms in check MOST of the time, external stress/stressors can trigger his symptoms and make his behaviour unpredictable, strange, or unexpected.

While I do not have bipolar disorder, I do have bipolarlike cycling to my mood, and like my boyfriend stress triggers unexpected behaviour sometimes. I recognize his behaviour the other night was unacceptable, and I do not condone, and will not accept being treated that way. However, I also feel intense love and compassion for him given the pressures he is trying to manage right now. We have talked very openly about his actions and what is worrying him/triggering him.

I have been in the hospital, and away from him him for a very extended period (almost 50 days). Prior to my hospitalization he and I spent almost all our time together. For numerous reasons he really needs consistent support and loving, caring role models around him as much as possible. He currently lives in a supportive housing project, with a beautiful family who treat him like a family member. Unfortunately, they have decided to go their seperate ways and stop doing some of the charity work they have been involved in. This means my boyfriends needs to find new, safe, clean and drug free housing that is away from neighbourhoods known for having drug problems.

Finally, after numerous nattering "arguments" about the "wrong" boyfriend blurted out that he desperately misses me and is finding it really hard to be alone while at the same time being scared about where he will end up living. So tonight we sat down and had a heart to heart talk about how we are going to help him. No matter what, he will not end up on the streets. I am not ready to move in with a man, but he can always stay with me until we find him a good place to live. I think that made him feel better.

I know some people wonder why I would open my arms to him again after some of the things he said to me. I do so because I love him, but also because I see we are able to talk about these mistakes and work through them. I do so because some of the triggers can be attributed to my not being honest with him. I thought I was protecting him by not telling him how depressed and suicidal I had been feeling for so long. Instead, my dishonesty only made the truth harder to handle. This has been a good lesson for me.

Last, but not least...I can see some of his behaviour is being affected, impacted, and/or caused by his mental illness symptoms. He is willing to work on those symptoms. He has also committed to me that he will come with me to some of my psychiatric therapy sessions so we can work on our relationship.

I personally experience difficulty controlling some of my behaviour, especially in situations where I am under extreme pressure, or stress, or if I am intensely anxious. If it were me who had lost my composure and said things, and behaved in ways that were hurtful to someone, and if I felt my symptoms had made a difficult situation worse, I hope and pray my boyfriend, or friend would have some love and compassion for me.

I have that love and compassion for my boyfriend...I see his life is really difficult right now. It is easy to love someone when a relationship is going well. The best measurement of the value of a relationship is watching and experiencing what happens when mistakes made, and/or missteps are taken. I believe given my love for my boyfriend, his lengthy record of being kind and caring, and thoughtful...I believe I need to offer him a supportive caring and guiding hand, another chance, and that unconditional love that I hear so much about, but so rarely see being offered.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Catch Up

I have been in the hospital so haven't been able to keep up with my postings or responses. I apologize. I am still "technically" in the hospital, but am out on a pass right now. It feels so good to be at home!!!

This post is going to be a smattering of things I have been doing, information about treatments for depression I have been receiving and results I have experiencing from those treatments. Here goes...

1) ECT (electroconvulsive therapy)...I remember, years ago when I was in university, the student newspaper published an whole issue that was radically anti-electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Am I ever glad I never listened to all the negative hype and (with trusted support and help) decided for myself whether I would try ECT as a treatment.

I have been receiving unilateral ECT treatments approximately 3X/week for 3 weeks. The X-mas holidays made it a bit mixed up. For the past couple weeks I have had ECT treatments once a week. I said in the previous post my increase in mood has been nothing short of miraculous. I was so severely depressed a couple weeks ago, and throughout most of the past 17 plus years( ...actually I had MDE's even before that, but the worst ones and this past 10 year plus treatment resistant MDE, have occurred in the past two decades).

Yesterday and the day before my mood was so intensely high I felt like I was in heaven. My self had come back!!! I was bubbly, effusive, effervescent, talkative, extremely outgoing, energetic, so happy I cannot even describe it. I felt like I was glowing, beautiful, and I felt extremely sexy and sexual. This is how I feel when I feel well. I think the intensity feels so strong because feeling good for me has been so hard to achieve, and suddenly all my bad feelings and thoughts were gone.

Unfortunately, my mood began to crash last night, but nowhere near as low/bad as it was before. It definitely is low though...which is upsetting, as I have seen this kind of cycling mood before, where I become my high self for a few days, only to crash and burn a few days later.

I am hoping this crash is temporary, and caused by my not sleeping the other night. I slept last night, and hopefully will sleep again tonight, and maybe that will help lift my mood again.

2) I don't even want to write this, but I will...I wonder if I have been hypomanic the past couple days. I really did not think so, until my boyfriend and I started discussing my behaviour and he told me I was being really pushy about sex. Until he said that I just felt like me and my "true" high sex drive had returned.

I know I have a much higher libido than many women...even when severely depressed, if sex is initiated by someone else I almost always am happy to participate...though I have difficulty initiating when depressed). I was feeling extremely sexual last night, and I can see how my boyfriend might have felt a bit overwhelmed by my advances, as he was not feeling very well.

He told me that sometimes when I am "high" I get really demanding and pushy. I have received this feedback from other people before, that sometimes I am so "ramped up" and "on", and when I am I sometimes demand the same level of energy and competence from others. I have seen this in myself too. I can tone it down, but unless I constantly pay attention to my behaviour I tend to slip right back into high energy mode.

Problem is...I think this behaviour is my personality...not my mood. Many members in my family have this same personality...super on all the time, constantly busy and always doing many things at the same time. My Dad is like this, as are both my sisters. I am a bit more outgoing, talkative, and effusive than them, but my paternal grandmother was EXACTLY like me, right down to being easily annoyed by anyone who couldn't keep up with her.

I am not saying that I am proud of my negative behaviour, but unfortunately I think my pushiness is tied to my "high" personality. In my defense...unlike my Grandma...who could really hurt others feelings with her insensitivity, I am really sensitive myself and knowing how easy it is to feel hurt by someone else, I try really, really hard to not hurt others, or effect them in a negative way. While sometimes I do make mistakes, or forget to hold back; I work hard to be as thoughtful, and aware of how by behaviour affects others as I possibly can.

There is more to write, but I need a break...I will continue to write again soon. Take care everyone.

P.S. Thank you so much to all the friends, readers, and health care professionals who have helped me throughout my depression. Of course, an especially big thank you goes out to Dr. K. (my psychiatrist). I would not be here without him. He is one of the most caring, knowledgeable and consistently supportive doctors and people I have ever had the pleasure to work with. Thank you so much for never giving up on me.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Electroconvulsive Therapy

I apologize for disappearing offline for so long. I have been in the hospital receiving ECT(electroconvulsive therapy) and have had limited access to my blog.

Since mid-December I have been receiving left-unilateral electroconvulsive therapy 3 times a week; on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. I have had 13 treatments so far and am scheduled to have at least one more this coming Monday.

I am not sure if more are scheduled this coming week, but once I am discharged from the hospital I will be receiving outpatient ECT first probably once a week, then once every couple weeks, and then maintenance ECT will continue at once a month.

How I feel right now is nothing short of miraculous. I have spent most of my adult life battling depression; especially in the last 10 years. In the past 10 years I had very little relief from my mood disorder. I feel like I spent the last 10 years just trying to survive each day.

By the time I entered the hospital I was the closest to suicide I have ever been. I was spending every waking moment planning my demise. I had given up hope. I was completely distraught. I could not take life the way it was anymore.

Today, and for the past week, I feel like I want to live. I feel excited to be alive, happy to be breathing. I feel blessed to be alive. I feel like I have been given a chance again. I feel incredible. I feel hope that I have not felt in a long, long time. I am eternally grateful to everyone who helped, supported and encouraged me to survive this illness and receive the treatment I needed to become well.