Fuck my bleeding ears! I’m trying to stay positive. I really am. I’m relying on my inner wisdom.

And these days, I’m maintaining a better outlook more than not, which is the complete opposite of what could be said a month and half ago. I feel funny though, and not previous-post funny. The anxiety has just been maddening.

On Friday night, when I hung out with my brother, I ended up staying over the night. Well, around 4am (as usual these days), I woke up with chest pain, feeling like I was having a heart attack. You’re not having a heart attack P. This is just anxiety. I was nauseated, felt the same old prickly feeling in my toes and hands and was shivering too. So I woke up my brother and asked him for another blanket. I told him what I felt and he agreed about the anxiety.

Earlier Friday, I was eating lunch with my dad at the kitchen table. We had arepas and queso and coffee. I hadn’t even touched my coffee yet and my hands were trembling. (I swear, I’ve been cutting back substantially on the coffee.)

“Your hands are shaking really bad. Why are they shaking like that?” he asked.

“I think I’m just having a lot of anxiety right now.” I lowered my head.

“About what?”

“I don’t know. It’s a lot of things, I guess.”

“It looks as if you had Parkinson’s”

Ah my dad, good ole papi. Gotta love the way he throws in something that sounds both amusing and insulting or hurtful (to me) without even meaning to–but sometimes meaning to. I’d made a joke about looking like Michael J. Fox during an interview on my very second (or third) post here! So, yes, this isn’t new. But now it’s noticeable to my dad even?

Today, right now, I’m feeling the same way. I hope it passes soon. I hope typing will at least keep me at ease a little while.

********

I wonder if it’s the medication that’s making it worse. Almost every morning it’s the same.

At the end of May, a few weeks after the incident, I saw the psychiatrist. She had the Fluoxetine/Prozac upped. I keep wondering, how did I get here? Accepting drugs from a psych? For me, taking “medication” is last, last, last resort.

I saw her again this past Thursday. She said something that both surprised and didn’t surprise me.

“I’m thinking… you seem to have bipolar, bipolar two,” she said midway through our appointment. These appointments, by the way, are actually forty-five minutes long. Ok. Well, at the moment, labels don’t matter to me much. I just need all the help I can get. I don’t want another incident to occur, for the sake of those around me at least. But in part, for my sake too. And that’s a good thing! It means I’m seeing light at the end of the tunnel, despite the way I’m feeling.

Long story short, she prescribed Lamotrigine/Lamictal. I haven’t gotten it yet. I barely ran out of Tegretol last week and didn’t bother to get it filled. Well, there’s was more to it than that. There was the money issue. It’s rough right now. I just wish I could handle things better, without getting so frantic, so worked up inside… Swimming is the only time I don’t feel like I’m drowning!

And now I’m to try yet another drug?

I don’t know. I just don’t know…

********

But therapy. Right!

I finally got in three weeks ago. The very first week, we covered a lot.

She’s also a young brunet like Ex-Young Therapist, but it’s a university, so what was I expecting, an old student? Anyway, we covered basics, like what I did with my Ex-Young Therapist, what worked, what didn’t work. Turns out this new therapist (I’m going to call her Brunet Young) worked in a team with Ex-Young Therapist, so she already knew a little bit about me. A consultation team is part of dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT).

After going over some of the basics, like major problems in my life, she mentioned the overdose incident from early May. Has it been two and a half months already?

****

“In the intake interview, you mentioned that you didn’t consider the overdose a suicide attempt. Why is that?” Brunet Young asks.

“Um… I’m not sure,” I reply. I stammer around and stutter for a little while. “Maybe it’s because I have a hard time seeing it as that. But also, I think I was gambling. I was playing Russian roulette. I told myself that if I died that night, then fine, but if I didn’t, I would have to just try a lot harder. I mean, I would’ve definitely taken the entire bottle had I wanted it to be more sure…a more definite thing.”

“How much did you take?”

“About eight painkillers and two sleeping pills.”

“And you were ok with the fact that you might’ve died as a result?”

“Yes, I was.” It’s scary to think, but at the time, I was.

“You know, from a clinical perspective, there is a distinction between suicide attempts. There’s an active suicide attempt and a passive one. What you describe is a more passive attempt.”

She made sure to emphasis that it was still considered an attempt. Or at least that’s how I heard it.

****

We then wrote up a crisis plan, which looks a little something like this.

My Plan

When I feel upset and have thoughts of hurting myself or someone else, or I feel that I am in emotional crisis, I will take the following steps:

1. My warning signs are (e.g. very self-critical, hopeless, isolation, staying in bed)

-passive thoughts of suicide increase in frequency and become clearer, more of an urge/stronger urge
-insomnia and crying spells worsen
-triggers (e.g. Monkey Man, relationships, drugs, reminders, etc) –> anger/rage
-isolating myself –> not picking up calls, curling up in bed and staring blankly, dissociating
-being upset about hearing loss; being upset on days when I’m not able to go swimming
-chronic bone pain intensifies; facial nerve pain increases

2. My reasons to live are:

– I can do a lot for others. I have potential to do a lot.
-I don’t want to hurt my family

That’s all I have for reasons right now. I used to have career plans, but that’s not strong-holding at the moment. It has to be something that you really believe, something that will grab you, will keep you from doing anything permanent–a true deterrent.  I think I need to come up with more. I told Brunet Young this and she said, “It’s alright, we’ll come up with more later.” I thought of adding “love”. Just focus on the word love, the meaning of it for me, how I’ve managed to hold on to “love” in my life. But love of what? Art? Life? Beauty? Family? How can you focus on that in a “crisis” situation when all you’re thinking about is the pain you’re in and peaceful bliss of death and non-existance?

3. Do these things to calm myself or distract myself:
-Mindfulness exercise

-say serenity prayer and Buddha refuge prayer
-If at home, call Luna, pet and cuddle with her. (The good thing about Luna is if she hears me crying, I don’t even have to call her over. She finds me. Sweetest dog ever.)
-remember “Distress Tolerance” –> follow breath, deep breathing
-self sooth –> hum a tune, splash water on face, take warm bath, play ukulele
-write, write, write

-read, read, read

-watch TV (comedy preferably)

-stretch with yoga mat
-image focus –>meditate
-progressive muscle relaxation

-review “coping card”

-take a short nap and/or break from whatever you’re doing (e.g. go out in the fresh air and walk the dogs)

4. Contact a friend or family member that I can trust:

name & number: answering service at PRSC –>that’s the university’s psychological research and services center

Also, I’ve listed my brother, mom, and maybe B and Mansie, Ryden and Eloise, although I’m having a hard time with this one. I’ll really need to work at it.

5. Call PRSC and ask to speak with my therapist

6. If it is after clinic hours (M-Th 9-8; F 9-5) and I can’t reach my therapist, call the PRSC after-hours answering service at **********

7. Call a hotline for support or assistance:
1-800-273-TALK (8255)
I also have several other local hotline numbers included here. But I don’t do hotlines. It’s not how I roll.

8. If I am unable to get help quickly enough and feel that things can’t wait, I will call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room for help.

********

The thing about the crisis plan is that I have only been able to get myself to do steps one through three, maybe four. I’m able to recognize warning signs and use methods like distress tolerance and mindfulness, but contacting a “trusted” person is difficult. That’s the thing, on Friday, I did contact my brother, but I did it after too much thinking. Also, I don’t tell him how bad I feel, I just ask him what’s up. Brunet Young said that was fine, I don’t exactly  have to tell him, especially not now if I’m not comfortable doing so. The important thing is to distract in non-harmful ways.

Another difficulty I’m having with this crisis plan is knowing the “answering service” after hours aren’t open on weekends. I’ll have to ask her about this. But even then, I’m not the type of person who would call. I think I only called Ex-Young Therapist twice or maybe three times during a “crisis situation”. And that was after two years of seeing her! One of those times was a few days after I found out about Monkey Man’s death this March.

I used to hate the idea of therapy. Sometimes I still do. Right now though, I’m just glad I finally got in again.

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No Matter What

July 9, 2012

I feel like no matter what I do, I’m going to slip into an early grave. I’ve got my right foot in the coffin and my left foot in the pool. I’m no longer at a “kill yourself” mentality most days but rather a, “haha, you’re going to die soon even if you don’t kill yourself so best enjoy this fuckin’ ride” mentality.

That’s an improvement right?

ha.

Look at me Monkey Man. I’m gonna die young like you!

I’m laughing like the Joker and whimpering with all the oxygen I have left.

I hope it ends quick, but clearly it hasn’t been. I can’t keep waking up like this–nauseated, shaky, dizzy, with a croaking frog lodged in my throat, with a well of tears backed up behind my eyes, with my stomach churning, my chest palpitating, my toes and fingers tingling and my lungs so out of breath! People with Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) tend to have heart and lung problems but I know this is due to anxiety, not my OI.

****

Is this a panic attack?

Am I getting one every morning?

Is it the medications?

What the fuck man!?

Oh heavens…

I’ll admit, I took two painkillers and an Ambien last night because the jaw pain has gotten bad again. I don’t know why it’s gotten bad again but it has. I know I have to have the metal plate removed. I should just get it over with, but I’m afraid. The surgery I mean…  because of how they fucked it up last time. Anyway, I only have three painkillers left.

I just don’t know what to do. Hang on I suppose. Hang on tight. Hang on clawing if I have to.

But I feel like tearing at my skin in hopes that it will stop.

I

can’t

keep

waking up like this.

With heavens help, I’ll carry these Pretty Little Demons well.

Floridaze

December 31, 2011

It’s 2:20 a.m., my third night here in Florida.

I arrived Wednesday night, and tonight I have been tossing around with those tiny, dancing and restless legs of mine. Been trying to sleep since midnight. I told myself I wouldn’t take the Zolpidem/Ambien tonight. For one, I feel I’m becoming dependent on it again.  Two, I’m starting to fear that it’s affecting my already deteriorated hearing. I’m becoming increasingly cautious of any neuroleptic drug or any drug that affects the central nervous system in general, which makes it challenging since all psychiatric medications affect the central nervous system in one way or another. I’m also taking Hydrocodone again. *sigh*

Months ago, I’d read somewhere online that Bupropion can increase tinnitus. I plan to get off of it soon because, well, I’m afraid it’s affecting that too. The only reason why I didn’t stop taking it then was because I had improved so much during the summer. I was afraid to stop. I still am, though I’m not much of a believer in or a fan of pharmacotherapy. That’s me, a rolling contradiction, a wadded ball of indecision. That’s probably what’s keeping me up too–fear. That fear of decisions I’m facing has me partially paralyzed.

I didn’t cry myself to sleep the night I wrote the post about the interview (by, the way I heard back from the reporter yesterday and have avoided to look at the now syndicate article which probably has me blabbing nonsense again). But I digress. I have been crying a lot since then, a lot more that is. The tears keep huddling behind my eyelid–all ganged up–wanting to bail out of my eye sockets every other hour, and I’m having to mentally punch them back into place where they belong.

It’s just so damn hard to cry in another home, as much as close to home as this may be for me. It’s difficult to find a private corner, fall into a fetal position and have it out with the tears, the spit, the mucus and the funny gagging noises.

I’m just too anxious; my hands are unsteady.

And I’ve been getting that god-awful facial nerve pain again. It kicked in hardcore today. The kind of hardcore where I’m screaming inside, “God, just rip my face off already! Just rip it off”

To top it off, I hurt a rib, or a couple. My lower right ribcage popped a little while I leaned over for toilet paper. That’s part of what comes with being vertically challenged and having a brittle bones condition. Who the hell… I mean what type of industrial/interior designer or architect or whoever the hell it is that designs homes places the toilet paper holder behind the toilet?

And why does it seem like I’m inundated with ideas at night? Like the moonlight and shifting tides call to me. I guess I was born for the night. I shift with the tides. And maybe the moon is my true muse, my impossible lover.

Blah.

Bleugh.

It’s times like these when I’d really like a doobie to burn, but the kind that make you just munch and chill and fall asleep. I’m not talking about the hydro that makes you want do yoga while cooking and then binging on whatever it is you cooked while then deciding to either clean or lay back and wonder about quantum physics’ ties to new wave religions (and the mysteries of the universe). Somehow you then find yourself staring at the water trickling down your hand and the plates for half an hour as the shiny aluminum sink glistens and you think about how we are all connected to that water and all that food you  just ate can be summed down carbon and water like yourself. “That’s all we are,” you think and then realize you just wasted a lot of precious water.

Only right now, I do not feel connected to anything. I do not feel that I am part of that water.

Maybe I should read a little bit more of The Omnivore’s Dilemma that Eloise had saved for me when I arrived. Or maybe I’ll lay back down and see if I can sleep. Yeah, I think I’ll do that. Plus, I better get rest because Eloise mentioned something about going to a farmer’s market tomorrow morning! Or would that be later today since it’s already morning?

All apologies. I have no epiphany to share, no philosophizing, no metacognicizing, no politicizing and no toilet jokes (unless you find the predicament I was in with the unreachable toilet paper holder funny, and in that case, you’re a heartless bastard). Not really. I kid. It was a little amusing, but only a little. And only because I was on the crapper.

So yeah, no mediocre poems, no little doodles and no story concluding the toilet-rib-cage-rupturing incident, just a cheap, bitter complaint tonight.

Ugh. Alright, the bed beckons. Hopefully I don’t have another tug-a-war with the pillow.