Thursday, September 24, 2009

Nightmares and Anxiety

Big problem with me is anxiety. I know my dad was diagnosed with OCD when I was a kid, but he probably had some other problems that were never diagnosed. I know my therapist thought I had social anxiety disorder (I'd buy that. I didn't talk to anyone except my parents and my twin sister until I was 7 years old). But I know I've got other anxiety problems as well. I probably have some symptoms of OCD, although I don't do the usual ritualistic behaviors that my dad does. I just have general anxiety and obsessive thoughts associated with it. When I first started on anti-depressants, it helped a lot. I started being able to do things I'd never been able to do before, like sleep with a door cracked open or with my feet uncovered. I could talk to people I didn't already know. It was nice. But it seems like my anxiety symptoms are coming back. Actually, even on anti-depressants, I was still shy, just not cripplingly shy like before. But lately, I'm back to checking the doors to make sure they're all closed and covering my feet, etc. It bugs me that my closet in this apartment doesn't have a door, so there's this big black yawning space staring at me all night and it freaks me out sometimes. I have to sleep with the TV on (it lights up the room, but is dimmer than having the lamp on, so I'm still able to "sleep").

Sometimes my anxiety level gets so high, that I'll get nauseous and start throwing up over and over again and I can't stop (which is why I have promethazine tablets in my house). I'll start having tremors (probably tardive diskenesia ). I once became so short of breath that I thought I was having an asthma attack, but it turned out to be that there was no medical reason for it, so they blamed it on anxiety. I started having panic attacks shortly before my last trip to LA (no scarlet fever this time, yea!). I really did believe I would die if I got on that plane. Really, there was no doubt in my mind that it would happen. The only bright side I can see to that is that at least it was unappealing to me to die. So, the only thing I can think is that this must be somehow related to the bipolar disorder somehow, because my anxiety symptoms seemed to get worse as I got more depressed. However, on the Lamictal, I feel like I'm already not as depressed. But my anxiety has yet to get any better. I've been having nightmares every night for the past week. It's always something bad happening to a loved one. Last night, it was that my mother died and had probably been murdered. I woke up devastated and couldn't get back to sleep in my grief. I just couldn't believe it was just a dream. I was so relieved when I heard her wake up and walk her dog. I just dread what I'll dream tonight, if I can even get to sleep at all. Since I haven't been sleeping well, I've been groggy and unable to get anything done (well, less than usual anyway). I did, however, make an attempt to vacuum my bedroom, because they were "inspecting" our apartments the next day, only to find out that the vacuum is broken. Ugh. So, nothing has worked out lately.

My mom and I were going to go out to eat today (spending money neither of us actually had--but it's been months since we actually went out to eat that we felt like splurging--and it's finally gotten down below 100F). I had won a $50 gift card for this local wine bar. Neither of us really enjoy wine, but it's also a restaurant and somewhat reasonably-priced at lunchtime. So we've eaten there a couple of times. I still had $5 left on the card, so we'd have gotten a discount if we ate there today. We get to the restaurant, and I pull on the handle only to find the restaurant locked. They were totally closed and have discontinued lunch service altogether. Well, the place is too expensive at dinner, so I guess that's it. Goodbye, $5. We thought we'd see a movie then, but nothing was showing at the decent theaters that we really wanted to spend that much money on (already saw "District 9" a while back--it's really awesome, for those of you who haven't seen it). So that didn't work out either. I mean, we never do anything together and we so rarely go out that it was really disappointing. I did manage to pick up a "birthday cake" for my baby, but it took all my spending money for the week (no, the cake was not that expensive--I just really have that little spending money). I guess maybe it was good that we didn't see the movie or I'd have ended up putting it on my credit card (yet another bipolar topic altogether--already have one bankruptcy and don't want another). Anyway, it's just really hard to de-stress and relax when things have been the way they are. I know I should exercise, but it's 85-87F in my bedroom. It's just too hot to do it in there. Luckily, today it's only 81F since it's only 75F outside. I'd go hiking in a local park, except that it's also raining. Normally, that would make me feel bummed out, but we've been in a drought and we needed that rain sooooo badly. We've lucked out this summer in that there weren't any wildfires even though it was the hottest and dryest summer on record. But, it's not like I want to go traipsing around in mud, so no hiking. There's no mall near us. I just don't know what to do. I just feel like I never get to do anything fun and I'm always doing what everyone else wants me to do instead of what I want to do. I never get to make my own decisions it feels like. Well, I do have a bankruptcy, so maybe I can see why no one trusts me with money. Ugh. I just don't know what to do. I miss shopping. : (

Monday, September 21, 2009

Can't Sleep!

Well, another night when I sleep weird. I got to sleep fine with melatonin, although I had to take 2 3mg pills since one won't do the trick. Then I have to take a Xanax even though I hate doing it. But nighttime is the time I'm most anxious and stressed out for some reason. Still, I slept fine at first, then I wake up (as usual) and can't get back to sleep. I woke up just before 3 and it's now almost 5am. Sucks because I don't get enough sleep as it is, and that's supposed to help my recovery. It's also good to wake up at the same time every day, but like that's going to happen when I've only gotten 4 hours of sleep. Then I'm groggy all day. I guess I should say that I have bipolar II, so I don't have the kind of mania where I can get by on less sleep, or when I'm euphoric and happy. I tend to be irritable and impatient with people and my racing thoughts keep me awake, along with anxiety. I should at least say that on the Lamictal I haven't been as depressed, and even when I'm manic it doesn't seem to be as bad as before. Still, I'd like it if I could get a decent night of sleep. Well, when I'm depressed I can hardly stay awake and that's not good either. I just want my sleep cycle to normalize and I can get on with my day without feeling wiped out and exhausted. Plus, I'm having difficulty motivating myself to do normal things. Like, sometimes I can't make myself brush my teeth or take a shower. I haven't vacuumed since we moved into the new place, which hasn't been that long really, but long enough that I need to vacuum pretty badly. So, I don't know if I'm having a mixed episode and not just complete mania or depression. Then again, all the drugs they give me cause fatigue, so I don't know how I'm ever supposed to have any energy. Ugh.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Noisy new place...

Well, it's been a while since I was blogging. For one thing, I got extremely depressed and did not want to have anything to do with anybody or anything. I'm still not working. My disability case is still being worked on, but I got a lawyer this time. Been denied twice so far. Now it's down to a hearing sometime in the future (really, couldn't this be speeded up somehow?). I hope I'll hear about it enough in advance to prepare. It's been months since this whole thing started. Really, with me being suicidal and not being able to afford treatment, that's not good that I have to wait that long. Even so, I know that there is medical care available with the disability payments. It's just that it's cost-prohibitive. I doubt it helps at all, because I'd be paying for the plan, plus deductibles and co-payments. When you add all that up, it will probably be more expensive than what I'm paying now with no coverage. Gosh our medical system sucks. And no, I haven't seen "Sicko". I hear it's good, but I'm afraid it will just make me more pissed at the government than I already am. Yes, I'm jaded. I admit it.

Anyway, in other news, we've moved. Could no longer afford the old apartment and had to move into one that is $200 a month cheaper. So, nowhere near as nice, not that we could afford anything really nice the first time. The neighbors are noisy and the apartment management (who put it in the lease that loud noise was unacceptable) do nothing at all. Actually, they don't do much about anything else unless you badger them several times. My drain was stopped up for weeks! So, although my room is bigger and there's actually a walk-in closet for all my art supplies (well, some are stored at Grandma's--even the walk-in closet wasn't big enough for ALL of it), I still feel bummed and irritable because it's never just quiet. I need quiet sometimes. I just can't relax with noise going on all the time. I'm not sleeping well. It's certainly not helping my mood or my depression.

Still, on the Lamictal, I'm doing somewhat better. We're up to 75 mg a day now. I've only been on the new dose for a couple of days, though. On 50 mg, I was still having episodes, although they didn't seem quite as severe (still bad enough, though). I'm still taking Trileptal, although I don't see the point. I guess my doctor was afraid to take me off of it without the Lamictal being up to theraputic levels yet. But really, if the Trileptal had worked I wouldn't be needing the Lamictal. My anxiety has gotten worse. I had panic attacks and went back up to 100 mg of Zoloft, although I know it could make the manic episodes come back. I just couldn't stand the panic attacks. Hopefully this will all get straightened out at some point. I know my doctor doesn't want me on too many medications and will take me off the Trileptal and Zoloft when I'm feeling better. Hopefully that won't be too much longer. I'm really sick of this.

Anyway, I guess I just had to vent a little. Not much going on except medical stuff most of the time. I was volunteering at this artist-in-residence program/art gallery here in town. However, they said they didn't need me this coming semester. I'm really sorry about that because I enjoyed it, even though all I could manage was 10 hours a week (and was sick for 4 days in the 2 months I was there). At least since I was a volunteer I didn't get fired. I will finish the neon pieces that need to be done, but after that I don't know. I let them know I'm interested in working there permanently, although it will have to be part-time, of course.

Well, I guess that's all for now. Hope everyone out there is feeling okay and not as depressed as I am.