Faded. Tired. Uninspired.

I’m in hiding.

I can’t put my finger on it. What the hell is going on with me? I feel like I’m doing laps around it. Hotter, colder, colder, hotter. No matter how hard I search, I cannot get a grasp on the object of my torment.

This has rendered me useless. Depression, as it deepens, always has a way of crippling me and all of my abilities. But, there’s more to it than just depression. There always is. I feel it, aching in my bones, coursing through my veins as molasses.

I suppose I have gone on about depression in posts prior. But, I’d like to take some time to describe the state, and then dissect the function, or lack thereof.

It’s like being fatigued, without being physically tired or exhausted. My mind is exhausted, easily overwhelmed by the overbearing world. Too bright, too loud, too – everything. It’s too much. That’s the spark for panic. I’ll come back to this.

I don’t feel like I’m here. It’s like walking in a dream state sometimes. Things are blurred around the edges, and no matter how hard I squint, it doesn’t get any clearer. Some things cannot register when I attempt to remember them. I saw it vividly, and I can almost get it. Almost.

Almost there, but not even close.

My mind cannot draw a straight line between two ideas. Everything doesn’t fragment, as much as the ties that bind loosen. Nothing sticks, I’m teflon. It all slides away into this black abyss I’m constantly staring into.

How far down do you think it is?

Even when I am able to hold something as my own, I choke on my words. I am drowning on dry land. I sputter, but it refuses to come out.

This dreadful shadow looms over me, blocking out any sunlight. No matter where I move in my attempts to come into the sun, I cannot outsmart it. I cannot evade it, and we remain bound.

Me and my shadow.

It stands, judging me. My judgment day, yesterday, today, tomorrow, and who can know how many days I will be followed by the watchful eyes? All I see are these dark, glaring eyes from far above, peering down at me. I swallow, but a lump has grown, making each gulp like choking down broken glass.

The Panic.

Vacuums the air right from my lung, harder than getting the wind knocked out of you. And I gasp for it, like I were attempting to breathe through a straw, filtered on the tip with cheese cloth. The air is thin and scarce. Drowning, on dry land.

My nerve endings are so frayed that they are deadened, save for a few sparks that set little fires about this paper house. Paper. It could come apart at any moment. A little wetness will dissolved the whole damn thing. A good gust will blow it over. And if anyone were to come after me, they could shred it, and simply grab me up by my collar to drag me away. I’m not even sure I have the fight in me to make one last stand.

Because gravity is holding harder than usual. Everything is heavier. I am being pulled closer, and closer to the earth. And when I fall, it will swallow me up, and I will be no longer.

I press on.

But, it watches me. It invokes a gripping fear that puts the vices on my heart. If I speak, it squeezes harder. It pushes me further. I witness the world move around me, and I beg so much to be apart of it. No matter where I am, or who I am, or what I am doing, I will always only get as close as brushing the fringes with my fingertips.

. . .

Singular thoughts, even just notions, are enough to whisper me into hiding. Four concrete walls. Buried fifteen feet into myself. Radio silence.

What is there to say anyway?

I’m faded through and through. My words, my ideas, flimsy and translucent. The focus blurs, and the letters just mesh into ink blobs.

And things start falling apart.

The Trickery of Remission

Warning: Content has potential triggers. Reader discretion is advised.

I had come to terms awhile ago that Bipolar Disorder is a lifelong disorder. There is no cure. There is treatment. An abundance of treatment.

It was disheartening. It was a huge, ever-looming, oppressive idea. I’m going to go through this for my entire life. Not just a portion, for instance, the rest of my adult life. No. This, this bipolar disorder has been a companion for longer than I can remember. In fact, I could even conclude that it was the very fire of Bipolar Disorder that gave me life in the first place. Born out of this fire and ice.

Not a cure.

When I first started taking Vitamin L, I researched it.  And emblazoned at the top of the Lamictal website is the following statement: Prescription LAMICTAL is used for the long-term treatment of Bipolar I Disorder to lengthen the time between mood episodes in people 18 years or older who have been treated for mood episodes with other medicine.

Lengthen.  Not stop.

How long is that?  A few days?  Maybe a couple of weeks?

Another resignation.  I pitched any hope that there would be any long-term stability for me.  I resigned myself to the idea that I would always be in some state, whether I was slipping down to reside at the bottom of the abyss, streaking through the sky.  It didn’t seem as though there was another option.  Things are the way they are sometimes.  It’s up to us to come to terms with that.

I had decided that there was no such thing as remission in mental health disorders.  For some, it was either dormant or active.  For me, with Bipolar Disorder, there were three states: Depressive, Stable, and Hypomanic, none of which are permanent.  It is just the nature of the disorder.  Hardly anything can have any permanency with ever shifting landscapes.

At the end of October, something incredible happened.  I was not in a state of any kind.  It was like standing between heaven and hell.  Limbo, waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I was convinced that the great plunge was coming, but I only floated down easily from the mother of all hypomanic episodes.  I planted my feet firmly on solid ground, perhaps for the first time in my life.

Initially, I didn’t roam freely around this strange terrain.  There had to be a sinkhole, a bed of quicksand, something, disguised in this lovely place.  About a month of living in this landscape, with the help of others, I started to believe that there was a possibility for full remission.  I was cynical at first.  I had no evidence in my own experience to back up this notion.  However, I began to idealize a wonderful life without living in the constant fear and ever present shadow of Bipolar Disorder.

Idealization is dangerous, and it is something I often fall victim to.  I am not sure if it is a part of the human condition, as much as it is just a characteristic of certain people or disorders.  It remains to be one of the most perilous mechanisms of my delicate mind.  Typically, I knowingly guard myself against this with great cynicism unless I am proven otherwise.  Defy me.

When idealizations occur for me, it is akin to a shattering mirror when realities emerge.  In this instance, it was as if I had come to the ledge, holding tight and gazing deeply into that mirror reflecting my stable illusions.  Distracted by the beauty of it all, I took one false step.  All it takes is one to shatter the illusion, and wake up in the murky depths of depression.

Prior to this run of stability, I had no frame of reference.  A great many people mourn the loss of their lives that occurred prior to the onset of symptoms.  There was no such frame of reference for me.  My diagnosis was a relief.  It provided explanations as to why I was different, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t seem to function properly in any capacity.  I was always content with the diagnosis itself, even if I was affected by the disorder itself.  It gave a name to many of the awful things I had started to believe were just me.

I’m not sure which is worse.  Suffering the constant bombardment of symptoms with little reprieve, or mourning that loss of a blissful, stable state and life I had, but slipped away.

This post brought to you by Tallulah, my Blackberry Bold.

Debt of Explanation

What do I say now?

I’ve written and rewritten and edited this draft for the last three days.

It originally started out with a rationalization:

Lamictal and hormonal birth control don’t play nice. When I first started Lamictal, I would take the bc placebos for that week and start exhibiting symptoms of PMDD. My Pdoc recommended that my OB/Gyn consider putting me on a continuous cycle for three packs and then have the off week. And I’ve been doing that for almost 2 years.

I have that liberty to schedule when Aunt Dot comes to visit. Risking a complete mental break down every 63 days was better than having to do it every 21. In the last year, the last couple had been pretty mild. I thought I was in the clear.

I lost track and went 5 months this time.

What person with bipolar disorder wouldn’t want to be able to blame conditions that are within their control?  I was telling myself that Monday would come, I would be back on the BC and all would be right with the world.  In the meantime, I adjusted my dosages – with no effect.  I did that a couple of days ago thinking I could put a bandaid on the situation until there was a real fix, meaning I straightened my meds out and all of this moody woman bullshit was over with.

PMS was a word invented by men to explain women’s emotional behavior.  (No offense intended to my male readers).  My husband discovered my self-inflicted injuries today.  Actually, more like he discovered the band-aid that I’ve been hiding under layers of bracelets all week.  He said, “What’s that?”  I answered in a low voice, with T.D. on my lap, “Nothing.”  I won’t lie.  I’m sick and tired of cowering in fear for someone else’s approval.  I didn’t lie to him.  It means nothing to him, but it will stay with me for a long time.

He asked again, “What is it?” And once again I replied in a murmur, “It’s nothing.”

“Every time you get your f***ing period, you have to go and cut yourself!!!”

I don’t recall being afflicted with such in my very first post, “To See If I Still Feel”. And I can honestly say that was the very last time I engaged in self-injurous behavior.

I’m starting to suspect it isn’t completely me.

Originally, I wrote:

My marriage has been on the rocks lately. My kid is raising hell. I have the crushing weight of being solely responsible for T.D., anything domestic, and work. I am expected to have time for everything. I am also expected to take all kinds of crap from everyone when something goes wrong. That is, surprisingly, with the exception of my boss and co-workers.

I have dealt with be mistreated and disrespected in my home. I have endured vicious criticism and blame. I am overwhelmed and over burdened. And anytime I speak up, not only am I wrong, I am intentionally starting trouble. Suddenly, my condition becomes a reality because it’s convenient to blame me “being a bitch” on having bipolar disorder.

I am falling apart and it’s not even at the seams. It’s from consistent strain and wear on my fabric. And when someone I let close enough to me starts taking swipes… it’s enough. It’s more than enough to come undone.

I wrote to a dear friend that I used to be able to depend on C.S.  I described all of the wonderful things he had been to me.  But now, I feel like I’m being pushed off the ledge and then kicked in the face when I finally hit the bottom.

Each morning, when I awake, I have been telling my dearest friends here that I’m doing better.  And each afternoon, I’m doing worse than the day before.  After that comment, “Every time you get your f***ing period, you have to go and cut yourself!!!”, I’m about to give it up.  I was mistaken when I said to my dear friend that I wasn’t sure that he was even aware of what he was doing to me.

We don’t get to choose our family.  Sometimes, we can’t choose who we fall in love with.  But we always have the choice to make the decision to devote ourself to each other through marriage.  How could someone who chose me, who is supposed to love me, be causing me so much hurt?

Confessions of the Pain of Payment

Warning: This post has disturbing and profane content.  Be advised that this is not for the faint of heart or anyone who might consider themselves to be unstable.  This is in no way an advocation of the content within.  Read this at your own discretion.

Small, simple, safe price.
Rise the wake and carry me with all of my regrets.
This is not a small cut that scabs, and dries, and flakes, and heals.
And I am not afraid to die.
I’m not afraid to bleed, and fuck, and fight.
I want the pain of payment.
What’s left, but a section of pigmy size cuts.
Much like a slew of a thousand unwanted fucks.
Would you be my little cut?
Would you be my thousand fucks?
And make mark leaving space for the guilt to be liquid.
To fill, and spill over, and under my thoughts.
My sad, sorry, selfish cry out to the cutter.
I’m cutting trying to picture your black broken heart.
Love is not like anything.
Especially a fucking knife.

Just look at me, look at me now.

I’M A FAKE, I’M A FAKE, I’M A FAKE.
“I’m a Fake” – The Used

I’m not a role model.  I never wanted to be one.  I only wanted to be me.  I wanted to be honest with myself at the very least. The honesty starts here and now.

Monday, I caught myself sitting at the kitchen table, alone. My sitter had called off – again. I have problems making other arrangements, as you’ve read in One Day I’m Going to Grow Wings and Spitting Fire. Stress overwhelmed me, sucking the air from my lungs. I thought again, in my still silence, about the idea of having to resign my position. My mind drifted to Zen. He’d be at my side, through it all. Tears streamed down my face. And I crumbled.

A flashback struck me. I had remembered Stacy. She noticed my bandages. So, she showed me hers. I had never encountered another cutter. We sat on the ramps one grey day, in the pale fall light pouring in from the large windows. I confessed to her in whispers; I cut again. She inspected my gashes made by a steak knife. Dismantle a shaving razor. The cuts are cleaner, easier, sharper and can be mistaken for something else.

My little box of lies was born again. When I was a teenager, I had a jewelry box I called “My Little Box of Lies. It always contained a razor, a pregnancy test, and pills I was saving. Today, it is a 1970’s Altoids tin. It only contains four tiny razors and band-aids.

I looked for areas of my skin bracelets would cover. I drew the blade against my flesh and felt numbing pain of the blade. My mind quieted as I watched the blood rush out. I made another slice. And another. I ran the razor diagonally over the gashes. It was enough. I bandaged my still bleeding wounds and carefully hid my tools of self-destruction where they would never be noticed.

Tonight, I am loaded on Xanax. It’s still not enough to purge my mind of the week. My failures at parenting mocked me. My husband’s biting words hurt my heart and soul.

I’m a lazy bitch. I’m a liar. And I’m ungrateful. Totally ungrateful for everything I have been given.

I want the pain to go away. I found myself alone in my bedroom this time. No amount of pills or lies or acts will erase this. I pulled out the blade and retraced my healing wounds. I dug deeper, gushing more and more blood. Tears rolled down my face, blurring my vision slightly.

It still wasn’t enough. I needed more pain. I needed more testaments to my suffering with fresh flesh. I pressed the blade firmly against a new patch of skin and put as much pressure as I could with such a flimsy blade. It seared through me. Again. I desired more. I needed the painful lines to pour out and release the pain inside.

I am so ashamed. I am not the Lulu with a sordid past and insights. I am Lulu, with the band-aids over her life. Lulu, the liar, the fake with a closet full of skeletons and empty words now.

I’m Going to Die in the Walmart Parking Lot

This is installment one of “The 99 quirks of Lulu”.

I’m know these are not at BP related. Some of them are anxiety related. Others stem from life experiences. And the rest, well, I don’t know.

  1. I can only wear found or gifted jewelry. If I wear jewelry that I bought for myself, it always either breaks or gets lost.
  2. When sitting in a public place, I try to position myself so it would be difficult for a person to come up from behind me. We’s don’t want no surprises. No, seriously though. I’m pretty paranoid.
  3. I can’t make eye contact when I’m telling a story. It’s not symptomatic of anything. I just can’t take in any visual information when I’m trying to give out verbal information.
  4. I have to have a minimal amount of background noise when I’m working on something. The more tedious and repetitive the task is, the more sound I require.
  5. I have serious claustrophobia. I hate elevators. I will walk six flights of stairs to avoid it (I’ve done it). I have nightmares about getting trapped in a tiny space. No matter how badly I want to get home, I’ll let a crowded bus pass to get on a later, less crowded one.
  6. I am obsessed with office supplies. I cannot resist a sale. I hoard them.
  7. I am so particular about my pens that I will only use specific brands, with gel ink, and only in 0.7 tip.
  8. I have been wearing the same Capricorn pendant for 10 years. C.S. bought me a Taurus pendant at a craft sale 4 years ago and I haven’t taken it off since. I’m very superstitious about it. Every time I forgot to put it back on, something bad has happened. Last time was C.S.’s car accident.
  9. I practice natal astrology. It can peg a person every time.
  10. I put my hand in front of my mouth a lot. Ethology would call me a liar. But really, I’m just trying to hide.
  11. I have a really difficult time lying. It produces an intolerable physical response, so I don’t do it unless I really have to protect myself.
  12. I’ve bitten my bottom lip since I had teeth. I have pictures to prove it.
  13. I am so particular about shoes that I only buy tennis shoes every three years. And that’s after they start taking on water. This is partially because my feet are abnormally wide, although they’re not very big. It takes a lot to find a comfortable, stylish shoe.
  14. I honestly believe I’m going to die in some ridiculous, unbelievable accident or situation. I have this scenario about how I’m going to die in the Walmart parking lot. If you want to hear about it, ask in the comment section.
  15. The numbers 1, 5, and 14 follow me everywhere. The bus number I’m on – 5157. I’m on a bus everyday that starts with 51. My birthday 1/14. My husband’s birthday 5/14. Just strange as hell. Coincidentally, no lie, this just happened to be 15!
  16. I am a camel. I can hold it for hours on end. Longest held? 16 hours. I was 13, and stuck in a car with my parents on the way to Florida who refused to stop until we got there. By Virginia, everything below my waist was numb.
  17. I have always had a problem regulating body functions. I can’t fall asleep, and then I can’t wake up. I am always thirsty, but I have difficulty knowing when I’m hungry. Sometimes, if I’m busy enough, I’ll forget to eat until I have hunger pains.
  18. I have an incredible internal clock. I always know what time it is. Or maybe I’m just very observant of the position of the sun.
  19. I yell at inanimate objects.
  20. I can get a vibe from someone and know instantly if we’re incompatible. I don’t discriminate. I can be on the phone or over the internet and know. It is in the way a person addresses me.
  21. I am the only person that does the dishes and folds the laundry. It has to be done in a certain way. My clothes have to be sorted by graphic tee’s, solid tees, and color. My jeans are assorted by thickness.
  22. I have twilight blindness. I can’t see things correctly during that time of day.
  23. I carry my person journal on my person at all times.  You never know when you’ll be inspired.  You also never know when someone wants to take a peek at your dirty little secrets.
  24. I used to make wishes.  My wishes have always come true, but in a Twilight Zone kind of way.  There was always some kind of catch that ruined it all.  Remember the episode about the man who just wanted to be left alone to read his books?  And he got his wish, but then his glasses broke and he was all alone.  It’s a lot like that.  So I don’t anymore because I know there will be consequences.
  25. I have a cat that wipes my tears away when I cry.  He paws my face without claws.
  26. I think it’s ridiculous to give a kid a weird first name.  So, in case my kid want a weird name, I gave him a weird middle name.
  27. I think the most random thoughts.  For instance, my husband and I were once talking about daily activities that burn calories.  I asked him, “How many calories do you think a seizure burns?”  Today, we were talking about how we were going to manage to find a girlfriend for another friend.  He’s kind of nerdy, so I said, “Maybe I should start telling these girls he has money?  Do you think that would help?  It worked for Bill Gates!  How much money does someone have to have before they stop being a nerd?”  Honestly, I want to know these things.
  28. Flashing lights drive me nuts.  Imagine me verses a strobe light.  I have a message indicator that is driving me crazy on my voicemail right now.  But I just don’t feel like listening to it.
  29. I have to sleep with my feet outside of the covers.  My feet are my temperature control.  If they’re too hot, then I’m too hot.
  30. I am almost always barefoot when I can help it.  You see, my depth perception is terrible.  In order to not trip and fall all of the time, I use the sensations in my feet to guide me.
  31. I count stairs.  I can tell you the amount of stairs that are on every stairwell that I encounter frequently.  13 in my house.  14 in my parent’s basement and 16 to the upstairs.  And 10 each going up each floor at work, with eight leading into the building.
  32. Every clock I have that isn’t set to a satelight is set randomly ahead.  I don’t know the real time, so I have to assume that what I’m looking at is the real time.  This is how I trick myself into being early.
  33. I am an organizational freak, not a neat freak.  Everything in it’s right place.  I want to know where I can find anything on a moments notice.
  34. I am extremely scheduled.  I have to do things at certain times or else my day isn’t going to go right.
  35. I am obsessed with the weather.  Especially during hurricane season.  It is absolutely fascinating.
  36. I collect odd things from places I travel to.  In fact, I have sand from Myrtle Beach in a baby food jar with a little ceramic turtle with a little straw hat sitting on my desk.  I went to a theme park in California that was selling as many rocks as you could fit in a tiny bag with a drawstring.  I have a collection of decorative boxes from various places.
  37. Old world maps tickle my fancy.  It’s amazing to see how differently people viewed the world in those days.
  38. I believe in the power of hematite.  Hematite supposedly absorbs negative energy.  To clear the energy from the hematite, you bury it in the ground for several days to return it back to the earth.  I actually had a hematite ring shatter once.  I was going through a really bad time.
  39. I cannot spill a drink without freaking out about it.
  40. I hate the smell of raw onions.  It is intolerable.
  41. Perfume is my best friend.  I have this fear that I smell bad.  So everything I use is scented.  Lotion, bodywash, shampoo, deodorant, body spray, perfume, anything you can name.
  42. I don’t like wearing jeans.  I prefer skirts and what would be considered a house dress.  But, I live in Pennsylvania and we have two seasons here.  Winter and construction, also known as summer.  Jeans are required dress.
  43. I cannot stand getting my face went unless I’m fully submerged.  That means, I hate any kind of precipitation, with the exception of a good summer downpour.  Now that’s a way to get wet!
  44. I can’t stand when my husband uses my toothbrush or razor.  So I intentionally buy pink colored items so he doesn’t use them.  It’s not manly.
  45. Everytime I dye my hair, I always have to do a trim.  So, I take a sample of the hair and I keep it in a ziplock with the date on it.  That way, I can always keep an assessment of my hair color at any period of time.
  46. I like having certain imperfections.  My hair is cut choppy and asymmetrical with a weird part for a reason.  I love the scars that I didn’t inflict upon myself.  I have stretch marks all over my body for various reasons (growth spurts, pregnancy, etc).  I love when my dark blonde roots come in against my white blonde hair.  And I especially love my eyes.  They are each split in half in color.  One part is green-gold and the other part is blue grey.  Maybe people think I look like a mess, but I think I look real.
  47. The noise of someone biting their nails is like nails on a chalkboard to me.  Ugh.
  48. I can predict the weather based on previous injuries.  When my hips and knees hurt, a serious storm is coming.  I’ve never been wrong.
I imagine you have quirks too.  Maybe you identify with some of mine.  So tell me, what are yours?

Meet Me in the Magnolia Tree

Firstly, I want to apologize to anyone who was alarmed by my absence. I always hate when I hurt people by my actions. I should have put a message out there first.

We’ve seen the trend. I have been suffering crippling depression and I’ve been dragging it around like a heavy weight with me. Every hour, of every day has been brutally agonizing. I have been trapped in my head, trying so hard to not let it bleed over into my life. I went as far as I could. And then I collapsed.

I wrote a rambling word document after days of crying episodes spilling everything that was wrong. It didn’t help.

I turned my phone off. I didn’t need anymore than I already had. If I was going to be alone, then I was really going to be totally alone. I went nearly catatonic. I didn’t speak much. I tried desperately to stay as horizontal as possible. I didn’t want to write. I didn’t want to do anything. I wanted to stare into space. I wanted the numbness to come. And it never did.

My phone was off for 5 days. And everyone was none the wiser. I discovered this and sunk further. So much for friends.

I am not in a good place. I keep sinking farther and farther, frozen in place as I go down. I’m trapped in my head. I can’t solve any of my problems. I feel hopeless to even try anymore.

I reach out for help to the people who are supposed to be the closest, and I am left hanging on the branch, clinging to it, trying to avoid the fall. I don’t. I always hit with a thud, more shattered every time.

So I reach out to you, like I should have in the first place. Help. Please help me. I don’t know how I can keep going on and there’s no way out. I’m trapped. I’m hurting, confused, and I only want to hide. But there’s no place to do it.

Please. Grab me on that branch.

Holding My Medicine Hostage

If only there were chains...

Today was the big day. I was rescheduled to see my psychiatrist’s nurse. I had to beg my mother to babysit T.D. and bribe my father to drive me the 15 miles up there in rush hour traffic, but I made it.

Here’s the big deal about going to see my pdoc. He’s located 15 miles away, I don’t have access to a car because C.S. takes it to work, and I have no one to watch T.D.

To be honest, I don’t have a great relationship with my parents or siblings. We don’t feud anymore, but decades of doing so has left our relationships strained. The state of our relationship only matters a little. They aren’t very giving people, and each “favor” ends up being a debt that can be called for repayment at any time. I’ve known more understanding loan sharks.

My friends work. And I’m also very particular about who watches my son. I prefer mothers, experienced nannies and babysitters, or female teachers. Those seem like high standards for babysitting a kid for an hour, but I consider it to be reasonable for a child with PDD-NOS and a significant speech delay. Would you leave your baby with someone with limited experience with babies? Though T.D. Is not quite a baby chronologically or physically, the same principals apply.

I actually made it there early, despite the traffic. But, it was certainly a “hurry up and wait” situation. Not only did I end up waiting the 15 minutes that I was early, I waited an additional 15 minutes past my appointment time. That is 45 minutes that my father had to wait around in the parking lot for me.

And all for what? Exactly what I predicted – a pitiful, unproductive, and largely inconvenient appointment with a nurse practitioner who probably shouldn’t be dealing with the likes of me.

I outlined the problems and ineffectiveness of my medication very clearly for her:

      I’ve been so depressed that I gained 10 lbs in three months. She answered,

“That kind of weight gain is practically impossible on Lamictal and especially Wellbutrin.”

      Yeah, I know. Both of them are notorious for weight loss. I have a genetic predisposition for extreme weight gain. That’s why I chose them.

My anxiety is unmanageable. I have regular anxiety attacks over every little thing. I’ve developed migraines over this again.

I don’t sleep anymore, apparently. I’ve been taking supplements for insomnia and now they don’t work. I started taking over-the-counter medication for it, but you can only take that in moderation without risking frying your liver. So, now I’m stuck with increasing sleeplessness.

It’s been about 6 hours a night off and on for two months now, and has been every night for the last week. And some nights, it’s 5 or less. Last night, I slept 4 and a half hours. I used to become hypomanic when this occurred. Now, my brain and my body are so tired that I am in a perpetual fog where I am completely dysfunctional.

    My moods are all over the place and I am highly reactive. This began slowly about two weeks ago. It started as only certain things that could trigger an unpredictable response. I would laugh hysterically, cry uncontrollably, or fly into a fit of rage at the drop of a hat, for seemingly little reason. Now, it’s progressed into constant states of arousal. I’m either delirious with hilarity, extremely irritated, or crippled with depression.

The nurses solution? Increase the dose of Wellbutrin and let the doctor determine the rest two weeks from now. My suspicion? She’s not allowed to adjust any medication other than antidepressants.

So now I take my medicine like a good girl and hope that I can manage my life within my two week period of the waiting game.

I decided that I hate nurse practitioners masquerading as psychiatrists more than I hate doctors.

Ugh.

Called Off?!?!

I was prepared for my psychiatrist appointment this morning, for a change. With the help of my bipolar bloggers, namely Ruby and Manic Monday, especially when referring to the post The Case of the M&M Interactions.

I had determined that my medicine is not right for my current symptoms. I’m cycling faster and faster. And the irritability has returned. I’m not grumpy – I’m flat out pissed. And I’m always a ticking time bomb as a result. I can’t sleep at night and it’s hard to be motivated in the day. This med check, as annoying as they usually are, was absolutely necessary.

My doctor is located about 15 miles away, so it’s quite a trek to get there, and usually very inconvenient in my busy schedule. I arrived early only to discover that my doctor had just called off 10 minutes ago. It was absolutely enraged. I had dragged myself out of bed extra early, called my mother out to sit while T.D. slept, inconvenienced my husband to take me up there before he went to work only to be sent away. WTF?!?! I know things come up. But there was absolutely no consideration for his patients.

To make matters worse, I had to sit and wait an unacceptable amount of time to be rescheduled. Where is the level of professionalism in that office? I watched the minutes pass and knew that if I didn’t get out of there soon, C.S. would be late for work. And even worse than all of that, I had to push to be scheduled before my medicine ran out. That left me to be scheduled with Nurse Betty. I know what she’s going to say. The same thing she says every time I have a complain about my medicine, “We’ll keep you on these medications and see what happens. I’ll have you scheduled in a month with the doctor.” UGH! Why bother?! Wait, oh yeah. They are holding my medicine hostage.

I really hate doctors. Seriously.

Leep-Into-Cin – Part III

Warning: The following content can be considered graphical in nature.  It may contain material that may not be appropriate for certain audiences.  Children under the age of 18, those of the male gender, and others faint of heart may want to take extra care while viewing this.  Use your own discretion.

Bringing in the Big Guns

After the experience where I was left stranded on an operating table, I had grown animosity toward that doctor that performed my surgery.  I refused to see her, and I refused to go through any more procedures.  It didn’t matter.  I had lost my insurance again and there was nothing I could possibly do.  The only other option was to return to the clinic so that they could slowly kill me with their negligence.

I did break down and go to the clinic, but only for a required Pap to receive birth control.  I took the call when it came.  ASCUS, same news, different month.  I couldn’t face it.  I didn’t want to do it all over again.  But as usual, Planned Parenthood didn’t really take this news seriously.  I didn’t plan on going back anyhow.  The nurse practitioner butchered me during that routine exam and left me bleeding for a week afterward.

Finally, I had good health insurance and went to Magee Hospital Womancare.  By chance, I was given to a doctor that specialized in woman specific cancers.  Upon our first meeting, I didn’t care for her.  She was cold, calculating, and blunt.  She reviewed my records, took a pap, and sent my samples off to an Oncologist – the first time a real cancer doctor had ever seen my file.  I was relieved, but I couldn’t stand her bedside manner.  Her words were few and her work was rough and quick.  At least it was quick.

I got the good news of my first negative pap in years!  I celebrated!  The dysplasia was gone!  I rejoiced at having that burden lifted from me.  No more would I worry about growing more cancerous cells, as day after day passed.  I could live without constant concern of death.

Until April 2011.

I had neglected to get my six month pap and was coming upon my yearly pap.  The office tried to contact me and I missed several appointments.  I was very busy now.  I had just been accepted into my first teaching job and was responsible in the spring musical as the Music Director.  The very night of the show, Womancare tracked me down.  I paced backstage and scheduled my appointment for spring break.  I realized the urgency and knew I was running out of birth control anyway.

The pap was bad.  ASCUS, again.  There was no infection or alternative explanation.  Another colposcopy had to be done to confirm all of our fears.  I scheduled it for the first week in June 2011.  I knew I would be laid off by then and would have plenty of time for recovery.  But, as you know from previous posts, I had developed the flu which turned into pneumonia.  I missed the appointment, and rescheduled for July 15, previously noted in “All the Pretty Things”.

What I didn’t mention was the nervous bus ride into the city.  Nor did I mention the walk alone through Downtown, only mitigated by my bravery to do it alone after C.S. once again failed to attend at the last minute and serenity found at the fountain.  I laid on the table in the familiar position – feet in stirrups, staring at the ceiling.  I felt the vinegar sting the tissue inside of me.  I sighed.  Then, there was a feeling of a stab, twice that of a shot, and enough for me to lose my breath.  I heard the doctor say, “That’s not enough of a sample.” and then came another unbelievable stab that had me seeing stars.  I cried out in pain.  Just keep breathing, keep breathing.  The tears flooded to my eyes and another slice that felt like a twisting knife in my insides.  Breathe.  Keep breathing.  I told myself over and over, but I was choked with tears from the incredible amount of pain.

The doctor was uncharacteristically sympathetic.  She asked me questions, but I could not speak.  I could not catch my breath to tell her that I just needed a moment.  She offered me a cool towel and I declined.  She offered me a cool drink and I accepted.  I tried to get up, but she insisted that I lie back down for awhile.  I needed time for the apoxy to take hold to cover the internal wound.  I needed time for the cramping to go away before I should move.  She knew more than anyone else in my life that all I needed was some time.  I sipped the water, caught my air, and said to her, “I don’t remember it being quite that painful.  Then again, I don’t remember it being quite that fast either!”  I was trying to save face, but it didn’t matter.  She had seen the twisted look on my face with my eyes squeezed shut.  She asked about my condition and I told her I was OK and that I still needed to catch my breath.

I was still choking back tears.  I was ashamed that I couldn’t handle the pain and cried.  I was so alone.  I was furious that C.S. had not made more of an attempt to be with me.  But more than anything, I was sad that I had been let down again.  And I knew I would have to drag all of that physical and emotional pain down the streets of Pittsburgh, back home with me, and into my home to face my son alone.

All alone.

The Anticipated Call

The office assured me that we would have a result by Friday.  I knew what they were going to say.  I had hoped that they would say that it was CIN I, and we could wait.  But I knew it wasn’t.  Just like I knew in the beginning that I would be in the 10% where this doesn’t resolve on it’s own.  Just like I knew after the cryosurgery that this wasn’t the end of it.  I wanted to believe differently, but in my bones, I knew better.

Friday morning, I took the call.  I was in my mother’s kitchen while T.D. was downstairs watching Spongebob for the gazillionth time.  CIN II.  This time they wanted to perform LEEP because of my advancing age, history with this disease, and my current grade of dysplasia.  Seemingly, it was progressing faster this time.  Or else, the cryosurgery just didn’t take.  I knew all of these things, because I often have the power of foresight.  At least when it comes to my body and my mind.  But, there is nothing that can actually prepare you for the news.  There is also nothing that can prepare you for what you are facing.

The nurse I spoke to wanted to schedule a surgical consult before we proceed.  I was puzzled and felt some looming threat.  I had never been offered a surgical consult before.  Apparently, the doctor and I have a lot to converse about.  In the meantime, I am left my with racing thoughts and full internet access.

A Rock and a Hard Place

Each surgery presents the problem with damaging the cervix with scar tissue.  If enough is amassed, that may pose problems for future fertility.  The statistics say that cervical stenosis, the narrowing of the cervical canal, is about a chance of 1-2%.  But the statistics are a little more unclear when it comes to cervical competency to bring a fetus to full term.  The more they take of the cervix to remove affected cells, the thinner the cervix becomes, which destroys its integrity.  In summation: If I have this procedure, can I have the second child that I’ve been trying to plan for?

But what are the chances if I wait to have the procedure until after my second child is born?  Will I develop invasive cancer in the meantime?  Will they have to take my uterus if I decide to wait?  What is the risk?

It would break my heart to lose the second child I so desperately want.  But it would destroy my body if I were to have a hysterectomy, or worse, to face death due to cancer.

Another waiting game lies ahead.  I do not have my consult until August so I cannot have any of my questions definitiely answered until then.

The sword of Damocles hangs over my head.

All because of two complete assholes that I trusted and loved.

To be continued . . .