useless

OK. Sometimes when i’m sad i know why and sometimes i don’t. At the moment, i am fully aware of the reasons for my despair but i have no idea what to do about it, except write it out here. If i find that it has made any difference, i may share it with my therapist on Friday. Or not. It’s hard to admit the cause is because of my own failures, as both a caregiver and a daughter.

Last week, my brother-in-law got the news that his 90-something year old mom was actively dying. The next morning he flew to her home and her side. He is the youngest, with 4 siblings. My sister joined them the following day after arranging for someone to take care of the farm and their critters. They don’t ask me anymore, i must be unreliable nowadays.

No problems until one of his sisters posted a picture on Facebook of him curled up next to his mom in her bed. They’re both smiling. I burst into tears.

When my mom was dying at home under hospice care, almost 3 years ago, i joined my brother and sister to offer comfort to her and the family and say goodbye. But i discovered that i felt nothing, i had no emotions, and i had no idea how to be supportive or caring.

I spent most of my life as a nurse and later as a vet, but when the people in my world needed me to step up and be a caregiver, to help guide them and her through death, i failed. I simply detached and watched as the others tended to her physical and emotional needs. I was useless. She died hours after i came home.

So, when i saw the picture of my BIL and his mom, i remembered how i couldn’t be that person for my mom. And i hate myself for it.

Doc

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face to face or internet therapy?

There were some things i should have said to my therapist last time we met[last week.] 45 minutes after i got home i texted him with an apology, telling him i should have told him how sad i am but that i just couldn’t. I told him not to reply because i only wanted “someone to know” that i was sad. I apologized because by not telling him how i felt, i was wasting his time and not being honest. And then i cried until i felt better.

Today, I considered writing about the reasons i feel sad here. I haven’t decided whether i will or not, but in the meantime i started thinking about how spilling my guts [sharing my thoughts] here accomplishes the same thing as telling a therapist.

Usually, when i do express a painful emotion or thought to him, he nods that a} he heard me or b} he understands but, as a rule, not a lot else. I can accomplish that by posting here. I don’t need anyone to reply or comment to feel heard or better. {I do appreciate when people take the time to comment or send a like, though.} It’s just that i need to get it out of my head. I think i might be more honest and edit less on a post because it’s anonymous and there are no faces to try to interpret. Sometimes, i get more support here. Fellow travelers seem to know what to say. Also, i don’t need an appt. here, i don’t have to drive anywhere, and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

Doc

canine crazies

My 2 year old dog, Blue, appears to be hallucinating today. I was having a pee earlier when she came into the bathroom and started looking intently at the tub. I pulled the shower curtain back a bit and sat and watched her.

She held her soft, brown ears up and forward as she looked inside the tub. I couldn’t hear or see a damned thing but she looked repeatedly from one spot to another a little further up the wall. I got down on my hands and knees to look from her perspective and i only found one small ant, and he wasn’t where she was looking. Occasionally, she’d glance at me. Not sure what she was asking or sharing with me.

I can’t recall any of my clients ever telling me they thought their dog was hallucinating. Cats- well, you just can’t tell. I was just reading about mental illness in animals. Maybe that’s why i noticed today, maybe she’s been hallucinating all along. Maybe it’s ‘normal’ for them.

I have always thought she has doggy ADHD, which the breed literature describes as ‘high energy.’ Mmmmm…i don’t think so.

Doc

the new way

Recently, i requested a “shingles” vaccination while in an appt. with my PCP. My mom suffered with shingles and it was ugly. My PCP asked me if i had had chickenpox as a child, i said yes, and she said OK. Then she printed out a prescription for it, signed it, and sent me on my way.

I assume i am to present this to a pharmacist of my choice. A relative stranger who i’ve really only seen working hard in the depths of the cramped pharmacy trying to avoid eye contact with an actual client.

I knew pharmacists had started offering flu shots in recent years, but aren’t they OTC or do you need an Rx as well? Do little kids still get their childhood vaccinations at the dreaded doctor’s office or do parents just drag them along to Walgreens when they’re picking out birthday cards?

I thought about sticking my arm through the pickup window’s sliding tray when i picked up my last Rx, but i think i would have had trouble getting it back out. Medicine is going to hell in a hand basket. [one of my mother’s sayings]

Doc

serendipity

When i graduated from vet school a billion years ago one of the speakers used the premise of serendipity in her speech.  I haven’t thought of the word much since then until recently.  I actually got a much needed job offer from this woman [most of my classmates already had jobs lined up by graduation] and i took her up on her offer and worked happily for/with her for 13 years.

 

Anyway, serendipity popped back into my head because i discovered by accident that burning myself in the oven helped put the brakes on a uncomfortably manic day.   I happened  to sizzle my hand on the broiler about a week ago and immediately felt the vibration and electricity ease in my head and body.

 

A couple of days ago when i felt too much energy again, i purposely preheated the oven to 425,, put a pizza pan in to heat and used that to burn myself, resulting in a 2nd degree burn on my forearm.  Today my T looked at the bandage on my arm and asked me if i had cut too deep.   “No, it’s a burn, it helps slow me down.”    He frowned inside and moved on.

 

I did a little reading about self harm and bipolar disorder and it seems that some people use self harm during depressed and/or manic phases.  I’m certainly not advocating this behavior for anyone else, but for me it’s good to find a non-medicinal approach to slowing things down to a manageable level.

 

Doc

still having doubts

Last week when i was poorly, i went to see the nurse practitioner who is my PCP [primary care provider].  She knows my T as they share the office space.  After i apparently failed to explain my reasoning behind quitting my pmeds. she asked me if i was still seeing him.  In a moment of unusual sharing i said “yes, but it seems like all i’m doing is paying him to talk to me.”  She replied, “well, isn’t that the point?”

I don’t know.  Is that the point, the only point?  I’m still not sure what therapy is about or what is supposed to be accomplished.  I have left therapy sessions MANY times, with different therapists, wondering what the hell  i was doing.  Sometimes, i’m convinced that i’m failing at therapy because i’m not getting anything out of it    Other times, i believe it’s all my T’s fault because they suck and i just haven’t found a “good” one.

 

Changing therapists has usually come as a result of a hospitalization and on the advice of my soon-to-be-history treatment team.  “You need someone more trauma focused.”  Well, ok, fine but what is that supposed to look like?  How is that going to be different?

 

I’ve had 4 therapists in the last 9 years and have never felt i understood the concept of therapy with any of them.  I’ve been with my current T for 5 years and he’s a nice fellow and all but usually after asking me how my week was, we spend the time chatting aboutgodknowswhat.  It doesn’t feel therapeutic.  It feels like paying for someone to be my friend who can’t be my friend.  To be fair, i don’t want him pounding me with questions about my childhood with every breath but some experience-based guided questioning would help me.  I don’t know what would help me to discuss.  Isn’t that his role?

 

Certainly, i could find another therapist and try again.  After 5 years, it feels a bit like a relationship that hasn’t grown or deepened.  But how do i judge something that seems vague and arbitrary.  Does therapy have goals, something measurable to help me judge success or failure, a list i can check off?  I need guidance and once again i feel lost and adrift, afraid to stay and afraid to go.

Doc

 

 

a bit better

I sat down to write this blog post after taking my latest dose of naproxen for a headache i’ve had for the past week.  I complain about or note issues here, i would also like to  try and give improvements equal time – if they exist.

 

My episode of vertigo, new to me, is getting better.  Now i set off the spins only if i look to my right and upward, movements i can avoid if i think first.  My headache is somewhat better.  I have stopped taking the meclizine because i couldn’t function on it.  Long, restless “naps” on the couch, sweating then freezing, and an unwillingness to provide the care my dear dog requires/deserves.  When i saw my PCP last week she believed my vertigo and headache were due to my recent wean off of all my psych meds.  I found i couldn’t argue the point because my head hurt.  Plus, she might be right.

 

Last week i received my first epidural to address the sciatic pain in my left hip and leg.  It took about 4 days, but i am in much less discomfort now when i sleep and walk.   The interventional radiologist said he was “treating the MRI” by injecting the L5S1 disc space when my symptoms suggested a slightly higher lesion [L3-4].  I am also scheduled for a contrast/analgesic injection into my left hip in about a week, but given my current relief, i am considering cancelling the procedure.  I’ll give it a few more days before i decide.

 

I also failed miserably to advocate for myself last week with my PCP.   I was potentially exposed to the rabies virus when i handled a dead raccoon baby.  Bad move, i know.   Dr. Laura and i both felt a booster of my rabies vaccine would be prudent but when i asked my PCP about it she dismissed the idea stating she did not believe my exposure constituted a real risk for contracting the virus.  I knew in my head, as i sat in front of her, that that was not what i wanted.  But doubt crept in, and along with my pounding headache, i retreated.  And i hate myself for it.  I SUCK.  On some level, i heard myself say “when i’m dead she’ll regret dismissing me”.  My self-destructive impulses remain  intact.

 

So, for now, i hope my hypomania – squashed by my recent physical ailments – returns and allows me to continue to live the life i left behind so many depressing years ago.   I want to believe that i have my true self back and will not be forced back into that nothingness again.  I want to remain psych drug free and sober.

Doc