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

Again

I am feeling depressed again.  Past 2 days.  I had been feeling pretty good, sometimes great, for months now. Meds: Trazodone and hydroxyzine – reportedly for sleep.

This downturn is probably situational in nature.  I wrote about the brother issue yesterday.  Today in therapy I moaned about that, then started telling him how strongly uncomfortable I was this weekend while visiting some relatives of my sister-in-law living nearby.  They were very nice, friendly people.  My problem was – I couldn’t look at their 11 year old daughter sitting happily on her dad’s lap without wondering/worrying if she was being sexually abused by him.

I also told my T that I might think the same of him  if I saw him  with his daughter (even if I didn’t want to).

He said, “Guilty by reason of penis, huh?”

“Pretty much.  It could be anyone.  I find myself looking for signs.”  I don’t want to look at every happy family or father and daughter together and think these things.  It made me feel bad and judgmental and damaged.

I also started a new MDD med – Trintellix -2 weeks ago and now i’m down.  Makes me suspicious. Am still nauseous.

I told him that I had been saddened by the news of a fellow bloggers’ death and that I felt like crying, but couldn’t.  So I used blood for tears.  He asked me if I could find another way to mourn.  Felt stupid.

I am trying to write things down so I don’t forget as I go along.   Doc

 

 

 

ER visit and other crap

I caved and went to the ER on Wednesday afternoon.  Pain 5/10, threw up my morning coffee.  By the time I got there, I was hypertensive (180/102) and tachycardic (120’s), because of the pain.  I had lab work, an abdominal CT, a pelvic ultrasound, IV fluids, and pain meds.

After it was all said and done – we don’t know what is causing me pain, but we do know what isn’t, which is valuable.  The ER doc said about 25% of the time, he can’t diagnose the cause of acute abdominal pain.

I want to say that the staff were great and they really helped me.  When the ER doc first came into my room, he said “Hi, I’m David.  I see you used to be a nurse.”

*Yeah, I’m an ex-nurse.*

“I don’t think you ever stop being a nurse.”

Over the years, I’ve discovered that care is/seems better after they find out you are in the medical field/family.  It’s a shame, really, because everyone deserves this kind of care.

When David came in to say he was discharging me and I thanked him for his help, he stood up, got out his wallet and fished out a business card.  As he was writing something on the back, I asked him if he was giving me a magic spell.  He looked at me funny then showed me a coin trick.  He told me he had used this trick earlier with an oppositional/defiant teen to connect with and reassure her and get her to cooperate with her workup.  “I guess that was a magic spell”, he smiled. What he really wrote on his card was his cell phone number, in case I had any questions or needed help with follow up -really sweet of him.

Today, my belly pain is much better, a shadow of it’s former self and I’m supposed to follow up with internal med. and a GYN because of incidental findings.

Yesterday, I saw my T after a 2 week break.  When I told him about going to the ER he screwed up his face as if to say “sorry you had to deal with them”.  I think I surprised him when I said “no, it was really OK.”  I had read 2 very negative patient reviews of the ER on Yelp before I went, and i made a point of going on Yelp the next day and writing my positive review.  Funny, there was an article in the Post yesterday about Yelp and negative reviews and how insurance companies, especially Medicare, use these bad reviews to punish health care systems. Gotta look out for my former brothers and sisters.

the other crap :

My therapy session went OK.  I complained about my ongoing insomnia, my belly (at one point I told D I had to unbutton my pants because my stomach hurt and he looked briefly concerned ( no, I’m not planning to drop my trousers or anything inappropriate – relax.)  We talked about a few more things and I left feeling OK.  But, on the ride home, I felt my mood take a leap off the edge and by the time I got home I was filled with despair and self-loathing.  I had an overwhelming need to cut, bleed, and become a big sticky mess.  Uncharacteristically for me, I texted my T that I was feeling dangerous and seeking suggestions.  He responded with :  “Benadryl and some sleep, hospital admission, or get out and take a walk.”  By the time I got his response I had already self medicated myself into non-action and made it through the night unmarked.

What the fuck is wrong with me?

Doc

I feel like crap again

I’m writing this as a distraction. I feel like shit. Usually it ends with me doing something ultimately regrettable. I feel dangerous, but only to myself.

The local newspaper has a headline that says “Spring is the time of renewal and change.” It feels like it’s mocking me because I can do neither. In fact, I’ve been more on a straight path to self-poisoning as my current mood has beckoned me to push the envelope lately from within my impressive stash of drugs. Current poison of choice – narcotics. Nice buzz, side effects of headache, vomiting, and itchiness.

I’ve always planned for a painless death, but today I can imagine a more painful method because I feel like I deserve it. There has to be some guilt, right? The shame of failure for one.

I’m falling again. My normal or hypomanic mood has deserted me again. I want to cry but I can’t. I want to sleep but I can’t.

I know I cycle through my moods. I know that eventually my really low lows will change but it’s NEVER back to my old self-reliant, confident, contented self. Only “better” enough to gain release from a hospital or enough to fool onlookers into believing I can endure.

OK. Moan over . That took about an hour. Yea.

Doc.

Shit, shit, shit

I was meant to go to a therapy appt. this morning at 8:30 am but when I went outside to leave my fucking truck would not start. So, I called D – my therapist and told him the problem. He said “OK, i’ll see you next week then. But I asked him if he would have anything sooner as I really needed to talk with him. “How about I call you later?” Me – “that would be good.” Well, I just got off the phone with him and honestly I don’t feel any better. I told him about how I don’t feel real or alive, that I can’t find a way to motivate myself to do ANYTHING, I’m not eating or cooking because I’m not hungry, how fucked up my memory is, how bad my sleep is and how bizzare and complex my dreams have been, how I’ve counted out how many Zoloft and Seroquel I have and that the insulin I bought before is still good, and that I feel my suicide is inevitable – I just don’t know when, how confusing and boring I find TV at the moment.
Well, he really wasn’t much help – not sure what I expected him to say. He kept trying to tell me that I need to just force myself to do things, that my brain hasn’t had anything it HAD to do for 3 months, and that it’s “out of practice”. Bullshit. I would do things if I could, I just can’t seem to make it happen. And I don’t really give a fuck. He told me to start writing down my dreams, but I only remember tiny, annoying fragments of my dreams that pop up all day annoying and confusing me. He tried to reassure me that my memory was fucked up after the last course of ECT and that it will take, in his opinion, about 8 to 12 weeks for it to improve. Fucking great. He didn’t seem to care about my suicidal thoughts and plans or about my cutting.
“Most people don’t want to do the things they have to do on a day to day basis, like people who have jobs don’t want to get up and go to work each day (subtle dig at jobless me?)
He seems to have this expectation that things will(magically) turn around given enough time. Sorry, I don’t/can’t believe him, it feels like nothing is going to be right and “normal” again. So, he left me with “call me if you need anything and i’ll see you next week.” Not totally convinced that i’ll be around next week. My urges to self harm are big and insistent right now. Any suggestions appreciated. Doc.

This is fucked up.

I’m trying, really I am. But I really think my latest round of ECT (13 treatments) has done major damage to my short and long term memory in addition to causing cognitive difficulties. I spent an hour yesterday trying to remember how my cell phone works and how to charge it. I’d forgotten that I had cancelled my landline phone right before I went into the hospital, i can’t remember where i get my hair cut, I’d forgotten that my sister is and has been (for a year or more) paying all my bills out of my Social Security disability acct., i can’t remember what i used to do all day or how i spent my time and i can’t remember how to cook, so i’ve been eating crap. Yesterday all the frustration came to a head and i ended up cutting to relieve the stress, then had to close it with 4 sutures. In desperation i called to talk to one of the R.N.’s on the psych. floor i had been on and all she could offer was the instruction to call 911 for an ambulance so I could be evaluated in the ER. Fuck that. I DO NOT want to be put back in the hospital anytime time soon.
Part of what annoys me is that i was the one who wanted more ECT, the docs. had to be convinced to do it. Dumb motherfucker.
I’m still supposed to find a new shrink this week, but I’m not sure i care about that now. I’m not certain i will stay on my new meds. (Zoloft, Lamictal. Seroquel, and Trazodone)
My life needs to start making sense and i have to find a reason to want to continue to live on Earth first.
Sorry for all the moaning. Hope you all are doing OK.

Doc.

Back home, finally

Howdy,
I finally got discharged from Johns Hopkins Hospital (JHH) psych ward – Meyer 3 – on Thursday having been an involuntary inpatient since Feb. 2014. JHH is in Baltimore, Md. I stayed 82 days against my will, which, believe me, was no fucking picnic. Because JHH is a teaching hospital, I had 3 different attending shrinks, several different residents, various nursing students, and the regular staff to get used to. I managed to self harm was I was there – cutting myself with a scalpel I snuck in , cutting myself with soda can lids, and swallowing various foreign objects. Needed stitches once and various wound care regimens during my stay. I have to admit it was fairly easy to self harm while even on 1:1 or continuous observation. And it always made the nursing staff mad at me when I did. I didn’t give a fuck. It w2as just something I had to do. They tried to tell me how wrong it was and why I shouldn’t do it, but it went in one ear and out the other. It actually became a game for me to see what I could get by them. Some of the nurses made it more difficult by doing there twice daily skin checks, and others didn’t seem to care. There was no rhyme or reason to most of it.
I ended up having 13 ECT treatments before they were done with me and it has really adversely affected my short and long term memory. Stupid shit – like I couldn’t remember how my cell phone worked or that my sister has been paying my bills. I couldn’t and still can’t remember my sister and nephew coming to Hopkins to visit me or most of the things I wrote in my journal while I was there. I read part of my journal last night and am amazed at the things I don’t remember but wrote that had/was happening. I wasn’t allowed use of my laptop while I was there until the last week or so and then I couldn’t remember how to access my blog! So, I need to spend a few days catching up on everyone”s blog and write a few replies of my own.
I saw my outpatient therapist – D – yesterday, but need to find a new shrink still. D said I seem better so hopefully he wasn’t just bullshitting me. Everything about being home seems odd to me. I can’t remember what I used to do all day or how I spent my time. I have talked to a couple of friends already and we’ve made plans to meet for a meal, so that’s good. I also couldn’t smoke cigarettes or naturally, any pot while I was in, so I’ve already resumed both of those habits. Getting high last night was a real treat! My JHH shrink tried to convince me to stop smoking pot, but I tried to make it clear to him that that was not a possibility. He even had one of the medical students write a paper on the dangers of cannabis use and mental illness and present it to me. Poor kid. I shot down every one of his arguments. They have to remember I was on the same floor as all the other drug users and most of them used barbituates or narcotics before they were admitted, so my pot use never felt even close to the importance of their drug use. Anyway, it doesn’t matter what they want because I’m home now and will do what I want.
I’m on new meds – Zoloft, Lamictal, Trazodone, and Seroquel now. They diagnosed me with major depression and bipolar 2. I’m not sure I believe the bipolar 2 dx. All I know is I’m glad nobody is watching me 24 hrs. a day and I can do what I want. I kept up with a few blogs while I was in, so I don’t have everyone to catch up on. Right before I was admitted 2 bloggers I enjoyed reading had killed themselves and I think this had a negative on me. I really was saddened by this news. Now I have to go back and read their last posts again and comes to terms with their absences. They were nice people and I miss them greatly.
Re: my memory loss – the shrink tried to tell me that it is to be expected, but that doesn’t make me feel any better. I feel impaired and I don’t know if I will regain those lost memories. It’s all being blamed on the ECT. One of the anesthesias I had was awful too, because when they injected the drug, it only made it impossible for me to breathe and I had a very difficult time letting them know that I wasn’t asleep and that they had to give me more medication. Truly traumatic! I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.
Oh well, not much I can do about that now. If anyone reads this and wants to leave me a note, I’ll be happy to read and respond. Hope everyone is doing OK.
Doc.