she-bear

Henry Fuseli - Hamlet and his father's Ghost (1780-1785). Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Henry Fuseli – Hamlet and his father’s Ghost (1780-1785). Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Dear Internet,

TheHusband and I were set to go up to Throbbing Cabin last night but opted to stay home to circumvent the potential traffic bomb of travelling on a holiday weekend. Our plan, then, was to leave this morning and stay at Throbbing Cabin for the rest of the weekend,  coming home on Monday morning.

This morning, however, had other ideas

When I woke up, I went into a massive panic attack where I refusing to not just not leave the house, but I was not going to leave our bed, or even get dressed or any thing resembling personal care. I became so agitated over the prospect of leaving, moving, interacting with people, I started to get into manic mind mode. TheHusband, who had been out walking the dog when the attack started, returned back to our bedroom to my meltdown.

When I saw him, I immediately burst into tears.

Needless to say, we’re not going anywhere this weekend.

TheHusband has learned to stop asking me what is setting off the panic attacks because I never know. Sometimes it’s mental, sometimes they are physical. Sometimes I can ward them off, and others, like today, I’m overwhelmed by their sheer control over me.

The attacks, or in this instance the need to shelter myself from the world, has become more intense over time. I often feel hyper sensitive to the outside world. People. Situations. In my head, when plotting a set of errands that require me to leave the house for long periods of time, I attempt to sort them to make them least painful and less having to interact with anyone. Sometimes, more often than not, I lie to get out of situations because the thought that I would need to be around other people, or more rightly in places that are not familiar, makes me anxious. My house is my touchstone and if I cannot have things set up the way I need them to be set up to function, then things start to break down.

While my depression in the past has been the cause for decrease in sexy times, the drugs have amplified sexy times, along with everything I have just explained. I’ve always had voracious attitude towards sex and with nearly a year on Lithium, it has dried up like an October leaf. I was telling a friend of mine recently, who was newly diagnosed as bipolar himself, I could have Alexander Skarsgard naked on a chaise reading a book in front of me, and I’d be, “Eh.” I don’t want to touch myself, let alone my own husband, and I could not even summon the desire for a naked Alexander Skarsgard. Or James McAvoy. Or any of my fictitious husbands.  I used to be the girl who wanted to have sex every where and with everything, and now I would just like to put the kettle on and have a good pot of tea.

And yes, I have a fairly healthy vibrator and dildo collection that is currently gathering dust. Which is a shame as some of them are expensive and were gifts.

At my last medicating appointment, Dr. H. was absolutely positive that by taking Klonopin at night would help some of my issues. The idea being if I take the drug at night, I will get a sound sleep. If I get a sound sleep, then I will feel rested in the morning and more at ease.

Except that didn’t work. After trying this for a week or two and still feeling exhausted and pent up, I told Dr. P. who suggested I take the Klonopin earlier in the evening, say 7PM instead of 10PM. The reason is that Klonopin releases slowly so if I’m taking it later in the evening, by time I wake up, I’m groggy because the drug is still working. Then I start amping up on caffeine to get over the hump and the cycle begins again.

Dr. H. gave me a prescription for Wellbutrin, and after several weeks of circling it like shark, I bit the bullet and got it filled. Numerous friends of mine with similar brain issues have all reported good things with Wellbutrin and as it was not a SSRI, I figured it was worth a shot.

The first few days of Wellbutrin,  I was downright cheery. I didn’t feel the energized pep that several friends reported, but I was honestly okay with all of that. By the end of the first week, the dark clouds started to form and for the entire second week, I was hell on wheels. It was not so bad that other people knew, or commented, but it was so bad that I picked up all the signs that this was not going to end well. My meltdown this morning was the final straw and I stopped taking the drug.

Some medicating therapists will have you push on through these periods because after the drug settles, it is smooth sailing. I can’t do this, emotionally, physically, mentally, or financially. My brain chemistry is such that what takes someone 21 days to metabolize a drug, it takes me 7. I may have a fight on my hands with Dr. H. this week because he’s going to report back to me my lithium levels are still in the therapeutic range and I’m going to tell him that regardless if they are, I need to get off that drug in a safe manner because I’m done with this experiment.

A year ago when I called Dr. P. to get my life on track, I was open to the idea of drug therapy because I wanted the pain to end. I wanted a way to chemically fix what was broken if talk therapy didn’t work enough. and to fix what behaviour modification could not fix. Dr. P. recommended Dr. H., who confirmed the existing diagnosis of ADHD, Bipolar I, Borderline Personality Disorder, with a top up of anxiety.

The idea was to get my mood stabilized with lithium, then start adding in the ADHD drugs to control that. Once we found the combination, everything would be grand!

Well, not so much.

Reading through some of those old entries, a lot of patterns begin to show. The drugs, mood/ADHD, are clearly not working. I can’t afford to emotionally keep putting my life into upheaval every time I go on something new to see if it works.

This nine month experiment, while peppered with good intentions, has crippled me more than I could ever imagine. Feeling myself hit the wall, time and time again, the disappointment I’ve laid on myself when something didn’t work, the guilt I built around me when I couldn’t complete a task, and the friendships I lost because I was not the person they thought I was.

The constant stress of wondering who I was going to be that day when I woke up, and how that affected work and personal relationships.

I’m done. I don’t want to be this girl anymore, who hides in her bedroom afraid of the world. I’m done not living a life because I feel too medically incapacitated to do so.

The new plan is to get weaned off of Lithium, and start a diet and exercise routine because literally, every book on bipolar talks about the lessening symptoms if you do these two things. Continue to see Dr. P. for talk therapy, once a week as current or more if he warrants it.

Anything has to be better then the now.
I want my life back and it looks like, I’m the one whose going to have to go get it.

x0x0,
Lisa (Day #36)

This day in Lisa-Universe in:

Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes: August 31 2013

Johann Georg Hainz's Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Johann Georg Hainz’s Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

During the Renaissance, cabinet of curiosities came into fashion as a collection of objects that would often defy classification. As a precursor to the modern museum, the cabinet referred to room(s), not actual furniture, of things that piqued the owners interest and would be collected and displayed in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes is my 21st century interpretation of that idea.

 

Dear Internet,

Writing

The Lisa Chronicles

Listening

  • Neverwhere
    The new radio adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s book stars Natalie Dormer, James McAvoy, Benedict Cumberbatch among the rest of the stellar cast.  I’m only a few episodes in but so far I’m really enjoying this.

Reading

Watching

Weekly watching: The Bridge (US), Project RunwayThe Newsroom, Sons of Anarchy, Burn Notice,  DaVinci’s Demons,  The Vampire Diaries

Links

x0x0,
lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe in:

Cabinet of Curiosities

Johann Georg Hainz's Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Johann Georg Hainz’s Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Dear Internet,

This morning I met with my neurologist to confirm if my epilepsy has returned.

For this to make better sense, we need to go back to 1975 where Lisa, age 3, has a grand mal seizure. Over the course of the following decade, we would head to Detroit Children’s Hospital, where I was poked, prodded, and EEG’d to death to see what was the status of my brain. Drugs were taken, phenobarbital, mebaral, and lord knows what else. It is during this time it is discovered I’m allergic to the aforementioned drugs as well as penicillin.

Sometime in 1982 or 1983, the visits stop and I’m declared cured? Better? Healthy? Something? All I know is that at the age of 11 or 12, there are no more drugs or visits to Detroit’s Children’s Hospital.

In the later years, the stigma of being epileptic follows me like a lost dog. Some of my medical records have it listed and if it is missed in any kind of interview, it comes up with my drug allergies (“Why are you allergic to anti-seizure medications?” “I had seizures when I was a child.” “This could complicate things.).

It’s a shadowy grey area. Am I epileptic? Am I not? How much do I disclose when asked and do I make mention of this at all to anyone – employers, lovers, friends?

Over the years,  I disclosed on when necessary and when warranted.

I did not have any seizures, that I can recall, in the intervening years.. That changed a few years ago, long before I started any of my second round of bipolar drugs, I had two of what I termed as seizure within six months of each other. One when walking through a tunnel in a fun house that had the pulsating lights and the second when watching the Kanye West video for “All of the Light”1 .

This was in late 2011 and early 2012.

When I had the first ankle surgery in June 2012 and the follow up surgery in January 2013, the triggering EPILEPTIC on my medical history was potentially problematic with anesthesiologist.2 And it was because of this that I decided to finally make an appointment with neurologist this spring, but there was nothing available for nearly six months.

Which brings us to today. I was so nervous, I showed up 25 minutes early.

I walked Dr. T. through all of my issues, matters, and concerns. After the interview, Dr. T. then put me through a series of neurological tests, which some of them made me giggle. After the tests were done, Dr. T. explained that he believes I did have epilepsy when I was younger, for there is a type where it starts out in very youngs kids and as you age, it starts to dissipate. By the time you’re late teens / early 20s, the epilepsy is gone and typically never comes back. He thinks this is what I had.

But do I have epilepsy now? Unknown. What he does think is what I thought to be seizures were actually migraines triggered by stress or other factors. Since I did not smell anything or get auras or get a build up, then I never associated with what was going on in my brain, in addition to the brain freezes (tremors, sometimes loss of feeling, sense of deja vu). I never thought of them as being migraines. This was news to me. When I told Dr. T. I didn’t take drugs for my headaches, he seemed incredulous.

What’s next? EEG to confirm the epilepsy (or not). That will be good times!

The most interesting thing out of this whole experience today was the discovery that phenobarbital and mebaral cause bone density problems. I have bones like a 90 year old, and they are so fragile at my first ankle surgery in 1994, they were surprised I had not broken anything before that. So drugs make my bones brittle, I have a double fracture in my right ankle, which then sets in arthritis that is the worst my orthopedic surgeon has ever seen.

It’s all goddamned connected.

Dr. T. is also ordering a bone density test and then depending on the results, vitamin therapy will be applied.

Can I get a new brain please?

xoxo,
Lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe in:


1. The video was tagged by Epilepsy Action to potentially trigger seizures and I ignored the warning.
2. My neurologist says this is a teaching moment – anesthesia does not trigger seizures so riling me up before the surgery was unnecessary.