Thursday, July 09, 2009

Sign Posts

Driving by a church we saw the message, "What does Jesus mean to you?"

"Eternal Salvation," I said.

"My Buddy," Justin sang.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Eating Re-Order

Last week the doctors did another medication change. This time they put me back on a medication I had taken in the past--back in the days when eating was merely something I did for survival, not a pastime or an obsession or a dream.

That's right, for the first time in my life (and for the past year) I have been hungry most of the time. It's due to a slow down and something else due to a new medication that evened out my mood but also made me a little sluggish and a lot hungry. Naturally, for the first time in my life I am tipping the scales in an unhealthy way--my BMI nearing "overweight."

I have been dreaming of eating a grilled cheese sandwich. I have eaten a full meal and still wanted more. I have desired Cheez-Its and chips and crackers and cheese and more cheese and bread of all sorts and then some more please. We don't normally buy any kind of junk food, so I have been saved by my self in some ways. But the yearning has been exhausting--and unsatisfied by substitutes.

I became the fat girl.

The problem was, with my metabolism artificially slowed down, my lethargy artificially raised, and no end in sight to the need for my medication there was only one way for this trend to go: up.

Thus the reintroduction of another mood stabilizer, one that revs people up a bit and speeds up the metabolism.

So now, my relationship to food is re-ordered. It's lunchtime, but I'm not particularly hungry. I will eat because I am supposed to eat.

The problem is, I have forgotten how to eat this way. Part of me wants to gorge myself out of habit. The part of me that has been eating because I am bored and can't think of anything else to do (plus I'm hungry) doesn't know what to do now that food is of little interest. I walk to the fridge. I open it. I peer. I close it. I walk away, sit down, wonder. Repeat.

And what should I eat for lunch? Is Naked Juice enough? Or do I have to make myself a meal from last night's dinner leftovers?

As a woman who once had little to no relationship with food, this new perspective is more annoying than interesting.

Plus, I hate that it was so easy to gain the weight and is going to be so much work to get back down to the other end of the BMI scale.

hmmm.... is writing about eating enough that I don't have to actually eat? Probably not. Did it make me hungry? Not really. Will I have some leftovers? OK. Fine.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Medicine and Me

As much as I say I have resigned myself to a lifetime of medication, when things go awry I certainly wish I could just titrate off all of them and be done with it.

I still feel run down from the week. My body is shaky-feeling (though Thank God not actually shaking) and my head is all foggy. It's somewhere between being hungover from alcohol or an all-nighter or both, and being on a caffeine high.

Unfortunately, it's not something that is going to improve if I puke, which I feel like I could do. But I won't. I hate puking and try to avoid it as much as possible.

Besides, at this point all the medicinal poison is in my blood and I just have to wait it out. If I got sick, I would just lose my breakfast and the nutrients that are going to carry me through this day.

Additionally, I am still too restless to just lie down and take a nap. So, exhausted, restless... I feel like a two year old who missed her day time nap and now can't fall asleep at night.

All I want to do is try to get my grad school application together, but maybe today is not the day.

Friday, March 13, 2009

My brain

Today I'm feeling a little bit better. I'm pretty tired, but yesterday I stayed connected to my doctors through e-mail and figured out what to do.

It's like the three of us have this little three year old brain we're in charge of keeping from playing in the freeway... we've told it the rules but it's like, "Oh, I dunno. Those cars look so shiny and fun, maybe I can just run in there really fast. Maybe just once."

I kind of wish I could just hand the brain over and let someone else take care of it for a while so I can get some rest.

I'm trying to be gentle with myself and get some work done today but not feel too bad for resting a bit.

I think I'm in the market for a babysitter.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

All that and a little akathesia on the side...

Today was one of the hardest days I have had in a long time.

I switched medications because one of the so-called stabilizers causes me to be hungry all the time--which causes me to weigh about 30-40 pounds more than I need to weigh. I also had to switch because I had been dealing with some depression that seemed like it could be improved, so up a little of this, down a little of that, add a little of this... the usual drill.

The switch was completed about three days ago.

I was not sure if this funny (not funny haha, more like funny Oh God) thing that has been happening to me has anything to do with that, but I've been getting overcome by this bizarre inability to sit still. It's happened three times and there are a few more times when I've tried to suppress the urge. Basically, I feel like I might have to pee (but then I go and it's not the case, nor does it make me feel more settled). It's kind of like I'm on the brink of something but I don't know what it is; I literally have to move around, running my legs in the air, squirming like a little kid... If this is what ADHD kids or other special ed kids feel like when they can't sit still in class I have a whole new empathy for them. I really can't sit still and it makes me feel crazy. It's kind of scary and definitely not normal.

I've taken some of my leftover old (still authorized) medicine to try to calm down. It helps a little bit. I only take half a pill. I have also done that a couple of times to help me sleep.

Today I had to take a second half (which equals a whole) and a bunch of benadryl to try to be still. Today, almost all day, I could not physically be still. The only time I felt OK was when I was asleep, and it was hard to fall asleep.

As my psychiatrist says, "Yeah, I would say the [new medicine] is a bust."

I'll say. Even though I was not depressed, I kept thinking of alternatives to help me not feel so horrible, but those alternatives were even more horrible. I haven't had such a bad day trying so hard to control my body in ages.

On the upside, since I already had to get off a medicine to start this new medicine, and since I'm not taking the new medicine, I'm down a medicine.

I get to try life without one of my usual medicines!

If anyone else is keeping a running log, that means I'm down to three.

Also, just for the record, I love my psychiatrist, who had this whole 17 e-mail conversation with me today. It's so worth keeping her even though her office is in San Diego.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Insomnia

I knew it was over when I became genuinely curious about what's on TV at 3 a.m.

Could I be missing something good?

This is night two without sleeping well for more than an hour at a time.

Last night Justin was at work, so I thought tonight would be better since he's back. Then I thought maybe if he were gone. Then I realized he doesn't have a night shift for the rest of this month.

Now, I'm hoping the couch will be the remedy I need.

I heard neighbors talking in the courtyard and thought I had insomnia company, until I realized that young girls returning home at 3 a.m. are probably just beginning their sleep--they've probably been out having fun all this time.

I've already begun to wonder whether I'll ever sleep again, whether I'll get sleepy during the day (I'll take a nap, I don't care anymore WHEN I sleep as long as I DO sleep), why this is happening to me. (Manic? Depressed? What?)

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Punk'd. World News. Heart Healthy Yoga.

Oooo! Maybe I'll do some yoga! Nah... there's TiVoed Law and Order.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

purposely...

When I was in first grade I thought I could teach kindergarten.

Why not? I had already learned everything there was to teach in kindergarten.

Though I have tried different paths several times, I still come back to teaching when I consider my purpose in life.

something about journalism, advertising, traveling, walking around the world thinking of ways I could bring things into the classroom

time learning that life is about being, not doing

returning to my purpose--teaching, but first learning more and writing--college letters of rec were all I got to write, but I want to combine writing and teaching in my career

....or something like that.

On Purpose?

When I was in first grade I thought I could be a kindergarten teacher.

The way I saw it, I had done all the stuff they do in kindergarten, so I was ready to lead the little kids through it.

And so it goes.

As though I have a purpose...

For my grad school applications I have to write. I need a "Statement of Purpose. Write a brief statement of purpose describing reason(s) for pursuing graduate or postbaccalaureate study. Include any additional information concerning your preparation that is pertinent to the objective specified. Attach an additional sheet if necessary."

My friend Brian is fond of saying, "we are human beings, not human doings." I have just begun to define myself by being instead of by what I am doing, and now this question.

Perhaps I am a teachable moment.

Perhaps I am more of an accident than a purpose.

If I continue my studies does it mean that the life lessons of the past few years are for naught because I am back at doing a lot. Must I abandon just being?

I hope not. I believe I can do both. What I want to do is study, learn and be able to teach more whether that be in a classroom or through publication. But any idiot can write drivel about those goals. What I am interested in, what I think makes me an interesting person worthy of the company of graduate students and professors, is something else.

Maybe it IS the idea that I am a teachable moment. Or that I embrace teachable moments.

Huh?

When I heard through the doctor's office door that the intern had never done a needle biopsy before, I decided I would give him the chance to learn. He fired the "gun" once so I could hear it and then pierced my breast with it.

When I learned I had to have a surgical biopsy, I decided to stay awake through it, so that I could learn about the environment of my then-medical-student-husband. Under conscious-sedation, I sang through the experience as though I were on a karaoke stage instead of an operating table.

When I spent eight days in the hospital, I talked to my fellow patients about ways to stay calm, teaching them the mindfulness methods I had learned to maintain my own sanity.

I don't know what this has to do with anything. It was just an idea.

How about this?

I walked into my apartment at 1 a.m. to find my husband and his fellow medical school students playing poker and drinking scotch. It was at that moment that I knew I had to change my life.

None of this makes me sound like an interesting person. It just makes me sound like a freak that no one would want destabilizing their program.

Maybe something straightforward. Maybe boring is the answer (I know it is not).

The fact is that I have watched Justin prepare for and survive medical school and I am all but shouting, "I want my turn." That's my purpose. It's my turn to learn and to study and to experience the camaraderie of an academic program. I want to teach, I want to write, but I really just want my turn. We'll see what happens next. If there's anything I have learned it's that making too-solid plans is asking for disappointment or failure. It's best just to take things a day at a time.

Which isn't really helping me write a statement of purpose.

Revvv! Revvv!

I just tossed and turned my way through another night of Ambien CR. I think I got a little nap in there, but no promised 7-8 hours of sleep.

I need letters of recommendation.
I need to write a statement of purpose.
I need sleep.
I need to do laundry.
I need to go to the commissary.
I need sleep.
I need a job.

A statement of purpose....

I'll do the laundry now--at 7 a.m.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Manic

I took an Ambien and tried to sleep last night but it wasn't working, so after half an hour I decided to read. After several hours I decided to try the couch, then I moved back to the bed. At 6:30 a.m. I got up and started doing laundry. I felt like I could do anything--no sleep.

Justin made me lie down with him again after we put the laundry away. He held me down in a cuddle until I finally rested.

Now I feel like crap.

And there you go. Some people go shopping when they're manic; I read and do laundry. A rapid cycle.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

yikes

I'm still unemployed.

So much of America is unemployed, yet I am managing to make my unemployment my problem. My problem. As if it is my fault that, like so many other Americans, I got laid off.

So it is not my fault.

Which means there is no reason, no reason at all, for me to blame myself even a little bit.

I'm still unemployed.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Now that I'm unemployed...

I suppose it's time for me to find a new road for this life of mine.

I got laid off.

I spent my time immediately following Thursday's news in a stricken stupor quickly followed by a beautifully distracting visit from my Canadian cousins, so now I have time to reflect.

The only thing I keep coming back to is grad school--and by "keep" I mean, since I was first teaching...

And now I see that Cal State Long Beach is the only close-by program.

Deadline: last Saturday.

So we shall see...

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Just Another TGIF-Kinda Girl

I haven't cared so much about weekends in a while, but now that I'm working 9 to 5, I'm all about the weekend.

Justin still works on weekends, so I don't have the luxury of my husband's company every weekend, but I also don't have to go to work.

That is reward enough for having survived another five days at the office.

On Mondays, my friend and I look forward to our Friday Happy Hour margaritas. It's really what carries us through.

You know that job I mentioned?

So far, I have created a 5 page brochure, including 17 meetings to review the text and the graphics, created a presence for the company on facebook, myspace and linked in, answered the phones done some administrative work, taken photographs of a class for our website and, oh, by the way, am getting set to actually create a website for us.

Please review previously posted job description if you have any questions.

Tomorrow, I stop whining about this turn of events.

Until then, I will continue to feel put-upon, taken advantage of, used, and aggravated.

I know my attitude could use a little warming up.

Despite my new found regard for the weekend, I find myself spending it getting the car fixed, doing laundry and cleaning the house. Still, this is better than work?

At least next weekend I get to see my cousins, who will be visiting mom and dad from Toronto. Their son is playing baseball in the region, so we'll be going to his games. The following weekend is the movie marathon. The weekend after that is my get away to Ventura with Justin.

In between, margarita Fridays. Thank God.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

homeward bound

Today I went to the resident-applicant mixer even though Justin was on-call.

That's right: I went to a party voluntarily and alone!

Granted, it was at a friend's house, so it was easy to do.

Anyway, coming home to an empty house is getting to be so common with Justin on call that I feel single again. That nice homey feeling, when you know you get to do whatever you want and you can crawl into bed with the laptop and no one will be bothered...

Then I remember I am married and wonder what the hell I'm doing alone again.

Monday, January 26, 2009

heh

Just like that, *snap* today I feel better.

Not this morning, though I didn't feel as bad, but some time during the day--I just stopped feeling so heavy.

I didn't notice it until I was on my way home. I just didn't feel heavy. I didn't feel like something was going wrong. I didn't feel like I was moving through doom.

There is a part of me that is still looking over my shoulder trying to see if the monsters are still behind me, but then I force myself to look forward, so that I do not waste too much time wondering what is happening and simply believe in the good.

There is also a part of me that is working to preserve this goodness. I stayed home tonight, instead of going out with a friend (two offers). I felt like I needed the rest--which is all I've been doing, but it is different to sit and rest when I feel OK rather than feeling like I am trying to keep from drowning. Of course, part of me is aware that staying at home is a symptom of the continuing hangover of depression, but I'm willing to take my chances.

Heh. Suddenly things don't seem so dark.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Weight Wait ...don't tell me

I feel like I am carrying around a huge bundle of squirming puppies and somehow it is important that the puppies do not escape the bag, but they keep trying.

And now I've managed to make even puppies depressing.

But that's what it's like, I feel so weighted down by some enormous force against my chest and I feel like I am trying to contain something that does not want to be contained.

Mostly I feel like lying around in the dark and maybe crying.

Instead, I get up each day, slog through getting ready and go to work, where I slog some more.

Breathe.

I've taken a different approach this time and gone public immediately with my depression, which brings with it the blessing of friends' support and the curse of people's advice.

Trust me, if I could "feel better" or "do the things I am supposed to do to feel better" I would.

Just tell me you love me and that you're sorry things suck right now. It's a chemical imbalance. It's a disease. I can't think my way out of this one, not really.

I feel like I missed the inauguration. I didn't get the jubilance I felt when Obama got elected. I just felt kinda glad and knew I had a sense of relief that Bush was out of the White House.

I feel like I am missing a lot of my life. The meds do that--flatten me out. It was almost a relief to sob so woefully on Monday. I was getting afraid that I might have forgotten how to cry.

I hate waiting. I have to wait for the medications to kick in so that hopefully I can pull out of this quicksand feeling. In the meantime, those puppies better settle down.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Change has come to the United States of America

And if you need a gauge of my mood severity: I feel pretty good about it, but not ecstatic or energized.

Mostly I want to go to sleep.

But today Barack Obama became the 44th President of these United States. I'm including the speech here. I got to watch it at work. I don't really have the energy to write about it now.

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land - a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America - they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted - for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things - some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions - that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act - not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions - who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them - that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works - whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account - to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day - because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control - and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart - not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort - even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West - know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment - a moment that will define a generation - it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends - hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism - these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility - a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence - the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed - why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

"Let it be told to the future world...that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it]."

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Sleeping Pill

I don't want to take the sleeping pill.

I remember the first time I was assigned to taking one; it took me a week to give in and do it.

I was afraid I would get addicted.

I did not.

I stopped taking it because we wanted to get pregnant. However, A) That doesn't seem to be working out, B) I'm not in any shape to be pregnant or a mother when I'm sleep deprived and clinically depressed.

I have to take the sleeping pill again.

And again I do not want to. But I must. I need to sleep a whole night through. I know that a night of sleep will help me get on track. I know my body will not allow me that sleep of its own volition.

I wish I could survive without medication. It's like being a diabetic and always having to take insulin. I wish I did not have to, but I do--and I suppose I am glad that the medication exists, because it means I do have the opportunity to sleep tonight.

God, please help me get better quickly. I'm going to shut the door on this tearful day and wake up tomorrow to do the dishes and make the dinner and take a walk before I get ready for work. For now, I pray, Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my Soul to keep; Our Father Who Art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name; Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, forever and ever. Amen.

Denial

I haven't written since Christmas.

Nothing really to say. I work now. 9-5. Trying not to let any of it get too important. Hour drive each way. People are OK. I still get the laundry done and go to the commissary.

I once wrote on FaceBook that "My life is so good that it is unrecognizable." I must have been hypomanic.

It only lasted for a couple of days.

Then I crashed.

One of my medications has caused me to gain a lot of weight. I was a happy too thin 105. Now I'm 145. If I didn't know better I'd say it made me want to kill myself, but really it just makes me want to stay out of sight. I look slightly pregnant. I'm never wearing a bikini again. I hate my shirts and most of my clothes don't fit properly anymore.

People laugh and say that no one gains 40 pounds over night, but it is kind of like that--it just happened. Pound by pound the weight just keeps coming but doesn't go away and does not stop coming.

Why am I admitting this disgusting yet minor travesty?

Because it happens to people. People gain weight. Medication has side effects. I almost always experience the side effects of a medication. Two of mine slow down the metabolism and can cause weight gain.

I was always skinny and now I'm not.

I have been eating less and I still do not lose weight.

So I'm getting depressed. I'm getting depressed about my body and I am also just getting depressed, which makes the cost analysis of the medication lousy.

Still, I have to take it. I cannot get worse than this. I cannot let people at work know that there is anything wrong with me and I cannot let Justin have anything to worry about.

So these are the things I have to do: exercise, call people, sleep.

Yeah.

I haven't been sleeping well. I have to take the sleeping pills again. Sleep loss is a symptom and a cause of depression. I have to manage it.

I haven't been using the phone. I have to return phone calls. I cannot let myself isolate--I have to connect with people.

I haven't been exercising. I haven't had the motivation, but now I am so scared about my mental and physical health that I simply must force myself to get out there and walk or run or go to the gym.

Those are the three hardest things for me to do and the three most important things for me to do at once.


So I haven't been writing.

One person noticed and knew it was a red flag, and now we have to pay attention.

I was trying to plow through and deny the drop, the pain, the possibility that I wasn't just adjusting to the new schedule but that I was suffering a drop in my mood, but denial does not work. It is not a cure. Denial is part of what got me into the depths of my despair in the first place. I can't pretend, at least not to myself. I'll pretend for work and I'll be strong for Justin (who I know will love and support me no matter what, but whom I want to protect just a little bit), but for myself and for anyone who has been following this journey of depression with me, you have to know that it is not all easy. I had six good months. I didn't believe it would last, and then I didn't take advantage of the time, and then I didn't notice.

And then it was over.

So now I have to work again.

I know what to do--the GRAPES.
Be Gentle with myself.
Relax.
Accomplish something.
Do something Pleasurable.
Exercise.
Socialize.

For me, this time, this is going to mean gently forgiving myself for my weight, telling myself I'm beautiful, at least accepting that it will be a long road to my healthy weight.

I have to rest--read a book, watch TV, take a short nap. Write.

I have to keep going to work and getting work done while I am there.

I have to enjoy something each day--or at least do something I used to like. It might not make me feel pleasure, but it will remind me of the action that makes me happy. So I should get out there and take a walk, I should call a friend, I should smile...

Exercise. Run, walk, yoga, kickboxing, push-ups, sit-ups, something.

Socialize. Even interaction at lunch should count for me, but calling someone would be a great stride. Answering the phone.

OK. There. Now you know. I was gone because I started disappearing again. But my therapist caught me, and now I have to work on coming back into focus.


That was a lot to tell a bunch of strangers. But I am sitting on my couch in the dark, so it was kind of easy. jk (about the easy part) This blog has become something more than a journal or a link to friends. I know other people with similar medical disorders read this blog--this entry is for you.

Barack Obama wants us to live in service--every day--to the world. Maybe my service is going to be really close to home. I have to get healthy. I have to lead by example. I have to be there for Justin so he can be there for his patients so they can be there for their families so...

and I will write about it.