Tuesday, August 16, 2011

How are you?

It's easy to blog about feeling miserable.

But how do you enter a post saying, "Fine thanks, and you?"

Of course though, things aren't fine, but they're so much better that I haven't felt like writing because I felt awkward about saying I'm better. Things are a 7 out of 10--10 being best, 7, in my point of view, being C average. Which is better than a 5, but still not good enough.

So yesterday I went back to San Diego--the euphemism for going to see my therapist and psychiatrist.

I explained that I did OK when there was something to do--taking care of Ella, going on play dates (especially going on play dates), getting stuff done. But dropping her off at my mom's house to be taken care of for the day, having to drive for almost 4 hours total alone with my thoughts, no one to worry about in the backseat, that was hard.

There are times when I feel liberated by my alone time driving to San Diego. But when I'm in a low part of the Bipolar II cycle (which can take years to go around, or just days or hours or minutes--but right now years), I hate that I have to do this. I hate that I have to leave my girl. I hate that I have to take so much medicine. I hate that I can't just be normal.

Whatever that is.

The other night when I was tossing and turning because of Restless Leg Syndrome (a side effect of a medication that is working well on my mood but wreaking havoc on my body), I thought, "I wish I could just do a meds cleanse. That I could go off it all and feel great and then go back on little by little til the right combination was achieved."

But I know it doesn't work that way.

For one thing, this is me. I'm not some other person because I take my medicine, I'm who I am without the bizarre demons running through my head.

I'm just a person the way a diabetic on insulin is just a person. We watch our levels and live our lives just the same. 

Let's talk about Medicine A (I don't like to name them here because everyone reacts differently to meds and I don't want anyone starting or stopping something because of my experience with a drug).  Medicine A sucks. And it's saving my life.

Medicine A has the side effect of making me fat (it slows my metabolism, making me not the always-skinny girl I once was, skinny with or without exercise, no matter what I ate). It has the side effect of Restless Leg Syndrome, which makes it difficult if not impossible (depending on the night) for me to fall asleep.

And, wait for it...

It could make my face start moving with an involuntary muscle movement that will never stop.

So I want to go off Medicine A. Because I don't want to be The-Mom-With-The-Twitching-Face.

However, I also don't want to be the mom from my doctor's notes from 2008. The woman who couldn't get off the couch during the day, who was having nightmares, who had self-mutilation and suicidal ideation. Sooooooooo....

What would you do with Medicine A?

It's a very rare side effect, this twitching-face thing, but I'm rare. I'm on a cocktail of medicines that would make a junky joyous if he found my bottles.

There's the option of titrating me down from everything (woo-hoo! the cleanse!) and starting a new regime, but I could do really badly during the cleanse, and if the new regime didn't work, turning back to This Regime wouldn't necessarily work.

There's the option of lowering my dose of Medicine A, just to see if I can handle it, and raising my dose of medicine that stops my legs from going crazy at night.

Right now we're going with the latter.

So, for those of you who keep eyeing me with that question, "How are you doing?" lingering over our heads, an unvoiced curiosity, there you have it.

For the rest of you, I hope you'll still be my friend even though you've read my blog.

And, since I have a moment while Ella naps and Justin golfs, I'll let you know that my worries extend beyond my medication. As my beloved psychiatrist said, "Your world is bigger now. [So we can't just go changing your meds and seeing what happens, because there's Ella to think about.] But we also want you to enjoy that world."

I do love my world. I love my baby girl. I get so tired of chasing her around all day while she holds my finger like Linus holds his security blanket, but I also know there's going to be a day when she doesn't need to hold my finger any more, and that makes me wistfully sad. She won't always need me. But she does right now, and I have to be SO present for her.

Today I made macaroni and cheese for her lunch. She waited relatively patiently in her play yard while I "cooked" (seriously, it's just boiling water), and then she was so excited to see the bowl before her with her own little spoon in it.

She proceeded to eat by picking one shell at a time off the spoon and popping it into her mouth.

"This is going to take forever," I said aloud. I wished for my iPhone, for something to read, for a way to pass the time.

But unless I'm eating the same food as Ella, I'm not allowed to do anything while she is eating. She thinks I'm a mirror. Mommy's reading? I should, too.

So I watched her, and eventually she started taking more than one shell at a time, eventually she used her spoon and her fingers.

And eventually she started eating the cheese flavor off the noodles and then spitting them out.

Game over.

The kid is alright.

And so am I, as long as I don't have time on my hands to recruit historic thoughts and mull them over until they hurt.


Anonymous said...

Loved reading your blog today. I know we just met, but I wanted to say that I respect and admire you, even more so after reading about some of the issues you are faced with daily. It also made me think that although most of us do the basic mommy chit chat at play dates, there is so much more that we do not yet know about each other. --Shawna

40e3b692-4f48-11e0-8715-000bcdcb8a73 said...

"I hope you'll still be my friend even though you've read my blog." Olaina- I am MORE your friend BECAUSE I read your blog! Like I've told you before (or did I?), you made me realize that it is OK to be honest when others ask "how are you",it helps so much to be able to be honest with our friends and with ourselves..

Anonymous said...

"I hope you'll still be my friend even though you've read my blog." Olaina, I am MORE your friend BECAUSE I read your blog! Like I've told you before (or have I?), your blog made me realize (amongst other things)that it is OK to answer truthfully when others ask "How are you?", just like I did on you that day at Mother's beach, I gave you an earful, but you gave me the comfort I needed that day just by listening and nodding at the right times:)! I am not afraid of my feelings or voicing my feelings anymore, so empowering! Thanks for the small role you played in that!