Wednesday, December 16, 2009

To wander in the mind

So the hallucinations, or whatever they are, are beginning to freak me out a bit. I am reminding myself constantly that it is just a byproduct of fatigue, and nothing to get overly concerned with, but still, its a bit disconcerting, right? I rang case manager (M) today just to check in with somebody else and confirm it was not a major problem, as excrutiatingly difficult as it was to admit it to somebody else. She agreed with me, stating that basically whilst it was something to be concerned about and we needed to have a closer look at what we could do about sleep, it was not uncommon, and not something to freak out about. She acknowledged that I was pretty good at managing my sleep hygiene... that is all the little tricks of the trade one has to do nightly to ensure that your body is in an environment and conditions most optimal to sleep, so there is not really much to change there, I am already doing all the things I am supposed to.  She suggested that maybe I needed to back off on the harder stuff in therapy for a while. She also suggested that I need to acknowledge the affect of some of the stressors in my life rather than minimalise them, which is somewhat confusing because the whole gist of behavioural psychology seems to be to accept these stressors and continue to get on with things regardless, which is what I've been trying to do. I don't want to give myself any excuse to dive any lower than I already am emotionally. Predictabley she suggested I try to take a nap, which makes sense in theory, but was just not going to happen, as a) I was too wound up and b) It is too bloody hot here in the middle of the day. But I did spend another day (not doing uni work...sigh) trying to at least rest my body if I could not sleep, watching tv, taking a cool bath. I did however get up this arvo and do a bit of a cleanup around the house, as the mess was beginning to distress me. I'm going to head in and clean the bathroom in a minute now that it has started to cool down.

So I was somewhat reassured by her, but as usual for a little bit of extra reassurance I went and looked up sleep deprivation induced hallucinations. It was quite reassuring to read that hallucinations themselves are actually reasonabley common. The relationship between sleep and hallucinations was quite interesting too.

Research subjects who have undergone sleep deprivation experiments typically begin to hallucinate after 72–96 hours without sleep. It is thought that these hallucinations result from the malfunctioning of nerve cells within the prefrontal cortex of the brain. This area of the brain is associated with judgment, impulse control, attention, and visual association, and is refreshed during the early stages of sleep. When a person is sleep-deprived, the nerve cells in the prefrontal cortex must work harder than usual without an opportunity to recover. The hallucinations that develop on the third day of wakefulness are thought to be hypnagogic hallucinations that occur during "microsleeps," or short periods of light sleep lasting about one to ten seconds.-
Interesting tidbit... the word hallucinate comes from the Latin verb hallucinari, which means "to wander in the mind." Even our language for quite scary or offputting things is quite beautiful when you break it dowm. I guess I was/am concerned because my only other experiences with hallucinations before have been quite scary. I had some when stupid neurodoc put me on too high a dose of anti-epileptics many years ago and sent me toxic, and more scarily I had quite a lot of them after I overdosed in 2006, weeks of them in fact, and they were quite horrible ones, thinking the nurses were trying to kill me, seeing snakes, spiders and maggots slithering all over me. (There were others that were less scary, and slightly more amusing in retrospect, like believing someone was baking in the ICU, and the cookies were on fire, and jumping (falling) out of bed to extinguish it, ripping out all my ivs in the process, believing that I had a baby by surrogacy for my best friend, and getting quite upset that she wouldn't let me see it, seeing clocks dripping down the walls etc etc) but at the time it was a pretty horrific experience for me, and for those around me. But this is quite different, as I have stated previously, I still have at least one foot planted firmly in reality.

So, I have a meeting with Case Manager (M) tomorrow morning, when we will look at the sleep issues and see if there is anything else I can try. Part of me thinks maybe I should have kept the appointment with BabyDoc today, but I also know I just really wouldn't have handled it well at the moment. So I asked (M) not to worry about saying anything to the doctors until we see whether it gets worse or not. In the afternoon I have therapy with (D). I have emailed her with the gist of what is going on, and admitted to the little hallucination in her office, just so she is working with all the information, but I told her I really don't want to talk about it, so hopefully she will respect that. I think we should really just focus on how I am going to get through Xmas. And maybe talk about whether she thinks the therapy is getting a little too intense, or whether it is necessary to keep it at this level to make progress. That being said, I really don't feel like enagaging in either of these two appointments at the moment, am just not really feeling up to it, although paradoxically I am stressing about the absence of these appointments over the Xmas break, so I really can't win either way. But I am going to keep them, because everything else regardless, I always try to keep up my commitment to therapy, despite how I might be feeling on any given day. That way at the very least I can be assured that I am taking responsibility for ensuring I recieve the treatment/support I need. The appointment today with BabyDoc is actually the first mental health appointment I have ever missed, apart from those while I was hospitalised or sick, or a couple of individual sessions when I've been on holidays (which I always try to give (D) plenty of notice for.

I also am supposed to have a date with Bachelor Number One tomorrow night, which I really, really do not feel up to.... but I kind of blew him off last week, and then haven't really seen him this week, so I kind of feel like I can't pull out, especially since I'll be heading home for Xmas without him next week. (That aside we do have to have a little talk about expectations and boundaries... he is getting a little too demanding for my liking...)

Well, off to clean the bathroom (hey, I find it therapeutic! I was talking to someone the other week who mentioned sometimes she doesn't do the dishes for a whole week... I nearly died! :) That would send me into complete conniptions... I have to be at absolute rock bottom, cannot get out of bed in misery before I let that happen, that being said I have been letting the house slide a bit... I've just been too tired to do anything other than the bare necessities.) After that, I guess I'll try for another night to try and get some damned sleep. It is at the point where I actually am kind of welcoming the seizures when they happen (and they have increased in frequency) because at least they knock me out for a bit... its not 'proper' sleep, but its better than nothing. I really wish I could just have someone come and put me in a coma for a couple of days, or failing that, knock me out with a shovel or something!

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