Saturday, July 31, 2010

Driving under water ain't right!

I discovered today that I don't like tunnels. I mean, I really, really, truly despise tunnels!

See, we ventured over to the northern suburbs today. My lil sis ( also my current housemate), her bf (soon to be my new housemate) and I. Our journey across the river was to look at some of the suburbs to determine where we will be moving to when our lease runs out in a few months.

Now let me say here, I don't actually want to move. I like where we live. I like the freedom I have from me close to a major shopping centre and fantastic public transport into the city. I am comfortable with the people who work with me from the Mental Health district that services the south-eastern suburbs. I like my GP. I like my pharmacist. (When you are on as many medications as I am, and they are dispensed weekly, you develop quite the relationship with your pharmacist!) I can get to my volunteer job easily. I can visit my friends easily. It has become familiar and comfortable and workable. Sigh. But I also like (for the most part) living with Lil sis. I can't afford to live by myself and I would not cope moving into share accomodation with strangers. So, the time has come for compromise. She wants to move in with her bf. He works on the coast. He is prepared to move to the city to live with us, but in order for his work commute to be reasonable that means we need to live on the other side of the city. At first, they wanted to move to one of those "Lifestyle" gated communities, pretty much as far north as you can go and still claim to live in *our city*. You know the places, where they advertise how you'll rollerblade around the fake lake, and take walks every evening... blah blah. As if a physical move suddenly turns you into a fitter, healthier, relaxed, more active person. As if that's all it takes. Problem being, it would take me well over an hour just to get into the city centre.

So we are working on a compromise. Far enough north that bf is closer to work, and can get on the motorway avoiding too much heavy traffic in the morning. But closer to the city and public transport, so that I can stay independent and not totally isolated. It means I will have to move to a different Health District (but maybe by then I'll be discharged from the Mental Health service anyway?), find a new GP/Pharmacist, and getting to work and visiting friends will take a little longer. But it's a pretty fair compromise I guess. I just don't adjust to change very well. Sigh. The good news is that it is actually on the same side of town as my therapist, so if we get somewhere on the right busroute, the travel time there might be reduced.

Now I said we had to venture across the river. Thats not strictly true. Lil Sis had the bright idea that instead of taking the bridge, we should take the new, you-beaut tunnel they have built to bypass the city, that takes you under the river. It was horrible. My skin got clammy, I started hyperventilating, I felt totally trapped. Ugh. They spent a fortune on this tunnel bypass, but hardly anyone uses it, even though they've dropped the toll to try and increase the traffic. And now I know why. It's just not natural, driving under all that water. But lil sis thinks its great, because its cheaper than the bridge and you avoid the traffic. So on the way home we took it again. Ugh! It was not a phobia I was aware of until today, but its easily hit the "Top 5 Things that freak me the fuck out!" list.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Too lazy to write a post

After boasting about my superior intelligence yesterday (joking!) and because after three days straight of therapy sessions, I cannot be arsed to talk about today's, I have decided to put up a stupidity test in leiu of an actual blog post that would require thinking and stuff! I've never really done the meme thing on this blog before, and it definately won't be a regular feature, but hey, think of it as getting to know Ophelia time.

Feel free to ignore or read and laugh at me... whatever floats your boat.

✖]Stupidity Test: (Mark with an X)

[X] Gum has fallen out of your mouth when you were talking.
[  ] Gum has fallen out of your mouth when you were NOT talking.
[X] You have run into a glass/screen door.
[  ] You have jumped out of a moving vehicle.
[X] You have thought of something funny and laughed, realised you were the only one in the room laughing.

So far: 3 outta 5.. Not a great start... hmm

[  ] You have ran into a tree/bush.
[  ]  You know that it IS possible to lick your elbow.
[X] You have tried to lick your elbow.
[X] You never knew that the Alphabet and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star have the same rhythm.
[X ] You just tried to sing them.

So far: Ok.. another 3 outta 5... Actually despite my best attempts I can't lick my elbow... can anyone really?

[X] You have tripped on your shoelace and fallen.
[X] You have choked on your own spit. (AND SURVIVED!)
[  ] You have seen the Matrix and still don't get it.
[  ] You've never seen the Matrix.
[  ] You type only with two fingers.

So far: Getting better...2 outta 5, but I got out of the last one on a technicality... I type with 3 fingers!!

[X] You have accidentally set something on fire.
[X] You tried to drink out of a straw, but it went into your nose/eyes.
[X] You have caught yourself drooling.
[X] You've fallen asleep in public.
[  ] If someone says "fart" you laugh.

So far: Uh-oh...4 outta 5 and a flashback to tenth grade when I set the kitchen on fire dousing an oil-pan fire with water... the whole room had to be repainted. Now, the straw thing I do quite regularly, but an extra special trick was back in college when I tried to take a shot from a split shot glass and ended up with a nip of Black Sambuca in my eyes...Smooth mover!
[ ] Sometimes you just stop thinking.
[X] You are telling a story and forget what you were talking about
[ ] People are often shaking their heads and walk away from you.
[ ] You are often told to use your "inside voice".
[ ] You use your fingers to do simple math.

So far: He he... One outta five.. and that one shouldn't count because I am often on heavy duty psychotropic drugs!

[X] You have eaten a bug
[X] You are taking this test when you should be doing something more important.
[X] You have put your clothes on backwards or inside out, and didn't realize it.
[X] You've looked all over for something and realized it was in your hand.

So far: Oh dear... Four outta four...FAIL. Although pertaining to the first, its hard to avoid swallowing bugs when your are jumping out of a plane.. so not really stupidity...that being said.. jumping out of a plane when its your first time ever in an aeroplane... kinda stupid.. so I'll cop that point and shut up.

[ ] Your friends know not to use big words around you
[ ] You tilt your head when you're confused
[X] You have fallen out of your chair before

So far:  One out of three... but seriously, who above the legal drinking age hasn't fallen out of a chair. In the most memorable instance, my friend left me drunk and in a chair when she went to call us a cab from a party one time. When she came back I had dissappeared and she assumed I had headed back out to find more liquor at the bonfire... after fruitlessly searching she came back in and realised... yep, I had passed out and slid right off the chair under the table where I was curled up asleep... Ah to be young and still able to drink!

[X] When you're laying in bed, you try to find pictures in the texture of the ceiling (in my curtains actually)
[  ] The word "umm" is used many times a day.

So far: Oh that was my favourite passtime in the psych ward.... says more about the state of the wards OT programme then me, I think. One outta two

"I've done 19 stupid things out of 30"

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I think therefore I resist....

I am a person of reasonable intelligence. Some have said above average intelligence... I don't really know, there always seems to be people out there that are smarter... but my brain has certainly been a strong part of my identity and day to day functioning.

But is it getting in the way? Certainly, I have always known that I have a tendency to over-intellectualise issues as a way of calming the not so rational world of emotions. And in many ways, that's been a saving grace. I am able to rationalise away when people's actions hurt me, rather than acting out from a purely emotional stance, which enables me to save relationships. I am sometimes able to rationalise away unpleasant feelings or moods if they are making functioning in life difficult. It gives the distance needed to react in ways that are productive rather than destructive, ordered rather than disordered and chaotic, fair and rational rather than unfair and irrational. It's part of the grease on the wheels of civilisation, I feel. To act from the evolved, thinking part of the brain, rather than the animalistic instinctual parts, or the slightly more evolved, yet largely unconcious emotional parts of the brain.

But as an annoying American TV therapist would say..."How's that working for you?" Obviously not so well, (see multiple hospitalisations, bucket loads of medication, and three therapy sessions a week) There are things that can't be held in check by rationality and intellectualisation. I have to admit so much of what goes on in my mind has little to do with that small, evolved, intellectual part. And in order to deal with those uncontainable, unrationalisable little gremlins that are running about, I need to be able to talk about them in therapy in their native language... the language of emotions. I am book smart but my emotional intelligence is lacking, to be sure.

Obviously, this came up in therapy today. And maybe it does have a lot to do with why therapy has stalled a little or to reference my previous post become a little tedious. Because there isn't anywhere to go until I learn to speak from emotions. Ugh. I hate emotions. I often will sit there in session and think, I should be feeling something about this, and underneath it I am, I just often can't access it, or identify what it is. When (D) asks me "I wonder what you might be feeling right now?" and I say "I don't know" I am not being difficult, I just can't quite put my finger on it and name it. And then the one of the two basic feelings that I do see to be able to identify 'panic' and less often 'anger' flood in and override the more subtle emotions... sadness, despair, vulnerability, shame.... an endless list.

I seem to have gotten better at identifying the physical elements of the emotions and with (D)'s help linking them to a named emotion. Sadness sits around the jaw, tight and wound. Shame creates a bodily feeling of disconnection... a rejection of the physical self really. But still there is an inherent disconnect between the naming and basic somatic reactions and any deep understanding of what the emotion actually is.

Looking back at therapy sessions this evening, I have come to realise how much I employ intellectualisation as a defense mechanism. Arguing semantics, being pedantic as a form of deflection, looking for the flaw in each persuasive arguement my therapist makes, much as I used to try and tear apart the opposing teams position in High School debate. Not really caring so much about the position I am taking, but more about negating the position she takes. Deflect, deflect, deflect. Anything to keep her, and more importantly myself away from peering at the primal wounds. And so often I haven't even realised I am doing it.

But what do I do? How do I make myself drop this defence? Recognising it is a good first step, admitting it to (D) and allowing her to call me on it another good step. But beyond that... how do I speak this language I just don't understand? I don't know how to communicate these things. Even this blog post... entirely rational and intellectualised.

Let's give it a try... At the moment I feel... pretty tired (ok, so that's more physical)... hmm, a bit anxious... but my mind immediately jumped to rationalising that as the fact its late at night, which is the worst time for me so I generally feel a bit anxious at this time of night. Ok...why anxious? Nights are a time where I feel vulnerable, like I am open to attack, I feel quite childlike like a little kid terrified of the boogie man in the cupboard, 90% of you knows its not there, but the other 10% can't be that certain. Ashamed, because I am a grown woman who is still afraid of childish things like the dark and the monsters that inhabit it. Fearful... it always sits in the pit of my stomach until dawn breaks or I fall asleep. Sigh. I don't know. Is that the way you do it? Maybe typing them isn't the way to acknowledge the feelings. Maybe I would be best to just lie quietly and let them come, yep thats fear, that's what it feels like, now let it flow on and feel what comes next? Maybe thats one way to start learning this language in a way that's more about understanding then just knowing the words. Does that even make sense?

I am so confused right now... and I really don't know how to start chipping away through this so we can start doing the things we need to be doing in therapy.

Peace and love

Monday, July 26, 2010


Tedium: The quality or condition of being tedious; tediousness or boredom.
[Latin taedium, from taedre, to weary.]

Therapy was ok today. Unsuprisingly, some of the content focussed around the conversation we had about Borderline Personality last session, and the feelings this aroused. We spoke a little about the split between the purpose of the Public Mental Health team (my PsychDoc and Case Manager) and her, my private therapist. She purported that there should be no split, and anything that was impacting on me re: Public Health, was important to consider in therapy as well. More specifically, I had stated that I wasn't really all that interested in discussing the Borderline diagnosis with her, as I didn't feel that it impacted in anyway on the therapeutic process... PH was the place where diagnosis, medication and day to day coping skills were paramount, and therapy was more for understanding the motivations behind behaviours. I kind of felt like we were wasting time talking about it.

As the conversation continued, evidently I let out a rather large sigh. Cue thera-speak... "I wonder what is going on for you right now, behind that sigh?" (Sidenote: Why can't they just talk normally? How often do you say to the average person "I wonder why you chose this movie"? Just ask directly...I can take it, and its a little less irritating) Anyway, I told her that I was just feeling a bit fed-up. Not with her particularly, just with therapy in general. Walking into the room three times a week, and talking about things that more often than not recently, feel pretty unimportant. It felt tedious, and I didn't particularly, in that moment want to be there.

This resulted in an examination of what tedium was, was it felt like and when I had felt  it before... a conversation that in itself felt pretty tedious.

The thing is... I don't feel like it is that important to look at in any great depth. For any human there comes times whether it be in relationships or work, where the act of doing the same or similar thing over an over again created a tedious feeling. It's natural, but it passes. Something will happen, that will break the monotony and spark a new engagement. In therapy, sometimes it is just the tedious task of poking around and hitting all the boring, non-painful areas for a while, until you hit a raw spot... and then the tedium breaks and there is room for growth or new insights. The only time I think the feeling of tedium is particulalry worriesome is if it persists and nothing sparks that break, or if you react to the tedium in a maladaptive way ie. this therapy is boring and wearisome in this exact moment, so I'm going to quit and never come back.

Sure the feeling is certainly a signpost in the therapeutic space that we're a bit off track, but if we keep pushing on eventually we'll get back on track again. IMO. Not a big deal. But everything must be examined within an inch of its life, whether important or not... so we'll be continuing this conversation in therapy tomorrow, no doubt, as we ran out of time today.

Re-reading this post it has a slightly snarky quality... but you know, I'm just a bit fed up. It will pass.

The mighty mighty benzo

Aside from the diagnosis issues to discuss with PsychDoc on Tuesday, we are also looking to start withdrawing me from the Serepax. A little scary, but I'm really keen to try. Ultimately, research has proven that Benzodiazepams are really not the best drugs to be on long term... and I have been on one or another benzo for the past 10 years. My first script was Temazepam, which did sweet f.a., to be honest. That was followed by a brief affair with Valium, but we parted ways after just two doses as it made me feel incredibly disconnected from myself and the world and nauseous and dizzy to boot. Xanax was my buddy for a good number of years, but that was cut short by the Psych after my admission to hospital last year, when they changed me over to Serepax, as it was longer acting. I only ever took the Xanax to stem off major panic attacks, so pretty much left to my own devices, I would often go weeks without taking any, and when I did, it would just be one or two. When they changed me to Serepax to help with anxiety and insomnia I was prescribed 3 doses a day.... so in the end, even though the Public Health System doesn't like Xanax, as being shorter acting, its more likely to be abused, I have actually ended up taking more benzos under their guidance than when left to my own discretion... oh well. In addition to this, I take Clonazepam twice a day in conjunction with my anti-epileptic meds. So yeah, me and benzos? Old Pals!

I can't stop taking the Clonazepam as it helps significantly with my seizure threshold. But I never intended to be on the Serepax for this long, particularly taking it three times a day. And I've been bringing up the idea of ceasing it for about 6 months now, but there always seemed to be some crisis or upcoming event that made it advisable to hold off on cessation. But things have evened out a lot more over the last two months or so, so it is time to try.

Dr F is quite supportive of this, and is open to discussing the ways in which we can best taper it down. There are a few inherent issues. Usually they switch out the serepax with valium, and then taper off the valium, but as mentioned, Valium is no friend of mine, so I've chosen to taper down with out any crossovers. We also have to be careful, as withdrawing off Benzos can lower the seizure threshold for a while, but I have some room to play with my Epilim Dosage, which should hopefully counteract this.

I'm on the lowest dose for each of the three doses... 7.5mg, which is half a tablet each time... so it doesn't leave much room to half the dosage. So, we figured that I will just start skipping the lunchtime dose to begin with. I've had a bit of a trial run last fortnight, and whilst I definately felt more agitated and anxious in the afternoon, it was certainly manageable. Because I'm on weekly meds, Dr F wants to make sure I have enough tablets each week so that I can take the lunchtime tablet if I need to. But she's also quite rightly concerned about me hoarding them. Frankly it would be a temptation... not because I'm suicidal right now, but because Ive been on weekly meds and thus without the safety blanket of stored meds for so long now. When she expressed her concern, I admitted I wasn't quite sure if I trusted myself. So, I'm going to propose she writes ONE script with the extra dose (adding up to 3 and a half extra tablets, nothing I can do with that), and I will give the extras to my sister to mind, unless I need them. And after that she writes the script for just two dose, unless we discuss otherwise. I know part of recovery is being responsible for my own well being, but part of being responsible, I believ, is knowing the areas you can't yet be trusted and asking for help.

So, she has talked to me about how important it is to withdraw slowly... but frankly I didn't think it was going to be too huge a deal. I mean I did ok for those couple of days last fortnight, and although I've been on this particular Benzo for nearly a year, its a reasonably low dose, and I still have the Clonazepam and my anti depressant in my system. But then I made the mistake of looking up Benzo Withdrawal....oh, internet, sometimes you are a Pandoras Box!... Some of the side effects of withdrawal allegedly include:
abdominal pains, aching, agoraphobia, anxiety, blurred vision, body vibrations, changes in perception, diarrhea, distended abdomen, feeling of unreality, flu-like symptoms, flatulence, food cravings, hair loss, heart palpitations, heavy limbs, increased allergies, increased sense of smell, insomnia, lethargy, loss of balance, metallic taste, muscle spasms, nightmares, panic attacks, paranoia, persistent & unpleasant memories, severe headaches, shaking, short term memory loss, sore mouth and tongue, sound & light sensitivity, speech difficulties, sweating, suicidal thoughts, tinnitus, unusually sensitive, fear
This was one of the shorter lists. On some sites, there are those who seem to hold it responsible for everything from cavaties to the hole in the ozone layer... I don't know, its hard to find accurate information. I mean flatulence? Seriously? I think even when the side effects are written up on legitimate sited, the information is still derived from patient reporting, and there is a population of patients who just make the weirdest connections in their minds between vague somatic complaints and medications. Its hard to know which ones are valid. And then of course there is the fact its all planted in my mind.... you start thinking maybe my ears are ringing just a little, oooh and my mouth is dry, definately dry and that light is getting a bit bright for my eyes. Short story, I would have been better off not looking it up. And I know this from past experience... so why do I continue to do it? Sigh. We will just wait and see what the next week brings...

And in the meantime... if I do cut the cheese... I can just blame it on my benzo withdrawl, instead of the long suffering, unfairly maligned cat :P

Friday, July 23, 2010

Hurt and confused

So. It rears its head again. Borderline Personality Disorder. I was at an appointment with my GP on Tuesday, and we were looking for the latest letter from the PsychDoc. My GPs computer is set up so that the patient can actually see information as it is pulled up. I don't know why, and I'm kind of wishing now that it didn't. Anyway, she pulled a letter that turned out to be from last year when I was with BabyPsychDoc Douchebag, rather than the lovely Dr F that I see at the clinic now. And the top line stated (I'm not sure of it verbatim) basically that patient has diagnosis of PTSD and Borderline Personality Disorder (although patient has expressed discontent over the latter diagnosis). Sigh. Patient did not express 'discontent', patient was never actually formerly given the diagnosis, tested for the diagnosis or had it explained in any way. Patient only found out about the diagnosis attached to her name when she saw it in the hospital records whilst in a neurologist appointment. Patient tried to (rather calmly and rationally, I may add) ask for confirmation and justification of this new added diagnosis, only to be met with noone who would actually admit to being the one to put said diagnosis in her file!

That was last September. Although it pissed me off, I let it go, because a) it didn't seem to be impacting in anyway on my course of treatment (as stated before BabyPsychDoc at the time was a complete and utter douchbag for many reasons, a classic line of his was "you seem to be doing better, but its always hard to tell with 'you people' WTF? But I was changed to seeing the Consultant Psych, until the new registrar replaced him,  and she is really quite good) and b)to confront it to aggressively would be to affrim the stereotypes that surround the diagnosis...we wouldn't want a female patient who is actually proactive about her mental health treatment and advocates for herself now would we?

This time, I was pissed and I wanted to do something about it. First, this is now outside of hospital records and in my general medical records which follow me forever, having a chronic medical condition, I need to keep my medical records intact, and although current GP is lovely and it doesn't affect the way she treats me at all, there are others in the medical field who will stigmatise based on this diagnosis...thats just the sad truth of it. If I'm ever in a court case (God knows for what?) it can be supnoead (sp?) If I wanted to adopt etc etc...none of these are issues at the moment, but when you are thinking of something that follows you FOREVER. Second, it creates a distrust in the mental health system I'm supposed to derive support from. It is blatent dishonesty. What other diagnosis would it be acceptable to just sneak into somebody's records and NEVER discuss it with them. How am I supposed to trust what they say with such a fundamental omission in play. This is how it should be. Clinician sees signs and symptoms of a particular disorder, they test their hypothesis against the DSM and through testing. (I've never undergone any of the accepted tests for Borderline diagnosis ie Perry Borderline Personality Disorder Scale) and once they are supported in their diagnosis, they then (here's the important part) sit down with the patient, share their findings and opinions, explain the diagnosis and share the current treatment plan.

I'm not saying that I flat out refuse to accept such a diagnosis. I have issues with the diagnosis itself on conceptual grounds. 5 out of 9 criterion to meet the Disorder. Two people can share 1 symptom and be diagnosed with the same disorder. Statistically there are over 2000 variations of criterion combination that could justify a diagnosis. It just seems to be a very broad brushstroke to me. And any diagnosis that has a 75% female, 25% male split certainly has to be examined in the light of sociological context. That is, behaviour accepted as normal for men, being pathologised in females. Takes us right back to Ancient Greek times when women were thought to suffer from "wandering wombs". It is not at all a far reach to say the broadness of this diagnosis has led to it being used as a wastebin for "difficult" female patient who have the audacity not to respond to the righteous treatment of hubristic practioners, because of course it could not be that their treatment is actually inadequate. And the stigma that comes from such a diagnosis just serves to marginalise and suppress a population that quite often has already had a lengthy history of marginalisation and mistreatment, and should be treated with empathy and understanding. Does Borderline Personality Disorder exist? Most certainly. And it can debilitating for those who do classically fit the criteria. I read some fantastic blogs from people who have accepted this diagnosis, and find it to be helpful in explaining why they see and engage in the world the way they do. Does it automatically apply to anyone with an XX chromosome that self harms? According to the DSM it shouldn't..... but in reality it does.

So, jumping off my soapbox now. Because this is about me. Does it apply to me? My gut says no. After extensive reading, my mind says no. But I am reasonable and open to hearing the professionals opinions. If I can get them to talk to me. I spoke to my Case Manager (another lovely lady) this morning during our appointment and told her what I had seen, and let her know that I was going to bring it up at my appointment with Dr F on Tuesday, that I just wanted to get all of it out in the open, rather than it being dealt with in an underhanded way. I have no idea if it is the enduring opinion of the professionals or just the work of Dr Douchebag. I was just letting her know in case she wanted to be at the appointment, as she has been my Case Manager since the time of Dr Douchebag when this letter was written. She was quite supportive about it, without ever actually saying whether or not she agreed with the diagnosis. She is a psychologist and they can't actually diagnose here in Australia, and really I guess its probably not her place to speak for the team. I think she understood my frustration about the manner in which it was handled, although she did express how incredibly difficult it is to get something like that removed from one's record. I think she still felt it was important for me to find out once and for all, and to feel like there was a transparency in my treatment and not a me versus them thing going on. She also said that if it were her, given the implicit stigmas that can be attached to this particualr diagnosis she would want to ensure that it was thoroughly assessed and valid before it was attached to her file. So all in all, a positive response, and I am sure it will be the same with Dr F. Not necessarily that they will agree with me, but that they will at least be open and honest with me about it... and that's all I ask.

But then.

I went to therapy. (D) is a private psychologist, with no link to the public system. She asked what had been going on over the last few days, and I let her know, about my talk with (M) and the upcoming appointment with Dr F. Now, keep in mind, I didn't actually ask her whether she thought I had this disorder. Why? Well, first because she has stated before that she feels that there is overly too much emphasis on labels and that it takes away from the ability to truly 'see' the person. And second, because I didn't want to know. Seems a bit hypocritical, no? I want full disclosure from the Public Health professionals, but I don't want to know what my therapist thinks? And maybe it is. But her opinion is NOT written down in my records, she cannot officially diagnose me, so her opinion can't hurt me in that sense. But it can sure as hell hurt me in a more practical sense. Unfortunately, I guess by bringing up the conversation she assumed I wanted to know her opinion, and I did nothing to dissuade her from that assumption. Totally my fault. Well, 99% my fault. So she proceeded to give me her take. First, labels tend to be more of a distraction from seeing and understanding the person (see I do know her!), second that she has issues with Borderline Personality as a disorder, for similar reasons to what I mentioned above. But that she does believe that people can suffer from (and I'm paraphrasing) a disorder of their sense of self... I do love how she believes that semiotics make much of a difference at all. And apparantly, a good part of her studies, she focussed on Borderline Personality (a disorder she has issues with, so I'm a little confused) And she does think that some of the criterion I don't think I fulfill, I actually kind of do. For instance, abandoment issues. I certainly don't display the traditionally thought of "Borderline" behaviours around it... ie lack of Object Constancy etc... but that you can't have the experiences I did in infancy and childhood, and not have abandonment issues. She admitted she couldn't quote the DSM verbatim, and would have to have a look at it, and would be happy to bring it in and go through it with me. At this point, I had gotten pretty quiet.... and yes, a little hurt and upset. I told her that I didn't want her to bring it in, and in fact, I hadn't asked her opinion. At which point she stated "I'm a little confused", to which I replied "Me too".

So that's the sum of it. I think I would have been better not knowing her opinion. And now I'm kind of stuck between not wanting to know anymore and needing her to actually explain her position because I don't know if she thinks I have it or not, and now its the elephant in the room. And yeah, my feelings got hurt. But I also have to buck up and be prepared to face the truth, whatever that is, and part of that is being prepared to listen to others opinions. So i think I need to hear her out in full, and of course (M) and Dr F as well, and then test those opinions against my own. Afterall, logically, living with a mental illness, whatever it may be, can distort ones own perceptions and insight. It doesn't mean I have to just unreservedly accept others opionions, but, if they've shown themselves to be trustworthy, and they have taken the time to know me, and try to understand me, which all three of these women have, then I should at least listen.

So, for now, I'm left hurt and confused

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Itty Bitty Tanties

Ok, so maybe I threw a little, eensy, weensy, tiny tantrum in therapy today. Highlights included telling her to back off, stop patronising me, screwing up my fists and lasping into a sulky, scowling silence for the last 15 minutes or so of the session. And yes, it probably is still a good thing therapeutically, working through transference issues and having the chance to experience and express (however clumsily) anger in the safe containment of the therapy room. But ultimately I'm left feeling like quite a prat, and am feeling quite embarrassed at the prospect of going back. And I maintain, for today at least, THERAPY SUCKS BALLS.

Had my PsychDoc appointment, and it went pretty well. We're going to put off the benzo withdrawal for a fortnight or so. With the current little slump I'm experiencing, its just better to wait until things stabilise a little. But then hopefully, we'll start a slow withdrawal process, and sometime (in the hopefully near future) I will be completely off the Serepax.

Other than that I'm just trying to focus on keeping a positive attitude. Its just a little slump and it will pass. It doesn't mean that things are spinning out of control. I will sleep again. And I will feel happy again. This too will pass.

Spoke to Case Manager (M) and she said to give her a call if things continue to be a bit down, otherwise I will see her next week. I guess a part of me just doesn't want to admit to them how low I am feeling, because I want to be able to handle it myself, there isn't really any particular problem that they can help address, and probably a little bit of pride as well.... I was doing so well, I hate that I wasn't able to keep it up.

Anyway, Lil Sis and I got some boxed we'll be watching Outrageous Fortunes, True Blood, and the first season of Glee for the forseeable future.

Peace and love


Argggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggh! Therapy sucks balls. That is all.

Monday, July 12, 2010

I don't wanna and you can't make me, so there!

So feeling much better. Sleep seems to be slowly improving which is fantastic. Had a bit of a funny converstion with Lil Sis this evening:
Me: Why is it that the "Woman's Day" (an Aussie Magazine) is only released weekly and the "Woman's Weekly" is only released monthly?
Lil Sis: Well, it wouldn't sell very well if they called it "Woman's Monthly"
Me: Touche, Grasshopper, Touche....

Therapy was interesting today. We got talking about my little irrational crying jag on Saturday night. I mentioned that I knew what had triggered it off (a movie I was watching) but that wasn't really the reason I kept crying. The crying jag was completely out of proportion with what I had seen. That being said, I really wasn't entirely sure of what was behind it... but it was more than what I had seen on the TV. Here is where it got a bit tricky, because obviously her next question was what I had been watching that upset me. And I didn't want to tell her. She assumed it was because I was embarrassed and I let her think that. But it was actually not that at all. The truth was, I knew if I told her what it was, she would read way more into it than was necessary, and we would be caught up in a conversation I didn't want to have. I'll share it with you, my dear readers. The movie I was watching was "MASH- the movie", quite an oldie. The scene that upset me was when Hawkeye was in a bus, trapped behind enemy lines, and they were trying to keep as quiet as they could so the soldiers wouldn't know they were there. But there was one Korean woman with a baby that wouldn't stop crying and was putting them all at risk of being found. So in desperation, she smothered the baby to death. It was really quite horrible. And of course if I shared this with (D) than what direction do you think the conversation would take. Mother who sacrifices her child for her own survival. Easy to see where that would lead to in a therapy situation.

So, I didn't tell her. Which she accepted, but of course then we had to examine why I didn't want to tell her. Sigh. I felt myself digging my heels in even harder, which was not helpful and really, I was starting to annoy myself. I felt like a petulant child. But I also didn't feel like I could do anything about it. I knew I was being childish, but I couldn't stop myself. So I did the next best thing. I talked to (D), she pulled the old therapy chestnut "what's going through your head right now". And I answered honestly, that I felt like I often was behaving like a petulant child, and that I didn't know how to stop myself, and be open and less stubborn so that we could actually have productive session. We spoke about it for a while, and she posited that when a child behaves like that it is away of them creating that seperation of self from a parent, and maybe I was doing it to create that seperation of self from her in the therapeutic process. Which annoyingly, made sense. Freaking transference. If I was to talk about this process to any of my friends, they would just think its bloody weird. And it is. But it is helpful. Sigh.

Anyhow. I'm applying to volunteer in the children's ward across from the RMH, which I think is a good step toward filling my life with productive and meaningful stuff. Job Hunt 2010 still goes on. Hopefully I should hear back from the Disability Employment Ofiicer soon. Tomorrow, I've got therapy again and then an appointment with Psych Doc. And then in the afternoon Lil Sis and I are going to go shopping for new DVD BoxSets to keep us entertained. Any suggestions?

Peace and Love

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I've been thinking....

I have quite a few blogs that I read through Google reader. Some are other "mentals", some are more information based sites, humor sites etc etc. I love flipping open my laptop to see what awaits me in my Google reader each day, and there are a few blogs I get quite excited about when I see a new post in my tool bar. The blogs I read give me a number of different things... laughs, a feeling of "i'm not alone" and "oh, you too?", some inspire, some fill me with awe.... and recently, one in particular has been invoking a sense of "what the?"

Of course, its kind of a given in the Blogosphere that people write their own reality and sometimes that doesn't match up with ... let's say, reality reality. And people may tweak parts of their persona they are not happy with or are ashamed of. But what I really don't get are the people who out and out lie.

Especially about mental illness. Like its a badge of honor. A contest to see who can appear to be the most screwed up. Who has the absolute worst life. Newsflash. Mentalism is nothing to be ashamed of... but its certainly not a bowl of cherries, either. And why put so much effort into fabricating such an elaborate lie. Especially since, like most lies, it becomes more and more transparant as time grows on.

Certainly I tend to suspend my disbelief for the most part. Its a messed up world, and people certainly have unique histories and experiences, that I can barely fathom... but that doesn't make them any less real. This is the first time that my BS-meter has just sounded such loud alarms that I can no longer ignore the discomfort I feel reading this blog. I approach each knew post with a sense of trepidation and "what now?". I leave feeling insulted and patronised that this individual expects me to swallow the bollocks they are posting.

I guess its not restricted to the internetz. I have found myself simarly discombobulated when meeting people on the psych ward. ON THE PSYCH WARD! Why the hell would you take the charade of mental illness to the extent that you get yourself admitted, indeed actively seek admission, to a psych ward? It boggles my mind. But there have certainly been situations when I know, the other patients know, hell, the staff even knows these 'patients' are full of crap. Other patients certainly seem to be better than the staff at assessing who the 'fakers' are. But a person says the magic words "I'm suicidal" or "I hear voices", and they have to admit them. The first time at least. And for sure, often we can put on the most fabulous of fronts despite how crappy we feel. Certainly often the safety of the ward and the acceptance of the patient milleau is therapeutic and leads to positive lifts in the mood and symptoms of an individual. But don't tell me that you are barely sleeping at all because of your mania, when I walk past your room every night to hear your snores reverbrating down the corridor. When you miss every single breakfast because you are sleeping in. When you spend two hours talking perfectly normally and fluently to me, only to put on rapid speech and attempt to model disordered thoughts when a nurse sits and talks to you. You aren't that good an actress.

Why does it bother me? I mean really it doesn't affect me in the slightest. Well, it is somebody who is draining already limited resources and directing them away from people that need them, I guess. But I also guess that even if these people don't have the mental illnesses they claim to have, there is certainly something going on there to require such (and God, I hate this phrase, but I can't think of another) attention-seeking behaviour!  And, for sure, I would rather a bunch of people who don't need the help recieve it, than one person who really does need it get pigeon holed with the attention seeking label and not get the help they need. But that's part of the problem. These people with their foolishness, create such an atmosphere of skeptacism and mistrust between mentals and the MH professionals, that people in need do fall through the crack. So many of you in the blogosphere are examples of this. The cynacism and unhelpfulness of those whose jobs it is to help. But I can imagine being taken for a ride over and over again, it must eventually wear down even the most caring of professionals!

Sigh. I don't know. Really, I just need to learn to let it slide off and not bug me so much. As much as it feels incredibly insulting.. its not directed at me. And in the end, I don't have to read it, I don't have to listen. So I won't. I've deleted this particular blog and their caricaturised, overdramatic, histrionic postings from my reader. Maybe I'm wrong about them... but me not reading won't hurt them any, and it will make me feel better.

How do you guys deal with people (on the internet or real life) who set your BS alarm into overdrive with their "mentalism?" Not the people who just misuse the terms 'depression' and 'anxiety' but those who seem to actively construct lies and grossly exaggerate and fabricate?

Musings on dependency

I have spent a lot of the last 12 months in therapy terrified of becoming overly dependant on (D)'s support and the therapeutic process. The psychodynamic therapy we are undertaking is somehow a lot more confrontational in this aspect than my previous therapy ever was. Whether this is indicative of a different type of therapeutic alliance or the difference in therapeutic orientation, I'm not sure. Perhaps a little form column a and a little from column b?

Trust and attachment are intrinsically intwined with dependency in my mind. If I allow myself to be open enough with a person, to share parts of myself and allow myself to accept and derive comfort from the relationship between us, if I allow myself to believe, that maybe, just maybe... I can trust that this person is going to stick around and not turn from the 'darker' aspects of me and my life... if I can believe that any of this is possible, than certainly I would want it, need it even and I wouldn't want to let it go. Always that belief that I would overwhelm people with my needs if ever I was to allow them to show.

Dependency, of course has developed a bit of a bad rap. Even amongst some of the MH professionals who really should be able to look at the issue a little less simplistically. Dependency is for infants and children, as adults we should apparently be able to look out for ourselves. At least this is the message we are given. In the public health system, "service users" may find themselves fighting and (sometimes losing) to access the services that they feel they need. The MH system creates an atmosphere of fear, fear of dependency on hospitalisation, fear of too much dependency on individual professionals, fear of dependency on medication, fear of dependency on benefits... the list goes on and on. And some of them are valid fears in certain situations. But the blanket, knee jerk reaction to these, and the suggestion that any form of dependency is regressive and not mentally healthy is unhelpful.

Yes, for some people and it some situation hospital can foster an unhealthy dependence on an 'unreal' world.  I think that's a possibility for anyone who is hospitalised. The world outside can feel scary and unsafe and full of decisions, that to suspend those responsabilities and know that you are at least physically safe for a while is certainly tempting. And it can be hard to know when you are actually 'able' to handle these things in the real world on your own. And of course, we have all heard the blanket dictate that anyone with a personality disorder will not benefit from hospitalisations (never mind if they have co-morbid depressions, suicidal ideations, psychosis etc) It's such a simplistic approach.Each situation should be looked at individually, rather than unbendable policies being enforced because of the bad rap of dependency. I myself have never had any issue really with accessing hospital care, but I read all the time about blogger friends who do, because of their labels, and it just seems so stupid to me.

Whilst I have not had much trouble accessing hospital care, my fears around dependency spring up in other areas. Dependency on medication. Now this is a funny one. Because whilst the MH professionals seem to make such a huge deal (rightly so) about the addictiveness of the benzos, it doesn't prevent them from dosing me up with them, and everytime that I have started to try and reduce my dosages, it has been at my suggestion rather than theirs. So on the one hand they help to create this fear of dependency, but on the other hand they continue to hand me medication, at times (not so much lately) it feels like hand over fist.

Within Case Management in the Public Mental Health system, I did undergo a little bit of stress at the end of last year in regards to being discharged from the service. The accepted thinking of the service is that they want to a) develop the individual's ability to soothe, contain and problem solve themselves and b) create a system of support that is community based rather than based on the mental health system. Fantastic in theory. But what I have found is that even while focusing on my ability to soothe, contain and problem solve myself, there are times when I am able to do this and times when it is a bit harder. In relation to developing community support, its great in theory, but the reality is that the average 'everyday' person is just not equipped with the skills, experience or ability to distance themselves as MH professionals are. So, some dependency on the service is necessary, and unless my MH issues disappear, potentially this dependency will exist for quite a while. But it waxes and wanes. I don't feel the need to pick up the phone and ring my case manager for every little issue (or even some of the big issues), we have cut contact back to once a fortnight, unless something comes up and that will probably reduce even further as things continue to go well. So, I think I am dependent on their being their as a safety net, but I don't feel its an unhealthy dependency.

Then we get to therapy, ah....therapy. The dependency that can be fostered in therapy is probably the scariest, because (D) has so much information I have trusted her with, so much insight into my thought processes and feelings, that she really has the potential to hurt me big time. She is a person who consistantly supports, holds (emotionally) and cares about me. Encourages me and helps me to learn. Sound familiar? Yup, as much as I hate to admit it, she has taken on a somewhat motherly role in my life.  And what happened with the last mother in my life? Let's see... I was a dependent infant, and she was emotionally and physically absent due to her PND. She entered into a realationship with a violent alcoholic and allowed him to physically and emotionally hurt her babies, once again failing those who were dependent on her for protection She then (as a way of coping) withdrew entirely from those dependents abandoning them into an environment where secrets and darker, traumatic abuses could take place. So.... yeah.... feeling dependent + a person who acts in a motherly fashion = big fears of reenactments of past traumas and let downs for me. I do a dance with (D) of throwing up my cast iron shell, and letting in tumble and letting her in. Is the dependency I'm experiencing with her a bad thing? From a psychotherapeutic aspect of course all the transference issues that are brought up allow for great opportunities to explore, reexperience positively and grow. But she is not my mother, and I am no child. What kind of dependence is reasonable and sustainable? I guess this is where the boundaries come in. And (D) is pretty good at making those clear and keeping to them I guess. Sessions are consistently within the same frame. Time, structure, she's never late, always dependable. Contact outside of session is thoughtful and purposeful, whilst still flexible enough around times of crisis. The other big hurdle was me. Accepting that I need this woman, that I rely on her and thats ok. But I still keep my eyes open, still put all information and suggestions through my own validity tests and don't rely on her for *all* of my emotional needs, because a) she is only human and b) as important a part of my life as she is at the moment, by very defination she will not/should not be around for ever, and will never be a solid presence in my real day to day life. And that ,I am beginning to realise, is a healthy dependency

Friday, July 9, 2010

P.S. My therapist rocks

You know, I'm pretty damned tired. I couldn't seem to even nap today. Everytime I got close to sleep, I was overwhelmed by a flood of panic. But, it's ok. It really is. Because this feeling is finite, it won't last forever, and even now, it starting to abate. I think a lot of this is down to finally really beginning to feel 'held' as much as I hate to use such thera-speak. Thinking on it a while, I think even though I really didn't much enjoy the phone sessions with (D) while I was away, and found it incredibly difficult to feel comfortable with, it did finally drive home the idea to me, that for as long as I need, wherever I am, whether things are going incredibly bad or incredibly good, she will be there for me. She has told me this repeatedly since I began therapy, just stopping short of translating it into multiple languages and performing an interpretive dance, to make her point. But I guess, it just finally clicked. (Shucks, I haven't got trust issues at all, huh?) And knowing that I have that support, really knowing it, makes it easier for me to support and soothe myself. Like at the moment. (D) called me this afternoon to check in on how I was doing. And that was good. I felt acknowledged and validated and not so alone. She asked whether I wanted her to check in over the weekend, and I thought about it for a while, and realised I didn't think I would need her to. I am comfortable in the knowledge she is there if I fall, and somehow that leads to me being comfortable enough that I can try it on my own.

So yeah, things are a wee bit sucky right now. But that's ok... this too will pass! And really for the first time, I have 100% certainty that choosing psychodynamic therapy was the right choice, and it really is slowly but surely helping me grow.

Peace and Love

Not such a great day

Yesterday was hard. And I guess a little bit of a shock to the system after a period of relative good moods. We so quickly become accustomed to it: the good moods, the lack of agitation, the good sleep, that when things take a bit of a slide, even if it is nowhere as bad as it has been before, you kind of feel it even worse because of the contrast. But I am trying very hard not to let it turn into a snowball effect.

I was up early for the ultrasound appointment, making sure I had enough water to drink and taking the higher dose of anti-anxiety meds to get through it. Having (S) come along proved to be a good thing, not just as a safety thing with the increased meds, but also just as a bit of distraction. She did offer to come into the consulting room with me, but I refused... taking our friendship just that step to far into the intimate, methinks. But it was nice of her to offer. I was pretty lucky with the tech that I got. I explained without going into much detail that this was a difficult test for me to have due to past trauma, and she was very good about explaining things step by step, taking it very slow and offering to stop if it got too much. She also tried to engage me by talking throughout the test, although this was not very effective as I found (as a coping mechanism, I think) that I was drifting in and out of the moment. Not full blown dissasociation, but certainly it was there to some degree. Probably exacerbated by the medication. It did trigger a lot of flashback type episodes which continued on after the appointment.

I got home and headed straight off to bed for a little bit, but found that I was pretty damned agitated and resting was pretty impossible. I felt quite disconnected, emotional and fuzzy. (Medication? Flashbacks? Probably a combination of both) I wasn't sure how I was going to handle catching public transport to get to my therapy session. After the brouh-ha a few months ago about missing sessions, I find it pretty hard to justify missing sessions, I never know if its a good enough reason. In the end I called (D) my therapist and she pushed the appointment back a little for me, (S) came to the rescue once again and drove me across town for the appointment. In my eyes it wasn't a very productive session. I spent the majority of it wrapped up in a blanket, and to be honest I don't really remember that much about what we talked about.

It's time to be proactive. The girls stayed last night which was a good way to get me back into the present and stay there. We had a girly night chatting and laughing and then woke up for bacon and eggs this morning. (M) my case manager and I had a phone meeting, which went pretty well. She's pretty pleased with my progress in general, as am I. She is going to make a referral to the employment officer in the service. We also touched briefly on creating a proactive plan for how I am going to deal with "D-Day anniversary" in September. I'm going to have a think about it ( but not dwell!!) Whether I want to just try making it through with a little extra support (phonecalls etc) or whether we should do a planned admission. A lot of it will come down to how I do in general over the next 6 weeks or so. If things remain as stable as they are, perhaps this year the anniversary wont be as much of a struggle.

(D) is going to do a check in call this afternoon, as I wasn't doing so great yesterday. (S) and I are going to catch a movie tomorrow and then I have a shift at RMH on sunday. I'm determined not to let htis hiccup ruin my good streak.

Peace and Love

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Attacked by a Ninja Nap

I got attacked by a Ninja nap this afternoon. Has a bit of a rough night sleeping-wise last night and then I had to be up quite early for Neuro this morning, so when I got home I had a bit of a rest that ended up being a four hour sleep. Ooops! Napping during the day is not something I can usually do, so it was lovely.

Neuro appointment was quite uneventful really. Tests came back proving her hunch that the type of epilepsy I have is Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy. Sigh. Juvenile! I am 27 years old! lol. Basically all this means is that I have a combination of myoclonic and tonic clonic seizures, best treated with Epilim (Depakote for those across the pond) which is what I'm already on. She gave me leeway to increase my dose by 500-1000mg a day during times when I am not sleeping etc, which gives me a bit more flexability to manage my own medications. She siad unless I have a significant amount of seizures I don't need to go back for 6 months. But that I am likely to have the odd one. And I will have it, and be on medication for it for the rest of my life.

I stopped by the Pathology offices on the way home, and got the blood work I needed done, and booked in my next appointment with my GP, so a throroughly medical day...blah!

When I got home, I rang up Case Manager (M) to check as to whether she has had chicken pox or not. Alas! She has not, so we changed our face to face meeting on friday to a phone meeting, until time shows whether I am going to come out in spots. Sigh. I also got her to check with PsychDoc (cos I'm responsible like that! :P) whether I could take an increased amount of Serepax tomorrow morning before I go for the ultrasound, to help deal with the inevitable anxiety. Dr F was not in the office, so she asked Dr S the consultant. The male consultant. Embarrassment much? Anyhow. He has approved up to 22.4mg rather than the 7.5mg I would normally take, so hopefully that should help take the edge off. My friend (S) is going to pick me up at 7.50am and take me there, so I'm not wandering around the greater pulic transport system in a drug induced haze. Hopefully I will be able to get a few hours kip between that and my therapy appointment in the afternoon. And then its gleeathon sleepover with the girls. Yea! (M) and Dr S are both pretty pleased with how well I'm going. (M) of course bubbling over with delight in her usual Pollyanna-ish way! I've had to call her twice this week, but both times for housekeeping rather than crisis, much to her delight.

Ok. I'm off to think about tidying the house before the girls rock up tomorrow
Peace and love

Why I'll never use a face mask again!

Therapy has been interesting. (D) and I were talking about how I have been able to contain the unpleasant stuff that's being brought up in therapy to the therapy room. Part of the problem with therapy in the recent past is that when things were brought up in session I have carried them into my outside life, ruminating and growing more depressed and anxious because I become overwhelmed with it all. I had thought that this new ability to contain it could only be a good thing, as it allows me to work on what I need to work on in a safe place, but not carry it with me to a place where I don't have that safety and support. (D) however, queried whether I might be repressing or avoiding the issues outside of therapy. For some reason this caused me to become extremely agitated. I think maybe because I felt a) like "shit, I thought I was doing good... obviously I can't do anything right" and b) annoyed because why does she have to go and mess with a good thing? (D) expanded saying that she just wanted me to be aware that whether I was doing well or not so well, she would not turn away from the parts of me that remembered the distress and hurts, and she didn't want me to either. I'm not really explaining this very well, and to be honest, I found it all a bit confusing myself. The conclusion we came to in the end, is that for the moment I need her to hold that distress for me within the therapeutic frame, because I cannot hold it by myself outside of session and still retain any semblance of balance. So maybe its a little avoidance/repression, but it's working for now. The analogy that comes to my head is that its kind of like keeping a child safe. When they are very young to keep them safe you have to attend to them all the time, leaving you no time to do anything else. Which is why parents will employ safety pens. Still interacting and keeping them safe, but with the ability to turn away and attend to other things, and know that it will still be safe for them. Therapy is the safety pen, and that distressed part of me is not yet able to be left unattended. As I mature emotionally, like the child, the distressed part of me will be able to venture out of the pen and spend less and less time needing to be constantly attended to and monitored. Anyway. Interesting session. Then in todays session we broached the subject of my "being unseen" as a child. Particularly within the mother-daughter relationship. And the way that affects me today. In particular, my automatic assumption that I am doing something wrong. (see above) Basically, she posits that as a result of my mothers post natal depression, my father's abandonment of me as an infant, and my sister's complete ambivalence about my existance (she tried to get rid of me by hiding me behind a wood pile as a baby) that I have come into this world feeling "unseen" and trying to remedy it by being the 'perfect child' and when this failed to make me visible to my family assuming that I was doing something wrong to be unworthy of acknowledgement. The whole idea that family dynamics of my infancy could really have any impact on me today seems a little odd to me still, but as (D) pointed out the dynamics have become set and remain to this day. My sister would certainly try and hide me behind the wood pile today if she could get away with it and she's 29 years old! Lol. And, whilst I think my mother really did 'see' me for the first time when I was in the ICU post overdose (not a great way to be seen and not something I wish to repeat!), I think as time has passed, we've slipped back into those old comfortable dynamics, where I am invisible once again. Anyway, we left it there and will pick it up again on Thursday. Gosh! Therapy makes my brain hurt sometimes, but I feel like we've finally scraped passed the first few superficial layers, not to the core yet, but its progress.

I got a call today from the mother of the kids I've been babysitting, to let me know they've come up with chicken pox. Sigh. First, this means I'm out two days work, because I was supposed to look after them until the end of this week. Second, I have never had chicken pox, so gulp! I've been exposed to it a few times through my work with kids though, so I doubt I'll catch it this time, if I haven't caught it so far. But it has reminded me that I do need to go and get the vaccine. If I catch it, it could take up to 21 days to show up. So, I promptly texted (D) to ask if she had had it (weird conversation to have with your therapist) but sitting in close proximity to her 3 days a week, and not knowing about her life (if she has regular contact with infants, pregnant women or people with suppressed immune system) I figured it was best to ask. I'm pretty sure I won't get it, but I'm going to be a little careful about where I go for the next few weeks, as the most contagious period is apparently before you get the rash.

That being said, I do have a Neurologist appointment and an Ultrasound appointment this week that I can't miss. Neuro is tomorrow. I'm not expecting much out of it. Seizure control not the greatest over the last two months, but this is pretty much directly proportional to fatigue so not suprising. That being said, since I got back from prac seizure control is pretty good, so obviously the medication works, just not in the face of crazy insomnia. Anyway will get the results from the sleep deprived EEG. And PsychDoc wants me to check with Neuro about the possible ramifications of reducing my Serepax (anxiety  med) on seizure threshhold. I still have that niggle in the back of my mind after all these years that possibly some of my seizures are pseudoseizures. I have been definitively told by specialist that at least some of my seizures are genuine epileptic seizures. There are certain things I won't go into that help them make that diagnosis. But, as my seizures are at times still medication resistant and as I already know well, I'm a bit of a nutter, I wonder whether some of them may be psychosomatic or stress induced. I can never get a straight answer from Neuro Doc, maybe because they have no real way of telling other than 'catching' a non epileptic seizure whilst EEG monitoring. I don't know why it bothers me, other than the fact that if the breakthrough seizures were pseudoseizures...well then there is a chance I could get rid of them, as medication doesn't seem to be the answer. I don't know, grasping at straws I guess. I try not to let it get me down, but the seizures are disruptive, exhausting and really make me feel out of control, which is not a feeling I deal with well.

I've recruited (S) to drive to me to my ultrasound on Thursday, as I'm planning on taking a lot of medication to get get me through it without a freakout. So probably not a great idea to be on public transport. God, I am cringing just thinking about it. I do have a good friend there though, willing to get up early on her holidays to drive me across town to the hospital for this extremely embarrassing and anxiety provokign test. Thursday night our other friend (SC) is coming into town and the three of us are going to watch the season finale of Glee and have a sleep over (yes, I am 27 and not 14....but meh!) This means the girls will be here when my Case Manager comes around on friday morning (if she still comes, have to check her chicken pox status first) but they can hang out else where in the house for a bit.

All in all still in a reasonable mood. Sleep not perfect but still far better than normal. Biggest disruption at them moment is (you can laugh at me, its pathetic) I did a face mask last friday and had an allergic reaction, which I've never had before. I got it off pretty fast, but I have this welt on my left cheek bone, requiring ample amounts of make up each day, and the top layer of my skin has kind of burnt off on my forehead, cheek bones, under my eyes etc. So, have been using lots of moisturisor and taking make up off as soon as I get home.... but its getting to that itchy stage of healing and driving me nuts at night! Sigh, the stupid things us girls do in the name of beauty! Luckily its not all that noticible under make up....embarrassing much?

Anyway... off to slather on moisturiser and attempt to get some sleep.

Peace and Love

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Lokking hot!

Successful day. Managed to amuse myself quite well. I am particularly pleased with my new hair colour. A really nice chocolate brown colour, perfect for winter! Plus I did a treatment on it, so its all shiny and healthy and purty! I tend to be fairly lax with my appearance for the most part, can't muster up the energy to care... but at the moment I am feeling quite good about myself, inside and out. I look hot! Well....apart from the excess kilos from the anti-psychotics, but we won't talk about that!

I spoke with my mum on the phone this evening, and she is quite happy to hear how well things are going. However, she has been helping out financially for the last three months, paying for my third weekly session. And now that I am doing a bit better, she is questioning whether I still need the third session. I kind of agree with her, and really would prefer not to have to take their money... but I think maybe I need to have this stability for a few more weeks before we go changing things. I'm lucky that she has been able to help out with that extra $120 a month, but I get the feeling from my family a lot that they just don't see how I possibly NEED to see a therapist 3 times a week (or even twice or once). They just don't understand that stability doesn't necessarily mean everything is fixed now. Obviously I don't plan on being in therapy forever and certainly not at this frequency. Sigh. It just puts a lot of pressure on. And I guess that was why I was reluctant to accept the money in the first place. To allow somebody else to have a stake in it, and feel as though they have a right to an opinion on frequency or effectivenss. She is going to put in money for another month. But I think if after that I still need it, I am just going to have to find the money myself.

Anyway. Therapy tomorrow. And this week I have a meeting with PsychDoc, one with Case Manager, one with Neurologist, one for an ultrasound and of course my other two therapy chock-block appointments. Blah!

Peace and Love

Saturday, July 3, 2010

What to do?

I'm in an interesting space at the moment, and I'm not quite sure what to do with myself. Things have really calmed down over the last few weeks, and I have found myself with a new sense of control and peace with the outside world and myself. Good news of course. But disconcerting, in that it is so different from my regular level of functioning, that I am a little lost. My life is not a very exciting one from the outside. I go to my appointments, clean the house, visit occasionally with friends. And of course, I was studying. But the majority of my time and energy was occupied with just trying to hold myself together. And now, at a time when the "holding together' is coming quite easily, and with no study to do, I have all this time and energy on my hands.... and well, I'm bored to tears! Don't get me wrong.... far better to be bored than to endure the onslaught of the gremlins. It hasn't been so much of an issue until this weekend. At first I was quite enjoying the 'down time' and then of course, this week has been pretty full with work, appointments and volunteering. This weekend however... not so much to do. The house is tidy-ish, but without the driving anxiety necessitating major distraction activity, I'm not quite so OCD about it. Clean and tidy is good enough. No volunteer shifts this weekend. My two close friends in the area are busy. B is working and S has gone up to Thursday Island to visit with her bf's family. My depression has really isolated me, and I have drifted away from alot of the other acquaintences that I had... and its hard to now, 18 months later, just ring up and re-insert myself in their life.

So obviously I need an action plan. Looking for part-time work is part of that, but it may take a while to find the right position. But I'm thinking I need to develop a new hobby, hopefully one that puts me in contact with some people my age. I even am considering going to the Mental Health Club House that Case Manager (M) took me to visit last year....something that I had flat out ruled out previously. I just really don't know what hobby I want to take up. It has to be something inexpensive, something social rather than individual. I also (and I think this is realistic and pragmatic rather than just pessemistic) am thinking that I want it to be something that doesn't involve a weekly comittment (as in a team sport) as although I would go regularly now that I am feeling well, I might not during rough patches and I'd like it to be something I could just pick up and drop as needs be.

What to do, what to dooooooooooooooo? Suggestions welcome.

Tomorrow I need a plan for though. I think another day of sitting in front of the telly, eating wagon wheels, while relaxing, may begin to give my brain too much time to go where it needn't go. So, I'll commit it to writing here, so I have motivation to do it!

I will wake up and go for a walk mid morning (hopefully after a good sleep in!), maybe stop by the local shopping centre to find some new walking shoes. Grab a few books from the library, and maybe stop at one of the coffee shops for a drink and a read. Back home, I'll give my gorgeous cat a bath (long overdue). Work on craft for a little while. Get lil sis to help me put a rinse through my hair (regrowth is starting to get quite unsightly) So that should save me from a day of unstimulating crappy cable TV.

I've just got to get used to filling my time for pleasure again, rather than being driven towards meaningless activities to satisfy unbridled agitation and anxiety.

I really hate that my life has become so intricately wrapped around my mentalism, that when it ebbs I'm left directionless. But the solution to this is just to do something about it, huh?

Peace and love

Friday, July 2, 2010

Where is the sun?

I live in a state referred to (mostly by the tourism industry) as the 'Sunshine State'. So why is it so freaking cold? Now I know, that you my friends in the Northern Hemisphere have to deal with much colder weather than I can dream of. I read your blogs about the snowstorms at the beginning of the year with much pity (and a little jealousy, as despite the fact I hate the cold, I've never seen snow, and I think it would be see, not to live in) But I live in Australia, Goddammit! The Sunburnt Country! So why have you forsaken me, oh glorious sun? I sit here dressed in my fleecy tracksuit and bed socks, covered with a blanket and my feet practically resting on the heater. And still.... I am shaking pathetically, my fingers icy and blue from the cold. Ugh! All the more annoying, due to the fact my range of appropriate winter clothes is somewhat limited, as I am two dress sizes bigger than last winter (thanks anti-psychotics) and can't afford a new wardrobe. I've picked up a few pieces to get me by this week. This tracksuit for at home, some new jeans, a fleecy vest, leggings etc and of course now that I am the same size as little sis, we have a bit of a communal wardrobe going on so I am stealing all her warm stuff. But, I wake up and think, darn it, I've got nothing warm enough and nice enough to wear out, I might just stay home, or if I do go out, I'm not feeling very comfortable with what I am wearing. It's disrupting my happy mojo!! I finally have the motivation and the right mood to leave the house and it is too bloody cold! The good news is I have cut down my nicotine intake. I don't smoke in the house and its too cold to be arsed going outside. My doona is more addictive than the cigarettes!

So tonight, I am going to snuggle under my blankie and watch TV.
Happy Weekend Blogosphere!
Peace and Love

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Taking my wookie to therapy

First of all, I have a question for you, blog-o-sphere. I am a die-hard bargain hunter. The worth of a purchase to me, quite often has less to do with the item purchased and more to do with the percieved level of bargain that I got. Thus, the only 'designer' items in my wardrobe are those that are markedly reduced, and in fact I pay so little attention to labels, I am often caught off guard when people ask "Oh is that Ed Hardy?...etc" The most expensive thing in my closet is a pair of colorado shoes, which set me back an ungodly $140, but........I have worn them for over 5 years now, and they are still kicking. Today, while I was at the chemist picking up my meds, the lady in line behind me commented on the winter coat I was wearing (it is a fabulous coat, very warm and a rich red, which is a nice splash of colour for winter). I smiled and said thanks and confided that I had picked it up from Target on sale for $30. The look in her eyes made it evident to me that I had committed a faux pas, in her view anyway. Yes, it's a great jacket, tailored and stylish, and probably looks like it's from a much more pricey and fashionable establishment than Target, but isn't that something to celebrate? Looks great and it was cheap and affordable! So my question is.... when you buy something for a bargain price, to you advertise it or keep stum? Just wondering.....

Anyhow. Therapy. Hmmm. Not too bad I guess. A little intense. We examined one of my nightmares in uncomfortable detail. We also spoke about my college years a little (where this dream was set). I had a pretty wild and unhealthy couple of years when I first started college. Way too much drinking, promiscuous and risk taking behaviours....basically the acting out I never really did as a teenager. It's a time I am not proud of and I certainly have a lot of regrets, but I also recognise that it was a period that I had to go through, to get it out of my system, and it was certainly a reaction to the mess my mind was in at the time. We also spoke about some of the friends that I had at that time, who drifted away post suicide attempt. The fact of the matter is, some friends are forever friends and some friends are in the moment friends. And really, although it was hurtful, I knew where I stood with them, and I really can't blame them. It was an intense and difficult time for people who chose to stick by me, and not everyone is equipped to deal with that. (D) felt that she was picking up some residual anger in my voice while I spoke about it, but if it is there, its not conciouslly accessible. So, how about you guys? Have you had close friends drift away because of your mentalism? What was your reaction? For me, it kind of makes me really appreciate those who stuck around.

In more *ahem* embarrassing therapy news. (D) made a suggestion a while back, that I could bring a blanket in to keep in the room, for the sessions where I feel overwhelmed and need some physical containment. I was mortified at the time, and she was happy to drop it. The thought of it made me feel incredibly vulnerable, infantalised and well...erky! But the more I thought about it recently, knowing that we are going to be delving into difficult areas, and wanting to buffer myself as much as possible, so that I can make the most of these difficult sessions, the more I realised it was *gulp* a good idea. But still... the embarrassment factor, especially as I so firmly shut her down when she first brought it up. Anyhow. I swallowed my pride. I went and purchased a lovely fleecy throw blanket, its cream coloured with dove grey and orange circles on it, nice and soft and cosy. I couldn't bear the idea of bringing in one from home. Home and (D)'s office, never the twain shall meet. Once I brought it, I had to figure a way to bring it into the therapy room, with the least amount of embarrassment. In the end I was very mature. I waited until therapy was over, and basically dropped it in her lap and ran. Yeah. There's gonna be a conversation about that, I guarantee ya. Sigh. But you know, anything I can do, to maintain this even keel, whilst still doing the hard work to get to the bottom of my issues.

I love you, oh anonymous blog-o-sphere. There are only two people who know about my therapy blankie...and now of course, ya'all. But somehow I feel I can share these details with all of you, that I would die before sharing with my "real life" friends. Is real life an insulting term? Of course, I don't think of any of you as not real... I'm just not quite sure what else to call it. Hmmm.

Anyways. That's all my therapising until Monday. I am babysitting tomorrow and then relaxing for the weekend. I think I'm gonna give this sleeping in thing a try... I also have agreed to help my sister finish off her Tafe work... and of course, as always, the house needs attention. But mostly, sleep....sweet blissful sleep.

Peace and Love