April 20, 2010

Med Check

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , at 8:41 am by eddejae

It is absolutely pouring outside. Just when I thought the sun was back, BAM! Thunderstorm.

And I had to go out in it at 7 o’clock this morning to go to my psychiatrist appointment. Ugh.

I told the doc how I feel I’ve been slipping a bit. The last few days have been pretty good, but overall, these past 3-4 weeks have been kind of low for me in terms of mood, anxiety level, and self-harm urges. I thought maybe my body is adjusting to the medication to the point where it is losing effectiveness, but my psych said it’s likely I’m experiencing what he calls “breakthrough depression,” which is common at this point in treatment – and that if I weren’t on medication, my symptoms would likely be much more severe. Anyways, I’m taking a greater dosage of Lexapro now.

I also told him about waking up 1-3 times a night from vivid nightmares. Apparently the Seroquel doesn’t cause nightmares, but it can cause you to remember your dreams more clearly. So it’s likely that I have bad dreams all of the time, but now I’m just recalling them. Great. I think my brain is just too creative for my own good – or simply masochistic. Or both. Anyways, he doubled my dosage of Seroquel so I hopefully sleep better. We’ll see how that works.

I had a thought while I was sitting there in the psych office… One that I would never act on, but intriguing nonetheless: “You know, I could totally B.S. my way through this whole thing and get whatever I wanted out of it.” All of the psychiatrist’s medication adjustments are based on my reporting of my symptoms. I could make up anything I wanted to just to see what he would do. It could go both ways too – I could go to one extreme and tell him I’ve been seeing purple elephants everywhere, which would lead to a diagnosis of some other mental illness and being put on lithium or something. Or I could tell him everything is back to normal and nothing’s wrong and I could get off meds entirely if I wanted. Good thing I have no motivation to fake any symptoms or lie about anything. Besides the fact that my conscience wouldn’t let me be anything but honest. But I’m more than a bit intrigued by the fact that I could pull the wool over the doc’s eyes

Naughty, naughty Edde…

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April 9, 2010

Let Me Live

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 12:06 am by eddejae

Tonight my thoughts are tripping over each other struggling for expression, overflowing the delicate vessel of my mind and spilling out into words – words inadequate, unreliable, unpredictable. If only words could capture the true essence of thought, of emotion, of meaning. If only words had the universal power of music in their ability to convey the spirit of what is intended – communication in its purest form. Less subject to varied interpretation than poetry or art. Dance is one step closer I believe, but still unparalleled to sound purposefully organized to resonate in the very soul of the listener – setting particles in motion, inspiring feeling, painting vivid mental pictures, conveying a story through the combination of tone, rhythm, and measured silence.

Take, for example, Beethoven’s Symphony Number 7 in A, Op 92: II. Allegretto. The first time I heard it, I wept. It would be an iron-souled person indeed who was not compelled to feel – and to feel deeply – the angst, the desire, the passion that Beethoven is able to infuse in the very heart of the sensitive listener. I cannot listen to this piece without feeling my spirit being lifted into a higher realm, where emotion is experienced more deeply, tinged with a surreal sense of otherworldliness. I envy the ability to create such music. I don’t believe I would ever feel the need to speak if I had such a divine power. My music would speak volumes, and would be more than sufficient to communicate the true depth of my feelings on pain, on love, on despair, on joy, on the ebb and flow of life.

I am sitting in my room. It is completely dark except for the light shining from my computer monitor. The draft from the ceiling fan mingles with the coolness of the night air drifting through the open window, creating a pleasant and calming breeze. Beethoven’s genius permeates the darkness surrounding me. Looking outside my window, I can see the willowy forms of the gray shadows that have followed me about today. I am not afraid of them now. Armed with the strength of music and the spoken word, I will use them for my own benefit. I shall let them inspire me, not torture me. They are under my power now, to move and to speak and to act according to my will. With the force of my mind I command them to dance a mysterious dance in time with Beethoven. Twirling, leaping, tilting, swaying… Now gone.  The weary shadows waltz each other away into the blackness of the night. I shall miss them, perhaps.

What is it about the night that inspires me so? Why is it that in some moments, I beg for sleep to overcome me, to numb my feelings, quiet my mind, and paralyze my body into blessed stillness? Why is it that at some times, I pray for the angel of rest to pass by my door, too fascinated by the magic of the night to yield to sleep’s unconscious stupor with its muddled and sometimes frightening dreams? Insomnia is at once a curse and a blessing. I drift in and out of phases of chronic vigilance, in which I am held captive by the clutches of sleeplessness, plagued by the lack of refreshing respite from the cares of the day. I lie wide-eyed in the darkness while others bask in the throes of unconsciousness.  Many things, both dark and disturbing, inspiring and enlightening,  lurk in the corners of my mind as the ticking clock propels me closer to morning light. Weep for me, oh ye fully rested ones who slip into dreamland the moment your heads alight upon your soft pillows. And yet, despair…for only such as I hold within their weary souls the secrets of the night…

I am staring at the tiny white Seroquel pill and glass of water in front of me. I know I should take it, but I don’t want to. It makes me sleepy, and I want to be awake tonight. Free from dreams, free from endless tossing and turning, free to do as I please with this quiet solitude that is all mine. I wish I were brave (or foolish) enough to go out for a walk. The air is crisp, the sounds of the night coming through my window enticing, and I long to mingle with my fellow nocturnal creatures. But here I remain, in the safety and comfort of my little room, listening to my music, hiding from the Sandman.

I am alone, but somehow… I am not lonely. The gentle breeze wraps its arms around me, the music cradles me in its gentle embrace, and even the darkness seems soothing to the yet raw and aching wounds of my soul. My head aches and my eyes are bleary, but I am no longer numb inside. The icy chill in my heart has at last been thawed by the fiery strains of the music and the softening ambiance of the evening. Sometimes I think it is better to feel sorrow than nothing at all, better to feel pain than that cold, empty, hollow, dreary numbness in which there is no saving spark of fire, no glimmering undercurrent of hope in the sadness. Of course, it is far better than either of these things to feel joy, but when that cannot be attained, I’d take any emotion that carries with it some kind of soul-moving ache than over the deadness that seems to eat through your heart and mind, creating a vapid nothingness where every color turns to gray and every thing around you turns to dust.

And then, sometimes, I’d rather feel nothing at all than experience the pain. Or… I’d rather feel the pain on the outside than on the inside. I guess, still, that is preferring pain over numbness. I was born to feel. Without it, I do not exist.

I would rather be ashes than dust!

I would rather that my spark should burn out

in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.

I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom

of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.

The function of man is to live, not to exist.

I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.

I shall use my time.

~Jack London

So sing to me, oh violin, cello, flute. Stir my soul into feeling when nothing else will. Satisfy my longing to feel alive. Comfort me, oh night, oh darkness, oh solitude.  Let my very breath vibrate the air with a subtle music of my own. Let my every atom resonate with love, with light, in tune with the universe surrounding me. Let me cry in agony, let me sing with joy, anything… Just let me exist, exist with every particle of my being. Yet, not merely to exist… Let me be alive.  LET…ME…LIVE…

I want to feel passion, I want to feel pain. I want to weep at the sound of your name. Come make me laugh, come make me cry… just make me feel alive.” ~Joey Lauren Adams

March 20, 2010

Sunshine, Shrieks, and Shrinks

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 4:25 pm by eddejae

When you have recently been through a really dark, confusing time in your life, even the smallest “good” thing seems almost unbelievably incredible in that moment you’re experiencing it. I thought this as I drove home today froma picnic in the park with my friend and her three-year-old son. I found myself delighted in just watching this adorable little kid throw popcorn to the ducks and “fish” in the pond with a branch (seems the fish weren’t keen on catching today, to his dismay). Merely being outside felt like a special occasion, as I usually spend most of my time indoors. After eating lunch, we went for a walk and found lots dandelions to blow the fluff off of. I remember when I was a little girl, I used to pretend that the seedlings turned into tiny fairies as they blew away. My friend and I had the opportunity to talk quite a bit, and I found myself a little more comfortable with opening up, which felt good. It’s nice having someone outside my family that I know I can trust as I’m testing the waters of this “new” me I’m working to develop. To be honest, I’m still pretty uncomfortable with myself, but my general attitudes towards and acceptance of myself is improving bit by bit. I look forward to the day when I’m completely comfortable in my own skin and with my own thoughts and feelings. I hope I can get there alright.

The last few nights have been rather odd, and I’m wondering if I’m starting to experience side-effects of my medication (Lexapro and Seroquel) that I’ve been on for six weeks now. I’ve been having nightmares and/or extremely emotionally intense dreams that I’ve woken up screaming from. Last night and a couple nights ago it only happened once, but the night before last I cried out three times (totally freaking out my poor mom). It’s like my brain is creating every possible scenario that would cause me to either be incredibly scared or angry to the point where I wake myself (and everybody else) up with the intensity of my reaction. It’s starting to get annoying. If it happens again tonight, I might have to call my psychiatrist and figure out what’s going on.

Speaking of psychiatrists… I had an appointment with mine yesterday and I’m feeling the need to vent. To put it bluntly… I hate doctors. I hate going to appointments. I hate being asked questions. I hate everything about doctors and doctors’ offices. I just have this aversion to being examined, whether it’s physically or psychologically. I get extremely intimidated, especially with my current psychiatrist. He is very good, thorough, and nice… but regardless, he’s a doctor, so he’s not exactly my favorite person. It’s like immediately as I walk into his office, I become a scared, helpless child who has difficulty answering questions and making eye contact. I start fidgeting with my hands, I hold my legs tightly together, and I find myself taking on a certain “fakeness” that makes me feel disgusted with myself afterwards. I answer questions in as few words as possible and just do everything I can to get out of there as quickly as I can.  I also have to fight the urge to tell him what I think he wants to hear, because I know if I do that, I will be the one harmed by it. But it’s tough. And that smile on his face! GAH! It comes off so patronizing! Or like he’s thinking something about me. Ya, I know, I’m paranoid. But I just assume he’s thinking all of these bad things about me and is judging me. I don’t feel that way with my therapist at all, just this doctor dude, and really, most doctors I’ve come into contact with give the impression that they know so much more than you do and “well, aren’t you such a good little girl for coming to see me and behaving so nicely”… I half expect them to pat me on the head and give me a lollipop on my way out. It drives me insane!! I always wind up feeling bad about myself over something they said, or something I thought they were implying, or a look they gave me… Like I said, I get very paranoid. I also made the mistake of mentioning my blog, which he was way too curious about, in my opinion. Grr…This is probably just all in my head too. Sigh. Whatever. It’s just something I have to put up with I guess. Bleh! Ok I’m done with my rant.

Anyways, I did something else positive today. I did not wear a sweatshirt. Ok, I know that sounds really funny, but I always wear sweatshirts in public, and baggy jeans. I try to hide my body as much as possible. But guess what? Today I wore layers instead – a thin white long-sleeved shirt underneath a t-shirt, which wasn’t entirely form-fitting, but not baggy either. Ok, that’s huge for me. I’m still not comfortable showing my arms because of the scars (which are fading nicely, by the way), but it was a lot more stylish and not much less comfortable than the typical big sweatshirt I wear. It really is the little things huh… Lol. I’m a dork.

On a final note, my friend sent me this picture last night and it made me laugh:

If only it were that simple, huh?

Until tomorrow…

P.S. I’m listening to this song right now, and it is making me smile. So I thought I would share…. 🙂

February 24, 2010

It’s Now or Never

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 12:57 pm by eddejae

Today is a brand new day with brand new goals!  I have to say, I’m pretty excited to start the program I’ve created for myself.  The two over-arching goals that I will be constantly working on, even as I master other goals, are:

1) Stick to exercise and nutrition program to achieve weight loss goal and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

  • Start with 30-min cardio/day and work up to 60 min cardio, 5 days a week.
  • Gradually incorporate strength training 2 times a week and stretching every day.
  • Eat 1,200-1,400 calories/day – high protein, complex carbohydrates
  • Cut out any excess sugar and caffeine.
  • Weigh myself once a week to track my progress.

2) Attend weekly therapy sessions and work on applying skills discussed.

  • Journal what is discussed during therapy
  • Identify skills I need to work on and set up a plan of action with therapist

The other three goals I will be working on now are:

3) Daily scripture study and prayer, and weekly church attendance.

4) Reading assigned therapy materials.

  • Read at least a chapter a day in one of the books I’m reading and take notes

5) Practice my piano and singing.

  • Practice piano at least 30 min every day
  • Do some amount of vocal exercises every day

And, of course, blogging every day 🙂

I think my medication is finally starting to take effect… The last few days I’ve had a lot more mental and physical energy than I’ve had in a long time. I’m currently on Seroquel (an anti-psychotic) and Lexapro (anti-depressant). The Seroquel still makes me sleep 11-12 hours a night, but I’m a lot less sleepy during the day. I’ve also noticed less obsessive thoughts and mood swings. My uncontrollable urges to cut myself or overdose have also left almost completely. After trying so many medications that either made me a zombie or made me suicidal, it’s such a relief to finally be on something that seems to be working for me.

I still struggle with urges to binge, but I’m hoping that by sticking to a healthy eating and exercise program, that will decrease as well. Also, since my binging or restricting urges are usually a way for me to escape or distract myself from emotional stress, I’m working on turning to other outlets when I’m feeling triggered. That’s where my 3 goals come in… Practicing my music is a huge emotional release for me, and nourishing my faith and continuing to learn from my therapy books will keep me motivated to choose healthy coping skills.

I will be honest… I’ve never been good at sticking to things or keeping promises to myself. But I know without a doubt that if I don’t stay committed to my goals and to my recovery, I will never have a fulfilling life. It will just be the cycle of depression and self-destructive behaviors, over and over again. I’ve gotten to the point where I can’t accept that anymore. I know what kind of life I want, and I will do whatever it takes to get there. For the first time in my life, I feel truly committed to something. Sure, I may make mistakes … It’s kind of inevitable… But as long as I “fall foward,” and pick myself up again and again, there is no way I can truly fail. I will make it, step by step…