Thursday, October 31, 2013

Who am I?

So my last post was a little rude. Lots of swear words, lots of finger pointing, lots of anger.

I really don't like being like that. Swearing? Whatever! I actually do enjoy throwing out the odd expletive, but I really dislike being angry. When I'm in that mood I become childlike. Actually, teenage-like.

Angst ridden, emo, woe is me, everybody hates me and the world is working against me in a conspiracy to make my life a living misery.

From my psych who won't seem to listen to me regarding the medication I know is not helping me, to the stupid blood taking woman who had to weave around my veins that morning looking for an entry point to get some blood to test the levels of the antidepressant I didn't want to take in the first place.

To make matters worse, after I came back here to my glorious new haven (commonly known as MY room I share with NO ONE!), I wrote that anger filled post and then went to bed and sulked all day, fantasizing about my death that would cause everyone else all the misery I was feeling. You know, just to get all those conspiring against me back!

I woke only to gorge on a whole packet of those overly delicious new Tim Tam Chocolicious Bites for lunch and then went straight back to sleep again.

Yum! (unsponsored)

When I finally did get out of bed it was only when my mum text me at 4.09pm with a "Where are you?". I was fuming! I'd been MIA all fucking day and only now they were looking for me? I could have been at the pub or lying in a pool of my own blood for all they knew.

Ugh! No one takes my tantrums seriously these days!

So off I storm, to the apartment next door, where my parents live (until we put the two apartments together and we all live in one apartment again). Cried my eyes out while dad hugged me as I wailed "There's something seriously wrong with me Daddy!".

I then grabbed my iPhone and sent an email to my psychiatrist with a link to my abusive post and told my parents I was going off all my meds.

"I need to know who the real me is", I cried!

Because that is what it comes down to. While I can look back and write a mildly funny post about it now, at the time I was in a living breathing hell. Mental illness with all its ups and downs suck big time.

Who the fuck am I?

Pumped full of medication that alters my mood (nortriptyline), my ability to concentrate (methylphenidate), my ability to digest food without getting heartburn (rabeprazole), handle anxiety (diazapamquetiapine) and sleep (temazepam), how am I to know exactly who I am?

Who am I?
No filters, no make up (ok my eyelashes are tinted and my hair is bleached),
and I'm cutting back on the meds. 

So I'm getting off all the drugs.

Except the Pariet (rabeprazole). I've tried to get off that before and the old lady heartburn comes back with avengence! And it ain't pretty.

I stopped taking sleeping tablets weeks ago so that is easy. I haven't had any Valium (diazepam) or a Seroquel (quetiapine) since the weekend and I've been going without the Concerta (methylphenidate or Ritalin (in slow release form) as it's more commonly known) since I ran out on Monday.

Antidepressants should never been stopped abruptly so I'm slowly weening off that one. I'm down from 100mg to 75mg and will be down to zero by the time I have my next psych appointment in a week's time.

Right now it is nearly 11am. I slept soundly from about 10.30 last night until Noo came and woke me at about 7.55am. The morning rush to get him to school was OK because his Grandpa is taking him down there in the morning which relieves me of a lot of stress.

So far I feel pretty good.

Yesterday I started an eight week "Mindfulness for Stress Reduction" course at the hospital I hang out out at get treated at. I want to learn how to find that window, or fork in the road, or whatever cliche you want to use, where I get to choose.

I've lived most of my life from one impulse to the next. Blinkers are firmly in place as I reach for the decision that is going to make me feel good right now. The future doesn't exist in my world when it comes to making choices. That is until later when I worry about all the bad choices I have made and my anxiety flares out of control because I've paid no mind to the effect those choices have on the future.

I'm hoping mindfulness meditation will help me find the STOP button which will in turn give me a look in the window of choice or down the forks in the road that offer different paths to choose from therefore giving me the wisdom to make better decisions.

Crikey! Am I making any sense here?

I'm not just talking about the impulse to buy another black dress or to eat that block of chocolate. I'm also talking about emotion regulation as well.

I'm hoping mindfulness will help me find some inner peace.

Fuck, another cliche!

I'm getting outta here before I crack out yet another one.

Mindfulness be with you!

What do you do to quieten your mind?
Got any tips for this impulsive anxious little soul?


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CC said...

Hi V - have followed your blog for a long time. Little bit worried about you going off your meds. Just wanted to check you had consulted with your Dr and are doing it in a monitored way.

AParentingLife said...

You are so incredibly awesome for sharing all of this. I hope you find you soon. Sending some fairy wishes and butterfly kisses your way said...

Hey CC.

I've told my parents who I live with (as mentioned) so they will watch me and I'll be seeing my psych next Thursday. I won't be medication free for long. The next antidepressant medication my doctor would like me to try is Valdoxan. I'm also back out at the hospital on Wednesday for Mindfulness. I'm still taking my antidepressant, just lowering the dose by 25mg every four days.

I'm feeling OK so far. If I was worried I would tell my parents or my sister or go to my emergency plan (call my GP, Lifeline, Triple 0, etc).

Thank you very much for your concern though. I'll try to post regularly here as well, to keep me in check.
V. said...

Thanks heaps. Sharing definitely helps. V.

Claudia Frasca-Jones said...

If you don't have dreams, you'll have nightmares xxx

Dorothy said...

Sorry you're going through this shit. I wish I could help, but I can't think of anything useful to say, other than I'm here, I'm reading, I know how you feel. So glad you have your parents there. I wish I had some support here, but all I can do is try to survive another day.

Beck/craftypjmum said...

Oh hunii, I have been where you are. About 4 years ago I took myself slowly off my meds so I to could figure exactly who I was. Unfortunately events of the past year have me back to square one and unable to cope yet again.and I'm back on the meds although not as strong. I am truly embarrassed about this, but it is what it is. I hope that you find your rainbow, and figure out who you are without the help of meds. Here if you ever want to talk. Sending love and huge hugs your way xxx

Jeanie said...

I stopped taking my a/d last month when I worked out I was having an allergic reaction to it - the chemist had given me a generic rather than what was prescribed. My doctor things my reaction may well have been to something coating the pill.

That being said, right now I am in a much better place than I was when I needed them - and so I am trying for the surfing option for a bit.

Well, that and reintroducing a few of the tricks of the trade a therapist gave me many years ago. Back to incorporating exercise into my life. Cutting down on refined sugars and crap (how hard will THAT be!!). Mindfulness and meditation.

And when all else fails, concentrating on the "focus of energy" in my body - if you concentrate on one part i.e. left big toe - hard enough, you eventually feel what he described as an "energy ball" - and then you gradually move it around your body. Do not scoff. It is my go to when it all overwhelms and I can't sleep.

TeganMC said...

At the start of the year I ran out of my Prozac and after I realised that I had been off them for a week, it appeared that they weren't really making a difference. I'm now on Lexapro and I do notice the difference when I forget to take them. I've been stuck in a ridiculously large rut of sadness and anger for the last 2 years and I am well and truly over it. I've been working through DBT for the last 12 months and there are a few things that when I do actually do them, they make a difference. One is doing the opposite of what I feel. It sounds pretty straightforward but it is so easy to get caught up in the cycle of doing nothing, and being trapped in a shitty head space.

Good luck with the Mindfullness course, I hope that it helps you to feel in a better space.

Renee at Mummy, Wife, Me said...

The mindfulness course sounds like a brilliant idea and it couldn't hurt right? I find it really difficult to quiet my mind. Swimming is the only way I can do it.

Lady Jewels Diva said...

There's nothing wrong with a good swear session, don't sweat it. I do find it funny though how some people will come on to a person's blog and tell them to stop swearing. I don't get it, they are words in the English language there is nothing wrong with using them. As for everything else, it must really suck being on so many meds and hopefully you can get it sorted so you're back to where you want to be. Until then, swear your head off, it's a form of venting, and if it helps get a punching bag to beat up when you get angry so you can physically and verbally vent your frustrations at the same time. said...

Thanks Claudia. Thank goodness the nightmares have stayed away lately. V. said...

Hey Dorothy. You are such a strong person to do what you do. I admire you so much. I know how tough it is with one kid but I cannot fathom parenting two on my own while struggling with mental illness. Thanks for reading. V. said...

Hey Beck. I wish you didn't feel embarrassed about needing to take medication to help you cope. I don't believe it is anything to be embarrassed by. So many of us struggle and if there are meds out there that help, by all means we should take them. We are so lucky here in Australia that medications are relatively affordable, compared to in places like the USA where if you don't have insurance they are simply just too expensive.

Thank you for your best wishes. I return them in kind. V. said...

That's interesting about the generic meds. A friend of mine reckons she had a terrible reaction when she changed from the branded antidepressant to the generic of the same type of a/d.

I definitely think mental health takes a holistic approach to recovery. I think I've relied on pharmaceuticals for too long to make this all go away. After this detox, I will go back on an antidepressant should I need it, but I am definitely going to incorporate both exercise and mindfulness into my everyday life to help as well.

And, I'd never scoff at you, my dear!

V. said...

Hey Tegan

Sorry to hear you've been in such a long slump. Re Prozac, or fluoxetine (I was on Lovan/fluoxetine earlier this year), it has a longer half life to Lexapro so is supposed to have very few withdrawal effects as it stays in the body for longer and naturally tapers out. Other SSRIs like Lexapro, Zoloft, Cipramil, however have a much shorter half life so you really feel it if you miss a dose.

When I was on Effexor (an SNRI), I would notice withdrawal effects if I took it 25 hours after the last dose instead of 24 hrs.

Now, as you know, I'm no psychiatrist, but I've been spending a shitload of time researching these meds and it kinda scares me. I don't reckon the shrinks even know exactly how they all work and each and everyone of us has a different brain chemistry so every pill is going to react differently from one person to the next.

It's times like these, when I'm put back on the pharmacoaster, that I hate. The pain of trialing one medication to the next is unforgiving. Especially as most psych meds take time to become therapeutic or for the the initial adverse side effects to wear off before any real benefits can be felt.

I'm defo interested in DBT as well. They (the psychs) talked a lot about thought challenging and doing the opposite of what we feel when I was doing groups in hospital. Have you written a post about it? I think I need to look further into this form of therapy as I reckon it could really help overcome some of my unhealthy self soothing techniques I currently employ (eg shopping and eating).

Thanks for sharing as always.


chantilly79 said...

Hi Vanessa :) This is my first visit to your blog (found through Maxabella's link-up), and I'm happy to see there is another blogger who is open about mental health issues :) I'm really sorry to hear you're in a bit of a tough place right now, I know how tough it can be to come off medication, and all the terrible withdrawals that occur sometimes...From what I've read it sounds like you are feeling pretty determined to do without the meds, to discover what life is like off them ~ I admire you for this, and wish you all the best too! I am on Pristiq, have tried so many anti-depressants over the years that I could write a book on them ;) I was also taking Seroquel for much of this year after a bad breakdown which resulted in me being hospitalized last Christmas, but I've decided to go without that one now ~ too hard raising kids whilst feeling zombied! So I just wanted to say hang in there, and good luck! Mindfulness is meant to be very good ~ I'm just not good at it lol!

chantilly79 said...

PS My apologies, if you click on my name, it takes you to my previous blog :/ These days I blog at Thankyou :)

Kylie Purtell said...

I've been struggling quite a bit lately with anger and feeling like my life is out of my control. After 14 weeks of being Zee's boob bitch I have been desperately needing to do some things for myself. Poor Dave has been bearing the brunt of it as my anger manifests itself as resentment of him and the fact that he can do whatever he wants whenever he wants with no thought to starving children. I finally lost it the other day though when yet again I didn't get a chance to do any exercise, which has been good not only for my health, but for allowing me half an hour of my day when I can focus purely on myself. So now he is helping me in different ways to enable me to get that exercise time in, whether it be by cleaning the loungeroom so I can do an exercise DVD, or looking after the girls so I can go for a walk by myself.

I hope you're able to find something that works to help with your impulse control. There is nothing worse than feeling like you're not in control of your life and what's happening, The course you're gonna do sounds good though, I'd like to do something like that. said...

Swimming sounds like a great way to be 'mindful'. It is something I really should get off my arse and do! V. said...

A punching bag is a great idea. I wish we had one in our gym. Some physical form of venting is definitely needed to be added to my current survival kit of skills to help break away from the ruminating. V. said...

Hey. Thanks for your words of support. I saw my psych today and I'm slowly going back up on Cipramil which worked for me for four years and will hopefully be effective again. I'm supposed to take a small dose (25mg) of Seroquel three times a day too but it gives me such bad restlessness that I have to take diazepam with it which of course makes me tired. Here's hoping the continued mindfulness program will help me find that peace I so desperately seek.

I'm sorry you've had a tough time too. I will pop over to your blog and say hello. Always nice to find a fellow traveller on the journey to better mental health. V. said...

Hey Kylez. Sorry, had to chuckle - boob bitch?! Ned wasn't into the boob so I can't empathise with that but I do know it's so hard that first year when they are so needy. And you have that gorgeous little Punky as well! From what I can see you are doing an awesome job. That's great Dave is helping out so you can have some time out. V.

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