Tag Archives: sad

Chest Pain

 

This afternoon, I have chest pain. Not the heart attack kind, but the depression kind.

Meds are still doing their dance of adjustment. Take more of this, weaning off of that.

When I stay busy unpacking in my new surroundings, I’m not as bad, but as soon as I stop, I remember that I’m in debt with a credit card, now have bipolar2 disorder, am spending too much per month on this rent house, and am eating up my savings just to live (and have been for four years). I was supposed to have graduated from college two years ago with a nursing degree and be in the thick of things.

Instead, the God I had known allowed an alteration in my brain chemistry. It happened when I experienced severe empty nest. What I didn’t know at the time . . . the reason I ran away from home and can now never go back, was hypomania had set in. My life had changed forever.

For two years, hypomania ran my life. I spent too much, flunked out of college twice (I tried. I really did), and I did many other “classic” things that the internet and books give as bipolar2 symptoms. I had them all. In the midst of it, though, I had no idea what had happened to me.

My family and friends kept asking me what I was doing – what I was thinking. I just said, “I’m going to fly. I have a new life. I want to see the world. I want. . . I want . . .” I had no idea where I was going. I just knew EVERYthing had changed. I was euphoirc, and didn’t quite know why. My off-kilter mind led me.

After two years of acting like a teenager and losing forty pounds in just two months, depression hit me – slowly at first, then I hit a wall and texted my family good-bye notes. I got in my Jeep, sobbed over my steering wheel at the realization that I had to kill myself. . . . . . Again, I wasn’t aware that an out-of-whack brain chemistry led me to all of it.

I drove, seeking an interstate I could speed on and then drive off of. A high one. But, some little flicker of life inside me said, “There MUST be an alternative. Is there? I want to talk to my friend, but she’s at work, and she can’t really get me out of this.” Then, I knew. As I drove near my doctor’s office, I exited the highway and told her I was suicidal. I’d been on depression meds and was adjusting them at the time (I also desperately needed a mood stabilizer). It was an all-encompassing stress-filled and helpless time for all.

I dropped and dropped, new antidepresdsant didn’t work. None of them did. At first, they were fine. What happened?

So, I moved to Dallas, Texas, in hopes of finishing a shorter degree in funeral science. I’ve always loved that field of study. Depression, real depression, dropped on me. It was a heavy blanket made of cinderblocks. I couldn’t get out of bed, gained back the forty pounds plus another forty. Ate complete crap – and didn’t get any movement – just lay in bed, too low to watch TV or read. No talking on the phone. Texting for help was all I could do. Thankful for my dedicated mother and daughter.

I began investigating depression blogs. I came across one that shocked me. It was a woman with bipolar disorder. She spoke of highs and lows – in extremes. I didn’t have such highs, though. But my low had dropped me at the door of suicide. Every single day, for months, I wanted to die. I planned ways of going. Where would I do it, so that a loved one wouldn’t find me? How could I be sure I’d complete the suicide? I didn’t want to be rescued.

I kept reading related blogs, and I kept seeing myself more and more often. I thought I might be experiencing the bipolar, type 2 I read about – deep depressions that are almost impossible to get out of and light mania (well,mine was enough to ruin my life at that particular point).

My Psychiatrist listened to my questions and asked me why in the world I hadn’t told her about the first two years after I had left home. I answered that I didn’t think that was pertinent to my depression. “I would have had you on a different course of treatment,” she said. I was so fatigued, sad, and hopeless, I’d had trouble even keeping that appointment, and I’d driven SIX hours to see her.

So, she added a mood stabilizer to a new antidepressant.  —— I’ve been seeing improvement – finally. Who knew the two long episodes were related?!

I’m getting off of the highly addictive Xanax (2 mg per evening) that my GP had me on (for sleep) and increasing the mood med, slowly.

Different parts of my day mean different moods. I was energetic in the early afternoon. Now, I blog because of a heavy chest, tears as I write, and a feeling of sadness. However, no more suicide compulsions. Just hopeless at present.

One of my blog posts in the recent past said – “When the money runs out, I run out.” I have limited funds and worry constantly about whether I’ll have enough to pay for school, living, food – before I can graduate and get a job. Stress, stress, stress.

I see very clearly, in hindsight, what this disorder is. That I had it all along. I even suspect when I got it. When my daughter left home to pursue a new career and fiancee three hours away, I entered her pink room, closed her door, surveyed the empty bedroom, and sat down hard on the pink carpet – among pieces of discarded paper and childhood tokens -a plastic ring she had kept, a necklace from her grandma, a Bible School bracelet she had made with colorful beads.

And I cried harder than I ever had before. I cried loud, wailing sobs into a washcloth. My breath almost leaving me as my diaphragm screamed from overuse. I hadn’t cried so desperately and hard even at my father’s funeral (a suicide at age 44). My  mind swam in a dirty puddle of muddy, nowhere water. I don’t know how long I sat there, but no one came in to soothe me (husband or grown son). Alone, I grieved my loss as a “Mama.”  I’m sorry if you don’t understand, but my two children were my life. Nothing had touched me like my children.

I don’t remember anything about the following three weeks. Only that I woke up one morning in a very, very good mood – knowing I was going to hurridly leave my husband and son at the family home and find my own way, my freedom.

Within three months, I was in my own townhouse – a completely changed woman. Everything was new, different, and it was an exciting but scary time.

There it began. This “new life.”

I still sometimes feel lost, aimless, helpless, and often hopeless. Sometimes I still think, “When the money runs out, I run out.”

The reason I stay is my mama and my daughter. I can’t do that to those wonderful women.

What is left today? Chest pain and tears. That’s nothing new.

 

LOOK at the Change in Mood in Just 14 Days!

The April 26th post vs the May 10th post look like night and day! Dumb meds.

I know in the long run, they’ll level out and help me. They already have. But, getting there! Ugh!

Thank you for the encouraging words and prayers and the general love you send my way. Your comments and emails are always welcome respites from an otherwise sad day.

XO to you, loves

BOOM! Mood Change!

 

I’m going along just fine, enjoying my new days of being depression-free – not feeling great, but still better, when BOOM! I have to adjust the mood meds again. Doubling the dosage to get me where the Psychiatrist wants me to be. Every time I change the dosage, I get radical side effects. Today, I cried so hard that my diaphragm was sore for hours after.

I had confrontational “words” with my grown son and told him to not visit me in the future.

I got Mother’s Day flowers from my sweet daughter. I filled the vase with water and then it dropped to the floor. Water everywhere. Thank god the vase was a cheapie plastic one.

It’s 8:15, and I’m in bed. I can’t face anymore yuck today. Inside, I FEEL the dying I do daily. We all die a little each day, right? Imagine “feeling” it. Strange sensation.

If I had my choice, I’d wait about 2 hours – make sure it’s very dark out – and then stand next to the interstate – where a semi-truck wouldn’t see me until it was too late to slow. I’m sure I’d feel the intitial impact, but not afterward.

No, I’m not suicidal. I don’t need a hotline or a trip to the psych ward. I need to be normal again, whatever that is. I can’t really remember what “normal” feels like. I have had 2 years of solid hypomania, then 2 years of drepression (some minor. some extremely bad). Only recently did I get a diagnosis of Bipolar, type 2, so I can get proper help!

I write to get the desperation from my chest. To purge some pain.

If you are  praying person, remember me tonight?

I love you guys!

Suicide: How Can I Help You?

(Photo credit- Wikipedia)

My friend, Becca, wrote an exceptional blog. I copied and pasted it below. Also, here is the direct link to her post! http://moorestorms.com/2012/04/25/suicide-how-can-you-help/

Thank you, Becca!!

According to Suicide Prevention, suicide is among the top 10 causes of death per year. 34,598 deaths are attributed to suicide, 34,598 preventable deaths. That’s 11.3% deaths per 100,000 people. 11 attempted suicides occur per every suicide death. Those statistics are both staggering and disturbing.

Two of the main reasons for suicide is Depression and Bipolar Disorder. You can find symptoms for both of these here Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder.

It’s important to respond to the person with strength and courage. If you are afraid to talk about the topic with them, then you are likely to lose out on your chance to help them. Please realize that suicide is not some flaw in a person’s character, nor are they weak and they are absolutely not cowards. These feelings do not just go away and treatment is necessary.

The symptoms mentioned in the link above, combined together could lead someone to consider suicide. Reminding the person that recovery is possible can be encouraging to the person contemplating their own death. When someone is going through depression, they often use something called “selective memory”. This is where the person only focuses on the negatives in their lives. This is a symptom of their illness and requires attention and treatment.

With treatment the person can find hope to push through this difficult time.

Recognizing the Signs

  • Feelings of despair. The person may talk about their situation as being unbearable or overwhelming. They may express self-doubt, self-blame or guilt for something they have done. The more someone talks about these things, the more they are contemplating suicide.
  • Taking care of personal affairs – For instance, making sure family members will be cared for once they are gone. Taking out life insurance policies, assigning beneficiaries, settling trusts and custody arrangements for their children.
  • Rehearsing their suicide.
  • Discussing certain methods.
  • Talk of suicide come and go in an attempt to build up to the impulsive action.
  • Drugs and alcohol abuse as a way to help them with the impulsive action.
  • Beginning to feel better – with affairs in place, knowing the end is coming soon, most feel better and at peace with their decision.

How can you help someone contemplating suicide:

  • Take them seriously. Do not blow them off and think they are just venting. This is NOT the case. They are reaching out to you for help.
  • Involve others – friends, family members, their psychiatrist, their therapists, the crisis hotline
  • Express your concern – Give concrete evidence that the person is contemplating suicide.
  • Listen closely to the person, hold their hand, hold them close to you and comfort them.
  • Ask direct questions – Try to find out specific details of their plan, determine which method they are considering using.
  • Offer reassurance. Remind them that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Remind them that there is help available to them.
  • Don’t promise confidentiality. A true friend or close family member will seek out help for the person they love, the person that is in crisis.
  • Take all guns, medications and harmful objects and put them some place out of reach. This includes ropes, knives, plastic bags, ect.
  • Don’t leave the person alone until they are in the hands of a trained professional.
  • Express sympathy – Do not play therapist. They don’t want to be told what to do.
  • Talk about it – Talking about suicide does not plant the idea in the person’s head. It lets them know you are there for them and not afraid to talk to them about their concerns. This is a oppurtunity to explore how they are feeling, their thoughts and actions. This can provide you with valuable information to your friend who may be depressed. Take any mention of suicide seriously!
  • Take note to when, where and how the person plans on following through with their suicide.
  • Describe behaviors and events that bother you – How they have changed. This could strike up the conversation enough for them to open up to you about how they are feeling.
  • Work with professionals. Call their pdoc, tdoc, crisis line. Don’t be afraid to call for an ambulance if your friend or family member isn’t willing to go to the hospital voluntarily.
  • Stress how important the person’s life is to you. How devastated you and others would be if they were to take their own life.
  • Be prepared for them to be angry with you. They may feel betrayed, but later may thank you for saving their life.
  • Be supportive – They may feel guilt and shame. Assure them that you understand it’s their illness.
  • Take care of yourself

I have contemplated suicide many times in the past. I can count 2 attempts that didn’t get me the help I needed and numerous threats that have also not gotten me the help I needed. It wasn’t until I reached out on my own before I got any serious help. I urge you not to put someone else in that position. They may feel as though their pleas for help are going unheard and they may act. Do not make yourself wonder what you could have done when all these examples are in front of you.

If someone you know is in crisis, please, reach out to them, offer them support, call the crisis line at

1-800-273-8255. If the person is in serious danger call 911 and have an ambulance sent and them taken to the closest Emergency Room. Once a suicide is completed, there is no turning back.

Until next time…..

Becca ♥

 

You Are Not Alone

I’ve been reading others’ posts about feeling alone, friendless, and just plain miserable. The majority of these individuals are still (barely) functioning in the “real world.” They have jobs, obligations with young children, and other responsibilities that demand their attention.

I have great admiration and empathy for these people, most are women that I’ve heard from and read blogs of. I, too, have spent many, many weeks in my apartment, mostly in my king-size bed. I didn’t want to be there, but depression caused it – all-consuming, crippling, evil depression.

While I have a very kind boyfriend who makes sure I am “ok” every day and that I’m told I am loved and beautiful every day, I still fell and stayed in a pit of misery.

After seeing my old psychiatrist and getting a new diagnosis (and different meds), it is 9 days since taking the first new pills. I double the dose of mood med next Tues, so we’ll see what happens then. <I like that . . . Mood Med . . .much less serious sounding>

My point is that there are many of us out here who hurt and are dealing with neurochemical upsets which need meds and counseling to manage. One woman in particular, my heart wrenches for. She lives nowhere near me, has no friends, has a child to care for, and is in such great depression that she tried suicide this week. She didn’t complete it, for which I am very thankful. I try to reach out to her, but she doesn’t reach back.

When depressed, we isolate ourselves, which is unfortunate because that is the point in which we let the disorder have control. But, while we’d like to, we can’t face the world, the people, the sunshine. When it takes all of our energy to merely rise from the mattress to use the bathroom, we’re pretty much not “going” anywhere else.

I am feeling thankful today. I’m thankful for my mama and daughter and daughter-in-love who keep up with me daily and make sure I’m okay. They hurt with me, laugh with me, and weep with me. There are many more things/people I could list here, but I won’t.

What do I want you to take away from my post today?

No matter who you are or where you are, you are NOT alone. You may feel – with every fiber of your being – you are, but you aren’t. There are people like me out here who want to chat, discuss your pain, and reach for a future along with you. Human beings weren’t meant to  be alone all of the time. We are social creatures who need one another’s encouragement and empathy.

Need to chat? Do it here or on a reputable board.

Need medical help? Seek it – until you find a competent and caring professional.

Need crisis care? Anyone, anytime, any crisis, visit this website: http://www.crisishotline.org   or  call 1 (713) HOTLINE.

Smooches to you!

 

 

10 Reasons People Stop Taking Medication

 

The following article was copied in its entirety and is authored by Sarah, at her blog called bipolarcurious (www.bipolarcurious.wordpress.com)

10 of the Most Common Reasons People Stop Taking Medication

The most common emails I get are from concerned parents, upset that their recently diagnosed teen/young adult has stopped taking the medications that were clearly helping improve their situation (from an outsider’s perspective). When something has proved to seem helpful to someone in the past,

Why would [anyone] stop taking their medication?!?

I realize that for a lot of people, this is an extremely baffling situation -and it isn’t limited to the young, the newly diagnosed, or the “unruly” patient. As someone who has gone through the process of trying different medications, it can be difficult for me to understand why this notion seems so foreign to people.

So, I wanted to take some time today to address some of the main reasons people stop taking their medications. People might think this sort of behavior is completely spontaneous or unjustified, but you’d be surprised at how much logic actually goes into the process of “quitting” whatever medication, for a lot of people.

1. Side Effects side effects are easily the number one reason people stop taking their medications. The side effects for psychiatric medications cover a huge spectrum of different areas (both psychological and physical), some of which can be quite unpleasant. If side effects are unpleasant enough for someone to consider stopping their medication, I would highly suggest speaking with the prescribing doctor as soon as possible. Stopping a medication abruptly due to side effects can potentially make matters worse if a high enough dosage is being taken to cause withdrawal effects, and trust me. You don’t want that to happen.

2. Fear of Dependance – a lot of people go through one (or several) period(s) where the idea of taking a medication for the rest of their lives sparks fear around the idea of dependance. What if I reach a point where I can’t afford them anymore? What if something catastrophic happens an I no longer have access to the medications I need? What if I want to travel? The idea of having something that is not only helpful, but now seemingly essential to your well-being can be terrifying, because what if it is suddenly taken away?

3. Fear of Losing the Self – this is another extremely common fear, especially for people who are just starting to take medications or are teens/young adults. Will psychiatric drugs alter or diminish my creativity? My intelligence? My personality? Most adolescents are just beginning to to discover who they are and  in that time it can be terrifying to imagine discovering that person (let alone building a life for oneself) with these things dampened or altered. I began taking medications around age 16, and this was a really big fear for me. It is important to consider that the right medication(s) will not damage this “self”, but for many adolescents trying to wade through however many medications it takes to find the “right one”, this can seem like a waste of important, younger years.

4. Cost – it is also extremely common (unfortunately) for people to quit taking their medications because they simply can no longer afford them. There are things you can do to get the medications needed, for more information I would check out Best Kept Secrets For Getting Affordable Treatment for Mental Illness.

5. Not Feeling Included – I would say this is also fairly common for teens or young adults who are in the care of their parents. If someone is not included in the decision-making regarding their own care, I would definitely expect some backlash. Many parents give their child a pill and that is the extent of their involvement in the process, and I am constantly reminding parents that that pill alone will not solve everything. Try to take the time to talk openly with your child about what they are experiencing, try to include therapy or group therapy if you can. If your child is not included in their own medical care (and decisions regarding medications as well), can you ever expect them to continue care on their own after they’ve left the nest?

6. Mania Addiction – this is something I am planning on going more in-depth about a bit further down the road, but addiction to mania or hypomania is a very real problem for a lot of people. If you can imagine, let’s say your body suddenly produces a natural high that lasts for days (often for no apparent reason) for a week every month. Now, you’re given medication that keeps this high from happening. Sure, it may alleviate the bad symptoms you were having, but it also keeps you from feeling that natural high. Do you keep taking the medication? It is a lot easier said than done, and in a culture where addiction is already prevalent (cigarettes, for example) this is something that acts as a stumbling block for a lot of people.

7. A Sense of Shame – there are a lot of ignorant people out there (sorry to burst your bubble about that) that have no grasp whatsoever on the concept of mental illness. Some people face bullies that make them feel ashamed to be taking psychiatric medications, and these people can be peers, co-workers, bosses, family, even parents. Anyone who has sought help for anything in regard to mental health deserves to be praised for overcoming fear, but unfortunately feeling a sense of shame (ingrained by whomever) is quite common.

8. Misinformation/Misdiagnosis – now, more often than you think, people are given misinformation by their doctor or a misdiagnosis (or a series of them, if you’re particularly unlucky). Being told, for example, that an episode that someone experiences is singular is definitely more likely for someone to shrug off medications more quickly (yep, this happened to me). This can’t be skipped over as a real threat to people’s willingness to be treated, and a misstep by one doctor can lead to a mistrust of many down the road.

9. Fear Around Performance at Work – in regard to what I mentioned with mania addiction, there people who rely heavily on this “natural high” to produce a lot at work in small periods of time. There are industries that have come to expect this kind of output from their employees (and rely heavily on it), so there is certainly a genuine fear by a lot of people that taking medications will hinder their abilities to perform as intensely as they have in the past.

10. No Noticeable Improvement – finally, when people don’t actively see any benefit from a drug they are taking, the are much more likely to stop taking it. To come full circle, this is something that should be discussed with the prescribing doctor as they are probably more than willing to try something else instead.

If someone close to you has recently stopped taking their medication without a doctor’s authorization, try having a conversation with them about why. Chances are, there could be some very real physical discomfort they are feeling, or that they have been experiencing some very intense fear around the idea of committing to taking medications.

I just want to note that people have a choice in the matter, so whenever there is a choice, people will choose whatever route makes sense to them at the time. The best thing you can do is be open and willing to have a discussion about where those choices are coming from.

Misery Hates Company . . . Go Away

I’ve traveled back to Northwest Arkansas to see my psychiatrist (she is a genius). My meds are not working, and I’m a raving mess.

Physically, I have pains from the depression. The depth of my misery shocks me. That’s a perfect word for my situation at present, misery.

I’ve been popping Xanax so I can relax and not sob my head off or mke rash decisions. I’m ready to pick up TODAY and relocate back to Arkansas from Dallas. No more thought to it than that. I wonder if this is what mania and depression at the same time feels like. It’s a confusing and awful place to be.

I tried twice to push Jerry away from me in the last two days. I was mean to him and acted selfish, foolish, and bitchy. Still, he returned and told me he was NOT going to be run off. I don’t know if he is a saint or an idiot.

I think I’ll take a nap. I’m in my favorite town (Fayetteville) but have no transpsortation. No TJ MAXX for me. No Arsagas coffee. No flea markets.

Bed ~

I still love you, my readers and friends. Keep writing to me. We’ll get through life’s ups and downs together, loves.

 

Support for Depression and/or Bipolar Disorder

I’m pretty stoked. I left the apartment for the first time in three days (gawd, I sound pathetic). ANYway, I mailed a letter and got a hamburger. Tonight, Jerry and I buy him some slacks. We head for Fayetteville in the morning. The weekend will be fun in the pretty Arkansas Ozarks. My pet sitter will love being here with the cats. He’s a hulking man, but likes felines. 😉

I see my psychiatrist Monday morning. I’m super excited to finally get to see her. My meds are screwed up (obviously).

I added two helpful links to my blogroll today. They offer support groups (meetings) for people in the U.S. and in Canada. I’m going to try one when I return, I think.

1) Depression/Bipolar Support Alliance

 and

 2) The Organization for Bipolar Affective Disorder (and depression)

The second is for Canadian residents. Hope this helps some of you who have asked where to go for support group interaction!

Enjoy your weekend. Count your blessings.

XO!!!

Major Depression: What Does it Feel Like?

“What does it feel like?”

That is what my daughter asked me a couple of days ago – referring to the crippling depression I was feeling. My daughter is 27, happily married, finished with two college degrees, and raising her first child. Her life is full of hope and dreams for the future. I hated to explain to her what my own colorless days were like. Downer!

Outside of my counselors, I don’t think anyone has asked me the question, “What does it feel like?” When Sarah asked me that question (via text), it touched my heart. To know how much she must love me, I mean.

So, I texted her back honestly, but briefly.

She said she wished she could do something to help me.

My mother texted me the same thing (wanting to help me feel better) yesterday. I told her to just keep loving me and letting me vent to her now and then. 😉

I love my family. They are what keep me putting one foot in front of the other.

What does it feel like, you ask?

Chest aches and feels heavy. Tears fill eyes and fall when the pressure hits red. Emotions are hopeless, futureless, aimless, apathetic, sadness, goal-less, joyless, fatigued body and mind. Not enough energy to even bathe (but I do, so my boyfriend doesn’t leave). Think grieving, but the loss is your own identity and autonomy.

So, there it was, and here it is. Today is about a 4 on a scale of 1-10 (one is the saddest). Yesterday was a 3. I guess I’ll go to the store. I need cat litter and cat food and to mail a letter.

Au revoir, mes amis!