Defiant Medication Non-Compliance

Yep, that’s me.  As I’ve learned over the course of the last several hours, DSB DOES think that Ritalin helps me.  I’m not so sure.  I’ve been on and off it for awhile now.  Doing really good taking a dose here and there, but nothing consistent.  Turns out that Ritalin is one of those things (aren’t most psych drugs, other than benzos?) that has to be taken regularly to feel the effects.

I don’t have ADD or ADHD.  I’m taking Ritalin for depression.  Supposedly it helps calm my brain, smooth the frayed edges, help me focus, and give me a little energizing boost.  I don’t know that it does all that, but I’ve been lectured into the ground.  We have fought, I tried to make up, we fought some more, back and forth,  until I realized I wasn’t gonna win this one.

DSB is convinced that not taking Ritalin is why I’m not sleeping.  I argue that it’s stress.  Maybe it’s both?  All I know is that I’m past the point of exhaustion, and I’m willing to try anything.  I’m going to go back to my old sleeping med, because, while Sonata knocks me out, it keeps me asleep for roughly three hours.

Three hours isn’t enough.  So, we’re back to the good ol’ Zyprexa Zydis, or olanzapine ODT, for those who aren’t familiar with the brand name.  DSB says that I didn’t give the olanzapine a chance — that I had a few night’s rough sleep and decided it wasn’t working.  He’s probably right.  So I took one, and we’ll see.  I’ll report back in the morning.

Right now I feel like crap.  Not sleeping, too much stress, not enough down-time.  It’s not getting any better in the foreseeable future, so I really need to man-up.  Or “buck up” as the Big Dawg would say.

I used to listen to this song every night before I went to bed, waaaaay back in the day.  I’m gonna give it another little try tonight.  Maybe you should, too!


Tea of Tranquility

…is the name of a lovely loose tea that my sister gave me last Christmas.  I have been craving hot tea with honey lately (so cold in my house!) and decided to give this a go, minus the honey (I’m out!).  It is a reddish-pink color after it has steeped and really is quite good, even unsweetened.  I wish I could tell you what was in it, so you could go get some yourself, but, alas, the little plastic bag does not have a description.

I do know where she purchased it, however, as she took me there once on one of my quite infrequent visits to her big city.  I had never been in a tea shop before, and it was amazing.  The smells…sigh!  And drawers full of tea…everywhere!  I had no idea (silly me) that tea came in so many varieties.  We bought several small samples to take home.  My favorite was a citrus-y black tea.  Not only was it delicious, it was beautiful to look at.

I think it would be interesting to watch a documentary about tea, as silly as that may sound.  You know, the history of tea, or the art of tea gathering, or how to make different blends.  I should Google that and would likely find something, or if you know of one, do share.

That “tea of tranquility” has done me well today.  It is not nearly noon, and I have been up since six.  Damn the time change, is all I have to say to that one.  When I get up too early, I get a bit jittery.  Never-mind the pot of coffee that I shared with DSB before he had to get out in the cold to do fun welding stuff.  The tea, two large, steaming cups later, has left me feeling quite mellow.

And almost passive.  Docile.  Maybe they should brew this up and serve it to criminals and miscreants throughout the towns and cities.  Wouldn’t that be something?  “Miracle tea lowers crime rate in little-big city.”  Bwhahahah.  I love it.

With the tranquility, however, comes a trade-off.  I am feeling quite, well, how do you say…complacent.  I have things to do, people to see, and I’d much rather keep drinking this tea and reading my Kindle.  And then I realized I hadn’t taken my morning meds, and likely the reason for feeling so spacey was the lack of Ritalin in my system.

And so I took the Ritalin about 90 minutes ago, and have since cleaned my kitchen and done some laundry.  That “tea of tranquility” is still lingering in my system, however, because, while I do feel focused and clear, I do still feel peaceful and calm.

I should drink this stuff more often.  And petition City Council to, perhaps, put it in the water system.  😀


Figuring Things Out

So after a week’s worth, possibly more, of posts about depression, despair, hatred, anger, misery, so-on-and-so-forth, I’m on an upswing.  For the past two or three days, I have been feeling much more like the “alive” Rose.  I have been doing more, accomplishing more, taking enjoyment in everyday activities, doing things I like to do, and definitely (I think, anyway) being a more enjoyable person to be around.

So what does this all feel like?  Well, it feels like I’ve had a lot of caffeine, but in a good way.  I feel extremely, almost scarily clear and focused.  I feel like I can accomplish tasks that seemed insurmountable just days ago.  I am facing upcoming rainy, Fall weather, and I feel like I’ll get through it without a glitch.

I have had a lot of structure the last two to three days, and I know that helps.  I worked on Saturday and Sunday, and had several things going on today where I was busy all day.  I accomplished a lot at the store and feel really good about the direction the winter season will take for my job.  I will be learning QuickBooks (book-keeping software) and more about Excel, and am quite excited about that.  I am even more excited that, in learning these things, I will be able to help my mom more and I can do the rote work and she can focus on the more complicated tasks.  It boils down to me being the QuickBooks bitch, and I’m okay with that.

I have decided to keep going to group, for now, even though I was thinking of not doing it to save money (it’s about a 30 minute drive from here).  Group has been really helpful for me, and I really do enjoy it, so when I brought up the possibility of quitting with QoB, she suggested to me that I might occasionally be able to afford extra money for gas.  Problem solved!

I don’t know why I hadn’t asked her about it before.  I just keep trying to stretch my weekly money as far as it will go, and know that there are some things that I once considered essential or wouldn’t have batted an eyelash over buying are now just not in the cards.  I have come to accept my more limited budget (I know, it’s been over a year now, but it’s a lot to come to grips with!) and be more creative with my money.  I also get a lot of help from QoB and the Big Dawg, which I couldn’t be more grateful for, and, frankly, would be up shit creek without their assistance.  My dad helps, too, when he can, and that is also appreciated.  Every little bit helps.

I think the key to all of this happiness and clear-headedness and contentment is keeping to a schedule, staying structured, and getting things accomplished.  I know this group I have been doing has done wonders at getting me to achieve goals I didn’t think were possible two months ago, like showering semi-regularly (I know, gross, but huge accomplishment).  It also helps me to have a job, even if it is a bit of a cush job and very low-stress.  I think I need to keep on with the structure, throw in a bit of sunlamp, and I am going to have a very functional, quasi-happy Fall.

And hooray for Ritalin.  Just sayin’.

Lack of Routine = Epic Fail

I am blogging now because I am hopeful that I can talk myself into cleaning and laundry and dishes by the end of the post.  I had so much energy about 10 days ago when I started Project Re-Invent, but I’ve had a few days off due to working and Monday QT with DSB.  It seems that all energy for the project has been sapped from me.

I woke up not feeling well today, a common side effect of my meds.  I took a few Immodium, and decided to rest for a little bit.  Well, I fell back asleep and woke up about an hour ago, still in need of more Immodium.  What is it about these drug cocktails that cause such horrible bowel problems?  This has been going on for years and years and years!

I ate a few dry Saltines a little bit ago, popped a few more Immodium, and took my noon dose of Ritalin.  I am convinced that I will be feeling on top of the world within the hour.  I mean, really, I NEED to be!

I was very much not pleased at falling back asleep this morning.  I took my sleeping pills too late last night and therefore did not have that pleasant morning wake-up around 7:30am.  Instead, I woke up groggy at 9:00am, thus the falling back asleep when deciding to rest my tummy.

Is it just me, or is there this fine balance that we have to walk in order to function like an average adult?  I mean, in order to get the chores and “have-to’s” done, and leave a little time in for play, I have to stick to my routine like my life depends on it.

If I don’t get my meds taken by 7:30pm, I am totally screwed for the next day.  If I don’t head for bed around 9:00pm, I am totally screwed for the next day.  If I don’t wake up by 8:00am and take my Ritalin and drink two cups of coffee, I can’t function.  My day is shot, both in getting done what I need to get done, but also in my mood and my interactions with other people.

I would like to be more flexible in my routine, but I have tried and time and time again it fails.  When the time changed, my mother suggested I try staying up later since it was light later.  I have learned from past experience and I told her there was no way I could do that.  She reconsidered and agreed it would be a bad idea.  It’s just that the IDEA IS ALWAYS THERE.

Hey, I could do this or change this or it would be ok just this one time.  Well, hell, it just doesn’t work that way.  Almost 15 years I have been living with bipolar, and it hasn’t sunk in.  Therapists and doctors and books and websites and research papers reiterate it: you must find a schedule or a routine and stick with it, no matter what.  Why hasn’t it sunk into my thick head yet?

There is such an urge to be “normal” and do whatever I want, go to bed at midnight and get up at two the next day.  I spent many years drinking alcohol, but decided over a year ago it just wasn’t in my best interests due to the bipolar and the meds.  I deal with it ok, but there are times, fleeting times, when it sure would be nice to have a margarita.  There is a big fireworks show at the lake this year, but it doesn’ start until 10:00pm and the lake is 30 minutes from my house.  The chances of me watching it, getting home, and getting anything recognizable as sleep are zilch.  I so much want to, but I so much know I can’t.

The worst is that the majority of the world around you doesn’t have to stick to a strict schedule.  My mom can stay up poppin’ tops until all hours, and still go out and put in eight hours worth of planting lilies in the sun like a rockstar.  Sure, she feels a little crappy, but she CAN DO IT.  DSB can live with three to five hours of sleep for weeks on end and not have his mood, his attitude, or his demeanor change.  My dad can stay up until two or three in the morning and sleep until nine the next day, and then the following day, go to bed at ten and get up at five, and be JUST FINE.

The one person I know who needs a strict sleep routine like me isn’t even bipolar.  Big Dog needs his nine to ten hours of sleep each night, or his mood, his attitude, his outlook starts the road downhill.  He tries to do more, of course, and in the busy season, he does.  But then he has to take naps, just so he can function.  I wish I could take a nap and not have it ruin my whole day.

I am throwing my hands up in the air at this time.  Ok, I have to stay on a schedule.  I screw myself when I don’t.  I am going to see if I can salvage at least part of this day, being as it is already 1:00pm.  I just hate feeling like I have wasted most of my day and it seems like I get that feeling a lot.

Oh, Bother!

I am less than thrilled with the brains behind my insurance company at this point.  I called them to see about getting into Weight Watchers and, contrary to the literature on their website, they only provide the enrollment fee and four weeks of the program.  For those of you who are not familiar, WW is more of a long-term program.  I thought they could at least pay six months or a year.  Talk about disappointment!  So, for almost $40 a month, I could do WW longer-term and have my first month free.  It doesn’t sound like a lot of money, but I just can’t afford it right now.  I can barely afford to put gas in the car and buy a decent amount of groceries.  Frustrating, but I WILL persevere.  Because that’s what we do in our family, we persevere.

For more disappointment in the medical/health arena, DSB saw his primary care physician on Friday.  What a joke!  He dismissed DSB’s problems with anxiety totally, told him that sertraline (Zoloft) does not cause stomach upset or have sexual side effects, and was getting ready to just wrap up the exam without doing anything and then I started to get into it with him.  It ended up that, wow, after actually examining DSB, it is possible that his gallbladder is going bad.  He is scheduled to get some sort of imaging scan done in the next few weeks and we will go from there.  As for the anxiety and the side effects from sertraline, the doctor took him off that and put him on BuSpar.  Hopefully that will help.  Time can only tell!

In even more depressing health/medical news, my follow-up appoinment on my foot is Monday and I get to go get an x-ray and then advice from my PCP, who just so happens to be the same idiot that works with DSB.  I have consulted my physical therapist sister and my Internet-research-queen mother, and will likely be asking to be referred to an orthopaedic specialist, unless it has miraculously healed.  Stay tuned for more updates on that one, because I’m sure I’ll be pissed after the appointment Monday.

The Ritalin continues to treat me well.  My moods have been stable, my energy high, and my focus clear.  I am so annoyed with myself for going off of it, but am very pleased that I was able to make a quick turn-around.  This is not always the case when taking oneself off a medication…I know from experience!

After three days of QoB spearheading the mission, my house is all nice and clean!  I helped where I could, but mostly did a lot of supporting.  I’m still pretty gimp and have zero stamina from all of the time I have had to spend sitting around.  I did fold and hang and generally put away all clean laundry and am still working on the huge pile that awaits to be washed.  I can do laundry for the most part sitting down, so I’m glad I’m not totally helpless with that one.  

Now, I have a lot of laundry, and a lot of reading of blogs I follow to do.  I made it up to be current with my Grey’s Anatomy, so any suggestions of a new show to watch are appreciated!

Ritalin Jumpstart

Ok, so this is probably all in my head, but I have taken all three daily doses of Ritalin for the past two days and I am feeling remarkably better.  Remarkably better in that I feel clearer, more motivated, and less ick.  

I should probably clarify that I am not on Ritalin for treatment of ADD.  My doctor prescribed it while I  was going through a severe depressive phase because all anti-depressants do is make me manic.  Every time.  When I think of how things were going pre-Ritalin and then how things were going after I had been on it for awhile, it really was a bit of a miracle drug for me.  Of course, I’m a dumbass and i stopped taking it.

Hoping to get that clear, crisp, motivated, un-ick feeling back, as I said, I’ve started up the regimine again.  I have been supremely motivated and have kicked much ass in the last 48 hours, on a domestic level.  I am  still feeling a bit iffy in my interactions with other people, but let’s be honest, that is a day-to-day struggle, Ritalin or not.

I blogged a few posts ago about bipolar people having goals and my thoughts on the topic.  At the time, I talked only of very short-term goals, such as goals for the day.  To be honest, I don’t make any goals longer than for the day.  I think it’s habit.  When not feeling well, it is super difficult to accompliish even the smallest task.  It used to be that I would always set myself up for failure by coming up with unattainable goals, even when broken down into steps.

I’m going to try something new.  I am going to set a few non-lofty goals for myself.  Something beyond trying to make the daily goal of showering daily or keeping my kitchen clean.  Because those two things don’t happen sometimes, or even rarely at times.  

I just feel like, even though I am struggling with daily tasks, I shouldn’t hold myself back from something bigger until I can get those few tasks handled.  I feel so inspired by some of the blogs I read, people who are passionate about art or education or love or fitness.  I want that, too.  I would be willing to bet that some of those bloggers also have difficulty keeping their kitchen spotless or showering every day or that they have some other daily task they struggle with.  That isn’t holding them back and I am saying, starting right now, that I’m not going to let those little things hold me back from bigger goals.

I can so do this.  And so can you.

Cutting through the Bullshit

So, as posted yesterday, I’ve been feeling a bit off.  I blamed it on the weather, and that probably has a lot to do with it.  DSB did point out, however, that it has been sunny, even with the snow and ice and cold.  He does have a point.

I don’t like to use my sunlamp a lot because it can push me into a manic phase very quickly.  I only use it on dark and gloomy days and only September through the end of March.  I have never been instructed by a doctor or therapist on how to use the sunlamp, but have figured out through trial and error what works best for me.  Sometimes that is the best way to figure things out, trial and error (others, it is obviously not!). 

DSB pointed something else out when I was speaking with him about feeling “off” yesterday.  I have stopped taking my Ritalin as prescribed.  I am supposed to take it morning, noon, and early afternoon.  Within the last month, I’d say I’ve probably missed two out of every three doses.  

I just felt like I didn’t need it anymore, at the time.  Aren’t our bipolar brains effed that way?  “Oh, all is well.  Guess I don’t need that one anymore!”  Dumb, dumb, dumb.  Of course, I didn’t talk with anyone about it, just kind of snuck around, not taking it, thinking no one would notice.  Well of course DSB noticed.  He notices everything!  As soon as I mentioned to him that I wasn’t feeling myself, he brought it up.  So busted.

So, I have made myself a promise.  I am going to get back on the Ritalin full-time and see how things go.  I don’t have an appointment with my psychiatrist for another two and half months, but I can always get in sooner if need be.  

It probably doesn’t help that I haven’t been in therapy for almost a month now, due to weather conditions mostly.  We are due another 8″-12″ starting this afternoon, and my appointment is tomorrow afternoon, nearly 45 minutes away.  I called her this morning and told her that I may need to cancel and she asked that I call her in the morning, saying that she didn’t know if she would even be coming in tomorrow yet.

I am feeling better today, after an in-depth talk with DSB and motivating myself to clean my disaster of a kitchen last night.  Today I’ve mostly just been spending time with DSB and doing a little laundry.  I plan on making spaghetti for dinner tonight and watching some Hulu with my better half.  I might even go crazy and take a shower, or use some other self-soothe skill. Skills coming on strong now, radically accepting that I can’t BS DSB about medication compliiance and, of course, the 8″-12″ of snow that’s coming.