Week in Review: Positivity and Thankfulness in the Face of Extreme Sleep Deprivation

I went from posting six times last week to not even touching this blog this week.  My thoughts have been super disorganized the past several days, due to a lack of sleep which is coming about thanks to problems with my CPAP machine (device that treates sleep my extra-severe sleep apnea).  So, while I HAVE been lying down for three or four hours at a time, I have been waking (according to the technician who downloaded my unit today) multiple times a night because I am, well, jeez, I’m just not breathing, consistently.

That kind of sleep deprivation is something of the worst kind, because while you *think* you are sleeping, you aren’t getting even close to any sort of sleep that is restful.  This leaves one with disorganized thoughts, gaps in time and memory, and a feeling that some sort of slow-growing mold is encasing the brain, rendering the little electrical impulses normally found there to be quite subdued.

To all of the bloggers I follow, I’m sorry to say that I just deleted my inbox full of notifications, feeling that I had to give myself a “re-do” for this week, and that I couldn’t do that with all of those unread posts making me feel guilty.  So, I’ve missed some of what y’all had to say this week…my bad, but sometimes it can’t be helped.  I *am* going to go back and answer comments on my last two posts here in the next day or so, but I thought it was prudent to throw a post up here so that anyone who noticed I was *back* last wouldn’t think I’ve totally dropped off again.  Just not the case, at all.

Some really great things happened this week, and remain unmarred (mostly) by the trials and tribulations of sleep deprivation.  I had a really good therapy appointment this week, and I also made peace with my peer support specialist.  It is amazing what can happen when you just ASK for what you NEED, and when you are also communicative about what your expectations are and just very HONEST about every single thing you can think of.

My schedule has now straightened itself out to the point where it is the exact same every week.  There will be no more panicked thoughts (I hope) in the middle of the night, thinking there is somewhere I am supposed to be at such-and-such time the next day.  Now, everything has been set up to repeat, and I can just roll with it (and hope it *mostly* stays that way).

This is a huge relief, because it was one of the things I have been so bent out of shape about.  I also found a great place to meet in the community with my peer support person…a small cafe that is very empty midday, has very comfortable furniture, is bright and full of windows, and lacks the dark and trendy feelings of most coffee shops.  I love it so much, I might hang out there sometimes, even when we are not meeting.  They also have really inexpensive drinks and desserts, a plus, no doubt.

I have further cleared things up with my peer support person (who really needs a blog nickname, what I have so far is The Trucker’s Wife, what do you think?) by using F.A.S.T. (a DBT skill in which you ask for something but keep your self-respect, as in no over-apologizing or the like) and just good ol’ common sense.  I have decided to give her another chance, and would probably actually give her many more, because, while she is not the best at returning phone calls, she IS good at returning emails (yay, a way to communicate!!) and she does appear to care, and she is quite kind and understanding, and is letting me do the self-help book more on my own.  It appears that this will all be working out, quite well.

I have several other things, which I am quite grateful for at this present moment, and which I’m going to list-post, because, yeah, I know that no one really wants this post to go past 700 words (least of all me):

  1.   Celebrating good use of DBT skills this week in interacting with others.  A few arguments were avoided, my anxiety was calmed more than once, and things just feel more level, even *with* the sleep deprivation.
  2. I do have the insurance to monitor and fix this sleep deprivation problem.  The problem right now is getting in to be seen at the sleep center, because they are so backed up.  I do have an appointment on Tuesday, and my medical supply store RT offered to help me on Monday, if I need it.
  3. People can be really decent to you when you treat them with more respect than what they are expecting to get.
  4. The relationship between LarBear and I gets better by the minute.  We have laughed our butt’s off this week at many different things, as well as spent a lot of good quality time, several productive discussions, and he is really just everything I ever wanted out of a significant other, and always thought that I could never get.
  5. Thinking about what I might do post-DBT…maybe become a peer support for the group.  Just throwing that out there as a wild and crazy idea, and that is also way down the road (about a year), but I think it might be really cool.

I found this photo/word/thingie on FB, and thought it was just exactly how I feel about my life right now, so I wanted to share it with y’all.  It’s with this that I’m out, off to celebrate number 6, which was finding some really nice steaks in my freezer!

numinous

Rant-ish

***I almost didn’t publish this.  It is too ugly and ranty and paints me in a way that I don’t want others to think of me.  But this is real, this was my day, this was my evening, these are my thoughts.  I tire of apologizing for being who I am, for my feelings, for exposing the uglies in my brain to the outside air.  I’m not perfect and I don’t expect anyone else to be.

i wont apologize for who i am

I have spent over half my life in the care of mental health professionals.  Since age 16, to be exact, although I can recall being required to see school counselors as early as the second grade.  What was it that was so terribly *wrong* at such a young age, that I needed to see a school counselor?  I don’t remember exactly, and I really don’t want to hear the real answer, but I do remember that I have always struggled in relationships with my peers.

That hasn’t really changed.  My on-again, off-again personality pushes people away, as does my clingy-ness and rapid mood changes and social awkwardness and tendency to shut down completely for months on end.  I have a handful of online friends, that I do keep in close contact with, and I have LarBear.  Otherwise, I have family — QoB, my dad, the Big Dawg…all close to me in one manner or another, varying from one time to another.

For me, that’s enough, and it’s almost more than I can handle sometimes.  I have added peer support to my treatment mix, and it is one more person that I have to handle, and to be honest, I haven’t handled her well.  I cancelled our appointment today, fifteen minutes before I was supposed to be there.  There is no common courtesy in that at all, and I can imagine she is pissed, but I wasn’t able to make myself leave the house and go to that appointment.

I tried getting her on the phone several times, but that is mission impossible because I am not allowed to have a phone number for her that actually rings her line.  When my call is transferred from the front desk, it literally rings to a phone that is not in existence, and then goes to her voicemail.  Voicemail that she checks once a day, at best.  I have left her countless voicemails before, only to get a response fifteen minutes before our next scheduled appointment.  What kind of support is it, when I can only have access to her within the confines of my appointment?  I have better access to my med treater than that, for crying out loud, and this person is supposed to be “support.”

I suppose this is just me demonizing another person and blaming and complaining.  It’s what I would be told, and you know, frankly, I’m getting really tired of having my feelings invalidated.  It really is no wonder to me that I can’t get along with anyone worth a damn, and it has been this way so long, and so severely, that I really don’t see another way.

DBT helps.  Of course it helps.  Does my current therapist know DBT?  No.  What do we talk about?  I’m not sure.  I can’t really remember from appointment to appointment, which makes me feel as if I am having no gains in that department.  The lapses in my memory are frequent and significant, and I know it is because I am numbing myself and distracting away negative feelings.  I am not allowing myself to live my life, I am trying to just get through it.

And I am back around to that DBT saying, you’re trying hard enough, and you can try harder.  I want to put that on a billboard in my front yard, so I can look out my window every five minutes and see it flashing at me in bright red.  It is very frustrating to me, that I feel I am being written off by the mental health staff at the center, as someone whose problems are in her head.

I am still straightening out a few things and a lot of sentences in my head, and maybe tomorrow or the next I can post more about why I feel kicked to the curb by my treaters, but for now, I need to calm down or I will never sleep.  Sleep would be good, it would be helpful, it would make matters better.  One can only hope.

Pretending to Believe

coffee-health-benefits-and-coffee-quotes-L-0JOka4There are three reasons I am coping today:

1) Coffee

2) LarBear

3) Kizzie

4) Lucy

Okay, so liquid brainpower, my boyfriend, and my two dogs are the only reasons that I am hanging onto a shred of sanity.  A very tenuous hold on the shred of sanity, I might add.

I have been up, up, up in the clouds lately.  Feeling like nothing could go wrong, like my world is in perfect order, like bipolar disorder had taken a vacation and left me with something that I laughingly call “recovery.”  My friends, there is just no such thing.  One does not “recover” from a severe and persistent mental illness.  One battles it on a day-to-day basis, one does not graduate into a life where there are no symptoms.

At least, that’s what I believe.  Today has been really rough.  There has been a lack of sleep thing going on for the past, hmmm, several months, and it is catching up with me.  I spent the entire day in tears, had to cancel all of my appointments, and, in general, I was forced into hibernation.

Right now, it’s been three minutes since the tears stopped, and they are starting back again, now that I am thinking about them again.  I refuse to let today ruin the progress that I have made lately, and I choose to believe that tomorrow might be a better day.  One day full of crying does not an episode make.  Of that, I am living proof

So, I will do what I know to do.  I will blog and I will journal and pet my dogs and ignore my phone and watch some trashy TV and read my book.

I will wake up in the morning and things will be all right again, I won’t be crying, and I can resume my precarious journey through this recovery thing that I don’t really believe exists, but that maybe one day I might believe in a little, if I just keep trying.imagesWFGPH81B

Hand on My Back

It is late, almost 3:00 a.m. on Sunday morning.  I woke up at 1:30 a.m. with terrific nightmares, the sweats, and a pounding heart.  This happens anywhere between once per week, to three or four times per week.  Lately, the nightmares have been getting better.  Of course, they are still there, but they hadn’t been affecting me as much.

So far, I have been able to keep things pretty steady even in the face of the insurmountable nightmares, night terrors, whatever you want to call them.  There are certain things that tend to set me off, however, and there have been no shortage of these *things.”

Many of my dreams are nightmares within which it is the end of the world (quite literally), and I am running to save my life.  Running from being raped, being beaten, frantically searching for a person (usually my sister) or an animal (always Kizzie).  In most cases, my sister or Kizzie are also being beaten, raped, tortured.  I have been through plenty of nasty domestic violence, but these scenes from my sleeping brain are quite vivid.

The dreams share similarities of what I feel in real life, and here lately, with the attacks in Paris and a person in my inner circle who constantly talks about the end of the world (as we know it), I get more and more hyped up into these nightmares.  I have learned to tell the person in my inner circle to not talk about these things around me, but as the world turns, some people have very little filter, or at the very least, not much ability to slap the muzzle on themselves when it comes things they find so very *true.*

So while my body screams out to lay down, my contrary brain shoots messages that all is not well, things are not safe, staying awake (at this point) is necessary.  I have been dealing with this problem for most of my adult life, and even a bit into childhood and adolescence — the bad dreams.  They come and they go, wax and wane, intensify and fade.

At some point, I decide I am safe and release the death grip I have on the computer mouse, ease myself out of my computer chair, and lie down.  At this point in my life, I have LarBear, and I use him as a tool, and snuggle up to him and get extra kisses and fall asleep with his hand in the middle of my back, no doubt with him able to feel the steady thump-thump of my heart.

For every nastiness about Bipolar Disorder, PTSD, Anxiety, and the lot, there is a warm hand on my back, held out from the man I love more on this world than anything, and that, my friends, is something to be ever grateful for.  Nightmares come and go, true love doesn’t fade.

Weekend Summary, With a Purpose

Lucky for I-don’t-know-who, I have decided to take my somewhat frequent tendency to be unable to fall asleep, and use it as a tool.  So, instead of every night going to bed, being unable to fall asleep, and waking up and watching whatever randomness is on TV — I’m going to blog, for at least some of the times.

We had a pretty great weekend.  Friday, LarBear and I had dinner with QoB and her boyfriend, and I finished reading another book after we came home.

On Saturday, I went with my dad to help babysit my nephew, Oscar, while my sister and brother-in-law worked on the house they are fixing up.  I had the chance to see the huge guest room that they are converting (along with everything else…this was a total strip-it-gut-it-change-it job) where LarBear and I will be able to stay when we come visit.  It has huge windows, and it’s own bathroom and fireplace.  Oh!  And a balcony.  It is a super-cool and interesting old house, and they have done almost all the work themselves.  Very impressive, I think it would probably be called a mini-mansion.  🙂

Today, LarBear and I have been mostly relaxing and hanging out.  We slept in (which we never, ever do) and took a drive in the country to see the changing colors.  It seems that a lot of the leaves are already on the ground, but it was beautiful anyway and that is one of our favorite things to do together.  We finished up the evening with cheeseburgers for dinner, and LarBear watching football on the TV while I read on the Kindle.  It was really an altogether great day, and weekend.

Tomorrow, we are venturing about two hours east to visit LarBear’s grandpa, Mickey, and then we will swing through and see my sister and Oscar on our way back home.  It should be an interesting trip because we haven’t been to see Mickey in a couple months because he has been in and out of the hospital.  I am hoping that he will be home and we can have a good visit.  For LarBear’s sake, I’m fine with staying as long as he likes.

The reason I am blogging about things as mundane as what the weekend events were, is that I want to be able to look back and remember good times, calm times when my brain wasn’t fighting me, for the times when I do slip off the deep end.  Because at least I know, it’s not if, its a matter of when.  Sometimes once you have radically accepted that you are always going to live with your illness, it makes it easier to handle.  Or, it has for me, at least.

 

O.K., Wild One!

Okay, so maybe “wild” isn’t the right word.  Hypomania?  Mania, even?  What started out as just some “really great” feelings has evolved into something more.  I’m not sleeping but three or four hours a night, and those hours aren’t all at one time.  Nightmares have come on with an even greater vengeance.  I find my thoughts to be confused and jumbled and quite speedy, my speech is pressured, and one day seems to capture ten different mood shifts.

No bueno, my friends.  I did go to see the amazing psychiatrist last week and he increased my Lithium and added Seroquel as a PRN show-stopper of sorts, but I have had little relief.  Especially in the sleep department.  My tolerance for other humans has begun to shrink, and even my feelings of empathy for the puppies in my life who struggle with fireworks and thunder and every other loud noise have been diminished.

I miss blogging every day, but most days I find that I just don’t have much to say.  Or much to say that I think bears repeating from my tired old brain.  Sometimes I think I should just throw it out there anyway, but I don’t.  I admire bloggers who do it day-in-and-out, and maybe I’ll get back there some day.  I think I would have a hard time throwing RosieSmrtiePants away altogether, and don’t think that day is coming anytime soon.  Maybe I could embrace a weekly blogging schedule.  You know, a SCHEDULE.  Gah!

So many things in life are better these days, so it is really aggravating to me that I must still be on the bipolar circus ride of up-down-all-around.  I have resigned myself to think that perhaps it will ALWAYS be that way.  I mean, if the past 33 years is any indication anyway.  I comfort myself by reminding Rosa that at least the current state of affairs does not 100% revolve around depression and anxiety.  Yay for mania (except, ick, really) for keeping things interesting and here’s to a goal of no hysterical crying for 24 hours.

We all have goals, am I right?  ;). Sure do love y’all!

Reasons I Might Be Losing My Mind

With the exception of “Dear God: You Forgot to Mention the Bad Parts” (which was one of my favorite posts of recent, but that received almost no attention…go look!), I have mostly been doing challenges for my post updates.  Lots of list posts, goal posts, thankful posts.  That’s all well and good, but I don’t want to be THAT blogger.  I started this blog to put it all out there and to process and to be reminded that I am flawed, but human.  I haven’t been putting it all out there.

I know we’re all tired of Rosa saying what crap 2014 has been (but it has), and it’s safe to say that my mental health has taken a nosedive once again.  There are reasons, though, this time.  There were triggers to the nosedive and I am going to say like I say on my tagline and “tell it like it is.”

Firstly, I have been going through a family struggle.  It’s something that everyone wants to keep private for very good reason, but it’s really been bringing me down.  I don’t know how many tears I have cried over this, and I don’t know when or if it will get better.  It weighs on my mind heavily, maybe more so than it should.

Then, there’s all the med changes.  No more Zyprexa and no tapering off the 10mg I took three times a day.  No more sleeping pill (a benzo) after a very short taper.  And remember the Geodon decrease and the Abilify upswing.  All 0f this within the last little while.  The no more sleeping  pill thing has probably been the worst and I haven’t slept in days.  I did, however, get a reprieve and was prescribed a small dose of Trazadone that I am hoping will work wonders.  I want to sleep, I don’t want to be comatose.  Hence getting off the other sleeping pill (plus, the sleep-driving just wasn’t a good thing).

The pressures to change my lifestyle.  Quit smoking AND lose weight.  Start exercising.  Eat healthier.  Taper down your smoking.  All at once, all coming at me from family, friends, doctors.  Everyone means well, I know, but I can’t do it all at once.  Goddess of Mindfulness told me today the same thing:  Rose, you can’t do it all at once.  She thinks this is a terrible time to quit smoking, even though I have been amping up for it for almost two weeks now.  She says I need to let my meds even out, start sleeping again.

Goddess of Mindfulness also thinks I need to focus on healthy eating.  She thinks it will make me feel better overall.  My dad really wants me to join a gym, after I mentioned that I might at some point want to do water aerobics.  The doctors are telling me no help for me until I quit smoking.  Everyone else just looks at me and my growing size and horrible cough and tries to recommend something.  Or just looks at me.

Something has to give.  Right now, in this very moment, my eating is out of control and I have to fix that.  Weight loss surgery somewhere down the line?  Maybe.  For right now, though, there has to be a change within my brain.  This is something I can do anytime.

Quitting smoking?  I will continue to cut back.  I will quit within the next month or so.  Can I do it all at once?  No.

Exercising.  I do want to do the water aerobics classes, but money prevents it, and right now I am so out of breath to do anything, that continuing smoking prevents it.

And all 0f the aforementioned squirrels just run around my mind chattering, and I am overwhelmed, and I feel like I’m losing it.  Something has GOT to give.