Bumbling Along

*checks date of last post* Whups, it’s been a month. Oh well.

At least that month has been a goodish one, at least mood-wise. It took a bit for my body to adjust back to extended release Seroquel — thank the stars I have an adequate stash of melatonin for those rough periods. I’m not getting to sleep in my classic style; that’s where I start to drop off while reading. I just sort of roll over, close my eyes, and get to sleep fairly quickly. It’s pretty okay, and I’m not having fractured sleep, which is even better.

What I *have* been dealing with is super-fatigue, and a few physical injuries. For example, I managed to fuck up my right wrist spectacularly the week before last. I’d stood up while holding a sleeping Littlerbit, and my right leg had fallen asleep and gone out from under me. I managed to not chuck her across the room or wake her up, nor did I mess up my ankle. At least my right arm is my non-dominant, but it’s still been a long and painful period of limited function. It’s still a bit tender, but it’s not bothered by knitting, sewing, or typing, just picking up heavy clingy children. So of course… *chuckles ruefully*

There’s been one good thing going down the past month or so — I’ve managed to break through some of my executive dysfunction in minor ways and not be a complete lump around the house. For example, my husband doesn’t usually directly ask me to assist him because he appreciates that I’m kind of super-broken and using most of my resources to be vaguely pleasant and doing basic things. So I’ve surprised myself by catching myself responding to his statements about doing things with, ‘Can I help?’, or ‘I can do that’. I still can’t do much, and in a lot of ways there’s even less that I can do, but it makes me happy that I can better support my spouse (who honestly carries all of us on his back without complaint and it’s more than anyone should ever have to do).

And that’s about it, really. I’m alive, keeping my head down, but mainly doing alright. Hope you guys out there are doing as well as can be.

<3

The Best Sort of Mistake

So apparently, I was incredibly wrong about something. It turns out that Dr. K wasn’t leaving — she was about to go on vacation and wanted the matter of my Seroquel resolved before she left! Oh man, I cannot express how huge a relief it was to walk into the hospital today and see her face.

And it was a productive, blessedly short appointment! Like, we’re talking 15 minutes with a lot crammed in. She called my GP to remind them to get back to her about the ADHD referral while I was there, which was a nice touch. We also discussed the meds plan for the next bit. We upped the Zoloft to the maximum dose (from 150mg to 200mg). We are both down with making the Depakote go away since it’s not really helping and the side effects are pissing me off. She wants to switch me to another mood stabiliser… I think it was Abilify? Doctors here always use the not-brand name for meds, which is why I know how to say things like quetiapine. ¬¬ She didn’t want to start me on it now though ’cause I pointed out that even if I’m feeling stabler with the Seroquel back to the extended release, I’m still dealing with depression and anxiety out of the aether. She said that whatever it was she had to mind could have increased anxiety in the first week or two, and she didn’t want to make worse what was already going on. Fair enough. I just like knowing that we have a plan of action.

As for how I’m feeling… ask me tomorrow, ha ha. Today has been a hella busy day, well beyond what I normally can tolerate. Tomorrow is also a return to status normal here at ours, as the bigger kiddo will be back in school after the two week Easter holiday. I love her very much and enjoy her company, but her being back at school means that I will be able to get myself and the little one back on the ‘proper’ day schedule. Smallest permitting, I am going to have a grand day of not having to deal with people for a few hours. 😀

Hope this finds everyone well!

<3

Mur Mur Murrr

I’m sitting here being Annoyed as Fuck™® because I am anxious and it’s making me slightly depressed and they’re feeding each other back and forth. I’m sooooo not impressed. Like, getting the Seroquel sorted means that I’m sleeping well, am starting to get to sleep properly; the change from normal release to extended release takes a bit, with a loving dose of melatonin to boot. I am on the whole feeling more stable and have managed to not murder my kiddos here in the two week Easter holiday (one down, one to go), but still… that anxiety, that depression. I’m hoping that when I’m in next week that we can opt to up the antidepressant and see if that makes a difference.

Really though, I wish the ADHD diagnosis referral would come through. Besides the focus that being medicated would give me, I am led to believe it is super-helpful for anxiety. As it’s been 17 years since I had very very part-time access to ADHD meds compliments of a friend, I never really evaluated it for anxiety help. I was just grateful because the days he’d let me have his meds meant that I was actually able to stay awake through the first period of the day instead of looking like I didn’t give a shit about my classes. Really, the whole deal makes me wish that I was a shadier person with less concept of consequences because if I were, I’d be sorely tempted to go grey market to try and get *something* to help in that regard.

 

But Therapy! Mindfulness!

But what. My BFFFFF says I can outlogic Spock, and I can. If there is a logical reason for me feeling anxious or depressed, I am on it like stink on shit. Unfortunately, 99% of the time it just springs out of nowhere to make my life hell. It’s a big part of why I accept that my brain’s wiring is shot and that medication can make the difference in my life — because it has. I’ll rely on it as long as I humanly can and feel no shame for it.Which isn’t to say anyone is failing if they desire to come off of meds, or therapy helps them — I’m glad there are options out there for people, and am hoping that people in general are rocking the option that gives them the best quality of life.

As it were, my only concern as far as medication is concerned right now is being taken off of something and being put on something else. I worry about losing potential efficacy by hopping around… not that I’ve had hopping yet, just combining things here and there. I don’t even know who I am seeing this time around since Dr. K is going, and what their spin on it is going to be (if they don’t think I’m manic because they don’t understand that Americans talk quickly).

Oh okay, maybe I’m a teensy bit anxious about that, but that’s not actually going to hit me until like, we’re on the way. It’s not like I can do anything about it beforehand, yanno? See, there’s that logic peeping its head up. 🙂

Anyhoos, better out than in, and now it’s out. Hope this finds all of y’all as well as you can be.

<3

Well, That Was Unexpected

The good news is that my Seroquel is sorted out. It’s back to extended release, and the GP I normally see (Dr. N) flat-out said that his compatriot Dr. A lied about normal Seroquel versus extended release. I was pretty sure that he was wrong myself, but I think most of us can understand the desire to be seen as compliant, even if we’re not 100% sure on it. All I know is that I’m now half a year behind where I should be on trying to get things stabilised, but never mind. Things are where they ‘should’ be, and hopefully we can build on top of that.

The bad news is that my beloved psych Dr. K is going away. I don’t know where she’s going, but she let me know that she was when she was trying to follow up on the prescription change to make sure it had been done correctly. I am super bummed. She has been a great ally in my corner, working with me to make sure we were on the same page to get me the best care, and she has been trying really hard to get my referral for ADHD diagnosis taken on board and approved. As she put it — it is the one ‘boon’ I had specifically asked her for, and she wanted to make sure it was taken care of. I don’t know where in purgatory it is at current, or if it’s going to get rejected yet again, but she tried and I appreciated it. I can take comfort in the fact that my care will probably default back to Dr. Z for a bit, who I am comfortable with because oh hey, he’s the one that diagnosed me properly in the first place. He’s also the head of the department, so he often has students sitting in. I like having students around — much like anything in my life, if I can use my ‘bad’ to educate or make people feel less alone, then I am happy.


 

So then, how have things been since being back on extended release Seroquel? As I said last time, I feel that I am a bit more stable as compared to before. There’s still depression, but I feel like that’s very slowly receding. I’ve managed to surprise myself with some random bits of functionality this week, like making a phone call without ending up a sobbing wreck (and I got a post up on my most neglected blog, woot woot). It bodes well for my chances of surviving the next two weeks, better known as the Easter holiday here in the UK. I love the kiddos and I love having them around, but that’s going to be a hefty dose of personal bubble invasion even if they both stay on the couch the entire time (which they probably won’t). I would love to be able to do them a steady and take them to a park or something, but I’m not counting on my physical ability to handle that.

But we’ll see. For the moment I’m feeling generally optimistic! And, as usual, hope y’all out there are doing alright.

<3

Gloomy Sunday and Mirthful Monday

 

What is it about Sunday evenings that are so freaking depressing? This is a totally rhetorical question, mind — it’s just my brain being stupid for stupid’s sake. Monday is my day off, insomuch that I’m still caring for the smallest, but I don’t do my for-pay work. And being housebound as I am, it’s not like I have to blow spoons on dressing or excessive grooming. *stabs brain with Q-Tip and mutters*


 

As the subject suggests, today has been randomly amusing. My husband went to the doctor’s office after dropping our eldest off at school to inquire about my Seroquel XR prescription. He managed to get in with the doctor between his appointments (Dr. N), and Dr. N confirmed that yes, there was nothing wrong with the extended release, and I could have it… if the letter from Dr. K came through. That was encouraging, though annoying — in the past we’d been able to go straight to Dr. N to make sure it was extended release after Dr. K’s predecessor almost never remembered to send the prescription update as extended release. Still, it was a fairly quick call to the hospital (thanks again, best-husband), and assurance from Dr. K’s secretary that she was going to get it sorted out asap.

So imagine my bemusement when the phone rang this afternoon. It listed the caller as ‘withheld’ which pretty much always means that it’s someone NHS. I picked it up to hear Dr. K inquire, ‘Doctor surgery?’. She quickly realised it was me, apologised for calling, and told me that she was trying to call Dr. N to confab on getting the prescription properly prescribed. No worries, I gave her the surgery’s number, and returned to what I was doing.

Then the phone rang again. ‘Doctor surgery?’, she inquired again. I had a rather good belly laugh while she scrambled to apologise. I was polite and friendly about it, expressing that I was not bothered and that I knew she was very busy today. So it was nice to have a little chuckle, and to know that hey, my people are working for me!

I was relaying this to best-husband when he’d gotten home from work between other things we were doing… when the phone rang again. This time it was the surgery trying to call Dr. K back. I didn’t have to deal with the phone this time, but I definitely had some tittery giggly wossits in response. Best-husband commented he was glad I’d told him the story of earlier so he understood what was happening when he answered the phone! I hope that they finally managed to cross paths, and as said — glad to know that they’re working for me.


 

I did have one minor regret after all this went down — I didn’t talk to Dr. K about the efficacy of medications. I’m still dealing with depression, but I’m also feeling more stable? That isn’t a surprise, since Seroquel has always worked well as a mood stabiliser for me. It crushes the range of feelings into something mainly more manageable, it pretty much destroys the rapid cycling… but depression is. I think it’s pretty common for folks with Bipolar II to have really severe depression that meds don’t touch as much as we’d like them to. If I had thought about it, I would have asked her to consider tacking on another 50mg to my Zoloft, but it might be ideal to wait until I see her next month, just to make very sure that the Seroquel is doing what it’s doing.  It’s all a step in the right direction either way.

Anyhoos, hope y’all are well. As for me, back to my knitting!

<3

Eh. It’s Gradual.

Since getting my psych to put me back on the extended release Seroquel, I… I think I’ve been feeling better? It’s a really slow going thing, and doesn’t negate the fact that even in the best spells I’m going to have random anxiety or depressive jags of shorter natures.

But like… I willingly left the house twice in one week. I am for the most part happy to be a house-bound cripple; I’m so deeply introverted that I need a lot of space and quiet to function at my best. The first outing was walking a grand total of 0.2 miles round trip to the Post Office and back with the littlest in tow. I was dropping off a parcel for my BFFFFF for his birthday in the hopes it *might* get there before his birthday. I almost didn’t make it out the door ’cause Littlerbit mad me carry her upstairs to get her ready, and as I make very solidly muscular children, she’s a heavy load. I was really proud of myself because executive dysfunction + chronic fatigue means that it’s exceedingly difficult to get myself doing things outside of the bubble that is my awesome nest.

I then got out of the house again on the invite of my dear friend, Emma (whose son is my eldest’s best friend). She had gotten wind of a knitting group at the local Hobbycraft, and did I want to tag along. To my amusement, it was the same thing that convinced us it might be a good place to go — the inclusion of 3 other members of our Stitch ‘n Bitch group. So I managed to organise us rides to and from, and were given the extra reassurance (unasked, so even better!) that if we needed rescuing, it was a phone call away. We had a pretty good time. I’m not sure we’d make it a regular event to attend, but at least we made ourselves do it.

Now, I’m not saying that means I’m back to okay or good or whatever — just that whatever the case, I managed more than I thought I could do without pushing myself too badly. I think. It’s so hard to tell where the line is, but I guess that because I’ve not gone all screamy and freaking out on anyone really is probably a good sign that things are in the right direction. I think.

Hopefully.

Admittedly, I do the same thing that I’ve always done to try and help me get through — keep busy. As anyone who follows my Instagram might’ve picked up, I’m sort of on a knitting planning and shopping spree right now. I tend to recommend knitting to any of my friends dealing with a mental illness, ’cause it’s a good thing to sort of zen focus on. And yanno, you end up with something neat at the end, which scratches that satisfaction that comes from producing something. I think I would love it if I didn’t have to deal with bipolar and its Uncaring Cousins™®, but there’s something deeply satisfying about forcing bipolar out of my head by making myself kick-ass clothing.

Anyways, hope y’all out there are doing well.

<3

Discontinued My Ass

I saw my psych again this week. She was confused as to why we’d booked so close together and though it a mistake at first, and then we pieced it together. To her, a change in Zoloft should take two weeks (which was the approximate gap between appointments), while to me it should be more like a month. Considering the depression hasn’t gone anywhere, I can say two weeks deeefinitely didn’t do anything (or the change in dose didn’t do anything). We re-emphasised that I should be on the extended release Seroquel, and that the worst of the depression started again after I got put on normal release. One of the doctors at our surgery told my husband that Seroquel XL had been pulled and that’s why I had to be changed to normal, but I called bollocks then and call bollocks now; the only ‘problem’ with it is it costs like, 90% more than ‘normal’ Seroquel. There’s also this insistence that normal release should be fine, especially if taken at the same time, that it should work fine over a 24 hour period… hah. No. Even in my currently borderline obese state, I still have a super-fast metabolism, and I would speculate that I get through the normal release quite quickly. We’ll see.

But yes, so like as said, discontinued my ass. We took the written prescription from Dr. K to the supermarket with us, where we had it in our hands in like, 10 minutes. Now, I was bemused that it was the first time I’d been handed a batch with an emphasis on the expiry date. That didn’t worry me too much, ’cause like… it’s not going to be the most common drug pharmacies are handing out. If it had been pulled you’d think that they would have said something there, yanno?

We’ll see how it goes. I’ll restart myself on it tomorrow, ’cause I refill my pill box for the night tonight after I take what’s in there. I figure I should have an answer before I see Dr. K in April. Yes, to my vast amazement, she said a month out, and it’s already been booked and fallen into my hot sweaty hands. The only downside is it’s the same time I’m supposed to have a friend visiting who I’ve not seen in years, but hopefully I can reschedule that. I don’t trust my luck in getting appointments in timely fashions enough to try to reschedule. I want this depression licked as soon as possible, yo.

Hope y’all are doing alright out there.

<3

Really Now

icecreamprozacMy current level of depression can only be described as such — if I could punch myself in the face repeatedly to make it go away, I would do it in a heartbeat. I am soooo not impressed with my broken-ass brain and its wonky chemicals, let me tell you. That I can sit here cracking jokes with and smiling at my kids while the main part of me wants to hide from the world and cry… ugh. I’m not a crier, I should emphasise, so this is super freaking annoying. -__-

Mind, I knew that I wasn’t likely to see any significant change in a week or two. I had hoped something would shift, but… well. Maybe by Thursday when I see Dr. K next? Probably not. I wonder what she’s going to want to do. Add a second antidepressant? Up the Zoloft? Switch one for another? She understands well that this isn’t safe territory for me (even if I somehow survived with it for years and years), so hopefully she’ll be able to sit with me with properly close together appointments to try and get this shit sorted out. Hopefully.

For now, the days drag molasses slow, as days washed in depression do so well. Even though I’m still finding joy in doing my things and all that, it’s definitely a bit washed out by it. Rude. But I’m stubborn; I’ll keep dragging through until things are back in order. I just wish that it was sooner rather than later. ¬¬

Hope all of y’all out there are doing a fair sight better!

<3

Look Maw, No Murders!

am

I’ll be honest with everyone — I wasn’t sure I was going to make it through the week with everyone alive. Because of course, severe depression chose to coincide with half-term, also known as one of those times in the year I’ve got both kids home with me… rapture. Mind, Smallhausen is six and pretty good at entertaining herself now (and finally will go off elsewhere in the house on her own, insert chorus of angels here). So she really wasn’t too much in the way. Littlerbit mainly cooperated too. I mean like, really, all I had to do was make sure they were fed and not killing each other or being killed by me, but I think all of us know that sometimes that’s a tall freaking order.

But yes, everyone is alive, and I even managed to get caught up on work stuff. I seriously didn’t think that was going to happen atop having to care for kids. I guess finally having a replacement for my old pedal exerciser (tl;dr  used it to death) helped a bit, or coincidentally arrived around the same time I started feeling a tiny bit more functional on the back of my appointment. I’ll be honest — I don’t care if I’m fat or obese. Weight and health are not related, and 100% of the health problems I have now I had when I was 100 pounds soaking wet (and some of them have been improved by weight gain). But because chronic fatigue means that I’m a bit limited in puttering around, it pleases me to get some movement done on the daily. And because it’s something I can do without thinking about it, I don’t risk the rapid cycling, self-harm, and severely over-reacting OCD that comes with trying to exercise ‘properly’.


9781441313898

Available at http://www.peterpauper.com

My in-laws are very pragmatic people. For Christmas, instead of buying a bunch of stuff that I may or may not like, my mother-in-law purchased me a journal, a box of chocolates, and gave me a card with money in it (and another card with money in it for my birthday the month after). My mother-in-law knows that I write a lot, so she likes getting me diaries and journals, even if I’m never quite sure what I am going to use them for. This one, however… is too gorgeous to not use. It took me a bit to decide what I was going to do with it, and then it came to me — mood journal! Yeah like, I have my two daily blogs that I do for me already, but something about scribbling this stuff down specifically in a journal that I can show to my doctor? It made sense to me. And she was happy to see it too — she even complimented my handwriting (which I am intensely vain about, so yanno, thanks 😀).

I guess that the tl;dr boils down to the fact that I’m managing to function a bit better than expected, but I’m still feeling pretty depressed and anxious. It’s a tiny bit better some days, a tiny bit worse others. Hopefully I’ll have a better idea of things by the time I see Dr. K next.

Hope everyone out there is well.

<3

Validation

I’ve been in to see my psychiatrist today, and let me tell you, I am feeling so much better even if at the same time I’m feeling soul-crushingly depressed.

First of all, I’d not seen her since September. I get the idea that the appointment gap was an oversight, and I expressed that I wasn’t mad at her for being a part of an overstretched and under-appreciated system. Dr. K commented that she wasn’t looking for appreciation, but anyways. We had a lot to cover with that sort of time gap, especially with side effects and increased depression and whatnot. The med plan devised for the moment was:

  • Dropping the Depakote back to 500mg a day (though splitting it 250/250)
  • Upping the sertraline (Zoloft) to 150mg a day from 100mg
  • Leaving the quetiapine (Seroquel) alone for now, but…

((and this is the best bit))

That we’d discuss it when we reconvene next. In two weeks. Which is already booked. I could freaking weep, yo. While I totally try to stay cheerful and positive, this depression I’ve gotten into is bad. This is crisis-level shit for me, and my doc knows it enough to make sure she’s on the ball with getting me back on track. After all, I’ve got a family to be able to help take care of, and yeah… I’m not contributing much to that. I don’t know that things are going to pick up quickly over the next two weeks, but we’ll see.

 

ADHD

One of the things I have been fighting really freaking hard for over the past couple of years has been trying to get an ADHD diagnosis. I’ve been referred for it three times now. The first two were rejected, and the third we’ve not heard back on. I have higher hopes of it getting through now that my hospital is under a different mental health trust, one closer to the place they actually do ADHD diagnoses in this country. Dr. K pulled Dr. Z in to our appointment to discuss how to progress with that; in addition to being the head doctor locally, he’s also reputedly an expert on ADHD. I was pleased to find that our knowledge base was more similar than it was last we spoke (which was like, two and a half years ago). There has been a lot of new research let out, especially in regards to women, ADHD, and aging, so he was significantly happier counting me as assessed and ready to be properly treated/medicated by the right people. So while it’s still not the diagnosis that I need, it’s finally starting to feel like it’s getting somewhere.

 

So Lucky

As I commented at the top, the NHS is stretched paper-thin by a disgusting government hoping to sell off prized national institutions to their little rich crony friends. They make a lot of bleating noises about establishing parity of care while cutting funding for mental health treatment in actual terms year on year. While yes, I did suffer a rather disturbing lapse of primary touching base between now and back in September, I’m still luckier than most. I’m in the system. I have a doctor who cares passionately about making sure that I am in as good of mental health as possible. Yeah, it could be better, and I had to deal with a lot of bullshit before I got to this point I am at now… but at least it feels like I’m taken seriously and that I don’t have to wail and gnash my teeth and pull out my hair to be taken seriously.

 

*sighs tiredly* Right y’all, I’m off. It’s my beloved best-husband’s birthday if any of you guys want to wish him a happy one, and I (as usual) hope that all of y’all out there are doing well.

<3