Stuck

Aug. 28th, 2017 06:01 pm
dreamer_easy: (*writing hard yakka)
I absolutely cannot work at the moment. My brain, which is used to non-stop writing, is completely confused - something like the feeling when the power goes out and you keep being surprised that things don't turn on when you flip their switch. This is the product, I assume, of coming off Zoloft and going onto Allegron. Never again will I doubt the existence of writer's block.
dreamer_easy: (*writing hard yakka)
Reading other people's flaccid SF is always encouraging. Hell, I can do better than that. Or I'll be able to once the Allegron starts working.
dreamer_easy: (*health)
To counter my jetlag-induced hypomania, my psychiatrist asked me to take Saphris for one week. The goal is to prevent a bout of depression - what goes up must come down. This is the most intense episode I've had since I was diagnosed. Last night was the last dose. The only real side-effects, once they settled down, are that it's intensely sedating - not really a problem when you take it at bedtime - and seriously increased appetite, which is a problem when you're overweight and diabetic.

The symptoms have been the mixed bag you expect with hypomania - agitation, irritability, feeling "crazy" or "out of control", racing thoughts, rumination, increased creativity, somewhat reduced need for sleep, a general sense of well-being. (Nothing in the way of religious feelings, though, which is unusual for me, and distressing. I've missed those for a long time.) The effect of the medication has been to reduce the agitation and "out of control" feeling.

In some ways, right now, I'm in an ideal state - a bit too irritable, but very energetic and busy, bursting with ideas, getting lots done, able to focus pretty well. In fact, except for the missing religious feelings, I'm more or less where I've been trying to get back to for years.

The question is, what next? Will my mood becoming elevated again as a result of stopping the Saphris? As Bipolar Owl reminds us, "elevated mood does not necessarily mean happy". Will the depressive crash hit, or will I gently drift back to earth? Or will I keep sailing along at this ideal level, and if so, for how long?

For the first time, I've been having those dangerous "I feel fine, I don't need these stupid meds" thoughts that I've heard so many mentally ill people talk about. Luckily, precisely because being too far "up" is so unpleasant, I think I'll have the insight to restart the Saphris if I still need it (and contact my shrink to figure out our next step).

The voice am I using in posting this, btw, is one I've invented specifically for communicating online while I'm like this. When I'm hypomanic I tend to be gnomic, as though nothing I say needs to be unpacked or footnoted. (Although I'm not going to explain the title. You can figure that out for yourselves. :)

As I type these words, Jon changed channels on Internet Radio and we caught the last moments of "A Day In The Life". Hmmm.

Oxygen

Jun. 1st, 2017 01:56 pm
dreamer_easy: (*books 3)
Sitting in a Subway deep in the bowels of the Library of Congress and feeling sorry for myself. This was the best food I could locate onsite and the photocopier's out of paper. What's really depressing me, though, is the seven hundred bucks plus I had to shell out this morning for a replacement Byetta pen (one of my diabetes medications). I tried hard to keep the second pen I'd brought safely cold, using a fridge bag and ziploc bags of ice in between hotel rooms (the condensation soaked everything in the carry-on!), but was finally defeated by a malfunctioning fridge in Cornwall. There was no choice but to replace it. We have travel insurance which I pray to heaven will cover it. The cost was bad enough, but more than that, I think what struck me like a truck was the danger that price tag represents, the uncaring coldness, the contempt. This is what Americans, uniquely in the developed world, face as a matter of routine: the knowledge that they are not considered worth keeping alive. My mother-in-law barely batted an eyelash; an epipen for your child will cost you more.

ETA: The heartbreaking A GoFundMe Campaign Is Not Health Insurance (thanks, [personal profile] hnpcc) describes the needless death of an American diabetic who didn't have the money for that month's insulin. It echoes something I was saying to Jon in response to the sticker shock - that this isn't a nation any more. There but for furious protest goes Australia.

zzz

Mar. 10th, 2017 07:43 pm
dreamer_easy: (*health)
The tranquillising effect of some of my antidepressants seems to be cumulative. Over the last couple of weeks I've been getting dopier and dopier, until today I've barely been functional. I'm going to have to wean myself off the Escitalopram, starting tomorrow.

A-cha

Mar. 4th, 2017 10:33 pm
dreamer_easy: (*health)
Oops! Withdrawal, I guess. Really wasn't expecting that after just one day, and such a small dosage change. Fatigue, racing thoughts, tripping over my tongue, feeling a little spaced out. Keeping an eye on it.

Desperation

Mar. 3rd, 2017 09:44 pm
dreamer_easy: (*health)
Dropping from 700 mg of Epilim to 500 mg tonight. Keeping the Brintellix and Escitalopram the same. I can't stand this fucking sanity any longer.

Landmark

Feb. 25th, 2017 10:41 am
dreamer_easy: (*hooray!)
I flew from Sydney to Canberra this week without tranquillisers or panic. Achievement unlocked.
dreamer_easy: (*writing)
Every time I think this novel has made me work harder than I have ever worked on a piece of writing, it makes me work harder still. But somehow, despite all the crap my meds have thrown at me over the last couple of months - the sedation, the depression, the withdrawal - I have managed to defeat Chapter bloody Seven of Strange Flesh. *stands on its corpse, brandishing its entrails*
dreamer_easy: (*health)
Medical interventions for suicide risk isolating those without mental illness, inquiry hears (SMH, 26 March 2016): perhaps half of the adolescents and adult men who approach Mensline because they are suicidal do not have a mental illness, but are on the autism spectrum and/or have suffered a stressful life event; there's a lack of services for people in those circumstances.

Higher rates of medicine use for mental health problems in remote, disadvantaged areas - ABS study (SMH, 24 March 2016) People in remote areas lack access to psychiatry and psychology; disadvantaged people can't afford them. (A reminder of just how lucky I am. It ain't cheap.)

Now, I tut at the SMH using an emotive term like "ripped" to describe the loss of $57 billion from the federal health budget in 2014. Newspapers, as I am always saying, should not be in the business of telling me how to think or feel. This, however, is not a newspaper, but a mere blog. $57 billion?! Forgive my Easter Saturday blasphemy, but Christ on a bicycle --! Perhaps because of my good luck, I had forgotten just how deeply the current government had assaulted Australians' lives and health. No wonder some public hospitals are simply disintegrating. (The Healthy Kids Check was scrapped last year; the free clinic for the homeless in Sydney will close soon. And there's a plan to make things even worse here by offshoring medical treatment. The links I've accumulated on the impact of the budget on Australians' health just go on and on.)

Meanwhile in rural and remote NSW, the life expectancy is about the same as that in North Korea, with a lack of healthcare resources partly to blame. Disadvantaged areas in Sydney are facing a diabetes epidemic.

Indigenous suicide rate 12th highest in the world (SMH, 10 July 2015)

Two thirds of Indigenous people dying before age 65, AIHW report finds (ABC, 9 June 2015)

Ugh, that's enough for now. I really hope this turns out to be the election issue.

Mood: good

Mar. 11th, 2015 10:14 am
dreamer_easy: (*health)
*&)^*^%)^ PMS! I'm much better now. :)
dreamer_easy: (*health)
I've switched from insulin to exenatide*, which is more complicated to take, but comes with the huge bonus of decreasing my appetite instead of increasing it. I'm not experiencing nausea, which is a common side effect; I'm eating slightly less at mealtimes and barely snacking at all, which is a major change.

I am concerned the stuff might be giving me a low mood, but as usual there are so many things that could be making me feel down that it's difficult to know which to blame. Bipolar? Sleep deprivation? Menstruation? Actual emotions? Who knows.

* Brand name: Byetta. Made from the saliva of the gila monster, one of the only two known venomous lizards. No joke.
dreamer_easy: (*health)
The last time I saw my shrink, I asked if we could reduce my nightly dose of my mood stabiliser, Epilim, back to two pills from three. He suggested we try increasing my antidepressant instead. That's done nothing to address the problem which alarmed both [livejournal.com profile] outsdr and [livejournal.com profile] acelightning earlier this week: my nagging aphasia. Hell of a problem for a writer!

I've now confirmed from multiple reliable sources that memory and focus problems are common side effects of Epilim. It's doing its job of stabilising my mood, but what's the point of swapping one mental fog for another?!

So: balls to this. I'm going to step down the dose myself, back to two pills a night, starting last night and alternating two and three pills over the next week or so. (Can't cut 'em in half.) I'll probably have to do the same with the antidepressant (Cymbalta) to avoid becoming absurdly high.

(I'll be sure to see the shrink ASAP to discuss this - with luck, in a few weeks' time.)

GP

Dec. 3rd, 2014 01:52 pm
dreamer_easy: (snow kate)
Rx, bloods*, B12 shot, BP, oil and grease change.

* "That's very nearly an armful." "It's 16 mL!"

Lightbulb

Dec. 2nd, 2014 12:09 pm
dreamer_easy: (snow kate)
I think I get those weird high blood sugars in the morning if and because I eat after dinner the night before.

Should be easy to test this scientifically! With CAKE
dreamer_easy: (*health)
Surprise depression attack. (Well, maybe not surprise. But sudden as heck. I'd forgotten what it even felt like.)
dreamer_easy: (*health)
Here's an example of how Kpop lyrics are presented online for we helpless monoglot Anglophones - first the Korean words written in Hangul, then romanised, then finally translated:

너왜 너왜 down이야 기분이
오왜 오왜 척하면 척
너왜 너왜 up이야 기분이 오왜
마치 rollercoaster ride

Neowae neowae downiya gibooni
Owae owae cheok.hamyeon cheok
Neowae neowae upiya gibooni owae
Machi rollercoaster ride

Why is your, why is your
Mood down, oh why, oh why
Why is your, why is your mood up, oh why
Like a rollercoaster ride

This is the chorus of SHINee's song Up and Down, which as you can see incorporates a few English words. tbh, I think the girlfriend being described is probably just a bit moody, and not actually cycling like she's in the Tour de France; but whenever I listen to the song I'm reminded of my own 기분이 / gibooni / mood and its trampoline tendencies.

tl;dr - Outrageously up last night; still up, but not so ridiculously, this morning.

(But zero travel or stress anxiety during the weekend trip to the Gong - in fact, I was rock steady. This bodes well for the forthcoming US odyssey.)
dreamer_easy: (*health)
Some years ago I was standing jetlagged in a Maryland CVS when I had the fleeting but powerful impression that someone was about to walk up behind me and shoot me in the back of the head.

I tell you this bizarre anecdote to try to convey the depths of my travel anxiety. This is not "have I packed enough books for the flight?!" stuff. For over a decade, I've been arriving in the US with a combination of sleep deprivation, jetlag, and untreated (or worse, incorrectly treated) Bipolar II Disorder.

The flights themselves provoked panic anxiety disorder - not just on the day, but for weeks before - but at least that could be somewhat controlled with tranquillisers and cognitive behavioural therapy. The rest was madness: irritability, withdrawal, and anxiety, including and the sort of weird paranoid feelings that I experienced in that chemist's.

Last year's trip was a noticeable improvement: with the correct diagnosis at last, I was on a mood stabiliser (Epilim) and had something (Zyprexa) to correct the jetlag which can set the bipolar brain see-sawing. Further tweaks to my medication (I'm now on 60 mg Cyprexa and 1500 mg Epilim) mean my Bipolar II is now even better controlled, so I am hopeful for this year's jaunt.

Where I'm not so sure, however, is on the anxiety front - particularly my social anxiety disorder, which contributed earlier this year to my freaking out at the last minute and missing Conflux. An OS trip also always means a convention. I am not a gregarious person by nature. A con is a nauseous mixture of somewhere I don't want to be with somewhere I am still fairly conspicuous. On the whole, I'd rather have a nice cup of tea.

None of this is anyone else's fault. Our family are unfailingly welcoming and generous and I've never had a bad experience at a con (except that one awful panel, but that was my own fault. :) It's so unfair that, instead of being an untarnished privilege and pleasure, our annual trips Up Over have also been the source of so much dread and pain.
dreamer_easy: (snow kate)
In the middle of changing my meds. Hypomania! While watching Mrs Columbo. Funniest show I have ever seen on television. Wonderful and marvellous until you actually have to try and think straight about something, like IP addresses.
dreamer_easy: (snow kate)
I feel indescribably less awful.

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