There I was on Wednesday going 7000rpm in neutral! Crazy! There were Skittles and gas stations and possibly dancing hippos….the memory is vague. It was all very fun.
Or so it would seem.
It was also really scary. What didn’t get conveyed in that post was just how utterly freaked out I was. Sure, this week was bright and funny if a little overwhelming, but what about last week? Last week was also pretty manic, but in a really different way. Last week it was all exposed nerves and irritation and anger. I was impatient with everything, including myself. No one was fast enough, no one could shut up enough, no one could leave me alone enough. Everyone was pissing me off, I was manic, but in a really pissed off way. I also had PMS, which did not help anything and might have been contributing to the situation.
I went to my therapy appointment yesterday. I walked into the office, sat down and immediate barfed out ten thousand words. Mere mortals need things like ‘time’ so that they can spread out the things they are doing. They like it when things happen in some sort of order: first I open my mouth, then sound comes out, I control the sound and form words, the words form sentences and the listener forms judgments. But I am not like you mere mortals! No way! I can open my mouth and let a huge rush of sound just blast into existence! YEAH!!
Or so it would seem.
I went to therapy knowing that the symptoms I was experiencing were wrong and potentially dangerous. I went in hoping she could help me contact my psychiatrist and get the ball rolling on fixing my meds. I figured I would explain everything to her and then ask her. About half way through my second paragraph she assured me that 1: this was completely fixable and 2: how about we call my psychiatrist together from her office. Holy brain balls! I didn’t even have to ask! She knew this was the thing we had to do! She’s very good that way. She took notes and had me detail all the symptoms and behaviors I’d been experiencing. She was most concerned with the paranoia, obviously. Paranoia is not me. I am not a paranoid person.
I used to work with a guy who was always convinced that even the most regular or mundane events were somehow manipulated by other people to his benefit or detriment. I mean everything. Customers weren’t just random people looking to make a purchase, they were people intentionally sent to him by the people in charge of the facility as gifts or tests or punishments depending on how the transaction played out. What struck me was how utterly sure he was that he was that important in the minds of every other person or organization on the planet.
A huge part of the reason why I am not a paranoid person is that I recognize that no one gives a shit. I don’t mean that people don’t care, my friends and family obviously care a great deal. But the rest of the world? They got their own issues to deal with. They’re not interested in giving me the best damned hamburger ever because they secretly know me and want to reward my awesomeness.
It’s kind of like why I never appreciate conspiracy theories, most people, groups and organizations are just trying to get through their day to day machinations, they don’t have time to meet in secret basements in their special robes and hats. Fuck, they probably don’t have time to design the robes, let alone get order forms out to the group, get everyone to return their form ON TIME with the check made out to Consolidated Robe Manufacturers for the correct amount. Hell, if they even tried such a thing they’d spend all their time in a committee fighting over shades of red and how much piping to have on the finished project.
I am not paranoid and I don’t buy into conspiracy theories because I know that the minute people try to start planning something, it immediately devolves into either evenings spent talking about ass or a bureaucratic nightmare of guidelines and forms.
So, my therapist has me sign a release form, then she sets me up with color pencils and paper. I draw and color and she calls my psychiatrist’s office on speakerphone so I can hear what is being discussed. I know you probably don’t see the absolute sparkly awesomeness of that sentence. I got to sit and quietly draw and color while she called the psychiatrist’s office. Amazing. She was able to quickly and efficiently describe my symptoms in a way that made way more sense than me just word-barfing about minivans and corn dogs.
They had an opening in less than an hour! Could I make it? Absolutely! My therapist printed out maps to the office and I was off.
When I got there I had to fill out the regular ‘new’ patient intake forms (yes, I’ve seen this psychiatrist before but in a different clinic. Seems this guy has offices all over the place or something, this was his Thursday office). I was reminded that there was something wrong with me because as I was filling out the basic forms, health history, prescription history, family history I found myself thinking, “well, that’s just none of your business! Why would you want to know that? What are you going to do with the info?? Huh???”
You know those people who get all defensive and suspicious of the minimum-wage-earning cashier asking for their zip code? Because matching your zip code with your purchase of 2-for-1 toothpaste and clearance rack pants is totally going to allow them to figure out that in the last election you didn’t vote for a sheriff because you forgot the ballot was double sided!!! Yeah, I was being that person. I only filled out half the questions. I figured that the form was pretty similar to the form I filled out from when I visited him in his Tuesday office and all those forms had already been faxed to the Thursday office and were in my file so it would be okay to be the crazy lady since he already had the info he needed. Sometimes it is okay to give yourself permission to be crazy so long as you know your bases are covered.
I met with Dr H and did a better job of being less word-barfy and more coherent. Of course he was also very interested in my paranoid thoughts, noting with some surprise that paranoia is way out of line with my character (everyone I talk to about the paranoia seems to agree that it’s not like me…why are they so vehemently in agreement? Are they talking to each other when I’m not around?).
There are 3 options to take in this situation. The first is to add another drug, one that would diffuse the mania. The second is to cut back on the Nortriptyline and monitor the effects. And the last one would be to scrap Nortriptyline all together and try something new. As a rule, I’m not a fan of the idea of adding new drugs to deal with the effects of the other drugs. But on the other hand, Nortriptyline has been fairly effective at alleviating the depression so I am hesitant to stop taking it. So we went with option 2, I’m scaling my dose back by half and keeping track of the effects.
(Every few minutes I have to stop typing this and explain to Chester that the people filling the pot holes in front of the house are not in violation of the sacred covenant between humans and dogs.)
When I have weird setbacks or problems like this I start to get discouraged. I want to get better, but the actions taken in order to get better are causing their own problems. What if the rest of my life is just a looooong series of problems and setbacks? What if I never get to live but only endure? I don’t know, it’s too much to think about. There is still hope. This setback was addressed pretty quickly and it was not so crazy off the wall to be totally mystifying to the professionals. That’s a good thing. Right? Yeah, definitely.
In other, not-so-crazy news, Maddie has an ear infection, Chester has declared all pothole patching people to be “of the devil” and my backyard smells of lilacs.

4 thoughts on “Calmer…..calmer…..

  1. Hooray for the competent, compassionate people in your life. And I wish you had a Girl Scout sash so you could collect badges for strength, courage, bravery and an awesome-and-moving sense of humor.

  2. It is so good to have a psychiatrist who (a) listens and (b) knows your character well enough to know what’s in line w/ it and what’s not! i love my counselor, but all my psychiatrist does is remind me that even though I’m doing okay now i will probably have another depressive episode in future. hello, not uplifting?

  3. I’m not sure where I am but I’m adrift for sure. My therapist is slogging through with me. Often it feels out of whack from habit, when in reality I’m coping rather well. I just don’t always know I’m coping well. Anyway, you seem to be coping, congrats.

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