8.28.2010

Sewing Machine Abuse.

I hate being here.
Have I mentioned that?

I. hate. being. here.

I'm pretty sure my mother is demonstrating some very preliminary symptoms of Korsakoff's Syndrome. I know it seems a little... dramatic to say that.  But I'm not even fucking kidding. The woman drinks like a fish and eats like a bird. It's not a far stretch.

She doesn't remember a lot of shit and gets confused about things, randomly fills in details with details that seem to make sense to her, will repeat herself a lot, and get pissed off at people or often just ignore them when they call her on it.


So, for example: The Sewing Machine.

I got this awesome Hello Kitty sewing machine for Christmas.  Really big hairy deal.  It was the Christmas present.  I left it in the dining room for a couple of weeks, in the corner.  I go to get it out and it's not there.  My mother had moved it.  Of course, I let it go and just kept letting it go until she could no longer remember where she had put the damn thing.

At this point she doesn't even remember moving it really.
Because I came home today, to find an entirely different sewing machine in front of my door.

After spending a few weeks pestering her repeatedly about wanting my goddamn sewing machine.
I yelled down the stairs "This isn't my sewing machine. Mine was a Hello Kitty one"
"Well, then, I don't know"
"It was in the dining room"
"I don't know where it is then"

So I did what any reasonable crazy person would do after being trapped like an animal in a cage for lengthy periods of time with people who are [in a lot of ways] even more dysfunctional than myself.
I kicked the sewing machine into the wall, slammed my door and proceeded to beat it with my fists.

...I'm not proud. I don't like that very very occasionally I act like a cornered wild animal and just don't know what to do with myself. But this reaction is singularly restricted to being in this house, with my parents, for much more than a week. Obviously, it is not a good place for me to be.

I deal with legit insane people on the daily, some of whom don't want to take their meds and don't want anyone else to take meds either. Some of whom feel they are crusaders for anti-pharma, and also- they aren't crazy, there really are dogs in the neighborhood with transmitters in their teeth, but I wouldn't understand because I'm a woman. [doesn't make any sense, right? A good part of my job is getting these people to come around to a rational point of view]

Living here is still, by far, way more taxing and frustrating than trying to convince someone who won't take meds that "they" are not monitoring various individuals via canine dental apparatus.

My mother is poisoning herself. No one, least of all her, seems to care. But I'm stuck watching it.
They move my things all the time, and apparently it's my fault that my mother- whose cognitive decline seems to be set on "fast forward"- can't remember where she put something that I care about.

She could have just asked me to move it.
But then she'd have to remember, by the time she talked to me, what she was going to ask me.

That's just crazy.

8.27.2010

Art Therapy and Clinical Neuroscience

BF rocks.
He got me a book called Art Therapy and Clinical Neuroscience. [Edited by: Noah Hass-cohen and Richard Carr]

It's awesome. I'm fucking psyched.
Get it? "psyched"?  ...ok, sorry.

Speaking of BF...

I hadn't seen him for like...two weeks but was so tired today when I did see him that I basically drove an hour [as I haven't moved to the city yet] for a nap and a booty call then decided I was too tired and needed to go home.

[The guy cutting down trees outside with some mechanical buzzing thing didn't help either, but that was just an additional thing factor. 'icing on the cake' if you will.]

So yay me: the ultimate in girlfriend technology.

8.25.2010

Bouncing 'round the room.

I am so ridiculously, existentially bored.


Boredboredbored.
If I say it enough, I won't know what it means anymore.

Maybe that could actually help.

I am literally wandering around the house, stomping my feet and going ARGH.
I want to rip my hair out.

I feel all caged in. 

8.22.2010

Find people who like what they see, not see what they like.



My friend K sort of recently got engaged. [about a few months ago]
To a really awesome guy.

The first time I met him was actually without her, though they'd known each other for years and were "kind of sort of maybe" dating at the time.  They were both coming up to the state but he was flying in one night earlier and needed a place to stay.  She's such a close friend and though I wouldn't do it for anyone
[and neither would my mother for that matter] K is like family, so any friend of hers is a friend of mine and I said he could stay at my place.

I went to pick him up at the airport and had an orange coffee cup, which I told him when he called my cell to say he had landed.  Later on he said "I thought that was ingenious because you know, carrying something bright and noticeable so I could pick her out... but then I realized... no, she was just carrying an orange coffee cup. heh."

Which was funny.

So we went to mcdonald's where I found a salad I could eat and talked.he later told K "The first time I met [Josie] I thought she was a scientist, just from talking to her."

This has confused me until today, when I recalled something else.

A few years prior to that, I had been sitting on the porch of another friend.  We were just talking about random shit and he said "Where do you think memories come from?" or something like that.

So I go into this whole thing about how I think they are probably in different parts of the brain depending on what they are associated with but it might depend if it's like a memory from when you were two or yesterday or something like that, though memory is funny because like, we do some things automatically and I think that's different than a memory of a day at the beach and I said something about how I think there is one specific part of the brain that processes memories but I didn't know what it was called and if you destroy that part than you can't make new memories and you forever will wander about not able to make new memories, but still knowing your past...

And went on and on from a semi-cognitive perspective, I guess, that's what you'd call it?  Well, brain gooshy stuff perspective.

But he kind of halted me after a little bit and was frustrated and a little annoyed.
"No, that's not what I mean, you always do that."

I think he wanted some social or spiritual answer, but I couldn't give it to him.
Even before I KNEW I was into cognitive shit, I was into cognitive shit.  And, apparently, it annoyed my friends.

...time to get new friends.
Which I did. And I'm glad I did. They were not fabulous people, or really great friends in fact. But I still miss them. Funny how that works.



I showed my poster presentation board to K the other day when she came over and she was super impressed.
We have known each other since grade school and she has seen all my ups and downs and... deviations...

I was talking about the Research Methods class and getting all excited. I have an idea for a study that I want to do, if I can ever get my ass together.  My old advisor said she would help me with stuff, so between her and someone I can find at my new school... maybe I can do it.

It would be a qualitative study having to do with synesthesia.
Kind of nervous about doing a qualitative study, but I think I can do it. Probably. Maybe. Ha.
I just have to find the right faculty advisor to help me.

Ok. I need to fucking start school now.

I'm getting way antsy.

8.17.2010

A is for Awkward, that's good enough for me.


Ten year reunion: "enough awkward to last another ten years!"  It was really good to see my two friends though and we had a nice, awkward, amusing time.

I had a hard time explaining to people what, exactly, it is I'm studying and wanting to do.  I don't quite have the vocabulary down yet for it and I'm not fluent in the speak so I just find myself stumbling over explanations and bouncing between bumpers of neuroscience, art, and therapy without coherently blending them well enough to get my point across.

*sigh*
I know what I want to do.  With a gun to my head I could stumble through a basic outline of what it means and it would make sense to people who are doing it, or people familiar with it or who already know what I'm talking about.  But to the basic lay person?

Neurological deficits and art therapy?  WTF?

I guess... I need to work on that.
It doesn't help that I'm like, anxious as fuck that I'm going to say the wrong thing because I'm like... all new to all this stuff and haven't actually been taught anything formally and don't think I know anything [which is a fairly accurate statement] so I'm scared to actually say anything about anything.

 In other news...
I'm fucking sick of everyone moving my shit around this house and not telling me where they put it.
I need to get the fuck out of here like, yesterday, last week, last month.

My mother lost my Hello Kitty sewing machine.  She can't remember where she put it.  Instead of asking me to move it somewhere, she just up and relocated it and now can't fucking find it.

This is not a rare occurrence.

I'm bored.  I'm anxious.
I want to just sleep until move in day.

8.12.2010

RE: Dear Doctor

I saw my psychiatrist today.

I kind of groaned inside when I sat down and he said "I got your note, but I didn't read all of it yet." as I took that to be a bad sign. He did read the rest of it however, and the proceeded to hmm and hah and look through his notes.

[I don't really mind this.  He works out of what I think is his home, and doesn't have a waiting room.  So either he can look at his notes with me there or I can wait out in the street. Most doctors who have waiting rooms get a minute to regroup in their office while their patients wait outside, I imagine. He's only seen
me twice, so I don't really expect that he has my shit down exactly]

He then said what I suggested, that we lower the methylphenidate a little bit and see how it goes for a couple months, sounded like a good plan.  We also settled on slowly, very slowly, transitioning from lamictal to lithium, which I agree with because the lithium works noticeably better than the lamictal and going
slowly onto it should leave me without the stupid.

As in starting at 300mg for two weeks, then going to 600mgs for two weeks and once I'd been on 600mgs for a little bit, then drop the lamictal a little bit.

Then after two weeks go to 900mg and see where we're at.
I'll probably have to go to at least 1200mg, I'm thinking.  My blood level was at .5ish at that point last time, I think, though my memory for such things is never to be trusted, so it could most certainly have been higher.

I'm feeling better about him.

He said at one point, that he was looking to get me on fewer medications, but only as I need, not just for the sake of getting me on fewer medications.  So, that is to say, if I can get by with fewer medications, good. If not, then ok.

He also said he would value my input and if I have ideas be willing to hear them. Heh- then he said "but if you're saying something I think is harmful or stupid, I'm going to tell you..."

At which point I laughed and said ok.

He also said, after asking if he was making me anxious, that the likelihood of him turning into a werewolf anytime soon is pretty low so I shouldn't worry about that and then gave me a brief history of werewolf movies.

8.08.2010

Dear Doctor...

I'm supposed to talk to my doctor about my medications on Thursday.
I foresaw this being a disaster, frankly.  I tend to get intimidated and anxious easily, can't explain things and just shut down, communication-wise.

Which, of course, is really unproductive.  It's not that I'm trying to be difficult, it's just that I get really really anxious and overwhelmed and pretty much just feel like no matter what I do it's not what I'm supposed to be doing.

I guess that's it.

In light of all this, I thought it might help to email my doctor before the appointment and share my thoughts.
This way, he would know what I was thinking about before hand, I would have all the time I need to try to explain and he would have time to think about things also.

He seems to think that the buproprion should be adequate for the ADD and was wondering why I am on the methylphenidate ER. My biggest concern is that he wants to simply pull me completely off the methylphenidate right before the challenge of a fulltime semester [which I haven't done] at a new school in a new living situation.

It is quite obvious to me that this is less than ideal. Then again, I'm the mental patient- what do I know, right?

I've tried to go without the methylphenidate before. It was not pretty. That would be the time I went from a good clean A down to doing so poorly for about a month that it averaged my grade out to a C+ in the end.  So that didn't end well. It wasn't all the medication, I will grant that. However, it's kind of like pulling a net on a tightrope walker when they are at the half-way point.

I had no coping skills to manage that change.

He said that I am on a really high dose and he said he has concerns about me being on such a high dosage.  I'm willing to take that into account.

Part of what I wrote to him:

The problems that I feel have that have been helped by methylphenidate:

1. I think I'm multitasking but I'm not.  I feel as though I'm getting more done, but I'm actually interrupting production of several tasks repeatedly, stopping the flow of work and jumping between these projects/tasks/activities, only to attempt to pick up where I stopped last.  It is disorienting; usually it means I end up with either unfinished tasks or poorly done tasks or both.  In tasks that require some sort of continuity or coherence, a disjointedness is often evident.  

2. People like to laugh and call me scatterbrained.  I call me frustrated and occasionally pissed off.  Unmedicated, I don't remember/find it exceedingly difficult to find things or train myself to remember where they are.  I try to live by "always put it back in the same place", but when my brain runs off to a new exciting adventure every few minutes, "That goes back in it's place" is often cut off by "oooh, shiny!".  That is to say, before I can follow through with a controlled and thoughtful action, it is often interrupted by a new thought and action which is neither controlled nor well-planned.  

3. I am extremely impulsive, often doing and/or saying before thinking.  I have a terrible and chronic case of "foot-in-mouth" disease.  Being medicated does not necessarily tell me that what I am going to say is wrong but rather gives me pause. I have a buffer to think rather than my mouth simply running into the conversation with out me. Or, in another case it prevents me doing things like turning a half full cup of water over to look at the bottom.

The disorganization and the interruption of thought makes schoolwork extremely difficult.  This would explain why I had such difficulties for the month or so that I was off of concerta and ended up dropping my solid A in anatomy and physiology down to a C+. The last thing makes life in general difficult.

I am now entering what will probably be the most challenging semester I have encountered, in terms of adjustment, work load and stress.  Making drastic medication adjustments would probably be ill-advised.  I would like to, at first, have the methylphenidate reduced to 72mg in the morning from 108mg and leave the methylin in the afternoon as needed.  After a couple months, once I have adjusted more, it could work to have a further reduction if I seem to do well on that.



If he has an issue with this, I'm not sure what I'm going to do.

While I don't have huge problems with him right now specifically, there are things that may or may not be problems in the future.
If he's willing to accept that you can't just go at someone's cocktail with a chainsaw, that makes sense.
If he wants to start hacking away at everything while I'm in the middle of a huge life-change, that kind of raises a flag for me.

The fact that I changed psychiatrists, even though I was not thrilled with my last one, was a huge "leap of faith" in the first place. I'm not being totally resistant to what he's saying.  I just am not about to jump off a cliff, thanks.

I'm worried.
[surprise!]

8.07.2010

"Grit is a combination of passion and persistance"

I heard this on NPR today, and it just stuck with me.
I think I've got the whole "grit" thing down.

I've been fucking around with this idea of writing a book for a couple years or so now.  Probably longer.
What stops me is that I don't feel like embarrassing and shaming myself and everyone I know.

But, I'm realizing, I can tell things in pieces and still get the point across.
Because I don't really think telling a linear story is quite what I was going for anyway.

Still, the thought of omission kind of leaves me uncomfortable.  So I don't know if this will ever happen.
I've thought about it and had it make enough noise in my brain lately that I've started some notes, though.

Just about various things I might write.
Just to see:

Am I really interesting?
At all?
What would I write about?
Do I have enough to fill a book?
Does any of it have a point?

I also don't know if- and I'm not sure if this will make sense but I hope it comes out right- my story, of my life, accurately represents bipolar or not.

It sure as hell accurately represents my experience with bipolar.

However, is bipolar more about spending tens of thousands of dollars, or just a couple thousand?
Fucking everyone you know? or maybe just a few along the way that you really shouldn't have?
Putting yourself in situations where actual harm comes to you? or just narrowly escaping it?

I mean, sometimes I wonder, if I'm not extreme, are people going to want to read it?
Bipolar has been a destructive force in my life; when is it destructive enough that random people would actually pick up the book?
I don't know.

I mean I can relate to electroboy even though I haven't done half the shit he has.

I can write. If I try.
There are some fairly interesting stories that I don't mind, and even at times enjoy, telling.

But there are different reasons.  Some of them are funny in the normal way, some of them are funny in a really morbid kind of way. Some are sad, some are crazy and remind me that things are better now. Some are sentimental in a... semi-mental way; to be honest sometimes I miss being that crazy. Telling stories lets me be that crazy again, without all the actual real-time life fuckuppage.

Even though it sucks, insanity is occasionally liberating.  In a really terrible "fuck the world" kind of way.

...My new doctor has his doubts about me being bipolar.
Though I have been repeatedly diagnosed various types of bipolar by several doctors, he is skeptical.

I'm not sure why we constantly go through this process of having to prove our various flavours of insanity. We, as in pretty much every basket-case in the Western world.

It' actually worse for younger females specifically. They all tend to get funneled directly into the borderline category any time they show up at an ER.

...this would be the major reason I rarely go to the ER or initiate emergency intervention. I don't mind the label, I might the way everyone treats people who have that label. It's wrong.
Really wrong.

But it's also not appropriate for me, if you want to look at the bigger picture.

...and

I guess another thing that stops me along the lines of "Am I bipolar enough?"

My doctor said to me the other day, his tone really having the effect of casting aside any notion that my illness may actually impair me in different aspects of my life:  "Oh but you've never been hospitalized, right?"

No... never have... stopped short at the ER.
...guess everything's okie dokie then.


8.06.2010

Tunnel vision can be lonely.

I keep writing about this, but nothing is making it better.

I guess it must be self-preservation.  Which is kind of sort of working.

But it's been going on so long, that it's what I'm becoming.
That's all I am- this animal that works on instinct, the most obvious of which seems to be the self-preservation response.
I have little dedication to other people; but it's not that I make no effort.

It's simply that nothing comes of the efforts.
No nice things. Little acknowledgement of anything really.
The effort seems to stop at action, it's all internal. If you happen to be able to track me down and drag me to something social, it may be behavioral, but not extensively.

It took a couple people a month to track me down because I simply wouldn't respond to them.
They live the next town over.

I'm a crappy friend.
I'm keenly aware of this and I feel bad and awkward.

8.05.2010

Tertiary Colors: These are those "in-between" colors like Yellow- Green and Red-Violet.

I'm feeling rather "in-between" my self.

Tertiary.
It looks like it's spelled really really really wrong.
But I don't think it is. Hold on. Let me check ONE MORE TIME.

*check. check. recheck. check again*

Nope.
It's right.







My mother and I were driving past a sign that said "Dry Ice Sold Here!" and I read it aloud. My mother said "Then you'd be smokin'!"
I said "no, then you'd be sublimatin'!" and started giggling.

She didn't quite get it.