Thursday, December 12, 2013
When I do a post I am never sure how much to reveal about how I am feeling. That is possibly because my feelings and emotions are so changeable now that I actually am not sure what is real and what is not real. I don't mean that that I don't know what is reality. It's just that the ups and downs are actually too close together these days and I never trust the way I am thinking the way I used to. If I did this post this morning you would read something completely different. Or at 4pm a different jumble of words. It's safer for me to write when clear of mind and not overly emotional.
So, I have been on the medication for ten days now and I have to say it's been a bit of a challenge. Not always though. On Sunday I was able to just get on with things without a thought in my head - other than the thought I needed to do what I wanted to do. I wondered if that was how other people thought during the day. We all have ups and downs - that is a natural part of life. But there was a different kind of thinking happening in my head which was new to me. I felt relief.
The side effects tend to change from day to day. No weight gain, in fact my appetite is at ground zero so I eat what I need to do keep healthy. Weird stuff. One day I had itching face and twitchy fingers. Another day it was extreme pressure behind my eyes and non stop eyelid twitching on both eyes. I don't like the side effects but I try to acknowledge them and remind myself it is the medication and after that I just get on with stuff. If I dwell on them they get worse.
On Tuesday I went to the psychiatrist to go over my first week. I felt pretty good, a bit fragile but could have been easily tipped over. He wanted me to double the dose that night and I questioned it. I wanted to know why I would change the dose when I felt okay (ish) and he said that there is a level that is called a "therapeutic level" and, reluctantly, I agreed to comply.
In the afternoon at around 2pm I started to feel extremely tired. And anxious. My yawning was more like gasping. But I worked away and applied some meditation techniques to keep on track. Had a coffee which kept me going until the end of the day. When I got home I was so exhausted I contemplated having a lie down but decided to hold back until bed time. I went to body pump class and despite my tiredness I had no problem.
Then I came home and took the double dose. Well, it went very badly from thereon. After I took it within ten minutes I felt an incredible surge of pressure in my head then I was frozen with something akin to shock. When I regained some sort of control I got ready for bed but not before bursting into heaving, snotty sobs that were just all about me being overwhelmed.
My sleep, following the double dose, was full of nightmares. The worst kind. Spiders, ants, crawling things. Monsters. Screaming creatures. Dead bodies floating in stagnant water. They were graphic and even after I woke up in fright time and time again they just kept happening. When I woke up for the last time in the morning I felt shattered. It was with great reluctance I took the morning dose of medication.
S came with me to work and I felt okay (ish) on the way. Got him organised. Then started my own work. Then out of the blue I felt terribly anxious. Not the normal kind of anxiety but the sort that makes me want to scream and run somewhere. As I stopped what I was doing to get a grasp on what was going on inside me I started to cry uncontrollably. Big sobs. It was most unsettling. My son asked if I was okay and then said "remember, it's the medication and it will pass. try to relax and refocus". He was very calming. I like others around me to be calm when I get a bit out of sorts. No point in being over reactive when I am dropping the bundle.
After a couple of hours of bouts of this I had to ring the psychiatrist and tell him what had happened. So, fortunately he said not to take the double dose that night - phew. I am not sure I could have done it. Still, last night was a difficult night for me.
So today, well, it was a bit less confronting for me but not very easy. Amazingly my work is not suffering and I think that is because I find the routine and focus helps greatly. Now and then I have moments where I have to step back and collect my thoughts and go for a five minut walk to get back on track but that is okay.
Despite all of the difficult aspects of this process I find two things outweigh the down sides. My sleep (apart from the double dose night) is better. Not perfect but definitely better. The other thing is that I have clarity of thought. When a situation arises I have the ability to make a decision without the untidy thought processes that used to be there. I am quite prepared to go through this if those two things are the end result.
I've possibly picked the worst time of year to do this.
Still, there really was no other option and besides, who doesn't like a challenge?
Wednesday, December 04, 2013
I am at work and having a zombie break. Waiting for the morning coffee to kick in.
We had a couple of very hot days here and today it is raining heavily. Our landscapers are not pleased which I find funny. Why would you choose an outdoor job as a career if you are bothered by rain?
Weekend has been and gone and it is the middle of the week. The Christmas tree went up which always a task I enjoy. K and S always help and we have conversations that I know we have had before. Complaining about the colour coding on the branches of the tree is the main one. K is colour blind and words like "lime and salmon" mean nothing to him. His life is one of primary colours.
On the Saturday my niece and I went for a big walk along the beach. Halfway through the walk we stopped and had something to eat before heading back. She has been away house sitting so it was good to have her back.
Overall, I managed to get things done that needed doing. One of those things was sorting through my son's school text books to work out what could be passed on to the school to resell. I had to check that there was no scribble in them.
In the back of the maths text book I found this little drawing.
I kept the page. It's too cute not to. When I was younger I drew weird little drawings all the time. They were more often than not really, really lewd and/or creepy. My mother would tell me off. The drawings would be done on scraps of paper. Sometimes I left them in other people's houses tucked down the side of an armchair for them to be discovered at a later date. I must have gotten some perverse pleasure out of it.
When I was about fifteen I painted a giant sized woman on my bedroom wall. She was almost 8ft tall and I had her wearing knee length black boots, suspenders, black underwear and brandishing a whip in her gloved hands. My father freaked. In fact, he freaked so much that for once he did not trash my room or beat the living daylights out of me as a punishment. Instead, he made me paint over it which I found to be a much more unpleasant thing.
Yesterday I went to the psychiatrist and got the script for my meds. I am on Epilim for now. Started last night. He went through all the side effects, the main one being issues with my liver. Not that I have anything wrong with my liver but Epilim has been known to cause problems. So a weekly blood test is in order for around two months or so. Weekly visits. He wanted to start me after Christmas as he is away for three weeks but I asked to start now. My depression is so difficult for me that I have been waking up in the middle of the night from the crying. Plus the morning is totally shite. It takes monumental effort to get going and the depression does not lift until well after lunch. It makes work a big effort. I can't even say I am even thinking sad things, it is the physicality of it that is very hard to deal with.
My GP will monitor me during those three weeks.
When he was explaining the side effects the only thing I was interested in was whether or not it would make me put on weight. He said that if I put on weight he would take me off it. He also said that he found that patients who were "fussy with their food and had previously had eating disorders" generally did not put on weight. I can handle a bit of gain but not some out of the ordinary thing. Health wise it would be unacceptable and, seriously, my clothes would not fit. It is not an economically ideal situation to go up a size.
Anyway, I started them last night. Can't say I slept well but I attribute that to hot night and nothing out of the ordinary for me anyway.
So, here I am working away.
The office dog is on Prozac for anxiety.
He is lying nearby.
I think I might lay down next to him.
Friday, November 29, 2013
|Ripponlea Gardens. One sunny day.|
I made a few mistakes during the week. Not huge ones, but annoying ones. I hate making mistakes (being the perfectionist that I try not to be) and did feel I handled it well enough. Everyone makes mistakes and I must confess that the ones I make are a piddling affair in the scheme of things.
On Wednesday night K, S and I went out for dinner to celebrate school exams being over. Actually, also went out for dinner because there was sweet FA in the house to eat. Anyway, we went to a place that we have eaten at before. I had salmon and K and S had pizza. Well, I am not sure what was wrong with my food but it caused me grief for many hours afterwards. As a rule I don't eat deep sea fish. It's hard work on my stomach, really high in protein. So, that was one thing. They used a seasoning on it that made my mouth and tongue swell and gave me an epic headache. Then at around 1.00 am in the morning I woke up feeling so ill I bolted to the bathroom and dry retched into the toilet. Alas, the food was too far down to come back up and I then had to spend the rest of the night in agony as it moved through my body.
Of course, this meant I was sleep deprived and the next day I was possibly difficult. Definitely hypersensitive. Teary. Not very focused. By the time I got home I was just an irrational mess. Despite a solid sleep last night I woke up this morning even worse. I was in such a funk that I WENT TO WORK WITHOUT WASHING AND BLOW DRYING MY HAIR. It was all too hard. Then I spent the morning with eyes full of unshed tears and scruffy hair. But, I was still happy in that weird way. Sort of crazy happy and teary. Now, at almost 5pm, I am okay. Just as well because the Christmas work function is on tonight.
Yesterday I drove my son to school. For the first time ever I turned left out of the street without indicating. Nobody was behind me and, well, I just could not be bothered. Well what do you think happens, mr big mouth in the car notices and the following conversation ensues.
Son: You did not indicate.
Mother: No, I didn't. First time ever. I am tired and nobody was behind me.
Son: That is not a good excuse.
Mother: You are right and I shall never do it again.
(thinking - I'll never do it again when you are in the car with me)
Then, I get to the place behind the school where he gets dropped off and just park the car in front of a bus stop (which gets used once a day and not at that time either). Son notices.
Son: You can't stop here. It is a no standing zone.
Mother: What? I always stop here.
Son: You need to set a good example.
Mother: Oh, really. Very well. I will move and you will have to walk further.
Sooooo, I move a little further up the street and stop in front of a driveway that I know never gets used because there is a boarded up garage there. Son notices.
Son: You can't park in front of a driveway.
Mother: This driveway never gets used.
Son: It's illegal.
Mother: Get out.
Son: See, this is why you cannot supervise me when I am doing my driving lessons. You don't indicate, you stop in a no standing zone, you park in front of a driveway, you have admitted to overtaking on the left and I know that you have done a uturn over double lines. All illegal.
Mother: Get out of the car.
Son gets out laughing. Mother drives off not laughing.
Well, it's time to get out the gym gear and head off to body pump.
Nothing like Friday night exercise to get me back on track.
Oh, plus I did do a bit of retail therapy and buy a dress for tonight.
New dress, exercise, wash and blow dry hair.
Nice end to a long week.
Saturday, November 23, 2013
|The start of a drawing|
So, with it being an indoor kind of day I did indoor things. Loaded up some clothes to sell on Ebay. Oh, that is a boring task selling on Ebay. How on earth people do it for a living I will never know. However, now that it is done I keep checking to see if there are any watchers on the bits and pieces.
Later on I went down to the picture framers to organise framing two of my drawings. I was full of angst about leaving the two behind but feel very excited about how they will look when done.
Yesterday I had to go to the doctors about my recurring face pain. I had the MRI for it in June and nothing came up. But the pain comes and goes and is really, really awful. It's always on the right side of the face and will either feel like someone has punched me or I have neuralgia. Or, on a really crappity crap day, I have both. It also tends to take a few days to settle completely. On Wednesday I came home from work and it was so bad that I had to lie on the bed while I waited for the pain killers to take the edge off a bit. After an hour I was so upset I lay down on the couch with my head on K's lap - which is not my style at all (prickly pear that I am). Eventually the pain subsided but my sleep was not restful and subsequently the next day I was a fruit cake.
So, although the initial thought was that the face pain related to something like a silent migraine, what it seems to be is postherpetic neuralgia. It ties in with my having had shingles on my face early last year. Normal pain killers do very little so a different approach is required for pain management. And, that pain management is using the same drugs that are used for mood disorders and epilepsy. Which I find a bit funny considering I am about to go on them. It appears that I may sort out two problems instead of the one.
Now I am going to indulge in my favourite activity - oversharing.
When I was at the GP's I got a script for oestrogen cream - yeah, yeah we all know what it is for. Anyway off I went to the chemist to get the cream and had a very odd conversation with the young man who filled the script.
Man: So, I see you have been using this for a number of years.
Man: Are you just using it for maintenance now? Just twice a week?
Me: Yes, just maintenance.
(thinking "that question is weird")
Man: And, has it been working?
Me: Yes, it's been doing what it is meant to do.
(thinking "so, what exactly are you asking here?")
Man: And, how much longer do you think you'll be using it? A few years more?
Me: Well, I would expect that I would use it as long as it does its job.
(thinking "is he asking me how much longer i want to have a working twat for? is he really wanting to know if I intend engage in rumpy pumpy after I turn fifty?")
Man: That's good to hear.
(thinking "why is it good to hear? why are we having this discussion?)
As I left the chemist I wondered what that conversation was all about. Why was he even asking me if the stuff was working. I can't wait to go and get a script filled for Lithium there. What conversation will we have then. I might ham it up a bit and act crazy.
Since I did not have my big beach walk I took Mr Benny for a walk around the streets at around 5pm today. He was waggedy happy. I was glad to stretch my legs. When I got home I did 30 burpees which knocked the stuffing out of me. I had to do them in lots of ten with a couple of minutes rest in between. I think I am getting old.
Now I am loading songs onto my computer. I had a giant pile of cd's in the car and decided that there are better places for them to rest than in my glove box.
So, that is a day or few in the life of Linda.
Are you asleep now?
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
|Cataract Gorge - Launceston Tasmania|
The pool is a public pool and the day was warm. We were in a chair lift that went across a big gorge and I just took the photo. When it came back from being developed I loved the stillness of it. This moment in time. People laying about in the sunshine. The green of the grass. A weird kind of modernity amongst a craggy and wild place.
I love slide film. In fact, I love film, period. As convenient as digital is, nothing, nothing and nothing ever captures the authenticity of the world the way film does. I like that when one took photos or films from way before digital, you had to be mindful of what you were doing to get the ideal photo. Now you can take a squillion shots and eventually one will work. I never feel that digital photos carry the depth that film does.
I know it is not just a nostalgic thing. My son has watched thousands of movies from all eras and he says that older films are so much better. More honest. Modern movies with all the CGI are fun but it's the rawness of film I love.
I've just been for a walk with Mr Benny. I had planned to do a body pump class but my head needed the fresh air and a brisk walk is good for anxiety. This time of year is nice. Daylight savings means that I don't have walk in the dark. The air is warmer. Mr Benny is getting a bit better to walk. He tugs a bit at the lead when first we head out, then he spends the rest of the walk trying to sniff every tree, every fence corner and random grass patches. Sometimes I have to drag him away from a particularly interesting patch of grass. I pull the lead and he pulls back, nose buried in the greenery. Going for a walk with a dog is a bit like going for a walk with a three year old child. Always wanting to stop and look at something. It's quite frustrating at times. Especially when you think of just how many trees I pass in a 5km walk.
My son is doing his exams this week. Then he will have a couple of weeks preparing for next year. After that he has no school until the end of January. Oh, the envy I feel. I can't say I had that sort of leisure when I was his age. I worked on school holidays as a rule. Plus, my home environment was not particularly nice and so I did not want to stay home any longer than I had to when not at school.
He is going for his learners permit in December. Then K will be taking him out for driving lessons. It is unlikely that I will take him for lessons for a while. K is much more relaxed than I. He has to do at least 120 hours on the road before he can go for his licence.
It's all a bit freaky to think of him driving.
Things are very tough at work right now. Cash flow is more like a trickle. We have a lot of work on but the margin in building is very tight these days. There were a number of issues on a couple of work sites that cost us dearly. Things like that can take months to recover from. It's a bit like stopping an ocean liner, it takes ages after the stop lever is pulled. I expect things to be strained for another few months.
People often think the stress must be hard for me but they are just projecting their own thoughts about it all. It's not my money and I am pretty much bullet proof about people who are chasing money. I don't like it, but it is what it is. Sometimes I feel the stress of being a key person at work. If I take a break I need to work it around what is happening but that is okay. Anyone can step in and do the technical aspects of what I do and that is important. I always try to keep my work load accessible and very organised so that if I were sick and off work for a while someone could step in and cover for me. It takes pressure off me and also off Bossman and his wife. The last think I want is for them to be left in the shit if I were not there.
The lead up to Christmas will require my absolute focus. I have to work out the cash flow over the next two months and at the end of November I will have already decided who is going to get paid prior to Christmas and who is not. It's all about relationships with suppliers and who we need to get goods off in January. I am hoping that if I start any medication it won't interfere too much with my day to day functioning. That would be very inconvenient.
Well, S and K have gone to bed. Mr Benny is outside having a sniff around the garden. I am so wide awake and really would rather do something like start a drawing than go to bed. Once I get to bed and get the earphones in I am sure I shall find sleep amongst the tribal chants mixing with binaural beats.
And hopefully have a dreamless slumber.
Friday, November 15, 2013
|Gum Tree at Ripponlea Gardens|
But I am a bit of a work bore. A work robot. I love to come in and do the work. The beauty of working with numbers is that it's so logical. Things either balance or they don't. If they don't I find out why. When I file it is perfect. I make notes on everything for future reference and there have been many times when those notes are needed. The archives are immaculate. We have had to find things from ten years back and no matter what, we find it.
There are times when the filing that needs to be done is epic. Right now there is four weeks worth piling up but next week it will be done and, once again, the trays will be empty and the information filed in a neat and orderly way.
I love formulating reports that help us with costings. When I come up with a new way to find information I am genuinely thrilled and will think about it just to relive the pleasure of my work.
I am the cog in the wheel.
Even when things are stressful, my desk untidy, my work piling up around me, there is one thing that I aim for that drives me to get things done. To get things back in order. The balance. The tidiness. The peace that goes with that is the reward.
My work is order in my world of internal chaos. It's a complete contradiction to what is going on in the background of my headspace. I could not actually work in a creative environment. Or an environment that required me to network. Or a place that had meetings all the time. Or where I was not allowed to swear.
Even on days I wish I was not at work I like the work I do. If that makes sense.
Most people hate anything to do with finances. Money. Bookkeeping. Accounting. Economics. I think you either love it or hate it. For some it is boring to even think about it.
I run the finances in the house. Pay the bills. K can do it, but I like doing it. Once we had a shared account (as well as our own personal ones) but it was too stressful for me and for K. The flow of the most minute amounts of money out of the account ensured a phone call from me. It's hard to live with someone who does that.
One of the things I have made a point of with my son is to talk to him about money. About managing money that he gets in life. About budgeting. Planning ahead. About the consequences of getting into debt. I tell him the story of how I once got myself a credit card before I went on a two week holiday. It was great. I could spend money I did not have. When I got back I received a credit card bill of almost $2000. I was about 21 at the time and nearly died. It took me ages to pay it off.
Being mindful about money does not mean I am a tight arse with it nor does it mean I have a lot of it. It just means I live within my means. Over the years and years of doing the books for people I have seen what happens to those who spend money that they do not have.
Life is different these days. I think the cost of living is higher. The lure of consumerism is a constant. It is very expensive to buy a house (especially in Australia). People will be living a life of debt long into their life. It's depressing for the future generations.
Anyway, this post is not about anything in particular (apart from money) but tonight I was searching for $80 that I took out of the bank when I went grocery shopping the other day after work.
I can't find the money anywhere. At the time I think I would have wedged it into my handbag as I made my way back to the car. It would have been rolled up with the sales receipt. More than likely scrunched up. Maybe I put it in my pocket but I have to do a search. It might turn up in a few weeks as it has happened before when I have put my hand in a pocket and there is money.
Another possibility is that I threw the money out with the receipt. That would be disappointing.
Just shows, even those who manage their money do silly things with it.
I'll try not to think about it.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
|Drawing that was trashed|
It's Tuesday and a whole week since last I posted anything interesting.
Oh, wait, let me rephrase that. It's a whole week since I posted anything. Interesting may be debatable. I've had a good week. Everything going according to plan (my plan). Weekend was productive (of course). Got everything done I wanted including sorting out my entire wardrobe (as planned).
Honestly, the planets have been aligned for me (as I planned).
Today I went to the psychiatrist.
He diagnosed me with this.
Which means I have to go on these.
And have this.
So, how do I feel about it all. Well, right now I am in such a good place I believe he is totally mistaken. Forget about what has transpired. Right now I am fine and intend to stay this way.
Forget past history (past being the other week). Forget my mood charts showing those crappity crap mood swings. Forget stuff that has happened over the years. That is the other me. And that "me" is not here right now and I am so sure that this time that "me" is gone for good. I feel it in my bones!
Actually, I did feel a bit like this.
But I was accepting of it all.
Anyway, I have to have a run of blood tests and an ECG just to get a baseline of where my health is at and then will go back and take if from there.
Although I do not like labels, I think it is good to have a starting point. I feel I can move forward a bit.
Which is helpful.