Back on the Topamax

Had 6 migraines in May as opposed to 2 in April, so my doctor told me to start taking the Topamax again. Hoping it doesn’t mess with my mood like when I first started it. It made me really short-tempered.

I am on my third night of not sleeping well. Keep waking up throughout the night and waking up extra early in the morning and not able to fall back asleep since cutting down on resperidal. Trying to decide if I should give it some more time for my body to adjust.  

I feel like I’ll never get off these meds, like I am dependent on them. How do I know if the symptoms are returning because I need the medication or if it is just a temporary result of coming off of the med?  How long do I wait it out and do I risk triggering a mood episode because of it?

I Can’t Keep My Mouth Shut

One of the things I have trouble with when I am hypomanic is blurting things out without thinking about them.  Like I’ll be at dinner with people I don’t know very well and I’ll say, “Ha, look at that guy sitting over there with his butt crack hanging out of his pants.” I mean, what am I in fifth grade?  How immature can I be?  How embarrassing can it get?

And opinions…don’t get me started on opinions. When I am hypomanic I can’t seem to keep my opinions to myself. I told my husband, about a particular situation tonight, that I wouldn’t put my two cents in unless the other parties involved brought the topic up first.

Well, we weren’t there barely ten minutes and I brought it up! Practically against my own will!  I swear I didn’t want to.  I heard the words coming out of my mouth as my brain was screaming at me, “Don’t say it!  Don’t say it!” Do you know how maddening that is?

Then the follow up to all of these scenarios is being at home, replaying everything you said and did one million times over, again and again, in your mind; agonizing at the fact that you probably made a complete ass out of yourself even though your husband swears you didn’t and that everyone just thought you were “really funny.”

Even my younger kids get to see the craziness of hypo-me, laughing at inappropriate times or often uncontrollably at things that are a little bit funny, but not THAT funny. Or laughing at my own jokes way too hard.

I used to think these things were harmless. Now, I’m not so sure. I’m kind of sick of being odd.

Mental and Physical Chaos

I saw my psychiatrist today and shared with her how I cycled recently through some hypomania (irritability, agitation, losing temper, grandiosity, excessive spending) and then dipped into some depressive symptoms (loss of interests in hobbies, crying for no reason, feeling overwhelmed with everyday things, excessive worrying about friends and family problems.)

She is not changing any medications, probably because I am still functional. I’m “suffering on the inside, but still able to function,” as she put it.

For how many of you is this true?  You struggle to make it through each day because of your mental illness symptoms, wondering if it will ever NOT be so challenging to live. 

I suppose those with physical disabilities feel the same way. A paraplegic can’t have an easy time getting up and ready each day, but he does it just the same. As do we. We are not unique. 

I found out today that I have something wrong with my kidneys. An ultrasound shows they are “thinning.” Being an otherwise physically healthy middle-aged adult  (minus the chronic migraine), I am not happy about this. The next step will be to see a Nephrologist to find out more.

In the meantime, my GP told me not to take allieve which is part of what I take for migraine relief.  WTF!  Ugh!

Light Therapy Works

I asked my daughter if she was still having suicidal thoughts after using the light therapy box for 10 days now, and she said no.  Hallelujah!

I’m doing better at not taking things personally.  There was an incident where my middle schooler criticized what she got for St. Nicholas day this week, and I took offense to it, and reprimanded her for bad manners.  She felt very guilty for upsetting me, which didn’t feel right to me.

Soon after, I remembered what The Four Agreements book had to say about not taking things personally.  I realized she obviously expected more than what she got, and in that sense it is her issue to resolve, and really had nothing to do with me.

I apologized for taking her response to the gift personally and told her it was not her fault I got offended. I could see the weight lift from her shoulders and the relief on her face.

She said she was sorry, too, and that she was just expecting multiple items because that is what she got in past years. 

I know we both felt so much better after talking this out.  I think coming to terms with reality is so important in taking responsibility for the way you feel.  Likewise, leaving others to suffer in their own fight against the acceptance of the way things are is the first step towards not taking anything they do or say to you personally.

I’ve been filled.with anxiety trying to get some Christmas projects done, therefore haven’t been sleeping enough and falling behind on chores. Doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Need to think this through and make a plan to consciously stop going, going, going.  I’ll get mentally sick if I don’t. 

I’ve been gaining some weight- four pounds in the last 7 weeks.  So, I started counting calories, increasing protein and decreasing sugar. We’ll see how it goes.

Depression Updates

Good news:since beginning the 4mg of tizanidine every night at the start of November, I’ve had only 2 migraines and one serious tension headache. This is great considering I haven’t had less than five migraines in one month since August of 2015!

I’m still getting teary-eyed pretty often. I tried to go to church and it was so crowded that I panicked and almost cried. It was awful. 

Sometimes I’ll just be sitting on the couch not feeling well and just start crying for no apparent reason other than I feel sad.

I’m overwhelmed by all of these little unfinished projects hanging over my head that have to do with Christmas decorating and presents mostly, plus a home improvement project I need to finish.

I have friends coming over this week and I am consciously making an effort to not drive myself crazy by being perfectionistic about the decorations, house cleaning, and food.  It is going to be a challenge.

I feel like I need to make a list of things NOT to do instead of a list of things to do, like 1) Leave the clutter on the counter 2) Don’t worry about putting Christmas decorations in the bathroom 3) Skip giving the dogs a bath, for starters.

My daughter has been using the light box for four or five days now.  I hope it is helping her. She hasn’t been curled up in bed anymore so I feel hopeful, and will check in with her soon for an update. 

Seasonal Depression is Back


I walked into my daughter’s bedroom last night to ask her a question.  The lights were off and I found her wrapped cocoon-like in a thick blanket, head covered except for her face, lying on her side in the fetal position.  “Are you ok?” I asked.  “I’m fine,” she answered.  Yeah, right! I thought.

Long story, short, I came to find out that she’s been having suicidal thoughts for about a week now.  Her depression is back.  😦  Things in her life are going well, not like last year at this time when she lost all of her friends and she was at her old high school, which caused her extreme amounts of anxiety.  Right now, she has great friends and teachers, and she is in a wonderful school environment.  She said everything is good in all those areas.

It is the weather.  I know it is.  It just turned cold here about a week or two ago.  The days are dreary and sometimes rainy.  There is always a chill in the air, if not downright freezing.  I’ve been feeling it bring down my mood, too, as I wrote yesterday.  Even my husband said it is negatively affecting his mood.

She doesn’t have a plan, so I don’t think she is in immediate danger.  The thing that sucks is that we are in between psychiatrists right now, and aren’t set to see the new one until January.  I am going to call today to see if we can get in sooner than that.

In the meantime, I got out my light box for her to use.  I used it for a few years when my depression got really bad, but I haven’t needed it in quite a while, thankfully.  I am hoping it helps her get by until we see the new doctor; that it keeps her symptoms from getting worse, or even better, that it makes her depression go away.

Us adults know how hard it is to deal with these mental illness symptoms.  I can’t imagine how horrible it is for a 15-year-old to manage them.  Please pray for her if you are so inclined.

Also, I am wondering how many people out there deal with seasonal depression like we do and how you cope with it?



Don’t Take Anything Personally With Mental Illness

I’m doing something I never do…I’m writing this post on my phone. I always use my laptop so I can easily type away, format the way I want, insert the appropriate sized image just right, and spell check everything.  Tonight, however, I just don’t care. I don’t need to be perfect. I’m too tired and worn out to put forth my best effort. I take that back. This is my best effort.

It has been weeks since I’ve posted on my photo blog or even edited anything, or God help me, gone out and shot anything worthy.  I haven’t kept up with visiting my blogging friends for way too long either.

I miss my photography. It’s winter and it’s cold and dreary in the Northern Hemisphere right now. Although a month ago it was warm and full of fall colors, but that didn’t get me and my camera out.

I keep telling myself that I am not depressed, and I truly think I am not.  I am just so busy with kid stuff that I have no energy left for my own things. I suppose that is what has changed. I recently had energy for both, now I don’t.

So, decreased energy, increased anxiety, feel like crying for no reason, loss of interest in hobbies.  It could be depression.

I had to stop taking the Spironolactone last Thursday for my acne because they think it caused my creatinine levels to increase (to 1.32, where normal levels are between 0.5 – 1.1.)  I have to go to my PCP to have it retested to be sure, in case it is something else.  I wish the dermatologist would retest and if it doesn’t come back down THEN send me to my PCP.  It seems to me a waste of a co-pay and my time to have to go to another doctor when she (the dermatologist) could just reorder the lab work herself.

I’m exhausted from Christmas shopping. Did it all online; spent hours and hours looking. Remodeled bathroom, so, been busy with that. Then Thanksgiving Day holiday family stuff, and kids off of school.  Like I said, it’s been really busy.

I’ve had a lot of incidents of social anxiety lately, too, with my daughter’s new volleyball team starting up and having to meet and spend time getting to know new parents. It is so hard for me to do this.

Today there was an event we had to go to and I slept terrible last night, almost cried twice today and felt like I was going to throw up and had digestive issues all day because of nerves about it.

I also had to take anxiety pills this week for two visits to see family like I always do because they are so stressful.

I need to cut myself some slack. Some days I am so busy, so productive and on top of things and in control that I feel manic and other days I am so drained I feel depressed. Maybe I am cycling. Mostly, I don’t know.

I’m still reading The Four Agreements book by Don Miguel Ruiz.  The second agreement is “Don’t Take Anything Personally.” Basically anything anyone says to you or about you is because of what they believe or what kind of mood they are in or how they were raised or any other number of reasons that have nothing to do with you. So, don’t ever take anything personally. It’s never really about you. It’s about what is going on inside of them.

My favorite quote in this chapter is “Personal importance, or taking things personally, is the maximum expression of selfishness because we make the assumption that everything is about ‘me.'” So true!

I feel like I am drowning in my thoughts most days. There are too many of them at one time rolling over one another in constant motion.

I still do my breathing meditation for 10-15 minutes about 3 times a week. It takes a lot of concentration to focus just on my breathing, and most of the time I can only do it for a minute or two before my mind wanders.  I’ll bring it back and try again and again until my alarm sounds. When I started this practice two months ago it wasn’t this hard.

The worst feeling is not being comfortable being with yourself. I usually don’t have a problem with this. I normally enjoy my time alone during the day when everyone is at work and school. It is much more serene and peaceful than when everyone is home in the evenings and on the weekends.

However, lately being alone is more nerve wracking than being around everyone. At least when my family is home I am distracted from the racing thoughts and impending doom that looms over me; the aches and pains in my head and neck and over all muscle fatigue and weakness of depression’s handiwork; the feeling like I’m coming down with the flu or I have a hangover but it’s just another restless night’s sleep and anxiety-induced digestive issue.

Can anyone relate?

I’m sure someone can. It’s mental illness after all, which is why I can’t take it personally.