Tag mental health

11 posts

This is Your Brain; This is Your Brain on ADHD Meds.

After 2 years of fighting to get tested and treated for the sheer inability to focus when I need to on the things I need to, I finally found a psychiatrist who listened to me and prescribed me the babiest dose of Strattera. I’ve been documenting it, as I do:

This is day 2, and my brain IS SO QUIET. It feels like a relief.

Yesterday I caught up on projects that I have been putting off for months, and today…I have nothing? on my to-do list? And the constant nagging anxiety about forgetting something has been muted. Such that I feel like I can actually enjoy the fact that today is a quiet day, without guilt?!

It has been such a long and devastating fight to get here, and I’m so relieved that I could cry. Instead I think I’m going to actually relax this afternoon? for possibly the first time in my life?

Daily Selfcare list

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1) get dressed in day clothes that make you feel good, even if it’s just for a little while.
2) work out for 5 minutes to get your blood moving and to notice your body and feel it.
3) brush your hair if you don’t like how it feels or looks. put the dragonfly clips in, or wear the squid hat for a few minutes. 
4) breathe before bed (1..2..3…1..2..3)
5) drink water.
Because sometimes I forget basic things and I feel awful.

Adventures in Minimalism

We’re sort of slowly getting ready to move across the country in the spring, and so I’ve been trying to get rid of things – extra clothes, furniture, etc, that I’m not using/don’t need…nothing weird (except for maybe having been planning this move all year). I’ve been thinking about how nice it feels to have less random stuff, and so I may try to experiment with minimalism leading up to, and following The Great Moving Adventure. I did some reading (a few hours last night, nothing extensive by any means) and while everyone I read gave lipservice to minimalism looking differently for everyone, they all seemed to make a point to…..degrade keeping things for entertainment.
KieryGeek aside, this bothers me and isn’t something that would benefit me in my own minimalist excursion (depress, on the other hand…). While I’d like to live with less, and the idea of being minimalist appeals to me in a fight-the-machine-kind-of-way, I’m not going to give up my gaming consoles, my tv, or netflix because some random dudes on the internet say “it’s better” and that tv/gaming/entertainment-that-isn’t-reading-or-music is a waste of time (which, I thoroughly disagree with, for lots of reasons).
So, I’m gonna experiment with something I’m dubbing “keep-only-the-shit-that-you-like-ism!”. Which is still living with less, keeping only the things you need and enjoy, but basically, not eschewing the value of entertainment. I think any time anyone says “Stop gaming, it’s a waste of your time/life” I get angry and triggered. 😛
Anyway, aside from the STFU-gaming-is-good tangent, I think for me it will largely look like pack up whatever I can fit in my minicooper, getting rid of the rest, and hitting ikea for desks and a couch. 😉
As a personal quest, I’m going to only keep like 6 place (for the rare time the two of us have breakfast) settings so I have less dishes to wash on the chance that we get an apartment sans a dishwasher like our current place. I’ll probably do another run-through of my wardrobe, decide how badly I want to keep the ornaments that have pictures of baby kiery (which won’t ever make it on a tree, because no), and figure out how to travel-ize my jewelry collection (probably will throw it all in my makeup box. shhhh).
Anyway, the glorious part of keep-only-the-shit-that-you-like-ism, is that it’s about not having stuff you don’t like, but also not making a huge (anti-entertainment…) religion out of it either.
Okay, maybe those articles triggered me more than I thought they did.


In other news, I’m taking a mental health break. Right now that looks like muting a lot of twitter and playing a lot of minecraft and throwing personal comic schedules and completion to the wind while I try to catch my breath and chill. I feel like my brain needs a hard reset involving not noticing the world is going to shit and falling to pieces every 10 minutes. I may or may not update here with more thoughts or progress on minimalism, or anything deep, or anything at all. I don’t really know. Right now I’m just trying to give myself a break and figure out that I’m okay for existing and my validity isn’t dependent on anything else and it’s okay to not work myself ragged. Taking it one day at a time.
Today, I stayed in bed until I got hungry and needed coffee and then I basically only played minecraft. So, yeah. Don’t talk to me about wasting time on video games. Mental health is important too. 😛

Reason

I’ve been triggering myself a little lately, getting introspective about life and the meaning. Nothing weird I guess, but in my dreams I found myself missing things I don’t actually miss, missing rituals and set answers – things I consciously don’t actually value.
I’m not particularly sentimental, and I don’t really care about tradition for tradition’s sake – in fact, I’ve found more freedom and healing in abandoning tradition as much as possible lately.
So, anyway, when I’ve been finding myself in these introspective loops – at least after outing myself as an agnostic, none of the pat answers that I used to have are there anymore (for good reason), but it’s like I’ve taken another step into the unknown and I don’t know why I exist again, or why I make things, or why I feel the way I do, I just know that I do, and the bit of fundamentalism that’s still clacking around in my brain jumps on it.
They were right all along, it says. You need religion to matter, it tells me. All these things I know are false – at least, for me – because religion (christianity specifically) is an unsafe place for me, and is the place I can trace back to when I want to find out why I feel worthless to start with.
I know it’s wrong, because I never found the answers I needed in religion – the pat answers and just don’t think about it too much cliches aren’t useful to me. So it’s weird when I suddenly find myself feeling depressed and reaching for those non-existent platitudes.
And it’s taken me all of this week to figure out what I’ve known all along.
I don’t need to have a reason for everything all the time. Unknowns are perfectly okay and legitimate. I don’t live in an environment anymore where I need to have an answer for everything.
And that’s gloriously freeing.

New Meds Muse: Zoloft

I’ve been taking the full-dose of Zoloft (currently 50mg a day) for about a week now. I was going strong until I got stressed out on Friday, and then everything just kinda has been a haze of anxiety. I was super focused and creative and fucking fantastic for a week…excusing the bouts of nausea/dizziness and general there’s-a-new-chemical-in-my-body-side-effects that lasted a few days (and then went away, and then came back randomly but only for an afternoon or so off and on, I’m only in week like, 2.5 of new meds, so). Sometime over the weekend it’s like I forgot how to focus and I’ve been really tense.
A couple circumstantial things don’t help: our shower drain has been clogged since the weekend and the plumber was supposed to come today but didn’t, and the subsequent sink drains have decided to join in on the clogging fun, so I have a bunch of unwashed/gross/dirty dishes from a failed attempt to wash them just sitting on the counter, I haven’t showered since the weekend (because pooling just feels bad when you can’t clean the tub, and feeling grosser after showering than before is sorta pointless), and the bathroom sink is all slow now, so doing anything for longer than 30 seconds is basically out.
On the upside, I’ll be at a wedding this weekend and the hotel will have a working shower, and my pit hairs are kinda cute right now.
I’ve spent a lot of this week trying to still work on things – I ended up managing to get a lot done – this week’s comic, for instance, I finished already and I think it’s awesome, but KieryGeek is gonna wait because I just couldn’t, at that point, the anxiety had pretty much taken over. I’ve been working on my Ruby site pretty regularly, though I feel like the going is pretty slow. Some of that though, is just how learning a new language is and has less to do with my meds.
It’s so weird though, because I can tell that the meds are doing something, I know there’s an edge of anxiety that’s missing, because there’s a tiny tiny calm space even though I feel like, today, I’m on the verge of a meltdown.
My current plan is to ask to up the dose when I go back in July. I know they’re doing things but I feel like I did before I needed to up the dose on my anti-depressants – work great as long as there’s no stressors or anything, but as soon as something is there, it’s like, just doesn’t have enough umph. And some of that might just be because I’m only 2.5 weeks into the new medication, but if one lunch & some plumbing issues can throw me for a loop, I’m thinking…yeah with the upping being a good idea.
And if that doesn’t work, I guess we’ll try something else.
It was so nice to be creative and focused again though, even if it was only for a few days. I want that back.

Kiery's Stages of Getting Help

1) Meh, this is probably not anything. I can deal with it, everyone else is probably the same way.
2) I deserve this, I shouldn’t fix it, it’s just part of me and most likely my fault (thanks bad theology for roping yourself into the worst places)
3) That’s bullshit, no one deserves to live like this, I can’t do anything I like anymore and it’s driving me crazy
4) Freak out because I’m going to the doctors office to talk about meds

4a) Stay up all night running through the conversation with the doctor in my head, 12 hours before I go to the appointment

4b) Anxiety because of having to explain something that is felt so deeply but doesn’t really lend way to words that accurately convey the amount of depression or anxiety I’m dealing with. Also anxiety about talking about it, and forgetting key details.

5) Leave the doctors office with new prescription and hope I did okay. Reason that I must have because I have a new prescription and hopefully it’ll work.
6) Feel validated because I fixed point 3 and realized 1 and 2 are lies
7) Go back to bed to catch up on sleep from being stressed out all night, and then pick up prescription
tl;dr:  I got help. Finally.

Brain Stuffs

I crashed for two hours and I feel a little better about things.
I’ve been dealing with a lot of self loathing and emotional exhaustion and anxiety and just feeling like I’m the most horrible person ever to walk the earth (which is ridiculous if I think about it, because I don’t actively TRY to hurt people, but the fact that I do, or may inadvertently, tends to kill me sometimes, especially because I often don’t know if that’s actually happened because I’m just overthinking every single thing I think and say).
So, I feel a little less like I should just be eradicated from the earth, which is a plus.
A lot is happening and has happened, and I don’t know really how to deal with everything and I don’t know how to give myself what I need.
I don’t know how to extend to myself the humanity that I try as hard as I possibly, humanly, can to everyone else. And the fact that I often times, fail fucking miserably at it doesn’t help either, because then I feel like I really don’t deserve and shouldn’t be patient with myself at all.
I don’t actually know what brought this on, and I’m guessing this looks fucking ridiculous to everyone reading, but it’s not a healthy headspace for me (add the completely valid discussion of privilege, but used to call one specific set of people out and/or shut people down, and it’s sort of a recipe for disaster in my psyche. I KNOW that’s not how it’s supposed to work or be interpreted, but for some reason it’s a fucking loaded term and just triggers a complete shutdown and self-hate autocycle in my brain), and I don’t really know how to fix it, so I’m doing the only thing I know how to do that does actually help, which is put it here.
Feel free to ignore – this isn’t meant to make sense to anyone outside my head, I just need to like, get it OUT of my head so I can sleep and not deal with insomnia or try to build a house out of rocks so I can live under it.
 

Desperate, and in need of help

It’s worth mentioning, in 2010, my parents all but disowned me and I spent 2 weeks crying, in my room, with the lights out, dealing with an amount of intense pain that I had only dealt with once before – in 2008 when my parents told me that I couldn’t see or talk to my husband anymore. This time, they cut off my relationship with my siblings. I came out stronger on the other end, but that reminded me, acutely, of my previous bout with near suicidal depression and thankfully, I wasn’t suicidal this time, because I was (for the first time) in a loving relationship with someone who cared.

 

After getting off the pill (health reasons) in 2011, my hormones started raging and I had horribly debilitating bouts of depression every 2 weeks (thanks, ovaries). I was angry and volatile and mean (which I’m not usually) – it started affecting every detail of my life and how I interacted with the people I most cared about. I tried every herbal supplement I heard helped with PMS and hormones. I eventually came to the conclusion that I had PMDD (like PMS but with depression and on steroids) which, upon thinking about it, and my relationship with myself – especially my menstruating self – made sense.

 

I struggled for a year, taking herbal supplements every day with no help. I talked to self-proclaimed herbal experts who said progesterone was a good bet – it wasn’t (but I did get one lotion that smelled nice and helped on that level).

 

Last August I’d had enough. It was hard – working up the nerve to talk to my doctor about this weird phenomenon was really hard, I was terrified. I’d been told my entire life that doctors were evil and that they just handed out antidepressants like candy, and also, those were bad. But I couldn’t keep living with that, every two weeks being trapped within myself, being a shell, and trying to not hurt the people I loved because of things I couldn’t control.

 

So I talked to my nurse, I told her about how debilitating my periods were, how I hated myself, how I felt it hurting my relationships, and she suggested wellbutrin, she said it may be a drastic step and I said, no, I’m ready to try medication.

 

Shortly after that talk with my nurse, Wil Wheaton wrote about his depression on his blog – which really helped normalize it for me. Because for the first few weeks following the start of my medication I felt a little afraid and a little ashamed because of the stigma that comes from treating depression/mental illness and having it. The shame from my past because I was one of “those” people now.

 

Wil Wheaton’s story helped me feel better about it, then Hyperbole and a Half’s Adventures In Depression was so spot on (so is part two), I realized that I wasn’t alone. That it’s a real thing (not a spiritual one) and that it’s okay, and that also, I don’t have to live in suffering like I thought for so long.

 

I didn’t realize that I had been depressed since puberty, with bouts of really really bad rounds of it, until I started taking antidepressants and was introduced to actual emotions and feelings. It was overwhelming at first – I had so many emotions, all of them, I didn’t know what they were, how to name them, or how to deal with them. I just had to sit there and wait and learn what they were.

 

I feel things now.

 

People think that if you’re depressed you just feel sad all the time. But what happens is you just eventually feel numb, melancholy – you miss the actual feelings, and negative ones stick and make homes in your brain and never go away.

 

Now I know, when I feel sad, angry, or depressed even (yes, I still feel depressed sometimes) that they are only emotions and they. will. pass. I will feel happy – actual happiness, and then I’ll feel normal – which is not melancholy, but a perfectly okay everything is fine feeling.

 

The difference between my emotional and mental state now, a year later, and last year is huge. I can’t start to describe how many ways it’s changed, helped, and made me feel more in control. It’s just so nice to be able to live outside of my head, to not feel trapped inside of my brain, or inside of my body.

 

Help is worth getting because you matter. intrinsically.

Depression and Spiritual Abuse

Looking back, it’s no wonder that all of the feelings and self loathing that lead to my depression, brought depression. I was taught that I was worthless, that I should never think well of myself, that I needed to be humble, I was never allowed to show any emotion that was not a plastic smile. Perfection was constantly demanded, and perfection is what I was incapable of. I am, and was keenly aware of my failings, of the places I don’t measure up, where I don’t meet parental wishes or requirements – those were held over my head, brought up in arguments to coerce me further into being my family’s slave.


I remember times when my parents would sit there and berate me for hours (under the guise of “concern” and wanting to “help my [spiritual] walk”) and tell me that because I missed doing laundry one day, misheard or misunderstood a demand, that I was a bad sister, a person going down a path of destruction, away from god, if I kept up this “rebellious” attitude.
I remember being bragged about to people (when convenient) only to be later pulled aside in private and told to shape up. I remember dismissal and invisibility. I was a pawn, a tool, a broom.

I related strongly to cinderella and everyone thought it was cute, but they didn’t realize that I felt as worthless as the dirt she was mopping. That I believed I WAS as worthless as the dirt she was mopping – to know and be told in actions that I am only loved and approved of when I DO things in a certain way, with a certain demeanor regardless of feeling, ill, tired, or stressed. When I was imperfect (as all humans are) I was punished – verbally, emotionally, spiritually, psychologically, mentally. I internalized their words of my failures and believed that I was a failure, who didn’t deserve any good.


This was not aided by the fact that my family explicitly believed and taught that it was better to live a life of suffering (by gods hand, of course) than to live a happy life. That god did not want us to be happy (and by unspoken extension, wanted us to be miserable or persecuted).


It’s no wonder that between the bullying because of my imperfections, and the toxic theology of my parents, that I internalized at the most impressionable ages, my total and utter worthlessness and the only way to deal with that, was to hate myself as much as I perceived I needed to be. It’s no wonder that it escalated. It’s no wonder I shut down, became numb, stopped feeling, and felt robotic. It’s no wonder I was and at times still am, utterly ashamed of being a woman (someone who is less because of different anatomy)*.


*by people like my parents, the tendency of republicans in positions of power, and people who perpetuate the theology of “equal but different” where differences justify belittling.