Thursday, April 28, 2011

Letting go, part two.

(Don’t let the title fool you-you didn’t miss a part one. This is an archive from my old Bipolar blog.)

The medicine is working, but it’s zapping my energy. I’m going through bursts of energy and extreme tiredness. I don’t have anything to write currently, because my brain isn’t at 100%.

I have been going through my old Bipolar blog posts today, and came across one that I should share. For as long as I can remember, when I mention that I have a kid to strangers and acquaintances, I have always always gotten the reply, “you have a kid?!?!” This post sheds a little more light on why I don’t talk or write about him. It’s too hard.

This post is dated August 10, 2010.

 

My son will be twelve in December. My son. Okay, so that always looks weird on paper because I don’t really have a son. What I mean is, I shut down when he was a baby and never had a chance to pick up where we left off. I’ve always been more of a “birth mother” than a real mother. Some of it was my fault, some was out of my control. I found out at 2 he was autistic, and with him being him and me being me, there was never a bond. It’s a lot more detailed than that obviously, but it’s hard to write about someone I don’t really know.

I got pregnant in April of my senior year with my high school sweetheart, four months after we got back together. He immediately asked me to marry him, and moved into my parents’ house with me. That lasted a week. I kicked him out and from that day, was on my own. I cried every day. Hell, I cried when I found out I was pregnant. I cried when I found out I was having a boy, not the girl I was so sure was in my belly. I thought of suicide every day. I was unbelievably stressed out. I didn’t know what to do. I suffered from terrible migraines that made me go on disability.

I never talked to my belly. My baby daddy was in the mix, just not with me. He went through some crap too-moved out of his parents house for good, started dating a girl with a kid, wrapping his car around a pole, and getting a DUI. My labor was extremely easy, and that was that. You know what my first words to my son were? “Hi, my name’s Hed, and I’m gonna be your mom”. At four days old, my family was at my house, and my brother was holding my son. I remember him standing up and handing the baby to my mom, and they conversed almost in secret. I blew it off.

That night, my mom was in my room with me while I was feeding my son, and he started to stiffen and gasp for air. My mom says, “that’s what he did earlier today”. He was having his second seizure that we observed, and my mom didn’t even tell me about the first one. I’m convinced that, with my mental history, she didn’t think I was strong enough for a baby, something that has been confirmed through my son’s years and her actions, and her disdain when myself or my husband mentions children down the road.

He ended up in the ICU for five days. We still don’t know if his seizures caused the Autism or if the Autism caused the seizures, or if they were completely unrelated. His week in the hospital, combined with my mom’s concern for him, sealed the deal for the two of us. Eventually he moved into her room, and even when it was time to move out with my then-boyfriend, she insisted my son stay with her and my stepdad. I took the offer because I was working full-time and thought once we got situated he could move in with us. That attempt happened when he was three. My boyfriend and I moved him in with us in our one-bedroom duplex, and I became a mom. That lasted a week.

The catalyst that led to me breaking down and making him move in with his dad? He spilled a soda on the rug. That’s it. That’s all it took. He was so hyper, didn’t listen or pay attention (Duh, he had AUTISM!!!), and I couldn’t take it. I called his father and told him he needed to take him, I couldn’t handle this. My toddler was a stranger. I was a fool to think that I could take a three-year-old in and become Carol Brady. Most of the time I couldn’t even take care of myself properly.

I was devastated because it made me feel like a complete failure. I really thought I was strong enough to do it. We went to court, reversed custody. That was it. When this happened, his father eventually stopped speaking to me and used my mom as the middle man. My son started getting dropped off at my moms again, and I started visiting less and less. My first ever bout of major depression started around this time, and I couldn’t even get out of bed most days. When I started working again the visits became almost non-existent. When we did hang out, he wanted nothing to do with me. Why would he? He didn’t even KNOW me. Years passed, and my son’s father began a relationship with an amazing girl that just loved my son to pieces and did everything she could to learn about and deal with his Autism. At new jobs, I would mention my son in conversations, and I would always get, “you have a KID?!?!”

Last week was the first time I had seen my son in a year. He’s almost as tall as me. He has hair on his legs. He dresses like a young man, not a kid. Today,randomly, my son’s father called my mom to see if my son could be dropped off with her, as he was getting married today. Two months ago, he and awesome girl had a baby of their own, and in my opinion they want to officially have a family circle together. As I have been planning to leave for Australia, I thought of leaving a note with my mom that if something should happen to my son, she would have authority to make decisions on my behalf. When I heard about the marriage, I made the biggest and hardest decision of my life: to sign my parental rights away so my son could be adopted by his stepmom.

It’s not fair to my son for me to sometimes be in his life. My sister was adopted when my father gave away his rights, and she turned out beautifully. I had the opportunity to be adopted by my own stepdad, and I turned it down because I didn’t want my father to be alone. My dad ultimately popped in and out of my life when he chose, and it screwed me up something fierce. I always used to think my son’s father was an all-around dick, but sometime over the years I realized he was a fantastic father, and we just happened to not be good together. Aside from all the selfishness that I have in me-the pride of being somebody’s mother, the thoughts and assumptions others may have of me from my choice, and the ultimate failure I feel from never having an opportunity to get to know my son and all his complexities, I know in my heart that this is the right choice. As Forrest Gump would say, “and that’s all I have to say about that”.


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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The waiting game.

I was planning on posting an archive today, but something just punched me in the gut. I dyed my hair “Intense Dark Red”, by the way.

It’s brighter in person.

You may recall that last Monday was my triple doctor day. My first appointment was a follow-up on why I’m peeing like crazy and coughing up a lung whenever I eat. The doc put me on antibiotics just in case the urinalysis her ordered that day showed it was a bladder infection. I asked him, “will you call me when the test results come back?” and he told me “only if there is an abnormality. Otherwise we will send you a letter”.

I got a call from my doctor’s nurse today.

I wasn’t expecting it. I answered the phone and she said “hi, this is X calling from Dr. Hart’s office. He would like to schedule an appointment with you to follow-up on your test results”.

SHIT.

Now, when I had called to check on my blood sugar tests from the first doctor appointment, the nurse stated over the phone they were not allowed to give test results over the phone-that the doctor would either call you or send you a letter-that’s how I knew something was wrong when the nurse called me. I said to the nurse on the phone today, “well, um, I know you’re not allowed to give me test results over the phone, but I’m assuming that if you’re calling me and not sending me a letter, something isn’t right with the results?”

“That is correct”.

SHITSHITSHITSHITSHITSHIT.

She schedules me for an appointment next Wednesday. I’m kind of in shock as we’re talking, so I don’t realize that I have to sit on this news for eight days, but my grab-life-by-the-balls mom does when I freak out and tell her about the phone call.

“What? NO. You call them back FIRST thing in the morning and you tell them you need to be fit in NOW.”

I’m pretty level-headed when it comes to professionals. I know that nurses are just doing their jobs, and I try and kill them with kindness when I really feel the push to get something done.

My mom-not so much (but damn, does she get results!)

“If you don’t call them tomorrow, I WILL!!!”

Here’s what my mom and J told me to try and assuage my fears: If it was something really bad, they would have fit me in right away. But what if the nurse was just doing her job and all the doctor told her was “I need to see Hed right away”, and she just looked for the next available appointment? That’s what I’m worried about.

I’m here racking my brain trying to figure out what results would warrant a follow-up that wasn’t ASAP. I mean, if I had a bladder infection, the doctor was already proactive and prescribed me antibiotics…why would he need to see me to say “hey you really did have a bladder infection-but it should have cleared up by now-have a nice day!”

I know there is nothing I can do but wait. That sucks ass. On a lighter note, I hate my mom. I said "wouldn't it be weird if I found out my stomach had some big tumor in it and I wasn't fat, it was just a tumor?" and she says, "well, what about your ass?"

OOH BURN. Thanks mom…

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Thoughts/Feelings.

I think this post may be made up of pretty much thoughts and analogies. That way, I can explain how I am feeling to anyone who has never been on meds can maybe see what I’m going through…

My mom knocked on my door Saturday morning and woke me up. I reached my hand out to hold hers-because it was shaking.

I’ve got tremors. Ack.

Pretty much me without the coffee part.

I go online and look up “lithium side effects”:

Mild hand tremor; mild thirst; temporary, mild nausea and general discomfort at the beginning of treatment.

Okay, so I’m not dying or anything, okay. I can handle these. I’ve never had the shakes before, so seeing and feeling my body twitch is a weird feeling indeed. Have you ever lifted weights and fatigued your muscles, so that when you lift for something later in the day your arm feels like Jell-O? That’s kind of how it feels. They seemed to dissipate as the day went by, and the only time I really noticed them was when I was relaxing.

I have no appetite. Zero. I mean, my stomach does as it’s growling at me day and night, but my want of food has disappeared. I have a sandwich in my fridge from Portillo’s from Thursday that’s…still…in…there…which has never happened in the history of life. When I do eat, it’s whatever is being placed in front of me or whatever is easiest to make. Nothing really sounds good-it’s just sustenance.

I’m exhausted. I’m yawning all the time. This is different to most of the other anti-depressants I have taken, as they usually give me a huge energy boost the first few weeks. I am napping and going to bed at decent times. I’m walking around like a zombie.

You know how when you push something underwater that normally floats it slowly but surely rises to the surface? That’s my brain right now. When I get up to move around it’s like I leave my head on the couch for a few seconds until it catches up with the rest of my body. It doesn’t feel level.

Here’s the thing: I am staying on them. So many times as a depressed person you get side effects that mess you up and they seem so bad that you stop taking them and feel defeated because they didn’t work. There is nothing worse than severe depression, and the meds make us (in our brain) feel better that we feel the side effects. It’s almost like we forget how bad it got to warrant taking the meds and suffer the side effects.

I won’t forget how bad it got.

I won’t forget how long it took to get me to this point. I won’t forget the pain and devastation of my life falling apart because I refused to believe I had a problem. I won’t forget that I came home, alone, away from my husband so I can get the help that I need to go back to him so we can continue our life together.

These side effects are uncomfortable, not intolerable. When the nausea hit so bad yesterday that I was dry heaving or stuck in the bathroom (I won’t go into detail!) all night, I used logic with myself: This medicine is changing your brain. It is going into the neurons and synapses and increasing chemicals. This will pass. You have to stick it out.

This will work out in the end.

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Friday, April 22, 2011

My inner child got to play today.

I have completely forgotten to tell you THE COOLEST NEWS! I entered Culture Brats' one-year-anniversary giveaway last week, and on Monday I got an e-mail saying that I WON!

Their blog is awesome. They talk about movies and music (new and old), everything 80’s, and so much more. Go check it out!

You may be hearing more stories about my meds journey since I have just started it, and I’d like to just say something about it real quick. I know you guys love me to pieces (I think?), and want what’s best for me so I can have happy rainbow flower posts all the time and be the best person I can be. That being said, I know people have a difference of opinion on taking medication. Taking meds may not be something you agree with, but at this point in my life, it’s something I need to try and work with. I’d appreciate (greatly) if you can keep that in mind when commenting-hearing about others’ experiences helps heaps and I honestly welcome all comments. I’m just sensitive right now!

A few weeks ago I randomly called up my sister and told her I wanted to take my niece G to Color Me Mine, a ceramic studio where you pick out what you want and paint it yourself. We set the date for this Friday (today). She texts me last night and asks, “r we still on for tmw?” Crap! That was today?  I know tomorrow (today) will be my first full day of meds, so I hope nothing affects my sleep or anxiety (sometimes when you start antidepressants, they zoom you up pretty bad).

We met for lunch at this new place in town called Five Guys Burgers and Fries (new to us, I know at least a handful of you may have heard of it). We got there at 11:02, two minutes after they opened, and there was a line out the door.

It was really good (the grilled onions on my cheeseburger were divine!), dare I say joining the ranks of In N’ Out or Fatburger?

Next my sister and I took G to the studio. I told her she could pick out whatever she wanted to paint, and, well, she’s a four-year-old girl,  so she chose a princess coin bank.

Ahh! A floating head!

Once you pick out what you want, you sit at a table. The lady comes over with a swatch and lets you pick out the colors you want to paint with. G got to pick all the colors.

G did most of the dress, and my sister and I helped with the rest. She wanted to paint her princess green, and I was all for a zombie Cinderella, but her mom decided against that. We compromised on her having purple arms (they kind of look like sleeves!). She gets to pick up her shiny new coin bank next week.

Seriously? I may have had more fun than G. She named her princess “Belle”. We wrote her name on the back, dated it, and I think it would be really cool if we made something every year or so (you know if the Australia thing doesn’t pan out). We went to Barnes & Noble afterward and had coffee, and it was really good to be out.

Whoa, what did I just say?

It was really good to be out.

No, silly goose! Not like THAT!

I realized while I was driving home I didn’t panic this morning when I was getting ready to leave, and I didn’t get anxious when we were running around today. I even asked the clerk about her IPod that she was playing in the background. I approached a complete stranger.

Of course this isn’t the meds (I think). It’s probably more psychosomatic than anything, and the fact that there haven’t been any crushing blows in a while. Things are okay. I may even participate in Easter over and my aunt and uncles’ house.

PS-Happy Easter everyone! Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Crap. I’ve gone insane.

This is my brain…(you know the rest.)

Last night, I took my first dose of Lithium and Trazodone around 10pm. Taking something you have never taken before is always scary, but when it affects your brain, it can make even the most sane of us paranoid. I was on webcam with J when I took it, so I told him some of my concerns.

Babe, if I start mumbling or something, will you tell me? No one is awake if I start having side effects!

Of course, sweetie. You’ll be fine.

I already feel kind of tense and jittery, and the Trazodone is supposed to make me sleepy! What if I’m having an allergic reaction?

Hed, it takes time for the drugs to enter your system. You’re all right.

All I felt was strange until about 1am, when my body started to suddenly feel like it was filling up with concrete. I headed to bed. Unfortunately, it seemed to only made my body sleep, not my brain. Thoughts raced all night-until at least 4am. I was able to get some sleep, but it didn’t feel like enough. I woke up at 2:30pm (only waking up to pop my Lithium and Pristiq at noon) today and I could have slept for a lot longer.

All day I was groggy. Mom and I watched the season 5 finale of “Grey’s” (remember the one with O’Malley getting hit by the bus and Izzy having cancer? I LOVE that episode! So sad!), and the whole time I felt…sedated. I don’t know, I’m so used to antidepressants revving up my system when you first start taking them, and now I was feeling like a sack of crap (more than my normal “feel like a sack of crap” crap).

Until 5pm or so.

My mom isn’t feeling well today either, so I told her I would go get the family Portillo’s (Italian beef sandwiches!!!). As soon as I got in the car, I noticed I was… different. I felt almost distracted, like I couldn’t flip the radio channels as I was changing lanes (what? You know you do that shit too). I had to FOCUS.

While I was watching “Grey’s”, my husband had tried to call but hung up too fast for me to answer, so just before I left, I texted him “hey boo, what’s up?”, so I was expecting him to call me while I was in the car. As I was driving one of his favorite songs came on, and I changed the station. The next station was playing the same song! My heart sank.

Oh my God what if he was in trouble and tried to call me but couldn’t and now his song is on as a sign that he’s in trouble!

I texted him when I got to the drive-thru and after about five minutes I gave up and called the house phone to speak to his mum. Bad idea. This is literally how it went.

Mum: Hello?

Me: Is J there? I tried calling him and he’s not answering and I’ve texted him and he hasn’t responded to that either. Oh and hi, this is Hed.

Mum: Yes Hed, I know it’s you. Yes, J is here-he’s asleep. Would you like me to wake him up?

Me: Oh no no no, let him sleep. I was just worried because he called me earlier, like 8:30am your time but hung up before I could answer it so I texted him after that and he didn’t respond then I heard his song on the radio and changed the station and the song was on the other station! So I thought it was a sign that something bad had happened so that’s why I was calling you.

Mum: I…see. (This is how I am picturing her on the phone)

Me, feeling stupid: I just wanted to explain my thought process (WTF? Who says that to anyone, let alone their in-law???).

Mum: Well, I can tell him you rang and to ring you when he wakes up if you like?

Me: That would be great! Thanks (I start to pull out of the drive-thru as she starts to tell me about her Easter plans). Hey! Are you and J going to meet J and V today?

Mum: Yes, we are going to see them this arvo (afternoon) like I said.

Me, realizing she just told me that: You just told me that, didn’t you? I’m sorry, I wasn’t paying attention (OMGGGGG WTF HED? YOU DON’T TELL SOMEONE YOU WEREN’T PAYING ATTENTION TO THEM, ESPECIALLY YOUR MUM-IN-LAW!!!!).

A few minutes later J happened to ring through on his mobile, and I got off the phone with Mum. I tell him I had just gotten off the phone with his mum and how mortified I was by our conversation. He tells me, “babe, those drugs are changing your brain. You’re bound to be a little…off”. I tell him not to tell mum, that I don’t want her thinking I’m off my rocker, and he interrupts me by saying “babe, you’re talking…kind of fast. I can’t understand you. Are you driving? Why don’t you call me when you get home?” Oh crap, I was driving, wasn’t I? I was kind of on auto-pilot while I was trying not to be a nutcase to mum and J. I get home and open my glorious sandwich, take three bites…and I’m done. No appetite. Shit.

IT BEGINS.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I can’t believe I’ve come this far.

I did it! 100 posts!!!

This is a really big deal to me! Mainly because I never follow through and finish what I start. But this, this writing, has helped me more than any therapy, any drug, any friend or family member could. Every day I write, it’s like there is a piece of the hurt chipping off of my heart and the overwhelming weight of depression starts to lift.

I have 104 followers, each of whom I’m eternally grateful for being around to share my life with and get to know in some small way. I’ve been trying to figure out what I can do for this special post, and just today Brooke Farmer posted a list of “100 things I’m grateful for”. I decided that’s what I am going to do. I’m not particularly poetic or spiritual, so you’ll have to forgive my simple list-but these things put a smile on my face. Here goes.

100 Things I’m Grateful For.

1. My husband (of course!)2. My son’s smile.

3. Self-awareness.
4. Wikipedia.
5. Nine Inch Nails.
6. Target.
7. SS for his giant (hidden) heart.8. Benihana.
9. Bowling.
10. Make-up.
11. My grandpa.
12. Melbourne.

13. Places where you play games for tickets (SKEE-BALL!)
14. Grey’s Anatomy.
15. Carving pumpkins on Halloween.
16. My kick ass in-laws.
17. King crab.
18. Knowledge.
19. Antidepressants and mood stabilizers.
20. The people at my last job for still supporting me after all this time.
21. My niece and nephews.22. The smell of baby powder, pickles, and cinnamon apples (not together!)
23. Windsor’s boisterous laugh.
24. Freshly cut hair.
25. My mom being cancer-free. *knocks on wood*
26. Christmas.
27. Sleep.
28. Italian beef sandwiches.
29. My husband’s nose!30. Las Vegas!
31. Pictures of my life and the world around me.
32. Al’s big teeth!
33. Tool.
34. Bowling alley nachos.

35. My mom’s cooking.
36. Intelligence.
37. Being American. (USA! USA!)
38. Trent Reznor.
39. The Carlton Dance!
40. Dancing in the car when a song comes on.
41. Ranch dressing.
42. Blogging.
43. Me and Claud’s sushi dates.
44. Paul Frank!

45. Ice cream (especially Haagen-Dazs).
46. Memories.
47. House.
48. Kato’s faces in EVERY SINGLE PICTURE.

49. Music.
50. My stepdad for taking in an insane person and treating me like a daughter.
51. Cheesy 80’s movies.

52. Dancing in Hollywood.
53. Rain.
54. Skurvy, my laptop.
55. My husband and our secret language (naooooo bosey!!!)
56. Venti iced soy sugar free vanilla caramel macchiato, upside down.
57. Getting to meet and raise my babies Sam and Portal *sniff*58. Mini-golf.
59. Memory foam pillows.
60. Pirate hats.
61. Technology.
62. Having nice teeth after years of dental work.
63. MD never failing to crack me up for over 20 years.

64. Winter.
65. Facebook (YES FACEBOOK!)
66. Not ending up like my dad (still a work in progress.)
67. Magnetic Island.68. My brother and sisters (even though they don’t know it).
69. Torrid.
70. Downloadable music.
71. Having my grandma on this Earth for 74 wonderful years.
72. Diet Pepsi/Coke Zero.
73. Augusten Burroughs.
74. Balboa beach.

75. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
76. World of Warcraft.
77. Stupid jokes.
78. Sexy time!
79. Singing your lungs out to a song when no one’s around.
80. Rainbows!!!81. Mud pie.
82. The Simpsons.
83. Big Bear.
84. Fishing.
85. Tattoos.
86. Long drives.
87. My mom.88. D-Hop for being a loyal friend even though I am flaky as hell.
89. The memories I hold of my dad when I was growing up.
90. Australia.
91. Overcast skies.
92. The Internet.
93. Oceanside.

94. Bloggers.
95. My wedding going off without a hitch.
96. Remembering how it feels to laugh until your stomach hurts.
97. Mexican food.
98. Web cams.
99. Memebase.
100. Being alive at thirty years old.

Can’t wait for the next 100! Who’s with me?

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Doctor day DONE!

Ten hours of doctor appointments. Okay not really ten hours, but I was in and out of a  doctor’s office for ten hours yesterday-after a paltry two hours of sleep…

First was my follow-up appointment from my appointment from last Thursday to check on my test results and find out if I am diabetic. I’m not. HOLLA!

NOMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOM

Editors note: That picture was meant for humorous purposes only. I am not going to eat a me-sized donut. On that note, where does one get a me-sized donut?

The resident came in to discuss my test results. She really needed to get her “doctor speak” down. This was her:

So like, you have elevated white blood cells. Don’t freak or anything, even though your count is high it’s totally not high enough to be concerned. And like, your cholesterol is slightly high? You gots to stay away from fried foods, you know?

My blood glucose test came out perfectly normal (SS-it was 81 and my actual score was 5.3), so no diabetes. That was pretty good news. But nothing was set in stone about why I’m peeing like I’m a man-made waterfall and coughing up a lung while I eat. Normal blood work is both a blessing and a curse: you’re happy that it’s normal, but annoyed that nothing explains why you feel the way you do. There are times I just want Dr. House to see me so he can tell me “you’re perfectly healthy. Just a fat ass”.

After talking to the real doctor, he asked for a urine culture and prescribed me antibiotics (“just in case you’re asymptomatic”) and an allergy pill for my stupid cough issue. He says if the test comes back normal and I’m still having pee/food issues in two weeks, I need to come back. Oh joy.

I grabbed my meds and met my grandpa for lunch at Red Robin. Bad idea to take the antibiotic on an empty stomach before I ate because I wanted to throw up the entire time. I have wanted Red Robin for about a month just because their fries are the shit and I couldn’t even eat them (which was probably a good thing, I know). I was going to drive around and hang out at Barnes & Noble until my second appointment two hours after lunch, but I was so nauseous I followed my grandpa home and crashed.

My therapy appointment was uneventful. We’re now starting the “tell me about your family” sessions. Those will be fun…

I rushed to my next appointment because this one was THE BIG ONE. The psych appointment that I had been agonizingly waiting for for nine weeks! And you know what? It went pretty well. The experience I have had with psychiatrists in the past has been “get you in, get you out”. You tell them a few things, they write you a prescription. I hate that, but that’s their job. This one was different.

Since I was at a teaching hospital, the resident and I went into a lot of detail about my 18-month episode and the things leading up to it (it was like I was reading her my whole blog!). She asked me if I believed my Bipolar diagnosis, and I told her that all my life I had fought the label, but at this point I am whatever I am as long as I can just get freaking better!

After almost three hours, she and the main doctor came to the conclusion that they would treat me with the following drugs:

*Effexor (venlafaxine) 75mg twice a day. This is an antidepressant I have taken before successfully-with only one stupid side effect I can remember, that being eye problems if I missed a dose. A lot of the time this isn’t prescribed for Bipolar patients because it could throw them into the manic phase, but the doc thinks this would be good mixed with a mood stabilizer to hopefully lift me out of the depression.

*Lithium 300mg twice a day-This is the gold standard mood stabilizer for Bipolar people. The one I have always been afraid to take because it’s the stereotypical “damn, you got some shit going on to be taking THAT drug” drug. The main side effect is weight gain (lovely), and periodically I have to get a blood test to make sure it’s not wreaking havoc on my internal organs (!!!).

*Desyrel (trazodone) 50mg as needed. This is a weak tricyclic antidepressant with anti-anxious and sedative properties. It was prescribed as kind of my “in case of emergency” drug if I can’t sleep or am feeling REALLY up or anxious. Haven’t taken this one before.

Success! Step one. I drive straight to the pharmacy to drop off the ‘scrips. I ask the pharmacist how much it will be, and he gives me the number: $171.00 HUH? The reason it took so long at the psychiatrist was because they were researching the drugs to make sure they were affordable since I don’t have insurance (and since these were old drugs they didn’t have any samples lying around). I take back the ‘scrips and drive home. And cry.

When I get home I start pricing the drugs. I find out it’s the Effexor (the generic version!) that’s setting me back so much money. Of course my husband tells me “babe, if you need it, we’ll find a way”, but the thing is sometimes one drug doesn’t take and you have to get a new one-I don’t plan on spending over $100 for something that may or may not work.

I go to the drug manufacturer’s website and YAY!!! They have a prescription assistance program for people like me that will cover Effexor for a year! The only downside is that it takes 3-4 weeks to process my application. Sigh. Then a light bulb flashed through my head. You have Pristiq, Hed! You have over 60 tablets of Pristiq from when you were in Australia!!!

Effexor’s drug name is venlafaxine. Pristiq’s is desvenlafxine. It was created apparently as kind of a remedy for people who worked well on Effexor, but it was no longer working for them. I look into the prescription assistance program, and Pristiq is also covered! Woo hoo!

Now obviously I am not going to just start mixing pills without asking my doctor first, so when we speak I tell her about the program and the 3-4 week time frame and tell her I still have Pristiq from my last doctor-would it be okay to take those so I can start my course of treatment right away? She said that was a great plan, so starting tomorrow I take 50mg of Pristiq once a day along with the two Lithium and Desyrel. After I post this, I’m going to go fill my prescriptions.

*Happy thoughts*

*Holding breath*

*Happy thoughts*

This may be me tomorrow, and I may be writing about how the fate of human race rests on lemon meringue pie and you should never trust a fire ant.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Shh! Don’t jinx it!

I have been out, at a restaurant, IN PUBLIC, three times this week.

Three times!

The best part? All my meals were free I was able to actually spend time with people I love.

Last Friday I met my estranged best friend Kato for dinner. The last time I had seen her was for our going away party last August. It’s a long, complicated story about how we got estranged-that’s a whole other blog post one day-and I almost cancelled about four times. But seeing her and straightening things out needed to be done, so I went.

At first I was really anxious about sitting in a crowded restaurant waiting for our table. It got worse when a manager I used to work with (we were at my old restaurant where I was a manager, just a different location) turned out to be the general manager now. That kind of broke my heart because it made me think that could be me, and I threw it away. It made me want to leave. Talking to Kato about cute boys and hair color made me zone out on the surroundings a little.

Now Kato is a busy girl. Like, insanely busy. One of those “I’ll see if I can fit you in between 7:00 and 7:15” people. So when we met for dinner I was expecting her to kind of eat and run. When the server came and I asked Kato if we were in a hurry, she told me, “I’m on your time, hed”. I nearly fell out of the booth.

We talked about anything and everything, and hung out there for two hours. I asked if she wanted to go to Target with me, and she did! AND, after that we sat in my car and cried it out for an hour (it was me doing the crying-Kato is a soldier). I feel much more confident that I have a friend to talk to/confide in again, and we made a promise to each other that we would make time at least once a month to hang out and talk. I was elated.

At the advice of my hubs, I confess I (badly) photoshopped out my double chin!

Thursday I had to take my mom to physical therapy, and afterward she, my grandpa and I went out to lunch. That night, after much stressing, I met up with my whole family at Outback Steakhouse for my brother-in-law’s birthday (Note to my Australian readers: yes, there is a place called Outback steakhouse, and the chain has items such as “Queensland Salad” and “Walkabout Soup”. Don’t believe me? Here is their dessert menu:)

When my family saw I came, there were comments as “hey! Hed came!” and “you’re actually here! Let me get my camera out as proof!” I sat next to my 11-year-old nephew (who apparently has the Bieber fever?), and we all had a really nice time.

I had to bribe him for a picture. He’s too cool for one apparently.

The end result of all of this? I had a good time. I had fun. I laughed and smiled and made follow-up plans to see them again. A weird feeling has kind of taken over me this week: I feel… happy? WTF?!?!?!

 

I’m afraid to say that word out loud. I’m afraid to say it because depression is evil and cruel and just when you think you feel better something comes and kicks you in the gut when you least expect it. Is this my calm before the storm? Will I find out REALLY BAD NEWS when I get my test results back and this is karma’s way of balancing things out? Will I get new meds on Monday that will give me all kinds of horrible side effects? I don’t know.

I’m terrified this feeling won’t last. Today I did my homework and made chicken tortilla soup-all by myself-from scratch (I promise to post the recipe soon). When I realized I was missing an ingredient, without hesitation I got in the car and drove to the grocery store. I was actually being productive!

There is still some residue, though. At lunch on Thursday, they messed up my order and I stammered and apologized my way through telling the server that it was wrong. I still get really anxious before leaving the house if I allow myself to think about actually leaving. After lunch my mom wanted to go to Kohl’s, and I just wanted to go home-I didn’t want to overextend myself after having lunch and knowing about the big dinner that night. I’m trying to take baby steps so that way if I do have a setback, hopefully it won’t be soul crushing.

Now I’m off to sample my soup!

Seriously the best soup in the WORLD!!!

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I was a nerd before nerds were cool!

I do everything on my phone and laptop. These two masses of metal and chipsets are my most prized possessions. With the advent of IPads, smartphones and computers being priced within almost everyone’s reach, it’s easy for even my grandpa to maneuver technology. Just fifteen years ago, that wasn’t the case!

In 1993, I was given an amazing gift from my stepdad that would help mold me into the person I am today-his Tandy 1000 and a dot matrix printer (remember those? You had to line up the printer notch-holes to the sides of the paper or it would jam?). The reason I got it was because he stepped up and got the ULTIMATE in computer prestige and glory: Windows 3.1.

Ahh, Tandy. How did I love thee? Let me count the ways…

 

Now back in the day, you didn’t just insert a CD floppy disk and BOOM the game started to play. You had to type a lot of commands to get to play games of the golden age: Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?; Oregon Trail; Sid Meier’s Pirates! and Colonization (the latter being my two favorite games of all time) Remember DOS? Not only would you have to remember what the “play” command was for the particular game (I think the Carmen Sandiego one was C:/Carmensd if I remember correctly), but if you were using another program before that, you had to change the entire directory (forgive me uber nerds who are reading this saying “THAT TERM IS WRONG!!!!” I’m doing this off of memory, damn it!).

Me in 1993, just without the beard.

I only had one other friend that had a computer, and she had a really nerdy older brother. One night I was staying at her place and she asked,

“Do you want to chat on BBS?”

Huh?

“BBS. You talk to other people on the computer”.

You can DO that?

I watched her open a program, heard some weird ass buzzing inside of her computer like it was going to explode, then a box popped up that said “online”. Cool! Everyone had a handle (young’uns, that means “screen name” or “ID” in today’s terms). My handle? PJReznor! I used that for years!

The following summer the media was abuzz with news about Internet service providers America Online, Prodigy and Compuserve being the wave of the future. See, back then you had to use an ISP to go online-no clicking on the Internet Explorer button and the web popped up, noooo. I was way excited to use the Internet so I could talk to other people, but my parents said no way. I think the price tag of $39.95 a month plus the great unknown of the “World Wide Web”, whatever that was, scared them a little. I was SO ANNOYED!!!

One day I was fooling around with my stepdad’s computer when my mom wasn’t home (something I did all the time-what the hell is this Windows? Will it catch on?), I opened up his file cabinet and found gold. An installation CD for AOL.

By this point, I knew that installing something on Windows was pretty straightforward, so I made sure to make a folder with a boring sounding name like “Images” inside another folder so my stepdad wouldn’t know the software was on his computer. Once it was installed, a box popped up that said “ONE FREE MONTH!” How could I resist”? I entered in my details, picked out a local number to dial-up with my modem, and then the credit card information was asked to be put “on-file”. Uh oh. I was 13, I had no damn credit card! Off to my mom’s desk for some snooping…

I found a credit card bill-back then the entire number was displayed on the bill. I took it into the other room and entered it. No checks and balances like today, no signature code, just the credit card number and I was in. Now all I needed was a phone line. I unplugged the phone cord, pushed the computer forward so I could see the back of it, and found the phone jack. Success! Now my computer was making the weird ass buzzing sound!

I even had to walk ten miles in the snow before I could log on.

For 29 days, all I looked forward to was my mom leaving for work so I could secretly go online. I can’t even tell you what I did, it was just so cool to go on and talk to people. People! On your computer! On the last day before my mom’s credit card would be charged, I went into the folder and clicked “uninstall”. That was a sad day indeed. I would casually mention to my parents that other friends had AOL and it wasn’t a big deal to try and assuage them, but they wanted no part of it. By the middle of the summer I was making out with guys, so I could care less about my computer or the Internet.

“But…but…I was your first love! Why Hed, WHY???”

One day shortly before school started, I walked into my front door with my friend, and my mom was holding a piece of paper. A bill. It turns out that the mere act of uninstalling AOL from the computer wasn’t enough, I had to actually call the company and uninstall. Oops! My parents had been charged over $100 for my 29 days of fun. And I was grounded-after just coming off being grounded for sneaking out with my best friend! (Boys were like crack that summer, I am telling you)

Now, with the gentle mouse-click of an icon, I can go on the Internet and roam as I please-instantly. I don’t ever chat to strangers (unless you count my blog friends!), and I still have a DOS program on my laptop so I can play old school games.

My parents still have AOL e-mail addresses and pay $10 a month to use the service. I point and laugh at them now for it, but back in the day it was a badge of freaking honor to even have an e-mail address. I wonder what my kids are going to beg and plead for when I get too old to care about technology? Oh who am I kidding, that will never happen!

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