In case I forget.

Eight Hours A Day
March 18, 2007, 10:43 pm
Filed under: Brain Bits, Counselor A, Dr. Hypnotist, Dr. PCP, Mental Health, RX

That is how much “they” recommend a person sleep for a healthy life. But if that is turned on its head and you are only able to be awake eight hours a day, let me tell you, it isn’t healthy. I’m sleeping about 10 hours a night. Then after being up about three or four hours I go down for a four hour nap. Then I’m up for a few hours and down again for a nap for a few hours. I’m sleeping about 18 hours a day! I’ve tracked it back and I think this started not long after I began taking this Cymbalta. I had read the manufacterer’s website and they mention “sleepy” as a rare side effect. But I’ve also read some user review websites and extreme somnolence is sited as a not so rare side effect. It is really making my life very hard. So I have decided to go off this drug. I started at 30mg a day for a week and then up to 60mg a day. I don’t have any 30mg left and since I just saw my PCP last week I don’t want to go back to him about this. I’m just going to stop taking it tomorrow and see how I do for a week or so. If I have a problem I’ll go see my PCP. I’m not due to see him again until early May. I know that going cold turkey off an antidepressant is not recommended but I’ve only been taking it about six weeks and I’m not taking a high dose. I have to be able to be awake more than four hours at a time!

On the other front, I’ve talked with Counselor A about hypnotism. I’ve asked her if she has any experience with it helping with depression and PTSD. She said that she personally has know a couple of clients who have found some use for it and has a friend who has found it very useful. I asked her to ask around for a referral and she sent me to a psychologist who uses it as a tool in his practice. So I went last Friday to see Dr. Hypnotist. We clicked well. We talked for about an hour and a half. He isn’t at all weird and he isn’t promising that I’ll wake up all Pollyanna. I’m going to meet with him tomorrow and see how we do together. I’m very interested in this approach because so much of what my Counselor A talks about as a primary symptom of her labeling me with PTSD is the “white noise” in my head about the accident. I’m hopeful that hypnotism night be able to calm some of that. I sure as hell don’t want to take another pill. For anything. It’s a good bit woo woo for me. I’m not an alternative medicine type at all but I figure hell it can’t hurt. Anything but my unemployed pocket book. My insurance covers damned near everything in the world, but not hypnosis. If it helps it is certainly worth the money.

Keep your fingers crossed for me. I’ve read so many things about stopping Cymbalta being a horrific experience. Most of the people who talk about that have been on it for a long time. So I’m hoping that six weeks won’t be a big deal. And lets also hope that my hypnotism scheme bears some calming brain fruit!


Self Pity are two four letter words
March 14, 2007, 11:42 pm
Filed under: Brain Bits, Fear

I’m trying to remember the last time a movie made me cry so hard I had to pause it so I could wipe up the tears. I just watched Baghdad ER. Holy shit. I don’t have a yes or no on if we should be in this war, and I don’t know what is right and what is wrong. But these soldiers oh my God these soldiers.

I was talking with a psychologist a couple of weeks ago about PTSD. He made a reference to a couple of previous clients he had worked with. One had been raped and beaten, left for dead. Another had been kidnapped and tortured. He equated my experience, my fear, my anger, my mental white noise, oh did I say my fear?, my constant dreaming, my depression, my inability to come to grasp with my brain being hurt, my total grief, with their problems as an attempt to correlate the experiences that can cause PTSD. I said to him, “But these people have been through truly horrific experiences!”. He said, “But you have, too.”

I don’t see it. Like these soldiers in this movie, those two clients were brutalized, they were attacked, they were permanently injured in body and mind through no fault of their own. When I write it like that of course, it’s me. The theme I keep coming back to, the words that come forth when I’m at a loss to voice my pain, are always: I didn’t do anything wrong. Just typing those words makes me cry. I DIDN’T DO ANYTHING WRONG. I wasn’t speeding, I didn’t run a red light. My car was in perfect running order. I wasn’t drunk, I wasn’t stoned. I wasn’t talking on my cell phone, I didn’t have the radio up so loud that I couldn’t hear what was going on in traffic around me.

All I know is that one minute I was at a mall dumping the trash off the tray where I had eaten a light supper and the next minute I was looking up into my husband’s face, asking him who he was. “Are you Husband?”

Pity. These soldiers. My God, how selfish, how totally obscene is it for me to think a little brain injury, a few broken bones, a lifetime of seizures, a lifetime of fear and white noise in my head, in any way at all compares to these soldiers who have volunteered to serve in MY military, be the war right or wrong. I don’t see it. When you make a list I see the correlation. But when you look into their eyes, I think I’m worthless for anything other than abiding gratitude that I left that hospital with all my limbs, all my organs still attached. I’ll never be right. My brain will never work the same way. My knees will never work right again. My shoulder will always hurt. My pelvis will always get stiff. My wrist will develop arthritis and one day I’ll start to loose use of it in tiny ways. But my God. Oh my God, these soldiers.

Well at least my garage is happy
March 4, 2007, 10:49 pm
Filed under: Mental Health, RX, Seizure

A couple of weeks into Cymbalta and the only thing I can say is that my garage is happy. I finally cleaned it out after about six months of accumulating crap in it. My husband is very happy. Somehow, it pleases me very much to sweep the garage clean. As for the anti-depression part, that hasn’t kicked in yet. But I don’t expect it to for a number of weeks of course. I’ve been the way I am for a long time so obviously I’m not in a big hurry.

There is good news on the seizure front. I think 600mg Lamictal is close to where I need to be. The burping has been significantly reduced. I am in the 10-15% range just about every day now, and haven’t had a long spell in a good while. Some days it is so good that when I do have a few burps it surprises me. On those days I am actually able to forget that I have this problem. I am looking forward to increasing to 700mg and hope that it will do the trick. Fingers crossed. I really don’t want to have a video EEG, and I don’t even want to talk about surgery.

Overall life doesn’t suck completely these days. My old boss is, in her words, “scheming” to get me on at least part time with her at her new school. Her plan is to get me on part-time and then let them see how “awesome” I am. Once they see how they can’t live without me they’ll find room in the budget to have me full time. She wants me as badly as I want her and that can’t help but make me feel great. It’s been hard to not be working. The laziness I love, but the total lack of structure I know isn’t good for my psychologically. And you know, MONEY would be nice. I’m not too far away from having to really start worrying about that.

So I have that to look forward to and also I have a camping trip to be excited about! We haven’t been camping for four years. The last trip we took, I was so sick we had to get up and leave in the middle of the night.  I had developed diabetes and it was raging out of control, but I didn’t know it. The next camping season we couldn’t get away, and then the next after that is when I was in a wheelchair from the accident. Since then there have been two more surgeries. The problem is I can get on the ground, but it is very painful to get up. I can’t kneel at all and any weight on my knees is very painful. So I developed a strategy. We bough one of those “4 minute mattresses” that blows up to about two feet tall. It is not only obscenely comfortable, but it is tall enough that I can stand up from it, which means I can go camping with it! We bought a nice big new tent so there is plenty of room for it, and we are going for a week at the end of the month. I am insanely excited. I love being in the woods and it has been way too long. Camping is something that being sick and injured has taken away from me. I am very happy to be reclaiming it.

I have a job interview tomorrow for a job I really don’t want but I’m going anyway. It isn’t so much that I don’t want the job, it’s that the office is near downtown and I don’t want a 30-45 minuted commute each way. But I have to go. I had gone on an interview a few weeks ago for another organization and, though they hired someone else, they were so impressed by me the wanted to pass along my resume, and they did. Which is how I ended up with this interview. So I feel obligated to go. I love the organization I just don’t want the commute. And of course if my old boss can get me on with her, there is no question of where I will work.

So fingers crossed that the Lamictal will continue to work and get better, fingers crossed that the Cymbalta will turn out to be a good choice. Fingers crossed that it doesn’t rain on the camping trip! Although I’m sure it will. It ALWAYS rains when we go camping.