In case I forget.

Really, It’s Not That Bad
April 8, 2007, 11:54 pm
Filed under: Counselor A, Dr. Hypnotist, Dr. PCP, Fear, Mental Health, Pictures, RX

Wow I was in a pretty ugly place last night. I just read over my last post and if I were you reading it, I would think “Damned that girl’s in bad shape!” Well, where I am these days is not terribly pretty but it isn’t as ugly as it might seem from last night.

Last Wednesday was a marathon of co-pays and struggles.

It all started on the way to my first co-pay opportunity, an appointment with Counselor A. On the way to her office, at the corner of Chimney Rock and Memorial, I had a really scary encounter with an HFP Heavy Rescue truck. I heard their siren, I pulled into the left turn lane to get out of their way. The truck came to a full stop in the open lane next to me, but a little behind me, and let go with their “HEY YOU STUPID FUCKER I’M HERE CAN’T YOU SEE / HEAR ME? I’M HUGE AND LOUD” horn. I damned near pissed my pants. I know I wasn’t in the way of the truck – and there wasn’t any cross traffic on Memorial so I can’t figure out why the truck stopped behind me and tried to burst my ear drums. I was so scared. I looked up and down Memorial and, figuring I MUST be in the trucks way even though I was totally in the left turn lane, I tore out of the lane and crossed in front of the truck across Memorial, pulling to a stop in the right hand lane about 20 feet from the intersection. The truck pulled across Memorial and passed me. I didn’t know what to do!! I wasn’t in the truck’s way, and I was so afraid when I crossed in front of it that it would pull out at the same time and crush me! Ironic, wouldn’t it have been. Crushed again by a truck, but this time the Heavy Rescue people would be right there to cut me out of my little car.

By the time I got to Counselor A.’s office I was still shaking and crying. It had been a really tough couple of weeks anyway and I just completely fell apart in her office. I’ve never done that before, and honestly, it was good to be in a safe place where I could just cry and not be concerned about who would see, or what they would think. After a while I calmed down a bit and we talked. She wanted to know what was going on since I was obviously in a bad place before the encounter with the truck. I told her that since she had urged me to write about what’s going on, and since I had told her I keep this anonymous blog, I had taken my laptop with me that day. I pulled up my previous post about cutting and showed it to her. Her reaction was great. It may have been the best thing I’ve ever been told about being in mental pain. She told me “It’s OK to think about it. There is nothing wrong with having thoughts.” Of course, we went on to agree that there IS something wrong with acting on those thoughts.

I explained to her how out of control I’ve felt these last couple of weeks. How I have come to the point where I have to admit that the evil word “depression” is now unavoidable. I wondered if the last meeting I had with Dr. Hypnotist might have a connection. We talked about what I had written about that in the previous post. She was, of course, very concerned about me and told me to come see her tomorrow instead of waiting until our customary Wednesday. She also urged me to talk with Dr. Hypnotist about my worries.

So off to Dr. Hypnotist I went. We talked about all of this and in response to my “What the hell?” he assured me that he hasn’t gotten anywhere near anything having to do with the accident in our time together. He suggested that possibly my current state is connected to my problem with missing such a big chunk of time from the accident. Since I don’t remember anything of our last session, he said maybe my mind is reacting strongly to that, connecting it with missing more time. I fell apart in his office, too, and just cried my heart out. He was very kind and patient.

That afternoon I had an appointment with Dr. PCP, yet another co-pay opportunity. I went to him to get a referral authorization for a biopsy my periodontist wants to do and while I was there he asked about my progress with the Cymbalta. I told him that I had stopped taking it a week after we last met and we talked about the extreme sleeping pattern. He asked if I was feeling depressed. I just held up my hand and told him I couldn’t even talk about it, that I would cry if I did. Gee. Guess that answer says a lot, huh? He said he understood but stressed that I have to take something. He gave me month’s sample of Effexor and when I told him I didn’t want to take anything¬† he said, “I want you to feel better”, stress on the “I”. So I took the samples. I’m due to see him in another month. I feel like I practically live in his office. The truth is I get a lot of comfort from seeing him, from knowing that he is watching me and cares about me.

I know that they say that when a person starts a new anti-depressant that things can get a lot worse before they get better. That’s what I’m chalking this up to, and I’m trying to be patient.

I did a little housekeeping on the page today. Yahoo and Flickr have done something evil on a corporate level that make it impossible for folks who aren’t signed in to Yahoo to view The Visuals, and my Flickr account is so screwed up I can’t access it. So I’ve dumped the link to that and just added a page with The Visuals. In case I forget.


Ups and Downs and All Arounds
April 2, 2007, 3:19 am
Filed under: Counselor A, Dr. Hypnotist, Dr. PCP, Fear, Husband, Mental Health, RX

Quitting Cymbalta was a good thing. Just two days after I quit my sleep returned to normal. Which was great. I’ll see Dr. PCP in about a month and tell him I quit. Counselor A and my Husband both thought I should go see him when I was quitting but I want to wait. I feel like I’m running to him all the time with every little thing. He tells me I’m not a pest but he’s such a nice guy I doubt he would tell me I am even if he thought so.

I’ve seen Dr. Hypnotist three times now. He’s done the hypnotist thing twice. The first time when he began I just couldn’t help but tell him I felt silly. But it went pretty well. I was very aware of the world while it was going on – the sounds of traffic outside, the air blowing from the vents, his voice, my body and how it felt. But I was also not totally conscious the way I am on a day to day basis. Sort of hard to describe. I remembered everything he said to me afterward. I didn’t know what to expect but he just talked to me, told me a story. It was about Erikson and his daughter. I have to tell you – when he brought me out of it – I can’t remember feeling so languid and comfortable. I took a big big stretch and told him I thought he should change his practice to include a room with a sofa, pillow, and blanket so people could take a little nap after being hypnotized. I felt that relaxed. He asked me how long I thought I had been in trance and I told him 10-15 minutes. He smiled and said I had been down 45 minutes. Unbelievable.

The second time I saw him it was totally different. I remember sitting in the chair and I remember the beginning of the process he used to take me down. I remember a tiny bit of the story he told me – something about someone having had stitches and then that person’s brother needing stitches and there being a competition that the second person wanted MORE stitches that the first had gotten. Sibling rivalry at its best! I also remember at one point he told me that one of my hands would feel like it had fallen asleep – tingle and numb. And I remember that it did feel that way. That’s all I remember and I know I was down about 45 minutes again. I’ll see him again this week and ask him what happened last time. I have no idea if he just kept talking or if I responded or what happened. Also, for the last week I’ve been having very strange dreams. My Mother and Father are both dead. My Mother has been dead for almost 20 years, and my Father for 10 years. I can’t remember the last time I dreamt about either of them. But in the last week or so I’ve had at least one very, very strange, very detailed, very vivid dream about each of them. Just last night I had a bizarre dream that involved Ganny, my mother’s mother. In each of these dreams there has been at least a few moments that took place in the house I grew up in. This house does not have happy memories for me. And in each of these dreams something violent or scary happened that involved me.

I was out of town last week so I didn’t see him. Both times after I have seen him I’ve felt so darned good most of the week after. Very relaxed, a good bit more positive than I have been for a long time. But last week and especially this weekend things have been really bad in my head. The “white noise” has become a lot louder. It is now more of a conscious thing that I think about a lot every day. The accident has been front and center in my brain and I’ve been actively trying to remember the feelings I had in the hospital, how badly the physical therapy hurt, how isolated I felt all those months at home in the wheelchair.

Worse of all, I’ve been thinking a lot about pain. I hate to admit this – really hate to admit this – but I’ve been thinking about causing myself pain of hurting my body. Not in the suicide ideation sort of thinking – nothing like that. But I’ve been thinking about those girls who cut themselves. I’ve been wondering what that feels like and what kind of mental release it gives them. I’ve been picturing taking a razor blade and carving tiny little parallel lines in the top of my thigh. Not deep, just enough to draw a little blood. I’ve never ever had these kind of thoughts before. It worries me, and it fascinates me all at the same time. I think the only thing that has kept me from doing it is that I can’t figure out how to hide the marks from my husband while they heal. I’m thinking I should talk with Counselor A about this but at the same time I am scared to. It is such a self destructive thing to even think about much less do and I don’t know what she will feel like she needs to do. I certainly don’t want her to talk to Dr. PCP about it, or Dr. Hypnotist, or worse of all, my husband. I can ask her not to, but I know that there are exceptions to the rules of confidentiality and that if she feels compelled I probably can’t stop her from trying to reach out to Dr. PCP or my husband to help me. I feel compelled to talk with someone about this because it scares me to be thinking this way, but at the same time I am scared that she won’t keep it between us.

I am scared that this might be some sort of side effect manifesting from the Lamictal. I’m at 600mg a day now and that’s a relatively high dosage. Also, for the last few weeks I am having the experience of the tip of my index fingers going numb. I also worry that this might be connected to the increased Lamictal dosage. I know these are not side effects that are listed on the Lamictal information sheet, but I also know that Lamictal is a very quirky drug that is known to have strange side effects on different people. I’m afraid to even ask Dr. Neuro B about any of this because I am afraid that if he thinks these things are connected to the drug that he will take me off of it. I am having so much success with this drug I don’t want to give it up no matter what. At this 600mg dosage I am down to 10-15% days, and I have even had a couple of days where, when I do burp, it surprises me because I actually had forgotten about burping all day. That is a heaven sent blessing.

So basically right now I am afraid of a lot of things. I am afraid I might have this drug taken away. I am afraid that maybe I could hurt myself. I am afraid that it is an attractive idea. I am afraid that maybe this hypnotism is somehow manifesting these feelings in my, and allowing the “white noise” to become so much stronger. I am worried that maybe this hypnotism has something to do with these weird dreams. I am just plain scared right now and that’s a hard place to be.

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!