Turns out I am not actually addicted to the Geodon. What’s happening is that I’m getting serotonin rebound syndrome as the medication starts wearing off. Easy solution: smaller dose three times a day, with a goal of reducing it to a total of 40mg a day instead of 80. It should be pretty painless, and I won’t have to start playing Medication Roulette again to find something new. Whew! I am so, so relieved.
When last I left off, I was about to head to the local mental health event. I went, got there late, wound up not seeing anyone I knew except for one person I used to be friends with ages ago (and was very glad to see, and we’ll be hanging out some after I move). So all that worry was for nothing.
Since then I’ve descended into a godawful depression, caused by school stress. I got behind on my work, started freaking out about it, and that led to a vicious cycle that wound up with me hearing things: voices laughing and whispering about how I’d lost control, music that no one could hear but me, etc. Plus panic attacks. I saw my psychiatrist yesterday morning. I went in telling her “I’m just stressed so there’s no need for anything but a refill on my meds,” but then she started asking questions about symptoms and I nearly started crying two different times because holy fuck, I’m more messed up than I thought I was. She said she’d write a letter to my school disability office telling them I need an Incomplete for the term, so when I got home I emailed the office to say, “hey, I’m in crisis and my doctor will say so,” and they contacted my professor who agreed to give me the I. You have no idea how relieved I was. Am. My sister, wonderful soul that she is, has been helping me get my research done for my term project and being extra-encouraging, despite having a full-time job and a family. I don’t know what I did to deserve her.
So I’m taking this weekend to recover a little and work on packing boxes. The movers are coming next Saturday to take our furniture over to the new apartment, so Mom and I have to bust our asses this week getting ready for them. Mom’s lived in this house for 25 years, and we’re throwing out more stuff than we’re taking with us. (I have very little here, but I’m helping her go through all her shit.)
I also need to get back in touch with the nonprofit director; I had warned him I had major school shit going on last week and this week, and now that I can breathe again I need to do some stuff with moving domains and registering a new one.
My niece is finding me super-useful as Knowledgeable Adult lately. I’m not going to get into details, but she’s trying to find herself and I’m able to give advice about some things. I’m also babysitting for my sister whenever she needs me, and generally I’m trying to be a good family member and help everyone as much as they’ve been helping me. I’ve been saying ever since I got sick (17 years ago) that I’m lucky to have an excellent support network. I’m glad I can give back some.
It’s 4:15 in the morning. I’ve been awake all night. Being crazy sucks. Maybe I’ll try to get some homework done…
I realized I was trans almost four years ago. In that time I’ve been out to everyone online, my friends and family members, and the people at the yarn shop I went to when I was living 75 miles away from Hometown. That’s it.
In a couple of hours I’m going to a rather large mental health awareness event, to help my new nonprofit group director work the registration table. I agreed with no hesitation. It wasn’t until about 10:00 last night that I realized that holy fuck, I’m coming out to the entire local mental health community. I used to be pretty involved, as an activist and professional peer counselor. My former boss and some co-workers will be there. Some of my former clients might show up. Future potential employers and co-workers will be there. And everyone who knows me from Before will have to hear, “I’m Alex now. I came out as transgender four years ago.” And then there will be questions, which will be answered two ways: “When you get home, Google ‘trans 101’,” or “I’m sorry, that’s a very personal question. It’s been nice seeing you.”
I am, naturally, terrified. I’m doing it anyway, because I’ll have to come out to this community at some point if I’m going to be working in it again. I won’t be alone — my nonprofit friends (who only know me as Alex and are very trans-friendly) will back me up, and my sister and her family will be there. I doubt anyone will be rude to my face, because it’s a pretty liberal community. But I am also prepared to (politely) say things like “it’s not my job to educate you” and “I don’t make comments about your masculinity/femininity, do I?” I really don’t give a fuck about passing as a cis male; I’m a bit genderqueer anyway, and my gender identity/expression are none of their business so long as they use the correct name and pronouns and are respectful.
I do wish I’d had enough warning to get my hair cut first. I’m a bit shaggy. Yay for hair pomade, I guess.
Now, as to why I’m writing this at 5am: I haven’t slept. At all. I’m getting where I can’t sleep because of the Geodon dependency. I spend the nights shaking and sweating, even if I take my meds on time, even with a Klonopin. This can’t go on. After my semester finishes (two weeks left!) I’m going to ask my pdoc to taper me off and put me on something else. I’m really, really not looking forward to it, but it’s better than feeling like a junkie in need of a fix every night.
I’m going to take a shower and go get some breakfast or something. I can’t just sit here twitching until it’s time for my morning meds. (I can’t take them early, because then I’ll get the shakes even earlier in the evening.)
Four weeks left of my final class for my degree. I was falling apart about it, but Sis and BFF pulled me back from the brink Sunday and I spent a good chunk of time yesterday doing homework. Sunday night I emailed my prof asking if I could make up some work, explaining that I’m crazy and am getting divorced and had to move cities, and this is the last class I need to graduate and I only need a C (but would prefer to do better, naturally) so could he help? My sister is actually the one who wrote the email. She’s had to do it for her husband, who also has schizoaffective disorder and is also in school. Prof hasn’t gotten back to me yet. Hopefully today. bites nails anxiously
For years now I’ve said that once I graduated I want to take some classes just for fun at the community college. Chemistry, calculus 1-3, and physics. One class at a time, no pressure. I’d audit, but if I ever go back for another bachelor’s (gimme 5 years first) it’ll be something science-related (or Stats!) and I’ll need those classes anyway. Yesterday I filled out my readmission request for the CC, aiming for spring term. That’ll give me two months off of school before I start my fun classes. During that time I’ll be getting a math tutor. It’s been 5 years since my last math class, and I need a refresher.
My depression has lifted quite a bit in the last 24 hours, but I’m concerned that I might be veering the other direction a little. I’ve been awake for 22 hours and I’m not even slightly sleepy. Annoying. I need to get tired so I can do more homework and not sleep through my cello lesson in the afternoon!
I am very concerned about fulfilling my desire to become a clinical social worker. For years I’ve kept hoping my mental states will get more stable as time goes on. They haven’t. The problems have gotten much less extreme, but on a day to day basis I cannot maintain a balanced state with any consistency. I’m assuming that this will not change. It’s been 14 fucking years. It gotten much better in intensity, but not in the variability. If I can’t be stable enough to focus on clients for a set period of hours every day, I can’t get a job as a therapist. Hell, I can’t get through grad school that way because of all the clinic hours required.
It could be that there are things I can do to mitigate the problem. That’s why I want to talk to my therapist. The Valkyrie also suggested I talk to her about how utterly weary I am of being mentally ill, about how I’m giving up on myself more easily lately. Maybe this way of thinking about my career is part of the giving up. I don’t know. So I have an appointment Tuesday afternoon. I hope it helps.
Today I was exhausted in general. At night I can’t fall asleep until two or so, and I’ve had to be up by 8:00 every day this week. Yeah, plenty of functional adults do way more than I do on way less sleep. But I am not functional, as much as I wish I was. So I’m worn out from going to Orlando to have lunch with the Naiad, seeing my psychiatrist, and running errands. I left the house at 9:30 and got home at 6:00… maybe I do deserve to be tired. I don’t know.
The Valkyrie met my psychiatrist today. V was seeing her for anxiety, so it was a double session. Which was awesome, I love my doc and was happy to hang out for a bit. They got along really well too. Before that we had lunch at Sonny’s with the Naiad and went to Sci Fi City (awesome gaming/comics shop). Not a bad day. Just a long one.
I’m hoping I can get to sleep early tonight, or sleep in tomorrow. Thankfully I don’t have to be anywhere until after noon…
Yesterday I was really tense for most of the day. The Valkyrie was struggling with depression and accidentally triggered my PTSD, so I was freaking out and she was freaking out and we were both just miserable. And because I felt so bad I decided I didn’t deserve to take my meds, so this morning I’m a basket case. Fuck. I took my morning meds 15 minutes ago. Hope I feel better soon. I’m freaking the Valkyrie out too. Sigh.
Today I have a bunch of packages to get in the mail. Well, UPS for a lot of them. I still haven’t sent the Ashford loom out, and I have a couple of Amazon returns to do. And return some yarn to Paradise Fibers. And mail some destashed fiber I sold a few days ago. Okay, need to stop thinking about all that, getting tenser. I’ll deal with it today, just not right now.
God. I’m freaking V out so much she needs to not be in the same room as me. And here I thought I was feeling better…
All day I was saying, “I feel like I didn’t take my meds. Something is wrong.” But because the pill box for this morning was empty, I assumed I’d taken them and just forgotten. that’s happened before, but I just felt so wrong today that I knew something was fucked up.
I just went to take my night meds… and somehow, I’d put the morning dose in the same box as my night dose. So all day’s doses were in the PM compartment. WTF, self.
I had a disconcerting experience this afternoon, related to the lack of medication. I went to the bathroom, and as I was washing my hands I looked up in the mirror. It seemed like a different person. I knew it was me, logically, but it didn’t feel like me. Being a psychology geek I knew I was experiencing the same disconnect between facial recognition and emotional recognition that people with Capgras delusion have. And there was a double layer of strange because I was aware that I was able to diagnose what was happening even as I was experiencing the symptom.
When I told my BFF about this experience an hour ago (as I put shawl panel #2 back on the loom because it wasn’t long enough, sigh), she thought that was so fascinating, that I have that level of awareness about my illness. I laughed and said I don’t always, but she’s right in that frequently I am aware that I’m having symptoms. Like, when I hallucinate, I can tell they’re hallucinations most of the time. That’s very rare. I just wish the knowledge would make the hallucinations go away. Before I got on my current meds I tactile hallucinations of crawling insects on my skin. I knew they weren’t there, but I could still feel them and it was so awful. Not as awful as really thinking they were there would be, but still awful.
So I’ve taken my night meds, and will hopefully begin to feel better soon. Aliens is on cable, and I have six more inches of shawl to weave…
I’ve finished four feet of the six that make up the shawl. I’ve been learning a whole bunch from an Interweave weaving video set I’m watching. I’m going to watch the rest (about 50 minutes) of it because Liz Gipson, the instructor, is going to show what to do to get two pieces of weaving to match up perfectly and then join them. She’s making a small blanket. The techniques will be the same (more or less) for any two or more panels of weaving made to be joined together, so I’m very interested so I make sure I do it right.
Speaking of blankets, I’ve been having paranoia issues again and while I am still making blankets I may just keep them at home and build a fort with them. Heh.
I went to Michael’s with my MIL this evening. I had felt fine all day but started feeling weird while shopping. Over dinner I got bad enough that MIL had to drive us home in my car. I’ve been taking my meds, I don’t deserve this…