Tag Archives: med change symptoms

Definitely feeling better.

Since I went off the Geodon, I’ve signed up for a math class at the community college (for fun; I’ve always wanted to learn calculus and never got the chance) and submitted my resume to a local temp agency in hopes of finding a part-time job.  If I wind up having to withdraw from the class, or I get fired, it’s okay.  It’s trying that’s the important part.

Admittedly, the main reason for job-hunting is my teeth.  I need $2400 in dental work, and am still paying off $2700 from earlier this year.  Why Medicare doesn’t cover dental is beyond me…  It’ll still take a while to get the money saved up.  I’m only allowed to make $700 a month, and Social Security takes half of that because I’m on disability. But it’ll still be a little extra every month towards dental stuff.  And it’ll be a job, because working will make me feel useful.

Ideally I’d like to work at the library, but their part-time jobs are 20 hours a week and that’s too much for me to handle.  So I’m looking for back-office clerical work: data entry, filing, etc.  Wish me luck!

Random stuff

Good news, all!  For months I was dealing with vomiting (well, dry heaving) every time my blood sugar got low.  With the reduction of my Geodon, it’s stopped.  I’m only getting nauseous if I start chain-smoking, which I’m trying not to do.

Quitting smoking was working great until the hallucinations started.  My psychiatrist told me it was a dumb idea to quit while in the middle of a medication change.  (I’m paraphrasing.  She’s much more polite than that.)  So I’m smoking until the switch to Abilify is complete.

I’m down to one Geodon a day, at night.  The first few days after the dose reduction on Friday were awful.  Like, I couldn’t drive after 2pm (my normal afternoon dose time, which was when I started feeling awful), and I felt suicidal one afternoon.  (Note: I knew I was feeling that way and told my sweetheart I shouldn’t be alone, rather than going home and hurting myself.  I’m quite proud of myself for that.)  But every day it’s been better, and yesterday I barely had any withdrawal symptoms.  So next week I’m going to tell my doctor I’m ready to get rid of the last dose and get off the med completely.  It’ll be another few days of hell, I’m sure, but it’s worth it.

I’m in the process of selling off about two-thirds of my fountain pen collection.  I just don’t use them.  I’m keeping several, but selling 19 of them.  Like, I love the idea of Pilot Vanishing Points, which are retractable at the click of a button.  But in practice they dry out way too quickly.  I own three.  I’m keeping one that was a gift, but selling the other two.  And I used to collect all the colors of Lamy Al-Stars, and some I’d never even inked.  I’m keeping a couple of favorites, but most of them have been posted for sale.

If I sell all the pens I’ll have a few hundred dollars to put towards my bills.  Yay!

Because of my brain weirdness, I’m not done with my commissioned art yet.  I’m hoping to wrap it up today.  I’ve been working on it a little, here and there, but my concentration was shot for a few days.

I had an idea for a tapestry.  Sweetheart has these earrings that are teardrop-shaped and have a design laced into them with thread.  I want to try doing an itty bitty tapestry on a weird metal shape like that.  Just for the experience.  I can’t see myself wanting to work on something that tiny very often, but it would be a fun experiment.

Knitting-wise, I’m almost finished with the second of a pair of dish towels for my sweetheart’s mother.  After that I’m going to whip up a couple more washcloths for my sweetie, then get to work on a sweater for myself.  I bought enough yarn to make myself a sweater a couple of years ago, and never got comfortable with the idea of knitting a whole cardigan in sport weight yarn for myself.  That’s a lot of knitting, and I never found a pattern I liked.  I realized something a couple of nights ago: I can knit it in the round and just steek it.  (Steeking, for those of you who don’t knit, is cutting a pullover sweater up the front to make it a cardigan.  Yes, it’s scary.  Yes, I’ve done it before, but only once.)  I own a sewing machine now.  I can sew two parallel rows of overlock stitching and then just cut between them.  Last time I steeked a sweater, I did it by hand and it was terrible.  I mean, it came out well, but the process was terrible.

Okay, done for the moment.  Later, y’all!

Energy is back!

Since my last post, I went back up on my Trintellix.  (Which used to be called Brintellix, but it sounded too much like some other drug — Brillenta, I think? — so they recently changed it.)  I am happy to report more energy and more Getting Shit Done.  In the last two days, anyway.  It’s a start.

I have a skirt.  It’s ankle-length and black.  My sister got it for me yesterday at Target, as I’ve had the weird urge to wear one lately.  I put it on with a black T-shirt and my purple Docs, and I didn’t feel even slightly feminine.  Gender-bendy as fuck, instead, which is exactly what I wanted.  I look transmasculine/androgynous even with the skirt on.  It’s lovely.  It really brings home my personal definition of genderqueer: my brain leans more towards female even though I feel gender dysphoria about my body and want it to be a cis male’s.  “Gender dysphoria” is a misnomer, really.  My gender is fine.  I am very happy with it.  It’s my body that’s wrong.  So shouldn’t it be called “sex dysphoria” instead?  At any rate, I want to paint my fingernails and toenails black sometime soon.  And buy some boxer briefs to wear under the skirt.  Thigh chafing hurts.

Hurricane Hermine: why didn’t they call it Hermione?  It would have been so much cooler that way.  Anyway, we lost power several times during the night, but it always came back on within ten minutes or so.  My mom’s room is in the back of the apartment, and mine at the front; our rooms are the same size, as are our windows, but the placement of the rooms meant she couldn’t hear anything but rain.  I, on the other hand, spent all night listening to howling winds try to break my window.  It wasn’t scary, just annoying because I was trying to sleep.  If it had been daytime I would have enjoyed the sounds, but by two in the morning I was ready to get out my isolation headphones.  (I wasn’t the only one listening to the storm.  Several of my local friends were also awake and posting on Facebook at that hour.)  We weren’t damaged, our cars weren’t damaged (despite being under a giant tree), and we didn’t even lose internet for very long.  A lot of locals got it worse; when I went to get my hair cut Saturday, there were women there talking about not having their power back until that morning.

And now, for some goth shopping: Joanns has these cool 16″ vulture skeletons and I want one so bad.  Or the owl ones, the owl ones are badass, but more expensive.  I don’t want them enough to pay $30-40 for one, but damn they’re cool.

Boneyard Vulture at Joanns

Oh fuck, just looked at their site, to get a pic to share, and their Halloween stuff is 40% off.  It can go next to the head-on-a-silver-platter, which still resides on my bedroom dresser.  That really was a good idea, I think.  Which reminds me, I still need wall art for my room.  I should probably get that instead of the vulture, but I can buy art posters all year round.  Ooh, they have a small tombstone for $4.  My dresser is going to look awesome.  My wallet always hates me in the fall, because ALL THE HALLOWEEN STUFF!!!

One other little DIY project I want to do is get a bendy black Halloween spider and make it a tiny bit of knitting-in-progress and bend the front legs so it looks like the spider’s knitting.  I’ll give it teeny needles and everything.  Maybe stick it on a black wreath for the front door.  Spiders spin, and mine will knit as well.  Maybe the knitting will be from that fake cobweb stuff?  Oooooh.

Oh oh oh — I can buy fake black roses this time of year, too.  Neeeeeed.  Okay, shutting up about Halloween goodies now.  But when Eris (my kleptomaniacal black kitty) starts walking around the house with a black rose in his teeth, I will totally be taking photos.  (And, if they’re any good, using them as profile pictures in my online haunts.)

Knitting: the green and black shirt continues, in off moments.  My main project is place mats for the dining table.  They are bright yellow, in a basic basketweave pattern.  When Mom and I moved into this apartment, most of her decorating stuff was blue and yellow so we stuck with it.  Happily, the paintings on the walls look like Tim Burton took drugs (happy ones) and painted them.  So at least a little of the living room is to my taste.

Spinning, weaving, and sewing: haven’t done any of it since the last post.

Cello: not since Monday or so.  As I said, I’ve only been feeling better for two days.  Mom just left for a party, though, so I’ll play while she’s gone.  I feel weird about playing with her here, because I feel like it has to be annoying to hear me play the same thing over and over.  Especially when it’s the same three or four notes over and over…

Okay, enough babbling.  I think I need to go buy a vulture skeleton now…

Cello, crafting, and other updates

When I made my last post (August 8th, ouch) I was doing well and had some energy and… I hate medication changes.  My Trintellix dosage has been titrated to half of what it was, and I think maybe I need to go back up.

Today (technically yesterday, it’s 1:30am right now) I had my first cello lesson in a few weeks.  I hadn’t played since my last lesson.  Bad Switch, no cookie.  But it was good.  Toward the end we were doing a duet of the Jenny Lind Polka, and my conscious mind was just gone.  It was an odd feeling.  I had been lightheaded, and I just… see note, play note, no thinking.  It’s not like I was lost in the music, but rather the opposite; like autopilot.

Overall I’ve lost ground, and have to have tape for my fourth finger position again.  On the positive side, it helps me get into second position, although much to my amusement I did better at shifting once I stopped looking at my fingers.  Yay for having a good ear.  She decided that since pretty much every piece I’ve played in the Suzuki books lately has been bouncy, I get to do something more legato.  So I’m on the chorus from Handel’s “Judas Maccabaeus.”  I think I’m going to throw in some vibrato.  I haven’t practiced that in a while.

Oh, and last lesson we worked on the Peter Murphy song.  I need to finish it, still.

Crafting: I had started knitting an afghan for someone but changed my mind three balls in.  So I sent the yarn back and have been focusing on the green and black shirt.  It’s going to take a while: size six needles and a 54″ chest.  Yeah, it’s a long-haul kind of project.  Also doing some spinning.  Haven’t used the sewing machine in a couple of weeks.  Too much effort, given my emotional exhaustion.  Knitting is as easy as picking up needles. I keep my spinning wheel next to my chair in the living room, and it requires no other tools.  For sewing I have to clear the place settings off the dining table, get all the sewing gear out, make the thing(s) I want to make, pack all of it back up, and reset the table.  I understand now why people have “sewing rooms.”  I have three projects I want to do, two little ones (zippered change purses) and a big one (tote bag for my mom), and I think I can get all of it done fairly quickly if I can find the energy for setup and breakdown.  But when I spend a week trying (and failing) to get up the spoons to go to the grocery store, sewing is just too much.

Other stuff:

I’ve been disappearing into daydreams involuntarily, even more than usual.  Yesterday it was so intrusive that it was exhausting and I had to sleep just to shut my brain up for a while.  Ugh.  Hopefully I will improve soon.  I’m tired of not being able to focus on anything else.

I had signed up for a college class, like I said I would, but because of money issues I dropped it.  I’ll start putting extra in my savings account so I can try again in spring.

I’ve done the research I need for my novel, but see above re: spoons.

Okay, bedtime…

Fanapt verdict: hell no!

My last blog post was 10 days ago.  There’s a reason.  I was so depressed that I didn’t even pick up my laptop for a week.  Considering that half my life involves my computer in some way, this was fucking awful.  I literally spent hours staring at the floor, doing nothing, locked in my own head and unable to come out.  I haven’t been that bad in years.

The good news, I guess, is that it was a gray fog of depression and not the active despair of my normal kind.  I didn’t want to kill myself.  I wasn’t sad or hurting.  I was just numb and disconnected from reality.  It sucked, but at least I wasn’t experiencing the usual emotional turmoil.

Friday I saw my pdoc and started titrating to Geodon.  Yesterday I started feeling like a normal person again.  It’s been really nice.  The fog is lifted and I’m starting to engage with the world again.  So fuck Fanapt.  Let’s all hope the Geodon works.

Fanapt, day five

Biggest side effect: occasional confusion.  Seems to be related to drops in blood sugar.  I get hungry and I get brain fog.  Fanapt can cause hypoglycemia, and I’m pretty sure that’s what’s going on.  Ugh.  I have to start keeping a protein bar in my messenger bag.  I had to drive a short distance to a restaurant this afternoon and I ran over a curb.  No more driving when hungry!

Symptoms of illness: none, really.  No hallucinations or paranoia.  Fingers crossed that it stays this way.

Sleep: Wednesday night I crashed about 9:30, which meant I was awake for around 36 hours in total.  I slept until 4am, got up, stayed up all day, and went to bed about 3am Thursday night.  So I’m definitely sleeping more normally than days 1-2.

Appetite: Still not really wanting junk food.  If I’m hungry I’ll eat whatever’s handy, which can be bad, but like breakfast was a protein shake, lunch was grilled salmon and broccoli, and dinner was.. well, I wasn’t really hungry so I just ate some of the peas MIL had fixed as a side dish, and one peanut butter cookie.  Right now I’m snacking on cottage cheese and a granola bar.  No desire to randomly shovel junk food in my face.  Woo!

Sex drive: HELLOOOOOOOOOOOOO NURSE!

Other side effects: still some GI fun, but nothing terrible.

The confusion is worrisome, but except for that things are MUCH better.  Whew.

 

Fanapt, after two doses

Well, except for a one-hour nap about 1pm I haven’t slept in 32 hours.  I am fairly functional; not clear-headed enough to go driving on the interstate or anything, but I’ve gotten a shitload of items crossed off on my to-do list.  I’m hoping I sleep tonight.  I may have to take a couple of Klonopin to make that happen.  I have to be up at 6am so I’ll probably take the meds about 9:30 and hope for an early night.

Mood: I feel fairly normal, and no one seems to be thinking I’m acting oddly so we’ll call that a win.

Hallucinations: Little minor things, like spiders that disappear when I blink.  (And they really are spiders, not floaters.  I know the difference, and spiders have always been a common hallucination for me.)  But nothing intense, which is surprising given how long I’ve been awake.

Paranoia, disorganized thinking, delusions: none that I’m aware of.

Concentration: a bit fuzzy.  I wouldn’t want to operate heavy machinery or sharp knives right now.  I am also feeling the passage of time rather oddly.  I seem to have slowed down compared to my usual self.  Like, this would normally be a 10-minute post to write but it’s taking me half an hour.

Appetite: I haven’t wanted junk food today.  Just protein.  Could be related to lack of sleep, though.  I always eat strange with no sleep.  Although I’d be delighted if I continue to not want junk food.  That would be amazing.

Sex drive: Present but not annoyingly so.

Other side effects: a little GI upset.  Nothing bad.

I’m going to go eat something.  Maybe some boiled eggs.  Like I said, I’m craving protein.

 

Med change: Fanapt

I had never heard of Fanapt before my pdoc mentioned it this last Friday.  I’m having a terrible time not calling it Fapfap.  It’s another atypical antipsychotic.  So exciting.  I took my first dose last night.  The only side effect so far is GI-related, but we’ll have to see what happens.  Last night I was laying in bed and I started hearing what Westerners think of as traditional Middle Eastern music, and when I asked the girls if it was an iPhone game or something they told me there wasn’t actually any music playing.  Why is it that when I hallucinate music it’s almost always like the stuff I used to belly dance to when I was a teenager?  Which is great music, but why that and not Vivaldi or Philip Glass or some other instrumental styles?  What I hear is really complex, too, at least two instruments and percussion.  Bizarre.

Speaking of hallucinations, I had a weird visual one Friday night.  It was like… Have you ever used the airbrush tool in Photoshop or GIMP?  You drag the mouse and the look of the page changes.  It was like reality was doing that, like columns of warped glass were invisibly falling and changing the way I saw the world in long vertical lines.  I don’t know if I’m explaining it very well.  It’s hard to be clear about something so surreal.  It was kinda neat.  I knew it wasn’t real, but it was interesting to watch and experience.

My symptoms about paper planners have gotten worse.  (This is all before the new medicine, btw.)  I became convinced that if I got myself a Filofax then everything in my head would get better.  It’s magical thinking, and I was so caught up in it that the Valkyrie started to cry, she was so worried about me.  I was in really, really bad shape yesterday.  Like, laughing so hard I lost control of my bladder and then crying so hard I couldn’t speak.  Today I’m better.  Probably not medication related, but I don’t feel like snuggling my Filofax, which is a good sign.  I’m still very sensitive to sounds and distractions, but I’m not having any magical thinking that I know of.  So yay for that.

Being crazy fucking sucks.

Splitting pills

Saphris, my anti-psychotic, makes me sleepy.  So I was taking it at night.  Last week I was having positive symptoms (aka hallucinations and delusions, although not super intense ones, and I was aware of what was going on)  so Thursday I asked my doctor if I could split the dose, 5mg twice a day instead of 10mg at night.  She said sure, so I did.  But it made me sleepy in the mornings, so Sunday I skipped the morning dose with the intention of taking 10mg at night.

In retrospect, this was a really dumb idea.

I was freaking out, getting obsessive about my planner and pens in unhealthy ways (as I’m prone to do when I have symptoms), and having hallucinations.  So this morning I’m back to twice a day, with the addition of a Ritalin in the mornings to keep me from falling asleep.  I hate that I have to use a secondary medication to stop the side effects of a primary medication.

Mental illness sucks.