Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Productive Tuesday

Today I had an appointment with my therapist and with my psychiatrist. Turned out to be a very good thing that my appointment with the therapist came first. I started things rolling by bursting into tears and admitting that I was thinking up a list of people to write farewell letters to for when I killed myself if my medications didn't get resolved.

The session turned into a sort of prep-talk for my psychiatrist appointment and owning that this medication isn't working for me and that it's not my fault, I'm not a failure I just need a different medication. It helped me a lot to sort things out and sort of prepare to speak up for myself because I ended up speaking up a lot more than usual at my appointment and we're tapering off this damned Latuda and hopefully the jitters/akathisia will go away in short order.

We haven't decided to start another medication just yet because my psychiatrist wants to talk with my ECT doctor about using ECT as a maintenance treatment instead of relying on medications-so we'll see how that sorts out.

The hubster was quite proud of me for speaking up in the appointment and we enjoyed a lunch out together before he went back to work and I drove myself home. It was a lot of driving for me today-most I've done in a while-but I managed all right and I'm home safe now.

Next week I should be tapered off the Latuda and hopefully not experiencing such misery (I've been pretty miserable lately with the jitters and trying to cope with them) and we'll see what the rest of the plan is...

Gotta try to focus on one thing at a time.

Deep breath in and deep breath out.

One thing at a time!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Ask Me Anything Answers: Part III

For Part III of my Answers series from the "Ask Me Anything" post I have another jumble of answers from a variety of bloggresses, although these all happen to involve the hubster!


First up is a multi-layered question from Birdie of "Ditching the Black Dog:" Tell us about your wedding day. Where did you have your ceremony? Did anything really go wrong? How many people were there? And what were you looking at in the picture under "Mawwiage?"

My wedding day went pretty dang well, especially when you consider that I was married outdoors in late October and we weren't directly rained on! The ceremony took place in the woods near some private cabins that we rented in Ashford, WA just outside of Mt. Rainier National Park at 9:30 AM. We exchanged personal vows but did not exchange rings-we were already wearing them, so we just did a "ring bump" instead-and we painted a personalized tree as part of our ceremony. There was also a rose ceremony that the minister brought along as part of his sermon. You can see pictures of the painting here and other details from the wedding celebration as part of my original blog post about my wedding :o)

The only thing that really went wrong is that my best friend/maid of honor (at the time she was my bestie, we've since "broken up" as I have some standards now) didn't prepare the wedding music as I requested so our ceremony was held in silence instead. It actually wasn't a huge deal, I think the sounds of the forest were lovely and many guests commented on how beautiful it was to just "be" in the moment without any soundtrack. The weather at my reception got pretty crazy and some people couldn't hang but I thought it was amazing to have sunshine, blue skies, rain, hail, and snow all in one day so I don't think of that as going wrong though I suppose many would.

How many people were there.... at the ceremony we had 25 people (including us, the minister, and a photographer) and at the reception we had at least double that. I knew that I wanted to be very open and honest with my vows and I knew that I would probably be very emotional so I wanted a smaller ceremony with my closest family and friends only. This ruffled a few feathers, but I don't give a damn. We had the ceremony we wanted and that's all that matters.

As for what we're looking at (minus the hubster) in this picture that you can find under the "Mawwiage!" tab at the top of my blog: 


The sky was an amazing bright blue and the sun came shining through that morning and we were appreciating the sun on our faces and the lack of rain in the sky! I think this is one of the moments when I found myself thinking, "Everything is perfect. I wouldn't change a thing. Everything is just right! This is awesome!"



Second up in today's "Answers" post is a question from Barbara in Caneyhead: Will you share with us how you and your hubby met?

Absolutely! The hubster and I were matched via eHarmony.com. We did multiple Q&A sessions and online messaging for quite a few weeks before meeting in person August 7th 2010 at a park in Tumwater, WA. He was in the middle of moving and I lived not too far from this park that was right off I-5 so I recommended we meet there for lunch, he could just stop off on his way north to move stuff... it was convenient although I do remember him putting up a little bit of a fight at the idea of me bringing the lunch, guess he wasn't used to letting the girl buy the date meal ;o) 

Anyways. I remember someone driving by in a big gold van and staring at me and I thought "What the heck is his problem?" and then I thought, "Wait, is that him? He drives a van?" Hah! Little did I know how many camping trips and road trips and explorations we would share with that van and how sad we would be when ole Bessie turned over for her last time.

We had lunch, chatted, went for a walk around the park, tried on each other's glasses, got rained on a little bit, and then he walked me to my car and gave me a big hug goodbye. I remember an awkward moment of hesitation when I thought we might share something more than a hug but my first date rules held firm! No kisses! 

As a sort of test I handed him an envelope to open later. It was a tri-fold hand drawn comic I had made for him about the hazards of hiking trails (he was volunteering with a trail repair crew the next day and I made a funny cartoon for him) and I figured if he appreciated the humor and my quirky craftsmanship than he might just be the guy for me but if he didn't get it maybe things weren't meant to be. He loved it. I continued to doodle and hand write letters and cards to him throughout our courtship and even now I still sneak notes and cards and such into his pockets or pillowcase or underwear drawer for little surprises now and again. 

We continued to communicate online and via phone and mail in addition to more and more in-person dates, eventually moving in together less than a year later and then he proposed and we decided to have a prudent "extended" engagement since our courtship seemed a little whirlwind-ish by our standards. We ended up getting married 2 years, 2 months and 13 days after that meeting in the park which is a funny numerical coincidence since my birthday is 2-13 (I always keep an eye out for 213s)  ;o)  and have been happily married ever since. 

We consider ourselves a shining example of eHarmony success and have never been ashamed of our relationship's origins, although I have noticed that some people are rather uncomfortable fessing up about utilizing online dating or matching services like eHarmony. We found eHarmony to be pretty thorough and appreciated the multi-step process involved in getting to know people. I can't comment on any other dating sites but eHarmony seems to have a pretty good rep. Certainly good in my book :o) 


Thanks ladies for submitting these questions! I certainly enjoyed strolling down memory lane to answer them <3 I'll have more answers to post next Monday from other readers, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A Tuesday....

Today was a different Tuesday than usual because I had an ECT appointment. The hubster worked from home/hospital so we dropped off Baby Bananaface at daycare together and hung out a bit before heading to my appointment. We got there a bit early so there was some extended waiting but everything went to plan and pretty smoothly except for a little bit uncomfortable of an IV.

After ECT I was starvin' Marvin (so was Hubster) so we hit up the local McMenamin's and gorged ourselves. I had a little bit of a hard time since I get a special medication when I go under that reduces my saliva (apparently I'm an extra-spitty person) and that made eating somewhat difficult. I did really enjoy the meal and our dessert, a salted caramel hazelnut torte that we especially enjoy.

Once we had finished our hefty meal we decided to go for a walk with the dog-or should I say stroll? Normally our walks are rather... zippily paced to where we break a sweat and get our heart rates up but this time was more relaxed and I even took some pictures and videos (feels like I haven't done that in a long time). 


A green pinecone on the ground (I don't recall seeing one on the ground before!):

What we are pretty sure now is a type of millipede (Harpaphe haydeniana) but I wasn't sure at the time:

 Another little video which I wasn't sure what a bug was-I know the worm is a worm but the other thing?

And a last video about a slug, but not a jumping slug-which apparently exists!

 A field bindweed (no I didn't know it was called that, it just reminded me of a morning glory and I liked it):

Overall it's been a pretty good day. I laughed a lot, cried a little, and really enjoyed spending the day with my husband. My jittery feelings seem more mild than usual or I'm less agitated by them, either way I'm grateful for the relieved sensation!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Ask Me Anything Answers: Part II

Okay, for Part II of my answering-spree from the "Ask Me Anything" post I have a jumble of answers from a variety of bloggresses.


First up is e from "Life in Progress" with the question, What is your favorite article of clothing?

This might be one of the most difficult questions of the bunch. No kidding.

My favorite article of clothing used to be a hand-me-down, bright blue t-shirt that used to be my dad's softball uniform tee from the year I was born. It was very thin and very worn in and eventually I decided to cut it up and make it into a quilt with a bunch of other stuff.

So now, my favorite article of clothing... the things that came up for me were my light blue fleece jacket and my maroon-purple-ish pajama pants. Those don't seem to make sense to me but maybe it's more about what the item is and not the item itself? if that makes sense. I like lounging around in pajama pants and I like cozying up in a fleece jacket. My jacket makes me feel safe and secure when I'm out and about and my pajama pants make me feel like everything is all right with the world and I can relax.

I also have some awesome bras that make my boobs look amazing. Maybe that's TMI but I certainly appreciate those bras each and every time I put one on and I think that counts somehow!


Second up is a question from Sue at "Elephant's Child," What is your biggest achievement?

Two things came up for me when I read this question and the first was giving birth to Baby Bananaface. I feel so good about myself when I think about what I achieved and I'm so happy that I was able to meet just about every single goal that I set for that labor and delivery. I didn't bake a bundt cake like I had planned, but I labored hard for 29 hours and got to catch him with my own two hands and I didn't tear and I didn't use any sort drugs or unnecessary equipment. I wasn't afraid, I was a lean, mean, birthing machine and I am so proud of myself.

The second thing that comes up for me is my marriage with the hubster. I think it counts as an achievement, I know it certainly feels like something we strive for-a happy, healthy marriage-and it's something that I had do a lot of processing over... What I mean is that it took a lot of work for me (and still does) to believe that I'm worth such a wonderful man, that I deserve him and his love and it was a big deal for me to embrace him as a huge blessing in my life and welcome that blessing into my life instead of rejecting it because I thought I didn't deserve it or that I wasn't good enough or however you want to phrase it. I love my husband dearly, I think we are a very close couple, I'm grateful for him everyday, and that all came from a lot of hard work and dedication to ourselves, each other, and our relationship and I think that's a big achievement.


Thank you again everyone for submitting questions, reading, and participating. Next Monday I post answers to questions about me and the hubster... cue the blushes and giggles! ;o)

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Medication Madness

It's been a rough week around here and we think it has to do with the anti-anxiety medication I began on Tuesday. Not only did my depressive logic flare but I got hives Thursday and Friday (all over my thighs and the second day all over my thighs and arms). We think I had a pretty negative reaction to the new pill. It really shook me up because it took away the teensy bit of positive perspective I seemed to have gathered up in therapy and shoved me back into a very dark place.

It's scary and amazing what medication can do. I really hope the changes we decided to make will help things go dramatically in the positive direction instead of the negative... speaking of, I am so grateful that my psychiatrist called me yesterday evening. She had called around 1:30 PM and said that she would try to call me back around 3:30 or 4:00 PM but I didn't hear from her (cue the sad/anxious mood) but then she called at 6:30 PM. Yes. I was so relieved. We dropped the buspirone and added propranolol and went back up on the Latuda.

Things have been so hard the past few days I lost all perspective in why I even bother feeling better. I felt like a failure constantly, I lost sight of my goals to live a happy life with my family, to enjoy the little things, I just felt so horrible. Now, just the act of doing something proactive and talking with my psychiatrist has really helped me feel connected again. It's a really difficult thing to describe, but I think it boils down to not caring about my life and then coming to a place where I'm able to care again. A place where I'm able to believe I can survive, able to believe that I have something to live for, able to believe in the process of medication and therapy, able to believe in wellness instead of being blinding by my disorders.

It's far too easy to "check out" and feel hopeless, it's gonna take some time and a lot of effort to build up the resiliency I need in that area to stay safe and happy... but I have the teensiest peep of my goal now instead of feeling totally miserable and hijacked by medications and symptoms. Sure gonna try to hold onto that view of my goal line.

Struggling, but now I feel like I'm struggling in the right direction.... Wishing everyone happy weekends and wellness :o)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Fear

I went on a walk a couple weeks ago with the lady I work for personalizing ornaments during the holidays and we were talking about my postpartum struggles when she said something along the lines of, "In all honesty, if I were you I would never consider having more children because of all the challenges you've gone through postpartum, it's just too scary."

I appreciated her honesty, not everyone would be willing to state their opinion like that, but it's also worn on my soul and since our walk I've reflected more on the risks posed by subsequent pregnancies. I used to be so grateful for my pregnancy and birth experience that it overwhelmed any of the negatives presented by postpartum situations but now the pain and the fear of my condition is overwhelming my wonder at the miracle of motherhood.

Today at the gym I saw a couple pregnant ladies and instead of feeling jealous at the sight of their baby bumps I felt fear. Today I imagined myself in labor again and I imagined myself in a place of fear, not power. These are sad shifts in perspective for me and while I'm not able to say for certain that I will never consider having another child of my own I can say that the idea has seriously entered my conscious and will be seriously considered.

I'm not pressuring myself to make any decisions but these feelings are certainly worth noting. I know that having kids is a decision for me and the hubster to make together and that it's not a decision to be made hastily or out of fear and it's also something that we're not under a time crunch to decide so I don't even need to worry about this right now!

Just wanted to cast some light on my fear, bring my sadness into the light, drag my ruminating thoughts into plain view... hopefully I can let this go for a while and focus on getting better and my "now" instead of maybes and the future.

*deep breaths* One thing at a time :o)

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Words for Wednesday (and a little update)

This week's inspirational words come from Mark Koopmans via Elephant Child's blog and while there were many options, I went with the following words:

1. Disney
2. emojis
3. fashionista
4. carpool
5. slug
6. languishing


Hannah shoved her iPhone into her purse, paused a moment to take in the small, bright pin of a Disney cartoon fish on the deep purple of the petite messenger bag slung over her shoulders, and smiled at the memories of visiting Disneyland with her husband. Adjusting the strap on her purse to reposition the bag to her lower back she smirked in self-satisfaction at the string of cheeky emojis she had texted to him just the minute before in response to his flirtatious check-in. They stayed in close contact throughout the day as she recovered from postpartum depression, her risk of self-injury and suicidal tendencies too serious to be ignored. It was lovely to be in touch multiple times a day and with flirty overtones on top of it but a shadow of sadness haunted Hannah as she thought of all the time and effort her illness demanded and she wished that she would feel like "her old self" again.

Trudging down the paved neighborhood trail she plunged her hands into the pockets of her fleece jacket and breathed in deep lungfuls of crisp spring air. It was a blissfully cool, somewhat overcast day and sweet relief from the blazing heatwave that had swept the Pacific Northwest that week so far. Feeling the chill in the air and seeing the gray in the sky had inspired Hannah to hit the pavement and walk to a nearby cafe for an afternoon treat rather than languishing in the condo for yet another afternoon as her dark mood tempted her to do.

The trail was surrounded by fern, trees, and wildflowers, the pavement darker than usual from the morning's rainfall and sprinkled with pine needles. More often than people, Hannah came across a variety of slugs braving the expanse of pavement despite the dangers of human foot traffic. She was happy to see that only a few brave slugs had met their makers while the vast majority slugged forward in pursuit of their sluggish goals. Reviled by many, Hannah happened to enjoy the slimy critters and their special relationship to the local environment, possibly because she'd never had lettuce or gardens nibbled by the persistent animals.

As she neared the coffee shop, Hannah felt a familiar tension rise in her chest and in response to the anxiety she trained her breathing into a deeper, slower pace to soothe herself as she entered the cafe. It was moderately busy with most of the tables occupied by office workers, stay-at-home-moms, youthful fashionistas, and one pair of elderly yogis. Walking to the cashier at the front of the store she continued to breathe in practiced, paced waves as she waited her turn, thinking to herself over and over; You are safe. You are okay. You are safe. You are okay.

"Hey there, having a good day? What can I get for you?" The barista smiled broadly and cheerily drummed his fingers on the counter near the register.

"Enjoying this cool weather, that's for sure!" Hannah grinned and gulped a deep breath, "I'd like a 12 ounce double shot Americano, please, for here."

"Absolutely! You need room in that?"

"Nope. No room. Thank you."

The barista gave her a total and she handed over a small pile of dollar bills and told him to keep the change before shuffling toward the pick-up counter to the left. She smiled to herself and reassured herself in time with her continued slow, deep breaths; You did great! You are safe. That was friendly. You are okay. The anxiety still drummed in her chest but the slowed breathing and self-assurance helped her avoid the worse symptoms of light-headedness or tingling or breaking down into sobs. With any luck she would be able to soothe herself out of the anxious state and into a calmer mood after a few sips from her espresso once she was settled into a comfy chair or secluded table.

"12 ounce Americano for Hannah? Here ya go. Uh, hey ya wanna hear a joke?" The perky barista at the bar raised her eyebrows and smiled a toothless grin with resplendent red lipsticked lips.

"Uh, sure." Hannah shrugged, her eyes trapped by the woman's sparkling teal eye shadow and mischievous grin.

"Mr. Johnson walks out to his car one morning and finds his windows all broken up, two long wooden sticks shoved in the front seat, 15 colored balls all over the floor, a white ball in his cup holder, and a blue square of chalk on his dashboard. Do you know what the note left on his windshield said?"

Hannah shook her head, trying to school her alarmed expression as the barista described the hypothetical damage.

"Sorry about the carpool. Ha! Get it? It's a weird joke, I know, my kid brother told me it yesterday..." the barista clapped her hands, shrugged, and said, "You have a great afternoon now, ya hear?"

Hannah nodded and smiled, a little bewildered, as she took her Americano and wandered over to a small, unoccupied table near the back of the cafe. Noticing that the barista's odd joke had distracted her from her own anxiety, Hannah smiled to herself and mentally recited gratitudes as she settled into the chair, thankful for the small victory of venturing out for a coffee without having to resort to prescription medications to control her anxious feelings.

"Here's to me and getting out of the house," she murmured, lifting the ivory mug to her mouth, "One baby step at a time!"
-----------------------------------------------------

So there's my "Words for Wednesday." A little autobiographical/fiction this week :o)

In other news, it's been a rough day but I've been utilizing the DBT skills and trying my best without putting too much pressure on myself. I went to the lab this morning, got my bangs trimmed and my eyebrows waxed midday, and then went out to the gym and toodled around suburbia in my beater to kill some time this afternoon.

The anxiety seems a little less intense and I only had one panic attack but the sadness and dark feelings like regretting having Baby Banananface or feeling a lack of identity or anchor to the world was more troublesome. I finally fessed up about these bad feelings to the hubby and he wondered if going down on the Latuda might be leaving and opening for the depression to creep back in. We're going to have to see.

One hour at a time, plodding forward, one hour at a time.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Ask Me Anything Answers: Part I

I received more questions than I expected so I'm going to post answers in multiple posts until I have answered them all!

First up are a couple of questions from Linda over at "Linda's Peaceful Place":

1) What is your favorite color?

I don't even have to think about it for a full second-my favorite color is purple. I tend to prefer darker shades but generally enjoy all shades of purple more than most other colors. Now if you asked what my second favorite color is, I would start having some trouble because I love so many greens and blues and can't make up my mind. But my number one favorite color is purple!

2) If you could live anywhere else in the world (another country), where would you choose to live?

This is a tougher question for me, for sure, but I think that I can figure it out. I can't say that I would want to live somewhere if I haven't been there and the places I have been include New Zealand, Australia, Iceland, and Canada. I loved visiting each of these places, but if it came down to it I think Alberta, Canada is where my family and I would go. 

I went to Alberta for my babymoon and really enjoyed it. I don't know if I'd like living somewhere where there aren't big ole mountains and tons of fir trees and birds and wildlife that I grew up learning about and Alberta has all that. I love the Pacific Northwest and I think this area of the globe is where I belong. At least that's what I feel like right now. 

We've been having some hot days of late and I'm so relieved to have rain and grey skies the past few-I'm not sure I could handle the temperatures in Australia and New Zealand, and Iceland is pretty isolated, wonderful-don't get me wrong, but I'm not sure if a little island is a good idea for me for a long term.

So I will say Alberta, Canada. Where exactly, I'm not sure, but near the mountains most definitely :o)


Thank you Linda for questions, I enjoyed answering them and you definitely got me thinking! 



In other news, I'm having a bit of a rough day still battling the bug Baby Bananaface brought home from day care and my mood hasn't been the best. I'm trying not to be so hard on myself and judgmental about my negative thoughts, trying to just let them coast on by and not get sticky and destructive. Good day to have a therapy appointment, methinks! 

I'm going to be changing anti-anxiety medication again, so that on-going challenge continues, but going down to 40 mg on my Latuda seems to have done the trick with the jitters problem I had and I'm very grateful for that change.

Trying not to freak and stay hopeful about feeling better soon :o) Happy Monday everyone!

Here's a cute pic:



Friday, May 13, 2016

Ask Me Anything!

On this Friday the 13th I wanted to do something extra fun. I was inspired by a blogging friend who did an "Ask Me Anything" post little bit back. Following her lead I will take questions and then begin answering them next month, a few questions in each post.

No clue how many questions I'll receive, but it only takes one for me to consider this a success (I'm working on my 51%er moves). It could be one post that answers all questions or it could take months for me to get through them, we'll just have to wait and see. 

If you're wondering, yes, you can submit more than question, no limits, no problemos. Also, I retain the right to not answer any questions I don't jive with, but I'm a pretty open book so don't be shy-all topics are welcome! I can't think of any other rules or regulations so....


I now declare it open season for all questions! Even totally random questions are welcome! 

Comment below or send me a private message (on the right side of the blog toward the bottom I have "Carrier Pigeons for Hire" where you can message me) or email me direct at hkleimback at gmail dot com. 

Thank you for participating and for reading, I greatly appreciate it! 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Ugh!

I'm having a rough time being positive but I'm trying-I'm railing against the boo-hoos!

That said, I must say these "jitters" suck big polar bear butt. It really doesn't help that I think I've got the bug that Baby Banananface just finished up with. The body aches, slight fever, and sleepiness (I took a nap for the first time in eons yesterday!) combined with the creepy-crawly skin, nervous wiggles and jitters is not a pleasant combo.

I think the jitters are from my anxiety this morning but sometimes they are from my mood stabilizers. The jitters would be easier to stomach if I felt like my meds were taking care of all my issues and making life a whole lot easier, but I don't feel that way. I sometimes doubt if my meds do all that much! I hate this "in-between" feeling as we try to find the right dose and the right medication for me... Ugh.

I'm done focusing on this crap for now! I'm gonna play some Yahtzee (the hubster and I have been having a lot of fun playing together lately) and listen to some talk radio and leave this sickness/medication crap for later.

Sometimes I just gotta take a break from it all and pretend like it's all good!

Sometimes a little make believe time is the best we can do :o)

Keep fighting!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Sometimes Progress is Messy

Today Baby Bananaface and the hubster were home. They were home Friday as well because of some good ole diarrhea being shared around daycare... anyways, this change up has been difficult for me. I've been spending more time than usual around BB and my resilience and tolerance for the extra stress is not very high at the moment.

Today I hit the wall.

The hubster had a dentist appointment at 2:00 PM today and I began worrying about my ability to watch BB all by myself during his appointment very early on in my day. As the day wore on I found myself having flashes of hurting BB or myself, my worries about the afternoon appointment getting worse. I began grinding my teeth and feeling my body tense as the anxiety became worse and worse. I was barely functional but holding on, hiding my true state, hiding just how far gone I was from the hubster,  trying to be "better" than I was.

Well eventually I fessed up. I told the hubster how I afraid of being alone with BB and didn't feel up to taking care of the baby while he was at the dentist's and I ended up having some alone time with some cold therapy, propping my feet up and clearing my mind while an anti-anxiety tablet took effect. Hubster took care of complaining BB and got him down for a nap.

I feel disappointed in myself in some ways but as the hubster so wonderfully explained, it's a good thing that I fess up and tell him when I'm at my limit and it's a bad thing being dishonest and hiding my symptoms and trying to pass everything off as "okay" because that's how I get into really serious situations and trouble.

I couldn't do it today. I just couldn't take anymore. That's okay. I hit the wall and then I took care of myself and taking care of myself, acknowledging when I need help, when I need to tap out, that's a big step. That's seeing the darkness, that's embracing the light, that's being willing to live this life in a kind and caring way... that's succeeding.

So even though I failed today-the hubster had to reschedule his dental appointment entirely-I also had a little success in getting help when I needed it and I think I will take that as the bigger note for today. I succeeded at failing and that feels pretty confusing but I think it feels good overall.

Patting myself on the back and trying to avoid shaking fingers and beating myself up! Baby steps again ;o)

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Seeing the Darkness

Things are still hard.

Anxiety haunts me. I catch myself grinding my teeth off and on all day. Taking care of Baby Bananaface is a special challenge; the hubster and I are very cautious about overwhelming me and limiting my time as primary caregiver. Household responsibilities still daunt me but are becoming more and more feasible, believably achievable. On certain days, when I see scissors images of scratched wrists flash through my mind. The same can be said for plastic bags and suicidal ideations. Panic descends upon me and takes my breath away every couple days or more frequently. Sometimes I can whisk it away with mental shepherding but some days I just have to ride the wave and wait out the sickening pangs of discomfort that wrack my body and bring forth an odd chest pain so specific to my panic attacks.

My mind-my life isn't quite my own yet; the depression is still in residence, but I've come to a place where I've begun to see the dark instead of being consumed by it. I have just enough light for a little bit of perspective every now and then. That might not sound like much, but it's amazing.

Instead of being swamped, paralyzed, and disabled by the Darkness I'm able to rescue myself more and more often. I sometimes feel capable and adept in moments when I can carefully redirect my morbid thoughts to more positive or at least harmless trajectories. I am able to express myself more frequently, whether that means basic communication and expressing my thoughts or expressing my often disregarded feelings, even dredging up the worst, the darkest thoughts and bringing them into the light; it's a victory of sorts.

Working past the silence, the isolation, the sacrifice that takes me past a healthy lifestyle to a darker, self-loathing, a slow death that has hijacked my living for far too long is a much appreciated mark of progress. I still have a hard time battling back the sticky tentacles of depressive logic and feelings of defeated heartbreak when I contemplate where the Darkness has taken me and all the challenges I've experienced over the past several months but tiptoeing closer to the Darkness for a moment as I acknowledge my new perspective, my new outlook, my new light on the situation seems necessary and worthwhile.

It's a little light, true, but my little light is enough to let me see how far down I've gone and how I've climbed out a bit now and that makes me feel pride and love and hope... things that I haven't felt for myself in so long. It's a tear-worthy thing for me to feel these things; happy tears but tears nonetheless.

So that's where I am. I'm still sick but I'm having moments of feeling well again. I'm still fighting; struggling some moments but succeeding in others. I don't find myself aiming for any particular success or mark of victory, instead I recognize that I am in for a fight the rest of my life and that weight is an intimidating, upsetting, but happy burden as I build up the strength and determination to wage this battle for my wellness.

I know I've had posts like this before, but that is how this disease works: over and over again you must dedicate yourself to living, to battling back the illness, to whatever new treatment you're trying whether it be medication or therapy... so I'm sorry if this is repetitive or redundant, but as much as this point in my current recovery is a revisiting is also a new exploration of self as well.

I'm still feeling the Darkness, I'm still "in the shit," I'm still hurting, but I'm also feeling a stubborn hopefulness and pride and grit that makes me want to stand up and beat my chest and kick and scream and fight and you know what? that feels worth a post to me. Worth some introspection, some tears, some fears.

I'm worth it.



Thanks for reading :o)

I hope others out there are feeling good or at least better if they were/are feeling poorly themselves. You have someone wishing you well! Keep fighting.

<3


Saturday, May 7, 2016

A Date Day

Saw a play, walked around Seattle Center, had a good dinner out, and then a decaf espresso stop where we took these shots. So far it's a lovely date day for just the two of us! Hopefully Baby Bananaface had a fun play time of his own ;)  <3  Getting back to "normal" life is a wonderful thing... Baby steps! 


Thursday, May 5, 2016

Words for Wednesday (better late than never!)

I had a difficult time getting inspired by this week's "Words for Wednesday" so I decided to select my own 6 from the bounty of words provided from Mark Koopmans that were posted on Elephant's Child blog. These are the 6 I went with:

Farting
Pen
Scissors
Chocolate
Talker
Realtor

Brendan chuckled and muttered, "We'll tie this sale up before we have time to think about taxes-I can't believe this family said they'd vacate in 2 weeks!" Rocking to his left, lifting his thigh from the rolling, faux leather chair and farting, he grunted and grinned across the office at his business partner, Dylan. "Like Christmas in June," Brendan smiled and clicked away multiple screens on his computer screen before picking up a pen to finish up the remaining paperwork on his desk.

"You know it," Dylan halfheartedly mumbled, "but I can't help think of those poor kids gettin' yanked outta that house so quick."

Anxiously fumbling with a pair of scissors Dylan wrenched his lips together in agitation and sighed in frustration. He was far more sensitive than Brendan and sometimes felt that the realtor role was a misfit for his personality, but they had been partners in business for nearly a decade and friends for even longer-Dylan wasn't going anywhere anytime soon, emotional sales be damned.

Sensing Dylan's mood, Brendan frowned and yanked open a desk drawer. "Heads up," he called as he tossed his friend a miniature chocolate bar from the bottom drawer stash.

Dylan smirked and caught the silvery package, slumping happily into his desk chair to unwrap and consume the therapeutic treat. "Thanks, dude."

"I know you'll always remember when your parents sold your childhood home but just 'cuz it was a big deal doesn't mean every kid that moves during their childhood is scarred for life. You remember it but I don't think you're still holding it against your folks or anything. You turned out fine, man." Brendan attempted to reassure Dylan but his partner grimaced with guilt as he mashed the chocolate peace offering with his tongue.

"I know, I know, 'we are just facilitators,' but I can't help but think of what those kids must be going through. You saw how they cornered me last time we were at the house! You know I'm not as much of a talker like you; it's tough for me to say something and say nothing at the same time!" Brendan shook his head and recalled the preteen children asking about who would be living in their home once they moved and the awkward, evasive answers he offered while backing away.

"Well, good news is this sale will close before you have much more time to worry about, dude." Brendan grinned and rifled through papers, "Payday, here we come."

Dylan nodded and shrugged. Paychecks were great but he couldn't help think of the lives they affected with each sale of every house-every home. It was more than money to him and it always would be. Brendan was a different breed of realtor and Dylan had accepted that a long time ago, as well as the sugary and mildly insulting support his friend offered when Dylan's conscience got the better of him.

"A sale is a sale." Dylan numbly recited.

"You know it dude!" Brendan crowed, farting again.

Dylan flipped open a yellow file folder and sighed as he refocused on the paperwork at hand. He was going to need more chocolate and also going to need to open that window...

-----------------------------------------

Somehow my feelings about my parents selling my childhood home got tangled up with the words this week and that little scene is what cropped up! I didn't think I was super attached to the house, but a whole lot of memories came flooding back when my mom let me know that the sale went through and that they'll be moved out by the end of May... it's the end of an era I suppose.

In personal news, I'm still fighting some jittery/akathisia feelings but am doing better with the symptoms on a mental/emotional level so that makes the symptoms themselves less upsetting... I think that makes sense? The anxiety is still troublesome but seems a little bit better. Little by little, I'm feeling some change-I'll sure take it!

DBT class was pretty fun last night. It was a little sad since we had 3 people graduate and I won't see them again but we had a lovely ceremony where everyone got to say nice things about these people and I really enjoyed it.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Changing It Up

The past week has been a rough one. I've been writing down when I have certain symptoms (jitters, anxiety, panic) to prove to myself that I'm experiencing certain side effects and my little sticky note chart came in handy at my psychiatrist appointment Tuesday.

It's pretty obvious from my notes and the hubster's and my testimonies that I've been having akathisia and increased anxiety, likely due to the increase in my mood stabilizing medication, Latuda. We've also been concerned about my use of benzodiazepines for anti-anxiety as they have been known to increase impulsivity/reduce inhibition and with my suicide attempt April 11th, the hubster has been paying close attention to my anti-anxiety use and helping me make sure that I'm not too distraught when I take them so I'm less likely to hurt myself or act on those bad thoughts. It's been tough but I learned some different tricks to help calm me down in DBT class that are coming in handy...

Anyways. The "Changing It Up" part of things is a new, lower dose of the Latuda and a different anti-anxiety medication called gabapentin. The gabapentin comes in a big bottle and I take it up to three times a day which makes me feel a little ridiculous but I try to remember to be kind to myself and not judge, to remember that it doesn't matter how many pills I have to take, it's about getting myself to feel better. We should know by the end of the week if these new doses/pills are going to help me.

The physical symptoms have been rough but the mental reaction has been challenging as well. I haven't been reacting as poorly as I could (no self injury or major suicidal ideation), I have been somewhat gentle with myself but I am quite resistant, down on myself, and upset at the jittery and anxious feelings and the negativity just makes me more miserable. Doing the surveys before my psychiatrist appointment made me realize just how depressed the increased anxiety and akathisia has made me-I knew that my anxiety survey would be high but my depression survey surprised me!

Thankfully my psychiatrist was supportive and my therapist was quite helpful at my appointment Monday as well; reminding me about changing my reactions and making my thoughts more positive and helpful. It's difficult, and I have a long way to go to making my brain automatically chill itself out, but I feel like I am aimed in a better direction now and that helps. Between the DBT skills and the new pills I feel like I'm doing something to try and improve the situation and that is a vast improvement on feeling miserable and helpless.

So. I'm trying to be gentle with myself, stay positive in the face of some frustrating symptoms and patient while I wait for the medication changes to set in. I'm also trying to cut back on my self-pity and dwelling on the frustration and move toward being more proactive, active, and tricky when it comes to utilizing DBT skills and coping that way instead of letting things get the better of me and feeling like I am powerless.

I haven't been as social or active lately on the blog scene, but I did get to read and comment a bit today which felt good... hope to get back into my old blog groove now that the A-to-Z is over but it's another transition of sorts.

Hope everyone is having some better days while I'm juggling these nasty ones! I've been able to do some laundry, some Sudoku, and even cleaned the bathroom floor so it's not all bad! :o)

One day-one hour-one minute at a time... nice deep breaths and I'll make it through! I can do this!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

A to Z, Farewell Fun Enterprise!

Today is May Day and the end of 2016's "A to Z Challenge."


It was my first time undertaking the challenge and I very much enjoyed myself. Not all of the letters were as simple or inspiring as others but I made ends meet and felt good about my theme and my writing; from "A" all the way to "Z" ;o)

My theme, by the way, was Gratitude: The Things That Keep Me Alive. Little did I know how relevant this would become after April 11th when I made an attempt on my life (my first true suicide attempt in a long career of depression and mental health struggles).

Thankfully we're keeping a much closer eye on my medications and my ECT treatment taper now. The hubby is especially cautious whenever I'm withdrawn or quiet and I'm grateful for his concern and care.

Some might say that it's attention-seeking writing so openly about this, but for me it's a political act against the stigma of mental health issues and the extreme isolation they cause. I do not think I'm some attention whore seeking "oohs and aahs," but rather a hurting soul sharing her story so that others struggling with their own pain might feel encouraged to speak up or reach out for help, companionship, reassurance, encouragement, or simply a listening ear.

It's not a bad thing to ask for exactly what you need and if anyone reading this contacts me with specific concerns, please feel free to include a phrase along the lines of, "I just need some reassurance" or "I just need to know that I'm not alone" or "I just need a few kind words to keep me going," because you wouldn't be the only one, the first one, or the last to need a little something to help you along your way-and I would be happy to provide that support if I possibly could!

*sigh* It's such a hard road sometimes. I know that many of my readers understand this completely. It's such a hard road sometimes. Sometimes it's wonderful and beautiful and rewarding, and sometimes it's a challenge just to make it out of bed but we're not alone in this and I think that this is one very important thing that the challenge did for me, was remind me that I'm not alone in my struggles.

Sure, mine are unique, but they are also shared in a certain way among thousands of my comrades and it's good to remember that every time I survive one more day I survive not just for myself and my family and my friends but all those people struggling with the same diseases and diagnoses that I so often conceal from the world and try to ignore. We're all battling these things together. As we survive, we honor each other's value and lives through our existence.

Yeah, this is dramatic but I think it's very true. Nothing matters until we decide it matters and there is increasing push toward valuing and encouraging quality living no matter what our disease, which is a very beautiful thing in a sometimes heartless world.

So I bid farewell to this year's "A to Z Challenge" and my theme of Gratitude: The Things That Keep Me Alive by calling our attention to these heavy, important, challenging topics one more time and taking with me for the long haul a new comfort level in discussing my personal story and my personal pain more openly on my blog than I may have before this challenge in the hopes of helping just one other soul on their journey to wellness... and helping myself live well for myself and my family as well!

Be well, everyone, and thank you for reading.