An awful lot has happened in the last couple of months, and, well, I’ve been too out of spoons to really blog about it. I’ve been sporadic in my LiveJournal and have mostly just been avoiding everybody. Quick recap time!
The annual January downswing lasted well into March, which was positively delightful, let me tell you. I got hired for a new job in March, and the last week before I started, my great-grandmother passed away. She was almost 101. I started my new job in April, and have been being run ragged ever since with new job stress, even though this job is almost exactly the same job, just with a longer commute, better pay, and company cars. I’m an ACT case manager now, instead of an intensive, which means that there’s one shared caseload for a team, and we all have our specialties. Our team has a therapist and a nurse, as well as four case managers who all specialize in different areas, and an administrative assistant without whom none of us could function properly. My specialty is benefits, and I tend to tackle all bloodwork and most doctor’s appointments, as well. I am damn good at this. That does not mean my brain has not been out to get me, however. The panic attacks at the beginning were particularly epic.
From my LiveJournal, March 25th, 2011:
I am completely and utterly out of spoons today.
My great-grandmother is dying, and I want desperately to go to Michigan and say goodbye, but I’m not sure I can safely make the drive. I’m depressed from her impending death and the stress of switching jobs, because all stress, good or bad, tends to trigger a downswing. I cried at work yesterday and left at 11, telling my supervisor that I needed to go home to say goodbye, and came home with the plan to take a nap and then drive to Michigan. I slept until 10:30 last night. I got up for a few hours and then slept six more hours, and I am still exhausted. I needed cat food, as my plan was to leave out extra food and water so my cat would be okay, and just going to the grocery store was almost too much; I was in tears by the end of the errand. I literally only bought cat food, as I didn’t have the energy or brainpower to navigate the store and get everything else on the list. My cat’s been my constant companion when I’ve been home, following me around and cuddling any time I sit down. I don’t know what I’d do if she wasn’t here with me.
I don’t know what to do. I’m so tired and so depressed.
From my LiveJournal, April 11th, 2011:
So, the funeral went well, and I felt very at peace afterward. It might’ve gotten me put on the “Do Not Rehire” list, but frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn. Their loss, not mine.
I started my new job last Monday, and I love it! Though the panic attacks and suicidal thoughts I’ve had nightly seem to beg to differ. I’ve got a wicked case of insomnia right now, even after a klonopin and a benedryl at 10:30. It is now 1:00. I lay in bed until 12:45, at which point I gave up for a while. My stomach is a bit iffy right now so I decided it was time to sit up and let it sort itself out, anyway.
I really do like my new job, and the folks I’m working with. I love the idea of a team, as each person has a role they fill, and we work cooperatively to make sure everything gets done. We have company cars and it’s a smallish agency that feels like a family, instead of a machine like at my previous, rather large, agency. They use the same computer system but didn’t add any custom programming, so it’s vastly more simple and user-friendly. My laptop has broadband so I can do my work anywhere. I’m exempt so they don’t feel the need to keep tabs on me every waking second. The atmosphere is positive and nobody I’ve talked to has been frustrated and beaten down. So many better things, I’m not sure I can even list them all.
Things are going well. So why do I keep thinking about killing myself? Being bipolar sucks.
From my LiveJournal, April 13th, 2011:
Overall, my mental state is getting better. The bipolar doesn’t seem to be out to kill me as much right now, though I’ve been trying hard to get a lot of sleep to make sure I don’t lose my ever-loving mind. I’m trying to tackle the piles and piles of crap that has accumulated for the past few months, as when I have a downswing- especially one as awful as my annual winter bleghs- I tend to stop doing stuff like cleaning. Coupled with how busy I’ve been with switching jobs, I pretty much had given up at home, and now… whew. What a mess I’ve made.
I’ve finished sorting and filing everything that had been sitting on my filing cabinet. When doing my taxes, I realized I had no idea where last year’s were. I just found them. They were in the pile. I was over a year behind. Yuck.
From my LiveJournal, April 24th, 2011:
I’ve had a panic attack every night this week, and twice on Saturday. I woke up at 3:30 this morning having such a bad one I felt like I couldn’t breathe and it took until almost 5:00 to calm down enough to sleep again. I’m working on yet another one now. I can’t stop pulling my hair out, literally. I ate almost an entire bag of Hershey’s kisses and now I feel like barfing. I feel fragile, tentative, uncomfortable, worthless.
I think I need to go back to bed.
From my LiveJournal, also April 24th, 2011:
I keep getting confused about where I am, and that’s scaring me worse than whatever it is I’m having panic attacks about. Three or four times today I’ve had a moment where I had NO IDEA WHERE I AM. And I’ve been in the house I’ve lived in for two years the whole time. This… is getting scary.
From my LiveJournal, April 26th, 2011:
I called my shrink today, and she and I talked about my symptoms. Yesterday I had a sore throat and PRAYED it was post-nasal drip, but today it’s wandering down into my upper chest, so in addition to horrible panic attacks, now I get to be sick, too. (I am resilient, though, and went to work anyway!) My psychiatrist’s concerned about my screwy sleep schedule. I SUCK at maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, and sleep is my biggest damn trigger. When I started at my previous agency, I had nightmares and panic attacks for three months. Now I’m just waking up mid-panic attack, so my psychiatrist is confident that it’s the same stress response, and my utter lack of normal sleeping pattern is NOT helping (nor is the getting sick part. And not sleeping worsens my immune system still further so I get sick more often…)
Basically, in a nutshell, this is likely a stress response caused by not getting enough sleep and panicking, and having episodes of disorientation are not uncommon during panic attacks, especially when one doesn’t have full control of their faculties, such as being sleep-deprived.
I feel kinda dumb now.
I hope I don’t get a bill…
From my LiveJournal, May 8th, 2011:
I’m getting depressed again, and having a lot of those lovely thoughts that are just so very wonderful. Therapy is going well, and I like to think I’m getting better, but one thing my brain is very, very good at, is dredging up old memories and torturing me with them. Lately it’s been all the instances in which I was told something that was supposed to be a secret, that I then blurted out in a manic rush later, usually around other people, and horrified and embarrassed the person. Two notable examples include the camp counselor I had one summer at church camp, who told our group that she feels uncomfortable if her bra and panties don’t match, which later came out at a co-ed event in front of her boyfriend. The other time was in college, where the RA’s roommate was fond of mooning us from time to time, and I blurted it out later, again in mixed company.
I fail at secret keeping. I really should just tell people that up front, or wear a shirt that says DO NOT TRUST ME WITH JUICY RUMORS; I CANNOT KEEP SECRETS FOR BEANS. Some things I can keep to myself, but funny things or particularly juicy pieces of gossip? Once my mood spikes for manic, I can’t shut up for anything, and all that stuff just comes bubbling out. I hate myself for my complete and utter inability to shut up. It actually physically hurts to stay quiet when I’m particularly manic, which might explain the “pressure” of pressured speech. You have to talk, otherwise the words might messily explode out of your head. The best part is the rational bits of my brain that are no longer in control are frantically pinwheeling their arms in an attempt to get the maniac bits’ attention, but it doesn’t work. It’s like I’m in slow motion, watching the words come tumbling out of my mouth in a dangerous waterfall of broken confidences and trust. And then, in a one-two combo, the guilt hits me square in the solar plexus and I’m reeling, wishing I could take it back but unless I figure out how to abduct the Doctor I’m not going to be able to. Better yet, the illness will use it as yet more ammunition for just how much of a worthless dumbass I am.
From my LiveJournal, May 19th, 2011:
Brain’s out to get me again. I’ll be in bed if anybody needs me.
From my LiveJournal, May 20th, 2011:
The usual May/June downswing has begun. This is not a drill. *sighs*
It was at that point that I fell of the face of the internet for about a month, as my next LiveJournal post wasn’t until June 29th. At that point I was depressed, again. I’m sometimes not sure if I ever feel good in the times between, looking back. I like to *think* I did. The alternative is too depressing to contemplate.