Christmas 2010

Christmas Eve at Mark's parents house was nice, although we stayed much longer than I would have liked.  I wish I could give him what he's given me:  a stable second family who loves him like his family loves me, one that is enjoyable (for the most part) to be around, giving, caring, but it just isn't that way.  I feel lucky that I at least have Mark's family in my life. 

His brother is about 44 or so, and his logic is beyond me, I've never met someone like him before, and in the real world, I would stay as far away from him as I possibly could.  He would repel me, disgust me, but for a brother in law, he's ok.  He means well in a family type way. 

He is over educated, yet he lives with his parents and has no intention of getting a career or moving out.  He has no ambition.  I really don't care about that, if his parents enable him to live there, that's their choice, they're not doing him any favors in the long run by not insisting he be self sufficient. 

But it's how he treats women that really bothers me, and he knows it.  Mark says his brother likes the "shock factor"  he can give me, but at the same time, he admits that's how his brother is.  For instance, before he will take a girl out on a date (yes, grown women with careers and even children actually date him), he will ask them sexual questions, in particular, oral sex.  I told him if he had approached me in that way, I would have slapped him, felt insulted, and that he was wrong in his approach  towards women.  But somehow, this all works for him.  Maybe it's true, girls like the "bad boys".  He told me when he was a dental assistant many years ago, he would have sex with the patients, and they would do nitrous oxide (or whatever you call it) in the office on a sleeping bag, and the dentist was having an affair.  Mark was sitting right there when he whispered loudly to me about it.  I just sat there with my mouth open, thinking about a dentist's office being that way.  Later Mark said "but he didn't tell you the end of the story, did he?", although I knew it ended badly.  He was convicted of a misdemeanor when a patient said he took advantage of her while she was under the influence and he was fired.  I knew that part of the story, but always thought there was a margin where he could have been wrongfully accused.  Now I know he wasn't.  He got off easy in my opinion.  I just make sure that none of my signals could possibly be misread by him, and that we're never alone together.  But he's a nice guy as far as family is concerned, he just happens to be a jerk.

I heard this song today, and I keep hearing songs or listening to messages from pastors about how God gives us grace, and we should do the same for others.  You know, forgive them no matter what they've done.  The first person that always pops into my mind is my mother who I cut out of my life years ago, at a counselor's prompting.  I told Mark about what I was thinking, and he said there's a big difference between forgiving someone and contacting them.  I could forgive her, but that doesn't mean I should try and have a relationship with her.  (Of course, emphasis on *try*)  She makes me crazy mad like no one else, but of course it's because I don't think I've ever forgiven her.  My current therapist called her a narcissist.  But people I talk to only know her through me - what I've chosen to tell them, they don't actually know HER, and I know her side of the story is quite different than mine.  But to get involved with her again, that could jeopardize my entire emotional stability.  Or at least I think it would.  I don't know if I'm strong enough to deal with what she could say that would hurt me.  What would I expect or what would I want to come from trying to contact her?  I'll never have a normal mother daughter relationship with her, maybe it's best I leave it alone.  Yet, the thought of what I should do, what Jesus would do, keeps gnawing away at me.

I watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the cartoon version) and had to turn the channel after about 15 minutes of it.  It took me back to when I was a child watching it, what was going on in my life, and it was just too painful.  Why on earth would I want to remember that?  I thought the memories would be happy - Christmas as a kid is so magical, I wanted the Christmas spirit and thought that would be a good way to get it.  Instead it just depressed me for a little while.  But it made me glad to be where I am today and I felt lucky not to be in a similar situation.

I got everything I wanted for Christmas - a Kindle and a diamond cross necklace.  Mark really seemed to like all of his gifts that I gave him (that he picked out himself and sent me links to order them haha!). 

I'm still taking extra Geoden, even though I think I don't need it.  Without it, now I can't fall asleep at night.  But with it, I'm so much hungrier during the day.  I don't plan on going back to the psychiatrist for a prescription for more Geoden, so once the samples are out, I'll be back on my old dosage again and be forced to stay awake until I fall asleep.

Mark took vacation for most of the time I'm out of school to spend it with me, so we're together a LOT.  It works - it keeps me from getting lonely during the day by myself.  School will start up too soon after the new year anyway. 

Grouchy Man!

We went to church tonight for a Christmas Candlelight service, and it was awesome.  The message was great, the music was even better!  And Jason Castro (he was on American Idol) goes to my church and sang a song, it's weird to be star struck at church, haha!  There were SO MANY PEOPLE there!  I don't actually like how big my church is - it holds 4,000 people and there still weren't enough seats for the service, even though we chose the service that was the day before Christmas Eve.  There were people lined up against the wall in the back of the church and had to stand the whole time.  I would have gotten tired, which is why we left to get there an hour early, and I couldn't believe how many people were already there!  Unbelievable!  I grew up in small towns in Kansas, where the congregations would be 75-100 people max, and this church is so contemporary with a band and everything, it's definitely a big change, but a change I like.  I do wish it was a bit more personal though.

I think Mark gets low blood sugar or something, even though he's never been diagnosed with diabetes, because whenever he goes too long without eating, he gets very grouchy.  The service was at 6:00p, so we left around 7:00p or after, way after we normally eat dinner.  We then went to a restaurant, and he seemed okay but complained that he waited too long to eat.  We left there and went to the grocery store so I could buy things I needed for Christmas dinner, and he actually kind of yelled or raised his voice at me in public.  No one turned around or anything, but it's very humiliating.  I said "did you just yell at me, in PUBLIC??" and he apologized right away, but it didn't help, I was still hurt.

Then we got to the parking lot and unloaded the groceries, and a woman came up to me (in the dark!) and was mumbling something.  I had to ask her to repeat herself a couple of times, and then realized she was asking for money.  I didn't know what to say, so I told her to ask my husband, he had the money.  I put the cart away, went back to the car, and she was standing in between me and the car door.  Mark was in the car, and she said he wouldn't look at her.  No surprise there, I know how he feels about beggars.  But I felt trapped, I couldn't just walk past her without making up a lie again about not having money, and we had just gotten out of church.  So I gave her a little bit of money, and she commented on how embarrassing it was to ask for money, then I got into the car.  Mark immediately exploded about my giving her money, and said we weren't compatible at all.  He said he had always worked for everything he had, I had given money to a beggar (which in all fairness, it was his money that he had worked for, I didn't work for it), and he was pretty furious.  Yes, I knew how he felt about giving money to beggars, but he also knows how I feel about it too, that sometimes people do need money, people have helped me out before although I've never begged, I've just run out of gas and people have stopped when I was walking to get gas.  Strangers have helped me a lot and I've never asked, so I feel that I should return the favor to people who do need help.  Besides, I don't need to know what she used the money for, God knows my intentions were good, and that's all that matters.  He knows I feel this way too.  But...it really wasn't my money to give away, in the fact that I didn't work for it.  Yes, it's OUR money, but I think I should be respectful of the fact that he worked hard to earn it, not me.

Once we got home, he gave me a big hug and apologized, and I apologized too.   He was cranky from eating late and grocery shopping so late when he is normally in bed around 9:00p.  It's just that it ruined what had been such a great evening.  I felt so good and positive after church, and it didn't last long at all. 

I went to bed when he did, around 10-10:30, but got up and decided to make Christmas candy (chocolate peanut butter balls) around 12:30 because I couldn't sleep.  I finished around 1:30-1:45, and here I sit, 2:45, still not tired.  I didn't take any extra Geoden tonight, so I guess I'm not tired. 

Tomorrow (Christmas Eve) we're going to Mark's parents, and strangely enough, I'm starting to look forward to going over there when I used to dread it, or just skip it altogether.  I don't know what has changed.  Me?  Them?  I have no idea.  I feel more like a part of the family, maybe it's been since we got married 3 years ago, that's possible I guess.  Perhaps they treat me differently, or I them, I really don't know.  But it's nice to have some sort of tradition again around the holidays.

There's this box that Mark wrapped for me that I have NO CLUE what is in it.  I mean I think I do, but it's not the right size and I think he tricked me and wrapped it in a bigger box.  It's driving me crazy, I keep shaking it like a little kid.  I want to open it right now! : ) 

Saw A Therpist Today!

I went to a therapist today, an awesome therapist, the best I've had since I was in my 20's and went regularly, maybe even better.  She trains other counselors as part of her practice, so I guess she's that good.  I had called around, and one therapist seemed very squeamish about treating a person with bipolar disorder, and I've encountered therapists like that in the past.  One refused to treat me, telling me my issues were chemical and she couldn't help me. 

But she is familiar with treating people with bipolar disorder, I'm stable right now, and she practices cognitive behavior therapy.  I learned so much on just my first visit with her!  She determined at the end of the visit that I had some bad congitive thinking, and we decided to work on that. 

It's SO DIFFICULT for me to go to a first visit with a new pdoc and talk about my childhood, which is what they all want to know.  I usually leave feeling very remorseful about what I said, convinced they don't like me, and not sure if I want to go back.  I didn't feel that way this time, but then I got a horrible headache, I couldn't stop thinking about my family, and I think instead of feeling it emotionally this time, my body was taking it out on me physically.  It's very typical for my body to do that - sometimes when I'm stressed, I get eczema.

For the first time I feel hope that someone can help me.  She thought it was nuts that my psychiatrist increased my dosage of Geoden when I asked for a referral to a therapist too.  I told her there is nothing wrong with me, how would I even know if it worked?  She told me I was an adult, just don't take it.  So good to have someone give me permission to do what I don't think I should do in the first place. 

She was so engaged, she even wrote on a whiteboard to describe what she was talking about! 

Yes, I think cognitive behavior therapy is the answer for me.  I'm not sure where this will lead, but she really understood and "got" me.  It was a positive move I made today.

Perfection

I'm still determined to find a therapist who specializes in Cognitive Behavior Therapy for people with Bipolar Disorder, no matter what my psychiatrist thinks.  He gave me 4 different samples of Geoden (20mg, 40mg, 60mg and 80mg) to see which additional dosage would work best for me, and it looks like 40mg, which means I'm taking 120mg now.  When I took 60mg additional, I couldn't wake up, I slept all day, and I couldn't stop eating.  Not quite sure if it's helping me or what it's supposed to do, I feel the same.  He doesn't understand, my problem is BEHAVIOR related, I tried to tell him it wasn't something medication can fix.  I need to learn how to stop what I think about myself.  It seems so wasteful to take this extra medication that I don't think I need and won't help what I think needs to be fixed.

I'm thinking and thinking about what he said - how, with bipolar disorder, comes a feeling of having, what he termed "grandiose ideas", but I don't think that quite explains it.  It's more like...having to be perfect.  And if I'm not, I'm devastated.  If I'm viewed in any way negatively by anyone, it crushes me.  Of course my husband doesn't see me as perfect, he probably thinks I'm a total mess.  He's the only one who sees the "true me".  I don't even know how he lives with me, but at the same time, I also can't think of anyone who could possibly be easier to live with.  Yes, I may have my emotional ups and downs, but I'm not a typical wife.  I don't nag him to do things, I don't nag him at all to be frank.  I'm very sweet to him most of the time, except when I'm difficult of course, but that is becoming fewer and fewer far between.  I've never been as stable for as long a period of time as I've been this time since being diagnosed.  I COULD say I'm "cured" and go off my meds, but I think I feel good BECAUSE of my meds.

Tomorrow will mark exactly one day I broke my 2 year obsessive true addiction to a computer game.  I played for hours upon hours a day, putting it above everything, my job, my relationship, all from the first day I picked it up.  If you've never played World of Warcraft, don't start!  I STILL feel the itch to play, the longing, maybe this is how drug addicts feel, you never NOT want to stop doing what you were once addicted to.  I don't know, I've never been addicted to anything except that.  Not cigarettes, not drugs, not alcohol, nothing.  Maybe people, perhaps I've had "love addiction" in the past, but to WoW, that was a true "intervention needed" addiction.  I know for a fact that there are many, many people who play that game that make it their lives, their whole lives.  That's all they do all day, day in and day out.  It's an empty life, I know first hand!

We're all done with our Christmas shopping, but I never did get around to mailing the Christmas cards I bought.  I found the Christmas cards that I bought last year that I didn't mail either.  I wonder how many people do that - mean well and buy Christmas cards, but never actually send them?

No Therapist? Really?

I just got back from the psychiastrist, and I really only went there to get refills.  While I was there, I thought I'd ask for a referral to a therapist.  I was sitting in the waiting room reading about cognitive bahavior therapy in WebMD for bipolar disorder, so wouldn't that be a natural request? 

When I asked him for the referral, he wanted to know why I wanted to see a therapist.  Gosh, where to start?  I don't feel like I have that kind of relationship with him, where I can just open up to him outside of general feelings like "depression", "anxiety", "sleeplessness".  So I started with school, because that's why he put me on Saphris (which made me very ill and I quit) to begin with - for concentration, as he thought it was a bipolar symptom.  I told him that I wasn't motivated at school until I needed to be, and when I was, I practically freaked out over it and was overwhelmingly anxious.  I didn't tell him about my panic attacks during testing, that would require me to explain how you test in court reporting school, it just seemed like too much work.  So I told him I'd had to leave school a few times because I was crying so hard from failing tests, and that is why I didn't already have my bachelor degree - I would drop classes when I could tell I wasn't going to get an A.  I know it sounds crazy, it does to me too, but it's true.  Sometimes it wasn't simply just getting an A, it would be that I wasn't getting the BEST grade in the class, I wasn't *the* smartest. 

That's not the ONLY reason I want to see a therapist, it's just the first thing that came to my mind.  Anyway, he said that having feelings of grandiosity goes along with being bipolar; for example, having someone think you're ugly could be the worst possible thing.  No, that's not really true.  I remember in my 20's thinking if I wasn't the *prettiest* girl, that would be the worst possible thing.  My 30's too I guess, but my later 30's I started to get over it.  Wow that makes me sound so old, I'm 42. 

So his idea was not to see a therapist even though I argued it wasn't medication, it was a *behavior*, his idea was to increase my Geodon so I would feel more calm and not feel "broken".  Those were his words. 

But what else could I say?  Tell him that I don't go out with friends because I think I'm ugly?  I have no family and feel sad about that (not depressed, just...everyone is cut out of my life because they're, well, basically losers and I refuse to get hurt intentionally over and over). 

Increasing Geodon is not going to fix my problems.  And these aren't urgent problems, well, maybe school is, but overall, I'm doing fine, I'm okay.  I told him that when I sat down, I was only there for refills. 

So I have multiple samples of Geodon to increase my dosage - 20mg, 40mg, 60mg, and 80mg to find the right dosage (on top of what I already take).  So tell me, if I feel okay and I feel fine, how will I know when I have found the right dosage?  I know when I will have found TOO MUCH, I won't be able to wake up in the morning.  But when you feel okay, how are you supposed to know you're getting better when you're taking more medication?

It's too bad, I thought for sure he would have a great referral for a therapist that specialized in bipolar disorder for me, but now I see that maybe he doesn't believe in therapy.  I don't agree with him, I *do* believe in therapy, I went for years in my 20's and I'm so much better because of it.  I'd REALLY be a mess if I hadn't have had that! 

So I guess I'll just research the internet or maybe call hospitals and ask for referrals for a specialist in bipolar disorder.  Not sure where to start.

Passed My Test and Bold Faced Lie

I passed my second 80 test today (in Court Reporting) and have promoted to the 100wpm class!  Yay!  My goal was to get out of that class by the end of the quarter.  I was so stressed out about it that I was a ball of anxiety since the quarter ends in almost a week.  My teacher told us to get plenty of rest for the test today because we would do better, so I thought, hmmm...maybe I should just take Seroquel, otherwise I'll only sleep for about 5 hours.  I don't know what worked, maybe practicing 6 hours a day, maybe the sleep, maybe all of it.  But it worked, that's all that matters.  I noticed that there were students who stayed in the 100wpm class for two entire quarters, so I plan on working very hard not to be one of those people.

I was upset at Mark today, maybe it was unwarranted.  I went to bed really early, around 7:30, and woke up at about 4:00am.  I knew he had gone out with his friends in Chicago last night, and he always calls me before he goes to bed.  So I looked at the caller ID to see if I had missed his call, nope, he didn't call at all last night.  He did call my cell phone on my way to school this morning (which was weird because *I* always call *him* on my cell on my way to school), and I asked him about it.  He said that he DID call, but I was out of it and couldn't talk.  I got mad - he told a bold faced lie!  I told him I checked the caller ID and he did NOT call!  I do get upset when he is in Chicago and calls me from the taxi or whatever and I can tell he's drunk or tipsy, but I usually just say "you've had too much to drink, I'm going to go", it annoys me to talk to him when he's like that.  And he only does that in Chicago, not at home.  I don't want this to sound like it's often, it's not, but I'm cautious about his drinking since he had a problem with it years ago.

Anyways, I was pretty mad about him lying about calling me, and then finally he went on the defensive and complained that I was checking up on him, or some kind of excuse.  Typical way for someone to try to get out of something - get mad and turn it around on the other person.  I don't want to keep "tabs" on him, it's just that he ALWAYS calls from Chicago at night before he goes to bed.  And I knew he was going to some kind of bar, which he had termed a "cocktail happy hour" when he told me about it that day.  I said "so you're going to a bar then", I'm not stupid, he can call it whatever he wants, a bar is still a bar. 

So he went to a bar, then didn't call me that night when he always does.  Hmmm.  Well I can't prove anything happened, all I can do is just forget about it, let it go.  I do trust him, I just don't understand why he lied, what was he covering up?  I was definitely more mad about that than him not calling. 

No use in staying mad, nothing can be done, proven, anything.  Life must go on.  He's an adult, he can go out with his friends and I'm totally fine with that, I'm glad he has friends to hang out with, even if it's just in Chicago, or when they come here from Chicago.  And he does invite me to come with him practically every time he goes to Chicago, I just don't go because of school, and he invites me to go out with him and his friends when they're in town, I just choose not to.  So it's not like he's hiding anything.

But the lying about calling me, he's given me no reason about why he did that.  Which really makes me wonder what really happened, even though I do trust him.  There was just no reason to lie if there was nothing to hide. 

School Anxiety!

I'm SO anxious about school, I lay in bed at night rolled up in a ball and unable to sleep about it.  I passed one 80wpm test (in Court Reporting), but you need to pass two to promote to the next level.  I can tell everyone is expecting me to pass the second one before the quarter ends, and the last test will be given in a week and a half.  I've been practicing HOURS each day on my own on  top of the all the hours we practice in school.  I just don't know if it's possible.  I know I should believe in myself and that could make all the difference, but it's so hard. 

Today we had a test, and even though I had taken a klonipin, I still froze.  I'm now the fastest writer in the class with the faster students recently advancing to the next level, so that means when we're given a test, I can't judge if it was hard or not by them deciding along with me to transcribe it or not.  It's so weird, I've never experienced test anxiety before - but I always knew what was going to be on the test and studied for it.  I don't know what the test is going to be for speed, I don't know what words are going to be used, so I freak out.  And feel a lot of pressure.    It's hard to just get my fingers moving, and then I have so much mind chatter that I can't concentrate on what the teacher is dictating. 

I don't want to be stuck in the same class next semester, but I'm going to give it my best shot.  I realize I should have been working like this from the first day the quarter started, but in the beginning,  you feel like you have all the time in the world. 

I'm getting close to being out of Zonegran, and my doctor isn't even in the office this week.  I can't go see him until next Tuesday, so I've cut my dosage in half since I have to use mail order because of my insurance.  Once I do get to see him, I'll have to wait another week or so to get my prescription.   Maybe he will have samples for me or I can get a prescription filled at the local pharmacy, I don't know.  But I really don't know what effect halving Zonegran will have on me.  I've never done that before since I started taking it.  I'm sure that taking 1/2 of it will fend off any withdrawal symptoms, but what will happen to me emotionally?  I HATE HATE HATE being dependant on medications. 

I saw an episode of House where a husband kept from his wife for years that he was Bipolar, and then she felt betrayed when he told her in the hospital.  She didn't leave him, but I'm glad I was diagnosed when I was already with my husband.  He had the luxury (if you can call it that) of being eased into the issue, instead of deciding from the beginning if it was something he wanted to deal with.  Would *I* want to live with someone who was Bipolar as well?  Oh my gosh, I don't know, I'm so high maintenance!  What does that mean if you couldn't accept in someone what you are yourself? 

Selfish Student!

There's a girl in my class that is absolutely driving me NUTS!  She can be disruptive, making noise when I'm taking a test or whatever, but what always really annoys me are personalities (usually selfish).  It doesn't matter WHAT it is, she turns it around and makes it about HER.

She constantly interrupts class with her questions, her thoughts, her insecurities, whatever, and just talks and talks.  I glare at the teacher, trying to send mind messages to her to make the girl shut up so we can go back to class!  You know, *I* am paying over a thousand dollars a month just in tuition, not including books and every other thing they can think of to charge me for, to go there TOO, I don't want to waste my time listening to her mindless chatter.

Today it started innocently enough.  She had passed her 60wpm test (you only have to pass one), and I had passed an 80 test (you have to pass two), both yesterday, and she knew about it when I came to class and said something about it, but was really more excited to talk about herself.  But I wondered aloud to her "I don't think I really write at 80wpm yet, I think that was just an easy test". 

So what did SHE do?  She didn't say anything to ME, a few minutes later during CLASS TIME, she practically SCREECHES to the teacher "Was it just an easy test that I passed yesterday or do I really write at 60wpm now?".  Well, first of all, yes, it was an easy test she took, I have to take the 60's too so I don't disrupt others who are taking it when I don't need it by causing distractions.  But it doesn't matter, you get easy tests and you get hard tests, move on.  I should take my own advice, huh.  But why did it suddenly become about HER? 

I told the teacher right when she said it "I'm sorry, I put that into her head when I told her I thought the test I passed was an easy test and wasn't sure if I was writing at 80wpm" so we could just MOVE ON.  And it worked, it shut her up, the teacher ignored her, and we went about class.  But then during testing, we had to wait for her to pack up her things (which takes awhile with all of our equipment and books, etc.) so she could catch her ride as she was leaving early today.

I know this is my blog and I talk about myself all the time, but this is MY BLOG!  In real life, I ask people questions about themselves, I engage them in conversation, rarely is something all about me.  Few people at school know anything about me, but I know all about them because people love to talk about themselves.  Sitting with someone and there's an awkwardness?  Ask the person a question about themselves, anything, people love to talk about themselves to an interested audience.  And the more interested you act, and ask followup questions, the more excited they are to talk to you and basically just tell you their whole life story while you've given away nothing about yourself.  And what I find rude?  They don't even ask you anything about who you are in return.  People are basically selfish that way. 

But this girl, OMG, I pay so much to go to school and she is monopolizing the teacher's time with asking the same questions over and over and going so far as to state the opinion as to what growing up as an African American woman was like and what you should never say to someone about their dreams, I mean really?  How is that helping my education on being a future court reporter?  It's just wasting my time.  If she feels she needs to talk about that to the teacher, do it on her time, not mine. 

Every minute, every second that I am there is invaluable and I don't want to waste it.  I'm not saying she should either and not get answers to her questions, but REALLY?  Does everything have to be about her ALL THE TIME? 

Passed Test #1! : )

I passed my first 80 speed test today (for Court Reporting)!  I have to pass two of them to be promoted to the next speed class (100wpm), and this quarter only has two weeks left.  I think the test I took today was really easy so I don't know if I can pass another one in such a short amount of time.  I really don't think I write 80wpm, I just think I got lucky.  But I thought that when I passed the 60wpm test, so who knows.

I have a killer sinus headache tonight, it started when I got home from school.  I used my facial sauna with eucalyptus and steam that usually works, but maybe I didn't use it long enough.  I remember now that a lot of students at school have been sick, and specifically I remember a few complaining they've had sinus headaches, so I guess a sinus infection.  I gave up going to the doctor for sinus infections years ago after my sinus surgery.  They can't help me, it's useless.  And the OTC meds don't  help either.  It all just seems to prolong the headache.  But at least after the surgery the headaches don't turn into migraines.

Ugh!  It's 1:30a and I can't sleep!  I actually took a tiny bit of Seroquel because I'm desperate to sleep tonight.  It's horrible to lay there for hours and keep your eyes shut tight, try to relax, just to have your eyes spring wide open and stare into the darkness in the room.  Thinking, thinking, thinking!  I've tried playing all kinds of tricks on my brain to relax, tried relaxation exercises while I was laying there, none of it worked, so Seroquel was a last option.  I'm afraid to go back up those stairs and try to fall asleep again, to find it won't work.

Maybe I'm just excited about passing that test today, and the possibility of actually passing both tests this quarter when I'd already resolved myself that I wouldn't pass either one until next quarter.  It's actually a huge deal to me.  Imagine taking tests all the time where you constantly fail, week after week, month after month, and then all of a sudden, you pass one!  One teacher told me going to Court Reporting school is hard, most can't handle it - you have to fail your way to success.  There are only two out of 15 people in my original class in January that are still on campus.  That's not good odds.  But 2 went online, and 2 were kicked out for attendance last quarter, and I'm *assuming* they are coming back next quarter.  So best case scenario, 6 of us will still be enrolled exactly one year later.  I think that's terrible odds.  But I'm also amazed that I'm one out of those 2-6 that haven't quit!

Mark's family has been really wonderful lately, I don't know why I'm getting along with them so well all of a sudden.  Maybe it's because his sister found out she had a thyroid problem and is now taking medication for it, I don't know.  But she made things miserable at family gatherings, at least for me.  We'll see how Christmas goes, if it is still as pleasant.  I already have all of Mark's nieces' and nephew's gifts bought!  Ordering online ROCKS!  I'm not going to go to a single store this year for Christmas shopping.   Well, maybe for decorations....

Wow, this headache is brutal, guess I'll try to go to bed again, hope the Seroquel has had time to kick in.



   

Angry

I was in search of new friends, a "support group", if you will, so last week I made up my mind and went to church, but to a LifeGroup first (Sunday School) with women around my age.  I just didn't "click" with them.  They didn't seem to be my kind of friends.  I don't really know who would be any more.  I went to the Single and Married 40's Group, and I don't know, they just seemed to be older than me, and depressing.  And I got nothing from the message the leader taught.  There are other classes I can take, I may try those later.

When I left the class, I checked my iphone, and Mark had texted that HE was at church!  I couldn't believe it!  He hates that church, but for some reason, while I was in my LifeGroup, he showered, got dressed, and decided to meet me.  I thought wow...we're actually in synch spiritually, at least we're both searching for answers and more in our lives at the same time. 

I've felt so much better turning to God in the past few weeks, but I find myself slipping and dwelling on things I can't change, and once I get mad, I can't get over it.

Here's what happened, I'll try not to make it too long and boring.  Mark was a partner in his own company, along with 3 other guys about 5 years ago.  The President (Mark was the CTO) didn't pay taxes for several years, was the only one in the company who had his signature at the bank and check writing privileges on behalf of the company, and eluded the other partners from seeing anything financial about the company.  One of the partners hired an attorney because he didn't trust the President of the company, and not to make this story too long, he was voted out by the majority.  No one knew about the taxes yet.  YET.

To make it worse, the president was also Mark's best friend at the time, and Mark stood by him no matter what he was told.

After he was kicked out, a CPA came in and found out that the former partner hadn't paid taxes and over $35k was owed, and he hadn't been paying rent on their space either.  AND, while he wasn't paying the partners because he said there wasn't enough money, he was making large withdrawals for family vacations, etc.  No one knew, but this other partner was suspicious, rightfully so.

So Mark filled out document after document to the IRS, everything they wanted he did, every question they asked, he answered truthfully.  This was forever ago, the IRS has never contacted us.

Now Mark has been taking this new medication for ADD and is suddenly feeling more social, and he created a Facebook page and decided to add him as a friend.  As soon as he did, he got what I would consider a "blackmail" email from the former president.

It said that the IRS contacted him and told him he owed $118,000 in taxes for the company, and he has a payment plan of $3000/month.  (Wow!  Those penalty fees can really add up fast!)

So the guy had a tax attorney, had worked with the IRS, and no one contacted us, even though the IRS knows exactly where we live, everything about us.  They've decided he's responsible.  Mark has nothing to hide. 

His "blackmail letter" said that if each of the partners would call his IRS agent and arrange to send $25,000 apiece, he wouldn't turn them in as each of them were responsible.  It makes me CRAZY just to think about it!  Like he hasn't already tried this?  Like he didn't tell his tax attorney and the IRS agent that he had 3 other partners?  Of COURSE  he did!  He's such a weasel, what do you expect from someone who took large amounts of cash while others weren't getting paid, and we were within days of going into foreclosure at the time.

I found a link to this game show he had been on, Family Game Night or something like that that aired this month.  At the end of the show, his family won $20,000.  Are you freaking kidding me??  Does the IRS know about that?  I was so mad that I actually wanted Mark to press charges against him for blackmail.  I wanted to send him, his wife, anyone nasty emails, but I knew they could be used against us and Mark begged me not to contact them, just cut all Facebook, LinkedIn, and any other ties to him.  Mark of course unfriended him immediately.

I mean, how weird would that be, calling an IRS agent out of the blue and telling them you were sending them $25,000 when they hadn't asked for it from you and had already determined who was responsible.  Mark said a document he had attached showed they had put some sort of lien on everything he owns, not quite sure what that means, but Mark said it's very, very bad. 

I'm sad for his wife and kids, he screwed up and they are paying the price.  But to blackmail my husband, who had considered him at one time his best friend?  Who, until then, had made excuses for him no matter what I said?  He no longer does, but he doesn't seem mad about it at all. 

I've discovered that when people cross some sort of line in my mind, I'm not forgiving at all.  I don't know at what point that is, but it happens and it doesn't go away.  Maybe it's a sort of self-protection, to make sure it never happens again.  I can't forgive my mother, I don't have the least bit of remorse about my dad, and don't see myself ever forgiving this guy either.  I think it's when someone INTENTIONALLY tries to hurt me, not just once but numerous times, to me or to someone I love, I actually want to get back, I want to get even, but I think that would lead to emptiness, I wouldn't feel any better making that person miserable.  What happened still happened, that will never change.

All I can do is pray about it, but it's so HARD.  It's HARD for me to pray for those 3 people.  Right now I don't wish them well at all, what kind of person does that make me?  Vengeful?  What kind of Christian am I that I can't let go?  Life isn't always fair, people don't always do the right thing, but this guy always professed to be this great Christian, sharing his faith with everyone, what does it MEAN?  That he's a hypocrite?  No one is perfect, but most people know right from wrong. 

Blah, I typed way too much about that, it's just that it's on my mind and creates a lot of anxiety and anger in me when I think about it, which is often. 

I don't feel good about school AT ALL, but I suppose that's my fault.  I haven't been practicing at home.  I don't know what it will take to get me motivated, but I need to find a way - and fast.  I did spend an hour with a teacher who has written a book about Test Anxiety for Court Reporters who gave me great tips and her book, so I'm hoping that will help.  I think I might be able to pass the speed tests if I wouldn't freeze when they start.  My fingers literally will not move where they should when the teacher says "Alright, begin", and then starts dictating the test to us.  Without knowing it's a test, I do okay, but the minute she says it's a test, I panic.  If doing well in school freaks me out so much, why can't I take the extra time and practice at home?  I only have 3 weeks left before a 2 week break, but that's depressing.  I don't think I can pass 2 speed tests in that time to move up to the next level.

Medication.  I'm taking my normal stuff - Geoden, Zonegran, Lamictal and Klonipin along with Unisom to sleep.  Forget adding in anything else, my last episode and severe reaction with Saphris makes me not want to try anything new.  I hate being bipolar, but it's become a way of life for me.  I take meds at night, it's just so normal.  Was it ever any other way?  It seems like it's been like this my whole life, but of course it hasn't been.  I feel pretty good except for dwelling on people who have crossed me, so maybe I should count my blessings.

Chrismas shopping, ack.  I'm doing it all online again this year.

In Search Of

I'm lonely.  I don't know why I'm feeling it so strongly right now when nothing has changed lately, but I just feel the need for friends, for support. 

My old friend sent me a text and a message on facebook to get together, but I was sick and didn't get right back to her.  And to be honest, I haven't seen her since my 20's, when I was about 40 pounds lighter, and don't really want her to see me as having "gone downhill".  She was upset with me that I didn't call her back, text her back, or answer her on facebook.  I sent her a message eventually telling her I had been sick, but then she insulted me, and I can assume she thinks I don't know she did, but she just might know.  She wrote on a mutual friends wall something like "you'd better answer my calls and my texts or I'll start calling you you know who!".  Well that's our only mutual friend, she can only mean me, she never answered my message, and for some reason, it hurt my feelings.  I'm sure I hurt HER feelings, she doesn't understand why I never want to get together with her. 

What I'm thinking is, let the past go.  Maybe start new friendships and not worry about disappointing my old friends with who I am now.  I'm thinking of going to a new church that I've already reached out to some members on Sunday for a class for women my age, that's a start, right?  There's really no one at school that I've bonded with - I mean, I have "friends", but not "real friends".  What makes a real friend?  I don't know, someone that you do things with outside of mandatory functions, someone that you call on the phone, you confide in, a real friend.  I haven't had one in several years now. 

Mark is running into some issues at work with his newfound "speak his mind" attitude personality change from his ADHD medication.  I knew it would happen from what he was saying to me last weekend.  He sees it as a positive, like he saw it as a positive when he was bringing up things to me about me, but I didn't see it that way.  He likes saying what's on his mind, but I think....sometimes it's good to have a "filter" - to keep you from saying things that really shouldn't be said.  He said he told his psychiatrist that he was saying what was on his mind, and his doctor said that was a normal change for the medication.  I can't be there in the office and explain for Mark exactly what he is doing, just like I don't allow him to come to the psychiatrist with me (unless I am very depressed and have needed him to describe it).  I have to allow him to be who he is on this new medication, like it or not, just like he does for me when I try medications, and he dislikes what they do to me. 

I'm worried I'm failing in school.  It's like I'm clinging to hope - I'm listening to contemporary Christian music on satellite radio in the car, I'm not sure what it is I'm searching for, but there's an emptiness that I'm trying to fill.  Is it the feeling of failure?  Lack of closeness of friends? 

I don't know what the answer is, if it's the season and I'm missing my childhood extended family, or what it would take to make me feel complete.  There must be something, but what?  I pray about it, if it's God in my life, then I'm actively searching for that, too.

I Hate New Meds

Oh my.  I'm so glad to be able to type this entry after yesterday!

I did exactly what my doctor told me to do after my last visit - stop the Geodon, and take 1 10 mg Saphris before bed, and if I wake up again in the middle of the night like I always do, take another.

Saphris was great - put me out within minutes of taking it, and I woke up at 1:30am.  Went downstairs, took another one, and was out again right away. 

I woke up at around 5 am, went for breakfast (I always eat 2 yogurts from McDonalds), got ready for school, and drove in.  That's when I realized something wasn't right.  I was a bit dizzy if I stopped the car too suddenly and just in general.

I was almost to school and noticed it was getting worse not better and had to make a judgement call, and so I went home.  I was so mad at myself, I wasn't really sick enough to NOT go to school, but I was afraid of what might happen if I did and my symptoms started to worsen.  I was convinced I was having Geodon withdrawals.

When I went home I went to bed, and woke up at noon to run to the bathroom and get sick.  That was the beginning of my nightmare.  I was so dizzy, getting sick about every hour, it would just make me feel better for about 10-15 minutes and then I'd feel awful again.

I called my doctor's office 3 times and he never called me back.  I called the pharmacy who told me they didn't know the withdrawal effects of Geodon, but the side effects of Saphris was nausea and vomiting.  I'd taken Saphis before so I didn't think that was it, but I'd never taken 2 in one night, only 1.

Finally it was 6:30p and I called my doctor on his after hours cell phone and told him what happened and he told me it was the Saphris and to stop taking it, but I didn't believe him.  I told him it was the Geodon because I had found posts on the internet where people had the same symptoms as mine for withdrawals, but he said no, Saphris wasn't the drug for me, and asked if I was still getting sick.  He seemed a bit rushed, but I could tell I called him on the way home in his car - I didn't care though.  It was the sickest I'd been since I can remember!

So when we got off the phone, I took a Geodon and went back to bed.  The only reason I hadn't taken one yet is because if it were withdrawal symptoms, I wanted to ride it out, I would have to go through them eventually and now was as good as time as ever.  I laid there waiting to feel better, and actually thought I did for awhile.  Your mind can be a powerful thing, convincing yourself of something that isn't true.  Eventually I was up getting sick again.  My doctor and the pharmacist were right - it was the Saphris.  I had been wrong all along.

I took 3 klonipin, and maybe it was just the timing, maybe it was the klonipin, but I actually fell asleep and woke up not as dizzy.  I went to the corner store and bought some ice cream in hopes the milk would help my stomach and it felt so incredibly empty, took my nighttime meds, and went back to bed.

Mark called from Chicago after going out to dinner with his friends to see how I was feeling, and I suppose the drugs really took effect because my stomach had been so empty and I couldn't form words to tell him what had happened.  He said we'd talk tomorrow when I was still trying to tell him it was the Saphris I think, I really don't remember.

So Saphris is out, and now I'm reluctant to try another drug for concentration.  Do you blame me?  I missed a day of school and during the whole ordeal, I had no idea when I'd be able to go back.  Luckily today is Veteran's Day and we have the day off.  I thought I'd be so bored, now I'm just glad I feel okay. 

Saphris, Not AGAIN!

I went to my psychiatrist today to get refills and tell him about my problem of studying at home - how I can't sit still long enough to do it.  He makes me so mad sometimes. 

He asked if I was taking Saphris, and I said no, but I couldn't remember why.  There are SO MANY drugs I have been on that I can't possibly remember why I  have stopped each and every one.  I made a guess and said that it might have been because I was waking up at 2:30 in the morning still.  I knew it was somewhere in my blog, but I couldn't exactly tell him that.  I don't want him to find this blog somehow and know what I REALLY think of him.  All he has to do is search for "psychiatrist with a twinkie on his forehead" and BAM, he's got my blog.  Although it does seem to me he's had some sort of surgery and the twinkie like growth is much reduced.  I find myself able to stare in his eyes now without worrying that he's thinking I'm looking at his twinkie.

So now I go back in my blog, and see I gained weight on Saphris, which he KNOWS that's an automatic "no way" kind of medication for me.  I researched the internet for Saphris and weight gain, and saw it was a common side effect - 14.7% of people gain 7% of their body weight or more.  Are you freaking kidding me? 

So that's probably why he said stop the Geodon, also an anti-psychotic and weight gainer, and start the Saphris, I think he said last time he thought one would even out the other hunger/weight wise, but I never did stop the Geodon last time. 

What to do, what to do, do I take this medicine or do I not?  Is it true, that it's my "bipolar mind" that makes my skin crawl and keeps me from studying when I'm all by myself at home, perhaps racing thoughts?  Makes sense, I can't sleep either without a ton of Unisom, but that's not the answer I wanted.  I wanted something that would help me focus and get me to practice and keep me practicing which I can't seem to do. 

I just remembered, I forgot to ask him for the name of a therapist.  I thought maybe that was an alternative answer - to work on my motivation perhaps - maybe that would be the answer. 

It's not as simple as discipline, I simply can't sit still for any length of time and practice by myself on my machine.  At school in a class I have no problem, but without distractions, it's horrible.   I try, but I find myself looking at the clock, wondering what Mark is doing, thinking about  how long I've been practicing, fidgeting, wondering if I can remove the arms on my chair, just anything and everything bothers me.  I can't FOCUS.  Yet it's weird, it doesn't happen at school, unless it's A&P and the teacher is talking about cells.  UGH.

It seems to me like I have an ADHD issue, but without Geoden, maybe I won't have a weight gain problem.  I'll try this for a week, one week is all I'll give it, and see what happens.  Besides, I read in my blog I wasn't even doing my homework when I was on Saphris last time, it DEmotivated me.  I skipped a day of school, too. 

I can't afford to go very long and gain weight and lose what little focus I have.  One week, and that's it.

Personality Change

My husband started taking medication for ADHD as he's been unable to concentrate at work, and his personality has totally changed!  I wouldn't necessarily say for the better, but I wouldn't say for the worse either.  There are good and bad things about it.  But what it's made me realize is...this is how he feels when I go through mood changes?  When I try a new medication, if I'm hypomanic or depressed all of a sudden, this is what it is like living with someone when their personality totally changes seemingly overnight?  It's difficult to live with, I don't know how he has done it for so many years.  It makes me feel unstable, what will he do next?  What will he say next?  What will he feel next?  Will he want to break up, what is he thinking?  Because I honestly do not know.  I know that sounds like I'm a bit insecure, but one night he probably said no less than 10 times to me "you don't love me".  He just said it over and over again, and he keeps talking about how he wants "romantic love".  We've actually raised our voices over his newfound issues!  But I can't say that he's doing anything that I've never done before, out of the blue.  I'm famous for saying "we have nothing in common", usually when I want to do something and he doesn't want to do it, and wanting to talk it out, how does that make him feel I wonder, I never thought about it. 

I asked him if he was going to tell his psychiatrist about the issues his medication was having on him.  He asked me if I'd ever told my psychiatrist about any negative concerns he'd had with any of my medications, when I thought the medication was working for me.  I guess I didn't.  He hated Seroquel for 9 years, and for 9 years, I took it and didn't tell my doctor I wrecked my car, I couldn't make it to work in the mornings, I fell asleep with food in my mouth on the couch at night, or that my spouse had real concerns about my using the medication. 

It's really difficult to watch - someone you know and love to go through such a personality change.  But now I know what it's like, how it feels to have someone close to you change so drastically.  It's unsettling when the person you thought you knew so well, all of sudden, you can't predict what they're going to do, say, or think. 

He's my rock, but it's only fair that I be his for a change.

Orphan

I will try not to make this a political entry, but it all started because of politics, so I don't know how to keep it from being one.

My father is the farthest left leaning liberal you can ever imagine.  He will actually go to the Republican primaries in his state and vote for the least worthy candidates, registering himself as a Republican to try and get the worst possible candidates on the ballot for Republicans, thus hoping to get a win for Democrats.  I think that's quite devious, the Republicans should get to choose their candidates, as should the Democrats, but he thinks he's so smart.

So I was a Democrat too, for many years, but came from one side of my family being staunch Republicans, and the other being solid Democrats, so I was exposed to both.  My father and I only exchanged emails, for many years, about politics, we discussed hardly anything else.  We had no relationship without politics and email.

So when Obama started doing things I didn't agree with, I did what I always do, voiced my opinions with him and expected him to accept them, he never had done anything other than that before.  My mistake - my views had never conflicted with his own, and I found how intolerable and stubborn he was.  He called me so many names, even telling me I wasn't a Christian, that I blocked him from my email list.  I told him first that I did, but really didn't, but then he called me a LOSER, so I blocked his email "for real" after that.  I don't think he thought I would get his email because I told him he was blocked.  Doesn't matter, calling your daughter a loser for her political beliefs or any reason seems unthinkable to me.

So now many of the people in the United States have used their voice to show their discontent with the road our country is on, including me, and I want to tell him "see?  I'm not the only one!" but I can't.  It would appear that he's cut off communication from me as well after I lit into him for calling him for calling me a loser and telling him I received that email.

So many people have at least one caring parent, why was I dealt with two failures as parents?  My dad even told me one time he was sorry that I had been given the hand I was by way of parents.  Therapists I've gone to have shaken their heads at me when I tell them about my parents, how uncaring and selfish they are.  I would love nothing more than to have a real relationship with either of my parents, I so long for that, but they are children themselves that can't even take care of their own emotional needs, how would they not just drain me dry while I parent them?  And they have, they are too much for me, I've cut my mother out of my life, and now my father. 

I see people mourn the loss of a parent when they pass away, what about someone who's parents are still alive, yet they might as well be dead to them?  I didn't choose my parents, but I did choose not be belittled and abused by them.  If my Dad wanted a relationship, and I've told him this, he could always call me.  But has he?  No, and this has been since February, almost a year.  He doesn't care about me, his own stubborness is worth the loss of a non-existent relationship of his daughter.  His answer was to send me Michael Moore DVD's to "enlighten me", which I told him I promptly through in the trash without viewing.  He said that was the most caring thing he could ever do for me, to show me the truth.  I said I wasn't interested in propaganda.

So if I am no longer a liberal, I'm a centrist, I don't deserve his love?  But did I ever really have it?  Political views volleyed back and forth is hardly a caring relationship. 

I know my parents are alive, but I feel like an orphan.  When they pass away, I will have no regrets about getting to know them.  I have no intention, if they ask, of caring for them in their old age.  We are strangers, this is the path they chose, not me.  I doubt my other half siblings will be in a financial place to care for them, so that leaves me, I doubt that either parent is thrifty enough to be saving for retirement, but that was their choice too. 

What is so wrong with me that my own parents cannot love or accept me?  Why am I the adult over my parents?  I would wonder if I was just taking it too far if therapists hadn't confirmed to me that I was doing was the right thing, and one therapist was the one who TOLD me to cut my mother out of my life.  But should put up with the abuse for the sake of a relationship with my mother and/or father?  The therapists think severing the ties with my mother forever is best, and with my father, for now is best.

With my father, it's a chess game, and it's his move.  But I don't think he'll take it.  He's already said I've disappointed him, no matter what else I've accomplished in my life, over my current political views. 

Mark's parents and family are awesome, I can't imagine coming from a family that loves you and accepts you as much as his does, and they do of me as well.  It shows me what a true family is supposed to be like, and I've never had that. 

I know there are some who will violently disagree with me "but that's your mother, that's your father, you should work on a relationship no matter what", but when does enough become enough?  How many times do you try to have a relationship with someone that pushes you away and obviously doesn't care if you have one, ever?  To many parents, that probably seems unfathomable, I'm not a parent, but if I had a child, I cannot imagine doing that to them. 

It's sad, but I really am an orphan with both parents still alive.  And I'm okay with that - better to stay emotionally stable then get hurt and depressed because my parents reject me.   

Trip to San Antonio

Mark and I went to San Antonio for 3 days, as that was what I wanted for our 3 year anniversary.  He still sent flowers and gave me the sweetest card. 

Once we arrived, I hadn't planned anything to do for the rest of the day, and suddenly Mark felt pressure to find something for us to do.  We both felt pressure to have fun and were walking around the Riverwalk, and finally I said let's just chill and sit down and have a drink.  So we did, and I drank a couple of glasses of wine AND a shot, so not me. 

While we were sitting there, they had a Halloween parade on boats down the Riverwalk which was interesting, but I suggested we go to a Comedy Club that I had seen on the way.

When they were seating us, I noticed there was only one table left in the front, right in front of the comedians, and that's where they sat us.  I thought "oh no, we're going to get heckled!", but it turned out ok.  People were dressed for Halloween so we were safe. : )  One comedian told me he loved my laugh, and the last comedian was from New York and asked everyone if they watched Jersey Shore.  I'd had 2 more drinks and another shot by then, so I readily admitted it.  He started going off about it, but thank God it wasn't directed at me.

He ended up being the worst tranquilist I'd ever seen. Not that he wasn't funny - he was, but his lips moved when he was talking for the dummy as much as when he was talking for himself.  Mark and I laughed about that as much as we did the jokes.  It was hard not to watch him instead of the dummies.  A couple of times I thought "omg, that dummy is looking straight at me, he's going to say something about me", then thought "duh, he's a dummy". 

Because I drank so much, I snored a LOT and LOUD and Mark didn't bring his earplugs, apparently he's stopped using them.  I woke myself up because I was snoring even, and realized how bad it was.  I rolled over and went back to sleep, so I hope I didn't snore anymore.  I heard a lot about it for the rest of the trip.

The next day, we went to Fiesta, TX (on Halloween), which is a cool place to go, then we went to our anniversary dinner at this remote place on a Farm and Country road.  The food was great, wine was better, and atmosphere was so romantic.  I checked the score of the Texas Rangers on my iphone when Mark was at the table (I know, bad me), and again when he left for the bathroom.  I mean really, the Rangers were in the World Series, how could I not be curious!  When I was checking it once, the waiter even asked me what the score was (he knew were were from Dallas)!

Memories - that's what I wanted for my anniversary, not anything material that Mark could give me.  Memories stay with you forever, usually a material item loses its novelty over time (except my Rolex). 

I never made it to the drugstore to buy more Unisom so I could sleep without Seroquel, so I ended up taking probably less than 25mg per night to sleep.  Even the slightest bit makes me so hungry the next day, I eat way too much proportion wise, and then I start thinking about the next meal.  I bought more Unisom today, so we'll see how I sleep tonight.  It's been raining all day, so hopefully it will help me drift off to sleep.

I've got to get to the psychiatrist and ask for a referral for a therapist so she can help me with school, motivation wise.  I just don't practice at home, and I know I'm not motivated because I'm not the "best" from my starting class in January.  That's just how I've always been - all or nothing.  There are only 3 of 15 of us left in school onground (they have an online class too), so that's just 1/5 of my class.  They say court reporting school is very hard, and it is.  The hardest thing I've ever done.  Why can't I just be better at it?  I totally don't understand. 

Seroquel - Why Did I Start Taking It Again???

I recorded my weight for the first time since 10/1/10, and found I have gained 6 pounds since then.  I weighed 161 then, I weight 167 now.  Most of it is that damned Seroquel the new (former) psychiatrist told me I could start taking again at a low dose and I wouldn't gain any weight!  I should have known better, I know my body better than anyone, and my old (and now again my current) psychiatrist would have NEVER told me to go back on Seroquel at any dosage level because of the weight gain.  I explained all of this to her - the new psychiatrist - but she just brushed it aside and said I needed to stop taking Unisom.  Well give me something that works then!  No one seems willing to help me with my sleeping problem.  I'm back to Unisom again, and not sleeping well.

Mark's company went through lay-offs yesterday, and although he felt pretty secure, you never know about these things.  Another Director had to lay off one of his employees because Mark does not reside in the same town as that employee, and it was a horror story, I felt so bad for the person.  When he was told by Mark's friend that his employment was being terminated (or whatever verbage they use), he started crying uncontrollably, saying all he has is work, he has no friends or family.  Mark has laid off quite a few people in his career, and he said for a man to start crying like that is a pretty big deal.  I guess they are going to get him some counseling and whatever else they can do to help him.  My heart broke when I heard that.  The package they are giving is quite generous, but this is a bad time to be looking for a job.  I feel so lucky that Mark still has a job, I think he does too, although he's leading projects going into 2014.

With all that news, it made me so anxious to get out of school.  Who knows what the future will bring?  I may only have a short window to attend school full time while we don't need an extra income, I shouldn't be so lazy in practicing.  I need help motivating myself though.  I think I'll ask my psychiatrist for the name of a therapist when I go see him next time and find out why I'm not more motivated, and how to get that way.

Mark sent flowers for our anniversary last Tuesday and we went to dinner, he also gave me the sweetest card.  We're going out of town to celebrate as well, and I'm really looking forward to it!  I'm going to miss one day of school, but we have a lot of days we can miss without repercussions.  I already picked out the perfect French restaurant for our "official" anniversary dinner, and a few activities to do while we're there.  I've left a lot of down time though, so we can lounge around or do whatever Mark wants to do.  We're driving for about 5 hours, and being a passenger in a car always puts me to sleep on road trips.  Mark doesn't allow me to sleep, he thinks if he has to be awake, so should I, and he wants the company.  He'll go as far as swerving to wake me up if I start to doze off.  It's really not fair, I have nothing to do!

It's starting to get cold here, I wore flip flops to school yesterday, and when I walked out of the building, I thought that maybe that hadn't been such a good idea.  Where I live, we only have 2 seasons:  Summer and Winter.  This would be the short Fall that seems to last about a week before winter hits.  And by Winter, I mean temperatures in the 40's, 50's or so.  I think.  It's hard to remember what Winter is like, it's so short.

I'm really tired, but it's time to get ready for school.  At least it's a Friday, but now not only do I FEEL fat, I KNOW I am from the scale.  And now I have to go on a trip knowing this as well.  I just hope I fit into my dress clothes for our anniversary dinner. 

Changes - How Do You Know If They're Good?

Since I started taking 33-50mg of Seroquel at night to sleep again, it has helped me sleep, but it has hindered me in school. I have been skipping my first class to sleep more, and some days, not going to school at all so I can sleep all morning. It's not the answer, and you really can't take LESS than 33mg of Seroquel, I don't think you could see it on the counter, and I don't think I could cut a 100mg tablet any smaller. 25mg is such a tiny difference that I don't think it's worth wasting my time trying. And my eating habits have been HORRENDOUS. I think I've gained 5 pounds!


So tonight I went back to Gabapentin - I just took two 300mg capsules, I hope it does *something*. Even waking up at 3:30 in the morning every day would be better than missing school, being demovitated and not practicing at all, just going through the motions of going to school. I'm putting in no extra effort. On the upside, my mood is better, I'm happier, I'm more outgoing, yet at what cost?

I think I'll go back to my old psychiatrist. The new one that is a therapist AND a psychiatrist really isn't doing anything for me. She is keeping me on the same medications, not even offering to write new prescriptions for me and expecting a mail-in pharmacy to fax her refill notifications for my current meds which I know they won't do. They'll want new prescriptions from a new doctor. I've tried explaining this to her as they've even told me they won't fax ANY refill requests to doctors (as they're mail-in for 3 month supplies with refills), but she just brushes it off, and I don't want to argue with her. It just seems easier to go back to my old doctor who knows the "system", sends electronic requests on his computer while I'm sitting in front of him, and then ask him for the name of a therapist if I decide I want to see one.

But now that I've been to another doctor, it makes me realize how dysfunctional my other psychiatrist is. Not to criticize someone's cleanliness, I mean, I can be sloppy, but her office was decorated like it was in a magazine, his office is like on television - on a "hoarding" show, no joke. He has a very small office with boxes, stacks of papers, drug samples in displays just laying on the floor hapharzadly. Even on his desk, he has an overflowing container of paperclips that I just want to do something with! His desk is littered with paper, and from all accounts, he seems like a paperless person. He's very high tech.

I don't know, he's treated me for over 9 years now, giving up that certainy and trust is a big thing to do. I don't like him as a person, he's very anti-social, but doctors aren't supposed to be your "friend". Mark doesn't like him, but he was wrong about him keeping me overmedicated - the other psychiatrist wants to keep me on the same medication, and even re-added Seroquel, which my first psychiatrist told me to stop taking. I told her why he told me, and she said I wouldn't gain weight on 50mg. I'm not surprised she was wrong, he would have told me she was wrong, but he just seems more up to date on medication, and she seems to trust his medical opinion mostly, so why wouldn't I stay with him instead of her?

Mark and I did the coolest thing we've done in a long time. A very nearby city was having an arts and music festival, they're a very small town so it was a small deal, but it rained that day and the vendors went home as well as the musical acts canceled. It stopped raining, so we went and had dinner and hoped that the bands would play since the weather improved. The grass was muddy and wet and we didn't bring chairs, but somehow Mark snagged 2 under tents, SCORE! Only one band stuck around all day to see if the weather would clear, and they turned out be pretty good! So it was this very small audience of maybe 20-30 people getting a live performance from a group that has opened for John Mayer and other big artists. It was actually better than the headliner Little Texas who canceled, because we really don't like country music, and were surprised that they played music we would actually listen to on the radio. I bought a CD of theirs at the end - the first physical CD I've bought in years! But the actual group was so kind hearted, and on facebook, I read their profiles, and found that most of them are Christians, and can see that in the lyrics of their music, even though their not Christian artists. I hope they make it big one day, although they're not doing too bad right now!

My hairstylist shattered my dreams and told me that the length of my hair now was a good length for me, when I was planning on growing it out until I finished school. I guess I could change hairstylists and find someone who would let me grow out my hair, I know, I'm the customer, if I say I want to grow out my hair he should let me, but I don't know what is age appropriate either. But I have very fine hair, and not a lot of it, he said one person that works their that has hair like mine gets hair extensions sewed into her hair, or I could buy hair extensions and he would show me how to use them. So I bought them but they didn't match my hair when I got home, they actually looked horrendous, and they were $100. I don't know if you can take back hair and get a refund, it's actual human hair. I have blonde hair, but it seems like he's doing it darker and darker, I mean, I know he's in his 20's, but does he think I'm ancient? It's like my psychiatrist, I've used him for so long that I trust him, but maybe it's time to try someone new except I really like this place, it's one of the top salons in the country, and I don't see how I could go there and go to a different stylist and see him hanging out there.

Whew, it seems like I've typed forever nonstop, I was talking to Mark on the phone while I was typing and he asked me why I kept talking and talking, maybe it's the Gabapentin, I don't know. Guess I'll see if I can sleep now, wish me luck dear blog : )

Couple Counseling

Mark and I went to the psychotherapist on Thursday, and while nothing was completely decided, we basically all agreed that having a natural born child right now isn't what we wanted.  Well, hmmm...what I want?  No one can say that is not what *I* want, but is it best?  The doctor (I don't know what to call her, she's a psychiatrist, she's a therapist, IDK?) doesn't come out and say "I recommend you do not get pregnant", I mean, what therapist ever really tells you what to do, and she made that perfectly clear that that was not her giving me advice.  But she did say she was convinced I had a chemical imbalance that required drug treatment after I saw her the first time, there were anti-depressants that she could treat me with while pregnant but nothing for mood stabilization which I needed.  I don't understand what I could have told her that makes her think I need "mood stabilization" SO MUCH.  I mean, is it true?  Yes.  But I didn't tell her hardly anything that would be considered a bipolar/manic symptom! 

She asked us a lot of questions about our relationship and how we felt about children, I learned a lot about Mark actually.  I always feel like I'm "barely meeting requirements" when it comes to effort in our relationship, and then he goes and tells her for effort he puts into the relationship, he gets it back from me 10 fold.  I was just stunned, and she asked me what I was thinking so I told her, and he was like ok right, well, so I always have a list of things that needs to get done, and she said well "sometimes a girl needs to hear how you feel..." in a really cute way.  I had no idea he felt that way, he always makes me feel I'm just barely "cutting it" when it comes to our relationship. 

The more we talked, the more I really saw that Mark wants our relationship to be just us, no children, not even a pet, just him and me.  I told him I felt so isolated, but that's how I really see how he wants it.  He never came out and said that, but he's said he doesn't want children, he doesn't want a pet, so what does he want?  Just us.  Doesn't he ever feel that gets lonely?  I think he's afraid of losing someone close to him, the way we lost our dog, he's still not over that.  I brought it up, and he almost couldn't talk because he got choked up.  The therapist was really nice about it, she said pets are like small children that never grow up and then die, and he agreed, while I'm left thinking hello?  So no child?  No dog?  No anything?  I don't want to break Mark's heart when something he loves is ripped away from him, and he sometimes argues that he is going to die before me because he doesn't want me to die first and he be left alone, but at least he has his family, I have no one.  He tells me I have his family too, but it's not the same. 

So I go to the therapist/psychiatrist on Monday after school (by myself), and I think it's pretty much up to me how often I want to go, I mean, within reason.  She's not like my last psychiatrist and will let me get away with going once a year.  I guess we'll probably talk about how often on Monday, but last time she said when would you like to come in?  1, 2, 3 weeks from now?  It's not like anything is pressing.  And she's keeping me on all my medications I'm currently taking from my current/last psychiatrist, she said she'll just fax in or call in refills when I need them. 

So this whole therapeutic relationship with a doctor is something I haven't had in a long time.  We'll see how it goes.  I could use help with motivation studying for school.

And go Texas Rangers!  I've been watching all the games on television, hoping they make it to the World Series!  I'd love to go to an intown game, but there's no way I'd get tickets.  Poor Mark, he hates sports but has stayed in the room while I watch baseball, just played on his computer.  He made me laugh when I was cheering once and said "did they get a touchdown?" I tried not to laugh too hard because I could tell he was starting to get embarrassed.  The roles are so reversed between us sometimes, me watching sports, him calling a run scored in baseball a "touchdown".  But watching baseball the last few days has brought up a lot of memories of my stepdad coaching my softball team, and while they're good memories, any memories of him can only seem bad.   

Sleep for Goodness Sake!!!

My appointment with my psychiatrist/psychotherapist is in 2 days, and I still don't know what I'm going to tell her about having children.  Do I want to?  Do I not want to?  I don't know.  I could actually be pregnant NOW, I won't know until Saturday or Sunday.  But Mark is going with me and can say he doesn't want children, that he doesn't want to take that away from me and get her reaction to that.  I go back and forth, one moment I'm certain that having children is probably not a good idea, but when children are out of the picture for me for the rest of my life, I think of all I could be missing out on and then I want them again.  I'm pretty sure from our discussion last week she thinks she's convinced me not to have children, that I've gone home and thought about all she said about being a childless couple and how great that can be, and how difficult I would be to treat during pregnancy, etc., etc.  I just don't want her shaking her head with disappoval at me again, although that was just when I was talking about my childhood really, I think.  She kind of scares me, but really, I was in a vulnerable position.  I was opening up my deepest darkest secrets to a complete stranger to be judged, good or bad, and that can only leave someone feeling horrible. 

I started taking Seroquel again, first 50mg, then that that was too much, then 33mg, then that was not enough, now tonight I took 50mg and my mind is just racing, and that was 2 hours ago.  Mark said I talked nonstop when he turned the television off and didn't stop, but I attributed that to my not liking the house to be quiet.  He kept telling me to stop wiggling in bed so he could sleep, so I finally just got up.  I was laying there with my eyes wide open, the thoughts coming and coming anyway.

The first night I took Seroquel was great, but I had a hard time getting to school the next day, I may have missed my first class.  But I was very happy, I got home, took a leisurely bath for our Friday night date-night, did my hair and makeup which I don't always do and changed out of my school clothes, and was very chirpy and giggly all night.  Mark said it was nice to see me happy, he wished he had a "happy pill", as he attributed it to the Seroquel.  I *have* been happier, but also more passionate, too, it comes with a price.  I mean, here I sit, my stomach churning about the November 2 election, school tomorrow, just any little thought and it has me riled up.  I can't seem to stop the racing thoughts, yes, I know that sounds like mania (hypomania in my case, I don't really get full blown manias, so it's hard to judge one, I don't go out and buy tractors like the guy in the psych ward did, LOL).  If I'm hypomanic, I'm just more excitable, sometimes more happy than normal, I get more irritated, agitated, and it won't go away, I make bad judgement calls (which hasn't happened), which is my biggest downfall about being hypomanic. 

I really just want to calm down and go to sleep, but that seems impossible without taking more mediciation.  Last night I took 5 Klonipin on top of everything else, but I had to sleep. 

Mark made an appointment for himself with a psychiatrist.  I'm glad he's finally doing something, not that I think that drugs are always the answer.  He could have started with regular therapy and see where that led which I've suggested many times, but he's not interested in talking just to talk.  He has some deep dark secrets as a child, being bullied in school, that he's never shared with me and we've been together for 13 years.  I just know they've happened and they've greatly affected him, but it's like he's too shamed to tell me about it.  I've gently asked, never nagged or pushed, but he always brushes me aside and cuts the conversation short. 

Sleep is so evasive for me.  When I want it, it doesn't come.  When I can't have it, like when my alarm goes off, I want it.  I finally have a doctor who agrees that sleep is important, but I still can't get sleep.  I'm not sure what to do at this point.  Taking any more Seroquel than I'm taking will surely ensure I can't drive to school in the morning as well as make me put on weight.

Psychotherapist Visit

I went to the new psychiatrist today that my OB/GYN referred me to, and found out she's also a psychotherapist.  Such a change from my grunting, not even making eye contact, psychiatrist.  She made a point, I don't have a therapeutic relationship with him.  I never considered that, but have always wanted one.  He just wants to know how I'm doing on my meds, end of story.  He prescribes 11 months of refills, and expects me to call if I have any problems.  She was shocked when I told her that.  Also, because I'm taking Unisom every night and still waking up at 3:30 in the morning, she said that was bad for me and asked if I wanted her to call in some Seroquel for sleep.  I told her I had some, so she told me to cut it to 50mg and I won't gain weight, but to stop the Unisom and I needed sleep.  I'm actually relieved.  Sleep?  And if I sleep through the night?  What is THAT?  I won't believe it until it actually happens.

She may be 72 (I know because of the Texas medical board website), but she's as sharp as a tack.  It was so incredibly painful talking about how I became *me*, it started out with a simple enough but loaded open ended question "so tell me what you were like as a child".  That led to abusive stepfather, controlling exhusband, mother cut out of my life, protective order against my exboyfriend, and now father cut out of my life.  With lots of details in between.  It didn't hit me until I was on my way home all I had told her and then I burst into uncontrollable tears.  I just don't like to think about those things, let alone talk about them.  I went to counseling for years, and then group therapy to learn HOW to talk about it to other people and validate that yes, it really was that bad.  I don't need someone to shake their head like it was so awful what I've been through to prove to me it was, I know it was.  I just don't want to relive it, to talk about it, that's what my 20's were for.  I'm past that, I don't want to bring up again, why does it have to keep coming up?  I guess that's what I'm faced with for the rest of my life.  "Tell me what you were like as a child".

So....without coming straight out and saying it, I don't think she thinks Mark and I should have children, that couples are perfectly happy without them for whatever reasons they decide.  She named my medications, the complications of coming off of so many drugs, how balanced I would be in pregnancy by changing them, my sleep issues, the fact that Mark doesn't want kids and how that would affect our relationship.  She went on about the ease of life of NOT having children, so you can see where she was going with this.

But she began by saying "so why do you want to have a child?", and the thing is, I didn't have an exact answer.  Because I thought I should...I always thought I would....things like that, not really good answers.  She said if I had come to her and said both my husband and I want a child and are looking forward to it, then she would understand changing meds and having me come in weekly for checkups, but that wasn't the case.

She asked me to think about what we'd talked about, and call tomorrow to make another appointment for next week, and to bring Mark if I wanted.  I would very much like to bring Mark.  If we decide not to have kids, I want it to be a joint decision.  I don't want it to all be on me, I want us to say "hey, as a couple, we've chosen not to have children".  I want Mark to say to her that he is letting me make the decision, because she won't let him off the hook with that, that he's not part of the equation, but I can't make him see that.  She brought up how this would change our relationship, and we have a great relationship, the most important one and positive one I've ever had in my life, I wouldn't jeopardize that for anything in the world.

I called Mark on my way home, and in the middle of talking, I just broke down, it all hit me what I had said about my childhood, and I couldn't talk for a few minutes, I was crying.  But I finally got it together (even though now I have a monster headache), and had Mark check his calendar for next week, and he said he would go with me to therapy.  I know she will help him recognize the importance of his own decision to have children, that he can't just leave it all up to me, even if my OB/GYN says that's ok, he'll change his mind later.  He's never wanted kids, has never been shy about telling me he doesn't, so why would he change his mind? 

On top of that, he's 34 and thinks he has the symptoms of a mid-life crisis.  He studied the symptoms with how he feels in life on the internet, and says it's the same, minus physical attributes like loss of energy and anything sexual.  He's been very unhappy with his "place in life" lately (work wise mainly, even though I see him as very successful, especially for his age), but he's never been exactly HAPPY with it, I've always considered it the hazards of a highly ambitious person.  And he is the most ambitious person I've ever met.

We went to see the Social Network last weekend, and he was down on himself and upset for days because he felt that should have been HIM, he was the one that should have had an innovation early in life and been a billionaire by now, that's what he'd always expected of himself, and anything else by comparison makes him a failure.  I can't imagine trying to live up to a Bill Gates, Mark Cuban, or Mark Zuckerberg.  I have no words to make him feel better, his expectations are what they are, and he feels cheated for some reason.  While I see him as successful, as do others, he sees himself as a failure. 

Maybe it's a mid-life crisis, maybe it's an identity crisis, I don't know.  But he won't go to counseling, I've tried (except with me next week) - hey, I wonder if I can somehow work this into the conversation, hmmm.

Doctors at War

I went to my OB/GYN today to tell her what I was doing in regards to my psych medications, and she said she just couldn't go along with it.  I gave her all the printouts my psychiatrist gave me in regards to birth defects while pregnant and the medications I take, but she said everything she's ever known or heard was NOT to take what I'm taking.  The thing is - Mark agrees, he's done his own little research on the internet on the drugs I take and has come to the same conclusion.  Yet my psychiatrist has treated me for 9 years.

Mark and my OB/GYN are right, I know they are, what's a few months of "possible" emotional instability, I mean, from my viewpoint, who knows I'll even have any, in the scheme of things - the lifetime of a child.  Mark is now worried because we had sex without any protection (just once during possible ovulation time), but I thought it was okay, my psychiatrst had said so.

So I'm going to the psychiatrist that my OB/GYN trusts the most, the 72 year old psychiatrist that I totally blew off her appointment last Friday.  I called to schedule another first time appointment today, and the receptionist really chewed me out for skipping out on on the first one.  But this psychiatrist doesn't know my history,  I have no symptoms now, how do I tell her what I have when I don't have it right now?  I even question what I've had in the past.  I just know it's been really bad, when suicidal thoughts come, they come fast and hard with no warning.  It's like going from a sunny day and then boom, the sky is dark with an ominous black cloud above you that won't leave and  you wonder about your very existence.  It's the worst feeling ever.  My current psychiatrist knows how depressed I get because I was able to articulate it when I was in an episode, how do I tell someone new when I'm not feeling anything?  Is saying "I was in a psych ward 9 years ago for being suicidal" enough?  That my dad tried to commit suicide about 3 years ago and my aunt DID commit suicide, with my uncle's death in question?

Maybe that begs the question - should I even have a baby?  How do I know how sick I really am without going off meds or trying different ones that are more safe? 

Why does life have to be so complicated?

I guess it doesn't matter, if I *do* get pregnant, or if I don't and stop trying in August, it's not that long. 

And I've always wondered if I'm being overmedicated anyway....

Psych Visit

I went to my second appointment with my current psychiatrist, and he spent a considerable more amount of time with me trying to figure out if there were other drugs besides the ones that I was taking that would be better for pregnancy than my current ones.

I was the only one in the waiting room when I went in to talk with him, but we spent so much time discussing drugs and him doing a lot of research and printing out documentation for me to keep that when I went out, every single seat in his waiting room was full.  I really appreciated him taking the time to help me with what drugs would work for conceiving/pregnancy and possible birth defects.

Every drug that my OB/GYN told me NOT to take, he said that he could not think nor find a drug that would be better than I was taking to treat my symptoms in regards to fetus birth defects, and just could not find any studies done where fetuses were harmed from them.  I have the documentation, and he printed one out to show me what he was looking for, a drug that I am NOT taking, and it said very clearly that it was not to be taken during pregnancy and the % for birth defects due to the drug.  Yet the ones I take, there was just not enough information and what had been done, nothing had been found to conclusively say that they would cause birth defects during pregnancy.  In fact, they said there was no adverse reactions to the small number of women that had been observed. 

The list of drugs my OB/GYN had given me that I could take, he said, were the wrong medications for me.  They wouldn't treat my symptoms.  He said it was like someone telling me I need to get more socialization, and telling me to go to Muslim groups, or African American groups, it just wouldn't be the right answer for my problem.

But then he did what my OB/GYN does when she plays psychiatrist, he told me to take x # of milligrams of folic acid to prevent birth defects.  Well duh.  Neither of them should be giving me advice for the other's expertise. 

He said I had been doing so well lately, what would the % be that I would develop a serious mental illness without my medications, and how would that help me if I were pregnant?

He was very convincing, I must say.  But both doctors are so far apart on the spectrum.  My OB/GYN doesn't know my mental health history, and my psychiatrist thinks a risk of less than 1% if that is even the risk could be worth it. 

He said no one reports when something DOES NOT happen, it only gets reported and studies are done when something adverse happens.  Pregnant women aren't used as guinea pigs I don't think.  Dogs maybe, but not pregnant women.

When I got back home I told Mark who was less than pleased and looked them all up AGAIN on the internet, but this time, he read exactly what my psychiatrist had said.  There just wasn't enough research done on the subject, but no problems had been encountered.  That didn't mean that they didn't warn against it, just that they didn't have the information.

I don't think I'll go to the other psychiatrist now, I do not want to go through an hour of bringing up my past from my childhood to today, I don't remember all the drugs I've taken, and like I've said, she's 72 years old.  I'm not an agist, but I doubt she's a researcher like my current doctor.  He practices so he can research, not to get rich, I find articles all the time when I search for his name on the internet of studies he's done.  Too bad they weren't on pregnancy.

Mark got his sperm results back today - he's totally fine, and they faxed his results to my OB/GYN.  But they never asked him if they could do that, they just did it.  I was shocked, isn't there some sort of patient/doctor confidentiality?  Even if it's to another doctor? 

He did the funniest thing that made me laugh so hard.  The doctor had given him 2 sample containers and told him one was in case the results didn't come out well.  Well he thought he needed to ejaculate once into both containers, and was really having a hard time trying to figure out how to do this.  He went to turn in his sperm sample, and the lab worker asked if it was 2 ejaculations.  He said no, it was one, and he said she looked at him strangely and said it was no problem, she would just add them together.  She told him what he meant when he said that is that if there were problems, the second container would be used for LATER so he wouldn't have to come back and get another one.  HAHA!    Every time I think about his constant contemplating about how to get one ejaculation into two containers, and lining them up side by side makes me laugh so hard.  But I adore him for doing it.

So now I go to the OB/GYN on Monday and she is going to want to know what my psychiatrist said and I know she will not be pleased.  I just hope she doesn't decide that she will not help me conceive now. 

I'm not thinking much about getting pregnant, but I like to document my psych appointments, they're so important to me. 

If you're reading this Alicia - thanks for the facebook tip - no links from angry atheist boy today, yay! : )  I also used that advice on a couple of other people that irritate me too, and I started wondering, if I don't want to see their statuses, why are they even my facebook friends?  I can't wait to see the Social Network that comes on Friday! 
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