August 22, 2010

i feel


My mind never stops. The wheels just keep turning and turning, and I don't think they'll ever stop. Even when I sleep, my brain goes 1,0000 mph, denying me the rest I so desperately want and need.


The medication that the shrinky-dink prescribed to help me achieve more restful sleep doesn't appear to have any affect on me whatsoever - good or bad.


I've been able to view all the test results from the blood work that the shrinky-dink ordered via my HMO's website. Nothing too low; nothing too high. It's good that I'm healthy in that way, but frustrating that what the Doc thought would be a simple explanation turned out to be inaccurate.


I can spend untold hours outside working in the yard, abusing my body to the point of being sore for days afterward. Yet for some reason, I have to force myself to do simple things like loading/unloading the dishwasher or folding and putting away laundry.


Yeah, well... I have anxiety/panic disorder, so this isn't really a shock. I seem to turn the most mundane things into insurmountable obstacles.

I'm anxious about a fairly important choir practice this afternoon. It will be the first and only time the choir gets to practice a song together to be performed next week. It is also the first time that the regular musicians from the church will be practicing with us.

I'm anxious about the work week. I'm 95% sure that I won't have to work on Friday, which makes a big dent in the number of days I have to get myself out the door. Since I'm on 2nd shift this week, my trepidation stems from knowing that the majority of my bad, can't make it to work cause I'm freaking out about even crossing the sidewalk days have been when I'm on this shift. I have too much time before leaving for work to get myself all worked up.

I'm anxious about seeing old friends in a couple of weeks for the first time since I moved to Cleveland. Not to mention meeting a bunch of strangers at a party.

I'm anxious because I'm anxious. I hate feeling this way, and I always feel like it will get worse before it gets better - often times a self-fulfilling prophecy. Sometimes when I feel like I'm circling the drain, I get so tired of fighting the current and want to just let myself go. It's so exhausting sometimes that it's all I can do just to keep afloat, much less try to swim in the other direction.


I'm always so tired. If I sit still for more than 15 minutes, I'm almost guaranteed to start nodding off. The pull of sleep is so strong some days that I exhaust myself just trying to fight it. It's a symptom of the depression, but unfortunately it also tends to make it worse when I give in to it. It's also a symptom of not getting enough/restful sleep (see above).


I don't feel like I'm pulling my weight around here right now. My messy house is a good indicator of the rightness of this feeling.


I could, of course, start looking for a therapist, whether in or out of my HMO network. That would of course require motivation and the ability to push myself out of my comfort zone with strangers.


There have been so many times in the past few months that I could so easily have blown off plans and responsibilities. I just want to say "'Truck' it. I don't care anymore" about so many things in my life. If it weren't for my having to answer to about 16 or so people, not to mention Cody and our Pastor, I probably would have missed more Sunday services and choir practices than not over the last couple of months.

Going out with friends? "Eh."

Making dinner? "Eh. I can just have chips or something."

Making phone calls and/or returning emails? "Eh. Maybe later."





















Wow. Now this is a peppy little post, isn't it? What I wouldn't give for 20 minutes of blissful sleep right now. To find out that we won't be able to sing next Sunday, and therefore free to skip church and choir practice today. To lay on my raft in the pool all day, soaking up the sun and napping on and off in the heat of the day.

August 21, 2010

so what if i cheated just a little...

...I'm still posting, aren't I?

I've actually just copied and pasted this post out of an email that I sent to a friend, but it's mostly what I would have written here anyway. I thought she deserved better than for me to reply to her email via a blog post, so I sent her an email and I'm giving the rest of you a portion of that. I've got a lot of stuff I would like to accomplish today, and I'd like to get a head start before the heat starts to set in.

"Things" are kind of "eh" lately, but certainly better than they were two weeks ago. I've definitely been closer to up than down this past week, but it's kind of a zombie state with the occasional "manic" episode thrown in for good measure.

Cody has gotten a few good laughs at my expense (out of love, of course). The few times I've been a bit manic and had the time and energy to spare, I've done some insane amounts of work around the house. He says he hates that I have to go through the mood swings, and he worries when I'm depressed, but he can't help appreciating the amount of work I accomplish when I'm spinning on the up-side.

He hasn't hounded me, but he's definitely hovering a little closer, both physically and emotionally. It's sort of nice most of the time. Having coffee and conversation with friends, he'll gently rest his hand on my back just to let me know he's there. Stuff like that.

He did ask yesterday if I had made any progress with finding a counselor, and I was honest in my reply. I told him I was still waiting for the doctor to contact me about my test results before moving forward. I would like to know what, if anything, she'll prescribe as a result of those tests in order to be able to have a more accurate picture of what we're dealing with to make a plan of action with whomever will be shrinking me.

I did see in a little newsletter that my insurance company sends out that they offer classes and support groups for several things. I would be interested in their groups focusing on depression and anxiety, and Cody seemed quite interested in a support group for spouses and family members of people with these issues. I suggested that I could just get therapy by osmosis via him and his class, but he doesn't seem too eager to agree to that arrangement for some reason.

As far as test results go, I've received the results of four out of the five that the shrinky-dink ordered. The main one she was "concerned-ish" about was my vitamin D levels, and while I have gotten those results back, I'm not too clear on what they mean. I get an email notification whenever new test results are available online at their site, but there isn't any information more than my result listed beside the "normal" result desired.

If I'm reading things correctly, the two levels of my vitamin D they checked that my body produces naturally are okay, but maybe on the low side. The third level of vitamin D they checked is way low, but appears it might possibly be a supplemental level. I don't know if that needs to be higher unless my natural levels are low, so I am waiting to here from the doc on that one.

So I'm still kind of in limbo with what's going to happen with the therapy and meds, but I'm hanging in there and just doing my best to go with it. I've been tempted to just go buy OTC vitamin D and see if that helps, but according to the Dr., she would prescribe meds that are 50x the amount the OTC would be. I'm not really into taking 50-plus pills a day, so I'm just trying to be a patient patient. :)

August 13, 2010

this is MY bench!!!

So sick Jake and healthy Jake had little contest of wills yesterday - one trying to throw the other off like Clairee and Ouiser fighting over a park bench.

It seems that healthy Jake won this round again! Spending the day working in the sun yesterday (doctor's orders!) seemed to help tremendously. Not only did I get some sun, which hopefully kicked up that vitamin D production we're working on, but I also managed to get some work done, which gave me an added sense of accomplishment to help my overall mood and disposition.

-- Apparently my subconscious has decided to try and un-seat Bethany from the throne of longest run-on sentence ever composed by mortal hands. --

I'm feeling quite a bit better this morning than on the past few mornings. Let's hope it stays this way for quite a long while! As much as I love little vacations from work, I do need to make money to pay the bills. Thankfully I had a few hours of overtime last week to help offset the cost of being off this week.

First I need to update everyone on the kitten: When I got off the computer yesterday, I headed out back to check on momma and the baby. They were dry and safe, and I did get a few pictures. Unfortunately, since momma was napping with her body curled around the baby, I didn't get any of the kitten.

At some point an hour or so later, I heard a kitten's cry coming from one of the neighbors - either right next door, or the house beyond that. I thought it odd to have two kittens born in different places and the momma keeping them separate, so I went out back again to check. Sure enough, both mom and the baby were gone. I don't really know why she would have moved over there, except maybe she wanted a bit more shelter than what the little nook she was in could provide.

I'm hoping she's on the patio next door, as that neighbor tends to let things stay overgrown and unkempt. Usually an eyesore, it could come in handy for hiding a baby until it can see and start to fend for itself. On the other side, there is a beagle whom I'm hoping like hell does get the opportunity to turn this kitten into a toy. I will talk to that neighbor today when I get an opportunity, and let him know to keep his eye out for the kitten.

As much as I would love to see this kitten grow up in my yard (I love cats, but can't have them), I'm sort of glad momma decided to relocate. There have been a couple of hawks/falcons flying around lately, and while I love to watch them circle around and ride the thermals so majestically, I know they'd make short work of a kitten. As much as I love nature, there are some things I don't like to see or think about. I can't even watch nature shows on Discovery or Animal Planet without getting shaken up when I see animals, particularly babies, be killed by a predator. Yeah, yeah, Circle of Life and all that, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

To put Tim at ease, I will say this: If intervention in the lives of momma and/or kitten become necessary, they will be placed somewhere they can live a full and happy life. As animal lovers, Cody and I are huge proponents of adoption versus buying from a breeder. As much as I would love to have a couple of particular breeds of dog, consumerism and our sense of entitlement as a culture have created a dastardly and inhumane world for these animals. We're basically breeding discomfort, disease and pain into these animals to get the "perfect" animal. So rather than support that, Cody and I adopt mutts who are nowhere near being pedigreed. You'll find no AKC registration papers in this house. Tux and Vanilla were both taken from people who realized they couldn't take care of them in the way they should (God bless them), and Mischief (rest her soul) was rescued from a parking lot in an emaciated state and never claimed by her rightful owner.

Winifred, bless her spastic little ass, was adopted from a nonprofit group that rescues dogs from high-kill shelters and fosters them for as long as necessary until they find a loving home. (Incidentally, Cody's mom's dogs were both rescued from a puppy mill. Now that she is retired and has more free time, she fosters dogs for the same organization which rescued hers. She is quite dedicated to the cause, and way more patient than I. Abused animals come with a LOT of baggage!)

So in short (a bit late for that now, Jake), these kitties will not be taken anywhere they won't be cared for properly. Even though Cody is not a huge fan of cats, he is an animal lover in general, and though he threatens me with some awful things if I were ever to bring a cat home, he would be sure that the animal is well taken care of.

To address Pete's comment... I know the cats of which you speak and how evil they can be. So I'm sure they will pay you back (and then some) for startling them!

Yes, I did decide to stop disabling comments on new posts. The reason I was disabling them is probably too long of an explanation for an already long post, but suffice it to say that I will leave them on so long as I can receive them in a healthy manner. (Besides, you DO have my email and phone number... Just sayin')

Now, the REAL reason I even started a new post this morning (after I've already taken up 14 pages to get to this point), is to sort of respond to a comment that was made outside of Blogger. The comment was made in private, so I won't call anyone out by name, but it was a good point, and one that I felt maybe should be addressed here so that others who may be wondering the same thing would understand as well.

"I find it interesting that you are loathe to go to doctors that over medicate you and see medicine as the only solution and you are grumpy (for lack of a better word) at having a doctor that is taking a wait and see approach before slapping more meds in your mouth."

This is a very valid point, made by someone who has been paying attention! This is not something that escaped my grasp. I have had a hard time forgiving my previous psychiatrist for prescribing medications rather haphazardly, and due to the side effects I suffered as a result of that, I've been extremely anti-medication since.

Making the decision to go back on medication last fall was not one I took lightly at all. If I weren't so lazy, I'd go find the post that describes that a little. Oh hell. Hang on a sec...


So when Cody and I were sitting in the shrinky-dink's office on Wednesday evening, and she told me that she would be willing to increase the dosage of my Prozac temporarily until everything else straightened out, I had a hard time deciding at first.

See, I still really don't like drugs. I think I have been quite lucky with the one I am on, side effect wise. It was rough in the beginning, but Cody supported me through it. Once the meds had been in my system for a while and I adjusted to them, the side effects started to decrease in both frequency and intensity.

When she offered to increase the dosage, I knew that I would have to go through the process of getting used to them again, with the distinct possibility that a higher dose may cause the side effects to intensify and/or not go away over time. Been there, done that.

The reason that I didn't just say "No" right off the bat though, had a lot to do with desperation. I was on my third day of spiraling downward, and I wanted it to stop at all costs. Not only was I tired of fighting, but I knew that Cody was too. God love him for sticking by me through all of this crap, but the poor man needed a break. He just started a new job and was physically exhausted every single day after work, and I knew that him having to worry too much about how I was doing, whether I was going to work that day or not, how we'd pay the bills if I didn't, and God forbid if I was having suicidal thoughts and not telling him... I knew that was all a lot for him.

So between not being willing to put him through all that again, and not wanting to spiral anymore, I was desperate. I needed something to change, and I needed it NOW. I honestly got to the point where I didn't care what they gave me, I would take it. I would have done anything short of submit to electric shock therapy and just deal with the side effect and ramifications later.

Thankfully, I was scared enough of seeing another shrink who could potentially damage me more than I already was that I took Cody to my appointment with me.

I sure do love that man.

August 12, 2010

i wonder how long...

...i can type with my eyes closed and my head resting on the back of the couch before i eventually nod off?

While it seems like a splendid idea, the reality is, I am an adult male over the age of 30, and nap time is no longer a daily occurrence in my life. Naps really aren't very good for me 99% of the time.

Ooh! I just had a fantastic thought!

Coffee!!! - brb

What the hell was I talking about? Oh yeah, nap time.

See, as it turns out, being sleepy and taking naps is both a symptom of depression for me as well as a catalyst for it. Drowsiness and fatigue are common symptoms, but it took me a while to figure out why, in my particular case, they seem to be a cause as well.

For starters, I think that when I'm super sleepy, it's probably a good indicator that my mood my be dropping a bit. Then when I lay down, I typically have a hard time getting motivated and waking up. Whether it's hitting the snooze button for an hour (or more) or telling Cody "Five more minutes," I'm just not good at waking up. When I finally do wake up, I feel crappy and guilty for sleeping so long. Add in the occasional guilt-trip when I realize how nasty I can be to Cody when he tries to wake me up, and it's easy to see how that can have a negative impact on my mood.

Today, in addition to having to get out of bed WAY earlier than I wanted because Her Royal Highness, Winifred, decided it was time to go outside, I'm just starting to get my legs back under me from being sick. No, it's not the flu or a cold, though either of those would have been like a walk in the park, comparatively speaking.

It was another spell of my favorite old crazy wackadoodle crap. Joy. This time around it kind of cut my legs out from under me, and the shame and embarrassment led me to keep it to myself for far too long. I haven't been to work at all this week, and I allowed my shame to defeat me by allowing Cody to believe that the reason I was home was due to more parts shortages at work.

I decided on Tuesday afternoon that I had had enough. My craziness keeping me from work was nothing new, as it has happened before. When I was paralyzed at the thought of leaving the house to put gas in my truck and get a few essential groceries, I knew something had to give.

I spent a fair amount of time Tuesday afternoon and evening looking up options, treatments, facilities and such on the interwebs. I still couldn't being myself to tell Cody what was going on, but I had every intention of doing something about it on Wednesday morning. As luck would have it, I was able to get a same-day appointment with a new shrinky-dink at 6pm.

Before I made any phone calls however, I forced myself to write a quick email to my Pastor to let him know what was happening and what my intentions were. I knew at that point that I needed to have someone to hold me accountable to my intended goal of getting help.

Hooray! Coffee's done...

Lucky for me, after I had my appointment set and had gotten the ball rolling to obtain leave from work, I noticed that Ms. Bethany was online. Talk about a freaking lifesaver. She whipped my ass into gear in fairly short order and set my straight about letting Cody know what was happening. As much as I hate to hear what she has to say sometimes, it's almost always the truth that I need to hear. Being able to talk to someone who can understand what I'm saying helps, too.

I have a few people in my life that I can talk to about this kind of stuff who are able to relate. Bethany is just the only one I have enough history with (too much history, probably) that I can go to when it's really bad. I can talk to a couple of other people about general things, and while I know they would be able to empathize when I get really low, I just feel more comfortable with her.

Good Lord, could it be more muggy?! Sorry - I'm sweating like a hog just sitting here typing. And to answer your question, I'd still rather have this than be cold.

Now today, as if I didn't feel like enough of a heel for being a whack-job already, I'm dealing with what the shrink told me last night. She feels I have a vitamin deficiency. Apparently when your vitamin D and/or B12 bottoms out, it can cause depression that is not affected by medication. I did not know that.

She ordered some blood work and gave me a prescription for some kind of non-addictive pill to help me sleep better, then sent me on my merry way. I don't mean to imply that it was a little 5 minute visit, but I definitely walked out of there with very mixed emotions.

Here I am on day three of a spaz attack, and I need vitamins? I'm not a huge fan of meds, mostly because of bad experience with a couple I was on before. And while she did offer to up the dosage of my Zoloft while we wait for test results and such, I couldn't believe my ears.

Now, I had taken Cody with me for moral support due to being burned pretty badly by past therapists, so I turned to him as we were leaving to get his impression on how the visit went. According to him, the visit went well. I kept waiting for him to stop her before we left and say, "Now wait a minute. He's been sick for three days to the point of not being able to work, etc. We're not leaving until we get some concrete steps to take blah, blah, blah."

Nope. He likes her and thinks everything is hunky-dory for the time being. We're just waiting to get all the tests results back, and we'll go from there. If I do have a deficiency, I'm assuming she'll write a prescription for vitamin D in a larger dose than what is available over the counter and that will be that. In the meantime, she told me to try and get out in the sun as much as possible in order to trigger my body into producing it naturally.

-- Side note: According to this psychiatrist, everyone in the Cleveland area has a vitamin D deficiency. It's just a matter of how much of a deficiency. --

So far I have gotten my results online for my thyroid and my B12 level, both of which are fine. The doctor said it will take up to 10 days to get results on my vitamin D level, and I don't remember what the 4th vial of blood they took was for.

I just feel like such a massive dork now. I already have a tendency to beat myself up over these episodes, since it's generally hard for people to understand how you can be sick when they don't have anything tangible to go off of. So telling Cody, Bethany and my pastor how messed up I was, only to walk out of the doctors office with a prescription for something to relax me at bedtime and four vials shorter of blood had/has me pretty mixed up.

In addition to all that, I'm always warring in my head when I get sick like this because I don't want to lay around the house and be lazy, but I'm always afraid that if I do "too much," Cody will think I'm just faking being sick.

To top it off, despite my firm belief that we should all do our part to eradicate the stigma surrounding mental health issues, I can't bear the thought of my co-workers and such finding out what's going on. It's easy for me to stick up for the rights of other whackadoodles, but when it comes to talking about my own issues I slam on the brakes like Sonny Bono headed for a tree.

What? Too soon?

It sucks when you're a huge proponent of living openly and authentically and then having to struggle with something like this. It feels so deeply personal and embarrassing, but I know that if more people would just speak a little more freely about their own struggles, it wouldn't be so bad for the next guy or gal.

Crap. Almost noon and I've done nothing so far today. I did take my paperwork in to work this morning, so I got that going for me. Cody had to schedule a service guy to come out and work on our garage door this afternoon because they don't work late enough for them to come out after he's home. So I've got that to look forward to as well. Let me tell you, finding out I had to answer the door and explain the problem to some random stranger when all I want to do is play turtle and hide from the world was not the highlight of my day yesterday. Since the job Cody is at right now has the potential to last up to 3-4 months though, it wouldn't be fair of me to refuse and make him miss work. Lord knows that man puts up with enough of my craziness already.

The shrinky-dink gave me the rest of the week off of work to get my feet back on the ground and learn to walk again, which was pretty cool of her to do. Judging by how hard it was to walk into work just long enough to turn in my forms, I'm pretty glad she did though. Thank God that someone at my place of employment was smart enough to fill the FMLA benefits coordinator position with the woman they did. It may not seem like much to someone in HR who is just trying to put a warm body in a chair, but when you are already having a rough go of it, walking into that office and being treated with genuine kindness makes all the difference in the world.

So now I have the rest of today and tomorrow to "relax and get as much sun as possible," which despite my trepidation of her diagnosis, is a pretty cool prescription to get from your doctor. The evil part of me wants to milk it for all it's worth and go lay on my raft in the pool all day eating bon-bons. If Cody says anything, I can just look at him and say, "I'm just following the doctor's orders!"

In reality, however, I know that I need to "do stuff" to get better. Kind of practicing being normal, I guess. It looks as though the sun may be out to stay for at least a little while, so I'm thinking I should probably go outside and try to do a little work in the yard. That way I'm following doctor's orders, but not being a worthless slug in the meantime.

I really would love to go hop in the pool, especially considering how muggy it is right now, but with the garage door guy due to arrive at any time now, I'd better not. Not to mention one of the stray cats in the neighborhood decided to seek shelter behind the garage where the pool is to have a kitten. I scared it yesterday when I went out there and it took off. Well, I should say we scared each other. I didn't see it until it ran away.

I'm sort of angry at the damn thing though. It took off without so much as hissing at me to try and warn me away from it's baby. I've never seen a kitten that young in real life before. It is absolutely adorable, but sad at the same time since it is so helpless. It was trying to crawl around on the ground, mewing for it's momma, and the poor things eyes aren't even open yet.

You know damn good and well my first instinct was to "rescue" it. I know there is no way that Cody would let me keep it though, and I can't bear the thought of getting attached to the poor thing and then having to give it up. So I didn't mess with it at all.

I walked back over to the patio to keep an eye out until I was sure momma came back before I went back in the house. The little shit did the same thing when Cody walked back there later to see it. No warning, no hissing; just took off and abandoned her baby to what could have been a predator.

I did get Cody to agree that if the momma totally abandoned the kitten or it was in imminent danger for any other reason that I could try to protect it until we could take it to a shelter or something.

I haven't been back there yet this morning, but I will go check it out shortly. We got some rain last night, and I'm hoping momma was smart enough to pull her baby into shelter. I don't want to chase the mom away again, so I've learned to sneak around the corner so that I don't startle her. I creep just far enough to see that she's there and then go back in the house. I'll take my camera back with me today just in case she's not there, but I won't chase it off on purpose just to get a photo. So depending on how negligent mom is feeling, I may be able to get a shot or two of it. Hopefully it's eyes aren't open yet, cause if the little booger sees me and comes towards me with that pitiful mewing, I'm going to end up spending the afternoon trying to find a way to hide it in my office without Cody or the dogs (yeah right) hearing it...