No, I’m just crazy.

It’s not just another phase of life. I am just crazy. I’m starting to believe it, anyway.

Depression is not something we keep in the closet anymore, nor are other mental health issues. We seek help. We talk to our friends. There are medications available to help stable us out if we need them.

Yeah….the medications. There are so many, and it’s so hard to find the right one (or combination of meds) that work for each person. In some cases, they work but they have horrible side effects, one wonders if they’re worth it. In other cases, they work for a while, then they stop working completely. Raising the dosage doesn’t help; they just never work again. I’m one of those lucky souls. I can’t tell you how many head meds I’ve been on that suddenly didn’t work anymore. It’s like I build up a resistance to the damn things!

The last two have been Citalopram (generic for Celexa) and Quetiapine (generic for Seroquel). Now, keep in mind, I’ve never been diagnosed as bipolar, schizophrenic, or with other disorders Seroquel addresses. I have chronic insomnia, horrible depression, and anxiety issues. This was to “stablize the mood”.

They both stopped working. At the same time. Lovely.

My head-up-her-a** doctor decided to keep me on Celexa while switching me to the extended release of Quetiapine instead. My thoughts? How the fuck is this going to be any different? Oh, if I only knew… I’ve had the worst reaction. Mania! RAGE!!!

Rage at the slightest goddamn thing! Disagreement with the husband?? Fuck. Him. I won’t talk to him about it like an adult – I can’t!!! I scream, I yell. Jeezus, I wanted to throw things last night!!! Doctor doesn’t return my call? Fuck. Him. I’m looking for a new one. I don’t care if I’ve been seeing that doc forever. I don’t care if that doc might have a valid reason. I didn’t get my callback!

This is not me!!!!!!

I officially stopped taking this gods forsaken med last night. I warned my husband. I can’t seem to get a callback from the head-up-her-a** doctor who prescribed them. Having all the “cold turkey withdrawal” symptoms anyway, so I may as well do it.

Epilepsy Monitoring Unit – Day 5

Still. No. Seizure.

So last night we did the sleep deprivation thing again (Wednesday, Day 4). I chose not to go to sleep at 3:00am, because I was still wide awake. Instead, I stayed up all night long. It’s now 4:15pm on Thursday. I’ve been awake for 31 hours 15 minutes, and I’m still going.

Last night/this morning, when it was dark outside, I watched strobe videos on YouTube. I re-watched Stranger Things Season 3 (for those who don’t watch, it has a photosensitive warning). The first time I’d seen season 3 I had to look away in all the “strobe” scenes. I felt like I missed half the season. Last night I got to see everything I missed.

As of this morning, I’m completely off my seizure control meds. Tonight I’ll have missed 2 doses. My husband came to see me this afternoon. He thinks I’m going to seize tonight. He says I’m showing some of the early warning signs that he’s learned to notice. Things like the look in my eyes or something about how my moods swing back and forth erratically. I hope he’s right, because I could have sworn I heard another person in my room while we were talking. Someone male, yawning very loudly. No one was there and he didn’t hear anything. This could be pre-seizure, or it could be some kind of hallucination because I’ve been up so long. I’m not sure how long you have to be awake for something like that to happen.

Epilepsy Monitoring Unit – Day 4

Still no seizure. You know, if I were at home doing all these things that normally trigger a seizure, I would have had one long before now.

The doctor says they’re seeing plenty of spike activity on the EEG, we’re just not getting a breakthrough seizure yet. Tonight we’re doing sleep deprivation again, and eliminating one of my seizure medications. The other one is still set to half dosage.

I’m starting to get cranky. This is the 4th day in the hospital. I want to be at home. I miss my family. I get visits but it isn’t the same. I miss hanging out with the dude at night, watching Daily Show and YouTube videos. I miss my husband, watching the ballgame with him, talking with him, cuddling with him…just being with him. I miss our cats and our dogs. I miss the feel of our house. I miss sitting in the den with the windows open, listening to it rain (it’s supposed to rain again this week).

Enough of that.

I’ve always done everything I could to avoid having a seizure, so this “trying” to have a seizure thing is strange to me. But I have this dark humor side that is getting used to it. It’s the part of me that says, “Well, if I have to do this, I may as well enjoy it.” So it’s time to watch all those movies, shows and videos that have seizure warnings. I told the neurologist this morning I’ll do anything I can to help. I really don’t want to be here this weekend.

I’ve never watched a strobe before. They’re actually kinda’ pretty. I wish I could enjoy them all the time.

Epilepsy Monitoring Unit – Day 3

I had 3 hours sleep last night because they wanted to try sleep deprivation to trigger a seizure. I couldn’t go to sleep until 3:00am and they woke me up at 6:00am. Horrifying. But, surprisingly enough, I was wide awake this morning, just wanting that morning cup of coffee. I’m only having the one cup today. I had way too much yesterday and my stomach is still telling me about it.

Despite skipping the sleeping pill and depriving me of sleep, I haven’t had a seizure. It’s now 4:15pm and I still haven’t had a nap. I’m running on 3 hours sleep and I’ve been awake just over 10 hours, and I’m still going. At this point, I’ve been awake for so long I don’t think I could fall asleep.

Today they’re still trying to induce a seizure. They did something I didn’t expect. My day shift nurse brought me a shot of Everclear!!! Yes, you read that correctly. Everclear; the 190 proof alcohol you can breathe fire with. The alcohol we all tried at least once when we hit legal drinking age, and swore off of after that hangover. They were going to ask me to just drink the shot, down the hatch. WTF??? I said, “No way. Bring me some juice to mix this with.” So, I’ve had a first. I had a mixed drink in the hospital at 11:00am. Day drinking!

You know, the least they could have done is let me drink decent scotch or whiskey instead.

They also gave me a couple of medications that will lower my seizure threshold. Probably something to do with mixing them with alcohol.

The plan for tonight is to let me sleep, but they want me to stay up as late as I can. I’m kinda’ curious to see just how late that will be. I’m still wide awake. They’re also going to skip the sleeping pill again, and cut the seizure control medication dosage in half. If this doesn’t trigger a seizure, I don’t know what will.

Until tomorrow, everyone. 🙂

Epilepsy Monitoring Unit – Day 2

They have their baseline EEG from day one. Now the fun begins.

Today I’ve been drinking tons of coffee. I’ve had six cups of hospital coffee. Now, I gotta’ tell you, I’m drinking the coffee the nurses drink. They drink some strong coffee. OMG, I haven’t had this much coffee in so long.

I’m trying to stay awake tonight. They’re dong sleep deprivation on me. I have to stay up until 3:00am, and they’re going to wake me up at 6:00am. This is terrible!!! No naps tomorrow, either, until the doctor ok’s it, so I’m living on coffee again tomorrow. Of course, they’re also skipping the sleeping pill tonight.

Today I met the head of neurology. Evidently, she makes it a point to visit all the patients in the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit. I was impressed. She was very knowledgeable and answered my questions about my testing schedule for the rest of the week. Memory test should be tomorrow, providing their department is available. She also correctly set my expectations about my stay here… It may be longer than 5 days, “depending on how you perform,” (direct quote). In other words, if I don’t have a seizure, I stay until I do. Joy….

Fingers crossed. Maybe with the caffeine intake and sleep deprivation I’ll have one and get it over with tomorrow.

Epilepsy Monitoring Unit – Day 1

The Back Story

I know this blog is called Menopause Express, and my intentions when I started it were to stay on topic, but you know what they say about the best of intentions and that road.

I was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 10, so I’ve been used to the seizures for a long time. I’ve always been lucky, though. I was considered well controlled. After the hormonal changes of my teen years I’d go about 5 years between seizures. But as I got older, 5 became 3, then 2….then months… This year, since January, I’ve had about 5-6 tonic clonic seizures (full convulsion). This includes the times I’d have 2 in one day. I’ve also had 4 complex partial seizures, which can develop into tonic clonic seizures, but they didn’t. On top of these, I’ve had a couple of simple partial seizures, where you just appear to “space out” a minute. I realize it happened, note it in my diary, and move along. Twelve, total, according to my neurologist, when I saw him in late June/early July. Roughly in a 6 month period.

I’ve tried countless medications. They either stop working, don’t work, or I have horrible reactions to them.

He says I have medicinally resistant epilepsy, which sounds a bit frightening to me. But that’s why I’m here today.

Day 1

We drove in this morning to check-in at the gawdawful hour they wanted me to be here. We decided to leave early to allow ourselves time to get lost, as this was right in the middle of the “medical district” in Houston, where tons of hospitals are, and this particular hospital is HUGE!! While I’m not an early riser, I must say, sunrise over downtown was beautiful. Unfortunately, I was not awake enough to get a picture.

Check-in was…confusing. I’ve been here all day and no one has taken my co-pay yet. But, I seriously doubt I’ll get out of this for free.

On day 1, they do an MRI first. Being the claustrophobe I am, I took my Clonazepam and went with the nice gentleman. We got in there and he covered me with warm blankets, and did something new: he put a nice warm blanket around my head so I could cover part of my face and hide!!!! Oh, this helped so much!!! I went right to sleep and didn’t wake up until it was over.

Once back in my room, it was time to hook me up to all the wires. I feel like I could communicate with satellites now.

Yeah.. And this is how I’ll be for the next few days. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do daily updates. They actually *want* me to have a seizure in here, so, I don’t know how I’ll feel after that. Why, you ask? Why do they want me to have yet another one? Because they’re trying to pinpoint the area of the brain they come from. I don’t really like the idea of having yet another seizure, but if it helps in the long run, and if I don’t go into one of those seizures you can’t come out of, well, I’m in the right place.

Ok, fine. I’m terrified. But they’re good at explaining everything, right down to the why’s, and easing concerns as much as possible.

More tomorrow…

Moving – The Full Story

I left off with “I hate moving!” You should know what’s behind that story.

In January of this year, I moved a few hours north. Not out of state, but a bit of a drive. I was closer to friends and family that I rarely see, and I thought this would make me happy after all that time of being at the bottom of the dark pit.

I discovered a few things when I got up there, though:

  • My health took a serious nose dive
  • Friends and family all have things going on, just like everyone else.
    • We don’t see each other nearly as often as we used to
    • We see each other “online”
  • I kinda’ missed my husband…. Yeah…. I missed him. The good and the bad. Everything.

grass_is_greener

The part about all of us having our own lives was easy to understand. We grow, life happens, we all change, and we didn’t live as close together as we used to, either. They may call me Duch, but I’ll admit it isn’t all about me, here. But, that’s just between you me, ok? I got a reputation to protect.

secret

But, my health…. Yeah….. my health was getting really bad. I had to move back. I wasn’t happy about it. I hate moving. But it had to be done. We set the date for the beginning of August.

BUT, the best laid plans….

I’m not going to bad mouth my previous apartment complex. The manager was very helpful in trying to make things right when they went drastically wrong that last week I was there. However, as with any business, there is always room for improvement. I will say that he bent over backwards to make the best of a bad situation, especially given my health issues. Let’s just say mold is a horrible thing. My health was bad enough; I didn’t want to add anything else to the list off problems. All this caused me to step up the move date unexpectedly by about 2-3 weeks. No stress here!

stress raccoon

I’m at my husband’s now. Remodeling is almost done. Mount Boxmore is in the front room, and I’m trying to find a place for my stuff. Things will gradually fall back into place and normal will happen again.

So…. This is the lengthy version of “I Hate Moving”. You’ll see more from me when Mercury is out of retrograde. Damn, this was hard to write.

Peace, everyone!

Social Media and our Health

Just over a week ago, I was diagnosed with an abscess in my sinuses. This one was hard – I haven’t been that sick in a long time. This infection hit me sudden, hard, and it was painful.

sinus abscess

Despite being on two different antibiotics at the same time, it seemed this thing was only getting worse. I had no energy (of course), so I killed my time on Facebook. After a couple of days of that, it just felt like I was being bombarded by nothing but negativity.  I didn’t want to communicate over Messenger or Facebook. I just wanted to hide under the bed. No special treatment for anyone. I just wanted to get better.

Sure enough, as soon as I went offline, I started to feel better. It was a gradual process, and it took just over a week, but I feel better. I’m not saying this is what cured me; the antibiotics did a world of good, too, I’m sure. But depriving myself from the negativity probably helped.

negativity and immune system

I told people that they’d probably see me back on Facebook sometime this week (thinking, after Monday), but, honestly, if I wasn’t running someone’s business page, I’d probably delete my account after this. I still don’t want to go back online there.

There’s enough negativity in this world already. Do we really need to bombard ourselves with more of it every day by using a social media platform that sells our private information to the highest bidder, anyway?

Peace, everyone.

 

Catching Up, part 2

I promised I’d continue this update, and, I didn’t want to go 4-5 months with a gap. 🙂

The problem is, a lot of what I dealt with is so personal, because it involves family issues, too. I don’t feel right just throwing it out here online. I’ve gotten better at communication, but there is a matter of someone else’s privacy I have to keep in mind. Sorry, y’all.

2017 was my climb out of that pit, and figuring out where all the good rocks were if I ever ended up there again. On the way out, I had to face a lot of things I’d just pushed to the back of my mind and I started talking about them. I found out what was painful and what I was still angry about, and let myself feel those things.

It wasn’t easy.

At some point along that journey I felt I needed to relocate. Most of my family and all of my close friends were hours away and I never got to see them. I felt isolated and lonely, and felt like I was missing so much. I also had things going on back home, and I needed a break.

When I moved here, I had expectations of spending so much time with them. What I didn’t take into account was that they had their own lives, too. I hardly get to see anyone. Really, there are times I feel as though I may as well be back where I used to live. I suppose the grass is always greener…

grass_is_greener

More details from here involve the personal info involving another family member… I’m not going to go into further details, suffice to say things are ok.  I have another move in front of me now, and this is a good one. 🙂

Moving out was a necessary part of this journey, though. I learned I can’t keep running from my issues. I need to stand where I am and face them. Pushing them down doesn’t work, nor does moving away.

I don’t see this journey of recovery as being over anytime soon. I see it as a journey of growth; and, as we all know, we never stop growing.

Rise From The Ash Phoenix Quotes Like A Phoenix She Will Rise Fr

Catching Up

Where do I start? Yeah, it’s been a minute or so, but I’m still here, and I’m still alive. It was close there, once, and I’ll write about that. But it’s been so long since I’ve posted, this is probably going to be split up into 2-3 posts.

Let’s see…. Last time you heard from me was January 1st of this year. I suppose, for my writing track record, that’s not such a gap.

oops

Let me start with some serious back story that starts with that pit of depression I’ve always written about, and came to a head in January 2017.

You all know I’ve done a dance with depression for years. Hell, we’ve been familiar with these steps all my life. I’ve been up and down that deep, dark pit so many times, you’d think I’d know where it is by now, and maybe I’d have built a ladder or something to make it easier to get out.

But it’s not that easy.

This last time I fell into the pit was probably the deepest, darkest trip. I remember writing, on Christmas Day of 2016, that year, how I just wasn’t even into the holiday spirit. That was the first year I’d never even decorated. I just didn’t feel it. I didn’t care. I didn’t care about anything.

I felt isolated and alone, and I knew I’d put myself into that position because of my depression. But I felt hopeless, because I felt like there was nothing I could do about it. I was just stuck in the dark pit.

By the beginning of January, 2017, I had my breakdown. I didn’t know when I put the pills in my hand, but thankfully, I realized I had, and I made a phone call.

menopauseexpress.com_depressed-and-worried

I spent 3 weeks in the hospital. I won’t go into the details there except to say it was probably the best thing I could have done. It saved my life. If I hadn’t checked in there, I wouldn’t have started my journey out of that goddamned pit.

While I was there, we were all supposed to set a goal for the new year. I wasn’t really into this. I wasn’t into anything – I’d just arrived. So I didn’t write anything. I just drew a wandering line, representing a thread. At first, I thought this was all I was hanging onto, but then I realized that this was my thread back to the “happy”. Eventually, that thread would become a string, and maybe someday, a strong rope.

 

2017 was a journey back to finding out who I was and finding out what made me happy again. Things changed in my life, my attitude, and I became a little stronger.

thread

… To be continued…