My year ends with sadness at my household. After Christmas my father became ill and bedridden and his condition has slowly declined to the point that he is eating very little and drinking very little each day. Hospice nurses visit him and I am just trying to keep him as comfortable as possible each day. Even with his dementia he says to me things such as, “I only have a short time to live”. I am in active grieving already because all I have known for the past four years is caregiving for him and I fear for the future because of the unknown.
Also at Christmas my brother was hospitalized for shortness of breath which turned out to be caused by blood clots in his lung. Luckily he went to the hospital and they treated it with a powerful drug and he will stay in there until the first of the new year. My brother needs to learn to care for himself because he has a weight problem and weighs over 450 lbs. I hope this is a wake up call for him and he realizes this is a second chance at life.
This has been the end of 2012 for me. I don’t know what 2013 has in store. I’m just taking it one day at a time, caring for my Dad until his is no more and then I have to figure out what to do with myself.
What do you see when you think of your bliss? When I first read this I could think of nothing. My depression weighing me down, holding my thoughts behind the fogged and smeared glass of my mind. I tried to see out to something clearer when I remembered something that happened this past weekend. It was something that made me realize how close I could have come to losing everything I have, my home and family, and how easily that could have been.
My younger daughter was cooking and splattered some oil into the fire which caused the fire to rear into a huge fireball. The whole scenery frightened her greatly and she was going to spray water on to it when I stopped her. Luckily she had turned the flame off and the fire burned out. My daughter has long hair and always has some item of clothing hanging off of her though I tell her repeatedly not to cook with anything near a flame. She also cooks on a high flame, acts as if she is always in a hurry, and turns a deaf ear to all my teachings about safety. This time she saw and felt the effects of her actions. Fear can be a greater teacher than words unfortunately. Luckily for her she didn’t burn herself, just scared herself.
But it made me realize if it had been a worse case scenario and there had been a fire just how difficult it would have been to get everyone out of my house. My father is disabled with dementia and I can’t get his wheelchair through the door at all. I would have to drag him on a blanket, if I could move him at all. It’s not a nice thought to entertain.
So, when I think of bliss I think of what could I lose. I think of my daughters. True, they’ve driven me crazy through the years but it could be reciprocal and I think of my siblings and father. Depression makes me think they wouldn’t miss me but I know that’s not true. I care for my father and keep the household functioning (though some days I wonder how I manage this). I’ve lost my husband but I have his memories. The sadness I feel can’t take away my family or memories. My bliss is all of this.
Each day when I wake up I don’t know how I will feel so I started off this week meaning to be as positive as my mind would allow. Monday wasn’t too bad. Since my brother returned home from work early and started his vacation for the week it gave me the chance to do something for myself.
Studies talk about how nature is good for mental health and is a stress reliever so, after a break in the rain the dim sunlight drew me outside for a walk at the nearby park. I haven’t been there in many months and I was surprised to see how the scenery had changed because of beaver damage to the stream-side trees. My walk continued through the wetlands to see ducks and other birds all of which I felt like I hadn’t seen in many years. Before I knew it I was crying. I was crying because of ducks….crying because I haven’t taken a walk with the ducks in so long and I’m so screwed up. But I continued to walk until I felt better and walked the entire trail. When I returned I felt good and was able to spend the remainder of the day up, feeling somewhat manic but not out of control.
Unfortunately, what goes up must go down. The last two days I have been so far down I don’t know if there’s a bottom. Yesterday was worse than today so I am hoping that tomorrow I’ll feel better. Maybe the pendulum swung so far to the manic side that it had to swing the other way and now it is swinging back. Honestly, yesterday I felt so depressed that I considered overdosing on pills. Suicide is not something I normally fixate on because I am a caregiver but the depression was so bad that I wanted to just go away. I wanted to feel nothing. Then I switched to thoughts of drinking again and decided to go to the liquor store. I figured the vodka would be my friend again and I could just drink everything away. I even walked out the front door but suddenly I stopped. I didn’t want vodka to be my friend again. In fact I didn’t want anyone to be my friend so I went back into the house and just sat there and cried.
Obviously I have made a mistake by going off of my anti-depressant. I never knew it was masking so many emotions. I had wanted to feel something too. I was tired of being in a fog but I can’t live like this. Experiencing mixed state bipolar disorder is absolutely the worse thing I’ve ever felt. For those who don’t know, a mixed state is when someone feels both depressed and the effects of mania at the same time. I’m not referring to the happy, fun state of mania but the irritable and trapped in a cage feeling of mania. The agitation combined with the depression and crying is wearing at me considerably. And by coming out of a fog I realize that my life really isn’t worth much of anything. I don’t mean to say that I’m not worth something to others but I feel worthless to myself. I feel like I am a caregiver and that’s it. I don’t feel like a mother anymore and I lost my identity as a wife. I feel so empty that I don’t know what to do with myself throughout the day anymore. I’m just a prisoner of my life.
For the time I am existing moment to moment until this passes. I’m trying not to think about what I will do tomorrow or the day after because I find it too depressing. Just trying to hang in there until I can talk to my pdoc and see if I can get on another medication. I’ve given up on ever being anything other than medicated.
I’m looking forward to the coming week with a positive attitude and a tiny bit of trepidation. I’m going to be facing a NEW me. A NEW “chemical” me. And honestly I’m scared to death but I can feel positive too. I’ve said recently that I’m trying to recreate the old me and even while typing it I realize how silly that sounds. We can’t reclaim an old me because we are constantly growing and changing. So, this week I am attempting to be positive again (I have tried before) and since I am minus the Risperidone now I want to see what is going to happen to me. I decided I wasn’t going to wait a whole month to see my P-doc before some changes take place. So, the last few days I tapered off my pills and stopped them last night. I didn’t sleep well though. It’s probably a reversal of when I first started taking them and they gave me insomnia. I just want to reconnect with myself again and instead of thinking I’m crazy and making a big mistake which is some of the negative chatter in my mind, I just want to get back to the original two drugs I had been on so long, the Topamax and the Depakote. Those are my base line drugs and I can work from there again.
Yet, there are two sides fighting right now. I’m not really sure what I am doing nor why I am doing it. I have an idea that I want to go off of these medications because I gained weight and I was unhappy but I’m scared too. I’m afraid of myself and what I have become in the last year and a half. I’m definitely not the person I used to be. I used to be the decision maker all of the time. I was a strong person, confident to the point of being crazy. If someone messed with me I was convinced I could take on that person and three more. Now I dread all decisions and barely want to go outside anymore. I used to go hiking by myself every weekend, take my camera and do my photography. Now I only go out if a relative takes me out. I hate to be alone. I want to be the person I used to be again. It’s as if I am afraid of feeling emotions and if I stay in my house locked up I won’t feel anything. If I go out alone, then I only hear my own voice and my own sadness. I don’t want to hear it anymore. I want to be happy again and move on but I am stuck in the past.
So, I want to try to convince myself that tomorrow and the day after that, etc. will be a good day. I have to try. Of course I will have set backs but I have to think forward to something good and not feel that I can’t do it. I am a strong person. I have proven that. I remind myself that outside influences, like my father’s behavior (which he can’t help) will not deter me from being happy. The never-ending darkness of the afternoon sky WILL NOT depress me nor the cloudy days because the sun hides behind the clouds, it is not gone only hidden. Just remember to not listen to the noise in my head when the days are bad and I should be fine. Everything should turn out okay. Tomorrow will be a perfect Monday.
I’m not doing well. I have to force myself to get through each day. If you know what that feels like you know that it really tears at you. If you don’t, then I hope you never do. It’s an ache that won’t go away, that spreads from my brain to my heart. I know if I do anything , even this typing until it passes, then I will have made it for this moment and I will just hang on until the next one comes. I want so badly to not have the next one come though. Maybe I need to go back on my Sertraline. Maybe I shouldn’t have come out of the fog I was in. There are too many maybes. Maybe I should try another medication, something different. I’m scared that there is nothing that will help me and I will feel like this always. I don’t know what I’d do. I wanted so badly to be off some of these medications and have some control of my life like before. Maybe I should take “BEFORE” and have a formal banishment from my mind. Can one do that? I don’t think so. I keep thinking of the past and how good it was. But a voice chimes in…”if it was so good, why did you drink?” (shut up voice) Maybe this is a test to see if I can handle adversity. To this point I have been able to handle anything laid before me, obviously. I am still here kicking. So, why does my pea-brain like to derail and get all weepy and psychotic on me?? Well, I suppose because I am weepy (menopausal and grieving) and psychotic. **BIG SIGH ** I have come to the conclusion that I am still depressed though and maybe I should still be on some kind of antidepressant or have my other medications tweaked.
Too bad my pdoc is out of town for awhile and I won’t be seeing him until mid-January. It’s always like that, isn’t it. Well, I suppose I could play around with them myself but I stopped doing that awhile ago. I know I could go back on the Sertraline but that seems like I failed if I do. Excuse me while I stand here and beat myself with a stick….ouch* ooch* ouch*…. That’s another thing I wonder a lot about, where does this propensity to suffer come from. Why do I always feel like I should do without? Is this something that we all tend to do or is it another way of hurting myself? At least by writing I’m feeling better. So, if there are lots of ridiculous and meaningless posts it’s only because I’m trying not to go off the deep end, bear with me, thanks. And if you’re suffering from depression and your meds work, what are you taking (if they don’t put you in a fog). I’ve considered trying Wellbutrin because I haven’t tried that in 19 years. Supposedly it acts as a stimulant so gaining weight isn’t as common as other meds. I’m not sure I even care now though. I think I’d rather be overweight and feel sane than skinny and anxiously manic. Then again…..will anything MAKE me happy or am I just looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?
I was greeted this morning by snow falling. Even though I am full aware of the weather report I wasn’t expecting this. I must have missed it. Normally I could care less. Today I am awash in this loneliness again. I don’t understand ….. let me analyze the situation….. last year I was adrift in a sea of medications. My consciousness squashed in a jumble of non caring, non feeling and non being. I remember Christmas last year, I barely decorated the house. I put up a string of lights and a small stuffed Christmas tree my mother had made. My brother hung a wreath on the door. That was it. Last year was the first Christmas without my husband and no one wanted to do anything. It felt like a relief to do nothing. Also I started using the holidays as my excuse to drink. So, initially, I felt better in an alcohol induced sort of way.
It’s strange the way those medications work though. They took all my grief and shoved it down into the pit of who knows where and there it stayed. I think that’s why I feel the way I do now. Though I kind of want to punch myself in the head too. I grew up in a house where you were supposed to be quiet and not show emotions. So, when I feel strong emotions internally I feel very uncomfortable. I know it’s best to let them out, have a good cry, but it becomes a very strong internal struggle too. I definitely would like to get over the grieving and not feel the loss but being married for almost 25 years is a long time. And everything just screeched to a halt and in 3 1/2 months he died.
So, now here we are people are getting everything ready for the holidays and I have set up my scrawny tree again. I am looking at the mess that my upside down house has become. I am trying to figure out how to get rid of this lonely feeling, replace it with something else. I am determined to clean things up the best that I can. It’s true that I can’t help that my entire dining room became displaced when my father had to move his bedroom into that room. So, the dining room furniture is now into the living room and there are chairs everywhere. The house looks like a storage warehouse. But I certainly can put books into bookshelves and tidy up the place. No one ever comes by but my siblings but I have to look at it everyday and I need to see it neater. Besides, maybe if I keep my mind occupied I won’t feel as lonely and hopefully my next post will be brighter.