Friday, April 30, 2010

Cautious Optimism

I'm waiting for my world to be rocked.  I really like this new guy.  We're going on our sixth date tomorrow and the more time we spend together, the less sure of myself I am.  I doubt everything he feels for me and I feel like the rug is going to be pulled out from underneath me.  I know I'm being totally crazy and neurotic and I don't know how much of it is my disease talking, or me just being a girl.  He said he loved me and I didn't say it back and I don't know if he feels rejected, but he hasn't said it again.  I kind of want him to, even though I sort of freaked out when he said it the first time.  But, even if he did say it again, I'm not sure I would believe it!  I know it's not based on the physical which is awesome because it's totally unlike my other relationships in that way, but part of me is still really unsure.  We don't even know everything there is to know about each other yet and he doesn't know the worst thing about me-the disease part!  What happens when he finds out?  Will he decide that he doesn't love me anymore?  I don't think I can deal with that!

My anxiety therapist says I need to be cautiously optimistic.  That sounds like a simple phrase to grasp, but I'm not even sure I know what that means!  I feel like I'm putting all of my eggs in one basket.  In one respect, I feel like at any moment the floor will drop from underneath me and I'll be utterly disappointed and heartbroken, but in another respect I feel the marriage clock ticking and I feel like he could be "the one".  And not just because the clock is ticking either.  He really does have amazing qualities.  More than anything I just want the anxiety to stop, to enjoy the ride, and for this to end in a happily ever after.  I feel like I deserve a happy ending after the last two years of absolute sh**.  I hope that this comes true for me.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

When do I tell him?

So, I ended up hearing from my guy on Friday morning.  He said he couldn't wait to see me that night, so I didn't get stood up after all.  Sigh of relief!  We went out and had a great time.  And then, before we were about to part ways, he told me he loved me!  We've only gone out four times, but it feels like we've been seeing each other for longer than a month since each time we hang out it's for like 8 hours at a time.  I was so happy/freaked out/nervous at his declaration that I couldn't think of anything to do but kiss him.  I couldn't say it back.  I'm impulsive about everything else in my life but saying those three little, very serious, words.  I don't know how he felt about me not saying it back.  We did decide to be exclusive though, so that's one thing I can check off my New Year's Resolution list.  Boyfriend-check!

This comes with a price though, I think.  How do I tell him I have mental problems?  I can't even begin to describe the anxiety I feel about this.  I guess it helps a little to know that he loves me.  If he already loves me, he has to love all of me, right?  At least, that would be my hope.  And it's not like he knows everything about my personality now and he already loves me, right?  Plus, how long do I continue to date him before I tell him?  My therapist said it's not necessary to tell a person everything at once-they should get to know you first, and I think she's right, but he's already said he loves me!  I don't want to lead him on, and I don't want to get heartbroken if he decides not to care about me anymore.  I've already been devastated once-that's more than enough for me.  I pray that things will go well.  I'm already falling for this guy, which is not something I expected.  Please, let things go well.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I am slowly going crazy

Today was not a good day.  My Adderall ran out yesterday.  I called the doctor's office to ask for a refill and they told me that the doctor wants me to discontinue it.  This makes me sublimely afraid.  The whole reason I started this medication was because my skin was crawling and I could barely sit still.  My concentration was crap.  I couldn't read or sit through a movie, or do hardly any of the things I enjoyed.  So, they put me on Adderall.  But, since I've had so many issues with anxiety lately, I guess he was reluctant to continue me on since the medicine can increase anxiety.  I was ready to trade off the increased anxiety, since I was starting a new (hopefully more helpful) anti-anxiety med, for the non-skin crawling feeling.  Now, it feels like the rug has been pulled out from underneath me.  I just don't know what to make of it, other than feeling upset.

I was sort of on a high all week from my date that I had on Sunday.  He apparently had such a good time that he wanted to talk to me the next day, so he called and we talked for an hour!  We then emailed all week and made plans to hang out tomorrow.  We differed on the times, so I emailed him yesterday and suggested a time and haven't heard back from him.  Does this mean that I should plan to see him at the time I suggested, or is he going to stand me up?  At times I feel too unstable to embark on a relationship.  My primary therapist mentioned today that she talked to my anxiety therapist and they are worried about me.  They are scared that if this relationship doesn't go well I am going to be totally devastated and do something to hurt myself, like start drinking again, start cutting again, or making plans to follow through on the suicidal thoughts that I already have.  I told her that I was worried about that too.  Already today since I've been checking my email every five minutes and seeing that I'm not getting a response from him, I've been feeling rejected, let down and overall like "maybe he doesn't like me after all".  I've had the thought to take a few extra sleeping pills tonight since I'm so anxious and I don't know how I'll be able to get through the night otherwise.  I really hope that I get to see him tomorrow.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Third Date

So, I had my third date with the guy I recently met.  I really made myself sick with worry prior to it, and during the date.  My anxiety is just unbearable.  I know part of it is the normal dating butterflies (which it's been a long time since I've experienced those, so it was hard to tell that that's what it was), but most of it was and is the general anxiety disorder, which absolutely sucks.  It feels like the more I try to control, the worse it gets.  The book I read, "Embracing the Fear", says that you need to let go of the need to control the anxiety, and just let it happen-that way, it will feel less consuming and be less of a big deal.  Yeah right!  I've tried relaxing, I've tried letting it happen-either way, it's just horrible.  My hands get sweaty, my heart beats out of my chest, I get itchy and twitchy all over, and I get sick to my stomach.  My mom asked me today if starting a relationship right now would be good for me, and I don't really want to sacrifice starting something with a great guy because I have mental problems and I'm crazy, you know?  I don't want to give in.  I don't want to give up and be stuck inside my house with my parents like I've done for the last year.  I know there's more to life than this and I deserve to find it.  Tonight he's supposed to call and just the anticipation of it has again, made me sick all day!  I need to get over this.  When I'm with him, I'm mostly fine.  I just need to remind myself that I'm not in danger, that I'm ok, and that he likes me for whom I am.  At least, I hope he does.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Some hope...hopefully

I couldn't sleep last night.  I woke up not even feeling tired either.  I think it's probably the mania.  I volunteered this morning which I was totally nervous about, stomach in knots, head hurting, because I would be on my own as my training was over, but I went anyway.  Part of me looked forward to going since it would be an opportunity for me to take a break for my thoughts and get out of my own head for a few hours.  I wouldn't have a chance to think about how bad I feel, or my upcoming date that I'm so nervous about, or the suicidal thoughts, or the mania that comes and goes.  The volunteering actually went well.  I brought joy to some people and someone actually told me I was beautiful which made me feel better since I've not had a good body image lately.

I picked up my new meds from the pharmacy today and I have a little bit of hope that the new anti-anxiety drug and the higher dosage of mood stablizer will help.  The Ativan no longer works on me and is pointless to take.  I'll be taking Buspar now and I'm really praying that it will help with the anxiety.  The doctor told me that taking the Adderall (which I take for concentration) which I thought was supposed to help with the anxiety, actually has the opposite affect.  However, I'm still going to continue taking it as it helps to keep my weight under control and it does help my concentration a little bit, and I need all the help I can get.  I also really hope that the higher dosage of Lamictal will help with the rapid cycling and the suicidal thoughts.  I think about running my car off the road, and taking a lot of sleeping pills. 

I don't have the things I want and I'm not where I want to be, but aside from the mood swings, the outside things in my life are ok.  I have a safe, comfortable place to live.  I have health insurance.  I am lucky to be getting assistance from the state.  I have a good volunteer position.  I am starting to make friends.  I don't know why I can't be pleased about that?  I'm trying really hard in DBT and anxiety therapy, but I'm kind of stuck.  I wish things were different.  So, I'm holding out a lot of hope for these meds.  I guess I'm thankful that the doctor listened to everything I said this week and made some changes.  I definitely needed them.

I saw this on another blog this week and it really spoke to me.  It's part of the song "Anthem" by Leonard Cohen.  Lately I'm trying to look for the light and find the happy moments in life, despite the sad moments, and mistakes trying to inch their way in.

"Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything,
That's how the light gets in."

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Too many fruitsnacks

I keep oscillating between depressed and manic.  Yesterday I bought a box of 6 fruitsnacks and downed three of them right away.  I immeadiately felt fat and hated myself for eating them, but I was feeling so depressed and suicidal I felt like I would eat away my troubles.  It obviously didn't work.  Now I'm worried I'll have a double-chin for my date on Sunday. 

I slept late today just because I couldn't face getting out of bed, and when I finally did, all I wanted to do was get back in bed so I could take a sleeping pill and get away from ruminating and worrying.  I stayed awake though and threw my Ipod on and launched myself into housework.  That helped a little.

I'm also feeling a little agoraphobic.  I was supposed to go to yoga, but couldn't make myself leave the house.  I was invited to go dancing on Saturday but I'm so afraid to leave the comfort of my house and to be around alcohol (without drinking any) that I'm not sure I'll be able to force myself to go.  All of these things add up to me feeling more suicidal.  I don't want to feel this way, but I can't seem to help it.  I hope that the increased mood stablizer helps.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Using my moments

"We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand...and melting like a snowflake.  Let us use it before it is too late."  -Marie Beynon Ray

Today, using the advice of a fellow blogger, I went to the psych doctor fully armed.  I had my questions/concerns in hand:  the ativan doesn't work anymore, the aderall doesn't seem to work all that great, and I'm rapid cycling with suicidal thoughts.  When he heard about the suicidal thoughts I was afraid he wasn't going to let me go home-I started getting really nervous, but he just wanted to be sure I'd be safe I guess.  He increased my mood stabilizer, put me on a new anti-anxiety med, and kept me on the same dosage of adderall.  Overall, I'm pretty comfortable with the results of the appointment.  I just hope these changes help.  I hate having these suicidal thoughts, especially when things seem to be going ok for me, you know? 

I have a third date with a guy this weekend, and I'm nervous already!  The anxiety is absolutely overwhelming.  Even though I had a good time on Monday when I saw him and I didn't feel that nervous, I'm kind of freaking out right now.  I'm worried about whether or not I'll be able to find the place he wants to meet at, what I'm going to wear, whether or not I'll look fat, and what I'll do if he wants to hold hands?  ( I have extremely clammy hands-especially when I'm nervous).  I know I need to just be in the moment and not worry about the future, but that's so hard to do!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Rapid Cycling

I'm a rapid cycler, and I've definitely been rapid cycling lately.  Up, down, up, down.  When I'm up-I really feel up-euphoric, happy, elated!  Like last week, I went to a symphony with my dad, came home, stayed up super late because sleep just seemed unimportant, and then got up, and felt utterly depressed the entire next day, with seemingly no explanation for it.  Yesterday, I felt happy, albeit anxious, but excited because I had a second date with the guy I met on my retreat.  Today, I woke up feeling tired and slow and re-running yesterdays events in my head and feeling stupid, sad, and hopeless.  I just can't win!  Tomorrow I see the doctor and I'm going to tell him that the ativan no longer works on me-even when I take six of them-nada.  I'm also going to tell him about the mood swings and the adderall not really having much affect on the anxiety.  He'll probably just tell me there's not much more he can do for me medicinally and that it's all up to therapy.  Blast.

Friday, April 9, 2010

No Structure...Endless Rumination

"Guard well your spare moments.  They are like uncut diamonds.  Discard them and their value will never be known.  Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life."  Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have a lot of spare moments now that I'm not working.  I guess I should appreciate them like a retired person or something since that means I can do lots of projects and get things done that I have always wanted to get done, but instead of looking at it that way, I see it as more time to be anxious, depressed and more time to ruminate about all the things I don't have, or am.  For example:

-I don't have any friends nearby.  I'm lonely.  I spend nearly all my time with my parents whom I live with. I'm not stable enough to live on my own yet.
-It's been over a year since I've taken a drink and I still want one everyday.  Will this feeling ever go away?
-I've been broken up with my ex for almost three years, yet I still think about him and go over our relationship in my head all the time.  When will that end and when will I get a new boyfriend?
-I guess I'd have to go out and meet people to get a new boyfriend.  I'm terrified of social situations.  I have been trying to get out more to do them, but just last weekend I went out and had to pop 6mg of Ativan just to get myself out the door!  When will that go away?
-I want to go to beauty school but don't feel strong enough yet to face the rigor of that challenge.
-I am anxious all the time.  The adderall has helped the skin crawling feeling, but not the anxiety and even though I keep taking the ativan, it doesn't even work anymore.
-I am generally less depressed, but I keep rapid-cycling between hypo-mania and depression.  It's like a rollercoaster ride, and not a fun one!

I'm sorry this is not a very fun blog to read today.  I should just shut up and stop complaining.  But like I mentioned earlier, with all of this time on my hands, this is what I go over and over with in my head all day long.  I am grateful that I have good parents, especially a good mother who listens to me.  I am also grateful that I have good therapists who care about me and my welfare.  Hopefully they will continue to get me through these unstructured times and help me get the things I want out of life.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sister, Sister

I have two sisters.  My one sister hates me.  My memory isn't so good since the ECT, so I don't really remember what our relationship was like before I was diagnosed, but I know that since I was diagnosed, she has practically hated my guts.  She can barely stand to talk to me, and when she does she says mean things to me, inciting me to act outrageously and out of control.  In an earlier blog I think I mentioned that I hit her when I got out of control once.  My other sister loses her patience with me very easily and often choses not to talk to me, even when I call her to talk to her and make things ALL about her.  Needless to say I long for a better relationship with both of my sisters but it is obvious that that is not going to happen.

So, knowing that I would get together with both of them today and that the potential for craziness and danger was high, my therapist left me a message last night, telling me to think with my wise mind and gently avoid them if situations started to appear like they were going to get out of control.  Very good advice.  The only problem is that when they say things to me, it is purely instinct that makes me act the way I do.  All the DBT skills in the world just escape my mind, and I just don't seem to know how to use them.  I've done pretty well so far today, but I've really just tried not to engage with the hateful, evil sister, and tried to maintain just a joking stance with the other sister.  We'll see how the rest of the day goes.  I'll be glad when both of them leave, I think.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

"I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship." Louisa May Alcott

I wish I could live by this quote, or better to say, I wish I was living by this quote.  I am definitely afraid of the storms in my life.  The anxiety, the bipolar, the borderline-I'm afraid of all of those things and all of the things that go along with those packages.  I'm working on getting better and my therapist this week told me that I have to learn that I'm more than those things; that these diseases don't define me.  That seems hard to believe at moments, especially when I'm so enveloped in the anxiety right now.  I am happy to report that the depression seems to be getting a little better with each passing day-thanks to the Lamictal, and keeping myself surrounded with more positive things.  Hopefully everything else just gets better with more time.  I have to remember not to put a timeline on recovery, as author Judith Bemis says not to do.  Happy Saturday to all!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Halle Berry-haircut

I'm too sensitive.  I know this.  I also know it's part of the borderline personlity disorder.  I have tried to grow a thicker skin, but to no avail.  I got my haircut yesterday, and my hair was already short, but I went even shorter: aka Halle Berry in her super short hairstyle days.  I think it looks cute.  Plus, on days when I have trouble getting out of bed in the morning and getting going, it's super easy to style, which I appreciate.

When I came home, my dad said "could your hair be shorter, I think it's too long".  He kept making comments like this the rest of yesterday and again today, to the point where I welled up with tears but he kept going.  Couldn't he see how I was reacting to his commentary?  Apparently not.  My therapist said that I needed to communicate my feelings to him, but I feel like that would do no good, just cause an argument.  So instead, I keep my mouth shut and continue to take it.  I feel that that is better than a confrontation.

On a separate note, for some reason, I'm now having a mini-panic attack, for no reason at all, maybe my impending get together with my acquaintance tomorrow?  I feel itchy all over, my heart is beating fast, and I feel like I have to keep moving-I can't sit still.  I'm going to try and not take an Ativan and just sit through it.  I'm going to Mass tonight.  I hope I can sit still through that without too much trouble.

Seeing a rainbow

"We may run, walk, stumble, drive, or fly, but let us never lose sight of the reason for the journey or miss a chance to see a rainbow along the way".  - Gloria Gaither

It's been a crazy week.  Or rather a crazy past couple of days.  We did affirmation bags at the retreat, where people write nice things about you and stick them in a bag.  There was a nice guy that I met ( I met a lot of nice people) through working on the leadership team, but I guess I told him that it was my dream to someday live in Paris and own a Mini-Cooper.  He remembered that and wrote that he would pray that my dreams of owning a Mini-Cooper with Parisian license plates would come true.  I thought this was really nice, so I emailed him and thanked him.  Now, tomorrow night we're meeting up for a drink!  I'm trying to be really casual about this and am telling myself that this is just a friend thing but my sister says it's a date.  I'm not really sure.  Either way, I'm nervous now and will probably be even more nervous tomorrow.  I get really nervous about meeting and hanging out with people, even if it is someone I have already met.

I met with my DBT therapist today and told her that coming to DBT makes me nervous.  She said she understood, which totally blew me away.  She's an intimidating person, which is totally my hang-up, but she also said she was worried about what would happen to me once DBT was over.  She is concerned that I won't practice my skills enough, or forget to use them when situations arise, and she's totally right.  Even now, when crises come up, I get lost in the moment and forget to use my distress tolerance skills, or emotion regulation.  It just escapes my mind.  I get too caught up in the anxiety, depression or anger.  I really need to work on it, I know.

Finally, today I met with the volunteer coordinator at the hospital that I volunteer at.  The assignment that I had was making me too anxious.  I was working with patients that were just depressing me too much and I felt like I wasn't bringing them any joy, and I certainly wasn't getting any joy out of it (even though I know volunteering is supposed to be a selfless act).  Anyway,  I just couldn't do it anymore, so I asked for a new assignment.  Now I will no longer be doing patient care and will be working in the gift shop, which is great.  I like retail, and there will probably be downtime so I'll get to read a book or do my needlepoint or something.  That's always a plus.  I keep going to Savers, Goodwill and SVDP, and collecting all these used books, but my concentration has been crap so I haven't been able to read.  The Adderall has certainly not really helped with the concentration.  I guess I just have to force myself to do things for longer periods of time. 

The doctor did say (unfortunately) that there wasn't much more he could do for me medicinally, that I would have to rely on therapy to get me through these tough patches.  I hate that!  I wish I could just take a pill and make it all better-isn't that what medicine is for?  I know that that is what therapy is also for-so that you don't have to take medicine, (I guess)?  But some people just have to do both together, and I guess I'll be one of those that will have to do both for the rest of my life.  Well, hopefully not the therapy part.  Sometimes I run out of things to talk about, or just don't want to talk at all!  I would rather just blog about it, you know?  Anyway, I need to practice seeing rainbows in life and not making judgements and seeing the bad, I guess.  It will get better at some point, right?  Hey-I have a quasi-date tomorrow!