Anxiety

Adventures in Gabapentin

Well that was a complete bust now wasn’t it.

My anxiety levels have been steadily rising as my depression got worse, so I decided with my doctor to start an anti-anxiety medication that is suitable for people with bipolar disorder, such as myself. Of all the medications out there, there are two that fit the bill: seroquel and gabapentin. I’ve tried seroquel in the past. My main concern with seroquel is that it generally makes people gain A LOT of weight. And I just can’t handle that. So there is no way I’m letting a single pill pass my lips. So that left gabapentin.

I took my first dose in the early afternoon, when my anxiety is at its peak. A mere hour or so after I took it, I began to get weird cold-like symptoms. I, naturally, thought these were just a coincidence and that I was getting sick. It steadily got worse, until it looked as if I had a full on flu. At this point, I am still taking my gabapentin. Until my lips started to swell. They puffed and they puffed. They swelled right up. It was actually really scary, I must admit. I googled gabapentin side effects and it popped up basically telling me to go to the hospital – which is advice I didn’t heed… I just did not want to go to the hospital. So instead, I slept for about 17 hours in a row…

I texted my case manager, who then consulted with the doctor – he said to stop taking the gabapentin.

So I’m left here, out of anti-anxiety options. I’m just begging the universe to let my anxiety symptoms subside as my depression eases….

Advertisements
Life

Are my antidepressants actually working?!?!?!?!?!?

It has occurred to me: I have had good day after good day. It’s true, and undeniable. This whole week has been….good? It’s puzzling, because usually when I have a good day, it is followed by an equally bad day – my mood fluctuates so significantly that I never have “a good week”. Yet, this is what has happened.

How do I know this? Well, it suddenly hit me when I found myself dancing to a playlist of songs called “best happy/motivational songs” at 7:30 in the morning, already dressed and ready to take on the day. I used my SAD light the past two days in a row. I have made lots of tea. I even managed to go to the library and read a little bit.

Despite my rising mood, I am still not free completely of the pit that was my depression. But I’m getting there….

Maybe this means that my long awaited prozac is actually starting to WORK????!!!! Crazy!

BPD · Feelings · Life

A gentle time is needed

I think I have had sufficient self-reflection to this point to be able to recognize what my problem is. I am well-versed enough in my own emotions to see what has been happening. There are two levels to this.

Level one: Why am I not feeling better yet? Having recently been released from hospital gives the impression of being “cured”, which, I am learning, is TOTALLY UNTRUE. You can’t see the damage done to my brain, but I can feel it. Right now, I can’t concentrate enough to sit and read like I normally can. Knitting patterns are too hard for me to comprehend. Work is just too overwhelming. So I must make accommodations for my healing brain. Read something short and incredibly engaging (inspirational poetry). Knit something simple, like a sock with no bells for whistles – nothing fancy right now. DON’T go to work until your glass can handle the sheer volume of living that is required of a functional human being. Be gentle with yourself Jenna. You deserve all the kindness in the world.

Besides my over-eagerness to be a “normal” person, my medication may have been playing a role in my failing neurotransmitters. You know how doctors ALWAYS warn you that in the first few weeks of starting or increasing antidepressants, you may feel actually more depressed and suicidal than before? Well, this is what has been happening to me. After my doubling of my prozac, I expected to feel way better, right away. And when this didn’t happen, I lost hope: thinking that nothing was ever going to change, that I would always be this much of a fuckup.

Not true, not in the slightest. The way I know this is through the eyes of my boyfriend. He sees someone valuable, someone unique and full of life. I feel deserving when I’m with him. I feel like I’m enough.

On this note, I must change some of my habits surrounding my boyfriend: this brings us to level two of my current depression.

Ever since moving to Victoria, I have been floundering. At first it was fine, I was enjoying the splashing around in the waters. But I began to get tired. With my particular case of borderline personality disorder, I find myself questioning my identity A LOT. I will often feel like I don’t exist on my own, that without another person to validate my existence, I’m not even a real person. So instead of rebelling against this identity disturbance, I fell into its clutches. I faded into my boyfriends life and became an extension of him. My definition was that I was his girlfriend. I ceased to be an actual person. My own life had disappeared. I already felt lost on my own, and this situation just aggravated my sense of non-existence. When he was at work, I would simply stop everything. I lost touch with myself in those moments.

What I need now is to remember who Jenna is. I need to read, and write, and knit and dream and live and remember that living is amazing and that sometimes, so am I.

So that is what I shall do for the next little while. I will be the most Jenna that i can imagine. I will start a new notebook, and fill it with all the minutia that makes me happy, so I don’t forget it all. I will watch all of the harry potter movies again, just so that I can recite all of the lines to myself. I will knit a sock. I will read Kurt Vonnegut letters. I will ride the bus and look out the windows as we move. I will keep my room tidy. I will do my makeup in the mornings.

I will remember myself again. I still exist, I know I do. I feel more like myself already. Today is a good day. Tomorrow will be better.

BPD · Feelings · Life

That is a blog post that I nearly posted yesterday afternoon.

I think I’ve figured out why I don’t just DO IT already.

I’m, ultimately, not hopeless. Not without hope. I’ll be sitting there with a literal bottle of advil – 28,800 mg of ibuprofen in my grasp – note already ready, it’s been ready for weeks – and I won’t do it. I tell myself that I’m completely ready.

I just keep putting it off, like an addict trying to quit smoking: “I’ll do it after the laundry is done”, “I’ll do it after I’ve eaten this orange”, “After my nap”. Those are, quite literally, my thoughts.

But then a glimpse of hope will somehow creep into my brain. Some little glimmer. I’ll remember a time when I laughed, I’ll take a sip of perfectly steeped tea, I’ll watch a great singer on the voice get a four chair turn. And I’ll realize, once again, that my life is precious.

There seem to always be a crushing amount of reasons to give up, to give in, to let go – a world full of pain and despair. A box doesn’t fit on the shelves at work, I may as well be dead. My dress has a tear. Three people are dead. I finished drinking an iced latte. These all seem to be perfectly sane reasons to die.

But I’m still here. I still have that one little flame of hope to live for: the joy of living itself. I might just make it through until tomorrow, to see the sun again. And I will cling to that hope with the skin of my teeth because that is literally all that I have. And in the end, that will have been enough. That I have tried with all my might, to live a good and happy life.

(Don’t worry about me, right now I’m completely safe, safer than I’ve been in weeks).

Eating disorder

Food yet again

I’m in a food dilemma (as always)…

My eating disorder has been mostly under control the past month or so, but with my recent hospitalization, bad habits have been brought to the surface. Nothing to be concerned about in the long run, but they are troubling in the moment.

One day while hospitalized I got so hungry that I literally could devour anything. And so I did….I ate a bunch of paper. Fucking paper. I’m so disgusted with myself for that, but to be honest that isn’t even that bad…for me…. Of course I purged right afterwards, so did I really eat it? Does it really count? Who’s to say. But needless to say, this was a worrisome event in the short term.

I spoke with an eating disorder specialist at the royal jubilee hospital during my short stay there, and she had some advice for me: STOP BEING VEGAN. She claims that it was simply feeding into my restrictive eating disorder behaviors. This is something that I’ve been pondering for awhile now, with the notion of un-vegan-ifying (or renormalizing) in the back of my mind.

But it’s a super scary idea. My biggest problem with food at this point in my life is the physical feeling of fullness. Feeling full makes me feel fat. Feeling fat makes me feel bad. Feeling bad makes me suicidal. It’s all a vicious cycle that just gets me down. And I generally find that vegan foods are lighter on the stomach than “regular foods”.

So my plan is to transition out of eating a vegan diet and into a vegetarian diet, and then, ultimately, into a “regular” diet. That’s the dream anyways.

I have an appointment with my new counselor at the eating disorder clinic on Monday, so stay tuned for some (hopefully positive!) updates about that.

BPD · Life

Hobbies and their role in my identity/the art of storytelling

I feel like my life is a delayed flight finally taking off. I’ve been in a state of limbo for the past month, with me couch-surfing and staying with friends. It’s been so unstable, which is generally a bad thing for my mental health.

Luckily, my brain seems to be on the down-low for the moment. My adjustment disorder reared its head for a couple of days right after I started my new job at Walmart, but has since subsided and my ravenous drive for sanity has returned to the surface.

It’s possible that I am hypomanic, although it is also equally as likely that I am simply a motivated and high functioning individual. I’ve been incredibly driven – driven to work, to create, to accomplish. I have started a knitting business, where I sell knitted socks under the “Jenna brand” (Girl with a story). I’ve been knitting like crazy, developing knitting patterns, writing about knitting. This type of focus happens to me regularly. When I get an idea in my mind, I don’t shake it until I have gotten completely submerged in the subject. A tad obsessive maybe ;)? And I believe this is a symptom of my borderline personality disorder. For as long as I can remember, I have fluctuated, and bounced from obsession to obsession, but never quite landing on one that “fit”. It is a part of my personality to try new things I suppose – but it’s more than just that. Without knowing who I am, I attempt to grasp onto things that can aid in a definition of “Jenna”.

Knitting and reading are my two most consistent hobbies. I’ve been reading for my whole life, and I learned to knit when I was ten. I think I’m starting to, slowly, very slowly, understand the essence of Jenna. I am a peaceful being. I appreciate the small things in life. I value creativity and intelligence and kindness. I love to share, share everything. I respect the individual, and believe that everyone has a story to tell. I think that there is no such thing as evil, just different perspectives. Through my external world, I have constructed a picture of my internal landscape. Knitting = creativity, reading = intelligence, business = sharing my talent and ideas. My hobbies are my definition at this point. That is why I dive into them with such vigor. I don’t know any other way. Who am I if not a knitter? A reader? A creator? A storyteller?

I think that’s the label I would choose above all others. I am a storyteller at heart. My life is based around stories, ones that I tell myself about the world around me, ones that I read, ones that I perceive. Everything follows a story arc; plot devices are integrated into my bones. I’m simply a “Girl with a story”, trying to share her unique perspectives with the world.

My life is simply that: a story. But there’s a catch… It is a story still being written – and I am the author. I choose the paths, I choose the atmosphere, the mood, the tone. I can choose whether to write a tragedy, or a success story. My story isn’t over. Me being alive, that is my art. Telling my own personal story to the world by simply existing. That is me. That is the essence of my life.

Life

A job or a career?

Surprisingly, Walmart Langford has an amazing work environment.

Why this is surprising, I can’t quite pinpoint – but Walmart has a certain social stigma associated with it.

In reality, the fulfillment team is just that, a team. We all take our breaks together, we all unpack boxes alongside each other. We have a great relationship between all of us. It’s only my first week there but I already count my co-workers among my friends. This is an incredibly amazing feat. In past experiences, I’ve found it difficult to make friends through work, as people generally have previously established friend groups outside of work. However, in this case, everyone is around the same age as me, and with Walmart being such a non-discriminatory employer, you find all sorts of people working there. I guess that means that I fit in quite well here.

My life is taking turns and shaping up to be something entirely different than I thought it would be. Here I am, a week into my new job, already considering future careers (management opportunities?) with the company. Why Walmart you wonder? Isn’t it completely counter-intuitive to my values? Actually no. Walmart is committed to serving the individual, to respect, to excellent customer service. Personally, I adore customer service. I am “customer-centric”, with my priority always being that of attempting to brighten someone’s day and make a lasting impression on them. I would love to be a bigger part of the company, simply for the effect I could have. Introducing sustainable practices, environmentally sound policies, socially just ventures – all of this is something I could accomplish from the inside.

I do thinkĀ I am management material. I am very organized and am good at prioritizing and juggling – all skills which are required in a higher role. Of course, it would take awhile to get to the point where I could even apply for a management role – however, the environment of Walmart, as it stands now, is something that I’d love to be a bigger part of.

I’ve also been active in my knitting life: I’ve started my own business venture. It’s called “girl with a story knitting” and we sell knitted socks! Eventually, my dream is to open a combined cafe/knitting store/kids bookstore. It would be the absolute peak of my career. You know, I think this is what makes me happy. While I love school, and will definitely continue my degree – I think opening a knitting shop and working with people and being creative and working in a task-based environment is ultimately what will fulfill my soul. These are my future dreams, hopes, ambitions. Become a manager at Walmart. Transition into owning a full-time knitting/bookstore/cafe. Live life happily. Be creative. Be joyful. Have meaningful interactions. That is all I hope out of life.

And I’m so excited to be taking steps towards my dreams.