Tag Archives: symptoms

Safety plans in place

20 Nov

Safety plans in place, and I guess I got my psychiatrist all worried.  So I saw my case manager on Friday and told her legit what was going on, and also that I was NOT going to go to the hospital.  I told her I told the therapist what was going on but not how bad it was, because she doesn’t know me as well and probably would’ve hospitalized me based on my symptoms.  I wrote my psychiatrist a message earlier in the week about my symptoms and he talked to my case manager and the therapist and he’s all freaked out and made an appointment for me next Friday.  My case manager was talking about how he was invested in me and worried, lol.  I think he’s just frustrated we found some meds that finally worked and now they’re now working again.  My sister is holding on to my extra pills, so I don’t have them at my apartment- I’ve been extra suicidal so that’s part of me trying to be safe.  I also put a Trans crisis line in my cell phone.  My case manager reminded me she’ll be off this week for thanksgiving, but to feel free and call for an emergency appointment the next week and she’ll get me in.  Although I gave my sister the extra pills, I put in my chart some extra PRN of Latuda (my anti-psychotic) and Valium in case the voices get to bad and I need to calm down.  Just 3 more weeks of school to get through.  Then 5 weeks of vacation, and I don’t care if I have to go to the hospital then- I mean I prefer not to but it’s a hell of a lot better than missing finals.  Hopefully during winter break the symptoms let up, or I can adjust.

Update 10/19/15 Being “normal”

19 Oct

wore out

It’s been an odd week, really busy.  I find (especially processing the week today in counseling) my life is becoming somewhat “normal” or at least what I would imagine is normal.  I still see myself struggling to appear and act normal in social situations and relationships but other parts of my life are transitioning without much effort.  Weekly run down:

  • Monday 10/12/15 Found out conditional acceptance to UC Davis, Counseling appt, got back a linguistics test I got a D on.
  • Tuesday 10/13/15 French class and DBT.  Don’t get test or essay back in French.  DBT focuses on secrets to health relationships and communication errors.  Homework assignment for self soothing within interpersonal relationships confuses me.
  • Wednesday 10/14/15 Work on Halloween lighting.  Neighbors come over for dinner and to help with lighting.
  • Thursday 10/15/15 Realize I have an online conversation due in French, quickly do it with classmate.  (I hate these recordings!)  Still don’t get French exam or essay back.  Go to group, able to overcome intense emotions.
  • Friday 10/16/15 Went to Tyler Perry play with sister
  • Saturday 10/17/15 Go to scrapbook expo spend too much money.  High school friends’ husband cancels b-day party for that night.  Dad’s friends come over to help set up Karaoke machine and lighting for Halloween party.   I’m stuck entertaining said friend’s wife.  So not my thing.
  • Sunday 10/18/15 Sleep a lot, work on Halloween decorating.  Study with 20 something’s friend.

As I’ve mentioned in a prior blog, my sex drive or interest is back and it’s strange.  I was hesitant because I’m not sure if it’s just my brains way of creating a new stressor since the transferring one has gone down so much with the conditional acceptance.  I asked my case manager about that and she said the fact that I didn’t just automatically jump into it means some awareness and I’m more in control.  We kinda decided I’d wait till after Halloween to decide to pursue that.  It’s definitely stressful and I want to make sure it’s something I want not just a passing desire.  And Halloween isn’t that far away.  She says it’s “normal” to crave that.  Another example of things getting more normal.  Also she mentioned that all my symptoms are less frequent and intense now, from flashbacks, to voices, to anxiety, to paranoia, etc.

I had mentioned I went to the play and she was surprised.  I said I had been to one before when she was trying to hospitalize me that weekend because I was throwing up my meds because I was paranoid my parents were trying to poison me.  I talked her out of it by allowing her to call me sister, who I was going with.  I kinda laughed that I remember it and she took that to mean I thought it was funny.  She said something to the effect of looking back don’t you see how ridiculous your reasoning was and I was like no.  In my mind I didn’t need to go to the hospital and if a similar thing happened again I’d probably still assert I don’t need to go to the hospital.  I can live and function with a lot of symptoms and I know my breaking point, that wasn’t it.

Some quirks

11 Sep

That are probably symptoms of mental illness.  (I don’t self diagnosis but have a lot of habits or symptoms of disorders but they don’t interfere with my life, at least I don’t think they do)

  • I only eat out at about 6 restaurants and get on food kicks.  Currently I’m eating a cheese enchilada, all beans, and a flour tortilla about 5 times a week in the last 2 months or so.
  • Most summers all I eat is one specific brand of cereal and ice cream.  This year I’ve nixed the ice cream due to weight gain but the cereal is Life.  Last year it was Life too.  The year before Lucky Charms.  The year before that Kix.  I tend to cycle between the three.  I’ve already had two bowls of life cereal today for breakfast and lunch.
  • I’m clumsy.  I fall a lot often for no reason.  I have terrible balance.  Lots of times I have bruises and things from falling that I don’t really re-call.  I just found out this year that it might have to do with my sensory disorder.
  • I’m really awkward in social setting.  I talk fast and ramble, especially when there is silence.  I can’t stand silence.  I don’t know social rules or norms that good so some stuff I say is completely inappropriate.
  • I don’t wash my hands very often.  Or put lotion or sunscreen on.  I don’t like liquids touching my hands.  Also new realization that relates to my sensory disorder.
  • I used to refuse to take classes in college unless I knew one person in them, so if we had to do group projects I would know someone.  Also incredibly shy and never talk to but one person in the class and only if required.
  • I was suppose to be left handed but my mom changed me when I was little.  I have found left handed written letters I don’t remember due to dissociation.
  • In junior high I told everyone I had multiple personalities, there names were Marci, Darcy, and Birdie.  Little did I know about 15 years later a therapist would suggest dissociative identity disorder.
  • When I use to self harm it would have to be in parallel lines and in odd multiples usually 3-11.
  • I have CDs of Marci Music that are just composed of songs with lyrics that I think relate to my life, I also have a song category here on Facebook.
  • In 7th grade I was voted best attitude on my team, kind of a popularity thing.  I think it was due to me spending my lunch money on candy and soda and giving half of it away.
  • I’ve never tried drugs not even marijuana, there is so much addiction in my family.
  • I’m 32 and still live at home. 😦
  • Since age 19 I’ve been in weekly therapy.  Most my therapists just go over how my week was and it’s like having an outlet and a person to talk to.  Mostly private and expensive
  • I have very strange sleep habits that cycle though.  Currently I sleep in about 2-4 hours blocks that add up to about 8 or 9 hours a day.
  • I’m afraid to make friends because I think they will leave or reject me.  Just recently would I consider myself to have a “best friend”
  • For awhile I thought I was asexual, now I think it’s more greysexual and related to trauma and psych meds.
  • I don’t like my breasts and want a reduction or removed, for while I thought this might be a trans type thing because I think it’s be easier to be a boy.  But now in the community I realize it’s not, I feel like a girl and identify as a girl- not a very girly girl but a girl
  • I went to a private christian university for 2 years, when I was trying to repent and live the “straight” lifestyle.  I was miserable.  The students sucked but the teachers were good.
  • I often have to end sentences with the words “Not that I remember” because of my severe memory issues with trauma and ECT

RE-sharing

6 Jul

Not everyone goes to the links on the side bars of my website, but this is one of my favorite posts and you can find it there along with a few others.  I’m at the NAMI National Confrence today and read a guest blog post I wrote about 2 years ago on stigma and what you expect from people with severe mental illnesses.  Here is a copy of that post.  Oh and btw I got a standing ovation 😀

I have my days, more than most.  I am mostly depressed.  Walking to the mailbox is exhausting and considered an accomplishment.  I stay in my room and hide from the world.  I don’t feel like eating, it seems pointless and food has lost its flavor anyways.  All I want to do is sleep but I can’t.

The thoughts won’t slow down long enough to allow me to rest.

“Why me?  This isn’t fair?  I just want it to end. You’re over reacting.  I wish I could escape.  What did I do to deserve this?  You’re stupid.  Just snap out of it.  Why me?…” 

I can’t sit still, my legs shake and my heart pounds as I try to anticipate what is coming next…  How bad will it get this time?  Will I need to be hospitalized again?  Have my medicine changed again?  Should I call someone?

I live 75-90% of my waking hours actively psychotic.  I hear voices that live in multiple places in my head as well as voices from the outside that belong to real people.  The voices say many things: including demeaning comments or suicidal and homicidal conversations.

The voices scream and sometimes I listen to what they say or bargain with them.  I am often paranoid that my family is talking about me behind my back and plotting together to get me institutionalized so they do not need to deal with me.

I self-harmed for over 10 years, usually cutting open my skin with something sharp and occasionally burning myself.  I think about suicide constantly, not only from the voices urging but as a relentless thought.  I plan my death, what will be done with my body and possessions, what my funeral will be like.

I fantasize about the pain finally being over.

I will no longer be a burden to my family and others.  I’ve written a few notes and had a couple attempts the first being at the age of 10 when I tried to suffocate myself.

I often have no feelings, a numbness and emptiness in life.  I’m afraid people will leave me or reject me, so I mostly stay away from people and have only a few close relationships.  I’m terrified of conflict and cannot handle it, this stems from experiences in my childhood.

Much of my childhood was spent raising myself and sometimes my sisters. My parents were often physically unavailable and never emotionally available.  Alcoholism and anger outbursts were standard in our family throughout my developing years.

Before the age of twenty-five, I had more than 80 Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT) treatments also commonly known as shock therapy. I have been in numerous medical studies not commonly used yet to treat my different symptoms, including having a stimulating device implanted inside me by surgery (VNS  therapy).  I’ve been hospitalized, in a psychiatric hospital, over a dozen times in the last 8 years, mostly involuntarily.   I’ve also spent time in crisis residential housing, which is similar to being hospitalized but with more freedom and fewer patients.  I compare it to being in a “group home.”

Along with these overnight stays I have been in many different programs that take place during the day and I am able to go home and sleep at night.  These programs vary in length and duration but all are outpatient services. One program is called a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) that is Monday-Friday 8am- 3pm for at least 2 weeks and sometimes as long as a month.

These programs take place at psychiatric hospitals, where the group does group therapy, art therapy, skills based learning groups, and one-on-one appointments with psychiatrists and social workers.  Enrollment in a PHP generally is a step down from hospitalization or used to prevent hospitalization.

I’ve been in weekly therapy since I was 19 years old, in addition to any groups or classes I might have been in at the time.  I’ve been on psychiatric medication since I was 10 years old.  I have been on over 30 different types of medication and at my worst was on 11 different prescriptions, taking over 20 pills a day.

With just this information, what do you picture? 

What would you expect?

Believe it or not, I’m a (mostly) functioning adult.  I am 30 years old with blond hair, blue eyes and I am a college student.  I do have schizoaffective disorder bipolar type and borderline personality disorder.  I am on four psychiatric medications and still go to counseling once a week.

I am not “dark,” I have few visual scars, do not dress in all black, or wear black eye liner.  I’m not an EMO teenager or someone just going through a “phase.”  I do not walk around mad at the world talking about how everything is depressing and pointless.

I am not an “attention seeker.”  Few people know the extent of my illnesses.  I am not homeless and do not walk around dirty or talking to myself or the voices.  I am not a zombie devoid of any emotion or intelligent thoughts from my brain being shocked too many times.

I will not approach you to tell you how the government is spying on us and has been for years.  I am not a serial killer or a danger to anyone except maybe myself.

You do not have to worry about setting me off.  I am not stock piling weapons or making a list of innocent people to kill.  I do not use street drugs and have never been arrested.

I am not “psycho.”

Who I am is intelligent and compassionate.

I have above a 3.9 grade point average and over 100 college units.  I am always trying to lend a helping hand to those I know personally and strangers as well.

It is likely I am one of the least judgmental people you will ever meet; my illnesses have given me empathy as well as a unique perspective.  I love children and have worked as an after school teacher.  I also teach Sunday school and have done reduced cost child care for families that needed it.

My favorite place on Earth is Disneyland and I go there at least a few times a year.

I am not my mental illnesses. 

I am not a stereotypical “crazy” person.

I am not what you’d expect.

30 Days of Mental Illness Awareness Challenge: Day 30 Recovery!

25 Feb

MIA challenge

Day 30: What does recovery mean to you?

This is a loaded question with a lot of people.  I just read an article in the NAMI Advocate about the medical model of recovery and the recovery model of recovery.  Essentially the medical model defines recovery as curing or reducing symptoms where the recovery model focuses on improving health and wellness.  My opinion is that both need to be integrated.  Specific to my mental illnesses (schizoaffective disorder and borderline personality disorder) I need reduced symptoms to help improve health and wellness.  Without therapy, counseling, and medication I could not do the things that keep me well like school for structure and accountability, socializing for support, distraction, and fun, and just maintaining a somewhat normal life.

With voices, suicidal thoughts, self harm scars to hide and be ashamed of, no energy, emptiness, no motivation, and mistrust (all symptoms of the two disorders) it is impossible to live a recovered happy life.  Will all my symptoms ever go away, will I ever be cured? Probably not.  But I know I have lived periods of my life where my symptoms were so out of control I had no quality of life.  I couldn’t attend school or work or any structured activity.  I wasn’t stable.  All I thought about was suicide and was constantly self harming.  Life was pointless and empty and I was not going to engage with it.

Luckily I’m not there anymore and I know I will still have my days .

I have written a post about a year ago on Recovery and how do you know what it is.  I have been ill most all my life and most people think of recovery as “before;” before the illness, before the drinking, before the impairment- how you functioned, felt, thought before whatever it is that has you off kilter.  There is no “before” for me, which in a way is nice because there is nothing to be expected but in the same way it’s a little fearful because I don’t know what a recovered life will look for like me.

There is also a post on Recovery and what it means to me in terms of my Borderline Personality Disorder it was written based on an article in a NAMI newsletter in 2012.

For me recovery is:  Me being able to function consistently.  Being able to maintain a regular schedule with personal fulfillment whether through employment, volunteering, or education.  Have socially supportive relationships and be able to reciprocate. Having fun!  Feeling like I have some purpose to my life, and putting to use my past to help others.  Being in a romantic relationship.  Having a pet kid and maybe helping raise a real child whether through family or foster/adoption.  Being able to accept the bad days, the symptoms, the illness and know that it will come and go and I can always come back to recovery. Recovery will be a process not a destination.

Wise words from a fellow blogger

Because recovery does not mean that you will never become unwell. Recovery means you are better prepared for life, more able to cope with it’s ups and downs. Recovery means an understanding of what it is to fall… And what it is to fight your way back up.

I decided to start this challenge first of all to help my readers learn more things specifically related to my mental illnesses.  My fellow bloggers are welcome to participate in any or all of the challenge prompts.  You can also start at anytime.  I hope this will raise some awareness and give you insight to mental illness. The master list of prompts is here.

30MIAC Day 13: Round Up and Results

31 Dec

MIA challenge

So here are the round up people who participated in responding to my thirteenth prompt on the 30 Days of Mental Illness Awareness Challenge. If you participated and I haven’t added your post here, please pingback to the main challenge page with prompts or tag your post 30MIAC.

Day 13: If you know the criteria of your illness(es) which ones do you think you meet? Or what are your most common symptoms?

From Pieces of Me who splits prompt 13 into three posts, part 1 with personality disorders, part 2 with anxiety disorders and eating disorders, and part 3 with Emetophobia.

From All That I Am, All That I Ever Was which includes the answers to prompt 12 & 13.  He talks about the problems of diagnosis and getting treatment, which means that depending on what you are diagnosed with usually depends on the treatment you get.

From Remember to Breathe which includes specific obsessions and compulsions that she has.

And my answers which includes each of my diagnoses their criteria and the criteria I meet in red and bolded font.

From Second Chances which gives a quick review of depression and anxiety disorders.

From Fashion Anxious who combined posts 13 and 14, she talks about some symptoms she experiences such as: impatience, feeling on edge, and feelings of dread

From Battling the Demons Within which contains the diagnoses of different mental illnesses with criteria that applies to her in italics.

From That’s Crazy who creatively calls her post “On a Scale of One to Crazy” she talks about how with some of her diagnosis she feels she meets the cookie cutter stereotypes and others are a more unorthodox shape.  I like how she refers to shapes.

From Pride in Madness who talks about the DSM criteria of Borderline Personality Disorder and puts in pink the symptoms she relates to, she also mentions the severity depends on context and that anger would be her biggest issue.

From Voices of Glass who shows a symptoms map he has made in response to day seven of the mental illness challenge, most those symptoms relate to his main diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder

**Thanks to all who participated and continue to spread the word**

Also mylovelyborderlinepersonalitydisorder who has Bipolar and Borderline Personality Disorder and answered prompts 9-14 in a comprehensive post.

Also A Life of Madness who answered prompts 10-21 in a comprehensive post, she includes photos and has bipolar disorder.

Also Surviving by Living who has depression and conversion disorder and answered prompt 12-14 in a comprehensive post.

It’s time for an update

6 Nov

So in some ways I am doing a good job, or at least trying to make things not as bad.

In other ways not doing such a good job.

Sometimes it is difficult to evaluate what this means… I have a different opinion then most of what items need to be done well and which ones are okay to slip on.  I know the deal breakers but there is a lot of grey for things.

How depressed should I be before considering higher care (hospital, crisis residential, partial hospitalization, etc)?

How long for letting up on hygiene?

How much is too little eating?

What if the suicidal thoughts are there… to what degree before I should do higher care?

Voices, dissociation, etc…

I usually evaluate things on a case be case basis.  Depending on what I need to, want to, or feel I should do outside the hospital; examples like school, work, family.  The intensity and duration of symptoms also play a large factor.  So I am going to list some of the things I have found out through my experience:

Deal Breakers (have to go):

  • Interacting with voices.
  • Visual hallucinations along with the auditory.
  • Considering/believing the voices point of view or directions.
  • Don’t feel I can trust myself (usually in reference to controlled self harming, though I don’t do that anymore.)

Considerations:

  • Not eating along with lack of hygiene and skipping school.
  • Extreme apathy and increasing detachment.
  • Dissociation, especially with memory lapse.
  • New symptoms that are not well known to me, so I don’t know how to handle them.
  • Sleep issues, especially lack of sleep which contributes to low energy to fight symptoms.
  • Increasing in amount/frequency of self-harm (no longer an issue)
  • Long duration of voices.
  • Researching or planning (more long term) suicide.
  • What I have to keep me busy or feel I need to do. If there is a lack of this.
  • Overwhelming.
  • Needing a break from responsibilities, family, stress, etc…

Things that contribute to me NOT going, not deal breakers more like considerations:

  • Being admitted on weekends, as there is little to do and this can make things worse.
  • Family obligations, ex: brother-in-law’s birthday (currently), vacations, big holidays.
  • School obligations, ex: finals, midterms, asshole teachers (currently).
  • Family opinions.
  • Having to tell someone why I can’t be somewhere, or needing to make something up.

**Right now considering going to be admitted between after quiz Friday and Monday and would definitely be out by Friday for brother-in-laws 30th B-day party, if I have to be in hospital on my b-day (Tue) so be it.  No deal breakers right now and a moderate amount of considerations.**

Out of control. Hopeless. Alone. Confused. Terrified.

9 Jul

I’m confused.  I’m frustrated.  I’m terrified.  Having mental illness symptoms suck.  Many people don’t understand or experience them and they are rarely talked about.  I found some type of comfort tracking my symptoms, figuring them out and related illnesses/treatment/ and information.  Even though some things I don’t have a lot of control over, it gave me a little peace of mind knowing some what, what was going on with me and how to handle it.  It took years for me to identify symptoms/illnesses/treatments and even longer to accept all the things that come with them.  Ability to function, stability, triggers, patterns, how they developed, what they can develop into, limitations, duration, severity… I could go on and on.  At least having some information and being able to relate it to personal experience helped me cope.  I didn’t feel as out of control, completely alone, or like some kind of freak.  Okay I admit I still feel aspects of those still, because of the complexity of my illnesses and the fact that they are multiple.  But knowledge gave me some power over them.  I feel I am back at square one.  I don’t understand what’s going on in my mind and body.  I don’t have common words or words that feel right to explain it.  I again feel like some freak with miss matched symptoms that don’t add up to anything.  Out of control.  Hopeless.  Alone.  Confused.  Terrified.

Questions, concerns, and fears and no one to console me

8 Jul

I thought about making this post password protected… but then I would hope for people to ask for the password and no one usually does on any password protected posts.  I have a fear I will post this public and no one will comment making me feel bad, if it was protected it might make sense why no one commented.  So after going back and forth for quite a while, I’m just going to make this a public post.

I’m scared, actually terrified may be the better term.  I feel like I have lost all understanding of myself.  In the past I thought I knew what my disorders were, what my symptoms were, more or less the path or trajectory those disorders go– occasionally I would doubt myself, get anxious and send me into a downward spiral.  But, I just don’t know anymore and I don’t think anyone else does either.

I’m confused about the voices and them being psychosis (which is what I mostly thought), a form or dissociation, or a form of coping.  Some people may not think it really matters, but it does in terms of treatment and progression of symptoms/disorders associated.  Psychosis more or less has to be medicated, some of mine comes and goes (the more negative and dangerous voices) but has a change to be degenerative where I may eventually not be able to tell the difference between what is real and what is not.  I’d also not be possible to keep it under wraps as well as you lose that perspective.  Which would mean everyone would know I’m crazy and I’m not sure how well I could control myself.

As my understanding with dissociation goes, it’s more a part of you so not necessarily needing to be medicated.  More a goal of working together and putting pieces together.  My fears here are what these parts of me want to say and do.  They conflict and most are not congruent how the main public part of me acts and what it knows.  It’s also (at least at this point) rather hard to control.  Other fears being related to why this has even happened?

With the voices being a coping skill, I’m referring to the back voices who are rather friendly and don’t cause too many problems.  They talk to each other and me, they entertain me and offer feedback and advice thought not always good feedback/advice.  If these voices are something I have created over time to deal with loneliness and lack of support, they don’t need to be medicated and can probably be phased out by becoming less lonely and feeling like I have support in the outside world.

In these last two weeks I have for the first time in my life mentioned some of the fears relating to the first two options of the voices, to my case manager.  I’ve mentioned the fear about the progression of psychosis before briefly.  She was mostly silent on what I said other than saying to research information on the Limbic System.  I don’t know if she doesn’t want to put ideas in my head or herself may not understand what is going on.  I did talk a lot to try explain this, but still the response of mostly silence I got frightens me.  This isn’t her normal reaction/personality though I know she was having a rough day that day.  I can’t seem to find answers on my own and one of the few people I trust had a strange reaction.  I was thinking about writing a message or trying to talk to her before my appt Friday to put my mind at ease a bit but I don’t know.  I’m not one to reach out or ask for help and am afraid of possible answers.

Knowing my luck it’s probably a combo of the three which will just make things harder.  Usually, my case manager helps calm me down, sometimes my sister.  My case manager is a professional so I think she should have the answers. I’ve not talked to others about this so there is no option for them to help console/calm me down or try to answer my questions are fears.

Definition: “Freak outs”

19 Jun

I had written on Thursday about what I initially called a “breakdown” in the post On Hold.  As I was thinking about what happened and prior experiences with similar intensity but not always the same symptoms or triggers, I decided on a new term to explain it “freak outs.” I read many other peoples blogs who use terms such as episodes, breakdowns, meltdowns, break, and others.  My freak outs vary in most aspects other than intensity.  To meet the definition for a “freak out” it needs to be of extreme intensity, more so than my usually daily experience in regards to whatever symptoms are bothering me.  For an example of intensity, in Thursday’s I started sobbing uncontrollably was hyperventilating and could barely talk.  The trigger/symptoms had to do with depression, hopelessness, lack of control, unpredictability of symptoms/functioning ability, lack of independence, and comparing myself to others– these are general and as always there are  many specific’s underneath that I’m not going to go into.  The triggers/symptoms are nothing new really, they are things I experience consistently on varying levels, which is usually the case in any “freak out.”  “Freak outs” usually happen after emotions/thoughts/symptoms build up after a period of time without being addressed, expressed, or tried to be solved.  Most of my “freak outs” happen when I am alone and no one else witnesses them.  Prior “freak outs” have been about anger, voices, dissociation, unpredictability/lack of control, the future, extreme hopelessness/suicidality.  My sister has probably witnessed the most out of anyone, usually through the phone— If I can’t regulate it with medication or in the past ineffective coping skills I must get someone else to calm me down or wait it out with me so I don’t do something severe.  My dad has witnessed 2, because he triggered them and they were anger ones.  My case manager witnessed one that was partially controlled last October.