5th day, full dosage. Too soon to know if it will be working. In the meantime, I had “homework” to do… or at least that’s the framework that I have assigned to this little list of personal “to do” items. I called the sleep doc’s office. My first and last sleep study was 5 years ago April. Can’tbelieve it has been that long, but it has been. I’ve got the consult appointment, at which I’m certain he will berate me for using the Ambien (it worsens apneas). I’ll be clear that it was the Ambien and working or no Ambien and no working. No sleep means no work.
Then I did a quick search on the web, combining our city with the search parameters of the psych/behavioral areas I need to work on. In what can only be described as a gentle moment of serendipity, I found a clinical psychologist who has this very specific combination of experience and education. Her style looks complimentary to my needs and I think she will NOT disregard the mix of things that I need to be heard about (convoluted, but I mean it).
Controlling… perfectionistic… anxious… intense… underachieving… scared.
I was told in 1988 that I needed to deal with the “Very Bad Things” that happened when I was a kid. I didn’t. I don’t know why. It was a strange, messy time back then. I was filling out the paperwork in preparation for the meeting with the psychiatrist – meds only – and all of it got dredged up, right when my lack of sleep was at another peak. I was exhausted. I was emotional. I realized that a large chunk of the strange behaviors I hang on to for comfort come from those events. This is neither a bad thing, nor a good thing. It just is.
I’ve been told over and over again that I need to let go of my need for control, that I need to be ok with mediocre. As I age it just becomes worse. Some things I’ve managed. I can look at the towels that Todd has folded and I don’t grit my teeth or feel my pulse race. That has taken almost 2 years of conscious effort.
I don’t have to drive us everywhere. I can toss the keys to Todd and then, if I close my eyes or focus on something, I can keep my mouth shut while we drive. If I’m tired, I can’t keep quiet… but I can be the passenger and that counts for something.
I don’t fold underpants any more. Funny that I would have done it in the first place, isn’t it? But I did.
I can watch Bren load the dishwasher and I don’t get as tense as I used to. Mostly, though, I leave that interaction with Todd. If I don’t see it, I don’t fret about it.
I can keep quiet in meetings and I don’t have to argue my position on everything. Today I was able to be told something at work and I didn’t snap inside like I normally do. I did have a flash of anger in another situation, but even that got channeled out.
I didn’t lie in bed from 4-5am, running the same scenario in my head over and over.
These are just snippets of course. Nothing big by themselves. It’s what the patchwork forms when all the little things add up. It’s the fast pulse, the teeth clenching, the muscle pains from holding myself back. It’s the anger and the frustration and the sensation of not being heard, of not counting. Those are a part of all of it.
At some point burying it all away has become more and more painful, until I have finally realized that I either deal with this or I end up retreating from everything. I have a family to care for. I have a husband who is up to his eyeballs in school and two boys who need a healthy mom. I am not suicidal, but I wished so much for all of the pain and unhappiness to just be done. I imagined what it would be like to just step out of life and be in a quiet void.
We don’t get that choice, though. Instead, we wake up each morning – talk ourselves into going to work – hoping that each day will be a little better.
I hate this diagnosis and I will fully admit I’m skeptical about it. It’s not that I don’t believe it and it’s not that I don’t believe that I could be bipolar. It’s that I feel like the whole picture hasn’t been accounted for. I hate the fact that with this diagnosis comes the blanking out of all other possibilities when discussing health or mood. Suddenly I’m not “moonfire” – I’m the diagnosis. No period for 3 months? That’s because you’re depressed. Crying jags out of the blue, for no apparent reason? It’s mood swings due to being bipolar.
The former was due to hypothyroidism. The latter due to reproductive hormones being out of whack. Thyroid medication got me squared away on one and Beyaz took care of the other.
Do I think the moodswings have impacted other areas of my life? Absolutely. I wouldn’t have pursued the return to Lithium or the psychologist if I didn’t think I have true issues to resolve so I can stop the merry-go-round.
Do I think that other behavioral issues have come up out of the VBT’s from childhood. Oh yeah. And I don’t say this as an excuse. I’ll take full responsibility for who I am and the weirdness I get myself into, but I finally stopped – dug into it – and realized that when someone takes the control away from you (repeatedly) as a young child… when someone scares the hell out of you and makes you think that they are evil… when someone hurts you and one of the people you love most… then maybe you’ll try to find your own way to gain control.
I’ve got this tiny seed of hope that is forming. It sucked at first, digging things up out of where I had it all buried. Then I realized that I’m going drain all the power out of what happened. I’m going to keep pursuing that little bit of hope.
I won’t ever get rid of all the behaviors and, to be honest, I’m still going to be a perfectionist with school. It’s graduate school after all. Doing mediocre work isn’t acceptable. Perhaps, though, I will loosen up, let go, and regain some of the cheerfulness I had as a young child. I think my guys would appreciate that.
well… the Ambien is kicking in and the other set of chemicals are off doing their thing in my brain. It’s time for sleep. I hope I can arrange that appointment with the psych. She sounds fascinating. And she’s a part of that hope.