In The Hospital, Day 6

As far as weekends on the ward go, this one has started out not too badly. Even though I slept well last night, I’ve been feeling pretty groggy all day today – I took what I thought was going to be a short nap but ended up sleeping right through lunch. Fortunately, they saved my tray so I still got to eat. After lunch, I took another two hour nap. I’m not sure why I’m so tired but I wonder if it has to do with the new dosages for the sertraline and venlaflaxine.

It’s the weekend so there are no groups so other than napping I really didn’t do or accomplish much today. I was thinking of doing some laundry but the washing machine has been running full tilt all day.

In addition to being tired, I’m feeling a little “off”. A little nervous but I can’t figure out exactly why. I tried clearing my head and doing mindfulness exercises but they didn’t help much so I’m going to assume it’s related to the medication changes. I don’t feel terrible, just a little anxious.

There are so many things that I want to do when I get out of the hospital this time. I’ve felt this way before but my motivation has dissipated pretty quickly; I really hope this time is different. I’ve got a motorcycle that’s 99% ready to ride, steel that’s ready to be welded, stuff to write, music to listen to, and things to look at under the microscope. I just need to keep focused.

Another thing I need to do something about is my weight and fitness. I have put on approximately 50 lbs since this time last year and I really need to lose them. I know some of it is likely because of the medication but some of it is certainly due to me eating too much of everything. Making things a little more interesting is that I still have no appetite and need to eat by the clock. On the other hand, I have no off switch – once food is put in front of me I will eat until everything’s gone. My hips and back are noticing the extra weight so I really need to get things under control. I’ll be sure to post what works for me and what doesn’t.

Stay safe!

In The Hospital, Day 5

Things are continuing to look up. I slept well again last night, my mind isn’t playing any tricks on me, and today has gone quite well.

The novelty of being in the hospital has worn off, though. I’d really rather be home at this point. I don’t feel like I’d do anything bad, and I’d enjoy a few hours in front of the record player right now.

Groups today were good. Morning group was about spirituality and the afternoon was about Canada since Canada’s 150th birthday is approaching.

I had a telephone meeting with Dr C at noon today. We mostly focused on what led me to this particular stint in the hospital. When I think back on it, I find it difficult to accept how badly I felt at the time even though it was less than a week ago. So many things have changed; so many other things have stayed the same.

Am I “better”? No, not by a long shot… but I’m definitely headed in the right direction. When I spoke with Dr W today, he predicted that I wouldn’t be in the hospital for very much longer. That would make this stay the shortest by far. J is fond of saying that I need to shake things around and see what falls out next and I think she’s got something there. Each time I’ve been here it’s been because of a different trigger, which then gets worked on until I can handle it for the most part by myself. That leaves one less thing that can creep up on me and kick me when I’m down.

Tomorrow we’re changing the sertraline and venlafaxine dosages again. I’m really hoping that I experience few or no side effects from either withdrawing from the sertraline or adding the venlafaxine. I’ve been extremely lucky so far and haven’t run into any show-stopping side effects.

This afternoon, FA stopped by and we visited for about an hour and a half. We went outside and sat in the hospital garden area and had a really good talk. I really appreciate the time she takes out of her schedule to come and visit. The hospital is pretty much on the other side of the city from her house so it’s not a trivial amount of time and effort for her to get here. I know I’ve said it before, but she’s a really good friend!

This evening, J and I had another video chat. A phone call is good but a video chat is so much better. I miss her an awful lot and any way to feel closer to her helps. It’s because of her that I’ve made it to the hospital instead of ending up someplace worse. I’m really looking forward to her next visit!

This weekend is a long weekend, so here on the ward it’s going to be a LONG weekend. I got my gym pass today and I am allowed off the ward for an hour at a time so I think I’ll be spending some time walking the track and listening to music.

Stay safe!

In The Hospital, Day 4

I slept pretty well again last night. Woke up once from a nightmare but it didn’t keep me awake for very long. What finally woke me up for the day was someone tapping my shoulder and saying my name. I woke up, startled, and flipped over to see a lab tech standing there with her case of blood drawing equipment.

When she was done taking blood, I looked at the time and realized I’d almost slept through breakfast. I wandered over to the dining area, grabbed my tray, and sat down to eat. My nurse this morning was K and she brought me my morning medication. We’re on day 2 of the sertraline to venlafaxine migration and I haven’t noticed any side effects – negative or positive – at all, which makes me pretty happy.

This morning’s group was about healthy eating and how many foods out there claim to be “healthy” when they are actually full of salt, sugar, fat, or a combination of the three. We looked up a bunch of different foods and it was pretty shocking what was in some of the stuff. Another thing that caught most of us by surprise was that the serving size for a lot of things was really tiny.

Group this afternoon was about gratitude, a topic that I could write a ton of posts on. We spent quite a while discussing gratitude journals and how to express gratitude in particular situations.

My meeting with Dr W went well. I feel okay today – not as good as yesterday, but certainly not bad. I can now leave the ward for half an hour by myself as long as I stay on hospital property.

Oh, and speaking of hospital property, FA is coming to visit me tomorrow! I’m really looking forward to hanging out with her for a bit, she always has interesting stuff going on. She should be here around 4PM or so and we’re going to hang out until about 5:30.

I spoke to my parents today for the first time since they got home from their vacation. They had a really good time (which is excellent – they deserve it) but were happy to finally get home and sleep in their own bed. It was also the first opportunity I’d had to talk to them about why I was in the hospital. I am very lucky to have parents as supportive as they are.

This evening, J and I had a video chat. It was really good to talk to her again, I miss her very much. We talked about our days and plans for about half an hour. I’m really glad we have the video chat option – it’s still not the same as being there in person, but it feels a lot closer to real than a regular phone call.

This evening I think I’m going to do some writing (assuming my laptop battery holds out) and get to bed a little early.

Stay safe!

In The Hospital, Day 3

I slept better last night than I have in weeks. It wasn’t just a good sleep – it was one of those woke-up-in-the-same-position-I-went-to-bed kind of sleeps. I had a bunch of weird dreams, though – the weirdest one was where I was a journalist, covering a roller derby event but the players would stop playing and form a chorus line and start singing every time I tried to take a picture. They say dreams mean something but I have no idea what that one could possibly mean in the real world.

Weird dreams aside, I feel good today, too. My mood is good, I don’t feel down… everything seems like it’s turned around and is headed upwards. Part of me is waiting for the other shoe to drop, but for the most part, I’m just glad I feel okay.

Dr W and I discussed depression yesterday and we agreed to migrate me from the sertraline over to venlafaxine. I had my first dose this morning, and… nothing. I didn’t notice a thing. Hopefully that’s a good omen for how the entire migration will go.

My appointment with Dr W today went well. He was surprised at the difference in how I was compared to 24 hours earlier. He told me to be optimistic but remember that there may be downs with the ups. Since my head is clearer and I’m not thinking of bad stuff, he gave me privileges so I can go off the ward by myself for 20 minutes as long as I stay on the hospital grounds. He also gave me a two hour pass that I can take with family or close friends.

This morning in group we made cookies and two types of oatmeal cups. Everything turned out really well and I got the recipe for the cookies to use when I get home.

By the time the afternoon rolled around, I was feeling a little groggy so I took a bit of a nap. I missed the afternoon group but woke up in time for supper. I have to say that the food here is really not too shabby. Sometimes it looks like it’s been in the warmer for too long but considering how many people they’re feeding, I think it’s pretty good.

J came to visit after supper! Since I’d been given a two hour pass, J and I could go down to the cafeteria on the main floor, talk, and hang out. It sure was good to see her again, I really miss her when we’re apart. J had some exciting work news too so that was great to hear. We talked the entire time and it was wonderful. I used my two hour pass right to the minute. The hospital is not overly convenient to get to so I really appreciate her showing up and bringing supplies along.

This evening I’m just taking it easy and enjoying how I feel. I really hope things keep on getting better but if there’s a down, that’s okay. I’m definitely in the right place to have it.

Stay safe!

Voices Gone!

I have no idea what happened but when I was eating supper I suddenly noticed that the noise in my head was gone. Not all of it – there’s still a dull rumble that’s always been there… but what’s been really kicking my butt lately is nowhere to be heard. If it stays like that I should be able to sleep better tonight which will hopefully work WONDERS. Fingers crossed!

Stay safe!

In The Hospital, Day Two

I slept very poorly. Part of it is the noise in my head while another part is probably because I don’t sleep well the first night at a different place.

I haven’t done much more than eat and lie in my bed. This afternoon I did participate in one of the groups where we did some writing. I decided to write the beginning to a mystery story.

I’ve been in touch with my family and FA since I’ve been here. Being able to text and do things like video chat sure makes it a lot less lonely.

The staff here has been exceptional and has made being here as easy as possible.

I had a meeting with Dr W today and tomorrow we are going to make a medication change. Slowly reducing the Zoloft and slowly adding Effexor. I’m lucky to be in the hospital because we can make the change faster than if I was seeing Dr W once a week.

I also heard from Dr C today andshe is willing to do a telephone session if I can’t make it to my appointment on Friday.

II feel a lot less down and unsafe than I did yesterday. I think once I get some good sleep and the Effexor kicks in things will progress rapidly.

Stay safe!

 

Back In The Hospital

Things got pretty rough over the weekend. I called Dr W’s office and when he called back I told him what was going on. The short version is that things in my head were so loud that they were drowning everything else out. J, as always, was super supportive and kept me together until I got to the ward. I’m feeling pretty rough right now so I expect the posts over the next while to be brief (if I post at all).

 

Stay safe.

Not So Great

Things aren’t going very well right now. I’ve been having a lot of noise in my head lately and I’ve been having trouble sleeping, which is a really bad combination for me. We ended up calling the Crisis Line last night and J had a good chat with the person on the phone (I wasn’t able to make the call).

I’ve had voices rising above the crowd in my head before and they’ve always been the same. Two male voices, one of which is demanding to know where my Disaster Recovery plan is, and the other berates me and tells me I’m no good, I’m a burden… that sort of thing. What has me scared this time is that the voice that usually berates me is now telling me that everyone would be better off without me and I should just off myself.

I’m listening to music all the time now to try and blunt the voices but all it does is give me another sound to listen to – it doesn’t get rid of the other crap going on in my head. It’s better than nothing, but I sure would pay some real money to get rid of this stuff for good. I don’t understand why it’s come back – I know I haven’t done anything wrong but I sure feel like I did.

I have my next Dr W appointment on Wednesday but I’m going to call ASAP Monday morning to see if I can get in and see him before that. Dr C has given me a lot of really useful mindful tools that allow me to tell what’s rational and what’s irrational, but I’m really worried that if I continue to get little sleep the line between safe and unsafe may blur.

I’m supposed to get together with WG tomorrow morning to go to the record store but at this point I just can’t do it. I feel really bad about that – WG is such a good friend and I feel like I’m deserting him. I hope he understands.

Stay safe.

Happy Mother’s Day!

My mom has put up with so much crap and weirdness from me over the years I sometimes wonder why she and Dad never sent me off to join the circus or something like that. Bad report cards, two years of university for nothing, a whole heap of condescension and sarcasm, mental illness… Mom stayed Mom throughout all of it. I am truly blessed with the best mom in the world.

I’m also blessed with the best mother-in-law in the world. I may still be a little afraid of her, but she’s always been wonderful (and makes really good salads and desserts). Despite her daughter being married to someone who’s not on an even keel, she supports both J and I completely and I can’t thank her enough.

If your mom is near or a phone call away, take a minute and thank her for all the good things she’s done for you. If you can’t get ahold of your mom, thank another mom who has made a difference in your life.

Stay safe!

Ups And Downs

I didn’t sleep well at all last night. Far too much was going on in my head to let me relax and when I did fall asleep, I woke up with nightmares and had very strange dreams. The weirdest dream I remember had me standing in the checkout line at the local grocery store. The man in front of me turned around and it was Hank Williams Jr. He and I then broke into an a cappella duet singing “Help Me Rhonda” while the other customers around us clapped.

I woke up from that one wondering if my nighttime medications had expired and gone bad or something.

I went out into the living room at about 1AM and read out there until a little after 3AM. I went back to bed but sleep was still elusive. I know I managed to fall asleep at some point but I don’t know for how long – all I know is I felt like crap this morning.

After J left for work I tried to take a nap but ended up staring at the wall or ceiling. I tried napping on the couch and in the comfy chair downstairs but the results were all the same. I put on some records and tried to ignore the noise in my head but I think it was just destined to be a bad day.

I got an email from Dr C saying that she was ill and couldn’t make our appointment today. I think that worked out for the best – I don’t think I would’ve been comfortable driving this afternoon.

I spent some time observing the shrimp. They’re interesting little creatures. Watching them eat is very interesting and almost looks like they fold up the fish flakes while they’re eating them. I could still find two of the little baby shrimp so at least some of them haven’t been eaten by their parents yet.

There’s another big ransomware scare today. It’s shut down some UK hospitals and is spreading rapidly. When I saw that, all I could think of was what I would have been doing if I was still at work. I could feel that familiar tightness in my chest signalling that a panic attack was on the way but I got away from the computer and did some grounding exercises and managed to avert it.

I have no idea what I’m going to do this evening or this weekend. I’m behind on the laundry so I need to do some of that; I also need to put some stuff away. Maybe I’ll finish putting the seat and panels back on the motorcycle so I can move it to a different spot in the garage and do some welding. That would be nice. I’m sitting around a four right now, it would be really nice to bump it up to a six or seven.

Stay safe!