There is (often) help.

The more depressed I become, the more I blog. The more I blog, the more readers I get. And though I am basically a selfish sad-sack, I feel I should have some Public Service Announcement, so here we go:

Most depression is treatable! And not with hardcore treatment like ECT, either – I mean physical movement (I hate the word exercise as much as I hate doing exercise), counselling/therapy, and/or medication.

My case is an unfortunate exception, where I’ve got a strong family history, a seasonal component, and a history of abuse and trauma, among other things, followed by years of trying to find ways of trying to get on top of depression once and for all. I would really plead with you, if you feel you are depressed, to give yourself an honest and necessary chance to have it properly treated. Resources will depend on where you live, but some Googling or a chat with your family doc might be a good place to start.

To Write Love On Her Arms (www.twloha.com) is my favourite website about depression and some of the blog posts are truly beautiful. So please, if depression is new to you, don’t let it end your story without reaching out for help.

thanks for reading this.

Also, my fucking cutting scars.

Now that it’s short sleeve season I’m really feeling self-conscious about these fuckers. I don’t know if I can pass it off like I was trying to cut my cats claws and I got a swipe from his paw?

I’ve also spent considerable time and energy over the last couple of weeks investigating ways to cover this up. Cosmetically, I mean. Trying the entire gamut of concealers. Nothing is working. My arm is so pale that the vast majority of products make it look like I have a pink or peach or orange-ish patch on my arm, and then the few that I find a little more neutral just don’t stay on there. I guess I should buy a makeup setting spray.

Part of it is that it’s not just the color, it’s the texture, because I was just using shit on the ward and not like an actual blade, so it’s like I dug a little trenches into my arm that are sunken. I feel like I am going to need to get a tattoo to cover this up, because it makes me upset every time I look at them. Although I’m hard-pressed to think of a tattoo design that I’d want on the inside of my arm where the cuts are. I mean, I barely even scratched them. Honestly, like only enough for one drop of blood to fall off. Nowhere near even needing stitches. If I had known that like four months down the line I still have fucking scars, I might as well of gone to town. IMG_4760

So tired. Weary.

I missed work Monday because of a migraine then agreed to do a little side project yesterday (I’d like to have some spare dollars so I can get massage therapy and wait to be reimbursed in the insurance company’s sweet time) so that’s two days of work to make up over the weekend. It’s just this horrible cycle of always playing catch-up, and then I’m not balanced and not relaxed, which just makes it harder.

It takes so much time to go to the doctor/ RMT/ therapist/ neurologist/ psychiatrist/ hospital/ pharmacy and work and have migraines. I just don’t see myself as able to keep up a full-time job for much longer because I’m weary on a soul level.

Wednesday I went to work, booked a doctor appointment with my GP for 5:15 to try and get a referral to a dermatologist because my acne is worse than it was when I was a teen. I had to wait around for a half an hour which I spent washing my make up off so he could see the severity of the situation. When he came into the room, he said he was so sorry to hear that I was having such trouble with my depression. It totally dis-combobulated me. I was all ready to play the part of his patient who hadn’t seen him in months, and was coming in for a referral for my hormonal skin, no big deal. I don’t know if he looks up people’s electronic medical records before he sees them or if the receptionist does that as part of the chart or what. And I get that it makes sense, but it just totally changed the tone of things.

So he basically diagnosed me with bad skin due to stress. I’m breaking out on my face, and on my cheeks and joy line instead of my t-zone where I used to. Then I have huge patches of itchy dry eczema of the come and go on my hands and chest. So he prescribed me some kind of antibacterial cream from my face and a stronger steroid for the eczema, and I didn’t really have the presence of mind to push for referrals so I asked him to write me a prescription for migraine drugs, while he was at it, and said I would be back if it didn’t work. Then I went to the drugstore. And waited half an hour for it to be filled. Then the pharmacist said my total was 120 something dollars, and I just about had a heart attack because I just given them my new health benefits information with the card that I just got that day, which was supposed to give me 100% coverage. So the pharmacist figured that the plan wanted me to get generics, and they didn’t have two of the medications so I’m gonna have to go back to get them tomorrow, and so it was like 8 o’clock by the time I got home so I microwaved a bowl of peas and checked my email and went to bed.

Yesterday was the side job, so I had to get up super early so that I could catch the bus to go downtown to be on time, and I did, and I worked all day, and then I tried to finish all the paperwork at the end of the day but I was too burnt out. So I stopped working at 6:30, and went and caught a bus, but the transfer I needed was only running once an hour so I ended up walking most of the way home and didn’t get home until eight, just like the night before.

Today my skin just looks fucking awful, because I put Differin and the antibiotic cream on it which was obviously not a good idea, so I still have the bad complexion I had before, as well as a couple of dry red patches of skin that makeup just wouldn’t stick to. It was just sliding off and pilling and making my face looks super patchy. It’s like the worst make up day I’ve ever had. So then I started getting anxious that I couldn’t get my face into any kind of shape to go to work, which just made me get shaky and sweaty. So I went to work, stopped at the parking office to be told that it was too late to make any changes for this month, and didn’t actually arrive to the office until 10:30.

I had an appointment to see the hospital chaplain at 1, so I only got a couple of hours of work in before I had to leave. I wept at him for an hour and a half. I didn’t think I was that sad, but I started crying practically as soon as I saw it down. I guess it just takes so much energy to hold everything in and put on a good show at work that I’m not really in touch with stuff during the day.

So it was 3 o’clock by the time I got back to work, and I still had five hours to put in. It was just so shitty. I was totally unproductive and I felt just bleary and puffy and teary-eyed and tired. I managed to get a second wind a little bit toward the end, but I didn’t really put in a full days work. So I got home it shortly after 8, opened a can of tuna, and that brings us to now. I’ve been out of the house for basically 12 hours a day for one reason or another, and by the time I drag myself home i’m tired. There’s nothing in the fridge, except ketchup, so I have to go to the bank, then grocery shopping and back to the pharmacy, and I need gas, and I’m going to have to do some laundry before next week, and meanwhile I have to work two days out of this weekend, and probably have a migraine as well. It’s just so fucking exhausting, doing it all myself, and the cried out, wrung out, puffy eyed feeling doesn’t go away with a cup of coffee or even a Dexedrine.

I know in my head that most people that have this level of migraine consistently aren’t holding down a job at all, let alone working full-time, and I know how much time it takes for me to try and manage having a physical and mental illness, but still have this vague feeling that I ought to be able to pull things together somehow, there’s no point just stumbling through the days like this.

Another summer like this…

Today was fucking awful. I was tired from the get-go, and I was supposed to have an intake phone call for this counselling centre in town, but the meetings before ran over by half an hour so I just got a voicemail from them, and I’m going to have to rebook. I was supposed to go see the chaplain at the hospital today, but had to call him to cancel because my boss wanted to wrap a project up by the end of the day. So all of that is OK, but then by noon I realized I was starting to have a migraine. I logged onto the migraine app, and sure enough there were 10,000 people registering a current migraine in my city, so I knew there was something up with the weather because it seems pretty consistent; when there’s no weather happening there just seem to be 1000 or 2000 people having one at the same time, but then when the barometric pressure drops or a thunderstorm is going to happen it goes up to 10,000 or 20,000. So it’s like a confirmation that whatever sort of or I’m experiencing is actually a migraine and I should medicate the heck up right away.

 So I took a triptan. And an Advil. And a Tramadol. And a naproxen. And went to Starbucks. And drink some water. And sorely wished that I had some muscle relaxants at work. So I was feeling clammy and sweaty and confused and having to work on this project that everybody was practically dancing with impatience about. It just sucks because there’s no real way to make yourself feel better when you feel like that. I can go splash water on my face, or take some drugs, or use an aromatherapy roll-on, or whatever, but I’m still going to feel like a clammy sweaty mess.

So I did manage to finish, but I had to cancel an actual social plan that I had for tonight. I was going to go out for sushi and then do some crafts with a friend and I had to email her and explain that I just couldn’t. She understands and we’re going to reschedule for next week, but it just feels like now and last summer, when my mood is decent and I actually feel like working out, and being social, and doing things, I don’t have the capacity to because I’m getting freaking migraines all the time.

Last August I had 15. That’s the cut off for chronic migraine versus episodic migraine. And it basically means that I’m just dragging myself home from work, doing the bare minimum of emptying the litter box or whatever, and going to bed. If I get a migraine during a workday like today, I’m not gonna do anything after work. If I get a migraine on the weekend, I’m pretty much going to spend the day in bed and then get up in the evening for two or three hours and then go back to sleep.

So really it takes up as much time as having a second part time job would. And when I think that I’m doing the equivalent of working 50 or 60 hours a week, I think I’m coping really remarkably well. If I was a workaholic or how to high-powered career, nobody would expect me to be Miss Domestic and have a bunch of hobbies and social time. But then what is the point of working so hard when the best case result is that I get to tread water and keep going?

Trip to the ER.

I missed work Thursday and Friday because of a migraine. Friday early afternoon I was wondering if I should go to the hospital because I hadn’t gotten any sleep Thursday night and nothing I’d taken (Zomig, Percocet) was touching it. I always put it off because I don’t even want to fucking move, let alone move to somewhere I will have to open my eyes and where it is bright and noisy.

Anyway, just before 2 pm I gave up and called an Uber and staggered into the ER. They took my info and asked me to take a seat and I said “Can’t I just lie down on the floor?” The admitting clerk was like “You don’t want to do that, the floor is dirty, but no you are not allowed to. Security will “help” you up if you do.”

So I started to cry. I couldn’t help it. Went and took a seat in the waiting room and sniffled under my sunglasses and hat. It was only a minute or two before they took me back – to a recliner – and the nurse gave me a gown and started rounding up IV equipment. She started it on the first try and said that way we could start the meds as soon as the doctor saw me.

It took a little while for him to come but since I was now in the dark laying down with a blanket and with relief in sight it was so much nicer. He came around, didn’t shine that light in my eyes thank goodness, listened to my heart and asked if I could bend my neck and follow his finger, then suggested some Toradol, Maxeran, and Benadryl by IV with some dexamethasone (steroid) to top it all off. Sure, I said, that sounded fine. I don’t think Toradol does anything for me but, whatevs.

Anyway, I felt better. came home, did nothing. Got up today and ran an errand, went to work, ran another errand, went back to work and just felt bitchy! I ate two chocolate bars in a row and I couldn’t concentrate and I felt so nasty and then it occurred to me that I was having a migraine aura. So I said fuck it and came home.

One of the errands was a Genius Bar appointment at the Apple Store, where it turned out that my iPad was completely pooched but luckily still under warranty, so I got a new one and have been letting it install software and get set up since I got home. I have a phone date with one of my best friends on the other side of the country at 8 pm which is awesome but I am feeling all overwhelmed with chores so I guess I’ll go start a load of dishes and what not.

I gotta take some supplements to work (like Coenzyme Q-10) and stuff because I would do anything to make these migraines less bad. Yuck. I was reading some papers about how migraineurs are more likely to self-harm and have suicidal thoughts even when you control for other things like psychiatric diagnoses and it’s because it sucks. Waking up and being in awful pain and being like “Oh, I guess I get to lie here in pain for a day, I can’t read or do anything distracting because moving or opening my eyes is hell, so I’ll just lie here for 12 or 16 long hours.”

Summer is coming

And I don’t know if I can stand another one like last year. Today’s pretty much the first day I’ve been migraine free in about a week and a half. I was flat out on the weekend, and I remember thinking on Sunday that I should get up and do some laundry or something because I didn’t exactly have a headache anymore, but I sure as hell had a headache hangover. I was trying to remember what I did last night, and of course I worked on my taxes all evening. How fucked up that I couldn’t even remember what I did 24 hours ago. Anyway, today I went to work, went to see my psychiatrist and cried talking to him the whole time, and he gave me a new drug to try, I don’t remember the name of it but it’s an antipsychotic that’s also approved as an add on for major depression and adults.

Then I went back to work, and started feeling overwhelmed and having difficulty concentrating. And so I basically was just sitting there looking at the screen for about an hour, and then I had my appointment with the counsellor and I cried really hard at him. I was talking about how I don’t get the point of being all anal about opioid addiction’s, because I don’t give a shit if I might get addicted to opioids in a couple of years, if I’m gonna fucking kill myself right now because I can’t stand the thought of being in pain for more than 15 days in the month.

Great quotes.

It is so comforting to read something that makes you feel understood:

https://www.psych2go.net/depression-dark-truth-quotes-depression-best-thing-since-sliced-bread/

especially:

“Everything seems to be exhausting me, not matter how much sleep or how much coffee I drink or how long I lie down, something inside me seems to have given up. My soul is tired.” ~Unknown

And

“Depression is being colorblind and constantly told how colorful the world is.” ~Atticus

Has my head ever not hurt?

My mood is better than January. That’s pretty indisputable. I don’t feel like I have anything to live for, but I’m totally not in a headspace where I could commit suicide right now. So I’ll just stumble on, because I’m sure the depression will overtake me again in a year or two or three..

In the meantime,  i’ll just enjoy my head hurting every single fucking day. I got the pharmacy to fax my neurologist to ask for a refill on steroids, but he wouldn’t give it to me. I see him in two weeks, so hopefully I can talk him in to more. Otherwise I’ll just order them off the Internet. I really don’t give a fuck. They’re harmful for long-term use?  I super don’t give a fuck about that. My head hurts now. My migraines are affecting my quality-of-life now. So I can’t really be invested in something that’s not supposed to matter until years from now.

I… fuck… fucking weather… steroids

I have straight up had a migraine since last Wednesday. I should’ve gone into work over the weekend to make up time, but I just hang onto the bed and close my eyes. Today I took a steroid, which is supposed to be the last resort of last resort, and I managed to make it through the day but I still felt like crap, and I took a Gravol because I felt so nauseous it made my heart race for like five hours.

I cried on the bus on the way home, and then I cried on the walk home, and then I cried for like two hours when I got home, and I was working on trying to find another car but I would’ve had to have my dad cosign for me and it’s just not worth the stress…  and it’s not even so much the stress of having to deal with my dad as it is the stress of getting into a loan for years and years. I haven’t managed to keep a job for more than three years since I graduated, and I’m at 2 1/2 years for this job now,  and I feel like I’m hanging on by the skin of my teeth, not to mention that my boss told me to be discharged and get back to work or he couldn’t keep my job open for me just two short months ago.  So I pretty much feel like I’m gonna lose my job again in six months, or a year, and then I’ll be on unemployment and looking for a job again, and I’ll manage to scrape through until I kill myself,  but I’m seeing  repossession or desperation in the future.

So I guess I’ll just basically never have a car again, because it’s probably not realistic to want to save enough money to just buy one with cash. I had a car 20 years and four months ago, when I first moved to the city. So now I’m moving backwards. As soon as my lease is up here, I’m going to look for somewhere smaller to move  and my life will just shrink around me until I’m an old maid in a boarding house room with nothing and no one. I actually hope to God that I have the courage to kill myself before it comes to that point.

Left psychiatrist without a prescription.

I went to my appointment today and explained that whatever I had taken was making me really really tired. He said “hmmmm” and started flipping through my file, asking me what meds I have been on in the past, before I came to see him, which I really don’t remember at all. Then I said why not just leave well enough alone, because I thought things couldn’t get any worse but when I couldn’t make it through a workday, that was actually worse. And that the world only cares about whether I go to work and pay my rent, the world doesn’t care how I feel about it.

So he said maybe we would leave it for a week, because I just tried two medications that didn’t go well for me, and that he would see me next week. I cried on the bus on the way to the appointment, and then pulled myself together to sit in the waiting room, and although I started crying when I was with him I still kept it mostly together. I think I know where that I have to go right back out in the waiting room in a minute so I’m trying not to lose it. I wonder if this gives him the impression that I’m doing better than I am, though. Or maybe now that it’s been two months since I got out of the hospital, that this is a sustainable level of emotions. I don’t know. He did ask me when I was seeing my therapist next, and the answer was today, as I had an evening appointment.

I started straight up full on crying in the waiting room, and continued crying during the whole session, and the therapist clearly gets how bad I feel. He manages to say stuff that makes me feel better, or at least understood, and I end up not really being able to remember anything specific after I leave. Like, I’ll talk about how I don’t see how I can go on, and he’ll say something like “you’re just surviving right now, but you feel really bad” and I’ll be like yes! That’s it exactly! 

He must be concerned for me, because this is through the employee assistance program, and I know those programs have a limit on sessions. If you have more than just a handful, you’re supposed to be in a special program where are you also have a limited number of sessions, but you fill out questionnaires about your symptoms and a bunch of other stuff. I was in that last year, but he just said not to worry about it and is happy for me to go see him every week, so he must be keeping the company off his back somehow.

It just occurred to me on the way home and I’m going to make a note of it to tell my psychiatrist next week, but my parents didn’t ask me if I was OK when I told them that my car was written off. My mom emailed me and asked if I was all right the next day. It didn’t occur to them at the time, because all they give a shit about is money, and when they heard the insurance was paying it that was all they cared about; that, and yelling at me. But really, when I say I was in a car accident and the insurance is writing it off, that could’ve meant that I was in a real wreck. I could’ve been talking to them with casts on my arms and legs. I’m sure if I put it to the bluntly, they totally would deny that money was important to them but the proof is in the pudding; their daughter told them she was in a car accident that resulted in the car being written off, and they didn’t even think to ask me how I was until the next day. So fuck them. Fuck them SO HARD.