Monday, July 27, 2015

Medication madness.

I firmly consider myself to be a spiritual person.  If you've read my blog - you know that at one time in my life, I was very deeply into the grace movement.  Since my pastor moved, I've been struggling greatly and this doesn't say much for my faith.  Although I've had to learn the hard way that faith isn't about feelings --- I don't know if everyone gets that.  Faith is about believing, and living your life in accordance to that.  I'm not sure that this was how I was raised though.  But I digress.

I've been on three different medication changes in the last three months for depression and anxiety.  It makes for quite the difficulty in balance in one's life - emotionally, mentally, and physically.  If anyone had any doubt about whether or not these are serious issues, depression alone has cost me sleep (years of lost sleep) physical changes, mental stability, ability to eat food, vomiting, and uncharacteristic aggressiveness.  One feels like a slave to it's affects - and really we are.

I was diagnosed with Major Depression Disorder  in 1991 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  I'd just finished counseling school at St. Mary's Campus of the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Mn.  I couldn't find a (counseling) job to save my life.  My student loans were coming due.  I was working two jobs.  All I could dream about was saving the world.  I was on fire with the passion of doing my dream job.  I was sober, and had been since June 1, 1986.  I graduated in May  1991.  I was on fire.  I had no reason to become depressed.  I had fulfilled a dream, I'd been an excellent student.  I had far exceeded my own expectations of myself - with a few bobbles.  I took one C because of a Professor didn't like a paper that I'd written and I refused to redo it.  All else A's and B's.  3.8 GPA.  It blew my mind.  I had almost failed high school.  The only thing that I excelled in was shorthand and band.  I never really tried  - I was always high.  I started getting high when I was 11.  I took my first drink at the ripe age of eleven.  I was smoking pot in 6th grade.   I was using pills addictively by age 14.


Depression hit me hard.  I did not know what was happening to me, even though I was educated.  It's strange like that. I utilized every tool that I knew -- I was going to AA and I almost begged people to tell me, help me but no one had any answers it seemed.  I was in a relationship and it made it a living hell.  I was on prozac  and various other medications and did not have prescription insurance.   You can imagine how that went over.  The side affects are always worrisome.  It's a tradeoff.  You either be depressed or live with the side affects.  I had eight different med changes in the beginning.  It was a living nightmare.  People do not even begin to understand what depression is like.  It is much like your own Psyche betrays you.  Your thoughts lie to you.  Your brain begins to tell you things that aren't true.  They aren't nice things.  You have to fight not to believe them.  It's a living hell.

I'm at the same turn, very grateful for my meds.  I've always been one to take my medication religiously.  I guess it's as simple as wanting to be happy.  I have a friend who is very depressed right now.  He has been for several years - he believes all of his life.  I don't know that I agree with this.  I remember a time when he was happy.  At least he seemed to be.  He has no idea how my heart goes out to him - I've tried everything I possibly can to reach him.  He just won't budge.  I've never known someone like him of such steel will.  He will not change.  Just refuses.  It' such a shame.  He lives with suicidal thought every day.  I can't help him.  I sure hope God does, soon.  It's awful watching him suffer.

My last debacle has been this last three months (or so) with these last three meds.  I was extremely nauseated for a month and a half and threw up several times.  Despite they're best efforts to control it.  The problem with that med was it made me a little manic (if there is such a thing).  Oh I had lots of energy like I'd not ever had before but my spending and behavior got out of control.  I did things that were completely out of character for me.  Even as I write this, finding my ability to write is a sign that I'm getting better and I know now that I'm going to be okay.  It's awful to feel out of control.  People don't understand it and they judge it.  We fear what we don't understand.  It's just a normal reaction for most.  One must be fairly enlightened to not be afraid of something they don't understand.  Either that or they've been down a road or two themselves.

I sure hope this new med doesn't make me feel like a zombie.  I hate that.  I'm still in the increase process.  So far so good.  Man, a road or two I've been down folks.  I'm just grateful to be coming out of the woods.  This particular med does have a few side affects, they all do, but they aren't bad - at least I can feel.  That's the one that kills me, when I can't feel normal feelings.  I've been on some that have changed me so much that said friends have told me "you're not yourself!"  I didn't even know.   That's scary.   I actually spend several years on some meds that weren't right for me.  I did not know.

Depression is hard to explain.  There's times when it comforts me.  There's lots of times I abhor it.  The thing is it's always there.  It never has totally gone away for me.  It' like a second skin.  Overshadowing my life.  Affecting my day to day.  With some meds it doesn't affect me much at all and others more - but it is a constant companion.  I think back now, and I think it's always been there. It just got really bad in 1991.  I'm very grateful for meds - as much as they are difficult at times.  I miss sleep the most.  I only sleep about 3-4 hours a night most nights because of one of my meds and it's been this way for years.  I've taken every sleeping pill in the book.  I know that it highly affects my memory and ability to do things, but I don't know what to do about it -  I have to have it.  That one is surely  a love hate relationship!

The truly hard part is the emotions.  Some of the meds make you feel numb.  It's really hard to feel connected to God when you're numb.  That's why I opened this up about faith and feelings.  It took me a long time to learn that and with help from Pastor Paul.  I understand it now, but I won't tell you that feelings do help faith.  It helps to feel hopeful.  That's for sure.  There is nothing like those goose pimple moments to let you know your alive.  There is nothing like feelings of awe and wonder.  I'm all for those.   I love that.  I'm beginning to feel a lot better despite lack of sleep.  It feels so good to write.  It's actually beginning to feel good to be alive again and that's what it's all about.  Thanks be to God for getting me through this, even though it's not over yet.  I've still got things to face.  Yet, somehow today it feels like it might just be okay.   It doesn't seems as devastating as it did yesterday. Praise God for progress.

Life sure feels like that sometimes... despite the physicality of it all, I don't know that I'd change any of it - it makes me, me.  I suppose what matters in the end is progress, even if it's a step or two forward and three back.  I keep getting up.  We all know what Confucius  says - "Fall down seven times, get up eight."  

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Consequences.

People blow my mind.  The older that I get, and the longer that I live it seems as I let people into my life - they tear a path right through it.  They seems to have no qualms about ripping my emotions or my heart into screeds.  Perhaps it's the type of people that I meet, but I cannot figure out how it is that someone is to know a person is destructive prior to getting to know them.  Oh, of course there's little inclinations along the way - and this is my fault for not taking heed.  Perhaps this is why the world is so tightly nit, and shut down.  It's dangerous out there.

Let me back up.  When my pastor left for California - I was (putting it mildly) devastated.  After having been fed weekly and bi-weekly by one of the most beautiful grace preachers in all of my life, and to have that just taken away - I was not prepared.  I thought I could handle it.  'Thought' being the operative word.  I have not handled it well AT ALL.  I've had a deep sense of abandonment, and a buried sense of grief.  The grief was so deep that it would only pop up at certain times.  It would be very cathartic when it did, but it would shock me, and all the while I've been going through several medication changes.  I think I've been working so hard at "being okay" which I have to do because of the chronic pain that I have, that I just wasn't feeling at all.  This is a big no-no for me.  It is very important for me to stay in touch with my feelings.  I've not been able to write at all.  This toppled with a medication that had me throwing up everyday for over a month did not help.

I did not know what to do with this grief that felt somewhat inappropriate.  By this I mean, I'm not supposed to get that attached to a human being.  You know what?  I did.  He's not just any human being - he was my pastor.  I relied on him for many things.  I use to go to him for counsel, spiritual feedings, and truth.  Not everyone, or just anyone can give you - or will give you that.  It was a huge hole in my life.  It still is.  Somehow in there I lost Jesus...  I don't even like admitting that - but it is the truth.  I didn't loose Him, I lost sight of Him.  We never loose Jesus.  Jesus lives inside of me, but I was grief stricken, and heartbroken.  When I feel like this it is really hard for me to sense the Holy Spirit, and I usually end up distancing myself --- only making the circumstance worse.  I am then running on feelings, and I am a mess.  I spend to much, I make bad decisions.  When I do that - I feel bad, and I usually end up doing even worse.  It was at this point that I met my new friend.  Oh, was I ripe for it.  As I look back now I know unequivocally that the dark one knows my vulnerabilities and surely had me right were he wanted me.  And we all know that he comes to steal, kill, and destroy.

She began by complimenting me.  Then came the sad story of needing help.  She got me hook, line, and sinker.  I referred her to the place where I go for counseling.  She took the number and said she's always wanted to go.  I don't know if at this point that was a lie, or what  - but she had no intention of going to counseling.  She's a thief.  That's right, the kind of woman that has three men funding her at one time.  Dozens of lies, fraud doesn't faze her, as long as she gets her money.  I've never seen anything like it.  I got caught up in that nightmare.... for a little while.  It didn't take me long to figure out what was going on there.  She was good though, and for a while, I was attracted to her, her money and her life.  Before I knew the depth of it, I even kind of envied her ability to manipulate these men, and get money at the drop of a hat.  The funny thing that happened though is what I think happens with the rest of the people that she gets involved with is that I began to have feeling for her too.  She says it's a curse, but she sure utilizes it to her advantage.  She's unlike anything, or anyone I've ever seen, a master at her craft.  They're always easy on the eyes.

It will be a long time before I let anyone else into my life.  Despite my loneliness.  I've got consequences from the very brief time that I was associated with her.  I even tried to back away from her before I was able, and told her straight up that she was too dangerous for me.  I guess she'd developed feelings for me too because she called crying saying that she missed me and I was sucked back in.  Only for a short time, but long enough to know I wasn't strong enough to stay healthy and be involved with her.  The sad thing is it was so opposite of who I am, it makes me so sad.  Now I have to clean up what I've done.

Sometimes I wonder at 53 if I'll make mistakes the rest of my life.  I guess I will.... to a certain degree.  I guess we all do.  I know that there are things that I 'm not dealing with.  I've not dealt with them in years, and it's time.  I'm a firm believer that things happen for a reason, and I guess there was a reason that this happened.  I don't much like it nor what it has brought to my life, nor do I even know all the ramifications yet.  To be completely honest, I'm frightened.  This is what happens when you do things that you know are outside of your comfort zone.  There's consequences.  So I may need friends, but I don't need friends that badly.  I sure did not know.  However, when I did I didn't get out fast enough.  It's amazing how quickly bad behavior can take you over (me anyway) and feel good for awhile.  I'm such an addict.  I've never made any qualms about that.  I messed up --- I messed up bad.  The ramifications of it may be far reaching.  Beyond what I can imagine.  I'm devastated.

I was honest with my Psych and now I'm looking at treatment again - and I've been spending like mad.  I've got a spending problem.  I'm going to blog another post about what I've been through with medication but I think I was a bit manic there for awhile as I was on my second med change (I'm on my third).  This is so hard.  Oh well.  When you push the boundaries - thing happen that are out of your control.  I have to keep telling myself that no matter what happens it's only temporary.  God's still got me.  Yeah, I screwed up.  It's not the end of the world.  I have to get back to my faith.  If you pray - say one for me......

I still believe in mankind I alway will.  It's just who I am.  The part that was so hard for me to let go of with her is that I knew why she was doing what she was doing.  It was all motivated by pain.  She was in so much pain most of the time she couldn't even sit still for more that 15-20 minutes at a time.  She'd just lost her sister and her nephew (in a house fire)  and didn't have a clue how to deal with that grief added on to a lifetime of damage.  My problem is my heart aches for these kinds of folks.  I am one of these folks.  I've just been fortunate enough to get help with my history and the madness that I have gone through.  Not everyone is lucky/blessed like that and they simply run through their lives on total empty.  I tried to help my friend.  The draw was too strong and I got sucked down in to her pain.   My pain obviously was showing too.  I don't judge her, don't ever get me wrong, I don't agree with a lot of what she did and does, but I cannot judge her.  I've done to much myself to ever judge.  Now I just find myself crying and praying for her because she isn't a bad person.  She is just very misguided and needs help.  I wish I could have provided that help instead of caving the way that I did.  That makes me sad.  The fact that I have gotten such consequences so quickly lets me know actually that God does love me. I cannot tell you why or how long it's going to take me to get that.

I'm the lucky one.  If I have to go to treatment, I guess I will.  I've made an appointment with a new therapist to deal with somethings that should have been dealt with when my dad passed.  I listen to people tell me things that did not fit with what I needed.  I also have to finish this grief and figure out what to do with this hole in my life.  If people only knew what all I've been through - it's pretty astonishing really.  When I look back God's always made a way.  He's made a way when there was none.  He'll do it again.  Of this, I'm sure.  Consequences, or not.