Med Changes

Saw my therapist today and we discussed the stress the move caused and also my impulsive shopping sprees.  She’s glad my doctor is taking me off abilify and switching me back to vraylar.  It worked wonderfully for me in the past but my insurance kept denying it.  I got samples though and can keep getting them until my patient assistance program form is processed to help me get it for free. I’ve been dealing with some depression and paranoia the past month.  I’m also tapering off paxil and onto zoloft which I have also been on in the past and found more effective.  Lots of tapering and dose changes over the next week or so, hopefully it goes smoothly.

 

 

Positive Changes

I need to get my art supplies from my old apartment over here, should be able to soon, probably during the upcoming week.  It’s been awhile since I’ve drawn and I’m missing it.

Have a super busy week coming up.  Tons of things get done and many appointments. Hard to believe I’ve already been in my new place a week!  Times been flying by.   My sister is coming over for coffee and cheesecake tomorrow, looking forward to that.  I love my new place, I can’t say that enough, actually its an understatement, this place is so wonderful and so much better in many ways than my last apartment.  I feel so thankful to have gotten an apartment here.  It took a long time but the wait was definitely worth it.

Had a productive day, cleaning and grocery shopping.  Picked up some requests from the library.  I’m currently reading Electroboy: A Memoir of Mania by Andy Behrman.

As for my mental health, I’m doing great.  Every now and then I get some breakthrough symptoms but I  can deal with that and otherwise my meds are doing a great job at controlling my symptoms.  Hardly ever having hallucinations or paranoia now, and haven’t been manic since the spring.  I did have some depression following the mania but it’s gotten a lot better since my Wellbutrin was increased.  I’m sure being in a better environment is helping too.

My next blog post will be videogame related and then around the same time a food/cooking themed post as well.

Thanks for reading!

Back

Hey, I apologize about the lack of posts this month, was having internet connectivity issues. But it seems to be working fine now so I thought I’d update everyone.

Things are going very well in terms of mental health with the med changes.  No voices or paranoia, no manic or depressive episodes.  I’m very stable on my current meds.  The only issue I’ve been dealing with lately is panic attacks, really bad ones.  After a week of them I didn’t have one today, yay!  So I’m hoping that’s improving as well.

I’m waiting to hear back on some paperwork I’m getting reviewed for something regarding college.  I should know something within the next 2 weeks.

I’m very excited about the holidays!  Really into the spirit this year.  🙂

Here’s a few drawings I’ve done in the past couple of days with the help of the book “How to Draw Cool Stuff” by Catherine V. Holmes

Favorite Mental Health Related Books

I’m not great at reviewing books but I thought I’d at least but together a list of books that I’ve enjoyed and have helped me in with dealing with my mental illness.

These are non fiction, with the exception of one

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Here are some of my favorite mental health related books

Hearing Voices, Living Fully by Claire Bien 

Haldol and Hyacinths: A Bipolar Life by Melody Moezzi 

Bulimia a Guide to Recovery by Lindsey Hall

The Eating Disorder Sourcebook by Carolyn Costin 

What a Life Can Be: One Therapist’s Take on Schizoaffective Disorder by Carolyn Dobbins, Ph. D

The Collected Schizophrenias: Essays by Esmé Weijun Wang

Surviving Schizophrenia by E. Fuller Torrey 

Maintaining Recovery from Eating Disorders by Naomi Feigenbaum

Coping Skills: Tools and Techniques for Every Stressful Situation by Faith G. Harper 

The Soloist by Steve Lopez

Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michaelangelo and Me by Ellen Forney (graphic novel)

The Buddha and the Borderline by Kiera Van Gelder 

also, anything by Geneen Roth relating to eating disorders is good 

 

Here are some workbooks that are very helpful:

The Dialectical Behavior Skills Workbook for Bulimia by Ellen Astrachan-Fletcher and Michael Maslar

The Bipolar Survival Guide by David J. Miklowitz

The Binge Eating and Compulsive Overeating Workbook by Carolyn Coker Ross

Thoughts and Feelings, Fourth Edition: Taking Control of Your Mood and Your Life by Matthew McKay Ph. D, Martha Davis Ph. D and Patrick Fanning 

 

Fiction Mental Health Books:

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That Spark

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That spark I was missing for so long is finally back.  I used to find inspiration everywhere, constantly getting ideas and wanting to learn more.  For a long time, probably the better part of the past year I wasn’t feeling any excitement or happiness.  I had tried to get it back for so long, but nothing did it.  It’s not something that can be forced, it’s not just a state of mind, it’s a physical feeling as well.  I wasn’t necessarily unhappy or depressed but I didn’t feel good emotions intensely anymore. Maybe it’s my recent medication changes/adjustment, all I know is I feel like myself again.  I have always been a really upbeat optimistic person, and I feel happiness on such a deep level.  After about 3 months of not hanging out with friends and isolating myself making up excuses, cancelling plans all the time due to anxiety, I started being social again.  Earlier this week I spent the whole day with a good friend of mine and had a lot of fun.  Today I went out to lunch.  I’ve been drawing and writing much more frequently, exercising, staying on top of cleaning my place. Things excite me again, I have goals and ambitions.  I’m hoping very much that this continues, and am definitely taking advantage of it.  🙂

 

Agitation and Anxiety

The spring/summer time is difficult for me.   I’m not exactly sure why but I get very agitated often during these months.  It’s like I’m ready to implode or something, it’s frustrating but I’ve been doing my best to calm myself down when this happens.  I think that I’ve made a lot of improvement over the years.  A long time ago if I was feeling like that I would generally act on impulse and do stupid/reckless things.  I’m able to recognize when I’m feeling on edge now and to take steps to chill out.

Last night it was coloring and videogames.  I enjoy coloring, it’s relaxing, hard to get myself to actually do it but once I do I get lost in it and feel a lot better afterwards because I’m doing something with my hands, coloring different pieces one at a time and focusing all of my attention.  Videogames of course are a great distraction for me.  Right now I’m playing Lets Go Pikachu.  Next game I plan on playing is Stardew Valley, I already own it but wanted to just focus on one or two games at a time.

I took a walk today and it felt really nice to get out and clear my mind.  The weather was beautiful.  Another thing I’ve been doing is turning on my scented wax tart melter.  Aromatherapy helps keep me grounded.

One problem when I get agitated and restless is that I feel so.. I don’t know how to describe it other than crawling out of my skin, so I get aggravated because at first it’s hard to get into any of these things when in the state of mine.  What I do is make myself take a deep breath and give it a shot and most of the time I ended up getting really absorbed into whatever distraction or hobby I’m doing and before I know it I’ve calmed down and feel much more relaxed, even happy.  It’s definitely a challenge but I think the more I turn to these things instead of letting emotions and feelings simmer and build up to an unbearable point the easier it will get.

Here’s a picture of the coloring page I did yesterday 🙂

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Awake and Alive

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The above image is a sketch I did a few months ago.  I really enjoy nature! 🙂

 

Hello!

I know my posts have been very sporadic and not very interesting.  I had some serious struggles with my mental health the past several months and am going through med changes and adjustments.  I’m beginning to feel normal and actually happy for the first time in quite awhile.  I’m able to sleep too which is always nice!

Right now I’m reading a book called Surviving Schizophrenia by E. Fuller Torrey, M.D. (6th Edition)  It’s very interesting and strange at the same time.  I’m reading about this stuff and looking back and seeing how things progressed over my teen years to the first major episode when I was 18.  I had no clue back then, didn’t recognize any of the signs and symptoms as they slowly crept in.  Even years later I had trouble figuring out how it all happened,  to me looking back it seemed like all the sudden I lost my mind but that’s definitely not how it actually occurred.  There were major signs and problems leading up to the onset.  Things I could never explain or even knew there were terms for.  Even up till now I’ve always assumed in addition to the schizoaffective I was just a really bizarre person but they were actually signs and symptoms I wasn’t aware of.

I don’t feel disoriented right now, I feel peaceful.  I really am hoping this lasts.  I’m feeling motivated to get back into my artwork as I’m able to concentrate now.  Trying to do things to take care of my mental health.  Staying in somewhat of a routine at least with sleeping and eating.  Getting some exercise and going out of the house everyday, cleaning, keeping up with personal hygiene, doing things I enjoy. Yes, personal hygiene.  That’s embarrassing to say but it’s a struggle with many mental illnesses and tends to really decline when a person isn’t doing well.

So, I hope to start making posts at least somewhat regularly.  I hope my readers are doing well!

I also wanted to share two links that I’ve found helpful to refer to when struggling with hearing distressing voices

Click to access hvnwa-coping-stratigies-poster.pdf

Click to access Hearing_Voices_Coping_Strategies_web.pdf

 

 

 

Still Here

I had some symptoms come back with the schizoaffective.  I did well for almost a year but things escalated recently with hearing a demon talking to me and believing/ and doing some bizarre things.  I kind of was in another world for awhile.  I’ve felt good today and yesterday thankfully, I really hope that is all over, it started building up again around 5 or 6 months ago with getting depressed then went from there.  I don’t want to end up like I was in my late teens again, it scares me how out of touch with reality I was.  I hadn’t been like that in many years, I’m not sure what happened.

Right now I’m just working on getting back on track with my college stuff because I was barely showing up for classes and not doing the work.  Went from straight A’s all through college to getting very low grades recently.  I can get things back where they were it will just take some time.

 

Update

Haven’t been posting much the past few days because I was having a lot of difficulty with motivation and was feeling pretty bad. I’m starting to feel more optimistic though and things have calmed down with the voices thankfully.

I’ve been getting behind in my classes due to this, I need to get back on top of things. I know I can do it, I’ve done it before. I just have to push myself a little harder this time.

I’m trying to reconnect with my faith, I’ve felt very disconnected from it the past few months. I plan on going to mass tomorrow evening.

One good thing is I have been going to the gym a couple times a week, I find it really helpful to get excess energy out, it helps me feel more relaxed, and it’s healthy of course.

Allowing Others to Help

So… things have been rocky but are looking up.  I think part of my problem is that I really dislike needing and asking for help.  I called and scheduled an earlier appointment with my therapist, we had one scheduled for a few weeks from now, but I realized I need some support during this time.  I’ve never done that before in over 3 years of seeing her.  She was completely fine with it of course.  I started having re occurrence of symptoms several months ago, but let it go because I thought it wasn’t that big of a deal or important enough to mention.  I thought I could deal with it myself, and I did try.  I tried very hard, to “fix” the symptoms without informing my doctor or therapist about them, until finally realizing that I need to ask for help, I can’t do everything completely on my own.  I can use my coping skills of course, to make things more manageable, but when voices and whatnot are so bad that I’m wanting to escape from life, there’s only so much I can do. Somehow I’ve maintained getting As in the classes I’m taking, and completing huge papers on time.  Not exactly sure how, the past couple weeks were kind of a blur.  I’m really hard on myself especially with college.  I love learning and want the degree I’m working towards more than anything, so when this started affecting my education again I got worried. It’s definitely a good thing the semester ends in two weeks.  I will be off till the end of January.

Another issue related to this is that I felt like a complete failure for hearing voices again.  I had a year with virtually no symptoms, not even mood problems. It was amazing, the most peaceful time in my life.  When I started dealing with this stuff again I felt like I screwed up or did something wrong somehow.  I just viewed myself as a failure, like there’s some sort of flaw with me as a person.  I’m starting to realize that those beliefs are not true.  I’m not a bad person or failure for having symptoms come back.  A year with none was great but considering I spent a large part of my life with them it’s unlikely that they would go away 100% forever.  I mean, it’s possible, who knows, maybe someday.  I’m going to keep moving forward and managing things the best I can, while allowing others to help me as well when necessary.