The Rehab Diaries Week 3 – Oh so quiet, just not in my head.

 

 

justmymind

 

My brain is resisting sleep.  Getting out of bed is hard but getting in is harder.  My anxiety is so restless even though I’m on more than ever before.

I was bouncing off the walls.  A good proportion of my dad was spent pacing back and forth.  I was hiding in my room to avoid human contact.  Even though the ward was closed and there were hardly any patients in, as we know I still found everything and anything to be irrationally enraged at.

My trichillomania had been triggered as it often is in times like this but bizarrely instead of pulling out my own hair, it has been transferred onto my boyfriend.

“Can you talk to the doctor about this?”  He asked jokingly, pointing to his scabbed up face.  I cringed.  Once he put it out there it seemed to be no joke at all.  Popping his zits is something I do a lot – be honest ladies, you know you do this – but my attacks on his face had gotten harsher.  Patches of hair from his beard were missing too, as I kept saying I “just want to get rid of the weird hairs.” I had to keep checking for grey hairs, or split hairs, or hairs thicker or thinner than the others.  And if I found one, it had to go.

BF had been saying that he wanted to meet the doctor to get a better understanding of my illness.  I asked the doctor if him sitting in for a bit was ok, which he agreed to but once the door closed, stage fright struck.  We asked BF if he had any questions and he kept saying he didn’t know.  After a few minutes of this I grew impatient and threw him out.

The doctor was sympathetic to my claims of elevated mood from the previous week, even though it was maddeningly settled that day so he couldn’t observe it in consultation.  He admitted that the increased melatonin may have overshot the mark and scaled it back to 25, increasing my zeldox by another 20 at night because previously when I had been taking 20 morning and night I always needed a nap at midday.

My med woes were not over however, as later that night a nurse came running into my room absolutely beside herself.  “It’s no good, Mac.  We’ve messed up your cycle.  You need to start used protection because if you get pregnant because of me, I’ll never forgive myself!”

She explained that there had been a communication issue regarding the dispensing of my contraceptive pill.  A few days after I arrived another nurse gave my pill back to me and told me to manage it myself.  I thought that was fair enough.  But that night, I saw a little Yaz in with my normal pills.  Silly me just assumed without questioning that they’d changes their minds.

Apparently it hadn’t been recorded that I was managing it myself, so depending on which nurse was doing the medication rounds, some nights I was being given the pill, and some nights I wasn’t.  And stupid Mac was just swallowing whatever she was given without checking.

After apologising profusely she launched into a lengthy lecture about safe sex that left us both ruffled and red-faced.  Do I have access to condoms?  Will BF wear one?  Will I make him wear one?  Can we abstain?  Is it hard for him?  Hard for me?

I’m going red again just thinking about it.

Her concerns turned out to be unjustified as I got my period a few days later.  Maybe that explains my mood.  I’ve had to deal with all the delightful extras that come with that, including the cramps.  My cramps are nasty at the best of times, and the only thing that really helps is heat.  Unfortunately heat packs are not allowed due to the risk of self-harm so the staff loaded me up with panadeine and I had several hot showers a day.  The temperature of the showers is set to a maximum of pleasantly warm so we can’t burn ourselves.

On the increased zeldox my brain became settled enough to make one major decision – I have decided to move back in with my parents.  My health has been so bad for so long I’ve had to get real about what I actually need and at this point I feel like living in my parents’ house is the best option.

The configuration of the house will have to be changed to give me acceptable independence.  My parents have tasked me with working it out and it has shown to be a good way to keep my mind active.

New year’s eve fell on this week and it had me really worked up.  Maybe because it was so hot, maybe because my mum and I had an argument over the way I cleaned the bathroom on leave but I was ready to go without dinner – and let my boyfriend do the same – after I called around several take out places for dinner to find they were all closed and had a ‘fuck this I’m done’ moment.

After a pep talk from mum I called one more place – which was open.  My anxieties about traffic and crowds were completely unfounded, while the restaurant was located in the middle of town it was deserted when we got there at 5.30.  And the pizza was fantastic.

I’m not really one to get worked up over FOMO, so I wasn’t keen for grandiose new year’s plans and BF is the same.  But I was a little bummed about not being able to do the midnight kiss.  See, normally the clinic doors lock at ten so we have to be back by then when we’re on leave.  The staff were willing to make an exception for new years eve but legally we had to be back by midnight.

So we went to 9pm fireworks which were fantastic…so fantastic that I had a brief seizure!  I’m epileptic, even though my seizures are very rare I am changing meds at the moment so it’s not that big a deal.  I notified the staff when I got back to the hospital and that was their impression as well.

My doctor was off for the rest of the week and I was supposed to see one of the others but I didn’t realise that he works on a different schedule to mine, who works Tuesdays and Fridays.  The fill-in works Mondays and Thursdays so I went out all New years day thinking I would be seeing him on Friday, but no deal.  Oops!

With only the one tablet being increased it’s not that big a deal; they can’t bring it up faster than once a week anyway.

I would have to wait until the next week to see him, when the ward opened again…how would I be handling that?  You’ll have to wait until the next instalment to find out.

Mac

 

 

What I’m Into This Week

Listening to: Blank space

blankspace

When this song first came out my impression was distinctly ‘meh.’

The tune didn’t pull me in, but a few months in I’m listening to it on repeat because I actually listened to the lyrics and realised this song is about me.

Like, here I’ll show you:

Oh my god, look at that face, you look like my next mistake – me

I can make the bad boys good for a weekend – me.

Got a long list of ex-lovers, they’ll tell you I’m insane

‘cos you know I love the players, and you love the game – me.

Cos darling I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream – much me, much wow.

I’m doing some fairly intense therapy at the moment so I’m loving playing introspective songs on repeat and crying.  Even though Taylor denies the song was intended that way at all – she claims to have written it as a reaction to the person that the media are making her out to be.  Apparently the media are making her out to be me.  I’m so sorry Taylor.  That is awful.

 

Watching: Girls season 3.

girls

Girls is a show I have mixed feelings about.  It was a show that appealed to me because the main character and I have laughably huge amount of things in common, we even look alike.  Most of the things she does and says I can see myself doing and saying, and yes I realise that doesn’t reflect well on me.  Then again the show’s appeal isn’t great on paper.  I kept watching season 3 for continuity’s sake but I put it off for a while.  Yet when I started, I couldn’t stop.

Are the characters supposed to sound that ridiculous, or is the acting just that bad?  Is Lena Dunham confused about the direction this show is taking or actually brilliant?  I believe it’s marketed as a kind of dark comedy but I end up laughing at parts where I’m not sure if you’re supposed to laugh.  Some of the characters are so unappealing that I cringe whenever they’re on screen (ugh, Shoshanna.)

I’m going to go with Dunham being clever about the apparent confusion of the show because the more confused I get the more I’m compelled to watch.  There’s so many much better blogs out there deconstructing Girls, but I’m probably coming back for season four and I’m not even sure why.  Awww hell.

 

Youtubing – DBZ abridged episode 46.

 

 

I’ve mentioned Team Four Star before, the youtubers behind the Dragonball Z abridged series which I believe is a must-watch for fans of the show.  And even if you’re not a fan, if you’ve ever watched an episode you could definitely appreciate why abridging is necessary.  The series is so much more watchable with 20 minutes of ARRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHH compressed into 20 seconds.

Even you’re not a dedicated watcher of DBZ this is one of the best abridged series out there, tied with LittleKuriboh’s Yu-gi-oh!  Abridged series in my opinion.  (incidentially LittleKuriboh is one of the voice contributors to Team Four Star.)  They’re always funny but the latest episode is the first in a long time that had me laughing out loud all the way through.

 

Obsessed with:  Being angry at everything

Yeah, we already knew that.

The ward has been a tense place over Christmas, with staff being short and all therapists being forced on leave.  While my meds were being messed with my tolerance to life in general went down the toilet and every single human interaction caused me irritation.  Now the wards have opened up and with my anxiolytic drugs being increased I find my tolerance increasing.   Funny that.

 

Reading:  Mockingjay

mockingjay

Ugh, this book is really hard to get through.  Surely it’s not just me?

For a final showdown type instalment not a whole lot happens really.  Maybe it’s because my brain is all over the place at the moment but the story just isn’t engaging me at all.  Katniss’s detachment from her surroundings has been a frustration for me throughout the series but this is taken to the extreme in Mockingjay.  Heck for most of the action she isn’t even there.  The narrative is only partially relayed back to her later.

Like, what happened to Peeta and Johanna when they were being held by the Capitol?  Yes it’s talked about but only over a few cursory paragraphs.  We’re never even told how exactly rescuing them went down except that it was too easy. And while Peeta takes a while to recover, Haymitch, Johanna and Finnick are mentioned to be struggling with PTSD like symptoms then when we see them they’re pretty much as they were in Catching Fire.

So many potentially interesting plot points are just never explored.  I’m going to finish it though, I can’t help myself with books.  I can’t make an exit halfway through no matter how hopeless it looks.

Hopefully the movie will improve this one for me.

 

Mac

The Rehab Diaries Part 3 – Week 1

Finally, we touched ground at the clinic.

The first thing they do, after you fill out the paperwork and pay the gap, is take your vitals and take a picture to put in your file so the staff coming in on the next shift can match names to faces.  I’ve had several pictures taken over the years to account for aging – and my hair being a different colour in each one.

In all my previous pictures I look either depressed or agitated but in this one I was concerned that I look inappropriately cheerful.  There’s a good reason for that though – after I’d had my medical and was awaiting the nurse with my admission package, BF ducked into my bathroom.  The nurse came in while he was doing his business.

She apparently didn’t hear him flush the toilet and wash his hands while she was setting up the camera.  When he threw open the door just as she was pressing the button, she startled so badly that she jumped and we had to take the photo again.  The second one came out but it was obvious that I was trying to supress my amusement.

After BF left, I was to have my admission appointment with a doctor who I hadn’t worked with for five years, as my regular hospital psychiatrist was away.  I was a little nervous about this meeting; I had been a difficult patient to deal with at the time but was having a lot of trouble expressing what was wrong with me, and took a lot of frustration out on my care team.  As a result I was told again and again that they had no idea how to help me.  I harboured a deep distrust of mental health professionals for a few years after.

My communication skills have improved since then and bearing in mind that I didn’t get along with my current psychiatrist when we first met, I was willing to give him a chance.  I figured it was a better option than starting with yet another doctor who I don’t know at all.  I was relieved to find that he was willing to give me another chance too, and after the official admission business he asked me what I hoped to achieve with this admission.

I explained the deal with my current medication.  The mood stabilisers seem to be struggling on their own.  The efficacy of Topamax is unclear.  My anxiety is out of control.  I probably need to be on antipsychotic drugs as well as mood stabilisers – as many bipolar patients do – but we’ve had trouble sticking with one so far because of side effects.

He listened, and conceded that this would be worth a try…and if I left it with him, he would come up with something.  Wait, what?

Turns out I didn’t have a good appreciation for how gung-ho my regular psychiatrist’s approach is.

In our next appointment three days later I found my frustrations from five years ago resurfacing somewhat.  The doctor seemed unwilling to make a solid decision and kept throwing the conversation back to me, asking me if I had other ideas.  Um, why go through three years of psych residency if it were that simple?

I pressed him and he listed off some antidepressants to treat my low mood which was met with an (admittedly ungracious) groan from me.

“Pristiq?  PRISTIQ??? Don’t you remember what I was like when you put me on pristiq before?”

“remind me?”  He quipped innocently

“kinda nasty.”

He suggested Cymbalta, saying that some of his bipolar patients had seen improvements on the drug but I was hesitant, maybe unfairly due to the number of people of mental health forums I’ve been haunting despairing over side effects.  I said I would ask my dad, also a doctor, for a second opinion.

Finally he printed out some information on the natural supplement SAMe, explaining that it could be a cheaper way to regulate my sleep and depression.  Oh great, now we’ve exhausted all our pharmaceutical options I thought glumly as I left.  Clearly he thought he was giving me greater autonomy over my treatment plan but at the time I felt like I had all these decisions on my shoulders that I’m unqualified to make.

I spend a lot of that week in bed.  I was low, in mood and in energy.  BF normally cares for his mother but she had been in respite for a few weeks so he was with me constantly.  Whether I liked it or not.  All BF all the time.  I just didn’t have the energy to entertain him and I was getting more annoyed by his presence because I felt like he was just doing it to ease his own guilt, rather than because he thought he was helping me.

On one such day he said he was coming over.  I told him no, I wasn’t up for company but he turned up anyway.  In the mood I was in I told him that if he must be here fine, but I said I didn’t want to talk so I wouldn’t.  And rolled over and went to sleep.

I napped most of the afternoon while BF lay on the floor playing candy crush, every now and then being woken up by an overdramatic look-at-me sigh from him.  About two hours in when sighing his feelings out got him nowhere he got up and stormed out.  I’m not sure how long he was gone for as I was asleep in between but he came back with my nurse who looked a little perplexed.

“You should get up.” She turned to him “She hasn’t eaten today.”

I pulled the covers over my head. “Too bad.”

He yanked the quilt off my bed. “Nope!  We’re going for a walk.  Even if I have to wheel the bed out the front door.”

After some protests from me – and a threat to roll me off the bed that probably would have been carried out – we did go for a walk to the nearby lake, and ate Thai food in the sun.  My mood improved for about five minutes.

I was hoping to debrief with the nurse over whatever my boyfriend said to her, but she wasn’t in for the rest of the week.  If he wants to be around and harass me fine, but I don’t want him annoying the staff.

That was a conversation I wasn’t able to have until week two.

So you’ll be hearing about that in the next instalment of the rehab diaries.

Mac

 

The Rehab Diaries Part 2 – The Waiting Game.

Waiting, waiting, waiting.

After stressing out about getting the referral, turns out that was much ado about nothing compared to the limbo that followed.

Usually what happens is the referral gets triaged and paced in line based on need.  The line moves based on discharges, or you may be moved forward if they think your need increases which I’ll provide an example of later.

So when you’re next in line and there’s a discharge planned for the next day, you get a call informing you of there being a room free and could you be there the next day at a certain time?  However, patients do discharge themselves before their program is complete – being a private clinic, we are all supposed to be there of our own free will, after all – and I’ve be called in on the day with two hours’ notice one time.  By then the staff knew me well enough to know that I lived close enough to make it there in that time, and I have people who would take me.

You need lifts because patients are not allowed to drive to and from the hospital.  I would organise that as soon as the referral is sent because you never know when the call is going to come – previously I’ve gotten it the day after, or a week after.  This took two and a half weeks, which is the longest I’ve ever waited.

Turns out, everyone wants to go to rehab over Christmas.  Funny that.  I believe that the clinic was also trying to slow down their intake leading up to the closing of the ward three days before Christmas to reduce the strain on the staff who operate at half strength this time of year.

This doesn’t stop a lot of people looking for a convenient cover to get away from their families – and after some interactions with the residents I can’t help but wonder if some of the families were overly supportive of the idea.  This isn’t speculation, we’ve had whole group therapy sessions on the topic and I couldn’t get a word in edgeways for all the venting.

I’m not looking to get away from family, we certainly don’t have the type of dysfunction that the other patients are dealing with.  I need help.  That’s the long and short of it.

So I waited a week.  A week and a half.  I called the triage nurse (I really didn’t want to do that because we can’t stand each other, but luckily I only ever spoke to her minions) to check the referral had gone through.  It had.  Alrighty then, I’ll wait some more.

I called again two days later, because I was suddenly anxious about the wards closing.  I knew it happened, I just couldn’t remember when and I was convinced it was going to be in like three days before the line got to me.  The nurse assured me that no, it was more like three weeks.  Crisis averted.

Then the next day, the nurse unit manager called me.  And yes, he’d been notified of my calls and was concerned that my need had increased. He had a spare bed for me if I wanted to come in…only problem was, it was a shared room.  I’d had some bad experiences with shared rooms so I knew I had to decline.  He said he thought so but just thought he’d check.  More waiting.

While this was going on I was staying at mum and dads, my hospital bag, doona and pillows perched in a neat pile in the hall way, ready to go.  Mum started asking with concern if they could have forgotten me.  I told her about my calls and assured her that was not the case.  All I could do was wait some more.

And then, two and a half weeks later, it finally came.

There was a room, ready for me.  The time had come.

My boyfriend wanted to be the one that drove me, so we said goodbye to my parents and headed out.

And so began my stay…which you will be hearing more about in the next instalment of the rehab diaries.

Mac

VENT INCOMING

I just really hate everything and everyone right now.  Suddenly I understand why people choose retreat to a life of solitude in mountain caves.

I spent my first week in hospital being depressed.  I spent the second week being manic.  I will have the rehab diaries detailing both up soon, I promise.  But now things have come full circle and I seem to be the way I was when I came in.  Really.  Fucking.  Shitty.

I just hate humans.  Can’t stand them.  Don’t want to be around them.  Don’t want to see them.  Don’t want to hear or talk to or see any evidence of us sharing oxygen.

Oh I’m sorry, does that sound unreasonable?  Well I regret to inform you that this is a vent and if you have a problem with me sharing my pent up emotions on the internet I can’t help but wonder what the fuck you think people do on the internet between porn vids?

I have no tolerance.  None.  Can’t seem to open my mouth without effs and cees pouring out.  (Or type apparently…) The ward is closed over Christmas, they haven’t been admitting any new patients so you would think an easily socially exhausted person like me would be loving it.  A maximum 65 patient facility only housing 19 patients.  Actually I’m the only one on this side of the ward.  But am I grateful?

Ha.  Ha.  Is Pepsi a superior form of cola?

I’m hiding in my room all day because every time I see or hear people I get so annoyed I have an anxiety attack.

Think very, very hard about the implications of what I just said.

Not because I’m scared of them.  Because I’m scared of myself.  They annoy me SO.  FUCKING.  MUCH.  I just want to scream at them detailing all the ways they’ve failed at life that I’ve inferred from overheard conversations and them sharing at group therapy  (which I stopped going to because every time I try sharing these fuckers talk over me) and why it is totally their fault so stop blaming everyone else.  I’d do it too.   I’m smart, educated and much better at using these privileges for evil rather than good.

And yes, I do get the odd violent intrusive thought that I’m not detailing here just because my therapist may or may not be stalking this blog.

(If you are reading this, no I’m not going to act on them.  I am perfectly clear on what happens if I do.  But I am getting the thoughts.)

People with personality disorders are intrusive.  They have no boundaries.  They think they can just come up to their next victim you and start telling you about their lives.  I also have a personality disorder, plus I am on the spectrum which means that I have ALL THE BOUNDARIES.  I don’t give a flying fuck about your life and prefer to do as much interaction on the internet as possible, thankyouverymuch.

But apparently my Resting Bitch Face, which I got so much grief from the staff about on previous admissions has resolved itself and something about me says “I am a pleasant, non judgemental human being!  Please tell me all about your problems and why it’s everyone else’s fault but yours!”

THE FUCK??

I can’t deal, ok?  I can’t pretend to be annoyed because it’s nine and the nurses usually give you your meds at eight and don’t they know you’ve got places to be.  Well you’re still in your fucking nightie so those places can clearly wait.  My meds are late too, but I’m trying busy myself until they arrive by showing some compassion to the understaffed nurses who are fighting an uphill battle to satisfy both management and 19 dickhead patients who all think their needs are above the other 18.

I can’t pretend to appreciate being looked to as the diagnostic authority on autistic spectrum disorders, which as an adult with Aspergers comes up way more often than you’d think it does.  Even when you haven’t told anyone that you have it, apparently them opening that conversation is still ok Oh you think your four year old has Aspersgers, why is that…?  Because he’s, like, super into aliens.

…WUT.  That it?  Really?  He’s making friends at preschool ok?  His co-ordination and eye contact is good?  It’s just the alien thing?  Yes I suppose if all the other mums at play group are being asked for Ben 10 action figures for Christmas and you’re being asked for alien crystals that is embarrassing but hardly grounds for a behavioural diagnosis.

I can’t take any more stupid right now

No I don’t want to hear you bitch about your dopey husband, who is the saddest looking person I’ve ever seen by the way.  The whole hospital has had to listen to you bitch about your husband this morning, every morning actually.  Every part of every day you’re shouting, sorry talking about something because that’s just the way you talk.

Yeah, the way you talk?  Is shouting.  And jarring.  And the reason you clear the room faster than a fart in a crowded elevator.

The latter delightful human singled me out as her prey buddy this morning when I decided that I wanted to do a puzzle but was told I had to do it in the dining hall because SOCIAL INTERRACTION.  It didn’t matter that I was clearly absorbed in this task, that I had headphones in, unfortunately I was sitting on my own when she decided to come in and shout about her life for the next hour.

She does this every day at precisely 10.30 am until lunch time, shouting into the air, looking for someone to hook into and talk directly to while everyone pointedly avoids her eye line.  I pointedly ignored her when she sat at my table and let the shouting commence, answered her phone, shouted into it then shouted about the call afterwards.

After about ten minutes of this I could take no more and left my puzzle, asking a nearby nurse if it was time for my blood pressure to be taken.  Luckily she was so on the same page and whisked me away to safety.  My puzzle lies abandoned on the table hours later because I am not putting myself in that position again.

Now, more on noise.  I don’t know what it is with people in private clinics finding so fucking difficult to use headphones but it needs to change or some people are getting smothered in their sleep (Dear therapist, I’m exaggerating, obvi!) Currently I find myself exerting some serious self-control about some selfish fucking bitch who thinks it’s acceptable to wander the halls playing her terrible Jessie J music on her phone full blast and sing full blast, off key of course.  At first I thought she was having an episode but it’s become clear that she just doesn’t give a fuck.

Fuck her.  I intend to keep putting in noise complaints until that stops

I wanted out of the circus to clear my head, before I did or said something regrettable – like, say, any of the above – and so I went on leave for a bit.  My parents came to pick me up and on the ride home the conversation turned to my recovery over the last few years.  Well, at least I think that’s how my mother would remember it.

What I remember is being blithely reminded how the whole family’s lives sucked five years ago and it was 100% all my fault.  When I tried to point out that yes, while behavioural therapy has done a lot for me, the family has also made headway in being understanding of me and my boundaries, I was told NUP.  Definitely you.  All you.  You were the problem, you’ve been mostly fixed.  As usual, my dad was notably silent.

These talks happen regularly and I do believe she thinks she is doing me a favour.  She keeps asking “remember when you used to tell me there’s something wrong with me?” one day I’m going to snap and go “well there is, it’s called a victim complex.  YOU NEED THERAPY”

But there’s no fucking point.  I’m the one with the personality disorder, I’m the one that likes to blame everyone else for my problems.  I don’t deny that I was a miserable piece of shit as a young adult but them admitting that there was at least a 95/5 percent contribution ratio to household drama between me and the rest of the family would be supremely validating.

Oh who am I kidding, I’m still a miserable piece of shit.

Are the drugs not working?  Do I need more therapy?  Is this just my personality?  My current tactic is still avoid, avoid, avoid.  I’m wearing noise control headphones to shut everyone out.  I stopped wearing bright colours because people were using my clothes as an excuse to talk to me.

I can just avoid people forever right?

RIGHT???
Are those crickets?  Am I hearing crickets?

Damn, that’s what I thought.

 

Mac