Friday, August 20, 2010

A dozen shit-filled donuts...

Life feels like a baker's dozen of shit-filled donuts right now. I get excited as I open the box and take one out...I stick it in my mouth...and discover that it's not lemon, or Boston's the shit-filled kind.

I've run into so many shit-filled donuts this year that I almost can't stand to make a decision or try anything new because I'm afraid of the shit filling and I just don't have the stamina to cope with shit filling right now. So I'm stuck. I'm depressed. I fear the very novelty I crave.

I have actually made a lot of positive choices to remove the excess chaos and novelty from my life, but where is the balance? And why, when I try new things, does life keep sending me the evil donuts.

I don't know. I can't control it. That much I'm resigned to. I just hate spending days feeling resigned.

Oh hold on now...shit donut revelation: I'm feeling anxious about making decisions about what to do next. When I was busy living by the seat of my pants and blowing around with the wind, I didn't have to make decisions. The shit-donuts are a mere distraction...they are real, but they are a distraction. And all I keep thinking about is the shit donuts.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

On why I write this blog...

I started this blog purely for personal reference. I wanted to chronicle my ADHD treatment journey so that if I needed to, I could go back and see my progress, or re-look at things that worked and didn't work. Obviously I decided to take it public...and there were a variety of reasons for that as well.

One of them being the fact that in our country, there are a lot of ingrained, accepted, and ignorantly dispersed stereotypes about mental health issues and the people who have them. EVERY family runs into these issues at some point. No, I don't have a source for that "fact" but I'm fairly wait a minute, here's some handy stats, do what you will with them, from the National Institute of Mental Health. All about the prevalence of various mental health issues. According to their presented information, about one in four American adults experiences a diagnosable mental health issue within a given year. And if you don't believe me OR them, well, then you can probably stop reading this blog right now, because it's based on the premise that mental health issues are a part of daily life for all Americans, even the ones who choose to believe that "crazy" people are someone else's problem.

People running around acting like a conversation about mental health issues is "for other people" is the number one thing that needs to change.

The second? People who work in health care have a responsibility to treat mental health patients with respect.

I have previously chronicled the experience I had at my local hospital, where I felt that my temporary disability in the throes of what turned out to be a migraine disorder was completely dismissed because in my chart it said "anxiety disorder". I have a long history with anxiety and the management of what I know to be anxiety symptoms. Ignorance on the part of the health professionals who were dismissing me, led to my being temporarily disabled for two months. I had to drive (chaffeurred, since I could not drive myself) into the big city, find some "real" doctors without prejudice blinders on, and get adequately tested and treated, for a very treatable condition that bore no relation to my existing anxiety symptoms.

Gee, I didn't mean to get into that's just that I get so frustrated thinking about it. The reason I bring this up again, is that my grandmother just had a similar experience at the same hospital.

Let's clear up a few things about my grammy. She's over 90 years old. She experiences a moderate amount of dementia. However, she was visiting the hospital for a non-mental health-related, and VERY obvious physical issue. There was nothing unreasonable about her seeking treatment for this very obvious physical issue, one which left untreated or improperly treated, could become very serious in any elderly person. My mother was standing behind two nurses who commented to one another, not realizing that she was listening that "this was CLEARLY going to be a 'mental health' issue". My mother gathered that what was intended by that sarcastic and unkind comment was that either they did not find her issue worthy of care, or they were simply inconvenienced by her issue that if they had any heart or sensitivity training, they should be able to deal with just fine.

Again, my family chose to jump ship. They were essentially told that until this extremely elderly but otherwise healthy woman was in a life-threatened state, she was not worth treating.

We took her "to the big city" and got confirmation that not only was her situation worth treating, because she is a PERSON, but there was also no need to compromise the health of an otherwise healthy elderly woman with incorrect treatment (of the kind the previous hospital's staff were insisting be done in the meantime) or by ignoring her condition and allowing it to worsen.

Even a person with a serious mental illness can tell you when something hurts. Even people with mental health issues can express opinions and observations about their health care. These issues do not make them less human, or less worth treating.

In my age group and general peer group, I am not someone who would generally be marginalized due to "mental health" issues. I have the luxury of passing for normal. I also have the delightful luxury of hearing ignorant comments come out of people's mouths because they don't know that I'm "one of them". My grandmother does not have that luxury. Millions of Americans every day don't have that luxury. After a long, healthy, productive life, my grandmother does not deserve to die from a treatable condition because of other people's ignorance. And during my recent illness, I found myself on that side of the fence too, thanks to a note in my medical chart...temporarily disabled at the age of 34 because the ignorance of my local medical providers decided that my life was not worth improving...BECAUSE they wrote me off as an "anxiety case".

I took your ativan and it didn't help me, because I wasn't having an anxiety problem. I went to a real hospital and they helped me get better. We took my grandmother to a real hospital to help HER get better. And unless I'm bleeding out of my eyeballs, I'll never go back to your hospital again.

Now that I'm better, and now that I'm seeing this happening bet your ass I'm going to keep writing about my everyday experiences as a person with mental health issues, who also happens to be a person, and a person who works really hard for positive changes in their community. That this ignorance I write about comes from the medical community makes it even more disgusting and worth addressing.

But I LIKE constant least I USED to... a year and a half-ish ago, I started making different kinds of decisions in my life. Many of those decisions revolved around my identified need to stop bringing constant novelty into my life.
I see that some of those decisions have had positive effects...but I can't honestly say that I'm happy in the wake of making others. I am accustomed to bringing plans to natural conclusions when the novelty wears off. I am accustomed to following the winds where they lead and having magical adventures result, for better and worse.
So for the last few weeks, I start every week with a sense of dread. Because everything looks the same. Because I am choosing to stall all of those WILD ideas in my head that usually propel me into action. Because now that I have the calm I sought, I am struggling to keep myself from tossing some new herbs and spices into the mix to shake things up. I should clarify that, having gotten to a point in life where I don't want chaos, it's pretty easy for me to NOT choose it at this point...however...there's got to be a more interesting alternative. Monday is usually the worst...Tuesday, the drama continues...for some reason, by Wednesday I feel kinda okay...maybe because the week is half over? As the week comes to a close things look rosier...but then, Monday comes "every Monday morning comes", and I lay there my bed, depressed. Angry. Struggling to get out of bed or get my brain excited about wherever it is that I'm going for the day.
New kinds of decisions and plans take time to develop, and in a crappy economy it's harder to get many types of projects off the ground. I review seemingly appropriate alternatives...and I simply don't want any of them.
This is not a "post-wedding" boredom issue. (Living and breathing with Sonny is really one of the only aspects of life I'm enjoying right now. Even when we're doing "boring" stuff.) It's more like a "holy shit, all that stressful stuff is off of my plate and I STILL hate my life right now" issue. And I don't see an end in sight, mostly because, as I said, there don't seem to be any alternatives that fit the right criteria.
I no longer enjoy the provocation of constant novelty...but I can't stand the stasis of this routine either. It's just too much.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

When forgetting causes problems...

...many of you have read my previous posts about my migraine-related vertigo disorder. Well the nortriptyline they gave me to prevent this problem has been working REALLY well. Within 6 hours of my first dose, I was back to 90% of my normal self. Let's hear it for being super med-sensitive! It's supposed to prevent vertigo/migraine problems, and because I'm such a med lightweight, I noticed dramatic improvements very quickly. All of the benefits of this type of treatment are not immediately noticeable however. Gaining back my last 10% of awesome has taken several weeks...let's see...ah yes, about 6 weeks. That's about right for this type of medication. So in just the past week or so, I suddenly have felt that last bit of "me" coming back. I feel sharper, quicker, and the signs of vertigo have ebbed away. The last little twinges are now rare.

However, this is an ADHD blog...

It is generally laborious for me to establish a often takes several weeks for me to really solidify a routine...I can then sustain it fairly well, until something knocks my concentration off, or my visual cues are interrupted get the idea. Once the routine is disrupted, problems arise.

And so with my vertigo/migraine medication...oh yes. I keep my meds in a small purple lock box, so that my small step children do not get into the goods. Especially important since I started the easy-to-od-on migraine meds. The other purpose of the lockbox is that it allows me to keep my meds out as a visual cue to remind me to take my meds everyday, without my little ones getting a bad surprise. A couple-few weeks ago the lock broke on the box and I couldn't get the meds out. After about an hour I was able to pry the sucker open with, of all things, a beer opener. The brute force, however, broke the lock.

Which means I can't leave it out anymore...and I was afraid to get a new box, fearing that a second box would lock in the same way and I might get stuck not being able to take my medication. The ADHD meds I can function without if I need to, but I'm basically disabled without the migraine meds.

Since the box has been "out of sight" and out of reach, it's been very hard for me to remember my meds. A couple of days ago I finally forgot to take them altogether...tonight too, though I just remembered a few hours late.

I either need a new box, or a new's just frustrating, since we ADHDers have to put SO much effort into establishing routine, to have to go back to point A and start over. Even more frustrating right now because I finally just got to the point of maximum benefit for my medication. All these weeks have been building up to this return to my normal self, after a couple of rough months spent essentially disabled, prior to the medication. This timing could not be worse.

Obviously, I just need to DO something about it, and the challenge right now is not to let another priority pop up in my ADHD mind that will delay the implementation of said plan. I often forget things, but another feature of the way my mind works is...well, you know how in restaurants they might have those "ticket" holders in the kitchen that revolve? That's what my brain does. I put a ticket in for "new meds system" but then another thing pops in my head and becomes a ticket that says "dog needs a raincoat" and another one that says "make stepdaughter a dress" and another one that says "laundry" and things pop up in my head and the ticket holder spins around and around and it's highly likely that the meds issue will pop back up, it just might be three weeks from now and by then I will have forgotten my meds a handful of times.

So I'm looking for a post-it right now (where did they go!) to write on it "new med system" so I can stick it on my phone for the morning so I can deal with it. I hate having to create new systems for such mundane things that SEEM like they should be easy but this is one of those characteristics of the ADHD mind that would make Jeff of Jeff's ADD Mind say "see...this is why it's not really a gift" I really just have to do it. There is no escape from the hamster wheel, so we may as well make the best of the ride.