Monday, September 25, 2017

Happiness in a Life Against My Will?


Pointless Title

Let's not mince words here. I am cruel. In 2014 I overdosed to end my life and by pure dumb luck my wife found me, barely responsive. The medication I had taken wiped most of my memories for the day, but I do know that when I would wake up in the hospital, I would ask my wife if I was dead, and when she said no I would start crying. Sad. But that is what I have been told.

Since then, I have conveyed to her in no uncertain terms that it is her fault I am alive. I don't particularly enjoy life. I lack meaningful purpose, although I am pursuing it, and just feel like dead weight. For some reason, that I truly don't understand, she takes this well and lets me know that she is pleased I am here. Even if I don't want to be. She must see something that I cannot.

That begs the question, how exactly do I live a life that I don't want. Questions like these don't help the dark passage I am currently going through, but it's an unavoidable truth. I obviously have some will, even if it is forced. This morning was difficult. I did make it out of bed and drove myself to school. Often times getting out helps me. Being amongst others helps force normality. But today I just sat in my car. I didn't want to get out. I wanted to stay and sleep, or just be alone. I , again, forced myself, but got no reprieve from being in public. I just sad here for a while, wanting to cry but knowing I had to remain. Please, just let me go. Just let me go home, fall asleep, melt into the ground, fade to nothing, and never return.

I don't want to be here. That is a common theme of the last decade. Such a thing desire I cannot force. How do I accept being here "against my will?" How can I ever find a purpose?

Where to go from here? I'm running out of the force required to make myself live. 

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Rays of Radiation


Biochemistry Takes the Day

The past day and a half have been an improvement. I would almost go as far to say that it is a major improvement, but I am afraid to say such a thing without knocking on wood. I still feel at the whim of my own body's chemical flow. Control is not mine and I really do not like it. Lack of control isn't new territory for me, but the terms of this episode just seem different. As I have written before, a complete lack of will and motivation, and desire to only sleep or cry is not what I am familiar with.

Just Keep Swimming

What there is to do now is continue forward, keep busy, and to not overthink it. I was able to have a last minute meeting with my new therapist, which was very helpful. I feel that my session earlier this week was part of the cause of this episode. She asked me a very deep, difficult, and painful question to me. What do I like about myself? That pushed me down a rabbit hole of self deprecation and loathing. What the hell do I like about myself? Almost nothing. In my eyes I am worthless and barely worthy of the air I breathe. Ruminating on that shattered my will. I told her in no uncertain terms that I feel little if any purpose and that I was primarily going through the motions of heading towards a meaningful like, hoping that someday I would be pleased and effect and positive impact on the world. 

Over the years I have purposefully avoided such questions. I am brittle and mostly incapable of true self evaluation. I have continually hope that if I can accomplish enough that I will gain some personal respect. Is that belief a farce? Probably. Do I really need to address myself? Sigh.... yes.

When will it happen? Sooner rather than later, dammit. It has to. It may provide a doorway to a new stability, and perhaps even a reason for rising in the morning.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

I'm Just Not Used to This



There are certain aspects of my condition that I am used to. Things I even expect. Often when I begin to get depressed, my mind jumps to suicidal ideations, and I just battle that until it subsides. But every once in a while they never come. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate that, but it is also weird. What did I do right?

A couple of days ago, the dark feelings began to come on, but instead of the typical destination, I was broadsided with strong depression. Even though my diagnosis is major depression, what the real issue is is suicidal thoughts. But no one really gets diagnosed with that. It's usually something else accompanied by those thoughts. So it really is odd that when I do get slammed by depression that it is so unfamiliar to me. Not wanting to get out of bed, finding the simplest of things insurmountable, and generally avoiding consciousness don't come often. I suppose I normally have more drive than I give myself credit for. But right now I am struggling to have any.

I did go off abilify a couple of weeks ago, but I really don't think that it is related to this. I was put on it years ago and responded well, until my body adapted to it and I was switched to something else. So, more recently my most recent doctor put me back on it as an antidepressant. The only problem is that it is not an antidepressant. It can be used as an antidepressant adjunct with others, but alone it is not labeled for depression. And I feel that it had little, if any, impact on me. I just didn't need what it was. So my current doctor and I agreed to go off it. 

I can't really tell you what has me in this slump, but it has hit hard and I truly hope it only sticks around for a short period. I just don't have time to deal with this.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Self Assessment


Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Slow Down There.


I started my next entry a few days ago and got distracted. This is nothing new. It's likely that this entry will spend some time on the back burner before embracing the world. This semester has been a bit of a personal, motivational, and action vacillation. I try really hard one week, just to slack off and get smacked in the face the next week. I was very excited last week thinking about how much personal improvement I have made... and then I sat back and started assessing what I thought I had been seeing. I won't say I jump straight to personal condemnation. I try not to because it can spur my depression and ideations. But I can get down on myself, or at least amplify me negative feelings towards yours truly. But sometimes the truth is just that, the truth.


Don't Get Cocky, Kid


The entry I started before this one, which I will likely post after this one, is all about choices and how small choices add up over time. I sat back, thinking I had made vast personal improvements, just to realize that perhaps I had made very few. In fact, considering how my responsibilities/load/schedule has been steadily increasing over the last year, that my personal work ethic and actions have not grown proportionally. So, maybe I've actually gone backwards, by not moving forward. Crap. That's not good.


Actions > Words


Personal reflection is good. I probably don't do enough of it. I can tell you right now that I actively avoid it at times, because it can make me chase the rabbit to unfriendly ground. So I sat down and thought about how much meaningful and productive time I am spending on each class, at the laboratory, and even around the house. I still fight the laziness. No two ways about it. I am still working on gaining back my work ethic I used to have. Seeing hard facts and numbers helps me. So looking at cold, hard numbers about what I need to be doing does help me.


Reflection through quantification. Sounds like a book I could write... or perhaps an entry. But writing down that I have to spend 10 hours on a certain class each week to do well and then looking at my log of how much time I actually spend on it can be eye opening. And frightening.


What About the Depression?

Yeah. What about it these days? It's there. Yes, it is there fore sure. However, it is in the background. It seems to be waiting for the right moment to jump out and attack. It has 'missed' a few choice opportunities so far. I am hoping that means I am actually doing well to fight it and keep it at bay. But like my other actions, I don't want to get cocky about this one. This one can be costly when not given its due respect. Semester by semester, there is an ever increasing stress level, which puts my depression and suicidal episodes to test. As far as my mind it concerned, it is adapt and evolve or get eaten.

There Must Be Something...

Stress has been causing me some memory issues. I really don't know if it is related to the ECT. I doubt it. I've really only experienced retro amnesia and amnesia during the treatment regimen. What I do think is that I am letting seep in is stress. Some days my mind is bogged down with pain and headaches due to good old fashioned stress. It's not good, and I am still working on just how to effectively combat it, beyond working hard for accomplishments, which brings relief.

Deep Breath


Minute by minute, hour by hour, it all adds up. Each step matters, because each step counts. I'm trying to not forget or ignore that. Just gotta keep on keepin' on.


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Prepare & Put in the Time



It Has Sprung

Not Spring...Fall is here, and with it the new school year. And with it comes stress, and stress, and a little bit more stress. I am taking a full load. That is to be expected, but my courses continue to ramp up in difficulty and increase in time requirements (outside of class) to pass with a good grade... 



3 Weeks Later... Tempus Fugit, Seriously 

I started writing and was drawn into school tasks before I got very far. The sprung has come and gone, and the thick of the semester is beginning to set in. I am busy as hell... but it is a good hell. Yes, I just wrote that.

Work is providing a constant stress. Not a horrible stress. A good stress. Don't get me wrong, it is stressful, but it is helping me progress and gain back some personal confidence. (Which I desperately need.)

Now... school, and classes, and tasks, and reading, and practice, and so it goes. I started out this school year strong. An attitude of "there is shit tons to do and I have to put in shit tons of time." Pardon the French. I have been keeping an appropriate list of things to accomplish for school, I set goals for hours I have to put in each week (for each class), I have an app to actually track my time and see if I am doing it, and by-in-large I have actually been doing it. Well I started out doing it, got lazy for a week, realized things were going to go out of control, and started putting the time back in. I just have to stick to my regimen, or things will go south pretty dang quickly.

Depression, What Depression?

Yes it is still there. Duh. It is the great beast that will spring from the darkness if given the chance. BUT busy, genuine-brain-engaging-and-engulfing busy, is my best medicine. I discovered this after I left my career as a land surveyor. For years I had worked long hours and long weeks. It wore me out, but after quitting I discovered that the true distraction of being mentally and physically preoccupied was my best medicine against depression. Leaving that behind set off a years-long journey to finding it again. I am only just beginning to find some of that same, meaningful 'distraction.'



More! Bring on this pain to prevent that pain.

I'm going to end with this video a friend just shared with me. I am not a huge fan of motivational 'crap' that gives one the ooo's and ahh's, but I do appreciate this clip. I have spent years letting small, crappy decisions compile and wreak large scale havoc. It takes a good amount of self motivation to say enough is enough and start reversing that damage. I started will small decisions to try and make things better, but realized that I had so much to reverse that I needed to make bigger strides. This will take a while.



Saturday, August 12, 2017

Now but How



Things

Things have been. They were going rather well. Then, for some reason, things became less stable. It's a little difficult to try to explain. There are a lot of factors going on right now. Being a list maker, I am simply going to write out the factors that have been affecting my mood.

  • Summer - Too much free time is NOT my friend.
  • Work - I got a job! This adds to my personal worth but also brings its own stressors.
  • Medications - The psychiatrist and I are working on some adjustments. It is hard to tell if they are helping, hurting, or having little effect.
  • ECT - #7 was my last treatment. They seemed to be really helping, up until treatment #7... for who knows what reason.
  • Family - Kids bring stress. Who would have thought?
  • School - It is about to start, which brings tasks and anticipation.
That's not an exhaustive list, but sums up the most important aspects of this inner battle. I seem to have depressive dips once or twice a day right now. Strong episodes of despair and hopelessness. They seem to last 30 minutes to 2 hours. Once I get through it, things just keep going as usual and are good again. It is difficult to discern the cause of these episodes. Each time the factors of what has been going on and immediately preceding the episode are different. 

Work Type Activities

I did get a job, which I am very proud of. This has lifted my spirits. It was unlike any interview process I have ever experienced. First came hours of specific safety training. Then came a process of summarizing 9 research articles. Then came an hour-long powerpoint presentation of an article that I chose (and relates to their research lab) on tumor-targeting nanoparticles. (The lab is researching a novel way of targeting and killing cancer cells.) I was pleased to get a unanimous decision from the reviewers to be hired for the position. 

From Here

I hate going into the school year, which starts next week, feeling unstable. But it is what it is.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Chester


A Smile

I've been almost avoiding this, but I think it is important to address, if for nothing but my own peace of mind. I would rank Linkin Park among my top 5 bands. Not number one, but as far as time goes, I have probably listened to their albums more than any other group of artists. 

I spent late, late nights listening to their freshman album when I was right out out high school and early in college. Their messages were often dark and realistic to my mind. They still are. Understanding that other people struggle enough to pen those lyrics touched me. 

Their sophomore album did nothing but increase my love for the group.

Look at Chester and his smile. I have seen so many photos of him smiling and knee deep in adoring fans. No one leaves this for fun. No one leaves their family behind without struggling with the demon of depression. And let's be downright selfish and realize that most people aren't going to leave their riches and stardom behind, unless the weight of their mind pushes them to the end. 


Ignorance is the Only Word

Everyone is welcome to his or her opinion. And, yes, suicide seems like (and in many ways is) a selfish option, but someone condemning another on actions that they cannot understand is IGNORANT. 

In 2014 I tried to kill myself. I would likely have succeeded if I had not been found. I have a wife and three kids. I didn't want to do that to them. As I fell unconscious, I was weeping. The weight of my mind left no room for anything but pain. I didn't want to impart that pain on others, but I couldn't do it anymore. 

You don't know what is going through someone else's mind. I truly believed, and still do, that if I crossed the divide to the afterlife and ended up in anything but hell, then there was no sense to anything. I deserved hell for my acts, but my mind was too much to bear. The thought of eternal pain and damnation seemed less tortuous than my circumstances.

Who Brings the End

Don't bring the judgement. Bring the love. People need it. The human race used to be much more active. Our days used to be occupied just trying to survive. Early death was common. Today we live long in offices and working jobs that butt-up against millions of years of evolution. Diseases that weren't common have become moreso, including mental illness. Unfortunately our society is quicker to condemn than help. 

Listening to Linkin Park now makes me cry. Over time some feelings will fade, but the feeling of truthful pain will not. No one knows what was going through Chester's mind in the end, but I can tell you that it wasn't a belief that his actions would help the world. Suicide is an act of desperation of a sick mind, not a weak one. Chester Bennington will be remembered for so many things and that is good. I will now remember him as a model for the world that depression and demons are real. The world needs to know that depression can bear down on anyone. It is real and treatable, but cannot always be vanquished. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

ECT Treatment #5 & #6

Treatment #5 was less than exciting, so I never devoted a post to it, but #6 was definitely different.

I have also decided to re-brand my future videos as "My 2nd ECT Experience," because, well, it is my 2nd time on the horse and not all of this is new to me.



Sunday, July 16, 2017

Perception Speaks Louder Than Truth



Stolen

I stole this title from a professor of mine. She was alluding, specifically, to politics and public policy, but it really does ring true with those suffering from mental illness. There are things that I think about myself that I know are not true, and yet they steal my attention and occupy my thoughts. What I believe, and more importantly feel, often wins the day. This is one of the reasons that, despite my physical interventions of medications and ECT, I still go to therapy. Sometimes I fall back on poor thoughts and emotions that have become habit from my disease. 


For example, I struggle with suicidal thoughts. I have for years. They can become pervasive and overbearing, with little way to escape them. And I truly believe that sometimes when I just get stressed or feel trapped I go to what is familiar... suicidal ideations. So I really have to learn to differentiate, which I am getting better at (at times). To the fake kind I have to throw a bucket of water on it and tell it that it isn't real, it is just familiarity that is driving me to this despicable place.

For the truly unwelcome thoughts, I have to draw on my safety resources and "ride the wave," as it were, until the thoughts pass. That can be hard, because it can range from hours to days or more. And often the true troubles will intertwine with the false thoughts of familiarity.

Precept of the Mind

Laws. Laws of the mind is what I need. But it is difficult. The wayward mind doesn't always land on logic and reason. If that were the case, then we could all just think our way out of mental illness. It's learning and making the habit to reach out for the resources needed for help, when the struggles and crisis arrive.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

ECT Treatment #4

I should really rename my videos to "My 2nd ECT Experience", because this round of treatments really has been different than that barrage I experienced the first time I went through ECT. I am currently doing well and really hope that the improvement stays and continues to grow.


Friday, July 7, 2017

Some Sort of Test


Is there anybody out there?

I am unsure if this will work, but for those that read my blog to any degree, can you please leave a comment to this post and maybe a little information about yourself. No remarks are actually posted without my approval, and if you make a comment that you would rather not have posted, just write something to that effect. I don't care about identifiable details (name, location, etc). I am more merely interested in whether my traffic analytics are truthful or not.

Who is out there? Why are you interested in this blog? This emotive experience is a 50/50 goal for me. Half of it is the mere, cathartic experience of putting my feelings "to paper", as it were. The other half hopes that there are others out there that I can connect with and find a mutual relation and benefit. I don't wish to feed off of anyone. I wish for symbiosis.

I don't have a ton of hits, but they amount to a couple hundred a month, with my analytics saying that nearly 50% of hits are returning users. I just wonder if the same web bots and spiders are crawling my page and giving me a false sense that anyone reads this.

Part of this is insecurity and loneliness. I have indeed made a couple of friends through this process, and I am happy with that, but more connections help the lonely.


More applicable references to this wonderfully symbolic masterpiece.

Keep It Together


I am more than mere depression.

Sometimes I feel that all I am is a walking mental illness, and that it consumes me to the point that it is all I am. But I do have a life. (I know, I can hardly believe it too.) I have a wife and kids, I am deeply involved in my education, and I aspire to be even more involved in life. But it also scares me. It scares me deep down inside.

Summer school is wrapping up, but the fall semester looms on the horizon. I still have several ECT treatments to experience, and family obligations to deal with. All of that being said, I am working on getting a position in a cancer research lab on campus. The requirements for getting a position there are not simple, not simple at all. And they require a certain level of dedication. I believe that I have what it takes to become part of their team, but I am scared that my disease will come out and ruin everything. 

That which shouldn't define me, still scares the shit out of me.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

To Disable or Not To Disable


A Struggle

I suffer from mental illness. There is not question about that. But to what degree does it affect me? The university allows students with mental illness to apply for disability status. This can lead to certain academic aids. At this point, I barely know what that even means, or how it would help me at all. But I am considering applying for it, just in case it becomes more relevant down the road. I nearly compiled all the necessary paperwork, which includes 3 years of psychiatric history and professional diagnostic statements from my psychiatrists.

Initially, my main interest in applying was my concern over memory loss and how that might affect me, academically. The clinical psychiatrist that works at the university said that their overarching concern is actually my mental illness and documenting that, rather than its treatment or side effects.

I am still on the fence about it. I in no way want to feel that I am trying to milk the system or "pretend" to be disabled, when there are others that require the services much more than myself. 

I would be lying to myself if I didn't say I was somewhat apprehensive of taking on the title of "disabled" as well. This is just a mental hurdle I am working on.

Any chimes from the peanut gallery will be more than welcome.

Peace, Love, and Agony



Begin Again

I met with my new psychiatrist today, since I parted ways with my previous doctor over differing opinions on ECT. We spent a long while talking about my entire psych history, from when it first manifested as a teenager and all the ups and downs through the years. I'm never afraid of having a new doctor look at me with a fresh perspective. I am 34 and wouldn't say that I am doing incredibly well. She seemed to agree. 

I am currently on 5 different psych medications. That's a lot. Her general opinion was, "if you came in on 5 meds and were doing great, then we wouldn't make any changes, but you aren't." Very true. BUT, like any doctor worth their salt, she made it clear that we will not be making major changes quickly. Change too many things at once and you just don't know what worked and what went wrong. But we would most definitely know what landed me in the psych hospital again.

New Territory

She suggested something that I have never done before, a battery of psychological tests to see exactly where I land on the spectrum of various disorders. This actually seems like something that everyone suffering from long-term mental illness should go through. Perhaps that could shed some light on why some of my medications work, while others don't, and point us in a certain direction. One thing that puzzles me, and has several of my doctors, is that I respond well to bipolar medications, but I am plainly NOT bipolar. I did have in my blog description at one point (and I am sure there are still servers out there with this on it) that I was diagnosed with bipolar depression. That was one doctor, and over time it has seemed to be more of a misdiagnosis than anything, and was born mostly from my reaction to bipolar medications. There are times I wish to god I could have a freaking manic episode and enjoy the hell out of life for a while. I know that is over-romanticizing it, but still. 

Even though my diagnosis is major depression (with joyful accompanying suicidal ideations), I am not actually on an antidepressant. (Cue the Twilight Zone music.) My condition has generally responded well to mood stabilizers and anti-psychotics. But perhaps some good testing could point us in a 'ah-ha' direction. I have, in years past, responded well to a couple different antidepressants, just not right now. 

The Semi-Status Quo

I am going to stick with the ECT... if the f*cking insurance company will get on the ball and approve more than 3 treatments. I know that has worked for me in the past, side effects or no. This new doctor is approving of me pursuing ECT and she has even performed it in the past. So, all-in-all, I am pleased with today's appointment. 

Of course, getting into a doctor that accepts my stupid insurance, for the psychiatric testing is a whole 'nother matter. The next available appointment was 6 months out, with the hope that someone will cancel before that... in a time slot that I could actually make. Ha! Once school starts, that will be damn near impossible.

Or Not

Strangley, in the last two weeks since ECT treatment has begun, I have started displaying more classic symptoms of depression. I am eating more, finding it difficult to maintain hygiene, and really wish I could just sleep 24 hours a day. It sucks. My theory is that the disturbance in my neural pathways and chemistry by the ECT, is causing a shift that my brain is trying its best to react to. That's just a layman's guess. I imagine that it means I need to have more treatments, in closer succession, to speed up this process, so that my brain can settle down before school starts. Ain't no benefit in wanting to sleep all the time when I have to kick ass as a student.

Keep On Keepin' On

It really does help having a family. At times they feel like a thorn in my side, but a good thorn. If it weren't for this burning desire to not look like a failure in their eyes and to actually be what bit of a role model I can be, then I would likely spiral into a pit with no escape.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

ECT Treatment #3

I covered my thoughts in my last post, but here is my vlog entry.

Indeterminate Destination



Waiting for Something

Now is the annoying part. The ECT has begun, and is 'making waves' in my brain, for lack of a better term. Neural pathways are being disrupted, chemistry is changing, and neurogenesis is hopefully ramping up. Everything has a drawback or downside. ECT is not all roses. It is causing its own type of havoc in the brain, with the hope that the disturbance will spur new growth and positive change. But while I am waiting for that to start happening, I have to deal with the side effects.

GOAL: ECT Benefits > ECT Side Effects

I will be the first to say that I can be biased when picking out what I think my side effects are and how strong they are. The last time I underwent ECT I had major memory issues, ranging from biographical, general knowledge, geographic, and spacial relationships. Much of that has resolved itself over time. There are, however, things that are permanently gone from my memory. Also, I feel that I have a more difficult time making new memories. This is where the paranoia comes in. Do I truly have this difficulty or am I 'psyching myself out'? Who knows.

I already can feel some of the side effects. When I reach out mentally to grab a word, sometimes I am coming back blank. Then I have to sit and try to force myself to think my way through to the word. I am somewhat surprised this has come up after only 3 treatments. I did deal with this before, but I really cannot tell you how many treatments I had before this problem popped up.


Can I change, or does my physiology make that determination?

Can the treatments 'fix' me or do I need to work on myself in therapy?
Probably Both.

I will go out on a limb and say that I am fairly certain that most people who struggling with mental illness wish they could push a button and be free. I wish I could. But it just isn't a reality. Even if the ECT makes great strides against my disease, I still have to work on myself in therapy. Everyone does to an extent, but let's not focus on that. Whether purposefully or not, I have picked up bad habits from my disease. I wish I could ECT, medicate, or just plain sleep my way to freedom, but the truth is that I have to combat these bad actions with willpower (and some help).

I have started a search for a new therapist, someone to help me in my battle and to kick my ass when I don't do my part or try to be a victim. I am truly saddened that my current therapist will be moving this summer. It can be incredibly difficult to find a therapist that works well with my personality and that I feel comfortable with. We worked well together and she wasn't afraid to call me out on my bs, and she always knew where we should be headed. Damn it upsets me.


More of the Same

I hate waiting. That is part of the victim taking over in my mind. It isn't always easy to jump up and be proactive. Not easy at all.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

ECT Treatment #2


All New Beginnings

The first few treatments is a wiggling game. The doctors are trying to decide what my energy threshold is for a good seizure and the anesthesiologist is working on determining what the optimal general anesthetic is and at what dose for my body. Treatment #2 went much better. I told them upfront that the first treatment was probably the roughest I have ever experienced. (At least that I can remember.) I was incredibly sore after that treatment, from my neck to my calves. All over. I cannot tell you what anesthesia was used during the first treatment, but I can tell you that they used propofol yesterday, and I think it was probably responsible for my speedy recovery. Propofol is fast acting and is eliminated quickly as well.

While I was still weak after treatment, I was alert and able to function, which was simply amazing to me. I am used to sleeping away 24 hours after treatment. I would call yesterday a success in that respect. 

How are the treatments affecting me? It's really hard to say 2 treatments in. I feel a little less stable, but part of that is because I have to skip my mood stabilizers for 24 hours before a treatment. That has a definite effect. Time will tell what effect it has on my mood. I have noticed I am a bit more "scatter brained" or forgetful, but honestly that could in part be due to the fact that I extreeeeeemely paranoid about memory problems. I am afraid it could be a self-fulfilling-prophecy effect.

What doesn't help, in the mental fog department, is that I have vastly reduced my caffeine intake. I have very shaky hands, and this will just not do in the medical profession. I have to weed out the root of this issue. Plus, it would seem that I am having issues controlling my blood pressure again, so less caffeine will aid in reigning that in as well. Sigh. Onward and upward.



Friday, June 23, 2017

New Beginnings


I am many things this morning. Mostly selfish things. I'm tired. I'm hungry. I'm thirsty. I'm scared. I just want the world to go away.

Damn Change

I hate change. The end results I often like, but the act of change doesn't sit well with me. I would consider it a character flaw... or at least some type of flaw. And sudden change very much upsets me.

I have been waiting for my ECT-treatment-ducks to line up for weeks now. Yesterday at 2pm I get a call from the doctor that I am approved and can I come in this morning for my first treatment. A lot of things started swirling through my head. 

Annoying Details

I hoped to get a mid-to-late morning treatment, after my summer school class. Then I found out they only do treatments 7-10am. Only during that time frame. Period. My class is 8-10am, 5 days a week. Now I'm already stressing. I set my appointment for 10, knowing I have to leave class early to make the 30 minute drive to my doctor. And I will have to do this for each treatment. It isn't the end of the world, but I take school seriously and don't want to let this impact me.

Transportation? There's nothing horrific about getting there, but it means I can't drive to school. It's illegal and rather impossible to drive right after general anesthesia, so I have to be driven home. So I am currently writing this on the bus to university, where my wonderful wife will pick me up and drive me to the treatment center.

Timing? Mornings are a necessary evil for treatments. General anesthesia means I cannot have eaten or drank anything past midnight. I wouldn't mind waiting until later, but that isn't an option.

Lexi works nights. 7pm-7am. Meaning she's going to get home, take a short nap, get me to treatment, get another nap, and return to work. I feel bad about that. It would be a bit more simple if things weren't spread out, with lots of driving involved.

This is just one big, damn nuisance. Maybe my brain is a little sideways thinking, but I would really just rather be dead. If these treatments end up putting more strain on my life than relief, then shortly I'll be pushing up daisies.

Beyond the Blog

I'm going to do what I can to vlog about this. Seeing others talk about this has personally helped me, and I hope my honesty might help someone else.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Still Here. Still Waiting.



.............

Summer sucks. Too much down time. I don't do well under my own steam. I stagnate and deteriorate. School started up, which has helped a lot. But I'm still not doing well. It seems that not matter how many tasks I get done, I am displeased and depressed. Still waiting for the ECT stars to align. Sigh.

I don't have a lot to write today, but this is always a song that brought me some form of serenity, especially when I was younger and dealt with major anxiety. Not exactly what you would think of as therapeutic (or what brought it to my mind right now). But the line, "mama give me my medicine that makes me feel like a tall tree," always resonated with me. 


Monday, June 12, 2017

What I Need in Life


Unfortunately, I have trouble seeing beyond the self. My personal issues cloud the larger picture of what exactly is going on in the world as a whole, what is life, is there a grand purpose (both personally and beyond ourselves). I hate that I have such an issue addressing these questions. In part they just scare the hell out of me. How can I possibly be prepared to take on such daunting questions, when I barely maintain psychological composure?

What Exactly do I Need to....

  • Feel some purpose.
  • Have reasonable goals.
  • Know why the hell I get up every morning.
  • Maybe have some idea of what comes that day after tomorrow.
Self Respect

Never had it. Ok, no that isn't true. I did have it, when I was young and a bit more stupid and had less understanding of the world and its true workings. Now I suppose I am just more rubbed raw than anything else. I lack the understanding that I am worth even the air that I breathe. I look at too broad and negative a scale and weigh myself against it. Frankly, there is almost nothing that would tip the scales in my favor. I lose. No matter what. How does one gain self respect?

Truthfully, I need to lose weight. How can anyone respect someone who truly despises their body enough to torture it into my current state. This may not be true for everyone, but it is to me. My eating habits are part of my self-medication and masochism. I hate it. I truly hate it to the core of my being. I feel that it controls me and not the other way around. I cannot accept that I can have self respect if something as simple as food rules my will. 

Understanding

That's scary shit. What exactly is going on in this life? Whomever has a grasp on it is basically god to me. Or wallowing in the pits of insanity. I need an understanding of what I think life is, why I am here, and where to go from there. 

Purpose, Helping Others

I need a reason to. This may sound absolutely horrible and self-centered... because it is. I have a hard time finding the humanity, well, in humanity. There are so many horrible things shoved down our throats on the news and in media. It is hard, at times, to understand that this is just the tip of the iceberg and that so many people are good or have the capacity for such. Some just need aid. This is the reason I chose the medical field. But I still struggle with a useless dichotomy. What if the person I help to live becomes a person that impacts the world in an amazingly useful way VS what if this person becomes the next Hitler!? I feel responsible for that, even though I have no way of knowing. Much of this lies in my own self questioning and loathing.

So much to address...

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Maybe Something Positive Today


Why Not?

Tomorrow I set off on a 1,500 mile drive from Texas to California. My son and I will be doing a blitzkrieg drive in 2 days. If he had his license we could have driven through. Oh well. The girls are flying out ahead of us. After a few days of soaking up friends, family, and Cali we will all pack into the car and do our best to blitzkrieg back. I was initially disappointed that I would not get my backpacking trip to fit into our schedule, but we will end up doing a day hike with some of our best friends, so that ought to do it.

Change in schedule, change in sleep cycles, and change in eating habits all very much negatively affect my mood. Normally I would say that I would return and crash... and that is possible, but I will be returning to a schedule of school and hopefully ECT. I'm still in this state of suspension about the ECT, while things get worked out. I got my physical completed last Friday, and that seems to be the last piece required. Now, hopefully, it is just working out timing.

So for now let's hope for the best and one hell of a good trip.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Down Tomorrow's Black Hole


It Really Doesn't Matter

I cannot speak for everyone else, but I can feel a dip coming on... before it actually hits. Call it a dip, a depression, a relapse, and major issue. Whatever. It's all the same thing. Today I feel it. It is a bad time for this. Not that there is EVER a good time for depression to hit. I have some power to direct its path or lessen its blow, but by in large I feel like a spectator watching a boat go over a waterfall. Just helpless.

Over the next few days I will be preparing to depart on a trip to California. This is mostly for us to visit friends (and family of course). We have close to no time. Some will be flying out. I will be doing a blitzkrieg drive out with my song and after a couple of days we will be driving back (all of us). I really looked forward to going out there and doing some hiking, but the plans haven't worked out yet. This broke my will and joy for the trip. Three thousand miles is a lot to drive to get little out of it. But at least I will be getting to go to a wedding with my beautiful wife.

As soon as we return, I will be starting school and likely be starting ECT. That will make for one hell of an entertaining trial. I still need to get into contact with my university's disability office. What an embarrassing conversation. "My brain is so pathetic, that I will be shocking it in hopes of a normal thought process, and this might make me forget my classes." Fuck that.

Critical Nothingness

I feel that I am in a cycle. That should sound repetitive. No joke intended. I have written this before. I feel like everyday is groundhog day, but I learn nothing and gain nothing. 

I have even lost touch with writing. It's hard to tell if I am getting nothing out of it or if I am simply putting nothing into it.

And Nothing Else Matters

How about nothing matters... period. When we are all pushing up daisies and no longer cognizant, then will any of this matter? Nope. Not one... god... damn... bit. I don't even know why I continue the day to day.

Anyone care to add?

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Just Another Day


Here I am. I suppose that is good. That's what they say. 

But why?

There has to be a reason that being here is better than not being here? What is it? A good deal of the time I don't want to be here. Let's just say that I am faulty (because that is what I am told anyways... and I do feel this as well). I am here for and by the will of others (more than myself).

I am told that suicide is selfish. With that I can agree. It would be taking something away from people... something that they deeply care about (some people). But isn't it true that they are also taking something away from me by making me exist. This life is painful. Not always, but at times is pure anguish. I have obtained good treatment that has helped at times, but another good portion of time life is truly hell. 

If we are talking about a purely mathematical equation, then obviously they win. The betterment of more is greater than one. But does that actually make it right?

I am NOT suicidal today. I just want to have an honest discussion with someone (or everyone) about what is truly correct. 

Many of my lines of thought have been considered aberrant over the years. Is my thinking logical or aberrant rubbish?

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

You're Fired, I'm Fired


Times are a Changin'

My psychiatrist and I mutually fired each other today. He is downright set against ECT and I am for it. I understand the consequences of ECT and asked him if he was willing/comfortable with still having me as a client. I also conveyed that I had looked into other doctors (accepting of ECT). He conveyed that he felt we needed to part ways. That is okay with me. I have an initial appointment setup with another psychiatrist in the same group for July. The new doctor is one recommended to me by the ECT treatment center.

I feel that this is a beneficial move. I liked some of the aspects of his treatment plan and thought that other aspects were rather 'batty.' Also, he was very much a pill pusher. I probably could have persuaded him to prescribe me just about anything. Time for a change.

It does bring some disappointment that a medical doctor truly sees an effective treatment, such as ECT, as something horrible, to be avoided at all cost. He basically told me that I was going to melt my brain and forget everything. Hey, I know I am going to lose some memory, but I will work very hard to stay on top of that. (As much as one can.) On the other hand, he is a very old doctor and witnessed bad ECT practices back in the 70s that, from what I know, are no longer accepted or used. It is what it is.

Still waiting on approval from insurance on the ECT.

Just sitting here. Tapping my nails on my desk in anticipation.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Everything and Nothing





I've Got It All

I have everything I ever need and yet I have nothing. How can this be? I would say that it is mostly in my mind. I am in the first world, am upper-middle class, have a loving wife with a great career, have 3 children, have some good pets, and have decent health (minus the mental illness). Why should I ever think I don't have every dang thing that anyone could ask for? Hell if I know. This doesn't make sense.


Veruca Salt

I want it all. Everything. Would it help. Not a god damn bit. I could be ruler of the universe, with a thousand servants and access to it all, but my mind would find a way to make me feel worthless, downtrodden, and alone. Does anyone else out there feel this way? How is it that I can be so blessed and feel so cursed? I've accepted that I have this disease... a disease that make little sense. And yet I cannot seem to grasp how it adapts and works to thwart my joy and happiness. I still struggle accepting that it is something chemically wrong with me and that I am not just sabotaging myself on purpose. 


Never Gonna Happen. Heaps of Lies Upon Lies

I'm never going to find what I am looking for. I'll never achieve what I have set out for, because the basis of bearings for my journey and destination is erroneous. I don't know what else to say on the subject.

How do I find that which is intangible... that which is invisible... that which cannot be sensed? Damn, those are tough questions. 


The Final Rub

The outlook is bad. I just don't see happiness happening in my current life. I see myself sitting at the end of my life, smoking a cigar, and saying, "what a goddamn waste of a life." Currently, I would say that my mental state and status are declining. Still waiting on approval for the ECT, and tomorrow I have a psych appointment with my doctor that writes my prescriptions and is dead set against ECT. I will be talking to him about switching to a more ECT-friendly doctor within his group. 

I am struggling to write. I have so much within me, and yet I can scarcely pen a few lines. Ugh. This block must end. I have to force the flow.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Where To Go From Here (?)




Welcome to the Fold

I am still in a writing funk. When is sit down to compose an entry, I am somewhere between blank and thinking so fast that I cannot keep up with myself. Either way, I am left very frustrated.


Summer has begun for me. The semester finished and now I have a couple of free weeks until a trip out to California and summer school begins. Without a strong daily structure, I feel somewhat lost. I try to keep my schedule busy with household tasks and chores, exercise, etc; but they don't do enough. I am struggling with ever-encroaching depression and self-loathing. My stress/depression eating is a constant struggle and I am growing tired of all of it. I need a break, but I almost get more relief from being constantly busy. To me, this is almost a lose lose situation. Busy as hell = depression. Freedom = depression. What exactly equals relief?



Moving Forward

I found out that my therapist will be moving and that I will have to find a replacement. Initially, I didn't realize how upset this was going to make me. But a few hours after finding out I was very distraught. Megan has provided incredible support and we have developed a strong rapport over the last year. Now I have to find it all again. And that is damn hard.


Burning Desire

ECT is still on my horizon. I have met with the doctor and we went through my history, my current situation, my expectations, and what I would like to do. Right now we are waiting on two things: insurance approval and timing. We could potentially start next week, but the following week I will be out of town for a vacation, which means I should wait until returning from said trip to start treatment. That creates the small problem of waiting and hoping that I can keep my depression and unwanted thoughts at bay until the treatments start creating a positive effect.


I have decided to vlog, video blog, or whatever you prefer to call it about my ECT experience. (I will embed my intro video below.) I don't think I could have done this the first time I underwent ECT. I was not in the right state of mind; however, this time is very different, and I want to let other people see its effects and to also leave a diary for myself, in case I begin losing some of my memories.


I imagine that there will probably some repeats of blog topics if I really do forget some things. Here's to hoping for the best treatment and least side effects. I will be starting with either unilateral or bi-frontal. I am not interested in the bi-lateral/bi-temporal. The doctor stated that he often employed bi-frontal and thought that is was still very effective, which made me pleased. He also uses ketamine in conjunction with other anesthetics to produce better seizures. I laughed to my wife and joked that the term "better seizures" seems to be a bit of an oxymoron, but I know exactly what the doctor means. I cannot say I know a ton about ketamine, but it has been tested as an acute treatment to major depressive episodes. Will the amounts administered be of therapeutic benefit, for the depression directly? Who knows. The doctor did convey that some patients prefer not having the ketamine, because of the feelings and fog they wake up with. 




What Page was I On?

After much vacillation, I have decided to take summer school. This is to keep me busy and as somewhat of an experiment. Can I do treatments and school at the same time? Will I remember what I need to pass tests? The questions go on and on. I am working with my therapist, who works with the university, to contact the appropriate person, so that if the treatments interfere with my memory (to a major extent), we can figure out a way around it having a major negative impact on my transcript. More to come on that subject. 

I Wonder

I really don't talk to many other bloggers, so it really would interest me to know how much time the average person puts into one entry. There are times that I sit down, with singular vision, and rail out an entry, and at other times it takes me days of coming back to a topic to try and force my way through it. That is more like what I have been dealing with lately.