Oh, so I’m *really* anemic

Went to the dr for my blood test results today. Everything is good except for my hemoglobins and ferritin which are incredibly low. I’m not sure what the numbers mean exactly but the normal range is between 15 and 160 and mine is 4. I must start taking iron supplements immediately and change my diet to eat more iron-rich foods. Yay for spinach! I have not been a healthy eater and now it has come to bite me in the ass. Sigh.

At least I found out that there could be more to my lethargy and headaches than depression. If I get my iron stores up, I will likely see a big difference in my energy, says the doctor. I hope so.

Now to get the irritability under control. I have officially stopped the wellbutrin – I was just too agitated on it. I get my second opinion psychiatry appt next week, and I will see what this guy says. My GP is thinking that I may be bipolar II. I don’t feel particularly hypomanic, but my agitation and irritability could be seen as that, with my depressive episodes being much more prominent.

I don’t want to be bipolar II.  It’s another scary label. I was just getting used to and accepting that I have anxiety and depression.

More waiting.

Meanwhile, here’s a pretty scenery pic of a place where I frequently walk my dogs. It’s a place that generally relaxes me.

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Anxiety, obsession and anemia

I had more disturbing thoughts yesterday. Of the kind that you dare not write down, for fear of them coming true. Or, that you will make them come true. The psychiatrist says that these thoughts are not ocd,  but anxiety. But, I sure do obsess about them. To give you an example, I obsess that my dogs are going to get stolen from the yard. Yes, I know this is highly unlikely. Or that they will escape. Even though we have a 6 foot fence. That goes right to the ground. And a locked gate. This is so worrisome for me, that most days I stand at the door and watch them when they are outside. I am unable to relax if I can’t see them. I am working on doing things inside while they are out (like going to the bathroom,  or doing laundry) but I find it very tough. And my youngest dog just loves to be outside. It’s a shame for her, not to mention a drain on me.

My anxiety was extremely high yesterday. I did things to try and relax, like go look at the ocean, and read, but that didn’t help. Then my anxiety went through the roof when I got a call from my dr’s office asking if I could come in to discuss my latest bloodwork. The secretary did not say “nothing to worry about”, which she has in the past when it was something minor.

Well, I freaked out.  Called my partner on the phone and started to cry. She calmed me down a little and suggested I call the office back and ask to speak to the dr myself. So I did. Unfortunately the dr was gone for the day, but I got the secretary I knew, and I started to cry again, and told her about my severe anxiety and how I didn’t think I could wait days to get the results from my dr. She was very understanding, and glanced through the results for me, reassuring me it was nothing to worry about except low ferritin and hemoglobins. So, I’m anemic. I go to see the dr on Wednesday to find out about treatment.

Then I started doing some research. Apparently, anemia can present some of the same symptoms as anxiety and depression. Well. I don’t know if that can explain all that’s going on with me, and I doubt it would cause it, but maybe if I get my iron stores back up, I will start to feel better? I will do anything, even eat liver if I have to (gag).

Iron deficiency article describing symptoms that present as depression

Anyway, today is another day. Still taking the wellbutrin, prozac and clonazepam. Still waiting for the 2nd psych consult. Still impatient about only seeing my therapist every two weeks. Still impatient about getting better.

A few pics of my beloved ocean, taken yesterday.

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Overwhelmed and Jittery

The wellbutrin is making me even more anxious. I think I am going to come off it,  and then when I see the psychiatrist I will only be on the prozac and he can decide to start me on something else if necessary. The shakes and anxiety are getting to be too much. If I don’t take the clonazepam, I can’t sit still and my hands shake like crazy,  not to mention the racing thoughts. My partner D is being really awesome and patient, thankfully.

I am so glad I have a supportive family and partner. I don’t know what I would do without them.

Back to dr for psych recommendation

I went back to my family doctor because she received the recommendations from the psychiatrist consult I had. Neither of us were satisfied with his evaluation of me,  or his proposed method of treatment. We are going to get a second opinion from a different psychiatrist.  I don’t know if I presented really well that day,  or he didn’t deem me that serious, or he just couldn’t see the seriousness of my depression (I was much more anxious that day). Probably it was a combination of the three.  Either way,  I knew when I left the office that day that I was unhappy with the appointment. I am really glad that my family dr got the same feeling from his letter.

So,  I am to continue on the prozac and clonazepam, and stop the wellbutrin in two weeks. By then I’ll have the appointment set up with the new psych. My dr thinks the psych will take me off the wellbutrin and substitute it with something else. Sigh.  It’s so frustrating. I can feel that the depression is lifting but the anxiety is still high. I just want to get better,  and I’m sick of this waiting game/runaround.

Had some tears of frustration today but have been overall not too bad the past few days.

I had a good session.

Today I met with my psychologist M. We were meeting weekly for the first month of this episode, this time it was 10 days in between sessions, and next time it will be two weeks in between. It’s important I not become too dependent. Which kind of sucks because my hour with him is an outlet that has been unsurpassably valuable.  Crucial even. And if I could see him weekly, I would. Alas, he’s not in private practice, it’s public health care.

I digress. I had a good session. How does one identify a good session? Well, each session is bound to be different, but for me, I like it when I come to some realization that I hadn’t thought of before. Or when M helps me to see that there are other ways of looking at things. This past 6 weeks have been hard, because of the depression. When you are down in the depths of hell, it’s hard to come to realizations. I would just go into my session and cry. And beg for relief from pain. And M would tell me it would get better and I wouldn’t believe him because I had no hope.

Today was different. Today I believed him.

The wellbutrin is making me overly agitated, so I’m taking the clonazepam again, because I think that my GP will tell me to do that anyway. M told me that I am the expert on my body, and that we WILL come up with the right combination of meds. He sees a difference in me. He has faith.

And I believe him. Even if it’s only for a few hours, or a day, it’s a nice feeling.

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And Sesame Street bandaids make me feel better about scratching the shit out of my arm. Yes, there have been elements of self-injury. But it’s not a road I want to go down, and it didn’t give me the release I thought it would anyway. I just felt guilty for doing it.  I addressed it in session today, and I will be working on it.

Today I have hope.

What’s your distraction?

Psychology tells me (and I know just enough psychology to be dangerous – haha!) that when you are feeling bad and contemplating doing something really stupid/spontaneous/self-injurious that you should apply distractions to help you cope.  My distractions are, for the most part, unsatisfactory.  I cross-stitch, read books for pleasure, watch tv, go on walks.  I get bored of them easily.  I feel like I need a new outlet.  Maybe this blog?  I don’t know.  I don’t know how many times I can write about how depressed I feel, how anxious I am, and how I am trying to have hope.

I did something pretty stupid yesterday.  Hurt myself a bit.  Nothing too serious, more to see if I could FEEL anything.   It worked, a little. But I didn’t get the endorphin rush I wanted, and I didn’t feel better afterward.  So that didn’t work either.  I am squeamish about blood, but I wanted some pain. Haven’t really figured out what to do instead.  Is there a substitute for pain? A distraction that will let me feel? Because I feel pretty damn numb right now, and maybe worse than that, starting to lose hope.  I understand why self-injury works for some people, because they can’t release pain, and a physical way of doing it is a good substitute.  There are socially-acceptable ways to put your body through pain, like holding ice cubes until you can’t anymore, or extreme exercise.   That doesn’t appeal to me either.  The truth is, nothing appeals to me anymore. I can’t even cry. I’m just… there. Blah.

Maybe one of these days I won’t be blah. Until then, one foot in front of the other. Repeat.

Agitated

Wow am I having a few shitty days. I am really agitated and nervous the majority of the time, except for when I am really depressed. Today marks week 5 of taking wellbutrin on top of prozac. I know it’s supposed to take a while to achieve full efficacy but I don’t know how much more of this I can take. Then again, it could very well be the wellbutrin that is making me feel so agitated. One more week and I have my appointment with my GP, and I will get the recommendations from the psychiatrist and we can put a plan in place for meds. My guess is that I will restart the clonazapam (I hope so) and maybe replace the wellbutrin with something else. There is no doubt in my mind that the depression is improving but I’m still having these rotten mood swings. I am not bipolar, says the psych, but these mood swings seem pretty frequent to me. Maybe a mood stabilizer to even me out?

I am so goddamn sick of this. I am sick of being patient. I am sick of trying to get in to see my dr,  psychiatrist, psychologist.

My psychologist M says that I have to accept who I am. Why should I, when I feel so inherently flawed? Why should I accept this mental illness? Why, because it’s never going away? That’s just fucking wonderful.

Acceptance. Management. Patience. Mindfulness. Peace.

All that is fine and well, great concepts and all, but damn hard to put into place when you are ill.

It’s a damn catch-22. You can see more of this concept in Jon D. Allen’s book,  Coping with Depression.  Coping with Depression

It’s a great book,  but as he highlights, it’s very hard to do the things you need to do when you are sick.