Monday, September 5, 2011

Day 56: First Day on 150 mgs of Lamictal

And I felt good (mostly -- read up on the not-quite-good part after the jump).  There was no sign of my mid-afternoon mood trough, but that could be due to the fact that between 4 and 8 pm I was enjoying some pleasant distractions.  From 4 to 6, I was having my hair done by a good friend of mine.  She was the only one in the salon, so we could actually enjoy a personal conversation.  She's just starting out, which means that her schedule has and will continue to be crazy -- so finding time to hang out when she's not doing my hair has been difficult.

My friend is also going through some grandmother drama.  Her grandma had a couple of severe strokes a few weeks ago, and at the age of 90, is not expected to recover.  Fortunately for my friend, her parents were able to find a nursing home and hospice center in their town.  Her parents are able to visit her grandmother daily.  Their town is close enough that my friend can visit weekly.  She greatly values the fact that she can share her grandmother's last few months.

I told her about my own grandmother.  How it's so hard to be so far away.  How it's crazymaking that my aunt and uncle, whatever their intentions, made a decision that went against my grandmother's wishes, and probably against her needs.  They bought a house using grandma's money, and if she needs a nursing home, the money will not be there.  How the difficulty is compounded by the fact that my father and my uncle -- the ones who have financial experience --live so far away from her, and were not consulted when this decision was made.

After that, I talked to my mother about the trip to Ireland she's taking with my father and her sister.  Mom loves travel, but when we were kids there just wasn't the money, and my Dad's just not into it.  The weird thing is that this trip seems to be his idea.

My parents don't know just how bad things got for me last winter, but my mother at least knew I was having medication troubles, and was trying something new.  The last time I talked to her she seemed a bit resistant to the conversation.  My mother has been dx'd with dysthymia in the past, as well as pretty severe anxiety disorder, and I get the sense that one way she's learned to control her anxiety is to stop obsessively researching any diagnosis or medication received by anyone in the family.

Yesterday, though, she asked me how the meds were going.  I told her they were working out pretty well -- I might finally have found something that works.  I even felt comfortable telling her that my diagnosis might be changing to something to do with bipolar disorder, and she took that pretty well.  We had a nice conversation about bad therapists, the benefits of cognitive behavioral therapy versus medication, and the problematic nature of the DSM.  Mom used to do healthcare policy for a living, and knows all about the danger of applying diagnostic codes that are really meant for billing purposes to actual illnesses.  She also mentioned that she was part of her state's effort to license and regulate social workers -- and that she'd never met a more dysfunctional group of people in her life!

So I had a pretty good afternoon and evening.  After getting off the phone with my mother, I started working on some lighting projects around my home.  Here's where my day got slightly negative.  I realized that a string of decorative lights was half as long as I thought it was.  It was 8 pm, and I hadn't eaten dinner yet.  "Oooh," I thought, but Target doesn't close until 10!  I should go right now and eat dinner when I come back!"

At this point I started thinking about the absolute compulsion I felt last year to rid my house of dark and menacing corners.  Was I acting that way again?  Or did I just want to finish the project I'd started?  And ... were those corners beginning to look dark and menacing?  Or was I just feeling anxious about my symptoms returning?

I realized that I hadn't eaten dinner yet.  I realized that I didn't need to do anything that night -- my project could wait.  I realized that in a way, I was being paranoid about being paranoid, and I laughed at myself and ate my dinner.  And I felt much better.

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