Side Effects

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

And a Really Real Medical Health post.

TW: Talk of weight, mention of suicidal thoughts, talk of marijuana use, talk of narcotic pain medications. (Also, side note, sorry I haven’t been as good about TW, I will go back to using them more frequently.)

This is super long, way longer than most of my posts (twice the length it seems), but, writing helps, and I have a lot to say this time. I totally understand if it’s too long to get through, thanks for reading this far.

I need medications to stay stable.

Medications come with side effects.

Side effects make it difficult to continue taking the medications.

I need medications to stay stable.

The Abilify really really helped me. It kept the suicidal thoughts tame enough that I could handle them most of the time. An extra 50 lbs later (more than 50, who am I kidding), I couldn’t continue taking it anymore because my weight and the fact that I gained it all back, was making me suicidal. It seemed dumb to stay on a medication to control my suicidal thoughts when the side effects were making me suicidal.

Around the time we were taking me off of Abilify, I started using medical marijuana. A few different doctors and my therapist had mentioned that it might help with this and that, and I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try.

It helped a lot once I found the right strains, I found that keeping a very low buzz was just enough to make me able to focus on work, I got more done in that few weeks than I had in awhile. It was easier to do the things that needed to be done, but at the same time I was facing a lack of motivation. I felt less anxious. I was sleeping better. My pain was almost completely controlled.

And I was eating the house again, because, munchies are a real side effect of marijuana. What’s the point of stopping a med that makes me eat too much, just to replace it with a med that makes me eat too much.

So I stopped it.

But now the lack of focus is back, the anxiety is back, the difficulty sleeping is back. My pain is back, too.

I’m on a few different medications for pain. The one I take every day is an anti-inflammatory. It helps, but not enough.

Earlier this year my primary put me back on Oxycodone, not necessarily daily, but on an as needed basis. It helps, a lot, but also I’m hesitant to take it. I didn’t need it at all when I was using marijuana. But now that I’m not using that, I’m instead falling back on the Oxycodone. It scares me. I was on it daily (actually, multiple times a day) a few years ago. I absolutely feel like dependency on medication isn’t always a bad thing (I’m dependent on my psych meds), and I absolutely feel that withdraw is something that happens with a lot of meds (stop taking a psych med cold turkey and you’ll see what I mean . . .actually, don’t do that.) Dependency on narcotics feels like a whole different ballgame. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. I don’t really want to go there, so I use it super sparingly.

I’m falling back on my Ativan more often, because it controls the overwhelming anxiety. Ativan is another one I’m super careful with. A thirty day script will often last me 6 months or more. But right now, because of the whole 2020 thing, I need it more often, and I don’t like that.

Oh, and I should mention my antidepressant and those side effects. It causes nausea. It’s bad enough that some nights I actually get sick a few hours after taking it. We’d like to increase it because it could probably work a bit better. But increased doses cause more nausea. What is worse, living with low grade depression constantly, or being miserable after taking the medication to treat it.

I’m stuck in this trap. All of the medications have side effects. Figuring out which side effects are worse than the ailment they’re treating is a constant conversation within myself and with my doctors.

I’m frustrated. I want solutions that don’t cause more problems.

I need medications to stay stable.

Medications come with side effects.

Side effects make it difficult to continue taking the medications.

I need medications to stay stable.

Huff and Puff

This is a Really Real Health post.
 
TW: Weight mentioned
 
Before quarantined life, I had started putting on weight. It wasn’t so much about the numbers on the scale as it was that I could feel it in my body. I was less flexible. It was harder to do things.
 
Then I became a shut in to save the world and the weight has been adding up more and more. I have a hard time with my shoes again. Moving around is harder. I feel it in my joints.
 
Early on, I tried walking but our neighborhood is busy during the day. I felt like I was zigzagging all over the place to stay away from people, none of whom tried to stay away from me. It took all of the joy out of the walk when I had to be hyper-vigilant for who was going to walk up on me next.
 
I stopped walking.
 
I kept eating, and eating, and eating.
 
I keep telling myself it’s not about the numbers on the scale, while also refusing to get on a scale because I’m afraid of what I’ll see. I feel it in my clothes, though. I see it in my face.
 
I feel it everywhere.
 
So yesterday I went out around 9pm and started walking. The streets were mostly empty. I talked on the phone to a good friend for the entire 1.5 miles or so. She didn’t mind my huffing and puffing luckily.
 
Tonight I needed to pick up a prescription, so I walked to CVS and asked Sarah Jane to pick me up once I got there. I could have done the round trip a year ago, but today even the 2 miles felt like it was pushing it. It hurt. I still hurt.
 
But, that’s 2 days in a row.
 
The way I did this the first 2 times was by celebrating every small victory. Today’s victory is that even though I’ve spent a lot of the day in bed due to boredom and depression, I got my ass up and walked tonight.
 
Lets see if I can keep this up.
 
If anyone feels like keeping me long distance company on my walks around 9 or 10 at night, let me know and we can plan a night for me to call. Hope you don’t mind listening to me huff and puff though. Otherwise I have plenty of music to listen to.
 
Gold Star for me, 2 days in a row, even though I didn’t want to.

I’m Tired

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

This time last year I was intensely suicidal. I was tired of fighting the thoughts that so often wanted to kill me. I was tired of being in pain.

I was tired.

This year, comparatively, I’m doing really well. I don’t really get all that suicidal all that often. My pain is somewhat controlled. I’m relatively stable.

But.

I am tired.

I’m tired of being inside. I’m tired of not going to the gym. I’m tired of missing my friends. I’m tired of hearing about people who aren’t even trying. I’m tired of working. I’m tired of avoiding the world.

I’m tired.

I’m tired.

I’m tired.

And this time I know I’m not alone. I know there are lots of us that are tired.

And it’s still not fair.

None of us deserve this right now. None of us were prepared for it. None of us should have to learn to live with it.

But most of us are learning to live with it. We are doing what we’re supposed to do.

Those that aren’t, piss me off. The more we leave our houses the longer this will take, and it’s going to take a long while as it is.

Stay the fuck home.

I’m tired.

I’m tired of living in this world even though I’m not tired of living.

I’m tired.

I’m tired of not being able to write because there’s no life to write about.

I’m tired.

I am tired.

Painsomnia

This is a Really Real Health Post.

Last night hurt.

It really hurt.

I’m not sure what was different, what I ate, what has changed, but my HS is flaring and I’m also dealing with serious skin, muscle, and joint pain.

That means my inflammation is sky high right now.

And last night I hurt.

I couldn’t sleep.

I had to be up early this morning for a day full of appointments and mobility rides.

I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned. I got up. I laid back down.

I disturbed Wonder Woman’s sleep without meaning to.

I fell asleep at 430 am, the alarm went off at 6.

I canceled my 8am, $2 mobility ride and instead called a $20 Lyft a few hours later.  I needed that extra sleep or I would have fallen apart today.  This is the kind of stuff that causes a mental health relapse.

I couldn’t afford that $20 ride.

I couldn’t afford to fall apart.

And I still hurt.

And I’m sitting in a Starbucks waiting for my next ride.  Nothing but time to kill.  Nothing to get involved in.  Sitting and scrolling Facebook endlessly because I’m not sure what else to do to occupy my time.  Two more hours to go.

And I hurt.

Pain like this is so so hard for me. I used to hurt like this all of the time, and while I’m glad I don’t anymore, I’m out of practice with the coping skills of the more intense pain.

That’s not to say I’m not in pain normally, I am, but my normal is a 2 or a 3.  It’s chill.  It’s just there, a constant hum in the background of my life. I work around it.

Today is twice that. It’s enough that it makes every step reverberate through my body. I feel every inch of my skin. My muscles are cramped and sore. My bones ache. My joints feel like they can’t support me.

This is a hot shower kinda day. Even though the water hitting my skin would feel like knives, the warmth would help me relax.

This is an all day curled up in bed kinda day. Even though my back would cramp, the comfort of my cloud wrapped around me would help me breathe through this.

This is a sleeping med kind of day. Even though I’d feel groggy and drugged when I woke up, sleeping through this would be welcome relief.

But in reality, today is a busy, appointment kind of day. I won’t be home until late. I’m spending the day sitting in hard chairs that make me ache even more.

And I’m still tired because of last night’s painsomnia, there weren’t enough hours left to take sleeping meds.

Today is an ouchy kind of day.

But this too shall pass.