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.

Just hold on

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

TW: Talk of suicide, including plan. Talk of weight/weight loss/weight gain.

There’s so much in my brain and I don’t know where to start. This ended up being super super long, but I need to get it out. Words of encouragement and understanding would be greatly appreciated.

Last night was really, really hard.

It started with boredom. None of my usual activities were grabbing my attention. I tried pushing through and making myself start something anyway. Just start, just design one card, just complete one quest, just plan one dish.

Just start something.

But I wasn’t able to. So slowly I felt myself drifting towards bed. Once there I couldn’t even bring myself to turn on the TV.

Laying there my mind was wandering. Is this the medication change, it’s supposed to make me less flat and sometimes it just doesn’t seem to be doing that. It’s supposed to help me eat less, and I thought I was, but yesterday morning I had gotten on the scale, and I gained another 10 lbs.

Inching ever closer to my heaviest weight. A weight I swore I’d never reach again. I worked so so hard to lose so much. Even at 300 lbs I was proud of my body and what it could do. I felt accomplished at the gym. I was far more at peace with my body, even though I still had a lot to lose.

I spent months working towards bariatric surgery, for the 3rd time, and right as I cleared the last hurdle, they thought that emotionally it could be very dangerous for me to move forward. I walked away from the program on the day I was supposed to set a surgery date. I still don’t know if it was the right decision.

That was when this latest weight gain started. I had already stalled with losing, due to the medication increase, but then I started gaining. We increased the medication more, and I gained more. First I noticed 10 lbs, then a couple of months later there was another 10. Then in the first couple of months of quarantine it just kept going up and up and up.

And as much as the numbers suck, even worse is that I’ve lost my ability to walk as far as I used to. My pain is worse. I get out of breath just getting adjusted in bed. Walking up to my second floor apartment feels like running a marathon.

I don’t feel proud of what my body can do anymore. I spent almost 2 years celebrating accomplishment after accomplishment, and now I’m back to living in my desk chair barely able to hold myself up.

And last night it crashed down on me. Weight is such a huge trigger for my suicidal thoughts.

It started with a quiet whisper. “You failed again.”

Then a little louder. “You’re right back where you were, fat and useless, and no matter how hard you work, you’ll always end up back here.”

With a little more force, “You’ll never overcome this, it’s not worth trying anymore, it’s not worth living.”

In the back of my mind I started telling myself. Get up, get dressed, go for a walk. You don’t have to give in to this.

“See, you can’t even do that, can’t even bring yourself to work on this. You’re such a fat failure and you’re just taking up space. The world would be better off without you in it”

Then the quiet voice again. Please, just get up, put on shoes, and walk. You don’t even have to change out of your pajamas, just get out of bed and walk.

There was a back and forth battle between the voice that wanted me to die, and the quiet voice trying to stand up and help me live.

I came out to the living room and checked some pill bottles. I don’t have enough of this, this, or that . . of course we keep most of it locked up, but maybe, maybe if I take all three different ones.

I started hoping that Wonder Woman would go in the other room. Go into the bathroom, so that I had enough time to take what I had. I know she’d notice if I took the pills into my room, and she’d definitely notice if I took them right there. I just needed to take them and go to sleep. Hopefully I wouldn’t wake up.

It was a calm sort of suicidality . I wasn’t afraid, I wasn’t rushed, I was just waiting for the right moment.

Just waiting in bed and listening for the moment when she got up from the sofa.

Quietly waiting.

Instead I sent her a text. A that small voice fighting to live. “I’m calmly but intensely suicidal tonight.”

She asked how she could help. I didn’t have an answer.

Eventually, I heard her get up. I was waiting to hear the bathroom door. It would finally be my chance. But instead she turned off the lights and came to bed. We talked.

I told her my plan.

She locked up more meds, and I felt like a child in need of a babysitter.

And then I felt defeated. I felt, and still feel, like there’s no way out of this mess I’m in. This mess that is me.

We went to the store this morning. She reminded me that I had to stay alive to cook the food we were buying. I felt the voice slowly fading away. Slowly backing off.

I’m worried that these thoughts are because we’re lowing the medication. But staying on such a high dose is just going to exacerbate my weight problems. It’s nearly impossible to lose weight when the intense craving for food feels like a drug addiction. I can not adequately explain the drive to eat that has been occurring the last 6 months or more.

And you can’t just quit food cold turkey.

I don’t have any answers. I don’t have any uplifting ending to this post. I don’t have any feel good words.

I just have me, feeling like I don’t want to continue to fight.

I just have me sitting here, getting my words out on the screen so that they don’t eat me alive.

Wait, Weight, Wait

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

And a Really Real Health post.

TW: Weight/dieting/exercise. Mention of suicidal thoughts with no intent or plan.

I hate my body.

It’s making me hate who I am.

And I’ve had a few realizations in the last couple of days.

First, I remembered that I’m on a high dose of Abilify.  It made me gain some weight at lower doses but the weight gain has gotten so much worse at this increased dose. I think it’s a big reason for my whirlwind eating, and my craving of sweets.  It’s the medicine that keeps the suicidal thoughts under control.  We had to increase the dose when I was in the hospital, and we increased it again as I finished up with partial.  I think it may be time to look into decreasing the dose, or changing to a different med.

Also, I realized I hate my body right now. I hate how I look.  I hate how I feel. I hate how hard it is for me to interact with my environment.

I spent the last, however many, years looking at old pictures of me and comparing my round puffy face to the slimmer version it had become.  I constantly said how much I never wanted to be that fat and gross.  How horrible it was that I ever got that way.

How horrible I was.

It’s really hard to take good care of a body I hate. It’s hard to stick with changes because I don’t really feel like I’m worth it.

I also feel like nothing will change, and like I’ll always go back to this weight.

That thought makes the suicidal thoughts start. The idea that I can’t change this, and this is the body I’ll live in until I die, is hard hard stuff for me.

Often, when I think too much about forever fighting to stay mentally stable, I think that death would be better than fighting for the rest of my life.

Now, when I think too much about forever fighting to keep my weight under control, I think that death would be better than fighting for the rest of my life.

I started to list the things I was doing and trying to do, but honestly, those won’t matter until I go back to loving myself where I’m at.

I hate that I could say “I deserve to take up space” when I was 50 lbs lighter, but now I feel like I don’t deserve the space I take.

I hate that I could see how beautiful I am at one weight, but I can’t see my beauty now.

I hate that I feel like I need external validation.

I hate that the same people who praised me for losing weight, will judge me for gaining it back.

I hate that some of them will feel they can speak that judgement out loud.

I hate feeling like this.

I hate being like this.

I hate me.

 

Out of Sync

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

TW: Talk about weight.  Talk about suicide w/ plan.

The sun is out. The birds are singing. It’s a beautiful day to want to die.

I mean, I’d rather not want to die.

But it’s a beautiful day and I want to die.

I can’t fucking move in my body without getting out of breath. I’ve gained back so much weight.

I don’t want to lose it because of how I look.  I know I’m beautiful no matter how big I am.

I want to lose it because I’m uncomfortable in my skin. I can’t function at this size. I can’t move around in bed, I can’t walk up stairs without huffing and puffing, I can’t walk around the block without everything hurting.

I’ve been here before and I don’t want to be back.

And I can’t stop eating. Part of it is medicine but a bigger part of it is boredom.

I can’t stop eating.

I want all of the things and I want them now and sometimes, most of the time, I’m tearing myself apart while I’m eating, beating myself up for not being a better person, for not having more self control.

I fucking hate this.

I had a good relationship with my body. I had a good relationship with food. I had a good relationship with my needs.

And it all fell apart. And while it was falling apart quarantine happened and it just destroyed that relationship entirely.

Intuitive eating no longer feels possible. Movement is hard and clumsy.

The idea of fighting my way back down from this size seems insurmountable.

And it’s making me want to die. The idea of being stuck in this body like this, makes me want to die. The thought that I’ll never be able to get this under control, makes me want to die.

I laid in bed last night calculating which medications I had available to me. Which ones I could scrounge up around the house even though most everything is locked up, out of my reach.  Would it be enough? Would I slide away peacefully like Parker? Or would I just end up in the hospital, alone with my thoughts? Eating myself through days and days in the psych ward.

I kept myself in bed and eventually drifted off.

I woke up this morning with the dread that I had to drag myself out of bed. I hate my body, I hate feeling it move.

I called out of work, even though i work from the same desk I’ll spend my day at anyway. I just can’t mentally function today.

Great, another thing to beat myself up over.

I’m fat. And I honestly don’t mind being a healthy, move comfortably, good relationship with my body, kinda fat.

I do mind being like this.

It makes me want to die.

The sun is out. The birds are singing. It’s a beautiful day to want to die.

Not Again

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

TW: Talk of suicidal thoughts with plan, also mention of weight. After writing this I feel safe.

About 10 days ago they put me back on a medication that in large doses could kill me.

When I first got the 30 day supply, I knew immediately that I needed to lock most of it up.

But I never did.

And each time I would take one, I’d think “I need to give most of this to Wonder Woman to put away.”

But I never did.

And sometime last week the thought shifted. Instead of “I need to give it to her to put away” it became “This really is enough to do the job quickly and quietly.”

And every time I took one, the thought of taking the whole bottle crossed my mind.

Again.

And Again.

And Again.

I wasn’t even suicidal. It was just an intrusive thought.

Until today.

Until the moment where the switch flipped.

I’ve slept a lot today. I woke up super early so when I finished work I took a nap.

And when I finished my late lunch I took a nap.

And then I ate again and napped again.

I woke up from that nap and while laying there, a thought train started.

“I’m letting myself down because I can’t walk tonight. I’m so fat right now and losing this is going to be really hard.  But at least I’m thinking it’s possible instead of wanting to kill myself over it. It’s kind of nice to be able to think about being fat and not immediately want to die over it.  I’m glad I’m in a good place right now. I’d rather be fat and alive than skinny and dead.”

“But those pills are right there, and it would be so easy.”

“And Wonder Woman is busy for the next few hours.”

“And life is just so very hard right now.”

“And look at how much weight you’ve gained in such a short period of time, you’re repeating the same pattern all over again.”

“And those pills are right there.”

“And you’d just go to sleep.”

“You’d die quietly just like Parker.”

And I got out of bed just in time to see Wonder Woman go in and shut the door for her meeting.

“Those pills are right there.”

I knew I needed to say something. Shine a light into all of the dark spaces. Open my  mouth and shut these thoughts up.

“Those pills are right there.”

I took Siah out and checked the mail. I hopped on Facebook, opening message windows and closing them, willing myself to reach out, if not to say that I needed help, just to check on someone else and start talking to someone.

“Those pills are right there.”

Those pills are still right there. But writing about it has helped a lot.  I shined some light into these dark spaces. I feel safer now.

So quick it can go from “I’m fine” to “I’m not fine.”

So quick it can go from “I’m not fine” to “I’m fine.”

But that space in between is so very dark.  So very very dark.

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.

It’s Not Fair!

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

and a Really Real Health post.

I worked my ass off and got approved for bariatric surgery.

My final appointment is at 10am today and I will schedule surgery.

Except, I’m not going. I sent a note in last night cancelling my appointment and dropping out of the program.

My therapist never wanted to write my recommendation letter, even though she spent 5 months trying to.  She finally had a long detailed talk with me about it late last week. She didn’t think I was really thinking about this, she thought I was only looking at the outcome I wanted and not the actual challenges.

She thought as much as I’ve grown, as far as I’ve come in the last 3 years, this would be a huge setback to my mental health.

I wanted to ignore her, especially since I’d just spent $200 getting the recommendation letter from an online therapist. I called my older sister, the voice of logic in my life. I wanted her to cheer me on like she’s done in the past.

She pointed out everything my therapist did, and more.

I have worried that my therapist is just against the surgery in general, but I know my sister isn’t. She’s been a major support to me since the first day I talked about it 7 or 8 years ago.

I’ve come so far with my mental health. It’s fucking amazing the growth that has happened in the last 3 years. I sit here as an entirely different person.

But

I still can’t keep myself on a healthy eating routine.

I still can’t keep myself from binge eating.

I still can’t keep myself going to the gym.

I still can’t keep myself focused on school work.

I still can’t control my spending.

Basically,

I’m really good at starting stuff, I’m really good at that initial push. And I still have zero follow through.

Right now, falling off on healthy eating sucks.  I gain weight back and I feel like a failure.

After surgery it could put me in the hospital.  Surgery isn’t going to magically give me the follow through and the willpower to succeed.  Surgery isn’t a quick fix, it’s just a tool.

Also,

As much as I fight it, food is still a coping mechanism for me. I react to stress, to depression, to boredom, by turning to food. I fight it, but it happens, often.

What happens when I completely remove that avenue of coping because it’s physically impossible? What happens to my mental health? What do I replace it with?

What happens if I can’t replace it with something healthy?

What happens if I can’t cope without it?

I’m not typing this all out to convince anyone else, I already know I’m not getting the surgery. I’m typing it out because I need to see it in black and white. I need to type it and grieve it.

I’m sad.

I feel defeated.

It isn’t fair that, yet again, my mental illnesses are getting in the way.

 

 

 

I feel good, please stay.

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

I really have felt good the last few weeks. This is fucking amazing.

But.

Of course there’s a but.

I’m finding little things slipping and that scares me.

I’m no longer interested in crafting, I’m halfheartedly playing games on the computer and mindlessly scrolling facebook. I don’t want to clean and the house is a bit of a disaster right now. I have to fight to do the dishes instead of following my normal routine.

I still feel great, but those are warning signs. This is a case of what comes first, does depression cause a lack of motivation, or does lack of motivation cause the depression. When I’m not motivated it’s easier to get bored, boredom lets my brain be an asshole.

Except right now it’s not being an asshole. Not too much anyway. It’s making me want to eat the house cause I’m bored, and that kinda sucks.

The question is, what do I DO about it? How do I find a way to stay engaged in activities that I have no interest in? How do I keep myself busy and keep my brain occupied? How do I beat back the demons if they try to take over?

How do I stop eating my way through the kitchen? Seriously, that one frustrates me the most right now.

I’m not sure what the answers are and I’m not sure that anyone else can give them to me. Therapy tomorrow should help.

At least I’m back to writing daily, that’s always a good thing.

Gotta take it easy on myself.

This is a Really Real Health post.  Mental Health and Physical Health, one effects the other. This is also one of my longer posts.

CW: Weight talk. Mention of Suicidal Stuff.

I’ve been really down on myself.

 

The first year after Parker died I lost a shit ton of weight by seriously working hard at getting active. I got sick, gained some back, got back on track and kept losing. The gym was my sanctuary. Can’t tell the sweat from the tears. Work it out. All that happy-crap.

Over time I’ve slowly slacked off at the gym, and it became apparent that my diet had to change in addition to the gym for me to get anywhere. I gained some weight back, enough that I was uncomfortable in my own skin.

About 4 months ago I started doing Noom and went back to working out as often as I could. I lost 30 pounds. The same 30 I had gained in the previous year and a half. And then 7 weeks ago my mental health took a dive.

I came out of the hospital going back and forth between binge eating and restricting my food. I couldn’t stop eating some days and on others I couldn’t force myself to eat. I was skipping meals, refusing to eat dinner because I knew the scale would be down more the next day. It was really really unhealthy and not typical behavior for me.  Well, the restricting food was new, binge eating was what got me in trouble in the first place.

Luckily I mentioned it to a close friend who told me that maybe I should give weight loss a break and focus on my mental health. Ya kn

 

ow, keeping myself alive was more important than getting myself skinny. I backed way off for a few weeks. Still kept weighing every morning (it’s a Noom thing) but stopped focusing so hard on what I ate.

I tried to get back on track with Noom, kept rewinding the program and kept slipping. Finally I dropped Noom, I had at least the basic idea and knew what worked, I couldn’t justify paying for a program that I couldn’t keep up with. I’m GLAD I started with Noom, I learned a ton from the articles, weighing myself daily is a major game changer, tracking food is key for me. Even when I wasn’t sticking to the program I maintained my weight, even if I didn’t lose any.

Now I’m using another program to track food, I’ve tried to get back on track with doing this consistently for the past 2 weeks. I start off great, tracking breakfast and maybe lunch and then when I realize dinner is going to be something quick and unhealthy, I don’t bother tracking it and then forget for the next 2 days.

I’ve also only been to the gym a handful of times in the last 2 months.

I’ve been really down on myself.

About all of this.

And then today I came across a picture from the day I first cut my hair short.

img_1098

 

My jaw dropped.

I’m an entirely different person than I was 5 years ago.

The weight loss is striking, but so is the smile. My smile goes up to my eyes now. (I swear, in some ways Parker left that to me, she used to smile so big her eyes would squint shut.) I’m happier, so much happier, I’m also So So So much healthier.

Five years ago I was letting myself die slowly, a slow suicide through food and inactivity. And I mean that, I was done with living and was just waiting to die.

Two months ago I didn’t want to live for another moment. I had the plan and the means. I was ready to end this all.

I need to stop being so down on myself. I’ve come a LONG way. Even though I still have periods where I’m suicidal, it isn’t an every day, all day problem. Most of the time I’m living so much larger than I ever would have before.

And as a small bonus I’m 100 lbs lighter than I was in that picture.