“You don’t believe in yourself.”

I believe in myself, I just don’t believe in anything else.

My skin is at an all-time low now that I’ve, once again, increased my dosage of Lithium. I don’t know if it’s helping. It might be. I don’t feel so full of despair, or at least it’s not overwhelming. But I start my last year of undergraduate school tomorrow and that could be change. I’m not ready to wake up at 6:30am, to drive 45 minutes to campus, to block out the sounds of young, obnoxious voices droning on and on. I’m not ready to be so physically and mentally exhausted, and so drained. I’m not ready to read four different books at once and struggle to retain the information.

I’m not ready for any of it.

I dyed all of my hair teal and this seems like the opposite thing for me to do, considering I don’t want to be seen. At all. Ever. By anyone. Encouraging attention is the last thing I want at this point in time.

My friends have too much faith in the world. Or too much faith in me. Maybe both. I’m not capable of much. I can barely scrape by while doing the bare minimum.

I want to land a teaching job without needing a PhD. Or, if I need the PhD, I want it to be worth it. I want to be held in high regard. I want people to know my name, to read my writing in various magazines and papers and yes, books too. I want my talent to be recognized. I want a modest house in the Pacific Northwest and a job at a modest college. I want a dog and gardens in the yard. I want my friends to always be by my side, even if we separate physically, and I want someone to love me. I don’t want to succumb to suicidal ideation. I want to eat healthy and go hiking on the weekends and have a good dentist and decent health insurance. I want to feel good about myself. I want, I want, I want…

I had a dream the other night that I shot myself in the chest with a revolver and a giant bloody hole was left, and then I told the person in front of me to shoot me in the head, and then I woke up. I don’t know what this means.

I do believe in myself.

I do.

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Email to Psychiatrist II

Long time, no speak. Or see.

I am emailing you tonight because…well, there’s not a simple reason, I suppose. To start, my new therapist is fine, I suppose. She obviously doesn’t really compare to my relationship with you since we have four years of that and you know me very well, and you know I like to put up fights and you tend to deal with my bullshit pretty well. I actually skipped my last appointment with her. Most of it had to do with scheduling, but I also just felt no desire to go. The other woman, the one who deals with my medications, I have only seen once and she has failed to fill out my prescriptions for Latuda and Klonopin so I have been kind of floundering. I called to see what was up the other day but the receptionist never got back to me like she said she would. But I see this woman on Wednesday, so let’s hope I get my meds.

I was actually doing okay for a couple weeks, and then Monday I woke up and immediately was hit over the head with all these stressors (mostly expenses I don’t have the money for), so that was a shitty start to my day. Tuesday was worse. I got stuck in traffic on my way home from work (which I am quitting, even though I have no backup plan. Whatever.), for 45 minutes, and I was already in a rough mood so I started to cry, and when I got home I cried a lot more.
The rest of the week I have been exceptionally anxious. I’m having those feelings of derealization and it’s so unpleasant, scary, and uncomfortable…I do not know what to do. I feel very alone in this, and I feel as though something is deeply wrong with me. I have been passively suicidal, because, well, I’d rather die than feel insane.
What a cheery email.
– Zara

The Internal Argument – Intimacy

I’ve been dating my partner, boyfriend, whatever you want to call him for two months. The first time we were physically intimate, beyond a mere kiss or subtle touch, occurred when I grabbed him against me and made out with him. The second time happened when I straddled him on the couch and we made out, again, for a long time, and I completely explored his body and eventually gave him oral sex.

My boyfriend is actually less sexually experienced than I am, but he’s more open to engaging in physical acts than I am. When we were fooling around, I refused to remove any article of clothing.

I know everyone deals with body confidence issues, but it angers and upsets me how deep mine go.

Yesterday we were sitting on his bed and he touched my shoulder and I recoiled in quite a volatile manner. I apologized, and we discussed it briefly. I was feeling depressed and although one part of my brain wanted to accept the touch, deeply desiring and enjoying it, the other, more dominant part of my brain, told my body to retreat, that I didn’t deserve to be touched, and to avoid it.

This toxic, argumentative part of my brain is always the part that wins, and I don’t know why.

Again, everyone deals with body confidence issues. We’re not thin enough, not toned enough, not muscular enough. We have cellulite and scars. Our stomachs aren’t flat. We have hair in places we don’t want hair. Whatever it is, it’s an issue. I guess my issue is, there’s not one part about my body that I like. Even when I was in shape and 75 pounds lighter than I am now and could actually be deemed “attractive” by the average person, I hated my body. But gaining the weight back has made my self-hatred even more severe.

The idea of not being in control scares me. If I let my partner dominate the situation, I lose control, and I won’t be able to enjoy myself amidst all of my worrying and self-hatred.

And don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate myself. I’ve come a long way, and generally, I quite like myself. But I only like the inside of myself. In fact, I love who I am as a person. However, that love and respect does not translate to my physical form, and for whatever reason, my disdain for my body trumps all self-love I do actually have.

I feel guilty because I don’t want my partner to think it’s him. I feel guilty because I can’t change how I feel about my body. I feel guilty because I can’t give my partner something he wants, and deserves.

I’m not sure how others, as uncomfortable as they are with their bodies, can take off their clothing and be okay with it.

-Zara

Update Number Whatever

It’s been a while since I’ve given you guys an update. I haven’t been blogging much, which makes me sad since I was doing so well before. I just haven’t felt like writing in general, which is never a good sign.

Last Tuesday Bennett texted me asking me if I wanted to hang out. I knew she was supposed to be working, so I asked what was up. She said she “got fired.” I immediately called her, as I do in any even slightly dramatic situation. She basically told me they were downsizing at our company. I called Frank, the operations manager, well-knowing I was also going, but he wouldn’t tell me anything over the phone. Bennett came over and then we went out. I applied at Show World and then we went to Bar Louie, where I ate half of a burger and drank three really large beers which cost seven dollars apiece.

The next night I went in, feeling foul because I knew I was going to be let go. I told Dorothy, one of my favorite coworkers, I didn’t feel motivated to do anything since I knew.¬†Finally around eight o’clock Frank came over and walked me back to his office. Right as he was getting into his scripted speech, a customer called and talked his ear off for a few minutes. Once he got off the phone he asked if a customer had asked my name earlier tonight, to which I responded “Yes.” It was clear that this customer complained about me, though I honestly am unsure of as to why, so that was even more of a reason to let me go, I suppose. Anyway, Frank read his speech and told me my position no longer existed, in a nutshell. I signed a paper giving me two weeks pay as severance. Strange. It’s also taxed 25 percent, so it’s better than nothing, but it’s still pocket change.

I really wanted to make it to the one-year mark with this job, and I know if the company hadn’t decided it needed to give so many people (mostly us part-timers) the axe, I would have made it. So now I have to job-hunt again and scrounge for change. Finding a job has never been easy, and it’s hard to find a job that’s tolerable. I didn’t like my job, but I didn’t hate it either, and I liked most of the people I worked with. I was comfortable there. And now I am forced to start over.

This, combined with the stress of school, my father’s unemployment, not being able to see my psychiatrist, and general depression makes for a miserable time. I constantly feel on edge and melancholy. I feel unmotivated and depressed. I feel like I can’t talk to any of my friends about it, mostly because I don’t know how to. I really miss my sessions with my psychiatrist. My anxiety has been heightened. All I want to do is sleep or drink. I feel out of place at my university and I’m putting so much pressure on myself to do exceedingly well and I’m struggling. My mental illness has been making me feel completely awful about myself, something I thought I had (mostly) overcome.

How are you doing?

–Zara

Lucky Enough

I’m content with there being no snow, which is totally unheard of this time of year. The Christmas lights on the trees of my neighborhood still listened pretty in the blackness. It’s warm enough for me to sit on the back step in just a hoodie, fresh out of work, my feet aching. A wave of sadness has hit me and I’m not sure why. Maybe because I feel behind in the game of life. Maybe because every second, things are changing and moments are disappearing and I don’t notice until it’s too late.
My love for the people in my life is so thick and coagulated in my heart, sometimes I feel it will be my downfall. I don’t know if this love is ever reciprocated. I can only hope that it is.
I’m struggling now so I won’t have to struggle later. That’s my goal. I imagine myself in a modest home, with garden and a dog, preferably with a partner but most likely alone. I imagine myself with a career as a writing professor in a university, preferably not in my hometown, but who knows. I imagine being a revered writer, known for my talent alone.
I can say what my predictions are but the predictions are bleak.
I’m not a lucky person. But I guess I’m lucky enough.
–Zara

My Head Exploded

No, not really. But last night (actually very early this morning) I experienced the sleep phenomena known as “exploding head syndrome.” It is described as “a rare and relatively undocumented parasomnia event in which the subject experiences a loud bang similar to a bomb exploding, a gun going off, a clash of cymbals or any other form of loud, indecipherable noise that seems to originate from inside the head. Contrary to the name, exploding head syndrome has no elements of pain, swelling or any other physical trait associated with it. They may be perceived as having bright flashes of light accompanying them, or result in shortness of breath, though this is likely caused by the increased heart rate of the subject after experiencing it. It most often occurs just before deep sleep, and sometimes upon coming out of deep sleep” (ASA).

I was just on the brink of sleep and feeling anxious, as I sometimes do when I’m right about to fall asleep, when I heard this loud continuous rushing sound. I felt like I couldn’t move and it was overall an unpleasant feeling. I just waited it out and after a few seconds it stopped.

Here are some possible causes: “Exploding head syndrome is thought to be highly connected with stress and extreme fatigue in most individuals. What actually causes the sensation in individuals is still unknown, though speculation of possible sources includes minor seizures affecting the temporal lobe, or sudden shifts in middle ear components” (ASA).

I haven’t felt overly stressed lately (shocker) and I wasn’t really that tired, so why I experienced it, and have never before, is an anomaly, I suppose. I’m curious about the Latuda. I mean, I’ve felt extremely nauseas since I hit 60mg and have mysterious, long-lasting piercing headaches. Latuda is a new medication on the market so I’m sure there’s more to learn about the side effects.

Regardless, I’d like to not experience that again. And I wish this headache would go away.

–Zara

Medication Update

I’ve lost track of how many updates I’ve done, but as for the Latuda and Lithium combination, it’s been six days of 750mg of Lithium combined with 60mg of Latuda. I went from 10 to 20 to 40 combined with my full dose of 900mg of Lithium over about a month.

Here are the Latuda side effects:

  • dizziness, fainting, fast or pounding heartbeats;
  • agitation, hostility, confusion, thoughts about hurting yourself;
  • seizure (convulsions);
  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms, sores in your mouth and throat;
  • high blood sugar (increased thirst, increased urination, hunger, dry mouth, fruity breath odor, drowsiness, dry skin, blurred vision, weight loss);
  • very stiff (rigid) muscles, high fever, sweating, confusion, fast or uneven heartbeats, tremors, feeling like you might pass out;
  • trouble swallowing; or
  • twitching or uncontrollable movements of your eyes, lips, tongue, face, arms, or legs.
  • drowsiness;
  • feeling restless;
  • nausea, diarrhea, stomach pain, loss of appetite;
  • blurred vision;
  • weight gain;
  • breast swelling or discharge;
  • missed menstrual periods; or
  • decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm.

I haven’t noticed much in terms of side effects, actually, nothing at all, aside from nausea, which I also experienced while very slowly increasing my dose of Lithium. Maybe I’m susceptible to nausea. I did notice that I’ve vomited twice in the past month or so after drinking. I rarely vomit from drinking. The last time, aside from late November, was April of 2014. So the nausea is not my favorite. It’s just plain uncomfortable. I’m also worried about gaining (more) weight, so I hope that “loss of appetite” side effect kicks in at some point.

Nevertheless, the last time I saw my psychiatrist, he said I seem to be doing better. It’s hard for me to tell sometimes. I’m still depressed and feel a lack of motivation in terms of eating better and exercising. The lack of daylight doesn’t help, nor does the exhaustion that comes from work and school and driving so much. But I have been somewhat motivated when it comes to my writing. I went on a big submission kick, started a new short fiction piece, wrote a few poems, and have been more active on here. The passive suicidal thoughts are mostly gone. I have my worries, but I don’t feel overly stressed about them. I haven’t cried in a while. Today I realized it’s been about three months since I had a panic attack, which is really, really good.

I hope the good continues and the bad continues to dwindle. I’d like to start being more physically active, despite it being winter. I’d like to continue being active with my writing. I hope my mood stays where it is, or better yet, improves. I have some home. Some.

–Zara