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Am I doing the right thing?

I mean, everything feels like a wrong turn.

My manic energy, however wavering, and lack of sleep has given way to a compulsive, stressed, panicked being who needs to cum six times a day just to distract themselves.

That is, until the questions pop up as pounds of flesh and blood swirl around on my computer screen, and suddenly I can no longer feel my own body.

It all just feels so…hopeless.

I know that’s a cliche.

It actually feels surreal–to know there is no right answer, no correct choice, no way out, no solution to anything.

When I was younger, I didn’t even think about the possibility of my whole life becoming, well, shit.

Every smile feels forced. Every laugh is followed by internalized anxiety and paranoia. Every conversation is emotionally draining, usually followed by irrational rage at people I love. I’m tired of the blank stares, the tired half-smiles that are a poor attempt to reassure me that I’m not going to sit on the train tracks and wait for my body to be run over and crushed into nothing.

My hatred for others has grown immensely and quickly. I lash out. I make jokes but they’re meant to burn. I dread seeing people I call friends.

And you know what? They don’t actually care. Nor should they have to.

They have their lives. And despite all their own problems and all their own complaining, I would take any single one of their lives over my own.

I feel like my best friend and I are drifting apart. And I’m self-aware enough to know this isn’t because of my current state–I’m always in a good mood when I see her, but that mood is dissuaded throughout our interaction because she just seems so…distant. So irritated by me.

I have my guesses as to why.

But I don’t want a repeat of last year, where she held everything in until she exploded via text message and I had to drive to her house and threaten to leave if she didn’t fucking talk to me about what was going on.

I know she doesn’t like to talk.

I just keep feeling like I’m letting her down and I don’t even know why. I feel insecure. I don’t really ask her to hang out anymore. I’ve almost stopped completely. I’ve learned not to text her because she never texts me back.

Every time I’m with her, it’s like we’re not actually together.

It makes me even more sad.

I just want to sleep for a while, stop jerking off so much, eat an actual meal, wear clothes that aren’t work clothes or gym clothes.

But tomorrow I’ll be back to staying up until 3am watching porn to, what? Distract myself?

I’m running out of distractions.


“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.

The Plague of Self-Criticism

I’ve probably said this more than one: I really struggle with confidence. A couple years ago I was two sizes smaller than I am now. I ate healthy and did pretty hardcore workouts four times a week. I was mentally stable and emotionally well, hence my ability to do such things. When my medication (at the time) stopped working and my emotional well-being plummeted, I gave up on all of that, and gradually I gained back the 70+ pounds I had lost. That alone has taken a huge toll on my body image. I feel like a failure because I let it happen, and I feel like a failure for not making the changes I need to. Being constantly depressed doesn’t make me feel motivated to do anything about it. Although I want to be healthier and look better, I don’t have the drive I once did to achieve these things.

Although I feel grotesque in terms of my body–too much stomach fat, no hips, no ass, large all around, really, double chin–it’s gone beyond body issues and for the past couple months I’ve grown to really hate my face, which was never a big issue before. My face is too round. I wish I had a more angular bone structure and higher cheekbones. My nose is too big, my eyes are too small. My face is riddled with acne and horrible red scars (thanks, Lithium). Everything seems disproportionate to me, and I feel ugly.

To compensate for my body I wear ill-fitting clothes. I wear shirts that hang off me because I don’t want anyone to see the outline of my torso, or rather, my stomach fat. I won’t wear tank tops because I hate my arms. I won’t wear shorts because I hate my legs. I don’t feel confident in anything I wear, and I look at my friends and I feel envious, because their bodies are nicer than mine without them even trying and they can pull off outfits and look stylish and put together whereas I cannot.

To compensate for my face, I wear makeup. I used to feel confident going out without makeup, but because of the wonderful skin-destroying effect of Lithium, now I don’t. Just looking at my bare skin makes me feel disgusted, and there’s nothing I can do about that aspect as long as I’m on the medication. So I try to cover it up. I try to make my eyes look bigger, and I carve out fake cheekbones. But I still feel disgusting.

There is no lesson to be learned in this post. It’s just another bundle of problems that I have no idea what to do with.

Drug Information

This is a piece I wrote for my nonfiction class back at MCC, titled “Drug Information”. It’s a list of just some of the medications I’ve been on over the years and their official uses and side effects intertwined with my own experiences. Thanks for reading. –Zara

Abilify (Aripiprazole): Used to treat mood disorders as well as depression. You will be handed multiple sample packets of this to try alongside your other mood stabilizer. Your psychiatrist won’t tell you that it’s also an antipsychotic, which is probably why you don’t have success with it. It claims to improve concentration, however, you will just feel restless and irritable. You will tap your foot much more often than you already do.

Deplin (l-methylfolate): Technically a medical food, this is used in patients with low red blood cell folate. This will be added on to your Lamictal prescription, although Deplin should not be mixed with Lamictal or other anticonvulsants, as they can interfere with its effects. It can, however, be added onto an antidepressant, but remember, antidepressants are not good for your mental disorder. No common side effects of Deplin have been reported, so if you do experience anything out of the ordinary, such as an allergic reaction, seek medical attention immediately. You were wrong to be prescribed Deplin and you will be taken off it quickly.

Effexor (Venlafaxine): This is an antidepressant. You’re not supposed to take antidepressants, but you’re 15 and you listen to your psychiatrist blindly. Some young people have suicidal thoughts while taking Effexor, and you will be one of them. You will feel agitated and irritable, impulsive, hostile, and your thoughts will be cloudy. You will carve the inside of your forearm with a razor while taking Effexor and you will be hospitalized; don’t worry though, everything will go back to normal sooner than you think.

Gabapentin (Neurontin):  An anticonvulsant, originally developed to treat epilepsy, and is currently also used to relieve neuropathic pain and restless leg syndrome, also used to treat bipolar disorder and anxiety disorders. You will take this after stopping Lamictal, but it will be unsuccessful as well. Side effects include weight gain, dizziness, fatigue, sexual dysfunction, swelling of hands and feet, and blurred vision. Less common, and more serious, side effects include flu-like symptoms, jaundice, loss of appetite, stomach pain, shortness of breath, chest pain, confusion, and vomiting, so beware.

Klonopin (Clonazepam): A very popular benzodiazapine. This does help to subside your anxiety, but certainly not enough, as you constantly live in a state of panic. Speaking of panic, it will not help you with your panic attacks, as it takes up to an hour for this medication to kick in. It’s almost useless, but no doctor will prescribe you Xanax, so you’ll have to deal with it. Remember to get your blood tests done to make sure your liver is still intact. You really shouldn’t drink while taking Klonopin, since it can be fatal, but you will anyway.

Lamictal (Lamotrigine): One of the many anticonvulsants you will be prescribed. It also, supposedly, treats mood episodes in adults with bipolar disorder. You will be on this medication for years and experience no positive difference, but you will be too afraid and too exhausted to switch to anything new. You may experience thoughts of suicide – ironic, isn’t it?

Lithium: A natural element which is supposed to affect mania (too bad you hardly ever experience hypomania). Despite this, you’re willing to try anything at this point, and you’ve heard of great success stories from people with bipolar disorder taking Lithium. Who cares if it destroys your kidneys? You’ve moved past that. Lithium will make you nauseous, cause your hands and feet to tingle incessantly, and screw up your digestive system, but it will pass. You already have a small bladder, but be sure to drink plenty of water while taking this medication. Also remember to go for your bi-weekly blood tests.

Tegretol (Carbamazepine): Another anticonvulsant, but it is supposed to help with bipolar disorder too. You will experience hardly any adverse side effects when starting Tegretol, which is surprising. You will feel much better around 800 mg. You will be exercising regularly, eating right, and generally feeling hopeful about the future. You will be amazed. But this will end, and you will sink back into a deep depressive state. You will gain all the weight you lost back. You will stop engaging in healthy activities. You will make poor choices. You will feel suicidal. It will be as if you did a complete 180. Your psychiatrist will continue to raise to dosage in attempt to help you, but this will cause a toxic reaction, so you will request to stop taking Tegretol. Weaning off this will be a bitch, too, just to warn you.

Topamax (Topiramate): An anticonvulsant primarily used to control epilepsy as well as prevent migraines. It’s also approved for weight loss, which is your main incentive for willingly trying it, but again, it too will be unsuccessful. It is used to treat bipolar disorder, yet there is no evidence to support its use in bipolar disorder. However, if you do become an alcoholic (and you’re well on your way), good news! It’s successful as a treatment for alcoholism. Common side effects of Topamax include dizziness, weight loss (you won’t lose any noticeable weight, though – too bad), nausea, fatigue, numbness in the arms and legs, and stomach pain.

Trileptal (Oxcarbazepine): An anticonvulsant also used to treat bipolar disorder, and another medication you will have no success with. Common side effects include dizziness, drowsiness, headache, weakness, balance problems, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, indigestion, tremors, and vision problems. Do not drink alcohol while taking Trileptal. Call your doctor right away if you experience changes in mood (shouldn’t it change your mood, though? Well, it doesn’t anyway), suicidal thoughts, signs of inflammation, liver problems, or severe skin reactions. Trileptal can decrease the sodium in your body and cause a life-threatening reaction, so be on the look out. During the sample period of a year, the FDA reported 50 deaths directly related to Trileptal. Tread lightly.


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.



After seeing my psychiatrist today (what an even that was), he said we should stop the Lithium (I’ve been taking 900mg for a few months now). He was open to the idea of an add-on at first (I suggested Tegretol, as I’ve had positive effects with it in the past), but once he asked about the side effects of Lithium I experience (nausea, terrible acne, stomach issues), he said we stop just get rid of it. He gave me some sample packets of Latuda, 20mg each.

I have some reading to do on it before I take any of it, but if anyone has had any experience with it, particularly in conjunction with any form of bipolar disorder, let me know.


Memorial Day

Well, I successfully spent nearly the entire day in bed.

I certainly don’t feel good about it, quite the opposite actually, but I just felt so exhausted and depressed and that’s my solution. Bed. Not even sleeping, just lying there, listening to those depressing songs I love so much, occasionally grabbing for my phone and checking Instagram or something stupid. I didn’t come down for dinner, whatever my family was doing for Memorial Day, that is.

I really abhor when I feel this way because I don’t know what I can do to feel better. I’m tired, groggy, irritated, depressed, and desperately don’t want to be conscious. What can I do? Nothing, and that’s the worst part. Just wait until I actually fall asleep for the night and wake up and repeat.

I think my recent relapse into this deep depression is mostly situational – I no longer have classes to attend, which serve as a major distraction as well as something active to do, I no longer interact with the people I once interacted with, I have nowhere to go or to be so there is literally no point in getting up in the morning, I have no job to go to, no obligations. I am a creature of habit and when these habits are broken I am lost. I wish the Lithium was helping more. Maybe my recent increase of the dosage will help, but I have my doubts. I know how these things go.

I have no motivation to exercise, which I should do for both mental and physical health reasons. I have no motivation to paint. I hardly have any motivation to write. What I have written has been minimal and what I started working on, I have begun to hate. I don’t know what to do with my time. I feel stuck, lethargic, and disgusting.

Anyway. Carry on.

– Z