Friday, February 28, 2014

Don't take me for a fool...

I think I have to draw the line at receiving visitors at 11:30 at night. My manic friend rang the intercom at that time and I had to tell her that it was too late for me to see her. Because she only lives five houses down, it was not as if I turned her away for a long journey home in the cold dark night. No doubt she was out walking her dog and she got it in her head to pay me an impromptu visit. The other night she was here after I had already gone to bed and the apartment was pitch black. That did not deter her and we visited with me being half asleep. It will be nice when she is not manic anymore.
I had an odd day and never did feel quite up to par. I am unable to say exactly what the problem was, except that I could not get comfortable with myself. Even the long nap that I took in the afternoon did not reset my system. If I didn't know better, I would say that I was on my way to becoming hypomanic, but right now it does not feel that way at all. I think unstable is the word for how I felt. At night things are always different and I have to wait until the morning to see how they continue. Maybe I am bothered a bit by the fact that I have stopped using the sleeping pill.
I got my haircut and now I have super easy hair. It will be a relief because my psoriasis is acting up a lot and it will be easier to treat with my hair this short. I think my hairdresser liked the fact that she really got to take the scissors to my hair. I walked into the place with it windblown all over because I had not used any hairspray. She literally tamed my hair.
The Exfactor did the groceries and much to my alarm, I found out that the lactose free yoghurt was twice as expensive as it was last week when it was on sale. That had really been a good deal. I will have to eat it more frugally now than I had planned. I found a bigger bowl to mix the yoghurt and the other ingredients in without it spilling over the sides. It is easier to eat this way too because I don't end up dribbling it on my sweater like a two year old.
I sure hope I win the state lottery soon because buying food nowadays is a luxury.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Faster than the speed of light...

That movie the Exfactor and I saw yesterday afternoon was called "Monument Men" and it wasn't very good because it was a typical Hollywood movie full of clich├ęs and a predictable soundtrack. The first three quarters of it were so boring that it took some effort not to walk out. I stayed and watched it to the end because the Exfactor did. What drivel. I am glad we didn't spend any money paying for the tickets.
It was after 6 pm when I got home and I still had to take Tyke for a walk and fix dinner. I had to just sit and put up my feet first and have a cup of coffee. Tyke was so happy to see me. You'd think I had been gone for days. I always forget how attached he is to me, so I have to bond with him for a while whenever I get home. Out of sheer happiness, he ate all his kibbles, so that was a good thing. I had been waiting for him to do that for some time and thought he was going to starve first. Gandhi likes her new senior cat kibbles and eats them with great appetite. She is so easy to make happy.
I have an appointment with the hairdresser today and I am more than ready for it. My hair has grown to the point that I almost can't do a thing with it, except on the third day after I have washed it. It seems to reach the perfect condition on that day and after that all is lost. I want to get a nice, short haircut that will be easy to manage and I can't wait to have it done.
The groceries need to be done again, but at least I have a very good idea of what the list will look like. There will be no guessing about which foods to get that will be good for me to eat because I have that figured out. The lactose free yoghurt is such a success that I never need to eat another sandwich. With all the extras I add to the yoghurt, it is a proper meal and very filling.
I suppose I will go back to bed and finish sleeping. Tyke woke me up as usual and this time he had to go out, so he had a legitimate reason. That's better than him waking me up for no reason at all except to keep him company while he sleeps on the sofa.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

All my live long day...

The Exfactor and I are planning on going to the movies this afternoon and we are going to see "The Empire Man." At least I think that is the name of that movie. He picked it out as the only decent one worth seeing at that movie theater for which I have free tickets that we need to use up before the week is out. We haven't seen a movie together in a long time and the last one, I think, was a Woody Allen one. "From Rome with Love," or something like that. The best one we saw together was the latest James Bond one which was hugely exciting. I think we are getting into the habit of not seeing "film house" movies, but more of the big production ones. Maybe we need more action and thrills in our lives as we get older.
We always say we want to go see more movies together, but then, for one reason or other, never get around to it while it is so much fun. Especially when you are in a movie theater where the seats are very comfortable and you can forget everything around you but the movie. And we don't spend the money on huge drinks and big bags of popcorn, so that is not where the costs are.
Yesterday I had an intake appointment for the psycho-education course that the Exfactor and I will be taking about people with bipolarity and those involved. There will be eight sessions starting in March and we should both be pros on the subject by the time we are done with it. My psychiatrist suggested I do this and I think it is about time when you consider that I have been dealing with this disorder for quite a while. It does happen at a good time, because now I am pretty stable and able to take in all sorts of new information. And exchange it too if need be.
I think I will take my coffee and wait for the sun to come up.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Friendship is a many splendored thing

When I came back after having taken Tyke for a walk after dinner, I was simply floored and couldn't wait to go to sleep. I realized that a week of intense friendship with a manic person had taken a toll on me and that I needed to recuperate. Exhaustion is a sign not to be ignored and I will have to pay attention to it this coming week when I continue in my role as good friend and confident. I must not give away too much of myself and remember to save enough energy for me.
I also realized that I should not have increased my antidepressives, even if it was by such a small amount, and I am going to stop that starting tomorrow. I see now that the way I was before the increase, I was better able to cope with whatever life had in store for me because I was much more stable. In fact, I was as solid as a rock and there is a lot to be said for that. I may have been a bit boring, but at least I was dependable.
Maybe that is what my role is in life. To be a dependable friend. Someone other people can count on, but having said that, someone I can count on myself too. I knew there was a lesson to be learned in all of this. I just didn't know yet what it was, but here it is. I have a feeling that it is not the only one either. I am sure there are several others that are worth my while. Everybody is a teacher, after all, and I am sure that my manic friend is also.  
This goes to prove yet again that there is always a reason why things happen and that it seems that fate determines them.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The shape of things...

Yesterday I finally made the switch to lactose free yogurt and it was a revelation to find out that I could eat without getting a stomachache. I mixed it in a big bowl with muesli, slices of banana, dried cranberries, chia seeds and hemp seeds, and ate it without any problems. It was such a success that I had another bowl of it for dessert after dinner with the same result. In the morning, before I had gone to the grocery store, I had eaten a cheese sandwich and got a stomachache and didn't know if it was because of the gluten or the lactose, but that seems to be clear now.
I not only get a stomachache, but also the other gastro-intestinal discomforts that I am too delicate to describe here. I must really be sensitive to lactose because I react to it when a little bit of it is in other prepared foods, so I will always have to read the labels. At least the mystery is solved now and it was done so easily. I should have tried a lactose free product much sooner, but I always worried about the taste. I needed not to have done that at all, because the yogurt tastes just fine and I can't wait to try the milk.
Now at least I know what I am: a lactose free vegetarian. I can base my whole diet around that fact and add the super foods and supplements that I need and want. I can't tell you what a relief that is. I have been poking around in the dark so long when it comes to my diet and I suspected lactose intolerance or a milk allergy for some time. There was, however, so much ado about gluten that I had started to suspect it also, so I was unsure.
I am still unsure about soya beans and other legumes, so I am going to give them a wide berth for a while and try them again at some later time. I want to enjoy having no gastro-intestinal problems first. There are enough other foods to eat, so it isn't like I am deprived or under any kind of pressure.
I bought a new and expensive dried dog food for Tyke at the pet shop, but he will only eat it so far if I hand feed him. I don't mind doing this, because that is how I got him to eat his whole bowl full this evening. I hope he will start to eat it on his own, but the point is that he will eat healthy food and lose weight at the same time. Because he is such a finicky eater, I was buying him canned food and that was also pricey, so I am just as well off buying this dried food which is better for him. Gandhi got a new dried food also that is especially for senior cats and she likes it. She is always easier to please than Tyke.
That's the news on the dietary front for all of us, and as you can see, we are all well taken care of. I just wish that it didn't cost more money to eat more healthy. If you want to eat lots of pasta and meat, you are off cheaper than if you want to eat vegetables and fruits and nuts. It's a turned around world.  


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Upwardly mobile...

My knee was fine until I hurriedly had to get out of the way of a bicyclist who was riding her bike on the sidewalk yesterday when I was walking Tyke. I made the wrong move and snapped at her when she made her apologies. Well really, what good did that do me? Because of the time of day, I was suddenly surrounded by all sorts of bicyclists who were riding their bikes on the sidewalk, trying to avoid the busy traffic in the street. Don't they know that is asking for trouble when somebody is walking her dog? There is a bike lane on either side of the street after all. This is about pure laziness.
Anyway, now my knee hurts and the rest of me was already hurting because of my fibromyalgia, and that got worse because I had to pull Tyke out of the way suddenly a couple of times. I became grouchy because of that. I think people are not always so every thoughtful and don't realize the discomfort they inflict on others. All I want to do, is walk down the sidewalk quietly and undisturbed. This is me ranting about something that always bothers me. I know you can't help it either. 
End of rant.
I am happy because it is nearly the weekend and because I have survived another week. This one has been especially interesting because my new friend is hypomanic (if not manic) and I have been looking after her. It has been quite an experience to see this process take place in someone else and be witness to it, and I now realize what patience people must have with me when I am hypomanic. I think fate puts people on your path to learn something from, and now I am learning a big lesson. I see the drama take place and the lack of control and the "craziness." I know they are all part of the illness and that as soon as the increase of medicines kicks in, they will all be part of the past. It is waiting for that moment to happen that you have to have the patience and endurance for.
I have to keep in mind that this is a learning experience and try to get out of it what I can while at the same time look after her as well as I can. I also realize that I can't take on too much responsibility. I am a new person in her life and can't solve all the problems. There have to be other people who in the past have dealt with this before. Or maybe they have all given up and jumped ship.
I will get wiser from this and not hypomanic myself.  

A mighty while later...

If it weren't for Tyke waking me up, I would sleep a lot longer at night than I do, and once he does wake me up, I don't know what he wants from me except my company. He always acts as if he has something very urgent on his mind when he wakes me up, but usually there is nothing I can do for him at all except be there. It seems kind of a shame to be woken up for no reason at all and that is why I have stopped taking my sleeping pill first thing when I go to bed. I fall sound asleep anyway, so it makes no difference, and I don't want to take it if there is no need for it. I take half the usual dose when I go to bed for the second time and plan to get off it completely because I think I don't need it anymore. I don't want to take it anymore anyway.
Tyke is now sound asleep beside me and he doesn't seem to have one worry on his mind. He asserted himself over Gandhi for a bit, and looked at the kibbles in his bowl, and decided then that those were enough activities for the night.
I have increased by the smallest dose possible the amount of antidepressants that I take, although my psychiatrist and I could not agree on this. It is a decision that I made after I felt long enough that I was not animated enough and close to being depressed. I didn't like how difficult it was to motivate myself to take care of things that had to be done. I started taking the extra dose four days ago and it is a bit early to tell if it is making a difference. I think I will be able to tell in another few days and I will really notice the difference after two weeks, at which point I will inform my psychiatrist. I don't want to tell him sooner in case he decides to discourage me. I do have the final say in this.
I realized that I should be eating healthier than I am at the moment and will be returning to a strictly vegan diet after drifting away from that a bit. The shopping list that I made for tomorrow reflects that and there is soy yogurt on it and nuts and dried berries. I have also got to order some super foods and food supplements that I have chosen especially for my needs. They include chia and hemp seeds. I have got to watch my cholesterol, I think, and eat very smart again from now on. I have had too many fatty foods. I also want to get some of the purest, rawest chocolate possible because it is good for you too. And isn't that a nice surprise?
So you see, I am full of good intentions, but I plan to stick to them because I plan to grow old very healthily. I want to live a long time, but I want to do that in the best possible way or not at all.

Monday, February 17, 2014

What's next?

In about three months, my American ex will be here again for a visit and that will mean that I will have to practice speaking English before that time. It is not that I have forgotten all the words, but that I seldom get the opportunity to pronounce them and I have the tendency to sound like I have a speech impediment when I finally do. The sounds you make in English are quite a bit different from the ones we make in Dutch and I finally, after 20 years, manage to pronounce the "r" right in Dutch. It comes from the middle of your tongue. I would hate to lose that ability if I am going to speak English for two months. I will have to make an extra effort to speak Dutch well during the time that my ex is here.
I was on the phone with my daughter in Texas the other day and in my ears I sounded like a fool. I could hear my own accent no matter how hard I tried to sound like the American I once was. It would have been easier to speak Dutch but my daughter's is not good enough to have a whole conversation in over the phone. When it comes to speaking the language, I can express myself better in Dutch with the odd English word thrown in. Dutch people have the tendency to use the odd English word anyway because for some words and expressions, we don't have an equally good Dutch word, or we find the Dutch one too cumbersome or old fashioned or offensive.
How I am going to practice speaking English is a bit of a puzzlement, though, because there is no one to practice it with. I would almost have to go to the ex-pat club in order to be able to do so. I will have to find out when and where they congregate. Lord only knows what sort of accents I will hear at a get together like that. It should be most interesting. And then, of course, it may be quite charming that I speak with an accent and my ex may not think it sounds like a speech impediment at all. This is all my own interpretation.


Mrs. Grumpy

I have to try to get into a better mood than I am now. I am feeling slightly grumpy despite the two cups of coffee and two glasses of ice cold water that I have had so far. No, I am not feeling slightly grumpy, I am feeling a lot so and I don't know what the problem is. I am not normally in this bad a shape when I wake up in the middle of the night. Maybe it is because I have run out of lemonade and I can't get my normal sugar fix, so I will have to think of a solution.
I can fix some lemon tea and put a lot of sugar in it. Yes, maybe that will do the job. I know my brain is usually starved for something sweet at this time of the night. It needs that quick pick me up to help it function better. The other alternative is to feed it a beer, but I think I had better not do that. I don't want to have to stagger back to the bedroom in a while. I think a cup of tea is an ever so much better choice. When in doubt, always pick the least offensive method.
Having consumed that hot lemon tea with sugar in the meantime, I already feel much better and my stomach feels very contend also. I do like it when I listen to my instincts and make the right choice.
My friend Mathilda and I walked the dogs to the area around the pond where they can run loose and Tyke had a good old time. He didn't run off, but instead stayed close to us the whole time and when we came to the point in the path that he had to be put on the leash again, he came back to me without a problem. Meeting other dogs was no problem either, because he was off the leash and didn't feel threatened.
We did get caught by a rainstorm on the way home and got soaked to the skin, but I figured that was part of the adventure. Tyke got extremely curly hair as a result and I had to change my clothes and boots. After I did that, Tyke and I went to Mathilda's house for a hot cup of coffee and Tyke thought it was great to be in someone else's house and amused himself tremendously the whole time we were there while Mathilda and I talked up a storm, good company that she is.
I am having another hot tea for good measure because the first cup tasted so good. This is something I could get hooked on and I am glad I almost have a box full of the lemon kind. I do like anything with lemon flavor.
I hope I have as interesting a day tomorrow, but I think I will. The personal helper will be here in the morning and the Exfactor will do the groceries. Who knows what further adventures I will have. Life, as usual, is unpredictable and I could not have foreseen this turn of events.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Interesting times...

I have managed, by hook and by crook, to become coherent. It took a combination of hot coffee and ice cold lemonade to get there, but I am fully awake now and capable of writing a post. I say that so easily, but the proof is in the pudding and we have to see if I can actually pull it off. Writing a post is one thing, but writing an entertaining post is another thing altogether. I think I am only partially successful in that at times.
I must not let myself be defeated ahead of time and go for the gold just like the Dutch speed skaters at the Winter Olympics. I do have to stay in the spirit of things and assume that I can be as successful as they are. Watching them you would think that winning comes naturally to the Dutch. We are stubborn and determined enough to go for the gold and get it too, and if not that, then at least the silver or bronze. But it is funny how we think those are not good enough and beat ourselves up about them. I will do no such thing about this post and just be happy if it is well received.
My new friend, Mathilda, was here yesterday and we had an entertaining time because she is such a talker, which is good because I am such a good listener. She comes with an instruction booklet just like me and hers resembles mine, so it is very familiar. I understand it without her having to explain it in detail. Because she is an artist, she has a website with her art, and she asked me to go have a look because she wants me to pick out something for myself. I visited the website and saw several paintings that I like and hope they are still available so I can choose one of them. I think this is very generous of her.
I had always hoped to meet someone like her and have been waiting for it to happen. I am so grateful that it did.
I still also have my friend Lucienne with whom I am on the phone every day. We don't see each other so often, and I function in her life as sort of a talking post and advisor. I help her get through her rough days of which she has many. It is an unequal friendship in that she gets more out of it than I do, but I let it be, because I play the role of the good Samaritan in it. That does give me some kind of function and I suppose I need that, although I don't seek it out. If she doesn't call me, I won't call her, but that hardly ever happens. She is a needy woman.
I have to make a "selfie" for Facebook. I had told myself that I would attempt that as soon as I was alert enough, which I now am. I've got to fix myself up a bit so I look my best and hope ate least one attempt turns out well. Now doubt it will take many tries.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Waking myself up....

By writing this blog post I am hoping to wake myself up, because the coffee is not doing it. I am also drinking lemonade in the hopes that the sweetness will help my brain function better. It has been known to work in the past, so I am putting my faith in it, and already I think I notice a difference, but I may just be imagining that. It doesn't matter if I only imagine it, as long as it works in waking me up. Maybe it does only have a placebo effect, but so what. The lemonade tastes very good too and that is a nice benefit of this cure.
I am writing this on my PC, because writing this on my tablet would be too much of a bother with the little built in keyboard, but I do everything else on the tablet now in my lazy armchair. I find this to be such a luxury, that I can't imagine doing it any other way. I am sure that I am saving a lot of electricity to by not firing up this PC, which uses up so much more energy. The tablet runs silently and I can't say that for the PC.
My new friend Mathilda was over here yesterday morning and we had so much to tell each other that we were both very sorry when it was time for her to go. We are like two people in love who can't get enough of each other. We have so much catching up to do on each other's lives that we will need to spend lots of time together. We both think it is so fortunate that we really got to know each other well and are sorry that it didn't happen sooner, but timing is everything in life. Maybe it is serendipitous that it happened now.
It again goes to prove that life is unpredictable and that you never know what to expect, but all things seem to be predestined and have their own timing and happen when they are most needed and when you are capable of handling them. That is becoming more and more my belief and I am not sure which set of belief systems that belongs to. I do know that you always have to be prepared for them and you can't not be on your toes and not be ready to receive them. You have to be constantly ready to welcome whatever is about to enter your life. I don't mean by that that you have to accept everything, because you are perfectly welcome to reject certain things and people too. You do get to choose.

Friday, February 14, 2014

The silliness of things...

I got a tablet from my new internet provider and it has a wireless connection, so I can use it while I am comfortably seated in my armchair. It is very addictive and I forget everything around me while I am using it, including remembering to drink my coffee and to pay attention to Tyke. It is only when the battery starts to run low that I get off it and get my mind back to reality. I hope the novelty of this new toy wears off over the next couple of days and that I start to behave more normal again, because I don't really like to be out of touch with the here and now. You can see that, just like a young person, I get hooked on today's technology and can be very selfishly enthralled by it. It's a good thing that my smartphone doesn't work anymore, or I would really be in trouble. I would be playing with it all day long also.
I just remembered that I have a longer cable to charge the battery of the tablet with so I can still sit in my armchair with it while it reloads. What a novel idea! I knew my wicked mind would come up with a solution.
Today is Valentine's Day, but I am not going to hold my breath and expect a Valentine's card in the mail or for a bouquet of flowers to be delivered at the door. Those sort of things are of the past, although I would like a small box of chocolate bonbons to eat my self silly with. Valentine's Day is also not the huge commercial enterprise here that it is in the States in which every generation of the population gets involved. It is very much, if at all, only for people in love. I am sure that the local businesses would like it if it were different, and I am sure that they are doing their best to make it so, because money can be made from this celebration. I am not sure if they have my support in that. There is too much commercialism on the various holidays already.
I found out that the movie theater that I have two free vouchers for is closing on March the 1st, so I have to use them before that time. I have been looking off and on for a good movie to go to, but since it's a commercial theater, there have mostly been blockbusters playing there. Now I do have to get serious about my search. The Exfactor and I want to go on a Wednesday afternoon when it is not too busy, but now I think we will go in the evening if there is no other choice.
I have made a new friend and we have much in common. Her name is Mathilda  and I think she is going to be a very good friend. She lives on the same street as I do, so that is very fortunate, and she is my age too. I will talk more about her at a later point as the friendship develops.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Beyond the color gray...

Today I saw my therapist and discussed with her what seems to be my problem with her and it turned into an interesting discussion. What the problem seems to be is, that she has a tendency to act too maternal toward me and she shows this in her body language and the tone of her voice, both of which change when she thinks I need mothering. This works on me like a red rag on a bull and irritates me tremendously because it makes me feel like I am not capable of taking care of my own problems. I do not need mothering but sensible and sound advice, and I do not like to be fussed over; it rubs me the wrong way.
Once that was clear to her, she promised to cease this kind of behavior and said to tell her to back off the moment she exhibited it. The problem is, of course, that she does this by instinct and she told me that her teenage children don't like it either. We have decided to give ourselves five tries to see if our client-therapist relationship has the chance to work out, and then see if we want to continue with each other. Of course, it will be me doing the deciding. It depends on her behavior and on my reaction to it how well that will turn out. My psychiatrist wants it to very much and I will do my best for his sake.
When I got ready to leave, she commented on the bright red color of my jeans jacket and on the bright red fuchsia color of my winter jacket. I said I purposely picked bright colors and was attracted to red and yellow and apple green and that it looked like that in my apartment also. I told her that the older I got, the more I was attracted to bright colors and that I felt the need to stand out in the crowd and not be a gray mouse. I said that I did not want to get lost in the masses. I think this took her aback a bit, although she must have noticed it before, but maybe not realized it. Even my glasses have the color red in them. I would like red hair, if it was natural.
As I get older, I more and more become the person I must be and who I had in mind when I was starting out on this journey all those years ago when I was in my early twenties. I very much had an idea of who I wanted to be and how I wanted that to feel, but I didn't realize then how many steps it would take to get there. And by steps I mean all the events in life that I had to go through in order to gain the wisdom to bring me to this point and wherever else I end up. I could not have imagined that many experiences jammed into a lifetime and it's not over yet by a long shot. Life is indeed stranger than fiction. It really is okay for it to settle down to a dull roar now with mini events.

The wonderful world of therapy...

My psychiatrist told me yesterday not to think of myself as a boring person because it may look like there is not much activity going on with me. He said instead to think of myself as a caterpillar inside a cocoon undergoing transformation to a butterfly. On the outside it looks like there is nothing happening, but inside all sorts of processes are taking place. The reason it looks so dull on the outside, is so that no one will be curious and everyone will leave it alone while the transformation takes place.
When he said that, a huge sigh escaped from deep inside of me and I knew he was right. As a matter of fact, while we continued to talk about matters, several sighs escaped from deep inside of me and I started to feel better and better as we proceeded. My psychiatrist always knows that this is a good sign and that things really have hit home with me. I also experience this as a big relief and feel like a load has shifted off my shoulders.
He said there are times to be a caterpillar, and there are times to be a butterfly, and that you can not force those times on yourself or influence them with pills unless things drastically get out of hand.
I have to make an emergency plan now with my temporary personal helper because it can't wait. It is something that needs to be in place and should have been already. We don't know if and when I am next going to be hypomanic again. I felt a bit hypomanic 24 hours ago, but it turned out to be just a temporary condition in reaction to something unexpected and there was nothing I needed to do about it, except calm down. It is important to take these sort of things into account.
As to my desire to do some sort of volunteer work, my psychiatrist said that the most important thing is that I find some activity that is enjoyable to me and that causes no stress. It doesn't have to be to the good of society, which I assumed it had to be. I may look into a physical activity again such as yoga or Tai Chi. It depends on which one is the kindest to my knees. He emphasized that it is important that I take my time making a decision about this and that I not rush into things. I suppose he knows better than anyone my tendency to.
Today I have an appointment with my therapist who has been away for a while because she had to have unexpected surgery. I will see how I react to her and if I want to continue with her, although it is my psychiatrist's wish that I do. I will give it a good honest try.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Life taking place...

I haven't seen my personal helper since the middle of December. Apparently something of a serious nature has taken place in her life, although no one will tell me what it is, except to say that she is not ill. I was told that, one day when she returns, I will understand why she was gone for such a long time. In the meantime, I have a new temporary personal helper who also comes to see me once a week. She is a very kind and intelligent woman who I get along with well so far. She has been here twice and it looks like she will be coming here for the next few months. She is going to take up contact with my psychiatrist  and let him know that she will be the contact person for a while. I do have to say that, although I worry a lot about my regular personal helper, I feel fortunate in getting such a good temporary one.
It is strange how things turn out in life and how you are unexpectedly confronted with events and people that have an equal chance of turning out well or not at all. I don't know if it is because I have a tendency to be optimistic and positive that these things usually turn out for the better for me. That does not mean that I want to claim that some awfully sad and tragic events have not taken place in my life and in the lives of the other people involved. But sometimes life throws me for a loop and the outcome can go either way, but as a rule it turns out alright. I think in spite of everything, I must have a guardian angel, regardless of the price that is paid in the process of gaining my balance again. I hope my personal helper experiences this phenomena also.
Now that I am mentally pretty much on a straight line, and my hypomanic episodes are not the main events in my life anymore, it is time to start thinking about filling my life with some other activities, although I am very wary about doing this. I am thinking about doing volunteer work, but want to be careful that I don't take on something that carries too much responsibility and requires too much of my emotional energy. I think that is one of the mistakes I made before. I overcommitted myself too easily and too quickly. I have to find a volunteer job that I can mentally manage and that will not cause me to derail. I have a lot of empty time on my hands and it is more difficult now to usefully fill it with activities. I do have to go about making a decision and a commitment very slowly and carefully. This can not end up in a fiasco.
I also have to be careful that I am not, right now, in the process of becoming hypomanic again, because making big plans is part of that process. I am seeing my psychiatrist this morning and maybe we will discover if I am. If so, it will be one of the few times that I notice it in an early stage, but I think that is because I have been so very calm lately. It is a good thing that I have an appointment, but then, timing is everything in life.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

My evil ways...

All the scheming and plotting I did with my doses of medicines didn't make a heck of a lot of difference in the way I felt today, except that as it became evening, I felt a lot more tired and had to go to bed prematurely and sleep for a few hours. I would say that, for all the mental effort I put into the plan, it didn't turn out the way I had hoped at all, and so you can see that manipulating events to turn out the way you want them too, is not really a good occupation and is best left to underworld figures and crime bosses. It's too calculating an effort to an ordinary person like me, and does not really become me. I should have known better than to think that I could set things to my hand, and I hope that you will remind me to never take up behavior like this again. Tomorrow I will return to my old schedule.
In the meantime, because of the weather, my fibromyalgia is acting up, and I am sitting here with the fingers of my right hand all stiff and swollen up. They get that way regularly now that it often is damp and cold, and I am looking forward to warm and dry weather which no doubt will improve my condition. I am very lucky in that the anti-inflammatory medicine that I take helps a lot against the pain and I would be in worse shape if I didn't take it. That silly idea of the orthopedic surgeon to take a less strong one I only tried for two days, and then went back to the original one because of the amount of pain I was in. Sometimes specialists don't know what the heck they are talking about. Not that he is a specialist in fibromyalgia. Only my rheumatologist is.
The new leather armchair I have is very good to sit in because it isn't too soft and gives me enough support. It is very comfortable for my back and I never get pain in my hip when I sit in it. I have found out that any surface that is too soft or too hard will give me problems in that area. It is also a big enough chair to curl up into when I really want to get comfortable and also provides room for Tyke when he wants to sit on my lap. Tyke is not really such a little dog. I have wanted a chair like this for a long time and this one is like the armchair I had in the Sates, but that is more than 20 years ago. I have had to do without a really good one all that time. I do think that this was a sacrifice.
I have made a new shopping list today and am moving on to some different kinds of foods. I have the tendency to eat the same sort of things for a while until I get tired of them and then I pick some other things to fix until I get tired of them. I have been eating a lot of potatoes and now I am going to be eating dishes with pasta. I have fairly successfully been eating cheese and it is agreeing with me better than any other dairy food, so I will be able to eat grated cheese on the pasta dishes. I am looking forward to that very much.

Maybe that's the better way...

I am used to taking my antidepressants at two different times of the day, half of the dose in the morning and the other half in the evening. Now that I feel so steady most of the time, I do notice that I always feel better after I take the second dose in the evening and that I am a bit more lively then. There is no golden rule that says that the way I take my antidepressants now, is the only way to do it and I could also take them all at once in the morning. I don't know how that would work for me for the rest of the day, but I am going to take them all at once in the morning next and see how well that works for my general mood for the coming 24 hours. I feel I have to do a bit of experimenting since the antidepressants are supposed to be time released capsules. It would be good to be a bit more lively during the day and not in the evening when I don't have to be. I generally don't go to bed that late and don't need to be full of spit and vinegar at night.
Having made that decision, I feel a lot better and it does seem to make sense. My psychiatrist had mentioned taking them like this at one time, but I thought then that maybe it was not a good idea for me and that I would have more control over my moods if I did it the way I always had. I may turn out to have been wrong all this time. There is such a thing as being too stubborn and not wanting to listen to reason. That is a problem I have and at times I can be unreasonable without really having a leg to stand on. It's a habit I must get over. It's funny how you get a brilliant idea and never thought that made sense before, while, after you think of it, it doesn't make anything but. It is like you have gone through life with blinders on and someone has finally taken them off.
Other than that, nothing else of earth shattering proportions is happening in my life. Everything has settled down to a dull roar and nothing seems very complicated anymore. I run into the odd obstacle now and then, but they are of the human variety and come with life and the business of living. I am reading a very fat book about a 1,001 women in Dutch history and I like reading about the ones in the last 150 years the best because that is when feminism really started. Feminism is a subject I can really sink my teeth into right now and I like to read about the achievements of women as far back as the 19th century and through the achingly dull years of the 1950's when we lost ground.
I keep thinking that today is Monday, forgetting that I have a whole other day off. Hurray!

Friday, February 07, 2014

Getting a "no" on my request...

My psychiatrist returned my phone call yesterday afternoon and told me that he did not think it was a good idea that I increase the dose of antidepressants at all. He said that, after knowing me so well now, he was afraid that if I did, I would start rapid cycling again. Of course, I had no answer to that observation because it is possible that I will, there are no guarantees that I won't, but I had been willing to take that chance. He did not think it was a good idea at all though, and he thinks that I should find whatever passion I think is missing within myself.
I told him that I am as dull as a chopped down tree trunk standing deadly still in an empty field, but he had no compassion for that and doesn't think I should use medicines just to become less dull. I told him that I did not like the person I was now and am not at all happy with myself, but he said that I had to learn to accept myself.  I felt a lot of frustration, but had to accept his decision. I will see him next Tuesday when I have an appointment with him, but I doubt I will be able to convince him then. I expect no changes in this situation and will have to accept things as they are.
I am used to being lively and full of spit and vinegar and how I am now is sure a  pale contrast to that. Maybe it is for the better, though, because now I at least will not get into any sort of trouble. I don't do anything controversial and don't put my foot in my mouth and offend people. Especially not those closest to me.
I suppose that when I am in the company of other people, I am not the only one who is in charge of  making the conversation lively. Maybe some people are dull themselves. I remember in the past surrounding myself with lively and talkative people who enlivened me. Maybe I should do that again.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Making lots of noise...

That's it. I am all done being dull and boring and I'm not going to take it anymore. I refuse to go through life anymore like someone's inanimate pet rock, but even making that statement is almost requiring more liveliness than I can come up with, but if I don't put up a good fight for myself, then who will? The Exfactor was over here this morning for a cup of coffee and I am tired of apologizing for being as dull as a bump on a log. I am even bothering myself with my boring behavior and am absolutely not enamored with myself. It is even a wonder that I am able to put up a fight and that I have enough orneriness for it. The reason I do, is because I talk to a very dull person on the phone every day and I know that I don't want to become like that. I want to have more pizzazz than that.
I left a message for my psychiatrist to call me and I will ask him if we can increase the dose of antidepressants a little bit. Half a dose at 37,5 mg will do, I think. I hope he agrees to that because I think I desperately need it.  I would hate to spend the rest of my life feeling the way I do now. You do have to have some quality in your life after all too and I would not give this life a high score, although I hate to say it because it sounds ungrateful. I do not want to settle for barely good enough when something much better can be achieved. I miss passion in my life because I sure as heck do not have any now. I hope my psychiatrist calls me back soon so that I can take that extra half dose and be on my way to recovery.
I suppose that I do have high hopes in spite of my low level of animation. That is because I think there may be light at the end of the tunnel. I think I have been patient enough in waiting this out and that now the time has come to make a change. If I wait any longer, I will only get more dull and boring, not less.

To start off with...

The new area rug was delivered a little after 7 am yesterday morning. Luckily, I was dressed because the delivery man had called beforehand to let me know that he was on his way. I was eager to put the rug in place, but I had to wait for the Exfactor to help me do that and he showed up about three hours later. We moved the old rug to its new spot and put the new rug in its place and I have to tell you that it looks beautiful. The colors are even nicer than I had anticipated. It is worth almost going broke for and it is a purchase I am not going to regret. You can tell that I am one happy camper, can't you?
I wasn't so happy with the suggestion from the orthopedic surgeon that I start taking a less strong anti-inflammatory medication. I did that for a few days, but it was a disaster and I had to go back to taking the stronger one because I got so much pain from my fibromyalgia that it make me feel nauseous. I don't think that is supposed to be the idea and I don't need any medical input to make  the right decision about that. My GP had not received the information from the orthopedic surgeon yet and I will have to call next Monday and make an appointment then. 
The brace around my knee is helping me a lot with the stability and the pain and it now doesn't feel good not to wear it like I don't when I've got my pajamas on. The orthopedic surgeon had said that it was up to me if I wanted to wear one, but that he thought it would not make much difference, and there again, it shows you how wrong he was. I have no faith left in the man at all and am sorry I let him talk me into trusting him one more time. He did not make my faith in him come true.
I am having awfully boring days lately, at least, that is how I perceive them, and I apologized to the Exfactor yesterday for being such boring company. I think he agrees with this and he accepted my apology with the hope that maybe one day there would be improvement. I don't think there is going to be and I think that I am done being hypomanic or being on the way to it. My medication must be perfectly balanced now and I am just an ordinary run of the mill person that are a dime a dozen. I am no longer interesting.
It is probably for the best that I am no longer interesting because I also don't get into any trouble now. I don't alienate people for one thing. I also don't make all sorts of life altering decisions that I will come to regret.  I wished to be this stable and uninteresting many times and I have gotten what I wished for, and it just goes to show that you have got to be careful what you wish for because it does come true.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Make mine lemonade, stirred not shaken.

I was drinking coffee in a desperate attempt to become completely alert after Tyke had woken me up from a deep sleep, but that did not work at all and I sat here behind the computer in a comatose condition. Then I had the brilliant idea that maybe my brain needed some sugar and I drank two glasses of ice cold lemonade and they did the trick. I am fully conscious now and able to put two and two together and maybe even add them up to five. I know some people do that in an abstract way, although the purpose of it is lost on me, taking everything literally as I do. But I do know that I can think straight and not fall into hallucinations anymore, and I think that is a great thing.
I have switched to the less potent anti-inflammatory medication and, although I tell myself that it makes no difference, I do imagine that it works a bit less well. The real test will be when the weather turns wet again like it will after today, and my joints will start to ache. I have decided not to worry about it one bit and see it as an experiment and besides, a bit of pain never killed anyone. It will be something that I will deal with because I am not made of sugar, after all. I have also started wearing a brace around my knee and that gives me lots more stability and less pain. Initially, I had to get used to wearing it, but after I did, it felt great and I wouldn't want to do without it now.
The Exfactor did the grocery shopping for me yesterday because I am still unsure about how well I am going to get around on my bike when it is loaded with bags of groceries. It may be a bit of a problem, but maybe now with this brace on my knee it will be easier. I will have to see how well I peddle my bike at all. It has not been my favorite way to get around, especially not when I have had to go uphill and I have gotten off and walked my bike the rest of the way if I felt I could not make it. I do miss going to the grocery store, although I seldom get anything that is not on the list, so there is nothing much adventurous about it. The exciting part is to stay under the budget.
This morning the new area rug is going to be delivered and the Exfactor is going to come over to help me remove the old one and put the new one in place. We will have to move the coffee table and it is heavy, so I can't do it on my own. The old area rug needs to be moved under the dining table and chairs. Luckily, it was vacuumed well yesterday. I am excited about putting the new one in place and about how it will look. It should be very cheerful because it has a lot of the color red in it. I nearly went broke buying it, and of course it wasn't the wisest decision to make, but I will be happy with it. By buying it, I have thrown caution to the wind and I can't blame it on hypomania, because I was not hypomanic when I ordered it.
It is time for a cup of coffee. I think I am ready for some caffeine now.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Is that all there is?

According to the orthopedic surgeon, the MRI scan shows a small tear in my meniscus right beneath the place where I had surgery on the one before. He is not going to operate on it because it is so small. Because I think this does not explain the amount of pain I have in my knee, I am mystified and I am now dubious about the orthopedic surgeon. He is going to write a letter with his findings to my GP and I will see my GP and ask her opinion about whether I should pursue this. The orthopedic surgeon also thinks I should be on a less strong anti-inflammatory medication and that I should not be taking 3 to 6 paracetamol tablets a day. He is going to let my GP know this also.
Needless to say, after I saw him, I felt a lot of frustration and for someone like me that is bad news.  I was very upset about it his attitude, which made me feel like I was a hypochondriac, and ended up having to take a long nap so that I could reset my mental system and start all over again. I slept deeply for a few hours and had a cup of coffee when I woke up and felt a lot better. I have been able to gather my thoughts over another cup of coffee and make sense of everything.
Of course, I have fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis and that can explain the pain in my knee also. I know that with fibromyalgia there are pressure points in your joints that can be very painful. Possibly that is part of the problem.
I can't afford to have this become a long and complicated problem. I will not be able to deal with it well emotionally, so I would rather have a physical problem that can not be resolved, than have emotional chaos. I will not be able to deal with the pressure of having the problem in my knee possibly not be resolved in a long, drawn out process. My mental health comes first.
All of this makes me not have so much faith in the medical profession. I think specialists are not infallible and that their knowledge is selective and may not apply to your particular problem. It seems everybody is stuck in a box and is thinking inside of one.

Is it any good?

Sometimes in the afternoon, I start writing a blog post which I save and close before I have finished it. I write it in order to have something to do after I have taken my afternoon nap and I am waiting for it to be dinnertime. Later at night, like right now, I go have a look at that post and find out it is nothing but drivel and happily delete it, even when I am asked if I really want to do that. Yes, I really do. I especially feel that way when I have already had a couple of hours of sleep at night during which my brain has been reset and I feel completely different about matters.
Whatever my opinions and arguments were before, now hang by a gossamer thread that is easily shredded and would not hold up in a court of law. Apparently, in the late afternoon I am in need of a square meal and my brain needs the many carbohydrates and the proteins it will provide and I can't be counted on to write a blog post built on solidly grounded arguments before I have ingested them.
How is that for a theory? It sounds like a solid one to me and I like the way I reasoned my way through it. At the same time, I have a good excuse to eat that square meal because it is good for how my brain functions in the positive sense, and when it comes to my mental well being, I am willing to make any sacrifice. Even if it means getting a bit chubby and having love handles as my first husband used to so lovingly call them. He was and is a man of many diplomatic observations. I wonder why I ever divorced him?
He is going to be here again through June and July and is planning on helping me paint the living room and hallway and he wants to pay for the paint. I think that is very sweet off him, although I have no idea how much of a help I am going to be to him with my fibromyalgia and I am thinking that we ought to hire someone to come and paint it all for us. I will have to get an estimate of how much that will cost. My body already hurts when I think about painting all those walls and the ceilings and I can now feel my hands ache from holding the brushes and the rollers.
This afternoon, I am going to see the orthopedic surgeon to find out what the result is of the MRI scan that was made of my knee. I am not sure if I am going to like being told that I will have to have another surgery since it did me so little good the first time. I would prefer to wear a brace and would like to be fitted for one. I am going to ask for this and really hope that this is also going to be one of his suggestions. Besides, living by myself with a dog and a cat, I can't take the time to recuperate properly from a surgery.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

The sun also rises eventually...

We had a bright red sunset yesterday evening, but I have forgotten if that means that we are going to have a beautiful day today. I always get that mixed up with a red sunrise and I know one of them means that it will rain. I forgot to listen to the weather forecast and now I am completely in the dark about what sort of weather we will have today, so I am going to have to listen to the radio in a little while. My fingers are swollen up from my fibromyalgia, but that does not necessarily mean it is going to rain. I would probably have more aches and pains if it were, like I did yesterday and the day before that. I am like a barometer that way and very predictable.
Since I am so calm and reflective nowadays, I have no butterflies fluttering around in my stomach in the morning about what the day will bring. I used to get excited just about the fact that the sun was about to rise and that a whole day laid ahead of me with all of its possibilities and feel like a kid on her birthday. That feeling is tempered by a more realistic outlook, although I still look forward to each new day. I just keep my head about me now.
I think a lot of my hypomania was induced by too big a dose of anti-depressants, but I may be proved wrong in the near future and come down with another bout of it. It seems impossible now, but I suppose I can expect anything and I should never say never. Feeling so serene now, it is like I can never be any other way than this and that I can never be anything other than this sensible and wise, because surely I am all grown up and mature now. It would be a crime if this state of mind were to be taken away from me and I should find myself in another unstable one. If there is anything I can do about it, I must try my best to prevent that other state of mind from happening.
I do have to say that, even though my psychiatrist is for taking the least amount of medicines necessary, it is always I who take the initiative to take less. I do go about it a bit more drastic than he would like me to and sometimes reduce them a little bit too much and have to increase them a bit again, but I always end up taking less than I did before. In this way, I have quit medication and reduced it and it has always turned out for the best. I think I instinctively know that I should do this, although things don't always work out as perfectly as I had planned them initially. In the end, it turns out that I am the winner.
I have to decide if I am going back to bed for another hour or so of sleep, or if I am up for the morning now. I feel wide awake, but that could change after I have had my breakfast. It does have the tendency to make me feel a bit sleepy.
I wish you all a great Sunday.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

It's very fine indeed...

Although I should really take an afternoon nap, I will try to write an amusing blog post instead because the cups of coffee I am drinking should keep me awake enough in order for me to do so. I don't know if that also means I will have a sense of humor, but I will try to add that at least once in a while unless I get too caught up in my own seriousness. Someone ought to be present here besides me and shake me out of it every so often. You know how I have the tendency to get bogged down in deep thoughts. Maybe if I drink enough coffee, I will dislodge some of the wiring in my brain and automatically get funnier as a result. Well, I can always wish.
It's too bad that I am yawning so much, but I just poured myself another cup of coffee and maybe it will revive me. I did have to turn off the radio because I was becoming terribly distracted by the program that I was trying not to listen to on the PBS station. I have been listening to the radio all day and have gotten smarter about things than if I had sat and watched television and I can watch the cultural programs that I missed this morning on the internet later. It's very nice when you can watch them at a time that's convenient for you and pick and choose the ones you want to watch next in the order you like.
Instead of being immediately distracted by the television when I get up, I sit in silence in my armchair alone with my thoughts while I return to the human condition. I wait that little time for the coffee to get done and then drink my cup of it in the serenity of the early morning light that comes in through the living room windows. It is the kindest way to start the day and I am not afraid of my own thoughts now that I am not depressed anymore. At this point, my thoughts in the early morning are fairly neutral and hardly of any importance and they are certainly not about matters of life or death. I wait for the moment that I know I am ready to take Tyke for a walk.
I am more than wide awake now because the caffeine has done its job. I am no longer slumping in my desk chair and about to keel over and fall asleep. I have gotten used to who I am on this dose of anti-depressants since my psychiatrist told me that we were not going to increase it. I have decided that I am not so much dull, as contemplative and serene, and as far as I am concerned, there is nothing wrong with that. The fact is, that my mind is at peace and that I am functioning very well, but most importantly, that I don't feel that I am under the influence of chemical substances like I often did. It seems to me that this is a win-win situation.
I must go now and watch the cultural programs and get that need met. It will be a satisfying thing to do for the rest of the afternoon until it is time to take Tyke for a walk again.