Wednesday, April 30, 2014

How very odd

Something seems to be a bit off with the way I am moving through time. It is already toward the end of the afternoon and you can not imagine my surprise when I looked at the clock and saw that it was. I thought it was still sometime around noon. Don't ask me where the hours went, but I am having a good enough  time spending them. There is never a dull moment and I just said goodbye to my friend M. who came to drink her usual cup of coffee with me.

We were talking about food we like and the conversation turned to baked goods and before I knew it, I had promised to make a cheesecake because we know enough people who can help us eat it so that we won't be stuck with it all by ourselves. I do have a good recipe for one in my trusty Betty Crocker cookbook that traveled with me from the States. 

My friend M. is quite a cook herself and makes the most interesting things for dinner and I always am interrogating her about what she is going to fix next. I love descriptions about food and I am the perfect person to watch cooking programs all day. 

To my great astonishment, I slept twelve hours last night and that is why I must be in such a good mood today. Normally I sleep about six hours all together and I know that's not enough sleep. I am hoping to do a repeat performance tonight. I know that in a very half asleep state I let Tyke out back once and also visited the toilet, but was asleep again the moment my head hit the pillow. Needless to say, I did not take a nap this afternoon, although I am yawning now.

I was out of coffee this morning and tried to become a functioning human being with several cups of tea, but it wasn't the success I hoped it would be. Luckily, the Exfactor did the groceries early and I didn't have to wait too long for my first caffeine. There was a dramatic change in my mood after that. Well no, I am exaggerating. I am not really the awful person I make myself out to be in the morning. I just suffer a bit without coffee. I am much happier once I have had it. 

The Exfactor has been buying whole fat, lactose free milk and it taste so much better than low fat milk that I will never drink that again. When I heat up a glass of it, it even gets a nice skin on it. It's creamy and has a different color too. Gandhi loves it and so do I. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Early retirement

It has been a while since I have written anything here. That is because I have decided to take my early retirement this week and not worry so much about the things I usually do, but let myself rest on my laurels instead. I have been loafing about and discovered that it agrees with me very well. 

Of course, I have no appointments this week, either to go to or for anyone to come here, and to me that is like having a stress free vacation. Not even the domestic help is going to be here and I have to keep the toilet clean all on my own. I have a sea of time and no commitments and I am delirious with happiness. 

I am sure that I was supposed to be a hermit, but not one that had to do without the basic comforts of living, so I am actually not far from my preordained life, all things considered. Give me a computer, and a cat and a dog for company, and I am one contented woman. The older I get, the closer I come to my destiny. And I am selfish enough to embrace it with both arms. 

My life has already been so goddamn exhausting and difficult that I think I deserve early retirement, and I know that I can't deal with anymore stress. I have had more than enough of that and am not resistant to it anymore. If I have to take a tranquilizer on a regular basis to make it through the day, I know I need a very simple and uncomplicated life..

I am trying very hard not to have critical voices in my head who want to tell me how I should behave according to the standards of society. I want to make my own rules to live by for myself. I am done with living according to how it is supposed to be and I would dare anyone to trade places with me if they think I am taking the easy way out. 

I do have to say, that a bonus is that I am not looking for romantic love and companionship. Any relationship I have with anyone at all is strictly platonic and that sure takes any sort of complication out of it. I find that to be a great comfort. Besides, I like my freedom too much to be part of a unit.

Friday, April 25, 2014

An experiment

Getting heart palpitations when I drink coffee, I now have to try to find out if I have to stop drinking it completely, or if I can have a cup a few times a day. I already tried to switch to tea, but I have to tell you that I turned into a very grouchy woman who you would not want to be around. I was obviously going through caffeine withdrawal. I ended up making a cup and a half in the coffeemaker and I very quickly became the nicest person you could imagine and so far my heart is behaving normally.
Maybe a cup and a half is my limit and I just can't drink it in the amounts that I was used to. Of course, I did that as a way to medicate myself into a better mood. I very much used the caffeine as an upper and needed it many times a day and lots of it. Now that the extra antidepressant is working so well, caffeine doesn't have to serve that purpose anymore. But I am glad that I seem to be able to drink a little coffee sometimes, because I really don't like tea nearly as much. A cup every once in a while is more than enough.
I must have been real set on buying new sneakers the other day because now, when I look at that bright green pair of them, I can't believe I bought those. When I walk down the street with Tyke, people look at my feet first before they look at my face. Maybe that is a good thing and I am a real trendsetter for women my age. I do have to be comfortable enough with myself to be able to wear them and really not give a hoot. I did tone down the rest of my outfit a bit. I didn't want to quite look like I was going to the carnival. But the sneakers are the most comfortable shoes I've got to wear and there is a lot to be said for that.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

How things turn out sometimes

My appointment yesterday with my therapist went surprisingly well and it goes to show you that you should not go into things with too many preconceived ideas. I have to say that, since we are trying to cement our patient-therapist relationship for the third time, she continues to exceed my expectations and it may just be possible that this time we will make a success of it. I do have to say that I am doing my best too and am trying to leave past attitudes behind me. I approach her as if we are making a new start and I think she is doing the same thing. I don't know if she likes me, but I don't think that is necessary for the relationship to work.
I've got a bit of hay fever because we have very nice weather, and as a result I keep being hoarse during the day. That's supposed to sound sexy, but mostly it's a pain in the neck because you can't make yourself heard well. I also have a very dry mouth as a result of the extra antidepressant and constantly have to have something to drink handy or I can't talk properly. My tongue gets stuck to the roof of my mouth because of lack of lubrication.
I bought some bright green sneakers on the way to see my therapist because I discovered that the pair that I hade been wearing constantly had developed a hole in them. I found out online that the store close to me had all sorts of them on sale in all sorts of colors, but of course when I got there, there were none left in my size except for these bright green ones. I don't really mind because I like to wear colorful clothes and these will go with a lot of them.
My nose hurts where my glasses rest on them on one side and I tried to do without wearing them yesterday, but it was a total fiasco. I need them so often that I constantly had to put them on and off and looking into the distance wasn't all that much fun either. I constantly felt like I had to wipe something out of my right eye because of the astigmatism. Besides that, my face had that naked look that someone gets when they ought to be wearing their glasses. I just didn't look right. So now I just take a paracetamol when my nose bothers me too much.
I have an enormously calm day ahead of me after three rather busy days, and I am looking forward to it very much. Silence and serenity are good for me to recharge with at regular times. I need large doses of it. I am becoming an expert on myself now.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Proving myself

This is day thirteen of me being on my extra antidepressant and little by little, every day, I feel myself turning into a more contented woman and at times I even come close to being happy. Sometimes I even am. I have to get used to these new feelings and do not take them for granted yet, but I am learning to trust their presence inside of me and that they will not suddenly disappear.
This afternoon I have an appointment with my therapist and I keep thinking that I have to prove to her that I am indeed doing much better. What do I say to her? "Sorry, it wasn't your therapeutic talk that made me feel better, but the medicine?" She and I are still in our trial period to see if we can make our patient-therapist relationship work at all, and this is the third time that we are doing this at the insistence of my psychiatrist. And god knows I am trying.
I am not at all feeling normal because I don't think there is such a thing, and wouldn't that be boring? But I am feeling more and more at ease with myself and more comfortable with who I am.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Honesty is the best policy

Whenever I start feeling rushed and as a result, anxious, I tell myself that there is no need for it and that I can take all the time in the world and that there is no real deadline by which something needs to get done. Now, this sounds good in theory, but of course there are some things that I have to see to that I really can not postpone and I already have a list of phone calls that I have to make in the morning.
It is a normal part of life that I get this done, but I would not have been able to as recent as a few days ago, which goes to show you that little by little there is improvement in my situation every day. I do have to say that, while this is happening, I am becoming more and more patient about the time needed for the process to take place and am in no rush to say, "Hallelujah, I am cured now," some morning when I wake up feeling good.
I know life has its regular ups and downs and that everybody's mood fluctuates and that I can not expect to always find myself in a state of happiness. But I do expect the pain of living to disappear when there is no reason for it to exist and to no longer always in the back of my mind think of a way out of life if things don't work out.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Keeping my wits about me

After every chore that I do, I sit in my armchair and rest for a while with something to drink, but at least I am doing my chores now. For some of them, I do have to have a talk with myself beforehand or otherwise I can't quite get myself to do them. But sometimes it is just a matter of timing and what I can't achieve in the morning, I more easily do a few hours later in the afternoon. Even in one single day, my mood is unpredictable, so I very much live in the moment and try not to plan the whole day ahead of time.
Yesterday, I realized that I was suffering from a shortage of sleep and went back to bed at the end of the morning and slept another two hours. This did wonders for my mood and energy level, and it changed my whole outlook on the rest of the day. In this stage I am in now, I need more sleep than I usually get and I am not used to that yet and still get up too soon. I find it hard to stay in bed once I am awake, but should probably linger there a while longer in the off chance that I will sleep some more.
When you have a bipolar disorder, you always have to be extra vigilant and sensible. There is much that you can't take for granted and you have to be suspicious of any out of the ordinary behavior of yourself. That doesn't leave much room for spontaneity. Maybe it is because of my present mood that I am extra alert for that and things will not look that bad by next week.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

In the interest of science

The nicest thing about lying low, is that the telephone rarely rings and I had not even realized up until very recently how much the ringing of the phone used to bother me. I know now that I was always afraid that a needy person would be at the other end of the line and want some of my precious emotional energy and time. Now I feel as though I have acquired a new sense of freedom in my own apartment and I no longer have such a feeling of entrapment. That's what makes it so much easier to sit and relax in my armchair and take a decent nap in the afternoon if I want. I don't have to worry that the phone will ring.
I also very much limit the time I spend behind the computer. Yesterday, I was doing some very interesting research online about the bipolar disorder and I could have gone on for hours, but I realized that I could get very obsessively involved and after one hour shut off the computer. I then proceeded to have a quiet time out while seated in my armchair with a cup of coffee. One thing I am learning is, that bipolar people are very sensitive to stress, and triggers, and can't have too much of it. It can send them into either kind of extreme state. Personally, I have to be careful not to become hypomanic now because I am a rapid cycler and quickly go from one state to the other.
I also did more research about the extra antidepressant I am taking and know more about it now I think than the average psychiatrist. I am not nearly as worried about taking it as I was to begin with, because compared to the one I am already taking, it is pretty benign. I researched that one also and visited sites that are meant for professionals or people who are otherwise interested in how the medicines work. The new antidepressant works after you have taken it for two weeks, so any benefits I am feeling from it now are strictly in my imagination. I am sure that they are the result of the changes in my life style. I have been on the new one for eight days.
Most likely, it will be a gradual change and not an abrupt one. I just have to be patient.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

By leaps and bounds

Yesterday morning, after I had gone back to bed again with a glass of hot milk to finish sleeping, I woke up in a good mood and proceeded to have the most relaxed morning I have had in a long time. Being taken completely by surprise, I didn't do much more but sit in my chair and enjoy the feeling while it lasted because I thought it might be a temporary thing. I can't tell you how good this felt after all the struggles I went through with my very unstable and troubled mood  and it was a joy to feel peace and quiet inside myself.
It did in the afternoon get a bit rougher, but not nearly as bad as it has been and I did not have to find my solace in the safety of the bedroom. I took a tranquilizer and read a book about mood disorders and how to deal with them, which of course is very appropriate right now. The good thing is that I was calm enough to be able to concentrate on what I was reading and understood the material and had it get through my thick skull. That was not possible until very recently.
I made a few changes in the living room to make my place in the armchair a bit more comfortable. I added a side table to the right side of my chair so that my coffee and cigarettes are easily available, even though that little table is somewhat in the way of the flow of traffic. I also moved a lamp so that it is easier for me to read in the evening. I had to move a plant stand in order to do so and it now is in a much less attractive spot, but I don't care. I am in it for the sake of my convenience. This is a time when I put my own needs central.
In the afternoon I was also able to carry on a long conversation on the phone with my sister so that we could get completely caught up. I had not been able to do this before, although I do have to say that afterward I had to take a full hour of rest to digest everything and let it settle down. Whenever I do any sort of chore, no matter how small, I have to rest for a while before I can move on to the next one and there is a definite limit to how much I can do in one day.
My sister and my niece (the daughter of my late sister) are the two people in the Netherlands who are very important to me and if I am going to expand any energy on anyone, it is on them. I won't waste my time and energy on anyone else. Contacts with other people will just be superficial.
I am very much aware not to try to solve my sister's and my niece's problems.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Life in a nutshell

I am not a relaxed person nowadays and, unless I take a tranquilizer, I spend a lot of my time worrying in a totally senseless way. Because really, how often can you worry about the same thing and how much time and energy do you want to spend on it? I find it impossible to apply all the tricks that I know to stop worrying that normally work so well and that I advise other people to use. I think that was a brazen thing of me to do and not very compassionate because they may have been in the same boat I find myself in now.

I have been a bit of a smartass all along and thought I was so well informed that I could tell people how to deal with their problems. Now that I find myself in trouble, I realize it isn't all that easy as following the well meant advice that better or worse informed people give you. I suppose if anything, that is a big lesson I am learning.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

The honest truth

To say that my psychiatrist was not pleased with me when I told him that I had added another antidepressant all on my own, would be putting it mildly. He is even going to consider if it is possible for our doctor-patient relationship to continue because I have damaged his trust in me and played a dangerous game. I did not protest against anything he said to me because I know that I was in the wrong and that from his point of view I had made an enormous blunder.
I did explain my reasons why I had added the antidepressant and that I had done the research on it, but he said that was still not good enough and that I should have discussed it with him first. I did point out his negative attitude toward solving my depression with medication and that when I made the decision, I was very desperate and that there was no one around to lend a helping hand. A phone call is just not good enough.
The point is, that these last two days I am doing better, although I don't know if the medication can work that quickly, and I am past the side effects. It is also starting to have a calming effect and I need less of the tranquilizers.
My psychiatrist is going to let me continue on the new antidepressants and he wrote a prescription for them. He said that he really hopes that my experience with them is going to be good and I will see him again in about three weeks. I am to keep in touch with him in the meantime about how the medication works and if I have any problems with it.
None of this leaves me unmoved, but at least I do know now why I feel so guilty.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Moving more smoothly

I did some research online on the antidepressant that I started taking along with the one I was already on, and found out that in the US and Australia it is given as a complimentary antidepressant with the kind that I already take because they are of two different classes and work differently. It is given as a complimentary antidepressant when the more commonly used one doesn't work by itself well enough. So, instinctively I did the right thing and seem to have struck gold. I hope my psychiatrist is just as pleased about that when I see him today, although I am sure he will need some convincing, but the proof is in the pudding.
I am also seeing my therapist with whom I discuss the details of my daily life and I will have 45 minutes to do so. I am worrying ahead of time if that will be enough to tell her everything that I need to, but I am sure that once I get there, all the pieces of the puzzle will fall into place and the whole story will emerge. I guess I worry too much about delivering proof that I am learning my lesson and I really ought not to do that. I don't have to proof anything. I don't have to be the patient with the best success story. I don't always have to strive for perfection. Let's dump that idea here and now.
I had a better day yesterday and managed to not worry as much about things and spent less time in bed. I am becoming a bit more comfortable with who I am, but this is just one step in the long journey I have to go. I don't want to be overeager and say, "Eureka, I have seen the light!" In all things I want to be very restrained and keep my life on a very low burner, maybe forever if that is the way to survive best. I am better aware of how I don't want things to be and how I don't want to behave. I suppose I had to be badly burned for me to get that message well enough.
What really saves me, is that I have given myself until the end of May to deal with this situation and I don't have to have all the answers until that time. I suppose it hasn't really dawned on me what a luxury that is and that I should take full advantage of it. Guarding my boundaries is the most important thing I have to do and to keep reaffirming my attitude about that every time my resolve starts to weaken. I must not lose sight of what my most important objective is and that is to clearly define where my space is and at what point I allow other people to invade it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Being assertive

The friend who always calls me so much and who is so codependent, I will call friend L, and just like I had expected, she called me in the morning after I had not answered the phone the day before. This time I was prepared and I gave her a good talking to about sticking to the agreement that we had made and that she should not call me again, and I am sure that she heard by the tone of my voice that I was angry. Of course, she had her excuses ready for why she had called me anyway and they were supposedly all in my interest, but I made the conversation as short as possible and hung up before it could turn into an argument.
This whole situation is one of the reasons why I have a burn out because it has been going on for a long time and it illustrates how I allow people to take advantage of me because I don't clearly mark my boundaries. I have a public persona and that one is friendly and polite and helpful, and it is the one that people are attracted to and feel that they can lean on and tell all their troubles to.
I am very much aware of the fact that this persona comes out the moment other people are around, and now I try to keep her out of the picture and let the Irene that I feel I am in my guts be present. One of the ways I can tell if she is, is by paying attention to my body. If I start to get aches and pains anywhere, especially in my neck and shoulders, then I know I am in trouble and I know that the public persona is doing her spiel. I feel I literally have to wipe the smile off her overeager face.
I get those aches and pains when I am by myself too and huge feelings of stress and I know that it is because I let how I experience life overwhelm me at the moment. Therefor it is good to take this time out to learn new behavior while I become aware of the kind that is dysfunctional.
You have to find out who you are in your deepest core and always be that person.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Not letting it get out of hand

I find that I react to the slightest trigger by becoming very nervous and I try to protect myself from that by spending a lot of my time in bed. I do alright taking Tyke for his walks three times a day, in fact, I find them very relaxing, but when I am home anything at all gives me stress. I am very lucky in that everyone has gotten the message and the phone doesn't ring, but yesterday afternoon it did, although I didn't answer it. Things like that bother me a lot, especially because I saw who it was.
I have a friend who is very codependent and who can't take an independent action of her own without discussing it with me first. She discusses the least little detail of her life with me even though she has a husband and a therapist and a psychiatrist. She calls me twice a day and expects me to answer the phone each time. She will call until I answer the phone or until I call her back.
I had already told her earlier that it is absurd that she expects me to solve her problems and for her not to call me all the time anymore and for about a week she didn't, but then she returned to her old habit. Now that I have a bad burn out, I told her specifically that I was taking a long time out and that I wanted no contact with anyone and that included no phone calls until further notice. She said that she understood and that she would wait for me to get better and contact her.
And of course it was she who called yesterday and let the phone ring for a long time and this irritated me so that I was upset about it for a long time. Apparently she is so needy, that she can't think about my best interests. In her own convoluted way of thinking she had justified her reason for calling me anyway. I know just how her mind works. I know she will try to call me again today and will keep trying and I will have to stop her which means talking to her because I can't find her new email address.
And that is the way things are.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Living like a hermit

My self imposed separation from the world is working out well and I am becoming more and more comfortable with the idea that I am allowing myself a long time to do this. It was difficult at first to accept that I had stepped out of the rat race and that I didn't have to get back to it, but now it is very much alright with me. The healing properties of my hermit like existence are starting to bear fruit and I am already a much more relaxed human being. They are because I am so very strict about it, and I aim to stick to this regime until the end of May.
Tyke and Gandhi are the beneficiaries of my newfound relaxed state of existence. I have more time and energy to pay attention to them and spend time petting them and talking to them about nothing at all. I don't feel that I have to do anything else when Gandhi sits on my lap or when Tyke wants a belly rub. I guard this quality time with them like a mother lion and make darn sure nothing interferes with it. It is to my benefit too that I do this because time spent with the animals is good for me.
I feel better now that I have stopped taking the estrogen pills and am much less anxious. They should put the danger of that as a great big warning on the box. It also said in the English language information sheet, that if you have endometriosis, you should not be taking these hormones, so I thought it was kind of odd that I was allowed to take them. It was after all thought that I had that kind of tissue left in my body and that it was causing me to go into menopause. Maybe that was a fairytale that I need to investigate further.
Well, you do live and learn and it is through personal experience that you do. You touch the fire and you burn yourself. Hopefully I have learned my lesson well enough now.

Friday, April 11, 2014

A rare thing

I am having that rarest of all things, and that is a glass of ice cold milk, but it is lactose free. I used to drink cold milk all the time and have terrible problems because of it, but I loved it so much that I took that as a given. Now that I have lactose free milk available, I very rarely just drink a glass of it because it is so expensive, but I decided to indulge myself. I still am not sure of how safe it actually is for me to drink and I have some doubts about it, but it sure tastes good going down and it is a great thirst quencher. I was also feeling a bit hungry and I thought it would take care of the worst pangs. It is not quite dinnertime yet and I still have to take Tyke for a walk.
Sometimes I feel like being reckless and throwing caution to the wind and do whatever the heck I want regardless of the consequences. I assume the best possible scenario will take place because I am an optimist and that I will have an interesting experience along the way. That is the reason why today I added another anti-depressant to the one I already take, despite the fact that my psychiatrist does not want me to do this. I felt so miserable this morning (as usual) that I decided an experiment was warranted and I went to my stock of medicines and found the one that I wanted. I googled it first and then took it and am planning on taking it a few weeks before I inform my psychiatrist.
I stopped taking the estrogen pills after I googled the information sheet in English which told me much more than the one in Dutch did. It said that one of the side effects was anxiety and I certainly have been having lots of that. There were other side effect and interactions with a medicine I am taking that sounded worrying and I decided that it was better if I didn't take it at all. I don't feel that I was informed correctly.
I have also stopped taking the anti-inflammatory medicine for the fibromyalgia and found out that this makes no difference at all and that it is enough just to take paracetamol if the pain gets especially bad. This leads me to believe that fibromyalgia is not an inflammatory disorder.
It is time to take my usual medicines and feel like a solid human being again, although I always wonder what I would be like without them.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Grasping at straws

Because I have a burn out, I have decided to give myself until the end of May to get over it and to cancel al unimportant things in my life until then. I will keep appointments that really matter, but no others, and I will stick to the apartment where I am exposed to the fewest triggers. My daily outings will be walking Tyke. I have told all the people that matter in my life that this is the way it is going to be and that they are not to bother me with their problems or anything frivolous, and that I will not make appointments with them. I hope the phone will now fall silent and I have to say that it has been already all day long, so that is a good sign.
Sometimes, I have moments of serenity when I can sit in my armchair and feel peace, but these moments are only fleeting and soon I have to find the safety of my bed again. I tell myself that I have bought myself time now, but sometimes that is hard to remember and all the stress returns and I feel pain in my chest and a tight headache. I have the feeling that I am going to explode and I don't know where to go to find peace. I find that it helps to sit here and write this down because I can organize my thoughts. I feel real fear of going crazy and have to hold on real tight.
I take tranquilizers as I need them and they help me a lot. I don't think I could make it without them. I have to be careful not to drink too much coffee, although at times it helps me straighten out my mind. It is not easy to find the right balance between everything but I try, Sometimes it is tough to be alone and I need someone to talk to, but I seem to only have people in my life who want to unload on me and I don't need them around right now.
Somehow I will survive with a lot of falling down and getting up again.  

Can I borrow your head for a while?

One very big monster that was terrorizing my mind has been taken care of, at least to the point that I have dealt with the problem from my side of it. How the outcome will be, I don't know yet, but that is not in my hands. It all depends on the reaction of the other party and I will have to deal with that when the time comes. I can honestly say that I have given it my best shot after haven given it a great deal of thought before going into action, and something that was bothering me quite a bit will be resolved. Now, if I can deal with all of my monsters this way, I should be in much better shape in no time at all.
That does not mean that I don't need recuperation time. It is as with any other kind of illness and a person needs time to heal. I do intend to take full advantage of that and spend as much of my time possible resting my body and mind and not undertaking anything strenuous. I am finding that the time spent in bed is very valuable and that all the little naps I take are a blessing.
I take my tablet to bed with me and amuse myself with it in between naps. It is better than sitting up with it in my armchair in the living room because there are too many triggers there. I feel much safer in bed. I do remember to turn off the tablet before I doze off for yet another nap.
I really do wonder how many unresolved issues I have left to take care of. Looking back over time, I know that I have been struggling with myself for quite a while and that the monsters I am dealing with now are just the most recent ones. There are others looming in the background that are half forgotten that will require my attention when these most urgent ones have been taken care of. I must remember to not smother them by pushing down the lid on them. To pretend they don't exist would be a bad thing.
I do look forward to functioning in a more normal way again. At least to one in which I am comfortable with myself.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Repeat performances...

I am suffering again, or still, from a bad burn out and by this time, I am in bad shape. I am under orders to cancel most, if not all, the activities in my life and to rest and this is exactly what I have been doing. It wasn't as if I really had a choice because I found myself incapable of functioning in a normal way. Being up and about is very difficult because of the many monsters that attack my mind and all vie for a place in the spotlight, and the best place I can be is my bed, where I safely tuck myself away under the covers.
The worst time to be up is the first part of the day and I often find myself in tears because of pure frustration and all the problems that overwhelm me and I am unable to solve. The reason I can sit here now, is that later in the afternoon things get a bit better, but I have also had two tranquilizers and they have relaxed me a bit.
I keep taking on more than I can handle, and when you are me, that very quickly is too much. I am not someone who can have a variety of events and exposure to people happen in her life. That all has to be dosed very carefully and it is really best if hardly anything happens at all. I need to feel very safe.
There is to be no increase of any of my medicines, but rather an analysis of what I am struggling with and an attempt to come up with solutions. I have to very honestly think through each problem from the beginning to the end and decide what to do about it. I don't have to solve it all at once, but can take my time. Just having the awareness is good enough for now.
I am exhausted. I think I am suffering from a shortage of sleep and that is something I would like to do a lot of. I am also unhappy, but that is not surprising considering the circumstances.  

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

It will pass eventually...

I have been in a bad mood since yesterday morning and with that I mean that I have been a terrible grouch since that time. I don't feel at all kindly towards anybody and am completely out of patience when it comes to what I think is any bullshit. And let's face it, you do have to wade through it up to your knees sometimes. Well, I don't feel like doing that and have stopped that activity simply because of my grouchiness. And I think this state of mind must serve some kind of function in that it allows me to sort out what is important and what isn't.
Therefor I am allowing myself to be in this bad mood and not to fight it at all like I started out to. At first I thought I was not allowed to feel this way, but I have since changed my mind and now I let myself be as grouchy as I need to. In the end I will get over it, or maybe not and I will stay this way forever and this will be my new permanent attitude. I am embracing it anyway and will not condemn myself for it. I am not unkind to myself and spare myself the sharp edge of my cynicism, but I do not allow any bullshit from myself either.
It feels good to write this down so I can get this clear for myself. At least now I know I have to never pretend to be in a good mood again. It will be a cold day in hell if I ever fall into that behavior again.
Newly found attitudes can unburden you from all sorts of negative feelings that you may have been walking around with. Whatever you thought was your own bullshit may turn out to be the bullshit of the people around you and you can give it right back to them. You don't have to take the responsibility for that anymore. It is also okay to kick against 'holy institutions' and create your own rules to live by. Do assume that you know what you are doing and don't try to please everyone else.

Monday, April 07, 2014

A little bit of a rant...

I may be mistaken, but I was under the impression that the antibiotics were supposed to take care of my sinus infection, but tonight it has come back in full force and I have had to take paracetamol for the pain. It is in my cheekbones that it hurts the most and it is very uncomfortable when I lie down in bed. The paracetamol only works for a limited amount of time and I had to take a double dose of it, which I am sure I am not supposed to. The best thing I can do is ignore the pain and only take the paracetamol when I  go to sleep because that is when I most need it. I will finish the antibiotics and then revisit my GP. In the meantime, I will not google the symptoms and scare myself half silly. I have found that to be an exercise in frustration.
Sometimes it is good to loudly complain about something so that you yourself will realize that you have a problem that you need to do something about.
I had a nice enough Sunday because I was aware enough of the fact that nothing out of the ordinary needed to happen and could relax. Whatever did happen, would be icing on the cake, so when my friend M. dropped by for several cups of coffee, that turned out to be the icing. She was immediately smothered in love by both Tyke and Gandhi, but they did eventually give her the chance to drink her coffee. The animals are such social beings, but I think they are a reflection of me because I do like company.
I watched a couple of good art programs on my tablet while comfortably seated in my armchair and got wiser for watching them. I like how I get to pick and choose what I want to watch. There are also usually some good documentaries that will inform me and hold my attention and a political talk show or two. The possibilities are endless. When I live in Houston, I want to keep watching these programs from the Dutch television because I don't know if there is anything like them available where I will be then on American TV. I don't want to be starved for cultural and political input.
Drinking ice cold lemonade makes my sinuses feel better. The cold numbs them.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Another train of thought...

Well, it is Sunday again and another day of rest which no doubt I will take full advantage of. I have already started out right by sleeping longer and deeper than I usually do, but no doubt that was due to the tranquilizer I took before I went to sleep. I don't as a rule do that, but thought I would give myself a break. As a result I woke up in a pretty good mood, although I normally do, but this time it didn't take as much coffee for me to feel that I was up to par. There is always that little time that I feel it can go either way and I waver between being quite alright and slightly mad. Luckily, the good side always wins and the dark force does not get me. The day I don't have that internal struggle anymore, will be a day of complete peace.
The fact that it is Sunday, is a peaceful thing of itself and I am glad that in this country, although it has become very secular, the day of rest is still honored so very much. You can just tell by the amount of traffic on the road, which is so much less,and of course by the fact that the stores are closed. This automatically helps you slow down to a more leisurely pace in which you don't feel that you have to fill your day with the chores that you do during the rest of the week. It is completely legitimate to be at rest.
I figured out what made me break out in night sweats the other night and that is the fact that I had eaten three filets of smoked mackerel  in the afternoon. I already noticed before that if I eat any kind of animal product, I break out in night sweats, so that is a good reason not to eat them. As a rule, I don't eat any meat or fish anymore, but the smoked mackerel  had been a gift from the Exfactor who worries about me getting enough protein and other vitamins and minerals. And that reminds me that I have to get multivitamins because I am all out of them. I think those are an important item to add to the shopping list next.
I want to lose 4 kilos, but I don't quite know how to go about it because I eat how I do to sustain myself and it is pretty healthy. I will have to have a careful look at all the ingredients and see if I can make any changes or maybe there is a change possible in the way I prepare the food.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

That also matters...

Because of my headaches, that I think may not only be due to the sinus infection, I made an appointment with the ophthalmologist and I see him in a week and a half. I did last year have the beginning of cataracts, so I want to see how that condition is developing now and it would not surprise me if I needed stronger glasses because I am noticing some eye strain. I think if I do, I will not pick out a new frame, but have new lenses put in the one I already own and like best. I know I can't find one as nice (I think) at the optician's and maybe it will save me some money too. The insurance is not as generous as it used to be (if it ever was), so I have to wing my way around whatever costs as much as possible.
Much to my disgust, I woke up with night sweats and I had not expected that after taking the estrogen for three days, but maybe that is too much to ask for. I do suppose I have to be on it a little bit longer before I can expect real results. I tried to blame it on something I ate for dinner, but could find no real culprit, so I guess that is not the problem. I will just have to stop making stabs in the dark and start exercising patience and wait for the estrogen to start working. That is probably what most sensible people would do and I do wish to belong to them. I am, after all, just another ordinary human being.
The first potholder is almost done. I have to crochet a border around it to finish it off with a little loop to hang it on. I am already losing interest in knitting the second one and am more interested in moving on to my next project, which will be a pair of leg warmers for my daughter. Nevertheless, I am going to be a patient person and knit the second potholder. I still have to buy the yarn and the needles for the new project and don't yet know where to go to find the yarn in the color that I need. I may have to go downtown where the store with the best selection is. You do understand that these leg warmers have to turn out excellent and unique and likes ones that can't be found anywhere else.
The Exfactor will be here this morning and he will probably bring chocolate croissants to have with our coffee. That is turning out to be a bit of a tradition we have developed. I do not mind that one bit.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Farewell to old times

The headache from my sinus infection is slowly getting better, so I am glad about that. It does seem to bother me more during the day, but that must be because of the dry weather and the pollen count. I think lots of people are a bit bothered by that. All sorts of people are walking around with plugged up noses. In the meantime I just keep taking my antibiotics and have the fullest faith that they will help me. I expect to be all better by the time I have taken the last pill.
Yesterday afternoon I went to the knitting club with my friend M. It's a place she always goes to and she is a very proficient knitter. I had no idea what to knit and had bought no yarn and had no needles of my own, so I had to borrow a pair and dive into the box of left over yarn. I decided to knit a pair of potholders to help me get back into the swing of things and I am finding that to be a pleasant enough occupation. After I am done with these, I want to buy the yarn and the needles to make a pair of leg warmers because I know a person who would be very happy with them.
I enjoy knitting and can easily get hooked on it and I think I am already. It is much less straining to the eyes than doing needlepoint, which is something I used to do before my eyes went bad. Even wearing varifocals does not help that anymore. Knitting is a very meditative activity and it automatically makes you relax, providing you sit in a good chair, and it makes you forget everything around  you. Luckily, Gandhi has not discovered the yarn yet, so up to this point, I am safe.
Not a sensible thing can be said yet about the estrogen pills and if they work because I won't really know that until about a week from now. I want to say that they do, but that would all be in my imagination. I do take them with the greatest faith that they will and I think that this is half the work. If I didn't believe that, they really would not do their job. I took a tranquilizer yesterday afternoon, but then found out that I really should not have because it made me drowsy. It was a miscalculation. I really do not need the darn things.
I am having my ears looked after first thing this morning because they are plugged up and hurt. I have been putting ear drops in them to get them ready. It will be a joy to have that taken care of.  

Thursday, April 03, 2014


I had to go see my GP yesterday morning because I thought I might have a sinus infection and that turned out to be true and I got antibiotics for that. She had just been ready to call me about the hormone replacement therapy for the menopause I am in because she had decided to have me take that for six months, much to my relief. I think this will not only take care of the terrible night sweats, but also of the upsetting emotional state I have been in lately. I expect much of it anyway and will find out within one or two weeks if it works. I will keep taking the tranquilizers in the meantime until I don't need them anymore.
Because I had such a headache, I have started wearing my stronger glasses and I think they are starting to help. I have the headache because of the sinus infection, of course, but I thought wearing the stronger glasses would not hurt. I did have to get used to wearing them, but I have now and they no longer feel strange.
The summer dress I had been waiting for was delivered yesterday and it was put in my mailbox so I didn't even have to stay home for it. It turned out to be a good fit and I wore it right away over a pair of matching leggings under a jeans jacket. Suitably attired, I walked Tyke in the hazy sunshine. I am sure he didn't care one bit about how I was dressed, but I like for life to be as if I am always going to a party.
I saw my therapist yesterday and we had a decent conversation, but I had a bit of a hard time concentrating because of my headache. She did say that we needed to make a new and better emergency plan and that this was our next task. The one I have now is not up to par and will not really work well in an emergency in case of either hypomania or severe depression. God forbid that either one of these states of mind should happen, but we must be prepared. I come close to being depressed nowadays, but hopefully soon that problem will be solved.
I have decided not to let the opinions of other people about the hormone therapy influence me and go my own way, just as I do about the medications I take for my bipolar disorder. I know there are other ways to go about treating these problems and one of them is through a holistic approach, but there are not holistic practitioners in this area, and I don't know if I would dare go that way. My daughter is very adamant about the holistic approach, but I have to disappoint her and go my own chosen way. I have to not do things because I have to try to please other people. If I do, the end is out of sight.  

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

All is well that moves along...

I had such a tough time yesterday that I hardly knew what to do with myself because that stress I have been fighting lately came back with a vengeance and I don't know why it does. I can feel stressed about the least little thing that really is unimportant and I don't know why these things should bother me so much. I ended up taking some tranquilizers again and even took a low dose of the antipsychotic and now, at this time of night, I finally feel a certain amount of peace and serenity that I appreciate very much. I am going to have to talk to my psychiatrist about my medications and see if there is anything we need to change.
I do have an appointment with my therapist today and I can discuss the problem of the ever present stress with her, but I have already done that before and I thought that I had eliminated the causes for it. I do not worry about anything in specific. It seems to be a free floating anxiety that attaches itself to anything that could possibly be a problem, no matter how insignificant it is. I thought that by making the plan to move to Houston, I had taken care of whatever worries laid ahead in the next five years, but I guess I was wrong. This anxiety has a mind of its own.
I thought my new summer dress was going to be delivered yesterday and made it a point to be home as much as possible, but at one point I got an email saying that there would be a delay of one day. Well shoot, I do have to go out and will probably miss the delivery and I am the one in the building who always accepts the packages for everybody else because no one is home during the day. I had looked forward to wearing that dress because on Friday the weather is going to turn colder again. Foiled again! The best laid plans and everything...
I have a doctor's appointment first thing in the morning because I have pain in my sinuses and have had for about a week. It's in my forehead and my cheekbones and paracetamol doesn't help. Possibly it is because of hay fever because there is much pollen in the air right now. I hope I don't have a sinus infection and maybe the doctor can just prescribe a nose spray.
Maybe I need stronger glasses.   

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

The Plan

My plan to go to Houston for good in five years time, is taking on more solid form as my daughter and I discuss it over and back by email. Instead of being just a hopeful glimmer in our thoughts, it is now a very sure thing that we know is going to happen. The timing is even perfect because my daughter is at a place in her life when a lot of positive things are happening and she needs to finish taking care of them before I come there for good. Everything will fall into place as if by itself.
The nice thing is that I can get used to the idea slowly and live with joy toward the day that it will happen. Every birthday will be extra special because it will bring me closer to the day I leave. It will be like immigrating all over again and it will be the third time that I do. I am starting to be an old hand at it. Moving to the States again will be easier than moving back to The Netherlands ever was, so it will not be a traumatic experience. I will thrive on the change.
When I was last in Houston, I knew I could live there and I never felt uncomfortable being there, except for that experience in that mega shopping mal, which I will always avoid. I liked the old neighborhoods with their restored houses and their mature trees and I liked downtown. I also liked the diversity of people I saw there. It is a very cosmopolitan place.