baratron: (aibo)
Today I experienced the joy which is seeing a doctor who doesn't know me. Apparently my usual GP is on holiday somewhere warm, lucky woman.

So I was explaining to the doctor that I have had chronic fatigue and pain on and off since I was 13 and I'm now 40, and that I was concerned about the pain in my left knee. The last time I was in this kind of pain was March 2003 when I got diagnosed with hyperventilation occulta. It's a chronic fatigue syndrome type of pain rather than an injury sort of pain.

I explained that I was concerned because I am unable to do very much exercise because of my exercise-induced exhaustion, and now because of this pain I can't even do the small amount of exercise that I usually do. It hurts when I sit, it hurts when I lie down, it hurts when I stand, it hurts when I walk, it hurts when I stretch. Nothing that I know of changes the pain. Since some of my other joints are starting to get achey too, I am concerned.

Trigger warning: unwanted diet advice. )
baratron: (boots)
Today I have been ADULTING like a PRO. I called the Student Loans Company about the threatening letter which they sent me. To be fair, I have an income-contingent student loan, and they received information from the Inland Revenue to say that I was no longer employed, so they wanted to know where I got my income from, on the basis that I might be secretly earning a small fortune and secreting it away somewhere.

I still have to fill in the damned form, but at least they know that I called them and I'm not trying to avoid paying back the loan.

I also called EDF Energy to get moved onto a fixed-rate tariff that will cost £76 per month instead of the variable-rate tariff which costs £100 per month which we have been on because I didn't have the spoons to deal with it before. Now I am drenched in sweat and I don't think it's only because of the weather.

Why is adulting so exhausting? I mean, neurotypical non-depressed people manage it all the time.

Alexa thinks it's because of tuits/spoons. Adulting uses lots, and they have more of them. I think that explains how they're able to do it more easily, but it doesn't explain why it should take so many bleedin' spoons to do pretty straightforward tasks. I mean, it shouldn't be that difficult to either call or go through the website to change your energy tariff, when you're already being a lazy git and staying with the same energy company because you don't have the energy to start looking around for better deals. But apparently it is? (Actually, I did forget you could do it through the website. That would have made it a lot easier.)

I also still have to deal with Student Finance England and my university, but this also requires dealing with my doctor. I need proof that I've been too sick to be studying for the past year as well as proof that I am now recovered enough to go back. It's a bit too much considering I've been revoltingly ill with bronchitis for the past couple of weeks. I have recovered enough to only need double my usual asthma meds, rather than 6-8 times my usual dose plus oral steroids. But I've only been out of the house 5 times since 14th June, and two of those were doctor's appointments.

Blargh blargh blargh. So much ill. So little energy.

Blargh.

Jul. 21st, 2014 08:37 am
baratron: (flasks)
I really Do Not Like how I'm feeling at the moment. It's 8.24 am and I haven't managed to sleep yet, even though I quit my game before 5 am and lay down in the almost-dark for almost an hour before giving up and reading on my phone again. I feel so desperate and frustrated, and my moods are all over the place.

The conclusion I have come to is that I've never regained the same level of mood control that I had before going on pregabalin and then gabapentin, which are both anticonvulsants which affect mood, used for relief of pain caused by neurological issues. I thought that stopping the gabapentin would be enough to make my carbamazepine go back to smoothing things out, but it's been 6 months and I still don't feel as though I'm getting adequate mood control. (Also, my back needs another set of injections, which is another story in itself.)

Right now I feel in a "glorious" mixed state of depression and hypomania, with all sorts of negative self-hatred/self-harming desires going through my mind, as well as anger and tearfulness, and too many thoughts. In some respects I feel as though I have loads of energy, except I don't really. Loads of thoughts and ideas, but no actual energy or concentration span to start writing any of them down. I keep playing Elder Scrolls Online because it's the only damned thing I can concentrate on, and it's absorbing enough that I don't have to worry about anything else while I play it. I have a horrible feeling I'm using it to self-medicate because of how shitty I feel when I'm playing and there's no one else I care about on to talk to.

I need to go and see my doctor. It's difficult to explain how bad I'm feeling when I can fake normal so well. I keep thinking "I hate my life", except I don't, really. My life is pretty awesome in so many ways. What I hate is my brain, for not managing its own neurotransmitters properly.

Don't want advice, don't want sympathy, only empathy from people who have some idea what this feels like. Stupid brains!
baratron: (endurance)
I haven't been feeling very successful in my life lately. I came back from Canada and collapsed in a heap of exhaustion and/or depression. No idea which. Possibly both. The thing is, I have an overwhelming feeling that it's depression due to physical health problems rather than my mental health screwing up.

I didn't mention this earlier, but I had my thyroxine dose increased just before I went away. My TSH level was 4.something (I wrote it down, but I've no idea where I put the piece of paper - 4.7, perhaps?). It was high enough to be in the range where even the NHS would advise another test in 6 months if I wasn't already on thyroxine. In this situation it was a clear indicator that my thyroxine dose wasn't high enough any more. Still, I was only on 25 mg, which is nothing.

I have a feeling that when my thyroid is working less awfully, I will feel better in all sorts of ways. Not sleeping for more than 12 hours a day would be nice. I've had a few days where I've slept for 10 hours, woken up, eaten something and taken meds, and then gone back to sleep for another 6 hours. I've had a few more days where I've slept for 4 hours and then woken up wide awake and been entirely unable to get back to sleep.

I have done NOTHING with regards to College work. I have done NO WRITING for pleasure since 6th January, except that today I managed to produce 900 words, of which about 700 are good. I owe BiCon an Access Report and am actually rather grateful that Jennifer has been on my back about it, because it shows that the BiCon team takes access seriously.

I haven't read any books in weeks. I've read some fanfiction online, and also some short fiction by Sarah Monette, who is rapidly becoming one of my favourite authors. And also this by Elizabeth Bear (which made me cry my eyes out) and this by Marissa Lingen, courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] elisem who makes necklaces which people write about.

About all I've done constructively lately is play Animal Crossing: New Leaf. And, this weekend, I took part in the beta of The Elder Scrolls: Online, which was actually about 100 x more fun than it should have been considering it's (a) an MMO with a monthly fee and (b) messing up some of the established Lore of the universe. Today I did a small amount of posting of information to the UESP wiki. But in general, life has been relentlessly awful and exhausting, even though nothing much has happened.
baratron: (dino)
Feeling pretty blah due to colossal amounts of back pain.

The actual issue with my back is that I have a bunch of vertebrae near the bottom that don't move properly because of arthritis. My spine's been dodgy since I was a teenager because I have a minor scoliosis near the top of it - nothing terribly serious, but it's affected how the vertebrae can move and I'm a lazy git who doesn't bother to do her physiotherapy exercises unless she's in screaming agony. The scoliosis bugs me mostly because without it, I'd be 2-3 inches taller, which is a lot at my height - it makes the difference between being "bloody short" and just "short" :)

The part of the spine at the bottom, the sacrum, is fused together by design, but there should still be movement between it and the various other bones there - hip joints and so on. Mine's been inflamed and not moving properly, probably for years. I had physiotherapy for a while, which was really helping, but had to stop when I developed a strange weird numb patch in my left thigh. That's been there for many months but has been vaguely under control with gabapentin.

So i went to hospital on Saturday and they injected steroids into the facet joints between the inflamed vertebrae. It's not as hardcore as "needles in the spine" make it sound, but it's scary because it has to be done under X-ray to ensure they hit the right place, and if you have a medical phobia and an anxiety disorder, you tend to catastrophise and imagine everything that could possibly go wrong. Anyway. It was fine.

Except that now I seem to have more movement, and my muscles are hurting like hell. The right side of that area is hurting, and the pain has always been on the left or in the centre before. Maybe they managed to fix the pain in the left of my back by moving it to the right side instead? Ha, no. It's far more likely that I have more movement than I've had for ages, and the muscles around my spine are complaining because they're not used to it.

But it's distracting as hell. I was trying to get on with PhD work yesterday and couldn't due to general wooziness and fatigue. Today my neck and the middle of my back hurts, and I can't get comfortable in any position at all - not even in my £800 orthopedic chair. Also, the numb patch in my thigh has returned and is really bothering me. I clearly need to start doing those exercises again, as well as getting referred back to physiotherapy.

Bah.

I'M ALIVE

Jan. 18th, 2014 06:51 pm
baratron: (what's this?)
Survived having needles stuck in my spine! I am currently numb between the middle of my back and my knees, and I can't really walk without holding onto things, but I don't seem to be having any life-threatening reactions to the drugs yet. So... tentative yay?

I was Very, Very Brave and listened to the heart rate monitor, and tried to make it beep as slowly as possible. And that is all I am going to say because I managed to get through it without crying even though I was terrified, but if I talk about it now I will start crying.

Also, I know he hit the right spot in my spine because the nerve in my left leg that goes numb (which was the whole reason I got referred to the Pain Management clinic in the first place) REALLY started complaining. It went both numb and incredibly hot at the same time, which was a very bizarre sensation.

Apparently I should carry on taking the gabapentin for a while because I'm on a low dose of it, and I can go back to physiotherapy in a week or so. Well, it'll take more than a week to set up physiotherapy. But I am looking forward to being able to stand up for more than 3 minutes at a time.
baratron: (endurance)
I really do not like how utterly despondent I'm feeling. I stopped taking pregabalin as soon as I realised it might be making me depressed, and it took nine days to get back to normal. In context: I took the medication for eight days, and it was a further nine days before I felt like a human being again. Urgh.

I've been taking gabapentin for about a week. I was fine on 100 mg, except that's too low a dose to do anything at all. (A typical sort of dose for neuropathic pain would be around 900 mg a day). Increased the dose to 200 mg after four days, been on that dose for two days, and I'm starting to feel decidedly iffy again. At least I only feel crap and unmotivated. I don't actually want to be dead (yet). I'm going to stay on the current dose for a lot longer than the doctor said (he wanted me to increase every 2 days) to see if this feeling of malaise eases off.

I also need to manage being awake in the daytime to chase the results of my MRI from the chronic pain clinic. Lately, I have been failing at daytimes.
baratron: (flasks)
You know what makes me really fuckin' angry? People who boast that they don't take any medications that are made in a lab. As I said to one of these loons today, you have no idea how lucky you are to have the CHOICE not to take prescription drugs. I personally have the choice of taking prescription drugs or dying.

I was explaining to some people who don't know me well about the delights of chronotherapy, and why today I got up at 2 am and will remain up until at least 2 pm. And said people were trying to convince me that I should try drinking alcohol or smoking pot for my sleep problems. Because, yeah, that's a bloody great idea for someone on several medications which say not to mix it with alcohol, and who as a result of chronic fatigue syndrome has no tolerance for it at all (as in a few sips of something alcoholic puts me under the table and feeling awful). And who is extremely asthmatic and starts retching and puking when even vaguely near pot smoke.

Oh yeah, and apparently "weed won't cause variable effects with other medications". I'm on carbamazepine, which is a cytochrome P450 inducer, and that is affected by somewhere between half and two-thirds of all other medications, including natural remedies. The chemicals in pot, of which there are many, could make me need to increase or decrease the dosage of any or all of my meds. If I could find academic papers stating which particular biochemical pathways are affected by it, then I might consider it. But the fact it's illegal means there is insufficient information about drug interactions. The other problem with it being illegal is you can never be certain what dose you're getting. I prefer drugs where the dosage is known.

*stab stab stab*

In other news, I have a new wheelchair. It's a new-to-me wheelchair rather than new. It was made in 1998. However, it is built like a fricking TANK. It is higher off the ground than my old one, "for a more important appearance on the road"(*) and also very, very red. I'll link you to the eBay auction for now because I lack spoons to take my own photos. There's also more pictures in this brochure, although mine doesn't have the riser or tilt functions, not least of all because I don't need them.

(*) Engrish phrase from the Di Biasi tricycle catalogue, circa 5 years ago.
baratron: (Skyrim)
I haven't written anything here in ages, which means I probably should, simply to let people know I'm still alive. Unfortunately I have absolutely no spoons whatsoever today, so I'm just going to drop off a few links and run.

My Blind Date... With Science! Very funny, if not hugely accurate :D

Psychatric Meds Helped Me Become A Better Person. I'm not saying this is universally true, and I certainly lost enough time to the wrong psych meds - but holy crap, is it true for me on the right meds.

From Scientific American: Chocolate consumption and Nobel Prizes: A bizarre juxtaposition if there ever was one. I presume this is a new take on the famous Pastafarian graph plotting global warming against the number of pirates, i.e. showing that correlation is not causation. Except these people seem worryingly serious. Hrm.

The Geology of Skyrim. Oh, what incredibly hot dorkery. I love this woman.

I really must find the spoons to do the Wednesday Reading Meme tomorrow. I've been telling myself I would for the last three Wednesdays in a row...
baratron: (flasks)
Have spoken to doctor now, and am starting on 25 mcg (or μg) of thyroxine imminently.

It's all fun when you're as broken as me. They've been rather leery about assuming that I'm hypothyroid over the more than 5 years in which I've exhibited raised TSH because even though I have all the symptoms bar one, they're rather vague symptoms: physical exhaustion, mental fatigue, putting on weight, not being able to lose weight, water retention, feeling cold all the time, dry skin, hair falling out. I'm also on a medication that can cause artificially raised TSH (carbamazepine). Read more... )
Anyway. Apparently I've now had enough blood tests to exclude pretty much anything else that could be causing the symptoms AND have hit the magic threshold, I'm going to try thyroxine. The worst thing about going on thyroxine is that I am going to have to, finally, after years of resisting because it makes me feel too broken, set up an app on my phone with dozens of alarms to tell me to take pills at different times of day. (I have the app already, don't need recommendations, thanks). Thyroxine has to be taken 4 hours before vitamin pills containing calcium or iron (which is every vitamin I own), and I think before CQ-10, but there's no way on earth that I can be conscious for 4 hours without my vitamins. I kinda rely on them to wake me up. So I'm probably going to have to set an alarm to wake me up to take the thyroxine, then wake up again four hours later to eat and take vitamins. ARGH! And I already have a venlafaxine alarm because the 37.5 mg tablets don't come in extended release in this country...

Look, I know it could be worse. It's not even first-world problems - there are plenty of first-world countries where it would cost me more than a total of £104 a year for every medication I take. (I believe that if I need to continue on thyroxine for life, then I'd get a medical exemption certificate and would never have to pay for any prescription ever again, but I'm not sure how bad one's hypothyroidism needs to be to qualify for that, the website is rather unclear). HIV only a few years ago involved well over 20 pills a day just for that, many of which had to be taken at fixed intervals apart from each other. So does cystic fibrosis - and that comes with a death sentence if you don't get a lung transplant before a certain age. Being on thyroxine and having to time my meds? Not the end of the world, and it's very likely to make me better. It's just... one more thing to make me feel weird/broken.

Also, soya is supposed to be Bad For Thyroids, Read more... )
baratron: (flasks)
I meant to get up early & go to the library today. But when the alarm went off, my back was hurting too much for me to stop being horizontal. In retrospect, what I should have done was take painkillers at that point.

I tend to resist taking painkillers unless it's absolutely necessary. Problem is, I'm not all that good at telling if it's absolutely necessary. Period pain? Yes, it doesn't go away by itself. If I leave it I'll be in screaming agony for three days. Back pain? Well, sometimes just lying down clears it. Sometimes a hot shower's enough.

Now it is 10 hours after my alarm went off the first time, and my back still hurts. I have taken painkillers, am sitting in my "special" orthopedic, back-supporting chair, and my back still hurts. Gods damn it.
baratron: (Warning: Sick!)
Yes, I have actually been dead. I'm getting better though.

I've had some sort of virus which would probably have been incredibly minor in a healthy person - in an Interesting Science Experiment sort of way, I've managed to infect Richard, and he is basically carrying on with life as normal apart from coughing a bit and sucking throat lozenges. But with all my other health stuff, it's knocked me out since Sunday night. I've been asleep a lot of the time, having hideous snot attacks, and asthma.Today's the first day I've been well enough to look at the computer for more than 5 minutes at a time - although I'm feeling exhausted and headachy just from reading livejournal for an hour.

Although now that I'm starting to get better from the cold, my period would have to start. Argh. At least I can be comforted by the fact that there is something worse than period pain and a miserable cold at the same time - and that is period pain, a miserable cold and gallstone pain! Been there, done that, very glad my gallstones are mostly all dissolved now :)

Also glad that when I called the GP's surgery on Friday at 9.30am to ask when my doctor would next be in, they offered me an appointment at 4.10pm. THIS IS UNHEARD OF! Normally getting a same-day appointment with my doctor requires phoning on the dot of 8.30am when appointments open, and ideally physically going to the surgery to queue. He's given me this stuff called Baclofen which is a muscle relaxant, and is working wonderfully on the pain I've had for a couple of months from chronic hyperventilation/fatigue. It's not addictive and is safe for use in WAY higher doses (I'm taking 5mg a day, and the maximum dose used in severe spasticity is 100mg a day), so I can basically take it until I don't need it any more.

I just wish I'd known years ago that a drug actually existed that could alleviate my chronic pain, because I've spent years with the only known treatments being rest, strapping, and hot baths - none of them particularly effective. At least now I know enough biochemistry to appreciate what a GABA agonist is.

The biggest problem I have right now is that my sleep patterns have become completely inverted, again. I went to bed fairly early on Sunday night because I was exhausted (where "fairly early" for a night owl-type person is before 2 am), and then didn't wake up properly until 8pm. Then couldn't get to sleep before 8am, and now I'm just on this totally backward sleep cycle of waking up at 8pm and falling asleep at 8am. Hrm. I need to get it sorted because it's BiCon next weekend and I'd quite like to not be asleep throughout the entire day.

Have a lot more stuff to talk about, but I need to get off the computer now because my head is too icky. Hopefully write more tomorrow.

Bleeding.

Mar. 18th, 2010 04:46 am
baratron: (black)
Today I found myself having a SURPRISE PERIOD. At the age of 33, with a fairly regular menstrual cycle, I should know what the hell my body is doing at any given moment... right?

Except that I used to have, or technically still have, premenstrual dysphoric disorder. I would always know when my period was due because a week to 10 days beforehand, my breasts would swell up into enormous, painful balloons; my belly would become a hard, tight drum; and my legs and back would start aching. I'd start feeling irritable, and this would get worse over the next few days until I'd go completely fucking batshit on day 23 out of 28. Psychotic thoughts, depersonalisation, and intense self-hatred. Eventually that mood would "burst", and from day 25 to 28 I'd be back to the irritable while crying uncontrollably at any minor provocation. And I would get ridiculously clumsy, to the point of non-deliberate yet dangerous self-injury.

Now I am on carbamazepine, a mood stabiliser. 500 mg. The mood changes barely happen at all - I suppose I may get a little more irritable or easily provoked or tearful, but it's nothing - a few minutes, maybe. My breasts do swell up, but not until 3 days before my period is due. I get clumsy, but only as much as I do when tired or "glandy". My back hurts and my legs feel sore, but no more than from fatigue or overuse. I don't know why the mood stabiliser should help reduce the physical symptoms as well as the emotional ones, but it seems to be a real effect. I could hypothesise that carbamazepine is also smoothing out hormone levels as well as neurotransmitters (it's known to stop many contraceptive pills working), but I don't know enough about the biochemistry to come up with a plausible mechanism. It's sorta on my "things to do when I have more time" list, along with other much-postponed items like writing FAQs for games which few other people care about.

So until I get more organised about keeping records of these things, I'll keep getting "surprise" periods. At least I have some hippy disposable sanitary towels in my desk drawer at college now.
baratron: (Default)
Have successfully been to the doctor. Have agreed to keep increasing the carbamazepine to a maximum of 600 mg, and to lower the ursodeoxycholic acid to 75 mg. I'm pretty happy with that. Ultimately my moods should get stable enough on carbamazepine that I'll be able to come off venlafaxine (Efexor XL) altogether, which should do me the power of good as it's known to provoke rapid-cycling moodswings in people with cyclothymia or bipolar II.

My blood test results were staggeringly normal - all of the blood count and liver enzymes are great. Weirdly, my TSH is down - to 4.94 uIU/mL. I've got to say, that surprises me - I've been feeling so fat and sluggish all winter that I was sure I was hypothyroid. Just low-level depression, then. Huh. I mean, it's good if my thyroid is mostly doing what it should be (although that's seriously on the high side of normal), but I'm surprised. Maybe need to up the amount of vitamins I take or find a vegan omega fatty acid supplement, or something.

Now I need to stay awake for the rest of the day and get something useful done. This will be tricky given the 2 hours of sleep I had and the fact my bed is calling to me, but if I stay awake now I might have a chance of getting my sleep patterns a bit more sorted out.
baratron: (baratron again)
Just finished that email. That would be, er, 8 hours that I've spent dealing with this issue, which is basically a normal working day. Great. An entire day of possible productivity lost.

Going to try to go to the doctor in the morning, which will be interesting as I haven't gone to bed yet. Need to get some help with the many and varied symptoms of stress that my body is showing, as well as updating him about my current medication status. (I upped my dose of carbamazepine from 400 to 450 mg two weeks ago, and I need advice about what to do next.)

In happier and much more amusing news, here is an absolutely brilliant video! I can't remember who originally linked to it, but I'm pretty sure it's someone who isn't already on all my friends' lists: Video: Stop Sign Designed by Committee. Too true!
baratron: (flasks)
It's very pleasing when someone who knows far more than you about a subject comes to the same conclusion that you did, independently of your thoughts. It's happened to me a couple of times lately, most recently this evening when I saw my doctor and he agreed that I should increase the dose of carbamazepine that I'm on from 400 to 600mg per day. I think it's more sensible than going back onto a higher dose of Efexor (venlafaxine) because:

a) I spent the summer trying to reduce my venlafaxine dose, and got it from 225 to 75 mg before I started to experience symptoms again.

b) What's wrong now is mood lability and instability. I'm depressed on and off but I'm also hyper on and off, and having "attacks" of crying for an hour and a half with no trigger when I don't actually feel sad. A mood stabiliser seems like a more sensible option to try to level that out than an antidepressant, which will just make any hypomania worse.

Unfortunately as usual he was running excessively late (my appointment time was 6.50pm and I got seen at 7.35pm), and so I completely forgot to tell him about all the possible thyroid issues that I'm still having. Tired all the time, cold a lot of the time, even worse temperature regulation than usual, hair falling out so much more than usual (I'm actually alarmed by the amount of hair that's on my pillow in the mornings), putting on weight despite eating less than usual. I meant to ask whether I should have another blood test, not least of all because carbamazepine is known to affect the results of thyroid hormone screening, and it could be useful to see the results pre- and post- changing the dose. Damn. And looking at this list of possible hypothyroidism symptoms - yep, definitely having a lot more joint problems than is usual for me, and TMI ). I suppose I should phone him, as he's only doing physical appointments on Tuesdays now, and I only need to talk about it. Bah!

And TMI.

Jul. 20th, 2009 07:27 pm
baratron: (dino)
Forgot to take my 37.5 mg Efexor tablet yesterday, and as the worst that happened was a mild headache, have decided to officially drop the dosage to 150 mg. As a result extreme digestive TMI has been occurring. Fortunately, if this is anything like when I went from 225 mg --> 187.5 mg, it'll only last 36 hours or so and I'll have stopped exploding by tomorrow. Just as well, seeing as my plans for Wednesday involve 6.5 hours on an aeroplane!

My PMS this month was "interesting". It wasn't anywhere near pre-mood stabiliser levels, and it wasn't even at pre-antidepressant levels - but I very definitely had PMS with the irritable screaming at someone one minute and wanting to burst into tears the next. It wasn't nice. I remember premenstrual dysphoric disorder and psychosis, and I Do Not Want to go back there, thankyouvermuch. Will be keeping an eye on this to see whether more carbamazepine is needed.

Also, last Friday I had such bad period pain that after teaching my student, I went back to bed. And me, the person who never falls asleep in the daytime unless I'm sick, zonked out for 4 hours. Until I woke up needing more dihydrocodeine. Ugh. Wondering whether my period PAIN has been controlled at all by Efexor. It seems weird, except that SNRIs are prescribed for various types of pain now... Eternally grateful that this month's menstrual cycle was 24 days not 29 days, so I had the intense ill while at home and not while in the US seeing Freezepop :)
baratron: (scary)
Have now seen doctor. I was Sensible and Assertive and told the gatekeeper receptionist that it really was very urgent that I saw my doctor, because I was severely anxious and had been hanging on since last week and I wasn't sure how much longer I could go on coping by myself. As usual he was running extremely late but I sat in the waiting room with no brain and read the issue of OK that was all about the death of Jade Goody. Apparently Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise are having another baby. And it is scary when Jordan poses in her underwear with her children in the same shot.

Anyway, he decided that a lot of my problems would be fixed if only I could get enough sleep, so prescribed a short course of zopiclone, warning me that it was highly addictive etc etc. When I got home and looked it up I wasn't terribly convinced that it would work, being a "Z drug" - I still remember the time in my second year at university when I was so unable to sleep that I was randomly passing out all over the place, including in lectures and one time in lab (!!), and went to the useless doctor [1] there for some help. She prescribed zolpidem (Ambien), which did nothing - I was routinely still awake 5 hours after taking it, and I eventually looked up the maximum safe dose on the internet and took that, without success. 

Well, I took the zopiclone last night and to my extreme surprise it worked. I feel a bit fuzzy in the head and still a bit sleepy, but rested and a lot less anxious. No dreams about aeroplanes crashing, to take the example of the night before. Hopefully it will continue to work until the end of my exams, and after that I'll be in enough of a sleep pattern that I'll be able to keep going.

Also, I sent the following email to P, who teaches the biological chemistry course which features natural products and drugs: Read more... ) Seriously, I feel all clever now!

Why do I not have a userpic with me raising one eyebrow? I'll have to fix that sometime.

[1] a.k.a. the doctor who told me "If Prozac doesn't help then you're not chemically depressed".
baratron: (flasks)
Currently having incredibly rapid-cycling mood swings. Up and down like a freaking yoyo. Case in point: yesterday at 3.30 pm I was lying in bed, feeling miserable and confused from bad dreams, and in a lot of pain from thrashing around in my sleep. Yesterday at 7.30 pm I was bouncing around the room to loud music, too hysterically crazy to do anything useful. Then I crashed in a giddy, exhausted heap. 

Some kind of mood regulation system would be nice. I believe that normal people are fitted with one by default. Somehow I missed out on that, along with several other features which most of you can take for granted. It wouldn't be so bad if I could get any of my own work done - if the downs weren't so low that I can't function mentally or physically, and the ups weren't so high that I might as well be drunk. But the couple of hours of relative normality seem to fit with the couple of hours when I have to see students, and by the time I'm done with them I'm so very hyper that I can't sit still or concentrate.

I have decided to increase the amount of carbamazepine I take to 400 mg per day. This is what I was supposed to be working up to, anyway, although I seem to remember the instructions involved getting to 400 mg of CBZ and then starting to reduce the venlafaxine. Ah ha ha, like that's a possibility in my current state of anxiety. I'm sure that the week-long migraine and brain freezes would help tremendously with exam revision. I'm already losing words every couple of sentences.

[1] I know what both those words mean. But I'm not sure which is more scary: the lowest low or the highest high. They're both terrifying for different reasons. Wheeeeee *splat*.
baratron: (goggles)
I wish this was an April Fools' Day joke, but no... my first exam is in 7 weeks. Really glad I'm going to see my counsellor at college tomorrow because I am unbelievably stressed out. I'm sitting here trying to revise with chaos theory butterflies flapping away in my stomach, making me feel like I'm going to throw up. And this is only going to get worse as the exams get closer, and I'm already on pretty high-powered anti-anxiety meds. Argh.

I'm experimenting with study cards - the type where you write a phrase on one side and the definition on the back. Don't know how well they're going to work for me, but at least they're portable - hole punched through them and a metal ring keeps them together. Some of the things I need to revise don't seem to fit them too well, though - it feels kinda weird to write "Transition state" on one side and "Cyclic and highly ordered" on the reverse (that being the nature of the transition state in a pericyclic reaction). Am presuming that if I'm having fun writing on the cards, that has to be worth something... but I don't know. Worry. Angst.

Back in Ye Olde Days (GCSE, A-level) I learned by copying out all my notes. It's a bad way for people-in-general to try revising, as it only works for ~10% of people, but I'm one of the ones it works for. The problem is, I lack enough time to re-write EVERYTHING. Even considering that I'm triaging the situation by only attempting to learn the material that I understand, there is too much of it. I realised incredibly belatedly (i.e. this week) that I only need to write down the things I don't already know...The mistake I made when I was at university before is that I've tried to make a complete set of notes full stop, rather than only copying out what I don't know. Hrm.

I feel sick.

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