baratron: (endurance)
Yesterday and today, I've been wanting to talk to people but I have absolutely no spare energy with which to do so. I have reverted to taking 2000 iu of vitamin D per day as of today, because I'm shattered and not convinced that the 400 iu tablets are doing enough.

I'm supposed to be going back to College in 10 days or so, but I haven't sorted out any of the paperwork yet because it involves too much effort, and circular situations where I need a form from A to give to B and a form from B to give to C, but I can't get the form from A until I have the form from C. Gah! And right now, I am sufficiently exhausted that I am not even sure if I'm up to going back for this term. I really can't go back and then immediately have to take time off again, but I do need to get things like Disabled Students' Allowance in place again if I am going back.

Mental health has not been good in my little family this past week. We have all been depressed for no particular reason. Richard has been anxious, Grant has been tearful, I have been having nightmares. I know that I need to have my next trip to see Grant arranged as soon as possible, so it's settled and I have something to look forward to, but I just don't know when will be convenient. Since this year is a round-number birthday, I was hoping to do something special for it, but I am increasingly feeling that my original plan (go to Iceland again) isn't what I want to be doing this year.

While organising trips to various places, I have to decide if I am going to BiCon this year. I feel that it would be beneficial to me to be in bi space considering that I currently appear to the outside world as straight twice over, but it involves energy and organisation which I don't quite have right now. The deadline is apparently pretty soon though. Who else is going?

In other news, I have found some mysterious photos on my computer. I mean, they are patently photos of me and Richard hanging around in our hallway in January 2012, but it is mysterious as to why we took them. They are all exceedingly yellow and would require considerable correction in Photoshop to fix. I thought maybe Richard had bought a new camera and we were testing it out, but the numbering starts at IMG_6562.jpg. Weird!
baratron: (corrosive)
Does anyone have a concentration span I could borrow?

Turns out that my physiotherapy course and poster presentation don't actually clash, because they've put the poster presentation on the Friday afternoon rather than the Thursday for once. Which is good... but I still need to make the poster come into existence. And my concentration span has been mostly non-existent for most of the last couple of weeks.

Things I can concentrate on: Cuddling, chatting to loved ones, playing with plushies, video games (at least for short bursts).

Things I can't concentrate on: Serious Discussions (™), work of any type, writing, organising my Elder Scrolls Online Guild.

I don't really know how to pull a concentration span out of thin air when it's decided to go missing. I found some interesting websites about it... but they all had clickbait at the bottom of the page :O
baratron: (endurance)
Urgh. I switched on my computer in the hope I might write something, but I just don't have the spoons. I've been like this for weeks - not really depressed so as you'd notice, but also way less social and more introverted than is normal for me, and way less able to get down to things which require organisation.

Also I haven't been to sleep yet because I haven't been able to. Bah.
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: (NaNoWriMo)
Apparently my brain is still stuck in NaNoWriMo mode. Yesterday I wrote 2008 words of a brand new story. Today, a further 2554 words. Alarmingly, I wasn't even expecting the whole thing to be more than 2000 words, but I now reckon it'll be closer to 6000. Very odd.

I am clearly much less ill than I have been. On Saturday I went out to meet complete strangers in the pub: one of the London "end of NaNoWriMo" parties. Frankly the only reason I could even contemplate it was that I'd been to that pub before and knew it was accessible. Was anxious as all hell before getting there. The stupid bus driver failed to notice that I'd hit the "stop requested" button, so went past the stop I wanted - but that was actually GOOD, because it meant I got off by a load of shops, and bought mints, which helped with the anxiety-nausea. I spoke to maybe 7 or 8 people out of the 30 or 40 that were there, which I guess is success. There was one girl almost exactly the same age as me who'd also written fanfic, and we got on really well.

This is kinda amazing because for the past 6 weeks or so, I've been basically a hermit - so introverted that even being around Richard was too much sometimes. Introversion isn't a problem if it's the way your brain is naturally wired, but for me it's a sign of serious depression. I usually need a certain amount of human contact to function. Now I have to contact all the friends I've been neglecting (or they can contact me, if they read this). I must also be better since lately I've been woken up by my stomach, rather than sleeping way past hunger - sometimes to the point where I then don't wake up because my blood sugar is too low. I guess this shows that the med increase is working, because I'm back to behaving like me again. Still don't feel absolutely perfect, though.

Also I need to seriously reboot my brain back into "work" mode. I've been neglecting everything due to anxiety and/or no functioning brain. Really not sure how to do that.
baratron: (ankh)
Today I am emo as hell. My stupid hormones decided that last night should be "Stay up reading slash fiction and weeping" night, and as a result I feel emotionally wrung-out. There's a whole load of things I should be doing today, including Important Paperwork about my Disabled Students Allowance, filling in my lab notebook before I go in tomorrow, and washing my hair which has reached that "ready to crawl off my head" stage of vileness; and all I feel like doing is lying on the sofa eating chocolate. It really doesn't help that my period started early, so I'm having the depression and mood swings at the same time as the physical pain and bleeding.

Ugh, hormones. We hates them, precious.
baratron: (eye)
An hour after I wrote my last post, I was happily squashed between two big-bosomed women in the Decision-Making Plenary, having previously met [livejournal.com profile] fluffymormegil for lunch. That's BiCon. You pass through hours of feeling insanely lonely and miserable even though you're surrounded by 300 other people, and hours of having a great time with friends.

Hooray for modern technology, is all I can say, because I do remember my first few BiCons, feeling horrible and lonely and not knowing how to contact anyone. Whereas now I can send out a mass text about feeling crap, and get 5 replies within 15 minutes.

BiCon ends in 9.5 hours, which is slightly scary considering I need to fit in sleeping and at least one meal between now and then. Could do with washing my hair too, since it's reached the "ready to escape from my head" stage of dirty.

Proper review once I'm at home and have recovered enough spoons to do so.
baratron: (ankh)
In other news, I have been emotionally messed up for a while now. For the last couple of weeks I've been suffering from random depression - really, for no reason at all. Random depression sucks, random depression in the middle of summer sucks more, random depression when you have lots of work to do sucks even harder. For me, it's actually easier when there's an underlying reason for the depression, because that's something I can work on. It's much harder when I can't think of anything that's gone wrong.

Except that now I can - I had to go for a blood test on Friday (a blood test that I'd been procrastinating for about six weeks), and it Did Not Go Well, and I have been left with my medical phobia/post-traumatic whatever all stirred up. It wasn't horrendous - I wasn't injured, there's no gory story to relate - it's just that I was as assertive as I could have been under the circumstances, and that wasn't enough. I could have done without adding to my already quite-long list of times when I have clearly stated my needs to a medical professional and they've been ignored :/

And it shows how much I've been quite upset by it that I've been intending to write this post since it actually happened; now it's nearly a week later and I still can't manage details.

To someone without a phobia, the details are not that bad. This isn't the sort of story where anyone reading it would be shocked and horrified. I remember writing about this years ago. I compared having the type of specific medical phobia that I have to arachnophobia, and explaining how fear and bravery are not binary. (The post will be in my "medical phobia" or "triggery stuff" tags - for obvious reasons, I don't want to search for it myself). What happened on Friday was like a moderately small, not-poisonous-to-humans spider on the bedroom ceiling. Not in itself horribly traumatic, not really worth complaining about. But a very unpleasant reminder to a person who has suffered extensive menacing by an entire crate of highly venomous 8-legged nasties.

I wish my old doctor hadn't retired :/ I actually don't trust the new one to mix a better cocktail of psych meds if the current lot aren't working well enough. Godsdamnit.
baratron: (goggles)
Gods. Had a massive, massive mood crash 2 nights ago. Didn't realise it at the time, was just aware that suddenly I had no concentration span and couldn't concentrate on my work any more. Spent the rest of the night looking at the internet before collapsing into bed.

Yesterday, I couldn't even start work because I was so distracted and tearful.

Today I have woken up still tearful, but with the knowledge that I've only got a week to get this fucking report done, with no chance of an extension. The Graduate Committee have made it very clear that it doesn't matter if I'm ill, I still have to get it done - since I've already had 2 extensions. (Although I didn't ask for the first extension, they just gave it to me, so I'm sure that shouldn't count). This may be in breach of disability discrimination laws, but I certainly don't have any spare spoons for looking them up, and too much College policy is internal to departments rather than publicly searchable.

I don't know why I'm depressed. I've been taking all my meds and vitamins as usual. It's the summer, which is usually easier for me. The only thing I can actually pin it on is that in trying to do as much work as possible, which has ended up ~ 30 hours of work per week, I've already made myself ill with mystery lurgy (which I still have - please fuck off, snot from hell), and that sitting here at my desk for hours on end eating poorly because I don't have time or spoons to make myself "proper" food isn't doing me any good. Apparently I can do something like 20-24 hours of work a week before I get sick. More than that, and work cuts into the time I need for looking after myself.

I really have no idea what to do at this point. Just need to fight the depression and try to get SOMETHING done, I suppose.

Good thoughts appreciated. (*hugs* and blank comments are fine if you lack coherent words). If you must give me advice, think carefully about wording because I'm not in a hugely good state to hear it.
baratron: (corrosive)
I feel like I haven't done anything today, but I clearly have. I've:
* caught up on sleep (badly needed after 3 days at College)
* put two loads of clean laundry away
* sorted out and run one load of dirty laundry
* sorted out but not yet run another load of dirty laundry
* gone out to vote (and voted)
* done a teeny bit of recycling
* filled in the form for why I need disabled tickets for the Download Festival, which is awaiting a doctor's letter
* found a birthday card for Richard's sister because he couldn't find ANYTHING in the shops that didn't "actively offend" him
* filled in the mitigating circumstances form for College, to explain why I haven't done my coursework yet
* found out that my deadline is tomorrow/later today (depending on how you think of it) 4th May, and not 7th May like I thought, so it's just as well I started filling the form in when I did!!

Now I feel exhausted and emotionally wrung-out, but far too stressed to sleep yet. I think I'll go & kill things in Skyrim, or read a book or something.
baratron: (flasks)
So wrecked right now. So very emo.

Went to the doctor on Friday 23rd March to discover that the reasons why she wanted me to reduce my dose of trazodone had nothing to do with its sedating effect. No, the reasons given were:

a) It's an "older medication" and now that the "older generation of GPs" has retired, there "aren't enough people in the practice who are familiar with prescribing it". Um.

I don't know what you think about this, but my reaction was Read more... )

b) It's the last medication that was added, so it should be the first medication to be reduced. Read more... )

So, yeah, I am pissed off.

Increased my dose of trazodone back up to 100 mg, and started feeling better almost immediately - but now I'm back to feeling shitty again, and don't know why. Definitely anxious. I "have" to be reading fiction or playing video games all the time because I stress out as soon as I think about things. My sleep patterns are entirely dysfunctional and inverted relative to the time zone that I'm in. I think that I need to find a new physiotherapist (yes, physio- not psycho-) since my old one retired, and the NHS in this area don't have anyone specifically trained in chronic hyperventilation. I've reached the point where I go to bed and can't fall asleep for hours because I can't relax because I can't breathe. And then I can't wake up because I've been having nightmares all night because my breathing is messed up. It's all very circular.

Also I've been doing a bit more tutoring for money (2 students per week rather than 1 - but that's 8 hours per week rather than 2), and it's also fairly obvious that the extra talking is not helping at all. I explained very clearly before I started why I couldn't go to the student's house, but now I'm getting emotional blackmail on me to go there. This should be easy enough to dispense with logic, but the mother "conveniently" loses the ability to understand English. I don't need this shit!

I'm pretty sure that the key is better breathing. I think that's at the root of everything.

But oh - how stressful it is having to try to find a new physiotherapist when you're already too stressed to function :(

Update

Mar. 22nd, 2012 07:00 pm
baratron: (goggles)

Have not been to the doctor - today was her day off, & I thought it was entirely pointless seeing someone else. The problem with doctors is that more than half of their notes are in their heads rather than on the computer, so I/we/another doctor can guess at her reasoning for changing the drug dose as much as we want - doesn't mean we'll be right.

I have spoken to the pharmacist, who's been making up my prescriptions for a decade, and he says that a month is long enough to be sure it's not working. So I will try to get an appointment tomorrow, which means being awake at 8.30am. *Properly* awake, since it'll either involve going there, or being held in a queue on the phone. Last month when I tried to call, I kept falling asleep while in the queue, which was no use for anything.

Posted via LiveJournal app for Android.

baratron: (introspection)
Last time I posted, I don't think I was very successful in getting across just how miserable I was. Only got two comments, and that almost made me feel worse. Which is pathetic, I know, but such is bad brain chemistry.

I am still miserable. I don't think this lowered dose of trazodone is sensible. But I also don't know how long I should try it for before giving it up as a bad idea. Clearly, if I've been on a dose for 8 years, then 1-2 weeks isn't going to be long enough for my brain to revert to what it should be doing unassisted. It's been a month now, and not only am I depressed, but I have my horrible PreMenstrual Dysphoric Disorder back as well - self-loathing and body-hatred. For the past couple of days I've been feeling so dreadful that I couldn't face doing anything, including reading fiction or playing video games. Instead I've been sitting on the sofa cuddling Richard while he played Skyrim.

I suppose I need to go back to the doctor. This is hard. I wish my old doctor had never retired :(

I also need some interaction with other humans, but this is also hard considering that I can't face phoning anyone, and have nothing to talk about.

And I'm miserable enough to feel guilty for writing this self-indulgent whining while other people have actual reasons for being depressed. Eugh.

Feel free to offer *hugs* or blank comments if you want to express sympathy but don't know what to say. Would also welcome supportive comments about dragging myself back to the doctor, and gifts of spoons.
baratron: (flasks)
Wow. I am so flaky. It is nearly 7 am, and I am still awake because I haven't done anything useful today.

My brain isn't in a very good place. My "new" GP (well, okay, I've been seeing her for 9 months, but that's still new, especially as I don't go to the doctor every single month) suggested I should come off trazodone, since it has a sedating effect which could be making my chronic fatigue worse. Normally I leave medication changes until holidays or other times when I don't have work to do, but I agreed to do it right away because I didn't think trazodone was doing anything for me*. MORE FOOL ME.

So I've spent the week getting increasingly tearful and unable to cope. I've stopped crashing out and being comatose for 12 hours on end, or having incredibly weird, vivid dreams that make me wake up exhausted from tossing and turning - but I can't stay asleep for more than 2 hours at a time either. And I feel slightly as though my head is about to fall off, all my skin is uncomfortable, and every so often I drift a few inches out of my body. Not as badly as proper, depressive depersonalisation episodes - but still not exactly pleasant.

I'm going to continue with my current trazodone dose for another couple of weeks, until either the discontinuation syndrome goes away, or I entirely lose the ability to cope. I'm not sure which will happen first. (I wish it was easier to titrate drug doses - chopping a dose from 100 mg to 50 mg is quite a big jump. Would've been easier if a smaller decrease was possible).

Also, my vitamin D level was 41 nmol/L in my most recent test. (It was 57 nmol/L in the summer, and that was still bad - 75 nmol/L or more is generally considered as the bottom end of "normal", and lately some doctors have started recommending 100 nmol/L as the minimum). The doctor started quizzing me about compliance with the 800 i.u. per day of vitamin D that she told me to take - she honestly thought I was missing it out. I pointed out that I've been taking 1250 i.u. per day because of the amount that was already in my multivitamin, and she suggested 2000 i.u. per day for the next 6 months. Blah!

Fortunately, I finally found a source for vegan vitamin D3. The different forms of vitamin D are closely-related steroid compounds, and there's some controversy about whether D2 (ergocalciferol, derived from plants) is as good as D3 (cholecalciferol) made in animal skin. Obviously, it's D3 that our bodies actually use. On the basis that everything I eat is fortified with vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and yet I was still horribly deficient, I've been taking D3 derived from lanolin in sheep's wool for the past few months year, since there weren't any vegan forms of D3 on the market. But apparently it can be produced by lichens. GO LICHENS!

* I haven't been on a single antidepressant in years - my old GP was a great believer in taking several different drugs on lower doses to get the best balance between positive useful effects and bad side-effects.
baratron: (goggles)
And I'm stuck on question 13 of the Individual Questionnaire. How is my health in general? Very good, Good, Fair, Bad or Very bad? I HAVE NO IDEA!

Compared to what? A typical person of my age? Or humans in general, including the very old? I'm working on the basis that "Very bad" is actively dying of cancer, but where are the limits drawn? If you have nothing life-threatening but several conditions that are life-limiting (in other words, your health stops you from doing things that you want to do, and sometimes stops you from doing things that you need to do), what does that come under?

Just for a laugh, tell me how you think I should answer this question. (Obviously, only fill in the poll if you actually know me, otherwise it's a bit pointless).
[Poll #1723015]

There is a separate question about disability: "Are your day-to-day activities limited because of a health problem or disability which has lasted, or is expected to last, at least 12 months?". That was easy enough - Yes, limited a lot - because not only are there lots of things I'm not able to do, there are lots of things that Richard has to do for me, or things that he wants to be able to do and can't because he's looking after me. Hmm.

Hmmm.

Sep. 17th, 2010 09:39 pm
baratron: (introspection)
I am trying to get some work done, but I have no attention span whatsoever. Not even enough to tell you the various positive things that have happened this week. Writing lj comments is do-able, for some reason, but writing actual content isn't.
baratron: (goggles)
Today I'm trying to get on with my academic work, which is hard because I'm feeling somewhat phobic about the whole thing. The basic problem is that if you don't do any work on a certain topic for a couple of months, you forget everything you'd been doing. And if the reason you haven't done the work is because you've been too ill and brain-fried, the likelihood is that your notes from before you stopped are all over the place.

There is no way on Earth I'm going to meet the deadline of 30th September. My doctor has already agreed to write a letter to support me - I was just holding off on getting it until I knew when I was better. As with all episodes of depression, I'm a little afraid to state "I am better" because it seems like tempting fate, but I feel more able to cope. The problem now is that I'm terrified of how far behind I am. Not only am I supposed to get this first chapter of my thesis done by the end of this month, I'm supposed to have done enough of my research to have started lab synthesis by the end of the year. And it's just not going to happen.

This wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have to face that terrifying panel of people at the end of every year to have them confirm that I'm "allowed" to carry on with the PhD. I don't want to be kicked off the course because I was too ill to function. If they even suggest anything on those lines ("Oh, but it was only your first year, and you've had depression already - how are you going to manage the rest of your course?"), I am going to hit them with the Disability Discrimination Act so Fucking Hard. Tempted to prime the Disability Office now so they know it's a possibility. Hmm.

Right - I have 29 papers here to read, and I should make a start on that. Seeyas later.
baratron: (introspection)
For me, one of the main differences that distinguishes good from bad mental health is my ability to multitask. When I'm completely mentally healthy, I can multitask easily and if I'm trying to work and get blocked for some reason, I can switch to something else. When I'm not so mentally healthy, I get a single track mind and if I get blocked on whatever I'm supposed to be doing (e.g. because I can't get the papers I need), I can't get anything else done either. All my ability to focus is tied up with what I'm supposed to be doing and can't, and I don't know how to get it back so that I can concentrate on something else.

I think I've known this subconsciously for a very long time, but never actually articulated it before. Huh.
baratron: (Default)
Been feeling very rubbish for a while now - maybe a week, maybe 10 days. Not sure when it started. Depressed, and exhausted, with no brain to do anything with. I haven't been around livejournal "as me" - I've only been reading UK politics/lolitics stuff, because I haven't felt at all social or able to deal with real world stuff.

Finally came to the conclusion today (literally a few minutes ago) that I'm suffering from the early stages of hyperventilation occulta again. Haven't tried timing how fast I'm breathing (because that requires another person to do the counting), but my usual symptoms are all there:

  • weird, nagging depression for no reason despite being on the right dose of meds

  • permanent dragging exhaustion that doesn't improve

  • sore throat on and off for no reason; cold symptoms without an actual virus

  • have felt too tired to talk to people on the phone for pleasure

  • can't sleep at night, feel like I haven't slept when I wake up again

  • having annoying wooshing noises in my head for hours on end (think it's my own blood pressure, but I don't USUALLY hear it)

  • headaches

  • feeling out of breath and strained in my neck and shoulder muscles (this was the thing that made me finally realise)


I don't know why this would have happened, except that I've had ridiculously bad allergies lately (and a ridiculously dirty house), keep forgetting to take my meds properly, and have had lots of student-teaching hours, which means lots of talking. Not breathing properly, too much talking, expelling too much carbon dioxide - that's what causes chronic hyperventilation syndrome to flare up.

If I go on like this without changing something in my lifestyle, I'll end up too ill to walk - or indeed do anything again. Which I don't want to happen. Obviously.

Fortunately, it's almost the end of the academic year for the students (last exam is on Monday 28th), so that'll help with talking too much. Doing my damned breathing retraining physiotherapy will also help (yes, like so many other people with long-term disabilities, I only do the physiotherapy I'm supposed to do all the time when there is an actual problem. Yes, I suck). I'll have to start doing the acute attack thing of taking 5 minutes every hour to concentrate on my breathing and rebreathe exhaled air for a while. It's stupidly embarrassing - but I guess better than ending up housebound.

Sigh. Or rather, no sighing - can't afford to do that, it loses too much CO2.

Urghh.

Feb. 15th, 2010 08:30 pm
baratron: (goggles)
Dear Self,

You feel horrible because you ran out of antidepressants. This is why you have a) no motivation, b) a headache, c) a nagging sense of d00m. You went to the pharmacy and have some more now. Nothing is actually wrong except for the running out of antidepressants (which was not your fault anyway, you put the repeat prescription in on time, but the prescription processing person didn't read it properly so ordered the wrong drugs), and you have sorted that problem out for now.

Now if only you could believe that nothing is wrong and a) get some dinner inside you so you can b) take the antidepressant.

Much love,
h-l.

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