A Relevent Mental Health Question for 200 Followers

6 am, check my phone, check my notifications- 200 followers!!! Thank you for actually reading my blog and being so helpful to me! This is such a fantastic support network. Thank you.

Something that is on my mind…I have a question for anyone who would like to throw their opinion on here. On the subject of mental illness, how do you feel when someone equalizes it to another illness?

Specifically with Schizoaffective, Bipolar Type in my case: those of you have SAD, is it “okay” for someone to also call it Schizophrenia? If I have Schizoaffective Disorder, is it appropriate for me to say “I have Schizophrenia. I have Bipolar Disorder” as two separate illnesses? Why or why not?

I may be totally wrong, I’m not sure- as far as I understand my Glitter Rainbow Imagination, I have Schizoaffective Disorder, which is on the spectrum of Schizophrenia, however, it is not correct of me to go so far as to say, “I have Schizophrenia.” Two completely different disorders, correct?

Goldie and Micah’s Anathema

I haven’t been on in a few days- I have lots of comments to answer to!

Firstly, thank you for the birthday wishes, everyone! I had a fantastic day. I binged on Netflix whilst wearing my PJs and snacking. Allie hung out with me on my birthday throughout the day. Then, I went to my girlfriend’s house and spent much needed quality time with her. It was absolutely the perfect ending to my birthday.

On Sunday…I didn’t do much. Allie was chattery and all over the place. I felt as if she was pin balling everywhere, with all kinds of ideas and thoughts. I couldn’t contain her. Then, she reminded me of Micah’s foreboding anathema, and my stomach cramped. He had so graciously given me “50 days left,” and now those 50 days are done on March 26th.

Therefore, my anxiety has been all over the boards.

I’ve been queasy, sometimes unable to hold even water down. Last night, I hardly slept, being awoken by my own nightmares, then another episode startled me. I’ll get to that in one second.

Monday I had group. It was a bit emotionally arduous- not only for myself, but because I’ve developed an empathetic connection to these people and when they hurt, I hurt. It sounds selfish to say it, but I relate to one of the girls so well, I lost myself to my own painful memories yesterday.

During group, my therapist asked me if I heard voices. I said yes. Then, she asked me if they were ever religious- which was relevant to the group conversation. I said yes and proceeded to tell her about this one very awful entity. This is a story for another time. All you need to know is his initial begins with H, and he is one million times worse than M. He manifested from an obsession I had with the ouija board. I swore to myself I would never say his name aloud. Yet, I did. And he appeared. He’s with me now, draining my life force away from me.

Also, something else happened over the weekend that kind of hit a nerve. A very sensitive, touchy nerve and it sent me spinning through my own head. So, during group, I processed about how I felt as if I am unloveable “forever.” In my personal opinion, I think people fall in love with me quickly because I’m interesting. They’re fascinated with my fucked up mentality…but soon they realize that I’m batshit, and that I’m work. I’m hard work. Whether or not this statement is true is irrelevant, because due to said circumstance, a little piece of my heart irreparably scintillated and seared on Sunday.

And surprise, a new one introduced herself to me. Her name is Goldie. She’s a tough cookie. Allie brought her in as a reinforcement, because she’s worried. Allie has also brought back Celia as my “emotional accountant.”

Last night, through my nightmares and all, I woke up, and realized I was standing in front of my body mirror, conversing with Goldie. She spoke through me in her badass Jersey accent. She put me to bed when she realized I was awake, and told me not to worry about it anymore.

My girlfriend was scared because the other night, Allie spoke to her for a split second through me. I think I just let her slip out.

She’s been talking to me a lot, along with Allie, and now Celia is here, asking questions. I feel that I am losing my grip on reality, slowly. Which is fucked up because tomorrow is my LAST day at the hospital. I’m not ready. I need help. I’m slipping and I don’t want to admit because c’mon: all this time, after the meds, after therapy, I’m still not better?

I know this sounds stupid, but I feel possessed. I hate it.

Lazarusandlithium.com, Day 1 of IOP

100 followers!!!

I’ve hit 100 followers! Oh, this makes me so excited! You all are so awesome! 🙂 Thanks for the follow.

In honor of this occasion, I have registered my domain name as lazarusandlithium.com

Just when I thought the Seroquel was doing more damage than good, the hallucinations have stopped!! I had ZERO hallucinations yesterday! So far so good this morning. *does happy dance* AND the depression has been minimal. I feel as if I’m leveling out. I haven’t been on for the past couple of days, so I’ll try to update you on the key points…

Day 7 of Partial Hospitalization

Thursday was hard for me. I did feel depressed, albeit not as gnarly as usual. I felt very out of it. I was shaky, I felt fuzzy, and had a lot of passive suicidal ideation that scared me. I had a nightmare about Morris that really triggered paranoia and whatnot.  It was my last day for PHP, so I had minimal anxiety about starting the Intensive  Outpatient Program (IOP). I didn’t feel ready to step down; however, due to work purposes and finances, I needed to step down.  So, all in all, tough day. I got to see my lovely girl friend, though, so that made up for it!

Day 1 of Intensive Outpatient

It went well yesterday! Like I said, no hallucinations. DIfferent group, different schedule, but I loved it. My days now are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

I was really shaky yesterday, and I fell in a store. I called my doctor and she said it was just low blood pressure. Today I feel much, much better!

I’m not really in the mood to write an extensive entry, so that’s what I’ve got!

Cheers.

Day 5 of Partial Hospitalization- Learning to Love Myself

Today was Day 5 of my PHP! Technically, it’s my last day, but luckily my insurance approved me for 5 additional days. I’m going to finish PHP through this Friday, then starting Monday I’ll drop down to IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program).

Group therapy was difficult for me this morning.

In my second group, I processed through my childhood and my sexual molestation via my father figure and cousin when I was 12. I dove into my first suicide attempt as a 14 year old. The feelings of betrayal, abandonment,apathy, and hurt came floating to the top. The whole conversation came about with my origination of “I don’t feel anything.” During the past 5 days, I haven’t felt a damn thing. I can talk about my dad’s suicide, about my attempts, about my homelessness, heroin addiction, self-mutiliation, etc…not one tear or lump in the throat. Our therapist then pointed out that disassociation is a classic symptom and effect of abuse and molestation during childhood. It makes total sense. That’s how I survived- by building barriers around myself, pushing my feelings way down into my psyche, and carrying on with my life. I never really thought about it in that way…

There’s a new guy with us now. He’s really awesome. In the past  year, he has attempted suicide 3 times. He also has a 6 year old daughter. Our therapist asked him, “Where does your daughter fit into your attempts? Did you ever think about how your suicide may effect her?” He replied with, “In the throes of my depression up to my attempts, I thought my daughter would be better off without me in the world.” I broke down crying. I hope that that thought never went through my dad’s mind when he took his own life. I turned to him in group and I told him, “My dad killed himself. I wish he was in my life. You are a blessing to your daughter. Keep going.”

Something really hit me today in group. After I talked about my childhood and really stirred up the memories, our therapist said it’s time to really look back, as an adult and knowing what I know now, I can go back and be with that young child who was hurt, who was abandoned, and angry. I can love and nurture that child. I can stand next to her and hold her- something I didn’t have when I was going through that trauma. The therapist also suggested that I take a picture of myself when I was a child so I could visualize my innocence.

Well, I did just that. And it hurts a lot. I’m in tears right now as I type away. I’m at this critical point in my life where I’d like to be with that child, to forgive myself, to love myself. Which is difficult, because I harbor a lot of unwarranted guilt and resentment towards myself. However, I need to love myself and heal.

So, I’m dedicating this song tonight to the child-me, from the adult-me. Here’s to healing, forgiving, loving, and ultimate recovery. We all deserve inner peace.

When you’re feeling sad and blue
Don’t you know that I will always be here for you
When everything just makes us go out of our mind
Just know that I will always have the time for you
You say that I am your influence
You should know that you inspire me, now until the end
I’ll help you get through the thick and thin
And I know you’ll remember when, I say…

You are strong strong as a soldier
Even when winds are tough you’ll always keep it together.
You are strong, strong as a soldier
I know you’ll get through anything
‘Cause you’re strong, strong, strong as a soldier.

When the waves are crashing down, can’t get up
Just know I’ll pick you up from the ground
When it feels like everything goes wrong,
Just remember to listen to this song

You are strong strong as a soldier
Even when winds are tough you’ll always keep it together.
You are strong, strong as a soldier
I know you’ll get through anything
‘Cause you’re strong, strong, strong as a soldier.

Don’t you worry about the obstacles to your happiness
If you let them get to you, you’ll end up just like the rest.
I know you’re better than those people who get in the way
Just remember what I always say…

You are strong strong as a soldier
Even when winds are tough you’ll always keep it together.
You are strong, strong as a soldier
I know you’ll get through anything
‘Cause you’re strong, strong, strong as a soldier.

You are strong, strong, strong as a soldier
Strong, strong, strong as a soldier

PS- An extra song for us women 🙂

Day 4 of Partial Hospitalization- Seroquellian Dreams

Day 4 went pretty well. The group was rather quiet and mellow in the morning. We welcomed two new members- both came from 2 weeks as inpatients.

I spoke with my doctor this morning. I’m having blood work done tomorrow to check my lithium levels. She’s keeping me on 600 mgs for a while. In 6 minutes, I’ll be taking my first dose of Seroquel- 50 mgs. I’m slightly anxious about it, but I think I’ll be okay.

I talked a lot about my mom in the second group; my frustration with her, my anger because I feel that she is choosing drugs over me, my feelings of abandonment are resurfacing and I hate them. I still haven’t cried in group. I feel very apathetic.

In third group, we discussed depression. I was surprised at how many people understood me, and how I understood them in regards to the symptoms and aggravations of the black dog.

*takes meds*

I played hooky from fourth group and instead went out with 4 other awesome people I met in group. We went to a hookah cafe. How refreshing it is to converse with fellow Glitter Rainbow Imagineers. We’ve come up with a group title:

The 50-ONE-50s.

Tell me that isn’t the best thing ever.

I went to my first AA meeting tonight. It was an LGBT group, so I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Another fantastic benefit about AA is when I’m finished with PHP, I can continue to participate in group therapy. It really helps me a lot, and I’m so grateful for the experience I’ve been having so far in group. Driving to the treatment center, every morning, I find myself thanking God- whoever that may be- for allowing me to have this new start. Things were really dark there for a second. More than a second. I’ve been struggling for years. I needed this break, I needed this medication, these people, this place to get me on my feet and well again.

I’m also grateful for this blog. Many of you are so supportive and I appreciate you all so very much!

I suppose now I’ll wait for this Seroquel to kick in and make me sleepy. Supposedly, it’s a real ass kicker when it comes to drowsiness. Thoughts? Advice? Personal experience?

My anxiety has improved in regards to my work. I visited my coworkers for a little while today after I filled my prescription. I think everything is going to be okay. I need this time for myself.

Ask a Schizo(affective)phrenic

I was tossing and turning all night. I’d like to thank my anxiety for that. I kept running work through my mind, my new meds, tasks I have to complete this week. Oh my.

>________O How I feel.

I’m uploading a new video onto my channel, Ask a Schizophrenic Anything, and thought I’d post the transcript here.

ASK A SCHIZOPHRENIC – (note, I have Schizoaffective Disorder, so slightly different. I’ll answer the questions based off of my personal experience with the schizophrenia side of it)

Do you get voices through the TV? Yes, more often than that, through the radio for some reason. When I’m manic, I’ll hear them talk to me through the television and narrate my actions that I’m doing right then and there.
How do you fight depression? In the past, I’ve self-medicated via alcohol and opiates. However, I find that writing helps me purge. Especially social blogging; I’m able to receive feedback from the audience and that also helps me realize I’m never alone.
Do you take drugs? Street drugs, no. Alcohol, I’m struggling with. Meds, yes.
What medications are you on now? I am currently taking 600 mgs of Lithium, and today I’ll receive an antipsychotic.
What has helped the most? My support net, my girl friend, writing, going to group therapy now has helped a lot this passed week.
Why do you look tired? I operate off of little to no sleep on a weekly basis. In the throes of psychosis, I’ll stay awake with the hallucinations.
Why is your weight keep changing? My weight has been pretty consistent (I think), fluctuating between 94-100 lbs. After my 5150, I had gone from 125 to 100 in 3 months due to not taking care of myself and anxiety. I was so tormented by the paranoia that I stopped eating in fear that someone had a voodoo doll of me and they would stab me if I ate.
Do you ever get consumed with things? All the time. It’s usually with new things I learn about. For example, religion. Consume is a fantastic word for it. I learn everything there is to know about that particular item. I’ll model my life around it, study it from every angle.
How do you deal with delusions? I really don’t know how I deal with them. I suppose in the past, I’ve had someone there to tell me, “Hey, you’re being delusional.” As far as hallucinations go, I try to calm myself down by taking deep breaths. Although, there are several times where I’ve had someone tell me that I was hallucinating and I didn’t believe them
Can you tell when you are delusional? No. Afterwards, I’ll be able to kind of look at it and think….okay maybe I was delusional….but even then, I’m unable to admit 100% that it was a delusion.
Have you ever taken Haldol, Clozerel, or any psychoactive drug? Not yet.
Do you feel paranoid? Currently, no. I have struggled with paranoia in the (recent) past. I’ve been paranoid that my life was a gameshow, totally convinced that everyone around me was plotting against me and they were “in on it”. I used to think someone had a voodoo doll of me and if I felt an itch on my body, I would have a panic attack because I didn’t want to scratch it and let the orchestrator know the doll was working. I’ve been terrified (and I still am) of someone stalking me and trying to shoot me down.
How is your sex life? Currently with my SO, it is….. fantastic….without getting into details 😛 oh my. In relevance to this questionnaire, having Schizoaffective Disorder, specifically the bipolarity, it has affected my sex life and actions. I have had dramatic in fluxes of promiscuity. I’ve been driven to prostitution.
When do you tell a significant other about your schizophrenia? It was only more recent until I was officially diagnosed (was diagnosed with bipolar type I when I was 16). I would tell them pretty early on. That’s just me. It kind of serves as a disclaimer. “Hey, I’m really awesome, I’ll make you great food, I’ll rock your world, but you gotta know something first….”
What is dating like for you? In the past, dating was very sporadic. I jumped around a lot with a new girlfriend here, new boyfriend there, polyamorous relationship in the middle of it all. Dating has also been a flippant sport for me. Now, I’m more tamed. I’m in a relationship and I like it!

Day 3 of Partial Hospitalization- 600 mgs of Mania

Day 3, done.

I felt so incredibly manic today. I haven’t felt that wound up in a very long time. Once I got to group, it was pretty apparent. I could barely sit still. My attention was all over, as well as my speedy speech. I felt as if I was bursting out of my skin; complete with anxiety and rapid auditory hallucinations.

I brought it up to my doctor. When I was first admitted to PHP, I had let them know in my assessment that I felt a manic and/or psychotic episode coming on. (I have had several intense psychotic breakdowns in the past, so I know the onset symptoms well, now) She said that it sounds like the mania is setting in before the psychotic crash. She had me up my dose to 600 mg tonight- which I took 30 minutes ago.

I was so incredibly anxious before I took the meds. The anxiety attack started around 7:30. I felt it buzzing beneath my skin…then, it all set in. I began crying uncontrollably, desperately gasping for air. I wanted to harm myself, I wanted a drink to diminish the panic. It was all okay in the end. I’m really looking forward to the lithium working.

Today was very quiet and mellow. There were only 4 people in group today so we had a lot of time to really delve into ourselves and such. During fourth group, we participated in a guided meditation. Ahh, finally, relaxation. I was elated to greet the fresh blankets and pillows. I napped and I napped hard. So did everyone else. The heater softly blew tepid air into the room as we listened to the rain propelling down onto the bungalow roof.

I left a message for my primary care physician. The plan is to get an approved leave of absence from work for 1 month from my medical doctor. That way, I won’t have to totally jeopardize my job because they won’t know I’m in behavioral treatment. While I’m in PHP, I’ll be able to work on myself some more, adjust my meds, and just get better- the ultimate goal.

I cleaned the shit out of my apartment when I got home. In 30 minutes, I had picked up the living and dining room, vacuumed, dusted, wiped down the tables, washed the windows… mania is good for production purposes.

As of right now, I feel kind of dazed and detached from everything around me.

Day 2 of Partial Hospitalization; Animated Paperclips

Day 2 of PHP was fantastic, again. I was so drained and exhausted by the time I came home last night that I didn’t want to write.

In the morning, I spoke to the social worker for quite a while. I realized how much pain and turmoil I was suppressing in the depths of me. Also, she is going to work with me this morning to file for a leave of absence. As you know, I work for a company deemed as a Scientology affiliate; they manage the staff and all under the administration side of the church. The social worker suggested that I call my medical primary doctor and ask her to put me on leave for a month or so. This way, my job is a little more protected (legally, too), I can continue to work on myself and push through the shit, and I’m in a safe place while my meds are shifted and increased. There is a plethora of stress and anxiety accumulating over the logistics of filing for disability and blah blah…

I think what makes me most anxious about- and this may seem silly- taking more time off is I miss my girl friend. We work together, we communicate consistently throughout the workday, and I miss her. She’s what brings me back to reality, she makes me happy, etc, etc. I know, I know- I need to work on stabilizing myself. Maybe this experience will also give me the strength to change my living situation as well. I have been using ad hockery as a crutch. Now it’s time for me to start planning, little by little so as not to overwhelm myself of course, planning my recovery.

Anyways, so I strategized with the social worker. Next group session, I processed about Allie and my fears of losing her due to antipsychotics. (I would be elated for the others to stop, in particularly Morris) My homework last night was to list the various traits about Allie that I found to be beneficial to me. What was it about her that made her such an intrinsic support net for me?

Then, the more I was expressing this, I came to another a-ha! moment. Morris tends to reiterate pernicious phrases from my past. I had never given this a second thought until now:

When I was very young, I heard from my grandfather, my brother, and step-mother that I am the reason my father committed suicide. That’s fucking hardcore. As a child to be told that not only did my dad take his own life because of me, but my mother abandoned me as well. I had stuffed those memories way down in the caverns of my darkest memories. Now, it’s all resurfacing.

I felt as if I was buzzing inside my body all day. I was AWAKE and ready to go. I had to take several deep breaths to bring myself back down. I was hallucinating a lot more- though I’m sure that was due to anxiety. In the morning, I had to speak a little slower in group, and focus on what was happening. I found my self wandering around in my mind. Although the voices and such were prominent, I was dealing with a significant flux of visual hallucinations. For example, objects would animate. When I closed my eyes, I would envision people falling from the sky, hitting the ground, bones shattering and ….well you get the idea. THAT was unpleasant.

I slept like a BABY last night. I was so alert and felt fantastic when I woke up this morning.

Lithium, Orange Badges, and Art Therapy

Diagnoses: Schizoaffective Bipolar Type (hasn’t changed)
Rx: Lithium, 300 mgs

I started my Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) today. It went really well! They signed me in, took my vitals, and I received a PHP badge so I could access the designated bungalow for outpatients. I’m there from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm for 5 days. I was assigned a psychiatrist, doctor, social worker, and psychologist. The days consist of 4 intense group therapy sessions led by the psychologist.

During the first session, she went around and checked everyone’s basic how-are-you-doings, medication issues/concerns, sobriety check-ins, etc. The second group session consisted of processing through areas each person needed to work on.

Side note, they had coffee throughout the day which was available during breaks. I was very happy about that. Third group session was an educational session. Today’s topic was mindfulness and breathing mechanisms. In guided meditation, the psychologist had us listen to the sounds around us, both inside the room and out. After about 5-10 minutes of this, we shared our experiences through the meditation. Then, we had lunch. Everyone was so welcoming to me! I shared some of my stories about the Church of Scientology. We talked about medication, our lives, what it’s like living with our disorders, and music.

Finally, art therapy came around, which is the last group session of the day. We journaled. The psychologist had us close our eyes, and she read 3 quotes about anger. “At the root of all anger is pain…Do not teach your children to not be angry; teach them instead how to be angry….” The last quote is escaping my mind at the moment. For 5 minutes, we were told to write. The only rule was to not stop writing for those 5 minutes. This was the poem I created during that time:

Dear mother, dear father
this anger, sick, sick, reverberates
it pushes and lulls within my marrow.
through blue heroin
you speak, you cry, you birth.
my dear parents, this anger rises
from the silver needles.
my small veins soak with it. and how angry you’ve felt…
4 years gone, dear father,
you vanish. trickling behind you were
photographs of my first birthday,
still wet with ink.
suicides- they don’t always die
yet the great, grave flesh burns and turns.
you have betrayed us.
dear mother, the absence of you has
embroidered itself within my heart,
stitching thoughts of
you were too worthless to be loved.
still, I loved you and had forgiven you.
this unrelenting fury an anguish lingers.
you had given this to me, this sick disease.

We all shared the pieces we wrote. I realized through processing how much anger I have been carrying towards my parents and myself. I didn’t really think about how angry I was for allowing myself to become my parents. I had taken on addiction, alcoholism, and suicide attempts. Now, I am on the road of forgiving myself and realizing that I really need help. It nearly brought me to tears.

It was so relieving to be able to speak freely, unafraid of judgement. It was also wonderful to be with people who understood. We were able to support each other through tears and laughter. I felt really safe and I wanted to share with the group instead of isolating myself.

Tonight I start 300 mgs of lithium. I’m a little anxious of side effects. Next week, I’ll start an antipsychotiic.

I’m also going to give sobriety the good ol’ college try. Irritability, here I come!

I feel better. I still feel wildly depressed and mind-fuckingly anxious, but knowing that I have a support system- my current and new- I think I’m going to make it out alright. PS- Here’s some related humor because without it, everything just sucks

The Price is Right and Assessment Papers

I bit the bullet and went in for an assessment today at a mental/rehab facility.

Allie sat with me in the passenger seat all the way to the hospital. She reassured me that no matter what happens, no one will take her away from me. So, in that, I found comfort. Although I was beyond anxious about it, the minute I stepped on to the grounds, I felt a little bit of relief. The outside of the facility itself was so calming and soothing.

I called last night and told the receptionist that I’ve been feeling very suicidal. When I walked up to the check in desk, she happily exclaimed, “I’m so happy you decided to come in!” They even gave me hot chocolate- so I was sold right then and there.

I didn’t have to wait for too long. I found myself laughing at the overly giddy Price is Right contestants on the lobby television. Then, my name was called. She took me into this small assessment room with cozy love seats. First, she took my blood pressure and heart rate. Then, the usual questions. What brings you here today? Have you had thoughts of suicide? History of drug abuse? Are you on any medications? Any recent losses?

I found myself tripping over my words. It was incredibly difficult admitting to her all of the gory details of my depression and psychotic episodes. We touched briefly upon my past and present opiate abuse, my alcohol reliance, suicide attempts, psychotic breaks. The more I talked the more I wanted a drink.

I was accepted for an intensive outpatient program, which starts tomorrow for 5 days. After those 5 days, we can reassess my situation and schedule more appointments and such. So, from 9 am to 3 pm I’ll be spilling my guts to my psychiatrist and working with other people.

I’m scared shitless, I’m still sad, I still feel floopered, but I know that tomorrow I will at least have the opportunity to alleviate some of this unbearable pain. By unbearable, I mean just that. I mean I just don’t want to be alive anywhere. The emotional agony is absolutely intolerable. What makes it worse is I really feel that I’m alone; I’m suffering from an invisible and seemingly phantom anguish that no one else can see or understand.

It will get better. I just need to pull myself up by the boot straps. Holy hell, this is a bad ride.

I keep hearing knocking on the window next to me and it’s slightly frightening.

Anyways, readers, thank you for being there. I’m going to try my damnedest to make it through tonight alright. I may come back on here and just write. I can already feel it creeping and weaving through my fibers.