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JeN in WoNderLaNd

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Staying off the flipside [Jul. 4th, 2016|01:15 pm]
JeN in WoNderLaNd
I thought I was becoming manic this morning. I was actually afraid as I felt it happening and am now home from work.
I tried to avoid work this morning, but felt obligated as I was not able to reach someone who could replace me as bus monitor. I called the manager and let her known I would likely need to head home once at work. (I work with intellectually disabled adults at a centre and once a week at a residence.)
It went from crying and feeling upset this morning with some physical symptoms of stress and wanting to take a mental health day to feeling like I was starting to slip away to the flipside. I felt like I was high for most of the bus ride.
I started to calm down on the ride home. Had a hard time with crowds of people at work while briefly there. Tried to explain that I was sick with physical symptoms only to a concerned co-worker while wondering if I look sick enough to miss work and hoping I'm coherent enough to be understood. Being there made me feel pretty light headed. I wasn't even sure if I should be driving the few blocks back home from where I parked to get on the bus and had doubts about driving in the first place to get there.
Once home, I colored with M. for awhile, mostly to soothe myself.
I know I didn't get enough sleep last night either. Some nights lately, I feel bothered and can't easily wind down.
Mostly bothered by feeling like I don't have enough time for the kids, cleaning/organizing or have enough time for myself. I would like to cut down on my time at work, but also need the money, so it's tough to decide what to do. S. has been home on disability and now regular benefits and it would probably be better financially if I wait until he's working again. But kids are off school and I would like to spend more time with them. I could go back and forth with that one for awhile. I should make sure my mind is clear enough before making any major decisions. I do know that I don't want to continue feeling so shitty because it feels like life is just wrong right now. I dont want to look back with regret is I continue down this path which often feels miserable.
I also know I'm becoming familiar with some more extreme emotions again as I'm almost done tapering Abilify. Going back on it won't solve anything though, it just masks things.
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tapering Abilify [Jun. 26th, 2016|12:35 pm]
JeN in WoNderLaNd
I've been busy with working full time and life lately. I've had urges to write in here, but can't seem to get to it. I think M. is pissed off at me for spending too much time writing now for the first time in months. Otherwise, I'm just going through the daily grind Monday to Friday with weekends off; sometimes it's OK, other times it feels shitty. It's a necessity for now though and I'm trying to stay positive and be appreciative.

Just submitted this to a forum and wanted to include it here. I hope it gets posted (or at least edited for posting as there is no mention in about 200 comments of marijuana use).

***

Hi everyone. I would like to thank you for your comments, suggestions and personal accounts of dealing with coming off of Abilify. I found the information within this forum to be helpful in making my decision to taper off of Abilify after having been on a 10mg dose for around 4.5 years. I also did this without the support of my psychiatrist (as I have not made an appointment in a year and a half), but let my family doc know while I was in the process of tapering and he was OK with it,
With my situation, I was hospitalized 5 years ago and diagnosed as Bipolar I during my first and only manic episode which came about when I was under extreme stress. Previously, I had been on and off antidepressants since my teens (with being off psych meds for close to 10 years). I was also diagnosed with ADHD (inattentive type) at age 27 and started on Concerta, in addition to the Sertraline I had been on at the time. The manic episode and Bipolar diagnosis followed a few months after. I was then taking Lithium for 2-3 years and tried several antipsychotics since hospitalization and ended up finding Abilify to be the most tolerable.
There have been a couple occassions where I was not able to obtain Abilify for several days once my prescription ran out. I was sick from withdrawal with headaches, nausea and vomitting. With this, I knew that going off Abilify cold turkey was not for me. Following suggestions from this forum (and recalling how I tapered off of Effexor as a teen), I purchased a pill cutter and cut my 10mg tablet into eighths. I have gone down 1/8 of a dose about every 2 weeks. Once I had seen my doctor when I was down to taking 5mg, he prescribed 5mg tablets which I have only needed to cut into quarters. I am now down to taking 1.25mg and am not planning on anymore refills. After reading through this forum, I had greater insight into what I could possibly expect as symptoms of coming off of Abilify and was a little nervous. I let my husband know about what I had learned and he promised to keep an eye on me. Fortunately, althoough my symptoms have not been pleasant, they haven’t been too extreme. I mostly notice more headaches; often associated with minor stress, sometimes waking up with one and just more in general. So I have been going for the Tylenol or Advil more often than usual, but it helps and hopefully as my body gets used to functioning with lower doses/withuot Abilify, the headaches won’t persist. The other thing I have been experiencing is nausea and occassional vomitting in the mornings (especially when brushing my teeth). Combined with the headaches, it has felt like morning sickness. I ended up taking a pregnancy test about 5 weeks ago, but it was negative and my cycle is normal. (I have also made the decision recently to quit my birth control pills, but these symptoms started prior to that.) In the mornings, I have found the need to generally switch from drinking coffee to drinking tea as it is gentler on my stomach and have been late for work a few times because of the vomitting.
My issues with mood are about the same as when I was taking my full dose. I don’t feel like another psychiatric med is the answer to solving that issue however and am working to find healthier ways to deal with it. At one point, I was prescribed Zydis for this which made me feel more mellow, but also made me want to sleep. Although I hesitate to mention it, the only other substance that I have found that makes me feel more mellow when I have a mood swing is marijuana. I don’t mean to endorse this and know there are risks especially for those of us with psychiatric conditions that can make things much worse. I would like to minimize my use of this as well and learn to better manage the mood swings without it. It doesn’t solve my problems, but it does make coping with my mood in the moment more tolerable and allows me to relate more positively with my family in those moments and so I am looking to obtain it via prescription for the time being to help manage. I will be meeting with a pharmacist to discuss the use and effects in a couple of weeks. But really, I would rather be without prescribed meds and self-medicating and see it as an achievable long-term goal.
I have also noticed that on days when forgetting to take my meds lately, I have not been feeling as “out of it” and as tired as I used to and am able to function well at work. I’m thinking this is due to my body not missing the larger dose of Abilify that I had been on.
Thanks again everyone! And if you’re considering going off Abilify, tapering is the safer way to go if you are able to do it. Please don’t feel discouraged by the potential effects that can occur if you choose to come off of it; just be aware of what could happen and monitor yourself (and let those close to you know, so they are aware as well). Everyone is unique and will respond differently to this. If you’re having a hard time with it, maybe a more gradual tapering is necessary along with professional guidance. It’s obviously not easy on your body to come off Abilify, so patience is also key.
Although I’m still continuing with coming off of Abilify, the positives outweigh the neagitve aspects. I was feeling pretty good about starting on my last eight of a dose and expect to be done with Abilify in a little under 2 weeks.
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Nostalgia [Mar. 11th, 2015|12:34 pm]
JeN in WoNderLaNd
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Some days I have the urge to pick up one of my old guitars and attempt to play them. Unfortunately, they're missing strings and one of them needs new bridge pins. It's been a really long time since I've tried that. I keep forgetting to take the one in to the music store for the bridge pins. I did buy some new strings around Xmas and I'm sure I could find a tutorial online on how to string the guitars since I've never done it, or get someone at the store to show me. I took lessons as a teenager and used to really enjoy it; I used to make up my own songs and calloused my fingers when I used to play too much. I remember being upset about a break-up and playing my guitar for hours at a time. I think it was kind of an emo moment; but before I'd even heard of emo.
I used to write a lot as well; journaling, poetry/whatever. I still occasionally try to write poetically, but I find I'm not usually satisfied with the result. I was working on something today, and then it completely changed it's tone/direction and that (and listening to this song earlier) made me feel nostalgic about writing and playing guitar. If I had my guitars in working order, I probably would've attempted to write a song about zombies.
I miss a lot of the hobbies and things I used to do, but don't seem to get around to doing as much anymore. Even my stained glass is on hold as I've been waiting to get a fume extractor so that I can solder in the house. I also wish that I was able to draw well. I took art classes in junior high, but my drawing/painting skills are definitely elementary school level. (My sister, on the other hand is an artist).
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(no subject) [Feb. 13th, 2015|02:30 pm]
JeN in WoNderLaNd
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Trying to get a little quiet time in, but apparently my kids have other plans. It makes me feel selfish and the mother guilt is kicking in, but I need to re-charge and find my balance. I keep trying, but am faced with constant interruptions mainly from M. I'd like to spend some time with her before work, but not with the way I'm feeling right now. Just feeling irritable for no real reason and tired despite going to bed a bit earlier last night. I pretty much never get a solid sleep as I usually wake up to the kids at least two or three times a night. And then once they're up in the morning and S. is getting ready for work, the last hour or so of my sleep is interrupted by noise if I can still sleep. I also can recall having 4 dreams last night and wonder if that contributes to me feeling more tired? I read an article about lucid dreaming and remembering dreams last night, and it's been awhile since I've remembered my dreams aside from remembering the 4 last night. I didn't do anything specifically to try to remember them, but maybe my awareness of my dreams increased just from reading the article. One of those dreams was "prophetic", to use the term loosely in a way and I was reminded of the dream during the day by randomly coming across a reference to my dream. It feels strange when that happens. It happens every once in a while, but generally the references aren't anything significant; just something out of the blue. Maybe there's some symbolic meaning to it in the dream though? I started a dream journal today using an app I just downloaded (Dream Journal Pro); it's supposed to help find meanings and themes to your dreams and help you to explore them- and it was very reasonably priced. I have written dreams down in the past, but I think this app may be more useful.
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Through The Layers [Feb. 11th, 2015|11:11 am]
JeN in WoNderLaNd
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I got my website up: http://www.through-the-layers.com
So far, it only has one positing, but I am looking for contributors. Anything relating to spirituality and/or creativity and mental health/illness works. Any kind of art, photography, poetry, stories/journals are up for consideration. Either message me, post on here or email jen@through-the-layers.com
Also, if anyone has any experience with running a website and has any useful advice, let me know. I'm figuring things out as I go.
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(no subject) [Feb. 9th, 2015|10:50 am]
JeN in WoNderLaNd
I found some info to get started with the blogging project, but am now stuck on coming up with a domain name using Blue Host and Wordpress.org. I have some ideas, but am looking for the best fit for a name and for something that's available. I almost had one, but Blue Host doesn't do .ca domains and I'm not about to register it elsewhere and try to figure out how to transfer it over and pay fees for doing so. In trying to come up with something, it doesn't help that my brain is tired from R. waking me up 5:15 AM, 2 hours before needing to be awake and barely being able to sleep after that. Kids will be kids.
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blogging? [Feb. 8th, 2015|09:39 pm]
JeN in WoNderLaNd
I'm still reading up/searching the spiritual stuff. I'm considering starting some sort of interactive blog with the things I'm finding and experiencing (aside from LJ), but don't really know how to go about that. It would generally have to do with mental health issues and spirituality. I'll look into it though, but any ideas are definitely welcome.
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maybe it will all make sense... [Feb. 4th, 2015|10:03 pm]
JeN in WoNderLaNd
I was on Pinterest and searched "soul searching" which came up with all kinds of interesting quotes and spiritual things. With one thing leading to another as it does on Pinterest, I came across pins relating to human interconnectedness, and energy and frequency in relation to the universe (and sacred geometry). I just stuck to reading the quotes and blurbs on the pins and saved them to chek out more later. I actually started feeling weird and almost overwhelmed which is why I chose not to look beyond the pins at the moment. I am a little concerned that I could possibly drive myself into mania- I'm actually not going to mention this to S. right now because I think he would agree (maybe that's all the more reason why I should mention it). The significance is that when I had my manic episode, I was all about human interconnectedness, energy and frequencies to the point where I was feeling connected, feeling energy and hearing "frequencies". I had a heightened sense of everything and I felt like it was a spiritual experience in a sense. So reading up on this could potentially put my brain in manic mode. (I almost feel like I'm hearing "frequencies" right now which is somewhat distracting, but for now I'm going to try to believe it's my mind playing tricks on me because I was just thinking about it. I also realize that I could be more prone to mania due to the most recent life stressor as noted in my last post.) I read this book called "Am I Bipolar or Waking Up?" where the author argues that it's not an illness, but a spiritual crisis. He actually opened up a place in Brazil to help those who are manic to work through it without meds from what I remember. Maybe there's something to that. Maybe I need to carry on with this spiritual journey- just not so much tonight. (I'm not really hearing those frequencies much now that I've got my thoughts down).
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(no subject) [Feb. 4th, 2015|02:19 pm]
JeN in WoNderLaNd
So, I learned the hard way that nursing isn't for me. I knew this was a possibility, but I'm frustrated with how it happened. Last week on Tues, I was told by my instructor that in working on the issues I was having I needed to show "marked improvement by Friday and continued improvement from then on". Both my preceptor and instructor had both criticisms and encouraging words. I had a shift on Wed in the depot clinic giving injections and received generally good feedback. But because R. was sick with a stomach flu (that M. and I also caught afterwards), I stayed home on Thurs and Fri with him and studied. On Fri afternoon, my instructor told me that the center had made the decision to end my practicum due to the issues I was having. This was a shock. My preceptor had just told me on Tues that she thought I could do this and my instructor said she would have still given me some time to improve, but it's in the policy that the place of practicum can stop it if they feel there's safety issues. I was 7 shifts in and had 13 more to go. I can't say for sure if I would have improved enough in that time, but there should have still been the opportunity to at least try. I wasn't done trying and as my instructor mentioned, I hadn't directly jeopardized anyone's safety, but not knowing med side effects well enough is a safety issue- although I was working to improve on this.
Questions are coming up as I think about this and talk to friends and family that maybe I should not have chosen my old workplace for my practicum because I did have some issues there previously and the administrator may have something against me (when I lost my job, he tried to blacklist me from working in the regional health authority, yet invited me to re-apply to work there. Losing my job was due to temporarily losing my license due to money being owed to the College of Nurses. I had worked a few shifts without being licensed before realizing my license had been terminated. The College had sent me a letter to warn me that I would lose my license before it happened, however at the time I was undergoing med adjustments after being hospitalized and either didn't thoroughly read the letter or just did not comprehend it. So I think the administrator may have believed that I purposely worked those shifts without a license- which I did get fined for by the College. Maybe he was also holding it against me that I applied for the position while pregnant and didn't tell them? So maybe I just seem like a dishonest person. Not to mention that I told the nursing manager about my mental health issues when I was having problems staying awake on shift due to the sedation that my meds were causing at the time. Yes, I really should have taken a sick leave right after my mat leave, but I kept thinking with each adjustment that I would feel better (it ended up taking about 5 or 6 adjustments/trying different meds). Anyways, the nurse's union said that I would not be blacklisted. But I had tried to re-apply for work at the center some months after losing my job and heard absolutely nothing back. I wasn't sure how they would feel about taking me on for practicum, but since they took me on, I didn't think they had any issues with me. Maybe I was wrong.)
So now I have this nursing degree, but can't work as a nurse and don't think the potential for finding another career involving my degree is likely around here. Perhaps if we lived somewhere like the Toronto area, for example, it could be more promising. S. occasionally mentions that we should move back to Ontario and although I haven't been against it (I do miss living in Ontario), it's starting to sound like it might be a good idea. I don't feel like there's a lot of opportunity for me around here anymore. I'm trying to come up with a game plan for now though. I'm looking for work and have one place in particular in mind where I might have a chance to advance from an entry level position to something higher up. Getting ahold of the human resources person is a challenge though. I want to include my degree in my resume in hopes that it may be helpful in terms of moving up with this organization, but don't want to be overlooked because I'm over-qualified for an entry level position. So talking to this person first might be beneficial just to explain that despite having the degree, nursing is not for me. There are other jobs, but I don't feel they would be satisfying, but I'll do what I need to do to get the bills paid, but am hoping for this one.
Although all this is a major blow, I'm handling it alright. My mood fluctuates about it and it is depressing, but I'm managing as it sinks in. It kind of feels like a break-up. I've been on this path for over 10 years and it's all come down to this.
We'll see what's next.
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Meditation [Jan. 16th, 2015|10:27 am]
JeN in WoNderLaNd
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I'm going to start writing about my experiences with meditation. Has anyone had any strange experiences with it? See below for mine.

Recently I've been trying meditations from the Self-Esteem Blackboard App (by Excel At Life) on the tablet and yesterday tried Rachael Meddows' Free Meditation Hypnosis app (by Subliminal Affirmations).

Generally, I listen to meditations at bedtime, often falling asleep to them. I don't think daytime listening would go over well, unless I was alone (and providing I'd close myself in a room in an attempt to avoid distraction by my dogs and cats). Being alone in the house rarely happens.

Self-Esteem Blackboard App:
This one has several audios/meditations. The first one is a "train ride" through experiences that may have caused low self-esteem. I've listened to it once and I think you need to listen to it repeatedly and reflect on different experiences maybe without the audio at times to get the full effect. Not sure if I'll check this one out again.
One I liked was a color meditation. It helps you to associate colors with positive feelings. I'll likely listen to this one again, although I might still need some convincing from the audio not to associate yellow with negative feelings. (Why yellow? I know it's apparently associated with uneasiness. My room as a baby was yellow and I've been told how I used to wake up several times each night crying to the point where my family thought I had a health problem, yet nothing was diagnosed. I think this went on for a year. My parents joked that maybe my room was the wrong color.)
I tried a Loving Kindness meditation, but found it difficult to follow. I think it's just me though and I'm pretty sure I started falling asleep. You're supposed to come up with people to focus on in a positive way and I was having a hard time with deciding who to focus on and such.

Free Meditation Hypnosis:
I would consider trying this one again, however it seemed like the audio would stop and then continue which had an effect on my state of relaxation. I'm wondering if it did that just because it's a free meditation? I'm interested in some of Rachael Meddows' other meditations that are paid features, but if this is an issue with all the audios, then I don't think I'm interested. I fell asleep to this one, but generally liked it. It's kind of like one of those guided imagery things.

Now the weird stuff...
It seems as I start getting really relaxed/falling asleep, random (or maybe not so random) things pop into my head. During one of the Self-Esteem meditations (not the colors one), a memory of someone, C. I haven't seen or heard from in about 12 years came up. I reflected on my memories of that person and couldn't really make the connection as to why C. just came into my head. Maybe C. was somehow good for my self-esteem?
When listening to the Free Meditation Hypnosis, there was a part where you visualize yourself surrounded in a mist, the mist clears and you begin moving towards a body of water. At this part I suddenly saw sort of what I'd describe as an "evil clown"; not like super evil though, but definitely not pleasant. It almost seemed like he was blocking me from proceeding with the meditation/getting to the water. And the image I saw was not like the clown appearing on the scene, but more like a separate image away from the meditation. I decided to go on with the meditation despite feeling a somewhat disturbed and tried to shake the image for the time being. At some point shortly after thought, I had another disturbing image. This time it was seeing 2 men (I think), but only their trunk areas. Both were wearing blue jeans without shirts. One man was behind the other, pointing a gun at him. Again, feeling a kind of disturbed I continued with the meditation until I fell asleep.
This morning I Googled and read a little on "scary images while meditating", although I wasn't really scared. One idea was the these images are just a distraction. I felt the clown was definitely distracting me. I'm trying to find the significance behind why an "evil clown"... I used to find clowns creepy when I was a kid. I've also recently watched some of American Horror Story: Freak Show where there's an evil clown character, which S. seems to enjoy and I've noted this to him. So maybe it's associated with S. somehow, or just an image I find generally creepy to distract me.
I thought a bit about the gun image. At first I was wondering if it had to do with a fear of violence that I hadn't really acknowledged (mostly due to my anxieties about starting my mental health placement at my old workplace on Monday, where the potential for violence is a possibility. I also don't have a lot of experience in dealing with those situations.). But I think really, it may have been a possible visualization of another distraction- lower back pain. My lower back and S.'s lower back were sore yesterday. Mine is still sore today, and I was noticing it more at the start of the meditation and just became less conscious of it as I relaxed more. But the gun was pointed at the guy's back, so it makes sense.
Some of the discussions I came across this morning through my Google search mentioned the subconscious coming into play, or disturbances in your energy field causing such images. Some went as far to note that meditation can put you in touch with spirits or demons. Creepy, but I don't believe that's what happened at all.
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