Recovery

I hate that recovery isn’t a straight line. That you can go up and up and then something happens and you fall down. Down into the deep pits of hell and you have a choice to either climb out or just give up.

I feel like for most people, it’s like driving a car. Everything is going good and you hit a pot hole. There’s no damage to your car, so you just keep driving. For me, it’s when I hit that pot hole that my car breaks in half and I’m left stranded. I have no idea how to pick the pieces up and put them back together and start driving again.

Of course, logically, I know that I’ve been here before. I’ve been through worse before. I can overcome this little set back and come out on top again. I can pick my journey up where I left off.

But right now, I feel like I’m in the middle of the freeway with a busted up car and no ideas how to put it together again.

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A Hard Time

I’ve been away from the blog for a while; I’ve had nothing to say.

Recently, I’ve been having a hard time with my anxiety and depression. I can’t tell you which one is worse.

Anxiety is making me leave work, throw up, panic, and pace. Depression leaves me feeling drained, empty, alone in my struggle, and makes me think of scary things. Having both of them at the same time has just been hell.

I’ve been isolating as much as I can, which probably isn’t healthy… But it keeps me from hurting people. At the same time I’ve been trying to reach out to my support system, my mom, my aunt, my husband. I’ve leaned so hard on my husband that I’ve been worried about breaking us, breaking him.

In my hell, I hear things. That I’m better off alone away from people, better off dead, better off going to the hospital. And I seriously considered calling the crisis line to get help, because it got that bad. I thought I needed to go inpatient.

What triggered this episode of hell for me? One of my triggers is stress at work. And work decided that I could move to day shift. I thought, maybe, I was stable enough to handle it. But working in a nursing home during the day is a different beast entirely. For 12 hours you’re on your feet, answering call lights, transferring patients, changing patients, feeding patients, doing things that a normal CNA does. However, I am not stable enough to handle that environment. And then, the girl who’s supposed to be my partner, the girl I rely on to make it through the day told me she’s going part time. I understand why she needs to, and there’s nothing wrong with her leaving, but I relied heavily on her. Too heavily, I think. This, and the general stress of day shift, triggered the snowball that rolled into an avalanche.

So I called in a few times, left work early. Got in trouble for leaving and not coming to work. Was told that I needed to work on my attendance. Was told that the director has my back and will be my biggest cheerleader, but I have to show up.

Thursday was particularly hard for me. My husband and I just moved into a new place and I was unpacking things. I like to decorate, but the nails wouldn’t go into the wall. And I couldn’t leave because I didn’t have the car or a house key. So I got frustrated. By the time my husband picked me up, I was getting into a funk. By that night I was depressed and trying to find ways to avoid going to work. I wanted to smash my arm with a hammer, cut myself with the kitchen knife I found unpacking, overdose on pills. Anything to avoid going to work the next day. I took an Ativan to make the noise stop, the thoughts slow down. I got some sleep.

The next morning, I got up for work and I cried. I was panicking. I called in.

Later that day I called my boss and told her that this wasn’t working. I asked if maybe I could work less hours a day, or switch to nights. The compromise was to move back to night shift working 8 hours a night. That’s going to cut my pay some. But I think I can handle doing that better than I can the twelve hours. Something has to give. I have to work. And I can’t be in panic mode everyday. I can’t be suicidal over going to work.

I’m afraid that it bothered my husband more than he let on. He said he was upset, because when I made the call I wasn’t thinking clearly. But he says he’s fine now and he just wants me to be happy. Two years ago when this happened I just quit, so I’m making progress. I’m still working, just not as much.

Things can only get better from here, right?

Afraid

I’m afraid. Afraid of words that are labelling me. Afraid to sleep alone. Afraid to spend the days alone. I’m afraid.

I know it’s just a word. I’m good with words. It’s a diagnosis. But it’s a diagnosis that I don’t completely understand. I’ve been digging, trying to find resources for myself and to share with others. Honestly, there’s not much out there. Did this just pop up out of nowhere? How do they even know this is me? Then I look at the symptoms again, and my past behaviors with and without medications, and realize this is me.

I’ve always been so good at being alone that it’s never bothered me before. But now, the silence is deafening. There is no joy. Only me and the shadows that come around every so often. I think it’s the silence that scares me the most. But being around people and noise is too much. I just want you, just you.

And that scares me too. I’m too dependent on you. It’s too much for you, for me to put all my fears into you. To hold me up when I’m falling apart and yet, here you are with the tape and glue. It’s too much for one person. And I’m afraid that I’m killing you or pushing you away by pulling you too close.

I just feel afraid of everything and I don’t know how to make it stop.

Schizoaffective Disorder

I’ve been doing more research, reading some articles and blogs, and I think I have a better understanding of this.

Schizoaffective disorder has two types, bipolar type and depressive type. Bipolar type shows mood swings and mania, while depressive type shows depressive episodes.

Since I’ve been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder bipolar type, I’m going to talk about that one the most.

According to HealthyPlace, schizoaffective disorder and bipolar disorder are in two completely separate categories.

  • Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder –the primary symptoms are a disturbance in mood; in other words, inappropriate feelings given the environment. (Extensive information on bipolar disorder, symptoms, causes, treatment)
  • Schizoaffective disorder is a psychotic disorder – the primary symptoms are that of psychosis; in other words, delusions and hallucinations.

A person with bipolar disorder can have hallucinations or delusions as part of a mood episode (think bipolar with psychotic features) and still be considered just bipolar. The psychotic features are not the main problem. The mood symptoms are. Just like a person with schizoaffective disorder can have mood symptoms but not be bipolar, because the mood symptoms are not the main issue at hand.

Here are the criteria for schizoaffective disorder according to the DSM-IV:

The schizoaffective DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria are the following:1

  • An uninterrupted period of illness occurs during which a major depressive episode, a manic episode, or a mixed episode occurs with symptoms that meet criterion A (see below) for schizophrenia. The major depressive episode must include a depressed mood.
  • During the same period of illness, delusions or hallucinations occur for at least 2 weeks, in the absence of prominent mood symptoms.
  • Symptoms that meet the criteria for mood episodes are present for a substantial portion of the total active and residual periods of illness.
  • The disturbance is not due to the direct physiologic effects of a substance (e.g. illicit drugs, medications) or a general medical condition.
  • The bipolar type is diagnosed if the disturbance includes a manic or a mixed episode (or a manic or a mixed episode and major depressive episodes).
  • The depressive type is diagnosed if the disturbance includes only major depressive episodes.

So, seeing that, and reading a couple of blogs from people with the disorder, I think that I might have had this all along and I’ve been misdiagnosed previously.

Looking back on my life, I can remember times that I’ve seen ghosts – started when I was a kid. They were always in my house, in my school, at work. I thought, at one point that maybe I was a medium of sorts. When I was younger, I used to talk to angels – or that’s what I’ve been told by my mom. Hallucinations of death, that I recognized as death, started when I was 15. I noticed that the hallucinations stopped when I got on medications. By that time though, I really just thought I had an active imagination, I never expected that I had a mental health disorder that caused me to have hallucinations.

I’ve known for a long time that I’ve been bipolar. The mood symptoms are just too much not to notice. The highs and the lows.

One thing I know, this disorder doesn’t make me scary or dangerous. I am not a danger to others or to myself. I’m ok. And if I need help, I have the resources to get help.