It takes the edge off, the anxiety, it's much improved, I still have panic attacks, but I've always had to deal with them so it's not so bad I suppose.
Everything is sort of floaty, and quite numb, but its not unpleasant. I don't really care about much, I don't really have any motivation, but I get flashes of feeling good which haven't been present for quite some time.
I have a lot of physical energy, I can't walk to the kitchen, I have to jog. I don't appear to need sleep, the insomnia has lessened, I sleep most nights, but only for 3 or so hours.
I've been wondering what would happen when there was finally some pressure put on me, how I'd cope. Well this morning, the sky fell in and the answer is: not very well. I lost a few hours to crying, shivering and whatever else I get up to in my dissassociative state. The rest of my day will be pretty shaky and tonight I'm certain to dream of razorblades.
It takes me by surprise; I'm a planner, a dreamer, the future has always been a vast neverland of possibilities, now I see 30, then 40 - all of a sudden, hijacking all the outrageous excitement of youth, surely wasted.
I agonize over every moment already lost to me, especially this past year which has been a blur of pain and delusion.
The panic totally grips me, I'm terrified of every day that makes me older.
Zoloft is Sertraline, a serotonin uptake inhibitor - which increases the levels of serotonin in your brain. Because I'm a nerd, and I can never stumble across a subject without learning everything about it instantly, I researched it, and every other anti-depressant, mood stabilizer, anti-psychotic and psycho-active drug on the market. The most interesting thing I discerned was that MDMA (the active ingredient in ecstasy) has the same basic effect as Sertraline. In fact, when discussing the side effects of the meds, The Doctor warned me that a sure sign the Bipolar was going to mess the sertraline was if I felt an ecstasy-like high, or any sort of mania.
Sertraline in a restricted drug in Australia, it can only be prescribed by people with a specific license to prescribe it - mainly shrinks, this combined with the fact that my health care card reduced the price of 30 x 100mg pills to $5.30 makes me feel very inclined to do unethical things with my meds.
Speaking of side-effects, there's a massive long list of them, the most common being nausea, headaches, dizziness and tremors. It also tends to cause either drowsiness or insomnia, the latter particularly in those pre-disposed to mania. The side-effects are supposed to settle down after 2 weeks, and the meds take full effect within 4 weeks.
I started taking the starting dose 3 days ago and I haven't slept since.
The nausea is like car-sickness and it's unpleasant but not unbearable. The shakes haven't been too bad either, but the headaches are pretty annoying. Everything else seems to be fine except for the fact that I HAVEN'T SLEPT IN 54 HOURS.
I used to get insomnia as a young teenager and I had completely forgotten how much it really really sucks huge fucking hairy balls.
I'm definitely in some weird low level of mania, I cleaned madly on the first day, talked four times the comprehensible speed for humans and did not feel the slightest bit tired until well into the wee hours of the morning. I'm alert, but my body is pissed off.
I think people have the false perception that insomnia means you're not tired. Makes sense. But you still get tired, you just cant rest. All I want to do is sleep, so I lie down......and sleep never comes. I close my eyes, and I just don't sleep. I'm exhausted, but my thoughts are still racing.
I've spoken to a few other people that can't sleep on their meds and who have to take sleeping pills on top of them to get any rest, that thought is not appealing, but at this rate I might have to do something. I'm kind of curious to see the effect of not sleeping for more than 3 days.
rabble rabble rabble.
Tracy writes about Borderlines:
"Many people have asked me, "Tracy, isn't it time for your meds?" Wait, that's not it. They've asked, "Tracy, what is a borderline and when is it okay to execute them?" Well children, a borderline is many things and they have many traits (most of them hard to pronounce). I like to refer to them as "chaos makers" or "razor-toting shit-slingers." For the purpose of this highly fascinating blog entry, let's just say a Borderline is someone who makes things break and who can cause annoying body twitches and temporal lobe seizures. You won't find that definition in a book anywhere, but it is about as dead-on as you're gonna get.
Okay, what a borderline really is, translated into regular speech devoid of all psychobabble:
It usually takes me five seconds flat to tell I've got a borderline on my unit. The twitch will begin in my left eye before I even put my purse down. Subtle hints will descend upon the unit like a black pestilence. There will be in-fighting among the staff. There will be a patient in restraints (probably not the borderline). The fire department will be on the unit checking for gas leaks. The stapler will be out of staples--the printer will be out of paper. The patients will be out of, well, patience. It's pretty damn ugly.
It's probably best if you remember this old adage, "Borderlines don't have relationships; they take hostages." Proceed with caution, a big stick, and enough Ativan to drop a moose."
That kind of delusion is much easier to deal with than the chronic alcoholic who refuses treatment, is in the hospital after his fifth DUI arrest, and tells you that he doesn't have the problem, the "fucking cops do." And that is easier to deal with than the fucking borderline who comes onto your unit, feels slighted by your "attitude," and decides to report you to the Patient Advocate because you won't let her have a cigarette and you haven't been kissing her ass well enough. That's still easier to deal with than the borderline who cuts her arms to shreds with a pocket knife she smuggled onto your unit inside her vagina and then blames you for not searching her properly and leaving her in an unsafe situation.
Fucking borderlines! *shakes it off*"
Fuck, no wonder The Doctor was all, 'don't ever tell anyone you're borderline.'
Weird, though, because I'm about 2 years into her blog now, and there's not an ounce of her that's not just like me - borderline traits included.
I don't know if it's being in love, or feeling a deep and abiding connection with my child...it could be anything, even mania, but I've been having episodes of what can only be described as omnipotent potential. The feeling is being so happy that one drop more will open my soul a thousand miles wide, and I am well aware of feeling it, and knowing that it is a danger signal. It happened for the first time last weekend when I proclaimed that is was a "GREAT Saturday! A wonderful Saturday!" I was as high as an eagle can fly, soaring and tumbling through the ether, feeling the uplift in the takeoff and the thrill in the dive through the open air. I had to consciously say to myself, "Come down...land. You're too high. It's a long fall." It happened again this afternoon, just walking through the grocery store with my lover and I had to pull myself back...I had to stop myself from singing, from dancing through the aisles. But I wanted to spin. I wanted to twirl with that free fall into heights so expansive, it would take years to traverse the divide. I managed to calm myself down and not cause attention to myself. I managed to reign myself in and be appropriate. At the same time I had to squelch the disappointment of the moment. Why can't I dance in the grocery store if I'm this happy? Why can't I sing out loud because I'm in love? Why? Because I am heavily medicated, that's why. And as much as the medicine does its job in keeping these manic symptoms at bay, the disease itself will strive just as hard to push itself through. It is a constant battle these days, both sides of my mood taking swipes and swings at one another with me in the middle blowing the whistle and throwing the flag. The medicine is not working as well as it used to. I realize this with a sense of dread. There will be an increase, or there will be a switch, but whatever it is will cause an upheaval. What I dread most is that it will rob me of these recent episodes of overt happiness, that I will go back to the middle of the road feeling nothing in the extremes either way. I've told the story of my patients from detox...the ones sweating and struggling through pain one can barely imagine--when asked if they would rather feel that pain or feel nothing at all their answers were always the same. "I'd rather feel pain." And so would I. Give me sadness with desolation so black one can scarely see a ray of light shining through, but my God, don't make me numb. At the very least, let me have these few moments of ecstasy. The depression that follows is worth every tear. The price to pay is worth having that feeling of being weightless, of being free, of being inside the unfolding of one moment of utter happiness. All I need to do is learn how to stop it from taking over. I need to learn how to hold it all in and not let it explode all over my life and the people I love. That has always been the trick. Controlling it. How do you experience the thrill of speeding down the highway in a red convertible with the top down without pushing that gas peddle all the way to the floor? How do you stop yourself in mid-flight after realizing the jump was too high and that you are going to hit the fucking floor face-first? I don't have any of these answers. All I do now is open my mouth and swallow the meds, and hope that it will be enough.
At first, you can't hear anything. The noise in your head is so loud, it drowns out any of the warning beeps and buzzers that might otherwise alert you in a healthier state of mind. There is a sensation of wind...as if you were quickly running downhill, like you did when you were a kid and you thought for a split second that your body might be too slow for your legs--right before you tumbled head over heels. There is a thrill in that. There is a charge in knowing that you are living large inside one single moment of absolute awareness of every sharp piece of evidence of life.
But this is why you can't hear the crash coming. You are too busy listening to the buzz. It is pushing you, motivating you, oozing you into creation, sex, life, art, passion, housework. It is pushing your foot down a little heavier on that gas peddle. It is buying the colorful outfit on a maxed-out credit-card. There are so many things to do. So many things to do. So many things to do. So many things to do.
You don't need sleep. Sleep is for the weak. Sleep is for people who can't get in touch with their manic side. You have this under control. Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh. The sound of the winded arrival of a helicopter causes you to glance momentarily out the window, until you realize that once again, the chopper is in your head. Incoming.
And now people are pissing you off. They aren't talking loud enough. Or they're talking too loud. And they're standing too fucking close. Or they're walking too goddam slow. Or they're calling you all the time on the fucking phone. And they're trying to run your goddamn life. And why can't they just all fuck off and leave you the hell alone?
Crash, crash, crash, crash...
The energy wanes, but the insomnia continues. This is a cruel joke. You are not laughing.
You wonder if you will ever escape. You wonder if there will ever be a resolution.