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I apologize if I don’t post for quite some time.
I can’t eat, can’t sleep, can’t function. I stopped all medication and my boat is about to sink.
3/10/1993 – 3/9/2013
My past week has been spent being in a living hell. I was manic two days ago. Then, I crashed. I slept from 10:30 AM on the 2nd until 10:30 AM on the 4th.
I’m so confused, and feel that a lot of time has been robbed from me. I could have gotten so much stuff accomplished.
Looks like I’m going to have to start up a mood stabilizer again, most likely Lamictal.
I don’t really remember much from two days ago, just that I was scripting for 9 hours. Then – BAM. I crashed majorly from taking a nice chunk of Zyprexa.
For those of you that don’t know me on a personal level, I haven’t had mania or hypomania for over a year. In fact, my Psychiatrist and I felt that maybe I didn’t truly have schizoaffective disorder bipolar type, but that my changing mood and psychosis was due to Depression, Anxiety, and PTSD…
That theory is now thrown out of the window.
At this point I’m not sure of what is wrong with me.
I know one thing for sure – I did have a manic or hypomanic episode. I’m in dire need of help from my friends to tether me back into reality.
I just want to give up this battle for sanity.
Will I give up though? Not a chance.
My birthday is in 2 days.
I’m hoping that this new decade of life will be better than the last one.
I have a list of thousands of things I want to do before I die, but they’re all in my brain. Here’s an attempt at writing them all down. Be warned, I’ll have to update this several times. They’re in no particular order, except for #1.
1. Move to Nebraska
2. Visit friends in New York, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, and California
3. Travel to all 50 states
4. Start journeling again and make it a habit
5. Read 52 books in one year
6. Learn German
7. Brush up on French
8. Visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral (New York)
9. Fall in love
10. Be loved back
11. Weigh how much I’m supposed to weigh
12. Run at least 3 miles a week
13. Play tennis again
14. Go to Burning Man with a few of my friends
15. Go back to college again
16. Don’t drop out of college
17. Get a Bachelor’s Degree
18. Get a Master’s Degree
19. Get a job that I love
20. Go to Mall of America
21. Be free from medical bills
22. Buy a fiat
21. Buy a smart car
22. Run a 10k
23. Run a half-marathon
24. Volunteer for 5,000 hours
25. Find my passion in life
26. Be at a state where I no longer need to take medication
27. Graduate from Therapy
28. Research different religions
29. Write a book
30. Lay in the middle of a field and watch the stars with somebody (haha cheesy)
31. Be better at playing the piano
32. Learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
33. Volunteer at a hospice
34. Make a huge impact on somebody’s life
35. Go on a meditation retreat
36. Forgive all who need to be forgiven
37. Go on a real date
38. Become a NAMI Support Group Facilitator
39. Educate others about mental illness
40. Go bowling without using bumpers and crying like a baby after losing miserably
41. Remake my Classical Music playlist on YouTube
42. Sing again
43. Go to the Maldives
44. Stay in an underwater hotel
45. Go to Varanasi
46. Lay in a hammock
47. Visit MoMa
48. Go to Coney Island
49. Go to Nathan’s and have hot dogs
50. See Amish people
51. Celebrate Oktoberfest
52. Celebrate Mardi Gras
53. Collect 100 different kinds of hot sauces
54. Make a list of books I want to read
55. Make a list of every single book I own
56. Have self-esteem
57. Be happy for 80% of the year
58. Accept compliments
59. Own a name-brand handbag
60. Don’t cut my hair for three years
61. Get married
62. Have a kid
63. Be married only once
64. Have a swimming pool
65. Live with very minimal possessions
66. Blog regularly
67. Write a memoir
68. Go to a Broadway musical
69. Go to a TED talk
70. See a sunrise and sunset in the same day
71. Drive a stick shift car
Celebrate The Day of The Dead
Survive a potentially fatal illness
Go to the Bahamas
Get my heart broken
Go on a cruise
Go to Sea World
Go to Universal Studios
Go to Disney
Buy The Red Book
Volunteer at a Soup Kitchen
Have a .com website
Have a Garden
Ride in a Sports Car
Graduate High School
Shave my head
I have a lot to update you all about.
1. I’m turning 20 in one month.
2. I’m moving to Nebraska in about five months.
3. I’m getting my wisdom teeth out next Thursday (3/7/2013)
4. I don’t think I identify with Unitarian Universalism anymore…
Okay, so… let’s be frank for a moment. I never thought I’d live to hit my 20th birthday. I attempted suicide almost a month ago, two days in a row, and was in the psychiatric hospital for a week. It was a pretty decent stay besides being on a one-to-one my whole stay except for the last two hours. They watched me pee, poop, shower, eat, sleep… everything. It sucked. But now I’m pretty sure that I’m going to never attempt suicide again. I have hope again. I have dreams. I have a lot of things I want to do before I die. I especially want to move to Nebraska and live with cows and corn and trains and see football games.
Why Nebraska? Funny story. Let’s just say that I had a gut feeling to move there. Or I threw a dart at a map and it landed there.
It’s weird how your life can be terrible and miserable for years, then suddenly, it gets better. Life is funny like that.
I have more to write about but I have a few things to do. More to come later.
Hey! I’m still alive! By the way, Happy Late New Years!
College is starting in one week, and I’m trying to get my priorities straightened out.
Expect more posts and topics soon
“It’s the end of the world as we know it”
One more day until we all supposedly die. haha.
Let’s ramble about me, though, shall we?
I’ve been sick with something, not quite sure what, the hospital couldn’t figure it out, but I’m slowly getting better. I have an inhaler that I’ve been using, and take zofran before eating a big meal.
What’s really bugging me right now, though, is how much I have to grow up and mature before I start Clinicals.
I need to get my life together. No more psychiatric hospitalizations. Be compliant with medications. Tell my Psychiatrist what I think would work the best for me. Find things of significance to talk to my Therapist about.
It’s 3:53am right now, and I see my Therapist today at 2pm. There is no way in hell that I’m going to make it there. Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe that’s a bad thing. Who knows. I’m not going to bed until I can get my life sorted together – and let me tell you – relax, stay a while, it’s going to be a LONG night.
I feel bad because I haven’t given nomorestigma.org enough attention as it should have. After Christmas is over, I’ll give it a lot more attention. Then, mid-January, my English Composition class starts. I’ll finally have commitments that I’ll have to give up my social life for.
Right now I’m writing down a personal care plan. What shampoos, bodywash, toothbrushes, dental floss, etc. to buy for January-December. It’s probably something that people normally don’t think about, but for me, it’s hard to set a budget for January 1st – December 31st. This will be the first year where I will be recieving SSI checks on a monthly basis. I was approved for SSI on Valentine’s Day of this year, so it’s been almost a year, but I’ve been spending my money solely on upgrades and things that I need.
With college, I need to save up as much money as I can so I can afford books, random dinner dates with friends, and supplemental educational resources. I am 120% dedicated towards making sure that I pass this English Composition class with flying colors.
To be quite frank, My Family, My Friends, and My Education are the only three things tethering me down from losing my marbles.
Sure, I hear voices on a daily basis – but SCREW THEM. They don’t mean ANYTHING. They are just there to make my days more miserable and harder than life really is. I have some degree of control of this. I have to keep fighting. There are many ways besides medication in which auditory hallucinations can be managed. I’m not an alternative health freak, but science has proven that simply telling the voices to “take a hike” can do quite a bit. It can either agitate the voices more, or they will cool it. If I maintain a healthy relationship with my voices, they will be more likely to cool it than fight back.
How else do I need to grow up before starting Clinicals in 4 years?
Well – I need to develop better social skills. I need to have a smile on my face. Picking up poop from room 312? Keep on smiling. I may not have asperger’s or autism, but the negative symptoms of my schizoaffective disorder make it extremely hard to socialize properly. Avoidant personality disorder, on top of that, makes it even extra hard. Oh, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder on top of those two as well. I swear, I have more mental illnesses than I do fingers. But that’s not right – I have 10 fingers, 7 diagnoses. Not quite there.
You know, when my family came to my graduation on June 8th, I was extremely proud of myself for telling traditional schooling to “shove it” and pursue my dreams regardless (And my family for driving 4 1/2 hours to see me). Shirley Minster believed that I had it in me to succeed. And I did. And I’m going to damn right do it again. Come to find out, many of The Royal Academy’s students, from what I heard from my parents talking, and talking to other students myself, haven’t had a good high-school experience. They had problems ranging from having a curriculum that wasn’t right for them because they required something more advanced – to making bible study a big part of their life – to simply having bullying/mental health problems.
If Shirley believed that I would be a good candidate for taking a college Psychology class at St. Joseph’s College, I think she would agree with my current college plans and know that I’m capable of doing this.
It’s all a matter, now, of making myself believe this and making it happen.
SMCC Spring-Summer 2013 -
English Composition (Wednesdays starting Jan. 16)
I can do that. I know the teacher, somewhat, and I can deal with what lies ahead of me.
USM Fall 2013 – Spring 2017 -
Statistics, Anatomy and Physiology, College Writing (may get transfer credits), Anatomy and Physiology 2, Introduction to Psychology, Chemistry for Health Sciences, Human Growth & Development, Introduction to Professional Nursing, Microbiology, Sociology, Cultural Interpretation, Creative Expressions, Pathophysiology, Concepts in Community Health, Human Nutrition, Ethical Inquiry, “Thematic Cluster I”, Health Assessment, Nursing Arts and Science, Fundamentals in Nursing, Pharmacology, “Thematic Cluster II”, Adult/Older Adult Nursing, Mental Health Nursing, Community Nursing Partnership, Health-Related Research, Child Health Nursing, Reproductive Health Nursing, Community Nursing Partnership II, Nursing Care of Older Adults in the Community, Clinically-Applied Genetics, Management of the Critically Ill Adult/Older Adult, Advanced Nursing Skills Lab, Leadership, Management, and Ethics, Practicum/Care Management, “Thematic Cluster III”
Ok, Ok, slow down. This is a LOT. But this is over the duration of four years. Take it semester by semester, ride it out, do the best you can, and you can succeed.
Anyways, I’m getting tired, I’ll blog more tomorrow or on Friday.
I was down in Portland, ME walking from my NAMI support group to my Mother’s NAMI support group. One mile away. A woman from my group decided to walk with me, just to make sure I’d make it there safely. Well, we got to my Mother’s group, but I had to keep stopping to catch my breath. I could hardly breathe at all. My heart was pounding, I was sweating, and I could barely mutter a few words at a time. I thought it was from the Prazosin I was on (It can cause congestion), or from allergies, but boy was I in for a surprise.
For the next few days I was laying low and kept thinking to myself, “I really need to see a Doctor”. On September 13th I was extremely close to going, but didn’t want to bother my Father, since he was probably planning on relaxing in the chair at home. I told my Mom that day that I didn’t go, and she told my Dad to bring me to Mercy Quickcare on Friday (The 14th).
So, we went. I was dreading going, because I figured I probably needed bloodwork, or that they wouldn’t find anything wrong. I ended up getting a EKG, bloodwork, and two chest x-rays. The doctor comes in, says nothing looks wrong, BUT my oxygen saturation levels were between the high 80′s and very low 90′s. Usually You should be at 98-99%. Since my oxygen saturation was low, and nothing else looked wrong, the doctor told me it was most likely anxiety, but just in case, to go to Mercy Hospital.
I hopped in the car and told my Dad that they wanted me to go to the hospital. I really, really didn’t want to go at that point. I thought if I gave it a few days and tried pulling myself away from stressful events, that it would just fix itself. We get to the ER at Mercy and during the walk from the parking lot to the registration desk was brutal. I could not breathe at all.
The wait in the ER waiting room took forever. I swear, we were there sitting for an hour. They finally call me back, I leave my dad in the waiting room because I figure they’ll be done with me in an hour. They took more blood, and did another EKG. I finally told the nurse at the 2-hour mark to bring my dad back with me. They then wheeled me away to the xrays, then finally gave me a CT scan. That CT scan saved my life.
If you’ve never had a CT scan done, it’s fairly cool (scary to some people). They hook your IV up to this contrasting fluid – only in some cases, though, so I’ve heard – and they tell you, you WILL feel like you peed yourself. And they were absolutely right about that. They injected it twice, and the 2nd time around was worse. Anyways, when you’re in the CT scanner, it gives you instructions on when to stay still and hold your breath in. At that time, they’ll inject the fluid – and will warn you when it happens so it wont startle you.
After the CT scan, I was wheeled back to my lovely “room” – solely 2 walls and a curtain. Shortly later, a doctor came in, held my hand, and told me that I had some bad news. They found a significantly large pulmonary embolism resting in my pulmonary artery. I cried the most I’ve ever cried in my life in those few hours after hearing the news. I was almost 100% certain that I would die before seeing the outside of the hospital.
They then brought me to the ultrasound room to check my legs for blood clots, to see if it broke of from my leg and moved to my lung, but that wasn’t the case. They figured it was from the birth control I was on, after ruling out pregnancy, smoking risk factors, genetic disorders, and clotting disorders (This took more than a few days, but I wanted to talk about it right now). They immediately started me on injectable blood thinners - Lovenox – and I had to get a shot of 100mg every 12 hours. Shortly after, I got my own room in the CCU/ICU/whatever you want to call it.
The CCU was scary. So many sick and dying people were there. My neighbors were a comatose man with a tube down his throat, and a woman who coded shortly after having a spontaneous heart attack. I was the only adolescent/young adult there. During my stay in the CCU, I had a bunch of great nurses. Pete, Jen (I think), and Pete. They would draw blood from me every now and then, and inject me with the Lovenox at 6:30am and 6:30pm. They also added 10mg Warfarin – another blood thinner – to my cocktail. The room I stayed in was small, but I had a television I could watch things on, and later on when my Mother visited me, she brought in my laptop and cellphone charger. So there I was – a 19 year old girl in a CCU where everybody was dying – on Facebook chat sites, texting on her phone, and watching Oprah.
The only downside about being in the CCU was that I had to use a bedside commode. When I stood up my first night there, I was incredibly dizzy, so they marked me down as a fall risk. It was so embarrassing going #2 and needing a nurse to empty it. I apologized to them every time I needed them to help me with the commode, and since I was on my period, AND blood thinners, I had to use that commode fairly often. But I mean, I guess they’re used to that kind of thing and have seen much worse.
The first night I was in the CCU – around 8:00 pm, nightly prayers played over the loudspeaker for everybody to hear. I found it a little odd, but pretty sweet. I felt a connection with God while I was there, maybe because it was a religious hospital,and I never have believed in God before in my life. Prior to this whole situation, I was a 100% devout Agnostic.
I talked to Dr. Altman, the pulmonologist/anesthesiologist that was assigned to me, while in the ER and while in the CCU, and he brought up three options with me. I stay on blood thinners for 6 months to a year, I go on clot-busters, or I go in for surgery. I was unable to do clot-busters since I was on my period and I would have most likely needed a blood transfusion. I also didn’t want surgery, because I was so afraid of being put under and having some sort of complication happen, and die. If my pulmonary embolism isn’t gone by March, I may need to go back for the clot buster. Surgery is a last resort for me, after reading up about how they do it.
Fast forward three days – I finally got graduated to the Pulmonary Wing of the hospital. I got my own room, big TV, comfortable chair to sit in, amazing view of Portland,
and my own bathroom. I unfortunately couldn’t use the shower because I was hooked up to the portable heart monitor. The one day I spent in my private suite was the longest day ever. I had a representative from VNA (Visiting Nurses Association) visit me and get a referral done, more blood work, Meet with an Apria (Oxygen company) representative, meet with Dr. Altman, learn how to properly give myself Lovenox injections, and pretty much wait for my discharge to be completed.
This isn’t the end of the journey, just yet. The first week out of the hospital was tough. I had to do my Lovenox injections for three days – 6 injections total – after discharge, and get daily INR tests at my primary care doctors blood lab. Once my INR was in the 2-3 range, I was able to stop the Lovenox. Now I currently take 10mg Warfarin on certain days, and 7.5mg Warfarin on other days. I also had to use oxygen 24/7 for about two weeks, until my body was able to breathe smoothly on its own. I even bought a portable oximeter so I could check my oxygen saturation levels on my own and record them.
One day from now, it’ll be my third month of not being in the hospital. I still need to get a CT scan at some point to check on my Pulmonary Embolism’s shrinkage process and see if further action needs to be taken. Dr. Altman said it should be gone in three months or less, if there are no complications.
So, how is this a life-changing experience?
I was raised with no belief in God. My Mother and Father both were raised as Catholics and were forced to go to church. They wanted it to be up to me to decide my own spiritual path, and in all honesty, I wish every parent was like that.
You, my reader, may not know about my past. Since 2008 I have been chronically mentally ill and have occasionally had suicidal ideation. If you weren’t aware of that, surprise surprise! I have been on various antipsychotics, antidepressants, and the like ever since 2010. Anyways, what is intriguing about this whole thing is that when I didn’t have any life-or-death situations going on, I wasn’t grateful for being alive. If somebody mentioned God to me, I would think of Morgan Freeman and laugh. But now, after my hospital stay, I must say – I am happy to be a Unitarian Universalist, and I am happy to be alive.
I don’t know why I have ever thought of ending my own life, but I can put that behind me and continue on living out the life that I want to live. I want to be healthy, successful, loved, and eventually have a supportive boyfriend/girlfriend/significant other/friend to share my life and dreams with. I want to keep in contact with my family and let them know how I’m doing from time to time. I want to be Rianne. I want to make a difference in this world. If this whole “college plan” doesn’t work out, I’m not going to give up on life. Nothing will push me towards the edge of suicide ever again. I will live life to the fullest.
People die every second, every minute, from things they never wished upon themselves. Deep in my head, I wonder why they were the ones taken – they wanted life. They wanted prosperity. Why take life for granted? We’re not immortal. Everybody dies eventually. But let’s not speed up the process.
- Individual Psychotherapy -
Individual Psychotherapy helps clients understand why they act/think in dangerous or unhealthy ways. It generally focuses on past and present problems.
- Psycho-education -
Psycho-education teaches clients about their illness and treatment options. Coping strategies and problem solving skills are made.
- Support Groups -
Support Groups are not led by a therapist, but is solely based on peers giving other peers support.
- Interpersonal Therapy -
Interpersonal Therapy looks at significant people in the clients life and tries to find better ways to interact with them.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy -
CBT is based on changing feelings, thoughts, and behavior which are stuck in a bad pattern. It’s good for Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, Eating Disorders, Bipolar, and Schizophrenia.
- Exposure Therapy -
Exposure Therapy is mostly good for OCD and PTSD. It deliberately exposes the client to triggers, then they are taught techniques to work through the trauma.
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy -
DBT revolves around emotion regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, mindfulness, and distress tolerance. It is great for many disorders, but especially for Borderline Personality Disorder.
- Psychodynamic Psychotherapy -
Psychodynamic Psychotherapy will be touched upon in more detail on another page, but to sum it up, it focuses on the unconscious processes to examine unresolved conflicts.
- Group Therapy -
Group Therapy is very close to a support group, but the facilitator is a licensed psychologist or therapist.
- Art Therapy -
Art Therapy uses self-expression to find insight, and works through difficult feelings without being overwhelmed.
- Sociotherapy -
Sociotherapy deals with “living”, “working”, and “contacts”. Clients generally have financial difficulty, may be losing a job or a house, or have some other sort of physical struggle. Practitioners that use sociotherapy help clients maintain daily life.
- Family Therapy -
Family Therapy focuses on educating the family on mental illness and solving problems within the family. It can reduce hospital relapse rates in clients.
- Addiction Therapy -
Addiction Therapy deals with dual-diagnosis clients. It’s talk-therapy revolving around mental illness and drug abuse.