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  1. Sad
    Atra reacted to MaepleSyrup for a blog entry, Lately.   
    How do I put this?
    Things come and go left and right. It's been like this for months now, especially with work and family matters. People quit or choose not to do their part and it screws everybody over. Family events, surgeries, etc. Yknow, all the fun things.
    I can't get over how my bonds with people have been changing. I'll start talking to a group of people in real life, and once I find that we don't necessarily work well together, I avoid them to the point where they hardly see me. I've left people before without a word, even without a specific reason. Sometimes I feel like karma has caught up to me, since there have been people who I was really close to seemingly leave and I end up not seeing them for a long time. There's still people who I really cared about that I haven't seen in months. And yet, I have not heard a word from them. I worry. And I stress endlessly.
    On top of that, dealing with people on personal circumstances (so not through work/coworkers) is a difficult thing for me. Even trying to cut ties with a friendship is difficult. Thus, I play along and dish out the excuses. Excuses I so irritabley hate just so I can't see them.
    But once I get here, it's a whole different story. I don't know if it's sad for the fact I bond better with people from different sides of a screen than face to face. Though, making eye contact with people is something I have never been able to do. Sometimes I stutter when I talk because my anxiety will kick in, and I end up just sounding plain stupid. Keeping up a conversation is challenging in itself.
    Social anxiety I tell you. It's gotten much better over the years though.
    Ah, enough about socializing.
    I will say that my back has been giving me problems off and on. It's never been great to begin with, and I'm already at a high risk of back problems since it seems to run in my family (though I can't go to a doctor to get it looked at because I just can't trust them). I still push myself to lift heavy bags of litter and trash at work- while I may not feel a thing, I'm sure my back feels every pound. I don't know when the breaking point will be in the future, and I don't know if there's anything else that's going on (possible scoliosis), but I sure as hell cant find out anytime soon. It probably doesn't help for the fact my back never has constant support-- so even after sitting and slouching, it will give it a good pop within five minutes once I sit up straight. Hell, even I feel short of breath at times for no reason.
    Lightheadness is something I keep experiencing too. Despite the fact I drink plenty of water-- but the only thing I get is dehydration when I looked at what it's a symptom of. I went on a bad habit for about a year on drinking nearly a gallon of water a day. Maybe my body is used to a higher amount? I don't know. But if that's the case, then I guess it'll have to deal with not getting that excessive amount constantly.
    These are things I can't find the best solutions for. I'm not sure what I could do to fix these problems. Whatever the case, I hope everything turns out good in the end. It would be nice to know I was stressing over nothing.
  2. Sad
    Atra reacted to Ratvan for a blog entry, Not sure how to feel   
    Well now, I have been struggling with how to put this into words all afternoon. I had an appointment at my local hospital today. It was for the results of the tests that they have been running for almost 18 months. I have felt numb since the diagnosis. It just seems weird, like it's not happening to me. I feel removed from my body and mind right now. 
    The Dr. Was very good, gave me my diagnosis and explained to me what this meant in terms of treatments, side effects and gave me a load of information and contacts for support groups. I already have a will in place so at least I dont need to undertake this while I process the information. 
    Starting from tomorrow my treatment is going to be 2 aspirin, 4 times a day to thin my blood enough for my monthly (at the moment) phlebotomy treatments. Thankfully the Dr did not see any issues for me at the moment in terms of exercise and activities. I am really enjoying my martial arts and want to compete in the near future. We need to see how the first three or four sessions go before we can discuss other treatment options that maybe available. 
    So since then I have pretty much been staring into space, or on here chatting with other members. Trying to help in any small way that I can. I honestly dont remember my walk from work to the station but since I am on the train I know that must have happened. 
    I dont feel too bad or shocked, I had pretty much made my mind up before the diagnosis that I'd be more likely to have this then not. Although there is no science to this at all.
    ****. What a day
  3. Sad
    Atra reacted to samadhiSheol for a blog entry, Mood. Disorder. What does disorder really mean?   
    Obviously a mood becomes a problem when it..well when it becomes a problem. We have all been there.
    I feel fine now, at the moment. Tired and disorientated perhaps, anxious and irritable too. Agitated. Exited. Euphoric even. But that’s the way it goes for me when I feel (hypo)manic. Or depressed. As I am never truly either.
    There is something cyclic going on, but it is not full blown bipolar. Neither have I ever really had full blown depression. There is always
    I squander energy, as I am incapable of putting it to good use. I have no lasting interests, talents or a so-called passion for anything. I have always been impatient, short tempered and my attention span is useless. So most of it goes to waste. 
    Believe me, it does.
    So much emptiness too. There is always the emptiness.
    That was my big epiphany a few days ago. Emptiness is my signature sentiment. My core feeling. It has nothing to do with the mood I am in. Happy sad, whatever. I am ALWAYS EMPTY.
    If I had to define myself in one word it would be 
    I may not be my moods or sentiments, or indeed the thoughts and feelings I have at any given time(actually I beg to differ, but for now, I’ll let that go). But if there was one underlying element, sentiment or a describing characteristic to my inner self(if there is such a thing), it would be 
  4. Like
    Atra reacted to RiverLight for a blog entry, The Sweet Taste of Success   
    Wow oh woweeeeeee! I am sooooooooo excited!!!! I am seeing the results of my work, and I am feeling a sense of great success.& accomplishment. I can hardly believe it!!!! I doubt myself ALL the freaking time at work, mainly because my field naturally lends to that, but also because I just doubt and question myself.
    What I do at work is both an art form AND a science. There is creativity and strategy involved, but there are also certain steadfast rules, meaning very specific DOs and DON'Ts. So the art form is in copywriting, and I work very hard at it, but there's no guarantee that what you write will actually WORK. So what I do? I study the experts and copy what they do! And guess what? It's a superb formula for success! 
    I also frequently doubt whether I even deserve my "senior" title. My colleagues who are more junior to me often sound far more knowledgeable than me, especially when it comes to the technical side of things. As a result, I feel somewhat inadequate when it comes to technical. So I nod my head and fake it, lol. 
    But on Friday I discovered something new that I had achieved all by myself and I was beyond thrilled. There is a major obstacle with this one website to overcome, and I did it!!! I was practically bouncing up and down in my chair, lol. AND, my more junior colleague hadn't had as much success with this challenging client as I've had, and well, I admit that I feel some amount of victory and validation? Like YES, you DO deserve your senior title after all! LOL. 
    I guess what I am saying is that I often doubt myself and have felt undeserving of my position at work. But I keep proving to them and to myself that I AM deserving of it because I am seeing success with each of my clients, and even the more challenging ones. Maybe I am smarter than I think! Haha. 
    So here's to the sweet taste of success!!!!! I am feeling very celebratory! 
  5. Like
    Atra reacted to nhaar for a blog entry, Doing okay   
    Hi everybody and thank you for reading! 
    I am doing pretty okay. It almost feels scary to say those words out loud. Like if I say such a thing, something bad will happen. But I will say it again just to defy the Universe: I am doing good. 
    My mood is stable and everything feels easier without anxiety and psychotic symptoms. Spring and summer is usually hard for me but now it feels different. I've got lot of energy but it's good energy. I don't have any hypomanic symptoms which is a relief. So it's safe to say hypomania is all gone for now. 
    A new thing is that I was diagnosed with thyroid insufficiency caused by Lithium. I've started a medication and I hope it will help me with my weight issue. It's actually more likely that the weight gain is caused by thyroid insufficiency rather than antipsychotics. So fingers crossed everybody. 
    I've been able to keep healthy eating routine at home. I also try to execise 3-5 times a week. I am pretty motivated. I haven't gained any results yet in weight loss but my metabolism is not working like it should so there is not much I can do but keep eating healthy and exercising to avoid more gaining.
    I've still got four months of sick leave left. Even though I have so much positive energy I can't even imagine going back to work now. My brain has gone through unbelievable amount of stress during last two years. I want to work again some day but now it's not the time for that. My brain needs to heal properly. Sometimes I am afraid I will become ill again before my sick leave ends. My life has been such a roller coaster ride that it's hard to believe things could get better for me and I could some day have control over my life and not the illness controlling my life. 
    I think right words for this situation would be "one day at a time". With those words on my mind I will lead my life one day at a time. 
  6. Like
    Atra reacted to 20YearsandCounting for a blog entry, Week of Monday, March 18th   
    Last week was crazy for me.... out of town conference, sitting in classes all day, away from hubby... completely thrown out of my routine. I didn't sleep very much or very well.  Anyway, here's this week. We're undergoing renovations at work right now, so things are up in the air there, too.
    Monday, March 18- it was beautiful here, so I took the long way home; 30 minutes, 1.56 miles
    Tuesday, March 19- chance of rain after work, so hubby & I went to the gym; 30 mins treadmill (7 mins @ 2.5mph; 23 mins @ 3.6mph)
    Wednesday, March 20- pretty much a good day, but I had anger issues after work, so I took myself out for an extra 20 minutes. 49.5 mins & 2.8 miles - great weather so I walked outside
    Thursday, March 21- missed because we went into town after work
    Friday, March 22- walked extra: 2.4 miles in 45 minutes
    Saturday, March 23-extraordinarily drained today; went to see the grandkids - didn't get a 'formal' walk in, but did walk around a lot, including taking little one to the park
    Sunday, March 24-
    It's nearly the weekend (posting this Thursday)... and it's almost that time of year again...
  7. Like
    Atra reacted to Soarsie18 for a blog entry, Just a little pick me up   
    List of things that I'm grateful for today
    1. My bed
    2. coffee
    3. My cat
    4. My education
    5. My Dad
    6. My Mum
    7. My Nan
    8. Comfy clothes
    9. My friends
    10. Food
    11. Music
    12. The Sun
    13. The Sea
    14. My Dog
    14. Fluffy Socks
    15. Showers
    16. My Phone
    17. My laptop (because it allows me to talk to you guys :))
    18. Candles and perfume
    19. My car
    20. Kind strangers
    21. Gogglebox
    22. My Health
    23. My strength
    24. My ability to evolve
    25. Running
    26. Surfing
    27. Tv thriller dramas and documentaries
    28. Sir David Attenborough and Noel fitzpatrick for inspiring me to be a vet
    29. My sisters (for being my best friends)
    30. Every person for being unique and interesting in their own way
    * I hope you find something in this list that you can also be grateful for, or are able to think of your own things X 
    there are plenty more things that I could have added onto the list, but generally I am grateful to have these things in my life, it would be much harder to cope if i didn't X
  8. Like
    Atra reacted to Soarsie18 for a blog entry, Self-pity (an Inhibitor)   
    Life is unfair. 
    If you look at life from the perspective of good and bad.
    Some people are more fortunate, others are less fortunate.
    Shouldn't it be equal ?
    Why should one person have it easy whilst someone else has to struggle with sh*t throughout life. 
    That's the perspective that I used to have.
    I would view myself as being less fortunate than others -
    why did i fail my exams when I tried so hard and sacrificed so much ?
    Why do I have a knee injury which is stopping me from going out, exercising and surfing ?
    Why have all my friends moved away and i'm left here on my own ?
    Why do I have to re-apply to uni after getting so close to being accepted and working hard towards it my whole life ?
    Why am I depressed ?
    and on and on. -
    In short, I was feeling self- pity
    That feeling was feeding into my depression, 
    until I was told to by a very wise man to change my perspective.
    The truth is there is an underlying good, in every bad.
    -> failing my exams taught me the importance of having a good work-life balance, taking care of my mental health and above all - the importance of sleep !
    -> My knee operation taught me the importance of physical health, it taught me to stop hating my body for the way it looked and start loving it for healing me, and helping me get back to normal
    -> My friends moving away helped me realise how much I needed them, how grateful I was to have them around. Since then I've put more effort into maintaining relationships and have opened up more instead of pushing them away when I'm depressed
    -> Having to re-do the final year of A levels has given me the chance to mature as a person and has further instilled the passion and determination in me to be a vet.
    -> Being depressed has helped me appreciate life 100x more when i'm not depressed. It's made me GRATEFUL, its made me STRONG, its made me more CARING. 
    So, when life seems unfair. 
    When the universe is testing you,
    Try to take on a new perspective:
    The universe is giving you a chance to grow, to become stronger, and to learn a lesson from every situation.
  9. Like
    Atra reacted to Soarsie18 for a blog entry, I want to be content when I die   
    I just watched a Louis Theroux episode called 'Edge of life'. 
    It showed hospital patients who were on the verge of death, and it showed them and their loved ones having to swallow the death sentences that had been given to them. A particular guy moved me to tears. His name is Langston and he was in his early 20s.
    Langston had overdosed on heroin which caused severe brain damage and ended him in a coma.
    The hospital called in a Neurologist to examine his brain scans. Langstons prognosis was that he would never wake up from the coma. His brain was too damaged from lack of oxygen to ever function again.
    They told his family that he would never recover, never be able to respond, eat, breath voluntarily,  and would remain in a vegetated state. 
    The experts advised that Langston should be taken off of life support after 5 days of being non-responsive. 
    (They say if theres no improvement within the first few days, then it's most likely the patient won't improve at all)
    Despite the experts knowledge on Langstons condition, the family were adamant that Langston would recover to full health. 
    And so, a few weeks later (when it was almost definitely confirmed that Langston was dead)  - Langston woke up.
    He opened his eyes, looked at his sister  and for the first time was actually seeing her.
    Nurse - 'Langston, who is this" (pointing at his sister)
    Langston - (turning his head in that direction) 'my sister"
    A few months had passed with Langston undergoing some intense physiotherapy.
    And the at the end of the episode was a clip of Langston, confidently walking back into the hospital where he was told he was going to die.
    Just as his family said - he was fully recovered.
    His recovery was 1 in a million. Absolutely unheard of in the medical world.
    It moved me.
    I couldn't help but think of myself in that position, and the things that I want to accomplish before then.
    I've never been the kind of girl to be ok with 50% effort. I'm either all or nothing. 
    And I don't want to die with any regrets of not having done enough or not having tried enough.
    'Cause by the time you're at that point in life, you stop caring what other people think of you, you stop worrying about their judgement. 
    Yet throughout life, fear is a constant factor that stops you from stepping out of your comfort zone, from voicing your opinion, or standing out from the crowd in any way.
    I'm not saying I want to be different to everyone else out there. 
    I just want to be comfortable being me,
    to stop worrying about whether people will accept me or not. those people won't matter to me when i'm on my death bed.
    You have to live life as you want, not let fear control you or stop you from going further. 
    Personally, i know that I need to become a vet before I die. I'm scared of being inadequate to all the other vet applicants. I'm scared of embarrassing myself, i'm scared of failure. 
    But, if i stop pursuing my dream because i'm scared that i'm not good enough,  i'll end up spending the rest of my life believing that i'm not good enough.
    Hang in there.
    Never stop believing in yourself, no matter how much the odds are stacked up against you.
    Because, you will only fail when you decide to give up on yourself. 
  10. Like
    Atra reacted to Soarsie18 for a blog entry, The Dark Pit   
    You don't want to sleep, 
    but you don't want to be awake.
    You don't want to eat, 
    but you don't want to be hungry.
    You don't want to be around people, 
    but you don't want to be alone.
    You don't want to do anything, 
    but you don't want to do nothing.
    What you really want to do is stop existing,
    but you can't do that without dying, 
    and you don't really want to do that either.
  11. Like
    Atra reacted to JD4010 for a blog entry, Not-so-fond memories   
    A post in the suicide forum gave me a flashback. I responded with the following in that forum but I also wanted to post it here in the blog. I trace some of my current "issues" back to this time in my life. Maybe I'll explore what it all means some more. Or maybe I won't. Probably wouldn't do me any good.
    I had to change schools just before fourth grade. This would have been in 1968. The school I started attending was small, with a 4th grade class of 31 students. They had all been together since kindergarten. I was an outsider. The proto-jocks and bullies began picking on me right away. I'm sure I was being tested at first but once they found out I was a complete wuss, they started beating me up in earnest. I was also a year younger than the other kids because I'd started school a year early. So I was extra puny. Anyway, I soon noticed some of the other kids who were getting constantly picked on. I made friends with them and quickly became part of the banished group. We'd help each other put up with the avalanche of sh!t from the as s holes and generally commiserate at recess.
    If it wasn't for those few other kids who were down and out (even at age 8-9!), I would have probably croaked myself. I hated life then because my parents were going through a divorce. I also knew at that age that I was a loser. But I pulled through with the help of others who were going through similar BS as I was. I guess that's why I gravitate here as well. We have been through our own particular hell and know how rotten it is. We treat each other with respect as a result.
  12. Sad
    Atra reacted to sirenZ for a blog entry, Feeling scared   
    I'm scared that I might be heading down that slippery slope into depression again. It could have started with Post-traumatic stress symptoms which added on to the ongoing vicarious trauma and eventually burn out that I might be experiencing.
    I'm scared because I don't want to go down that road again, but I am suspicious and I am feeling lousy that I am not doing as well as I hoped (although I know I shouldn't compare with the many out there who can't get a job)
    I am scared because I know if I need time to recover, but why is it always me that needs time to recover from a possible burn out. What is it that I am not doing well enough? 
    I'm tired and I'm scared. I'm stressed and I'm worried.
    I don't feel safe and I feel like I am not good enough (when it may not be true).
    I cannot see the world the same way because I feel that everyone is just out there to do harm. I think, that is in part due to vicarious trauma.
    You can tell my thoughts are all over the place because they jump from point to point...
  13. Like
    Atra reacted to nhaar for a blog entry, Welcome sober life   
    Alcohol helps to remove the stress, the bra, the panties and many other problems. 
    That's basically my yesterday night. Unfortunately alcohol also creates new problems. I don't drink often but when I do, things get ugly. I have been avoiding  this issue long time but after last night it's time to do some inner searching and face the fact - I have a problem with alcohol. 
    Let me tell you how it started. It started the moment I hit 18 and alcohol and nightclubs became accessible. I was troubled and suffered from severe depression so I started to drink to get away from my problems. When I dropped high school for my depression and got a job in a restaurant I drank easily five days a week (I think people in restaurant business drink a lot anyway). 
    I always drank too much, didn't understand my limits and took unnecessary risks. Then came the panic attacks. More than often I was paralysed by a panic attack at the restroom floor. I've got so many ambulance rides I can't keep track. Also the police became familiar with me and I was 18 years old when I was taken to lockup. I was 19 when I spend the night in hospital because I tried to jump off a building. Drunk of course. 
    I know I have written about this before but this time I am really serious about understading this pattern of behaviour. I am not 18 anymore. I am 34 years old and not a bit wiser about alcohol. Last night, three bottles of wine later, I fell face first on the floor. Yeah I know... Wtf where were my hands?! My body has bruises all over and my face ain't pretty. I also left half of my clothes (including panties) to a girl's whose bed I was in and I don't know how I made it to the home. 
    I feel embarrased but maybe this had to happen in order to make me see this is not okay. I am not making any promises to stay sober. I probably couldn't keep it anyway. But I will really give it a thought and try to maintain sober life as long as I can before I ruin my marriage or jump off a building. 
  14. Like
    Atra reacted to nhaar for a blog entry, Back at home and facing a problem with antipsychotics   
    I was finally checked out from hospital last Friday. It feels so good to be at home. I've kept myself quite busy. There is no space or time for depression right now. 
    Hypomania is gone so I am delightfully enjoying steady mindset. I've still got lot of energy but I guess that's the real me - active, motivated and creative. Sometimes it's hard to recognize the real you when you've been sick so long and your illness has become part of your identity. Or at least you think it's who you are. You are not your illness even though it's part of you. 
    I learned lot of useful tools at the ward when I participated in psycho-education. I have tried to use those tools as much as I can. One I remember well is to do one thing a day that you need to do. And do one thing a day that brings you joy. It doesn't matter if you can't feel joy. You just need to do things that promote your feeling of control and capacity. Some day you will notice that one thing brings you joy again. For me these things usually are household chores and doing my makeup. No matter how tired I feel I will do a chore and I will put on my makeup. 
    I have recently faced a problem that is really bothering me right now. I've worked really hard to overcome but sometimes it's really frustrating. I believe most of us using Quetiapine (Seroquel) are battling with this weight issue. Weight gain is very common with antipsychotics. I've gained a lot weight since November when my dosage was tripled. 
    A good thing is that I've started to exercise and mind what I eat. But the weight issue is a real deal. I exercise five days a week but my weight just keeps going up every week so it's very frustrating. I talked my nurse about this and we agreed on to keep going on like this for few more weeks before consulting my doctor about possible changes on medication. I am not overweight yet but I don't feel comfortable in my own body. 
    I hope to embrace this healthy lifestyle again and keep on going. Exercising is so important for your mental health too. And it takes only about an hour of your day. Here in North we've still got a full winter but it won't stop me putting my sneakers on and head for a run. 
    Have a great week everybody and please go out and enjoy nature 🙂
  15. Thanks
    Atra reacted to 20YearsandCounting for a blog entry, Trouble posting blog posts...   
    All week I've had trouble putting up blog posts.  The webmaster is looking into it.  If you are having the same problem, please let us know in the q&a forum.
    Consistently cannot add posts to my exercise blog.... for the first time since Feb 21st, I was actually able to post a few lines, but I still cannot post consistently there. 
    I'm using this blog as a test to see if there is any difference.  So far, I can post in this one just fine....
    [bang head on wall]

  16. Like
    Atra reacted to 20YearsandCounting for a blog entry, Trying to update my progress....   
    Been having problems with this blog - but only this blog.  LOL, it's probably me, but heck if I know what I'm doing 'wrong'.
    Anyway, I've been having problems copy/pasting, so I"m going to laboriously re-type it all.  Ugh.
    1 lap = @.83 miles
    1.5 laps = @1.44 miles (shortcut) or @1.46 miles (long way)
    2/11  21m, 1 lap
    2/12  23m, 1.5 laps (short)
    2/14  22m, 1.5 laps (short)
    2/15  16m, 1 lap
    2/18  22m workout
    2/19  25m workout
    2/20  32m,  1.5 laps (long); moving stuff at work
    2/21   37m, 1.5 laps (long); moving stuff at work
    2/24  24m, 1.5 laps (long)
  17. Like
    Atra reacted to 20YearsandCounting for a blog entry, I'm Doing It, Sort Of....   
    [I've been trying without success to post in this blog since Feb 21st... there is more to add, but I currently am not able to add anything. I was lucky to be able to do this much.]
    Update since Feb 4th, I've either walked or worked out 8 times.  I finally developed my own little 20 minute workout, which sadly enough is all I can handle right now.  So I either walk for 20-25 minutes (I manage either 1.23miles or 1.46 miles respectively) or I do my little workout for 20 minutes.  I have a 'walking workout with Chris Freytag' that's really great for couch potatoes and people who are not very flexible or coordinated, but I got bored with that. So until I can afford to buy another workout tape to alternate with, I picked some of the cardio moves from that one and put them together with some easy yoga moves as a warm up & cool down.  So my actual cardio at the moment is only about 10 minutes when I do the workout, and about 15 when I walk. When I walk, I do a slow walk to start - usually the only way I can go slow is if I set up my playlist after I start, LOL.  Otherwise I get shin cramps the whole time.
  18. Like
    Atra reacted to nhaar for a blog entry, Update   
    It's been a while since I wrote last time. Maybe some of you have been wondering how things are with me. 
    I've been at home since last Friday. The kids have a winter break from school this week so that's why they let me home. We were on a cruise to Sweden and kids really enjoyed being on a cruise liner. I spent good time relaxing in a cabin while kids were exploring the ship. 
    We are also celebrating my son's 13th birthday this week. I can't believe I am a mother to a teenager. I also took a liberty to celebrate for my 13 years of motherhood and went out last night. My doctor specifically told me not to drink but I thought what harm could it do. Well, I regret it now. Alcohol doesn't suit me at all. Wish I understood my limits better. I guess it would be better for my illness not to drink. 
    Anyway, this week has been great. My moods are allright and suicidal thoughts have decreased dramatically. I believe it's Lithium that evens out not just my moods but my thoughts too. I haven't taken any extra pills or cut myself. That's really something. 
    Next week I'll be back at the ward as a day patient. I think that's very good. Next week is different from this one when the whole family has been at home. Hardest part of my day has been when the kids are at school and I am left alone so it's good I have hospital environment supporting me. 
    It will be very hard for me to build a day routine. At the hospital I've been learning the basics again but I am not very confident I can keep up the routines at home. Just have to give it a try. Maybe write down on a paper to see if that helps. 
    This post turned out more like a random rant. Maybe try to stick on one topic next week. 
    Have a great weekend! 
  19. Like
    Atra got a reaction from anon22ae for a blog entry, Fifth Ketamine Infusion – 7/18/2017, 69mg, 1:45pm Part 2   
    Tactile distortion
    At some point at the beginning of the dissociative experience I became distracted by a sensation on my cheek which my brain translated as an itch. My mind returned to my body so that I could lift my right hand to my face and scratch it. My arm seemed to move very slowly and it felt like I didn't have full articulation in either my elbow or wrist. To make this strange state even weirder, my mind told me that my arm from shoulder to hand was made of inflexible blocks of wood. When I touch my cheek to scratch, my fingers and cheek had the texture and firmness of wood. As with previous distortions and hallucinations, I accepted this by thinking, as a matter of interest, that becoming a piece of wood might be a unique perspective.
    Using my breaths to guide mind back into my body, I noticed the music playing through my earbuds. My breathing was gentle and my pulse a steady pounding that I both heard and felt. 
    I spent some time trying to evoke that uncomfortable “twang” feeling in an attempt to explore it but was unable to.
    Mental Imagery – My Inner Self
    With mind and body back together, I felt like I ought to try and get some therapeutic work done through self-exploration by traveling deep within myself. A simple representation of a door appeared before me and I moved towards it. As I reached the door, it opened revealing a hatch and then another portal after that, hundreds of layers represented by different types of portals flung open until finally I reached what might have been a representation of my innermost self. It's closed and was covered by an object. I felt a sort of warning, a sense of caution that arrests my forward movement. I tried to peer around the perimeter but the object covering it sprouted wings that shielded all four edges of the portal. I felt I could transgress this barrier but then a very clear voice inside me said, “Don't”. 
    That warning sounded firm and final and I will confide, it caused me to completely chicken out! Bok bok B'gok! 
    The wooden god dissociative experience makes me wonder if the Ketamine stimulated the part of the brain which under imaging, shows activity during a religious experience. In retrospect it doesn't seem as much of a religious experience as a near-death one. I didn't receive any great news for us all or a message from dead loved ones or some insights about the infinite known to cultures around the world as That Which Is. No prophecies, either. So if it was a religious experience, I would rate as a pretty poor one in comparison to other experiences of my own and those told to me. 
    That threshold I came upon where I had a choice to remain or quit being connected to everyone definitely felt like a very real choice to live or die. I choose to regard my decision as an affirmation of my desire to live in spite of the struggles and difficulties of living with mental illness. Similar to suicidal ideation, it's a sort of comfort to have the choice. I wonder what it'd be like if I opted to remain.
    The memory of feeling every type of fear in everyone remains but it has faded. I wish I had named all the fears I felt, it might've been useful to bring up in analysis. As a concept, everyone can understand that there's fear in every animal and person but it's quite another thing to have been in a state where one fancies one can feel it all. Sometimes, I'll call upon this memory when I'm in some group of people feeling anxious, self-conscious and insecure to remind myself that everyone in attendance is feeling at least a little fearful about something and this understanding assures and soothes me. 
    Regarding the deep introspection I sought through the portals, I have so many questions. Why was I afraid to continue, what was that voice telling me not to? Would there have been yet another door beyond what I thought was the final portal? (Years of therapy has shown me that every time I think I've come upon the final level of all my basement floors, there's yet another right below it. Always another issue beneath the one I thought was the most telling. Ha.) Is there always a “something” covering something else and is that the very definition of personal safety? Is what I perceive as covering my innermost core shielding me from harm or from scrutiny? Discussing this in therapy, I realized that in addition to wariness and fear I also felt vulnerable confronting that last layer. I'm unsure if that feeling was a genuine reaction to my introspection or due to a general feeling of vulnerability one has while conscious under anesthetic. 
    Outlier vitals reading: 103/68
    I spoke with the doctor and his colleague about what I remembered of the experience, noting that the bump in dosage seemed to make a difference. I also met with a clinical psychologist whose practice includes Ketamine assisted psychotherapy. She was keen to know about the music I chose and it's effects on the Ketamine experience. I felt lucid and cognizant during our conversation.
    In the next entry, I'll detail the sixth and final infusion of the initial protocol I received back in 2017. 
  20. Like
    Atra got a reaction from JD4010 for a blog entry, Fifth Ketamine Infusion – 7/18/2017, 69mg, 1:45pm Part 1   
    Now that you know
    That something's not right
    Look at it carefully
    In pale logic light
    Don't be sorry
    If you can't recognize
    The errors and faults
    In such a perfect disguise
    Only illogics can find hidden flaws in a straight logic line
    Only erratics recognize errors in patterns of a perfect design
    - Erratic Patterns by Carbon Based Lifeforms
    Usual pre-infusion protocol. Music playlist a mix of ambient and songs with lyrics in a language I don't understand.
    Unpleasant Sensations
    About 10 minutes into infusion, I noticed the anesthetic effects – nausea and numbness – were stronger this time than the previous infusions which I attributed to the increased dosage. Once again I felt anxious and wondered how strong these sensations would get,. What to do with these anxious feelings? I never found that trying to ignore or bury anxiety was effective in dealing with it. Better to find a way in which to acknowledge it, allow it to be present and express itself but not dwell on it. I discovered a bit of mental imagery that helped me. I pictured the nurse standing at a control panel, her hand on a dial that's meant to increase or decrease dosage of the drug. She looks to me and asks, “Are you OK, is it too much?” I reply, “Unpleasant but tolerable. Continue. Give me more.” Unpleasant but tolerable becomes a sort of self-soothing mantra as the effects of the Ketamine envelope me; it acknowledges feelings without overstating them.
    Sensation of Motion
    About 15 minutes into the infusion I felt weightless and floating and following that, a sensation of horizontal and vertical movement. I  peeked through the seam of the sleep mask to verify that my body wasn't moving but my inner ears and brain reported motion nonetheless. Reclining in the chair as I was with both feet raised, an image of laying on a pedestal or platter came to mind accompanied by a strange feeling of being “presented” to something. I felt a bit vulnerable and exposed but aided by some uplifting music, this became sort of joyful.
    Dissociative Experience – Celestial Postman
    For a moment I'm in that strange, in-between state of semi-consciousness where nothing exists. Then I'm outside my body, looking at my face through a small window of a rocket ship. In the same manner in which we give context to what's happening in our dreams, I knew that my destination was the heavens and that I was a sort of celestial postman, delivering messages written to God from people all over the planet – even personal messages from my attending doctor and nurse. I felt pleased, excited and a bit honored to have this mission. Looking back at it now, I wonder if how I felt is similar to how people who experience grandiose delusions must feel, it was very convincing. 
    The rocket launch was convincing as well. I felt the motion in my lower body and saw amazing displays of speed and light before reaching space. 
    In orbit around the planet was a long, carved wooden statue roughly in the shape of a person like you might see in a museum or upon a totem pole. I delivered the “mail” and wondered what it might be like to be a wooden god floating in space. An entity inside the statue replied that I'm welcome to try it for a bit - which I do, but hang on. Where would this entity go if I'm inside? The causal reply was, “I think I'll try being you for a while.” The irony wasn't lost on me. 
    Once inside the god statue, I lost sense of self in the experience of being connected to all lifeforms on the planet below. If you have ever had what you'd call a spiritual experience, this felt very similar. I don't remember much of what I did or felt in this state. One thing I recall vividly is feeling all the fear that exists in every living thing - all the kinds of fear that there is and the yearning to be free of it. I also felt the pressure of a billion people wanting me to be this and to do that for them and the strain of it all was almost unbearable. One consoling bit of knowledge was that I could leave anytime – but I could also stay there. Permanently. Deep within me I searched for what that might mean and came upon a threshold which, in order to cross, would require a very big and permanent transformation. I choose to leave the statue and just enjoy the feeling of a non-corporeal me floating in space. 
  21. Like
    Atra reacted to JD4010 for a blog entry, Paint it Black   
    I remember listening to Paint it Black by the Rolling Stones when I was in college. I played it over and over again because it so completely described my outlook.
    Kind of sad for a dumb ass 18-year-old kid to be thinking that way.
    41 years later and I still feel the exact same way.
    Honestly, there are many days where I wish they'd just plant me in a room somewhere and fill me up with sedatives. I could then just lay in bed and not give a sh!t about anything.
    I kind of don't give a sh!t right now, but the attitude causes me anxiety and loathing. Better to be all numbed up and not concerned with anything more than getting to the bathroom without falling down.
  22. Like
    Atra reacted to Tearz for a blog entry, Give us this day....   
    I think I may blog daily. I find this freeform spewage lightens the burden on my shoulders. Read it or don't, makes me feel better either way. 
    Today I had a better day. I still cried most of the day, which actually started yesterday, and finally stopped after I got out of my therapist's office. My therapist is wonderful and I am so grateful for that. I felt better just sitting on her couch bawling, because I know that when I'm there, I'm safe to feel any damned way I want to. Mostly we talked about my son and his ongoing heroin addiction while I cried nonstop. When I left I said I look forward to a time when his addiction is not the focus of our discussion. 
    Work was better today too. Yesterday I was sort of made to feel stupid - and yes I realize it's my choice to let others do that - but overnight I thought of a diplomatic way to handle the situation so it didn't turn into a bitchfest. So I handled it with some grace instead of raw emotion, and you know what, that was empowering. I am a tiny bit proud of myself for mulling it over instead of acting on impulse. I guess old dogs can sometimes learn a new trick.
    I almost blew off work today but I finally managed to rally and drag myself through the sh*tstorm of major city traffic. Also grateful that I did, because I helped a lot of people at work today, and it made me feel needed. I still have zero social skills but feeling like a necessary piece of my organization gave me a rare sense of belonging. I liked that feeling a lot. I really do love my job and even though I have had some not-perfect days, I'm quite grateful for it. Traffic bites every day but I live in a huge city, so it can't be avoided. 
    As I write this, I am parked across the street from my house to watch for my son gathering his things from my front porch. He's threatened to **** me three times now, because I was involved in keeping him away from his daughter. I love him,  but he's MIA while this hideous beast of addiction has him captive. I long for my son back whole, the man he could be, will be, once this horrid beast lets go and is finally damned back to hell. Yet even as I am saddened by this continuing nightmare, I find myself grateful that I have again (and for the last time) found the courage to say enough. 
    So even though I've not eaten a regular meal in days, and my head and heart ache as per normal, I found a scrap of peacefulness in the gratitudes I discovered throughout my weary day. God and I are still at odds right now and I'm still plenty irate with his (perceived as such) indifference to my plight. But my therapist says he's a big guy and he can handle my cursing his designs. And I can live with that, today.
  23. Like
    Atra reacted to JD4010 for a blog entry, R Stands for Regret   
    The first initial of my real name is R. It definitely stands for Regret. I have decades-worth of regret piled up inside my mind.
    It's time for some more self-flagellation:
    I can trace part of the "break up" with my girlfriend to one specific incident. I was with my daughter at a bookstore one morning and my cellphone rang. It was my girlfriend. I quick ran outside to talk with my GF. I don't like talking on my phone in public much anyway. Be that as it may, my GF asked where I was. I told her that I had ducked outside to chat on the phone. She asked if my daughter was with me. I told her that she was inside the bookstore. Then...long silence. We resumed our conversation but it was very strained. At the end, I told her that I loved her and we hung up.
    I got the distinct impression that my GF thought I was hiding our relationship. Well, she was right in a way. I felt weird talking with her around my daughter (who was still living with her mom). This was almost 2 years after the divorce so I should have been more open about the relationship. But I was having one helluva time changing my mindset after 30 years of marriage.
    The relationship between my GF and me ended not too long after that. I simply never heard from her again, even though I tried to get in contact with her via phone, text and email. Almost two years later, I still feel sharp pangs of loss and regret.
    Just one more "coulda woulda shoulda" issue from my past.
  24. Like
    Atra reacted to JD4010 for a blog entry, When the going gets tough...   
    We've had some extremely cold weather for the past several days...low temps dipping down to -27F and highs only around -13F. Most of the city shut down yesterday and this morning. As I watched the weather forecasts leading up to the cold spell, I started feeling some dread and anxiety. I wanted to hole up in my apartment and not set foot outdoors. Then it hit me--what the hell am I thinking? I used to work outside all day in weather like this. I loved it. It was a source of pride to say, "yeah, I chopped holes in the ice on top of cattle watering tanks all morning." I enjoyed the challenge of getting out into the cold.
    As I thought more deeply about it, I realized that I just didn't want to go to work. That's what I was trying to avoid; not the cold. With that realization, I decided to push myself out yesterday and today. I had a great time, in spite of my douchey boss being on my @ss. I rode buses around town yesterday and enjoyed a day where there were very few people out & about. Today is busier but it still feels like a holiday of some sort.
    It felt good to get back in touch with my old self again. I was one of the few people who showed up at the office. There is a sense of accomplishment in that kind of thing. Now, if I could just cope with my boss's douchiness.
  25. Like
    Atra reacted to nhaar for a blog entry, Someday I'll be Saturday night - ward day 10   
    I'll be allright. Yes, I believe in that. 
    Things have gotten much better for me during couple of days. I've been very active. I socialize with other patients, go out for walks and take part in groups.
    Of course it wouldn't necessary apply at home but at least I am doing things to improve my health here in the hospital. I haven't been to home yet but I am going home on weekend. Maybe stay one night. 
    A strange thing happened to me. I haven't been able to listen to music in so long  but now I've made progress and found music very important again. 
    I'm listening to my favorite artist, Bon Jovi. It got me through rough years or my youth so it means so much to me. 
    I haven't been able to cry in months or even years because I've felt so empty. So this thing happened to me that listening to BJ made me cry. And I cried and cried and cried. I got connected to that person I used to be. It was like I was 18 all over again. I felt so lost, helpless, sad and angry. 
    I believe this is significant progress. Something that was locked finally opened. 
    "Hey, man I'm alive I'm takin' each day and night at a time
    I'm feelin' like a Monday but someday I'll be Saturday night" by Bon Jovi
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