Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Summertime Insomnia

I'm so tired. I sporadically sleep.  Maybe an hour or two at a time.  Two if I'm lucky.  Every night it's the same thing.  I go to bed and want to sleep.  I'm tired.  I desire sleep.  I've even started taking short walks and doing other mild exercises during the day to wear myself out so I have to sleep.  I've been in contact with my doctor and had my meds changed several times to accommodate better sleep.  Still, nothing.  Maybe a good night here or there but by and large I'm not sleeping.  There is nothing on my mind.  It's not racing.  There are no thoughts - other than staring at the alarm clock wondering when I'll sleep.  I've even resorted to turning the TV off at night and sleeping in a pitch dark room.  I'm so afraid of the dark it's almost paralyzing so I've always used a TV as a night light.  But now I'm to the point where I welcome the unknown monsters in the dark if it means they will kill me and I'll be able to sleep.  I've completely lost my mind to insomnia.

As I type this I'm listening to Loki sacked out on the couch snoring his heart out twitching his little paws deep in puppy dreams.  I'm jealous.  I'm so tired.  I'm afraid to nap during the day for fear I won't sleep at night - yet I'm not sleeping at night anyway.

That's all for now.  My brain can't handle much more.  Love to all!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Psychology 101

I've always been interested in psychology.  I've taken numerous classes about it.  I love reading about abnormal psychology; diseases like Dissociative Identity Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, all the things they make movies about.  I have been deeply interested in these topics since I went to my first psychologist at age 10.  I've always wanted to know what makes people tick.  Why they do the things they do.  Until I recently realized, for me, it is all a bunch of bullshit.

I've been in and out of therapy for nearly 30 years.  I've been diagnosed with Severe Depression - inability to cope with life.  I've been depressed my whole life I guess, and never truly happy.  Then we moved to the most surreal place, with a lake and nature and quiet.  I've been able to reflect and think and I've actually become quite happy and content with my life (obviously except for the days I'm a total Crohn's or Fibromyalgia patient.  That's always there.)  So I'm happy now.  Things started clicking in my brain and making sense for the first time. The fog lifted. I want to be outside and enjoy nature, (if this daft Ohio weather ever turns warm for more than five minutes.) I want to paint different rooms in our new home.  I want to cook dinner for my family and talk with my husband.  I want to know what my daughter is doing in school.  I want to be there for my nieces who are both about to have new babies.  I'm genuinely interested in life for the first time in as long as I can remember.  I look forward to getting up in the morning (okay, most days - let's not get crazy here!)  My mind wanders at night about things I want to do the next day.  I feel happy.  This is happiness.  It's not that I don't have worries because I do.  Those are always there, just not so prominent in my thinking anymore.  I mean seriously, I live in a place where most people go to for a weekend getaway or a vacation.  It's bliss!

But then, I saw my psychiatrist.  I told her how I was feeling.  I said I felt better.  The depression was there but not so pronounced.  Not so much of a black cloud hanging over me.  I feel I can breathe.  I told her I had creative ideas flooding my brain instead of doom and gloom thoughts and was excited to think about everything I could do.  And I might have noticed I was talking a bit faster than normal.  She wrote me a prescription for Depakote and diagnosed me with bipolar disorder!  I shouldn't feel this way apparently.  Happy is wrong.  So fine, I played the game and took the Depakote.  For two straight weeks I didn't care about anything.  I was fighting with myself to get out of bed.  I stopped doing everything and didn't even give it a second thought.  I was miserable and angry and all I wanted to do was be left alone a sleep.  Except I couldn't sleep.  For two weeks I got about three hours of very broken sleep a night.  I called the doctor and explained that I felt worse on the medication.  I felt depressed and wasn't sleeping.  I was angry all the time and felt frustrated.  And then the reality of psychiatry became clear.

I was told I was only irritable and angry because I wasn't sleeping and I needed to continue the medicine.  I was taken off of an antidepressant to go on the Depakote and now the doctor wanted to add a small does of that same medicine back into the regimen to help me sleep.  It wasn't helping me sleep before at the high dose so what was a smaller dose going to do?  I could not wrap my head around why I was supposed to continue a medication that made me feel like crap and restart taking a medication I had to stop, in order to start taking the new medication.  What the heck was this doctor trying to do to me?  My bliss was gone.  She took it away with two little pills, just like that.  And I was supposed to feel like that.  Except I didn't.  I stopped taking the Depakote altogether because I hated it.  I finally had a taste of true freedom in happiness and I didn't want to ever go back again.  I did restart the antidepressant I was on at the lower dose and I feel great.  My happy is back.

Until I have to go see the psychiatrist again in a few weeks and then I really will look like I'm bipolar because I stopped taking the bipolar pills.  Typical bipolar - quit taking your meds.  It's a horrible never ending cycle. And now, even writing this post I feel like it's one big, run-on bipolar thought put into sentences.  I have a complex about my behavior and trying to explain why I may not actually be bipolar.  Why is being happy and having ideas and creativity and excitement about things a bad thing?  I've waited my whole life to feel this way emotionally.  Everyone always said that one day things will get better and I finally feel like they have gotten better.  But because of psychology I am not supposed to feel this way?  I don't think so.  I declare shenanigans.

Upon all of this revelation, I started thinking about all the therapy I've had in my life.  My husband and I figured it up and I've seen, at least, 12 different psychiatrists/psychologists/therapists in the last 30 years.  I explained to him that I've always had to talk about the same thing with every one of them.  Nothing can be looked at in my life that is currently happening to me because, well, my father died when I was 15 after an extended illness.  Apparently, even though I feel fine about it, psychology says I'm not over it.  Here's the typical conversation in every therapy session I have ever had - verbatim:

Therapist:  Tell me about your childhood.  Did any major events happen while you were a child?

Me:  Typical childhood, I guess.  My dad died when I was fifteen.  I have a awesome step dad though.

Therapist:  Tell me about your dad.

Me:  I don't remember much other than he was sick for about six years with MS and then he died.

Therapist:  I think we need to explore this more

Me:  Why?  That's not the issue.  I'm more concerned about my life with my husband and child and my own health.

Therapist:  This all stems back to you not being able to cope with your father's death.  You need to work through it.

Me:  I have.  I'm good.

Therapist:  You're in denial.  You haven't coped with your father's death.

Me:  I don't want to talk about my dad.  He's dead.  It's over.  I'm good about it.

Therapist:  You're not over it.

Me: When will I be over it? How long will it take?  It's been damn near 25 years.

Therapist:  It's up to you.

Really. Every time, without fail they all want to stick with this.  So they bring up all the crap from my childhood that is totally irrelevant now and I haven't thought about in years. Yes, thinking about my dad dying might bring a tear to my eye but that doesn't mean I'm not over it.  But they don't see it that way.  More therapy, more drugs, more money.  I think I'm over psychology.


***DISCLAIMER - This post is about my personal experience and how I personally feel.  I do not - in any way - mean to say that there are not real people with real bipolar/depression/mania/etc... who need psychological help.  There are those that do.  And psychology does work and is needed in some cases.  But after 30 years, I think I've done my time and I'm done with it.  I'm just saying. ***

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Best Crohn's Blogs of 2015

We did it again! 
 
Jenni's Guts is one of Healthline's Best Crohn's Blogs of 2015!!! 
 
 THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!
 
Check them all out HERE!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Crohn's and IBS - A Duel at Sundown.

While laying in bed not sleeping at 3:30am, I decided maybe I should blog about my multiple intestinal diagnoses.  It might be a thing other people need to know about.

Currently, I have active Crohn's disease in my colon.  I used to have it in my small intestine and colon intersection but now it's moved lower into the colon.  Crohn's is bad.  Hence the blog.  But I also have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).  Kinda the same but totally not.  Treatment for these two conditions are the total opposite from each other.  One you avoid fiber and anything with a consistency more than applesauce, the other you need fiber to make you feel better and for your guts to work right.  But it will kill you if you take fiber and eat fiber and try the whole fiber thing if you have Crohn's.  So you can see having both is a total win win scenario.  Ok not really.

How do I know what's causing the problem?  Easy, I don't.  Never know.  Hard to tell.  Although when the Crohn's is in remission and you are having gut problems it's probably the IBS.  But it could be the Crohn's flaring so it's best to get nine million invasive tests that may or may not show anything, but do allow you to drink things off the periodical table of elements.  Seriously.  It's a crap shoot basically.

The two different illnesses cause mostly the same symptoms for me.  Crohn's brings a lot of pain and diarrhea.  IBS brings a different kind of pain and diarrhea - constipated diarrhea.  You know, the kind where you have to go but you can't really make anything come out but your butthole is on fire and you know you are going to explode any minute but you're afraid to because you know it's going to burn like fire because you butthole is already burning from the molten lava that won't come out.  Yea, that's constipated diarrhea.  Much different from regular diarrhea where you just spew forth like an erupting volcano that has no shut off valve and can come any time, even if you're not ready.  Like when you are sound asleep.  Yea, that's fun.

The pain is different also.  Crohn's pain for me is a deep stabbing, achy pain that lasts and lasts.  It feels like your insides are burning and I'm lucky because my Crohn's pain radiates from my stomach all the way through my back.  My IBS pain is somewhat bloaty and crampy pain.  Muscle spasms that hit you out of nowhere.  However, I could be totally off base and have them mixed up.  Who knows.

As you can see, trying to manage both problems is a problem.  It's hard, and I know a lot of people who have Inflammatory Bowel Disease also suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  It doesn't seem fair we get hit with a double whammy.

More exciting topics to come.  I thought of a million since I couldn't sleep.  Here's hoping I remember them all! 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Do the Survey for Crohn's Research!!

Please fellow Crohnies...

Do this survey I got from my buddy over at Crohnological Order,  so they can gather the latest information about what it's like to live with Crohn's.  The more information they get, the better our future healthcare will be!!  CLICK HERE for survey.  I did mine and I thank you for doing yours!!

Much love,
Jenni

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Suicide

I've struggle with severe depression since I was about 12 years old.  I have been hospitalized three times for depression.  The most recent time I was in the hospital was last year after a suicide attempt.  I held a gun to my head and pulled the trigger. 

I wanted to die.  I just didn't want to be anymore.  I knew, not just thought - I knew, my family would be better off without me.  My husband would have my life insurance so money wouldn't be an issue anymore.  My daughter would be better off without my inconsistent mood swings.  She could have a normal life  My mother wouldn't have to worry about my frantic, sobbing, complaining phone calls.  Life would be so much better without me.  It wasn't just feelings. I knew it as fact in my head.  It was a relief for me to think of dying because it was my only way out. 

My depression had taken me to a place that was not only dark and scary, but it fed me lies about myself and my reality.  No amount of talking to me would make a difference.  It only made me feel more like dying when I was told if I killed myself my family would be devastated.  The way I understood it was if I lived they would have to deal with me being so sick and disturbed forever.  But if I died their pain would only last a little while and then their lives would go on. 

Thankfully, the gun was not loaded, and all I felt was this enormous sense of stupidity.  I couldn't even kill myself right. I was too dumb to know the gun wasn't loaded.  This brought on a different kind of depression.  A more desperate depression and a feeling of complete brokenness.  

Now, I am glad that the gun wasn't loaded.  I'm glad I'm living.  But it isn't always that easy for me.  And it isn't always that easy for so many others suffering from depression and/or other mental illness.

I recently came across this website - Speaking of Suicide, promoted by this Facebook page I follow called Suicide Shatters.  They posted an article about what NOT to say to a person who says they want to kill themselves.  I've heard every one of these things and none of them helped me.  No matter what anyone said I could always justify why suicide was the only answer. Please read this so you know what not to say, and what to say, to a suicidal person. 

Read article here.  It takes five minutes.  It could help you save a life.
10 Things Not To Say To A Suicidal Person

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Food and Crohn's

A lot of people have commented on my blog with questions and suggestions about my diet.  Some diets work well for some and not others - this is obvious.  But for me it's a roll of the dice mostly.  Due to the fact that I can eat something one time and it doesn't bother me, then the next time I eat it, it can tear me up.  Every day is a new adventure, but I have found that some foods that are almost always ok or almost always not okay.  Plus, I am a very picky eater.  I don't like a lot of things and just recently added bananas to my diet.  I went for years and wouldn't even taste one.   That's why I cannot and do not follow any certain, specific diet.  I just don't like what's offered in most diets.

Well, what do I eat?  Here's my list:

Generally Good and Safe Foods
Potatoes
Rice
Couscous
Noodles
Crackers
Apples
Bananas
Cantaloupe
Kiwi
Strawberries
Cheese
Chicken
Fish
Beef
Pork
Chicken noodle soup
Luncheon meats - turkey/chicken/ham/bologna
Carrots
Avocados
Humus

Foods I can only sometimes eat
Spaghetti (sauce)
Pizza (sauce)
Taco seasoned meats
Yogurt
Milk
Iced Cream
Bread
Eggs
Tomato Soup
Popcorn
Lettuce/salad
Broccoli
Cauliflower
Corn
Refried beans
Chinese food
Fast food
Fried food
Chocolate

Do not eat unless you want to pay for it foods
Onions/Peppers (I don't like them anyway)
Anything spicier than mashed potatoes
Chili
Oats
Granola
Nuts
Pop/Soda
Cream sauces

That's a brief, right off the top of my head list.  I'll probably add to it. Now you know what I do/do not and can/cannot eat. 

HAPPY EATING!