Tag: Medication

My Mind Wanders…and wanders, still

My Mind Wanders…and wanders, still

Once again I’m plagued with my mind wandering, flitting from place to place with thoughts that jump like a small bird hopping from branch to branch. And yes, my mind wonders too however for whatever reason todays stroll though nothingness is prevalent.

It was the normal beginning to the day, slowly waking and not wanting to rise. At least I don’t wake angry as so often used to be the case BM (before meds). I do thank the antidepressant medication for that.

I wake but don’t want to be awake, I want to drift back into nothingness, to dreamland where life is simple with no expectations of me nor responsibilities to carry. At times it feels like the ‘awakeness’ is a cross I’d prefer not to bear. Life is so much simpler and enjoyable when I’m asleep.

Regardless of my desires I realize the need to get up so I slowly crawl out of bed, being careful not to disturb my wife who has likely just gotten under the covers a short time before. She has her own sleep issues, dissimilar to mine, perhaps more serious. I pull on some clothes and quietly leave the room, off to take care of whatever morning business requires taking care of.

A glass of water, my vitamins and pills, perhaps a banana, are next. I’ll sit and mindlessly attempt to watch the morning news, likely cruising around the ‘net on my iPad or phone at the same time. After a short while I’ll get off the couch and brew some coffee and prepare more food. This time a muffin, cereal, or toast. I’m too lazy and unmotivated to make a real, healthy breakfast. This is my life, at least the morning portion of it.

The last few days however I’ve shut off the tv earlier and moved outside. My front porch is the preferred location these days with the back porch being equally as nice but in closer proximity to the passing road. We are separated from the street by green and and a nice enough concrete fence but the noise from passing vehicles knows no boundaries and it pushes me away to a quieter locale. The front is cooler as well this time of morning, in fact today I wanted my hoodie.

I grabbed my 2nd cup of coffee and my colouring book and felts and proceeded outdoors. My wife got me an adult colouring book filled with mandelas and today that was my art project of choice. I have others but the last few days it’s been this. Any of the art related projects, photography included, were all supported by Elly. As a counselor Art Therapy was a big part of her toolkit and she introduced me to it. The colouring is therapeutic and also somewhat mindless however my thoughts continued to run rampant in my head. Perhaps writing will help, hence my visit here.

While the wondering continued I did wander about ADD or some other, similar, mental illness. Let’s throw that into the mix too while we’re at it. Perhaps it’s not (only) depression that is my illness, it may well be there are other factors at play. I’ve never been diagnosed with such, other than my own armchair diagnosis, but it does make me think (more).

We had a young friend come for a visit last night, the daughter of friends, and she has suffered with ADD or ADHD much of her life. She explained some of her symptoms and those of her friends who also suffer. Symptoms such as unfocussed thoughts, inability to selectively work on tasks, procrastination, etc.. These are of course not necessarily definitive symptoms, certainly not saying they have some mental illness, but they are most certainly some traits I feel I have. I’ve often wondering if ADD (or similar) is part of my repertoire.

Regardless I work with what I got, I ‘dance with the guy that brung me’. I have good days and days not as good. I try to find things that help my mind settle, to slow a mind that wanders, and wanders still.

Oh, My lil’Buddy

Oh, My lil’Buddy

Oh my lil’Buddy, how my heart aches, for you! You are struggling and we are struggling with you.

Our pain is for my grandson, Madden. He was recently diagnosed with ADHD and was prescribed medication for it. I know nothing about the various drug therapies but of course we all hoped this would be put him well on the way to having a somewhat ‘normal’ life, without the angst and stresses associated with the disease. He showed signs of calmness almost immediately and steadily improved to the point where he was ready for the next step, an increase in his meds. That’s where the train came off the tracks.

While he took his meds easily and without question when it was 1 pill it quickly became a problem when there was 2. The issue wasn’t the swallowing it seemed but more that he just decided he wasn’t going to do it anymore. So, it stopped.

Now most people ask “well, how does he get to decide?”, and they are correct, In a way. When you have a child with a strong will though, as he certainly does, you don’t just easily tell him what to do. If he decides he doesn’t want to take the pill(s) there is little you can do. You can’t really force it down his throat, you can’t hold him and put it in his mouth. You can try to mix with food or drink etc. but due to the slow release nature of this medication you can’t crush or otherwise change the form of the pill. In essence you are stuck. And striking or spanking is not a solution.

This has of course caused, or contributed to, a significant deterioration of his behaviour. Where he was much calmer before and relating to other kids he has now become somewhat aggressive and is frequently bouncing off the walls. His relationship to his parents, to me, and even to his Gram is strained, and his Gram has always been someone who has always been in his court unwaveringly. She now struggles against (what seems to her) to be the giving up of all those around Madden. While we haven’t given up we all have our limits, and mine in particular has been breached.

It has gotten to the point where even at daycare he is becoming unwelcome. Sally, the daycare provider, has also been one of his staunch supporters and even she is reaching her limits. The other day he was given a time-out due to his actions, so he sat there alone while other kids were being taken home. If I had to guess I’d say it was not only embarrassing but perhaps even humiliating, but then I know nothing of a 5 year old’s psyche.

Oh, my lil’buddy! My heart aches.

And We’re Off

And We’re Off

Posted on

And, here we go again, again an endless series of mundane thoughts and senseless drivel. It ain’t so bad though, it’s my thoughts and my drivel. You have the choice to take it or leave it.

Of course I’d always prefer you take it, that’s the point isn’t it?

Life has been, well, shall we say continuous. That too is a good thing. I’ve been in and out of town and actually accomplishing things on the home front. My new meds Citalopram seem to have taken hold and turned my ambition level around. That in itself is a good thing, a really good thing if it holds.

We just got back from visiting our daughter who just gave birth to a baby girl, Ivy, only 2 weeks ago tomorrow. I spent the week prior and the week after the birth at their place helping wherever possible. My wife, much to her dismay, had to come home to work. Sucks to be her. I do feel for her though, that was me prior to retirement.

She is cute too, Ivy I mean. Of course my wife also cute, that goes without saying. We miss her already and have only been away a day. I have pictures to remind me though, lots of pictures. And photos of Madden too. He’s also in my thoughts. I love them all, what can I say. I’m a sucker for grandkids.

Here we go again

Here we go again

Originally posted on

I think “Here We Go Again” is a title of an old song, can’t be sure though and it really doesn’t matter. In this sense it only means here I go, putting up another very late post.

I see it’s not been since January of this year that I visited here to write. I’m surprised! My my, where does the time go?

I’ve been active and there are many things that have happened around me. Perhaps no more than to the average bear but they were, of course, significant to me. Mostly it’s just life stuff.

One thing of note was that since my last post I’ve gone back on the ‘juice’. Now before you get all confused or concerned you must realize the ‘juice’ in this context is an anti-depression medication, in this case Citalopram. Last year I was on Mirtazapine but in my wisdom I chose to get off the meds and see how things turned out. Not too well evidently.

After stopping the Mirts I did not become suicidal or anything close to that self destructive, it was more a case of low moods and and a frequent sadness I couldn’t seem to avoid. In fact, as I told my doctor, I would often get very teary and emotional during commercials on tv. I short I was very often low. This didn’t happen immediately but became more pronounced over time. In a nutshell I was not better, more help was needed, but I persevered.

In January we went to Okotoks to our niece’s. That’s where we had gone to visit during our annual get-away and where I last posted  Typically we go somewhere away from our city to just be away, to regroup and recharge. January is the month our son died so since then, Jan. of 2000, we either take a week in our time-share or perhaps we go to visit kin. In this case the kin won. It was a nice visit, a good escape. I had no overt depression or anxiety but my sadness lingered.

During that same month my Mother moved out of our basement suite where she had lived for a 7 or so years. She and my step-Father had moved in when they found the challenges of living alone, away from town, a challenge. My step-Father Larry unfortunately passed away a few years ago just after his 80th birthday but my Mom stayed with us. Now, through a series of outside circumstance, she felt moving to Langley was the best choice for her and her siblings so she took on the challenge of moving and went to the big city. I supported her move and still do. It is her call and I think I can appreciate her reasons.

Since her move we have spent time refurbishing the suite in hopes of attracting another good tenant. I won’t belabour the point but all went quite well and in the end we gained my (ex) brother-in-law Jake as a new ‘person under the stairs’. I could likely write volumes about the dynamics of him and his wife (and her family) but I won’t. I would like cause you some disbelief and wonderment about how these kinds of relationships could even take place. Maybe not though, I guess they are on reality tv all the time.

But I digress. After our foray away and my Mom’s move I just reached the point where I knew a change was needed. Don’t misunderstand, my situation was neither caused nor exacerbated by either our trip, the timing, nor my Mom’s leaving. They were only pointers in time, the inevitable return to medication was evident by that point.

After our return home a visit to my doctor supported my diagnosis, he determined I was depressed and had a higher degree of anxiety than ‘normal’. A regime of anti-depressants were again prescribed. In consult with the doctor we decided to try the Citalopram as I felt the Mirtazapine did not hold up it’s end of the bargain and let me down after some time. This became more evident as I re-read my paper journal and saw a decline in my moods over time. Another reason I had chosen to stop the Mirts. The Citalopram would also apparently help with any anxiety.

At any rate here we are. After being on the Cital since Jan. 28th I feel better once again. Not so much something you may be able to see but more an even-ess and stability of mood. I have more motivation and am getting some things done. I do hope it continues. My sleep has improved and although I dream crazy dreams now it is more restful. A drawback to the Citalopram is a tiredness during mid morning but I may change when I take my dose to dinnertime and the drowsiness may abate.

So in that sense I hope the tagline “Here we go again” is a positive one and I don’t find myself regressing over time. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

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Dad, Dad, Dad

Dad, Dad, Dad

We met with Dad yesterday, my wife and I.  I had my girl call his girl and we did lunch.

First we had to see his doctor.  That was the result of a call I got from Colleen the other day. She is one of the care aides at his “village”.  She relayed to me that Dad is having more pain at night now and I guess he’s buzzing the aides at night trying to get another Tylenol.

He still doesn’t quite seem to understand the fact that there are no pills to get.  At this stage, living in an Assisted Living facility, any medications he has been prescribed can only be given to him if they have been put into blister packs by the pharmacy. There are no meds of any kind that can be taken, or given, on an as needed or as requested basis.  This is to prevent residents from self administering, or perhaps preventing other residents from “helping someone out” by providing meds.  Any and all medications are also kept under lock and key, accessible only by the aides.

Both the doctors visit and lunch went well, although he is still easily confused during professional visits.  He has challenges hearing even with his hearing aids and unless the questions are put slowly and with some volume he has trouble understanding.  I find I often interject and sometimes I think it’d be better if I just kept my mouth shut.  It’s good for him to converse with others and it’s equally important that the professionals talk to him.  Often I find they will pose their questions to me, but that further alienates Dad from the conversation.

We were fortunate in this instance as the doctor speaks easily to Dad and he seems to like her.  She prescribed an additional Tylenol 3 for his nightly meds and hopefully that will keep him pain free through the night.

Lunch was our typical event, conversations circled around family members and what they are up to.  I questioned him as to which of his sisters he has chatted with and whether my sister has called.

Sometimes he’ll come up with some nugget of info that we have no clue as to it’s significance.  As an example a few weeks ago he asked me to guess who he saw in the mall.  When I couldn’t come up with the answer he told me it was Larry and Ida.  Well blow me over.  Both have passed away, Ida some 25 years ago and Larry 2 years ago.  When I mentioned this to him he said it must’ve been his son then.  It’s hard to tell what’s the early dementia and what is just an honest mistake.

Photo 2011-12-12 5 38 53 PMHe seems to enjoy lunch with me though and will often want to pay.  I allow him to most times and while it could be seen as taking advantage of him I believe it makes him feel good.  He sees it as repaying me for my efforts in making his appointments and catering to his various needs.  He has little in the way of outings and has no means to do something for someone else either.  Here he can take his “boy” out.

“How pleasant it is for a father to sit at his child’s board. It is like an aged man reclining under the shadow of an oak which he has planted.” -Sir Walter Scott

I have to remind myself he won’t be here forever either.  This time with him will end, sooner rather than later.  Even though I lament his frequent idiosyncrasies it is often part of our aging process.  Whether I like it or not I may be in that situation at some point myself.  At that point it may be my daughter taking care of me, and she will be saying “Dad, Dad, Dad”.  Lord help me.

I Think I’m Feelin’ Better

I Think I’m Feelin’ Better

I think I’m over the mood hump, I hope so, pretty sure I’m feeling better.

The days have cooled down a touch to the mid 30’s, that Celsius folks, and while it is still pretty hot outside we have gained control over the temperature inside the house.  At least somewhat anyway.  Most of this is accomplished by the judicious use of window blinds (outside of the windows preferably), and the opening and closing of doors and windows at the optimum times (temperature and direction dependent).  Doing that we can keep the inside of the house at the mid to high 20’s.  Still not “cool” but certainly cooler than outside.

We’ve never had an air conditioner and I’m beginning to think one would be a good investment.  It would be one of those things you wouldn’t use often but when you want it you REALLY want it.  Still something we are pondering.

Whether the weather (cool play on words huh) was the key to my slump or just one of many factors I don’t know but realizing my past experiences (read that as moody bastard) I would suspect it wasn’t the only one.  Why I seem to experience this swing of moods might be something a team of doctors could look into but my team isn’t available right now and they aren’t returning calls.

I shouldn’t have to look far for the answer to this quandary as the more I think about it, the more I go back in time to the earlier stages of my diagnosis, the more clear the answer to the question becomes.  Could it really be…….just the depression?

If I look back in my handwritten journal, even perhaps some of my earlier posts, I would clearly see one of the benefits I noticed after beginning the meds was the “even-ness” of my moods, a more level experience of life without the ups and downs of good days and bad.  In short I felt better.  It’s just that I don’t want to be on ANY meds, the taking of drugs itself or the having to take drugs is what I think I rally against.  Dumb perhaps, but it’s how I feel.  I think nothing of medicating myself with a drink or two, that is somehow ok, but having to be on medication to be normal?  That hurts me.  What fickle beings we are.

As I sit here in the shade on my deck, the cool breeze wafting through and tickling the wind chimes, I become sad.  This is one of my happy places and yet I feel low, depressed in mood and energy, lacking the full enjoyment of my place or lot in life.  An unfortunate state of affairs.

But I can do something about it, and I will.  If nothing else I will get up and go for a walk.  Exercise is something that’s been lacking in my routine lately.  I’ll do it, here I go, I’m feelin’ better already.

The Call Has Been Made, All in Favor?

The Call Has Been Made, All in Favor?

I’ve made the call, the decreased dosage of my meds will begin.  I will drop down to taking one 15 mg pill a day, against the better judgement of my wife.

This is not a decision I’m making without any consideration of the potential outcome.  I know full well the possible negative side effects, however I am going to do it in consultation with my Doctor (may be after the fact that’s all).

From what I’ve read there have been some real horror stories of withdrawal, ranging from increased anxiety to nausea and sleep issues.  Sleep problems were one of the reasons this medication was chosen for me to begin with, in addition to the depression of  course.  I feel much better now though and sleep like a log.

We’ll see how it goes, I’ll try to keep you posted.

Ennui, Now there’s a Word

Ennui, Now there’s a Word

I just “re” learned a word, “ennui”, meaning (from the Free Dictionary) “a listlessness and dissatisfaction, resulting from lack of interest; boredom”.  That pretty much sums up my state of affairs, I’m ennuied.

photo from http://workplacepsychology.net
photo from http://workplacepsychology.net

Nothing much has changed here since my last post (yesterday), there has been no discussion nor questions by my Manager as to what I’m doing or when I’m doing it.  I’m operating in a vacuum on that side.  I told myself that I would try to maintain an ongoing diary of my last days so this is my purpose in posting this drivel, Some day I’ll be able to look back and gain a understanding of my past life.  I don’t know if this can help anyone else but who knows.

I have actually considered making another appointment with my counselor, I haven’t seen her for quite a while and there have been a few changes in my life, most notably a grandson and imminent retirement.  Neither of these were at hand when we last met and I think she’d be interested.  I’ve also changed the dosage on my meds (self adjusted as it were) and that may be of interest to her as well.  She was the one who suggested I write, not a blog mind you but in a paper journal.  So here I am.  I’m also thinking retirement may help me keep my mood on track and my hope is to get off drugs all together.  The whole mood thing has me a bit baffled and is it just my sunny (or otherwise) disposition or some other chemi/psycho issue.  Mostly I just think I’m weird but the verdict could be out on that.

My writing was initially a means to an end, a way to track my progress and if I developed any readership then my postings may mean something to them.  We all want to help others, right?  So I’ve blogged, sometimes faithfully and sometimes periodically, and found I’ve enjoyed it.  It’s helped me avoid some boredom, I’m less indifferent, it’s given me a bit of a purpose different than family and outside of household repairs.  Soon I can focus solely on all these things.  I’ll be de-Ennuied.

Dad's Day is Here Again

Dad's Day is Here Again

Today is a “Dad” day, where I will pick him up and we will do something.  In this case it’s his Eye Specialist appointment, and we’ve only been waiting for a couple months.  I shouldn’t make it sound like a negative thing, I guess here in BC waiting for specialists of any kind is commonplace and to expect otherwise would be hopeful.  I had to rattle the optometrists cage a bit in order to get the referral, they said the appropriate documentation was sent from their end but it seemed an inordinate amount before I could get a confirmation from the specialist.  At any rate it is done now and we will get his eyes checked this afternoon.

Afterwards we will meet with my wife and we’ll do the dinner thing.  It’s been a while since she’s seen Dad, she’s just busy with other things when my other Dad visits come around.  We both want to try and maximize our visits with him, hard to say how much longer we’ll have him.

I’m curious as to which direction the specialist will go with Dad, being as he’s 81.  One position could be to say “hey, he’s 81 and had a good life, why do anything”, but a more humane or human direction would be to say “hey, he’s 81 and had a good life, let’s fix him up and make the last years better”.  Stay tuned for the answer in the next episode.

I’ve been feeling a bit better now my medication dosage has been bumped up.  Still not up to where I was a couple months ago, from a feelins’ and emotions point of view, but better than a week or 2 ago.  Is it the meds or is it something else, like weather, diet, lack of exercise or daylight?  I just know I felt pretty shitty emotionally, wanting to cry at times and generally unhappy.  Hell of a way to live.

I see Gloria, my therapist, tomorrow.  I don’t know what we’ll talk about, perhaps we’ll discuss the online quiz I took about “My Top Strengths”, from the book “Strengths Finder 2.0”.  I don’t recall if I mentioned them previously but the results came out to “Connectedness, Intellection, Empathy, Individualization, and Strategic”.  I’m not sure what I think of the results, nor could I explain them in 20 words or less, but it was an interesting process to complete and hopefully I can take one nugget from it….

So bottom line there’s nothing profound to report, I wish I could say something you’d go “Wow” about but not today.  Stay tuned for further revelations.