Tag: Meds

Recalibation Required

Recalibation Required

I’m in a quandary, but then you that know me will say “so what else is new?” I believe a re-calibration is required, ‘How’ is the question, the  ‘why’ not so much.

I won’t belabor the point so I’ll cut to the chase.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about this blog lately, in fact I talked about it a little in a previous post called Moving Forward, and a number of others. I guess the bottom line, where the rubber hits the road, is that I no longer believe I am suffering from depression. Whether I’m kidding myself who’s to say. This is my story and I’m sticking to it.

Perhaps I am deluding myself, maybe this is somewhat symptomatic of the illness where one feels healed  and so takes on their previous life without medication only to find they are not as ‘well’ as they thought. I suspect a relapse may be a result, quick or otherwise.

Or, maybe, people such as myself think they are fine but their partner or those close to them indicate that the diagnosis is still valid, they are still exhibiting outward signs of the mental illness. I asked, this doesn’t seem to be the case with me.

In fact I asked me wife that very question this morning.

“Have you seen any changes in me lately, some indications that my moods or personality has changed?’

She pondered the question for a moment and then replied,

“No, I don’t thinks so. If I’ve seen any changes is you it’s been only since you’ve retired.”

Well, that supports my perception of the situation as well.

What brought that question up was a deep conversation I had with a friend a few nights ago. He, Dan, has been diagnosed with depression for more than 4 years, and has been on at least 2 different medications. After taking pills for the first year or so he determined he felt better, and as such he wanted to distance himself from the meds. To stop taking them seemed to be the logical solution. Whether he tapered off or went cold turkey I’m not sure, fact is he quit. (Interesting topic for a conversation isn’t it, not sports, not women, but depression meds. Such is my life)

Shortly after that his wife asked him specifically if he was still taking his meds. He was surprised, and answered No, he had stopped some time before. She replied that she thought so, there were changes in him that led her to think that.

Hmm, I thought, I wonder if similar changes have been seen in me? Thus the question to my wife, and in this case No, she hasn’t seen a noticeable change or regression in me.

Back to the topic at hand, is a re-calibration required? I was going to say ‘should I rethink my blog’ but that horse is already out of the barn. So what kind of changes, if any, should I undertake, or do I leave things well enough alone?

Should I even continue to blog, period? Should I continue to write but choose another topic(s), and alter the Theme, Name and/or tagline? How about starting a new blog, with a different frame of reference or mindset behind it?

Maybe a photography blog, perhaps just a blog where I can write and continue with thoughts that hold little interest to the general populace. You know, kinda like it is now LOL.

But enough of the self-important, self-indulgent prattle, I think a change is in order and it’s only a matter of  How, or what.

These are the questions I am struggling with. Is a re-calibration required, and assuming Yes, then in what direction?

I’d be pleased to hear any input from followers.

Away, But Not Gone

Away, But Not Gone

I am here, but not. Wanting but not having. Feeling but not saying. Alone but not lonely.
– me

I feel upside down sometimes, need change
I feel upside down sometimes, need change

It’s been some time since my last post. This sounds suspiciously like the preamble to a confession, where I enter the confessional and spill my sordid deeds to the priest. Tisn’t though.  First off I’m not Catholic and don’t really believe confessing my sins to another man carries any weight. My sins are between me and my God, or whatever Deity you may choose to believe in. But that’s just me, you have your beliefs and I have mine.

No, it’s only my ‘confession’ to you, my loyal readers.  Those that chose to follow my ramblings, to see where this lunatic would take you, and perhaps get the odd chuckle or maybe a thought provoking idea.  I love you for that, I truly do.  My confession today is about my blogging.

I know I’ve been remiss.  Many times I grabbed my laptop, or my iPhone, and thought “you know, I should post something”.  The rubber never hit the road, as they say, I never followed through with the thought.  Hope was not a plan.

I am ok though, I haven’t had a fall nor fallen ill.  I’ve just been busy, and where I realize you should never be too busy to write I guess the drive to do that, to write, just carried less weight than the other things going on in my life.  In actuality I’ve been feeling pretty good.  I’m still on a reduced dosage of my meds and looking to get off completely in a month or so (whenever I run out of pills). No, I’ve been busy with ‘life’.

We just got back from Hawaii, my wife and I, along with our daughter and her family.  We were enjoying the sun and surf, sightseeing, bonding (maybe too much bonding), and just generally trying to relax.  I took just over 650 photos, most of my grandson Madden, and have all those to deal with yet. What a problem to have.

Also just prior to our departure on Nov.29th I purchased a domain name and began setting up a website.  Since our return I’ve been fixated on getting that to a point where I feel ok with it, and then I began setting up an online gallery for all my photos.  This required more software acquisition, installation, and set up.  I’ve also become reacquainted with some family members and have had my interest in genealogy rekindled.  So many things to do, so little time.

So the long and short of it is that my focus has been oriented toward ‘other’ of my many interests.  Somehow in this cornucopia of things I like to do I still need to find that balance, a moderation of all things enjoyable.  Til then I deal with my passions in the only way I know how, to try and do them all.

Cheers

A New Med Regime Is In Order

A New Med Regime Is In Order

I’m dropping the meds, well not dropping my medication totally just dropping the dosage.

When I was first diagnosed with depression the doctor put me on 30mg of Mirtazapine, an antidepressant with the added benefit of being a sleep aide. In addition to my feeling emotionally crappy I had also been having trouble sleeping consistently.  Subsequent to that we raised it to 45 mg as I felt had stopped making progress, maybe I had even regressed a bit.  In hindsight I wonder if any of it was true.

20121019-233653.jpgA number of months ago I lowered my dosage back to 30 mg and then some time after that down ever further to 15 mg. This was after I had left work, not retired officially but was in the process of burning all my vacation and banked time.  I was feeling better and whether the decision was right or wrong I wanted to get off the “juice”.  My wife questioned my decision.

A few days ago I reduced the dosage down even further to 1/2 of one of the 15 mg tablets, or 7 mg +or-.  Only time and the stability of my disposition will tell whether that was prudent or not.  And these changes are all without the doctors advice or knowledge.  Again whether right or wrong I can’t say.

I still maintain my “depression” was more situational than psychological and upon further reading on a number of topics I also now wonder if emotional intensity is a factor.  Certainly the symptoms jive with my mood swings and their intensity but more reading will be in order before I can definitively say.

I guess the bottom line, or where the rubber meets the road, is where I’m at emotionally, how my mental health progresses.  That is what it’s all about isn’t it?  In that regard I’ve been feeling quite good lately, maybe even very good. Hearing myself say those words scares me though, like I’m waiting for the other foot to fall. I’m expecting some imminent decline in my mood or mental health. I’m thinking the doldrums must be around the corner because this is too good to be true.

What is around the corner is winter and with it the shorter days and less sunlight. To compound the seasonal issues we live in a river valley at the confluence of two rivers. One of those is a bit warmer and the mixture of the two, combined with turbulence from the nearby dams makes for very foggy mornings.  A double-whammy, seasonal change and weather fluctuations.

The lack of sunlight has been detrimental to me before and as a means to cope with it, to mitigate the dreary days, I was using a SAD light. This was after a doctor’s suggestion that I had Seasonal Affective Disorder (SADs).  I saw significant improvement in my moods after eating my breakfast in front of the light.  I was no longer as tired later in the day and my sweet tooth shrank to where a large bowl of ice cream at 9 pm was no longer a requirement.  On the whole I felt much better.

I haven’t used the SAD light in a couple years now.  Instead I now take a fish-oil supplement, an Omega 3 capsule, and have begun increasing my intake of vitamin D.  Both these changes seem to have helped me and the last time I tried the light I didn’t feel as much of an improvement.

Of course I am maintaining the supplement regime, I sleep better, my diet’s improved, and I’m putting concerted effort into improving my exercise schedule.  All these are good things and I’m “hoping” they are enough to keep me well.  I know “hope is not a plan” however I’m optimistic my new meds regime won’t backfire.

Wish me luck, please.

Fall Back, The Colours are Upon Us

Fall Back, The Colours are Upon Us

I hate to admit it but I think our summer is over. The fall colours are showing and autumn is on the cusp.  The days are noticeably shorter and while it’s still amazingly gorgeous here in the Kootenay’s I can’t help but feel just a little sad.  I’m having so much fun, or most of the time anyway.

Unfortunately my job list doesn’t appear appreciably shorter, in fact every time I look at it the “completed” column is significantly shorter than the “to do” side.  It could be because I keep adding to it I guess.  Who am I kidding, there is no list save for the one in my head.

Travel, family, travel to family, and a host of other interests continue to pull me in multiple directions, and sometimes at the same time.  Just another facet of my personality I’m learning to live with, and only beginning to understand in some ways.  I often jokingly refer to it as my ADD side, certainly not to minimize it for those that are impacted by it significantly.

autumn, colour, tree, fall
fall colour in Van’s yard

I was at my friends house the other day picking something up.  More stuff for future, as yet unnamed, projects.  I noticed a tree in his front yard, beautiful in it’s fall garb, all oranges and reds.  I don’t know what kind of tree it is but I had to go back today to take a picture of it.  This kind of beauty is awe inspiring.

The beauty of Autumn

Another thing that inspires me is that my moods have been pretty good lately too.  I don’t know the how or why of it, could be that it’s just the way things are.  Could be my meds, could be I’m better.  Could be I’m just at a high point.  In light of some other posts I’ve read, particularly “Understanding Emotional Intensity”, it could be just that I’m normally an up and down kinda guy and just have to accept it.  I believe the term was Emotional Intensity.

Essentially, if I am such, it’s not abnormal for me to have some stronger swings of mood.  The kicker is the moods can be higher and lower than what others may normally experience.  Now I’m only paraphrasing here, this certainly isn’t a diagnosis.  Let’s just say  I’ve interpreted these mood swings to be a sign of my depression.  It would be swell if they were not.

Anyway as life rolls on and my retirement progresses I am learning to adapt to a number of things.  So far I’d say I’m pretty successful, I hope others would feel the same.  I enjoy my private time but do find occasions where I feel the need to be around people.  Maybe not socializing as such but being around others.  We are after all social beings.

I got out of the house today to take some photos and run errands, and in fact I’m sitting here writing this from the pub.  Sorta like killing two birds with one stone.  Free wi-fi and my blogging clock was ticking.  I had the pictures in hand so let’s use them.

Once I post it’ll be back home to take on one (read that part of one) project.  Whether it’s a welding project for a friend or cataloging my photos I can’t say.  Maybe just reading a book, who knows.  I do feel a bit recharged though, taking photos can do that.  And the fall colours don’t hurt.

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.

Limbo Land, My Country of Personal Discontent

Limbo Land, My Country of Personal Discontent

I feel like I’m in limbo land, and that’s not the country of origin for the dance either. It’s the land of my personal discontent.

I am wavering, wondering again/still about the prudence of reducing the dosage of my meds. My wife suggested I not do so now for a variety of reasons, and of course I would know better so why listen to her. I’m afraid now she may have been right, and yes, afraid would be an accurate assessment. Don’t you dare tell her I said so.

It’s been about 3 week since I made that questionable move. If my recollectin’ is accurate it was July 19. To be honest I couldn’t remember so I had to check earlier posts and in “Our Time Here is Done” I said that would be the day. A date that may reign in infamy.

I feel bitchy, irritable and short tempered, and have little ambition. Bare in mind the temperatures have been high lately, in the neighborhood of 35 – 40 degrees C, and that’s an unwelcome neighborhood. For those not using the Celsius scale it is a touch over 100 degrees F. Hot, damn hot for here.

Now I would expect some emotional response to dealing with life in these temperatures. I mean it’s not so hot that people wither and die like plants without water, at least not most healthy people. We will wilt and often show little signs of life however. Hot spells zap the life out of even the most robust individuals.

On a personal note I do feel somewhat dead, lacking in energy and life, and I don’t have the spunk to take on even the smallest tasks. Is it depression or the unwavering heat?

Perhaps the most concerning symptom is that I’m also beginning to experience a resurgence of that anger and bitterness in the morning, when I first begin to stir and my mind starts it’s day churning over life events and planning future moves. My crankiness begins in earnest, right off the get go. It was perhaps the MOST concerning symptom exhibited prior to my being diagnosed as depressed. Concerning to me at least.

I didn’t experience many of the more typical, documented, symptoms of depression. Those such as sleeplessness (although there was some of that), thoughts of suicide, eating issues, complete lack of energy, thoughts of self loathing, drinking etc.. Ok, I take it back, I did (and sometimes do) have some of these issues but not in a way I believe to be uncommon. Am I deluding myself? Please let me know, give me feedback……..

Whatever the determination I believe I must stay the course and maintain my current dosage of medication. If I relent now I’ll never know for sure. Once this hot spell passes we will see. If I feel ok again then apparently it was just the heat. If my mood remains shitty then there is some other cause. I sooo want it to be the heat…..please!

Why DO We Camp?

Why DO We Camp?

20120730-162440.jpgWhy do we camp, emphasis on DO as in why DO we camp?  I thought I knew the answer but like so many things now I’m doubting what I do and don’t know.

I think I’m in a funk, I’m “funking”, and while it’s not a terminal condition it is one that is nevertheless somewhat debilitating.  I’m not really in a bad mood as such, it’s not that my knickers are too tight, it’s more that I just feel tired and somewhat out of sorts.  Is it because I’ve f***ed with my meds? (that will be another post).

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Our Time Here is Done

Our Time Here is Done

20120719-093542.jpgOur time here is almost done.  We will be on the road shortly to continue our adventure in the US.  That is currently the plan anyway.

We’ve been staying at our daughter and son in laws for the last 2 days and nights, to catch up on laundry and of course see the family (read that grandson).  I lamented the fact in my last post that we had to spend a chunk of cash on the trailer to get a wheel alignment done but that is done now and I think we are good to go.  Let’s see what the road holds for us.

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