Joy lies in the fight, in the attempt, in the suffering involved, not in the victory itself


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Visual Cues

I'm considering doing one of these graphs each week and displaying it like a flashcard for Dr A, so he can better "assess" me. It's colourful. It occupied some of my day. I am trying hard to focus on the tiny, but brightly visible, sliver of hope still present at the top.

I keep thinking longingly of the activating qualities of fluoxetine. My memories of taking it (2000) are clouded by the intense migraine headaches I had at the time, which may or may not have been a side effect. I imagine myself lucid, energetic and focused...less "rejection-sensitive" (Peter Kramer, Listening to Prozac). My shrink was torn between prescribing an activitating SSRI or a sedating one (namely citalopram aka Celexa, Cipramil). He asked me to make the "would you rather turn positive behaviours ON, or turn negative behavious OFF?" How the %^$#$%^ would I know? I used to think the "right" medication (or the "right" relationship, job, pair of shoes) would do BOTH. Would make me turn away from cake and towards the gym. Would make me see beauty in the mirror instead of horror. Now... I seriously doubt the capabilities of medication. Been there, done that.

  • Fluoxetine - failure.
  • Sertraline - failure (admittedly after working for a couple of years)
  • Mirtazapine - failure.
  • Diazepam - failure.
  • Venlafaxine - GROTESQUE failure.

Of course, these days I have a more accurate diagnosis and with that, the realisation that medication doesn't really help Borderline Personality Disorder the way it can help other mental illness. Basically, the way to work through BPD is therapy, continuing the CBT and DBT I have started. Dr A seems to think that the therapy might be "easier" with the help of fluoxetine, make the darkness lighter and the energy levels a bit higher.

I know I keep flogging this dead horse. It's what consumes me, when I'm not trying to decide what kind of cheese to eat lol. I'm fairly sure that once I get my disability/heathcare card (with it's associated discount on medications) I'll shuffle off to the pharmacy and fill the script. If only to deflect the questioning of the persistent Dr A. And I will take the tiny pill (or half), and try not to choke on the weight of my sliver of hope.


Anonymous said...

I'd never heard of BPD until a few months ago I read something online about it. I was diagnosed with depression and PTSD years ago, but I always knew there was something more because what happens in my head sometimes was not covered by the illnesses I had been told I had. When I read the first article on BPD it was like someone had switched on the proverbial light bulb. I wish I didn't understand so well the things you write-- but I do. I can go from the top of the mountain to the depths of hell in a matter of seconds several times a day. I hope you find some relief and thank you for sharing so much. It helps me more than you know.

The Addict said...

I'm glad there are readers like Tricia out there that have found your blog too Lil because you do explain your symptoms and treatments well, ie side effects too. I think the pie chart is a great idea. You still have that sliver of hope. I think that is great. At least you have a sliver. I don't think I would have remembered to even put Hope on my pie chart :-(

Wandering Coyote said...

Celexa is sedating? Funny - I had a manic episode on that and had to be taken off it cold turkey. Good thing I was in the hospital at the time.

I still say go with your gut when it comes to the prozac. Your doctor doesn't live in your skin.

preciousrock said...

The chart is a great idea except that I would obsess for hours over what percentage of the pie to give to each emotion, and I certainly wouldn't want to see that I only have a tiny sliver of hope. I guess for someone that is less OCD than I am it might work. If you find the pill that makes you turn away from cake and towards the gym, pleeeeeeease let me know, lol!

Jena said...

Like Wandering Coyote, I had also had a manic episode as soon as I started Celexa. That was right before my hospitalization. lol. Anyway, the antidepressant that isn't rocking my boat is Wellbutrin (Buproprion). I like it. I think you're right about needing a balance. A healthy lifestyle, perhaps a medication that WORKS (if you find one), and therapy, if it works. I was always advised to be treated with medication with my therapy even though I didn't want any medication. Little did I know that years later I'd end up on 8 meds. One for each year I refused? lol.

Where did you get that graph? It's cool!

Borderline Lil said...

Tricia - yes, I felt like a lightbulb had gone off when I read about BPD, even though I wanted to have "simple" organic depression, the diagnosis had never covered my extreme inpulses and feelings. Thanks for visiting and for your support!

Belinda - how funny, I have to admit HOPE was the last thing to go on my list, but I really felt it was still there, hammering away to be heard.

Precious - I really tried to go with my first instinct with the percentages, I did tweak a couple but even though it looked like a fairly dour graph, I went with it. I am definitely not OCD haha. Although one of my shrinks said to me I had the highest standards for myself of anyone he'd ever met. Guess he might not say that now it's 4pm and I haven't showered today. *gulp*

Jena & WC - I'm really interested by the Celexa comments!! Hardly a "sedating" experience... it's good to hear because now I am not necessarily thinking Celexa (Cipramil here in Aus) will be a relaxing experience lol. I made the graph with Excel, just wrote one column of moods and then gave each one percentages. I was thrilled that the colours matched my blog hahaha! I think you can select different ones. It was a massive wakeup call, actually, because the despair and apathy were kind of colouring the whole picture. Which I felt, in daily life, but seeing it visually is different I suppose.

Elizabeth B. Alexander said...

I use a rating system from 1-10. 1=I'm too anxiety ridden to get off the sofa. 10= I'm about to ruin my credit report.