Saturday, 28 June 2014

Beyond Repair

Winter has well and truly set in this week.
Tuesday morning, it was 6°c and pouring down rain with gale-force winds. Everything was making me cry. Getting dressed was a nightmare. Trying to find something different but settling on the same old trackies-and-hoodie, looking at clothes and clutter everywhere and getting angry at myself for taking up so much space. I found my weigh-day shoes (they only weigh 172g!) soaking wet on the back porch and I just started crying 'fuck it all' over and over again. 

Mum kept asking if I wanted to cancel my appointment with the dietician, but if I don't go, I don't have much other routine in my week. Thankfully the clinic is only about 500 meters down the road, so I still made it there on time.

I went in with my face red and puffy and cried all through the appointment. My intake's been strange, anywhere between 500-900 calories. She asked if I'd been doing any cooking and I told her that no, I'd been lazy, to which she said "you've been resting". But seriously. My intake on the day mum was away, was a glass of iced coffee flavored milk (190) with my morning meds and a slice of my brother's frozen pizza (215) for dinner, plus my usual coffee, Coke Zero, etc.. Things that are never a part of my diet, simply because it was convenient and I couldn't be bothered fussing with much else. Sigh. Disgusting. 

I only exercised once that past week, for half an hour on the step. I've just been totally exhausted and haven't felt up to it. The dietician said that I shouldn't be exercising at all, that I need rest, both mentally and physically. I told her that the Lung Doctor Man/specialist said I should be exercising. Then we got into a discussion about the definition of 'exercise'. When I last saw the specialist in November, he asked about what exercise equipment I had (like a treadmill or exercise bike, he said - I have an elliptical) and instructed me to use it for half an hour "in front of the TV" each day. I think that's pretty clear.  

She went on to say we need to look at the big picture and take care of my mental health as well as my physical health, and gave some analogy about wrapping me in cotton wool. I hysterically burst into tears again, saying that in November the specialist said exactly "we can't keep you wrapped in cotton wool".

She's told me to have the week off exercise, to try to be kind to myself about it, and we'll reassess next week. I see the specialist the week after, and I'm dreading what he's going to say about it. Don't get me wrong, he's a brilliant physician and he does try to understand my MH issues (let's not forget, he's the one who got me on lorazepam), but we clash when it comes to exercise. I made a three week plan from discharge to get my exercise back up to 2-3 hours a day by the time I had my checkup, but I never made it past two days. I did half an hour yesterday, just so I could say I've done something, but I physically couldn't manage more than that. 

The next day I saw the Mental Health Nurse. I felt like a major waste of time because I just couldn't talk. I think the most I said was "I just feel very low". She asked why, what triggered it, but there was just nothing. I kept my eyes fixed downward and held back tears, letting out frustrated sighs, shifting in my chair, running my hands through my hair over and over again. She said I looked more 'alive' in hospital, that I didn't look well, and she hoped I wasn't getting sick again.

I left after maybe fifteen minutes. The next morning I made an appointment for the following week. I think maybe I need to see her earlier in the day, not at 4pm when I'm so exhausted. I just feel so disappointed in myself. I'm at the end of my rope. When I wake up in the morning, I don't know how I'm going to make it through the day. I need to be able to talk but I couldn't say more than a few words. 

This morning I woke up crying before I even got off the couch. I just want to sink into the floor and disappear. 

To top things off, my laptop, my Alienware, is dead. Completely. Components have melted, beyond repair type-dead. I am devastated. I don't use it a lot (I'm mostly a smartphone blogger), but I'd started using it again in hospital and it was helping to give me a distraction. I bought it maybe four years ago when I was super into gaming, but I've barely used it for two. The hard drive's being retrieved but not guaranteed to work, and to be honest, I'm not holding out much hope. PSA: backup your computers, ladies! (because this moron sure didn't)


Monday, 23 June 2014

The Nothing

"It's the emptiness that's left. It's like a despair, destroying this world." - The Neverending Story

It's been a pretty long week. I've just been settling back into being at home. I feel totally overwhelmed by everything. I wish the world would just stop for a moment and let me catch my breath.

I saw my GP on Thursday. A lot of it was just catching up on the hospital admission and treating self-harm wounds as she hadn't received the letter from the specialist yet. It's three weeks today since I was admitted. I've still been feeling not-quite-right. The cough, fever, congestion, pain, headache, sweats, utter exhaustion have sparked back up again, though it's still no where near as bad as it was.

She said that both she and the Lung Doctor Man understand that smoking, both substances, is a complicated issue for me and neither expect me to be able to 'just quit', which was great to hear. She recommended to take things one cigarette at a time for now, and if I can go without one or stub one out halfway, great, but not to push myself if it'll just make my mental state worse.

We talked about how she and the dietitian and the mental health nurse all came to visit, and I think all agree it was definitely a good idea for the MH nurse to visit because it really opened up the line of communication.
"I think now you might know that we do actually care about you and really want to help you, that you're not just any patient who walks in."
I nearly started crying. I've never had any doctors, therapists, psychiatrists, anyone actually care about me before my current team. 

Mum went away over the weekend. I ended up smoking too much and didn't sleep. I've been having more and more sleepless nights lately. The night was spent re-watching the same old movies for the millionth time, cuddling with the cat and dog, drinking too much coffee and periodically bursting into tears. I made sure to spend some time yesterday catching up with all your lovely blogs, because it's just been too much to face some days and I've fallen behind on reading and commenting. At the moment I just can't bear to be in my head. Life is fucking excruciating, waiting for time to pass. There is just nothing. It hurts to think, to feel, to breathe.

I'm trying to take things one day at a time. It seems to be my motto lately. As for this week, I'm seeing the dietician tomorrow and the mental health nurse on Wednesday. I really don't know how she's supposed to be able to help, but I've got nothing to lose by talking. I'm hoping my GP will consider trying another antidepressant soon. I don't know how much longer I can keep doing this. I'll try to update later in the week.

"A strange sort of Nothing is destroying everything."


Monday, 16 June 2014


I've been home for a few days now. They discharged me on Thursday, after eleven days in hospital.

I'm still feeling very weak and just generally exhausted, but I'm a lot better than I was two weeks ago. The infection is clearing, I'm breathing easier and in a lot less pain. Not better, but getting there. It's surreal, and a bit scary, to think of how physically sick I was when I was admitted. 

I'm on another course of antibiotics (hopefully the last), the prednisolone is being reduced and I'm not on as many painkillers. I'll be seeing The Lung Doctor Man in a few weeks for a check-up and to test my lung capacity etc., and I see my GP next week. After all the tests from the bronchoscopy, they found a bacteria which was likely the cause of this flare up, but nothing too serious. There's that sick part of my mind that was hoping for something more sinister.

Being in hospital was torture as far as agoraphobia and other anxieties go. I was literally dropped into the middle of the CBD in a totally unfamiliar environment, and it got pretty terrifying at times. Most of the time I was too terrified to leave my room (thank god my insurance covers private rooms). My daily walks, once allowed, were the 50-odd meters to and from the tea & coffee closet - but only during times the halls would be quiet. The thought of going down to the 'busy' foyer (it wasn't really busy, in reality) to buy a can of Coke Zero from the vending machine was too much, and so mum would get one for me on her way up. Whenever I did get out of bed, the nurses would gasp at my height, saying they didn't expect me to be so tall. Nine times out of ten, this was followed by the obligatory "You should be a model!" comment. Smile, laugh, nod.

The staff were all wonderful, especially the nurses and pastoral care. They mightn't be trained in mental health, but they really do their best to understand when I try to explain that I'm one of those weirdos who literally doesn't leave the house. Apart from medical appointments, I've only left the house four times since the start of the year. I am so, so scared, of everything.

The first thing I did, the first thing I always do after being discharged, was smoke. Two cigarettes inhaled during the 10-minute drive home, then I shrunk into my armchair with my pipe and blasted off into eternity. It's the only thing that stops me feeling so completely overwhelmed all the time. Eleven days clean was enough. I haven't had a break this long for... since ED inpatient, three years ago.

I had great plans for exercise when I first came home, but my body can't keep up with my head. Maybe it was pushing it a little hard to expect daily exercise, starting immediately. I still feel so weak after being in bed for eleven days, not to mention the lack of activity in the weeks leading up to admission. On Friday I managed 15 minutes of step aerobics plus 15 minutes cardio boxing on the Wii, which was refreshing yet exhausting, but slacked off over the weekend. I did 20 minutes on the step earlier today and I feel totally wrecked. I use a pedometer to calculate my steps per minute, and in that regard I've definitely slowed down, but that's to be expected I guess. It's just disappointing because even though no amount of exercise is ever 'enough', I can't even come close right now.

My dietician came to visit me in hospital on Tuesday afternoon, which was amazing. It's always strange to have Tuesday mornings without her. She'd asked mum for my phone number in the morning, but even texting has been a struggle lately and I just couldn't do it. Instead she came in to visit quickly after she'd finished work, and it made a horrible day a million times better. I was supposed to have a proper appointment with her on the day I was discharged, later in the afternoon, but I physically couldn't get there. Walking out to the car left me coughing and breathless, and I just couldn't do it, but it might've been pushing it anyway. I see her tomorrow for our regular appointment anyway, and it'll be so good to catch up. I haven't seen her since the 27th - that's three weeks!

I'm a hoarder at heart, and one of the things I refuse to throw away is pill cups. Over the years some have been damaged or lost, but I try to keep as many as possible. They come in so much handy, especially for measuring and weighing food.