It's 8:50pm previous night and i feel i can't stay awake. We stop the sermon we were listening and Peter sends me off to bed. I fall asleep quickly. That hasn't been a problem most times. Falling asleep part is easy.
1:20am. First time opening my eyes after Peter got to bed. I am immediately frustrated. NO! It's too early. I try closing my eyes and toss for about an hour.
2:31am. I have given up and have gotten out of bed and turn on living room light. Making coffee is a hassle. Making anything is hard. Lack of sleep has caused so many problems.
It's way too early, but here i am. Awake. Sadly. No sleepiness left in me and waiting for morning, you know the actual one, to arrive. In the middle of the night, having coffee and writing. Yes, you may wonder why i have coffee, as i have sleeping problems. That's a whole other topic. I would understand if coffee would stop me from falling asleep. But when i am already awake, i just like the taste of it.
And 90% of days, i have only coffee in the morning. Cause i know what it can do, when i have it in the afternoon.
*PS! IF this post should have more spelling mistakes than normal, then that's also sad side effect of not sleeping.
Recently, me and Peter, went to see my doc again. It's very often a hard decision for us. I don't have medical insurance. Or medicare (which for my international friends would mean like government medical insurance that covers at least some of your expenses). So every doctors appointment for me is about 70$. Sadly. Add petrol money and medication or blood tests they might want to do. And then yes, tight budget.
So anyway, i have yet another medication to talk about, but i'll at least make an effort to make this story in order.
Back in Denmark, i discovered that life got too much and went to see a doc. Not that life wouldn't be worth living, but life with anxiety, wrong thoughts, panic and such, got to be toooooo much! Way way too much. Imagine living in a place that has more or less 100 or so people. And they all come and eat at the same time. Now if you can make tiny noise with fork and knife while you eat, add the other 99 people there too, plus chewing, talking, chairs moving and so on, and noise sensitivity and you can imagine that i didn't go eat publicly much at one point.
So life got overwhelming and needed help. And yes, i did pray first. I asked God for help. But thought to also ask doctors. I am currently still debating if i did the right thing or not.
So anyway, after some blood tests (usually they check liver before giving medicine for mental health), i was diagnosed with anxiety (with panic attacks) and given a medication.
Sertrone this time. And that's where the latest journey for me started.
I couldn't stay on it for long. The nausea as a side effect was too much. Life wasn't bearable if nausea is stopping you from eating. And dry mouth, changes in appetite, sweating, well not very pleasant.
So next up, i got something called Venlafaxine, also known as Effexor. This one lasted longer. BUT side effects were again here. SWEATING! The horrible sweating. So much so that I at one point needed to google if it's possible to have early menopause. (by the way, yes it is, but that's not the case for me) Anyway, besides the sweating, there was still panic there. Not a small one, but big time.
Panic attack for me usually means the frozen state. I freeze, in my body and can't move. I cry and breathe really bad when i am having panic attack. Sometimes the crying makes me cough really bad and that's really odd for me. Sometimes the coughing is so deep that i feel that i am about to throw up. Most times i am so frozen with my body that i literally feel stiff later. I cramp up, my hands are in closed fists, nails digging in the palms of my hands, shoulders lifted, my head down. I cry. And try breathing. And life is more than scary. It makes no sense. At times it can be a smallest thing that sets it off. Like physically being tire. Say i finish walking up a hill and i am tired, and that makes me have a panic attack. Embarrassing, unreasonable, but very very real.
So while on Venlafaxine, it was time to finish college and move to Australia.
Life in one suitcase, i arrived and had some extra medicine with me to last a while here. So i run out and got the same thing here, but just different name, still same thing.
Life didn't get better mentally. Regardless of my relationship with God getting better. So again, hello doctor, it's not working! But before that i had started noticing, how my symptoms aren't maybe just anxiety related. And researched and run into ADHD. And i haven't been diagnosed with it yet, but i am waiting on a doc to see me at one point (but long waiting list to see a specialist).
So anyway, the thing with depression/anxiety and ADHD or ADD, is that a LOT of symptoms overlap. So it's very very easy to get a wrong diagnose. Not to mention most adults don't have that H part of ADHD. Of and for those who don't know what ADHD is, is attention deficit hyperactive disorder. And well ADD same thing but without hyper stuff.
Most people assume that ADHD is just a thing with kids/children related. But sadly nope. It's also very real and happening with adults. Just way harder to diagnose.
So i started writing down what i notice. And well i do love making lists....
- Not sleeping long enough
- Restless, very very restless
- Distracted, very very often and almost by everything
- thinking about million things at the same time. Or maybe it was billion.
- Not being able to focus on just ONE thing
- Starting things, but almost never finishing them (all my knitting, art and other projects. Or exercise routines, diet thoughts etc)
- Unorganized (i fully WANT to, but just can't seem to be able to do it)
- Bore very very often and easily
- Very impatient with people or situations
- Upset easily
- Mood swings
- If i need to say something, i interrupt people and say everything out - no filter, just blurting things out. Afraid to forget them. And everything seems very important right NOW to say out.
- Hard to read anything (open a book, want to read, read, then discover you can't remember what you just read because your mind is thinking about everything else, and repeat all that again)
- Very emotional. Things that shouldn't upset me, upset me up to crying.
- Not very good at noises, too bright sun, heat, crowds, physical exhaustion - followed by panic attack at times. With occasional coughing while having a panic attack.
- If something is interesting i even forget to eat, because i am so so focused on that one thing. If not, i loose interest super quickly.
- Occasional lying when confronted in conflicts. Conflicts upset me very much (since becoming aware of this, i have been better at not lying, but still...)
- Feel like i want to move often, happy at sitting still, but feeling like i have to go somewhere always. Go go go go. Or the exact opposite, not wanting to do absolutely anything, just laying down/sitting, without moving a muscle, observing the world go by.
- Rushing through things I HAVE to do. Chores, conversations, reading etc.
- Hard to do housework alone, better doing with my husband.
- Being silly/looking for funny/risky things to do. Not thinking of my reputation (or age), risks, consequences.
- Racing thoughts.
- Blanking out. Means staring into nothingness and just brain stopping but you being awake and blinking. But not hearing anything, not thinking anything. Very odd. Just staring, and blank.
- Low self-esteem. Feeling like i could do so so so much more, feeling like I am not enough.
- Hard finding motivation
- Horrible at receiving criticism (even when it's constructive).
- Eating problems (can't leave a package unfinished. Even when i am already full. Mostly with sweets.)
- Chocolate addiction (must eat everything, the whole block/bag of candy etc).
- Self-harm (skin picking, occasional nail biting, pimples bug me).
- Financial problems (spending more than i thought, impulsive shopping. That's why Peter is in charge of our finances).
- Super energetic at times (often after sugar of something). But then get upset if that energy isn't welcomed. (me being excited, happy, jumping around with joy, but someone looking at me odd, or saying not now etc, i get super upset and just stop immediately with heavy heart).
- Don't even want to start to do things that i know require me to think harder.
SO yes, that is a long list of things i have noticed with me. And surely i did a lot of research about ADHD/ADD and adults/women. But without proper diagnose, i can't really do anything. Well other than just deal with it and take life day by day and take anxiety medicine. But i could go see a doctor. So we went to see a doctor again. Another 70$ gone.
So shared with her this list above. And she understood. Plus the side effects from Venlafaxine. (effexor) So she asked me to taper off and start Celapram (also known as citalopram i think). So tapering off was a 5 week process. AND THAT!!! was the worst thing i've done regarding medicine ever.
I was on 150mg of Effexor and she had given me Celapram for 10mg. Tapering means, if you don't know, that you reduce one medicine and often up the other one slowly, so you gently get your body used to new things while old one is getting out of your system.
My doctor made me a tapering schedule.
Week 1. 3/4 of Effexor and 1/2 of Celapram. And well Effexor was in a capsule, so open that open and try more or less winging it with sharing those granules around.
Week 2. 1/2 of Effexor and 1/2 of Celapram.
Week 3 1/3 of Effexor and 1 whole Celapram
Week 4 0 of Effexor and 1 whole Celapram.
I think that was more or less it. And yes, that has been the worst thing yet. And of course i had to google things too. And on the internet communities Effexor has been referred to as medicine from hell. I don't use this term gently, but it sure has been horrible coming off it. (still is). Some things that have happened during withdrawal - panic attack (worst one ever), crying, diarrhoa, fear of losing my husband. Crippling fear. Anger, raising my voice, crying over small things, upset easily. Very very angry, wanting to hit someone. Didn't. Crying even more. Fearful of hurting my husband. Laying down on a cold floor because somehow it offered some odd sense of comfort. Felt like battery was drained. Dizzy, blanking out longer than before.
Crying spells are still here, even though i am past those weeks with withdrawal.
So my doc asked me to return after finishing that. And since life was still pretty rough and emotional, we made another decision to spend more money, to see her again.
So at that time i had been off Effexor for like 3-4 days and only on Celapram. But still panic attacks, crying etc.
Due to the fact that all these three i had taken previously are the same type of medicine (SSRI-s. if you want to google), she decided to give me different type of medication. (agomelatine type, if i got that correctly)
So to make that more clear what's the difference here's another example of types of meds.
Say you have a pain. Headache or whatever. You take paracetamol from one pharmacy. Then you take soluble paracetamol you can dissolve in water. Then you try same thing but with another companies name on it. And you still have a headache. So then you go take ibuprofen. Different type of medicine, but still painkiller.
SO the new medicine i got, is called Valdoxan. And she said hopefully this will help with sleep too. Because it's supposed to do something with melatonin.
So day 1. AMAZING sleep. Went to bed super early and i think i got 9 hours of sleep!!!! 9 HOURS! I was amazed and excited. I was like oh yeah! This is amazing medicine!
Day 2. Hello 3am wake up. Still went to bed early, but waking up early/insomnia is one side effects.
Side effect sections in the patient leaflet of any medicine should be taken with a sense of dark humour. Especially as some of them have side effects written as death, stroke etc. Lovely! Thanks for that. Now let's pop some pills and hope not to die, because i am not done with this world!
Anyway, so i am awake. And wondering. And writing.
Now, here comes a christian part of me. This was all the medical part and what i am going through more or less. BUT at the same time, the christian in me is struggling really hard. See, i try every day, to battle sin. To not listen to the voice that says "hey, don't have time with God, i'm sure that you can do it later" (usually later never happens). I do my time with God (in the future referred to as TWG). And i pray, i read the Word. We pray together daily, we read devotions as a couple. And yes, i still struggle. As Bible says, hardships/persecution are to be expected, because we live in a fallen world (like 2 Corinthians 6:3-5; 1 Peter 4:12 even tells you to be glad about it). And that is a struggle to me. Because so many other places in the Bible say, Jesus paid the price for ALL our sin, sickness, inequities, etc. ALL! And paid - past tense - already done right? Yet we have illnesses, sicknesses, hurts, pains etc. Not to mention, humanly impossible to understand God's love. I know Bible is true, but at times there's several different truths in there and then i am confused. And then i pray more.
But we know that God loves us, we are his daughters and sons - hello, my name is Princess Mirjam - so why are we suffering right? How can you understand his love, his caring for us, when we are in pain? It's rather challenging.
Or when Jesus has pain all, has already taken everything to cross. When Bible says that all you need is faith and ALL these things will be given to you. Yet i ask for healing and am not healed, so it's easy to think i am lacking in faith?
Or when you know that Jesus healed so many in the Bible, yet you are not healed. You suffer. You are hurt, tired and broken because of this illness.
And i don't understand. But i still try. I try asking God to help me to understand. I pray more, ask more. Read more.
But besides all that, i do struggle. I struggle to have a brave face when i just had a crying episode over random nothingness. I struggle to do things, because insomnia can cause dizziness, lack of coordination, unfocused, memory loss and so on. I struggle because all this and all my physical things too, have stopped me from finding a job. Yes i want to help us have an income, but all this, has stopped me.
I pray, I seek, I read, but i have no idea how to sleep. So i make the most of quiet times when the world is asleep. I write, i have time with God. And i think. Always.
I know it's been a very long post. But if you made it so far, thank you for caring enough to read. I hope that you are encouraged, that there's always hope. Nobody said life should be easy right?
I hope. I dream. I wish. But above all, i seek more of God. I hope so do you in times of trouble.
Be blessed, and hey, sleep for me too if you could!
PS! If you are someone who needs someone to talk to. Well here's two ears and overthinking brain to listen to you. Whatever it is that is on your mind. I don't promise to have answers, solutions, or ideas. But i can say that i will TRY to listen and i can pray for you if you need that and ask me. :)