Wednesday, 12 January 2011

An open note to doctor, a review of 2010 and whatever

How it’s been:

I sometimes lose touch with how I have been, especially if my mood has recently picked up. I wanted to write a bit so I get across what I need.

2010 was not my best year. It was punctuated by long periods of anxiety. Anxiety usually starts in the morning. It sometimes clears by the evening but not always. I start off by not wanting to get out of bed. Once I get up, I struggle to get coffee and breakfast. I rigidly structure my days and that seems to help. I have a list of key things which I check off every day. Meds, etc, etc. It seems excessive but it helps.

I postpone a lot of stuff and worst still, I cancel anything that I can. I have become more and more reclusive. I manage to make appointments but they can be cancelled if I am not well. My “to do” list builds up and up, adding more stress.

The most frustrating thing about 2010 was the cancellation of a trip to a concert in Birmingham. I had booked it a while back and even arranged a hotel room for the night. My anxiety was particularly bad. Right up to the morning, I was trying to get there. I finally missed it. It wasn’t a money thing but I did lose over a £100 that I couldn’t afford.

I did manage to get away on my holiday to Lanzarote in October, but that was in the balance up to the last few days. It went off well and I need not have worried. That is not the point about worry and anxiety. It is never logical.

I didn’t leave the house much in 2010. I even cancelled several of my monthly trips to the support group. I usually make that. The good thing was that I made my weight loss group every week up to reaching target in October. I made that a priority and that kept me going. I think I would have been a real mess if I hadn’t had the focus on my weight loss.

I did get away for two night’s at Christmas. It was ok but I was not very comfortable. I was out of comfort zone and I returned home on Boxing Day. I avoided three social opportunities, one with family and two with friends. I was not up to it. The week before New Year was typically down. New Years Day was a “lost day”. I think I only emerged to eat.

The anxiety hit a real low point on January 4th. I called the crisis team. I don’t think they were very helpful and more or less said “What do you expect us to do?” They were not the exact words. They committed to call my doctor and talked about possible day services helping. The short chat helped. I suspect that it told me I was “on my own”. Next morning, I woke up in a kinder mood. I took the opportunity to work on my coping strategies. My mood improved and it has remained good ever since. I found a very supportive on-line environment on the Wednesday and also found an email pen pal who had responded to my blog. The nine days since have been my best in many months, if not years.

Before the day of improvement, I was gung ho to find new medication. I was convinced that quetiapine was the cause of my issues. I still think it leaves me open to much of the anxiety. The new 100 mg dosage usually gives me 7 hours sleep, but I did wake at 2-3 am on a couple of mornings this week. My mood bordered on hypomania but I felt happy that I was sleeping. I never crossed the line but I had that familiar jerky thing where I dash around, especially in the morning. My appetite has been normal.

This week has been particularly busy. It was a test but I felt up to it. I have made all appointments and I even got to the weight loss group. I have been to support group, dentist, slimming world and my psychiatrist. I have torn into my "to do" list and kept on top of things. I have read some of an audio book, watched a new music DVD and 4 episodes of a TV program on DVD. My life is as it should be, except that I need to find outside activities that involve people.

I want to be considered for a meds change because I don’t like quetiapine. Its initial attractiveness was due to the sleep I was getting. It is too strong a medication for that purpose. My moods seem to be very stable. I do think some day services might help to get me back into life and to get me out and about. The crisis team is helpful but there is a big gap between psychiatrist visits and losing it. I am on my own, my own support system, and I can’t always do it. If I am not able to call for help, I am lost. I was turned down for a CPN after I re-applied. I hope to return to the resource café but it is only a band aid.

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