Writing 101 – A Loss Of One’s Self


20140625-224220-81740472.jpgHow would you describe yourself to the people around you? Would you give a physical description, talk about the things you are good at, and describe your internal qualities? What if suddenly, the idea of who you thought yourself was, disappeared and what you were left with was some broken version of yourself, a shadow that you didn’t know and you weren’t sure how you had become the way you were.

That’s how it felt for me when I became very ill at the age of 23 years. It began with some very bad days in the office, days I could barely get through because I just didn’t have the energy. I would leave the gym at the end of the day dragging my feet and barely able to make it home on the bus. Then I began to cry, little things would bother me and I couldn’t concentrate on work just as I used to be able to do. Then something even stranger happened people began to say extremely rude comments to me almost as an after thought. They would tell me whatever they had to tel tell me ‘ Photocopy this for me…” then something very mean. This was particularly the case with certain people. Then I had trouble sleeping, I would lie awake all night, I began to lose weight, and I didn’t feel much like eating.

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http://www.eastsidefriendsofseniors.com

What I didn’t understand then, was that this was the beginning of a psychotic episode. To this day my doctors and I don’t know why I had it but I have never quite healed from it. Everything became so bad that I couldn’t work, I had a break down. Then I would sit at home and the thoughts in my head would go round and round and I began to hear more voices not just after comments people made to me but from the Television or Radio, from my dog. When these thoughts became nearly suicidal, I went into hospital at the Royal Alex and it was awful being there and hearing things. But one day my doctor started giving me this anti-psychotic drug called Invega and the voices stopped. What remained after my psychosis had passed was the shell of a person. A person it took me at least 3 years to get back and still even today I realize I will never be the same person I was before my unexplained psychosis.

After the psychosis followed a mini-depression. I could barely read after that and I had so much trouble filling out the application for long-term disability because my writing was very shaky and looked more like a grade 4 student’s writing then someone who had recently gotten their BA in English with a 3.7 average.

I was slow to heal. At first I could only go out for 1/2 hour before returning home exhausted. I still needed to sleep a great deal of the day and I had the sharpest burning pain in my shoulders and neck. I felt entirely lost. The conversation of my friends was too fast for me. I couldn’t go to 3/4 of the events we had planned because I didn’t have the energy. I had gone from 160lbs, a healthy weight for me, to 143 lbs, I weight I hadn’t weighed since I was 15 years old and as skinny as you could get. Soon the effects of the medication set in and my weight sky rocketed to 175 lbs. I was uncomfortable in my new fatter body and I didn’t like it. I did not have the energy to do exercise or barely more than a walk or a Pilates 20 minute DVD.

And to tell you the truth, somethings I have just never recovered from. It is 6 years later and I still have trouble concentrating and paying

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk

attention. I have days where I can get much done and days where I can’t get anything done. My doctor’s and I are pretty sure I developed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome after the Psychosis and I have dealt with that constantly. The other possibility is since we have most likely determined my psychosis occurred because I was so depressed, is that I have chronic fatigue from depression. But most signs point to the syndrome.

In these past years I have seem my friends develop careers, make many new friends, and start families. In many ways I feel left behind, that my path changed course and I don’t know why. And I don’t why what I have won’t heal. For me this is the biggest personal sense of loss I have felt in a long time because it as if somewhere in these past 6 years, I have lost myself, my dreams, my goals, and I’m not sure what the future holds. I just take things days by day because that’s how I can get through it.

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Catching Up


Hey everyone! I know my blogging has been sparse lately, sorry about that. I have had a real decline in my health this summer and it’s been difficult to concentrate on activities such as writing and brainstorming  blog ideas.

I’ve been extremely fatigued and tired. For 2 weeks I think I just about spent most of my time sleeping. Maybe, I was sick, I think, as illness seems to hit me harder with whatever larger illness I have. Although, sleeping 24-7 has passed I still find my health declining to a place it was at about 2-years after my first episode.

I managed to enjoy my birthday “month” and this past week hasn’t been an exception despite extreme fatigue. I had a lovely dinner with the ladies at Earls Tin Palace last Tuesday and thank goodness it was $4 Bellini night because I needed alcohol. It was great to see everyone who came even though I couldn’t be involved in the conversation as much as I wanted to be.

I’m sure no one noticed but I notice these things and hope that soon I will be able to be more chatty again and less tired. By 9:30 pm I was so so sleepy and by 10:15 pm I just had to leave and take a cab home. It was fine with my friends but I felt sick the cab ride home until I went to sleep. As I often do when I’m fatigued-out, I get flu-like symptoms that go away when I become rested. It’s something I always had but am just recognizing what it is now. I think I have days that are just bad days that I feel like I have the flu but really I’m just so utterly fatigued I feel ill.

But thanks everyone who came out I really did have a great time despite my symptoms. I was so happy to see you all there and hear all about your lives, especially those of you who are travelling to fun places and having or have had kids recently in your lives.

I was also very blessed to have a ride to a friend’s Wedding shower that Sunday via Tara. And the shower was great. A beautiful bride got to be around all her best girl friends, bridesmaids, and women relatives and she seemed to enjoy herself immensely. The weather was perfect and I felt good that day ( which hasn’t been happening so much) and everyone was so nice. The bride received many nice gifts, particularly kitchen based. I decided to go with a couple sets of dishware for the shower and the wedding, the bride picked out a beautiful light blue color for her dishware. It is the same color I would have chosen. 25-years from now everyone will know when our dishes from because we all like light blue dishes.

I can’t wait for the stagette night and only hope I feel as good for that night as night’s have been particularly tough me at times. I more worried about lasting the entire night so I think I will arrive around 5;30 pm for a couple left over jello shots and the comedian and probably take off a bit earlier then everyone else from Cook County on Whyte Ave. I am so excited to go to a country bar it has been so long and my 2-stepping is probably worse than it ever was but I might be able to figure out some of the line dancing again.

Moreover, I am finally going to see my psychiatrist tomorrow. I have to tell her all about how much worse I’ve felt this summer and get her to look into Chronic Fatigue as a definitive diagnosis for what I have. Basically, Chronic Fatigue is going to sleep and never ever waking up feeling rested. There are different degrees of Chronic fatigue and I received the definitive diagnosis definition and charts/symptoms for Canada from the M.E. Society of Edmonton. I now have to take this information, along with filled out charts/symptoms (why I think I have CF) to my doctor. I printed out a list of Doctors that deal with CF in Edmonton, but I’m hoping my psychiatrist who knows my situation best can diagnose me.

If I actually have CF I’ll tell you all about it and how my individual symptoms fit in. I don’t know that this makes treatment any easier but it does tell you that yes there is something physically wrong with me that I can tell people and use for health disability status/AISH etc. I’m positive I fit the criterion, or else I don’t know what disease I fit and it could open new possibilities I haven’t thought of. Possibility can be a great thing sometimes.

— 2 days later — I have visited my psychiatrist and presented my research. Apparently, CF is very difficult to diagnose because of all the other illnesses you have to rule out first. I feel we have ruled out plenty of illnesses but my psychiatrist sent me for some blood work and she is going to send me to a rheumatologist who specifically deals with CF and Fibermielga — 2 similar diseases. It might be a whole year before I see him but I am very excited to start the process and finally get a real diagnosis on what I have dealt with fatigue wise. I may have initially had a psychotic episode caused by depression but sometimes illnesses can result in other illness such as CF. You can get better from CF but you also cannot. I hope that the fact that I was young when the fatigue first hit me (23-years-old) means that might be possible someday or that there is some treatment being developed out there that can someday help me. Although CF has been written about since the early 1400’s the medical community has only recently begun to deal with it and try to come up with ways to help patients.

Begging For Freedom


There are many perks to living at home while you or in school or having a place to keep your belongings while you are travelling as a young adult. But there comes a time when I think every girl and guy I know wants or has already left home and now lives on their own or with roommates. I am quite jealous about this ability other people have. In fact, now that my brothers who are both younger then me have moved on their own I very much resent not being able to support myself enough both financially and in doing every day activities necessary to living outside your parents home.

I understand many people may want to live at their parents house with little rent and with little to do but watch TV, do light chores, do a bit of studying or reading, and sleep, but that is not me. When I started working back when I was 23 years old I enjoyed the freedom having your own substantial enough pay cheque gave you. I liked that I could drive but I had no problem taking the bus, and I was planning to move out the January in 2009 when I became Ill with my current depression and chronic fatigue.

It is not that I am unappreciative of my parents goodwill in letting me live at home. In fact, I am extremely grateful because I could not afford to live alone, buy my medications, and all the other little necessities that a girl needs like makeup that won’t make her skin break out, an iPhone , tuition for classes, clothing more than I need it, and being able to get my hair cut and highlighted a few times a year. Some of these things I didn’t realize how much I took for granted until I had to make a budget on what little I could afford while paying down a loan. Yet, I still find I am blessed.

That doesn’t chase away that unmistakeable inner voice that tells me I shouldn’t have to be dealing with certain issues such as having greater privacy. I need a place to put my shoes so I hang them on the back of my door in a shoe holder from Home Sense. Having this shoe holder hanging off my door means that my door never closes all the way so other members of the family are prone to just walking into my space without knocking or thinking twice. It annoys me that at almost 29-years old I am dealing with this still. My bedroom is my one place to go where I can relax and not worry about people talking to when I’m trying to read or when I’m not feeling well at certain times a day due to medication and fatigue.

Also, when I picture myself at home I picture myself being able to earn my keep more than I am able. I think this bothers my parents sometimes but I don’t know maybe they just accept like I do that I do not have much energy left after getting ready in the morning, studying or reading, and a trip out for a few hours once or twice a week. But I feel this constant pressure that I should be cleaning the living room up where I sit more, doing the floors, washing my dishes more than I do, and cleaning my bathroom in one cleanup instead of in pieces at a time. I’m sad to admit I just don’t have energy and it has gotten worse these past 2 years. I think I should be helping grocery shopping and always be able to pick up my medications from Costco but the truth is there are few more exhausting places then Costco even if I’m just going along with someone.

But I want nothing more then to have a good job and build a career, live on my own, be able to contribute more substantial amounts of money to RRSP’s and charity, to build a life, meet new people, and to just have an independence that doesn’t require me to rely on my parents so much. But I know realistically, right now that is not possible but I emphatically wish that someday it will be possible for me. I don’t want a permanent illness and Im not ready to settle for the fact that I may have one. I want to believe that there are ways to cure chronic fatigue and live with depression. I mean, if you do not have hope what do you have? Nothing.

Many Words


12-relationship-truthsIt it the brightest sunniest morning I can remember seeing in a long time. Snow sits lightly on the trees sparkling in the sunshine and the ground is about 5 inches deep with snow. It is cold outside, but not that cold for November in Edmonton and I can feel the burn of the wind against my cheek as I step outside to let my dog out and then wait for her by the door while she does her business.

Later, she is snuggled up to me on the couch, an old dilapidated couch that we’ve waited months for the new replacement to arrive, but it hasn’t arrived yet.  Nikki and my knitted blanket make me feel so cozy on the love seat and Nikki refused for a good 10 minutes to let me stop petting her. She is now what we call “tits up” turned into my legs on the seat of the couch and I am sitting here thinking that I just feel the urge to write but I’m not exactly sure what will develop out of my blog today.

I’m having a great day so far. I awoke with energy and slept enough and I was not too tired that I had to go back to bed like some mornings. The sunshine makes the biggest difference. It just hi-lights everything it touches and the sky is the deepest bright country blue I have ever seen. And there are no expectations on me today. I just have the opportunity to write to you, my readers, do some exercise, and if I wish, sort through some of the clothing in my taller dresser.

At the moment I am watching TV, talk shows: Marilyn Denise, Kelly & Michael, followed by The View. It is interesting to learn about the actors behind the movies and TV shows I have watched the night before and the week before. My new favorite show on Sunday’s is Betrayal.

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It’s about a 2 people, a man who works for a mob boss and is married to the mob bosses daughter and has 2 teenage kids, and a woman who is married to a public attorney with a little boy. The man and the woman meet at a party one night and subsequently start running into each other and end up having an affair. They love each other, but they also love their spouses and don’t know how their situation will ever work out. The man is a lawyer for the mob boss and was raised by him when his family was killed in a construction accident at one of the mob bosses sites. He was best friends with the mob bosses son TJ who is mentally disabled after a car accident.

TJ ends up accused of his Uncles murder after he is the last person seen with him. But the woman’s husband, the public attorney, even though he is pretty sure TJ did not murder his uncle, uses the event to go after the mob boss and his family and the man (Jack) is the mob bosses head guy at his business. There is a big competition going on between the lady’s public attorney husband and Jack and at the end of the last show he just figured out that his wife is having an affair, and with Jack, his nemesis.  I love it.

My other favorite show is Scandal by Shawnda Rimes but if you are looking for some other excellent TV shows  Grey’s Anatomy, The Vampire Diaries, The Blacklist, Chicago Fire, Once Upon a Time, Revenge, and Grimm are also excellent shows. But I used to never watch TV besides a couple of programs and some Oiler’s games. Now it seems since I require so much time to rest that I have lots of time to watch TV. I also read, but I also used to do that a ton more then I ever watched TV. Now I read, but I cannot do it for as long as I could read before so I guess I watch TV  more instead.

Otherwise, my boyfriend is up in Edmonton this week and I am really looking forward to seeing him so much. It has only been one week because he had a neck injury a week ago, since I have seen him. He is fine now but it’s a treat to see him again so soon.

I am anxious about our future now that we have charted a course for our relationship. Inside I wonder if maybe I am walking intoshutterstock_60504643-1024x682 something without checking out my other options first. But then I think I’ve got the best of all options right here. But I still can’t help thinking that I don’t know what else is out there because this my first real relationship. But then for about 10 years before that, all I found was the odd date or two with some mostly weird guys, A couple of times I found a connection between some guy but often some guy just wanted to mess around with my head.

My boyfriend doesn’t do that to me. We fit, so when I have second thoughts I remember that, the happiness he brings me, and I think there is no one else better out there than my man. But we have challenges ahead and those are what scare me. Every couple does but our challenges are unique across religion and culture. And I would really love it if he could just get along with my mom, dad, and brothers well. He has barely met them so that would really ease a lot of the feelings I am having if that could happen.

Weighing-Scales-1Also, embarking on a second stage in my health crusade, to find the physical reason why I have no energy and other symptoms gives me some sort of hope. And I believe I can be a healthier girlfriend and healthier person just so I can be more involved in my life and give more back to the world. My doctors appointment is the following week after this week for that and I am really hoping I have something such as hypothyroidism that we have just missed before and not Chronic Fatigue. It would be so much more hopeful if there is a way I can start to get better from a lack of energy. But if constant fatigue is what I must expect most of my life than I guess at least I know what I have. Anyways, I don’t want to write about too much health related stuff today. I think I maybe say too much about it.

Otherwise, I can’t wait to get paid, I have almost all my Christmas presents picked out to order. I have found some nice things at The Bay, Sephora, Anthropologie (for me), and I will have to pick something for Azdine maybe with him this weekend. Besides a visit to my favorite store DeVine Wines, then I should be done. I think since I bought a bunch of gift bags and Christmas cards last year I should be even pretty good for those. Well, maybe a few gift bags, tissue paper, and cards and I’ll be good.

Anyways, that’s what’s up. Sorry not too interesting I guess. But I can ramble on a long time no?

Happy Halloween Update


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http://www.myfashionchronicles.com

Hey everyone good afternoon!  I just thought I would send out a mini update of how things have gone lately. But first I want to briefly tell you about a couple of blogs that are in the works for me. The first blog I am doing is a Winter Fashion Loves complete with some great pictures of fashion examples I think are key for the Winter Fashion Season. The next blog is a Makeup Foundation Comparison for those with skin that tends to break out and is still sensitive. So, if you have either of these skin types watch for this blog because after trying a few foundations over the last 4-5 months I have narrowed down the best foundations for your skin.

Onto the update: yes me and the boyfriend are great! We had a little tiff and I freaked out and sometimes in relationships a fight can seem as if it is the end of things. Really, when I was able to talk calmly to my boyfriend and we pieced are relationship back together, I realized I was just being silly and we took each other back gladly. He told me I was the girl for him, that he had known that for a while and this was very comforting to hear.

I am not that experienced as relationships go so something I need to learn with my boyfriend and in life is to not make snap decisions and to think problems through. I find when I make rash decisions that I am not always thinking straight and if I leave the situation until the next day I can see the situation clearly, unlike the day before. The danger is that when something is wrong you always want to just deal with it right away but patience is a virtue for a reason.

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http://www.isveryvisual.com

My next piece of news is that I have reached stability with my mental illness, or rather I’ve been forced to. Going to visit my psychiatrist yesterday I was told there is nothing else she can do for me and that we have tried every drug out there that could help me. Strangely, enough Dexedrine,  a drug I take to focus me, help me pay attention, and concentrate better has the exact opposite effect on me then it does on anybody my doctor has every known. It is used for depression patients, for ADHD, to helping seniors, to focusing pilots flying planes,  and instead of focusing and energizing me,  increasing the dose past 10 mg makes me sick. I have flu-like symptoms and feel very tired instead.

I had the feeling this day was coming, that because I am so sensitive to so many of the drugs I tried that either I cannot tolerate them or I am allergic to them I would reach the day when psychiatry could not help me. But this is good news in away because it means with the exception of the psychotic episode that started my whole illness, the cause of what I am experiencing now is not psychiatric, its physical. Depression or some type of mood disorder maybe something that is a result of this physical disease but it is not why I feel as if I have no energy all the time.

My next step is to go to my family doctor and look at other diseases that could make me greatly fatigued. The biggest contender now, at least in my mind, is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I will have to go through a bunch of testing to confirm this because you can also have fatigue and there can be no known cause, but I seem to fit the profile alarmingly well. First, I have had the fatigue longer than 6 months, probably about 4.5 years; secondly, sleeping does not reduce this fatigue, it is a type of tiredness that is something else entirely; thirdly, of the other symptoms of Chronic Fatigue I have depression,  insomnia proven to not be from a common sleep disorder, daily pain in my shoulders, neck, upper back, and sometimes legs, effects on my short-term memory and concentration, unrefreshing sleep, and often after a day out I feel extremely tired even 24 hours afterwards.

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http://www.medicinenet.com

I could be very much wrong in my assumption but it really above anything else seems to fit my symptoms and what I have experienced throughout my ordeal. But maybe there are other explanations, this I will have to leave to my doctor to prove or disprove.

The last thing I wanted to tell you about is that I have decided to try writing for Flurt again. Although I had to stop largely due to my health. I am going to try writing articles – 1 good article when I find a topic I am passionate about. This weeks topic has to do with Obamacare demanding corporations pay for 100% of a woman’s birth control in the US. Should corporations who are often treated such as individuals, be able to deny their women workers this right because their CEO’s are religiously against it? You’ll have to read the article to find out what I thought of the issue in the next couple weeks. Also make sure, to check out Creative Edmonton’s Moustache Gala for Movember Canada at Yellowhead Brewery on November 15, 2013 in Edmonton. The article I did for Flurt on it can be found here:

http://www.flurtsite.com/2013/10/creative-edmontons-the-moustache-gala/

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Thanks for listening, and I hope to have my other blogs out soon!