It's a GAD GAD World
Thursday, November 27, 2003
JUST CALL ME SYBIL
Last week was hell. Sheer, unadulterated hell. I went back and forth from being irritable to being argumentative and combative to being a weepy miserable mess. For about a week.
Went to see my doctor on Tuesday. I was in combative mode at that point. The fact that I ended up waiting for him for 45 minutes due to a communication error (he was waiting for me in one place, I was waiting in another) didn't help. I ended up chewing him a new ass for no particular reason.
As a result of that appointment I'm now back to seeing him on a weekly basis. I'll try to make sure Sybil stays at home. :P
Today is the first day I've been fine in over a week. God, I hope it lasts. Good thing, because I went to my friend's place for Thanksgiving dinner. We ate takeout from Boston Market. Hey--at least I got to spend the holiday with someone.
Then later this evening I got a call from the one friend of mine who knows about my condition and doesn't judge me for it. I had tried to call him after my appointment on Tuesday (I was in weepy miserable mode then), & he just got my message today. He's in Cali now and eating his turkey as I type this.
And on the job front--my boss is still being a dick, but not as much of a dick as he was last week. Things are fine for the moment, but it's only a matter of time before that changes. The problem with the sword of Damocles isn't that it might fall on you, it's that it's constantly hanging over you.
Saturday, November 22, 2003
BACK INTO THE ABYSS
I'm now up to 75mgs a day, but it's not working. I feel horrible. Just like the miserable fucked up failure that I used to be.
The job situation is still heinous. I really don't want to get into it because I've been obsessing over it all weekend (nothin' like GAD to help you obsess over stuff :P ), but to make a long story short Boss threatened to fire me Friday morning. By lunchtime I was on my way down to the agency to have a sit-down with the owner of the company so I could tell him everything that was going on. Then when I get back to work Boss pulls me into his office for a little sit-down on his own, which was pure bullshit. On one hand, he says, "this job is a stepping stone for you, you're too good for this job, you're going to go on to bigger and better things, I want to be your friend, I want to help you", etc. Then on the other hand he's telling me "my expectations have not been met, the feedback I'm getting from the department is that they're not very impressed with you". In fact, the first thing he said to me when he pulled me into the office was "I could pick up the phone right now and have you fired." Niiiice!
If it weren't for the fact that this is the first job I've held in over a year that's paying me enough to make rent and pay the bills, I'd tell this idiot to shove it up his African ass. (That's not a racial slur. He really is from Africa.) He's got a serious communication deficiency. Even worse, he keeps using "English is not my first language" as an excuse. Dude, you've been in the country for SEVENTEEN FUCKING YEARS! If you haven't learned the language by now, maybe it's about time you started!
Did I ever mention that one of the symptoms of GAD is irritability? ;)
I just feel like giving up. I feel horrible. I'll never be normal. I'll never be OK. I'll never be anything but a miserable failure. Maybe my parents were right to throw me out of the house. I was nothing but a burden and a disgrace to them.
After he kicked alcohol and cocaine, Robin Williams had a great line about the post-recovery phase: "I'm still the same asshole, I just have fewer dents in my car." Well, I'm still a miserable fucked up failure, I just have medication to control it now.
Except that the medication isn't controlling it at the moment. I even tried to schedule an appointment with my doctor on Friday, but no dice. I can't blame him. It was only on a few hours' notice, and I'm sure that the last thing a young single man living in NYC wants to do is work late on a Friday night. But I'm really miserable now, & I'd give anything to be able to talk to him right this minute and hash out a strategy--either switch drugs or make a contingency plan in case I get the nasty skin rash.
My appointment is scheduled for Tuesday. I guess I'll have to wait till then.
Tuesday, November 18, 2003
Oh yeah, one more thing...
When I started this blog, I had intended it to be a way to reach out to people with GAD and educate others. I had hoped that this would be a 2-way exchange.
Unlike Diaryland, which allows readers to just click a button and email the author without actually giving out the author's email address, Blogger has no such function. I asked the powers-that-be about that, and they said they didn't do it because it was a privacy issue. The only way for you folks out there in cyberland to communicate with me is if I post my email address.
I really DON'T want to do this, but it's the only way with Blogger. If anyone has any comments about my ramblings, you can reach me at PEPPERMINT PATTY (AT) NY DOT COM . I typed it weird to prevent spam, but you get the idea.
THE BEAST RETURNS
Imagine that you've spent your entire life in a room with no windows. You have everything you need to survive, and you're reasonably comfy, but you have no way of getting out of that room. You'd spend a lot of time being bored, and you'd have this great yearning for something...You can't name it, but somehow you know that there's got to be something better in life than this drab room you're stuck in.
Then one day you're let out of the room. And WOW! You discover all sorts of neat things. Like trees and flowers and chirping birds and squirrels. And McDonald's. And cable TV. And puppies and kittens. And chocolate chip cookies. And George Clooney. For the first time in your life, you really start to live.
But then one day you're back in your room. And it's a thousand times worse and you're more miserable than you ever were before. It's not because anything in the room is different. It's just that now you know what it's like to be outside, and you know what you're missing by being in the room.
That's me. I'm back in the room. My job is a real pain in the ass, but I know that my problem is with the disease and not with my life because some of the physical symptoms of GAD (twitching, limb jerking) are coming back along with the cognitive symptoms.
I know, I know--just take your fucking Lamictal, right? Read my previous post. I'm afraid to die. I know I should call my doctor, but I have this nagging worry (I'm GAD, I worry about everything) that I'm being a pain in the butt to him. We're talking about a doctor who's affiliated with private practices in CPS & the UES. He's GOT to be raking in the $$$, and he's seeing me for free. I don't want to take advantage of him.
In job news, the pregnant woman's last day was yesterday. I still haven't been able to do a damn thing. Part of the problem is that I have to be able to access the university's database in order to do a lot of the work. I can't do that because I don't have an account yet. ("Yet" is an iffy word. I've been told that an application was put in for me to get one, but I don't know if I believe that.) Just before the pregnant woman left, she gave my boss the password to her account. I watched her do it. Do you think my boss has made any fucking effort whatsoever to get me logged on? OF COURSE NOT!! I can understand if he doesn't want me to have her password, but geez, do you think he could at least log me onto the system so that I could get some work done?
It gets better. He conducted a job interview today. No one in the office even knew he was looking to hire. I can only think of one reason why he'd be doing such a thing--he's looking to replace me.
On one hand, that makes no sense. Why would he be looking to get rid of me NOW when the pregnant woman is gone? On the other hand, 1) nothing this idiot has done in the 7 weeks I've been there has made any sense, 2) it would explain why he didn't bother to do squat to train me while the pregwoman was still around and why he's not letting me on the system.
I really need to get some sleep now...
Saturday, November 15, 2003
WHAT IF I WAKE UP DEAD?
Another Saturday night & I ain't got no money...
I'm currently on 50mgs/day of Lamictal and it isn't working as well as it used to. The logical response would be to up my dosage to 75, but I'm scared to do that. I want to stay on as low of a dosage as possible because I'm afraid of dying.
Patients who take Lamictal carry a small risk of developing a fatal skin rash. Admittedly, the risk is "small", but this was what my doctor told me about the risk of liver failure with the riluzole, & I ended up with early signs of liver failure.
I'm just scared that one day I'm going to wake up with a skin rash & end up dead. And I can't go to a hospital. The ambulance ride alone would cost $830, and I currently have no health insurance. (That's how I got involved in this stuff in the first place. I needed help with my anxiety, and I couldn't afford a doctor, so I volunteered to be a guinea pig.)There is NO FUCKING WAY I could afford a hospital visit. And I couldn't call my doctor either. If he knew that a patient's life was in danger, he'd probably be ethically obligated (if not legally obligated) to do everything possible to save my life--included having me admitted to the hospital against my will. So if this skin rash thing ever happens, I'm going to get my affairs in order as best I can, lie on the couch, and wait to die.
Does that sound like a good prospect to you? Me either. That's why I'm trying not to take too much Lamictal.
I take my 50mgs/day during the week like I should, but then I go off it during the weekends. Trouble is I then have no motivation to do anything on the weekend, which is the only time I have to do certain things. And then it takes me till mid-week to feel like my old self again.
I've been thinking about this stuff for a while. (Hey, I'm GAD--conjuring up worst-case scenarios is one of the things I do best!) I really wanted to talk about it with my doctor on my last visit, but he didn't have time to see me after the presentation, and he was too nervous before. Plus we were in a semi-public area before the presentation, and it just wasn't appropriate to raise the issue.
I did have a theory that I shared with him, though. My doctor believes that glutamate plays a role in mood disorders. More specifically, he believes that having too much glutamate plays a role in mood disorders. Glutamate works by stimulating the brain cells. Too much glutamate destroys the brain cells by literally exciting them to death. So to put it simply, too much glutamate kills brain cells.
I've seen articles about studies that say that there's a link between being a couch potato who doesn't exercise one's brain & developing Alzheimer's, that people who are isolated and don't have a strong social support network have a greater risk of getting Alzheimer's, that being a pessimist with a negative attitude increases the risk of getting Alzheimer's, etc. Now, what's Alzheimer's? The accelerated deterioration of brain cells.
What if the couch potatoes are lazy because they're depressed and don't have the energy to get off the couch and stimulate their brains? What if the isolated people have some sort of anxiety disorder that prevents them from socializing like normal human beings? What if the negative attitude is just a manifestation of depression? What if the link between all of these things and Alzheimer's is that the glutamate is out of whack?
My doctor said it was an interesting theory. I said it might be a good idea to do a longitudinal study of people affected with mood disorders divided into 2 categories--those who take glutamate inhibitors and those who don't, and see which group has a higher rate of developing Alzheimer's. My doc said that would make an excellent study. And as he said it, I could see the wheels turning in his head in much the same way that they did when I asked if there were any other glutamate inhibitors I could take. :) Whoda thunk my puny non-medical brain could come up with something so revolutionary?
Tuesday, November 04, 2003
THE (NOT SO) BIG EVENT
OK, for all the millions of people out there waiting with bated breath...
The presentation went fairly well, I think. I didn't get to say nearly as much as I wanted to, but my doctor said I did a good job.
We had a chance to chat briefly before the presentation. It was really funny how nervous he was! He even said, "*I've* got GAD at this point."
My only disappointment was that the med students didn't really seem to be into the talk all that much. Somehow I thought that I'd dazzle them with my wit and charm, but that didn't really happen.
I've got to get ready for a job interview now...
HOLY UPDATE, BATMAN!
OK, let's see if I can get this entry typed & posted without accidentally deleting it like I did last night...
A lot has transpired since my last entry. I'll try to give you the highlights. (Yeah, I say "you" like anybody's actually reading this stupid thing. :) )
About the new job I referred to in my last post--It never happened. A few days after I quit my part-time job (and after they hired someone to replace me), the temp-to-perm people called me and said, "Sorry, we thought we had a job for you, but now it turns out we don't." So I got screwed.
But now I'm doing a long-term temp position at a major university. I'm subbing for an admin who's going on maternity leave. When I started the job, everyone was under the impression that the pregnant woman was going to have labor induced in 2 weeks and that she'd be taking a 4-week leave. Well, a month has passed and she's still pregnant (or at least she was as of 1:30 yesterday afternoon). And she's also informed me that she's taking a NINE week leave, not four. So I could have this job for a while. Cool!
Now to what you really want to hear about: the GAD stuff. Sometime around the end of September my symptoms started to return. When the anxiety returned I figured it had something to do with me getting screwed out of a job. But then when the depression returned I realized it wasn't a coincidence. So I upped my Lamictal dosage to 50 mgs. Virtually no symptoms since.
10/8: Had an appointment with my doctor. This is so cool--he wants to do a case study on me based on the way I've responded to the Lamictal. Not only that, but he plans to offer Lamictal to all the patients in the riluzole study who want to go off it. But wait--it gets better! He's doing a presentation to a bunch of med students and he wants me to participate. How cool is that?!?! I always knew I was a freak of nature, but who knew that being a freak could advance the study of medicine? :)
11/4 (today): The big presentation is today. I'm up early typing this entry. In another hour or so I'll start getting ready & head out there.
I hope that my participation has an impact on the students. Ever since my doc invited me to do this I've been thinking about what I want to say. I'm really looking forward to it.
Gotta cut this short now, but I'll post an update on how the presentation went sometime later. (And hopefully it won't take me a month to do it!)