If you’ve read Episode 45 about mood cycling and stress, you already know a bit about how I’ve been doing. I’ll go into that here, since this is separate from the episodes, and there will be some new additions since the ending of the last episode.
I responded very well to being on the duloxetine again, as I was put on it a few months ago now and had the dosage increased about a month ago. The increased dosage helped incredibly, and I had the first Christmas I can remember where I didn’t feel depressed and guilty for feeling depressed. These positive feelings–which were definitely not hypomania, I’ll add–lasted until early January, about two weeks ago. That’s when I started noticing my mood cycling, though it feels like it was a much longer time ago now.
When your mood starts cycling, you can wake up feeling fine on one day. You might have a plan for something. A blood draw for your doctor, donating plasma, bringing some soup to your parent’s work–those are three examples from my week–or even a meeting with a friend. You can be excited for it, just looking forward to getting it done, or just totally benevolent about it. Then, with or without a trigger, the mood cycling hits.
My psychiatrist increased my lamictal (mood stabilizer) after hearing that I was cycling. He also ordered some labs earlier this week. This appointment was on Monday. I had to wait until Tuesday to do them. My psychiatrist is old-fashioned and writes out his orders for me to take in. I didn’t check the orders until Tuesday morning, when I realized he’d written the wrong last name on it. So first, I called my psychiatrist’s office. He was out of office that day (of course) so there wasn’t much they could do except verify the orders if the lab clinic called them. So I called the labs clinic. The guy on the phone told me they could probably do it anyway with me already in the system, if I had ID or something (I don’t remember now). I wasn’t sure if they would take it or not, but I wanted to get the labs done, so I went over there.
First, I’d forgotten my own mask. This clinic required masks. So I wandered in, everyone else wearing masks already, and I had to creep up to the desk to grab one and hurry back to get in line. The mask wouldn’t stay on; it kept getting caught on my piercings and hair and beanie, so it took a few minutes to get that all settled. I got up to the front and explained that it had the wrong last name, that I was in the system, that the guy on the phone said they might still be able to do the labs, my psychiatrist was out of the office so he couldn’t write a new one today, etc.. She went to the back and came back five seconds later. Told me they couldn’t do it with the wrong last name, no matter what.
Now, I knew this was reasonable. But I was holding in tears until I got to my car. I started shaking, sobbing, was not in a fit state to drive. My guy called me to calm me down, but it still took fifteen minutes, maybe more, to get me ready to drive home. I perked up a bit after getting home, but then I had a fight with someone and got incredibly depressed. I’d had an appointment with my therapist and BioLife (plasma donation) but I canceled them both. I cried a bit and then fell into nothingness for a few hours. I thought about my pills, thought about self-harm. The only reason I’m ever able to resist that is I promised one of my best friends I wouldn’t. I can’t break that promise, can’t do that to him (and everyone else). I made up with the person and felt a bit better, but I was still a bit depressed and tired.
The next day, I had the soup event and the plasma donation. My mom’s work does this cute little “grill series” where people bring in foods for lunch and they have a little unofficial competition. They’ve done brisket, pulled pork, some other stuff. This month was soup. My mom asked if I wanted to participate and I said yes.
I felt a little low when I woke up, but I cheered up while I cooked tortilla soup. I got to try out my meat shredders that I got for Christmas. As I was getting ready to take it to my mom’s work, I was hit by a sudden wave of depression again. I couldn’t put on my second sock. I sat there for a while, feeling awful. I felt like I was a flake, which I still feel I am. I’ve never been able to commit to things due to this illness. I’ve had to quit clubs and groups, I’ve lost friends. There were other thoughts, but I won’t get into those here.
I’d rescheduled BioLife for that day (Thursday) and I canceled it again. After some pressure from my guy, I rescheduled it for the exact same time on Thursday. I was feeling optimistic about it, since my doctors had filled out all their forms and they’d approved me. I made it though vitals, through registration, through their questionnaire, and here’s where I made my mistake. They asked if there had been any changes in my medication, and I told them about my increased dosage of lamictal, which you might remember from the beginning of this post. They gave me a look and told me, once again, that I couldn’t do it. This time, I have to wait a month from the date the dosage went up.
If you remember, I had a major cross-country trip coming up. I need extensive funding for some work on my car and the trip itself. BioLife was one of the few ways I could actually obtain funds on my own. Luckily, my guy pushed the trip back until March, so the funds weren’t as urgent as they had been. Otherwise, this probably would have been another huge breakdown. I was still very upset and did cry a bit in my car, but it wasn’t as bad as the blood draw incident.
Friday was largely uneventful. I had lunch with my mom and her old coworker. By now, I was feeling the lamictal kicking in and doing its work with the duloxetine. I was more stable again, but as a result, I was terribly exhausted. I napped all day and was still too tired to keep my eyes open. I rarely get tired physically until I take my night medication, but after these episodes… You get very, very, very tired.
And that leads us to here (Saturday). I’m still exhausted. But I feel more like myself again, more stable and calm. I have more things planned, like taking my car in to get a rear dash cam installed (God knows I can’t do it myself). Now that the trip is pushed back, I’m looking forward to relaxing this next week. I even worked out on Thursday and Friday. I need to hit hard to lose that weight.
Thank you for reading this long post about my week of mood cycling. There will be more personal updates over the next few months, especially on my trip to Philly. Follow me on my socials (links at top and bottom of this page) to see more about that, coming to you in March 2023.