Friday, January 22, 2016

One Down

Highlights of the first week of the semester:

- Taught my first class and it was a BIT of a disaster. Technical difficulties + 28 students + 1 very flustered TA (me). Luckily they were nice about it, and the professor and I figured out the issues after class so things should be good to go by next week.

- This dumb project I've been working on forever for my advisor is almost done. THANKS BE TO GOD.

- I've felt a slight uptick in anxiety this week, probably just early-semester jitters (which seems to happen every semester) but I'm still doing better than I did for most of last fall.

- Still on Celexa, still amazed by its effect on my anxiety. Still no weight gain or other scary side effects—just constant, grinding headaches. Some days I pop Tylenol around the clock. I'm going to bring it up at my next appointment with the psychiatrist in a few weeks; can't remember if this was an issue last time, but I'm assuming it'll improve with time.

- I might be getting BRACES. Well, invisible ones (either invisalign or generic type). I've always been pretty self-conscious about my teeth, and they shifted slightly more in the two years since I got my wisdom teeth out (not uncommon, apparently). Anyway, I had a consult with an orthodontist last week who said she could probably fix them right up in about a year-ish....which would be perfect, considering I'll lose my dental insurance in November.

And in television related news:

- I'm going to start watching Making a Murderer.


Happy Friday, everyone!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Conference Successes and Pre-Semester Thoughts

I got back from the conference last night. This trip has been on my calendar for several months, but as it approached I was getting more and more freaked out about the whole thing. I hate traveling—especially in winter (you guys remember my overnight airport fiasco last year?)—and I was nervous about my presentation, nervous about schmoozing with professors and having to be "on" all weekend, etc. etc. etc. But overall the weekend was a SUCCESS and I had way more fun than I expected.

Rocky start, though: my flight left at 5:20 a.m. on Thursday so my cab came at 4:00 (IT WAS AWFUL). I had tried to go to bed early the night before but couldn't sleep...probably got about 2 hours of shut-eye total, and was a complete wreck the whole day. My anxiety spiked to the worst it's been since I started taking Celexa a couple months ago. I was just freaking the fuck out about random stuff that had nothing to do with anything. Hard to say if it was the tiredness or just conference- and travel-related nerves, but I am becoming more and more aware that inadequate sleep is totally killer for my anxiety and overall mood stability.

I had a long layover in Big Southern City, and arrived at Conference City in early afternoon. After the initial freaking out the first day, I was basically okay. I jumped right in, going to a keynote speech and a couple other sessions that evening, then dinner out with a few people from my cohort. One of my best friends from my masters program was in from India, where she moved after graduation in May, so I got to spend lots of warm, fuzzy, friend time with her. We played hooky from the conference on Friday afternoon to explore the city and do some sightseeing, but totally wiped ourselves out and came back to my hotel to veg out and watch Dr. Phil. Lol. But I'm serious. That night there was a fancy schmancy reception where I drank a tad too much, ate a tad too little, and consequently felt a tad unsteady on my feet by the end. Luckily I rounded up some fellas who needed Fourth Meal to accompany me to get a burger at midnight. My presentation was Sunday morning, and it went well! I think. Felt very supported as several classmates from my cohort, as well as a few more senior students and even two professors came to hear me. Went straight from the conference venue to the airport where it promptly began to snow, sat on the runway for nearly an hour while they de-iced the plane, nearly missed my connection and had to SPRINT through Big Northern City Airport with all my bags in tow (and still wearing my fancy conference outfit), but luckily made it and was back in my apartment by dinnertime.

Today was spent unpacking, cleaning, organizing all my receipts from the weekend to submit for reimbursement (I LOVE WHEN THE SCHOOL PAYS FOR SHIT), and in the afternoon I went to see 13 Hours with The Guy <3. Now I'm home, fussing about what to eat for dinner, scratching my head over why I didn't start any of the reading due for my 9 a.m. class tomorrow, and slightly freaking out about my first TA position tomorrow afternoon. It's hard to believe the spring semester is starting up again already, and it might be somewhat of a doozy for me. Four classes, two seminars, two research assistantships, and one teaching assistantship. And I think I might be underestimating the time demands of the TA-ship. The students (and there are 25 of them....) will have lab homeworks every week that I have to grade, as well as final projects and a final exam. At least I don't actually have to take the class, I suppose.

So, the goal for this semester is to stay on top of school stuff and not lose my mind like I did last fall. Obviously I am in a better position than I was in August, what with being acclimated to the program and being on medication, but I still worry that the sleep and the anxiety will become problems again. I'll see how the first few weeks go, and check back in with the psychiatrist next month.

Happy MLK Day everyone, much love to you all.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Anxiety Assessment

I had my follow-up appointment with the new psychiatrist last week. My first appointment with her was about a month ago, when she put me on Celexa again and added Klonopin for sleep. Anxiety has been MUCH improved since starting the medication, thank goodness. Haven't had any of those horrible panicky episodes (I wouldn't really call them full-blown panic attacks, but close) in weeks—and in October/November they were happening at least once or twice a day. I no longer have that constant nervous feeling in my gut, I'm no longer perpetually nauseated with dread, and I no longer burst into tears ten times a day because I'm so freaking AFRAID of...what? I don't even remember.

So that's all good. Dr. C, the new psychiatrist, had a resident working with her on the day of my appointment....and while I like Dr. C, I did not particularly appreciate being blindsided by that. Ugh I understand that new doctors need training and experience etc., and I understand there is a shortage of psychiatrists, and I'm very grateful that this person was going into the field....but I really dislike having to talk about things that are already hard to talk about TWICE within the space of twenty minutes. Dr. C came and got me from the waiting room, then as we were heading back to the office she asked if I minded meeting with the resident first. Given that we were basically standing outside the resident's office, it didn't feel like I could say no. So I said yes, spoke with the resident for ten minutes, resident went to report back to Dr. C, then I got called into Dr. C's office where I repeated everything I just said (and, presumably, that the resident had just repeated). As I said, UGH. Anyway, it wasn't the end of the world; just irritating. I told them how I was definitely doing better anxiety-wise than I had been, which was probably partly Celexa and partly just circumstance (end of semester, holidays, getting to spend stress-free time at home with Mama and Papa Bear). And I told her about how I had only used the Klonopin once or twice for sleep, and it seemed to work but I was nervous about taking it more often.

Upon some probing Dr. C got me to admit that yes, I do still get somewhat anxious and am anticipating an uptick with the start of the semester (the spring will be far crazier than the fall was). So she urged me to up the dose from 20 to 40mg, at which I of course balked because...I don't know why, just because. Weight gain. Other vague unknowable potential side effects. Not liking drugs. Weight gain. I DON'T KNOW. She assured me over and over again that Celexa does NOT cause weight gain, that there are plenty of psych meds that do cause weight gain but Celexa isn't one of them. Trying hard to trust her on that. (And maybe I really should because this morning, I worked up the courage to step on the scale and check my weight for the first time in a few months.... and whaddya know, I'm down about five pounds. Body, you are a never ending source of mystery and intrigue.)

ANYWAY, after some back and forth, Dr. C and I compromised on the dose—I'll go up to 30mg for a few weeks, then check back in once the semester has gotten going and we'll reassess from there. I feel okay with that for now, mostly because I feel much more okay about life in general, and am yet again blown away by the magical powers of medication. Argh yes fine you can all point and yell I TOLDJA SO. FINE.

I leave town for a conference tomorrow and am pretty impressed with how not stressed I am about it. This will be the first real conference for which I've had to actually travel, present a paper, schmooze with important people, etc. and so far I'm taking it in stride. But never fear: Klonopin has already been packed.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Seeking Advice on Dating As A Crazy Person

In case it wasn't obvious from my last few updates, I am totally smitten with this new guy. He is smart and interesting and sweet, he plays the piano, he can solve a Rubix Cube in sixty seconds flat, he's a great kisser, and he seems to think I'm not repulsive.

But sooner or later he's gotta learn that I'm insane, and I don't know when is the right time to fill him in. Or to what extent he needs to be filled in, you know? There's the anorexia, of course, but I'm not really anorexic anymore. I could probably "pass" as a normal picky-ish eater at this point. There's the anxiety, but that's relatively under control at the moment. So, do I need to tell him I take medication? That less than a month ago I would curl up on my bedroom floor every night sobbing uncontrollably because I was so afraid of...something? That every few months I am swallowed up by the most horrible waves of depression? That two-and-a-half years ago I overdosed on painkillers? That sometimes I hate myself so much I can't imagine letting anyone touch me or even come near me?

I don't know if this is an official "talk" that needs to happen, and whether it needs to happen before we have the talk about "us." Or is it something that's okay to keep to myself until we know each other better and get more comfortable sharing the deep, dark, icky stuff?

Now that I'm in it with this guy, I feel more—not less—insecure. I keep waiting for him to text me saying he changed his mind. I keep remembering how I broke up with the last guy I dated (with a phone call two days after we'd last hung out) and I can't imagine how horrible that must've made him feel, and almost can't believe I would be so hurtful. And suddenly I'm terrified of that happening to me.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Partial Recap

Wowza I didn't realize it had been almost a month since my last post. I never intended to drop off the map; blogging was just starting to feel like a chore, never felt like I had much to say, and once I got out of the habit... you know. So anyway, definitely can't recap every detail of the last month but I'll try to hit some of the main points.

I've been back on Celexa (20mg) for about 8ish weeks now and my oh my does this stuff work. One day I was a shivery, manic, irrational BASKET CASE and within two weeks of starting the med, I was basically back to my old (slightly less irrational) self. Ugh, it actually frustrates me how much it works, because I was half-hoping to have an excuse to stop taking it. I'm still nervous about the med causing weight gain, but for the time being I'm not willing to go back to being an anxious wreck. My new psychiatrist had also prescribed Klonopin at night to help regulate my sleep, but I was nervous about getting dependent on it so I rarely take it. My sleep was horrible for most of the fall, except for a week my mom came to stay with me in October, the week I went home for Thanksgiving, and the two weeks I went home for Christmas. So apparently I need my mother in the house to be able to sleep. Am I three? I told my mom this as further evidence that I need a dog to keep me company and she was like "Or you need a significant other and move in together." Uh....when your mother would prefer you shack up with a dude than get a pet.... #weird

Anyway. When I had finished up my semester, I flew to East Coast City (a few hours from where my parents live) to spend a couple days with a friend from high school, then we drove back to our parents' hometown where I spent the next two weeks hanging out with my parents, cooking with Mama Bear, annoying my brother, reading 5,234,945,765,789 books (seriously between my Kindle  and Barnes & Noble I probably spent $100 on books #priorities). Got back to College City just before New Years and have since been spending lots of time with The Boy...

So yeah, things are getting a little more serious, you could say :). For a few months we were just talking, getting to know each other, going out for coffees and drinks and dinners, both being kind of shy about how to move forward, and THEN we both got our brave on and...yeah. I've spent more nights with him than alone over the past week, and have been walking around in this weird floaty happy haze. I alternate between being ridiculously happy and horribly panicked that he will discover I am actually a fucking NUT, and I am torn between wanting to jump in headfirst and hold back to protect myself. Just in case.

All this has got my head in a weird place, obviously. Plus I'm stressed about all the work I need to get done before the semester starts. I'm going out of town next week for a conference, then classes start the day after I get back. Already missing winter break.

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday, and that 2016 is off to a great start! Love to you all.