Brain Chemistry and Other Minor Details

I can’t sleep.

This is alarming on a variety of levels for me. I am going to take melatonin and start exercising regularly. I am going to do what I can to fight the natural tendencies of my body and brain.

The bipolar disorder has really taken a backseat to the anxiety disorders for a while now. In fact, this more recent diagnosis landed me in the ER three times in the summer of 2009. And after that? Haha, you’ll have to wait for the book to come out sometime before I leave this Earth. It’s unpleasant and I don’t like to talk about it. It suffices to say I had a major and sudden change in medications due to a sudden and foreboding lack of sleep. My behavior wasn’t normal.

I blame the OCD for so many things, but it is really a blessing in disguise. Because of it, I think, I don’t manifest many of my bipolar tendencies externally. Instead, I internalize them, effectively attempting to torture myself to death with guilt and things purely imagined.

So it’s been five days since I started waking up regularly at 3 am. Which means I’ve been getting six hours sleep a night. Not bad, but I don’t really feel tired. Danger, Will Robinson! Similar lack of sleep precedes a sudden change in my moods. It’s good to be happy; it’s bad to be elated. At least if you’re me.

And what change has made sleep difficult? I have been under a lot of stress with the loss of the job/the apartment search. But there really is a chemical reason. I am weaning off of the medication that I’ve come to rely on because I presently lack health insurance.

So I was taking clomipramine and it was heaven sent. It mitigated my intrusive thoughts effectively and allowed me to live somewhat normally. Without many of my routines (save the handwashing). But I was supposed to have an increase in dosage to help manage my sleep and my anxiety symptoms. I received the instruction to increase the dosage right before I lost my health insurance.

So instead of increasing, I ended up having to decrease the amount I was taking gradually in order to go on something else. I was sitting pretty and strong at 75 mg a night. Now that I’m down to 50 mg, the trouble has started. I am terrified of what the reduction to 25 will bring, as I’ve read this is a particularly difficult med to wean off of.

And what is to take its place? Good old Paxil. Which at this point has a chance of working. I took a low dose in college and not for long enough to make much of a difference. Here’s to hoping.

And what of the apartment search? It turns out they kind of want you to have a salary before you can get one (picky of them, eh)? So I am waiting for the letter confirming my future, consistent income before I apply. I’ve got my eye on one. I’ll keep y’all posted. I have some amazing friends who are helping me make this happen on so many different levels. Their generosity of spirit and willingness to help has been astounding. Don’t have pots? No problem. Don’t have a bed? Craigslist, baby. So many hacks and hints. And it’s just so wonderful to know I have compassionate and intelligent people who have my back and want me to thrive.

Even my ex has offered some furniture to me that’s hanging out in his storage, bless his heart. How awesome is that? Completely generous and unexpected. It’s in Utah but we will make it happen somehow. Violet’s bed is down there still, as well as her dresser and bookshelf. Retirement looks good on him, and I wish him well. And thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you.

So with everyone showing such support, you would think I would be resting easy. I have everything to gain at this point and I am not going to let a measly disorder bring me down. I will fight this. I will keep my metaphorical poop in a group. I will apply for that online editing gig correcting college-level papers. I will apply for apartments as soon as that verification letter is in hand. I will do what I can to stop the madness before it starts.

Thank you all, and good morning.

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