Is There a Sign On My Back?

I am seriously wondering if someone (who doesn’t like me) has, unknown to me, stuck a sign on my back saying “pick on me” this week.  Mysteriously, each time I change my clothes, I still seem to have the sign plastered there for all to see.  Having spent time with my brother this morning, I sent him a text a few hours ago to ask whether he noticed the sign.  So far he hasn’t responded.  I’m not exactly sure what conclusion I should draw from that.

Some weeks seem just determined to make things hard, and this week has  achieved that for me in so many ways.  I thought bad things were meant to happen in three’s, but so far I’ve counted six.  Here’s a run down (and I promise it’s the short version):

1.  My trial to come off lithium failed (as I told you in Ten Years Later, And I Have My Answer).  You’ll be pleased to know that I am back on the original dose.  Just waiting for it to kick in.

Actually the day after my psychiatrist told me to start the lithium again immediately, my GP (General Practitioner who handles day to day medical issues) objected, and wanted me to wait another week “just to be sure”.  Basically I quoted my last post at him and explained why waiting wouldn’t be a good idea…  and then I ignored him.  Meanwhile as I wait for the lithium to kick back in, I have all the usual symptoms of depression.  It’s a few years since I was last depressed.  I hate that it is back.

2.  The implication of my inability to get off lithium now means that I can not get medication to treat my fibromyalgia (the whole point in trying to come off).

3.  A further implication of my inability to get off lithium is that I can not get adequate pain medication for fibro symptoms that can not be treated.  All I can use is paracetemol (an over-the counter analgesic) and a very limited amount of codeine.  Neither of these do anything for the worst problem, which is nerve pain.

4.  An implication of my inability to get adequate pain medication takes a blow at my intention to use  extra medication so that I could deal with the extra pain caused when I try to giving up smoking again.  (See  Unseen).  Actually my GP denied any knowledge of this issue, and had no willingness to hear me on the issue of pain caused my nicotine withdrawal.  He basically told me to “toughen up and try again“.  I can’t say I was too impressed by his lack of compassion, empathy and helpfulness.

5.  Totally unrelated to  numbers one to four, I saw my endocrinologist yesterday for a routine check-up for my auto-immune condition Graves’ Disease.  This has been in remission for about 10 months now, and I half hoped that he would discharge me from his care and send me on my way (on the understanding that the disease could come out of remission at any time.).  What he told me instead is that it looks very likely that the disease is coming out of remission.  It’s a wait and see game now.  More blood tests in a couple of months to draw a definite conclusion, and a reminder of what to do if acute symptoms return in the meantime..

Grave’s affects a number of areas in the body, but the biggest impact is on the thyroid gland (producing a pretty serious condition  called thyrotoxicosis), the eyes ( I won’t tell you what it does to the eyes simply because the thought of it turns my stomach), and speeding up the heart rate beyond healthy.  It’s not a pleasant condition to have, nor is the treatment particularly appealing for this ‘nuclear-free’ kiwi.  More about that if, and when it happens.

6.  Just when I get to Friday and really think I’ve had enough… today the Pain Management Clinic, a public health service designed to help me find alternatives for pain management has refused to see me.  Apparently I am simply not a priority, to the extent that they haven’t even put me on a waiting list.  Being unable to get off lithium, this referral was essential, but it seems it’s not to be.

So what do you think?  Is it reasonable to conclude that sign is on my back?  Are my stars just not aligned this week?  Is it one of those weeks when I should never have got out of bed? Hmm.

Image credit:

What do I choose?

Despair or Hope?

I’ve been struggling to do much reading this week, finding it too difficult to concentrate even on a short blog post.  I manage the first couple of paragraphs and then drift off.  It’s a symptom of depression.  One thing that I did manage to read, made me stop and think.  Hope Is A Choice.  Actually, if you’ve got the time, and the concentration, there is a lot written on this premise.  I’m inclined to think it’s true, that for me hope is a choice.

Hope is an easy word to say, and I know I use it a lot in my writing, but actually it’s pretty hard to practise, especially when times are tough, and there is a ‘pick on me’ badge on my back.  Actually there had been a fair amount of despair going on here in the last few days.  All these health (including my mental health) issues I’m dealing with are chronic, with little to no hope for complete recovery.

When I said in my last post that I had proven to myself that lithium kept me out of prison and out of a grave, I wasn’t kidding.  That’s the reality, especially if I choose to go down the road of despair.

One of the extra difficulties I’ve faced this week is what Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) adds to this scenario.   BPD enables me to split too easily between my emotions.  What that means is that one minute I can be happy and full of hope, sure that all this will work out.  But shortly after I can be completely depressed, despairing, withdrawn and without hope.

Actually it is this reason that has stopped me from posting this week.  If I post when I’m feeling good, you will get one impression which might be quite different from what reality is.  That has consequences for you, as the reader, trying to understand but it also has a habit of kicking back at me.  It’s hard to explain but I’m sure fellow BPD sufferers know the issue well.

What I really need to say is that this week has been really hard, and it’s not over yet.  I have some practical issues that I am going to have to try to resolve, but as yet I don’t know how I will do that, and frankly it doesn’t seem like I have a lot of support from the medical fraternity.

Sometimes this week, I have seen very little hope.  Other times,  I have had to go back to borrowing hope (see Borrowed Hope).  I felt disappointed to have to do that, but it was necessary because I had lost sight of my own hope.

As for now?  Deep inside I have a sense that this will work out, that my health can be revived and that hope does exist for me.  Although I’m not sure how it will look.  Sometimes I have to look a long way to find that sense of hope and in the meantime I guess I’m suspending judgement.  I’m not choosing despair.  No matter how bad I feel, I refuse to go back down that road again.  I can’t afford to do that to myself.

“to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.” 

―    Ellen Bass


42 thoughts on “Is There a Sign On My Back?

  1. I wanted to hit like, but I just couldn’t. I am very sorry you are going through all of this. I don’t agree with the “toughen up” as I have been to see some shit doctors in the past week. I just want to say, hang in there, my heart goes out to you and keep holding on to that hope. You are super woman.

    1. Thank you. I much prefer hang in there to toughen up. I admit I am way behind on my reading of your blog so am not sure what is happening for you. I hope you are okay. If you’ve been doing the rounds of shit doctors too, I’m guessing you’re not. In New Zealand we say ‘kia kaha’ . That’s Maori for ‘be strong’ Somweher inside of us both we can do this. 😀

      1. Seeing one more doctor today. I hope he doesn’t make me feel stupid and self-doubt as well, otherwise I’m starting to think about going to crystal-wearing and aura-predicting ladies….or bloody hypnosis, I don’t know, but I can’t take much more doctors who belittle me and don’t listen to me. Thank goodness my therapist is a dream, but the medical psychiatrists are the ones making my life more miserable than it is. Maori. Sort of rolls off the tongue. I like the way it sounds. Maori Cate.

      2. I so know what you mean by doctors who belittle and don’t listen. Crystals and auras start to have their attraction. I hope you find some answers and some relief soon.

  2. (((Hugs)))

    Been a long tiring two weeks of stress on my side of the world too. I’m busy coming off pain med (Neurontin) and it seems to be giving me anxiety withdrawal stuff. I can’t get the doctor to check on some neurologic issues until I’m off it so hoping the pain doesn’t return. :-\ It’s a juggling act and some days it’s very hard, isn’t it? You just want to crawl into a nice cosy cave and tell the world to go away, but you can’t. So we keep on plodding! One friend of mine with fibro says we plods wearing clown shoes and red noses – tripping up, but finding ways to laugh at ourselves and life.

    Laughter helps pain – depression makes pain worse so i’m in total agreement with your decision to tackle the depression first! It is the priority.

    1. Thank you Michelle. The image of us with clown feet and red noses just made me laugh, and I know you will understand that is a big thing for me right now. I’m sorry you’re having such a hard time too. How long do you have to wait before the doctor can do the checks necessary? I hope it’s not too long. Meanwhile that cosy cave is looking good. Hugs.

  3. reflectionsonlifethusfar

    That’s really sh*tty Cate. I hope something good happens for you soon. It might just be one of those weeks we all have sometimes-the week from Hell. So maybe it will be better next week. Hopefully anyway. *HUGS* if you’d like them.

    1. Hugs are very welcome. Thank you. I think this is just a shitty week from hell, but you know my two year old niece gave me a cuddle the other day and that was so nice, it nearly made up for everything else. Nearly.

      1. reflectionsonlifethusfar

        Aw, hugs from little kids are so nice. They remind me of pets-this is why I’m NOT having children! LOL My niece was never big on giving hugs but likes to sit with you if she likes you. She’s an old soul in my opinion. Even as a toddler she had a wise look to her. I love her. 🙂

      2. She sounds adorable, and even sitting with you can be nearly as good as a cuddle. I’ve had a few days from my niece like that recently, as she went through ‘a stage’. Somehow I think I might be going through ‘a stage’ too. 😉

    1. Thank you Carolyn. I really appreciate that. I’ve just been reading that mountaineers love mountains, and it’s making me think that there have to be some good things in this. Somewhere. So meantime I’m looking. 🙂

  4. Cate,
    I hate that you are going through this, I understand what it feels like when life, with it’s people and circumstances outside of your control, hits you with a string of unrelated events to everyone but you AND both your body and and your mind turn on you at the same time. That being said, I LOVED that you are being frank and real and raw about it all and choosing to decide to and borrow Hope to get you through this and that you are giving voice to what so many are unable to articulate.

    Part of the reason I stopped by, after such a long time of being away from your blog, is that I am including yours in my next post that will post tomorrow. I just wanted you to know that, although I may have drifted away, you are still ever present in my thoughts and as one of the best examples of hope and strength I have witnessed in the blogosphere.


    1. Hi Kina, That is so lovely. Thank you. I feel so disconnected at the moment because I haven’t been able to do much, if any reading, for a while. I hope you are doing okay, and I will look out for your post. ❤

      1. Cate,
        I understand exactly what you mean. I’ve been in the same boat, until the past couple of days. Now I can’t stop reading what everyone’s been writing about as they go through their lives. You’ll get there again and my words won’t be going anywhere.

        Blessings and peace,

  5. Just for the record, my Hubby had excruciating (sp?) pain when he quit smoking. I’m so sorry you’re in such agony and the stupid medical world is not at all helpful. It sounds like you’re doc needs to know what it’s like to suffer, so he can gain some compassion. Thinking of you as you struggle xo

    1. Thank you. You have just made my day telling me about your husband having pain. My doctor treated me like I was completely bonkers, making things up. Actually it was pretty patronizing when I think about it, so it helps to here someone else had a similar experience. I wondering did he manage to get through the pain and quit? I hope so. I really need to find myself a new doctor but I’ve got some issues with doctors from my past that make it a dificult and triggering exercise. That said, I think this week confirmed that I need to bite the bullet and do it.

      1. you’re very welcome! he did get through it, smoke free for 9 years! it would make sense that there is pain as it is widthdrawl. i understand about Docs, i’m terrified of going for likey similar reasons to you. i haven’t found a doc since i moved and the one walk in experience i had since i’ve been here was bad…glad Hubby was with me! the one you have sounds like an idiot! xo

      2. thank you i just wondered if you would be willing to try signing into my site now, there is a post on how too. and it is much easier than before. i just wondered if it is working and if you had any issues could you let me know? unless you are already signed in?? lol
        i will hang to your email for other things if you don’t mind 🙂

  6. John Richardson

    Sometimes, I think the best thing is not to think too much. Take one step at a time. Get through today and let God take care of tomorrow. My mother used to tell me that sometimes you feel so good you feel giddy, and sometimes you feel so low and depressed you didn’t know you could feel so blue. In either case, it’s important not to make any major life decision when you’re feeling either giddy or blue. Wait until you’re somewhere in the middle and things have leveled out. When you try to look too far ahead and you have a lot to contend with life can feel pretty overwhelming. So, just get through today and don’t worry about tomorrow.
    You’ve got the strength, you’ve got the courage and I know you’ll get through it. To the extent you can you need to sing, dance and laugh. I know you’re in pain but move as much as you can. Sing some songs as loud as you can. Listen to some music that has a strong beat. And last, don’t forget the cigars! God Bless! You have a lot of folks pulling for you Cate! You can do this!

    1. Hi John, I might yet have to resort to the cigars and I’ll probably need your advice on what to buy. I’lll let you know. 🙂 You’re quite right though. One day at a time is enough. I need to keep hearing that, as well as putting it into practise.

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  10. The Linkedin Spiritual professionals (online group) all claim that meditation is more powerful than medication. I’ve argued with them that not everyone can choose to meditate. What do you think? I’ve found it very powerful, but I think there’s a place for both.

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