Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Not the 100th post on Depressed Academics

I was looking at the blog page today and noticed that it was at 99 posts.   That made me wonder if we should do something for our 100th post.  Maybe some reflections by the various people who have posted.  Maybe a request for input from blog readers.  Except I couldn't ask the blog readers because ...well that would be our 100th post.

Then I realised that there are three posts in process of being written (or possibly forgotten about), so actually there are only 96 posts.  There will still be a couple more before the 100th - this is now the 97th.

So ... should we do anything special for our 100th post?  If you have any ideas please do comment - or if more private contact us by email.

If the answer is no that is fine by me.  Depression is not a topic to celebrate, so maybe having a 100 different things to say about it is not a thing to celebrate either.

Links: Stephen Fry, and Ambigrams

As with some other links, it's quite unlikely you won't have seen it.  But it's so good, here is Stephen Fry's wonderful piece "Only The Lonely."  Sample:

"I am luckier than many of you because I am lonely in a crowd of people who are mostly very nice to me and appear to be pleased to meet me. But I want you to know that you are not alone in your being alone."
In other news, a wonderful series of ads from Samaritans of Singapore.   They are ambigrams, reading differently the right way up and upside down.  I think I came across these from Doug Hofstadter many years ago, but they are by far the best use I've ever seen of them.  It perfectly illustrates the difference between what we say and we feel.
Image that says "I'm fine" but turned upside down reads as "Save me"
Depression Awareness Ad from Samaritans in Singapore

Monday, 24 June 2013

Hashtag Full Professor Problems

I had a paper accepted to a top journal and I felt nothing. #FullProfessorProblems

You've heard of first world problems? You know, problems which most people around the world would be thrilled to have.  The twitter feed for the hashtag #FirstWorldProblems is always lively.

I'm coining #FullProfessorProblems.

Yesterday I had a paper accepted for a top journal (JAIR, the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research, since you ask.)  This is a fairly big deal. It will probably go into my "REF" submission as one of my four best papers for the last few years. JAIR is probably the second best AI journal, after the journal just called "Artificial Intelligence" (or AIJ).  This makes 4 papers for my career in JAIR and 6 in AIJ.  10 papers in 25 years since starting my PhD doesn't sound many that many, but actually it is.  I'm statistical enough to have checked and those totals put me in the top 100 authors for each journal.  So if I wanted to boast (which I don't but if you want me to ... ) well I don't want to since this isn't a job application, but you can imagine what I could do with that stat if it was.

It's also a single authored paper, meaning I have a sense of "I've still got it" and knowing for sure I wasn't riding on my colleagues' coat tails.

And I felt nothing. Maybe just a smidge of satisfaction.  But no joy, no elation. That's what I am used to feeling when I get a major paper accepted.  It's not that it made me feel miserable, it just didn't make me feel great.  

I am not going through a bad patch mentally right now. I wouldn't say I feel great. But I don't feel terrible.  It's no problem to get through life and I can enjoy some of it.  But I do enjoy feeling great when I get good news, and I didn't yesterday.

To be honest it is a bit worrying.  I remember a similar reaction - no emotion then worrying - a couple of years ago when I noticed my h-index tick up by one.  Again that's a fairly big deal, and anyone who knows me knows that I obsess about citations.  Feeling nothing worried me a bit.

On the upside, I suppose, I seem to have been taking bad news fairly calmly too.  Though I can worry about that also - as in it's not my job on the line if we don't get a grant.

I don't know if this is the medication (escitalopram) talking. I ran out a couple of weeks ago and that did seem to coincide a bit of bad patch so I'm happy to still take it.  Maybe it evens out the highs and lows. Maybe it's just being older and more blasé.

I know, I know, I know. I'm going on about this good news for me.  And moaning because I don't feel great about it.

I don't want you to feel sorry for me. I just wanted to talk about what I was feeling. Or in this case, not feeling.  Since this blog is "Somewhere you can talk about it." 

I told you it was #FullProfessorProblems. 

p.s. Not quite on topic but a useful tip to pass on ...  I didn't have a rapid comedown when I read reviews (which is common if people misunderstand a paper) because I used a technique I either learnt or deduced from Alan Bundy: don't read the reviews the same day.  (He has often said that reading reviews ruins a day even when the paper is accepted. So if possible it's a neat trick to have a fun day with the good news and read the review the next day.)

Update 8 July 2013. 

This amazing mug appeared in my office today.  I strongly suspect ... well see my tweet about it. But this made my day, and indeed Aaron congratulating me the other day after having read my post was probably the first time I had felt happy about this paper acceptance. 

The outcast dips lower

My parents are older; they had me in their forties. I am in my mid twenties. Many of their cousins are now passing, and recently (maybe last year?) my aunt on my father's side. The notion of aging and disease has been common in our conversations for a good couple years. I am not numb to it, but it just is what it is. This is not to say I don't think aging concerns or even death related notions in terms of getting older are not valid. They are. They are just different than spontaneous death occurrences. 

This is what I mean: I was online and came across a name of a guy who went to grade school with me. He had died last year. At first the name sounded familiar, but it wasn't until I saw the pictures that I remembered who he was. I read through a whole page dedicated to memories from family and friends, and I felt strange.

I would not describe me as suicidal the last couple of days, but recurring urges to hurt myself or to kill myself would float on by like those planes with messages trailing from behind. The thoughts/urges would of course be out of sight soon enough. More of an annoyance than anything. Today's thoughts are different: I should have died and not him. I don't have anyone who loves me as much as him. I did not touch that many lives. I should overdose. 

As I write these things, I can't help but go through my skill check list: 

  • What happened to trigger these thoughts? 
  • What was I feeling emotionally?
  • What was I feeling physically? 
What happened is I tried to reach out to my once closest friend (again) who has been avoiding me because I have been so difficult to deal with. This friend did not get back to me. I felt angry. I felt stiffness in my shoulders.

I didn't at first understand why I wrote I don't have anyone who loves me as much as him. But reflecting on my answers to my skill questions, I feel like it's obvious I am feeling rejected in some sort of way. And not just by my friend. But my family. By acquaintances. 

I feel like I don't quite fit anywhere. I am in transition from going to one university to another university to begin my PhD. It's a really big deal. I am scared. When things get tough, and my mood is low, I can't help but think of escaping. But at the very least, I can sit down and identify my sources of frustration and suicidal thinking. 

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Random thoughts... Feel free to ignore

I'm writing this having just had a bit of a cry on my partner A's shoulder. I feel guilty for having done so as he's ill too with food poisoning. In my opinion I should be taking more care of him, than he is of me. 

Life seems ok on the surface... I have my tutoring (one tutee only at the moment), volunteering and accounting study... Relationships with friends and family are also going reasonably well. I've started having driving lessons, in order to make applying for 'proper' jobs easier. 

On paper, I seem to be doing the right things.

But my feelings alternate between sad and empty. I fear that this is the start of depression coming back. So right now, I'm just doing what I can to feel useful. Like not cancelling commitments and appointments, and trying to do more around the house, on a more regular basis. I'm hoping routine will stave off full-blown depression. I'm hoping this episode will pass at some point without further dip. Because right now, I'm functioning. And I don't want to go back to the days when I wasn't.

I found myself awake at 3 am this morning... The dreaded hour in my experience. Throughout my earlier episode of depression, 3 am was a constant companion. I would always be awake at this time.

This post might sound a little flat, after my other posts. I guess that's how I'm feeling: flat and numb

Thursday, 13 June 2013

My Left Cheek

Some years ago, nearly 20, I was having a tantrum after what I regarded as bad service in a restaurant.   To be clear, I was late 20s, but it was definitely a tantrum.

We stood near the top of the Mound in Edinburgh, and I grabbed my wife's hand and held it to my left cheek and got her to stroke it.

I've no idea how I knew to do that.  But ever since then, if somebody strokes my left cheek, I can't stop myself smiling.  And even feeling happy while it's happening.   It's a very weird feeling.   It's something like being tickled except I'm smiling instead of laughing.   Unlike tickling, I don't mind it.  I am ticklish but I hate being tickled.  But this is nice. Also unlike tickling, I can do it to myself - well at about half intensity: it's much better if somebody else does it. Since I need it when I am miserable or crabby, I often play-act at not wanting it, which is kind of fun because inevitably I grin foolishly.

It is my left cheek, not my right.  It doesn't work on my right cheek.

Later, when my father died, I found a piece of paper with his very frail writing on it from his last days.  I broke down, and my wife tells me that my mother stroked my left cheek, but I don't know if she knew about it or whether it was instinctive.

Since I discovered this that day on the Mound, it has been a small but significant pleasure in my life.  It's also an oddity: other people may have equivalents but they don't get talked about.

The only relevance to this blog is that it doesn't seem to work well with depression.  For anger, frustration, sadness, it seems to help.   Or just for a small piece of pleasure.   For depression, it doesn't seem to work.  Sometimes I actively fight it, rather than play-act fight it, because I am miserable and I know it would make me happy, which at that time I don't want or feel I deserve. On the other hand, it seems to just be a momentary lift, rather than taking me to another place where I feel better.

This has been a long way of getting nowhere, but I wanted to share this mental oddity with you.

Monday, 10 June 2013

The low self-esteem beast at a networking event

Something I jotted down last week... Wasn't ready to post at the time. Feelings were still a bit raw. No that I've calmed down a bit (just a little bit), I thought it might be interesting for others to read. Only minor editing (spell-checking) since then.

 “The low self-esteem beast bit me today,
That too on a fine sunny day...”

Funny how that happens... One moment things seem to be going okay. Another time it feels like things, i.e. you, are going nowhere. 

Today it was at a networking event. I went to try to get tips to turn my tutoring into a business and get more tutees.  We all had to introduce ourselves. I let my vulnerability be shown: that I had not succeeded in the job market. Another man, trying to sell his business, said that he could tap the unadvertised job market and get people jobs. People, like me. He did that sales pitch, specifically naming me, in so-called alliance, and saying that I could disagree with him at any time.  

He knew how to target my vulnerability, the mark of a good sales man.

When the self-esteem beast bites, it feels like the bottom has fallen out of your whole world. That there is no place for you in it. What is the point of you existing, if you’re of no use to anyone.

The problem is, is that other people telling you there is a place for you, and that you have skills, and are of value, just doesn’t seem to solve the problem. In the end, self-esteem, is just that... *self* esteem... 

The whole process of picking yourself has to begin, all over again. “Again”, because you have had this problem several times over and you have had to do it before. You hope it gets easier. But you never really know.

Low self-esteem has been a personality trait of mine for as long as I can remember. It's got to the point where I wish I could exorcise the demon, and be rid of it forever. It stops me trying new things that I might not be good at, meeting confident people, and even applying for jobs.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

I don't necessarily want to kill myself... I just want to become dead somehow.

Warning: this post will deal with suicide, or to be more precise suicidal thoughts.  If that worries you please don't read further.

The title of this post comes from "Depression Part 2", by Hyperbole and a Half.

I do have regular suicidal thoughts, but they seem almost trivial to me.  I regularly say to myself I want to kill myself.  On a good day I can beat it by catching the thoughts and rephrasing them.  On a very good day the thoughts don't occur at all.

I don't want to kill myself.  The thing is, I don't really mind that my brain tells me that I do want to kill myself.  It's an irritant to me.  Like some British people don't like the standard "have a nice day" phrase. That is a bit of an irritant to them, but it doesn't make them suicidal.  That is how I feel about "I want to kill myself".  It's annoying but it doesn't make me suicidal - at least in my own head.

One thing that becoming addicted to naps has helped me with is not being scared of dying.   I love so much drifting off, maybe listening to a nice audio book or podcast in a comfortable bed, that if death was like that I would not be unhappy about it.  But that doesn't mean I want to die.  Every single time I have a nap I want to wake up from it.

On the other hand, if I am having a nap as stress release from being miserable, I can find myself thinking how comforting it would be to have a gun I could point at my head.  Though, maybe oddly, I don't think about pulling the trigger.  Just the comfort of having it there.

I also don't think about means of killing myself.  In as much as I do think about killing myself, it is definitely about just not existing, not about killing myself.  Hence the post title.

Honestly, I feel like I am not suicidal, even though I might tell myself I want to kill myself a dozen or more times in a single day.  

Friday, 7 June 2013

Speaking of correspondence (the most difficult of the most difficult)

I just hit send on the hardest email I ever had to write. I wanted to tell all you depressed academics about it, all the hope I have for it. But underneath the hope there is fear. There is loss. And as always, the depression.......

Yesterday, I saw a man who use to be a friend at a house I lived at. He verbally harassed me on a particular night. There were sexual implications as well as my own perceived physical threat. He was with a friend yesterday. I could not contain myself. I had to say something. For her, for me. I walked over and said what I had to say.

I know I am leaving you at critical points in my narrative. But sometimes it's too hard to hold up. I feel like Atlas, holding up my own celestial sphere of complication. And I want to let go of it. Or I want to throw it up in the air and watch it's sad beauty float far away. But I am finally holding on, with grippers and all. And just seeing what comes from it.

The thing about yesterday's chance meeting was that I could be assertive with myself and others. He tried to hug me. He also claimed he did not remember anything about what happened. His friend-- who was not there-- also chimed in that she could never see him doing such a thing. I was assertive until I gave up. I wanted him to feel sorry. He could not feel that.

The email was straightforward. The pain I feel is hidden in my own body and not the body of the message. These are two very different things. The email for my future. The chance meeting and the confrontation for closing the past. Additionally, there is openings for the future as well. I gained my assertiveness, boundaries and impeccable alignment with my body and mind.

What does this have to do with mental illness? It has everything to do with it. In my experience mental illness correlates to low-self esteem, poor decision making and sometimes neglect or harassment from others. Now the beauty of the manic depressive (and others on the mood disorder spectrum) is that we are not fighters, but healers. We create, we build, we try. We also sometimes hold up spheres of emotions, thoughts, experiences that feel like a punishment.

I am breathing evenly again. I could wrap this up nicely. But like I said, I am holding on. The grippers I have learned to use are coming in handy. And that is all for now.

So THAT's what they meant?!

When I first got treated, years back, I was issued Lamotrigin, an anti-epileptic, and told that its role was to «give me space and a respite from my emotions enough for therapy to work». At that time I'm not sure I understood what my psychiatrist meant by it.

Right now, on the other hand, I spend some time being amazed by how well my current medication is working. I am noticing control over my own emotions for the first time I can remember. I am noticing how I can learn — more or less on my own — not to overreact.

For an example: I have a fear of heights. This means among other things that glass or lattice floors high up are genuinely disturbing to me. It is irrational, and more of an emotional overload than anything else.

The conference I'm at this week is at a conference center in a hotel that has a glass staircase leading up from the lobby to the conference center. First time I walked the stairway I swore over the stupid architects making my life bad.

And then something amazing happened.

Over the course of the 3 conference days here, I have grown to accept the glass floor. I no longer need to look up to keep the transparency out of my field of view. I no longer feel pangs of panic as I walk up or down the stairs.

This was inconceivable back in the day. Utterly unthinkable. But now? I am able to learn to deal with emotional and affective issues I have. Something has unlocked in my brain that makes new information actually take hold and stick around.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Welcome to Depressed Academics, Somewhere You Can Talk About It

This post isn't really a welcome to Depressed Academics.  But today Duuras said this in a comment:

"I also have you all. I think about this blog a lot, actually..."

This really means a lot to me.   A lot.

When we started this blog (Mikael and me), the number one thing we wanted was a place for people to talk about depression in their lives.   From day one the slogan for the blog has been "Somewhere you can talk about it".  This comes from what Mikael said in his beautiful post: "I think it is important we talk about these things." I find it beautiful that people I don't know, like Chantal and Duuras, are posting here and finding it of help.  It is somewhere they can talk about it.

This blog has also meant a lot to me.  When I have a bad day like the other day, thinking about how to express it in a blog post is a help to me.

I can never suppress the pang that comes when I love a post that somebody writes here about their pain.  I think so many posts are beautiful, yet they come from pain.  That's one reason that Duuras's comments means a lot to me: if it helps her then I am glad we can help by providing the forum.

And here is maybe the weirdest reason I love Duuras's comment.   I often have imposter syndrome for this blog, since it has helped me enough that I have had many less bad days than before I started it.  So I often feel guilty for not being depressed enough to be here.  If somebody else finds this blog of help, I can worry less about being an imposter.  (If you're reading this and have no idea how I could contort my mind to make myself feel miserable about feeling good,  all I can say is: welcome to my world.)

As an academic I find collaboration beautiful too when it works well. This blog feels like a collaboration.  Technically, I started this blog but I started it because of Mikael's wonderful post. So we started it together.  Who was more important in starting it?  Who cares?  Not me.  Since we started the blog Mikael and I have literally not talked about it.   Emails yes, conversation no.   But it's a real collaboration and a privilege to work with him.   And now a privilege to work with Duuras and Chantal, and the others who have contributed like Greg and Evgenij.

This is a long post about this being somewhere you can talk about it.  If YOU want to talk about it, please collaborate with us.  We can post for you if you send us text, or we can add you as an author so you can post at any time.  You can post as yourself, as anonymous, or under a pseudonym.  We can even make up a pseudonym for you: the next ones off the block are Dean or Erin.

As I said, this post was not really a welcome.  If you want the real welcome, go to our first post on January 13 this year.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Vignette: Oh, what a perfect day ...

Oops, missed out half the title.

Vignette: Oh, what a perfect day ... this should have been but wasn't

Today was a lovely day in Fife.  That's a very rare thing.  Really gorgeous day weather wise.   Lovely to sit outside.  

I didn't have to go to work.  I could work at home and didn't have that much to do. 

The other day I sent a draft paper to a very senior and highly respected colleague and today he said - among other things: "In my opinion everything is said in Thm13, which is sufficiently beautiful in itself :-)"   Yes, I'm boasting a wee bit here, but honestly there isn't much higher praise one could want from a colleague than to have your work described as beautiful. 

I got time to have a nap. It took a while but I found time to have a long run and that helps me physically and I think mentally. 

What a great day.   

Ha ha ha. 

I've been miserable all day.   I can't put my finger on why.   But the symptoms have been lots of negative thoughts (I am the worst person in the world, I want to kill myself), lots of internal or external swearwords at my poor performance in some area, getting more worried or upset than I should about external things that I should not be worrying about.  Just the usual kind of stuff. 

A few days ago my tablets ran out. Escitalopram. I had been slow to get them renewed (which is a trivial operation.)  Generally I have been doing well but not so much today.   But I think the correlation is less important than it sounds, except that failure to do the trivial task that was necessary is a bad sign. At least I went to get them renewed today so will be back on them soon.

Almost the only time I haven't been miserable today is when I was mentally composing this blog post on my run - but unfortunately that only took up a part of my run.

p.s. if you are new here, here's the link to where I explain that I don't want to kill myself even if I say I do to myself.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

The manic who forgot she was a depressive, too (and more)

I know when I am depressed. It's in my long hair. It gets tangles and knots. Sweat. Dirt. I know when I am hypo/manic. My hair is perfectly brushed several times a day. Combed clean. I don't know what it's like when I am stable. But I do think it's a little bit of both, maybe on the same day or different on different days.

I was stable. There was a time, yes. When I was eating light, doing light exercises, walks in the mountains. Quiet at times and at other times, connections I never imagined could exist. I did not speak the language well, or barely at all without some notes of some sort. I did not have a phone at all. I had limited access to email, but I was researching.

Research is critical to me. Speaking to the PhD choir here, I know. But you see, I start my PhD in August. I am nervous as heck, I will be honest. Will I start and fail? Will I fail before I start?

Anyhow, back to the research. I was researching important issues to me, deeply personal, deeply emotional, one might even say spiritual whatever that means to me. I was in my element. In all senses of the word/world.

I can't tell you what I was researching. For a time, I had no idea what I was researching. This is a semi-joke, all loving of course. But there was consistency in our spontaneous system of research. There was also consistency in my thoughts and actions. All along, I had wanted to document lowering my medications when I returned home. Because in the mind of my heart, I knew there was a little something off. Now, as I mentioned in my last post, I am documenting my madness. It's all the same. To me anyway. Because with medication withdrawal, there comes some withdrawal effects that can be and are dangerous.

Did I experience these withdrawal effects? I can't say for sure. But there was social pressure. To drink. To smoke cigarettes. There was R with his own issues. There was other systems of instability whether I was in the city of 2 or at my original home.

Also: Am I just someone who needs and should be medicated with high dosages of psychotropic medications? 

I do think I need a medication or two for this transition. To achieve my goal: my PhD studies. Even in madness, it was there. But I don't think I need to be ashamed anymore of my emotions. I don't think I need to coat over the symptoms always.

I am grounded, but angry. Angry at a lot of folks. (The whole lot: docs, people, past partners, old friends) Angry at myself for not taking better care of me. For letting it get this far.

But something I learned from f. Forgiveness is possible. And if I can forgive someone, I can most certainly forgive myself. 

The thing for me right now is that I have to listen to me. I have to listen to what's inside. (And outside, too). I have skills that I have learned from years and years of therapy, from friends, from past relationships, from f. I am an adult. I can take care of me. I will take care of me. Depressed, Manic, Schizo, Borderline, whatever name they throw at me next. Because I am a whole.

Now for you all, whatever your diagnosis may be. I have some questions:

1. Do you have identity issues with the medications? (I.E. not knowing who you are or who you could be?)
2. How do you cope with an illness diagnosis? (Note: I am having to relearn everything.)

Those are my two big concerns/questions. I have more. But I will just see what happens.

Thank you so much for reading. I applaud all of you for just coming to this site. Thanks thanks and more thanks.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

The process

Note: Hopefully this is not too scattered. I tried writing this out earlier but due to a Klonopin fog, I became confused. Also, the opinions I have about medication usage are mine and mine alone. I respect your views if you respect mine.

May 2013 (yes, I know the month and year, but maybe not the exact date ha)

Victory moods don't last long. It turns to absolute suckage. Sucakge meaning stigma in my own circle of f. I have been documenting my mental health. On recordings. On notes, receipts, folders. I forget you see. I forget everything I say and don't say. Actions too. Not impulsive ones but movements. I've been moving slow. It takes a good deal of time to write this NOT just because of the klonipin.

I am termed "hyper verbal" "hyper observant" YET and there's always a yet, I am not aware. I am confused, scared....  The partial hospital care I am going to now knows I am doing well because:

1. I am high functioning
2. I can spell world backwards (in an amount of time) -- mostly a joke about this being why I am in partial care and NOT a hospital hospital (Note: there is nothing wrong with a hospital, only not for me at this time)
3. I can recite my medications like nobody's business
5. The higher anti anxiety meds help.
6. I am lowering (doctor's orders) my antidepressant--- This causes mania in me. I am coming out again as a manic-depressive. But manic right now.

Anyhow, some other observations/comments/helpful tid bits:

1. I check with my f & f. I ask "Did I just tell you that?"
2.  The partial care program is great. The doctor is fantastic super fabulous. She is lowering my antidepressant-- because I am too hyper/wound up.
3. Pets are great!
4. Art therapy is great except for when they want to stunt my artistic ability (I use to draw dinosaurs in  grade school)-- person might have been surprised by my art, not because it was great or anything but because it had literary references and said I am not schizo on it or something to that affect. I don't know if I have schizo. I do write a lot and in circles. Memory is returning!
5. Alpha-stim has helped me tremendously: with anxiety, depression, mixed states. I have it on all the time because it is safe to do so. Fine motor skills are coming back too. So is relaxation.

May 30, 2013 (I know the date, the Klon-fog has cleared)

I was admitted into a partial hospitalization program last week due to extreme anxiety, social phobia, paranoia and bursts of panic attacks. Ironically, my note on my art piece about not being schizo might not be entirely accurate; I have acquired a new illness apparently......

Schizoaffective bipolar. 

The result of this partial hospitalization was no one's fault. Not mine--though I sometimes believe that. Just a series of unfortunate occurrences. My usual pscyh doctor was not available over the weekend (which one I don't know). So I became worried and scared. I called everyone. And I mean every mental health resource center until I landed at a prestigious center in 2, and it was awful. I mean stressful, intense, nerve-wracking. For the first time in my life, I did not want to be in a hospital. In the past, hospitals were my safe places. But this time, they did not understand when I told them about my hard-to-find veins and my tardive dyskinesia on my left side so of course, I freaked out when they poked and could not find my vein in my left arm. Needless to say, they released me on the condition I would take Klonopin to "kick out" the mania and they upped my mood stabilizer. The one doctor was amazing and very understanding of my concerns about the hospital, too.

I am not against medication. In fact, I think medication can be an effective treatment. But I also think there are other alternatives that we should consider for our mental health care. I will address this when I am less tired.

The last moments of May 2013 & the start of June

There is more to tell, more to share. But I can say this: The depakote increase (back to my original dosage before a trip to Country Y) is hm, interesting. Doc says it will take four days to be back to my stable self since the other meds did not pull through. What I think? Can I have an opinion Expert Doctors?

I think medications are covering up something. Now this could very well be the paranoia. But there is something to memory loss. I am just beginning to figure it out.

The process: therapy. Therapy in every sense of the word. I am trying my hardest to do every possible thing for myself. CBT (with a DBT concentration). Sunshine. Exercise. Nourishing Food. Sleep regulation (no naps). Connecting to self and others (in safe and harmonious ways).

It is past May now. It is a new day. If the etymology of June is correct, if I believe in those signs (which I do and don't) -- then I can say this: I have a chance to be young again. To believe in the possibilities. To be my own version of a goddess.

I do have hope. Thank you so much for reading.