My husband says I’m sleeping too much, but I don’t think I am. He says that any time we sit on the couch to watch TV, I fall asleep. It’s true, I do fall asleep in about 20 minutes, but I’m not sleeping all day. It’s not like a few weeks ago when I was sleeping approximately 12 to 16 hours a day. In fact, all day while he is at work, I’m trying to run errands, clean the house, cook, and manage both of our lives. I wake up usually between 4am and 6am and stay awake. Maybe that’s why I fall asleep so easily while we watch TV. Or maybe it’s the depression, or the medication. No matter what the reason is, I feel as if I’m doing something wrong by falling asleep, and it’s nothing that I can control.
At 8:15am I had my 32nd ECT treatment (I miscounted before). I now do the treatments every 4 weeks; they’re maintenance treatments. They’re done under general anesthesia; the treatments only take a couple of minutes. I usually leave the hospital within 90 minutes of getting there. Normally, I get home and go to sleep for a little while. When I first started the treatments, I could go back to sleep for a couple of hours, but the amount of time I’m able to rest afterwards has been decreasing with every treatment. Today, I got home from my treatment and was unable to go back to sleep at all for the first time.
I’m not a fan of the recovery and after effects. My jaw hurts so bad that it hurts to chew anything and my entire body is muscle sore. It feels as if I just ran a marathon, or two days after a massive workout, when you have to brace yourself for every movement you make. My memory gets even worse than normal after the treatments; the memory issues last longer than the physical ones. The memory issues make me feel like an idiot. I’m constantly asking questions, and I usually ask the same questions over and over again.
I’ve been doing these treatments for so long now, I wonder if I will ever be able to stop them. My psychiatrist wants me to be stable for 6 months before stopping, and I just don’t see that happening. I could just tell him I want to try stopping the treatments, but then what happens if I end up in a huge depressive or manic episode? Then I would have to go back to doing the treatments 3 times a week. I don’t want to do that, and I’m not sure if my body can even handle that. I wonder what the long-term effects are of ECT; maybe that’s something I should look into.
I’m almost at the 2 week mark, which is where it all fell apart for me last time. However, this time, I’m doing so much better. I woke up this morning with no side effects; I’m feeling better and better every day. It’s amazing that I feel okay. No muscle soreness, no chest or throat pressure, no dizziness, no unsteadiness, and no fever. I am gaining weight, which can be a side effect of Clozapine. However, I was already gaining weight before I started it, so I don’t think that the weight gain has anything to do with the medication. I did get tired yesterday after running a couple errands and I ended up falling asleep on the couch for about 30 minutes total.
I stayed at 100mg again last night. I’m waiting for my blood work results to come in so I can get my next prescription. My psychiatrist wants me to have my blood pressure and pulse taken the next time I’m at the pharmacy. I will do my best to remember that when I’m there.
I had quite an interesting visit to the lab today to get my weekly blood work done. I went to the same lab I normally go to, and as usual, I ended up with a new phlebotomist. I signed in for my appointment 10 minutes early and then sat down in the waiting room. Within a couple of minutes, a woman yells my name and says, “Come back and go to room 5”. Normally, they come into the waiting room to call your name and walk back to the desired room with you; I was already off to an odd start. I sat down and she entered the room moments later. I told her that they normally use my right arm.
She looks at me and asks if I’m okay. I said I was very tired, that it’s a side effect of the new medication I’m on, the med that is causing me to have my blood work done every week. Then the odd and inappropriate questions and comments began. She asked what medication I was on that required weekly blood work; I told her it was Clozapine. She asked why I decided to go on this medication; I reluctantly told her I’ve been dealing with suicidal ideations for 5 or 6 months. I didn’t want to answer her questions, but I have a hard time saying “no” to people. She asked if I see a therapist; I said I see both a therapist and psychiatrist; I informed her that I’ve been dealing with this since I was 14. She asked what I was being treated for; I told her I’m diagnosed with bipolar 1 and PTSD. Then she asked why I was diagnosed with PTSD. None of this is any of her business, but I was so uncomfortable and struggle to tell people to back off, so I hesitantly told her it was from a bad relationship.
Then she started to tell me that her husband was schizophrenic and he took medication too, as if that’s supposed to mean something to me and make it okay for her to ask me these questions. At this point, she began telling me what I should do to help my disorders, as if I don’t try to help myself and I don’t know what’s good or bad for me. She told me I should start doing some kickboxing or martial arts, which would help to empower me so I felt better. I told her I would think about it, but she kept telling me that I should do it. I explained that I had a double knee surgery and I have to take things easy, and she told me I was using that as an excuse. She asked if I used meditation; I told her it was something I was working on. Her next question was if I took time journal at all. I told her that I just started a blog and I found it extremely helpful. She responded by telling me that I should write everything out by hand, that typing doesn’t have the same effect. I told her that it works for me, but she kept telling me what I should do.
I called my mom as soon as this appointment was over and told her all about it. I don’t always know what’s appropriate and I needed to make sure I wasn’t overreacting. I wasn’t sure if being offended was necessary, I don’t trust my emotions lately. My mom reaffirmed my emotions. She told me that it was okay to be upset; this woman should not have asked me these questions. My mom told me I was “should on”. She made me laugh and loosen up a little bit. Since I struggle so much with saying no, my mom helped me find the appropriate words in case it happens again. I can say, “I’m not comfortable with this conversation. Can we please stop talking?” She also told me that I could talk to a supervisor if I wanted or I could simply ask for another phlebotomist. Talking to my mom validated the emotions I had about my experience. While I decided I don’t want to do anything about it unless it happens again, my mom helped me feel more comfortable with what I could say if I decide to talk to a supervisor about it. After having a short conversation with my mom, I felt as if I could take control next time; I could decide what I’m comfortable saying. I’m no longer nervous about my next appointment. I always feel more comfortable after talking with my mom.
My dose stayed at 100mg again last night. My sleep keeps improving. Last night, I fell asleep easily and slept about 6 hours without waking up. When I woke up, I was tired, but had no other symptoms. I guess my body is getting used to the medication.
Yesterday, after taking a showing and getting dressed, I had to rest for couple hours before running errands. I seem to get tired very easily. After resting, I ran some simple errands. I came home from that and ended up crashing on the couch. I napped for about two hours; however, I could only sleep 5 or 10 minutes at a time. It appears that I get exhausted very easily after any physical exertion.
Yesterday, I thought that it was going to be a great day because I felt pretty good when I woke up. However, I think I did too much. I ran some errands and went to visit a friend. When I got home, I crashed on the couch for about 2 hours, but I could only sleep about 10 minutes at a time. I didn’t expect to have this much exhaustion. I need to learn to only do a little at a time and allow myself to rest in between activities.
I stayed at the 100mg dose last night, but my psychiatrist also had me go off my Seroquel completely. I ended up sleeping pretty well, probably about 6 hours. I was worried I wouldn’t sleep because of my naps, but that wasn’t a problem. I did wake up with a lot of muscle soreness, but it was gone only an hour later. I was also unsteady on my feet, but that also went away quickly. I have no chest or throat pressure today. Right now, I feel pretty good. I have a lot to do today, and I’m going to do it one step at time, making sure I get to rest in between.
Last night was my first dose for the Clozapine rechallenge. I took 25mg at bedtime (10:00pm), and I fell asleep quickly, probably within about 45 minutes. That’s a huge change for me, especially since I’ve been falling asleep anywhere between 2:00am and 5:00am for the past week or two. The pharmacist told me to make sure I take this medication close to the same time every night.
Falling asleep quickly is awesome, but the rest of the night was fairly awful. I woke up after about 1 hour. Then for the rest of the night, I slept approximately 20 minutes for every hour. So I spent the night falling asleep, then waking up, and then doing that all over again many times. I came out to the couch because laying in bed, feeling exhausted, but not able to sleep, is extremely frustrating. Waking up was very difficult; my eyes had a hard time staying open, but I think I’m fully awake now. I slept a total of about 3 1/2 hours, that’s not that bad for me.
The best part is that I have no dizziness, at least not yet. The last time I tried this medication, I had a lot of problems with dizziness. I think that it’s a good sign that I don’t have any dizziness issues at this time. I’m really hoping that my body will adjust to the medication better than it did last time. In my opinion, I feel like I’m off to a good start. My psychiatrist is increasing the dose slower this time than he did before, and I’m grateful for that.