Battling long-term clinical depression is one of the most difficult things anyone can do. For me, it’s like trying to swim upstream in a thunderstorm through the rapids of the Columbia River with truck tires shackled to my ankles. Needless to say, beset with crippling Bipolar Disorder I doesn’t help. My periods of insane creativity, where I’m able to churn out book after book, or poem after poem, is usually followed by the abyss of inconsolable despair. I’m gifted with the ability of composition but the curse of non-promotion. Luckily, the clouds of doom parted for me, just a little, this morning. Seizing the moment, I went ahead and listed my two audiobooks, Commoner The Vagabond and Tears Of A Clown, on AudioFreebies.com. If anyone’s interested, there are promo codes listed there.
I had a psychiatric appointment with an ARNP about two weeks ago. We discussed all the meds I’ve been on before for depression and bipolar disorder. I explained my reactions to each med – tardive dyskinesia from Haldol, weight gain from Lithium, bruxism (teeth gnashing) from Abilify, vertigo from Latuda, dry mouth from Seroquel, etc – to meds which had zero effect (Sinequan, Risperdal). After about two hours, we came to the conclusion that my symptoms (extreme mood swings) were basically kept at bay just by me avoiding my biggest trigger – people. To be fair, one pill does seem to work well with me – Prazosin. Prazosin (Minipres) is an anti-hypertensive; off-label, it’s used to treat sleep disorders in people with PTSD. It really does keep my vivid dreams and nightmares to a minimum and has reduced the ridiculous amount of sleep paralyses I’m prone to. The fact that it’s also an anti-hypertensive is beneficial since I do suffer from high blood pressure. So my pill for bipolar disorder is avoidance. Seems to be working fine so far.
This has been an interesting few months. I suffer from bipolar disorder so I’ve had episodes where I’m depressed as hell followed by times where I feel like I can climb the Eiffel Tower naked. During my “up” periods I’ve been fairly productive, so I can’t complain. Besides writing the occasional poem, I’ve been writing the script for my short film, “Major Nobody,” as well as shooting principal photography around town. I’m pretty much done with the photography so now I’m in the editing phase. I’m using the latest version of Adobe Premiere. I’ve used it in the past so the learning curve wasn’t all that difficult, just had to consult a few online self-help manuals here and there to help me optimize it for my laptop.
I’ve also started working with my recording equipment after a long hiatus. Again, there’s a bit of a learning curve because I’m using Cubase 9. The last time I recorded with Cubase was about six or seven years ago and it was with Cubase 5 so you can imagine how much more complex Cubase 9 is. Still, I have some new toys from IK Multimedia to work with – MODO Drum and MODO Bass, both excellent plugins. I also have some guitars coming in from China in a few months which should bring my collection of axes up to 8, maybe 9 if I spring for a Rickenbacker 4001 Walnut. All in all, I’m not complaining.
I should be. I’m not fighting in a vicious, endless war somewhere. I’m not in jail or homeless. Physically, I’m relatively okay except for my knees which have been giving me gout pains for months. My rent gets paid every month thanks to the Social Security Administration. I have food in my cupboard thanks to the SSA, food stamps, and the Port Townsend Food Bank. I have a big ass 55″ 4K Smart TV and this laptop which I’ve had for years. I have a bed, a sofa, a microwave oven, a toaster and a vacuum cleaner which I’d gotten from OlyCAP (Olympic Community Action Programs). So, nothing to complain about, right? Then why am I so damned depressed?
I recently got rid of my car which I’d had for five years. As you know, it wasn’t just a car; it was my home as well. Because where I live is a bit of a distance from downtown where all the stores are, I’m dependent on the buses. That isn’t a problem, though, because they do run every hour during the day, none on Sunday. I spend my entire days alone. I’m not exactly isolated, but I’d just rather be by myself. Less angst and turmoil that way.
The anti-depressants and anti-psychotics didn’t work for me. All they did was give me horrible side effects so I had to discontinue them. Meditation is a waste of time because my mind never slows down. It wanders and wanders, always thinking about something. Basically, I can’t concentrate. It seems like the only way for me to sit still and watch a movie is to have a beer or two beneath my belt. Not that I necessarily like drinking, but it does slow me down enough to where I can see a flick all the way through. Hopefully this funk, this dark cloud and doom of despair, won’t last.
Well, that didn’t take long. I told my landlady, through my realtor, that I’m not happy in Forks and wish to break my lease. She agreed; now, I can leave any time. There’s a trailer for $40K I was looking into in Port Townsend, but since I don’t qualify for a personal or home loan from my bank, I may have to end up going back to Santos Housing, the transitional shelter in Seattle I’d just left three months ago. At least I gave it a shot. Forks isn’t conducive to my mental health at all; in fact, it’s been downright depressing these past couple of months. Everything works at a snail’s pace here. The operative word is wait – wait for this, wait for that, wait for the other thing. In the meantime, you just sleep to pass the time. That’s what I did. I accomplished nothing – no writing, no blog entries, no walking. (You can’t freely walk around here because of the large amount of dogs strolling about loosely). It was costing me a fortune to stay here, too, as everything had to be paid for – electricity, gas, heat, mailbox, garbage disposal, internet, etc. I went from $405/month at Santos to about $1,000 a month here, and I was happier at Santos! Hey, at least I gave it a shot. Tomorrow, I’ll call up Santos and ask to go back. Hopefully there’s a room available. If not, I’ll just look for another transitional shelter somewhere. I’d stay in my car but it’s a bit cold for that.
To appease my psychiatrist, to make her happy, I recently started two meds – Abilify and Prazosin. Abilify is being used for the treatment of depression and bipolar disorder; Prazosin if for my high blood pressure, PTSD and sleep tremors. So far, the side effects I’ve encountered are this: teeth grinding with the Abilify. A few months ago I experienced one frightful moment of syncope which lasted for about 4 to 5 minutes when I was sitting in the Northgate Mall. I’m not sure if the Prazosin I had started around that time was the blame for that one, but according to literature I’ve encountered, it can cause it. Side effects suck. They really do. Makes it seem like taking the pills are a waste of time. I’ll have to seriously think about whether I want to continue them or not, or end up one of the statistics in the chart posted above.
Living with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder is like having a well-armed bank robber stuck in your body 24 hrs/day. The “money” he steals from you is your freedom, energy, future, pride, time and confidence. Can you imagine? You’d like to get into a relationship with someone, but just the thought that you’ll ruin it somewhere up the road, or it won’t last anyway, is enough for you to turn away any possible suitors. I know better than to write novels as quickly as I do, but the chance that I may not live to see tomorrow means I have to quickly hurry up and write, edit on the fly, and hope what I publish on the internet is as good as books that took years to write.
PTSD doesn’t allow you to get close to anyone. How can you when you’re capable of such little trust? Is that guy trying to hurt me? Maybe. Is that woman trying to hurt me? Could be. Should I trust the smiling man talking to be in the mall? Probably not; he may just be looking to empty my wallet of every penny in it.
Time is one of PTSD’s bigger thefts. It tells you to forget about acquiring long-term housing, like a mortgage or beach-front property. Why should you? Something bad will happen and send you back out on the street anyway. And with me, I’ve spent so much time on the street that the thought of moving into a place is really not first and foremost on my mind. As I’ve said in the past, I’ve been undomiciled more than I’ve been domiciled in my life. Maybe I was a stray cat in one of my past lives, digging through garbage cans for my breakfast, lunch and dinner, constantly being chased up trees by the neighborhood canines.
I’d sure love to know that I have the time to write a novel the best way I can, but good ol’ PTSD would never stand for that bit of courtesy. Why should it? It doesn’t consider my writing as important as, say, constantly looking over my shoulder to make sure I’m not in somebody’s cross hairs.
And I don’t want to be homeless anymore. I can’t stand it. Last week I smashed two windows of a bank to get myself sent to jail because it was freezing and I had no place to sleep. (I’d accidentally locked my keys in my car – and my car was running all those three days I was incarcerated, too!) The judge said, “Eh, you’re not a criminal. You’re just crazy,” and released me. Maybe he’s right; maybe he’s wrong. I’m no criminal? The PTSD bandit in my head begs to differ, but then he thinks that he is me. My PTSD is me. That can’t be true. I hope not.
You know, I can’t win. It seems like every time a psychiatrist sees me, their definition of what makes me tick differs from the other docs. To wit:
Creedmore Psychiatrist – diagnosed me with Depression and Autism
45th St Clinic – diagnosed me with Bipolar Disorder
Clinical Psychologist – diagnosed me with Asperger’s Syndrome
CPC Northgate – diagnosed me with PTSD and depression then later changed to PTSD and Bipolar Disorder
DSHS Psychiatrist – diagnosed me with General Anxiety Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, Substance Abuse Disorder and Alcohol Use Disorder
I still believe everyone’s missing BPD, but, oh well. You can’t have ’em all.
A few days ago I started two new meds for a manic episode I had. (Yes, I’m bipolar). People were frowning on the fact that I walked around the streets and parks naked. I can justify that by saying our Digambar monks do it, so why can’t I? Of course, in this society, I could catch an indecent exposure or sexual harassment charge for that, so I told my psychiatrist about it. I also told her I’ve also been climbing the walls and feeling out of control. The meds she put me on were Geodon and Seroquel. I made the mistake of taking two Seroquels on the first day instead of one. I went to bed around 9PM and woke up at 7:30AM. Obviously, two pills were two strong so last night I took just one. It worked fine. As far as the Geodon, I feel a little more balanced, like I’m not going to snap suddenly.
This morning I was sitting in the mall playing a game on this here computer, when out of the blue, I got light-headed and started seeing double. It drove me nuts. No matter how I tried, I couldn’t get my vision realigned. Instinctively, I reached to palpitate my pulse and felt nothing. My blood pressure was so low that the lack of a pulse put me in panic mode. You know what’s the first, and only, thing I thought? That I didn’t have a chance to finish the new book I’m writing. Once I’m done, then yeah, it probably won’t matter so much. But since I’ve already written 212 pages/77,000 words, I might have only two months to go.
The book’s called ‘Murder in Rock & Roll Heaven’. I’m not sure if I’d posted that before; I barely seem to get the time to create new posts these days. The Jain influence in the book is strong, but hopefully, not so strong that it seems like I’m proselytizing, I think this novel has a lot of potential, so chances are, I won’t publish it myself. I’d like to go the way of an established publisher or try to do that Amazon/KDP Select Publishing deal or whatever it’s called. If neither of those pan out I’ll just publish it m’self.
It’s been a while since I posted here. Needless to say, it’s been a busy few months. I lost 45 pounds – 20 from a gout flare up and 25 from becoming a vegetarian and getting sober. I have a best friend, a female, who shares a lot in common with me. There were challenges in the beginning, but once I reached an epiphany on what makes her tick, she’s easier to understand. I may even write a short story or book about her one day. The nice thing about the weight loss is my BMI index is at a good range, a range which puts me in the low category for heart disease, diabetes, etc. I’m still a mental wreck, though. This is forever. My SSI/SSD hearing is set for April 28, 2015. Hopefully the judge will find me lacking in normalcy and require help. I also have a song playing frequently, and gathering fans, on NumberOne Music. It’s “Hot Body, Cold Heart”, a song I converted from country to electro-pop. All of this sounds good, but the bad news is, I’ve been homeless sleeping in my car for about 3 months. It hasn’t been so bad. A few nights were bitterly cold, though. Those were hard to get through. In any case, I’ve slept in my car when it snowed a few times. This was in Lodge Grass, Montana and other cities around the country. I guess it’s true what they say: if it doesn’t kill you it’ll make you stronger. Well, I’m not on the internet that much; I use the computer at the library. This makes it hard for me to be on the internet all the time. Anyway, the takeaway from all this is, I’m okay. Physically, I’m not doing too bad. There are lots of people worse off than me in the world so I’m not complaining.