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Mostly Fun with Meds and Christmas

I haven't posted a journal entry in ages. I've had some kind of medication issue that has been causing me to sleep 12-14 hours/day, but we think we may have fixed it by lowering my risperidone/risperdal from 1.5 to 1 mg/day. It's primary purpose is to control mania/hypomania, and I'm no longer hypomanic, so it seemed fine to reduce it, since it seemed a likely culprit in the sleepiness department. I seem to be less sleepy these past couple days, so I have high hopes. It was difficult to get things done *and* find time to relax in solitude enough for good mental health when I was spending so much of my time sleeping, so it was starting to affect my mood. I was getting more and more anxious, and more and more unhappy.

This all was not helped by the fact that we've been reducing my anti-anxiety meds recently. My Meds Doc really wants to get me off Xanax entirely, so he's trying to transition me to a much lower dosage of Valium. I was taking 1.5 mg of Xanax per day, but about a month ago we replaced .5 mg of Xanax with 5 mg of Valium. Now we're working on keeping the Valium dosage constant but gradually getting rid of the Xanax entirely. Thus far, we've taken me down to .75 mg of Xanax per day, but even that .25 mg reduction was enough to increase my anxiety level. Apparently, Xanax is extremely difficult to get off of, so this is going to be fun.

So for the past few weeks I've been sleeping a lot, increasingly anxious, increasingly desperate for time to myself, and increasingly unhappy. I'm hoping things are going to start getting better now.

At the moment, I'm a little socially overwhelmed because of the holidays. We went down to San Martin to spend the Christmas weekend with the Wiedlins, and that was great, but my introvert tendencies are never as obvious as when I'm around a bunch of extroverts for hours or days on end. I kept running away to hide in the guest room to take breaks from all the socialization, but I still ended up pretty overwhelmed by the time we left. I played one really fun game of Tichu with Shannon, my brother-in-law Jason, and my father-in-law (Bob), but otherwise didn't really participate in all the board and card games they all played, which were many and varied. Still, I really enjoyed myself, but was ready to hide out for a few days afterward.

This is one of Shannon's two weeks of vacation each year (the other being our annual trip to Hawaii), so we have plans to do things together 3 of the days, but I've been hiding out and watching YouTube videos today. Tomorrow we're going to the MOMA; Wednesday I have an appointment in the morning and we're getting together with his sister and brother-in-law immediately afterward; Thursday we're planning to go to Golden Gate Park for a nice walk and picnic (and possibly the Conservatory of Flowers again, since that's always fun); and Friday I'm back at CWC. No real relaxation time except today. We'll see how I do.

I hit the jackpot when it came to Christmas presents this year, especially when it came to art-related stuff. My brother-in-law Robby got me a bunch of large canvases (after hearing me talk excitedly about the project I'm currently working on); my mother-in-law and father-in-law gave me a nice set of brushes and an extensive set of acrylic paints which go nicely with the canvases; and Shannon gave me two beautiful coloring books that I can't wait to work in. I also got the softest blanket ever for cuddling on the couch, again from my parents-in-law. I got lots of other great presents, too—so many that I couldn't keep track! I think it was probably my best, most exciting Christmas haul yet!

I just heard Shannon come in downstairs, home from his day's hike, so I think I'll head down to say hi. But at least I finally wrote a journal entry!

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