Not In Kansas Anymore...

Click your heels, and see if home is where you hang your hat, or somewhere else inside yourself as this simple, postmodern girl takes on L.A.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A long time ago, in another blog, not so far away, I used to post with a fair amount aof detail about my mental status and health. I did it then because I needed to and I thought, "surely I am not alone in my suffering. Maybe someone would benefit?"

I'm going to revive that tradition here. Excuse the narcicsism (sp?).

My brain hurts. When I get under stress, the left side of my head feels like it's a.) full of sand, b.) has a searing pain in a small strip from my forhead to the back of my ear or c.) stops being able to be rational. I have talked to numerous doctors about this, and they all say the same thing: it's just muscle tension from the stress.

Could be. Probably. But I met with a woman who does this proccess called Neurofeedback recently. She was doing a panel at NAMI , which is pretty accredited, so it's not some quackjob hoax. What she does is remind us that the brain is not all chemistry, it's electricity, too. If you're going to heal your illness, you might want to address the way your electrical pathways are accepting the medicine, and why it fails sometimes, and why we have side effects.
So, with an EEG, she maps your brain. Sees where all the "problem areas " are: all the spots that are not functioning at a normal rate. And then helps you to "retrain" your brain to use different pathways and heal itself more effectively.

Sounds whacko, huh? Maybe...but I believe her. Here's why:

People with brain damage from accidents and other unfortunate events have to "relearn" how to do certain things. And the brain is a very "plastic" organ; meaning it can change and adapt and reroute skills that have been lost through infirmity.
I know this personally; when I was first sick in my 20s, I was given a series of medications that were not right for me, and I had a surgery on my skull that went very wrong. After that, I wasn't the same. I had terrible short term memory problems, to the extent where I was losing my car in parking lots, getting confused as to where I was, and not remembering whole conversations of importance .
Eventually, I forced myself to adapt and make new skills to deal. I had to write every fucking thing down. I had to have friends keep me on track. I started developing mnemnonic devices for everything. All on my own. At 23.
It worked. And eventually I didn't need the special tricks anymore. I still have problems ( don't ask me to try and read a map, and don't ever say to me "remind me to call my mom/eat more fiber/ feed the dog". I also cannot deal with too much sound or light. Places like TGI Fridays drive me insane.). I retrained my brain to do the things I'd lost.

So I talked to this woman, who is currently treating one of my friends, Ria. Ria let me look at the printout of her "brain map", and in her left frontal area, there was a "hot" spot. I asked what it was, and the woman answered, "that's where Ria's proccessing gets stuck. It runs too slow, and that's not good because it's the area of the brain that contributes to mood and anxiety."
I about shit my pants. Ria and I very the same in our symptomology.
So I cautiously said to her, "um. I'm just wondering. I get headaches there-- RIGHT there-- sometimes, and it's always, always anxiety related. Doctors tell me there is no way I can "feel" my illness this way. But sometimes the headache comes first. I can always tell when a worry session is appearing, because it hurts,and then boom, I'm in a snit. Does that sound weird?"
She told me :" I have no doubt you get headaches there. It's real, Jessica. You're not weird. And it's fixable."

It's fixable. I can retrain my brain to not worry so much. To not always use that overused pathway into anxiety. I can help it find new pathways, and learn to control my symptoms better.

That blows my mind.

Of course, it's a million dollars, and she's doing this study for NAMI so they can get funded for a bigger study, and perhaps get insurance coverage. Currently, you can *maybe* get them to pay if you say it's for "pain management". ( Not my insurance. I checked. Fuckers.)

I wish, I wish, I wish. Because right now, my brain is overload. And I'm so tired of not being like normal people, who can have problems and still go to work and get up every day. I'm like a slave to whatever chemical ride I'm on, and I'm so SICK of it.

Currently, my body is STILL stuck in progestin hell. So badly that on Monday, even though I took my PMS meds, got dressed, packed my lunch and got in my car, I was so overwhelmed with despair and anxiety that I had to pull over and cry. And cry. And cry. Apparently, my hormones are still so high from that goddamned one-time emeregency contraception that my PMS is out of control again and my meds are not even cutting it.

I cried and cried for almost 3 straight hours yesterday. I didn't make it to work. New job. That's great, huh?

Didn't make it to work today, either. I was so exhausted from the crying fest and still panicking pretty badly, I had to stay home, take a tranquilizer and sleep for most of the day.

There was a stressor involved: Anthony. I'm so sick of that, too. I talked to Sassy yesterday for the better part of 90 minutes and I asked ,"Oh my GOD, am I becoming one of those women who call and you roll your eyes when the phone rings, because you know it's the same old story?" She was kind enough to say she wasn't tired of supporting me, but she did mention, "well, you're getting kind of close to taking that exit into That Place , I will say." Great. Just great.
I keep trying to make this relationship work, and I don't think it's gonna anymore. I'm losing hope like a car leaking oil ( another fun thing I had to deal with this week.). He's had it too, and right now, we're in this drifting limbo, both of us out of energy, and wanting to check out for awhile. At least we're not fighting.

But is this it? I can't even cope. I'm so tired, my brain is so tired.

Sometimes, I just want to run away to a little small town somewhere, and get a silly little job and save some money, and rest. Get up, go to work, go out with friends, go home,sleep. Just pull what in the mental health world is called a "geographical" ( changing the outside circumstances versus changing the inside.). Is that so wrong? Sometimes you just need to skip the record and change stuff in order to get a fucking break.

I'm in need of the world's biggest vacation. And I feel like such a loser. What did I do to deserve a vacation? I don't have kids, or a mortgage or half the worries of anyone else I know. But I can barely handle my own life, that has next to nothing in it.

I wish I were normal. I wish I were better. I try. I do. I take my meds. I go to therapy. I go to group. If I had my way, I'd even go to neurofeedback. But right now, everything normal feels so out of my reach. Why? What kind of life am I supposed to live like this? ( No, I'm not suicidal, for chrissakes. I'm having a crisis of faith and meaning). What dreams can I dream from here? What can I even strive toward and attain from this place?

I'm so tired. So tired of everything. Mostly, of loss and failure which I feel saturates everything. I just want to figure out a way to make my battery run again, and not be so exhausted to the bone. Can I do that? Please?