The wild dreams have calmed down. Perhaps just a coincidence? Don’t know. However, I have been a little more active, as hard as it is to get out of bed every morning. I am still sleepy, tired and in pain.

Last night I still had a dream that made me wake up crying, but it didn’t feel like bullying. I, however, was unable to wake up at an appropriate time, and slept well after noon. I still don’t feel any difference over the medication change.

You know, many people tell me that I take an awful lot of meds for being only 33 (up to 28 on some days).  You know, because I don’t look sick.

Fibromyalgia has been kicking my butt for the last 4 months or so.  To the point in which the pain is beginning to affect my already fragile mental health.  There’s a lot of limitations to my life with my chronic illnesses.  Any help is good, and any more limitations, well, they’re bad!

So I visited my rheumatologist last month.  She ran a whole bunch of blood tests on me, and everything came back normal.  Apparently, it’s not lupus, it’s not Sjogren’s, it’s not RA. So we are back at square one. I have a bad case of fibromyalgia, and I need to learn to cope with the pain. (really?) So I went to my psychiatrist, who is usually very nice and helpful, and I told her of my pain, the intense lack of energy, etc. And together with my rheumatologist, we decided to change my antidepressant from an SSRI to an SNRI. From sertraline to venlafaxine.

Venlafaxine is supposed to help with my depression and anxiety, as well as the pain and the lack of energy. So, very worth the try, right? Yes. Absolutely!

And so the cross-tapering started last night. I haven’t noticed any differences yet, but I will attempt to describe what happens during this ordeal.

So far, it seems like my dreams have been disturbed. My dreams bullied me last night, telling me I am not as pretty or smart as I think I am. The dream bullied me in such a way that I woke up crying and disturbed. Is it related to the meds? Hopefully not long term, because I was shaken.

Excerpt from Sarah Metcalfe’s (from York, UK) Open Letter that seems to sum it up well for me:

I know I may not look ill, in fact I choose to smile rather than cry, but I do suffer from a long term condition that causes pain and fatigue all over my body and these symptoms are:

increased sensitivity to pain
fatigue (extreme tiredness)
muscle stiffness
difficulty sleeping
problems with mental processes (known as “fibro-fog”) – such as problems with memory and concentration headaches
irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – a digestive condition that causes * stomach pain and bloating
dizziness and clumsiness
feeling too hot or too cold – this is because you’re not able to regulate your body temperature properly
restless legs syndrome (an overwhelming urge to move your legs)
tingling, numbness, prickling or burning sensations in your hands and feet (paraesthesia)
anxiety and depression

It seems like with the passing of time, I continue to attempt getting this blog off the ground, but never actually put any content in it. I am hoping that this year, it will be different.

What has gone on in my recovery process?

Well, I am doing okay.
I still hear voices and I still struggle with my concentration and focus, some days way more than others.
I still have bouts of depression and crying spells.
I still have all the diagnoses and labels my care providers have given me over the years. But I am also learning to balance all of this.

If mental illness is just like any other medical illness, say, like Multiple Sclerosis (MS), you will have good days, bad days, exacerbations, possible hospital time, and flare ups. You will deal with all the crap a mental illness diagnosis brings with it, but you will also learn to deal with it. Learning to deal with it is part of what recovery is. The illness may not go away, but you can learn to manage it.

What the voices tell me is not true, unless I have hard, concrete evidence of what they are saying.
The depression lies to me and tells me I can’t do this or that, when in reality, with a plan, I am able to tackle it, at my own pace and time-frame.
PTSD freaks me out and scares me, but it is in the past. It is no longer happening.

Of course, a lot of this is much easier said than done, but focusing on recovery as opposed to the illness, you can get much accomplished.

With a disorganized mind like mine, there is much need for extra planning and scheduling, and even making a Plan B. Not much different than when you are not “mentally ill”. It just takes more effort.

In other news, I am in the process of being diagnosed by my rheumatologist. It seems like I might have some sort of auto-immune disease in addition to my fibromyalgia. Fun times!