Into the system…

blogging, work, mental health, therapy, disability, benefits and more…

Posts Tagged ‘fluoxetine

Limited Capability for Work?…

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A little less agitated than yesterday evening at the moment, but I’ve had a terrible night’s sleep. I was very wound up all night and couldn’t keep still. My head was flying all over the place. Every time I drifted into sleep I had busy, fast, vivid, strange dreams. I was waking up from them every 30 minutes or so and wondering why I wasn’t doing all the things I was dreaming about and then I couldn’t get back to sleep because my mind was flying off on all these tangents inspired by the dreams. Things eventually seemed to calm down a little around 6-7am, so I did get a couple hours of sleep, but even then my sleep was littered with more dreams.

Part of this agitation may have been exacerbated by the argument I had with my partner last night. The night before I am due to go for an ESA medical, testing whether or not I am fit for work, he tells me I should just go back to work and implies that I am lazy, a skiver and not ill at all. This isn’t helpful.

He was telling me that I should just go back because unless I do, I’ll never be ready. He thinks I am just putting it off forever. He thinks I need to go back and try to work because until I do I can’t be sure if I am ready or not. This is of course true, but I think I need to be showing more signs of being ready before I try it.

There are of course a lot of things to lose by going back too soon and then having to stop working. The loss of my permanent health insurance income being one. I’d have to apply again for it, which is a lengthy process. The loss of ESA will be another factor, if of course they ever give me it. As I am claiming under youth rules I’d have to be off sick for another 6 months before I can claim again.

I suspect that he may in part be pushing me back for selfish reasons. He has of course given up a lot to look after me, but I think it is wearing thin and he doesn’t want to stay at home and care for me any more. I pointed out to him that if I am ready enough to go back to work then he shouldn’t need to care for me anyway and should just go out and get himself another job, but he didn’t seem to agree. The fact he still thinks I can’t be left on my own must tell him I can’t be expected to work. I would likely be on my own a lot in the office and there’s also the matter of getting to and from work. It would be easy to abscond.

My social worker seems to have a strange attitude to my employment. She was asking me if my goal for recovery is to get back to work. For me, the ultimate goal is being well enough to work again and more importantly for me, to go back to the job I loved doing. She seemed disappointed with this and almost surprised. It really felt as if she thought I shouldn’t expect to work again because of my mental health. Maybe she just feels I shouldn’t be working in a high-pressure, highly competitive environment, but for me, working in a simpler job wouldn’t be recovery. It would seem like a poor compromise.

To me her attitude to work seems bizarre. Surely her goal should be for me to return to a normal life, or at least as normal life as possible? I don’t think it should be expected that I will remain disabled and a full-time mental for life? I really fear that will happen and need as much help as possible to stop it happening. I know I have to face the fact that this illness isn’t going to go away and I will have to learn to live with it, but I hope that I will be living a fuller life than this sometime soon.

At the moment I don’t think I’m ready to go back to work. This sudden swing into agitation is a suggestion of that. Last time I tried to return to work I became very hypomanic, very quickly, probably aided by the fluoxetine I was on at the time. Work is likely to fuel this mood and send me up and up. Maybe that would be nice, but I’m not sure I’d be a productive employee.

Even if I hadn’t have entered this mood yesterday, I don’t think I’m ready yet. I am still battling suicidal thoughts almost constantly. Stress would only make these thoughts more urgent and amplify the need to escape this world.

There is also the matter of anger management. I’m not there yet. I have calmed down on a month or two ago, but I am still struggling with bubbling agitation. The smallest thing can send me into rage, wanting to hurt both myself and the cause of the anger. I have to admit I can’t take criticism. It was something I found hard before, but I usually turned it on myself mentally. Lately I’ve been literally hitting back and that is not suitable behaviour for work. I don’t want to be violent and I certainly don’t want to display that in the workplace. It would do nothing for reducing the stigma that mentally ill people are dangerous.

It is these things that I’ll be talking about today at the medical. I need to convince them I shouldn’t be working, yet I’m doubting this myself. I hate being hypocritical. I guess if I do get through the medical it is proof that I shouldn’t be working. If I can convince the DWP, who are notoriously bad at trying to get people back to work before they are ready, then I really must be ill. We will see. I don’t hold my breath.

There is a voice that tells me I am a fraud and I should just go back to work. I feel lazy, sitting around having nothing to do all day. I am trying to occupy myself, but I am not a productive member of society.

I am getting stuff done, but this only makes me think I should be working. Over the past couple of days I’ve embarked on a project to sort out all of my photos and to get them online. I used to have a photo gallery on my website, but I took it down when the domain was up to expire and since uni I’ve been very lazy about my photography. I have literally thousands of images, over 40gb worth. A lot of these are utter rubbish, but I want to find the ones that aren’t and get them out in the open. Anyway, the point of this is I’ve been sitting on my computer sorting this photos out and generally I’ve been able to concentrate on the task in hand. Considering a vast amount of my job is sitting at a computer then maybe I should be doing that and not just sorting out my photos.

I’ve been baking more recently and on Tuesday, I also made a load of home-made chocolates. I managed to do it successfully this time after a recent attempt involved me using semolina instead of sugar. Unsurprisingly the mixture had to go in the bin. They were popular at creative remedies yesterday, with many suggestions of having to sell them or give them as christmas presents.

I had even ventured back into the world of books and reading over the past month or so. I haven’t picked up a book for a couple of weeks, but I was getting there. I was reading stuff and even starting to enjoy it a little. I sometimes had to read paragraphs multiple times or forgot what I had been reading the previous day, but I was getting through the pages.

I also worry about this blog. The fact I can sit here and read and write. Does that mean I should be working instead of just writing about the fact I’m not? If people found this, would they use it against me to tell me I should be working?

This desire to work has of course has been amplified by my mood since yesterday. I have all these ideas of things I could be doing at work. I will not be on a project at first so need to find some internal work I could be doing. I can think of so many ways to improve our company. So many things that could be done and I want to be the person to do them.

There are barriers to returning. My doctors tell me I’m not ready. My social worker tells me I’m not ready. I need to go to occupational health before they will let me go back to work and they may well tell me I’m not ready. When will I know if I’m ready? How can they know?

August/September: New GP, New Meds…

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Late August: New GP & Citalopram

After weeks of frustration with my previous GP, Dr L, I finally plucked up the courage to see a new doctor at the practice. Thankfully, Dr L went on holiday so I had a perfect excuse to try someone else. I booked an appointment with one of the two new doctors, Dr N. He was fantastic and it was so good to see someone who actually listened, didn’t patronise me in any way and didn’t try to rush me out of his room the second I arrived. More importantly, he agreed that the Fluoxetine had been doing me no favours. He took me off the Fluoxetine and then started me on Citalopram 20mg. The Citalopram eased the nausea situation and didn’t seem to have any awkward side effects, although it didn’t appear to be doing much, if anything to ease my mood.

Late August/Early September:

Things pretty much continued as before with me spending time at home, feeling terrible. I was becoming increasingly suicidal, struggling with self harm and unable to see any hope for change. The Citalopram did not seem to be helping to lift my mood at all. My partner tried to get me to keep busy, setting me lists of chores and I also spent a lot of time baking and swimming to try and distract myself, but it wasn’t helping. I was doing all the right things: exercising, trying to think positive, seeing Dr N regularly, taking the pills etc.,etc., but my mood continued to plunge, which made me feel more and more frustrated and upset.

Written by intothesystem

Monday, 17th November 2008 at 7:39 pm

more of the same…

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My life seems to be an endless stream of pointless days, filled with nausea, headaches and boredom. I sit at my laptop, trying to stave off the nausea that threatens almost constantly, refreshing three pages continuously, waiting for information to appear.

As always, I’m trying to write, but struggling to get my thoughts down. I seem to be collecting draft posts with one or two lines in them.

I am fed up of waiting to feel better. Three and a half weeks of mind-control pills and nothing seems to have changed much. I have just added side effects to the constant up and down and endless negative thoughts.

Last night, I’d returned to my state as a crumpled-up ball of agitated energy, fidgeting constantly and unable to slow down my thoughts. I had to retire to the spare room, where I could drum my fingers to my hearts content and stare out the window at the stars and clouds, waiting for daylight. I got some sleep, but I don’t think there was much. I wanted so desperately to sleep so I could get some respite from the endless nausea.

Today, the agitation has settled down a bit, although I can still feel the tension and energy bubbling away in the background. My thoughts are still far from clear, but are not the constant barrage that they were in the night. I am tired of this continual cycle. I am tired of everything.

Written by intothesystem

Tuesday, 12th August 2008 at 11:51 am

Side Effects…?

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I feel pretty awful right now. I’ve lost what good was mixed in with my mood and am just left with the terrible concentration, frustration and gloominess.

Physically, I’m feeling pretty terrible too. I have a splitting headache, am hot and bothered and feel sick. Last night my gums bled after I brushed my teeth and I woke up this morning with shaking hands, although that seems to have calmed down now. I have no idea if I’m actually ill or if they are all just stupid side effects or if it’s a combination, but I’m fed up. I wonder if I’m just been paranoid and it’s some evil placebo effect or if the medication can really be making me feel like this. I don’t know what to think or do about it.

Has anyone else had similar experiences with Fluoxetine?

We’re visiting my family this weekend. They don’t know about any of this, which means it could be a difficult weekend if I’m struggling with side-effects and having to put up my happy-front. I’m not sure I can face it.

Meh. I think I’m just going to go back to bed. I have stuff to do today, but I just feel awful.

p.s. is it just me or is the blogosphere quiet at the moment? I hope everyone is okay. I find myself refreshing the blog surfer page and wishing there was more to read.

Written by intothesystem

Friday, 8th August 2008 at 1:17 pm

All over the place…

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…is how I feel today.

Last night I got very little sleep. I was fidgety, so much so, my other half sent me to the spare room. I couldn’t sleep, so sat up and tried to read. I managed to settle into my book eventually and I read for a few hours, but when I stopped I still couldn’t settle down and sleep. It was getting light before I was even asleep, but I was awake again before my other half got up for work.

My mood is still mixed. Both up and bouncy, irritable and agitated, sad and low. I’m not sure how you can feel all those things at once, or at least within quick succession of each other, but it seems you can.

I seem to be experiencing a strange side effect of the medication, or at least that’s what I assume it is. Since yesterday, I’ve felt like there is a ball of cotton wool wedged at the back of my throat, making it sore and dry. There isn’t, my tonsils seem fine and I don’t have any other signs of a cold so I don’t think I’m imagining it. I looked at the fluoxetine leaflet and dry mouth and sore throat are both listed, so I’m going to blame it on that for now, unless it does turn into a cold or tonsillitis during the next few days. It’s frustrating though. Not particularly painful, just there and annoying. When you’re irritable anyway, you don’t need something niggling away. Swallowing isn’t exactly comfortable either.

Aside from that I’m struggling to do anything much, yet getting annoyed that I’m so bored. I don’t really know what to do with myself. I want to do things, but then I don’t because I can’t concentrate and get frustrated too easily. I find myself flitting from thing to thing but settling on nothing.

A classic example of this, seems to be the fact that I can’t seem to bring myself to write any more right now. I don’t know what to say and am bored of myself already. I’ll try again soon.

EDIT: There is actually more I want to write about! That’s another problem. My Short term memory and attention span is terrible at the moment. What I have to write about is too long and complex for me to work out right now. It involves HR, liability, suicide and other things, but it isn’t clear in my head. Maybe later.

Written by intothesystem

Thursday, 7th August 2008 at 6:26 pm

Going Backwards…

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So I’m back to where I was 7 weeks ago. I’ve just returned to my GP and have been signed off again. The appointment didn’t go as I’d hoped. The second I walked in the door, I was reminded of how frustrated she makes me. I had written a lot of stuff down, but failed to share it with her. I just couldn’t bring myself to show her and the paper remained screwed up in my handbag, unread. I go in there and feel flustered and rushed and unable to explain things. I lose all semblance of coherence and talk utter rubbish. She makes me feel patronised and pathetic.

I did manage to talk a little about my agitated mood. She suggested the agitation could be a side effect of the medication, but wanted to persevere with them, telling me they can take a month or so to settle down. I am unconvinced. I feel the same way that I did a couple of months back, long before I was medicated. I am not sure I convinced her how frustrated this makes me feel. I am not sure she realises the extent of this mood. I know I failed to mention the s-word again.

We talked about work and HR’s worries. I suggested part-time work and she seemed reluctant. She seems to have this theory that if you’re fit to work, then you work, if you’re not fit, you don’t. She doesn’t seem to like the idea of a phased return or working a bit. I tried to explain that I think it would help. Doing nothing drives me mad, but she just told me I wasn’t up to it. I’m not sure I’ll listen though – need to talk to HR and see what they say instead.

In the end, I was shuttled off with my prescription for the next month’s worth of pills, a sick note for the next 2 weeks and an instruction to see her again. I tried to book the next appointment, but she’s on holiday. I’m glad. I think the receptionist was taken aback by my keenness to see someone else instead! A new doctor has started at the practice so I will see him in 2 weeks time. I just hope I can be more honest with him than I can with her. I just hope I can get through the next 2 weeks to actually see him. I’m not 100% sure I can. I know I have to take things a bit at a time.

One thing I’d been worried about, was the fact I still haven’t been completely honest with my partner over the past few days, or even weeks. Although he knows I’ve been off and knows I’m still not better, I know that I’ve maintained the front I have always had. I know that I’ve hidden the worst from him and made out that everything was okay, even if it wasn’t. He doesn’t know that I have a secret stash of pills, there for if I need them, let alone how close I find myself getting to needing them.

After the doctors I talked to him briefly. I let him know I’d been signed off again and I think he was surprised. I tried to explain things weren’t as better as I’d made out, telling him I’ve been struggling to concentrate with work and feeling agitated again. He doesn’t think a lack of concentration is cause for concern, pointing out that everyone has trouble concentrating at work and he joked that he’d like to be signed off for it! I don’t think he understood what I meant, although I did say that things are like how they were before I was signed off and I think he might get it now. I’m not convinced though. At least I can try and shake off the guilt a little. I’ve tried.

I don’t know what my next steps are. For now, I’ve told my manager and I’m waiting on HR. What is next though, I really don’t know.

Back to the GP…

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My mood seems to have calmed down a little from it’s hyper, agitated position yesterday, at least for the time being. Okay – I thought it had, but half an hour since I began this entry (I got distracted!!) my mood is back to where it was yesterday and seems to be getting increasingly frustrating.

I hate this agitated state I’m in. It’s so much worse than the low, dull depression that has been my predominant mood over the past few weeks. My concentration is next-to-none and I’m so wound up. I can’t stay still and my mind is on overdrive. I’m really finding it difficult to be coherent. The few sentences I’ve strung together have taken me ages. I have to read them over and over again to check they do actually make sense.

It’s hard to explain how it feels right now. It’s something I’ve experienced before, but you forget what it’s like until you find yourself there again. The self-awareness that you are not yourself, but the inability to do anything about it, the inability to slow down your thoughts and actions. My concentration is shot to pieces. I can’t think about things properly. I have tried to settle down and work, but I can’t even distract myself with it – it just seems to fuel my mood. I find myself jumping between my tasks, but doing none of them efficiently. I find myself reading things a million miles an hour but making no sense of them. I know I’m incapable of completing anything useful at this point. I’m trying to slow down, but struggling to put a hold of myself.

I know that part of this is returning anxiety. I am seeing my doctor again today. I called up for an appointment yesterday, but had to resort to calling at 8am this morning for a book-on-day. I’m seeing her at 3.30pm and I’m wound up about it. I am scared of telling her the truth. Scared of telling her about this agitated mood. Scared of telling her about the suicidal thoughts that were dominating my mind over the past week. Scared of the knowledge that suicide is still floating around my mind, but now I have the agitated state that gives me the energy to act on those thoughts. I’m battling them and promising myself I won’t act, at least not in the immediate sense, but I’m scared of what might be done “for my safety” if I admit these thoughts. That is a thought that runs around and around in my head and I can’t seem to shake out of it.

I am full of self-loathing and fear. I am embarrassed by my mood. I worry about how I come across. I tried to explain things to A. A is the girl that has joined the comms team whilst I’ve been off. She is lovely, but I am jealous. It is weird being in the office, working with someone who is doing your old job. It makes me feel so self-worthless, as she is clearly capable of doing everything without me. I was getting frustrated that I couldn’t just walk back in and go back to what I was doing before. I know I couldn’t handle it on my own anymore. I feel like I’m on hand just to answer questions and do the boring bits. I want to do the exciting things, the interesting things, the big projects, but I know I can’t and I hate it. I wonder if I should have found a new role so I didn’t feel like this. I can’t think straight though and thoughts about work and whether I should be there roll around in my head. I’m confused and tired by it all.

I am worried that I am back to where I was before. It feels like deja vu. I had a call with HR yesterday afternoon, and it pretty much followed a similar pattern to one I had months back. They want me to go back to the occupational health for another assessment. They are unsure if I’m fit for work. That scares me. They want to support me and find a way to make things work and they want me to go back to my GP. My HR rep is in trouble because she didn’t call me before she went on holiday. Her boss called yesterday. She’s worried that I’ve returned to work on a full-time basis rather than using a phased return. I told her I only did that as I didn’t know what else to do and no one had given me any advice or support. She said I should have a think about what might work and I should see my doctor for advice. She told me not to do long hours, but I find myself unable to rein them in.

I’m still taking the pills. I have no idea if they’re working or not. I have no idea if they’re having an effect. Before I didn’t know if it was illness, circumstance or personality that made the cocktail that is my mood, actions and feelings. Now I don’t know if it is illness, circumstance, personality or medication. I worry if it is the pills that have flipped me into this state. I worry that they’re just not working on me in the way they should. Over two weeks in and the black thoughts are as strong as ever, but are mixed now with this agitated, hyper, frustrated ball of energy, that is my new mood. It’s even worse than before.

This entry as disjointed as my head. I’ve tried to pull it together and have wrote and rewrote it a million times, but I just can’t get my thoughts down and put them in order. My mind is like spaghetti junction, but without the road signs to guide you. Or maybe a jigsaw with no picture. Just lots of little pieces all spread across the floor, that don’t fit together or make any coherent whole.

I go to my doctor in 4 hours. I’m scared and don’t know what to say.