Straight into Coping Mode.
From letter to my doctor
Dear Dr. S,
Big stress here: my partner and caretaker went off the rails and has broken up with me. (I’m staying with a friend while he packs and leaves.)
My best response to stress is to work. Being unable to focus mentally, that was outdoor work: small scale yard work. Thursday, an amount of labor that would normally be marginally too much but recoverable, resulted in me vomitting and becoming prostrate for 2 hours and set back in my physical capacity, through the present. Fortunately I did get to that afternoon’s neurological PT appointment.
I also had a showstopping muscle spasm in my left neck/shoulder. I thought the yard work would work that out, but it probably contributed to my collapse.
– PT course has been extended.
– Massage weekly instead of every other week, maybe more, per opinion of LMT when I see her.
– Hot tub spa time. My sense of heat perception is blunted, so will do this with friends for safety.
– Optimum dose of Savella stabilizes my GI activity with no or trivial additional nausea. Due to that n/v, I felt it best to back off on Savella, despite the increased instability in life & my neurologic behavior.
– Went from 50+12.5 to 50mg Savella BID, as of Thursday evening.
– Nausea has reduced and ability to eat is returning, not yet to normal but gradually getting closer. Able to keep blood glucose functionally adequate. I attribute >90% of this to stress, while not exacerbating n/v with increased sensitivity to Savella GI side effects.
Zoloft & psychiatry:
– In the lead-up to my ex’s meltdown, I’d increased Zoloft (in consultation with my mental health provider and prescribing PMD) from 50+12.5 mg to 50+25 mg. That remains the same.
– I’m in the queue to see a medication psychiatrist in a couple of months.
– Mg chelate up from PRN to 500 mg BID from Thursday until this morning; however, prodromal twitches starting again, so will continue it BID for now, retest every few days, and keep Carafate on hand if gastritis starts up again.
– Avoiding CNS depressants d/t affect fragility: no antispasmodic p.o.
– I’d recently experimented with curcuminoid supplementation, and found that 300 mg of the 95% extract BID (which is 1.3-2x the recommended dose) plus at least 2gm of unextracted turmeric, provides best cost/benefit tradeoff.
– I find that, with the lower Savella, being an hour late with this raises pain levels distinctly, as there’s less pain control on board. So it’s now part of the routine.
– Working hard on emotional regulation, reiki (which really helps me with stabilization), and maintaining activity at a sustainable but persistent level.
– Less diligent about my sleep/wake schedule, which would be an exercise in frustration.
– More diligent about everything else (pill punctuality, mindfulness & “radical presence” practices, taking care of relationships, pacing & activity, diet, toxic exposures.)
All things pass. There will be a New Normal one day.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll figure out how to get my continuing physical & logistical support needs met.
If you don’t mind, I’ll add this letter of mine to my livinganyway.com blog. It’s where I discuss how to handle (excuse my French:) the shittiness of life events atop the shittiness of central-pain conditions.
Hope your summer’s going well.
All the best,
So here’s what is really going on…
Notes from paradise
3 days on, I’m realizing that one of the few certainties I once had was that J and I would be together, and if I wound up single it’d be because he died before I did. He loved me so much. SO. MUCH. He bragged about me to his boss as little as 2 weeks before he broke with me. He really wanted a life with me, and affirmed it over and over again, over the years.
He saw my weakness and strength, brilliance and idiocy, beauty and horror, and loved me wholly, just the same. He saw when I needed more help and when, instead, I needed motivation to work harder; quietly, seamlessly, without any fuss, he adjusted his actions and my environment accordingly.
When we were together, we had everything we needed. It was so much fun and so pleasant to be in each other’s company that the world around us sparkled and everyone we met lit up. We were “the elves of [Our] Road,” spreading joy and taking care of things wherever we went.
Our relationship was rather tempestuous from the outside: two strong characters are always going to have some intensity together, and an addict in amateur recovery with a spoonie in pain adds more than a little spice to the mix. Ten percent of it was pretty hard. The lion’s share of the other 90% was delightful. Because we’re both introverts, 90% was also pretty private.
He loved me very nearly as thoroughly as I loved him.
All that love…
After watching everything around his old home turf burn to the ground, raising the level of poison and desperation in an already toxic and desperate area to unfathomable levels…
After sinking into a surly isolation unthinkable until now…
After having to wait 2-1/2 weeks between signing up for couples counseling and actually getting it, which might be the kicker…
He has taken to the idea that he’s homesick and “I have to go back every 5 years”, having left only 3 years ago and visited this past June; and that I, of all people, “amazing” and “brilliant” me, am worth using but not worth being with.
All that love!
This is exactly what untreated mental illness coupled with untreated alcoholism looks like:
- Love is irrelevant.
- Joy loses meaning.
- The diseased story he tells himself is FAR more important than the real world in all its richness and possibility.
- His own power to shape his life seems fantastical to him — absurd.
- His power to devastate and destroy seems to give some weird, uncharacteristic satisfaction. I call this “emotional cannibalism.”
- He acts like mindless prey stuck in the claws of his illness, not like a living human being with good options.
Worst of all, love is simply irrelevant.
All. That. Love.
All that joy?
All that subtlety of observation and care?
Dead, decapitated, done.
Looking for reasons in unreason
We humans try to figure out what’s going on, to look for reasons, patterns, something to make sense of things. Unfortunately, mental illness — by definition — creates irrational states of being, and addiction is inherently not sensible.
My Magic Healer-Man is even more surprising in his departure than he was in thundering into my life, throwing some of his healing into my hands as he took so much of my healing into his. After all, if we can’t save ourselves, we might be able to save each other — as many of the seriously ill and disabled are well aware.
It was an amazing partnership, in many ways.
In the end, though, we have to take charge of our own healing, even when we’re short on the dopamine necessary to make choices with. When we’re miserable, we have to decide whether misery or healing will drive us.
I tend to do whatever it takes to get better. I could be (much) more diligent, especially when things are going well.
By and large, though, misery is unacceptable to me. Life is too short. (Until recently, that was one place where J and I thought exactly alike.)
But then, I’m not a man. Testosterone is neurotoxic, strictly speaking — a fact that’s hard to find in the literature, and then only when cloaked in caveats and euphemisms. A lifetime of it doesn’t seem to be a great set-up for dealing with the changes in the last quarter of life. … Yet, many do manage it with wisdom and skill.
Look! That was me trying to find a reason, even a demonstrably daft one! Or is it an excuse? Didn’t work, anyway.
We choose what to be influenced by, out of the options and resources available to us. He had great options and outstanding resources here.
I think what I’m struggling most with is the fact that, abruptly, he chose chaos, violence (I know where he’s going), and desperation over love, work, and healing. I do not understand that.
Over and over, my broken heart cries out,
Some things, there are no answers for. They can only be endured.
I’ll make adjustments, time will pass, and one day I’ll wake up to a New Normal, in which there will be some measure of joy. Hard to imagine, but that’s the way things work.