Tag Archives: hallucinate

As I lay me down to sleep

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The voices come.

As much as I want to hope that I don’t need the antipsychotics anymore and I’m no longer hallucinating, the voices show up as I lay in bed trying to sleep. They’re really disruptive and I wish I could remember what they said so I could write it out. This didn’t used to happen.

Maybe it’s nothing.

Edit to add:
Here’s a sampling of the kinds of things the voices say in that brief few minutes before I fall asleep:

Don’t leave me alone with her, I thought

With who? She asked

Yeah, who? He agreed

Shh, came the child

Right, you’re not really hearing voices, she sneered

He screamed, and screamed, one seemingly unending tone

He’s insane, she said

A child’s giggle

No one will ever trust him or believe him. Ruined for life, he is. She went on

Never going to be the same, he whispered

Let him sleep, the child pleaded

Yes sleep, he said

Fine, fine, that’s enough for tonight, crazy weirdo, she said

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Of Psychiatry and Surgery

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Nearly two weeks ago I had my last appointment with my psychiatrist. In it, we discussed where I’m at and where I’m going. There wasn’t much to the appointment, really. He determined that my dose on the sleeping pill was so low that it wasn’t actually doing anything and I should stop taking them when I felt I was okay to (most likely after my surgery). He also felt that the hallucinations I experienced were likely caused by my lack of sleep over a year and a half ago and that now that I’m sleeping properly, I shouldn’t need the antipsychotics. He suggested that once things are stable (so likely after my surgery), I should try going off the antipsychotics and see if the hallucinations come back. We were to discuss my sleep study as well, but the clinic didn’t fax the information over. As of now, I still haven’t heard anything, which probably means it found nothing of note, so don’t worry. The milestone I reached with this appointment is that it was my final one with a psychiatrist for the forseeable future. I’ve been determined to be stable, and in good mental health. There’s no need to continue to see a psychiatrist, though a therapist or counselor wouldn’t hurt.

Five days ago, I stopped the sleeping pills. The first night was okay. I had two rough nights, and the last two nights have been good. I think he was right and I don’t need them. Which is awesome because I’d rather avoid taking medication if at all possible. One down one to go.

Now we move into other territory:
Immediately before that psychiatry appointment, I called the office of my surgeon (for top surgery as the next step in my medical transition to manhood). I wasn’t expecting anything beyond knowing where I was on the waitlist. Instead I was given a surgery date: May 3rd.

At first I was excited. I told everyone. It was awesome, finally have a date! No more waiting! Once the initial excitement wore off, I got nervous and scared and started second guessing myself. I realized that the bulk of the excitement was for the fact that I’m finally able to move forward with my life, since surgery’s put my life on hold for so long. I realized I wasn’t sure my exact reasons for wanting top surgery other than knowing that it was the next step in transition. I also realized that I wanted to breastfeed my kids, which isn’t possible after the kind of surgery I’ll be getting. I freaked out.

I talked to a few select people who generally seem to think if I’m freaking out this much, I shouldn’t have the surgery. To better get a grip on where my head’s at, I scheduled an appointment with a (trans community recommended) counselor, a friend who is a counselor and trans, and the surgeon to see about getting a reduction instead of a full double mastectomy and still have it covered. These appointments are all within the next week and a half, so hopefully I’ll have a better sense of things by then.

I do know, that now that I’ve had a bit of time to think about it, I’m more used to the idea of getting surgery and am kind of looking forward to it again. I still talk like I’m going to get it and the more often I say “surgery’s in two months” the more used to the idea I am. Maybe it was just jitters, but better to get some handle on my thinking before I do it anyway.

I imagine, unless something radical happens, from this point forward this blog will follow my mental health in association with transition and living life. It’s good to know that my brief touch with mental illness was not a step on the true descent to madness.

First Diagnosis

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It’s been a while and there’s things to update.

After seeing my new psychiatrist a few times, he was prepared to make a diagnosis. I’ve been diagnosed with Hallucinations NOS or nonspecified hallucinations. That means that I hallucinate with no known cause. It’s not linked to any other mental illness. It just appears independently. While I’m happy to have a diagnosis (and am glad that there’s not some greater mental illness), I’m disappointed that there’s no known cause. Maybe that will come with more time and conversations with therapists.

At my last appointment, I brought up the fact that I stopped sleeping and my psychiatrist decided he would start investigating. It’s been a year and a half since I stopped sleeping and finally one of my doctors is asking why. I’m so happy about it. The first step in that is a sleep study that will be done later this month.

At my second appointment with my psychiatrist, I got put on Latuda (instead of Risperidone). Within a week, I noticed a marked difference. I was connecting with the world significantly better. I was feeling more emotions. Customers were responding to me more positively. My coworkers commented on me being more positive and outgoing, so did my mom. It was incredible. I had no idea how disconnected I’d been, how distanced from the world I’d been, until I started to reconnect with it. Now I know, and I hope to never experience that again.

Unfortunately, Latuda isn’t covered by my insurance, so I had to change the meds again. This happened at my last appointment (a week ago) where I was put on Abilify. It’s too soon to tell how much it will impact me, but from what I’ve read of other’s use of it, it seems to work well.

In the non-mental health side of things, I’m still waiting on the CT scan of my pituitary gland to find out why I’m lactating. There’s still no word as to when it will be. I hope it’s soon.

In terms of transition, well, I found out that the three to four months until surgery after consult that I was quoted was wrong. It’s actually closer to nine to twelve months. So, instead of being at a point where I have less than a month until surgery, I’m waiting at least five more months. I’m disappointed, but I should have known better than to hope it would be so fast. Maybe there’ll be a cancellation. I do know that I have enough money saved up now to cover my expenses for two months off work, so that’s a stress off my mind.

In general, currently, I’m doing okay, a mix of good and bad. I officially dropped out of university. The program I was in just wasn’t a good fit for me and I failed both classes. I also realized that the work I want to do doesn’t require a degree, so why am I shelling out the money for the degree? I cancelled my loans for the second semester and am just waiting on hearing about repayment to find out what it’s going to cost me each month. Hopefully not much as it was a fairly small loan. My brother and sister in law got me colouring books for Christmas and I’ve been slowly working my way through them. I find it relaxing and engaging and it’s nice to do something other than just staring at my screen all the time. On the down side, I’ve lost a lot of motivation to do anything. I’m finding it very hard to convince myself to do anything and am not even getting out of bed until the last possible minute before I have to go to work. I’m not going out to meet with friends (not helped by my work schedule where I’m scheduled to work the only two days anything happens with my friends). And I’m not going out of the house to do anything except buy the necessities, go to work, and go to the doctor. I’m trying to find something more to do with my time, but I don’t even know where to start. I’m hoping the colouring will at least help. Part of the lack of motivation to do anything is impacting my sleep as I’ve lost the motivation to go to bed. I still don’t get tired, so it’s hard to convince myself that I need to go to bed. I’m finding more and more that I’ll only actually go to bed when I get bored with what I’m doing on the computer. In the last week, I’ve had 3 sleeps. I know it’s not good, and not healthy, but I can’t seem to convince myself otherwise. I’d rather stay up and actually do things than go to bed where I’ll stay until I absolutely need to get up, sometimes twelve or fourteen hours later.

Here’s to hoping things will improve.

prescriptions and consultations

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A week after I went to the hospital, I saw my GP. He decided to up my dose again. I’m now on 3mg of risperidone. He prescribed me three months worth of that and the sleeping pills and had me book a followup in August.

I heard from general psych a month and a half after I got the referral from the hospital. They referred me to the gender psychiatrist I saw and refuse to talk to me further about the problems with that referral. I have yet to hear from the psychiatrist, so we’ll see how that goes.

A week ago, I had an appointment with one of my therapists at the college. She’s the one who specializes in sleep. She has me doing another 2 week sleep log to see what it looks like with me on my meds. So far, it doesn’t look that bad, except I’m sleeping too long and not getting out of bed after I wake up in the morning. She seems to think that I might have restless leg syndrome, which is contributing to my inability to sleep. I don’t disagree. In order to get a diagnosis, though, I need to do a sleep study. In the meantime, the sleep therapist wants me to try sleep training a bit to get into better sleep habits. This means she wants me to stop reading in bed. Reading’s the only thing that gets me to sleep. I’ve tried reading then going to bed and I just lay awake for hours on end. I see her again in a week.

Today, I got the news that I have a consultation for top surgery (breast removal for female to male transgender) in January. I’m very excited about that and can hardly wait.

Over the last few months, I’ve seen my mom a fair bit and every time she’s said she thinks I look spacey and seem flat. I agree that I’ve been flat. I don’t know what the trigger was for that change, but it was worse than ever before. One of my customers even mentioned it to me. It’s gotten better in the last couple weeks and I’ve been excited and happy, smiling and joking again, so I think I’m on the mend from that bout of depression?

During that same time, I was experiencing heightened anxiety, specifically around going to work. The way my coworkers were acting towards me was making me anxious. I got talked to about my own behaviour at work and how I contributed on a shift, which really didn’t help any. Our store moved though, and since the move, things have slowly been getting better. I’m less anxious now than I was a few weeks ago, which is really helpful for the rest of feeling better.

Other than that, I seem to be doing okay. As far as I know, I’m not hallucinating, though I suspect I’m seeing flies that aren’t there, but can’t confirm. I’ve been eating decently, not great. I’ve also been more active riding my bike. Riding the bike is tough, especially with the sleep schedule, but I’m working on it and getting better at just doing it. I want to be in better shape, not just in general, but specifically for top surgery.

I think that’s it.

Back in the System

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Yesterday I had my appointment with my GP. I think it went well, even if I didn’t really get everything I wanted. My risperidone was doubled (from 0.5mg to 1mg) to help deal with the paranoid thoughts and the hallucinations (I saw a fly that I’m pretty sure, but not positive, wasn’t there at work on Wednesday night). I got a refill on the sleeping pills. I’d run out about two and a half weeks ago, so sleep was back to being horrible. The new prescription is for double the dose of the last one, 20mg of amitriptyline a night.

He also referred me back to the crisis mental health clinic that I was at before. The theory being, I need oversight, I want a diagnosis, that’s only going to come from a psych and they have my file at that clinic. I was hoping for something more long term, but I guess not. Hopefully this time it doesn’t become a game of telephone tag again where they refuse to even process my case like they did last time.

Other than that, things haven’t changed much, we’ll see how the new dosing on the meds work, hopefully they do their jobs.

Oh! On an unrelated note, I got a referral to a new surgeon for my top surgery (double mastectomy). The one I was originally referred to has a waitlist two years long and I was looking at seeing him in February 2017. The new surgeon has a much shorter waitlist, my buddy got his surgery less than 8 months after referral. So, within the year! (In case you’d forgotten, the other half of what I’m dealing with is gender transition, female to male. This surgery is the only one I want for now and will masculinize my figure significantly.)

“They’re” a problem

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“Get the infection out of my face, the infection they put there.”

The last few months have been productive and things have moved forward, and not. I’ve graduated from Business Administration (official ceremony is in June, but I’m officially done). I went to all my appointments with mental health (the therapist and the psych). I’ve been released from them and will have to get a new referral in order to see a psych again if I need to. I’ve continued to see the counselor at my college, though because I’ve graduated, I won’t be able to continue to see her for much longer.

There was no diagnosis of anything and only vague assumptions as to what might be wrong with me. I’m not pleased with that and want better answers.

My risperidone (the antipsychotic) has been reduced down to 0.5mg, the lowest dose I can be on without going off it entirely. I’m still on the amitriptyline (sleeping pill) and that was increased to 20mg (2 pills, double the original dose).

I’m working with my counselor at the college to connect with a counselor at the university as I should be attending there in the fall for a new degree. I’m also working with one more counselor at the college specifically on sleep. We’re not making much progress and I don’t really want to push it right now.

I see my GP on Thursday and want to ask to go off the antipsychotic. My logic? The hallucinations came all at once and I went on the sleeping pills and the antipsychotic at roughly the same time. There wasn’t a chance to see what hallucinations were caused by the inability to sleep and what were caused by anything else. I want to find out what hallucinations I have that are not related to sleep problems. I also want to see if there are any other symptoms of note. I have nothing really happening this summer beyond a few family things and work. I would rather have another mental breakdown, or whatever you want to call it, this summer when things are relatively calm than in the fall or winter when I’m back in school. I’d also like to have a diagnosis, or a partial diagnosis so that there’s something to work off of if things go south down the line. I’ve told a few people that this is what I’m going to ask for when I see my GP and they all seem to agree that it’s a good idea and that they’ll be there for me if/when things start going south.

The last few days I’ve noticed something new that really has me worried. I’ve started getting intrusive paranoid type thoughts. Like the one at the beginning of this post. “They put an infection in my face and I have to get it out.” (zits) “It’s their fault.” (I slept late.) I don’t know who “they” are, but the thoughts pop up whenever I get thinking about something that’s happened or is happening. I stop and logically work through where fault really lies and what’s really going on, but the thoughts keep popping up and I don’t like them.

The paranoid thoughts are new, not something I’ve ever experienced before. I really think they’re a part of everything else that’s going on and I should probably mention them to my GP when I see him, if I remember.

I keep getting stuck in circles of thought being anxious about my future and what it holds for me. The degree I’m hoping to start in the fall is Child and Youth Care. This is something I’m really passionate about and really look forward to. I love working directly with kids and helping them grow. I worry that whatever diagnosis I wind up getting will be something that inhibits me from working directly with kids on a regular basis and will force me to rethink my career choice. I really want this, but health and safety come first.

Baby Steps

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I saw my therapist on Thursday and talked to her about a lot of things including the anxiety that I’ve been feeling.

I’ll catch you up because I haven’t fully talked about it here yet. When I get anxious, it’s because I’m worried about doing something wrong, usually something that affects other people. When I’m alone or in certain situations, especially situations where I’ve done something wrong in the past, I find myself looping through what I did wrong. Example: At work a couple weeks ago, I was told that some of my coworkers thought I was making up rules and I needed to stop. I wasn’t making up rules, but was communicating ineffectively. Now, when I’m at work or thinking about work, I think about all the things I’ve said and done that might be construed as rules and how they’re wrong and made up. Getting out of the loop is hard and usually takes a lot of effort and focusing on something else, even if I remind myself that the damage is done and it’s in the past and there’s nothing more I can do.

Non obvious signs of this anxiety (that I’ve had for a long time) include OCD type behaviors. When I was a child and young adult, this included organizing the book shelves by author’s last name. I would spend hours on this one task and it would require taking the whole bookshelf down if someone put one book in the wrong spot. Another behavior was dishwashing. It would take more than three hours to wash the dishes for a simple dinner for three people; something that should take 20 minutes. Other ones that have shown up include an obsessive need to always wear a hat and to not step on sidewalk cracks. These behaviors come and go and it’s hard to describe the feelings driving the needs to do these things, they just need to be done. Right now, I don’t have any that I can pinpoint.

So, I talked to my therapist about the anxiety and the behaviors and she thought there was a link to OCD and anxiety. I see both her and the psych this coming Thursday. The therapist wanted my permission to talk to the psych about all that I’ve talked to her about and I gave it, gladly. I want the psych to know everything too, how else to get a diagnosis and proper treatment, but with the no words day last time I saw her, it was hard to explain what I could to the therapist.

I personally think that the hallucinations were triggered by the complete lack of sleep, and the insomnia by the anxiety. Anxiety might also explain why the sleeping pills weren’t working.

The hallucinations are essentially gone. I’m attributing that to the risperidone and am truly grateful. They were more than scary. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed in the last week or so that I’ve not been getting as much sleep. It’s been harder and harder to fall asleep (taking upwards of 2 hours or more some nights) and in the last few days, I’ve been waking earlier. I’m still getting 5 hours on a bad night and 8 on a good one, but there’s fewer good nights and more bad nights now. (Note, the numbers are down from 7 on a bad night and 11 on a good night a few weeks ago.)

So, I see this as baby steps forward. Hopefully the therapist and psych will have a good long chat together and find some answers together before we meet next week.

Also, about the nanny job, I just got a reply back from the agency and they’re apparently not taking any new nannies on just now. Frustrating, but not the end of the world.