Tag Archives: psycho

First Diagnosis


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.


Time Flies


I suppose I should update, since it’s been a while.

I got in to see the counselors at the university, specifically, the counselor that was recommended by my counselor at the college. He’s a great guy, listens well, helped me get in a good headspace. I saw him twice before I realized I probably don’t actually need counselling right now. I’m in a pretty good space right now and don’t feel the need to work through anything.

I also got in to see a psychiatrist at the university. Finally. The appointment was over an hour and a half long and went through my entire mental health history. He actually read my files going back years. He took me seriously. I recognized my need for a diagnosis and is working with me on that. He gave three preliminary names of what I might have, but he wants more information before he actually gives a diagnosis. Schizoaffective disorder, borderline personality disorder, and Asperger’s (high functioning autism). He gave me a printout to have my parents fill out and they went over it when I was up to see them for Thanksgiving. Hopefully that will give him some clues. I’m ready to be armed with a diagnosis that will help me find ways to cope and make things better.

In a non-mental health vein, something happened with my physical health that has been weighing on my mind as well. A couple months ago, I started lactating. I saw a walk-in doctor first and she ordered a battery of bloodwork. I saw my GP a week later and he didn’t see anything alarming in the bloodwork but suggested I talk to my endocrinologist (who I’m working with through my gender transition because I’m on hormones). I saw him a couple weeks later and he was concerned by my bloodwork. My prolactin level was 99, normal is 25. He didn’t seem to think that it was because of my being on testosterone (though that’s a common problem) and ordered a CT Scan and some more bloodwork. I’m still waiting on the scan, but it should happen soon. He said that the scan would look for a growth on the pituitary gland which would cause the spike in prolactin. My research has found that the growths are fairly common and mostly benign, but I’m still worried. What if it isn’t?

In terms of transition, everything’s on track. I got in for my consult for top surgery a couple weeks ago, which means the surgery itself will be in three to four months, a lot faster than it was originally going to be. I’m excited and more than a little nervous. Part of the nerves come from wondering if I’m going to have enough funds saved up to make it through the two month recovery. I hope so.

I think that’s everything of note.

prescriptions and consultations


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.

Inching Toward Answers


A week ago, I saw the psychiatrist and therapist at the same time. Together we talked about things like my transition, my general mood, where things are going, and how things have been.

The hallucinations have officially stopped. I’m grateful for that, but I can’t help but keep wondering when they’re going to show up again. Generally, I have to say that things have improved. I’m sleeping better (though it’s taking me a couple hours to fall asleep again, up from 20 minutes or so when I first went on the meds). I don’t have any compulsions right now, so that’s good. When we discussed those, the psych seemed to agree that they were OCD like. She encouraged me, next time I notice one, to push past the anxiety and let the anxiety happen until it goes away.

My mood has been, well, flat. My mom first identified it over the phone the night before the appointment. I repeated it to the therapist and then again to the psych and we talked about what that meant. I’m not excited, can’t get happy or feel sad, and generally don’t really care. I want to care and be excited and eager and all that, but I can’t. The big word that popped up here is depression.

I’ve known that depression is a possibility, but it felt so real for them to say it. Thinking about it later, it made sense. The psych wants to wait and see what’s happening, give it time to manifest or whatever and decide on medication when I see her again in a month.

On the note of medication, she also wanted to reduce the dose of the antipsychotic. I was taking 2mg of risperidone at bedtime every day. She bumped me down to 1.5mg. Since doing that, I’ve noticed no change, so I’m going to stick with it.

The psych also wanted to talk about my transition a bit. She wanted to know why I wanted to transition and how I saw that working. I talked about how I’ve always felt, how I’ve always leaned towards the masculine and roleplayed the boy in games. How I always picked boys clothes first and fought wearing the dresses. I talked about feeling okay about myself, but uncomfortable wearing flattering clothing anyway. About how I’ve always been more comfortable when perceived male. I mentioned that I wanted to have a baby or two later down the line and that’d be okay. And I talked about being excited for top surgery (getting rid of my breasts) which should happen in the next year and a half. I don’t know what she thought of it all, but I’m glad I got it out.

Today, I had another appointment with the therapist. We continued the conversation from last week, going more into the flatness and general emotion state. I talked about how I haven’t done the dishes or cleaned the living room in a while and that’s a problem. We talked about how I’m always well groomed when I go out (and I do shower regularly even without expectations from somewhere else), but my house is a mess. We talked more about how sleep is an issue and I’m sleeping more but it’s harder to fall asleep and I’m still tired all the time.

She wanted to know about my plans for having a baby and how they fit in with my transition. She had no idea anything related to transgender care, so I’m happy to educate. I told her about the possibility of birth defects if you get pregnant while on testosterone. I talked about the wait time between going off the hormones and trying to get pregnant. I talked about how I’m really after the secondary sex characteristics (facial hair, deeper voice, no chest) that stick around after hormones have stopped, so stopping them will be no problem for me. Having a baby is something I’m excited about, it’s something I look forward to. I’m sad I won’t be able to breastfeed, but I know it’ll be okay anyway.

We also talked a lot about my future, what I want to be doing and where I want to go. She asked me, if I could wave a magic wand, what would it fix. I told her I wouldn’t have any more issues with money. Money seems to be a big issue. Last month I was playing “pick two” where the three I had to pick from where meds, rent, and food. I’m still really tight on my budget and not sure how I’m going to make ends meet properly with enough to spare to save for the vacations I really want to go on, but I’m sure I’ll figure something out.

The therapist says there’s lots of stressors, lots of reasons to be feeling anxiety between work and school and future plans and transitioning. My life’s in turmoil right now and it makes sense for me to be in turmoil mentally.

She gave me homework, and I’ll have to think about it. She wants me to write out (since writing comes easier than speaking) what I want out of life, where I want to be.

This afternoon, I saw the counselor at the college. I gave her a brief overview of how things have been going with mental health and the psych and therapist and where we’re at there. Then we got into the meat of her appointment.

We started where we left off last time, with the “addiction” to the internet and how that’s an issue. I said it wasn’t really an issue anymore. It isn’t, really. I can stop any time I want, I’m just not motivated to do anything else. And really motivation is the big problem. We talked a lot about motivation, that was the big heart of what we talked about.

Right now, I’m really externally motivated. I do my homework because it’s for a team project and if I don’t do my part, others suffer. I go to work because my manager and coworkers expect me there. I go to class because there’s a team meeting every class. I go to appointments because the person I made the appointment with expects me there. I’m not motivated to do anything for me.

We talked about the self care issues that I’ve got, with the apartment a complete disaster and mold growing in the dishes. It’s completely not healthy to be living like that. I’m not motivated to cook for myself when it’s like that because it requires too much effort. If it were like that and someone were to come over, I’d spend the time to clean up in preparation. I’d clean up and do the work to make meals for someone else, but not for me.

I want to want to care, but I don’t.

After a lot of back and forth, the counselor narrowed it down to the idea that I don’t think I deserve the best of care. She said, if I were a nanny for myself, I’d be fired. It’s true, I would. But what I need to do is start treating myself as I would someone I were caring for, or like a team project. A team project with me, myself, and I is a good analogy. I’s the slacker, always making excuses. “I don’t care,” “I don’t want to make the effort,” “I don’t want to,” “I can’t be bothered.” If me and myself can make it work despite the I, maybe eventually, we’ll get I on board.

My homework from her is to start telling myself “I deserve the very best of care.” I’m to start thinking about providing that care, but the important thing first is to make sure I know that I deserve it. Right now the phrase seems awkward and uncomfortable, maybe that will change.

I feel like I’m on the right track with all this. I’m going to see the counselor again and keep working on things with her. Because I seem to be working on different things with the counselor from the therapist and psych, I don’t mind continuing to see them both. It kind of makes sense. I’m still overwhelmed by everything, anxious about how things are going, are they going fast enough or too fast. I wish I wasn’t so flat right now, I want to get excited again. We’ll see, I guess, maybe things will get better.

Baby Steps


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.

Doctors Without Answers


I’ve had two doctors appointments since I last posted. Let’s start with last week.

On the 8th, I saw the psychologist. She had with her that day a resident training to be a family doctor. That made me less comfortable than I already was. The appointment followed the same track as the one with the therapist and it felt like she hadn’t read my file to understand my background. I don’t know the reasons specifically, but I was having a no-words morning, where it was hard for me to get anything out of my mouth, let alone the details and explanations that the psych needed. It wound up being an hour long waste of time, basically. She had notes that anxiety and hallucinations are the two big issues. She said there was no real indication that my symptoms were part of some diagnosis yet, so we have to just keep an eye on things and see what happens. She told me to stay on the risperidone and come back in a month.

Following the appointment with the psych, I did some thinking and was able to pinpoint what my anxiety is rooted in: the fear of doing something wrong with consequences for other people. I like to live without regrets, like, mistakes are lessons to learn and you can only regret until you learn the lesson. So I’ve made a lot of mistakes with consequences for other people; I learn the lesson and try not to make the mistake again. The problem comes when I get thinking or the thoughts just pop in my head. I start thinking about what I did wrong and what the consequences were and what I might do wrong and what the consequences might be. I get into loops of this where it’s hard to step out and get away from them. I usually remind myself of how the problems or mistakes were fixed and what the lesson was and the fact that there’s nothing more I can do about it. Usually that works. Failing that, I try to distract myself.

Yesterday, the 15th, I saw my GP. Except I didn’t see him, I saw his resident who is practicing to become a family doctor. We covered what’s happened in the last month, what’s changed, and where I’d like to go from there. He taught me a technique for getting out of the anxiety loops: focus on each of the five senses and recognize what those senses are doing and feeling at that moment. I asked him about drinking, something I like to do socially. I was told that I’m allowed one drink, socially, not allowed to get tipsy or drunk. He told me I risk passing out for multiple days and stopping breathing if I decide to get drunk. So, I guess I don’t drink while on risperidone. I also mentioned the blurred vision. He talked me through what it actually was like and confirmed with my GP. They agree that it’s probably a side effect of the drug, something to keep an eye on, but he didn’t recommend a visit to the optometrist.

Other than that, life has been fairly normal. I started my last class of my program. It’s Thursday nights, all group work to keep me accountable, and looks like it will be interesting. I’m eating homemade food a bit more often. I’m starting to really notice how well I’m sleeping and wishing for a more consistent schedule so I wouldn’t have to wake up early for day shift or go to bed at midnight every day for the one night shift so I can take the pills consistently.

I see the therapist next Thursday and the psych again the following Thursday. The appointments are scheduled for later in the day, so hopefully I’ll be able to speak properly at them and get across what I need to get across.

An Interesting Feeling


It’s an interesting feeling, knowing you want to hurt yourself. The act of hurting yourself is called self harm, and it’s not a new thought for me.

The first time I remember deliberately hurting myself was when I was four and decided to take a hammer to my knee. This wasn’t just a random thought. I took my dad’s hammer and brought it to my bedroom. I sat on the top bunk of the bed and started trying to hammer my kneecap. I intended to break it, hide the hammer, and fall off the bed, blaming the break on the fall. When I couldn’t break my knee after trying for a while, I started crying, composed myself, returned the hammer, and pretended like nothing happened. I blamed the bruise that showed up later on falling during play.

That was the first time, and I’ve hurt myself many times since, always in such a way I could blame it on something else. During middle and high school, I used my pocket knife to cut. I’d always cut in such a way to make it look like a cat scratch. I got enough of those anyway that it was a normal enough cut for me to have. I haven’t actually cut for over three years and two years ago, when I was packing for a move, I tossed the knife I used as a statement that I wouldn’t cut anymore.

I never really tried to hurt myself like I did when I was four, break a bone. There were a few times I came close, but never followed through.

The only other self harm I’ve done is chronically scratched, picked my scabs. I’m covered in scars from doing this. Head to toe. I don’t remember ever not picking scabs. It got to the point that when I was eight, I could tell what kind of scab would bleed and what kind was far enough healing that it wouldn’t bleed if I picked it.

There’s four stages to self harm: desire, plan, motivation, action.

Right now, I have three plans for hurting myself. 1: Slam my head on the coffee table. 2: “Trust fall” onto the coffee table, landing on my back. 3: Standing close enough to the curb that the bus mirror hits my head (pick any bus stop downtown).

What’s stopping me is my lack of motivation. Well, I’m motivated enough to do it, but I’m stopped by external obligations. Classes are about to start and I’ll set myself back if I have to miss any. My coworkers would have to pick up my slack at work and if I were gone for any length of time, my boss would hire someone new. I need all the hours I can get at work just to pay rent. My cat would need someone to take care of her. And I’ll miss my doctor’s appointments: psychologist this Thursday and GP next Thursday.

I can’t tell you why I want to hurt myself. I explained the cutting (to those who knew) as wanting to feel, but that’s a lie; I feel well enough. I’m not depressed, sad, upset, angry, scared. (Okay, right now I’m a little scared, but I think that’s separate. I’m scared about what’s going on with the hallucinations and what they mean for my future.) I don’t want to end my life. I guess on a certain level, it’s curiosity, but that’s still not why.

In my world, self harm is just another feeling, like hot or cold or giggly or sad.

It’s an interesting feeling, knowing you want to hurt yourself, knowing you have a plan to hurt yourself. I don’t like the feeling and I wish it would go away, but hey, it’s there, so I’ve just got to accept it, right?

In other news, I’ve been recently wondering what it would take for me to get admitted to the hospital for a stay in the psych ward. I’ve thought about calling the crisis line and asking, but I’m not sure I want to know the answer. I also don’t want to be admitted for the same reasons I don’t want to harm myself. I feel like if I were admitted, though, I’d get some answers faster than just waiting around for them and going to regular appointments. We’ll see, though. Next appointment is Thursday.