This Is About Trust

So far, being off meds for me is about trust. You have to recognize that you’re in a depressive low, accept that this is just part of you, and learn how to be ok with it. Don’t allow the negative thoughts to take over, like “I’m never gonna finish that thing I’m working on!” Because even though it seems so simple…that’s referencing the FUTURE. And the future is ALWAYS unknown. We think by worrying, we’re predicting some terrible outcome to prevent that outcome actually happening. Isn’t that psychotic?

Rather than do that, we gotta just live in the present. And listening to your intuition is SO important because THAT’S what you have to trust. First of all, if you know that worrying so much about a thing will help you get it done, then you WILL get it done. So why not just take out the worrying and live in the present, enjoying life instead?! Just TRUST that everything will be ok. Because it will be. It’s ridiculous.

I feel like I’ve somehow known all of this for a while but am also just learning it now.

Today I was relaxing in the park looking around at people also relaxing at the park…just literally sitting there and doing nothing…and I’m like “why did I always think every single person around me was doing such amazing things everyday?” My jealousy and FOMO used to be the WORST! It really is only now because of the quarantine that I’m realizing that I actually CAN be satisfied with my life.

I was telling Eddy that being home so much reminds me of being a kid before I knew how to drive. I used to be frustrated at how distracted I was by the world and people around me saying “I wish I could go to back to before I had any friends!” Simply meaning…to a simpler time when I felt less obligations to the people around me. THIS IS IT. And it really isn’t bad. I’m learning so much about myself and realizing…all of this is an EXPERIENCE!! So why not savor that experience? That’s what I’m trying to do now, and my old self is slightly resisting but not by much…

I feel like I’m about to evolve. Hopefully.

One Day At A Time — 50 First Dates

Just watched 50 First Dates because I’m trying to learn how to relax and give myself time to just do things that I enjoy.

Today I had a long conversation with Mary where we talked so much about mental health. I’ve never been able to talk to anyone so candidly about it other than Eddy, so it was refreshing. I cried a lot but was able to release a lot too.

I forgot exactly what I said to her, but it showed her that I was really building awareness with my behavior and really starting to understand that I was born being the way that I am…and that’s ok. It just means I have to live WITH it, because it’s not going anywhere. I have to learn to WALK WITH IT. I can’t let it overtake me. I have to separate it. Be NEXT to it.

What struck me with 50 First Dates today is that, when Henry starts making Lucy the videos to remind her what happened every morning, she has to WAKE UP EVERY MORNING and ACCEPT that about herself. Accept this horrible truth that her brain is broken from an accident…and I feel like that’s basically the truth for all of us. Yes I seem to have this “condition,” but we ALL have our own inner demons that we wrestle with everyday. And we have to accept that about ourselves and CHOOSE TO LIVE IN THE MOMENT. EVERY SINGLE DAY. It’s rough…and I guess some days will be tougher than others…but that’s really the only choice we have.

This movie really gets me.

Going to The ER For Tardive Dyskinesia – Off Meds Again

Last week on July 15 (wow it was only last week?! Feels like an eternity…) I went to the ER for what I THOUGHT was a panic attack, but it turns out was actually a really messed up side effect of the meds (Latuda 60mg) that I was on. Been off it since, and feeling pretty good! Today is my first mild depressive episode but it’s not so bad 🙂

Anyway, this is what happened. Around 9pm on July 15 I took the Latuda and almost immediately felt like something had shifted within me — it came with dizziness and blurred vision. About a week leading up to this, I’d felt pretty off when I took the meds, but brushed it off as drowsiness that was common with the Latuda and would just immediately go to sleep.

I tried doing the same that night, but when I lay down, I could tell something was very wrong. I can’t really explain it but my perception had totally shifted and I felt like I was in a void. The shadows in the room looked off in a strange way which freaked me out, I didn’t feel comfortable breathing to calm myself down, and the worst part about it was that MY EYELIDS HAD STARTED SHAKING and just wouldn’t stop, making sleep (and even meditation) impossible. I lay there trying to calm myself down for about an hour, hoping the eyelid shake would go away, hoping I would drift off to sleep somehow, but then my arms and legs started to shake too and I was WAY too uncomfortable. My thought patterns were off too… I wondered if it was anxiety but my mind was like void of thoughts…I was freaking out but felt it in my BODY…hard to describe, but I was scared. I wondered if I was having a psychotic episode. I wondered if I would be like this forever. I wondered if I would die.

Finally I decided to get up and tell Eddy about it, and he immediately thought it was an anxiety attack. When I tried to talk to him I realized I couldn’t speak correctly, and it was hard to walk because everything was shaking and I felt so restless. I told him it might be a side effect of the medication, and he helped me induce vomiting to try and get the medicine out of my system. When I didn’t feel better afterwards, I agreed with him that it must be anxiety, and he tried putting a movie on to calm me down. It was impossible to focus my eyes on anything though, and the “void” feeling within me was so disconcerting I couldn’t help feeling hopeless.

After about 3 hours of Eddy trying to calm me down, me going back and forth from trying to throw up, to my room to try and sleep, and back out to just be around Eddy because I was so upset, nothing got better. It was like a bad trip, but WORSE because I HONESTLY DIDN’T KNOW IF IT WOULD EVER END. Trips have arcs, but this was just the SAME for HOURS. Eventually I said we needed to go to the ER because I knew I needed to go to sleep and as long as my eyes and body were shaking I wouldn’t be able to.

The ER of course had no idea what was wrong with me, but wrote it off as anxiety and after X-Raying my chest and testing my heart with everything normal, they gave me an Atavan to sedate me THANK GOD. It was torture going to the ER with COVID going on right now, and having to wait while my whole body was shaking and I was in a strange pulsating blurry void. Thankfully it worked and I was able to go to sleep. I still felt a little weird the next day and for the next couple days, but I had mostly reset.

This whole experience was probably one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever gone through, because somewhere deep in my heart I felt like it was never going to end. Even though Eddy and the ER said it was anxiety, I also somehow knew that it was most likely the meds. I immediately got off of them because I was so afraid of it happening again, but also avoided looking up side effects because I was so shaken… A couple days later when I thought about going on my meds again and finally looked it up.

“High doses or long-term use of lurasidone (Latuda) can cause a serious movement disorder that may not be reversible. Symptoms of this disorder include uncontrollable muscle movements of your lips, tongue, eyes, face, arms, or legs. The longer you take lurasidone, the more likely you are to develop a serious movement disorder.”

I saw this and got SO UPSET. “A serious movement disorder that may not be reversible”?!?! So I COULD’VE TOTALLY BEEN STUCK THAT WAY!! Upon looking into it further, I found out that antipsychotics cause this condition called “tardive dyskinesia” which causes involuntary movements in your body…EXACTLY what I was experiencing. When I talked to my psychiatrist, she said it used to be more common with older antipsychotics and it’s rarer with Latuda because it’s newer. So that’s why she didn’t TELL ME?! There’s a huge problem when this has been a common occurrence with this medicine which I read, tends to happen typically after being on it for 3 months.

Why, after 3 months, does it become more common to develop tardive dyskinesia?! THIS SHIT IS SOOOO DANGEROUS!! I CAN’T BELIEVE I WAS EVEN TAKING IT!! If I had been on that medication longer (this was the first time I had stuck with it consistently for 5 months), it more likely WOULD’VE been permanent! The thought of being STUCK that way is completely TERRIFYING!! I’m so grateful it happened to me early on, almost as if to say “get off this shit, it’s BAD for you.”

NO ONE SHOULD TAKE LATUDA. IT IS DANGEROUS.

But I suppose any pharmaceutical drugs are dangerous…which is why these side effects even exist. It’s so sad that we live in a world we do many people have to take these dangerous things, in many cases having to actually LIVE with these horrible side effects in order to control their mind. It pisses me off really… this MODERN WORLD. So many people are suffering!!

I used to think I was invincible, that side effects would never happen to me. Which is partly why I didn’t really take them seriously. Yes I looked up the side effects when I started Latuda, but didn’t think much of them because I figured they wouldn’t affect me. I was wrong. And I’ve learned an important lesson. Even looking at the rest of the side effects…that night I experienced so many of them:

  • drowsiness
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • diarrhea
  • stomach pain
  • shaking
  • muscle stiffness
  • mask-like facial expression
  • inability to keep still
  • restlessness
  • agitation
  • blurred vision
  • very stiff (rigid) muscles, sweating, confusion, tremors, feeling like you might pass out, or
  • twitching or uncontrollable movements of your eyes, lips, tongue, face, arms, or legs

NEVER AGAIN.

After I spoke to my psychiatrist about this she prescribed me Lamictal, but honestly I don’t want to be on meds anymore. Yes my depression and suicidal ideation can get pretty bad and I can have rapid cycling mood swings. Although it’s hard to deal with, I feel like it’s not NECESSARY for me to be on meds…especially because now I’m just so damn scared of them.

This trip to the ER dramatically shifted something in me. It felt like a sign of a death that needed to happen. Originally Eddy was telling me he thought it was anxiety because there was so much going on in my life.

I finished my Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training program online last month, and because I was having a hard time balancing working from home in quarantine, and because I had taken on 2 life coaching clients and wanted to focus on art and my comic, I had decided I no longer wanted to certify to become a Kundalini Yoga Teacher. However, I did so well in my practicum during our last session that Jen told me to reconsider certifying. I did for a moment, but backed out again when we were supposed to pick our time slots, and this time Mary tried convincing me to do it. At this point I could tell maybe this was just an old pattern of me trying to run away out of fear and avoidance, and since I had been doing this program for 10 months, sure I might as well do it.

But agreeing to design 6 classes to get up and teach sent me into manic “final exam” mode, and not only that I got way too excited about trying to launch my brand/healing program “Hasthira” with the onset of my classes. This meant me trying to get a flyer done along with a website, of which I had none of the art I wanted to do completed. I didn’t realize what I was doing to myself, the pressure I was putting on myself…that was all just coming from me. I succumbed to really unhealthy habits of trying to do way too much, so really this incident seemed like it was trying to also teach me to learn how to chill out, rest and take care of myself. Before I found out about tardive dyskinesia, I was even wondering if it was a cause of the meds suppressing my mania that was activated by all the work I had to do. But now I see that…yeah maybe this all happened as a sign from the universe to A) Stop pressuring myself so much and B) Get off the meds.

When I recounted all of this to yoga mama Jen at our sound lesson last Sunday, she gave me a wonderful exercise about dealing with pressure. She told me to get all of that pressure out on paper, and have that physical representation of it so that whenever I feel the pressure, to look at that paper and know it’s THERE, not inside me — to separate myself from it in that way. I haven’t done it yet because breaking down to Jen really felt like the release I needed to get rid of it, at least in that moment.

Jen also told me that she helps people get off their meds, and that if I really wanna get off, I need to become really aware of all my mood changes and behaviors, to know how to handle them when they come up. She also told me I need to really watch my diet, because bad food like junk and fast food will flare up the mood shifts, so she suggested doing her 40 Days To Optimal Program for the second time, which I AM doing. She also said if it gets bad again, she has supplements to give me that she thinks might help. It was so amazing to get this type of support…and I feel really good about doing this.

I started this blog because I didn’t want to be on meds, and I wanted to become more aware of my moods, to do just what Jen was talking about. So much has happened since then, and this Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training program has really changed my life in ways I could’ve never expected. It’s shown me how important Kundalini Yoga is in my life — how it has helped me reconnect to myself and find a middle ground and stillness within me that I never thought was possible. If I’m vigilant about my practice, no matter what mood I’m in…I know I’ll be ok. The program has also shown me the importance of community, and what a great community even looks like. Through The Yogi Tree I’ve found my tribe — Jen has really cultivated a beautiful safe space where it’s okay to be vulnerable, where you can experience the waves of life and express them and be loved and accepted for it…having a space like that has truly changed my life, and I wish everyone could experience something similar, especially those struggling with mental health.

This post is already a novel,but again this was long overdue. I’m so grateful for this quarantine space to do the work I’m doing, and so grateful that I am still alive and well after such a terrifying incident. Upon reading reviews of Latuda, I’ve found tons of similar accounts, and my heart goes out to everyone suffering from these horrific side effects just to try and get by in this world. Really hoping these alternatives I’ve found work for me in the long run…gonna make a deeper effort than I ever have.

Side note: I taught my first Kundalini Yoga class yesterday for certification! 5 more to go!! 😀 I was so manic trying to prepare and write the series, and it was such a high to finish teaching my first one that today I’m experiencing a crash from it…but it’s not so bad. Just gonna try and take it easy, which is hard for me to do. But I’m determined to learn how to relax! Survival depends on it!

Anyway, here’s the flyer with details for my online Kundalini classes, just in case you’re interested! I live in Southern California so the time zone is PST!

Confessions From Quarantine 05

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This project has been so organic for me that I’m constantly making realizations about what to do with it WHILE I’m doing it. I wonder if that’s how it is to do personal work and I just haven’t done it for so many years that I forgot? Haha anyway, so much of this time away from social media has been spent consuming other media, which has given me insight and solace into how I am as a person. As much as I wanted to quit doing art so many times, taking IN art reminded me why it’s so important… it makes you realize that all these stories come from a real place. Because they exist means that someone somewhere has felt similar things and they thought it important enough to include it in a show, movie, book, whatever. As I think of the ones that have really stood out and helped me make sense of my situation, I wanna put them in here for my future self to remember that I’m not alone, that I HAVE learned these lessons before.

As a kid I’d watch so much TV, which influenced my love for TV and movies as an adult. But strangely enough it wasn’t until I lost my dad that I started to look for the MEANING behind things. Prior to that I was always using it as a distraction, or a way to drown out my own emotions. Even though I worked in animation, I realized I hadn’t been fully appreciating the art form until this tragedy hit in my life that forced me to look for answers in the world around me, and slowly they started appearing everywhere. Story and metaphor are such amazing tools to aid in our own development if try to see what they’re actually trying to tell us. The shitty thing though is that I have a really bad memory and tend to learn more from FEELING rather than THINKING, so documenting these things really helps retain what I’ve learned.

Tiny Rickkk!!

The Avatar clip about fire ended up getting taken off Youtube, but here’s a great music video that talks about both the positives and negatives about fire which… is really relatable for bipolar in my opinion :\

Sometimes I Think There’s No Hope For Me… But I Have To Try Anyway

Here’s a picture of the hole Eddy punched in the door today. The dryer in our apartment complex is broken again and when he told me I was dismissive about it and he said “Easy to say for someone who never does the laundry.” I want this to serve as a reminder to me that this is the day I told myself I would make a lasting change.

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It’s true. I never do the laundry. I never do much of anything for that matter, because I’m an entitled piece of shit who was stunted in growth because my mom always did everything for me and told me everything I did was wrong. Now I’m trapped in this fucking body with a fucking mind that I fucking hate and I sometimes think I’m making progress but then as soon as I have to do something like COOK or CLEAN I get so bogged down by the FUCKING MAINTENANCE IT TAKES TO KEEP THIS LIFE GOING. And THAT’S from my mom too cuz she was always SO FUCKING OVERWHELMED BY EVERYTHING.

HOW DO I STOP BEING OVERWHELMED BY THINGS?! I THOUGHT I WAS DOING GOOD, BUT I’M ONLY DOING “GOOD” WHEN IM DOING MY “OWN THING.”

Everything always “gets in my way.” Work, naturally, but how much longer am I going to complain about simply HAVING TO WORK? I logically know my job is pretty awesome yet I STILL JUST HATE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF IT. And POOR EDDY ALWAYS FEELS LIKE HE’S IN MY WAY!!! AND I DON’T WANT THAT. I DON’T WANT HIM TO FEEL THAT. I WANT TO BE ABLE TO BE THERE FOR HIM, TO SUPPORT HIM, YET I ALWAYS FEEL LIKE I HAVE TO “GET SOMEWHERE” WITH MYSELF FIRST.

But WHERE?! This “place” is NEVER GONNA COME. And I ALREADY KNOW THAT. Did my mom pass on NARCISSISM to me too!? WHY THE FUCK AM I SO SELF CENTERED!?!?

I thought I did a good thing by taking this punch in the door seriously. I ended my teacher training early and took the wet clothes to the laundromat and did 2 other loads also. I felt great at the time. Very meditative. Then I went grocery shopping and decided to cook a healthy dinner, but as soon as it got even a bit hard, as soon as the dishes started to pile up, I fucking LOSE IT. And all this TALK starts happening “I FUCKING HATE COOKING WHY DO I HAVE TO DO THIS I SUCK AT IT ANYWAY AND NOW I HAVE TO WASH ALL THESE DISHES?! WHAT A FUCKING JOKE” and then SUDDENLY I’M TAKING IT OUT ON EDDY.

HONESTLY HOW DOES ANYONE DO IT?! Like HAVE A FUCKING LIFE where you DO things you wanna do AND WORK to make a living AND cook AND keep your environment clean AND have a relationship with your husband. AND SOME PEOPLE HAVE KIDS!? My god.

I KNOW I NEED TO FUCKING CHANGE. I’m honestly surprised it took Eddy 6 years to punch a hole somewhere in our apartment. Sat Kriya yesterday really did a number on me… I really FELT at a DEEP LEVEL that I have to become a different person. Not different… new and improved I guess. Because all these patterns I’ve got… NOT working for me. I’ve lived this way for TOO FUCKING LONG and even the way I’m talking to myself in this post is FUCKING DISGUSTING. RIGHT AFTER TEACHER TRAINING TOO YOU ASSHOLE ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?!

I DID try to shift my inner talk to “kindness” while I was cooking… it worked a little bit. I even turned my reiki on to try and infuse the food with love. BUT I COULDN’T HELP SHIFTING TO HATE. WTF IS WRONG WITH ME.

I JUST WANT A NEW BRAIN. WHY WOULD I RATHER KILL MYSELF THAN BOTHER TO  MAINTAIN THIS LIFE?!

I told that to Eddy and he said “That just shows you have such little gratitude…” It may SEEM like that to him but honestly… I’M GRATEFUL FOR SO MUCH, ESPECIALLY EDDY. BUT WHY CAN’T I SHOW IT!? WHY DO I JUST HAVE TO SLAM THINGS AROUND THE HOUSE AND YELL AND SCREAM AND THROW A FUCKING TANTRUM WHEN I’M 31 YEARS OLD!? I think I KNOW why… but it’s just FUCKED UP that I still have SO MUCH OBVIOUS RESISTANCE TO ACTUALLY MAKE A LASTING CHANGE. WHY!? SO I CAN KEEP BEING MISERABLE?! It’s not like killing myself would do EDDY any favors either, that would fuck him up for the rest of his life! SO I’M KINDA STUCK HERE UGH.

I AM FUCKING SICK. OF. IT. I’M DONE. THIS ENDS NOW.

Eddy likes to communicate with me through music. He plays THIS ONE a lot. Thought it was appropriate.

Note to self… I got pretty angry today… and I’m recently back on meds. The other time in recent history that I’ve gotten this angry I was also on meds… could this rage possibly be a side effect of the latuda? Or is it a side effect to the 62 min Sat Kriya? Ugh Jen just texted me actually and it made me cry… because I truly TRULY AM GRATEFUL FOR THE PEOPLE I HAVE IN MY LIFE. WHY DO I KEEP FUCKING IT UP!?

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