Okay, so I usually do a haul at least every couple of months even though I don’t get a whole lot of new books/merch anymore. Buuut I’ve let this go for so long that I don’t even know what I got this entire ass year anymore, so I’m totally skipping haul photos and whatnot. I know I bought Owlcrate’s Scorpio Races box early in the year because I started a haul post back in March that I never finished. Oops. I’ve also got my giant list of stuff I got at YALLfest 2022, which I did a separate recap/haul post for.
So…it’s been almost an entire year since I posted a haul and life update.
Honestly, I’ve had a really hard time in 2022. In my last Heartbeat Monthly I talked about losing my mom in February. I knew it was coming, and I thought I was handling it okay…until I wasn’t. I kinda just kept trucking with a “it’s fine, I’m fine, everything’s fine” attitude and swept all of that emotion under the rug until it piled up so high that I started drowning in it. I didn’t even really realize that depression was my problem at first. I wasn’t doing hardly anything at all and I was exhausted to the point that I couldn’t function. I wasn’t accomplishing anything – chores or any housework, necessary things for adulting, loose ends for mom – anything at all. I was using up everything I had just to get through my days at work.
I actually went to the doctor (which is something I have only done maybe twice as an adult, I pretty much NEVER go to the doctor for anything) to get bloodwork done because I was convinced something was wrong with me physically. Not only was I exhausted, but I had unexplained weight gain and wasn’t sleeping well. All my bloodwork came back perfectly normal (which I was afraid of, I had a suspicion it was just depression), so I went to a psychiatrist in hopes of getting on meds for anxiety and depression.
Which was just a shitshow, honestly. Before this run through meds, I’d only ever taken 4 prescription drugs in my whole adult life (birth control being the only other thing I’d ever put in my body besides OTC stuff), and 3 out of those 4 gave me gnarly side effects. The last prescription drug I took was Vicoprofen, and I had a seizure after taking it. I’ve never had a seizure in my life!
I started with Zoloft in March. I was absolutely miserable for the first week – nauseated CONSTANTLY, extremely fatigued, and I also had insomnia so it was compounding my fatigue. I also had weird side effects like excessive yawning, feeling like I was going to puke every time I yawned, and jaw clenching to the point that I was getting tension headaches. Some other TMI things too that I won’t mention here. But, after a week or so I was a veritable powerhouse! I accomplished more in two weeks than I had in months. However, that dimmed quite a bit after a few weeks, and the side effects never really got any better, so I quit taking them. (I’m honestly thinking about trying again at this point.)
Next we tried Cymbalta. I had some negative startup side effects too, including insomnia. (I swear every antidepressant kills your sleep cycle.) They weren’t nearly as bad as Zoloft’s, but the pills never really kicked in for me. I felt like they weren’t doing much, and then I started getting really scary bruises all over my body randomly (in places I hadn’t bumped), and quit taking it cold turkey. And you know what? That shit gave me legit withdrawal. So I’m glad I stopped.
After that it was Lexapro. I had basically the same side effects as Zoloft but not nearly as bad. But, just like Cymbalta, it never really felt like it was working. Then I started getting some pretty hardcore suicidal thoughts, so I quit taking that too.
I think it was around that time I started taking buspirone/buspar for anxiety (maybe in late September or so), and I’ve been on it ever since. It’s the only one that hasn’t given me horrible side effects! In the beginning I got a little queasy and dizzy when the pill kicked in – for about 30 minutes and then it went away – but I don’t really get that anymore. I don’t really notice it’s working until I miss a pill and feel the anxiety in my chest. I worry and stress much less on this medication, so at least SOMETHING is working for me!
In late October I finally caved and did a GeneSight test to find out what meds would work best for my DNA. Wellbutrin was at the top of my green column (Zoloft and Lexapro were both in my yellow column), so I decided to give that a try. I started taking it the day before I left for vacation in early November. And holy SHIT. I legit thought I had Covid because I was SO SICK. It took me a couple days to figure it out, but finally I looked up side effects of Wellbutrin and I had every single one of them except agitation. The side effects? Dry mouth, sore throat, excessive sweating, headache, nausea, insomnia, constipation, tremors, weakness, agitation, dizziness, lethargy, tachycardia, confusion, weight loss/lack of appetite, sensitivity to light and sound. I was SO. MISERABLE. It sucked that I got sick on vacation, but I’m really thankful that it didn’t happen while I had to work, because I was horribly weak and shaky (like that feeling right before you have to vomit) and was barely functioning. My brain function was so jacked I could barely talk, and I kept stumbling over my words. I could barely do anything but lie in bed. I stopped taking the pills immediately, but it took me the entire week to start recovering. I lost my voice for three days. It was intense!
When I got home from vacation I started getting sick again, though (then a week later I got freaking Covid), so I started wondering if maybe my immune system was already down and it just hit me harder because of that. I don’t even know because I’ve become so freaking paranoid about taking prescriptions. However, I did look at how much Wellbutrin I was actually taking and my doc had started me on three hundred milligrams a day. The normal dosage for this med is 150-200 mg, and I was on twice a day even though it’s usually a once a day med (like most antidepressants, that probably should have been a red flag for me). Now I’m pretty convinced that I had seratonin syndrome because I was prescribed way too much (and had also been taking 5-HTP), which has most of the same exact side effects that I was having. I restarted Wellbutrin at half a pill once a day (so, 1/4 of the dose she prescribed) and I have had zero problems so far! After 10 days I bumped up to 150 mg once a day and still haven’t had issues so I’m quite positive SS is what happened to me. (My doc is a PHP and not a psychiatrist so I don’t think she really knows what she’s doing with psych meds half the time tbh.) I’ll try to keep things updated here if the pills ever kick in. So far I don’t feel any different, but as of writing this I’ve only been on it for two weeks.
Aside from my struggle with mental health and the battle to try to find the right medication, it’s also been a really rocky first year of marriage for my husband and me. I’m not the only one struggling with mental health, and he has also had a really hard time. It’s been a shit couple of years for both of us; my parents moving in June 2020, then losing my dad a few months later, then the arduous and thankless task of caring for my mom after she’d already given up, then losing her too in February of this year. I didn’t talk about it on here, but the year and a half between when my dad died and she finally let go was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through. Being a caretaker is fucking hard to begin with – especially when you’re trying to work full time. But being a caretaker to someone who no longer cares about taking care of themself, and has entirely given up? Unimaginable. I’ve struggled a lot with feelings of guilt for being relieved that she was gone, warring with missing her and wanting her back. Guilt for wondering what I could have done differently, done better…if maybe I’d just tried a little harder, then she would have too. Guilt over feeling resentful that she gave up and left me alone to pick up the pieces after dad died. I felt like both of my parents died when he did. She checked out, and I didn’t have the luxury of doing that. I wish I’d been kinder and more gentle with her and not let my frustration get the best of me. There’s so many “shoulda/coulda/woulda’s” floating around in my head that it’s unbearable sometimes.
Our marriage suffered in the first year because of all of that. We both became withdrawn and bitter, I think. We stopped communicating and relying on each other and started taking out our problems on each other instead. We’re both in therapy now, both on meds, and both working toward healing and learning to be whole together again. It’s been a very difficult journey. Financial hardship has made the burden even heavier. Mental health feels like a luxury, unfortunately. I’m trying to find balance, but it’s so hard. I don’t know how people with kids do it! We don’t even have children and are struggling, I can’t imagine adding that into the mix as well.
I really miss blogging. I’m so far behind on reviews that I lost count. Last I checked I was like 30 behind, I think? And I’ve already read over 100 books this year, so I’m sure that number has doubled. My Netgalley and EW ratios are dipping, which is something I’ve always strived to keep high. I haven’t had any hobbies lately, to be honest. I don’t bookstagram anymore, I barely even physically read – I only hit triple digits on reading this year because I listen to an audiobook every day at work, and usually at 1.75x speed or higher. 90% of what I’ve read this year was via audio. If it weren’t for audiobooks I’d probably only have read 10-15 books all year. My fitness has slipped, too. And my healthy habits. I’ve been eating healthy most of the time for a couple years now, and I haven’t been so much lately. I’ve gained all of the weight back that I worked so hard to lose before the wedding, which is making me even more depressed. I just want to feel normal again.
New finds and obsessions in 2022
I saw School for Good and Evil a couple months ago, and while it was kinda cheesy and not something I expected to enjoy that much, I LOVED IT! It’s kind of a guilty pleasure for me, lmao. Noteworthy movies we saw and enjoyed: Morbius, Black Adam, Thor: Love & Thunder, Jurassic World 3, Free Guy.
I think my biggest show obsession this year was Love, Death, & Robots! I’m dying for season 4! Fave episodes: Night of the Mini Dead (I don’t think I have ever laughed so hard at a TV show!), Sonnie’s Edge, Good Hunting, In Vaulted Halls Entombed, Bad Traveling
Bands I’ve been really into lately or recently discovered include Falling in Reverse, Solence, Bad Omens, Essenger, Glass Animals, The Midnight, Saint Chaos, Beast in Black, Our Last Night, and Blind Channel. I’ve also really been digging the new music from Hollywood Undead and A Day to Remember, and Ghost. The top song I feel the need to mention is Fade In/Fade Out by Nothing More. I heard it for the first time while I was driving earlier this year and I cried so hard I almost had to pull over. It hit hard after losing both my parents.
My newest food obsession is adding dessert hummus to my overnight oats! I like a tablespoon of nut butter, a tablespoon of hummus, and 2-4 tablespoons of greek yogurt in my oats and it’s like cookie dough! SO. GOOD. I eat this literally every single day at work for lunch. I also discovered Crumbl cookies this year, which I wish I hadn’t!
REDECOR. Oh my goodness, it’s a problem! (Maybe that means I’m getting old, that I enjoy an interior design game, lmao) I also got a Nintendo Switch finally! Top games for that include Overcooked, Spyro, Pikmin 3, and Crash Bandicoot.