Medication for Permanent Disability: med side effects are my current disease.

Alright, I’ve been scanning my archives for a while, tonight: I’ve had too much of school. And I’ve found it hard to do anything except schoolwork, eating, or sleeping. Well — besides reading, here. Records help.

I’ve been asleep for most of the day — it’s a pattern I’m familiar with from when I was not on Prozac. (I began the Prozac to try and fight the lethargy that is a side effect of an antianxiety/antidepressant medication, but the benefit in mood and wakefulness has been accompanied by slow, constant weight gain that I haven’t been able to reverse, so far.) If you haven’t been following the blog, this is my sixth week on a half-dose of Prozac — because I’ve finally said that this is enough.

At the same time I know that the tiredness is at least partially because I’ve been taking sedating medication at midnight instead of three hours earlier. I know this conks me out the entire next day; but it’s hard to take medication that you know will sedate you and may make you nonfunctional, four hours after you finally feel OK enough to get out of bed. From my calculations, it appears that sedation from my anti-anxiety drug starts 1.5 hours after it’s taken, and lasts for 15.5 more hours.

And actually, that looks pretty much…like my pattern.

I’ve been taking medication at midnight or around there, and not feeling wakeful until 4 or 5 PM the next day. That’s a total of 17 hours that are impacted.

I’ll try and take it at 9, though, and just see where it goes from there. If I go to bed at 10:30 PM…that is 1.5 hours before midnight, so I should be fully awake by 2 PM the next day…giving me about 9 hours of quality working time. (For the first 7, I’ll just be tired or asleep.)

Although I know I don’t actually need that much sleep; this is just the amount that my body wants to sleep on 150mg of the sedating medication.

That medication acts against anxiety…which is useful in my line of work, combined with my personal history and the patrons I have to deal with. It also keeps in check, a couple of phobias. There is the possibility of cutting the dose by 1/3, but I’m not sure that’s a particularly great option, at the moment. At least, I need to wait until the holidays are over: I don’t want to add to the yearly load of additional holiday Crisis appointments, if I don’t have to.

On the other hand, when I was on 200mg of this medication a night instead of 150…I missed so many doses that in practicality, I was on 150. And my sleep schedule was almost nonexistent. What I can say is that I was pretty heavily drugged, and not particularly on the right medication (which dates back to a prescribing psychiatrist from high school whom I basically hated — I feel she worked in the Pediatric division because kids didn’t push back).

So yes…taking medication in half an hour (and keeping to the 9 PM schedule) should tell me whether I need to reduce that medication as well, in order to be functional during the day. There is a big difference between 100mg and 150mg; at the same time, I do still have issues with anxiety (which could ramp up into feeling threatened, which could ramp up into hostility, left unchecked. And I do have rage issues…which aren’t entirely the fault of the people who tap into them except they keep tapping).

I wonder if there are other antianxiety medications out there that do not have a side effect of sedation? Do I even still have a diagnosis (as versus a history) of “depression,” at all?

Or maybe I should just consult with my doctor and lower the sedating dose by 25mg, and see how I feel…after confirming or disproving that this stuff takes 17 hours to stop making me tired.

Gah. So I started writing to try and get my mind off school, and got diverted into self-care and mental health…though at least it was productive, a bit.

Right now, in one class all I have left is a presentation and Final Project (which I haven’t started, yet). In another class, I have a relatively simple assignment and a Final Project to work on (which is well underway). In my third class, I have a lecture and two readings which I should have done by now (that is, I’m behind again), and group work to do by tomorrow (which was scheduled for today, but I slept most of the day). Some of that work is already done, and I just need to review some readings to prepare for the morning.

The problem is not having done anything unnecessary, for what feels like the past week, and having to bribe myself to get out of bed with lures like chocolate. I need a break! But then, I feel guilty because I know that if I take a break, there’s probably something on which I’m falling behind.

I haven’t even been able to do reading which isn’t directly related to school, without being too tired to stay up to do it.

I’m also taking an extra unit in Spring semester, and am not sure how I’m going to hold all that together, if I’m having this much trouble with nine units. Then again…the vast majority of my work this semester is coming from ONE CLASS. I guess I’ve just got to hope that I don’t get more classes like that, in Spring; or something is going to have to give…whether it’s classes, work, or medication.

(I generally do not oversleep, off of medication; I’m normally an insomniac and get by with 4-6 hours of sleep a night.)

Yeah, I think…the medication stuff just needs testing and adjustment. And I can’t rely on Psychiatry to empathize on that point for me, because they aren’t the ones experiencing the effects (the best I got from them on the issue of constant sedation was, “fight it.” And I was like DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT’S LIKE TO EXPERIENCE THIS [though I didn’t say this]. And the answer, obviously, is “no,” because they aren’t on my medications, and they don’t know how hard it is to stay out of bed when every fiber of your being wants to be asleep. And if people tell you you can’t sleep, you just want to sit in the floor and cry to be allowed to sleep.)

Anyway, I should take the ******* medications, now.

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Lack of functioning

I officially started trying to wean myself off of Prozac on October 10th, so I’ve been on a half-dose for about 9 days (though it takes about a month for dosing changes to take effect).  Right now I can tell that my brain isn’t working too well.  I want to be engaged in art, I have a group project that I need to work on, I have other schoolwork to attend to.  But it’s hard to commit to any of that.

Although it is very apparent that I need to go through my backlog of digital images and do some curation.

Today I got up shortly after 2 PM, after having gone to bed at 11 PM the night before.  Then I was so cold that I spent another hour and a half in bed, around sundown (the only thing that got me up was that I was being summoned to dinner, though I didn’t want to do that either).  Supposedly, it should have been 74º F in the house at that time, but I was still really cold.  And right now my eyes are burning, even though it’s only 9:15 PM here.

In short, I’m dealing with the same pattern I was dealing with before Prozac (becoming wiped out and going to bed in the middle of the day), only now I’ve likely got some initial withdrawal stuff and stress-related stuff on top of it.  Which is why I wanted to get off six months ago, so I could adjust when I wasn’t in classes.

The positive thing is that it’s raining outside.  This means that it wasn’t just me; it actually was dim and likely cold inside the house.  The thermometer, unfortunately, isn’t great at relating when it’s 74º F inside and 44º F outside (thus heat is escaping from the house), and when it’s 74º F inside and 88º F outside (thus heat is radiating into the house).  The two extremes of temperature feel different even though the thermometer says they’re the same.

I’ve also heard that I may have been cold because I was tired (though this usually doesn’t happen for me unless I stay up until 2 or 3 AM).  I guess I did wake at 7 AM yesterday, got up at 7:30 AM, and didn’t lie down until 11 PM.  I usually don’t run for 16 hours straight — even on a work night.  Or, I don’t think I do, at least.

And my weight is still going up, but I’ve been hungrier than usual, for some reason.  I wouldn’t be surprised if it was medication-related, but I’ve got to be honest with myself in that it also may be overwork- or depression- or stress-related.  (I gained 7 lbs. in my first semester of the MLIS program, which is part of why I initially said I wouldn’t go back.)  It could also be related to genetics, in which case I’m not all that upset.  I’m only upset if it is related to being on medication (as the medication can also trigger insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes related to weight gain).

Anyway…I am tired and I should likely get ready for bed, even though I just got up about two and a half hours ago.  I ran myself too long last night and so didn’t get to take care of hygiene before passing out — meaning it’s relatively vital that I at least do so, tonight (no, I didn’t brush my teeth when I woke up at 2 PM).

In other arenas, I am really tired of my Digital Archives class (which is making it clear that I don’t want to become an archivist [too many rules, reminiscent of Cataloging], kind of like my management class made it clear I wouldn’t want to be a manager [managing people] and my public service classes made it clear that I don’t want a public-facing job in a Public Library [managing people]).  The problem is that it’s a group-work class, so other people are depending on my doing my part on time; therefore, pressure.  And I don’t get any time extension on group assignments…I think if my classmates had been paying attention, though, I remember mentioning that I had a mood disorder.  Which is majorly what I’m dealing with, right now…although I haven’t consciously felt very bad.

Seriously…Web Development and Web Design look much shinier.  So much ******* shinier that it’s hard to believe.  I just don’t know if I’ll need even more specialized formal training in order to do it…and to be honest, even the math I might need, isn’t looking that scary, at this point.

(By that, I mean dealing with math is likely less frustrating than dealing with people…)

Catching up, and trying to take care of myself at the same time.

I need to manage my time, better.

I’ve come to the realization that the vast majority of my work, this semester, is from one class.  While I wouldn’t say I’m tired of it, in effect, it is a lot of work.  It’s also kind of stressful in that it seems, whenever I take some time out for myself, I fall behind.

For instance, now.  I know that writing here doesn’t have much to do with my studies (other than being a warm-up for a written assignment:  it’s hard to start cold), but I don’t think I’ve realistically done much other than study, eat, go to work, and sleep, over the past 5 days.

Oh, wait, no.  I did play around with some beads to make earring focals, but that…that was intentional.  There was one day — Monday or Tuesday — in which I started studying when I woke up, and aside from dinner, did not stop reading for 9.5 hours, until I went back to bed.  But I’ve been catching up on three weeks of work, which went by I-don’t-know-how (other than the fact that the class with the surprise heavy workload was the class with the almost-no-workload earlier in the semester).

I need to change the pattern of not checking the Learning Management System when I need a break, because then I don’t know how much I’m falling behind.  Of course, not thinking about it is kind of the point; but when in other semesters this would have been a viable option because the amount of falling behind was negligible, this semester it is not.  I simply have too much work due too soon.

So…it really does look like my life is again circling around my career choice.  Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing? but I’m having to use disability accommodations in order to get through it all.  That’s largely because of the sleep issue.

Speaking of which, it’s been working relatively well to take medication at 9 PM, take care of hygiene, fall asleep around 11, and wake up randomly between 6 and 7:30 AM.  The problem is falling back asleep after I wake up, even when my alarms go off.  This happened today, and so even though I woke up at 6 AM (before sunrise), I repeatedly fell back asleep, and didn’t actually get up until 12 PM.

Part of that is likely due to the fact that I didn’t take medication last night until around 11:30 PM.  The later I take it, the more bombed-out I am the next day.  I think it would be best to stick to the 9 PM med time when I can, even though it feels like I’m wasting time in which I’m aware:  9 PM is early enough so that I’m not totally wiped out the next day.  And if I can manage to find a way to stay out of bed after I first wake up, this should be workable (it should be easier as my body gets used to going to bed and waking up at stable hours).

Of course, that means that I’ve got a little less than 8 hours left to get my homework done, today.

I’ll get to work.

Weight gain and strategies to manage sleep without Prozac

It’s been a longstanding thing with me that I’ve wanted to get off of one medication in particular, due to weight gain.  When I began it a number of years ago, it was because I was having great difficulty with wakefulness — a side effect caused by another of my medications.

I realized that weight gain was a likely consequence, but I didn’t bet on constant, steady, highly sensitive weight gain, meaning that I would have to constantly monitor what I was eating and drinking (particularly with sugars; ironically, although I can drop weight with a high-fat, low-sugar diet, one Frappucino will make me gain about a pound), and whether I was moving around enough, just in order to maintain my weight at a relatively steady level.  This is even though I have a metabolism which is normally high, I’ve never before had to manage my weight or my food and drink in my life, and 135 lbs. was heavy for me, at one point (actually, my previous high was 120, but I was 20 years old, so that doesn’t count).

Recently, I unintentionally missed my morning dosage for three days in a row; and realized that the belly bulge I’ve been fighting, significantly flattened.  Although I have been maintaining my weight (just not putting back on the ~4-5 lbs. I lost when I was last sick — which is hard when your body thinks food is scarce and that it’s starving), I have been doing this without the benefit of constant exercise.  If I exercised more, I’m sure I would lose weight — but I’d lose a lot more of it if I stopped the troubling medication, and exercised.

Not to mention that I’ve recently lost the definition in my chin and throat.  The next step is to gain a double chin, and that is not what I want.  And although my blood sugar numbers have been good, I can’t bet on that continuing, if I continue to gain abdominal fat.  And I really, really don’t want to become insulin-resistant or diabetic, both of which can be caused by this medication.

Not to mention that it’s harder to exercise when you’re trying to move around 35 extra pounds and you get winded from walking up a slight grade.  My doctor had wanted me to go down to 135 from 145, last time I saw her.  Right now I’m at 161, to be gentle about it and not include the weight I’m at after I’ve consumed anything.

Against certain advice, I’ve written to my doctor about wanting to titrate off of this (i.e. gradually lessen my dosage until it’s nil), sooner rather than later; and I do admit to being angry about letting her convince me to stay on the medication, when I talked to her about stopping it six months ago.  The reason to talk to her is to gain her assistance in stopping this in a safe way.  I don’t want to relapse, which stopping cold-turkey invites.  I have titrated off of medications before, though.  I’m just not certain that taking it off-and-on (I only have one size caplet) is really the best way to reduce the levels of medication in my bloodstream.

If it is possible, though, it might be useful to take the pill on two days and off one day, and then reduce that to 50/50, then off two days and on one day, then totally off; or something similar.  (I’m just extrapolating this from past experience.)

But what I wanted to write about here, really, was what I’ve learned about managing my sleep, during the time that the medication was ostensibly helping me not be groggy all the time.  I think I’ve been on this medication for at least three years, though I’m not sure of the details.  Over that time, I’ve learned strategies to manage my sleep and wakefulness cycles, which I didn’t know of when I started it:

  1. Take night medication at a scheduled time (9 PM) with the aim of waking up early the next day.  Taking sedating medication at 11 PM or later will ruin the next day by making me groggy until evening (~5 PM), which encourages staying up late (3-4 AM, at times) to try and catch up on all the functionality that was missed in the daytime.  That, in turn, throws off my Circadian rhythm.
  2. Get ready for bed immediately after taking medication.  I don’t have to go to bed directly after this, but getting knocked out by sedating medication (this is not the stimulant medication) often means that I become too tired to wash my face, shower, floss, or brush my teeth before collapsing.
  3. If the prior two things are set in place, I don’t have to worry about getting enough sleep, when to go to sleep, or my personal hygiene.  The medications will knock me out in about 1.5 hours (10:30 PM), most nights.  This also means that by 7:30 AM (the earliest I rise), I’ll have gotten a full 9 hours of rest.
  4. Leave the shades open a bit so that morning light can enter the bedroom as the sun comes up.  This is in lieu of a mood light (full-spectrum/daylight lamp) in Winter, though in the latter situation, I may need a daylight lamp on a timer.  The sunlight aligns my biological clock to help me be wakeful at or before the time my alarm goes off.
  5. Don’t stare at computer/e-reader/smartphone screens too long late at night; either this, or wear anti-blue-light lenses when working here late at night:  the blue light seems to make the brain think that it’s daytime when it isn’t.
  6. Don’t nap in the late afternoon (after ~4 PM), and don’t lay down for “just a rest” at 9 PM (especially without taking care of hygiene):  just go to bed, or try and tough it out until you do.  If I lay down late at night without planning to go to sleep, my body takes it as a power nap and may not fall asleep until 1-3 AM.
  7. Green tea (or oolong, if I’m really tired or want something brisk) is a good, gentle stimulant for me.  Paired with the sedating medications I’m on, it doesn’t stop me from falling asleep at night (or even in the day, sometimes), either.  It helps with energy and wakefulness.
    However, coffee and caffeinated beverages (e.g. cola) aren’t good for me — they can cause heart arrhythmia, palpitations, and nosebleeds.  And when I drink tea as a stimulant, I need to drink real tea, not bottled sweetened iced tea (it saves on calories) — and second-brewing and on is much lower in caffeine.  In addition…there are some teas, like fermented Pu-Erh teas, which are supposed to help avoid weight gain.
    Yes, this means I am using the tea especially for its medicinal/drug-related properties, although as I state above, caffeine alone does not have this effect.  I’m at peace with my use of this, at this point, though I have to remember not to overuse the tea:  it will cause cravings (sometimes at inappropriate times, like late at night/before dawn) and addiction.  To avoid caffeine addiction and keep the tea useful in helping with wakefulness, I need to abstain at times, even if it’s hard.
    A caveat:  it’s good to use a whitening toothpaste after drinking tea, because even green tea will stain one’s teeth (I haven’t tried white tea).
    Another caveat:  Holy Basil (Tulsi) tea also has stimulating properties, though may interact with certain medications.  If I get addicted to camellia sinensis tea, I think Tulsi acts along a different channel.
  8. To be wakeful in the daytime when it is hard to rouse oneself:  give yourself permission to do something other than work or sleep.  I’m surprised how often this one works.  Sometimes it’s not that I’m tired, so much as that I don’t want to face my work out of anxiety (and/or I’m hungry), and I feel bad overtly opting to do something other than work, or sleep.
    But doing something other than work gives me a reason to get out of bed, and may lead to work later on, after I’ve satisfied the drive to live (instead of work).  In any case, it’s better to be active in the daytime and asleep at night, if I can help it:  I don’t work night shift.

I’ll try and tag this in a way so I don’t forget it, or I could add it as a curated post to one of my Pages.

And yes, I do want to make a “Tea” entry now, but I think it’s best that I get ready for bed…

Recovering:

I feel like I should write something here…I haven’t written in a week, and that’s largely because I’ve not had the energy or time to do so.  However, I’m cutting back on hours at my job, meaning I’ll now have five complete days to work on homework (and lectures, and other things) instead of four.

What happened is that I became so exhausted from the increase in work after Labor Day (Sept. 4th) that Thursday (the 7th?) and Sunday (the 10th?) were spent largely asleep — and that left me with two days (or 48 hours) to do a week’s worth of work for three classes.

Last night, I was up very late to get a number of assignments done by their deadlines.  I do have accommodations, but I prefer not to use them if I don’t have to.

So today, you know, I was catching up on work and found myself falling asleep towards the end of a lecture.  Actually, as I’m writing this, I’ve woken up from the second time I’ve fallen asleep, today (I had to take medication and brush my teeth, at least) — if you don’t count falling asleep around 3 AM last night to be “today.”  I then fell asleep once before dinner, and once after dinner.

On the bright side, I’m nearly caught up with everything.  I did realize, however, that I had been neglecting my Archives class…there weren’t a lot of deliverables there, so I worked on what I needed to turn in.  Accordingly, I think I missed an Archives lecture (I’m missing notes on it) — but I can deal with that.

I think the biggest takeaway from this is that I do need quiet study time, without the distraction of the TV or family.  I have been largely able to avoid playing around on the computer — this is because I know I only have so long I can sit here and not get spine issues.

Also…I seem to be settling around what I’ll do with my spare time…though it hasn’t panned out yet, because I haven’t had much spare time (other than time used for sleeping).

I’ve realized that I can create my own clothes, for one thing.  I feel relatively motivated on that level, because I’ve realized that I can do the same thing for my wardrobe as I’ve done with my jewelry:  make a bunch of customized stuff that I wouldn’t feel bad wearing.

As I wrote elsewhere…creativity may be my way out of the gender dilemma I’m facing.  I don’t, that is, have to rely on store-bought clothing and jewelry which doesn’t get across who I am.  And sewing — hand sewing, at least — does seem to calm me.

Then there is the fact that I still want to learn Japanese language.  I found a number of books on this which look fairly awesome — and I’ve realized that reading things in romaji (Roman letters), although it doesn’t help with character memorization, allows me to recognize words faster.  If I see something written in romaji, that is, I can easily tell if I comprehend the sentence or not (and most basic-level sentences, I do comprehend).  This recognition isn’t there when reading kana and kanji, though it is nice that the kanji give the meaning of the word — though they don’t tell you how the word is spoken.

And then there is graphic design research…making things, you know?  At this point I’m unsure if I want to go into Web Design (though that honestly looks awesome — except for the pay scale) or become an Adult Services Librarian with a tech component — say, in Virtual Services.  I have both paths open to me, now.  If I take the set of classes I’m thinking of, I could only have three more semesters of substantive work ahead of me, including Summer.  The semester after that would be devoted to Culminating Experience, and then I would be done.  There is a complicating factor here, of finances:  I will need to talk to people about that.  Actually, I should approach counseling on three fronts:  Academic, Voc Rehab, and Financial Aid.

As for the Art practice:  that’s pretty much just not happening, though I have an idea as to why, now.

I think my cognizance is burning out.  I should go back to bed.

Just trying to work out whatever’s in my mind, here:

I’m going to try to write, even though right now I’m feeling that I don’t have much to write about.  This, in turn, probably has happened because I haven’t been writing, daily.

Watercolor practice

I used some of the pre-mixed greens I had left on my palette, along with Sap Green, to “color in” (or add color to, or apply wash to) a couple of sketches I did of a Bok Choy Mue in one of my Maruman sketchpads…which I was amazed would take watercolor without warping too badly.  (It just says “Sketch Book” on the front, with no mention of branding other than the graphic design of the cover.)  You will want to tape the papers down, though, for best effect.

Although I did these last night, I didn’t take photos of them then, thinking that I would do it today.  However, I had to get up early for an appointment (woke, 7 AM) and ran out of steam at about 3:30 PM, sleeping through until dinnertime at about 7:30 PM.  So I still haven’t taken the photos…I’ll try and get one up of the Maruman sketch pad tomorrow.

I’m still kind of tired, but then:  I did take medications at about 9 PM (on time) because I have plans for tomorrow.  I wouldn’t be surprised if I neglected self-care tonight and got too sedated to be functional in 15 minutes…just a warning.

Ah! But!

I also found that my Strathmore ArtAgain paper (a deep black paper which I used in one of my older posts) is heavy enough to withstand wet media!  I haven’t yet tried to use washes on it, but it’s very apparent that I can draw and write on it with gouache and a paintbrush, and it doesn’t warp with light use of water.  This is an idea I got from Sarah Sullivan, though my approach differs from hers.

Basically, for me, using light media on dark paper allows me to paint in the light, as versus darkening something and progressively preserving the lights.  And using gouache (opaque watercolor) allows me to use Titanium White (also known as Permanent White; contrasted, I am thinking, with Lithopone) without concern of breathing in Titanium Dioxide dust.

Breathing nanoparticles of Titanium Dioxide dust has raised concerns about carcinogenicity, but I wouldn’t have known that without inquiring why so many pastels now had CA Prop 65 warnings, and CL (Caution Label) signifiers on them, even without heavy metal components.  It could be overkill by Prop 65 — but it has made me more aware of how I use pastels in my own work.

In a home environment, I don’t want to get the dust in the carpet and then vacuum up the dust, because all that may do is redistribute the dust, not contain it (I’m not sure if a HEPA filter is sufficient to contain nanoparticles, which are so small that they are transparent).

This means that if I use pastels — which I kind of don’t like to do anymore, given that it isn’t even good to get the pigments on one’s skin (and certain pigments do stain the skin and likely are absorbed transdermally [if one can’t get them off or out]), and I hate having to seal my drawings (which under normal circumstances can be very toxic — even using Aqua Net as a “non-toxic” cheap alternative in volume enough to seal a pastel painting smells noxious) — I would want to do it somewhere away from air intake vents and over a hard surface, so that I can mop up the loose dust.

To be clear:  the danger of cancer from Titanium Dioxide is not a toxic one, it is a mechanical one.  Loose airborne particles of Titanium Dioxide can get into your lungs and just never leave, and over time that can cause irritation (at least) and leave you at risk of lung problems…but just read your MSDS (Materials Safety Data Sheets) to be sure.

It is nice to be able to manipulate pastels with one’s fingers, but it…just seems hazardous, right now.  Especially as it is very…apparent when in a classroom with a lot of kids using pastels, and wearing a dust mask, how full the air is of pastel particles when one removes that dust mask (I can literally smell the pastel dust, though a particle mask will block the smell).  I started wearing a dust mask, in turn, because I kept sneezing and smelling pastel for hours after a painting session.

If I were going to work with the broad sides of sticks of color, I might want to try the Prismacolor Art Stix — they’re colored sticks made of the pigmented cores of Prismacolor colored pencils.  I haven’t used the Art Stix yet, but I would expect them to have a different working method than pastels (even Prismacolor NuPastels — a hard pastel which is relatively nontoxic).  And, no, Prismacolor isn’t paying me, here.

For the record, I am not sure if coming into contact with colored pencil colors is hazardous or not (though I think the pigments are bound in oil or wax, and thus not hazardous…but I don’t know what happens when that stuff is hit with Gamsol [“odorless mineral spirits”], just to let you know that this is an option and that I haven’t tried it, and don’t know its hazards.  Gamsol, used primarily in oil painting, is used to liquefy — at least oil-based — colored pencils in order to get them to look like aquarelles, or watercolor pencils.  Prismacolors are wax-based, though; whether this works with oil-based pencils only, or both, I don’t know.  Also, I’m fairly certain Gamsol is toxic, but it’s supposed to be better than regular “mineral spirits”).

I do know that there is nowhere near as much dust with colored pencil as with pastel or pastel pencil.  There is some dust associated with colored pencil use (especially when applying heavy strokes), but I haven’t found it to be more than a small nuisance.

But anyway — I tested out two white inks on ArtAgain paper the other night, and found that both J.Herbin (?  I don’t know this brand; I just had a bottle of their white ink) and Daler-Rowney Process (“Pro”) White absorbed into the paper and faded.  Holbein Permanent White gouache, on the other hand, stayed on the surface of the paper and actually brightened as it dried.  Other colors can work as tints with white, but may not show up on their own against black (for instance, Alizarin Crimson).  There’s an argument for getting the 40 ml tube of Permanent White…(no, I’m not doing it yet)…

I would post my test paper, but I got into practicing brush lettering in Japanese, and it probably looks horrible compared to native calligraphy and says things I didn’t intend it to, so I…think I’ll save that.  ^_^;;

That aside, I now know why one of my books tells me to write “mu” in a way different from that in which I learned it:  it’s just too complicated to work with a brush, otherwise.

I’m getting a bit frustrated with not moving forward more quickly with the Japanese; then again, it isn’t my top priority.  Work, school, and keeping myself balanced, are.

Speaking of which, I’ve got to decide whether to do homework tomorrow, or not…

Sleep hygiene chaos, plus essential knowledge gained

I finished What’s the Alternative?:  Career Options for Library and Info Pros by Rachel S. Gordon, last night…at about 3 AM.  I may want to go back and reread sections of it, and I know that I will want to look back into the books referenced, in Appendix D.

Did I mention this took place at 3 AM?

My sleep schedule is all messed up:  I lay down at 8:30 PM, fell asleep after 9 PM, then woke (2:15 AM), took medication; lay back down, got up (3 AM), ate a little, fell back to sleep (4:30 AM), woke for breakfast (11:30 AM), went back to sleep (12:30 PM), woke about 4 PM.  This is why I don’t like trying to change my sleeping schedule!

I know I need to be going to bed earlier, but I have constant experience with lethargy, unless I have slept for 14-16 hours.  In today’s case it could have been because I didn’t take my (sedating) medication until 2:15 in the morning, though.  And yesterday it could have been because I didn’t take medication until 1 AM.

Hmm.  Now that I’m looking at my records, my medication time has been shifting later and later (I’m supposed to take it at 9 PM, which is why I know I fell asleep after 9, last night:  the medication alarm went off; and I turned it off and fell asleep without taking it).  I can try and do something about that, and hope (?) that it makes it easier to get up in the morning…and that it won’t just contribute to oversleeping.

I mean, obviously I was tired, if I lay down at 8:30 PM, right?

Anyhow…I learned in What’s the Alternative? that, at least as of the time the book was published (2008), it would not be expected that one could learn essential tech skills in order to open up technology-based career paths, just from classes in LIS.  Because of that…if I want to work in Web Design after getting out, I’ll have to teach myself programming.  Either this, or I could re-enter Computer Information Systems training after graduation; I’m just not entirely certain how I’ll fit that in, timewise.  And that’s largely because I don’t know what kind of job I will have at that time.

I’ve compared the Graphic Arts and CIS curricula; CIS is actually closer to what I need.  And I’ve actually compared the two systems teaching this which are nearest me…I can do this.  I might be able to do this by cutting some courses out of my future Master’s program and taking Community College courses in CIS, in person, but that doesn’t seem like the best option.

Alright:  I’ve just sent off an email about this.  I should probably try and get ready for bed, as I did just take medication, and I don’t have anything to do except homework.  (I suppose that’s a good thing, as I have three assignments due in a week.)  The hard part will be actually contacting and setting up meeting times for the assignment I was given last week…though I guess that in a pinch, I can have family test what I need tested…