Daily Archives: May 23, 2012

a pig in lipstick is still a pig

the first day after sleep deprivation has its advantages.  for one, everything takes on kind of a cloudy sensation.  senses are dulled (hallelujah!), and sleep could come easily which is especially useful when your life has decided to audition for Barnum & Bailey’s.  because the mind is cloudy, a lot of the BS is semi-sensored and thoughts are unable to reach breakneck speed.  your body is too tired to get overwhelmed easily.  on the other hand, you’re also too tired to process through problems fully or to be active so the range of benefits is definitely limited.

it’s interesting, the effect sleep has on moods.  i’ve been recording my moods on a program on my phone for nearly a week now, and i just started a new program that i can do online.  this way, when i see my psychiatrist or another mental health professional, possibly for a second opinion or to get some bloody therapy (does it come in an IV?), I can bring data with me.  my phone data have shown huge changes day to day.  it will be interesting to see how lithium changes the pattern.  my online program showed a substantial decrease in mood since yesterday.  i thought 18% was pretty bad, but today it dropped to 7%.  I hope this is my all time low…if this is 7% (and it’s pretty fucking miserable) i’d hate to say even 1 or 2% lower.  What happens at 1%??

okay, i’m freaking myself out.

one thing sleep deprivation is certainly *not* good for is optimism.  in fact, if i had to name the arch enemy of optimism, i might say that sleep deprivation is a pretty solid candidate.  in the deep shadow cast by a lack of sleep, only pessimism festers.  unless, of course, you’re bipolar and not getting sleep means you’re coming up with the cure for cancer instead.

and that’s unless, of course, your (hypo)mania is dysphoric, like mine.  in that case my original point still stands.

so, possible interpretations of last night’s fight with XBF are pretty narrow in scope.  i am convinced that XBF changed his mind about the whole “i want to spend my life with you” and “i don’t care if you have bipolar disorder” and the extra “few days” he wanted to “think” about things was just delaying the inevitable.  that when he said “i don’t know if i’m good for you right now” (because i stress you out and stress is bad for your ‘condition’) sounds like a weak attempt to paint an old picture with a new brush.  the one we’ve all heard (or said) before: it’s not you, it’s me.

that he can’t handle the pressure of stressing me out.  as if it was any easier to handle his brain damage or heart condition that could lead to sudden death, conditions which, under sufficient stress, have resulted to his hospitalization (and don’t think he didn’t blame me for that).  we have been on at least two overnights in the hospital in the year we’ve known each other.  i have not complained once about it and i have rearranged my schedule to be there in support.  when i couldn’t be there (but i had offered!) because he was getting surgery in iowa, i had cookies delivered to his house.  they came in a bunch of flavors and some were even shaped and decorated to look like pills or nurses hats.

even “i love you” had a newly platonic ring to it.  like, i “care” about you or, my favorite, “i love you but i’m not IN love with you”.

and then there’s the whole enabling spiel.  the one he said was based on conversation with “friends”.  I actually had to google search “enabling bipolar” in order to understand what he could have possibly meant, this was so beyond me.  I found this link, which talks about setting boundaries and not tolerating abuse.  I get that idea.

i just don’t see how on earth it relates to me.  i mean, i just started lithium to stabilize my mood because prozac is clearly not doing the trick.  even if i don’t have bipolar 2, lithium is used to treat ssri-resistant depression, based on what i’m reading.  so it’s a win-win…not like i’m going off my meds or refusing them.  i have an appointment with a therapist in about 2 weeks to get a second opinion about my diagnosis.  this woman specializes in bipolar and mood disorders, so even if she concludes i do not have bipolar 2 i will continue seeing her to deal with this depression.  which at this point is absolutely untolerable and feels endless (…7% on my mood scale, remember).

so WHAT, exactly, is he concerned about “enabling”?

i had to ask when he said it because i was too confused even to be angry.  the example he gave has taken a while to sink in, implications and all, but it sure is illustrative.  ”like,” he said, “when you texted me stressed out in the middle of the night”

yes, folks.  i did.  around 2am last saturday i told him i was freaked out and wanted to reach out to someone via text.  i was feeling very uncomfortable and scared, and my mood had been getting worse and worse.  depression PLUS hypomania left me really, really pissed off all the time and it was all in all a confusing, unpleasant, lonely experience.  just the night before i had declined an invitation from him to the movies because i didn’t feel i had gotten enough sleep and i didn’t want to have unnecessary problems due to increased emotionality.  so, when i reached out for help, by text, on a saturday, i didn’t think it would be a problem.  in fact, i apparently had the gall to think he would be pleased that i was asking for help.  since, you know, his latest problem seemed to be that i don’t trust him enough.

except somehow, it was.  i don’t know how.  i can’t explain it.  it doesn’t even fit the context of our relationship.  i cannot count the number of times he called or texted me in the middle of the night.  to pick him up.  to bring medicine.  because he was stressed.  how many sleepless nights i had, trying to treat a migraine, or nausea, or dizziness.  our relationship, largely, has revolved around his health.

and that was a point i impressed upon him recently because it was undermining so many other aspects of our relationship.  i encouraged him, several times, to get proper treatment for his health conditions, to be more active and more proactive about his health, to eat healthy, and so on.  and he has made major changes in the last couple of weeks.  working out regularly, eating healthy, going to doctors to get treated for stomach problems or what have you.  and he feels better and he is happy.

i am trying to do the same thing. i have a problem, there is no question. i have been balancing work and school and his stress and my stress for months.  i changed medications–to quit smoking or reduce anxiety that affected us–so many times it made me more ill.  i am seeing doctors and doing research and trying to get the best treatment so this crazy train can just stop and i can get the heck off.

it’s certainly not that i’m not trying to get help.

so what’s with the need for boundaries all of a sudden?  what’s with casting my plea for help as something that could be enabled?  it’s like he doesn’t accept that i am ill, that i might have bipolar disorder.  which is astounding, because he has personally experienced when people judge the validity of your health issues and how frustrating it can be especially if you don’t “look” sick.

apparently there is only enough room for one sick person in this relationship.  and it ain’t me.


Judge Rules In Favor of Fired Employee With Bipolar Disorder – ABC News

Judge Rules In Favor of Fired Employee With Bipolar Disorder – ABC News.

This is great.  Guy gets fired because he needs a few days off to get himself back on track, takes his employer to court for ADA violation, wins.  In the meantime he goes back to college and gets a degree in physical sciences.  No dummy, and quite functional.

I love this.  On the other hand, there are so many people with bipolar disease and other mental illnesses who are too sick to advocate for themselves the way this guy did.  Most of us would not have the focus, orientation, drive, or even enough positive self image to search out a proper lawyer and sue the bastards.

Lawyers usually want to be paid for their services.  Some will take a case on contingency, so that they get paid a percentage of the settlement if they win the case.  Therefore they will only take the case if they are very sure they will win.

I am not aware of any advocacy organization that helps people with mental illness who have lost their jobs or been denied employment due to their disabilities.  If any of you, dear readers, know of such a thing, please educate me and everybody else who reads this blog.  What we need is a one-phone-call hotline that can match people who have been discriminated against with appropriate legal resources.

I’m sure that if this were the case, employers would be much more careful about discriminating against people with mental illness, especially when the people in question are perfectly capable of doing the job in question.  Yes, we may need some accommodation, such as sick day allowances, but this certainly does not differ from the needs of anyone with a chronic illness of any kind.

It’s true that there is discrimination against people with chronic diseases of the “physical” kind.  I know of people with kidney disease who need to go to dialysis two or three times a week, who have been terminated from their jobs.  True, they are physically incapable of holding down a 40 hour a week job, but there are many cases where part time positions have been available yet the persons were denied.  Of course the reasons for denial are trumped up, because it is officially illegal to deny someone employment strictly on the basis of a disability, as long as they are capable of performing the tasks of the job.

The result of the denial of employment to people with mental and physical illness is the staggering epidemic of people on disability.  As a person who relies on disability payments for my livelihood, one would think that I would be the last person to complain.  However, if my work environment and the culture of my profession were tolerant of my needs to attend therapy, observe regular working hours rather than shift work and an 80 hour work week, and take a day or two off every once in a while (and by this I mean every 6 or 8 months) to get my center of balance back under me, I would still be working.

However, the world of medical doctors is built upon a mythology of superiority:  physical, intellectual, and psychological.  Thus, medical residents are subjected to the hazing ritual of 36 hour shifts and 120 hour work weeks.  If you survive that, you are welcomed into the hallowed halls of the elite.

I will never forget running into one of my former teachers at a medical conference, long after I had graduated and was running a large pediatric emergency center.  She asked me how I was doing.  I replied, “To tell you the truth, I’ve been suffering a bit from depression.”  Her face closed up as if a curtain had come down.  She turned on her heel and walked off without saying a word.  From that moment I knew that having a mental illness was taboo in “our world,” and I never mentioned it again, to my great detriment.

A few years later, a colleague who worked alongside me came up to me and whispered that he was feeling a bit depressed, and could I write him a prescription?  This was a man who was an Air Force veteran of the first Gulf War.  He had headed up a commando unit that had rescued premature babies from a hospital in Kuwait that had been occupied and all the doctors and nurses killed.  He was a hero of the highest order.

I told him I would give him a week’s worth of Prozac on the strict condition that he see a psychiatrist.  He said he was afraid that the administration would find out and fire him.  I told him he had no choice but to see a psychiatrist, and that I would keep an eye on him and make sure he did.

The following week I was called in to work early, to cover this young doctor’s shift.  He had locked himself in a motel room and shot himself, because he was depressed and felt helpless and hopeless, and he was afraid of losing his job because of his condition.  It was a senseless tragedy, a loss of a wonderful human being and a brilliant doctor, because of a hostile professional culture.

I’m looking forward to seeing an article in the paper about a physician successfully suing their employer for discrimination against them due to mental illness.


elavil kicks insomnia’s ass

5/23/12 7:23 am Wed

I actually called last week and asked for an increase in Elavil but just remembered to pick it up last night. I went from 10 mg to 25 mg, but wussy that I am, I split those in half too. I was up watching Underworld Awakening until 3, took 14.5 mg of Elavil, and SPLAT.
I slept like the living dead until 6:2o am when Spook began trilling.
Then I had 20 mins of hangover, waiting for the cobwebs to clear, battling to keep my heavy as lead eyelids open.
I am still a little hungover from it, but I did sleep. It was in installments but maybe I will get back to some semblance of normalcy now.

I don’t like the cobweb brain side effect.

I am zombie esque at the moment.

Not sure if there’s much for me to do at the shop but I will pop in. I usually end up staying unless it’s totally dead. I’m assuming he’s very appreciative of my help so he likes me there even if there’s not much work for me to do.

Why do I feel like my brain has been injected with novacaine, and it’s starting to wear off, but I am still drooling and incoherent?

Screw it if this made no sense. The whole point was Elvail kicking my dysfunctional ass into the pit of sleep.
‘Nuff said.


insomnia, vampires, and lycan, oh my!

5/23/12 3:12 am

Woke up at 1:30 am. In spite of the Elavil. Decided to get up and have a cold drink. Now I am watching Underworld Awakening.
I must say, I am liking it.
I like most stuff about vampires, though. The darker and creepier, the better.

I know I should be in bed, don’t want a repeat of yesterday’s narcolepsy during the day, but when the stupid brain says wakey wakey and does not want to go back to sleepy sleepy yet…tis better to get up and wait it out until the brain decides to get on board with the sleep  program.

Azazel seems to be sick. I mean, it could just be something he ate giving him  very bad diarrhea, but I am worried, nonetheless. Plus, it’s messy, and I’m about sick to death of doing laundry.He’s still sitting on my shoulder, though, so maybe cats have food poisoning or stomach flu like humans do. I dunno.

I’m rambling, aren’t I?
Oh,well.
Back to vampires and Lycan.


adventures in sleep deprivation and Abilify side effects

5/22/12 9:51 pm

I am ashamed to admit this, but I put Spook to bed at five til 7, and collapsed into bed. I was out cold within minutes, just worn down to the bone.
R called at 9:30 and woke me from my coma, and he was in a good mood, talking about how the shop may actually make it through this month, a lot of it being because I am so very good at what I do there.
Yay me.

It is actually ironic since the fit his wife had the other day revolved around the topic that all I do there is watch TV, and monopolize the computer.
Um, he has that damn TV on constantly, I’d rather listen to music.
As for the computer, that is my job, use it to look up parts and schematics and service manuals and order things for the shop and answer emails pertaining to the shop. I’m always ready to jump up at any time and let him use it but, so what if I do talk to Becca sometimes on IM or bring in my flash drive to tend to other projects. I am an excellent multi tasker where computers are concerned.
She’s like a big festering thorn in my paw.
If I ever perfect my burst into flames look, she had better hope a fire extinguisher is nearby and there’s someone around who likes her enough to use it to put her out. I won’t hold my breath. Aside from R and his kids and Kenny, not many people have much good to say about the woman.

Now…I feel a little revived at least. Sleep is a wonderful way to recharge. I think I will stay up til 11 pm or so, then aim for that good night’s sleep and maybe get my body back on track.
Ha ha ha. If only my body would get on board with that program.
This Abilify, as she warned, is making me seriously antsy and jittery and I can’t focus on reading because every fiber of my body wants to move around.
DOES NOT WANT.
But, I admit my mood has improved ever so slightly,so I’m going to give it awhile longer.

Back to my way of unwinding. Chain smoking. Thank god I roll my own and it costs about sixty cents a pack.
If I couldn’t smoke, I’d probably go on a chainsaw killing spree.
Oh, wait, I’m scared of chainsaws thanks to Leatherface and my father exploiting that fear.

I have nothing against tree chippers, though.


No rest for the wicked

5/22/12 tues 4:16 pm

Has not been a good day for me, physically or mentally.
I keep telling myself it’s just a mood swing, it’s just a bad day, this too shall pass, I will feel better after a good night’s sleep…
But I don’t believe it.
I feel the walls of impending doom closing in around me, and I can’t explain what doom is coming my way except that it IS coming.
And don’t think for a moment I don’t feel like an utter loser for allowing such illogical insane things to fill my head and affect my emotions.
I just don’t know how to escape my own brain, which is what causes all these bloody problems.

I was so worn out, I kept nodding off at the shop, but it didn ‘t help that he spent three hours watching some BBC series on  Youtube. I had to keep getting up and going outside for a smoke to keep myself awake.
Tonight, I sleep.
Or I will find that fucking sandman, and the counting sheep, and whatever various other fictional beings associated with sleep, and I will toss them all into a tree chipper.

On top of that, I had one of my low potassium days, so everything ached and felt bruised and I was fatigued down to my bone marrow and just mentally out of it. I ate an orange finally and it pepped me up.
My mom dared ask me why I left a little early today and was looking so green about the gills, and I plainly said, “I have low potassium.”
And like a venomous snake she snaps, “Since when?”
Um…WTF?
Sometimes I wish she’d just killed and eaten her young because this mental abuse is the nightmare that never ends.

I feel so…
doomed.
I don’t know why.
I think I have a lump on my upper biceps. It’s tiny but worrisome.
My entire abdomen was bloated and aching today, cramping like the menstrual monster is on its way. I had horrid gas, my back was killing me, and the mere act of keeping my eyes open felt like running a marathon.
Which leads to me feeling weak and down on myself.
Neverending cycle that just eats its own tail.

Now I need to face a bunch of housework and I just wanna assume the fetal position and sleep about three days.

No rest for the wicked.


Low, lower, lowest

5/22/12 Tues 6:34 pm

Low
low
low.
and bone and brain weary exhausted.
I cannot wait to get my supper eaten and Spook to go to bed.
I want to assume the fetal position in my own bed and just cease to be for a solid six hours.
Odds are against me but it is a beautiful thought.


Confusion rules supreme

5/22/12 7:15 am

So…all my pride in losing all that weight seems to be for nothing because it’s coming back and I don’t understand why. I eat the same now as I did then, the only differing factor is the meds. I feel so fat and bloated,like I should be wearing a circus tent. My fatoflage clothes aren’t even cutting the trick of making it a guessing game if I am humongous or just chubby and wearing baggy clothes. Oviously, I am a big fat cow.
Oh,well.
It’s depressing, but not fatal.

It goes right along with all the sore muscles and bruised feelings on every inch of my skin. I could barely lift my arms to braid my hair. I found getting my kid dressed and absolutely draining ordeal, and my day is just barely starting.
I’d ask if the mood thing does that to you, but I know it does.
Will the world ever run out of things to make me feel crappy about?
That sounds kinda woe-is-me, huh? I’m just frustrated. I get down on myself when flustered. I need a solution and all my mind has is mass confusion.
Gonna be a long day, considering I’ve been up since 3 am.
Still debating whether to go into the shop or wait for him to call me, if he needs me.

Confusion rules supreme at this moment.


mourning

i woke up to the sound of my phone alerting me with a cheerful tone that i had a message waiting.  i felt like one of Pavlov’s dogs, except instead of salivating my heart was racing and i was up and reading the text message in seconds flat.  it was my friend, the one i’ve mentioned here before, and the one i called last night to pick me up.  when my internal pain was so excruciating that i thought i could get some relief from lighting myself on fire or taking a bunch of lithium, or cutting–just to get some peace around here–i knew i had to get out.  it turns out the change of scenery was a good idea.  i was still in pain, but i wasn’t knocking at death’s door, or even the ER for that matter.

the text asked if i was up.  it was my friend. i sank back on pillows and made a mental note to change my text message alarm as soon as possible while responding, “just barely”.

we passed a few messages back and forth.  i tried to get 5 more minutes of respite but the pit in my stomach had already made its appearance.  i suppressed the urge to throw up at the mention of food and tried to avoid thinking about the tears that wanted to come.  my gut felt like it had a run-in with a trocar.  the day had begun.

i focused all my attention on the dried tobacco leaves swaying in the wind in the backyard and tried to come up with a haiku to describe the hummingbirds who had nested on one of them.  i focused like my life depended on it and the ebb and flow of pain reflected my success.  i couldn’t get all the words i wanted in the right order with the right number of syllables, so eventually i just said fuck it, and made another mental note to come up with a quasi-haiku later.

i spent the rest of the time until my friend was ready staring outside. trying not to throw up.  trying not to remember.  trying not to feel.

it’s no use though.  there will be no escape from this pain.  i will have to experience it fully and mourn the loss of what i thought i had just two days ago.  i will have to face the reminders strewn about my apartment, like i did this morning.  the half full horchata probably hasn’t even curdled yet.  as i showered, a partially deflated mylar balloon rose up and down over the top of my shower curtain, saying “I’m Sorry” over and over again.

Indeed.


Stress

Stress is not your friend when you live with bipolar. Hell, stress is no one’s friend really. But stress is a horrible trigger. Depending on which way you swing, it is either going to make you depressed, or it is going to make you manic/hypo-manic.

I’m dealing with  a lot of stress right now. I seem to be doing ok for the most part. I keep telling myself to slow down and not to overwork myself. But it’s crunch time now. I’m having a graduation party for my daughter this Friday. It is a very small gathering; 13 people. It’s just family and a close friend. And I really shouldn’t be so stressed about stuff, but I am. I mean, I don’t have anyone to impress, but I want things to be nice. The weather is going to be in the high 80′s that day. And due to the fact that we just got new furniture, we are holding the festivities outside. Well, That is tentative because we have a lot of wasps that fly around when it is hot out. Seriously, I keep 2 cans of wasp spray in the house at all times!

My sleep is not so hot lately. Which bugs me. I think it is time to start popping the melatonin again and drinking the bedtime tea. See, my history is that I am a tough person to get to sleep. I have been on numerous sleep medications and antipsychotics, and nothing would knock me out. I finally found stuff other than medications that would help me sleep, did some experiments to find other things that would help me sleep. My regimen is Yogi brand Bedtime Tea and Natrol brand Advanced Melatonin Plus fast dissolve tabs. I haven’t touched the stuff in like a month or so, but it appears that now the stress is induced, I need to start my regimen again…. Because it is summer, and I sleep for shit then anyway… but stress plus summer can equal mania… And I don’t want mania. There was a time when I preferred mania, but I’m not interested right now.

And now, I have so much crap running through my mind that I can’t think og what else I wanted to blog about, so I guess I’ll be back later when my mind is a bit clearer. But for now, I will pose a question, and please, feel free to answer…

What do you do to help your stress level? How do you relax?