Daily Archives: November 21, 2013

We need to know about suicide

Reblogged from Talking About Bipolar:

Click to visit the original post

Suicide is a major, preventable public health problem. In 2007, it was the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S., accounting for 34,598 deaths.1 The overall rate was 11.3 suicide deaths per 100,000 people.1 An estimated 11 attempted suicides occur per every suicide death.1

Suicidal behavior is complex. Some risk factors vary with age, gender, or ethnic group and may occur in combination or change over time.

Read more… 253 more words

Richard Dreyfuss Feared Drug Use Was To Blame For Bipolar Disorder

Richard Dreyfuss Feared Drug Use Was To Blame For Bipolar Disorder

WHATT! WHAT! Isn’t this what my last blog post was about – DRUGS x BIPOLAR!

ITS REAL! SOMEONE ELSE THINKS SO TOO! – and it’s Richard Dreyfuss. I didn’t know he had Bipolar Disorder.

Well, here’s to another solider to add to the fight. Go Richard Go! Spread Awareness


Marijuana x Bipolar DOES (not) MIX!

I am feeling so SHITTY right now, and it’s not because of Bipolar…

MARIJUANA IS A HORRIBLE DRUG! Well, not really, but when you use it to put your mind in check for so long, and go without it..

It is a shit.

I’m at the point where I don’t know where my Marijuana begins, and my Bipolar life ends. It has been fused together for so long, but I have made a promise to my FUTURE self, that I will stop smoking, get help, exercise, and start to do this the right way.

How many people use marijuana for their mental illness? How many people use the drug, abuse the drug, and then TRY to get off of it just to find themselves feeling horrible in the end? I must not be the only one..

My husband last night, actually got mad at me again about MONEY. Apparently, I use too much money for weed and not enough on other things. THIS IS TRUE, yes, but this thing I’m using is helping me continue to be that girl you once knew, and not Mrs. Hyde – the monster.

I’m feeling so drained, so pulled in different directions, so lame, so ugh, so much.


Cannabis

The other day my friend, Alan, sent a message.  He’d been reading my recent posts regarding my battle with depression.  He told me of a friend of his who has depression and treats it with medical marijuana and suggested it might be something I want consider.  Alan and I met at a recovery house about 10 years ago and got sober together, so it seemed like a strange suggestion.  He mentioned that oddness in his message, but, went on to say, “I know we are both sober boys but what’s the point if you feel like the ground is going to open up and swallow you?”  My immediate reaction was “Good point!”  I decided to talk it over with my pdoc, however, I won’t see him for another month so I’ve done a little research on my own.Cannabis leaf

Surprisingly, I found little information as I scoured the internet, but finally I stumbled upon an Aug. 15, 2012 issue of the Atlantic titled “Pot May Improve Cognitive Functioning in Bipolar Disorder” by Lindsay Abrams.  According to the article there is some validity to what Alan said.  One study showed that there may be some positive effects for patients with bipolar disorder.  At least for patients with bipolar I.  The article doesn’t mention anything about those of us that are bipolar II. Well, at least I think I’m bipolar II.  I’m not sure.  I was originally diagnosed with BP I, then my pdoc changed it to BP II, then back to BP I, and so on and so on.

For those of you unfamiliar with the difference between BP I and BP II, the quick and dirty definition is BP I folks tend to lean more toward the manic side, while those with BP II lean toward the depressive side.   I recently asked my newer pdoc whether my diagnosis was BP I or BP II.  His response was “Why does it matter if the meds are working?”  I just shrugged my shoulders and went on my merry way.  I’m sorry…I digress.  Back to the matter at hand…cannabis.

200 people participated in the study.  50 who had a history of marijuana use, and 150 had no history of marijuana use. Those with a history of marijuana use performed superior cognitive functioning.  They performed better processing speed, attention and working memory.

Sound great so far?  Well, don’t go digging your old bong out of storage yet.  Other studies tell a different story.  The National Institute on Drug Abuse links marijuana use with mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts among adolescents.  They also showed a lack of motivation to engage in typically rewarding activities.

Another study was conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information.  Their study, done over 12 months, found that cannabis users exhibited higher levels of overall illness severity, mania, and psychosis compared with nonusers.  In addition, marijuana users experienced less satisfaction with life and had a lower probability of having a relationship,

So, what does all this mean?  I don’t have a damn clue. Is it good or is it bad?  I’m prone to believe that the idea of smoking weed ain’t such a good idea.  My gut tells me that people living with depression are more likely to be brought further down by getting high.  I have nothing to back this up, though, except for the last study that I mentioned.

On the other hand, I’ve heard a lot of anecdotal stories by people who claim their lives were better off by taking medical marijuana.  I’m not talking about just the friend of a friend who I mentioned in the first paragraph.  People in support groups I’ve attended make the same claim.  They believed their lives were improved by their marijuana use.

In the end it will come down to talking with my pdoc next month.  I have no doubt that he will not give me a prescription for medical marijuana.  This will be especially true given my history of addiction to alcohol and crystal meth.  If he does say no, it will still be easy to get.  I could go to the infamous Venice Beach where doctors have set up cheesy clinics specifically to give you a prescription for medical marijuana right there and then.  It is no coincidence that the clinics to get your prescription filled are right next door to where these doctors have hung out their shingles.  It is an option I have, but one that I will not take.  I’m going to stick with the doctor’s opinion.  If he surprises me and gives me a prescription, I’ll let you know how it goes.

Are any of you using medical marijuana and found it has made an effect on your life?  Perhaps a friend (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) has shared their experience.  I’m interested in hearing your stories and whether you found it good or bad.

A Gentle Soul Has Left His Body

I knew him when I was a child, mostly.  I’ve spent many giggly times on his knee.  He was one of those funny people who didn’t put any effort into being funny.  He had a heart that spanned the whole world, and would instantly give you anything he had, if you wanted it.  He was open-hearted, open-souled, completely without the egotistical layers that most artists cultivate.

He was soft-spoken, but could be boisterous in his own way–which was balanced by his wife, a former nurse, who retained her identity and function as the family and community nurse until this day, I am sure.  I remember well being chased down with the intention of giving me an enema, which I didn’t at all want, by our gentle yet strict family nurse…and locking my three-year-old self in the bathroom.  They had to take the hinges off.  I got the enema anyway!

His son and I were in love.  We were three and four.  We grew up and married other people, but at the time it was taken as a known fact that we should certainly marry.  I often wonder what would have happened–and then, with my bipolar disease, I cringe to think what might have happened, what beautiful things broken, what bridges burned–and I’m happy to remain with the family fantasy, and the family intact.

For our two families have really been one as long as I can remember.  Although we have all gone our own ways over the years, there is still the sense of wholeness and familiarity, the heart-bond that will never be broken.

And so, when I heard of his passing, I felt struck in the heart as if by a fist.  I have cried on and off all day.  It will be hard to imagine the place where they live without him, as he was a legendary icon in his area of art.

Fare well, Val Cushing, wherever you fare.

http://www.valcushing.com/artist.html


Medication Update

I’m up to new levels on one of my medications. It’s helpful, which is great for me. I love feeling a bit more stable. Really…it’s nice to feel a bit more normal, more like a normal human being with reasonable reactions. I had to up the levels on my medications to handle the stress I’m under. It was to keep me from going off on any OCD major breaks, or bipolar deep ends.

What I take is topiramate and lexapro. Topiramate is for my bipolar II, and lexapro is for my OCD. The combination seems to be working right now, which is a comforting thing. However, I’m bumping up my topiramate dosage just a little big more, just to check and see how I handle it. My doctor wants me to try it, to see if that helps to ensure that I am healthy enough on the mental front.

I’m hoping that this slight bump up in my topiramate dosage will keep me well contented. It should hopefully keep everything all quite in line. If everything works out well, I’ll hopefully stay at this next dosage amount, and then I’ll be set for my medication amounts. As it is, I’m already taking more medication (outside these 2 for my mental health) than I really want to…but if it’s for my health, well then I’ll do it.

But I’m hopeful that this will help me. I’m sleeping better with this intermediate step up, and my appetite has been a bit better than it was before. Those are good signs, per the shrink’s words.