Daily Archives: February 22, 2014

Living in a Bipolar Family

I live with my son (24) and daughter (26) who are also bipolar.  (Their father left when my son was born and I suspect he was bipolar, too, based on his behavior.)

We struggled for a long time when they were younger about whether or not they were bipolar.  They thought my suspicions were merely a case of misery loving company.  But when symptoms became difficult to manage, when they were around 20, they acquiesced and sought help.  One had to be hospitalized, first.  She is now on medication.  The other is not on medication, but is followed by a psychiatrist.  My son paces and listens to music...a lot.  He has not been able to keep a full-time job so he has the ability to flow with his moods and pace all night if need be.

My daughter's moods were volatile.  Even on meds, she can explode.  My son's moods are more internal...brooding and cynical.  My moods manifest themselves in a more physical fashion...tremors, tics, busy-ness, creativity, sleepiness, aches, and pains.  We have shifted into a place where we understand and accept what is going on.  Well, accept isn't quite the right word.  We know what is happening is a manifestation of the disorder but we expect a certain amount of responsibility from the other person.  In other words, get a grip.  If you have missed your meds, find them.  If you need sleep, get it.  You may be feeling bad but it is not nice to tell me to shut up.

We have had a bad day today.  I'm crashing down from 7 days of mania.  My kids are prickly and defensive for whatever reason.  Maybe my not doing well makes them nervous...still.  I tend to suck it up and stay out of their way.  That is not the best thing to do.  After all, their rights end where mine begin.  But when you are dealing with three adults, with fluctuating moods, in a small house, you have to expect a certain amount of friction.

It's quiet now.  My son has gone to work.  My daughter is sleeping.  The sun is setting.  I'm sitting in the twilight, typing.  This isn't an easy situation we have here but I prefer it to one where the other members of the household have not a clue what I am going through.  Besides, when I give serious thought to what my life is about, I find consolation in the hope that I am in some way helping my children find their way.

The Morning After

I've been manic for about 6 or 7 days...until this morning.  I knew it was coming.  My brilliantly productive mania had slid into a chaotic, unfocused mania for a day or two.  Now I am sliding further into malaise and depression.

I hurt all over...particularly my joints and belly, identified as Fibromyalgia and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).  Unexpectedly, my tongue and jaw are still hyper-active (Tardive Dyskinesia) which I was suspecting was accompanying my mania.  Maybe not.  Maybe it is all the time now.

Always trying to make the best of things, I will look on this mood change as a welcomed time of rest.  My to-do list is still nearly a page long...it exhausts me to read it.  There are items that are still considered critical...pay bills, reconcile budget (what went wrong?), etc.  There are items that would benefit me...call Sue, read, go for a walk, do yoga, meditate, make a pot of tea, etc.  More than likely I will spend some time standing at the window, staring out.

I've been doing this long enough to know how this goes...it doesn't last for ever, I haven't died from it...yet, I can go with it a use it to my advantage.  I do some of my best thinking and writing when depressed.  I take the time to appreciate the work I accomplished when I was manic.  This is what is.

Breathe deep, move slow, this too shall pass.

I know but I don’t !






There's a huge difference between normal mood swings and bipolar mood changes. I know that and have to try and keep things in perspective. I know the signs and I know that I can't blame everything on bipolar. At the same time I don't know. I think things are still ok. I'm still managing to keep my head....sort of. I think I'm mostly reacting normally to situations. It's just that I'm back to the constant racing thoughts. It's non stop. My mind is going from one thing to another at 100 miles an hour. I'm constantly having conversations in my head. I find myself talking out loud to people when I'm on my own. I keep going over and over and over the same things. One minute I'm ok about something then the next its a huge issue again. It's quite monotonous and unless I'm fully occupied, like when I'm at work, it is just time consuming. Sometimes I have the most bizarre stuff going on in my head. I feel very self conscious at the moment and a bit paranoid. I mostly think everyone thinks I'm stupid. I seem to be losing hours. I sat down yesterday at 4 o'clock and the next minute it was midnight and I haven't really got a clue what I was doing in-between. I forgot to have any dinner. I'm just not hungry.  I didn't even get up to get a drink or go to the loo. I still think it's mostly to do with lack of sleep, not the start of any major episode.  I don't know what the answer is. Keep busy and wait and and see I guess. As soon as I stop doing then I lose all concentration and away I go with the thoughts again. Once I lose focus I'm finding it hard to get back on track. I like to be organised but I find myself flitting from one thing to another and getting in a right old mess. Maybe I'll wear myself out so much that eventually I'll sleep for a week! I tried a herbal remedy that's supposed to aid sleep but it was crap. I don't really want to but I might have to ask my GP if I can maybe have just a weeks supply of proper sleeping tablets. Trouble is, I know what he'll say....go back on your meds.
I've decided to start trying to keep a mood diary again. When I was first diagnosed it really helped to track my moods and give me more insight into what was going on. I'm determined to keep on top of things. I know that I need to look after myself first. It's pretty basic stuff really but not sleeping and forgetting to eat and being inactive by sitting in the chair for hours are going to impact on my mood. I can't afford to be complacent. Just because I haven't had any major mood shifts since coming off meds doesn't mean I'm suddenly bipolar free. It's great to just get on with things without constantly relating everything to bipolar but at the same time I need to be vigilant. I need to be prepared. I've had so much going on. Stuff with my ex husband, my son and now the job I thought I'd got might not be permanent. It's all stuff I am coping with but if I start to get ill it all gets harder, then it's like a vicious circle. The more stressed I get the less care I take and everything just seems too much. That's when it becomes a problem. I don't know, I know but I don't! 

I know but I don’t !






There's a huge difference between normal mood swings and bipolar mood changes. I know that and have to try and keep things in perspective. I know the signs and I know that I can't blame everything on bipolar. At the same time I don't know. I think things are still ok. I'm still managing to keep my head....sort of. I think I'm mostly reacting normally to situations. It's just that I'm back to the constant racing thoughts. It's non stop. My mind is going from one thing to another at 100 miles an hour. I'm constantly having conversations in my head. I find myself talking out loud to people when I'm on my own. I keep going over and over and over the same things. One minute I'm ok about something then the next its a huge issue again. It's quite monotonous and unless I'm fully occupied, like when I'm at work, it is just time consuming. Sometimes I have the most bizarre stuff going on in my head. I feel very self conscious at the moment and a bit paranoid. I mostly think everyone thinks I'm stupid. I seem to be losing hours. I sat down yesterday at 4 o'clock and the next minute it was midnight and I haven't really got a clue what I was doing in-between. I forgot to have any dinner. I'm just not hungry.  I didn't even get up to get a drink or go to the loo. I still think it's mostly to do with lack of sleep, not the start of any major episode.  I don't know what the answer is. Keep busy and wait and and see I guess. As soon as I stop doing then I lose all concentration and away I go with the thoughts again. Once I lose focus I'm finding it hard to get back on track. I like to be organised but I find myself flitting from one thing to another and getting in a right old mess. Maybe I'll wear myself out so much that eventually I'll sleep for a week! I tried a herbal remedy that's supposed to aid sleep but it was crap. I don't really want to but I might have to ask my GP if I can maybe have just a weeks supply of proper sleeping tablets. Trouble is, I know what he'll say....go back on your meds.
I've decided to start trying to keep a mood diary again. When I was first diagnosed it really helped to track my moods and give me more insight into what was going on. I'm determined to keep on top of things. I know that I need to look after myself first. It's pretty basic stuff really but not sleeping and forgetting to eat and being inactive by sitting in the chair for hours are going to impact on my mood. I can't afford to be complacent. Just because I haven't had any major mood shifts since coming off meds doesn't mean I'm suddenly bipolar free. It's great to just get on with things without constantly relating everything to bipolar but at the same time I need to be vigilant. I need to be prepared. I've had so much going on. Stuff with my ex husband, my son and now the job I thought I'd got might not be permanent. It's all stuff I am coping with but if I start to get ill it all gets harder, then it's like a vicious circle. The more stressed I get the less care I take and everything just seems too much. That's when it becomes a problem. I don't know, I know but I don't! 

Random This and That

I’m apparently not a consistent blogger…I’ve thought about it a thousand times and then end up going to my journal instead. The things I need to get out seem too private, dull, uninteresting or what have you. Sometimes I have so many things going on in my head that I end up locked up, unable to express anything and I silently spin inside my own head trying to work through this and that. For whatever reason it occurred to me this evening that if I don’t utilize this as a resource, it’s pointless to even have started it.

So, here’s to making an effort to blog more.

Much has changed in the last few months. My girlfriend moved in and I’m adjusting to cohabitation again. Living alone certainly has it’s benefits, just as living with a partner does as well. Her moving in has certainly served as a mirror for me to see just how introverted I really am and how much alone time I need to rejuvenate and recharge.

It’s an adjustment for her on many levels too and I’m sure having a BiPolar girlfriend isn’t the easiest, even when I internalize 95% of the shit that goes on in my head and fight like hell to maintain “normalcy.”

I have full use of my hand again and some relatively minor residual issues with it. The whole ordeal was awful and I learned just how intricate the human hand is.

I have been rapid cycling to the point I feel like I want off this ride. It’s exhausting. Life is exhausting and add this…well, if you are a person with BiPolar, you’ve been there and you know exactly what I mean.

The older I get, the more I’m aware of cognitive dysfunction issues and wonder how much BiPolar disorder plays in it. The focus is usually on a persons mood, depression or manic stages but it sure as fuck isn’t only a mood disorder. My wires often seem crossed and what I think in my head isn’t what ends up coming out of my mouth. I can’t remember shit and make lists or set reminders in my phone for basic day to day things. The holes in my memory seem to widen, I lose chunks of time, and it’s almost as if it wasn’t even me that lived through certain periods in my life. I have increasing difficulty with math (which I’m horribly deficient in anyway) and am unable to multitask as quickly as I once was. It’s like I’m watching a once intelligent person deteriorate and there’s not a thing I can do about it. I’m in my mid 30’s, not my mid 80’s.

I’m angry or frustrated much of the time lately and tend to go quiet when this happens as to not erupt. I simmer and boil internally but it’s better than alienating myself by being a complete psychotic bitch to all who dare cross my path. I’m aware at least. It’s cycles like these that make me wish I could rip the BiPolar out of me and stomp her in the face, just get her out of me somehow. I do not use it as an excuse to not live my life but I certainly am aware of how much it affects the quality of my life, which adds to my anger.

Tomorrow, I hope to have some phototherapy with a friend and infuse my brain with something else for a while. We get in the car and drive to nowhere in particular, take our cameras and explore whatever catches our eye. And bitch. You just cannot beat a bitchy gay man with a creative streak and a hint of his own crazy on phototherapy days.

I hate the biplolar coaster!!!

Today’s mood was off. Ass trash. Up, down, functional, lethargic. Irritating. And the anxiety drove me to the xanax bottle like a thirsty horse to a water trough.

There was NO reason. No trigger. No added stressors. NOTHING, for fuck’s sake. I had way worse days this week and was able to hang in there.

This happens. Little too often for my tastes. Part of the bipolar coaster ride. I normally love roller coaster rides. Not this. This one sucks.

This is affecting every aspect of my existence. I always thought I would be the fun mom. Turns out, I am inconsistent irritable paranoid mom who can barely remember to brush my teeth, let alone plan out fun activities to do with my kid. I am a crap mother. I blame the mental illness but I know all too well that society will chalk it up to my personality. Well, I might buy that if there were any consistency to it. It all changes on a dime day in day out.

Welcome to cyclothymic bipolar motherfuckers.

I just wanna go to sleep and reboot my brain. I can’t get out of this mental space no matter what I do. It’s sticking like flypaper. Which makes me feel worse because everyone says I should be able to snap out of it.

It’s a shame the lithium has stripped me off all emotion except anger. I can’t even cry but the anger hasnt been dulled a bit. I want apathy. If I feel too much too strongly and can’t regulate it and that’s all my fault…well show me the way to feel nothing. I’m fed up. I am tired.

I want off this Unamusement park ride.


Z: The Wonder Drug

Well, now THIS is more like it. Aspirin’s got nothing on Zyprexa as a wonder drug: thirty-six hours after taking the first dose, I’m fine. There’s the occasional foot- or finger-tapping, but I realize almost immediately when I’m doing it and can stop. I couldn’t do that even as late as last night. This morning when I woke up, I knew instantly that I was better, and even though I was up in the night coughing (again……still) I didn’t feel the least bit strung out.

I know I’ve sung the praises of Vitamin Z before, even as I resent the circumstances that require me to use it every so often. I can’t take it full-time because it makes my blood sugars fly out of control and puts on pounds practically overnight, but there is absolutely nothing better than a short course when it comes to corralling a hypo/manic episode. I’m just thankful Dr. Awesomesauce  let the leash out a little on this one and gave me some discretion as to when to take it; he’s going to Hawaii for two weeks, so this is obviously not a good time for me to go bonkers. (As if there were EVER a good time for that.)

For some time after he prescribed Zyprexa for PRN use, I wondered why he didn’t just put me on Ambien or some other sleeping pill. I didn’t ask, mainly because those meds are habit-forming and I already have enough trouble with addictive behavior as it is. But once I got it through my head that I will almost always become hypo/manic if I don’t sleep well for more than two or three nights, it made perfect sense. Talk about killing two birds with one stone. DUH. That’s why he gets the big bucks and I don’t.

Of course, there is always a battle between the patient who doesn’t want to take extra medication and the nurse who knows she needs it. But they’re less intense and much shorter than they used to be, and I end up surrendering to the inevitable because it’s in my best interests to do so. I’ve had a couple tastes of lasting remission, and I really, REALLY enjoyed them……you know, “I like it, I love it, I want some more of it”.

Besides—speaking of birds—I’ve got this guy to remind me that mania is most definitely not my friend:

Toucan Sam

That’s Toucan Sam, who lives on top of my computer tower. He’s just a funny-looking wooden toy made in Mexico, but whenever I’m wavering between acting on a budding issue and letting it run wild, a glance at him encourages me to extricate my head from my rectal vault and do the right thing.

Which, for the time being, means taking my “wonder drug” without debating it to death. :-)