Daily Archives: May 7, 2014

To Be, Or Not To Be

…..that is the eternal debate between people who say “I’m bipolar” and those who prefer “I have bipolar”.

There are good arguments on both sides of the aisle. You’ve probably never heard someone say “I am cancer” or “I am heart disease”, because no one really wants to be defined by their illness. On the other hand, lots of folks say “I’m bipolar” or “I’m a diabetic” and don’t think a thing of it. After all, the illness is a part of them, like brown eyes or hobbit feet, and saying so doesn’t necessarily mean they over-identify with it.

Me, I use both expressions interchangeably, although I’ve noticed that I tend to use “I have bipolar disorder” in more formal situations, such as talking with an authority figure like a supervisor or a doctor who doesn’t know me. I’m not quite sure why that is, because in everyday conversation I say “I’m bipolar” (well, when the subject comes up—I don’t exactly go around announcing it on street corners). You wouldn’t know it now by my casual references to myself as being bipolar, but it took me a long time to stop seeing the beast as a separate entity that lived in the house with me, ate my food, and wore my clothes. I even used to believe that I could tell it to behave and walk away from it.

That’s where Dr. Awesomesauce, and to some extent my sister Louise, come in. Over time, they have gently but persistently forced me to accept the reality of the disorder as part of my makeup. It’s funny now, but for the first year I thought Dr. A was just humoring me by giving me that BP-NOS diagnosis, and that at any time he’d tell me my REAL diagnosis was plain unipolar depression. In fact, I didn’t take it seriously, even after the occurrence of several particularly severe mood episodes, until the meds started getting serious.

As I’ve mentioned before, my psychiatrist is very conservative in prescribing medications—for which I’m grateful, as I really don’t want to be a zombie—and full acceptance of my condition didn’t happen until I realized that I will probably never come off anti-psychotics. We haven’t even discussed that since last summer, and the way things are going I’ll feel fortunate if I can get back down to only one, because the combination of Celexa, Klonopin, Lamictal, Geodon, and Zyprexa have brought me as close to stability as I’m ever going to get in this lifetime.

But it is what it is, and what bipolar is is part of the colorful tapestry that makes up the woman you know as bpnurse. It is not all of me, but it is one of the louder and more obnoxious aspects of me. However….it’s also what drives my creativity and gives me the energy to express it, so it’s not all bad.

To be bipolar, or to have bipolar: that is the question. And the answer is, it depends on the situation and the prevailing mood…..just like everything else with us. ;-)


Back to the creepy place

My earlier euphoria and coping skills have left the building. Nothing here but anxiety, paranoia, and bitchiness. It started wearing off around noon. Extra stressors from the outside made it that much worse.

My paranoia is off the charts. I am pretty sure the neighbors are gonna lynch me because I yelled at their stupid kids. Well, after telling them SIX times to get off the swingset and go home because my kid is grounded, I think I am within my rights to get mad. Watch your own goddamn kids. And in the end, it’s not even about the swingset. It’s about such blatant disrespect. I stood there telling them to go home and they just stayed on the swingset and stared at me defiantly like I was speaking Japanese. These are not special ed kids. The parents cross me as brawlers, I am a little intimidated by them. The other day they stole my kid’s outdoor toys and I asked her if she could tell them not to and she laughed it off. They act like they own our stuff, the girl doesn’t even knock, she just comes on in.  And seriously, 5 year olds know better than to poop in someone’s yard. Ferals. At least I’m consistent, the last neighbor hated me for correcting her kid.

I don’t know why the mood makes the difference in coping skills, it just does. On a high, I could tackle this stuff without blinking. Coming down, sliding into a low, every fear and paranoid thought is amplified and magnified and it becomes this big issue that literally keeps me awake at night. And I can’t shut it off. The so called professionals want to make it about triggers so they can blame a disorder they can’t understand on outside forces and our inability to handle them. They can’t wrap their brains around the fact that bipolar brains simply process differently than non bi polar brains. We don’t need a trigger, our own minds ARE the trigger.

At least now that her dr appt is over and nothing further looms my paranoia and anger are leveling out. My mood is still shit. I feel so utterly inept and helpless during the lows. They bring on the self loathing. The “why can’t I beat this thing, why am i so weak, why am i so uselesss” type thoughts. And when you live it 300 days of the year, you start buying into the false messages your brain sends.

Why can’t I just capture the good and leave out the bad? Does no one get that the negativity and pessimism aren’t my identity, they are my illness? No one would choose to feel this dejected and worthless every bloody day. In this current mind frame, I can’t find one thing that I look forward to or makes me feel happy, not even my cats. Earlier, I was in the clouds and thinking, wow, Becca’s gonna be here soon and she’s gonna kick my ass cos I am too lazy to find the link to her blog and put it in here, yayyyy. Now apathy and dread are prevalent. What if she travels all this way and runs screaming back to the plane because after ten plus years of on line chat, IRL me is a disappoint and revolting? Why do the lows bring out every stupid insecurity and fear and transform them from a babbling brook to a roaring ocean?

And why me? Why did I get this cross to bear? Couldn’t I have ebola instead? At least I’d have some peace after bleeding out my eyeballs.

Fuck.

I’m not sure this Paxil thing is helping or acting as a trigger to destabilize my mood with incessant highs and lows. Or maybe minus Lithium this is my new norm.

If so, I am gonna gargle barbed wire.


When I Grow Up Revisited

This is an update to a post I wrote a few months ago. When I Grow Up When I was a kid I always knew my career choice. Farmer, veterinarian, Coast Guard, forest ranger…It changed once a week, but at least I had a goal. After I read the novel, “My Side of The Mountain,” […]

Up In The Air

(Points for me working in a 30 Seconds To Mars song title.)

I am up. I mean, UP.

But it crashes so unexpectedly and fast, I am up in the air, unable to focus or be calm or enjoy feeling okay because I am being stalked by bipolar and it’s making me nuts. I am its prisoner, in chains, enslaved, I am bipolar’s bitch. Dramatic? Nope. True.

I was narcoleptic last night. Of course, my kid slept four hours for a nap and wouldn’t go to bed til almost midnight. I kept drifting off, that cusp where sleep is nearly there but you’;re still aware of wakefulness. Seven times she woke me. By the time she went to bed,I was wide awake. I got up and did housework at 1:30 am. That’s normal right?

Then I ran out of cigarettes and couldn’t go get more cos she was asleep so I laid back down around 4am because I get very distressed without smokes. It’s psychological more than physical, no matter what the doctors say. Plus, it kills off more anxiety than any drug. I’m trying the E cigarettes but it isn’t the same. You have to break your jaw to draw in hard enough to get the nicotine, they’re heavy so it’s like holding a paperweight, and they lie because they don’t last as long as two packs of smokes would.One more of life’s little “this is a good idea, let’s give everybody hope and disappoint them horribly for shits and giggles.”

Fuck you, life.

Woke up before the alarm and leapt out of bed. Literally. Right into my desk and dumped a glass of tea. Great start to any day. Went and got smokes and I quit freaking out. I literally do freak out when I have no smokes. Again, psychological.

Ya know how I bitched about being so cold all winter?Now I am sweating like a stuck pig. Fuck. There is no middle ground for me. It’s not that I am never satisfied. It’s that I can never find consistent comfort. It fucks with your head.

I’ve been paying close attention lately to side effects from meds. I am convinced, no matter what studies, pharma companies, and doctors say, that EVERY psych drug aside from anti anxiety agents affect memory. I find myself forgetting things ten seconds after thought or spoken. TEN seconds. Geesh. And people think I am not paying attention or am a bubblehead but I didn;t have this problem the times I was med free. I am also getting mixed up. Like putting ice cubes in the fridge and soda in the freezer. Brain impulses are firing all willy nilly. And I truly believe it is the meds. I’ve always wondered, since their drug studies tend to stop at 7-10 years, what joys of physically damage await me after being on these fucking things for 20 years. I am looking forward to anal leakage and unexpected lactation. (Yes, some medications have been known to cause this stuff.) Ass trash.

I don’t think I am merely up. I think I’ve gone manic again. Which is cool for however long it lasts. But coming down is shit. Give me the happy medium, ffs. I can’t catch a break from my own brain. And of course I got to listen to my dad rave about how there’s nothing wrong with me physically, I’m just too lazy to work. That’s always a comfort and supportive.

I found some old journals last night. I knew a month after The Donor arrived things were not going to work out. Still, I let myself be convinced I was being negative and the self fulfilling prophecy thing, blah blah blah. I don’t regret our daughter for a second, but I have to stop letting those around me manipulate me into not trusting my own gut. Sometimes, your gut and Spidey sense are trying to save you some pain. I’m glad I found that journal because my brain is so much scrambled eggs I’m never sure if my memories are real or if they are a self protective thing to shield myself against having to admit I fucked up. Another little gift from others who exploit my issues. To trust myself again would be a wonderful thing. To be able to rely on my own brain would be excellent.

Put on my pajamas because I am dreaming.

Now…A bright note to end on. These are my fuzzlebutt kittens. Voodoo is all black and JuJu has the white paw. Can you say AWWWWWWWW, I can haz cheezburger?

voodoojuju


The Bitch Is Back

Day two, depressive moody bitchy abyss. I want to blame the monthly hormones kicking up but it feels like the all too familiar fall from grace that is coming off a manic episode. I am miserable. It’s too cruel to be given a taste of normalcy and happiness and have it snatched away four days later. Just let me have my misery. It can’t hurt if you’ve never known anything else.

 

I am impatient, grumpy, anxious, hateful, down, and pretty sure my entire life is absolute shit.

I had a four hour window this morning where my mood was in the middle and I breathed a sigh of relief thinking, oh wow, it was a short low, I can deal with that. By hour six, though, I was crashing into the abyss.

Doctors talk about mood journals and identifying stressors. I don’t think they get that just because biopolar is discussed in books, it’s not actually a textbook illness. Sometimes there are no triggers. Sometimes moods just off the rails for no reason. Which to a scientific brain must be sheer torment. Doctors like to think their education and experience give them all the answers. Mental illness ain’t that simple.And it doesnt play by textbook rules.

As for stressors…I think my kid is my biggest stressor right now. She’s like a teenager in a 4 year old body. She ignores everything I say, purposely defies me, acts out physically and sometimes violently. She tells me she doesn’t like me, hates me, doesn’t want me as a mom. I remember it all well because that was me at 14, not 4. I try so hard for this kid and yeah, parenting is tough and a thankless job, but by the mental health professional’s standards…If it contributes to my moods cycling faster and my anxiety soaring, then it’s unhealthy. WTF can I do? I’ve asked for a mute button and straight jacket for her but apparently that stuff is illegal.

(That was sarcastic humor, btw.)

I’m fucking lost. Once again, I ma looking forward to little more than a cool shower and curling up in bed. Nothingness, hopefully in a solid state and not short little bursts. I was nodding off sitting up earlier. Sleep spurts make you more narcoleptic than no sleep.

Lost. Dejected. Pissed off. Wondering what the point to any of this life stuff is and why I even bother. Death would be easy, death would be peace. And even in the event I am wrong and there is an afterlife and I am in hell being tortured by Satan…

It can’t be as bad enduring mental illness.

But that’s this hour, who knows. I might be bouncing off the walls next. The one thing I do know is, so many of the physical symptoms I was having have vanished once the lithium was gone. Stomach problems, lethargy, lack of motivation, and oh the bugs crawling on my skin and scalp…All gone now. But the doctor says it had nothing to do with lithium.

I’d like to throw their precious DSM book at them.