Daily Archives: August 7, 2014

Shock Out Of It

I wrote a book. Yes. I just have to finish editing it, make a cover page, and format it, and I’ll start distributing it. I’m working on a website for it, and will post the links when I get there. I’ve been busy lately.

I moved apartments, to a nice one bedroom, from a bachelor with a shared kitchen, and my friend (and owner of Sanderro Farms) Michele moved in. I’ve been going to the barn every day and I’m riding a new horse – Sully. He’s amazing. He’s a 15 year old Trakehnr and he is worth his weight in gold. I love him. Michele owns him and suggested I lease him. I’m so happy with him.

Psychiatric-wise.. my Lexapro is now 20mg. Its helping more at a lower dose. I’m still kinda hypo (manic) so I think dropping it more, or even getting rid of it would be great. Dr B got me in with an assessment psychiatrist who verified schizoaffective disorder as my current diagnosis, and changed the Lexapro (Cipralex in Canada) dose. He is referring me on to a permanent psychiatrist, and Dr B is very happy.

I saw Dr B on the 1st, before I moved (stressful day) for the Risperdal Consta shot. I told him arm sucked, and said to administer it in the bum from now on. He said “Wow, that’s a big needle!” after putting on the 20ga 2″ and I had to laugh. Good thing needles don’t bug me. It didn’t hurt. Or ache. Or anything, except do what the meds supposed to do – work.

The Piportil was given with, I believe, an 18ga needle, which is thicker than the 20ga (for example, an 8 gauge needle is fucking HUGE, and a 30ga is tiny, that’s how the gauge system works) and sometimes I felt it. The Risperdal Consta is so much easier and is less thick (Piportil was oil based) so its a painless injection (in the bum, at least). That, and Dr B is good at giving shots. Even the most painful ones don’t hurt much more than a pinch. It’s usually after that hurts. Everyone knows how their arm feels like after a tetanus shot. It’s not usually the needle itself!

Enough of my needle-obsessed rambling. I have no side effects from Risperdal Consta anymore. I can still reach orgasm *cough* uh, multiple times in a row, quickly. I don’t have prolactin issues. No psychosis. No pain, redness or swelling after the shot. No EPS, no TD. I have some mild restlessness, but take Artane as needed. The worst restlessness was after the first shot, getting adjusted, but now its pretty much gone.

Cognitively, I’m a lot better than I was on Dope-a-max  I still lose the occasional word, but that’s about it. I’m completely off Topamax now. I’m definitely not dull, I’m not sedated, I don’t have anhedonia. The dose might have to go up because I am a bit “up”, a little more than on a mood stabilizer, but I’m functioning well. We’ll see after I’m off Lexapro.

I’m looking for a job. I applied in person and online to 10 places today at the Transition To Employment office (well, my worker drove to the places to apply with me). We’re doing more next week. Living with Michele (awesome roomie!) has me on a routine. I can’t wait to start working. The schizoaffective disorder is well controlled right now. I’m stable, I’ve gained weight (no period yet, even though my prolactin was checked and is fine, but hey, I hate periods) and I’m a lot healthier.  I’m at 107lbs currently, up from 98, two months ago. This is my new “high”. People still say I’m “tiny” or “too small”.

I don’t fear I’ll gain too much weight. I’m eating normally. My body is adjusting to my appetite being back. I would wake up covered in cold sweat some days. Apparently that can be because the metabolism is readjusting. My weight fluctuates daily, but I exercise a lot, I’m eating better (thanks Michele!) and I don’t feel I’m going to gain a lot. The gain is slow, and has been relative with my eating. I’m not obsessing over it, when I was losing, I weighed myself a lot more and would panic when I saw the number go down.

Now I feel a bit “ah crap” when I see it go up, but also “Oh, good!”. I still need to wear a belt and a lot of my clothes don’t fit, but the weight will distribute eventually. I don’t feel my bones jamming into the bed as much. Weight gain is positive for me. I was told I’ll likely settle at my “set weight” of around 115-120lbs. I weigh myself out of curiosity now, not worry. Dr B is very happy I’ve gained weight. I look better.

My biggest downfall is my shoulder. It’s been killing me. I signed the forms with Dr A, a renowned ortho surgeon who is doing arthroscopic rotator cuff repair in 11 months. Surgery is a GO, but he has a waiting list. I couldn’t ask for a better ortho surgeon, though. He’s also very kind and not as gruff as the other ortho surgeons I’ve seen in my time (I’ve seen many througout my life). He answered all of my moms questions about the surgery, and was very thorough, and didn’t force me into a decision. He said if I change my mind, just to call.

Unfortunately, I ended up in the useless ER for shoulder pain 2 weeks ago. They gave me a shot of toradol (helped so much, until it wore off) and told me to see my GP. NSAID’s cause ulcers if used for long periods, and I hate narcotics. Dr B suggested Tylenol 3 at first, but I don’t want to risk tolerance and addiction, not to mention a simple T3 makes me woozy and I can’t drive or function much.

So he is giving me Tramadol. I know its an opiod, same strength as T3, but released over 24 hours. It works well so far. I don’t have the drunk-feeling side effects. I take 100mg a day. He said not to take more than 300mg, that 200mg would be best, but the 100mg is fine for me.

I have a horse show on August 16th. I’m showing in the Hack Division. It’s Road Hack (faster, they ask for extended trot and a hand gallop) to Show Hack (fancier, look good in this one) and then Pleasure Hack (long reins, relaxed horse, slower). Maybe I’ll win a ribbon! I’ve got my english garb together. I’m excited. So is Dr B! He’s excited about the show, and has never told me not to ride. I really appreciate his support.

My mom may be coming to the show (my SIL is due on August 14, so we’ll see) and is giving me a pin to wear on my blouse (on the neck, centre, front) for good luck. I hope she can come. I’m braiding Sully (he’s a light gray, so he’ll need a major bath!) and he’s going to look amazing.

That’s my life right now. Also looking for a D&D group to join with Michele. We might have a Pathfinder group set up. Awesome. I miss roleplaying. If you asked about my life on a d20, I’d say I rolled an 18 this week.

Anxiety Had Made Me Its Bitch

Today’s my kid’s 5th birthday. Unlike last year when I busted my butt to give her a party and gifts, this year I have conceded to let my mother throw the shindig. She does it anyway, and always goes overboard, to the point where they will sit home for a week with no food. But she’s the good grandma who buys stuff and it is all about making the kid like you. Not. It’s liberating, in a way, to just relinquish control this way. I’ve got so much going on at once this week and my mind is spinning anyway plus I am broke. This works. After the disappointment of last year where the kids came, ate, complained, and made off with their party gifts and candy without so much as a thanks…Guess my fragile ego can’t deal with it. Nor can my non existent budget.

So…the circus begins at 6 tonight. And it generally is a circus, minus the cool stuff like elephant rides and lion tamers. I dread it, but today is about my kid. I’ll manage. Albeit while gnashing my teeth into dust and making my gums bleed. I always go with a positive “maybe it won’t be so bad” mentality but I am rarely proven wrong for being filled with dread. My family puts the fun in dysfunctional.

I went to the shop today. Did fuck all aside from some computer work. My kid’s got a physical this afternoon. Least it’s with the nurse practitioner.I couldn’t handle her chipper pediatrician right now. I still need to register her for school on line. Tomorrow will be getting her kindergarten shot and taking paperwork to the school. Funny thing about my anxiety disorder and neuroses…She’s this little girl going to this big unfamiliar school…And she’s excited. It’s mommy the crazy who’s having panic attacks, wondering how will she find her way around, and what if the kids are mean to her, or what if she gets set home the first day for one of her screaming mimis…I’m a trainwreck with a plane crash thrown in.

And my sadness is immense that bright and early Saturday I have to bid farewell to my other half. I am going to miss Becca so much. It’s been an amazing summer. Adapting to her absence is going to be a bitch. Which is hysterical because before she got here, I was so nervous and convinced she’d hate me that I would spend every day for three months desperate for her to leave. I am so happy to have been wrong on that count.

Anxiety be thy name, anxiety, I am your bitch. But the moods aren’t crashing up and down so at least it’s a respite from one facet of my insanity. I’ll take the small victories.

Sometimes they’re all you’ve got.

New Psychiatrist

I have been with my therapist and psychiatrist for seven years. I love my therapist! He is a walking contradiction. He's tatted up, has piercings, and wears combat boots. He curses freely. And is awesome at what he does.

My psychiatrist on the other hand is different. We didn't gel as easily. He's a little stoic. And over the past few months I have not been happy with his care. I was hospitalized twice in a year on his watch. In February 2013 the Tegretol made my liver sick, so I had to come off immediately. (I've had a number of side effects over the years from my psych meds). I had been stable for six years so he did not replace the Tegretol with any other meds. I was only on 100mg of Seroquel. I spoke to my friend/colleague/acupuncturist about my sick liver. She suggested I increase my water and fiber intake and start adding chia or flax to my food. I took her suggestions and within two months my liver healed itself. The liver can do that.

The second hospitalization occurred in June 2014. About two or three months prior my psychiatrist took me off of Lithium because it was subtherapeutic (meaning, there wasn't enough of the medicine in my system to be doing any good) and it was also exacerbating my psoriasis. Again, he did not replace the Lithium. And I was only on one medicine. Within two or three months I was manic again and hospitalized for five days. I don't last long on one medicine. I need to be on two medicines at all times.

When I was in IOP (intensive outpatient therapy) I got suggestions from the nurse on great psychiatrists. She gave me two women. This past week I had my initial visits with both of them. They were both great. However, one is in my insurance network and one isn't. The one that isn't in my network charges $450 for the initial visit and $200 for each subsequent visit. The one in my network takes my insurance and I don't have a copay. Of course I liked the more expensive one more! Thank god I make a great salary and can afford to pay so much for my healthcare.

The psychiatrist that I ultimately chose was amazing. She was very thorough. She spent an entire hour with me. She painstakingly went through my medical history: asking about mental and regular health, asking about my family history, asking about my six episodes (three manias and three depressions). She then made some suggestions. I was impressed with her care and look forward to working with her. 

The psychiatrist that takes my insurance suggested I take a third medicine. I informed her that the Latuda has given me anxiety and restlessness, she said she could give me a medicine for the restlessness. I declined. My original psychiatrist lowered the dose and the restlessness seems to have gone away. I am not trying to add any more psych meds to my regimen. 

I just want to encourage you all to actively self-advocate when it comes to self-care. You have to control your care. Know what questions to ask. Know your rights. And don't blindly take any medicine. Listen to your body. Know how you respond to different medicines and medicines at different doses. To be quite honest with you, the majority of psych meds come with side effects. But the side effects can be managed or minimized. The sucky thing is that it is trial and error. So please be patient. It takes time.

Here are the holistic suggestions from my new psychiatrist.

I Choose Love

My favorite meditation on my Deepak Chopra Living in Love app on my iphone is called “I Choose Love.” That is the mantra that is repeated throughout the meditation. Most of the time when I’m meditating, my mind is just wandering around the universe, wondering if I have any yogurt in the refrigerator? Did I forget to pick up a prescription at Walgreens? Is it time to get a new pedicure? If so, what color?

For the first time today when I was meditating, I was actually able to focus on and experience the mantra “I Choose Love.” A chill went through my body as I realized that when it comes to Love, my cup runneth over. I am so incredibly blessed with this huge, and hugely supportive family of parents, brothers, sisters, brother and sister-in-laws, and dearly precious nieces and nephews, not to mention cousins, aunts, uncles, and some very rockin’ friends. I am blessed and I am grateful.

In my last post I mentioned that my ECT doc suggested that I may need to do ECT once a week for life. In talking to my therapist about it, she thought that notion was completely ridiculous (thank you therapist!!) and she also pointed out that there is a BOATLOAD of evidence showing that meditation, yoga and exercise help create new neural pathways in the brain, and they all strongly aid in the reduction of depressive symptoms. So, I’ve decided to keep up with the daily meditation, yoga, exercise, and supplement taking (as well as psychiatric meds) and I called and cancelled Friday’s ECT appointment.

I choose LOVE, including self-love (no I’m not talking about masturbating) as my primary treatment for depression. I believe!! Click here for my favorite most uplifting song regarding believing. I’m no bible thumper (you may have noticed my fantastically foul mouth) but one thing I really DO love is gospel music. I love to sing it too!! It can really spank my mood into submission.

On a totally unrelated note (hold on, I’m hitting the brakes so I can flip a bitch!) I am going to the Broncos game tomorrow!!! I am SO EXCITED and I pray that we smash Seattle into the ground!! GO BRONCOS!!!!! I’ll see ya on the flipside. PEACHES!!

Filed under: Bipolar, Bipolar Depressed, Bipolar Disorder, Bipolar ECT, Bipolar Exercise, Bipolar Gratitude, Bipolar Meditation, Bipolar Yoga, Psychology Shmyshmology Tagged: Bipolar, Go Broncos, Hope, Mental Illness, Psychology, Reader