Daily Archives: November 11, 2014

There’s a Name For That


Do you remember when you were a kid and you would find yourself excited about the smallest things?  The sound of the ice cream man coming up the street sent you into fits.  Forget about how over the moon you were the night before Christmas or the day of your birthday party. 

I remember just lying in my bed and dreaming of how amazing it was going to be when I got everything I asked for. 

Fast forward 30 years, and you don’t have a whole lot to be excited about anymore.  Occasionally, the idea of spending a girl’s night out or having a date night with your significant other gets your spirits up.  Mostly, you start to realize that you aren’t getting “excited” about normal things.  Instead, the feelings that you used to describe as butterflies in your stomach now come at the most inappropriate times, and don’t make you feel any type of happiness.

If you’ve been dealing with it for years, you can probably recognize that it feels an awful lot like an anxiety attack. Yet, giving it a name doesn’t give you a reason for it.  Suppose it’s Saturday, and you know Monday that you have to go see the dentist.  You hate the dentist.  He might be the nicest dentist you’ve ever met, but you’ve had more bad experiences than good with your teeth.  Suddenly, you are overcome with what can only be characterized as terror.  Your appointment isn’t even for a couple more days.  What is going on?

Well, I recently discovered something.  There’s a name for that, and it’s called Anticipatory Anxiety.  I’m willing to bet that the crippling effects of this condition have kept you away from more appointments, gatherings, and events than you can count.  So what exactly is it?  I’ve done some research, and I feel the following definition puts it all together quite well.

Anticipatory Anxiety is apprehension about an event prior to its occurrence.  For example, death, danger, or a poor evaluation by others.  Often, this is accompanied by physiological symptoms such as rapid heart rate or muscle tension.  It may also occur in Panic Disorder where an individual fears another panic attack. – Psychology Dictionary

Are you sitting there telling yourself that this all sounds very familiar?  That was the same reaction I had.  It’s difficult to determine whether this is good news or bad.  Now that there’s a name for it, shouldn’t we be able to avoid it?  Some people would lead us to believe that.  However, I’ve been through episodes where I wasn’t even thinking about anything that could lead me to these feelings, but I got them anyway. 

There have been times when I feel like I’m constantly being judged by the outside world.  Especially when it comes to a particular diagnosis. I don’t want it to appear that I am just collecting conditions to use as an excuse later.  I would prefer that people consider what this situation really is.  I am trying to learn the most I can about my condition so that I can improve my quality of life.  Being honest about what is plaguing me is certainly not trying to find an excuse out of my responsibilities or my life. 

I resent anyone who would think otherwise.  If I could snap my fingers and feel “normal”, I would do it in a heartbeat.  I would hope that any of my true friends would know that.  I certainly don’t sit around deciding that I don’t want to go somewhere or do something, so that day I will pretend to be suffering a panic attack. 

What people need to know is that there is a physical as well as an emotional aspect to this horrible disease. While some of us may be better suited to control the symptoms at different times, there will be instances where we have no control over anything.  That, in itself,is what scares me the most.  Losing control over whatever tiny little bit of my life that I thought I could handle. 

Every single day is a battle.  Not every battle can be fought and won.  I long for people to understand that. 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday NOS

I’m wasting time, but I don’t know what else to do with it.

My psychiatrist emailed today, asking if I wanna increase my Wellbutrin dose. I’ve mailed back to ask if she means it or Serdep (Zoloft). She said she thinks my mood will shift ‘soon’.

Rx: 1000mg Lithium, 150mg Wellbutrin, 100mg Serdep

And I told her again how down I am and that I’ve been hearing music for most of the past week or so.

Thanks for the comments on the previous post, hopefully I answered them here.

“Let’s talk about Sex baby”

“Let’s talk about sex baby, Let’s talk about you and me. Lets talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be Lets talk about sex”. Lyrics from a song released back in 1991 by Salt n … Continue reading

IBPF Consumer Track Meeting

Yesterday I attended the IBPF (International Bipolar Foundation) Annual West Coast Meeting – Consumer Track. The one-day consumer track meeting covered quite a bit which I outline here, providing links to more information.


David J. Miklowitz, PhD

Professor of Psychiatry, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, UCLA Semel Institute, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and Department of Psychiatry, Oxford University

Coping with Bipolar Disorder: Eight Practical Strategies for Enhancing Wellness

The 8 Self-Care Principles

  1. Monitor your moods daily/know your early warning signs
  2. Recognize and manage stress triggers
  3. Stabilize your sleep/wake rhythms
  4. Know your position on medications
  5. Develop a mania prevention plan
  6. Work on communication with your family/partner
  7. Obtain reasonable accommodations at work or school
  8. Get regular therapy or join a support group

Eric Arauz, MLER

Adjunct Faculty Instructor, Rutgers/Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Psychiatry.

Conscious Storytelling: Integrating somatic, cognitive, and emotional lucidity in oral storytelling as a recovery tool for serious mental illness, trauma, addiction, and suicidality.

  • Trauma-Informed Recovery
    1. Trauma-Informed Storytelling
    2. Relational Reconstruction
  • Fluencies of Self: Physiological, Cognitive, Spiritual, Social, and Emotional
  • Narrative Identity Processing: “…well-being is associated with the capacity to construct a coherently structured story about a difficult experience.” (Pals, J. L. (2006), Narrative Identity Processing of Difficult Life Experiences: Pathways of Personality Development and Positive Self-Transformation in Adulthood. Journal of Personality, 74: 1079–1110. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.2006.00403.x)
  • Read, Write, Speak
  • Polyvagal Theory: TherapeuticDyad
    • Autonomic Nervous System
    • Social Engagement System
    • Neuroception: Pro-social, Fight or Flight, Freezing/Imminent Death
    • Interventions: Heart to Face, Heart to Voice, Heart to Eyes
    • (Porges, SW, The polyvagal theory: phylogenetic substrates of a social nervous system. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 2001 Oct; 42(2):123-46.)
  • Conscious Storytelling — Speak — “What is Shareable is Bearable.” (Dan Siegel, MD, author of Mindsight)

Genevieve GreenLynn Hart Muto

A Perspective from a Patient and Caregiver

Genevieve Green, 20-year-old mental health activist and public speaker, and Lynn Hart Muto, IBPF Board Secretary and one of IBPF’s founders, gave their perspectives as consumer and caregiver and answered questions.


Maricela Estrada

Hope: The Beginning of my Beautiful Life

Maricela Estrada has written Bipolar Girl: My Psychotic Self, is publishing Beautiful Bipolar Bisexual, and blogs at mentalhealthinspiration.blogspot.com. She was a patient of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health for ten years. Now she works as a Medical Case Worker helping patients with Prevention and Early Intervention.

Los Angeles Department of Mental Health Access Line (24/7): 1 (800) 854-7771

Milestones of Recovery Scale (MORS): Mental health recovery is non-linear.


Thomas S. Jensen, MD

Medical Director of IBPF and psychiatrist in private practice in San Diego. He specializes in general and neuropsychiatry treating children, adolescents and adults, but is especially esteemed for his work with patients with bipolar disorder.

Medication Treatment: A 4-Phased Approach

  • Phase 1: Rapidly stabilize mania or mixed state to help assure safety
  • Phase 2: Introduce agents that dampen cycles and lengthen the frequency of cycles, rather than just dampening the mania
  • Phase 3: Address residual depression
  • Phase 4: Address coexisting conditions

Dr. Jennifer Bahr, ND

Dr. Jennifer Bahr is a licensed naturopathic doctor who specializes in natural treatments for mental illness and endocrine disorders. For more information about her practice in San Diego, visit drjenniferbahr.com.

Healthy Living: A Natural Approach to Living Well with Bipolar Disorder

Focus on Right/Healthful Decisions

  • CBT/Mindfulness
  • Sleep
  • Exercise
  • Support
  • Resilience is Health

Acceptance – Not perfect all the time


Jake Roberts and Kayte Roberts

All in the Family: Overcoming Addiction and Bipolar Disorder Together

Panel discussion led by siblings Jake Roberts and Kayte Roberts addressed addiction and recovery from addiction, co-occurrence of mental illness and addiction, and genetic roots of addiction and mental illness.


Filed under: Acceptance, Alcoholism, Bipolar Disorder, Dual Diagnosis, Health, IBPF, Medication, Mental Health, Psychosocial Education, Public Speaking, Recovery, Substance Abuse Tagged: bipolar disorder, IBPF, International Bipolar Foundation

300th Post

Some days I wrote more than one post but 300 posts is pretty amazing to me. I have never been able to stick to anything this long and the fact that I might actually make a full year of doing something just strikes me as odd. I’m glad that it was writing though. It’s my favorite thing to do. I’ve done it forever and I hope one day to do it on a more professional level. Let’s see what a full year of writing holds.

Today I was listening to one of my favorite comedians Maria Bamford. She is funny and bipolar 2. She shows me that bipolars can be successful. I know there are actors and stuff but I relate to her more.  In fact when one particular actress came out as Bipolar I felt anger. I’ve since gotten over it and am happy that people in the limelight shed more light on our illness.

We went out to the house and they have all of our windows in! I can’t believe how fast things are moving along now. It’s great to see movement each day. It makes me able to enjoy the little light of hope that is in my heart.

Sunday is my 13th wedding anniversary. I can’t believe that someone has stuck with me this long! Life is truely a mystery,

Good day all in all, not so moody and my cold is getting better (I think).


Splat really needs to burn in hell

I was doing okay for a day or so. Not up. Not down. Apathetic and functioning would be the appropriate description. The racing thoughts and inability to concentrate and follow through have reached fever pitch. I have done very little all weekend aside from child and cat care and cooking meals.
I’m not feeling it.
And while I feel a little slothful…I truly don’t care, never have. Housework is not high on my priority list. Short of rodents crawling on the counter, I sincerely doubt some dirty dishes and laundry that needs folded will cause the world to implode.
This is the price for functionality that lasts more than two hours.

There was no trigger. Nothing bad happened. It just…hit me like a speeding train and once again,SPLAT.
I became overreactive, super sensitive, and my anxiety put a hole in the roof.
This shit sucks. Splat syndrome is not my favorite.
I feel lost. My mind is just…present and yet…unable to pull a single thought from the traffic ham in my head. At this point, I want to curl up and go to sleep. Except I’m not tired, I just want to escape this mind frame. Sooner rather than later.

Shrink’s office called today to tell me my doc will be out all week and they needed to reschedule me, was I doing ok. NO, I am NOT fucking okay. I think it’s borderline malpractice to send a known depressive with seasonal affect disorder to an appointment three months away and then try to delay it longer.
I emphasized that I need to see someone, so Wednesday I will face the telepsychiatry screen with the male doctor on staff.
Maybe he will be more focused on helping me feel better than dismissing me as some histrionic who needs to make her shrink happy by faking being well.
I won’t hold my breath.

I don’t get it. How I go from up high, to so low, to the middle, to angry, to tearful and sad…in the blink of an eye. It’s like how I felt when I was pregnant and under attack from all the hormones. I could go from zero to bitch to weepy needy girl in a split second. At least cyclothymia gives you a heads up on occasion. You can feel the storm moving in, feel yourself sinking in the emotional quicksand.
Except I am no longer getting the heads up. I ponder if my mood stabilizer is conking out on me.
I was interested in Latuda until I researched the possible side effects. I can live with many annoyances but the lethargy and sleepiness are a deal breaker. I have to be conscious and lucid to care for my kid or write or do the things I enjoy. I cannot risk narcolepsy by meds. Not to mention it’s unhealthy when you sleep 12 plus hours a day as a side effect from medication. That’s not dealing with the issue, that’s just avoiding it for the wonderful peace of sleep.
Been there, bought the t shirt, burned it, and had a priest exorcise the ashes.

Is it so wrong for me to want an even keel that lasts more than a few hours or a day or two? I am not expecting meds to change my problems. To be happy pills. I just want some fucking stability so my reactions to the roller coaster ride are in proportion and not blown up into some cataclysmic event.
Earlier, the mood dipped so low, I started remember an episode of CSI where a guy stuck a knife in a closet door hinge, then backed into it repeatedly to kill himself and make it look like a murder.
I’m not a suicidal person, so it’s disturbing such a thought would occur to me.
I think it’s a panic response to such a sudden tumble down the mood staircase. Frustration makes you desperate, depression makes everything seem so bleak and dark and hopeless…You reach for anything that might make the pain end.

I made a pact with myself in the hell of high school that I would never kill myself since my detractors liked to joke about voting me most likely to commit suicide. It’s a vow I plan on keeping.
Doesn’t stop the twisted mind from dreaming up fucked up scenarios in which their might be some escape

What pisses me off the most of all…Is in 12 hours, I probably won’t even remember why my mood was so low. By Wednesday when the doctor sees me, I could be manic.
No fucking stability.
And little fucking help or support because they consider cyclothymia very mild and easy to manage.
Which is asinine as Scientology’s alien god.

Okay, I’ve taken venting into ranting territory.
Stick a form in me, I’m done.
On second thought, use a sharpened metal spork. I want my death to be memorable.
That’s a joke, btw.