Daily Archives: November 14, 2014

Bram Stoker, “Dracula”

Despair has its own calms.

Bipolar Flip Flop

Oh, yes, the “here me roar” anthem of yesterday is gone today. Like, dead on arrival gone.
We’ve been invited to R and his wife’s tonight for drinks and chat.
Guess what?
I’d rather gouge my own eyes out with metal sporks than go.
I have to, though. Bex has been circling the drain and she likes Mrs R, so it will do her a lot of good.
Me, on the other hand, well R promised to do me a favor then totally blew me off and when I protested he got bitchy so…
Yeah, the thought of being around him makes me want to puke.
How borderline is that…
Oh, wait, I think it’s perfectly human and reasonable to get angry when someone says they will do something then completely ignores you and gets indignant when you call them on it. But of course, I am mental so I have no legitimate emotions, it’s all mood swings and personality disorders.
Utter rubbish. I’ve been programmed by all this Psychiatric “care”.

My last appointment of psych “care” was two minutes with a guy I’ve seen once before, on a TV screen, and me trying to explain how I feel. All he wants to do is push the anti psychotics approved for bipolar disorder. I express my concerns about the side effects and lack of luck I have had with these drugs…And he frowns disapprovingly, like I am being irrational. Um, wanting to be AWAKE and lucid are rational things. If I lose any more sex drive and such, I may as well be a plastic doll. I’ve gained thirty pounds in three months and that’s bad, but hey, let’s shove some more meds at her that are known to cause weight gain so we can make her feel even worse.
He said my lack of focus is all anxiety. Twenty bloody years they keep saying that and telling me the meds will fix it but they never do. I am ADD in every way and only one doctor has ever cared to address, and treat, the issue, and it was spectacular until insurance said they wouldn’t pay for focalin. I even asked el shrinko about an over the counter herbal that might help and he says there’s nothing.
I need anti psychotics.
Yes, I know they are labeled for bipolar now.
Yes, I know there are “possible” side effects versus “common side effects.”
I just don’t see the benefit versus cost, especially if I am so somnolent I have to take my kid to a sitter while I adjust to being in a coma. Been there, done that, told them where to stick their coma drugs.
Rather than validate my concerns I get this frown and sigh, as an unspoken, “She doesn’t want to get well or she wouldn’t be so resistant.”
More fucking rubbish.
I told him my old docs used to increase med dosages or add a secondary for the seasonal disorder. Again, Wellbutrin will be the only thing that will cure me of that.
I asked, no, insisted, on trying a low dose of Prozac. It may be alike with paxil in chemical make up but it also might be that little extra nudge I need to ride out the winter bullshit.

In an effort to be fair, though, I did do research on the repurposed anti psychotics being used to treat bipolar. And the list of common side effects is just as daunting as the list of uncommon but possible ones. Do I really want to develop a facial tick or have my tongue protruding from my mouth at odd intervals? Seroquel gave me a twitch. It went away once I declared it unfit to give to the fucking sewer system by flushing it.
Needless to say, I left that appointment feeling very frustrated and let down. If two minutes in front of a TV screen not being heard is considered “care”…
I am so fucked.
Weird thing is, as apathetic as he seemed, I asked for him for my next appointment. Least he was all grinny and boasting how me doing well made his day. I don’t need the pressure even if my regular doctor is a nice lady.
But seriously…TWO MINUTES? That’s all I warrant with a file as thick as a collegiate dictionary?
It’s insulting and it’s borderline malpractice. If you’re going to charge over a hundred bucks for a fifteen minute med consult, then spend the fifteen minutes cos I am getting ripped off in every way here.

I’m ranting, aren’t I?
Well, that’s the joy of starting a new med. The first week is a bumpy ride as it is introduced and combines with all your others. Up, down, sideways. It makes perfect sense that I am cycling this way.
I still don’t want to go tonight.
I am still going to force myself to go.
Maybe Mrs R and some wine will make up for the fact I want to hit R over the head with a shovel.
Metaphorically. I wouldn’t sully my shovel, I use that to bury dead cats and it deserves more respect.

In other news…my kid has lost her glasses. I can’t buy her another pair. Lovely. Almost out of catfood, down to the dregs of people food, and the weather has gone from 65 degrees last week to the teens this week.
I’m on six roller coaster rides simultaneously and all the doctors are wondering why I have whiplash.
Thank god stupid isn’t contagious or I’d be declared braindead I am surrounded by so many well meaning but utterly inept people.

I think I will take my double dose of Xanax, as prescribed, and see if it doesn’t calm the typhoon of thoughts and emotions enveloping me right now.

Bring on the wine.
On second thought, bring on the entire damned vineyard.


DAY AT POST

Originally posted on Mum C writes:
I am here Here as always Diligently at post No need to ask me to leave I am the immortal boss Who’ll be here long after you’re gone So bear with me For this is my place I come with sun Which you can utilise Your nature will determine…

Let’s Just Settle This Matter Once and For All….

I’m not pregnant.

No. Not pregnant. Not even a little bit. Not now and not for a while. Not pregnant. Just “fat”.

You see, when I WAS pregnant, I was blessed with a big baby and a condition where I produced a lot of amniotic fluid. I was HUGE. I was MASSIVE. My belly pretty much had it’s own weather system going on. You get the picture.

Because I was underweight before my pregnancy, people noticed a change right away. I had people guessing  I was “in the family way” from five weeks pregnant. Five weeks. The pregnancy test had barely turned positive.

By 9 weeks I was in maternity clothes. By 28 weeks people thought I was full term. By 34 weeks none of my maternity clothes fit my enormous bump, and I constantly had people asking if I was having twins.

“No, no. Just the one” I would say, laughing.
“One! Wow! You’re HUGE!” they would respond, looking at my belly in awe. I would mutter a vague “yeah….” because in what universe is it OK to tell a strange woman she is huge. Even if she is.

Some people would continue to press. Telling me that I MIGHT actually be having twins and not know it. Someones brothers, girlfriends, aunts, cousin had that happen. They saw it on the Discovery channel. Whatever. I would explain to them that I was sure that wasn’t the case given the number of ultrasounds I had had, so detailed that I practically knew my kids’ hair colour. They would shake their head and say “well…I guess you’ll find out soon!” in a vaguely ominous tone that had ME starting to wonder whether I had a hiding twin in there.

Let me clarify. I wasn’t big everywhere. I was underweight when I became pregnant, and my arms and legs pretty much stayed the same as they always had. It was just my belly that was enormous. Now that sounds like a good thing, I’m sure there are women out there who want to hit me with a wooden stick right now. But I can assure you a gargantuan belly comes with its own set of problems.

For starters my hips couldn’t take the strain and started to pull apart. I suffered terrible pain for months, I had to strap my hips together each morning, and by the end of my pregnancy I could barely walk. My stomach muscles separated to an enormous degree (which ultimately resulted in my hernia), and the nerves were affected meaning much of my belly was actually numb. After the birth I had to wear a bandage over my stomach for weeks to train the muscles back together so my guts wouldn’t spill out. My skin literally started to rip apart. To this day I have stretch marks deep enough to fit a finger into. Ain’t no Bio Oil going to help with that!

Around 32 weeks I went for my antenatal appointment and the midwife asked how long I had to go.
“8 weeks.” I told her. She glanced at my bump.
“Oh, honey. You’re not going to make that.” she told me.

The decision was made for me to be induced. But luckily the midwife was right and Master D came of his own accord, 8 pound 4…a few weeks early.

So where am I going with all of this? What is the point?

The point is that I am now the owner of a post baby belly. Of course all mothers are to some extent, but mine is particularly horrendous. I have a mass of extra skin around my belly that no exercising, no diet, and nothing non surgical is ever going to fix. I’m 28 years old and I can never find a pair of jeans that fit, I can’t wear tight t-shirts, and I will never wear a bikini again.

I have noticed a few things on the internet recently celebrating the post baby bodies of mothers. Black and white pictures of stretch marks and women proudly baring their bodies and proclaiming how much they love their stretch marks because their belly was “a home for their child” etc etc. Don’t get me wrong I think it’s great that some women are celebrating themselves. Awesome. Good for you. But I certainly don’t celebrate my belly, and if you saw it you probably wouldn’t either.

The reason being is that I am constantly…CONSTANTLY…asked if I am pregnant. It happens all the time. My family tell me it is because it is only my belly that is fat, the rest of me is (allegedly) quite slim. My body doesn’t fit together so people put two and two together and get five. t don’t know if that makes things better or worse.

Anyway last night Hubster and I went to a work ‘do. I wore a dress that I THOUGHT looked quite good in. I had a glass of wine then switched to soft drink as Lorazapam and alcohol usually results in me falling asleep or making an arse out of myself. Possibly both.

I was introduced to a guy and he immediately said “Nice to meet you Rachael. My wife is pregnant too!”

Usually my response is “no, not pregnant. Just fat.” in a kind of apologetic “don’t-worry-you’re-not-the-first-to-make-that-mistake” kind of tone. But on this occasion, in front of everyone in their business get up, I was left speechless. Laughed, and then slipped away to the toilet to examine my abdomen.

While in there I took this incriminating photo as kind of a record, and started analysing the situation. I honestly the dress thought it hid my horrendous belly. But maybe it looks like a maternity dress? Maybe it was the soft drink? But you don’t go assuming women are pregnant because they drink Lemonade instead of wine. God! If this is me “looking good” then what the hell do people think when I’m having my “fat” days?!

wpid-20141113_181032.jpg

If it were a one off situation I would have laughed it off. But it’s not. It happens a lot. Sometimes it doesn’t bother me, but sometimes it strikes a nerve.

You see, I wanted to be pregnant this year. I never wanted a large age gap between children. But I became sick – physically and mentally. I guess life doesn’t always work out the way you want. I wish I was pregnant a lot of the time. Not just because I do want another child at some point. But because at least I wouldn’t have to go to great lengths to hide my belly. To avoid full length photos. To have to diffuse awkward conversations. Yes, I’m one of a small subset of women who feels better about her image when pregnant than not pregnant. You’re SUPPOSED to have a belly when you are pregnant! And as much as it irritated me; being told you are huge when you are pregnant is a whole lot better than being told you are pregnant when you’re not.

On the plus side (no pun intended), It has given me an idea for Dr. Seuss-esque book..

I’m not pregnant in a room, I’m not pregnant to a groom.
No not pregnant, not am I. Though I struggle to zip my fly.
But I’m not pregnant, I’m just fat. I’m happy with one son, and a cat,
Let’s settle this, for big, for small,
I’m not pregnant. Not at all.

Nice ;)


DX: Bipolar I

Awhile back, I wrote a post about my frustration with what I considered to be a “wastebasket” diagnosis (bipolar not otherwise specified), wishing Dr. Awesomesauce would pick a number and settle the question for good. I was in bipolar limbo; I remember the Vocational Rehab counselor who asked if I was BP 1 or 2, and trying to explain what the hell NOS meant in the larger scheme of things. He was confused, and for that matter, so was I.

But now all that’s past history because I received my definitive diagnosis in the hospital. Funny how a depressive episode and not a manic one got me “upgraded”……if you can call it that. I totally skipped BP 2 and went straight to type 1.

I have mixed feelings about this. I’ve actually long suspected I had the more severe version of the disease because some of my manic episodes have been pretty wild. No, I’ve never walked down Main Street naked, but I did cause a lot of disruption on the job at times when I was working, and there have been a couple of instances when I was so out of control that I nearly had to be hospitalized. Still, I was able to continue my dalliance with denial, almost convincing myself that my case wasn’t really all that serious. And sometimes I’ve even talked myself into believing I wasn’t bipolar at all.

That’s over with now. If nothing else, this diagnosis establishes once and for all that I really do have a major mental illness and I can’t screw around with it anymore. It’s not something I can’t live with or learn how to handle better, but I have to give it a lot more respect than I used to.

If you’re not bipolar, you may be wondering what the difference is between bipolar 1 and 2. On the surface, it’s fairly simple: it’s the degree of mania one experiences. People with bipolar 2 have hypomania rather than full-blown mania—they are often more talkative and productive than usual, they tend to increase their activity and have grandiose ideas about what they can accomplish, and they can become hypersexual, which obviously can be a strain on relationships. On the other hand, they may be more irritable and angry, which is called dysphoric hypomania, and thus quite unpleasant to be around.

People with bipolar 1, on the other hand, have “classic” manic symptoms, many of which are exaggerated versions of the behaviors seen in hypomania and can be very dangerous. We can have hypomania too, either by itself or as a prelude to mania. Most of my own manic episodes have been preceded by a hypomanic state, which is the part of the disorder so many of us yearn to hang onto. I looooves me some hypomania and wish I could live the rest of my life in that condition; unfortunately, there’s no medication or therapy that allows us to keep the hypo without either going off the deep end into depression or sailing off on a manic high.

Not that it keeps us from trying. I myself have been known to drink a half-gallon of coffee and/or manipulate my medications to keep a budding hypomania going; trouble is, I usually don’t stop there, but keep zooming—straight into the danger zone. Only the thin edge of dignity has prevented me from taking actions that would embarrass me forever or put me in danger of incarceration. Otherwise, my manic state usually results in loud arguments in front of restaurants (in the pouring rain, no less), wild shopping sprees (I spent us into bankruptcy twice!), psychosis (gotta love seeing cats running under the linen carts in the ER), even threats to kill people (thank you, Wellbutrin).

Which is why I wasn’t sure if my manic episodes rise to the level of bipolar 1, but apparently the doctor who diagnosed me saw enough in Dr. Awesomesauce’s notes to label it as such. At any rate, it’s settled now, and it will never change because this is not the kind of illness that goes back to a lower level once the patient is better.

I would be lying if I said the label doesn’t hurt a little bit. No one grows up thinking they want to be bipolar 1 (or any other kind) when they get older. But it’s also a good thing because there is no more dancing around it, and God knows I needed to accept this as a permanent part of my life. And at long last, the confusion is over.

 

 


Hope Is Possible

In my mind I have been afraid to hope. I’ve been terrified of everything. Death was always lurking behind the door and it was frightening to live.

I’m actually starting to feel hopeful about my life. My husband and I are having our 13 year anniversary. Instead of worry about something going wrong to make it not happen. I am looking forward to it.

Christmas has always been such a hard time for me but I am feeling whimsical and hopeful about enjoying all the glitter and shine. The closeness of family and just being with my husband and enjoying our life together.

Last night we almost got hit by a truck turning in front of us and instead of it freaking me out and dwelling on it, I just moved forward and realize there are a ton of bad drivers here and my husband is a good driver. It makes me feel warm and safe.

So I guess for the first time I am able to feel hopeful and happy without worrying about every single thing that happens.

 


Perinatal Mental Health

This morning I attended a webinar hosted by Postpartum Support International (PSI) and 2020 Mom Project. The webinar “An Introduction to Maternal Mental Health” taught by Birdie Gunyon Meyer, RN, MA, CLC, PSI Education & Training Chairperson. Postpartum Support International promotes awareness, prevention and treatment of mental health issues related to childbearing. 2020 Mom Project seeks to bring about change by the year 2020 to address the maternal mental health crisis.

Perinatal (during pregancy and postpartum) Mood & Anxiety Disorders (PMAD) 

Screening Questions (among others)

  • Are you feeling sad or depressed?
  • Do you feel more irritable or angry with those around you?
  • Are you having difficulty bonding with your baby?
  • Do you feel anxious or panicky?
  • Are you having problems with eating or sleeping?
  • Are you having upsetting thoughts that you can’t get out
    of your mind?
  • Do you feel as if you are “out of control” or “going crazy”?
  • Do you feel like you never should have become a mother?
  • Are you worried that you might hurt your baby or yourself?

The mental health of both mothers and their partners can be affected.

Get Help

  • You are not alone.
  • You are not to blame.
  • You can feel better with help.

Resources


Filed under: Mental Health Tagged: Birdie Gunyon Meyer, perinatal anxiety, perinatal bipolar disorder, perinatal depression, Perinatal Mental Health, perinatal OCD, perinatal PTSD, PMAD, postpartum psychosis, Postpartum Support International