Daily Archives: December 11, 2014

Note to self: Please stop acting insane!

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Really hate this disease/illness/hell today. My adrenalin spikes are so high that when they happen, they make me behave in an extreme and obsessive and insane way. My friends, even ones who know I have this illness, find it extremely difficult to deal with me and understand why I am behaving this way. I don’t blame them, who wants a rash, obsessed, crazy person around. I mean when a friend says “You’re doing it again. Please settle down a little” it is a wake up call, and it is embarrassing beyond belief… And not only that, am I now supposed to contact this friend again? The issue that I was going on and on about is drowned in this manicky behavior and never gets addressed. It seems to be happening more this year than in the past years… Lithium, Seroquel, whatever, it isn’t controlling this manicky aspect of my illness. And then I feel like absolute crap that I behaved like a lunatic again. WTF am I supposed to do? Call my psychiatrist so he can add on a 3rd medication with triple the awful side effects? Oh My God. Leave me the eff alone, leave my brain alone. Why do I have to live in this hell? This hell of embarrassment and chagrin and fear? Fear because I am so afraid all my friends will leave me, all my family will leave me because of my strange, obsessed, extreme behavior.  Tis the season, tis the season alright, of being as annoying, extreme, and frightening as I can be. Ho ho ho.

Is there not a positive way to look at this too? That a friend realized I was acting manicky and cared enough to check me thereby stopping me in my manic tracks? That means I have good, I mean GOOD friends. My friends, even though I am acting really annoying, recognize that that’s not me and give me a warning. Who could ask for better friends?

Even though I have this disease, I have friends and family who look out for me and let me know when I am behaving in a manicky way, so that I recognize what I am doing and stop. Ok, lets go with this version, where everyone is helping me overcome my illness’ symptoms and somehow banish, banish, banish the fear.

And if you readers have no idea what I am talking about, consider yourselves very lucky.


The Holidays

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Merry Christmas, Season’s Greetings, Happy Holidays – whichever you prefer – this festive occasion can be quite a challenge for many people, and even more so for those with bipolar disorder. That’s because there are so many triggers out there – so much that can bring on anxiety, bipolar symptoms and even lead to full-blown episodes.

Probably the best thing I do for myself over the holidays is to keep my expectations low. Know that a certain amount of shopping is necessary, but keep it to a minimum. Be careful of busy parking lots and crowded stores. They can really set off your anxiety. Try purchasing gift certificates or buying on-line. Avoid drinking alcohol and stay away from holiday parties where drinking and crowds may be an issue. Over-stimulation is something you need to be aware of in order to reduce anxiety and exhaustion. If you’re travelling over the holidays take extra care (read my blog post called “travel”).

Be kind to yourself and know your own limits. It’s okay to say no. You don’t have to attend every event you’re invited to. Reduce your obligations. And if you must be somewhere, reduce the amount of time you spend there. Always have a safe person you can go to if you’re feeling over-whelmed, and have a place you can go to get away from it all and take a break if need be. Maintain your personal schedule as much as possible – especially eating, sleeping and taking your medication. Exercise, such as yoga, can help too.

Mostly, spend time with those who make you feel comfortable. Rely on your support system and avoid pressure to do the things you really don’t want to do. Know that everything will likely not go off without a hitch, but try to go with the flow and just let things be. That will help to control your anxiety and hopefully reduce your risk of bipolar triggers.
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Manic Foot in Mouth Disease

All the tweaking of the anti deps has made me semi manic. Not like mad shopping and bed hopping manic, just manic in thought. Wayy too much mental energy.
I’ve been posting in my random blog. I think my long topic non specific rants are hysterical, they truly reflect the hyperbole that is me.
Someone pointed out they can be cruel and hurtful, too.
I’m not sure how, but okay. I am renowned for sticking both feet, socks shoes and all in my mouth.
I won’t be apologizing for anything I write/speak/believe with conviction.
I could apologize if these are delivered with cruelty.
Frankly, when you’re manic you just don’t pay it much mind.

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I did fuck all today aside from child and cat care. Wasn’t feeling the getting out of “jammies” and being social thing. R asked me to visit him at the shop. Which translates into, “The people I really like are busy and I am bored, so come keep me from being lonely.”
I was, for once, glad my dad’s crew showed up for a raking leaves yard clean up to get me out of feeling obligated to visit R.
And yes, after all his nasty comments last week…Unless I am “working”, being around him feels like an obligation. You cannot call me a parasite who uses you, then invite me to visit and offer to buy me smokes and lunch, only to hold it against me when I displease you.
He did this exact same thing last year when I didn’t return his calls in a fashion he considered timely.
The niceness in me wants to be, well, nice.
That hurt grudge holding bitch in me keeps reminding, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.”
People are who they are. And R is toxic to me psychologically.
The asshole boss thing, well, aren’t they all.

The school did this thing where the kids got to pick out a gift for mom and dad. My kid got her cousin something rather than me. It stung. It shouldn’t but it did.

I keep trying to remind myself it’s gonna be a bumpy fucking ride cos I am hormonal and the med changes will mess me up.
I’m hypersensitive.
But unlike the denial laden people around me…sometimes I get my feelings hurt. I don’t want a wahhmbulance. It just helps to say, “This hurt me.”
Though those around me would have me believe any display that isn’t psychological binary code is akin to the bubonic plague breaking out.

My random blog made me acutely aware of just how sensitive and militant I am about people with mental disorders who are denial and view meds as this bad thing. I’m the first to admit the side effects suck, they are prescribed too often when not necessary, blah blah blah.
But being made to feel weak because you admit you have a genuine disorder that is made better by meds…
Yeah, I get up on my soap box and start firing verbal bullets.
Because I have tried all the other methods. Exercise, sunlight, herbal supplements, talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, hypnosis, charka therapy, color therapy…
It wasn’t until the mood stabilizers that things changed for the better.
How can anyone see a down side to that?
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I can also have levity when it comes to mental health issues. But I am not mocking those who have them (including myself). Sometimes, humor is the only tether we have to keep from saying, “The haters are right, I don’t need meds.” They won’t be the ones going off the rails and hurting themselves or others if that happens.
So instead of letting others wield the stigma as a weapon..You learn to laugh.

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Aftermath

We went on that next morning, and I somehow stumbled through the day.  I didn’t know what was going on with Bob until that night after we put the kids to bed.  He sat me down and started talking.  He said he didn’t understand why he had acted the way he had last night except that he must have just been in shock.  He was now very angry and very upset.  He said he didn’t know if he could forgive me.

On and on he vented, telling me that he had talked to his dad, who had said he should divorce me—and he wondered if his dad had the right idea.  For the first time since I had been diagnosed, I was afraid for my marriage.  I just listened to him talk and tried to reassure him as best I could.

We went several months in this way.  Bob became very paranoid and controlling.  I had to report to him every time I left the house, even to pick up Rachel from school.  We talked in between classes when school started up again.  I tried to be the kind of wife he wouldn’t want to leave, stressing myself over everything in the house from meals to laundry to our sex life.  We went to a counseling session with our pastor, which didn’t seem to do Bob any good.  We went to see my counselor once but didn’t seem to make any headway there, either.  But every few weeks, we would sit down and discuss our future.

It got so bad that I actually started making plans for what I would do if Bob divorced me.  I decided I would move back to Starkville and try to work for Mississippi State University, doing what I was doing at my current job for them.  I went so far as to call the current head of the English Department and get information about what papers they would need from me in order to hire me on a part-time basis and called an apartment complex there to see what the rent on a one-bedroom apartment would be if I had to leave home.

But I finally got the courage to sit Bob down and explain to him that I would not give him a divorce even if he left me.  I said I had no intentions of leaving him for anyone.  I said I would not sign papers for an irreconcilable differences divorce because I believed in our marriage and I didn’t want to do that to the kids.  I told him he didn’t have grounds for a divorce under Mississippi law and would likely be laughed out of court if he did try to get one.  That ended any more talk about it, but we still had a long way to go to build trust.


Round Round, Bipolar Round

(I get around)

I’m always interested in the physical causes and consequences of bipolar. Here’s A Trip Into Bipolar Brains – don’t worry, you won’t need a seat belt or barf bag. Want the tl;dr? Bipolar 1 people have less brain volume and higher volume in the caudate nucleus and other areas associated with reward processing and decision making. Bipolar ii have less robust white matter (white matter can’t jump?). Bipolar people have more cerebrospinal fluid (comes in handy when the beer runs out) and reduced white matter integrity (more so in bipolar ii). 

A study of 68 bipolar people aged 14-25 who attempted suicide found abnormalities in the prefrontal cortex.

The brain again – although ECT affects memory, apparently it increases neurocognitive function in people with treatment resistant bipolar.

More proof that the words celebrity and bipolar are a waste of space. We will probably have to declare war or an embargo on Lil’ Kim, because she called K. Michelle a prozac popping bipolar bitch. Kim would also like Michelle to stop using her as a respirator (?) to sell stuff. Could it all get any more meaningless? Plus, I don’t think monotherapy antidepressant treatment for bipolar has caught on yet.

As usual, bipolar people have been killing people and police people have been killing bipolar people and bipolar people have been killing themselves. You don’t really want links do you?

An 18 year old talks about her experience of being bipolar at school in the UK.

I looked up Hagop Akiskal on bipolar, as recommended by my psychiatrist – who also warned me that reading him can sometimes be challenging, because the writing isn’t great. Here’s a bit about the proposed extra bipolar subtypes:

Furthermore, evidence is now compelling that hypomania in association with antidepressant treatments requires familial bipolar diathesis for bipolar disorder (bipolar III). There also exist clinical depressions superimposed on hyperthymic temperament (bipolar IV), ref erring to individuals with subthreshold hypomanic traits rather than episodes.
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And he suggests that many other conditions are actually soft bipolar conditions. There’s also some interesting stuff in that paper about the history of bipolar diagnosis. It isn’t new work, but I think it’s worth a read.

My bipolar is not soft. It could beat up Lil’ Kim without breaking a sweat. So there.

I was going to tell you I’d learned a new word while reading that paper (mixity), but when I googled, it didn’t exist.

Roughghost, I think you asked about the usefulness of more subtypes; here are his words on it:

… the clinical management of affective disorders will not improve significantly until there is recognition that many, if not most, depressions presenting clinically are, at some level, bipolar. As counter-intuitive as this suggestion might be, there is increasing evidence in its support summarized in this paper.

I’m quoting this just because I liked it:

The art of clinically managing these patients goes much beyond anticonvulsant concoctions. It requires the art of caring for temperamentally restless—albeit charming— individuals with troubled lives.

Christmas Dress Up…Doggy Style

So the other day I was looking for something in my Mum’s study. And I came across this.

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I may have laughed until I nearly threw up. But once I stopped, I gotta say, it was a bit of a shock. I knew these kind of things existed. You just never expect it to be in your family. 

But then I thought…hey…who am I to judge? Christmas time is the one time of the year where I feel strangely compelled to dress up my dog and take ridiculous photos. It is my Christmas tradition. Piss off the dog. Laugh at the photos. (Relax. No animals are harmed. Monsiour Bark-a-lot is tortured for all of 30 seconds and then given a bone for his troubles). Truth be told I’d probably dress Master D up as well if he was still young enough accept all clothes choices I didn’t give him. Hell, sometimes I even dress myself up. But hey, we won’t go into that. Back to the matter at hand. Dogs.

Sadly, the Monsiour’s traditional reindeer horns (ok. ANTLERS, as Master D always has to correct me) had gone missing. So I lent him my Christmas hat which I thought was exceedingly generous seeing as he probably has fleas, and I probably don’t.

As always, as soon as I put the hat on him he started getting all wild. The situation was not helped by both my Mum’s dogs barking at him and trying to attack him, clearly saying “What the hell, man! Red is NOT your colour!” So, all I got was this photo, where it looks like I’m the handler of some kind of rabid beast with a vaguely disproportionate tail size (Monsiour bark-a-lot would now like to inform you that his tail is both of adequate size and functionality).

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So I asked again nicely. And he was all “Dude…do I HAVE to? This happens every year!”

And I was like “Seriously. Last week during a family dinner you ran away. I chased you for fifteen minutes around the street, in a dress, in full view of our neighbours who I only ever seem to converse with in passing while I am chasing you. You tried to get into someone else’s house. You peed on my neighbours letterbox. It was only when I threw my hands in the air and gave up that you finally returned. Then you barked at the front door to be let in, took a dump on the doorstep and ran off again. You owe me one, buddy. Big time.”

So he let me take the photo. Another happy Christmas snap.

I hate you.

I hate you.

But I didn’t stop there. A few days later at Kmart I saw a doggy elf suit for only $5. Which I thought was a bargain, because let’s face it, you can’t put a price on doggy elf suits.

I tried it on, and he actually seemed to kind of like it. He kept proudly stretching with this kind of “come hither” expression on his face. Maybe elf costumes are like the dog version of “suiting up”. So I managed to get this photo of him, which, if you could see under his killer eyebrows, you would notice him staring serenely into middle distance.

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Of course I did find him later trying to maul the costume in a particularly vicious manner. So who knows what dogs think.

Happy Holidays from the slightly eccentric Finding My Sunshine family!


What Bipolar Disorder Really Feels Like. In cartoon pictures!

From: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/18/bipolar-disorder-ellen-forney_n_5823138.html.

About 2.6 percent of American adults — nearly 6 million people — have bipolar disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). But the disease, characterized by significant and severe mood changes, is still dangerously misunderstood.

Bipolar disorder is vastly different from the normal ups and downs of everyday life, but many have co-opted the term to refer to any old change in thoughts or feelings. The mood swings in someone with bipolar disorder, sometimes also called manic depression, can damage relationships and hurt job performance. It has been estimated that anywhere from 25 to 50 percent of people with bipolar disorder attempt suicide at least once.

Artist Ellen Forney detailed her diagnosis with bipolar disorder in the graphic memoir Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and  Me. Forney previously shared her story with us, specifically detailing how her bipolar disorder has affected her creative work.

Below are some poignant pages from the memoir, the memoir, along with unique commentary into how these panels came to be and what they mean to Forney, in her own words.

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