Daily Archives: February 23, 2015

I may be crazy….

Ha ha. I am a little crazy that’s what makes me great :-)

But this post is about the fact that the meds that are supposed to help us can often leave us worse off than not being medicated. I know it is extremely different for each and every person but I see too many people (in my ever so humble opinion) that are simply on too much medication. When you start talking about 6,7 or more meds all supposedly to help with mental illness I start to wonder. I’m not saying there aren’t people who may truly need this many meds. But in my experience less is more. I know too many people who have been on meds that have their brain worse off than when they started. I truly believe if that is the case, and especially if you as the patient feel like it’s not good. That it probably isn’t good. Maybe you need a new doctor, or maybe you’ve been on meds for so long you need to detox and start over.
We all change as we get older mind and body. And especially for women who’s hormones can change suddenly and rapidly at times it is so important to pay attention and learn to trust yourself.

I know too many people who don’t want to talk about a label. And while I completely understand and sympathize with that. I also think those people are doing themselves a disservice. The more you know about yourself and your illness, at least for me, the more you are able to work towards being and staying healthy. It doesn’t change much about what is but it can change the perception and allow you to take your power back. You aren’t held hostage anymore by your thoughts and emotions you can control them.

I want to stop taking my meds sometimes. I wonder if I have changed enough in my thinking to handle life without them. But you know what I have to remember? I have to remember that my meds are the reason why I feel this way. I am in control because of them and they allow me to behave in the way that everyone else has always seemed to be able to. For me my decision is to take my meds daily and everyday I make that choice that makes my life that much easier. I am finding myself able to concentrate on things I haven’t been able to, maybe ever. I am finding that when I decide I want to change my thoughts and actions that I actually can do that.

Please listen to yourself and those around you. Remember that you are not alone and that many people walk beside you knowing their lives have been changed by meds and/or therapy. Don’t ever let anyone make you feel like you are less than or broken because you are not. You have a strength that most people can’t even imagine having. You have a power over yourself and your thoughts that many people never learn. And most important God loves you just the way you are. If you truly believe God is good than there is a greatness that will come from even the most ugly places. He won’t let your life mean nothing and He won’t let you walk your path all alone. I had a friend tell me recently when discussing a specific situation that I am a better person than her. I don’t believe that for one second, as she is amazing, but it did allow me to know that I am able to do things many people can’t or won’t do in their lives. And those same people can handle other situations better than I can. It’s ok for us to have limits and know what we can and can’t do. It isn’t a judgment or negative thing it’s simply a fact and the way it is. It doesn’t mean that we can’t change and learn, it just means that sometimes we should back off a little bit and allow someone else to take the lead.

I love my meds!! I’m so excited to see what the next 6 months to a year brings. And I know that the only place to go from here is happiness and peacefulness and I look forward to having those things for the rest of my life.

Be blessed!!


Deconstructing My Own Mental Illness (Avoid if you hate very long posts)

I have issued myself a challenge. My brain has been hypomanic today. Lots of swirling thoughts, little plucking one out of the air to follow through. So I am going to attempt to write a coherent, cohesive piece trying to figure my own mental dysfunction out. Deconstruct so that I can make sense and put it back together so maybe it adds up properly.

I can remember from around age 8 (I only remember this because my sister was two at the time and that was the year she tried to ride our geriatric dog and got her face torn open) having anxiety issues. A bug would buzz by my ear, I would become convinced it was inside my head. My parents laughed at me, told me I was ridiculous. Was this the start of the anxiety or did my anxious high strung mother somehow imprint me long before that?
I don’t know.
We moved to a rural area where I was immediately singled out from age 11 for taunting and tormenting. For five years, I was constantly harassed, beat up, spit on. I started getting stress stomach aches that affected my former honor roll grades and attendance.
Did this leave a mark? Yes.
Is it mental illness?
I am more prone to think of it as some sort of post traumatic stress thing. It was groups of people who terrorized me so I became agoraphobic and scared of crowds and wide open spaces.
But that generalized anxiety was always there, and the panic attacks set in around age 13.

At age 17, I decided it was my geographical location that was making me so anxious and sad. I had a part time job, found my own place and moved out.
It wasn’t two months before my stability crumbled in spite of my determination.
Then came the spring thaw, or as its known for me, seasonal change bringing on mania. I changed to a job I knew moved too fast for me to handle, changed to an apartment I knew I couldn’t afford, started seeing a guy I wasn’t even interested in, went on shopping sprees…Hello, manic episode.
By September, I’d taken two leaves from my job after a demotion because my depression and anxiety had skyrocketed. They basically told me I could quit or be fired. So I quit. And fell into the seasonal depression.
To the point the boyfriend ditched me because I was no longer happy funny ball manic me.

What followed was periods of functionality, mania,and long periods of depression. I would have screaming fits, throw things, crawl into the bath tub or a closet and sob for hours. I’d stop bathing, stop getting dressed.
After months of this, over and over again, I realized by age 20 something was wrong.
The mental health center pushes you to see the doctor and get medicated.
I tried that when I was missing so much work and all it had done was over sedate me.
So I went in thinking, “This is just my personality, I come from a dysfunctional home, that’s all it is, I can fix myself.”
A year later, after a manic cycle followed by a months long depression in which my mom was doing my laundry for me because I couldn’t keep up with basic functions or hygiene…I broke down and agreed to the medication regime.
Winters were rough, but less so.
Spring and summers, on an anti depressant,I was manic and having a blast. Because I was diagnosed as “dysthymic” and antidepressants can spark manic episodes in bipolar.
So it went, year after year, until 2002. Over 11 jobs, 7 addresses, a mentally nomadic existence…
Once my disability was granted, I became more stable as far as residence. The highs and lows continued because I was still under the “dysthymic” diagnosis. When they started giving me Seroquel, I decompensating drastically. The next doctor took me off Xanax and gave me Seroquel for anxiety.
I became a recluse shut in for over a year.
That was when I hit the wall.
But I was so non functional, I had to beg my sister to call around and see if she could find a psych doc who’d take my insurance.

It was the best move ever made. Dr. M was amazing. She immediately diagnosed bipolar, put me on mood stabilizers, gave me a dose of Xanax that could manage the anxiety, and she was willing to run behind on her other appointments when I was having a rough time and needed more attention from her.
If I had side effects or felt the seasonal was crippling me, she would listen and make med adjustments. I had trouble sleeping and told her I didn’t want to be drugged off my gourd, she found something that would work but not render me useless.
I told her I was having horrible luck with concentration and focus and following through…She prescribed Foculin.
Of course, she gave me samples, and within three months, I had finished three novels I’d been working on for years. I felt like a honed blade, so sharp, so capable.
The instant I couldn’t get samples or afford the Focalin it all went away.
It never made me hyper, never kept me awake, never heightened my anxiety…It just fixed the problem.

Then she left. And I found myself pregnant (if they tell you that you can’t have children, sometimes…they are wrong) and I couldn’t take meds. That began a long chapter of hormones gone wild and mental illness run amok. There were times I wanted to cut the baby out of my own belly so I could have my mind back and give it the medications that made it better.
She wasn’t a full day old when they dispatched a psych doctor to talk with me. He had some very narrow minded ideas about treatment and I told him I didn’t think his approach was right for me, I’d decline his services.
The next day, he called and said he’d reconsidered since I felt so strongly about it.
So I started seeing him. Much as he was arrogant and cocky (diet, exercise, light therapy, all meds are exactly the same) he was the first one who hit on me having bipolar two (More depressions than manic episodes) but cyclothic mood shifts during other periods that rendered me rather unreliable.
I deferred to him and took Zoloft for eight months.
Instead of getting better, I got worse. He wouldn’t even increase the dosage.
I told him I wanted off it, try Prozac or something. He refused.
We parted ways.

The next doctor was my general practitioner and I basically told him what had worked best and he was fine prescribing them. I got better. Not great, but…better.
He left his private practice to become an ER doctor.
This was followed by a period of no meds because I was so messed up, I feared phones and couldn’t even make a call. I was pretty much convinced my own family was out to get me so I couldn’t even ask them for help.

But I hit the wall and found Dr. D.
I saw her almost 2 years. She was willing to work with me, but I got the feeling at times she got frustrated with my “I’m doing Ok” then a couple of months later, “Explain to me why I can’t just cease to exist.”
She decided to rotate out.
So came Dr. V.
And she was so upbeat and positive and she too was willing to work with me, except on the attention deficit thing.
“You just have to keep trying until you find the right combination.”
I liked her.
What I didn’t like was how she would say it made her day when I was doing well. Like if I didn’t maintain, I was letting her down and making her sad.
I would have stayed with her but she left for some sort of months long sabbatical right as summer ended and the seasonal began for me.
I was left to see Dr. S as emergent care.
He was unwilling(and still is) to address the lack of focus as anything more than anxiety. I disagree, only because it was once treated with great success. Insurance won’t pay for Foculin which would be a hardship on me and yet one I’d be willing to face if it meant such drastic improvement in one aspect of my condition.
I would have gone back to Dr. V once she returned except she had weeks of waiting list and I needed help NOW.
So Dr. S it is.

Much as one can open up to a doctor on a tv screen for the allotted five minutes.

That is my history.
And I have often wondered, when the doctors of the last 9 years have gotten irked with the way meds quit on me, if all the years of being misdiagnosed and given the wrong medications (12 anti depressants, if memory serves) has resulted in them having limited success. The condition where meds stop working is called tachyphylaxis and from what I have read, it is rare but it does happen.
In my history, the only anti depressants that work (after quitting for awhile) are prozac, effexor, and cymbalta. The three nightmare withdrawal meds, worse than quitting benzos cold turkey. Tapering off doesn’t even help with those three.

I’ve seen a counselor, off and on, since age 13. I have learned valuable coping skills, received validation, and also realized…Sometimes being told by multiple people what your problems are just makes you more confused because it’s all subjective and open to interpretation.
I take great pride in how much progress I have made from the psychological aspect, as far as coping skills, stress management, and working on my problem areas.
But much as the ten minute med check regime wants to defer every other aspect to counseling…Counseling does not solve the chemical imbalances that wreaks all of the havoc on stability.
Counselors have the “treatment” plan. They identify the problem areas, and they work on one at a time. Psych docs,while most are conservative enough to work on one med at a time, don’t spend much time before determining one condition is under control, let’s treat the next. And by then, what was working on one aspect has stopped working.
Counselors will get frustrated at times, but they will keep working with you until you’ve made progress.

That’s all I want from a doctor.
It’s like hoping to find a unicorn.
I know I am a mess.
But I never asked for any of this.I wonder many times had my parents saw the signs at an early age rather than dismissing it as “teenage moodiness” if my life would have been different. It has been very different since mood stabilizers were introduced. Rather than falling down a flight of stairs, it’s more like missing three or four steps.
Not optimal but improved.
Now if only the doctor would figure out how to treat the chronic depressions that seem to sync with the seasons…
I might be golden.

Which is kind of what I think every time I have a weeks long period of stability. “Oh, wow, it’s finally over, I am cured and ready to be a productive member of society.”
And then I am down the rabbit hole.
I think being asked to vacate volunteer positions due to your instability…
Says more than my words ever could.

I refuse to think I am without value.
But unless anyone knows a job that allows you to work only when you are stable (usually two to five months) for me, allowing for anxiety attacks and stomach issues and frequent loss of focus and inevitable mistakes….
I don’t know what else I can do except keep trying.

Though with my issues…I think finding a doctor and counselor who’d stick around more than two years for a total of fifty minutes a month treatment…That would be a really good start.

Unicorns.


Little Spark of Madness

“You’re only given a little spark of madness.  Never lose that.  It keeps you alive.” –Robin WilliamsFiled under: quoth Tagged: madness, quote, Robin Williams

Emotional First Aid

This is an excellent Ted Talk by Guy Winch. I’ve never heard of him, but I sure like him. The video is 17 minute, but to me it flew by so fast that it seemed more like 5 minutes. It is definitely worth 17 minutes from your day.

The post Emotional First Aid appeared first on Insights From A Bipolar Bear.

Slipping Away

Well, it’s freezing cold outside, but it’s not iced over or snowing.  So we are better off than so many other people.  But that doesn’t seem to help my mood any.  Last night I felt myself slipping downhill.  I wanted to just sleep all day, and last night I realized the depression is well on it’s way in.  I’m trying to read some uplifting books that have helped me in the past, so hopefully I can put some of that positive thinking into action.

I’m mostly frustrated is how I mostly feel.  That I can’t seem to get anything done.  That I’m so sleepy and tired all the time from the meds.  That even when I do go to sleep, I don’t seem to sleep well.  That I’m not really motivated to do anything.  I’m not sure how long this post is going to be because I can’t really think of much to say about it that doesn’t degenerate into whining.  And I hate whining.

At least I don’t lecture  today and Wednesday.  They are  doing in-class writing on their poetry themes.  I do wish more of them would ask questions so they wouldn’t make such bad mistakes in their papers.  But I do all I can do to get everything across to them.  We will see how this goes.

Sorry to not be more upbeat.  I do hope to keep posting everyday and hope to start a new series on support groups soon after I do research into the different ones.  So I’m trying to just hang in there and keep from slipping any further,.


23022015

I got some work! Only 48 pages, but I’ll get paid a very decent amount indeed. It was perfectly timed too, February (along with all its other joys), left me in debt. I’m never in debt. I’m allergic to debt. So I did my copy editing and did it three times, to compensate for my current bipolar brain issues. I worked in a place with cable connectivity only, due to a storm and some damage, so no connection for moi. I think it’s good to be disconnected occasionally though. In previous years I’d have pissed myself with irritation, but things have changed.

image

Tomorrow is D day – lowercase on the second d there, because it D for death, but nowt to do with the war. Every generation has a war that they call the war, don’t they. Perhaps oddly, mine is World War ii, purely because nearly all the men in my family (who were alive at the time) volunteered. My mother would have either growled at me for being disrespectful, or rather enjoyed me dubbing the day of her death D day.

Tomorrow is D day.

image

To quote Paul McCartney when he had a band called Wings, do do do do do do it’s just another daaay. That song only really got played the year I was seven or eight; when it comes to lyrics, suddenly my memory is sharp once more. I wonder people would feel if I asked them to sing important things to me.

Tomorrow is D day.

It isn’t just another day. Perhaps it’ll change in future, perhaps not. Perhaps bipolar will shrink my hippocampus to the extent that I will forget completely.

Shrug.

image

It’ll be fine, of course it will. Days are finite things after all.

People ask whether I’m doing anything special and it makes me think. I might light a candle, burn some incense, maybe chuck some coffee grounds and cigarette ash over were her ashes are buried. A wooden box of ashes and a dead jack russell are buried next to the steps where I watch sunsets, in case I haven’t mentioned it before. I do all of those things from time to time anyway.

I knew February would be hard, but there were things I didn’t expect. I didn’t expect Hyaenadog’s death to come so quickly, I didn’t expect to have so many expenses, I didn’t expect my friend to be emigrating so soon and I certainly didn’t expect a last straw and ludicrous form of conflict with someone else.

Whatever. Nothing could possibly be worse than 2013. Sidenote to the universe – this is not a dare.

My mind has melted a bit anyway, I’ve only done freebie editing jobs since about last October. I’m just tired and that’s okay. I’m also grateful for the distraction, because I’m extremely down around it and tearful too.

Okay that’s enough writing for today. No whining.

It’s Been A Productive Weekend

This weekend I’ve gotten almost everything packed. I just really have clothes and maybe one or two boxes to pack and I will be done for Thursday.

This is what the mess looks like…

image

I think we are really going to pack the uhaul we are renting. I can’t believe we are so close to moving day.

I have to admit I lay in bed for two hours this afternoon having some anxiety about the move and all the unpacking I will have to do. I tend to worry about every single thing so it passed like all the other things do.

My mood has been awesome though. I’m managing to stay up, seriously hoping it is the pristiq helping.

I’m excited to see how each day goes moving forward. Tomorrow will be another test as I will be home alone. Though I have found the guilty pleasure of watching TV shows I wouldn’t normally.

Here’s hoping it’s a good day.


Short but sweet……hopefully

Man lost a long good status about the status of my meds. And now I am mad. So here is he extremely short and to the point version. I love my meds. They work. They work in a way that I never would have though. I didn’t realize how jacked up my thinking was until the meds started helping to straighten it out.

Please, please really listen to he people you love and those around you. So many statements can be and are innocent and true. But for people with mental illness they mean so much more. When someone says, I don’t want to get out of bed, take it seriously. It might be nothing, it might be a mother with a two week old baby, or it could be someone that literally does not have the motivation to get out of bed. They don’t do things unless they absolutely HAVE to and are absolutely necessary. They will eat Mac and cheese of a week straight, not because they have no money but because that’s all that is in the house and they can’t seem to make themselves go grocery shopping. I know that might sound simplistic but trust me that is not a minor thing. At least not for everyone.

Please remember to love this around you and the next time you are tempted to call someone close to you lazy ask yourself if maybe there isn’t something else going on. You can’t force someone to get help but you can love them and let them know you see them struggling. I promise I will make all the difference.