Daily Archives: April 13, 2018

So Tired

Today seemed like a very long day.   I don’t know why I feel so tired.  I know I didn’t sleep well last night but it seems to have sapped my energy a great deal. And I’m trying to do my schoolwork and am having trouble with it.  The only thing holding me back from finishing the semester are the weekly readings and the workshop responses. I’ve already done all I’m going to do on my final project so I am done with it.  I just need to get through the next two weeks and I’m through with school for a while.

Had a good conversation with Bob yesterday about some of the things that are coming out in therapy.  He said he didn’t know what to do with my feelings about some of it, but he was willing to listen and reassure me that I was okay and that everything was fine between us.   So I suppose that was good to hear.

We’re trying to figure out what to do for supper before my youngest gets home late tonight.  We kind of want to go out so we will see about that in a hour or so.  I may get sweet tea so I can stay up until she gets hoem tonight.

Hope everyone has a good weekend and has a good time relaxing.

Countdown to Muskogee . . .7

Last session with my therapist, Megan.

Tears and gratitude.

The Bipolar Two Depression Files

After a glorious mental state yesterday when the weather relented from 7 months of fall and winter drudgery and my soul was able to come out and play…

Today’s lower temperature,gloom,and rain has me reeling. I am grasping at straws,trying to reclaim yesterday’s frame of mind but it’s proving to be an epic fail.

I find it frustrating to the nth that bipolar two and bipolar depression are viewed as ‘less severe’ than bipolar one and manic episodes. Mania may have helped me ruin my credit score and inspired poor choices but it NEVER cost me as much as the so called ‘less severe’ bipolar two depressive bouts.

Further aggravating us how few medications there are that target bipolar two depression. Aside from Latuda (bad bad experience for me,but kudos to pharmacopia making an effort at treating axis two), I don’t know of any other drug specified for axis two depression. That leaves bipolar two patients floundering on an endless diet of anti depressants NOT designed for our condition. If a med isn’t targeting the disorder you have, doesn’t it make sense that you’d experience med failures? It’s like taking a painkiller for swelling that doesn’t actually reduce that symptom.

As much as I am not a fan of her music,I do hope that Mariah Carey’s recent ‘disclosure’ about her battle with bipolar two opens some eyes and minds to the red headed stepchild of mental health disorders. So much focus is spent on axis one that axis two patients are left behind.

Personally, I think treating mania in any bipolar axis is far simpler than treating depression. There is a plethora of mood stabilizers that can be combined to control excess mood swings and mania. Now this is not me saying bipolar one is less severe,but on a whole with targeted medications with great efficacy…it’s not as much a roll of the dice as it is with anti depressants.

And while big pharma has spent thirty years churning out an anti depressant to match your every depressive outfit…They do not target those of us who spend 80% of our lives in depressive bouts.

On this one,I think all bipolar axis patients can agree. Finding the most effective ‘cocktail’ of anti depressant and mood stabilizer is frustrating and often defeating. We all have unique chemistry so who knows what med or combo will work for each of us? Trial and error becomes a way of life. And this is without factoring in how many of us are medication resistant or the meds just quit working or the side effects are so bad we simply can’t take those drugs.

I have lost so much of my life to depression. And while Lamictal has been my wonder drug toward warding off extreme mood swings and manic bouts-there are times I also think I’m too stabilized. Because to control the negative symptoms, it also mashes down creativity, sheer elation,and the ability to be spontaneous. It makes me so hyper self aware that even choosing what to eat becomes a case of ‘remember when you went manic that time and ate *this* and then spent three hundred bucks on lottery tickets then banged that guy you didn’t even like?’ Not that I have the problem of excess income anymore nor the self esteem to even put myself out there to repeat the poor choices but still…therapy made me so hyper self aware that even though my mood stabilizer works great…I am still scarred by past choices and even memory of a food eaten or a song playing at that time can paralyze me.

It sounds nutty but it is my truth.

Still…when manic I LIVED life to the fullest. On my multiple shovel fulls of fixer upper pills…I live in fear of living lest I repeat bad choices just to feel alive. Because then I’d have to admit the problem is me,my personality,my inability to make good choices. And I just don’t believe that because mood stabilizers made the truly had decisions go away. It just also makes me scared to live life on rare non depressive times.

Having said all of this,painting the good,bad,and ugly about bipolar two treatment (medications designed to keep you from suicidal thoughts yet causes more than you ever had before,very ugly)…It is high time the mental health community-doctors,therapists,patients,mental health advocates-we need to band together and shine a spotlight on bipolar two and bipolar depression. Our condition is NOT less severe to us. We matter. We deserve better targeted medication options,we are worthy of competent care even if we don’t have great insurance. WE MATTER.

Now in an effort to bolster my sagging mental state and the sadness of losing a newborn kitten 36 hours after his birth (rest well,lil Beebee)…

Spook and I watched a Jack Hannah adventure show this morning. It highlighted some venomous but gorgeous snakes…then came the awe factor. Sloths. They are so adorable. That gave me warm fuzzies during the 7 minute segment. I got clobbered with a high power bill so I am keeping the heat down much as I can…but I was still cold so I put on my fluffy soft purple hoodie. I feel warm and swaddled now.

So I can see positive things here and there in spite of my seemingly endless ‘everything sucks’ griping. It is just very difficult to see the good when enveloped by the spider web of depression.

Besides. No one wants to read a mental health blog that spews rainbows. They read to know they are not alone in their struggles so I focus on writing about my own battle and my wish to heighten awareness of bipolar depression.

It is only less severe if it isn’t happening to you.

When it ruins your life at every turn…We find that pretty severe. Time for the professionals and society recognize this.

Because we matter and no matter your diagnosis…the struggle is real.

And Back Down The Drain We Go

I slept pretty well last night,if you discount waking up several times. I was able to nod off again easily so I can live with that. I guess the key to decent sleep is running from 2 a.m. til 10 p.m. when mind and body cry mercy. If only I were strong enough to stay awake that long every day. Depression just kicks my ass so I seek solace in sleep.

Today is gloomy and not as warm as yesterday thus down goes my mood. I’m drowning in sinus drainage and have nervous stomach issues but damned if I know why I am so jittery.

Maybe it’s trying to juggle my kid’s social life,she’s miss popular as always and while I don’t wish to keep her from her grandpa and uncle…their domination of her weekends irks me. I just find it unsettling that special ed or not,my 22 year old brother spends every Friday night taking out an 8 year old for dinner. Are my poor social skills showing? Maybe it’s normal though I don’t remember my uncles toting me about at that age on weekends.

Then there is the 5 year old neighbor boy who has latched onto her so I’m never sure if she should stay home to play with another kid or should I send her to dad’s faction…so much anxiety,is it any wonder I myself avoid socializing?

Oooh,the sun is peeking out of the gloom. Today is SUPPOSED to be my happy day-Friday the 13th!!! I am wearing my Jason Vorhees shirt in honor of my slasher movie fascination. Yet inside, I just feel like a fraud. I used to be this kick ass Fangoria reading renting cheesy slasher flick chick. That’s not who I am now. This is the husk of what used to be hoping to be that again. A fraud.

BUT this is where all the years of insipid seldomly helpful therapy comes in: I am not looking to psych meds to create some idyllic happy state of mind that isn’t achievable. There are no delusions or illusions here. I remember who I am when my condition is under control,how I felt.

I simply want to return to the state I’ve known before. Not perfection,not happy happy,just…me minus my plethora of symptoms.

And while the insurance company doesn’t want to pay for a med change tip dose is maxed out and my doctor won’t fight for me…I know the Effexor isn’t helping a bit. I felt better during the chaos of the move when I was on Wellbutrin alone. This is not acceptable. And since most meds I have responded to are fairly cheap generics…it borders on malpractice to leave me hanging like this.

Dr. B used to fight for me. He would come in early and call the insurance company personally and not back down til they paid for what he prescribed. The let down of the new doc not at least having her nurse try for a med change approval…it’s a bitter pill to swallow.

On a final note-from time to time I write something I am really proud of but feel dejected when it gets only a couple of likes while some Fuckfacebook picture of ramen gets a thousand… I am reminded of a quote that I have built my writing around.

It is better to write for yourself and have no public than write for the public and have no self.

Learning self-acceptance: Tip Number 1

I’ve spent most of my life striving for excellence in almost everything I’ve tried to do. The one area that clearly challenged me the most was learning how to accept myself, in the midst of much turmoil caused from untreated (under treated) bipolar disorder.

As with most things in life we want to accomplish or change it takes a great deal of hard work. In the next few blog posts I’d like to share tips for self-acceptance.

Today’s blog will focus on insecurities.

1). Know your insecurities

We all have insecurities. The things that make us self-conscious and undermine our confidence. But when we start to identify how those insecurities make us feel we can fight back, take control about how we feel about ourselves.

Inspite of all my accomplishments (Olympian, Master’s Degree, Director Level in business, running my own business) I found myself stuck on one big insecurity-the fact that I have a mental illness. It was loaded with negativity, self-destruction and tore my ability to view myself as a whole person.

Until I came to realize that inspite of my disability the person who existed inside of me was still there and in fact had learned so much from having come through the other side of near insurmountable circumstances. I came to realize I was now in a position to help teach others.

I learned my biggest insecurity could be turned into my greatest asset. It mattered most how I viewed myself. Did I see myself as a broken person? You bet. But after I identified and gave that insecurity a name, I could work on healing.

It’s an extraordinarily powerful process to define our insecurities. They can be overcome and even turned into a great asset.

Name it. Acknowledge it. Shine a light on it. Be patient with yourself. Over time your deepest, darkest fear can become your biggest asset.

Amy Gamble