Daily Archives: May 12, 2018

I didn’t know I had OCD. Here’s why the stereotypes are so harmful.

First I was bipolar. Then I was borderline. Turns out, both were wrong.

Too long

Too long without an update or a hello here!

I’ve spent much of each day, for a year or more, sedated. This comes from taking my meds as directed: 20mg fluoxetine, 400mg quetiapine each morning. (Then 200mg quetiapine and 500mg of valproate each evening.)

I’m holding down a stressful job, 3 days a week. And it was tough, doing this with a muddled brain that wants to lie down and take a nap every half hour.

It only occurred to me on Monday that I could take all of these meds in the evening, a couple of hours before sleep-time (except the fluoxetine, which is better taken in the morning it seems). So I did this and there was a huge difference immediately! Doing my job whilst awake was a revelation and it also seems to have helped my  anxiety a little too. I have more energy in the daytime too.

Of course, these evening meds should be knocking me out for 10 hours (there are people on Twitter who say 25mg of quetiapine will do this for them). But no, I still haven’t slept right through the night even once in decades.

* * *

I finally got to have my annual blood tests to monitor my meds. A year late. The results were in this week: all ‘normal’ except for my cholesterol, which has always been high, genetically. They were almost 7 before starting the meds and I was quite pleased that they’re ‘only’ 8 now. I was expecting double figures. My GP looked a bit concerned though. My blood pressure is a little high, nothing to write home about. My weight is too much; I’ve put on 2st in the past 2 years+ since starting bipolar meds.

So I agreed to start taking Simvastatin 20mg in an effort to lower the cholesterol level and took the first one last evening. Watch this space..

 

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The Engima That Is Rapid Cycling Bipolar Two Disorder

As if life isn’t hellish enough going through with mental disorders and psychological baggage, what is worse is when your disorders don’t fit neatly into their Douchebagger Simpleton Manual (DSM).

When my clinical depression lifts, I am prone to rapid cycling between lows, highs, and mediums. The professionals I have seen often dispute this as not being characteristic of whatever label they have slapped on me and it is very frustrating. I know from talking to others on the wordpress mental health blog circuit that rapid cycling is actually pretty common for some of us, often in part because the very antidepressants we need to pull us out of abyss can bring about rapid cycling in early treatment.

I LURVE (thank you, Sass, for that term, love is just getting boring cos everyone on the internet loves everything) my manic and hypomanic states. “Ten feet tall and bulletproof, OMG, I am bloody well cured now, let’s not sleep cos this feeling is awesome and I don’t need to pause at the end of sentences because my lungs are filled with sweet beautiful air to spare and while I didn’t accomplish much, I jumped into a kiddie pool and splashed around with my daughter and felt sooo free!”

Breath.

Two days I felt that way, just a few steps from full blown mania (yes, while not common in axis two bipolar, it DOES happen) but today…I am in medium mood territory. This is what I call ‘pre-splat’. The low is coming, I just don’t know when or how bad it will be or how long it will last. It doesn’t help that my PMDD (ten days of psm on steriods) has begun, wreaking havoc on an already wonky mental state, not to mention the physical misery. I usually let this shift send me into a tailspin but of course, my current self awareness and self help kick has forced me to take a step back and face facts: I have been here, done this, a thousand times before. It will pass. I will feel good again at some point.

This doesn’t negate the fact that it is maddening, frustrating, damaging.

But compared to where I was just 3 weeks ago pre Cymbalta- I’ll take rapid cycling. If it continues more than a couple of weeks, I will speak out at my next shrink appointment. Starting new meds is always challenging, at best, and filled with change. Not to mention just my cycle out of winter depression is often accompanied by rapid cycling (it amazes me how sensitivity to weather conditions can affect one’s mental health) so it may not be Cymbalta entirely. THIS current state is preferrable to where I was. My kid sure prefers me hypo, but then so did every man or friend I ever met, cos well, manic of most nature is happy fun ball time.

I wish I could be happy fun ball all the time. Being a depressive isn’t a life choice and it isn’t a good thing. But it is what it is. I deal. I rant, I vent, I soapbox, but acceptance has finally settled in. My disorders aren’t my identity, but they are also not something I can pretend away. Denial is not an option. So I must find a balance and fortfy myself to keep up this battle. My daughter is a good motivator. I’m not gonna do any ‘my uterus produced a kid, I am special” pompom waving but it doesn’t really matter if your motivation is your pet, your romantic partner, your family, your kid, your work. Whatever keeps you going (and that applies to non mentally disorded situations, as well) is your tether to reality, hold on to that until the rope frays and starts cutting into your flesh and you bleed. Never let that go.

So I will ride out the current medium mood, then I will roll with the low wherever it takes me, and like a phoenix, the mood will rise out of the ashes. Okay, that sounds more cheddar cheese than poetic but you get my drift.

Now instead of using that ‘f’ word involving dollar signs that seems to offend people…How about I use a “Please Read Our Story”.

I know sharing fundraisers on social media is often icky but clicking that share button costs you nothing. I’m not trying to raise thousands to buy happy fun ball stuff. I am offering up receipts. Our story may not be special and there may be way more worthy cause but…gotta try. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Just think of us as a pet you’d adopt if you liked pets. But maybe you know a friend of a friend who does and you just pass on word.

On occasion, I write a decent post so view it as being a patreon.

Spook and I are grateful for any help we get, and I appreciate it even when it’s a click of the like button or a comment. Gratitude is all I have to offer at this time other than my writing.

Gratitude doesn’t buy toilet paper, though and of course, I am raising a princess who finds that sort of thing necessary.

Just So You Know…

…you can’t reason with someone who is manic.

I mean, you can sit there with them and try to rationalize everything, but they don’t know they’re being irrational. They’re sick and have absolutely NO idea they are; in fact, they’ll deny it to the death and become highly offended that you’ve even dared to suggest it. Now I know why everyone in my life fears my becoming that way again, and it makes me more determined to stay on my meds and play well with others.

Being around people in this condition is triggering, and tiring. I have to fight my own demons even as I watch the manic person go ape shit. The whirlwind of activity, the loud and pressured speech, the frenetic bouncing from one project to another…I recognize all of it because I’ve been there. It’s hard to admit that I’m capable of the same kind of mayhem, and worse. No wonder I feel such a kinship with the person who is zipping madly around the world like a Tasmanian devil, even as I wish they’d take some meds and settle down. It’s not so bad, being bipolar; what’s bad is refusing to acknowledge that the disease exists. But how do you do that when you don’t see the havoc it’s wreaking on your life?

I remember how tough it was for me. My internist was the first one to bring up the fact that I had a mental health condition that was more serious than he could handle; I was PISSED and had no problem telling him so. I wasn’t crazy, I said, I just had mood swings…didn’t everybody? It took my first psychiatrist, Dr. Awesomesauce, all of 90 minutes to diagnose me.

But you know, it’s STILL tough. I go through long periods of stability now, and I get to thinking that maybe the label is wrong, or maybe it’s not as severe as my providers have made it out to be. You’d think after being diagnosed four times with bipolar 1 that I’d get it through my thick skull, but there’s this stubborn little voice that says “No, it’s not that bad, look at how well you’re doing now”. It doesn’t recognize that I’m only doing well because my stress level is relatively low, and because I take a lot of meds that make it seem like the illness has gone away and I’ll never have to deal with it again.

Bipolar is crafty like that. The bitch lures you into thinking everything is just hunky-dory (or horrible, depending on the prevailing mood) and you don’t have the foggiest idea that it’s lying to you. You don’t know, and don’t care, that you’re building a house of cards and the whole thing is going to collapse on you at any moment. All you know (in the case of mania) is that your feelings are stronger than they’ve ever been, and you are certain they’re going to go on forever and ever. You make expansive plans because you are always going to have this level of energy and the sky is the limit! You flit from project to project, starting one or several enthusiastically, only to abandon them for something else within days or hours. You race through your days with your hair on fire, thoughts swirling wildly through your mind like leaves on the wind. And then one day, it’s over: your high times come to a screeching halt, there’s all sorts of stuff left undone, your life is scattered in pieces all over the place, and you’re left wondering just what the fuck happened.

It’s 9 PM, time to take my meds. All of them. Because there but for the grace of God—and that handful of pills—go I.