Daily Archives: September 29, 2014

OCD and Self-Diagnosis

One of the rather annoying things with Bipolar is that it comorbid with any number of other mental illnesses. I refer to these as the Uncaring Cousins, ’cause hey, child of the 80s who loved the Care Bears and Care Cousins. Common comorbidities include ADHD, OCD, panic and anxiety disorders, and all sorts of other things. Myself, I very much have OCD, ADHD, and anxiety issues to deal with… not that anyone has ever officially diagnosed those.

I’m sure some people snort and roll their eyes at that and mutter under their breath about special snowflakes. Okay, but here’s the thing. Mentally ill people, as part of their treatment regime, are highly recommended to track the ever-loving shit out of mood, actions and patterns of behaviors. We often have to be our own advocates, and in that, we are paying attention to things and gasp, become rather expert in our own situations. I’ve read enough about OCD and ADHD from blogs, articles, and medical papers to know that I have both of these things without an official diagnosis. And really, diagnosis is not an exact science. There is no blood test for these things — psychiatrists are having to take what we can tell them and make an educated guess based on *gasp* observation and guidelines. Me, being the expert on me, can similarly make an educated guess, and likewise have had to present this and my main diagnosis as a theory based on my own observations for a professional to basically sign off on.

Mind, the head psychiatrist at my hospital has expressed repeatedly that he wants me to focus on treating the bipolar first. This is fair enough, especially since the OCD isn’t exactly treatable by anything past what we’re already doing (medication would be antidepressants, which I’m already on). The ADHD is the annoying-to-me booger. The NHS doesn’t like to admit that adults have ADHD, and as I was not diagnosed as a child, I’ve not had any luck getting diagnosed — I did managed to get a referral for such, but it got shot down above my doctors’ heads.

I want this in my face so bad. :s

Even if I DID have that diagnosis, there is no guarantee I could get meds/treatment for it. One of my best friends WAS diagnosed as a child before immigrating to the UK, and even with that diagnosis in hand, her GP can’t give her anything. He can for undiagnosed bipolar treatment, but not diagnosed ADHD! Really, at times I’m tempted to consider the black market of the intarwebs to get my hands on some dexedrine, ’cause I know it helps me a loooot compliments of a helpful friend in high school who shared his or her meds, but I prefer to stay above board. :D

Then of course, there’s the wondering if I want too much. I am so much better than I was before diagnosis and treatment, but I would like to feel even better. And I don’t mean that in a glowing hypomania sort of way, but just… not having to spend ANY time in tiny rituals to dispel anxiety. To actually have some focus and energy; while some of my lack in this regard is due to chronic fatigue, I know it’s not the entire cause.

Whatever the case, the knowing what’s up, whether it be ‘official’ or not, gives me the tools to try and cope with it within my means. I combat ADHD with tiny lists and a hefty dose of behavioral awareness. I try to keep productive things to hand so that when my mind wanders, I’m doing something good like a chore, or knitting, or working on different bits of writing (I’m knitting right now and tending to the baby between writing this in snippets). The OCD I will probably bring up again with my psychiatrist because I feel like it’s starting to eat more of my time. We’ll see. It’s only a real nuisance in that once I start doing a thing, it tends to become a permanent fixture.

Hope everyone is doing well out there.


Lithium Quotes

This from my psychiatrist:

We are winning with the bloods. Your latest test is 0.69
Can we increase by another 250mg? Should be our last increase, but we will check it in 5 days in any case.

Lithium tweaks many mood-altering chemicals in the brain, and its effects are complicated. Most interesting, lithium seems to reset the body’s circadian rhythm, its inner clock. In normal people, ambient conditions, especially the sun, dictate their humors and determine when they are tuckered out for the day. They’re on a twenty-four-hour cycle. Bipolar people run on cycles independent of the sun. And run and run.
Sam Kean, The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements

Of all our conversations, I remember most vividly [Robert Lowell’s] words about the new drug, lithium carbonate, which had such good results and gave him reason to believe he was cured: “It’s terrible, Bob, to think that all I’ve suffered, and all the suffering I’ve caused, might have arisen from the lack of a little salt in my brain”.
Robert Giroux (1914- )

Some of us take lithium and antidepressants, and most everyone believes these pills are fundamentally wrong, a crutch, a sign of moral weakness, the surrender of art and individuality. Bullshit. Such thinking guarantees tragedy for the bipolar. Without medicine, 20 percent of us, one in five, will commit suicide. Six-gun Russian roulette gives better odds. Denouncing these medicines makes as much sense as denouncing the immorality of motor oil. Without them, sooner or later the bipolar brain will go bang. I know plenty of potheads who sermonize against the pharmaceutical companies; I know plenty of born-again yoga instructors, plenty of missionaries who tell me I’m wrong about lithium. They don’t have a clue.
David Lovelace, Scattershot: My Bipolar Family

It’s difficult. I take a low dose of lithium nightly. I take an antidepressant for my darkness because prayer isn’t enough. My therapist hears confession twice a month, my shrink delivers the host, and I can stand in the woods and see the world spark.
David Lovelace, Scattershot: My Bipolar Family

Without medicine, 20 percent of us, one in five, will commit suicide. Six-gun Russian roulette gives better odds. Denouncing these medicines makes as much sense as denouncing the immorality of motor oil. Without them, sooner or later the bipolar brain will go bang. I know plenty of potheads who sermonize against the pharmaceutical companies; I know plenty of born-again yoga instructors, plenty of missionaries who tell me I’m wrong about lithium. They don’t have a clue.
David Lovelace, Scattershot: My Bipolar Family

Imprisoned by Insanity

Imprisoned by Insanity (RT Documentary): http://youtu.be/ZDWD_j7oMTs

It’s a 26 minute look at a criminal/psychiatric institution in St Petersburg, Russia. They focus on a few inmates and also the art therapy programme. I’d love to hear your thoughts/comparisons if possible.

A Little Breakdown

Tonight I talked with my daughter. She again has been dumped by the asshole who she keeps being screwed over with.

I hate that he keeps hurting her. She also informed me that she had been basically been welling herself for drugs. Though she has been clean for 3 months.

I told her if she goes back to this man I will need to stop talking to her. She is mentally unstable and I don’t want to abandon her but she is such a trigger for me.

After the call I wanted to kill myself and felt so guilty and heartbroken for the ways she had turned out. I can’t keep doing this to myself. I started drinking until hubby took the wine away from me. I wasn’t being very smart with taking cold medicine and Xanax and alcohol.

It was a hard day, eventually hubby was able to calm me back down but it made me realize that I might need cut her out of this continues just for my own sanity.

I hope she takes my advice and moves to a new Provence far away from that man and starts a new life, cause this just doesn’t work.

Living The Dream

Yes, folks, it’s official: I got the writing job!!

It’s what I’ve dreamed of all my life. To do something I’m passionate about AND get paid for it is all I’ve ever really wanted, and today, that opportunity arrived in the form of a welcome letter and a contract. The money won’t keep the wolf away from the door, but that’s not the only reason for doing it…..it’s also because the offer is a huge sign of respect. For my contributions to nursing. For my ability to capture in words complex situations and emotions. Heck, even for my twisted sense of humor (that I got from being a nurse). I feel so honored; the fact that I was one of a few selected from over a hundred applicants amazes me, even though I’ve worked my tail off for years and done some of my best writing for little or nothing.

It also shows how far I’ve come in a little less than three years. I was once almost banned from the website for repeatedly insulting other members, and while some of that was related to being under the influence of Wellbutrin, I can’t excuse my behavior for the rest of the time I was acting like a jerk. In retrospect, this was one of the major turning points in my life—it was when I received a formal warning that I knew something was terribly, terribly wrong and I needed help—and in many ways I credit the administrators for forcing me to get it. And now look at the rewards!

This will be the first time writing under my own name. I’ve always used my screen name for my articles, just as I do here, but this is the real deal and I’m actually OK with it. I’m not ashamed of who I am or what I write. What I AM is proud, happy, nervous, excited, and humbled…..and I can’t wait to get started. Woo-HOO!!





Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down

As I type this, I am in pain. I slipped and fell on my kitchen floor today, not fun. Besides that, I’m in emotional pain from a particular individual I work with who is cruel and miserable. Her harsh words triggered a depressive spiral that I haven’t been able to come out of. I’m actually surprised by the level of this depression. It came on suddenly and is painfully insidious. I’m having very dark thoughts and I am finding day to day duties difficult to complete.

I usually find some solace in one of my many hobbies, but I’ve lost interest in most of them. I know this is most likely temporary, but it is still disheartening. I am having trouble in regards to conversing with God, as well. My mind is too crowded with doubts and insults. I try to comfort myself with knowing that no matter what, God does still love me and I’m nowhere near as awful as my mind (and some people) would like me to believe.

I am afraid there is no feel good takeaway in this post, I just cannot summon brightness in the midst of this dark depression. But I will keep holding on, ignoring the lies depression tells me.

Filed under: Self Discovery Tagged: bipolar, depression

Faking It To Make It

This weekend: total ass trash. I had a mini meltdown and got snarky over something irritating but minor with someone I would never want to hurt. Yet I did inflict pain and it makes me feel shitty, especially because compared to my past history of “blow ups” this was barely a blip on the radar.
I try to force it all down.
I am failing.
I mean, R gets to punch walls, my kid gets to have thrashing tantrums, Bex gets to stomp to her room and slam the door…Meanwhile, I am expected to keep it together, bottle up my anger and hurt and stress…Walk on eggshells because I am surrounded by timid people who think me having a meltdown is some affront against them.
It’s exhausting.
I never told anyone else I was stable or reliable or someone to count on. I am entering my downward spiral with more on my shoulders than ever before and now I don’t even feel entitled to mini meltdowns lest I hurt or offend others.
Perhaps I sound petty.
The meltdown helped. Because an hour or two later, I’d let it go. The point is to just purge it, get the poison out of your mind. The question is, how to do this without someone somehow making it about them and how you are mean to them, how you are too emotional, unreasonable blah blah blah.
I don’t have a clue. I am socially inept, always have been.

What I do have a clue about is my current cycle on the bipolar coaster. The cyclothymia is kicking up due to the seasonal affect starting up. My moods don’t hold for more than an hour or two. My interest is scattered, focus nil. I don’t want company.I want to be a robotic mom and I want to get lost in my tv shows. I can’t wait to batcave at night. I feel…toxic, and it’s like inflicting my current incarnation on others is contagious so I want to isolate.
The shrink would say to keep fighting it.
I’m to the point where my nerves are so edgy I can’t even enjoy music and my writing…I am forcing spurts here and there but it feels forced and thus it is crap.
I’m fighting, damn it.

More than fighting it these days…I am faking it to make it. Crumbling under expectations and pressures and stressors. I try to look at all the positive around me and still…I just feel defective and slide further down the rabbit hole.
Then I feel guilty for being unreliable and unstable.
I wrote a heartfelt post last night and saved it to draft because I don’t ever want to hurt anyone or seem petty.
I am contemplating this as a draft.
Because I am obviously circling the drain, making mountains out of mole hills, and putting stress on myself that is just that: me. Not others doing it (well aside from R.) Just me.
What I am is so very different from what I want to be.
I want to be strong and tough and stable and problem solve.

What I am, though, is somewhere between hanging off of cliff by my fingernails and falling down into the rabbit hole.

Every. Fucking. Autumn.
But the doctor tells me I’m not fighting it enough, it’s my personality, it’s outside stressors…
Those around me dismiss me as weird or somehow offending them with my moods and urge to self isolate.

It reminds me of a line from the Elvis song “Suspicious Minds.”
—–“I’m caught in a trap…I can’t walk out…”

My life is a spider’s web and every year at this time I get trapped in it.

Sometimes…I wish the spider would just eat me and be done with it already.
Other times, signs of life flicker and remind me I gotta hang on because it always passes.

It makes me wonder, though,how many people said that and went on to lose it and kill themselves. We all have a breaking point. That lip service where god doesn’t give you more than you can handle…is just that.

There does come a point where you are handed too much to handle…And some people crack under the strain.

Guess the big question is…am I gonna be one of them?