Daily Archives: October 20, 2014

Abilify: News or Not

I’ve been taking Abilify for several days now. Is it working? It’s hard to say.

I’m pleased to report that I haven’t had any side effects I can’t handle. In fact, I don’t know whether I’ve had any side effects at all. I’ve had a tiny bit of dizziness and some drowsiness. But I have those anyway, either from my other meds or from other physical conditions.

On the positive side, I’ve had a bit of an increase in energy and concentration – as you could probably tell from the fact that I’m blogging again. But is this attributable to the new drug, or is it just the usual up cycle of my own personal roller coaster?

It’s probably too soon to expect anything definitive. Like most psychotropics, it probably needs to build up in my system a bit. Or I may just be one of those people Abilify doesn’t affect, for good or ill.

I recently read an article in Discover magazine called “The Power of Single-Person Medical Expepriments.” The article discussed the fact that the usual clinical studies of new drugs and treatments – randomized, double-blinded, hundreds or thousands of participants (the “gold standard” of tests and trials) – give results that are only averages. The techniques will work for some people and not for others. Some experimental subjects will experience side effects to varying degrees. Or not.

The only way to see whether a given treatment works for an individual is for that person to try it. The odds may say it has a better-than-50% chance of working, but until the patient tries it, whether it will work for that one individual is basically a crap-shoot.

I think this may be particularly true of psychotropics. Every time I’ve asked how this or that med works, the answer has been, “We don’t really know.” Factor in the number of different meds I’m on, psychotropic and otherwise, and their potential for interactions with each other, and any new treatment’s effectiveness is likely a matter of trial and error.

I’ve certainly gone through a long, tedious, disappointing (or unpleasant) series of weaning off and ramping up different meds in hopes of mixing just the right cocktail for my particular brain.

I think that’s why they call it “practicing” medicine.

A Port In The Storm

Great visit with Dr. Awesomesauce this morning. I’ve been more depressed than I wanted to admit, but an hour with him and I feel better. As always, he gave me some food for thought and encouraged me to look beyond the immediate situation, which is hard to do when I have a metaphorical brick wall in front of my face, but not impossible. This is one time when “one day at a time” is NOT serving me well. At least I can see a glimmer of hope now, and maybe these upcoming changes really aren’t the end of life as I know it after all.

We talked about disability again, which he is going to do his best to help me with. I don’t think either of us wanted to think it was the best thing for me, but it is and I’m glad I applied. I’m in the process of gathering documentation, and was going to print a copy of my diagnoses and med list from the patient portal to send in with my other paperwork. Ironically, the only diagnoses I found in my online medical record were depression and anxiety. WTF?

I asked him if he’d changed my diagnosis, which I rather doubted because he ALWAYS talks to me about things before he does them, but stranger things have happened. (Maybe I was hoping he had…..?) Silly me. He was quite amused that I would even think that for a moment and quickly corrected it in the computer, then printed it out and handed it to me. So now all my records match up, and I can quit tantalizing myself with thoughts of not having bipolar. Seems I went through that last fall, and got smacked upside the head with back-to-back mood episodes. I better watch that stinkin’ thinkin’…..it never ends well.

Dr. A is also not going to change any of my meds (read: taper me off Zyprexa) anytime soon. Which makes sense, because even though I’m somewhat down, I’m basically stable and not having manic or mixed moods. So if it ain’t broke, goes the thinking, he’s not gonna fix it. And I have to acknowledge the fact that I’ve been so much better overall since I went on the Z full-time. There have been a couple of very brief hypomanias and some depression, but NOTHING like I used to experience. I just hate it that when I have to go on a new med or increase an old one, I never seem to be able to get back to where I was. There are so many scary stories about long-term side effects in people who have to be on multiple anti-psychotics for extended periods of time, and I don’t want them to happen to me.

But consistency is a good thing, and Dr. A is nothing if not consistent. He is a port in the storm that is my life with this disease, and I feel safer knowing that he’s there to guide me through the rough water. Don’t get me wrong—Will and my family and friends are wonderful and I’m blessed to have their love and support. But it’s also good that there is someone who knows the things I can’t tell my loved ones lest I frighten them, and doesn’t judge me for it. The world would be a far better place if everyone had someone like him in their lives.

Thanks, Doc.

T Minus Eleven Days


I don’t really know where that T-Minus shit comes from, but this is my way of saying that I am leaving for Florida in eleven days! GodDAMN the time has flown this Fall!! I am such a baby about my family, I am quite apprehensive about leaving them! However, there is a lot to look forward to in Florida, including the BEACH, warmer days, longer days, and I even heard about the Salvador Dali museum in St. Petersburg! Oh fuck yeah you know I’m there!! My ECT psychiatrist told me about it and said, I shit you not, “You wanna get a little baked before going there.”

Speaking of getting baked, I don’t DARE travel with marijuana, as I’ve heard so many stories of “pot profiling”, i.e. people with Colorado or Washington license plates being pulled over in other states just because of their license plates, and having their cars searched. I will have to use my crafty criminal mind to figure out a way to get some of this wonderful Colorado pot to Florida, independent of my car. Should be fun.

I’ve done some responsible things, like having my car checked out for the 2,000 mile trip. Eight hundred dollars later, I feel confident that it will make the trip safely. I’ve made an appointment with a psychiatrist in St. Petersburg in November. I have yet to find a therapist, though, and I haven’t made an ECT appointment. I reserve Tuesdays and Wednesday mornings for high-functioning activities such as these.

I also looked on Meetup, and sadly there is no Denver Broncos meetup in St. Petersburg. I think I will start one. By the way, have I told you lately that Peyton Manning is the shittiest-shit-shit that’s ever been shit? What a game yesterday!! We screamed ourselves hoarse. Peyton Manning accounts for at least 72% of my will to live. GOD I wish football went year-round! I think in Heaven it does.

Well I better keep this short, as I need to get back to my useless surfing of the web, and I need to drink maybe two more Diet Cokes so that I can get up and do SOMETHING by 2pm (my deadline to stop fucking around). Enjoy your Monday my friends!! Peach out!

Filed under: Bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, Psychology Shmyshmology Tagged: Bipolar, Hope, Humor, Mental Illness, Peyton Manning, Psychology, Reader, Skipping Winter

When prejudice isn’t real

Kitt O'Malley:

We must be careful not to assume the worst, not to project our own fears and insecurities onto others. Read this thoughtful blog post from Laura Droege about her experience miscontruing another mother’s demeanor and behavior, assuming the other mother was prejudiced against Laura due to Laura’s openness about her bipolar diagnosis:
“Sometimes, it really is prejudice against me.
And sometimes, it’s not about me at all.”

Originally posted on Laura Droege's blog:

Once upon a time, I met a woman who didn’t like me. I thought she didn’t like me, at least. She never smiled at me, rarely spoke to me, and generally didn’t seem thrilled at my presence in our Sunday school class.

Obviously, she didn’t like me.

Obviously, there was something wrong with me for her to dislike me.

I racked my brain for what was wrong. Had I offended her? Was I too honest about my bipolar disorder? Was I too quiet or awkward or— too something, some defect without a name and therefore without a solution?

Years passed. I shrugged it off. There were other people in the church who did like me, despite this nameless defect, and I consoled myself with their friendship.

One year I had this woman’s child in my VBS pre-k small group. The woman (I’ll call her Anna) pulled me aside on the…

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Filed under: Bipolar Disorder, Discrimination, Mental Health, Stigma Tagged: compassion, forgiveness, listening

Or Maybe a Cold…

Well, I’m feeling a bit better this week than I was this time last week. Which is sort of funny, seeing how I’ve a flu shot between then and now, ha ha. But I also was surprised with a bit of extra sleep, which seems to have gone a long way towards making me feel human.

Having said that, I am working to make peace with the fact that I’m not going to get a break from chronic fatigue this postpartum. I didn’t get a break from it during the pregnancy, and now… sigh. I’ve had spots lately where I’ve had both brain fog from meds and from the chronic fatigue, and that makes me feel worse than worse. And since the med fog is lasting clear into afternoon… eesh. Even now, here after 2pm, I’m still feeling a bit muddled. Heh, I guess I contradicted the above paragraph a bit, sort of. Well, I guess it’s better in some ways, and worse in others, and overall just a smidge better. I figure that makes sense to the Bipolaratti a bit more than those lucky healthy folk how it can be both at once, ha ha.

But ah well. I am mainly happy, and feeling creative enough to do things (and not just to keep the other blog afloat, honest!). So I guess we can say that it’s good enough.


Fitness Update October 20, 2014

Why a Fitness Update on a Bipolar Blog? As much as I am grateful for the meds that have made a dramatic difference in making me more balanced, there is one side effect I’m not thrilled about – weight gain. Weight gain can be a major struggle for those of us on bipolar meds because […]

The post Fitness Update October 20, 2014 appeared first on Insights From A Bipolar Bear.

The Queen of Mediocrity

    Before I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2007 at age 37, for most of my life I thought of myself as the “Queen of Mediocrity”.  I felt this way early on as I never accomplished anything of merit … Continue reading

A FitBit Day

Today I decided to get a fitbit. It’s a little pedometer that does a few other things I havent figured it out.

I’ve decided that I am going to start working on getting in shape. I was going to wait until we moved into our home late Feb early March and I was using that as an excuse to keep eating crap all the time and drinking tons of soda and not bothering to exercise.

That’s about to change. That walk we took through the woods showed me that life could really be different if I was healthier. Not only would I be able to do more things but I would feel better about myself.

So the first thing I am going to do is stop drinking soda and caffeine. I am gonna try and walk each day too, even if it is just circling to house, or doing one of those 15 minute miles. It’s time for this woman to change. I can always keep dreaming or I can make those dreams come true. Only I can make it happen. Time for that to start.