Daily Archives: December 3, 2014

Saw pdoc today – emergency appt

So I broke down in therapy yesterday and my gender tdoc called my pdoc’s office and got me an appointment for today.

I told him I’ve been heading straight downhill since starting the Gabapentin. He asked if I wanted to be admitted to the hospital as a psychiatric inpatient. I declined, saying I wasn’t that bad, but if I got worse, I would. He agreed.

I’m tapering off the Gabapentin now, my Wellbutrin is at 300mg and Seroquel is 200mg and going up. I see him next on the 18th.

I see my gender tdoc tomorrow and my normal, new, tdoc next Thursday.

I also picked up Vitamin D3 and Omega 3-6-9 to help with my mood. It can’t hurt, can it?

I felt better waking up today because I knew I had the appt and he’d do something.

I’m currently on:

Piportil depot, 75mg injection every 2 weeks. It crushes the psychosis. I haven’t been psychotic for a while. Jan 31 marks one year on it. I’ve gotten akathasia on it, but that’s about it. My next shot is this Friday.

Artane for side effects, mainly akathasia, which got worse with the Piportil increase, 5mg in the am, 5mg in the pm. It helps.

Wellbutrin, 300mg, for depression, in the morning

Seroquel 200mg to be increased, as a mood stabilizer/sleep aid.

Clonazepam 0.5mg in the morning, 0.5mg in the afternoon, 1mg at night

Ritalin, 30mg, 20mg in the morning, 10mg in the afternoon, for the “crash”.

So hopefully this works out.

I was manic a month ago and now look at me. Ugh.


After barely doing anything over the helliday week, I’ve done four days in the petri dish.
I alternate between feeling nauseous and exhausted and feeling…present.
I ran out of Paxil a week ago. Maybe that’s it. Just didn’t have the money for a refill.
The lesser side effects on my body have been nice,
The brain zap withdrawal sucked.
I’ve got prozac so it’s not like I am totally without the net.
I don’t think the shrinks realize, sometimes, the side effects seem lesser because you learn to live with them and view them as normal. It’s not until you come off the med that you realize…all those things you thought were norms…Really aren’t. And while you certainly don’t want to be ill, you kind of miss being…well, normal.

I’ve pondered saying screw the anti depressants. None ever work for more than a year, which leads the doctors to consider me a malingerer.
I know I HAVE to have the mood stabilizers. Without those, I become kinda monstrous. Self destructive.
I am just sick of the medi go round. Sick of the doctors and prescriptions and side effects and having this “mentally ill” label stuck to me for life.

Anxiety wise…Moderate, but manageable. I am super irritable. I don’t even want the cats on me, and that is an anomaly. Normally, I find a purring cat comforting. Now it’s like making my skin crawl.

That’s what life feels like sometimes. Like everything, everyone, including myself, is this hundred pound Samsonite I have to lug around everywhere. It’s exhausting. Sometimes, you just want to take along a light carry on bag.
Maybe it’s stress, anxiety, or just the hellidays. I don’t know. Earlier, I was feeling ok. Then I took meds on an empty stomach and started feeling nauseous. I don’t do the sick thing with grace, perhaps it is tainting how I feel.
Didn’t help they sent my kid home again, saying she had a 100.3 temp. I took her temp as soon as we got home and it was 97.7. I trust the digital thermometers over those temple ones mainly because a nurse told me they are highly inaccurate.
The ass trashiest part is, they’re sending me letters threatening me with truancy because she’s missed so many days. My kid is a drama queen. She’s been bouncing off walls since she got home. And this is how it is every time they send her home. She didn’t like what was for lunch today and she looked like a clown cos she got into my stay put lipstick and nothing i did would take it off (yet it won’t stay on me) so I’m guessing what her illness is. I gave her tylenol anyway. Geesh, you had to have a damn axe sticking out of her your head before they’d send you home when I was in school. Now your kid has a hangnail and it’s panic button time.
But yeah, threaten me with truancy.

Grr…I need some time without the luggage. So…How does one escape their own mind?

For now…it’s Christmas shopping and bills and paying out of my own pocket for my kid’s replacement glasses. Yay. I know it’s just life. It’s always been my life. One step forward, ten steps back.
But, miraculously, I can see light at the end of the tunnel. which is a feat at this time of year.
At the moment, though, it’s all ass trash.
i’m the luggage carousel at the airport for the moment.

I will cycle in a different direction soon. Good old cyclothymia. It doesn’t let you get too board since the cycle only pauses but never truly stops.

But my bills are paid, we have what we need for the moment, I am going to put up the tree and fake holiday cheer for my kid…And maybe this weekend my mom will keep Spook for a sleepover and I can get a good night’s sleep. Being woken every two hours wears you down. I don’t think she was this bad as a newborn.

some stuff sucks.
Some stuff doesn’t.
Life’s a mixed bag.
Just sometimes…I wish the bag was a lightweight carry on rather than a hundred pound Samsonite.

The Holidays

I’m not one that gets depressed about Christmas.  What I get is overstressed, which leads to no end of frustration with my limitations.  I decorate, I do Christmas cards, I shop and wrap (or bag) gifts, I play Christmas music, and I often host a Christmas party.  So I’m not a Scrooge about the season–it just sometimes gets overwhelming.

What often frustrates me the most is that everyone wants a piece of us at Christmas.  We have family get-togethers, special programs for activities that the kids are involved in, volunteer activities, and the list goes on and on, it seems like.  The Christmas rushing around requires the split-second timing that I’m no longer good at.  There seems to be almost no downtime to just relax and enjoy ourselves.

What I’ve learned over the past few years is that sometimes it’s best to not try for the “perfect” Christmas.  As long as my kids are happy, then I can be happy.  I want them to have good memories of Christmas, not bad ones.  The quickest way to a bad memory of Christmas for them is for me to work myself up into a tizzy and wind up in the hospital.

So I’ve developed some Christmas “shortcuts” to limit my stress over the season.  I no longer go all out on cooking–I buy precut cookies to bake and take to Christmas parties.  I let Bob write the Christmas newsletter we send out every year.  I bag as many gifts as I can instead of wrapping all of them.  I enlist the kids to help hang ornaments on our three Christmas trees.  I limit our commitments as best I can during the holidays.  And I try to take time out for myself it just sit down and enjoy what I’ve accomplished so far.

My Happy Sad Mummy: Why I’ll be reading this to my kids

My Happy Sad Mummy

Earlier this week I noticed a strange thing in my letterbox.  An actual handwritten letter – from an unfamiliar address.

Expecting a Christmas card from one of the few friends who haven’t discarded this charming tradition for a digital greeting, I ripped open the envelope.

Inside was a short note and a newspaper clipping – from the step-mum of a girl I went to high school with 18 years ago.  Strange huh?

But moments later tears pricked my eyes as I read her beautiful words – encouraging me to keep speaking up about mental illness. She also mentioned that  I might be interested in a new children’s picture book she’d read about in the local paper: My Happy Sad Mummy.

I quickly read the book review and then jumped online to order our family a copy.  For so long I’ve been searching for ways to explain my Bipolar Disorder to my young children in a way that’s easy for them to understand and doesn’t scare them.

Well, my copy of My Happy Sad Mummy arrived today and it’s fantastic. Using beautiful illustrations, it tells the story of a young girl living with a mother who experiences manic and depressive episodes.

The author, Michelle Vasiliu draws from her own experience of Bipolar Disorder, to portray the emotional rollercoaster of this illness, as a young child might perceive it.

Here’s four things I really love about this book:

1.  It doesn’t mention the label ‘Bipolar Disorder’.  I don’t fancy my chatty five year old talking about my diagnosis with kinder teachers, school friends and other random strangers in the supermarket check-out queue.

2. It emphasises the strong bond of love between the child and her mum. Despite having days when her mum struggles to get out of bed, or is caught up in manic activity, there’s no doubt in the child’s mind that her mum loves her.

3.  It’s really engaging for young children.  I’m planning on reading this story to my 3, 5 and 7 year old children every few months – gradually introducing the idea that they have a ‘Happy Sad Mummy’ too.  My older children know I take “brain medicine” every day – this will be a nice way of explaining why I need to take it.

4. It’s an example of a Bipolar mum using a painful experience to help others. Michelle’s motivation for writing the story came about after she had experienced a crisis: being admitted to a psychiatric hospital in 2007. At the time, her children were three and six and Michelle wanted to alleviate their fears about what was happening. Now, she’s trying to help other mums who find themselves in the same situation.

If any of you are like me – and struggle to find the right words when talking to your children about your illness – why not check out this new book.

Mariska xx

Can you recommend any other picture books that can help mums to explain Bipolar Disorder to young children?  Got any other tips for other ways to talk about this with children?  Would love you to share them with us.

The Bitch Is Back

The depression and paranoia, I mean. I’m not having any suicidal ideation this time, I’m just discouraged and sad and afraid. I’ve looked at numerous options for housing—even temporary would do for now—and there don’t seem to be any that would allow Will and me to keep at least SOME of his Social Security check. That leaves the local shelter, which would mean giving up our dog as well as the cats….my God, will the losses ever stop??

I keep thinking if Will were by himself, he’d probably have better luck…..maybe one of the kids would take him in. He is a much more sympathetic figure than I am: no matter how healthy he looks, he still has cancer, and I don’t think they’d be so callous as to let him spend the winter in the cold. I don’t know where I’d go in that case—probably the shelter—but the one thing that can’t happen to him is living in the car. I’d rather be apart than have him catch pneumonia. He’s already had it once this year, and thankfully it wasn’t serious…..I don’t know that he’d be so fortunate a second time.

Here’s where the paranoia comes in. I can’t help thinking everyone is blaming me for getting us into this mess. I know—this is when I’m supposed to remind myself that my brain is lying to me, and that “everyone” has much more important things to do than worry about whose fault this cluster-fuck is. But let’s face it, it wasn’t Will’s cancer that rendered us unable to continue in our accustomed lifestyle, nor was it his doing that we’re flat broke and desperate. Nope, this one is on me and regardless of the circumstances that led us to this point, I can’t help feeling guilty about it.

Everyone knows that mental disabilities are treated much less compassionately in our society than physical ailments. Unfortunately, even mentally ill people internalize that cultural bias and are often brutal in assessing themselves, when it’s merely a matter of biology and maybe a little maladaptive thinking. (Yeah, I know…..why can’t I figure that out for myself?) But it’s hard to change that thinking when the trajectory of one’s life has gone from being functional and working to unemployed and destitute in less than a year.

Bottom line, I’m depressed and anxious again, and though I keep saying “this, too, shall pass”, there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. What I am not is suicidal. If I get that way, I’ll call Dr. Awesomesauce and let him figure out what to do about it, but for right now I’m fighting it just fine on my own. It’s OK to be depressed and anxious under the circumstances; in fact, it would probably be more worrisome if I didn’t feel the way I do.

Yes, the bitch is back…..but this time, she’s NOT going to take over. There’s too much to do, too many phone calls to make, too many agencies to visit. And as far as I’m concerned, she can just go to hell.




A Little Reprieve

Today has been better mood wise. The anxiety was also a little lower.

I’d like to thank sudafed for making my cold more managable.

I spent all day watching survivor from the beginning, up to episode 8. Not a great way to spend the day but at least I wasn’t moping, right?

I am doing well losing weight and have lost 17 pounds so far. It feels a little weird and I’m afraid to eat now. Yet I am craving junk food really badly. I am wonderfuil at self sabatoge. I know this yet I feel like this is a losing battle with christmas and all the sweets and carbs that come with it.

There I said some positive stuff today.. nuff said.