Daily Archives: June 16, 2015

Identifying Triggers

I’ve never understood the whole “identify your triggers” when it comes to bipolar disorder. If it were merely triggers causing the disorder, I’d never choose to take meds. I’m not opposed to hard work and learning to change my behaviors that are detrimental. When my bipolar swings, it’s like being under the influence of a drug. You can try to talk yourself out of how you feel, but it sort of has a mind of its own and your will means fuck all.

BUT when it comes to specific anxiety triggers for panic disorder…That I can identify now. NOISE. I get overwhelmed by too much outer stimuli. My brain can’t process fast enough, which is one of the reasons I can’t even play X Box (et al) games. The graphics are too much, too much color, too much noises, too much fast action, too much to process too fast. I can’t handle it.

Life is a real time video game. Proven by this morning. A ten minute trip into the dish nearly did me in. It was all the rushing traffic and being in a lane with some jackass facing me trying to short cut into another place thus blocking me from going where I needed to go. My kid in the back, yapping, yelling STEER, STOP, WATCH OUT. It was sensory overload and that made the anxiety and panic kick in.

Much like returning home and her filling every moment with constant babble. It sets me off. My ears literally cringe, like when you have an ear infection and get that shooting, cringing response to the sound sensitivity and pain. It’s not exclusive to my daughter. It’s EVERYTHING. I can’t even play my music loud because it sets me off and I LOVE my heavy metal. Bright colors freak me out. Things that go too fast, like traffic, factories, busy checkouts, beep beep beep of gas pumps, McDonald’s during lunch time when everyone is shouting out orders. It’s just too much for me. I try to handle it best I can, but sometimes..MOST times…It tips the scale and pushes me over the edge. I become irate, irritable, I snap, I raise my voices, I cover my ears and breathe rapidly and I get angry because IS IT TOO MUCH TO FUCKING ASK TO LIVE LIFE AT A PACE I CAN FUCKING HANDLE?

I’m not asking the world to change to accommodate me. But I see nothing wrong with wanting a life outside that madness so I’m not being triggered constantly. Yesterday was the perfect day from an anxiety angle. My kid was quiet, subdued, loving. No one called or knocked (thank you, rainy days.) Little noise outside. I had. 25 mg Xanax for the entire day and I wasn’t freaking out. I also didn’t have to venture into the dish, and that’s a huge trigger.

How I handle the anxiety triggers is also influenced my mood cycle. If manic, I can handle more noise and people, it barely puts a dent in the manic armor. When depressed, every tiny thing sets me off. When stable, I can stand so much but I do have a tipping point and no amount of psychobabble coping mechanisms help.

Perhaps one of the more bizarre things is that seldom do I relish absolute silence. I need something. TV show, sounds of thunderstorms, a fan. It just has to be at a tolerable volume and I am very picky on what shows help me sleep. I know it’s abnormal to find crime shows about murder comforting to fall asleep to but even that hinges on the voices of the people involved. I could fall asleep to Forensic Files or City Confidential any time. Narrators have very soothing voices. Now something like Deadly Women…That’s a mood thing. There are some nights I just can’t handle it. Some nights, I find falling asleep to Unsolved Mysteries very calming. Or documentaries on hauntings. I am aware how fucked up that is, but very rarely do I have nightmares. Unlike when I read a Hollywood Reporter email right before bed and dream of being on the set with the cast members. I don’t know why I am the way I am. There was a time when I used to marvel how my parents dozed off with the TV on because I needed absolute quiet.

I realize now, having identified my major trigger as far as anxiety goes, which alters my mood negatively, I just need to try to control how much noise and activity I am exposed to when not in a good place. I understand I can only do so much, life is noisy, especially with a child. But I feel better now that I realize…I’m not a bad parent, my kid is not the devil child. I’m just super sensitive to noise and as long as I can keep that tolerable, I don’t channel satan. It’s not so bad at home.

In the dish of petri, though, it’s near impossible to harness. Life has its own speed and doesn’t slow down for anyone. Which means limiting dish exposure time when I am not in a good place. I don’t see it as avoidance any more than I view avoiding spicy food to skip agonizing stomach issues as avoidance. IF IT HARMS YOU, DON’T DO IT. That’s smart. Why the mental health professionals spend so much time telling you it’s not is beyond me. It’s not like I fail to live life or my kid goes hungry because I fail to get to the store. But if controlling my exposure to the trigger makes my life less stressful and my moods less venomous…

Sounds like a win to me.

Happy 56th Birthday to Me!

birthday cake

So today is my birthday. I am 56. Eek!

You all are always so positive and I suppose those of you that comment on this will be kind and supportive. But I’d like to kick my life in the ass.

Now I’m not going to lie and say I have a terrible life. I have a nice big house, a cleaning lady, and a great husband of 30 years (you notice I listed the cleaning lady first). I have three adult children and with some luck they will all make it through 4 years of college. I have a lot of friends (both real and cyber). Now I don’t have two shiny new cars in the driveway. I drive a 2001 Tahoe. But hey, it runs and looks good…it’s cheap transportation.

I have a nice church that understands me. I have a good therapist and psychiatrist.

I have money. We’re not rich, but we are comfortable. I can always afford my medicine and treatment. We can take modest vacations.

I have a patient family. For those years off and on where I basically laid in bed and skipped events, they were understanding.

I had a decent experience in school. I got my Masters and taught all kinds of kids. I was a school principal for two years.

But for being 56, I am disappointed.

I remember being 40 and talking about my weight. I NEVER thought I would be 56 and still fighting it. I just don’t want to die fat.

I did some incredibly stupid things while manic. Back before I even knew what manic was, I did all kinds of lying and manipulating and just causing chaos in other people’s lives. These people did not deserve this in any way.

Thus the cycle began. Severe depression (suicidal) followed by some hypomania where I excelled at life, which then flipped over into mania. I left a wake of destruction when manic. (I’d apologize to these people, but they probably would run if they saw me coming. I don’t know where they are anyway.)

So is this a pity party? I guess so.

I am listening to an audiobook on how to be happy. I am trying, folks. So far, it’s told me to put “be happy” at the top of my daily to-do list. Then it told me to meditate for ten minutes every day. Then it told me to keep a phone gratitude list and gave me a couple of apps. I downloaded one and it was fine, but I think blogging is just about as good.

So what am I doing with my life? I’m resting a whole lot. I’m taking Klonopin prn and seem to need it a lot. I’m waking up at five and am very lonely. I’m doing the stuff on my template. I’m surviving. I’m not winning any awards for anything.

Is this my “stable” time? I’d guess so. I’m certainly not hypomanic. I do feel a little depressed, but not that down, down depression where you can’t get out of bed. I need to be grateful for that…I know many are not as lucky.

I think plenty of people get sad or irritated around their birthdays. I just try to lurk around so people don’t celebrate. I hate to be the center of attention now. I feel like a mental blob with nothing to say.

My husband reminded me that we basically go through this every birthday. That I moan I have not accomplished enough with my life. That so much of it was a waste. But then he says “Who among our friends has lived any better life than you?” And he is right. I know there are pediatric brain surgeons in the world, but they’re not among my confidantes. My friends are like me…good times and bad. I just happen to have a little more “kick” at times due to the bipolar.

So today I plan on finding a cupcake to share the day with.  I plan on walking a mile around that lake. I plan on forgiving myself for all of the people I hurt while manic. And I plan on loving myself more.

Thanks for being here.


Keep an Open Mind


Cheryl has given us some great ways to deal with the homelless/mentally ill in a public setting. Check out her blog for other informative posts. Thanks to Cheryl for the guest blog!

Originally posted on A Life in Libraries:

alone on couch

Since I am not an overly happy person myself, I feel a lot of empathy for those who suffer with ongoing depression. As a (retired) librarian, it is logical for me to think about and explore ways that libraries and librarians can support people diagnosed with depression and other mental illnesses.

View original 348 more words

Siamese Clown Lips

WTF, right? Spook declared this morning, “I want us to be Siamese Twins!” Then she proceeded to put my hair into piggy tails and slather bright pink lipstick on me coated with waxy lip gloss and green eyeshadow. Welcome to the horror show. But it warded off more tantrums, of which she had four right out of the gate. She saw a spider, freaked. I caught one of the outside feral cats and she spazzed because it won’t come near her. I tried to explain it’s because she’s loud and stomps around and scares them. That set her off and she began to yap and shriek and whine. Enter panic and irritation. NOISE is the trigger. It’s not her exclusively. It’s just too much noise. Yesterday she was quiet and polit and loving. Today she’s loud and bossy and obnoxious. I’m allergic to that shit.

I did as intended last night and cryptified around 8 p.m. Thought I’d drift off easily. Ha. I was still awake at 10:30. No sooner than I started to drift off finally, my kid was up. Standing beside my bed. Like some horror movie, minus a stabby object. Talk about startling me. And so she climbed into bed and thus I had to begin the entire process of trying to fall asleep again.

Once I did sleep…OMG, the bizarre dream started in . One involved The Donor. I am haunted by his propensity for expensive exotic foods. I dreamed we went shopping for food and the bill came to $80 and he’d snuck this baby alligator onto the conveyor. YES, three feet long of dead gator. And I was on about,”Don’t eat that around me, that is disgusting. I don’t even want to see the carcass in the trash!” It got even weirder then because while he ate gator, I was eating this big thick steak. AND I FUCKING HATE STEAK. Dear God, I’d rather have had a nightmare about Freddy Kruger fileting me with his claw hand.

I can no longer blame the dreams on Latarda. (YES I SAID IT AND FUCK YOUR POLITICAL CORRECTNESS, “to retard” means “to hinder” thus Latarda hindered my sanity). Which means Trileptal brought it all on as there were few dreams prior to that. Maybe by itself it wouldn’t. Maybe it’s the other meds combining. This doctor seems to think he knows everything and I don’t think any of them truly know the potential side effects of med combos. I know it’s made sleep less comforting for me.

I need to do housework. What I am going to do (other than try to surreptitiously wipe this awful candle wax off my mouth) is watch Grey’s Anatomy and enjoy the cool gloomy day. I took out the trash. That’s one thing accomplished. Now I rest on my laurels and maybe I’ll accomplish other stuff by taking the pressure off myself.

If not…Unfolded laundry never killed anyone.


THe pacing is getting more and more worrisome.  I find myself just wandering around the house not accomplishing anything.  I don’t know if I’m really having high energy or not.  I’m just bored right now.  I’m reading on my books for my course this fall, but for some reason at certain times of the day I just feel like I need to move around.  I wonder what is causing all this.

But I’m tired at the same time.  Sleepy is more the feeling.  I don’t do a lot to get physically tired.  But I just want to go to back to sleep.  It’s very frustrating. I have things I need to do  but I don’t feel like doing them.  I just want to sleep or pace around.  If I could get something done pacing, it would feel so bad.

I just want to feel normal again.  I know that I’m really functioning on a higher level than I have been since I was diagnosed, but I want to feel like my old self again sometimes.

Packing and getting ready for vacation. Will probably be on hiatus while I’m gone, so feel free to wander through the archives  while I’m gone. Hope everyone has s good week.

What’s in your medicine cabinet?

My mad lovelies, I didn’t have a chance to write a blog post this week. A lot has been going on in my life between doctors appointments and starting an out-patient treatment program. I’m taking a lot of medication these days, and I’m sure a lot of you are as well. I know a lot […]


{things unspoken, unsaid, unsent}

I wanted to tell you
. that I was boarding, that I’d landed,
. that I saw two giraffe kick,
. that hyaenas called,
. that my ink answered.

I wanted to show you
. . elephants crossing the river,
. . the bushbuck doe tiptoing to me,
. . impala lilies and bush willows,
. . the tail that I drew on my arm.

I wanted to say
. . . that sunset reminds me
. . . that uMadingeni is always yours,
. . . that always is too,
. . . that silence scars, that loneliness burns.

I wanted to say
. . . . hello,
. . . . howzit,
. . . . hi,
. . . . hi.

I wanted you
. . . . . to be where you always were,
. . . . . pushing me around, laughing
. . . . . when I pushed back,
. . . . . days that were easy (no matter what).

I wanted to say
. . . . . . goodnight,
. . . . . . sleep tight,
. . . . . . that dreams of a different flavour
. . . . . . and iKhwezi Lokusa are yours too.

I wanted to say
. . . . . . .  that there’s a hole in the world,
. . . . . . .  and it’s shaped like you.

Click to view slideshow.

(slideshow photos by me)

Brain Inflammation triggered by Chronic Pain Linked to Depression and Anxiety


Brain inflammation caused by chronic nerve pain alters activity in regions that regulate mood and motivation. This, for the first time, shows a direct biophysical link exists between long-term pain and the depression, anxiety and substance abuse seen in more than half of these patients.

These findings also point the way to new treatment options for those with chronic pain, the incidence of suicide in patients with chronic pain is second only to those with bipolar d/o. Therefore it would be wonderful to have new treatments.

Researchers found that that pain-derived brain inflammation causes the accelerated growth and activation of immune cells called microglia. These cells trigger chemical signals within neurons that restrict the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers.

Morphine and its derivatives can be ineffective in treating chronic pain. This study explains why, normally morphine and its derivatives stimulate the release of dopamine, but in rats with chronic pain, administration of morphine does not cause them to produce dopamine, resulting in impaired reward-motivated behavior. However, when these rats are treated with drugs that inhibit microglial activation, they then start producing dopamine.

Next the researchers aim to look at human chronic pain, and determine whether pain derived behaviors might account for mood disorders in these patients.

This can also shed light on mood disorders that are not caused by chronic pain. Of course dopamine is an integral part of the neurotransmitter system that contributes to mood stability. It is also the main neurotransmitter involved in Parkinson’s disease. Hoping for good things to come out of this research.


Article reference below:

Microglia Disrupt Mesolimbic Reward Circuitry in Chronic Pain