Daily Archives: January 9, 2016

Change is Anxiety Provoking

Click to view slideshow.

Great news. Monday I am moving my parents into shared rooms – and most importantly, a shared bed – at a board and care close to my home. To that end, I’ve been busy with electronic paperwork and facilitating the transfer of my mother from skilled nursing stroke rehab and my father from assisted living memory care. Delegated the moving of queen size bed and my parents’ clothing to my husband. Sunday we move the bed and clothes, and I sign the papers and cut the check.

This change, which I expect to be wonderful – which I hope to be wonderful for both my parents and my own family – still is anxiety provoking. So much is riding on it. I pray my parents are happy with the set-up.

Anyway, I’ve been so stressed out that I’ve colored a crap load of images using Colorfy in the last few days. Take a look at the slide show of images and see how busy I’ve been.

Today I finally took a clonazepam hoping it would help. Nada. No difference. I feel like I’m about ready to jump out of my skin. Instead, I write and share with you how moving someone else affects me.

You can imagine how hard it might be to move myself, son and husband. Whenever I have moved in the last ten years, and we’ve moved numerous times, I’ve had a set-back, experiencing deep and sometimes debilitating depression.

We moved our son five times during elementary school. He, too, is sensitive to change. My childhood growing up, we constantly moved. Because of it, I tend to hold people at arms length, never getting too attached for I may be leaving soon.

Filed under: About Mental Health, Bipolar Disorder, Dementia, Depression, Family, Health Tagged: anxiety, bipolar depression, elder care, memory care, Sandwich Generation, senior care, stroke, stroke rehabilitation


I do feel better today. We’ve had kind of a lazy day–we went out to lunch and Bob ran errands while I helped the middle one with some English Comp II homework.  Now we’re all busy with projects–Bob and the smallest one are doing Legos, The middle one is doing laundry, and the oldest is working on an application to work at Disney World one semester.  We will see how that turns out in April.

I’m glad I’ve recovered from what was getting me so down.  I think what helped  was finally admitting out loud that I was having trouble and letting it all out. I don’t know how long this bout of recovery will last, but I hope it sticks around for a while.  I don’t like feeling so hopeless and sad.


How to Support Someone who has Bipolar Disorder

Do you have a friend or family member who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder?  If so, here are some things you can do to help them.

support pic

  1. Learn about their illness. There are many websites that deal with mental illnesses including bipolar disorder.  Read up on bipolar disorder so you know what to expect.  Know what the signs and symptoms are of mania and depression.
  2. Take care of yourself. Know your limitations and have ways of dealing with the stress that might come with dealing with your loved one or friend.  Set boundaries and let them know what they are.
  3. Help them to create a action plan. This is where they come up with things that you and others can do to help them through an episode.  For example, if they are manic, you might want to secure their keys and credit cards they become more stable.
  4. Find yourself a support system.  You can look up places in your area where there are support groups.  You also should talk to the other people who are part of your loved ones support team.
  5. Be patient and understanding. This is in an illness and in many cases they can’t help what they are doing.  Encourage them to take their medications and see their doctor on a regular basis.
  6. Be honest with them and expect them to be honest with you. Let them know ahead of time that you expect them to let you know when they are not feeling right.  Encourage them to share what medications they are on and if they are taking them.
  7. Recognize that this is an illness just like diabetes.  They are not to blame and there is nothing they did to deserve having it.  If they take care of themselves, they often can  lead a “normal” life.  If they don’t, they will most likely cycle through mania and depression often and their illness will be a constant struggle. It is their choice.
  8. Know what to do in an emergency or when you know they are headed for trouble.  There should be phone numbers of crisis teams that you should have handy, know their doctor’s phone number, know when you should take them to the emergency room.
  9. Take it one day at a time.
  10. Focus on the good times.  Remember the person who you love when they are stable.




Well, here’s why I went to Pakistan.


This was the reason I went to Pakistan, to see my Fatto Khala (aunt). They hadn’t told her we were coming because she gets very anxious about changes. So when I walked into her room on the morning of December 27, she was totally surprised, her face broke out into a huge smile and she said in utter surprise “Samina ?!” I will never forget her happy face and exclamation for as long as I live.

I was afraid to see her, the pictures my cousin had sent me months ago were awful, awful! I didn’t know if I could handle seeing my beloved aunt in such poor shape. But I was so happily surprised to see that she is doing really well. Yes, because of the cerebellar ataxia, she is rail thin, and she has trouble speaking (but my cousins can understand her really well,)  but her spirit and her personality and nature are still the same! She laughs a lot, she is happy and beloved and very well taken care of by my cousins. She never got married and never had children, so it is we, her nieces and nephews, who take care of her.

The fear of the unknown is always greater than facing the thing you fear most. For me, in this instance, it was the fear of seeing my aunt in such bad shape that I wouldn’t be able to handle it. But what I saw was so good and so positive that all my fears vanished and a deep gratitude welled up inside of me, that even though my aunt has such an awful disease, she is still loved, and she lives in the very heart of her family, and is happy and joyous and taken care of in an excellent manner. May we all find ourselves in such happy circumstances if we need care.

Thank you Munib and Mahrukh, I absolutely adore both of you.

More about Pakistan soon. I took so many pictures and videos, I will share those in the coming days.

I am so happy I went, we had a WONDERFUL trip, couldn’t possibly have been better.


Bipolar Disorder Signs & Symptoms Infographic

Bipolar Disorder Infographic 2

Group Activities

  Life in inpatient is centered around food and groups.  I’ve talked at length about the food before, but only mentioned groups in passing.  The first group each day takes place at 9:15 and is called Goals Group.  You are supposed to think about the circumstances that led you to be in inpatient, and set […]

Talk Soup

Another Friday, another therapy appointment. Looks like this is going to be a regular thing, and that’s good because I’ve never been this talkative before. Not even with Dr. Awesomesauce. To my surprise, all KINDS of stuff is pouring out of me, a lot of it relating to early life events that he and I never got to because we were always dealing with one crisis or another. This time, I’ve been able to start at the beginning and I’m spilling my guts to the point where I said at the end of today’s session, “Gosh, all I do in here is talk!”

Kathy looked amused as she replied, “That’s why they call it talk therapy, you know.” That tickled me, and I laughed out loud. I am quickly becoming comfortable with her, and even though she’s my junior by a whole lot of years, she is very good at what she does. Already I’m looking forward to the next time I get to go to her office, which has soft lighting and a trickling fountain which provide a calming environment, and talk about EVERYTHING. My bipolar. My childhood traumas. My alcoholism. Especially my frustrations with what I see as a very diminished role in life. Kathy encourages me to turn around that thinking and consider what I do bring to the table—a sense of humor and a deep love of family, as well as a talent for the written word and the ability to live in the moment.

That last attribute took me by surprise. All my life I’ve been obsessed with the future, in particular what could go wrong in the future. But when Will was diagnosed with cancer back in 2013, I realized that every single day is a gift and tomorrow isn’t guaranteed to any of us. And after that long fall from productive member of society to disabled person, I learned that anticipating the worst doesn’t stop it from happening, so why drive myself insane with worry? That’s not to say I don’t suffer from anxiety—I experience it on a daily basis—but for the most part, I’m just trying to enjoy this time with my husband instead of dreading the day when the disease finally wins.

And there has been reason to be concerned. Will’s been sick with a combination of pneumonia and a cellulitis (skin infection) of his lower leg, which started when he scraped it on some coral while we were on Grand Cayman. He was so ill he spent two days in the hospital, and even now he’s still pretty weak. The good news is that the cancer has NOT spread to his lungs as we’d feared, and the leg is looking better every day. Again, we can only afford to live in the present and let each day bring what it will.

In the meantime, I’ve been set up with a new prescriber, a psychiatric nurse practitioner whom I’ll meet in early March. I feel fortunate that I’m getting in to see her in only a couple of months; some people wait three times that long for a provider. I guess they don’t want a bipolar 1 running around without medication. Not that I’ll be without; Dr. A is still prescribing for me and no doubt will continue to do so until the NP takes over. But being reasonably stable, I’m used to going 2-3 months in between visits, and it’s not critical that I see someone right away.

That’s a good feeling. And so is being able to get rid of a lot of pent-up emotions without judgment, just like I used to do with Dr. A. Only in some ways it’s even better, because Kathy has stronger boundaries and doesn’t share much about her personal life. The entire hour is about me, me, and ONLY me. What luxury!



Let me pour you a link

“Please Do Not Downvote Anyone Who’s Asked for Help” – How Reddit is changing suicide intervention. Therapy wars: the revenge of Freud: Cheap and effective, CBT became the dominant form of therapy, consigning Freud to psychology’s dingy basement. But new studies have cast doubt on its supremacy – and shown dramatic results for psychoanalysis. Is … Continue reading Let me pour you a link