Daily Archives: March 7, 2018

Six Years

That’s how long it’s been since I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder. It’s hard to believe because it seems like I’ve lived the longer part of my life since then, but that’s because I had it for many years before the official label became part of my medical record. I didn’t know it at the time Dr. Awesomesauce pronounced the words that changed my life forever, but as I look back over my life it has been littered with episodes of one kind or another.

It all started more than 50 years ago, when I was a little girl plagued by night terrors and depression. A little later, around age 10, I had my first thoughts of suicide; at 13 I went through a year-long depression following the death of my beloved grandmother. I can’t quite recall when the mania showed up, but I do remember times in high school and beyond when I had much more energy than usual and couldn’t shut up. Once I got sent home from work because I was telling my life story to my co-workers, starting with earliest childhood; that was during the memorable summer I spent in what I know now to have been full-blown mania. I worked 14-hour days and drank Jack Daniels to go to sleep for about three hours before getting up and doing it all over again; unfortunately, my work performance was consistent with my diagnosis and I got written up, I don’t know many times, for erratic behavior and not playing well with others.

My mid-and-late 20s were also a mess, and I drank like a fish during most of those years. I drank when I was happy. I drank when I was sad. And I drank just for the hell of it. There are entire six-month periods I don’t even remember because I was self-medicating  with booze. I do recall being chronically angry, however, and I think that was the driving force behind the drinking. It masked the anger and reduced the number and intensity of my mood episodes…at least, I think it did. My late husband and my kids might see it a little differently.

Then in my late 30s and 40s, hormones began to rear their ugly heads and my family thought I was losing my mind. I once quit a job and took several months to “find myself” at the expense of financial stability. (I don’t remember doing this, but Will told me it happened so it must have. He wouldn’t have made that up.) I went on birth control pills to deal with my excessive menstrual cycles, and they turned me into a psychotic bitch with a capital B. So I stopped those, and a few months later my internist put me on Paxil for depression.

I remember waking up one morning about three weeks into it and HELLO! I was manic AF. Didn’t recognize it as such, of course, but suddenly I was racing around my house and workplace with my hair on fire. My boss was delighted: “Whatever you do, don’t stop taking your Paxil!” It was the first of several that pooped out eventually, which is another sign of bipolar. Finally, after Wellbutrin made me severely manic, my doctor essentially said “that’s it, you’re going to have a psych eval before I prescribe anything else.” And on March 7, 2012, I was finally diagnosed properly.

Now, six years later, I’ve learned a great deal about what makes me tick. The process slips badly every now and then (hence the occasional tinkering with meds) but for the most part I’ve grown a lot since then. It’s true that aging brings maturity, as does loss, although I certainly could have done without that. I still have some trouble with acceptance of this beastly disease as part of me, especially since I’ve been so stable for most of the past three years; often, it’s almost as if I never had it to begin with. But I know that’s just stinkin’ thinkin’, and I can never go back to the days when I was innocent (and ignorant) of having a serious mental illness.

And it’s OK.




Penny Positive #70

From An Optimist’s Calendar



Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder more prevalent among patients with RA

Again! Another immunological link to mental illness. Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease, meaning your own immune system attacks your joints and connective tissue, and people who have RA have a higher prevalence of anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder. My family is a prime example, my grandmother had RA, my mother had Lupus and RA, I have food sensitivities, all of these are due to the immune system, and my mother had major depression, I have bipolar 1 disorder and my grandmother, although not formally diagnosed, may have had a few mental health conditions. I know this is only one family but please look at the article below. The link between the immune system and mental illness is real. I hope there will be a better understanding and better therapies due to this understanding soon!


Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder more prevalent among patients with RA

To determine the incidence and prevalence of various psychiatric disorders and conditions among patients with RA compared with those without RA in the general population, the researchers studied health data from Manitoba. They identified 10,206 cases of incident RA between 1989 and 2012, as well as a general-population cohort of 50,960 individuals, and matched the two groups 5:1 based on birth year, sex and region.

Researchers found that psychiatric disorders, such as depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder, were more common among patients with rheumatoid arthritis compared with the general population.
Source: Shutterstock

In addition, the researchers used validated algorithms for depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia to find the annual incidence of these conditions following an RA diagnosis, as well as their lifetime and annual prevalence..

According to the researchers, after adjusting for age, sex, region, number of physician visits and year, patients with a diagnosis of RA demonstrated a greater incidence of depression throughout the study period (IRR = 1.46; 95% CI, 1.35-1.58). Patients with RA also had great incidences of anxiety (IRR = 1.24; 95% CI, 1.15-1.34) and bipolar disorder (IRR = 1.21; 95% CI, 1-1.47). However, schizophrenia incidence did not differ between the two groups. Lifetime and annual prevalence of depression and anxiety were also greater among patients with RA, compared with the general-population cohort.

“Over a lifetime, more than one-third of persons with rheumatoid arthritis are likely to experience depression, and 45% are likely to experience an anxiety disorder,” Marrie said. “Given the very high prevalence of psychiatric disorders in rheumatoid arthritis, clinicians need to be proactive about identifying and treating these conditions appropriately. Clinicians should be aware that women, and those of lower socioeconomic status are at particularly increased risk of these disorders.” – by Jason Laday

Quick Update

Working with a book coach, I’ve created character sketches, an outline, and drafted the first chapter of my book. All this while feeling sick and parenting a teenage migraineur.…

A Dim View of Things

There is a site I go to once in awhile for inspiration in the form of a daily prompt. I haven’t been there in awhile, but it always seems to be a fitting word when I do. The word, “Dim”, was no exception. Yesterday I went for my annual eye exam. I have been going …

Pulling of the Spirit

I guess God really wants me to confront my Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Facebook has had an over abundance of articles about narcissists lately and I can’t seem to get them out of my mind.

I’m not sure why He wants this but I guess I better get on board. First I would like to say that I HATE the articles I find on Facebook and other places. I don’t like it when people refer to someone as a narcissist when they have no idea of the true meaning and just want to find a reason for someone’s bad behavior AND their inability to get away from this person. It aggravates me. Lately it just makes me so mad. Like I can’t even find the words mad.

Add that to the guy at work that says “autism is a mental illness” and I’m ready to know what the purpose of all this is. I’m not a physical person but I wanted to hit my co worker for an off handed comment that he obviously has no knowledge about. Yes, Autism(and similar things) are covered in the mental health umbrella but they are NOT even almost the same. To give some context the discussion was about the shooting in Florida. I made the comment that he was sick and he was completely unwilling to hear what I was saying.

I guess since I carry around mental illness my buttons get pushed a little faster. But normally I do my best to educate. What pisses me off is when I try to talk to someone and they show no desire to learn or be aware of what it’s really like.

Like narcissist, I don’t think of myself as a totally self centered impossible person to be around, most of the time. I read that empathy is a huge thing missing with narcissists. I don’t completely understand what that means because I sure can feel empathy for people. I guess the thing is that I have taught myself to ignore my first instinct and the truth is very often my first instinct is “I’m sorry you have health issues but I need you to come to work”, I’m sorry you didn’t plan a babysitter but no I won’t work for you”. Oh your kids have issues…put your big girl panties on and be a PARENT!!”

These are my first instinct. If I could say them I would. But it’s not that I don’t have empathy it’s that when people expect special treatment for whatever reason it annoys me. Nobody taught me to do this. Well, maybe someone did. My parents, my MOM. Maybe I’m not a horrible human being because I had good parents. And even though I didn’t find out about my diagnosis until I was 33 my Mom has always done her best to help me figure things out. I will never forget when I was about 14 my best friend and I got in a huge fight and weren’t friends anymore. And I was going off to my Mom and she said “Jennifer have you ever considered that your more mature than her?” Um no I haven’t. And more to the point that doesn’t matter. She should just act right. Lol

I still feel that way. If I even a little bit have learned to control my mental illness BEFORE I was medicated then it should be easy for normal people, right?!?!?!

Honestly, the more I think about this the more it scares me. I don’t understand it. I have a pretty good handle on the bipolar and what it does to me and what happens in my mind and body. But I just don’t know how to accept being a narcissist. Maybe that’s the exact thing that signals me having it. I don’t know.

I do know that those articles hurt me. They make me feel like I’m less than. And I know the statistics. About 200,000 a year are diagnosed with this disorder. That’s .0006667 percent of the population of this county. Those articles make it sound like there are narcissists around every corner. It is predominantly found in men which is why what they do seems so much worse, maybe. I don’t really know. I just know that willy nilly articles about it make it sound like almost every man is this way. Just because a man is abusive doesn’t mean he is a narcissist.

I’m tired. I’m tired of fighting the battles with myself and I am tired of fighting people that are unaware and that refuse to be educated. Sometimes I think people don’t believe me when I tell them I am bipolar. It takes while to see the real crazy part. People at work think they have seen me freak out, HA! No way! My meds work good. And they allow me to have better control over what is in my mind and what my emotions and actions are. I usually do pretty good but especially when things come out of no where I struggle. I struggle hard. I don’t know how I made it so many years unmedicated. I don’t know how I am still married and have been for 15 years. I don’t know how I haven’t completely destroyed my life. All I know is that God has done BIG things for me and for my marriage. I know that God walks beside us and that when we feel lost he finds a way to remind us.

I am a narcissist. I have to figure out how to own that and how to use it to educate people. If I could prevent one thing it would be young people going through what I went through. If I could see them and help them and stop them from making the mistakes that I made. I want people to know. I want people to be able to look at their kids and see the signs and get them help before bad things happen. It’s scary!! And they need support and love. If there’s one thing I could change it would be kids not going through what I went theough(yes I said it again). Time for some more learning.

Be blessed and thanks for reading!!