Bipolar Therapy, Bipolar Medications, or Both?

The first time I was medicated for Bipolar I, I was living in Las Vegas and I left shortly after. I didn’t really feel like the medications helped, but I was still on the lower dosages so the psychiatrist hadn’t had a chance to increase them to levels that would help me properly.

When I was in Las Vegas, I still had periods of mania and depression. When I was manic, I would gamble or shop, maybe even get in the car and drive five hours to the beach. I would be hypersexual and I’m quite surprised that I never contracted an STD or became pregnant.

When I would become depressed I would feel like I had the flu and would not want to get out of bed for a few days.

However, I had days of normalcy, too.

The bad thing about being unmedicated when I’m manic is that I do some dangerous things. When I drive, I drive fast or don’t pay attention to the road like I should. I married a man three days after meeting him in person and it led to a horrible experience. I took out $60k in private student loans (with my father as a co-signer, who has since passed away) that now amounts to over $100k, and none of that money was spent on school.

One thing that could’ve ended badly but ended up being the best thing in my life, was when my brother brought home his roommate from Phoenix. That roommate was Quay and we have now been married for five and a half years. However, we slept together on that first night, and then I stopped talking to him for almost a year. But then I just hopped on a Greyhound and within three weeks I was living with him in his ex-girlfriend’s house, I had a job in Phoenix, and we were moving into our own place a few months later.

A year later, we moved to Vermont, where Quay grew up, and I got and held a crap job at first, and left there only when I got one that offered me $30k a year with bonuses. I worked there seven months without medication or therapy until the working conditions became so horrible that I had a mental breakdown and ended up in a psych ward. Since then I have been seeing a psychiatrist. I started with a therapist, but once I was stable, that stopped. However, I got worse, and they sent me to another one. This one specializes in DBT therapy.

The medications I have been on over the last five years have been all over the place. Some I can’t take anymore because of side effects. Right now, I believe I’m overmedicated on the mood stabilizers, and my anti-depressant I have become immune to as it’s the same one I started with and I’m on the highest dosage recommended.

Mood stabilizers help push your mood down so you don’t become manic, and anti-depressants help keep your mood up. Mine are not in-sync or something because I spend 90% of my life not wanting to get out of bed, or shower, or take care of the pets, or clean my house. Before I was medicated, I could at least keep a job for three to six months if it was full time, and I wanted to do things outside of the house, and I took my dog for walks, and my house was cleaned on a regular basis.

What brought me to realize all of this is my therapist yesterday asked me what my manic episodes were like and I had to explain that I used to get happy and have energy, and now I get angry and irritable. She asked me why I was medicated then, and I came up with the best answer I could at the time, but I don’t think that I would do those dangerous things if I were to have the DBT therapy with her, plus my more stable life now having been married so long, having lived in our own home for so long, having health insurance for so long, etc. You know?

I still have to talk to more people I trust, family and friends and the like, but I think I want to come off my Bipolar meds, or at least reduce them.

Sorry this is such a long post, but this is an important decision and I need to make the right one so I can start feeling like less of a failure and more involved in my own life.

The View from Bayview

So Quay caught me in the bedroom with a pair of scissors against my wrist. He hit them away and then slapped my head, telling me to get my shoes on because he was taking me to the ER. The conversation during the ER visit wasn’t very helpful. In fact, I was quite relieved when the crisis worker took him away for a conversation. But then Colleen showed up. I had been in contact with her several times over the holiday weekend so it wasn’t a surprise, and actually calming.

They came up with a plan to take me to a respite house for one night, which is actually a group home with one respite bed in it, and then I would go to Bayview, which is the crisis bed. I was very upset at the respite bed because one person in particular was always angry and upset and when Quay and I were having a conversation, this person was certain we were talking about him. I which Quay would’ve stayed longer to make sure I was okay instead of just leave, but nope, he just left.

A little while later, they came to get me to take me to Bayview. It was already late so I just relaxed and went to bed. The next day was a lot of treatment work though and that was helpful but also hard. That night I slept much better than I had in many months.

Today, so far, I have worked with a new worker who has helped me determine why I self-harm and what my stressors are. We got about half-way through the packet and he said we’d finish the rest tomorrow. Tomorrow I also see my case manager and therapist.

They haven’t told me how long they want me to stay here but I feel safe here and I feel good working on things that will help me when I go home, especially the goals and working on stressors. They are repeating to me that I have a voice in my own home and it’s up to me to use it. I have used it before, I can use it again.

No, I Didn’t Drop Off the Face of the Earth!

As the title says, no, I did not drop off the face off the earth. It has been a while since I’ve written, and to be honest, I don’t really know what I’ve done with all that time. I know I’ve done some reading, and I’ve been tossing around ideas for creative stories, but I hadn’t been freelancing until just this week.

However, I went out of town with the hubby and my brother for the 4th. We went to Boston to catch a Red Sox game and we did some sightseeing around the older part of Boston. My favorite parts were Cheers (the bar from that ’80s sitcom), and Paul Revere’s house, and ye olde Union Oyster House (which is the oldest restaurant in the country). It was so much fun!

The only bad part about the trip was there was a lot of walking and stairs involved and my knee is messed up right now. I don’t really know how I messed it up but I know I made it worse when it went out on me and I fell on it. I’m sure all the walking and whatnot didn’t help either. But I have an appointment with an orthopedic doctor on August 12th to see what they can do about fixing it, if there’s anything to be fixed, that is.

Oh, and my friend Courtney also dyed my hair for me. It’s now black with dark aqua highlights. I love it. It was black before but the highlights were purple. It had been months since I’d dyed it so my roots were showing big time. But I look so much better now! Thank you, Courtney!

Right now I’m just doing laundry and watching the Red Sox game. I think I need to go fold some laundry. I’ll try to write updates more often!

X Amount of Words

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. The good thing is that I’m in a better place now than I was when I last posted. That was a dark place. I actually went to a respite bed for a few days (twice) to get myself back into a better place where I felt safe again. 

The only thing that seems to be bothering me now is my anxiety. It keeps me from getting a good night’s sleep and I often bounce one or both of my legs when sitting if I am nervous. This is awkward around people that don’t know me, especially when I explain that it’s anxiety causing it and they ask me what I have to be anxious about since I don’t work.

Speaking of work, I am trying to get back into freelancing and that will be even easier now that I have a new laptop. Nice, huh? I’m excited. But it will be adding to my anxiety and I have to be prepared for that.

I’ve only written one article so far, but it went well I think. It’s time to find more jobs that I can pace over several weeks. It would be nice to find some recurring jobs, right? Brooke said she’d work with me on freelancing which would be awesome. I’d have a partner in crime!

Well, I should get going. I have more blogs to write. Never-ending…

In A Bad Place

The last few days have been horrible. I’ve been manic, depressed, and anxious all at the same time. But last night was the worst. The only thing that stopped me from cutting was my phone going off.

And now I really feel that I don’t want to be around anymore. I am in a bad place.

When Drinking for Fun Turns to Drinking the Blues Away

Hello, everyone. It’s been a while since I’ve posted again. This is beginning to be habit, I know… and I’m sorry.

I had been in a very good mood actually and I had been out doing things with my brother and his girlfriend and, of course, my husband. I was feeling so good, in fact, that I wanted to do a little drinking.

My drink of choice that night were Jager-bombs, and I remember the Red Bull running out and I started taking straight shots of it.

We were playing board games the whole time I was drinking and I remember playing Candyland, and Clue, and most of Yahtzee.

The sad part is that I don’t even remember having to get up to go to the bathroom to throw up and Courtney had to help me get there. I don’t remember being put in bed, or being recorded as I made a fool out of myself (she recorded it to show me the next day so my close inner circle could all have a laugh, not to put it on Facebook, and I trust her not to), and I don’t remember trying to have sex with my husband before I passed out (the important word being “trying”).

When I woke up the next morning I had gotten barely any sleep so I was still fairly drunk but I already started to feel pain in my abdomen and I was nauseous.

As the day progressed my hangover got worse, but so did the pain and nausea. It wasn’t until the hangover started getting better and the pain and nausea was still getting worse, that I got worried.

We were at Courtney’s house and it was just after dinner. We were enjoying time with her daughter (even though I didn’t feel well), and I had to go to the bathroom. No biggie, right? Wrong. The toilet was filled with bloody diarrhea and the pain was even worse. Quay decided to take me to the ER.

After several tests, it came back as gastritis, which would go away in 3 to 5 days. However, while I was recovering from that, I ended up getting sick with a stomach bug/stuffy nose thing so this whole ordeal lasted 10 days in bed.

During those 10 days in bed, I started thinking about all sorts of things (things I can’t even remember now) and I got a little depressed. I’m trying to get out of the funk but it’s still hard. I will let you know of my progress on Sunday since we go to the water park on Saturday. Yay.

Lots of Changes, I Don’t Like Changes

My old case manager is now on maternity leave. I now have Rene and she’s hardly been in contact with me at all. I want to say she made an appointment with me but in my confusion with someone new I forgot to program it into my phone, and I also forgot to ask her to call me before she leaves the agency so I know she’s on her way. That way I know I’m awake, the door to the back porch is unlocked, and the dogs are put away or outside. Maybe I should call her tomorrow and make sure she knows to do that? I don’t know.

But remember last time I mentioned my anxiety was bothering me? Well, before my old case manager left, she made an appointment with my psychiatrist to make sure I saw him about that and I went to the appointment. He was worried about increasing my Xanax by much more, so instead of doing that, he switched it to Klonopin. So that’s another change I have to deal with.

But at the same time, literally the same day, my primary care doctor prescribed me Tramadol for my restless legs so now I have two new meds and I don’t know if it’s just one of them or the combination of the two that’s doing it but now when I take my meds at night I get this foggy brained headache that only food will cure. It’s a strange feeling really.

But I am just trying to keep up with my to do list each day and not focus on my anxiety or what is going to happen tomorrow or the next day. It’s all I can do, right? Changes be damned.

Anxiety, Worry, Fear

I’m having a hard time with my anxiety tonight. It was just fear after fear going through my head so fast that I couldn’t pick just one to focus on to relieve the constant barrage of them coming at me. I don’t even remember what most of them were now that I am not trying to focus on them. But I just broke down into tears and woke up Quay. I talked to him for a little bit but it was hard with him being so tired and I didn’t want to keep him up anymore than I already had, so I tried to go back to sleep. But it started again, and it was the same thing all over.

I just decided to come downstairs and do something else. Obviously laying in bed was not going to work tonight. Perhaps when I am done with this blog entry I will lay on the couch and watch TV.

But I really don’t know what else to say other than I am tired of living like this. All this worry is working its way into real fear and I don’t like it.

Beer, Freelance Writing, and a Snake

I just finished an article that has been plaguing me for awhile now. I hope the client likes it. But I hope he doesn’t like it enough to offer me more work. *laugh* Actually, if he does offer me more work, I will probably just politely decline. I will just say it wasn’t my cup of tea, or something like that.

But I’ve been sipping on a beer all night. Actually, this is my second one. This is so weird to say, but I actually like this beer. It’s called Berlinerweiss, from 14th Star Brewery in St. Albans, Vermont. It’s SO good. I usually don’t like beer, although I try almost every one that my husband gets, just to see what it tastes like. But I really liked this one and my brother bought me a growler of it, which means I had to drink 64 oz. of it in 3 days, before it went bad. My husband drank a glass, but I drank the rest. Weird, huh? It’s so good though!

With the help of a friend, I got caught up on my articles and now I just have three that I need to write. These ones sound interesting and I think I will enjoy writing them though so I am all good there. What I need to get caught up on is my blogging. I am always so behind on my blogging!

Oh, and I fed Corin today. She was hungry, because that little mouse was gone in a second! Okay, maybe not a second, but it was gone pretty fast. She’s been a little more active in her tank lately and I’ve been busy snapping pictures when I see her out and about. The picture for this blog is a picture of her sticking her head up by the front glass of her tank, looking out at the room.

So I guess I need to get back to writing so I can make some moolah for my honey. Actually, I am saving up for a thermostat for Corin’s Under the Tank Heater, and I need to buy a box of copy paper. I go through quite a bit of that as a writer.

Well, good night all!

Some Christmas Shopping, a Seizure, and a New Look

I was up early today. Earlier than I thought I would be since I was up till the wee hours of the morning not able to sleep as is the usual lately. I really have to find out what’s causing that and put a stop to it. But Quay was up at about 8 or 8:30 and then I couldn’t go back to sleep after he got out of bed so I got up at 9:30.

We had errands to run today. Well, it was more that my brother had errands to run, we would just be along for the ride for the most part. But he was in bed until almost 11, so we got a late start. He wanted to go to New York to buy cigarettes at the Indian reservation and Plattsburgh wasn’t that far away from there so we went there for our errands.

The cigarettes were cheap. He bought three cartons, so that should last him a while. Then we went to the mall to do some Christmas shopping. Quay found a pair of dress shoes for work at a decent price at Target. For $25 we don’t expect they’ll last forever but his old ones are falling apart so…

Then we went to Buffalo Wild Wings for lunch. I can’t believe that Chris ate 20 wings. I don’t know where he puts it all and stays so skinny. I ate half of my chicken wrap and took the rest home.

The next stop was Walmart. He got some random things and an orange fish to put in his fish tank he’s setting up today. This fish is for his girlfriend. Oh, and he bought a bunch of decorations for the tank for the fish to swim in. A sunken battle ship, a sunken battle helecopter, and a temple idol thing. We bought dog food and dog treats, too.

The last stop was Petsmart where he got some things for his Leopard Geckos and then some more fish.

The tank is all set up now and it looks awesome. He just needs more fish for it, since it’s a 55 gallon tank. And I am exhausted after all that walking around and being around all those people. I got so anxious.

When we got home and were putting the tank together, I went into the bedroom (my bedroom, I should say, since my brother’s bedroom is where the fish tank is) to take my shoes off and I ended up having a seizure. I woke up to the dogs freaking out and my mouth tasting disgusting like the dogs had been licking my face or something. I remember calling to Quay, but he didn’t come, and then when I finally told the dog to stop whining, he came in and found me on the floor and helped me up onto the bed. If it is the stress and anxiety causing these seizures, I am just glad that this seizure didn’t happen while we were in the middle of the crowded mall or while we were out to eat or something.

Oh, and you may have noticed that the blog has a new look! I wanted something simpler and with a pop of color. Something that wasn’t black and white. So what do you think? All of the pages on the other style didn’t have anything on them except for the About Me page anyway, so here’s the updated look!