Tag Archives: bipolar

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.

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…

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.

NaNoWriMo, Energy Drinks, and Bipolar – What Could Go Wrong?

I had a whole blog post written the other day and when I went to post it, WordPress did something weird and lost it, and I couldn’t get it back. I didn’t feel like re-writing the wondrous words I had already come up with (and probably couldn’t have come up with the same way again because, let’s face it, I’d just summarize everything the second time) so I just left it alone. Will that teach me not to type my blogs straight into WordPress but instead into a document I can copy and paste from? Probably not. In fact, I don’t even remember what the blog was about so it couldn’t have been that important anyway.

But on to bigger and better things – IT’S NOVEMBER! And that means it’s time for NaNoWriMo. I began my adventure at midnight. Well, 12:02am, to be exact. I wrote 1,500 words exactly and finished my first chapter before trying to get some sleep. However, I had two energy drinks trying to stay up till midnight and beyond and then I was so excited about being able to now write the story I’ve been planning for weeks that I couldn’t sleep. And then I started thinking about the ghosties in my story and I had to turn on the TV so as to scare any Halloween ghosties that were lingering in my room away – or at least get them out of my mind. Geez, it’s only 7am on Day 1 and I’m already scaring myself with my ghost story. I see a high power bill this month.

However, I know I will be spending a lot of time on the computer focused on my writing and it will probably mean a few late nights. I love my energy drinks but I stay away from them because some Bipolars have said they make them manic, even though I’ve never had that problem. If I do get manic, it’s only for a couple hours, and then I crash, which is what I’m guessing an energy drink is supposed to do to you anyway so it’s not really about me, it’s the drink doing it.

But, nonetheless, this month will wreak havoc on my moods and I have already been in a frustrating place. The only good I can see coming from this is that this will give me something to focus on instead of the bad things. At least for a little while.

Well, I guess I’m up for the day. Time to get something to eat and start pounding out words!

It’s a Hum-Drum Life

So few things have changed regards to my health. My moods have still been random, however the highs have not been quite so high and the lows have not been quite so low. I have still been having seizures as well. However, I am seeing three doctors in the next two days and I’m hoping to get several things resolved at these appointments.

First up is my neurologist tomorrow. I need to know why I am getting these seizures. The first neurologist wrote in my paperwork (didn’t tell me, just wrote it in my paperwork) that my seizures were caused by stress and would be better resolved by a psychiatrist than a neurologist. But how am I supposed to know these things if I’m not told? I’m not a mind reader! However, my psychiatrist believes, based on what my husband says these seizures look like and how I react to them, that they are neurological in nature and not psychogenic. So we need to get to the bottom of this with the new neurologist that I see tomorrow.

Then on Thursday, my first appointment is my psychiatrist, and I have a feeling he is going to want to reduce my risperidone and increase my lithium, because the hospital a few weeks ago said that my lithium level was low. Other than that, I will just be catching him up on what the neurologist says tomorrow so I can try to get everyone on the same page.

My third and final appointment is just after my psychiatrist appointment and is with my primary care doctor. I meet with her at my psychiatrist’s office because of a contract they share and I love that convenience. If all goes well and I get answers from my neurologist on Wednesday, I will be giving her an update on things and she will be letting me know how my thyroid is doing and whether my thyroid med dosage will be going up, down, or staying the same.

So that’s all the health stuff. Things have been rather stressful in my home life as well for a couple of reasons, although they are good reasons. One, my husband got a promotion at work and is now the Program Director of a homeless shelter that not only gives homeless people a place to stay but helps them become and stay housed. He started as a Case Manager so this is a big step up for him. It’s taken some adjustment for me to be able to handle him having to be available all the time like he has to but I am getting there. Two, my brother moved in with us. He came all the way from Las Vegas. It’s really nice having him here, especially when Quay isn’t, so I’m not alone if I have a seizure. But I have to get used to living with another person again. And soon, he will have a job and will be gone during the day and I will be alone sometimes again.

But that’s what’s going on here with me. I will update again after my appointment tomorrow to let you know what happened. Gnight, all!

Seizures and moods… Who knew?

I saw my psychiatrist today. He knows me well. I think he knows my moods better than I know them myself. He knew there must be a contributing factor to this mood. Something happened to cause this mixed mood. We talked a little bit about things that were going on, like school and things, and then he mentioned the seizures he knows I used to have. Well, as of the last time I talked to him about them they were somewhat gone, and I hadn’t had any in quite some time.

So this brought up the seizure episodes that happened a few weeks ago and he told me that if anything like that happened again, to go straight to the ER. Don’t wait. The more information they have about these seizures the better they can be about diagnosing them.

But he also believes that was the cause of the beginning of the mood change for me. Something in my life changed drastically and it affected my moods drastically. It only makes sense now that I see it from this side. I don’t know why I didn’t make the connection before.

I see my neurologist about the seizures on the 8th of October and this is a new person whom I am hoping will take these seizures a little more seriously.

Bipolar Flashbacks

I needed to write a memoir/non-fiction essay for my Non-fiction Workshop class that started this week. Since I happen to be in a mixed state and more manic than depressed, why not add fuel to the fire, eh?

I decided to write about my first real manic episode followed by the crash, or depression, and then getting diagnosed with Bipolar. I thought it would be easy.

There was so much that happened during those eight days without sleep that I didn’t remember… probably didn’t want to remember. But I brought it out into the light. Not all of it made it into the essay, of course, but it’s all fresh in my head nonetheless. So that’s not really helping my mixed mood much.

I am blasting Blue October, drinking diet Coke, and looking for shit to do. I want to get out of the house tonight and so does hubby but the movies haven’t changed at the drive-ins in weeks except for the Robin Williams tribute movies and he already said no to going to see the UFC fight at Buffalo Wild Wings. He doesn’t really want to go to Burlington which really limits us.

I guess I’m staying home and making Shepherd’s Pie for dinner, maybe I will read if my mind will let me.

Mania AND Depression… at the SAME TIME!

So, when you’re Bipolar, you get mania and depression, up and down, the cycle of your life. Right? But what happens when you’re in between mania and depression, wouldn’t you just be normal, without experiencing the effects of either one? Sometimes that happens, yes. But sometimes what happens is something called a “mixed state” and in that state a Bipolar will feel the effects of being both depressed and manic. This is where I’m at right now.

How did I get here? I’ll tell you.

I felt off, like I was starting to feel down, starting last weekend, but there were no reasons for me to be feeling that way and my medications have all been working fine so I thought it would pass. Then by Tuesday I felt even more unmotivated and worthless, but I didn’t just want to lie in bed and stare blankly at the ceiling like I usually do when I get like that. I had energy. By Thursday (this) afternoon the feelings of both depression and mania were in full swing.

It’s like wanting to crawl under the covers and cry, but then beat the crap out of your pillows at the same time. It forces me to do things like clean out enormous and hideously packed closets and go through all my clothes to get rid of the ones I don’t wear or don’t fit me (all the while forcing my husband to do this with me, who is not Bipolar, and certainly nowhere near manic) and then I’m up making French toast at midnight because I saw it on TV. And at any second while all this is happening I could just break down and cry because I’m a total mess inside.

I see my case manager tomorrow at noon. This is the first time she will have to see me having any real issues mentally so I don’t know what to expect from her. I hope she’s helpful. ALL kinds of anxiety going on about that meeting. That is definitely not helping me right now.

I should try to get at least some sleep. Even just resting is better than running at full speed all night. It’s the thoughts while lying there not sleeping that are the problem. 🙁

Manic Moods… Wednesday? My To-Do List!

Okay, so the song is really “Manic Monday” but I think I’m having a manic Wednesday. At least, that’s what it feels like at the moment. It didn’t start out this way but I’m starting to get that extra burst of energy and that feeling like I could take on the world. I know I can’t, but maybe I’ll just start with taking on my to-do list?

So what’s on this to-do list? Well, there’s a lot of homework. I may have technically graduated, but I still have classes until the end of August. It’s a weird feeling. For homework reading, I have a 40 page “novella” to read called The Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad, a chapter on plotting to read from Master Class in Fiction Writing: Techniques from Austen, Hemingway, and Other Greats (I LOVE this textbook), and a short story called “Steal Small” by Caitlin Horrocks. Quite a bit of reading, eh? Then I have to write a discussion post for the week based on the short story and its plot, and respond to at least two others’ posts. And I have to write a fiction short story of no more than 1,500 words focusing on the plot.

Whew! That’s a lot. And that’s just my homework! I’m also in the process of judging a poetry contest over at Writing.Com and I have reviews to do for a group over there, too. Oh, and I’m reading Sense and Sensibility  and Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them (P.S.).

So maybe I should be in one of my manic moods for a day or two to help me get all of this work done! It sure couldn’t hurt!