It’s not you, it’s me. Really. I swear.


My most recent slip helped me notice the difference in my social skills during my moods. It was really quite remarkable. I went from being the “Hey! How are ya? We should get together soon!! I LOVE THOSE EARRINGS!!” to, *grunt*, *shuffling feet*.

The whole air around me changes, and I think people can feel it. All of a sudden, situations that wouldn’t be weird become really awkward and silent, like I said something totally inappropriate. Or at least I feel like they feel like I said something inappropriate. I feel like when they look at me, they can see that something is off about me. Kind of like when you talk to someone who has a slight mental disability and you you’re thinking “Somethings not quite right here…”.

You know, I think the air around me DOES CHANGE. Because I know it changed when I was manic. It was on fire. It was either a lustful/seductive fire, or a “You’re the slowest, dumbest, piece of shit I’ve ever seen and I am highly offended that I’m being forced to breathe the same air as you” kind of fire.

So I suppose it’s only natural for it to change when I’m depressed or in a mixed episode. It’s one of those moments when saying “It’s not you, it’s me” is TOTALLY appropriate.

I bet I would be SUPER in theatre.


I don’t blog that regularly anymore because I don’t feel like I have anything witty to say anymore. I’m just existing, living a normal average life. Can’t complain about that, really.

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I did A LOT of that ^ yesterday. I mean, I was a god damn mess. And today, I’m like this:

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And who knows!? Tomorrow, I could be this:

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If you haven’t guessed it by now, my meds need adjusting. When I came off the Lithium in early February, I started the Tegretol at the normal starting dose of 200mg a day (100mg twice a day). And I felt really good for about 6 weeks. Then I felt my emotional bubble continue to grow past my comfort level.

((emotional bubble = range of emotions felt: sadness, normalcy, happiness))

I didn’t say anything because I wanted to push it. Just like everyone else,  I want to be on as little medication as possible. So my internal dialogue did that same old shitty speech “Buck it up, you can handle it. Normal people handle it. You ARE normal. You CAN BE if you just try a little harder.” So I did. But my bubble bursted yesterday and I was a bipolar mess. Really, 200mg, I might as well be un-medicated. The tegretol is ALL I’m taking for my bipolar.

So I wake up tearing everyone a new asshole, then perfectly fine, then ready to lose it on my kids, then an anxious wreck, all panicky, crying, hopeless, then fine, you get the idea. Rinse and repeat. It was exhausting, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Pillars pretty  much kicked me out of the house for the day – for his sake, and for mine. I wasn’t handling existence well anywhere, but it was easier out of the house where I could control all the stimulation around me (remember…3 small children here).

I spoke with my Psychiatrist yesterday and he doubled my dosage, so today was my 2nd full day of taking 400mg a day. I had moments, but nothing I couldn’t handle. Much better than yesterday. Luckily, yesterday was also support group night. Well, or unluckily. When it was my turn to talk about my week, I bursted into tears and I’m sure the words coming out of my mouth didn’t make any sense.  They made me feel tons better, as being with people who are equally fucked up typically does.

The battle here for me is when I feel myself being pushed, to NOT continue to allow it. To tell myself that it’s OK to ask for help, and to stop expecting myself to function as other people do.

So here I am, being all bipolar and shit again.


Bipolar For Life

Even a few days later, I’m still stung and hurting.

A (former) friend whom I have known for years started a Facebook instant message conversation, and asked me what I’m up to.  I said, I’m up to my ears writing a novel, authoring two blogs of my own, participating in a group blog (A Canvas Of The Minds), and guest blogging for others on mental-health related topics, specifically bipolar disorder.

She comes back, bipolar disorder?  Are you bipolar?

Yes.

Are you on meds?

Yes.

Were you on meds when you lived here (with her family for three months, six years ago, while apartment hunting)?

Yes.

Huh.  Well, good luck then.

Click.

I should have just walked away from it, counted the loss of another person I had thought was my friend, but I felt like I would be betraying myself, as a campaigner for mental health parity and…

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Hello. Yes, actually, that’s me.


When people say “Bipolar”, unless they ARE, or know someone who IS, they use it as a demeaning description of someones actions and behavior. And quite frankly, I hate it. I was probably guilty of it before I was diagnosed…

But, Hello. I am your co-worker you get along with and watch continuously perform excellent work.

And, Hello. I am the young woman with the tablet and books spread out in front of me at the gym seemingly minding my own business while working on a paper.

Hello. I HAVE BIPOLAR DISORDER. I am NOT “crazy”. Having this illness does not make me less of a good person than you. And using the word “bipolar” in a derogatory way against someone else is offensive.

Why does BIPOLAR = BAD to you?

Why does BIPOLAR = CRAZY to you?

Why does BIPOLAR = UNFIT to you?

These people who use the word like that, they probably wouldn’t even be able to give me a good definition of the illness. I think that’s what I’ll do next time this happens to me. I’ll ask them, like I’ve never heard of it before, “What is Bipolar?” And then, I’ll let them have it. But I won’t portray this image they have of a bipolar person, screaming, nuts.

Most sensible people have stopped using the term “retarded” to describe people – it’s time to start doing the same with “bipolar”. It’s a real situation. Real people have it.

Accepting Bipolar Disorder


Expectations have caused me a lot of trouble. For some reason, I have lived my whole life telling myself I was doing everything wrong until weeks (or maybe a couple months) ago when I realized my thoughts. It goes something like this:

(this is all me thinking to myself)

*me doing something*

“I should really be getting different results. It should happen THIS PARTICULAR WAY. Everyone should feel THIS PARTICULAR WAY. If it doesn’t happen that way, I’m doing it the wrong way.”

“Why does it have to be that way? Why do you have to get those particular results? Aren’t you good enough just the way you are? Isn’t the way you do things OK? Why do you feel the need to conform to some mysterious perfect way?”

“I don’t know…”

“You can appreciate other people’s individuality. You look past their mistakes. You can acknowledge that your husband does things differently than you, and he’s happy, he gets desirable results, and you love him because of all of those things he does that makes him himself – and not someone else. Maybe you would happier doing all of the little things you have always wanted to do but felt like you ‘couldn’t’ or ‘shouldn’t’. Maybe you’d love yourself a little more if you were more YOU.”

Aw hell naw. I think I might have been living as someone else this whole time.

This is parenting gone wrong. I think I was conditioned by my parents (mostly my Dad). I can remember him telling me to sit a certain way (when the way I was sitting was quite comfortable), cross my legs a certain way (no, sorry folks, I’ve never been a lady). I was told how to do everything. And when I wasn’t being told, I was watching my Mom conform herself into something she thought she should be that she wasn’t. It was always obvious. Always uncomfortable.

I’ve been thinking wrong for a long time. The way I do things is fine. My expectations should be exactly what I do, and nothing more. And I should do whatever feels good. Whatever I want to do. Because, I am a good, natural mother. I am a good wife. I am natural at those things. When I was trying to be something else, I was not as good at them as I could have been. When I stop trying to be proper, I am actually quite funny. And quite funny looking with this new hair cut…

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I’m there.


For the first time in a year (since my diagnosis), I am finding myself appreciative of the knowledge that I am not like many of the people I know. It’s not all bad.

They all seem like they live a very concrete life. They’re grounded. I however, I feel like a ball of light, and that I’ll never be concrete or grounded.

I’m not talking about my mind. I am stable now, and my therapist said Im “there”, and she will start letting me go a month between visits. That’s a HUGE improvement from seeing her every week. But I think I’ve reached the point where I am ok with myself. I can feel my mood move and I don’t freak out. I notice symptoms, quirks, changes, and I know that it isn’t the end of the world. I have an adequate support system, and I have plenty I knowledge now to be able to keep myself in my bubble – that’s what I call my range of appropriate emotions and behaviors.

When I started this journey, I couldn’t understand how people got here. It’s hard to believe I am here. It was the hardest work I’ve ever done! It’s not over, I know this is something that will follow me forever and there will always be “work”, but there is no more hate.

It’s Alive!


I’ve been gone for a while, sorry. I think I felt like I was drowning myself in being bipolar and hindering my recovery.

I started school about a month ago and it’s going well…I’m looking forward to building a career, envisioning my life as a functional, contributing person in society.

I got my meds changed about a week ago, and I’m now taking 100 mg of Tegretol 2x a day, and 30 mg of Restoril at bedtime. I have my mind back, and it’s overwhelming sometimes when I realize how heavily the Lithium had affected my thinking. It was like brick wall had been built in my head, not allowing any thoughts to come in or to go out. It was a great mood stabilizer – and that’s why I put up with it for so long. I figured, hey, I’m not manic, I’m not severely depressed, so this MUST be the “normal” me. I thought it was just the life I was destined to live as a medicated bipolar person.

But the fact that I was an idiot half of the time started to chip away at my self esteem, and I did some high level critical thinking for me (being as thinking AT ALL was difficult) and decided that I was NOT an idiot before the Lithium (and not just because I was manic), and therefore, the Lithium was MAKING ME an idiot.

I realized that before I was bipolar, I was an incredible person, and that I still am that incredible person. There are just some things that need adjusting so I can get back to showing everyone that I am incredible.

If I have to choose between being an idiot on meds or being off meds, and thus a little unstable, I am going to choose being slightly unstable.

So here’s hoping that the Tegretol works. I’ll exhaust every reasonable medical intervention before I go sans-meds, but in the end I want to be the best person I can be for my children. I feel like being “alive” mentally is more beneficial than having an empty shell of a body because of all the meds.

I would rather them think in 15 years:

“Eh, Mom was a little crazy sometimes, high energy, telling jokes, always happy, and sometimes she seemed really sad and slept a lot, but she always made us feel loved”

rather than

“Mom wasn’t really ever ‘there’…she never seemed able to make choices very easily, couldn’t help me with my homework, never seemed really interested in my life, and was never really active with us”.

I think we’d all choose that first option. And I can understand now why people choose to come off their meds. It’s a really fine line.

But let’s be optimistic and believe that we will all one day find that perfect cocktail that will allow us to be mentally/physically/emotionally active and we won’t have to worry about all those nasty side effects of the meds or from being off the meds.

Cheers!

I forgot to put a title here.


I think we’re going to have to change the times I take my Lithium up a bit. I see the psych this Friday.

I am currently taking:

Lithium 1200 mg at bedtime

Ambien 10 mg at bedtime

Ativan as needed

Pretty mild considering some of the other concoctions I hear about people being on. So that’s one positive I suppose. But I am tired of being irritable and nasty in the evenings and night. Some people in my support group said my meds are probably wearing off, which makes perfect sense. Either way, I am just going to go in to the office Friday and present my symptoms. I think I do a really good job at keeping Pillars and the kids out of the line of fire. I just rage at everyone else. And it’s horribly exhausting.

I should probably just go take an Ativan right now. I’m sorry I don’t have anything remarkably insightful to say. I’m sure as soon as the fog clears out of my head it’ll all come out.

And before I forget, I would like to list some of the things my sweet husband (of 7 years, this month!) does for me on a regular basis:

– I am not saying this to brag, but there are some people in this community who have called him “vile”, “dangerous”, and, my personal favorite!, “a bipolar” lately and I merely wanted to say that if loving vile is wrong, I don’t want to be right. Haters gonna hate! –

Hot towel massages, complete with calming music and scented lotion

Head/foot/shoulder/back/whatever aches rubs (sometimes 2/3 a day)

Random yummy surprises (candy bars/nachos and cheese/soda/OJ…my favorite things)

Romantic cards with smushy love letters written in them

Lots of house cleaning

Cleans the litter box

Wrestles with the kids every day, and makes it a point to show them how to treat a woman and what a woman should expect

Plus all the “regulars” like making dinner, unexpected trips out of the house (“Go out to eat, read a book, just relax!”)…shit, he’s even shaved my legs before.

I bet you all wish you had someone vile like him. 🙂

Struggling


I’ve been having trouble falling asleep lately, despite the help of Ativan and Ambien. I’m also (as displayed in previous posts…) having anger issues in the evenings and I’m drinking entirely too much fluids and getting up too much at night to pee. Last night was 4 times.

Many people in my group told me last night that they had a similar irritability problem and it was easily fixed by changing the time they took their meds. I’m gonna call my psych Monday and tell him that’s what I want to do. I don’t want to be an angry person.

The drinking, I don’t know what to do. It’s a “I’m dying of thirst!”feeling, and I know it’s a side effect of Lithium, so there isn’t much I can do. I complained to the psych about it a few weeks ago and he said “drink less”. Thanks. Asshole.

I think sleep will get easier of I change the time I take my meds. I’m just too agitated, anxious, and angry to be able to pass out at a decent hour.

So I’m struggling right now, and I feel like it shows.