Painting the roses red.


Since the addition of Zoloft to my family of little pills, I really feel like I have been able to shake the depression off. Like I told my psych the other day, I know it well enough that I will always know what it feels like, but it doesn’t overcome me anymore. My negative thought pattern has changed – I have a negative thought/emotion, recognize it, feel it for a second, and DISMISS IT.

Is that the way “normal people” do it? I mean, I consider that shit a TALENT. My thoughts have always stirred up intense emotions and then just dragged me wherever they wanted! If you are reading this and don’t understand what I just said, count your fucking blessings. 

As a result, I no longer think about my affairs every day. That is probably the most freeing thing. I couldn’t see that day coming. I thought I was going to hate myself forever. I can now see it the way Pillars sees it, that I did a bad thing, but that it doesn’t make me a bad person. 

My psych said that my levels at 600mg of my mood stabilizer (tegretol) were “Barely therapeutic”, so when I called her complaining of a great increase in energy among other hypomanic symptoms, we increased to 800mg/day. I’m guessing the symptoms came from the addition of the zoloft, but it doesn’t really matter. On the plus side, I got a cute little garden done in the week that I was hypomanic. When I called Pillars out of the house to see what I had done, he was surprised, and then said “See? This is a positive part of being bipolar.”

Since the increase in dosage, I was having to take FOUR sets of pills a day. My alarm was going off all god damn day long. I was thoroughly pleased when I took a seat in my psychs [rather large and homey] office this week and the first thing she brought up was the fact that I needed to change the fact that I am taking pills so many times a day. She asked me how I felt about taking 400mg XR twice a day. She doesn’t use tegretol much and said that there would be an adjustment period/it might not work well/etc. I was desperate to get the alarms to stop ringing, reminding me that if I don’t take a pill I will act like a nut job. Today is my first day of taking the XR. I can’t really give an accurate description, other than the fact that it has very strong effects on me for the first couple hours (I looked stoned and had crappy balance). 

Those “strong” side effects may be due to the fact that OUR KIDS ARE SPENDING 4 DAYS WITH THE GRANDMAS!! So I have less stressors and am able to “feel” it more. I also didn’t take my 2 doses of .5mg ativan today. I certainly didn’t need it, and wasn’t about to put it on top of the new dosage with the way I was feeling. 

I slept so late today (noon!!) that by the time I took my first XR pill, I had already missed 2 of my doses I would have normally taken before the switch. So I was all high energy, switching subjects, etc. when I took it, and in less than 30 min I was feeling all of that energy drain out of me. It was so WEIRD. Like someone had opened up a drain (where would such a drain be?) in my body and the energy (I prefer to see it in a neon green form for some reason) was just flowing out. The drain was then sealed, and then the new Melissa was sitting there. 

I feel like I know myself a little bit better now. I’m not sure how to describe that. I suppose it is the amount of work on myself that I’ve done over the last 15 months. Generally, people learn themselves as they live, a little more every year. But I’ll be 30 in a couple months and only just in this last year have been able to make sense and understand my life to this point. It feels like I made a big revelation. Like someone finally explained the butt of the joke to me.

“Pssst, hey, your brain is different, take these pills and it’ll be ok.” *pat on the back*

 

 

Happy Father’s Day Dad. After spending a year


Happy Father’s Day Dad. After spending a year of being 100% bipolar, I sometimes wonder how you made it 50 years, seemingly without support of any kind. I have all the support I could ask for and I think I’ll look like an old war horse by the time I’m 50. 

You provided, but weren’t always emotionally there. I understand that, now. I forgive you and I know you forgive me for not understanding. I’m sorry I didn’t praise you for being a good father when you were alive. All I saw were your short comings. I didn’t understand your struggle. 

I wish I could say it loud enough that I know you’d hear it, 

I LOVE YOU

I’ll take “brain med” for 500, Alex.


Monday through Friday I have 4 alarms go off – 1 to remind me to wake up and get my son to school, 1 to remind me to take my brain med and anxiety pills (yeah, I have my phone call it a “brain med” as a way of making me feel better about…something or another), a 3rd to remind me to take another “brain med”, and my fourth to remind me to take my last brain med (plus all the rest I take a night) and go to bed.

When I’m tied up at the moment (changing a diaper, pulling something out of the over, etc) I will hit the snooze button, but I never turn it off until I have the pill(s) in my hand, ensuring that even if I forget to take them, I’ll eventually realize they’re sitting in my hand waiting to get tossed down my throat.

I think my husband was the first to call it my “brain medicine” as a way of taking some “blame” off of me for having Bipolar Disorder. It’s hard to get over the feeling that you’re either making everything up or that you’re defective somehow, so every little way I can squeeze in a scientific phrase to repeat to myself about my disorder, I use. I can tell what kind of a mood Im in by how I respond to myself using a phrase like “brain med”. I’m not my best self when I reply (inwardly OR outwardly) that “it’s not a ‘BRAIN MED’, it’s my pill that I HAVE to take THREE TIMES A DAY to remind me that without it, I MIGHT GO CRAZY.”

When I’m not well, I beat myself up with my self stigma better than anyone else could harass me over anything. I use words to describe myself that I would condemn anyone else for using, like “crazy”. Our self stigma is brutal. We hurt ourselves in ways other people can’t.

I can also tell when I’m not feeling well by how I feel about seeing my therapist. If I dread the thought of an upcoming appointment, I’m leaning towards depression. Of course she picks up on it before I even sit on her old ass love seat, which pisses me off even more. She has a “snarky” tone (which is pleasant to me when I’m well) that pisses me off. Her out dated un-flattering pants suits make me want to roll my eyes and automatically discredit anything she might have to say.

Ahh. My dramatic moods. Despite it all, I seem to be able to have more control over my thought processes lately. I recognize these thought patterns, I shut them down. Not always effectively, but sometimes. Improvement, most definitely. Soon, with the help of my meds and wellness team, I’ll be able to successfully masquerade as a person without any disorder(s). —note that I didn’t say “normal person” as I do not believe they exist anymore. It’s just matter of where we all fall on the spectrum.

From: Your Dead or Alive Mother


I feel like a human science experiment. I felt that way when I was pregnant…wasn’t hoping to feel that way again. Ever. But in my search for the perfect “cocktail” of meds, I find myself swinging (in moods, not in partners!), and exhausting my mind and body in trying to keep up with my real world responsibilities and not look like a total nut case.

Shit has to get done, and poor Pillars can’t do it all himself. I *could* just sit on the couch and look like a total wreck all day, I have before, but that’s not something I want my children remembering me for. I want them to remember me as a fighter who put them first, no matter how badly I felt. A mommy who had a lot of patience even when going through the worst moods. I fail a lot of times at this, and I always find myself caught up in wondering how they will remember me when they are older, after they find out about my illness.

I KNOW they will look back on their childhood and try to fill in the blanks. I’m always looking through  their eyes at me, viewing what I’m doing, and there are many times when I don’t feel like it’s good enough. I know I should be showing them that no one is perfect, and how to be accepting of yourself and of others, blah blah blah. Shut up, don’t say it, readers!

I really think most of this is caused by the fact that I look back on my childhood at my Dad and try to figure out who he really was and what he felt. I’m projecting that onto my children, and in turn back to me, and I’m just wasting time. I keep telling myself there is a difference. I’m going to be around to show them who I am, and I’m going to be around to tell them how it feels to suffer this. Unlike my Dad, I will be here in 20 years for them.

It all circles around to my fear of ending up like my Dad. What if I’m not here in 20 years? This morbid part of me actually bought little notebooks to write letters to them for them to read in the future and know how much I love them, because I wish I had something like that to read from my Dad. I’ve written in them a few times, but every time I pick it up, I wonder if I am admitting to myself that I don’t think I’ll be around in 20 years. Don’t get me wrong, it’s also a sweet idea. Who wouldn’t love having handwritten letters from their parent talking about what they’ve done that day as they’re growing up and how much they love them?

I got seriously depressed a couple weeks ago and I’ll tell you the only thing that made me feel like life was worth living was having my kids lay on top of me. Like a mommy-pile. Their weight, their energy, their scents, their giggles, it all gave me a little more energy and a little more hope.

Anyways, I just saw my new psych (because my other one is retiring) and we’re tweaking my meds. We added Zoloft just over a week ago and it certainly brought me out of my depression I was feeling, but it sent me into a hypomanic state. Not a big deal, as long as I’m not bothering anyone. My old psych is the one who started me on Zoloft and he wanted me to double the dosage to 100mg a day after a week, but I told my new psych that I’m just not comfortable doing that right now considering how drastically I felt the 50mg had already affected me. I’ve felt that my hypomanic state has declined a bit, into a more normal than hypomanic area.

Sorry for the morbid title. Nope, no, I’m not sorry. And BTW, don’t google an image for “morbid”. That shit is REALLY morbid.

XOXO (I love Gossip Girl)

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…

image

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.

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.

Grandiose Ideas


Pillars and I have decided that I am going to go back to school for my Masters Degree. (I have a BS in Finance)

I have decided on Industrial Organizational Psychology – very interesting and growing field. By the time I finish my degree, my youngest will be a kindergartner…and life will be different for me. A 3rd grader, a 1st grader, and a kindergartner (if I’m doing my math correctly…LOL lots of good that Finance degree did…). Knowing that I will be able to be a little bit more of my own person is horribly exciting, and scary…which leads me to this post.

The ONLY thing I could ever commit to in my life was to having a family, having babies, and staying home with them as long as possible. But I didn’t expect Bipolar Disorder. I didn’t expect to become frightfully unhappy with my place in the home, or to hate having a little baby in me so badly that I considered stabbing myself in the uterus and then falling out my 2nd story bedroom window.

No, that’s not what the 10 year old, or 17 year old me wanted. I had passing visions of becoming a librarian, an Olympic Gymnast, and was quite certain when I was 17 years old that I would be famous. There were ideas that I could never root myself into – they were fleeting – and one came right after the others. The more serious ones started my senior year of high school, with that “famous” idea. I had no plans to become famous, just knew that I would be. I had no extreme talent. I was good at music, could run fast, steal a soccer ball out from anyone’s feet, was incredibly creative with poetry, and felt everything deeply and madly. I say that in the most sincere way. I lived and breathed my feelings.

https://i1.wp.com/www.photoforum.ru/f/photo/000/165/165931_75.jpg

And starting here, I would like to mentally go through ideas/plans/etc (starting at age 17) that I can now attribute to my illness:

  • Went straight to college from high school, with robust energy, just to return home in 3 months with my tail between my legs. Changed my mind.
  • Bought a house with my boyfriend. Not a biggie, until we BOTH got laid off (from the same employer   and I still thought it was a good idea to continue with the house buying even though neither of us had an income.
  • Started school again to pursue my “knowingly” purpose in life = a music teacher.
  • Re-met (we had dated in middle/high school) my husband on Myspace – immediately left the boyfriend AND the house to marry Pillars in 30 days. Clearly, the wisest choice ever, but still…
  • Dumped school (again) to move to a different state, to “live” with my husband, who was actually going to be in Iraq.
  • Started school (again) and picked a degree out of a hat because I wasn’t going to tell my children that Mommy quit anything.

At this point, I settled into home life. Pillars was home from killing bad guys, and I was happily growing my first baby. I don’t *think* I had any fleeting plans I sank my teeth into until things got hairy after #3 was born…

  • I wanted to become a Realtor. We actually paid near $400 for me to take an online course. I completed it – but never took the test to actually become a Realtor.
  • I felt itchy – I needed a job, I wanted out of the house. I needed to feel like more of a person. Totally understandable. However, this is where the manic episode started, with me getting my first job in almost 4 years and then immediately sleeping with the boss.

It’s difficult for me to commit anymore. I live in my body, in my head. But I don’t control it all the time. My head feels busy, crowded. Lots of white noise, motion, confusion, delay. I didn’t mean to include a Thomas the Tank Engine clip in there…sorry…too many kids.

Sometimes, I feel like I am merely guiding my body in a direction because that’s all I can do.

I am unbelievably lucky to have an anchor for a husband. I know that he will make the right decision for me, even when I am certain that he is wrong and I am right. I am awesome and he sucks. I am fast and he is slow. I am an asshole and he is a saint. I know I’ll fight him about it – I know “it” (grandiose ideas) will happen again – but even if that means taking me to a hospital, I know that he will take care of me. I can’t thank him enough for that.

I have trouble trusting these ideas I get (“Oh, I really want to start a quilt.”, “Ohhh, I want to make some hairbows.”, “I’m going to pick out colors to paint the house.”, “I’m going to get all 9 loads of laundry washed, dried, and put away today!”). I get several *compulsions* a day. And I have to ignore them, no matter how tempting they are. Nope, that idea is not worthy. You, you’re a silly little idea that will just get me into trouble.

https://i1.wp.com/ese.dadeschools.net/TRANSITION1/images/idea.jpg

All of this creates irritation in me. Sometimes, there’s no goddamn yin to my yang. It’s all yin. It’s all yang. And I’m all fucked up.

Did I just do that? Again?


So, if you remember, I told my boss that I have bipolar disorder a couple months ago. Then oddly enough, he retired the next week.

Hmmmmmmm…

Now we have a new boss, and she seems nice enough, and no one has questioned my request to change my work schedule to only weekends (due to needing to reduce stress and manage my sleeping habits better). It’s been 2 months now since I changed from working 5 nights a week to just 2 lunch shifts. Then yesterday, in front of another manager and at least 1 other employee, she asks:

“Melissa, why can you only work weekends?”

Ahhhh shit. I’m unprepared. I don’t know her well. There are at least 3 people in this 5×8 room. Do I tell the truth? Yeah, I never lie about big shit. How do I say it without scaring her? Do I ask her to talk in private?

Then my “I don’t give a fuck” attitude sprung right back into place where it belongs, and I told her that I was diagnose with bipolar disorder about 6 months ago and I have found that a very important part of controlling the disorder was by maintaining steady sleeping habits – which includes going to bed at the same time every night, like a child. I rolled my eyes there – I can’t control my attitude sometimes most of the time.

Her response: *big nod* “OKAY”.

I don’t think she was expecting that kind of answer.

She then asked why I can’t work during the week, to which I replied that I can’t stop multiplying  I have 3 young children – and that I highly doubt I’d make enough money working to pay for the sitter I’d need.

How did I get lucky enough to have to “come out” to my boss twice in the first 8 months? Good thing I’m not shy or ashamed!

Really though, I’d much rather educate people. Having this disorder makes me stronger, not weaker. If I have accomplished what I have with all of these obstacles in front of me, I can only imagine how I could do without them. I will never feel shame – and neither should any of you. Although, I feel plenty of hate. That’s just part of the package.

And as far as any concerns about “Now they’ll look for a reason to fire you”, etc, etc, – insert “I don’t give a fuck” attitude. 🙂