An Old Journal Entry & Seaneen

My husband stumbled across my first journal I started keeping for my therapist 3.5 yrs ago. I had been looking for it ever since my diagnosis, certain that it would shine some sort of light or make something click. I don’t know.  

It didn’t really do either, but it does feel like a treasured piece of history. Something to put in the list of “things to grab when the house is on fire and you aren’t coming back for anything”. My husbands cat isn’t on that list. She’s such a bitch.

I thought I might share some (or all…who knows) entries with you. So, to set you up, the following entry is 3 months after I found out about my dad’s death and buried him. I had turned into a dysfunctional ball of goo who couldn’t even open a jar of peanut butter.

June 14th 2009

Wanted to sleep more, considered cancelling appointment.
Slight anxiety both in & out of the house.
Came home, took both kids out for a couple hrs. to give J time for school work.
Still anxiety – thinking about making sure we don’t drop anything, keeping the kids quiet, nothing bad or stressful happening.
Things sitting around are making me anxious (like the weed eater, clutter on shelves, food on counter).
Laundry is all dirty.
If I start to do anything, my anxiety rises. I’ll feel like I can’t do it fast enough & it will never get done. So, I avoid doing anything, & things keep building up.

Muscle tension
Mind feels busy
Mind moving fast

Looking back, with the knowledge that 3.5 yrs of therapy provides, I know that I felt so out of control with my life that I was trying very hard to control every little detail to make me feel better. Safer. More secure. Like there was no chance a random phone call could change my world.

But it did. I didn’t know it then, but I had a very long road of self discovery to travel.

The phrase my Granny threw at me over the phone “I was manic-depressive, and your Daddy was too”, sent me on my first ever mental health Google search. The first page I went to, and the one I felt was most helpful, was Seaneen’s (and her other blog).  I ended up contacting her and telling her about my Dad, and that her page has helped me understand very much. And then 3 years later I get to contact her again and tell her how my life ended up being so tumultuous and that I too had been diagnosed.  She’s kinda famous, but has always been sweet enough to message me back – and she is always sincere. And beautiful.

Was Julius Caesar Bipolar?

I had to go to Urgent Care a few days ago because I thought I had strep throat again. I was certain of it, really. When the doctor walked in, I was immediately a little shocked. He had Tourette Syndrome. Wouldn’t have surprised me as much, if he hadn’t of come in immediately making jokes: “Alright Melissa, I’m a surgeon and I see that your throat is hurting you. What I’m gonna do is take your throat apart and send the pieces away to be looked at.”

Clearly a joke. So, I thought, maybe this loud sucking noise he was making every 6-10 seconds was a joke too. Or maybe he had some really nasty nasal drainage he was trying to suck back up. But he kept doing it. And doing it. And I realized it wasn’t a joke.

He looked into the computer and asked what medications I’m on. When I said Lithium, he stopped, slowly turned, and said “And how’s that working for you?”. I said it was working just fine so far. By then he had crossed the room and was sitting in the only chair there, with his legs crossed. Lounged back.

Ahhhhh, this man knows something about mental health.

It was kinda nice, having a conversation with a doctor about bipolar disorder. A doctor that I hadn’t been seeing for over 3 years. He didn’t know all the details of my life. All he knew was that I had a sore throat, am on birth control, and am bipolar.  

He said that supposedly, Julius Caesar was bipolar. He said that he would take a vacation often, far away, to a place that had a spring that had a lot of lithium naturally occurring in it. Every time, he would try to bring a lot of that water home with him. He said that it had a very calming, mood stabilizing effect.

Then he said something very nice. The effect of it’s niceness hasn’t left me yet, which is nice. He said that everyone he has ever met that is bipolar, has ADHD, ADD, etc., were very intelligent. Once the medicine has been able to calm the mind down and help it work properly, we are all very intelligent.

I wanted to thank him for saying that. Someone early in their diagnosis (and even those far into it I’m sure) needs to hear things like that. That we’re not a waste. That we’re still capable. That we can in fact be special, or above normal. Don’t get me wrong, people tell me this all the time. But they’re people who know me. Have something invested in me. They have to say that. Strangers don’t have to say anything.

The importance of sleep to Bipolar people

I found an interesting article highlighting the importance of sleep to us BP. It’s no surprise to me. Sleep has always been very very important to my daily functioning. Just the same as I always felt my emotions ran deeper than “normal”, I also felt that my relationship with sleep was also a little different than most. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had trouble falling asleep, and I’ve always had trouble waking up before my body was ready to. Seriously, those who have tried to pull me out of bed before I was ready can agree to this. I’m more than just a grouchy girl.

As much as I don’t like my diagnosis, it really is nice to continue getting affirmations that throughout my life, when I have felt different, I really was. It always evokes tears from me. It’s not something I should be happy about, but it brings so much relief.