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. 🙂

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. 🙂

I have a secret.


I did it!

I got my ass out of the house and ran around the neighborhood – without crying!

Pillars suggested that I go a different route than when I went when I was manic, because it always seemed to make me cry. I thought about it, and decided that I was going to go the routes I liked and risk the tears. I haven’t ran them for a couple months, and I have changed a lot in that short time.

I found myself starting to think obsessively about my illness, and arguing stupid points in my mind over and over…like I can actually argue my way out of what has happened to me, what I’ve done, and what I am. I caught the negative thinking and told myself I was going to stop, and I did!

I got back home and had a sudden urge to continue. That was really surprising, given my inclination to sit down at every step and bench I came across. So I ran a little more. 🙂

It was made that much better to see my 2 year old staring out the window looking for me when I made it back home.

I’m feeling more comfortable with myself. I realized that I’m a fighter, and that I’ve been fighting for many years. The difference now is that I know my opponent, and common sense says that if you know what you’re fighting, you have a better chance at beating it. You can prepare yourself.

So yeah, I feel stronger…but I expect to be knocked back down again. Shit I might knock my own self down. I might stay down for a while. But I’ll never stay down forever. And I expect to cry again. Probably tomorrow. But that doesn’t make me weaker. Every time it knocks me down and I get back up, I’m stronger. I win that one.

I’m starting to realize that this didn’t beat me. That I control whether or not it does.

And I’ve got news for you…I’m a stubborn bitch!

I have a secret robot crush on Optimus Prime. Although I guess it’s not a secret anymore…

Forgive Me Father, For I Have Sinned.


Or maybe I haven’t.

Or maybe I have, and I’m just gonna go to hell.

Or maybe I have, and it’s forgivable. 

I mean, I broke a commandment. Thou shalt not commit adultery. There has to be some repercussion for that, right? Some penance? I need penance. It’s not a “Oh, she was manic, she has an illness, she loves her husband and didn’t mean to hurt him – it was wrong, but it’s ok, you need to forgive yourself.” That just doesn’t sound right to me. But I kinda feel like that’s what I’m getting from my therapist.

She said I need to “do whatever you need to do to feel better”. Yeah, we’re at that point. 6 months later, and I’m not forgiving myself still. It’s like she’s pulling her hair out and looking confused wondering why I just can’t get over it. I thought it would just happen over time.

I know, for someone who did what I did, that this will sound really wrong, and maybe like a flat out lie. But I have strong morals. Which is probably why it’s so hard for me to let this go. Pillars says he has forgiven me. I have made great strides in attaining a normal mood, adjusting my life so it’s more kind to me. But I’m holding on to this nasty, hurtful feeling, and I’m not sure how to let it go.

My therapist asked Tuesday, “Why did you do it?”

“Because I couldn’t not do it. It was a physical urge. It wasn’t even an option. It was an energy. It didn’t make sense.”

“And that is Bipolar. It doesn’t make sense.”

Pillars asked why I am looking for sense in something that doesn’t make sense. Why can’t I just let it be: something that happened that doesn’t make sense.

I guess because I haven’t tortured myself enough yet.

If I wanna torture myself, fine. But the reason I am trying to figure this out is because I think that it’s coming between me and Pillars, physically. I had been explaining my low sex drive (I’m only wanting it once every 10 days or so) to meds, life, everything else. But things keep becoming clear to me – I’m able to see ways I am sabotaging myself . Ways I am lying to myself, maybe little white lies to others in effort to be what they expect me to be – or what I think they expect me to be. Doing things I don’t want to do, worrying about people judging me for any little thing. I wasn’t being true to myself; I might not even know who myself really is. I didn’t notice I was doing all of this, and now I’m slowly seeing it all.

So it became clear to me last week when we were having sex that I get little flashbacks, images, etc of my affairs. And of course that floods me with negative emotions: disgust, anger, hopelessness, pity, and more. I get really uncomfortable, and Pillars can tell. Therefore, sex = negative emotions for me. Hence why I hardly ever “feel like it”. We figured all that out in marriage therapy.

Now, I want to forgive myself for my husband. So we can have that intimacy back. So I can be his and be present while we are in bed. 0

I think a confession would be a good step forward. It seems to be what my mind always comes back to when I think of forgiving myself.

On the topic of the ten commandments – people commit murder to save themselves, people work on Sundays, people say the Lord’s name in vain, people covet what their neighbor has…

So it’s common place. It happens. A lot. I probably shouldn’t be so uptight about it.

But a little bit of me worries that if I let this go, I’ll do it again. But I’d have to be manic, and I keep too close a guard on my symptoms and my moods, Pillars pays close attention, and I see my therapist(s) too often for this to happen. So I should just let it go and trust myself and all of them.

That’s where I am. Focusing on that. Or trying not to focus on that. Whichever.

Living Life In A Straight Jacket


I actually came out of therapy today excited. I know, I’m a weirdo 😉

Here’s how our convo went:

Iris: “So you had your first marriage counseling session yesterday…how was it?”

Me: “Good. Awkward. Uncomfortable. We were with a new neutral person, and here he is – the victim. And here I am – the offender…”

Iris: “Victim?? Offender?? He’s NOT a victim. You are NOT an offender. Why are you using those words? You didn’t commit a CRIME!”

Me: *eyebrows raised* “I BROKE A COMMANDMENT”

Iris: *laughing* “Yes, what you did was wrong. It’s good that you know that.” 

At this point, I’m wondering why I feel so strongly about the commandments, and why she’s taking it so lightly. It looks like that huge ass tapestry of Jesus on my Granny’s wall and the constant play of Ben-Hur had more effect on me than I know.

Iris: “Who made you feel like you don’t matter?”

Me: “My parents, I guess. My Dad was always busy working, and when he wasn’t, he tried really hard not to be around. Emotionally, or physically. And my Mom was always busy cooking and cleaning and making sure everything was ‘just so’.”

Iris: “So they never really engaged you?”

Me: “No, I guess they just maintained me.”

Iris: “Did you have meals together.”

Me: “Oh yeah. Every night. Those were the worst. So tense and uncomfortable.”

Iris: “What?! That’s horrible. What were they like?”

Me: “I always had a nervous twitch going on…my leg shaking, tapping, stuff like that. And I always got fussed at by Dad for it. Anything that wasn’t -just right- got you fussed at.”

Iris: “Your whole life was like that. When someone came into your room, it was ‘Oh no, what did I do?'”

Me: “Pretty much.”

Iris: “You never got to figure out who YOU are because you were forced to maintain what they expected you to be. Normally, after leaving home, kids rebel and decide they’re not doing anything they were required to do at home. You never did that, you just carried all those expectations and requirements with you into marriage, and into motherhood. You had your little rebellion recently, I hope you enjoyed it because it’s not happening again. Now, I don’t want you to do anything you don’t want to do. If you feel like eating chicken every night, eat chicken. If you want to go to bed at 9, go to bed at nine.”

So basically, my goal is to not feel like I have to do anything because of someone else. Every day I am to take 15 minutes and write down what I LIKE. Anything. The goal is to learn who I am and what I like – without anyone’s influence.

She hit the nail on the head, for sure. I have always felt that way. Like I wasn’t able to be myself.

Now, I know my core values. I know I married the right man :):):) I know I love my children. That much, I know without a doubt. I guess it’s every other detail I have to ponder.

She said that once I figure this out, I’ll be less nervous. She said she sees a lot of women that don’t know who they are. They have just been something for someone for so long that they never figured it out.

Well, at least I’ll figure this out before I’m 30. Barely. lol

Hurting yourself is bad, mmkay?


Bug. I have therapy tomorrow. Not normally a bad thing, but I came out to Pillars tonight that I have been having more suicide ideation, and that I held a razor to my wrist a week or two ago. We made a deal that involves me telling Iris tomorrow.

Needs to be done. Yeah. Ugh. I just don’t wanna hear her ask questions and me have to respond, making it clear to me that I am not “normal”, whateverthefuckthatis. 

Actually, I don’t think anyone is normal. I think we’re all on a spectrum of some sort. And just like in politics, some are far left, and some are far right. Some are in the center. Who decided that the center is right? And why do I want to be in the center? Can’t I just be whateverthefuck I am and (a) not hurt anyone, and (b) be happy with myself? What pill does that for you?? Why does my mind torture me? Why can’t I be some hippie that just hugs myself all the time and accepts myself and forgives myself and moves on with a big smile and baggy clothes.

Hating yourself is a waste of time. It’s harmful. It’s useless. So why can’t I listen to myself and stop it?

Optimus Prime and the Bipolar Bucket.


I’m gonna make this quick because Pillars is in CA, it’s been a CRAZY night with the kids (who just went to bed…), and my bed and Netflix are calling me…

I saw my therapist again yesterday after an excruciating 3.5 weeks. She had been on vacation. I went in kind of dreading it really, because I was going to have to recap my confusion, anxiety, depersonalizations and depression, and it’s just a lot of stuff to cover.

She said that this week, she wants to conduct an experiment with the confusion/anxiety/depersonalization symptoms. She thinks they’re all anxiety symptoms, even though they don’t necessarily leave me shaky and nervous. So, I am regularly taking an ativan every day. (Although, I’m thinking it may need to be 2 per day). We’ll see if this week shows any marked improvements in that area. I expressed the symptoms being related to the lithium, and possibly lowering my dose, but she really wants me to try this first. I don’t mind. I like ativan. 😉

She has said it many times before, and said it again yesterday – I really don’t handle it well when things don’t go the way I want them.

I know this. It didn’t stand out as anything wrong until I was a grown adult with children. THEN, only then, did I say to myself, “Why am I acting like a 3 year old? I know how I should be acting/reacting. This is not it.”

Whatever. I’ll throw this in the bipolar bucket (see definition below). And by “whatever”, I don’t mean that I can get away with nasty behavior like that, but I mean that I am accepting that it’s not happening because I am a spoiled brat. That there is another factor involved.

Bipolar Bucket: My imaginary bucket that I will envision throwing all of the things about my bipolar self that I cannot change. If it were something I like, it would be pink with hearts and horses on it. Instead, I’ll make it black and put a big sticker of Optimus Prime on it. Because I’ve recently discovered that he’s awesome. And he has a sexy voice.

(Pillars has a sexy voice, too)

“Bipolar symptoms, ROLL OUT”

 

Frontline: The Medicated Child


http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/medicatedchild/

I just watched this on Netflix and was quite horrified. Mostly because of a mother who stated that before the appointment she wants to decrease her (4 year old “bipolar”) son’s (8!!!) medications, and then walked out with an increase instead. Like she had no control.

I mean, I don’t know what he would’ve been before the meds, but I saw clips of him as a teenager throughout the documentary, and THAT was not bipolar. THAT was fuckedupness from taking 8+ meds since he was 4.

Ugh. I’m flabbergasted.

Depersonification


Depersonalization disorder occurs when you persistently or repeatedly have a sense that things around you aren’t real, or when you have the feeling that you’re observing yourself from outside your body. Feelings of depersonalization can be very disturbing and may feel like you’re losing your grip on reality or living in a dream.

(http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/depersonalization/DS01149)

This is my “go-to” method of dealing with stress. It hasn’t always been, but it has been for a while now, and I’ve only recently become stable enough to even notice what I’m doing.

For me, there are varying levels of depersonalization. I’m doing it right now. It’s been a rough day. Luckily, I can form sentences right now, and be fairly comical. About an hour and a half ago, I had glue in my brain. An empty look in my eyes, a quiet, monotone, emotionless voice, and couldn’t finish a thought, much less hold a conversation. I was trying. Pillars and I were out on a date, and I was trying to talk about today’s therapy session, but as soon as I found a thought and spoke 3 words of it, I lost it. After some mental constipation, I found my thought, spoke 2 words of it, and it was gone again. It was embarrassing.

I think that if someone was listening in on our conversation, they may have thought I was mentally handicapped.

After a few minutes of this, what little bit of me was in me could sense my husband sitting there next to me. Wearing his nice business casual clothes, arms propped up on the table, concentrating on listening and piecing together whatever-the-hell I was trying to spit out. While I’m sitting there hunched over in uncertainty, at least one tiny hole in my shirt, another hole in the crotch of my pants, and greasy hair from not having showered in a couple days.

What does he think of me? Does he think I’m faking any of this? Is he tired of my troubles?

He asked if the music was distracting me. I couldn’t figure it out, so he suggested we go sit outside and talk. As soon as we were outside, I could form a complete sentence. I wasn’t fully there yet, but in a much better place.

I should add that on the way to this date, I got lost. Turns out that having a smart phone doesn’t actually make you smart. Damn.

So after talking outside for about 15 minutes we head home. I insisted I follow him…didn’t want to end up lost again. Har. I struggled staying present the whole drive, finding myself slipping in and out, and maybe even coming close to falling asleep a couple times.  I don’t know, that’s what it felt like to me.

We come home, I step out of the car, and I’m back. Immediately. Not 100%, but at least 80%. How did that happen, when I was gone just a mile ago?

My therapist told me to keep an eye on this, that it may be a coping mechanism, may be something else, but that we need to track it. She told me not to let myself do that. But I couldn’t help it. Id been dying to do it for weeks, since earlier in the month when my Mom was here and I had done it when I was visiting with her. Who wouldn’t, when you hold conversations like this?

She visited, I checked out of my mind for the visit, then climbed up into a hypomanic episode, and managed to bring it down with an increase in Lithium. Since she came into town, I could feel the nagging sense in my mind, wanting to go away, disappear, check-out, leave my body…whatever. I guess the feeling just got too strong for me to be able to ignore it. It wasn’t a conscience choice, or thought, like, “Hey, I’m tired of this shit, let’s bounce.” It was that I was stressed out, trying desperately to cope, and then all of a sudden I’m not there. I’ve turned from frantic on the inside to calm. My face is emotionless. I can smile, but it’s not my smile.

It serves a purpose – the stress is gone. But it leaves me as a bumbling idiot. I’m not good for anything that way, and I can’t function. At it’s worst, I actually need someone to hold my arm to guide me while I walk. So…what’s the sense?

Either way, I’ll write it down and discuss it with my therapist for sure next time. It was definitely disturbing.

I don’t want my Golden Ticket.


This whole process is amazing.

Not in an amazing, oh my this is so beautiful, I am so glad I have a mental illness and broke my best friend’s heart kind of way. But in a big picture sense.

Knowing how I felt when I was hypomanic. Knowing that what was in my head were my truths at that time. Taking charge and deciding that whatever was making me feel so good, no matter how good, was wrong. Medicating myself because I knew it was the right thing. And slowly, although sometimes it feels pretty quick, coming out of that mind I was lost in.

I’ve been medicated for just over 2 months now, and I’ve felt “normal” (Ha) for about a month, maybe more. But it still amazes me how when I take a moment to reflect on that me 3 months ago, my feelings change every time.

Every time, I dislike what I did more. Tonight, I felt physical shock, and disgust. I mean, my stomach actually turned.

That wasn’t me. I would not have done those things.

I think the hard part for people to get around is, why didn’t I know something was wrong if I was doing so many things that I normally wouldn’t have done?

Hello? It felt good. And Im not even talking about the sex. Every minute of living felt good. And when you’ve spent most of your life in a depression, who are you to argue? That’s like Charlie giving away his goddamn Golden Ticket. I was hot stuff. I was on my game. I was fast. Faster than anyone else. I had lost 5 pants sizes, that’s how fast I was. And I looked good. For someone who has never liked their appearance, that’s like crack.

The sex just felt like the natural thing to do in that state. It just went along with the package. I know it makes no sense, but it felt like that’s what I had to do. Its what my body and my evil little mind required. I was like a cat in heat. I have friends who can attest to that statement.

I wasn’t Melissa. Im pretty sure I could give half my family a heart attack if they were to find out what I did. That’s not the person they know. That’s not the person I know. That’s not the person my amazing husband married.

But. Bipolar is mine. Its who I am, just the same as my gimpy right foot, and the wart on my middle finger. And being Bipolar has its perks. Im very passionate. I’ve always been great at anything I did. Im really creative, and I love that.

I am slowly embracing being bipolar. More every day. The final step for me is forgiving myself for what I did.

That may take quite a while.