Raising the levels.


The psychiatrist’s waiting room is unusually full today. Which means I am sitting elbow to elbow with…colorful people. And it’s not even 9am.

I’m starting to realize how different social situations either make me clam up or come out. It’s odd. I think Ill start taking notes and seeing if I can connect any dots.

Thank God I was the first person called…this big guy next to me kept falling asleep and then jerking awake.

I meekishly explained my symptoms to him. It sounded something like this:

“I don’t know if you remember our meeting last Friday, but I had told you that I had a couple symptoms creeping up. They’ve grown, kinda snowballed. Now I have full hypersexuality, pressured speech, Im witty, productive, excellent multi tasker, inflated self-esteem, Im dressing a little differently…there are times when I know I am not in control and that scares me. It scares my husband. We don’t want to wait until something bad happens.”

He asked when I got my lithium level checked, I said yesterday. He didn’t have the results yet, so he sent me back out to the crazy house the waiting room while a secretary called to check on it.

30 long minutes later he called me back in and said that we had good news, my level was at .7 yesterday. Therapeutic level (for this lab at least) varies from .5-1.2. So, I’m on the “low” side of the therapeutic dose. So we upped it to 1200mg.

This is good. I didn’t want another medication. Hopefully this’ll work out. I’ll have another blood draw Monday to see how it looks.

Yay. There’s hope.

Control through sex?


Today sucked. I woke up to see my cell laying on the bed next to me, and I know I didn’t leave it there, which means one thing. My husband looked through it. No biggie. But it signified to me that he is suspicious and uncomfortable. Just knowing that alone makes me nervous.

It makes me nervous because I know I’m not in a normal zone right now, and he knows I’m not in a normal zone, which makes him a nervous wreck – which in turn makes me a big ball of guilt.

I step into a non-depressed or non-normal state and he freaks. Understandable, for sure. I’m not complaining about that. But it still sucks. I don’t want him to feel so insecure.

Well, I guess maybe you shouldn’t have slept with 2 men who weren’t you’re husband, huh.

Sigh.

Face Palm.

Banging head against the desk.

You get the picture.

I know I’m not totally in control of myself. He does too. And he knows what “I’m” capable of, so it’s like he’s just waiting for me to “do it”. I don’t want to do it, but I am scared. That’s what I have to tell the psychiatrist tomorrow. I don’t know what he’s going to do, but I don’t want to sit around and wait for this to happen…we can’t live like this.

Yesterday during therapy, the therapist and I briefly discussed my 2 “affairs”. She asked, that if I had no personal attachment, what was it all about? Why did I do it? If I had a husband who was ready and willing to have sex whenever I wanted, why go to anyone else?

I told her that above all, I wanted to be desired.

She said that’s nothing out of the ordinary, everyone wants to be desired, that’s normal. Then why the sex?

I said it was the ultimate desire. A natural progression from the flirting, and knowing that I’m desired. Not really my first thought…just something that came after I got what I wanted.

Very similar to having a big tasty meal and then having a big nasty poop.

I had a bout of childhood abuse that I’m not really ready to get into here yet, but she know that it can contribute (or cause completely) hypersexuality problems. She asked if maybe this is about vengeance?

Certainly not my first thought when I do what I do.

Maybe it’s about control? Being able to control a man/men?

I do like that idea.It feels like a comfortable thought. There’s a chance that might be right.

Honestly, I think my husband is the only man who has ever treated me right in my entire life (THANK YOU BABY). I was ignored and forgotten by my Dad, abused by my Grandma’s husband (not my bio Grandpa), and the usual crap that goes with dating “bad boys” – a little bit of emotional abuse, cheating, being used, etc.

So, yeah, maybe I want to be in control.

But I am in control of my husband. I’m not being a bitch. I know he desires me. I know I can have him whenever I want. He tells me so. He tells me that I am worth all of this trouble, and that I am beautiful and smart. I truly have a one in a million. And when I’m “normal”, I know this. I know it deep inside, and I am at peace.

You know what’s so frustrating about all this? Is still being lucid. Having just enough control over everything to know that something isn’t right. IT MAKES YOU FEEL CRAZY.

I’m still here. I’m still inside. But I can feel myself slipping. Like sliding down a slide on your belly, trying to grab the top again to pull yourself up, but just not being strong enough yet. I can see it, I can feel it, but I can’t do anything about it. I think my mindfulness and the lithium is helping me to not fly off that slide and land face down in the mulch.

God that doctor has to help me tomorrow.

Losing it. Keeping it.


I’m battling an episode. Really. It feels like a goddamn war. One that sometimes I just want to give up.

And I don’t know that I need to fight it. Do I have to? Is it even an enemy? Will it really hurt me?

The “real” me is battling the manic me that likes to go out with barely any clothes on, drink rum and coke until I need someone to carry me, wear bright makeup, and flirt dangerously. <—hey let's all admit this chic sounds fun. And I hear she's hott.

My self esteem picked up. I don't think Im disgusting anymore. Hey, that's not a bad thing, right??

I long for a drink sometimes. But not just one. That can go in the "bad" column.

image

        My Dad liked to drink too…

I talk. And talk. And talk. Good for my job – my guests love it when I continuously engage them in conversation. And it reflects in my tips. Good column.

image

                   Who doesn’t?

And I’m frickin hilarious. Well, at least I think so. Always something witty to say. Unlike the real me who takes 6 hours to come up with a come-back. Good column.

I’m productive. I think easily. Another thing the real me can’t do. I can easily multi-task without having to blink. It’s another trait that makes work easier. My depressed brain stutters. Bad. My normal brain moves at what I would suspect is a normal speed. My manic brain does laps around everyone elses brains. If my brain were in the Olympics…

Oh. Now there’s an idea. Brain Olympics. Bipolar people would totally kick ass.

When I’m shopping, everything grabs my attention. “Oh look, its toddler toothpaste with Pinky Pie on it!….Ohh look at this new training toothbrush with the little finger loop on it so they can brush their little teeth….” Luckily, my husband was in the phone with me (Yes….I was saying all that to myself….) to keep me focused on the goal.

I think that last one should qualify as a bad column. Its using up time I could be productive.

Is any of this anything to worry about? Some may say no, but Im gonna say yes. The hurtful part of all this – the hypersexuality – is dangerous. Because when it hits, the rest of me throws the deuces up and checks out. Anyways, its here. Has been for a few days. I just haven’t been able to relinquish my grip on myself. And I don’t want to.

Hypersexuality – so, how long has it been since you’ve had sex with your husband? My therapist asks.

I think its been nearly 2 weeks.

What?? There’s no reason it should be that long. Especially if you’re feeling hypersexual. What’s wrong?

Idk. The feeling is there, but I think I might be scared to have sex right now because it might trigger something. Or he might see in my eyes that I am not emotionally there. Ans he’s in so much pain anyways, I don’t wanna do that to him.

She ended up getting me in tomorrow with the psychiatrist at which point I have to tell him all my symptoms and also that’s I am scared of myself. She toke me to say that, but it really is the truth. Im not in control of myself.

Either way, its putting us all on edge. Which is weird. Here I am. Im the one that without, people would live a little easier. I seem to bring destruction into people’s worlds. And not even on purpose, but because of an illness, which is even more unfair.

Ugh. Im sure something will done Thur. I’ll let you all know…

Mood charts, symptom charts, and a non-detrimental episode?


A lot of bipolar people chart their moods. I started in the first week of July. Well, I “started” in March, during whichI time I was still in my episode, but didn’t record anything worth transferring into this new chart:

Aside from this mood chart, I’m keep a sort of symptoms checklist. Every night, after I fill out my chart, I also check off what symptoms I experienced that day. These were symptoms I displayed during my last episode:

 

Ewwwwww. Nice trend, right?

Sometimes, knowing the difference between a normal feeling and a NOT NORMAL feeling is difficult, but it gets easier every time.

So some of the blocks in the symptom chart are 1/2 filled in, because a little bit of the symptom was there, but not a full case.

For example, when I get in the mood for some love – that’s not hypersexuality. When I get a fire in my temple area that runs down my back to my hips, have had much more frequent (and raunchy) sex,  and I am really aroused all day – I consider that hypersexuality.

The inflated self-esteem option is one I keep finding tricky. Last week, I didn’t want to undress in front of my husband and was regretting having traded my granny one piece in for a bikini because I felt so unattractive. Now, I’m feeling significantly more attractive and wouldn’t mind  putting on a bikini. I’m not cocky. I’m not walking around like I’m the baddest bitch. But I’m also not walking around self-loathing like I had been. And what I feel now is a significant change in what I was feeling last week. So, I don’t know, doesn’t that count? Maybe a half inflated self-esteem? If I compare how I feel now to how I felt about myself during my last episode (Dec – April), I think I’m about 3/4 of the way there. So yeah, I guess how I feel now would be considered a 1/2.

I’ve lost 4 lbs in the last couple weeks. Don’t worry, I’m not running again. Yet. I just came out of my self-loathing diet. Fast food and soda decreased. Although I am going to the gym today with full intentions on running. I am curious as to how it will feel. That will also be a good indicator for me. When I ran during my episode I got continuous hormone releases. It was a continuous high. It brought a crazy smile to my face whether I had just stepped out the door or if I was 3.5 miles in.

I totally feel like the Joker sometimes. He never seemed very in control of his face or his body.

Seeming as my symptoms are gradually building up, I mentioned it to my psychiatrist Friday. I told him what I’ve been noticing and asked what the odds are of me having another episode. He said “slim to none”. I can say that the symptoms are being contained/held in/smothered out like a fire quite nicely. But there is a trend so it’s my job to be watchful. I’m also not sure he understood me initially, because he said “What I think you’re experiencing is disappointment.”  (Ummm, I think I can recognize disappointment…) “Lots of people are disappointed once things go back to normal after a manic episode.” Yada yada yada. C’mon dude. I’ve done my reading. I know this. Disappointment is like the #1 thing you hear about when you research going onto medication and leveling out. So, I restated my question, and he brushed it off again as nothing to worry about. Okkkaaaayyyyy…Now I’ll mention this to my therapist next week, and she’ll tell me I just didn’t word something right for him – because he needs some form of speak other than plain English.

When I reminisce about my previous episode, it is of how I felt about myself. My energy. Is it possible I can have those positive sides without slipping into the same mistakes I made before? Is it? Is it possible for me to slide into this hypothetically speaking only positive side effects hypomanic episode without any fear of it turning into something much worse? I guess if I don’t worry about it, that would be the bigger problem. Maybe until it happens, and I realize it is possible for me to have a productive episode, I’ll feel scared about it. And that’s ok. Just uncomfortable and scary.

Degrees of Hypersexuality


I’m drained of energy lately. But, I’ve had slight feelings of hypersexuality. To put things in context, I consider feeling hypersexual as wanting sex a lot. I don’t. I don’t even like my body right now What I’m feeling equates to a little fire on the back of my neck and it travels down to my hips. And it’s a fuzzy feeling around my temples.

Full hypersexuality, as I have experienced it, is finding yourself attractive, and practically every man you see horribly attractive, and taking steps to act on that. I am not that right now.

It’s almost like a full onset is wanting to bubble up but maybe the lithium is keeping it down.    ?     Sounds plausible. I hate being so tired all the time. I want a little more energy. But I don’t want any of the bad symptoms to have room to wiggle out.

I was discussing this last night in bed with Pillars, and he asked if it makes me feel better, being as this supports that idea that the lithium is making a difference in holding my symptoms at bay – I am clearly bipolar – if there ever was a question about it. I considered that. Does this weird feeling of symptoms wanting to rise but being unable to make me feel better? I said no. It might have a few months ago, but I’ve subscribed to the idea that I AM BIPOLAR. I’m not really looking for any more confirmation of that. What would make me feel better is if these symptoms didn’t exist at all!

I was a little loose.


Still being fairly new in my diagnosis, I’m still looking back in my life with a fine tooth comb. Trying to find previous episodes that went undetected. How serious had I gotten? Were my 2 previous episodes of depression and hypomania my worst? Do I think any future episodes may be worse?

So I was just casually thinking aloud to myself last night as I was crawling into bed with Mr bRaving. I was thinking of past moments that qualify as hypomanic episodes. Those were what I was oblivious to. Who would question such a good feeling anyways? Especially when they were always peppered with depression.

Any hypomanic episodes I can remember are mainly characterized by hypersexuality. Looking back on them, I wonder why I did that. It wasn’t getting me anywhere. There was no emotion behind the sex. No desire for the person, just the act. At the time, when I questioned it, I summed it up to Daddy issues. Last night, it was clear to me what all that was.

It’s been clear to me for weeks that that’s what that was. But then I let my mind take it another step and ask, “Why didn’t anyone tell me I was doing something wrong?”

Who would’ve told me? The guys I was banging? Um, no. My Mom? Yeah…like I’d tell her the way I was behaving. My boyfriend at the time? He never found out. My friends? I didn’t have any. Me? I was following an instinctual drive.

It was souless. Very much like pounding a pawn around a game board. I was just hitting the spaces, counting up the numbers.

Then it occurred to me that I had no boundaries at that point in my life. No marriage vows to break. No rules as a single girl in her late teens/early 20s, living away from home.

Fast forward to now…rules are in place, and I broke them. My pawn hit the “Got to Jail” square. And finally my illness is revealed.

I wish I had known all this before I did something that I’m having a very hard time living with.

Hypersexuality and Bipolar Disorder


Hypersexuality (previously called nymphomania) is being excessively interested or involved in sexual acts. This can include internet sites, increased sex with your partner, phone sex, prostitutes, extramarital affairs, and other risky behavior.

There’s not really a criteria for hypersexuality, but just that the person is doing stuff out of the norm for them.

I like this site.

This was by far the most damaging symptom of bipolar mania for me.

I had no clue what it was initially. Over time, I came up with several reasons for my hypersexuality. My most convincing one, most logical one, was that my body wanted to procreate again. Really. It had been about 15 months since my son had been born, and that was the longest my body had gone uninhabited in almost 5 years. So I thought YES, THIS MAKES SENSE. My uterus is reaching out to the world. Except, my uterus was reaching out to people it shouldn’t have. My reasoning for that, my husband had put on some extra weight and I had lost some attraction.

It all made sense to me. And to top it all off – it was what my body was telling me to do. Not just my uterus. My mind and my senses. My senses had never betrayed me before. They led me everywhere I had been in life, and ultimately to my husband. I trusted them. They were me.

Everything I was doing was a drug. It literally got me high. The weird part, to me, was that the sex wasn’t the most exhilarating part. It was getting the men to want me.  To make the whole thing more exciting, they had to be attached. One was married, the other had a girlfriend. I thought that sex was the ultimate goal, but it wasn’t until after I was medicated and my husband asked questions that I realized that the chase was my drug. As soon as the sex was over, I was plotting when I could hook my prey again. Yeah, I was a total hooker predator. It was like taking a hit of something, and the longer I went without it, the antsier I got. I felt frantic, sweaty, desperate. I had to have it again. 

The next question is “how did you think this was going to end?”. I’ll be honest, I had no idea how it was going to end. The largest part of me, that controlled me, didn’t give a hoot. I had no disillusions of running away with either of these men. I loved my husband, my children, my family, our life. I wasn’t in love with or emotionally attached to anyone other than my husband. But when I thought about stopping what I was doing, my body reacted. Almost like an evil little man had taken post in my head and when he saw someone about to end his rein, he attacked. It seems like I was on a path to destruction, whether I wanted it or not. I was no longer in control. I didn’t realize I wasn’t in control at the time, I thought I was following my senses. I remember thinking to myself that I was disagreeing with myself, and thought it was odd. I analyzed the two feelings I was having, one being that I was doing just what I had to do right then, and one saying that it was wrong. I let myself feel these thoughts, hoping that by feeling them, I could at least commit to one and shut the other up. But I realized that the feeling that what I was doing had to be done was much much stronger than my resistance. Sure, I could think that was I was doing could be wrong, but I was being held captive by this other side that controlled me. Slightly like an out-of-body experience. I couldn’t move against myself.

I can tell you now, that when you realize you’re not in control of what your body is wanting to do, it’s time to see a doctor.

Here’s the kicker: I WAS seeing a doctor while this was happening. The same therapist and psychiatrist I had been seeing for 3 years. I had been diagnosed with anxiety and depression, which both seemed accurate. And that’s accurate for someone who is bipolar. You can feel jittery, and you feel depressed. There were lots of details that seemed insignificant to me that I failed to mention. That, and I was just never brutally honest with my therapist. I was as honest as I thought was necessary. Yet another hard lesson learned.

So this evil little man in my head, he didn’t completely occupy my mind. He controlled my behavior, but I could still occasionally think for myself. In a clear moment, I told myself that I knew something was wrong, and I had to get help. So the night before I was to see my therapist again, I took a notebook that I had been recording my moods in, and wrote down everything I had been doing that I knew was wrong. I was going to take it the next day and figure out why I was doing this and how to fix it. I didn’t allow myself to leave out any detail. It was clear to me that there was something wrong, and I wanted to get all my dirty laundry aired. I was tempted to start erasing, so I took the eraser out of the pencil. Sounds like a good plan…but my husband found it before I could get to my therapist. That’s a whole other post.

I should add that the hypersexuality wasn’t just for those other men, I was having much more, and much better, sex with my husband. Unprompted, in front of the washer, raunchy, hot sex.

But I got that notebook to the therapist. I wasn’t even onto the 2nd page before she interrupted and said, “I hate to say this, and I’m no doctor, but it sounds like you’re bipolar.” If I had been maybe slightly more honest years ago, this may have been diagnosed earlier, and I could have saved my husband a lot of pain. It’s hard though. I’m a woman. I’m emotional. Sure, I’ve had depression, and I certainly had anxiety, but never had any clear cases of hypomania or mania. Until it nearly ruined my marriage. I had been promiscuous years ago, but aren’t most 20 year olds? And anyways, I blamed them on Daddy issues. Isn’t that a huge cause of needing men?

Very troubling subject. Mine ended fairly well, considering how it could have ended: STDs (I was responsible and got checked), pregnancy, divorce…
It did cause more than enough damage, and I wish I could take it back. I hate thinking that there are people out there struggling with it right now, maybe ruining their life in the process. Now that I know I am Bipolar, I can better avoid these occurrences in the future. I feel like I should give out advice now…so,
1 – be brutally honest with your therapist and psychiatrist
2 – just say you need help, something is wrong
3 – take your medication

Don’t make me go bipolar on your ass!


I’m now 9 days into my dosage increase. I felt pretty even today. I had my normal ups and my normal downs but nothing too extreme in either direction. I was 10 days into treatment with my previous dosage when it started becoming clear that it wasn’t enough. So keep your fingers crossed. If its still not enough, we can just increase it again. I’m reminding myself its not a huge deal. I’m just impatient and want to resume “normal” life asap.

So a few nights ago, I wrote my previous blog. At the time, I was a little to the right, as I say. Yeah, that’s a political phrase, but it feels like it fits the bipolar spectrum as well. If you think of normal being center, then to the left you have depression, with far left being pretty bad off. Then to the right you have mania, with the far right meaning you’re out of your body and out of this world. Luckily, I’ve never been that right. Hopefully, I never will be. On a number scale, ranging from -10 to 10, I’d say the farthest I’ve ever been in either direction is -7 and 7. We will talk about just how crazy (and I say that with love!) I’ve been later. However, back to my first point. When I wrote my previous post, it was about midnight to 1am. I failed to realize I hadn’t taken my lithium since 8pm the previous night, and I didn’t realize that a matter of a few hours would make such a big deal. By 1130pm, I started getting the urge to run. I didn’t care that we are in the ghetto. I had fast, pressured talking, was getting frustrated very easily, and couldn’t understand how to operate the bold/italicize/underline options on the keyboard. I was getting angry with my husband while he was trying to explain it to me. It wasn’t until he gave me a “you’re being a raging BITCH” look that I even questioned how I was behaving. Then it occurred to me the time lapse in my meds. Please don’t think that I don’t take my situation and meds seriously, because I do. In fact, my husband was telling me last night that he thinks I read too much on it, bringing me to my next topic.

Say you’re in a war. You have to know your opponent, right? The more you know, the better your chances are at surviving. I think being diagnosed with a mental illness is the same. Your brain has waged war on you. My hypersexuality could have ruined my marriage. He thinks I read too much about it, but we are just going to have to agree to disagree. Until I learn all there is to know, I’m going to keep reading. I want to know everything there is to know about something that threatens to take my life from me. Something I could have passed to my babies. The more I know, the better prepared I will be to help them when\if they ever need it.

On to other news. I start a new job tomorrow. I’m excited…people there can get to know this medicated me. Right now at work, people keep asking if I’m ok and what’s wrong. It is annoying. Nothing is wrong, I’m just not crazy right now. Again, said with love. 🙂 I don’t think I will ever say that word the same way again. And I will sincerely try not to take offense when I hear other people say it. Speaking of, I heard someone say at work tonight, “Don’t make me go bipolar on your ass!”. I had to stop what I was doing and educate him. Glad I did all that reading…