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*

 

 

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.

Mindfulness – The Ultimate Mood Stabilizer


Wow is all I can say. Mindfulness, I believe, is the only way to become a “successful” bipolar person. It certainly isn’t the easy way out, I can tell you that. I had never heard of bipolar being called a “dangerous gift”, but so so true. I am very glad I found this article. I feel like it validates all the work I have been putting into being knowledgeable and aware of what affects my emotions negatively and positively. A VERY good read!

Mindfulness – The Ultimate Mood Stabilizer.

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.

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. 

http://www.depressionforums.org/bipolar/2389-bipolar-disorder-severity-worsened-by-poor-sleep-quality

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

Lithium, nursing, rage, oh my.


I wanted to list some of my lovely Lithium side effects. I am 2 weeks into treatment, 900mg daily.

  • slight tremors in hands
  • occasional dizziness
  • increased appetite <—LEAST FAVORITE
  • confused easily (some might say this isn’t anything new)
  • tendency to space out
  • sleepiness

All of these have become less and less intense over the last several days, which the psychiatrist told me would happen. Good deal. And I can’t complain about the increased appetite too much, because compared to some of the other more serious side effects, it’s really no biggie.

I am still nursing my 17 month old, which the psychiatrist advised against. But I didn’t take his opinion 100% serious after he expressed his slight disgust at the idea of anyone nursing a child over the age of 12 months. So I called the lactation consultant I have been using on and off for 4 years and she told me what I was thinking: all research on lithium and nursing was done on newborns, and all of the studies concluded that the older and heavier the baby got, the less lithium showed in their blood work. So she supported me continuing to nurse, which I happily did, but I made an appointment to get the baby’s blood work done asap to check his lithium level. I found out yesterday that his level is normal (as was mine a week ago). This is a relief.

One slight concern I have had recently is my “short fuse” as my therapist called it. I have always been a very patient person, which is why I always thought I would have many children.  I lost my patience a few months after the 3rd was born, and attributed it to the fact that I was a busy, over-worked, over-tired mommy. However, it’s gotten a lot worse in the last few months (my hypomania started in December). And it’s not just with my kids, it’s with my husband, co-workers, strangers driving like idiots…

And I know that everyone gets pissed at other drivers, but I’ve been driving for 13 years now and have never felt like this.

So the therapist told me that if I don’t feel like my temper is any better by Monday to call the psych and see if it’s something that needs to be to be addressed before my next appointment with him (3 weeks away).