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. ūüôā

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.

Chocolate Rivers & Gumdrop Smiles = how I DON’T feel in the morning.


Very good meeting with the new marriage therapist today. She is a good style for us. Not too quiet, not too talkative, asking the right probing questions at the right times.

I was anxious though, and made a couple wrong turns getting there. I could feel my mind slipping, wanting to escape the situation on the say there. I told myself very sternly that I WAS NOT LEAVING THE SITUATION. That I was staying present, and was going to be an active contributor.

I should probably add that I was looking horrible for this meeting. I had planned to shower before leaving, but my toddler decided to break the child proof handle off his door and skip nap time. So I couldn’t shower…and I couldn’t get my sleepy ass off the couch to finish cleaning before the sitter arrived. By the time she arrived, I was still in my PJs, needing to leave, and “couldn’t find anything to wear”. Yeah, Im a woman.

So all of that just started me on a bad foot. Pillars could see I was tense in the waiting room and he gave me a nice neck massage. That always calms me.

Our session started with the “why are we here”. Our answer: sex and intimacy problems. Then we moved on to talking about what has been going on in our life…since we were married 7 years ago.

She picked out a lot of sore areas. Im fine addressing them…they need to be addressed. Many times I got teary eyed and had to move my gaze to my lap. I considered not restraining it, but decided I had already made a poor enough impression with my outfit, greasy hair, uptight anxious attitude, and general look of confusion.

We will be visiting her every other week. I look forward to it. Kinda. I do…I know that our marriage will be stronger because of it. I know that all the work we are putting in now will pay off.

Now if only I could feel that way about my brain.
Honestly, Im still tracking my moods and symptoms right now, but I am not taking serious stock into it because I know my sleep habits have caused a great deal of stress, and that’s all changing starting tonight. I have 9 minutes until my scheduled pill taking time (which includes ambien), followed by immediate sleep ūüôā

Im thinking that 8 hrs of sleep a night should be sufficient. Better than 5, at least. We will see, and make adjustments if needed.

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. ūüėČ

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”

 

Who am I, anyways?


I always had this clear vision of who I was, who I wanted to be. I was a dreamer growing up. Not the distracted dreamer, but I had big

plans for myself and I was confident about them. I knew that if I wanted it bad enough, I would get it. Something drove me inside; I felt strong inside. I attributed some of that strength to religion. Times got rough, as they do, but something always happened to pull me out of it. I was confident in my SELF.

The indecision and confusion that has been¬†plaguing¬†me for a few days reached it’s worst point yesterday. Thankfully I was off of work. I seem to be in a better place today. I don’t work again until tomorrow, so it should be gone by then. Thankfully, it never seems to last more than a couple days. It’s a slow slide into it, and then I have a virtually¬†nonfunctional¬†mind for a day or so, and then I wake up on the upside. Maybe still a little foggy, but I can think clearer, and make a decision easier.

Lucky for me, not only did I have yesterday off, but Pillars took the day off. Not because of my incapacity. It was nice. It’s always nice to have him around of course. ūüôā

My self esteem hits rock bottom when I’m trying to do something simple like make a box of mac n cheese for the kids and I have to read the instructions 5 times before I even understand the first step. I don’t like looking like I’m stupid in front of my husband. I know he knows I’m not…and he thinks my mind is beautiful. But when he talks to me about what we’re going to do, and my head is EMPTY, and his words flow in, swirl around, and flow right back out – none of them finding a place to stick – I have to say “I’m sorry, what are we doing after that?”. ¬†Or worse yet, “Just tell me what to do.”, because my memory isn’t on. I’m a body. I’m breathing. I can smile. I can laugh. But I can’t hold any information, and can only perform small, easy tasks. And even then, it takes me forever.

It’s those days that rubs my nose into the fact that I’m not “normal”.

On to happier news, I think I’ve gained more weight. I say “think” because I’m avoiding the scale. I know it’ll only upset me more. I’m trying to avoid things that upset me. I’m in a sensitive enough place as it is, and have had despairing thoughts and more suicide ideation than I care to admit. So, no, I’m not stepping on the scale. It’s not a surprise that I have…I used to run A LOT (while manic, of course), and now I just want to sit in a ball on the couch.

I don’t need a scale to tell me that I’ve packed a little on. So I decided to go running yesterday evening. As before, it started off fine, and then I ended up angry and crying about half way through. I realized I didn’t want to be running. But that 5 months ago, it was all I could think about. I’m drained of energy. But 5 months ago, I felt like I was busting at the seams with it, and had to restrain myself from doing jumping jacks all day. I cried because I want that energy back. At least some of it. At least enough to be able to feel alive,¬†because right now, I don’t.

I said to myself, “I want myself back!”. But then I realized that that wasn’t myself. Then, who am I?¬†When were my “normal” periods between episodes? When? I don’t think I have any way of knowing. So does that mean I have to figure that out now?¬†Then my inner voice started screaming that I didn’t ask for this. I don’t WANT THIS. This isn’t how I was SUPPOSED TO BE.

Bipolar isn’t want I dreamed of being 15 years ago.¬†

We live across from a church, that has a nice little water fountain, and benches. I took my angry bipolar self over there, thinking it would calm me down. I sat on the bench, still crying a little bit, and asked if this is what life is for me. All the flowers there are bloomed,  and beautiful, and I wondered when I would be able to find my internal passion, hope, optimism, and beauty again.

Will I only know my “normal” when there is a absence of symptoms? I’ll realize I’m “normal” when I’m not checking anything off of my nightly symptom chart?

 

The Anxiety Strikes Back


All my clothes are getting tighter, and Im waking up to see a soda can sitting at the end of the bed. Ugh. Yeah, 3am potty break and I grab a soda too. :/ No wonder everything is tighter. I haven’t been to the gym more than two or three times in the past month.

However, I’m writing this from my favorite machine – hip abduction/adduction. What woman doesn’t love working her ass and inner/outer thighs at the same time?

Now that my oldest has started school, its time for me to reestablish a routine, and Im going to try to include the gym.

My mood chart reflects what I already know…that I’ve been in a depressed mood for the past 10 or so days, along with heightened anxiety. No signs of a hypomanic episode of course. That’s got me wondering…if I keep track of my elevated mood symptoms, why don’t I keep track of depressed mood symptoms? They are equally dangerous.

I haven’t considered it because I am so used to depression. I don’t have to reflect on my day to realize it. I don’t know if this is something that is necessary. Maybe it would be to help me know when to ask for help. Its one thing to just be down in the dumps for a few days, and something totally different to be thinking about harming yourself. So maybe Ill make a little list like I have for my higher episode symptoms.

I broke down and started taking Ativan again for my anxiety. Anxiety hasn’t been a problem for quite a while for me (maybe for a year even…which is amazing) but over the past few days, its returned to its pre-diagnosis paralyzing form. I appreciate having something available to help me, but I have forgotten how¬†dysfunctional the anxiety makes me feel. At least when I am depressed or hypomanic, I truly believe that (a) I’m a horrible person, fail at everything I do, and my very existence is harming my children, or (b) that I am effing AWESOME and can do ANYTHING better than ANYONE.

But the bad anxiety makes me feel ill. My thoughts bounce around so bad that I can’t complete a simple task like putting away the mac n cheese my kids didn’t eat. I walk into the kitchen a few minutes after starting the task to see an empty pan, the leftovers in some tupperware, and then can’t remember ever STARTING that task, WHY I stopped it, or WHAT I did when I walked away.

My whole head almost feels fuzzy, like it’s vibrating. Like a piece of metal hit on something and then vibrating for a minute afterwards. I tend to move a lot too. If I’m not physically moving, then it feels like I am, because I’m vibrating. Ugh. Dear Baby Jesus. Where is this elusive “normal period” that I hear Bipolar people have? I don’t feel like I’ve had it yet, and that’s not very fair. I’ve had maybe 10-12 straight “normal” days, according to my chart, but that’s not long enough. I need a break.

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!

Living without fear.


I had my latest appointment with my therapist yesterday (I’ve been going weekly for 3 months now…). She made me come close to crying. In the 3 years I’ve been seeing her I haven’t cried yet. I think it’s a good sign really.

Either way. She had me list my symptoms of my hypomanic episode that lasted from the end of December 2011 through April 2012. As I was listing them out loud and on paper, it was another one of those moments when I realized how sick I was. I try not too think too often or too long about how I felt then. It disturbs me.

So after listing them, I had to put in order as to what came first.  My list looks like this (although is constantly being rearranged and added to):

1 – lack of sleep (or lack of need)
2 – over active (excess energy)
3 – mean and irritable
4 – inflated self esteem
5 – pressured speech
6 – hilarious and witty

She told me to make a little check list and every day check off what I recognized that day. If I have a few days where I’m seeing a pattern, I’ll know something is wrong.

The main goal behind this is so that I can live without fear. Because right now I’m fearful. I didn’t tell her this, so it must have been obvious. I don’t like getting excited. I don’t listen to certain songs. I try not to talk to much. I get nervous when people find me funny. Ultimately, I’m constantly scared that I’m in an episode and just don’t know, or worse, don’t realize it.

I know I can’t live forever like this. But Im still *new* at this,¬† and Im hoping that over time Ill become more comfortable and I wont need to do any serious mind bending in order to get there. I’m tired if that shit.

She specifically wants me to push my boundaries. She said exactly that. To which I replied, “Oh I can’t do that. That makes me really uncomfortable.” She wants me to do all those things I don’t like doing… laugh a lot, make other people laugh, get excited, listen to my music loud, etc.

She wants me to educate myself about my illness. I told her, Dear Woman, I have been doing nothing but educating myself since my diagnosis. Ask Mr. bRaving. He’s complained about all my bipolar research. Then I promptly displayed my fact finding skills and told her that my fear is not for lack of knowledge.

I told her that I think I don’t want to accept my illness. Its not a conscious thought. Rather, its more of a feeling I get when I think about it. I can SAY¬† I’m bipolar all day long, but my thinking process is hitting a brick wall and negating that statement. Then, naturally, my mind goes to my affairs and reasons that if I’m not bipolar then, that I did that stuff in my own accord – which I know not to be true. Then I say, I’m certainly bipolar. Then something inside disagrees, and around and around we go.

Shit. I’ve got more mind bending to do.

I hate my illness


I’m going to try to make this quick, as I’ve just taken my meds and am afraid I will be knocked out soon. Although, that would be very welcomed right now.

I’ve had a rough few days. Well, weekish really. Ever since increasing my meds (lithium, from 900mg to 1050mg), things have just sucked. I’ve had a swollen throat for several days, that was accompanied by a headache, full body aches, chills, hot flashes, and utter exhaustion. The psych “highly doubts” this was caused by the lithium. Doesn’t matter to me, it just sucked. I’m feeling better now, with only a slightly swollen throat. I’ve got my energy back, and am not sleeping all day.

Other than that, I’ve just had a bit of a relapse it feels in knowing who I am. It is insanely difficult when you have a brain disorder that makes you think differently than you “normally” would. You make different choices, talk differently, behave differently, dress differently, feel differently. And maybe I haven’t always had bipolar disorder, but now I do, and I need to make sure I behave properly. I need to monitor what I do and say. So everything I do and say, I wonder about. I wonder “Is that the real me, or a hypomanic me?”. Frankly, I’m just confused. I don’t want to waste time or my children’s childhood with this bullshit. I want to go back to the time when I confidently knew who I was and that I had excellent morals, and my husband trusted me. I don’t like having to reassure him all the time that a male friend is just a friend. I definitely brought it on myself, but then again, I didn’t. I didn’t choose to get sick. And then there’s the separating my brain from myself, the choices the sick me made from the choices a well me would’ve made.

Our sex life has been impacted greatly. He is in overdrive, I am in reverse. And if I don’t feel in the mood, I am afraid he thinks I am getting it elsewhere. Then when I turn him down he is in a horrible mood. I know I am to cause for his horrible mood, because if it is caused by anything else, he would tell me. Plus, he avoids me and is quiet. According to my therapist, I internalize too much. True. I will work on it. But in the meantime, when I upset him, it cuts me worse than anything else. I already know that I have caused him so much pain. To imagine that I will have this illness for the rest of my life and my hurt him for the rest of his life brings me low. A depression kind of low. So the other morning when I realized how much I had upset him by turning him down, I got low. I will quote from my mood journal: “I went to the bathroom so I could be alone and cried. I was hating myself, hating what I was doing to him, and felt sure that our life together was doomed. That he would tire of me being moody or not wanting sex as much as he does. I didn’t want to upset him. I started thinking that everyone would be better without me. Without me complicating their lives. Felt like by being here I was doing damage to the kids. I felt like I let go of all the stress and tension in my body and also that my energy and happiness left too. I sunk into a dead stare. I’ve been very melancholy all day, perfectly content with sitting somewhere staring off into space.”

Wow. So I spent the next several days pretty low, but I think the sickness had something to do with it. Yesterday I woke up feeling considerably better, and today even more so. Which is good, because I had to work tonight. The shortage of tips is enough to bring on depression itself…but that’s another post. Tonight, 11:35ish, on the way home from work I got a sudden onset of hypomanic symptoms. I wanted to run, right now. Slight shaking – particularly in my jaw. Rapid blinking, fast, pressured talking, rapid heart beat, feeling like I was losing my breath. It got scary. I realized it had been 28 hrs since I last took my meds – I went to bed really early last night and worked late tonight. Hopefully that’s all it was. I don’t want to wake up feeling like this.