Monthly Archives: March 2011

When the pupil is willing to learn, a teacher will appear.

Quote is a Zen proverb – not something I was clever enough to come up with.

I went to my new therapist.  I like her so far, which is more than I can say for any therapist previously.  I told her I mostly want to work on my anxiety and stress right now because that impacts my life every day, no matter what my cycle is, while the mania and depression only effect me in those particular cycles.  I told her I would like to get to where we can work on those too.

I explained that I’ve tried meditation and every trick in the Anxiety and Phobia Workbook and lots of other “think positive” nonsense all to no avail and that I had given up hope pretty much and just accepted that I’d be stuck this way.  However, I would like not to be so much a mess for my son and also for me, so I’m giving it one last go.  One last go on my anxiety and bipolar in talk therapy before I stick to pill only treatment.

She explained her approach which I explained back to my husband as a combination of being Zen and good old fashioned exposure (uggh) therapy.  Exposure therapy is one I haven’t tried because, well, it sounds downright awful.  The thought of purposely putting myself in scary situations is enough to make my heart start to race.  However, the things I have gotten over I’ve gotten over by being forced into the situation, so maybe there’s some merit there.  Also I watched the OCD Project and while I was horrified the whole time, they all seemed to get over their issues (mostly).

The Zen part is something I strive to accomplish and believe is the key to real happiness, but cannot manage to achieve.  If she can teach me this, I think I could get through life okay.  To accept that I’m anxious about a situation, breathe deeply, and carry on.  To have the fear or stress but not let it overtake me.  I think that’s more reasonable than expecting all stress and fear to go away.  I think it’s also a way to deal with my brain’s ability to create new stress and phobias as I beat old ones.

She also thinks all my stress makes my cycles worse, which is possible. She thinks that by managing the stress and anxiety, we can manage the bipolar.  What a double win that would be.

She said we would work on what I mentioned before – being able to better manage the depression and mania as it comes.  She said if we work on managing it during normal periods it will become habit and I’ll be able to do it when in a swing.  She likened it to still doing basic things when manic or depressed when getting up and brushing your teeth, although perhaps not always so much when depressed.

All in all, I’m pretty hopeful.  We meet again Monday to start official treatment (Friday was our get to know you session) and then every two weeks after that.

She wants me to get back in the habit of mood tracking on my iPhone (which I’m so-so about doing) because I can email it to her.  I think that’s a good idea although I’ll have to curse less and be a little less random in my notes to email it I think.  I stopped tracking my meds completely, which was pretty stupid, but there’s a lot of them and it was time consuming.

That being said, goals for the week include tracking mood at least twice a day and actually recording meds taken.


Your pills make me dizzy

I went to the neurologist yesterday for my migraines.  I couldn’t take the constant headache anymore.  I left with FIVE prescriptions.  I now officially take more medicine than a 90 year old.  My life is so depressing.

The doctor told me that I had a lot of things working against me.  She said people with psychiatric problems tend to be treatment resistant (figures).  She also said a lot of the medicine I’ve either tried and had issues with or can’t take because of my bipolar so we’re limited to what we can use.  She also doesn’t want to prescribe narcotics, most likely because of the bipolar.  I really don’t care what she gives me if the headaches go away.

I walked out back on Dopamex Topamax.  The pill that makes me tingly and stupid.  She says orange juice will make the tingly go away.  Something my crazy doctors didn’t know I guess.  I also got some kind of fancy Ibuprofen (Ketoprofen?), Trexemet, Imitrex shot, and a refill of Promethazine.

I find it increasingly odd that all of my problems are treated with similar pills.  This leads to me believe all my problems are cause by my crazy.

She also wants to do a spinal tap because she says maybe, based on my headaches, I might be leaking spinal fluid.  Really?!  I mean, really?  Can’t I catch a break??  Jury is still out on if I believe this is possible enough to deal with a spinal tap.  I’m untrusting of lots of tests.  I’m sure the doctors get a kickback on these things.  There’s a lot of money in big problems.  Perhaps not so much with treatable ones.  I’ve been stressed like crazy over it and my hypochondriac head is now making my spine hurt all day.

I had to get a new book to track all my medications.  My old book ran out of room.  I really hate my life on days like this.

All my life all I remember is crazy

So my husband was watching this movie Jumper last night.  It’s about a guy who can teleport.  We were discussing the plot holes in the movie, and it triggered these weird memories from my childhood.

The first was that for years I used to do what people call “astral projection” if I remember the term correctly.  Of course, I probably really didn’t.  I was probably delusional.  But at that young age, I didn’t have enough grasp on reality to know and I can’t alter how I remember my childhood reality.  I used to lay still and my body would lift up and I could go anywhere.  Not like imagine I went places, but feel myself go.  Where I could look down on me laying in bed and leave the house and go anywhere.

The other was that I used to have these dreams of running down the street and suddenly being able to take off and fly.  But I couldn’t fly like a bird.  I could only go up in increments.  Like a hop up and then walk at that level, then another hop up and so on.  One time, I recall vividly being able to do this outside of a dream.  Also clearly delusional.

It’s odd how these memories contrast with my normal child “imagination.”  When I was imagining, I can recall both the reality and what I was pretending.  When I was delusional, I can remember only the altered reality.  Like the times I would hallucinate things I can’t register that they weren’t there in the memory.  Even now with a better sense of things that really happen, I can only remember that at the time they were there.  Now when I see things, most of the time I can know they aren’t real.

A lot of my paranoia now comes from things I hallucinated as a child.  I used to see people walking through my house at night and in my room.  Sometimes outside my window.  They were made of black fuzz like on a broken TV.  I used to think they were ghosts since they clearly weren’t real people (though sometimes I saw more typical looking people).  Now, as an adult, I avoid places people have died because I’m so scared of ghosts.  To me, even though I know it was just hallucinations, those early memories will always be ghosts to me.  I also feel like I’m hyper-sensitive to supernatural vibes, although this is probably nonsense.

It’s really no fun to be a bipolar kid.  It’s sad that this life is all I have memories of.

Daylight savings and shopping issues

I hate daylight savings time. Most people take a day or two
to get their cycle back to normal. It takes me months. Little
changes like that really mess with me. Actually any little change
will do that. If work makes me go in an hour early once day, my
schedule gets all messed up and I’m a wreck for a while. If my
routine in the mornings isn’t just so I forget things and then I’m
depressed about it for days. I hate how little things to other
people are big things to me. Daylight savings seems to be the
worst. The spring forward messes with my sleep the most and I’m
exhausted for at least a month usually. Sometimes it will make me
swing one way or another. I hear most bipolar people swing up
during either daylight savings. I’ve never actually tracked it and
I have no memory, so maybe I always swing up or down in a pattern
around these times but I’m not sure. All I know is that I feel like
shit either way. I’m also good for seasonal affective issues where
I’m more likely to swing down in winter and up in summer, though
it’s nothing you could set a clock to (much like all my
problems-they’re all too volatile). In other news I think my last
bout of mania has trigger and all the time shopping addiction or
compulsion or some type of shopping issue. I’m not manic. My
thoughts are regular fast but not overwhelming speed. I’m only
seeing things that are stressed induced (weird I know). I don’t
have any brilliant ideas or anything. I’m not hyper productive and
able to accomplish five days work in an hour. In general I’m just
plain old boring me with ad added bonus new problem of being unable
to go a day without spending ass loads of money I do not have
considering I spent it all plus extra a month ago while manic.
Another problem for the therapist I guess. I could, my logical half
says, get all the plastic out of my wallet and carry cash. Or use
an emergency Kira is bipolar and crazy account. But the illogical
part keeps saying “you can control this” or even worse “buy one
more thing then ditch the cards” or sometimes even “but you get
points when you use the credit card.” Sigh. It’s so sad when my
“normal” isn’t even close to being normal.

Look how far I haven’t come

From 2004:

This week I’ve had a really bad manic period. Mania can sometimes be fun because you can get stuff done and go on little amounts of sleep. But soon it either gets worse, catches up to you, or both. This week all three have happened. It started out with mild delusional things, which are horribly annoying but not horrid. But every night it got worse and worse. Two nights ago I was waking up every thirty minutes thinking there were bugs in my bed and people in my house until I finally gave up and just stared at my door and my sheets for the rest of the night. Last night I was sitting on my computer (looking at designer bags and clothes, as tends to happen when I get manic) and I heard this strange noise on the side of my bed. It sounded a bit like a gurgle. I was SURE there was something in there and played the muting TV game to make sure I heard it more than once. The second time I heard it I felt like if I didn’t go get my mom it would kill me, so I woke my mom and step-dad up at 3:30 rambling about something in my room. [Step-dad] came in but didn’t find anything, at which point I started going on about how I was delusional, but I think it came out as one word that he couldn’t understand. He told me to go sleep in mom’s room since I tend to feel safer if someone is next to me. But her room is full of shadows which is NOT good when you’re seeing things. I think there was something dog-ish looking next to the bed and I started to see lights everywhere. The lights aren’t bad because they’re not scary, but the rest is. I didn’t feel like I was going to die like I did in my room though, so at least an improvement. The worst though is that the whole room feels alive moving and you can’t scream. Or at least I never will. If I talk about it after it all happens, that feels okay. But if I get so scared that I scream it means I’ve lost control. There is nothing worse in the entire world than not being in control of yourself. And you know all that crap isn’t there but as many times as you tell yourself it just won’t go away. After a while of talking myself down by talking to mom, I finally went to bed. I had some crazy dream about twin cats and one of them died and the school was burning or something. Made no sense and made me restless, but not the worst part of the evening. I told mom I would go to the doctor if and ONLY IF there was a deal in place that he wouldn’t try to make me take pills. So we might do that. The other idea I had was to just take a few pills when I had episodes to knock the valporic acid level up long enough to get me through the week. Haven’t done that yet though. The thing that scares me the most is always the thought that I’ll never have a time when I don’t have to worry about randomly melting down. Which in essence means I’m a liability at any job I have. I refuse to accept defeat over that, but it’s really scary. Ugh. Anyhow, other than just being really really tired I’m okay now. No meds required, so HA. And no panic attacks or rages, so I’m really proud of myself. 

I noticed people on my tag reader have been posting old journal entries, so stupid me decided to go look at mine.  I am now depressed that I have effectively made NO progress whatsoever.  Seven years ago.  Age 19.  Now 26…same shit.  Remember the post that I mentioned the title “A Line Allows Progress, A Circle Does Not”?  Welcome to my circle.

My life blows.

Chant in head says “don’t get depressed, don’t get depressed, don’t get depressed….”

Note:  Before that post I hadn’t taken meds in a while, if you couldn’t guess from the content.  Again, circle circle circle.  You’d think all the times not taking medicine hasn’t worked out for me that I’d stay on the stupid things.  Alas, insanity is doing the same thing, as they say.

On a detox walk through a Glendale Park over sidewalk chalk someone wrote in red “start over”

Title from “Cleanse Song.”  I’m quoting too much Bright Eyes lately.

I hate to post this because people always take things the wrong way.  People always look too much into things and think there’s problems when there’s not.  You can’t say it’s not a problem because it just makes people think there really is.  So, before I talk about last night let me say:  there’s not a problem.  Seriously.

Every six months or so I get this itch to act like I’m 20 again.  Meaning take drugs, drink a lot, or party all night.  Just do something so I don’t look around at my life and wonder where my old life went.  I have such an identity crisis issue with my life sometimes.  I love everything I have, truly.  I am grateful for it all.  But sometimes…I wonder how I got here.  The girl who used to think marriage was awful, that she’d never have kids, that she’s never be able to keep a job…here she is a wife, mother, and long time employee.  And sometimes my sick head can’t deal with the normalcy of it all.

So sometimes (read every six months like clockwork), I do stupid things.  It’s not an addiction, well at least not a physical one.  I can’t see anyone who drinks once every six months being labeled an alcoholic, so I don’t think it should carry over to any other substance.

The thing about just about anything you take to escape reality is that once the honeymoon phase of it all is over, most of them suck.  You drink too much, you throw up a lot.  You do too many drugs, you look and feel cracked out.  Sometimes you throw up on those too.  You smoke too much, you become a giggly, stupid mess.  Most of them can kill you in large doses, sometimes small if you mix wrong.

It’s all stupid, really.  But there’s a pull of how great it used to be, how nice it was to get away from it all, how you can escape all the shit and have fun, be happy, be whatever it is that these things make you feel.

So sometimes I’m stupid.  Last night I was stupid.  The normal got to me.  I don’t handle normal too well.  It’s too foreign.  It’s something in me I don’t understand.  I’ve been crazy my whole life.  These normal times I have, they don’t make any sense to me.  I don’t know what to do with them.  I need to escape from them as much I do deep depression or manic psychosis.

But see, the honeymoon phase of drugs and alcohol has long since passed for me.  I started drinking before I turned 13.  I started on prescription drug abuse before 15.  I started on harder things around 21.  I drink maybe once a year now.  It holds no appeal.  I leave prescriptions alone because I don’t want to be cut off from what I need for my actual problems.  Why I mess with harder things still eludes me really.

So last night, I took a pill.  My old friend.  Something to get me away from all the normal I can’t deal with.  My normal life, my normal mood, this foreign normal me.  Such an odd concept to take something to escape a normal life.

For about four hours, I felt a little hypomanic…like I took too much Adderall.  That part was kinda okay.  It wasn’t the feeling I wanted or remembered from my early 20s, but it wasn’t the worst way to spend a few hours.  My heart raced, which I hate, but other than that it was like a pleasant hypomanic I never really get from my crazy alone.

After that, I felt like shit.  I was shaking and cold and felt sick.  This is the part where I say to myself “why do I do these things to myself?”  I never have an answer.  Well, I guess I do as stated above.  But at the time I just think about how stupid I am.  I say to myself that I’m done.  Usually I mean it…for six months.

But this time I think I mean it because the day after I still feel done.  The rush isn’t there anymore.  The euphoria is gone.  The joy of it all is gone.  All that’s left is feeling awful and risk.  Risk of trouble at home, trouble at work.  Ruining everything good I have.  It’s not worth it for a shit high, for any high really.

So I’m done.

But if I’m done…how do I deal with the out of body experience that is this semi-normal life I’ve managed to create?

It’s such a bizarre problem to have – building normalcy and feeling out of place within it.  Like I don’t deserve it, like it’s not me.

I think that therapy might be a good idea after all.  I really need to learn how to deal with some things without popping a pill for every problem I could ever think of.

Boring day, boring night, boring me

I have absolutely nothing interesting to say today.  My son is at my mom’s house and my husband and I have no work tomorrow.  We planned to go out and have some fun…but instead I’m blogging.

Why you ask?  Because we are boring, unsociable people once we leave work.  My husband and I are both the type that sit in corners and look miserable at a party if we go by ourselves.  If we go with someone social, I tend to pick up on their vibe and then my husband follows suit and we have a good time (mostly).  If we go with just us, we both sourpuss the whole time.

We tried to get some people together, but to no avail.  So, like so many toddler free nights, we are sitting at home drinking by ourselves being bored.

Back when we were younger we preferred this.  Going out with others meant less time together.  Less time for substance abuse, talking, and sex.  Now, five years later, we want to spend time with people other than just us.  We see each other every day and we talk every day about work, life, and what’s going on with our son.  There’s no updates to give if we go out together.  We just talk about the same stuff we did when we got home.  Unless new things have happened, we’ve kinda said it all.

Don’t read that the wrong way.  I’m happy we know each other so well that the only things we don’t know are the things that happened in the last 24 hours.  Any story I tell is a repeat.  So are his.  It’s a safe place to be, knowing each other.  We know each other’s issues and faults.  There’s no surprises when my mood swings or he acts emotionless.  We’re both hard to deal with to other people, but not as much to each other.  It’s nice, really.

It’s just also boring when we go places.  So we sit at home.  Going places just isn’t fun without a group.  Too bad we ran that group away that first year or two when we didn’t want anything to do with anyone that wasn’t us or didn’t supply drinks or pills.

In other news, I’m trying to make a Caramel Frappe and failing miserably.

My son also is unofficially kicked out of the speech therapy.  He had his annual test today and is no longer speech delayed, so no more speech therapy for him.  It’s good and bad.  I’m thrilled that he’s come so far and is doing so well.  On the other side of the coin, I’m worried without the speech therapy that he might backslide.  His therapy was done from the state (federal?) sponsored program that pays for all kids (under 5 I think) that have a physical or speaking delay.  No income maximum or anything.  Just to make sure kids get the help they need.  It’s a good program so long as you get one of the good therapists.

I guess my concern is that I’m not a speech therapist so I don’t know the best way to help him learn.  I tell him what things are and try to get him to say it back to me, but beyond that I’m clueless.  The ever present mommy worry – somehow, I’ll screw him up.

He’s not officially kicked out yet because they haven’t scored his test, but the lady that did it pretty much told me not to hold my breath.

Time to get speech therapy books I guess.