Category Archives: therapy

The Circle Never Breaks…

So Sallie Mae declined my student loan application based on the fact that I’ve only been at my current job position for 8 months, even though I’ve been with the company for four years.  That and the fact that I work on commission.  Now I’m in the fun position of having literally no money to go to school next semester.  FML.

I mean, really?  They said I need a cosigner.  I can’t get a cosigner.  My husband has shit for credit from a car repo before we got married.  My mom refuses to cosign because she said she tried to help me go to college when I was 18 and I dropped out.

Yeah, I dropped out because I had no goals at the time and had a bit of a nervous breakdown.  I told her I wasn’t on meds at the time and this time was different, even my therapist says so.  She says I did it for the first two years okay, why did I have issues the last two?  Hell if I know.  Why does my brain ever do anything?  Why did I get depressed or manic or whatever the hell I was that I can’t even remember?  I’m pretty sure I was depressed because I recall sleeping a lot and not being able to get up to go to class.  Most of it is a blur at this point.  I’m sure there was a manic episode or two that cause some of those A semesters.  Lots of energy to burn?  Try college!  But the F semesters were more likely depression.  When I got my transcript I could actually see the mood swings in my grades.  Semester one – A, B, A, A.  Semester Two – A, B, C, A.  Semester Three – C, D, F, F.  Semester Four – F, D, W, W.  Not exactly like that, but you get the idea.

She says me going back to school isn’t her problem.  I get it.  It’s not.  But since I got free tuition when I went the first time and she just paid for books I don’t see why she can’t at least cosign for me.  She then went on to say she might be willing to give me some money.  She confuses me so much.  You’ll give me money but won’t sign your name so that I’ll pay it myself?  No, she says, because if I can’t pay it her name will be on it.  Yes, I say, but whenever I don’t have money you help me out anyway so what difference does it make?  Apparently not the right thing to say.  What do I know?

So now I wonder what the fuck is the point of me continuing this semester if I just have to drop after it?  If I don’t have the money to keep on going, why waste all this time now?  I’m giving up time with my family, time sleeping, time relaxing, time working, time doing any number of things that would likely be more enjoyable than studying.  If I’m not going to get a degree out of said time, then why the hell should I be wasting it on school?  Yes, I like to learn, but at my own pace and about things I’m interested in not things that the deities of the school system think I should know.

But alas, the degree is important for my job.  My job was actually supposed to help pay half, but the declined me too.  They couldn’t even be bothered to tell me why.  I wasn’t special enough or something.  I really don’t know what to do at this point.  I need to go, but funds are limited and I’ve spent us in a total hole the last eight months.

I can’t tell my mom this of course.  She knows.  She tells me I spend too much.  Now that I’m mildly depressed I spend in budget, but coming off the high of a manic phase I just couldn’t curb it.  It wasn’t the panicked spending in the thousands of dollars a day I was doing in the manic phase, but it was $50 here, $20 there, $100 there and it all added up.  I just kept needing things.  Don’t know why.  Just had to have them.  Would die without them.  Skincare first.  Then makeup.  Then skincare agin.  Then purses and wallets.  All always one thing I would obsess over and spend on that one thing.  When I’m manic I do that, but also buy loads of other random crap just to spend money.  Coming off the mania, it was like obsessions with categories.  I must have every eyeshadow color this brand has ever made.  I must have every Coach Poppy bag.  My wallets must all mach and I need three.  Does this sound like some type of OCD?  Hoarding?  Something.  It’s not manic spending.  It feels different.  But it’s bad.  Maybe just a shopping addiction.  I always have to be addicted to something.  Better than the drugs, I suppose.  More expensive though.

I saw my pDoc today.  She upped my Lamictal to 300mg to help the mild depression.  We also switched from 30mg XR Adderall am and 15mg regular Adderall pm to 15mg regular Adderall 3/day.  That was my suggestion because I find that the XR lasts less time than the regular.  I take the XR around 6am and by noon I can’t even focus long enough to read a book or listen to a phone call with a client.  When I take my regular dose at 5pm I can focus until around 1am if I really needed to.  So about the same amount of time actually.  But with the current setup I can’t focus from 12pm-5pm.  That’s five hours of me being totally unproductive and generally surfing the internet because I can change the page every five seconds when I get distracted or bored.  Or napping.  Whatever.

I hate these long posts.  I’m sure no one reads them.  They look too long and formidable to get through.  Ultimately I post to vent to myself, but my vanity wants to think that someone somewhere gives a shit about my crazy.  My family can’t stand my crazy though, so why would anyone else voluntarily subject themselves to it?

My husband says he hates himself all the time.  I dislike me a lot right now and I hate my life.  I love my son though and my husband, so I plow on for them.  If not for them, I’d curl up in a ball and wallow.  If it gets bad enough I still might.  I wonder if other people hate themselves often.  I wonder if other people wake up and go “what happened to me” or “what happened to my life.”  I must think that 100 times a day.

I used to be so fun, such a party girl.  I had gotten out of a deep depression and was self medicating, so of course I was fun.  Everyone loved me.  Or hated me.  Not a lot of grey area.  Most people loved me though.  I lit up a room.  I was out ’till four in the morning and staggering into work the next day with stories about having sex in front of four people or dancing on table tops or whatever other crazy shit I had come up with.  The reality check is that I was in a very unhealthy place.  The ideal version I have in my head is that people actually liked me for once.  Plus I was having fun.  I liked me.  I liked my life like that.  I liked numbing the crazy and self medicating.  It’s much more fun than the real medication.

I look back…and part of me really misses that time in my life.  As absolutely fucked up as my life was then, I kinda liked it.  I had no money.  I was destroying my future.  I was destroying relationships with my family.  I was making reckless decisions left and right.  I was filled with wild abandon.  I was let loose and crazy and manic but not in the hallucinogenic type of way.  In the fun way where you destroy your life and think it’s awesome.

Then I realized what I was doing and I got really depressed.  Like, tried to kill myself depressed.  Tried to go to a doctor who turned me away.  Got worse.  Cried all day for months.  I tried to pick up the pieces of my life and I did.  I got a good job, I got married, I had a kid.  All things I had decided to do while manic and messed up, but I held through with my crazy promises to myself.

I stabilized after a while.  Had some episodes here and there.  Had one long episode of depression the whole time I was pregnant and about three months after.  I try to forget how bad I was then because I know I made my husband miserable.  The fact that he didn’t leave still surprises me.

Stabilized for a while again, and had another break about nine months ago.  Screwed more stuff up.  Got to a good doctor.  Got on the right meds.

And now, here I am left with this normal, ordinary life.  And it’s just not enough for crazy, extreme me.  My life is filled with the highest highs and the lowest lows and middle periods?  They get kinda boring after a while.  Right now I’m holding on to “right below the middle” for dear life though.  Not the biggest fan of the depressive side of the illness.

But this normal life, it’s making me itch.  Normal job.  Normal family.  Normal employee.  Normal wife.  Normal mother.  Who is this person?  I don’t like her.  She’s too vanilla.  I want that fun, crazy, party girl back.  But to get that back, I’d have to give up my son and husband.  My son I tried so hard to have.  My husband I’ve worked so hard to keep.  I wouldn’t give them up for anything – not all the parties and self medication in the world.  So why do I still feel like I miss that life?  If I wouldn’t change what I have, why do I ache for what I don’t?  I guess somehow I think I could have both.  I can be nomal!Kira until 8pm and party!Kira when the sun goes down.  History tells me normal and manic don’t go well together, but I sure wish I could have the good things that come with mania normally.  The energy.  The lively personality.  The lack of fear.

Now I’m just here, with my vanilla life, hating myself for wanting something different than my wonderful family.  Well, I don’t but I do.  I don’t know.  I know I hate thinking I might want something different.  I know I hate missing the party life.  Then my paranoia kicks in and I think, what if I can think these things into reality?  What if by the mere passing thought of wanting to be that girl again that somehow my son and husband will be taken from me by some greater act of nature.  A car wreck or a fire or something that takes what’s most important to me away because I wasn’t grateful enough for what I had.  Then I’d forever be missing what I have right this second and I’m here too stupid to enjoy it.  That’s my greatest fear of all – losing them because I didn’t love them well enough.

I’m such a shit wife and mother.

And now I’m officially wallowing.

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Shopping, Sex, and Sadness

I’m so exhausted lately.  My classes this semester go until 9:45 at night which means I don’t get home until 10:30.  I have a hard time getting to sleep plus I have a long night time routine so that means I’m asleep around midnight.  Then I wake up  at 5:30am and do it all over again.  Luckily I only have physical classes two nights a week.  My other classes are online.  Still, a 45+ hour work week plus 12 course hours of school is starting to get to me.  Top it off with a mild depression and I’m passing out at my desk.

Last semester even though I was tired I still wasn’t falling asleep at work, so I’m chalking this up to the combo of work, school, and depression.  I’d take my Adderall around 3:00 (when I start to pass out) but then it wouldn’t last me until 10:30 and I wouldn’t be able to pay attention in class or pay attention to drive home.

I still find myself feeling like a bad wife and mother.  I feel like I’m a burden on everyone all the time.  I’ve gotten a lot better at doing things on my own lately, but I still can’t help but feel that all I do is inconvenience my loved ones.  I feel like one day my son will say I didn’t love him or something.  Just the depression talking, but I feel like everyone dislikes me.

On the flip side, I’ve been crazy horny lately.  TMI, I know, but I felt it was worth mentioning because never have sex and depression gone hand in hand for me.  Is this what a mixed episode feels like?  I haven’t had those since I was a kid and used to rapid cycle so much that it was one constant mixed episode.  I forget what it feels like to have both sides of my personality in my brain at once.

I don’t really think it’s a mixed episode though because in the last month my spending has gone down a good bit.  After my last manic episode I couldn’t quite get the spending part under control.  It was like my brain was saying “you spent all that money and didn’t go bankrupt so you didn’t really finish the job.”  I self sabotage too much.  My brain wants me to be dead broke and I don’t know why.  I’ve worked for years savings my money and within a few months of overspending almost all of it is gone.  Granted, I could have blown it all in a day or two plus some.  Not like that hasn’t been done before…but still, I was really proud of saving all that money.  All just to blow it.  So now I’m on a cash and debit only budget and I keep all my emergency credit cards at home so I can’t take an “emergency” lunch break to the mall or Ebay and drop a few hundred dollars in thirty minutes.

Migraines are steady getting worse.  My doctor finally called in my Topamax so hopefully in a week or so they’ll stop.

Is anything in life good?  My son.  I’m happy I have him in my life.  Despite my husband’s inability to stay out of trouble online, I love him.  Like my therapist says…even though we make mistakes we are still lovable.  I don’t feel very lovable.  At her suggestion, I tell myself I am a few times a day.  Not working yet.  Some of my affirmations that I keep on my iPhone app do help, but the lovable one hasn’t sunk in just yet.  Maybe soon.


On fear of the dark and fear of night lights

My life has been full of terrible misfortunes, most of which never happened.

Quote from Montaigne.  Found in a chapter given to me by my therapist.  How appropriate.

At our first meeting, my therapist request that I work on a list of things that cause me anxiety.  It took a good two hours and three small sheets of paper, but I did it.  We haven’t done it up in tiers, but my guess is when we do, I’ll list darkness pretty close to the top.

Because it took our whole hour session for me to get through my list, I got very little homework my second session.  One big item I did get was relating to my fear of the dark.  She asked me what I did at bedtime, to which I replied that I sleep with the TV on.  She asked if I ever considered a noise machine.  I explained that I muted the TV right before I went to sleep and that I only keep it on for the light.  Apparently, this is not as normal as I thought it was.

I guess my thought process was that night lights were for kids and TVs were adult toys, so having a TV on was more adult and thus less embarrassing.  She says most adults if they keep TVs on at night do so for background noise, not for the light.  Well, boo.  I hate when I think I’m doing something at least somewhat normal and find out that I’m not.  She said far more adults use, wait for it….night lights.  So I was way off the mark.

So my homework was to get a night light and turn off the TV.  I thought this sounded really simple.  I ended up getting a kids nightlight even though it defeated my original logic because it was cute and seemed to emit the most light and figured I could step down to a smaller one as I got more comfortable.  It has less glow than a TV but a blue hue to it so it has a similar feel.  It’s called a Little Tyke I believe.  It doesn’t look too childish like a Pixar Princess nightlight or anything.

So last night, I watched TV for a while, felt myself getting sleepy, and turned the TV off for the first time since I’ve had a TV in my room.  It took everything in me not to have a panic attack and I have no clue why.  The room was well lit.  I could see things just as well as I could with the TV on, which isn’t as clear as with the lights on of course, but not as scary as with nothing.  Something about the change from my routine threw me off bad and my heart started racing like crazy and my palms were sweating and my breathing got shallow.

I went on like this for about fifteen minutes arguing with myself in my head about turning the TV back on.  I started doing my deep breathing because things were getting worse and if I didn’t calm my breathing down I would have had a full blown panic attack and 10:30pm is not a good time to have those, not that they’re great at any time.  It took a good thirty minutes for the panic to finally subside.  Thirty minutes.  Over a night light.  Then, once the panic died down, I couldn’t sleep because my body was so keyed up from being in “flight” mode.   I probably didn’t actually get to sleep until midnight last night.

Probably not the best thing to do on a Sunday.  But in my defense I thought a night light was going to be no big deal.

I have positive and negative things to say about my night light experience.

On the plus side, I freaked out but I got through it and didn’t turn the TV back on.  Which means I’m one baby step closer (I guess) to being over my fear of the dark.

On the down side, had you asked me before I did this what my anxiety might have risen to at it’s peak when I did this I might have guessed a 2 when in reality it hit about an 8.  So baby steps apparently are baby steps on a rope suspended across buildings over open flames, not baby steps on soft feathery pillows as I’d hoped.

I hope all exposure therapy steps are not quite so difficult.  It would be nice to have some easy wins in there.  I thought this would be an easy win, but alas no.

All in all, I do have something to be proud of though.


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.