Because really, that’s where this starts. I couldn’t start blogging at two. So why now? Why blogging? I’m sure lots of life events could contribute, but the last three weeks are what really got me here. So that’s today’s story (with a little backstory so it makes sense).
After I had my son, I very quickly got back on meds. I was losing my mind and I think everyone around me HATED me by the time nine months rolled around. Of course, my hormones made everything different and we got to play “find a new cocktail” for a while. At some point I kinda stabilized on Risperdal, Depakote, Adderal, and Xanex. (For the record, I almost always spell meds wrong. It’s not high on my priority list of things to do, but you get the idea). A few months (?) ago, the Risperdal and Depakote combo was starting to knock me on my butt. I think not so much them alone, but waking up at 5:30am, getting me reading, getting my son ready, getting him to school, going to work, picking him up, playtime, dinnertime, bedtime, try to relax (ie: pass out). Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Fourty hour work week + two year old = burnout. With or without meds I’m assuming. So I talked to my Dr. and we played around with dosage and removing one thing or the other, but at the end they had to go. My life was exhausting me and the meds were sedating me so much I was late for work nearly every day, falling asleep on my lunch break, almost passing out on the drive home.
Here’s where I got dumb. The next time I was set to see my doctor was about a month or so out. I was exhausted, concerned about getting in trouble at work, feeling guilty about being too tired to play with my son, and essentially totally neglecting my husband. My brilliant plan? Stop taking the stupid meds of course! How many times have I had this exact same brilliant plan for some varying degree of the exact same issue? I lost count years ago. How many times has it worked out? A big old whopping zero. But you know what they say – insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. So crazy me stopped taking the Risperdal and Depakote.
I’m not great at tracking my moods anymore because all the charts and stuff were labor intensive and I’m really busy. I am usually pretty aware of how I’m feeling though. But I have no memory whatsoever to recount the moods that lead to the mini break. I do, however, keep a super anal budget and when so many categories were red that I literally had to start a whole new file because there was no way I could fix (or stand to look at) the page of red numbers that said “TAKE SOME MEDS DUMMY!” But, you know, I wasn’t seeing stuff and even though overspending in hypomanic episodes/manic episodes almost always causes me panic attacks, I do like being able to make quick decisions. I also like all the suddenly awesome ideas I have 5000 times a day. Sooo…I kept being dumb and said I’d let it slide until I got to the doctor.
Luckily, got to the doctor shortly after this and although finances were a mess, crisis seemed averted. Started on low dose of Lithium. A few days in, back to normal. About a day after this, Worst Side Effects Ever kicked in. I’m kinda squeamish about bodily functions so no details, but I was miserable. Tried to wait it out and ended up putting an emergency call in. Dr. said to stop taking it and get back in ASAP. Problem was I couldn’t get time off work for another month to go.
Shortly after the side effects stopped, so did the crazy. But the fun kind of hypomania at first, so wait it out. And then more shopping. Crap. (Positive note looking back? I have some really nice makeup and skincare additions. Yay?) And then the fuse of exactly one millisecond. As in husband says “hello” and for some reason this makes him the Biggest Asshole Ever and why can’t he do anything right and blah blah blah. Was it Mean Girls that coined “word vomit” as a term? Like that. Only yelling. Over really trivial nonsense. Intense anger over literally nothing. My husband has his own special flavor of crazy that we haven’t really pinned down, but he really can’t deal with this part. He lives irritable, so when I get pissed because he walked in the door wrong or whatever…well, things get nasty. He was sick of my bitching, and really that should have been reason enough to move up my appointment, but two (??) weekends ago was my Mini Breakdown (thank goodness it was mini).
Normally, my husband works Saturday and is off Sunday. Sunday I sleep in which helps me recharge. He helps with our son when my notoriously low energy runs out. For about three weeks, he’s worked both days. So I do not get a sleep recharge and I do not get toddler break. Don’t get me wrong, I love my son. More than I can say and do justice to in this post. However, I need breaks from simple tasks a lot of times and two year olds are not simple tasks. My son, for whatever reason, never wants to nap for me. Anyone else? Right to sleep. Me? Hour long process minimum. So Sunday, I’m sleepy (my Xanex and Melatonin seem to kill the high energy that used to come with hypomania – kinda sad – I can feel it and I know if I didn’t take them I wouldn’t sleep for days but somehow taking them to sleep also cancels out any possible extra energy during the day even though the rest of the symptoms are there) and beyond irritable. I think I got mad at no less than three inanimate objects before I even got to my son’s room to get him up. The morning sucked, but I made it through as best I could. Then…nap. I’m so glad no one was there to watch this three hour ordeal. It started with me putting him down and usual nap routine – kisses and cuddles and I love you’s. Turned out the light, closed the door, went in the front room. Three minutes later, screaming toddler. I know you’re not supposed to lay in the bed with your kid because then they expect it and wtfever, but I figured this was my best bet for nap and my blood was boiling and I don’t think they take that into consideration when they give that advice. What does my son do? Sits up, points to his bed, and tells me “Mommy nap!” Normally this would be adorable. At that point, not so much. Forty five minutes of this nap attempt was spent with me in the bed trying to talk soothingly to get him to sleep. I lasted forty five minutes. I think I deserve major credit on that at least. After that…I did not do so well. I got out of the bed, stood up, and proceeded to lecture about naps and such and rapid fire speed. Amazingly, he did not respond well. Full blown tantrum. So basically, I had a tantrum too. I rapid fire talked some more and then yelled and screamed and honesty I couldn’t even tell you what the heck I said. I think I went on like this for some time. How much could I have to say about the importance of naps? Apparently a good bit. The more I went off, the more he went off. Bottom line: he’s two and can’t control his emotions. I’m crazy and off meds and can’t control mine. At some point this either clicked or I literally just broke and I walked out the room, closed and held his door closed and sat outside his room crying. Truly, I did not keep him in his room to be mean. I just luckily had a moment of “I can’t do this” or something and knew that at that moment, even if he was pissed about it, I needed to give my brain a few minutes to connect “he’s two dummy, not thirty.” So for fifteen minutes or so I sat there crying feeling like an utter failure as a person and a mother. And this one moment cemented everything I ever thought when I told myself I’d never have kids. One, my crazy ass wouldn’t be able to deal. Two, that my kids would inherit my crazy. And at that moment, a two year old willing to have a three hour tantrum was reading to me like early warning signs, though now with a clearer mind, his over reaction was really because of how I acted, not because of an issue with him. When I stopped crying, I picked him up, kissed him, bit my tongue as hard as I could, brought him in my bed, held him tight, and eventually we both passed out.
In the days that passed I did a lot of research on parenting and such because clearly, I am not as all knowing as I like to think. The big takeaway? The parent can’t show emotion. Like “if you do x, then we will put x away for the day” but in a normal tone. Not in the “stopbeingapain!” tone. And when you do take x away, and they tantrum, do not react. This caused another huge crisis. The big secret to parenting is controlling emotion? Well count me as screwed. Tried to find support groups, all consist of normal moms who sometimes (of course) get frustrated…but not really the same playing field.
So, here I am. I have to regulate me better. I knew that when I decided to have a kid. I knew it would be a very difficult road on many levels. Really, up to age two was pretty easy for me and my meds were working and all. Terrible twos and med changes? It threw me for a major loop. There were some other things going on (another post perhaps) that added to it all, but by the time I got to the doctor it was “give me anything you got.” Add in the time to fill the script and meds to kick in and it looks like I was a day or two away from full blown mania because I started kinda seeing things (the shadowy things where you can’t quite say it’s totally delusional and out of reality…but clearly there are also not black blobs of whatever crawling on walls either). Kinda sad about that because last full on mania was years (4? 5? 6?) ago. I was kinda hoping I’d gotten a downgrade in crazy level at least. I think if you don’t have the delusions you get to be Bipolar II. Do you ever get to downgrade? I’m early onset and back then I was told that lots of early onset patients had no symptoms in adulthood (really???) so that stuck with me. Clearly I know I’ll always be Bipolar, but was kinda hoping to climb down the severity ladder or something. Ugh.
Okay, this post took way longer than I expected and I didn’t even get to say everything I wanted. 1900 word count it says. That’s a school paper right there. If anyone reads this, I’ll be impressed. Wanted to talk about how I went from that to “hey let’s blog!” but I guess I can do that tomorrow.
For my own benefit mostly: started on Topamax a few days ago. Did not feel pressing need to shop. Literally had no idea what to do with this thought. Had been hypomanic longer than I thought apparently. Today, lots of probably minor stuff went wrong but I reacted as if the world was ending and cried. Don’t feel depressed, so I don’t think I’m cycling. Just think that’s my “volume turned up” as one of my doctors once put it. Overall, feeling positive about the Topamax, despite the random “odd vision/sensation” issue I was warned about that really mostly felt like “acid trip.” I guess you can’t put that on the website though. Still not 100% at baseline though. So mood – light day hypomanic?