Bipolar – There’s Manic, Then, Then There’s Really Manic!

I started seeing a new counselor this last Friday. So far so good. Straight away, I told her I felt I was a handful because I am. Then I explained what my med provider had as my diagnoses and what my counselor had. The previous counselor only had Bipolar 1 listed. That’s it. The med provider had much more. The most significant of which, and what I want to mention today, are Bipolar 1 with a PhD in mania, mixed states, and rapid cycling, and ADHD. We’ll leave the rest out for now.

We started forming a treatment plan, and one of the things I wanted to do was figure out how to stop.

I just want to stop sometimes.

Last week I told people on my mental health team that I feel like my brain is on fire. I couldn’t explain it. It just feels like that. I’m on, I’m manic, I’m thinking, my brain is doing ALL THE TIME. It never ever stops.

My counselor reminded me that the typical pattern for Bipolar is most of the time, the person struggles with depression and the mania only comes around ever so often. It took me 37 minutes to lay out what I thought were the important things she needed to know to get started that she might ask questions about or whatever. I’m sure I missed a ton. But still, 37 minutes. That’s some fast talking, even for me.

In the past, I used to ask my doctors if it was possible to have my adrenilen stuck on all the time. They always said that it wasn’t. I think they were closer to being wrong than right. I am manic 96% of the time. I’m manic right now.

I also have some chronic pain in my sciatic nerve. When it’s hurting, which is every day, and my brain is toying with me, things go to pot pretty fast. Then I get mad. I might become enraged. Then depression pops in for a jig and the pain is magnified, and I can’t stand it. I kick and cry and rock back and forth. I ice and heat and wish I could take something for the pain. I do all my PT, am active and go for walks. Nothing works. It’s a nightmare.

And yet, I’m allowing another potential nightmare to happen on the 17th. I’ve already had my right knee replaced twice (long story). Now, my left thumb joint has to be replaced. JOY!!! Not. I’m scared. Joint replacement isn’t my favorite sport. Nope. Not. Scared. Maybe terrified..

Now, add to that acute mania, and what do you think my brain and my amped-up emotions are doing?

The reason I’m mentioning that I’m nearly all manic is that each one of us is totally unique. The ubiquitous norm is a cycle of depression with less mania. I don’t hold to that norm. I don’t know, maybe you don’t either. Maybe you only become manic once a year or once every two years. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that whether you experience your moods frequently or more slowly, you still need to be prepared for them. Be ready for the good and the bad.

Be ready for the depressed days, the good normal days, and… the manic days. There is so much to learn from each of them.

I get this dog.

Bipolar – Hypomania – What Can I Do?

A response to a question from a reader on my Facebook page: Bipolar 2.0.

­­I was recently asked a question over on my Facebook page (Bipolar 2.0) and thought I would share the answer here for anyone else who wonders the same thing. (This blog automatically posts on that page as well.)

Q: How do you cope with hypomania? I usually work out hard, take a nap, or watch TV. Usually I take a Klonopin any other medicine you have used to cope. Thanks

A: I can’t say anything as to medications, but I use Klonopin (also known as Clonazepam) as my “rescue” (chill pill) pill when I can’t cope anymore. This is in addition to my prescribed daily mood stabilizers. I would suggest that if you’re really struggling to maintain control that you visit your doctor again and make sure they really listen to your concerns. It’s important that things not get out of control, right?

I do think that your coping techniques are really good. You seem to know yourself well and have figured out what can help mitigate some of your symptoms. Do those activities work for you?

Right now, Klonopin is the only thing that makes me STOP. No amount of exercise, sleeping, writing, TV, gardening, walking the dog, playing with the dog, blah, blah…. Sometimes nothing works. My meds have been tweaked and tweaked for so many years… it’s painful just to think about it.

So, I’m suggesting you talk to your doctor and see what she thinks. Then, you dig in and dive down the rabbit hole and find more fantastically creative ways you can find to help yourself… in case they don’t have any answers you like, find alternatives that you can try that aren’t medications, but that might have good outcomes for you.

One day I started on YouTube looking for something on mediation and I found a whole world of different meditation, sounds, music, voices, stories, mindfulness, relaxation, and much more. I made an obsessive number of playlists. Ok, I lost my mind and made way too many, but I have narrowed it down to some playlists that I play every night on my iPad (I pay for YouTube Premium so there aren’t any ads).

And yes, I am manic. And, yes, I also have ADHD. So, I’ll stop… in a second.  

If you can keep yourself busy, not just busy, but productive. If you can set some goals and meet them. If you can use that energy to propel yourself to someplace you want to be or become someone you want to become, then use that energy to do that. Don’t let it burn you out or rob you of your life. Take hold of it. It’s hard and complicated and ridiculous that I’d say it can become a good thing I suppose, but it can be. I think it must be. At least… for me it does. My search goes on…

Therapy choice #1.

Bipolar Disorder – A Manic Pause in Motion

I’ve often thought about how to explain more about how I think my brain works so that you might understand where I’m coming from… but heck, I’ve not nothing. Well, nothing simple or short anyway.

Most of the time, I hesitate for days and even weeks to post my thoughts to you for one main reason: I don’t think they’re perfect. I can’t believe I just wrote that. Perfectionism is NOT something I’ve ever been accused of. At least, not loudly enough for me to remember hearing.

Baby steps.

I’m having surgery on the 17th, and it might just slow my already lagging posting schedule down. My goal and my intentions aren’t to allow that to happen. This begins right now.

I’d like to share with you something that I have always found fantastically funny. As a matter of fact, I have gone through all 10 seasons on Amazon Prime and have now started watching them on YouTube so I can share them with people like you, people I want to help find lighter things, funny things, silly things to laugh about. Things that frankly don’t matter beyond what goes on once it goes into your head.

I do hope you’ll take a half an hour and give the series a try. There are far too many episodes for me to sit and watch them all and pick a favorite one to recommend. Most of them are ridiculous. Just last night, my 27-year-old daughter and 25-year-old son watched a random episode with me and we all laughed. They said that I didn’t need to have tricked them into watching it. All I needed to do was to tell them what it was. They would have stayed in the room and watched it anyway. Now that’s a gold star!

Give it a go and let me know what you think. If you love it and search for other episodes please don’t pick the ones with the show playing in the little box in the corner. If you have Amazon Prime, so much the better. You’ll need a subscription to Britbox at Amazon Prime, but I love many of the British shows available through Britbox. If not… hey, here it is, for free. One last thing, remember, this is a British television show from the 1970’s – a lot of things are different. Give it some room and go with the flow. I think it is hilarious! I hope you enjoy it too!

On with the episode. Season 8, Episode 3

Bipolar? STILL Doesn’t Mean I’m a Failure

I took a webinar way back at the beginning of the year that helped me learn how to understand what ADHD is and how to live with it. I was told that I’m “atypical,” I’m not broken. I’m different. I’m not stupid. I can be brilliant, just like anyone else. Bipolar is just like that.

I was given the daunting task of listing 100 successes that I’ve had any time in my entire life. 100! I thought that was nuts! I put it off until the last minute, of course, but I did it. If I’m being honest I didn’t do quite all of them. I’m just too stubborn.

Here’s what I learned:

  • I have Bipolar and ADHD
  • I have had many successes
  • I tend to not see most of my accomplishments as successes
  • I tend to see difficulties as HORRIBLE
  • Not quites as COMPLETE FAILURES
  • I tend not to believe in myself

I’m not going to say that “I don’t believe in myself,” because I’ve been making a conscious choice to stop doing that. Talk about rough and rocky. Who chooses not to be rough on themselves and then stops doing it? I’ll tell you who. YOU AND I. How? Read a little further.

The name of this blog is REDUX. REDUX essentially means to do something again. Do-overs. Second chances. That’s what it means to me. How many times can we do things over? How many second chances do we have? Absolutely as many as we need. Our chances to improve, to be better, to rise, to put our shoulders back, and be proud to be different are unending.

I’m no expert, understand this. In my own life, I have had to accept that I can succeed and that I will fail and that both are okay. The most challenging thing I’m learning is that I don’t really have to forgive myself for having an emotion/mood disorder – for having an illness. It isn’t a moral issue. It’s a brain chemistry issue. Maybe. Probably. Anyway, it is not a moral issue. Unless I do something that goes beyond the emotion/mood and into a deliberate choice I don’t need to forgive myself.

What if I yell at people I love, and I hurt them? Did I mean to hurt them? Umm….. at the moment? Maybe…. When you’re falling out of an airplane, and you’re not sure how far the ground is, pull the chute. Darling, pull the chute. Apologize, and forgive yourself.

But wait, didn’t I just say I didn’t need to forgive myself? Yep. And so goes being human.

Pull the chute. As long as you doubt and question yourself, you won’t move forward. You won’t be able to feel like you’re succeeding. Listen to your heart. You aren’t saying hurtful things because you’re evil. Are you? You aren’t, are you?

I grew up on a ranch of sorts, and we had big animals with big ah… poops. Sorry, manure. I just – it slipped out. Anyway, after cleaning stalls and walking around in the horse runs it was a good idea to kick something hard to get the stuff off your boots and do some firm stomping. Kicking and stomping.

That’s what I’m suggesting. Kick the crap off so you can have another go at it. Same song, second verse. Don’t stop. Do it again. You’re not evil? Good, get up. Get going. Move. Get on with it.

Are you in the ground? No? Then get UP! You’re not a failure.

Bipolar? That Doesn’t Mean I’m a Failure

On occasion, when I lose my mind and I think I might find support amongst my associates, family members, etc. regarding one of my passion projects (like the book I’m working on). Always – yes, always – they look at me like I’ve completely finished losing my mind.

The really crazy thing is I already have a book of mine in print and I’ve published over a dozen by other authors.

I don’t know what to tell them. Oh wait, I do. Ha! This is very dumbed down, but let me share with you kind of what I say.

I usually explain to the uninformed that, “Everyday that I’m alive, I’m a success story.”

I was explaining how this whole conversation usually goes down to my daughter the other day and this is how it came out instead:

“Everyday I’m above ground, I’m a success…”

Oops—

Still, that’s true too. Maybe even the most true. What do you think?

As a side note: It turns out that I’m not so crazy. I like to check my “pithy” sayings before I post them and I did just that before posting this pity saying. Without trying, this is what I found: “Any day above ground is a good day. Before you complain about anything, be thankful for your life and the things that are still going well.” Germany Kent / “Every day above ground is a good day.” Bernstein (Scarface)