The Stress Monster Is Melting My Brain – Today Sucks… Wonder Why?

I have Bipolar Disorder and ADHD. You will see them both in today’s post. This post will not be edited by anyone. I suspect that the door in my brain is going to try to say things a beta reader would catch. If you would like to see the bullet main points, if there are any, read on. The full story will follow that.  

Why should YOU read further? 

Reason: I hope from all the bits of my heart that you might see something of me in you and know that you really aren’t alone. You’re not. Please, LOOK at me. 

Now, here I am…. this is my version of transparency.  

Today started pretty slowly, but good. And then I left my room. Sigh, sometimes the spaghetti hits the wall early in the day. Normally, I would say that the old spaghetti trick isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Spaghetti good: encourages and stimulates my ability to see more ideas and options. Spaghetti not so good: other stuff out of my control. 

I wouldn’t normally share the specifics of a particular day with you because, well, this isn’t that sort of place for that. However, today, I think that when I talk about stress I’d like to share with you some of my own stresses. I’m going to limit it to this morning and stop right now (1:47 p.m. PST). 

Stress is a constant ANXIETY feeder in my brain all the time. Constantly. It never stops. I never feel “at peace.” What has been happening today demonstrates exactly what happens when it passes over an imaginary thresh-hold beyond which I flounder and may crash and bury my head someplace where the world stops for a moment. 

I clicked on the Word icon and waited for it to launch. I was planning on writing to you. Then Office said it was updating Office. Then it said I was dumb and that it wouldn’t play and was taking its ball and locking me out. This was the last straw. It was the “break the camel’s back” sort of straw. (What does that mean anyway?) 

I became aware that my breathing was very shallow and quick. My throat tightened and my forehead and eyes scrunched up in emotional pain. I began to cry… So, I texted my support team which includes my kids Jessica and Kyle whom I share a home with. We have a group text for things like who is going to making dinner, where we are, grocery list items, giving voice (expressing) to great things and crappy things in our days. Oh, and loads of funny pictures of our pets. 

This is the text I sent them: 

Ok, keeping it brief:
– Word keeps trying to update, fails, then refuses to open
– one the boys in the big boy tank is visibly sick [Fancy Guppy]
– twitch won’t run, so no escape in minecraft
– my anxiety is way past healthy
– only 2 chill pills left
– I am going to blog/write but I guess it will be on paper or Google docs
– I’m soooo frustrated
– I still want to get some new guppies to not kill. To put where? With Banana boy.
– insert much foul mouth swearing
– and… Son of [Some content removed. Sorry.] crispy cracker with toilet exploding hot sauce
– So I can’t play, I can’t write…
on the flip side:
– We did get back from a walk just as the weather freaked out again
– I’m not dead
-I have you guys
– my hand feels better, mostly
[during a wind storm a few days ago I dropped a heavy sharp corner of a bookcase shelf on the scar of the thumb I just had the joint replaced last December 17th. I have RA and OA.]  

I followed that up later with:

I’m struggling

What brought me to this state, besides the obvious? I’ll bet you may have experienced this yourself. (Wait. How can I “bet you may have”? Anyway, on with the.. Uh… show.)

Bailey and I escape the house to walk around the block walking as fast as we can to beat the wind and rain. And… home dry!! That was fun.

I take multiple mood stabilizers. I have Bipolar Disorder Type 1 and run manic most of the time. I experience mixed states and enjoyably also cycle rapidly. Fun! Additionally, (sounds like a speech) I also have the stimulating ADHD. Yippie! We’ve elected not to treat the ADHD with medication. Who needs a stimulant to stimulate an already over-stimulated brain? Not me, thank you very much. 

FYI: I’ve recently, after years of refusing to do it, switched over to having a pharmacy send my medications to me in bubble packs. One of the major reasons I wouldn’t do it is because brain meds can be changed fairly frequently when we are trying to find the right combination that works for me and keeps me from driving everyone around me to the point where they want to duct tape me to a chair in my room and shut the door. 

Anxiety. Remember that? Unless a person has Bipolar Disorder they simply cannot understand what having it is like. They just can’t. I’ll try to sprinkle in a few things to help explain what’s so important about this stuff.

That’s the setup. 

I take:

1. Mood stabilizer in the morning (A)

2.The same mood stabilizer in the evening only double the dose (A)

3. I take another mood stabilizer in the morning (B)

4. I take the same mood stabilizer in the evening (B)

5. I take a “chill pill” (one in the “benzine” family) ( C) 

6. I take one before bed (D)

Fine. I do that. Only at the moment, I’m completely out of

1. A in the evening

2. B morning and evening

3. C (OMG)

4. D

These are ALL MOOD STABILIZERS! I don’t have any of them. 

Remember my mentioning my thumb. The next day I fell on that thumb and while it saved my face from planting itself in the garden at the Vet’s office. ALL my weight landed on that hand. I weigh over 50 lbs. I’m sure 50 lbs would have hurt a lot. I weigh over 100 lbs above that. My thumb/hand has been hurting, but only when I use it, touch it, or put pressure on it – think ice pack or heating pad. 

I called the bubble pack pharmacy again (did it yesterday as well) and practically begged the poor lady to tell me that my missing FOUR brain meds would be here yesterday. She couldn’t. 28 minutes later I came away with a USPS tracking number and the medications that should be in it. ALL of the medications [A, B, C, D] are in that box. 

Of course, I jumped on Jessica’s computer (now not trusting my own) and looked it up. [Insert creative bad words developed while growing up on a ranch. Use your imagination.] They appear to all be in the same package. The package took 24 hours to leave OH. (Uh…) 

See – things progress. I don’t pop on Facebook to visit friends. Rarely. It is now 4:08. While I sent myself that text message from my phone (SMS) to FB messenger, copied it, and pasted it here I saw an ad that indicated it might lower our energy costs. Stupidly, I clicked it. Ten minutes this sales guy calls me. Seriously. I had just been trying to find out if they were legit (I couldn’t) when this name pops up on my phone, “Blah Blah Solar Company.” Oh hell no. No, no, no, no. Nuh-uh. Having been in businesses I and my family have owned I can tell you that this ad clearly misrepresented themselves and what they were offering.  

I am known in my family as the one to go to if you need someone to kick-back. Meaning since I think I know more than they do I will explain to them what exactly I think about whatever-it-is and how it’s going to be. I shot of pic of the ad from the monitor and was getting ready to send it to my city utility company to see what they knew (and probably to show them something possibly fraudulent – no, I have no idea what I’m talking about. 

Remember how things are going today and that those precious lost medications for anxiety, that’s part of mood stabilization, are completely out of my system. Blotto. 

Blotto. I don’t know what that means, but I like to say it. [Use Google Mom!] Google says I was spelling it wrong, but it essentially means “extremely drunk. ‘we got blotto.’”)

When I use the word “blotto,” which I do, I mean something like “the shit hit the fan.” Yes, I think that works. Or maybe more gently, “Crap.” But sometimes I just say “blotto” just because I like the way it feels when I speak it. Weird. Right. 

Can you see anything? Yes, of course, you can. Bipolar mania. ADHD. 

How is my day? Blotto. But, it’s getting better. 

4:35 p.m. Kyle get’s home from work. He asks me how I’m doing. I say, “Fine.” (More abbreviated chit-chat. I hate it when I talk like that.) “I’m not making dinner. Can you two deal with it?” He says they will. I make licorice tea (decaf). Set a five minute because I always forget it. Put on headphones. Stop writing this for a few minutes while I get ready for music. The playlist I made to help me hold on has been “misplaced,” so I’m making a new one. Bluetooth. Headphones. Volume is very high. Kyle comes back in and gets my attention. He didn’t know I’d plugged my head in. My tea, it was done. Oh yeah. Yeah! Headphones die. Kyle sets them to charge. He loves me. “Mind if I play music, uh, loud?” Sure. :0)  

YouTube playing. Right now. Breath… out. Imagine with me just that. Breath… out as the music draws me in. Eyes close. Head embraces the sounds. Nods. Taylor Swift. Gretch Wilson. What??? 

5:00 p.m. “Redneck Woman.” I sigh and begin to relax. “Fight Song.” (“…. cause I still gotta lot of fight in me.”) 

Hours remain before bedtime and I’ve lost focus. I’ve written all this down (thankfully skipping all the interruptions like talking for 28 minutes to the new pharmacy and all that stuff) for just two reasons. 

Reason 1: In some crazy way I hope you focused a little on my day and not your own. Maybe this you were entertained? ;0)

Reason 2: I hope from all the bits of my heart that you might see something of me in you and know that you really aren’t alone. You’re not. Please, LOOK at me. 

5:15 p.m. Pink “Just Like Fire.” The music helps. First deep breath. Thank goodness. 

…… And now the med provider has called to try to rescue me!!! I’m talking to you while I listen to him type out “emergency” orders for my local pharmacy. So funny.  ADDENDUM: The pharmacy received the orders. Insurance denied. The pharmacy says  I can pay cash. No, I can’t. Called the med provider and left another message as he asked me to do if there was a problem. There is indeed a problem. Further TRANSPARENCY: Thankfully my kids kept bugging me to try cannabis (legal here) just like my MD has been trying to get me to do for over ten years. 

Alright. I think that covers the majority of my day. I hope I haven’t bored you or convinced you to head for the hills. This, this post, is me being “transparent.” I’ve wondered what a day in the life of a “stable and normal” person is like. I see them posting about how I can conquer my anxiety and depression and they know because they’ve done it too. I’m sure some have and are doing great. The problem is that I’m reading what they say from a bunch of clean whiteness with sharp letters that make up clean looking lines containing words. What? It looks, with the eyes, clean. Life isn’t clean. It is so messy. I’m messy. I’m guessing you can see that. I just always want to know something of their story. What were they like before they were able to write this logically layed article with bullet points? 

Robin, STOP. FULL and or HARD STOP. 

Okay, geeze. 

Always honest. Always trying to be better. Always here, even when I’m stuck inside my head. Please reach out or feel free to leave comments. How are you as we head into more stressful days. I don’t know about you, but this Thanksgiving especially is going to be more stressful than the normal stressful. We don’t want to give or get the covid. (That’s what we call it now. Just, “the covid.”) It gets complicated. 

I’ll be back. 

A question I was asked today: 

Do you have any desire to harm yourself?   [something like that]

No. No, I do not. 

(This is what transparency looks like from me.) 

Bipolar and ADHD Brains Working from Home

I love this video! The ideas on how to work from home can give us direction on how to create a healthy environment for ourselves during this very interesting time.

The video is different from many other resources on coping with being home because it is specifically targeted towards the ADHD brain. And… so what! It’s excellent and Jessica’s ideas are on target for brains of any flavor.

We did a bit of finger-pointing this morning while watching it. I really tried hard not to point with multiple fingers at the same person. (Okay, I didn’t try even a little bit!)
My ADHD brain seems very similar to brains right now.

What do you think? Do you know any brains that seem to be sharing any of these traits? Ha! I bet you do!

Bipolar – Eternally Sleepless

I’m not sure how to say this without making it all messy, so I’ll try to put it as simply as possible. I’m complicated. Life is complicated and it seems to keep getting more complicated all the time.

Last week I found out I have Sleep Apnea. I never sleep. I wake up 10-20 times an hour. I always thought I had a weak bladder. Nope. Not breathing. Daytime my oxygen is at 98. During sleep it’s about 84. This seems to be of some concern. Yeah. So is my ADHD keeping me from paying attention? Or is it my mania? Or my constant state of exhaustion? Oiy!

Tomorrow I’m having a joint in my thumb replaced.

This fish says it exactly what I think about not sleeping and getting a new thumb. He’s just plain masterfully bonkers! I want one, but they’re salt water fish. I don’t have salt water tanks. It looks amazing, and totally creepy. I need more sleep. I started dreaming our catfish ate one of our guppy fry and snapped it in half like Jaws would do. Holy Cow!

“I hate my wife.” (My kids say I’m not allowed to say “I hate my life,” anymore. Oh, and I have neither husband nor wife.)  

Sleep Apnea and Bipolar = How the hell would I know?

New thumb and writing = Figuring out how to use Dragon (OMG)

Things to do when fear of having a third joint replacement is eating away at one’s self-confidence: Drive towards Mt. Rainier and stop for pizza in Elbe, WA.

Hold on to your hats. It’s going to be exciting!

Sometimes I don’t like to be alone… but this isn’t what I had in mind.

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/ADHD-Focus or Not to Focus

Bipolar/ADHD – To Focus or Not to Focus, That’s the Damn Question!

I apologize if you don’t like the word “damn.” My mom still corrects me when I use it. You know it’s taken me a really long time to learn how to say it convincingly. I mean, forever when I’d get mad and say it people would actually say to my face things like, “Yeah, no. Don’t say that. You just can’t say that.” I’d ask why not. “You just can’t.” Why not? “Robin. You sound ridiculous.” How, can anyone sound ridiculous swearing!!?? It is swearing!! I thought all swearing sounded stupid. Apparently not.

Apparently, I still sound silly when I swear. My advantage, if I have one, is that when I’m really backed against the wall (read – super, super, very, very angry in a The Hulk sort of way) I may not have the best use or depth and breadth of swear words, but I make up for it in shear fury. Sometime I even scare myself with the power of that, what is it called, that RAGE. I hate rage. Yippie…. If I seem less than optimistic it may be because she referred to me as “atypical atypical.” I don’t know about you… but I dunno what the damn that means.

I’ve been in that place where a ton of stuff has been building and building and I haven’t realized that I haven’t released the pressure off of ANY of the things that need to chill out. I didn’t recognize how stressed I was or how long it had been since I’d had a good long laugh. I hadn’t been doing any of the right healthy things that would have kept me bouncing my life ball along the way I want it to go. Instead, well, yep, the doo-doo hit that fan thing and I went kaboom!

Sadly, I kaboom-ed the day after I started the new medication. My normal reaction would be to stop taking the medication immediately and talk to the provider. I can be very sensitive to some medications and have reacted violently to at least one of them. This time I was certain that I sensed I was feeling my old companion, rage, and not a medication complication. I could have called her up and told her it didn’t work. In fact, not only could I tell her did it not work, I could tell her I became hysterical and physically violent. I threw things and yelled and screamed. I slammed cupboards and the garage door and kicked them some more to make sure they knew they were in for it. I yelled and slammed, and slammed and yelled again, then again. I even stomped on the recycling and got it all ready to be taken out. I was feeling better so I screamed some more.

It didn’t take me long. It never does. All that adrenaline seems to surge around and drive all the clogged moods and emotions directly before it shoving them straight out my mouth and into the air where everyone can hear everything is say and scream. Hence, yeah, all the yelling. This is my most unscientific assessment. What do you think? I kind of like it. There are a few drawbacks to this.

First, while I’m acting all bonkers I sound like a fighter jet screaming in a rage stuck in the face of my kid who has been standing four feet away from me the whole time. I suck. She still loves me. She knows I’d do it for her. We’re a team. An unbreakable team. And, none of that matters. I ask her forgiveness. I apologize. I don’t expect her to help me fix my mess or even ask her to. It isn’t her job. Should I have realized I was brutalizing her emotionally by just raging against nothing? Of course. But, the unfortunate thing about losing one’s shit is that one has lost one’s shit and there isn’t a rotten thing one can do about it at that particular time. I know. It pretty much sucks.

Second, I made a mess and I have to clean up my own mess when I rage-out. This time things were very different than other times. I got to the point(s) fast. Meaning, I talked very fast and I stopped carrying on faster than was usual.

Okay, I say “as usual” but that really isn’t fair. It isn’t a “usual” thing anymore. It used to be my normal state everyday. I might not have thrown things all the time, but that rage was dwelling just behind my eyes, barely under control, for far too many years of my life. Now it is a moment that happens a couple times a year. That’s it. I’m proud of the progress I’ve made. If you’ve struggled with something like this too and you’ve gained ground on it, if you’ve got your foot on it’s neck, even if you’ve just finally figured out where the neck is, then I applaud you! Keep your foot right there and press harder! You can keep doing this. Never, ever stop fighting.

It’s been over a week since I started this new medication. Now that my moods/emotions have finished imploding and exploding simultaneously I can begin to assess how I think the medication is working for me. I ask my two kids who live with me what they think and remind them to take my explosions out of the equation. We’ve all agreed that we shouldn’t make that part of our assessment. We have decided, that for now, all things considered, that I’m not manic and I’m definitely focusing better. Yep. Better focus, but not all the time and we wouldn’t say it’s great. And my ability to chose the right or appropriate thing to be focused about is lacking wisdom.

For example: Do hours of research for business proposal and writing projects by doing deep dives down Google rabbit holes. Nut house! (I’m trying to find someone to make a prototype for me of a product I’ve developed. Since I have so much extra time and not a thing to think about I’m researching crowd funding like Kick-starter

I’ve tried to do this event called The National Novel Writing Month for several years, but every year I… I give up. I convince myself that although I have been working on a viable and interesting story for months or even is some cases for years, I don’t have what it takes to write those 50,000 words in one month. Loads of other people do. But I can’t. So I never try.

This year my daughter and I were both ready to do it and then… um… I got sick. Honestly! I got a really bad head cold. And my arthritis is killing both my thumbs. And my sciatic hurts when I sit. And I sneezed. And I forgot that a mystery has to plant clues. I have to plan more!!!

Oh my gosh!!

Isn’t Scrivener just terrific? It shows you just how much research you should have done before you started writing. Apparently I’m much more of an Outliner than a Pantser. (I’ll explain in another post.)

Any port in a storm. Any excuse in an open schedule when I can waste as much time as possible. And my head cold is gone. And I’m still researching. And it is now November 7th and I have 87 words written towards a 50,000 word count goal. I do, however, have a lot of research including my murder victims, the killer, heroine, places the bodies are found (it happens during the Seattle World’s Fair – “Alaska-Yukon-Pacific-Exposition 1909“), the exact dates they were found, etc. I’m very excited about it. I’ve finally come to realize that once I have my victims all named and given them occupations/affiliations, chosen the day their body is found based upon the group they are affiliated with (groups at the fair have special days to celebrate their organizations), chosen where their body will be discovered and decide how many victims there will be the story will flow very easily. I really have a lot of it worked out in my head already. It’s the logistics that I’d decided I couldn’t do so I couldn’t write it. And then I decided that I wouldn’t be able to write the draft (note that I’m writing a DRAFT) if I don’t actually start writing on the first day of the month.

That was just a silly thought. Oh bother. Way to not believe in yourself bird! What would the kids say???

That’s easy. I’ve already been told off. LOL I talked about it with the daughter that is doing this with me and she helped me with some of the details I was struggling with. She actually got excited about it. The way the actually history of Seattle in 1909 and the real fair, etc fit with my mystery are all very exciting! Her being interested in helping me and talking about it with me really gave me confidence that I could carry on and do this thing.

I feel better.

One more thing before I let you go. In the middle of the day I was ultra productive. I took a pic of one of our cats. Savvy, actually. She’s our youngest. She’s our rescue. She thinks my Kelpie (dog) Bailey is her mother… still! Bailey is still not interested, but still is willing to play with her when she decides to. It’s amazing to see her put her nose under Savvy’s belly and flip her up into the air. Savvy doesn’t seem to mind. At that point, the game is ON!

While my daughter was at school I got a really cute picture of Savvy. I wisely decided to use my time to use some filters (I never do this sort of thing. I think I’ve used filters twice now.) and change the pic up and send them to her so she could feel encouraged. She’s been having some anxiety at school and I wanted to get her mind to snap off that feeling and on to something I know she’ll give 100% of her attention to for a few minutes. (She goes to a school where this isn’t a problem. She can take a break and the teacher doesn’t care.) Well, 30, 35, 40… I don’t know. Some-odd-minutes later I finally finished my very productive time wasting maneuvers and tried to return to doing whatever it was that I was not successful doing before I distracted myself from earlier.

Is it working? Am I focusing better? You tell me. What do you think?

This is what I was doing…. I asked myself, “How many filters could I use to make the same cat, in the same pose, look cool?” You be the judge.