Bipolar – A Wee Comment On Oxycodone and Other Such Things

Over the last several years doctors have willingly given, even insisted that I let them prescribe Oxycodone for chronic pain. (20mg 3x daily)

It is a completely and commonly known fact that this narcotic is ineffective against chronic pain.

I’m home from my joint replacement surgery. I dislike pain. I have a post-prescription for 5mg of Oxycodone. Surgery was at 12:15 this afternoon. I have just taken two.

I’m a question asker. I ask questions all day and all night. I drive even my lizard, fish, cats and Bailey bonkers with them. Yes, and my family too. So what’s my big question?

QUESTION: If you have fire burning behind your eyes causing the mania and the rage to merge and melt into the endless void of despair… why haven’t you just stopped the pain? Surely with all the meds you take you could have done this so easily. Only 5mg? What’s going on? I thought you were suffering like me.

ANSWER: I didn’t plan the question and I haven’t planned the reply. My answer is simple: I believe there is great purpose for my life. I’m not afraid to be seen, accept when I am, because I’m human. I’m not afraid to teach or lead by example even when it is painful, accept when I am, because I’m human. I’m not afraid to shout down wrong and stand for good and the righteous, accept when I am, because I’m human.

Do you see? My life is and will always be what I make of it. This is the way of things whether Bipolar or not. We are human. We make choices.

Knowing that benzodiazepines and narcotics are black-box meds (THE WILL LIKELY KILL YOU IF TAKEN TOGETHER) I have always chosen not to take them together.

My answer is simple, if a bit wobbly. I’m going to keep going and learning and growing and I’d love it if you came along too. I’d love to get to know you and hear your story.

No, I’m not a doctor or counselor and I have no medical training nor do I claim to be able to heal anyone. But, we all have our unique stories. They’re OUR stories and our stories can’t do quite a lot of things for us.

Time for me to say goodnight friend. If you have a few minutes and would like to say hello you can reach me at: robin.paterson.redux@gmail.com

Be well, Robin

Bipolar – Super Charged Emotions

I’ve always believed that having the expansive emotions Bipolar lugs along with it provides a certain super power when it comes to writing, and especially to writing fiction.

I’ve long known known of something that isn’t quit as exciting- the tendency to over-react with extreme prejudice, at least from a typical persons point of view.

I flipped out when I learned I had to wear a CPAP. OMG! Something smothering me, holding me down all night? I’m not breathing when I sleep? Wait, I never sleep. I don’t understand what’s happening. I have questions. So many questions. Always questions. Never answers.

We’re about to leave for thumb surgery. Easy least, right? Sure. Sure. My first knee replacement resulted in two blood clots and a year later the joint actually completely failed and had to be replaced. Fun times. I know, this is different.

Last week, the day after I learned I have the sleep thingie, we saw a doctor about some dental implants. I have the unfortunately powerful genes my father has passed down and my brittle teeth abandoned ship several years ago. To allow me to have any chance at having normal teeth (it gets complicated) I need to come up with $50k. In less than a year. My jaw bone is already almost too far gone to use and I’ll need a bone graft. I’m 56.

Those emotions.

Other people have much worse problems. I know that. I understand that… and yet… I also don’t.

It’s off to see the wizard, to beta brand new bit of thumb. Time to slow down and learn to breathe if I can – no, I will. I must, if I hope to change. If I hope to harness these extraordinary emotions for good I must try to understand them and work always to work with them, rather than trying to suppress them.

Wish me luck and be well my friend.

Robin

You can write me at: Robin.paterson.redux@gmail.com

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 – 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.