Category Archives: Bipolar

Surprised by My Swearing – Bipolar Anger

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Maya, a friend at university whuwto has been with me since I started at this school, has been shocked by the change in my… language. She’s never heard me swear. She thinks its funny. I suppose it is. I guess I don’t look like a swearer.

I was talking to her on the phone, and we decided I should call my professor and explain to him what is going on with my group in one of my classes. Things are not going well. I don’t play well in groups. I’m really trying. I am, but they’re children and act like they know everything. I’m disrespected. I’m reacting badly to that. Things have gone really wrong. I needed to do something to get things on track. I got excited that I was taking action and said, “I’ll go put my teeth in and call him right now.” She cracked up. She’d forgotten I wear dentures. Ha ha!

I guess I’m something of a surprise.

When I saw her at school the next day, she recounted our conversation. She laughed and laughed.

I’m glad.

Today I’m going to get my new dentures. My old ones have been falling out of my mouth while I’m talking. Seriously. They do. I don’t wear them often. I save wearing them for school. Still, they’ve come out. I’ve been holding my uppers up with my tongue. Maya thinks that’s hysterical too. It kind of is. It has to be funny. It would be too tragic if it weren’t.

God, I hope they fit. I don’t need more stress. It might not be so funny this time. No, it definitely wouldn’t be funny this time.

Anxiety Storm

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They always ask me if I’m depressed.

I’ve got Bipolar Type 1 and I cycle super rapidly, what do you think?

No, really, are you depressed?

Let me tell you the truth, I hope you hear me say it this one time because I’ve had enough.

Go ahead.

My anxiety, my stress – if that’s what you need to call it – is at 7 of 10. 10 is call the morgue. My adrenaline has been full on since I can first remember. Fight or flight…. or both.

Yes, that fight or flight reflex can be triggered.

Listen to me. All the time. It’s all the time. Stop asking me if I’m depressed because the answer will always be yes. What you should be concerned about is my anxiety. I’m more likely to have the top of my head exploded from that than I am from depression.

You know, you’d be surprised at how often that’s the case.

Shit.

SILENCE vs Mental Illness

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Can Silence Improve Mental Health?

broken consol tv

I have been terrified that if I have a moment when my brain is not distracted, I will become consumed by all that is wrong with me. To that end, I have religiously employed as many ways to stay distracted as I possibly can.

I have my television on all the time. Even when I am engaged in complicated readings for my college classes, I’m able to look up and connect to my TV. I’ve made it easier to do this by doing my school work on two TV-trays that I have my laptop and notebooks on in front of my sofa and my TV. I eat my meals there too.

When I walk my dog, I run my workout app on my phone and listen to podcasts or audiobooks via earphone.

Driving in my car, I do the same things as I do when I’m walking, minus the earphones.

When I’m doing housework, I ask Alexa to play classical or country music or songs from artists like Pink, Katy Perry, Lindsey Stirling, Bond, and others.

When I’m doing my “best” to write the all-important papers, short stories, and essays for school, I have the TV on, and I’m parked in front of it… on my semi-comfortable sofa, using my TV trays… I’m keeping my mind full of junk and nonsense.

I’m Never Really Alone

My complete immersion into the labyrinth of digital media plays with far too many triggers that activate my mental illnesses. Bipolar (type 1) fires up igniting anxiety, depression, and mania. As deadlines loom closer and closer anxiety paralyzes my higher brain functions, and I watch TV, unable to focus. The Ritalin I take for ADHD seems ineffectual, even impotent. I don’t know why I still take it… for hope, I suppose.

Today I thought positive, even inspiring thoughts about myself and my future, for a few minutes. I smiled, and my anxiety began to be replaced by hope.

I turned off my TV. I sat in silence. My mind embraced the stimulation that the quite brought. I began to think.

I was thinking, in silence, and I loved it!

I recalled my productive manic times, and I realized I was being touched by the power those times brought.

I Can Think In Silence

I was thinking for myself – and the terrifying anxiety that had been stabbing me for days, as I struggled to find classes to take at the last minute subsided. I had been ready to give back my financial aid and get a job making minimum wage while waiting for my mind to explode.

But then, I came upon the silence, and it was beautiful, and I felt free. I felt astonishingly free.

I will nurture the silence and learn to be its companion. It will take time. I know this. Silence has broken through my anxiety when pills and talking could not.

I know I am not healed and that I will still suffer from all the horrors that my mental illnesses bring, but I have hope. I have learned that sometimes I can be surprised by the excitement and the inspiration that something small and unexpected can bring.

I have learned something new, and I am grateful for it.

Silence – my new obsession… except when I forget about it.


I’d like to invite you to comment on my ideas in this post in the comments section or email me directly. I’ve enjoyed hearing from some of you. Thank you for visiting my blog. I’m glad you dropped by.

Robin

Brain Scan

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brain This morning I’m going to the hospital for a brain scan. It’s for the facial tic I’ve been having forever and because I’ve been falling asleep suddenly and for no apparent reason. I did a sleep study last year and it came out normal so it isn’t sleep apnea. Between this stuff and my Bipolar, ADHD, PTSD, FM, anxiety, RA, OA, chronic pain and all that malarkey I can tell you with all honesty… I’m a bit MORE anxious than normal. I’ve been trying to get all the mental stuff undercontrol by staying on my meds, going to counseling, learning mindfullness and trying to learn to meditate, but it’s been slow going. Oh, and I’m too heavy for my knees. One has been replaced twice and the other one collapses without warning. I’m pretty sure that’s because of the weight and lack of muscle. I’ve been walking my dog Bailey all summer for 1-2 miles all summer 3-4 times a week and I’ve gained weight. Maybe it’s muscle, maybe not, but it’s more weight.

So I’m having my brain scanned. They have me coming in sleep deprived. That’s fun.

Well, I guess I should get ready to go. Wish me luck. May the force be with us all. ;0)

The Aftermath of Latuda & Despair

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solar flareThe Latuda that was destroying me is gone now, though it has left a lasting mark that lives on within me. It no longer provides mood stabilization for my overloaded brain. The good that it may have done is far outweighed by the damage that it has left behind. Often, I cannot speak for long before I lose the ability to be understood. My speech becomes silenced and my face jerks and spasms as though in pain. Large muscle groups jerk and move without my involvement. It all devastates me. I feel locked inside my body, my brain unable to freely communicate even with those who are closest to me.

I’ve recently come out of a period of not feeling anything but anxiety. My actions indicated that I was depressed, but I didn’t exactly feel depressed. Recently, that has changed.

Last week I crashed. I felt the old familiar feelings and thought things that hadn’t consumed me for some time. I looked at all my pills (I have many) and considered how easy it would be to stop. Just to stop.

But, I didn’t touch them. I called my children and I reached out for help. My girls both came to me and loved me… they helped put away those feelings of purposelessness and thoughts that I have no reason to live.

Why have I not taken all my pills? I have no purpose, no reason to burden those around me. You see, I want to have a purpose. I want my life to matter. While I currently feel I have nothing to offer the world… I think, if I don’t give in to the depression that loves me without reservation, that it might be possible to find that singular purpose that is meant for me.

I suffer from Bipolar Disorder Type 1 with rapid cycling and mixed states. Perhaps I am able to find this ever so small spark of desire to find my purpose because in my manic delusional state sometimes I have delusions of grandeur. Who knows, maybe my periodic delusions will give me my missing purpose. I hope so.

I need a reason to carry on. For now, the love of those who care for me is what I am holding on to. I have to wonder… how long it will be before even that is not enough.

At this moment, I don’t want to die, but I am encompassed by a cloak of useless despair.

I desire purpose. I want inspiration. I resisting the urge to give in and bring this fight to an end. Intellectually, I want my end to be celebrated with the acknowledgement of a fulfillment of purpose and leave an honorable legacy that says my life meant something, that I lived with purpose and left a remarkable mark on my world.

I don’t want to be an unnumbered footmark in the annals of the world, but I can’t seem to master what my brain chemistry is doing to me.

Now, it’s time to start my two-hour ritual of preparing to sleep. Maybe I’ll get lucky and I’ll have a temporary respite and I’ll sleep an emotion free night.

Bipolar – Secrets

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secretsIf I were to describe depression using a color, I would say it is black. Red would fit nicely with the mania and perhaps green or yellow might be anxiety. It would be nice if things were distinct like that so that I could easily identify how I’m doing. It might even be nice for those who are part of my support system to see those colors so they can know how I’m doing. It would be easier than trying to explain how I am when I can barely breathe.

Speaking of people in my support system, sometimes there are thoughts or moods or things I’ve done or thought about doing that I am afraid to speak of, things I think are better left never spoken of.

I try not to think about those things or those thoughts. They bring with them pain and even humiliation.

I would not want my family to know parts of the person I was during some of my manic times. They are not aware of some of the more horrific behaviors that I experienced.

As much as I don’t want to revisit these horrible moments in my past I can’t help but wonder if they now contribute to the over state of anxiety that lives with me each moment of my day.

The tick I developed as a result of medication(s) I was taking seems nearly gone with one major exception: whenever I am in anyway anxious it comes back and I can hardly talk. It seems to those I’m talking to to be a violent case of stuttering, only I know it isn’t. I feel embarrassed when it overwhelms me. No matter how much I try to relax when it starts, the only way I can stop it is to remove myself from the situation or to stop talking. Imagine yourself working with your physical therapist and trying to explain how your therapy at home has been going and suddenly not being able to talk.

Is it possible that dealing with some of the long-buried moments of horror might enable me to experience less overall anxiety? In my current state, I must say “no” because to deal with those secret things terrifies me far too much. I hope that I can use the tools I’m learning to deal with these hidden anxieties. I hope I can use them by myself to find healing from my past. If I can’t do it myself, I hope one day to be able to deal with them working with someone who can help me walk through them.

Today, that’s what I’m choosing to believe: I can deal with them myself. Just because I’ve got a mental illness or three doesn’t mean I must air all my dirty laundry. Some of it I must learn to deal with on my own.

Some secrets… I choose to remain as secrets.

Bipolar – Latuda

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I usually check carefully over the side effects and warnings on my new medications. I’ve been taking Latuda long enough that I assumed that I’d do okay with it. But, I guess I didn’t do it because if I had, I’d have noticed right off that the source of my ticks and twitches was probably right in front of me.

From the Latuda.com website: Tardive dyskinesia (TD) is a serious and sometimes permanent side effect reported with LATUDA and similar medicines. Tell your doctor about any movements you cannot control in your face, tongue, or other body parts, as they may be signs of TD. TD may not go away, even if you stop taking LATUDA. TD may also start after you stop taking LATUDA.

I have Tardive Dyskinesia. It is sever and interrupts my communicating with others. It is especially a problem in my classes at the university. This morning I actually had to stop talking. I felt that I had to explain my difficulty because they were trying to listen to me and I couldn’t talk. It was maddening.

This condition may be permanent. I’m not taking it at all now. I stopped two days ago. I hope that as the drug passes out of my system the tic will subside. God I hope so. I’m trying to relax. I’ve noticed that when I get nervous it gets worse. Talk about motivation to learn to chill out.

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After a long week.

Bipolar – Tick Crisis!

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tics7089581_sThe last month has been a horror. I’ve developed my facial tick again and nothing we’ve done has slowed its march to make it so bad that I can’t have a conversation. In my classes at University I’m usually very outgoing and participate in class a lot. With this disability, and yes, that’s how I think of it, I can’t talk and participate with the others. It just kills me to just sit there. Sometimes I choose something short to say and I raise my hand and try to say it. My courage is met with stuttering, ticking and humiliation.

On the 10th I went to the ER because it was so bad that I couldn’t be understood when I talked. My eldest thankfully happened to have time to take me in. It was good because she had to translate for me at times. The doctors took me off my last added medication and prescribed me to take Lorazepam. The problem with that is I can’t take the Lorazepam if I plan on functioning. I have classes five days a week and two of those days are in the morning and in the afternoon so I couldn’t just come home and take it. So, it didn’t work. The ER wanted me to see my MD within 3 days of my visit to the ER. I tried, but my MD said that the ER always said that and that it wasn’t necessary. I disagreed. I was still ticking at a 7 out of 10 in intensity. It was a nightmare.

I finally got in to see him. He was of no help. He rudely informed me that it was probably permanent and was caused, he felt, by my Latuda, which I’ve been successfully taking for some time now. He also told me he wasn’t going to prescribe me anything new because he didn’t want me to go to the ER again for it because it would get him black listed at the hospital. I don’t know if he meant that there was a real black list, but he acted as though there was.

I asked to see a neurologist. After some maneuvering he agreed and picked a random one out of the directory and sent the referral through. I don’t think he thought that a neurologist would be of any help. Then he prescribed one of the medications I’d already tried for the tick. The problem with that is I’ve lost track of which medication caused which reaction or positive outcome.

I got ahold of the neurologist on my own and they could tell I was in crisis and tried to get me in earlier than the July dates that were for new patients right now. The helpful lady called me back the next day and sadly told me that they refer ticks to the mental health people and would I like their number? I told her I had it already. She was nice.

I had an appointment with my counselor this morning. Unfortunately, I locked myself out of my house and out of my car. I texted my eldest daughter and begged for help. She left class early and came to my rescue. I did happen to have some homework with me so I spent my time waiting for her doing that.

When I got back inside I called my counselor and got through! I asked her if we could do the appointment on the phone. She was great and agreed. My tick was at about a 5 for most of the visit although sometimes it got worse. She listened to what I’ve just recounted to you of my last few days and weeks and said I need to talk to my med provider ASAP. She put me on hold and went looking for her. Amazingly she found her and she was free so we stopped our conversation short and I waited for Sara, my med provider, to call me momentarily.

The call from Sara came right away. I went over all the stuff again and through asking questions about what new prescriptions I’ve started taking in the last month. I started a medication for restless legs (which worked!) and Lyrica. She has me discontinuing the Lyrica (which is funny because we’ve been fighting with my insurance for months to get it approved) and the last med that my MD had me start taking for the tick. Then she did some research and found out that indeed Lyrica can cause the tick and so can Latuda, which I’ve been taking for some time. Now were stopping the Latuda. I’ve just gone from 120mg to 80mg tonight. Last time we tried to lower my Latuda was during the Christmas holiday and it didn’t go well. Instead of being well medicated and under control, I began to have violent emotions and lashing out at my loving family. It didn’t feel great. But here we are, trying it again. I’m going to have to watch myself.

So now were taking action. I feel better about it. I see Sara on the 11th I think. We’ll reevaluate my condition at that time. She’s not happy with the way this has been handled. The ER should have referred me to my med provider, not my MD.  My MD couldn’t give a shit. I’m looking for a new one. Around here it’s really hard to find new ones. New patient appointments have waiting lists going out months. It’s frustrating.

I’m a communicator. It’s what I do. I am fully involved in all my classes. I can’t do that right now. It drives me crazy. Sometimes I raise my hand thinking I’m going to say something brief. Unfortunately, it turns into a long ordeal as I stutter and tick my way through what I want to say. Sometimes the friend I sit with tries to finish talking for me. It’s embarrassing. I know there’s nothing to be embarrass about. It isn’t my fault I can’t control my mouth. Thankfully I can control the content of what I want to say.

I’ve been using my situation to really make sure that what I want to say will really be helpful or ask a really good question.

My kids have been good about it. They laugh at me when it gets really bad. I’m glad. I can’t take it too seriously (though god knows it is). They help me keep my chin up. And, thankfully, they translate for me. Seriously. Even when I’m just talking to them they have to finish my sentences for me (when I’m at a 7 or higher). I’m thankful for my kids, my mom and my brother for their patience in waiting for me to struggle through a conversation.

So, maybe the next few days will be better. I’m not going to class tomorrow. I’m going to work on calming down. I need the time to rebound and relax. I have a ton of homework to do so I’m going to give myself the time to do it. Lowering my stress can only help my situation.

If you find yourself in a similar situation remember that freaking out doesn’t help. Well, doesn’t help much. Sometimes you get like I did and can’t talk at all and they take you seriously. But, in general, it’s best to persevere and keep bugging people, doing research, calling anyone you can think of till you find the right person to talk to. Now, I hope it works.

Tonight, as with the last two nights, I’m up late with back problems. It’s like all the nerves in my lower back are firing at the same time. I can only describe it as sever lower back pain. I take Oxycodone for that. You’d think that would help my tick and the stress associated with it. Nope. Nada. Zilch.

Sighing…. This tick seems like such a waste of time. I was thinking of getting a summer job, but that will never happen with this tick.

I’ll let you know what happens next. I’m afraid of myself. I’m afraid my Bipolar is going to come raging back like it was in the past and torment me. Hopefully I can use the tools I’ve learned since my last crash to keep me from going into crisis but you know, if it’s going to come, it’s going to come. I can’t stop it. But I can combat it.

So here we go, on my first day with my Lyrica gone and my Latuda going down. I have to admit, I’m more than a little scared. What if I flip out? What happens if the tick becomes permanent? What if? What if? What if? What if I get better?

My back is feeling better now. I’ve sat on ice and now the heating pad. Time to try to go to sleep again. Good night my friends. May you be able to speak your mind wisely and with confidence.

Bipolar – My Best Friend

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90e0b3c0b78324323204c14bdfffde84  I have three kids ages 25, 22 and 19. My eldest, Jessica and I drove across the country back in last August from Tampa, where she was stationed in the Air Force, to Washington State. She and her two cats and I took 11 days to make the trip. I have to admit that I was worried about how I and my Bipolar were going to behave on the trip. I can tell you in all honesty, it went far better than I expected it possibly could go.

Jessica and I have great relationship. We’re very close. We’re both going to college, different ones though. We don’t live together, but we often cook and eat meals together and we study for school together. One of my favorite things to do with her is to go for walks. We take my Kelpie/Australian cattle dog Bailey (she’s 3) for a walk around the neighborhoods around my house. We talk the whole time. We talk about everything from family and school to politics and science. We like a lot of the same TV shows too. Sometimes we watch them together, other times we watch from our respective homes and we might be messaging each other about them. Needless to say, she’s my best friend.

Jessica also suffers from depression and anxiety. While she was in the Air Force she was receiving counseling for it but couldn’t take any medications for it because she was an air traffic controller and they can’t take most drugs. Now that she’s out, she’s seeing a counselor and a med provider. She’s taking something for anxiety and is finally feeling some relief.

It was hard watching her suffer while she was still in the military. Talking about it wasn’t enough to help her. I was worried that she’d be against going to be seen for her anxiety and depression because she watched me do it her whole growing up life. I didn’t need to worry. She knew she needed help and knew how to get it.

When we talk about it we understand how each other feels. Although my moods are much more violent and farther reaching than hers are (thankfully she doesn’t have Bipolar), she still understands me.

More than just being someone to talk to she challenges me to try to be better, to push myself to go further.

I am so thankful for Jessica. Before she came home I was so lonely. I know that we’ll only have time like this until she transfers to school in Seattle in a couple of years, but until then, I will enjoy her companionship and try to learn as much as I can from her. She teaches me how to be better, to be stronger, to believe in myself more. She has no patience for my well-practiced pity parties.

Ours is a very unusual and unique relationship. I never thought I’d have someone I love like this as a part of my daily life who wasn’t my partner.

My two other kids know how close Jessica and I are. I try to spend as much time with them as I can. I also try to get them to spend time here when Jessica is here. They’ve grown apart during the years she was gone. Now that they’re all adults they’re getting to know each other really for the first time. I try to encourage that.

My other daughter and my son also understand about my Bipolar. They are also part of my support system. I depend on all three of them to help me when I’m in a bad place or when I’m struggling with being stable. Each one has a unique role to play. I’m so thankful for the three of them. I don’t know what I’d do without them.