Category Archives: Chronic Pain

Bipolar – I Think You Should Take Fewer Pills

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I’m going to notify my counselor that I must be rid of my med provider as soon as it can be arranged. I’ve told Arthur, my counselor, that I don’t feel that Jamie (med provider) is working in my best interest. My next appointment with her she started right off by confronting me about what I’d told Arthur. I confessed thit it was true.

It got me no where.

She says that I’m on too many pills and she doesn’t want to add anymore. Apparently, this is her rational for not giving me medication that might actually have helped me.

I’ve been practically begging for something for my anxiety that only get’ s increasingly more consuming with each passing day

This whole school year has been like a nightmare.

She doesn’t want to give me more pills? Bull!! It is not her choice to decide whether what other doctors prescribe me for illnesses she knows even less about than I do.

She has repeatedly used this as an excuse not to give me something that could prevented me from my brake down. I have high cholesterol, my thyroid is out of whack, I have chronic horrible lower back pain, I have FM, RA, OA, a facial tick (probably stress related), PTSD, and have recently been diagnosed with IBS-d. It’s a crap load of stuff, but they have all been dealt with by someone more intelligent than she is.

I’ve asked each and every visit for something to help with the burning anxiety. She refuses. She gives me fewer chill pills.

Does she think I like taking a handful of pills twice a day? Moron.

I’ve finally had a breakdown. I blame her. In December I confessed I’d been having thoughts of harming myself. I’d hidden that for years, but at that point it was too much, and I confessed it.

She did nothing.

If I can’t trust my med provider to guard my mental wellbeing, than who will? There aren’t many options here.

I’ve started to shake, Twitter, and twitch again. I’m graduating today. My anxiety that mixes like a charm with my mania and depression making my constant mixed state even more confusing and painful. It’s too much to handle anymore.

I’m firing her. She truly doesn’t have my best interests in mind. I don’t need one of my medical professionals contributing to my madness. That’s just sick.

A Confession & Positive Med Visit

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CONFESSION – Impact of Bipolar Mania – 
In the last few years, I’ve accumulated 15 websites, blogs and email accounts.

Yesterday I visited with my Med Provider Jamie. She finally heard me. She decided that my mood stabilizer wasn’t working, so she’s increased it and has me taking it twice a day instead of just once.

When I first got there, she started by saying that my counselor Arthur had told her that I really felt that she was doing me more harm than good in her treatment of me. I said yes, I felt that way. Then I explained why. I have been feeling at least as bad as I did when I wasn’t being treated at all with meds for my illnesses.

She also agreed to talk to my Chronic Pain Management guy about taking medications that it is strongly suggested that they not be taken at the same time. He didn’t agree with her stance on the subject. I want to mention that I’m almost completely off my pain meds now. (Boy am I feeling it.) I’ve done this so she’ll stop complaining that I can’t mix my meds (a Benzo and Oxycodone). The problem is, and I should have realized this before I lowered my pain meds, that at the clinic I go to they don’t want me taking the Benzo at all. I felt threatened when she informed me that some of the providers there would just cut me off right now. I responded by pointing out that she wasn’t doing anything about my super massive anxiety.

This last quarter I started having outbursts in one of my classes (4 times in one class the professor had to come and get the guy I was arguing with and myself to be quieter). It was humiliating.

I’ve also been experiencing rage. It’s been a really long time since I’ve felt this bad. I admit… I’ve been really scared that a meltdown is coming. Now that she’s adjusted my meds, I feel like things might get better.

Bipolar – Med Provider Day

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I’m unstoppable.

I’ve been trying to sleep, but it eludes me like a chicken running for its life.

I’m going to see my med provider at 10 in the morning today. I hope she listens this time. If she doesn’t I’ll be requesting someone else and informing them of why I’m choosing to under go all the stress that comes with a decision like that. I’ve had enough.

I’m going to confront her with the facts. I’ve been keeping a list of my symptoms since I saw her 30 days ago. It has grown quite long. It looks even worse than before I was being medicated.

I’m unstoppable.

My pain management guy and I had to ween me off one of the long acting pain killers I’ve been taking for a couple of years because of supply issues. I went from 100 mg twice a day to 50 mg over night because there wasn’t anymore to be found anywhere. No one knew it was going to happen so there was no helping it. It didn’t feel so great. Then we kind of gradually weened me off the rest. Now my pain level is constantly higher. Also, the torn fascia in my foot still isn’t healed. It’s painful. I got special shoes for it today. But as the compassionate woman said while I walked around and around testing shoes, my foot was going to feel soar and tired. It still is. It wasn’t fun.

All this has added to my overall stress level, as you can imagine. Withdrawal is never a good time, nor is added pain.

I’m unstoppable.

I will be thankful if my counselor, Arthur, can make it to my appointment. He said he’d try. He feels it is important for her to understand my mental state from his side of the equation. He’s been with me two previous visits.

It hasn’t helped.

I’m still choosing to be unstoppable.

I may stumble, and I may fall over and over, but this damn illness is not going to continue to run my life. I’m very ill. I’m too exhausted not to fight anymore. I feel like my life has been a waste.

I’ve had enough.

I’m unstoppable.

Help me. Or, stay out of my way.

I refuse to stop!

Angry, Raging, Bipolar

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I scared the ever living poo out of my fancy beta fish a minute ago. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Victor move so fast! He hid on the bottom and refused to take his dinner from me. All I did was walk up to his tank when he didn’t see me coming.

Fish. I feel rather like a fish.

You’d think we’re fish as much as we’re listened to when time after time we beg for different medication. Something has been going on with me mentally for around 3 or 4 months. I just thought it was growing anxiety because I have one more quarter to go and then I’m finished with school. I’ll need a job. I’ve never been able to hold a job for over a year. Even my own brother had to fire me because of my behavior, and my anger.

I take that back, I have worked for longer. When I worked for myself, I was able to manage to work with the management.

This feeling that’s been growing… I told my family in December that I’d had thoughts of hurting myself, and I honestly was. I’d had those feelings on and off for most of my life. Telling them seemed to help. Maybe it did. I felt that way tonight for about 10 minutes.

Then despair, anxiety, rage. Do these feelings take your face and squeeze it till it aches with the pressure?

Anxiety. It has been growing in my mind like a pustule about to burst black tar all over my mind.

I came to understand yesterday, through thinking over the end of the quarter problems and verbally fighting very loudly with another student – repeatedly, a colonoscopy I had to have two days in a row, a painfully torn fascia in my driving foot in December that is still painful (I’m so sick of this boot thing. It causes a painful lump on my shin bone.), intestinal troubles since Christmas, and runaway away anxiety I continuously tell my med provider about (I even take my counselor with me to make sure she’s listening. Oh yeah, that’s working great.)… I get it. I’m in a rage.

I used to live every day, every moment consumed with rage. I wasn’t a good kid. I wasn’t fun for my family to be around. My mother has finally agreed with me that I was, a terrible child. I was full of hateful and blinding – rage.

I have those feelings again. The ones I fought so ineffectively to be rid of. That consuming anger. I feel like I’m about to blow up on someone who probably did nothing to me. It’s just this thing my brain does sometimes day after day, month after month til years are wasted in fury and hate or like now when I’ve been crying out in fear and pain only to be ignored by those I dutifully trust my life to.

I’m so angry. My mind burns and I want to break things and hit stupid people. But I don’t.

I am often moments from saying things that could get me kicked out of school or arrested. But I don’t.

I’m so tired of fighting all the time. I just want to have a life free of pain. No more arthritis or Fibromyalgia. No more being too big to be healthy. No more chronic back pain. This is no life for me. This isn’t what I signed up for. I’m SO ANGRY! It’s like emotional cancer that manifests in feelings that most people can say they understand, but they don’t. Not really. If you have Bipolar Disorder Type 1 and you have had violent, angry, manic episodes you probably understand.  If not, please don’t give up on me.

Question is: what’s gonna give?

Addendum: Read on, please. This changed everything.

This morning I was listening to a TED Talk called, “the role of human emotions in science and research. Great title, right? Sounds like just what I need. At the end of her story, Ilona Stengel said this: I do not suggest that we should use feelings instead of facts. But I say we should not be afraid of using our feelings to implement and catalyze fact-based science and innovation. Emotions and logic do not oppose each other. They compliment each other. And they reinforce each other. The feeling of being dedicated to something meaningful, of belonging to something bigger, and of being empowered is crucial for creativity and innovation. Whatever you’re working on, make sure that it matters, and take it to your heart as much as you like.” [I’m pretty sure this isn’t a word for exact word match.]

Suddenly I understood. All my life I’ve believed I’ve had a purpose. I thought it was within the church, but I was always told, “No, it’s not time now Robin.” And my heart would be broken and my life stripped of meaning.

I believe without meaning, we relinquish our lives to the feelings I have been feeling. For this moment, I remember the meaning of my life. It will not be easy to follow. It incurs great emotional risk (something people with Bipolar Disorder should try to avoid). But if I can remember it. If I can remember it every moment of every day, I won’t have to rely as much upon others for the stability of my mind. My mind will be fighting my emotions with logic. I’ve done it before and I’ve succeeded. I must try again. My children have left my home. They’re all grown up. That role of the parent is gone. I feel like I have no purpose.

But I do. I do. I’d just been swallowed alive by the vomit of extreme emotions that allowed rage to consume me. For this moment. For this morning. I say no.

She said: “Whatever you’re working on, make sure that it matters, and take it to your heart as much as you like.” I am taking up my mission again. I must. If I don’t, then what’s the point? 

Do you understand?

What’s your mission? Tell me.

Robin

 

 

 

Bipolar/Colonoscopy/My Birthday

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On the 3rd, I turned 55. On the 6th, my eldest child turned 26.20180203_183832

On the 8th I had a colonoscopy. I remembered to take my chill pill ahead of time so it was just mostly terrifying. The doctor came to talk to us after the nasty experience was over. Good news! I didn’t see anything. But, bad news, (despite all my crapping my pants) you weren’t clean enough for me too see far up and get a good look. We’ll have to… do… wait for it… AGAIN. Would you like to reschedule for tomorrow or come back another time? OMG! I just went through all that pain and mess and ruined clothes and bath mats and impromptu showers and crap! and you want me to do it AGAIN??? I just missed a whole week of classes – MIDTERMS – because everyone was so worried that the reason I was crapping all the time was that I had cancer. And now you say I wasn’t cleaned out enough? Reschedule. Oh hell no. This is happening tomorrow. I’m not taking more time away from school for this crap. (my chill pill seems to have failed me completely at this point) We rescheduled for the next day, Friday last week. They prescribed some special super duper pipe cleaner to empty things out to the max this time. I’ve had this stuff before. Makes you want to puke till you pass out. No lie. I was so sick. Did I finish it all off like they threaten you that you have to? Hell NO. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you what happened to me through this week. Thursday, when he said we had to reschedule, I crapped all over the bathroom floor before we left. I thought he said they’d do a couple enemas to try to clean things out. Huh. Wonder where the hell that all came from? Enema my ass.

So Jessica and I went back the next day after another 24 miserable hours of me needing to poop but never feeling that “urge” to go that they talked about. I just went. And went.

I was so, so stressed out. I was mad. I’d had it. I forgot to take my chill pill. When the little woman (yes, I’m still mad) finished my intake (vitals and junk) she took me to this huge room, all by myself (well, my anxiety was with me). It was freezing. How long am I going to be here? Should be 20 to 30 minutes, just depends on how things go. Excuse me?! It’s freezing in here. She brought me a single warmed blanket. A few minutes later she comes into the hall and puts another woman in the room next to mine and says it will just be a few minutes. As she was leaving the woman I said sort of loudly something like this:

“You realize they’re just putting us back here like airplanes in a waiting pattern circling an airport don’t you?”

She brought me another blanket. I’d been banging my legs on the huge exam chair I was sitting on. I thought I was going to freeze my butt to it. I can’t even imagine what that room is used for. The stupid woman had asked me if I was or could be pregnant. I had a D&C years ago. That has always been enough information for the person asking to understand that I meant – no, can’t happen, no way. This woman (and I’ve been alone since 1999) insisted that I could be pregnant in one of my tubes. I nearly bitch slapped her.

Okay, I’m still mad.

Yesterday in one of my classes we’re working in groups. Well hell, all my classes are working in groups. Anyway, this young bossy, know it all boy, who is maybe, maybe 22, informs me that I can’t say that I’m handing out postcards to people on campus and say to my potential backers that we’re hoping it will be given to a student who is stressed.

I can’t say what? You can’t say you hope they’re stressed. You can’t imply that people are stressed. Are you insane? This is basic marketing. You develop your event. You target your audience. Then you market to that audience. Most college students are stressed. Chances are if I give one of them a postcard about our event (to reduce STRESS if you can believe that) on stress… well, I could go on and on. The professor had to come to the back of the room and get us to stop “yelling” at each other 4 times.

The stupid boy would freaking lie to her. He’d tell me to my face that I couldn’t say stuff. Then I’d say exactly what he said to the prof. Then he’d lie and say he didn’t say it.

Then, the little toenail lint roll had the gall to say that he was going to be the first one up to introduce our topic and talk about how much terrible stress he’d been in and missed three weeks of school because of it. I asked him if he was going to try to get the audience to empathize with him so they would be on board with our pitch. He said no way, he wasn’t going to be personal. What the hell? I’m over this boy.

The wonderful professor reminded me that I’ve had a really rough quarter. I really, really have. My last experience last quarter with a group was a disaster too. This time I promised myself I wouldn’t let anyone walk all over me. So, every time he opens his mouth he’s telling someone to do something. I’m probably older than your mother you child. You want to talk about stress? I’ll tell you about stress and when I’m done… you’re gonna feel stress!

I dunno. I’ve got one quarter left. I need to pass this science class. I’ve not been doing the homework since my poop apocalypse.

I’m really feeling my brain coming together in a good way with what I want to do when I graduate. I’ll need a part-time job while I finish setting up the websites and get the book re-typeset and printed. So exciting! Then there’s the resource center for people with mental health difficulties – cutting the crap – people like me who have Bipolar and PTSD and chronic pain and ADHD and anxiety and a very short fuse.

Wow. It’s been a long week right? I feel like things are teetering on spinning out of control. Jessica and I are getting Blue Apron meals three times a week. We both eat like crap… okay… translation… we don’t eat anything. So now we’re eating and cooking together which is super good for both of us and then we do homework together. I tend to fall asleep. She likes to wake me up. Good match.

Well, I’ve talked and talked at you. I’m sure it’s enough. Oh, wait! Two women I’ve met at school, within a week of each other, told me they wanted to be divorced but needed an income first. Both are super stressed. Both are not handling the stress well. One laughs when she’s stressed. I sent her to a new primary care doc so she would feel freer to talk without feeling weird talking to her husband’s doctor. This doc is giving her a chill pill and sending her to counseling. Excellent. The other woman is already taking a chill pill. I recommended going in and telling them how it isn’t working. She spent most of yesterday barfing from the stress.

What is it that there is so much stress and debilitating anxiety around? It scares me. And what is it with young people today telling me I can’t say that anyone is something specific, even though they are that way and they admit that they are… I still can’t say it. What the heck?

I did get a nice letter in the mail for Valentine’s Day. It’s from the Gastro people. I don’t have cancer. Really, you couldn’t have just called? A letter? A damn letter?

People we need each other. We need to shake hands so that we can physically touch someone without being arrested. We need to say thank you to customer service people. We need to take the concerns of other people seriously. We need to respect our elders (you little lint roll). We need to find healthy ways to reduce our anxieties. If I can’t control mine better the next time I might not just argue with the boy loudly. I might yell. Wouldn’t that be awful?

Insidious Black Box

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I apologize for the length of this post. Please consider reading the entire post. It’s very important. Your life could depend upon it. (Robin)

Emotionmasks insane faces

I take two medications that I considered to have a Black Box warning. They both depress breathing. Together they can stop my breathing altogether… There are other dangers.

I have chronic pain with Bipolar Disorder and Generalized Anxiety. I am prescribed both Oxycodone and Clonazepam by two different providers. They both know that I take both medications.

I see a pain management specialist for my pain. I have for some time now. To be treated there, I have had to sign a contract that governs my behavior with regards to taking pain medications, I have to take a pee test every time I go in and they count my pills every time as well.

My med provider handles my Clonazepam prescription for anxiety. I suffer from extreme anxiety. Sometimes I feel like my brain is going to explode. Recently, this woman, who is the 4th or 5th provider I’ve had since I started going to this clinic, told me that I’m more likely to kill myself because of anxiety rather than depression. I was always told that a depressed person was more likely to commit suicide when they started to feel better. When they started feeling better, they finally would have the energy to follow through with their suicidal inclinations. Apparently, there is more to it than that.

My counselor and every med provider I’ve had is intimately aware of my massive anxiety and my inability to get it under control. We’ve tried all the counseling type of solutions including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (talk therapy), mindfulness and other techniques. I’ve not had success with any of them.

My med provider is content for me to only take Lamotrigine, which is primarily to treat my Bipolar Disorder depression symptoms, and not to take anything other than Clonazepam for anxiety. From talking to her, it appears that this is primarily to treat the depressive symptoms that I experience. I have not been able to get any of the med providers who have treated me to give me anything for anxiety other than Clonazepam.

She, my med provider, told me at our second meeting, that people with anxiety are more likely to commit suicide than people with depression. Since I suffer primarily from anxiety, you would think someone would have warned me of this. I understand now why I feel so self-destructive while I’m exploding with anxiety.

She has told me that her goal is to get me off the Clonazepam completely. Now that I’m taking my runaway anxiety and the real chance I will kill myself because of it more seriously, I’m also taking the mix of these two medications seriously. I always have, but my frantic response to my anxiety has created a situation where I’m so afraid of what might happen if I stop taking the drug for anxiety.

I’ve always felt like I’m most insane when my anxiety is at its peak.

I understand that long-term opioid use for chronic pain is not the most effective way to treat it. I’ve wanted to find a different solution for a long time. My pain management provider doesn’t offer other alternatives than pain medications.

I normally don’t want to die. I’ve always had urges that are normally short in duration towards it, but I haven’t had times when I sit there with my bottle of Oxycodone ready to take it all. But, I could.

I’ve never told any of my mental health caregivers that I have suicidal thoughts. I know that my community does not have good facilities to treat acute mental health emergencies. I don’t want to become one of those people who is shuffled into a hospital emergency room with a guard sitting outside my little room. That’s what they do. I have first-hand knowledge of this.

So what’s the answer? Do I chance dying in my sleep? Or do I chance ending my life while I’m awake? Both are real dangers.

I’ve decided to deal with my feelings of self-destruction now. With the danger of the two medications and my new understanding the relationship between anxiety and suicide, I have promised my family that I will talk to my counselor on Wednesday when I see him. I will admit that I think about suicide. That’s a huge step for me.

I’m afraid. Admitting how I’ve been feeling for years is like admitting that I can’t control the one area of dealing with my mental health that I always felt I could say I didn’t have a problem with. I’ll finally be admitting I have no control over my depression or my anxiety in relationship to staying alive.

As I say, I don’t want to die. When my anxiety runs away I cannot always control myself. I can become violent and destructive. I break down and cannot function. I become paralyzed yet also hysterical.

Yesterday I talked to my mother and all three of my kids and admitted the truth to them. My youngest who is a psych major at the same university that I attend (so is her partner) said she had been wondering if that was a problem for me. They all agree that they would rather I call them than I call a suicide line. I’ll talk to my therapist about that.

I have tried to learn to practice mindfulness several times in the past. I never fully committed to it. Mindfulness was just part of the learning experience in one of my classes I just finished. It’s time for me to review the materials I have about it, I have lots. I need to try to learn how to harness it’s potential in earnest this time. My life depends upon it.

I have a particular fear: I’m terrified of my anxiety. I know what it does to me. I sometimes feel the insidious devil of insanity creeping through my mind trying to take over, and it literally shreds my mind.

If you have any Black Box warnings for medication yourself, please take it seriously. Now that I am self-aware of my true situation I’m ready to find a way to deal with my symptoms.

 

My main medications:

Chronic Pain – Oxycodone / Nucynta

Anxiety / PTSD – Clonazepam / Benzodiazepines

Bipolar Disorder / Depression – Lamotrigine

 

Oxycodone – Warnings

“To make sure this medicine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • a history of drug abuse, alcohol addiction, or mental illness
  • if you use a sedative like Valium (diazepam, alprazolam, lorazepam, Ativan, Klonopin, Restoril, Tranxene, Versed, Xanax, and others)”

https://www.drugs.com/oxycodone.html

Clonazepam – Warnings

Risks from Concomitant Use with Opioids
Use of benzodiazepines, including Clonazepam, and opioids may result in profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and death. Because of these risks, reserve concomitant prescribing of benzodiazepines and opioids for use in patients for whom alternative treatment options are inadequate.

Observational studies have demonstrated that concomitant use of opioid analgesics and benzodiazepines increases the risk of drug-related mortality compared to use of opioids alone. If a decision is made to prescribe Clonazepam concomitantly with opioids, prescribe the lowest effective dosages and minimum durations of concomitant use, and follow patients closely for signs and symptoms of respiratory depression and sedation.
(The above Warning is taken from: https://www.drugs.com/pro/clonazepam.html)
Concomitant: (synonyms: attendant, accompanying, associated, related, connected)

Lamotrigine – Warnings

To make sure lamotrigine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • A history of depression or suicidal thoughts or actions
  • Some people have thoughts about suicide while taking this medicine. Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits. Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms.

https://www.drugs.com/mtm/lamotrigine.html

Nucynta – Side Effects for Health Care Professionals

Psychiatric – Common (1% to 10%): Insomnia, confusion, abnormal dreams, anxiety, depression, irritability, nervousness, drug withdrawal syndrome, restlessness, sleep disorder, hallucination, depressed mood.
https://www.drugs.com/sfx/nucynta-side-effects.html

 

Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines may be used in the treatment of anxiety, panic disorder, seizures, or sleep disorders.
https://www.drugs.com/drug-class/benzodiazepines.html

 

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)

Bipolar – Anxiety Rising

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(Sept. 04) I’ve been sitting here trying to think of how to begin writing this and I’ve been getting nowhere. School is coming and I’m stressed out about that.

I have tremendous back pain and I go to a pain management doctor for my pain medication. The doctor that I’ve been seeing for like two years has stopped working in pain management and has opened a family practice. She was great. She really worked with me and worked to manage my pain knowing that I have Bipolar Disorder, PTSD, GAD, ADHD and so on. She was the one who prescribed my chill pill (medication anxiety) that I started taking during the school year last year when I had an anxiety meltdown.

The new pain management doctor started out by accusing me of selling my oxycodone and refused to refill my chill pill. I had a prescription of Oxycodone at the pharmacy to pick up which she didn’t take into account. I didn’t do anything wrong. I don’t like her. I don’t trust her with my health. My next visit to her she accused me of breaking my pain management contract by not bringing in the second pain medication I’m on. I was never told to bring the bottle in with me. Oxycodone yes, the other stuff, no.

My back has been bothering me.

My facial tick is back. It comes with anxiety like snow falls in the mountains… when the cold and precipitation is sufficient, the snow comes. Actually the vicious tick came with my beginning to take Gabapentin gain instead of Lyrica (Gabapentin can also be used for anxiety as well as for FM, which is why I tried taking it again).

FAST FORWARD TO TODAY Sept 28

I’ve been taking my chill pill daily. I survived my first day of classes because of the pill. I usually wake up in a cold sweat whenever anything remotely stressful is going to happen during the day. Like, for instance, going back to school.

Anxiety is such a huge part of my being right now that although I’ve lived in my new house for about two months I haven’t been to the grocery store by myself even once. I needed to buy some poetry books from the bookstore about 20 minutes from my house and instead of just going and getting them I called my eldest daughter and bribed her (I’d buy her a book if she’d come with me) to come with me. I just find it stressful to do things alone. I do not have a rational reason. I’ve done all the thinking and reasoning about my anxiety that my counselor and I have come up with and the anxiety does nothing but get worse.

I stopped taking the Gabapentin and the facial tick immediately started going away. When I’m stressed it comes back. I hope it isn’t permanent.

I see my med. Provider (the gal who manages my mental health medications) Sara in the morning. I’m asking her for something to treat the sever anxiety on a long term basis. The chill pill is great but it’s for a crisis and not meant for long-term consumption.

I get so wigged out about things that earlier tonight I already mapped out in my head the route that I would take to get to see Sara and then called my daughter to make sure that I could get to the grocery store from where I was coming from. I’m planning on going to get some milk on my way home in the morning. I need to do it on my own. I think if I have the chill pill I can.

It’s amazing. I wish I could take it all the time. I’ve been having to use it to go to sleep at night. When I don’t take it I’m awake until after 2 or 3 in the morning. Then I wake up sweating. I’ve even resorted to listening to relaxing meditative music/waves on YouTube all night. I found a channel on my TV provider to listen to that works as well called Soundscapes.

The struggle I’m having with anxiety is so severe that I’ve not been willing to blog and that makes me sad. My counselor has put forth the idea that perhaps my mania is manifesting as anxiety and that It’s really part of my Bipolar Disorder. I sort of hope that’s the case. If it is, I’m confident we can deal with it.

Why haven’t I been in to see my med. Provider sooner? She’s been booked. It’s been over a month since I last saw her. I’ve talked to her on the phone and my counselor talked to her on my behalf too.

Hopefully tomorrow I can communicate clearly how absolutely painful this anxiety is. My counselor is supposed to go to that meeting with me. I hope she can actually make it. It would give Sara a clearer picture of what’s going on with me.

Now, I’m going to listen to Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” then I’m going to go to bed. I might read for a few minutes. Maybe one or two. Seriously, that’s as long as I’ll read.

I have high expectations for my visit with Sara and Rebecca (my counselor) in the morning. We got this. I have to believe, we got this.

Bipolar Stress and a Tick

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Barney panties_001

Some days I feel like I’m walking aroud with panties on my head too.

I’ve stated ticking again. Last year I had a facial tick so bad that often I couldn’t be understood. When my kids were around they would sometimes have to interpret for me. It was horrible. We thought at first that it was one of my medications (I take a lot), but we ruled them out.

Eventually I discovered that it was stress causing it. I don’t know what changed, but after reaching a super intense point, it started to go away. One day I realized it was gone.

I decided to take this quarter off from school so we could look for house and because of family matters so I expected my stress level to be lower, so I was surprised when I started ticking again.

I’m afraid that it will worsen. The thought of it terrifies me.

I’ve spent hours upon hours learning about myself and my various illnesses so it frustrating me to have this happen. I thought I was doing better than this.

What to do? I need to stop this before it gets out of control. Besides the changes I’ve just mentioned I have a new counselor too and that causes me stress.

I am often feeling on the edge of anger and depression.

I asked myself what I can do to stop my stress from getting out of control. Here’s my plan.

Ask myself what’s bothering me and why it’s bothering me.

Talk to my counselor for guidance.

Keep taking my chill pills.

Try to do mindfulness and/or meditation.

This last one is key I think.

Perhaps confessing my struggle here will turn out to be cathartic.

I’m going to go back to the basics and evaluate the different areas of my life to see if I can determine if something I’m ignoring is what’s bothering me.

I suspect that adding all the stressors in my life up will show that they are all the problem together and I need to fight back. On my own I’m going to exercise and work my dog more and give mindfulness another try… or maybe meditation a try.

For some reason the thought of mindfulness stresses me. This proves how logical mental illness is. I don’t know much about PTSD but both counsellors think I have it. Perhaps I should look into it too.

I just realized that my son decided to move out about 2 months ago and moved out about three weeks ago. The stress of him moving out is probably impacting me more than I realizing. I have only lived on my own for six months once in the 80s.

Maybe I’m scared of being alone.

Late breaking news – another destabilization – my chronic pain management doctor is moving and handing me off to an associate. There are a lot of deep emotions that go along with chronic pain. The idea that my treatment might change terrifies me.

New counselor, new pain management specialist, living alone. Great.

I can do this.

As always any input or ideas are welcome. I love getting email from you. This would be an especially good time to hear from you my friends.

My First Day as a Grown-Up

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maks balloon

Apparently I set my alarm wrong or didn’t set it at all because at 9:32 my youngest daughter Sydney called and scared the snot out of me. I was so confused and I dropped the phone and missed the call. Oops. I got the phone off the light stand and onto the bed with me so I could call her back but she beat me.

You should know that while I’m only 53 I have rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and I’ve had cataracts removed and I wear full dentures. I ain’t got no choppers. This is interesting to know because of what happened next. Getting the phone in the first place was painful and I almost dropped it behind the bed because of the arthritis in my hands. Morning is especially bad for my hands.

Sydney called before I could call her. She was very excited and upset. I was still effectively asleep. She launched into her problem which has nothing to do with my morning in general so we’ll skip that.

I was trying hard to sound like she hadn’t woke me up, but it was no use. In morning especially trying to talk without my teeth in is like talking to me drunk with mashed potatoes in my mouth. Fortunately Sydney can translate most of what I say so that’s good. Thankfully I don’t have to make up a story of why I sound like I’m drunk.

Next I try to get out of bed. This is not as simple as you would think. I’ve had my right knee replaced twice so I’m careful getting out of bed because I don’t want to skip forward in time and have to have the other one done especially since I live alone now. I tried to get my feet to the floor but I couldn’t slide off the bed.

During the day, I can sit on the side of the bed and my feet dangle a good ten inches above the floor. On a normal morning I can’t find the floor. I couldn’t find the floor today. I swear this bloody memory foam mattress conforms to where I’m sitting and won’t let my butt go. So there I sat, trying without success to scooch over to the edge of the bed where I could work at getting off the bed. No luck.

So I try switching it up and go for trying to get just one bun closer to the edge. Finally, a little movement. Slowly I start the long and slow effort to the edge, all of four inches to the edge. I made it! I was finally sitting with my legs dangling over the edge of the bed. I leaned back and started the fearful journey of trying to fall towards the floor. It always seems like it is farther away from my feet every morning.

Yeah!!! I make it to the floor.

Next, the pain and stiffness of the arthritis in my legs and ankles speaks up and rudely tries to make me stand there like an old woman frozen in place. I wonder how my hair looks.

Eventually I make it to the living room and sit on the stool and slowly put my shoes on. It’s painful to bend over and pull my feet up on my knee to get my shoes on.

Eventually, success!

Why am I putting my shoes on without socks on and teeth in? Gotta take the doggie out to do her business. Then she wouldn’t poop. I’m out there getting my feet wet in the lumpy thickish dewy grass and fast getting annoyed. I give up and we go back in the house.

Ah ha! I remembered to feed the cats when I came back in the house. They’re food is downstairs so it’s not like I normally think about feeding them, which, is now my job.

The cats were Kyle’s job. Of course, now that job falls to me. None of the kids took a cat with them. I want them to take the cats with them! I tend to forget to feed them and when that happens Maks, the older of the two, goes in the kitchen and opens and closes the cabinet doors and lets them bang shut and do it over and over until you get up and feed them. Little asses.

My dog is a heeler/kelpie, meaning, she’s a herding dog. She loves to herd the cats. Somehow she knows when they cats are doing something wrong and chases them downstairs at full speed. It’s pretty funny. So if I’ve gone to bed all I have to do is open my bedroom door and poof! The cats are downstairs. Then I go feed them. If I have to be woken up it’s good to know the culprit that woke me up is getting theirs for doing it.

Sometimes Maks (cat) plays with helium balloons. I got one for Valentine’s Day from the kids. The cat takes hold of the string and takes it around the house. When I had my first knee replaced he started bringing all the balloons to me at night. The record of overnight balloon commando maneuvers was 15. He grabs them by the bottom of the string and carries them into a bedroom. The balloon in the picture ended up in Kyle’s room all the way downstairs this time. I don’t know why he does it, but it is so funny.

Now that my Oxycodone, Ritalin and my other pain pill have kicked in I feel like a human. Now would be the time to take Bailey out, but she can’t wait this long.

My first night alone was good. My two youngest kids both called to make sure I was okay. I love them. Kyle reminded me to feed the cats, which I had already done. Yeah me! We’ll see how I do tonight.

What am I going to do today? I’m going to work on my writing projects. I’ve been neglecting them. Fortunately, using the computer isn’t impacted by my prematurely aging body. I wonder how my brain is doing. I do have some mental health issues, a whole bowl of alphabet soup full of them, but I don’t have any old people brain issues. I’m awesome!

And thus began day one of my new life living on my own.

Ew, now it’s my job to do the litter box. I hate that.