Category Archives: Counselor

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

 

Trying to Listen to My Counselor

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I saw my counselor this week. She’s been giving me things to do during the weeks I’m not seeing her. Honestly, I usually forget what to do as soon as I leave. If she gives me a handout I know she’s going to ask me about it the next time I see her. So, I save the handouts to remind me and look at them the day before I see her again. It doesn’t sound like I have a lot of confidence or enthusiasm where she’s concerned does it? I’ve actually asked myself that. Why am I going to see her if I’m not following through with what she’s trying to teach me?

I do try to engage and be present while we’re talking. She hears me say more than I think I’m saying and then she addresses it right them. That’s a good thing, I think. She consistently talks to me about the same things. I think… I can’t remember. That’s the trouble with counseling, I can’t remember what we talked about so while at the time I feel like I’m learning how to change my behavior or how I’m thinking about something for the better it doesn’t last. It’s like a chill pill. You take it and feel great, but when it wears off, it’s just gone.

An epiphany. I remember things when I have an epiphany. Unfortunately, epiphanies don’t usually happen when I’m working with my counselor. Truth be told, they don’t appear often at all.

When I’m getting ready to write my latest blog post I start looking for inspiration, something that I can write about that will encourage and maybe make things better for my reader. What I really need is that elusive epiphany.

I’m sad. I’m sad because I don’t know how to create an epiphany.

Bipolar – TV

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tvI want to believe that although I have Bipolar Disorder, depression, GAD, PTSD, ADHD and so on I can still be successful.

I want to live an active and full life. Much of the time I convince myself that I can’t do that. I look at my situation and I conclude that if I haven’t started living by this time in my life, that maybe I won’t ever have the life that I want. It’s tempting to fail myself and believe that.

One of the reasons that I sit static in my living room and don’t try to actively change my life is that I watch TV all the time. It is on all the time. I used to listen to music. Now it’s just the TV. As long as I have that continuous stream entering my brain I don’t use it for anything else. It’s so easy to be a spectator.

During school I finally admitted to myself that I was having a hard time doing my homework because it was on all the time. As much as I’d like to think that I can focus effectively on other things while the it is on, it isn’t true.

It’s hard to turn off the TV. It’s my companion. Right now, remarkably, it’s off. I’m listening to classical music on my phone. I’m trying very hard not to watch one of the many shows I have DVR’d. I’m practicing having it off so when school starts next week I’ll be more likely to switch it off while I’m doing homework. I’m sure that I’ll have an easier time doing the work if the TV isn’t invading my brain.

It also keeps me from dealing with myself. I can ignore the fact that I’m not dealing with my ongoing anxiety because I’m occupied with the TV.

I need to have quiet time so I can think. I don’t think well while the TV is on. Heck, I don’t think much at all when it’s on.

I’m finding that I’m having a hard time with this post. It feels disjointed and awkward. Maybe that’s because my companion is silent and I can really hear what I’m thinking. Maybe. I’ve been thinking about having the TV off for some time now. I’m impressed with myself that it is off. There is so much more interesting and important stuff for me to feed my brain with than TV. I’m not saying TV is bad. I’m just saying that when it is the only thing going on in my head it’s a problem.

A man (I can’t recall who) wrote that he used to go into a room every day with a pen and paper and shut himself inside and just think. He didn’t see people; he didn’t read anything. He just thought. I remember when I first read that I thought it was an amazing idea. I practiced it for a while, then, I went back to filling my brain with static.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I know I wouldn’t be able to keep them so I don’t make them. However, right now seems like a good time to change my behavior. I’ve pinpointed a problem: I don’t think. I listen to the TV.

Napoleon Hill (1883-1970) wrote: “What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” I’ve always liked that quote. Thinking… that’s a problem. My medications help a lot. Counseling has helped too. My counselor has helped me identify problem thinking and correct it. (Napoleon Hill quotes)

What’s next? Well, my brain is full of what I put into it or what I allow to be put into it. I allow someone else to put their content in it the whole time the TV is on, which is most of the time I’m awake.

The solution seems easy doesn’t it? Turn the TV off. Easy.

Right now… the TV isn’t off.

I’ve learned a lot. Time to change. I should turn it off. I should–

Bipolar – Being There for My Kids and Real Anxiety

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We did something amazing today, something we haven’t done in a very long time, my three kids and I all made dinner and ate it together around our family dining room table. We did it alone, without their girlfriends and significant others. It was nice. It was unfiltered. It was honest.

My son and our cars were some of the topics of conversation. My car is doing really well, solid, for being over 200,000 miles. My son, wants out of his relationship with his live in girlfriend. She (girlfriend), is not doing as well as my car.

She’s a bit on the mad side and I do mean both mad-angry and mad-bonkers. He’s concerned she might do something to him if he breaks up with her. I hate to see him going through that fear, that pain. I was in a similar situation myself many years ago and things did not go well. Today the digital actions of the other person would be illegal. I don’t think this girl has the resources or the wherewithal to try to make his life hell like I experienced.

I must tell you one thing I think is particularly amusing that she does every week. I thought I was being nice when I was moving and going through my cookbooks, when I let her pick some out to take for her own. I shouldn’t have let her have the one on Herbs. It goes through all the major cooking herbs and talks about how they are used. So, being the incredibly wise girl that she is, she is going through the book and making a dish around one herb at a time.

Unfortunately, she isn’t a cook. She sees her herb of the day and then Googles it and picks the top recipe and decides to make it for dinner. For example, they had mint the other day. The recipe called for dry mint in a certain amount. She sent my son to the store for fresh mint. Then she added the fresh mint to the recipe in the same amount that it called for as DRY. Yeah. He’s been getting sick a lot. She also has no concept of cleanliness in the kitchen and uses knives and forks for raw meat and other foods at the same time without washing them. It’s no wonder he’s losing weight. It’s a wonder he’s alive. Her lack of common sense with cleanliness in the kitchen really troubles me.

Without going into the grimy details let me say that he’s smart enough to know that he’s made a mistake and that he needs to disengage himself from her asap. I’m gratified that he knows I meant it when I said any of my three kids could home if they ever need to. I don’t have any fear that he’s scared to live with me. There was a time when that might have been true.

My anxiety is going up and down but is mostly manageable especially now that I’ve seen my med provider Sara and she’s standing with me. She sees the stress the pain management doctor is putting me through and is concerned about the affect it is having on me.

I’m feeling supported tonight. I reached out to a friend tonight that I haven’t talked to in a while and she was there and open to chatting even though she’s feeling lousy. It feels good to be able to do stuff with people. I still have homework to do tomorrow, but I’ll do that tomorrow. That, and watch the Seahawks!

My well of anxiety is still open and active, but I’ve taken steps to try to control it. For the short term it seems to be working. It isn’t a forever fix, but at least I made it through the first week of classes and am almost ready for the second week. (I attend school at one of the University of Washington campuses.)

I made a major accomplishment this first week of classes: I went to two movies and had the kids over to dinner which are all time consuming activities. Last year I couldn’t have done that. It isn’t that I’m not afraid I won’t have things done on time or good enough, it’s just that I have to listen to my family when they remind me of what my GPA is and that people work full-time and go to school full-time and spend less time studying than I do. Okay, it’s that and meditative music all night. Well, that and my doctor sanctioned chill pills. I can take them when I need one and not feel guilty.

It makes a whole huge difference to have the support and two-way trust with my doctor. I tell her the truth about how I’m doing and what I’m taking and she doesn’t abandon me and tell me to just talk it out with my counselor. Sometimes counseling and medications have to go hand in hand. At least, that’s what I’ve found is true. All areas of my life have to work in concert to make me function.

I picked one thing at a time and as fast as I could I got the pieces working for me. I failed a lot and still have a lot of setbacks, but right now, I feel 60% pretty good. I’ll take that all day.

I started trying to deal with the extreme anxiety by talking with my counselor who immediately went to find my med provider knowing it would take more than thinking to help me. Then I listened to meditative music and “talk downs” I found on YouTube. I searched for something like “meditation sleep music”. Try it. I recommend it. Now I listen to “Soundscapes” on my local cable provider all night. And I’m exercising every few days, playing with my dog and training her and keeping up with my house cleaning chores.

Monday I have classes and then seen the pain management doctor… that worries me. Ok, now I’m needing to chill again. I’m so silly.

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 – Tried and Tested

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A few weeks ago I flew from Seattle, WA to Tampa, FL to meet up with my daughter who just got out of the Air Force and needed someone to drive with her and her cats from Tampa to Seattle. It took us 11 days driving and 10 nights in hotels to get home. Considering my anxiety issues and susceptibility to fall victim to depression and mania of my bipolar condition, I expected to have problems. I expected to have anxiety driving and staying overnight in strange places. I expected to react to my daughter’s anxieties regarding leaving the military and changing her whole life around impacting me.

I took my meds. I got enough sleep at night. I ate and drank enough to keep my body functioning at a healthy level. I didn’t get a lot of exercise unless you count the times we stopped to sightsee at places like Mount Rushmore, the Badlands and Yellowstone.

It was somewhat stressful having to do everything around the cats. We couldn’t just leave them in the car and go sightseeing. They’d die. To see Yellowstone, we stayed in a hotel for two nights so we could leave the cats in the air conditioned room for the day.  Unfortunately, the closest Best Western (where we stayed so we could get points and rewards) was in Idaho Falls over an hour and a half away. My daughter is a lightweight and could only drive about two hours before she was too tired to drive so I did almost all the driving. I expected that to stress me out.

Being hypomanic has some advantages, like being able to drive for hours and hours and staying alert.

My daughter is staying with me for a few days while her apartment gets prepared. Her cats are staying there. Her stuff should be here Friday. The military shipped all her stuff up here for her. It’s nice to have her here. I wasn’t looking forward to being with her 24/7 and then suddenly not being with her. She’s a comfort to me and she’s also my best friend. I think the trip drew us closer together. That’s cool.

I’m trying to get back into unpacking my things from my move and I’m finding it hard. I don’t know where to put things. I’m trying for at least a box a day which seems like it’s not enough.

Now that I’m home my back has started hurting again. I wake up stiff and in pain, and after sitting on the sofa for a while the same thing happens. I’m finding that stressful. I have a brand new mattress.

I see my counselor tomorrow. She’s new to me. I’ve seen her twice I think. I don’t like the whole process of being evaluated and the counselor making a plan to make me better. I don’t want to go at all, but I have to, to be able to get my meds. Maybe she can help me with my anxiety problems. They seem to be the biggest issues I have right now.

Life is returning to its new normal which is strange and different and I’m trying not to be depressed.

Bipolar – Fears

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Ever since my 21-year-old son moved out several months ago I’ve been alone with my pets. Bailey, my heeler, follows me constantly. She sits across from me when I go to the bathroom and looks at me like she wants me to play ball. Actually, she usually gives me the ball when I’m on the toilet. Or she drops it too far away from me so I say, “I can’t reach it, bring it here.” And she does.

I lived in a rural area for the last 20 years and in the same house for the last 10. I know the families in the duplexes next door and am comfortable with them. One of them I know if something happened she’d be there for me. Like when I fell down the stairs and broke my ankle my kids went and got her and she handled it. I miss her. We didn’t generally spend much time together because she’s one of those people you’d like to know better, but the cost would be hours and hours of listening to her talk about everything that comes to her mind and being aware that she believes she’s an expert on everything she talks about. And she talks really loud and smokes so she has to be able to stand by a door when we’re in one of our houses so she can stick her hand out the door.

Now I’m in town and there are houses all around me. I have a giant apple tree in the back yard that screens me from the houses directly behind me and fencing and laurel trees around most of the small back yard. It’s just big enough for Bailey to really run around and have fun.

There are people living on both sides and across the road from me. There are people behind me. There are people up and down the streets in the neighborhood. In short, there are people everywhere. I’m crowded in a way, but I’m also very much still alone.

I’m in town and closer to my kids. They’ve been great helping me move in. I’m looking forward to seeing them more.

I’m in a strange house. I’m so overwhelmed by all the boxes that I’m having trouble unpacking and finding places to put things away. I’m unsure of myself. I’ve lived with AC for the last 10 years and now I don’t have it. I don’t feel comfortable having the windows open all night and we’ve been having really hot weather. Yesterday was the second hottest day of the year so far. It was 85 inside when I went to bed. It really frustrates me.

Since I moved I feel more alone. I think part of it is from the loss of my cat and the circumstances surrounding that.

It’s strange because I’ve had two family members whom have never visited my home drop by already. You would think I’d be happy to be around people and where I can see my family more often. But I’m not. Not yet.

The death of a pet and moving are major life stressors. In addition to that last fall I started back to college and before that my father died 6 months after being diagnosed with cancer. I feel like I’ve had enough.

I’m trying to accept the situation and keep busy. I’ll make sure to keep my appointment with my counselor next week. I’ll start walking around the neighborhood in the next few days, though the unknowns of that scare me. I don’t like the unknown. And there seem to be dogs everywhere.

Speaking of which I have another major event coming up. My daughter is leaving the Air Force and I’m flying to Tampa, FL to drive back her to Washington State with her two cats. I’ve never done anything like that. Besides the incredible challenge of the trip, I’ll have to trust my kids to take care of my animals while I’m gone. I’m not certain how that will work out. Both Kyle and Sydney basically work full-time and they work odd hours that are usually different every day. I worry about Bailey. Sydney and her fiancée Toni are planning on bring their young Pitbull over and sleeping here with both dogs since they both sleep with their people. She sleeps with them and Bailey sleeps with me. That would put two good size dogs and two people in my queen size bed. I can’t see it myself. Their dog is much more aggressive playing than Bailey is. She scares Bailey.

Unknowns…

I might change my major at school as well. If I do need to change my class schedule this fall quarter a little because I’m thinking of changing my major.

I feel alone. People do drop by, which I’ve never had happen before. The mail lady is friendly and says “hi” and gives Bailey a bone. I’m less alone than I was, but I don’t feel that way yet. My emotions are stirred up and a bit chaotic. I’m being careful to take care of myself. Although I have to admit I’m scared to go to the new grocery store I’ll be using. I’m a worrier and that fear comes from that.

Maks, my cat, has started protesting that I won’t let him sleep with us. He climbed up some mattresses leaning against the wall in the third bedroom. When he got to the top the bedroom light was turned on. Then, last night, he got on the peninsula in the kitchen and started knocking things over. So just as I was going to sleep there was a loud crash as he knocked things over. This morning I woke up to things I was putting away (unpacking) all over the floor. This has got to stop.

I got a free Comcast security system installed yesterday. I freaked out about setting it right and not setting off the alarm. Man! What an alarm! That sucker would scare Jesus.

So what to do. Today it’s only supposed to be 76F. Tomorrow it should be about 80 again. I should go for a walk in the morning. I should, shouldn’t I?

It would be great if I could tell Rebecca, my counselor, that I’ve gone for a walk, but I’m not sure I can do that yet. Bailey has really been pulling on her leash a lot. I’ll have to use her prong collar.

Facing my fears… fears of the new, fears of the unknown, and fears of not being able to have the courage to do the things I need to do.

I should take a chill pill and in 20 minutes I should go for a walk. I’m not sure that I will. I’m feeling a little relaxed right now. The evil cat is sitting next to me on the sofa. Bailey is napping in the recliner. I’m snuggled in my favorite corner of the sofa.

I wonder what the difference between sofa and couch is?

I’m going to try my hardest today. At the very least I need to unpack and put away a few boxes.

Here’s to all of us who are afraid of anything. May we find the hidden strength to face some of those fears today. We can do it. I know we can. Let’s start today.

 

Bipolar – Dealing with Emotional Pain

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Siberia1
There are any number of examples I could talk about concerning dealing with emotional pain. I’ve been going through a lot the last year and a half. This last week was one of the worst weeks that I hope I have for a long time.

I had to put one of my cats to sleep. She had advanced and wide spread cancer and was voiding all over the basement carpet. I was moving to a new home in a week and it just became necessary to quit avoiding it and stop putting off the issue and take responsibility for what I needed to do.

Her name was Siberia and she was our family pet for about 12 years. That’s a long time to bond with anyone, animal or human.

I was expecting to be sad, to cry, and to be upset. I was all of that. Now it’s been more than a week and I was up late last night crying hysterically and saying to my other cat how sorry I was and that I’d killed his friend. It was horrible. I eventually had to take a chill pill because I couldn’t stop myself.

Anyone who has not had a pet won’t understand the loss of a loved companion, but if you have you know what I’m talking about.

Feelings of guilt, denial, anger and depression have plagued me and I’ve wondered if I’m going over the top and am heading for an episode. The truth is, for me right now, I think I’m experiencing normal emotions. It’s hard to tell the difference though isn’t it?

When are my uncontrollable feelings of depression and anger caused by my Bipolar Disorder and when is it just from normal feelings that come after great loss?

I think that it’s hard to tell. It’s new right now so I’m inclined to think I’m feeling normal feelings, but a little deeper than maybe my children are.

I have just moved a few days ago and the stress from that is immense. I’m making sure to take my meds and using my chill pills when I need them. I haven’t been out walking because I’m kind of scared in my new neighborhood and it’s so very hot. Next week I see my counselor. It will be good to talk to her about what I’ve been feeling.

In the meantime, it’s time to try to go to bed. It’s only 81F in here now. At least I’ve stopped sweating for a little while.

Good night Siberia. I love you. I will honor your memory and play with Maks (the other cat) more than I had been doing. I miss you.

Preparation for Depression

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Let me be blunt. When you are depressed you will have a negative attitude. Hopefully, by this time, you’ve prepared for what to do when you crash. I thought up a plan that has helped me on more than one occasion. Maybe you’ll find it helpful too.

I’d suggest you think about this carefully and write your own plan out and put it someplace you’ll see it if you start crashing. Write it down and post it someplace you’re likely to see it when you want to go head first into one of those safer barriers on the freeway. You know what I mean, the things we’ve fantasized about driving into, but that we’re never going to. Right?

Or when you realize you’re in bed feeling like doo-doo not because you’re sick, but because you’re sliding into the deep well of depression.

This is the emergency list I use myself. So far it has helped me in the confusion that I feel when I swing up or down. When my thinking is clouded I need a guide rope I can reach out and hold on to and I use this. (I have used these in various orders. Do what works for you.)

Emergency List
Go see counselor immediately – If they can’t see you right away maybe they’ll talk to you on the phone. Ask. You won’t know unless you ask.
Make sure meds are being taken as prescribed – don’t wimp out and stop taking them. Do it.
Take care of yourself physically – force yourself to get up, you have to try!
Call your emergency person – perhaps this is the same person you’ve shared your goals with
– If you are suicidal and have the means to do it and are really thinking about doing it don’t hesitate, call 911. Have someone take you to the hospital. Call the suicide prevention hotline in your area. Reach out to someone safe. You’ll need to choose this person ahead of time and talk to them about what you need if you call them and tell them you need help. You can’t call a random friend up and start explaining about your illness when you’re in crisis. Prepare ahead of time.
Add anything to this list that you have found helps you

Emergency List (Just the essentials)
Go see counselor immediately
Make sure meds are being taken as prescribed
Take care of yourself physically
Call your emergency person
– If you are suicidal – call 911

Sharing
Share your list with us or email it to me. I’m very interested to see what you do. What do you do to put the brakes on? We’ve all found ways to deal with it differently. Maybe some of you don’t have any idea of how to deal with it. You’re swallowed whole and cannot breathe. . If that’s the case read this list again and think about doing what it says.

I’m not a medical professional. These are only my opinions, but I have found that they work for me. They don’t prevent me from crashing, but they help direct my fall to a safer place.

Reasons 100 Reasons to Live (from a random website)
http://www.1000reasonstolive.org/list.php

 

Bipolar Stress and a Tick

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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.