Bipolar – Med Provider Day

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!

Bipolar – Pleasing Personality

As I look back over the last week I see several days where I had less than a pleasing personality. I wasn’t fun to be around. I guess getting ready to move and all the packing and coordinating is weighing heavily on me and I’m letting it change how I interact with people. I’m allowing it to change me in negative ways. I wasn’t keeping an eye on myself. I should have known that I needed to be careful.

I’ve worked so hard over the years to become someone I like. I like myself a whole lot more now than I did even a year ago, but it’s easy to slide back into the familiar crappy personality I the whole time my bipolar symptoms had free reign with me I wasn’t someone people wanted to know.

I should get a tattoo that says, “Daily, proceed with caution.” That way I’ll remember not to take myself for granted and let a mood swing, even a small one, affect my personality and turn me into a person no one wants to be around.

Twice I took the bipolar bait and let potential negative situations explode into fights with family members. I was surprised with how easily I started becoming the person I was for most of my life. I don’t want to lose the better “me”.

Let me give you an example. I didn’t just argue with my Mom, I fought with her. Neither of us was listening to the other and both were convinced the other was wrong.

My Mom and I fought over money. She supports me financially because I can’t work. I get some money from SSI because I’m officially disabled, but it doesn’t even cover my rent so I really shouldn’t fight with her. Morally, I should show her respect. Etiquette dictates that I be respectful to my mother.

I need to work especially hard to have my mood swings well away from my Mom. We lost my Dad just over a year ago and she’s still grieving. She doesn’t need me coming in and making her feel the way she does when we fight. I know it hurts her. She doesn’t explain things well so when she says something and I react to it as though that’s what she really meant to communicate to me we almost always fight.

I should really be asking her what she means. As I told my kids growing up, “ask good questions.” I will start asking her good questions to make sure I really understand what she means. I’ve been saving money since last September because I figured I’d be moving sometime in the near future. Now it’s July the next year and I’m moving. I’ve got enough money saved to buy a piece of furniture, new towels, flatware, a book case and things like that. Oh and I got a new toaster. She freaked out because although I reassure her I have enough money to buy these things she worries and expects that she’ll end up paying for them because that’s the way things have always been in the past.

I’ve always relied on her to bail me out financially. I didn’t go out and buy things I didn’t need, but she couldn’t see that. She just saw $$$ and doesn’t really trust me yet. I don’t blame her.

I’ve kept how much money I have saved private because I didn’t want her trying to make me spend it on paying for the movers or house cleaners. Maybe I should pay for them, but I’m not going to and I’ve explained why to her. I want my own things when I move into my own house. Everything I have is from her. She uses things, gets tired of them, and gives them to me. I don’t even have bath towels that I bought for myself. I’m 53 and I’m still getting hand-me-downs.

Yes, I’m thankful she’s taking care of my needs, but just this once I want to buy somethings for myself. She says she understands that, but I think she still thinks I’ll spend recklessly because that’s what I’ve always done in the past. I’m not going to do that. I’m paying for things as I go so I won’t overspend. I hope I’ll earn her trust as we go through this situation.

I’ve probably told you more than you want to know about the situation, but I have a good reason for that. As painful as it is to admit to anyone but myself that I let myself out of control and let my swinging moods overrun me, I’m admitting it now. I wasn’t careful and I let my mood change who I was.

I was acting like I used to act when we fought all the time. I really don’t want to blow all the hard work I’ve done or our relationship just because of some stress over moving. It was stupid really. I was just being stubborn and didn’t want to tell her how much money I have. To me it’s the only thing that’s really mine, I felt that she didn’t need to know how much money I’ve saved. I believed it wasn’t her business.

I finally reassured her things would be fine, but I did have to tell her how much money I’ve saved up. I told her I have enough to buy the things I’d showed her I was buying.

You know I did try to not fight about it. I sent her links to what I wanted to buy and asked her what she thought. I don’t know that she saw anything but the price. I think we’ve come to an understanding. I feel like my personality is intact again. There are so many things that affect our personalities. I think we all want people to like us. The way I was behaving wasn’t doing that.

Today I have been reflecting on losing my temper during the week. I think I’ve spotted what the triggers were. Now I’m more prepared for the next time my moods poke me and try to make me behave badly. I’m committed to having a pleasing personality. After all, I figure I’m more likely to be successful if people like me, and don’t try to avoid my bitchy ass.

My quest for reaching my goals and following my passions are back on track. Everything impacts these things. I’m not going to give up my dreams because my moods are swinging. I respect my moods and their swings, but I’m determined to live my life with positive passion.

Having a pleasing personality will move me towards my objectives. I’m committed to developing it.

I’m Learning to ACT Rather Than REACT

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{Please be patient. This is a little long. I hope you’ll stick with the whole thing.}

One of my favorite things to do is to respond to things from habit, rather than thoughtfulness, especially when talking with my mother. I REACT rather than ACT with thoughtfulness. The difference between the two is that:

REACTING is when she says something that I think is stupid (I start by judging her) I respond to her habitually with my emotions and treat her like she actually is stupid and I’m disrespectful as well. There is no consideration of her feelings or how what I say might impact her.

ACTING is when I have taking a moment to consider the situation and respond from thoughtfulness rather than just emotion. It is a response in a reasonable manner.

Ideally I should respond to her with my intellect managing my emotions. If I disagree with her I can say that I disagree with her instead of talking to her like she’s a moron.

For example we’re house hunting right now. We’re working together to choose a house for her to buy as an investment and me to live in. This would be a bad time for us to start fighting. Meaning, it would be a bad time for me to start acting primarily from my emotions and be a bitch.

One of the first houses we saw was well below her top price and so it was attractive to her for that reason. I walked into the kitchen and immediately announced it had to be completely gutted. It was an older obviously had never been updated and had no counter space. In her mind she probably saw that it was a kitchen that I could cook in. I saw that it needed good counter tops, new flooring and cabinets. She thought a coat of paint would work to fix it up. I struggled. If I became argumentative now it was going to be difficult to continue looking at houses without stress overtaking me.

Fortunately, our broker spoke up then and agreed with me about completely gutting the kitchen. I heard my mom take a small breath. I think reality was starting to catch up to her.

By the third house she seemed to start to understand that the less we spent, the more renovation would be needed. There was no way we were going to get a house in this area for the price she wanted to pay. I knew that. So far I’d managed to keep my mouth shut about it. I hadn’t informed her from my vastly superior intellect that there was no way we could find a habitable house in the area for her target price.

So far we haven’t done so well finding houses that might be suitable for me, my two cats, and my dog even though she raised the amount she was willing to pay. The housing market in this area is very tight. I have basically till September to find a house. After that I’m going back to school or getting a job and I won’t have time to just run off to look at houses. It will be more difficult to have time to view houses and move.

It’s hard for me to be patient with the whole process. My tendency is to ask mom everyday if she’s heard from Rhett (the broker). I know that’s not going to be helpful and might make her stress about it. I’m shooting for asking her every other day. I talk to her every day since my father passed last year so I’ll have to remember which days I bug her about it.

We just told Rhett that we wanted to narrow the search area to areas where crime wasn’t so high which meant areas that weren’t crammed together and really low income. She and I actually agree on the areas where we want him to look. If I hadn’t controlled my mouth, which can really be hard, I probably wouldn’t have been able to agree on looking in the more expensive areas. I don’t want to live in the Eastside and most of the places he was showing us were in the Eastside.

Since I started this adventure out on a good foot by controlling my tongue and my tone of voice I’ve given us a chance to actually enjoy each other’s company. I’m even tolerating her dog coming along with us better as we go on. I don’t care for her dog. Her dog is mean to my dog. I don’t like that at all. Oh well. It’s good for me to learn to be more tolerant. Isn’t it?

Every time I’m going to spend time with mom looking for houses or even just talking about them I try to prepare myself and get my emotions under control beforehand. I’m having a lot of anxiety. It would be so easy to take my negative feelings out on her, but they have nothing to do with her. It’s all about controlling my negative emotions and shutting my mouth unless I have something helpful to say. (How many of us have said that exact line?)

My therapist (the one that’s leaving) taught me that I can be the one to “drive the bus” as she put it. I could control my behavior or I could sit in the back of the bus and go where my emotions take me. And believe me, they take me a lot of bad places by habit even when I’m not totally depressed. It just feels natural.

Between working with my therapist and spending my own time reading and thinking about myself and my behavior, my emotions, and my thoughts I’ve gotten to the point that while I’m having trouble with anxiety (My son moved out a little over a week ago so I live alone now.) and even anger over not finding a house right away I’ve been able to treat my mom with some measure of respect and patience. So far. I give myself credit for that. It’s important to remember to give myself credit when I do well. It’s so easy to only recall the times when I explode in violent anger or crushing depressing.

Even though I’ve been doing well so far there is no telling when I might swing and become really depressed or manic. I’ve got to be careful to control my anxiety with my chill pills and take my handful of regular pills every morning and night. And, I have to watch out for my triggers. I take time for myself and think about the person I want to be. I really try to focus on that for longer than just a second or too. I really try to almost meditate on the specific person I want to be. It helps. And I take time to play with my dog. We walk and play. She’s my emotional support.

I can’t control when we find a house, but I can try to control my responses to that the search. That’s my goal. I’m going to control my behavior towards my mom, whom I love a lot, no matter what my feelings are about house hunting. I’ve committed myself to that. My mom deserves that. I deserve that too.

Changes and Triggers

By now I know that major changes in my life can trigger an episode. This is true for everyone who suffers from Bipolar Disorder. Last September I went to Florida to see my daughter for ten days. We spent nearly every day at one of the amusement parks. That plus the flights there and back were major stressors for me. Then just a few days after I got back, I started back to school at the University of Washington at Tacoma. That was another even bigger stressor. I admit, I didn’t do great dealing with the overload and eventually had to start on a chill pill so I could get back to where I could function.

Now I’m taking spring quarter off from school (another stressor) and am looking for a small house to buy closer to town (yet another stressor). I’m hoping that my son will move out when I move (stressor) so that I can just get it all over with at one time.

I’ve been reading one the books on my “Books” page called “The Bipolar Survival Guide” and it reminded me that these types of stressors can lead to episodes. I’ve not only got one stressor, but since my dad passed last year in January it’s been nonstop stress.

How am I doing? I’m listening to my dog and playing more and taking her to the park to walk her with my son, his girlfriend and her dog. I’m sleeping enough. I’m eating okay. I’m trying to eat better. I’m taking my meds on schedule. I’m not doing my usual occasional night of skipping my meds for a night just because I can, because that’s a stupid and risky thing to do. I have some wine in the refrigerator that I will be getting rid of. No more alcohol. I have enough stressors and triggers tapping on my “overload’ button without me purposefully adding more.

How am I doing right now? I want some of that Hersey chocolate frozen pie stuff, that’s how I’m doing.

I really wish I had some!

So now begins the time when I have enough time to realize how stressed I am and actually act stressed. I’m not looking forward to having free time. How’s that for weird?

Bipolar – Catastrophizing

Catastrophizing is something I’m very good at. It paralyzes me painfully and damages my daily life. I’m aware of the problem and some of how it affects me. I’m not yet good at reversing it or ignoring it or even of not doing it in the first place.

Catastrophizing is the habit of automatically assuming that everything is going to go to hell and acting accordingly. It is assuming that problems will always end badly. Assumptions and conclusions are magnified well beyond what is reasonable.

We catastrophize when we predict that everything will have a negative outcome; it is jumping to the conclusion where a negative outcome is always inevitable. When I catastrophize I lock myself into helplessness. I ruminate over my imagined trouble and I become hopeless. I catastrophize, and then immediately magnify everything.

Ruminate – Helpless – Magnify

My youngest daughter is going to be 18 June 23rd. She and her best friend have decided to move into a room in a duplex now instead of waiting until fall when school starts. I’ve been catastrophizing nearly nonstop. Over what? Mostly over their not being able to afford it. I can’t help them if they run out of money.

Ok, let’s say they can afford rent, what about food and other costs of living? Neither girl is working full-time. The friend is working part-time, but my daughter isn’t even working 15 hours a week. I’m in a panic over the whole thing. My daughter assures me that her average of 2 hours Tuesday thru Friday is going to increase. As a matter of fact, she says, she’s being trained every day to work in the lab. (She works in a dental office.) My opinion is that you should not count on money you don’t already have. I think they should wait until they know how much she will be making… for real.

I imagine that the girls believe they won’t run across a deal like this again, and maybe they wouldn’t. But that doesn’t mean they can afford it. I see a eating a lot of noodles in the future. (This also worries me because my daughter is skinny and can’t afford to lose any weight. This has been a problem for years.)

Money for school in the fall will be disbursed at the end of September for student housing. That’s a long time to wait to have more money for housing.

Am I catastrophizing  ? Or am I being cautious? And… how is my Bipolar affecting my thoughts and feelings?

Bipolar – Handling an Insane Schedule and Still Having Fun

I tend to forget a very important fact when I’m busy and especially when I’m going to be driving… I have chronic pain in my back and I tend to forget to take my Oxycodone. Or, if I’m going to be driving, I don’t take it. Late this afternoon I remembered I was in pain (I also take Lyrica for FM and have OA so go figure with all the pain right?), I remembered and I took my pain killer. Quickly I was able to do house work and things I had stopped doing again, like moving around like I’m not a super old and very cranky woman.

I’m not high. Just experiencing less pain. It’s makes such a difference with the Lyrica and Oxy and the anti-inflammatory they have me on for my OA.

Back to the really important stuff: The Magical How to Be Too Busy and Still Have Fun.

Since my last post things have gotten more complicated and because I neglected to take some of my meds as prescribed I started being angry for no good reason and wanting to lash out. Took my meds…. I’m ok now. I can’t stress enough that we have to take our meds. You don’t think you need them? Especially during this next 30 days or so then you are nuts and a dope. Take your meds.

Starting last
Saturday  – Afternoon at my parents just to visit (my dad has stage four cancer and they “say” he has 6 – 12 months left) My brother and I are trying to spend time with them as much as possible.

Sunday (today) – Early family dinner at my parents with Tony and Mat too (my brother and his partner)

Monday – Take Kyle to the bus at 7:50 (the transit bus line stops exactly 8 minutes before our house)
– Take Syd to friend’s house so friend can get Syd to work on time (Kyle and I will be heading to Seattle)
– Pick up kyle at UWT at 11:00
– Arrive at UW medical center to get my new dentures (only Kyle and Syd know I’m getting them now)
– Drive through Seattle/Tacoma traffic through rush hour home. Usually takes 2 to 2.5 hours. Crazy drive. Seatac is almost that far.
– Pick up Sydney at end of bus route at 6:00 or find her a ride home

Tuesday – Sydney Braces for teeth…. orthodontist appt. at 7:50 a.m.
– 3:00 Sydney works till 5
– Kyle school then works till 5
– My brother’s birthday – at Bob’s Burgers (Where everyone will see my new teeth and that I cannot work them very well yet. So funny!)

Wednesday – Pick up “Carol”, my friend for lunch at Seatac during her layover. Actually, I’m picking up Jessica (my other daughter) from the airport and sneaking her home to surprise her sibs. 1:15 p.m.
– 3:00 Sydney works till 5

Thursday – Thanksgiving where I will again try to eat and talk with my new face. I anticipate talking funny for a bit and eating… carefully. lol
– Dinner at my brother and Mat’s at 4:30. It will be a banquet for kings and queens. They always throw amazing parties. The food is amazing. But then, they have lots of money.

Sat – Sun Syd is supposed to work on a project with a girl from school…. only she doesn’t know her sister will be leaving Monday. OMG!

I think those are the highlights. All the while I will be thinking of my dad and how he’s doing. And that the stress of all these secrets is making my brain burn like a torch lighting the way to a wondrous gift: family… and taking my meds as prescribed every day. Even the stupid ones that want to be taken 3 times a day. Uh. Don’t you hate those? Makes me bonkers.

My friend Carol and Jessica are the only ones that know what’s going on. No, Jessica doesn’t know I’m coming to the airport with my face in (dentures, it really changes your face).

Now more how to survive Thanksgiving tips that I use myself:
Play games – I don’t care if they’re card games with others or computer games by yourself. Play something!
Breath – from deep down in the belly when you feel the stress monster coming for you.
Ask for a hug – you don’t even need to say why. Just ask for one… or give one, maybe more than one!
Eat properly, and drink lots of water. No booze. NO BOOZE. Seriously. Don’t drink it.
Get enough sleep.
Smile. Smile for others if you can’t for yourself. Don’t bring your world down to your mood if you’re cranky.
Meditate, pray, be still… recharge yourself. Go to your happy place.
Oh, and do not over eat.

And then the next day will come and what you did the day before will still be with you so make wise choices.

Lastly, if you have a service dog avail them of their services. It’s what you have them for! Mine is sleeping soundly in her place at the foot and her side of my bed. Even with her cone on she knows when I need her. (She had her girl bits removed and wants to lick it too much) So that damn cone  is another stressor for us all. It makes it very difficult to train her with it on.

I’ve taken on a lot this week. I’ve decided I can make it work if I take my time and keep things separated. I believe I can do this. I even have a separate schedule in my desk in my room for Jessica coming. If I mess that up the game will be blown. Normally, I wouldn’t do this much, but Jess and I decided she should come home for a quick visit now and a longer one in December in case something happens with my dad; her grandpa.

She just became a Senior Airman in the USAF. I’m so proud of her! Her new stripes and all that are so cool. I can’t wait to see the picture of her in her blues besides her selfie. lol

And now the test. Can I follow my own plans to succeed? Have I set myself up for a huge fall? I don’t think so. I’m having to focus on others;  always a good thing. Focus. That’s important. I’ve got to stay focused and balanced and ask for help when I need it. Sometimes that’s hard to do.

Let me know how you fair this week my friend. I’ll tell you how I do when I’m through next Monday.

May you escape the nibble of a turkey on the end of your nose. May you eat said turkey instead. May you stuff your bird with stuffing . And may you spend time with loved ones, even if it’s only by phone or Hangout or… thinking of them. A little bit of love goes a long way. May you succeed in all your goals

Ciao,

Robin

Bipolar – Video Games I Play and Why

I play Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls and Forge of Empires. 

D3: RoS – on the X-box
Why? Because I like to shoot things … a lot. So I play on a pretty low setting … just so I can blow stuff up and shoot the rest of it.
I’ve been playing this game for years. Many years.

FoE: Free Browser Game
Why? Because this strategy MMO makes me slow down. A lot. And I have commitments to friends I’ve made (some have carried over to become real life friends) and my guildmates. Also, if I want to advance I have to think. You know, strategically.
I’ve been playing this game for about a year and a half.
Interested in playing? Go HERE

I have agression (read anger, temper tantrum, irritation, yelling, “tossing” things issues occasionally…). I find playing both these games helps me a great deal.

I see my med provider tomorrow. I have a cunning plan to aid in my “stability” and questions about possibly increasing my dosage of a medication.

Hmmm… I’m trying to find a way to learn to add biofeed back to my regiment of strategies (there’s that word again) to maintain and/or achieve a healthy lifestyle. Well, to achieve a healthier me. A healthier me makes for a healthier family. This is a huge motivation. I’m talking about both reasons. Also, my puppy will know when I’m coming and when I’m going. Presently she comes when I sneeze. Yes, for real.