Category Archives: Mania

Bipolar Parent

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Greetings friends, how are you doing in these wee hours of Friday morning?

Me? I’ve been both better and worse. Thursday had hours I enjoyed… then it crashed and burned as only the day of a parent can do.

When my three kids were young I had impressed even my ex-mother-in-law (let’s call her Kathy) with how well behaved and just good all around people my children were. Now, we are being stalked by rough and naked emotions that have always existed (that would be me, Bipolar parent) but are now beyond my own mind and have grabbed hold of my youngest.

I thought I was a good person growing up. I felt as though I were a likable person, yet I didn’t have many friends. I was lonely much of the time and kept my own company out on our small ranch with my horse, dogs, cats, chickens, pigs, cows and the occasional ducks.

I was a shit.

Seriously. I was a short, freckled shit. Today my mother and I can look years back and point to much of my careening and completely out of control behavior and emotions and say, “That, that right there!” And recognize it as full on Bipolar Disorder presenting before I even had my drivers license.

In short – I was angry all the time and blamed everyone one else for everything. My depression and anger were crushing me and the only name I could give it was – sin. I was a practicing Christian and all those “evil” emotions were clearly not of God… but that’s a topic for another time.

My youngest and his regular doctor decided that he does not have the highly genetic Bipolar brain that I’m still learning to embrace. Anxiety. Depression. Mania. Mood swings. Irrational behavior. That’s Scott, my “I’m a psych major. I already know how to deal with anger and anxiety.”

Scott is transitioning from my second daughter, Sydney, to my second son, Scott. (Incidentally my father’s name was Scott.) Scott is undergoing hormone treatment. He wasn’t always easy to talk to about things that he felt “attacked” him. Now he’s so much more difficult.

I despair.

He turns 21 this Saturday. He’s angry and bitter and is working so hard to make people not like him that I just want to sit down and breathe like I’m having a baby all the time. He and his wife are both psychology majors who it seems aren’t studying behavior.

Odd.

Scott sounds just like I did. If transitioning changes him into the sex his mind believes him to be, then I will continue to try to learn and gain deeper understanding. However, he’s a grown man (he says) and I expect him to at least respect me.

§ On Father’s Day Scott thanked me for being both his mom and his dad growing up. §

What I will not do is accept from him the same behavior at 21 that I had at 14. He has tools around him to teach him about what’s running loose in his little grey cells. Me – religion, animals, and hypnosis.

The weight of his relentless ill-will and violent anger crushed me at dinner. It was like fighting with my dad, but I was the reasoning one (yeah, no. My dad wasn’t good at being rational when angry either.)

Top the whole bloody mess off with a leaking red cherry on it and you have a self-entitled disrespecting second son.

I’m not having it anymore.

Being a parent with Bipolar is terrifying literally every second of that child’s life for me. With Scott acting like the individual (did I mention pressured speech?) that he clearly isn’t I have no clue how to even begin to help him to stop yelling into my face that I should shut up because I’m not listening.

Huh?

Parenting the twenty-something kid today is a massive challenge for this Bipolar mom. I have been charged with the crime of trying to build good family memories. I have felt despair and anger towards Scott. These are not the memories I want to build. We’re going to work this out, but I realize that I will very possibly react like I have Bipolar Disorder while we do it.

I can do this. I can figure out my part in healing our relationship. Be loving and kind… and forgiving.

However, Scott is a grown man and if he does not have Bipolar Disorder or some other explanation for his behavior, then he’d better watch out. I corralled the three of them through their teens by myself and while not properly medicated for my illness.

Respect me as your mom.

Respect my illness.

Respect yourself and get help if we just can’t talk it out.

I really wanted to go old school, like back to when I was a kid, and wash his mouth out with some nasty bar of soap like Dial or Lava and spank him with a wooden spoon. Two if the first one breaks.

Sigh….. parenting never ends, not really. My mom is still my mom. Who else would she be?

Scott, baby? YOU! It’s time for YOU to shut up and listen.

Bipolar – Success

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I’ve had a vision stuck in the farthest recesses of my mind that I wanted to graduate from UWT since I was in high school over 35 years ago. I’ve been going to University of Washington Tacoma for the last three years. Each year my troubled mind kicked and screamed in what seemed like unending sparks burning deeper and more cruelly each quarter. The extremes that my moods spanned mania, anxiety and depression still terrify me like tangable echoes that have not yet faded. But then I’ve not even been graduated for a week yet. I’ve been told I should, that I must, stop being so hard on myself. I’ve made the Dean’s List nearly every quarter.

What does all this mean to me? It means that I’m still the same person. I have the same kinds of difficulties. And I can achieve more than I can achieve far more than I imagined possible only 5 years ago.

I ended my journey rough and in a sort of shock. I backed out to handle the stress that passed beyond my endurance.

But… I’d like to share some images of my fanciful trip through my personal looking glass with you. Let’s begin with the end, and then I’ll show you where it all happened (accept for panicking at home every day). Please watch my slideshow with me.

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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.

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 – Magnificent Obsession

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I believe that I, a person with Bipolar Disorder, can have a definite purpose in life. I believe although I have Bipolar Disorder I can have a main goal for my life and I believe I can reach it. I believe I have the ability to find a magnificent obsession, an overwhelming passion to dedicate my life to.

The illness ate year after year of my life, but now I understand that it doesn’t have to get a free pass to destroying me. I say this although I suffered for years of feeling like I was being ravaged from within. I can remember doing things, thinking things, and feeling emotions that were bipolar even when I was a young teen.

My poor mom. I was a devil to live with growing up. My depression often expressed itself as vicious anger. She tried to help me. She knew something was wrong. Some of the things she tried included counseling, religion, hypnotism, and sending me to live with relatives for the summer hoping that they could get through to me. Nothing helped. I once tried to kill my brother by bouncing on his chest till he turned purple. I only stopped because I knew that I would get in trouble if I actually killed him.

I knew something was terribly wrong with me. In high school I started actively searching to help myself I started going to church and there began chasing hard after God for the next 25 years. During my most devoted years I attended a Bible college and earned a bachelor’s degree.

Still, I suffered.

Many of my symptoms of bipolar disorder presented looking very much like sin. I couldn’t stop being bipolar and I couldn’t stop the “sinning”. No one knew I was sick and even if they had, I don’t believe they had the tools to help me. At one point some of the missionary staff tried to cast demons out of me.

Years later when I was a single mom and had left religion far behind me I no longer felt like a condemned sinner. Having that weight lifted off my shoulders did a lot to enable me to get out from under some of the self-created depression and condemnation. I had been obsessed with trying to stop sinning and all I succeeded in doing was make my condition worse.

I suffered and slowly died inside as I impacted my three young children with the violence of my inner turmoil. I said things, I threw things… I did a lot of things I wish they had never experienced.

I learned about success teacher Tony Robbins on an infomercial and began on my quest to be successful. I hoped that “success” would give me the strength to not give in to the urges of my illness. I thought that if I could be successful, I could be in control of myself. If people could use these principles to get rich, maybe I could use them to be successful in controlling my bipolar. I ordered the material he was selling and set to work enthusiastically doing the 30-day program.

Something amazing happened to me while I was going through the program: I learned how to think before I reacted and I learned I could preserver when I failed and I could try again. I learned to never accept defeat. I learned I could choose how I wanted to behave and I could actually behave that way. I was able to change the way I thought about myself, who I was and what my future might hold. I learned to have hope.

I’ve worked for years to follow certain success principles. I’d go for long periods of time when I forgot about them especially when I was depressed. The illness is still with me, my companion for life.

Today, I believe I’m successful. I’m doing what I love every day. I’ve taken the additional success materials of Napoleon Hill and Clement Stone and found that I could have a purpose for my life, regardless of who I am, and I found principles to help me achieve it.

These principles help me get up in the morning and do things that I know will fight my depression, my mania and all that lay between so that I can function and keep chasing my goals and be successful. I refuse to lose to my illness. I may have setbacks when the illness does overtake me and I will tell you that for many years I lost the fight against it and realistically I will probably have times when I feel I’ve lost to it in the future. Right now, I’m taking my life back. That’s why I blog. It is one way I’m taking back my life back.

I still have to take chill pills daily along with all my other meds. I’m not anywhere near perfect or even functioning at my best. But, when the hill has been climbed and I’m back among the living I still have my purpose to drive me. I’d like to say it’s a reason I get up in the mornings, but I’m not there yet. Yet.

I have a magnificent obsession I’m focused upon. I have goals and dreams that I am working on so that they will come true. I believe I can be even more successful than I can possibly understand today.

I have Bipolar Disorder and I’m amazing.

 

A Visit From Etiquette of Madness

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I’ve not been able to post for a little while so I’d like to share with you a post from my other blog  The Etiquette of Madness. It’s similar to this, only different. I hope you enjoy it.

It’s one thing to recognize the madness, it’s another thing to fix it.

Wait. I forgot. It can’t be fixed. We need to learn how to live with it.

Have hope. It can be managed so that we can live rich and meaningful lives.

I’ve been thinking about the difference between “manners” and “etiquette”. When I say “The etiquette of madness” I mean living with the illness and interacting with our world in appropriate ways. I realize this is not always an easy thing to do. I have a few things that I do to help me get on or stay on track interacting with the world around me. It is a pretty short “to do” list, but every element is essential to my wellbeing.

Steps to Proper Etiquette
Take medications as prescribed and do not forget to take them
See counselor regularly and do not skip appointments
Regularly see personal physician
Have support system in place to reach out to (even one person counts)
Exercise and eat well to be healthy physically
Have a purpose in life
______________________ fill in with your own idea

Purpose
The first five things on the list are things you’ve probably heard before. Having a purpose for your life might be something you’ve not thought about in dealing with living with Bipolar Disorder. If you are a religious person your purpose is probably something along the lines of serving your God. If you’re not religious you’ll have to think about it and decide what your purpose for being here is. This is especially important when you’re feeling depressed and like there is no reason for you to keep living. Having a purpose can give you something to hold on to when part of your brain says, “Why am I alive? I can’t do this anymore. I want to die.” Another part of your brain can answer and say, “I have a reason to live. No matter how I feel right now, I still have a reason to be alive. I will fight and not quit because the world needs me.”

When to determine your purpose in life
If you are depressed right now this will probably be more difficult for you to do. Ideally being in a state that hovers between depression and mania is the best time to nail down your life purpose. If you’re manic and trying to do this, use common sense to balance out your manic state. When you’re really high you might think you can change the world, but that isn’t logical and probably isn’t going to happen. Be realistic, but aim high. You are not an ordinary person. You are extraordinary and have unlimited possibilities.

People with Bipolar Disorder Who Achieved Great Things
Just a very small list of people you may have heard of who were diagnosed or are recognized as having had or have Bipolar Disorder (You could be a member of this list one day):
Patricia Cornwell – One of the most successful crime novelists of all time
Kay Redfield Jamison – Author and doctor
Patty Duke – Actress and author
Carrie Fisher – Actress and author
Vincent von Gogh – Painter
Demi Lovato – Actress, singer, author
Catherine Zeta-Jones – Actress
Jean-Claude Van Damme – Actor
Jim Carrey – Actor and comedian
Kurt Cobain – Musician
Ernest Hemingway – Author
Robin Williams – Comedian and actor
Virginia Woolf – Author
Frank Sinatra – Singer and actor
Sidney Sheldon – Producer and author
Ted Turner – American media businessman. Founder of CNN

(This list is compiled primarily from Wikipedia and by Kay Redfield Jamison in her book Touched with Fire”

My Favorite Blog

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I have a handful of blogs I read each day, blogs which I’m in intrigued or inspired by. My favorite blog at the moment is one by a person who has bipolar disorder, PTSD, and anxiety. I have the same with the added alphabet bits of ADHD. I enjoy the honesty the blog is written with and the story quality it is written with. I don’t necessarily feel inspired and like I’ve had a life changing experience after I’ve read it, but I do feel relaxed, knowing I have a kindred soul out there who is better at expressing herself than I am.

Go see musings of a mad woman to be entertained and perhaps like me, you will find a kindred soul. If you like what you find tell her so. If you don’t, well, click off to someplace else. She understands the etiquette of madness. Enjoy.

Musings of a mad woman

The Word at My Fingertips

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I’ve been despairing that not attending classes this quarter will drop me down the chute to the hell that is a bipolar episode. One day to the next I’ve been wavering this way and that trying to decide how I will handle this free time. We have some family issues going on that take time, but I still have all 24 hours of each day inside of my own head.

I love to read.

I love to write.

I have abundant time to do both right now so the logical thing would be for me to do them. Right? Maybe. It depends on the mood I woke up in and what I can do to improve it if it needs improving upon. Today, it doesn’t need improving. I’m in a good mood and even spent some time at my Mom’s house when my brother Tony took her lunch. He gets together with her once a week for lunch or something else. Kyle and I took Bailey over to play with Cricket, Mom’s Jack Russel Terrier. We had a nice time. I stayed calm the whole time. I even had some fun.

I’ve been surfing the web looking for news websites I could visit regularly to get ideas for stories for about a week now. So far I’m less than enthused. I don’t really want to buy a subscription to the New York Times for the web and tablet spring special price of $2.50 a week (going back to $5.00 a week when the promotion is over).

I clicked here and I clicked there and I finally ended up someplace interesting. I found an article “The Secret You Need to Know About Ebooks” on The Book Insider website. It had a link to one of those sites where you can find actual really good books for free or really cheap. A lot of books. I typically ignore sites like this but I surprised myself this time and signed up. Then I checked some boxes saying what I was interested in and Shaazzam! FREE BOOKS. Books I’ll actually read them. Maybe. It depends on how manic I become.

After spending about an hour carefully selecting books to “read” because we all know I’ll read them all, I experienced a feeling. I felt like I’d found something I was looking for.

Words. We all use them. Some of us use them for good and some for bad but we all use them. Now I have a wealth of books to read and learn from. Books to consider and be instructed in the fine art of writing by. And, probably some books I’ll just delete and not waste my time with. Nevertheless, I have books.

I’ve been reading a substantial amount over the last week or so and I was starting to tire of it, which is bad. Then I found all these free and low cost books and the manic bit of myself was awakened. I like it when it is awake. It feels good. I can do amazing things when I’m a bit manic. The trick is to not let it take me over.

The plan, if it can be said to be a plan, is to read and write and be as productive as I can for as long as I can. It will stop, this manic touch. The question is will I be in a good place when it does.

In the meantime let’s load these ponies up in the truck and see how far we can take them.

It’s exciting to be a bit manic! Let’s just hope I can keep it under control.

Now that’s a silly thing to say if I ever heard one.

Changes and Triggers

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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?

The Day After a Little Surge

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Yesterday I had a surge of mental energy that I’ve not felt in quite some time. It felt fantastic. I wanted the day to go on all night. But, eventually, it got dark and my body’s natural clock told me it was time to slow down and get ready for bed.

I miss the manic, the semi-controlled mania of not quite out-of-control-full-blown manic panic. My goal, is to get so excited about something that I’ll feel that way all the time. By something I mean my life’s passion, in this case, hopefully something that will pay the bills too. How cool will it be to have the things I’m most passionate about be the thing I get to do everyday and not feel guilty about. I think I’m getting close to achieving that understanding that goal, that passion. Now to put it into practice.

So I’m down off my surge of yesterday. I had classes today. I’m in the undergraduate program at the University of Washington Tacoma. I had a hard time in both classes. My first class doesn’t really engage me and in my second class I read the article we talked about nearly a week before class the first time I read it and when she asked if we had any questions about it all I could remember was that I didn’t understand all of it. I knew she’d ask exactly what I didn’t understand and she did. I did my best to explain, flipping through the pages and looking at what I’d underlined.

The second class, the one I had to do the reading for, is Creative Non Fiction with Abby Murray. I’m really enjoying the class and the unique style in which she’s teaching it. I’d blow a gasket if she just told me to turn in three poems and turned me loose. Instead she’s trying to get us engaged before she turns us loose. She tries to “prime the pump” as it were. She gives us a writing prompt in class and we spend some time writing right then and there. Then we talk about it and sometimes share what we’ve written. I don’t feel like I did very well tonight. Metaphors and similes… yikes!

I really want to write one about Caitlyn Jenner. How funny is that? We read one about Lana turner last quarter in another class. It was kind of fun. I want to see if I can pull that off with Jenner and her authenticity. I’m fascinated by her and what she’s doing. I’ll explain more about that later.