Category Archives: Manic

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 – 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 Mixing Ahead

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I’m feeling manic and depressed and distressed and full of anxiety. I hate these feelings. I’m coasting along, knowing these are the better days and I should not waste them. The plan… I have a plan. I have part of a plan.

And my cat is kneading the edge of my blanket that’s sticking out from under my head. OMG! He purrs SO LOUD! – I digress…

I haven’t looked at Facebook for weeks. I want to connect with old friends, but I’m afraid. (This bit is what triggered me) A while back I finally found a friend I’d lost long ago. This friend is doing well. In fact, when I ask how things are going I’m always told that things are perfect. Couldn’t be better. Married the love of their life. I guess I’m happy that things are so perfect for this friend. But I’m not, and it has nothing to do with this stinking sudden mixed episode I’m currently enjoying.

I watched the whole speech given by the student about all the loss and pain that murder by gun has brought us recently. Emma González speech

Then I read about a friend’s dad that went scary nuts at the hospital, and about another friend (about 25 years old) whose grandfather just molested her. You know how family members are often in denial? Grandma denied it and she ended up in jail. I don’t have the details and I don’t care about them because details are not what I’m so freaked out about.

Another friend is excited to not have needed pain meds today and is looking forward to doing chores and growing her eyebrows back in. Then I saw an honestly beautiful painting a dear friend just finished of three burrows… I think it was the burrows that got me.

My mixed state is just like our worlds today. I say “worlds” because we each live in our own little spheres, our worlds. None of them are like another.

There is nothing I can do to influence any of these people’s lives right now. But I’ve been working on influencing mine. I’ve been expressing to you what I’m thinking and feeling right now.

I feel my emotions smoothing out, the peaks aren’t so drastic.

Have you ever tried to listen to music or waterfalls or rain and soft music at night to help you get sleepy? I have. I’ve tried dozens of sounds. I’ve found something that I didn’t even know existed while chasing rabbits on YouTube. It’s a train going down tracks, at a constant speed, with no whistles, no horns, just the steady and almost hypnotic sound of a traveling train.

Wow, thanks for walking with me through that. If the circumstances had been different, well, I’d rather not go there.

I’d like to get my perfect friend to more than tell me we all have our own journeys
we must live. That’s crap. If you have a friend you know is in pain, and you have training in that field and you don’t reach out…. shame….

Shame on me.

Things to do ASAP: call Karen, email Marcella, email School the email, get pic of Bailey, myself and my daughter Jessica with the Easter bunny, clean hardwood floors, throw ball for Bailey on obstacle course, use elliptical, write, do class time in online classes on mindfulness and short story writing… today. If I can get my butt out of bed when the alarm goes off and don’t watch TV I have a good chance of getting it all done. If not, some will roll over into Monday.

And yes, I do sometimes do exactly what I say not to do. I set my bar too bloody high. Yep. I do that… sometimes.

(Written last night at midnight)

Angry, Raging, Bipolar

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

Fish. I feel rather like a fish.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Question is: what’s gonna give?

Addendum: Read on, please. This changed everything.

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

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

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

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

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

Do you understand?

What’s your mission? Tell me.

Robin

 

 

 

Bipolar – Does It Make Me Stupid?

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Am I stupid? Or am I just depressed?

Over the years I’ve said that I feel like I’m dumber than I was when I was younger. The older I was getting, the stupider I felt. I was honestly concerned that this was a part of the natural aging process and was happening to me early or a part of Bipolar Disorder. Maybe over time Bipolar Disorder destroyed the brain and I was naturally losing my ability to think because that was something that came with the illness.

Felt.

Years later I learned that the way I felt had nothing to do with my intelligence. I have a mood disorder, not an IQ killer.

I wasn’t becoming mentally challenged. It was all about moods. Not intelligence.

Intelligence.

Mood disorder.

Not the same.

The way I thought about it was with violence. I was so angry and frustrated that I couldn’t think things through. I made bad decision after bad decision. I “felt” stupider. That’s key with our Bipolar Disorder. We can feel stupid. (If you don’t ever feel dumber, you can skip this post.) If you have, keep reading because it is important that you understand what’s going on in your brain.

We have what is known as a mood disorder. That is, we have moods that are extreme and can fluctuate wildly compared to a regular person. Instead of being sad, we become extremely depressed. Instead of being angry, we become enraged. Instead of being excited, we become manic.

These mood fluctuations and extremes impact the way we think. They don’t make us stupid, but we can feel that way. The moods interfere with the way we think.

People tell us to think positively, things will be okay. Unfortunately, the weight of depression can prevent us from feeling like we can think at all, much less think positively.

When I first heard of Tony Robbins, success coach and public speaker, I tried out one of his 30-day programs designed to teach me to be successful. All I had to do was follow the directions spelled out on the card that went with each day and listen to the 30-minute tape that went with it.

The program challenged me to change my thinking. That was the basis of the program, change your thinking to be successful. I was depressed. I didn’t feel like I could do it. So, I quit. I felt like I was too stupid to understand the lessons. That had to be what was wrong. It never occurred to me that my illness could be impacting my ability to think clearly and keeping me from focusing on the lessons and understanding what Mr. Robbins was teaching. I’ve gone back to Mr. Robbins teachings recently and discovered that I understand him just fine. I wasn’t depressed this time. I was able to understand what he taught and use some of the principles he presented.

I’m not stupid.

I have a mood disorder.

If you have a mood disorder, please understand that it does not mean you are dumb.

I don’t know how intelligent you are or are not. I do know that Bipolar Disorder does not make you less intelligent.

Bipolar Disorder does not make you dumb.

It is a mood disorder, not a brain eater.

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”

Successfully Bipolar

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My daughter and her puppy Mercy and my dog Bailey on their play date today.

Disasters for yesterday: My elderly (14 years old) cat has been diagnosed with cancer. She throws up at least twice a day on the carpet. Next, while out walking my 2 year old cattle dog barfed. Next I gave the cat the steroids in liquid form and it went all over the kitchen. The dog came to see what was going on and chased the scared cat off. Sigh. I’ll try again tomorrow.

I’m a firm believer in striving and working hard to be successful whether it’s in dealing with myself and my mental health issues or it’s working towards my financial goals. I’m doing so much better with my brain than I am with my finances.

I’ve always been fascinated by success and successful people. While I haven’t been obsessed by it, I have relied upon it to pull me through some pretty serious depressed phases. I have found help in

I believe, that I can follow my passions and reach my goals despite having Bipolar Disorder, PTST and ADHD. I try to live like I believe that. I study and think about my issues and how to be successful. There have been many times when I think about giving up and just trying to survive. Sometimes just living is all I can do… when I’m profoundly depressed.

Today, I’m thinking about what I want to do with my life (I’m 53). I’ve taken to studying how to be successful and reach my goals again. I’ve been reading a new book on Bipolar Disorder so that I can deal with myself more effectively. It’s helping me realize I really am depressed.

One of the first things I’ve learned is that what I think about the most is going to express itself outwardly eventually. It’s like when I get stuck in the circle of depression and all I can think about is how depressed I am, I stay depressed. What I have to do is try to choose to change my thinking, change my state.

Why should I strive for success? What does that even mean? Can I, a person with Bipolar Disorder, even be successful? Or will my illness keep me from reaching my goals?

Every person desires to be successful. They may not identify what they’re doing as trying to be successful, but it is. I want to be successful even it means just liking themselves and I bet you do too.

All people want to be successful. Being successful doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re trying to be rich. People who go to work generally do so to get paid to make money. That money is needed to cloth, feed and have shelter for themselves and the people they live with. Making money is what they are striving for and when they get it, they are successful, but maybe they see their goal as providing for their family.

There is another kind of success where making money is secondary. This is when what you’re doing is something you love doing. You’re following your passion. When you’re able to follow your passion you are successful. The best thing is to follow your passion and make money doing it, at least that’s my goal.

If I set a goal and reach the goal, I am being successful. If you are a person with Bipolar Disorder, you can be successful. If you’re currently depressed you may not feel that way right now, but it really is true. You and I can be successful.

When I’m depressed the idea of reaching a goal is usually the last thing I think of. I’m usually just trying to get up and get through one day at a time.

When I’m manic and I can slow down enough to remember that I have goals, I usually make great strides towards my goals. I love chasing my dreams, my passions and my goals during the manic magic. The problem is I do a lot of chasing and not a lot of catching.

Right now I’m somewhat depressed according to the assessment my new counselor recently gave me. I feel pretty good. I’m focusing on my goals and my passions. It feels good. But I have to ask myself if I should be trying to follow my passion right now. I’m on disability and don’t have a job. I really don’t have any money. Following my passion isn’t going to give me a paycheck or make me money any time soon. But you know what? It is the one thing I can hold on to, when I remember, that I can do fairly well and I can indulge in it anytime I want to. I want to be better at it every day. I hope that I am.

I hope that when you feel well enough, you can figure out what you love about life, what your passions are. I hope that when you close your eyes you can see you and your passion together, see yourself engaged in your passion.

And now, true to my bipolar self, I’m having a mood swing. I had an incident giving my cat some medication and it went very wrong. She was diagnosed with cancer today. Not a great day. But I’ll try to give it to her again tomorrow. I have to hold my shit together right? I’m alone now there isn’t anyone to help me and Siberia is depending on me.

Yah think this is a small test to see if I’m determined to be successful? Yah I don’t think so. It’s just how things go sometimes. I’ll try again tomorrow.

Making Good Moods

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I know that Bipolar Disorder is a mood disorder. I understand that. In my experience, my interpretation of it is that our moods swing from one extreme to the other and are super intense. They mess with our thinking and we make can bad choices. According to the National Institute of Mental Health “Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.” Sounds pretty negative over all. It doesn’t have to stay that way.

I’ve talked about triggers in previous posts and how you should avoid triggers that cause you to have bipolar episodes and go into a tailspin. I have found that as we finally found the right medications and the right dosages of those medications coupled with counseling and learning about myself and my illness on my own, that I can actually experience moods that aren’t scary. I can be happy and know that it doesn’t have to mean I’m manic. I can make good memories from doing things that put me in good moods that I’m finally able to experience. (If you’re not where I am, don’t give up. Never stop fighting to be better.)

The more in control of my illness I am, the more I am free to feel healthy emotions without fear of losing control. It’s important to realize that being well doesn’t mean not having emotions at all. Getting rid of all manic type feelings would leave me unhappy and unfulfilled. I want to experience the highs I get when I’m doing something I love. Those are good, healthy moods.

When I am not being a slave to my emotions when they are out of control I can make choices that impact how I feel. That’s exciting to me. I can make my own choices and control my responses. (If you’re depressed, and I know some of you are, hang in there. You can feel better. Never give up fighting to be happy. You have the ability to learn and grow and follow your treatment plan and reach stability too.)

I admit that I am a little depressed right now. I’ve got too many major stressors happening in my life and they are having an impact on me. (My father passed just a year ago, my daughter moved out 11 months ago and my son 2-3 weeks ago, I’m taking the quarter off school, and I’m looking for a house to move into in town.) So far I’ve been able to keep from spinning out of control. I’m staying on my meds and meeting with my counselor. I’m trying to have healthy habits at home including playing with and training my dog and walking with her and eating better. I’m trying to sleep less. Getting up has always been a struggle but when I’m depressed it is so much worse.  I’ve resorted to having people I know who get up before me call me and get me up for a few days to help break the cycle of over sleeping. 10 hours a night is just too much.

My point of all this is that it is possible to get to a point where we can feel healthy emotions, emotions that are good for us. I journal and I make sure to write about the good times… as well as the difficult ones so I can go back and prove to myself that it isn’t all horrible.

If I keep working hard to stay stable I can keep experiencing health/good emotions, and so can you.

“I had many battles to win over myself-and that was work too….” WC Stone, success and motivational teacher

Alcohol and Bipolar Meds

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One of my biggest temptations that can trigger an episode or interfere with the way my medications work is alcohol. Having a drink. It just seems like a nice way to relax at the end of a long day or when I just want to mellow out a little bit more.

While I’m not in the mood for a drink I’m going to think about it. Most if not all of my psychiatric medications warn me not to drink alcohol or use other drugs while taking my prescribed medication. Okay. I’ve been warned. I ignore warnings sometimes. Should I ignore this particular warning?

We desire to have a drink at the end of a stressful day because alcohol is a depressant and we want to chill out.

Fun Fact: People with bipolar disorder are five times more likely to develop alcohol misuse and dependence than the rest of the people around us (the National Institute of Mental Health).

What does that mean, really? It means that alcohol is a leading TRIGGER of depressive episodes if you have bipolar disorder. According to WebMD “The link between bipolar disorder and substance abuse is explosive.”

In my mind, if I’m drinking alcohol and am taking medications that indicate I am NOT to take alcohol while I’m taking them, I’m engaging in substance abuse. Can you see why I look at it that way? Drinking can endanger my life while I’m taking these other medications and disrupt all my efforts to treat my disorder. I’ve worked too hard to reach a place where I mostly feel stable to jeopardize it by drinking a 4-pack of coolers that might easily become another 4-pack.

I realize a 4-pack of coolers isn’t likely to kill me but consider that if I’m depressed and drinking a depressant am I helping myself relax, in my depressed state, or making myself more likely to abuse alcohol while I feel like it’s deadening the stress of my day? When I’m depressed I don’t tend to make good choices. My inhibitions are lowered. I might do things I would otherwise not do. It’s the same for a non-bipolar person, but I’m special. I have all this other stuff going on too. While a person without bipolar disorder may return to normal the day after drinking we have to figure out how to slow down the wheels of our possibly artificially elevated mood phase we’re in and slow back down to a healthy place.

Is it okay to stop taking my meds for a few days and then go drinking and start back on my meds after that? Um, no. Many of the drugs used for bipolar disorder must be ramped up slowly to get to the dosage that is effective for us. It can be dangerous to just stop taking a drug cold turkey and then start back at the high level again. I’m currently taking a medication that I need to be careful not to miss a single dosage.

When I’m struggling with mood instability (which is what it’s all about after all) I’ve found that it’s a pretty simple thing… bipolar disorder and alcohol don’t belong in the same body.

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