Bipolar – Stoned Siblings

I just got off the phone with my youngest child and I’m heartbroken.

He says he tells people all the time what a badass I am. He’s a psych major and he now understands a tiny bit of what it must have taken for me to raise three kids with my illness. He tells people how I raised them sick and even had a knee replacement, twice. It’s a good story to tell people to get them to buck-up. He tells them to get over themselves. Look what my mom did.

He was telling how great it has been lately for him when he spends time with his brother. They’ve been bonding, getting stoned, hanging out. (We’re in WA and it’s legal here.)

I was crushed.

I’m a mom. A parent. I’m weird… but I’m a parent. I’ve always pushed myself to be the best parent I could be. Suddenly, again, I feel like I failed. It doesn’t make any sense I suppose. It doesn’t really have to because I know how I feel and I FEEL like I failed them.

I know I’m being emotional. I am emotion. Always emotion.

I feel like I failed my babies. Why? Things have been going pretty well. They’ve been bonding when they’re high. Okay. Okay. I feel, like I failed them because they have to be high to bond. To relax around each other they’ve got to be stoned. So what. So what?

I was just having a great conversation with him on the phone. The longer we talked the more I realized that he was being the most relaxed talking with me that he’s been in a long time. Awesome! Right? Right.

I’m a good parent. I know I am. But –

Why do my kids have to be stoned to be loving?

It isn’t a big deal. It’s legal.

But why do they have to be stoned? Why stoned? Why?

I’m going to bed. I’m too tired to handle this. I can’t do effective damage control in my brain trying not to blame myself when I’m tired. I am blaming myself. I don’t feel like I did a good job raising them if they have to be stoned to be good people to each other, to me.

Again, I feel like I failed.

Should I get stoned too?

No…. not more drugs. Not stoned. Not me. I just can’t do that.

I’m Bipolar 1-How Much Further Must I Go?

I’m dang angry. I’ve worked my agitated ass off for three years, stumbling under the nightmares of depression and raging as anxiety unleashed tries to undo all that I’ve endured. So close. One more quarter and I’ll graduate from UWT. One more quarter and I’ll have to get a job and support myself.

Listen to me dear Reader, if you have a medical professional who won’t listen to you or thinks your complaint is in your head (duh) or is in some way not treating you with the dignity and respect that your insurance dollars demand of them… stand up and say something! You do not always need to be nice. Trust me on this one.

I learned long ago to hide much of my mental crappiness that was going on in my skull. I was super high functioning. I had kids to raise. I can play the “I’m fine, I’m a great” parent game.

But you know what? Turns out that didn’t help the “me” of today. The “me” of today STILL needs something for anxiety. Go ahead moron. Yes, you Jamie, you have ignored my pleas for something to do for me what all the hundreds of hours of counseling have been unable to do… relieve my over the top anxiety.

I’ve asked this woman for something for anxiety since the first time I saw her. You know what she did? She started lowering my Clonazapam (spelling). Every time I’ve seen her, she reduces it. “It is just one less pill. You’ll be okay.” [bitch]

I went home with 10 pills for 30 days.

She increased my Ritalin dosage and made it extended length. I didn’t ask for that. What? You want me to calm down so we can finish our 20 minutes on time? Have you dosed me so that I’ll be a good woman and let you get done with me?

Well guess what? The shits hitting this fan.

Can any of you relate? Have you felt unheard and improperly treated? Guess what? You are NOT ALONE. Not by a screaming momma long shot.

I have IBSd. I had to talk to my counselor from home. Since I was in my own I felt FREE to explain again about my anxiety and graduation and jobs and money and acting out in class because I simply cannot contain the mountain of anxiety spilling … over into my phone call.

For an hour I yelled about Jamie to my poor counselor. I accused her of having her own agenda and it didn’t include my mental health. I’m done. She either treats my anxiety when I see her next week or –

Or I will hand deliver a letter I’ve been writing about our times together to the facility director. I’m done.

I’ve worked my hardest, trying to keep hold of myself while my wild mood swings tried to prevent me from my goal – getting a college degree at 55.

This, this Jamie, she can’t seem to hear, see, understand, empathize or give a rats ass whether I self-destruct because my anxiety has paralyzed me again. I sit on the sofa and I cry because I’m terrified I’ll fail. So I don’t start. Then the panick sets in as I realize I can’t write the paper.

In the name of the oath that we have been lead to believe that those in the medical profession must swear to, treat me for my illness.

I cannot imagine going through the graduation ceremony in the Tacoma Dome with my freaking anxiety not treated.

I cannot imagine the day after graduation when I need to be looking for a job, but because Jamie didn’t treat my well documented illness I am instead sitting in the back yard vegetable garden pretending to being weeding. The problem with this scenario is that I have arthritis, and if I have sat in the garden without anyone home to help me up… I’m not going to getup. It would mean that I’d given up. It would mean that I’d be punishing myself for continuing to be the Bipolar failure that I’ve always been. (How I feel.)

And Jamie? Still with me? You could have prevented me from losing all the ground I’d worked so damn hard all these years to reach. And why? For what? From here it just seems you’re stupid. Some medical “professionals” are stupid you know. I’ve even taken my counselor with me on two occasions to verify what I tell her.

I’m done.

I’m saying Hell No! That’s enough of this irresponsible crap. You expect those of us with mental health issues to behave? Then treat us right. Hear us when we call for help. If we bring backup pay special attention. I’m trying to get my son to go with me. He’s a psychology major.

To all of you struggling to work with your own Jamie’s, you stand fast. Do not let them push you around. They’re there to serve your medical needs. Document what you talk about and when. Keep a clear record so if you need a new med provider you can state your case and prove that they aren’t listening.

One reminder though. If you’re really messed up you may not be thinking straight. No worries. You just take a family member or someone who you can trust with you.

You’re not alone.

Oh, and if you happen to be a Jamie, what’s your damn excuse?

Insidious Black Box

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

 

Bipolar – Latuda

I usually check carefully over the side effects and warnings on my new medications. I’ve been taking Latuda long enough that I assumed that I’d do okay with it. But, I guess I didn’t do it because if I had, I’d have noticed right off that the source of my ticks and twitches was probably right in front of me.

From the Latuda.com website: Tardive dyskinesia (TD) is a serious and sometimes permanent side effect reported with LATUDA and similar medicines. Tell your doctor about any movements you cannot control in your face, tongue, or other body parts, as they may be signs of TD. TD may not go away, even if you stop taking LATUDA. TD may also start after you stop taking LATUDA.

I have Tardive Dyskinesia. It is sever and interrupts my communicating with others. It is especially a problem in my classes at the university. This morning I actually had to stop talking. I felt that I had to explain my difficulty because they were trying to listen to me and I couldn’t talk. It was maddening.

This condition may be permanent. I’m not taking it at all now. I stopped two days ago. I hope that as the drug passes out of my system the tic will subside. God I hope so. I’m trying to relax. I’ve noticed that when I get nervous it gets worse. Talk about motivation to learn to chill out.

Bipolar – Anxiety Rising

(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 – Preparing for Potential Fears

I’m leaving early tomorrow morning to fly from Seattle, WA to Tampa, FL where I will meet up with my eldest daughter who is leaving the military and coming home to us. She, her two cats, and I will begin our journey on Monday or Tuesday to cross this great nation of ours. While I’m gone my other kids will take care of my new house, and my dog and cat.

I have GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) in addition to my Bipolar Type 1 and am currently cruising along in a hypomanic state according to one of my doctors. Being the mixed bipolar that I am I’m dancing with a little bit of depression too. I’m taking my chill pills as allowed.

I’m afraid I suppose. If you cornered me and asked me how I feel I’d say I’m afraid of all the unknowns ahead of me and of what will happen at my home while I’m gone and it’s all out of my control.

These are normal fears for the most part. Some of their intensity isn’t. If you have Bipolar Disorder you understand that.

I’ve tried to be as prepared as I can be so I can sit and relax this afternoon and not rush around looking for things that should already be packed. I finally got enough Lamactical to last me the whole trip. That was a panic for a few days waiting for the pharmacy to do its thing and have them ready for me.

Probably my greatest fear is of losing my medications.

My family will come together and take care of things here. My daughter and I travel well together so I’m not worried about that. Well, I’m not sure about the cats. They don’t travel well. It may very well be noisy and smelly. But if I lose my meds or the pill boxes get opened I’ll be stuck. I take some controlled substances that just can’t be replaced.

I’ve talked about fear in the past. I’m experiencing fear right now. I’m not afraid of the flight this time so much as I am about the drive from the freeway into the parking garage. I’ve never seen such dangerous driving conditions. Last time it took us an hour or more to go half a mile. Forget about getting to the airport two hours early for the security check in… it might take us an hour to get from the freeway to the parking garage. I’m afraid of the drive and being late because of it.

After that I’ll have the potential of being afraid of the flight, after I consider being afraid of not finding my flight on time.

Lots of potential fears are in my near future. This will be a good opportunity to test myself and see if what I say to do actually works.

I choose today to believe in myself. I choose to believe that we’ll get to the airport safely and all the way to Tampa without a hitch. I choose to believe that all will be well at home and our journey will be a grand adventure. (I’m glad some hotels allow animals.)

I choose to believe in myself and that I’m sane and a terrific person. I believe I can cope with the situations ahead of me and I will do the things that I have learned to do to make that happen.

The truth will out.

Bipolar and Clear Thinking

(I want to hide in the cupboard until this is all over.)

Success! We’ve found a house we like. The big issue is storage. I realize that all houses this small have very limited storage, but I’ll have to get rid of pretty much all that I own to make this happen even if I have a storage shed to help with the overflow. I’m preparing to have a panic attack. I’m going to schedule it.

I am a book hoarder. I’ve been successful in getting rid of probably 50 boxes of books. It was painful. Next weekend we’re having a big garage sale in the neighborhood that my mom lives in. It’s a huge multiple neighborhood gated community. I’ve sent over two car loads of things to sell including my Ryan Seacrest bobble head (I’m not attached to it, I just want to get more than $10 for it.)

I woke up this morning thinking about the lack of storage the little house has. I waited till about 10 a.m. to call my mom to talk about the storage problem and what we can do about it. I want to go look at it again and do some measuring. We’ve only been to view it one time. A commitment that huge we should look at again, don’t you think? The housing market here is so tight that if you find a house you like you need to put an offer on it the day you find it or someone else will. So, if I decide not to go with this house we go back to all the stress of looking for a house all over again.

I’m a worrier. I’m a bipolar worrier with anxiety issues. I keep having to calm myself down. I look around my 1800 sq. ft. house and realize I’m going to have to get rid of most all of my possessions to make this work. The new house is only 837 sq. ft. So yeah, downsizing. All my kids have moved out and I don’t need this large a house. I can’t afford anything bigger than the house we’ve put an offer in on.

My stress meter is reading high. Very high. It turns out that it really was good that I didn’t go to school this quarter because we found the house during what would be the week before finals and I wouldn’t have had the time to go look at it.

So how to deal with the stress and associated problems that come with it? I need to think clearly and NOT emotionally. I don’t know how much of my fear of no storage is being realistic or if I’m just falling in with my all too familiar states of paralyzing worrying and all the things that come with stress, like the possibility that I may not be able to handle it and have an episode.

I think I need to begin with focusing on tidying up my thinking processes and think accurately rather than emotionally. If I can do that it will help me have a positive attitude about this instead of having the attitude that we’re going to make a huge mistake. What does clear thinking tell me? Does it make sense to move into this house?

One of the problems I have to deal with constantly is making decisions based on commonsense and thoughtfulness rather than on emotion. I don’t want to pass this house up if I’m just having an anxiety attack because of all the worrying I’ve been doing. I need to settle down and think with clarity.

A really good way to start is to have people around me who I can consult with who know my situation and can make judgements based on commonsense and logic. If I’m blinded by panic they can help me see clearly. I’ve chosen to make my mom, and my three kids those people. Granted the kids think any house is good, once we start measuring and they’ve been inside the house they’ll be able to make good recommendations.

Another thing I can do is avoid, eliminate, thinking about the whole thing in such negative terms such as: never, only, nothing, every, no way, can’t and impossible. I must remember that these negative ways of thinking are going to impact my accurate thinking and that I need to hold on to the positive attitude I’ve been working on cultivating within myself.

To think clearly I have to bind it with a positive attitude. I need to remember that I’m in control of my decisions and that I can make good ones not driven by negative emotions.

I need to work hard to take control and direct my thoughts and control my emotions. Of course being bipolar I’m challenged to think clearly and not let my emotions drive my decisions all the time.

My thoughts must control my thinking, not my emotions. This is especially true right now while I’ve got an offer in on a house. I need to be sure and have a convinced positive attitude before signing the papers. I can’t move into a house that I don’t think I can live with the storage challenges forcing me to throw out all the things I’m attached to.

I need facts. I need clear thinking. I need the advice of others that I trust who know me how my emotions impact my thinking. I need to separate “facts” from imagined fictions, and important facts from unimportant ones.

Bipolar Disorder will definitely have a large role in determining whether or not we buy this house. All the small houses we’ve looked at have pretty much been dives and not had any storage. We’ve seen this house and one other that has been fixed up by a flipper (someone who buys a house, fixes it up, and sells it). Both are really great. Neither has storage. Realistically, no houses this size will have storage.

So we’ll see. Will I freak out and convince everyone that the lack of storage is a deal breaker for me? Or will I go do some measuring and creative thinking? The plan is to go next week to view it again and do a lot of measuring.

I’m going to stay on my meds, see my counselor, exercise, get enough sleep, play with my dog and eat better. These things will give me a chance to keep from falling into a bipolar tailspin.

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

 

Why Do We See Therapists?

Lucy Therapist

In my experience therapists and counselors are working there to work with me to help me get through the day, the month, and even the year especially in the midst of a depressive episode. They are there to try to teach me how to handle my episodes. They meet with me to teach me how to work with medicines for treatment, to use self-management methods to deal with mood cycles that always plague me, and to teach me how to function better in both work, family, and other real world settings.

Therapists help me learn what to do when I’m depressed, which is difficult to do when I’m depressed. It’s so hard to be objective about whether my medications are working when I feel like I need more of everything or something new when what I really need is a little tweak in dosage or patience to let a new medication have a chance to work.

They try to help me see myself for who I am beyond my illness and to work with me when I’m manic and have delusions of grandeur. I admit it’s hard for me to listen to them when I know I’m right about everything. I have a friend that also suffers from severe mental illness, she has found the same problem that I have found, that when we’re manic it is difficult to find a therapist that you respect enough to listen to.

For the last year I’ve been lucky enough to have a therapist that I respected me and I think knew me fairly well. She was always supportive and encouraged me to believe in myself. She never let me bamboozle my way through when I was trying to get away with acting badly.

She just retired so I start with a new one in a few weeks. I’m hoping that I’m humble enough to believe that she has something to offer me. Otherwise I’ll go and sit there for an hour and think about how dumb she is while were talking. Has anyone else experienced anything like this?

Because I’m on disability I have very few choices on where I can go for treatment. I think, I hope, I’m going to the better of my two choices. Unfortunately I’ve gone through four therapists and am soon to see my fifth at this place. Two retired, one went into private practice and I fired the other. Sometimes you have to take drastic measures like firing the therapist to make sure I get the help I need. The reason I did was that she was really new to the job and she kept reading to me from her computer and printing out things for me to take home to read. We didn’t have any dialogue. I made the hard call and asked for a new therapist. I’ve never had the courage to do that before.

My new therapist’s name is Rebecca. I’m already working on my attitude and trying to prepare myself to be open to her being able to help me. I’ve committed myself to not judge her before I even meet her. I need to give her and I a chance to get to know each other and see if she can help me survive and even thrive.

I welcome you to leave your opinion. Do you find that you experience the same things? Or have your experiences been vastly different? I hope to hear from you.

If you’re interested in the books that I refer to the most visit my books page.

Bipolar: Possessed by Demons?

demon

I’ve sat around on disability for years now. I raised my kids working very little because of my mental health issues. My behavior let’s just say wasn’t conducive to working with other people. Aside from melting from stress during the time I was attending college (I’m still planning on going back in the fall.) I’ve been pretty stable for the last year or so. I feel like I’m ready to move forward. I also feel like it’s risky to try to do something. What if I explode like I did when I had my business? During one of my manic phases I was inspired to start a small company that took off really fast. I did a good job. I was making money. Then I had an episode and exploded the business. I think it’s time to start over. I hope.

Time to focus for a sustained period of time and control myself and start a new business. I’ve got the company figured out and a loose business plan. Now I just have to supply the product. That’s what’s going to take the most time.

Speaking of which, did you know that if you have been diagnosed by a mental health professional with bipolar disorder you’re not possessed by demons? (Just my opinion.) It’s true. For years I thought I had demons or at the very least I was committing sin after sin. I couldn’t stop being angry and doing all the things that go with anger and rage. I felt so guilty.

I attended Bible College in the 80’s. While here I sought help for my demons of rage and anger and other unhealthy sins. I underwent sessions where professors would lay hands on me and “speak” to the demons. They would demand that the demons respond. I couldn’t very well not have anything happen so I started saying the first thing that I thought of. I didn’t want to look like a failure and not have any demons. Unfortunately, I never got better.

Many, many years later (like this year) I learned that bipolar disorder is actually an “abnormal functioning of brain circuits involving neurotransmitters such as dopamine.”

Now I’m not saying only mental health professionals can diagnosis a person with bipolar disorder, but it is the best way to get an accurate diagnosis.

If you have bipolar disorder you do not have brain damage. You are not a condemned lump of flesh that has no hope of having a normal or productive life.

You, just like everyone else, has the opportunity to be successful and reach your dreams.

I am going to put my life out there and see if I can be successful. Thus far I’ve had a lot of very tiny little starts towards my goals, but I’ve fallen off my path every time. I believe I have the knowledge and determination this time to not only set goals, but to reach them.

I know stress affects how my brain functions so one of my main missions is to live a balanced life and that includes not setting myself up to be trapped in extended stressful situations. I can do that. I know what my triggers are.

My goal: Reach complete financial independence in one year, by April 17, 2017. I have other goals too, but that is definitely the most important and easiest to measure.

Time to get busy working on my plan and putting it into play.

Remember, if you have a mental illness you do not have it because of an unknown influence upon your brain. You are not helpless, hopeless and unable to deal with your symptoms for good. Work with your mental health professionals and actually expend effort to be less depressed and control your mania.

I believe there is hope for each of us. Whether you believe you are being helped by a higher power, God, medication and/or psychology it is possible you can live a productive and fulfilling life.

(Note: If your faith says that your mental state is because of a spiritual battle I’m sorry, but I disagree. After chasing God for over 25 years I turned to science for answers and finally started changing my behavior and my thoughts. My advice is that you follow your heart and your intelligence. You may disagree with me about what causes bipolar disorder, but you can still learn about goal setting and being a successful person. They are not mutually exclusive.)

(The quote is from: “The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide: What you and Your Family Need to Know,” by David j. Miklowitz, PhD)