What My Med Provider Means to Me

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I’ve complained about my med providers and their apparent inability to comprehend the word ANXIETY for over a year now. You could assume that I don’t like med providers… that I don’t trust them, that I think they’re stupid. Well, umm, yes, that’s basically how I’ve been feeling. I’ve been living a nightmare that has been driving me downward toward my old companions: anger and rage. It makes me feel like they’re getting out of prison and are moving into the house next to mine. I’ve been really scared that I was about to lose control of my emotions again, and eventually, my mind. It has happened before.

I last week I spoke with my counselor (Lee) before my visit with my med provider (Susan) this week. He thought the Ritalin obviously wasn’t working and that my ADHD was out of control. I allowed myself to interact with him the way I do at home with Jessica. My inability to control things like how fast, how much, and how many topics I covered while speaking certainly indicated that this was true.

<OMG! Alexa is playing music from the 1950’s for me. I LOVE THIS MUSIC!>

I was stunned. ADHD? If he was right, this could change everything about the way I approached my brain. I was told I had ADHD just a few years ago and had never taken the time to learn anything about it. Wow, that wasn’t like me at all. I love research! Following rabbit holes is my favorite pastime!

Anyway, I assumed Susan would look at my chart to see what notes Lee would have put in it before she saw me. Doing that would give her knowledge she should have used to help her understand where I was at and she would have seen what Lee was concerned about. It was an assumption I shouldn’t have made. Apparently, things don’t actually work that way.

Every time I see Susan 12 times a year. Yikes! So many times. One of the first things she asks me is if I feel like… if I FEEL like the Ritalin {1} is helping me focus? Focus? What does that mean? How can I tell it’s working? I can pay attention in class. Is that what she means? My attention is crap at home. I can’t ever do just one thing at a time. I have to leave the commercials in when I watch from the DVR (DISH) so that I can read or research stuff online that they just talked about. Is it working? I suppose so? I always replied that I guessed it did. I guess that was silly of me. I would say that because I had no idea what else to say. If I was a little boy, I could probably mean that I’d slow down and stop bouncing off the walls and maybe stay in my seat. But as an adult… I had no idea what that looked like. If I said the wrong thing, she might mess with my meds and right then, they were treating me okay. I wasn’t raging at anyone that day and I didn’t feel depressed.

After I mentioned what Lee and I had talked about and that he was very concerned she took a minute to read his notes. Suddenly she made a whole new treatment plan. I had been on Lithium when I was first diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder (BD). The first book I read on it was: “An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness” by Kay Redfield Jamison. I was deeply touched. I felt like I understood what she was talking about, like we were kindred spirits, linked through the ether by BD. Jamison was very sick when she was diagnosed.

Let me attempt to generally get right to the point for once. Jamison was placed on Lithium to treat her BD and it worked. So, that’s what I asked to be given. My personal doctor (MD), was the one who initially treated me. He said that Lithium has been around for many years and there is a lot of evidence that it works.

The Lithium worked.

Susan felt that since the Ritalin was obviously not helping me focus. I guess that made her rethink her strategy. She finally agreed that my brain was hopping along on two of four legs. She told me that does think I have ADHD she now believes that I’m far more manic, which was making me act like that bouncy ball they teach kids to sing songs with. Do you know what I mean? It might be too old for some of you. They wanted to teach kids songs so a character on a film or on TV would get you to sing along as it had a bouncing ball hop around on the lyrics so we could see the lyrics while we sang. It was great fun! than anything else. Sure I talk incessantly to Jessica, but my brain was exploding with ideas. It was time to help me continue to be creative, but to control my mania so that I could be productive.

The plan: no more Clonazepam, no more Ritalin. Start Lithium.
*The reason I went off Lithium was that my PC (Primary Care) had been highlighting the dangers of being on Lithium more than he was the benefits of it. It was because of these side effects, that I requested I be put on something else that didn’t have the same drawbacks. Lithium toxicity can occur even at a low dose. While on Lithium, the user has to be closely monitored so that the dose can be adjusted as needed. The symptoms of Lithium toxicity are numerous and I already have several of them for other random reasons. This website lists the long lists of side effects. In addition to these potential problems the user (remember this is me) has to carefully watch their intake of salt, caffeine, and alcohol. And get this… some of the other medications that may interfere with Lithium and increase the risk of toxicity are ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and naproxen (Aleve). Oh, and I can’t leave out this one: acetaminophen (Tylenol). So… yeah. I had a lot of scary reasons to ask to be taken off the drug that was helping me but was also kind of terrifying too. 

Susan believes that this change in medications should make my extreme moods in control much better.

Excuse me? As long as I’ve been seeing the professionals in this clinic, I’ve never had anyone decide to try Lithium again. All this time… lost. Years of feeling my little grey cells melting, running out of my ears. But then again, Lithium toxicity…

I want to be a writer when I grow up. I once heard that writers go through life with their head cocked a bit to the side. I showed Susan a piece of paper that was covered with writing on both sides. It was filled with websites, blogs, and email addresses that I’d created. She studied it for a while. I asked her if I was stupid and delusional to think that I could do all these things and believe that they were not just good ideas, they were great ideas. They were creative ideas. Is my mind actually existing in a consistent state of delusions of grandeur?

Delusions of grandeur. I’ve always been afraid that people would remember that part of the list of symptoms for BD and dismiss me as a kook. Am I brilliant? Or am I bonkers and deluded? I’ve always believed my ideas were great. Yeah. Delusions of grandeur?

She said no. It wasn’t that. Yes, my thoughts are crazy fast, but I am very creative and smart.

Me – creative and smart. OMG!

Of course, now I respect her. She believes in me. She agrees with me that I’m smart and creative. No one has really said that to me. No one has said, “Robin, you’re not delusional. You’re smart. You’re creative. You have good ideas… cleaver… innovative. Don’t worry about being crazy. We just need to slow you down so you can get things done.

Since then, I’ve discovered additional information that indicates that one aspect of BD is the tendency to be super goal oriented. Yep, that’s me. Why haven’t I’ve seen that before?

Watch out! Corner coming!

What are the good things about having BD? I’ll have to think on that for a while.

Go ahead, get mad when the medical professionals don’t seem to be listening. Pester them until they hear you. Then, you listen to them. Work together. Hope that things will finally start to workout. Now that Susan and I are communicating, now that she hears me, we have a new plan. Maybe my mind won’t keep leaving the scene without me.

Yes, it really has done that. We’ve called professional trackers to find it a few times now. It-is-very-embarrassing when your mind is so exposed, so naked.

New plan. New hope.

Bring it! I’m ready.

I’m more than ready –

{1 – Concerta and Ritalin are stimulant medications used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). They’re both different brand-name versions of the same drug, called methylphenidate hydrochloride.  https://www.healthline.com/health/adhd/concerta-ritalin}

Frankenstein – Bipolar & ADHD

Frankenstein-tumblr_ovgh5egVdd1wzx3t8o1_1280 I’m aware, that when given the chance, I will, without question, talk until the air has been sucked out of the general area and everyone has passed out. So normal.

Anxiety – After I graduated, and a few weeks had passed I could tell I was under stress from that. My anxiety has gone down. It did get better, for a while. I got to the point where I didn’t quite feel like my brain has been stuffed full of raging bees. Awesome!

ADHD – I was under the assumption that I was taking Ritalin to help me focus my attention so I could do well in my classes. I was always confused when my med provider asked me if I felt the Ritalin she was prescribing was helping me to focus better. I always said, and continue to say, “Um… I guess so.” I’m manic! What does she want me to say? I work very hard when I meet with her to sit, shut up, and answer her questions honestly. She terrifies me. What if I answer wrong and she changes my meds again? I’ll say something than think, “Crap! Why did I say that?” I always say that I guess it was working well. I suppose. Now I think that I was wrong.

More ADHD – I accepted the diagnosis of having ADHD because it was about not being able to focus on one thing at a time and I knew I couldn’t do that. But, being Bipolar was always the main objective of both my counseling sessions and appointment with the med woman.

Bipolar 1 – I assumed that my Bipolar was worse (or more dangerous to me) than ADHD could be. Wasn’t it?

You know how a doctor will sometimes leave a small tube that goes through an incision so that the area can drain and heal properly?

Yeah, I don’t know where I was going with that—

Switch – I have some ideas that I think are pretty good. I’ve done one or two or three big projects that have come out great. The other 45 ideas that are going around in my mind appeared to be stuck in orbit. I remember the video I watched on YouTube yesterday about ADHD and I was shocked. Frankenstein!

FRANKENSTEIN – I’ve come to think of Bipolar/ADHD as a Frankenstein type of symbiotic relationship. I can’t imagine why my diagnoses has always focused upon Bipolar Disorder. In counseling I talk faster and faster and cover an impressive variety of topics.

Pressured Speech (Bipolar) – Thought very little about ADHD or how to deal successfully with it. I’ve been taking medication for it for three years. In that time no one has talked to me taught me to handle it. Why not?

FRANKENSTEIN – Why hasn’t anyone explained how the two disorders interact, and how the medications for each may also affect each other. (“Do you think that the Ritalin is making your mania worse?”)

I have been primarily a mixed state, high functioning, Bipolar type 1 for years now. I always thought that my constant mental zooming about was just my amazingly stunning mania. (While I mostly talk about my being manic lately, let me just say that depression has played a big part in my mental health too.)

My daughter went with me to my last counseling appointment. We talked about my inability to stick with one thing and see it through to completion and how it was impacting her. Basically, I’m driving her bonkers. These are some of the things that I do: TALK CONSTANTLY NO MATTER WHAT WE ARE DOING, change topics as fast as I talk, pick up a pile of laundry in the living room to put it away, stopping to talk to our beta fish (Victor and Batman) and feed them a few dried wormy things and set down the laundry, forget that I had a mission with the laundry, see that the dog/cats water bowls are empty and fill them, read 1.75 pages in a book. What was I doing? Let the dog out to do her business. Hours later I discover the laundry next to the fish… you get the idea.

My new counselor, my daughter and I decided that I need to focus on being able to focus. Yes, my Bipolar mania hops it up like jet fuel in a race car, but with knowledge and tools to help me with my ADHD and settle on one thing, even for an hour, I might just begin to get a handle on my anxiety/stress and even mania.

Maybe. This is stressing me out. Bothering my daughter this bad is building an anxiety that is part of everyday life. Sigh…

Who knew that pressured speech and mania aren’t the same thing as ADHD? I really don’t understand what the hell is going on. I feel like my brain has been sewn together with blue and green colored twine and slip knots.

One final thing: It has taken me three days and four hours to type this. Just kidding. Two days. Honestly, I have no idea. I need a time-out.

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