Everyday Life and Bipolar Disorder – How to Thrive

I’ve been lying. I’ve tried to stay very close to talking about mental illnesses, like Bipolar Disorder, without going into all the rest of the messiness that is me. I’ve felt that if I talked about other things in my life (other health issues or family stresses for example) you might focus on me and those other things and, god forbid, feel pity for me. I don’t want that.

Together we stand… or sleep.
Apart we flounder.

I want to always be BETTER. Always Better!

I want this for you as well.

You and I working to always be better.

I believe that we can.

I also believe that it’s time I share with you how I navigate my brain in the actual world and honestly tell you how that does, or doesn’t, work out.

I’ve always been honest with you, but now I want us to walk together and learn about what happens when things are painful and when things are wonderful.

Life is very messy. Mental health is challenging. Let’s walk and learn how to be better together.

My goal is to strive to be vulnerable with YOU.

Life is strange. It challenges me to sit on my brain and figure out how to not only survive but to THRIVE.

I Want Always… to Be BETTER. Always better.

My desire is to teach, through examples from my life, how to be MORE. I want always to be more than my struggle with my mental health challenges, don’t you?

I have decided to talk to you about mental health, from my perspective and experiences, in the context of real life. What this means is that you can expect to see:

Successes
Stories
Ideas
Musings
Failures
Whims
Challenges
Knowledge
Understanding
Humor

You can still expect the same me, only I’m going to bring it all. ALL of me and my actual life. I hope you’re ready. Things are going to be wide and varied just like our lives are. As I like to say, “I’m Un-Niche-Able.” I bet that you are too.

Here is a small example of one of the things I might talk about:

My arthritis causes me pain. It sometimes limits my ability to do things I want/need to do. Sometimes the pain is too much. All this “non-Bipolar” stuff greatly affects my emotions. There are times when I’m driven to despair. It is exhausting to constantly fight against chronic pain.

How do I deal with pain? How does it impact me and my emotions? Do my emotions, my moods, dictate how I deal with severe pain?

It turns out that I’m not a big fan of pain.

Things change. I change. I deal differently with myself all the time. As I learn new things I can apply to myself and make me a better person I put into use right away. Why?

I believe that I can BE BETTER. I believe that I can DO BETTER.

And I know that I can easily stumble and face-plant. Then, when I can collect myself, I’ll figure out how to get back up, no matter how awkwardly, and decide what to do next.

A topic that I feel passionately about is that I believe that who I am as a person, my character and core beliefs directly impact everything I do while I’m Bipolar… which is all the time. Every day.

I’ll be exploring all these ideas and much more in the coming days. I do hope you’ll feel welcome to drop bye for a visit.

I’m working on a way that we can chat with each other and find fellowship, acceptance, positive talk and even funny stories. My goal is to have a safe space for us to hangout. I’m not considering Facebook because too many people go to some of the mental health groups intending on dumping or unloading on the other people in the group. Some give terrible advice while others belittle those who ask honest questions that need answers. They don’t deserve to be chastised and compared to others.

Build up. Encourage. Fellowship. Laugh. Silly stories. Ideas for survival and SUCCESS.

When I find a place that I’m comfortable with I’ll invite those of you who are interested to join in. It will be a closed group and people will have to ask permission to be a part of the group. More will come on that as I continue to develop it.

Be well my friend.

Robin

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Do They Come from Within?

Friends - Thinking Time?

Siberia, the Cat, is doing all the thinking in this friendship. Course, Bailey was a youg thing back then. Siberia has gone to live with the stars.

I read something in a description of an online course last night that I found both intriguing and disturbing.

“Emotions are something that happens TO us and, therefore, they’re outside of our control.”

Can this be true? I currently understand that Bipolar Disorder is a Mood Disorder and is thought to be caused by something going bonkers in my brain chemistry. And for those of you familiar with Agatha Christie I will say that it is thought that my little gray cells have gone bonkers. Okay, just the “little gray cells” is from Christie, but it’s still awesome.

I’ve been actively discussing my illness with myself since I was initially diagnosed with it in…. ah… before 1992. No, after. I’ll have to look it up. Anyway, it doesn’t matter because I’ve been dealing with myself and all my symptoms since my early teens. (I’ve acknowledged to my dear mom that I understand now what a handful I was and that it was most likely me imagining that I had a rotten life and when my life wasn’t actually rotten. My dad probably had Bipolar Disorder too, that made for frequent fireworks.

Wow. That was that too much? Let’s see if I can make it better –

I grew up in an affluent tourist town nestled in a beautiful harbor in Puget Sound, WA. I didn’t have bling, a rock star car, or cloths to die for. Instead, I had a horse, dogs, cats, acreage, forest, forts, climbing on haystacks, and cops and robbers.

When I was at the age when I should know right from wrong I started misbehaving. Like, misbehaving on purpose. That is, I couldn’t seem to help myself. Much of the time I felt that I was the only right one and that everyone else was wrong. I was always angry, so angry.

My father misbehaved.  Mom suffered in silence. As I’ve said, my symptoms began early and grew worse and worse as the years went on. Is it real? Or is it Memorex? (You’ll just have to Google it.)  {Oh man. I’ll keep working on my pressured writing. These things… they tend to stay around. Do you agree?}

So… maybe that didn’t help. All I’m trying to say is that my pressured speech spills over into my writing and I tend to go on and on and on…. (sorry!) and that some people believe that my emotions are caused by something outside of my body. It happens TO me, not from within me.

Is something being done TO me? This idea is very troubling. Okay, no. It is down-right frightening and deserves to be thought on some more.

You may have noticed that I tend to question everything. I spent about 25 years chasing god just to see if he existed. I didn’t want to spend my life in service to a god that didn’t exist. This was my greatest attempt, at that age and with no knowledge of what was going on, to try to help myself. It didn’t work. Knowledge failed. Prayer failed. Was it I who failed? Exorcism failed.

I admit that there is definitely something wrong with my brain. (Grrrr…. I want to argue about that last sentence – maybe another time.) My moods or my emotions or whatever, whack my thinking around until I make very bad and sometimes dangerous choices. My thinking seems to meander and become clouded. Or, the coals get stirred, and mania sets up house and lights it on fire. Then I’m all ripped me up and anything I do or say will probably smear ash on others.

I’ve been thinking for too long what my next post would be – this wasn’t it. This is the result of what I’ve read and thought about just yesterday and today. I hold these ideas, these issues, in a very important place in my mind and in my life. Beginning to understand some of these things may help me, and I hope you might find help.

I want to learn more clearly what’s really going on with/in us and what WE can do about it. Is there any hope that we will ever feel – normal? Actually, I like to think that “normal” is my being able to be at peace all the time. I believe that there must be a way for us to know peace and even, control ourselves – if we want to.

I plan to toss these ideas around in my next post, but you know how it is – can’t keep my attention from zipping down the crazy rabbit hole every 27 seconds. <wink>

Bipolar Disorder + ADHD = One hell of a busy brain!

ROBIN, slow DOWN!

Don’t tell me what to do!

See ya next time and thanks for staying for a while. Forward me to your friends if you are so inclined or maybe you could sprinkle unicorn sprinkles around. Maybe they can fix something.

Redux – I’m Sorry – Again (Bipolar)

Bailey having a serious nap
“I’m sorry… again.” How many times have you said that or thought about saying it? If you’re like me, you do it a boatload.

So, my dear Reader, I’m sorry again. I begin writing and feel good about how the blog is going. Then “STUFF” happens and – I think you feel my pain.

Well, I think you probably understand. If you’re reading this and you have Bipolar Disorder or some similar struggle you probably understand. It’s like we all get to belong to this exclusive club where the membership fee is high (your life), and the code is an unending trauma. I have given it a name. This thing I’ve created is where I want to put all the things that I don’t think belong here. I want this place, to be honest, interesting, emotional, sometimes educational, and for sure always unique. You’ll hear from me very soon. Life is going to explode soon, and I think I’ll be better if I have more of my writing as a source of stability.

How’ve I been doing? Pretty darn good. I told my med provider that this last week. I told her I hadn’t felt this well in years.

Now, I last saw her in December so she has no idea what’s going on in my had. Maybe I had chocolate cake for breakfast or something. She doesn’t know. But, my saying I was doing pretty well extended my next visit to 6 to 8 weeks. 6 – 8 WEEKS!! And yet, I said that would be fine. Practically that night I had an explosion.

I rather prefer NOT to have explosions anymore thank you very much!

What have I been struggling with? Communicating with my family. We don’t understand how it’s done. It seems like everyone is expecting agent 99 to pop in with a decoder shoe at any time!

OMG – Okay. This afternoon I took a nap that lasted longer than an hour, and yet, I’m still so tired. I’m going to sleep now (here’s to hoping) and work on this

Until next time may you look up and see stars in the night sky. (Yow-zah! I just fell asleep sitting up again. Time for sleep for real. Good night my friends.

Robin, Un-niche-able

 

Bipolar – Verbal Dump

megaphone

I have Bipolar Disorder and ADHD. I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder over twenty years ago. At least, that’s about when my brain says it remembers it happening – I’m super reliable when it comes to the passing of time. Umm, no way! Don’t let me tell you otherwise. I was diagnosed as having ADHD only a few years ago.

The other day my mom told me she’d had a major breakthrough in her thinking about ADHD. Apparently, she’d talked to her realtor and she had told him that I have it. I know she shares stuff about my brain (problems) to people in the town/city we live in and with Rhett (the fellow I just mentioned who sells property) who lives in another one.

That’s two.

Back to the breakdown.

I know my mom loves me. She expresses it in a sort of micro-managing way, but she loves me nonetheless.

I’d hate to have had a child like me. How did she not accidentally roll over me in the family car? I would have had a daycare person come take me away. A nanny. Anyway, Rhett told her that he has ADHD too. {Deep sigh coming from my side of the conversation.}

You know how we can look up literally ANYTHING online? I really don’t think she understands that she can Google Bipolar Disorder and ADHD and not have to rely upon the information she can glean from a single person. There are many fantastic sites to visit that contains a lot of very good information on both BD and ADHD.

But, you know what, the idea that she can talk to someone about me, without asking me first, and telling him my very personal business is just bad.

My mom thinks of Rhett as another son. (I have a brother.) She knows more about him than she does about me. Sometimes I discover I have feelings of resentment and anger toward the nice guy. I don’t like feeling that way.

I guess accepting and understanding something about Bipolar Disorder have to continue to wait.

I believe, that if she understood a little about Bipolar Disorder and how I present, we would get along better. We might even want to spend more time together. Maybe she’d trust me more. Forgive me more. I admit, there is much I want to be forgiven for. I think she’s better at letting things go than I am so maybe she doesn’t need to be able to forgive me once she understands I don’t really control myself sometimes.

My experience with Bipolar Disorder is that about 80% of the time I’m manic. All the time I’ve been alive, I’ve been either straight up manic, or in a mixed state featuring the bits that tend to “intensify” my emotions. I’m confused, being depressed while manic.

My most blatantly obvious symptom… I never, ever stop talking. When the rare moment does happen, my friends ask me if I’m okay. I think that even Bailey notices. (Bailey is my support dog. She’s wonderful.)

Bailey is my emergency brake. When I’m frustrated, angry or yelling, she finds me and sits directly facing me, very close, toes to paws, and with her beautiful sad brown eyes and waits for the noise to stop. Honestly, she won’t budge even if I tell her I need to pee. No mercy from my faithful pup.

My chart at the mental health place I go to says that I say I think I’m smarter than they are. My current counselor asked me if I really believe that. Without a pause, I said, “YES.” I reminded him of how they let my stress / anger / mania / and anxiety cause all the suffering I experienced while I was going to school. over the last year, my symptoms intensified, and I broke.

Have you heard the axiom do no harm or through inaction to cause harm?

So, the reality is that they watched and did not intervene. They listened and didn’t reach out to catch me while I fell and fell farther and farther down. If you think about it like that, like what role they played in my unwilling self-destruction, then YES, I think they’re morons and I really am so much smarter than they are. My counselor asked me if I thought I was smarter than he was. I grinned and told him, “that remains to be seen.”

Delusional? Grandiose thoughts? Delusions of grandeur? Or brilliant or very smart? And who’s to judge which is which?

ADHD, Bipolar… Let’s figure it out. I promise I’ll own it.

You have just been exposed to an often irritating and yet integral bit of my brain in all its glory. It’s what I call, “a verbal dump.” My kids prefer saying I barf words. Wait, maybe it was that I vomit words. Well, in any case, it’s not great.

Please write to me or leave a comment. I love hearing from you.

Be well,

Robin / Un-niche-able Me

Drugs – Niche-Me…

Doctor messes up.

I’m… well… very angry. If I could get this guy fired and reported to some agency to keep him from prescribing medications, I would. Darn straight! 

This “doctor” (He’s a PA-C. I don’t even know what that is. I know what a PA is. What’s the “C”? Crackpot?) Okay, back to why I’m so angry. 

Last time I saw this guy, let’s call him JH, he was reciting out loud what medications he was sending electronically to the pharmacy for a refill. As he was reading them, he said, “Lamotrigine–” To which I said, quite firmly, “No, that’s not one you fill. You’ve never filled that. S fills that.”

The guy’s never ordered this for me. Why would he? This is my mental health person’s job. He’s NEVER filled this for me. (I know I’m repeating myself. I’m hoping the Universe or something will smack him.) He does Oxycodone, Lyrica, and the one for restless legs. He’s my pain mgmt prescriber. (This should be scaring you.)

“Do NOT fill that drug.”

I was so mad. The pharmacy told me to call his office and inform them of the mistake. So, I did. No one would talk to me. I was sent to his PA’s voice mail. No one ever called back. 

I also called my mental health clinic and left another message, this time for them. I wanted them to be aware of the problem. A floater nurse called me back pretty quickly. We were on the phone about 18 minutes. She had no idea what the heck was going on. Eventually, about 2 minutes before I needed to leave to go to her actual building to see my counselor, she let me go. 

You know what the result of that conversation was? She concluded that my regular MP (med provider) had been weening me off Ritalin and that now I should have stopped taking it completely. 

I responded the only way I could – “Yeeeeessss?” I mean, what if she found out that I was still taking them? I was already getting paranoid at this point so I didn’t know what to say. I’m really am supposed to be taking it. My counselor (L) and I had just decided that I needed to ask to have it increased!

When I got to see L, he told me that he’d already gotten the email telling him what had happened. I told him about the Ritalin issue. He looked at my chart and immediately said that it was clear that I was was supposed to be on it. In fact, I was supposed to be taking the two pills. 

Sigh. So, now I have too much Lamotrigine and no Ritilan. I’m angry. 

This morning we took my Emotional Support doggie to the vet. She vomited blood right after vomiting on my bed. Thankfully, she’s going to be okay!

I’m stressed and weary. 

Angry. Stressed. Weary. Sigh

Idiots

My Millennials help me now. I have three. They help monitor my meds. The one that lives with me fills my medication box thingies. The second one lives down the street and comes by to visit and help out pretty often. The youngest is married and about to graduate from the same university that I did. 

I will not be killed by people who value my life so little that they cannot take the time, or get help, to read my chart properly or return my phone calls. 

I have managed all the stress from raising kids. I have not killed myself. I won’t be killed by these morons. I will protect myself. I will stand and not let stupid people sneak up on me. I fight with myself every day and I survive. I will survive these people too. 

Mel Robbins (I think it’s her) says that at the end of the day there will be no White Knight riding in to save you. No one is going to rescue you. You have to do it yourself.

There are frequent times when I can’t do this for myself, but today, this week, this moment, I can. I’m protecting myself. I’m going to do what I can to make certain that the people responsible for these screw-ups, won’t be able to do it so easily again. 

I’m pissed off. I haven’t killed myself. I’m not about to let incompetent medical professionals kill me. 

This is MY day. I will live it MY way. I will not let ANYONE take it from me. Not ever.