Bipolar Disorder |  When Stress Becomes Danger | 4 Hours Left

I’ve been meaning to sit down and talk to you about this but, you know how it is. Stress sidelines the DOING bit after the brain thinks of something to do. In my case (this time), I have an excruciating surgery tomorrow morning, and I’m not looking forward to it. I’m not looking forward to the pain. Being able to use my thumb without debilitating pain aim definitely look directly at it. You see, I had the same surgery done on my other thumb two years ago, and I know how horribly, terribly, and frightening that pain was.

Let me quickly bring you up to date. We’ve since discovered that I have the nasty illness commonly called Fibromyalgia. I refer to it as Fibro because that’s just too long. We think that the constant pressure of the cast sent the pain level of a routine harrowing hand surgery above the charts. And no, pain meds didn’t work.

Ah yes, what’s the surgery? I’m having something put between the bones in my thumb joint. I have Osteoarthritis; this disease eats away at the stuff that keeps your bones from grinding against each other and causing intense pain.

Since it is now 2:45 a.m. I’m going to move on quickly. Leading up to today, life has been chaotic, emotional, and expensive beyond our means to pay for.

Bailey, my Kelpie (She’s a cattle dog. Google Kelpie, they’re pretty great dogs.), has struggled with severe skin issues all spring and summer. Our regular vet is booked out for months. Covid hit, and all the vets disappeared. I’m completely serious. In this area, Puget Sound in Washington State, veterinarians have been scrambling to find staff. While we waited to get in, the problems worsened. This leads us to take her to a doggie dermatologist. This is all so expensive. This is also so stressful and is especially so because of my surgery being tomorrow today at 7:30 a.m. PST.

We have a radioactive cat. Maks has growths on his thyroid and had to have feline hyperthyroid radiation treatment. I think I got that right. Anyway, he’s on the mend and zooming around the house. He’s gaining weight, and I think he’ll do really well. While he’s healing, we have to put all the dirty litter in bags, and those bags have to go in buckets, and those buckets have to sit around for 80 before we can take them to the dump. Apparently, they don’t want radioactive waste in landfills.

All these things combined with life in general, Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, PTSD, RA, OA, and Fibromyalgia, and I’m a sitting duck for a generous helping of losing control. I’ve stopped saying that I’m super stressed out because these life events are painful emotionally and overwhelming financially. Marriages and partners break up because of money. Imagine me and my underemployed family (I’m on disability so I’m broke all the time.) We had to borrow money from my mother and charge the rest. She suggested that we put the animals down if we couldn’t afford to get them help. Seriously?

Anxiety, stress, anger… entering the danger zone. And now it’s 3:03 a.m. I think we should add fear to that little list.

I need to post this now. I’ve run out of time to catch you up. Stay tuned to see how this mentally ill woman deals with family members not too willing to stay with me for a while. I won’t be able to do so many things. This time it’s my very dominant hand. My left one thinks I’m dumb if I think it’s going to do right-hand stuff. Self-righteous little bugger. This is a team effort. That hand better get with the program.

I’m going to attempt to get on Twitter and tweet updates on how things are going since blogging are iffy for the time being. I’ve never used Twitter more than a tweet here and there, so this should be interesting. I hope you’ll follow along! Join in my mad life and all the fun and bonkers ways I manage, primarily, to live my Bipolar and highly complex life.  I need to learn to do voice-to-text. (I’m too tired to edit this, so I hope it makes sense.)

Follow me on Twitter @etiquetteofmad

See you on the other side.

Bipolar Mom Takes 28 Year Old Daughter to ER

The view from here…

I’ve been thinking about you a lot. I’ve been developing an idea I’d like to try – but this isn’t the time for that. Not right this moment.

I’m at the Emergency Hospital (ER) with my daughter. I’m amped up on “fight or flight” in my brain. I’m sitting in my car because I can’t be with her. I’ve been struggling with experiencing a mixed state anxiety/depression and as always, manic (thank you ADHD).

Now, firstly I want to say that even though she’s all grown up, I still want to hold her and comfort her. But not this moment.

We’re here because an important medication didn’t arrive before she ran out. Two days after she ran out… We’re at the ER.

No Covid.

Medication.

I was here just a few weeks ago for a medication problem as well. Not Covid.

I was tested yesterday, but only because I’m having surgery on Wednesday.

I’m happy. I’m calming down. I’m breathing better.

Wait….

Sure, she’ll be out soon.

Breathe…

Breathe…

There are, there ARE times, when the mom in me is able to crush the brain shannagians.

Brain shannagians. That’s my brain. How about you?

And now – I’ve distracted myself and I have no … Wait… Nope. It’s gone. I’m sure I’ll remember when I can’t write it down.

What the heck is You Tube playing for me. I like it, but what is this?

I just want you to know that my butt has gone completely and totally asleep. Wait, wait. Man! Now I want the bathroom.

Well, I need to get out of the car and walk a bit, in the dark, at night, downtown. Uummm, I think I’ll walk in front of the ER windows, where the guards are.

Yeah, guards and, AND, hand sanitizer. Always the sani.

Wear your mask. Tell everyone you love, actually TELL them, that you love them. Tell all of them. Covid, asthma, car crash, slipping on the frozen asphalt — life is so fragile.

We, you and I, people with shannagians going on in the brain, we can do what we must. We must.

I’m struggling with my shannagians. Struggling hard. I don’t care because at this moment, which is the only moment I know, shannagians just have to step back. And wait.

At least, that’s the plan. It’s my plan for this moment.

Rejoice! You survived the holiday! Well done.

Tell them you love them. Tell them all. And if they ask you why you can always just admit the truth and say, “Because I love you. I love you.”

Be well friends.

I am so hungry.

The Stress Monster Is Melting My Brain – Today Sucks… Wonder Why?

I have Bipolar Disorder and ADHD. You will see them both in today’s post. This post will not be edited by anyone. I suspect that the door in my brain is going to try to say things a beta reader would catch. If you would like to see the bullet main points, if there are any, read on. The full story will follow that.  

Why should YOU read further? 

Reason: I hope from all the bits of my heart that you might see something of me in you and know that you really aren’t alone. You’re not. Please, LOOK at me. 

Now, here I am…. this is my version of transparency.  

Today started pretty slowly, but good. And then I left my room. Sigh, sometimes the spaghetti hits the wall early in the day. Normally, I would say that the old spaghetti trick isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Spaghetti good: encourages and stimulates my ability to see more ideas and options. Spaghetti not so good: other stuff out of my control. 

I wouldn’t normally share the specifics of a particular day with you because, well, this isn’t that sort of place for that. However, today, I think that when I talk about stress I’d like to share with you some of my own stresses. I’m going to limit it to this morning and stop right now (1:47 p.m. PST). 

Stress is a constant ANXIETY feeder in my brain all the time. Constantly. It never stops. I never feel “at peace.” What has been happening today demonstrates exactly what happens when it passes over an imaginary thresh-hold beyond which I flounder and may crash and bury my head someplace where the world stops for a moment. 

I clicked on the Word icon and waited for it to launch. I was planning on writing to you. Then Office said it was updating Office. Then it said I was dumb and that it wouldn’t play and was taking its ball and locking me out. This was the last straw. It was the “break the camel’s back” sort of straw. (What does that mean anyway?) 

I became aware that my breathing was very shallow and quick. My throat tightened and my forehead and eyes scrunched up in emotional pain. I began to cry… So, I texted my support team which includes my kids Jessica and Kyle whom I share a home with. We have a group text for things like who is going to making dinner, where we are, grocery list items, giving voice (expressing) to great things and crappy things in our days. Oh, and loads of funny pictures of our pets. 

This is the text I sent them: 

Ok, keeping it brief:
– Word keeps trying to update, fails, then refuses to open
– one the boys in the big boy tank is visibly sick [Fancy Guppy]
– twitch won’t run, so no escape in minecraft
– my anxiety is way past healthy
– only 2 chill pills left
– I am going to blog/write but I guess it will be on paper or Google docs
– I’m soooo frustrated
– I still want to get some new guppies to not kill. To put where? With Banana boy.
– insert much foul mouth swearing
– and… Son of [Some content removed. Sorry.] crispy cracker with toilet exploding hot sauce
– So I can’t play, I can’t write…
on the flip side:
– We did get back from a walk just as the weather freaked out again
– I’m not dead
-I have you guys
– my hand feels better, mostly
[during a wind storm a few days ago I dropped a heavy sharp corner of a bookcase shelf on the scar of the thumb I just had the joint replaced last December 17th. I have RA and OA.]  

I followed that up later with:

I’m struggling

What brought me to this state, besides the obvious? I’ll bet you may have experienced this yourself. (Wait. How can I “bet you may have”? Anyway, on with the.. Uh… show.)

Bailey and I escape the house to walk around the block walking as fast as we can to beat the wind and rain. And… home dry!! That was fun.

I take multiple mood stabilizers. I have Bipolar Disorder Type 1 and run manic most of the time. I experience mixed states and enjoyably also cycle rapidly. Fun! Additionally, (sounds like a speech) I also have the stimulating ADHD. Yippie! We’ve elected not to treat the ADHD with medication. Who needs a stimulant to stimulate an already over-stimulated brain? Not me, thank you very much. 

FYI: I’ve recently, after years of refusing to do it, switched over to having a pharmacy send my medications to me in bubble packs. One of the major reasons I wouldn’t do it is because brain meds can be changed fairly frequently when we are trying to find the right combination that works for me and keeps me from driving everyone around me to the point where they want to duct tape me to a chair in my room and shut the door. 

Anxiety. Remember that? Unless a person has Bipolar Disorder they simply cannot understand what having it is like. They just can’t. I’ll try to sprinkle in a few things to help explain what’s so important about this stuff.

That’s the setup. 

I take:

1. Mood stabilizer in the morning (A)

2.The same mood stabilizer in the evening only double the dose (A)

3. I take another mood stabilizer in the morning (B)

4. I take the same mood stabilizer in the evening (B)

5. I take a “chill pill” (one in the “benzine” family) ( C) 

6. I take one before bed (D)

Fine. I do that. Only at the moment, I’m completely out of

1. A in the evening

2. B morning and evening

3. C (OMG)

4. D

These are ALL MOOD STABILIZERS! I don’t have any of them. 

Remember my mentioning my thumb. The next day I fell on that thumb and while it saved my face from planting itself in the garden at the Vet’s office. ALL my weight landed on that hand. I weigh over 50 lbs. I’m sure 50 lbs would have hurt a lot. I weigh over 100 lbs above that. My thumb/hand has been hurting, but only when I use it, touch it, or put pressure on it – think ice pack or heating pad. 

I called the bubble pack pharmacy again (did it yesterday as well) and practically begged the poor lady to tell me that my missing FOUR brain meds would be here yesterday. She couldn’t. 28 minutes later I came away with a USPS tracking number and the medications that should be in it. ALL of the medications [A, B, C, D] are in that box. 

Of course, I jumped on Jessica’s computer (now not trusting my own) and looked it up. [Insert creative bad words developed while growing up on a ranch. Use your imagination.] They appear to all be in the same package. The package took 24 hours to leave OH. (Uh…) 

See – things progress. I don’t pop on Facebook to visit friends. Rarely. It is now 4:08. While I sent myself that text message from my phone (SMS) to FB messenger, copied it, and pasted it here I saw an ad that indicated it might lower our energy costs. Stupidly, I clicked it. Ten minutes this sales guy calls me. Seriously. I had just been trying to find out if they were legit (I couldn’t) when this name pops up on my phone, “Blah Blah Solar Company.” Oh hell no. No, no, no, no. Nuh-uh. Having been in businesses I and my family have owned I can tell you that this ad clearly misrepresented themselves and what they were offering.  

I am known in my family as the one to go to if you need someone to kick-back. Meaning since I think I know more than they do I will explain to them what exactly I think about whatever-it-is and how it’s going to be. I shot of pic of the ad from the monitor and was getting ready to send it to my city utility company to see what they knew (and probably to show them something possibly fraudulent – no, I have no idea what I’m talking about. 

Remember how things are going today and that those precious lost medications for anxiety, that’s part of mood stabilization, are completely out of my system. Blotto. 

Blotto. I don’t know what that means, but I like to say it. [Use Google Mom!] Google says I was spelling it wrong, but it essentially means “extremely drunk. ‘we got blotto.’”)

When I use the word “blotto,” which I do, I mean something like “the shit hit the fan.” Yes, I think that works. Or maybe more gently, “Crap.” But sometimes I just say “blotto” just because I like the way it feels when I speak it. Weird. Right. 

Can you see anything? Yes, of course, you can. Bipolar mania. ADHD. 

How is my day? Blotto. But, it’s getting better. 

4:35 p.m. Kyle get’s home from work. He asks me how I’m doing. I say, “Fine.” (More abbreviated chit-chat. I hate it when I talk like that.) “I’m not making dinner. Can you two deal with it?” He says they will. I make licorice tea (decaf). Set a five minute because I always forget it. Put on headphones. Stop writing this for a few minutes while I get ready for music. The playlist I made to help me hold on has been “misplaced,” so I’m making a new one. Bluetooth. Headphones. Volume is very high. Kyle comes back in and gets my attention. He didn’t know I’d plugged my head in. My tea, it was done. Oh yeah. Yeah! Headphones die. Kyle sets them to charge. He loves me. “Mind if I play music, uh, loud?” Sure. :0)  

YouTube playing. Right now. Breath… out. Imagine with me just that. Breath… out as the music draws me in. Eyes close. Head embraces the sounds. Nods. Taylor Swift. Gretch Wilson. What??? 

5:00 p.m. “Redneck Woman.” I sigh and begin to relax. “Fight Song.” (“…. cause I still gotta lot of fight in me.”) 

Hours remain before bedtime and I’ve lost focus. I’ve written all this down (thankfully skipping all the interruptions like talking for 28 minutes to the new pharmacy and all that stuff) for just two reasons. 

Reason 1: In some crazy way I hope you focused a little on my day and not your own. Maybe this you were entertained? ;0)

Reason 2: I hope from all the bits of my heart that you might see something of me in you and know that you really aren’t alone. You’re not. Please, LOOK at me. 

5:15 p.m. Pink “Just Like Fire.” The music helps. First deep breath. Thank goodness. 

…… And now the med provider has called to try to rescue me!!! I’m talking to you while I listen to him type out “emergency” orders for my local pharmacy. So funny.  ADDENDUM: The pharmacy received the orders. Insurance denied. The pharmacy says  I can pay cash. No, I can’t. Called the med provider and left another message as he asked me to do if there was a problem. There is indeed a problem. Further TRANSPARENCY: Thankfully my kids kept bugging me to try cannabis (legal here) just like my MD has been trying to get me to do for over ten years. 

Alright. I think that covers the majority of my day. I hope I haven’t bored you or convinced you to head for the hills. This, this post, is me being “transparent.” I’ve wondered what a day in the life of a “stable and normal” person is like. I see them posting about how I can conquer my anxiety and depression and they know because they’ve done it too. I’m sure some have and are doing great. The problem is that I’m reading what they say from a bunch of clean whiteness with sharp letters that make up clean looking lines containing words. What? It looks, with the eyes, clean. Life isn’t clean. It is so messy. I’m messy. I’m guessing you can see that. I just always want to know something of their story. What were they like before they were able to write this logically layed article with bullet points? 

Robin, STOP. FULL and or HARD STOP. 

Okay, geeze. 

Always honest. Always trying to be better. Always here, even when I’m stuck inside my head. Please reach out or feel free to leave comments. How are you as we head into more stressful days. I don’t know about you, but this Thanksgiving especially is going to be more stressful than the normal stressful. We don’t want to give or get the covid. (That’s what we call it now. Just, “the covid.”) It gets complicated. 

I’ll be back. 

A question I was asked today: 

Do you have any desire to harm yourself?   [something like that]

No. No, I do not. 

(This is what transparency looks like from me.) 

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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Bipolar-A Strategy I Use to Deal with Stress

I think I slept last night, but I don’t feel that way. I did morning stuff: fed the pets, dog potty, morning pills, coffee, etc. It didn’t help. So, when my millenials got up around 11, I chatted for a few minutes then went to take a nap. I never, hardly ever, take naps.

I was interrupted by noise (mostly barking, a cat talking way too loud and the kitten popping under the bed every she hear all the commotion. Eventually I left my room and scolded them. (Sure, like that’s gonna work.)

Later… everyone quieted down, but I could hear Bailey outside my door waiting for me. First barking and now love. Of course I let her in and in a few minutes she and the kitty are on my bed sleeping soundly next to each other. Well, accept for when Savvy heard “something.” She’s a cat so who knows what she heard. They looked so cute.

I’m brainwashed. YouTube and cute dogs and cats loving each other. Have you noticed that the dog often seems to let the kitten do whatever, whether or not they respond? That’s how Bailey is. Of course I had too take pictures. Yeah, now I’m keeping myself awake. Smart.

We napped together.
Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

Time to get to business. My brain needs a nap. Seriously.

I put the heating pad under my shoulders so my bed would be comfy. It felt good. Bailey and Savvy were sound asleep. That always helps me calm down. I turned on some jazz music on my iPad. (YouTube premium doesn’t have commercials so I can sleep all tonight without an add freaking me out.) Now what? Uhhh… My brain is still too stimulated.

Time for my secret weapon – myself.

After years of experimenting I’ve come up with a routine that works for me… sometimes.

  • Turn on jazz music (Or maybe classical. It can’t have words.)
  • Get in a comfy position
  • Close eyes
  • Attempt to focus
  • Ummm… right, pull my blanket over my eyes (and sometimes around the top of my head too)
  • I imagine myself withdrawing into my mind where there is peace and rest
  • Thoughts come along and distract me. I acknowledge them and send them on their way imaging them as clouds having no substance
  • I want to write something down but I don’t. I remind myself that if it’s that important I’ll remember it when I get up.
  • My mind begins to relax
  • I encourage it by keeping my eyes closed and imagining my eyes rolling up in my head as I think, “This is what passing out in and exhausted sleep is like. It seems darker now. Peaceful.”
  • Jazz – ride the music. It’s all I hear. I think it. I ride it as I drift off to sleep.

Then my mom calls me. Yep. She seems to always know when to call. I put my phone on “do not disturb,” but my “important people” list comes though. I always want my family to be able to reach me, except when I’m napping. I mute the ringer. Sigh, see I have 20 minutes of my allotted time left. I allow sleep to take me again.

Then I re-enter the land of the mostly awake and grumble, not that I’m feeling better of course, that they could have stopped the dog from continuing to bark for five whole minutes. Kyle smiled. Sigh.

STRESS COMING…..

I check my messages: This is your mother. Call me.

Seriously? She couldn’t have just called the other two people I live with? “Would you guys like to come over and play cards today.” No, I wouldn’t. I have plans. I actually have real plans. No, not tonight. After 57 years that it’s okay for me to say, “no.”

No. Jessica, ask her if we can do it after Kyle gets off work tomorrow. She did. We are. My shoulders go back down a few inches.

“Oh, dad’s coming over at three.”

Excuse me?

Their father isn’t polite to me. I say hello, how are you. He says, “Fine.” And… that is the entire conversation unless I keep asking questions. The house is a complete disaster. It’s 1:30. Why aren’t you cleaning the house up? (Now three is in one hour.) Don’t I always run around like a stupid chicken and try to clean house before people come over? They agree. Well???

Kyle smiles… a little devil still.

Irrationally I feel like someone who violates me emotionally is coming to my home without my permission. He’s not coming inside. Go out to his car. He can’t come in. “Sure.”

My shoulders are back up. I sigh again, get some juice and head for a hot shower.

Remember, he’s not coming in. If you have to, tell him I said he can’t. Tell him I’m not comfortable him. No.

See, I’ve finally learned it’s okay, even really good, for me to say no. I don’t want to do that. It’s okay. Buy my shoulders are back up. They’ll go back down later. I think. I’ll have to talk to my brain about it later. For now, shower. Just think about the shower.

Sure. Sigh…

But I had a nap. My choice.

This is just one way I deal with my days. Sometimes it’s like this everyday. Sometimes, regardless of what I do I have to take a chill pill (for anxiety), then try to calm down a little later.

I have a mood disorder. It’s a good thing for me to be able to manage myself. And, sometimes I can’t do that. I just can’t.

But that’s another post.

Be well. Take care of yourselves and don’t let your emotions freak you out. As for me, I’m planning on having a fantastic afternoon, after their dad leaves and I feel a bit calmer. I will feel calmer. I might have to resort to playing a game or cleaning fish tanks or something, but I’ll try. I’m able to do that today.

Take away: Figure out things that work for you when you are stressing out. Don’t just say you can’t do it. You have to try. Even “normal” brains have to do that.

Figure it out. Fight your brain. Turn those harmful emotions away. Say, “No.”

You can do it.