Tag Archives: meds

Bipolar – Preparing for Potential Fears

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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 Adaptation

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From today through about August 18th I need to be able to be my best self. That means I will have to be super vigilant and sensitive towards my Bipolar Disorder symptoms. Theoretically, that’s how I’m supposed to be all the time, but right now it’s really evident that I have to pay attention. The stress of looking for a house has rolled over to moving and that will roll over into flying out to Florida to meet my daughter and driving across the country with her two cats to bring her home.

I must prepare myself physically, mentally for what’s next. I tend to react to situations and my moods swing without my even being aware of what’s happening, that is, until I’m done reacting.

This is going to be a good experience for me to practice adapting myself quickly to changing situations and emergencies without losing my temper like I’ve done in the past. My usual reactions are an abrupt swinging of mood, or panic and then the mood swing.

This skill, the skill of flexibility and adaptability, is an important skill to have while coping with our mental illness. Each new skill I learn builds upon the base of my positive mental attitude, my chief definite aim, or my passion in life. (I tend to think of the three things as different ways of saying the same thing.)

Having a flexible disposition means I must be able to quickly adapt to my environment. When I say “environment” I mean not only the physical situation, but also dealing with the people involved in the situation. It means that I can harmonize with my environment in a flexible way.

I’m not suggesting that I ignore my principles or altering my goals. I’m simply suggesting that I recognize my mental attitude towards the situation and determine if the situation is a disaster or a windfall. If it is a disaster I have the opportunity to change things and make them better. Because I use positive mental attitude, I have an even better opportunity to change the disaster into a boon.

I think that part of being adaptable means that in every situation with every person I try to understand their needs and demands. An example would be my Mother calling me a couple times a day and telling me something else I need to do to prepare to move. Yesterday it was that I should go to the Loews and Home Depot on Meridian to purchase boxes, start packing, have the kids (my son, 21 and youngest daughter, 19) come over and help me go through things, and to get rid of the piano. Being sensitive to her and to protective of myself I suggested that she make a list. We’ll see if she can do it. I eventually did go to those stores and bought boxes, but not the ones on Meridian. I hate driving on that street. It’s too busy and too long and too slow.

My plan includes to getting up at the same time every day, feed the animals and take my meds, eat healthy foods, exercise (I walk down the highway with Bailey), give my brain a break by reading or watching TV or listening to an audio book while walking, planning and making lists, keeping appointments or doing errands, spending time learning about how to be successful, spend time doing reactional activities, and so on. I need to keep things fairly structured. When I just watch TV all day it usually takes me another day or more to get back on track.

I’m going choosing to daily be flexible, adaptable, and let me just add: I’m going to be kind to others. (Ellen DeGeneres)

Bipolar Struggling

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I’m struggling. I want to be successful, but I have this illness that makes it harder to succeed for me to do so than if I didn’t have it. I just get going, and then I get depressed and circle downwards further away from my goals. I feel sad and unfulfilled. Tired. And then I blame my lack of success on the fact that I have Bipolar Disorder. The blame game. But there is truth to it.

I know intellectually what I need to do to be successful, but I feel like haven’t the strength right now.

Have you ever felt like this? Sounds like a broken record to me I’ve said it so many times. I know the feelings so well it’s like embracing a lover comfortable, warm, and familiar.

I tried to walk Bailey (the dog) around 5 this evening. My right knee felt like a vice grip was clamped on to it so I did one lap up and down the road and had to stop. I’ve had this knee replaced twice. (I had it done at a much younger age than most. Thought I’d do it a second time just to see if we could get my foot to point the right direction.)

It is 9:41 p.m. and I just realized why I feel like I should have gone to bed an hour ago. I forgot my afternoon meds. My son was over mowing my lawn around lunch time and I guess I got off schedule.

You know what? I have goals that I’m passionate about and I want to succeed in achieving them. However, I’m somewhat depressed right now and I’m not believing in myself the way I need to if I’m going to be successful. And I’m being scattered. Forgot the Ritalin. I’m blaming the illness. Now that I’ve figured out why I got more depressed today I can fix it tomorrow by taking all my meds.

It would have helped if I’d taken my meds. I’ve taken my p.m. meds already. I talk about how important it is to take your meds. This is why. My just missing one afternoon’s meds cost me my afternoon and evening and I feel more depressed.

Tomorrow is a new day. I’ll stick to my morning routine. I’ve got a morning routine. If I deviate from my routine, the rituals, I usually forget something. The rituals make me feel comfortable and steady.

I forgot to feed the cats this morning so Maks, the younger of the two, went into the kitchen and opened the cabinet doors and let them slam shut. I’m sure he knows I hate it when he does that. My dog Bailey chased him downstairs. That’s what happens when you have a cattle dog without cattle. She reverts to herding the cats.

I’ll take all my meds tomorrow. I’ll have to take my afternoon ones just before I leave to go to our family BBQ for Mother’s Day at my brother’s mid-century (I watch HGTV) home overlooking Puget Sound. It has a beautiful view. We’ll eat and play cards. I’m sick of playing cards but at least we have something to do. It can be fun. Depends on my attitude.

Time to take Bailey out. Then I think I’m going to journal for a little while.

My youngest daughter got hired Thursday to work at a car wash that her brother works at ($15 an hour plus tips!) and she worked today. That was fast. I’m so proud of her. I’m so proud of all my kids.

Yep, time to put this to bed.

Bipolar – PENS & Oxycodone

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I love pens. I really, really want to get one of those very expensive jobbies. I saw some in a gift boutique downtown Wednesday afternoon. They were 2013 models and at a bargain 50% off the normal $450 and $300. Oiy! Maybe not today. I’d love to get one for myself and one for my eldest daughter. We both love to write.

Writing can be a passionate thing. It is with me. Always with me I’m investing something of myself when I write whether it’s something blatantly obviously personal or if it’s something going on in my head that I want to talk about.

Right now I want to say something that I think is very important so sit up and read carefully. I’m putting this in terms of applying to myself so I know this from personal experience.

I have chronic pain. I have something wrong with my L4 and L5 disks, degenerative disks all the length of my spine, osteoarthritis, and fibromyalgia. I have a twice replaced right knee (replaced twice in two years, the first time it didn’t work) known as a TKR. I am 51 years old and I must say I do not appreciate needing to go to a pain management specialist and taking narcotics… every day.

I’ve been having what i can only label as nightmares now that I’m taking closer to the prescribed amount each day. (I also take Tramadol but that gives me migraines after a few days use). I don’t normally have nightmares. I was having trouble discerning reality fro dream when I would wake up in the morning.

Tonight I woke after another “nightmare” and remember something quite startling. When I was “incarcerated” in a facility to recover for my TKR the second time because my parents were moving and my kids wouldn’t be around to care for me giving me meds and such. It was a horrible experience. Besides generally feeling like I was incarcerated I was on Oxycodone at my maximum dosage every single time I could take it. The staff were only too happy to let me have it.

Unfortunately I had several nights in which I had terrifying and convincing hallucinations. It has taken me a long time to admit they didn’t really happen. Add to that, that I don’t remember my eldest daughter calling me daily from the MacDill Air Force base where she works as an air traffic controler. We live across the country from each other and that eats at my heart. We’ve always been close and the distance is difficult. But I don’t remember her calls and I know that bothers her. She took care of me during my first recovery and had to go through my even having two blood clots below my surgical knee. That was also a nightmare.

Last night and tonight I’ve been about at the level of Oxycodone that I was at in the rehabilitation center (read: nursing home) and I’ve started having hallucinations, not nightmares.

I suspect my use of pain medications is on the way down. We’ve tried a number of things and nothing seems to help.

I have an idea that I am sure will help. Ever hear of neuroplasticity? I’m sure you’ve heard of Luminosity, that’ s neuroplasticity. For me, this will mean using mindfulness to “remap” my brain and in doing so enable my actual brain structure to interpret pain differently. It won’t seem painful to me.  I guess I could put it like that without going into detail right now. I will soon though.

Neuroplasticity is becoming my key to dealing with my much of my troubles. Think of it, how awesome it will be to control my chronic pain, Bipolar, FM and OA… at least to a degree. Many advanced meditation practitioners are known to change their brains in a manner like the mindfulness I’ve mentioned.

Mindfulness. Neuroplasticity. How great to have the possibility of using these disciplines to help myself!

I’m not likely to be drug free… but I’ll get as far as I can.

I’ll talk about Mindfulness and Neuroplasticity in depth soon. They are very important disciplines that science backs up. I mean they are both proven scientifically to work in the areas I need. They impact many other things too.  After all, they are not confined to “topics” the brain considers. They do however, change the brain in ways we cannot comprehend considering the vast expanse, the last frontier as they say. At night I’ve taken to listening to Pandora. I searched and found a Mindfulness station to listen through the night. It’s playing right now. I finally decided to subscribe. Know why? The commercials were scaring me as I slept. Ew.

Watch your consumption of drugs like Oxycodone. You could have side affects you would think would anticipate.

Be cautious. Be ever vigilant.

Catch you later.I’m trying to stay awake for a while. Those hallucinations were getting very weird. Scary.

Robin

Licked by Lamictal

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Licked by Lamictal. Yep. I had requested that we lower the dosage and find another drug to use for my Bipolar 1 mixed state because I’m fair skinned (millions of freckles) and as soon as the sun made it’s annual appearance I started burning… in the shade, with sun screen on and with a long sleeve shirt. I mean what the heck is that all about? I didn’t want to go through it all again so I begged my med provider to change it. Not my shirt, the drug.

We backed off from 200 mg twice a day to just 200 in the evening. Within 2 weeks my youngest daughter (17) was actively searching for large boards to bonk me up side the head with. Yeah, I really sucked eggs. The really sickening things about it this time were that “I” chose to lower the medication and “I” slid head first in the inferno that is my brain roaming freely like a blind cat on a boat in high seas.

I called Jane, my med provider, and asked to come in to see her much earlier than my scheduled appointment. I was in her office in two days. We changed the dosage, raising it again over 3 weeks. I had met my new counselor when I was rapidly sliding into the pit and was a manic momma for the first two visits. Then, this week I had my third meeting with her.

I sat calmly and we talked. We talked back and forth. We worked together. It was nice. She mentioned that the change in me from the first two meetings to this one were remarkable. Indeed they were, they are. I asked her, “If you met me today and I behaved as I am doing now and I told you I’m a raging Bipolar 1 mixed state would you believe me?” Her answer was exactly what everyone says… “No.”

The Lamictal gives me the ability to fence in a lot of my insanity and I can pretend I’m “normal” and that I don’t really want to jump up and tell you how stupid you are. I’m smart. I know how to fake “normalicy”. It has come in handy (in fact I felt it was necessary to keep my ex-husband from getting his moronic, I live in another plane of reality, over the top and burning in hell as a terrible father, rotten Christian and ex-husband). I didn’t want them to take my babies away from me. No way. I fought myself like hell. I learned how to fake it really well.

At the end of our meeting I asked Julia (counselor) if she had just met me for the first time today would she believe I was as overwhelmingly Bipolar 1 as I say I am. Absolutely not. I let my secret out with more than a little pride I must confess. I told her that when I met new medical people (new to me) I always “let the crazy out” enough for them to believe that I’m more than a tiny bit messed up. She was amazed. Then I reminded her of my situation with the kids and that that desperate motivation and my above average intelligence giving me the messed up strength to stumble on each day. Mostly… Kind of. Sometimes. Blah…

Now before you jump up and down and up again shouting that I’m suffering from our common trait lovingly referred to as “megalomania” or “delusions of grandeur” understand this: I have lived most of my life believing that we each need to have an accurate estimation of our abilities. If you’re amazing, it’s perfectly fine to think it and sometimes, when the time is appropriate, to say it. “I am a high functioning Bipolar 1 mixed state. Very high functioning.” Never let that fool you into lethargy and believing wrongly that I’m perfectly fine and don’t need to be watched with due care. If you do, you are a moron.

Got good meds that are working for you? With your med provider’s help? Then keep taking the bloody things. Don’t ever risk sliding down that dark shoot to the garbage bin of your soul. Will you do that for me? Trust your people. If you can’t, find someone you can trust.

Just never, ever, stop your meds without a safety net.

I mean it. Watch it.

Mind the gap.

Dancing Drugs

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I’ve just left my Med Provider. I have chosen to decrease my dosage of Lamictal (for Bipolar) because of the following side effect….. intense sensitivity to the sun. I burn in the shade and even while wearing long sleeves. I live in the Pacific Northwest and I love living here. However, that won’t stop me from craving sunny days and need to soak up some rays to feed and heal my brain and  my body. So, sun sensitivity completely sucks.

Freckles.

The med provider, lets call her Jane Smith, agreed with me in my desire to go off Lamictal. She made up a very stupid dosage and times to take it instead of exactly doing what I asked. I mentioned her “plan” to another health care provider and the look on her face convinced me she reacted to Small’s arbitrary orders the same way I did. I’ve been taking 200 mg twice daily. She wanted me to change that to 150 mg with dinner and 200 mg at bedtime. . . . say what??!!

So… I’m taking 150 mg in the a.m. and 200 mg at bedtime. This drug does not hangout in my body for a long time. My MP told me it’s half life is pretty short (how long it lasts). Some medications stay in the body for awhile after a dose. No so with Lamictal (according to JS). If that’s correct it seems so) then telling me to alter my dose schedule for it to the scheme I’ve just mentioned is, well, moronic. Yep, I said it. “MORONIC.”

Freckle soup.

A Huge Detail-One Face of Moodiness

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I have moved into my room where it is cooler than the rest of the house, not to cool down, but to calm down. The cool room was just a bonus. Someone had just called and I felt that they were wrong, not I. It was something very important to me. And now it has to be put off and may not be ready for when my eldest daughter comes home on leave.

I plunged to despair and frustration with a swaggle of anxiety and frustration and went to my room to pout. To have a really good angry… pout.

I felt my old enemy rage upon me as so many times before. This time, I was almost ready. Almost. Fortunately I stopped myself before I started I started my wrecking ball at my family.

I cooled down a bit then realized I haven’t done this in several weeks. I’ve been on Neurontin and I really like what it does for me. What I don’t like is that I struggle not to fall asleep at all hours. We’ve been adjusting to this and losing all that the Neurontin benefited me. Then WHAM! I realized what was happening. I was going down the low road again. I was starting to implode again… then I realized I needed to stop. I realized that the lower dose of Neurontin (going lower and lower) was allowing me to slide. And it didn’t feel good at all.

I was crashing and I was gonna go down swinging.

Wait…. I have a few chill pills left. I took one.

And now I can write and consider a little nap before dinner to sooth my mind.

Restoring myself to equilibrium.

You know what? I’m glad I had sense enough (this time) to remove myself without any parting shots. And to use the cooler room and when being alone to realize what was happening. And sometimes, I have to tell you honestly, the truth is that sometimes, I need a little more help to “reset” myself.

I’m forever happy, that I have been able to eventually come back round to front “sort of side-wise”.

And… thank you for the little special pills. Taken with care and sparingly. But absolutely – taken.

Tramadol – for Pain

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Back to other stuff. The pain in my right hand and especially my thumb has become … really not good. I don’t usually tear up because of pain, but this one has me licked. For the moment.

I’ve been on Tramadol before, but I couldn’t remember how well it did or didn’t work. I’ve been on Oxy for months and still had pain. Way too much pain. Now I have the Tramadol again and took the first dose a few hours ago. I feel nice. My hand hurts much less. In fact, I’m actually able to type this with much less pain. For this I am glad.

I’m heading to bed now… hoping to sleep. Still no joy on that front. I have a feeling that the Tramadol and the sleeping medication will kick me in the ass and knock me out. So, since I see my med provider in the morning I’ll not have any in the a.m.

I was doing some reading (as I do when challenged, I investigate) and discovered that a particular medication I’ve been on before is used to treat both fibro and Bipolar. Interesting right?

Ooooo I just saw a commercial for Rizzoli and Isles! New episode Feb 25th! This is one of my favorite shows. I can’t wait.

No, I don’t really have a brain that jogs and skips and zips about when it should be focusing. No, really I don’t.

Changing Meds Again

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I got just as low on levels of my meds as I could this summer. It’s been a long, scary ride back to the grey and quickly approaching darkness. It’s time to readjust meds again. I have my appointment with my pill doctor in about a week. I’ll be clinging together with superglue till then.

On my best behavior…..