Tag Archives: Mental Illness

Finding Purpose with Mental Illness

I’ve spent most of my life trying to survive being myself. My brain and I don’t get along far too often. My mood disorder (Bipolar Disorder) smashes itself against my face driving me ever farther backwards into darkness (depression) and fire (mania/anger/anxiety).

When I was in high school, I honestly believed that I had a specific purpose to fulfill in life. Then I developed post-partum depression after the birth of my first child and my world crashed down around me, rolling ever further away from my control.

My control – It never occurred to me that my brain and I were anything but in my control. As the years passed, I focused more on surviving one week after another, and even one day after another. I focused on raising my kids as a single mother. I couldn’t work. Working was a nightmare that terrified me. I was Mom 24/7. It was what I had to, what I wanted to do. I tried to be the best mom that I could be.

At 56 I’m only now learning how my illness has affected my personality, my social skills, and my parenting. My eldest is 27 and I’ve only just now learned these truths. The sadness that comes with this realization grieves me. It rips open the wound in my heart that I’ve tried to keep taped up all these years… Maybe I wasn’t a good parent after all.

I can’t breathe.

The other day I was listening to the podcast called: “Don’t Keep Your Day Job.” After the host concluded her interview with an author, she summed the discussion by listing some “take-aways.”

Two of those take-aways were:

  1. If there’s a book you need to read and it’s not on the shelf – go write it.
  2. There is only one [me] that can speak in [my] voice. People are drawn to us when we are authentic.

Now that I’ve thought about it for a week these are my responses:

  1. I haven’t been able to find a book on Bipolar Disorder (or any book on mental illness) that meets me where I am. Being manic and having ADHD, I find that DBT and ACT workbooks make me crazy. I want answers. I don’t want more lists of what’s wrong with me.
  2. I want a book that inspires me and helps me navigate the mood bombs that are always all around me.
  3. I want a book that helps me learn to cement my feet to the ground.
  4. Teaches me how to be successful in every area of my life. It seems to me that I should be able to apply success principles to all of me, not just the part of me that wants to be financially successful.
  5. Can self-improvement principles like the ones that Tony Robbins teaches be applied to my illnesses?
  6. Inspire me. Don’t be a Double Debbie Downer.
  7. Show me who I can become. Stop focusing on the negative aspects of my illnesses.
  8. Help me find purpose for my life so that I can focus on the good that I can do rather than the negative that I feel.

When Christmas is Gone

Just when I thought no one understood, I saw my dog and kitten sleeping like this.

The kitten had her girl bits taken out and it’s really been hard on her. Bailey, true to her nature, is taking care of Savvy just like she does me.

Instead of asking “where are my people? Who’s going to rescue me?” I’m going to reach out to others more, and be one of their people.

Opioid Dependence and Mental Illness

Pile of pills

I’m not an addict. I’m not! I’m mentally ill. I have Bipolar Disorder. I also suffer from chronic pain in my lower back.

My primary care doctor (PC… PCD? Uhh… let’s go with MD) had been prescribing me oxycodone for the server and persistent (chronic) pain that I’ve had for years. After being active and doing something super strenuous like gardening for 15 minutes I think I’m dying. I’m exaggerating of course, but when I work as hard as Atlas does while holding up the world my eyes leak, I whimper and sit down. Sometimes I end up laying on the floor. The floor is such a very bad idea. If I straighten my legs my whimpering becomes desperate and I realize I’m crying. If I forget myself and straighten my legs I’m done. I can’t move. The pain paralyzes me.

I’m NOT an addict.

When I can think again, I try to find my phone. If I can’t find it right away I feel the panic rising and it triggers thoughts and emotions I thought I’d had under control.

This last time I thought I was managing my mania and depression (mixed state, rapid cycling) pretty well. I haven’t bought piles and piles of books on ducks or Oprah or how to be an astronaut. Honestly, I really haven’t. But please, don’t ask me what I’m thinking about. Also, I’ve been able to get out of bed AND wake-up in the morning and even go for walks. My depression skips through the dandelions with the mania comingling into a mixed state, which is always confusing.

I’m not an addict.

After many months of giving me a legal way to get my the Oxycodone I take for pain legally, and for free. The label on the bottle says I’m to take the little unassuming pills three times a day. They are 20 mg. Currently, I’ve convinced the assistant fellow at the pain clinic to reduce my Oxycodone to 20 mg twice a day.

I’m not an addict.

I’m mentally ill. I have Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, chronic pain, and other stuff.

I was referred to a pain chronic clinic… ah… chronic pain clinic, where my Oxycodone prescription was reissued. A five-minute verbal probe, that’s what it took for the doctor to determine whether or not I needed the narcotic. We didn’t talk about Bipolar Disorder or any potential interactions the Oxycodone might have with drugs that are meant to manage my wild emotions or tame my fantastic panic attacks. I’m not certain she has any record of my current medications. She asked questions, and I quickly tailored my answers to fit what I thought she was waiting to hear. She made a few notes on a paper as small as her palm. I wondered if she was actually making notes that she could refer to later. She thought for a few seconds and then wrote the prescription. I sighed in relief.

I’m not an addict.

A while later, like over a year or maybe two, I’m still taking the narcotic. The clinic has new owners and staff. They no longer asked me questions. Sometimes they required a urine test. Then, they stopped asking me anything at all. We spent my appointment chatting. I started asking if we could please try to figure out what was causing the pain and try to deal with it by correcting the problem. I wanted the pain to stop.

They didn’t listen. They wrote the prescription without hesitation.

I’m telling you, I’m not an addict.

My mental health drug dispenser began paying attention after I updated her about my drugs and included Oxycodone in the list. She stopped talking about whether or not my meds were working to stabilize my moods and started talking about “Black box” warnings.

She had my attention. I started to panic.

At the time I had over five medical people prescribing medications. They didn’t know what the other office prescribed me. They relied on me to tell them the truth. I didn’t have to tell anyone I was taking Oxycodone. That got me thinking.

I’m not an addict.

Later…

I’m still asking the medical folks to figure out the cause of my chronic lower back pain. I’m still not getting results. I’m getting way too much Oxycodone every bloody month.

Because I can, I’ve been researching my of collages of illnesses, disorders, and psychological malfunctions.

Ah ha! Black box warning. Do NOT take anti-anxiety medication (benzine’s) – death may result.

Oxycodone 20 mg

I recently saw Dr. T, my very superior knee surgeon. He saw the condition of my spine when he was looking at the x-rays of my hips. He was making certain that my persistent knee pain, post second replacement, wasn’t being caused by anything running amock in my hips. He was eliminating any possible cause of my knee pain before he even considering using surgery to further correct the inept effort Dr. B made the initial knee replacement. Dr. B successfully replaced my knee, but that’s where the project ended.

It sucked. My leg from the knee down, well, it kind of turned the wrong way.

Dr. T corrected the first replacement. He tried to minimize the damage his surgery could do while trying not to blow up my entire joint… okay, the joint that was already gone.

Dr. T showed me the x-rays he’d just had taken and explained where and why he left Dr. B’s “efforts,” while replacing the replacement. A month ago we tried a shot to relieve the pain and keep from having to have surgery again.

Nope. I’ve had no relief from the pain. In fact, my brain was overjoyed and thought that my knee was doing awesome. Holy cow! I should NOT have knelt down like that! Looks like surgery is probably what our next conversation will be about. I’ll need to be on pain medication again…. I intend to be off Oxycodine ASAP. I would really like to have some kind of painkiller to take after surgery – assuming I have it. Always be prepared! Sigh…

I’m not an addict.

After my constant complaining about my back pain that happens every time, I do regular human type activities involving the lower back. I’ve finally had x-rays of my back taken. Holy heck. Next stop is at a spine doctor.

The online personal information provided by my medical organization includes this: Opioid Dependence.

My chronic pain clinic instructs me to continue taking the Oxycodone. I haven’t been able to identify any specific relief from the pain in a long time. I have never felt any “fun” results from taking it. It has never made me feel sleepy.

I have found that taking Oxycodone at bedtime with the medication I take for Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) helps me to get to sleep and not wake up in agony caused by the RLS.

Am I an addict?

“Taking opioids over a long period of time produces dependence, such that when people stop taking the drug, they have physical and psychological symptoms of withdrawal (such as muscle cramping, diarrhea, and anxiety). Dependence is not the same thing as addiction; although everyone who takes opioids for an extended period will become dependent, only a small percentage also experience the compulsive, continuing need for the drug that characterizes addiction.”*

I’m mentally ill. In my opinion taking any medication, especially one that alters my brain chemistry (opioids do this), should be thought about and discussed with other medical personnel who are also responsible for my continued living – and to live my best life.

Am I an addict?

No.

I have Opioid Dependence.

Dependence. I can live with that, but look, let’s get rid of that too. Okay?

{I have Bipolar Disorder. I’m a little manic now. I’m using it to write and post while I can. So, for now, I will post often because tomorrow, I may be depressed and unable to say what’s on my mind. I may not have anything on my mind.}

* https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/opioid-addiction

5-Minutes

5minutes Are you listening? Can you hear me?

I need you to hear me.

I need you to know what I mean when I say, “I just can’t!”

You really need to understand this illness before we talk about, “I just can’t” It will make so much more sense then.

I’ve written about my troubles for years in my paper journals. I’ve always imagined that when I die, one of my family, my kids perhaps, would read them and finally understand me. They would finally understand that I’m not a bad person, a lazy person, or a freeloader.

I’m sick. I’ve always been a sick person.

With technology what it is today, it’s easy to find an informative book that explains what it is to have what I have. I’ve searched YouTube for videos that explain me and have found a few that try to do it and seem to do it well. We’re all different of course so what describes one person may not completely fit me. But if the person watching will just listen, listen and hear the pain and the wrongness of it all.

Wrongness. That’s what it is.

You’d think, maybe this is the child whose rage never seemed to end, a brat that pushed and pushed…. Wouldn’t you like an explanation?

I’d think someone who claims to love me would take a few minutes to watch a 5-minute video, just a five-minute video, to learn about me. Surely, someone, anyone of you must care enough to sit for five-minutes for me? Did you hang out in line for coffee or in line at the grocery store? Is that silly? Have you “liked” any funny pictures or memes today? Did you watch ANY TV? What were you doing on commercials? Why is this so hard for you?

Did you watch the news today or read your Facebook feed? Have you texted anyone or talked on the phone?

Would you think I didn’t love you if I didn’t return your calls or texts for two or three weeks? Would you call and check on me?

How much energy does it take to watch a video?

What are you afraid of?

I’d have thought I’ve shown you enough of what this illness is that you have nothing left to fear.

And yet, you don’t hesitate. You completely stop.

“I don’t have time.”

Will you have time to visit me in the hospital?

I’m not going to try to kill myself just to get your attention. But I can’t promise to do what’s best for me all the time.

Maybe I’ll have to mourn the death of you so that I can learn to live without you. Because you see, I already live like this. You are emotionally unavailable to me. Without “my people” surrounding me in a protective layer of love to cushion me when I fall….

Adults are just like children. We all have a fair expectation of being loved. When that expectation is not met we wither and begin to slip away.

Do you have five-minutes?

I need you to listen to me today.

Just follow the link.

Then maybe we could talk.

I’ve had a thought. I’ve unwillingly learned more about inappropriate relations whether they be physical, racial, or political just watching prime time TV than you’ve learned about me on purpose.

It isn’t rocket science. But it is science. I am sick. Unlike some illnesses like some cancers where the patient may go into remission or finally be overcome by it, my sickness has not given me a moment’s rest.

Sometimes I wish I had an illness you could see so that you would mourn me when I die. But for today, I live as though I’m normal. That’s how you see me. Normal. That’s how I look. This illness is rude beyond anything I’ve ever seen. It grabs hold and never lets you go. It bombards me from within, from where you cannot see. This illness, it stays in the “ON” position from before I was diagnosed until I die.

That’s right. I have it now. You cannot see it. I will die with it.

Would you watch the video?

Or would you rather I had cancer? Then you’d have something you could see.

I’m tired of being unseen for who I am.

Please, are you listening? Can you hear me?

I’m wondering if you’ve ever felt anything like this. This is all true in my life. What about you? If you have known that, I hear you. I will listen to you. I have way more than 5-minutes to give you.

* I had my counselor read this yesterday so that he could see what’s in my brain. I told him I was going to edit it, polish it up before I posted it so it would be clearer in some places. He suggested that I not do that. He felt that letting you see where my brain was at was a place of raw emotion. He urged me to keep the “rawness” in it. So, here it is. Right from my brain and served up to you on a virtual platter.

Bipolar – I Think You Should Take Fewer Pills

I’m going to notify my counselor that I must be rid of my med provider as soon as it can be arranged. I’ve told Arthur, my counselor, that I don’t feel that Jamie (med provider) is working in my best interest. My next appointment with her she started right off by confronting me about what I’d told Arthur. I confessed thit it was true.

It got me no where.

She says that I’m on too many pills and she doesn’t want to add anymore. Apparently, this is her rational for not giving me medication that might actually have helped me.

I’ve been practically begging for something for my anxiety that only get’ s increasingly more consuming with each passing day

This whole school year has been like a nightmare.

She doesn’t want to give me more pills? Bull!! It is not her choice to decide whether what other doctors prescribe me for illnesses she knows even less about than I do.

She has repeatedly used this as an excuse not to give me something that could prevented me from my brake down. I have high cholesterol, my thyroid is out of whack, I have chronic horrible lower back pain, I have FM, RA, OA, a facial tick (probably stress related), PTSD, and have recently been diagnosed with IBS-d. It’s a crap load of stuff, but they have all been dealt with by someone more intelligent than she is.

I’ve asked each and every visit for something to help with the burning anxiety. She refuses. She gives me fewer chill pills.

Does she think I like taking a handful of pills twice a day? Moron.

I’ve finally had a breakdown. I blame her. In December I confessed I’d been having thoughts of harming myself. I’d hidden that for years, but at that point it was too much, and I confessed it.

She did nothing.

If I can’t trust my med provider to guard my mental wellbeing, than who will? There aren’t many options here.

I’ve started to shake, Twitter, and twitch again. I’m graduating today. My anxiety that mixes like a charm with my mania and depression making my constant mixed state even more confusing and painful. It’s too much to handle anymore.

I’m firing her. She truly doesn’t have my best interests in mind. I don’t need one of my medical professionals contributing to my madness. That’s just sick.