Tag Archives: pain

Bipolar – Remembering Our Past

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I need you to understand that I in no way discount what anyone has gone through. Things may be exactly as you recall them. This post is meant merely to ask the reader to consider things.

One of the great troubles with Bipolar Disorder is that we tend to ruminate what we view as the horrors of our past. We think we remember all the times we have been depressed and felt like we wanted to die. We think we remember the charge the mania gave us and may long for the positive influence we think we remember happening. We may be paralyzed by thoughts of our past in which we hurt others and maybe tried to hurt ourselves. If any of this sounds like you, listen closely to this:

There are three things that are known about memory that I want you to know.

  1. People can recall events that never happened.
  2. All memories are inaccurate to some degree.
  3. Identifying false memories may be next to impossible
    (Psychology Today, June 2016, pg. 21)

It may not be necessary to crucify yourself on the altar of regret. It is possible that you do not remember the past as it actually happened. I have found these things to be true in my own life. I think I remember being mean to my kids and speaking unkindly to them as I wallowed in my anger and depression on a daily basis. Anger was my friend and I was angry every day and I felt I took it out on my kids.

But you know what? My kids and my family don’t remember it that way. My kids, who are now 18, 21 and 24, remember me as working hard to be a good mom and always loving them. They don’t remember me being abusive. It’s three against one. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I was a good mom. They all seem to have turned out to be good people. I need to believe them. That guilt crushes me at times. I’m choosing to believe that I wasn’t as bad as I recall. I was a good person.

Bipolar sufferers feel emotions more intensely than other people. We remember incidents where our world has crashed down around us because that’s what we remember feeling at the time and so that’s what we feel now as we think about the past.

We may think we remember the situation even being worse than it was. Another person may remember the same situation as not being quite as dire as we do. In fact, we may be remembering an incident as more intense and devastating than it was. We may even be remembering something that happened in our head, that we think happened, that never did happen. Can you imagine that? Maybe you are a better person than you think you are. These things are true for all people, but I’m talking about us and our magnificent emotions.

What I want you to understand is that you and I, we should cut ourselves some slack. Our memories are never perfect and unless you have proof that what you remember happened or felt actually did occur, relax a little. Maybe we’re not as horrible as we think we are.

I have “memories” of being a horrible mom. I “remember” saying things and not doing things that amount to neglect or even abuse as a parent. I’ve asked my kids and my family about some of the bad things that I “remember” doing and saying. Generally, they all agree I wasn’t the horrible parent I think I was.

The kids are glad they grew up with me and not their father. That means a lot to me. He’s not a bad man, but they say they would have hated me if I’d let their father have them.

Even though I truly was in a deep depression and on a manic high most of their early lives they love me and want me in their lives. I run in a mixed state so you never know how I’ll act. I recall letting especially my youngest get away with more things because I was afraid I was being too sever with her. My older two say I did let her get away with too much. At least I remember that correctly.

On the other hand, maybe you are remembering certain things correctly and you were horrible. In that case I hope we can learn from those situations and find ways to keep them from happening again.

My message: Try to cut yourself some slack. Consider the three things we know about memory and apply them to yourself. You and I are probably not at horrible as we think we are.

I hope.

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 – PRIDE

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You I’ve found that my depression tends to cut off my ability to experience and to recognize pride in my kids and myself. Never mind actually saying anything about it to them… when I realize what seems like to late that I should have said something encouraging to them… I freeze.  It sucks to have your kid come home and tell you how proud a teacher or counselor is off them. It sucks when you didn’t know you should have been proud of them.

Oh I realize we can’t know everything that’s going on with them,  but come on!  “Pay attention!” I said to myself.

The last two days I’ve been paying attention to my youngist, Sydney.  She’s in Running start and taking classes at the community college (TCC) and SOTA (School of the Arts) and was hired by the business she interned for AND today was made coordinator the the students, businesses and screening… and placing the new interns along with recruiting new interns.

WOW right? I don’t yet know how it will all work out but her brother and I are going to give her as much support as we can.

This morning I was so positive. I believed I could complete all the projects I’ve started over the last 15 years. They’re good projects and worthy of my hard work to complete them.

Then I picked up Sydney after my physical therapy (PT) on my lower back. I picked her up and it seemed to me that she again shot some things I told her I was thinking about in the face.

I crumpled. My amazing up beat attitude and hard work I’d done all day left me and I was filled with anger and resentment.

Stay tuned and I’ll share with you in my next letter what happened. It was a humdinger.

Good night my friends. Talk to you real soon.

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Sydney, squinting, at the lake 2014

I’m so proud!

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

I Wish I Were Bipolar

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I can’t believe I just said that either.

“I wish I were Bipolar. Yes, ME.”

I’ve fretted over when/if/how to approach what to say.   Again… another issue to stifle me me and stuff my hands with word stopping globs of goo. (Do you get what I’m getting at? Stay tuned.)

I can’t possibly explain who I am. Not even close. I’ll say one thing and think I’ve given you enough. I’ll pause my monologue and think I’ve given you space to consider me, what I’ve said. I hear my own voice raise over all the silences and questions I’ve left with you. Like…

“What the hell are you going on about woman?!”  I got no clue.

Lies. I’m lying. Laying? Damn words.

I honestly do wish I were Bipolar. Just Bipolar. It would make me.. my life.. so much simpler, even more possible. More probable.

I keep nodding off so I’ll keep this much shorter than I’m naturally inclined to do.

Last night (Wed night) I slept for perhaps an hour or two. It was horrible. My brain began alright. It is still flirting with every tomorrow in this newly less medicated state. We, my brain and I ended in the wee hours (Thur morning) stuck in the turnstyle under a boat load of cement. I couldn’t sleep. I almost did sleep.

Lies. I slept.

I slept for as many hours as I have eyes. Maybe.

I’m so tired.

I have chronic pain everywhere. Pain in every joint, every muscle, every imaginary and real messed up bit of me. I see a chronic pain specialist at a “pain clinic”. They specialize in, well, chronic pain that isn’t easily treated by ordinary means. That just means that in my case for example my MD isn’t comfortable prescribing high and long standing doses of Oxycodone day after week, after month, after year.

I take 10 mg of Oxycodone three times daily (assuming I’m not going to be driving) to try to control my lower back and bum pain.

It rarely works well. I keep taking it whenever I safely can. I bank on the thought that I can trick my mind into believing it really does help. Via my med provider and MD and so on my pain cocktail consists of:
10 mg Oxycodone 3 times daily
50 mg Hydroxyzine 4 times daily
800 mg Ibuprofen every 6 hours
Excedrin Migraine two every 6 hours
Ice, ice, ice, ice
Heat, heat, heat

No joy.

It is now 13 minutes after midnight. That’s 13 minutes into Friday.

So far today sucks. I have heartburn and my pain is nicely controlled at about an 8 (10 being the worst pain I can ever imagine) at the moment.

If I’m not sleeping because of my brain, I’m not sleeping because of my pain. Often the bodily pain causes mental pain…  making sleep an even less likely reality. I need to sleep. My jumbled writing is becoming more jumbled. I hate it. I get my Bipolar brain to cooperate and focus. That’s so awesome. I know that’s so awesome.

The chronic debilitating pain makes it only a shadow of a triumph.

No sleep is not sleeping no matter what the cause.

Oh my. I nodded off for a fairy tale minute. It’s passed.

I’m going to move the warm and melted ice pack from my butt to the freezer. I have four I rotate through. The big hospital size ones for things like knee replacements.

I am so exhausted. I think I might be tired enough now that the pain won’t be able to make me cry and whimper… maybe that means I’ll sleep.

I nodded off again.

I self medicated tonight. Two vodka shots of really bad vodka. Trying to kick start the painkiller and bring sleep and I together faster and hopefully for longer than zero.

I wish I were just Bipolar. Chronic pain plus Bipolar Type 1 completely sucks fried reeds.

Well… started to cry again. Gonna say goodnight to the ice right now. I’ve gotta sleep.

I wish I were Bipolar.

I’m in such pain…. I’m a BP1, ADHD, PTSD, FM, OA, MOM

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Seriously though… I’m in an extraordinarly dismal pain deep in my bones I think. I’m not certain. It starts somewhere around my swollen and annoying disks down around the L-something-or-other.

Restless legs? Perhaps. Runs in the women on my mom’s side of the family.

Anxiety encouraging psychosomatic (maybe) spinal pain to radiate through Restless Legs and deep to the ass of the leg with the double times new knee.

Translation… My equal isn’t ibriumating. Get it? Equilibrium. Equal. Equal-ibrium.  New knee as in “not using it much for years and am lopsided and out of synch.)

What?

Seriously though… From my lower back down past my toes especially in my right leg and alien beastie is trying to pull the bones out of my flesh. Meat. Oh my.

Seriously though… Hurts like a “$(%*& ”   of  a    ” )(*&#_ ”   If you know what I mean.

Sitting on my bum on the floor is a feat of unsurpassed hilarity. Translation: I’m either laughing madly – or – crying with great abandon. Take your pick.

Tonight the pain started about 1:15 in the afternoon PST.   Not EST.   PST.

I took my Oxycodone and heating pad and lie down (lay down… well I wasn’t “sitting” down) on my bed while my puppy (Australian Shepherd/Heeler named Bailey, a little girl) snoozed at my feet. Literally. She slept temporarily where my feet could go on my queen sized bed. Then she slept where they also could have been. And then again. Add. Spin. Rinse. Repeat.

Where was I? Right. Bloody bleeding sickly . . . agony. Pain. Unrelenting, mind blowing, consuming… pain.

I don’t watch American Idol. Did once, when it all first began. Still have a fondness for Kelly Clarkson. The queen upon the Idol throne. I sat tonight not watching the 13th season with my son (Kyle, 19. He’s a boy.). I think I must have been doing it louder than I noticed because suddenly he sideswiped my attention from my ass to, well, to my whining. I was whimpering and whining.

I never allow myself that luxury while my kids are about. At least, not before this. Today, I’m in such pain… And it started well before bedtime.

Oh damn!  I just want to sleep.

I think, I think I’ll go soak my ass. Okay, I’ll soak everything that will fit in the tub too. Maybe some soothing heat not floating around my body will help some. Oh great bird of the universe I hope so. Damn I do hope so.

My car is in the shop. Again.

My phone is stupid and dead.

My knee is still new.

My weather is nice. Just right today.

My belly is too big.

My kids are amazing. And my puppy too.

I can see my feet again.  When I move my boobs out of the way. I’m short you know.

I’m in so much pain.

Good night.

Tomorrow is going to come whether I’ve slept or not. As it always does and always should do. I would do well to remember this.

Come on pain, time to have a bath. Pain, would you consider going down the drain? Please. No? Screw you. I’m having that bath anyway.

Again. Good night.

Osteoarthritis & Fibromyalgia – Really??

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I had great news from my Rheumatologist yesterday. I know now why I have so much joint pain. I know why some days I can’t hold onto a cup and my thumb feels like its broken. I know why I have pain all over my body… I know… youch!

I dunno NOTHING!

I do know something. I have a lot to learn about things I wish I knew.. had no need to know.

I do have arthritis. I have Osteroarthritis. Who knew right? Already had the right knee replaced – twice (yes, twice) in a year and a half. She, the doc, followed this news up with a stunner. Fibromyalgia. Osteroarthritis and Fibromyalgia together. Sounds like a bloody party. Very bloody. Lots of carnage.

I started reading reading a tiny bit about them tonight. I didn’t want to jump into it and become obsessed and blame everything wrong with me on them. I have other stuff for that.

Life is a load of interconnected bits. They go on and on until they make a whole person of pieces stuck here and there. We travel through life discovering how what our bits are and how they work together. Or how they should, could, work together.

I am a woman of many faces, many complex bits and pieces, many parts of me striving and staggering on my path to the future. Somehow I will make it all work. I will strive after wholeness everyday from my now to my next now.

I am a human woman. I have a heady dose of Bipolar type 1 and I exist in a thing called “mixed states”. I have a new knee(s) and Diabetes type 2 in remission. I have Osteoarthritis & Fibromyalgia. I don’t sleep well at all. This provokes psychosis. Yes, I know I owe you an explanation of that… later please. They all seem intertwined to me. One is similar, but not the same. They all affect the one. We roll along and try to find the brakes so we, so I, can catch my breath and suck in lungs full of fresh air.

I need fresh air. I need to understand. I need to conquer myself now more than ever.

Bipolar can slam me with hellish depression in a moment. It can pummel me until I just want it all to stop. I refuse to go to that place. I’ve worked hard and long to cling to myself and to the vision of who I am becoming.

These disorders dance in my body a wild and sometimes wondrous dance.

I am stunned.

Tomorrow will come when I awake. I will begin to formulate a game plan. I live for my children. They have given me as much life as I have given them. I live for myself. I have every right to live.

Tomorrow I will consider how to think about all this. To draw it in and start to sort it all out. I will not allow my mind to destroy me though the little grey cells that do the square dance with bipolar are going to be busier than usual with this knew knowledge. It does that when stress hits. This new information has granted me a gigantic helping of stress. Stress is so bad for me.

The first order of business is to sleep. Tomorrow I will search out ways I have not tried yet to master the pain in my mind and in my body.

I will not stop. I will become like perpetual motion.

You just watch me go. I’m the only one who can stop me, and I’ve chosen to push forward and to have a life filled with joy and love and adventure and so much more. And yes, pains and struggling. These are the facts and my thoughts as I know them right now, in this moment.

Walk with me. Let us see what the future, the moment touching this moment has for us. I think the ride is going to be… BIG.

Stay tuned to this bat time, this bat channel… yes, stay tuned. I’ll be here. The next moment is mine to own. Now, what are you going to do with your moments?