What My Med Provider Means to Me

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I’ve complained about my med providers and their apparent inability to comprehend the word ANXIETY for over a year now. You could assume that I don’t like med providers… that I don’t trust them, that I think they’re stupid. Well, umm, yes, that’s basically how I’ve been feeling. I’ve been living a nightmare that has been driving me downward toward my old companions: anger and rage. It makes me feel like they’re getting out of prison and are moving into the house next to mine. I’ve been really scared that I was about to lose control of my emotions again, and eventually, my mind. It has happened before.

I last week I spoke with my counselor (Lee) before my visit with my med provider (Susan) this week. He thought the Ritalin obviously wasn’t working and that my ADHD was out of control. I allowed myself to interact with him the way I do at home with Jessica. My inability to control things like how fast, how much, and how many topics I covered while speaking certainly indicated that this was true.

<OMG! Alexa is playing music from the 1950’s for me. I LOVE THIS MUSIC!>

I was stunned. ADHD? If he was right, this could change everything about the way I approached my brain. I was told I had ADHD just a few years ago and had never taken the time to learn anything about it. Wow, that wasn’t like me at all. I love research! Following rabbit holes is my favorite pastime!

Anyway, I assumed Susan would look at my chart to see what notes Lee would have put in it before she saw me. Doing that would give her knowledge she should have used to help her understand where I was at and she would have seen what Lee was concerned about. It was an assumption I shouldn’t have made. Apparently, things don’t actually work that way.

Every time I see Susan 12 times a year. Yikes! So many times. One of the first things she asks me is if I feel like… if I FEEL like the Ritalin {1} is helping me focus? Focus? What does that mean? How can I tell it’s working? I can pay attention in class. Is that what she means? My attention is crap at home. I can’t ever do just one thing at a time. I have to leave the commercials in when I watch from the DVR (DISH) so that I can read or research stuff online that they just talked about. Is it working? I suppose so? I always replied that I guessed it did. I guess that was silly of me. I would say that because I had no idea what else to say. If I was a little boy, I could probably mean that I’d slow down and stop bouncing off the walls and maybe stay in my seat. But as an adult… I had no idea what that looked like. If I said the wrong thing, she might mess with my meds and right then, they were treating me okay. I wasn’t raging at anyone that day and I didn’t feel depressed.

After I mentioned what Lee and I had talked about and that he was very concerned she took a minute to read his notes. Suddenly she made a whole new treatment plan. I had been on Lithium when I was first diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder (BD). The first book I read on it was: “An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness” by Kay Redfield Jamison. I was deeply touched. I felt like I understood what she was talking about, like we were kindred spirits, linked through the ether by BD. Jamison was very sick when she was diagnosed.

Let me attempt to generally get right to the point for once. Jamison was placed on Lithium to treat her BD and it worked. So, that’s what I asked to be given. My personal doctor (MD), was the one who initially treated me. He said that Lithium has been around for many years and there is a lot of evidence that it works.

The Lithium worked.

Susan felt that since the Ritalin was obviously not helping me focus. I guess that made her rethink her strategy. She finally agreed that my brain was hopping along on two of four legs. She told me that does think I have ADHD she now believes that I’m far more manic, which was making me act like that bouncy ball they teach kids to sing songs with. Do you know what I mean? It might be too old for some of you. They wanted to teach kids songs so a character on a film or on TV would get you to sing along as it had a bouncing ball hop around on the lyrics so we could see the lyrics while we sang. It was great fun! than anything else. Sure I talk incessantly to Jessica, but my brain was exploding with ideas. It was time to help me continue to be creative, but to control my mania so that I could be productive.

The plan: no more Clonazepam, no more Ritalin. Start Lithium.
*The reason I went off Lithium was that my PC (Primary Care) had been highlighting the dangers of being on Lithium more than he was the benefits of it. It was because of these side effects, that I requested I be put on something else that didn’t have the same drawbacks. Lithium toxicity can occur even at a low dose. While on Lithium, the user has to be closely monitored so that the dose can be adjusted as needed. The symptoms of Lithium toxicity are numerous and I already have several of them for other random reasons. This website lists the long lists of side effects. In addition to these potential problems the user (remember this is me) has to carefully watch their intake of salt, caffeine, and alcohol. And get this… some of the other medications that may interfere with Lithium and increase the risk of toxicity are ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and naproxen (Aleve). Oh, and I can’t leave out this one: acetaminophen (Tylenol). So… yeah. I had a lot of scary reasons to ask to be taken off the drug that was helping me but was also kind of terrifying too. 

Susan believes that this change in medications should make my extreme moods in control much better.

Excuse me? As long as I’ve been seeing the professionals in this clinic, I’ve never had anyone decide to try Lithium again. All this time… lost. Years of feeling my little grey cells melting, running out of my ears. But then again, Lithium toxicity…

I want to be a writer when I grow up. I once heard that writers go through life with their head cocked a bit to the side. I showed Susan a piece of paper that was covered with writing on both sides. It was filled with websites, blogs, and email addresses that I’d created. She studied it for a while. I asked her if I was stupid and delusional to think that I could do all these things and believe that they were not just good ideas, they were great ideas. They were creative ideas. Is my mind actually existing in a consistent state of delusions of grandeur?

Delusions of grandeur. I’ve always been afraid that people would remember that part of the list of symptoms for BD and dismiss me as a kook. Am I brilliant? Or am I bonkers and deluded? I’ve always believed my ideas were great. Yeah. Delusions of grandeur?

She said no. It wasn’t that. Yes, my thoughts are crazy fast, but I am very creative and smart.

Me – creative and smart. OMG!

Of course, now I respect her. She believes in me. She agrees with me that I’m smart and creative. No one has really said that to me. No one has said, “Robin, you’re not delusional. You’re smart. You’re creative. You have good ideas… cleaver… innovative. Don’t worry about being crazy. We just need to slow you down so you can get things done.

Since then, I’ve discovered additional information that indicates that one aspect of BD is the tendency to be super goal oriented. Yep, that’s me. Why haven’t I’ve seen that before?

Watch out! Corner coming!

What are the good things about having BD? I’ll have to think on that for a while.

Go ahead, get mad when the medical professionals don’t seem to be listening. Pester them until they hear you. Then, you listen to them. Work together. Hope that things will finally start to workout. Now that Susan and I are communicating, now that she hears me, we have a new plan. Maybe my mind won’t keep leaving the scene without me.

Yes, it really has done that. We’ve called professional trackers to find it a few times now. It-is-very-embarrassing when your mind is so exposed, so naked.

New plan. New hope.

Bring it! I’m ready.

I’m more than ready –

{1 – Concerta and Ritalin are stimulant medications used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). They’re both different brand-name versions of the same drug, called methylphenidate hydrochloride.  https://www.healthline.com/health/adhd/concerta-ritalin}

Frankenstein – Bipolar & ADHD

Frankenstein-tumblr_ovgh5egVdd1wzx3t8o1_1280 I’m aware, that when given the chance, I will, without question, talk until the air has been sucked out of the general area and everyone has passed out. So normal.

Anxiety – After I graduated, and a few weeks had passed I could tell I was under stress from that. My anxiety has gone down. It did get better, for a while. I got to the point where I didn’t quite feel like my brain has been stuffed full of raging bees. Awesome!

ADHD – I was under the assumption that I was taking Ritalin to help me focus my attention so I could do well in my classes. I was always confused when my med provider asked me if I felt the Ritalin she was prescribing was helping me to focus better. I always said, and continue to say, “Um… I guess so.” I’m manic! What does she want me to say? I work very hard when I meet with her to sit, shut up, and answer her questions honestly. She terrifies me. What if I answer wrong and she changes my meds again? I’ll say something than think, “Crap! Why did I say that?” I always say that I guess it was working well. I suppose. Now I think that I was wrong.

More ADHD – I accepted the diagnosis of having ADHD because it was about not being able to focus on one thing at a time and I knew I couldn’t do that. But, being Bipolar was always the main objective of both my counseling sessions and appointment with the med woman.

Bipolar 1 – I assumed that my Bipolar was worse (or more dangerous to me) than ADHD could be. Wasn’t it?

You know how a doctor will sometimes leave a small tube that goes through an incision so that the area can drain and heal properly?

Yeah, I don’t know where I was going with that—

Switch – I have some ideas that I think are pretty good. I’ve done one or two or three big projects that have come out great. The other 45 ideas that are going around in my mind appeared to be stuck in orbit. I remember the video I watched on YouTube yesterday about ADHD and I was shocked. Frankenstein!

FRANKENSTEIN – I’ve come to think of Bipolar/ADHD as a Frankenstein type of symbiotic relationship. I can’t imagine why my diagnoses has always focused upon Bipolar Disorder. In counseling I talk faster and faster and cover an impressive variety of topics.

Pressured Speech (Bipolar) – Thought very little about ADHD or how to deal successfully with it. I’ve been taking medication for it for three years. In that time no one has talked to me taught me to handle it. Why not?

FRANKENSTEIN – Why hasn’t anyone explained how the two disorders interact, and how the medications for each may also affect each other. (“Do you think that the Ritalin is making your mania worse?”)

I have been primarily a mixed state, high functioning, Bipolar type 1 for years now. I always thought that my constant mental zooming about was just my amazingly stunning mania. (While I mostly talk about my being manic lately, let me just say that depression has played a big part in my mental health too.)

My daughter went with me to my last counseling appointment. We talked about my inability to stick with one thing and see it through to completion and how it was impacting her. Basically, I’m driving her bonkers. These are some of the things that I do: TALK CONSTANTLY NO MATTER WHAT WE ARE DOING, change topics as fast as I talk, pick up a pile of laundry in the living room to put it away, stopping to talk to our beta fish (Victor and Batman) and feed them a few dried wormy things and set down the laundry, forget that I had a mission with the laundry, see that the dog/cats water bowls are empty and fill them, read 1.75 pages in a book. What was I doing? Let the dog out to do her business. Hours later I discover the laundry next to the fish… you get the idea.

My new counselor, my daughter and I decided that I need to focus on being able to focus. Yes, my Bipolar mania hops it up like jet fuel in a race car, but with knowledge and tools to help me with my ADHD and settle on one thing, even for an hour, I might just begin to get a handle on my anxiety/stress and even mania.

Maybe. This is stressing me out. Bothering my daughter this bad is building an anxiety that is part of everyday life. Sigh…

Who knew that pressured speech and mania aren’t the same thing as ADHD? I really don’t understand what the hell is going on. I feel like my brain has been sewn together with blue and green colored twine and slip knots.

One final thing: It has taken me three days and four hours to type this. Just kidding. Two days. Honestly, I have no idea. I need a time-out.

Bipolar – What Gives Me the Right?

I’m not a bad person. I do get pissed off. I don’t swear often. But sometimes I do. My closest friends laugh hysterically when I do because, as they say, it just doesn’t look like it should come out of my mouth. Gosh, thanks. I think. – Caution, there’s a little bit of swearing ahead. Just a bit.  ;0)  Honestly, I felt it was caused for.

This young guy, maybe 22 years old, was arguing me about something this week in one of my classes. Our job was to create a realistic pitch to present to the rest of the class. We were to try to convince them that had they been real potential backers, our imaginary presentation should be good enough to get them to want to be involved. and give us financial backing and so on. Easy. All we had to do at this point in our imaginary plan was (this was me) “to hand out our marketing postcards to students and that we hoped were experiencing stress.”

Doubts-question marks

The boy informed me that I couldn’t say that. Can’t say what? Can’t say they have stress. I didn’t say I’d say they’d have stress. I said I was hoping to give it to someone who had stress. You can’t say that.

Around and around we went. The other members of our group moved away from us. We got louder and louder. The professor, bless her long-suffering heart, had to come and in 4 times and intervein just during that one class period.

I’d decided I wasn’t going to be run over like I had been in my group last quarter. I was going to take a stand. I was going to stand up for myself. The boy with lint in his brain was wrong. You know why? I have two basic reasons. Well, three. One. he’s a stupid, arrogant youth who takes charge because his ego as a male gives him the automatic right to lead every group he’s in. (I know other people who observed our “discussions” who agree with me.) Two, we were using marketing to get people to come to our event. Um, you have to get people who experience stress interested in reducing their STRESS to come to our damn event! But he didn’t want me to even say the word to just our business audience. He didn’t want me to tell them that we hoped these students were stressed. What? Is he a moron? Third, if I want you to back my event financially, I need to tell you what specific audience I’m aiming to draw to my event. What student am I aiming to expose my marketing products too so that they will come to our event and reduce their stress?

A fucking STRESSED OUT STUDENT, THAT’S WHO GOD DAMN IT! You can’t say that.

Michael, why not? Because you’re implying they have stress. OMG Of course I am. That’s who my target market is. That’s what businesses do. They have target audiences and they try like hell to reach them so they can sell their products (or whatever) to them. Target audience. Do you know about them?

As it turns out, after having a discussion regarding the whole sordid thing, some college students today believe that we have no right to assume anything about anything. At all.

OMG

I wanted to speak first. I’m VERY well versed in ANXIETY and STRESS. Nope, Michael spoke first/instantly. He missed school for three weeks because he was stressed out. That story really ought to start things out well.

Michael, are you going to try to hook the audience by sharing your experience with them? Well, yeah. And you’re going to express some emotion so that they empathize with you, right. Well no. (His face went pale.) I’m not going to share anything persona. But I do know a lot about stress. Yes, I see that you do.

In the few seconds, before I was overtaken by lint boy, I had visualized myself getting up there in front of the other students, and then dramatically breaking a few pencils in half and tossing them in the air. Then I would explain how many college students feel stress and what kinds of things they feel it makes them do – like commit suicide. I’ve been there. I know. I understand. Have you ever felt that way too?

The audience would now be listening to the group. We could continue our pitch. We would tell them about our research and the target audience we found through our research that we would like to come to our event. Marketing. Audience.

I could go on. Lint man still makes me mad. He persists in expressing his superiority by taking over every meeting and every discussion.

We had a meeting today. I had a plan. I’d been listening to a couple of TED Talks in my car during my break. They were under stress. They were informational, insightful and funny. One woman talked about the “F-word.” It turned out her F-word turned out to be “fine.” The next woman talked about the “F-word too.” This one actually did mean fuck. I related the stories to the team, Michael was present. I had long advocated we should have a speaker, but when Michael asked the school counselor if he would do it and was met with an emphatic “NO” he jumped to the conclusion that putting on ANY sort of talk was stupid because he’d talked to this one guy who “knows” and that was that. I disagreed. The girls agreed with him because that’s what they did.

Back to Fuck. The more I used the word, the more they laughed. Apparently, a 55-year-old woman wasn’t supposed to say, “Fuck.” Go figure. I took advantage of their being off kilter a little bit. I suggested why we needed to give our materials out to students who we KNEW probably had a huge chance that they were stressed out, to reach our target audience.

Oh, hey, I get it. That’s a good idea. But you can’t read your slide to them that has the marketing mock-up on it. Let them read it. Sooooo you want me to stand there while they read. Basically, yes. No. I’m going to point out the highlights of my very brief POSTCARD and if that means I’m reading the whole thing, then so be it.

The professor comes to us before class ended. She calmed us down again. Then she said that I could do my own thing and that would be that and the rest of the group could do their thing and all would be good. It defused the matter. For a little bit. Then I realized she was isolating me from the others so I would rock the boat. Who does that? Also, who lies to the professor what he JUST said, what he just said to me about what I couldn’t say, right to the professor’s face.

Little lint monkey brain. Shit…. again.

There has to be a better way to communicate with kids who are being told they can’t be labeled by anyone at anytime. it is their right to be different. They are allowed to say stupid ass things and claim you can’t correct them because you can’t put your beliefs on them. They are who they are, even if they don’t know who that is.

“If you don’t stand for something, you’ll stand for anything.”

I stand for myself and all others who suffer from Bipolar Disorder and other mental illnesses. I stand for their family members and friends. I stand for myself. I stand.

Don’t you dare tell me that you know more about stress than I do. You don’t know me… little boy. Why don’t you ask what I know of stress? I promise you that you will be horrified. You will leave being unable to comprehend or willing to sit and listen to terror that he does not understand.

Whose been stressed? I have. I am. I really am. And, there’s a good chance you are too.

In this case, I found that raising my voice at the boy helped some. It also helped to teach them something purposefully using the word Fuck. Boy, that felt good. Fuck.

Find ways to stand up for yourself. I stood up for myself with a whole chill pill in my system. I wanted to beat him. After talking to them about how I felt the group was functioning and using the word FUCK they seemed to respect me more. That seems like a weird thing to do to defuse a stressful situation but hell, I’ll take anything that will lower my stress.

I still want to beat the little lint monster brain over the head with the postcards to our stress lowering event that I’m not supposed to explain we hope will be given to those who are stressed out. Remember, he’s an expert.

Who gets the right to decide? Whose the expert on stress?

Let me just toot my own horn and say loudly and for the last time (at least to lint brain boy) that I’m the expert on stress. Not you.

Wait till you have children.

Fuck you lint boy.

Bipolar/Colonoscopy/My Birthday

On the 3rd, I turned 55. On the 6th, my eldest child turned 26.20180203_183832

On the 8th I had a colonoscopy. I remembered to take my chill pill ahead of time so it was just mostly terrifying. The doctor came to talk to us after the nasty experience was over. Good news! I didn’t see anything. But, bad news, (despite all my crapping my pants) you weren’t clean enough for me too see far up and get a good look. We’ll have to… do… wait for it… AGAIN. Would you like to reschedule for tomorrow or come back another time? OMG! I just went through all that pain and mess and ruined clothes and bath mats and impromptu showers and crap! and you want me to do it AGAIN??? I just missed a whole week of classes – MIDTERMS – because everyone was so worried that the reason I was crapping all the time was that I had cancer. And now you say I wasn’t cleaned out enough? Reschedule. Oh hell no. This is happening tomorrow. I’m not taking more time away from school for this crap. (my chill pill seems to have failed me completely at this point) We rescheduled for the next day, Friday last week. They prescribed some special super duper pipe cleaner to empty things out to the max this time. I’ve had this stuff before. Makes you want to puke till you pass out. No lie. I was so sick. Did I finish it all off like they threaten you that you have to? Hell NO. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you what happened to me through this week. Thursday, when he said we had to reschedule, I crapped all over the bathroom floor before we left. I thought he said they’d do a couple enemas to try to clean things out. Huh. Wonder where the hell that all came from? Enema my ass.

So Jessica and I went back the next day after another 24 miserable hours of me needing to poop but never feeling that “urge” to go that they talked about. I just went. And went.

I was so, so stressed out. I was mad. I’d had it. I forgot to take my chill pill. When the little woman (yes, I’m still mad) finished my intake (vitals and junk) she took me to this huge room, all by myself (well, my anxiety was with me). It was freezing. How long am I going to be here? Should be 20 to 30 minutes, just depends on how things go. Excuse me?! It’s freezing in here. She brought me a single warmed blanket. A few minutes later she comes into the hall and puts another woman in the room next to mine and says it will just be a few minutes. As she was leaving the woman I said sort of loudly something like this:

“You realize they’re just putting us back here like airplanes in a waiting pattern circling an airport don’t you?”

She brought me another blanket. I’d been banging my legs on the huge exam chair I was sitting on. I thought I was going to freeze my butt to it. I can’t even imagine what that room is used for. The stupid woman had asked me if I was or could be pregnant. I had a D&C years ago. That has always been enough information for the person asking to understand that I meant – no, can’t happen, no way. This woman (and I’ve been alone since 1999) insisted that I could be pregnant in one of my tubes. I nearly bitch slapped her.

Okay, I’m still mad.

Yesterday in one of my classes we’re working in groups. Well hell, all my classes are working in groups. Anyway, this young bossy, know it all boy, who is maybe, maybe 22, informs me that I can’t say that I’m handing out postcards to people on campus and say to my potential backers that we’re hoping it will be given to a student who is stressed.

I can’t say what? You can’t say you hope they’re stressed. You can’t imply that people are stressed. Are you insane? This is basic marketing. You develop your event. You target your audience. Then you market to that audience. Most college students are stressed. Chances are if I give one of them a postcard about our event (to reduce STRESS if you can believe that) on stress… well, I could go on and on. The professor had to come to the back of the room and get us to stop “yelling” at each other 4 times.

The stupid boy would freaking lie to her. He’d tell me to my face that I couldn’t say stuff. Then I’d say exactly what he said to the prof. Then he’d lie and say he didn’t say it.

Then, the little toenail lint roll had the gall to say that he was going to be the first one up to introduce our topic and talk about how much terrible stress he’d been in and missed three weeks of school because of it. I asked him if he was going to try to get the audience to empathize with him so they would be on board with our pitch. He said no way, he wasn’t going to be personal. What the hell? I’m over this boy.

The wonderful professor reminded me that I’ve had a really rough quarter. I really, really have. My last experience last quarter with a group was a disaster too. This time I promised myself I wouldn’t let anyone walk all over me. So, every time he opens his mouth he’s telling someone to do something. I’m probably older than your mother you child. You want to talk about stress? I’ll tell you about stress and when I’m done… you’re gonna feel stress!

I dunno. I’ve got one quarter left. I need to pass this science class. I’ve not been doing the homework since my poop apocalypse.

I’m really feeling my brain coming together in a good way with what I want to do when I graduate. I’ll need a part-time job while I finish setting up the websites and get the book re-typeset and printed. So exciting! Then there’s the resource center for people with mental health difficulties – cutting the crap – people like me who have Bipolar and PTSD and chronic pain and ADHD and anxiety and a very short fuse.

Wow. It’s been a long week right? I feel like things are teetering on spinning out of control. Jessica and I are getting Blue Apron meals three times a week. We both eat like crap… okay… translation… we don’t eat anything. So now we’re eating and cooking together which is super good for both of us and then we do homework together. I tend to fall asleep. She likes to wake me up. Good match.

Well, I’ve talked and talked at you. I’m sure it’s enough. Oh, wait! Two women I’ve met at school, within a week of each other, told me they wanted to be divorced but needed an income first. Both are super stressed. Both are not handling the stress well. One laughs when she’s stressed. I sent her to a new primary care doc so she would feel freer to talk without feeling weird talking to her husband’s doctor. This doc is giving her a chill pill and sending her to counseling. Excellent. The other woman is already taking a chill pill. I recommended going in and telling them how it isn’t working. She spent most of yesterday barfing from the stress.

What is it that there is so much stress and debilitating anxiety around? It scares me. And what is it with young people today telling me I can’t say that anyone is something specific, even though they are that way and they admit that they are… I still can’t say it. What the heck?

I did get a nice letter in the mail for Valentine’s Day. It’s from the Gastro people. I don’t have cancer. Really, you couldn’t have just called? A letter? A damn letter?

People we need each other. We need to shake hands so that we can physically touch someone without being arrested. We need to say thank you to customer service people. We need to take the concerns of other people seriously. We need to respect our elders (you little lint roll). We need to find healthy ways to reduce our anxieties. If I can’t control mine better the next time I might not just argue with the boy loudly. I might yell. Wouldn’t that be awful?

Anxiety Storm

They always ask me if I’m depressed.

I’ve got Bipolar Type 1 and I cycle super rapidly, what do you think?

No, really, are you depressed?

Let me tell you the truth, I hope you hear me say it this one time because I’ve had enough.

Go ahead.

My anxiety, my stress – if that’s what you need to call it – is at 7 of 10. 10 is call the morgue. My adrenaline has been full on since I can first remember. Fight or flight…. or both.

Yes, that fight or flight reflex can be triggered.

Listen to me. All the time. It’s all the time. Stop asking me if I’m depressed because the answer will always be yes. What you should be concerned about is my anxiety. I’m more likely to have the top of my head exploded from that than I am from depression.

You know, you’d be surprised at how often that’s the case.

Shit.

Bipolar: Stress Stupid

I’m attending classes at the University of Washington at Tacoma and I’m a junior. I started working on getting a bachelor degree some 35 years ago. I have Bipolar Disorder type 1, ADHD, and Anxiety (those are the ones that seem to impact my schooling). When I study I become stressed and can’t think… can’t remember what I’m trying to learn. I understand the subjects. I just can’t recall specific facts.

There are a number of things I can do to remember things better and I can safely say I’m doing them. I feel like my illnesses are making me stupid. Not like “dumb”. I just feel stupid because I can read something and understand it and then I remember nothing.

It’s frustrating.

I have a biology class I’m struggling in. We have a test or a quiz every week. I miss one out of five on all of the quizzes every time. We’ve had one test and I can tell you I did not do well.

I am registered as a person with a disability with the school so I get to have some special accommodations. What that means for me is that I can request to take my tests and quizzes in a quiet room with no distractions and have time and a half to take them. However, I’m not being able to recall what I’m studying so more time is of no use.

I’m at a loss.

I have a quiz in the morning. Again. I’ve been stressing all weekend about it instead of taking advantage of the break from homework I somehow had.

I feel stressed now.

I need to do something to relax before bedtime.

Warm milk and a book. Yes, that’s what I need. Warm milk and a book.

Wish me luck tomorrow. Somehow I have to succeed. I know I can do it. In my mind, I have to do it.

Bipolar – Frustrating Anxiety

cell I flung open the curtains in the living room this morning and the big curtain came loose in the middle and crashed down on top of me. That was how I started my day, with a curtain on my head. Stress.

I’m very frustrated. I have a teacher that quizzes or tests us every week on stuff he hasn’t taught us about. I’m paying a lot of money to not learn anything. I’m not sure what to do. I have a pretty good GPA right now, but this class load is pretty challenging so I don’t know what it will be after the quarter. I have a tendency to want to get unrealistically grades. I’m being a perfectionist I guess. I’m struggling with anxiety over this five question quiz. Then next week we have a test.

I want to enjoy learning and going to school. I don’t want to use all my energy stressing out. I’m trying to be calm, not anxious. This class isn’t helping. I’m going to have to go and talk to the teacher and just tell him how I’ve been studying. I know other people are doing the same thing I’m doing. He has to know that we don’t know what he’s doing.

It’s like when my anxiety went ballistic a few weeks ago. No one was around with any answers to help me.

I’m watching the Seahawks Cardinals game. It’s in overtime and almost over. Seattle has a chance to win the game. Oops. These guys on the field are playing their hearts out. There we go. Tie game in overtime.

I want the same opportunity in my class but I don’t know how to get it.

I think I’ll take Bailey out to go to the bathroom. I need a break from my break.

I thought poetry was going to be my challenging class but this bloody biology class beats it hands down. I’ve been in a state of amped up anxiety since this class started.

So how to stop it. This sort of anxiety isn’t what I’m supposed to use my chill pills for. Sometimes I do have panic attacks while studying or in class, but this isn’t one of those situations.

I just want to quit trying. I feel like I’ve given it more than its share of effort and I need some down time.

I did actively do something both yesterday and today to lower my anxiety. I went for a 30-minute walk around the neighborhood. I’m still getting to know the area and I’m uncomfortable walking around where there are dogs in practically every other yard barking at us. I’m always worried that one will get out and attack us.

See how it is? I worry about anything.

The insurance company is talking about totaling my car. I can’t afford to replace it with a car in as good as condition as it is in. Stress.

I will focus on this quiz review stuff for a few more minutes and then I’ll do something else before bed. I’ll give myself a little extra time in the morning to review my notes a little bit more. Then I’m going to go to school and do my best. It’s all I can do at this point. I’ve even got a study partner and she can’t find the answers to the review questions either.

Crap.

Stress.

Anxiety.

I can do without it.

Bipolar – Anxiety Rising

(Sept. 04) I’ve been sitting here trying to think of how to begin writing this and I’ve been getting nowhere. School is coming and I’m stressed out about that.

I have tremendous back pain and I go to a pain management doctor for my pain medication. The doctor that I’ve been seeing for like two years has stopped working in pain management and has opened a family practice. She was great. She really worked with me and worked to manage my pain knowing that I have Bipolar Disorder, PTSD, GAD, ADHD and so on. She was the one who prescribed my chill pill (medication anxiety) that I started taking during the school year last year when I had an anxiety meltdown.

The new pain management doctor started out by accusing me of selling my oxycodone and refused to refill my chill pill. I had a prescription of Oxycodone at the pharmacy to pick up which she didn’t take into account. I didn’t do anything wrong. I don’t like her. I don’t trust her with my health. My next visit to her she accused me of breaking my pain management contract by not bringing in the second pain medication I’m on. I was never told to bring the bottle in with me. Oxycodone yes, the other stuff, no.

My back has been bothering me.

My facial tick is back. It comes with anxiety like snow falls in the mountains… when the cold and precipitation is sufficient, the snow comes. Actually the vicious tick came with my beginning to take Gabapentin gain instead of Lyrica (Gabapentin can also be used for anxiety as well as for FM, which is why I tried taking it again).

FAST FORWARD TO TODAY Sept 28

I’ve been taking my chill pill daily. I survived my first day of classes because of the pill. I usually wake up in a cold sweat whenever anything remotely stressful is going to happen during the day. Like, for instance, going back to school.

Anxiety is such a huge part of my being right now that although I’ve lived in my new house for about two months I haven’t been to the grocery store by myself even once. I needed to buy some poetry books from the bookstore about 20 minutes from my house and instead of just going and getting them I called my eldest daughter and bribed her (I’d buy her a book if she’d come with me) to come with me. I just find it stressful to do things alone. I do not have a rational reason. I’ve done all the thinking and reasoning about my anxiety that my counselor and I have come up with and the anxiety does nothing but get worse.

I stopped taking the Gabapentin and the facial tick immediately started going away. When I’m stressed it comes back. I hope it isn’t permanent.

I see my med. Provider (the gal who manages my mental health medications) Sara in the morning. I’m asking her for something to treat the sever anxiety on a long term basis. The chill pill is great but it’s for a crisis and not meant for long-term consumption.

I get so wigged out about things that earlier tonight I already mapped out in my head the route that I would take to get to see Sara and then called my daughter to make sure that I could get to the grocery store from where I was coming from. I’m planning on going to get some milk on my way home in the morning. I need to do it on my own. I think if I have the chill pill I can.

It’s amazing. I wish I could take it all the time. I’ve been having to use it to go to sleep at night. When I don’t take it I’m awake until after 2 or 3 in the morning. Then I wake up sweating. I’ve even resorted to listening to relaxing meditative music/waves on YouTube all night. I found a channel on my TV provider to listen to that works as well called Soundscapes.

The struggle I’m having with anxiety is so severe that I’ve not been willing to blog and that makes me sad. My counselor has put forth the idea that perhaps my mania is manifesting as anxiety and that It’s really part of my Bipolar Disorder. I sort of hope that’s the case. If it is, I’m confident we can deal with it.

Why haven’t I been in to see my med. Provider sooner? She’s been booked. It’s been over a month since I last saw her. I’ve talked to her on the phone and my counselor talked to her on my behalf too.

Hopefully tomorrow I can communicate clearly how absolutely painful this anxiety is. My counselor is supposed to go to that meeting with me. I hope she can actually make it. It would give Sara a clearer picture of what’s going on with me.

Now, I’m going to listen to Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” then I’m going to go to bed. I might read for a few minutes. Maybe one or two. Seriously, that’s as long as I’ll read.

I have high expectations for my visit with Sara and Rebecca (my counselor) in the morning. We got this. I have to believe, we got this.

Bipolar – Preparing for Potential Fears

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 – Fears

Ever since my 21-year-old son moved out several months ago I’ve been alone with my pets. Bailey, my heeler, follows me constantly. She sits across from me when I go to the bathroom and looks at me like she wants me to play ball. Actually, she usually gives me the ball when I’m on the toilet. Or she drops it too far away from me so I say, “I can’t reach it, bring it here.” And she does.

I lived in a rural area for the last 20 years and in the same house for the last 10. I know the families in the duplexes next door and am comfortable with them. One of them I know if something happened she’d be there for me. Like when I fell down the stairs and broke my ankle my kids went and got her and she handled it. I miss her. We didn’t generally spend much time together because she’s one of those people you’d like to know better, but the cost would be hours and hours of listening to her talk about everything that comes to her mind and being aware that she believes she’s an expert on everything she talks about. And she talks really loud and smokes so she has to be able to stand by a door when we’re in one of our houses so she can stick her hand out the door.

Now I’m in town and there are houses all around me. I have a giant apple tree in the back yard that screens me from the houses directly behind me and fencing and laurel trees around most of the small back yard. It’s just big enough for Bailey to really run around and have fun.

There are people living on both sides and across the road from me. There are people behind me. There are people up and down the streets in the neighborhood. In short, there are people everywhere. I’m crowded in a way, but I’m also very much still alone.

I’m in town and closer to my kids. They’ve been great helping me move in. I’m looking forward to seeing them more.

I’m in a strange house. I’m so overwhelmed by all the boxes that I’m having trouble unpacking and finding places to put things away. I’m unsure of myself. I’ve lived with AC for the last 10 years and now I don’t have it. I don’t feel comfortable having the windows open all night and we’ve been having really hot weather. Yesterday was the second hottest day of the year so far. It was 85 inside when I went to bed. It really frustrates me.

Since I moved I feel more alone. I think part of it is from the loss of my cat and the circumstances surrounding that.

It’s strange because I’ve had two family members whom have never visited my home drop by already. You would think I’d be happy to be around people and where I can see my family more often. But I’m not. Not yet.

The death of a pet and moving are major life stressors. In addition to that last fall I started back to college and before that my father died 6 months after being diagnosed with cancer. I feel like I’ve had enough.

I’m trying to accept the situation and keep busy. I’ll make sure to keep my appointment with my counselor next week. I’ll start walking around the neighborhood in the next few days, though the unknowns of that scare me. I don’t like the unknown. And there seem to be dogs everywhere.

Speaking of which I have another major event coming up. My daughter is leaving the Air Force and I’m flying to Tampa, FL to drive back her to Washington State with her two cats. I’ve never done anything like that. Besides the incredible challenge of the trip, I’ll have to trust my kids to take care of my animals while I’m gone. I’m not certain how that will work out. Both Kyle and Sydney basically work full-time and they work odd hours that are usually different every day. I worry about Bailey. Sydney and her fiancée Toni are planning on bring their young Pitbull over and sleeping here with both dogs since they both sleep with their people. She sleeps with them and Bailey sleeps with me. That would put two good size dogs and two people in my queen size bed. I can’t see it myself. Their dog is much more aggressive playing than Bailey is. She scares Bailey.

Unknowns…

I might change my major at school as well. If I do need to change my class schedule this fall quarter a little because I’m thinking of changing my major.

I feel alone. People do drop by, which I’ve never had happen before. The mail lady is friendly and says “hi” and gives Bailey a bone. I’m less alone than I was, but I don’t feel that way yet. My emotions are stirred up and a bit chaotic. I’m being careful to take care of myself. Although I have to admit I’m scared to go to the new grocery store I’ll be using. I’m a worrier and that fear comes from that.

Maks, my cat, has started protesting that I won’t let him sleep with us. He climbed up some mattresses leaning against the wall in the third bedroom. When he got to the top the bedroom light was turned on. Then, last night, he got on the peninsula in the kitchen and started knocking things over. So just as I was going to sleep there was a loud crash as he knocked things over. This morning I woke up to things I was putting away (unpacking) all over the floor. This has got to stop.

I got a free Comcast security system installed yesterday. I freaked out about setting it right and not setting off the alarm. Man! What an alarm! That sucker would scare Jesus.

So what to do. Today it’s only supposed to be 76F. Tomorrow it should be about 80 again. I should go for a walk in the morning. I should, shouldn’t I?

It would be great if I could tell Rebecca, my counselor, that I’ve gone for a walk, but I’m not sure I can do that yet. Bailey has really been pulling on her leash a lot. I’ll have to use her prong collar.

Facing my fears… fears of the new, fears of the unknown, and fears of not being able to have the courage to do the things I need to do.

I should take a chill pill and in 20 minutes I should go for a walk. I’m not sure that I will. I’m feeling a little relaxed right now. The evil cat is sitting next to me on the sofa. Bailey is napping in the recliner. I’m snuggled in my favorite corner of the sofa.

I wonder what the difference between sofa and couch is?

I’m going to try my hardest today. At the very least I need to unpack and put away a few boxes.

Here’s to all of us who are afraid of anything. May we find the hidden strength to face some of those fears today. We can do it. I know we can. Let’s start today.