Tag Archives: mental illness

Bipolar Mixed Episode . . . The Next Morning

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The hours after a Bipolar Mixed Episode are like watching a scary movie. I keep my hands over my eyes and peek through my fingers. What unintentional damage did I do this time? Who did I reach out to and spill my (very personal) guts to? How many mean and demeaning things did I say to my husband? Did others notice my expression and down-turned eyes when I had to leave the dinner we were attending? If it hits me while I’m in public, I have to find a way out of the people because my mood definitely shows in my face. No playing “just fine” at these times. Many times, I’ll blog. Writing has always been my outlet. Even as a ten year old, I wrote “escape” poetry. I finally took you guys along with me last night during an episode (you lucky people). ūüėȬ† Well, today is a new day, and I broke the mood cycle with sleep. Life still isn’t perfect but at least I can deal with things differently today.

Bless you, my readers and subscribers. Have an awesome day ~

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Join Me in a Bipolar Mixed Episode

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It’s been a day of hard issues in my marriage. Please forgive my disjointed organization of thought. I’m taking you with me on a bout of Bipolar Mixed episode. I have depression paired with anxiety. I feel anger, rage actually. I want to die. Not to threaten it but to actually do the deed. I don’t because of my two kids and my mother. I love them too much to put them through a loss like that, so I’m stuck in this mental illness with no real way out. Meds work most of the time. Not tonight. I had wine with a Xanax. Supposedly a no-no but my body is so used to the Xanax that I only have a good buzz going. I feel lonely – like I am ultimately responsible for myself, and I hate that. I’ve always been a sheltered child and then woman. I can’t organized my thoughts to keep a job for longer than a year but also can’t receive government aid (for income). It’s a terrible cycle which causes me much anxiety and depression. My spouse and I have a couple of weak areas in our new marriage (of two years). This starts the bipolar/mania cycle. As I type, the words on the screen are blurry, and I make a lot of spelling errors. I long for the long seep. The end of all of these roller coaster of emotions. Meds can only do so much for me. I’ve dealt with this for 9 years. I’m TIRED of fighting with it. I hope i can sleep tonight. I hope when¬† wake, it’s a hopeful new day. But I don’t know. I hang in the abyss of a universe with stars blinking brightly, hurting my eyes. I float too closely to the planets. It’s sometimes hard to breathe in this dark vast space. Other times I get lungs full of fresh air. Hope is all I have. It stays somewhere deep in my core, a tiny flame that doesn’t seem to go out even when high winds or heavy rains cover it. I am inwardly thankful for that flame. It promises¬† another day that might be a good one. One with sunshine on my face and bird songs in my ears.

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Bipolar Disorder, Be Patient, Dears

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Ever feel like you have a Jekyl and Hyde thing going on? I did but didn’t notice it as a problem until years after it began, and then finding the correct meds and behavioral therapy was like pulling teeth.

I’ve finally found the “cocktail” that works for me. Guess how long it took? TEN YEARS! No kidding. I was first diagnosed with depression, then Major Depressive Disorder, then Bipolar, then back to depression with ADHD. Finally, my new doctor said she wanted to treat me for Bipolar 2. I began Abilify (generic) and have been smooth sailing from that point on. Thanks goodness for perserverence. I just KNEW something had to work at some point.

These days, I am happy (but not too much) LOL. I’m not thinking that suicide is the best answer for me as I did for many years. I’ve also got energy again! Blessed be! It’s been gone for so long. Feels good to want to “do” things again.

The Take Away from this blog post is this: NEVER ever give up on finding what might make you feel like yourself again. It’s trial and error. It’s changing doctors multiple times. It’s being patient enough to keep your head up and your courage up even more.

If you or a loved one might have the following symptoms, please see your doctor and start feeling better! ((hugs to you)). See the Mayo Clinic’s information on Bipolar Disorder here:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bipolar-disorder/symptoms-causes/dxc-20307970

The “Highs” (mania).¬†Symptoms of a manic episode may include –

  • Feelings of euphoria, abnormal excitement, or elevated mood

  • Talking very rapidly or excessively

  • Needing less sleep than normal, yet still having plenty of energy

  • Feeling agitated, irritable, hyper, anxious, or easily distracted

  • Engaging in risky behavior such as lavish spending, impulsive sexual encounters, or ill-advised business decisions

The “Lows” (depression). Symptoms of a depressive episode (bipolar depression) may include –

  • No interest in activities you once enjoyed

  • Loss of energy and feeling apathetic

  • Difficulty sleeping‚ÄĒeither sleeping too much or not at all

  • Thoughts of suicide, if depression is severe enough

Denial, Floods, and Small Talk

Denial –¬†the action of declaring something to be untrue

I deny so well that if the behavior were an Olympic sport, I’d have the Gold. Actually, no, we’d all be in the running for the Gold medal.

In this post, I’m wondering why most of us ¬†walk around acting like we are perfectly fine, our world is 100% on track, and nothing is bothering us. We smile and exchange pleasantries but are inside often lonely, hurting, frustrated, confused, or angry. Why can’t we open up more with one another?

 

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“You doing okay these days?”

“Oh, yeah. Great. You?”

“Sure thing. How are the kids?”

 

 

 

 

The older I’ve gotten, the more open and honest I’ve become. It’s liberating yet embarrassing at times – because others don’t share their weaknesses or what’s wrong in their own lives. Leaves me feeling alienated, y’know, or different from the norm? What really “is” the norm? ¬†I admitted to starting on antidepressants again the other day to a friend. She blurted out that she’s on about three! I felt closer to her immediately. The honesty was air-clearing.

Ever feel completely overwhelmed? I did about a month ago (when I got back on antidepressants). I felt like I was drowning in a flood of cold, dirty water but nobody paid attention. I realized I was denying my feelings to those closest to me, trying to make the bad feelings go away. But they didn’t. I reached out for help . . . before my chimney went under. ūüėČ

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So, can we try to reach out to one another more? Share our truths more? I won’t judge you; I promise! I may suggest a counselor but I’d never judge you. ūüôā ¬†Let’s stop “pretending” everything is okay and going about our days in denial about how much something may be bothering us or altering our lives. Stop biking in the flood, my friend, and admit there are about two feet of water at your feet! The rest of us will help you dry off and find a canoe.

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Do Not Give Up!

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Change Рit happens every day. Whether change is positive or negative, it does one thing every time . . .  it makes you re-evaluate your current position and either find a new path or alter the current one.

Let’s talk about big shifts ~

1) Some changes happen quickly but take a long time to work through afterward.

2) Other changes occur over a longer period of time and allow you to acclimate to those changes as time passes.

Abrupt changes are tough. They slam you in the face and say, “HERE! Sort through THIS!” That’s what happened to me when I realized my marriage of a quarter-century was slow-swirling in the bottom of a shallow well. A sudden realization of the enormity of my problems and the likelihood they’d not be resolved while in the marriage . . . well, it made me sick. I became mentally sick and there was an urgent need in me – ¬†I ran away from home and didn’t go back.

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Let’s talk about metamorphoses. I knew what started my mental upheaval. It was my first child moving out of our home. The two “kids” were my life – literally. That nuclear family had cracked down the middle and was threatening to drop me into the abyss of whatever lie on the “outside” of that shelter. After seeing, for the first time, that I had to make a radical revolution in the way I lived, my mind went numb. Autopilot kind of took over.

So, those of you who are new subscribers (about 80 of you), now know a little about my recent past. Here’s a quick lo-down –

Year one – Manic behavior. Spent a lot of money, promiscuous (had a boyfriend at the same time I was going through divorce), flunked out of college twice, drank (I’m not a drinker), smoked (yuck), did other stuff I shouldn’t have (nothing serious), and other classic symptoms of mania. Started anti-anxiety drugs. Aimlessly wandered. Felt blind.

Year two – four – Mania settled and ¬†depression visited. Depression is a sneaky thing. At first, I had “bad days.”¬†I couldn’t hold a job, couldn’t keep my mind working, so instead of finishing nursing school, I became a nursing assistant. Was so disappointed in myself. Just attending a few classes a week was tough. Gained ¬†40 pounds, and tried half a dozen antidepressants. None worked well. Finally,¬†I didn’t leave the house and barely left my bed. I didn’t attempt suicide but came extremely close twice. My support system kept me from leaving life. I was eventually on Bipolar II drugs.

Year five (present) – I have weaned off of all meds because I chose to do so (first time in five years!) with the help of my new doctor. ¬†I have FINALLY found a counselor that I click with. I’m back in college and making As and Bs!! My decision-making is better, my memory is better, and I leave the house on a regular basis. ūüėČ

I want to share my life with you because it’s been such a strange and difficult ride, and I hope it might shed light on some of your own problems. Three different people (friends and my mother- who doesn’t give accolades where they aren’t warranted) have called me courageous and brave. I didn’t see those traits in myself until recently.

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It can be done, my friends. Wherever you find yourself at this moment . . . if you aren’t happy or healthy or satisfied . . . things can change. If I can go from Life A to Life B (two completely different existences, I promise you), then you can, too. It wasn’t a quick accomplishment. It wasn’t seamless. But, by gosh I am doing it. The little flicker of light inside me that REFUSED to give in or give up – well, it got me through and brought me to the other side. It’s where I am feeling thankful, stronger, and full of hope for the future.

Just a year ago, I was a patient with a Psychiatrist. I took mood stabilizers and antidepressants. I read about my disorder and saw many of my symptoms as classic. Just a year ago, I cried in my king size bed, avoided people, and wished to die every day. Just a year ago, I hated everything I was, saw no redeeming value in living, and planned how to make my savings last so I could continue being disabled and disconnected. It’s all I had.

Note: Not everyone who is going through a difficult life-change necessarily has developed a permanent mental disorder.¬†I was just grieving the loss of my life and staring in the face of a new one that I didn’t know how to live.

Change . . .

It’s evil ~ and it’s heavenly

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Bipolar Disorder – Need to Know Info!

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STABILITY  of moods. That is what the majority of people with Bipolar Disorder seek.

 

(thanks to healthtap.com for the following for questions and answers below)

Dr. William Drescher answers:

What causes bipolar disorder?

Multifactorial So far no one has established a genetic link with bi-polar disorder, and many have tried. It is certainly true that it runs in families, but that can be a result of the family environment. There is a reasonable theory that the manic episodes are a way of combating the depressive feelings and that both are the result of chronic internal stress leading to depletion of neurotransmitters.

What exactly is Bipolar Disorder? One or more episodes of abnormally elevated energy/mood/cognition, with or without 1 or more Depressive episodes. The symptoms are severe enough to interfere with daily functioning or cause significant distress.

 

What are some treatments for bipolar disorder?

Bipolar main treatment is mood stabilizers. Other medications are added depending on presentation, such as anxiety meds, antidepressants, antipsychotics. Also Psychotherapy.

 

Dr. Byron Law-Yone answers:

Can anti-depressants help with bipolar disorder?

Yes but …. They must be used carefully. they can sometimes cause a switch from depression to mania. Mood stabilizer meds are the most important and antidepressants can be added if depression cannot be controlled by mood stabilizers alone.. Some believe that there is no role for antidepressant use in bipolar depression. Talk to your psychiatrist about this very important topic.

 

Dr. William Holmes answers:

My mom has bipolar disorder, so am I likely to get it later?

Possibly If your mother has bipolar disorder you are at a higher risk of having the same problem compared to the general population. At the same time, there is no guarantee that you will have bipolar disorder.

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Dr. Bernadette Onuoha answers:

What are some examples that might help me recognize Bipolar Disorder?

Mood swings. Bipolar disorder as the name implies involves highs and lows in mood. Period(s) of depression with at least one episode of mania ie euphoria, insomnia, racing thoughts sexual/financial indiscretions etc.

 

Dr. Neil Liebowitz answers:

How can you tell if you have Bipolar Disorder or just a weird personality?

Level of function. Bipolar disorder is a serious disorder that affects your level of function and has dramatic cycles of energy shifts that last days to months.

 

Dr. Jerold Kreisman answers:

What are some discussions that can help demonstrate to someone that he has Bipolar Disorder?

Ask about how mood changes affect usual routine functions–staying up for days at a time without sleep, not feeling the need to eat, being hypersexual, spending too much, taking on too much responsibility, noting increasing anger and impulsivity.

 

I realize this is, by far, not a complete list of questions/answers about this subject. If you question whether you have a mood disorder, please visit a doctor. Remember . . . only an M. D. can prescribe meds, so an actual psychiatrist is helpful to find. Some only handle medications for patients. Others offer counseling, as well. Meds may be miracle drugs for some. For others, not so much. Counseling has been shown to be helpful, as well. Be proactive, and if you can’t muster the energy to help yourself, ask a loved one to help, but you must be completely honest with him/her about the¬†severity of your symptoms.¬†Don’t waste your life by staying in an abyss of depression or an uncontrollable mania.

Life can be better ~

 

 

 

 

 

What to do With Myself?

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I’m trying to figure out what to do with myself. I have trouble looking into my eyes in a mirror. I tried self-talk . . . maybe regain self-worth. That didn’t work out well. Why can’t I look myself in the eyes?

I’m coming out of an initial “bout” of bipolar 2. I woke up and was full of energy, ideas, and plans. The mania began. I had no idea.
A year and a half later, I fell into deep depression and stayed there for another three years. Yes, really.

Being treated for depression only¬†doesn’t work if you have a bipolar disorder. Ya need a mood stabilizer as well. Didn’t know I had this disorder, so I was spinning in place. Who’d have thought that initial period of weight-loss, extreme exercise, pricey vacations, thoughtless spending, job-hopping, college-flunking, divorcing-a-25-year-husband, taking up with a stranger, drinking, smoking, and other energy-filled¬†activities was actually mania?!

I’m trying to figure out what to do with myself. The old mind is finally coming out of the clouds . . . the fog that encircled my reality. Now I want to know what my reality is. All of the self-evaluation is exhausting, but I see progress in ridding myself of self-hatred.

My mind feels as though it has been shaken and now has small fissures from the traumatic event. The cracks don’t completely heal, however. I’ll be “full o’ fissures” from now on. The injustice makes me mad. In fact, lots of things make me fricking mad. I’ve been over the facts a million times. They don’t change.

I’m trying to figure out what to do with myself.

Frankly, My Dear, I Don’t Give a Damn . . .

 

What do these people have in common?

Vincent Van Gogh, Kurt Cobain, Rosemary Clooney, Patricia Cornwell,

Robert Downey, Jr., Richard Dreyfuss, Patty Duke, Carrie Fisher, Connie

 Francis, Mel Gibson, Ernest Hemingway, Vivien Leigh, Demi Lovato,

 Kristy McNicol, Florence Nightingale, Jane Pauley, Edgar Allen Poe,

Jackson Pollock, Nina Simone, Frank Sinatra, Sidney Sheldon, Jean

 Claude Van Damme, Virginia Woolf, and Catherine Zeta Jones.

All “-Accompanied by verifiable source citations associating them with bipolar disorder ¬†(formerly known as “manic depression”), either based on their own public statements or (in the case of dead people only) reported contemporary or posthumous diagnoses of bipolar disorder.” (Wikipedia)

“It is often suggested that genius (or, at least, creative talent) and mental disorder (specifically, the mania and hypomania of bipolar disorder) is linked.” (Wikipedia)

Sooo, do we run with it and say, “I knew I was a creative genius!” or will we pity ourselves right into a pathetic un-life. I call it an un-life because untreated or improperly treated bipolar disorder is no way to live. It’s not “living” at all.

C’mon, fellow fighters, gather your wits, gather your support system (or find one), and get to a really good psychiatrist and also a counselor (two different professionals). Don’t stop trying until you find the magic mix of meds! You WILL feel better, loves!

XO

‚̧ Lea

Bi-polar Bear

Y’know . . . I’ve been floundering for years, wondering why I wasn’t “myself.” I tried anxiety meds, antidepressnts, and bagan to abuse wine (caught myself there). Nothing was really working. I never felt like myself. Sometimes, I’d feel “okay.” Mostly I was depressed and juset didn’t care about anything. The depression worsened until I didn’t get out of bed for days at a time.

Now, thanks to a talented and observant psychiatrist, I’m on meds used for bipolar patients, and they are working! Today is day 2 for me in feeling NORMAL. I can’t tell you how important that is. I could barely even remember what normal was.

I’ve realized that this disorder isn’t going away. I’ll have to deal with it for the rest of my life.¬†I am still grieving the loss of my health. Y’know?

I see Lithium printed on the side of my med bottle and want to cry. Pus a mood stabilizer? What the crap is that? 2 mg of Xanax just to sleep at night? UGH!!!!!

So, this post is dedicated to the sadly forgotten Care Bear, the Bipolar Bear (see him above). Spread the word, dear blue nut. Spread the word.

(XO. Love y’all.)