My Argument for Bipolar Disorder

I’m thinking about the time between when I was diagnosed with depression and when I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.  I received my first diagnosis from an actual psychologist in late 2003 to early 2004.  It’s not that clear to me because it was not that big a deal to me.  I had, in the past year, come off a bout with cancer which turned itself around in pretty short order.  I wasn’t quite feeling like myself, more down than usual. So I went to a psychiatrist, was diagnosed with depression, got a prescription for an anti-depressant and went on with my life.  I figured it was all part of the healing process, part of having cancer and so would become part of my life.  I took my anti-depressant as I should. I stopped drinking as I should.  I saw my doctors as I should.  Everything was as normal as it could be.

In the spring of 2005 I was given the opportunity to move across the country, from Virginia Beach to San Diego.  So I did.  When I got to San Diego, I found a new set of doctors and went about my merry way. But something was different.  I went out a lot more often, spent money more freely, had a lot of one night stands.  I also had more and more bouts with depression.  At first I attributed it to being worn out from the increased pressure to perform at work.  I didn’t even identify it as depression.  When I talked to my psychiatrist about it, I told him I was having a hard time sleeping and he prescribed Ambien.  This worked for a while, I was rested and work was easier to deal with but my highs were getting higher.  I was spending more time at work or I was working at home in the evenings, on top of that I was still going out at night.  Pretty soon the candle was about to meet in the middle and boy was I going to get burned.  I told my psychiatrist that I was having problems sleeping again and he prescribed Lunesta.  I took Lunesta for about a week or so and then things started going sideways.  I was having problems at work, I wasn’t treating my co-workers and customers with the respect they deserved then I started hallucinating.  The main hallucination had little men trying to get into my apartment. The rest of this story has been told earlier in this blog and I don’t think I need to rehash it here.

The thing I came away with when really looked at it, is that I should have been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder at least as early as 2005.  The problem is that no one could see it.  I was in a new town, with new friends and we were all just out to have a good time.  This would have been fine if I hadn’t previously been diagnosed with depression and on an anti-depressant.  If I had the Bipolar diagnosis at this time I believe there would have never been as psychotic break. Up until I had the psychotic break my anti-depressant prescription never changed.  After that, I was diagnosed with psychotic depression which made more sense and different medications were given.  It wasn’t until I moved here in 2012 and had a full psychiatric work up by my current psych-doc that I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and started on the path to figuring out just which medications are right for me.  I am finally getting the treatment needed to make me level.

To some, Bipolar Disorder sounds like a horrific diagnosis.  For me, it sounds like music to my ears.  To me it means that I’m getting my life back.

A Good Day

Today I had meetings with my psych-doc and my therapist, BACK-TO-BACK, IN THE SAME DAY.  This is the first time it has happened since I moved to NC.  I usually end up missing one appointment by a week.  The other thing that is so great about seeing them both on the same day is that it is a 45-55 minute drive.  As I’ve said in previous posts, car time for me is KING.  But if I can consolidate appointments like I did today…. all right, I’ve gone on enough about that.

The appointment with the psych-doc went very well.  It was the first time I had seen him in 6 weeks and during that time I had a couple of hypo-manic episodes.  He was not alarmed, the duration wasn’t very long (48 hours or so) and they were “self-adjusting”.  Since it had been a year and a half or so since I had had one, he wasn’t concerned at all.  If they start happening more frequently, he said we word start medicating for them.  He took a look at my lab work and said that everything was good.  Since I’ve been (for the most part) level for 6-7 months he didn’t think we needed to meet again until late January.  That’s 12 weeks ………………. 3 months away.  I guess I’m doing better than I thought, at least in his eyes.  We’ll see how the holidays treat me.  My holiday season last year was not the best.  As I’ve mentioned before, I was starting Lithium and attempting to start Lamictal.  I had bad side effects and withdrawal effects with Lamictal so Christmas and the surrounding weeks were not that great.

Now, I have no medication changes and I will be able to spend time with my sister and her family without the issues I was having last year.

YAAAAAAAAY!!!!!

My trip today also included stops at a couple of grocery stores, Bed, Bath and Beyond (Coffee for the Keurig) and COSTCO.  There was a beautiful sunset on the way home and now it’s time to scrounge up some dinner.

What a good day!

One

“you mean we actually are all one” — Alanis

If we are one…

Why don’t
You fall
When I stumble

Why don’t
You bleed
When I cut

Why don’t
You cry
When I’m sad

Why do
You cringe
When I’m boisterous

Why don’t
You soar
When I’m high

Why don’t
You go to jail
When I get arrested

Why don’t
You spend time in that room
When they can’t find another way

Why don’t
Your hands get the tremors
At random times during the day

Why don’t
You always find me
No matter where I am

If we are one…

Why don’t
I enjoy the quiet
That helps you read

Why don’t
I listen to the love songs
That bring tears to your eyes

Why don’t
I make any new friends
When you’ve got one every week

Why don’t
I hold down a job
You get promoted all the time

Why don’t
I take my medication
When you don’t take any at all

If we are one…

Why aren’t we together more often?
Is it because I stress you out?
Is it all the talk about love and forever?
Does that stuff make it hard for you to be my best friend?

Why do you stop me from going on rooftops?
Do you think I don’t know I can’t fly?
Don’t you know it’s a trick to see how far I can go?
Why do you cover your eyes?

Why aren’t you down here with me?
Are you afraid of the dark?
Do you imagine something down here will hurt you?
Why would I let that happen?

If we are one…

You should be everything I am
And I should be everything you are
If we can’t be one together
What’s the point of this whole thing?

— GB

Drowsy and Yawning (at first)

I’m trying not to drowse away my entire day.  Right now I’m in my cozy cave with the window blinds drawn and the doors closed.  There’s a light over my shoulder giving enough to see the keyboard.  I am yawning like it’s 3 pm but there is no reason for me to be tired.  I finished off a hot coffee and cocoa just an hour ago, that should give me enough zip for the whole afternoon.  Someone is vacuuming on the other side of the door, I don’t think I am dreaming that.  Still the drowsing persists and the yawning goes on.  Maybe need to get up and stretch my legs.

I stuck my nose out the door and decided to stay in.  The vacuuming stopped, my foot is asleep and it’s definitely warmer in here.  I’ll just type a little bit and see if that wakes me up.  It’s good to give the mind some exercise… and the fingers as well, just sitting out at the ends of my hands.  They’re the lifeblood to anyone maintaining a blog or writing as a hobby or a job these days.

The drowsing seems to have abated for the time being.  The yawning has gone away as well.  Maybe standing up and walking a few steps to the door cleared all the cobwebs out of my skull.  Now to write… What I’m experiencing could be akin to writer’s block only in most ways probably not.  I have the ability to start something but not the ability to continue it of finish it. The few pieces I’ve posted since Friday are exceptions to that.  But those took a long time to produce.

I typically have a good stanza or phrase or couplet (whatever you want to call it) in mind and once I get those down, the piece starts to flow.  Recently I’ve been able to get the first collection of words started but after that, the well runs dry.  I’m not sure if it has something to do with the fact that I seem to have been hypo-manic for the past few days and my creative streak has been there but unfocused.  Now that I’m out of that phase, maybe I’m even dropping a little bit (that’s why I’m drowsy and yawning), the pieces I’ve started look like they have a better chance of being completed.

I’m still in search of which of my “beings” has the better shot at writing.  The past several days only seem to have made the water more cloudy.  I suppose that’s why I’m just keepin’ on.

Cleaned Out and Scared

The writing I have done over the past two to three days has given me the feeling of being cleaned out.  I am not empty or lighter for it.  Just more in tune with what is inside of me.  The shards of ideas and slivers of thought have been swept out of the creative space.  Bipolar symptoms be damned.  I feel free of all the ups or downs, things that hold me down and tear at my life.  So here I am, waiting to see if the feeling will hold.  I sense that I have experienced this before and there is a fear in me that everything will come crashing down… or erupt into something altogether uncontrollable.  The thing that I am most afraid of is not that anyone will be disappointed in me (“you’ve come so far”) or scared of me, it’s that I will have to go back into the hospital and have ECT again.  I don’t want that to happen because that will be going back to the beginning.  So when I’m having a good spell I question it.  I hope beyond hope that the good spell will stay and turn into something else.  A good life, a settled life, an even life. Where I can be at peace, be with my loved ones, and write, and drive, and sing.

A Break for the Night 10-21-13

I think I’m going to take a break from writing and posting.  I have made something like 14 posts over the past 2 days and I think my mind is tired (did someone say Hypo-Mania).  I have so many windows open, and tabs for that matter, that I just keep alt+tabbing around sliding past my target.  What was my target anyway?  I seem to be asking that a lot right now.

In addition to all of that “blogging” I changed my theme.  I wasn’t really keen on it a first but it was better than what I had. Now it has grown on me and I’m starting to really like it.  I do have one complaint and that is when I switched my Blogroll from “list” to “grid” my updates to Facebook started showing the grid pictures (pictures from the blogs I follow) as the icon for my post. So I had to change back to list format.

This is probably just a lot of junk for many of you to read through, but it’s my mind turning it over and over and it’s only 10:15 pm (Eastern) and I don’t have to be anywhere until 9 am tomorrow.  But, I really am starting to close it up for the evening.  I’ll probably still be reading but no major writing will be happening.

Here’s one more from Gabriel Gadfly before I leave

Mouthfuls  –  By Gabriel Gadfly

Sometimes I grow
so tired of speaking
my emotions to you.

I open my mouth
and dust spills out
instead of feelings.

Dust, and the yellow
wings of moths,
and brittle paper,

scrawled over
with riddles that
lack solutions.

I am coughing up
the black twists
of candle wicks,

oil slicks
and crow feathers
and afterbirth

and all the ash
of every forest fire
burning

to show you
how I feel.

This poem © Gabriel Gadfly