Constant Sleep

Thanks to an overly high level of Serotonin I have not been able to sleep much for the past couple of weeks. Since I have gradually weaned myself off that high level I’m having the opposite problem. I am just exhausted. Today I took Angelica to tutoring by myself while Craig slept in in preparation for his swing shift and then staying up late for his first mid of the cycle, which is tomorrow. When we got home from tutoring we ate lunch together. Craig was awake and he had picked up Little Caesars, which is my favorite. I like the bread sticks with buffalo ranch dip. And immediately after that I just crashed. I laid down for about three hours this afternoon. I was in the living room where anybody could get at me if they needed me. Our new sofa is extremely comfortable to sleep on so I was happy there. But I was just out of it for 3 hours. And all I did was take Angelica to tutoring.

I have tried to get a little bit done around the house tonight while Craig is working. When I woke up I took a shower, which I needed. When I am doing poorly it is hard to take showers. But I got showered and I took out some recycling and I set up the house so that the Roomba could go around and clean. I also ran some laundry. Angelica and I did some school before bed since I was sleeping for much of the afternoon.

I don’t think the new med combination I am on is the right one. It’s better than what I was on since that completely burnt out, but I don’t think I am where I should be. I am making incremental improvements, but everything feels so overwhelming and tiring that sometimes it’s one step forward and two steps back. The housework feels insurmountable.

Craig ended up running the newsletter for UMW by himself. I stayed home and slept off anxiety meds. I intended to go and do my job. Craig was going to be accompanying me to offer support. But my anxiety was so high that breathing was difficult. Craig told me to stay home. I feel so guilty that he did it himself.

The literary magazine that I do online is suffering from my mental state. I published no one until yesterday, and I couldn’t focus when I did. I ended up having a huge typo in a title. I have submissions to go through in the inbox that I just haven’t been clear headed enough to read. I don’t read submissions unless I am sharp enough to appreciate them. I haven’t been. Perhaps Craig will look things over. He is also editor. I just can’t wake up.

Agony

Bipolar problems have really amped up this month. It has been difficult to function. I have spent a lot of time in too much pain to function. The agony in my head has been so punishing. I get a few good hours here and there – sometimes even a decent afternoon. Not great, but decent. I make the most I can with the time I am given.

I am switching psych doctors. The one I have been seeing these past several months only works one day a week, a fact I did not know. When things got really bad for me she wasn’t in the office. A few days later when she came back to the office she was too busy to help me, and would not call in a prescription for anything. Another week went by before I could see her. She has put me on a different stabilizer, and I’ve switched antidepressants as well. I am still recovering from a mild case of serotonin syndrome from the last one. The sleep deprivation and sensations it caused made an already difficult time worse.

The new drug regimen is helping a little, but it is still too soon to call anything a success. I have been able to do a couple of basic things. I am not in too much pain right now. I don’t know how many hours that will last. I’m tired.

When The Psych Dr Won’t Help

I had a horrible week last week. My mood began to plunge badly. I called my Psychiatry office to see if they could prescribe me anything to hold me over until my appointment scheduled for two weeks from now. They said that they couldn’t do that. I finally went in for help. I went up to the office and asked if anybody could help me, even the back up doctor I saw before. I said I really wasn’t doing well. Then the girl at the front desk, and you can’t make this crap up, looked at me and said, “Well you look well put together so you’re fine.”

I kid you not. They have someone that ignorant and condescending working in a psychiatry office now. She’s a new girl. I’m going to be taking this up with the practice manager. I was doing pretty badly and I really needed help. She told me I looked fine, and then sent me away with nothing after giving me a lecture about how they have to do things the correct way, as she called it, and couldn’t give me any meds without me seeing my practitioner. Well, I know the correct way to jump off an overpass so would she rather I have done that? And it was a whole bunch of crap to be honest. I’ve been seeing psychiatrists for about 10 years now. If you’re a new patient, then yeah they can’t help you until they’ve seen you. But when they’ve been seeing you for a while and know about what you’ve been on and know your history, it is not uncommon at all if you call with a really bad problem for them to either get you in ASAP or if they can’t get you in maybe the next day, they call in something for you to get started on and see if it helps you. While my request was undoubtedly a pain in the ass for everybody involved, it was not uncommon or unheard of and I am not the only psych patient to make such requests. It’s pretty much the norm.

Finally I got a call from the nursing assistant saying that my provider would see me a week before my regular appointment by seeing me over her lunch break. That’s still left me with more than a week of medication that wasn’t working. I started off depressed and then for several days I was suicidal and could not function. And I was just left like that. The only reason I have perked up and become more productive in the middle of this week is because I have been doubling up on both my stabilizer and antidepressant. They don’t always like it when you mess with your drug dosages on your own, but the fact is they wouldn’t help me and I couldn’t get through another week in the terrible state that I was in. I couldn’t do it. It was absolutely beyond me. So until I see my practitioner next Monday I am doing what I can to keep myself functional and able to live a good life. Or at least able to live. Today was actually a pretty good day. I don’t know what tomorrow holds.

I was and am horrified by the girl at the front desk. And the weekend that ensued was an absolute nightmare. For me and for my husband. I was doing really badly. And to think that no one would help me is really upsetting. I am a Rapid Cycling Bipolar 1. Bipolar 1 means that you can go psychotically Manic and that you have as many manic episodes as you do depressed episodes. Rapid or ultradian cycling means that your mood changes much more quickly. For some people who are bipolar depression comes on gradually. They don’t get up one day without the will power to live anymore when they were okay the day before. It comes on more gradually, and although they certainly shouldn’t be blown off either they don’t tend to drop off the deep end in the blink of an eye. I’m a rapid cycler. I can go from good to bad very quickly and from bad to worse even quicker. For me, and for other patients who are in the same situation as me, it is not okay to say gee just wait another week and a half and we will get to you. That’s unacceptable. That’s a lot of days to commit suicide between now and then. I was definitely discouraged because I realized how alone I can be when I drop or if I go too manic. My doctor back home was really on top of things and if I called her with a problem she would either get me in right away, or she would call something in to help me. She would give me something to get through the night so to speak. She did not leave me hanging day after day, and her wonderful desk staff Bruce would never say something so stupid or condescending as what the desk staff had to say at this office here. Bruce was smart, compassionate, and kind.

Previously, I have liked my provider. She’s personable and she’s a good listener. But I have no way of making sure that my severe mood swings match up with a hole in her schedule. And her lack of availability and her rigidity really scare me. Right now taking those double doses of stabilizer and antidepressant are holding me up enough to do okay. I actually even had a good day today. But the truth is these drugs are wearing out badly and I don’t know how much longer I’m going to be able to string that along. On top of that I found out that my provider is only working one day a week now, although she is considering working two days a week. So she will have very little availability to make regular appointments, and on top of that I really don’t have a hope of help. She could have called in a prescription without being in the office, so her short working hours are not entirely to blame for her not helping me. But even if she was willing to get me in quicker to help me the reality is the woman works one day a week now apparently. So it’s going to be a week of waiting at least before I see her. I hate to give up a provider, and every time you switch to someone new it’s scary. But that’s just not enough availability.

My Bunny

Almost every time my husband deploys, I adopt another family member. Last time Craig deployed, I adopted Parsnip. Craig is on a shore tour right now, so he hasn’t deployed in awhile, thank God. He only has to go away for a few days at a time. But on his last deployment, I drove from Moyock, NC to Newport News, VA to adopt baby Parsnip.

This morning Parsnip jumped up on the library sofa and went to Craig’s uniform. He was debating between snuggling on it and nibbling it. Then he saw me. He decided to hop off the sofa.

Parsnip is my little friend. It is a always so wonderful to wake up, go down stairs, and set Parsnip free. He is my little emotional support animal. Nothing totally spares me from my Bipolar symptoms. But before I hit the bottom of depression or the top of mania, my more mild symptoms can be partially alleviated by Parsnip’s company.

Hurricane Bipolar Decimated Me This Weekend

Bipolar came barreling through this weekend. It has been bad, worse than I want to write in any detail right now. I have had a hard, nonfunctional weekend. Craig has stepped in to take care of everything. I am so blessed to have him in my life.

Crazy how when you have Bipolar Disorder things change so quickly – at least if you are an ultradian like me. I rang in the New Year feeling fantastic. I was happy, excited about 2019, creative, and content. Then I just fell as though I was pushed off an overpass. Every single car driving underneath has run me over this weekend. Living has been a struggle. I am grateful that I am at least able to write about it right now. Writing sometimes helps me heal a little.

Praying this ends soon. In the meantime I’m going to do my best to do at least one thing to clean the house today, and to do one thing that is creative even if I can only do it for a minute or two. Anything so that when I lay my head down tonight I can feel that this day was at least somewhat worthwhile. I have to get something done. It’s just hard to get off the sofa and move.

Trying to Raise My Mood

Now is the time to put my new planner to the test. I was doing pretty well this morning. We did homeschool lessons, I painted with Angelica, I did housework Etc. I was productive and really enjoying myself. Then I started my afternoon low. Now I’m trying to come back. I feel like my soul slipped out between my fingers. I’m staring at the TV. It’s one of my favorite shows. I still feel like a piece of myself has been rended in a shredder. Somehow I need to get off the sofa.

Vraylar

 At the beginning of the week my psychiatric nurse put me on another medication in addition to the ones I am already on. She put me on Vraylar.

I have had mixed results. I have been able to actually do some reading this week and I was able to go and have fun and have dinner with some new friends. So there have definitely been improvements the past few days. But while it’s probably the drug I can’t know for sure at this point because it could just be that I’m getting lucky and having a few decent days. If it is in fact the new medicine making me feel better, I’m still not sure if I’m going to be able to stay on it.

I have been feeling very strange since I started it. I get disoriented when I’m driving. I feel like I’m moving even though I have my foot all the way down on the brake. The movement of other cars confuses me and I zone out a lot. I get dizzy at home. And I’m having really weird effects with my vision. My eyesight is not blurry or fuzzy or even double vision. Instead it literally looks like everything has just been painted with fresh wet paint and the paint dripped down before the picture dried. What I see is actually smeared sometimes. It’s really bizarre. I suppose it could be something else entirely causing this, but while I have had some issues before this it has really been acute this week.

September Wasn’t Great

October was worse. I haven’t written in a month, or even read much. My mind hasn’t been clear. I’ve tried to edit massive amounts I’d already written and my mind was just dry.  It wasn’t a creative block. It was depression and mixed mania. Half the time I was too depressed to do much. I fell so behind on housework for a few weeks that I felt terrible when J came to clean. The house was a mess from floor to ceiling. We alternated between running on dirty laundry and getting dressed downstairs when the laundry was clean because I couldn’t muster the will to bring it upstairs and put it away. We went to get the car washed and I had so much anxiety waiting for it to be detailed that I tried to walk off and leave. Craig had to bring me back. At one point I lost my mind and engaged in some brief self harm.

Last Monday Angelica and I went to our first social event for the Peterson Wives Group, even though we’ve been here since the end of February. So many of them have nothing but strangers there and have tons of people going. I have so much anxiety that I can’t seem to get up the courage to go. But a nice girl I’ve talked to before hosted this event, so I decided to take the plunge. It was an adorable thing where the kids could paint little pumpkins. Angelica had a wonderful time and it was so good to see her get to play with other kids. She really hit it off with K, the hostess’s, son. We want to get them together again for a little playdate. The other women there were so nice and I enjoyed the conversation with all of them. And yet….toward the end I felt like  crying. When I got to the car and buckled in I did cry. I cried on the short drive home and I cried when I got in the house. I was no use the rest of the day. It was a wonderful event and the company was superb, but I just fell apart afterward.

Craig has had a hard time with me for awhile now. I just haven’t been good company. I’ve been so low that he has resorted to letting me watch Real Housewives even when he’s home and stuck in front of the TV. It’s a mercy thing to raise my mood. Usually I like scary shows, surreal stuff, and nature documentaries. But for some reason I love the Real Housewives franchise. I never put it on when Craig is home out of consideration, but it is mindless entertainment and can help me while away hours when I’m really not up to do anything else. Poor Craig. I have been living as much life as I’ve been able to, but it isn’t easy. The other day I wasted two hours of the babysitter being here so that I could sleep. 

For now, Trazadone is no longer part of my nightly med regimen. Last summer I was waking up early naturally. I’ve been sleeping later and later and it has just been adding to my misery.  Not only does my day suck and I accomplish very little, but I have even less chance of making something of myself and my day than I usually do because I’m asleep for half of it. I pulled myself off and I’ve started waking up early again like I like. I’ll keep it on backup for when I go to high to sleep. I also have some other medicine I can take if I go to manic. I haven’t had a full blown psychotic mania this season, which is odd. But I’m grateful.

Instead I’ve had those delightful things they call mixed states. That is where you are manic and depressed at the same time. So I’ve gone through periods of super high energy and agitation, combined with hopeless and suicidal feelings. These spells haven’t lasted long (otherwise my house might have been cleaner), but they’ve been miserable when they’ve happened. I’ve had to walk out of restaurants countless times. It isn’t constant. I’ve been able to eat out without trouble a few times. But it has been a regular issue. 

Hopefully I’m on the rise again. They have doubled my mood stabilizer and my antidepressant. I have had to go to the psychiatrist each week for weeks. I’m tired of waiting for table scraps of life – for just a few moments or hours here and there when I can be of use to my family or shop or hang with friends. I want to be able to write again, and have the focus to read. As I write I’m listening to music. I haven’t sat and just listened to music in weeks.

Depression Hurts My Creativity

Depression is difficult. I regret that I have not been posting more poetry. I have a backlog on my computer that I need to revise and post. I want to write more in my poetry journal. 

This might sound silly, but I am waiting for the right time. In my head. Today I’ve been sitting down at my laptop looking over my poetry and trying to revise it, but it is as though my core is sleeping. My mind is somewhere else. I’m revising a little bit, but what I’m doing is just not that imaginative and I’m not pleased with it. 

It’s not just poetry that has taken a backseat to depression. My novice visual art (not much to look at but I love doing it) has barely been touched. I even went out last week on a day when I felt like I could leave the house and drive, and bought art supplies, and I haven’t begun to touch the new supplies. My housework has taken a nosedive. My friend J came over today to clean and everything was a mess. My laundry is backed up. I haven’t showered in days. Today I had to get dressed in the living room because my load of clean clothes has been down there for days and I haven’t brought them upstairs. Sometimes I just sit and stare at the wall. I’m trying to be proactive and watch interesting or inspiring things on Netflix. I never know when something might light a fire in me. I try to read my favorite magazines, but sometimes I can’t enjoy the articles or images, and my eyes even glaze over at times.

My inlaws were here from Thursday to Sunday and I think they had a nice visit, but it took a lot of energy to try and be social and do a lot. We did some really fun stuff, but I’m worn out. When J came over to clean I didn’t say much. We did the first celebration for Angelica’s 5th birthday on Saturday with my inlaws. Thursday is her actual birthday. We will be celebrating again. I’m tired. 

Bipolar is hard.

Write, paint, make collages, edit photos, study something new, read a book. I need to do something. I keep hoping that if I just sit down and do anything I’ll enjoy it or at least make progress, but it is so hard to get started. And the minute I begin to make the least littlest bit of headway I just stop. I can’t feel it. It isn’t a matter of discipline. I understand that you should always try and write or pursue something important to you daily, regardless of how you feel.  But unhappiness is not the same as depression. My mind isn’t working right. I can work on stuff when I’m unhappy. I’ve done a lot while unhappy before. Right now though I’m struggling to string my mind together. It is as if someone could light me up with a match and I wouldn’t feel it.

Realization

Yesterday in the car I came to a realization, one it has taken me years to come to. If I could trade my creativity, ie my poetry writing, to not have Bipolar anymore I would. I’ve never been willing to say that until now. I’ve always thought that the writing came first. But a few things have  changed since then. First, I hope I’ve gotten at least marginally wiser with all the getting older I’ve been doing. I can recognize the value in a normal, stable life. Even if I couldn’t write anymore, I could still love books by spending that many more hours reading them.  I could still blog if I wanted. Basically, as much as I would miss writing poetry and having all the ideas and images floating through my mind, if I could be a balanced, stable person and a normal wife and mother, I would take that opportunity in a New York minute.

I think too that the past few months have helped to bring me to that mindset. Although I’ve been experiencing mood swings more and more frequently lately, the meds I’m currently on have given me way more stability and normalcy than I have had since i was a teenager. Having gotten a taste of what that feels like, I don’t want to give it up. Having seen how much more I can do for my family when I’m like that, I don’t want to lose it.

Of course, this is all wishful, hypothetical thinking. This is not how life works. There may not even be a choice, because although there are heavy links between creativity and Bipolar, and particularly between Bipolar and poetry, it is possible I’d be a poet either way. I’d say not likely, but it is possible. Wouldn’t that be amazing though! The best of both worlds! But more to the point, I doubt God will come from his heavenly throne to offer me a choice no one else gets. I will never be presented with the opportunity to say take this cross I bear and give me normalcy. It is a sacrifice I would make, but I’ll never get to make it. I will never be normal. But at least if it is God’s will, I will always have poetry.

The very fact I would make that choice, however, shows a shift in my mindset. I want a happy life. I want to be a good wife and mother. I am so passionate about poetry and there is nothing I love to do more than to write it. I am not even sure how I could be quite the same person without it. It is hard to imagine that life. But if I could be a better wife and mother, if I could travel the whole world (which is a nightmare for me now as a Bipolar), if I wouldn’t miss hours that turn into days of my life dealing with bad medication side effects, if I could see my friends without worrying that my mental stability might wane before we are done hanging out…….I wouldn’t pass that up.

Since I don’t have that choice, I am going to try to make the most of the poetry that has been put in me. But I long for a day where I could put down my pen and find a blissful equilibrium.