First, throw up the lights. Now you can move. Track down a sparrow for hire. Do you know how to handle a problem with a cape? Strap the house to the humane society. No one stands you up or puts you down. No 50 dollar donation and a signed form to give you any mercy. Go beg. Get that sparrow.
Why do knives chip?
Sparrow plead with them for my years still locked in the morning vault.
Every day I am engaged in some level of battle with bipolar. Sometimes it is a quick skirmish and I win. Other times the battle is huge – and I lose – and the raping and pillaging of my life begins.
I am not quite at that point yet, but this is no easy skirmish either. This is a mental Gettysburg. Hopefully I am winning, but if I am it is at tremendous rates of loss.
I have not been doing well in a month and a half. Sometimes there’s a period late in the morning or early in the afternoon where I’m okay for a few hours. Not fantastic, not normal, but okay. I try to use that time to clean the house or to do something creative. Sometimes I get one hour, sometimes I get five or six. The rest of the time I feel a mess. Sometimes I can’t stop sleeping. Other times I can’t get to sleep because I’m so miserable. I have had mixed, Manic, and depressive states. I’m a rapid cycler so I’ve been through a lot in this period of time.
I feel exhausted in my soul. I need just a little lift. To that end, I need to make a fresh gratitude list. Sometimes that gives me a temporary relief. Sometimes it doesn’t. Either way it is good to count my blessings. So here are some randomized things I am grateful for.
Dryer sheets. I don’t actually put them in the dryer, but they are great for creative projects.
My husband’s clock. When he first bought it I was afraid the chiming would drive me crazy. Now it is actually kind of comforting and even useful. I did get past my initial annoyance. Now if I want to I can listen to it and appreciate the gorgeousness. It if I don’t want to hear it then chances are good I have it tuned out.
Devotionals. I benefit from using devotionals, and I feel a little zing in my soul whenever I find a good one. So I love devotionals, and I have a profound appreciation for the people who write them and put them together.
Online banking through a phone app. I’m just being basic here.
Eating the extra cheese from the Velveeta packet. My daughter is always begging for Velveeta and when I make it I always hold a little bit of cheese back for Mom.
Snow. It snows in May here. I love it.
These are completely random things to be grateful for, but I like to think of more than just the usual like appreciating my spouse and my child. Of course I do that and they’re always at the top of the list, but there is so much to be grateful for. From little things that make me happy to small conveniences that make life easier, I’m appreciative of it all.
This list has not helped me at all. I feel nothing. I am still glad though that I made it.
I have so many times where I honestly fear I am going to pull an Emily Dickinson and never leave the house again. Between bouts of depression that leave me too tired and withdrawn, and run ins with anxiety that leave me choked, I have reason for my lingering fears of extreme solitude.
Of course, I like at least a little interaction with friends and with the world. Sometimes the world inspires me. (Other times I wish it would disappear beyond my home and family.) Moreover I want to be a helpful helpmate to my husband, and that includes things like running to Target or going out to dinner. Beside that, I have a young child that needs me for doctor appointments, activities, and – starting this fall – rides to school each day. Becoming a recluse really isn’t an option, at least not now.
I feel tremendously grateful for the times I live in. I have online lectures and courses that allow me to learn from home. The internet lets me communicate with people far away. Books make me feel alive. It is humbling to think of how many people throughout history had no books to read, or the ability to read them. My home is comfortable, so on days like this where I can’t leave the house I have a spacious, relaxing place to be. There are paints at my disposal for some therapeutic color play.
I am grateful to God for all of this. There have been so many people like me who were born before these resources were available, or who live now in places where the comforts and opportunities I have don’t exist.
Today is hard. Recovering and bouncing back from the trip we just took to the coast to see family and friends has not been easy. It has been off and on. Today I had to reschedule my daughter’s tutoring because I can’t leave the house. Praying that tomorrow is a better day. Angelica has two different make up appointments in the morning. Hopefully, hunkering down today will mean better resiliency tomorrow.
Counting my blessings is vital to spiritual growth and happiness. Bipolar is hard. I had a manic episode last week, and now I am going the opposite direction. Anxiety is hard too. But my life is so good, and even shut in at home I have a wealth of good things.
I got Angelica’s speech and tutoring appointments rescheduled. I am not leaving the house. Worn out. Very tired. Depressed.
While I am at home I hope to revise some of my poetry and get it ready. I am trying to clear my head.
I am tired. I am depressed. I need to isolate even if just for 1 day. I will definitely be eating at home tonight, because I don’t feel up to doing so much as the Taco Bell drive through. The only way I am going out at all is if my husband needs me to bring him lunch at work.
On the first day of our trip homeward I began to go manic. I wasn’t shocked. I heard a voice while on vacation. On the way home I began seeing illusory things. The second day of travel was full blown mania. I had to take my mania medication in the morning. I slept for awhile, and when I woke up I was still manic. I had to take another. Same the next day. It has been hard to bring myself down.
Mania is rough but it happens when I am under stress. I got by most of the trip by spending time alone in our various hotel rooms. Having a private place to go made travel much better. However, I just have a hard time with being away from home and all that entails. I got a bit depressed toward the end of the wonderful road trip we took last Fall. This time, after visiting family and friends, I went full blown manic.
Right now I just want to be calm and get into my weekly routine. I am flying a bit high, but the medicine is helping a lot. Keeps me tired though.
We arrived in Tennessee last night for Craig to see his grandfather and Angelica to see her great grandfather. We had salad and pizza for dinner, and then hung around in the sunroom for awhile.
This morning I am relaxing at the hotel while everyone else has breakfast and hangs out at my grandfather inlaw’s house. I needed the extra sleep and the time to myself. I am so introverted that it is hard if I have no place to retreat to.
We drove for two days to get this far, and that was difficult. I spent a good portion of the ride to TN not speaking and/or with my head in my hands. It has been exhausting.
It’s always really frustrating whenever we travel to see my inlaws. While it is true that I have anxiety and mood swings regularly at home, people I see while I’m traveling usually get the worst of me. I don’t do well with travel, especially if that travel is combined with socializing or big cities. So on top of the craziness that I already have, my relatives see me even crazier because I’m not meeting up with them until I’ve been traveling for two or three days. We took a road trip back in the fall and even though there was no socializing in that and we stayed in very quiet areas almost the whole time, I felt like crap part of the way back and when we actually were in the city for a while I got anxiety. It was the trip of a lifetime and I absolutely loved it, but it was a very different sort of trip.
Basically, my relatives see the worst of me. Even when I traveled last summer across the country to see my own side of the family I had to spend hours by myself in the room that I lived in when I went to high school. Even among my own side of the family I could not deal with full days of socializing or going places.
Hopefully my stomach settles too, because alongside a sinking feeling in my chest and being so introverted that I feel like I’m crawling into my own body this morning, I’m nauseous too. Knock on wood it’ll pass soon. It might have been the breakfast that I ate cold.
It isn’t that I don’t look forward to seeing my in-laws. It’s just that it’s hard to travel and it’s hard to do a whole lot of concentrated socializing at once.
Today I got the results back of the genetic test I took via mouth swab last month. The test tells you a lot of things. The purpose is to help identify which psychiatric drugs will help you and which won’t and/or might be causing some of the bad side effects you have.
Found a few things out. Number one, 95% of the stuff I spent my twenties on doesn’t work on people with my genetics. That may explain why I was a basket case for about 10 years. In all seriousness though, almost every drug I’ve ever taken, and they do list the drugs individually on the genetic results, are listed as either not being compatible with me or having very little compatibility. The list of drugs that might actually work for me are very short. There is one category, and on that list is Lamictal and lithium (and a few others). I may have to go back on lithium. We’ll see. For now I’m doubling my Lamictal to see if that helps enough. And staying the course on certain antidepressants and anxiety meds.
The test showed other things as well. There is a chain of reactions necessary to use things like serotonin and dopamine in your brain. My brain is unable to use some of the materials it has because a receptor isn’t working right that allows the serotonin and dopamine to be used.
From this test I also learned why I feel so wimpy about pain and why I’m always asking for more or stronger painkillers every time I have a procedure or an injury. The receptors that deal with opioids are very weak. So it takes a lot more for me to get the same effect as someone else gets who has normal receptors. My practitioner encouraged me to do two things with these results. Number one, bring my genetic test results with me if I have to when I have procedures to show that I’m not making crap up when I say I need more painkiller. Number two, to not take painkiller for any long length of time unless absolutely necessary because people with weak receptors get addicted to the stuff much more easily than other people.
This test was fascinating. It also showed which drugs would have bad metabolic side effects on me, AKA weight gain. There were tons of drugs that were listed as being bad for my metabolism and I had been on pretty much all of them, usually more than one at a time, for the majority of my twenties. I’m not saying I’m fat only because of the drugs. I really like food, and thanks to the hole in my ankle bone all the exercise I used to do doesn’t happen anymore. But there were so many times over the past nine years that I have gained weight and could not figure out what it was. My eating habits were the same and my level of exercise were the same. But I would add higher doses of drugs or change drugs and my weight would go up like crazy. I have gained 10 pounds in a month before. Sometimes I’m able to lose some weight for a while if I really set my mind to it, but I have to hardly eat anything at all. A thousand calories a day or less. Usually less. And I really hate doing that. It makes me miss food. I’m pretty happy with myself at this point, and as of this moment I’m not worried about my weight. But there have been times where I was just so frustrated by it. I would feel like I was doing everything right, maybe not being a health freak but certainly keeping my calories within limits, and my weight would go up anyway. Or I would be on drugs that would make me so hungry that I would practically eat the kitchen sink. I have been on a second mood stabilizer on that list for awhile, and she’s cutting me back on it. I have been eating everything since being on that drug. I mean everything. If it was not tied down I have eaten it.
This test has really taught me a lot and I hope to use it in the future. It gives me scientifically backed ideas of what to try. My doctor and I will still have to work out which particular drugs on the good list will work best for me and in what doses and combinations, but it gives us more than a starting point. And by giving me a long list of different receptors that aren’t working or are not working well enough, it really shows the bipolar in a neatly laid out and scientific way. Truly fascinating.
Yesterday I had a quick manic episode. I have only been brought down by a heavy dose of medicine designed to quelch mania. It made me sleep most of the day. I don’t know whether I will be manic again or not when I come out of this haze.
I heard the frost on the trees. They were French. My spirit left my body. I drove across town writing erotic poetry in various parking lots. There was a lot of random stuff.
I have had so many creative ideas percolating in my mind today. So much physical and digital art I want to start, fiction I want to write, poetry I want to write etc. I dropped Craig off today to go on a work trip for a couple of days and of course that’s always hard. He won’t be gone long but I miss him just the same. Nonetheless I’ve been having a really good day. This evening I went up to take a nice, long hot shower and then relax with a SodaStream soda. The grape one is the best. The grape and the orange.
Anyway I am dried off and settled in now and I just have this feeling of malaise and depression. I hate how suddenly I drop and how I drop without warning. I had so many creative plans for tonight and now I just feel like part of my spirit is missing. I’m really trying to get my verv back. The weather has been lovely and Angelica and I spent some time relaxing in the backyard. I’m considering revamping an old project that used to work on. There’s just so much I want to do and all of a sudden it feels kind of hard to breathe. I had a pretty bad panic attack last night and I’m hoping tonight goes a lot better since of course I don’t have Craig here to help me.
I think I’m going to try to push through with reading a creative magazine and see if it sparks anything in me. And I’m going to take my medication early in the hopes that it will help me. At the very least if it doesn’t help me I want to get it in my system soon enough that I’m able to get up in the morning for Angelica’s rather early occupational therapy evaluation.
This is just part of the struggle with bipolar disorder. This is not even an especially bad night. I’m relaxing. As of right now at least I’m not having a panic attack. I’ve gotten the housework done that I need to get done today. I’ve got laundry in the dryer. I took a shower. This really isn’t a bad night and technically isn’t something to complain about. But yet here I am with free time and energy and so many things I want to accomplish and I feel like a deflated balloon. Not because anything is wrong in my life or anything has happened. Just because my brain doesn’t work. With bipolar you can be brought to heights of joy that other people do not experience. You can touch the sublime. But it can also seal you off from even the simple pleasures that other people around you have. It’s a constant seesaw.
I saw a new psych doctor 50 miles away from home. The trip itself went badly. I was a nervous wreck driving that far by myself (Craig had a swing shift and couldn’t take me), and on top of that our poor babysitter was sick and I had to bring Angelica with me. I had major anxiety the whole way there, even though Craig found me a route that kept me off the highway. Staying off the highway is better for me anxiety wise.
I cried during the 1 hour drive home. By the time I pulled into the garage I was screaming so loudly that I frightened myself. It was as though I could hear hell welling up from the depths of my screams.
The actual appointment was alright. She didn’t seem up to date and I am not sure we clicked, but she gave me refill prescriptions of the drugs I am on, and since those haven’t been enough she added a second mood stabilizer. Latuda. It has been years since I was on Latuda. I really hope that in combination with my other stabilizer it makes a big difference. I love winter as a season, but winter of 18/19 has been a really hard one overall.
I am hopeful and trying to stay positive. I need this combination to work. I have also added Buspar to lower my overall anxiety levels. Lately the anxiety has been so bad that I am using Clonopin more than I would prefer. Buspar does nothing for panic attacks, so it is not a substitute for benzodiazepines. However, by lowering your overall anxiety levels it can decrease the number of times a week that you reach the point of panic.
Main stabilizer and antidepressant are the same for now.
Hopefully this spring things will be on the rise. There is so much I want and need to do.