I picked up half a yard of organic gardening blend from my local landscaping shop.
Then I got what was probably another half yard of dirt from my neighbor across the street.
Now I am moving dirt around and it's pretty smelly.
That seems all metaphorical now.
This post will be short because it's from my phone.
i'm now up to three pills of lithium which means I'm on 450 mg per day.
I don't think I've noticed any negative side effects. It is possible I am less on the manic side.
This condition is a pain in my ass.
I procrastinated on a project because of my anxiety and now I am anxious because I procrastinated. It's the circle of life. I'm pretty sure that's what they sing about in he lion king.
Today I will work in the garden.
I will work on the Project of Procrastination.
I will take out the tap floor and practice my tap.
All songs that I like to sing/listen to (sad or not)
Watching children perform (mine or other people's)
Hearing about awesome things
Hearing about terrible things
Instrumental music programs
Preschool "graduation" programs (daughter not even the one graduating... I'm just preparing for next year)
The idea of my job changing
The idea of my job staying the same
Seriously. I can cry at the drop of a hat. Dang, perhaps I should have included "hat dropping" on my list above. Does this increased weepiness have anything to do with the recent addition of lithium? Probably not, because I haven't been on it for even ten days. I think. I need to check on this because I think pretty soon I'm supposed to increase my dose from 300 to 450mg.
For a long time now I have been wallowing in my bipolarism. Not having the will or energy to do much beyond get out of bed, eat regular meals and take my pills. Which is pretty much the bare minimum.
So I went for a little refresher on things that I ought to be doing. I found some good information from the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
Here are some things I ought to be thinking about. (without thinking that I need to do ALL OF THEM at once. Perhaps I can just start with one thing...)
keep a mood diary (to try and catch mood episodes early before they get BIG)
avoid stressful situations (because they can trigger manic or depressive episode)
balance life/work/leisure and relationships (being too busy can bring on manic episode)
exercise 20 minutes 3 times a week seems to improve mood
regularly do things that I enjoy
I think that the stress and lack of exercise have had a negative effect on my well being. As would they for anyone. Ugh. Sometimes the bipolar thing seems like a fake label. Because the things that are not good for me are not good for anyone else. And the things that are good for me are good for other people too.
And it isn't like stress is any worse for me than it is for anyone else, right? Particularly because on the scale of bipolarity, I am not terrible severely bipolar. Perhaps it is just that the way the bipolar brain responds to stress is different from the neurotypical brain. Not that it is better or worse. Just different.
Clearly I am more introspective than I have been in some time, which I'm going to put down as a good sign. Brain-function-wise anyway.
One of my favorite exchanges with a friend:
me: I like people
friend: no you don't.
me: sure I do. I like you.
friend: you don't like people. you like person.
I have been waging a war against my garden in a RL version of plants versus zombies.
I have been beading in every spare moment, and some moments that were not spare.
I have failed to post any blogs since perhaps a week or more.
I am currently posting rather then getting ready to leave.
I am on 300 mg of lithium, 200 mg of lamotrigine, and 450 mg of bupropion.
I will do a real post later, because it is difficult to post from my phone.
Mood has been volatile. Going from hyper-anxiety to randomly weepy quite rapidly.
surprisingly found not much changed in my mood even though I have assurance that my job will still include the college collaboration piece.
I need to check schedules because I know I made a lot of appointments and I know I canceled a lot of appointments but I don't remember which ones are still on the books.
I will post more later about northern yearly meeting, being on lithium, decluttering my house, and other crap.
So today it is the fourth day (this evening) on Lithium. 150mg. It has not had instant miraculous and wonderful magical effect. I have been at the extreme edge of "GET THE HELL AWAY!!!!" mostly with my loved ones. Which has got to be really awesome for them.
Did manage to have a decent conversation with a neighbor, so I get points for that. Have been watering my garden (but not in a zombie way) and thus getting outside a bit each day.
But I am mostly still stuck in beading and I don't care.
Could not get to sleep last night. Kept waking up. Had a bad headache. Photophobia. I did call nurse care line to make sure that it was not some Lithium problem. Side effect but not sign of toxicity.
I just wanted to post quickly.
Okay, Now I have to go. It is 11:11 which is my favorite time.
Yesterday, I had no patience for anyone. And I mean NONE. The sweet sound of the daughter's voice sounded like nails on a chalkboard. I had no desire or ability to deal with other human beings.
Most of the day was spent trying to deflect the daughter so she would stop talking to me and go play.
So I could be alone and bead.
Which was all I could do.
When the boys came home I abdicated my duties as a parent entirely. I shut myself up in my room and told them that my mood was BLACK and that it was no fault of any of them, but that I just needed to be by myself. I did not come out until after they were all in bed. Even though I was really hungry for dinner.
I stayed up for a while with Spouse and watched something and convinced him to give me a shoulder massage because I have realized that when I spend ten hours hunched over beading projects in a single day, I get a bit tense.
I managed to sit and NOT bead while watching, but it was not enjoyable. In the absence of beading I ate a bunch of stuff. But I think next time I will just tell Spouse that I want to be held because I think that would have been better and made it easier to relax and he would be perfectly happy to do so. (And even though Spouse reads this blog, writing this is not a passive-agressive way of communicating)
I am glad (really? glad?) that my dark mood started on Monday before I began NEW MEDICATION because otherwise I might suspect the medication change. However, I believe that the super-irritation is related to the super-anxiety and zombie gardening/zombie beading. (It pains me to classify beading as zombie. because I am not read/able to stop.)
When I met with Behavioral Psych Nurse Practitioner, she told me that she thinks I am manic. I tried to insist quite emphatically and forcefully and rapidly and ineffectually that I was NOT manic. I was just super anxious, very distractible, excessively talking at super-speed, spending money that should better have not been spent, and believing that maybe I didn't have bipolar after all and I was just a drama queen in it for the attention.
Here's a not-terribly-scientific list from WebMD of signs of mania that may indicate a manic episode if they have been hanging around for nearly every day for one week or longer.
Here is how WebMD describes mania:
The fast ideas start coming too fast and there are far too many ... overwhelming confusion replaces clarity ... you stop keeping up with it … memory goes. Infectious humor ceases to amuse. Your friends become frightened ... everything is now against the grain ... you are irritable, angry, frightened, uncontrollable, and trapped.
Well, fer crap.
So she decided that I should start taking something to address the manic part of bipolar. The bupropion that I have been taking is an SNRI used to address Depression. The lamictal is an anti-seizure medication used as a mood stabilizer with some anti-depressive qualities. But the whole mania thing really hasn't been an issue since last spring/summer.
So, now I get to try lithium.
If you are freaking out about this a little bit, you are not alone. I'm not sure why I am freaking out, because if it doesn't work for me, I will just stop taking it (with the behavioral psych nurse practitioner's blessing). But taking a medication to address mania was just another PROOF THAT I REALLY AM SICK and I would rather pretend that I am not.
Started taking it last night. Would not notice the difference anyway yet.
Today I feel not quite as irritated as yesterday, but it is a near thing. And my smile is broken. And I don't want to do anything. But I managed to make myself stop beading in order to post. Three times. And I checked my email today which I could not bring myself to do yesterday.
And I will try to have dinner with my family. Even though the thought of doing so is very unappealing at the moment. I promise I really do love all of them. And ordinarily dinner is quite a fine time.
Grateful Crap: Northern Yearly Meeting (Quaker Gathering) is only a few days away.
some venlafaxine (even though I would rather just stop taking it. She wants me to continue with taper so we can tell if any side-effects are from the lithium rather than withdrawal)
lithium (one pill for five days, then two pills, then 3 pills; don't remember the dosage. I will put than in some time in the future.)
At the son's counseling appointment, he did an activity where he was supposed to be able to raise the temperature to his fingers through relaxation and meditation. Which he did. Until he looked at the clock and realized he would have been in lunch if he were at school and then he got SUPER STRESSED and was unable to let it go.
On Saturday he was wearing a Green Lantern shirt and I said that he would make a good Green Lantern because he had such a good imagination. He pointed out that he had no ring.
So when I walked into an eclectic card/stuff shop and saw green mood rings... it seemed like a two-stone no-brainer.
He was thrilled and set about trying to change the color by changing his mood. Kind of a backwards sdrawkcab way of using the mood ring. A doom ring, if you will. Ooh... I like it.
I got one for myself to. I figured since I had joined him in the world of super-anxiety, it might do me some good to.
At Quaker meeting I looked down after 40-some minutes of worship and saw that my ring had gone to the lovely purplish/blue shade that it is supposed to be when I am relaxed and happy.
When the son joined me for the last part of worship, his ring was amber/green, which is the unsettled/anxious color. So he relaxed and breathed and closed his eyes (which he NEVER does in meeting) and darned if he didn't turn the thing a lovely blue-purple.
I had a message near the end of meeting, and my ring went the amber/green/yellow shortly before the message arrived. Which makes sense from a physiological standpoint (I am nervous because I know I am about to speak), but it was still pretty cool.
Okay, the NEXT post will have info on medication.
Here's how Wednesday and Thursday and Friday went
took these meds:
450 mg bupropion
less than 1 pill of venlafaxine (removing around 30 beads from a 142-bead capsule)
Was grateful for stuff.
Worked on my novel.
OH... and I think I saw some friends. Which was awesome. And some flourless chocolate cake. Which was also awesome.
Stay tuned next post for some prescription news...
I would like to find an in-between. That's basically the holy grail for bipolar, isn't it. Instead of swinging wildly from one pole to the other. But balance is just not a natural thing for me. Either physically or mentally.
On Saturday-- for the first time in a super-long while--I didn't feel anxious. My heart was not racing. I didn't feel like I was about to puke. I wasn't overtaken by feelings that I should be doing SOMETHING or else BAD THINGS would happen.
But then I seemed to swing the other direction to APATHY.
Also, I started staying up super late working on projects. Which I think is related to the apathy. Kind of "oh well, as long as I can't figure things out I may as well enjoy myself." Only then I have a lack-of-sleep hangover for days afterwards. Which is just no good.
Yesterday I managed to not work on beading projects voluntarily. And this morning too. Instead I am writing and relaxing and posting. And I am not too terribly resentful.
In response to the uncertainty of the future (which is always uncertain) I have the following choices:
1. Screaming ANXIETY
2. Wildly productive ACTIVITY to attempt to control the outcome
3. Crushing APATHY and fatalism in the belief that nothing can be changed. All is lost.
And acceptance just seems like giving up.
My best coping mechanism seems to be bearing my head in seed beads and pretending that I am not a fearful, anxious control freak who is falling apart at the thought of not being in charge of what happens. To the smallest detail.
I need to remember that I am flexible. That I like the challenge of new things. That change is not a disaster. And that I can make no accurate predictions (dire or otherwise) for how things will turn out.
This feels quite abstract and confusing.
My college job is done this week. A few more weeks of the school year through the public school. When I taught on Saturday I was low energy and boring. Do I need to be hypomanic to be interesting and energetic? Or do I just need to get a decent amount of sleep and exercise and good food.
Was I such a mess before seeking treatment for bipolar? Big parts of me want to say no. That before I was being treated for this condition everything was hunky-dory. Pretty sure that is a lie. There was a reason I caught treatment, after all.
I have allowed my bupropion to run out. The last I took it was Friday? Or before? Don't know. It is Monday now. I need to do the week's worth of venlafaxine (with less and less in every capsule) in my pill minder. I need to refill the lamotrigine. Perhaps the absence of wellbutrin in my system is contributing to this maudlin post.
I got stuff for the garden: honey berry bush, strawberries, lettuce, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, hot pepper, basil, onions, scallions, six different kinds of tomatoes... and a bunch of other stuff I cannot remember. I think I only got edible stuff.
Will try to post daily. It gives me a much better feel for what is going on.
(in response to a song with a chorus stating "I want you...")
4yo: is this about one person who wants another person?
4yo: she should ask nicely.
I WROTE A REALLY SUPER LONG POST AND IT GOT ZAPPED BEFORE IT POSTED. SO I AM MAD. HERE'S WHAT IT SAID: I AM SUPER ANXIOUS. I DON'T WANT TO DO ANYTHING. THERE IS NOT ANY SINGLE SOURCE FOR MY ANXIETY. I WANT TO HOLE UP SOMEWHERE UNTIL THE ANXIETY PASSES-- BUT THIS WILL NOT HAPPEN.
The other day a friend pounded on my kitchen window, calling out: "Put down the beads!" Which was probably one of the few times that day that I was not actually beading.
This past week was quite trying. Spouse was out of town for part of it. Daughter was sick. I was super anxious about job-stuff and then just stuff in general. Because once you are anxious, you can be anxious about absolutely anything.
I have been doing a better than average job of checking my email (although I realize the bar is set pretty low for my previous average-- which could involve 3,000+ unread emails).
This greater attention to communication does have its downsides, though. For the very reasons that I feared it in the first place.
When I am not doing so well (one way or the other) or even when things are going along just fine-- I have no idea what might be a trigger for me. And I don't' want to look at the messages coming my direction in case any of them induce some wildly inconvenient mood reaction.
Here's what it felt like this past week:
I would keep myself busy and mindless with beading projects to avoid panic.
Then, when I eventually felt normal enough to resume real life activities, I would check my email and something there would cause another anxiety spiral.
Now, let me be clear: I am placing no kind of blame at all on the people sending messages that wig me out. Often the things that cause the most anxiety are not even directed at me, specifically. And even I don't know what is going to cause me conniptions. And sometimes I need to know things even if they are super stressful to me. I just need to figure out how to manage them. (This sentence has too many pronouns in it.)
I slept very little in the early part of the week. Now I am swinging in the other direction and feel like I could sleep all day, all night, and then some.
Daughter is still sick. Sons are feeling sick. I am 'super tirade' as I accidentally texted to Spouse.
I met with my boss and even though she had no more information than I already had, I was able to get my anxiety better under control after talking to her.
One good point she made is that every year there is uncertainty over what/where I will be teaching. (And admittedly it does cause me a certain amount of trepidation, but nothing like this recent bout) The only added stress is knowing that this year there will be staffing cuts.
When I write this down, it doesn't sound as reassuring as it felt. Maybe just the message of being able to successfully deal with ambiguity without imploding.
I think the biggest worry for me was that if I were no longer employed where I am, I could not see myself doing anything else. And that scared me. My head was so focused on the world of Adult Basic Education and ESL that I was completely confounded by the idea of doing anything else.
Once I was able to imagine myself in other work situations (no matter how unlikely that might seem to anyone else) I felt less panicked.
P.S. I needed to have my blood pressure checked by doctor. Who very politely told me that he would like to see my body mass index closer to the healthy range. Because even the loss of three pounds had been shown to have a positive impact on blood pressure. And will help avoid getting diabetes. Which would be a bonus. And I am not being sarcastic when I say he handled this conversation politely. I was impressed.
Much better than the midwife who greeted me by saying, "Well, you know your old. And you're fat." when I showed up for my first prenatal.
Grateful Crap: blood pressure in normal range after spiking earlier in the week
blog (I am trying to get back to daily, honest)
talked to friends
Quaker, teacher, parent,