Went on annual trip to take photographs. Had minimal tolerance for children (okay, child) being nasty to siblings. Handled it in a super-mature way: I rolled my eyes and walked away. A classic, but sometimes you gotta go with the classics. They stick around for a reason.
I was tired, but not extraordinarily so. It was hot, but not beastly.
Then I came home and puttered around until the phone rang. And I thought "Crap. It's September 31."
I needed to be at a meeting.
So I ran to said meeting, reconnected with a friend, marvelled at the many great accomplishments she has made (incrimentally so that she hadn't noticed) and came home to stay up a wee bit too late and watch Dr. Who.
Then I had trouble getting to sleep. Up until 1:00 am. Daughter had trouble sleeping too... up crying.
I did not wake up until well after 9:00 am the following morning (backdated post).
Grateful Crap: having a supportive faith community
meds in morning: venlafaxine 150 mg; bupropion 450 mg
meds in evening: lamotrigine 25mg... nearing the end of week one on the entry dose
drank a lot of water
(I did chug a bunch of caffeine, which may have contributed to my trouble sleeping)
Friend had a brilliant idea in terms of identifying triggers for hypomanic episodes... I can review my blog posts. This is much easier done in retrospect.
While trying to identify hypomanic triggers in real life, I find myself second-guessing all of my behaviors and motivations.
Am I doing this because I want to, because it is a good thing to do, or because I am twisting into hypomania? Or am I trying to fend off a depressive episode...
Then of course I start acting all weird because living under a microscope is, well, weird.
Today I spent some time in the morning responsibly dealing with daily chore-type-stuff. I set a timer for 20 minutes and worked on doing the dishes etc.
Then I set another timer and folded clothes. I noticed that I was moving slowly. Breathing slowly. I didn't feel rushed. I did feel like I was moving through molasses, but I got a surprising amount done.
Then I completely ignored the timer and rearranged things in the children's room... trying to get clothing storage optimal before the start of the school year.
Trying to find a way for eldest child to be comfortable sleeping in his bed instead of face down on the hardwood floor.
After returning from the exhausting shoe buying trip yesterday, the children were very yelly and mean to each other. I knew that I would spend most of my time trying to control the meanness and yelliness (by being mean and yelly myself) so instead I hid in my room.
Wrapped my head in a top sheet. Tied it tight around my eyes. That was when I realized I had a headache.
When I was a kid I had a really tall bed-- a captain's bed with storage underneath and a little crawlspace behind the drawers so I could easily hide there. I liked being there. I didn't spend a lot of time hiding from scary things because I didn't grow up with scary things happening in my house.
But when I lived in Japan for six months and my host dad was beating my 9-year-old host-son I REALLY felt like hiding under the bed.
Unfortunately, my bed was a futon. So I went to my room and covered myself with my Japanese-style futon (more of a thick quilt than a mattress).
Now I have a platform bed with no space to hid under, either. Probably for the best.
"Where's your mom?"
"Oh, she's just hiding under the bed again. She'll come out when it's less yelly."
Grateful Crap: cooler weather
time with friends
time smashing rocks with neighbor's child
P.S. remember to ask if ther might be some connection between my "hysterical deafness" when I lose
This day I had a mission: buy shoes for children. Unfortunately I drove to the location where a shoestore once existed. I think it moved 10 years ago. Then could not think of a place that would not involve going past the State Fair and thus The Traffic Of Doom.
So instead I just headed West on a major highway in the hopes that I would find something. I did. We stopped at two stores, found shoes for the kids.
One of my new bipolar jobs is to notice any triggers for hypomania or depressive episodes. It would help if I could distinguish hypomania from just regular.
One of the symptoms of hypomania is increased irritability. I believe a trigger for this is heat/humidity and shopping.
I am almost not quite kidding.
Here is a list of 9 common triggers for Bipolar mood swings
Also on this day, a bus that I thought had Spouse on it went flying past with this sign in lights on the front, "Emergency Call Police." So I did. And they said the bus had a broken sign and everything was fine.
But I still freaked out and felt the need to wait for the bus that he was really on. But Spouse had texted about being late (I didn't get text. Out walking) and eventually elder boy who had made dinner got antsy and tracked us down.
On a side note, researchers in Korea found that there were personality differences between people with Bipolar I and Bipolar II.
Bipolar II (like me) more prone to neuroses and introversion.
Grateful Crap: glass beads made in Japan
took meds in morning and meds at night (150mg venlafaxine, 450mg bupropion, 25mg lamotrigine)
also added Omega-3 and a multi-vitamin to the mix
time outside (pacing back and forth waiting for bus)
30 minutes of exercise
This morning's dip brought to you by: children who will only eat refined white-flour-based products. Kings Hawaiian bread. Mac and Cheese. Sourdough. Naan. Pizza (with sauce and pepperoni or no sauce whatsoever), quesadillas, pancakes...
This morning's slump also sponsored by children who refuse to eat if their food of choice is not available (rejecting any alternate).
And putting my head down on the kitchen table and not having any idea what to do about this.
And raising my privileged whiny children who feel affronted at the lack of the One True Food. Stomping out of the room and refusing to eat. Making faces at unfamiliar foods. Storming that I cannot make them try new things. Crying at the thought of eating a vegetable.
And me wearing pajamas with a skirt as if that means I am dressed. Hair unwashed, uncombed, unkempt, unloved.
And emptying the lazy susan with cans all over the floor and two garbage bags waiting with their open mouths.
And the wind that pushes curtains in and out like breathing lungs.
And the desire to control every little thing. Especially the way that my children are trying to control every little thing.
And the identity crises of shifting from Depressed to Bipolar.
And a face made of clay.
And giant social events full of running children and small-talking adults. Of jungle gyms and soccer balls. Of picnic blankets, uniform sales and volunteer recruitment tables. Of guilt at not being able to do everything. Of guilt at not having done anything. Of not remembering what I have done.
And the start of new things and the end of old things and the genetic gifts I pass to the next generation.
Move forward to soaking in a bubble bath and painting fingernails purple with sparkles. And finding clothes and shoes. And going for a walk in the wind that blows the breathing curtains. Taking deep breaths of late-summer sunshine.
Or move back. To hiding in my room with the lights off. Covers pulled over my head. With no expression. A minor squall. Wait for this to blow over.
I should know better than to read Anne Sexton.
Grateful Crap: touch-typing. having enough food that my children can sneer at it.
took am meds; took pm meds last night
will take bath
will go for walk
Glad I went to see the psychiatrist today. After thoroughly reviewing my chart and doing lengthy intake, he felt that I was clearly in the bipolar camp.
(Although currently not residing near either pole. Closer to the equatorial region at this time.)
He would like to see me eventually cut back on the anti-depressants because bipolar does not have a good outcome with antidepressants alone. Which means I get to figure out more drug crap.
Here is my new cocktail:
For the next two weeks I need to be on 25 mg of the lamictal nightly.
Then two weeks at 50 mg.
Then two weeks at 100 mg.
Then we will see if I stay at 100 or go to 200 or whatnot.
I am super tired but I don't know if it is because I slept poorly last night and left early this morning to get to my appointment or if the 25 mg of lamictal has caused the drowsies to set in.
Fell asleep without finishing this. Without reading. Slept like a log.
Grateful Crap: trying something new
took meds. All gajillion of them.
I accidentally forgot to cancel an appointment with behavior health for my home network clinic. But since it is too late to cancel and I was not terribly impressed with my last psychiatrist, I figure I will go ahead and keep this appointment.
Unfortunately I think I threw out the paperwork that they sent me to do ahead of time because I thought that I had already cancelled.
I find myself getting more and more confused about what a possible diagnoses or not diagnosis of bi-polar or not-bi-polar might mean. Or not mean. Are you confused yet?
Depression (even when I know it is chronic) seems like a much more socially acceptable thing. If only recently (somewhat) destigmatized.
Depression seems like the kind of thing that people hope you will be able to rally your forces and finally kick that bastard to the curb.
Depression seems innocuous in some ways. Innocuous but bad. Like lead poisoning. It's not like it jumps out and bites you. Even though if you don't treat it, the disease may well be fatal.
It seems okay for people to talk to you about Depression because they feel like they have some sort of reference. They have been Depressed or depressed or at least very sad. Or they know someone who has had this experience.
When I told people I was Depressed nobody told me that I was wrong. Or that I couldn't possibly be Depressed. They knew me better. They had met Depresed people before and I in No WAY resembled them.
When I told people I was Depressed there was a context.
Bipolar seems lonlier.
Hi, they're thinking I might be bipolar.
list of (wikipidia) bipolar folks
(Have you ever noticed that the dead outnumber the living? I think they are preparing for a hostile takeover.)
This is a pointless activity. Bipolar is such a changeable thing... With all kinds of different symptoms and descriptors along the spectrum.
And many people don't have episodes of mania or Depression for long stretches of time. So then are they NOT bipolar at that time? Or still in treatment? Or just keeping an eye on it?
I cannot wrap my brain around this. Also, still do not know if I need to wrap my brain around it.
Need more data.
Grateful Crap: hopeful future data
taking meds right now (oops)
talked to a friend
took things slow
Okay, so if it turns out that I am not single-mindedly, single-handedly out to Kick Depression's Ass... but instead I have some more nebulous journey involving trying to maintain a more consistent level of energy...
Do I have to change the name and/or format of my blog? If I am no longer going for convexity but instead for some kind of stability does this require a reimagining of the whole project?
Falling further on the side of a bipolar diagnoses... my parent was not surprised. And my coworker said, "That explains a lot." with a laugh. Because she has been the benefactor of my hypomanic website creations to benefit her class. She always wondered where I found the time.
Back to the blog.
part of speech: adjective
definition: marked by opposite extremes
I see several problems with this potential transformation
How's this for a lark... I vacillate between thinking that the whole idea of even considering the bipolar disorder spectrum is a load of crap and thinking that it is a perfect explanation for all things me.
Grateful Crap: support from family, friends and colleagues on working through this crap
came out again to my close co-workers (possible bi instead of surely Depressed)
up and down four flights of stairs
drank enough water
talked to a friend
Do not be confused. I am a teacher. I start teaching tomorrow. How am I celebrating? Dinner with family (on "the grill.") Children sleeping over with gramma. Spouse and I see a movie. Already printed out what I need for tomorrow. Now trying not to freak out about inconsequential things that have nothing to do with anything.
I will miss the opening meeting tomorrow. I will miss another important meeting on Wednesday. It is unfortunate that I only have classes scheduled for two days this week and they happen to interfere with the only two mandatory meetings on the opening week schedule.
This is the downside of interagency collaboration. When the agencies have different schedules... I should check if I have the same Winter and Spring breaks...
winter @ college 12/19 - 1/11
winter @ public school 12/20 - 1/4
winter @ charter school 12/20 - 1/4
So far so good...
spring @ college 3/7 - 3/15
spring @ public school 3/28 - 4/5
spring @ charter school 3/14 - 3/22
Dang. So neither the college where I teach, the distric where I teach OR my children's school have any overlap. I don't yet know about the preschool spring break. Won't it be hilarious if that doesn't overlap either?
Okay. Gotta rush.
Grateful Crap: singing "There's a hole in the bucket" while daughter and her friend dance in an inflatable kiddie pool
meds in the morning
time singing at the top of my lungs (girls insisted that I not sing quietly)
slept like crap last night, so did allow a nap this afternoon
strange dreams about going to dinner at my friend's ex-husband's family's house.
Headache in the morning
For opening week (of the school year) I am setting some hopefully manageable goals for myself. Neighbor and I met and talked about helping one another stick to weely (manageable) goals.
My first goal for opening week: Do Not Panic!
I have done most of the prep that I need to do. I will make sure that I have the week's schedule written down in number of places and then just make sure to be where I need to be.
Also: Maintain a Reasonable Sleep Schedule.
And finally: Embark on No New Projects.
Went for a thirty minute walk with elderboy this morning. It was nice. Will repeat again (maybe even tomorrow).
I have found that having a goal of trying to manage mood roller-coaster and also high blood pressure without medication if possible has made me think quite differently about the issues of sleep, exercise, sugar and routine.
Now it feels goal oriented. More of a goal than just "I want to be more healthy."
Grateful Crap: Thai food
took meds (but not until just now. need to fill my pill minder. Also probably get one that is big enough that my pills don't get stuck.
30 min exercise
little sugar (2 tsp over fruit)
talked with a friend
Here is the learning curve now that I am trying to do something about the opposite of Depression... I know that Depression does not mean sad. But the other extreme also doesn't mean happy. Intellectually I know that, but when I think of being "up" I think of good mood. And it ain't necessarily so.Today I felt in the middle of the mood rollercoaster. I had normal-sized emotions. Happy, sad, irritated, relieved... but not coming down in crashing waves that overwhelmed me. Nice.
I am tracking my moods now (and have to write fast because my battery is going to run out and I don't have my computer cord). Also reading a book on bipolar disorder and how it manifests... and that the "high moods" are often not characterized by happiness. But sometimes increased irritability, increased anger, increased goal-directed activities.
And I decided that I was going to share my chart with son #1 who has a diagnosed mild depressive disorder (whatever it is called. Unspecified or whatnot) but I have noticed that he and I share the BIG EMOTIONS at either extreme and that he runs very hot and cold with people and activities and that he does not like feeling out of control.
He liked the idea of tracking his moods too. So we made and shared charts on Google Drive and are going to give this a go for a month.
He elected to track
Mine is mostly the same, only I am also tracking my meds and alcohol (for the two or three times a year that I have a drink.)
I think this will be a super-helpful tool. I will try to stick with it for a month. Then when I go in to see therapist I will have nearly a full month of moods charted.
Grateful Crap: awesome son
talked with friend (about crap that had bothered me and that helped a lot)
spent time with family
Quaker, teacher, parent,