Just to let you know, I did NOT overdo things today and get completely tuckered out. I started the day with my friend at the YMCA this morning. Talked to her about my triggery freak-out. She had several very good things to say. About realizing who owned the problem and whatnot.
I spent time with the daughter. We had a nice lunch together. Accidentally fell asleep (both of us) while waiting in the car to pick up the brothers after school. It was kind of delicious.
Then for some reason I got it into my head that since I missed one week of filling a bag a day I needed to fill 14 bags today. This is dumb. But I did it anyway.
Now, mostly there were boxes ready to go from the basement. Also, I will tell you that I donated two boxes full of stuff that I didn't even look at. These are things made of plastic that no one has looked at for more than five years. It is not worth the energy to sort through things.
Spouse was dismayed at my lack of moderation. Fearing (rightly so) that I had tipped into some hypomanic cleaning thing. But no. I just accidentally set my goal at the wrong place. I feel no inclination to keep decluttering at this point. The back of my brother's truck is full.
This morning I prepared my letter requesting membership in my Quaker meeting. Which I have been putting off for 10 years or so because I was pretty sure that I had to get the letter just right. And that I had to be doing all kinds of quakerly things just right before I joined up properly. Which is rubbish.
Made biscuits and leftover soup for dinner.
Received my prescription amber-lensed glasses in the male. I look totally hot. No, really. I think everyone will be wearing these next season.
One really good suggestion from my friend was that I needed to elect members of my "advisory council" who could be trusted to kick me in the butt in the appropriate way when I only want to hide under the covers.
So do not be surprised if you are recruited. I figure I need a number of people in case one of y'all is not available. Doesn't have to be in person. You can very nicely boss me around on the phone. Tell me something like: I want you to walk to the nearest coffee shop, buy a monster cookie and walk back. Call me when you have completed this task.
P.S. I ordered business cards for my negative communication factotum. They should arrive within the week.
Grateful Crap: bouncing back after only a day and a half of pretty crappy mood stuff
time with friend
going to the Y
Meds (150mg venlafaxine, 100mg lamotrigine, 450 mg bupropion)
called and scheduled next appointment with OFP (Once and future psychologist) for this Friday. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy hear I come!
The CBT is not to rid me of the Bipolar II. It is to help me deal with my neurotic behaviors that typically plague those with Bipolar II. Bonus.
Feeling broken today. Some clay face. Difficult to relate. Slept very ill last night. Kept pressing my head into the pillow not noticing my whole body was tense.
Headache that felt like it was caused by liters of Unshed tears just between my eyes. Did not cry today but it would have been easy for me to do on command.
Tomorrow I will work out with my friend and it will be good. No tap today no tap yesterday.
I am wearing Amber night driving glasses now. Not prescription ones. I got some that fit over glasses. 11yo wanted to try too.
I think mine get here soon.
Unfortunately they do not cut down on negative thinking or racing thoughts. You need the rose colored ones for that.
Expressed Emotion sounds good, but really it is a psychiatric euphemism for hostility, criticism and over-involvement. Which are things that apparently are not good for bipolar people. Are these forms of communication good for anyone? I didn't think so.
EE from family, friend, etc. can trigger a manic/hypomanic or depressive episode. And this gets me back to the problem of what to do when I am hit with a trigger. Because it is unreasonable to assume that I will never face these negative interactions with people. And I already know that they are immensely triggery.
I was approached by an acquaintance who asked if I was open to receiving some criticism.
The answer to this question from now on will ALWAYS be no. Also if someone asks me, "Do you have time to talk right now?" the answer is also no. Because these are never good conversations. And usually they are not even useful conversations.
I should have someone that I can refer these critical people to. "No, I am not open to receiving criticism, and I don't have time to talk right now, but you can make an appointment with my negative communications factotum who will hear your statements and get back to me if appropriate."
Anyroad, after agreeing to hear the criticism, which was about a message in meeting last week,
I did not have a good response. I wandered off aimlessly, sat down on some stone steps and started crying. And for a long, long time. Then I went home and hid in my bedroom for what was likely to have been the rest of the day.
Except I decided to phone a friend instead and we went out for coffee and sat in the sun and talked about stuff. Mostly not the triggering event. Mostly a bunch of other stuff. And that was helpful.
I knew that I was having something of an overreaction to my unpleasant exchange.
But knowing that didn't help. I could feel myself tipping to the Sad. For a short time tipping to the Very Sad. Now settling mostly in the pretty dang Sad area. I have high hopes to be somewhere in the vicinity of saddish by tomorrow.
Didn't tap today. Now too late. I spent the later part of the afternoon pretending to sleep with the daughter, but really just hiding and nursing a Super Bad Headache.
Grateful Crap: friend
meds (150mg venlafaxine, 450mg bupropion, 100mg lamotrigine)
went to Meeting (which itself was awesome)
spent time outside
time with a friend
also I get points for time with a friend yesterday
_It was another day where I had a WHOLE BUNCH OF THINGS TO DO but instead I did something else. And it was fun. But I ended up spending a lot more time on it than I thought I was going to.
My friend sent me a link to Mary Lambert's "Secrets" so last night I spent two hours listening to it over and over and over and over and over agian.
Then I wrote out the lyrics.
Then I memorized them.
Then I spent several hours practicing singing with my tap shoes on. And I produced this: (P.S. one of my secrets is that I am VERY VERY bad at tap dancing. But I still love it.)
Grateful Crap: I guess that I don't embarrass easily. Of course, this will not be a bonus for my teenage children. Mwaa Haa Haa Haa!
and lots and lots and lots of tap
also, on my way to a friend's house in a moment
Once upon a time I did something Really Stupid. I was at a summer writing conference with a friend. I decided that I could swim across a lake with all my clothes on (including cargo shorts and sandals) without anyone knowing what I was doing. And the sun was setting. It seemed reasonable at the time. I came very close to drowning.
I wrote it off as a fluke. A bad reaction to a new medication I was taking for Depression (cetalopram). I wrote a short story about it, chalked it up to being the Stupidest Thing I Have Ever Done and forgot about it.
Until this week.
When I realized that there could be an alternate version of the story:
I was at a writers' conference with a friend of mine. I was supposed to meet my friend to work on an assignment, but I couldn't calm my mind enough to think properly1. I couldn't imagine trying to work on a joint project.
I was also filled with nameless creeping rage. I was angry about nothing in general. And everything. It was not a comfortable feeling. I was not used to being angry. My entire body was zizzing with rage2.
So I decided to go for a walk. Really I wanted to go for a run. Which was odd, because I NEVER wanted to go for a run3. I think I left a note. Maybe not.
My goal was to walk around the lake on campus. I had no idea how far it was, but I knew that my friend had gone for a run and said there was a nice path all around the lake4.
Unfortunately there were also biting flies. The flies were so thick that every time I clapped my hands, five flies fell dead to the ground. When they bit, they drew blood. I began to run.
When I reached an abandoned stone chapel halfway around the lake I went in and the flies did not follow (although there were no doors or windows to keep them out.) Whenever I thought of continuing around the lake or turning back on the path I could not bear the thought of braving the flies again.
Each time I left the chapel, the flies descended on me. Whether I continued on, or turned back they were waiting for me5?. I thought about swimming across the lake instead. I was a strong swimmer. There would be no flies. I had even told my friend earlier that I could totally swim across the lake. And there would be no flies.
But that would be stupid. Because I wasn't dressed for a swim, and no one knew I was down at the lake, and the sun was starting to set and I didn't know how far it was and I hadn't been training for a long lake swim, and besides there was no way to get down to the water's edge because it was a sheer drop...
So I decided to walk/run back the way I had come.
Only the flies were herding me in a different direction. Whenever I followed the path they would attack. When I went toward the lake they would leave me alone. They led me to a stone staircase leading down to the lake. I decided it was a sign5?.
I would swim across the lake6.
I was wearing cargo pants with giant pockets that filled with water as I waded into the lake. The water was warm. The flies were gone. I noticed that my sandals made it difficult for me to kick very well. And I didn't want my glasses to get lost, so I swam with my head out of the water.
I swam until I was half-way tired and figured I must be about halfway across the lake, but when I looked back to the shore I could see that I had made barely any progress. I decided to continue on7.
When I was actually in the middle of the lake I was so tired that I was no longer swimming horizontally. I was swimming vertically. My hands were slapping the surface of the water. I was breathing in loud, open-mouthed gasps. This, I thought to myself, is how strong swimmers drown.
I was a trained lifeguard. I never swam without supervision. I had watched many training videos on near-drownings. And what I was doing right now? The vertical swimming, slapping the water, gulping for air... physiological responses to immenent drowning.
I panicked. I swallowed water. I went under.
When I was underwater I could see a vision of a little girl floating in the water with the outline of an innertube around her. She had fallen through and was underwater. Her hair was floating around her and the sunlight sparkled through the water5. It calmed me for some reason.
I remembered that I could float.
I made my way SLOWLY back to shore. Floating on my back. Calming myself by pretending that my friend was watching for me from the shore. That he would not let me drown.
When I returned to shore I had no energy left. I don't know how I made it up the hill to my dorm. But I refused to go up the stairs to my own room and stayed on the extra bed in my friend's room. I don't even know if I told him what happened. I slept.
Why I didn't take my sandals or my shorts off? Especially after going under... I considered it at the time and rejected it. I really liked my sandals. They were expensive. And it would be too embarassing to walk back to the dorm in my underwear.
Here is a partial list of symptoms of Bipolar Mania from the Mayo Clinic:
Grateful Crap: surviving my own stupidity/possible manic episode
meds meds meds (150mg venlafaxine, 100mg lamotrigine, 450mg bupropion)
dark in my room
taking it easy
I trained in someone to do a job that I had two years ago. A job I created. And it was frustrating. Because I had been out of this position for some time. I had trained in my replacement and even written things down in great detail. And apparently that was an excuse for my brain to just let go of all the details that people who are not me would need to know.
I was very frustrated that she didn't just adutomatically KNOW what she needed to do. As if she could read my mind. Having never met me before. Hardly fair of me.
Then I was super irritated that it was taking her so LONG to do things that I went through very quickly.
Here is what I remembered later:
I was the one to create the job, so of course I knew what to do.
I had a LOT of experience doing things inefficiently and was able to learn from experience what worked.
I tend to be a bit "speedy"; this is what my psychiatrist meant when he said I am probably used to being a bit hypomanic.
I am NOT suggesting that one needs to be bipolar to do my previous job. Because when I was Depressed, it was not easy. Things fell apart.
But maybe the reason that I used to swing between thinking that a trained ferret could do my job and thinking that a degree in rocket science might be necessary... maybe these thoughts coincided with my own swings from hypomania to Depression.
I will try to have more patience with this new person and cut her some slack.
I will dig up my old training materials.
Grateful Crap: my new job that is much less confusing to explain
remembered meds most days; will improve posting rates
excersized most days.
I love tap
Even though I am Really Bad
Went in for brief visit with Dr. Psychiatrist. He seemed content with my current levels of medication. Although we are not going to try cutting back on the anti-depressants yet. It seemed like a bad plan as we head in to the Time of Darkness.
And speaking of darkness, I read a bunch of stuff on the use of "dark therapy" as a method for treating symptoms of bipolar. Specifically dealing with mania. And regulating sleep. That kind of thing.
While it is impractical to be in total darkness from 6:00 pm to 8:00 am there is some evidence that blocking out blue light also preserves the bodies desired levels of melatonin. How to block blue light? With amber glasses. Why? Because yellow glasses only let through red and green light, but not blue (primary colors of light)
The whole idea of dark therapy appeals to me in a macabre going over the the dark side kind of way. In fact, I have ordered some cheap amber prescription glasses that I will experiment with. It has been very nice to have a darkened bedroom.
Trying to eliminate extra light. Trying to improve quality of sleep.
Don't know if the creeping tired is a way for my body to recover or for my mind to recover. Because after teaching and holding everything together for a while or days or whatnot, on my less programmed days, at my less programmed times, I become EXHAUSTED.
Like there is only enough energy to do the required things. And nothing left extra. Morning things are okay. Afternoon things are not. This is something I should mention to Psychiatrist today. My goal is to remember what his name actually is. I know it starts with a G or a J. And I think it ends with an N. And the name reminds me of a French word for something. That's all I've got.
Saturday morning was quite challenging at work. The custodian (substitute for our interim) was not there to open the building and I had to make many many calls to (mostly closed) district offices to figure out what to do. Meanwhile my adult students were showing up (no worries there) AND a bunch of kids were showing up for Chinese Language classes. (worries there. Had to make sure that no one just dropped their kids off when we couldn't get into the building).
So I had lunch at a Vietnamese Restaurant on my walk home and then collapsed into nap/read/exhaustion afternoon.
Sunday went to Quaker meeting, semi-responsibly shopped at Goodwill (as well as turning in all 7 bags of donations for the week) and then came home and collapsed into nap/read/exhaustion. Also discovered that I had forgotten to take my morning meds. Crap.
I find myself wondering which other members of my family had bipolar. If any. Just curious.
The 11yo expressed some concern that he might have a slight case of bipolar ii. This is possibly a downside of being very open about treatment, symptoms and other crap revolving around my diagnosis.
Better day today. Tea with friend instead of hiding in room. In general cannot recommend hiding in room.
Get out. Even if you don't want to. Especially if you don't want to. Note to self.
Grateful: capable independent children. A curse and a blessing.
Decluttered without going overboard
Slept very ill last night very long realistic and horrific dream.
Effects of which lasted into waking. Locked my bedroom door. Became clingy. Felt Ill. Developed a fever and shakes.
Tired but afraid to sleep. Don't want a part two of nightmare city.
Did little today. Physically ill or mentally ill or just suffering from after effects of very very poor night of sleep.
I did not wake. Slept through the night but it was terrifying rather than refreshing.
This morning accidentally bit down on one of my meds. For future reference bupropion xl tastes vile. Worse.
Quaker, teacher, parent,