Ack. Wrote post. It disappeared. Here is the summary: stressed out. Depressed. Dealing with plumber, electrician, auto mechanic, water mitigation specialist and insurance agent. Also interviewed new therapist. School starting again soon. Stressed.
So, the drug that I had in my system that was BAD for me (Vraylar) is finally out of my system. Unfortunately it did a decent job of combating Depression and hypomania. So I don't have that benefit anymore.
But of course it caused MAJOR ANXIETY, which was LESS GOOD.
I wrote this blog post once and then my computer shut down and the post disappeared. So now I am rewriting it. Which is a pain. SO this version will be LESS GOOD.
Psych NP is putting me on a baby dose (10mg) of fluoxetine (Prozac). Because Depression. And because fall and winter and the disappearance of light. Not spring and summer and the need to do everything at once. So Depression probably more of a long-term and ongoing problem at this stage.
Still have lurasidone (Latuda) in my back pocket if things suddenly really suck.
Right now things do not significantly suck. I just have some major symptoms of minor Depression. I don't care. I don't want to do anything but write (symptomatic on both ends of the spectrum). I don't want to be around people. This includes you. And me. But I don't care. Oh well.
On the A.A. Milne scale of mental health, I am much more on the Eeyore side than the Tigger side. (Piglet goes along for the ride either way with his flipping anxiety.)
I don't like mean dogs. This is not a non sequitur but I'm not gonna go into it right now. Because I can't be bothered to figure out how to say what I want to say.
I am worried about school. I am worried about what I will be teaching. It will be fine. I am worried about my Workplace Accommodation who lost her sister this summer. I don't want us to be split up to teach four new classes between the two of us.
Next week I will meet the woman whose name is not Glinda to see if she is a Good Witch or a Bad Witch. Then she can be my therapist (Good Witch) or not (Bad Witch). Unfortunately it can be hard to tell with just one visit. I hate auditioning witches.
I have written and am editing 2 YA novels with LGBT characters. So now (to keep my hands off the first two books) I am writing a superhero YA novel with LGBT characters. Because why not.
I would write more, but I just don't want to.
300 mg lamotrigine
soon to be 5mg fluoxetine (for 1 week)
I have decided that there are some people that I like. One of them might even be you. Although I often phrase it as, "I don't like people. I like person."
Had coffee/tea with a friend today and it reminded me how much I like person. Often I forget this and want to just hunker down and not see anyone. Ever. Because all-or-nothing thinking.
Soon I will go back to work and need to deal with people. But it's okay because I know them and have limited contact with adult people--and young people are a whole different ball of wax. I am fine being around groups of teens. Don't know why. But that is #whyIteach. Right.
I do not teach for summers. Back before children I would get a different job in the summers--working through a temp agency and doing stuff in database whatever. That's totally a thing. But since children I have mostly worked either VERY part time in the summer or not worked at all.
The very part time just made me feel guilty that I wasn't home.
The not working at all makes me feel guilty that I am not doing more to get my kids into the wider world.
The not working thing also makes me feel guilty that I haven't fixed EVERYTHING in the house and live a Martha Stewart life (not the one in prison).
Like I should be doing amazing things all the time. But the only thing I can think about is the fact that I should be getting everything done around the house. And then not doing that either.
I am writing. I am editing. I am happy with the progress on YA book #1. I feel a little bad for the people who slogged their way through the first edition. But I appreciate their humoring me.
When Psych NP wrote her first prescription for a mental health med, her mentor said, "You are now keeper of the poisons." Which is totally true. There are drugs that work for people and drugs that really don't and it is her job to help you figure out which ones are which.
So far lamotrigine is my go-to. Takes most of the edge off of mood episodes. People near me might not think so, but trust me--this is the milder version of me. And treating bipolar is always better than not treating bipolar.
Note: do not try to talk me out of being on medication. There are people who are so anti-any-kind-of-medication that they feel free to tell me how bad it is to take meds. These are often the same people who still think of mental illness as a personality defect. I try talking to them sometimes to educate them a little bit, but most of the time it is in my bets intrerest to just not engage.
Back to Psych NP...
She put on my chart that I am "allergic" to Vraylar. I never even bothered to learn its real name.
I also got a recommendation for a therapist who is in the same building. Which is only a few miles from my school and my house so it should be easy to get there. Unlike the OFP who was clear across town in terrible traffic.
Her name is not Dorothy or Glenda but for some reason I am tempted to ask her if she is a good witch or a bad witch. I don't think I'll open with that. I don't really want to talk about the head crap. I want it just to go away. I want to be able to JUST take medication. Right. Only I don't want that either. I want to miraculously be cured AND never have any other mental health issues. Because that is totally an option.
I am trying not to want to do EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW. It is very hard. I think I am a little manic-lite right now. Maybe.
Today my legs are weak from overexerting them on the stairs of BIG LAUNDRY. My hands are tired from what... wiping things down? My breathing kind of sucked this morning from disturbing the dust in my room.
next week made plans with a friend
2 weeks from now will meet with the good witch or the bad witch
3 weeks from now will see if we need to add a second mood stabilizer
Also 3 weeks--back to work
I am thinking of socks as a metaphor right now as I sit on a pile of literal socks that I am meant to be sorting. There are all kinds of things I am supposed to be doing. All the musts and the shoulds sitting around out there making me feel guilty. I did some of some things. Including matching socks.
Like the metaphor of nothing ever coming out even, right? You still have a bunch of socks left over. Or the ones that don't quite work together. They are the same brand and style, but one of them is mysteriously much dirtier. Or has a slightly more stretched-out.
And NOTHING is coming out just right. And things are uneven. And I'm stressing over things as minor as socks thinking that if I can't even manage that, how am I supposed to handle things that actually DO matter?
I will be seeing Psych NP tomorrow. And asking her for therapist recommendations. I didn't like the one person I saw there who was a psychiatrist. That was before I knew that Psych NP could diagnose bipolar as well as prescribe medication. I don't remember that woman's name though. She was probably OK.
I really just need a person I can get along with who can remind me about all the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy things that I already know. Or maybe some other kind of therapy is the best. I don't know. I will ask Psych NP.
Maybe we should all just go barefoot. Year round.
300 mg lamotrigine
0 mg vraylar (stopped taking 4.5mg... four days ago?)
i have felt the physical effects of anxiety for many days now. better yesterday and better today. but for weeks maybe i have felt jittery and nervous and guilty and the physiological things mostly that come with anxiety. tightness in the chest. restlessness. difficulty breathing.
and most bizarre, the fact that things that should be second-nature are things i have to think about. driving. breathing. i can do them, but i have to think about them a lot more than usual. nothing happened to trigger these things.
i freaked out about being barked at by the neighbor's dog. there are good reasons behind this, but my level of freaking out did not match the actual incident.
in my online writers' club, my book was chosen for "book of the month" because of my participation rate and comments on other people's work. this should have felt great but instead it scared the crap out of me because it meant i would need to read and respond to many (more than I thought we would have in the club) varying opinions on my work. i haven't read any of them yet. it's on my list for today.
i could not "relax" given time to do so. i couldn't read or write or enjoy time to myself. i would pace with nothing particular in mind. i could do nothing, but there was plenty to do.
i write this in the past tense partly out of optimism that the feeling is on the wane.
i told Spouse that the feelings seemed to have gradually increased over time. especially the breathing and driving thing. i didn't notice the restlessness. i'm not a patient person by nature so it might not have been noticeable to me.
what else increased gradually over time? Vraylar. i went from 1.5 mg to 3 mg to 4.5 mg. when i looked at some of the side effects it included restlessness and some of the other things i was experiencing. so i called Psych NP and told her i was going to stop taking it and then talk to her in person on Thursday.
so far my breathing is much better and so is the restlessness. i feel more normal. brain chemistry sucks. i mean when it isn't working out so great, it sucks.
i went on the Vraylar because of hympomanic symptoms, but anxiety is part of that equation, so i don't think it works too well for me. Lurasidone (Latuda) seemed to be a better candidate. i'd like to try neither for a while to see if i am on more of an even keel at the moment. i just realized that is a sailing reference. ha.
there are meds that can be taken for anxiety to treat it directly, but they are of two different classes that i'd rather not touch. one of them is the SSRI meds that can cause mania in bipolar people. the other one is benzodiazepines that have potential for addiction and make me nervous.
it seems likely that i have a co-occuring anxiety disorder with my bipolar. because the anxiety is always there whether i am hypomanic, depressed or on an even keel. smooth sailing. but not.
spent the weekend with a bunch of teenagers. like six. they are good ones though, so it worked out okay. still somewhat stressful, of course.
celebrated pi approximation day yesterday by making tarts. made my own tart shells and then just filled them with premade lemon curd and a dollop of whipped cream. they were delicious. but the recipe for the dough was ridiculous and forgot to say that you need to add water. good thing i've made pie dough before. pi dough. doh.
need to find a therapist. ugh. i hate the thought of that. but still. necessary. i'll do some research today.
I can't think of a post name. I am done writing two YA novels. Okay, by done I mean the first-ish drafts are complete and I am waiting for Spouse to do a read-through for me for picky edit stuff. I made a mistake of allowing other people to read for readability before I had the bad typos dealt with. So now it goes though Spouse first. Except for anyone who reads the unedited Wattpad versions. They get to deal with the typos as they stand.
I have to leave in a few minutes so I need to make this fast.
I still am guilty of doing nothing for my garden, but I did plant the tomatoes and other vegetables. I have some languishing perennials to take care of yet.
My hypomanic stuff that went away with the Vraylar is still pretty much not a problem. But the anxiety part came back. Waking at 3:47 am and full of worry. Psych NP said I could either start taking an SSRI (but not recommended) or double my dose of the Vraylar. That's the option we are going for.
Driving is causing me a lot of stress lately. Like a lot. I don't know why, really. It started out that it was just being the driver in the car for Elderboy to practice. Then it was being nervous when Spouse was driving too. And now I am nervous to be driving myself. It is not a good progression.
I do not have a therapist. How stupid is that. I need to get right on that. Because likely that could help with anxiety and crap. I don't want to go clear across town to see the OFP because I don't really trust her anymore and she is partially retired and Far Away. I would have to drive a lot. Through uptown. Which is stressful.
I may try to get recommendations from Psych NP, or I might just draw a name randomly from a hat. God, I hate auditioning therapists. I have really only had one that I liked, and now I don't like her anymore. Well, gotta go.
300 mg Lamotrigine
3 mg Vraylar
I’m doing OK with my summer schedule. However, I’m not getting as much stuff done as I really should be.
I’m watching a lot of soccer, which is fun. I’m doing a lot of writing, which is also fun. But I haven’t planted any of my plants in the garden, which makes me feel too guilty to go outside.
I wake up in the morning and either take elder boys swimming, or start writing. If I take him swimming, I guess I’m also writing.
my plan is to see at least one adult person that I like besides spouse per week. This week I’m going to see soccer with my mom.
Hoping to schedule something with friends in the coming weeks.
My new med seems to be doing pretty well. I don’t feel that I am Depressed or Zippy.
I am not eating appropriately. I am having a lot of sugar that is not around me during the school year. I’m trying to exercise every other day, when elder boy has swimming at night.
Younger boy left for China today. And the daughter will be going to a sleep away camp for two weeks. We seem to be outsourcing our children this summer. I wonder where we can send elder boy.
1.5 mg vraylar (don’t know real name so this is brand name)
300 mg lamotrigine
I am celebrating Pride month this year really for the fist time since college. I'm currently in a race to finish my second LGBT teenfiction book in June as part of a pride celebration on Wattpad. I am involved in some queer book clubs in my writing on Wattpad. But I don't know why. Well, what I mean by that is I don't know why this year of any year is one that I chose to write LGBT fiction. I don't know why this year Pride means more to me. There was no inciting incident.
I just finished watching Eugene Yang's "I am Gay" and it got me thinking about the reasons people have for coming out or "staying in." And I think in a lot of ways it mirrors the decision on when, whether or not, and to whom I disclose my bipolar disorder. Because it is easy for me to pass. Most people have no idea unless I tell them.
Of course, one could argue that I am out to THE WHOLE WORLD as a person living with bipolar disorder since this is a 100% public blog and I am easily findable.
Why did I decide to come out as bipolar? Because I want people to know that this is one of the ways that bipolar people may present. I have a nice life and a family and a job and friends. I am not "crazy." I want to represent.
I am forty-seven years old. I am a public school teacher. I live in a cute little house that used to have an honest-to-god white picket fence. I have one husband and three children. I have been in a traditional, awesome, monogamous marriage for twenty four years.
And I am and have always been bisexual. But not out.
I never saw a reason to be out because my life is so hetero and it is easy to pass and it just seems like over-sharing and narcissistic to tell people that I am bisexual.
Actually I took so long to come out there are other terms that might fit me better but I still consider myself bi. (Some of the younger folk would probably describe me as demisexual and biromantic according to the current lingo, but I could be completely off-base here. I'm sticking to what I know.)
I guess I'm not really "in." Because I have been out to some people since I found out myself (kind of late) when I was in my twenties. I'm pretty sure some people knew before I did. I'm out to mostly friends and kind of some family. I guess since some of my family read this they might know now too.
I'm not a viral video star and I don't have any sort of big platform that will make a difference to anyone. Not really. I'm not some role model that people look up to. But I just thought that I would mention the fact that I am not straight. I am invisible--because I am in a long-term, monogamous, heterosexual relationship--but I am not straight.
Also, I think it is really funny that I am bi, bi, bi: bipolar, bisexual and binary (female).
This may be the most cowardly bellow-the-fold, burying-the-lead way of coming out, but there you have it. Ever wonder if you were friends with a bisexual brunette with bipolar disorder? Yup. Pleased to meet you.
Pressing POST. yikes.
I like to write. I like to edit. I am terrified of getting feedback, which is exactly what I need in order to edit. I have just invited several people I know and trust, a few people I really don't know (but I know their moms), and six complete strangers to give me feedback on my first book.
Thus: living in terror.
Now, I want this book to belong in the wider world. Eventually when it has grown up from being just a baby book in its newness... I would like to see if I can get it published.
I want to be comfortable with having anyone reading it. I'm not really there yet. I'm afraid that someone will read it and think to themselves, "What a load of horse hockey." And then I will trash the whole thing in a fit of pique.
Here's the thing. Everyone's writing is horse-hockey to someone.
The danger of being a people pleaser is in wanting to change everything to suit everyone. I will not. There are things I know I like about my book that I will not change. Like who the characters fundamentally are.
I have this tendency to write what my professors referred to as, "Lovely, Canadian novels."
I am neither lovely, nor Canadian, so who knows why that is happening. Ha. The upshot is, I write books with careful prose, memorable characters, and no plot.
I'm not sure why I am anti-plot.
I enjoy reading things with a plot.
I am overthinking everything.
I need to think of feedback like I think of partners in Aikido. Not like it is pleasant to get thrown on the floor, but you need to do that in order to practice. And without your partner, you can't practice. So you are grateful to them for being willing to throw you on the floor.
Of course in Aikido you take turns.
Quaker, teacher, parent,