Excitement and Worrisome

Excitement and Worrisome

Yesterday was a very tough day for me. I spent the entire day waiting to find out if the sellers of the house we like are going to accept our offer or not. We spent the whole day waiting to hear and the day ended still without finding out any news. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I can tell you for certain that I’m not good at waiting. Hopefully we will get an answer later today; and of course we’re hoping that it’s going to be a positive response.

Other than the anxiety and waiting, yesterday was a physically painful day. I was having a lot of pain, it was probably due to the increased stress. I was also working on my taxes, which is a stressful and time-consuming task.

This morning, I have another ECT treatment; I think that this is my 8th treatment in this series. After ECT, I will have the opportunity to rest, if I can, but I usually can’t. Then tomorrow evening, my granddaughter is supposed to be coming over and we can all go out to eat. My mom has not had the ability to meet her yet, so I’m really looking forward to this opportunity that they’ll have.

I’m hoping that tomorrow is going to be a better day than today. I just need to figure out how to relax a little more. Looking for houses is definitely exciting, but is not at all relaxing. It’s more worrisome than anything else. I’m lucky I have the love and support from my husband and my mom to get me through every moment. They could both look at me and tell (just my looking at me) that I was having a rough day. I tried to pretend I was okay, but the people who know me best could tell that I was having a difficult time.

Can’t Sleep

Can’t Sleep

Why am I awake? I have so much to do tomorrow. There are only two days until I leave and I have way too much to get done. My to-do list is so long, I hope I can get it all done. A good night’s sleep would really be helpful, but of course that’s not going to happen tonight. I would like to get started on my list right now, but that would make too much noise and wake up my husband.

I can’t wait to be with my family, I miss them all so much. I’m overly excited to spend time with my mom, siblings, aunt, grandma, nieces, nephew, and some good friends. Maybe it’s the excitement that is keeping me from sleeping. That seems like a good explanation.

Standing By My Decision – I Actually Did It!

Standing By My Decision – I Actually Did It!

I was very nervous about my psych appointment yesterday; I was so nervous that I even had an anxiety attack. I’m not used to telling anyone what I want, especially when it’s different from others want. Standing up for my own desires is nerve-wracking for me. I prepared for my psych appointment yesterday by writing down exactly what I wanted to say. I told my psychiatrist that I wanted to stop ECT because it has become too hard on my body and my mind. I’ve been doing ECT for close to a year and a half, and I just can’t take it anymore. I explained my reasons and to my surprise, he was okay with my choice. He explained that he respects my choice; I couldn’t ask for more than that. I’m very happy with the outcome of that appointment.

He gave me several options about what we could do moving forward. He told me I probably wouldn’t like a couple of the options, but he was going to mention them anyway. I’m glad he did mention them (without any pressure). It was nice to see all of my options at once, even though I didn’t like most of them. Together, we decided to slowly increase my Clozapine up to 400mg a night. We will increase the dose by 25mg each week until we reach our target goal of 400mg. We are increasing slowly to hopefully avoid some negative side effects such as dizziness, fevers, and drowsiness. It will take two months to reach our goal. I will see him in three months. This gives me time to get to the target dose and then allow my body to adjust to the dose for a while. I’m really hoping that this change will help. The Clozapine has helped quite a bit so far, I have a feeling that it will continue to help.

My husband pointed out to me that this is the first time that I made my own decision regarding my mental health, and stuck by it. He was proud of me. To be honest, I’m proud of myself. I know it sounds a little ridiculous to be so happy about this decision, but it’s a huge step for me.

I Did Well… For A While – My Life: Part 5

I Did Well… For A While – My Life: Part 5

After working at the rehab for 9 months, I decided I wanted to move forward with my life. I applied for many jobs in Phoenix. I got a job as a receptionist for a legal compliance and ethics e-learning company. I found an apartment in Phoenix and moved there with a guy I was dating from the rehab, but that relationship didn’t last. I don’t know when our relationship ended, but I think we lived together for about a year. I adopted a dog and named him Cash (after Johnny Cash). He was awfully energetic and liked to chew on everything. I learned how to train him, and he started to behave properly. Cash came with me to AA camping events, which was a blast. At some point, I found a great AA club where I would go to the same meeting every day at 6pm. I don’t like change, so moving was scary. I like to keep a regular schedule. I made a lot of friends at the meeting, but I would only go to that one meeting every day. One of the guys I met was Brandon, who became my best friend. He had the same sarcastic attitude that I have and we got along wonderfully.

I was doing really well at this time in my life. I got a promotion at work, I was able to live on my own, make friends, and maintain my sobriety and my mental health. I took my medication and saw my doctors regularly. I was seeing the psychiatrist that was treating me while I was in rehab. Brandon asked me to workout with him. I told him no for months, and then I ultimately caved and decided to go with him. I was terrified because it was something new, but Brandon made me feel safe. After working out with him once, I was hooked. I loved it. We started working out together 5 days a week. It helped me get through my days at work. I would go to work, then workout with Brandon, and then go to my meeting (often with Brandon). I was happy with this new schedule; it was working well for me.

In the beginning, I wasn’t open about my mental health when it came to my AA meetings. My close friends knew, but that was all. Eventually, I ended up talking about my bipolar disorder in a meeting. I felt as if it wasn’t accepted. Several times, I was told that I didn’t have a mental health problem. It was just an issue to work on through step work. That was a problem for me. I didn’t feel accepted. My mental health was a huge part of my life. Even when I’m doing well, it’s still a large piece of my life. I was stable for years. That had never happened to me before.

My psychiatrist decided to wean me off my meds slowly because I had been stable for such a long period. It was possible that my mental health issues were drug related, so we thought it was worth a try to get off medication. I was down to two medications, and then she took me off the Seroquel. About 4 months later, I started to fall apart. I thought it would be a good idea to go to therapy again because I started to remember things that I hadn’t previously remembered. These memories triggered what was eventually diagnosed as PTSD. With the PTSD coming up and the med changes occurring, it was like the perfect storm. I started having hallucinations and was shaking uncontrollably. My psychiatrist put me on Abilify, but that made it worse. I barely slept for 3 weeks.

My job let me work from home, but after a little while, I couldn’t even manage that any more. I went on short-term disability, which then turned into long-term disability. There were times that I struggled to feed the dog. My mom came out to stay with me for a little while, but she couldn’t be there all the time. I decided to move back to Connecticut because I couldn’t be on my own anymore. I’m lucky that she was able and willing to let me and my dog move in with her. My long-term disability turned in to Social Security Disability.

I thought writing my story would help my memory, and it has; but it has also become difficult for me. There’s a lot that I struggle to remember, and a lot of other things I wish I didn’t remember. I think I’m going to take a break from writing my story for a little while.

Getting Ready To Go Home

Getting Ready To Go Home

I leave tomorrow to go back home. I’m both saddened and excited at the same time. I don’t want to leave my mom and other family members; however, I miss my husband, his (my) family, my dog, and my routine. I’m close with my husband’s family, I feel like they are my family, not just my in-laws. I’ll be home tomorrow night. My husband is picking me up from the airport and I can’t wait to see him.

I have lots to do today so I can go back home tomorrow. I’m anxious because I have so much to do and I’m not sure if I can get it all done, but I’ll do my best. I wrote my to-do list last night. Besides writing my blog, I have to email my doctor, wash my hair, do laundry, pack, try to go see my grandma once more, go to the local farmer’s market, and look for secondary health insurance. I also have a few things to help my mom with, while I’m still here. I know it sounds obvious to wash my hair, but it’s such a huge task because it’s so long that I feel it’s worthy of being on my to-do list. I can tie my hair in a knot, like a bun, and it stays up. I’ve been meaning to look at secondary health insurance, it might help to have something in addition to my primary insurance. I figured I would do it while I’m here so my mom can help me figure it out. Sometimes, I just get overwhelmed and can’t figure out how to do even the simplest of things.

I got so many other things done already this past week and was able to visit with so many people. I met with two family friends yesterday and was able to catch up with them. I had a great visit with both of them. My brother and his awesome wife invited me over for dinner last night. I’m honored that they would invite me, and we had a great time. I love how happy they are together.

Now, I just have to get moving so I can get all of these things done on my list. I can’t put off washing my hair, laundry, or packing any longer.

Visiting Family

Visiting Family

There are some people, that no matter how many times you explain it to them, or how many times they see you have an anxiety attack, they will never understand. I don’t think really ask for too much. All I want is to know what is going on.  My first 2 visits today went wonderfully. I had a fantastic time visiting with people as planned. My third visit was a bit more difficult. Despite the difficulties, I’m still glad I got to see everyone I was hoping to see. I’m also very grateful that I took a Valium before going to third visit of the day. If I hadn’t taken anything, I probably would have had an anxiety or panic attack at their house because of the surprises I encountered.

I ended up going over to a family member’s house to visit with my nieces and nephew. I was finally told what time to come over a couple of hours before the actual visit (I had only been trying to make the plans for 2 weeks). I drive up to their house, knock on the door, and my nephew lets me in. I’m ecstatic to see him, he’s grown so much. I step into the kitchen and see 2 people who I don’t know at all. Apparently, my brother-in-law planned on having his mother and sister come over for dinner, but no one told me about this. He knows that I struggle with new people. All I wanted would have been to be informed of who would be there. Also, those other people, who turned out to be extremely nice, get to see the kids pretty often. I get to see the kids approximately 2 hours every 6 months. So I also had to share my time with the kids with these other individuals.

The visit was still nice, but it was far from what I expected. Visits always change when you add in other people. I need to change my expectations. Sadly, I can’t and often don’t expect much from others. I generally think I’m going to be let down. Next time, I’m going to do my best not to expect a visit, personal alone time with the kids, or even a response to my text messages. I’m not going to change how I feel about anyone. I love my family and would do anything for them; however, I need to protect myself. By lowering my expectations or having none at all, I’m simply guarding myself from being let down or disappointed. I will still try to see everyone; I’m just going to try my best not to have ideas in my head of how the visits are going to go.

The lessons I learned here are to keep my hopes and expectations to a minimum or not have them at all if possible. It’s another reminder for me to love my family no matter what. Also, it makes me extremely grateful for my relationship with my mother. Everything between us is so simple and loving; I’m so appreciative of everything her and I have.

The Liebster Award

The Liebster Award

Decoding Bipolar nominated me for the Liebster Award. Thank you so much, I’m honored that you thought of me. I love reading your posts; you have so much passion in your writings.

The 2016 Liebster Award is an award that bloggers give to other bloggers; it exists only online. The Liebster Award began in 2011. The award supports the blogging community and brings bloggers together.

The updated rules for the 2016 award are as follows:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
  2. Display the award on your blog.
  3. Write a 150-300 word post about your favorite blog that is not your own. Explain why you like the blog and provide links.
  4. Provide 10 random facts about yourself.
  5. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that have less than 200 followers for the award.
  6. List the rules in your post.
  7. Inform your nominees that they have been nominated for the Liebster Award and provide a link for them.
  8. Create 11 questions for your nominees to answer.

I found the official updated rules at The Official Rules of the Liebster Award 2016.

10 Random Facts about Me:

  1. I got sober at 19 years old and have been sober since then. I have 12 years of sobriety and very proud of my sobriety.
  2. I love learning. School was always fairly easy for me. However, it takes me a while to read because I tend to see a couple of letters and make up the rest of the word, and it’s usually wrong.
  3. I’m so hard on myself that I can’t even be proud of my 3.94 GPA that I earned for my bachelor’s degree, during a bipolar and PTSD breakdown.
  4. I’m extremely gullible. I pretty much believe anything I’m told. My husband likes to have fun with that.
  5. I played the piano (along with many other instruments). I miss playing and want to spend more time practicing.
  6. Family is the most important thing to me. Nothing comes above family.
  7. I married my best friend, who is 11 years older than me. I have 2 step-kids that are all grown and now I even have a granddaughter!
  8. I have a 10-year-old dog that is very well-trained. He is an 88 pound pit bull, dalmatian, english pointer mutt. His name is Cash, after Johnny Cash.
  9. I’m very organized, sometimes obsessively. Everything in my house is organized by color, shape, size, as well as alphabetically. The hangers in my closet are all 1 finger space apart.
  10. I grew up in a small country town in Connecticut with only 3,284 people. I often miss the small country town.

My favorite blog:

My favorite blog is called Story of My Life, it is written by a military man who deals with PTSD, depression, and attempted suicide. Dave, the author of the blog, displays honesty in his writings in a way that makes me feel as if I’m having a private conversation with him. I can relate so much to his struggles with PTSD. Even though the reason for our PTSD diagnoses are very different, I still feel as though I can relate to what he writes about his experiences and ideas. I think that is the best part about his blog, it makes me feel. He writes in a way that connects to my mind and my heart. It makes me feel more comfortable knowing that there is someone else out there that understands how I’m feeling and what I’m going through. A writer that can convey emotions to his or her readers is an extremely talented individual. If feels as if he writes the way he would speak, which also provides a level of comfort to the readers. Dave is also very open about his life experiences. I respect his blog and him as an individual. His honesty and openness have helped me to feel more comfortable in my own writing. He has made a huge difference in my own blog because of these characteristics.

I nominate the following bloggers for the 2016 Liebster Award:

Story of My Life
Bipolar is NOT who I am
My Bipolar Life
Life-Long Bipolar
Closer to the Middle
Tony Vega dot Net
Wallflower or Butterfly.

The questions I was asked and my answers are:

  1. Is there a negative experience in your life actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise? If so, what and why?
    I was an active drug addict and alcoholic, using any drug I could find. Around the time of my father’s death, I started smoking crack. This took me downhill very quickly. I wasn’t even at the hospital with my dad when he died because I was out getting high with my fiancé Chris. A couple of months later, Chris was killed. Everything in my life was falling apart. I couldn’t handle anything anymore. One day, I came home to my mom and said, ‘I hate my life, I want to go back into the hospital’. My mom told me that the hospital won’t change my life, but she had been looking at other places that could help. That’s when I agreed to go into a year-long residential drug rehab program. I honestly believe that I’m sober and alive today because I went to that rehab. My experiences while using and getting sober have made me who I am today.
  2. What is the one thing about yourself you want the world to know?
    I work hard at everything I do including every job I do and every relationship I have. I also follow through on all medical advice and requirements including appointments, medications, research, and tasks. I do my best to stay open to new ideas, even when they scare me.
  3. Underneath what you do, your diagnoses, and all of the clutter of life, who are you as a person? How do you see yourself?
    Underneath everything, I am a family member. I belong to two families, the family I grew up with and the family I inherited from my husband. I see myself as someone who is always there for their family and would go above and beyond to be there for them. I am a loving, caring, and considerate family member.
  4. Has your diagnosis (diagnoses) affected your life in a positive or negative way (or both)? Why? If you are the loved one of a person suffering from mental illness, how has their diagnosis affected your life in a positive or negative way (or both)?
    My diagnoses have affected my life negatively because I have withdrawn from all of my friends during depressive episodes. I have been unable to work for the past 7 years. I’m also terrified to do new things, which makes life very difficult. My diagnoses have affected my life positively because I made some strong connections with people through mental health support groups who have supported me through good and difficult times. My diagnoses have allowed me to relate to others, become more considerate of the needs of others, and help other people even when I don’t realize it.
  5. If you could live a life free of mental illness, would you? Why? If you are the loved one of a person suffering from mental illness, how would it affect your life if your loved one answered yes or no?
    Yes, if I could, I would live a life free of mental illness. I still would have gotten sober and met my husband. Without mental illness, I would not be on disability and I would be able to work, which I truly miss.
  6. What is your favorite non-physical thing about yourself? Why?
    My favorite non-physical thing about myself is that I love others fiercely. I take great pride in all my loved ones and I do my best to make sure they know how much I care about them. I’m also an excellent gift giver, and I love giving gifts to other people.
  7. What is your deepest fear? Why?
    I have a lot of fears, but my biggest fear is losing a family member, especially my mom. My mom is my best friend and I rely on her for so much. I don’t know what I would do without her. Even thinking about it now is terrifying.
  8. What is one thing you cannot live without?
    I don’t think I could live without pictures. I spend a lot of time looking at all of my photographs. I’m very nostalgic, plus, pictures also help me remember things that I have forgotten due to medication and treatments.
  9. What’s your favorite place and why?
    There is a single tree in a field a couple of towns over from my mom’s house in Connecticut. This tree is absolutely beautiful and helps me relax. It also brings back some wonderful family memories.
  10. You are given a time machine. You can go back and change one thing from your past. Would you do it? Why or why not? If yes, what would you do differently? Be sure to think of the potential effects it could have on any future events.
    I would like to think that I would go back and somehow save my dad from dying, but I don’t know if that would even be possible. However, if I did, then that would change so many things. Even though my life has been pretty tough, I still believe that I’m very lucky. I have a husband that loves me, a mom who is my best friend, and I’m 12 years sober. Despite the fact that I struggle daily with bipolar and PTSD, I’m lucky to have these things in my life. I miss my dad every moment of every day, but it would worry me to change the past because of the effects it could have on the future.
  11. If you could have any career and there were no obstacles to this, what would it be?
    If there were no obstacles and I could have any career, I would be a pharmacist. My grandfather and father were both pharmacists, and my aunt is still a pharmacist. When I was a child, I grew up always dreaming that I would follow in my family’s footsteps. I saw my grandfather, father, and aunt make a huge difference in many people’s lives, and I always dreamed of being like them and doing the same thing when I grew up.

The questions for my nominees are:

  1. What have you found to be the most surprising or unexpected benefit of blogging and why?
  2. What positive character trait do you have that you wish you could share with others?
  3. What is the newest activity or most recent learning experience you have had in your life?
  4. What aspect of your life would you most like to bring into balance? Why?
  5. What form(s) of art are you most attracted to or moved by?
  6. If you could travel anywhere in the world without worry, where would you go? Why?
  7. What is your favorite saying or quote?
  8. What individual inspires you the most and why?
  9. Describe a situation where you reached out to someone and it helped you feel good.
  10. What brings you the most joy?
  11. What decision or action has had the most impact on helping you through a bipolar or mental health episode?