Today is my husband’s anniversary; he is now 12 years sober! We are going to a meeting together, along with his mom and brother, and then we will all go out to eat. I originally had a therapy appointment at noon, but I decided to change it so I could celebrate with everyone. Instead of a noon appointment, my therapist will call me at the end of the day. We’ve had phone appointments a few times, when they were necessary. It’s great that my therapist is willing to do them. It’s more like I changed the appointment to a phone appointment later in the day instead of having it at noon in his office. It’s important to me to be with my mother-in-law as she celebrates my husband’s sobriety. We may not be able to do this all together again.
These questions are from Therapy Bits: Who asked to hear my experiences with bipolar symptoms, how I manage them, and how they effect my life.
I don’t remember most of my experiences due to the side effects of ECT. The biggest, most memorable experience was in 2009. My doctor tried taking me off my medication slowly, because he thought that it was possible that my mental health issues could have been caused by my drinking and using (I’m now sober 13 years). We found out the hard way that I really do have bipolar disorder.
I went into a major manic episode. It was so bad that I couldn’t work. I worked for home for a while, but even that got to be too much for me to handle. I was unable to handle my life due to my manic and then my depressive episodes. I moved in with my mom because I couldn’t manage my own life and I needed someone close to me to do that for me. I’m lucky that I had someone in my life that was willing to help me out.
My bipolar disorder turned my entire life upside-down. I’ve been on disability since 2009, and I can’t seem to get things back together. I continue to go through episodes and I have to deal with the side effects from the treatments I use. This biggest side effect is memory loss and confusion, which are from ECT. I have both short-term and long-term memory loss. I tried stopping the ECT treatments after I had been doing them for quite a while, however, once I stopped the treatments, my depressive episode came right back. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to stop ECT again; I’m too worried that I’ll end up going back into another manic or depressive episode.
I’ve been dealing with my bipolar disorder since I was 13 or 14 years old, and I know that it is something that I’ll be dealing with for the rest of my life. Going to a psychiatrist, a therapist, and taking medications is second nature for me. I actually take 13 different psych meds, which is a lot to manage. At this point, I go to ECT once every 2 weeks. I used to go to a bipolar support group once a week, but I stopped going a while ago. I still talk to and see some of my friends from that group, which really helps. This blog has also helped me manage my bipolar symptoms.
My days seem to be getting longer and longer. I’ve been extremely busy lately and I can’t seem to get everything done that I plan to do. I’m stressed out way beyond my normal breaking point. It feels like I’m just waiting for the next disaster to happen, but I have no clue what it’s going to be or when it’s going to happen. Hopefully, I will have a bit of a break before the next catastrophe.
I had ECT this morning. Every time, my doctor asks me to rate my depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and irritability. For the past couple months, every time he has asked me, my numbers have gone done, which is wonderful. However, today, just about everything was between 7 and 9. Life has been overwhelming in almost every way. Just when I think it can’t get any more stressful, it does. My doctor asked me if I wanted to do ECT once a week for a while, instead of every other week, until I start feeling better. I turned him down. I told him that I want to wait to see if things will improve when the situations in my life start to improve (hopefully that happens).
My therapist called me today because I missed our appointment the other day. In the several years that I’ve been seeing him, that has only happened twice. He was just calling to make sure I was okay. I told him everything that’s going on in the past couple days; the bed bugs, broken dryer, and the problem with my debit card. I also told him about choosing not to go back to weekly ECT, and he was supportive of my decision, which made me feel more confident in my choice.
At my therapy appointment, we came to the realization that I put others ahead of myself. If someone wants to do something, I almost always do it, even if it’s not what I want or if it causes anxiety. For me, saying no takes a lot of work. I think it causes more anxiety to say no than it does to do most anything anxiety provoking. My therapist wants me to work on this. He actually wants me to say no more often; to stand up for my own desires and opinions.
So I did it, I said no to something. There is a large family get-together this weekend that I don’t want to go to for several reasons. There will be a lot of people there that I don’t know, it’s out of my normal comfort-zone, and my husband wouldn’t be able to come with me. Normally, I would say yes to the invitation and then have anxiety attacks all week leading up to the get-together and then at the event itself. Instead, I said no; I’m still having anxiety attacks, but they’re a lot less than they would have been if I said yes.
Are there other people who struggle in this way as well? What do they do to help them?
My mind wanders all the time; it’s like a circus wheel. It keeps going over and over again without any rest. Normally, all of my thinking results in a lot of talking, but not so much lately. I still have a million thoughts in my head, but I can’t seem to put those thoughts into words. I also struggle to put my thoughts into written words for my blog. I even go into therapy sessions and I have nothing to talk about. I have no clue what is going on with my mind, this is not normal for me.
My inability to put thoughts into words started around the same time that my anxiety attacks increased. All of it began approximately about a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t realize either of these issues were happening until this past week. Maybe they’re connected, maybe not. My mind is still running all the time, it’s just running in all different directions instead of running one way like a circus wheel.
I’ve made it another day with the juicing. I even found one juice recipe that I can drink without wanting to choke afterwards. It’s made mostly of pineapple, apple, and spinach. It helps that I get to eat fruits and vegetables. I got to snack on green grapes today, which was extremely satisfying. Luckily, I’m not hungry very often. The juice is very filling; the large amount of water I drink every day also helps keep me full.
I have talk therapy tomorrow, which is something I need. I just need to be able to talk to someone who understands and doesn’t freak out or become overly concerned when I explain certain aspects of my depression. I know my depression is slowly getting better, but that doesn’t mean I feel good. At this point, it means I’m no longer taking naps during the day, I’m sleeping at night, and I’m willing to leave the house to run errands. I believe I will keep improving, slowly but surely.
I struggle when it comes to saying no to just about anyone. If someone asks me to do something for them or help them with something, I almost always say yes, even if it’s overwhelming for me. I suppose that saying no is more anxiety provoking for me than whatever it is I’m asked to do. This is something I’ve been working on with my therapist. He keeps trying to get me to say no to something, even something small; however, I hadn’t followed through on this until yesterday.
A family member wrote a script and is filming it soon. He has all of the parts filled except for one, the part of a mother, and he asked me if I would play that role. This would be too much for me to do, even if the role wasn’t a mother. Trying to play a mother role would be way too hard for me to do since I cannot have children. I don’t need another reminder that I’m not a mom. I started to cry, so I turned the water on and did the dishes so my husband wouldn’t hear me. I guess I wasn’t up for talking about it at that time.
I told this person that I’m honored he would think of me for this; however, it would be too much for me to handle. I thanked him for thinking of me. I hope all goes well, but I will not be able to participate. I was as polite as possible, but I still feel like I’m letting him down by saying no to his request. He was a bit sad that I turned him down, but I’m sure he’ll be able to find someone to fill the part. At least I took care of myself and did what I needed to do for my comfort level. All I’m doing now is wondering if he is mad at me or not.
I’m actually looking forward to my next therapy appointment so I can tell him that I finally said no to something. I wonder if it’s something I can do again? Now that I said no to someone once, will it become easier to do in the future?