Wanting a Hypomanic Break

Wanting a Hypomanic Break

Sometimes, I wish I was hypomanic. I know that sounds bad, but I’ve been dealing with depression and suicidal ideations for so long, it would be nice to have a change. I don’t want to be in a complete manic episode with the negative effects such as uncontrollable spending or impulsive actions. I want hypomania, where I have enough energy so I can get everything done that needs to be done. In my hypomanic state, I’m energetic, I come up with a lot of ideas, I’m sociable (which normally scares me), and I feel happy. It would be nice to feel like that for a few days. I know it’s not healthy, but I’m so tired of depression that I would do just about anything to take a break from it.

I’ve been feeling like this and hoping for hypomania for several months now. I’m just curious if there are other people who feel the same way. I’m just wondering if I’m alone in this train of thought. I swing from one episode to another without much of a break to enjoy life. Is it so bad to desire a break from it all? My hypomania is pretty much a break because I’m able to enjoy most of it. Do others desire any specific episode?

Downward Spiral?

Downward Spiral?

I had a medication change about 5 days ago because I was feeling numb, flat, and empty. My psychiatrist said that he has seen this happen to people who reach a therapeutic level of Clozapine that are also taking Mirapex. We decided together to taper off the Mirapex. I will take my last dose of Mirapex on Wednesday, I’m currently taking half the dose.

I feel worse than I did a week ago. I’m hoping that this is just me adjusting to the medication change. I really hope that it’s not the beginning of another downward spiral. I took a nap this evening because I just couldn’t stand being awake anymore. When I woke up, I was hoping that at least a couple hours had passed, but instead, it had only been about 30 minutes. What a disappointment. It’s getting harder each day to fake being okay.

Medication Changes Me: Good or Bad?

Medication Changes Me: Good or Bad?

I have been taking psych meds since I was 14 years old. Ever since I started taking medication, I have always been on a lot of meds. I currently take eight different psych meds, plus other medication for my physical health. I’ve spent more than half my life on medications, and I’ll probably spend the rest of my life taking medications.

Sometimes the meds help and sometimes they make things worse. Medications always have side effects that need to be treated. It’s a pain in the butt. Meds can cause both physical and mental changes. They tend to change the way I act, which is helpful for bipolar treatment, but sometimes it goes too far. I feel like the medications change who I am to begin with. The mental changes that take place are hard to deal with. Right now, I don’t like to go out in public unless I have to and I don’t enjoy things I used to care about. This sounds like depression, but it’s been this way even through manic episodes. Maybe it’s part of the PTSD. I can never tell what’s what anymore.

Will I ever know who I really am? Am I just going to continue to change depending on my medications? How much change is good, and how much is too much? These are questions I ask myself all the time. I was a different person when I was younger; I was social. Now, I’m nothing like that. I know a lot of it is because of my bipolar disorder, but I wonder if some of it is because of the medication as well. Will I ever really know? I guess I just wonder what’s really me and what’s because of the medicine?

Lessons I’ve Learned: Courage Is Not The Absence Of Fear, But The Ability To Continue In Spite Of It

Lessons I’ve Learned: Courage Is Not The Absence Of Fear, But The Ability To Continue In Spite Of It

This is a saying I remember hearing over and over at my AA meetings. When I was getting sober, I was constantly told to pray for help to change. Change is not an easy thing, so I was told to pray for the courage to change. I am not a person that likes to pray, but when you’re desperate enough, you’ll try anything. I’ve now been sober for 12 years. At this time, I’m still having difficulties, just in a different area of my life. But I still need to work on changing, and I still need the courage to do so. I don’t feel like I have any courage. I feel weak and helpless, but my friends and family tell me that I’m a courageous person. Either I don’t see what they see, or they’re just wrong about me having courage. I suppose I’ll be positive about this and just assume that I’m not seeing what these other people are seeing.

One thing I know I’m good at doing and I keep trying. No matter how many times something fails or problems arise, I don’t give up. I guess others see this as courageous; I see this as desperate. I want to give up all the time; I’m not sure why I don’t. Maybe it’s because of my family. My entire family is so supportive and caring. They put a lot of energy into dealing with me. I feel like it’s the right thing to do to keep trying, if not for myself, then for my family.

I have learned that it’s okay to have fear, but don’t let that fear stop you from doing anything. I am in control of my life. I make the choices. I can choose to look fear in the face and keep moving forward. I have learned to never give up on myself. If I can’t do things for myself, then it’s okay to find another reason. For me, it’s my family. I wonder what other people use as their reason to keep moving forward. Does anyone want to share?

Clozapine Blood Work Change

Clozapine Blood Work Change

Since the beginning of April, I have been getting my weekly Clozapine blood work done on Fridays. A couple of weeks ago, somehow the day that I pick  up my prescription changed. Instead of picking up my filled prescription on Sundays or Mondays, I’m picking it up on Thursdays.

Since I now pick up the script on Thursdays, it seems a bit ridiculous  to get my blood work done on Friday. I’m going to start by changing my blood work days to Mondays. Depending on how things go, I will either stay with Mondays or change to Tuesdays.

All I know is that my psychiatrist and pharmacist should be getting current blood test results. Right now, by getting blood work done on Fridays and prescriptions filled on Thursdays, none of my results are technically current. I’ll see how Mondays go for a while; I have an appointment right now for Monday at 2pm.

Lessons I’ve Learned: Be Open-minded

Lessons I’ve Learned: Be Open-minded

I’ve learned a lot of different lessons over the years. I thought I might share what I have learned with you one lesson at a time; hopefully you don’t have to learn these things the hard way like I did. One of the more recent lessons I’ve learned is to be open-minded. I have always wanted to do things when they were my ideas. I would listen to other people and allow them to explain why they believe I should try something their way, but then I wouldn’t act upon it. A few of these examples include writing, meditation, and doing research.

My AA sponsor used to tell me all of the time that writing would help me work through some issues. I always told her that writing wasn’t for me, even though I never spent much time trying. This went on for years. Writing was also suggested to me by others, and I continued to ignore the suggestion. Finally, my aunt told me that she thought I would be good at blogging and that I could get something out of it. She suggested that I simply look over the idea and see if it’s right for me. After a few weeks, I finally took her suggestion. I now blog every day, usually multiple times a day, and I find it to be extremely helpful. I generally can write my way through issues that I’m struggling with; by the end of a post, I have come up with a solution for the problem I started writing about. Imagine how much easier my life would have been if I had simply been more open to the idea about a decade ago.

Multiple people have suggested to me that meditation could help me. My mom, aunt, sponsor, and several others would bring up the idea of meditation. For some time, they tried to talk me into doing it, but I was against the idea. I had an experience with meditation when I first got sober, and it wasn’t a good one. I had a hard time sitting still, and I was forced to work on meditating. Personally, I don’t like to do anything I’m forced to do. I’m extremely stubborn and I would prefer choose to do an activity on my own terms than have someone else strongly suggest I try it. It has been twelve years since my negative experience with meditation and I was unwilling to let go of that until just a week ago. I finally decided, based on my aunt’s suggestion, to try guided imagery meditation to hopefully help improve my painful bladder disorder. Maybe I could have saved myself a lot of trouble if I was willing to try meditation years ago.

It has also been suggested that I do research regarding any suggestion from my doctors. Research is something that I like to do, but I generally only do it when it’s about something I’m already interested in. What I should do is research every option so I know the truth about my choices instead of just researching what I think is a good idea. There’s a lot of information available to help make decisions regarding our health. I struggle when it’s time to decide how to move forward with my physical or mental health. The research that I do is a great way to help me make educated decisions.

I have come to realize that my life could have been easier if I had been more open-minded. What I have learned from all of this is to work hard at being open-minded. The willingness to consider new options and ideas is a wonderful quality that a person can have to help make their life easier to manage. I don’t have to keep looking back at my past when I wasn’t open-minded; all I need to do now is look to the future with an open mind.

I Canceled ECT

I Canceled ECT

Today, I called and left a message for the ECT department. I made the decision last week to stop doing ECT and I even talked to my psychiatrist about it; all I had to do to follow through on that decision was to cancel my appointment. I’m really happy that I’m stopping these treatments because it is way too hard on my mind and my body. However, I’m extremely nervous that I could slip into an even worse depression or manic episode. It doesn’t seem as if the ECT treatments have been helping me for quite a while now. My concern is what happens if it was helping and I just didn’t realize it. If I go too long without these treatments, then I would have to start back three times a week, and I can’t handle that.

I’m taking a huge risk by stopping the treatments, but I also have to listen to my body. My husband agrees that the ECT treatments aren’t helping me. He agrees with my decision to stop the treatments. It’s nice to have someone who sees me every day agree with my decision. It makes me feel a little more confident in my choice to stop. I’m curious how long it will take for some of the side effects, such as memory loss, to improve?

Are there other people who have gone through ECT treatments on a regular basis for a while and then chose to stop? If so, what happened when you stopped? How long did it take for your side effects to improve?

The First Downfall – My Life: Part 3

The First Downfall – My Life: Part 3

Just before I turned 17, I met a guy and was immediately attracted to him. Jared had a personality that was appealing to many. He made friends with people easily, but he only let them see the side of his personality that he wanted them to see. For the first couple months of our relationship, he only let me see positive traits. Once we moved in together, everything changed. He became physically and emotionally abusive. He would tell me when I could see my friends. I had to have dinner on the table when he got home, or else. We did a lot of drugs together. I fell for every trick he played and didn’t stand up for myself at all. He had me convinced that I was lucky to have him; he made me believe that no one else would want me. The worst part of it all is that he broke up with me. He said I wasn’t happy anymore. I remember telling him he would regret it. I was devastated. I don’t know why I was so hung up on a guy that treated me like crap, but I was.

At a party, I met a guy who was so sweet. Chris was the exact opposite of Jared, except for the drug use. I started smoking crack when I met Chris. Jared tried to get back together with me, but I finally stood up for myself and told him no. Jared started stalking me at that point, so I became terrified for my safety even more than I already was. Chris and I dated for several months. He kept talking about getting sober, but I wasn’t ready for that. I was completely addicted to crack that it came before everything. I was even with Chris getting high instead of being at the hospital when my dad died. That is one of the biggest regrets I have. Chris ended up getting killed only a few months after we met.

The loss of my father was exceedingly difficult, even though I knew for years that it was coming. He had been sick for many years with cancer and kidney failure. He ended up dying from an infection on October 10th, 2003. He was in the ICU for a while before his death. I miss my father and think of him every day. Losing him was like losing a part of myself. I wish I had been there to support my family, but I was too far into my addiction. I wish he could have seen me get sober.

My drug use was insane, I was almost always drunk or high on something. All of this made my mental health even worse. I was dealing with rapid cycling; I was either manic or depressed at all times. I didn’t want to spend much time with my friends, the few that I had left. All I wanted to do was die. This was probably my lowest point in life. I finally decided I wanted to quit drinking and using, but I couldn’t do it. I wished I was dead every day. I had lost so much in life, but the worst thing I lost was my self-respect.

One day, I had finally had enough. I went to my mom and told her I couldn’t take it anymore. I told her I needed to go back into the hospital. She told me that a behavioral health hospital would not fix things. I needed more than that; I needed to get sober. Apparently, she had already been looking at places to send me. She showed me some of the places she found. I was interested in this one place in Arizona; it was a year-long in-patient treatment center. It treated drug and alcohol abuse as well as mental health. I actually became excited; I finally felt a glimmer of hope. I was scared, but so enthused about the possibility of feeling better, that it actually lessened the fear. Most people don’t go to rehab willingly. I went not only willingly, but eagerly. I was also terrified; the thought of something new scared me, but the depression was so horrible that I felt my only other option was death.

Zone Meal Plan

Zone Meal Plan

In the past 6 months, I have gained 32.5 pounds. Bipolar weight gain is terrible and extremely difficult to control. The weight gain began when I was in the midst of yet another depression, before I started taking Clozapine. Then, during the first couple weeks on Clozapine, I noticed that my hunger was never-ending and as a result, my weight was increasing even more. It was one thing when it was just 10 pounds, but now it’s more than 30. I have been through many depressive episodes, and I’ve gained weight during each of them. The largest amount of weight I gained during a depressive period was 80 pounds; that was when I was taking Risperdal. I will never take that medication again. During most of my other depressive episodes, I gained somewhere between 40 and 60 pounds. I always manage to lose the weight and get back in shape; I even keep the weight off, as long as I’m not in a major depression.

I decided, while I was on vacation, that I would start a new food plan when I returned. My husband said he wants to lose weight as well. It always helps to have another person in the house eating healthy and exercising. I have decided to go back on a zone (block) food plan from CrossFit, which I was given several years ago from my personal trainer at the time. It requires a lot of measuring and weighing. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all 3 block meals, and both of my snacks are 2 blocks each. After a couple of weeks, I will lower my snacks to 1 block each. I just want to give myself time to get used to eating on a schedule again. I think that starting with 2 block snacks will give me a bigger chance for success. If anyone is curious about the CrossFit Meal Plan, just follow this link, Crossfit Meal Plan PDF. The document explains what a zone meal plan is, what blocks are, it has a block chart showing what foods are worth, and example meal plans.

The meals are plenty for me to eat and they taste good; I’m not hungry. I still want to eat, but that’s just because I always want to eat. I eat compulsively; I overeat pretty much all the time. I wonder how long I’ll be able to follow the plan without overeating. Once I eat off my meal plan, the rest of the day is doomed. My mind doesn’t work right in so many ways, and food is one of those ways. I’m particularly proud of myself for choosing to start this meal plan. I really hope I stick with it and follow through. It’s a sign that my depression could be improving. I still feel depressed and have suicidal ideations, but even the smallest improvement can make a huge difference. My husband suggested that we work out together; he used to be my workout partner years ago, and we had a lot of fun. It sounds like a great idea; I just have to figure out how to manage my anxiety. Plus, I should probably only do one thing at a time; maybe I should wait until I’ve been on the new food plan for a couple of weeks before adding in a workout at the gym.

Allowing Others To Help You Is A Gift You Give Them

Allowing Others To Help You Is A Gift You Give Them

I always thought that asking for help was a sign of weakness or dependency. I felt that I was always better off doing everything on my own for many reasons. I don’t like letting other people know that I can’t handle everything. It seems as if my flaws are already extremely obvious to everyone; I never saw the purpose in pointing out my shortcomings and vulnerabilities. Plus, when I talk to others about my weaknesses, it means I’m admitting to myself that they’re real. I would rather pretend that everything is okay for as long as possible instead of admit that my issues are real, even though this usually makes my problems worse. Asking others for help requires a lot of trust. I never trusted anyone else to do a better job than I could do; if I couldn’t fix the issue or come up with a solution, then I doubted that someone else could.

I also felt that by not asking others for help, I was being kind to them; who really wanted to spend their time helping me? However, since I didn’t ask others for help, I never allowed people the ability to feel useful. I know that when I am able to help others, it makes me feel good about myself. I finally feel as if I’m important and worth something, which does not come easy for me. Who am I to say others would not feel the same way when helping me? I don’t have to push or force others into helping me, but it is important to give them the opportunity to be there for me and help me through situations.

We become vulnerable by asking others for assistance. I’m usually worried what people will think of me if I tell them what’s really going on. I think that if people knew what was happening in my mind, they would have me locked up. Suicidal ideations, thoughts of cutting, hallucinations, and paranoia; that’s who I really am. Instead, I fake things pretty well; I’m actually fairly talented at pretending everything is okay. However, when I do that, nothing gets better. There’s a saying, ‘Nothing changes if nothing changes’. If I want something to change, then I need to do something about it. Asking for help is doing something; it is taking that step toward change. If I allow myself to be vulnerable and ask someone for help, it could be the beginning of change and a deeper relationship.