I’ve been following paths and walking down strange hallways. I’m in search of something. It feels like a mystery story. I keep following clues that just lead me to more questions. So far I’ve linked unknown variables to when I was five, ten, and fifteen. There’s much more to it than that and many more events to fit into the picture. I’m working on the black thing, but a specific photograph keeps haunting me. I was five years old. There’s some thing eerie to me about it, but I can’t figure out why. I need more answers.
I’ve been kinda busy. Busy battling an alter. I’ve been fighting not to give in and dissociate. It’s a black evil thing. My alters have always tried to help me, but this one crossed the line. He is built up of every bit of anger I’ve ever had my entire life that I’ve never expressed or let myself feel. He’s become too powerful. He’s trying to consume me or make me hurt myself. I’ve had enough. Last week I was seriously consider checking myself into a hospital. Something I never consider. I was scared and was being pushed over the edge. But I decided to fight. I made a painting of him to get part of him out of my head. I talked to my therapist and showed it to her. Then I kept thinking how to beat him. It came to me while laying in bed with Greg. I needed to let the anger out slowly. Steal his power. I told Greg everything that had made me angry ever. It felt so good. Later I had a conversation with a friend and told him how he had made me angry. Again something I never go. I was beginning to see how I could win this battle. I’m going to learn how to constructively get angry and maybe deal with past problems too. I’m currently at my mom’s and feeling pretty good this week. Just need to keep working on this when I get home. But I will win.
It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything. But there’s good reason for that. I was busy living. I kept hoping I’d get to a point where I had something important to blog about, but things kept changing and rolling on. A lot has happened, but I won’t bore you with all the details, just a few. Greg and I just got back from an anniversary trip to Key West. It couldn’t have come at a better time. We’ve missed each other with all his traveling and needed some us time. We needed to celebrate the 9 years of marriage we have fought so very hard for. He’s my best friend, but so much more than that. We’re connected to each other in a very unique and special way. So we had such a great time, but now it’s Monday and he’s back to traveling for work. So since I’m skipping a lot of other details I’ll, just tell you where I’m at now. I finally feel like myself again. Which is actually a hard thing for me to recognize. It’s been many years since I’ve felt like this. The last few years have been filled with many mood changes and life changes. I finally feel like I’ve fought to get to a place where I’m just me. I feel happy for the little things. I feel sad when sad things happen. I feel more comfortable in my own skin. I feel, well I just feel at peace with myself. My crazy brain has given me a reprieve. A break from the madness. But it’s a break I have fought hard for. When things get tough, I fight even harder. I don’t let myself stay in bed. Instead I push and I push and get things done. It’s a healthy coping mechanism. A new one. One that really helps make my life much easier to live. So yeah, the meds are doing their job and I’m doing mine and I won’t call what I am normal, but I will call it me.
As I said in my previous post, it’s been a rough time lately. But I’ve learned a few things. The first is I can take care of myself no matter what. Even in my darkest hour, I still managed to do the best thing given the situation. I know that when I’m manic I can do everything and take on the world, but when I get depressed I lose confidence and get really clingy towards Greg. And Greg is a nurturer. It makes him happy to take care of me and does things for me without even thinking about it. In short, even if I try to do something on my own he jumps in and rescues me. He’s always rescued me. Of course that was before he went off to Iraq and I had to be self sufficient. Since he’s been back we’ve fallen back into the same routine of him saving the day all the time. I love being taken care of so it kinda works, but sometimes I miss knowing that when shit hits the fan and I’m all alone that I can handle it. I know this now. I think it helps that he’s gone so much. It’s a nice balance of independence and dependance.
I’ve also learned that a lot of the time I wish I was still manic. It felt so much better than this. I felt so alive and vibrant. But on the down side, mania is destructive. Yet, I still cling to the little pieces of mania I have left. Talking to certain people, fantasizing about memories, trying to still feel beautiful. I’m afraid to let go. It’s like I think they will keep me from depression. I miss all the attention I got, I miss never feeling alone. But this brings me to my next point.
You never know what’s going to happen next. You have to just go with the flow with this disease. Unexpected things happen all the time and you can’t even imagine what weird thing will happen next. With that being said, you can prepare yourself and have your loved ones prepare themselves for general trends in moods. You have to look at the patterns that occur with each different mood and try to find a way to be prepared to deal with them. Say I start to get manic. For me this means I will spend a ton of money, I will get hyper sexual and want to have sex with all men, I’ll stop sleeping, and I’ll get more creative. Greg, my therapist, and I will have to look at each of these symptoms and decided how to best deal with them. It’s not going to be pretty if anyone completely tries to stop me from doing any of these things. That’s why you need a diversion. Work with your support team and try to make a plan. This goes for depression too.
Ive also learned I’m strong and tough. I never give up and fight as long as I can. You are also stronger than you know, so never stop fighting the good fight.
I thought I’d write a little update about what’s been happening in my life. After the lithium debacle things were ok for a few days. Greg went out of town and I thought I could get the house ready for my dad’s visit and relax. Well I got the house ready, but I did not relax. Enter the Zoloft debacle. I guess it’s not uncommon to experience side effects a week or so after starting an SSRI. What I wasn’t expecting was having the worst panic attacks in my life, and that’s saying something. It happened in the evenings. My heart would start to pound and I’d get dizzy and feel anxious, but then the trembling would start. My legs felt like they turned to jello and were shaking so uncontrollably that I could barely walk. I was hyperventilating at this point and was scared I was going to faint. And I was all alone and completely terrified. I was sure I was going to die. I considered calling 911, but thought maybe I should check my blood sugar first. I did and it was fine. Which freaked me out even worse, because now I had no clue what was wrong. My mind wasn’t racing, but my body was in full on panic which was why I was convinced I was going to die. All I could do was crawl into bed, take a sleeping pill and a double dose of anxiety meds, and pray I didn’t die in my sleep. I’ve never been so scared. Well, obviously I woke up in the morning and felt fine except for being rattled about the night before. I did some research and assured my self that it was just a horrible panic attack and I was going to be fine. But unlike the lithium I didn’t drop my dose. I’d read that it takes time to adjust, so I better just suck it up and get through it. I had a few more really bad attacks in the following days, but I think that taking clonapin in the middle of the day helped stave off a few more. I’m doing ok now, but damn that sucked. Had a good visit with Dad and my stepmom. I even randomly a few days ago decided I needed a kitten. I got a cute little black and white girl I named Emmelia, Emme for short. I’ve never had a kitten and it’s simply amazingly fun! I have learned some lessons in all of this but I’ll get to that in another post.
I just heard tonight that I might have a few new readers out there. Hi Readers!! Please comment and let me know who you are and tell me what you think about all this bipolar madness!
I was reading an article on HuffPost today and the writer had written her 18 year old self a letter. I’d heard of doing this before, but never did it because I thought, what’s the point you can never write anything that change the way things happened. But I got to thinking about it and it felt like something that should be done. It felt like it could be therapeutic. Please consider giving it a shot yourself. It really did feel good. Let me know what you wrote.
Dear 18 year old me,
You’ve already been through so much. And I know it’s been so hard. You think the worst is over. It’s not, but all the hard times will teach you more than you ever could imagine. Please trust your really good friends. Listen to their advice, because they are usually right. They see things you sometimes miss. Don’t push away people you care about just to see if they will stay. 9 times out of 10 they won’t because you pushed them too hard. Never forget that you are bright and strong. You’ll need to know this to get through the rest of your life. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Some times you’ll fail and fall hard ,just remember to keep picking yourself back up again because you will have success. Believe that people will really truly love you for who you are. It will make relationships easier down the road. There’s tough times ahead. Don’t let your mind or the devil fool you into thinking that they will last forever, because they won’t. Cherish every happy joyful moment. They are precious and the memories will last a life time and get you through the bad times. Know that no matter what happens you’re parents will always love you. Family’s love is the one thing that is constant. Some very unexpected things will happen. Things you never dreamed possible. Try to go with the flow and accept new things as opportunities to grow. When bad things happen accept them as opportunities as well. Most importantly, love yourself. Love your self for who you are inside and out. You don’t know how beautiful and amazing you really are. Life won’t end up like you think, but the journey will make you a compassionate, loving, incredible woman. I can’t tell you that everything ends up perfect in the end, but you will be someone who is strong and confident with who she’s become. Good luck with everything and just don’t ever, ever, ever lose your faith.
30 year old Beth
I usually don’t discuss which medications I take on here, because everyone needs something different. Just because it does or doesn’t work for me, doesn’t mean it’s not something you should try. There are a ton of different types of psychiatric drugs out there and I could list them all by classification and use, but you don’t need that. You could google it. What I want to discuss today isn’t necessarily about a certain medicine, but how I reacted to a problem. Let me tell you what happened. I wrote previously about being at my pdoc and that he raised my medicines. What he did was increase my lithium. I’ve been on lithium for 7 years. I’ve never had any problems with it before and I believe it has really helped me a lot. However, in all this time I’ve never been able to get to the high range of the therapeutic level. So since we wanted to nip this depressed episode in the bud, he thought adding one more pill would help. The would bring me up to 2,250 mg/day. He also added some zoloft as a short term measure, which I know isn’t always recommended for people with bipolar disorder, but it’s worked in the past. The first few days were fine. No changes good or bad. I know by now it takes time to feel the effects of new medicines. But then I started to feel really horrible. I felt nauseous, dizzy, I could barely hold my head up. Then I started with things coming out of both ends. I couldn’t eat and I kept throwing up. I felt shaky and scared. The scared was the interesting feeling, because I knew as horrible as I felt that this wasn’t the stomach flu. I had been warned about lithium toxicity many times before. I knew what to look for. Yet, I still had this doubt in my head that maybe I was just sick. One other major sign of toxicity is extreme tremors. I wasn’t experiencing that so it caused doubt. But my fear wouldn’t let me believe that I was sick. My mind was clear. I kept calm. I didn’t freak out. I knew I had to listen to by body and it would tell me the right thing. On Sunday, I knew what I had to do. I knew that I must be experiencing lithium toxicity and I knew what I had to do. For many reasons I couldn’t let this go any longer. I’m an insulin dependent diabetic, so I had to keep enough carbs in my body so that I didn’t get really really sick. That night I cut the dose back and did so again this morning. I went back to where I had been previously. Today I feel a ton better, just tired and a little overwhelmed from the experience. But I learned an important lesson. Trust your body. You know yourself better than anyone else does. Doctors do that best that they can do, but in the end it’s your body. However, never stop taking or change your medications without first talking to your doctor. In my case we discussed what to do previously. Trust your mind and body to tell you when something doesn’t feel right. 9 times out of 10 if you’re really tuned in you’ll be right. This can do for all kinds of illnesses and issues and situations. Be brave enough to believe in yourself and what your intuition tells you. Push all doubt away and do what you know is best.
For a long time now I’ve been holding on so tightly to pieces of mania. I had hoped by continuing to have manic thoughts and actions that it would keep me safe from the hold of depression. It stopped working. It didn’t feel the same anymore. There was no excited thrilling feelings. I just felt empty inside. I was going through the motions of mania without having the feelings. In fact, things were getting worse and worse because of it. It feel so wrong and grimy and yucky. It was getting too confusing. One second I’d be doing inappropriate things or spending money I didn’t have, the next I’d be shaking in tears filled with anxiety and pain.I felt like I was hanging from a ledge by my finger tips refusing to fall. I fought as hard as I could, but I finally grew tired and let go. I decided to give into the depression. In a weird way it was a relief. I could stop fighting what was happening, accept it, and work to make it better. I went to the psychiatrist yesterday after having a horrible last few days filled with arguments and crying and dissociation. When I go to the pdoc, there is usually a long wait. I cant figure out why I have to wait for an hour. But anyway while I was there I made this list hoping it would help me when I talked to my doctor.
Reasons why I know I’m depressed.
- I’m still wearing half my pajamas
- I don’t remember the last time I washed the shorts I’m wearing.
- I just want to lay in bed with my stuffed animals and watch crap tv.
- The thought of food makes me nauseous.
- I wish I could sleep forever.
- I’ve forgotten that men exist.
- I hurt all the time.
- I obsess about death.
- Every little things sets me off into a downward spiral.
- After a period of normal I started rapid cycling and then crashed.
- I’m constantly dissociating to deal with the pain.
- I’m taking more anxiety meds.
- I feel hopeless and scared.
- I’m just so sad.
- I pick fights with people pushing them to leave me or get mad.
- I’m so terrified that I’ll stay in bed forever again.
- I can’t do this again. I just can’t.
I read him some of this list after convincing him that there indeed was a list in my phone. (He is technologically challenged.) And then it all started to fall together. There’s nothing wrong with me except that my brain chemicals aren’t working right. It makes me pick fights, it makes me dissociate, it makes me cry hysterically, it makes me feel like hurting myself, and it makes me think I’m losing my mind. I’m not. I’m just sick and depression is just another way my brain shows me that I’m sick. I immediately felt relief. He prescribed me another med and upped another one. Thankfully, because I’ve been through depression before, I’m catching the signs and symptoms quicker each time. I went and got help before I completely crashed and spent another year in bed. I’ll never do that again. I’ll fight with every ounce of my being to not get stuck in bed.
I just want a normal life. Nothing extreme, fancy, or intense. Just average. I want to be able to do laundry, write, help others, and have great friends. Hopefully I can work towards one day having most of my time spent in this place. But until then, I fight. And I don’t ever stop fighting. This is my life and it’s worth it.
So Greg says to me…
Being with you is kind of like riding in the passenger seat of a Ferrari. Fast and exciting! Except there’s no steering wheel and the breaks only work on the front right and back left wheels. You have no control over the shifting at all and every once in a while out of no where it shifts into reverse.
Does this mean I can have a Ferrari now? Cause I want a white one.