Sorry Babe …

It has become very clear to me over the past few days that having bipolar disorder not only affects me, but it affects everyone around me as well. I am currently dealing with a hypo manic state. At the end of 2 weeks of it now. I had been struggling with depression that just would not lift. It wasn’t an episode that I would call severe as I didn’t reach the suicidal point. But it was affecting my everyday life, giving me days of hiding from the world, not leaving my apartment, not engaging much with my husband, and so on.

So my psychiatrist did a medication switch and I have been on a combination of Effexor, Welbutrin, Lithium and a dose of Seroquel at night. It was a gradual switch and increase and it appeared to work wonders. The cloud seemed to lift and my thinking became much more clear and I have even taken on a new Avon business. I’ve been needing less and less sleep and I’ve been feeling great.

Except … it’s become a little too great. I’m not sleeping much at all now. I have energy levels that cannot be depleted no matter how much activity I engage in during the day. I just want to jump out of my own skin. It’s like there is some sort of electricity inside of me. My brain is buzzing all the time. I find it very hard to focus on ANYTHING. I can’t even cook a meal because I get so distracted with other things around me. There has been an increase in our electricity bill as well. There are Tvs or music going in every room. Lights on everywhere. And my body temperature is constantly high. I always need a fan going so that there is some air flowing around me. If not I feel suffocated and unable to breathe.

And my hubby is feeling the effects of this. I talk. Alllll day. He hasn’t had a decent nights sleep in a few weeks because I am in bed trying to talk to him about every single random thing that crosses my mind. I talk while he is on the phone. I talk while he tries to watch tv. I even talk while he’s in the shower. Come to think of it, he was getting an epsom salt bath the other night and I was sitting on the toilet (cover down) talking to him. I actually think he is suffering more than I am.

He took me off guard yesterday and asked when I see my psychiatrist again. Says I need to get my meds adjusted somehow because this is becoming too much and it’s getting worse.

That’s the thing with mental illness. It affects everyone in your life, not just you. And often it’s your loved ones who see your struggles more then you do.

Yikes.

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I’m Growing Up

So still on the topic of foster parenting. I know there will be a lot of grief from a lot of people because they will not agree with someone who has bipolar disorder becoming licensed as a care giver.

But I have a wonderful team working with me. I will be signing papers and having verbal agreements with my psychiatrist, my husband, the social workers and my family so that if any symptoms start to surface and interfere then anyone who notices (because outsiders tend to notice first) then it will be made aware right away so that it can be nipped in the bud. And if I get too sick then I am agreeing to have my license put on hold. I know that when it starts to take a hold I tend to not see it until it’s too late. So I’m going to be working really hard for this. For me, my hubby AND the kids.

Also, I will only be taking one child (or 2 if it’s an emergency placement of siblings). I want to make sure that my full attention is on helping the child and keeping myself healthy at the same time.

It’s time that I get my act together. Time to grow up and do something useful with my life.

The Past And The Present Collide

Yesterday was a very traumatic day. Some things happened which in turn left me in a state of uncontrollable crying, hyperventilating, and hysteria. I ended up at my psychiatrist’s office and he treated me with 2 sedatives immediately. Then he talked me through the horrible attack of PTSD that I was having. He helped me focus, get grounded, led me through breathing exercises.

Through all the years that I have suffered with PTSD and other mental illnesses I have never had to be brought to his office during the day because I was unable to cope through a crisis. But what I experienced yesterday actually felt like something that was going to kill me. Thank God for psychiatrists.

He also gave me a bottle with another 7 sedatives in it with the instructions to take them over the next 3 days, to help me get through all of the flashbacks and nightmares and anxiety attacks, all brought on from the head on car collision which we avoided by mere inches. The screeching of tires and getting a burn on my neck from my seatbelt was all too familiar, sounds and feelings that I experienced in the accident I was in 3 years ago, in which my left arm was amputated as well as many other broken bones and injuries. Needless to say, I have severe post traumatic stress disorder. (I was diagnosed with this years ago, from years of abuse and violation right up until I moved out on my own, the car accident just made it much worse, creating many more triggers)

Anyways today I am numb. I am a walking zombie. My eyes are so swollen that I cannot fully open them. And I have taken a sedative as per doctor’s orders. Only problem is that David is not impressed. He suggested that I go to bed since I’m not feeling well. Mind you, his mother and her boyfriend are on their way here for a couple of days and I think he’s afraid his mom is going to think that I am drugged up. He made a random comment to me earlier, telling me to not take any more pills today.

I’m just following my dr’s orders. Yes I am sedated. I took one, like I was told to do. My voice is scratchy. Side effects of morphine. I am numb. Not very talkative. Eyes are heavy and puffy and swollen. No. I am not well. But I am not spending the day in bed. If I have to I will just come out and tell my mother in law that in not feeling well today. Then she wouldn’t be wondering if I’m highly medicated or not. I’m just not well.

Which is true. I’m not well. Not at all. I feel like a walking zombie. I’m numb all over but every now and then I’ll get a big wave of emotion sweep right through me. I get super alert, very much aware of my surroundings, my pulse speeds up, I start having thoughts and flashes of memories, and I fill up with a feeling that I can only compare with that of a response one gets when hearing about the sudden death of someone. Like my world crumbles around me.

I manage to work through it as best I can with whatever coping tools I can think of at that time. And I do pretty darn good if I do say so myself. But it’s hard. It’s hard living every single day like this. It’s exhausting just trying to live my life.

So if you were me, you’d have swollen eyes and a general appearance of being worn out.

Because I am.
Worn out.

Depressed

The sun woke me up by shining in my eyes just before my alarm went off to remind me about my appointment with my psychiatrist.

Rather it be raining.

Requirements For Getting To A Psychiatrist Appointment

I’m sitting here in the main lobby of the hospital. I had an early appointment with my psychiatrist. 9am. That’s early for me considering the majority of the world had been up hours ago. Gone to work. Out for breakfast with friends. At the stadium walking the track. Outside walking their dog. Taking kids to various appointments. But not me. I was lying in bed, awake, staring at the wall. Trying to think up reasons to call in so that I could cancel my session. It wasn’t the session itself I was having trouble with. It was the whole process required to get be there.

But then I started thinking that because I was lying there like that, that in itself was a very good reason TO GO to my doctor.

So.
Drag myself out of bed and make it up, to prevent the temptation of crawling back in.
Look in the mirror to exam my freshly cut and colored hair. Streaks of blue. Ironic. Every part of me feels blue. So I might as well have hair to match.
Eat a protein bar and take my morning meds with a glass of milk.
Put a little eye make up on to help me look alive.
Socks. Let’s start at my feet. Matching socks. Check.
Jeans. My favorite ones. They show off my bum. Or so I’ve been told.
Bra.
Brush my teeth. Ack. Baking soda in toothpaste. Gross.
Hoodie. Long sleeves that come down slightly over my hands. Black. Safe. My safe coverup.
Feed Toby and have my morning chat with him. Sometimes he doesn’t see or hear me until the afternoon. He was super chatty this morning. I almost felt like he was giving me a pep talk. For a guinea pig he sure knows how to carry on a conversation.
Then I collapse on the couch.

All of this took me an hour and 35 minutes. I’m kind of glad David was at work. I really didn’t want him to see how much I was struggling. But, because he was at work I had to call a taxi to take me to the hospital. 40 minutes before my appointment I called and 15 minutes later I was sitting in my psychiatrist’s waiting room. Good timing.

We talked about how much I have been struggling. 6 months ago I was not in a bad place like this. I was feeling great. But one day I found myself in the ER because of a rapidly spreading skin rash. I was admitted and shortly after I collapsed and was then transferred to the ICU. I was experiencing Lithium toxicity. My body was poisoned. We were devastated. Then my kidneys failed. It was a painfully miserable 3 month hospitalization.

But since then, I have been caught in the rapid whirlwind of mood cycling. Mostly very depressed with random flashes of the hyperactivity that comes with Bipolar. Several medication changes have not fixed things. After being on at least a hundred different meds over the years, it’s hard to find something that will work. Lithium had been my miracle drug. It have me back my life and I had some really good years because of it. But since the poisoning last year I have not taken it.

Until today. With some very close monitoring a very small dose of lithium has been added to my current medication regimen.

So now here I am. Finished my appointment but not really wanting to go home. Now that I am around people I don’t want to leave. So I’m sitting by a window in the lobby of the hospital, watching people come and go. Taking in all the conversations taking place around me. Next to me 2 men in the approximate 50’s are talking about ice fishing and the extreme cold temps we have experienced this year. People may think I’m waiting for someone.

But no. I’m sitting here because this is probably the closest I will get to public socialization this week.
Sad.

10 Pointless Minutes

I had the world’s shortest psychiatrist appointment today. 10 minutes. 10 FREAKING MINUTES!!! He doubled my Zoloft so he wrote out a prescription and that was it. He said he wanted to see me back in 2 weeks then got up and walked me out. I was so taken aback by this that I was even at a loss for words. I didn’t get an opportunity to tell him how crappy I’ve been feeling the past 2 weeks. Or how I’ve had days where all I did was curl up and cry. I didn’t get a chance to say that I’m scared – because I’m spiraling out of control really fast.

This isn’t a good situation.

Seriously though. TEN MINUTES!!!! It was a waste of everyone’s time.