Tag Archives: mania

My Little Cuddler

We spent the last few days in my parent’s town watching the Greatest Show on Earth. We had great eats, a fun time and shared a snow-cone.

My grandfather is not well and his son and daughters are concerned mainly with getting him to eat and drink. He doesn’t want to, so he probably won’t. We are not a family filled with people who are easily persuaded to do anything we don’t want to. I told that to a pastor once and he came up with idea after idea of times I might do something even though I didn’t want to and he wasted an half hour of his life. I’m “better” now and listen to people such as my husband (sometimes) and as a mom, the kind of mom that wants to do right by her kids, I do stuff I don’t want to sometimes, but not a whole lot of the time. I used to try and let her be free to wear whatever she wanted and dance whenever she wanted. Now those things happen automatically. I know there are some of you out there that say I spoil the girl. I think that kind of put-down is a cowardly sort of persuasion. I left her do what she would like, because a lot of the time it’s easier for me. I try to catch moral situations and I don’t let her lie. (I admit I can’t always catch a lie, though.)

Let’s talk again about re-newing the blog. I think I’m going to try one out and see how it goes. Look for me at: http://thesidekickhero.wordpress.com/. I will probably continue this blog as well, but not as frequently. I do hope you love hearing about all the wonderful things that come with life with all our challenges and joys.


May Cause Memory Loss (some harsh language)

I am so googling sick of psychiatric medication. Yes, it has saved my life 1,000,000 times. Yes, I would have to be institutionalized if not for it. Yes, I am so fortunate that I have the insurance and money to pay for all of this. All that to say it blows, it sucks and it is all together weenified that I have to be on it.

The most frustrating thing is the memory loss. It goes hand and hand with word recall. I can’t remember enough Spanish words to even have a real conversation. I can’t remember things you tell me, things I’ve just bought or things I ate. I don’t remember all the steps in my night time regime. I can’t remember your name even if I’ve been introduced to you three times. I don’t remember entire conversations. I wake up in the middle of the night because I wonder if I’ve taken my medicine. Medicine: I hate you.

My father-in-law showed me a handful of pills and joked that I probably couldn’t wait until I was his age. I just laughed. I take one more pill than my eighty year old father-in-law. I am thirty-five.

I have been searching for help with this memory thing for, oh, I can’t remember how long. I get obsessed with it on and off. At first I thought it was too much Lamictal. Doc didn’t agree. Lithium? Nope, levels too low. My latest theory is that Cogentin, which works to get rid of extra-pyramidal symptoms, (it takes away that ghostly face folks on psychotophics get) if we upped it, maybe the memory might come back. I’ll ask her. She’ll say, no that’s it and you are prone to “Serotonin Syndrome” so we can’t up anything right now. From B’s description on the phone late last week, she decided I have “Serotonin Syndrome.” Long time readers will remember this can kill you. They responded by taking my Zoloft from once every other day to once every three days. I responded by becoming weepy on day two and inconsolable by day three. It blows. There are good things about bipolar, and there are other entries and webpages dedicated to that. This is not the place to look right now.

The problem with medication is that it is all rumor. While some of the drugs have really helped me, they won’t do the same thing for others. One might be effective for two people, but one of them also becomes impotent and the other hears voices. It’s frustrating. The idea that I might live the rest of my life forever without any sort of executive function is disheartening, at best. It’s messed up as medium and absolutely f-ed up at the bottom. I’m drifting between the middle and the end. I’m not the “I’m going to go off all my meds because they obviously aren’t working,” type. I cooperate with my care team. I take my meds. I lose weight. I exercise a few times a week. I do the right things, but my body won’t follow. Just co-operate, damn it! Be well! Let me live the life I strive to live! I’ll be bipolar, that’s not the thing, but I want to live and remember what I’ve lived through.

It all sucks, though. It blows. Whatever mild swear word you can think of, that describes these feelings. I want to be better.

Be careful. Drugs can cause restlessness, memory loss, weight gain, shaking, failure to achieve orgasm.

Avoid getting overheated. Do not drink alcohol at all, under no circumstances. Do not become pregnant. Remain hydrated. Do not share your medication with anyone. Do not tell people you are sick or how you are sick. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every f-ing day.

The symptoms of mania are: elevated mood, pressured speech, shopping sprees, sexual activities which go against your own morality, grandiosity (I think I am so gorgeous every man is checking me out – even though I’m pushing 300 pounds, or I think I have the ability to solve the problem of National Debt.) All this stuff sounds like fun, right? Well, you’re not allowed to have any fun. Remember that night you and your best friend stayed up until two talking and laughing and drinking wine? No more of those. Remember when you fell in love at first sight? Don’t do that or tell anyone about it – It means you’re on the verge of adultery.

A minute ago I wrote the word, “manana” instead of “maestra”. (That is, “morning” instead of “teacher.”)

I was told by a good friend that I “never” sound bitter. I would guess tonight I do. I want my memory back. I want the shakes to stop and I don’t want to die of Serotonin Syndrome. But this is my life, the rest of my life, if I want to live it. And right now, It blows.

Chocolate and Turkey – Day 1 of Giving

Today is a very good day, so far. In brief: Church was wonderful, it was Missions Sunday and people from all over the world came to talk about their experiences and their miracles. This afternoon we’re having T and M over for a last minute turkey dinner. B is making green beans and shallots, and fluffy souffle-like mashed sweet potatoes and a glistening turkey. I set out a little chocolate tasting plate. It has this super nasty Mexican Chocolate on it. I hope they like it because I’m throwing it away if they don’t.

Another reason things are wonderful: I’m still soaring over the encouraging words. (In the secular world we call those compliments.) Who could be loved second to the lover’s own family? ME!! Who can care for someone so difficult to care for only to see their entire family come to Christ? ME!! All these things, this wonderful week are mine to latch on to. Let’s say, “Yay, God!” “Thanks a lot!” I hope I can latch on these facts like I latch on to so many foolish things that are not necessarily true. (To D – grrrr)

So, my mood may be elevated or not. Good things are happening to me, why should I be anything but joyful! My husband swears I’m been elevated for four days. I know my memory is not so great. At the jog-a-thon I (thought) I was in rare form. I met everybody, made them all laugh and found a more efficient way to fill the cups with water. I was on top of my game. This may have been my amazingly charming self, or it may be my illness kicking in. I’d like the think it is the former. People were laughing. Also, I took some great pictures.

I haven’t felt depressed in almost a week. Sometimes I hardly know that’s possible. It feels very good.

I hate football. Except for when my hero BB coaches.

It’s day one for Ten Days of Giving. We’re giving lunch to T and MG. I also helped put away chairs at church. Is that enough? The chairs are contrary to my usual predilection. Looking for more opportunities. This is going to be difficult

So sings my soul

I have made every effort to write without cliches or catch phrases.  I know I haven’t ironed them all out, please forgive me, and please read until the end.

We started the morning with Carrie Underwood and Vince Gill’s rendition of “How Great Thou Art.” I’ve listened to it a dozen times.  I had seen the tears in the audience, it’s easy to cry listening to the songs that remind you of Grandma’s old radio or  sweet old time religion.  What came this time was the peace I saw in the faces of the celebrities.  It transcends the music hall, the awards, even Carrie’s magnificent voice.  It changed their hearts.  Music can do that.  God does that.

There was a time I was struggling greatly with my faith I came across this song, “I’ve Got Friends that Do.”

And I may not know what its like
To send my only son to save the world and watch him die
And I may not know how it feels
To hang there on the cross to prove that love is real
But I’ve got friends that do.

I don’t know why or how those words were so enlightening to me, but it genuinely convicted me that God doesn’t owe me or anybody else anything.  God sent His only son for us.  He watched Him die, for us.  I will never know the cost, but I  do know that what He has done is all I ever need him to do to worship and even love Him.  Jesus said, “it is finished”.  While God does bless me, give me good things and make me very happy sometimes, he’s not required to do so.  My heart for Him is only a response to His love for me.  When I felt totally unloved and unhappy, he has already concocted a plan in heaven to make me very happy.  Because I felt that way, didn’t mean it was true – He always loved me.  In between now and then things like the joy Small brings me, the security and love B brings me and all of the other things in life that are satisfying and fun are just a drop in the bucket compared with what is there for me there.

I am (making every effort to be) not ashamed of the gospel.  I believe in the power of God for salvation, and I believe He uses it.  I know that Jesus is real, is God, and is mine forever.  The fact, and I believe it to be a fact, that I am on my way to heaven, is exciting.  I get to see huge pearls and gold.  I get to see angels again.  I get to a real home, not one that will be taken away from me.  I don’t think I’ll have to clean it, either.  I really believe this is the point of Jesus’ words and the good news described in the Bible.

I don’t know where the peace in those country singer’s faces came from, other than being a gift from God.  I have that peace, sometimes, and I wish I had it all the time.  It’s a Fruit of the Spirit, which means it’s an extra special gift that God gives to His children.  According to Bible-knowledge.com, without peace, we can easily become “rattled, shaken, tormented” and “and knocked right off of your game in the Lord the first time any type of adversity should ever come your way.”  Who hasn’t been like that before?  Who wants that?

I think God has given me extra special gifts.  I’m not in the middle of a bipolar episode and I still believe that is true.  If I am elevated, I try to ignore any personal “messages” from God. I’ve said it before that I want to worship a real God, not one borne of mental illness.  I’ve was in a hospital with a schizophrenic woman who  talked the whole time about the Roman Catholic Church, Jehovah Witnesses and some other sect of the modern world.  Since I was pretty amped so I laughed and even though I made every attempt not to laugh at the poor, tormented soul.  I didn’t have success – I just couldn’t stop laughing, but it served as a message to me that I did not want to crazily create an object of worship:  I wanted something hard.  The image that comes to me is a sturdy Craftsman chair, made of strong wood and constructed by a skilled artisan.  I don’t know if that is because Jesus was a carpenter, or what.  I read once that the plows He made were used up to the third century.  I think his word and work in the Bible proves that is true of Jesus.  Jesus is supernatural though, so things sometimes don’t seem solidly grounding. There is more to Jesus than a carpenter’s chair.

I most frequently hear from God through the Bible.  It is that carpenter’s chair.  Yes, there are different versions and what I believe to be the occasionally translation error, but I feel there is no evidence that is strong enough for me to believe it to be anything but factual.  Still, things happen to me, I see prayers answered, I hear God’s voice, I’ve seen angels.  (If you feel like proving me wrong, go ahead and pm me with it.  I don’t want to mess with healing people getting upset if you leave guest book messages.)

One last story.  This is one of the most exciting things that ever happened to me.  I lived in a big, old fraternity in college.  It was a mansion at one point, Spanish style with a once stately great room.  I don’t think anything about the house was stately while I lived in it.  There was an old Steinway piano, and I was going through an extremely difficult time.  I had, what I understand now to be, a major depressive episode.   I was failing out of school, so I just dropped out for the semester.  I didn’t do a whole lot: I went to Bible Study, I ate and ate, slept for hours and hours and I played that piano.  Steinway pianos have heavy keys, so I had to pound to make any music out of it.  The piano was out of tune, which made it sound more like what was going on with me.  That piano probably kept me alive.

I hadn’t really played piano for years, but I played pretty much when I wasn’t sleeping or eating.  I played show tunes, Disney songs and worship songs.  I played for church and for Bible study.  It was the only productive thing I did then, but I have nothing to show for it but that night with the angels.

It was Saturday.  I was alone in the house, which is an impressive thing when the house has twenty-three residents.  I went to the piano and felt like I really could freely play and even sing as loudly and fully as possible.  I had a book of worship songs and I played from the beginning to the end.  While I was playing, I swear to you, the room filled with angels.  The were swirling and swooping around the room.  There were dozens of them.  They gushed peace and joy and I received it, completely amazed.  The angels were silent, but in joined my worship as a created being.  I was refreshed.  I was surrounded by so much beauty.  I wasn’t exhausted like I’d expect to be after encountering supernatural creations.  I wasn’t scared like people are in the Bible, because I knew from reading about angel visitations they probably aren’t bringing messengers of death.  I was able to laugh and play with flourishes and took chances with my voice.  Bliss, joy, peace were their gifts.  The angels left without taking away any of the blessings they brought with them I don’t know where they went next.

Step 3?

Someone tell me how to make amends.  I spent $260+ on clothes, shoes and a shelf.  And a few other things.  I knew how much it was and I knew I had to talk to B about it, but he got to our check register first.  He was furious.

$260 is a very large sum of money for us.  We have little to live on for the rest of the month, for gas and groceries.  (We have a lot of food in our larder, don’t send us grocery store coupons.)  He wants me to return as much as I can and make amends.  He wants me to clean the house.

From what I read on AA webpages, making amends needs to be something linked to the offense.  Returning the goods or repaying the $260 are good examples of making amends.  Asking “what can I do?” is not a good example because it shows the offender doesn’t understand the nature or depth of the offense.  B wants me to scrub the house.  I am doing it, but I am neutral.  I’m not doing it because I want a clean house.  I honestly don’t care one way or another if the house is clean.  I’m not motivated by love.  I love my husband but I am not cleaning to make him happy.  I just feel nothing about this job.  It’s true I’ve spent about an hour on the computer when I could be scouring the shower floor, but my knees were hurting.  And I hadn’t looked at  facebook all day.

He was very very very angry last night.  He didn’t sleep well and he was still angry at me when he left for work.

I thought we had arrived at some understanding.  When I go on a spree (and this won’t be my last) I move blithely through the store, picking out things I like and things I think I should have.  The later is the danger, because I don’t want to take those things back.  Sure, I’ll return the things I just like, but the things I need, like the $6.99 swimsuit, are different stories.  I got a lot of pants 70% off and I do not want to return them.  They fit me, unlike much of the other clothes I have.  And it’s only $14 I’ll get back.  It seems not worth the trouble to do so.  I am really not myself when I’m shopping.

When I come down from the high, I feel really guilty.  I am ashamed at what I did.  I am convicted that not lying is not the end of God’s instruction, but deception is also condemned over and over again.  I hide the things I bought.  I take off the tags.  I seek out more.

There is an embossing plate collection that I have a 50% coupon for.  It’s ten plates, and plates are usually $4.99.  After the coupon, they could be $1 each.  I want them.  I think I need them and have to have them.  I know I am wrong!  But the drive is in me and I almost feel desperate to own it.  I try and think about how I can get the $10.  Can I return something so I have the cash?  Can I take money from the community change drawer?  (If you have ideas, just let me know.)

I don’t know what I’m going to do next.  I have to go this afternoon to return the shelf and some clothes.  It won’t be enough, I know.  I won’t be “allowed” to buy anything for a very long time.  I hate being treated like a child.  People say that B can be controlling, and it’s true, but I think part of it is trying to manage a mentally ill spouse.  He doesn’t know anyone else who has a wife with bipolar, and 90% of bipolar people’s marriages fail.  He and I both are committed to our marriage.  He needs support but we’re not going to drive an hour + for a support group filled with a bunch of sick people either (a) feeling sorry for themselves or (b) 300 pounds because they take Seroquel and use it as an excuse to drink a milkshake everyday. I was on that path and want to stay as far from it was possible.

Sigh.  I wish I could fix things, and I’m sure that I can, but I’m not going to do as good of a job as possible.  I won’t blame it on the mania, I’m just too selfish.

Full blown Mania

I was sent to bed by my husband around 9:00.  I slept until 1, almost 2 o’clock in the morning.  I got up and worked on scrap-booking.  I’m making presents for everyone this year.  My grandfather is getting a tribute to my grandma in scrapbook form.  The whole idea was that her recipes word be preserved.  She was an excellent cook, but the problem is that we don’t have any recipes she made because they were all in her head.  This may prove to be a problem.  I am continuing to work on the project because I have her favorite Sara Teasdale’s poems and songs she always sang to us.  I have a few pictures I can use, and an article about my grandfather’s purple heart.  How does that sound to you?

The title of the album is “delight yourself”.  Although she was not a believer until the end of her life, she had the quote, “Eat what is good and delight yourself in fatness” on the refrigerator  She said there was something for everyone inside the Bible.

She loved the hymn “Amazing Grace” and “The Garden” “(I come to the garden alone, where the dew is still on the roses”)  I think “Bridge over troubled water” was possibly her favorite pop song.  She loved “Goblin Market” because it reminded her of her sisters.  Both of them preceded her in death and she mourned for a long time.

Here is a bit of Goblin Market.  My grandma told me you can only understand it if you have a sister.  I only have one brother, no sisters, and it’s not that I don’t like it, I just see it from another angle.  The sister sacrificed herself for the sake of her sisters.  She is clearly a Christ figure, she immerses her self in temptation and sinful people to save her sister’s life.

Tender Lizzie could not bear
To watch her sister’s cankerous care,
Yet not to share.
She night and morning
Caught the goblins’ cry:
“Come buy our orchard fruits,
Come buy, come buy.”
Beside the brook, along the glen
She heard the tramp of goblin men,
The voice and stir
Poor Laura could not hear;
Longed to buy fruit to comfort her,
But feared to pay too dear”

I think you should read this poem.  It’s online, just type in it’s name.  Also, Christina Rossetti was printed in Playboy.  Just wanted to add that.

Now that I have your attention, I want to let you know that you can survive mania.  I promised not to leave the house except for talking Small to and from school, and to her play rehearsals.  We’re going to get our family photo today.  My hair is greasy because I haven’t washed it in three days, but it looks horrible it’s first day so I might just keep it this way.  I’m remembering to eat, taking almost twenty pills one sip of water at a time.  I got a pill stuck in my throat once, so I am more careful now.  I’m not flirting with men online (I don’t do that often).  I’m going to try and get chores done, but that most likely is not going to happen.

Other things to do to respond to the mania:  Take very hot baths or very cold showers.  Stay away from sweets.  Yesterday I felt like I was going into shock because I was eating cookies at a Christmas party, so don’t do that.  Eat regularly.  I find that to be especially difficult as I reach for the potato chips instead of a real meal.  It’s too easy to do that, but eating makes me feel oh so much better.  I crave alcohol at this time, but am good at getting away from it.  Mr. Malakoa has hard cider in the refrigerator and that is hard to resist, but I try not to think too much about it.  (I am a borderline alcoholic.)  Do try to get some sleep.  I’ll try to go to bed early but probably can’t.  If I wanted to take a nap now I couldn’t because it’s too early in the morning.  I wish I could because Small is at school and I could try and sleep un-interrupted. But I can’t.

The Bible warns about this, though.  It says, “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest-and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.”  I’m not too worried about it right now.  We’re already border-line poor.  I don’t know the p.c. way to say that.  I know I should get less sleep, but it’s a necessary part of treating my illness right now.  I am sad that things like this don’t seem to be something I can strive for.  There are other commandments or warnings in the Bible and I’m better about those.  I had four hours of sleep last night, but I don’t think that is what the Holy Spirit mean as He wrote those words.  He doesn’t want us sick, He wants us to be inspired and joyful.

That’s enough for today.  Thanks for reading.

Meds without shame

If you’ve been hanging around here for a while you know I am open about what kind of meds I’m on and why.

If you know me in real life, you probably don’t know I take medicine at all. In fact, unless you guessed (and someone has) you don’t even know I’ve got this going on.

I figure it’s nobody’s business.  My closest friends know I take pills, but most others don’t.  I know that I add to the stigma of mental illness by treating it so privately; but it is private.

My daughter, Small, started taking prescription fluoride and is really excited about it.  She wants to take pills like mommy does.  Initially I was very upset about this.  I didn’t want her to live a life marked by medication.  I didn’t want her to think you have to have drugs to be okay.

But here’s the problem:  I do have to have drugs to be okay.  I want her to live a life based on truth; Why would I want her to believe anything else that it’s normal, even desirable, to be able to take medication, if someone needs it.

There is no sin in this, no moral issue, and really no problem caused by taking meds everyday.  She is excited about it; not embarrassed.

When I first took Abilify, I was very, very excited.  I went from having the worse kind of racing thoughts to the thoughts slowing and then hitting a wall and then nothing.  This all happened within a half hour of taking the pill – no more suicidal thoughts- no more homicidal thoughts.  I was enamored.  I have had that relationship with about 1/2 of my medications.  They’ve done miracles for me.  So why I am ashamed of them?

My mom mentioned that Small was going on about her pills and was very excited about it;  my mom was concerned.  I told her (mostly) what I’ve told you.  She let the issue drop, but I don’t think she agreed with me.

The fact is, I need medicine to live.  The Bible says “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to you.”

The wisest thing I can do is take medicine every day.  And there is nothing wrong with it.  I think that is the wisdom I received from God – it is okay to rely on medicines to make me well.  The medicine does not take the place of God.  I know other folks read the Bible and come up with the idea that all mental illness is a result of un-confessed sin, or spiritual strongholds.   There is a possibility that might be  a factor, and if it is use my Lamictal (and my Lithium, and my Abilify, and my…..)   as a sword, a powerful weapon in my fight against it.