Tag Archives: manic depression

Serotonin

Okay, first of all, I hate taking pills. I do, dutifully, and I know it keeps me both feet outside of the psychiatric floor. I go to the doctor, I fill the prescription and I spend upwards of $100 a month on them. I have very good insurance or that would be closer to $1,000 a month.

Because my brain fights back, however, I am prone to Serotonin Syndrome. That’s when you’ve got too much serotonin in your brain. It is generally caused by taking anti-depressants, and it can kill you. I’ve had it three times. Once it put me in to an outpatient program and the other just put me in bed for three days. I already feel like my brain has squeezed out all of the good feeling hormones and given me a head ache.

I hate this.

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I found the solution

It’s April. I started dieting December of 2010. I have lost about 33 pounds. If I lose four more I will qualify for Lifetime Membership, which means I met a goal weight and don’t have to pay $40 a month anymore. I’ve talked about this before, but I have quite a new new readers, so I’ll tell it again.

At 207 pounds I thought I was probably about fifteen/twenty pounds over weight. I took funny pictures of myself looking sad eyed at the camera. I was pretty fat, but not all that fat, I thought.

I lost fifteen pounds and I was excited! That calls for New Pictures! Imagine, to my astonishment, I was not only still fat, I was still very fat. The weight began to creep off and I did (most) everything right. I tracked my meals on eTools program, exercised some, and showed up to meetings. (As of press I have missed two meetings in almost 2 1/2 years.) I got down to 173. And it stayed there. Every week I was either up a pound, stayed the same, or down .2. This has gone on for months now and I’m tired of it. I know how I lose weight: Follow the Weight Watcher’s Program. I will do that, guzzle water, counting points of everything I eat and exercise.

But wait, there is more. It’s warm out and I really wanted a cold drink, like a freddo from Pete’s. I decided to save a dollar and go to McDonalds. Shamrock Shakes are here for just a little while, and I have good memories of a friend who has fallen by the wayside, and Shamrock Shakes. While I was there, I’d get a “Mini Meal” A hamburger, french friends and Diet Coke. (For the record, Diet Coke and mood disorders usually don’t mix. I popped an Ativan just to get through it.) They did not have Shamrock Shakes.

Bait your breath no longer: I managed to find another milk shake. It was good – I sucked it down. It had 2/3 of my Weight Watcher Points Plus for that day and I am pretty sure the hamburger and french fries knocked the rest of them out of the park.

Why would I do such a thing? I am so close to my goal and, when I am asked if I’d like fries with that, my answer is, low and breathy, “yes, oh yes.”

Here some of the reasons I might do such a thing:

I prefer being fat – As T so elegantly put it I want to hide under a huge mound of fat.

I don’t want to reach my goal. I’d rather have the life of gobbling whatever it is that I want, anywhere or time than I want than that of health and wellness.

I hate myself and am going to let my body know it through a steady diet of junk.

I’m afraid of being thin or attractive.

I don’t want to succeed at this or anything else. Keep me plain, chubby, unaccomplished. It’s easier this way. Except for it’s not easier. I could have popped in to Trader Joe’s and got any of their deli lunches. It would have taken about the same time as it did for me to go through two drive-thru menus. Being destructive is a chore with physics on its side. Being constructive needs creativity and planning. I am creative. Sometimes it is difficult to put this creativity in motion. It’s like words that catch my ear and sound beautiful. It’s like a just right jar of red paint – on clearance. Maybe if I saw my body as an act of art I would take better care of it.

I want a tattoo that says, “TOSKA” except for in Cyrillic. I won’t get one. He says they are too expensive and that it would be even more expensive when I decided I didn’t want it anymore. He won’t get one either.

“Toska – noun /ˈtō-skə/ – Russian word roughly translated as sadness, melancholia, lugubriousness.

“No single word in English renders all the shades of toska. At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. At less morbid levels it is a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning. In particular cases it may be the desire for somebody of something specific, nostalgia, love-sickness. At the lowest level it grades into ennui, boredom.”
― Vladimir Nabokov


So Richly Grieved

It’s a simple story – we were friends. He moved to LA, fell in love with a woman that didn’t like me (partially because I drank too much, I think, and I her boyfriend and I were too close.) They moved in together and pretty much that was it. I’ve seen him only a few times since then. They’ve long broken up, he’s moved to Africa and back and married a different woman.

I wish it was that simple.

It’s almost like he chose death. I can’t have my friend back, ever. No one believes me that I never was in love with him – but I was pretty drunk the summer we spent the most time together and we never wound up…. I won’t insult you with going into those details. I thought our friendship was strong. Turns out it wasn’t. I won’t go to any effort to contact him again. My donotcall.mal list is getting longer and longer and I can’t figure out why. It’s men, gay men, married men, married gay men, that either forget about me or decide they don’t want a relationship with me any more. I am naive enough to wonder why.

My bff T has reminded me, under a different situation with a similar end, that people would die to have friends so perfectly matched as the two of us. She is right – and she makes me really happy to think about. She is wonderful fun and kind and oh so generous. If I am wearing something new while drinking Peet’s coffee, it is because of T. I have another great friend, the mighty peridot (greenegem.wordpress.com) and we can talk about everything and do. She is not-bipolar, but has the heart of someone who does. I can even count my husband most of those days. While we are not very BFF we are going to get that way again, I am confident about that. I am so grateful for them! They bring so much light to my life. Today the sky is periwinkle. I am serious. I am not trying to be poet-or (and I never would use periwinkle in a poem anyway.) Thinking about my friends makes me think they are partially responsible for this clear, periwinkle sky. If they didn’t paint it, they helped make it possible for my head to be tilted back so I can see it.

When I’m thinking of my current non-friends I don’t think about my really good now friends. I, naturally, want to think about all the others – and of course they are many – that have broken or fallen by the wayside. They make me yell with frustration. Why do I even let them in to my new brain? I am reminded of Sherlock Holmes who has no idea the way the universe works but can sniff out a murderer with one of her abandoned shoes. If I could fill my little heart only with the people that loved my back, maybe my heart could grow until I truly can love my enemies, not in a way that frustrates me or degrades me, but with a pure, clear love. No mushy stuff – yes Jesus stuff.


the day I deserve

I am off kilter. Last night my husband and I watched Sherlock over the internet. If you have any sense you will find it and watch it yourself. I thought about it all last night and woke up this morning with him in my brain. I feel frightened. I’m attributing it to the scary British tv show, not to anything real…

But I’m anxious, no matter what caused it, I still am anxious and I need to do whatever it takes to get out of it so it doesn’t become depression, and depression doesn’t lead to death. The last time I was depressed my seven year old asked me, “Do you feel like you don’t deserve anything?”

I thought about it for a minute. “Yes, yes I do.” That really is a part of all the moods I travel through. You can call it self-pity. I don’t care what you call it, actually. For me, those feelings come and bad things happen. No chemically balanced person can say that.

“You deserve ME!” She told me with out stretched arms. A perfectly acceptable time for a hug. I deserve her.

I asked her if she ever felt that way. Her answer was a simple “no”. This child has so much self esteem it is, as her North Dakotan aunt would say, “disgusting.” She is confident. She is happy about 80% of the time. She will pretend to be sad, some of the time, but I have never seen her pretend to be happy. Maybe it comes naturally to her and maybe we’ve built it in to her. Either way, the feeling I don’t deserve anything is mostly gone for me today. It’s just the fear without discernible cause that is getting to me today.


It’s so Racy

I want to write something racy today.  Think Girl Interrupted – I am gorgeous and wild and am queen of the asylum.  I want to scandalize, break hearts and ruin other people’s relationships.  Oh yeah, that’s gonna be me.  I will make mental illness mine.

I will make it mine, but that means honesty.  Honestly, honesty for a person with any sort of chronic, dare I say permanent? disability is usually dull.  Every morning I drag myself down stairs, put something in my belly so I can pop a dozen pills.  I don’t tongue them (pretend to take them) and don’t take others so I get peppier.  (I did that once and that’s how I earned my first hospital vacation)  I don’t wash them down with a bottle of vodka.  Would that be wonderful and dramatic if I did?  Well, I don’t.  I quit drinking about two weeks before I landed in that hospital.  If I was still drinking, I might have wound up in jail or worse.

It took me about an hour and a half to make up this card.  It’s a 5×7 and has my legal first and last name, the insurance numbers and phone numbers, hospital numbers and addresses and the info for my shrink and my med doc.  The other side contains drug allergies and the drugs I take.

It’s so glamorous.  I wonder how I think I can write a memoir about mental illness when what I should do is write an encyclopedia with all the joy and wonder and humor.  Yeah.  Let’s do that.


Bells Might Ring

A lot of my friends are getting divorced, or want a divorce. It seems kinda funny to me, but I’ve heard this story before. Most of us marry in our twenties. A lot of us divorce in our thirties/early forties. Some of us want to remarry, and divorce with the hope they will find someone better, others swear they will never marry again.

My therapist is about six feet tall and has a Ph.D. She has been married five times and told me that her husband of many years is almost perfect. She says that moving out to California was a challenge before because of her liabilities, namely the height and education. I don’t know if Californians are less intimidating here in California or what, but she met her husband that day she moved here. Good for her. She is a smart cookie and I like her much more than I thought I would.

She rarely works with bipolar patients, but that is okay. She said that I do quite well. Many of her patients lie on the couch and watch t.v. all the day. I do creative, productive things and have relationships. I liked that she said that. I wonder if it is a disguise or what. My illness doesn’t spread over everything I do. There are days I am totally in control, and there are others where I run up a $350 bill on art supplies. Last week I had really bad cycling. I had minutes where I said, “What is bipolar, anyway? I don’t have it, I feel great.” By the time I parked my car I was ready to die. That went on about three days. It was thrilling and disappointing. I wasn’t sure if it what would happen. There was no living in the present. I like that idea, living in the present can be wonderful so some people, but when one is suicidal, there is nothing to comfort yourself in that moment. To live with a mood disorder means living in the next moment, and knowing that the moment will change.

More about that later.


The thing about prescription medication

I’ve been off kilter lately so I’ve had quite a few conversations with myself. When things get intense, we talk about tough stuff, like prescription medication. Whitney probably died because of some trouble with her prescription medication, and we know Michael did. Ya know what? I was right there with them. My doctor specifically said the only reason I didn’t go was because it, “wasn’t (my) time”.

Months later I recognize that it’s like I’ve gone through a dangerous initiation. Let’s say I did take the “I” tablets three times a day and the “I” pills twice. (That would be three times the prescribed dose) Top it off with some “A” or a glass of wine and that would be it. If there was an investigation they wouldn’t be able to tell if it was a suicide or a homicide. If I were famous there would be a great outcry against psychiatry and psychiatrists in general, even if the problem lies with me. Do I need to be less responsible for myself? Is it possible for me to be more?

I honestly don’t know. It’s 8:25 and I am exhausted. I pretty much made cards all day, with a quick trip to TJ’s. A friend, who ordered a dozen, is having a lot of trouble with her gastric bypass stuff. She likes giraffes and ordered a dozen cards so I will be back on the giraffe wagon. When I last talked to a banker he asked what my occupation was. I thought about it for a minute before I told him, “artist.” This year alone I’ve been “writer” “therapist” and now “artist”. All of them sound pretty cool. I say this so as to warn you: I am not pretty cool. I’m wearing green and pink snowflake pajamas at eight o’clock on a Saturday night. I am getting a sore throat, too. But enough of all my complaining.