Tag Archives: medication

desperately seeking malakoa

I haven’t been well lately.  I felt like I had an ax chop my heart in to four efficient slices.  If you do it right, that’s the way trees come on down.  I feel nausea right now and it’s because I took my multi-vitamin without enough food.  I had goat’s cheese and cherries for breakfast.  Enough for all the tiny pills I take, but not for those big ‘ole vitamins.  I got gummi vitamin-B complexes and those got rid of most of my vomiting.  I was throwing up most mornings. (Like, five mornings a week.)  The strange thing is that it never came to me to stop taking the pills.  They were making me sick, but I still saw them as my life boat.  I never thought that I could just drop them.  If I didn’t take them I most surely would die,  and would take my daughter with me.  There are folks out there who can be bipolar and not take meds, but I am utterly convinced I will never be one of them.

My husband has said for a while that I can be awfully cruel when I’m having an episode.  I say and do things that no one should do.  I fought off that thought because I wanted to have my own life and feelings apart from being manic depressive.  Why is it it’s my illness and not just me? Can’t I be a jerk now and again.

It turns out, no.  I cannot be that kind of jerk now and again.  

Oh, I can be selfish and eat all the ice cream left in the freezer.  I can turn the radio up really high without thinking about who can hear it and I can get in fights and make plans to get the heck out of here.  But that is not what he meant.

We had a very nice fight about two, maybe three, weeks ago.  I remember very little about it.  A few days afterwards we were arguing (rather than fighting) and he replayed some of the things I said to him.

Wow.

I kind of remembered some of the topics we covered, but it was like being very drunk.  I am sort of present, but I couldn’t remember whose lap I sat on or even who I spent the evening with.  I don’t remember the beginning nor when I crossed over to the monster I become while full blown manic.  I was not an angry drunk, just a curious one.  I can’t say that I am not an angry manic depressive.  

I said things no one should ever say and at the time I meant every single word of it.  If my husband treated me the way I treated him he would be long gone, no question.

never want to do that to him or anyone else.  There are signs before I get to those places.  I start snapping at people and mad enough to plan on running away from home.  In these bizarre fantasies my daughter comes with me; I promised her I would never leave her behind and I wouldn’t.  Those plans are born of imbalanced chemicals.  My husband is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but he is good to me and good to our daughter most of the time.  He doesn’t deserve to hear the things I said.  

Just a few days ago, he said to me, “I desperately want to stay married to you.”  For the life of me I can’t figure out why.  I am (or have been – if I’ve really changed I don’t know yet.) abusive and lazy.  I do nothing around the house for days (weeks) at a time.  The list of what I do and what I am that is cruel, and wrong goes on and on and about a third of this is caused by my mental illnesses.  

 2/3 = 66%

Am I worth it?


My hobby

I knew a woman who had TMJ, severe back pain and fibromyalgia. She also suffered from secondary infertility. I felt pity on her. She asked me once to accompany her on an appointment at University of San Francisco. It was about a thirty minute drive, a toll bridge and parking is a huge mess, but we went and waited. When we finally saw the doctor, she took off her shoes and pulled off her socks. She showed the doctor her ankles. One was slightly more swollen than the other. She was in no pain, not even that nameless feeling you get when things just aren’t right. Nothing.

The podiatrist did notice that she had a corn and that she had the choice of whether she wanted to remove it or to hang tight. Of course she signed up for the surgery – her hand almost quivering with excitement. She thought her intuition and God drew her to that place and that it was just wonderful that she had her convictions verified.

I could not believe she went to that effort to fix something that wasn’t broken. The amount of time and money we spent to get there was astounding.

Her hobby was going to the doctor.

I am afraid I have become like her.

Today is Friday. I started the day at the physical therapist, where Megan, Ph.D and I worked on my knee. The knee bothers me more than hurts me. There are a few other things she is working on – including my balance caused by those tumors in my foot and strength in the hips. Thank you, Dr. Megan.

Monday is the day I see my psychiatrist. She adjusts my psychiatric medication and helps with my regime – she loves yoga and likes meditation. If you have religious objections to them that you would like to see addressed, please comment and I can tell you why I think that is cool for me, or any other Christian, to practice them.

Tuesday is Weight Watchers. No doctors there. But I quit eating milk and my face has cleared up. Wonder if all along a milk allergy caused the mess that was my skin. I saw a dermatologist and he gave me two tubes of goo for my face.

Wednesday we visited the marriage counselor, LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) with a Ph.D in Psychology. She is very small and I recognized her because her office is in the same building as my beloved Dr. G (He moved to San Diego.)

Thursday I went to my talk-therapy therapist. The psychologist is arrestingly smart. She earned her Ph.D from University of North Dakota. I talked about my foot problems and how the doctor (A podiatry degree is separate from a MD – but still a doctor.) told me there was nothing he could do. I reluctantly agreed to get a second opinion. But are there enough days in a week to accommodate another doctor?

It’s not a hobby. It’s just what my life is right now, I keep telling myself. It’s not forever, but maybe it’s not. When I was young the family doctor didn’t know my brother had a sister. He managed to get every single childhood illness that is not vaccinated against and some that were. I didn’t. I never broke a bone or needed anti-biotics. Now, I am quite sure he hasn’t been to the doctor for years, while I haven’t been to the doctor in hours. It’s not a contest and being free of bodily disease is not a moral issue. I do my best not to be sick: I wash my hands and brush my teeth and try not to be overweight. Even if I do those things I will always be sick – I will always a close, personal relationship with my pharmacist and the pharmacist techs. (Ah! The pharmacist is a doctor, too!)

Edited to add: I didn’t mention the teeth doctors: Dentist, endodontist and orthodontist.


Jesus Cristo Resucitó!

Buenos noches, compadres.

Jesus died, and he rose from the dead.  Incidentally that was not so impressive during that time.  People “died” all the time and then “woke up” or were “revived.”  Maybe they weren’t dead in the modern sense of the word, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt.  Let’s say they really died and they really rose from their deaths in obedience to God.  The Bible features people that were not Jesus being resurrected by Jesus and his gang. For me to believe in the Bible, it means that I have to believe that people that were not fully God were dead and brought back to life. For you to believe in the resurrection, you don’t have to give full credence in the Bible, but I think one belief begets another.

So what then?  If rising from the dead is just a parlor trip, what does Jesus have to do with it?  Anyone can come alive again.  Why is he so special?

The question of why Jesus is special makes me chuckle.  If you cast aside that which appears to be mysticism – like the virgin birth – the miracles – his bravery and his speech set him aside.  He is clever, able to answer any question but able to keep the information to himself when it is the right thing to do.  He is never and always appropriate – he listens to his mother – even thought it’s not His time-  and makes all this wine from plain water.  He mouths off to the high priest when He could have just let the subject drop (and save his life) and finds himself convicted of blasphemy.  He gets an adulterous woman’s charges dropped and her would-be-executioners stones to drop.  I’ve heard the argument that he was having religious delusions.  I don’t know your background, but I’ve been around people with religious delusions.  They go around talking about demons or mistake family members for John the Baptist.  They don’t banter and they can’t form cognoscente sentences, let alone reply to questions about their beliefs.  Things just are.

In my time and space in the hospital, I encountered two deeply religious people.  I do not count myself a deeply religious person in the hospital because I do not want to get in trouble and have “pre-occupation with religious pursuits” written again on my records.  I bring my Bible, but don’t draw anyone out in to conversation.  If I was asked, I would speak about my beliefs and Jesus, but mostly I keep it to myself.

Of those two people, there was one I would call crazy.  She came and told the nurse I was talking to that there were demons at the edge of her bed.  The nurse asked her compassionate yet probing questions and I promised to pray for her.  Then I cracked up inside until I saw her hands, which looked like they had been washed over and over again.  It sounds like OCD, but I have OCD and I never wash my hands.  (Good to know next time I want to share nachos with you!)

The non-crazy guy was a devout Muslim.  He was a big guy – hefty.  Not blubbery, but if he was not in the wheelchair he could have been intimidatingly large.  He once took a butcher’s knife and stabbed himself in the belly, narrowly missing any sort of vital organ.  He thanked Allah for his protection and for the car accident that made him meek.  He prayed every few hours in his room.  He would dismiss himself from listening to music with us during (big waste of my time) music therapy time.  His life aligned with his beliefs, even if the chemicals in his body were off-kilter.  A suicide attempt that does not mean someone is crazy.  He was devout believer; I did not see him as nuts.  I considered him to be closer in line with Jesus’ actions than the poor, tortured girl.  I don’t believe good medicine could fix the Muslim man.  The girl?  Maybe she was being teased by the demons.  But maybe they hadn’t found the right anti-psychotic.  

And I can say that because I take the right anti-psychotic.  

Tomorrow I will talk about the empty tomb.  Tonight I need to have a bowl of cereal and my medications and go to bed.

Shout out to my homey, T, in Las Vegas tonight – hey baby, keep losing that change!


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.


How Far Do you Go?

I deal with a lot of health care practitioners – I have a serious, incurable mental illness. (Bipolar, along with OCD and ADD). Before my diagnosis I played around with different things to help my depression – Rescue Remedy, that I became psychologically addicted to, St John’s Wort, which I never remembered to take, and therapists.

Once I was diagnosed with depression I was adamant that I would never need drugs for my illness, and if I’d just cowboy up it would go away. We were talking about a “major depressive disorder.” Years later when I received a more accurate diagnosis they admitted me to the hospital and started putting me on medications. [spoiler] Five years later I take at least eleven pills a day. [/spoiler] I see a therapist every couple of weeks and when I need it I go to group therapies. One of the groups I was a part of was called Dialectial Behavior Therapy (DBT) It is based on Buddhist teachings, although I believe it never fell in to heresy.

I think the “heresy” is where my long ole post fits in. In the groups, we studied mindfulness, learned to avoid black and white thinking and radical acceptance. These are a part of Zen Buddhism. While nothing in the class offended me, I did read a book by one of the speakers that I thought was repugnant. He repeatedly and purposefully used the Bible out of context to prove that all religious teachings espoused the same thing. It was frustrating and I am at the point I cannot take any of his teachings graciously because he so offended my faith. Now, if his messages totally turned my life around, I may not be so quick to kick him to the curb, but ultimately I believe that someone so spiritually lost is not someone I want to take spiritual advice from, even if the temptation was great. If he were a psychiatrist, though, that would be different. My psychiatrist is from the Middle East and shared with me that she meditated, but we didn’t discuss it further. It’s not appropriate, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that she is an excellent doctor. If she was handing out crystals and fliers inviting me to worship them with her, that would be different, but she’s not.

All of this medicine that I am about to take is taken by someone who eschewed aspirin. Sometimes, when I get tired of it, I think, why do I do this? And the answer is, because you are going to die if you don’t.

I do want to be healed, most of the time. Bipolar can cave in on you if you’re not very careful. I am not willing to deny Jesus to do it, though. I think there are all kinds of practitioners that can do great work but I would not be willing to set aside my beliefs or relationship with God to have it done. I’m not passive, I just don’t want to be a part of it. I want my end of the equation to ultimately glorify God. For some reason I am thinking of that old “psychic surgery” scene in the end of the Man on the Moon movie. He has incurable, un-treatable cancer and he flies around the world for a “miracle.” http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=xy53Un2AXpU (work safe) He sees that there is no miracle to be found.

I’m looking for a point to everything I just wrote. I suppose it’s this. I went far looking for help for myself. The best way for me to help myself was with medication and therapy – both decidedly “Western” although the medication more than the therapy. I also needed the body of Christ is work towards being well – that’s a Universal idea, right? I’m not ever going to be 100% well on this side of paradise, but I know that Western medication is going to push me along that path. Medication can be miraculous too, right?


Kittens seem to play into it a lot (PG)

My friend “youknowwhoiam” once described her head as being full of kittens. I didn’t know she was bipolar before that, but I recognized it right away. A quick chat confirmed it and I found comfort in my brethren. 4% of adults have bipolar, I wonder how many of them can be open about it. I can’t, yet. But if I spot one, I will reveal myself.

Now I feel like a kitten myself. I’ve got my mama kitty picking me up from the scruff of my neck with her teeth and noodling me. Problem is, while the kitten is being nestled in to mommy’s lair and given a sweet nipple, I’m just tossed aside. My expectations are useless. I’m just cold. I want to find a place of comfort, There aren’t any here. I took an ativan. I often drink some caffeine, too. The Ativan or Xanax relax me and the caffeine peps me up, in a good way. There is no caffeine here. I texted a friend asking what she was doing today, but she hasn’t gotten back to me, and I know she’s busy. The greenegem.wordpress.com has been helpful and I am happy to have her. I just need to get out. I might feel better if I eat something, but I am not about to cook. I might feel better if I did yoga, but it’s best on an empty stomach. I might feel better if I made myself get up and do something, but all of those things make me feel so overwhelmed. Remember, overwhelmed is a kind of fear. What am I afraid of? What do I have to lose by confronting bipolar? I know It’s best for now to write, to try to sing. To dream a little. These episodes are a part of my life and always will be. It’s that where the overwhelmed comes from? It is me? Or is it the illness? Or I am the illness? Is it like pusy pimple? They aren’t me, but they sure look like it. I’m all broken out now, too. They sure look like my neck is covered in them. (Thanks, Vyvanse).

I forgot to get Small from school yesterday. It was minimum day and I forgot. This is the third time I have forgotten. She called me and I was across town. I called Li and she rushed out to get her like she was her own. This woman has a newborn baby and a six (almost seven) year old. Also – a seventeen year old. All that, but she still cares for my baby.


Not working

Last night my medicines didn’t work.

This morning I wasn’t allowed to to work.

I have not been around because mid-morning I’m back to work. 9-12:30. I like my job very much. I don’t love it, but I do love the little boy who God has entrusted me with. (I’m a behavior therapist for autistic two year-olds.) I write mid-morning. The house is empty, and cool because we’ve trapped the night air into our house. Chores are not done because chores are a mid-afternoon thing; I don’t mind a cluttered house. Friends are usually busy. The time is all mine.

Yesterday I ate five cookies for breakfast. It set the tone for the rest of the day. I didn’t feel good, and I ate more junk. It was like I told Weight Watchers to go poop on itself. I feel like I’ve gained weight and I deserve to. I was scattered and kept repeating myself. I made pumpkin enchiladas that were not good. (I am a good cook, usually). I went to bed at seven. My scrambled egg brains were not good for anything. Mrs Medication (me) is disillusioned with the meds I am on. I won’t go off Abilify (takes away racing thoughts) or my ADD meds (a stimulant that enhances the marital bed). Vitamin B Complex is here to stay as well (I don’t lose my car in the rain or anytime else.) I am open to adjusting or adding or dropping the rest but that is probably never going to happen. (I take a lot of meds, rapid cycling bipolar does that to a girl.)

My husband wants me to call my doctor. I called to see if I could bump up my appointment, but the receptionist said she didn’t have anything Friday. (Pdoc only works at my office Mondays and Fridays.) Frustrating.

On the way home today, I kept trying to thing of ways to get the head exploding feeling out of my head. It’s like embers in my head. I understand how people use guns to ameliorate this situation, but I won’t do it. It’s more like a fantasy or meek suggestion than any real suicidal thoughts. One of the driving reasons I have never actually tried to die by suicide is because I fear for the person that might find my body. One time in my life I had an elaborate plan which involved going to a hospital where they were used to finding people dead. I never did it, as badly as I wanted to. I won’t get in to the rest of my plan. Descriptions of suicidal intentions just spur on already sick people and dramatize the situation. Suicide is murder. It’s not the result of selfishness. It’s an act of desperation. That does not give us permission to do it. I include you in the “us”. Don’t. Do. It.

I’ve noticed tugging on my face to be a sign I need an Ativan. So I took one. I also need to exercise but I won’t until B gets home. He wishes I would do it during the day but so far that’s not worked out. I feel like I have things to do. Sometimes the thing is to watch my favorite (and only) tv show, “America’s Top Model”. I am not proud of the fact that I love it.

I took the Ativan and now I feel like my blood is burning. Is this what happens when you mix Ativan with Ten Calorie Dr Pepper? My life is so weird some times.