16 May 2012

Astrology & Bipolar II

"Never again will you have a mental picture of a Libran as a calm, perfectly balanced, sweet, gracious and charming individual You'll have a mental picture of a person who has that kind of disposition half the time. The other half of the time, Libra can be annoying, quarrelsome, stubborn, restless, depressed and confused. Libra is first up, then down. He swings one way, then another. Suddenly, like the scaels-perfect balance! It's heavenly. But there is always that period of weighing and dipping before the moment of heavenly balance is achieved."

That is the kind of drivel I used to believe. Astrology made it all sound so simple, Of course my energy ebbs and flows. I'm a Libra. Occasionally I am full of energy, hyper productive, incredibly social. Full of self confidence, and magnanimous, Amazing, Spectacular. Outgoing, Fun fun fun. 

Then I get tired. I need to sleep. I feel heavy, slow, sad, irritated, frustrated. I go crazy with bad self talk. I am depressed. I am low, I am stuck. I feel sick, I feel pain. I can't move. I can't focus, I think too much but it's all bad thoughts. Negative, self loathing. Hurtful.

But it's okay because I am a Libra and I will feel better again. I am just struggling to find my balance. Because when the scales are balanced I am so grown up. I am responsible, I can handle stress quite well. I go easy on myself, am loving forgiving, compassionate. I'm not only a Libra I am a Sage with priest casting. Everything is explained.

  • Positive Traits:
     Articulate, Colorful, Dramatic, Entertaining, Enthralling, Expressive, Friendly, Fun-loving, Humorous, Informative, Inquisitive, Knowledgeable, Light-hearted, Perceptive, Storyteller, Verbose, Wise

  • Negative Traits:
     Arrogant, Bag of Wind, Deceptive, Demands Attention, Drama Queen, Egocentric, Gossipy, Hogs Conversations, Intrusive, Loud, Oratorical, Overblown Sense of Entitlement, Sleazy, Tactless Bore, Tasteless
  • Positive Traits:
     Caring, Compassionate, Guiding, Enthusiastic, Healing, Humanitarian, Inspirational, Nurturing, On a Mission, Visionary, Spiritual

  • Negative Traits:
     Evangelical, Fanatical, Feverish, Impractical, Irrational, Proselytizing, Visionary Blindness, Vague, Unthinking, Zealous
And yes, the experts in both these disciplines will quickly say I am explaining them incredibly superficially. The thing is this is what has kept me from getting help. Would things have been better if I got help sooner? Would my life have been more successful if I realised I had been depending on and taking advice from people who were as damaged as I was? 

I'm busy reading a book called "Why am I still depressed" and I am learning a lot I didn't know. Especially about the whole Bipolar spectrum.

I'm a little bit angry, because I had been exhibiting a lot of the known Bipolar II or soft bipolar symptoms for as long as I remember. Why did my first psychiatrists 12 years ago never pick it up? Why didn't I?

I could be dead right now because of a wrong diagnosis, and even after I attempted suicide on Anti-depressants, which is one of the major warning signs, I was still treated for the wrong things. I guess I need to get over this anger and blame as well as self blame, but I am treating it as a grieving process.

It feels like I have to question every thought and emotion right now to make sure it's not a "crazy" thought. Is it me, or is it bipolar. Or am I, the me I have known forever, and have grown and am. Am I wholly formed by my unbalanced brain chemicals. Is everything I have ever loved, disliked, or thought and done only due to my brain chemicals, and seeing as they're not working so well, does that mean I'm completely wonky, and shouldn't trust myself in any way.

That's what I am dealing with right now. I am mentally Ill, and all I see is the bad parts of that illness.

Apparently there is a bipolar gene, when if only slightly activated only causes greater creativity and good stuff, and when more prevalent causes more and more bipolar symptoms. Negative symptoms. I guess I should be glad I'm not on the highest point of the spectrum.

Right now I am slightly doubting the efficacy of the meds though, and also asking myself how long will they be effective for.

I'm a bit low, as I am sure is evident. I hope to get out of here again soon. I am having dreams and nightmares about friendships I have lost. Be it due to my own fault or the other person. Asking myself if it was due to Bipolar. Would things have been easier or better handled had I known my mood swings had a different explanation. That I get irritated when I am in a mixed episode. Friends I have loved Would they have been more understanding?

I don't know and I guess the only way forward is to look ahead, use the tools I have now and try not to fuck up anymore

Ps. Incredible how inspired one is to write a blog post when one is supposed to be studying.

09 May 2012

Advice and being there

I don't find it hard to give advice. I'm usually front of the choir when it comes to not practicing what they preach But my preaching is soooo very good. I'm so on top of what is going on in anyone else's life that I should get a crown to rule as the queen of, often unsolicited, advise..

I try to follow my own advice but this is much harder. I have a "reality check" friend, who, like me, can hand out advice with the best of them. Whenever things get murky and I'm not quite sure if I am doing the right thing or if I have completely lost the plot I will phone or email her. It's very good and helpful to have a reality check person. Especially one as good as mine. I know she will give it to me honestly and is not afraid to tell me, diplomatically, if I have lost the plot. So I trust her implicitly. I think she trusts me too.

I am learning something new though. As the most poignant of my lessons go I am learning it from Caitlin, or actually through having to mother her. I am trying to learn to just listen. To be there. To acknowledge what she is feeling, acknowledge the validity of her emotions, opinions, feelings, without necessarily advising in any way. Or judging it in any way as anything. It's quite hard.

It's a difficult thing to switch off that "know it all" busy body and not say " Oh dear if he said that, you should say this" or "If he did that, you should do that" And the reason it could be hard is because I have super controlling parents. Two of them. The struggle to figure out which parts of me are from imprinting from them and which parts I need to let go of is also making me question how controlling I am. And to be honest I am very. Very very. Up to how I even try to control my own reactions, thoughts and feelings.

I don't listen to myself very well. I try to suppress and ignore, and this is what I think causes a lot of my darker sticky moods I think.

I am not sure if this is more often lately or if it is just something I am only noticing now,. Have I always been like this or am I worse?

All I know is that sometimes all you need to do is acknowledge what another person is feeling. Just acknowledge the validity of their experience, even if it is completely alien to you. Even if you have the best advice. Be it your child, husband, friend, parent or a stranger

PS: I had to ask her for a reality check today as I nearly told my neighbour about what happened with her husband. She reminded me that it won't necessarily do any good. It will hurt her, it will not make me feel better, and no matter what I never want to see him again, so I will sadly end up using some other subterfuge to why our friendship can't go on like it has. I struggle with fake. I don't lie easily and I struggle to let it be, but my reality check friend is right here. I need to let this go. I need to work this out by myself. He was probably just as drunk as I was, and there is no point in ruining her life because of that. Comment if you have a different opinion than my reality check friend.

03 May 2012

Finding my Normal

This bipolar thing is still a bit of a mental adjustment to me. For a little more than the time I started this blog in 2010 I think, I've suspected I have Bipolar II. I have a lot of the common "symptoms". I'm also a unique individual with my own interesting brand of crazy.

I am trying to focus on me, how I am at any given time, and even halfheartedly using an android app to track my moods. I have certain tools to my disposal. Yesterday was a very dark mood day, as was apparent by my post. But I know that when I feel like that I need to express, otherwise it festers. So after posting the blog I also chatted to a friend about what happened, and it seemed to have enabled me to move on. I feel on the better side of low today.

There's so much to read on the topic, even the psychiatrist gave me a book to read. Little secret, my concentration still sucks so I am only capable of a very little reading. 

The thing is I sigh and walk away when I see one more bipolar blog (haha how ironic) Or one more mental health article. They all say the same crap in the same way blah blah blah

Then I found Natasha Tracy. She writes so well, and I absolutely love all the different articles, so I'll probably be sharing a few. I'm not sure what the protocol is with that in the blogosphere.but this is one of my favourites: Mental Illness - What is normal anyway?

On the other hand I can't be too hard on bipolar blogs ( like this one seems to be turning into again....yuck) they did help me ask myself those tough questions that led me to my eventual diagnosis and asking for help. Lets just be clear about this blog though. If it manages to help someone else, Great. But it is mainly my own exploration of myself. It is me finding me. SO I have no delusions about saving the world through my half assed writing.

Of course the internet is full of scary facts around any health topic so one needs to tread with caution. Right now I am terribly scared that my almost 6 year old is exhibiting more and more signs of probable childhood onset bipolar.

I was on meds while pregnant with her, and with my genetics, she has something like a 25%  chance. She has all my other crappy genetic traits. A-topic dermatitis, and asthma. She looks like a mini me. She could have been cloned for that matter.

I hope this one passes her by. I look at her having severe mood-swings and anger outbursts for absolutely no reason and wonder. I just wonder. I kinda hope she's just a brat. I'm also scared this is her acting out because of me,

I've tried to buffer her from my worst days, but she's not always been completely out of the line of fire. I try my best. We don't spank, we do positive parenting. I try to be firm but gentle and loving. Anyhow this aint a parenting blog either. Let me get on with my day, and you with yours. Thanks for reading. Feel free to comment

02 May 2012

Mixed Moods, Meds and self inflicted misery

I can't remember if I ever wrote of being date raped at age 19.
I don't think or talk about it much. The resolution of those emotions and pain was sorted out with my first bout of therapy years ago and I usually feel nothing much even when I do think about it.

I have not had to feel those feelings of vulnerability, dread, absolute misery and self hate that was associated with that incident for a very long time. Let me go back a bit though.

It was a long weekend. my Psychiatrist nicely asked me to please drink my meds at 8am every single day. This means weekends. I struggle with that. I tend to sleep in on weekends because after 9pm is the only time I get to  spend some time with my husband watching movies, or catching up with my TV Series etc. So it;s me time, and on weekends I like to stretch it just a little bit which means I get to bed late, and usually sleep in..

To my own detriment though.

It seems the books are right. When you suffer from Bipolar disorder you need routine routine routine. I suck at routine.

So Wednesday last week I saw the psychiatrist. Told him happily I am very stable of mood since starting the meds. We decided to slow my increase of Epitec as I was getting extremely light headed, and that stopped with the slowing. We also decided together that capping me on 100mg instead of 200mg should be okay, seeing as I had been doing so good.

Obviously the cortisone I received during my stay in ICU after my Gall bladder removal, as well as the Anesthetics, both contributed to a pervasive low mood I'd been having. But in my mind all was well. I knew why it was there so expected it to lift soon. It hasn't

So by Friday which was a public holiday I had a cold and felt low down depressed, and very pissed off with myself for not being able to get out of bed.

Saturday I forced myself out, and made myself go to the mall. Bad Idea. I hate the mall. What's worse than the mall is going there when I am irritable and low. And going clothes shopping for my picky, whiny 5 year old while she's with me.

It was a BAD Idea. And while I was out there I just started to see all these things that were wrong with me and wrong with my life, and wrong with my husband. And I sank deeper into anger and missery.

It got so bad that when we got home, after being horrible to my husband and impatient with my daughter I decided to have some wine. This after I had given up on drinking, and doing so well with it.

So I drank because I felt horrible and I had a huge "talk/fight/discussion" with my husband while my daughter played at the neighbours. Eventually we started making some progress and the wine was having effect ( 2/3 of a bottle down). He still smokes and my resistance is low while drinking so when I felt like a drag of his cigarette I rather went next door.

There we drank some more and I switched to red wine, at which point I apparently lost all memory. I can't remember much. I have never blacked out while drinking. I apparently did some silly things, and said some silly things, and acted like a total drunk, which is embarrassing enough. But when my friend went to put her child in the bath and my husband left to do the same with ours, my neighbours husband made a move on me.

Even thinking about it now makes me sick to my stomache. I have no idea why I remember this and not what else happened that night. It';s not very clear exactly how insistent he was or how touchy he was but the thing that stays with me is that same helpless, and self hating, angry and hurt, and stupid feeling. I keep saying the same things to myself. " Why was I so stupid to drink so much" " Why did I end up with him alone" " Did I fight it enough" "Why didn't I fight it more"

Just to be clear, I wasn't raped again, as far as I remember it was just a lot of unwanted attention and maybe a profession of desire. But it was enough to trigger those horrible emotions that have been buried for years. I don't want them. I can't snap out of this now.

I'm more moody, I don';t take it out on my husband though and I try not to take it out on anyone else, but it is hard.

I want to be alone but I can't. I want to crawl into bed, read, watch movies, disappear. I want to just not have to live right now, but I know I have to. I have to go on, act normal, get stuff done, take another breath. Try to be okay again.

I have to