Sunday, August 28, 2011

Bipolar- where it all begins, over and over and over again

Some days I am up, some days I am down. Some moments I am up, some moments I am down. I think we can all say that at some times. What makes it so different for someone who is bipolar? I am asking myself this question, but I am working harder on the answer. Some things that I know: Addiction loves mental illness. The wrong meds make the wrong addiction that much more appealing. Self medicating takes practice, and damn am I good at it. Proper medication takes practice and I am not at all good at it. I am just as afraid of success as I am failure, perhaps even more so. I have misconceptions (ideas that I create), misperceptions (ideas I perceive to be true, that are not), and the truth. I have been living in a place filled with more of the first two. I have to learn to let the end fit the means.

So those are all pretty random, but can you tell I have been working on how to save my life? Desperate times call for desperate measures. When existing is first and last on your list, it has a way of taking up the whole list.
I am going to take a much needed step back from all of the hopeless negative thoughts that I have been berating myself with, and start by accepting who I am today. I am going to work on a couple coping skills for when the negative intrusive thoughts come, some of which include taking my medication, relaxing, or distracting myself. I am going to focus on the things I am still capable of instead of the things I am not, and build on those, slowly and only a few at a time. I am expecting to conquer my illness over night instead of learning the proper ways to  LIVE with it.

Some of the difficulties I am fighting with are: my ability to stay positive, my ability to cope through some very normal life situations, my pain level, and differentiating what (positive and negative) is really me and what is really my medication (my least favorite part of being bipolar), as well as some negativity towards myself about my abilities to contribute towards my family. I am not used to being the taken care of one, and my family isnt used to the caring for mom roles.

I must admit, being an advocate for my family is much easier, and speaking the truths about my illness is much easier when I perceive myself as well and don't have to admit to my current struggles. That is- past tense bipolar is a lot easier than present tense.

I would like to share a story.... it is representative of the quality of mental health care as well as how taboo it is, even in the mental health field.

About 6 weeks ago I got a call about my then upcoming mental health evaluation. I had waited over 3 months for this appointment and suffered a hospitalization in the mean time. It seems there had been a staff member quit, and my soon to be Dr. had to do fill-ins and they were bringing in a temporary Dr. to do my evaluation. I was so thrilled to know that my intake was going to turn into some notes passed on to my actual caretaker.
During the course of the interview I was more worried about my other health problem, my back pain. After some interaction with my actual Dr., it was to my surprise and relief that this fill in Dr. was going to use the super secret, off the record rx pads to give me my normal pain meds. After all, it was his concern that an opiate withdrawal would only complicate things, and I happened to agree.

We were discussing all of the ways my bipolar illness was affecting my life.... all of the usual, like my current and past medications, side effects, current signs and symptoms, and side effects. I started out a sentence like this, "I have realized that managing my illness through self medication isn't working for me...." The Dr. looked over his paper with serious concern and a degree of shock and said, "Oh my God, that's terrible that you have been sick, what is wrong?" I was experiencing my own degree of shock. "I am bipolar," I replied. The Dr. took a minute to even realize what had been said. He tried back stepping and then apologizing, but I found some serious irony that a "Dr." who's degree is in psychiatry, would fail to recognize, especially during an "exam" of a "patient" that being bipolar could be accurately represented by the word "illness." When we think of illness, we do think of a physical manifestation of some sort. I am used to it in the general population, really I am, but for the Dr.? This is why it is so important to raise awareness and educate people about mental illness. Perhaps that is why it is so hard to ask for help, because it is so hard to acknowledge, even for a Dr.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Get it all out.... Am I a Failure?

I am still having such a hard time getting through every damn day. Hell some minutes are unbearable. What IS going on? I have never felt this bad before over such an extended period of time. I KNOW I have had better times. I KNOW I have felt joy in my life. Why not now?

I have intruding thoughts of failure ALL the time. I am 2 damn classes away from my degree, yet I can't believe that I can possibly get it. WHY WHY WHY? Its like I am at war with myself constantly. Is this illness, is this insecurity, or is this imagined? When failure seems inevitable is it permissible to step down and wait until I am well? I don't even feel like I can ask for help. Who would I even ask if I could. This is just so damn hard. hard hard hard.

I need to be doing constructive things, but I can barely do functional things. I build up all these thoughts and then I get to my Dr. and try to find answers and all I get are more pills. Even better, I get different Dr's with complete different opinions and I don't know how to know who to trust. I am trusting them with my life after all, but half the time my life feels so worthless and I feel so hopeless.

I cant even write anymore, no one is listening and I am tired of crying. Time to go and try to save my life.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Its a New Day

It is a new day with new challenges. I am getting better at facing each day... I think. I have some sense of normalcy with taking classes, but also a sense of being overwhelmed. Life is such a roller coaster, but I am learning that after every uphill there is always a downhill, and it will be that way until I take my last breath. It will never be just uphill.

I really should be here everyday, sharing my thoughts, relating to others, but sometimes I feel like what I say doesn't matter. Don't confuse my thoughts with a need for affirmations... I just feel like this blog has lost its importance and so I must remind myself to do it anyway for myself.

I have been thinking about writing in general lately and about how much I still want to write a book. It is another thing I need to do for myself. I get inspired easily, but I lose my motivation just as easily. I am good at ideas, not so good at following through. I haven't even finished my 30 day challenge that I started, oh, back in June I think?

I guess it shows that I have been questioning myself a lot. This new anxiety feeling that has been happening has been paralyzing at times. My Dr. insists its a medication reaction, and I sure hope so because it is HORRIBLE. I have actually wished death on myself when it was at its worst and had to go to sleep to get through it. I wonder if I am a worthwhile parent, partner, or even person. It is that bad.

Today is a new day and I am not feeling anxious so I am going to enjoy this moment, because no life is worth succumbing to feelings of hopelessness.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Where I am at today....

I am sad and mad and my fight or flight is always raring to go. I have opinions directed at me from every which direction, either from what is said or unsaid. I am in the middle of trying to find quality care for my health, both physical and mental, and I feel like I am self diagnosing because I can't find a Dr. who can take some actual time and do their job.

Some people know, others don't, but both me and my son were in mental hospitals within about the last 30 days. I had only been out for 2 days before he went in. Is it because of life issues or medication issues, or both? It feels like only I am asking that question. I don't feel good and I am not sure why. I have lots of guesses.

I had an appointment with a counselor today who is here for "family preservation." He is a "Love and Logic" instructor as well, and I felt so uneasy after the appointment. I felt judged. He encouraged me to get a lock on my 3 year old's door for when she isn't listening. During the conversation all of his theory made sense and I was going along with the idea and then when I discussed it with my husband, it seemed so highly inappropriate. I don't want parenting classes right now and now I don't know if I can change my mind about it all.

I'm highly overwhelmed and am scared that if I keep pushing myself, I am going to push myself back into the hospital. How did things get like this? I see everything through the nauseating fuzz of a disgusting little pill, one that is punching holes in my life and my head. One that gives me back physical mobility, but creates chaos everywhere else. I can't even find a Dr. who I can discuss it with. They will prescribe them, but won't talk about them. Ironic, no? I have so many appointments for every little area of my life and I move on to the next one, hoping it will be the one with some answers to all of my questions, and instead I get answers to questions that I didn't even have or more  pills that I can't live with and I can't live without. I just want this madness to truly end.