Talking About Bipolar

Sharing Bi-polar moments


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Stinking thinking

Today was a most disturbing day compared to the last few days.

I woke up feeling  odd.  A feeling I can’t quite explain but it prevented me from going to church today ( I really do regret this).  I had decided to stay in for the day and not bother anyone with how I was feeling or letting them try to make me feel better or help me in any way.  Later, I realized I needed to get out of the house.  It is one of my wellness tactics.  Don’t stay in and think, think and keep thinking.  It is nothing but stinking thinking controlling my mind.  I have to escape its grips, so I run.  I leave as quick as I can get dressed.  Sometimes it’s so bad, I don’t care if my clothes are pressed or not.  I just have to get out.

I was not depressed or sad, but had sad thoughts.  My thoughts were how alone I was in the world (stinking thinking).  I have my mom, my children and the biggest support person in my life, my therapist, but in those moments, I felt very alone in the world.  I felt very misunderstood and that for that reason, I mattered to no one.

I went from room to room trying to get some kind of emotional balance.  I played a game on my cell phone and tablet while my mind wondered.  I also did some journaling.  Sometimes it helps me figure out what is going on in my head and that sometimes helps me figure out why my emotions are the way they are.

I had stinking questions like, did my last relationship end, because the person could not deal with my illness.  Quickly, logic said No.  It ended because we wanted much different things.  Our lifestyles are very different.  His lifestyle is dangerous for a person with a mental illness.  Mine is safe for me and those I love but would be boring for him.  We used to do things together but they were things that took me to the edge and I became tired of living on the edge.  I just wanted to live.

Stinking thinking said, I am horribly ugly and that is why you are alone. It took me a while to bounce from this one because all my life I thought I was ugly.  Later today, I realized, ugly is a harsh word, especially for one to use to describe self.  Though I am not pretty or cute or attractive, I am probably average.  Not hard on the eyes or people who not be able to look me in the face and smile back when I smile at them (doesn’t matter if I know them or not).

Stinking thinking says you are missing out on your grandchildren and on the important events in the life of your children.   The reality is, that I am limited to what I can do and where I can go and for how long.  I can see pictures of them and their aunt lets me know new things they are doing.  It is no where near the same as being there, but it is all I get.

Because of my bipolar, I cannot visit them for to long.  I truthfully have not been able to stay away from home for more than a few weeks without a mood shift.   Once that shift happens, I start going downhill and usually end up major depressed soon after I return home.  Some times I bounce back quicker than others. The last time was extremely hard.  It was the whole winter.  It was bipolar depression with suicide ideology and Seasonal Affective Disorder.

I guess I was sad because I am not involved in the lives of my family.  I feel like a throw away.  I miss out on all the important events. I see photos of everyone there except me.  Why am I am never made aware of major life events until after the fact.  This makes me feel left out of life.  I hate that feeling.  I hate how it makes me think, what it sometimes gives me a thought to do.  But it is what it is and I have to fight those thoughts and remember that even though I have a mental illness that does limit some things in my life, all things are not off limits.

I am grateful that while I do get lonely at times, I can live alone and care for myself.  I am compliant with taking my medication, seeing my therapist, keeping all Dr. appointments for my medical health and remembering that living healthy with mental illness takes work.  We cannot take anything for granted.

I cannot even take my thoughts for granted, that they are just thoughts.  Some of those thoughts are harmful, so I need to be aware of my thoughts.  I need to control my thoughts and not let them control me.  Make no mistake, that is the case whether you have a mental illness or not, however, with a mental illness our thoughts tend to take us into a dangerous realm where if we do not catch them, it can be harmful.

We cannot take sleep for granted.  My mind tells me every night, not to go to bed.  Let’s stay up.(definitely stinking thinking- who chooses to stay up or night when they don’t have to work).  I try and it gets me into trouble.  I eat more to stay up, that adds on empty calories and then I sleep only 5 hours at the most.  Sleep deprivation is tied to weight gain.  It also can bring on mania for me.  Sometimes it is the cause of my stinking thinking and then it takes  me into depression.

I am at my safe place now.  At the computer blogging.  I am surrounded by people (comforting even though I do not know them) at the library.  I can stay until the library closes and then another phase begins.  “I don’t want to go home”.  For what?  I need to be out.

So, when it is time to go, I will waste gas and drive to a store that probably does not have what I want anyway.  A waste, but it keeps me out a little longer.

Catch that stinking thinking.  It doesn’t matter if they are questions, irrational statements to self or others or if it is an illogical, irrational or dangerous action.  You are in control.  If you feel out of control, get help by phone or walk to someone who can help you.  Sometimes I most definitely cannot afford to be out of touch with people.  I will sink for sure.

take care,

love to all

pb aka peanut butter


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Blogging: good support system for me

I really do miss blogging.

This past week, I realized how much it helped me when I was depressed and posting a lot.  It was part of my support system.

I would share how I was feeling or what I was going through and people would respond.  It assured me I was not the only one in that situation or having those thoughts or unpleasant experiences.

When I could not sleep at 2 or 3 in the morning, I would start blogging.

One time while I was going through major depression, I sat at my computer and blogged.  It was a safe place for me to be.  I was expressing how I was feeling and being there kept me from harming myself.   I knew others would read what I had written and respond with encouragement.   When they did, it was of great comfort to know that someone understood what was happening to me.  It felt like I had a listening ear that would not interrupt me.

Once I got better, I stopped blogging.  I did not think I had anything to share unless I was depressed or manic.

Recently, I was starting to go up and down.  You know the pole I am talking about.  I did not waver to much but enough that my therapist strongly suggested I start to blog again, so a few weeks ago, I started posting again.

I really miss having the internet at home.  It was why I was able to post so much.  Hopefully, by the winter I will have it again.  In the meantime I will have to be at the mercy of the library ‘s computer use.

Last week, I really got into some trouble with stinking thinking.

I was having a great day.  It was late one evening when I had to return a phone call and then it started.  The phone call quickly went south and then another call went south and then stinking thinking started.  The person said to me, ” I could say some things about you, but I don’t.”  They did not say good or bad, but because they made that statement and did not clarify it, I started taking it in a negative manner because they were annoyed with me for calling them out on something they were doing.

I was using tough love speech to wake them up about their life because I care about them.  When you see someone doing something that you know is destroying them, you speak out because you care.  Sometimes you just want to shake them and say “what the hell are you doing?”  That is what I was doing with my words.  I was trying to shake them.

They shook me without even knowing it.  They turned the table on me.  This person knows that when you make a statement like that to me you have to say what it is and they did not.  My mind is always trying to figure out what someone means when they make an open ended comment.  Unfortunately, I always, always, think the worse.

A switch in my mind  turned after the call ended.  Everything that is logical became illogical.  I started beating myself up with thoughts of self hatred and disgust.  There was nothing I liked about myself.  Everything good anyone had said about me, I turned it around to something negative.  I started sending crazy off the wall text messages to this person.  I was expressing how disgusted I was with myself (there was nothing logical about what I was doing).  In the end I begged the person to forgive me and to call me and let me know I was forgiven.  The call never came.  I was so upset and distraught that I took 3 Ativan (for anxiety).  I started hallucinating that one of my friends was in the house with me and I was asking her if she wanted coffee.  When I turned around for her answer I did not see her so I thought she went to the restroom.  After a few minutes I realized she was never there.

Things got a little hairy when I thought to myself, ” I wonder what it would feel like to cut my arm.  Not a deep cut, just the surface.”  It was then that I reached out to one of my friends who worked late.  They came over and listened and assured me I did nothing wrong.  They told me to leave it alone.  They prayed for me and left. It was the first night in 3 nights I had more than 3 hours sleep.

Lack of sleep the previous nights was throwing me into the beginning of mania and I did not realize it.  Once thinking stinking started, I was going downhill.  Thank God for supportive people in my life whether or not they know I have bipolar, they are there for me without question.

Never be afraid to reach out to your true friends.  They are the ones who are available by phone or in person whenever you need them.  For me, they are turning into a rare breed of people.

The person I was trying to help:  the next day I was still shaken so I went to my therapist.  She asked me if I thought this person’s ex would agree with what I said about their life and I said, “Most definitely”.  That really made me realize, I did nothing wrong except to reach out to them in love and what I said struck a cord.  They took a shot at me to turn the tables.  It worked then, but because I used my support system, I was fine in the end.

Love to all

pb aka peanut butter

 

 


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Perhaps I should not

Perhaps I should not have blogged about my drug using days.  It was not to glorify or insult or make anyone feel uncomfortable.

I shared that particular blog to show 2 things that are important for me to help others see:

The first reason was to show how far I went (any may people often go) when bipolar or any other mental illness is undiagnosed/ untreated.

After my first psychosis incident and hospitalization, I was diagnosed and treated with the use of prescribed medication.  Although I was attending psychotherapy sessions, I was not taking advantage of the treatment.  I went back to using drugs as soon as they told me my insurance ran out and I kept using for a while, until I felt like I was taking my last breath after doing drugs all night. That night was the last time I did drugs.

The second reason was to show how Russian roulette was similar to me regarding my drug and alcohol abuse.  To me, any time I used drugs, could have been the last time, especially since there were instances where I was hallucinating, speeding and just being wreck-less with my life.

Once I decided I wanted to live, I got clean, started taking medication only as prescribed ( I was also a pill popper) and on time.  I also started attending therapy more frequently and was honest with the therapist, finally admitting to her I had been using drugs (it was almost the same as not even being treated).

The therapist recommended I attend an outpatient hospitalization program 5 days a week, all day. This proved to be of tremendous value.  In the program, I was with others in group sessions, who were also living with bipolar.  We learned valuable lessons from each other as well as the facilitator and our individual sessions with the psychiatrist.  It was there I became totally vulnerable as a person with a mental illness by letting my guard down.  I shared the things I had done, my fears for the present and for the future, such as what kind of future could I have being bipolar.  Others had that same concern/ fear.  Together we worked through issues that come with the territory of mental illness and together we learned about the dark hole mental illness can take you into.  We became a second family to each.  We were supportive, encouraging and caring to each other.  I believe this saved my life.  I no longer felt alone, ashamed or frightened of having a mental illness.  I knew there were so many other people with the same struggles I had before being diagnosed and since being diagnosed.

By the end of my time in the program, I had learned that this would be a life long struggle but that I was a lot stronger than I had ever believed.

It is not uncommon for people living with bipolar who are not in treatment to start using drugs/ or abusing alcohol or even to be promiscuous.  Some even get to the point of having multiple arrests, although not everyone does.

Mental illness has taught me not to judge others who are on drugs, alcoholics, or who do things that do not seem correct.  I almost never know at first glance is someone has a mental illness.  It is not always for me to know.  What is important, is to treat everyone with the same respect and dignity.

love to all,

pb aka peanut butter

We are all a lot stronger than we could every imagine.


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Russian roulette and Drugs

I was thinking about a past unhealthy relationship that I was able to walk away from.

In that relationship the person introduced me to drugs.  I was already familiar with marijuana but they took me to another level: to crack and cocaine.

Recently I was thinking about the person and realized that I had been playing Russian roulette with my life.

Each hit or line that I took could have been the last one.

In addition to doing crack and cocaine, I was also taking my bipolar medications and drinking straight liquor. The drugs and alcohol abuse alone were harmful enough but adding the medication was an extremely dangerous thing to do and either could have proven to be fatal.

Each action could have been my last.

Each drug use and drink was a bullet.

I ended up in the hospital and few times.  Once was after I felt like I was having a heart attack.  It took over 6 hours for my heart rate to return to normal before the dr. discharged me with a warning that my system was full of cocaine and that I needed rehab.  I laughed and said sure.  I took a break from the drinking and drugging for a week. ( I put the loaded gun down).  After a week, I felt better and started again.  This time I kept going night after night.  Sleeping less and less.  I was speeding to work (100 mph) and it did not phase me.  I kept this up until I had a psychotic break and could not go any more.  I ended up in the psychiatric hospital and rehab.

When I left rehab, I started using drugs and taking the bipolar medication again.  This continued until I felt like I was having a heart attack.  This was the last empty chamber in the gun.  the next chamber had the bullet to end my life and I realized I did not want to die.  I put the drug down (the gun) and prayed to God to take the drug away, to help me stop and He did.

It has been over three  and a half years now since I have been clean and living a lot healthier mentally, physically and getting there emotionally (that relationship plus a previous bad marriage and the struggle with mental illness, took a toll.)

Yes, living with bipolar is hard, but at I am only dealing with one illness now and it is not one that I hide. It is one that I can be open about and receive help. I have a treatment team and support system. Sometimes I feel alone when fighting depression, but the reality is that I am not alone.

I am loving life everyday.  Getting through drug use and alcoholism makes living with bipolar a little easier.  I am no means happy to have a mental illness but I can only fight one battle at a time.

Mental illness is not living on the edge.  it is not playing Russian roulette There is a treatment plan and treatment team.  Mood swing occurrences are not in my control but how I respond is.

My loved ones know that I have mood swings, get depressed or impulsive, but they are not afraid they are going to get a call that I overdosed.  They are always a phone call away.

I am glad I am no longer playing Russian roulette.  Life is too precious.

love to all,

pb aka peanut butter.


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Support system

A support system is an invaluable tool for getting and staying mentally healthy.

Your support system may or may not include family and good friends, but it definitely should include a good psychiatrist and therapist.

Your psychiatrist should be a person who listens to you so he/she knows if your medication needs to be adjusted or changed.  He/she should also be able to tell by talking with you if your are improving and if you need to be seen more often or less.  You will never have to stop but the time in between your visits should be longer.  Most important, they should sit down, ask you questions and really listen to your answers as well as make sure your questions are answered.

I believe that a good therapist is a key support person.  They should genuinely care about you as an individual and you should be able to feel that you are a person and not just another client on paper.  You should be comfortable talking to them and should never feel rushed during a session (although we are on the clock because of the time the insurance company approves).

I am extremely blessed to have an awesome therapist.  Whenever I need to see her before a scheduled appointment she always tries to accommodate me (rarely has she not been able to).  And when she can’t get me in, she talks to me on the phone until I am in a better frame of mind.  Being able to talk to her has kept me from doing a lot of impulsive and sometimes dangerous things.

When I travel, she is on speed dial and there has been many times that I needed her when I have been away.  I truly thank God for her.

There were a few times while I was on a trip that I went into manic mode or just hysterical.  I was able to reach out to her and she helped pull me through.   I was able to hold on until I returned home and was able to get the help I needed.  She is truly a God sent.

I think what I love the most is that I am able to talk about my faith and she encourages me to do so as part of my wellness and recovery.

There should be more therapists like her.

Make sure you are comfortable with your therapist.  He/she is the one you will probably have the most contact with when you need help learning how to get through your mania, depression and those impulsive moments.

Love to all

pb aka peanut butter

Remember to purpose to have an awesome day.

 


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Still standing

While I was raising my children I did not know, none of us knew, I had a mental illness.

We just knew that things were chaotic a lot of times.  No one has to say it, but I was off balance a lot of times and never knew why.

I would get enraged and rant and rave and be ready to hurt someone.  It would take a while for me to calm down. My reaction to situations were extreme.  I thought my behavior was normal, like the time I went after someone else’s child with a baseball bat and was ready to swing at him until someone called my name and shocked me back into the present and then I realized what I was about to do. Another time, I was driving my car and saw someone whom I had just argued with. In a split second, without thought, I found myself swinging my station wagon around the corner trying to hit them.  Fortunately, I missed.  One minute I saw them in the street, the next, I was determined to hit them with my car.

Other times I was depressed and did not know it because  I had no knowledge of anything about depression.  It was not part of what I needed to know to function as a wife and mother.

One day my teenage son came to me and asked me why I was depressed.  I said I was not.  He said, “You do things depressed people do.”  By that he meant, I hardly left the house.  I did nothing for myself.  I cut of the few friends I had.  I stayed alone except for the interaction I had with my husband and children.  My mood was down all the time.  When no one was in my presence, I did a lot of crying.  Most of the time I could not figure out why I was crying or why I was feeling so low.

When I finally sought help, I was treated for depression.

It was not until years later when I started doing drugs and heavy drinking that I was diagnosed with bipolar.  I am excited that those things are not a part of who I am anymore.

Despite all that my children and I went through because I have a mental illness that was not being treated while raising them, we are all still standing.  We are all living productive lives.  We have our ups and downs, but we are still standing.

love to all,

pb aka peanut butter


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Reaction vs. Response

Sometimes I react to a situation as opposed to responding.

The difference is that when I react, I do not make the right decision or say the right thing and it usually gets me into trouble.  My response is usually based on impulse or emotions.

When I respond, it means I have taken time to absorb what has or is happening and usually make a better decision or take a better course of action.  

Recently something happened that upset me and I was ready to react irrationally which would have made the situation a great deal worse.  I started to cry and get anxious so I played a game on my tablet after I took an anxiety pill. This actually proved to be a good thing because it gave me time to think.

I wrote this down and shared it with my therapist who wanted me to share it on my blog:

When you hear something:

Think about it for a moment and do one of two things

Discard it or let it marinate

If you let it marinate, ask yourself:

Are you getting ready to react or respond?

Is your solution logical or irrational?

Then take the appropriate action 

Doing this helped me make the right decision and do the right thing.

No one had hurt feelings including myself.

Had I reacted with my first thought, it would have been an impulsive response and the other person and myself would have been upset and the situation would have escalated.

I keep this note with me and read it to remind myself what I need to do when faced with challenging situations.

Will I always respond instead of react?  Not all the time, but I do believe that I will respond more times than I react.

At least that’s the plan.

love to all

pb aka peanut butter


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Been a while

Hello  everyone,

It has been a while since I have posted.

I have been doing really well.

It seems as though the anti-depressant patch and my mood stabilizer are working really well.

I cannot leave my faith out of the equation.  I thank God almost everyday for not being depressed.  It is truly a blessing to feel alive again.

I now am able to recognize the difference between being sad and being depressed.  It has really made a difference.

I am also, most, not all the time, able to recognize my mood changes and head off a manic episode.

By knowing the difference between feeling sad and feeling depressed, I am able to head off depression.  For me, sadness leads to depression.  I have to examine why I am feeling sad and pinpoint the reason, then deal with it.

Sometimes I am able to deal with it on my own and other times I need to see my therapist.

Having a really good support team, which includes my therapist has helped a great deal.

Never underestimate your support team.  Rely on them, but don’t abuse them.  Learning and using coping skills will help keep you from doing that.

Purpose everyday to get out of the house and enjoy a moment of loving life.  This is a key factor.

Love to all,

pb aka peanut butter


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Home with the sunshine within

I came home this week while the sun was still shining within.

During the short time I was away, there were brief moments that felt like the sun was setting but it did not.  I am truly thankful that it kept shining.  I made it back at the right time.

In the past the sun would go down while away. Each time that happened it would take longer to come back up.  This time I stayed in tune with myself and kept checking in to see how I was feeling.  I stole mental moments to get my footing back and kept the sun in front of my mind.  That got me through.

Now I am back home and the sunshine is still bright within.  I still have to keep checking in with myself and how I am feeling.

I have learned to try to examine why I am feeling a certain way and address the issue instead of letting it fester. The festering is what causes the sun to start going down and if it continues depression sets in.

I also have to be aware of my thoughts when I start to feel down.  What am I thinking?  Are the thoughts based on facts or is it stinking thinking and how do I put my mind on something different?

Staying well requires a conscious effort.

I cannot afford to let my thoughts or my emotions get out of hand. I must check in with myself throughout the day and make sure the sun is still shining within.  I cannot afford to let clouds hide the sun.

Stay well and let the sun shine on the inside everyday.

love to all

pb aka peanut butter


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Check-in time

I am still away but trying to make it back home.  The weather has not been favorable for travel back home.

I know it is time to get back to my routine and psychotherapy.  I have to take an anxiety pill every morning, which I had stopped.

Despite this, I am managing to have a good time and holding strong.

I am trying to get back while the sum is still shining on the inside.  It seems to be shining strong and I am expecting it to last.

love to all

pb aka peanut butter

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