Pinprick of Hope

The overwhelming sensation of nothingness is mostly what I feel right now.  It does not have a depressive quality, but more of a “shut down” quality.  Yesterday in therapy I attempted to access that which is bubbling below the surface and it is just so difficult.

I am using a lot of self-soothe and distract skills, but really need to work on PLEASE (basic ADL’s, especially bathing and grooming), turning the mind, opposite to emotion, and improve the moment.  DBT skills are never forgotten, but I can lose track of them and they get pushed out of sight.  Thankfully my therapist and can turn me back in the right direction, but it is really a lot of work.  The best thing I have going for me right now is that I am being willing, in that I am at the point where I will do anything if there is the slightest chance it will make me feel better.

I have spent the entirety of my work-life lying to myself, my family, my supervisors, my co-workers about my ability to complete the work assigned.  I do not know if I have ever worked a 40-hour week, even though I usually have claimed to.  It is not something I am proud of, and it is something that has taken a toll on my mental health, but I am hoping that my days of hiding out in parking lots and chain smoking, talking to my mom on the phone, and generally being AWOL for long stretches of time during the day (because I simply can’t TAKE IT!) are over.

After long consultation with Goddess of Mindfulness, and discussion with QoB, I think I am going to go ahead and file for SSDI/SSI.  I have never been able to hold down a full-time job for an extended amount of time and actually put in the time required.  How many times do I go through this with a new job?  I’m fine for a little bit but before you know it, I’m a wreck and am missing work and being AWOL all the time.  It just doesn’t feel good.

With filing for SSDI/SSI, I can finally take care of myself instead of embroiling myself in ridiculous levels of stress every day.  And I have had jobs that shouldn’t have been stressful, and still was not able to complete the work in those jobs, even working part-time.

In some ways, this decision comes as a relief…I won’t have to pretend and lie anymore.  In other ways, it feels bad because it makes me feel as if I am a failure and I am giving up.  The good feelings about it outweigh the bad, and I am just hopeful that the people that I love and who love me can accept this decision as something I have to do, if I am going to have any kind of long-term sanity.  This decision has given me the smallest amount of hope that life can be better.  I can just hope that the pinprick keeps opening wider.

2Pac, Keep Ya Head Up

Can I Do It?

While things are significantly better than last week, they’re still far from great or even okay.  I’m reviving this old blog because it has helped me through many a hard time and sometimes it really helps to just vomit my thoughts, no matter how crazy, onto “paper.”

After multiple med changes, including a close-encounter with Zyprexa, my brain seems to have slowed to the point that I can at least type what I am thinking.  I am still having a lot of problems with memory, understanding written and spoken word, pressured speech, and the like, but my fingertips can at least write some of it down.  So, this may not make sense, because not much upstairs is making sense to me right now (or anyone else for that matter).

The med that finally cracked the surface of the mania was Saphris.  It’s an odd little pill, taken to be dissolved under the tongue with a terrible cherry taste.  Where Lithium didn’t do much and Zyprexa made me a stumbling zombie, this seems to be at least scratching the surface of the insanity.  I am still having a lot of issues, but my brain has slowed to a point where sometimes I can hear it.

I have a fear of becoming dumb, and I think I am almost there and can say what that feels like.  I am unable to understand what people are saying to me sometimes and can’t focus/concentrate enough to have much of a conversation or to read anything meaningful.  It is very frustrating.  My brain feels broken and its as if my intelligence has leaked out.  I hope this gets better.

I have not been working and have been on FMLA, not working regularly for awhile and now not working at all.  And really, not putting in my full 40 for a long long time.  This all started a long time ago (months ago), and just kept getting worse and worse until I broke down completely.  I still don’t want to ask for help, but my pdoc told me I had to be hospitalized and, when I refused, the compromise was for me to do a partial hospital program.

I hate that damn program.  I feel like my only problem is this stupid chemical imbalance in my brain, whereas they would like to poke around my life for problems where there are none.  I am not in crisis because of something that has happened in my life, I am in crisis because my medication stopped working and I was under a lot of stress.  That’s probably stupid to say…oh, I’m fine, my brain just doesn’t work.  Leave everything else out of it.  Brilliant, right?

So the question is, can I do it?  Am I going to be able to go back to a stressful job that I can barely do 40 hours a week even when I’m doing well?  Can I keep working with the mentally ill when I can’t hold it together myself?  I just don’t know.  The thought of going back to work terrifies me.  Not work in general, but that job.  It’s like when I had my last breakdown in 2008 or 2009…the job was not right, more working with the mentally ill with no structure.  I just don’t know what to do.  I need the money, but sometimes it is difficult to even string a few words together to speak to someone.

Everclear, I Will Buy You a New Life

A Lesson in Bipolarism

This week has been exhausting, and it’s not even over yet.  I figured out last night that I had gone since Sunday without taking any Klonopin.  I very fuzzily remember taking the bottle out of the little organizer I keep my meds in to take a PRN (which I totally never do) and apparently was in a fugue state when filling my med container for the week.  Klonopin withdrawal very much leads to feelings of anxiety, irritability, problems sleeping, headaches, and gastrointestinal problems.

So really, all of those unbearable little symptoms this week could have been easily avoided if I had paid a little bit more attention when I was filling my med minder and when I was taking them each night.  However, I have been having those symptoms even prior to the med slip-up, so it’s hard to tell what is what.

I had an appointment with my Pdoc yesterday.  Pinpointed that all of this anxiety and angst originated right about the time I made my big move into the new house, maybe a little before.  Big surprise, right?  Change fuels cycling.  The Pdoc said she thinks I am having a mixed episode, which is always so lovely, and which I already knew.  There are two kinds of mixed episodes in Bipolar I Disorder and I generally fall under the “dysphoric mania” category.

What that means basically is that I have been having a manic episode, with the overspending, impulsivity, pressured speech, grandiose ideation and without any of the happy giddiness and overly heightened “happy” feelings that come from a pure manic state.  It’s not a happy, giddy mania.  It’s increased energy, irritability, rage, insomnia, racing thoughts, restlessness.  Basically, it’s a little slice of hell.  And if I really think about it, it’s been raging for a little over a month.

But you know, these things will change, they always do.  Already within the last two days I have started to feel less irritable, more responsible with money, less impulsive,  so on and so forth.  I still am not sleeping worth a crap, but at least my thoughts aren’t racing so much.

Another bipolar term — rapid cycling.  Rapid cycling is the presence of three or more mood cycles per year.  I definitely fit into that category and have for years.  Sometimes, perhaps even frequently meet criteria for ultra-rapid cycling, but I try not to keep count too much of the cycling.  It becomes depressing.

And that’s all I have to say about bipolar disorder today.

Johnny Cash, Hurt

Actually a song about heroin addiction, but I like it anyway.