Symptom Smack-Down…Take THAT, Beastly Irritability!

It is not exactly official, but any therapist I have ever had, as well as my mother and numerous boyfriends have said that I am the queen of being hard on myself.  Now, I like the idea of being a queen (Let them eat cake! Ha!), but I don’t think this is the sort of thing that I need to continue to be proud of.

There are tricks to not being so hard of yourself, and I learn and then unlearn and then relearn them about every three days.  Or more often, if the circumstances merit.  Just like the rest of life, your response to life will really vary based on hundreds of different factors.

I have been trying especially hard in the last ten days to be gentle with myself, because I have had some physical maladies (getting both toenails pulled surgically from my big toes) and rehab time with those maladies, and some psych med issues, not to mention being far off my routine (mostly because two toes have been keeping me at home, fairly immobile) — well, it was really too much for me to think that I wasn’t going to have a stumble or two.

Now, the beauty of getting older (and I mean, one of the MAIN beauties) is that, every once in awhile, you learn your lesson.  Sometimes you have to repeat it two or three or five hundred times, but it gets learned and it sticks in your head and, every great once in awhile, the stars align just so and BAM! you work yourself through your issues without going into great drama and hysterics.

I say maybe, because although the last ten days was fairly manageable, I had some seriously hysterically tearful moments.  Happily, I can say they were short-lived and didn’t put a damper on my entire life.  I have found that there are things (things, yes, these things) that can be done to make life a bit easier.

For me, I have rediscovered that I need quiet/alone/introvert time at least a few hours every day, and if I don’t get it, I become very, very cranky.  This has maybe been a hard lesson for LarBear to learn, but as an example, about thirty minutes ago, I yelled, or maybe just said loudly, “Ok, I’m going to the office,” and he (for once) didn’t take  it personally.  He is starting to “get” me, after all this time, thank goodness.  So here I am, with my headphones on.  I shut off my peripheral vision (just in my imagination), and have been sitting at my glorious desk, crafting this superb document for the interwebs (ha!) and doing my very best to stay in the moment.

It really does work, at least for me.  A few of the other things that help me are music (loud in headphones, preferably), taking a drive, a shower, lighting a new candle, putting on makeup, sitting on my front porch, writing things down in my planner, and last, but most certainly not least, I do a lot of journaling in my altered art journals.  I also make these little books out  of scrap paper.  I am going to end with a few pictures of altered art journals and the mini books so you can get an idea.  They are pretty awesome, another amazing thing I have learned from art therapy.





I Need Ear Plugs

I’d just about give up my left big-toe right now to have a little silence.  I’m even thinking of going and sitting in my car.  Between DSB and his obsession with the TV, and the dogs going sideways because the neighbors happen to be hanging out in the driveway, and DSB’s phone ringing incessantly, and my blood thumping in my ears, I’m about to go a little haywire.

It’s been a busy week, a busy weekend, and I am still running on a sleep deficit.  I don’t feel very good physically, due to the lack of sleep, and the neighbors are about to not feel very good physically get an earful if they don’t get out of my yard.  I’m starting to feel more than a little cranky around the edges.

Really, why must there be such noise?

I almost took a nap today, but QoB called and I ripped off the ol’ CPAP, invited her over, and went off to find some pants.  It really turned out to be a good thing that she came over, because we got quite a bit done.  Or rather, QoB cleaned like the madwoman that she is and I helped do a few things, but otherwise sat around feeling ill and guilty for not helping much.

And I have ants.  Hopefully we took care of them, but mercy, there were quite a few.  When I told DSB, he was unimpressed and told me that he had advised me of such over a week ago.  Somehow I doubt that, but we must choose our battles, so I said, “Ok, hon,” and went back to doing dishes.  I really did do a lot of dishes today.  That I know as concrete fact, whereas it is remotely possible that DSB had already advised me of the ants a week ago.  Like I said, you pick your battles.

Another battle that I did not end up picking with DSB was that of the “miscellaneous computer crap” that has been piling up in my dining room over the last month.  QoB nipped that one in the bud and tucked it all away, nice and neat.  On a not-so-lovely note, DSB did not notice that it was all gone when he came inside.  Apparently chaos only drives ME insane.

My apologies that this post is all over the place.  I am suffering severe brain fog that I am hoping will remit, say, tomorrow, because I am positive I am going to get a good night’s sleep.  Cross your fingers and toes on that one.  I know I am.


Wish it Away

I have noticed in the last five days (yes, five days exactly) that my mood has been less than stellar.  I have been crying frequently and with little provocation, I have been unbearably anxious, and I have felt deeply sad.  I have been neglecting my daily chores and have fallen out of routine.  

I have spent several hours today telling myself that this doesn’t mean I am at the beginning of an episode.  Sometimes, I feel just fine, after all.  It’s that nagging sense of overall, all-consuming irritability that keeps me questioning myself.

Throughout the crying, the sadness, the anxiety, my mind is clear and razor sharp.  There is no fog, no fuzziness.  I have energy, physically and mentally.  I know that is the Ritalin, keeping those feelings going while the other feelings and sensations are flooding in.  Seems like, in the past (pre-Ritalin), when I have the negative feelings, there was always a fog.

Seems like I would appreciate a little fog right now, much as I hate to think that way.  Something to blunt things a little, to keep everything from being so in-my-face.  Instead of that fog, my mind is rational, trying to pick apart just why I am feeling this way.

My best guess is that I am at the end of my three-month birth control cycle.  I am not overdue, but there is much less of the hormone circulating through my blood than throughout the previous three months.  I know that can throw me off.  I am going on Friday to get my shot and hopefully that will  clear things up a bit.

Other guesses include not sleeping as well, reading less, not following a strict routine, having less daily interaction with others.  My hope is that things will just clear up without too much worry and wondering.  I know that I haven’t felt this level of irritability or sadness in a long time and it is really starting to get to me.  I am not ready for another episode.  I want to live my life without all of this bullshit, but it keeps coming to the foreground.

One of the worst things about having bipolar, in my opinion, is that you learn, over time, to not trust how you feel.  You think you feel good and then up, up, and away, you’re manic.  You think you’re a little sad and then it snowballs and you’re deeply depressed.  So right now, I know I am feeling off, and I am not trusting it to be some small, insignificant event.  Maybe that is the wrong approach.

I just know, for me, I have to be constantly mindful of how I feel or I lose track of myself, end up wishing away some of the best things that could have happened to me.

Because it’s Hard

The past 24 hours have been a complete roller-coaster.  I started out yesterday morning feeling somewhat optimistic about the day, was fairly productive, then irritability and annoyance crept in that was so intense I couldn’t control my behavior.  I ended up leaving the house so I wouldn’t take it out on my sweet boyfriend, and was able to calm down a little.

Then, it was back home and then out and about with Dad.  I felt numb, detached.  Either the meds or the mania are making me feel almost high.  Everything is so vivid, my senses are painfully alive, and it’s almost like I’m having an out-of-body experience.  I don’t remember much of what was said, but I do remember getting home and being really upset.  I know that wasn’t Dad’s fault, that there wasn’t anything he did or said, it just was.

QoB came over after she was done at the shop, as she has been doing regularly since I started feeling bad (one of the few things that makes me feel better and sane).  She explained a few things to dear, sweet boyfriend that hopefully made sense to him and as to why sometimes I act the way I act.  God, I am so worried that he will leave me.  He says he won’t, but this is so much to handle.

After that, dear sweet boyfriend made a fire and lit the grill.  We had pork chops, asparagus, and baked potatoes.  Very good.  We then watched a movie and went to bed.  That part of the evening was good.  I went to bed feeling satisfied and somewhat at peace.

Now I’ve been up for an hour and I can’t stop crying.  I fucking hate this.  All over the place.  I feel sad and anxious and racing.  I feel angry and the most intense self-hatred.  I need to get off my ass and take a Klonopin, but it’s almost like I feel like I deserve to feel like this.  I need to get my shit together before dear sweet boyfriend gets out of bed.

I am unsure of my plans for the day.  I know that we are going to drop off the two dog rescues this morning and pick up my CPAP supplies.  Maybe we can do some driving around or go out to the lake.  I need to feel better.  I need to feel more in control of my emotions.  I practice and practice my DBT skills but they do not always give me relief.  I wish there was some quick and easy fix but I know there is not.

I really miss my sister and it makes me cry to think that I have disappointed her by taking this turn in my life, although I know deep in my head that she is not disappointed.  I really want her acceptance and, although I know I have it, it feels like I am not worthy of it.

I just miss everyone in general.  I still see QoB, dear sweet boyfriend, Big Dog, Dad but everyone else is missing.  If I could be doing anything right now, it would be making pancakes with my sister, tucked away safe in her house in the big city, where no one knows my problems.

I just want some semblance of normalcy, whatever that might be.  I want to not go from crying to angry to crying to overly happy (elevated) to depressed and back again.  I want to feel stable for longer than two hours and I not feel like I am a burden on the people around me.

I can’t stand being around myself, so I don’t understand how anyone else can stand to be around me.  So I worry that they will leave.  I worry that dear sweet boyfriend will head out and never come back.  I worry that I will alienate my friends and I will never hear from them.  I know QoB and Big Dog will always be there, but I worry they will get so tired.

I’m sick to death of feeling this way.  I don’t feel like I deserve the love of anyone, from my dog to dear sweet boyfriend to family.  Sometimes this just hurts so much, its unbearable.  I’m not getting ready to end my life or anything like that, but if I didn’t have the support system that I do, I’d have been dead long ago.

On that note, here I am, trying to stay alive, to make it through.  To be ok.  To not even be ok, but just to be.

Even though it doesn’t always feel this way, this is dear sweet boyfriend talking to me:

Eli Young Band, Crazy Girl


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.