A Bit Strange — More Crunch, Less Smoosh

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The last bit has been so very up and down, my moods so quickly changeable, intense.  Many tears shed, even more maniacal laughter.  Sarcasm sharper than sharp, my brain is afire and I find myself plucking “damn, that’s good!” phrases and one-liners from it at random, and feeling prideful, in a sense, that my brain is so damn wonderful.  The up and down is fast becoming more of an “up” and hopefully, not a “too up” up.  If you had to ask me right this second how I will feel tomorrow, I really wouldn’t know where to begin but would bet on “elevated.”

Memories have been haunting me lately.  I attribute it to listening to a lot of different music, and also on the fact that my brain is whirring along faster than ever with the subtraction of a very sedating sleep medication that I decided I no longer wanted to take.  Belsomra…that stuff is of the devil himself.  So, I took myself off the “anti-nightmare” medication Clonidine, as well, because it just wasn’t working.  As my psychiatrist often says, no point taking something that doesn’t work.

I happen to know things are getting better (or at least more interesting) for my mental health because I can identify so closely with the word photos in this post.

i can and i will

I had a really great day today.  I made it back to the gym and my water-walking, I helped my mom roll almost three dozen burritos, LarBear and I have been clicking along, and I have all this new-found energy.  Great things build upon itty bitty good things, I have found, throughout life.  If I can just get started, I can be dangerous.  I’m like a snowball coming down the top of the hill that just keeps gaining new snow and getting bigger and wilder and faster.  Hmmm, this does not make it sound so positive, but it does FEEL positive.

I am working really hard in DBT on judgement.  Judgement of self, but other people, too.  First focusing on my own self-judgement, and the rest will follow.  I am trying not to judge my quick thoughts and upbeat mood and newfound energy, and to just accept them as they are, not try to label.

That’s hard, and if you have any kind of disorder in your life, you know that.  You know the SIGNS, man!  The warning signals.  I am glad the cycling isn’t so rapid right at the moment, but I WILL keep an eye on things if I continue to get racier in my brain and louder in the mouth.  I am so stinking tired of med changes and most days would like to get rid of them altogether, but the constant TWEAK that seems necessary is annoying.

I really must listen to one more song, smoke one more cigarette, drink a little more Crystal Lite, and try to go to bed.  I have a full day of things tomorrow, because I WILL be doing things, while I have the energy, seeing as it seems to be so fleeting.

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From Mentally Ill to Physically Ill

This has not been the greatest month for me.  I’ve had mixed episodes, rapid cycling, a stint in the local inpatient psych hospital.  I fee like I’m finally getting better from all of that, with the thanks of Abilify.  Hooray for progress!

So now, now that I should be able to go back to work and help the folks out and get out of the house and drive myself places, I’m sick.  WebMd had me convinced that I had bacterial pneumonia:

  • Cough, often producing mucus, also called sputum, from the lungs. Mucus may be rusty or green or tinged with blood.
  • Fever, which may be less common in older adults.
  • Shaking, “teeth-chattering” chills.
  • Fast, often shallow, breathing and the feeling of being short of breath.
  • Chest wall pain that is often made worse by coughing or breathing in.
  • Fast heartbeat.
  • Feeling very tired or weak.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Diarrhea

I mean, I have every single on of those symptoms, some of them in the severe category.  So yesterday, I decided I was going to go see my doctor.  I was a little wary because she hadn’t ever seemed too thorough in my first two visits to her, but I was going to give it a go, and if all else failed go to the urgent care clinic across the street.

But I was proud of my doctor.  She took my concerns seriously.  She even took a chest x-ray.  She decided I have gastroenteritis (stomach flu) and a chest infection.  So, I’m on my way with Zofram (anti-nausea) and a Z-pack (antibiotics).  Too bad those things don’t make you feel 1000% better right after you take them.

I am on a clear liquids diet until noon tomorrow, at which point I start the BRAT diet for “as long as it takes to feel better.  3-5 days.”  BRAT stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast.  I’m sure at that point I’ll just be happy to be able to eat anything solid without my insides imploding.

I still haven’t been able to get my fever down, so am changing clothes a lot.  It’s probably close to 90 degrees here and I went to the appointment in sweatpants and a sweatshirt.  Now I’m home in the cool AC and I’m hot.  I’ve thought about getting in the pool and then wondered if that would be a very good idea.  Probably not.

Mom has been a lifesaver with bringing me a thermometer, soup, and Sprite yesterday and she was also awesome today and brought me my Rxs, more Sprite, and some red Gatorade.  You can’t count on everyone, but you can always count on your momma.  At least I can.

No one is really wanting to come over and visit and no one has in a few days so it’s getting a bit lonely.  I have been doing a lot of reading, napping, and reading blogs on the computer.  I am sure that once the fever goes down and I have Lysol’d my  house that I’ll be able to get Dad or Mom to come by.  In the meantime, I’ll just have to keep entertaining myself.  At least my mood is tons better.  That I’m really thankful for!

Open Letter to My Local Mental Health Center

Prepare for some rambling…

When I first sought your  help in 2009, I was worried I would not be accepted because I was considered out of your cachement area.  As it turned out, CMHC’s could not deny Medicaid clients based  upon cachement area.  This is a good thing, because in 2009 you allowed me to start your Intensive Outpatient Program in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).  I attended five days a week, for three hour days.  I can honestly say that this formal introduction to DBT saved my life.

You brought wonderful therapists into my life, some whom I thank God each and every day for.  There are too many to mention just one, but each of the IOP therapists are very special to me.  They gave me hope when I had none and taught me the skills necessary to survive with bipolar in a unipolar world.  The IOP program was just the tip of the iceberg.

After graduating IOP, you wanted me to do weekly DBT classes.  I was working at that point again and had difficulty with coordinating my schedule.  I hopped around to a few different groups, and then I gave up.  I went back to seeing the pdoc at my county’s CMHC, and continued therapy with Goddess of Mindfulness.

For a few years, my needs were fulfilled at my local CMHC.  It wasn’t the same, though — the therapists were not as invested, it was difficult to get a med appointment where the pdoc didn’t continuously cancel.  It was a fight to get any medication change.  It was if I would just come in to get the rubber stamp and then would be sent off on my way.

In 2012, I had a major bipolar meltdown and came seeking help from you again.  I needed that Intensive Outpatient Program, I needed those caring therapists, and I needed the care that I knew my own local CMHC couldn’t provide.

I started IOP again, and stopped seeing Goddess of Mindfulness, instead seeing Marty for individual DBT therapy.  IOP was very different this time.  The classes were extremely small, participation was minimal, the therapists often didn’t keep the group under control.

The times had changed — there was no longer a ten minute break after every hour.  I don’t think the therapists realized how difficult it was to sit for 90 minutes without a cigarette or a soda or a break when you are in such a mind-addled state.

One thing for sure — IOP wasn’t the same.  It wasn’t as helpful, I didn’t feel as successful, there was not much group interaction or cohesiveness, and frankly, most of the therapists seemed bored, as if they lacked passion for the subject now.

I moved quickly through IOP this course and started just seeing Marty individually.  She was a very different therapist than what I was used to.  She called it like she saw it, and the way she saw it was often very different from my view of things.  After about a year of seeing each other, she announced to me that she would be retiring the following summer.  After that, her heart wasn’t in it.  She certainly didn’t seem to care anymore, and it was like she had given up on me.

I decided to switch tactics and go for a non-DBT therapist there at the center.  That was worse.  She seemed cold and unfeeling, judgmental even as I would describe what was happening in my life.  I started to avoid appointments, and go for long periods of time without checking in.

During a time of mini-crisis, I attended a “Building Structure” group in which you basically made plans for each day and the day after.  It was a very useful group for me and I went for three weeks, then graduated.

I ended up going back to see Goddess of Mindfulness after that.  I couldn’t afford it financially in my budget, so I had to take $15 out of each weekly allotment and put it toward therapy.  In my eyes, it was a good use of money that I may have just frittered away elsewhere.  It still didn’t add up to what Goddess of Mindfulness should really be paid, but I was beyond thrilled when she accepted my request to be her client again.  Over the moon, really.

And since my 2012 return to the CMHC, there has been Dr. Wizard.  I kid you not, the man is a genius when it comes to medication.  He listens, makes small adjustments, is encouraging, worries that I am on too much medication, and, here recently, hospitalized me when it seemed to him like I was under too much duress.

I have never had a problem getting in to see my pdoc, and I thank the wonderful front desk staff for that.  Sure, calling the nursing line works sometimes, too, but the front desk staff are better at prioritizing clients and slipping people into time slots quickly.

When I came out of the hospital on Monday, I was in a daze.  I knew they had started me on a downturn of Geodon and had started me on Abilify, but I wasn’t given any titration recommendations.  I was just told to follow up with my pdoc at my next scheduled appointment on July 9th.  That was three weeks away.  I was feeling a bit better, but as a couple days went by, it was clear I needed more  support, possibly more medication.

On Wednesday, Goddess of Mindfulness had me call the CMHC to try and get an appointment.  I called the nurse’s line first, and left a message.  They called me back thirty minutes later and tried to tell me that there were no openings and I would have to “sit tight and wait” until the 9th.  The woman I spoke to barely spoke English and I actually ended up screaming into the phone, “I hope I don’t flip out before then!” and hanging up on her.  I know, real classy, Rose.  I’m out of my mind, I guess.

I then tried calling the front desk and asked to be put on the cancellation list.  I explained my situation and I was put as an “emergency priority I.”  I told them I only needed one hour’s notice and I could be there.  The front desk girl assured me I should be able to get in soon.

Much to my surprise, I received a call at 9:15 the next morning, asking if I could be there by 10:30.  Of course I can!  I made it down and Dr. Douglas kept the Geodon the same, but bumped up the Abilify.  He said, if all goes well, we can do it again at my next appointment on July 9th.  He was very understanding and caring, and we had a nice chat.

All in all, this is a good CMHC.  I think the DBT therapy program has possibly fallen by the wayside a bit, and I can tell you that the individual therapists like my last one should be fired, but what I really need is my pdoc and Goddess of Mindfulness, and I know I will be fine.

Building Rome, Do or Die

It’s my third week of Building Rome, and, even though I’m a little behind my Monday original start date, I have good excuses.  Green Embers  puts together this little blog-fest, where we chose goals one week, and then the next week report on those goals and set some more goals.  This week’s theme is “Imagination, No Passport Required.”  I have a real lack of imagination at the moment, and the rules of the blog-fest are flexible, so my rules are going to be able taking care of me.  Being kind to Rosa.

Last Week’s Goals

1) Take Kizzie for a walk at least three times for at least 15 minutes this week.  Needless to say, this didn’t happen.  I was in a really bad  place last week and walking the Kizz was the furthest thing from my mind.  Maybe next week!

2) Set aside time each morning to read in the devotional book that my mom’s best friend, Glo gave me.  Nope, this didn’t happen either.  I have a really hard time reading or concentrating on anything in that state.

3) Continue to not smoke.  I decided (and my pdoc and treatment team at the hospital agreed) that I need to be in a better place to do this, and that trying to do this mid-cycle and with a hospitalization stuck in the midst was not a good time.  It will still be a long-term goal.

Four Things of Always

1) Take meds as prescribed.  Check!

2) Take care of Kizzie’s needs.  Check!  (alth0ugh Grandma t0ok care of and spoiled little Kizzers all week while I was in the hospital.

3) Take care of personal hygiene daily.  I am pleased to report that I have finally taken a shower every single day of the week, including when I was in the hospital.  I actually look forward to it now.  Who woulda thought?

4) Work on healthy eating.  I didn’t do too badly at this, mostly because I was in the hospital although they have great food there.

Four Things of Do or Die

1) Keep up with my “always list.”  Routines and rituals and taking care of my self are a must right now.

2) Spend at least two hours a day outside, no matter what.

3) Walk Kizz for 10 minutes every day this week.

4) Finish getting house in order.  It’s very clean, but a bit scattered in places.

Where Has Rosa Been?

This is going to be a hard post to write, but I know its necessary.  I feel so much shame and embarrassment, it’s unreal.  I know I shouldn’t.  I know it will be pointed out to me that I have a disease and I was doing what I had to do to manage it.  I guess I just thought I was managing better than I actually was.

There will be no sugar-coating here, just a synopsis of the last several days, and then maybe I can move forward and start posting again.

I have seen so much progress over the course of the last six weeks, so maybe it seemed like everything was fine.  Everything, my friends, was far from fine.  True, I was making progress, but I was also sinking deeper and deeper into a cycle, where I finally came to the point that I was suicidal.  I didn’t feel like I could go on with how things currently were.  I was desparate for relief and knew the only solution was to go see my pdoc again and see if my meds could be changed again.

I went to the city to see Dr. Wizard on Thursday afternoon, and by 5:0o pm, was headed into an inpatient psychiatric hospital ward.  I was really nervous because I had been to this place before and had only managed about 36 hours before demanding to be set free.  That’s just how horrible it was this last time.  This time I had no choice.  No other beds were open in my part of the state.  I decided I would give it a try.

The non-stop crying spells lasted from Thursday through Sunday.  You couldn’t do anything less than smile at me, and I’d be uncontrollably sobbing.  The majority of the staff were exceptionally nice, and the other patients left me along for the most part.

I was very lucky that my dad came and saw me on each visitation.  It really meant a lot to me, and he brought snacks and change for the soda machines so I could have a little caffeine.  We didn’t talk much, it seems, during our visits.  It was nice knowing he was there, though.

I talked to QoB a few times each day.  The store was really busy while I was gone, so they weren’t able to make it out, but I understood.  What would have happened is that I would have started crying and then QoB would have started crying and we wouldn’t be able to stop.  No parent wants to see their kid in this shape.

I saw the ARNP on Friday and she is taking me off Geodon and adding Ablify.  So far, it seems to have pepped me up some.  I am still experiencing  extreme anxiety and a fair amount of depression.  I really hope I start to feel better soon because I don’t want to go back.

I have developed a very low, extremely low tolerance for any kind of bullshit, so there’s not a lot I can take.  I feel like I should have seen this coming sooner and done something drastic, but as Dr. Wizard says, there was nothing he could do medically outside of send me to the hospital.  I guess I understand that.

So now I’m back and I’m still teary and kind of depressed and really anxious.  And foggy.  But I’m back.  I hope to be able to start posting regularly soon.  Fingers and toes and eyes crossed.