Archive for the ‘low’ Category

Re-evaluating Things a Bit…

March 29, 2014 3 comments

I think I’m going to need to manage my expectations about my illness differently.

From one perspective I’m very lucky. My lows and highs used to be very extreme and both of them made me pretty dysfunctional. That’s not remarkable, but it’s not pleasant.

Since I’ve been on decent meds the extremes have levelled out and I’ve been able to live a mostly normal life, however saying that things are completely normal is still wishful thinking. I noticed this fact this week when my brain tipped over from low to high (it is a gradual process).

I am a computer programmer and for months I have been having a lot of difficulty at work. I’ve been making all the usual excuses, telling myself I’m a procrastinator, that I’m just bored, that other people are making my work difficult, and so on. Even my psychiatrist told me what I needed was a good kick in the backside.

Then my brain switched into high mode and suddenly how to do all my jobs became so clear and I started working my way through them. I saw my excuses for what they were. It was my brain that was still impaired.

Don’t get me wrong: my meds deal with the worst of my symptoms. However they are not 100% effective, either.

I suppose I need to look at adjusting my meds, which is a scary thing because they do work very well. I certainly don’t want to become less functional again. Still the way things stand when I’m low things at work are pretty hard, so something has to change. No more wishful thinking.


On Having A Bipolar Mom

April 6, 2012 1 comment

I didn’t know my mom was bipolar until I was in my late 30s, some years after I found out I was bipolar myself. My mom’s diagnosis was manic-depressive, so when I told her I was bipolar she didn’t make the connection immediately.

This post is one of understanding and forgiveness. I think my mom did a much better job of carrying on than I did, with much greater adversity, much worse meds, and much greater stigma.

I think my mom already had a suicide attempt and a diagnosis of at least depression by the time she was in her teens. She got pregnant with me at 18 and married my father, who was 20. Because it was the 1960s, she gave up a promising career as a ballerina (she studied alongside Karen Kain).

My father was killed in a construction accident (at my mom’s father’s construction company) when my mother was 20. So she was bipolar, widowed, and with a child at 20. She got depressed and she tells me now that her doctor recommended taking a vacation, which she did. No lithium or other meds. Just a vacation.

At some point she decided to take her own life. The details I have are sketchy, but she left me with someone, and made the attempt, which thankfully failed. She tells me she made three attempts overall in her life, and at the moment I can’t remember the details of the third, but I think this one was the last one.
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Status Report #11 (Things are Better)

April 4, 2012 Leave a comment

Today is much better than yesterday. Not perfect, but much better. The difference is caffeine. My daily routine when I am feeling down is to start the day with a monster coffee (two heaping tablespoons of instant coffee) or a double energy drink. Usually this liquid assault barely phases me. Then I sustain the feeling with about 4L of diet cola during the day. The result is that I can keep my eyes open and not drift off to sleep.

For the past few days, the caffeine has just made me hyper, unfocused, and agitated. I couldn’t even write on paper, and it did nothing for being sleepy, either. I guess it’s because I’m in a mixed-mood.

I switched to water yesterday and I noticed that I felt better, so today I cut the caffeine right back (no coffee and only a litre of pop–I don’t want to get withdrawals) and it has made a big difference. Funny that. Who’d imagine that I’d be a full-blown Java-junkie[1]?

[1] Ironically, I’m a Java programmer. I *am* a Java-junkie.

I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream

April 3, 2012 2 comments

I know I said I wouldn’t write about my moods, but this is drastic. I can’t get enough sleep. If I so much as close my eyes I start dreaming. I also want to tear someone’s head off, starting with my own. I can’t get comfortable. All chairs are at the wrong height. I can’t concentrate. I want to scream my lungs out. Earlier I was thinking about how I could hurt myself so I could go home from work.

Sunday and yesterday were sort of like this, but today is full blown. Who knows what tomorrow will be like?

Status Report #9

March 29, 2012 1 comment

It’s been four days since my Modecate injection and I don’t seem to be having a “down” (except that I need more sleep). In fact,  I’m going the opposite way, which seems to indicate that the down and the last injection were a coincidence. That’s good.

My downs are getting to be pretty mild. They’re nothing to joke about, but they’re mild all the same. I did have a bad down from mid October to the end of November but that was when I was losing my dream job, living on no money, and going through a lot of stress at home. Since then I’ve had dips, but they’ve been both minor and short.

My mood swings used to last for months and used to be severe in both directions. I can remember months of sitting in a stupor, almost as if encased in clear plastic, unable to move or think on my own or to feel anything. I could react, but I had no motivation of my own. That was when I would hurt myself, I guess so I could feel something. To tell you the truth I don’t know why I did it.

Anyway, I bring up the past only for contrast to the present. I don’t eat well, or sleep well, or exercise, or meditate, or do yoga, or basically do anything to deserve feeling this good. I take lithium and Divalproex. That’s it. The Modecate keeps the weird thoughts at bay.

I am thankful every day at how fortunate I am.

Challenge to self: Unless something dramatic happens, I will not mention my mood for the next 10 posts.

Status Report #8 (And a Segue into Mood Swings)

March 24, 2012 4 comments

Sorry I haven’t been posting much to the blog, but it’s been hectic the past two weeks at work. I’ve even been bringing work home. I’ve already used up my three sick days for 2012, plus a fourth day (which was unpaid). The problem is I’ll have my OCD nightmares all night, then in the morning I won’t be thinking straight and I’ll call in sick just for a few more hours of sleep. Well, not any more. I can’t afford to lose any more days’ pay.

In other news, I had a bit of a down time in the past few weeks, but it was so mild I didn’t say anything because I wasn’t even sure if it was there. Mostly it has just manifested itself in a greater need for sleep, a decreased need for self-expression, and a decreased need for sex. In the past few days I have noticed less need for sleep, an increase in self-expression, and an increased need for sex. It’s a faster cycle than I am used to. I think I had a downtime at this same time last year, but coincidentally, I had my Modecate injection three weeks ago. I am due for another one on Monday. If I have another dip in my mood, next week I’m really going to wonder about a correlation with the Modecate.

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I Was a Teen Age Werewolf

March 3, 2012 Leave a comment

It started out when I was about six, with an affinity for Wile E. Coyote. Wile E. was smart in his own way, but very unlucky. He was also bloodthirsty and murderous, but it was acceptable because he never won. He wasn’t brave, but he never stopped trying, either. Mainly, though, he was alone. He didn’t have any friends and, unlike Buggs Bunny, he rarely talked. In fact when he did talk it was always to Buggs Bunny. Wile E. was the perfect companion for a pre-depression bipolar child.

When I was nine there was a book of monster stories called “Monster Tales” in the school library that was pretty advanced for primary school kids (and I was an advanced reader). In particular there was a story about a boy who had a witch turn him into a werewolf to get revenge on a nobleman who killed his dog. It was a very Wile E. Coyote situation–and just as successful. The ritual for becoming a werewolf was also very sexually charged (for a kid’s book). The sex, the violence, and the transformation into something strong and terrible all appealed to me. I had a photographic memory and I would return to this story again and again as a source of sexual fantasies. When I felt persecuted I would imagine that I could turn into a werewolf and get bloody revenge.

When I was 16 I had already started to have mood swings. I had terrible rages during which I could have committed murder were it not for the fact that I was so over the top I was completely impotent. Even when I wasn’t raging, sometimes I felt like I could commit murder, and I would plan it out. Luckily by 16 I knew I couldn’t get away with anything. I had manic episodes where I would wake up in the middle of the night and every speck of dust had some cosmic significance. I knew I had some great destiny to fulfill but I didn’t know what. I was also abnormally sexually aroused.

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