Bipolar Diary: Just Below the Surface

Monday, 10/24/16, 1:56am

I thought I should have a title for these Bipolar posts. I came up with Bipolar Diary. Original, I know. laughing

Not Having Fun

puzzlepieces

Today (10/23/16) has been a really difficult day. I went to bed at 5:00am, slept for 3 hours or so, then up for a few hours, then down again. And again. And again! I keep napping for 1-3 hours at a time. Where is this fatigue coming from? Am I depressed?

This happened a week or so ago, too. I don’t have the patience to go search and see how far back it was. I don’t have much patience for anything. If I hadn’t been in menopause for 8 (or whatever) years, I would think I was having PMS. I cannot keep a thought in my head, am so scattered. I am sure this post will be ghastly, but need to write anyway.

Visual Hallucinations

Most of the hallucinations have gone, but the visual ones are making me crazy.

eyes

How I was more tolerant of the slew of visual, auditory and tactile hallucinations than I am with just the visual is beyond me, but I think much of this sleep crap is because I am overwhelmed with the visions I keep seeing. Roaches, yes… some… but mostly like things are just moving. Sliding around. The covers shifting, the pillow edging over, the carpet rising.

It’s like I am on a tilt and everything is going to fall off the edge.

Frustrating is an understatement.

ADD

Also, I have very little attention span. I have tried to watch Grey’s Anatomy, a show my daughter recommended, but it is too much new information to retain so I end up watching Sex & the City or Friends again (on Amazon & Netflix), two shows I practically have memorized. (Monster’s Inc. is on as I am writing this; another movie I know by heart.)

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What I look like with tactile hallucinations. From Monsters, Inc.

It is difficult to work in this state. My mind flits from thought to thought and I keep talking over clients. I try so hard to pace my words, but they just tumble over each other.

And, as a few weeks ago, my fingers are fumbling with the keys on the keyboard… spelling homophones instead of the correct word (reed instead of read, meat instead of meet, etc.). Argh! I hate having to re-type the right word! (Write came out first. Fuck me running.)

This Is Progress?

bpmind

When I saw the Psych last week, he was happy the auditory hallucinations were gone and said I was on the right track. Today I had the first tactile sensation after several days without any; brief, but still there.

I hate the see-sawing of emotions. One day feeling great and doing well, the next (today) being total shit and missing a day of work. Isn’t there supposed to be balance sometime?

I don’t even know where to go from here, so I’ll just end.

heavy sigh

10/24/16, 2:29am

I Am a Fluorescent Tube

Tuesday, 10/18/16, 7:06pm

You know that sound they make? That incessant buzzing?

That’s what I feel like.

fluorescent-tube-gif

And in perpetual motion.

Non-Compliant. Again.

I don’t know who I think I am fooling when I sneakily “forget” to take the Risperdal. Up for 25 hours, trying to sleep periodically and feeling like I am electrically charged, getting back up again a few minutes later.

I’m somewhat productive, writing posts for work and here, organizing my Kindle music library, pulling things out of drawers and stuffing them into garbage bags, but I feel sad all at the same time. Not that wonderful, blissful feeling of the last few weeks. My therapist, just like my Psychiatrist, reminded me that it was not all that “blissful” and my mind is playing games with me.

TAKE THE FREAKIN’ RISPERDAL.

(I did.)

Therapy

fluorescent-tube

I hadn’t been to therapy in a couple three weeks because I was working with the doctor instead. It’s almost an hour to get there and the prospect of taking that trek twice in one day was too daunting. I did it today, but probably shouldn’t have.

I barely remember anything we talked about, knowing I wouldn’t even as my lips were moving. The whirring so loud in my head and coursing through my body.

What I remember is that I need to honor my Self and take my meds every day and on time.

It’s the goal for the next few days.

fluorescolor

7:58pm

Bipolar Balancing Act

Tuesday, 10/18/16, 11:02am

The visit with the Psych went well.

BipolarTree

We talked about my meds, my sleep patterns, my lowering hallucinations… and then I asked if I was getting depressed. He was very gentle and said after where I’d been anything is going to feel depressed.

Sleep

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He said my figuring out a way to have one block of sleep will help me not relapse. I told him how I hated the Trazodone and I would rather sleep fitfully than feel like I am going to pee in the bed from being unable to wake up enough.

I have slept in this bizarre cycle of 2 hours of sleep, 4-5 hours awake… 3 hours asleep, 3 hours awake… since at least the second manic episode in 1998. Even gorked out on opiates, I still slept like a baby does (not sleeping “like a baby”; babies sleep like shit). I don’t toss and turn. When I go to bed, I go to sleep. But when I wake up again, I am UP! Even the dispatchers at work have gotten to know my strange cycle of on/off. I don’t know if I can change it without meds. Honestly don’t know if I even want to.

Hallucination Origins

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I asked where the holy hell do those terrifying hallucination sights, smells, sounds and feelings come from. Why does the brain pick a horror show to illustrate its illness. He said that scary things in the brain are easy to access. The brain chemistry goes wonky and the synapses misfire and the most accessible images/thoughts/etc. get scooped up and displayed. I said I thought that was a fucked up system.

We talked about how voices that direct behaviors (which I do not have, thank goodness) tend to mimic their inner belief systems. Those with religious histories have heavenly/satanic voices telling them what to do. Those without that, have “magical” voices. Psychosis in different cultures bends towards that culture’s belief systems and experiences. Even though I have religious belief in my past, none of my hallucinations have ever taken on a religious tone, either good or evil. Apparently, my mental illness is as atheist as I am.

Missing the Mania

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I told the doctor I really am missing the mania, the energy, the lack of pain. He gently reminded me of the terror I was in 2 weeks ago when I came to him… that I was about to admit myself into the hospital because I thought I was going to fall into a million pieces. I asked why can’t I live in hypomania? He chuckled and said everyone asks that, but hypomania is a staircase… going up or going down; it isn’t a landing. I said that sucked. He nodded and said he agreed, but it is what it is.

heavy sigh

There are no med changes and I see him in 2 weeks if I need to, a month if I am okay in 2 weeks.

I go to therapy for the first time in several weeks this afternoon. I have barely missed it for being so bizarre in the head. I look forward to seeing her again today, though.

More later.

11:42am

 

Bipolar Mania: Settlin’ Down

10/18/16, 2:08am

Melancholia

valeria-fulop2
artist, Valeria Fulop

I think the Mania is gone.

Hallucinations have shifted. The tactile ones are all but gone, the olfactory ones haven’t returned since starting the Risperdal and the visuals are much less… smaller… less intense. The last nasty one was when a roach crawled out of my Diet Coke can onto my face (it was not real) and I threw the can across the room. That was… 2 nights ago? 3 now? Otherwise, the shadows are pretty small… more translucent. I haven’t had an auditory hallucination in over a week.

Even though all those horrible hallucinations have all but abated, I am sad I am not filled with energy like I have been. I feel like a sloth now… it taking inordinate amounts of energy to do anything. Still not sure if I am dipping down into depression or not. I see the Psych in the morning and will run it by him.

Medications At the Moment

bpseesaw

Psych Meds
  • Risperdal 2 mg at bedtime
  • Wellbutrin
  • Cymbalta
  • Lamictal
  • Buspar
Meds from ER Visit & GI Doc
  • Bentyl – finished (not sure it did anything)
  • Cipro – finished in the morning; feel MUCH better in my abdomen, diarrhea gone, suspected UTI gone
  • Lomotil – haven’t picked it up from the Pharmacy yet, but didn’t need it after the Cipro
  • Probiotics bid – helps keep the yeasties at bay with the Cipro

Work & Sleep

I’ve been back to work 2 days in a row now. Luckily, we can log in and log out whenever we want/need to, so when I get tired, I just log out and take a nap. I spent 3 days barely able to function as things slowed down. I felt like my brain was stuttering and I never knew, from one minute to another, whether I would be able complete a call or need to crash asleep, so I pretty much listened to music, did some work writing and watched Netflix or Amazon.

My hair-trigger anger seems to have settled some as well, but when I get upset, it is over-the-top, but simmers down quicker than it would have a week ago.

I’ll write more after seeing the Psych and my therapist tomorrow.

In the meantime, I’m just resting.

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artist, Sera Knight-Horsell

10/18/16, 2:45am

If I Have to Have Hallucinations…

… then why can’t I also have the energy behind them?!?

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ht-tw
scary hallucination descriptions below

Fucking Roaches

But, nooooo, I am sleeping 18-hours a day and seeing roaches crawling everywhere. On the ceiling, on the walls, on my legs.

CRAWLING OUT OF MY DIET COKE CAN & ONTO MY FACE!!!

See the splatter of Diet Coke across the room on the wall? I’ve already cleaned it off the keyboard, the screen, the chair and the floor.

My favorite hallucination last night was when the big snake crawled across the wall. Beat the cockroach on my face by a slither.

Is This Normal?

normal

snortylaughing

(As if normal were even anything to claim or aspire to….)

But now I am reading some of Dr. Google’s “Bipolar Mania” because I am still a week away from seeing the doctor and I really want some answers.

  • Why am I still having hallucinations?
  • Am I getting depressed?
  • When do hallucinations disappear after mania?
  • Does depression always follow mania?

I swear the hallucinations have actually increased as I am getting more sleep. At least the past couple of days.

STOP IT ALREADY.

stahhhp

Bipolar Mania Fading Away

I joined MoodTracker this morning and have been inputting my meds and moods (thank goodness for writing things in the blog!). I had no idea I was struggling for so long. I’d been “productive” for probably 6 weeks before I started writing the distress on these pages, but had no idea, until writing it down just how long I have been trying to find balance.

Now I feel useless. I cannot concentrate… or stay awake… long enough to work. I am irritable as shit. Hair-trigger anger. I need to work so bad… the pay period ends tomorrow… but I cannot keep 2 thoughts together long enough to take even a 15-minute call.

brave-ugh2

And as if the mental crap wasn’t enough, the pain in my upper right abdomen. Fuck. I am tired of hurting.

What to Do Instead of Work…

… or read or watch tv or watch a movie or clean anything or focus for more than 2 minutes at a time?

The only thing I have found is listening to Disney music.

Disney is as much in my blood as my Dad’s Cuban heritage is.

mulan2

Reflection

Who is that girl I see
Staring straight back at me?
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?

Gonna go nap.

For the 3rd time today. After 7 hours last night.

This is some fucked up shit, too.

Bipolar Mania: Rollercoaster Crap Now

10/7/17, 3:32pm

The hurricane was a complete bust. Whatever.

I, on the other hand, have been an up-down-up-down-sideways crazy person.

California Screamin Roller Coaster
California Screamin’ – Disney California Adventure (downward spiral)

Elusive Balance

For fuck’s sake already.

I am really trying to be patient waiting for the meds and Manic cycle to even out, but in the meantime, my poor love. Gads. He is bearing the brunt of my bizarre behavior. Giddy happy (said in a sing-song voice) one minute, then dark and brooding the next ( almost whispered in ominous bass tones). How this boy copes with my craziness is beyond me, but goddess love him, he is still hanging around. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if he just skittered back into the woods, blocking me from his life forevermore. Yet, he remains, devoted and a beloved pet for me to nuzzle. (And it is not obsequious submissiveness that keeps him tethered to me, either. Just thought I’d mention it lest someone believe that would be why. Our relationship encompasses more than that smaller, but equally as important, part of a whole.)

I have been up and down (har) with sleep. I will be awake for 23 hours, then sleep for 5. I took a 2-hour nap yesterday, without meds, and then was up another 20 hours, taking meds to get myself to sleep at 5am this morning. I was back up at 8am. Probably not enough sleep, but I am completely energized. (Or manic, however you want to say it.)

Hypomanic Tilt

funwheelswingin
Mickey’s Fun Wheel, Disney California Adventure – note the swinging gondolas (they sent me and my girls into sheer panic the time we rode them)

I’ve considered writing out a schedule, but now I think I am teetering on that Hypomanic State where it feels “normal”… not psychotic UP and not burying your soul down. I am in that so so good, without nasty hallucinations, pero con bastante energía… place.

I am singing again. (Still badly.)

Right this moment, Disney’s Broadway Lion King Soundtrack.

Singing LOUD.

lionking
Disney’s Broadway Lion King Musical

from “Shadowland

And where the journey may lead you

Let this prayer be your guide

Though it may take you so far away

Always remember your pride

I know some believe (and it is confirmed by Dr. Google) that Hypomania only occurs with Bipolar 2, but I will beg to differ. Over the years, I’ve had several episodes of Hypomania that created reams of articles and posts.

Where I am at the moment is a-WAKE, feeling positive. The hallucinations are on the periphery (not literally)… not terrifying, but not flowery, either. I can pretty much brush anything I see or feel aside… inconsequential gnats.

My written words are flowing easily. I am not spending money I don’t have (an enormous shift from the past 2 months). I have 18 half-finished posts calling my name; I want to do all of them at once.

And then there is talking to clients. I am still too speedy with them, talking over them, a huge no-no in phone sex work. My kids could even hear the difference when they called last night before the hurricane.

Boo Hoo’s

Talking to my kids and former partner Zack, I sobbed through the calls, acting like the hurricane was a freakin’ tornado about to take me from all of them. The tears come and go randomly. Have for 4 days now.

I know the goal is balance and that will probably come with a more regulated schedule.

I am just not ready yet. I don’t want to slow things down. Not yet. I feel too good.

We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

10/7/16, 5:27pm

Bipolar Mania: I Slept 7 Hours…

… in a row!

10/5/16, 6:14am

Sleep: Not Over-Rated

I cannot remember the last time I slept 7 hours in a row. Well, I am on Lasix for the swelling from the Risperdal, so had to pee twice (and almost didn’t make it to the toilet I was so deep in sleep!), but fell right to sleep again, which is also weird for me.

I’ve been up since 4am and no hallucinations so far. Very odd. Nice, but odd.

tendersleep

Hallucinations’ Origins

As I have said several times, I have not researched the Mania stuff because I want to experience it instead of anticipating what might come next. But the bizarre nature of the two hallucinations where I was kicked & grabbed scared me so much I had to ask the Psych where the heck those came from. (I still have not researched, not sure I want to yet.)

He explained that the mind in Mania is like a record on 78 (fast, for you youngsters). Skipping grooves randomly. The grooves being fears & memories. Usually scary memories.

Fun times.

How the brain knows to tap only into the shit thoughts is beyond me, but it seems to do that.

My Hallucinations’ Origins

My Fears: Rats & roaches. HATE them both. Intensely. I sat on a rat and killed it once. (Through a couch cushion, but still.) And roaches are fucking everywhere in Florida. It was delightful to not have them in San Diego, but gads, trying to avoid them here is amazingly difficult. (I am meticulous in my room, so if there is even one crawling under the door… it is DEAD.)

Memories: I am open about having been raped (at 18) and molested as a child. When I told the doc about the aggressive hallucinations, he asked me what I had been discussing in therapy lately. I had no idea why he was asking, but told him we were working on trans issues with my former partner Zack… and we’d talked about when I had a pretty long discussion about rape one night with someone else recently. He said, “That would be it.” I was confused and he said the mind grabs those scary thoughts and memories and “acts them out.” I was pretty floored and have thought about it a lot since yesterday.

Where to Go From Here

I am tempted to look the mechanism up, but am still wanting to just stay in the moment until the whole episode is past.

Hurricane Matthew is on its way, so I am out to Costco this morning, then back to work (been on since 4am; no calls yet) afterwards. Hope I get lots of calls today.

I might even take a nap! How wild would that be?

10/5/16, 8:10am

Bipolar Mania: Precariously Weird

10/3/16, 5:24pm

Yesterday was so awesome. Filled with energy and no hallucinations. I took two short naps, but didn’t take my Risperdal until 2am because I’d moved into a new day without seeing it happen and I was still wicked high on energy.

thowingupcolor

From Awesome to Terrifying

Well, I did have a few images/tactile sensations trying to invade around 8pm, but I went onto the phone with my love and we spent a little over 2 hours together Scening and had an awesome time.

delighted smile

After I took the 4mg Risperdal at 2am, I was making my bed after having done the laundry during my frenzy and when I bent over to put the sheet on the back corner, some-one/thing fucking kicked me onto the bed. I thought I was being robbed! I fell and whirled around and nothing was there. I rubbed my ass it hurt so much. I started crying, got back up, put the sheet on and moved to grab the pillows off my chair and some-one/thing grabbed my upper arm; I could feel the fingers digging in. No one/thing was here. These were, by far, the most aggressive hallucinations I’d ever felt. Scared the bejeezus out of me. I put Bear McCreary’s Outlander music on and quickly jumped into bed and under the covers. I breathed with Raya Yarbrough as she sang the Skye Boat Song and eventually fell asleep.

boleman-herring
artist: Elizabeth Boleman-Herring

Today Sucked

10/3/16, 7:29pm

Today, however, has been entirely different than the delightful highs of yesterday.

I seem to have an emotional mechanism… a gauge, if you will… that can instantly detect where my emotions are at any given time. Today I woke up feeling… sad? Dejected? Off?… I sighed knowing today was going to be tough. And it has been.

I have struggled to type. Normal words come out spelled as a homophone of themselves. “Brake” comes out “break”… “flee,” “flea.” Frustrating as crap having to go back and edit over and over… not something I often have to do.

I did take calls, but could feel that too-fast mind on overdrive and had to really harness the energy so I didn’t talk over clients. One caller in particular spoke at a gentle pace and I could feel myself tromp tromp tromping on some of his words (and I could feel his frustration as well), so I was really strong with my voice and stopped doing it. The call went smoother and he was very happy in the end. (It was less than 15 minutes long, so I only had to control myself for a mere few minutes.)

findbalance

10/3/16, 8:28pm

I’m overwhelmed and need to lay down. Do I take my meds and sleep? Do I just rest for awhile? I cannot even make a simple decision like: Should I drink water or Diet Coke. (No comments from the peanut gallery with your opinions!) Back in awhile.

10/3/16, 9:24pm

I went and cried in bed thinking about today.

As the sun went down, I began to break apart more. Tears, laughter, morose, frustration. A couple of the guys annoyed the fuck out of me so I decided, with check-in, that I was a tad over-reacting and best email with them in the morning instead of tonight. Apparently I shouldn’t have screamed my head off in anger (in my room) when I was called “Sweetheart” in an email.

Oh, and the news. I am not supposed to watch or read the news. I am even trying to stay out of Facebook a lot so I don’t get dragged down by the horrible things going on. But I caught a whiff of the tragedy (understatement) in Aleppo and went to read what was happening. I have barely stopped crying since. And then all the Trump shit? It’s just too much. Too, too much.

My precious love, a bright light in my life! He came home tonight… we were chatting on Skype… blah blah blah… and then I asked what time he would be home tomorrow night… and he answered, “Uh… uh…” and I realized what was going on and nearly collapsed in laughter. What had happened was my brain fell into a marital groove. Asking what time a partner is coming home is code for “What time should I have dinner ready?”

He lives thousands of miles away!

I thought I was going to die laughing… struggling still not to laugh maniacally (not succeeding most of the time). I know I will be filled with shame about it one day soon. When I feel better.

Reaching Out for Help (Again)

brokenbrainhug

When I had my second “break-down”  in 1998, my dear friend who introduced me to the Internet (on New Year’s Eve 1994), along with my two lovers at the time, took me to the doctor where I was diagnosed (finally) with Bipolar Disorder 1 and put on a cocktail of meds that began my life of being medicated to keep me sane.

So tonight, as I felt my mind was disintegrating, I called my friend who understands in more ways than most in my life. She listened as I explained what was going on (hallucinations, physically shaking with electric energy and occasional jolts, crying, laughing, anger, despair) and she helped me decide to see the doctor again tomorrow instead of next week. No suicidal ideation at all, but the feeling like my mind is going to spill out of my ears onto the floor is so enormous, I am sorely tempted to go to the hospital, but know all they would do would be put me in and I don’t want that. (For me, the hospital represents  HELP!… a long-ingrained midwifery belief.)

I am just going to watch something inane and work on my Picture Files.

I promised those in my life: NO NEWS & CALL DOC in the morning.

You all heard me!

10/3/16, 9:58pm