Blog Refocus: Life Through the Eyes of Food

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At My Daughter’s Nudging

So, after my Baking Bread Memories post, my daughter Meghann, also a writer, insisted I start another blog and talk about my life through the eyes of food. Not wanting to start over with yet another blog, I decided to edit this one and begin the project my daughter asked me to write in this one.

Besides the food refocus, I could not edit out my Bipolar and Diabetic experiences. I really feel my mental illness as well as my diabetes are intertwined with my life of eating; they are inextricably combined.

Long List of Memories

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My mama’s hand.

I began a list last night of times in my life where food took more than center stage and already have 29 potential posts!

Come along with me as I jot down memories for my children and entertainment for you readers.

I better get to writing.

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Bipolar Diary: Depression Deepens

TWMental

Depression

The last 2 weeks have sucked even worse than when I wrote on July 13, 2017. Tears. Tears. Never-ending tears. The suicidal ideation is coming more often and is more vivid than when I started the Paxil. And the damn hallucinations are back.

sigh

Almost all of my time is in bed, either curled in pain (another post), staring at the ceiling or sleeping. I leave I Love Lucy on in the background. Sometimes Friends. I’m listening to Mists of Avalon (a book I love), but when I listen in bed, I fall right to sleep. I’ve replayed Chapter 6 four times already.

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artist: Edvard Munch

An Odd Sorta Depression

When looking for images about depression lying, I came across several pieces like this one below:

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Not sure if I’m just more familiar with my depression than when I was younger or if it has really shifted, but I do not hear the lies the girl in the image does… nothing negative about my body, how alone I am in the world, how fat/ugly/sick I am. I did when I was younger, but not anymore.

I just feel sad. An overwhelming sadness. A pall of melancholia that separates me from the rest of you. I cannot even touch what I am sad about except for the endless distress I have about our country because of 45. But this joylessness is deeper than the fear-for-our-lives kind. I feel like I’m under the thick glass of my Nana’s cake pedestal, so close to others, but unable to penetrate the barrier of dreariness to make a connection.

cake close

Medication Changes

The psych doc upped the Paxil to 30mg after 2 weeks on 20mg. He said he still might have to increase it when I see him in 2 weeks. For fuck’s sake, can’t this stuff take effect already? I hate this waiting part.

paxil 30

I have weaned off the Cymbalta. Is that the reason for this huge dip? Who knows anymore. He wanted to increase my Risperdal, but I refused; the eating is out of control with more Risperdal… can’t abide by that.

An aside: I despise the new packaging that seems to be taking over the medication world. I am not stupid, can follow directions, but they are incredibly difficult for me to get into. I’ve asked the Pharmacy to open them for me and then I rip the inner blister pack out, throwing the outer box away. If you haven’t see them, let me introduce you.

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“Follow these 3 simple steps,” it says. Push the blister pack all the way in, then press on the “lock release button” on the left . Finally, pull the sliding pack out at the same time as pushing the spot on the left. I wish it was as easy as they make it sound! It’s almost worse that rubbing my head and patting my belly at the same time.

Suicidal Ideation

I’ve had lots of suicidal thoughts. My cub stayed with me one night when they were especially bad, reminding me every few minutes that Depression is a Liar. Hearing that, knowing it for certain, is what kept (keeps) me going. Hearing that so-and-so loves me doesn’t do much for my mindset because I rationalize that away easily. Depression Lies, however, works wonders.

Depression is a lying bastard

The thoughts of suicide are so enticing. They call to me seductively as if they were sirens on the ocean’s rocks.

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I try to block them out listening to various albums I have memorized. The Eagles, Carly Simon, Sting (Living Sea), and, of course, Hamilton: An American Musical.

I also try to find positive recovery-from-depression-and-suicidal-thoughts articles and posts online. This is one I go back to over and over:

Suicide Prevention: How to Help Someone who is Suicidal and Save a Life

“A suicidal person may not ask for help, but that doesn’t mean that help isn’t wanted. People who take their lives don’t want to die—they just want to stop hurting.”

When I had my first serious clinical depression in my late teens, I didn’t understand the “wanting the pain to stop” aspect and teetered really close to the edge of death.

As I got older and had some decent therapy, I was able to verbalize the inner turmoil and excruciating emotional pain that was drawing me towards dying. Understanding that I didn’t really want to die, but just to stop hurting… a pain that went so deep as to injure my soul… I was able to cling to those brief seconds of “medication will help remove the pain… hang on a little bit longer.”

Medication and therapy have not failed me yet.

Working/Not Working

Work has been nearly impossible the way I feel. I can do one call, then need 2 hours off to regroup. The calls are easy, mostly with regulars, but the energy expenditure exhausts me. Even writing this post has taken 4 days so far. Ugh. I need to be able to work!

Okay, I need to get this out to you all. It is not a cry for help, I promise. I will not hurt myself, have no plans to.  It’s just those random thoughts that flow through my mind… sometimes like heavy cinder blocks and others like wafting vapors. As long as they continue moving on the conveyor belt, I think I’m okay and headed towards healing.

trudging along

Thanks for listening

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Always reaching for help.

Bipolar Diary: Zero Gravity Hallucinations

I’d thought I’d come to a place of balance. I was still having hallucinations, mostly visual, some auditory and tactile, but those not so often. Even though the hallucinations have continued, I told the Psychiatrist I did not want to take more Risperdal to try and make them go away. The short time I was on the increased amount (double what I am on now), I gained 30 (fucking) pounds in 6 weeks. As soon as we halved it, I stopped eating like an insatiable animal, and have now lost 10 of those 30 pounds. I told him I’d just suck up dealing with the hallucinations.

However, there does come a tipping point between what I can live with and seeing much of my room floating around as if I was in space.

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Balance – dance troupe, Pilobolus

What’s Going On?

I cannot pinpoint why they are getting bigger, more bizarre and more aggressive. My sleep is weird, but I am sleeping. I’m in an inordinate amount of pain, but that isn’t too new… I had my gallbladder removed on February 2 and have had a series of infection complications since. I’ve got other pain, but can usually meditate to work through it. (I have Trazadone if I need help sleeping, but have only taken that a couple of time.)

Visual

A crazy hallucination I had the other day was seeing my pillow breathing. Yes, I know… ridiculous, but I stared at it as it inhaled and exhaled for the entire 5-minutes I watched. I blinked, shook my head, told myself there was no way in hell that was real, yet the pillow kept inflating and deflating, slowly, as if it was breathing. I glance over a lot to see if it’s going for a repeat performance. Nothing so far.

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I have the usual roaches and now some flying bats, but those are pretty yawn-inspiring since they’ve been around so long now. It’s the floating toilet paper roll, the pens, my Blistex lip balm… things that are here in my room, in my real life, just appearing, mid-air… there… and then fleetingly gone again. My food shifts next to me. I “see” music coming out of the speaker. The movements around the room are near-constant. (The book next to me is shuffling the pages as I write this.)

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I try to drive infrequently and only for less than a mile or two because it is frightening to not know if that box flying through the air is an illusion or really fell off that truck up there. I am terrified when I pass bus stops because people are so close to the edge, they slide over into the road sometimes, sliding back just as I get ready to veer away from hitting them. I do everything in my power to never drive during school drop-off or pick-up, the amount of busy-ness in the roads confuse me terribly. Don’t even get me started on mailboxes.

Tactile

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I am tapped periodically. No one is here to tap me. It’s nothing. I feel things crawling on me a lot. My room is clean! There are no bugs to crawl on me. No fleas, no gnats. Nothing. Yet I could swear there was a spider crawling up my leg or on my arm. Even when I am looking right at my skin, seeing with my eyes that it isn’t there, it is there… I just cannot see it is all. (Talk about a mind fuck!)

Auditory

I have these the least at the moment. Just some occasional whispers. Nothing telling me to do anything, I don’t get those kinds. I just get ominous whispers, just out of hearing range… my name whispered a lot.

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Resolution

Klimt
artist, Gustav Klimt

Writing all that down, I see I really might need to just up the Risperdal to curb some of this extraneous activity in my brain. I am crying writing this, fearful of gaining more weight. (I gained 80 pounds in 3 months when I started the Risperdal 13 years ago.) I know there are other meds I can try, but I get Tardive Dyskinesia so easily… and have it already from the Wellbutrin… I am so wary of changing from meds I know work.

Fuck, this is confusing sometimes.

Thanks for listening.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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