Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13

Friday, November 30, 2007

Never be too confident

I try to never fully believe I am out of the danger zone until I have proof of it for several weeks. This time the difference was clear enough I have been more assured. Tonight I fell asleep earlier than I had been (the time I need to be asleep for working) and was awake about an hour later. This would be no big deal except that it's 2 hours past that, 2:30 AM, and I'm wide awake.

Not good. Even though I know not to panic because bumps happen combined withi I had a big day with an overstimulating mall trip (maybe I wasn't as good as I thought) and I bumped my antidepressant dose up some. Guess that will be bumped down tomorrow. (Long story but I seem to need a dose between what is available. I need 3/4ths of a pill and they are small to cut. I can get a scipt for a smaller mg pill and take more but not until I see the doctor).

Deep breathing....

Small steps forward

Last night I woke up at a time I can only guess was about 4 am to find I had no power. I have no idea what happened aside from something major because the electric company person I talked to when it wasn't back by 3:30 said they had to do quite a bit of work to fix it. Then she said it would be on about 4:30. Five minutes later I reached into the fridge, bumped the off/on switch for the light and the light (plus all appliances and clocks) returned to life. It was so cold in here. It still feels cold, like the cold took over or something.

After I could get ready and handle hair, etc. I went to the mall. I'm trying to find a new winter coat. It's sort of my gift to myself. I found that the one I wants is more than I want to pay right now and I'll take a gamble that it will be cheaper in a few weeks. I was able to get several more small Christmas gifts.

The best part about the mall is that I tolerated it. I managed about 2 1/2 hours and I did what I'm supposed to do and set myself up right (weekday; I'm often really stupid about how I time things) monitored how I felt and responded accordingly. I just have to be sure I handle the rest of the shopping as well.

I'm also starting to fall asleep earlier. I wake back up, but it's a start.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Like a hint of spring

I just paid my bills back to up-to-date. I had been doing all the tricks I know with paying part, letting things run 1 month behind, rotating payments, etc. Not good, but I had little choice. Now I can relax again, sort of. I am not relaxing too much until I know my insurance will cover this last month, but I am ok even if they don't as long as I'm careful.

Inusrance (plus a bit on Lithium toxicity)

First, I just read my last post and realized it didn't sound quite accurate. I talked about my new goal being to get my Medicare quarters accumulated. I left out "and continue to work as long as possible". That remains a goal. Even if I do need SSDI I hope to work some (at least enough to pay for therapy) for many years. Sunday begins 7 years of my career and I really hope to have a much longer time.

Second, my real topic. Insurance. I am pulling my hair out. Originally my paperwork was misplaced instead of faxed so I did not get paid for 6 weeks. At that time I got a check for 2 weeks and told to send in more info. My doctor wrote the standard letter "slowly responding to treatment, medically indicated to treat with caution, continues with severe symptoms, etc". They sent me a letter telling me that letter wasn't acceptable, that they had to have the notes from my doctor and psychologist.

So that set off a whole sequence of new events. The doctor wrote yet another letter, this time going back to my diagnosis (and even further back with a list of mis-diagnoses), and moving forward to now. She printed out many notes and sent them in. I'm not thrilled about this, but they are doctor notes and I suspect she could hide things in my chart should she desire.

On the other hand, therapy notes are personal. I have weeks of talking about wanting to quit living and how I differentiate that from wanting to kill myself. I have stuff about work. I don't know what all is in there, but it is nobody's business. The notes thing stressed the psychologist out too, but it was very clear in the letter I'd gotten. So off went my private life, right to people who can interact with my work life.

Last Friday I got a huge check. Yay! Except it says benefits terminate on Nov. 17, which is the last day I saw the psychiatrist. I have called twice and tried to straighten out that I don't see her again until Dec. 15 but that nothing will change in that I'm still sick because it takes time. They keep trying to say I should be better by a fixed point in time. I keep trying to point out my doctor wrote a letter already explaining why I'm not well enough to work and why she won't let me go back until January. I'm trying to not say too much because I don't want my words used against me.

My case manager spoke with me yesterday about noon and said she had new info in the system she'd not read yet. She was to call back after reading it that afternoon. A day and a half later I have heard nothing and no new approvals are in the computer system. I know she didn't call because I have caller ID.


[As for lithium toxicity, I have had a lot of searches on this the last few days. I figured I could say a few things. First, feel free to email me ( in about me) if you'd like. I really wanted someone who had experienced it and had nobody. Second, I DID recover. My memory is not as good as before and some cognitive things are maybe a little slower (I notice I read more slowly), but as long as I keep my lithium level very low I do fine. I took longer than I thought for my body to even back out, but a lot of that (I think) was because my thyroid was damaged and I had to go on replacement therapy and get that level evened out.]

Monday, November 26, 2007

What's Next

Today I saw the psychologist and confirmed my improvement. I actually was pretty excited to get to do that because normally I get better much more slowly and I am very hesitant to admit I feel better in a lasting way until it has lasted longer. This time is so different because although I have a long way before I'm functional I am much better than a week ago. I really needed that imipramine. Lesson learned.

I also asked a big question I've been avoiding. I've never really been able to say that I knew the pattern my cycling would follow because I cycle so rapidly and virtually constantly. I do know that it's best to not have two major cycles in 18 months. Sadly I have; when I go back in January I will have missed 7.5 months of 20 months. Not good, especially with only 13 months separating. This leaves a question of what happens with that? If I'm only going to have a year of good time at a time (and I was very bad but still working for several months of that) I'm not being fair to employers. Obviously we keep hoping that we get Seroquel balanced into a miracle drug for me but realistically I think we'll find the partial response is a wonderful thing we'll just have to be happy about.

I think dealing with the anxiety that raises is going to have to be the focal point of treatment for a time. I don't know if early on someone told me that I'd probably work through my thirties, if I read something that made me think that, or what, but somehow I always thought I could make it that far.

Now it's no longer about age. Now it is about getting my last few quarters for Medicare eligibility. I need 6 more. Work now will be all about those 3 month increments.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Moving on

I am continuing to improve a little bit each day. I increased my antidepressant dose by 1/4th of a pill because I could feel it was making me slightly too energetic and mania really isn't so appealing at this point. I plan to go on up to the total dose we'd planned on around Thursday.

I'm still very tired and sleep 15 or more hours a day. I am probably at the point that I need to start backing that down some; I've been giving myself extra time to recover from the holiday.

Yesterday I peeled some wallpaper in a room I hope to get done within the next 5 years (I work in it for short periods occasionally as I feel like it) and also wrapped some Christmas presents. Wrapping is hard because my perfectionistic tendencies want the packages to be perfect and my hands are too tremor-y and jerky to get that. In past years I've put off wrapping and hated it. This year I'm trying to be as accepting of the tremors and jerks as I can be. I'm also trying not to remember the days when I wrapped everything perfectly with the patterns lined up properly, neatly folded edges and pretty bows.

Tonight I cooked a meal. I'm hoping to wrap some more presents later.

It's the small things that matter....

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Is it the pink box?

I have never been so glad for stomach cramps. My belly is still distended and unhappy but it is better. I finally gave in and took a laxative. I am scared of such things after working with people addicted to them many, many times in my career, but I can't live in pain either.

My only question is what makes something a "woman's laxative"? Does it not work for men? Why aren't there men's laxatives?

Very, very odd. (Obviously someone spent too much time comparing options).

Also, my pharmacy was out of pill splitters. Conspiracy?

Friday, November 23, 2007


I'm ready to accept any input here. Kind of a personal problem, but very uncomfortable. The combination of meds I'm on all claim constipation as a major side effect, and I'm on a lot of meds and high doses of most of them. It is also a symptom of hypothyroidism, which I have thanks to lithium. Ever since my Seroquel dose hit a certain level I've been at war. I'm taking Colace, 200 mg per day, per my psychiatrist. I have tried a few supposed home remedies that I either knew from working with the elderly who are often very focused on this same thing, or from the internet. I've pumped enough fiber into my diet that I might as well have taken up eating paper. I tried benefiber powder; that gave me a night full of cramps and pain. Nothing works.

I'm very uncomfortable and my belly is really distended; it looks about 6 months pregnant and I'm not pregnant at all. Even leaning forward to tie my shoe is painful. I already drink way more water than required.

I have a doctor appt. for this but it's not until the first week of December. I'm willing to listen to any ideas, old wives tales, etc. I may not try it, but I'll listen.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007


My computer is misbehaving and I was doing a bunch of random clicking in my email trying to get it to wake up and tell me if I have email. Somehow I wound up in a file I haven't accessed since approximately 1999 (really). In there I found a little story I had totally forgotten. I was given this by a former therapist when I was really miserable (depressed plus discouraged) in grad school. It probably was during one of my first mixed episodes, although knowing of those was years away.

Anyway, it seems like a pretty perfect Thanksgiving entry, especially when Thanksgiving seems to be bringing me some good news. It's still way too early to be certain, but I seem to be beginning to feel better. Two days in a row now. My only problem is that I seem to be having trouble with food tasting really bad. Hopefully this will not affect turkey and stuffing. We got pizza tonight and I had to throw my piece away after one bite. Regardless, as my story goes, all does not need to be perfection:

The Meaning of Serenity

There once was a king who offered a prize to the artist who would pain the best picture of serenity. Many artists tried. The king looked at all the pictures, but there were only 2 he really liked and he had to choose between them. Once picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror for the peaceful towering mountains that were all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of serenity. The other picture had mountains too. But these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky from which rain fell, and in which lightning played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all, but when the king looked, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the bush a mother bird had built her nest. There in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest.......perfect serenity.

Which picture do you think won the prize? The king chose the second picture. Do you know why? "Because," explained the King, "serenity does not mean to be in a place where there in no noise, trouble, or hard work. Serenity means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of serenity."

Have a good Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Please let this be real

Today I had a hint that my antidepressant is maybe beginning to work again. I still slept way too much, but I also cleaned my living room and at least re-arranged the mess in the kitchen (it actually is significantly better). I did that and did not require 2 hours of sleep. That is the improvement. It's been weeks since I was able to do that much.

Now it's just a matter of not having the antidepressant shoot me into mania. Because I sort of feel like that could happen (not sure how to explain that) I am probably going to slow down how fast I'm taking it. I'm already taking a bizarre dose, I might as well take a really bizarre dose for a few days. Besides, I'm getting really good at cutting small pills into 1/4s anyway. Too bad I broke my good pill cutter last night. (And yes I do realize exactly how sad it is that I have a good pill cutter and a bad one).

I really need this sign of hope. Really, really, really....

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Hair loss update

I haven't said much lately about my hair loss, and it's something that I have had good change in so I want to share. My hair was moderately thinning thanks to Depakote starting mid-summer. By August my stylist could see thin patches. I think the only reason it didn't really show is that I have very thick, very curly hair. I could pull out handfuls of hair, one after another.

I started on supplements recommended for people on Depakote. Usually they say to take Centrum Silver, but something in that made me nauseated so I bought the supplements separately (zinc and selenium).

My stylist recommended trying products by a company called Nioxin which is devoted to hair regrowth and has a pretty high success rate. The shampoo and leave-in treatment were the same prices as buying any salon product (about $15 each). I used those for a month and we decided it was working but not enough. I bought the very expensive $35 advanced treatment foam and switched to Nioxin mousse instead of my usual curl defining gel. And now my hair has grown back in really quickly. I'm so happy. I'm sure that Nioxin is mainly the key to success because my legs haven't needed shaved in so long I can't remember and I have essentially no arm hair. I'm not complaining about not needing to shave though.

I have read where a lot of people aren't so thrilled with Nioxin but I've been thrilled (except for the money, but that's life). The biggest complaint seems to be smell. The shampoo and scalp treatment smell like tea tree oil. The foam smells weird, kind of yeasty, but that smell is gone in just a second. I like the smell now, although I do miss the girly flowery stuff.

Anyway, I'm not bald. Thought someone might want to know that.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Med changes

Last night I wrote about how set in stone my medication routine is. It is very ritualistic, from taking the meds out of their drawer in my bedside table to putting them in the "not taken" zone of the bed and moving them to the "taken" side when appropriate.

Tonight I had 2 more pills than I had been taking. I'm still in shock....

Psychiatric update

I saw my psychiatrist today. I got much more specific paperwork sent to my disabilty insurance, which should (if they are at all rational) get me coverage for the remaining time I need to recover. It wasn't so much fun because she went clear back over my history trying to show that not only am I really sick at this moment but that I've got a history of being a bit complicated which means slower healing/slower treatment.

I got my antidepressant back. Thank God. SAD has been kicking my butt, along with everything else. At least I think it's SAD. That certainly has a component; I know this because it has to be the reason I want to sleep from 7 pm until 2 pm daily. If it weren't for not doing well at falling asleep I'm sure I would be.

As I'd suspected I don't have a long way to go with the Seroquel, so I'm staying put with it until we see how much the antidepressant helps.

I'm going to stay home until January. I feel really guilty. I know I'm in no shape to work; I seriously doubt I could handle one day without losing it, but it feels wrong to have been off so long. Guess my "attendance" rating for my annual review that is due will be pretty crummy.

All that was a long day and I'm very tired. I may set a new record for hours of sleep tonight.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Inquiring minds

So, how do you take your meds? I was just taking mine and for the hundredth time laughing at myself because I am so obsessive with the routine. The routine was something we worked on in therapy for a long time after I was diagnosed because taking pills was so hard for me. I literally learned to swallow pills in the last few years. I owe much of this to a few speech therapist friends who taught me tricks. The thing on tv where you put a whole bunch of water in your mouth, tip your head back, and swallow? That isn't such a wise idea. Swallowing is much safer and easier when you tuck your chin. (There's your public service announcement).

But anyway, for a long time I used a pillbox. For years I had to take each pill individually, no matter how small, and it had to be hidden in something. I used baby food fruits a lot because they didn't run the risk of making me have aversions to real foods like puddings, applesauce, etc. For nearly a year I took 23 pills that way and it took 30-60 minutes every night. After a while we changed things around and I went back to 12-15, which has been more normal. At the moment I'm taking 18 at night, I think, and one in the AM.

Over the last year and a half I started to be able to swallow pills in groups. I think learning that I had actually had lithium toxicity and was vomiting from that for so long rather than thinking I was vomiting because I swallowed the pills wrong led me into feeling more confident.

At first I could only swallow pills of the same kind together. I realize that's not very logical, but it was how it worked. Then I started consolidating some of the smaller pills together.

Now I take my pills in about 10 minutes/night. I swallow 3 handfuls. But I have to be so precise. My first handful is the "random little pills" group: 3 Atarax, 3 1/4 Seroquel, and 1 lithium. Then I eat a few bites of something (tonight cereal, often toast or a sandwich) and drink. Handful #2 is "things that smell bad plus leftover small pills". That includes my vitamins/minerals and Colace. Colace is always opened first, followed by selenium, then my B-complex-plus-assorted-other-stuff. The B complex is large and really smelly so I try to pop it in and get it down fast. After this handful I need several minutes to regroup and so I eat several bites, drink some, and watch TV. TV is an integral part of this routine; I rely on the distraction. Finally I take all 6 of my Depakote ER pills (actually 7 pieces because one is divided to make it immediate release). That's a big mouthful. I still am amazed I learned to do that. But I have and I only have gagged on pills about once in the last year, so I am pretty sure I have mastered it. I'll never win a hotdog or pie eating contest with the gag reflex I've got, and dental visits are always a blast, but I can take pills.

Now, the question: Am I the only obsessive-compulsive pill-taker?????

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The "C-R-A-Z-Y" Word

I read a number of blogs written by people my own age. It helps me see what a more normal life is like in one's 30s. A hallmark of that time is, of course, raising children.

The problem is that an unbelievable number of these excellent bloggers go too far with comparing motherhood to mental illness. These same women who would be horrified if someone pointed out they had been not very politically correct but oh-so-funny when dealing with homosexuality or race will spend paragraphs laying out dramatic scenes of running wildly through stores, hysterical laughter, etc. Jokes are made about needing ECT or antipsychotics.

I get so angry at these posts. Once I pointed out that it wasn't really appropriate, and my gentle words were posted in a whole post about how funny the crazy lady was. And then all the commentors agreed that I was a stick in the mud, pain in the butt, etc. I wasn't, honestly I wasn't.

I know that these people have no idea what mental illness is like. I also know they are adults and they need to find better ways to express themselves. High dose psychotropics are not even enough to tame my crazies enough that I can stop feeling like someone is in my house tonight.

So much stress

If I had to list all the things that were difficult for me to handle right now, my short term disability would still be very, very high on the list. Thus far I have had my doctor misplace rather than fax my paperwork, and then I received a check but only for a portion of the time I've been off because they use some sort of formula to determine that my vocation indicates I need 28 days to recover. My doctor then sent in further documentation that I am indeed still sick, and they responded with a letter that they need every note from the psychiatrist and psychologist to prove I am sick; just a statement that I am is not enough. So my mother took my requests for release of info in and faxed them today (stupid HIPPAA; I couldn't just request this over the phone) and hopefully both offices will feel sorry for my sad story about no money for nearly 2 months.

In the meantime I am left worrying. Worrying that somehow they'll find a way out of paying me. Worrying because I don't know what those notes say about the insurance company. I think some of it is pretty specific because I know a lot is written when I'm as sick and having as much suicidal ideation as I have been. I doubt a good way to get money is to insult the insurance. I'm worried I still didn't send everything or that I won't meet some criteria.

Yet I know that I'm sick and that even what I've written here should pretty well prove I can't work. I cannot imagine anyone really wanting a suicidal healthcare provider. I can't even follow time without assistance. We (I) discovered in counseling this week that I partly am being hard on myself thinking I've been off about 3 months when it isn't even 2. I am confused and have to figure out what day it is, every day.

I just fear that I'll be sent back to work not well enough. I don't remember having this fear before. But right now I know how incredibly tired I get if I do anything. I am still in "try to shower and do one thing per day" mode. Today I made brownies and spent 5 minutes clearing the counter. I hopefully will get the shower still this evening. Even with doing that little I still spent nearly 2 hours doing absolutely nothing this afternoon.

I know worrying doesn't help. Yet it is so hard to not worry when there is so much at stake. My psychologist tells me that 60% of bipolar patients have obsessive thinking and this is certainly that. I'm just unable to turn it off. I just can't wait for this to end.

I won

The pharmacy that turned into a nightmare last week had a regional manager of some sort call me today. I am getting my pills. I got a half-apology, which is the best I'd expected. I am still done with using that chain ever again, unless there is an emergency, but I am pretty proud anyway. I have had a long, long progression of lessons in being assertive and this time I did it myself. So I am pretty happy.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Micro-party (irony included, of course)

Once again I felt a little less like I was drowning in a mud puddle. The dose increase of Seroquel the other night did make a difference. The psychologist said my thinking and speech and eye contact all were much improved. I've also done a better job at using strategies the last few days.

It was so good to hear verification that I am sounding better. However, there's a problem. At least a likely problem. I started on 25 mg of Seroquel and am now on 650 mg. Those increases were done 25 mg at a time until 300 mg and 50 mg at a time since then. Every single time I have increased I have followed that by a few days of sleeping well, one day of grogginess, a few days of better mood, and then it all declines.

My plan as recently as 3 hours ago was that I was going to up the dose this week to more like 800 mg by my psychiatrist visit on Saturday. I'm tired of waiting around. I don't exactly have permission but she didn't say don't, which usually means I can do what I want. However, I realized that if I go up there feeling way better I'm not going to accurately portray how I've been consistently feeling and how Seroquel works great for several days then burns out. Over and over. So, I'm going to let 650 mg attempt to withstand the time test. I hate that; it seems so cruel to set myself up to feel bad in a few days. I'm pretty sure 650 is not the magical number. I think the magic number is really high, possibly higher than I'm going to be allowed to take. At this point I'm supposed to go back to work Dec. 5 and unless this stuff starts working at at much more consistent level and I get back to a real sleep pattern and start having some actual energy there is no way. I am panicky about that whole idea, I am pretty sure it's too soon, but I'm embarrassed I'm not getting well faster. I know that doesn't make sense, it just is the way I feel. It's kind of hard to explain how I feel just now. I am still cycling, obviously. I am so tired, yet it's a gamble as to when and how much I'll sleep, not to mention the quality. I am physically weak from being out of action for so long; I get completely worn out from small activities.

Another bit of good news was that I not only found my missing family doctor, I have an appointment scheduled. Thank God. I hope the time to get in isn't typical of the practice; it isn't for another 3 weeks. That works for a physical but not so much for acute needs. I'm assuming this is partly "new patient" stuff as well as booking. We'll see.

I hope this week goes smoothly. If it doesn't at least I know I'm choosing this way and therefore I maybe can feel some control? We shall see.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Regaining a touch of control

I bumped my meds up some last night. I decided that I knew it was safe enough, I knew I needed more, and I had lost a whole week to waiting for permission. And it's not like that week was at all good; a week spent pondering why I have to keep living if living is miserable is not good.

The result of my rebillion was 10 hours of sleep without even a bathroom break, and I fell asleep much closer to "bedtime" than the recent usual. I felt soooooo much better today. I even took a shower without having the push of going somewhere to make me. I finally feel a little more in control today.

I also just sat and paid a bunch of bills. Can't tell you how spectacular that felt. Normally I hate doing it because no matter what I have no money. Well, this time I have no money either but compared to last week I'm rich. It actually worked out so I have just about penny for penny what I needed to make minimum payments. I think.

I'll still be really glad when that other check comes....

Saturday, November 10, 2007

If fetuses could take steps

If a fetus could take a step that is the size of today's step, but at least it is a step.

Today I feel a little bit better. I went out and got a haircut (which feels absolutely extravagent after 2 months of no income), then I took myself out to lunch (cheap pizza), and ran 2 errands. And then I came home and napped for 2 hours.

I think part of why I've had such a hard time lately is that I get so extremely frustrated with the fatigue. After a while I forget that it goes away eventually, and that is hard because at my best I am very, very tired a huge percentage of the time. Even when I'm manic I get tired, I just can't rest.

One of the things that has been really tough through these months has been that I've wanted so very badly to not have to fight. There is a fine line between that and totally giving up and so I've had many, many discussions about this with the psychologist. As recently as 2 days ago I had to answer the "do you need the hospital?" question. I don't. I want to lay in bed forever. I don't want to face a world that is so hard for me to fit into. I don't want to die.

However, I realized today that I am very glad I pitched my med stockpile back in May, and that I talked about that with the psychologist. Because I remember feeling like this before. This is how I felt way back when I started lithium, and the exact reason I started lithium was that I felt I was unable to handle getting sick ever again. I had started to feel a tad better, but only for a little bit, and I could tell I faced another depression. I also knew that I just couldn't stand that and that if I felt myself sliding into the kind of depression I had been fighting for months that I would decide to quit. Then I somehow realized that I was thinking this and it horrified me so I got help really quickly. I believe I started lithium and counseling all within a week.

The last few weeks have been full of thinking about my inability to live like this. Except that I have to because this is my life. I may think of dying but I also don't consider that a real choice. I am still waiting to see what my doctor says about my meds. We still aren't right. I'm still depressed. I tried to ask which she wants increased but haven't heard a response. I think I'm going to make a decision myself.

But I'm also really, really glad that I removed the temptation from my house. It's much harder to be impulsive now and I know that's good. For today I'm somewhat ok, and that's progress.

Friday, November 09, 2007

I found my doctor

So not everything is bad. (See below). I did some digging on my insurance website and I found my missing doctor. He did move to the City, but it will be manageable. He's a few blocks from one of my workplaces and 20 minutes from the other. If I change jobs to one further south, as I would prefer, that may be difficult, but the psychologist is in the same area and I don't struggle too much with that. The psychiatrist is an hour further than that and I make it to see her also.

I can't explain the relief. I'm sure the other doctors where I went are great, I'm just not ready for another change. If I have to explain one.more.time in my life why I can't take ibuproferon (it increases lithium levels) and why I have to act as if I had high levels even though I'm on a low dose (my body thinks it is toxic if it is much higher that it is now) I will just scream. I also have just about lost my patience with explaining why I can't take cold meds. (Although even this guy called in something last year that had pseudoepiphrene in it. That's why I usually go in person though).

Anyway, yay.

Another day with random bad things

I got a note from my disability insurer today that accompanied a check for half of what I was expecting. They informed me that severe mania/mixed episode only disables OTRs for 28 days. I would LOVE to know what study that one is based on. I can just see people timing each profession's abilities. Evidence based medicine is fine, but that's a bit extreme. I had to be off 2 weeks before I was paid, so my check was only for 2 weeks and it stopped 10/13.

So I was paid 1/3rd of the time I've been off. It's enough to at least catch up my bills. I think. It is not enough to calm me down. The money thing has been SO stressful this time. I'm so tired of it.

Then I tried to make an appointment with my family doctor. I'm making an assumption that he no longer is there since he no longer seems to have an appointment desk. They were not in when I called so I can't be sure until Monday, but if he is gone it is a major loss. I spent a lot of time explaining to him what I need from a family doctor, and that I might be bipolar but I still deserve respect, and I never had any issues with him. This was in stark contrast to other doctors since my diagnosis. Even the doctor I had seen several years before him had a tendency to want to play psychiatrist and try to insist something should be changed in my psych meds. This doctor never did that. He would always call my psychiatrist at my request and made sure she had copies of labs, etc.

So now I am waiting to hear from the psychiatrist that she sent the paperwork in saying that I indeed am exceeding expectations for a 28 day illness, and even worse, waiting for Monday to find out if my beloved doctor has moved on.

At least I am not going to be homeless.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Bipolars are not categorically dangerous

I've had multiple searches today for whether or not bipolar people are dangerous. So I'll answer.

Typically, no. If we're on our meds and not having an episode than we are no more dangerous than anyone else.

We have a higher rate of drug/alcohol abuse and that makes us dangerous just like it does anyone.

We can be dangerous to ourselves when ill. Sometimes this is in the form of self-harm, sometimes by making bad decisions. Sometimes bad decisions hurt others. That is true for anyone though, bipolar or not.

Therefore, we are not dangerous. Sometimes we may be at increased risk for being dangerous, but that is not guaranteed. I know plenty of people who live far more dangerous lives than I do, for example. In fact, I live a pretty boring, sedate, stick-to-the-rules life.

Hopefully this helps.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The depressive part of this mixed episode is hitting really hard. I'm fairly sure I need back on my antidepressant; we stopped that during the horrible mania. Apparently I still need it even though Seroquel is supposed to fill that gap.

I'm now depressed enough that simple problem solving upsets me. I wanted to make something that needed an egg. I'm out of eggs. Faced with either getting appropriately enough dressed to run to the convenience store (which meant a shower, the hair dryer, clothes), I just gave in. Which wouldn't be such a big deal except that I then felt crushed because I had no eggs. Worst thing that ever happened and all that.

I'm partially have trouble because my thinking is more manic and yet my speed is very slow. I get confused when I try to think or say things. I don't trust myself to react the way I want to. Having burst into tears in public yesterday there is no telling where I'll cry next.

And of course I'm celebrating with nightmares.

I don't even have a good ending line. I'm just disgusted. I wish I had a way to make myself believe that I haven't done something wrong. I know, but I don't.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Turns out I can lose it

Today was a really, really bad day. Any way you call it, it was bad.

I knew even last night that I would be spending today waiting for some response from my psychiatrist. I'm getting more mixed, not less, and my dose of Seroquel is now as high as the bottle says I'm allowed.

First, I got a call from my disability insurer (who now owe me about 6 weeks of 66 1/2% pay), telling me that I needed to send approval for my psychiatrist to release all records between Feb. 07 and now due to a pre-existing condition clause. I nearly passed out. I very specifically checked and double checked about that clause not applying when I left work. I even know the day and the time and where I was when they called back. So I finally made it through that call without freaking out, although the woman kept acting like she'd humor my panic attack but I was WRONG. I called my HR person, who I really am appreciating because she's worked hard for me, and she told me I was right, that this has happened a few other times with people who avoided the pre-existing thing through a loophole.

I simply couldn't handle it. I spent 2 hours in the fetal position. I think I passed worrying and went into "I don't care at all. Done caring. The end. I've had it". That's not a typical resting place for me, not for that long. The events and my reaction caused one of my safety valve people to tell me I needed to call my doctors. Which was already evident.

I then had to get changed and go pick up a prescription. I am too worn out to go through the whole story, but last month the pharmacist didn't give me 30 pills because the insurance said I could have 150 only, not 180. I called the insurance, they entered I could have the whole script. Therefore I am owed 30 pills, right?

According to the pharmacist, not so. He gave me a refill, which he had to fight the insurance over. Of course he did, the insurance and I expect to go 30 days between refills. I tried to explain this to him, and he yelled at me. He told me that he had to work hard to get it filled and I should be grateful.


I'm sorry it was harder, but I too have dealt with the issue. I also never heard one ounce of complaint before I changed pharmacies. I was using Walmart but switched to Riteaid because I was spending too much money while I waited. I should have known; last summer another local Riteaid gave me 4 times the dose of thyroid medication and I took it for a month, not knowing.

So I cried in the parking lot. Not much. But enough to show that I can cry in public places. Fantastic.


I've taken a few days off of the blog because I just didn't feel like it, and because I needed to cope with some feelings I've had about the blog lately.

This is a essentially my diary and I allow you to read it, just like the other zillions of bloggers. I write here because it helps me and I want to interact with others with my struggles. I often am writing about the more negative parts of my life because that is what I'm struggling with. I am not hyperfocused on negativity if you actually spend time with me, but I can see how that may come across. On the other hand, right now I have felt bad every day for almost 3 months, I have barely had any good sleep in all that time, I'm having side effects that make me feel pretty bad at times.

I read lots of blogs. I know how easy it is to assume that you know the author. But that's not true. You know whatever part of what I'm thinking about at any given minute. Right now I am cycling so fast that I can be at extreme ends in just a couple of minutes. That means essentially nothing I write is necessarily going to reflect what I feel in another 10 minutes.

Lately I've gotten several emails and/or comments that were of the "be thankful for what you've got" variety. We all, I imagine, have experienced this. I also have other bad associations with that kind of talk which I don't want to go into right now. But I kind of hit a point in the last week where a lot of my grumpiness got focused on this blog hurting me. Everything about it seemed wrong, from a template issue to it seemed like nobody was understanding me. I decided the best thing was to back away for a bit.

I think I'm willing to come back and try again. Just please don't be insulted if you somehow feel my sensitivity. Speak up politely if you do.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Um, anything seem wrong here?

This is not a dainty feminine post.....Remember I'm a healthcare professional and am at ease with a lot of topics. Don't read if you think some things should not be discussed.

As the dose of seroquel goes up my body is having more and more issues with constipation. It's just a side effect of too many of these meds of mine. I eat a high fiber diet normally, and attempting to increase it further with supplementation (combined with throwing even more into my diet) results in nothing but severe discomfort and an inability to sleep. Until I can see my doctor I have been taking Colace.

Tonight I happened to glance at the ingredients. Is it disturbing only to me that the main inactive ingredient is ink????

I've put a lot of chemicals into my body, but ink? On purpose???

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Apparently what I wrote last night wasn't totally clear. I am not sitting around here having a pity party. I really don't want anyone to think I am. I am working really hard on my homework goals, partly to prevent that.

However, I am symptomatic. I can't sleep, I'm agitated, my mood is depressed, I'm tired, I'm anxious, and I have trouble letting things go. My psychologist thinks my thinking borders on OCD at times, and one of the ways is that things that upset me or make me feel like I did something wrong tend to be very hard for me to not think about. Crying is a way to feel the emotions and let them be released so I can move on.

That is why I want to cry.