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

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Coming clean

(Typos courtest of Noah the huge orange cat)

I'm not doing great. I realize I've said this a lot lately, but it's becoming more and more clear. I am not having so much bipolar as I am severe anxiety. Which can be part of bipolar and certainly is related, but I am having more and more trouble staying happy because I'm so incredibly anxious. The problem is that my bipolar treatments make anxiety hard to treat because the MAOI limits the meds I can take, I can't tolerate any more Seroquel (which is what Dr. Brain prescribed but it knocks me out), I'm already taking a pretty good sized dose of an addictive med (Klonopin), and the non-additive choice I have works for such a short while that it is not worth much. I don't know if I'm developing tolerance to Klonopin already; I don't think that is it. For one thing it took me nearly 10 years to become tolerant to Ativan, and when I did it was after a prolonged period of taking it more than usual. For another I'm not on THAT much Klonopin. I did start off at a dose higher than maybe normal, but it's not like there has been any suggestion it was time to back off. And for that matter I was mainly only taking 1/day for about 2 months. Dr. Brain told me that when someone like me achieves remission after so long that protocol is going to be that nothing changes for an extremely long time, many months to a year or more. Obviously they'll add meds, but there won't be weaning. So maybe I've been allowed to stay on more Klonopin than was ideal for this long, but I doubt that. It's just not that much.

The problem is that I'm not having success contacting Dr. Brain. Originally when this started she prescribed more Seroquel and did answer my email asking for much less than she proposed. Since then I've tried to make it until my next appt. and felt I couldn't. I've sent several emails, including one about why Seroquel wasn't working and heard nothing.

Normally this is when I'd get mad and call her office and really pester her if I had to. Or pull out the code words that mean pay attention. But this isn't normally. This is the time in radiation that she is most likely to be ill and exhausted, plus there will have been a personal thing this week. And I'm not on the verge of death or suicide. I just need to be patient unless it becomes emergent, which it is not.

But the thing is that feeling like I don't have my usual options to turn to is making this much worse. It's hard enough with Dr. Brain not being accessible, but then with Dr. Mind not here to talk me through waiting the next 10 days out until I see her it is TOO MUCH. It's also been a little longer between visits with Dr. Brain than usual and that has a history of getting tough.

I'm pretty sure that what is going on is that I'm experiencing PTSD without it just being something going on underneath the bipolar for the first time. I've had the diagnosis for a long time but just considered it a minor evil in the scheme of things. When you have 5 or 6 psych diagnoses you tend to do that, I think. They can't all be of the same importance, so you pick one and ignore the others. Because really, when it is beneficial to list bipolar I, PTSD, severe generalized anxiety, OCD characteristics (barely enough to qualify but if you look at it a certain way then I do), etc.? Never, that's when. I don't usually even admit to having PTSD unless it's time for a scary medical procedure.

The problem is that I'm not equipped for this. This isn't what I know how to handle. I can handle mood swings and hyperacuity and irritablity. Relentless anxiety that doesn't respond to mood stabilizers is new (aside from right after the hospital which is different) and while it seems like it should be minor it is not.

This morning I sat down and made a list of Financial needs/Financial Wants/Financial things that can wait and I can calm down about, figuring what needs done to get me to the ultimate goal of windows in the next few weeks. I know what windows I want. I know my mother thinks I'm stupid because I'm going for a more expensive brand, but I can get online and read about these. I can read great reviews. I can tell there is a difference in quality, and I don't know that I could recognize well-down but not good replications. So I'll pay very slightly more for that choice. I just need to get money shifted that direction, heavily, for a few weeks. Further I can't go through more estimates. Having people here stresses me out too much and I've reached my limit. The list helped, but I just found 200 other things to be stressed about. I'm not really worrying, worry being something I"ve learned to cognitively control. Instead it's just stress.

I had hoped to be asleep by now and that's not happening. So it's time to shut the computer and rip seams out of things for a while so that maybe it will help me relax.

Please God, let me relax.


Michal Ann said...

Sweet, strong Jen, are you following Dr. Mind's advice about remodeling/financial things? Does it "help" if you worry about the windows because it focuses the stress onto one issue which you can control to some extent? Just curious.

You're still managing to take care of a lot of business in the midst of feeling rotten and I think you should give yourself a lot of credit for that. You'll be seeing Dr. Mind soon. Do you keep a diary or something so you can give him a good report?

I'll step up the prayers. I liked reading your last line "Please God, let me relax." As I've mentioned, I'm working on memorizing Phil. 4: 5-9 but I don't think I've mentioned verses 5-7:

"Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

Those verses are followed by the "fix your mind on what's true and right and just and lovely and worthy of a good report" verses that we talked about in late March. You might find it helpful to go back to my comments and dwell on the scriptures. I'm not "blowing my own horn" but in order to be a good friend, I take a lot of time writing comments, hoping and praying that they'll bless and encourage you. I try to focus on Bible verses when my mind wants so badly to get the "worry" loop going. Memorization is a good thing to get "obsessive" about. You CAN do it, too! Just make several copies of a few words and keep them around the house, car, purse.

I hope I don't sound nosy or bossy! I simply want to soothe some of your pain and anxiety so I'm offering you the best First Aid I know. Please reflect it right back to me! I often forget that Paul's letters like Philippians are written to a BODY of believers, not just "me." It's helpful to consider personal application but I need to open my heart and mind to see the fellowship of believers, the "dear brothers and sisters" of verse 8. Paul certainly was confident that his life was worthy of imitation as you see in verse 9, Amplified version:

"Practice what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and model your way of living on it, and the God of peace (of untroubled, undisturbed well-being) will be with you."

Well, I'm going to PRAY some of these verses for us now.

(I have to send a second part.)

Michal Ann said...

"Lord, please fill us with your love and give us the power to show your gentleness to all people in our paths today, even to ourselves. Your Word says that you're near. Open our hearts to welcome the gentleness of Your presence. Your Word seems to be a command: "be anxious for nothing" so help us resist the temptation to take up our worries. Please teach us to translate our worries into prayers. It's said that "worrying is praying to the devil" and we want to renounce that habit! We also want to make our requests to You first and foremost before we request that others fulfill our needs. Please Jesus, let us experience Your wonderful "crazy" peace that surpasses our desire to understand things beyond our own comprehension.

Thank you Lord for this opportunity to meet each other and have fellowship through this blog. Thank you for the refreshing time that Dr. Mind is having on vacation. Build him up in Your strength and bless his family. Thank you Lord that Dr. Brain has access to effective treatment. Thank you that her peers are caring for her with excellence. Thank you that she has family around her to love, inspire and support her in body, soul, mind and spirit.

Thank you dear Lord, that You promise to guard our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Especially during this Holy Week, please impress Your love and sacrifice upon us as we seek Your resurrection life. We praise You for conquering death. Teach us to seek Your strong hand, to know Your heart of love and to truly and deeply trust You. Amen."

Isaiah 26: 3-4 (New Living Translation)

3 You will keep in perfect peace
all who trust in You,
all whose thoughts are fixed on You!
4 Trust in the Lord always,
for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.