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

Sunday, June 30, 2013


Today was my last day working at the house.  Tomorrow the realtor will take pictures, post her sign and send the listing out over the realty networks.  This was supposed to happen last Thursday but we had extremely heavy rain (and the biggest hail I've ever seen) and my basement was wet for the 2nd time ever.  That was a fun incident; I had all this extra time planned to be ready for her and instead I had to run out and buy rags and a shop vac and then frantically suck up the puddle.  So we delayed a little so I could finish up.  Today I did things like mop the basement floor, mow, vacuum one last time (for now), and clean kitchen surfaces solely to make them shine.  (Scrubbing Bubbles Kitchen cleaning foam is AWESOME).  So it's as ready as it will be.

I intended to take a few minutes to sit in my old bedroom and be sad.  Then I didn't really feel that because I am avoiding feelings and my high dose Seroquel makes me feel pretty flat, a side effect I forgot.  But mostly what I felt today was that the whole thing wasn't real.  Empty it just doesn't look like the place I lived for so much of my life.  It feels like somewhere I've been asked to clean, not like my home.  I don't really feel like I have one of those right now, just a place to stay which I'm grateful for but which is not ideal.

Then I realized so much of my life doesn't feel real.  The years since my bipolar began affecting my ability to function and moved on to the now simply do not seem like they really were part of my life.  I can't believe now that I once knew and did what I did as a therapist.  My camp counselor years feel like a story I once read.  Grad school feels like a dream.  Even most of college has a hazy quality.

I know that this partly because of my depression and the grieving process.  I know a lot of it is my med change.  Compared to December I am on a lot more medication between adding Neurontin and drastically increasing Seroquel.  But some of it because in the last 20 years almost everything I thought I knew and understood about my life has been turned inside out.  If you'd told me 15 years ago that I would have had to stop working after a rough career, that I'd own a house and sell it to live with my mother, that I would spend months not wanting to live, that the dreams I had about having my own family would never come true, that even my so-called best friend wouldn't be in my life anymore, I would have laughed.  But all that and more is true.

So much has happened in so little time.  I think I needed to understand this to start this grieving they keep saying I must face.  I hope.  Right now honestly the part I'm saddest about is that I miss my own things.  I miss my mattress like I can't explain.  I miss the stupidest things like sitting on my couch to watch DVDs instead of this not-so-comfortable bed.  I miss closing my bedroom door (not that I ever did at home but here I want to so I miss it because I can't do it and still let my cats get their food and litter). 

And my mom says I may be here until November.  That's bad in that I don't have clothes for that weather and getting to them in the storage unit would be incredibly hard.  It's also bad because it is so long.  So very, very long.

Anyway, I'm going to try to watch a DVD and knit for a while.  I miss knitting too; it's not the same here because I don't have space for it.

Yet it took less than a month to make everything seem like it never happened.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

the dangers of being in the early 20s

Tonight a headline somewhere about James Holmes, the man who carried out the deadly shooting in Aurora Colorado about a year ago made me read more about him.  Nobody seems to know much but it seems pretty clear he was having psychiatric issues before planning and carrying out the murders/attempted murders.  He had apparently sought psychiatric help with 3 professionals prior to the shootings and  just looking at him in pictures you can see something is not right.  Behaviorally he went from being an outstanding student in a difficult field to failing.  Sometime prior to the shooting he texted a friend"Have you ever heard of dysphoric mania?  Stay away from me".

The biggest warning sign is that he is in the age group when the more severe cases of bipolar and of schizophrenia tend to appear.  I was 26 when diagnosed although my onset date is considered 14.  At the time I was diagnosed the dr. was  very  surprised that I didn't have a diagnosis some time before,  but my bipolar is atypical  enough that it wasn't easy to be sure.I too have dysphoric mania (I am  grouchy  and agitated instead of the better known overly happy,energetic,grandiose mania that more people have) and that looks like depression sometimes, especially when  there is rapid cycling so there is true depression as well.  I think the psychiatrist I had in grad school saw everything as depression with some variation in symptoms.

For  me,and for many people, as the early 20s pass, these illnesses become more overpowering.  A comparison of me at 20 and me at 25 or 26 is almost a different person and my memories of grad school are of a decline that I was aware of but didn't understand and which I couldn't articulate.  I remember clearly the spring of 2000.  I was taking a class that met on 2 weekends and completing my thesis proof-reading.   I  was babysitting a  few times per week and doing play therapy weekly with a child I had assessed in a prior class. I remember telling someone that something felt strange, that I felt different than usual and I didn't know why except that I wasn't sleeping well.  I remember the  agitation that I did not understand as well as the sense that something was slipping away.  Three months later I started my clinicals (6 months of full-time work in 2 settings) and while I did very well on my first one I could feel myself losing something during that time.  Just before those clinicals we went to the beach as a family and I saw in sharper contrast how off my mood is.  I have a picture of myself on that trip, taken without my knowledge, and the sadness shows clearly.  My 2nd clinical I didn't do as well in, although partly that was ambiguous expectations and little supervision, but it was also my ability to function changing.  I graduated in December 2000.  There is no way I could have done another year, probably not another semester, as a student. 

As I began working things declined rapidly.  I was 25.  I had the advantage of not having obvious symptoms for a while because nobody at my new job knew me and a lot of things could be forgiven as "stressed new grad in supervisory role".  However I knew that something was very wrong and I was terrified of it.

I was somehow able to hold it together for almost 2 years of working.  It was barely possible at times and I was terrified all the time of what was wrong since it seemed obvious that the belief that I just needed an antidepressant  for a while was wrong.  It wasn't me that held things together though.  I was on the verge of losing it more times than I can count and my memories aren't very clear of that time.

When I read about a situation like this my heart breaks.  What he did was terrible and if he is not severely mentally ill I hope he spends his life in jail.  But if he were not well medicated for some mental illness that he had just come to recognize then I pray that not only does he get the help he needs but that this tragedy helps others know that this diseases often appear in the early 20s and that bizarre behaviors or great changes in personality are warning signs that help may be needed and the person may not be able to seek it.  In may case I would seek it but I wasn't good at judging when it was not helpful until it was too late to easily extricate myself and then find the energy to move on.

It could have been me.  Not likely since i'm terrified of guns, but I could have done something bad before diagnosis.  It's a horrible illness.

Friday, June 28, 2013


I went to a very conservative, strict Christian college called Grove City College.  The college experience there differs from what most people envision when they think college.  Among many differences (lots of rules including very limited times that males can be in female dorms or vice versa and when there is "intervisitation" the rule is "feet on the floor, shoe in the door".  I once got in trouble for sitting on a bed beside the person I was dating with my legs pulled up and crossed under me).  We also had to attend chapel 16 times each semester.  Back then every semester we were given 16 cards printed on oaktag that we ripped off and turned in whenever we attended.  There were 2 mornings with 20 or 30 minute services and Sunday night services.  I worked in the cafeteria and generally worked one of the 2 week mornings so I went to the Sunday night services more often.  However I still had to attend some morning services and my senior year I went to one that was a musical performance by a duo called "Not by Chance".  (There is a slight chance I saw them perform on campus, not in chapel but I don't remember).

Not by Chance was a band with strong ties to Grove City.  One of the singers, david m bailey, (lowercase his) was an alumni about 10 years ahead of me.  I can't remember if the other singer was a GCC grad as well although I think not.  david had graduated from GCC and moved on to corporate work.  In 1996 he was diagnosed with a cancer that strikes fear into the hearts of anyone who is familiar with it:  glioblastoma multiforme stage IV.  If you remember ER this was what Anthony Edwards' character died from.  It is an extremely aggressive tumor and diagnosis usually is about 6 months before death.  In all the years I worked in healthcare I had precisely 1 patient who did not die shortly after diagnosis (and I only remember a few with it) and the last year of her life (3 years after diagnosis) was pretty awful.  In fact that patient sticks with me because I cried after my last assessment of her because she was frantic that I fix her suddenly non-functional arm and all I could say was that she needed to see the neurologist first.  She knew and I knew that I was saying that it was tumor progression and it was.  I had plenty of experience with tough news by then by this was heart-breaking; she wanted to live so badly.

Ok,so back on track...alumni, nasty cancer.  Incredible music.  I had a tape of his music but haven't had a place to play a tape for many years.  In my last months of college and in grad school I listened to this tape hundreds of times.  His music was/is striking because of the simplicity of his message of hope and his desire to uplift the spirits of any listener. 

I had many years when music was too much to handle.  Last year when I finally discovered that music in certain genres is manageable I remembered that beloved tape.  I had some trouble because Not by Chance dissolved around the time I saw them and david went on performing on his own.  Recently I took the time to remember the name and find him.  I knew that he had died; I remembered this from an alumni magazine.

It turns out that he lived 14 years from diagnosis and released 23 CDs. He toured  until just a few months before his death and lived 2 years after a recurrence that eventually took his life.  He truly had a miracle and was able to see his children grow to young adulthood among many other things.

Usually if I write about music I suggest a song.  In this case I'm going to suggest going to his webpage at
http://blog.davidmbailey.com/?section=calendar-past and listening to the songs at the top of the page and also checking out his music and lyrics section.  He simply has too many songs for me to sort through and choose anything in particular.  I am anxious to buy some more of his music eventually.

I find such strength in what he says and in his wonderful voice and acoustic guitar.  I also LOVE knowing that he started an underground newspaper at GCC;  that would not be condoned.  When I was there a group of us had a support group of sexual abuse survivors and that wound up causing major trouble so you can imagine what something actually against the rules would do.  

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Words hurt

Under pressure from Dr. Mind over the weekend I admitted to suicidal feelings strong enough to make me unsafe with sharp items to my mother.  I was prepared for nearly any response but the one I got.  Her first response was that she'd have to get another box cutter to replace the one I threw out (aka threw into a sewar water cover).  Then she said, in slightly different words, that she didn't believe me.  I told her that Dr. Mind and i wanted her to come with me to see him to explain this.  She ignored that although later on, after she'd talked to someone (I'm assuming), she ungraciously agreed to go.

Not being believed made me feel like the kid who had to have 2 knee surgeries because nobody believed anything and so she never complained when she fractured her ankle with enough force to pull tendons loose and instead kept running 5 plus miles daily beginning 2 days after the fracture.  It also made me feel worthless, something not needed right now.

I'm learning that it is also making me doubt everything.  It feels like everything I do is wrong and that whatever happens is my own fault.  After all, I'm "making up" a very serious symptom of my bipolar, if you believe my mother.  They tell me it's grieving and that grief has turned frightening because of my illness.  Dr. Mind pointed out that every cycle of bipolar tends to make the disease worse and that is why medications and counseling and compliance are so important.  He also pointed out that the atypical nature of my illness means that we can't  even begin to guess how many cycles my brain has endured and that this may be why so much has gotten worse in the last few years.  This makes a great deal of sense and makes me feel less responsible for what my brain does. I generally can maintain a separation between what my brain does and what I'm managing to control which has helped me stay safe:  I know that I don't want to listen to my brain if I just  take a minute to think and so far that has kept me safe although borderline at times.

She's coming with me in 2 weeks.  I dread it.  I think Dr. Mind will take the lead with talking but that could  mean no more than making me say things.  I know he said that he will make sure she listens and that he doesn't care if she  likes him or not. I'll be glad to talk to him so I know more specifically what is happening.

I hope Dr. Brain's wish/belief that this will clear up when I am in my new place is right.  This has been so long and hard and knowing there isn't another med that is likely to change anything is hard.  Even my very high dose of Seroquel is only doing a little. I also hope the new place happens sooner rather than later.  I want privacy and quiet.  I want my own bathroom without a litter pan in it.  My cats need more space to be happy and to move around more to stay healthy weights.    I want to make my own decisions.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Straight from Michael Jackson trial

I never really thought I'd blog about Michael Jackson. I was about 10 when he was at the height of popularity and i didn't really like his music. I wasn't allowed a lot of musical variety and filtered through my experience he was just loud and showy. Even now I prefer soft music, lots of acoustics (another post coming soon in fact), and the like. But CNN had an article today that I found fascinating. It was based on the testimony of a sleep expert who said that with 60 days of "sleep" induced by propofol Michael had gone longer than any known person without REM sleep and he would probably have died from that within days. REM sleep isn't an option and anesthesia doesn't create it. Which is probably good. I'm pretty sure I had propofol during my hysterectomy and when they woke me in the OR and gave the first dose of morphine my body decided that the morphine was anesthesia. I was awake enough to know something was wrong and not awake enough to know that the surgery was done. Everything seemed to be the same as when I remembered and I didn't know time had passed. The surgeon was beside me holding my hand and I was looking to the right at first. Then there was all this bustling and I was repositioned, an oxygen mask was placed on my face and they used the ambu-bag to get oxygen in and then i think reversed the morphine and restarted at a lower dose. I knew only that there was bustle about breathing and thought it was part of going under until my mom told me what the surgeon explained to her. After that I just resented the oxygen I was on for 2 days. But my point is that it wasn't sleep. When I sleep there is a clear difference between sleep and awake. With propofol there was just aware and thinking or nothingness. So I know that he didn't get real sleep. What fascinated me though was the the descritpion of not getting REM sleep:
Depriving someone of REM sleep for a long period of time makes them paranoid, anxiety-filled, depressed, unable to learn, distracted and sloppy, Czeisler testified. They lose their balance and appetite while their physical reflexes get 10 times slower and their emotional responses 10 times stronger, he said.
describes me so well. Which is interesting because I only get 10-20% (I forget the exact number) of the REM sleep I should. Antipsychotics do this and are partly to blame but the dr. said after my sleep study that it is brain chemistry even without the antipyschotics. I was most interested in the reflexes as mine test slow. I kept telling the ER doctors that when I had the lithium toxicity and that makes your reflexes more active which was an early clue that something was off that it took 3 doctors doing it for me to realize the truth. I wasn't very observant that day; I kept doing neuro tests that I had done with patients many times and not realizing I was failing. When I figured it out I knew I was very toxic but by that point I also knew that I was about to be hooked up to a lot of fluids which was a give-away. Anyway, I learned something from Michael Jackson's death. Since I've toppled over at least 5 times in the last week it's good to know there's a reason. Today I painted my basement. I only did 50% of it because the rest is in good shape. It took 2 gallons of Kilz and I am still covered in paint that I couldn't wash off. Tomorrow we paint the porch floor and then painting is done. Praise God. I like to paint but we have done entirely too much of it lately. Next is just cleaning tomorrow and Sunday, Monday I will empty the fridge and freezer and take out the enormouse amount of trash generated each week, Tuesday the carpets are cleaned and hopefully I'll be able to mow and Wednesday I hope to have off unless I have to mow. Thursday I sign off and list the house. And that's enough for now. Copyright 2006 www.masterofirony.blogspot.com

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Cleaning up the loose ends

I'm moved out of my house.  Now we spend the next few days cleaning and painting a little.  Tuesday the carpets are cleaned professionally and Thursday I sign with my realtor and the house will be listed.  This part is the worst part.  Starting to pack was hard but I did it gradually and it got easier.  Leaving with the cats to come here was hard but it doesn't feel all that real yet since I have been back and forth so much and the cats and I have stayed here before.  Moving the big stuff was really hard yesterday and the lack of preparation did not help.  Walking around empty rooms yesterday was hard but I think walking into the house and seeing it empty tomorrow will be worse because I only had a brief glimpse yesterday and was pre-occupied.  Signing will be hard but I also look forward to that because once that sign goes up the chances that someone will buy it and get this over with finally exist. I I'm praying for an extremely rapid sale.

I saw Dr. Mind today because I've been so upset.  After being up all night after my sister's comments I wound up crying hard for 30 minutes at my house after my mother was telling me I was wrong rather than giving the sympathy I desperately needed.  Suicidal/self-harm thoughts got stronger and so I went for help. 

I left confused. I have not been good about talking to people, especially my mother about the suicidal thoughts.  I have been supposed to and when it has come up I've not done it thoroughly or with the whole truth.  There haven't been a lot of times that I've actively avoided doing what Dr. Mind has said I need  to do, but this one is not a good one to start with.  Dr. Mind has made things safer by holding on to sharps and keeping the key to my meds in his office.  That's a lot, especially since it's been 18 months now.  I think he is saying that this stuff has all reached a point that if I get worse he'll have to act (ie he'll need to get me help, aka I'll be hospitalized) and that I need to be cooperating for him to not respond to  the problem of he's not available 24/7 and I currently have a 24/7 problem held together with bandaids.  These bandaids have worked but this is a less than easy time and they are under stress.  So we talked more about having my mom come and out of that I agreed to sign a release for him to talk to my mom.  I think partly he wanted me to just cooperate with something and partly this makes it less ethically tricky if he is worried that I need more supervision or I suppose if he wants me to go to the hospital and doesn't want me to drive myself.  I don't really know.  I wanted to ask questions but could feel that either I could wait or I could start the kind of crying that was going to keep me in his office for extra time and since he had already seen me in his lunch time I didn't want to do that.  And I needed to think.

I now need to know when he'd use the release.  I know it won't be without warning me but I don't know that it would take much for him to feel the situation was one that warranted doing it as I sit there. 

Right now I feel like I'm not well enough to be very involved in what is being done to treat me and that's really hard.  I'm used to helping make decisions and right now I am not that good at them. I know that Dr. Mind contacted Dr. Brain.  Dr. Brain spent 2 hours getting information out of me that I'd been unable to tell Dr. Mind.  I assume they've communicated since then but nobody has told me and I haven't asked.  I wish that we could all 3 talk because I have questions I'd like to hear both answer but it would have to be on the phone with Dr. Brain and trying to schedule that without 4-6 months notice would not work.  She has slots to fill but they won't correspond with Dr. Mind's.  It was easier when she was at Dr. Mind's office a few times a month; I don't remember them talking to me together except once but they did talk a lot and I was able to hear from both that they were on the same page.  Right now the only thing I have heard from both that I really wanted to hear was that they think they can keep me out of the hospital (mainly I think this is because there isn't a med to be changed to so unless I'm an actual danger to myself the hospital isn't going to do much except things like weaning me off of klonopin so I don't have it around as a risk and that did not work before.) banged into a staple on furniture) and he said that should hurt.  I didn't know about it until I saw blood.  I forgot that not feeling pain normally makes this whole thing even more dangerous.

Earlier this week we (he made me) talk about what if I gave in to the desire to cut and I injured myself and needed help.  I kept thinking at the time I know better unless I am not "just' cutting (which I'm not anyway) and it wasn't until I explained one of my bandaids on my knee to Dr Mind today (b

We'll see.  I wish this were easier.  I never thought that feeling this way would move in slow motion and for so long.  I wish I understood why this is such a problem now when it wasn't before.  I know plenty of reasons, many of which are good (I'm menopausal, I've lost more in 2 years than I thought I'd ever loose, we don't have extremely helpful meds available, even Dr. Mind's suggestion once that being in the hospital with others in this situation has changed how I react.  And to be fair 10/10 patients my last psych stay were suicidal, which is the only reason you get stuck on a psych unit for Christmas if it can be helped.

I just wish I knew how to do what I am supposed to do and that I were brave enough.  It's so hard when people react so unpredictably.

It's really NOT what I want.  Really it's not......

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


The movers are coming.....not next week as I expected but Wednesday when they had a cancellation.  As in the day that starts 1 day and 8 minutes from now.  It's fine, I'm really ready anyway, but it's just a little faster than I thought. 

My  mother ran a program to speed up my computer and deleted all my downloads, which included a whole bunch of pictures.

My sister was mean to me.  I quoted her daughter on facebook and she didn't like the cultural implications and took it down and lectured me.  *I* did not teach her 2 year old the phrase that my mom and I both thought was so funny, in the video sent BY MY SISTER and taken BY MY SISTER.  I cried for a long time over that.  Then I cried more because while I was crying a bunch of ants took over my cookie.  I probably ate a bunch of ants on the other cookie I had because it was near the ant-stolen one.

Small panic attack, email to Dr. Brain, and my lip still won't stop twitching.  Oh, and my sister forgave me.  I am trying SO HARD to not show my temper or tears because she is just mean when pregnant.  Two more months......Then comes the difficult task of not showing that I (and everyone else who has heard it) think the name that has been chosen is well, not a name.  It's an object.  We'll shorten it and the shorter name is fine but her real first name is not good.  She'll spend her whole life explaining it and kids will pick on her.  Little Anne's name is unusual but pretty and also is a real name.  Actually Anne's name is gaining popularity and I think that's why they are going to absolute left field.  Believe me, little sister will not have that issue. 

I'm so tired.  I went to Dr. Mind, the library, and Walmart.  I loaded soaking wet mulch into my car because it was raining.  I ran into the nursery for a plant because I miscounted last week how many I needed to fill some gaps, getting even more soaked on my muddy shirt in the  process. I went to my house, changed into whatever was dry and started throwing last minute items into boxes and moving what I didn't need for now into the garage.  I got home at 8, lugged a ton of things upstairs, showered, and then the whole mean sister thing started.

This is not going to be an easy week.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

This 'n that

First, for anyone who has used and loved google reader to check blogs, I have found a good substitute as reader will be ended July 1.  (July something anyway).  The reader is www.netvibes.com and it has a lot more capacity than reader did; you can feed in social media, news, and I really don't know what because I haven't examined this.  In the last few days it has changed formatting so that the blog feeds are presented in a manner very similar to reader but probably with more features and options.  It's a definitely viable and free option.  I know that I had no idea what to use and stumbled on this.  I'm glad.

I've lived at my mom's just over a week now.  So far it's ok.  I'm really fighting with my med adjustment as it's making me nauseous no matter how full I cram my stomach and I'm not falling asleep exactly early.  However I am getting to sleep a little bit earlier and am working hard to not nap for a while to see if that helps.

Fortunately I have plenty to keep me busy with the moving.  I took a few days off, planning to just not go up until the new med dose was in place.  Then I started the increase, we had severe storms with 2 tornado warnings and I was alone with a dog who is afraid of storms and the threat of storms as severe as the ones last year where I huddled in the basement here at my mom's for 2 hours listening to 90 mph winds slam things into the house.  This time we were prepared for storms that bad and instead the "light" storm system had 2 tornado warnings and the monster system I stayed up to monitor and be prepared for further trips to the basement (which I arranged with a comfortable seat and things to do this time as opposed to last year when a little knitting would have been helpful while I sat and prayed and at times fought back screams because I had 4 dogs to keep calm.  So that messed up the change even more. 

Today we went up and I painted the latticework on the front porch and my mom spread mulch.  I know now that I hate painting latticework.  It's not a fast job as I'd assumed.  But it looks really, really good and that's what matters.  My home is starting to actually have curb appeal with the new flower beds, wonderful mulching job, new railings and fixed steps (they warped loose of their nails over the winter).  This week will complete porch painting (dreaded painting of posts and rails, not dreaded floor painting with long handled roller), basement painting (about half needs Kilz for stains), and the day I've dreaded:  the point there are no more logical boxes to fill and so I must walk around and fill a box or two labeled Miscellaneous (and then the things in them so it doesn't totally disturb me).  I remember hating those boxes in prior moves and yet at this point they are unavoidable.  It may only be one box and that would be best for my mental health.  Overall I am so close to done.

The next step is hopefully finding a cheap mover.  We were going to have family help but scheduling is rough and the amount being moved is really small (couch, coffee table, shelves, maybe sewing table, bed (no frame), huge front loader washer and dryer, large upright freezer, exercise bike and a few things need to go to Goodwill.  So it's not really moving as much as it is hauling a small truckload of things.  Every box has been packed by me and everything I own that isn't still at the house or here has been placed in storage, mostly by me and some by my mom.  If you are moving a small distance and have lots of time this is a nice way to move if you are a control freak like I am.  I did want to open a box today and get out DVDs; I packed the ones that would most benefit me at this point but I have about 90% of my boxes are egg boxes and while I know they are in one and it is well labeled and probably what vicinity it's in it is not on the top or easy to find and so I will wait.

After fighting a lot we managed to install a gate across the stairs to my part of "home".  This was really hard because of the design of the stairs and the need for the gate to fasten at an angle.  After a great deal of trial and error, modifying the instructions to accommodate the angle, bruising myself painfully on the hinges when they closed on my underarm, and frustration I finally have a gate.  This gives my cats more than one room to live in and gets the litter pan out of my bedroom.  They are exploring a little more each day and seem happy with the arrangements.

This may be the most boring post ever.  I've gotten so much information from the good drs. that I'm processing it and just don't know what to say yet. More to come.

Monday, June 10, 2013


After my 2 hours of crying with Dr. Brain Saturday today's session with Dr. Mind went better.  I wasn't fighting to avoid feeling anything and I think it was less like pulling teeth for him.  I was hoping that Dr. Brain hadn't emailed him about Saturday (that happened because he emailed her about how concerned he's been lately) and she hadn't.  I didn't want her version to be known first because a lot of it is kind of unclear in my head and I didn't want to seem inaccurate.

He made a point at the end of telling me he knows that this is so difficult and that dealing with it is very hard.  He then said that he couldn't imagine what this is like.  Which is kind of a whatever statement until he added "and I've tried".  I think about it looking at his life, which is relatively like what I might hlave had without bipolar in terms of being a professional, the education I didn't get to complete, the lack of relationships, the no children, and I can see what he thinks;  if this happened to him at my age he would not have that education.  He would not have his beloved son.  He wouldn't have the career that he does and the options to pursue a different avenue in the next year. 

I am thankful he cares enough to try to imagine this, to try to figure out what to say that is meaningful.  But I hadn't thought about it that way.  To me it is about what I am losing, not what I'll not have.  It is an odd change of perspective, but it's also one I may have needed.  I get so mad at myself for feeling sad and yet this is another reason why I am being reasonable when I feel bad about all of this.  My life is not what I had every reason to expect it would be. 

I think it is metaphorically like the ovarian cyst pain I've been having lately.  Normally my doctor would have taken my ovaries with my hysterectomy because of the recurrent cysts but instant menopause was such a bad idea that they were afraid I'd require long term institutionalization.  So I have ovaries that don't really work well.  I haven't had cyst pain for a long time until the last few weeks but it's there now.  And whenever it hurts it's just a reminder that my sister is having a surprise baby, my cousin is having a desperately wanted and hard fought baby and my 2nd cousin who is only 19 is having her first of probably many babies, all in a 3 week period.  And I have ovarian cysts and nothing else.  To make it worse it seems that the cysts and my hormones are interacting and I'm having more hot flashes than usual.  Hot flashes are just gross.

I'm not sure this is going to make sense to anyone but me.  In a way I want to go back again this week to follow-up on some things.  But I probably won't because tomorrow night my med change begins in earnest and I"ll be very sleepy for a few days.  I hope. 

I did learn from both doctors separately that while I'm certainly being watched closely and  will be hospitalized if in danger they both feel that part can be managed.  I think that I've fought this off and on, mostly on, for 18 months since my last hospitalization probably helps because I have succeeded albeit not smoothly, gives me some leniency.  I am very afraid that this will get out of hand and I'll have to go in and that's not where I need to be to grieve most effectively.  I feel a little better now that both have said they'll keep in touch and watch me extremely closely and meds will be adjusted as much as possible outpatient (it helps that lithium can't be adjusted since rapid lithium adjustments require inpatient stays for very frequent labs since I have a history of significant toxicity.  Last hospitalization that is what was done because my dose and level had been lowered after the 2nd toxicity.) and they'll work together.

Today was the first time I've ever left feeling like Dr. Mind was going to want to immediately thank Dr. Brain for dragging out of me what I'd resisted so much with him.  She's never quite served the role she did this time and she did it well.  Although honestly if she hadn't hugged me a lot less would have come out.  Which is weird since I hate hugs in general.

Anyway, it would help if I could remember the homework Dr. Mind gave me and didn't write down.  I remember things about it but not what it was.  Oh well, with luck he'll forget to ask about it. :)

Saturday, June 08, 2013

the good doctor

(Please know that I had essentially no sleep last night after a very hard day moving to my mom's and then I was gone for 8 hours, 5 of that driving and some of it loading another pile of things into my car, and I'm so tired that this may not be my best writing.)

Dr. Brain can frustrate me sometimes.  I don't always know when to be more assertive with her and that can be difficult.  But she is always a blessing and sometimes so much more.

I see her on the day she mostly sees people with VNS (vagal nerve stimulators).  Last month she told me she was picking up a few more and this week would be the beginning of that.  She's always behind and today was a little worse than usual.  She told me she started at 7:30 and when I went in it was about 2 and she hadn't even eaten.  Yet from that very long day we spent about 10 minutes talking about some med order issues (she has to do more with my patient assistance meds) and then she deviated completely from her usual routine.  She told me Dr. Mind had been in touch with her.  I knew he was going to email her and that he's concerned with how things are going.  I know that partly he's concerned because I'm not showing much emotion and am not crying and I am doing that because I can't imagine handling the emotions well and I don't have time to fall apart, nor do I have  personal space to fall apart in.  So I'm trying to feel nothing.

I hadn't exactly said that to Dr. Mind.  Dr. Brain sort of took advantage of this making me emotional and for 2 hours I cried or fought crying while she talked me into crying (more or less, she didn't just say "cry Jen cry!" or anything.)  She held me while I cried even more.  She let me cry so long that there was no way I was going to be safe to drive so she told me I could sit in the waiting room as long as I wanted while she finished paperwork.  I didn't do that because I didn't want to see her and start crying yet again; I sat in the parking lot and calmed down.

I don't think I cried for 2 solid hours.  I think she asked questions and I answered them and sometimes I cried and sometimes I didn't.  But she spent all that time helping when other psychiatrists have spent 8 minutes per month with me and thought they were doing enough.

I'm so tired now.  I'm trying to wait a little bit to take meds because I'm taking the higher dose tonight and I don't want to fall asleep so early that I wake up at midnight groggy but unable to sleep.  I don't even know how I feel right now at all aside from very, very tired.

Friday, June 07, 2013

live and learn

When I am struggling I often return to books from childhood that I have loved.  I read them several times a year and even though I can recite passages I love them still.  Books made my childhood stable and were a way to step outside the pain.

I still remember the first time I read Anne of Green Gables.  My mom gave it to me and said I'd love it.  The first several pages made me think it was a book about fantasy woodland critters instead of people (I have no idea why).  I wasn't thrilled.  By the end of the first chapter I was hooked for life.  One of the nicest things my parents ever did for me was to add a little to a vacation to spend a day on Prince Edward Island looking at Anne museums and the like.  I've loved all of the novels by this author and wish more of them had survived childhood.

I have just been reading it again and thought to look something up on the internet.  I found that to my surprise this favorite author who wrote such uplifting and inspiring books had suffered from depression or bipolar disorder and had killed herself, a secret kept by her family until the 100th anniversary of the release of Anne of Green Gables.

Mental illness is everywhere and it's sad that we don't know that.

Thursday, June 06, 2013


Tonight is my last night in my house.  I can't say more or I cry and right now I can't cry because I'm not sure I would stop.  If I'm quiet it's just me taking time to adjust and I'll be up here frequently next week finishing things.

I trialed my med adjustment and that did help things out a bit in that I slept for most of a day.  Unfortunately I didn't have enough Seroquel to take the full extra am ount more than once and it will be Tuesday before I can return to all of it because I have things that I can't miss and there is going to be a significant sleepy period with the full increase.  I'm going from sort of high to quite high but my dr. has used more on other people and maybe on me once but I don't remember.  So the cycling is still bad and I'm forcing myself to be strong long enough to do the full increase right.  The smaller one that I have enough pills for doesn't do much but it's hard to expect it to when it is up against the rawness of my life.

Next week I'll have to go back to facing all of this.  I have been trying hard for a while now to not cry or feel much.  This led to Dr. Mind telling me in great detail that I never really change the tone of my voice anymore and don't make a lot of facial expressions (flat affect).  The last time I heard that it was because I was afraid of the PTSD therapy I did last year.  This time it has been because if I let myself feel it may be too much.  I think there's probably a 25-50% chance I'll be hospitalized in the next month or two and all of that depends on whether I can handle this without staying shut down and with remaining safe.  There's no med increase or change that hospitalization would really affect but if I can't handle this it will turn to self-harm and then I'd rather be there than fighting to hide it at my mom's. I talked to her a little about suicide and didn't give her a full picture but we did talk about it.  But that doesn't mean I'm ready to be at her house and live that kind of depression.
To make things more chaotic today my mortgage company called and offered really great terms on a car re-finance.  Bad timing, good offer.  With my income I'm not sure they'll approve it but I also was told at one point when they were pressuring me to get documents to them ASAP (I was waiting for the carpet man and couldn't leave) that they had the approval.  They apparently are most concnerned about how they rate your credit with THEM and I have an extremely high rating on their scale and I really good credit score too.  I just don't make much money.  So I don't know, but if it is approved I'll have about $60 more per month.  If I do I hope that I can find a way to pay Dr. Mind a little more.  He hasn't made a penny since last March for treating me and while we've discussed increasing and then going back to not paying him anything if something happens he's always said not to worry about it.  but if I can pay him $10 that would make me happy even though I know he feels that this is what God calls us to do.  I agree but I also know he is about to have a kid in college.  Which is crazy since the kid was a little boy of 8 or 9 when I met Dr. Mind.

Ok, time to find a distraction as the tears want to come again.  I would be better off if I could just DO something but I'm so tired because I was busy all day that I really need to just put my clothes in the dryer, shower and rest.  Tomorrow is going to be another busy day and I doubt I'll get a nap then either.  Just loading everything in my car is going to be challenging.  Because I don't know how long it will take to build the new place I don't know how long I'll be at my mom's.  The storage unit is accessible but will be very full when my furniture moves in so I need to have what I need for several months until I know that I'll definitely be there through fall or not.  Hopefully the end of the summer but her contractors of choice tend to be further behind than they predict.

More soon.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

2.5 down, 1.5 to go

I have 2 essentially empty but for moving van things rooms (each has a few things but nothing major) and my bedroom really is pretty much the same but doesn't look it since it is unused boxes central still and has a chair with my printer set up.  That can go now; I think I can wait  until Friday to print.  That leaves the kitchen/living room to finish which again is close to done but doesn't look it.  I think when I take the time to organize I'll find there is little left to pack in there.  The cabinets are empty and so are almost all the drawers.  There's some food to pack when I'm sure I don't need it (Friday or later) and I think that will make that room "cleaning ready".  (The living room and kitchen are a great room so it's hard to differentiate).  That just leaves the garage, a few sets of selves to take apart in the basement, one shelf (literally one shelf out of a stack of 5) needs to be boxed up, and fans and a dehumidifier need t come upstairs to go to storage.  Those aren't things I'm worried about and can be done next week.  I have a feeling I'll be up here nearly every day next week but aside from gas being expensive that's fine.  It may be easier when all is out including me and the cats who are starting to show signs of anxiety by getting sick.

I had my Seroquel dose increased today.  We're going up about 25% overall but I did only part of that today to help me not be drugged too heavily and because I have my med supply I can access at my mom's and I'm not there yet.  I'm so glad that I have the increase approved finally.  I felt really dumb though because she said to increase 150 mg and I, after begging her to fix this, first said "no, only 50".  Then I thought so more and realized I needed to face the fact that I asked for treatment and shouldn't resist it.  So I changed my mind.

We'll see what happens.  I hope the cycling stops and fast.  Cycling is harder than just hanging out at a pole for a few days.  I'm not used to it anymore.