This is not an easy period in my life. I am cycling so fast and so far that I constantly feel like the world is flipping upside down, over and over again. First there's too much energy and I'm wide awake and doing everything I can; minutes or hours later I'm too depressed to move. Dr. Brain is trying to help adjust meds but we have to do this without knowing whether I'll get an increased benefit from it and with few options. Starting anything new (I assume that would be something in the anxiety line or re-using something like depakote) isn't a good option since there's no way to know how I'd react and this isn't the best time for messed up meds.
I am finding moving out for real to be more painful than I thought. I thought I would be ok because I have had a while to adjust. But the simple truth is that I knew i probably wouldn't work for 35 years and then retire. I did not ever think I would lose independence at 37 years old.
I'm really having a hard time with having to live with my mom until my place is built. That's not because of her; she's wonderful to let me do this. But her house isn't designed for how we'll be living. I'll have little privacy and quiet, the two things that matter most to me in terms of handling my symptoms. Somehow we'll work it out. It just isn't ideal and while we were told mid-late summer for my construction that probably will be later just from knowing how the contractor operates and from the lack of final plans. I had to tell her that she had to put away huge bottles of tylenol and ibuproferon for my safety, an awkward conversation that I didn't take as far as I should. I need Dr. Mind to help with that and I didn't realize that this session with her needs to occur now rather than before I'm in the new place.
I've been fairly clearly informed that my suicide risk is higher than they'd like and hints about hospitalization have been made by both doctors. I understand and I'm honestly not sure I can make it through this without that happening although I really, really don't want that. I'm scared that the moment I'm hospitalized the house will sell and I won't be in a position to participate, potentially losing a buyer. So I feel a lot of pressure (from me) to stay strong until it is sold and I'm not sure that putting off feeling sad is going to help much.
I can't believe that I've gone from being pretty strong with the suicide stuff to being a constant risk and having an increased risk every time something happens. Granted this is probably one of my greatest losses ever but I know that I'm on a narrow line and I hate that. I spent precious swagbucks last night on a metal lockbox for my meds after Dr. Mind keeps bringing up that the plastic current one isn't that safe since I could break into it easily. I hope that's not true with the new one because it wasn't cheap and buying it is a symbol that I'm simply not going to one day not be safe, at least not for the foreseeable future.
Cycling and suicidal aren't a good combination. I hadn't experienced this much cycling and this much suicidal together before and it is not pleasant. It's scary and it's constant and I can't control it beyond a certain point. That point so far is keeping me safe enough but it's a fight every day to want to live.
I took today sort of off. I got stuff ready to pack in one box and then realized that I had to wash a bunch of dusty stuff. Then I never packed it. I did pack up a bunch of food. I am feeling like I NEED to clean out under the bathroom sink so that's probably going to happen yet.
I was just thinking about how I need to call Dr. Brain to see if I can have some more medication to help with the mania/extreme cycling right now. And then I started crying out of nowhere.
Partially it's just the cycling. But mostly it is realizing that next weekend is my last in my house. And I'm afraid. I know this is something I have to do and that hopefully the house will sell quickly and my new home will be built rapidly. Living in my mom's house for months is a challenging thought. It's close quarters and we're used to being alone. But I've also made myself afraid because I tried all week to talk to her about some of my restrictions for safety and every time she was in a mood and I couldn't. She's stressed about this and refuses to admit it so instead she asks me to go shopping, I ask to add on 2 stores and then she rushes me and is stressed about time in my stores but takes seeming forever in hers. The thing that has me most afraid though is yesterday she came here, walked in the house and immediately opened a curtain. she doesn't like the solid curtains I use in my kitchen. This is a very bright house so it's not like I'm making it darker, although I do have blackout curtains in the back. But I do not like people looking into my house. It's paranoia and I know it's unreasonable but it is MY HOUSE so I don't worry about it, I just indulge it. And the way that this place is set up people truly can see in and that's weird to me. But all I could think is that this is how my life is going to be from now on; either I'll have to start a fight that I'll wind up apologizing for or I'll have to learn to live with someone who doesn't respect that my decisions about my home are mine to make.
And that's really putting things in the worst light. Dr. Mind is going to help me talk to her about some of this. I can also handle some of it if I just make myself. I should have said something instead of just closing that panel back up yesterday. But right now my emotions are too wild to trust and I am so overwhelmed.
I can't believe it is down to 9 more days. 9 more days and then I have no privacy to cry or anything else, potentially for months.
I just wish this hadn't had to happen. It did and it will be ok but there's a huge painful part in there as well.
Right now I hate my life and I just don't want to deal with it. A while back Dr. Mind made me make a list of why I was angry. It was enormous and I bet I could surpass that right now. And making it even harder is that I'm not seeing him until Tuesday because of Memorial day and Monday is such a routine that I feel like I'm holding on forever instead of one extra day. I suppose that means that I won't have much ground to fight with about seeing someone else when he is on vacation in July. I like the person I see when he's gone but it is very weird to have nothing exactly to discuss and then to have to go through am I safe with a relative stranger, yet a stranger who by making some concessions for me (she owns the place I go) over the past 11 years that have been incredibly kind.
And of course I have no idea what part of this is my being moody and what is real, which is far and away the greatest curse of rapid cycling at the frequency that I am currently cycling.
I just want to sleep through the next several months. I bet that doesn't happen. Somehow, I would be surprised.
The mania is here. I should have realized my mom was irritating me because I was manic earlier but I blamed her. I can tell I've been grinding my teeth but I think it was stress. Wrong. I'm very agitated and it's 3:15 AM. I hate this sensation.
I keep reminding myself that one thing my meds do still do successfully is that this is not likely to be full blown mania, "just" hypomania. Hypomania still is horrible but unless it gets mixed/until it gets mixed since it will it mostly means I'll get things done but suffer from lack of sleep.
I'll have to be in touch with Dr. Brain and of course it's a 3 day weekend. At worst I see her in 2 weeks but I need more medication before that unless this is the first spring mania in my life that was easy to treat. Typically they are very hard to manage and sleep is nearly always a disaster. There have been times I've been on huge doses of sleeping pills along with higher doses of ativan without success. Now it is worse because the sleeping pills that area safe for me to have don't work at all, no way is she giving me something I could easily overdose on as she would have before and she also doesn't like increasing my klonopin because they want me on very little so I have a low supply. This is where the suicidal stuff, even though I know it's to keep me safe, feels like punishment.
We shall see. I am fighting the jittery, must do something feeling and trying to settle into bed and read. I did so much today that I can't believe I am not asleep already.
which is about proposed cuts to SNAP (aka food stamps). It's a hotly debated issue of course. But the most wrong thing I've heard today is this ""It seems to me that the goal of this administration is to expand the rolls of people who are on SNAP benefits, the purpose of which is to expand the dependency class," said Republican Congressman Steve King of Iowa.".
I don't care how you feel politically about this. It doesn't matter. Dependency class?????? That's a horrible thing to say.
What these politicians don't see is how cocky they are. They don't think that they or anyone they care about would ever need such a thing as government assistance. (For the record people who feel this way often include someone like me, on disability, as part of the dependent, despite the simple fact that I paid into social security and now I'm cashing in my INSURANCE, as in Social Security Disability Insurance. I didn't plan to use that either, for the record, and I know that it is plenty difficult to get approved for it or for SSI (Social security income, which is a tiny income that is not insurance based).
But SNAP? Two years ago I couldn't imagine being on anything of the sort. I was earning well over $80,000 per year, I had health insurance, I was going to have surgery but with the best doctors in the world I knew I'd be back to work not long after my short term disability kicked in.
I was wrong. I was very, very wrong. There certainly wasn't a way to anticipate what happened to me. I'd been fighting bipolar while working for nearly 10 years. There were jobs available everywhere if I needed/wanted to change and the year before I'd been able to make much more than I was making then by working in temporary, 9 week spots.
But that's not what happened. I got worse after surgery, not better, and soon my 6 months of short term disability ran out. The same week I was denied long-term disability based on pre-existing condition. Going back to work wasn't even a remote option. My mother helped pay my mortgage and SNAP paid for me to eat for the next few months until I was approved for SSDI.
I grew up in an area where poverty is everywhere. I went to school with kids who still had outhouses and no running water. Sometimes 25%-50% of my class was on free lunches and our school had a free breakfast program as well that I think was open to everyone based on the overall neediness in the district. For plenty of kids school was the only place there were things like milk or fresh fruit/vegetables. I babysat for a family who lived in low income housing one summer through a program that was paying for the mom to earn her GED. She was deaf, had married an abusive man young, had 3 kids and then got away from him only for him to return and rape her, resulting in a 4th pregnancy. I doubt she was 30. Things were a little different then with benefits and programs but I remember that I used to buy the kids a snack each time because I didn't have time to eat between my first job and my time with them and their refrigerator showed how hard it was to stretch their food stamps. They had milk, free cheese and something else from that program (bread?), cereal, Ramen noodles, and various healthy but very cheap items. There was rarely meat in the house at all. It was clear they struggled in a way that I had no concept of.
Because I grew up around such poverty, much of it due to living in an area where coal mines had supported families for probably the entire time people had lived there and then the mines closed when I was 2, saturating the job market with people who would do anything to earn whatever they could and numerous people hoping for each and every job, I know that poverty happens against one's will. I know that it is not usually someone's fault. Yet I never dreamed I would be on food stamps myself one day. But I was.
Even now, even after I won't be paying mortgage anymore, I struggle financially. I had to ask my mom for money this month just because moving boxes has meant my driving has increased dramatically and I can only afford 2-3 (3 is stretching it) tanks of gas per month. When gas prices go up I have to drive less. Tomorrow I have to drive to the city to get a lithium level drawn and that will blow my gas budget for the month.
The funny thing is that when your income allows no bending even change that is positive can be financially challenging. In February I'll finally have Medicare. Part A is free. Part B (the part that pays for doctor's visits, labs, etc) is $89/month. I will have to buy a drug coverage ($30 estimated) and because my 20% of Part B stuff will add up and be impossible to pay I'll also buy a Medigap plan that helps reduce that. Dental insurance (private) is $30/month and I wear glasses so I'll need to buy those or pay $150/year in a lump sum for vision coverage. I will still have financial assistance with a few medications that one company produces, but essentially even though now I pay for meds or stopped taking meds that aren't covered by programs this all adds up to I will be paying a good bit of money, especially with the Part D (medication) donut hole that means I'm responsible for a large amount of money for meds. The amount is decreasing so I don't know how much but it is significant. So essentially I transition to having insurance and not needing "charity care" anymore, which should be a positive but it is extremely expensive when you don't have much income.
My point probably got lost here, but it is this: You never know what is going to happen to you. I never dreamed I could go from making enough money that even with ridiculous medical bills (I paid out of pocket for counseling, had many co-pays and paid $400/month for one medication my insurance refused to cover) I could still save for things I wanted without it being painful. Now I know what it is to face months with no income at all, and a lifetime where I'll always fight to avoid debt simply making ends meet. Our congressmen don't think this could happen to them.
What an up and down time. My mood is swinging everywhere. Perhaps that is good, perhaps it means that the severe depression that was in control for so long is leaving. Some hours are decent, something I'm actually no longer used to. A few times I've gotten 8-12 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period. Other times I've cried for little reason or for good reason. One night this week I cried for 5 hours out of terror that my nieces could inherit the genes that cause bipolar. Completely overboard and caused by nothing. The reality is that it is on both sides of our family and so they do have an increased risk. But nobody knows what it is. If I didn't have it heavily on one side of the family and at least 1 person on the other, ie I was like most people, my siblings would have a 1:3 risk each. Two are fine, the other is still young and I don't know what his life is like.
I'm reaching the end of packing that can be done before I'm out of here, or at least the last few days. I'm working on the kitchen slowly as it tends to be emotionally more difficult than other parts of the house were. In 2.5 weeks I'll be moving to my mom's and will stay there until my new place is done. That's supposed to be by early fall but the construction people can be a lot slower than what they estimate. We're working on having my room/area at my mom's ready for me.
Tonight I'm going to do something that will be hard on my cats, who are already very aware that something strange is up. At the moment I have their beds (2 per cat for some reason) along one wall of my bedroom. Until a few weeks ago they had 2 on that wall (both heated) and 2 non-heated beds elsewhere in the be room and another room. The room that I've been using for boxes (right now there's only one not in storage) needs to be emptied and painted. So that means boxes will sit in my bedroom and to do this the cat beds are moving. I hate to disrupt things further for them and I'm going to try to keep this down to minimal but they'll notice and that's hard to watch. (Easier to feel their pain than mine).
This week really should be considered ultra-successful. I think last time I wrote about AAA harming my car with an incorrectly done jump-start. After numerous phone calls, a letter and a lot of documents sent to the investigator I won and will get a check for my new battery and for the computer diagnostics/reset done at the dealership. I also am extremely thankful that this is all they are paying for as reading about this issue I learned they could have (probably nearly did) blow my starter and can even destroy things like the entire computer system. That's not really what you are aiming for with a 2.5 year old car.
Yesterday I got a check refunding me for dental insurance that I kept paying because they didn't notify me my payment was a day late and they terminated it last year. I've been battling this since February and was getting close to having to start going after them legally. Then last week they sent me a letter that they would not longer be "assisting" me because they weren't contracted with my prior employer. I sent a letter to the prior employer and within days found myself saying "OH!" very loudly in the post office when the envelope with a check arrived, seemingly out of nowhere.
With that and my tax refund that I didn't expect but which was payout for vacation days and a small amount related to an IRA I'd cashed in I actually have a little savings to go toward house stuff if I don't make a profit off the house. This is very exciting since I'll feel better if I buy things myself instead of my mom paying for my curtains and whatever.
Anyway, tonight is pill box filling night and I suppose I should get on that since it should have been done 15 minutes ago. I hate that task more than is rational. It takes a long time even though most pills are precounted into a week's supply from when I get them at Dr. Mind's office.
Over the years I have noticed that when I have the least hope a rainbow appears. Rainbows are a wonderful combination of beauty, hope, happiness and rain, the product of ugly grey clouds that hide the beauty of the sky. The beauty that is a rainbow can only come with the presence of both rain and sun. Such is life with bipolar disorder. There are good times, there are tough times, and there are rainbows to remind us that beauty will return, sometimes fleetingly and sometimes for a long time. This blog is my story of sadness and hope. Please scroll down to "Who I Am" under Pages to read more about me and the people who populate this blog.
Please note that any patient experiences noted in this blog are heavily edited to disguise events. Similarities to real persons are coincidental.
Please also know that while I speak as a professional at times, I am not a doctor. I have strong opinions, some based on professional training and/or experience, some based on research, and some based on personal experience of my own variety of this illness. Therefore what I say is my opinion, not a fact and doctors should always be consulted.