Tuesday, February 27, 2007
I froze starting this post as I just had to change doctors and I haven't been documenting it clearly. I'll actually have to try to remember, oh no, not the 'r' word...
Lithium 900 mg = totally depressed, sick, went off immediately and have stayed off medication from 1978 to 1992. I had to start taking meds because I was struggling trying to go back to college, (getting sick and failing,) and had just become a shotgun stepmother to two profoundly behaviorally challenged kids in 1992. Have been hooked on them ever since. They actually helped me to learn how to begin alleviating much of the anxiety over the decades, with a lot of work. And getting blasted out of a bad marriage. - The second time it was a cd that blasted me out of hell, but that is another story.
Bipolar Medication History
I think they have me categorized as the non-specific bipolar. Or whatever it is.
In 1978 they put me on 900 mg lithium. I was so sick and so depressed that as soon as I got out of that first and only hospitalization (forced a month imprisonment) for that first acute psychotic manic episode. It was quite traumatic. I suppose I should describe how they use to treat us. I have no idea what they do now. They started with luring me to the hospital without telling me I'd be incarcerated fro a month. When I kept raving and wouldn't sleep they strapped me to a gurney and shooting my butt with 900 mg Thorazine - a lovely traumatic experience that helped keep me stubbornly out of looney bins ever since. I don't recall resisting the thorazine in the first place the bastards.
Lithium = 900 mg for a 90 lb. 17 year old kid you've got to be kidding me - immediately upon release of hospitalization went off all meds.
Thorazine = you've got to be kidding me while in the hospital...
Stellazine for antipsychotic = knocked out for days. Did calm the psychotic symptoms but make me catatonic.
Zoloft = side effects didn't like it.
Wellbutrin - seems to be keeping me from slashing my wrists - it's a joke, ok? - have been on it from 1992 to date.
In attempting to avoid lithium, as it causes thyroid disorders, weight gain and most importantly for me, depression, I tried many of the anti-epileptic meds.
Tegretol = as soon as started taking it, rash all over body (no anaphylactic shock), emergency room.
Neurontin = after 9 months developed systemic reaction, which they thought was carpal tunnel. Had to wear wrist braces, numbness and pain from neck to hands, hands falling asleep, making it hard to rest, general feeling terrible. Took another 9 months to feel 'normal' again.
Depakote = was fine, except after several years developed huge extremely painful sores in mouth that were large and lasted a month. As soon as they would go away, more would show up. Turned out a dental hygenist (thank god) looked up Depakote and Wellbutrin and they both can cause these miserable mouth sores. Went back on lithium.
Lamictal = tried it but made me very dizzy and nauseous daily even after a few months. Went back on lithium.
Was given Respideral but never tried it.
Abilify = have tried it before and didn't have reaction so will take that as needed for psychotic symptoms. For when I start feeling 'good'. Too happy, too productive, too much writing, too little sleep etc. It's great starting to get manic, it sucks when it goes too far.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
We all have a responsibility to be sensitive to the affect our behavior has on others, and with psychotic folks it's just a little more challenging. I have utmost respect for folks schizophrenic as they have hallucinations much more strongly, and more like all the time. I also have the utmost respect for drug resistant bps or anyone else who experience hallucinations on a more involuntary basis. I imagine it's true for most that if we are able, we avoid having psychotic symptoms in the first place. It's like the dreams of being sucked into the ocean always had recurring daily for many childhood years. After a while, you succumb to the terror and learn to breathe underwater. Then it starts getting interesting, walking around on the bottom of the ocean.
Hallucinations are a curse, and your private gift. If you can weave the experience into some kind of art, it helps dramatically. I personally believe that at times I'm intuitive (clarvoyant) in addition and so some of what I experience is also natural phenomena. This can cause intense confusion at times, especially when I was young, unguided and inexperienced. Sensing energy fields, spirits, other planetary beings, communing with the universe itself, the earth and nature, human beings as a collective. For me Hallucinating doesn't happen consistently, as neither does sensing any of this stuff. It seems to be involved in overlapping cycles personally, and is of course influenced by the environment. Learning to recognize these and other bp symptoms, by recording them and trying to find a pattern (over years) (organization more of a challenge when manic.) If you like to write, date everything. Thank the advent of computers for this reason, but they are not mandatory.
Emotion is a power unsurpassed. Most animals experience their own. Bp amplifies emotion. How about these ideas? Practice imagining to ride it like a wave, learn to surf it. When you are alone or with those that it does not distress, let it all hang out, talk to whatever you see and hear. Stay centered, try to not allow yourself to become afraid, and destructive behavior is to be avoided in every way. You are loved, by god, or the gods or whatever you choose to believe or not in. We share this planet, the stewardship of the earth, and we are all responsible to one another on the higher levels of sprituality. Of course we are all individuals, part of a larger organism.
Acceptance is the infancy of loving. So you're a little unique maybe. Isn't everyone in some way? I had pain in my heart for too many of my years. Healing was a long, mostly solitary road. Isolating can be a natural 'coping' mechanism, but too much of it can become not good for sick puppies.
I've just now discovered bp blogs and I feel wonderful about it. It's like you're a little note floating around the air and suddenly you're in a sweet orchestra, and you can hang. Reading these fascinating diaries are slowly blowing me away. I feel like I'm finally with my own.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
That study that just came out about kids interpreting neutral facial expressions as hostility and reacting with fear through some deformed part of the brain. I totally relate to that. I was like that since a tiny child - painfully shy. It was painful to look strangers in the eyes till about 27.
It's been 34 hellish roller coast years since that day in sixth grade, but still kicking, having learned so much. I accept the hallucinations now, even embrace them. See 'Covert Hallucinating' post next. At first it was bewildering - in a constant state of terror. Panic attacks, racing heart, blushing. ptsd?
Now, can actually either hold on for dear life, or enjoy them. There is this hallway room in this old ivy school that has wooden walls and in the last century it was a dining or ball room. When I walk through there get the strangest feeling, like there are people from the olden days all over the place in bustles and victorian outfits, smoking cigarettes. Now, it's totally strange and I feel so self conscious walking through there - can see them, it's such a head trip, it's comical. I love the diversity of the students there, it's been such a long time that I've taken that breath of relief. There are some real putzes that go to that school as well. Hated school. Try, get sick, lose the year and start over, and over and over, with nothing but the debt and trying to forget bad memories embarrassed as hell of my own behavior.
It's been a long crazy road.
I digress...have come quite a ways and want to give some pointers to bipolar child onset kids. A little experience with bipolar goes a longer way. Always had this dream to help kids - but alltheseyears afraid of coming out and blackballing myself from getting work, getting ostracized, etc. And also the awesome responsibility of trying to teach precious kids, when I was and am still a mess for so many decades. What a kick in the butt. Carrying around secrets hurts your heart*Chest pains. Bipolar child onset can be heartbreaking if you don't have good help, and a little luck. It takes a special education, which these kids can sometimes be gifted in ways that can be utilised to compensate. And these kids can at times develop or have other complications as well. Could some suffering be ameliorated, please?
Want to somehow help kids. How about by helping their care givers? My mind reaches out to the universe, for the greater good, so be it, and so it is.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
future post wish list:
@an item called 'Medications' where I will list and edit all the medications I've tried and how they effected. Medications work differently for everyone but maybe similarities can be drawn.
@an ongoing list of for managing symptoms.
@another ongoing post: chronological onset info - breech birth to 11 year old psychotic symptom manifestation onset to teen diagnosis...to middle age
I want to utilise this blog to help manage this illness. And to remember things. Writing has always helped and ultimately, if I can help myself and such a thing is possible - be on the road to
fulfill a dream of helping other people with this painful disorder. Connecting with people in any way would be a good thing - I'm an isolator, a loner which is a double-edged sword.
Last night I went to sleep with an annoying song from a tv commercial in my head - something about money (surprise) - thinking *stop* (a new technique is to envision a stop sign to halt obsessive negative thinking - it's helping thank you therapist). This Valentine's snow day to two feet blizzard morning I wake up with this song in my head - specifically these lyrics on waking:
Follow the lines and wonder why
There's no connection.
I had no special fondness for or knowledge of this song although I like it, but haven't understood what the lyric words were, or who the artists were, only that the song had become familiar as of late. It is one of those songs like a memory, this one from the eighties.
Googled the lyrics and it's The Shins, 'Phantom Limb'.
These lyrics explain exactly what I have been feeling lately, having come down off a perennial manic episode, which in recent years I have identified as usually triggered in September and occuring through January.
Last winter I was spared a manic episode - a new job, new relationship, new martial art in spite of a bad foot and renewed hope. This winter an increasingly stressful job leading to chest pains (mild 'panic attack' symptoms), then a falling back into drinking. This year I'm convinced that alcohol is the main ingredient to trigger an eventual episode. 93 days sober, I hope for ever.
I've got to get stronger - wiser to stop the manic times. It always happens when I'm overly challenged at work (or school), because I need to think for that. I resist taking weekends out of my life to lobotomize on antipsychotics as the end of a mania historically brings on what seems like inevitable resulting depression. I get addicted to writing prolifically and needing less sleep - actually having some energy. I've learned to identify 'hallucinations' better, be more intrigued and less afraid. But sacrifices have to be made to stay 'well'.
The 'remedy' to mania, antipsychotics take days to recover from living in that sudden dead fog of brain inactivity, loss of creativity and total lack of energy ...I have a new antipsychotic
- Risperidal, which substituted three other meds, older antipsychotics like abilify and seroquel, xanax for anxiety or panic attacks and all three strengths of sleeping pills, chlorazepate, sonata and ambien. (that is over the years of managing different levels of symptoms - I mostly took as needed and resisted that as much as possible) I dread taking any new drug that first time - one never knows how it may affect and (one should have people around to help) if an immediate reaction should occur. On the list of posts in the right column here I will maintain a posting called 'Medications' where I will list all the medications I've tried and if they were effective or not. Medications work differently for everyone but maybe similarities can be drawn.
Think I'd like to learn more about this song I woke up with. The mind blower is waking up with that song while I turned on the radio at 5am it was on, synchronicity always piques my imagination ;) "Phantom Limb"
Frozen into coats,
White girls of the North,
Fire past one, fire the one,
The are the fabled lambs,
A Sunday ham,
The ancient snow.
And they can float above the grass,
In circles if they tried,
A latent power I know they hide,
To keep some hope alive,
That a girl like I could ever try,
Could ever try
So we just skirt the hallway signs,
A phantom and a fly,
Follow the lines and wonder why
There's no connection.
And weakened falling eyes,
In cheap shots from the tribe,
And we're often in Marcus' porch again,
Another afternoon with the gold head tunes,
And pilfered booze.
We wandered through your mama's house, ----------------------------------------------
And the milk from the window lights,
Family portrait circa ninety-five,
This is that foreign land,
With the sprayed on tans,
And it all feels fine,
Beat it circa slime,
So, when they tap our mundane heads,
To zombie-walk in our stead,
This town seems hardly worth our time,
And we'll no longer memorize or rhyme,
To fall along in our crime,
Stepping over what now towers to the sky,
With no connection.