Lithium

This lithium stuff is great. As long as you drink a lot of water everyday. Anyway, I feel stable for the first time, and the longest time, in a very long while. But now I’m beginning to feel confused. Am I bored with life now that there’s no “manic drama”? Was I so used to being manic that I still exhibit rotten personality traits that I had when I was before? Am I bored? My mate swears something is going on.

In other news, I got a car finally. It needs a new catalytic converter so my step-dad sent me some $ to get that fixed. Then I can get emissions done, and then get my tabs and license plates and be a big girl driver. It’s a red 2001 Toyota Rav4, and I like it. My  friend Crissy named it God Almighty.

rav4-hdr

The Love & Hate of Being Bipolar

If you’re bipolar, raise your hand. 2.6% of all people in the United States have bipolar. So that could mean YOU. If not, sorry to scare you. Anyway. My struggles lately have been exhausting. First I’m up then I’m down them I’m up then I’m down… then I’m stable but OOOOO not for long!

Right now I don’t know what I am. I’ve been taking my meds as prescribed, but am feeling edgy, irritable, cranky, can’t focus, lots of anxiety. I’ve also, however, been feeling fatigued, sleepy, ‘inside myself’ (quiet non-talky moods) and just generally a pain in the ass to all who are around (meaning my mate). At work I’ve been pulling myself together, mostly, and when I have a problem I meditate.

I need to do even more meditating though, maybe more than once a day. I need to be sure to stay on top of my meds. I spoke with my doctor who said that we will watch and see how things go. She goes on maternity leave soon, so I won’t be able to have a session with her soon until January. So we’ll see how this next week goes — if I can get a handle on things. I just need to get a handle on things. No more bipolar hangovers, no episodes, please! Because, if I’m not up, I’m down, or in between and I am getting real tired of it.

Aren’t you?

Oh Bipolar… Go Away.

Things have been tumultuous again. I went through a manic, irritable, not sleeping phase – then I crashed and now all I want to do is sleep. I went negative in my checking account 3  days after getting my paycheck.

My dad sent me some money to help me. I really appreciate it, because I really need it. I am stating to feel better. I had skipped a few doses of my anti-depressant and now I am back on it again and soon I know it will help. Also exercise is helping, and getting the right kind of sleep.

My mate and I have been having a hard time with things because of it. There was one day she told me that she was done with me.

What will become of me?

March – No More Madness

So it is March. Already. Wow… time flies.

I went crazy there for a while. I went depressed a few weeks ago, which turned into a mixed bipolar episode into mania after starting a new anti-depressant which triggered it.

Now I am feeling like I am headed toward stability. I look back on the past month and a half and it all feels like a dream. I was literally out of my mind, pretty much.

I feel now so much calmer and clear-headed. I was so anxious. The anxiety was coming at me in crazy waves, and on a few particular occasions, it caused me to wretch/vomit which is always terrible. I started gabapentin as a replacement for the pregabalin, and it is working very well. And is very cheap. I started effexor, but it gave me very bad blurred vision, and I could barely see well enough to drive, and I couldn’t have that. I called the doctor and she had left a voicemail yesterday, trying to reach me. I stopped the medication. It had jolted me into mania last Monday, which continued for about 3 days. It was a euphoric mania, and felt great. I was dancing around in my living room to the old-skool “Off The Hook” DJ mix by Donald Glaude from the early 00’s.

I met my deductible finally, meaning now I can get my medications at the cheapest price available to me. Which hopefully means I can also get my asthma inhaler. The air in Salt Lake City in the winter is terrible. We live in an inversion zone, and right by oil refineries that pump out plumes of crap into the atmosphere at an alarming rate. So I’ve been coughing a lot.

Though, toward the end of February it started getting warm and sunny, and the inversion is gone. It’s been as warm as 60ºF, which is crazy, since winter doesn’t officially end until later this month. How bizarre! But I am liking it. It’s been in the 40’s now in the mornings, so I don’t need a jacket – and certainly not my winter one that is very warm.

I am still dealing with my mom’s death; sadness comes and goes. I think I stopped crying for the most part. Sometimes my eyes well up in tears, but not as often or as hard. I think she is probably adjusted to her new (old) surroundings, and is happy. Where she is, there is nothing but love. I like that. She deserves that.

Work has been slower than usual the past week. I’ve been able to get my work completed and then work on other projects. I think I have a hard time focusing when I am in the midst of an episode. I feel like the mental cloudiness is gone now. Which I am happy for. I need to figure out a way to change my schedule, though. I don’t see my mate as often as I would like. Only an hour each day, and 3 hours on Wednesday, the rest of the day on Fridays, all day Saturday and Sunday. So Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday kind of suck, but I’ll see what else I can do.

So, all is going much better now. I am so glad for that.

It’s all Relative

So. I’ve been trying to ‘hang in there’ after my mom’s death, and at first I think I was doing ok. I went through a few stages of greif, like they say you do. Anger and sadness so far. But now there’s a 6th stage that I really don’t like. It is called Extreme Anxiety. It started about a week ago and has snowballed since then. Whenever I get to work, I feel ill, like with flu symptoms. Just awful. And I feel like gagging (and therefore throwing up). When I get home I feel better because I am in more comfortable surroundings, and the anxiety is a lot less.

 

I went to the doctor yesterday and he said that being at work could agitate the grieving process, hence the anxiety, and he prescribed some medication. I was also out of a certain medication that is absolutely necessary, but too expensive out of pocket with this stupid HAS High-Deductible plan I chose to switch to, and so he prescribed a substitute that is also expensive. I’m going to see if I can get samples of the other stuff. I also applied for assistance.

 

In another note, one of my main anti-anxiety/healthy-brain meds ran out and it was going to be over $300 out of pocket each month! Holy… so I just stopped taking it. That’s when the anxiety ramped up. It was about 3-4 days after my last dose of it. So I hopefully can get assistance through the programs I applied in, to get my meds that I need.

 

So.. things are just ‘dandy’ right now. I try to meditate, try to stay positive, but it is very hard. I wish I could call my mom and ask her for her advice…

Clinical Diagnoses?

So my psychiatric office has an online portal you can login to view your appt times, and apparently, your diagnoses.

 

What the fuck? Bipolar II ? Um. No. I’ve been diagnosed 3 other times as Bipolar type I. my mania is moderate degree (except once it was major and I went into psychosis for a little while) and I am experiencing mania more often now than depression for some reason. So, II? No way.

 

And another. I was never told about this and didn’t know what this acronym was: MAD. I had to look it up. Mixed Anxiety Depressive disorder.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mixed_anxiety-depressive_disorder

 

Howcome I wasn’t told I had this? And I’d been diagnosed with GAD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, a long time ago and I thought I had seen it in my charts before. Weird! I don’t know what the F. I’m going to have to ask when I see the doc.

Back to manic

I am bipolar. And, I am manic right now. It took me a while to realize it and then admit it. My mate saw the first signs early on and had me call my psychiatrist, who had me start taking a 5 mg dose of an antipsychotic that I had leftover from a previous episode.

I have trouble sleeping. I get tired but wired, its a weird combination of feeling tired but having energy anyway. I talk too much, too loudly, and I ramble and jump from one subject to the next with no tie-ins. I sometimes have word salad, a term used in the psychiatry world to describe sentences that make no sense, and are just seemingly thrown together with random words.

I either have trouble concentrating on one day, and the next be very productive and focused. Its so weird.

I was manic during the super bowl, and my Seattle Seahawks lost to the Foxborough Patriots (yuck). I was disappointed but didn’t want to make a big deal out of it. I handled it well. Mostly because I took an extra clonazepam to level me out. But, the next day…

I was behind some people who were talking negatively about my Hawks and how they suck and whatever. I shouted at them. I just blurted out “Oh FUCK no!!! Fuckin Hawks forever, proud 12 right here, we’re bad and coming back and you will see. Watch the fuck out.” or something like that. ME. I did that. WHAT?????

I never do that. I barely talk to anyone, especially strangers. I’ve been outgoing at work, and a little too goofy at meetings, razzing my boss as much as I can.

I see the psychiatrist on Thursday. Thats good, because Wednesday the anti psychotic leftovers that I have run out.

Man. Life is crazy. I need to figure out how to stop squirming and pacing and acting so ‘up’. I need to focus and breathe and imagine myself in a serene environment.

Up, Up, and Away!

Sooooo this month I’ve been manic. i didn’t know it, and was in denial when my mate told me about it. I just couldn’t accept that I was impulsive, had poor judgment, had destructive behavior and was too talkative and loud. Because you see.. I’ve been sleeping just fine (actually the psychologist found out I don’t get ‘good’ sleep because my brain at night isn’t doing what it is supposed to). I’ve been eating normally (ok ok maybe a little more than usual – bad stuff like candy and ice cream and pies – only because hello, its October!! Candy month!).

 

But I finally admitted I was manic so I started taking abilify and while some of my symptoms of mania haven’t disapeared yet, I can dfinitely feel the tiredness the Abilify gives you. Ugh.

I got the pregabalin that the neruologist had recommended that should help balance my brain chemistry. It is only 50mg right now, but the doctor said he’d raise it slowly. So we’ll see how it goes!!

 

Snowboard swap next weekend. Excited! I might find a board. I’d also like boots. I’ve been looking at sizing information and things like that.. Some of the information I read is contradictory. One site says my board should be 149-157 cm, others say about 161. This is because of my height and weight. I am heavier than I should be, and the sites say go with what you weigh, not how tall you are. So I did but each site says something different. So I wrote down all the info and will bring it to the swap, and if there are vendors or experts, I can ask them.

Thats about it, for now. things are good, pretty much.

QEEG Results!

Instead of re-typing everyting all over again (and that my memory of what was told to me has degraded since then) I will copy & paste the e-mail I sent to my mate yesterday from work:

 

Hi!!

 

I Thought I would e-mail you right now while this is all fresh in my head from my appt – I couldn’t take notes because he was late so it was rushed so he was all over the place. They are sending copies to my GP and pdoc.

 

Basically, the beta spindles that show up with 24Hz are indicative of bipolar disorder (duh of course we already knew this) and that I am precariously tipped toward the mania side – meaning it would only take a small stressor at this point to put me into full blown mania. I asked him if they found any prodromal symptoms from that date, Sept 18 when we did the QEEG that would indicate oncoming mania and he said not at that time.

 

However – he showed me what my brain looks like compared to a normal brain. It was all over the place. Certain parts that should be firing fast, are firing slowly, while the parts that should be firing slowly are firing too fast. He said this impairs psychosocial functioning such as understanding/comprehension of others verbal language and non-verbal cues, decision making, impulsivity, and distractibility.

Also, it was found that my two lobes in the front cerebral cortex (is that right? The front part of the 2 halves of my brain) are ‘locked on to each other’ meaning other parts of my brain aren’t communicating with the other parts of the brain that they should be as would be normal. He said this is why if I am focused on one thing I cant multitask or pay attention to anything else going on around me., or switch tasks easily. This also accounts for my problem with intolerance for patience. He likened it to me talking to you or my mother on the phone while another call comes through, and I let that other call go to voicemail, when it turns out that other call I ignored was someone trying to tell me that my house was on fire while I am standing there, not even noticing.

 

This was all I can remember, I will request a copy when I can. I might see if they can e-mail it to me. He suggested a sleep study, too, because apparently when he had me close my eyes I slipped into stage 2 sleep within 20 seconds indicating sleep disturbance. This explains why I can get 8 or 9 hours of sleep and still be needing naps. Even while I’m sleeping, my brain is firing incorrectly, preventing the correct stages from happening at the correct times, which gives me overall poor quality of sleep. The spindles were even higher with eyes closed.

 

Ultimately the neurologist recommended pregabalin (Lyrica), which I had already asked my pdoc about previously, which he said isn’t FDA approved for mood disorders, and that my insurance wouldn’t cover it. I checked with Premera and its true, they wouldn’t cover it, unless I had some sort of neurologic chronic pain. But he said it might be possible with the right paperwork to back up the claims that this medication would help me. He also suggested Tenex (Neurontin/gabapentin), something that starts with a V, and clozapine. He said the Wellbutrin and clonazepam are actually counter-productive to what my brain needs and recommends getting off of them.

 

Anyway wanted to get this all out before it starts to go from my memory. He said the very top of my brain is the most affected part showing big signs of issues…. They also found the brain trauma from when I was 13 and my head was bashed into the brick wall!

 

We will talk later about this of course.

 

Got to get to work, love you!

 

QEEG

So my psychologist performed whats known as a QEEG (Quantitative EEG) on my brain a few weeks ago. He told me the FDA just approved its use for determining the parts of the brain effected by depression and bipolar disorder, on top of seizures, which is what they were already approved for previously.

I was made to stare at an object roughly 12 feet away for my eyes open for 2 minutes, and then close my eyes for 2 minutes while the machine collected the data. He let me view a brief overview of the brainwaves, and preliminary glances concluded that I had beta spindles at the correct Hz for bipolar. He then said he would send it to a panel of neurological experts in Florida who will compile a 200 page report that will indicate what my brain is doing and where, how fast it is running, and what precise medications would be best to target that specific area, thus eliminating the use of the “med-go-round”. Also, before the QEEG I had to answer a series of questions that he marked down. He said I answered YES to 15 out of 20 symptoms of seizure disorder, which he says has now been confirmed as a link between bipolar. He said I can find the scientific articles at pubmed.gov and there is evidence now that a lot of people diagnosed as bipolar actually have a new kind of seizure disorder that they’ve discovered. This explains the correlation between the anti-convulsant medications and the use of them for bipolar disorder.

My next appt is oct 7 so the results should be back. Looking forward to seeing exactly what is going in with my brain!

 

He said a lot of psychiatrists in the area are starting to send patients to him to perform this QEEG testing to determine what the best course of action for medications would be. He said this is new but it is soon gaining popularity in other cities and will be a mainstream course of action for psychological diagnoses. Anyone else had one of these done yet?

qeeg