Category Archives: Family

Anxiety Schmanxiety

My anxiety from the last week’s venture into too much socializing never went away. It’s worse right now as I’m in the middle of a med change as well. Sigh. It’s my life with bipolar to always be in a med change. And mood switches. Both of which lead to increased anxiety. No wonder I’m always anxious. I’m so much more anxious right now. My thoughts are jumbled too. Racing, but jumbled too. My prn only works to a small degree. Sigh.

My therapist wants me to relax. I told him I don’t know how. I’ve always been on edge, even as a child. Always oriented to the next thing, never resting on my laurels. Maybe for a few minutes, but always focused on what the next hurdle or life event would be. That’s what I’m doing now. I’m over anticipating a manic August. I get them every other year or so, and this is a manic year, if all goes according to history. I’m scared shitless. I could just as easily stabilize with the new meds and be fine. Or I could go off the deep end with delusions and lying and risky behavior. Both are probable in my mind. I’m doing way too much future-telling whether a stable one or a manic one. And don’t forget I could go against type and end up depressed. My moods do what they will. I have no control over them. The only constant is anxiety through it all.

Anxiety Schmanxiety. I just looked at a new apartment complex near my family’s house. A first floor one-bedroom is ridiculous! It’s more expensive than the luxury apartments a mile away. But I really won’t know how much I have to spend until I know what if anything I owe in taxes for 2018, and therefore, what I need to set aside in 2019. Anxiety schmanxiety. So my mom recommended we wait until after Christmas season and then see where everything stands. Tax season would start and then I would know more. So I guess I’m in my family’s house for the long haul at this point. I guess that’s ok. Not what I expected, but I guess what I need. That time frame gives me time to get into cooking more for myself and getting back into healthy routines. I haven’t worked out this week. Just haven’t felt up to it. But I need that structure.

Please let me know if my posts make sense together, or if just each paragraph makes sense, or if even each paragraph seems scattered. My therapist and I were analyzing artwork that was indicative of a jumbled mind. I want to know if my writing is jumbled too. I feel it is.

Reflections #12

Almost there! Just today and tomorrow in the quest to see what I’m thinking in this either very full, racing brain, or a very-empty-until-I-put-in-a-prompt brain.

My mood is still stable, thank goodness. I’m loving my new cocktail! I’m actually happy most of the time. I’m pretty sure that one of my meds is overkill though. I hope the next psychiatrist nixes it.

I drove on a lot of unfamiliar roads today to get my parents’ cat to an imaging center for a radioactive thyroid scan. The scan is a precursor to next week’s radioactive treatment to cure hyperthyroidism. He doesn’t take the medicine well, chasing him all over just to rub his ear for 10 seconds, twice a day, even with a reward of fresh baked chicken each time. So my family is paying a lot to get the treatment. He’s old at 14, but in ok health. Might have an inflamed bowel that is causing his vomiting instead of the thyroid. Treatment for that??? You guessed it! Daily medicine. Sigh. I hate being recruited to help grab him, since my family can’t give my cat another hoot. And that cat doesn’t like me anyway.

I finally called again at the refugee agency where I want to volunteer. I had to leave another message. I hope this time I get a call back.

I did some art therapy today. This time it was a picture of my inner and outer life. My inner life is full of desire and want – a busy life, meaningful activities, a relationship. My outer life is like calm waters – a calm demeanor, the appearance of nothing going on – compared to the large, rough waves of my inner life. I think it’s an accurate depiction. How do you draw desire though? I tried.

I finished Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World And Me. Very excellent book. So much about how black people’s bodies are so vulnerable because of people who like to think of themselves as white’s culture that is built on the bodies of black Americans – ghettos, redlined housing districts, police brutality, just to name a few. I knew about this, and Coates explained in a clear way. This racist’s eyes are more open again. How can I help change the culture?

The Handmaid’s Tale is also finished, with a good cliffhanger at the end. I won’t spoil the ending in case you are watching it. The last episode dropped today, and now there won’t be any until when? Anybody know? Is it a summer series?

My Story – A Summary

Hi! I’m Deb, and I blog at http://SuddenlyBipolar.Wordpress.com

I am an ordained Presbyterian minister. I like to think of myself as a Mental Health Advocate as my current calling, since I can’t pastor a church anymore because of how my Bipolar Type 1 with psychotic features manifests. I also have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, which just exacerbates the Bipolar.

I’m a lover of movies, books, politics and sociology. I’d like to do a PhD in Sociology of Religion if my brain will let me. It’s hard to read, so we’ll see what’s in store for me in the next few years.

I recently moved back in with family to get extra support. Even with a strong support system, it wasn’t enough to keep me from being lonely where my thoughts and feelings would take over to make me suicidal and bouncing in and out of the hospital over 30 times in the last 7 years.

I was diagnosed in September 2010 after falling from a manic high (August being a common time for mania for me) into a suicidal depression, my first and definitely not my last. Among my therapist, psychiatrist and me, we figured out I had my first depressive episode at 13 when I had major back surgery for scoliosis. Manic delusions may have started as early as 9, however. I had hallucinations in 2 psychotic episodes my first year in college at age 17, a common time for bipolar to raise its ugly head.

I spent my young and middle adult years in primarily hypomania, some mania and fewer depressions. I had a vibrant spirituality that people thought was a gift, but was really mania. Oh, well.

As I said, I was diagnosed in 2010, a year into my first solo pastorate after years as an associate pastor or youth director. I loved and was good at my job. It’s been a huge loss and sore spot that I can’t pastor anymore. Over the next 7 years I had amazing care from my psychiatrists and therapists, and a strong support system. But I still bounced in and out of a psychiatric hospital over 30 times, for as few as 3 days, and as much as 2 months. I saw the darkest days, despite love and support. It took Years to get the right meds and every time I went into the hospital we tried something or tweaked something. And my psychiatrist outside did too, though she was more conservative.

Finally, I spent 3 months at my family’s home relearning how to care for myself (cooking, cleaning, exercise) and getting concentrated support and love. Eventually, together, we concluded that I should move to Texas from Chicago-land to continue support, be around people, and at least temporarily live in community. I hope to live a mile away soon and still get the benefit of daily support but independent living again.

I’ve been with my family for two months now and we are slowly making our way into community. I don’t feel settled. I miss my old support system. I sobbed leaving my main psychiatrist. I’ve been in a day program and inpatient for a few days. But I’m looking forward now to beginning a new life with meaningful activities.

Early in my diagnosed life, I accepted the bipolar as something I would have to manage for the rest of my life. The bipolar and anxiety are just a part of me, though sometimes taking care of them seems to overwhelm me. I remind myself they are just a part of me. I have routines and schedules. I advocate for myself with providers, and I talk with my support system regularly, sometimes (ok, most of the time) daily. I use coping skills like Radical Acceptance, Mindfulness, Thought Defusion, and Committed Action toward My Values (from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy). I also use Dialectical Behavioral Therapy skills such as Mindfulness, Emotion Regulation, and Distress Tolerance. I also volunteer at various places, though it’s hard and I have a hard time holding even one for longer than a couple months. Maybe I haven’t found the right place for my passion yet.

I am open about my struggles and triumphs on social media. I educate about and offer resources on bipolar on social media (such as my page on Facebook, Suddenly Bipolar). Advocating for others seems as important as advocating for myself. My blog is one way I do that by sharing my thoughts, feelings and journey. People tell me that reading about these things is helpful, and I’m glad. But really it’s my journal. 🙂

I hope to meet you in the blogosphere or on Facebook or Twitter. Together we can end the stigma and support one another. Find your voice!

Cross posted on MyLoudBipolarWhispers.com as part of the “There’s Glory in Sharing Your Story” campaign.

Not Settled In

I still feel like a stranger in what is supposed to be my home. It’s been 2 months. But I was here for a total of 4.5 months before that in large and small spurts. I guess I always knew I was going “home.”

And now I feel stuck emotionally. It’s not my place. I have a bedroom and bathroom to call my space. All other space belongs to someone else even if they welcome me into it. It’s still not mine. And I can’t watch my shows except on the tv in my room. I guess that’s good. At least there’s a way to record them and watch them.

I feel segregated off in my room. I tried to use the kitchen last night and this morning, and I was an imposter who somehow was in the way.

I’m an imposter segregated in my tiny space in this gargantuan house. Even that room feels like a borrow though. It’s not my space.

I’m not sure how to make any of it my space. I don’t have art or pictures to put up. I’m always in someone’s way or space.

This sucks. And I’m not ready financially or emotionally to move out. Not that I’m getting much support these days.

It’s World Bipolar Day!

One of the best ways I take care of my bipolar (and anxiety) is listening to and following the advice of my care team and all of those who care about me.

Yes, I’ve had a volatile 7+ years since diagnosis with over 30 hospitalizations for suicidal urges. And hours, days, of fear and psychological and emotional pain.

But by following advice I’ve learned a Ton of coping skills I use regularly. Some of those are as basic as keeping a sleep routine and eating healthy. Another piece of advice has to do with exercise. I don’t get endorphins from exercise, but I do better emotionally when I exercise regularly.

The biggest advice I got was spending time with my family in another state to relearn basics of taking care of myself. And two more shorter stays after that, and my care team, good friends, and people who care about me agreed that I was doing better with my family, leading to moving in with them this past month.

I really wanted people to tell me that I could continue to live alone and rely on my usual supports. But there was overwhelming consensus. And I live in Texas now. Not my pick, but that’s where my family lives right now.

I’m having a hard time adjusting and settling, more than others of the many moves I’ve made. It will get better. And I’m following good advice.

Saying Goodbye

I am in Illinois with my mom for two weeks to see doctors, pack up everything, and say goodbye to the good friends who have made my life possible for the last 8.5 years in Illinois. I was in and out of the hospital more than 30 times during that time. My church, my family/friends, my friends have all walked that horrible road with me. They’ve seen me suicidal and helped me get through the moment and then take me to the hospital anyway. They’ve fed my cats while I’m gone. They’ve welcomed me back into the world without batting an eyelash. They gave me the opportunity to volunteer and give back in ways I could. They helped me feel less disabled. I can’t say thank you enough. And Goodbye is nearly impossible. I really hope I find cheap airfares to come back for a visit sooner rather than later, and regularly too. I’d like to keep relationships!

And saying goodbye to my psychiatrist and therapist was near impossible! They have been so helpful and accepting. I bonded so deeply to them. They are wonderful people.

I’m finding that the rending apart of relationships is so difficult, so very difficult, that I can’t concentrate on much else. My mom asks me questions about packing or donating, or whether these things are going to home or to storage, and it hurts my brain, literally, to make a decision. My concentration is so low that I’m forgetting basic routines like how to get ready for bed.

rootsI’m tearing apart roots that I haven’t had since leaving California after 30 years of growing up there. I hope I can make some shallow roots that deepen quickly in my new location in Dallas area. I’m a person that needs people and that needs roots.

Moving

New, and exciting? Depressing? Things afoot.

I need the support of my family to feel better and be more stable. So I’m moving from Chicago-land to Dallas area (where they currently live) to live with my brother and parents (who also live with him).

It’s rather sudden. I’ll be in IL for two weeks to see doctors and friends and to pack. My mom is coming with me, and my cat is returning with us. Now that will be an adventure!

Then two weeks later my brother will fly up and drive the moving truck and car trailer down to Texas. Before April I’ll be settled and a resident of Texas. ((((Ew, not a fan))))

A lot of friends will be involved in the moving. Thank you!!

And I will miss dearly all my friends and my mental health care team. It hurts.

It hurts too that I’m giving up my independence for my health, which, while probably the best decision, puts two strong values opposing one another.

I will probably move into my own apartment within six months about a mile away. I hope that physical closeness will provide support and independence.

So much is happening so quickly. My psychiatrist gave me haldol instead of Ativan to help with anxiety. It’s working. I’m in so much grief over losing relationships that just are not going to survive the physical distance. Don’t let it happen again.