Swinging Crashing

So yeah. I guess I crashed. I’m not doing so well right now. My moods are swinging, bringing me to a miserable depression these last two days. I really don’t even want to write this, but I’m forcing myself to.

Apparently this is part of my pattern. Every Spring/early Summer I am riding high. Hypomanic on meds and full on manic off meds. This year I traveled a lot. First was Chicago, then Toronto, then up north to a vacation town here in Michigan. I also attended a number of concerts. I was exploding with energy and feeling very social. It was summertime, after all.

Then after all the fun in the sun, the clinks of the bottles, the screaming in the crowd, I enter into a lifeless, self-loathing little pile of misery. It sucks and I hate it.

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My mind scrambles tonight to come up with excuses to get out of going to the beach with my family and friends tomorrow. I’m in a pathetic stage at the moment where I ridicule myself and compare myself to others. I literally have a reason to feel insecure with each and every person going to this outing tomorrow. I am feeling self-conscious and humiliated. I expressed this (well, a mild version of this) to my wife and I could tell by her reaction, while expressing compassion, she was disappointed in me. So I shut up about it. I really want to be excited to spend the day with my wife and my son. I will probably just muscle through it. There is no drinking at this gathering, so I can’t even numb my issues away.

I need to exercise more. I need to lose weight and boost my serotonin levels. It’s hard to get motivated when nothing sounds good. I know it sounds like I’m just whining. But mood swings and depression are real. Out of nowhere it can just jump up and bite you in the ass. I hope this passes quickly. I also hope this has nothing to do with coming of of Abilify. Because it is a noticeable pattern, I don’t think it does.

All in all, I have had some fleeting dark thoughts of ending it all, but I distracted myself and found more useful things to focus on. I guess it’ll be a day by day process. Thanks for reading.

 

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Take a Chance with the Side Effect Dance

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I know I’ve written about side effects in the past, and this is one topic we all seem to be on the same page about. Side effects suck! My latest endeavor has been trying to lose weight. Over the last year, I have put on a bit of weight, and am having a more difficult time than usual in getting rid of it. I examined my timeline of events- I went on my current cocktail of Lithium, Abilify, and Seroquel about a year and a half ago. And then last fall/winter my wife was pregnant and I know I can attribute some of my tummy to joining her in prego eating. Okay, between those two variables, I put on about 30 pounds. I realize to some, this doesn’t seem extreme. However, I am only 5’1″ and I have a petite frame. None of my clothes fit. I feel uncomfortable. The CDC rates my BMI as overweight. Yeah it’s time to take action.

I gave up sweets and other junk food. I stopped drinking soda. I don’t eat red meat, and I adopted a strict regimen of vegetables and fruits and lean protein. Nothing fried enters my mouth. I exercise. After a few months of this lifestyle change, I dropped barely 5 pounds. I couldn’t believe that my weight was hardly moving despite my efforts. I was really discouraged and trying not to become depressed.

This is when I decided to go further, and research my medications. I learned that two of the three meds I’m on have a tendency to contribute to weight issues. These weight issues include gaining of weight, and/or difficulty in losing excess pounds. Immediately I flashed back to about 12 years ago when I was an inpatient in the psych hospital, and I had gained a good 30 pounds within a month’s time. But that time Depakote was the culprit. I never want to go back to that feeling again. So I knew at that moment I had to consult with my psychiatrist. I hate the way I look. I’m tired of feeling bloated. If I can’t look good, then I don’t feel good.

I decided to ask him about alternatives to Seroquel. This was scary because the Seroquel really does seem to be a miracle drug for me. I figured the Seroquel had to be the problem child since I am on a medium to high dose. I am on a very low dose of Abilify so I didn’t think it was contributing as much. When I went to my last appointment, I expressed my concerns and explained the efforts I have been trying. He asked me to honestly tell him which of the two helps me more. Of course his question presented a battle internally for me- my own self-fueled convictions say “Seroquel makes you fattest”- but I knew the truth, and that was Seroquel helps me the most. Nights when I don’t take it, I cannot sleep and the next few days I’m completely thrown off. If I skip Abilify, I barely notice. I was honest with him. Clearly this resulted in his decision to wean me off of Abilify, and continue my Seroquel.  He even informed me that Abilify is actually more prominent in weight issues than Seroquel, even at a low dose. He also mentioned that Zyprexa (which I had been on in the past) is not a good alternative to Seroquel when weight is a concern because it’s even worse thatn the other two.  He said to continue what I have been doing in regards to eating and exercise, and in a couple of months I should notice a difference in my weight.

So, it has been a week. I’m watching what I eat and weighing myself. I came off the Abilify pretty smoothly. At this point we shall see. I’ll keep posted. If anyone has any stories of weight gain as a side effect, please share!

 

Running Amok with Both Feet on the Ground

I tried to write yesterday on my train ride home, but my hangover wouldn’t allow it. Other than that, Chicago was really fun and it was great to see my friend. I got over my risky sense of adventure and complied with my medications. Well, that, and my friend apparently took notes from my wife, and insisted on med checks each morning and night. In a way it is kind of nice to have a friend respect my bipolar, and care enough to not let me get off balance. Personally, I also think she was afraid if I did become manic or do something regrettable, my wife would never be comfortable with me visiting her again. But that’s just speculation.

As you recall from my last post, I was teetering on the edge of mania. The excited flutters were on speed, and I was feeling more alive than ever. It was interesting to have such a sense of freedom away from home. My wife tends to be pretty strict on me because of my bipolar. I certainly don’t regard her as controlling or bossy, so don’t think that. But she helps me stay on track, refrain from heavy intoxication, and avoid over-stimulation, which leads to episodes. Traveling alone out of state for four days is definitely a situation that stimulates. Activities we partook in included attending an epic Tegan and Sara concert (my obsession), shopping in Boystown, chowing on sushi, playing downtown, and having a few beers. I was careful to not over-indulge. I was careful to not test boundary limits with my friend. I was careful to call home when I could. I was careful to spend wisely. Slow and steady.

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I did experience an incredible surge of energy while on my trip. The feeling literally led me to be really physical and run amok in the park downtown. I know for a fact my friend thinks I’m crazy. And I love it.

Linda is the name of the elderly liberal I made friends with on the train ride home. I’m not sure, but I think she could be a lesbian. She was a joy to converse with, in between book and iPod sessions, for those six hours. I even hugged her after I helped her with her luggage upon her departure.

It is nice to be home. I missed my wife and my son. I appreciate that she is comfortable with me having adventures. I know she understands how bored I can get. If I am not given playtime, I end up finding it. And that usually means finding trouble.

Thanks for following my little story. It was a bit of an accomplishment to remain balanced this week.

All Aboard the Manic Train!

The train horn induces an ear-to-ear grin type of euphoria. Maybe it’s the heat with the sun shining the brightest it’s ever been. Maybe it’s the Tegan and Sara I’ve been playing on repeat for days. Maybe it’s because I will attend their concert in less than 24 hours. Maybe it’s because this is my first time traveling alone. Maybe I’m just excited to see my good friend and stay in her Chicago apartment.

(Side note: I ‘met’ this friend during a slightly manic phase about four years ago. Actually, I anonymously sought her out online because I liked the way she looked and thought she seemed cool. I randomly sent her a friend request. She surprisingly accepted. I initiated conversation until she eventually let me in. Exchanged numbers and life stories. And we’ve officially met in person twice now. Today will be number three.)

What caused this mental tickle to develop may be a combination of all the above. I don’t know. But I do know that I keep singing aloud on this hushed locomotive. I’ve also laughed aloud a few times. I just feel so amazing! I truly have so much excitement in my little self that I may explode! I am absolutely in love with everything and everyone right now.

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I don’t know if I should be taking notes on these incredible feelings. I kind of want to say fuck it, and just allow myself to really feel everything. Either way, I’ll check in at some point.

For Shits and Giggles, I Now Have a Tumblr

Because two WordPress blogs weren’t enough. Because a Facebook blog page, a personal Facebook, an Instagram, Pinterest, and two Twitter accounts simply weren’t enough. You can now find my crazy self on Tumblr as The Bipolar Lesbian.

My purpose for creating this mini blog is pure simplicity, all the while combining two parts of myself- my sexual orientation and my mental illness. I plan to showcase media such as photos, gifs, videos, and music. I also want to make this a designated space for my poetry, which I will be pouring more of myself into here in the future.

Tumblr has been around for a little while now, but is growing at an increasingly fast rate. If you have a Tumblr account, or are interested, I recommend checking out my baby blog. I want to have fun with it and with an audience, I can deliver just that!

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Very Inspiring Blogger Award

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Kitt O’Malley, author of Life with Bipolar Disorder and Thoughts about God, has ever so graciously nominated me for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award. This is an absolutely pleasant surprise, and a huge honor. Kitt’s writing is not only creative, but it is informational, spiritual, personable, and relatable. I thank Kitt O’Malley for recognizing my work, and I take this award nomination as a sincere compliment.

 

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The guidelines in accepting this award include:

  • Thank and link the amazing person who nominated you.
  • List the rules and display the award.
  • Share seven facts about yourself.
  • Nominate other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
  • Optional: Proudly display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you.

Once again, I say thank you to Kitt O’Malley for keeping me in mind when nominating bloggers. It means a lot.

 

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  1. My passion is writing. I am obsessed with the written word and love to create anything literary.
  2. I have a tendency to change my hair color quite frequently, along with the length & style.
  3. I am a lesbian. I am married to an incredible woman who is the love of my life. We are lgbtq advocates.
  4. I am a mother to a precious baby boy. He has given me a new perspective on life.
  5. I administer another blog, Dyke Fruit, which revolves around my life and views living as a lesbian in today’s world. (Check it out!)
  6. I am educated, with two college degrees. My BA is in Human Services, with a focus on mental health. I plan to go back to school for my Master’s.
  7. Things I love include photography, obsessing over music (specifically Tegan and Sara), hot summer days, iced coffee, and my dog and three cats.

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Here is a list of bloggers I nominate for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. (Some of you may have already been nominated by someone else, but that just means you’re extra awesome!)

 

 

It Went Too Fast, Love – a poem about heartbreak

If I could, I really would
Catch every tear that fell.
Though I know I really should
Accept that time will tell.

It was a lost cause,
But you’re not lost, love.
It was a past love,
It went too fast, love.

I imagine her expression,
As she quickly shut the door.
All too clear was her rejection.
I clean the pieces from the floor.

Strawberries fragrant in the air,
Strawberry scented, like her hair.

Tire tracks provide evidence,
Matching tread marks on my heart.
Spinning sick, it makes no sense.
There came an end before a start.

It was a lost cause,
But you’re not lost, love.
It was a past love,
It went too fast, love.

Her fingerprints left in the dust,
Silky strands clogged in the drain.
That skin was more than glowing lust,
Her ideals around this room remain.

Strawberries fragrant in the air,
Strawberry scented, like her hair.

Need an intervention of the soul.
May I have the will to dream?
Once was fire, now burned a hole.
Is this as broken as it seems?

It was a lost cause,
But you’re not lost, love.
It was a past love,
It went too fast, love.

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I Want This Shirt!

I don’t typically like to advertise my bipolar disorder, but once in awhile a little humor goes a long way. And I do feel people are sensationalizing bipolar disorder these days, therefore making it almost a trend. Blows my damn mind, really. But either way, it was definitely not cool at all when I was diagnosed. Nobody else had it and everyone I told had a reaction.

 

Shop here: Zazzle

Saying it Aloud Makes it Real

Apparently I’m fighting mania. Apparently I didn’t realize this until I talked about it. Apparently.

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I knew a few factors were surfacing, but I didn’t realize just how many signs of mania were actually present in my life until I shared my current state at my DBSA support group meeting last night.

Let’s begin by examining the facts – the manic stuff.

  1. It’s Spring. My witching season. Well, the start of it anyway. Summer is equally lethal. Warm weather heats my blood something good.
  2. I’m suffering from chronic boredom. Bored with work. Bored socializing. Bored at home. Bored in my marriage.
  3. I’m overstimulating in order to combat the boredom. Drinking. Music. A dozen social networks. Heavy involvement with friends.
  4. Becoming hypersexual. Collecting new erotic photography. Flirting. More self-stimulation than usual.
  5. Planning. I’m planning a mini vacation by myself next month to stay with a friend and attend my favorite band in concert. Okay- my obsession in concert. Which brings me to number 6.
  6. I can’t help the obsessions. Tegan and Sara have been my loves for over a decade. I can’t get enough. Literally. I’m also obsessing over my marriage. And the lack of sex.
  7. My mind is racing. I struggle to focus at work. My ideas are flying around. I’m quite forgetful.
  8. Irritability. I’m moody and irritable. I seem to get annoyed easily with customers. And traffic. And television. And a few acquaintances.
  9. Fleeting desire to skip meds. I don’t want them. I don’t like them. So there.
  10. Spending money. My wife is our financial manager, but I have managed to find an unusual amount of reasons to need money lately.

Let’s examine things further – the not so manic stuff.

  1. I am indeed still taking the meds. I toy with the idea of stopping. Regardless of those thoughts, I comply with treatment. My wife is mostly to thank for this.
  2. I have a job. And I go to it. Every day. On time. It’s often difficult to function with a spinning head and chronic restlessness. But I’m there.
  3. I take excellent care of my son. For some reason, this part really works for me. He’s healthy. He’s happy. He’s dressed, changed, fed, and snuggled. I manage to drop him off at my sister’s every morning. It’s a miracle, maybe.
  4. I’m not as bad as I’ve been. Maybe the meds are preventing me from falling into full-blown mania.

What is my next step? Well, that is a good question because I am conflicted. Right now I am incredibly tempted to succumb to the manic triggers that pacify my boredom. I flashback to last summer- too much booze, too much pot, too much fraternizing for a married woman, never needing sleep, and rounds of fighting with my wife. I look at how things are right now and I’m not where I was last year.

Am I heading there? I guess I can’t say for sure. I will try to vow to stay on the meds in order to prevent it. My psychiatrist already doubled my Seroquel to balance me out. The fact that I really am chronically bored and I crave excitement may be what drives my actions. It’s a vulnerable thing to feel so unpredictable.

 

My Insecurities Have Insecurities, a poem

Her name is envy, and I water her with her praise.
She depletes me of my passion with her charismatic ways.
My green-eyed goddess is introspectively corrupt.
Yet she triggers the deepest fire, fighting to erupt.

Motivation, situation, inspirational attack.
Sheer ambition, meditation, intuition that I lack.

My game is wilted, and I feed my own revolt.
Therapy and drugs leave me grasping in the cold.
My domestic bliss is superstitiously corrupt.
Clawing to escape the deepest fire, fighting to erupt.

Motivation, situation, inspirational attack.
Sheer ambition, meditation, intuition that I lack.

The shame has surfaced, and I hide from the very truth.
I don’t satisfy my convention so I pacify and soothe.
My aspiring lust for life doesn’t seem so corrupt.
Self-induced rage is the deepest fire, fighting to erupt.

Motivation, situation, inspirational attack.
Sheer ambition, meditation, intuition that I lack.

That blame is distended to all the other girls.
A lack of confidence wreaking havoc in my world.
My insecurities fully weighted and corrupt.
Sabotage destruction of the deepest fire, fighting to erupt.

Motivation, situation, inspirational attack.
Sheer ambition, meditation, intuition that I lack.

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The Selfie: A Social Trend or Mental Illness?

Selfies. Love them or hate them, they’re everywhere. Certainly if you are not taking them yourself, you know someone who is. I shamelessly confess that I, too, indulge in a good selfie on occasion. I will share some studies on the psychology behind this photographic phenomenon, as well as my views on the history of the self portrait, and this wildly explosive trend.

What is a ‘selfie’ anyway?

sel·fie: noun. A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.

PUBLISHED by catsmob.com

 

This isn’t a new trend.

Take a look at some of history’s most profound artists. Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Frida Kahlo, Norman Rockwell, Andy Warhol, and George Harrison. What do all of these famous names have in common? They all have at least one self portrait in their collection. When I say self portrait, I refer to a piece of work featuring him/herself as the subject. Many of these I named were paintings, and some of the paintings were done before photography was even an art form.

I absolutely put to test that these early self portraits were indeed an origin of the self portrait of today. I presume these artists painted themselves while placed in front of a mirror. (I’m not an art historian, so I may be wrong.) But I do think this is where it began, and then led into the days when having a 35mm camera was a common household device, in which we utilized to take more photos of our own pretty faces. I remember being a kid and on Christmas every year my parents would dress my sister and I up in our fanciest dresses, then my dad would pose us all in front of the tree, set his 1980’s style Cannon on the mantel, and push a little timer button. We’d eagerly watch the blinking light, and then snap! The family self portrait was complete.

A few years later, when I was in high school, I remember buying those disposable cameras and my friends and I would flip the camera to face us, with our arms extended on a 45 degree angle above our heads, attempt to all line up within what we assumed was the tiny viewfinder, with the hopes nobody’s head would be cut out of the final print. Yeah those self portraits were selfies too.

What the experts say.

According to some experts, taking excessive photos of oneself can actually be a sign of mental illness. Dr David Veale, a consultant psychiatrist in cognitive behavior therapy at the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust and The Priory Hospital, told The Sunday Mirror: ‘Two out of three of all the patients who come to see me with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) since the rise of camera phones have a compulsion to repeatedly take and post selfies on social media sites.’

BDD is characterized by a preoccupation with one or more perceived flaws in appearance, which are unnoticeable to others.

Dr Pamela Rutledge, Director of the Media Psychology Research Centre in Boston Massachusetts, said: ‘Selfies frequently trigger perceptions of self-indulgence or attention seeking social dependence that raises the damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don’t spectre of either narcissism or very low self-esteem.’ ‘Preoccupation with selfies can be a visible indicator of a young person with a lack of confidence or sense of self that might make him or her a victim of other problems as well.’ She believes that excessive or provocative taking of selfies is a form of ‘acting out’ in young people and can be a cry for help.

It’s important to point out that there are two different acts being analyzed here. One, is the taking of the photo. The other is the sharing of the photo. People take and share for different reasons. This leads to another concern that is associated with the excessive posting of selfies, which is that young people may be putting too much weight on what kind of response their photo may or may not get. In today’s realm of social media, many young people base their own self value on what their followers and online community say.

Obsessive selfie takers may take 50 selfies, for instance, and then critique each of them, deleting all but one, which is the photo that gets shared on Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, etc. If this is happening all the time, then this person is shaping the image that people see of him/her.

I admit, I do this. I only post the pictures in which I approve, usually in the best light, and after I’ve utilized a filter or blemish correcting photo app. Is this problematic? Perhaps it is. Perhaps we are spoiled (drowning?) in all of the technology and options available to us on our smartphones and tablets.

Lastly, the phenomenon of “if there’s no photo, it didn’t happen”. This isn’t literal, but many people act under this pretense that if anything- or nothing- is happening, it must be documented. At what point is is too much? When is it unhealthy?

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The last thing I want to touch on is the difference between when it’s okay to take a selfie and when you should reconsider. This is just my opinion, but I really like progression photos. For example, the pregnant belly growing or the weight loss and/or exercise shots are really fun to look at. If you need a profile picture, but have no one around to take it for you, then take a selfie where you fill the frame evenly, and where your hand placement disguises the fact that it is being taken by the person in the frame. I also like the ones that are silly and fun, as long as there are not a ton of them posted.

DO NOT take selfies in the bathroom mirror, especially where you can see the toilet. I know everyone does bathroom pictures, but seriously, they are tacky. If you choose to do one anyway, then close the toilet! And finally, please don’t do the duck face. I think the duck face can fit into a condition of it’s own. It’s not attractive. At all.

I don’t foresee the selfie trend going anywhere any time soon. The more we utilize technology and social media platforms, the more the reason to pose, snap, and share.

Just for fun, check out this dance hit by The Chainsmokers:

Source: Mail Online UK