Thursday, September 15, 2011

Vegas, Baby!

I go to Vegas to visit my family, not gamble. Although this time I did gamble. I made the decision to stay at the Stratosphere and not with family. I also got a rental car (Kia Soul, thank you). Best decision, EVER! I didn't feel pressured to spend time with family, I did my own thing and did some neat photography, visited family, family visited me, and I had time with my nephew, and got a haircut.

My family can be intense. My sister and I are already planning how we're going to do Vegas for the holidays. Even though they are intense, I love them very much. I would love to do this again. The money is so worth the frustration.

Nothing really new on the medication front. Nothing new on the job front. I have alot of phone calls to make tomorrow. And after that's done, I can start working on how I'm going to answer questions that I should have been able to answer, but wasn't able to, like "What are some comprehension strategies for readers who struggle?" Deer in headlights look... I'm a reading specialist, I should know this... Deer in headlights look... smile... On to the next question...crap.
So I'm going to write out some key points and bring them with me to the interview, kinda like cheat sheets, but I think it's fine, given the situation... we'll call them ADA accomodations.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Unexpected Quickie Trip

After the talking to we got in Board Chambers about what my position is and isn't, I decided to go out to Vegas. We're supposed to make phone calls, which I can do from Vegas, and positions for me are few and far between. I've figured out how much I really am qualified to teach, and it's not much, I think, unfortunately. I'll call down to Springfield for help some time in the next few weeks, but not until Tuesday!!! I'm out to Vegas. I'm actually going to be a "tourist" even though my family lives there! First on the agenda, Mom's house!

I'll be gone from the 8th until the 13th.

I was worried that this was a bit of a manic episode, but I can tell it's not. Everything I've been doing has been in preparation for the trip. I haven't bought anything, I haven't gotten strange ideas in my head, I haven't had any impulse buys, I haven't been up all night, and I've been eerily calm in my head. The only thing that I'm thinking of is what needs to be planned for the trip. Again, advance planning. I'm bringing a book to try and read. It's the next in the series of Rick Riordian. This was an impulse buy back in the day.

Here's to a great mini vacation!

.5 Seroquel
2000mg Depakote
100mg Lamictal
100mg Levothyroxine

Saturday, September 3, 2011


I haven't been posting mostly because I don't want to deal with the hassle of my internet provider. But, now at the library, I can update a few things. I am going on vacation! I'm going to Las Vegas to visit my family and I'm hoping that it will keep me going until December.

We were told what our rights and responsibilities are yesterday for my job. I'm in the reappointed job pool. We get to have 30 days excused paid with no work responsibilities other than looking for a job. My first day on Monday I am going to make some phone contacts that I had started over the summer.

Not too much different in the medication department. Really trying to watch in case a manic episode should appear when Seroquel is completely gone. I'm down to 150mg.

My obliviousness is even more obvious now. I ask really dumb questions. I mean questions that can be found on a sign, menu, or building. Geez! That is so frustrating, like yesterday, I asked what is your phone number. One person said well you have both of mine on the letter you got, the other person said oh my phone numbers are... Whatever... I've gotten used to people pointing out the obvious.

Medications: 150 mg Seroquel
1500 mg Lithium
2000mg Depakote
100mg Lamictal
100mg Levothyroxine for hypothyroidism
10mg Ambien for sleep

Saturday, August 20, 2011

What a doozy!

I usually spend time at home typing these, but my internet is so slow that I'm using the public library. There is a new one in my neighborhood. I love it! Anyway, back to business. I will be on my way to Niagara Falls tomorrow. I planned this trip a few weeks ago and it was my first attempt at planning something for the future, since everything happened. I think I did a decent job. I have 1 activity planned and the hotel is reserved for the cheaper price and since it doesn't matter to me when I go, I got the cheaper price hotel rooms. I'm going to be on the Canadian side which will be an experience for me, but there's always time for new experiences. I have my passport packed and ready to go! That's the only thing I have ready to go.

I intended to get up and start packing and finish by afternoon. Instead, I took 2 Ambien because I couldn't sleep last night and slept until 12:30. Then, I went to drop off Drama at boarding, print my vouchers for the Behind the Falls Journey, and then pack everything like I wanted. I still have most of the day available and it's not raining now, which even better for packing (in the car).

While most of my symptoms have disappeared, and my pdoc said that they would over time, planning this trip was one, I still have some that linger, not seeing the obvious, this might just be me, but when I go to places and I'm trying to touch the screen and it's not a touch screen (like what happened this morning at the library) or when I freaked out that I didn't have enough medicine, when more was just behind my elbow. That one was pretty funny. In my brain, I move slower than I used to, or at least it feels that way.

There have been medication changes I'm sure since the last post. Currently I am on 1500mg of Lithium and 2000mg of Depakote. I know that the Depakote has been added since the last post. Using Lithium and Depakote is a strong combination, and the Depakote will be increased to at least 2500 or 3000mg. Which is a normal dose for this medication as I'm told. To me, it seems like a ton of medication, but if it's making me feel better, I'm OK! I'm also on 450mg Seroquel, with 10-20 mg Ambien as needed. In the morning, 100mg Lamictal and in the morning and Synthroid 100mg.

All the medication really keeps me in line, but there are still days when I can't sleep and I have to take Ambien twice. Once usually works for me, but when I have 2 it really knocks me out. I don't have any recollection about what I did like feed the dogs, eat, take Drama out, text anyone, pack, etc and then it usually makes me sleep for most of the day, which I've discussed earlier, but experience was quite a doozy!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Cleaning as I go

Most of you may already know this, but I am not the neatest person in the world. I've decided to clean one room of my house a day. If I know where something goes I put it there, If I don't it goes to the next room that will be cleaned. Who knows what happens with all the stuff I am not sure about, we'll find out at the end of the cycle. A few days ago, I cleaned my bathroom. Today, I cleaned my living room. Tomorrow or the next day will be the dining room. It's kinda exciting when I come home and it's all clean!

I signed Drama up for Leash and Recall Manners class. I would love to get her into Agility classes, she would be so good at those classes. Another one I'm thinking of is K9 Nose class. She is wonderful in those types of tasks.

I signed myself up for quilting class. All my stuff is purchased and the class is paid for, all I need to do is show up on the day. Same thing for Drama's classes.

I'm thinking of a few things to do so that I get out and enjoy some summer in the city! I'm putting the Nature Museum on my list, as well as Lincoln Park Zoo, and taking pictures all over. I think that should keep me relatively busy.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I've been keeping myself busy this week. But, I've been having major problems with my medicine. First, the bood stuff, I've started running. I'm slowly getting back up to one mile. In the past, I've been able to run a 5K... and even a half marathon! But I've been able to run the 5K distance all the way through. Right now I'm at the .91 mile and if I had pushed I could have done the mile. I'm able to divide the run into quarters and run most of the run. Today, I even kept running without realizing my time was up! So, I have high hopes that I'll get to the one mile run fairly quickly.

Yesterday, I had a great time with a great group of friends. Before dinner, I had a pedicure... something I haven't done in years! My nail color is a purply lavender color. The massage was heavenly even though I had hairy legs! I got flip flops to wear to the restaurant and then so much laughter for such a long time. I needed that, and I made myself go.

Medication issues: So, the doctor doesn't think that Lithium is really working for me. Right now, I'm at the highest dose of Lithium. He says he thinks an add on of Depakote will be beneficial. I'm wondering if I could go lower on the Lithium and then have the Depakote as an add on. I'm also still on Seroquel, which the doctor wants to get me off of, but doesn't feel like he can because it's keeping me at bay and not going into hypomania, which we all know what happened last time.
About an hour after taking my nighttime medication (Seroquel and Lithium), I get this junkie feeling, like I can't stop moving my legs and arms. It makes going to bed really difficult. Usually when this happens, I take a Klonopin (which knock me out), then take a shower, which helps to alleviate the junkie feeling, then if I still am wired, I take another. If I'm getting tired after one, I'll just go to bed. If not, I'll go to bed after 2. This night time thing is the most irritating that I have had so far. Sooo irritating!

In work news, I found out I am in the reassignment pool. I appear to receive all benefits and all pay?? I don't think this is necessary fair, but it means I won't need unemployment. And, if I'm looking for a job, that's my pay?? I talked to a man from the union who said that if he had not had a literacy coach his first year, he would have never made it. We talked a little about the inequity of it all and how the district HAS money, but spends it in other ways that does not benefit our students. So, it made me feel good that the union is fighting for jobs, and the district's initiatives will change and I will be very prepared for those changes. But the thing is, right now, it sucks, looking for a job. I don't think anyone would like looking for a job. But, while I'm jobless, I'm focusing on myself, and volunteer work.

Tomorrow's the day the posting comes out! After I work on resumes and get them sent out, I plan to be watching, Friends With Benefits, hopefully for the early show!


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tuna Chowder

I love tuna chowder. It's something that my mom found in a cookbook years ago. We still have that cookbook and the tuna chowder page is all marked up and easily found because we've used that book for that recipe so many times. A few years ago, 2008, I asked my mom for the recipe and made it today. It is one of the most used recipe papers I have. It is also one of my favorite recipes. It is usually really good in the winter, but it's good to me anytime! So I made it today, I had some extra onions and had gotten green peppers. I don't think you guys want to hear about my love for tuna chowder, although I could go on, I will talk about some recent developments.

In terms of bipolar, I have seen my pdoc a few times, I usually see him on Thursdays. I enjoy going to visit him because he is usually able to calm me down or explain certain things to me. Today, he told me that most likely the Lithium is not going to help me on it's own, so I will probably have to take an additional medication, Depakote. I'm familiar with this medication, because it's one of those antiseizure medications that helps to work with bipolar. It's not too surprising for me that I would need to take some additional medication. I can tell that the Lithium, Seroquel, Lamictal combination is not really working, although the Lithium keeps me contained, going neither too high, or too low, but I know that taking one of the medications off will mess everything up. But, for some reason, and I can't remember why, I have to get to a particular dosage of the Lithium before he can add in the Depakote. He's trying to get away from the Seroquel as soon as possible, since it's not such a great drug to be on long term.

He also said that I need to reduce my stress. One of those stress factors would be to find a job. I'm sending my resume out and making phone calls about the online portals that I need to use to upload my information so that schools can talk to me, but the online portals are not helping me. I have one page that will not load and so I am not able to submit my application, but I am working on it.

I have also applied for unemployment. This was a difficult decision, but one that needed to be made. It's not like I'm not looking, I'm having a difficult time with the looking and when you're not the only one looking, with thousands of other people looking, it is daunting, but I still keep looking. I think tomorrow I will also contact the superior of the project that was my job for 4 years. She may have some options.

Another issue that I had was the payment for my doctor. I pay him out of pocket and then insurance pays me and I've got a FSA that pays for the rest of the cost, so for the most part he is free, but it's after I've put up the money. Today, I addressed this issue with him, because I'm obviously still in a precarious position in terms of bipolar, so I was nervous about what my options were. He said that he would work something out with me until I could get a job or at least stabilized with a job. He assured me of that, which helped reduce my anxiety.

Another thing I'm working on is exercise. I haven't been able to go out, because of the heat. But I did run for 25 minutes, which for me is about 2.5 miles. I'm looking forward to getting to the 10K. I also signed up for the Hot Chocolate 15K in November. Which will give me time to work on these goals.

I tried to upload something last week, really deep and thought provoking, the computer didn't allow me to publish it.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The importance of having structure

In having bipolar, I've learned that I need to have structure in my day. This weekend, I did not have structure, or the structure was wake up a bit and then fall asleep for hours. Yesterday I woke up at 5pm and today I woke up at 6pm. Wow! I must have needed it, and it kept me busy, but I cannot do this everyday. In one of my books I'm reading about having bipolar disorder, it suggests that having things in order will help to reduce stress, which brings on alot of the symptoms, mania and depression, in me. This makes total sense. When I was taking my online classes last semester, I had to take incompletes, because I wasn't ready, by having them written down, for the projects and became completely overwhelmed. So, for the next two semesters, I'm taking off, hopefully the stress of starting back to school will be minimal. Especially if I can keep my projects written down and keep track of them.

So, I am starting to write everything down. I used to be completely faithful in writing everything, somehow in the midst of everything, I left that behind, which has made me extremely stressed in school. I'm going to start doing that again in order to help prevent stress.

In the job hunt, I'm still looking. I've been on a few interviews, without any hires. I'm hoping for one school that would be very similar to my previous school. I do very well with that type of student. So, my principal and I are working on that school. I'm going to school and taking all my stuff that I haven't taken yet, which is alot! And, it will give my principal and I a parting point. He doesn't want to lose me, but he has to. And, I have to leave.

Things that I'm also thinking about are unemployment, food stamps, state prescription program, if I don't have any prospects at a job. I'll cut off all my extras and just live with the bare minimum, which is extremely stressful, but I continue to look.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Concentration Difficulties

One of the most difficult parts of bipolar disorder, is the loss of executive functions. This means that decision making tasks are extremely difficult. This means that the things that used to be so easy to do, now take so much longer to complete or I just have no interest in completing the tasks.

In the past, I've always been one of those people who was always on top of it, bills, new job, reading online, etc. Now, and especially since February, I have not been on top of anything. I can barely remember when the due date for bills are. I barely walk out to the mailbox to get mail. I barely have any kind of memory for daily activities unless it is something I do everyday. One of my favorite activities, reading children's literature, is non existent due to concentration.

While concentration has been hard to live without, what has been even more difficult is the loss of the decision making process that used to be so easy. An example of how this affects me is when I need to make several stops for errands. Deciding which task to do first, without coming back home is a 15 minute decision to make. Then deciding the next stop, can be a 20 minute decision, and so forth. In work, deciding what the first task that needs to be completed or just getting started for the day is difficult. These are all executive functions that we all are able to make with little effort, those minute decisions that we perform within seconds, that's gone. I have faith that it will come back, several times, this has come back for a little bit, but when I begin to cycle, this is one of the first to go, and the last to come back.

Now, you might be wondering how I've been able to concentrate on this post. It's taken me nearly 30 minutes to type this message. I've been watching tv, getting up to go to the bathroom, rereading the passage, not to mention that I've been formulating this post in my head all day, which makes posting easier.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

This effen sucks! ARG 2

This is the second time I'm typing this because the first one didn't get published! ARGH! It probably won't have the same kind of effect as the first post I typed, but I'll try to have the same effect.

I don't normally complain about being bipolar. But somedays it feels like I'm never getting anywhere with my symptoms and I'm always increasing or decreasing medications. Living with bipolar is a life long disorder and sometimes it just gets frustrating when after I think everything is going well, something new happens that I wasn't expecting. This is what happened last night and this morning.

So last night, I'm looking for recipes for meatloaf with cheese in it and macaroni and cheese. As I'm thinking and searching online, I'm feeling myself get a little excited. Now, for most people, this will come as a surprise, but my family knows this to be true, I am a good cook. I just don't cook for one person because it takes alot of energy to cook for one person. Anyway, back to the story. I decide to go to the store at 10:30pm to get mozzarella cheese and a variety of shredded cheeses for the macaroni and cheese. Now I'm a chef! This thinking happened so quickly!

I'm a chef and I have so much to prepare! I purchase chicken, panko, mozzarella cheese, shredded cheeses, eggs, pizza and pizza sauce, pepperoni, and sandwich meat. I left the store with 103.00 worth of food. When I got home, I immediately start preparing the pizzas, chicken in red vinagrette sauce, and cutting up the mozzarella cheese. I could not go to bed until all of the food was prepared that needed to be done last night. This morning, I started with making the egg bake that needs to sit in the refrigerator, the chicken and panko breading, cleared out the dishwasher, filled it back up. As the morning went on, I began to lose steam around cooking. I want to make the meatloaf and macaroni and cheese bake that I initially became so interested and obsessive. I am a chef!

So, this is just a tiny peek into what it is like for a bipolar person in a tiny manic state. I felt normal, right in the middle not manic or depressed, and this happened. I texted my doctor this morning and explained what was going on and he increased my dose to 2.5 tablets of lithium. This is 1125mg of lithium. And on Friday I will need to have my lithium levels checked. It sucks to have to always remember to take medicine at 36 years old for the rest of my life. I know some people have had to take medicine longer than I: for me this is a new phenomenon. I am not used to taking pills for the rest of my life for a life, long incurable disorder. Bipolar can be treated with medication, and it can be quite dangerous if I stop taking the medications that keep me "normal".

Medications: 200mg Lamictal, 100micrograms Synthroid, 600 Seroquel, 1125mg Lithium

Thanks for listening,

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Feeling Better

I have slowly started to feel better after the surgery. No pain from all the incisions has made me happy. This means that I've stopped taking the Norco "Hydrocodone" narcotic pain killer that I've been taking pretty much close to a month. Well, I stopped taking it two days ago... guess what? Withdrawals. I now understand why the druggies twitch all over when they're going through the drawals... I felt like my clothes were too hard on my body... cloth, too hard on my body. That was crazy, I then felt like I couldn't stop jerking my hands and arms... luckily I pretty much have a pharmacy in my kitchen, so I took a 1mg of Klonopin, which I know will knock me out. So, I took one and fell asleep within 45 minutes, at 5:15am.

Well, I thought I was done with that withdrawal... last night I had withdrawals... in my legs, they were all jerky and my pants felt too hard on my skin... Got it my clothes feel hard, not a good feeling, so instead of waiting until 4:30 am to take the medicine, I took it at 11 or 12 am. Well, the first one didn't work, so I took two 1mg Klonopins... that knocked me out within 15 mins. My hope is that the withdrawals will be done and my clothes do not feel hard against my skin again.

Bipolarness isn't really being affected today... my medications changed on Thursday, again we're trying to reduce the Seroquel. This hasn't been successful in the past, because I usually become manic when it goes down, but it hasn't been tried with the Lithium. And lithium usually helps with both manic and depressive symptoms. Now that my mood is very stable, neither up or down, with a Lithium level of .64, and the pdoc says he wants to keep it there.

It's a low dose, I'm happy with that, I am extremely sensitive to medications. They kept saying in the hospital, you don't need much because you're so sensitive to narcotics, well good! That'll keep me away from narcotics on the streets!

I'm enjoying the Harry Potter weekend. I usually just have it on for noise and I can't believe I've watched close to 3 already. I had intentions of watching Zookeeper today, but I guess I'll try to catch it tomorrow.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Double Star

A night or two ago, I posted on my blog by using my phone. I'm not a big fan of that, so I'll just use my laptop. That's what it's here for anyway, isn't it? Right into today's news, I sent out 4 resumes for 5 positions. It took nearly all day and I started when I woke up, and didn't finish until 4:00! The pdoc said I got double stars for my work today! When I finished, I rewarded myself with going to the movies. There are several movies that are on my list to watch. Today, I watched Horrible Bosses. This movie is like 10 stars in my book! Very funny and kept me entertained which most movies don't.

Last night, the principal told me to call the school. I told him that I did. My friend on the interviewing committee says that they're going through a second round of interviews. I asked her if I needed to contact the Assistant Principal or not. She said that I did not need to and that she'll remember me for the position with a wink. I'm hoping that's a hint to the job! I'm hoping that most of the interviewees are non signing, which would give me a fantastic shot at getting the job! Anyway, pretty good news around here!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A new format...

Today I talked with the p doc.  We determined that the reason why I couldn't focus and had no concentration is because I was overmedicated. How did that happen?? Previously, I was in a manic episode, and we needed something that would make me slow down quickly.  That is why the high dosages of seoquel.  But we are going to take it slow, coming off the medication, now that lithium is working for me.  Hopefully I won't be able too far into a manic stage.  So again, a little switch up in the medications;not too bad this time. 
I tried to go out using jeans... Nope! That was painful. So I had to put my sweat pants on.
After talking to the pdoc, he gets me to commit to sending out 6 resumes!  Are you kidding?!  So I spent this evening looking at and reviewing schools.  Tomorrow, the send out happens.  I'm still waiting to hear back from the other school.  But, while I'm waiting, to hear back, i'm going to send out and work on looking for a job.  I am looking for something that will be less stressful.  My current job is very high stress which is a contributer to my illness and I need to leave asap, without making any waves. 
This is a new format because I am posting with my phone... Awesome!
Current medications: 200mg lamictal, 600mg seroquel, 900 mg lithium.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

After Surgery

I had surgery to take out my gallbladder. It was done laproscopically and I only have 4 incisions across my belly. 3 over my belly and one in my belly button. The pain of the incisions has mostly gone away, but I still have some pain. I'm still taking some pain medication, but not all the time, only when I feel the pain and then it sometimes knocks me out, not always.

Let's move on to the job front. My position has been eliminated, and I am now jobless. I've never been in this position before. At least my benefits are being continued, at this point. I'm wondering if I should apply for unemployment. For some reason, I'm not really concerned about it. I'm sure it has something to do with the medications that I'm taking, which right now, is 200mg Lamictal, 750mg Seroquel, and 900mg Lithium. My mood is stable, but I can barely focus on anything to start a job search. I haven't been able to read a children's book in a couple of months.

The bipolar has continued to intrude in my life. Like above it's hard to focus and stay organized on anything. I'm also having trouble in attention to detail. Regardless, I'm trying to continue to have hope that my principal will be able to pull a position out of thin air. If not, I've got a possibility in a dream location. I just emailed someone who works in our area and asked her if she knew of any positions, just to have some sort of job prospects. I also looked at the online hr jobs posting and there were a few that I would be qualified for, but I'm so distracted and unorganized that I'm having some difficulty. This is probably something I'm going to want to talk to the pdoc about. It's something new that I had never noticed. My mood is good, but I'm unable to function other than that. That would probably impact my job prospects as well. Hmm, something to talk to him about.

Until I have a job, I am staying at home. No vacations, no fun stuff, no car trips until I've got something lined up.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Hypomanic Again

For the past few days, I've been hypomanic. I felt it over the weekend and then definitely on Monday. The reason why this episode came about is because I had tried Geodon to see if that would help raise and/or help stabilize my mood. Well, here I am up high. I'm feeling very productive, talking quite a bit, and jumping from one idea to another. For example, I started about 3 hours ago getting ready for my interview on the 28th of June. I wrote down some questions that I might ask and some that they might ask me so that I could be prepared for some questions, I grabbed my writing disk that I made 4 years ago, and then I started looking for the scholastic teacher appreciation sale online as well as Hal Higdon's 8 weeks to a 10K, and looked online for a stained glass window class. Talk about flight of ideas!

Today, my psychiatrist told me that my vitamin D levels are very low and that my TSH level is high, which indicates that I need adjustment to my levothyroxine. I started taking 5,000 IUs of Vitamin D3. I also started taking Lithium on Thursday. I will have my first level labs done on Tuesday. This is not an easy illness, making sure that all people know what is going on and making sure all my doctors are communicating with each other. Finally, the internist and psychiatrist are going to talk to each other on Friday. We'll see how that goes.

So, as we know bipolar is genetic, I finally told my mom that I saw alot of her in the symptom lists. She actually agreed! But, I know she's not going to do anything about it even though she should. So many relationships and friendships have been ruined because of her bipolarness.

Anyway, short note, I'm tired and still have to look at that writing cd before I go to bed, like I was intending to do about 2.5 hours ago!


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Limo Clue chase

Initially for my birthday, I had scheduled a limosuine clue chase through a local educational company. That limo chase was cancelled. Today was the rescheduled event. I didn't know how many people would be there, and how many of my friends would be there. I was very apprehensive about going and having almost no energy. I made myself go because I felt it was important that I go in case one of my friends showed up. I arrived early and went to eat at Pockets nearby. Still feeling like I had no energy, but excited about the adventure ahead, I ate and then went to the facility where we would be starting our race.

We had a perfect day for the race. We only had one limo and we were one team (there were 8 of us). The other six knew each other. One person was new to the group and me. We had so much fun! I'm glad I went. The clue chase is definitely going to be something that I recommend people to do if they have some free time. We really whirled around the city and people stared as we were running around gathering clues!

My mood definitely lifted after half an hour with the other seven. I proved myself to be a trustworthy team mate. I even found some clues on my own, even solving some before we arrived! Definitely a fun time!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Since Diagnosis

Since I've been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, I've looked for current blogs or personal stories about others living with the disorder. I have not found any that are current, most stories are from 2007 or 2008 and those people are not updating their blogs anymore. So, what I'm going to do is try to keep a current blog that helps to explain my Bipolar Disorder in hopes of helping other newly diagnosed people that they are not alone. I'll probably open up this blog to be public, which is a huge step for me, but in terms of helping others I think it needs to be done.

Since my diagnosis, I've read almost every single book written about Bipolar. I'm trying to follow the steps that are encouraged that help manage this disorder. It's been a whirlwind since I have been diagnosed of trying to figure out life with this life long disorder. Not that I'm worried that I won't be able to live with this, but how to effectively manage and live my life the fullest that I can. Sometimes, I do feel very depressed, this is more often than not. I also have periods of extreme hyperness (hypomanic) which happens every once in a while, but does happen especially when I'm feeling really good and have recieved tons of good news.

My story is this: I was first diagnosed as depressed almost 10 years ago. I was extremely depressed and was brought into the emergency room of the hospital. I had already made an appointment with a psychiatrist for January 11. It was now December 26 and winter break. I had a good 2 week wait before I could get in to see him, with nothing much to do during break. So, going into the emergency room and being admitted to the hospital was a good thing. The ER doctor had a few suggestions for me: go home with an appointment with a psychiatrist earlier than January 11 or to be admitted to the hospital for depression. I was suicidal and telling everyone to leave the house. One roommate I kicked out that night! He came back, during the time that I was in the hospital and I later apologized for doing that to him. I ended up in the hospital for nearly a week and a half. I met some interesting people in the hospital. At that time, the hospital saved my life. It kept me busy during the break with activities and I was well supervised as I was taking my first doses of medicine, Celexa. After nearly 6 days, I started to feel like my old self and more relaxed and able to be around people. I was discharged from the hopsital with 3 days left before school started again. I walked home, we lived about half a mile from the hospital. And had my first appointment with the psychiatrist that I met on January 11 and I am still seeing him today, nearly 10 years later.

Since that inital diagnosis of depression, I've had several (2) recurring episodes of depression. I would take my medicine for approximately 2 years, and then gradually stop them, with supervision. They would always come on for seemingly no reason, but I would feel the depression and not be able to do much at all. I lost concentration, could not problem solve, had issues with talking with people and making decisions. After about a week, the medicine would help and I'd be back to my normal self. The diagnosis of bipolar came this year after I asked my psychiatrist if I could begin weaning myself off the Celexa that I had been taking for nearly 2 years. We decided that I would take half of my dose and discuss the rest later. I took the 20 mg dose during Christmas break in Las Vegas, visiting my family. During this break, I was extremely focused on making blankets for my family, designing an interesting pattern for fleece blankets. During those three weeks, I made about 6 blankets for friends and family, staying up for hours making blankets and feeling really good about myself. My family and I would play games and open presents, and I would buy more fleece to make more blankets! I would stay up for hours at a time making these blankets.

About a month after this, my mom and I went to visit her brother, my uncle, in Mississippi. I was still feeling real good. Mom and I had a great time, and then I came back to my home. I became depressed and let my psychiatrist know. We increased the dose of Celexa back up to 4o mg. After a week, I was still not feeling better, and we increased the dose to 60 mg. At this point, my psychiatrist took a trip, and told me to text him to monitor my depression. I felt guilty for sending messages and sent some, but not enough for how I was truly feeling. After nearly 2 weeks, I was extremely depressed and the second I walked into his office after his trip, he could tell that I was not feeling well. He immediately added to my medication of Celexa. He added Wellbutrin. I shared with him that I felt guilty for texting. He told me that he expected a text from me daily, which I complied with. I started the new dose of Wellbutrin at 150 mg and then shortly after that went up to 300 mg. I didn't do too well on Wellbutrin. I became suicidal, having extreme suicidal thoughts, which I texted to my psychiatrist, especially when I had to drive long distances. I was extremely fortunate to have my father and psychiatrist expecting my arrival home one night as I felt extremely suicidal. They both were expecting a text back from me on my arrival home. When Wellbutrin didn't help situations, I was prescribed Remeron and taken off Wellbutrin, I was having a dysphoric reaction to Wellbutrin. Remeron did not help matters much, I continued to be depressed and was taking 60 mg of Celexa along with the Remeron dose.

After a week of depression, I began to feel hypomanic, except I didn't know that's what it was. I was staying up late and waking up early. I was making purchases impulsively and not really caring where the money was going to come from. At work, I became very goal directed and started working on the book room and kept purchasing bins, plastic bags, and labels for the book room. My whole life was the book room at that time. I let my principal know that I had just been diagnosed with Bipolar and that I really couldn't take a leave of absence to help my recovery except to continue to come into the school and work, because I knew thatl living alone would not help matters much. Since I was diagnosed, I've had numerous medications to help control the manic symptoms as well as the depressive symptoms. This journey of finding the right medications took nearly 4 months. I can't remember all the medications I was taking, but I had a new dose or prescription each time I went to the psychiatrist. I was happy that I was seeing a psychiatrist at this point because of the help I desperately needed at this point. I faithfully texted my psychiatrist daily, letting him know how I was feeling. I remember making a purchase of a carpet and a curtain rod so that I could transform my living room. I also remember that I wanted to change my house around. And that transformation was going to happen soon! I shared my ideas with my parents and they agreed that I would get more usage out of the rest of the house if I did that. I talked to everybody about my transformation! Hypomanic anyone?? I gave my credit cards to the person that was with me so that I would not spend carelessly, or I kept my wallet in the car so that if I wanted to purchase something impulsively, I would have to come out to the car to get my credit card. If I had to go to the car to get my credit card, I would have to think seriously about the purchase that I was about to make and if it was worthwhile. Most of the time, I just got in my car and went home. But having this system in place protected me more than I know. It helped me save some money.

After the hypomanic stage and my inital diagnosis of bipolar, I continued to be hypomanic until I started feeling depressed. The changes of medication were continual until we could find the right combination of medication so that I could feel better. Finally, the psychiatrist and I hit pay dirt, kinda, when I started taking Lamictal, Seroquel, and Celexa. The Celexa dose is increased or decreased depending on how I feel, more hypomanic or depressed. Lamictal is the medication that is the mood stabilizer for me. I am on 200 mg of Lamictal, Seroquel helps with both manic and depression. I am on 600 mg of Seroquel. The Celexa dose changes, but at the present time I am on 20 mg of Celexa and I'm feeling pretty good. I feel normal. I just started feeling "normal" just 3 weeks ago. I certainly had quite the roller coaster ride with medications and experiencing the ups and downs of bipolar. I always had to protect myself so that I would not put myself in a dangerous position. Knowing what would preciptate a hypomanic episode and a depressive episode has been quite the learning experience for me. Understanding that a depressive episode almost always follows a hypomanic episode, was eye opening. Making sure that I was protected in the event of a hypomanic or depressive episode was extremely important to me. I gave my psychiatrist's phone number to my dad and my sister. I reached out to several friends and told them what was going on and how I was feeling. They have been critical in knowing how I'm feeling for the day and have always made sure that I'm good.

I think several things protected me as I was going through these ups and downs. I told close friends about what was going on with me. I told my family about my diagnosis. I gave phone numbers of who to contact to some family members. I was proactive in protecting myself. If I was feeling suicidal, I would not allow sharp objects near me, giving them to family members instead. If I was feeling hypomanic, I would take steps to protect my money and spending.

So, that's my story of my diagnosis of depression and bipolar. I hope I can help someone else who is looking for information.

Hiking Girl

Monday, April 18, 2011


I have accepted my bipolar disorder diagnosis. Now I'm moving on to what do I need to do in order to get better. On Friday, I started taking Seroquel. This medication is to reduce mania in bipolar patients. I was taking Saphris, which gave me terrible akathesia. Seroquel knocks me out, and I am waking up more well rested. I'm on a pretty high dose and I have tapered off the Saphris. So, I'll be giving the extra medication to my doctor along with the prescription card in case someone else needs to use it. In terms of the title of this post, I find that it's really alot easier to excuse myself if I can feel something just isn't right or if I "hit a wall" in conversation. Even though my friends may not be aware of what is going on, I tell them immediately if I feel that the bipolar is going to get in the way of an activity, especially since not everything is stable, yet. I've been extremely fortunate to have an incredible amount of support around me in terms of friends and coworkers. My family has been supportive as well, listening to my stories about everything. My dad is in town right now. I think the reality of the situation hit him hard. I was telling him about having to take the medication. He could see that I was in a manic stage, where I was talking super fast, jumping up and down for new things, being a tad distractible. So, as I was telling him that I needed to have some sleep, I've been waking up at 4am daily, and talking openly about my medication, dad starts to cry. Not once or twice, but a few times throughout the days that he is visiting. I think seeing the reality of the situation and realizing that I do have a disorder and it's not just something that I say I have. My other family members have been extremely supportive as well. Everyone wants to know if I am doing ok and continuing to check in with me, making sure that I'm doing well. In terms of medication, my psychiatrist changed Saphris 25mg to Seroquel 600mg. Right now I'm taking 25mg tablets 4 times a day. And taking 500 mg tablets right before bed. This medication has really helped me in making sure I get the sleep I need. So, right now the medical count is: Lamictal 25 mgs building up to 200mg Seroquel 25mg x4+500mg at bedtime Levothyroxin 75micromilligrams of this medication for Hypothyroid.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Feeling better

So as things get to be more stable, I'm feeling more like myself. I do have periods of time where I may be manic or depressed, but they are few and far between. The manic episodes are the most prevalent right now and are slowly going away. I feel calm and relaxed and more like myself each day. As long as I take my medicine, I should be fine. The first days of my diagnosis, I had alot of time to reflect upon being bipolar and how it may have manifested itself throughout my life. As I began to think, I realized that I may have always been bipolar at least in terms of being depressed and being diagnosed with depression. What a relief to find that what I've been experiencing is "normal" for a bipolar person. I have come to terms with this fairly readily and am now focusing on getting better. With getting better, I decided to come clean with my principal, W. I had told him initially of the depression, when I could tell that I wasn't going to get better any time quickly. So, I told W about the bipolar diagnosis. That was probably one of the best things I could have done for myself. W is extremely supportive of me and my work, completely understands why I can't take a LOA during this time, and only expects as much as I can do daily. He enjoys seeing me daily and always wants to make sure I am healthy and doing well. In terms of being better, I have noticed my manic symptoms to be very decreased. I can concentrate and focus on things for longer periods of time. I still have problems focusing after extremely long periods of time (like today after 7 hours of work). But for the most part after a nap I'm good to go and doing well. The medication that I take makes me very hungry and so now I'm eating my sister, S, out of house and home! I'm eating everything and nothing is too good. I also have akathesia, which is some weird restless body thing where I can't find a good position for my body. Luckily, if I time my medications right, I don't have to worry about this. I should be back in Chicago on Thursday.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Story

So, the story behind the bipolar 2 diagnosis... I had been depressed for about 3 months and nothing was working. All the antidepressants that I had tried were making me worse. I've been on Celexa in the past. At 20mg, I started getting depressed in the beginning, increased to 40mg, partial response, and then to 60mg, partial response. Added Abilify 10mg and Wellbutrin 150mg. Abilify at 10mg didn't do much, and Wellbutrin at 150 helped a tad, but then when it was increased to 300mg it was much worse. So about a month ago, I stopped both Wellbutrin and Abilify because it was determined that neither was helping me. Celexa isn't helping either. So as I'm in the midst of all this medication change, I'm feeling pretty good, almost on top of the world and impulsive! I bought a plane ticket to visit my sister in Philadelphia, without really intending to go anywhere for spring break. Hey, the fares were cheap! Spending money in fabric stores, hey the sales were good! Realizing that the racing thoughts in my head were part of bipolar was a huge symptom indicator for me. I didn't realize that racing thoughts and impulsivity were symptoms of something much larger. I've almost always been 3 steps ahead of everyone else, isn't that normal? The new part of this for me is the impulsivity and losing control of how much I'm spending. Now, I will give someone my wallet, or hide my wallet in the car so that I walk out of the store with what I was intending to go in only. Having the wallet in my car means that while I'm walking back to my car, I'll be thinking about my purchase and is it really necessary? This is helpful. Recently, it's gotten better and so I'm feeling good about that. The pdoc and I are trying to get the racing thoughts to stop before doing anything else. Medications I am on now: 5mg Saphris mid morning 10 mg Saphris about 5:30 10mg Saphris before bed 25 mg Lamictal (beginning of mood stablizer) in the morning. increasing to 200 over the next 2 months. 20mg Celexa (coming down off of antidepressants) in the morning. unrelated medicine: .075 mg of Synthroid in the morning. Saphris is a temporary drug to get me back to normal. I've noticed that it helps, but as you can see my sleep is disturbed. I've been up since 3:30am doing some schoolwork and interior design work that I'm looking forward to completing.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A new adventure

Recently, I've been diagnosed as having bipolar 2 disorder. I'm not sure what this means or how it will affect me, but I'm trying desperately to act and be normal. It seems that there is a new normal now and that being bipolar will not allow me to reach that new normal state. Lately, I've been hypomanic. The symptoms of being hypomanic are that I need very little sleep, talk way too much, and I am extrememly goal driven. I also get distracted easier and after long periods of concentration or focus, I must get up and walk around. My pdoc is trying to get my antidepressant medicine cut down, so that I can start mood stabilizers for the bipolarness. I feel like this was all just at once, but in fact there is a bit of a history of it, which I'll probably go into another time, but for today, I will detail how I came to be diagnosed as bipolar 2. About 3 months ago, I started to have severe depression even though I was on 20mg of Celexa. I had been initially diagnosed as depressed for the past 9 years. I was in the process of being weaned off of the Celexa from 40 mg and my pdoc had approved this change. As I went from 40 to 20 I started to feel the symptoms of depression creep back. The pdoc immediately increased my medicine to 40 and quickly after that to 60mg of Celexa. The initial doses of Celexa worked, but I was still feeling very irritable and depressed. We added Wellbutrin and Abilify. Wellbutrin made me extremely suicidal and I probably should have ended up in the hospital, but I was able to make it through the thoughts. And Abilify just made me irritated with people and constantly move around. I could not stay still. Both of those medicines were stopped. I started Remeron. Remeron seems to be working but in conjunction with Abilify did not make me feel so great. I have felt OK with Remeron and Celexa and that's how the bipolar was diagnosed. Waking up at 3am although I had 2 Ambiens to help me sleep through the night. I was in a hypomanic state when I purchased a plane ticket to visit my sister during spring break impulsively and have been all over the place in terms of being goal directed, but I'm not able to finish any one task. I have all these half completed tasks all over the house. I went to see my pdoc and I was really excited to talk about my blankets that I've been working on and I told him about the impulsivity that I've been having. He goes into the bipolar questions ASAP. "Do you have racing thoughts?" Well yes, but doesn't everyone? "Do you have impulses that you can't control?" Yeah, that's new. "Do you find you don't need much sleep?" Yeah, that's new. "Do you have grandiose ideas?" I think so. "Do you have the feeling of being better than everyone else?" Sure, but I had a great visit to a school today. "I think you're bipolar 2", says the pdoc. "What do you think about that?" Are you kidding? I'm not going to be able to think about it much right now. I can't just turn off the bipolar diagnosis that I just heard and talk about feelings about it. So I don't. Instead, we talk about the need for new medication. Stay on Celexa and Remeron and add Saphris, a sublingual medication. Since I started Saphris, I've been able to feel my mood change a bit, but going to bed is quite the nightmare. It makes me toss and turn like crazy! So I continue to take the Ambien to help me sleep. This morning, I'm up at 3:30am and have been up since. I'm still looking for resources on Bipolar Disorder. I'm not sure what the new normal is with this disorder, and I would like to know. I've been fairly open with people about what is causing all these problems with me. Others notice that I am not acting like my old self, others know and see how I'm acting now. It was easier to tell people that I am depressed than to say I am bipolar. I feel like when you say that there is a big difference between the two. People understand being depressed. They don't understand being bipolar, which frustrates me.