Thursday, September 15, 2011
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
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!
Saturday, September 3, 2011
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
100mg Levothyroxine for hypothyroidism
10mg Ambien for sleep
Saturday, August 20, 2011
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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.