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.