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Everything posted by Squirlygrl

  1. True. The person below me has seen a famous person on the street.
  2. Interesting, I had never heard this. I would expect that how long you were up, what you did, what the consequences were, was it a first time, would all affect recovery time. Last time, I had more than a little (well-deserved) "I was a monster" guilt, and it took me a good 4 months afterward to feel like it didn't hurt to be alive, much less to keep moving. I was lucky it wasn't longer. I may also have been overmedicated; we chose to err on the side of caution. YMMV.
  3. At 2.5 months, I would still be drained from a psychotic mania, and at 1200 mg I would want a Li level. Best wishes and good luck talking to your pdoc. You have a right to a life where it isn't hard to take a shower.
  4. I have been off of APs for a couple of years, after trying a great many of them, old and new. My side effects were such that I was permitted a trial of a combination of anticonvulsants only (lithium isn't a great fit for me). This is not technically monotherapy, but I haven't seen it in the studies (I haven't looked very hard, though.) I had a few sudden but brief psychotic incidents during the months that I was transitioning, but I can't even remember the last one. I have some Zyprexa in the house just in case. If I ever need to go back on an AP to keep it together, then so be it. But I don't expect to; while nothing is certain, this really seems to be working out.
  5. Yes. I used to lie in bed at night and imagine myself in a dark room at the hospital, in a fetal position, wrists tied in gauze, told to rest. I still do. Not that this actually happened, but the thought was/is comforting. I have also had a bedtime fantasy, since I was little, of having won some great battle, but being badly smashed up, and basically being sedated for recovery. Nobody else knows this. You have made thrilling progress in such a short time. Congratulations. I too have been radically improved for about the same amount of time, though not quite so accomplished. :) You have done so much work to come so far. The term "unsung hero" comes to mind. I don't want to trivialize something serious, but thoughts of suicide might just be about being exhausted. That is why I would run them past a professional. Of course, I am always pushing therapy. Short of that, I wonder if some scheduled down time in your life would start to make a difference: music, prayer, meditation, anything that is a deep rest I am starting to realize that, if I don't pace myself, I will collapse, and then feel guilty about it, and then I spiral down into depression in no time. I used to think I was Supergirl, a completely conventional alpha person; but hey, I'm just not (and have value even though I'm not). Hope this helps and glad to know how well you have done.
  6. True. Yum. Breakfast Club. Or were those Captain Crunch sandwiches? The person below me prefers cold soups to hot.
  7. Wishing you the best. i feel like I grew out of the guy i was with. He still does my meds and he's very responsive in a crisis, but everything was always a crisis, which was horrible for me. I was violently opposed to more extensive therapy, until my family insisted. I ended up with someone very psychodynamic, and yet we spent months on distress tolerance, of which I had none. I was reluctant for years to admit to any fears or resentments of other people. Just acknowledging that has reduced them and given me a lot of confidence. More self-aware people may do better. Also, the indirect "you do not officially have a personality disorder, but look at all the connections and see how you might be one piece" has been helpful, not limiting. Now I am very slowly learning that acting with a little fear now prevents a lot of guilt and anxiety later. I am way, way too old to be learning that one. That's okay; the little victories are very satisfying, and i am also getting too old and tired to care much about what others think (though if I were worried about my job, it would be a much different story. So I did a whole lot of basic therapy in a hurry. I still want out. I am afraid of what happens if you never get out. He basically says nice try. I'm a lot closer to it that I could have thought. I think you can work with a less-than-perfect doctor if you are well enough to push back, every session if necessary, and if the doctor is strong enough to not always let you win. You may very well be together enough to postpone the therapy until academic life slows down, if you keep meds constant. I wonder if you could be on multiple waiting lists at once.
  8. I did lose a friend, the one who took away my keys, the one who brought me Diet Coke in the hospital. (Diet Coke was like cigarettes in my program; the coffee was so bad that the sodas could be doled out like manna, because everyone else wanted them.) If I'd had time to apologize in person, I would have. I was too self-absorbed to do it until we'd gotten to the avoidance stage, so I did it by e-mail, and not at length, so as not to be creepy. This person may come back someday, but is not ready now. It takes time, even for those who are close to you. Their loss; I have healed so much that we really could have a normal friendship again. This is the only one. All of those who were most hurt by me -- our large and close family -- love me and treat me like it had never happened (except that maybe sometimes they give me even a little more care.) I did apologize to them. I did therapy for the hurt rather than speaking to them about it, as in retrospect their behavior seems pretty natural. Therapy helped a lot but it took many months, and if it's not forcing you to ask the right questions (including shutting you up when you're going in that circle), it's the wrong therapy. A trained clerical counselor might be a good secondary if your beliefs give you access to such a person. They do this; it's their job. Saying too much to people who know both of you is very, very risky; in most cases, I would advise a tone of dignified regret rather than desperation or anger. I completely relate to your need to talk to real people; could your therapist help you pick them? Wow, I hope you feel better.
  9. As far as an ultimatum: I had one person say politely that we wouldn't have a functional relationship if I kept doing really dangerous things. I took that as a polite promise to fire me. I wasn't perfect after that, but he wasn't out to get me; in fact, he was quick to point out improvements. Note that this was about actions, not thoughts. I was free to talk about thoughts, and came to believe that they were only that. Another one didn't make me promise anything, but just kept putting me in the hospital. I was able to say quite a bit before being sent there. Still, I wonder if that lack of structure was ideal. In general: To my great surprise, I have been very pleased with therapy. I feel like I am more patient, kinder, much more controlled. Since starting, I have been periodically depressed and have had a few psychotic flickers, but have not been manic or suicidal. I am on better meds, so that is a factor. Still, the therapy is helping me stay on them; they are challenging enough that I think my former self would have tried to change them a dozen times by now. So, here are the benefits for me: A person with no particular pro-medication agenda who helps me deal with being on meds A place to admit to feeling bad when others in my life should be protected from it; in fact, who makes me admit it when I do feel bad A person for whom I won't be tempted to play up the crazy A way to understand, and thus to be more compassionate toward, other people in my life A way to catch myself doing things that drive me nuts before they get out of control A way to try to stop making the same mistakes, in part by seeing them as the same mistakes A routine for trying to separate "I feel bad" from "because everything is bad" A way to stay out of trouble if I am really off track It could take a lot of shopping and a lot of luck to find someone who is good at all this. Ideally, I think you'd also interview when you were feeling good, and what are the odds of that? I am wondering how one could divide these functions when good therapy isn't available, but I haven't figured it out. Good luck.
  10. I also have trouble with Kay Jamison, and like Elyn Saks' The Center Cannot Hold (sz, not bp, but fits under the heading of "treatment-resistant illness") for the following reasons: 1.) Treat the whole person. 2.) It can work out even if it sucks first, for a long time. 3.) For some people, it really sucks. They fight anyway. 4.) Even when it all works out, there may still be aliens at the wedding. 5.) Lawyers on roller skates! (For real.)
  11. DBT sounds like it could really help. All the stuff listed under "alternatives" at the top of the SI board might be a good place to start with breaking the obesssive cycle. Those first weeks back from the hospital are so hard. I think almost no one gets enough support (where smothering concern is not "support). Kudos to you for catching up at work. The thought that a little injury might clear your head: it probably would. But that accelerates, and accidents happen. Your life will be much better if you don't start. Yes, I have waves of wanting to be sick, getting less over time. I would lie in bed at night after the last hospitalization and imagine myself wrapped in gauze, as if I would feel safer being tied down. (When, in reality, if would have made me really scared and angry). Even so, one of my favorite falling-asleep scenarios has been "okay, you have survived some great battle, but you are injured and have to sleep for, like, a month." Another vote for the manatee. Made my day.
  12. I know someone who did, though it was not a miracle cure (largely, I think, because of poor follow-up care). If you are only a few hours from Hopkins, you are within range of a number of people both there and in DC (university faculty, ex-NIMH) who might give you a one-time consultation. If you are looking for a plan to take home, that might be the easy way to get it.
  13. Welcome. I am sorry about the loss of your baby. Congratulations on all those stable years, and on building a life to suit you. As someone who wrote a nine-page(!) senior honors thesis (did you see Carrie's papers on the floor in Homeland? Like that...), I can relate to much of your story. You know that there is some data to the effect that lithium reduces one's suicide risk. It's also used to augment ADs. Just putting that out there. I am one of those people who goes to pieces on ADs even while on mood stabilizers, so I am biased. I know that was your last known good med configuration, but given your history, I'm surprised your doctor hasn't insisted. Feel better.
  14. I was not completely responsive to lithium, so now I am on Depakote, which I have found remarkably effective for mixed episodes. I have gained weight (went from thin to borderline overweight, with diet and exercise a factor), but for me it was worth it.
  15. Absolutely. i have five (over a longer period) and we did a full physical workup and an ECT consult at the last. You are on a lot of medication, but have you really had time to try everything? Or to get rid of something? Abilify can be really destabilizing; it was for me. I am on Depakote, which was kind of a long shot for us, with therapy (very important) and religion. I had tried and rejected it in the past. Our second choice would have been Zyprexa. I'm two years stable.
  16. Yes, that happened to me on the way to getting better. Good sign, but don't force yourself to override it.
  17. FWIW, I knew an outrageously, obviously BP1 woman who only had three full manias, ever.
  18. If you are celebrating (and even if you aren't but could use the good wishes) may you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.
  19. My heart goes out to you. I cannot imagine what this is like. No note could explain it enough. I hope you have people to be with you about this (yes, a therapist, but also clergy/parish nurse and maybe even a hotline for referrals; use everyone you can get; I am sure there are survivors' groups). Also, because prednisone can be such an emotionally challenging drug, you may want to tell the doc who prescribes it that you are having a very tough time (DO NOTHING to your dose without him/her, however, because you do need to breathe). I wish you physical and emotional peace. I myself would be keeping the panda.
  20. Two things: (1) I would not talk to him about the mania details either, until much, much later or ideally never. You weren't yourself, it won't help him to understand how sick you were (he already knows) and you won't do it again (because you are going to work with a doctor and keep tweaking your meds to prevent it). Given all of these things, if you were him, would you want to know? (2) About sex with your husband, I like the idea of starting with scheduled time for physical intimacy without sex. Maybe, while you are warming up, you have a few weeks where it is touch-only, and then graduate to a period where the sex is optional. (3) Do you think you might have been hypersexual in your youth because you were hypomanic? That might not be the "real you," either. (4) I know you know, but be careful at work and protect your identity as a professional. Edited to add: Well, maybe four.
  21. Welcome. I am 42 and have been stable for about two years. Four months is not long, for you or for your family. Take it easy on yourself and keep doing the little things to make your life better.
  22. I am really happy with the 4S, even though Siri is annoying, because it takes dictation well, and my shaky, clumsy hands don't type so well on a small screen. OTOH, if you can use Dragon to retrofit the 4 to take dictation, it's worth checking out. That docking thing on the 5 is annoying.
  23. There is a huge list of alternatives at the top of this board. Some annoy me, some help. To each his own. The thing is, that strong urge is not going to just go away no matter what you do. I had to learn to think something along the lines of "I really want to do this to make my feelings go away by cutting, but if I am just willing to endure them, eventually they too will go away and I will still be in one piece." And, with a few ups and downs, it got better over time. Sounds like therapy-talk, I know, but it helped me. Also, it helped me to stay really busy. No man is an island. Had I not known of other cutters I believe I would not have cut. By stopping, you may be helping someone else. Good luck.
  24. I agree with Titania: I know someone else for whom it was an early-stage trait; it was for me, big-time. I felt bad about it but I didn't stop. Then I got sicker and I scared myself, and I didn't want it anymore. Then I got better, and felt that I had access to my old self and I didn't need it as much. I'm not totally over it; I still have triggers, and I'm not sure I should still be hanging around here. And I do know people who are a lot worse off. I get it for serious medical issues too. Because of it, I try not to tell my craziest stories anymore. I don't want to reinforce them for myself or possibly inspire someone like the old me. I'm worried about my acquaintance. This is causing her a lot of trouble, but I feel I can't do much, because my very existence/diagnosis makes it worse for her.
  25. My nephew had night terrors for a long time and, now that he is a perfectly normal 12 year old, I don't think he even remembers them. They were very scary for my sister, though. I agree with Titania about your talking to someone. Best wishes to you and your son.
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