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Everything posted by Squirlygrl

  1. Welcome back and congratulations on making it through the first day of school. I know how much that means to your kids, and how hard it must have been to do it in a fog. I take 3250 myself and probably left the hospital around 2000. They hit me with it quickly, but they were desperate. Extended release can make you a lot less sick. I think anything makes you groggy at first, but that wears off. I do not feel that way now. I also feel like I could never be manic again, ever. True, the dose did creep up, but that is because I had some intermittent residual psychosis and APs were a bad fit. Try ginger, small meals, crackers while you are settling in. Stay far, far away from Pepto-Bismol; it has a nasty feedback loop that will make you sicker. I do have food aversions and cravings that I didn't before. All of that said, this stuff is the bomb -- and it just did not work for me at 750 mg. Sorry that I have nothing specific on ammonia; I know that is what you asked. Your regular doc should be giving you a lot of blood work to start anyway.
  2. Yes, I do sad eating and let's-have-a-party eating, but I used to have it much more under control. I think it's because, now that I have found stable meds (one of which made me hungry at first!), I've been using food as a substitute for all the crazy stuff I used to do. It will take more exercise to bring that under control. Exercise makes me less hungry.
  3. For me, coping skills = fewer, milder episodes, and better function when I feel bad. No meds? No. i have wondered too, but no. One of the big things I get from coping skills is the willingness to tweak meds on the upswing, before I get to the point where I just won't consent. I've also learned to keep going while on the downswing, which helps keep it from getting worse. I could use more help there, though. I would say that a year of therapy made a huge difference. I'm not finished. I feel like the first major results started about three to four months in. Keep in mind that I was fresh off a hospitalization and so less inclined to respond than I might have been had I started from zero.
  4. Remind them that crazy isn't stupid. That sounds snide, but so much of the scheduled programming ("stress bingo!") is infantilizing that they may need to compensate. "That could be me" goes a long way. I actually got a lot of kindness, some of it profound, and am grateful. I am still ticked off at the people who acted perpetually irritated. Just like other mental health professionals, they have to learn to hide it. Tell them thanks for listening.
  5. John D. Gartner, The Hypomanic Edge: The Link Between (A Little) Craziness and (A Lot) of Success in America (2011). Nassir Ghaemi, A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness (2011). Kay Jamison: Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament (1996) may be the inspiration, but her Exuberance (2005) is closer to the model.
  6. Me too, no Li/Rispderdal problem. I am really sorry for all of this. Hope you are feeling a little better this AM. Also, with so much stress in your life, a certain amount of weepiness (while a huge pain) is rational. If it's more or less private, then maybe it will pass on its own. Shame on the neuro, and may Stanford get its act together. I don't know what your risk preference is with the typical APs, but I had excellent results with some of them, and I think that they can be cheap.
  7. I just wanted to say that I'm excited for you. I think it's normal and okay to wonder about these things, but if you're sleeping, and if your other responsibilities are running as normal, and you're watchful, then all early indicators look good. Pacing yourself and avoiding burnout are vital skills, but you wouldn't have made it this far without them. We used to fight school stress with ritual, often trivial riitual (same lunch, same study snack, same TV). Also, someone I know spent years working through a professional program. I know she was confused at times, but she stuck it out and now she has the job she wanted. In other words, don't worry more than a semester ahead. Sufficient unto the day
  8. I did not cry on Abilify, but I was restless and uncomfortable and impulsive and profoundly juvenile and generally very unhappy. More up than fully mixed, I would say, but still bad. For years now I have been carrying around a driver's license picture of myself with a botched red home dye job, all because of Abilify. I just hate it. Every time I see the ads on the bus shelters and in the magazines I want to talk back to them. I know people love it, so I try to keep that in mind. But yes, if I were you I would call in the morning.
  9. I used to work with and for a lot of driven normal people, Ivy League professionals, long hours expected, the works. Here is what I observed. A hair-trigger temper is never just "high-functioning." Neither is pressured speech, which is socially inappropriate. Neither are grandiosity or even excess optimism, which distort judgment. Every now and then, one of those qualities would be overlooked, because the person was just so brilliant -- but not often. The culture of our (risk-friendly) client base was aggressive and self-promoting, but that was just a vocabulary. It was not really about lack of self-control, which I think is the distinguishing variable. BTW, when someone publishes a "go, hypomania!" book, it irritates me. It seems to absolve the most difficult people while shaming others because they're not Alexander Hamilton.
  10. With me it was bait and switch. I was doing things that he had to have realized were problematic, but I had no diagnosis. Then all hell broke loose. He stuck around. It will be 17 years. We have a system for dealing with the creepy times and it has been hard to built but we are both coming to trust it. I was looking for a dependable one and I got one. I can imagine a scenario in which I was out there dating, and disclosed to a good one, and he couldn't deal, and I was heartbroken. Of course, that could also happen for non-MI reasons. Dating is risk. Choose wisely, and please stay away from the drunks and jerks, you deserve better.
  11. Hey from a former Detroiter. Good point that you have not changed, you just have more ways to deal with it. Lithium is dirt cheap and I believe that GSK once had (may still have) a financial assistance program for Lamictal. I have to tell you, I seriously considered the street option myself and you would never know it. Really, my kid outed me to her friend and her friend refuses to believe it. Yes, you will have to watch your output at work, but you have made it this far. Hang in there.
  12. Nice to meet you. I am sorry you feel so bad. I believe in the old-school personal omipotent and good God, so the suffering problem is a hurdle for me in a way that it just isn't for someone who believes in God as First Cause or Ground of Being or not omnipotent or not good. The short answer is, It's Beyond Me, with a few observations: (1) I have a tiny human brain and, while it's my moral obligation to use the conscience in it, I'll never grasp the mind of God; (2) Since someone is going to suffer, why shouldn't it be me? (3) If you're Christian, you get the consolation of believing that God was man enough (so to speak) to come and suffer along with you; and (4) if you're not, maybe the moral thing to do is to say "hey, omnipotent God, you promised to be good, I'm going to hold you to it by insisting that you are." Assuming, of course, that you think He is not some disinterested force. Job asked this question and his friends said all of these idiot things, but the only real answer he got was God showing up and saying, Where were you when I made the universe? Can you draw out Leviathan with a hook? So that's all I've got. But it's still a very serious problem. I am not good at petitionary prayer. I think it's okay, maybe more than okay, to ask, but sometimes the answer is no. I might well be less conventionally religious if I weren't nuts. I take comfort in the fact that lots of sane people have more or less agreed with me. And I take offense at hearing that I'm only in it for the comfort -- it's cost me -- but, who knows. Enough of this. I just hope you feel better.
  13. It must be scary and painful to have that feeling of union and then lose it. But it is a feeling and, as such, may come and go. In between is what the mystics called the dark night of the soul, and it does not mean that you are bad. I do hate it when churches preach that if you believe or perform you will prosper. It's a lie and when it doesn't come true it breaks people's hearts and makes God look bad. If your future "church," your fellowship, is totally non-religious because of that, then maybe that is best. I don't think there's anything I can say about seeking the thrill of conversion by taking drugs that you can't absolutely anticipate. That's dangerous enough that you need to be reaching out to a lot more people than us.
  14. When I tried to use Christianity it wasn't enough. When I tried to just let God help I got the message that He would be with me always, whether I continued to believe that or not. This was huge, given the delusions and visions I had of hell. I think it is not a delusion because it has borne good fruit. Of course, the right meds were a gift from God. The routine of church and the support of a few people there help me. I am not good at prayer; just the Lord's Prayer and the Jesus Prayer do a lot; the rosary would serve the same function. They taught my son that all prayer breaks down into please/thanks/sorry/You are great,and I don't get much more complicated. I wish you peace. Hang in there, and don't let anybody guilt you, ever.
  15. I stopped. I actually stopped without much of a taper and it was a life-changing, screaming nightmare despite the fact that I was on two (other) mood stabilizers. Since then, no APs, but It's only been two years, which isn't much. At the one-year mark you may well be still getting stable and yes, I would be reluctant to mess with it. Gizmo, I'd love to see the psychcentral link, it it's easy; if not, I'll keep looking. Thanks
  16. Sorry, no Cymbalta experience. I have had some luck just taking large doses of mood stabilizers, with therapy and a lot of daily structure; not perfect, but much better than nothing. I also felt pretty even on perphenazine, or loxapine, or even Zyprexa. I did get to the point with ADs (multiple hospitalizations) where no one would recommend them anymore, and I am OK with that. Then there is ECT, which I have not done, although I considered it.
  17. Yes, I would call his parents and/or his doctor. He may well be angry that you did, so be prepared. After that, Gizmo is right, you are not his parent. I wish my professors and my boss would have said something. I would have had a great deal of trouble hearing them, but I did not have a doctor then. Since then, people have called on my behalf two or three times. I have been furious, but I now see that it was the best thing.
  18. I got worse over the years, although I had a good period as a young adult when I had a low-stress but interesting job. Sad at 13, 18, 21(near breakdown), 25 (big time/near total breakdown), 36 (total breakdown). Hypo at 21, 23/24, 33-36(escalating) Manic at 36, 38, 40 Cycling 36-40 Childbirth at 30 and 33 was not what you'd expect. First time, six-week baby blues; second time, Hypomania City. In other words, marked up-to-down cycles at 21, 25, 36 and 40, pretty must constant chaos of increasing intensity from 36 to 40. I think I got a break in my late 20s/early 30s because my life was so manageable. I had brief contact with antidepressants at 36 when first suicidal and that was Not a Good Idea. Sorry to be brief, my chart is packed somewhere and I was supposed to be off the computer some time ago.
  19. Just wanted to say, I am late to the thread, but: My husband was the last to come round. That felt like a betrayal. But really, I think it was because he had been so hurt and scared (the divorce thing is a killer, been there , and because it was his way of protecting me. There will be setbacks. Don't despair. Once I heard about something from the doctor's emergency call that I still think my husband should have brought to me first. I was livid. Then I was scared of him. It's taken me a long time to even try to communicate, longer to be heard. But it all worked out. Look at it this way. They probably don't trust you. They may never even trust you quite the same way again (in fact, you may want this). But they love you, and love has a way of silting over all kinds of past hurts as the loved one gets better.
  20. Oh, for Pete's sake. I am glad you insisted. Meanwhile, feel better and keep us posted.
  21. Okay, couple of things: Hearing things for non-organic reasons = psychotic feature. If you have changed your meds at all to deal with this episode, that could be an organic reason. (I went all around my house with a baseball bat looking for the Lamictal Guy. Lamictal Guy wore dress shoes and broke into my fridge to make himself a sandwich. We upped the dose and he went away.) "Psychotic features" need not rise to the level of full-on loss of contact with reality. I have walked around with strange things (tactile, delusional, imagination-gone-wrong, word salad) while knowing better (mostly), and still being able to get around. For a little while, at least. Some gothic hallucinations don't get reported because the psychotic person doesn't realize they're not true. That's never happened to me other than in or almost in the hospital. In other words, by that point, there was plenty of behavior to go with them. BPII label doesn't rule it out. BPII is consistent with psychotic depression, though that is often delusional (I did have a depressive hallucination but I was on an AD). In a mixed state it's their call. If the psychotic feature is part of the manic component, then, hello BP1. If part of the depression, then no change. Angels dancing on the head of a pin. I am very, very sorry you feel so awful. I hope someone gives you something to zap it ASAP. For me, a short course of Zyprexa does wonders for this stuff, and Depakote is better than nothing. I am also sorry about the MRI. I hope it helps.
  22. Nope, he says chief resident, bipolaradvantage.com/aboutus. I can't/won't verify.
  23. Oh, my. I'm glad you brought this up. Forgive me for rambling. He's got a staff, including a former resident from the Menninger Clinic and a bunch of CBT therapists. He is selling something that looks to me like a grandiose CBT. I think of Menninger as a place for the rich (unfair, probably, but they do have a residential program for doctors and lawyers), to whom this "best self" focus might have extra appeal. It would be good to shoot for more than "waiting for relapse," and in general, our current tools aren't everything we'd like. I have lost a lot. But here's what the guy says about his own system (with reference to meds, from his comment to "Where is the Line Between Hypomania and Out of Control?" Psychology Today blog, 4/12/12): Well, if she's not "function[ing] at a very high level," sign me up. Here's where I think his approach might have some relevance. I think there are people who get labelled bipolar, some by their own diagnosis, some incorrectly, and they just get stuck. I saw someone do this once, at enormous cost. He got the wrong meds and no therapy and he gave up. A little chauvinism plus CBT would have helped. (So would taking his meds every d*mn day they were prescribed. But I digress.) Even so, the whole thing makes me want to take a shower. Sweeping psychosis under the rug is not responsible. Saying that people aren't taking responsibility for their moods and their behavior presumes a lot.
  24. Depakote itself can cause tremors. I have about the same on Depakote as I did on lithium.(neither nearly as severe as yours). Hydration helps me, and too much coffee makes it much, much worse. I'm worst in the morning. Will you have a chance practice that dexterity test before you commit?
  25. Propanolol. I also found it helpful to restrict coffee. Besides being dehydrating, it seemed to have some tremor-exaggerating effect of its own.
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