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Squirlygrl

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Everything posted by Squirlygrl

  1. Oh gosh. [Rhetorical question:] He has tried you on how many meds, and that's it? Not that changing meds isn't horrible, maybe more trouble than it's worth. Not that breakthrough hypomania isn't better than zombiehood. Forgive me, I'm just cranky about doctors right now. Here is what helps me stay in line: (1) The time limit -- a speedy day is okay, a bunch in a row are wrong; (2) Speech -- for me it's not pace or quantity, it's skipping steps of an argument, assuming people know background they don't, or being confessional when I shouldn't; (3) Greed; (4) False confidence -- if I think I have finally reformed and I will never have a problem again (and you'd be amazed how often this happens). Also, if I am dealing with a situation that I know is a trigger, I just go into deep-breathing-stay-calm mode whether I get any warnings or not.
  2. Oh, gosh, sorry. I would bet meds. I had a nasty LTG rash and had to quit and try again later. It was red and hot but not very itchy or creepy-crawly. The only extended tactile hallucinations that I have ever had were obsessive, compulsive, emotionally triggered, localized and extremely bizarre (worse than this). Before meds, I had a long bout of stress hives that made me scratch myself raw. They still flare up a very little, occasionally. Of course you should call.
  3. I had to quit watching the triggery stuff. I probably shouldn't even come to this board. Sadly, it's not always obvious what the triggery TV will be -- I have been zapped twice in the last year, once with bad consequences and once with just a lot of sadness. No suicidality, just "I am vile" or "I can use the crazy to dull the pain." I hear you. I said this to a new therapist, with real grief, and he said "You are always reading! Seriously!" So my new project is to finish (some of) what I start -- easier said than done. Otherwise, I forget that it was ever there. There is no shame in taking a break, even an indefinite break, from school. My husband took a break and you'd never know (of course, he is only a little crazy). My mother is brilliant, and has basically learned to deal with the crazy she has. She left college after a year. Yes, it constrains your working life. But it sure doesn't make you stupid, or take your thoughts away from you. Believe me, I know tons of people with fancy degrees who are no better for it. As for meds-fog, I have this idea that sometimes it clears over a very long time (or you grow the neurons to work around it), and that sometimes it is just depression in disguise. crtclms: Honey Badger has enriched our lives. I showed the kids. Now they're going to start talking like Randall. But as long as I get to be Honey Badger, I don't care.
  4. I had to quit watching the triggery stuff. I probably shouldn't even come to this board. Sadly, it's not always obvious what the triggery TV will be -- I have been zapped twice in the last year, once with bad consequences and once with just a lot of sadness. No suicidality, just "I am vile" or "I can use the crazy to dull the pain." I hear you. I said this to a new therapist, with real grief, and he said "You are always reading! Seriously!" So my new project is to finish (some of) what I start -- easier said than done. Otherwise, I forget that it was ever there. There is no shame in taking a break, even an indefinite break, from school. My husband took a break and you'd never know (of course, he is only a little crazy). My mother is brilliant, and has basically learned to deal with the crazy she has. She left college after a year. Yes, it constrains your working life. But it sure doesn't make you stupid, or take your thoughts away from you. Believe me, I know tons of people with fancy degrees who are no better for it. As for meds-fog, I have this idea that sometimes it clears over a very long time (or you grow the neurons to work around it), and that sometimes it is just depression in disguise. crtclms: Honey Badger has enriched our lives. I showed the kids. Now they're going to start talking like Randall. But as long as I get to be Honey Badger, I don't care.
  5. I used to have a vivid, repellent intrusive thought about my feet. It showed up under stress and went away when I got medicated. So I'm thinking OCD-ish, as mine predates anything that I would identify as real psychosis. Oddly, the image doesn't bother me -- but I'm not going to look at it twice to confirm! Now the boring stuff, especially mice, I do hate. Especially the ones that are real. And if I never had to touch raw chicken again I would be happy. Sorry about the bettas. I love those little guys.
  6. OMG, Wilco, I forgot. We go all the way back. Last summer I went to see them and blew a circuit without benefit of substances. Too much pulsing light and "Bull Black Nova." It took days to recover. I will probably never see them live again. Come to think of it, if I am very unhinged I can't have music either, even if I am happy; the rest of the world is too damn loud.
  7. Great thread! I have three categories: When I am getting thought-disordered and know it I play Bach piano music. It zips the world up until I can get some help. It's like Tetris. When somewhat depressed I play the Mozart Requiem. When super depressed I play nothing. When getting mixed or sinking I will put a droning sad song on repeat, and drive. After ten or twenty rounds I usually know that something is very wrong.
  8. One more thing: I am having good luck with treating the high points of the experience as a jumping-off point for a more orthodox spiritual practice within my own tradition. Traditional, because I don't want to go to a dark place or make a mockery of it or re-invent the wheel. I believe there is substantial overlap between valid mysticism and psychotic experience. It does need to be trained, though, like vines on a trellis. You can judge it by its fruits. And it is calming. Very best wishes.
  9. Oh my, yes. I used to be terrified of it, and even now I tend to think it's not important until it's been sitting long enough to get scary. Or it gets lost in the stack. Some ideas: Junk mail and most catalogs go in the trash when you walk in the door. Take just ten minutes each Monday and open whatever is left. Open it standing up next to a trashcan. If you're not going to pay a bill on the spot, at least keep it in a separate stack from the other stacked mail. Online bill pay. Electronic statements and/or bills, if you will read them. Even then, I still can't get it right unless I pay bills next to a checklist of what is due.
  10. We are so pulling for you, and this does not make you a bad person at all. You are under a lot of pressure. Honestly, when I had my last relapse I just said "I thought I was past this, but it could have been worse, and next time it will be better" and then I just reset the SI clock to the previous injury. Which worked so well that I wondered if I should be keeping an SI clock at all. Too much pressure. As a stopgap, I've always wondered if do-it-yourself CBT is any use. Feel better.
  11. Oh, dear. I am sorry for your experience, which sounds both galvanizing and draining. Hospitalization can be dehumanizing. Post-psychotic/post-manic depression is crushing, even without the drugs, and can take a long time to go away. I too had life-changing, positive psychotic experiences and I understand the temptation to ride one out in a secluded natural place should it ever return. I know that feeling of unfinished business. However -- (!) It truly is possible to hurt yourself and others if you don't medicate yourself. This doesn't mean you're weak or bad, it's just the corollary of that kind of loss of control. I was in hospital with a lovely woman who was dangerous when manic and didn't know it. She put her family through hell, not to mention the emergency personnel. As for myself, I have children, and they have already seen more than enough. Then there is a real possibility of brain damage from the episodes themselves, as in epilepsy. If your experience was manic, I am surprised that no one has recommended mood stabilizers. I have found them useful even for psychosis. In my experience they are far less deadening than Zyprexa or Seroquel. All of this stuff is hard on the body, but then so are suicide, reckless driving, etc., all of which were issues for.me. There is no question that I would not have the capacity for a normal social life or normal career if I did not take them. I had to choose between a life with others and one in which I spoke a language that no one else could understand. As I heal I am coming to believe that the last would have been a tragedy. But it takes time. Be cautious of antidepressants by themselves -- if you're bipolar you could have real trouble with mania and faster cycling. Don't be too unnerved by Robert Whitaker. I was put off the moment I saw him try to reason from a graph of U.S. disability recipients without even considering changes in the threshold for receiving disability over that period of time. Not good social science. My take-away from him is that medication-without-therapy for the mildly ill has been a failure, but that he does not prove that community support alone is the answer for severe symptoms (look at the Indiana program he cites! Many of those people ended up back on medication.) Get some kind of community, some kind of therapy and/or peer support. You don't necessarily have to opt for the heaviest level of medication. You don't have to regret every aspect of what happened to you. But you do have to weave it into your life story and you do need to stop feeling awful, whether from meds or depression or both. (It seems that in the UK it is harder to switch meds.) If you don't you're more at risk of saying "to hell with it" and giving in. I believe (I am not a doctor!) that there exists a thing called single-episode psychosis that does not doom you to a lifetime of medication. But now is not the time to find out if that is you. Get all the way well, and then discuss drug tapering with a doctor whom you trust. During my last post-psychotic depression, it hurt to be alive every day. I would force myself through a few hours of real work, so that my life did not collapse. Like a sick shark, you must swim or die. I would tell the therapist that I was miserable, which strangely helped. And I would sleep. After a while I truly did feel better. I hope that you will too, very soon.
  12. Please do not be hard on yourself. This can be hard to kick. A month is a good sign. Next time it will be longer, maybe indefinitely longer. I did meet a woman once who said that in time she just stopped wanting it. There is a list of alternatives pinned to the top of this board. Personally, what helps me most is just talk, or going someplace with no sharp things and being distracted until I feel better. Needless to say, there should be nothing sharp in your house that you don't need for cooking or shaving, and you shouldn't be down that aisle in the store. I always felt that I needed something around "just to feel safe," and that was trouble. Your therapist is a safe person to talk to. That's his/her job. I hope you feel better soon.
  13. Don't worry! I know that I have rocks in my head about this -- my siblings were all serious college athletes, and my mom and her mom have worse-than-average body image issues, and every single one of us is competitive. Therapy, therapy, therapy. One of my (lame) excuses for not working out is a fear of getting back into that compulsive Red Shoes mentality. However, I have just recently realized that I was happiest back in the day, when all I would do is walk. It's harder to be an exercise addict about that -- there just aren't enough hours in the day.
  14. If you do any volunteer work at all, you can just say you're with organization X. No one needs to know how few hours you work, or that you don't get paid. Stuffing envelopes = "administrative support," peer support = "outreach," etc. There are a lot of ways to be creative without outright lying, which is stressful and tiring. "I'm on leave." ["I used to be an X", if you wish, "but I'm thinking of switching to Y." Half the time, the working stiffs will envy you.] "I don't drink; it puts me to sleep." You can also say you don't like the taste, or say you just don't. "I just haven't found the right person" is awesome. "I have a medical condition" (if you are that vague, 99% of people know you don't want to be asked). If they do follow up, you say casually, "Oh, it's complicated/pretty boring" or even "more than you want to know." Then they assume it's Crohn's or terminal cancer or ALS and they shut up. I have a special fondness for that white lie, "neurological condition," because I have a ten-year hole in my life. It can always be "[serious] mood disorder" if you need support, or the truth if you can really trust them. I would be more open than I am but I really think my husband wants it under wraps. Sometimes, my kids out me. About reunions, I stopped being invited because I did not update my address and people basically thought I was dead. Then, last fall, someone finally tracked me down and wheedled me into going. It was surprisingly great. If you do go, think of it more as your fact-finding mission than as your being scrutinized.
  15. I can forget for most of the day, most of the time. When I am stressed, even if I'm not flaring up, I am unduly worried that I will screw up and humiliate myself, if not worse. I expect this fear to recede. Oddly, when I have sudden, strong, bizarre or self-destructive urges, I don't think "abnormal." I think "legitimate way to get back to a normal focus, ASAP." Wrong. What hurts is that I get these vicious, self-loathing cycles of absolute certainty that the whole thing has been a tantrum, a self-inflicted nightmare, and that if I just taper off the meds and walk away I can be nineteen again. There is a grain of truth in the tantrum theory. Fundamentally, though, no one else is buying it.
  16. I slept the night! Which means, I think, that the mini-crazy is ending.
  17. Tell me about yours. Are they paranoid? Bizarre? Euphoric/grandiose? Do they last minutes, hours, days? Just delusions, or hallucinations too? Are they more likely to occur in response to a single bad stress, or to a series of little stresses? Do you ever get them for no apparent reason? Do you get depressed when they are over? I can see how this could be yet another bad coping strategy but I'm confused about what it usually looks like. In other words, I wonder if this is what is happening to me. Thanks. I appreciate your insight!
  18. Best wishes for getting someone new. You would hate to be in a position down the line where you were beating yourself up for staying with the guy. I could imagine writing the sexuality thing off to old-guy cluelessness, and confronting him about it, but the Columbine thing IMO is from another planet.
  19. I got it on Loxitane (typical AP). I did not think to have my levels tested. You might also be too stressed, or too thin. I had it in my early 20s, med-free, for the better part of a year, and I was stressed but not freaky thin at the time. Also, for some people, the pill takes a while to wear off.
  20. Born predisposed, with classic and relatively mild cycling starting in young adulthood. Finally collapsed under too much isolation and stress. Also, I think my brain could handle one round of pregnancy hormones but not two. Eventually, I had a few trials of antidepressants, with lasting bad results. Never again. My sister has similar, if less bad, wiring but has been able to keep her life together with strict structure and exercise and moderated ambitions and constant social support. Touch wood. It's like seeing the road not taken.
  21. I am glad you are feeling better. Therapy could help. Do not be discouraged. For me, suicidal ideation became a habit and it took time for it to go away. Distracting myself with activities and people I enjoy helped a lot.
  22. We have a small plecostomus named Stubby. Spunkiest fish in the tank. I was reluctant to get a tank but I was so wrong. I love to turn on the light at night and watch the little guys swim around.
  23. Steady rain! We have had a drought. It has been so peaceful to stay home and catch up with the mess because the kids' sports are rained out.
  24. Well, maybe Aquinas, for loving Aristotle and building that whole cathedral of thought and then having a vision so great that by comparison his work had been "all straw." Francis loving the poor and preaching to the birds and calling his body "Brother Ass" is pretty great too. But I have a special thing for Julian of Norwich: And in this he showed me a little thing, the quantity of a hazelnut, lying in the palm of my hand, it seemed, and it was as round as any ball. I looked thereupon with the eye of my understanding, and I thought, 'What may this be?' And it was answered generally thus: 'It is all that is made.' I wondered how it could last, for I thought it might suddenly fall to nothing for little cause. And I was answered in my understanding: 'It lasts and ever shall, for God loves it; and so everything has its beginning by the love of God.' In this little thing I saw three properties; the first is that God made it; the second is that God loves it; and the third is that God keeps it. My turn: What is your favorite piece of music ever?
  25. If you bring a journal, make sure it is not spiral bound. Don't be too ambitious with a book, I always am and then I can't concentrate. Maybe poetry, or some new magazines. Forgive me, this is TMI but here goes: I have a few stray hairs on my face and they confiscated my tweezers. I could have just shaved them while they were watching! Didn't occur to me at the time, but by the time I was well enough to remember they were there I was really ashamed. A hairbrush. Their shampoo/conditioner/lotion aren't great but good luck getting that tiny comb through your hair. Wishing you a speedy recovery.
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