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Everything posted by Squirlygrl

  1. I am so sorry. You guys have really been through it. I used to dress like a bohemian romantic half my age. I dyed my hair two shades of red by mistake. I wrote bad confessional poetry and made people read it. Like many, I quit paying bills (of course) and taxes (bad call) and giving stuff to clients (small claims court) before I stopped working altogether. I was either too good for the mail or very afraid of it. Eventually, I was lucky enough to be able to hire a cleaning company. They helped me haul a dumpster and a half of stuff out of the house. I was really ashamed. They said not to worry, they have to wear hazmat suits to some of their jobs.
  2. I know you said other than hiding, but: I have been sent to the library when I needed quiet and did not feel safe inside or out; it was genius. Sometimes isolation is far better than the alternative and even a short break can really help. I am trying to worth on my breath -- either as a singer does, counting the beats and trying to work up to more, or if you are religious, you can do a silent Jesus Prayer on the in and out breaths (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God/have mercy on me, a sinner). I am otherwise terrible at prayer or any other kind of meditation. I like to turn a small object over and over in my hand and think about how it feels, though I take care to do this discreetly so that I don't look deranged. I do zone out sometimes. Multiple screaming children are very tough. When I can get away I listen to music. If I feel unhinged I will put the same song on repeat or play Bach, especially his piano work. Bach zips the world back together for me.
  3. I had this while seriously flipped out once and I did buy an axe and take a few practice swings. It passed when I went to the hospital and got better medication. Especially f you are less cyclical than I am, you should probably tell someone so you don't get hurt.
  4. Of course you should. If a suicidal preoccupation is not the business of therapy, I don't know what is. You seem to have had bad luck with drugs, but there are things like low-dose lithium that can be very helpful. It takes some courage to break the ice, but these people will not suffer or panic; they are professionals. I am so glad that I came clean. Please do.
  5. I really want to answer this question, but every time I try, it seems like it would be the most triggery thing in the world. Maybe it is still grandiose and delusional to think so. Suffice it to say that I made up a lot of blasphemous and derivative rituals that I thought would make me powerful and beautiful and closer to God, and I acted on them. I was like a little nature religion unto myself and I knew things about the universe that cannot be expressed in words. Also, the first time I felt really bad, I thought I should follow God's will and pleasure by sending myself to hell right away. I thought at one point that if I went out under the full moon, its rays would penetrate my skin. That was kind of beautiful. Other than that, it was just the stereotypical stuff about being a gifted person on a special mission, and about people trying to hurt me and poison me with medication.
  6. I never did much. Then before/during a bad high I ran 30 miles/week (10 mile long run) plus 2 hours of weights/intervals plus 4 hours of tennis, plus a 45-mintue boot camp 4 days a week. I adored it almost to the end. The end was ugly. When I got better I did maybe 8-10 miles/week plus 1.5 hours light lifting and ate nothing. This was probably about right. I was quite thin and I loved it. Then I had a bad episode and changed meds and gained weight and now I am dragging, lifting 2 hours a week. I know I will get nowhere without the cardio that I am not motivated to do. My doctors complain, very gently. It's sad. Exercise clearly, clearly helps. Except for the absolute extremes. Then, good luck.
  7. Condolences. My sister has four-year-old twins and it has been quite an adventure. For what it's worth, I have a non-bipolar friend who had to quit Wellbutrin because it made her feel that way. And a sudden resurgence of SI makes me wonder more about a new weakness in your support systems than about a missed diagnosis. In other words, I'm no doctor but I doubt it too. I used to hate it when people said this to me, but here goes: A diagnosis can be more like a gateway to a particular treatment than a revelation of the Truth. This diagnosis is popular now. Be careful about letting people stick it on you. It carries a stigma and can lead doctors to medicate you more aggressively. That is great if it helps you but nasty if it doesn't. Besides,now you can get just about any drug with a depression diagnosis (Lamictal, lithium augmentation, even (although I don't like them) antipsychotics. Look at Jim Phelps' psycheducation.org page on "Bipolar vs. Borderline" (not diagnosing!! just for reference!) which made me think "hmm, I could get a DBT book for cheap and get some tips, I have nothing to lose." I have kids, God bless them, I love them and they saved me, but their toddler years were the hardest of my life. Extreme coping skills are vital no matter what drugs you are on. Do what you must (for instance, lithium can be calming but I still needed skills, and caring for little kids while you are in a drug stupor is a nightmare). There is no magic bullet. This made me feel better (comic). Her "Adventures in Depression" on the home page is great too. http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/05/sneaky-hate-spiral.html
  8. I was clueless. I actually did believe that I was an important person who could run on pure adrenaline until my weak and evil character crashed me into the pit of paralytic laziness. I didn't notice the three-year cycle, or question the increasing implausibility of the special missions, or even realize that there is a word besides "lazy" to describe those who sleep in their clothes and thank God for marking them for Hell and refuse to open their mail. Living alone conceals a lot. When I finally sought medical help I said "I cannot do my special work, I'm adult ADHD!" and he said politely, "hahahaha, lithium!" and then I got a whole lot worse before I got better. But I did get better.
  9. I think that Depakote saved me. It got me out of the hospital in a hurry. It certainly allowed me to go off of antipsychotics, which was a very high priority. We had tried many, many other things. I went from thin/normal to mildly overweight (35 lbs, BMI about 20 to 23.5) in six months. The first three months/20 lbs were painfully hungry, hungrier when I finished eating than when I started, more fat than sugar. The last 10 to 15 were habit and emotional eating, no real hunger at all. I haven't yet made any sustained effort to lose the weight; I'm down maybe 2-5 lbs. More than PCOS, the birth defects issue scares me. I am tapering the Depakote, down by 1/3 so far, but no one will do it faster, if at all. On the weight, I should take a lesson from gizmo: Get out of the house. Don't eat in restaurants. Watch the fat. Daily cardio. My doctor swears he has seen people lose Depakote weight, and I won't know until I try.
  10. I think it's good to tell clergy; their job is to help you. Close friends, I couldn't help it. Casual friends, it's nice to have a euphemism. Business settings, we've been quiet and I am glad. I regret a few gut-spilling sessions with people I'm no longer close to because now there is neighborhood gossip. It may not be great when your kids tell other people, but it's creepy when other people tell your kids.
  11. Meds, yes. Also, if I can talk to a living person, even on the phone, it helps. And if no one is there I face the bedroom door. I figure if anything comes in I'll see it in time to react (and frankly, it wouldn't last long anyway).
  12. It's crazy. It makes me want to go picket somebody. My sister is in this position with her son, and we're trying to get her in to see somebody in the med-school hospital because they like the more difficult cases and are more likely to take insurance.
  13. I agree with Titania. I've seen you here for a long while, and you are a fighter, and I respect you. I can't really feel what it's like, but I do know it can be daily agony. Wishing you a little respite now and a lot of healing later, SG
  14. Just once, from BP2 to BP1/psychotic features, after about 5 years. Depression/anxiety might have been a possibility had I been treated sooner. Some have suggested borderline as well, which is reasonable but not official. I was a mess, one big downhill slide (five hospitalizations in seven years). I tried so many meds: five mood stabilizers, at least six antipsychotics, a few antidepressants (bad idea, those). In some ways, all of the switching made it harder to cope. With good meds and a lot of talk therapy I am much better, still improving, and coming to terms with the problems I still have. I am off lithium, taking less Depakote, and off antipsychotics except for that one day. To sum it up, over the last year: No mania. Just the tiniest flickers of hypomania, maybe one real one. Periodic anxiety but no panic. One solid depression (on the rebound from a big episode) and some dips that I am learning to work through. Psychotic moments can be counted on the fingers of one hand, and I only took extra meds for them once. To the extent that I have any paranoia, it's more to do with misjudging particular relationships than with anything severe enough to be delusional. That's also getting better. The only thing that's worse is the urge to cut (watch out, former self, that one grows on you), and except for one significant slip I have held it off. I cannot tell you how surprised I am by all of this. Only a year, to be sure, but it is so different. Maybe things can get better. I hope they will for you.--SG
  15. This was thrown at me once by a hospital consultant, and someone else who might know (but might also be biased) thinks I am dual-dx. I was beyond angry, both because I felt stigmatized and because no one got around to suggesting it for years. That said, neither of people who is actually treating me has dx'd it, not even the analyst. I am being treated with both meds and aggressive therapy and doing well. At the very beginning I was told not to identify too much with a dx, and I felt so hurt and insulted by that (as if I would!) that I guess I went out and did it. Years and years of too much reading, too much arguing, too much trying to figure out what was real or fake. After a long time you will form your own opinion. Mine is that I started to express bpd traits (including brief psychotic episodes, yay) to deal with the mood swings, and that I will work my way out of them, but that I will always be on some degree of maintenance medication. I am comforted when I remember that all of these labels have changed over the last hundred years, and that in a hundred more they may change again, so that there may be no "real" dx yet. I am also encouraged to know that some very sick people (Elyn Saks, Marsha Linehan, and Sabina Spielrein come to mind) have been very successful, even though they started out as a mess. Some doctors are wrong. Some are just fishing because you're not well yet. Go with what works. Be well, SG
  16. Forgive me for being cagey about the details, I don't want anyone to be inspired to do what I did. I was going to give myself an intentional and permanent disability so that I would never have to run again (I was running a lot to cope). Fortunately, I was very distractible, so they got me into the hospital before I moved beyond practicing. I think we have enough emergency plans now to prevent such a thing. The driving and the secret credit card were bad but commonplace. Finally, I went for a run while drunk (who does that?), sustaining an injury that has been limiting in a sad way. So I guess I got what I was after, just not as bad. Two morals: Do Not Take Matters Into Your Own Hands. Special Rules Do Not Apply To Me.
  17. Umm...went out to bathe in the moonlight on a towel so the rays could soak through my skin. Didn't run off, because it hurts to walk barefoot on gravel. Thought about going into town, but maybe in a sheet, kind of shy. Still I'm not sure whether I did this for the stated reasons or to impress the people I hid it from (I am pretty sure that I never told the doctor) or maybe to impress myself. And if you still care about hurting your feet, how far gone are you? I wonder if I got the idea from a patient I was in with once who would take off her clothes when she got angry, although mine was not an angry thing. I also remember walking around shoeless on the cool, smooth tile outside the doctor's office, because it felt so good. He was there, though, so I probably really did do it for the attention. It felt very good, though. Now that I have good (and fattening) meds and am trying harder to spare my family, I hope and believe I won't do it again.
  18. Afraid to merge onto the highway for many years. Exposure is going well, still iffy about rush hour (there is a nasty weave near us). It helps if I have a powerful motivation. I am a nasty combination of skittish and distractible and had some wrecks in youth but am not dead yet, in fact I'm probably higher risk with the posts in a parking lot. I have gotten better, too -- a dozen years ago I had trouble just on surface streets. It's just taking time and practice. Now when my kids learn to drive, on the other hand, I will need major medical help.
  19. OMG yes. At one time (probably hypomanic? or maybe med-induced?) I used to have this peripheral vision problem where I thought my husband would sideswipe the other cars on the freeway. Took many a drive up I-95 in the passenger seat with my eyes closed. Better now. Making progress with my personal freeway phobia.
  20. Awesome thread. Like others, I note that no one is taking away my meds. It is easier to do these things with a separate therapist, but sometimes you can insist and not get your meds increased. Also, my psychosis is pretty intermittent so this stuff is easier for me to use. I am trying this coping technique: When I see or feel something I am supposed to pretend that it is not real, but only happening because I am upset. Then I am supposed to ask what on earth could have made me upset in this particular way -- as if they were a dream. I don't always believe it while I am doing it, but it really helps. Paranoia is similar, we ask what evidence I have. Like Titania, If I feel compelled to do something bad I am to journal all the thoughts leading up to it, so I can identify the upsetting thought. I need something because I forget overnight -- I wipe it out of my mind as fast as possible. Best wishes, SG
  21. Hey crtclms/Depakote people, It looks like the loading dose for mania is 20-30 mg/kg/day (1160-1770 for a 130 lb person), maxing out at 60 mg/kg/day (here, 3840). See http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8253698 (1993) ; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1911181 (2007)(maintenance); drugs.com. The researchers are a little cavalier about GI side effects. Extended relase was my friend. But I really did get immediate results comparable to Zyprexa or Haldol. I was inpatient, so short-term side effects were less of a concern. I was also desperate; lithium has only helped some and I've had awful side effects with all but the brand new atypicals and several typical antipsychotic, such that my neurologist didn't want me on them anymore. Of course, there are Depakote side effects too, for me mostly weight (did happen, but leveled off). For me it's the best of a bad lot. As for titration, they took me from 3000 to 2000 over a few months and are now going down 500 every three months; that last is more to do with me than the drug. Find something good Beckette, SG
  22. Depakote. Or if you just need to make it stop right now, Zyprexa. But if you are not yet psychotic I think you can do just as well with Depakote, provided that you have 48-72 hours and are willing to start with a high dose.
  23. Oh, and grapefruit products, which are on the label now. So sad, I loved grapefruit. Blood tests are key. Watch out also for the carbamazepine/lithium interaction which is rare but serious. I was walking into walls for a while there, and it could have been worse.
  24. Wolverine / sea cucumber. Or maybe something that eats itself. Monkeys are excellent but for me they are more about straight mania. I can't shake the notion that psychosis is humanoid. We've spent centuries trying to ditch that one, but there it is.
  25. For what it's worth, Wellbutrin makes me crazy and I need 2000 mg of Depakote to get in range -- the doctor would probably prefer 3000mg. Some like lithium for anger, but for me it just took the edge off. My heart goes out to you. I too had sad young children and a frightened, confused, withdrawn husband trying hard to deny the whole thing. I had to fight a very strong desire to run. I'm still working on my temper, but we are all still together ten years later and doing so much better and they did want me to stay. I can't imagine dealing with your son's issues on top of it all, and it's good to hear how much he loves you. After all, nobody deserves their kids... Hang in there, and make that doctor pull his/her weight, SG
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