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Lizzie

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  1. I've been asked to join a disability group as a "disabled artist" and I feel weird identifying OR not identifying as disabled. I function fine (life skills, hold a job and friends) and haven't had a serious episode in years. I guess I'm on the disability spectrum but wouldn't consider myself "disabled"-? Thoughts??
  2. I've been asked to join a disability group as a "disabled artist" and I feel weird identifying OR not identifying as disabled. I function just fine and haven't had a serious episode in years. I guess I'm on the disability spectrum but wouldn't consider myself "disabled"-? Thoughts??
  3. Going off lithium (after 14 years! gah) and my pdoc says the first thing we'll try is oxcarbazepine. Nobody in my support group had heard of it. From what I could see online, it looks okay... Has anyone been on it, and what do/did you think?
  4. Bipolar is part of my identity, for sure. I am a feminist, a daughter, a swimmer, American, queer, bipolar... there are many facets to my identity, these are ways I interact with the world, communities I feel part of. There's a general directive that "I have bipolar" is a better way to identify than "I am bipolar," to distance our sense of self, but when I say "I am bipolar", I mean I know that I will always need to take care of myself in particular ways, that I am part of a community, that I am proud of who I am. (Well, sometimes not *proud*, but for those non-proud times I have understanding and self-compassion.)
  5. Agreed with many above: empathy and compassion, and being able to be a mental health advocate just by listening and talking about it. Re: treatment: I think I take care of myself better since my diagnosis and am very motivated to prioritize my health in general (exercising, sleeping enough). I know myself better because of years of therapy with an excellent pdoc (and now can ask *myself* some of the questions that she might), and related: I'm a good listener, question-asker, and support for my friends (and strangers, sometimes). I also know that I can live through personal hell, and that I gained those tools because of my bp. Re: my experience with episodes: I'm glad they're retrospective now, but I think a lot of it is what Gearhead wrote: I like myself and being bp is part of who I am. It's part of what my (special? Interesting?) life experience is, which is sometimes very intense, and what Aura wrote, that I value the experiences I've had. And I like how being bp is both intensely personal and that I also am part of a big, supportive community. (wow, thanks for this question, mambo! Having a tough time at the moment and this has been awesome to think about. Peace!)
  6. Thanks, all... Thank you!!! And melissaw72, interesting, I'll look into Vitamin D.. and yeah, notloki, I know, long term meds. Has always been something I've *known*, but now finally will need to actually deal with. Hoping the process won't take years again... Hoping I won't land on something really expensive. and for now, just really upset and disappointed.
  7. Just found out that I might need to go off lithium, which has kept me stable for 14 years, because my calcium level is getting too high. I am somewhere between semi-denial and terrified. I DON'T want to get back on the trial-and-error rollercoaster of finding meds that work. BLAH Feeling very emotional, not strategic yet. Trying. I went through this before so I can do it again if I need to, right?? Someone tell me it'll be okay???
  8. Ergh, that's what I'm hoping to avoid - "mentally unhinged" - though it's hard to tell what a thing is and what's just marketing. It's hard for me to not feel oversensitive about stereotypes of mental illness. I feel like I "should" watch Touched With Fire, esp. if Kay Jamison is in it.
  9. I've gotten used to getting my blood drawn every few months to check a variety of levels and functions, it's just part of taking care of myself. It took my doctor and me years to find the right combination of meds and dosages, but now I've been stable for 14 years. Being stable is worth all that work, time and effort and blood draws and more, hands down.
  10. Has anyone seen a good, non-sensationalized movie about bipolar (not a documentary)? I saw a trailer for Touched With Fire but it looks really sensationalized, which makes my skin crawl. (Adorable young bipolars, escaping the hospital holding hands with their crazy love intact... etc.) But maybe that's just the trailer? Someone who's seen it, what did you think? In any case - any recommendations? (This lady cannot live on Lady Dynamite alone!)
  11. I'm bipolar, and when I was manic I had zero appetite. I finally landed on eating as dense, caloric things as I could - I'd eat big power bars in as few bites as possible, same for nuts, full fat milk. It was a drag but it was basically like anything else - I considered them almost the same as taking meds.. I.e., maybe there's something other than weed that could work for allowing you to take in more calories? (For the next month and maybe that'd help even when you can have that once a day big appetite-driven meal, too.) Nuts and power bars pack easily in a suitcase, too. (My own ED was bingeing so it's weird to be in this position! Been a long time to get all this body image/health sorted out.) (Also - wow, you're going through a lot. My best wishes!!) Ruffles seems like a good possible solution. Some brands like Free People have some hippie-ish/stylish tops and dresses.
  12. SLEEP. The need to prioritize keeping sleep regular and consistent. I loved being a night owl sometimes, and a morning person sometimes, and getting just a little or a lot of sleep sometimes, and napping however long I wanted, and to even consider the possibility of a traveling cheap by taking a red-eye flight. And, along those lines, jet lag is AWFUL - I can be out of it and worried and weeping for multiple days. Also, blood draws. I've been getting them for 18 years (for my lith level) and I still hate them. At least by now I've trained myself to take deep breaths instead of holding my breath the whole time.
  13. Music can help steer moods, too (up or down, soothe, make sleepy, help awaken) - something to concentrate on, and kind of "ride."
  14. Wow, it sounds like it varies a TON mostly depending on where you go. Everyone had something positive to say though, which is good to know. (Thanks for your pep talk at the end of your description, TakeAChillPill - cool to hear you feel that way even after your rough experiences.) I guess it'd help if I looked into the psych hospitals near me now, so if I need it I'll have an idea of where to go. Thanks!
  15. I've made it through the thick of my mood swings without being hospitalized (knock wood). The thought of being hospitalized terrifies me though, I think it's mostly because of the UNKNOWN, though I know it's always a possibility for the future. I'm okay now but I've been thinking about this a lot recently. If you've been hospitalized, what was it like??
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