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  1. Thank you all for the support. It's so good to have a place to talk about this stuff where people believe me and don't accuse me of making a big deal out of nothing. My pdoc was very clear the last time that I saw him that I should be in touch and that he could call in the seroquel prescription if I felt I needed it and that I could see him before my next scheduled appointment if necessary. He's not *super* available (he's only in my city one day a week) but he was a bit concerned so he wanted to be sure that I knew I could ask for help if I needed it. I think I'll send him an email.
  2. Hi all -- Haven't been here in a while because I was doing well, but now not so much, so I'm back.... Background: diagnosed bipolar II about a year and a half ago. Took lamotrigine for about a year and finally went off it because it was making me constantly anxious and agitated and I couldn't stand it anymore. After I went off it (so I was/am unmedicated except for a prn benzo for anxiety), I was doing really well for a while, feeling normal, doubting my diagnosis once again but still seeing my pdoc and tdoc regularly. About 6-8 weeks ago, though, the twitchy, agitated, easily distracted and irritated, pull-your-skin-off feeling came back. There was one day when it was really bad, when I was just really pissed off at the world and when I got home from work I went for a run to try to get my energy down. While waiting for a stop light to change, I got into a verbal confrontation with a stranger that is really out of character for me, but I felt awesome about it. After my run, I still had too much energy except I felt great instead of angry, but there was a kind of discomfort under the good feeling, and that little voice saying, "This isn't good, this is wrong." My girlfriend was worried about me, and I saw her concern and I wanted to relate to it but I couldn't, it was like I was blocked from understanding it. I knew something was wrong, intellectually, but I couldn't feel it, if that makes sense. I took an ativan but it didn't seem to help. That was the worst day. The twitchy horribleness lasted for about three weeks, and then faded away. After that I felt sort of all over the place for a few weeks, hating my life, crying a lot, sex drive went to nothing, really emotionally reactive. I started obsessively researching early retirement and investing because I hate working full time and I think it's affecting my mental health. I desperately wanted to drop several hundred dollars on a new gaming system (which I also obsessively researched), but my girlfriend convinced me to wait and the desire faded after about a week (I'm really glad now that I didn't buy it!). Told all of this to my tdoc but she thought that everything I had been feeling was "within normal human experience." Hearing that was so upsetting -- like, if this is what everybody deals with in life, then why is it so hard for me? What's wrong with me that I can't deal with "normal human experience" like everyone else can? She mentioned a lack of "distress tolerance" -- I told her that I think I have decent distress tolerance, I just experience more distress than other people! She didn't seem to believe me. I cried for an hour at home after that session and then refused to see her again (I have an appointment with a new tdoc this week). I haven't been sleeping well, but I have been sleeping. I haven't been tired at night and I feel like I don't need to sleep but I know sleep is important so I get into bed around the same time every night and eventually I sleep, even if I wake up a lot and toss and turn all night. I'm good at getting myself to sleep. I figured I was hypomanic (mixed? dunno) during the twitchy phase, but then I thought it was over and now I'm just miserable because I hate my job and where I live but I'm trapped because my girlfriend is in school and we have to stay at least until she finishes. Saw my pdoc last week for the first time since all this has happened, and he thinks I'm still hypomanic. He said that this isn't a big emergency but we need to be careful. He said that the fact that I'm managing to sleep is what's protecting me, along with the fact that I have a stable job, good place to live, long-term supportive partner, and other healthy habits. He wants me to consider taking a low dose of seroquel (25-50 mgs) at night when I'm feeling amped up, just so I can sleep more soundly. He also said that we can wait this out and see if it goes away -- I'm seeing him again in a month, instead of in 3 months like we were doing before. I don't feel like I'm hypomanic, but I'm also not very good at recognizing it when it's happening. I feel like I'm constantly questioning myself and I don't know what normal is so I don't know if what I'm feeling is normal or not. I don't know what I'm asking here. I guess I should try the seroquel? It couldn't hurt, right? I just hate taking meds.
  3. I've always had the most problems while working full-time, which I haven't done a lot. Some years ago I worked retail full-time for about a year before I couldn't stand it anymore and ended up running off to Europe for a couple of months and then moving across the country. After that I took online classes for my master's degree, worked part-time from home, and worked part-time at another job and things went well for a few years. Having a lot of free time and a lot of alone time kept me calm and that time was the most stable I've ever been. I started working full-time again about a year ago, and things quickly went downhill. That's when I finally got diagnosed as bipolar and started meds. Titrating was really hard and I had to call in sick sometimes because I just couldn't deal with coming in to work, but things are better now. I did disclose my diagnosis to my boss so I could get permission to work from home a few times a month, which has been hugely helpful. I definitely have to work harder at the skills I'm learning in therapy and I have to pay close attention to my moods and my state of mind so I can exercise self-care before things get bad. I can't be complacent. It feels like a struggle a lot of the time but I hope it'll get easier as those skills become more routine and automatic. I like my job and I'm just getting started on the career I want, so I'm motivated to take care of myself so I can do my job.
  4. Oh wow, I'm going through this same thing. Feeling really happy for no reason a lot of the time, which hasn't happened in a long time. Last weekend I cleaned for five hours straight. Last night I went out and I was crazy social and got five hours of sleep and I feel great today (usually I need about nine hours). Yesterday I was horribly twitchy and couldn't sit still. Having BIG BIG feelings, huge swellings of love and empathy for the world, feeling connected to humanity. But then, it's not happening all the time and not all signs point to hypo -- I'm not super productive, I don't have the pressured speech, and things aren't quite as intense as the other times when I knew I was hypo. I don't feel like I'm "going crazy," which is how I've felt in the past -- knowing that I was going crazy but not caring because it felt great. Before I was diagnosed I would call it the Good Crazy (as opposed to the Bad Crazy, which I now recognize as mixed episodes). Saw my tdoc yesterday and we talked about all this. She didn't seem that concerned and we couldn't decide if this was hypomania or just happiness. She told me to be more diligent with tracking my moods and she wants to set up a more concrete treatment plan for when this stuff happens so it doesn't escalate. She also told me that it's good that I'm feeling so many wonderful things, though, and that I should enjoy that. My plan for now is just to try not to "lean into" the feelings too much -- I think that if I don't make myself sleep, if I seek out too many social and stimulating experiences, if I overindulge in caffeine or pot or alcohol, that this could turn into full-fledged hypomania, and while there's a part of me that finds that idea immensely appealing, my more logical side knows that it's not healthy.
  5. Howdy. Question. I've been at my current dose of meds for 2-3 months now and I've finally started to feel some stability. It's been awesome and I didn't know life could be like this. But there are still days where I get stressed out by general life stuff or things at my job and I feel like I can't deal. I get that overwhelmed, twitchy, can't concentrate, near tears, quick to anger feeling and all I want to do is run away from life and hide in my apartment. The good thing is that these times only last around 3-5 days now instead of weeks or months like they did before, which I'm assuming is an effect of the meds -- and believe me, I'm grateful for that. Is this as good as it gets? Will I never be able to handle stress without falling back into instability? I've talked to my therapist about handling stress, but one of the big things I'm supposed to do is reduce the sources of stress in my life and I feel like I've done that as much as I can. I have to work, I have to grocery shop, I have to commute, I have to do everyday life things and it seems ridiculous that the stress from those simple things is "too much" for me. Maybe I'm just not working hard enough on the other stress-relieving measures I'm supposed to do. This morning I was in such a good mood, but then there were several issues at work and lots of interruptions and now I hate everything. I should work from home tomorrow (I do have that option 2-3 times a month) but I worry that my boss and coworkers will think it's just because I want a long weekend and I don't want to come in because it's raining. Making the choice to work from home is stressful in itself because of the guilt I feel for doing it. I've only been working full-time for about a year, and it was only after I started this job that things got really bad. I mean, things have never been great, but I was generally able to deal with life when I worked part-time at a job out of the house and part-time from home. The other times, years ago, that I "went crazy" was also when I was working full-time or taking full loads of college classes while keeping a job. I can't help but think that that's part of the problem, but I don't know how to get around it. I have to work. I have to learn to deal. Sorry this got so long. How do you all deal with stress? If you work full-time, what helps you deal with that?
  6. I felt very similar feelings to what you're describing for pretty much the entire time I was titrating up on lamotrigine (Lamictal). Extreme irritability, bouts of rage, shaking and twitching hands, feeling like everything was overwhelming all the time. No psychosis, but I definitely felt like I was "going crazy." After several weeks on my current dose, I'm finally starting to stabilize.
  7. People have varying opinions about who to tell, some have had terrible experiences from disclosing, others have found things to be easier after telling select people. You'll have to figure out for yourself what works best for you. If a doctor (of any kind) asks what medications I'm on, I absolutely disclose -- they need to know about the meds but not the diagnosis. As far as my personal life, I told my parents but not my siblings. I told my girlfriend and three of my very close friends who I had been talking to about the difficulties I had leading up to diagnosis. I told my manager at work because I needed to explain my many appointments and sick days, and to request the ability to occasionally work from home.
  8. I had no idea this was a bipolar thing. I thought that I just couldn't deal with the world the way that everyone else seems to be able to. I work full-time in a low-stress job and even just that by itself is so exhausting that it's often hard to do anything else, even enjoyable things. All I want to do is stay home and read and craft and be by myself. And if other things are stressing me out, forget it. I moved recently and it led to meltdowns every day after work for a week.
  9. Lorazepam, solitude, and loud angry rock music in headphones help me. Getting caught up in a crafting project, sewing or making jewelry. Avoiding situations that will make it worse, which means not leaving my apartment unless absolutely necessary, not trying to cook anything elaborate, never rushing to get anything done, etc. My tdoc is also having me do the free short guided meditations on the UCLA MARC website -- they can usually calm me down pretty well, but of course I have to be able to sit still for five minutes in order to do them.
  10. This is *exactly* how I feel right now. I'm also familiar with thinking back on depressed times and thinking there was no way they were that bad and that I was definitely overreacting. Everything here is hitting really close to home.
  11. I thought I was doing so well. Well enough that I was beginning to doubt my diagnosis or think that maybe the meds were starting to work. Then I woke up from yet another nightmare and now I can't feel anything.
  12. I do this all the time. Sometimes it's related to agitation, but I also think I'm just a fidgeter by nature. My gf notices it when it's happening and asks me if I'm okay, but most of the time I'm fine and it just feels nice to fidget. I've also noticed different kinds of fidgeting that I do and some are okay, some are not -- leg shaking is usually fine, but hand wringing or head jerking mean something's wrong. From what I've read, fidgeting doesn't *have* to be related to some kind of problem, but if it's causing you distress, then it could be worth asking a doc about.
  13. What people are saying about mixed episodes sounds very familiar, especially the "claw out of your skin" and "complete meltdown" bits. It is exhausting, and it makes me tense because I never know where my mood is going to take me or when things will get really bad or when they'll get better.
  14. omg if i had a dollar for every time i heard that one... Some people think MJ cures everything. I'd like to know what they'd have to say when I told them that I've been smoking weed almost every day for years (since before diagnosis) but it never made me magically better...
  15. I have a mood tracker on my phone that asks for my mood five times a day, from "couldn't be worse" to "insanely great". It is quite helpful. Usually what I'll see when stable is lots of entries of "okay" or "fine" and when I'm unstable it's mostly "bad" or "very bad" with some "great" in there. It has a graph that makes it easy to see when the bars are mostly mid-range or when they're really up and down. Sometimes it's hard to choose a mood, though, because I might be feeling really good but also really agitated and I don't know if I should go with good or bad.
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