My First Mixed State

My First Mixed State

My First Mixed State

I’ve been struggling with bipolar II for sixteen years now and while my hypomania has become more and more tame over the years my depression has been worsening. Normally they are two separate states I am either depressed (from moderate – severe) or hypomanic. Depression is near constant but every once in awhile I get a “break” from it and experience a hypomanic episode which generally leads to me being optimistic and motivated to fix some area of my life. Lately though I’ve had the worst of both worlds for the first time in my life that I know of and it is horrible.

My mixed state is so debilitating. I sleep too much, do absolutely nothing yet my brain is absolutely flooded with racing thoughts and I am overspending like crazy. Everything I am buying is intended to help me get over this. Crystals, books on bipolar II or changing your core beliefs, aroma therapy oils and a diffuser. I haven’t showered in weeks but, I’m creating spreadsheets and a binder for my healing crystals. It is so frustrating and I just don’t know what to do. How do you make yourself do something (other than shopping)? That may seem like a silly question to someone without mental illness but for me it is and has been the most important question there is.

I can be organized and productive but usually it is due to hypomania and comes with a cost; irritability, going broke, realizing my hopes and dreams are unrealistic, and the inevitable depression that follows. I can’t be sure if I’ve ever been well and productive but if I have, if it wasn’t hypomania, it taxed my body and mind so much that I crashed and burned eventually. This worries me. What if I can’t be well? Have I ever really been well? Is this my first mixed state or am I just noticing it this time because I’m out of work? Are there any foolproof plans for overcoming this? Can I ever learn to manage my bipolar II? Am I ADD or is it my bipolar?

I am looking into answers to these questions and one approach I’m interested in is to get myself a full neuropsych evaluation. I’ve never had one and I think/hope that it will illuminate which of my issues are chemical and which are learned, which stem from PTSD and which stem from genetics, which disorders I really have. Have you found solace or help in neuropsych testing? The other option is DNA testing. From what I’ve read understanding my DNA is an easier way for a prescriber to figure out which medications work best for me. If you’ve had experience with this, positive or negative, I would love to hear from you. I don’t know what else I can do. I am in therapy, taking my meds, and I’m in an Intensive Outpatient Program and yet I am still a mess. It’s never been this bad in fact.

I need to get back to work for my sanity and to become more financially comfortable but I am in no state to apply for and interview for jobs or work for that matter. I can’t even brush my teeth or eat a well balanced meal how can I go to work everyday? I’m terrified to go on disability, I feel like that has a stigma attached to it that I’ll never be able to wash off. I mean no offense to anyone on disability and would love to hear your experiences. Does it hurt you when you’re trying to find a job? Can employers tell you’re on it? I don’t intend to be on it forever. I want to go back to school and get a job I love and I am afraid it will hurt me. I haven’t even researched it so please forgive me if I sound completely ignorant on the matter because I am. I’m terrified to research it. I don’t want to accept that it’s inevitable.

Does it have to be inevitable? I know people can hold a job while having bipolar. I know people can lead full lives but, I can’t seem to. Are there people who just can’t? Mixed states don’t last forever do they? There has to be some relief coming, right? There has to be some help I haven’t thought to ask for. I know this post raises far more questions than it answers but, that sort of sums up how I feel. My head is swimming with questions that I can’t answer yet. I suppose it is more that I won’t find the answers. I won’t do the work. I can’t do the work. If you have any answers I would appreciate your feedback very much. I hope this post finds you well or on your way to wellness.

Journal Entry: Feb 12, 2016 (Fiscally Responsible)

Journal Entry: Feb 12, 2016 (Fiscally Responsible)

Journal Entry: Feb 12, 2016 (Fiscally Responsible)

Brushed Teeth: Yes
Walked: Yes 44 min 2.24 miles
Healthy Breakfast: Yes
Shower: Yes
No Dunks or Starbucks: Yes though I was tempted
Mood: OK for most of the day then it got dark and I got blah

So it was another winning day for me and I got a mani/pedi to celebrate all of my accomplishments which I think is only right. I’ve been very good. I may not have beaten my depressed mood back yet but, I’ve conquered stopped falling victim to my worst symptoms. I’m taking care of myself while depressed. It’s a miracle. I also got to see my nephews today. I decided maybe to help me with my mood I should get out more so I went to my Sister’s house to play with my nephews and then watch Scandal once they fell asleep. The visit definitely made me happy but, it was short lived. I started feeling the dread as I was leaving her house partly due to anxiety over whether I’d be able to get my morning routine done because it was a little late when I left. I did my free writing homework but, this time the 5 minutes which felt like 5 seconds the first time, felt like 5o minutes. I think the key is to do it midday instead.

So onto the topic of this post, I was fiscally responsible this week after thinking irresponsibly. I bought my desk and chair for like $100 and it is definitely worth it I think but, after I got that set up I replaced our bedroom lamps (also a good move) but, then I decided I wanted space to do yoga and so I wanted a TV in my room. I told my boyfriend and he was all for it, let’s get a 50″ for the living room and move the 43″ to the bedroom. I started doing research and then when we were going to go to Best Buy I said, “this is crazy, I’m out of work, we should NOT be buying a TV.” He agreed and that was the end of that but, still I almost spent $500 on a luxury while only earning 75% pay on Long Term Disability. That was scary when I realized how foolish an idea that was. If I want to do yoga I can use my laptop to watch my favorite YouTube Yogi Adriene.

So yay me! I caught myself before making a silly purchase. I don’t know if it was hypomania per say because I haven’t really felt hypomanic. My hypomania is not just buy, buy, buy! There are a lot of symptoms that go with it. I think it was more just a somewhat normal “Fixing up a room? Go big or go home!” mentality. It’s easy to get carried away I think. Have you caught yourself before doing something impulsive and possibly reckless and did it make you feel proud that you caught yourself or worried that you almost did it? I’d love to hear from you. I hope this post finds you well or on your way to wellness.

Mental Illness and Obesity

Mental Illness and Obesity

Mental Illness and Obesity

I am obese. I have been for a long time now. I think I may be genetically predisposed, none of my relatives are stick figures, but I know my habits are to blame in large part. Being obese makes me hate my body and leads to more negative self talk, depression, and anxiety but, I think being mentally ill is what makes me obese. You see bad habits are harder to break and good habits are harder to form, though I am trying, when you’ve got bipolar (mostly depression), ADD, anxiety, and PTSD. They feed into each other. I’m obese because I’m mentally ill and I’m having trouble overcoming my mental illnesses because I’m obese. It’s a problem I am sure many people have. I thought about doing some research on this matter but, I think it is very easy to come by, the link between weight and mental illness whether you are obese or underweight is quite obvious. I think instead I’ll just talk about my weight and my history.

I was always short, thin, and awkward growing up. When I became a teenager curves started developing, my legs started getting “thick” as one guy put it but, I was still in a size 3 and had flat abs. The guys loved it and that was very important to me at the time. I wasn’t crazy about my legs, I did Legs of Steel workouts to try and slim them down but, not really in earnest. Then I had kids. Now you might think I’m going to say they made me fat but, you’d be wrong, I was right back in my size 3 jeans after my children. I had my children very young, I was 16 and 19 when I gave birth. So whenever I say “I’m fat” to someone and they say, “well you have two kids” I have to tell them they are not to blame at all. I was able to eat whatever I wanted and not worry about my weight. Though I did do some working out to get rid of the baby weight I didn’t work out regularly and I didn’t keep up with it. Read more

Journal Entry: Jan 19, 2016 (Good Therapy Session)

Journal Entry: Jan 19, 2016 (Good Therapy Session)

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Today I woke up, brushed my teeth, and went to the gym, in the right order this time. The mile felt harder today for some reason, probably because I didn’t stretch yesterday. I did today so I hope tomorrow it’ll be a little easier. I then went to my Sister’s house to spend time with her and my two adorable nephews who are crazy but, super adorable so I don’t mind. They are almost 3 and 8 months old. I wrote in yesterday’s journal entry that tomorrow (Wednesday) I was going to try to take the 30 mg slow release Adderall and see if I could stay out of bed all day, I realized today that is quite a jump from 10 mg-30 mg so instead I’ve decided to take 20 mg of the fast acting stuff today I took one in the am and one around 5pm, before I got too lazy to see if it keeps me going if it does I think I’ve solved the problem but, I really should step it up slowly so 1 week with two doses of 10 mg a day and then I’ll increase to the 30 mg. Very boring stuff I am sure. I treated myself today to Ida Maria’s album Fortress ’round My Heart which is my favorite but, I didn’t own for some reason. I also treated myself to a dozen white roses. I hate grocery shopping so I think I deserve a reward for doing so and buying some healthy junk too. Read more

Journal Entry: Jan 18, 2016 (Up and Down)

Journal Entry: Jan 18, 2016 (Up and Down)

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I did it! On Sunday I said I’d stack another habit to my teeth brushing habit and I did it. Well I forgot to brush my teeth (not completely, I just did it after) but, I got my walk in. My original plan was to walk around my cul-de-sac but Sunday night it snowed and dumped 6″ or so on the ground so that plan was out I was about to give up when I decided I have a gym membership I’m going to use it. I strapped on my boots, put my sneakers in a bag, cleaned off my car and went to the gym to walk on the treadmill. I walked 1 mile. I have decided that is what I’m starting with 1 mile every day, until my mile gets shorter it’s now like 21 minutes. Before all of the junk that happened in part IV of my PTSD series my mile was about 16 minutes and I could consistently keep up speed. Now I’m just so slow, my muscles are not strong enough yet to get back to my speedy ol’ self. But I went! That is the big announcement. My hypomania got me there. I went and I got my mile in. Read more

Hypomania: My Best Frenemy

Hypomania: My Best Frenemy

Hypomania: My Best Frenemy

Hypomania can be great. It can raise you up out of a long depression and give you a sense of purpose but, it isn’t always nice. I love that today when I woke up I took my walk, even though I couldn’t do it outdoors because 6 inches of snow fell last night, my hypomania pushed me to strap on my boots, clean off my car, and go to the gym to walk on the treadmill. On the other hand my hypomania has caused me to be a bit more free with cash. I’ve been buying things just because I want them, not something I ordinarily do. I’m going to write a list of Pros and Cons about my dear frenemy hypomania. Please feel free to contribute to this list in the comments section. Read more

Journal Entry: Jan 16, 2016 (Started High, Ended Low)

Journal Entry: Jan 16, 2016 (Started High, Ended Low)

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I brushed my teeth again. OK I need to add a new habit. I will but, for now let’s talk about yesterday because again my journal entry is being posted the next day. I woke up full of piss and vinegar. I have been, lately and unexpectedly, a morning person. I don’t understand this shift but, it’s good. I woke up ready to get on my mail sorting. This is probably becoming old news by now I’ve mentioned it in multiple posts, but, I don’t open my mail. It is a legitimate problem. It’s all hospital bills at the worst but, I do need to pay them. So I held a mail sorting party. It was a lousy party, no chips or dip and no one showed up. My kids were both “very busy” and my boyfriend was working. Despite my party not going as planned I got a lot done. I still have about a ton more mail to go through but, I made a big dent and I’m proud of that.

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Journal Entry: Jan 11, 2106 (Tired of Daily Naps)

Journal Entry: Jan 11, 2106 (Tired of Daily Naps)

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Well today I was somewhat prolific on the blog. I wrote/finished 3 posts. I hope you enjoyed them. Life wise I was also pretty good. I brushed my teeth this morning again and I even sorted, folded, and put away clean laundry. Mostly because I had no underwear left but, still. It was a more productive day than most and then 5pm hit and I needed a nap.

Napping can be nice but lately I have needed a nap a day. It’s starting to get a little old not being able to stay awake for a full day. I’m not sure what is going on. I’m sleeping at night. Could it just be that my hypomania is making me so jittery and so restless during the morning/day that I tire myself out? I am on Latuda again which can cause drowsiness and I can’t take it in the morning so I take it at night which I think should make it a less likely culprit. Could it just be that I’m in a mixed state? Rapid cycling through mania and depression? It’s just every afternoon. I have therapy tomorrow and though we are trying to do EMDR to fix the root cause of my issues I think this is worth raising.

I suppose I should be happy. I’m a grown up who is out of work and not financially stressed and I get more sleep. Sleep is beautiful and wonderful and comfy. I guess I just think I could get more done if I didn’t have a 2-3 hour nap every day. Maybe tomorrow I’ll set an alarm so I’m only out for an hour or so.

I’m sorry if my journal entries aren’t very interesting. I use them mostly for myself but, I try to bring up some point that someone may be struggling with in each one. Maybe I’ll just keep it up until I am doing better, until I don’t have to think of having to brush my teeth anymore. I hope this finds you well or on your way to wellness.

Journal Entry: Jan 8, 2016 (My Significant Other)

Journal Entry: Jan 8, 2016 (My Significant Other)

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Well, as I said in yesterday’s post Pulling Myself Out of Depression One Habit at a Time, I have decided to start posting journal entries here. I hope they are as helpful for you as I imagine they will be for me. I also said in that post that I am going to start one little easy habit to get me rolling. That habit was brushing my teeth every morning and I am happy to report that I did it. The first day’s always easy though so I’m not going to get too excited. I start things like this all the time but, I think this time it will be different because I’ll have these journal entries to keep me accountable.

Hypomania took hold today. I was antsy and fidgety and wanting everything to happen for this site/cause of mine immediately. I worked most of the day on gaining new Twitter followers, I started a Pinterest, I updated the look of all my social media sites to match the blog. They all look much less amateurish now. I like the changes quite a bit. Hey I just said something positive about myself and I brushed my teeth this morning I think I deserve a gold star.

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I’m Still Struggling

I’m Still Struggling

I hope that my creation of this site, and the twitter handle, and the tumblr, and the facebook page  doesn’t indicate that I’m in any way qualified to help anyone with their problems. I’m just as messed up as anyone else. I admit I was feeling hypomanic when I started all of this and thought I could help people but, not because I thought I was cured or a success story. In a way it’s probably best that I’m not fine. If I hadn’t had depression in years I might be talking about it and remembering it but not really feeling all of it.

My problems are nothing compared to others’ I know but, they are debilitating for me and I’m sure others who have it better or worse than I have felt some of these pains before. That really is why I’m doing this to share my thoughts and feelings on dealing with mental illness. I struggle to brush my teeth, haven’t done it in weeks. I feel disgusting admitting that and my mouth feels gross but, I just can’t seem to do it. I don’t open my mail. Luckily most bills are paid online but, there are plenty of hospital bills I am just blatantly ignoring. I don’t understand my mail phobia. I wish I did and could conquer it. I don’t eat right or at all sometimes. Yesterday I woke up at about 7am and at 6pm I realized I’d only had 8 lifesavers and 4 glasses of apple juice all day. I’m a grown woman (supposedly). That is not healthy.

I know that the thing I lack is routine. I have been out of work since July and that is making me so much more depressed. Yay! I get to binge watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Boo! I’m even less motivated than I was when I was working at my last job which I hated with a passion. I’ve now got a clean bill of physical health but, I’m still waiting for the mental health to catch up. I keep thinking I’m going to hit rock bottom and bounce back or that something is just going to snap into place and I’ll be motivated. I keep thinking the med changes will kick in and fix me but, I know there are no quick fixes. It’s just hard to do the work when getting off the couch feels like a monumental task. This is me most days:

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If you haven’t watched Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt yet what are you waiting for?

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