Saturday, October 28, 2017

No, I won’t do it.  No way.  Absolutely not.  It’s just not going to happen.

Yesterday my P-Doc told me that she wanted me to enter a Mental Health Residence.  No.  I won’t do it.  No way.  Absolutely not.  It’s just not going to happen. 

Her reasoning was that because she has switched up my med combos three times in the last month, and none of the cocktails are working, she wants me under 24-hour surveillance so that other mental health care providers can watch me and observe how I react to a new med combo.

Now, at first this might make sense.  The residence houses, in addition to patients, a couple of live-in psychiatrists.  Hmmm, OK, there’s definitely an environment wherein I can be observed.  However, what percentage of my perceived behavior and reaction to new meds is actually based on my reaction to a strange environment?  Strange house, strange bed, strange food, strange bathroom, and strange crazy people who are, like me, doing their own crazy jive. And, furthermore, there wouldn’t be any of the personal comforts I have to keep myself stable (or at least try to become stable).  My hobbies, my cats, my gardens, my pillow and blanket--even my chicken noodle soup and saltine crackers! 

Just the act of taking a trip and being in a strange environment is stressful enough to trigger a psychotic break.  And, I’ve been directed to have no social interactions for a while.  So how would living in a strange environment, socially interacting with strangers in a very personal situation be conducive to stabilizing me?  This, I simply can’t understand no matter how hard I try.

The bottom line is No.  I won’t do it.  No way.  Absolutely not.  It’s just not going to happen.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

What's in a Word

I've always had a robust vocabulary, and have found great pride in being able to access, in a split second, the right word for any particular occasion.  But, oftentimes a psychotic break, or a new med combo, puts a damper on everything and hinders my ability to "find my words".  When this happens, though, there is still the wonderful realm of bipolar-specific vocabulary.

There are words and phrases that simply roll off of the tongues of those with bipolar, and do so without requiring much thought or effort.  We know these words, they are a regular part of our day-to-day communications.  And, with this, it's like being a member of a secret society or club, whether or not one wants to.

Here's a short list of some of those special words/phrases:
  • SSRI
  • Shock Waves
  • Hypomania
  • Mania
  • Mixed Episode
  • Rapid Cycling
  • Situational Depression
  • Depressive/Manic Predominant
  • Baseline
  • P-Doc
  • T-Doc
  • Cognitive Remediation (well, Cognitive "Anything", reallly)
  • DSM
  • Psychosocial Function
  • Euphoria
  • Lassitude
  • Equilibrium
  • Mood Log
  • Internal Critic
  • Shame
  • Guilt
  • Burden

And, finally, a phrase undeniably familiar to anyone with Bipolar Disorder:
  • "How is your mood today?" vs. "How's your day going today?"

Do you have any bipolar-specific words, phrases, descriptors?  I invite you to share with a comment, so we can get the most from our secret-club member benefits!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Rust Never Sleeps

Take it any way you want:

"Never underestimate the power of the underdog"
Neil Young's 1979 album with Crazy Horse
The philosophy in which artistic complacency is avoided
Devo's slogan for a Rustoleum advertising campaign
Or the scientific explanation that iron exposed to oxygen will not cease to oxidize

Whatever the case, I'm back.  And I'm back in full swing.  I've been living in a mixed episode for a couple of years, and it's now come to a head.  I didn't realize it was happening, it was evolving so slowly.  So, now I'm back with a T-Doc and a P-doc after having been without for five years--since leaving Texas.  (How many things am I grateful for in that last sentence? HA!)

Has my writing style changed?  Maybe, but I'm pretty sure my sense of humor and general view on life haven't.  What?  What's that?  My general view on life?  Well, that's something I don't really have a grip on at the moment.  My friends, I'm truly lost at this point in my life.  But, I'm working my way back . . . 

So, welcome me back while I embark again on the path toward balance.  I'm still rusting along, and I hope to keep on blogging and simultaneously become stable.  I have a bunch of tales, anecdotes, observations, ponderings, and findings to pass along to you.  

Let's see what happens.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Well, I've had it with Abilify (vilify).  It makes me fat and bloated, and gives me such terrible night sweats that I rarely get more than four hours of sleep before the bedclothes and mattress are soaked.  So, what's a bipolar girl to do?  I'm taking myself off of it. Mostly, so I can get a decent night's sleep.

Now, I'm a little nervous about this.  I first began taking Abilify (vilify) about three years ago on an "as needed" basis.  And that worked just fine.  My doc (at the time) prescribed that when I felt a depressive swing coming on I was to pop an Abilify (vilify) each day for a couple of days so as to keep the trough from becoming too low.

And it worked, for a while.  Then, a big depression hit me, and a simple few days of Abilify (vilify) didn't do the trick.  I took a dose each day for a few days, but then the depression persisted.  I tried this over and over and finally gave in and began taking it every day.  This was three months ago and I've been taking it daily ever since.  And I hate it.

So, this should be an easy issue to resolve, right?  I should simply go to my psychiatrist and explain the problem and start working with her on a med adjustment.  The only problem is that I don't currently have a psychiatrist.  I'm unemployed.  I get my meds from a non-profit clinic and don't have the funds to see a psychiatrist (talk about walking a treacherous line).  So, I'm on my own, and this scares me.

I've been searching the internet for various information regarding self-weaning and each and every article starts with something like, "The first step is to consult your doctor before discontuing Abilify" (vilify).  Great, well, I already knew that.  So, first step avoided, on to the next step.

eHow tells me that in Step 2, "The tapering should be done over the course of weeks--not days--and you should proceed as slowly and cautiously as you possibly can. Quitting the medicine cold turkey will cause psychosis and will alter your emotional state drastically. You may shake, be fearful, faint, suffer worsening psychosis or suffer a nervous breakdown by trying to wean yourself off of Abilify all at once or too quickly."

Wonderful.  Well, I already knew that, too.

Step 3 tells me, "Slowly begin to decrease the amount of Abilify you take. It may be better if you taper off your dosage every week. It is possible to taper down your dosages over the course of a few days, but generally this is not a safe process and withdrawal symptoms may be severe."

Check, I already knew that as well.

In Step 4 I'm advised that, "Once you have weaned yourself, you may begin taking new medicine to alleviate symptoms of your disorder. It is crucial that you do not start taking Abilify again.

Uh, does that mean I shouldn't go back to the regular routine of taking it as needed?  Crap, wish I could afford a psychiatrist.  OK, hmmmm, I guess I'll move forward . . .

Step 5:  "Do not be surprised if withdrawal symptoms continue even after you are no longer taking Abilify. General withdrawal symptoms include difficulty in thinking, concentrating and conversing; suicidal thoughts; emotional instability; shaking; mild to severe anxiety; panic attacks and changes in abstract thinking processes."

Gee, sounds like I run the risk of being bipolar.  Whatever.

So, my friends, I'm going to start by taking a half dose daily for a week (if I can manage to get those nasty little pills cut into halves), and then move on to taking a half dose every other day for two weeks, and then stop.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

Over the last few months I've been experience nights sweats.  And these sweats are major.  They're full-blown soak the sheets, blanket and pillow case sweats.  When they wake me up I can feel droplets of sweat dripping down my back.  It feels like bugs crawling on my skin.  I've had to change the sheets many nights because there was simply not a square inch of the bed that was dry.

This goes beyond annoying, it disrupts my sleep--what precious bit of it I can get, thank you ever so much agitation and hypomania.

So, I've decided to hunt around and see if people with bipolar disorder have a higher incidence of night sweats.  I did a lot of searching on the internet and really didn't find any reports of the disorder causing night sweats.  But, I did find a lot of reports of common medications used to treat bipolar disorder as causing night sweats.

One report I found was particularly informative. conducted a study of night sweats experienced by people with bipolar disorder.  The results were based on data from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The data showed that 62.54% of the subjects studied were women (and thus, 35.48% men).  And, the highest incidence occurred in people between 40 and 49 years of age (43.86%.  22.81% for the 30-39 group; 17.54% for the 50-59 group; 10.53% for the 60+ group).

What was interesting to me was the link between night sweats and medications.  Here's a list of the medications and the percentage of night-sweaters using them.

Lamictal -- 37.93%
Seroquel -- 32.76%
Depakote -- 25.86%
Aspirin -- 13.79%
Geodon -- 13.79%
Abilify -- 13.79%
Zyprexa -- 12.07%
Klonopin -- 12.07%
Zoloft -- 10.34%
Risperdal -- 10.34%

Well, that suggests something about my particular situation.  I've taken Cymbalta and Lamictal for years, and would take Abilify when I was able to sense depression coming on.  For the past few months, though, I've had to adjust my meds and have been taking the Abilify daily.  Hmmmmm, interesting.  I think I've found the culprit.  Apparently, for me, the Lamictal doesn't cause the sweats, but the combination of Abilify and Lamictal does.

Well, I can't exactly go off of the Abilify, so I guess I'll just have to sweat it out.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Up Half the Night Redux

Again, I find myself sleepless.  Am I entering a hypomania?  I always ask myself that question when this happens.  Preparing for the ride.  But now that I'm on meds, the ride's not that fun anymore.  It's just annoying.

Used to be a hypomania was wonderful.  I got things done! My house was always spotless and scrubbed! I could work on multiple projects at one time -- and finish them!  I exercised!  I cooked!  I was the smartest person on the face of the earth and I had sooo many ideas!

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm glad that I'm stabilized.  Stabilization means that I don't have to drop into the "Big Bad."  The endless weeks of pain, despair and inertia.  I'm glad for the stabilization from that perspective.

Now, however, when I'm sleepless I have motivation for nothing other than sitting on my butt, chain smoking, and watching TV.  And let me tell you about mid-night television.  It sucks.

This is what my choices are tonight:  Sexy Adult Toy Shopping; Inspiration Today Camp Meeting; Dr. Phil reruns; Color Splash Watches: May Day Hot for Summer Event; Smooth Legs for Summer; Total Gym for $14.99; Miracle-Ear; Want More Sex?; Big Buying Secrets; Steam Clean for a Healthy Home; World's Best Blender; Fashion Star Beauty by Maybelline NY; Travel Tips and Hotspots; Shepherd's Chapel; Health Inspectors; Sexy Abs; World's Wildest Police Videos; Look Younger Instantly . . . you get the idea.

I finally do find something to watch -- stand up comedy, which I like.  But even that is painful.  The commercials come every five minutes.  In the last half hour I've been urged to purchase: We Are 18 Phone Sex; T-Mobile;; Progressive Insurance;; DishTV; Durex condoms; Sonic Chicken Club sandwiches;; Factory Direct Diamonds; a Buick Concord; Old Spice; Allegra;; Act Dry Mouth mouthwash; more T-Mobile; 5-Hour Energy;; hotel booking;emeralds from The Jewelry Exchange; more Durex condoms; Geico insurance; Xenadrine Weight Loss;; Hulu Plus; Enzyte 24/7 Male Peak Performance; and Adam and Eve adult "entertainment products."

Looks like I need to start subscribing to premium channel cable.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Up Half the Night

I've been sleeping pretty well lately, but this morning I was up and wide awake at 3:15.  So, I spent my time chain smoking and listening to YouTube.  I found myself really interested in Les Paul and the various musicians who play the Gibson Les Paul guitar. 

For those of you who don't know (and please forgive me, I'm pretty much cutting and pasting this from Wikipedia), Les Paul was an American jazz, country and blues guitarist, songwriter, and inventor. He was one of the pioneers of the solid-body electric guitar, which made the sound of rock and roll possible. He is credited with many recording innovations. Although he was not the first to use the technique, his early experiments with overdubbing (also known as sound on sound), delay effects such as tape delay, phasing effects and multitrack recording were among the first to attract widespread attention.

His innovative talents extended into his playing style, including licks, trills, chording sequences, fretting techniques and timing, which set him apart from his contemporaries and inspired many guitarists of the present day. He recorded with his wife Mary Ford in the 1950s, and they sold millions of records.

Among his many honors, Paul is one of a handful of artists with a permanent, stand-alone exhibit in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He is prominently named by the music museum on its website as an "architect" and a "key inductee" along with Sam Phillips and Alan Freed.

The Gibson Les Paul is a solid body electric guitar that was first sold in 1952. The Les Paul was designed by Ted McCarty in collaboration with popular guitarist Les Paul, whom Gibson enlisted to endorse the new model. It is one of the most well-known electric guitar types in the world.
The Gibson Les Paul is one of the most recognizable guitars of all-time and the artists who brandish it seem to transcend age, era, gender and genre. From heavy metal enthusiasts to indie rock icons to reggae superstars, it seems like nearly every musical legend has strapped on a Les Paul at some point to take advantage of its signature sound.
Here are YouTube links to some of the music I found by musicians playing the Les Paul.

Les Paul playing Sleep Walk

Duane Allman used a 1957 Les Paul Goldtop with PAF pickups, a 1959 cherry sunburst Les Paul, a 1958 tobacco sunburst Les Paul and a 1968 cherry SG which he used for slide guitar.

All of the guitarists of the Rolling Stones (Keith Richards, Mick Taylor, Ronnie Wood, and Brian Jones) played (and still play) Gibson guitars, including Les Paul models. 
The American blues musician who is considered the "father of modern Chicago blues," Muddy Waters was a major inspiration for the British blues explosion in the 1960s and is ranked No. 17 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Muddy Waters used a Les Paul Goldtop in his early career.

B.B. King has used many different Gibson models, including an ES-5 and an ES-175 early in his career; later he began using thinline semi-acoustic models such as an ES-330, ES-335 and ES-345. King's Signature ES-355, nicknamed Lucille, has been his main guitar for many years.

Mick Ralphs used a Les Paul Junior, a Firebird and a Les Paul during his Mott the Hoople tenure; and a Les Paul Standard and a Flying V during his years with Bad Company. Although being a British band, Bad Company had more success in the United States than in the United Kingdom. Four of their albums were certified Gold by the British Phonographic Industry, while another four other albums were certified Multi-Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.

 Eddie Van Halen has used a Les Paul, an ES-335 and a 1958 Flying V. 

 Joe Walsh uses a Les Paul Standard and an EDS-1275. Walsh was known for "hot-wiring" the pickups on these guitars to create his trademark "attack" sound 

Another Gibson guitar player, George Thorogood's Move It On Over is the second album by George Thorogood & The Destroyers released by Rounder Records in 1978. The album contains no original material. Its title track received major FM radio airplay when released, as did the Bo Diddley cover, "Who Do You Love?" 

Mark Knopfler is known for playing a 1979 Gibson Les Paul Standard Reissue '59 on the Dire Straits song 'Money for nothing'. He also owns a 1985 Gibson Les Paul Standard Reissue '59, Sunburst. This customshop model has got his birthdate (12849) as the serialnumber. He also plays other Gibson models like a 'super 400', an 'es 175' and a 'Chet Atkins.

Albert King was a left-handed "upside-down/backwards" guitarist: he usually played a Flying V flipped over upside-down so the low E string was on the bottom.
The Les Paul guitar is produced by Gibson. Another signature guitar produced by Gibson is the Duane Eddy Signature Model.

 Jeff Beck purchased his first Les Paul, a 1959 model, for £150 while still a member of The Yardbirds. Beck's fascination with the guitar sprang as much from his interest in Les Paul, the man, as from his love of the guitar itself. Beck told an interviewer: "It had a deep powerful sound and you could use it to imitate just about anything - violin, sax, cello, even a sitar." Beck also used an "oxblood" colored 1954 Les Paul Standard, with PAF pickups, from 1972 to 1976 and is pictured with the guitar on the cover artwork of his Blow by Blow album.

Les Paul and his Wife, Mary Ford

Hope you enjoyed this varied collection and found something you like.