In my last posting I mentioned briefly about my awakening from the murky depths of the Sertraline haze and how nice that felt. Well, it still feels good but it comes with a little baggage. A symptom that had been hidden is showing itself again. That symptom is anxiety and it likes to show up in the evening. I wondered if it’s because that is when I have a little break in my activities or when the sun sets so early now. ( I really dislike the darkness too). I get this feeling of impending doom and feel incredibly lonely.

I’ve been thinking would it help to get myself more involved in society. At this time I am not involved socially with the “outside” world. I go to stores when I need things but I am not socially active at all. If I do go somewhere, I go alone or I go with a family member. I still have friends from years past but I don’t see them regularly and I really don’t keep in touch with the exception of “liking” their status on Facebook or leaving a comment. So, it leaves me wondering how do I get involved and should I?
I could go somewhere on a weekend but only if I felt like it. Then there’s the decision of where to go and how much time to spend and do I really want to. What if I don’t like them? Although I’m not really that hard to please but I am afraid of getting tongue-tied because I do tend to trip over my words now. Is this just a passing phase because the days are so short and I’m beginning to feel incredibly lonely by myself. It dawned on me today that I really am alone but I’m not sure what that means to me deep inside. On one hand it’s a little scary to have only me as a friend. My brain is known to play tricks. But on the other hand maybe I’m not alone and I just need to reach out and “ask for help” look.
I already feel I’m not alone on a spiritual level just to clear the air but I’m not quite there when it comes to living totally without some kind of companionship.
I’m not even thinking about the future in regards to finding a future boyfriend/soulmate (whatever he would be called at my age). I don’t feel the draw towards that at all right now. I believe that will happen spontaneously or not at all. I don’t have the type of personality (as in open and trusting) to try a dating service so I would probably just meet someone while doing a hobby or a job. That is how I met my dear husband, through work.
Maybe I should start watching sports on TV then I would have something in common.  Most people I know are into football, basketball, and hockey. I only know about baseball. I never watched the others when my husband was alive and I really wasn’t much of a fan. I did like hockey though when I was younger. I just feel like it involves so much emotional and physical energy and the pay-off isn’t very good. I’d rather go for a walk than sit on a coach and yell at a TV screen.
Also I’ve stopped drinking, so the social drinking part of socializing is over. I suppose I could drink water but it would be a temptation. But I’m pretty strong when I want to be. I’m really not sure where I fit into today’s standards of socializing. I feel lost. I can’t eat out either because of my IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). I suppose all of this isn’t that unusual for a person with a mental illness either.
It has caused me some anxiety lately too. All of this thinking about the future and what should I be doing. Of course, being here in my house all week with my father can cause me to go stir crazy now that its standard time again and cold weather settles in. I can’t even step outside without freezing.

Maybe all my anxiety comes from worrying too much about what I should be doing? Does anyone else have this problem? Does this all stem from over thinking the situation. Perhaps the Sertraline buried that part of my personality and now it is back. This all could be tied into my OCD too. I don’t know. How does everyone else handle the long winters and the long nights? I’d hate to have to go back on the medication again. I’d like to see if I can find alternative ways to combat the anxiety and mania that stems from this time of year. We’ll see.

Anxiety in the Evening

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Dear Dr. PDoc

I’m happy today because I have to see my pdoc and I’m trying very hard to be happy. Usually I’m not happy and I am anxious. Today will be different. I think the doctor deserves a break from me and my insanity. Maybe I will go in there and start laughing hysterically. No, I’ve done that already. So what, who says I can’t do it twice? When I saw my therapist last week I confessed to her that I had been telling teeny tiny white lies about being sober when I wasn’t being sober but now I have been sober since going off of the Sertraline. The only problem is my pdoc doesn’t know yet and I’m not sure if she slipped him an email telling him or not. They’re always slipping little emails to each other so I can’t get away with any mischief at all. AACK!! But I will come clean to him too, I just will have to squirm around about it because I do feel bad about lying. I never tell lies unless they are to my children and will protect them from harm or protect me from embarrassment from something I did as a teenager or something. So, I want to be happy though because my pdoc is going away for three weeks or so and usually I don’t care but when doctors tell me they are leaving on vacation I always feel abandoned. My brain starts yelling, “What do you mean you’re leaving? What happens to me when you’re gone?” I get all panicky and think its the end of the world and surely a tree will fall on me in the forest. Of course I know he’ll have a back-up pdoc but my stupid brain will still go through it’s PTSD dance of panic and the logical side of the brain will try to act all cool and non-caring like “oh, good, I hate you anyway” and turn the whole appointment into a manic mixed up, stressed out, insanity filled thirty minutes (!) of fun. Hopefully he treats me kindly about the drinking too and realizes that I am crazy and if I was sane I wouldn’t have been drinking in the first place and wouldn’t even be going there.

And, oh, yes,…… did I fail to mention that I cut back on some of my other medications that you prescribed too. OOOPSIE……. well, only a little bit. I cut back on that Depakote that you increased recently and I cut back on the Resperidone by 1/2 a tablet. Can I help it that I want to lose some weight and these medications are guaranteed to make a person gain 90 lbs. a years?? At least I didn’t stop taking them just cut them back a little. It’s quite amazing the awakening I’ve had by stopping the Sertraline though. It’s as if I’ve been at the bottom of a murky pond looking upwards towards the top. I could see the top of the water and the whole time I’ve been holding my breath. Slowly I’ve been making my way to the surface of the water and now finally I have broken through and can breathe again. It’s amazing. I hope he sees how important this is to me and doesn’t just view it all as a bunch of mindless rambling which it may come out as, especially when it’s mixed with maniacal laughing….hahahaha. But, that’s what happens when I’m happy. Got to love it!

Ego I Am

Last night I tried to calm myself by reading. I am currently reading a book by Deepak Chopra called ‘The Ultimate Happiness Prescription: 7 Keys to Joy and Enlightenment‘. As I started chapter two I came upon words that suddenly were aimed directly at me. I could feel the words striking me and sinking to my very core. I felt almost as if I was under a microscope. I had to remind myself that many people have read and will be reading this book. It also was exciting to know that someone was describing how I felt.
Anyway, this chapter discusses finding your true self-esteem. This is not the same as your self-image but what lies beyond images. Self image is when we identify with external things. We seek outside people or objects and think they’ll be happy. Or when we wait for someone to tell us how good we look so we’ll feel better. I have been unhappy lately because I’ve put on weight and I feel like everyone has noticed and is talking about me. So this is me confusing myself with my self-image.
Your true being has nothing to do with what others think and has no limitations. My true being wouldn’t care if I weighed five hundred pounds, it would be happy anyways. But I’m too busy listening to something else. And that something is my ego. The ego is very insecure. It is addicted to approval, control, security, and power. That’s me in a nut shell. I love approval on one hand but am ashamed of it too because I don’t know how to accept it. Control is my big issue. I must feel in control at all times or my mind will lose it. Security to me means I can relax and not feel anxious. Power is something mysterious but I think I obtain it from being in control; even if it is fantasy related.

This is what Deepak Chopra says about ego. See if you don’t relate to this:
If you want to know how strongly you identify with your ego as opposed to your true being, there’s no mystery about it. The ego has the opposite qualities from the five we described before. The ego feels isolated and alone. Therefore it needs outside validation in order to belong and have worth. The ego feels limited and bounded. Without power and control over others, it fears that its helplessness will be exposed. The ego prefers routine and habit over creativity. It finds security in making today the same as the day before. The ego fears the unknown more than anything else. This is because it sees the unknown as a place of darkness and emptiness. The ego struggles to get what it wants. It assumes that without struggle, its needs would never be fulfilled; this reflects a deep sense of inner lack.

Chopra, Deepak (2009-10-28). The Ultimate Happiness Prescription: 7 Keys to Joy and Enlightenment (p. 49-50). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

I really found this fascinating on one hand and frightening on the other because I realized that I am a complete nut job. No, I’m just kidding. I realized that I could work on this by being aware of myself more than I was doing. It’s not going to be easy because I am addicted to so many of the things that the ego stands for. Control especially. But I can try to help myself. What have I got to lose?

Losing It

I’m losing my mind today. My bipolar brain is tearing around bouncing off the walls and getting me very irritated. This is not a fun mania. This is just plain being annoyed, irritated, feeling every muscle tense, and wanting to run away from here. What am I doing to cause this to happen? I’ve been trying to think positive thoughts and my brain takes them and likes it for a moment, strokes it as if you would pat a dog or cat and then goes right back into its twitching and spasming, slamming all of my good intentions into the wall…just the way I want to slam my head into the wall. I keep telling myself, tomorrow is Friday, tomorrow is Friday, TOMORROW IS FRIDAY!! One more night and I’m free for a bit. Of course I’ll lose my place to sit down in the kitchen because my brother will be there but it feels like I’ll be able to let my guard down. Please let me have a good night. I’m hoping  and praying my brain doesn’t derail like it is now. Last weekend I almost started drinking again. That is always a danger for me on weekends but I’ve been good so far. I’m not going to worry about it now. But I do need to plan activities to keep myself as busy as normal because as they say ‘idle hands make the devils work’ and I don’t need to have that involve drinking again. I’m going to try to calm my brain down with some reading if I can concentrate long enough. Hope you all have a good night.

What Chapter Are You On

I don’t write often enough in my blog. I seem to be suffering from a brain that is finding it hard to formulate words and ideas as of late. Every day that I wake up I feel like I have nothing to say to anyone. So, I sit and stare a lot or I repeat the same motions over and over and over. For instance, I’ll check my email to see if anything new has arrived. I don’t get overly excited  as if I am being OCD about it I just have nothing better to do within my little prison. You do know I live in somewhat of a prison, don’t you? I could say it’s my mind which does act like a prison on bad days but I’m referring to my life as I am living it now. I like to consider it a chapter in book. This chapter is very long, in fact it may even be considered a section of a book of life. I don’t know when it will end nor how it will end nor am I writing my life. (although I argue with that thought on occasion because in fact I could be writing it partially)

I used to be self-sufficient. I was a landlord and owned a two-family home for 1o years. I owned my own commercial cleaning business for ten years too. I held it all together and worked very hard each day. I would feed off of my manic episodes having no idea that I was bipolar just thinking I had lots of energy and I made good use of it. I was diagnosed with depression since I was 13 and was considered a troubled child and even left school but I was trying to make something of myself on my own with my husband. Throughout those years of hard work I always considered myself blessed and lucky regardless of the heartache that came (my brother died when I was 23 / he was only 32) ; my husband got electrocuted at work and was considered saved and a rarity not to have been killed even though the electricity tore through his arms. I also started to develop more of the symptoms of being out of control. I had been a self-harmer since teen years and that got worse. Every few years I would cut myself and require stitches. My primary doctor gave me an anti-depressant figuring it was all just depression and it caused full-blown mania. I was driving through red lights, staying awake night after night, scaring people at my job, and running around my neighborhood. I finally checked myself into the hospital because  something deep inside me knew that I was teetering too close to the danger zone and I would hurt someone and I can only thank God for leading me to the right place. I was admitted and removed from the antidepressants and set up with a psychiatrist who diagnosed me with bipolar disorder after discussing all the symptoms I had exhibited. For the first time I felt as if someone was listening and was finally hearing me. For years it seemed no one had been. Previous doctors always dismissed what I had to say.

So, that was my beginning. My diagnosis. I was 30 at the time and I am 48 now. Back then I tried a few different drugs, Lithium, is always the first one. Yuck, hated it. Wouldn’t use it. But I used Depakote and have been on that for 18 years, give or take some time. I’ve gone through my rebellious stages of not taking my pills and when I go off of Depakote I get seizures. But I had these seizures before, Depakote just helps control them. So, I stick with that. Also, Depakote controlled my urges to cut myself. It was the only thing to work for me. I never understood where those urges came from either. But that pill made it stop. The only time since then that I’ve self-harmed is when I was drinking and started taking Ativan after my husband died and I was on a bad, bad, downward spiral. Otherwise nothing.

I’m having a hard time figuring where I’m going with this. That’s what’s wrong with my brain now. I stop and my brain just quits on me as if it just wants to float on the clear blue sea and not be bothered with anyone or anything. I can’t spend my life doing nothing. That’s what bothers me the most here. I’m stuck here until whenever. I can’t leave because of my Dad. No one else is here but me myself, and I. There’s my Dad but he can’t talk and make sense any more. Even the dog sleeps all day because he’s old. No wonder I look forward to the laundry. But I’ve already done the laundry, cooked the evening meal, done the dishes, made the beds, all of the stuff there is to do….so now I’m like a plane waiting for take off but there’s nowhere to go.   AAAGGHH…….I’m tired of waiting.

Sorry for this stupid posting.

Hanging in There

I was going to title today’s post Stable but after looking up the definition of stable I realized I wasn’t. This is what Merriam-Webster says about “stable” (I will only talk about the adjective):

1.
a : firmly established : fixed, steadfast <stable opinions>

b : not changing or fluctuating : unvarying <in stable condition>

c : permanent, enduring <stable civilizations>

2.
a : steady in purpose :firm in resolution

b : not subject to insecurity or emotional illness : sane, rational <a stable personality>

3.
a (1) : placed so as to resist forces tending to cause motion or change of motion (2) :designed so as to develop forces that restore the original condition when disturbed from a condition of equilibrium or steady motion

b (1) : not readily altering in chemical makeup or physical state <stable emulsions> (2) : not spontaneously radioactive

As you can see I am definitely not firmly established since I am constantly adding meds and in this case taking them away. Therefore I am changing and fluctuating.
Sometimes I’m steady in purpose but that usually involves heading for the toilet. And for being not subject to insecurities or emotional illness, HA! Well, that just puts an end to that, doesn’t it.
We all know my chemical makeup is in a constant state of flux. Gee, I just hope I’m not radioactive to top it off. I’ve been warned about standing in front of the microwave oven door too many times, you know. So, ‘STABLE’ was not the proper choice for a post title after all. Instead I’ve going with ‘Hanging in There’.  (minus the rope)

Things are good, not bad, pretty good, not 100% but okay. I don’t want to get excited because mania is not good for me right now. Going off the Sertraline was an interesting decision. I don’t think it was bad. I’ve been experiencing some weird physical symptoms. Things like: electrical pulses across my brain (that’s what it feels like), chills, muscle aches, slight mania, hearing what sounds like the inside of a seashell when you hold it up to your ear, hearing voices, laughter, screaming, etc, etc, etc. But…the BIG BUT is I also stopped drinking when I stopped taking the Sertraline. So, is this withdrawal from alcohol or SSRI discontinuation syndrome or a combination of both.

SSRI discontinuation syndrome has symptoms described as (according to Wickipedia) : “brain zaps”, “brain shocks”, “brain shivers”, “head shocks”, or “cranial zings” are withdrawal symptoms experienced during discontinuation (or reduction of dose) of antidepressant drugs. These result from a global downregulation of serotonin in response to increased levels of serotonin in the synaptic cleft, but the specific mechanism through which this creates symptoms is not understood. Common responses to dose reduction or cessation include dizziness, electric shock-like sensations, sweating, nausea, insomnia, tremor, confusion, nightmares, and vertigo.

I have the brain shivers and mild nausea that comes and goes and is barely noticeable. My sleeping isn’t bad but I stay up reading until I am tired and then wake up a lot anyway. I drink so much water and coffee throughout the day that trips to the toilet are a necessity unless I want to wear a diaper to bed. No Thank you. Hmm…confusion, that’s an everyday thing and I blame that on menopause, so I can’t tell the difference.

The positive thing that I like about being off of Sertraline is I no longer feel like I have no will to do anything. Before, I could perform my basic daily requirements of housework and beyond that it was difficult to even think about doing more. Now I make a list and try to do it all. This weekend I accomplished quite a few jobs and still treated myself to some fun time. That is what I want more than anything is to say, Hey….you deserve to go out and hike in the forest again and enjoy it like you used to. Never in a million years would I have thought I would have stopped doing that. Yet here I am, sitting in the house on weekends. I have to set some goals to go for a few hours first. I have a place in mind for the next sunny weekend. I’m not sure if it’s going to storm this coming weekend but if it’s sunny I know where I’m going. I know the trail and I’m going to make myself go regardless of the cold. JUST. TO. SEE. WHAT. HAPPENS.

Then I can make more plans. I have to start. Wish me luck.