Friday, August 28, 2020
But clinically, bipolar disorder can be a crippling illness that brings crushing depression that creeps up on you before you realise it, punctuated by disorganised and horrible highs that feel good at first but threaten your well-being or throw your good judgement out the window. That's Bipolar I. If you're 'lucky', you may have disturbing-yet-not full-blown manic episodes (known as hypomania) that's no less serious but generally gets treated as such. That's Bipolar II. Or sometimes it's a mix of it all, what's called mixed episodes, where you may feel so depressed you may just want to end it all while being agitated and irritable all at the same time, a particularly dangerous combination.
Mental illness, like all illnesses, makes us feel horrible and exhausted. There is no shame in it; there should be no stigma. In some ways, it's no different than having high blood pressure or diabetes, but at the same time, it is insidious, as it alters our emotions and thinking, and people see the behaviour but not the pain, and it can absolutely wreck relationships.
Even when you've been stable on the same medications for years, it can strike when you're least expecting. Suddenly you're speaking with push of speech, very fast, or it's hard to get up in the morning and you drag trying to get out of bed because you're depressed and facing taking a shower is so hard, like you're moving through jello, and all you want to do is to curl up in a ball and let the world pass by. Having bipolar disorder or any other mental illness during a worldwide pandemic, with all the anxiety, uncertainty, and change in routine is even more difficult. That's why it's more important than ever to have a good healthcare team, the support of loved ones, and the ability to self-monitor before it gets too bad. And it's important to reach out to the people in your life before it gets to be too much or to call a number such as the national suicide prevention hotline (1-800-273-8255).
We never know what's going on in someone else's head or how they're really feeling. But we can listen to them put those feelings into words and try to understand their pain. Empathy is one of the greatest gifts we as humans possess.
Monday, August 24, 2020
I called 911 about 2:15 am this morning and I was in the ER from about 2:45 am till noon, not for me, then came home, let the dogs out, fed everyone including me, napped for about an hour, got things together and took them back over to the hospital, and then came back home, where I started my laundry to make sure I had clothes for tomorrow and then made about eight phone calls. I was exhausted. It was time to feed them and take them out again, so I did, and then I put the clothes in the dryer and just crashed on the bed with the two dogs (we take up the whole bed, which is only full-sized.
It's 2:08 am. 24 hours of stress and trying to get everything finished that needs to be while balancing that with my medicine, food, and sleep. Tomorrow's a workday and right now I plan to go, but I'm so tired. My eyes are bleary and I'm still in my clothes (although at some point at least I got a shower). I really am burning the candle at both ends.
And I'm scared. Really scared. I'm holding up pretty well considering a week ago I was having suicidal thoughts. My doctor adjusted my medicine and it seems to be helping. But my support system outside of anyone directly affected already is a couple of friends, my work lunch bunch, a couple of other co-workers and usually my online friends (which, while not really 'friends', with the exception of a few librarians I've never met, are all people I know personally or family. But I can't share this on Facebook due to respect for privacy. So I texted and messaged my work buddies called my friends, and I've pretty much reached out as best I can. I even checked in with my aunt and uncle in other states. But I recognise that while I'm physically fairly healthy, I'm kind of fragile emotionally and I need to be on my guard for any issues that might be triggered by it.
So anyway, that's what's going on. I've spent 15 hours in the ER in the last week, and it's taken a toll. But I'm trying to be strong and not fall apart. I'll fall apart after the crisis if need be. In the meantime, I've been told I should read Marcus Aurelius and Seneca, two Stoic philosophers, for a little insight.
Saturday, August 22, 2020
I had a huge list of things to get accomplished this weekend and made a lot of progress towards completing it.
Today's completed tasks:
Wash, dry, and fold roommate's laundry and some table linens Clean our masks Put roommate's medical information in my phone Put away dishes Load dishwasher Wash plastics Take out the trash Take out the recyclables Straighten up utility room Go to the pharmacy Do a small grocery trip Make bread Clean the bathroom Get rid of expired milk Go through the produce Read Listen to music Take a nap Feed the animals and let the dogs out Get dog food and a couple of items from the grocery
- Change the cat litter and pads
- Sweep the floors
- Mop the floors
Find some important papers Take a shower
- Re-pot the olive trees into a pot with better drainage
- Clean out my nightstand drawers
Friday, August 21, 2020
I was called at work due to an emergency and the last few days have been a blur. Wednesday morning I'd scheduled two urgent offsites, but I had to leave at 2 pm. I won't go into details, but it was very serious, as in possibly life or death. Now things are okay again, the emergency is over, and I'm just trying to catch up. Work still went pretty well (except I overslept today) and while I didn't clear my desk, I got a lot off of it and filed away. It felt good that afternoon to leave work fairly taken care of, although I still need to work on surgery authorizations ahead (I'm usually a month out, now I'm filling in fairly close to the date of service, and that's not great).
Today was also when all the emergency issues settled down and all was mostly well. There was no Sabbath dinner though, which felt odd. I didn't get much taken care of during everything, so this weekend I plan on getting quite a bit done.
Tuesday, August 18, 2020
Today I saw my psychiatrist through a Telehealth appointment. He was very surprised, as he's seen me for 9 years at least and I've been stable at the same dosage for all that time. He upped my mood stabiliser, lamotrigine, by 50 mg, to be taken in 100 mg increments twice a day, rather than the current 150 mg once a day and kept my aripiprazole (an atypical antipsychotic for bipolar disorder), buspirone (that's my anxiety med), and atomoxetine (for ADHD) the same.
I am feeling better at work, too, even without the medicine change being in force yet. Monday I got a lot of offsites scheduled (10). I'm working steadily through my to-do pile. I'm keeping up with the surgeries but I'm not as far out as I'd like on those.
But things are looking up, at least.