Tuesday, March 20, 2012


More pain-in-the-arse lack of sleep, sitting still, etc. On the other hand, hey, waking up at six a.m. and having Very Athletic Sex. Us and the birds outside man, flipping at this f'd up 80-degree weather triggering all sorts of heavenly hell. This wheel in my  head is right on the edge of being not-okay, of spinning too fast. But it's okay right now. Barely. Oh god at night though. Jesus. If I ever crack, it's gonna be at 2 a.m.

Went to lunch and drank with my boss for two hours today. It was hard to stop drinking, but I drove and we had to get back to the office somehow, so, eernh. I'm lucky to be in this situation, where my boss is excellent and totally down with pounding them in the middle of the day, since we pay for it at other times by working till 10 pm and melting our brains on red ink and bad grammar. I could not shut up at lunch. I recognize that this is the thing that makes bipolar people interesting, that the flight of ideas and the funny conversation and the general depth of engagement with other humans during hypomania is what makes this even remotely worth the rest of the bull, but even if it looks good on the outside, on this side of it, there's that little edge of terror poking me in the ribs that it's going to tip up into mania and I'm going to start hearing shit that's not there and believing vines are crawling out of the paper I'm supposed to be editing and that the top of the tallest building downtown is actually made out of lashed-together goose feathers and saying something, something, that is not okay with my boss, even though my boss is great and there is not a lot I could say that would not be okay.

That was a long-ass sentence. That's what my brain is doing right now. If my brain were a bike I'd be riding the fucking hell out of it.

Holy shit it's 3:40. Yo brain, if you're listening, which you aren't, how about you start perceiving time the right way again.

Hey Lurid, it's brain, maybe if you start treating me right I'll stop being such a dick to you.

I do not want to give up lamictal since it's the drug that more or less saved my life, but damn. Damn.

Oh my god my heart is like a monster truck inside my ribs right now. It is making testosterone-fueled noises and wants to eat cars.


  1. Hello. As someone who once suffered from bipolar II disorder (or, at least, they thought I did), I recognize all of this. Lamictal pretty much saved my life too, until it stopped working, gave me severe headaches, didn't save me from the crashes, etc. Of course, they had me on 300 mg at a time, which is WELL over where I should have been...but as it turned out, I don't have bipolar disorder. I had infections trapped in two of my teeth that caused a whole huge range of symptoms, and after they were fixed, all the bipolar symptoms I'd had for 11 years disappeared. Instantly. That was 2.5 years ago, and they haven't come back. I know mine is a rare situation, but I just wanted to say that I understand where you're at. I've been there, even if the cause was different. Antipsychotics fucked me up completely.

  2. Hi Amanda. Thanks for your comment. 300 mg is a lot. hopefully no deadly rash for you at that dose! That is so interesting about the tooth thing. I have a constant low-level lung infection that keeps my WBC count low, but id be surprised if it had anything to do with this, seeing as the first time i wanted to kill myself i was six and the first time i went full manic i was 12. But I find your experience fascinating. Antipsychotics seem to not be my bag either.

  3. It took me 4 antipsychotics including trying risperdal 3 times because it worked so well but caused such annoying high blood pressure. And the other 2 both had horrible issues. But after being terrified of them Seroquel very, very gradually gave me my life back. I was on Depakote for a long time. It worked but was really hard to keep my levels where they needed to be. Once seroquel was really working over 7 months I got off the Depakote after 7 years. The med I was afraid of from seeing it used to snow patients was the first of a few things that let me experience pretty even life for a long time. I think honestly if I hadn't been very, very sick with whooping cough that led to asthma and allergies combined with hormonal issues and a bad anesthesia reaction that I'd still be doing well now. It can take so, so long. I'm 36, so what I wrote that I showed you before was written when I was just about to turn 31. I was just about to go back to work from 4.5 months of disability, the second of that length in 2 years. I was not expected really to work a lot longer as hard as it was, and because we had 3 meds left, one of which is Clozaril which is a last resort. But it did work and then Emsam made is so that one day just about 3 years after those posts I woke realizing I felt good. In fact the entire year I was 34 I felt good and functioned well. I also should say that I had a massive change when Seroquel XR came out. Regular helped, XR made me better. I just realized this but even now when there is nothing really out there and nothing on the horizon and I may have to just wait until something else comes out, I still believe I can feel that little click again. Maybe not to the same level of haha for the first time nobody knows I'm bipolar but this meds-aren't-doing-it won't last forever. I hope.

    It's hard to not give up. I had a delayed diagnosis because of lying and because PTSD and mania look alike in me. That was hard and not good for my brain, but it also was good because I made it past some of the hurdles like self-medicating without a detour there. I'm too much of a control freak and don't even like the feeling of a small amount of alcohol (not that I'd know that now after years on benzos), but I'm glad for that because I can see how easily it happens. In fact I had one manic episode that I was dying to smoke. Which is funny since I'd never even tried a cigarette. We think my body wanted anything that might be calming.

    Don't give up. In fact, don't give up on Lamictal. If you can just get onto a mood stabilizer you might be fine with it. I couldn't use the Emsam for depression if I weren't sedated a little more than I was before Emsam because it agitates me but we work around it.

    It's not unusual to need stabilized on several meds then back down. I was on 4 mood stabilizers together plus antidepressants, anxiety meds, and random things for a while and then we were down to 3 mood stabilizers and then 2. And lithium probably isn't a big stabilizer for me because my toxicities mean I have to keep it at a lower level.

    Ask anything. I have lots and lots of time right now and it makes the feeling-sorry-for-myself party a little fancier if I do something that doesn't involve pouting because my plans didn't work out the way I wanted.

    1. Hi Jen--I love your comments. They're so detailed and specific and always give me something to think about. I'm sorry to know you've had such an awful time of it, but it's encouraging to know someone who keeps trying as much as you do. I mean I know, what's the alternative, right? But you're so invested in getting yourself stable and better and to a place where you can be calm and who you are without everything else crowding through your head all the time. I'm just not there yet. I don't know why. I wonder how you got there, if you had this particular type of ambiguity toward your own desire to get better, and if you did, how you managed to move past it. To obliterate the words "guilt" and "deserve" from your internal monologue. (Or dialogue, as the case may be, during mania!) These are therapy issues rather than psych/med ones, and I chickened out of therapy awhile ago. But they go so hand in hand.

  4. Yeah, I had cyclical depression from the time I was 10 or so, but didn't have my first full-on manic episode until about 9 months after the first tooth procedure. By that point I was already getting sick all the time and they'd already put me on steroids twice...yeah. I think later on they ended up putting my Lamictal up so high because the lower doses just didn't help. I was particularly manic when I was postpartum after each of my kids, rather than postpartum depression that so many people seem to suffer from. They should have brought me down from the 300 after the episode was over, I'm guessing, but i moved cross-country and the new doctor never changed it. Later I found out that was twice the highest bipolar level, and that I was on the sort of level they give to people for seizures. No wonder I had constant migraines.

    Thank you for reading my story. Not a lot of people want to sift through it, and it's mostly there for my own records. People looking at me now have no idea the battles I suffered through all those years.

    1. Hi Amanda--thanks for writing. It's interesting you were manic postpartum. I can see that working out well with the lack of sleep and general exhaustion of new parenthood, as long as you weren't cranked into deliriousness (which parenthood seems to do sometimes anyway, ha).

      Did you have migraines pre-lamictil, or did they just show up when you started taking it? For a while the lamictil made my migraines a lot worse, but I seem to have adjusted to it after seven months of taking it, and now it's not as bad--only lose two or three days a month to it as opposed to as many as fourteen or so previously. Migraines can suck it.

      It's funny, what you say about people having no idea what you went through. In our day to day lives we so seldom talk at length or with meaning to other human beings, but when there's an opportunity to, we often learn that other people are carrying something heavy and difficult too.

    2. Well, after about six months of not sleeping with my first kid, my husband begged me to let him be the person to get up in the middle of the night. He can sleep through anything. So that worked out well, and he got up with the kids. Thank god. Because you know lack of sleep is BAD with bipolar symptoms! The sleep wasn't part of it, though. I'd be fine for about 4-6 weeks after delivery, and them BAM I'd go bad manic. With my first kid, I moved us across the country with only two weeks notice. With the second, I decided to buy a house (like a sudden buy, not a slow, thoughtful process). With the third, I decided one of us needed to quit our jobs and stay home full time. I also had tons of panic attacks, and once ended up hospitalized in a mental home (oy). It was no fun. I am very glad I will never be pregnant again. I discovered far too late that I actually really don't like kids under the age of 5...

      The migraines only came post-Lamictal. I first started getting the edges of them at 200 mg, but after a few weeks, they went away. They were spot-migraines, which came and went very fast. It was strange. Then the same thing happened at the beginning of 300 as well, and then came back as I slowly got less post-partum. Everyone thought they were hormone-related, and my OB/Gyn put me on a medication that actually tripled the pain, until I was so broken down I remember looking at a poster in my chiropractor's office that said "no one should have to live in pain" and just bursting out sobbing in his office...yeah. I was a mess.

      I've actually been thinking about writing about some of this stuff for mental health awareness month in May. Especially from the perspective of someone who looks completely normal/average/typical on the outside, but who really isn't inside.

    3. Ha ha, yes, lack of sleep is very bad! Funny how it has the opposite effect on bipolar people than on the population at large.

      I had that same discovery too late about not liking kids under the age of 5, but of course I wouldn't do it differently now because of the whole love thing. Then again, I stopped after one kid. Not just for that reason--mostly for the reason that I knew I wouldn't be able to handle having two and having bipolar 1 at the same time. It's hard enough with just one.)

      Your migraines sound more like cluster headaches. Regardless, I'm glad they're gone for you--you've been through enough! The story about the chiropractor is so sad. I bet it's good to look back and think how far you've come since then.

    4. I think (and this is really embarrassing to admit) that part of me just kept having kids as a punishment to myself. Like maybe if I had enough, I'd learn how to feel close to them properly. Not that I don't love my kids. I do, especially now that they're older. I'm just...not cut out to be a parent. Which makes being a stay at home mom a bit awkward (though better, now that they're all in school full time). Have you seen The Hours? I feel a whole lot like the way Julianne Moore's character was in that movie. And, for that matter, like Nicole Kidman's character, in other ways...

    5. Yeah, you don't really realize how completely parenthood will trap you until you experience it. We deserve freakin medals for being able to parent while having a mental illness, I'll tell you.

      I did see The Hours and I hated it. But only because it was effective.