Somewhat Attenuated

Of all the toys, Mommy's sock is the bestest.

Of all the toys, Mommy’s sock is the bestest.

Allo allo from the land of… something… something. Yeah, I don’t even know right now, ha ha.

Things continue to stay afloat, for which I am grateful. I’m especially grateful because I am having the worst luck with taking my Seroquel at night. If I take it around 8 or 9, it punches me out in a few minutes. If I take it any later, it doesn’t kick in for a few hours, and then I wake up even groggier in the morning. There’s going to be some amount of groggy just because, yanno, I don’t get on with mornings, but there you go.

Still, there are good things to note amongst the spots of bad. This morning, I caught myself feeling very self-pitying and abrasive because of stupid things, like forgetting to do the dishes last night and wanting to blame every one in the house for this apparently heinous oversight. My dear husband had also left a bit of rubbish in the bathroom that my brain decided was ire-inducing as well, and I just… powderkeg much? Except it wasn’t. Somehow. I told my husband the things I was cranky about and that I loved him and valued him, and felt like I’d managed to healthily emote my ire without trying to take everyone in range down with me.

A Tiny Dress for a Tiny Daughter

A Tiny Dress for a Tiny Daughter

Still, I’m wary of my state of being, and am doing my best to keep myself occupied. Whether it be work, or Minecraft (which I am currently calling my second job), or knitting — I am doing my best to keep my hands busy. I am not completely sure that my brain is behaving right now, you know? The Seroquel does a splending job of quashing most of the intrusive thoughts, but a few are getting through. It might be that I will need to ask my psychiatrist to up my dose, but I am not quite to that point yet.

And I do have another biggun to keep my brain occupied — moving day is finally night! The rest of the carpet goes down oxt Thursday, and the removal men are booked for the week after that. That should give the paint time to dry and air out too, so much excitement in the land. Well, until I have to start cramming things into boxes and sorting them out, ha ha. But I have a lot of experience with it, so it won’t be that big of a deal once I get going.

But we’ll see! I’m just taking it one day at a time for now, and doing my best to be grateful for how good things are. :)

<3

The Busy Bee

Hello, lovely readers!

Funny how time slides by when you’re actually able to live in the moment. I have been, and demonstrated this to myself by taking over two weeks to respond to an email to my grandmother… whups. But can you blame me? I’m actually feeling decent, I’ve got an adorable pair of children, and yanno… happy. Scary that.

This is my room. It is cooler than your room. *nodnods*

This is my room. It is cooler than your room. *nodnods*

I’ve also had another big thing going on in the background the last couple of months — we’re moving house. A house came onto the market in February that we just had to put a bid in on… and we got it. We closed on it in May, and there’s been extensive renovations going on since then. But we’re getting near to the point where we can finally start packing things up and moving in — bliss. The heating and wiring were 50 years old, you see; both of these things had to be replaced. And then we decided that yeah, we were going to have to buckle down and get some decorating done. We never did with this place because really? We were already living here, and could not be bothered. We also knew that we wouldn’t be living here permanently, so outside of doing a bit of reparative panting on rusty bits of a few radiators and replacing the bathroom carpet with laminate, we’ve not done a thing. This place, on the other hand… we’re pretty sure this is our forever home. So we’re prettying it up and making it ours, and we’re all rather excited.

Too much cuteness <3

Too much cuteness <3

It’s also sort of exciting to me to know that I am finally done moving. I’m not sure quite how many times I’ve moved… twenty, at least. And living in this house is the second longest I’ve lived anywhere by a few months. Yeah, I know, a grand total of seven years in two locations; the longest after that was my apartment in San Antonio. When I was in the military. Yeah, let that sink in.

So yeah, lots of moves, very few blameable on the military, and just knowing that I am going to be settled in situ ‘forever’ is wonderful. I’m so excited that my children will have that stability, and that they will go to the same school(s) as their father. Maybe they’ll resent such a placid existence when they’re older, but whatever; on this, Mother knows best, and this is the best for my babies. Their risk of bipolar aside, stability is definitely something to cherish. We don’t build houses on rolling logs; we build them on solid slabs of concrete. Even the most adventurous want a good home base to return to, right? :D

As for me, I’m holding up pretty darn well. Mornings are hard, but older child permitting, I’ll hopefully manage to get a bit of me-time to wake up before she gets out of bed. I think that will help me hold up a bit more firmly in the face of the morningtime zombietude that Seroquel so lovingly grants (which I’ve mainly got contained, but it’s still a bit rough). I’m doing my best to be mindful of the probability of postpartum depression atop bipolar; while I certainly hope that it won’t happen, I’m choosing to be realistic about the chances of it happening. There are little spikes of depression and anxiety here and there, but they are mainly momentary and so far of no actual concern. As said — I’m mainly keeping busy, and happily so. I feel like a real girl with the helping around the house and actually being able to pay attention to my children, le gasp!

So yes, doing well, and I hope everyone else is doing as well as possible out there.

<3

The Warning Signs

warning_pageThis week has been a bit rough, I have to admit. While I am still feeling mainly optimistic and cheerful, I’ve hit a few walls this week where I had to break down and cry from stress and frustration. I know that this is probably a normal healthy new parent thing, but. BUT. I know the spectre of postpartum depression and psychosis, and I am not going to let it shaft me if I can help it. And the best way to avoid that is to be completely honest with myself about feeling frazzled and worn and upset.

Still, that doesn’t make me any more able to handle the drain from getting that sort of upset; while an incident this week was well resolved (a communication mishap between my husband and my crap-at-listening self), it left me feeling really run down the rest of the day.

And, because lulzirony, it was the morning of my first postpartum psych appointment! I think I’m finally set up with my new main psychiatrist, which is yay. My primary fellow retired to write and do conferences and stuff back in December, and while I’ve been seeing a fairly nice lady, she seemed a bit alarmed dealing with me. Not so the new lady, Dr. K! She caught a big thing that makes some of the doctors nervous — do I always speak that fast? I chuckled, and pointed out that the boss doctor loves to use me for students, because American and Italians (there’s a high Italian population locally) speak a lot faster than the average Brit. I know the first person who diagnosed me as bipolar before all my paperwork vanished thought I was manic because of how quickly I spoke, ha ha. So that Dr. K thought to ask that question pleased me. She also made sure I took note of her name (I’m TERRIBLE at remembering doctors’ names), and that if I felt I needed to up my dose(s), to call her asap to get things adjusted.

I also told her that I was going to restart my Zoloft. She was a bit hemming and hawing because I haven’t had any particular depressive episodes yet, but she also concurred that it was prudent to not let postpartum depression or the risk of psychosis get to me first. My husband felt it was especially prudent and said so. I take him to all my appointments to give that near, but outside point of view on my behavior. He feels very strongly that while the Seroquel went a long step, the Zoloft shored me up in a very useful-functional way, and that me going back on sooner rather than later was ideal. We’ll see. Hopefully, we’ll see continued cheer and functionality rather than some of the nastiest, soul-sucking depression a person can ever see (seriously, it’s extra bad).

I also understand that yes, it’s completely normal to be super-frazzled with a new baby. I’m not diving after pills because new parenting is ‘too hard’. I figure that I have tools at hand that can lower the difficulty level and keep me on an evener keel, and I would be foolish to deny myself ‘just ’cause’. Every day, we be doin’ Baby Science™®, and are learning to better understand Littlerbit, and that’s coming along wonderfully. :D

<3

Ask Me No More Questions (Tell Me No More Lies)

Allo from the land of… something… something. Dudes and Dudelettes, my brain has been converted to pure fluff, ha ha. But we continue to do fairly well on the whole. Having a baby in the house is tiring and stressful and my husband and I have both hit the point of frustrated sobbing, but yanno… par for the course. And honestly, it’s probably better than we CAN admit that we’re frustrated in such a way, ’cause it enables us to support each other better. And maybe, someday, we’ll understand Baby and be able to translate what each cry of complaint is, ha ha (unless it’s just crying for the sake of crying, which dear deity above is extra stressful!). But at least I’m getting good sleep compliments of the Seroquel, and depending on what my psychiatrist thinks when I see him/her later this week (not sure which one I’ll be seeing), I suspect I’ll get the Zoloft rolling again shortly too.

One thing that’s really stood out since the last entry though, in the realm of mental resilience, is tangential to the snippet of nursery rhyme I used for the title. You see, I abhor advice. I hate asking for it, I hate receiving it, and it frankly terrified me. Yes, past tense; I’ve figured out assorted chunks of why it was so problematic in this past couple of months. And yeah, ties into the abusive/narcissistic parent thing, quelle surprise. When one grows up being treated like they’re too stupid to live on their own (and has that reinforced in adulthood via parental bullying and their flying monkeys), ‘well-meaning’ help from people feels the same as the abuse laid down as a foundation for that premise. And really, what the hell yo. I know the bipolar triggered somewhere between 12 and 17 (I had to add a few more years to the front due to OCD things that started popping up that young), and that I made it into my 30s without going to jail, getting fired, or any other number of bad things that could have happened, especially with the total lack of support network I had. Oh sure, I had friends, good friends, but I was in such an isolated place before moving to the UK that I couldn’t really make use of what I had to me.

As a tester, I made myself ask for some advice on things. The one that comes to mind was a silly game-related question, but I couldn’t find a good answer and figured it was worth risking a chunk of my sanity to find out (and also, because it was innocuous enough to not require lots of pile-on follow-up). Not only did I get the answer I required, I had a good conversation with friends and was able to see their further suggestions related to the core subject (Minecraft) without utterly flipping my shit. This is big, ha ha. I’m not sure I’ll ever be happy with purely unsolicited advice, but I think I might be moving to a place where my natural response to it is not an abusive one. I own that — even if I have no desire to beat down my friends, my natural developed defense mechanism honed by that less-than-ideal growing up situation wasn’t a good one. And realizing this after reading a piece last summer about the isolating effects of having been abused, and unintentionally repeating it and wondering why nobody wanted to hang out with you, was definitely part of the unravelling to where I am today. I’d link the article, but I apparently misplaced it — boo! It was really useful though.

So yeah… as said, things are good, and getting better every day. For now though, I need more caffeine. xD

<3

The First Week (Like Night and Day)

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Lilbit entertaining Littlerbit

We did it, folks! We survived the first week of newborn yet again. Send more caffeine, quick, ha ha.

Really though, it’s been a good week all in all. Nights are hard of course, but my husband has been handling most of that and letting me sleep. Oh deity, glorious sleep it has been; the return to Seroquel has indeed been like being KO’d by the Zzzles Faerie. Bliss. And I have found that I CAN wake up and help if need be, so that’s been useful as well. It also led to an hilarious (to me) dream wherein I threatened to kill myself if I wasn’t permitted to get more sleep. Which is to say — I am ecstatic that I am in a healthy enough mental state that my brain doesn’t feel bullied into staying quiet about its distress, and thereby permitted me to get a whine out in a healthy fashion. It’s a silly/strange thing to be amused and pleased by, I grant you, but I reckon that unless you were subject to constant denial of the validity if your emotions, you’d not particularly understand. And really, that’s awesome; I am quite happy that most people cannot empathise with some of the stickier parts of my growing up life and times.

As of last night, I am back up to my therapeutic dose dose of Seroquel, being 400mg. I’m suppose to take it as 200mg twice daily, and compliments of my GP, I’ve got the script set for extended release. I need to figure out the best times to take it to get the most of the knock-out effect, while insuring a minimal of morning zombie-tude. I saw someone somewhere suggest taking the doses at night, but staggered (like, one at 5pm, and the other at 9 or 10pm//an hour before bedtime). This is what I am likely to try tonight, though I might try morning and night tomorrow. If any of you out there have suggestions, I would love to hear them.

I’m still intending to hold off on the Zoloft until after I after I see my psychiatrist, but as that is next week, it’s not a long slog. I know it will take a month or so to kick back in, hence reason to delay it — while I am mainly holding up right now, I’m not in a rush for that month of feeling mega-weird while dealing with something as engulfing as a newborn. But that is balanced against a very real concern with postpartum depression and/or psychosis, and wanting to give the Seroquel time to do its initial brain rewiring, and and and… definitely better to consult on timelines, hee hee. I’m certainly not for dropping it, as it very much helps bring up the lower ends of my mood atop the Seroquel foundation.

So really, I can’t complain overmuch. Yes, I am tired. Yes, I am still rather sore and I miss having full usage of my arms (I need to see if I can find the one baby wrap we have). But it’s like night and day as compared to the first week(s)/month(s) with Lilbit. I am happy. I am enjoying myself. I can admit that I don’t feel great through and through, but at least my hurts aren’t a soul-destroying black pit of disquiet agony.

<3

 

It’s a Baby!

It's Littlerbit, the Booper Trooper!

It’s Littlerbit, the Booper Trooper!

I live! Honest! And #2 has shown up finally. She was born here at home on the morning of the 16th, but I’ve been busy with her, and her big sister, and catching up a few people here and there on assorted and sundry life. And yes — she. It was our understanding that we were expecting another girl, but as you never know until you’re handed the baby, we preferred to not fully presume. I did feel it was a girl though, especially based on how extra-severe my chronic fatigue, nausea, and other such endometriosis-related symptoms seemed to be persisting. I figured — if it’s a girl, then that would mean more estrogen and other female hormones, and that could be making it super-crap.

I have to say, I am doing a LOT better this postpartum so far. Besides being in less pain and fatigue from a significantly shorter labour (when baby came, she came with all alacrity and speed, and like, 20 minutes of pushing), my base mood is a lot better ’cause yanno, turned the difficulty level down. I’m not breastfeeding this time because I’d much rather take my psych meds and be a sane mommy, and that also means I can take codeine for the assorted pain.

And yes, my Seroquel and I are reunited at last! I started with 50mg on the 16th, and am ramping that up by 50mg until I return to my previous dose of 400mg (200mg twice a day). I was up half that first night with my husband, because yanno, dealing with a person who doesn’t speak our language and doesn’t know how to communicate well, so we were both trying to support each other in sleeping and taking care of Littlerbit. I got to sleep the night through last night though, and oh.my.stars. I’m still way sore and exhausted (as can be expected), but I feel really freaking human and happy and stable.

And I can see how me being calm and happy is making for a calmer, happier baby. Funny how not having to use all your energy being scared of narcissist bullhonky frees up significant spoons, and the ability to  have one’s guard down and *gasp* relax and enjoy the ride! Mind, I’m certainly wary of the possibility of postpartum depression atop the bipolar, or worse, postpartum psychosis. But I think that because I am able to be more honest with myself about my mood and state gives me a much better chance of avoiding these things, and if they do crop up, dealing with them.

So anyways, hooray, and back to getting caffeine in me, hee hee. And then, if I’m feeling especially badass? FOLD ALL THE LAUNDRY. *flex*

<3

Nope, Not Yet

Alas, yesterday would have been an awesome day to have a kid. It was Friday the 13th, the moon was full, and Lilbit has referred to the baby as her ‘smooky baby’ since December. As this always struck me as a portmanteau of ‘smoky’ and ‘spooky’, it gave me hope! Plus, it’s sort of ‘my’ holiday; when I was in school, I threw a sleepover most every single Friday the 13th, and I was a goth in high school. It would have been most mete, but ah well — babies come when they’re ready, and this one seems to be happy moving into overtime jabbing at me through the skin.

As it were though, I’m not feeling too antsy now that I know the end is properly in sight. And also, because we got an unexpected child-free night last night. Lilbit is a good kid, but I think she’s been picking up on our antsy and acting it out, and a night without her in the house was very soothing to myself and the husband-fellow.

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Crochet (Granny Squares!)

So for now, I’m just keeping myself distracted with crafting. I’d initially done a crochet blanket for the little one to match the one I did for Lilbit. It’s the same ‘pattern’, but different colours. It was pretty fun both times, and easy to make.

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Ye Olde Stockinette Stitch (aka, the backbone of most knitting)

To help pass the time though (and use up a rather large ball of wool), I decided I’d knit a blanket as well. Lilbit has a purple one, so I figured — granny squares for both, purple for both, and all’s fair in crafting and love! For the purple one, I figured I’d go until it was at least 2 feet long, then call it done. and then I decided I’d go until I ran out of wool, or ran out of baby. This was one of those monstrously huge balls of wool… 400, 500 grams? Bigger? And it seems I’m probably going to run out of wool indeed. Ah well! This is one I made with carting the newborn around the house in, so if it’s a bit longer, I guess that’s okay too. I’ll keep going as long as I can, and then find something else to make.

So, in short — still waiting, still managing to stay cheerful and sane, though hopefully it won’t be too too much longer! I very much want to be back on my meds and to get a proper night of sleep. And, of course, because I look forward to seeing what continued progress I can make on improving my mental state once I have that foundation back under me. :D

<3

Any Day Now

[[Bif Naked - Any Day Now (Lyrics)]]

Whelp, we’re in the last official week of this pregnancy thing… woo? Woo. I’m just trying to keep busy, but not too busy; as the last day or two have shown me, I am still massively lacking in physical resources and I do myself more favours by staying at home as I can. I’ve been trying to get out a bit more in general, and yeah… just not enough there to handle it. Not that it’s going to be much better directly after the kid is born if last time was any indication, but I’ll handle that when it comes.

And that future handling should go better for one salient reason — having my bipolar diagnosis, and meds waiting for me on the other side of the birth. I’ve already got my first week of Seroquel measured up; my psychiatrist recommended I start at 50mg and go up by the same each day until I get to my old dose of 400mg. It’ll use up most of my odds and sods, but seeing how they’re there to be used, I cannot complain (and I’ve managed to save most of my stash of 25mg tabs as emergency top-up, not that I’ve needed them that often). That first week is going to be glorious, ’cause sleeeeeep. The husband will have the World Cup to keep him company, so he’s planning on handling most of the night things as possible so I can actually get a few nights of sleep while I get used to that medicine again. And ’cause, yanno, I’ve not slept the night through much since I came off on my birthday back in January, ha ha.

‘Oh but that’s not how it works with a newborn you don’t get to sleep!’

Ugh so, I’ve had more than my share of ‘That’s not how it works!!!!!’ people cropping up when I celebrate that I might actually get some sleep. I just sort of rub my eyetwitch away and try to not get facestabby. No shit Sherlock, I know that’s not how it usually goes. I do have a child already. I also know that the lack of sleep and lack of meds and lack of treatment last time meant that I’m still amazed I didn’t go completely off the deep end (I also made the mistake of trying to maintain an exercise regime, which I now know triggers mixed episodes and super-duper rapid cycling in me, ’cause so much hatred and OCD for it).I know it MIGHT not work out that I get to sleep, but at least what sleep I get will actually be of some depth, and hopefully, somewhat restful.

But really — what is it with people default assuming if someone is making a statement about something that they don’t have a lick of information that they’ve based that statement on, or are completely lacking in intelligence on the whole?! But blargh, I guess we’re all guilty on that count here and there. And, I admit, I’m a bit overly sensitive to being ‘treated stupid’ ’cause of my… charming… narcissism-laden upbringing. *cough* At least I’m starting to understand this, and find that my reactions to such triggering things are sloooooowly mellowing out. So that’s yay, especially since I’ve been doing all this work while off my meds and pregnant. I think most people would agree that is not the ideal combination for doing significant self-discovery, no matter how stable one is in pregnancy, but ah well… I’m awesome at going about everything ass-backwards? *grins*

Anyways, just checking in to say — tl;dr, I’m fine, we’re fine, things are fine. I might try to get another post out before the kiddo shows up, but we’ll see! Hope everyone out there is doing well. *gets back to knitting*

<3

My Illness is Not a Plot Point

I have noticed an increase in shows using bipolar characters in storylines. Great, right? Anything to show the truth of the disorder, right? It all raises awareness…. right?!

Yeah, except they all seem to be dramas.

Mind, I don’t like dramas. My brain is drama enough, especially with anxiety and OCD features making it even harder to logic things into place. And it would be one thing if it just happened that there was a character who had bipolar in the show… but it seems to routinely be ‘Bipolar person goes off of their meds, goes off the deep end, drama ensues’… which, while accurate to a point (Natasha Tracy makes a good point about how missing a dose doesn’t make someone automatically manic in her review of Black Box’s first episode), is kiiind of insulting. Missing a dose sucks, yes, but it doesn’t automatically make someone ‘go crazy’.

And that’s not even touching that it’s always a female character. I’ve seen this with Black Box and Homeland in the States, Rookie Blue in Canada, and even Hollyoaks here in the United Kingdom will be featuring a female bipolar character imminently (I’m not sure if it’s happened yet or not). We know from Miss Tracy’s review that while some of the portrayal of aspects of mania are accurate (and in the case of Rookie Blue and Hollyoaks, extensive research into bipolar is claimed to have been done in advance), in that they can be parts of a manic episode, it doesn’t change the fact that, to me, it feels like an excuse to portray ‘Crazy bitches be crazy ’cause women are hysterical and lesser, lulz’. It’s the same sort of misogyny that makes people think songs like Crazy Bitch by Buckcherry are not only okay, but that anyone who dares complain about being offended is *obviously* just some sort of bitter feminist with no sense of humour.

All I know is that my disorder is very real, and that I don’t think it’s okay for it to be used as a minimizing plot point. It’s the same reason I opted to bow out of an invite to be part of a documentary here; when they told me they wanted specifically people with Bipolar I and rapid cycling ‘because people don’t know about those’, I tensed up and refused to respond. Way to tell me you give absolutely no fucks about an accurate portrayal of the bipolar spectrum, mate — you’ve just told me you want me to find you the people suffering the most to up your ratings. Bipolar is a spectrum, and some of us function, and some of us don’t, but focusing only on the ‘drama’ stigmatizes the entire lot of us as ‘Oh, those poor crazy people!’. And here in the United Kingdom, where we have a government intent on demonizing anyone not working and healthy as skivvers and benefits cheats, and are trying to force them all into workfare ‘for their own good’? Eeesh.

But hey, maybe I’m being terribly unfair about these shows. Maybe these females are being portrayed as strong and not totally ruining everything forever at key points for dramatic convenience. I probably won’t know first-hand, because it’s not my genre of preference. But you’ll forgive me if I choose to not find out; I have almost nothing in the way of spoons, and I’m blowing more than enough at spluttering indignation at general stereotyping and dismissal of mentally ill by society as a whole. Yeah, I’ll hopefully have a post about that soon too, once I piece together things I’ve written on Facebook and Livejournal and condense it down into something useful for here.

For now though, hope you are all doing as well as can be expected.

<3

*Doinks Brain*

There’s a lot going on up there. A fair amount of it is unapologetically polemic, and some of it is scattered, and all of it is buried under a layer of fatigue. While I’m still doing pretty well on the whole mentally, I keep having to remind myself that I don’t have a lot of reserve for dealing with people. Soon? Soooooon. I’ve got my ramp-up doses of Seroquel measured out in a pill caddy for after this kiddo is born, and I have a dearth of words to express my joy for that. But anyways, there’s stuff in my brain, and I hope I let it out here in the near future. If I can make it make a bit of sense. *nodnods*

Past that, kiddo is baked enough to be called full term, though there’s still a few weeks until the due date. The midwives agree that childling will probably come near to said date due to the fact Lilbit was exceedingly prompt (I knew my dates yo, ha ha). It’s strange to think this rather uncomfortable body trip is almost at an end, but I expect the transition will be smooth enough. Or something. *waves tiny flag of optimism*

Right, I should like… try to sleep or something. Emphasis on something; sleep is not a convenient or easy thing in this particular evolution. This too shall pass, I remind myself. And yanno, the passing of this phase is pretty close, so. Woo.

<3