Pulling Up

I don’t know whether or not it’s completely situational, but I’m feeling less depressed. Yay less depressed!

Unfortunately, the situation is Ridiculously Sick Husband. The poor dear seems to have come down with a rather nasty case of gastroenteritis, which has left him bed/couchbound all week. Which means I’ve had to get my ass into functional gear… whups. *laughs* But outside getting my in-laws to do the school run in the morning (because it’s fucking dangerous for me to drive pre-caffeine), I’ve been up to the challenge. Laundry is clean, if not folded. Dishes have been kept on top of, meals have been made, childling has been fetched from school… and gasp, I’ve even risked a shopping trip or two. I’ve tended to avoid it since my pre-marriage shopping tendencies were like, $50 of ramune soda, a small mountain of pizza rolls, and a couple of pounds of gummi bears. Since I wasn’t accountable to anyone else, what did it matter if the food was nutritious and real, as long as I could get calories in.

So yeah, it could just be that having people to tend to is helping distract me, but as the husband has pointed out — even with my love of helping others and using it as a coping mechanism, I’m usually not pulled together enough to do it in any meaningful way. So that I’ve done it and kept my mood stable and not burned myself out terribly is probably a good sign that things have evened back out, though certainly, I look forward to zoning out a bit more and relaxing. Having said that, I think I’ve been sleeping a bit better, so that’s probably going a long way towards helping out.

Past that, continuing to quietly pick apart my psyche in useful ways. I hope to bring it here at some point in the future, but there are circumstances at current that make me hesitant to get into it. Suffices to say, there is good progress being made, and that my daily ruminations on my 750words.com account has been a most edifying and worthwhile effort.

Hope everyone is doing well out there!

<3

A Month, A Lie

There’s no denying it — I’m ‘enjoying’ a depressive episode, and have been for a few weeks now. I’m thinking it’s been about two, and today? I’m trying to tell myself that it’ll only last a month and that I’m halfway through it, go me, etc.

Aah rationalizing, what would we do without it?

I know that this will pass when it passes, but I’m frustrated (to say the least). I also suspect that it’s a bit to the mixed episode side of life in spots, which… thanks brain, you’re a real douche? Take yesterday — I was having a badass, child-free vacation/staycation day (we can’t take our July holiday due to newborn, so we opted to squeeze in a weekend now). My hair is the ‘right’ colour again, I managed to epilate my armpits (mmm, painful xD), and all in all was just enjoying the crap out of myself. And then a friend asked an innocuous question and it was somehow incredibly triggering because it ‘forced’ me to admit to my number one insecurity. Hell, I’ll say it here, ’cause the damage is already done — I’m incredibly insecure about my intellect. I know that I’m smart, and that I’m smarter than some while being less smart than others. I’m fine with all of this. But it all ties into a lot of crap about my upbringing and how people treated me, and well. I don’t want to get into that right now, ha ha.

I ended up taking a 25mg Seroquel last night to shut up my brain, and get a good night of sleep. Part of my brain wants to punish me for that, but the rest of it is too relieved to put up with it. I don’t think anyone is going to deny me my home birth plans for 25mg of Seroquel once when I am not coping as well as I hoped to be. Having said that, I don’t know either. I don’t think I can make clear enough how completely unlikely it is for me to be able to have a healthy, non-surgical birth in a hospital environment. I accept I’ll have to be holed up there if/when the hysterectomy happens, but as the plan is to be there FOR surgery, and not for pushing a kid out, it doesn’t matter if I have a comatose nervous breakdown. I rate my chances of having one at about 100%, ’cause I know me and I know there’s way too much stimulus in that setting. But anyways, I should move on from that before my brain tries to catastrophize.

Still, when feeling down and hell, I can freakin’ taste my brain pumping out the bad chemicals, it’s good to take stock of things. This pregnancy is significantly harder on me physically than the last one. Physical pain aside, my chronic fatigue hasn’t been this severe since before I fell pregnant with Leah five years ago. I suspect that the endometriosis is actually being worsened by this pregnancy somehow, though I’ve not found anything ‘properly’ medical to justify this theory, just the experiences of other women who have said the same thing (which might be the best I find; endometriosis is woefully lacking in understanding). While I could probably keep my mood afloat if I wasn’t so fatigued, I could probably hold it together better. If I didn’t have bipolar, I could probably fly to the moon on ass rockets. *coughs* Which is to say I realize that playing ‘If I wasn’t’ is a horrible game with no winning, so I try not to. I just want to not be in such freaking intense mental and physical pain.

On the up shot, I’m a lot better at understanding some of the mood crap… yay? I’ve been making efforts as well to cut toxic people out of my life so that I’m not blowing resources I need to keep myself sane justifying my existence to people intent on denying my right to be. And in doing that, I’ve managed to make a lot of little breakthroughs in understanding ways that my brain is broken, which is flat-out awesome. Well, except for realizing that like, everything in the entirety of existence is triggering and I don’t know how to fix that, but. BUT. Understanding why is awesome, and gives me hope that I can fix those bits of brain wiring into something less ridiculous. Mind, now isn’t exactly the ideal time to be dealing with this level of brain-pickery, but life doesn’t exactly operate with convenience in mind, ha ha.

Anyways, this too shall pass. I know it, because that is the way of things. It might not go as fast as I want it to, but I can do my best every day to not let it bury me. :)

<3

Today is the First World Bipolar Day

Hello, my fellow Bipolaratti (and non-bipolar folks who come by, hee hee)!

Look at us — we have a day! This comes compliments of the International Society for Bipolar Disorders, and related organizations:

http://www.isbd.org/advocacy-and-patient-resources/world-bipolar-day
https://www.facebook.com/worldbipolarday

The purpose of today is familiar to most of us who have chosen to blog about our disorder — we are doing our best to lift the lid on what it’s like to live with bipolar, and to show that we’re people the same as anyone else. We are doing the best to show that while bipolar has a checklist at the doctor’s office, that each of us suffer differently no matter how many ticks we might make on a list. We are doing our best to show that we are not lazy, or making excuses — we are doing our best to live as full a life as fucking possible with a brain that is doing its best to murder us.

We are doing our best to show that we are not being ‘drama queens’ — our brains are trying to murder us. The fact that the suicide rate is so much higher amongst the bipolar population proves that one. And that suicide and suicide attempts are not a symbol of weakness, but rather, hopelessness, exhaustion; there are very few of us that haven’t attempted or considered attempting suicide at least once, and that is because there was no visible way out. It doesn’t make us bad people for wanting escape, or less, or crazy. I think most of us, if we could put someone else in our shoes, would, just so they could understand what a sparking jungle of bad brain wiring we’re fighting against in addition to fighting against a society that tries to tell us we are less, or not trying hard enough.

Not trying hard enough? HAH. Hah. Hah. I wake up every day right now in severe physical pain and exhaustion. I might get a little bit of empathy because I’m currently pregnant (so thereby possessing a visible ‘legit’ reason), but I’m sure there people lining up to roll their eyes and mock the fact it means that I can’t fight my brain as well right now. That’s pretty shit, yo — I certainly didn’t intentionally try to think of that song that pushes me to severe depression immediately (bonus points — my head tried to convince me it was okay to listen to. Not fucking falling for that one again!), nor did I want to get stuck in an anger loop ruminating about people who have been assholes to me. I’ve busted my ass since I was a kid to be able to defuse these bombs when they drop into my lap, but that requires the resources to spend to deal with the impact of the brain throwing up this sort of crap, as well as the resources to stop them from making things worse. And then there’s the fear that once you get the hang of defusing your brain’s current set of bombs that it will find something even worse and harder to fight. And when the bombs are dropping faster and faster and you can see the countdown timer ticking down, ticking, ticking… whelp. It’s not like a stupid little game on your phone where you get tinny sad music and try again. You only get one life for reals, one shot, but yanno… just not trying hard enough. Obviously.

Now, I’m one of the lucky ones with bipolar. I know I have it, and what kind I have (Bipolar II, rapid cycling). I have meds that work when I’m on them (and deity, can’t wait until this kiddo is out and I can get back on them — only 75 days or so to go!). I have worked really hard to develop coping methods and ways to defuse my brain’s attempts to kill me. I have good friends of varying degrees of mental health and illness who love me, accept me as I am, and support me through the good and bad times (and I do the same for them). I am lucky because I do not care what others think of me, and because stigma and misinformation will not cost me my job or anyone who truly matters to me (I’ve weeded out most of the chaff by now, hee hee). I have my voice, and I use it wherever I can on my behalf, and on the behalf of my friends who cannot speak out due to fear and stigma. I’ve been told before that I love really weird people, and that’s true — us ‘weirdos’ are the ones that need the understanding and love, and I would much rather spend my limited resources on those who are most needing and *gasp* appreciative.

So of course, I use today as another chance to speak up and out, and to try to share a bit of insight into my brain. As ugly as it can be, this is my lot in life, and I am not prone to hyperbole about my suffering and conditions. I do not want attention or pity, or an excuse to be an asshole. I want understanding for myself and others, and understanding that the set of circumstances we are working from are difficult at best. And that one way to make them less difficult for all involved (because yes, you poor dear neurotypical folk, I DO understand we’re hard to deal with) IS to be understanding, and patient, and kind. Fear of judgement and stigma tend to make one react in an overwhelmingly negative way; this is something am still fighting with myself over.

But it doesn’t get better when ‘well-meaning’ lack of understanding minimizes what we’re dealing with. Educate yourselves, if you’re not familiar with the basics of bipolar; there’s lots of great information on wiki, Healthyplace, Psychcentral, and so on. There’s a wealth of personal insight here on The Bipolar Blogger Network, on WordPress, and all over the internet. And while many of us do spend a lot of energy sharing and trying to educate, remember that no one with bipolar has an obligation to teach you anything. By all means, educate yourself and try to support loved ones with bipolar, but it is not their job to hand you a how-to guide. They’re probably spending most of their resources just trying to get through another day, and getting huffy because they’re not able to spare anything for you is… well. Pretty dickish.

Don’t be a dick.

Bipolar is a life-long illness. While some folks are lucky enough that it goes into remission and they can live a normal life, it’s less common than one might think (and some types like Bipolar II have INCREDIBLY non-existent remission rates). On this inaugural World Bipolar Day, I guess it boils down to this for me — I have a life-long condition. I am doing my best to manage it and live as full a life as I can. I am not bad, or crazy, or lazy — I have a broken brain, and much like any other physical illness, I deserve understanding and compassion for the hardship this places in my life. So does anyone else with any sort of mental or physical illness, visible or otherwise. These are qualities that most people claim to consider important and would wish applied towards themselves, so let’s all make a point to remember the Golden Rule — do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It’s a good way to live anyways!

<3

Keeping It Low-Key

*waves*

Still alive, still busy. And, of course, keeping things low-key. As I’ve noted in my last couple of posts, I’m running on mega-empty. And I’ve had the bonus the past week or two of picking up whatever bug is going around — woo! I used to not have to deal with this as much, ha ha, but I also lived alone and wasn’t around people as much. The pains of civilization, am I right?

But really, I’m holding up… as long as I keep myself from doing pretty much anything outside of my beloved office chair. Which works to an extent; I’ve got games here,and crafting supplies, and a line to the outside world. I’ve managed to coax a ‘local’ friend into my messenger net (mwuhahahah?), and I think that we’re both benefiting from the mutual support and camaraderie that we otherwise share in person a handful of times a year. I think that everyone can agree that having someone to talk to on the regular, especially one who can understand the woes of being invisibly unwell, is good for morale and mutual support.

And yeah, I know I need it right now, especially with being off of my meds. I’m ‘coping’… but that doesn’t mean that it’s glorious and bright. I catch my brain any number of times a day trying to steer me into destructive, self-sabotaging thinking. I might drift to thinking about Person X, and how they annoy me so much because of their invalidation of me, and suddenly I’m ragingly angry and there’s no outlet and no way to calm all the angry down. Whups. Oh sure, I’m still practicing mindfulness, and catching some of it before it gets that bad, but that doesn’t change the fact that mindfulness isn’t easy in the best of situations. Being off my meds and coping with increasingly severe chronic fatigue, most would agree, is anything but the best of times. But still, I struggle on (to quote my father-in-law). Yanno, as long as I don’t have to brain or move too much.

<3

Taking Stock

I was poking through my Livejournal a bit today; that’s where I daily post, ’cause locked down and ‘safe’ and ‘private’. I’ve also got a 750words.com account I use for brain dumping, but that’s just that — brain dumping in its purest form (which is actually incredibly useful for helping me converse about things that annoy me after the fact, and just to get things out of my head that I didn’t realize were there). But yes, the LJ is my daily log, and I had been going back through it to backtag some posts relating to a continued incident with a person to make it easier to reference for myself, and just general scanning of things.

What have I learned?

Well, turns out my chronic fatigue has totally been getting worse. I saw that I was reporting a sharp decrease in energy in September/October, and I know that’s been getting worse. I thought that was the case, but I hadn’t been completely sure either. You know how it goes — when you’re looking backwards, unless it’s a specific flashpoint of bad, you sort of half-convince yourself that maybe you’ve been exaggerating to yourself. Turns out, nope, ha ha. Things have been pretty crap, and while I hope that it picks up and I can manage to say, do dishes on the regular, I’m not counting on anything.

I’ve also been able to note that my mental health has totally and utterly crapped out in a massive way since coming off of my meds — big surprise, that. It wasn’t so bad coming off of the sertraline (Zoloft), mind. Yes, I was a bit wibbly, but no real harm done. Coming off of the quetiapine (Seroquel), on the other hand? Jaysus, there are no words. Mind, I’m still doing better than non-pregnant non-medicated, but my anxiety is climbing back through the roof, it’s harder to ignore my OCD, and jeez, my sleep. My poor poor sleep. That’s sort of getting better, but my husband continues to park himself on the couch to be on the safe side. I’m also wondering if my combination will be nearly as effective after Pregnancy Roulette finishes rampaging through my body, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there; I figure as long as I get back on the Seroquel immediately, that should head off the worst of potential postpartum mood drama.

But yeah, spoons… I’ve heard of spoons. I’ve not seen one in awhile though. I’m annoyed ’cause I would like to be of vague use, but that risks too much of a vicious cycle ’cause getting annoyed at being annoyed at being mad at being angry, and I’d rather not get on that ride. I’m too tired for any rides. So instead, I just try to take a deep breath and be easy on myself. If I can manage to do more than drool on my desk, then I celebrate that. Otherwise… well. I don’t need to go pushing myself off the deep end when I’m already dangling off the edge of the diving board, I reckon. I’m okay, as long as I don’t really do anything or deal with anything. It’s not ideal, but it’s better to accept the status quo for what it is and hope that better will come.

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend.

<3

Radio Silence

Yeah yeah yeah, I got a bit quiet again. I had my reasons; I felt that someone was trying to justify harassing me in spite of set boundaries because *gasp* I want to write about my life in my own blog. I won’t go into specifics, but suffices to say it robbed me of resources I repeatedly expressed I did not have and has made it really hard for me to get around to poking my head in here.

Things are super-busy here. Because of the aforementioned, I won’t go into details at current, but things are at full tilt and then some. I’ve realized in the past day or two that this is starting to get to my mental health. I saw my psychiatrist yesterday morning and was doing mainly okay, but by evening I started to suspect I might be having mixed episode. I mean, it if is, it’s not a severe one per se, but. I did totally have a breakdown moment at work today, which didn’t help. I found out I was further behind on my work than I thought due to an oversight, which resulted in throwing my clipboard across the office and crawling under my desk to cry.

Having said that, it’s probably just stress in general from so much going on. I don’t feel particularly depressed or golden; when I’m hypomanic, I feel like I’m on the sunny side of a cloud and it is glorious. And while I did manage to assure my psychiatrist that I was getting back on my meds as soon as this kiddo was born and that I can only cope now due to the cessation of bipolar-related mood swings pregnancy hormones bring me. Coping is certainly the applicable word. But I have realized that I have managed some mastery over Scumbag Brain™® — I managed to get my head together enough to get us out of the office and back home. I managed to be polite and vaguely chatty with my husband on the way home even though part of my brain was insisting that I should totally ice him out. Hah brain, not gonna let you get me that way this time!

((I could probably say a lot more on the above, but that would require brain power I don’t have, because))

It also doesn’t help that my chronic fatigue has gone from bad to severe. I honestly can not remember the last time I felt this run down physically. It’s probably being aggravated by the fact that I am not sleeping well due to physical pain and discomfort; my poor husband has been on the couch since my birthday to give me space and quiet in the hope that my brain would remember how to sleep through the night again. Ha… ha… ha. It’s getting there, but man oh man, I will be so happy to get Seroquel back in me and helping make sleep better!

In general though, I feel things are mainly good. I’ve gotten to a place where I’m done with people invalidating me, my existence, and my health. Fed up with being treated like my existence is less, you know? I don’t consider myself an unreasonable person — I do my best to be ‘good’. I do my best to educate and share information as I can within my resource limits (which are very low, admittedly). I try to give people chances, but it just finally really started firming up in my brain that some folks are never going to respect me or treat me as valid. I can argue my case as well as I want, but it’s never going to happen. And that’s okay — it means that I can practice some of that letting go that I’ve been so slow in developing. And that’s an awesome step, whatever the circumstances that bring it around.

So anyways, here’s hoping for a restful and refreshing weekend for me, and for all of you out there.

<3

Petition, Anyone?

Mind, one of the better known mental health charities here in the UK, have started a petition to the UK government on the subject of mental health funding:

Mental health services save lives, they need protecting
http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/the-uk-gov-t-needs-to-provide-a-fairshare4mentalhealth-funding-sign-mindcharity-petition-today

I try to not put too much non-postypost stuff here, but. I think this is a big sort of deal, especially when the government claims they are supporting the mentally ill and fighting against stigma. How are you supporting improvement in mental health services when we’re talking about a 2%+ cut in real terms to funding? They can fund a pittance for well-meaning policies that still require staffing that isn’t available (seriously, where are these nurses supposed to be coming from?!), and I do mean pittance; one must keep in mind that governments operate in billions, if not trillions.

The fact of the matter is that one in four people will have a mental health issue in the year. That’s a lot of people needing support, and you betcha most of them aren’t getting or asking for the support they need. Hell, it’s hard enough for people with chronic conditions to get help or diagnosis! So please, join me in calling the UK government to account. Thank you.

<3

Quietly Onwards

Things have been busy out here lately, and while there’s a lot on my mind, I’m not quite at a point to where I wish to talk about it. It’s nothing bad though, I assure you — just a lot of things in general. But I can say everything being done is being done with prioritization to my mental and physical health, so that’s awesome. *smiles*

There’s one thing that’s worth noting right now, and that’s how delightfully cogent I have been in the morning. I don’t think that will last once I’m back on the Seroquel, but for now — I’ve been using it as a time to get caught up on my daily blogging, and to try to spend a spoon or two in education mode as I can. For example, one of my dear friends posted this on Facebook overnight:

7 Things You Shouldn’t Say To Someone With Anxiety
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/17/things-not-to-say-to-some_n_4781182.html#307367461

And you know what? I went all out to try and explain why anxiety is totally unreasonable and stupid, and sufferers know the things they’re anxious about are unreasonable and stupid, but you know what? That doesn’t fix the broken wiring. I went so far as to explain one set of circumstances that pushes my anxiety to pretty suicidal levels, and I’ll share that here too (and if you’re also one of my LJ friends AND FB friends, sorry for all the repeat today, hee hee):

‘I am both blessed and cursed with a severe aversion to lying. I can’t even pretend to be what I am not without pushing myself into near-suicidal panic. Which is distressing, ’cause yanno, sort of a useful survival skill. Which is why I tend to use more resources than I have trying to explain things! Because I truly do want to help people understand for my sake and others, but because if I can’t hide it, well.

But it’s also why I make clear my stance against societal ‘niceties’ that I disagree with — pretending that I concur with them stresses me out to the point I want to end my life. This is not me being ‘dramatic’. This is a severe and dangerous fault in my broken wiring that I have NO idea how to work around besides utter honesty about the particular fault. So, of course, I prefer to just circle around it rather than having to out and out say these things! And yeah, normally wouldn’t just whip that out either, but I figured it was a prime example of ‘this is how anxiety is stupid and I know it is stupid but understand that it is stupid and just how dangerously stupid it can be’.

I have to be honest — I feel fucking fabulous for admitting that. Any time I can make myself break past the anxiety to explain some of its stupidity, I feel like it lessens its grip on me. Not all the way; I will never be happy being anything but who I am, and I don’t ever see a day asking me to be otherwise will be anything but distressing. After all, it invalidates me and my experience. It might not be a pretty one, but it’s mine, damn it. I am certainly happy when I can smooth out the ride, I don’t consider my existence or the way I function (however crappily) to be invalid.

So anyways, I can’t complain. I’m feeling fairly calm and happy about my life right now, even if it’s a bit busy and hectic. I’ll hopefully talk about that later, but for now — I’ve got pizza to eat. *grins*

Hope everyone is doing well out there.

<3

Whups

I’d meant to get back into the, at least, once a week posting groove. It seems that I’ve slightly failed in that lofty goal. Ah well, it doesn’t mean I can’t try try again to get the axle repaired, and the wagon rolling (presuming I don’t get dysentery and die).

Sleep continues to be a mixed bag, though I’m holding up well enough. My husband continues his sojourn to the couch; I miss his presence, but not the snoring that was waking me bolt upright! I think the couch has been helping his back pain, so the separation is not a complete write-off. While I think my sleep cycles are starting to smooth out and that I’m waking less throughout the night, I’m trying to not overthink it; staring down the clock and thinking about it too much are reputedly things that make getting back to sleep a bit harder to pull off (though I’ve also seen it said that if you wake up, bumble around a bit before trying again; I guess it’s a ‘your mileage may vary’ sort of thing). The main point is that I am sleeping, and feeling mainly rested, so that’s going to have to suffice for now.

Mood-wise, I’m doing my best to be mindful. Yes, pregnancy hormones take their toll, and I sometimes feel a bit like a bouncing ball, especially if there’s something that makes me sniffly! I’m not a sniffly sentimental sort particularly, so it’s a bit amusing and annoying. But it’s not particularly detrimental; the moment of impact passes, leaving no dents.

45880035Having said that, I’m definitely having to practice a bit of mindfulness. Scumbag brain had already demonstrated that it’s rediscovered some of its capability to catch me when my guard is down. That’s the upside of mainly giddy pregnancy hormones, and the main reason I deemed coming off of my meds an acceptable risk — yes, it sucks and it takes a little bit to shake off the anger or depression that scumbag brain’s bullshit brings with it, but it’s insulated enough that we’re talking maybe a few hours of being angry or depressed at the worst. Really, it’s been more like 20-30 minutes of ‘extreme’ mood, and then back down to something saner. So certainly, it’s not ideal… but it’s definitely better than non-medicated non-pregnant states.

I do look forward to getting back on my meds though, and will as soon as the kiddo is born — here’s a baby, husband! Now, pass me my pills now. *giggles* I just have to think about how severely my mood tanked the second Lilbit was born to remind me; I went from default bad to ‘Why am I even alive. Nobody here cares about me, only my ability to produce children’. Which is utterly unfair, as my in-laws love me very much and are a wonderful part of my life. While I am ‘lucky’ to be Bipolar II and not have to deal with mania, and did not have to deal with postpartum psychosis, it was terrible enough for me to finally bite the bullet and seek help. So in that regard, I’ve a rather snarky thaaaaaanks to that experience, but absolutely no desire to repeat it.

Past that, I’m just dealing with the physical demands of being pregnant. As everyone oh so kindly notes — yes, I’m ‘already’ huge. That’s what happens when you take a relatively small frame, abs that have been stuck in the ‘out’ position for four years, and shove a fetus behind it. At least I’m far enough along that I can feel said fetus squirming and wiggling fit for a greased pig most of the time, which is a complete comfort to my oddly fretful brain. I was totally laid back in my first pregnancy; I guess I’m a bit more stressed by it this time because I absolutely never want to do this again (so hard on a body!), and because having some time to heal my mood and responses compliments of diagnosis and treatment, I’m already a lot more emotionally invested in this particular bundle of cells. I guess it’s because I look forward to closing this chapter of my book, and opening the one where my family is ‘finally complete’, perhaps? I’ve lived enough life and had enough experiences to know I prefer when things are settled and squared away to what-ifs and potentiality.

<3