Mood Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified

diagnosed bipolar and pissed about it

Month: July, 2012


well today was a waste of a fucking day.  i spent the better part of it hooked up to an IV and oxygen.  i got my first EKG today too.  la-dee-fucking-da.

lemme back up a bit.

Saturday i woke up with a cramp in my right shoulder and neck.  Felt kinda like i had slept funny so I tried slowly stretching it out a bit and taking it easy.  shouldn’t have been a big deal…these things usually resolve themselves in a couple of hours.

only it didn’t.  by Sunday it was worse.  far worse.  my range of mobility was limited even more.  before i could only turn my head to the left, but by Sunday neither direction was working.  XBF came by relatively spontaneously to “pick something up” and after he finished inspecting the place (“why is there a condom wrapper in the bedroom?”…uh, don’t you remember fucking the other day?  let me refresh your memory.  you were blindfolded and had wrist cuffs on.)  he tried to massage the area but it was so painful i started to cry and told him to stop.  i took 400mg of ibuprofen that didn’t do shit.  then i took 1000mg of tylenol which barely took the edge off.

clearly a trip to the health center was in order for monday.  i figured i’d go after my psychiatrist appt.  by monday morning though, the pain was excruciating.  i thought, this is fucking ridiculous.  i’ll just go in now.  i changed out of my pjs into a sundress, a process that was extremely painful.  i shouted and cried as i pulled my shirt off and my dress on.  i briefly considered calling XBF for a ride but thought it would take too long.

i almost fainted on the way but i made it to the health center.  by then i couldn’t sit down.  fortunately it’s summer so students are all gone.  the nurse called my name in just a couple of minutes.  she asked me to sit down and the room started to flash and spin.  a sweat broke out on my face.  i tried to breathe slowly and told her i felt like vomiting and passing out.  she asked me to lean back against the wall but that was out of the fucking question.

i was in maximal pain and discomfort.  i began sweating profusely and my breathing got shallow.  i became dizzy and knew it was only a matter of minutes before i would lose consciousness.  i told the nurse a few more times that i needed to pass out and finally, as my eyes are closing and i’m succumbing to passing out, she gets it.

i went to a different place.

there were people all around me, talking to me, talking to each other.  my discomfort level is breaking records.  sweat.  tears. pain.  no position was comfortable.  somehow they got me on a gurney.  i saw the IV drip get rolled in.  they put a bunch of stickers on me to take an EKG.  i was given oxygen.

i was pricked 3 times before the stupid IV needle got where it needed to go.  she even tried digging around on one of them which is a really strange sensation.  tried to give me some BS about my veins being difficult.  the hell they are.  fucking incompetence.

they couldn’t give me pain meds until i recovered from the fainting spell, and besides they had to figure out what was okay with all the other shit i’m taking.  i clearly wasn’t going to make my psychiatrist appointment so they called upstairs to let them know and to consult with her about what i can take for pain.

problematically, my blood pressure was very low and my heart rate was just ridiculous.  around 40 bpm i think.  i got grilled about my behavior and why my heart rate was so low.  has this ever happened before?  do i have an eating disorder?

i don’t know how long i was there.  they gave me a shot for the pain eventually.  injectable ibuprofen.  didn’t do shit.  due to my low pulse, they refused to give me muscle relaxers.  the doc came by and asked about the valium i was prescribed several months ago.  i said it was all gone, and she gave me a sideways look before saying i was prescribed 60 tablets.  i didn’t realize how it would sound until it was already out of my mouth.

“yeah, but my dog ate it”


in any case, they prescribed me with some ibuprofen and told me to stop taking valproic acid until i see my psychiatrist on thursday.  i had to call someone for a ride home, apparently, so i texted XBF.

a bunch.

called a few times.


fucking.  useless.

texted Satan Spawn and what do you know, he was able to get back to me within 10 min or so.  he finally came to pick me up and i walked out covered in bandaids and EKG stickers.  he took me to the store and then home where i passed out (slept).


i got bored with 50 shades of grey.

not that it’s boring by any stretch of the imagination.  it’s true: the writing is frustrating at times.  but it’s fan fiction for fuck’s sake, not a classic novel.  in any case, it inspired me to get off twice in a 2 hour period, and it’s been a while since i’ve been like that.

but i need more.

i need creativity.  i need to produce.  to exact change.  to shape and mold.  i need to look forward to something.  to build something.  to make something from nothing.

literally something from nothing, because i’m fucking broke.  ha.

that basically leaves me with two options: planning the classes i’ll be teaching and this blog.  so here i am, 1:30am, wide awake, plotting the future of this source of respite and redemption.  i’ve got some ideas that are starting to simmer that entail tapping into my artistic side.

speaking of which, i forgot to mention (…imagine that) that i decided to complement my writing with visual imagery via an account on pinterest.  like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words!  i’m using this as an opportunity to find images that express my feelings because sometimes words just don’t capture it.  i’ve got a couple of boards up that are admittedly pretty depressing so you may want to hold off on checking me out for a bit.  you can click the “follow me” button at the bottom of this page if you like.

my mind is a clusterfuck.  i have too many ideas and no idea as to which one i should pursue first!

i forgot to title this post

i was going to write this post yesterday, but then i got distracted and forgot, started reading the news instead, came across an article discussing 50 Shades of Grey, got excited, bought the Kindle version on amazon (on credit, of course), and read until 4am this morning.


as i mentioned, i’ve cycled into a hypomanic state.  i was starting to get suspicious when my days became SUPER productive, but by mid-week it was undeniable because i was getting fewer and fewer hours of sleep each night.  my 8-9 hours became 6, then 4, then 3.  once i popped up after only 3 hours and was wide awake, there was pretty much no doubt.  clearly i’m going to have to get better at early identification.

that day…Thursday, I think it was…was a small slice of euphoric heaven.  my senses were alight and hypersensitive.  when people talk at regular volume it sounds to me like shouting and i have to tell them to lower their voice.  i am more emotional and less in touch with reality.  the concept of consequences escapes me.

fortunately (or unfortunately?) i had an appointment with my psychiatrist that day who figured out pretty quickly what was going on.  i was out of it.  and i couldn’t blame alcohol or drugs or anything else for this state.

i was clearly hypomanic.

i was clearly bipolar.

there is not really much room for doubt now.  it’s possible, but the window of possibility has shrunk considerably.  i accept my fate.

told her i want retin-A for the acne that has plagued my skin and is a common side effect of lithium, but she advised against it because it is associated with depression.  i still want to use it anyway.  i’m almost 30 for fuck’s sake, and i look like i’m in middle school again.

since i was hypomanic, and the effects of lithium are dose-dependent, one possible strategy to bring me back down to earth is to up the dose to 1200 or 1500 mg.  fortunately, my psychiatrist took my vanity into consideration and instead recommended a small dose of valproic acid, or Depakote.  i’ve also needed to take a break from the Prozac for a couple days.

now my daily regimen will look something like:

  • 3 300mg lithium,
  • 1 250mg valproic acid,
  • 1 20mg fluoxetine (prozac),
  • 1 1000mg fish oil,
  • and 1 female formula multivitamin

we’re eventually going to move me off of prozac entirely and then start me on Lamictal, which will take a number of months before i get to the therapeutic dose.

i’ve been playing with the idea of not taking any meds because of that nagging voice that says maaaaaybe, just maybe i’m not really bipolar and all this is just some twisted expectation effect resulting in a self-fulfilling prophecy.  i was talking to lizziecracked from Running Naked With Scissors and thought it might be an interesting exercise to have a side-by-side comparison of the pros and cons for people taking medications versus not.  of course, everyone responds differently but i think it would be interesting to hear about the experiences of others.  this would be a *descriptive* activity, NOT a *prescriptive* one.  anyone interested?

back to thursday.  i got to enjoy the rest of the day in a hypomanic state, although i was totally out of touch with reality and more emotional than usual.  i was very tempted to go buy alcohol and cigarettes and go out with friends.  i decided to stay home instead…until i got a wild hair to go to my LAB MEETING and to TELL MY ADVISOR what’s been going on.

oh yes.

i didn’t change, shower, or anything.  within 3 minutes of having the idea i was out the door.  no consequences, indeed.

surprisingly, he was happy to see me which i found interesting since i hadn’t returned his calls since he made them a month ago.  he knew i was diagnosed with depression, but i thought it strange when he made an offhand comment asking if “what goes up must come down” explained my extended absence.

about 3/4 of the way into the meeting i asked for the floor.  my heart started to race and i was overcome with dizziness, like i get for any public speaking event.  there were only two other people than me there, one being my advisor and the other being a colleague, but it felt like i was talking to an audience of 100.  i was able to get out one sentence before the waterworks started.  there was no stopping it so i gave in.  i knew crying would be a risk anyway since i was in a hypomanic state, so fuck it.  let’s roll.

i got through my 20 second speech and managed a smile through my tears, waiting for the judgment, rejection, disgust, fear, and condescension that had plagued my imagination when it came to this moment.  time stopped in the moment of silence between my speech and his response.

he looked at me deadpan and said:

“Okay.  To tell you the truth I’ve suspected you were bipolar for a long time.”


i didn’t know whether to be relieved or insulted.  i was a little bit of both, to be honest.  i was also afraid.  does this mean everyone can tell that i’m bipolar?  have people just been watching me and thinking, oh, there’s that untreated mentally ill girl again.

meanwhile he’s telling me that he’s glad i told him and he’s actually recommending that i’m open about my condition (…) because then people have something to which they can attribute my erratic behavior.  otherwise they have to come up with their own explanations, which are never as forgiving as they should be.

i’m shaking but the news is out there.  he knows (and apparently knew for a long time coming).  not only that, but at one point he even dated a bipolar woman and wrote a paper about bipolar disorder (which i need to look up now, of course).  according to him, he “knows all about it” (i’m skeptical about that).  it was certainly a different turn out than i had expected.

story of my life

like the saying, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…i’ve found another post by Psych Salve that feels like a page ripped from my internal diary.

this is something i struggle with EVERY. DAY.

my latest tools for self destruction have been sugar, sodium, and carbs.  lots of it.  cookies.  omg, cookies.  munchies.  burritos.  chocolate.  candy.  soda.

i’ve gained only 5 lbs but feel like jabba the hut.  it’s a twisted, love-hate cycle.


In Search of the Least Destructive Self Destruction

tricking my brain

so, it turns out i’m in a hypomanic state right now.  more on that later.

but i’ve had work to do, involving read and writing, and processing problems and the like.  this is quite difficult in a manic state because i’m easily distracted.  like this post, for example.  i was in the middle of a thought in my work, and i got distracted by the idea for this post and now here i am.

reading doesn’t fare any better.  suddenly i’ll come to and realize i’m reading the same page again, or i’ve spent the last 5 minutes staring at words but processing nothing.

i have to trick myself to accomplish anything.  here’s the way i look at it.

my brain is overstimulated by EVERYthing.  god forbid something shiny enter the room.  in order to have even a few minutes of processing power, i have to give part of my brain something to do, if that makes sense, so i can use another part to work through the problem.  otherwise it’s just a clusterfuck up there and nothing gets done.

my strategy is to listen to certain types of music.  then my brain works on processing the sounds and is entertained.  meanwhile my problem solving abilities are no longer held hostage and i can actually think.

it’s not 100% effective but it’s better than nothing.

back to work…

follow the white rabbit

i estimate having slept between 2 and 3 hours last night.  i am not pleased.

i am afraid of myself.  i feel like a volcano.  or a geyser.  or something else that is unpredictable and explosive.

i’m not yet familiar enough with bipolar to know how to compensate, to try and bring me back to stasis.

not that i wouldn’t mind some hypomania.  it sounds awfully nice, i’ll tell ya.  i could get drunk and party and have lots of sex and spend money i don’t have and do drugs and forget about all of my current and impending responsibilities.  a little psychological vay-cay.


it’s the depression that will follow, however, that has me shaking in my boots.  i don’t think i have another round in me to deal with it.  it’s too much, too recent.  i’m still reeling from the last “episode” that seemed to last FOREVER.

on top of that stress, i’ve arrived at the very dismaying realization that i am late.

i am late.  for a very important date.

i have not had my visit from Aunt Flo for 42 days and counting.  now, i have a long cycle but even for me that’s long.  i’m hoping it’s stress.

it’s stress, right?

so, along with my psychiatrist appointment today, i’m going to get a fucking test to see if i’m prego, because i can charge it to my bursar’s account at school.

i will just shit myself, literally, if that fucker comes back positive.  i paid over $400 for a 10-year IUD in 2009.  it better be doing its job.


usually when i’m talking about regression, i’m referring to a statistical analysis that predicts an outcome variable from one or more predictor variables.

not this time.

now when i think regression, i’m referring to a rather strange and possibly disturbing trend in my behavior.  i’ve noticed that, over recent months, my behavior has taken on somewhat of a child-like quality.  i can here it in the tone of my voice sometimes.  i’ve been drawn to a few of the things i found comforting in childhood.  my behavior is decidedly more juvenile.

what does it all mean!?

i am already developmentally delayed as far as maturity goes, at least by some standards.  but this is a different mentality entirely.

take, for example, the last couple of weeks.  i have gone on a children’s cereal extravaganza.  i brought back all of my old favorites, starting with Lucky Charms.  Then I had Captain Crunch.  Then Frosted Mini Wheats.  I just finished off the Corn Pops.

last night, i downloaded a bunch of sanrio wallpapers for my phone.  right now i’m rocking pochacco who, along with keroppe, i used to draw incessantly as a kid.

the most disturbing aspect, though, is when i hear my own voice go from normal to  7 years old.  i catch myself and shut my mouth until i can regain my senses.

my cognitive ability isn’t far behind.  i have trouble reasoning through complex problems.  the idea of going to a meeting with my peers is just about the most terrifying idea ever (besides the one i’m going to talk about in my next post…).  anything that requires me to articulate something beyond the most basic sophistication gets jumbled somehow.  i can’t even think about the future.  the past seems swept away as soon as it happens.  it reminds me of the strange, disconnected mental space i was in for most of my childhood.

i just hope it doesn’t take me another 20 or so years to get out of it.

defer and refer

i’ve been shockingly productive the past two days and it’s late and i need to get my sleep on track so i’m going to make this a short post.

first of all, i’m still on the hunt for the truth about the widely reported 90% divorce rate statistic for bipolars.  there will be some interesting findings to report soon…

second, hats off to a fellow author at the Bipolar Blogger Network, Psyche Salve, who wrote an amazing post that I think you should read.  There have been quite a few posts (that I’ve seen) floating around lately, including my own, about the decision to have children as a bipolar.  Her’s seems to capture my feelings about it quite well.  Check it out, here: I love my children too much to have them.

should i be worried?

i just signed up to teach a human sexuality class this fall, which starts at the end of August.  i’ve never taught human sexuality before so i will have to start from scratch, and i don’t even get to choose the book.

but i was looking for a second job, right?  i mean, i need the money…

what kind of life is it to second guess every decision i make??

cognitive dissonance takes a twist

it’s interesting.  the way the mind justifies things.

only a few weeks ago, i was in a massive state of dispair at the loss of my dreams of having a family as a result of being diagnosed bipolar.  for personal reasons i have explained elsewhere, i’m not comfortable with the chances of my kids having it or with them dealing with a parent(s) with bipolar.  not to mention having kids would surely set off episodes.  stress?  hello!

now i’m in a very different place.

i don’t even want kids.  the idea repulses me.  i think it makes waaaaaaaay more sense to just have DOGS instead of KIDS because they’re easier to manage and don’t talk back and more fun to train and love you no matter what, even during their teenage years, and don’t costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to raise.

Dogs = Fun

Kids = I need a nap

Besides, I keep hearing this 90% divorce rate among bipolars statistic thrown around, so why bother?

By the way, can I just note that EVERY source I’ve found links back to a *Psychology Today* article as the “source” for that statistic?  Psychology Today is NOT a reputable source for data!  So I did some hunting…

A PsycINFO search of “bipolar disorder” and “divorce rates” turned up all of FOUR articles.  I changed the search terms to “bipolar” and “divorce” and 27 articles came back.  Hmm.

I’ve had to request a few articles that weren’t available, in particular the ones that were published before 2007 (when the Psychology Today article came out).  I’ll let you know what I find when they come back.

Meanwhile I did find a recent article called “Which Neuropsychiatric Disorder is More Associated with Divorce?” (Walid & Zaytseva, 2011).  Reading through the introduction, it appeared that these authors had come across the same statistic.  I was excited to see a citation after that sentence, thinking finally!  a peer-reviewed source.


good fucking grief!  now i’m feeling slightly intrigued and a little disgusted, so i’ve got some motivation to look up this broad who has convinced so many people that bipolars experience a 90% divorce rate.  Ms. Marano is “an author, journalist and editor who, although not a trained psychologist herself has been Editor-at-Large of Psychology Today for the past 15 years…”

so, she sure as shit hasn’t been trained in research.  clearly not in citing properly.

i’m not finished yet.  the second source they cited was a Patient Health International article that states, “Divorce rates are around two to three times higher for bipolar individuals than in the general population”.  At least there was a reference list…so I checked the article that appeared most relevant (because there was no specific reference to the correct article), “Impact of bipolar affective disorder on family and partners” which admitted that “The sampling does not capture caregivers who have abandoned their role, such as spouses who have divorced the bipolar sufferer.”

Still, it seemed that we might be on to something.  The authors, Dore and Romans, wrote:

The literature indicates that the marriages of bipolar patients often lead to separation and divorce ( [Brodie and Leff, 1971], [Carlson et al., 1974], [Weeke et al., 1975], [Dinicola, 1989], [McPherson et al., 1992] and [Kessler et al., 1998]).

This is clearly not going to be an easy task.

The entire subject of this post has decidedly ALSO taken a twist.  I am going to take a break to retrieve and review these articles and see if I can’t get at the bottom of this.

Stay tuned!

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