Mood Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified

diagnosed bipolar and pissed about it

Month: December, 2012

so, i met my soul mate

just kidding, but seriously.

i’ve been on the site all of four days.  i don’t mean to toot my own horn but it turns out i’m kinda popular on the site.  problem is, most people seem a little too…straight edge.  it also turns out that eharmony is designed to facilitate the m-word and honestly, it feels a little creepy.  plus, keeping up with all of the emails takes up a good chunk of time!

it’s not all bad though.  there are a few that manage to keep my attention beyond a blip.  such as s, for example.  he caught my eye because he has sexy features, seemed moderately unconventional, and he fosters dogs.  he was also the one who asked the multiple choice question about doing frightening things.

so i asked what “frightening” thing he enjoyed most.  hell, he could have said trying a new grocery store.  you never know.  his answer: the low gears of his motorcycle.  interestingly, this immediately made me extremely horny.  i gave him my number.

he called this evening.  we just got off the phone.  we talked for over. two. hours.

first impressions: his voice makes me wanna rip off my panties and swing them around my head.  he has his shit together.  his sense of humor might jive with mine.  he is a gamer (woohoo!).  he doesn’t think i’m completely bat shit crazy.  and that is impressive, especially since i impulsively offered to be completely blunt and honest for one hour while he could ask whatever he wanted.

haha, so you can guess how that went but let me tell you instead.  s now knows that my dad’s side of the family consists of convicted felons, my mom and i didn’t speak for two years, that i was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and that i am taking psychiatric medication.

in hindsight, i’m kind of glad to get all of that out of the way.  otherwise it’d be hanging over my head and i’d be wondering when the right time was and blah blah blah.  plus, he had the opportunity to bail when he wanted to hang up and call back due to phone call quality and he didn’t.

okay but here’s the kicker.  he was talking about finding true love and all that and i’m thinking well, this guy has a probably narrow view of what that means.  and do you know what he says?

he says: i don’t even care if it’s polyamorous as long as it’s with the right person.


i couldn’t believe it! it was music to my ears.  even if i never engaged in polyamory in my life, the key is that he is someone who is open minded about all of the different shapes that relationships take.  it’s so nice to hear, especially in comparison with my ex, who could only conceive of love and marriage as being between two people and for whom attraction to people outside of the couple was unacceptable…unimaginable, even.

so, my new polyamorous gaming friend is a win, at least for now.

where’s the checkbox for deviant nympho?

i got a wild hair up my ass the day after christmas to sign up for eharmony.  i find this very mystifying because i am on a sabbatical from dating.  i suppose i figured that by the time i found someone worthwhile, i might be ready to start seeing people.

but mostly, i wanted to see if a computer algorithm could pick out compatible mates better than i can!

and i suppose part of me wanted to know if there really is anyone i’m compatible with out there.

it’s come to my attention that eharmony may not be the best forum for me though.  for instance, i get the sense that the people on it are pretty conventional.  there’s not really a space for broaching the topic of polyamory or open relationships…the next best thing was to rate the importance of monogamy really, really low.

i feel pretty constricted answering the questions.  one guy sent me a short-answer question that was something along the lines of “if i had a bad day, what would you do to make me feel better?”.  i typed some bs about giving him the space to vent while making comfort food but what i really thought of was “a fucking awesome blow job!”

or the other one that was like, what’s an ideal day like with someone you’re dating?  i mean…of *course* the answer is to spend all day naked, alternating between lots of fucking, movies, naps, and ordering in chinese.  you just can’t say that though.

i don’t do well in contrived situations, and eharmony is completely contrived.  there’s only been one guy that i thought *might* be able to keep up and that’s because one of his multiple choice questions was “with which sentence do you agree most?” and the two options were: 1) a sensible person never does anything dangerous (or something like that) or 2) I sometimes like to do things that are a little frightening.  i’ll give you one guess as to the one i picked.  plus, he gets bonus points for proper grammar.

another guy wanted to meet in person already.  had to put the brakes on that one.  another called me out, suggesting that i was on eharmony as an experiment (ding-ding-ding!).

eharmony guarantees that you will end up in a serious relationship by the end of a year, or you get another year for free.  poor eharmony.  never saw me coming.  😉

the fat suit

i’ve been gaining weight since i started taking lithium in may.  7 months later and i am wearing a full blown fat suit, with 20 lbs added on my frame.  most of my clothes don’t fit and i’m uncomfortable in my skin.  in order to feel sexy, i have to get completely decked out; otherwise, forget about it.  i don’t want to take pictures and i refuse to have some people see me like this.

i’m really disgusted with myself, and in order to make any changes, i have to dedicate time and energy to implementing my no sugar-no flour diet.  i haven’t had the time or space to do that, and i won’t really for another few weeks.  in the mean time, i keep punishing myself with food, which feeds further into the disgust and the cycle gets worse.

i’m down to one pair of jeans…from two only a few weeks ago.  a pair of shorts that fit me two weeks ago is strained over my waist and thighs now (in fairness, i made the mistake of putting them in the dryer rather than air drying them like usual).

this extra weight is not just physical.  it’s emotionally heavy too, and i feel pretty low all the time because of it.  i can sense it all the time, and it’s this constant burden in the back (or often, in the forefront) of my mind.

interestingly, despite perceiving myself as an utter failure, lard-ass, fat, disgusting pig, other people do not seem to share this opinion.  i’ve had people expressing interest in me without fail any time i go out.  strangely this even happens when i’m not all decked out.  unfortunately, because of my self-perception, i’m less inclined to reciprocate anything.

it’s been an exercise in self-compassion.  i gave myself the semester to get back into functional mode, and swore i would deal with the fat when i had successfully returned to something resembling normality.  i often have to remind myself that i have permission to be this way, that a lot of factors influenced where i am now, many of which were out of my control, and that it’s acceptable, given what i’ve been through this year.

but i can’t lie.  i will cry tears of joy as i shed this weight.  as the constant feeling of fatness wanes and as i am able to fit into my clothes again.  as i feel increasingly comfortable in social situations and in less and less clothing.  as my sex drive increases with every pound lost and i’m happy to be naked and free, and comfortable at the prospect of actually having sex–on top, with the lights on, for as long as i like.

it will take work.  i have to plan out meals for every day over a span of about 2 months (my estimate of how long it will take to get back to my old weight), go grocery shopping regularly and prepare and freeze meals, not drink or go out to eat, and get regular exercise.  once i get back into it, it will come off easily.  last year i lost 16 lbs in a month and a half or less using this exact regimen.  it was a glorious, unbelievable experience and i’m looking forward to doing it again.

and again, i’ll promise myself that i will never get like this again.  it’s just that this time, i’m much more aware of the factors that lead me to gain weight.  lithium, for one.  depression, for two. if i can moderate or eliminate those factors, then i should be able to keep my promise.

my primary goal is to remain emotionally stable, which is one reason i’m taking a vacation from dating.  besides the fact that i’m fat and disgusting.  🙂

family circus

so, i’m not really stellar right now.  i’ve been trying to evaluate the factors that might be contributing to my dullish demeanor.  there are some likely suspects:

  • i’ve been extremely stressed out the last few weeks as i finished up the semester and had to prepare for my winter course.
  • my diet has been less than nutritional
  • i’ve not gotten enough exercise
  • i’m fat
  • i decreased my lithium dosage and stopped taking prozac
  • my family is a literal shit-show

five out of six of these are subject to change and i have reasonable control over them.  the last one, not so much.

i’ve come to visit home for the holidays.  for the first time in nearly a year.  let me give you a nice little window into my family dynamics.

first, my immediate family has either been completely obliterated or hungover any time i’ve seen them.  my mother was available for all of 24 hours and left to northern california before christmas.  clearly, getting some alone time with her boyfriend was more important than spending time with me or anyone else in the family.  my sister is caught up in her own life, is relatively unavailable to connect with, and her priorities don’t really include me…the first thing my aunt said to me when she saw me is, “are you pregnant?”…and my grandmother’s first response to seeing me was, “if you think i’m happy to see you, think again”.

with family like that, who needs enemies?

confidence-building exercises

it’s the first week i’ve felt like i can breathe in months.  last week, for example, i literally did nothing but sleep and work, with more of the latter consuming the time.  i slept on the couch every night, and would wake up and flip open my lap top to keep going until i couldn’t work anymore.  i had no food in my house, and no time to shop, let alone cook, so i ordered food to be delivered every day.  dominos boxes piled up several feet high as i plugged through grading hundreds of papers and setting up my winter course which is, fortunately, online.

the good news is that i successfully taught my two courses…two courses that amounted to over 150 students.  having gone from being completely dysfunctional over the summer to providing a level of instruction i’m proud of, all while remaining stable and fulfilling most of my other obligations as well, is something i’m extraordinarily happy about.  i was pretty concerned that i would just completely fail or collapse, but i’m glad to say that that fear was not realized.

i gave myself permission to limit my real responsibilities to teaching those two courses.  i put research on hold, as well as several other personal goals that i would like to pursue.  i needed to see that i could function again.  i needed to rebuild my confidence that was completely shattered over the summer, when i found myself unable to finish sentences, follow conversations, or think at any complex level.

i wasn’t perfect.  grades lagged, often way too long to be fair to students.  sometimes i didn’t respond to questions in time.  i’m sure several students were pretty annoyed with me at times.  i accepted that too, and promised myself that i would do better next time.

the important part was that i successfully designed and implemented an online class, despite its being my first time teaching online.  i’m actually pretty proud of how well i structured the class, and with the assignments i created (although i definitely created too many).  it was such a pleasure to get to observe learning in an online environment, and to see my students engage with the material.  i really feel that my students learned a *lot* in that class.

i also taught my first large lecture class at the community college.  i remember visiting the room before classes began, and my stomach dropped at the size of the room.  my previous classes were quite small, ranging from 10-20 people.  this room had a capacity that could accommodate over 70 students.  i was able to create an atmosphere that encouraged a lot of discussion despite the large class size, and students gave me a lot of positive feedback about the class and my instruction.

when i received negative feedback, i listened sincerely but also kept in mind that major transition that i was making in being able to actually function.  the standard of comparison was not being a perfect teacher; it was being a capable one.  it was relative to my functionality over the summer, so i could have done much worse and still have been successful.

happily, i wasn’t just adequate.  i was awesome.

prison sentencing

i am fucking bitter today.  in fact, just call me oscar the grouch.

i had high hopes for my psychiatrist appointment.  since the seroquel has been working, and since i am taking ~subtherapeutic doses of lithium (600 mg) and lamotrigine (100 mg), i thought i might have a shot at tapering off of them while remaining on the seroquel.

of course, in hindsight, my thinking was too simplistic.  i was only considering the unique effects of each medication.  whereas lithium made me not *as* depressed (but still flat), and i didn’t even really notice anything with the lamotrigine, seroquel was the drug with noticeable, measurable effects on my mood.  i’ve felt like “myself” for the first time in 2 years.  so of course, i concluded that i should be able to remove the other drugs while remaining on seroquel.

not so.  my psychiatrist reminded me that there are possible interactive effects that i’m not considering.  it’s possible that seroquel works well *in combination* with lamotrigine or lithium.

moreover, he recommended that i remain on treatment for at least 9-12 months after the onset of remission.  NINE TO TWELVE months.  fuck my mother fucking life.

why 9-12?  well, for people with a *first* episode of depression, the probability of relapse increases substantially if treatment is not continued for at least 9 months (while in remission).  that’s not even considering people who’ve had more than one episode of depression; for them the relapse rate is even higher.

so, my intellectual side is responding to these data and to an obligation to the “responsible” thing to do (i.e., stay on medication).  everything else is up in flames.  i am so angry, so disappointed, so frustrated, so defeated.  these medications are not just medications.  they are symbolic representations of my intense struggle with the bipolar diagnosis.  i want to be DONE with them.  i want to move ON with my life.  and i want to be off medication so i can begin to truly explore whether i am bipolar or not.

except today, i learned that i will not be able to do this.  in fact, i will not be able to do this for a very long time.

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