Bipolar disorder

Life-saving Lamotrigine

I have finally (FINALLY) crossed the threshold into mental stability, I think. It’s only been a few days but I’m crossing my fingers for it to last as long as possible.

I attribute this stability to an increase in dose of Lamotrigine/Lamictal. I was on 25mg, which is quite literally a “tic tac dose” – meaning that it was barely helpful at all. Earlier this week, after going to my psychiatrist with a list of mood-related complaints, I increased my dose to 100mg. This is still a fairly minimal dose for that particular medication, but I think it’s starting to take effect.

I am actually still wondering whether I am suffering from a placebo effect with the increased dose, as psychiatric drugs don’t generally work this fast. But it has been known to happen. Besides, if it works, then it works – I’m not going to complain about it.

I’m very excited to see how my mental stability progresses!

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Life

I feel like I’m filled with love. My heart feels huge. And full of love and peace and happiness.

I was so productive today, which was super unexpected. I finally went to the island sexual health clinic to get tested for STI’s and to get my IUD consultation out of the way. I was really really nervous. I’ve realized, that I have this irrational fear of being taken advantage of by doctors, I think because they are in such a position of power over me – I’m always scared that they’ll abuse said power. So being in that vulnerable mindset already, being put in that position is almost unbearable. But (of course) the doctor was very understanding and was really great, and made the process easy and way less scary than I was expecting it to be. I’m actually starting to get excited for my IUD now because it went so smoothly.

I also cleaned my hamsters cage, cleaned my room, did the dishes, organized my purse and a few other generally good and positive things.

It made for a great day. I’m feeling incredibly balanced right now. Thank the lords.

Bipolar disorder · Feelings · Life

Hello mania, my old friend

Ah yes, indeed it has struck again.

Talking fast.

Racing thoughts.

Fidgety and restless.

Unable to complete tasks due to focus issues.

Scattered thinking.

Elevated mood.

Decreased need for sleep.

Increase in energy.

Increase in goal directed behaviors.

Impulsivity to the maximum.

I’m a textbook case. Especially when it comes to my impulses. I have literally got a grand total of 0.55$ left in my bank account, and a impulsively cut up credit card, with no available balance left on it anyways. I’ve been drugged up mostly on whatever I can find, wine, weed, even including other peoples prescription medication, taken without their knowledge or consent. In short, I’m an impulsive mess. However, I must pride myself on two points: I have not purged due to impulsivity, and I have not self harmed due to impulsivity – both of which are concerns in the back of my mind when I become more impulsive, a.k.a manic.

Anyways, the past two days have been absolutely, fabulously, lit. I’ve smoked every day, not slept for two days now (without the help of coffee, miraculously I am not even tired after my second night in a row awake), I’ve done chores around the house like a banshee, cleaning this and that, and vaccumming and doing laundry and dishes. I call my parents and chatter at them for half an hour, at perhaps three times my normal speaking speed. It’s just that I have so many thoughts to convey, I can’t possibly get it all out in the normal fashion. So I go overdrive. I get excited about everything, going on rants and tangents left, right and center. I chatter away to my hamster, who is sleeping in her little igloo, and can’t even understand English anyways, but I talk nonetheless, running my ideas past her for approval.

I call my doctor, and chatter away at him too for awhile, and he gets mildly concerned. He tells me to come and meet him the very next day at 9am, and to take some loxapine to try and get me calmed down and sleeping at night. I do not comply with this suggestion, instead, I warm up my old coffee and drink that. Stupid Jenna. I smoke, which helps to slow me down a little.

I go to my morning appointment with my doctor. When he asks what has been going on for me lately, I freeze. I do not know what to say, or why I am even here. I stumble my way through a sentence of unconvincing examples of my mania, conveniently leaving out the really bad parts, or else minimizing them completely. Thus, I am unsurprised, if not very dismissed and invalidated, at his verdict: I am pretty much fine. I simply am in an “up-swing”. I’m not manic.

I know better. I know what I feel, and I will tell you right now, that I don’t think I’ve ever felt quite as manic as I do now. Not to an excessive point, but I am noticeably more manic than I’ve been in the past. While I don’t think I need to go to the hospital, I do think some sleeping medication would be very useful in this scenario. Without sleep, I am, (pardon my French), fucked. I NEED my sleep. And in this state, I just cannot even lie in bed and TRY to sleep, I’m too race-y for something as peaceful and serene as sleeping, or lying still even.

So that brings us to the present moment. My boyfriend is sleeping in my teeny tiny bed, snoring away contentedly, and I am clacking away on my laptop, writing and writing, the room dimly lit with candles, my music on repeat matchbox 20. I am very happy. Don’t get me wrong. But the happiness is also dangerous. It never lasts, and never does it come on it’s own. It always brings its friends anxiety and stress-induced paranoia and psychotic thinking. This is the part of mania that I hate. Luckily I haven’t reached that threshold yet, of turning from good mania to bad mania, so I’m still in the clear – for now. I dread the day when my mood drops though, or my mania turns sour. I’m trying to enjoy my elevated mood for as long as it lasts, but I am also trying my best to quell my mania and stop it from becoming a full-blown episode. It’s quite a balancing act, of wanting verus shoulds. I SHOULD try and sleep for at least a little bit tonight. I WANT to stay manic, and harness my excess energy for good – meaning no sleep. I can’t sleep either way, so my decision on this point is moot anyways.

I hope that my boyfriend is at least having a good sleep. I am certainly having an excellent night, despite my lack of sleeping.

BPD · Feelings

Things to know about a Borderline

I have borderline personality disorder.

  1. This means I have a serious and potentially life-threatening illness. It is not something I can simply “out-think”. My neural networks are cemented into their patterns of bad and self-destructive behaviors. Changing this is not easy. It is possible, with intensive treatment, to out-manoever BPD, using skills learned in Dialectical behavioral therapy, and possibly medication. But one cannot simply “stop” feeling a certain way, or “quit” one’s bad habits.
  2. When I ask if you hate me, I’m being serious, and expecting a serious response, lest the invalidation train would strike.
  3. My mood swings are not my fault. I have minor control over my moods, in that I can change my immediate environment to (sometimes) suit my needs. However, when you factor in the aspect of dealing with other people, then it becomes a whole different ball game. I am not capable of controlling other peoples “vibes”, their moods, their actions and reactions. I am extremely sensitive to all of the aforementioned stressors and there is not much that one can do to lessen the effects of them.
  4. Sometimes, I’m a liar. I lie. Mostly it’s the fault of my BPD, and my problem is mostly with lying to myself. I’ll go through a process called “splitting”, during which something (oftentimes it is a person) is biased in my mind to either be “bad” or “good”; no such thing as being “in-between”. However, this is a blatant lie on my part, to my own self. I lie routinely about my interpretations of the world, in order for my fragile little brain to be able to handle reality. I skew the facts to make them easier to digest. I lie to myself, and with that, I spread the lie – just know, if I ever say anything along the lines of “I hate you”, I am also lying. I am not a hateful person, and at heart, I love everyone.
  5. Despite how it seems, I really do want to get better. My habits are simply so entrenched in my reality that I can hardly separate myself from my self-destructive behaviors. I do try. I really really do. It just isn’t an easy disorder to handle, let alone to actively treat and challenge thoughts and behaviors.
Anxiety

Adventures in Gabapentin

Well that was a complete bust now wasn’t it.

My anxiety levels have been steadily rising as my depression got worse, so I decided with my doctor to start an anti-anxiety medication that is suitable for people with bipolar disorder, such as myself. Of all the medications out there, there are two that fit the bill: seroquel and gabapentin. I’ve tried seroquel in the past. My main concern with seroquel is that it generally makes people gain A LOT of weight. And I just can’t handle that. So there is no way I’m letting a single pill pass my lips. So that left gabapentin.

I took my first dose in the early afternoon, when my anxiety is at its peak. A mere hour or so after I took it, I began to get weird cold-like symptoms. I, naturally, thought these were just a coincidence and that I was getting sick. It steadily got worse, until it looked as if I had a full on flu. At this point, I am still taking my gabapentin. Until my lips started to swell. They puffed and they puffed. They swelled right up. It was actually really scary, I must admit. I googled gabapentin side effects and it popped up basically telling me to go to the hospital – which is advice I didn’t heed… I just did not want to go to the hospital. So instead, I slept for about 17 hours in a row…

I texted my case manager, who then consulted with the doctor – he said to stop taking the gabapentin.

So I’m left here, out of anti-anxiety options. I’m just begging the universe to let my anxiety symptoms subside as my depression eases….

Life

Are my antidepressants actually working?!?!?!?!?!?

It has occurred to me: I have had good day after good day. It’s true, and undeniable. This whole week has been….good? It’s puzzling, because usually when I have a good day, it is followed by an equally bad day – my mood fluctuates so significantly that I never have “a good week”. Yet, this is what has happened.

How do I know this? Well, it suddenly hit me when I found myself dancing to a playlist of songs called “best happy/motivational songs” at 7:30 in the morning, already dressed and ready to take on the day. I used my SAD light the past two days in a row. I have made lots of tea. I even managed to go to the library and read a little bit.

Despite my rising mood, I am still not free completely of the pit that was my depression. But I’m getting there….

Maybe this means that my long awaited prozac is actually starting to WORK????!!!! Crazy!

BPD · Feelings · Life

A gentle time is needed

I think I have had sufficient self-reflection to this point to be able to recognize what my problem is. I am well-versed enough in my own emotions to see what has been happening. There are two levels to this.

Level one: Why am I not feeling better yet? Having recently been released from hospital gives the impression of being “cured”, which, I am learning, is TOTALLY UNTRUE. You can’t see the damage done to my brain, but I can feel it. Right now, I can’t concentrate enough to sit and read like I normally can. Knitting patterns are too hard for me to comprehend. Work is just too overwhelming. So I must make accommodations for my healing brain. Read something short and incredibly engaging (inspirational poetry). Knit something simple, like a sock with no bells for whistles – nothing fancy right now. DON’T go to work until your glass can handle the sheer volume of living that is required of a functional human being. Be gentle with yourself Jenna. You deserve all the kindness in the world.

Besides my over-eagerness to be a “normal” person, my medication may have been playing a role in my failing neurotransmitters. You know how doctors ALWAYS warn you that in the first few weeks of starting or increasing antidepressants, you may feel actually more depressed and suicidal than before? Well, this is what has been happening to me. After my doubling of my prozac, I expected to feel way better, right away. And when this didn’t happen, I lost hope: thinking that nothing was ever going to change, that I would always be this much of a fuckup.

Not true, not in the slightest. The way I know this is through the eyes of my boyfriend. He sees someone valuable, someone unique and full of life. I feel deserving when I’m with him. I feel like I’m enough.

On this note, I must change some of my habits surrounding my boyfriend: this brings us to level two of my current depression.

Ever since moving to Victoria, I have been floundering. At first it was fine, I was enjoying the splashing around in the waters. But I began to get tired. With my particular case of borderline personality disorder, I find myself questioning my identity A LOT. I will often feel like I don’t exist on my own, that without another person to validate my existence, I’m not even a real person. So instead of rebelling against this identity disturbance, I fell into its clutches. I faded into my boyfriends life and became an extension of him. My definition was that I was his girlfriend. I ceased to be an actual person. My own life had disappeared. I already felt lost on my own, and this situation just aggravated my sense of non-existence. When he was at work, I would simply stop everything. I lost touch with myself in those moments.

What I need now is to remember who Jenna is. I need to read, and write, and knit and dream and live and remember that living is amazing and that sometimes, so am I.

So that is what I shall do for the next little while. I will be the most Jenna that i can imagine. I will start a new notebook, and fill it with all the minutia that makes me happy, so I don’t forget it all. I will watch all of the harry potter movies again, just so that I can recite all of the lines to myself. I will knit a sock. I will read Kurt Vonnegut letters. I will ride the bus and look out the windows as we move. I will keep my room tidy. I will do my makeup in the mornings.

I will remember myself again. I still exist, I know I do. I feel more like myself already. Today is a good day. Tomorrow will be better.