12-Year Old Nandi Bushell Drops “The Shadows”

If you have not discovered Nandi Bushell yet, now is the time. Nandi’s YouTube channel will introduce you to her amazing talents that include incredible drumming, great guitar and bass playing, time on the piano, and now professionally showing us her singing skills.

Not only singing for us to hear, but she is demonstrating her beautiful songwriting talents, too.

Nandi Bushell Shadows

Nandi Sings for Her Father

As she tells it, her father fell into a depression earlier this year so she wrote him a song to let him know how loved he is and how he is not alone. What 12 year old understands the depths of depression in a parent so intensely, she writes a love song to him?

“When your fears have taken their toll
When the demons have gotten control
When the shadows won’t leave you alone
I’ll be there
When all your rainbows turned into black
When the sun has turned its back
When all of your power bled itself dry
I’ll be there
For you”

Nandi is that child.

Her family is so blessed to have each other.

Listen and Pass It On!

Bipolar Diary: Sharp Edges Being Rounded

My hypomania is fading and I am quite cranky about it.

I’ve been gloriously productive the last three weeks and now to have this needing-a-nap bullshit again is pissing me off.

My clock face is still glowing some, but nothing like the 3-D it was giving me last week. The blue color is almost flat.

Like me.

My Color Draining

For most of my life, I’ve been able to detect my mood just by looking at my imaginary mental health watch. I could look down at my wrist and gauge where I was at any moment. Good? Depressed? How depressed? (As if I could measure the depth by the minute hands on the face.) I have not thought about my mood watch in ages… until the clock on my bookcase became that touchstone.

Just a few days ago, I wrote about my digital clock glowing a 3-D azure blue, it having once been red. Today, the numbers are not dancing as much and the blue is less glowy. I am watching my mood’s colors dribble down the drain.

Bipolar Diary

And In Comes the Flatness

“Flat” is a term used with depression. “The lows can be flat and devoid of colour…” (It does also mean a flat affect, but that isn’t how I am using it.)

Like the clock face, I am becoming flat.

I’m still early in losing the hypomania, but I can already feel the pressure on my mood. It’s slight still, but it is most certainly there.

I’m crying knowing what is coming.

Hallucinations Vanish

The hallucinations have all gone. Nothing.

No random scents.

No ants crawling on me.

No seeing things.

All gone.

Would I rather have the bugs crawling on me and around the room? Probably not, but you see, there is a trade-off. I would take the bugs if I get the great energy and wonderful productivity.

Now, I have neither.

Too Short and Very Sweet

This episode was very short, but so wonderful, even if for only three weeks. Now I am left with the memory of that time and it, too, will fade. My words here in the blog will be the way I can recall where I was and when. If I had not written them down, they would have been erased by my brain within a few more days.

I’m so glad I did not agree to the Risperdal. I would be headed to a major depression at this point. I’m hoping to avoid that, but know it is always a risk and that I have very little control over the depths into which I will fall.

My Status Quo: Low Level Depression

I will most likely fall back into my baseline which is a low-level depression. Not terrible despair. No suicidal ideations. No inability to move or think. Just a place where I exist without fantastic joyous feelings. I feel love for people, family, kids, grandkids, but it isn’t an overflowing power I feel when I am not in my everyday skin.

That makes me sad.

Writing

We’ll see how much I continue writing. It was so nice writing a lot those few days.

Why isn’t there a pill to keep me in hypomania?

Bipolar Diary

Bipolar Diary: Hallucination Day

Sometimes when I don’t think there can be anything weirder than what I’ve seen, smelled, felt, new things materialize.

No sooner did I tell my psych yesterday I was not having Auditory Hallucinations, they pay me a visit.

Today’s Fun

  • I could smell the inside of my Flipper lunchbox from first grade all day long. It was there, then gone, sometimes there for half an hour, sometimes a flash. Olfactory hallucinations are odd because I would swear the item/scent was right under my nose. It isn’t a memory thing, it’s a real scent. Like lunchbox perfume. No idea what brought that to the forefront. I have not been thinking about first grade or lunch. I didn’t even know I still had that scent-memory!

Hallucinations

  • My clock numbers have become floating 3-D. They float out of the clock mechanism and glow a beautiful blue. They are usually red. 

Hallucinations

  • I am trying to think of the name for the blue. Azure.

Hallucinations

  • I had to keep YouTube off today because Steely Dan’s Aja was playing around the room. I did just watch a documentary about the making of Aja, but I didn’t expect my mind to bring the studio into my room. If I closed my eyes, I could hear the speakers in the corners near the ceiling and one floating speaker in a horseshoe around my head that followed me around the house. I had no headphones on. Aja was not on anywhere, TV or stereo, Alexa or radio. Yet, it was as if I was engulfed in the music. You would think I would love a studio surrounding me, but it was disconcerting after awhile. I put my headphones on, trying to play some Queen, but Steely Dan would have none of that. I surrendered and put Aja on and that made a Steely Dan cacophony for a few minutes, but I concentrated on what I had in my ears and the other music faded eventually. If I put anything on but Aja, the music came back. Loud. Insistent bitch, that Aja. That one album has been playing for 18 hours now, headphones on or off. Good thing I love it.

Hallucinations

  • The visual ants seem to be fading, thank goodness. They have not been replaced with other insects, so I’m happy about that. I still feel them crawling on me, but at least when I look where I feel them, I don’t see them too often. I hate things crawling on me, so am way glad to see the ants fade into nothingness.

Hallucinations

That’s pretty much been my day. I tried to meditate and/or nap, but Aja could not take a breath with me and I just laid there singing “Black Cow.”

Join me, won’t you?

 

Psych Visit Hilarity

Psych: “How are you doing?”

Me: “Great! I’m in hypomania.”

P: “Tell me about that.”

M: “Oh, just some funky olfactory, tactile, and visual hallucinations, but they are no big deal.”

P: “Okay. No auditory?”

M: “Nope, which is unusual.”

P: “Okay, just watch for them.”

M: “I quit taking the Risperdal. I hate it.”

P:  “No problem.”

M: (whew)

P: “Do you have any obsessions happening?”

M: “Oh, no… doing fine.” (completely avoiding YouTube and Queen)

P: “Are you sleeping?”

M: “Some. A couple three hours a night.”

P: “Well watch that and try to sleep more if you can.”

M: “I feel fine on two or three hours.”

P: “As long as you’re feeling good. We can up your Latuda for the hallucinations if you want.”

M: “Naw, they don’t bug me. (haha how punny am I?)”

P: “I think you’re doing great. No med changes. See you in three months.”

M: dancing like Disco Deacy

Disco Deacy
John Deacon of Queen, aka Disco Deacy

Hypomania. Oh, How I Love Thee!

I am a cleaning dervish.

My vocabulary is exemplary with clients. My mouth is pouring out words I rarely use. My brain is on fire!

I am writing like mad.

Writing Like the Wind

I am lost as to time. I thought yesterday (Friday) was Monday all day long. I have appointments on Monday and was ready for them wondering where my connections were… why were they so late? I still barely know what day it is. I keep looking at the calendar to see where I am.

I no longer care one whit about the hallucinations. They are worth this glorious activity and brain power.

I’m tempted to cancel the psych appointment next week, but I can hear all of you now… “NO!” so I won’t.

But, oh my Goddess, is this so delicious!

I can do anything

“I’m Going Slightly Mad”

Good News

My Cardiac Stress Test came back no blockage in my heart. I am ecstatic about that! I’ve tortured my heart since I was 11 years old, so it’s actually shocking. The summary suggested “Lifestyle Changes.”

Doing it!

Crankiness

I fucking hate Risperdal. I hadn’t taken it in a few (many) days and took the 1mg prescribed and was so groggy all day as if I had taken Trazodone. I hate dreamless sleep. Still was only five hours total, but felt horrible when awake.

What is the price of non-compliance?

I will see if there is something else I can take when I talk to the psych next week.

What Does “Slightly Mad” Look Like?

Maybe I am just in Hypomania with teensy bits of manic hallucinations. 

(Can you hear me laughing as I try and rationalize my behavior and thoughts? If I was listening to myself, I would be shaking my head and saying, “Stop it!”)

Thankfully, I am not listening to myself.

Fun with Hallucinations (Cardiac Stress Test)

I had a Cardiac Stress Test today. The ants came along with me. It’s ever so much fun trying to ignore hallucinations in a medical setting. More on that in a bit.

Besides being a fat girl, the COVID I had late December fucked with my heart and lungs. I had heart palpitations from early January until I went to the ER mid-April. (“They’re going to go away! Dr. Google said they are transient.” They were not.)

While in the hospital, a full work-up also found swollen lymph nodes in one lung. They weren’t too worried about that and said to go for another CT in six months. Easy peasy.

The heart, though. Well, let’s just say when I talked to the Electrocardiologist from my hospital bed at the end of April, he gave me an ultimatum.

These Are Choices?

He said:

“You can either completely change your life or you live in a nursing home.”

See, when people said I was going to die, that was pretty much saying, “You get out just like we all get out.” So what? I could not have cared less.

However, a nursing home?

I had pictures of myself at 400 pounds with some nurse’s aid wiping my ass. I could smell my life of urine and shit. I saw the rows of wheelchairs and my super-sized one in the corner waiting for me to go to a dinner of mush and slop.

(This might not be your view of nursing homes, but it was what my mind flashed to.)

Nursing Home

Life Changing

Well, the idea of a nursing home was less than appealing, so I decided the other option of changing my life wins that argument.

Breeze

  • I quit eating from Uber Eats.
  • I threw out the salt. Mind you, I put salt on salt, so not having salt was the most challenging change.
  • I only buy low-sodium/no sodium foods. (No lowER, sodium, I shoot for less than 1000 mgs salt daily.
  • I now drink Caffeine-Free Diet Coke.
  • I upped my vegan game, but the cardiologist said, “You might want to eat salmon for your heart and kidneys.” I eat a small bit of salmon three times a week and take Omega-3 supplements daily.
  • I take Metoprolol Tartrate for my heart palpitations (PVCs).
  • I take Lasix to keep the water from flowing up and squishing my heart.

What’s Changed So Far

  • The heart palpitations/PVCs are gone.
  • The Lasix has stopped my retaining fluid. Good LORD, salt sure had me retaining fluid. I had so much in my body it was actually squishing my heart! That is a fuck ton of fluid.
  • I’ve lost 60 pounds since the beginning of May.
  • I just got permission to start walking again. Woo hoo!

Today’s Cardiac Stress Treat

The stress test was a chemical one instead of the treadmill.

It took wayyyyyy longer than expected because I am a hard stick for IVs and they had to bring in the PICC team woman to ultrasound my arm. She found it quick and easy after 4 pokes from the nurses. “I am a hard stick. You might want to get someone with a sono to do it.” <ignore Barb/>

Ants on a Log

Ants on a Log

Yeah, I brought the ants with me to the hospital. I closed my eyes and meditated to my Queen mix, deciphering the different vocal and instrumental parts to keep my mind working and not seeing or slapping the ants. I could still feel them, but worked to not feel them as much.

“Oh, listen to Deacy’s bass. That goes well with Roger’s kick drum.”

“Listen to Brian, Freddie, and Roger’s harmony. That’s Roger up there. I hear Brian better on this section. Freddie sure has range!”

I laughed thinking what they would think if I demonstrated my hallucination dance. I might be put on another floor of the hospital. At least I recognize my hallucinations. I know I am lucky that way.

Sniffing… Well, Sometimes Glue (I think)

At the hospital, I realized my olfactory hallucinations (phantosmia) are back, too. They have been for awhile, but it didn’t hit me until I began smelling the scent of a rotten animal at the hospital, too. It has been an on-again-off-again smell in my room. I have torn it apart looking for a dead animal, not finding anything. My room is sealed! There is no way for anything to get in. Why that didn’t hit me sooner is beyond me.

My olfactory hallucinations have been the most frequent hallucinations I’ve had over the last 30 years. Even when I am fine and balanced, I still have them. I have not had them for over a year; no idea why not. But here they are again.

Usually, when I am depressed, I smell gross things like vomit, something burning, shit or… dead animals?

When I am doing well, I smell great things like the plumeria in Kaua’i, strawberries, and (this is hilarious) the scent of the paper fresh off the ditto machine.

Ditto Scent
Smelling the ditto sheets. Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

Am I Sliding Into Mania?

Yet, here I am, not depressed but having hallucinations.

I’ve sat for awhile and thought about the last couple of weeks. I also scoured Dr. Google.

I have:

  • Written a LOT of posts
  • Written things I regret writing (blessedly not on the blog that I can see… yet, anyway… but sadly to someone who I love very much)
  • Am sleeping way less
  • Am talking louder than I need to be
  • Saying things that are out of character

Fuck. Maybe I am sliding into mania again.

Fuck.

Fuck.

Fuck.

I have an appointment with my Psychiatrist in one week. I will let you know how it goes.

Crapola.

Mania

Afterthought: I started off this post all happy and almost silly. Now that I am in this place with new light, I am not so giddy.

“On My Way Up!”

Not so long ago, I was in a very sad and depressed state. When I started watching videos on YouTube, I thought it was a distraction and worried I was sinking deeper.

Instead, what I found was a way out of depression.

Damn Hallucinations

However, I am having hallucinations that are annoying and need more help with. Ants crawling on me… visual and tactile. Annoying for sure.

Ants

Having hallucinations reminds me my brain doesn’t usually work like it’s supposed to. Even when I feel good. That bugs me (so to speak). I am not in a manic state. I’m getting enough sleep. My meds haven’t changed. I am pretty sure I am going to have my Risperdal upped and that really makes me cranky because that shit makes me gain weight and I am on a losing streak, 60 pounds so far. (That’s a story for another day.)

Clearly, I have been writing more. Not just here, but also in my book. I feel so good, which makes the hallucinations especially annoying as fuck.

Brian May to the Rescue

Brian May is the guitarist for Queen and a soloist as well.

This is part of the transcript from a podcast “Brian May – How Do You Cope? Elis and John” found HERE. The entire transcript delves into Brian’s ongoing life as a “depressive” (his word) and how he works through it, including the time he went to a treatment center. I highly encourage reading the entire piece because there are 1000 nuggets of understanding and inspiration there.

And hope.

Some of it was actually incredibly difficult to get through to even get in a studio because it made me massively depressed, and when you’re really depressed you’re not writing songs or you’re not writing the Blues. You can’t write anything. You can’t even get up in the morning. So I went through a lot of trials and I remember sitting in the studio feeling so incredibly bleak and wondering if I had anything to say. All I could feel was pain.”

“Yeah, I kind of felt life was over and I just wanted to try to get to the point where I could put it into music, and again this idea of sharing it with other people. I thought, if I can get through this then maybe I can help other people get through it.”

Again… and hope.

(Besides Bri helping me, his matter-of-fact speaking about having off and on depression has de-mystified and normalized mental illness, especially depression. I can’t thank him enough for his gift of speaking out loud about his struggles and triumphs.)

Watching Myself Fall Downward

I was stagnant for so long, for well over a year. A friend with whom I’d been sharing my work and getting lots of great feedback and encouragement from to keep going ghosted me. Crushed, I stopped writing. It took a few months before I realized why. I missed him and our interactions about my writing. It didn’t seem worth doing if no one was going to read it. I couldn’t find the inspiration to pick up the pen again and get any words on the page. Honestly, I thought the words in my mind had vanished.

I tried reading, but that gave me very little pleasure and no inspiration. I did read War and Peace and Anna Karenina , both by Leo Tolstoy, and loved them, but still they did not nudge me to write in the way I had hoped. Anything less intense was a bore.

I’m “On My Way Up”… and Out!

It is through music I have found my way out of depression and the immobility with writing.

I did not know that would be my path and am still a bit amused this is the territory I’m traversing. How could old rock music get my creative blood pumping and have me waking at 5:00am eager to tap, tap, tap on the computer? I keep going until I feel the words begin to slow, winding up, and then working much of the day. But, even my work writing is going so much better.

Dr. Brian May wrote a song called “On My Way Up” that has become my anthem.

“I’m on a roll
Gonna have it all
It’s gonna be fine so fine, baby all the time
I’m in control (on my way up)
I’m mighty bold (I’m telling myself)
I’m looking good (I’m totally sussed)
I’m quitting the neighbourhood
On my way up (yes I am)
(On my way up) Gonna get right with them
Got all of my life left for living”

I listen to this first thing in the morning, even before Track 13. I feel strong and powerful.

I am going to make it.

And with books to show for it.

I Am Depressed (Again)

I am terribly depressed.

Life circumstances, work being really slow, being diagnosed with new issues that require care and attention and, worst of all, my weight has hit an all-time high… all have combined to submerge me into the waters of depression.

depression navelgazing writer

Fat is Weighing Me Down

I am distraught mostly about my weight. I had an RNY Gastric Bypass, for fuck’s sake. Granted it was 19 years ago, but still. You know it’s bad when the Pulmonologist, who has just diagnosed asthma and sleep apnea, then prescribed several inhalers and a CPAP machine, asks, “Can you do the gastric bypass again?”

hate my fat navelgazing writer

Bring on the Psych Meds

I see the psychiatrist on the 12th and it cannot come soon enough. He changed the meds slightly last time, but I have fallen deeper and I am in that place of just not caring if I get out of bed, if I work, if I write. I just don’t care.

And I hate that I don’t care because I know it is depression and not me.

Diabetes Crap, Too

While my Hemoglobin A1c is a not bad 6.4, it is up from 5.8 a few months ago. The Lantus was upped again, to 85u daily, but about 4 hours after I injected it into my fat belly this morning, my Blood Glucose went down to a 38, the lowest I have ever seen it. I thought I was going to have to call 911, and probably should have, but I kept slamming juice pouches until it hit 60 and I began feeling… feeling… again. I ate a PBJ with very little J and my BGs have been better this afternoon… around 100.

And yes, I do know insulin causes weight gain.

It’s just overwhelming sometimes.

Reading Good Books, Though!

I love Audible so much I could cry. I listen to books for several hours a day and am plowing through piles of them.

Newer books I love:

The Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant.

originals navelgazing writer

By far the best “self-help” book I have ever read. My entire mental process has shifted and when I write, am writing without the self-judgement I was giving myself. Many, many other incredibly valuable pieces of information are in the book, from parenthood to dying. It’s just beautiful.

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

daisy jones navelgazing writer

Besides the intricate personalities between band members and their intertwined stories, I listened to this thinking what an amazing writer Reid is. She has multiple characters and speaks as them in first person and each character sounds exactly as they should and so so different from the others in the book. Listening, you get different people speaking the parts whereas reading, you “hear” them in your head. I believe this would be one time when Audible is far preferable to reading it.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett & Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

Yes, I’m reading children’s books I missed growing up. My grandkids have read them, now it’s my turn.

I’ve seen several incarnations of The Secret Garden in movies (and a new one comes out April 10, 2020), but the book was so different than any of them and so filled with magic and the love of the earth, I was mesmerized with every syllable. Pure poetry.

secret garden navelgazing writer

Black Beauty is the horse’s autobiography, told by Black Beauty himself. Clever, wondrous idea! How did Ms. Sewell ever conceive of this is beyond me. And that this was the only book she every wrote! She began writing it when she was 51 and finished when she was 57, dying 5 months after its publication. I’ve not been into horses like a lot of my friends, but I can see why after reading this… a fantastic book.

black beauty navelgazing writer

Perk Me Up

Writing about the books helped. I don’t feel so desperate and alone with them.

I’ll go read now.

I’m Depressed (Again)

Due to a glitch in my insurance and the Latuda company’s lack of medication, I went about a week without it. Might have been more. I have been back on it for 4 days now, but have fallen into depression. I wasn’t sure at first, but after sleeping 20 hours a day 3 days in a row, I think that qualifies as depression.

sssss

And the crying.

sigh

I hate the crying.

cryinggg

The welling up of tears for (seemingly) no reason. The way they fall unabated, no amount of logic stopping them. They just turn on and off at their own whim.

What am I sad about? Nothing. There is no precipitating factor here, merely biochemical.

I want out of it.

NOW.

Snatch with Prompt

This was the Prompt:

watercolor

This is what I wrote in 30 minutes (unedited):

When Colors Run

Deep inside my colorless cocoon, I have a vague sense of other lives nearby.

I slither through their reality; where is my own? Surrounding myself with the darkness of my depression.

My mirror’d existence bursts into color, fireworks exploding with energy that drains my body, but never my mind.

Having Bipolar Disorder 1 is, quite literally, opposing colors of my brain. I see auras anyway, but during a manic episode, the colors scream off my body, tsunamis of energy crashing into my brain again and again. Voices screech… or whisper… I, never knowing which will be next… raging about how I look, feel, need to act, need to fly, need to find this or that, things that are elusive even after hours of mentally and physically searching.

Exhaustion never comes.

zippy-gif

When the electricity finally dissipates after months of zapping me, I collapse into that dark world once again, struggling to keep breathing and not smother myself with the thought that this will go on forever.

Reaching outward, always outward, needing several hands to keep me alive, I am fed my medication, waking only to swallow, then sleeping yet another 23 hours.

Writing is my emotional gauge. By how many words I write in a day, I’m able to see where I stand psychologically.

gw-wab-2-550x200

Not writing for days, weeks, months… I am in that dark place and need help. Too often, because I am alone, I do not recognize the need for many weeks and, by then, am buried by the pain.

However, when I write 20,000 words in a day… several blog posts for me, blog posts and essays for work… long emails to friends and family… run-on sentences with divergent topics… it is they who sense my need for help and their well-rehearsed phone calls are made to see who can get me to the doctor the fastest.

Herzensschatzikomm

Walking the tightrope, umbrella in hand, I teeter, side to side, always searching for that inaccessible balance.

4.1.1

Bipolar Mania Redux

Yeah, the Mania has returned.

Once again, I am a live wire that hums like a fluorescent bulb, sleeping 2 hours a day, am a writing banshee and logged into work for many hours at a time.

lights

See-Saw Up & Down

From mid-September 2016 to early November 2016, I was in a pretty intense Manic State. The last Manic Episode I’d had before that was 1998.

It seemed to take forever to get control over the hallucinations and be able to sleep, and when I did, I slid into Depression mid-December. The fight to find balance between soaring highs and plunging lows has eluded me. Just when I think I am finding stasis, I slip by it and move to the next level of distress.

And here we are, mid-January 2017, and I am, once again, having hallucinations, staying awake for far, far too long.

Will I never find balance?

Hallucinations AGAIN

I’ve had increasing hallucinations for at least 2 weeks now. They aren’t terrifying yet, but they are on their way there.

Today I was visited by a bat!

corynorhinustownsendiiflying

Fucking thing was flying around the room then dove right for my head. I ducked and covered myself, but, of course, it wasn’t real, so if someone had been watching, it would have given them a hearty laugh. Other visual non-existent treats have been my clothes on the back of the door lifting off and swaying back and forth a couple of times and nondescript somethings sitting on the dressers or on my bed.

(I feel like a crazy woman sharing these things. How can I talk about what is going on so casually? I think it is just getting to be so normal, I am more shrugging than freaking out about it.)

The auditory hallucinations have returned, my hearing all sorts of crazy noises from windstorms to doorbell chimes. And the incessant whispers, always just out of earshot and too low for me to understand, but they are not happy noises. “Ominous” is the word I would use to describe them.

nguyen-hoang-hiep
artist, Nguyen Hoang Hiep

Oh, the goddamn tactile sensations. Again, feeling like I have bugs crawling on me. Not lots so far, but just enough to make me slap myself periodically.

Not smelling anything (yet) – olfactory hallucinations – but those are probably what’s up next on the Manic menu.

Writing writing writing

book-letters

And so I write. Here,  in my work blog, in Facebook. The words tumble out of my fingers even when I am meditating trying to sleep. I cannot keep them still as they search for a keyboard upon which to create.

This is the part of the Mania that keeps me from telling my doctor or taking more Risperdal because the deliciously creative period would be fleeting and, right now, the negativity of hallucinations is balanced by the verbosity of my words.

So shhhhh. Keep my secret quiet for now.

And watch the words spill from my psyche.

Bipolar Diary: The Rough Cut

I feel like cutting my tongue out. I swear someone is using a course-grit sandpaper, rubbing it over and over and over, while I sleep.

sandpaper

What’s sucky, too, is the Tardive Dyskinesia is doing overtime even while I am awake. Unless I am purposefully monitoring my tongue and jaw action, my tongue is scraping across my molars or my front teeth. Continuously.

Thank the Universe no one is noticing.

Wellbutrin

I am lost over what to do about the TD. I would need to cut down or quit the Wellbutrin and I feel so, so much better on it. The prospect of stopping it terrifies me. (And the TD might not go away after stopping the medication anyway!) I see the Psych in a week and will talk to him about it, but the decision is 100% mine about what to do: stay on it OR go off of it and try yet another medication that might cause TD even worse, and possibly permanent symptoms, than this.

Fuck, I hate dilemmas.

Bipolar Diary: Visions

So, I still have hallucinations, minor visual ones, not scary. But for a couple of weeks now, I have been having visions… premonitions are what they feel like.

10-wicked-inclination

I meditate and have vivid images cross my mind. They are different than the fleeting, wandering thoughts that float around inside my head during meditation. These are more solid than vapor-y… and so, so, so real. They come with emotions, sometimes intense. So far, all good, but I am a tad nervous about seeing scary things; trying not to focus on them, though.

They do not only come when I meditate, but they seem to come easier at that time. Sometimes I am in that half-asleep place, going to sleep or waking, and they appear, too.

“Seeing”

vision1

I saw a dear single friend of mine sitting in a library and a woman came to sit by him. She was dressed modestly, something that is important to my friend and struck him immediately. I saw them meeting, marrying and having a family together. All within moments. It was so real I almost reached out to touch them.

I’ve seen my grand-babies, growing through their lives… specific activities that I’ll leave a mystery for now.

I’ve sat in a meadow touching a rainbow.

Confused

confused

Google-ing visions with bipolar disorder, one gets “schizophrenia.” Eek! Really? I see the Psychiatrist in a couple of weeks and will ask him what might be going on.

Until then, I’ll take what I see, write the visions down and not worry too much about this new phenomenon in my mental illness.

Bipolar Diary: Manic Spending

I’m pretty upset as I write this. I’ve known I spent money during the Mania… enough that I am in quite a hole I cannot seem to climb out of… but I did not know how much.

falling

I could have gone and looked at my bank statement when I realized the money was gone so I knew where it went, but I was sticking my head in the sand, ashamed of what I had done… too embarrassed to even disclose it to myself.

But I found a pile of Blu-Ray DVDs 3 days ago; all 6 seasons of Northern Exposure and Season 1 of St. Elsewhere. I’m enjoying Northern Exposure (am on Season 5 now), it being one of my fave shows of all time, but I cannot help wishing I had the $400 back instead.

Today, I decided to be brave… and humble… and go look at the accounting of my spending during the Mania. It isn’t pretty. I didn’t have lots of new things in my small space, so was baffled what I could have spent the money on.

Apparently, I was benevolent.

syrian-help

Not needing to share the organizations I picked… I’ll just say I chose ones who were either in Syria or were attending to Syrian Refugees. 3 different ones.

1  of them twice.

Trying to put the pieces together, I looked here in the blog and, as the Mania was ascending, I had written about my utter horror and distress about the Middle East. Clearly, it affected me deeply considering the amount of money I donated very soon after writing those posts. There is no way I could say, “I wish I had the money back,” but I still wince seeing how much I sent out.

overspending-excuses

I’ve been trying to figure out a way to not have that happen again. As far as I know, I didn’t tell a soul I had done it. If I had, maybe someone could have questioned me? I have zero recollection of spending anything during that time. I don’t have anyone to watch over my finances (which Zack used to do). I don’t have credit cards, but spent everything I had plus more I had in the bank, so can’t even cut up cards to try and save myself from me.

I’m lost. Maybe someone will have some good ideas for not having that happen again?

Bipolar Diary: Coming Back to Life

Holy crap! I am finally awake more than 2 hours a day. I worked right about 500 minutes last pay period (I usually average over 1000)… and yesterday alone, I got almost 300 minutes!

alive

Med Changes

So upping the Wellbutrin to 400mg a day and the Risperdal down to 1mg a night seems to be the ticket. At least for now. How many times do I have to do this readjustment? Over and over again. Very frustrating.

However, I took no nap yesterday, so that was good. I laid down this morning, but not sleeping, just dozing.

I am cranky. (Oh, well. I have good reasons.)

I do hope I keep feeling better.

Bipolar Diary: (Fucking) Depression

I am immobilized by depression now.

I cannot work. I can barely write. I am sleeping 100 hours a day.

ksenia-anske
artist, Ksenia Anske

Yet ANOTHER Visit to the Psychiatrist

Over and over and over I go, like on a loop, sitting in the Psych’s office, trying to form words that explain how I feel:

  • Despondent
  • Apathetic
  • Useless
  • Premonitions of Agoraphobia
  • Infinitely sad (made worse by Aleppo)
  • So, so, so tired

And words I do not share because they will toss me in the hospital if they fall out of my mouth. We’ll just let them sit in there and rot.

david-kessler
artist, David Kessler

Medications

Another change in meds. Lowering the Risperdal, upping the Wellbutrin. Will it make one iota of a difference? Can’t I have some speed, please? “We don’t want you having those horrible hallucinations again, do we?” (Yes, please. If I can stay awake.)

Change cannot come soon enough.

Bipolar Diary: Tardive Dyskinesia

Apparently I am really sensitive to medications, especially Psych meds. Over the last 2 years, I have tried 6 meds (not all Psych) that I eventually had to quit because of (what I would consider) intolerable Tardive Dyskinesia. I know that many others have it worse, have to take the meds that cause TD and that, for many, it never goes away. I have been lucky that mine generally went away.

Except the last time.

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My Recalcitrant Tongue

The first time I experienced the TD, it took a couple three weeks to figure it out. My tongue kept burning… then I would wake up with blood in my mouth. I couldn’t figure it out. My teeth? They all felt fine.

So I meditated on it, talked to myself about paying better attention, slowing down the movements so I could figure it out.

I began paying attention as I fell asleep, honing in on my mouth.

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A couple of nights after this new mindfulness thing, I relaxed and let my mouth do its thing. And boy did it ever.

Scraping is the best way to describe it. My tongue, clearly having a life of its own, pushed through my teeth, first pressed upward, then pulled back, my top teeth sliding against my raw tongue. Over and over and over again. Apparently, all. night. long.

Oddly, it didn’t do it as much when I was awake. I realized it did some, but not a lot. It was at night that my teeth assaulted my tongue. And holy fuck did it hurt.

Medication Connection

I Googled “tongue scraping” and TD came up. Medications were the culprit. Sometimes ones a person had taken for many years.

med-bottle

I’d recently started some medication or another (cannot remember and for whatever crazy reason, I didn’t note it or write it anywhere), so went off and within a week, the TD had disappeared. The doctor tried another one to replace the first. Same thing, but this time I figured it out a lot sooner. Went off, it went away, and tried a third medication. This time it was fine.

Fast forward to this recent Manic Episode when I had to go on Risperdal for the hallucinations, then when I fell a tad too low, increasing the Wellbutrin… a med I have been on for several years. I hadn’t an issue with the Risperdal, but began noticing some light TD symptoms after upping the Wellbutrin. No blood this time, but the scraping had begun.

I lowered the dose of Wellbutrin for a couple of days with no changes, so upped it back to the 300 mg my doc agreed to (after I’d upped it myself). It didn’t get worse, but was still annoying.

Resignation

margot-rijven
artist, Margot Rijven

I seem to be in the place where the TD isn’t going to go away, but it isn’t going to get any worse, either.

It is definitely worse when I am tired or sleeping. I wake up with a very sore tongue and can feel I have been rubbing it against the roof of my mouth. I am happy that I am not waking up with a bloody tongue or enormous sores from the vicious play of teeth and tongue while I am unconscious. I am also quite lucky I do not have the serious symptoms of TD that include protruding tongue or uncontrollable facial tics that are obvious to anyone looking.

Still, my TD is annoying. It gets in the way of my work at times, having to make adjustments to my speech because of my involuntary mouth and tongue actions. But so far, nothing has been irreparable.

So, I shall just keep being Mindful and do my best to stay on top off the Tardive Dyskinesia, maybe lessening it over time.

One can only hope.

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