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.

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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!

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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.

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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

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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: 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.

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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”

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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: Just Below the Surface

Monday, 10/24/16, 1:56am

I thought I should have a title for these Bipolar posts. I came up with Bipolar Diary. Original, I know. laughing

Not Having Fun

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Today (10/23/16) has been a really difficult day. I went to bed at 5:00am, slept for 3 hours or so, then up for a few hours, then down again. And again. And again! I keep napping for 1-3 hours at a time. Where is this fatigue coming from? Am I depressed?

This happened a week or so ago, too. I don’t have the patience to go search and see how far back it was. I don’t have much patience for anything. If I hadn’t been in menopause for 8 (or whatever) years, I would think I was having PMS. I cannot keep a thought in my head, am so scattered. I am sure this post will be ghastly, but need to write anyway.

Visual Hallucinations

Most of the hallucinations have gone, but the visual ones are making me crazy.

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How I was more tolerant of the slew of visual, auditory and tactile hallucinations than I am with just the visual is beyond me, but I think much of this sleep crap is because I am overwhelmed with the visions I keep seeing. Roaches, yes… some… but mostly like things are just moving. Sliding around. The covers shifting, the pillow edging over, the carpet rising.

It’s like I am on a tilt and everything is going to fall off the edge.

Frustrating is an understatement.

ADD

Also, I have very little attention span. I have tried to watch Grey’s Anatomy, a show my daughter recommended, but it is too much new information to retain so I end up watching Sex & the City or Friends again (on Amazon & Netflix), two shows I practically have memorized. (Monster’s Inc. is on as I am writing this; another movie I know by heart.)

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What I look like with tactile hallucinations. From Monsters, Inc.

It is difficult to work in this state. My mind flits from thought to thought and I keep talking over clients. I try so hard to pace my words, but they just tumble over each other.

And, as a few weeks ago, my fingers are fumbling with the keys on the keyboard… spelling homophones instead of the correct word (reed instead of read, meat instead of meet, etc.). Argh! I hate having to re-type the right word! (Write came out first. Fuck me running.)

This Is Progress?

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When I saw the Psych last week, he was happy the auditory hallucinations were gone and said I was on the right track. Today I had the first tactile sensation after several days without any; brief, but still there.

I hate the see-sawing of emotions. One day feeling great and doing well, the next (today) being total shit and missing a day of work. Isn’t there supposed to be balance sometime?

I don’t even know where to go from here, so I’ll just end.

heavy sigh

10/24/16, 2:29am

Bipolar Balancing Act

Tuesday, 10/18/16, 11:02am

The visit with the Psych went well.

BipolarTree

We talked about my meds, my sleep patterns, my lowering hallucinations… and then I asked if I was getting depressed. He was very gentle and said after where I’d been anything is going to feel depressed.

Sleep

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He said my figuring out a way to have one block of sleep will help me not relapse. I told him how I hated the Trazodone and I would rather sleep fitfully than feel like I am going to pee in the bed from being unable to wake up enough.

I have slept in this bizarre cycle of 2 hours of sleep, 4-5 hours awake… 3 hours asleep, 3 hours awake… since at least the second manic episode in 1998. Even gorked out on opiates, I still slept like a baby does (not sleeping “like a baby”; babies sleep like shit). I don’t toss and turn. When I go to bed, I go to sleep. But when I wake up again, I am UP! Even the dispatchers at work have gotten to know my strange cycle of on/off. I don’t know if I can change it without meds. Honestly don’t know if I even want to.

Hallucination Origins

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I asked where the holy hell do those terrifying hallucination sights, smells, sounds and feelings come from. Why does the brain pick a horror show to illustrate its illness. He said that scary things in the brain are easy to access. The brain chemistry goes wonky and the synapses misfire and the most accessible images/thoughts/etc. get scooped up and displayed. I said I thought that was a fucked up system.

We talked about how voices that direct behaviors (which I do not have, thank goodness) tend to mimic their inner belief systems. Those with religious histories have heavenly/satanic voices telling them what to do. Those without that, have “magical” voices. Psychosis in different cultures bends towards that culture’s belief systems and experiences. Even though I have religious belief in my past, none of my hallucinations have ever taken on a religious tone, either good or evil. Apparently, my mental illness is as atheist as I am.

Missing the Mania

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I told the doctor I really am missing the mania, the energy, the lack of pain. He gently reminded me of the terror I was in 2 weeks ago when I came to him… that I was about to admit myself into the hospital because I thought I was going to fall into a million pieces. I asked why can’t I live in hypomania? He chuckled and said everyone asks that, but hypomania is a staircase… going up or going down; it isn’t a landing. I said that sucked. He nodded and said he agreed, but it is what it is.

heavy sigh

There are no med changes and I see him in 2 weeks if I need to, a month if I am okay in 2 weeks.

I go to therapy for the first time in several weeks this afternoon. I have barely missed it for being so bizarre in the head. I look forward to seeing her again today, though.

More later.

11:42am

 

If I Have to Have Hallucinations…

… then why can’t I also have the energy behind them?!?

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ht-tw
scary hallucination descriptions below

Fucking Roaches

But, nooooo, I am sleeping 18-hours a day and seeing roaches crawling everywhere. On the ceiling, on the walls, on my legs.

CRAWLING OUT OF MY DIET COKE CAN & ONTO MY FACE!!!

See the splatter of Diet Coke across the room on the wall? I’ve already cleaned it off the keyboard, the screen, the chair and the floor.

My favorite hallucination last night was when the big snake crawled across the wall. Beat the cockroach on my face by a slither.

Is This Normal?

normal

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(As if normal were even anything to claim or aspire to….)

But now I am reading some of Dr. Google’s “Bipolar Mania” because I am still a week away from seeing the doctor and I really want some answers.

  • Why am I still having hallucinations?
  • Am I getting depressed?
  • When do hallucinations disappear after mania?
  • Does depression always follow mania?

I swear the hallucinations have actually increased as I am getting more sleep. At least the past couple of days.

STOP IT ALREADY.

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Hallucination Overload

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From 9/28/16

I began writing this on Tuesday, 9/27/16 about 2am. I had not slept but 90 minutes total since Sunday at midnight. I got on the Risperdal on Wednesday morning, 9/28/16 at noon (still only having slept a total of 90 minutes since Sunday) and an hour later, was asleep until 6pm. I don’t even remember getting into the bed! Anyway, I am so glad I wrote last night and then shared with my friends in Facebook because tapping into that mass of confusion and horrific images is more challenging after medication and sleep. Read on!

From 9/30/16

It is almost 4am writing this. I need to get this post out and the next started regarding finding balance. Pardon if it is a tad disjointed and it doesn’t have a tied-up-neatly ending.


Ever since the Pulse Massacre, I have had a slow downward slide into depression. I haven’t been in a depression for over 2 years. The children of Aleppo, the Syrian War, the horrific killings of black men, women and children… and then the election stands out all on its own… all of these things have added cement blocks on my limbs and are pulling me under the water. I sort of recognized what was happening, but when the Relief Trucks were bombed in Syria and I was inconsolable for over 2 hours, I knew for sure something was wrong.

Initially, I was put back on Risperdal, a medication I was on for 18 years to quell the hallucinations I always carry with me (olfactory mostly, but also visual and auditory), but had been off of for a year  because the hallucinations hadn’t been scary in a couple three years, on Thursday, 9/22/16. The next day, my feet and ankles began swelling, but it didn’t dawn on me that it was the Risperdal until Saturday morning… and of course the office was closed, so I Googled it and it didn’t seem distressing, but was a reportable side effect, so called at 8am on Monday, 9/26/16.

Falling Into Mania

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I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder 1 in 1998, have only had 2 manic states total (one in 1996, the other in 1998)… still enough to qualify me for the BP 1.

Until right now.

I was thinking I was merely in a hypomanic state, but these fucking hallucinations shift it to a manic episode.

This is part of what I wrote in Facebook last night:

I could use some good thoughts.

Long story, but the doc took me off the Risperdal 2 days ago and I have only slept 1 hour since then. Am extremely manic and am having really scary hallucinations. I don’t see him until Thursday so am white-knuckling it until then. Have considered going to the hospital several times, but keep holding out. I am not suicidal at all… not even really ideation stuff… but the hallucinations and racing mind with jolts of electricity coursing through my body are really not fun at all. I cannot even work because my speech is so rapid, stumbling over thoughts that have no direct connections to each other… and the flares of anger.

shaking head

I am just best left alone in my room until Thursday. I can write, however, and am pumping out post after post for work. Am writing one for my NgW blog about the hallucinations so maybe if I drop the shit on the page, they will leave me alone for awhile. Light and prayers welcome.

Then later, after being asked why I was taken off the medication, I answered:

scary

The Risperdal was making my feet and ankles swell. Called the doc. Nurse called back and said to halve the dose. I was pretty cranky about that because they were already simmering down the hallucinations (auditory, tactile and visual atm).

Then she calls back like 20 min later and says, “He said to go OFF the Risperdal.”

I was like… “uh, why!?!?”

“Because you are having hallucinations.”

I wanted to scream ugly nasty words hurled against women, but just kind of screeched loudly… “THAT IS WHY I AM ON THE MEDICATION IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!!!”

She said, “Well we can get you in on Thurs at 8:15.”

I was so pissed… still am… and not knowing how much anger is actually appropriate… and mad at myself for…

1) not asking her to go back and fix the stupid comment she made

2) not taking the Risperdal even though he told me to stop.

I get Tardive Dyskinesia really easily with meds I have not used before… and Risperdal and I have an 18-year history. If the feet swelling is dangerous, then fine. If it is just a stupid side effect, I don’t give a crap… GIVE ME THE RISPERDAL. (See! I can’t even control my screaming here and you are are my beloved friends!)

My Beloved Holds Me Tenderly

Later, after talking to my former (30-year) marriage partner Zack  (“My Beloved”) for a really long time, where he listened to me ramble and rant… cry and laugh uncontrollably… talking me down from the ledge of insanity several times… reassuring me that if I wanted or needed to go to the hospital, it would be fine, but if I wasn’t suicidal, they might not even keep me, so try and hang on until the office opened at 8:am… I wrote this:

delirium-tremens

I got really scared awhile ago and called Zack who has the best handle on my mental illness and he was very kind and loving and reminding me the rats and roaches aren’t real. That I can get in my bed if I want to… that those rats prancing on my arms, scaring the fuck out of me and making me jump out of my skin are not real.

I feel like my body has a form of Tourette’s, slapping myself randomly because I know there is a family of roaches on my legs… I can SEE them. I can FEEL them. But I swat and they are not really there. I was watching rats climb onto my bed last night. Blink 3x and they are gone. And shadows. Ugh. They darken my peripheral vision… I turn… and they vanish. And the evil whispers. Just out of my range of comprehension. Except when they call my name in a menacing hoarse whisper. Makes me jump every time.

My wonderful Facebook Friends posted, messaged and texted me:

DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THURSDAY.

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Agitated Waiting Period

I am writing 9/30/16 and ending this post, opening a new one and continuing.

It has been a bizarre few days.

 

My News Blackout

Today was a really difficult day.

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So much crap in the news… you can look for yourself if you want to… but I have to quit watching and reading the news lest I end up in the Psych Hospital. I knew I was watching/reading a little bit more each day, but today I watched the clock, too, and stopped counting at 6 hours. Of news.

My hallucinations have gotten really bad, they are almost constant. And I have felt increasingly depressed. In fact, for a few days, I have wondered if I should take myself to the hospital because of the suicidal ideation that’s been flashing through my mind… way too often.

I know it is all a direct result of the pain of watching what is happening here in the United States, in the Americas, in the world.

I wish I could do something.

Right now, my something to do is save my own life.

I closed my Facebook tonight (it is always on my desktop), took everything political off my Tumblr page (including unsubbing from anything political) and am putting myself on a News Blackout.

Effective an hour ago.

media-blackout

Bipolar Diary: Zero Gravity Hallucinations

I’d thought I’d come to a place of balance. I was still having hallucinations, mostly visual, some auditory and tactile, but those not so often. Even though the hallucinations have continued, I told the Psychiatrist I did not want to take more Risperdal to try and make them go away. The short time I was on the increased amount (double what I am on now), I gained 30 (fucking) pounds in 6 weeks. As soon as we halved it, I stopped eating like an insatiable animal, and have now lost 10 of those 30 pounds. I told him I’d just suck up dealing with the hallucinations.

However, there does come a tipping point between what I can live with and seeing much of my room floating around as if I was in space.

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Balance – dance troupe, Pilobolus

What’s Going On?

I cannot pinpoint why they are getting bigger, more bizarre and more aggressive. My sleep is weird, but I am sleeping. I’m in an inordinate amount of pain, but that isn’t too new… I had my gallbladder removed on February 2 and have had a series of infection complications since. I’ve got other pain, but can usually meditate to work through it. (I have Trazadone if I need help sleeping, but have only taken that a couple of time.)

Visual

A crazy hallucination I had the other day was seeing my pillow breathing. Yes, I know… ridiculous, but I stared at it as it inhaled and exhaled for the entire 5-minutes I watched. I blinked, shook my head, told myself there was no way in hell that was real, yet the pillow kept inflating and deflating, slowly, as if it was breathing. I glance over a lot to see if it’s going for a repeat performance. Nothing so far.

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I have the usual roaches and now some flying bats, but those are pretty yawn-inspiring since they’ve been around so long now. It’s the floating toilet paper roll, the pens, my Blistex lip balm… things that are here in my room, in my real life, just appearing, mid-air… there… and then fleetingly gone again. My food shifts next to me. I “see” music coming out of the speaker. The movements around the room are near-constant. (The book next to me is shuffling the pages as I write this.)

funky apple gif

I try to drive infrequently and only for less than a mile or two because it is frightening to not know if that box flying through the air is an illusion or really fell off that truck up there. I am terrified when I pass bus stops because people are so close to the edge, they slide over into the road sometimes, sliding back just as I get ready to veer away from hitting them. I do everything in my power to never drive during school drop-off or pick-up, the amount of busy-ness in the roads confuse me terribly. Don’t even get me started on mailboxes.

Tactile

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I am tapped periodically. No one is here to tap me. It’s nothing. I feel things crawling on me a lot. My room is clean! There are no bugs to crawl on me. No fleas, no gnats. Nothing. Yet I could swear there was a spider crawling up my leg or on my arm. Even when I am looking right at my skin, seeing with my eyes that it isn’t there, it is there… I just cannot see it is all. (Talk about a mind fuck!)

Auditory

I have these the least at the moment. Just some occasional whispers. Nothing telling me to do anything, I don’t get those kinds. I just get ominous whispers, just out of hearing range… my name whispered a lot.

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Resolution

Klimt
artist, Gustav Klimt

Writing all that down, I see I really might need to just up the Risperdal to curb some of this extraneous activity in my brain. I am crying writing this, fearful of gaining more weight. (I gained 80 pounds in 3 months when I started the Risperdal 13 years ago.) I know there are other meds I can try, but I get Tardive Dyskinesia so easily… and have it already from the Wellbutrin… I am so wary of changing from meds I know work.

Fuck, this is confusing sometimes.

Thanks for listening.