Thursday, August 23, 2012

That doesn't seem to be working, but it's ok!

No, no it doesn't.

Diagnosis: now possibly changing from Bipolar Disorder, Type II, to Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder.


  • Pristiq, 100 mg, AM
  • Latuda, 20 mg, with dinner (building up to 40 mg)
  • Xanax, 1 mg, PM
  • Vitamin B12 AM (I'm deficient)
  • Vitamin D AM (I'm deficient)

The Session:

I went back to my psychiatrist today (who I like) and we decided to extend my FMLA by two weeks as well as adjust my medicine. I also found out I cannot adjunct while on FMLA. I'm trying really hard to not let this impact my self-esteem. Also, found ouf that the Latuda will most likely cause nausea, sooooo you know I'm looking forward to that, because you know I'm going to get that side effect :-P

Um. I'm just kind of here lately.  In need of a lot of encouragement I guess. Clearly my meds are off or I wouldn't feel like that. I feel like I can recognize that this is a tough time, but I'm ready to be looking back on it when it was a tough time and I can say "Wow, I'm so glad I'm done with that!"

Hopefully my counseling appointment tomorrow morning will help me put this into perspective.

Until then, I'm trying to branch out more and hopefully help or connect with others as well. This is REALLY branching out for me. :)

It's ok...

  • To take a nap when I don't have to go to work.
  • That my arms and shoulders are actually sore from how much I have crocheted!
  • To be planning a dinner that I know will probably come back up (lovely side effects)
  • To look for reasons to wear real pants every day
  • To be excited to take off those real pants and put stretchy pants back on
  • To have bought a pill case for all of my pills but feel old about it
  • To think there should be a "kitten of the month" club
  • To be overexcited that I made a pitcher of lattes for ice vanilla latte in the morning. Cheaper and better for me than Starbucks.
  • To really love breakfast for dinner!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

We'll reschedule

Depression level: 2
Anxiety level: 5

The Session:
There actually was no session. I had to reschedule a counseling appointment because I had it down for 9 and she had it down for 8. Fortunately, she's awesome and has grace for me and we just rescheduled. However, I did get to see my physician for what was indeed a sinus infection and start an antibiotic. I'm still really unsure of what otc meds I can and cannot take, so I'd rather just  go to the doctor than wind up really screwing myself up.

This also means that I have been getting very little sleep due in part to the sinus infection, and in part due to the Abilify. You may have noticied it's no longer on my list.  I felt so jittery all the time and I HATE not sleeping. HATE. So I stopped taking it. I probably didn't go about it the right way as I told the medical assistant at my psychiatrist's office that I wasn't going to take it rather than ask or consult, but I didn't get any immediate "no you can't do that" feedback. Not to mention I was on the lowest dose possible.

However, there have been some really positive things also going on. I've made a conscious effort to do something creative every single day, and it has really helped. Also, I'm getting to record with the band I'm in (insert shameless plug here), So Rejoice, and it has been such a healing outlet.

Finally, the scriptures I've been reading have really been speaking to me.

  • Psalm 37:4-6, which talks about the desires of the heart, radiating innocence, and shining the justice of my cause, has really helped to think about my heart and to not be afraid of what others are thinking about me and my decisions, but really just to do the best I can with the heart God has given me. 
  • Psalm 140:12, talking about the Lord helping those who are persecuted and giving justice to the poor really just emphasizing the above.

I've been so scared what people at work will think about me taking FMLA that I haven't been able to use it to its full potential. Instead of worrying that they'll think less of me, I need to focus on what God is doing with me.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Is there anything else going on?

I'm sick. Not mentally ill, well, yes mentally ill, but this time it's a sinus infection. Which brings me to my main point: everything is more complicated with mental illness. I can't just take Dayquil/Nyquil sinus and get over myself. Trust me, I wish I could. However, I don't know how the ingredients in those kinds of medicines are going to interact with my prescriptions. They also contain some ingredients that don't play well with my moods to begin with. Therefore, that means another doctor visit, another copay, another prescription, all so I can breathe and sleep through the night. I'll do another update later after I see what she gives me. Can you tell I'm cranky today?

We'll continue this topic later.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Consult With Me

How have you been sleeping lately?

Diagnosis: Bipolar Disorder, Type II

Today's medications:
  • Pristiq, 100 mg, AM
  • Abilify, 5 mg, AM
  • Alprazolam, .5 mg, PM
  • Lithium Carbonate, 150 mg, PM (tapering off)
  • Chloraseptic spray, like there is no tomorrow
  • Frova (antimigraine. I can just feel one coming on)
Current depression: 4. I think the anxiety is making me frustrated and therefore depressed.
Current anxiety: 9

The session:

It's five AM. I've been up since at least three AM and have been strongly encouraged to never take Advil PM, Tylenol PM, or any OTC PM drug. This goes for you too, ya'll. Don't destroy your neurons, and mine have certainly had all they can take. When I don't sleep, bad things happen, both mentally and physically. I'm usually a 9-10 hours of sleep a night kind of girl. When I get less than 8 consistently, I usually get a cold/flu/migraines and very, very grumpy.

At least I've been productive for my fall class that I have yet to prepare for. Woo! However, I'm antsy in the pantsy (no. Not that way.), and want to just sleep. I'm currently wishing my Alprazolam (Xanax) was not extended releas, because I think that might help a lot.

Things I've tried to put me to sleep:
  • Reading
  • Audiobooks
  • Netflix
  • Working on "homework" (surprised that one didn't work)
  • Praying
  • Petting a happy kitty
  • Was going to try warm milk but we just got back in town and it's expired and that would be gross. I do have bottled frappuccino but I think that would defeat the purpose.
  • Working out
  • Chloriseptic spray. This is not related to the insomnia, but my throat really does hurt and I thought it might help the general purpose.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How have you been since the last time we talked?

Diagnosis: Bipolar Disorder, Type II

Today's medications:
  • Pristiq, 100 mg, AM
  • Abilify, 5 mg, AM
  • Alprazolam, .5 mg, PM
  • Lithium Carbonate, 150 mg, PM (tapering off)
  • Z pack, 1 daily
Current depression: 5. I mean, I'm doing something productive right? It can't be all that bad. I'm not wearing "real" pants, but since I'm at home, that's not exactly abnormal.

Current anxiety: 8. Going to my regular physician today. Convinced I have a sinus infection, already finishing up a z pack from a whooping cough exposure, and also getting checked for bed bugs. Yeah. Great day. Also filling out forms for FMLA. Look forward to an exciting post below!

The Session:
I was going to rank my anxiety lower, but then I started thinking about what I need to do today and then I realized it's higher than I expected. It's high because I have to go to my regular doctor. This is both funny and anxiety inducing. It's funny because if I don't laugh I cry.

Last week, my husband, Biletteral (his name is made up of initials. I thought I was clever.), and I went on vacation to visit my sister (The Letter C) and her husband (The Blue Wombat), stopping along the way to see my grandmother and aunt. We had a delightful dinner with them, but our hotel was pretty much the opposite. While being a recognizable name (Days Inn Metrocenter. Yeah, I'm throwing them under the bus), it was seedy. SEEDY I tell you! We had to plunge our own clogged toilet (that was not our cause), do without promised wifi, and sleep in a smokey smelling, non-smoking room. OK, it's one night. I can deal with this. We weren't murdered and were quickly on our way.

Lest I forget, early that Saturday morning, I received a phone call from my dentist saying that he and his one year old son both tested positive for whooping cough and I needed a zpack and a shot. Sure, it's a PITA, but, I'm far more concerned about his son than my inconvenience. 

We have a lovely time and make sure to hit all of our food destinations and eating our way through our vacation. I was very surprised considering I started 2 new meds the day before we left. I am side effect girl. My superpower is that I get every side effect possible and can vomit at will. However, I being me, and this trip being what it is, I can't get too lucky. While eating some of the best grits and soup (don't judge me, I really love side dishes), I started to feel nauseated, dizzy, hot, and generally faint. I excused myself to the rest room and immediately sat down on the floor (not so cleanly, I know, but I had no other option). I guess I blacked out because I woke up some time later with a line waiting for my stall and my face on the toilet seat. Words cannot express my panic at how gross it was and I immediately sanitized my face with all the products they tell you to avoid putting near your eyes. Seriously?! Who else does this happen to?!

We spend the rest of our vacation very much enjoying The Letter C and TBW until the day before we are supposed to leave. Both Biletteral and I start noticing we are itchy and have these bites everywhere. Bed bugs. From the seedy hotel. GAH! Now I'm pissed.  I'm tired, cranky, itchy, have the start of a sinus infection, and now need to bag everything up and quarantine my favorite outfits and everything in our car for a week before going to a laundry mat for washing. We'll see what else the dr. has in store for us.

Lesson learned: No more vacations. No, I'm kidding. I'm really waiting for the day that this becomes a hilarious story of the ridiculous vacation we took. I'm really proud of myself for not freaking out, not losing my cool, and trying to make the best of the situation. I'm trying to focus on the positives of our vacation.

Moving on...

Another reason I'm going to the doctor today is to fill out FMLA Medical Leave paperwork. I feel like such a failure. I know things have been crappy lately (I'm doing a background post soon), but I feel like if I just tried a little bit harder, or prayed a little bit more, then I wouldn't have to be doing this. What am I doing wrong? What am I missing that everybody else can handle bad situations and I can't? Why can't I get my stuff together? I don't understand why it's so hard for me to send one an email. It's not hard. Even when I was first diagnosed during my freshman year of college, I still had a 3.5 GPA. I haven't ever struggled this much and I don't understand why I can't work through it. Really, I think what it comes down to is that I'm giving my best right now and it's not good enough and don't understand why, nor can I accept that.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Please have a seat.

Diagnosis: Bipolar Disorder, Type II
  • Ability, 5 mg every AM
  • Pristiq, 100 mg every AM
  • Alprazolam, .5 mg every PM 
  • Lithium bicarbonate, 300 mg, every PM (tapering off) 
Current depression level: 5, with no suicidal or self-harm ideation
Current anxiety level: 8. More of a general unease than specific items of anxiety

Welcome to my blog. After several friendly and professional recommendations to blog,
I finally decided to do it. One of the things I struggle with most is feeling alone, so maybe if someone else out there feels the same way, my ramblings can help!

I intend for this to be a very real and honest account of what my daily life is like living with Bipolar Disorder. You will NEVER read me refer to being a bipolar because I consider it something I have, not something I am. Sometimes it sucks (both emotionally and physically) and sometimes it's just like everybody elses' lives. Or at least how they project them to be. My experience is not going to be like anybody else's, and nor is yours, diagnosis or not. 

Please feel free to share and comment, but if you are having immediate threats, immediately seek emergency help. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Recorded diagnosis: Bipolar Disorder (Type II) (based on results with borderline validity on self-report assessments)
Date: December, 2003

However, after several years without medication and a very tricky time finding ones that do work when needed, my current psychiatrist believes that diagnosis to be inaccurate. She feels that my behavior patterns, medication needs (or lack thereof) are more indicative of Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and I very much agree (as does all of my family, which they have loudly vocalized. Repeatedly.).

Apparently you can't just change a diagnosis overnight, but rather after several improving months under her care, she is now looking into formally changing it.

So what happened? Was it just a mistake? That seems like a pretty big one to make... And the answers I've gotten have been that MDD and GAD together can present as Bipolar Disorder in a mixed state (both depression and mania at the same time), which makes a lot of sense. I have not experience many of the severe symptoms or behaviors that you'd typically see in someone with BPD.

Most-likely-accurate diagnosis: Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

List of Medications

This is a list of medications I take

As of 5.29.2013 (and after months and months <and months!> of working on it!):

Cymbalta, Antidepressant, AM
B12, vitamin, 2000u, AM
D3, vitamin, 1000u, AM
Iron, vitamin, lots, AM
Lamictal, AM
Xanax, 1g ER, AM
Xanax, .25g, As needed
Folic Acid AM
Ambien, PM


As of 9.4.2012:

Pristiq, anti-depressant, 100 mg, daily, AM
B12, vitamin, 1000 u, daily, AM
D3, vitamin, 1000 u, daily, AM
Omega 3, multivitamin, 2 gummies (:D), daily, AM
Latuda, anti-depressant enhancer, 40 mg, daily, w/ dinner
Alprazolam (Xanax) ER, anti-anxiety, 1 mg,  daily, PM
Trazodone, anti-depressant and sleep aid, daily, PM
Alprazolam (Xanax) regular, anti-anxiety, as needed
Toradol, headache relief, as needed

Some of what I have previously taken at one point or another over the last 9 years (I can't remember everything):

Patient History

Biographical Information

Name: Patient L
Birthdate: March, 1985
Gender: Female
Marital Status: Married
Address: Oklahoma
Insurance: Yes
Family: Husband, 1 older sister in CA, 2 still-married parents who live across the street. Not for any medical reasons, we just like each other. My husband (henceforth known as Biletteral) and I bought our house first.

Medical History

Nothing major until college.  A few rocky years of teenagehood, but I think that's to be expected.

Diagnosis: I was first diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, Type II after a suicide attempt in December 2003 during my freshman year of college. I had been sick with mono and given steroids which have side effects of mood loosening, clearly not a good idea, but nobody had any idea. I was immediately started on Lithium and was told I would be on it for the rest of my life. 

Since then I've experienced "mania" twice, once after an all-nighter that same freshman year, and once after taking Sudafed. My mania is more hallucinations that lasts for a very intense but short period of time - 48 hours max.

I tend to be depressed side of things and typically require an antidepressant more than a mood stabilizer, which makes me very atypical for people with Biopolar Disorder. I am definitely not angry and rarely (if ever) exhibit signs of typical mania, but I am very anxious and expect perfection of myself, but not of others.


I've been on and off many, many medications throughout the years, and sometimes off all meds for periods of years. I should also mention that I get every side effect known to man and have the weakest stomach ever. However, the worst side effect to me is not being able to sleep. Not sleeping=not good.

Find the full(ish) list here.

My Doctors:

  • Psychiatrist for meds dealing with moods
  • Counselor I see weekly/biweekly depending on my schedule 
  • Medical doctor I used to see for all medication including mood meds, but still see for Migraines, everything else

Personal History (well, over the past couple years)

Biletteral and I married in May 2010, two weeks after I graduated with my M.Ed. in Adult Education. 3 months later I was hired full time with the same  department where I had interned. At this point I was medication free and had been for quite some time (years). In May 2011, my maternal grandmother died and I started having a little trouble. I went to my medical dr and started Pristiq. In December, there was an event, which shall henceforth be known as The Event.

I did well for a while, but around March I started having more trouble. However, I tried nontraditional self-medicating through art, exercise, that kinda stuff. However, over the summer it has become increasingly obvious that I was still struggling. I started both counseling and Lithium in June, but still continued to go downhill. 

It became obvious that I needed additional help. I started seeing a psychiatrist in the very beginning of August and have also taken medical leave from work. And that takes you up to now!