Posts tagged ‘Bipolar disorder’

September 19, 2013

It’s been almost two months!

One month, three weeks, two days, 2 hours, 57 minutes and 24 seconds. 811 cigarettes not smoked, saving $236.65. Life saved: 2 days, 19 hours, 35 minutes.

And I am still smoke free! I am also very stable again. I was hoping I would be before school started and I am. I was working very hard to be as stable as possible before the pressure of school. I am taking three (yes 3!!!) math classes and a sociology! I am driving over and hour each way to school four days a week and working about 30 hours a week.

But I am sleeping a full 7 to 8 hrs every night and riding my bicycle every morning about 7 to 8 miles.

After reading this I am not sure how in the hell I am able to squeeze all of this into one day, but I do. It is amazing how much you can do if you do not watch TV or play on a computer.

I love being a non-smoker. It allows me to be a free spirit. To wonder into areas that I would have never dared. To do things I would have never done! OK OK so maybe that is a little over board… but really that is how it feels sometimes!

August 31, 2013

Quitting smoking is the easiest thing you will hate that you never did!

Yep, that’s right I said it. Quitting smoking is very easy. Oh yeah you are going to have some moments where you will be like – wow I would really like to smoke right now, or uggg I feel so uncomfortable not smoking at the moment, or I feel really anxious this second…..

Right now, at the moment, this second! It passes that fast.

I have heard for years that cigarettes are harder to quit than heroin.

Withdrawal symptoms for nicotine:
Anxiety
Depression
Drowsiness or trouble sleeping, as well as bad dreams and nightmares
Feeling tense, restless, or frustrated
Headaches
Increased appetite and weight gain
Problems concentrating

Withdrawal symptoms for heroin:
Agitation
Anxiety
Muscle aches
Increased tearing
Insomnia
Runny nose
Sweating
Yawning
Abdominal cramping
Diarrhea
Dilated pupils
Goose bumps
Nausea
Vomiting

So I am thinking where in the hell did the whole fairy tale about nicotine being harder to give up than heroin come from?

I have been smoke free One month, four days, 3 hours, 59 minutes and 41 seconds. 527 cigarettes not smoked, saving $153.76. Life saved: 1 day, 19 hours, 55 minutes.

I am rockin this shit! Love being nicotine free!

August 17, 2013

At 21 Fucking Days!

This happens: Brain acetylcholine receptor counts that were up-regulated in response to nicotine’s presence have now down-regulated and receptor binding has returned to levels seen in the brains of non-smokers.

So what does that mean?  Well I can tell you one thing, I want a cigarette!

Up until today, this has been so easy.  Today… not so much.

I will be doing research into the acetylcholine and bipolar connection in the days to come.

Stay tuned… I might just have a smoke tonight!

Yeah here are my stats at this moment:  Three weeks, 4 hours, 56 minutes and 9 seconds. 318 cigarettes not smoked, saving $92.72. Life saved: 1 day, 2 hours, 30 minutes.

August 12, 2013

…but

The R Wines 2007 Bitch Grenache

I am OK!  I made it:

Two weeks, two days, 5 hours, 9 minutes and 15 seconds. 243 cigarettes not smoked, saving $70.90. Life saved: 20 hours, 15 minutes.

For those of you that are interested the statistic are courtesy of SilkQuit.org!

The physical cravings are GONE!  The memory of smoking is still there  however!  This scares me, so I am still avoiding all situations where smoking is involved.

I am not manic, depressed, or having a mixed episode.  I will tell you that the first week feels very much like a mixed episode – at least it did for me.

If you are bipolar and quitting smoking it is important to be very in tune to what you are feeling, how you are acting, and where your emotions are.  If you are on meds talk to your doctor but make sure to tell him or her where you are at in your quit.  If he or she is not familiar with nicotine withdrawals educate him or her.  Emotional withdrawals last much longer than physical withdrawals.  But the physical withdrawals are the ones that will really screw with your mind!

I am sure I am a quitter!  I am a nonsmoker!  I am one bad ass bitch!  After everything I have been through, lived through, etc… this is the moment in my life that I have truly become ONE BAD ASS BITCH!

August 7, 2013

OK ok ok…so day 5 (and really 6 and 7) sucked!

broken cigarette symbol

There is no better word… sucked!  I really wanted a smoke several times.  I totally freaked out my husband when I said, “I have to go and spend some money!”  And I meant it.  I was feeling manic!   Agitated and manic!  What truly looked to be a mixed episode!  Uggg

With the lack of nicotine in my system you would think I would be deprived of dopamine.  In other words you would think really depressed. Just down!  But in fact I had two days where I was up and agitated.  And to be quite honest I have been loud, had presured speech, been impulsive, been UP, and agitated a lot since I gave up cigarettes!

So here is the quandary… is this mental illness or is this just the normal response to nicotine withdrawals?

Are all of my fears coming true about quitting smoking?

Will I become unstable for the first time in almost 10 yrs?

Do I need to be medicated?

Even if I did would I agree to be medicated?

So I make a week… 7 whole days without a smoke!

By day 8 I am starting to feel more balanced, but………………………………………………

August 1, 2013

The bipolar, nicotine, and dopamine connection

The brains of humans with bipolar disorder, according to current reasoning, cannot regulate their dopamine uptake.  To much dopamine = mania.  To little dopamine = depression.  This is why medication adjustments are so common with humans that are bipolar.

I have discovered that I can regulate dopamine production on my own.  By living a life where I get plenty of sleep and I do not create chaos (ie… create lots of dopamine).  I also make sure I have enough dopamine to not become depressed, I find value in my life (go to school, do dog rescue, etc.), have wonderful friends, and have healthy relationships.

Now all of this being said lets talk about nicotine.  Because cigarettes are a nicotine laced with ammonia delivery system they are able to supply the body with so much nicotine with one smoke that dopamine production is increased and then the brain becomes dependent on nicotine to give it that pleasure feeling. Eventually making the human feel – No nicotine = no pleasure.  The reason people become chain smokers is because this dopamine effect wears off so quickly!

So now that I have quit smoking what in the heck is going on with my dopamine?????

Well, I feel less pleasure for sure.  And I know that I am much more vulnerable to depression.  In order to compenssate for this I am riding my bicycle twice a day instead of just once a day.  I have added about 6 mile a day to my current route.  I am eating healthy but as much as I want.  However, I am not depriving myself of simple pleasures.

I am doing my breathing exercises often! I will be getting a massage this weekend!

To increase dopamine production I am eating more eggs, broccoli, cauliflower,bananas, and apples!   I have read that beet juice and watermelon juice are good as well.  I guess I need to make a trip to the health food store!

I still need to post about yesterday!  It was awful!  Today is so much better!  My next post will be all about day 5!

July 30, 2013

What it feels like to quit. Day 1 and 1.2

The first couple of hours I was able to keep telling myself what I was feeling was withdrawals.  I felt only slightly anxious or an even better description might be edgy and kept expecting it to get worse but it never did.  I used to think it was better to quit first thing in the morning, but now I think a couple of hours before bed is best.  This way you will have a good twelve hours of no nicotine and most of that you will be asleep.  Wooo Hoooo sleep through the worst of the withdrawals… hell yeah!  To help me calm down and relax before bed I took a nice warm bath in Epsom salt with some lavender and eucalyptus oils mixed in.  This was huge and I definitely recommend it. You can buy essential oils at HEB or your local vitamin store.  I have taken a warm bath every night before bed and it really takes the edge off.

When I woke up the next morning I made my coffee just like any other day and went outside to drink it.  I sat where I would normally sit if I were having my morning smoke. I took some really deep breaths in and breathed them out slowly in between each sip of coffee.  I relaxed my shoulders and closed my eyes and told myself “I am going to have an awesome day because I am starting a new adventure and it is very exciting!”  Instead of working to keep from smoking, I worked on being happier, excited, and carefree.  I did not allow myself to have the thought of “I want a cig!” Instead I kept thinking “Today is a  wonderful day, this is so exciting!”  Every where I went on Saturday I told people it had been x amount of hours since my last smoke and it was so exciting!  I was amazed at how good I continued to feel throughout the day.  A couple of times I felt that edgy feeling and but instead of relating it to wanting a smoke, I related to the excitement of this new chapter in my life!

Techniques to use when that edgy feeling comes:

#1 breathing exercises I really like this one in particular .   Using breathing techniques throughout the day does several things: it gives you a boost of oxygen, it calms you down, it simulates the same action that you might feel you are missing otherwise (you know – taking a big drag off a smoke).

#2 Tell someone new how many hours it has been since your last taste of nicotine.  Get excited and relate to them how excited you are to be free of your addiction.  Do this over and over and over and over and over…. you get the picture!  Every time I do this I also get emotional and find myself tearing up.  Sunday I made two total strangers almost cry as well!  Awesome!!!

#3 Read, read, read, read… but not just anything!  Read ex-smoker success stories!  Just google “ex smokers success stories” and you will have a wealth of information to read!

 

 

PS:  No depression or mania so far! And I am sleeping.  If you have learned anything else from reading my blog it is how important I believe sleep is!  If I am sleeping enough… I am not manic!  If I am not sleeping to much… I am not depressed!

 

PSS: It is good to be blogging again!  It is incredible to be blogging in real time instead of talking about my past!

January 14, 2012

Choice and consequence journal

When you write in your journal, use the words “I chose” or “I am making a choice” or “I am going to choose” and follow it with the consequences. Then follow up and see what the consequences actually were.

The key to this exercise is not just writing about the big choices but small one as well.

For one week keep track of at least ten choices a day that you make. Start with the simple stuff like I choose to brushed my teeth – the consequence of that choice is fresh breath and no cavities! Include big choices like I chose to go 65 mph in a 45 mph zone – the consequence of that choice was that I made it to work on time which relieved stress – (or) – the consequence of that choice was a speeding ticket which will cost money and create stress. Follow that up with I choice to handle this by paying the ticket right away and I choose to let it go and move on.

Take a break after your first full week. But don’t stop making the connections and conscious choices to decrease stress. Making those choices will create control over your own life!

After a break of about a week, pick your journal back up but stick to the choices that create stress using the choices – consequences journal!

I realize for someone who is not bipolar this (choices = consequences) seems like common sense, a person with bipolar disorder does not necessarily lack common sense but some people (all that I have ever met) with bipolar disorder do lack the thinking process of choice = consequences.

PS This (in my opinion) is a good exercise for anyone who does not feel control over their own life!

January 11, 2012

Don’t pull the trigger!

So what are your triggers? This was a very hard question for me to answer. I had no idea! All I knew was my life was like a boat floating in an ocean going up and down with every wave, sinking when a storm was overhead, reaching toward the surface of the water when any sign of hope appeared, but never in control what direction to go to get to true safety – the shore!

So is every wave a trigger? Are just the storms triggers? Or is the glimpse of hope a trigger? Or are all three or none of them triggers?

The best answer I could come up with, and what I found to be true, is the trigger is lack of control. Not lack of control of my environment, because like the ocean it cannot be controlled, but lack of control of my life, the boat. For whatever reason, nature or nurture or perhaps both, I never acquired the knowledge or skill to captain my own ship – my own life!

This all goes back to choices and consequences and not seeing the connection. If I steer the boat to the left, and the storm is to my right, I will miss the storm. But if I do not see the connection between the direction of my life and the storms in my life I will never steer clear of them, sadly – most people with bipolar disorder place themselves in the middle of them!

If I have not stressed the fact that the choice and consequence disconnect has been in my observation, not only in myself, but many people with bipolar disorder the trigger, then I have failed! I truly believe and, as for myself know for certain, that learning the connection between the choices we make and the consequences of those choices is the key to bipolar no more!

Life happens, life is not the trigger, it is the choices we make along the way.

I think now is the time to take a look at doing a choices and consequences journal! Next blog, connecting the dots – the line between choices and consequences.

January 6, 2012

Work damn-it!

When I was in the throws of ups and downs, holding down a job was not the easiest task. When I was depressed I called in often, was on the verge of tears when I was as work, and my work suffered tremendously. When I was manic, I would be finished with all of my work and would be helping others finish their work. I am sure it kind of freaked people out. Fortunately, back then, I was more often manic than depressed. Throw in changing meds and I was a disaster!

If this sounds a lot like you, well, you are not alone. I have spoken to many people that go through the same experience all the time. They often change jobs expecting something different, only to find it is the same or even worse! In addition, people who just suffer from depression have a very difficult time holding down a job.

But work is the deal unless you want to live under a bridge (which some people do choose) or unless you get lucky to marry someone who is willing to support you and put up with you (that person, btw, does not exist!).

So what can you do?

Becoming balanced is the answer to that work question.

But what do you do until…

First, find something you really want to do! Even if it means driving a cheaper car or living in a cheaper apartment or whatever! There is an old saying, “Follow your heart and the money will come.” Well, that is crap! But if you follow your heart and do what you enjoy, then eventually, if you work on all areas of your life, balance will come.

Second, set boundaries even at work. Not with just the people you work with but with yourself. I have worked with so many people who were “over sharers”. Keep your personal business out of the office. It is not anyone’s business at work that you take medications or what meds you take or that you have a psych appointment!

Third, just like the human inventory you did for everyone in your life, do one for the people you work with. Identify the healthy people, those are the people you want to be around, work close to, and/or go to lunch with (remember mirroring)! And the toxic people… avoid them like the plague! Not only will they make you miserable, but you will mirror them as well!

All of these steps will be of great value to you on your journey to bipolar no more!

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