Posts tagged ‘Depression’

October 4, 2013

The tank

Would I proudly enter a restaurant, a grocery store, a doctors office attached to my tank?  Would I paint it orange and decorate it with flowers? Would I name my tank like a pet that is with me all the time?  Would I embrace my tank, knowing it is my life – my breath? Would I thank my tank for being there for me when I just needed breath? Would I buy the perfect wagon to carry my tank, maybe a little red wagon or a garden wagon painted orange to match my tank? Would I tire of my tank?  Would it be a burden to heavy to carry? Would I wish I had just fucking quit smoking years before, years before I was attached to my tank? Would I rather die than carry my tank?  Would I, one day while sitting alone listening to the breeze, light up while sitting by my tank, listen to the oxygen hiss, and inhale my very last smoke?

 

 

August 21, 2013

Not smoking and alcohol.

One of the hardest parts about quitting smoking for a lot of people is drinking alcohol.  Of course if you are on meds you should probably not be drinking alcohol period, but lets be honest people do!  I tell people, especially people I see smoking,almost everyday, sometimes several times a day, “I just quit smoking” or “It has been X number of days / weeks since I have had a cigarette.”  It is one of the ways I help myself stay constantly accountable and it helps me to not smoke!  But I also want to share my experience with anyone who might want to quit.

People often ask, “How did you quit?” Or “What made you stop?”  And most smokers say, “I wish I could quit!”

But what is surprising is the reason most people say they can’t or won’t quit is alcohol.  Yep, alcohol.  I have heard so many times, “I would quit but I have to smoke when I drink a beer.”  What I want to say is, “REALLY, if that is why you do not want to quit you have bigger issues than smoking!!!”  But I don’t.

Why?

Because I get it!  That is why I have not had a beer in three weeks, four days, 3 hours, 17 minutes and 48 seconds (and yes that is accurate).

Oddly I have found I can drink a small glass of wine, just one, and be OK.  I do not feen for a smoke with just one glass of wine.  Ironically, or I guess you can call it that, research shows one glass of wine is also good for you!English: A glass of red wine.

****UPDATE on mental health.  I am leveling out.  My brain and body are both getting used to not having nicotine.  I am sleeping a full 8, not grinding, and driving like a normal person.

 

Keep checking back!  Thanks for reading!  And for all my bipolar – smoking readers……… take care of yourself!

August 17, 2013

Oh shit, I forgot to title this post!

After doing a ton of research I found that if you increase the release of acetylcholine it can decrease manic symptoms but may worsen or induce depression. In other words, smoke and you will decrease your chances of a manic episode.

However, you increase your chances of depression. In the article How Nicotine Works ( http://science.howstuffworks.com/nicotine4.htm ), it shows that nicotine “increases the release of acetylcholine from the neurons, leading to heightened activity in cholinergic pathways throughout your brain. This cholinergic activity calls your body and brain to action, and this is the wake-up call that many smokers use to re-energize themselves throughout the day. Through these pathways, nicotine improves your reaction time and your ability to pay attention, making you feel like you can work better.”

So why did I (and still do) want a cigarette? I am certainly past any physical withdrawals!  Am I feeling manic?  Will I become manic?  Do I need to give all my credit cards to my husband and restrict my driving to absolutely necessary? Do I need to fear the other side of mania… depression?

ALL BECAUSE I QUIT SMOKING!!!!

Hell no!  First thing is first!  To reduce the chances of a manic episode the number one objective is sleep! I woke at 3:30 am this morning.  My first instinct was to get up and come get on my computer!  But I stayed in bed!  I dosed back off about 4:00 and woke again at 5:45 am. Then I got up, fed my dogs, and went for a bike ride. Next objective – watch my driving.  Many years ago, when I would start to become manic, I would find myself driving like a maniac.  Today, I found myself to be driving well over the speed limit.  I immediately slowed down, took some deep breaths and relaxed. Lastly – watch for grinding!  When I am becoming manic I grind my teeth!  No signs of teeth grinding yet. So the big question is will the chemistry in my brain level out? I guess we will just have to wait and see.  But I am not going to have a cigarette to stay level!  Even after ten years of no meds, no extreme mania or depression episodes.  I will not let nicotine win this war!  And let me tell you… IT IS WAR!

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!

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!

January 3, 2012

An answer to an important question!

Yesterday I received an email with the question, “How long did it take before you knew you could be ok without medicine? And how long did the whole process take?”

Well, from the day I decided I did not want to be dependent on medication to be balanced until I had taken the necessary steps in my life to acquire balance – I would say about a year. During that year I slowly decreased my medication while working my butt off. It was a lot of give and take. When I found that I had made progress, such as handling a trigger without becoming manic or depressed, I would decrease my medication. When I made a big step, such as volunteering with a dog rescue and kept a commitment – showing up every Saturday for a whole month, I would decrease my medication. And so on! It was a process, it still is actually! I may no longer be on meds but I work every day at staying balanced. Remember, everyones journey is different, however, that it is the best part! It is YOUR journey!

Even now I am working on a huge source of stress, being a Mom – yet letting go of my adult child. I love my son so much, he is my only child, but he is a grown-up and it is time for me to let him be one. I have a choice, I can argue with him about the choices he is making, stress over every bad choice he makes, try and control his action (which never works BTW) or I can enjoy my son’s life, embrace his mistakes as his and hope that he learns from them. But if he doesn’t, accept that there is nothing I can do but love him for who he is. I have a choice, I always have a choice, and I choose to let go and love him for the man he has become. I choose to trust myself, the way I raised him, and that whatever choices he makes are his and have nothing to do with me.

So the answer to the question, “How long does the whole process take?” – is FOREVER! But it is an incredible journey!

January 3, 2012

Taking inventory step 3 – unhealthy people

We all have had, and some still have, toxic people in our lives. So now that you have made a list of the unhealthy people in your life, if you wish to truly be healthy, you must decide what to do about those people. As I have written in the past, if a person is incredibly toxic and I find myself not being able to maintain healthy boundaries, I remove that person from my life. It may seem harsh, but my sanity, my balance are what is most important to me.

For those people who are not toxic, but display unhealthy behaviors I set boundaries. I am very clear with the people in my life. I am very straight forward about my mental health and why it is important to set boundaries with people.

An example: I have a friend who really likes to party. Not all the time but she likes to party pretty hard. I have went out with her on a couple of occasions and realized how unhealthy her behavior was. Close to toxic! However, as long as I do not go out on the town with her we can be really good friends. So I have told her that, although I enjoy her friendship, I cannot go out partying with her. It took a couple of times of her asking and me saying no, but she finally gets it and no longer asks.

Again, (and I will say this over and over again) talk to your therapist about how to approach people and how to set boundaries with them.

Your choices will get better and better every time you set a boundary with a person. You will begin to see how strong you really are. You will also begin to feel healthier with every boundary you set and keep.

I hope you are doing well in this journey! And again if you have any questions or any comments please feel free to contact me! You can leave a comment here or you can contact me via email @ nomorevictim68@yahoo.com

Now that your human inventory is complete, and in the next several blogs, I would like to address the issue of having a job and dealing with the people you work with. I will then address triggers, how to identify them and what to do about them! And soon we will work on building a support system, building self-esteem, and making a choices – consequences journal!

Love, Veronica

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