Posts tagged ‘Mood’

July 31, 2013

Days 2 through 4 of my “quit”

Days 2, 3, and 4 were all about the same.  Actually that is not 100% true.  Days 2 and 3 were the easiest so far.  Day 4, yesterday, I weighed myself and almost fell over.  Somehow I gained 3 lbs in 4 days!  So I rode my bike 10 miles last night and 5 miles this morning before work!  I am going to have to pay much closer attention to what I am eating from today forward!

Day 5 which is today, however; has been OMFG awful!  I am actually better at the moment.  But I have felt some anger well up inside of me that actually scares me.  This day is not over……… so tune in!

XOXOXO to all you bipolar smokers and ex-smokers out there.  And to all of you “I have never smoked a day in my life” humans, well wth are you reading this for?  Oh I know, let this be a warning to you… if someone you love is bipolar and a smoker who is trying to quit – duck and run!

December 28, 2011

Taking inventory step 1

Now that you are on the road to bipolar no more an important step is taking inventory of your life.  Not to overwhelm – we will take this in steps.

The first step is taking an inventory of the people in your life.  Making a list of the healthy people and the unhealthy people in your life can be very difficult.  Identifying the healthy people can be life changing, but identifying the unhealthy people can be life saving.

So on a sheet of paper make two columns: one that says healthy and one that says unhealthy.  Take your time placing each person into a category.  Include family, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances.  Don’t rush, give each person considerable thought.  Think about what they add to your life and whether it is more positive than negative or vice-versa.  If you are not sure which side to place a person on – give yourself a couple of times to interact with that person before you decide.  Now that you are becoming aware of how a person affects you and your life you might notice some things you had not before.

As a bipolar prone person, I believe, most are not aware of the people in their lives and how everyday interaction with those people affect their mood.  Bipolar humans, in my experience, are pretty self absorbed.  Maybe out of necessity, basically as a survival strategy just trying to keep up with ones own mood and whether they are up or down.  Whatever the reason, in order to be bipolar no more I believe you must access the humans in your life and take action in order to create a stable world for yourself.

As for taking action, well we have a journey ahead of us.  So for now make your list, I will move onto step 2 in a few days!

December 26, 2011

Make a list

Understanding your medications and how they affect you is an important first step.  Often, I have found talking with other people who are bipolar and on medication for bipolar disorder, people take the medications their doctor prescribe them without questioning why they are taking them.  I admit, I was just as guilty.  We just want to be fixed!

In order to reduce medications, to eventually eliminate or perhaps just to maintain better control, first you must understand why you are taking medication.  I know, to be better!  But that is not all. Are you taking med X to stabilize your mood or for anxiety.  Once you know why you are taking med X find out what the side effects are.  Then if you plan on reducing or eliminating med X find out the proper way to stop taking it.  NEVER COLD TURKEY!  Cold turkeying a med can lead to severe consequences!  Including extreme mania, hallucination, extreme depression, seizures, etc.  So before deciding to take a big step, step into your doctor’s office and talk to him or her first.  But go in prepared!  You will more than likely not be taken seriously if you walk in ill-prepared.

So make a list!   Make a list of the meds you are currently on and every thing you know about them.  Explain why you want to reduce or eliminate the drug and if you are med reducing period state that you are not looking to replace it.

Secondly, talk to your therapist about what you are about to do.  Ask him or her if they are willing to support your decision.  Explain that you have a plan and discuss your plan with them, also discuss your med list with them! (If you do not have a therapist, I do not suggest on embarking on elimination of medication.  You will need a therapist – so go and find one!)

So the list, what to include:

Take for instance Topamax — Topamax is prescribed as a mood stabilizer to individuals who suffer from bipolar depression, but is actually an anti-seizure medication, so what does that mean?  Topamax blocks certain chemicals and promotes production of GABA, which regulates neuronal excitability throughout the entire nervous system.  Basically it smooths out the nervous system.  The side effects are: Sleepiness, pins and needle effect usually in the arms or legs, carbonated drinks no longer taste very good, weight loss, memory loss (sometimes severe cognitive impairment).

Find out what the half-life is and how long it takes to get out of your system, as well as how you should stop taking the medication.

Again, lets take Topamax.  The half life for Topamax is approximatiely 24 hours.  So every 24 hours half of the Topamax is gone from your system.  It is recommended the you reduce Topamax by 25 – 50 mg per week until you reduce down to nothing.

Knowing this information shows that you are taking responsibility for your own welfare, that you are not being haste, and that you understand this is not an overnight process.



December 17, 2011

The very first step to bipolar no more

Regardless of the why – you can take control of your own life.  No matter the reason why people are bipolar the one thing I have found, talking to many people who suffer from bipolar disorder, there is a disconnect between making  choices and the consequences of those choices.

First, find a good therapist and if you already have one, ensure they are willing to go with you on the journey.  Ask them if they are willing to hold you accountable for the choices you make. In other words, when you make a statement like, “I did whatever” they will help you change your thought process by saying, “You chose to do whatever.”  After awhile every time you make a statement you will say “Today I chose to go to the store, eat pizza, whatever!”  Once you begin to understand that every action, thought, or process you do in the moments of a day are your choices, you can then begin to understand the link between your choices and the consequences in your life.  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 or what you believe they will be.  Then follow up and see what the consequences actually were.

Something else you might want to ask your therapist to do is to help you come up with a mood chart.  You can do this on your own as well but it was helpful for me to go over with my therapist.  Basically, every day for a couple of months you will need to track whether you are anxious, up, down, or flat.  And correlate that with events in your life and, most importantly, with the choices you make.

For instance: Today, I made a choice to talk to a police officer that was working with my neighbor as they were making an arrest, who is also a police officer. I just happened to be walking by with my dogs.  One of my dogs recognized my neighbor and I was fighting my dog to not run over to my neighbor.  The other officer was tickled by Riley, my dog, and I said, “He wants to run to him, he is my neighbor.”  My neighbor was visibly not happy with my choice.  So if I was keeping a mood chart I would write this event down and say I felt anxious.  Then I would write what, if anything, I will choose to do about it.  And the answer is, I will apologize when I get the opportunity.  Let it go, and move on.

You would be surprised at the choices you make and the consequences of those action and how they affect your mood.  Something as simple as going for a walk and making a unremarkable statement created anxiety.

Acknowledging your choices and the consequences they have can start a lifetime of balance.  But the most important part of the whole choice and consequences journey is acknowledging when you made a good choice and patting yourself on the back.

Always, always, always give yourself credit.  With every good choice you make, the next will come easier and so on!

And when you make a bad choice, acknowledge it as well, decide what you could have done differently, make a choice to do corrective action, if any,  that makes you OK with your choice, AND MOVE ON!  Remember, balance.

Next, I will go over how to talk to you doctor about reducing or removing medication and the steps to take before you even walk in his or her door!

December 15, 2011

As promised, bipolar no more!

The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places. – Ernest Hemingway

First, I am not a doctor, a psychiatrist, a therapist, a geneticist, or a medical expert in bipolar disorder.

I am, however, an expert in being bipolar.  I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder in my early twenties.  I was medicated for years.  The list of some of the medications I have experienced is as follows: Welbutrin, Klonopin, Tegretol, Clomipramine, Thorazine, Desipramin, Depakote, Trileptal, Effexor, Elavil, Prozac, Dalmane, Halcion, Tegretol, Haldol, Lamictal, Lexapro, Lithium, Topamax, and Trazadone.  Sadly, that is not a complete list but you get the point!  Sometimes a psych would put me on several at one time; an antidepressent, an antipsychotic, an antianxiety, a mood stabilizer and the list goes on and on.

I am also an expert on not being bipolar!  Yeah, you read it right… not being bipolar!

I have not only been med free for many years but I am NOT bipolar anymore.  How can I make such an extreme statement you ask?  Well, without extreme mood swings, extreme highs and lows, in my opinion that constitutes a bipolar no more statement!

Don’t get me wrong, I realize I have a tendency, a genetic predisposition, or a history of extreme highs and lows.  But that realization helps keep me balanced.

Finding a place to start with this chapter is difficult.  Should I start with my last hospital visit. Well I already have, Part 1 God  This is a four part series where I discuss my last hospital visit.  I encourage you to read it before moving on with this chapter.

In this chapter I will walk you through every step of being bipolar no more.  I will answer any questions you have so ask away.  I will tell you what I believe is the cause of bipolar disorder and why some (most actually) people with bipolar disorder can live without medication.

One last note before I go for the evening.  Finals are over, I still have my 4.0!  School starts in a month so I am going to try and post every couple of days!  Closure is important and I, more than some, understand that!

March 15, 2011

A whole new chapter! Steps to recovery

Recovery? To define recovery, one must first acknowledge what they are recovering from.

My personal recovery is from chaos.  Chaos is my drug of choice.

You will notice I use current tense.  “IS” not was.

My recovery will be forever.  I no longer struggle to keep chaos out of my life, but to be honest, I am afraid of becoming complacent.  I am afraid one day I might let it creep back in.

Chaos was my normal for most of my life.  Replacing the chaos with something healthy takes work.  Changing my normal takes courage and a lot of will power.  It is not like changing a bad habit.  It is changing an entire lifestyle.

In the next several blogs I will take you step by step how I not only replaced my drug, chaos, with something healthy, but I will take you through the steps I took (some drastic) to change my normal.

I will also dispel the myths about my depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and personality disorders I was told over the years along the way.

I know this has been an intense journey, but I am so glad you all have stuck with me!

The next chapter will be a light in a very long tunnel.

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