December 28, 2008

Why am I starting this blog?

Why indeed do I start another blog? Well, like I wrote about my infertility when I was dealing with it, on bulletin boards, it's a way of dealing with it. I don't write easily in diaries. I get hand cramps, and carpal tunnel syndrome and heck I don't get any feedback! Feedback I like and want as part of the showman attitude I have. An entertainer, a spokesman, and a reporter are all jobs I've been told by various surveys that I should do.

So, I'll tell you the life of a mum with bipolar in the following days, months and maybe years.

I'm a mother of two daughters, ages 6 (almost 7) and 9. They are my sanity and my insanity at times. More often the sanity I need, thank goodness. Something about hugging my daughter, hearing her say "I love you Mummy" and feeling her unconditional love makes it all okay.

So, how did I get here? Well, I think I had the first symptoms at around age 19. When the drinking got out of hand and I couldn't stop. The bar scene and all that entailed. The craziness of being a pizza delivery person in a rough area. And then a terrible car crash where I rolled my car on the main highway of Ottawa. I would have died if I'd not had on my seatbelt. Or if the car roof had caved in. Or if I'd been ejected from the car. That day was a turning point. As was the day I met, and fell in love with Tim, my husband of 21 years in July. Thank you God for sparing me, for finding him. I was okay until after the birth of my 2nd child. After two years of supplementing with flax oil capsules while breastfeeding, I stopped taking them as I stopped the breastfeeding. That's when the crazies, as I'll call it, set in. I took my crazy pills as my daughters might say, about me, or about our dog, when he zips around the house.

I was self-diagnosed, got myself to my family doctor (THANK GOD I have one!), and then referred to a psychiatrist. She was an hour drive away in Shawville, Qc. She listened to me talk for an hour and then when I asked, directly "do I have bipolar you think?" she nodded and said yes. We established that she didn't think I had the additional burden of schizo, or multi-personality disorder aka "Carrie" the movie lady.

So, immediately went on drugs to help out. Not Lithium, but a mood stablizer called Valproex (valproic acid) and an antipressant called Celexa. Not bad controlling my mood disorder but a terrible drag on me, and my body. So tired, is my memory of the 2+ years being on them. Gained about 50 pounds due to the tiredness, the lack of will to get out and exercise, and just the drug itself that causes weight gain. So, last July, 2008, I went to my meeting with the pyschiatrist. I asked her to put me on another drug, less tiring, if possible. She suggested Lamotringe. It is working to a point to protect against the lows. But it isn't protecting against the highs. The euphoria of believing I can do things I can't. The tears of feeling sad, at times. The inability of me to make proper, informed decisions. Actions that are measured, and thought out ahead of time. Instead, I think => I act. I act impulsively. I react impulsively. I react sometimes as suddenly as an elastic band snapping back against your finger. I get reactions like "Whoa! Where did this come from Deb?" Sometimes I snap like that at my kids. How does that make them feel? How does that make myself feel? Badly, in a word. Thankfully my husband is patient, to a point. But many times he's been ready to walk out.

If I didn't have a husband, I'd be a cat lady, I imagine. That lady who wanders around her house, chattering to her cats. Stumbling around the garden, talking to her plants. Likely looking at her roses, and seeing the beautiful flower, but thinking, "maybe just wrap my hands around the stem and feel the thorns sink in" and see the blood ooze out. And think that's how painful I feel at times.

And yet, still people just walk away from me. Alienate me because I don't act "right". I don't have a disfiguring disease on my face, or on my skin. I don't have cancer. I don't have a fatal illness. No, I have a mental disease. Not a condition that I should be "able" to deal with, with some exercise. Thanks Tom Cruise for making me feel I should get out and run a bit farther, and take some more vitamins. You can still go to hell as I said back then when you portrayed your ignorance for the world to see.

So, yes, that's it in a nutshell. I'm a walking, talking nutcase that isn't going to sit on a street corner mumbling. No, I'm going to fight this thing, tooth and nail. I'm going to talk about it. Not be like Jane Fonda's mum and get locked away, only out for a family photo op, and then locked away again, only to kill herself. Thank you God for putting me in the late 1900's and early 2000's where, yes, we will talk about mental illness. And see it for what it is: a disease. Not easily treated. Nor, my god, easily lived with.

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