April 27, 2009

I am a lovely person

"Who am I" isn't a question that can be answered easily. As the psychiatrist said, she couldn't answer it, about herself, without a lot of words. But the essence of a person, that part of us that is easily seen by others, that's the part that she says makes me "a lovely" person. Without explaining all the reasons why she means that.

Yes, I have problems with controlling emotions. But the fact that I feel them: the hurt, the rage, the anger, the love, the caring, the tears, the joy. All of those show her that I'm really rather just normal. Not crazy, not bizarre, simply "normal". But it's in the controlling of those emotions that lies the true answer to me being content and happy, truly, in life.

She really doesn't think that I have Borderline Personality Disorder. As she said to me, if you see a daisy with petals, and most of them were white you'd call it white correct? If some had a bit of blue colour on them, you'd still call the flower white, correct? If all the petals were blue, or most of them you'd call the flower blue, correct? Same with a personality disorder. It's the "overall view" that she doesn't see as a pervasive case to call me BPD. However, she'd like me to read up on ADD - attention deficit disorder, and see if my mental map sees those criteria in it.

I see her again in 2 months. I am so incredibly happy about this. What a complete relief to see a psychiatrist, really. Not that it really matters, just makes me feel better.

Look within, find that compassion that I have for others, apply it to self, and admire yourself. Stop caring about others as much, and start caring about you. Feed yourself some love, as she put it.

Memory and Slumber is an interesting article to read here. Basically, here's the essence of the article

For many years, people believed that the brain, like the body, rested during sleep. After all, we are rendered unconscious by sleep. Perhaps, it was thought, the brain just needs to stop thinking for a few hours every day. Wrong. During sleep, our brain—the organ that directs us to sleep—is itself extraordinarily active. And much of that activity helps the brain to learn, to remember and to make connections.


Mental illness is simply something wrong with your brain; much like heart disease is simply something wrong with your heart. Nothing to be ashamed about - my pschyciatrist

April 24, 2009

What's the very best thing about today, right now?

A friend yesterday said to me in an email "Think of a positive thing any time you're going to go onto the negative train. Just, try .... It'll be really hard to do, but sometimes even just trying is enough to do it." Goes along with the making the decision to do a NYE resolution right away, instead of in the future.

So, the best thing about today, right now, is ...

- sitting in a comfortable chair at my computer
- mug of hot tea at hand
- sunshine outside, and a lovely day
- feeling safe, warm, happy, and loved

Cheerfulness, it would appear, is a matter which depends fully as much on the state of things within, as on the state of things without and around us. Charlotte Bronte

April 23, 2009

Another piece of the puzzle

Had a lovely chat with my mom this morning. She tells me that her first cousin had manic-depression when he was alive. Ah well, there you go, another family member to add to the list, to reinforce this idea => genes, family have to do with it.

I wish I'd known this beforehand, to tell to the psychologist/psychiatrist. Oh well, we'll have to add that onto the charts.

Today I've set myself the task of writing down all the key pieces of information about my thoughts, and feelings that I've written on here. Just a quick summary of thoughts that yes, for instance, I can feel a quick flash of anger, intense, and then it's gone, with my feeling sorry that it happened. Or intense sympathy for someone, but having to be taught to feel empathy for what that person feels about me.

I've heard it said that half the problem is figuring out what the problem is. Once that's done, then you can work on the solution. That's what I feel I've come to. A view of my problem and an immense desire to fix it, as best as possible.

Quote from David Lees, a friend of a friend: "But you never heard about Ernest Hemingway's legions of kindred spirits. If he had that I'm sure he'd have gotten drunker and smiled more and written nothing. To me, loneliness is the muse that keeps on giving. You can get mightily sick of her but she'll always be there for you." Well said

April 22, 2009

My brain hurts

I'm still shaking off the brain numbing effects of my medicine. And trying to come to terms with the idea that I may well have borderline personality disorder "Wiki link" on its own, or co-morbid (both occurring) with Bipolar disorder II.

From the wiki entry I see this

Borderline personality disorder and mood disorders often appear concurrently.[4] Some features of borderline personality disorder may overlap with those of mood disorders, complicating the differential diagnostic assessment.[39][40][41]


One of the citations is this site The Bipolar-Borderline Connection - a series of MedLine articles cited.


As you can see, if you click through, a lot of complex medical information! Some of which I get, from careful reading. Which, yes, I do find hard to do. A conscious effort to concentrate on the words. Hence the sore brain.

Anyhow, this is a fairly recent article, from The John Hopkins University

Objectives: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders guidelines provide only a partial solution to the nosology and treatment of bipolar disorder in that disorders with common symptoms and biological correlates may be categorized separately because of superficial differences related to behavior, life history, and temperament. The relationship is explored between extremely rapid switching forms of bipolar disorder, in which manic and depressive symptoms are either mixed or switch rapidly, and forms of borderline personality disorder in which affective lability is a prominent symptom. Methods: A MedLine search was conducted of articles that focused on rapid cycling in bipolar disorder, emphasizing recent publications (2001-2004). Results: Studies examined here suggest a number of points of phenomenological and biological overlap between the affective lability criterion of borderline personality disorder and the extremely rapid cycling bipolar disorders. We propose a model for the development of 'borderline' behaviors on the basis of unstable mood states that sheds light on how the psychological and somatic interventions may be aimed at 'breaking the cycle' of borderline personality disorder development. A review of pharmacologic studies suggests that anticonvulsants may have similar stabilizing effects in both borderline personality disorder and rapid cycling bipolar disorder. Conclusions: The same mechanism may drive both the rapid mood switching in some forms of bipolar disorder and the affective instability of borderline personality disorder and may even be rooted in the same genetic etiology. While continued clinical investigation of the use of anticonvulsants in borderline personality disorder is needed, anticonvulsants may be useful in the treatment of this condition, combined with appropriate psychotherapy.


By the way, I do totally realize that this is something a trained psychiatrist can only truly evaluate, to the best of their abilities. I'm simply trying to think of how I act, react, think, manage, and somehow perhaps relate to these medical facts/theories.

To me, I can't truly think of deep depression. I don't see that in my mental map as I look back. I do see, however, emotional lability in my mental map. Lability meaning apt or likely to change. Dysphoria, as defined in the medical dictionary as being "An emotional state marked by anxiety, depression, and restlessness." Oh yes, that is me, clearly. An anxiety that I won't be remembered, for some reason. A terrible need to reach out and talk to somebody, anybody! A driving compulsive want for communication of any type. A feeling of being bored, at times, when talking about the same thing, day after day. A distinct desire to leap onto something new, and exciting. A feeling of wanting to fix things, if I can. I want to hear problems, solve them (or try to), and feel rage, and anger, and feeling of unhappiness when I can't fix something. Like when a friend is treated badly. I'd love to fix that, and lie in bed at night thinking of ways to fix it.

I'm just brainstorming here. Basically trying to get out all the feelings, thoughts, impulses and desires that I feel, to print off and read out to the psychiatrist. I truly want to try to convey to her the hurt in my head.

This terrible feeling of not being "normal". Being broken, in a sense. Trying to appear sane, but feeling really rather broken. Scared of being rejected, and yet acting in ways that people do reject me. And then I can't fix them. Hence leading to a depression of sorts. But not a deep, dark, lasting, on-and-on-and-on one. Just a dip into feeling sorry for myself and then popping up to the level and thinking "life isn't so bad, let's try this again". Just sometimes the up and down gets a bit tiring!

Anyhow, must get on with my day. Will mull this over, and tumble it all through my filter, and spew something out, I'm sure.

April 21, 2009

The perfect mug for me

Saw this today in the bookstore I visited. Perfect mug for me, to remind myself that I am "NOT" all important. Think of others, before myself, as much as I can. Just don't be a drama queen, if I can truly help it. My previous post was to remind me of what the Bible says: put others before yourself



No, chaos in ones mind isn't fun. Life on a roller coaster really sucks when it's going down, down, down, and you can't find the bottom. Emotionally super-sized means when you go from a high to a low, it hurts, badly.

From Phillipians 2

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Further to my last post

I used the search engine to find this article

Excerpt

Histrionic personality disorder, often abbreviated as HPD, is a type of personality disorder in which the affected individual displays an enduring pattern of attention-seeking and excessively dramatic behaviors beginning in early adulthood and present across a broad range of situations. Individuals with HPD are highly emotional, charming, energetic, manipulative, seductive, impulsive, erratic, and demanding.


Yes, I can see myself using those labels.

Excerpt for onset/duration


Time of onset/symptom duration

Some psychoanalysts propose that the determinants of HPD date back as early as early childhood. The pattern of craving attention and displaying dramatic behavior for an individual with HPD begins by early adulthood. Symptoms can last a lifetime, but may decrease or change their form with age.


Yes, craving attention, not taking no for an answer, drama, yes drama'r'us in Deb's head.

And treatment options. Thankfully I already see a psychologist!

Excerpt

Cognitive therapy is a treatment directed at reducing the dysfunctional thoughts of individuals with HPD. Such thoughts include themes about not being able to take care of oneself. Cognitive therapy for HPD focuses on a shift from global, suggestible thinking to a more methodical, systematic, and structured focus on problems. Cognitive-behavioral training in relaxation for an individual with HPD emphasizes challenging automatic thoughts about inferiority and not being able to handle one's life. Cognitive-behavioral therapy teaches individuals with HPD to identify automatic thoughts, to work on impulsive behavior, and to develop better problem-solving skills. Behavioral therapists employ assertiveness training to assist individuals with HPD to learn to cope using their own resources. Behavioral therapists use response cost to decrease the excessively dramatic behaviors of these individuals. Response cost is a behavioral technique that involves removing a stimulus from an individual's environment so that the response that directly precedes the removal is weakened. Behavioral therapy for HPD includes techniques such as modeling and behavioral rehearsal to teach patients about the effect of their theatrical behavior on others in a work setting.


Whatever I have, I want to make it better. I want to have normal, good friendships.

April 20, 2009

A few thoughts about what makes up me

I had a few thoughts today about what makes up Deb. This person that writes this blog. Just what is my problem, overall, and what do I need to 'fix it' if I can.

I had a nice read of Psychology Today Bipolar information page "link" and yes, I do see myself written in those words.

- moodiness
- overspending
- very high elated moods
- sometimes crushing low
- sometimes feeling manic and depressed at the same time.

But, I thought that's not all of me. No, there's something more nasty, more irritating to others than just bipolar.

And I came across Histrionic personality disorder. "link" Yes I do see myself written there, as well.

Cut and copied

Symptoms

* Constantly seeking reassurance or approval
* Excessive dramatics with exaggerated displays of emotion
* Excessive sensitivity to criticism or disapproval
* Inappropriately seductive appearance or behavior
* Overly concerned with physical appearance
* Tendency to believe that relationships are more intimate than they actually are
* Self-centeredness, uncomfortable when not the center of attention
* Low tolerance for frustration or delayed gratification
* Rapidly shifting emotional states that appear shallow to others
* Opinions are easily influenced by other people, but difficult to back up with details

Yeah, I can really see myself in most of those descriptions. The only one I'd not totally agree with is the excessive concern of physical appearance. I rarely wear make-up and don't care about clothes, at all.

Wiki entry on Histrionic personality disorder "link" is about the same.

I'll bring this up at the meeting with the psychiatrist. Let her know, and listen to what she says.

Something I feel like writing

Go into the sweet night and take time
The shadows darken and close in
All is quiet and dark
Then the first hush of light
and a new day dawns
full of hope

April 18, 2009

The promised post about friends

Yes, after spending most of the day feeling agitated about putting this down, I think I've got the main gist of it. Not a truly spontaneous post, but yet, a fresh feeling one that just needed time to form in my head.

What is all this about? Well, the idea that some friends just seem to accept me. I am who I am, flaws and all and they get me. They seem to want to put up with the troubles I sometimes cause with moodiness, and see past that to the me. The kind, wonderful person that I know I am. Yeah, I'm moody, and irritable, at times, but generally very pleasant, and thoughtful. At least, I try to be.

Others seem to like me, but then they vanish. Either by not writing emails, or not calling, or just not answering when I try to make contact. Why? If only some would get over that hesitation and just tell me why. I'm a curious person, and like to know! I mean, if you've talked to me for five years, you'd sort of know what I was like, wouldn't you? Surely the decision to ditch me as a friend should have been taken a lot sooner than it was.

I alternate between feeling angry, and feeling sad at these friends whom, yes, I hurt. But the fact is that I was ill. I have a serious brain disorder that means yes, my brain is disordered. In that it doesn't allow me to act as I should, at times. It really does take over me. I'm not whom I want to be, as I wrote at the beginning of this.

Why did God bring a friend into my life and then take them away? That is a question I continously ask and have no answer for. But, perhaps I give God too much credit. Perhaps he only created, if in fact he did. All the rest is up to us silly humans with our insane ways. I don't know. Yeah, I question my faith, at times. Yes, I pray but sometimes I think what for. Does it make any difference, at all? Perhaps. I guess that's faith for you. Supposed to give you hope, and then really just a cruel joke that faith was useless. Trust was useless.

Yeah, negative post today. Time to take my pills, pass out, hit the bed, and hope tomorrow is a better day. Let's hope that the hope for tomorrow isn't another cruel joke.

post going to come soon

I'm writing this as a reminder, a prod to put down what I'm thinking. I tend to mull over my thoughts, like you'd pour water over a pile of sediment. What ends up at the bottom is a solid set of words which I then can write down. Before that, it's muddy water with thoughts floating all about, nothing concrete. I have to get the thoughts settled and gelled. Then I can write a solid, coherent piece about what I'm feeling.

Just a preview: how some friends can understand, and how some just can't.

April 17, 2009

Yes, kept my bedtime, and guess what?

Guess what, after keeping a 9 pm bedtime? I feel good. See, it does work. So simple. Swallow the pills by 8 pm, and then drift off to sleep, and get a solid night's sleep. Wake up at 6:30 am, and feel good.

I should talk about money. How embarrassing it is to talk about. My 'champagne' tastes, my extravagant purchases. My donations, just because they'll help. Ill considered, most of them. A very impulsive shopper. Suzi Orman, the money specialist on Oprah would shake her head at me.

I can't go into the specifics. Just too upsetting for me, now, to list them. Just accept that I've wasted a lot of inheritance on things I didn't need. *sighs* When I'm in control I don't spend unwisely. I do pay attention, and yes pay bills. But in a mania state, no, the thought of paying bills isn't there. That's why I have auto-debit on most accounts that require regular payments. And I have Google Calendar to write in, to remind me when other bills must be paid.

I love the quote by Kay Redfield Jameson in her autobiography

"It is devastating to have the illness and aggravating to have to pay for medications, blood tests, and psychotherapy. They, at least, are partially deductible. But money spent while manic doesn't fit into the IRS (or Canadian Taxation) concept of medical expense or business loss. So after mania, when most depressed, you're given excellent reason to be even more so."

She apparently bought, at one time or another, a dozen snakebite kits, 3 watches in just a few hours, and 20 books about penguins (in hopes of forming a colony). And then she recounts the aftermath: ruined credit and personal mortification.

Yeah, I'd agree with that concept. All too well.

"That which doesn't kill me will make me stronger" Nietzsche - famous philosopher

April 16, 2009

See the title of the last entry?

See the title where I say "after some sleep I'm better". Yes, truly sleep is the little engine that pulls behind it all the other cars in my life. To have sleep means all of them stay on the track.

I really need to work on a set bed-time of 9 pm or so. No "oh I'll just stay up a bit longer and do another quest in WoW, or another Battleground". No, really be firm with myself that to get my sleep is being responsible, and taking good action.

Sounds so simple and yet, one has to realize it for ones own self. Get the sleep, and the rest, and do better in all the other facets of my life.

Lovely day here today. Bright sunshine that felt good on my face as I sat out on the deck and had a coffee. Sat and opened the mail and sorted it into information and action piles. Took it up to the office, filed the information papers, and paid the bills via electronic banking. I love that, btw.

It feels so good to be in control, well rested, happy and content. I like this feeling. All to do with a good night's sleep, I now see.

Be wise with speed . A fool at forty is a fool indeed.
~ Edward Young, English poet (1683 - 1765)

I get a lot of these daily quotes from this site The Quotations Page

April 15, 2009

Feeling so much better after some sleep

Well, amazing what some acupuncture, and then some pills, and then a good solid 9 hours of sleep will do. It makes me (and I'd presume others) feel great. Relaxed, happy, enjoying the early morning sunshine. Able to give my kids a big hug and look them in the eye and say "I love you" with the proper attention. Making lunches and seeing them off onto the bus with a smile. Thinking okay, get to work, after my tea and read on the internet. Haha! Yes, have to have that. FB, bloglines, and IGoogle, and then I'm set. I'm giving myself an hour, to 9 am, then to work!

Yesterday was a terrible blur, with about 3 hours of very light sleep, more dozing than anything. I'd run out of my mood stabilizer pills as of Monday night, you see. Poor planning on my part for not noticing. And then the pharmacist said, you're not due for 11 more days for a refill, you should have more pills. So, back home to search through the 13 bottles I had stored on my medication shelf. Yes, 13 bottles >>>> old prescriptions like my Divalproex, citolapram and Zyprexa. Sarah's old Ritalin that she stopped due to hair falling out in clumps. Old painkiller presciptions that I was keeping "just in case". So, took them all back to the pharmacist in a bag, and said "see what I'm dealing with and no, I don't have the missing 11 days worth." So, got a new set of 30 pills > 2 per day, so enough for 15 days. This confusion, and disorientation happens when I don't get enough sleep. I can't get sleep if I don't have pills. I really did feel old, tired, confused, unable to cope with this detail of finding missing pills.

So, really pills for mood stability, and the lamotrigne for mood lifting, and then sleep, and added to that the psychotherapy to talk it out, and finally acupuncture and the reminding of a whole body relaxing is all what I need.

My holy trinity of saneness then: drugs, psychotherapy, and acupuncture. All needed and necessary for a very happy Deb. This is a good thing. :)

Maybe it's easier to like someone Else's life, and live vicariously through it, than take some responsibility to change our lives into lives we might like.
~ Tish Grier

April 14, 2009

Hamster wheel mind

Here's a thought I had at 2 am this morning when I couldn't sleep. I'm a hamster on steroids on a wheel and I can't stop. Or the image of a mustang floated into my head of galloping, and disappearing. The feeling of being unable to stop the thoughts. Lying in bed, telling myself relax, breathe deeply calmly and doing that for like 5 mins. and then the mind starts spinning again.

It's really not fun. At all.

April 13, 2009

Forgiveness

I saw this quote and just like it

Holding on to anger, resentment and hurt only gives you tense muscles, a headache and a sore jaw from clenching your teeth. Forgiveness gives you back the laughter and the lightness in your life.

from Joan Lunden - the former co-host of Good Morning America.

Yes, I'd agree. It's easy to hate, to say negative things. But, when you turn it around and say forgive, forget, be happy, and show kindness you do feel better inside. Because it's the 'right' thing to do, for everyone, esp. yourself.

April 12, 2009

A history of kindnesses

I recall what the Queen said in her message last Christmas. That I liked the part about the unsung heroes among us who listen, and who make a multitude of small kindnesses an avalanche of kindness, in the end.

I wish more people would be kind. Ran across some evil people lately in the game of WoW. The kind of person who is quick to try to steal something from your guild bank and who only returned it when confronted that he'd taken it, without asking. Or the guy in a battleground who was so rude in saying "we don't need you, you're just a waste." So rude, so I just typed in /afk and was booted out of the BG. Who needs a "game" and really a battleground game within the game to be that unpleasant. Truly, I'd not like to hear from this person ever again.

God asks us to be kind, show love, show patience and generally try to follow his example. But this quote from Solzhenitsyn is far too true

If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?


We all carry evil and darkness in our hearts, I truly believe. It's only when we actively try to live God's ideals that we do small kindnesses to others.

Happy Easter to all.

April 9, 2009

My visit to the emergency room

I had a visit to the hospital last night. I was taking antibiotics, the second set, for an abcess in my jaw. But man did my body decide it'd revolt. The most awful red rash started yesterday morning. By dinner time when Tim got home I was in agony, scratching like crazy. Throat really started to hurt badly too. And I thought I'm puffing and wheezing. Let's just get myself to the hospital right quick. And man, I didn't have time to park my butt on a waiting room chair for more than 5 mins. Long enough to hear a lady say how long she'd been waiting, and oh geez they're already seeing you, that's not fair. Yeah, well when you're having trouble breathing lady, that's a bit of a priority I'd say.

Got a couple of shots in the arm of antihistamine stuff (epinephrine?), and a Benydral pill and a nice mask with lovely gas stuff that made it easier to breathe. The doctor was very glad I'd come, obviously. Spent the next 8 hours in an observation bed, to make sure my breathing was back to normal, and that the rash was subsiding. They kicked me out at midnight, with a puffer and a prescription and I got home okay.

While I was there, I was reading one of the Bipolar books that I had around for the last 2 years, and never really "read". It's called "Bipolar Disorder, a guide for Patients and Family" by Francis Mark Mondimore, M.D. My mind often has trouble concentrating for long on actually reading throughly. I tend to glance over the words and read quickly, and have to pause myself. I go back to the top of the page and mentally have to say "read each word, and understand it". Tell myself "try to get the full meaning of the paragraph". Well, what I've learned from that read, from a John Hopkins Press book, by a PhD of psychology, was that there are really a huge spectrum of "Bipolar affective disorder" categories. Wiki entry

There is the classic Type 1 cases > High mania, deep depressions, and sometime rapid cycling of it, and the Type 2 cases, and then the nebulous, yet existing "Type 3" that's not yet given its own "special" category in the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition). And beyond those are more types of bipolar or rather manic to depressive behaviours that aren't yet classified. But they know, (the researchers) that they exist through careful studies of patients. They don't seem to yet fit in with the classic "types" but rather are a subset of them.

Medscape article Across the Bipolar Spectrum from Practice to Research

Interesting article here on why there is no "Uni-polar Mania" category in the DSM-IV. Well thought out discussion that "mania" in society is considered to be generally normal, if it drives you to success, brilliance and other "good for society" ideals. But, yes, there is a very much more darker side to mania, as I myself know.

From the above article

In the early stages of a manic episode, a person may seem to be more social, active, talkative, self-confident, insightful and creative than usual. But as the episode unfolds, common symptoms include extreme irritability, overreaction to stimuli, difficulty understanding what is going on, poor judgment, blaming others for things that go wrong, and loss of touch with reality, in some cases including hallucinations and delusions (2). One bipolar sufferer described the state of mania in the following way:

"The fast ideas become too fast and there are far too many...overwhelming confusion replaces clarity...you stop keeping up with it -- memory goes, infectious humor ceases to amuse. Your friends become frightened...everything is now against the grain...you are irritable, angry, frightened." (9).

(2) http://www.psychiatry.ubc.ca/mood/md_bad.html
(9) http://www.nimh.nih.gov/publicat/bipolar.cfm


The drugs I'm on at the moment are both well established over the course of a decade or more of use. But, and here's the kicker, you really must take the medication, but not feel that is enough. No, as the writer stated, the manic depression spectrum is like a moving target. A set of drugs may work for a while, but then there may a seismic shift. More mania may require an adjusting of the medication, or perhaps a change in it. So, really, a constant medical over-view of your condition is really rather necessary.

I'm glad I took the time to thoroughly read good information like that. I can't be complacent that 4 pills per day = I am sane and good, for life.