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I’m going to give it a manic-depression rating of 6 (in balance) for now, but I’m watching it.  Since Monday, I have been saying that I’m inhabiting a very fruitful mixed state – in some ways still clearly down, but also encouraged about my writing, which leads me to be encouraged about my life in general.  Today is the first day that I am clearly not down.  This was especially apparent walking the dog in the woods, rocking to Ani DiFranco on Spotify on my phone.  When I’m down, I don’t respond to music – it mostly irritates me.  All through my recent down stretch (9 days clearly down, then those 3 mixed), music didn’t work for me – though honestly I didn’t try it during the last 3 days.  But today I was really rocking.

Am I in balance? Or on my way from too down to too up?  Breathe and watch - and trust.

Am I in balance? Or on my way from too down to too up? Breathe and watch – and trust.

I don’t want to be an alarmist – I want to be able to enjoy just feeling good.  I am definitely revving kind of high, but that could be just the pressure I am feeling to get a lot of things done today before I leave early tomorrow for a weekend trip to see my son and new grandbaby in Louisville, KY (about which I am excited – and want to be excited).  I have had way too much mania over the last few months.  The Lithium I started two weeks ago is supposed to help me keep my feet on the ground – but I may not have been taking it long enough or may not be on the right dose.  (I took a blood test a few days ago that’s supposed to tell them if it’s the right dose for me, but I haven’t heard anything back from my psychiatrist.)

So meanwhile, just to be on the safe side, I’m practicing all the tools I’ve learned over the years for grounding myself.  I don’t have time to write all that up right now, but expect a post on it next week.  But one thing I know that i absolutely need to do is to slow down, every which way I can – and get a good night’s sleep tonight.  I’ll be away from the computer for a few days, but will give you an update next week.

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Until something better comes along...

Until something better comes along…

There’s a page at the top of this blog about this scale.  Many of my posts will, in their title, refer to where on this scale I spent most of my time on the previous day.  If I swung on the scale during the day, I show that span.

It’s by no means a perfect scale, but it is working for me.  And it is good for me to keep track of this stuff.  Too often I end up asking myself questions like, “Just how often have I been swinging in my moods recently?” or “Was I manic when I had that experience?  How much so?”  It’s also good information to be able to give my shrink when, every three months, we do our medication check-in (not that I am these days, or actually for many years now, so thrilled with meds – I’ll write more about that in another post, probably more than one).  If referencing this scale helps you to follow my story or to integrate the information and perspectives I am offering on bipolar disorder, great.  If not, feel free to ignore it.

If this scale is useful to you in charting your own moods, wonderful – take and use it and tweak it to your liking.  Let us know in a comment (or me in an email) that you are using it and how you are changing it.

I’ve also created a spreadsheet where I’m charting these numbers, to get a quick eyeball reading on my ups and downs. Here’s a link to that spreadsheet. If you can’t get it to open (Google drive can be quirky) email me and I’ll send you the link directly.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Agf3u9HPyoaNdFFYUmlreHhVQldvTzhCR2pKX3MyU1E#gid=0

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I guess I somehow had no choice.  I'll maybe never understand it.

I guess I somehow had no choice. I’ll maybe never understand it.

Wow, back to this blog after almost four years away!  It feels good.

It’s been a tumultuous time: first an extremely chaotic year, with the two most major manias I have experienced in many years (no change in meds, don’t know where they came from) and two bottomed-out depressions that landed me in the hospital for the first times in a few years.

The second mania saw me sell, give away or throw away everything I owned but one carload of stuff that I intended to take with me to Mexico to “start a new life”.  This totally ungrounded, whacked-out, wildly manic episode was by the far the most unhinged by mania I have ever become.  When, two weeks before I was scheduled to take off for Mexico, my plan finally fell apart (praise God then, rather than on the road or already in Mexico), my life also fell apart.  Then followed about 2 1/2 years of deep depression and gradually rebuilding my life.

Two key elements in this rebuilding have been a wonderful new therapist who I will certainly write about here and an extremely healing practice of ecstatic dancing.  I’ve started a blog devoted to this practice – danceintegrity.com, ecstatic dancing as experienced by one dancer – but will probably also post here several installments about how this practice fits in with my recovery from bipolar disorder.

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