connection failed….. *sigh*

I still can’t get into WordPress from my home internet connection/my laptop.

Sometimes I can, but most times I can’t.

The IT guys have tried to remedy the situation without success.

I can get in at work.  But, well, I have to work.

So I’m not being rude, or ignoring you.  In fact, I’m quite upset by the whole thing and miss everyone.

So please bear with me while I try to remedy the situation.

 

A new year, a new me

I NEVER do new year resolutions.  But I thought I’d break the mould this year.  I devote this entire year to myself in the name of freedom and self-care.  To practice all I have learned in 2016.

 

 

Explore my value system and work on my self-esteem

Explore my value system and work on my self-esteem

Save money and go away for a weekend Which means.... stick to my budget.... so I can save money and go away for a weekend

Save money and go away for a weekend
Which means…. stick to my budget…. so I can save money and go away for a weekend

Work part time at home to subside my income..... so that I can earn more money.... to save more money and go away for a weekend....

Work part time at home to subside my income….. so that I can earn more money…. to save more money and go away for a weekend….

Learn to love my new home as I settle in. Despite the work it needs and however uncomfortable I feel in it right now, it belongs to me and I want to love it. I want to be content and feel at home.

Learn to love my new home as I settle in. Despite the work it needs and however uncomfortable I feel in it right now, it belongs to me and I want to love it. I want to be content and feel at home.

Develop new friendships and avoid heartbreaking entanglements

Develop new friendships and avoid heartbreaking entanglements

Take my medication as directed – no abuse of meds to escape the pain

Take my medication as directed – no abuse of meds to escape the pain

Stop people-pleasing behaviour. They must love me, not the me they want me to be

Stop people-pleasing behaviour. They must love me, not the me they want me to be

Go on day outings over the weekend

Go on day outings over the weekend

-Be a proactive participant in the newly formed bipolar support group comprised of another 4 ladies from the psych hospital
-Take care of my physical health by cooking healthy meals
-Volunteer somewhere
-Read more
-Go swimming on hot days
-Take walks on the beach
-Less absenteeism at work
-Make friends. Keep them. Don’t push them away
-Develop my interest in photography and painting
-Knit something to completion
-Learn to crochet

I’m getting carried away now, when it’s supposed to be baby steps and I’m getting ahead of myself. But hey, isn’t that what self-sabotage is for – setting ourselves up for failure? Well, we’ll see who the failure is at the end of this year.

Zyprexa’s missing time-warp

I’ve been on zyprexa (olanzapine) for less than a month now. I mentioned the array of side effects, present and possible in a previous post.

But I was greatly disturbed last night, when I experienced what I can only describe as a blackout. It frightening. I was doing some DYI, painting a coffee table. I remember I was smoking a ciggie and the next thing I remember is its light, its morning, and I’m walking around the flat. I was in the same clothes that I wore yesterday. No pajamas. I love my pajamas and NEVER go to bed without them. And the scariest part…. my bed wasn’t slept in. So what was I doing between 10pm and 3am?? My DIY stuff was undisturbed. Earlier that evening I had started to roast a chicken. When I regained my senses at 3am, all I could smell was the chicken still cooking! It was a big lump of charcoal and I’ll have to throw the roasting pan away because its destroyed.

There is a time frame that I have no recollection of. Was it a blackout? Or was it one of the recorded side effects of olanzapine – a memory lapse, amnesia, a memory gap, short term memory loss, memory problems or confusion. No mention of blackouts. So I turned to google:

‘…the only experience I have had with olanzepine is that it made me black out

‘I…. have short term memory loss too – it feels like mini blackouts. I take Olanzapine….’

‘….. .Lamotrogine amplified my mood issues, oddly, and caused blackouts. I am currently on olanzapine…’

‘ I have a lot of memory problems – short and long term memories. But I blame them on having so many ECTs in my lifetime. A lot of it could also be due to Lithium and/or risperdal….’

It would also seem that there might be an interaction between lithium and olanzapine which can cause blackouts.

So, which dirty rotten scoundrels may be causing episodes – lithium, lamotrogine, ECT or olanzapine? Who’s the culprit? My money’s on olanzapine because I’ve been taking the other meds for a long time without this side effect, and I haven’t had ECT recently. These blankouts started with olanzapine. Or perhaps is an interaction with the other drugs.

Its times like these when I feel so vulnerable, I wish I had a partner to watch over me. It’s given me a huge scare and I’m not taking that shit again. Ever.  And I will phone my doc as soon as he’s back at work.  You know its infuriating the cost involved with these ‘experiments’ of different medication.  You pay for a months supply, take for one week only to discover, oops that one is not suitable.  I’m throwing good money after bad.  As it is I can’t afford the generic Ritalin.  What the hell am I supposed to do?  I curse the medical companies.  Bunch of sharks exploiting the mental health community.

No pain, no gain – side effects of zyprexa (olanzapine)

So, I’m back on Olanzapine (Zyprexa). I took it for 3 months last year during the usual trial and error process. Those were the best three months I’ve known – no anxiety, slept soundly, felt alive, light and cheerful. Unfortunatly severe water retention ended the fun. This time round, I’ve been prescribed a diuretic, to counteract this side effect. And this time, I’m determined to make it work.

Other side effects? Well, the usual dizziness making me feel like I’m sailing the seven seas with motion sickness plus nausea, sore stomach, dry mouth and headache. More deterioration in my vision. Some more clumsiness. Problems with memory… I think I already have a bad… what’s the word I’m looking for? I can’t remember! Memory! That’s it. I think it’s all but gone now. There’s also body aches and joint pain. It feels as if I have the flu. Either that or its the more glorious side effects of nasal or upper respiratory tract infection. There’s the return of the hand tremor. Try successfully lighting a cigarette, drinking from a glass, transferring small change from the hand of the cashier into my purse, or putting eyeliner on. It’s not for the faint of heart. Some slight facial tics but nothing too severe.

Now for the nasties – tightness in the chest and difficulty or laboured breathing which is unsettling. I feel like I can’t get enough air into my lungs. And last year, while trying seroquel, my throat muscles would spasm and clamp shut. I couldn’t breathe. It was beyond frightening. So while this difficulty to swallow is unpleasant, at least I can still breathe. And a venteeze pump and Alzam give some relief. It’s side effects like this that make me want to dump my medication.

Pain during sexual intercourse. Sadly I don’t have this side effect – I guarantee you if I did have it, I wouldn’t be complaining about it because it would mean I was actually having sex! Oh those glory days….. But hey! On the bright side? I’m not experiencing seizures, fecal incontinence, drooling, coma or auditory hallucinations. Back up a minute… auditory hallucinations? This is an anti-psychotic medication with the intent to prevent psychosis. Surely having a side effect like auditory hallucinations is counter productive? Well, if past experience is anything to go by, always expect the unexpected, in both the illness of bipolar and it’s medication side effects

The Hospital Chronicles – Part 6

ADD diagnosis – I can see clearly now

I was admitted into a psychiatric hospital for a week.  I’ve had my medication adjusted, an addition to my diagnosis and received some invaluable therapy.  This is a documentation of all that I learned

I have been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder and dyslexia as co-morbid disorders of bipolar. A diagnosis that is hard to pin down and often gets lost in the murky waters of bipolar. ADD is genetic, so while I may have been born with it, there was no diagnosis of ADD as a child. I most likely over-compensated in various ways to cope, my eating disorder being one example and fear-based academic success another.

Being in hospital and seeing my doc everyday, asking the right questions, gave him further insight to my world, and led to my ADD diagnosis. He explained – bipolar is a disorder driven by moods, while ADD is driven by impulse. We did a trial run with ritalin to ‘test’ if it made any difference. All I can say is…. hello new world! The muddled confusion and foggy distraction dissipated. Everything was clear. I could focus on one task to its completion. I feel capable for the first time in my life.

I never entertained the thought of studies after school because it seemed insurmountable and I was tired of struggling. This academic success was another over-compensation, and led me into my first breakdown at age 17 years old.

If you venture into the archives of my blog, you will discover a frequent reference to lack of focus and what I have been calling ‘my own personal brand of dyslexia’. It’s validating to know my perception of my life has been clouded by an undiagnosed illness. That I’m not deficient. Now that I’m medicated….. well, the world is my oyster. This diagnosis is life changing with an exciting new world of opportunity, possibility, clarity and above all hope. A shift in focus from a doomed existence I so often talk about. I no longer feel like a failure. I feel free.

Where does bipolar begin and ADD end:
http://www.helpguide.org/articles/add-adhd/adult-adhd-attention-deficit-disorder.htm
http://www.psychiatryadvisor.com/adhd/facing-the-diagnostic-challenge-of-comorbid-bipolar-disorder-and-adhd/article/370068/

How is dyslexia tied to bipolar and ADD:
http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/biology/b103/f02/web1/mstoll.html
http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/serendipupdate/bipolar-disorder-and-connection-dyslexia
http://ic.steadyhealth.com/diagnosing-dyslexia-how-is-dyslexia-developed

 

 

The Hospital Chronicles – Part 5

I was admitted into a psychiatric hospital for a week.  I’ve had my medication adjusted, an addition to my diagnosis and received some invaluable therapy.  This is a documentation of all that I learned

Respite

an insomniac with a tired brain
and a leg that’s in pain
is bipolar not enough
to drive me nuts
now doc says I’m ADD
‘cos I can’t focus you see
and to add fire to the flame
he went on to explain
I am dyslexic
did Life handpick
me to be a statistic?
its unrealistic
to burden me so
as it pulls me low
to a point I may not rise
against the incoming tide
enough is enough Life
may 2017 bring some respite

The Hospital Chronicles – Part 4

Values are invaluable

I was admitted into a psychiatric hospital for a week. I’ve had my medication adjusted, an addition to my diagnosis and received some invaluable therapy. This is a documentation of all that I learned.

Codependency is also referred to as the Love Deficit Disorder. A broad definition is this: I can only love myself when I’m making someone else happy. I have no boundaries due to fear of abandonment and loneliness. But the real dysfunction occurs when I perpetuate the cycle of abandonment by choosing people who are abandoners. On a subconsciously level this abandoned state has become my normal, my comfort zone becaue it’s all I’ve ever known. But its time to break this dysfunctional pattern of behaviour.

This year I have learned about codependency and relationships. I’ve always been driven by a desperate need to be wanted. So if a person crossed my path and wanted me, that was the only criteria required to enter the inner sanctum of my life. I would invest the full intensity of my bipolar energy into being the person that would make them happy and ‘want to keep me’.

So we’ve established I’m lonely and its putting my health at risk. My doc has given me permission to enjoy the company of men without forcing it to become a deep and meaningful relationship. I grew excited at the opportunity of dating again. But when I attended one of the group therapy sessions about personal value systems, I learned *shocker* that I have none. No core fundamental beliefs that drive my decision-making. But how could I if I’m constantly changing who I am in order to please people. To, by default, live their life and not my own.

The beauty is, I’m learning how to face my beast
Starting now to find some peace, Set myself free
Today, I don’t have to fall apart
I don’t have to let the damage consume me,
-Blue October (Fear)

I can have all the permission in the world to mingle, but until I discover and develop my own value system, I will perpetuate the cycle of choosing abandoners. Before I start dating, I need to build up an arsenal of key values to live by. If you’re looking for me I’m over at Youtube or Google learning the shit outta values and self love.

 

 

The Hospital Chronicles – Part 3

I am suicidal but I don’t want to die. Quite the opposite. I want to live a full and productive life. So I was admitted into a psychiatric hospital for a week. I’ve had my medication adjusted, an addition to my diagnosis and received some invaluable therapy. This is a documentation of all that I learned

Permission to mingle

Okay, so I have ‘permission’ to mingle in the dating pool without that horrible label of being ‘needy’. But how to do it without getting my heart broken each time? I become quickly and intensely attached to people which always ends in heartbreak.

3-_permission-to-mingle

Here’s what the doc had to say:

Just because you date someone doesn’t mean you have to have a relationship with them.

If you meeting someone and you have chemistry and all the right stuff and you date and get married and live happily ever after, well then good for you. But that need not be the approach or end game. You can date for fun, for companionship, just for sex, a one night stand, be friends with benefits or all of the above. You can date but still keep a distance and don’t engage your heart.

My doc’s awesome analogy:

Say you go on vacation to Mauritius. You meet a local man with a gorgeous, sexy french accent. You spend time together, there’s chemistry, you laugh, have fun and have sex because you are intoxicated by the adventure . But all holidays come to an end. Its sad to part, but you knew it was going to be short-lived so you stayed in the moment with no emotional investment. There was no pressure of a potential future together. It was simply a fun holiday romance. Perhaps you do maintain contact and develop genuine feelings over the course of time. And perhaps you end up together for that happy ever after. Or maybe not.

My doc said to me:

Go out there and have some fun. Be safe. No serious stuff. If that happens to evolve over time then great. But let that not be your goal. Eat, drink, be merry, have a one night stand if you want to. Above all, keep your heart to yourself and don’t invest emotionally. Think of your French Lover and laissez faire. It doesn’t have to be long term. It can simply be for enjoyment and you can be the one in control, doing it on your own terms. This new perspective makes me feel like an independent woman. I just need to figure out what ‘my own terms’ are.

The Hospital Chronicles – Part 2

I am suicidal but I don’t want to die. Quite the opposite. I want to live a full and productive life. So I was admitted into a psychiatric hospital for a week. I’ve had my medication adjusted, an addition to my diagnosis and received some invaluable therapy. This is a documentation of all that I learned.

Alone is not my normal, it’s a trigger

A few weeks ago I had a life changing session with my doc and I walked away with the revelation of ‘normal is relative‘. One of the other topics addressed was my debilitating sense of ‘aloneness’ – a sense that I stand alone in this world, unwanted and invisible. This has been a hot topic in each session I have had with him. We explored it some more yesterday in hospital.

This was his perspective:

As human beings we are born to be social. From the time of cavemen, we have relished sitting around the fire exchanging stories, interacting, eating til our belly pops, loving, fighting, brawling, hunting, pairing off, having sex, reproducing, nurturing, laughing, crying, roaring with anger. I am not weak because I want a companion. For most of us, wanting a companion is ‘normal‘. If I had an extended family unit, a large circle of friends, were a social personality type or had a pet, I would not be as devastated by this ‘aloneness’ as I am. My only human interaction is the limited amount I allow myself at work, and interaction with my blogging friends. Too much time alone. Too much time for thoughts. I need to be channeling this energy into social interaction as one would channel water into a growing plant so that it may grow and thrive. I need human distraction so my thoughts don’t consume me. This has nothing to do with bipolar. Its based on my personality type.

But for every rule there is an exception. There are the extraordinary beings that live a thriving life completely alone and content. But that’s not how I’m built. I need someone. And needing is different to being needy. And needing someone to share in my life is not weak. For me its natural and normal.

We ended the session with him saying – This year, I’ve known all along your diagnosis is loneliness. Your loneliness is causing you great suffering and its become one of your triggers. Talk about ‘food for thought’. It’s more like a banquet of food for thought. An eat-as-much-as-you-like-buffet food for thought!