Rebirth

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It’s been almost two years since I wrote a blog post here. It seems both shorter and longer than that. I just re-read some of my posts and comments from the past and saw that in one comment I said I was just about to start with a new Psychiatrist. I did that, and man, has it made a difference! I was with my old one for about 12 years and in that time she almost never actually started a conversation with me. She was OK mostly, but she was an old school therapist and had the attitude that her silence was helpful. I didn’t find it that way and I finally got tired of it and quit seeing her. I’m so glad I did.

My new Psychiatrist is also a woman but she’s much younger and more in touch with the current thinking on Bipolar and meds and what to do about it all. I’ve got new diagnoses – Bipolar Type I (I’d been Type II for years, supposedly), PTSD and Dysthymia. Of course the DSM says you can’t be dx’d with both BP and Dysthymia, but who cares? They both fit me, as does the PTSD, tho I’m no soldier and my traumas are of a different type and order than combat shock. But they still haunt me and cause me significant distress.

I don’t want to talk about distress today tho. I want to talk about the fact that I’m actually in much better shape than I was 2 years ago when I started this new regimen. It’s taken some time, and some of that was awful. I tried new meds that landed me on the floor with horrific reactions. I often get that when I try new drugs. They usually make me crazy because I get too high a dose. As happened some of time until I got thru to her that I needed to start Real slow. So we started me on 75 mgs of Wellbutrin along with my Abilify, Klonopin, Buspar and Ritalin. We “very” slowly took me up to 450 and things never got crazy at all. In fact they even got better.

Wellbutrin is often known as the “Happy, Horny, Skinny” pill. Well, none of that has been that true for me, unfortunately. I could stand to lose a couple of pounds and my libido could definitely use some tickling since my Prostate cancer several years ago. But what I really wanted was the Happy part. In a way I’ve gotten that, and I’m not so suicidal so much these days. It’s still a threat but not too often and I can usually get out of it in time. I talk to Louie and he tells me I’m OK, and that he loves me, and boy does that help. He’s my personal savior at those times and I rely on him a lot to help keep me OK.

But mostly I have to do it myself, as do we all. I’ve learned so much in the last 20 some years since I was first diagnosed. My life is so much simpler than it has ever been. I live a quiet life with Louie in our home and garden, with a few friends and family to keep me socialized, along with some volunteer work. I have my rituals, like walking in the garden every morning to say Hi to the plants and get some blood flowing in my limbs and brain. (See my blog “Gardening in Greenwood” for more on the Gardens…) I also do some exercises and keep a good book on hand for when I can’t stop the negative thinking and need to go into some other person’s head for awhile. It works, when I can get myself to do it…

I still beat myself up too much but I keep trying to quit that. I use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy a lot to stop those thoughts that get away from me and start to ruin my day. It can happen so damn fast it floors me. So not everything is all rosy and perfect. It never will be and I know that. It’s a circular journey with BP and it alway comes around again despite whatever you do it seems. But still it’s not so bad when it comes screaming down the line at me now. I have chemicals in my brain that help offset the noise and fury. I guess they actually help, tho it’s been so long in coming I half don’t believe it. I’ve tried Soooo many drugs…

I’ve also realized that being happy might not be the best goal I can have for myself after all. I find contentment and peace far superior these days. It’s not that I’m unhappy that much, tho I am sometimes. But I look at life a bit differently now and try my best to stay in the present with my feelings and emotions and I think my Emotional IQ has gone up a few points over this last bit of time. I’ve always done a lot of education with myself on my illnesses and that’s been a great help to me. But being less invested in being happy all the time has allowed me to rest a bit in simple calmness.

I’m not usually that calm – who is when they have BP? But I try to stay chill, and it’s working often enough that I feel like I may actually be in some sort of recovery. I kind of feel uncomfortable saying that because of that mostly constant feeling of impending doom I still have, but I’ll risk it here and see how it goes. I know I can pass most of the time despite my illnesses and that’s good, for the most part. Sometimes I wish people could see what’s going on with me, but that doesn’t happen unless I lose it, and I try not to do that so it’s still hidden. That’s why I called this blog Naked Nerves of course. I may be better, but my next post may say what hell life is, because those nerves are still naked…. even in Rebirth.

And so it goes,

Steve

I Forgot My Pills Last Night

It seems incredible to me that just because I forgot to take my pills last night that I should suffer so much for it. But that’s what it’s like when you live with Chronic Intractable Pain coupled with Bipolar disorder with recurrent depression. Last night I got some nice feedback on my other blog site, a gardening website  and blog. I should have been elated. But my fickle depressive mind turned that into a dejected feeling and I was in a haze of misplaced rejection when I went to bed and I simply forgot my pills. I Never forget my pills you must realize. I Know it’s hell to pay if I do but still I forgot. Now I’m paying.

I’ve done what I can to ameliorate this situation. I took  my breakthru meds early today and I’ll take extra if I Have to. I have my doc’s permission to do that on occasion when I’m really hurting, and I’m really hurting today. Too much for just one silly mistake it would seem. It’s just not fair. But then Chronic Illness is never fair and I know that from years and years of living with the Invisible Illnesses of pain , depression, mania and migraines as well as arthritis and fibromyalgia. I’m kind of a mess. But usually I’m a happy guy and have a great life with a wonderful partner who loves me more than I deserve and is the light of my life. I don’t know what I’d do without him. He kindly told me I looked a little the worse for wear this morning and I almost laughed it was so gentle and kindly meant. But he was right I’m sure if how if feel is any judge.

Bu I’ve been working on my computer for awhile now to try to get my head at least into a different place, even if my body won’t cooperate yet. It’s sunny out right now in the midst of our Seattle rainy season and I should go for a walk soon and I will. I”ll have to force myself but that’s what you have to do sometimes. It takes courage to live with these conditions and I don’t lack for it but sometimes it fails me and I just want to hide somewhere in a hole and throw the covers over my head and make the world go away for awhile. I did that the first thing this morning after I’d eaten something and Taken my morning pills. I rested awhile to let myself catch up to where I was at. You have to allow yourself to rest somtimes when you have these situations and these conditions. It’s essential, rest is. I often will take naps in the afternoon to help make it thru the day and it doesn’t seem to hamper my sleep.

But I was restless last night and had a groggy morning and when I saw my nightstand and the pills I should have taken last night I had this sinking feeling in my heart and a flash of anger at myself ans then a resigned feeling and an awareness of what was wrong with me and why I felt the way i did. It’s worse when it’s your own bloody fault ya know. Oh well, no sense beating myself up is there? I do try to stay positive and had some nice Likes on my gardening post today that actually made me happy. This is good progress and I give myself credit for it. I can overcome this if i give myself the space to learn and remember that I may need some help from my partner in the future to remember to take the silly pills. I shouldn’t call them silly. They’re actually pretty heavy. Morphine is the strongest one, tho the abilfy , an antipsychotic that helps me stay somewhat stable is also missing from my system today and some other thing I really should have in my blood aren’t there in the way they should be. It’s a big deal.

But enough of this. I’ve given you a small glimpse into my life of Invisible Illness and I hope you’ll read more as I learn and post and share some things on how I stay as well as I do with these totally debilitating diseases. I do have support as I’ve said and that helps. But it’s up to to me in the end and I’m up for it.

Thanks for reading,

Steve