I decided to start doing some bipolar mood charting. I’ve seen others talk about how it helped them to figure out patterns in their mood swings and behaviors, so figured it couldn’t hurt to give it a try. To find a bipolar mood chart, I just googled it and checked out several options that came up. I ended up going with this chart.
I’ve only been tracking myself on it for four days now, but I’ve already noticed a few small things. For one, I’m clearly more on the low side (which makes sense being Bipolar type 2), and even when I do chart on the “high mood” side, I often chart on the “low mood” side for the same day. So I am predicting that most of my “high mood” days are actually mixed days. We’ll have to see if that stays consistent the longer I chart myself.
I also noticed rather interestingly, that so far, when my anxiety is high, my irritability tends to be lower, and vice versa. Are anxiety and irritability two sides of the same coin just expressed differently? I don’t know, but thought it was interesting.
Lastly, this is something I already kind of knew, but seeing it in writing really drives the point home…I sleep A LOT. On average, about 11-12 hours a day. I sleep HALF the day away! This has pretty much been the case since I started taking Seroquel, so I wonder if that may be responsible.
I saw my therapist this past weekend and it went ok, but I honestly think sometimes my therapist gets kind of annoyed or frustrated with me. I feel like she sometimes wants to see more progress than I’ve made, especially in the self-esteem/self-loathing area. To be fair, I haven’t always been the best about following up on actual practices to feel better about myself. I have done affirmations and things like that in the past, but I always end up kind of feeling ridiculous and giving up pretty soon when I don’t see immediate results…even though I know that immediate results aren’t likely.
At the end of the session, the therapist gave me the homework assignment of looking up some affirmations that I genuinely liked and related to and giving at least a few of those a try every day, so here goes. I did a google search and found some affirmations I actually kind of related to on a Huffpost article. Here are the ones I’ve actually decided to work with:
- I am courageous and I stand up for myself.
- I possess the qualities needed to be extremely successful.
- I forgive those who have harmed me in my past and peacefully detach from them.
- My body is healthy; my mind is brilliant; my soul is tranquil.
- Many people look up to me and recognize my worth; I am admired.
- I am a powerhouse; I am indestructible.
- I am conquering my illness; I am defeating it steadily each day.
Most of these spoke to me because they were just simple and straightforward, or because they address issues I deal with constantly (like health issues or past trauma). #5 may seem a bit conceited at first glance, but I think it is important for those of us who feel really bad about ourselves to realize that others don’t share that negative view. If any of these affirmations speak to you like they did to me, feel free to use them for yourself!
So, as I said the other day, right now I am in a doll phase, specifically reborn dolls, which are dolls that are made to look and feel more like real infants. While I’ve been surfing the internet reading about these dolls and looking at pics of the ones available, I have also come across several articles about using these dolls as legitimate therapy, which is something I hadn’t even considered.
One article was about reborn dolls being used as therapy with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. In certain nursing homes they have done studies where they used these life-like dolls to treat anxiety and depression in patients and found that the dolls greatly helped with both of those problems, even making it so that many of the patients no longer needed psychotropic medications.
Interestingly, the article said the therapy works the best if the patient is introduced to the doll while they are still coherent enough to know the doll is not real. I found that rather fascinating. For many of these patients, over time they become truly attached to the dolls and do often start to think they are real babies, but that is understandable given their medical condition.
Another article I read spoke about the therapeutic effect these dolls have had for some parents who have lost small children of their own or who had stillbirths/miscarriages. Some of these grief-stricken parents have even had dolls made to look exactly like the child they lost, which strikes me as truly sad, but if it helps them work through their grief, I think that is a good thing. I do wonder though if some of them may actually end up obsessing over the loss to an unhealthy extent, but to tell the truth, I’m not sure the loss of a child is something you could ever truly get over anyhow.
What do you think about these dolls being used as therapy? Does it seem creepy or weird to you? Or do you think it is a great idea?
Maybe I should have suspected yesterday that when I was feeling so good, it might be me slipping into hypomania a bit. As the evening wore on, I could tell that the good mood was going a little bit off the rails. I started feeling extremely antsy and a bit hyper. I may have started driving my husband a bit nuts by constantly asking him silly questions and yelling across the house to him.
Suddenly, I found myself with too many thoughts and plans in my head to concentrate on any of them. I felt pressure to get lots of stuff done, even though there was really no need to do them all right now. By the time bedtime rolled around, I really didn’t want to take my medicine (Seroquel) because I knew it would make me go to sleep and I didn’t feel like sleeping, I felt like staying up all night to clean out and reorganize the spare bedroom.
Fortunately, I listened to the little voice of warning in my head that told me that if I didn’t take the medicine, it might feel good to stay up all night right now, but that this could easily spin out of control again like it has in the past when I have gone days without sleep and even ended up hospitalized. So I DID take the medicine and went to sleep. However, even today I can feel the traces of hypomania hanging around, trying to convince me to just throw caution to the wind and enjoy the high.
Everything went fine yesterday with the psychiatrist. I tried to bring up everything that I mentioned yesterday in my post, although to be honest, my psychiatrist is a little bit of a weirdo (but in a good way), so often what he says kind of throws me for loop and has me wondering “what the heck”? We also often get off subject, and may have spent part of the session talking about “Black Mirror” (the Netflix show), Dante’s Inferno, Fight Club, Josef Mengele, and menstrual cycles (that last one was definitely not my choice of topic lol).
One humorous part of the session consisted of him trying to convince me I should consider having children of my own if able, because I would make a great mom and there are so many “stupid people” procreating that we need more intelligent ones to do so more (his words, not mine). Like I said, he can be an oddball.
We also talked about aspergery stuff, like social deficits I had as a child. When I told him a story about how I got in huge trouble in first grade for laughing at a kid who couldn’t read (because I honestly didn’t understand that something that was so easy for me could be hard for others), he burst out laughing and thought that was hilarious. His reply to that story was, “tell the truth, you just thought that kid was stupid”. Like I said, he sometimes throws me for a loop, but he does make me laugh.
The past couple months I have been all over the place emotionally and mentally. I plan to go over all this with my psychiatrist when I see him later this month, but felt I would share here some of what I’ve been going through.
It is kind of weird because I have had several bouts of certain types of emotions/feelings that were overwhelming and lasted at least a few days to a week. For around a week last month, I had a real issue with rage. Not just anger, but pure rage. I hate it when I have these rages, because I normally end up taking it out on myself or my things because I don’t want to inflict it on anyone else but have to get it out somehow. Sometimes during these rages I destroy personal things that I later regret. I don’t cut or do anything physical that leaves real scars, but I do sometimes pinch myself or dig my nails into my skin as hard as I can, just to get the anger out and because acute physical pain can be a way to distract yourself from intense emotional pain.
A few weeks after the rage phase, I went through an odd type of paranoia. I just kept having nightmares every night, one after another. All of the nightmares were either about home intruders or something scary chasing me. The first night it started I had a full night of nightmares about home intruders. I became so paranoid I had to get up and double check all the locks in the house and make sure every door was closed and locked between the outside doors and my room. I was tempted to sleep with a knife nearby (which I actually have done in the past when I was afraid of something like this), but instead, I settled on sleeping with my phone next to me. I have never been a victim of a home invasion and currently live in a safe neighborhood, so this paranoia seems odd to me.
This past week I have actually had a positive upturn, where I have felt fairly happy and almost a little hopeful. These extremes of emotion I have felt recently do make me wonder if maybe the bipolar diagnosis is correct. I have never really understood why I had these rages and paranoia episodes, but if I am truly bipolar, that probably would explain it (although my PTSD could easily be a culprit as well I suppose). It is tempting once these episodes are over to make excuses for them or to try to convince myself they weren’t as bad as they really were, but that is being dishonest with myself and won’t help me learn to deal with these problems in a healthy way.
Today would have been my sister’s 41st birthday if she hadn’t committed suicide back when she was 35. It is really weird now because I am 35, so I am the exact same age she was when she died. For the first time ever, I will soon be older than my sister ever was. I won’t be the younger sister anymore…or at least that is how it feels.
Last night I didn’t sleep well at all, I had nightmare after nightmare after nightmare. None of them were specifically about my sister, but I can’t help but wonder if subconsciously the feelings I have about her birthday rolling around might not have affected my state of mind. Honestly, I didn’t even think about it being her birthday until a few minutes ago when I looked at the date on my computer clock and it hit me. Of course, this time of year I often think about her, but I am not good at keeping track of days. When you don’t work outside the home, it is easy to forget what day it is.
I’m sorry if this entry is a bit of a ramble, but I have so many mixed emotions and still so much pain about it all that it might not come out as orderly as my normal posts. Days like this really get to me, even if I don’t consciously think about them. It is like a lurking shadow hanging over the entire week or month. I’m sad today and now I’ve remembered why.