Bipolar Mood Charting

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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.

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Psychiatrist Visit Update

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First off, I want to thank all of you for your comments on yesterday’s post! I really appreciate all the support from you guys! It definitely makes me feel less alone and even a little bit loved! It can be easy to feel all alone going through all this mental health stuff, and although I do have some support in real life, knowing other people care about what happens to me matters a lot.

So the visit went ok yesterday. I was kind of anxious about it because I was worried the doctor would be upset I quit taking the Abilify because of the side effects, but he didn’t seem to be upset. Surprised maybe, but not upset. He didn’t make any huge changes to my medication regimen, but did prescribe me a daily anxiety med (Buspirone) and upped my antidepressant (Prozac) a little bit. He kept the Seroquel the same for now. I must admit I was hoping for more sweeping changes than that, but maybe it is a good thing that not everything change at once. The Seroquel does help me sleep and although I fear becoming dependent on it, being able to sleep regularly has made a huge difference.

One thing that bugs me though is that this psychiatrist says some of the exact same things the two psychologists I have seen have had to say, things I’m not sure I agree with. Every mental health professional I talk to talks about what a “survivor” I am and how they have no real fear I would ever be a danger to myself, even if my husband did die and I was left all alone. They always talk about how intelligent and strong I am, but I don’t feel that about myself. I feel like a big wimp most of the time and scared of my own shadow. How the heck are they seeing this kick-ass survivor when they look at me, when all I see is a scared little girl? The psychiatrist yesterday went so far to say if they dropped me off alone in the middle of a frozen tundra, I would find a way to survive. A huge exaggeration obviously, and so opposite my own opinion. In that case, I think I would just lay down and give up. And if my husband died, I DO think I would pose a serious threat to my own well-being, but why do they find that so hard to believe?

*Art by Maranda Russell

Seroquel Zombie?

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So today I’ve mostly spent my time watching YouTube videos about Seroquel, especially videos about the side effects of taking it and the experiences of people who decided to get off of it. I’m not making any rash decisions about the medicine myself (which I do currently take). The medicine is a wonder drug when it comes to helping me get to sleep, which is the main reason why I am taking 50mg of it a day (which isn’t even a high dosage). I do like the warm, fuzzy feeling I get after taking the meds and the way it knocks me out within an hour of taking it. I’ve tried other sleeping pills and none of them worked nearly that well or dependably.

However, I am having some side effects that I assume may be from the Seroquel. I am sleeping at least 11 or 12 hours a night and still waking up groggy and just wanting to sleep all day. I normally get up, have breakfast, then lay back down on the couch and try not to fall back to sleep. I am exhausted constantly (even more so than just from my normal CFS symptoms). I am starting to feel a bit “zombiefied” as well. As I’m typing, I kind of feel disconnected from my fingers and feel like they are somewhat trying to do their own thing rather than what I want them to do. I wake up each day with a hangover feeling and often with a nasty headache that sometimes lasts all day. I am also HUNGRY all the time it seems, especially for sweets. I really fear gaining weight. I’ve been on the med about 3 months now and have gained a few pounds, but I fear I would gain much more if I lost my self control and ate as much as I wanted.

I guess the reason I am sharing all this is just to see if others who have taken it have experienced similar things? If so, did you keep taking it? I really debate whether sleeping regularly is worth all the side effects or not.

*Art by Maranda Russell

Hypomanic Writing

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I wrote the following while I was pretty hypomanic. Thought I would share more as a glimpse into my life and hopefully educational about bipolar 2:

I AM bipolar, I’m officially crazy. I can’t seem to control myself, but on the medicine I feel SO much better, who cares if I’m hypomanic? Not sure I wanna tell the doctor the truth. Thank God I have my husband to keep me in check. I AM perpetuating the cycle. Thank God I never had kids. My muscles twitch and I can’t control them. I feel like I have Parkinson’s, but I’m good with that. I am stressed the fuck out, but I don’t care. I don’t want to sleep, but I have a magic bullet called Seroquel. I just worry I’ll get fat, but how fat can I get when I can’t sit still? Every dance in creation I think I’ve done today, even if it was spazzy. Some might look at me and say I’m a danger. I look at me and say I’m alive.

Newly Diagnosed with Bipolar 2

I think the title is pretty self-explanatory as to what the video below is about. Just wanted to share. It is a part of my life, a part of who I am.