Tuesday, April 02, 2013
My incredible psychiatrist worked me in yesterday. I worked the rest of the day before I took the "knock out" drug. I was awake for 64 hours.
Thank you all for your encouragment and love. It means a lot to me.
Sunday, March 31, 2013
I've gone 49 hours without sleep and I'm not the least bit sleepy. In fact, I'm bouncing off the walls. I feel like electricity is coursing through my body. It's shaping up to be a long, long night. Tomorrow morning, I'll call my psychiatrist. And he'll give me a prescription that knocks me off my feet and I'll sleep for two days ... again.
Thankfully, I know what a manic episode looks and feels like now so I can catch it and get it treated sooner.
In my last blog, July 2, 2012, I talked about overcoming bipolar disorder. That was premature. I know now that the best I can do is manage it ... but there is no overcoming. Have to admit I'm a bit disappointed and scared.
When I have to take two days off to sleep this episode off ... I'll have to tell my employer what's going on. Last August when I had an episode, I didn't have to tell my employer. But I can't take another two days off without an explanation.
Last August, I insulted two friends in my manic haze ... and lost two dear friends because of it. I almost drove my therapist to "firing" me as a patient when I barraged him with 50-60 emails. I am determined not to repeat that behavior ... but at 4 am in the morning when I've been up almost 48 hours ... it's hard to maintain perspective and proportionality.
I'm not sure where this blog is going ... guess I'm doing free association ... whatever comes to mind. Truth is, I'm scared. What if I get psychotic? what if I have to go to the hospital? what if I start having manic episodes more often? how will I work? Life gets complicated sometimes but we blunder forward one way or another.
Well ... time to wrap this up. Maybe I'll be back to write more later.
All is not always well but life is always good ...
Tuesday, July 03, 2012
I've come a long way, baby! I've been in major transition since May 2006. Today is a momentous day in that transition so I thought it might be good to revisit turning points in the journey.
- Diagnosed with major depression in May 2006 and started therapy/medication
- Changed therapists to my current therapist in June 2008
- Depression worsened, changing medication ever 2-3 months
- Quit my career of 30 years in Sept 2008 & admited I could not work
- Went on disability with the plan it would be temporary - Sept 2009
- Spent a month in Italy - 11/2009
- Diagnosed with bipolar disorder, continued medication changes
- Joined SparkPeople November 2009
- Started a masters of social work program part-time in January 2010
- Left my husband of 26 years and came out as a lesbian in May 2010
- Couch surfed until August 2010 when I got my first apartment
- Spent a month in Greece May 2011
- Part-time internship in an inpatient psych unit for kids ages 4-12 (hated it)
- Medication for bipolar disorder stabilized -- 1 yr on same regimen - 12/2011
- Part-time internship as therapist in an outpatient clinic with adults (loved it)
- Started losing weight again
- Graduated with my Masters of Social Work in May 2012
- Spent a month in South Africa May 2012
- Offered my dream job as a therapist today - July 3, 2012
- Lost 60 pounds since 11/2009
- Start working as an outpatient clinic therapist w/adults & teens - July 2012
- Go off disability July 2012 -- A MAJOR GOAL ACHIEVED
- Lose another 60 pounds by February 2013 - A MAJOR GOAL
Looking back, it is evident I have had bipolar disorder most of my adult life but when you're manic or hypomanic it's hard to recognize. I only started treatment on the way down into deep depression. With the help of medication and therapy, I have made life-changing gut-wrenching decisions. In my job interview, I was asked what I want to be doing five years from now. I said I want to be doing therapy the same as I do on Day 1, only more experienced and more effective. I think I have a lot to offer my clients. I've been through it and come out the other end, happier than I've been in my entire life. I am excited to be alive after years of being suicidal ... I love people in ways I never dreamed ... I have a circle of supportive friends ... and a meaningful job. That said, I am also a work in progress ... becoming .... and it can only get better.
In the end, being diagnosed with a mental illness was the best thing that could have happened to me. There is hope after mental illness
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Think about a pound of butter ... I've lost 25 of those four stick pounds of butter since December 13 ... 46 of them since November 2009. I wonder how many grocery sacks that would be.
Every time I climb the stairs to my apartment that's the imagery in my head. I notice how much easier it is to climb the stairs without all that butter. Then, I think about how wonderful it will feel when I can just walk up the stairs, instead of having to climb up them.
Yesterday was a milestone. For the first time in many years, I went for a hike in the woods on a rough, rocky trail, up and down hills, crossing a stream on wet, slippery rocks. I could do this in part because of the weight loss and in part because my arthritis isn't nearly the issue it was not so long ago. I had a knee replacement almost four years ago. That was the turning point. I wasn't going to go through all that pain and still not be able to do things because of my weight.
I'm not going to tell anyone it's been easy. Changing lifestyles is a constant struggle. I've had my ups and downs. I lost weight, gained some back, lost it again and then some. That's where I am now -- losing. And working on getting more exercise, drinking more water, eating more fruits and vegetables, keeping unhealthy foods out of the house, learning to eat out without pigging out.
And of course, I'm not there yet. I'm about 1/3 of the way to my goal of losing 122 pounds. Instead of focusing on how far I have to go, I'm trying to stay focused on how far I've come. I've lost two clothes sizes. I can go up and down stairs with relative ease. I can get out of chairs without pushing myself off. I can put on a pair of socks. I can buckle up an airline seatbelt. I fit in an airline seat without spilling over onto the person next to me. My office chair is no longer snug. I no longer crave sweets or snack food. It's the little things that keep me going.
And the image of all those pounds of butter. Healthy life style -- watch out -- I'm on my way!
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
"I am pushing sixty. That is enough exercise for me."
Leave it to Mark Twain. I will be 60 years old this year. mind you, I have a few months left but i'm already thinking about it. Thirty, fourty, fifty -- I didn't think twice about those milestone birthdays but 60 is the one.
Truth be told, I am afraid, not of dying but living into my mid-90s -- fat and arthritic with little energy for anything save sitting at the computer and watching my "stories" on TV. The women in my family have for many generations lived well into their 90s. that's 35 more years of life for me.
I started on a quest for renewed youthfulness six years ago. I quit my career of 25+ years, traveled for a year and then went back to school to get a Master's in Social Work. I graduate in May and had my first job interview this morning. I want to work in direct care with young people -- best way to stay young is to be around young people.
I've been in therapy for six years. I can honestly say I get glimpses of what it is like to love myself. That's huge improvement from where I started. Most difficult, I ended my marriage of 26 years and "came out." Thankfully, my husband has been incredibly supportive and we remain a close-knit family. Now I've embarked on the next phase of this quest: eating healthy and moving more.
I've lost 40 pounds since november 2009, when I first joined SP. I have 80+ pounds to go to reach a sustainable, healthy weight. To make the next leap, I joined a medically-supervised weight loss program. I drink meal replacements when I'm at home and eat naked salads with all the goodies removed when I'm out with friends. And yes, I splurge on a glass of wine when I'm out with friends. Maha worries that I'll gain all my weight back b/c of the meal replacements but I live alone. I can control what food is in the kitchen at home. My problem is social eating. I go out a lot.
And now we're back to Mark Twain ... pushing sixty is enough. I don't need exercise. Motivation to exercise has been a real problem. Ramona gave me a quotation yesterday that helped put this motivation thing into perspective ....
"A man ought to take exercise not because he is too fat, but because he loves foils or horses or high mountains, and loves them for their own sake."
~ G.K. CHESTERTON
It has to be fun or don't do it. What do I love? I love being outside riding a bicycle with the wind blowing through my hair (as long as it's not a 20 mph headwind). I love feeling my muscles during and after a good workout on the machines. I love to do water aerobics .... the water is so relaxing. I love to dance even though I have two left feet and questionable rhythmic abilities. I love to paddle a canoe ... although not a lot of exercise. As my knees and ankles get stronger (and the pain diminishes), maybe I'll even enjoy short walks.
I have accountability partners. I ride with Maha and Leslie. Leslie and I are going to train for the Tour de Rock, the family fun ride but a challenge for us. Maha and I are going to do the 15 mile loop that starts at my apartment complex one day soon. I have a deal with my cousin ... if he reports his trips to the gym ... I'll go to the gym every time he goes. He reported going to the gym this morning so before bedtime tonight I will spend 45 minutes at the gym. And my brother emails every couple of days with his progress on losing weight. He's lost 15# and I've lost 17# this go round (that's part of the 40# since 2009). And I weigh in weekly at my weight loss program, go to nutrition classes weekly and see the doc every two months. And I don't buy groceries. My cupboards are bare!
Even with all these adjustments ... sixty is a BIG one for me. But what to do ... the alternative is not pretty. So my goal is to love 80 pounds between now and October 23 -- an average of 2 pounds/week. Ambitious yes ... but within the realm of possibility. Wish me well. Encourage me on the way. Give me h*ll if I fall along the wayside. Share the journey.
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