Mental Health Parity

Insurance rules for mental heath coverage vs. medical coverage. Not sure if it is a “Good” thing or not, but I don’t think it applies to us poor folks.

Link

OMG – I am so excited!

I admit it, I am glowing with happiness!

Derek has officially asked me to marry him, and we set the date for May 17th, 2014. I am so excited…I spent the morning lost in pleasant plans of wedding reception bliss. I phoned my mother; her reaction was, and I quote, “What? Oh. So he decided to keep you, huh?”

But as much as I love planning events, I did have a few moments of panic. It started when I looked at a realistic budget breakdown. We said we would spend $1,200 plus $800 for a honeymoon. Then I saw that really means a $96 bar tab.

HA!

Well, I guess there will be a cash bar with free soda and juice.

So many things I would like to have will have to be budget. And this all hinges on Derek getting a job, any job, soon. So needless to say, a little stressed. But I’m sure after I get some real prices, I will feel better.

I really, really want to locally source things for the wedding, so we will see how at DYI budget meets a Shop Local spirit .

 

Writing Again

I’ve realized an urge to write again; an urge I thought would never return.

I wrote a poem the other day–the first in 11 months. It is only on draft two, so it needs work, but I am proud of myself. It is about the big fight Derek and I had a few days ago.

I am also trying, again, to move more of my stuff into Derek’s from my old apartment. I am hoping to get an office (at least a table and chair) set-up, so I can write at a table. It makes a huge difference.

The last time I had all of my possessions in one spot, laid out in the way I like, was 15 months ago. Since then I’ve moved three times. My stuff is in chaos, needless to say. However, the real trouble is that I don’t do well mentally with upsets like this. No wonder it’s been a struggle and a half.

My main mental health issue now is sleep. With 250mg of Trazadone and 24mg of Ambian plus Remeron, I still toss and turn, wake up, and can’t get back to sleep. I am really hoping some internal sweeping, as my poetry tends to do, will help the sleeping situation.

Myth: intelligent people don’t commit suicide

A good reminder for everybody! Mental illness is NOT a personal character flaw!

Fall Out Girl

“That’s me. The scarred and broken one in the corner. / Are you sure you want to get that close?”

Derek and I are closing in on knowing/dating each other for 6 months. I kept warning him he has yet to see me out of control. But now, thanks to the fall out in part due to stress but mostly due to taking the wrong meds, he has.

He is still here, but that may be because he is sick with a kidney infection. I jest, he is sick, but he wants to stay. Amazing, I know.

I feel compelled to type the truth: I assaulted him…a little. Not as much as when I went after my sister’s sleazebag of a boyfriend, but I did turn our argument physical.

I hate when that happens. I don’t feel like myself. I can’t seem to apologize enough. I want to run away from myself. But Derek ran after me barefoot and in his briefs.

We have been working on reconnecting, and we are considering a May 2014 wedding. But it all makes me wonder. Why? How can someone want to put up with me? To want to maybe suffer with me through childbirth with all it could entail? The answer is simple. And he tells me over and over. I just need to hear it on the inside, over the returning voices and doubt.

He loves me.

Med Check

This past week has been rough to say the least. The biggest problem underlying the whole out of control, mixed-mania, depressed train wreck was a simple mix up in my med dosages.

I used to have Archway monitor my meds for me, in that once per week a worker would stop by my house and help me fill my daily med planner. Yes, one of those big old lady ones with Braille and the whole bit. I have to admit, it does sound silly that a 30 something needed all that help, but then factor in the bipolar brain fog (read about that here) and the fact that I am on 12+ meds at any given time.

But I gave up that service a while ago. The reason was that I couldn’t just sit around the house all day until they showed up.  So I’m going it alone…and I got a little confused.

Instead of taking the maximum dose of Cymbalta for my fibromyalgia, which is 120mg, I was taking 240mg. My Neurontin went from 200mg a day to 600mg. And on top of all that, I was only taking my anxiety medication once per day.

Needless to say, I was fucked up. I also lost some of my sight, which has returned with straightening everything out. Now every time I see my shrink, I will get a print out and a double check on my meds.

I’ll try to write more on the fallout next week. Stay strong!

Colorcoding My Life

Next to my work computer, and hopefully soon at home as well, I have a veritable garden of Post-It Notes.

Each day has a color; for example, Sunday is yellow. I have listed all the regular tasks I should do at work on a Sunday…including the personal note to blog and pay bills. I am hoping that improving my memory for work duties–clearly visible for my boss and co-workers to see–will help me to actually keep this job. The only one I now have.

From July 2013 until I was fired on October 14th, working a second job at the Library was extremely stressful. I was forgetting all sorts of things, like taking meds, completing work tasks, etc. It was not until recently I’ve had some explanation as to why my memory is just so very bad.

I read the article “The Cognitive Connection” in Bipolar Magazine, a magazine I didn’t know existed.

“Psychiatrists and researchers are coming to appreciate that memory lapses and other neurocognitive problems—disorganization, groping for words, difficulty learning new information—can go hand in hand with the more obvious mood and behavioral symptoms that characterize bipolar.”

So maybe it is not a character flaw or something I can blame myself for, like some people have done about losing my second, higher paying job.

“Bipolar brain fog can complicate everything from succeeding in school to paying the bills.”

What a precise way to describe this memory meltdown: Bipolar Brain Fog! I was actually fired for attendance, but it all stems back to slipping off my meds and forgetting elements of my job.

I remember all the Post-It Notes and Day Planners and homework note books that got me through college. Time to dust off some of those tactics.

The article also mentions lapses in attention, which can cause lose of coordination and balance! Did I mention I fall a lot?

I highly recommend reading the excerpt of  the article. I’ve also subscribed to the magazine and am eagerly awaiting my first issue.

This past week went a lot smother with the Post-It Notes; at least I felt a lot more productive at work…a pay period of 79.75 hours.

The only trouble, and my Mood Score of only 57% shows this, is the raging anxiety, sleeplessness, and irritableness at home. I see my shrink on Tuesday, so I suspect an increase in my Buspar.

More on meds later…

Having Children + Having Bipolar

A big issue my boyfriend and I have struggled with is the decision on whether to have children or not.

Baby Hope

Both of us want children, and while there are some other issues to work out (him getting a full-time job; I want to be married first; etc.), I keep coming back to square one: am I too sick to have children?
I have talked to my psychiatrist about this; he was not at all supportive of the idea. He said I shouldn’t rock the boat, so to speak. My gynecologist and primary care doctor are supportive. They say it is a natural desire and when the time is right (I’m 33 so I would want that to be soon), I should go for it. I dislike my counselor and don’t really want to discuss this with her, and my friends are discouraging about the idea just on the principle that having children is somehow bad…even my friends with children. So I am a little lost.
I’m barely stable on meds…I can’t imagine being off of them. Since I have a history of suicide attempts, my gyno said I might have to be on some sort of meds.
One the one hand, I do wonder if my body will adjust, and relying on my support network will just become vital, but I will get thought it. OR, I will hit rock bottom and end up hurting myself and the baby.
Any feedback is welcome. Thanks!

What I’m doing

Talk about a long absence! I’ve let this blog lay fallow for all the long months of some severe ups and downs. In a nut shell, I am doing much better. While for the last few weeks I was having some trouble with low moods, I am back into the 70s on my Moodscope depression test score (read about how I use Moodscope’s wonderful test here).

I’ve been trying to reincorporate things that have been helpful in the past. Such as blogging, both reading and writing. My favorite blog hands down is bi[polar] curious: poppycock from the bipolar spectrum. Sarah, who is the blog’s author, just had her 2 year anniversary! Congratulations, Sarah!

One simple thing I did was to buy a new med planner after mine was misplaced in my latest move (more on that later). I’ve also started knitting again!

But I’ve also been looking for new things to help myself. I’ve subscribed to Bipolar Disorder Magazine. Once I get my first issue, I might post some interesting snippets.

So my plan is to post a new blog every Sunday. We’ll see how long that lasts!

What can I do?

That is what a friend messaged me tonight in response to me being honest about how bad things are: What can I do?

And the answer is, I’m not sure. However, I need an answer to that question since I know I need help.

I have been tracking my mood on a UK site that I love, Moodscope.com, for a while know. While I am sure two people could score the same and not be feeling the same, I have figured out what the numbers mean for me. So here is a guide, for anyone brave enough to be one of my mood buddies, of how the numbers break down.

90%+ = Manic. I am likely to take lots of risks and do very stupid things like unprotected sex with a bisexual heroin addict or spend the month’s rent on comic books.

90% – 70% = I am handling my shit fairly well. I will fluctuate in response to stress, but over all things are ok.

70% – 50% = Something external, like a deadline, is not going well and a little bit of help or space will help, but I am still pretty good.

50% – 20% = I need support because things are feeling hectic. Some practical, concrete help is needed. I may have trouble articulating it, but I would appreciate you offering before I ask. A phone call would be fantastic. Make sure I am still taking my meds.

20% = 10% = I really need some help. I probably still can’t ask, but if you can spend the day with me or offer to take over a responsibility (like making dinner), it would mean the world to me. I probably can’t handle a phone conversation as it is too much for me. And no matter how much I deny it, I need company, too. Sit with me while I try to get my shit together. I may start drinking or smoking to self-medicate. This is not a good behavior because of the meds I take. I may also stop taking meds, quickening the spiral.

-10% = An ER visit or hospital stay is probably going to happen. I might get into fights and say hurtful things I don’t mean. Or get in trouble with the police for disturbing the peace, theft, or shoplifting. Or I might start hurting myself, like slamming my hand into a wall or cutting myself or vomiting or starving myself. I may even slap myself or other extreme types of behaviors. I need help immediately. A hotline call might be too much for me to do on my own; I may fight it. But I MUST get to someplace SAFE right away and get back on my meds.

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