Migraine Depression

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As you can see from my recent poem post, I had an excruciating migraine yesterday.  It was so painful I had to fight suicidal urges.  I cried and sobbed at the hours they rob me of each day I have one.  I begged and screamed at a God, who won’t cure me of them.

I am feeling better today.  It is gone, but the fear of the next one is constantly there.  The increased dose of propranolol is causing me to get poor sleep which I think is what is triggering the migraines, which is ironic since the propranolol is what is supposed to be preventing them.

I have had more migraines than usual this month and the month’s not even over yet.  I am not sure whether to wait another ten days when the propranolol’s dose is increased again or call my doctor now.

I’ve read the sleep problems are temporary.  I have decided to cut my second Adderall dose from 10 mg to 5 mg to help me sleep.  I was going to cut out my daily nap as well, but I was so tired this morning that I already failed that goal.

I have been doing the breathing meditation my doctor recommended for at least ten minutes a day for the last five out of six days, and it has helped me feel calmer and more compassionate toward others.  That was a nice surprise.

Right now, I am just so traumatized by the migraine I had yesterday that I can’t seem to reach any sort of peace of mind.  I feel like my husband thinks I am nuts because I got so upset and emotional about it last night, but I am really becoming hopeless.

I am thankful that even though it feels like I am dying and even though I want to die, at least I am not dying.  That would not be a good thing for my family.  I know they need me and want me around.  It is why I am still here.

Photo credit: Avenue G via Foter.com / CC BY

Suicidal Migraine

A blade slices mine in two
for Hannibal Lecter’s meal.
Chew. Chew.”

Every molar sinking in,
masticating; nerve-ends serrating.
There’s nothing I can do,

but succumb to the sadist’s call or
I could just end it all:

dog pile mind-rapes;
personality mishapes.

You see,

to leave it all behind,
my dead body
they will find.

Bipolar Anxiety and Anger: The Meditation Experiment Part I

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It’s funny how sometimes answers come to me before I even realize what the questions are.  Yesterday, I wrote about my bipolar anger, and later in the day, my doctor, without knowing I had a recent anger incident, strongly suggested I start doing ten minutes of meditation everyday, where I sit quietly and focus on my breathing.  She said, and I quote, “It will keep you calm the rest of your day.”

So, like always, I will try her suggestion.  I even began yesterday, setting a timer for ten minutes, laying down, closing my eyes; I focused on my breathing and…fell asleep.  Ooops!

Today, my plan is to sit up while doing it so I, hopefully, don’t fall asleep.  I will keep track of whether I think this is helping my anxiety and anger or not.

Is Bipolar Anger to Blame?

driving-918950_640I had a major bout of self-hatred last night after a minor incident of road rage.  When dropping my daughter and her friends off at school another driver was going against the flow of the approved traffic route set up by the school, which blocked my way for a few seconds.

As I waited for him to get out of the way I gave him the death stare and said over and over again, “You are going the wrong way.  You are going the wrong way.”  I started fumbling with my window to roll it down so I could maybe yell at him as we passed when I heard my daughter say, “Mom, just stop.”

As soon as she said that, I literally felt myself being sucked out of this kind of time warp vacuum where everything was standing still and I was in a silenced tunnel with just me and this guy, moving in slow motion like in a movie or something.  When she said my name, and I turned to look at her, all the sights and sounds of my environment came flooding back into my awareness.

It was really freaky to realize how focused and close to a black out state I get with my rage sometimes.  Is this part of bipolar?  I can’t imagine that “normal” people get mad to this extreme over something so minor.  The thing I was mad about wasn’t that he was blocking my way, but that he wasn’t following the rules.

I would say that people who don’t follow the rules is my biggest pet peeve, but it is so much more than a pet peeve.  It is more than nails on a chalk board.  It is more than torturous.  It has got to be one of the worse things out there for me and I don’t know why it bothers me so much.

When people think they are above the rules or the law, or more important than everyone else by cutting in line, parking illegally, etc. to save time, it enrages me.  The unfairness of it all is too much for me to comprehend, and I am one to say something rather than to keep quiet.

I wish I could keep my mouth shut because I embarrass my children and I hate that.  I want to learn to let things go more; to not let these things bother me so much.  If only I understood why they bother me so much to begin with I might be able to resolve it.

I get just as angry, if not more, when the unfairness happens to someone else as well, not just me, even if that someone else is a stranger.  It’s crazy.  It drives me crazy.  I need to just live and let live.

I am not sure how to get out of this self-judging mode.  It is what I am supposed to be working on  – not judging myself so harshly.  I suppose I didn’t roll down my window and yell at him, so it’s ok.  I hate that my daughter had to snap me out of it, and that I made her uncomfortable and I am sure scared.

That is what makes me hate myself – because I scared her I am sure.  My anger always does, because I yell when I get angry and she’s told me many times she doesn’t like it when I yell.  It upsets her.  (Sigh.)  I’ll just keep trying.

Bipolar Anxiety Confusion

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It is amazing how much medication affects our brains.  What I thought was part of a hypomanic episode this past month turned out to be a side effect from a migraine preventative medicine.  I was seeing all of these vibrant, deep, rich colors in everything, almost like everything was super saturated and outlined in black.  Turns out this is a side effect of propranolol, of which my dose was doubled in the beginning of September.

As to the project oriented, high energy behavior and lack of sleep – well, I am now more apt to chalk that up to anxiety versus hypomania.  This is all important because if my doctor is to consider medication changes, she would change a different one for the anxiety than she would for the mood fluctuations.  Having both bipolar disorder and anxiety disorders is so complicated.

All in all, I think my mood is back to normal, so I am not too worried about that.  My anxiety, on the other hand, is always an issue.  No matter what we do with the medication, it seems like nothing really helps.

I am not anxious about anything in particular.  I just never seem to feel all the way relaxed.  I am always worried about gaining weight or not losing it, about when I am going to get my next migraine, about having to leave the house, about not leaving the house, about my husband’s weight, my daughter’s weight, my daughter’s mental health.  Ha!  I guess there are particular things I am worried about after all.

I am still not sleeping well and am experiencing cognitive deficits.  I am usually very good about planning ahead and making sure I have my prescriptions called into the pharmacy or requested from the doctor well before I run out.  This week I realized I didn’t do that with one of the them, so I may miss a dose or two.  Last week I completely forgot to put a medicine in my pill-box and missed its dose.  These things are just not like me.

I can’t seem to focus on what people are saying and I forget what they say, thereby embarrassing myself asking the same question over and over again.  I’ve checked and these symptoms are not side effects of the medication increase I talked about above.  I see my psychiatrist this week so I will talk to her about it then.

Mostly, I am just sick of not liking the person I am.  I have tried so hard to combat the negative judgements I have about myself this month, but sometimes I just breakdown in frustration at the fact that pretending to like myself is just that – pretending.  It is a freaking lie, and lying about it feels worse than the actual negative thoughts themselves.

I am also sick of merging some of the dichotomies of life.  I suppose this marks progress for me because I used to be such a black and white thinker which was not healthy or helpful at all.  But wanting to do something at the same time as not wanting to do it because of my anxiety is confusing.  Liking someone at the same time as not liking them sounds crazy, right?  Well, it feels crazy, too.  Wanting to be at home, but not wanting to be at home makes me want to pull my hair out.

Now I just feel like I am complaining and I hate that.  I will end by saying I am grateful for many things in my life.  I have a good life with good friends and a good family.  I need for nothing, except for better health, and I’ll keep working for that as best as I can, day by day.

Photo credit: j.rozek via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Bipolar Mood Charting

A little over a month ago, my psychiatrist challenged me to closely monitor my negative self-talk because she suspected it was playing a role in my mood instability more so than the chemical imbalances in my brain at this point, which she feels is under control by medication.  I agreed to go along with her little experiment, and so far, there is some definite evidence that my mood changes are not idiopathic.  In other words, they don’t just happen for no reason.

I had a good few weeks of stability from mid to late September.  This was right after she told me to watch my thinking, so I was being very diligent with it.  The last part of September, I went into a hypomanic phase for a few days, and I link it to the stress and excitement of my daughter’s homecoming activities.

During homecoming weekend, I had a very difficult time due to some complex PTSD issues from my past that it brought to the surface.  I wrote about it some here.  I didn’t do well processing my feelings and had multiple migraines and GI issues.  A depressive state ensued.

I recovered from that after about a week.  Then I had a medication changed which I believe is now triggering another minor depressive phase.

I have outlined all of these ups and downs in the chart below.

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The medication change is causing me to get less sleep, therefore, I am experiencing an increase in irritability, lack of focus, poor concentration, poor memory, decreased motivation, and increased negative thinking, which is what my doctor really warned me about.  I have to fight the negative thinking with everything I’ve got because it will only perpetuate the depression.

When I made lunch the other day for friends and my recipes were less than excellent, I kept telling myself that it didn’t matter; that mediocre was acceptable; that they didn’t come for the food, but for the company, except I didn’t even give them that.  I spent too much time in the kitchen preparing the meal.  The next time I will store-buy items instead of making everything from scratch.

I am so tired of trying to be perfect even though at the time I truly think I am enjoying it.  Afterwards, however, upon further reflection, I think I am just avoiding the social interaction by being busy in the kitchen, and trying to impress them with my cooking.  Such an ego-filling goal.  No wonder it leaves me feeling empty and incomplete (and depressed.)

I went back to taking my higher dose of hydroxyzine last night, so hopefully I will not be as tired from here on out and the depression will lift.  Time will tell.  I will continue to track it.

It feels good to have a clear picture of my mood shifts of late and the possible reasons for them.  I feel less like a victim to them when I understand the possible causes for them.  Writing about my life as often as I do here is the only way I could have gleaned the information I did to put the two and two together, so I am grateful to my doctor for inspiring me to do so.

I think the mood chart will be a good tool to print out and take to my next doctor visit.  Since I see her every six weeks, it will be a good snapshot to show her how things have been going for me since our last visit.

 

Motherhood, Mental Illness and Codependency

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My teenage daughter is on medication and is in counseling for depression and anxiety.  She has been through a lot in the past year.  I’ve written about some of it here, here, and here.

Because of her mental illness and her overall highly sensitive and strong-willed nature, we (my husband and I) tend to have a hard time saying no to her.  We, of course, do not have a problem disciplining her when necessary, but she is a bit spoiled when it comes to materialistic things, and she is rarely kept from doing activities she wants to do even when it involves us driving her all over the place.  We will say no if it is excessive or too far or too late, however.

I have noticed that we do have an easier time saying no to her younger sibling with these things.  I don’t know if it is because we think she is less fragile or not as apt to become as agitated when refused.  I would give it about a twenty-five to seventy-five percent split between the two, respectively.

Overall, saying no to my daughter with the mental illnesses hasn’t been a problem for me until this past week.  I am starting to slide down into a bit of a depression.  As a result, I am having a hard time keeping up with her and her sister’s requests – things like going to the store for a school supply, Halloween costume shopping, stopping for lunch, attending sporting events, and the latest one, which really irritated me because she hounded me about it for two days, uploading some pictures for her from my camera to her email.

I just didn’t feel up to doing it because I like to edit them first and that takes time.  She said I didn’t have to edit them, but the perfectionist in me couldn’t bring myself to send them without editing them because I knew she’d be posting them on the internet.  Wow!  I really have some work to do on letting things go, my ego, and not worrying about what other people think, don’t I?

On the upside, I am learning to edit pretty well at top speed, which will help me if I ever become a professional photographer, which is my fantasy goal.  I think my migraines and mental illness will keep me from that goal for a long time.  Maybe someday it will happen long after the kids are out of the house.

But I digress…

Codependency has been described as “a pattern of behavior in which you find yourself dependent on approval from someone else for your self-worth and identity.”  I am afraid I do this with my role as a mom.  Since not being able to work outside the home anymore because of my mental illnesses, I have convinced myself that my purpose or “job” is to be mom, but in all reality if I was still working outside the home, I would still have to be mom too.

I know I definitely don’t feel like just Jessica.  I feel like “mom” or “wife” but not “me.”  The me I was before I go married was not one I liked.  I was very self-destructive and immoral.  The me I was before that me was the childhood me.  The me in recovery, the healthiest me, the me now, didn’t begin until I was well into motherhood.

How do I find out who the me is underneath the weight of this motherhood identity?  I need the answer to this question.  I think it may hold the key to much joy.