Things I’m Loving Right Now

Maybe it’s the new meds, maybe it’s spring finally arriving, but I feel pretty good. Let me share with you things I’ve been enjoying of late:

  • small batch coffee roasters and small batch indie beauty companies
  • HAIM (the band)
  • spending time on my beauty routine
  • M&M’s
  • “springifying” my home
  • actually feeling attractive and desirable again
  • aromatherapy

I’ve been more successful in quieting the inner critic in my head and much, much better at taking care of myself, though I still have a ways to go in that respect. Please share in the comments if spring’s arrival is helping you, and any things you’re currently loving!

A Little Progress

Yesterday’s outing with dad was tiring, but fun. I’ve been a bit depressed but it seems to be clearing up. Not sure if it’s the sun finally appearing, if it’s me taking time to take care of myself or both, but I’m feeling a little better. One of the first signs I’m getting depressed is I just stop caring what I look like. As you might remember, I used to review green/natural/beauty products and I really enjoyed it. It just got to be too expensive and when I didn’t care what I looked like, I felt like a fraud talking about looking good. I don’t know I’ll be starting to review the items again, but I am at least using them again. For months, it was basic shampoo and soap in the shower, not even putting lotion on in the frigid cold, which dried my skin out something terrible. I simply felt too exhausted and didn’t care. I didn’t wear makeup, even to work and I wore my hair in the same simple style day after day.

I’m sure my crush at work has something to do with my renewed interest in looking good, but it also feels good to do something selfish, like pamper my skin and hair. So, I found a few new organic beauty lines with affordable items to try and I’m back to taking the time to look like a lady. I updated my hairstyle a few days ago and started using real, actual facial cleansing balm. Taking the effort has improved my self esteem a little bit, I was told yesterday that I still pass for a teenager!

I’ve also started to use my essential oils again. I purchased some doTerra oils from Jenn over at bipolarmomlife.com and the lavender is really helping me sleep. Anyone with chronic illness or depression knows that sleep doesn’t come too easily, so glad to say applying some lavender to my feet before bed is definitely helping. I believe I will be taking the lemon with me to work to help me find focus during that midday slump. I am also looking into the Bach Rescue product line for other relaxation aides. Big thanks to my darling Jenna at jenna-kahn.com for her post on aromatherapy items/other non medication sources of help a few months back!

Still struggling with the pain of fibromyalgia, but I think the key to this is to learn to pace myself. I’ve become very good at removing myself from stressful situations, and saying no when something isn’t helpful for me. But I tend to move at about 1000 mph, and I need to learn to slow down or I’ll wear myself out and bring on another flare. I’m also stretching nightly and intend to get back into my full pilates sessions once I finish titrating up on my fibromyalgia medicine.

So, readers, what non-medication sources of relief and relaxation do you use to help cope with mental/physical illness? And how can you tell when things are starting to take a positive turn? Please share in the comments!

Dreams

I’ve been having some irritating dreams and they have put me into a bit of a depression. I once again dreamt of my ex fiancee. It’s like, brain will you PLEASE stop this already. Add this to my intense fibromyalgia pain, and you’ve got me laying in bed, unable to even face the day. It’s hard knowing I cannot do things like I used to, that my body simply will not allow it. I feel so betrayed by both my body and my mind. My small reserves of hope are growing thin. Hoping an outing with my dad will raise my spirits tomorrow.

Hugs to all who are suffering in the universe.

Breaking the Rules

I live by a particular set of rules. The rules change as my circumstances change, but the essence of said rules stay the same. Some of the rules are based on my bipolar and fibromyalgia, such as my rule of always getting 9 hours of sleep whenever possible and taking time to sit quietly. Other rules are kind of obvious, such as obeying speed limits and following recipes. But I have behavioral and relational rules, too. There are some people I keep at arm’s length and some situations I avoid, based on rules I place on myself and expectations I have for other people. Some rules are really silly and I find myself ready to break a silly rule now.

The last several weeks have found me juggling new medications, new routines, and adapting to the change. Nowhere on my radar is starting a new romantic relationship. My antidepressant medicines had killed off any sex drive I had, so I can honestly say I haven’t even been looking at guys in anyway other than a fellow human being existing on the planet with me. But I’m feeling a bit lonely, wanting a little company beyond my family and cat. I had a few disastrous dates last summer and removed myself from the dating pool. As far as dating goes, I have rules for that, too. One is to never (again) date a coworker. Another is I never want to date a cop (I have no clue where this one came from) and another is I never want to date another guy who peaked in high school (ex fiancee I’m looking at you). And yet, a few weeks ago, at work no less, I met a guy. We chatted a bit and I couldn’t stop thinking about him afterwards. I’ve seen him quite a few times at work since then, and our conversations get longer and longer. I now find myself looking forward to seeing him. Yes I have a crush on a guy at work, and get this- he’s a cop.

So I find myself in a spot I wasn’t expecting: a weird mix of confidence and shyness, A knowledge that I haven’t lost hope and that even if nothing comes of this, I will be OK, that a relationship or lack thereof does not bear any reflection on me as a person.  Things are still a mess for me financially and health wise, but it’s so nice to have something that brings a smile to my face.

I Would Like A Break, Please and Thank You

This is just a short post to update you on my health. I went to my doctor today and was formally diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I’ve been battling the symptoms for some time, and I can’t even begin to tell you how many tests and appointments I went through until we could definitively name it as fibromyalgia. This means I am now bipolar II with major depressive disorder, chronic migraine and fibromyalgia.

Considering how bad my depression has been of late, I am honestly handling the diagnosis well. I pretty much knew that was going to be the  diagnosis, so I was prepared. I’m glad we can now begin the task of getting me back to feeling good. I’m still really tired, physically and mentally. So much has been going on and I really need to focus on self care and not worrying about things beyond my control.

I’m incredibly grateful for the people I’ve “met” through the WordPress/online community. You have all become a part of my support system. Take Care!

Goodbye Aquarius

An addendum of sorts to my previous post. I’d been doing quite well on risperdal until recently, and the doctor is switching me to another medication. I’m oddly sad about leaving the risperdal behind. It’s like the scene in Apollo 13, where they are going back into the shuttle after having been in the other part of the ship for so long and Tom Hanks looks back and releases it and says “Goodbye Aquarius. You served us well.” Yeah… it’s like that.

JAN03000

Goodbye Risperdal. You served me well.

A Wrench in the Works

I was diagnosed bipolar nearly two years ago. In the time since then, I have carefully crafted a routine to follow to keep my mood swings to a minimum. My psychiatrist and I changed up my medicines a couple of times, but I’d been on the same doses/drugs for nearly a year now. Things weren’t ideal, I still had a lot of depression and a few mixed episodes, but for the most part, I was doing pretty well. As any of you who regularly read my blog know, I’ve been in a pretty bad depression for months. I’m isolating, skipping showers (good thing no one can smell me) and wallowing. I hurt and the aches and pains just won’t stop and I can’t sleep. My migraines are also pretty bad right now, nothing seems to be working for them. In short, I’m miserable. Flat out miserable. But I figured my bipolar was “OK” because I hadn’t had any bad swings into mania for some time.

But honestly, when I look at posts and tweets from the last few months, you can see hypomania and aggression in them. You can sense the self loathing rising up. I was (and am) continuing to go to my therapist as regularly as my finances will allow and during therapy, I managed to be positive and really focus on using the tools I learned to improve my situation. And then there would be the post therapy letdown. I always feel better after talking to my therapist, she has a great personality and I am very comfortable tackling any subject with her. But I’d always end up feeling even more down in the dumps after a session. I would think I’d feel at least kind of hopeful afterward. It finally occurred to me that even in therapy,  I was guarded. I was afraid of my therapist judging me or saying something I didn’t like. Newsflash:that’s not what therapy is about. You are going to hear things you don’t like, but it’s necessary to move on.

I was lucky in that I was able to get an appointment with my psychiatrist (he works in the same practice as my therapist) however, it was a bad day. I had a headache, I called off of work again, the traffic was bad. I walked into the waiting room in a bad mood, and having to sit next to someone who reeked of cigarettes was making my headache worse. To top it off, my psychiatrist was running a half hour late, which seems to happen every time I see him. By the time I got in to his office and sat down, I was ready to blow. The first thing he said was that I seemed agitated and he apologized for being late. I didn’t blow up at him, but I did admit I wanted to yell. I went on to tell him about how poorly I had been doing, about my inability to make myself go to work, about the aches and pains, all of it. In short, I finally properly communicated in a therapy setting. He suggested changing up my medicines, which I figured would happen. Because I work with medicines daily, I know the medicines and their side effects. I was shooting down suggestions left and right…”no, that will give me diabetes” “no, that’s for REALLY messed up people, I don’t want that”. We finally were able to agree on a few more meds and to discontinue my risperdal. I have mixed feelings about that, I feel like the risperdal was a help, but it clearly isn’t doing the trick any more. But another part of me says “heyyy they took you off the antipsychotic, that’s good, right?”

Sorry, I’m going off the rails here.

I find myself really upset about the medication changes. Like, unreasonably upset. I went in taking two meds for bipolar, two meds for my migraines and a vitamin. So 5 medicines daily. I am now taking two for bipolar, one for anxiety/sleep, two for my migraines, one for my fibromyalgia-like pain and my vitamin. 7 medicines daily. That’s depressing. My grandparents take less medicine than that. I also have to change the times I take some of them, which means altering my every day routine. I know the important part is to focus on the new routine, to know that these medications are here to help me. I know I’m truly not upset about the medications, I am upset with myself, with my faulty brain, my whacked out nerves.

After my psychiatrist I went to the grocery store (so not a good idea) and I promptly had a meltdown, complete with sweating, hyperventilating, rapid heartbeat, the whole 9 yards. It was all I could do to get home. It was Lisa and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

There were positives, I suppose. I got a new pill container to fit everything and I bought myself Valentine’s Day candy. Sad when a new pill container is a treat. I might trick it out with washi tape or something.

Now that I’m a few days removed from the whole fiasco, I feel more at ease. Yes, I’m upset about the medicines and changing my routine, but it will be old hat before long and perhaps I will feel better. Honestly, if only one migraine were taken away, it’s worth it. I hope you all are in better spirits than I am! Thank you, as always, for reading my word vomit.