Friday, January 9, 2015

My Bipolar II Symptoms : Paranoia

It’s a scary and miserable feeling to think that any second you’re going to die. I don’t mean that you are going to die eventually. No. I mean the feeling that someone or some thing is coming to get you…at any second.
You get a bad case of Hypochondria and you believe you have every disease imaginable.
“Mom, I think I have prostate cancer!”

That was me at 12. I knew I was going to die young. I couldn’t see myself growing old. Now until I had kids and I wanted to grow old for them.
When someone dies you feel like you’re next. What’s keeping you from being next? You’re afraid to sleep for fear you won’t wake up. Or maybe your kids will be next…or your husband. Someone could break in and steal your kids and when you wake up in the morning they will be gone.
You buy alarms and put them on all the doors and windows. Every little sound makes you wonder if this is your time to die. When your partner is out of town and you are alone with the kids, was someone watching you and knows you are alone and this is their opportunity to come in and kill you.
When your kids are away, you worry about their safety every second of the day. Are they being taken away from you at this moment?
You feel like you will be framed for murder or a crime. That you will touch something and they will find your fingerprints and even though you are not guilty they will lock you away for life and you will never see your loved ones again.
Life can be painful and miserable with all these thoughts running through your head. How do you live like that? Why would you want to lie like that? That is when the suicidal thoughts kick in. You feel like you want to kill yourself to make the pain go away or you want to go out on your own terms.
That is what runs through my head on a deadly basis. Without medication, I would still be depressed and irrational. Sometimes those feelings can still affect me but I have the tools now to work through. Yet, ever now and then I can’t sleep and those feelings cause my chest to get tight and I feel like someone is squeezing my lungs. 
Paranoia is a real part of my Bipolar II symptoms. Darkness follows me and I try constantly to run away. I have to get away from it. It makes it so hard to breathe sometimes.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Fantastic Four: My life and the medication that saved it.

There was a joyous time in my life where I took the occasional pill for headaches, prenatals when I was pregnant and sleeping pills for my insomnia. That time seems so long ago now. Once I was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder… that all changed.
I call them the Fantastic Four.
Yes the combination of Lexapro, Trileptal, Welbutrin and Ativan is the stuff of champions.  I can’t make it through a day without them. I know there are some of you that feel one should not be dependent on prescription pills to make it through the day.
That is what I believed at one time in my life. I tried just therapy first and we soon discovered that therapy just might not be enough…at least that is what they told me. I was skeptical. I didn’t want to take pills that would change me.

I saw a psychologist that informed me that I needed medication for my anxiety and depression. I filled the prescription but I cried when it was time to take them. My life revolves around my creativity and writing is a huge part of my life. I wondered how much would these pills change me? Maybe I needed to be a little crazy to do what I do? Would the characters that I write about talk to me anymore?
I have heard stories about people who take medication and become zombies. They lose themselves. They can longer do what they used to do. Artists in general. That terrified me.
I sat on the edge of my bed and I cried. My husband kneeled in front of me. He didn’t want to see me cry or have to take medication but he was there on the outside looking in and he knew how I struggled.
He was witness to me staying up to 4 in the morning and then getting up at 7:30am getting the kids ready for food. He witnessed me not wanting to leave the house because of my Social anxiety. He was there during my random crying fits and he was there when I wouldn’t shower for weeks because I was so depressed.
He did not want me to have to take medication…but he wanted me to get better and if these pills would do that then I at least needed to give them a try.
So I began two of the four and I began to feel better. Lexapro and Ativan helped me so much. Then we discovered other systems. Excessive shopping to the point where I was spending money we did not have and it was close to tearing me and my marriage apart. My irritability reached new levels and I couldn’t control it.
That is when I talked to my psychologist again and was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder II. Then I was given Trileptal and Welbutrin to focus and give me energy.
I have been on my medication for a couple of years now and I feel better than I have ever felt before.  My goodness, I wake up in a fairly decent mood. I don’t yell or feel irritated as much by life. I want to get off the couch in the morning. I shower regularly.  I write more. My creativity is still there and I even have more energy to complete a novel in a month.  Who I am has not changed.  I am just a better me. I’m not a zombie.
Everyone around me is happier because they don’t have to worry about me as much. As long as I take my medication I feel like I can live a normal life. I can take on the world.
I admit, there have been some side effects for me. Some medications have been adjusted to find the proper dosage that works better for me. But with all that said, the good feeling I feel every day makes it worth it. I weighed the pros and cons  and the cons come nowhere close to the good and amazing things the medication has done for me and for my life.
The reason why I wrote this post is to implore you. If you are taking meds and they are working, please don’t assume you just got better and the pills had nothing to do with it. If you want to get off your meds work with your doctor to wean you off slowly and safely. I care about you and I do not want you to just stop taking and spiral down into a worse place. Long term medication may not work for everyone but if you are on them please, please take them until your doctor says it is okay for you to get off them. Be Safe.