You were asking me how I was doing the other day, with this whole bipolar thing and the whole meds thing and the job thing and the mom thing. I thought it’d be nice if we made a date to sit down and just see where things stand.
So, how you doing? How you feeling? How’s the Better Half doing with all of this?
Lots of love,
I’m OK, although I feel like I am riding the dippiest but shallowest roller coaster right now. The meds thing? I don’t feel bright eyed and bushy-tailed yet, but I am not catatonically depressed, either. I think I’m feeling a little more blue from the step down on the Effexor a week or so ago (you’ll recall I was starting to get a little hypomanic, all irritated, angry, and unable to pay attention), but that could be due to the uncertainty about my job situation, too. I also know I am depressed because I freeze up a little when the phone rings– I just don’t feel like going out or talking to anyone, some days. But then the next day, I feel OK, and send emails, and return calls, and have lunch and do things with friends. And then, the next day, I’m pooped, and need to hide from the world a bit more. See what I meant about the short and dippy rollercoaster?
I know I’ve still got a bit to go on the meds, as I work away on this 1200 mg dose of lithobid CR and 75 mg Effexor XR. I had a wash of anxiety the other day, seemingly out of nowhere, while I was reading an email from an Interfriend with a really cool, really exciting, really scary offer. And despite mostly
sitting on my ass doing nothing writing and researching various pieces I am writing for on and offline, including working on my maternal bitchfest book, I am still exhausted when I go to bed, and sleep much longer in the mornings than is usual for me. So I could definitely stand to have a higher dose. The trouble with the lithium is that you have to titrate so slowly, given the risks of toxicity if not carefully managed, and I feel like I am measuring my mood improvements in increments of Geologic time.
Me, I am trying to focus on the glacial improvements– sleeping through most of the night, and only being awake for one insomniac period, invariably at 3 am. (Hello, West Coast midnight bloggers! Thanks for the Google Chats!) Not wishing I was dead, or other passive ideation. Being able to get out of bed in the morning, having lost the “pinned to the bed” side effect of Lamictal. Laughing at things. Still feeling creative, and having lots of things to write.
But then there’s a short dip down– my thoughts are hard to organize, and I feel like I have ADD all the time. It’s not something that’s been a characteristic of my prior depressions, so it’s got to be the lithium. I am hoping it’s an impermanent side effect. It’d be impossible to go back to work and not be able to keep track of anything. “Excuse me a second, your honor, while I write down this next thought so that I can then say it out loud…” Not good. At the same time, there were three jobs I’d be really good at in the local legal paper yesterday, and I know one of the hiring people. Since those jobs wouldn’t require me to manage individual cases, they might be better for the way my brain is working these days. Over the course of the day, if I write stuff down, I can get it down, and can remember to go look at my lists, but I am starting to worry that this expansion of mental processing time is permanent.
At the same time, though, it doesn’t seem to impact my being able to write. I’ve got a list of about 15 things that I am working on, aside from my
attempt to affix blame where blame is due, rather than just get over it book, and new ideas for writing pieces and photo projects all the time. The sitting around the house part doesn’t help, though, and I get distracted and check the web. I’ve got to get better about going to work at the coffee shop around the corner, or the local library branch, and just committing to a chunk of uninterrupted time. I’ve got that alarm clock on my computer, I can work 2 whole hours at a stretch.
And the mom thing? I don’t know. She’s got her doctor’s appointment. We’ll see if she keeps it. Neither my brother nor I want to move her back here, but we’re both concerned that even if we hook her up with a Dept. of Mental Health caseworker, she will either be noncompliant, or her bipolar will turn out to just be hard to manage or treatment resistant. Neither one of us wants her back here. Respecting her independence aside, I know that having her here will just invite me toward elder abuse. (Yeah, I know, I remember that talk we had about my horrible temper.) But letting her run around in Cali unstabilized and at risk of spending all her money isn’t tenable, either.
Thank heavens for the Better Half, who has been patient, and loving, and understanding, and gently nudging me to do things I know I enjoy. Me, I’ve been an anxious, nervous wreck. When the job situation started acting up, I couldn’t help but tell him I was afraid he’d leave me. I sometimes still am– all those deep insecurities from having to parent myself and my brother and my mother, and avoid the wrath of my father run deep– but he’s been nothing but reassuring. I have a nearly disassociative block when it comes to talking about money, and so does he. I hate to put this on him right now, but he’s being a champ.
So… any more questions? I am a little down, a little level, a little worried, a little happy. A little bit of everything. Which, I suppose, is better from all angles than feeling like a big lump of nothing under the covers. So there’s that.
Love and love,