Journal 2018 – Day 5 – Mood Swings

Mood Swings are such a pain in the butt.  Oh, how I wish things could go back to the good old days.  Back before I knew what depression, mania, hypomania, schizophrenia, and mixed states all meant.  Back when I was just an angry child who was always getting into fights because I have an Irish temper and a bad attitude.  Oh, the trouble I’d get into because of my rage.  Mom and I would get into such fights.  She had a good 8 inches to a foot in height on me and way over a 100 pounds, but I could knock her out when I wanted to because I had done it before once completely by accident.  What can I tell you?  She fell easily.

Now Back to the point…….Yes…..Yes….Mood Swings!  They can be easy like a breeze or violent like a hurricane. They can be brief or last for ages.  They can even be small like a drop in the a puddle or large as if a ripple in a lake.   They can be high as the clouds in the sky or low as Hell is from Heaven.  There is just no telling what is coming next with mood swings.  They are just so tricky way which is the big problem with them.

A time in the life with Mood Swings is as follows:

It’s 6:30 am and the sound of the alarm shatters sleep from your mind.  You don’t want to be awake, but you are.  You check around the room just to make sure of where you are and to take a mental note of yourself.  You slowly get up out of  bed, taking inventory and coming to the conclusion that your are in an okay mood today.  You have to check in with yourself every morning to make sure of how your feel because there is no telling otherwise.

You check your planner to see what is on the agenda for the day and lay out the clothes that you will wear for the day.  All of a sudden, anger falls on you as if the red fever just swift through the room and you don’t like the clothes you just picked out. You don’t want to go where you are suppose to go today.  You start yelling at the top of your lungs about everything that comes into your mind. Then a wave of laughter hits you so hard, you fall to the floor of your room rolling.  You just can’t stop laughing.  You don’t know why your laughing.  It’s as if someone as told you the best joke in the world and you just can’t stop laughing.  Then you choke!    Out of the blue you start crying as if someone stole your favorite teddy bear. Your still on the floor with tears running down your face.  You can’t get up because you are so upset.  You try to calm down and pull yourself together.  It takes time, but you finally do it.  Now your okay and finally get ready and walk out of your room.  When you look at the clock, you see that all that happened inside an hour.  Now it’s time to face the day.

Now, not all mood swings are this extreme or quick changing, but this gives you a good picture of the kind of feelings and emotions that a person deals with when they are dealing with mood swings.

Another things that I would like to address is the fact that people who do not have severe mood swings think that it is easy to deal with both yourself and the world around you because they don’t have a problem with it, but when you are fighting with yourself and dealing with the world at the same time, it is not easy in any way, shape or form.  It can be down right hard.  For example:

You have your mind telling you that your are sad, but it is more that sadness and you don’t know why and don’t know how to get out of it. You really just don’t want to do anything at all to tell the truth.  The sadness is more than just sadness.  It is something that you can’t explain, but people don’t want to hear that.  They just want you to get over it and do your job.    Then you have things that you HAVE to do in the world such as work and deal with people.  On top of that people in the workplace want you to be happy with a smile and with sadness you can’t smile.  So we try so very hard to please everyone and force that smile on our lips, but it is a false smile.

I hope you now have an idea of what mood swings are about.  Feel free to comment.

Journal 2018 – Day 4 – Bipolar II

Well, I guess it’s about time to talk about the BIG ANIMAL IN THE ROOM called  BIPOLAR II.  It is the most misunderstood mental illness in the book.  Some people think it’s about the crazy, emotional people that can’t control themselves in public and others think it’s just depressed people that  live on their own in the woods and parks in and around our cities. How about those people locked up in the mental hospital?  Some of them could be Bipolar. I”m here to tell you that all are right and wrong.

We’ve all heard the commercial from TV or radio that states, “Do you feel happy and energetic on some days, but then sad and sluggish on other days? If so, and if your symptoms persist for extended periods of time, making it difficult for you to live your life as you usually would, then you may want to speak with your healthcare provider.” (FREE TV)

There are some Key Points in  this passage:

  1. First let me clarify, you don’t have to be “happy” at all. and secondly, you don’t have to be both “happy” then “sad” then “happy” again. You can just be “depressed” or “sad”.  There is no set formula to go by.  The doctors play it by ear.
  2. Symptoms have to persist for an extended period of time which means more than two weeks to a month.
  3. This condition has to have made it difficult for you to live your life normally.
  4. Finally, You NEED to talk to your Healthcare Provider about it before IT’S TOO LATE..  When it first starts disrupting your life get help! Please!  It can get serious really fast!!!!

Back when I was first diagnosed, there was only one kind of depression and it was called Manic Depression.  It was a unipolar depression.  You only got really depressed like you were falling down a deep well with no hope of coming up or seeing daylight again. Later the “people in the know” came to discover a new type of depression called bipolar depression which is part of a larger condition of  bipolar  disorder where there were two poles of extreme emotions, both highs and lows.  The highs were not “happy” but euphoric and top of the world feelings.  You feel like you can do anything.  Your mind races at 90 mph like a car, but you can also turn irritable. The Lows were not always “sadness” but deeper than that and into hopelessness, depression, and the extreme would be thoughts of suicide.  After several years, “the powers that be” changed everything again and divided Bipolar Disorder into Bipolar I (More of Mania  or “highs” and  some Depression) and Bipolar II (Some Hypomania (Mixed states or “mid-highs” but mainly depression).  You will get mixed states in both.

According to WebMD, Bipolar is a very serious disease and can be risky behavior and even suicidal tendencies,  Bipolar disorder is a lifelong or chronic illness.  There is no cure for it.  It affects the brain in ways that cause unpredictably extreme mood swings that vary in length and duration.  There is no known cause of Bipolar disorder;, but a combination of genetics, altered brain structure, chemistry and environment may play a role.

Here are a few fun facts just for your knowledge:

  1. Bipolar disorder affects about 5.7 Million American adults in any given year and as many as 60 million people worldwide.
  2. More than half of all patients begin seeing symptoms between the ages of 15 and 25, but it can begin at any age.
  3. There is no cure, but for many people the symptoms can be controlled with medication and treatment.
  4. Some people may experience mood swings that are less extreme than a full manic episode , known as hypomania.
  5. People with bipolar disorder often also have other mental health disorders (Sources : Mayo Clinic and Others)

I’m normally not one for stats, but I do like my lists.  (LOL)  Look here.  It’s a disease, first and for most.  Yes there is no cure, but it can be managed by medication and therapy and in extreme cases, hospitals, straps and really good drugs.  (LOL)  Most of us live relatively normal lives and only those closest to us know that we are mentally ill. We don’t have pointed ears or a forked tongues.  We look pretty much alike.

 

 

 

That Frightful Night

I thought I was a normal kid.  I was a preacher’s kid to begin with so I had a mark set against me to start with, but other than that I thought I was normal until that night oh so many nights ago…..

I was ten years old and it was a cold, winter night, when all of a sudden I was awoken by a scream ripping through the air from my mom’s room’.  I didn’t know what was going on.  I was scared and on my feet before I knew it. . As I was wiping sleep from my eyes, I slowly made my way around the hallway to my mom’s room to see what was going on.  A little light came through the ajar door as  another scream ripped the night! I jump back and covered my mouth trying not to cry out myself.

I slowly open the door.  Mom in a flowing nightgown,  is kneeling in the middle of her bed, reaching out with her arms as if trying to protect herself and screaming at the top of her lungs: “Don’t let the Head and Hands get me!”: “They are going to get me!”: “Keep them from me” just to show a few.  She was so upset and not making any sense.  She was totally alone in the room.  There was no one trying to get her.  There were no floating heads or hands flying around the room.  Evening being 10, I could see that.  I was scared and I could not understand what was wrong with my mom.  It didn’t make any kind of logic.

I tried getting her to stop screaming, and of course that doesn’t happen. I finally called my grandparents and they told me to call 911 and they were on their way.  I tried not to cry and stay calm while still trying to get my mom to calm down herself until help came.  You know how on TV they used to show people going to the mental hospital as being taken by men in white coats. Well, I’m here to tell you that it was the case at least when I was a child.  My grandparents took me out of the house after I got a bag together, and the men in white coats took mom after they shot her with some kind of medication to calm her down.

Before I could see my mom, her doctor had to discuss a few things with me.  It turns out that my mom has the disease Manic Depression, but more importantly she suffers from another disease called schizophrenia that caused her to act the way that she did the other night at home.  She was seeing and hearing things that were not there called hallucinations.  He explained that my mother was fighting against demons in her head that only she could see and hear and that I was not to worry about them getting me because they were only after my mom.  This scared me because I understood demons from my dad and I didn’t want them after my mom, but the doctor said that he would fix mom.

Later I went to see her at the Meridian Mental Hospital in Mississippi.  She had undergone ECT, or Electric Shock Treatment, which is where they strap a person down, put electrodes on each temple, a plate in your mouth, and send a whole hell of a lot of electric current through a body to kill brain cells.  She didn’t even know I was her daughter.  She could barely speak to me and had no feeling in her at all.  It took everything in me not to cry or scream at her to wake her up and tell her, “I’m your daughter.”  I finally had to run from the room back to my grandparents arms.  I cried all the way home in Oxford.

After months, she came home, and after more months we went back to our house on Hillside and again we were alone together.  I  never quite felt safe anymore, but I couldn’t let her know that because it might send her into another fit and they may have to make her forget me again if that happened.

That’s the night that everything changed for me…..That’s the night that a scream ripped through the my life….

Journal 2018 – Day 3 – Mixed State

I have to apoligize for not posting these last few days. I’ve been in a mood and today is no exception.  The thing is Today I want to talk. {Now YOU know YOUR in TROUBLE   LOL} My mind is racing and body shaking and I can’t get anything done. My mind is like a humming bird darting from this flower to that flower.  Taking just a little from each one. This is normal for what is called in the Bipolar realm as a Mixed State.  I can’t keep a thought in my head.  My fingers are floating on the computer just trying to keep up with the thoughts flying out of my mind.  It is so hard to try to keep my mind on one topic so that this is understandable because my mind is so full of so many things that I want to tell you.

Mixed states are kinda funny.  I’ve been dealing with Mental Illness for more than half my life, but it wasn’t until the last five years that I’ve come to understand and better deal with this area of it.  Mixed states are defined by episodes of both mania and depression at the same time or in rapid sequence without any downtime.  Mania when in a mixed state involves irritability, high energy, racing thoughts and speech and over activity. Depression features the same symptopms as normal such as sadness, loss of interest in well everything, low energy, feelings of guilt and worthlessness, and thoughts of suicide.  I know it sounds impossible that both the high energy of Mania and the worthlessness and thoughts of despair of Depression could be going on at the sameGoo time in one human being, but I am here to tell you that it happens a lot more often than you think.  What do you think about A person that is crying when she is happy and saying that she is having the best time of her life.  Is she really happy or sad?  Yes!  Both!  She is in a mixed state.

I have the added characteristic of being a rapid cycler. This mean my emotions are all over the map a lot of the time.  You know what an EKG looks like with the rapid up/down lines? Well? Imagine that is a person’s emotions where they are high for a while then they are okay then sad and do on.  But you my moods actually change as fast as an EKG looks with the almost straight lines.  I can be happy, sad, crying, mad, angry, rage, sad, then happy and  laughing my head off okay all within an hour without anyone causing the changes.  The medication I am on now helps a lot, but I still have episodes which I don’t like.

Good night for now.  I’ll write more tomorrow…..maybe….lol!

Journal 2018 – Day 2 – My Diagnosis

Since the last journal entry was about my PTSD I thought that this one should be about my Diagnosis.  I was first diagnosis Manic Depressive when I was 22, which was a long time ago. More than half my lifetime to tell the truth. At first it was all depression. I was not sleeping at all. then crashing for a day or two then back up for an entire week before crashing once again. This was not good for me or my new husband. It didn’t help that he was in the Navy and working a job that kept him away from the house 16 hours a day every day for 7 days straight with varying breaks depending on shift that he was working on that week. I was left alone at the house with no one. He was a student Naval Officer so there was no Wives Club, yet. By the time he got home all he wanted was food and sleep and get up and do it all over again the next day.

The first thing they tried to straighten out was my sleep because without good sleep your moods are going to be out of whack anyway. The problem was that my body was adjusting to the medications too fast and they would stop working and I would stop going to sleep. Then we had to move and it was another doctor and different medications.

You see as with any mental illness, getting the medication right is a hit and miss, trial by error situation. You start off trying this and seeing if it works and adjusting as you go along. some medication will work on one patient, but not on another because we are all different. I cannot tell you the number of medications that I have been on since I was first diagnosis. It would blow your mind. And this is the longest I’ve been on the same medication in a while, 8 months with only a change in dosage.

When the Doctors On High changed Manic Depressive to Bipolar I where was no II at the time and it said that you had to be Manic (not happy but very active in the mind and body) for days . I was Manic for hours not days but mostly depressed with trouble sleeping so they changed my diagnosis to Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). Between all the moving around as a Naval wife, then the divorce and moving and marriage, and divorce, and marriage and divorce and moving around all the time and having had several doctors and a whole lot of medication, It’s a wonder I’m not dead yet! LOL

About two years ago my then doctor for some unknown reason yelled at the top of her lungs to me that I was no longer MDD but Bipolar II, PYSD, and schizoaffective and she never wanted to see me again. She gave me enough medication for three months which gave me enough time to find another doctor. Schizoaffective is schizophrenia with a mood disorder like mania or depression. I finally found the doctor that I now have and love. He lets me have an active role in my illness instead of just telling me what medications to take, I tell him what’s going on and he gives me options and let’s me choose for myself. This is a first and I like it. After a while seeing him, I asked if he really thought I was schizoaffective and he agreed with me that I was not schizoaffective because I didn’t have the hallucinations and delusions of schizophrenia. I know about schizophrenia because my mother has it. But he would not change what another doctor had done. So I guess I’m stuck with it.

Bipolar II is a form of bipolar disorder characterized by depressive and hypomanic periods. Hypomanic periods are at least four days of either elevated moods or irritable mood with periods of pressured speech, inflated self-esteem or grandiosity, decreased need for sleep. It is less severe than mania. It has similar symptoms with elevated mood and increased activity. Hypomania is a pleasurable state. It many confer a heightened sense of creativity and power. It can be hard to diagnose be it masquerades as mere happiness. Because it is an important part of the Bipolar disorder, it may cycle into depression.

Now you have to whole drawn out story of my journey so far with mental illness. Actually, My journey started a long time before I came to be 22. I have dealt with mental illness all my life, but it wasn’t my mental illness. It was my mother’s, but that is another story. Praise the Lord!

Journal 2018 – Day 1 – PTSD

Welcome to Day 1 of my new Journal to tract what I’m going through as a Christian with PTSD, Bi[polar II, and schizoaffective.    Now I know through my research that if you are schizoaffective Bipolar II is included within it added to schizophrenia so I am stating it twice in my above statement.  The reason I stated it the way I did is that is the way that my doctor informed of my diagnosis.

I have lived with these disorders for 29 years and counting.  I have been on a lot of medication with the many doctors that I have seen over the years trying to find the magic combination that will “fix” me.  The medication won’t “fix” anyone.  Let’s make that clear.  It does help to keep me together so that I can function like a human being for at least some of the time…..lolol

I’ve done a great deal of research into my diagnosis and medication.  In fact, I will investigate any medication that any doctor gives me before I take it.  It’s not that I don’t trust the doctors but I want to know what’s going on before I take it.  Anyway.  I thought that I would break up my diagnosis and look at each one up close.  I also thought that I would start with the easy one first.

PTSD you have most likely heard of. It stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  It is a mental condition that a person gets after they have experiences or witnesses a traumatic event.  It can result in a series of emotional and physical reactions to fear for their personal life and wellbeing.  Examples would be a car collision or other accident long term abuse physical or sexual assault, torture living in a war zone, a natural disaster or a life-altering experiences such as the death of a love one.  Symptoms of PTSD can be but are not limited to:

A] Physical Pain – Dizziness, digestive problems, headaches, chest pain, stomach issues, migraines, breathing difficulties, and fatigue.

B] Flashbacks and/or Nightmares – It is also know as re-experiencing where the person is suddenly and vividly reliving the event over and over again.  It can happen when you are asleep, but it can also happen suddenly in waking images or sensation of physical and emotional pain and fear.  Sometimes it will cause the person to become homebound because they fear the world outside.

C] Depression and/or Anxiety – Mental phobias or irrational and persistent fear and avoidance of certain objects or situations can cause paranoia and depression

D] Withdrawal – Sudden lose of interest in favorite hobbies, activities and friends in some that was socially active is also a symptom of PTSD. On the other end of the spectrum is seeking out risky behavior can also be a form of escapism through drug or alcohol abuse or thrill seeking.

E] Avoidance – Another one is why a person doesn’t what to do something physical or mental that reminds them of the event.

F] Repression – this is the intentional blockage of the memories that associated with the past even or experience

G] Emotional Numbing – A person after a trauma most of the time wants to numb their feeling  because it’s hard to suffer the pain when you don’t feel anything.  Unfortunately, numbing leads to withdrawal which eventually leads you to complete isolation from social circles.

H] Hyper-Arousal – Sometimes a person suffers from a form of the jitters so sever that it becomes impossible to relax due to the fear of threats. They are thought to be “on edge” or “jumpy” and easily frightened.

I] Irritability – A state of constant fear and paranoia that causes irritability, indecisiveness, and a total lack of concentration, sleeplessness and difficulty maintaining personal relationships.

J] Guilt and Shame – If they can’t get past the negative experience, the patient will find it difficult to move forward and maintain a healthy life.  Blame of themselves will come into the picture and they will constantly relive the event wanting to know what else they could have done to prevent it.  Finally, they will blame themselves for the tragedy and have immense shame and guilt for it.

Well, if you stayed through all the dry information part of this post then I will reward you with some personal information…..LOL  I know that is most likely not what you were looking for, but then why else would you be reading my blog?   I have PTSD because I was abused as a child and I have been in some really bad relationships.  I have dealt with most of it with the help of doctors, medication, friends, Jesus and God, but there are times that it sneaks up on me and the fear takes hold of me as if I was back there again.  I have no control at that point without the people around me that help me to remember my “helps” and that gets me back to the present so I’m not stuck in the past. Praise the Lord!!!!!  I am so thankful to the Lord for getting me to this point in my life!!!!!

Thanks for listening to me.  God Bless You!!!  I’ll talk more tomorrow!!!! Day 1 Out!!!!