Category Archives: Uncategorized

On Meds for Bipolar? Make Sure to get Blood Tests Done

Blood-Test

Even if the prescription med you are on doesn’t typically cause issues requiring blood monitoring, that doesn’t mean a regular blood test isn’t a good idea. Case in point. I went to my regular doctor who ordered a blood test. I didn’t anticipate anything out of the ordinary. I wasn’t on Strattera, Lithium or any of the other meds that blood monitoring is requisite.

I received a call back the following week and my Vitamin D levels were very low. I am taking supplements, but the meds are a likely contributing factor. Long term use of Lamictal has shown an increased incidence of Vitamin D deficiency. The statistics show that the longer you are on the med, the more likely you are to have a Vitamin D deficiency.

Other meds in the anti-epileptic/anticonvulsant class have similar correlations.

My son just turned 15! I feel so OLD!

belle

 

 

The last few weeks are a vivid blur…a serious contradiction, I know, but it is vivid in that it has been memorable…blur because it went so fast. I have been working on a lot of projects (a good thing), celebrating my son’s 15th birthday (a good yet sad kind of thing), I got my hair colored and painted my nails a really cool iridescent aqua/teal (a happy ending nightmare).

I think I must be going through the female equivalent of a mid-life crisis. I am 40, but inside I feel like I am young. I have been feeling bland and nondescript…I am a creative person and have styles I love, but I never really feel confident enough to bring that creativity to my “look”.

On top of all that, I am seriously upset about my weight. I am completely neurotic about it. I had lost all my pregnancy weight easily…but started adding weight after I was diagnosed with bipolar and started taking meds. An evil side-effect, but at least I am not damaging relationships due to my horrible mood swings. I keep complaining about my weight and then temporarily calm myself down by “committing” to start exercising…over and over again. I did start a few months ago and kept it up for two weeks. Life gets hectic and honestly, I would rather be working, doing any kind of housework or a multitude of other things instead of working out. The crazy thing is, I always feel so much better when I start back up…and the last time I really started working on my fitness, I lost 30 pounds (back on plus a little for good measure).

dark_red_hair

Back to my week…so I decided several months ago I wanted to color my hair a burgundy red…like the picture to the right.

Anyway, I tried to do it myself. I had not colored my hair for years so it was my natural color of dark brown. I picked up a box or Feria…which had worked with other colors in the past. It didn’t take…what the? My husband…who was so awesome about this, told me to call and make an appointment and get it done right…not that it looked horrible…it looked like a smooth transition between colors, but he knew it wasn’t what I wanted and he knew I was bummed.

A 3.5 hour visit to a salon (which is now MY salon because I am going back) and $150 later, I have a really nice color and awesome cut. The color isn’t the exact color I ultimately want, but it’s an intermediate step in the right direction. My new, purple-haired, stylist is not sure why the boxed color didn’t take, but she did a lot of prep work getting my hair ready. I really enjoyed it…low lighting in the salon, cool art, and awesome music…I wasn’t stressed at all and was glad it took as long as it did because it was just the right amount of socialization. The stylists were talking to each other, including the clients in the conversations, and my stylist talked to me like we had known each other forever…very effortless. So, what started out as disappointment turned into a great experience.

I feel younger and my weight is something I will confront. There is a color run in about a month and a half and I want to do that. I may not every be as trim as I want, but I know that fitting in my jeans better and not feeling like I am a blob of goo will really go a long way to making me feel like I am ok.

Now I have to get back to work…concert tonight with my husband and son!

Random Lists – The List of Lists Bipolar Edition – Jobs I have Had (01)

A friend of mine started a posting series of 52 lists. Obviously, the 52 lists is supposed to correspond with the weeks in a year. I am starting  late, but thought it was a cool idea so I am creating my own topics as they are related to bipolar disorder or similar mental disorders. I have no idea how many lists I will create or how often, but I’ll see where it leads.

I chose jobs because it seems to be a recurring issue with those of us living with bipolar to have unstable work histories.

The instability of my moods can be seen in my list…I have had jobs where I am high and felt like I could do anything. I have had jobs where I felt I could float under the radar. I have worked jobs for only a day because  I was irritable and went off on someone or walked out to avoid a confrontation. I have lost jobs when I couldn’t get myself to go to work because I was so depressed. I would still be bouncing around if I hadn’t found something I could do at home. I still struggle at times with my moods, but usually being able to deal with the feelings without the added stress of other people has allowed me to work.

My 1st List

Jobs I Have Had (Tried):

  • Pet store with boarding (dog walker)
  • Printing business
  • Restaurant #1 (hostess)
  • Picture framing store #1 (framer and front of store)
  • Front counter at fine clothing store
  • Small book store
  • Large chain coffee shop
  • Electronics and appliance store #1
  • Electronics and appliance store #2
  • Restaurant #2 (hostess)
  • Restaurant #3 (in another state because I up and moved on a whim) (server)
  • Restaurant #4 (in same state and only for 1 night…got a $50 tip!) (server)
  • Nightclub (one night because of social anxiety) (cocktail waitress)
  • Real estate call center
  • Software company (office manager) (Quit this job because sleazy boss came on to me)
  • Arts and crafts store (hired as an assistant manager but quit after 1 day because ex was stalking me)
  • Veterinary clinic
  • Personal virtual assistant
  • Picture framing store #2 (owned and operated)
  • My current job…since 2001 (the year I was diagnosed and started Lamictal as a stabilizer)

Many of these positions were out of my general comfort zone, but being hypomanic made me feel more confident and I did really well in a few positions until my moods went in the other direction.

On the one hand, this is highly embarrassing, but I did gain a lot of experience that I still use today. One such area that I have seen positive residual effects in is the use of software. I was trained on the job for several industry standard programs. I would not have been exposed to these applications otherwise. Another benefit is that I made decisions about career interests based on experiences I had while working at some of these jobs. A big one was my decision to stay out of the general veterinary field. My interest had always been the treatment of animals versus dealing with the owners and general care…I really was interested in the more specialized area. Not to mention I am a total cat person (sorry dog people…I know you have the same passion for your canine family members).

Residential Treatment Recommendation Meeting…what a PITA!

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I am really frustrated with the care of my son on so many different levels. Over the last 12 years, he has been diagnosed with Bipolar NOS, Mood Disorder NOS, ADHD, GAD, possible Asperger’s, and most recently, ODD. While my son can definitely be oppositional AND defiant, he is not predominantly so. He definitely has moods, but they are more variable than depression…however, one of his psydocs prescribed the anti-depressant, ZOLOFT. His raging increased after this and he has been hospitalized twice since January. No doctor is willing to say the “bipolar” word anymore. They are quick to say my child is a brat and has ODD.

So earlier this week we went to a new psychiatrist (2nd in 2 weeks). I really liked her because she was interested in learning more about his history versus the most recent behaviors. I have tried to convey this info so many times to many different “professionals” over the last  4 months and have hit brick walls…or been outright disregarded.

The new psydoc asked if anyone had considered the possibility of Asperger’s. Well, actually…the last therapist mentioned it. My son’s psydoc at the time laughed…literally. I guess he thought Asperger’s presented the same for all kids. I feel like I should have found a new psydoc at that point. But, I didn’t. Why? Because I want to trust those who are eductated to Primum non nocere (do no harm). I don’t think that “filleth thy pocket” was intended to be the motivating force, but I guess I am naive.

So, where does the title of this post come in? Basically, I had to go to a meeting to explain why I wanted to wait to make a decision on residential treatment because I felt that some of the behaviors were medicine-exacerbated to the point of unsafe violence. I think the whole process of hospitalization…from ER visit to Admission to Discharge is simply a formality…insurance won’t allow for the treatment to be appropriate for the individual. They get paid ALOT…for ALOT of NOTHING.

This has to be a disorganized, mess of a rant, but I am so tired, frustrated and overloaded with information and worried. Simply writing a post is extremely difficult. But…hopefully some of it will be helpful to someone. I know it helps me to get something out.

Feeling extreme guilt about envying other children and their families

empty-swing

So, I was at Subway today picking up a sandwich for my son. In front of me was a trim and fit woman who obviously was health conscious. In front of here was her middle school son who was well behaved, outgoing, happy, healthy and content looking. I felt so much contempt because I feel like a bad mom…not a health fanatic. I also felt like I was less than human because we have so many issues we are dealing with…I felt like a substandard member of society.

I hate feeling like this but when things are going badly, sometimes, I get really down about everything. I hate feeling “hate” toward people I don’t even know because they have what appears to be a more typical life with normal problems.

I am struggling with this right now.

I feel guilty because I should selflessly and sincerely feel happy for others when their child gets perfect attendance at school, makes the honor roll again,  achieves something great in a sport, volunteers and makes lots of money for a cause…all of these things seemed possible for my son…in the beginning. It’s not that he isn’t “capable”. It just is…what it is. I don’t know when I will be able to accept this reality and work with what we have been dealt. I feel like I am a long way away from that serenity.

I have this anxious, guilty longing to take a nap. I want to hide…I want to feel nothing. I want to become absorbed in my dreams to escape from how I feel. I am depressed…and these lovely female hormones each month do not help.

Right now…SUCKS!

Feeling so alone…again!

Tears_by_EdArtGeek

Now that my son is in the hospital, the Intensive-In-Home people cannot take part in his care.  After he gets out, they will be able to start where they stopped off. I am really struggling with my son right now. He is very emotional still and extremely resentful of my husband. My son has told me he wants me to leave my husband or just send him to a foster home. He even said he would be happier with his bio-father who is currently incarcerated. He also mentioned an orphanage. I feel so guilty, resentful, helpless and LOST.

I have texted two of the IIH therapists because they can have brief contact with me like that, but I have heard from neither one. I am really feeling alone. I posted on a support forum and haven’t heard anything either. Some of me wants to leave my husband to see if that will help my son, but I am not sure if my son is manipulating me so he doesn’t have to deal with some of his own issues.

I wonder if they will be able to reconcile at some point. I LOVE my son. I am resentful toward my husband because I feel like he is unable to take responsibility for any of the issues. I feel guilty because any way you look at it, I have caused a lot of pain for my son. I think he feels abandoned by me. But I also want him to take responsibility for his actions.

How much is the illness, the environment…it’s the nature/nurture dilemma. I definitely believe it is both, but not sure what to attribute to what…who to take responsibility for what.

How would things be if I never met my husband? Would things be the same, better worse?

God please help me…I do not want to lose my son…he is my life. I do not want to lose him or give up on him.

Sleep, Eat and Go to Hospital…and Starbucks

teh-kitteh-cant-resist-starbucks

Thankfully they have a Starbucks in the Hospital!

My husband and I had been staying with my son during most of the waking hours when he was in the ER. SInce he is on the Unit now, they have regular visiting hours to allow for the structured activities, therapy, schooling and doctor visits…oh, and of course, eating!

No more sertraline (Zoloft) and they increased the Abilify. Hopefully he will be officially diagnosed with Bipolar since it appears that he has been having a manic (dysphoric) episode. Not that I want him to have anything of the sort, but at least he will be able to get the treatment he needs.

We are headed back over now. We spent the day at the DSS office workingon the Medicaid specifically for Residential Treatment. We evidently have to get some additional documents together. Hoping it works like the Social Worker at the Hospital indicated.

I haven’t felt this tired for a LONG time. I can’t even remember the last time. I want to come home tonight and do absolutely nothing. Need to regroup and recharge again so we can take advantage of this short stay.

One thing going for us is that we still have at least 2.5 months left of Intensive In Home from Easter Seals. They will take over once he gets out…unless we can find a place in a short term residential. In all honesty…I just want him home and stabilized on his meds, but I guess I have to prepare for the possibility that he will still need additional higher level care…It makes me sick to my stomach to go there in my head…

FINALLY! A bed is is open!

FELIX THE CAT WHISTLE COLOR CROP

After a long wait in the psych ER, my son has a bed waiting for him in the Adolescent Unit of the Hospital!

He is so relieved…as we are.

Things have been falling into place (The Man upstairs obviously). The room situation was looking like my son would be waiting another day at least. My husband prayed on the way to the ER and they were waiting for us with admission papers when we walked through the door.

Another amazing thing happened this morning. I basically stopped worrying about how to pay for a past due bill…the water bill. It was to be turned off at about 10 am this morning. We didn’t have enough in the bank as of 12:10 am last night so I just reminded myself that things happen to work themselves out…this morning to my elation, our state tax refund arrived and the water is still on!

There is a possibility of a longer term care center for my son…about 2 months at a Private Residential Treatment Facility (PRTF). We are able to apply for a type of Medicaid specifically for this type of facility. The good thing is that inclusion in this program it is not dependent on income. It is called Inpatient Psychiatric Services for Individuals Under 21.

The only specific requirement is that “All other ambulatory care resources available in the community must have been identified, and if not accessed, determined to not meet the immediate treatment needs of the youth.”

More info to come…

3rd Night in the Psych ER

Still no beds available for my son on the adolescent unit! I think he is finally at the top of the list. I am getting depressed because I am worrying about him. Thankfully today, they had a recreation therapist come to the ER and work with the kids…did some exercise, played some games and watched TV together. My son was WORN out tonight and seemed a lot less on edge. Hopefully tomorrow there will be a bed…and then the work can begin.

At the hospital again…waiting for a bed to open

boredom

BAD explosion yesterday. My poor son is just having so much trouble regulating his moods. We were hoping that the med change would help, but evidently, he is so out of whack that he needs more than we can give him at home and keep everyone safe. It’s safe here, so far the medical and support staff have been supportive and the hospital is pleasant considering it’s a hospital. He is about to pull his hair out because he is in the pre-unit, unit. He was in the actual ER psych room for a few hours….BORING. He is definitely not in a good place to have to wait with nothing to do. I decided to strike up a conversation with a young man who had blonde hair dyed teal, “smoking” on some kind of fake cigarette and reading a book. I just asked what he was reading and…voila…instant icebreaker. He was a very intelligent guy, unique and very friendly. It was good for my son to see other people with psychiatric issues who are not scary. There is so much stigma.

The hospital is a teaching hospital on the campus of a university. There is a complete wing dedicated to neurosciences, children psych and even a bipolar unit. There is a lot of sunlight in the waiting areas, the concourse, etc. Having internet access means I don’t have to stress about my clients getting irritated and I can  keeping occupied.

I’m not sure when, or if he will get a bed here, but that would be the ideal situation. Otherwise, he will need to be referred to another hospital and you never know what you are going to get.

I have to go relieve my husband so he can have his turn with the computer. Hopefully something has happened that would indicate we are one step closer to a bed!