WebMD documentary released!

My husband and I were filmed for a WebMD documentary series.  Our video is called “Married to Bipolar.”  The more we talk about mental health issues, the more people will feel comfortable sharing their own stories.  The more stories are shared, the less stigma will exist.  The less stigma exists, the more people are willing to seek professional help.  All of this means more lives saved from suicide.

 

Bipolar and Alcohol

IMG_1188I like to drink. Sometimes I like to drink a lot. I also take psychiatric medications. On all of my meds the warning ‘do not consume alcohol’ is included. And every time I see that warning label, a part of me pretends not to see it. This would be a good time for me to say “don’t do as I do,” and “I am NOT a doctor.” I’m just someone trying to figure this bipolar stuff out.

As a person with bipolar I am addicted to the high feeling of mania. So once I’ve had one drink and feel good, I want more because more alcohol equals a higher feeling of mania for me.  With that said, I basically end up drinking more than I need to. Bipolar or not, drinking in excess is not good for anyone’s health or decision-making abilities. But also with that said, it doesn’t really deter me from wanting to drink. Go figure.

Some psychiatric medications mixed with alcohol can be fatal. For example, let’s say you’re taking an anti-anxiety med that is working to relax your body. Then you drink alcohol, which also relaxes you. So now you have two substances that are relaxing your body so much that your lungs/breathing may slow down considerably to the point where you pass out and stop breathing all together.

Basically drinking with bipolar is like throwing gasoline on a slow-burning fire….It can be explosive. When I have a night of drinking I love how much fun I have. But after a night of fun, I’m often triggered into a depression for many days following.  The alcohol basically amplifies my mood swings.  So in a nutshell, my brain does not respond well to alcohol.

After talking this all out, maybe those warning label people know what they’re talking about after all 😉 Again, I am by NO means condoning drinking alcohol with your medications. Follow your doctor’s instructions, please 🙂

Do you all drink with your meds, or are you sober and strictly following the no alcohol guidelines? If you drink, how does alcohol affect your bipolar?

 

I am so bipolar, and unashamed.

Bipolar Problem: Which Person Will Show Up?

IMG_0992Picture this. A brand new race car. It is the fasted race car ever built. This race car laps the other race cars with great ease. It wins race, after race, after race, with only a couple crashes. The driver signs up for the most prestigious motor race in the world. The driver knows with great certainty his car will win since it wins every race.

Race time arrives, the driver is set, and the race begins. The driver puts the petal to the metal, but nothing happens. His car does not budge. It seems as though this new car has an idiosyncrasy the driver was unaware of. After a dozen races, it has to stay parked in the garage for about three months. After three months it will be the fastest car in the world again. The driver will never know though when the car will be in working-condition.

So how in the world is the driver supposed to plan his racing schedule? How many races will he show up to only to be frustrated that his car won’t move again?

The above analogy is how I explain my depression (low energy) and mania (high energy). Many times I will sign myself up for throwing a party, committing to an activity, or completing a variety of tasks. This is because I’ve become accustomed to, and crave the manic energy that allows me to easily get these things done more quickly than most everyone else.

Then the time will come to throw that party, but all the manic energy is gone and I am left with the body and mind of the race car that won’t budge on the race track. It’s frustrating because I make grand plans, and then when the time comes, I lose all momentum and energy because my brain decided it needs to stop…. for however long it needs.

This is one of many reasons why life with bipolar can be a struggle. I’ve succumbed to the notion that planning my life cannot happen. Naturally a person who likes to plan things, I’ve had to learn to let life fall where it may, no matter where all the pieces may fall. Silver lining; this has helped me to live more in the present.

Whenever I make plans, in the back of my mind I think, ‘I wonder how my brain will be acting that day?’

How do you manage ‘planning’ anything in your life? Do you find it difficult to follow through on plans?

 

I’m so bipolar, and unashamed.

Bipolar & Exercise

IMG_0133Every human who breathes needs exercise, but people with Bipolar really NEED exercise. No amount of psych medication, supplementation, or proper nutrition will make up for lack of daily exercise. There are many people on psych meds who do not incorporate exercise into their daily lives who wonder why they’re not getting better despite the meds. While it’s obviously possible the meds just aren’t working, it’s also equally as obvious that you can’t expect to feel mentally better if your physical self feels badly.

When I miss a workout I feel existentially more irritable, depressed, sluggish, and exhausted. All of these symptoms are ironically bipolar symptoms. We can’t expect for our psych meds to do what daily exercise will do for our bodies. Those feel-good, mood-pick-me-up endorphins created from exercise are like gold to a bipolar mind! So get as much as possible (so long as you are in good standing health, and have an exercise routine cleared by your doctor).

Maybe pick something from this list…. swimming, kayaking, biking, Pilates, yoga, boxing, jiu jitsu, karate, beach volleyball, workout DVDs, aerobics, running, golfing, tennis, basketball, weight lifting, rock climbing, barre, hiking, lacrosse, frisbee golf, jump roping, rowing….. and there are so many more!

If you don’t have a form of exercise you love right now, just pick one you’ve never tried. Don’t expect to be an expert right away, be patient with yourself. The first time I ever tried Pilates I made a ton of mistakes, my form was terrible, and I left incredibly frustrated with myself. But two years later, Pilates was my favorite exercise I had ever done. So take a chance on yourself, try something new! Your body AND mind will thank you. 💚

 

I’m so bipolar, and unashamed.

 

 

Bipolar Creativity

IMG_9749Painting, sculpting, singing, writing… whatever your creative outlet is, it is begging to be released to the world. I strongly believe we were created in part to change the world for the better through our various creative gifts.

Bipolar is often associated with famous creatives such as Vincent Van Gogh, Demi Lovato, and Carrie Fisher. All of them used/use their creative thinking, which is a hallmark of bipolar, to make huge impacts on our world. This makes the strong argument that bipolar disorder can indeed be a blessing and may not necessarily even be a disorder at all.

Without people who think “differently” with dramatic bipolar highs and lows, our world would most certainly be a less colorful and much more boring place to live.

My goal is to get back in touch with my creative side. As a little girl I’d spend countless hours simply creating. My mind worked quickly and thrived on the whole creative process. Now, as an adult with responsibilities, my creative moments are fewer and farther between. I intend on changing that! My mind is craving a creative release, badly.

If you have bipolar, think about creating something today that didn’t exist before you brought it to existence.💚

I’d love to see in the comments below how many of you @so_bipolar followers are artists, and what your creative outlet is! 💚💚💚

 

I’m so bipolar, and unashamed.

Bipolar Meds Hurt!

IMG_9826It’s bedtime, you’re exhausted, but you still need to take your nightly handful of psych meds and vitamins. Instead of taking one or two at a time, you pop the whole handful into your mouth as some kind of challenge.

Challenge accepted. As the water hits your lips you panic that maybe, just maybe, you are being overzealous in your pill swallowing endeavor. But you persevere.

Then, it happens. You feel every pill slowly, painstakingly move through your throat and esophagus as if every pill is a tiny knife cutting its way through.

For the next ten minutes you chug gallons of water to keep them moving. A time-saving idea totally backfired. I will never do that again, you think to yourself… until the next time….

This happens to me way more than I’d like! You?

I’m so bipolar, and unashamed.

Bipolar Overwhelmed

IMG_9540.JPGNever knowing which of my brains is going to show up for work in the morning leaves me with constant anxiousness.

Today my overwhelmed-can’t-accomplish-anything-no-matter-how-small-brain showed up. Awesome.

I want my brain to stop. But it won’t. Sometimes I ask my husband what he is thinking and he says, “nothing.” How nice that must be. I’m so jealous. I cannot fathom what ‘nothing’ or what a ‘relaxing’ thought must feel like. It just does not happen for me.

When setting out to accomplish a task, my head skips from point one to point 100 in a matter of seconds. My brain combines the hundreds of steps an ordinary brain would not even think about, and creates this giant overwhelm. My brain basically tells me, ‘you can’t do that.’

So here I am, trying to fight back my overwhelmed brain. How do I stop from becoming so easily overwhelmed? I’d love all your thoughts and ideas on this. So far I’ve come up with focusing on what I CAN do vs the limitations my brain has set. Easier said than done, but here I go.

 

I’m so bipolar, and unashamed.

 

Getting Over Bipolar Medication Withdrawals

IMG_9204While bipolar medication withdrawals are a real bitch, it makes ‘normalcy’ feel like pure bliss! I suppose that is the true silver lining I have found in having bipolar disorder; appreciating ‘normal’ times way more than I would had I not ever had bipolar.

I would like to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart, for all of your well wishes, ‘good vibes,’ and prayers. The love pouring in from allover were so heartfelt and got me through a rough time in my life. So THANK YOU!!!

I am still in the process of weaning off that particular medication but am no longer going through that personal hell.  Alleluia!  My doctor finally decided to give me a small dose more of the med to even more slowly wean off of.  And that turned out to be the trick to getting over the awful withdrawals.

All is good in my world right now… but of course, having bipolar symptoms forever lingering over my head, I am only waiting for the other shoe to drop. But until then, I’m soaking up feeling well!

I’m curious, how have you all gotten over your medication withdrawals??

 

I’m so bipolar, and unashamed.

The 4 Kinds of People You Will Meet When Saying “I Have Bipolar”

IMG_8749I will never again hide the fact that I have bipolar disorder. That would be denying a piece of myself, and I’m not down with that.

Many of you have asked, “what is it like to tell someone you have bipolar?”

There are 4 types of people who I meet:

  1. The freaked-out person. These people get very uncomfortable with the whole idea that I have bipolar. It’s almost as if they’re waiting for me to do something ‘crazy,’ which just makes me laugh and couldn’t be farther from my reality.
  2. The ‘supportive’ person. These people will generally start by saying “really?? You don’t seem like you could be bipolar! How brave of you to tell people.” Which I know their hearts are in the right place… but I still stand by the fact that it’s not brave when I’m just being myself. 🤔
  3.  The shocked person. These people literally do not have words for what they just heard. It’s as if I just told them that I like to eat dirt. They just give a blank stare and say something like “ohhh, ok.”
  4. The ‘me too’ person. These people either have a mental illness themselves or begin speaking of their friend or cousin who also has bipolar.

More often than not, and possibly because I blog about bipolar, the most common person I meet is probably number 4.

For those of you who tell people you have bipolar, what person do you most often encounter?

 

I’m so bipolar, and unashamed.

Today, I hate having bipolar

IMG_8764At night, I lie awake terrified. I’m terrified that I am losing my mind. Terrified that I’ll end up back in the psychiatric hospital.

I am also so angry right now. I am not posting this for sympathy or for people to feel badly for me. I’m writing this post so that others who feel this way right now do not feel alone or forgotten.

As I mentioned in a previous post I’ve been slowly weaning off of a medication I’ve been on for the past two years (and yes, I am being supervised by my doctor). My withdrawal symptoms are almost identical to the withdrawal symptoms a heroine addict goes through.

But here is the thing that I’m so angry about. Unlike a heroine addict I did not choose to take up recreational drugs. I was prescribed these drugs thinking they were “safe” and the responsible decision for managing my bipolar symptoms. Now that my body is rejecting the medication, I am finding the I am completely addicted.

My withdrawal symptoms include nausea, confusion, shaking, nervousness, agitation, depression, muscle spasms, spinal shocks, difficulty falling asleep, tearfulness, headaches, a feeling of my mind being numb, and only because I have a history of seizures, I can tell I feel “seizure-y” all day. Basically I’m a huge disaster… and I’ve been progressively getting worse over a period of five weeks.

Worst of all, my sweet husband is having to step in to take care of our children until I’m over this. Please God, let it be soon!

It’s moments like this these that bring me to my knees and ask God to takeover. I’m helpless without Him. I trust in Him that I will get through this. And if you’re going through this as well, you will too.

I’m so much stronger than bipolar, it will not destroy me. I won’t let it. It tries so hard to destroy me, but I will always win.

So, that’s all I’ve got for today. If you pray, I could really take one of your prayers today. Thank you 💚💚💚