Friday, January 20, 2017

DRUGSSSSS for BIPOLARARARRR :: January 2017

Everyone has a hobby!
Lately, my daily way to amuse myself is to clean my room. Easily an hour a day. The doctors aren't thrilled by my habits (obsessive habits, as they saw it, make 'em raise an eyebrow) but I'm having a blast!

Today my focus is my top drawer which hosts all of my hair care, face care, first aid, tooth care, menstrual cycle gear, and medications #ilivewith10otherpeoplesoikeepthatstuffinmydresserdrawer.

I came across all the meds they tried me on for bipolar. Two observations on this.

Before that, just noting that I've been, on spurts, been medicated since I was perhaps 12? I had ADHD which was well managed with pills. I remember Adderal, Ritalin, Concerta, Daytrana, and Straterra. Daytrana was the best one! It was a patch and was super effective but the adhesive left welts on my body.

Now, with a new diagnosis comes a whole new slew of medications.

The first one they put me on is lithium. That stuff is magic and works! Nothing else has been as effective. I was also on oxcarbazepine (Trileptal), fluoxetine (Prozac), and escitalopram (Luxapro).

What's been most effective, to go with lithium, hasn't been more drugs is lifestyle choices and supplements.

I have to get outside, see the sun, get plenty of sleep, and operate in a routine.

For supplements, L-theanine, fish oil, and D3 have been the key to everything. This was made clear this past week. A week or two, I stopped taking my supplements completely (because I hadn't refilled my pill organizer so in the morning, I would just pop a lithium and run). Then, everything crumbled, a bit. I was all over the place with my mood and definitely felt depressed at time.



Because I have been medication, it catches me off guard when I am all of a sudden depressed. This time, the symptoms were mostly exhaustion. I was so sure I had the flu that I had to cancel work for a morning. Texting was overly exhausting.

Then, at dinner, I brought up how I wasn't doing well and our house-highschooler brought up vitamin D. *facepalm* I realized that that was the only change in my life, no supplements.

I did go to my psychiatrist (good to check in with her) and we decided I would have myself get back into routine with supplements, see how that went, and if it doesn't, I have 2.5 mg of a new med to try out. I also keep going to my support group 'cause they make the world go round.

Life's ok. It'll get better. Just give me a week.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Back to Routine :: Emphasis on Nighttime


I'm glad the winter break is over. With break comes the destruction of all routines that hold thing together. I thrive with bed times, wake up times, ways to pay for living, and a pattern to navigate life with (it's a fun pattern).

Bedtime is most crucial to me, right after sleep. It's important to have a space that feels relaxing, welcoming, and cozy. A clean room helps with my quality of sleep.

Right before Christmas, I changed rooms in the house I live in. I moved up story and the dimensions of the room increased immensely. I basically live in a deliciously cute attic room.

I was absolutely in love with my old room and tend to be resistant to changes (when set in a way) so I had to deliberately set my energy to making this new space feel like a home I wanted to be in. It's absorbed a few hours of my time each day for the past week and a house.

It's the constant adjustment of lights, furniture, hooks, pillows plants, and ways to sort things out. I love organizing, so this is a fun new challenge. My last room had a huge closest with storage above and below the clothing, no such closest here, so all must be externally stored. With the floor space available, very doable.

It's been fun to see a need (such a place to hang towels or a maroon cloth covering for a Rubbermaid tote I've been dragging back and forth from Alaska and all over since 2012.

I'm grateful for housemates (Steve and Jan!) who went out of their way to help me transition. I really appreciate them.

Now I feel like I have a really special place that feels like a home.

Essential to my nights are a hot water bottle with a cozy for it that Hannah made. I sleep with it ever single cold night. I tried not to, the other night, and had to get up and make one. I also need my white noise machine. I feel cozy underneath the thick wool blanket Joey gave me for Christmas and a huge hand-stitched quilt my great great Aunt (or someone that is great great) made. I like cozy pjs and socks and lately, diffused essential oils make everything smell hella good. A cup of one of those teas that knocks me out is good (Sunset in Seattle, Evening in Missoula, Bedtime Tea, etc).

The End

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

I Don't Know How Pink Relates to Suicide -- I guess they just picked a colour


I like the hashtags in this one.

For sure, this year, I was ready for things to end a few times. In my circumstances, it was a result of off kilter brain-chemistry.

I've been doing fine, lately (and I'm glad I'm here), but I know that in the future I might not be and that I'll have to work through that. I also know I have friends who aren't "fine" right now and this is for them. The feeling of wanting to end your life is overwhelmingly isolating. A huge comfort this year was in one of those moments, I reached out to one friend and his immediate reply was, "I know." And he did.

Thanks to my support team! There are three specific folks who helped me with the darker thoughts this year --  my mom, is my number one go to (now I'm crying) and I'm grateful that she still comforts me just as much now, as her grown-up 26 year, as she did when I was a child. I also know that I can always call Eric, whom I've known since kindergarten, and Joey and, without fail, they will respond in love, compassion and wisdom. My overall support team spans larger than this but, in the darker moments, these folks were on speed dial.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2016 :: Unfinished but Published

I've enjoyed reading other's yearly summaries. Here is my own.


I know there's been a lot of hating on 2016 but, for me, anything could be better than 2015. With that lens, I was satisfied with what 2016 had to offer me, and what I got out of it.

This year I jumped into a new community full of so many kids and so many trees. It's also my job and in so many tangible ways, my life has been better because of Camp Roots.

Truly the most southern point in the United States of America -- on the Big Island in Hawaii with some Alaskan friends.

Celebrating my birthday on Patos Island. 26 years ftw!

Local lake in a sail boat (currently sail-less) that Parker skillfully built!

Annual trip up to Haines, Alaska.

First real road trip together to Vernon, BC. The Alaska Marine Highway didn't count.
Surprise date to the West Wing in DC! Jesse rocks.

This year, for the first time, I committed to being in a relationship with another human. We're still thriving together. As expected, there's a lot of growth that comes with it. I'm grateful for Joseph.
This year had lots of little trips, from Maryland to Alaska to Hawaii to Washington D.C. to Viriginia to British Columbia to around Washington state a little sailing trip to Lopez Island to a group trip to Patos Island. My itchy feet were satisfied.

This year, my house was a rock in my life. I continually feel loved by my housemates and accepted and see lots of opportunities for growth as I learn from them. It's been a rock solid foundation for my daily life and I feel very grateful to be here.

This year, rad family dynamics!
This year, loved friend dynamics!

This year was another one of my first years of living with bipolar disorder. It's definitely black and white from when I didn't have it and there are still a lot of unknowns as the season turn. This year, though, was quite manageable, a bit more, and that gives me hope for the future. I don't expect emotional perfection, but I do want to be able to manage day to day without questioning if I should be on the earth.

Overall, grateful. I'm ok with simple years and I hope 2017 levels out even more. I'd love it if, at the end of it, I could say that my friend, house, and relationship situations are quite similar to 2016 and mental health is even more-so improved. Who knows. I'll work with what I've got.

What do I want for 2017? Stability.
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