Ramblings of a Bipolar

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

I get weekly news letters from About.com Bipolar I have received some very interesting articles. I thought this was very interesting, especially mourning the loss of the manic self. I have not been manic for many years and I still miss it. But I don't want to go there.
To sign up for the artilces the link is http://talk.about.com. I don't know if I would conceder electric shock. My uncles wife did it and she said she lost some memories of her kids experiences. I don't think I could except that.

Living Mania-Free
by Andy BehrmanAuthor of Electroboy: A Memoir of Mania
By and About Andy Behrman
Book Review: Electroboy• Electroboy Excerpt• Electroboy: Original Article• Exclusive Interview with Andy Behrman
Related Resources
ECT Links Library• Personal ECT Experiences
Elsewhere on the Web
Electroboy Website
I spent nearly two decades of my life - most of the 80s and 90s - in an absolute manic frenzy. I couldn't move fast enough for my own good, and I couldn't consume enough. There were always too many "speed bumps" and "roadblocks" in my way. I used to travel from New York to Paris to Tokyo as if I were traveling within a ten-block radius of my apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and I made these trips (sometimes three or four times a month) when the "spirit moved me." I felt bored when I wasn't on a plane, traveling from continent to continent - and I have multiple stamps in my passport to prove this manic behavior.
Weekly $25,000 shopping binges at Barney's and "high end" boutiques for clothes I barely wore were the norm. So were lavish meals with friends where I picked up $1000 tabs. These high-priced activities were within my limits because I was extremely successful financially, a testament to my manic behavior, not to mention my involvement in illegal activities. I could stay up three nights in a row and crank out screenplays and novels that would take other people years to write.
I lived dangerously, too. I picked up strangers in bars and after hours clubs, did drugs and drank excessively. I was involved in an art counterfeiting scheme that received tremendous attention in the New York media. This scheme finally came crashing down on me and landed me in prison and under house arrest for almost a year.
Since the drama of my manic frenzy, 19 electroshock treatments, all kinds of experimentation with medications and talk therapy is over, the dust has finally settled. I have been living even-keeled with only one major episode of manic depression in the last five years, and I have made tremendous changes in my lifestyle: I don't drink alcohol or take illegal drugs, I go to sleep on a relatively normal schedule, and I keep regular work hours. Most people don't notice any type of manic behavior at all when they meet me (God, if they had only met me at the height of what I call the "crazies"), and I seem like an average guy to them.
But for quite some time, I was left was left with a huge "gap" in my life because there was no manic behavior left at all. What's a manic depressive to do? There's a tremendous amount of loss associated with "saying goodbye" to mania, as it was my friend for so many years. I needed to fill this gap because my life felt so dull and I felt so lonely at the same time, too.
So I mapped out a strategy for myself to cope with this incredible loss. I decided I had no choice but to spend more time with friends, and that I had to immerse myself in my work. I became passionate about "filling the gap." I started scheduling activities (lunches, dinners, movies and parties) with friends and became rather obsessed with all aspects of my work, which happened to be writing (I was in the middle of writing my first book about by own battle with manic depression and my experience with electroshock therapy: Electroboy: A Memoir of Mania). And it started working. I starting feeling better pretty soon, and the dullness from living without mania didn't seem to hurt as much. And I found I wasn't bored at all.
There were always temptations that came with living alone with the "gap," and sometimes I thought about the old "manic me" and what I might have been doing years ago. Should I just go out to a bar? Should I just hail and cab and go to the airport and catch a flight to London? But my medications, my strategy and my commitment kept my behavior in line for the most part.
My new issue became a horrible fear or being an average guy (read: dull). The one thing I certainly never had been in my life was dull. You'll never find one person who would have described me as dull! I was always the life of the party - the guy with the lampshade on his head drinking a margarita. So it would seem reasonable that I would have a fear of being dull. I became a little nervous about meeting people in social situations, and I started overcompensating for this by being a bit dramatic, loud and sometimes even hostile. Keep in mind, too, that this was the first time I wasn't drinking alcohol or doing drugs in my life, and this complicated matters. But before you know it, I became pretty well adept in social situations, and I slipped back into being a pretty good conversationalist and found myself comfortable with people. I didn't feel dull, and I was sure that people didn't think I was dull.
Soon I started dating again. I hadn't done this is years - many years - because I hadn't had the ability to concentrate or to have a relationship. I stunned myself with my ability to date a woman I met from out of town and found myself involved in a relationship which I didn't allow to overwhelm me. Within several months, I found myself packing up my apartment, getting on the next plane to Los Angeles and living in a hotel there, questioning if in fact this wasn't some type of episode. But it wasn't. I was in love and had moved cross country to be with this woman - who had swept me off my feet.
Now I am in a town that I find to be easier to live in because, in curious comparison to New York, it is mania-free.You can't even find a diner open after 9:00 p.m.
Andy Behrman is the author of Electroboy: A Memoir of Mania, published by Random House. It is now available in paperback

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Dear Friends,
Thank you so much for your kind words and support. I was watching the Princess Diaries and Mia (Ann Hathaway) said that she was invisible nobody saw her. It struck such a chord. That is how I was feeling. That expressed it. I was hopeless and also invisible. And feeling that way in my pain I was very selfish and withdrew within myself. I am so sorry that I caused any one worry. I really did not think that anyone read or cared about what I had written.

Lamictal has been added to my meds. My lid doctor told me she felt like I would just get feeling better and then crash again. She said that Lamictal was good for people that have persistand depression like me. I have no trouble controlling the mania. It is the depression that is really kicking my butt. I am doing much better only time will tell when I am on a high enough dose that the effexer and be stopped.

Two days before surgery I had knee surgery. It went really well. But on Christmas Eve, I started throwing up from the pain meds. I could not stop. It was really bad. So my husband and my daughter bundled me up and took me to the emergency room. When we got there there was police, security and TV crews. It seems that a surfer was bitten on the ankle and calf by a great white shark. They were working on what the later would be 70 stitches. I got a shot of phenargen and hurried home to the turkey dinner my husband bought and the neighbor that moved in we invited over as he was alone.

I am doing better everyday. I have been so tired from the surgery, but I have had almost no pain.

One highlight I called my daughter that said she didn't want any contact with our family especially me. She started to cry and said she had been an ass and she was to embarrassed to call and say she was sorry. So I am working on rebuilding that relationship. We have been of the phone about 15 hours since Christmas. That has helped to relieve much of the dark painful depression.

Thank you for your concern.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

I am sitting here, so emotional. I feel like if I have to live an other moment it will be too long. I can seem to do anything right and what I do right is not noticed by those that matter. I want to sleep and not wake up. The only thing that keeps me going is knowing that I have to feed my 150 birds or they will die. I don 't feel like I would be missed if I was gone. Too many tears. I can't see to type.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

I went to my med person about a week ago and talked to her about how I have been feeling. And I fessed up about picking my body to pieces. I am covered with open wounds. I hate it. But I can't seem to control it. I have been stressed out about my wayward daughter denouncing our family and not coming home for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I last time I talked to her was Spring Break she came to visit.

We decided that I should come off the cymbalta and add effexer that I was on before. The reason I was switched to cymbalta is that it has show to help with fibromaygia and chronic pain. now I am coming off the cymbalta I can truthful say that it really was heping with my pain. Now I am slowly adding more effexer I am doing better at not picking although I have been doing this since I was in first grade when I was stressed.....the teacher liked to hit me. I don't know if I can stop completely.

My mood has improve so much so far. It is hard to believe that a week and a different medication can make so much of a difference.

Well, hope you are all having a great holiday!
just came in from the outdoor aviaries and I am smelly and exhaugsted. My head has been trying to hatch a headach all day. I think it is coming on for real now.
I lost one pigeon baby at the first of the week. I asumed that it was just a bad mother or a tired mother. Then the next day I could see the sibling was in trouble so I took it out of the nest and brought it in the house and started hand feeding it. It is doing great. He has about half of his feathers. Tonight I found the other parents guarding dead babies. Pigeons are new to me so I don't know what is wrong. Maybe it is to cold to be breeding. I took out all the nests so no more babies. I will have to watch for stealth egg laying. They like to get behind the feed box and lay there.
I have noticed muddly racoon prints on the outside of the aviary. I think they wanted to get in there and eat the eggs and babies. We have had alot of trouble with racoons this year. We leave the sliding door in our bedroom open just a crack so the cats and go in and out. The racoons were squeesing in and raiding the cat food at night while we where asleep. I FEEL SO VIOLATED! We then started closing the dark when it got dark. That worked for awhile. Then I caught one sticking his head in as I walked in the bedroom. I got a stick and chased it to the deck. It sat on railing and looked at me like "I ain't going anywhere." So I went over a slapped him with the stick...it was a long stick. He didn't seem to mind he just slowly climbed a tree next to him and jumped into the neighbors year. It as if they are at the top of the food chain. AAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUURRRRRRGGGG!
I have to go to Portland the nearest large city tomorrow to have my knee looked at. I think I got everything done for the birds tonight. I worry about how I am going to care for my birds if I have to have surgery. The doctors here have told me I will have to have surgery....but I don't trust the critters here. Very small town doctors.
I may come back with some new birds tomorrow.
Btw, my husband decided it would be nice if we got some spice finches. He thinks they are cool. If you very look at spice finches I guess they really look like a manny sort of bird. They had some here at the local pet shop. I got four. I hope I have at least one pair. You can not tell them apart. I have really been looking into finding out how to do the DNA testing myself to sex birds.
Well, time to be getting the rest of the house ready for tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I am sitting here thinking of the last 2 weeks, drinking a Rockstar, and thinking about the last 2 weeks. I thought that I would be able to come here and write when I was having a hard time. But is seems as though I have advoided this like I avoid family and friends when I am at deep in depression. I need to be here. I know it will help me.

Sometimes I wonder if I avoid people or if others withdraw. They love the cheerful, bouncy and happy Kathy. But they are not sure what to do with the dark and depressed Kathy. It is true that people are drawn to light and avoid darkness, so it isn't really their fault. Or have I had bad luck with friends in the past and now I withdraw out of habit? I know that I have some really good friends now, so am I acting out of past pain? Acting like a dumb ass?

I am feeling much better. I am wondering if I need lights for seasonal affect disorder. I think that is what is called. I grew up in Utah. Lots of sunshine, even in the winter when there is snow on the ground. Now I live in the Northwest on the coast where we get three days of sun and we have already used 2 days. This depression seemed to start with the last storm. It got so dark that it looked like night most of the day. That is hard for a sand dweller to take. It has been a little sunny the last few days and my mood is much better. Today it is getting dark again. aaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggggggggggg!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

On the TV show criminal minds Tues once again the 2 bipolar people were shown as a unkept, bumbling idiots, prone to criminal activities. I am so tired of seeing this. How can it be stopped?

Monday, November 07, 2005

My husband brought home a full page ad about Abilify(aripiprazole) in the newspaper. I have not heard about it before and I wondered if anyone has taken it before? I will go look it up on the net, but first hand information is best.