October 16, 2019

This morning, in therapy, the main topic of concern was my broken sleep and my increased interest in spirituality. It prompted my therapist to quiz me to see if I was getting manic. Since my mood is calm and relaxed, I haven’t made any unusual expenditures, and my behavior is pretty mellow she did not say that I was manic. She did however heavily encourage me to take steps to sleep through the night.

When she asked for an example of my “increased religiosity” I just said that I’ve been reading about it so the Holy Spirit and the ego are on my mind. Part of me wants to understand them. Part of me knows that understanding is not currently necessary. What I’ve realized again is that my number one relationship is my relationship with God and that I can communicate with Him at any time.

I know some people take offense to the idea of God. Maybe its in the word. Maybe its in the idea. We use other words and I think that’s fine. I just think that the God I was introduced to as a child is the one that makes the most sense to my mind. So its easier for me to understand teaching that uses that terminology. I also easily understand Eckhart Tolle. Instead of God he uses Presence.

The teachings point in the same direction. I feel like I am finally taking steps on the right path. I guess I was on the path for a long while, it was meandering quite a lot but I am grateful for it because it brought me to where I am right now and there is nowhere else I would rather be.

I am reminded of 2016, it seemed like a pivotal year. I opened my Etsy shop. I started making journals. I started journaling every day. I had a list of positive affirmations hanging in the bathroom that I read out loud with joy and exuberance on a nearly daily basis. 2016 seems to be when I laid the ground work for where I am now.

2017 was quite a ride. I ended a terrible addiction. I fell out of and back in love with Chris. I went to Paris. I reconnected with my mother. I had a breakdown and spent a month in and out of the hospital.

2018- I had a hysterectomy. I made over 40 journals. I moved back home. I visited my mom and Portland. I think I was stable but I don’t remember that well. I need to review my journals.

What will I remember about 2019? February in the hospital. Feeling like I had to learn how to make journals all over again. Walking with Marilyn. TOPS. Feeling like I found what I’ve been looking for spiritually.

Maybe its not good to review the past. I read that the past is a tool of the ego. It’s only October. Maybe too early to be reviewing my year lol.

Is This Stability?

It’s been over two months since I have posted in here. Is that part of stability or have I been depressed?

Part of me wants to say that I have been a little bit low. I have been sleeping over 10 hours a night on most nights. Also I haven’t been reading a book a week and that used to be a low estimate of my reading activity. I feel like I haven’t been being as creative, I haven’t been making any collages.

On the other side, it is possible that its because I have been just too busy doing other things. For one, we have been renovating an old pop up camper and we even went on a short camping trip near the solstice. I sewed some really groovy curtains for it. When it is set up it looks like some major flower power is out and about.

I have also been pretty busy weeding and cultivating my flower garden. The landscaping around my house is looking better than it has in a few years. I am also doing a bit of coloring. I spent a lot of time coloring something that is going to become a birthday card for my husband.

I would like to work on sleeping something resembling adequate hours instead of the hours of a wombat. JK I don’t know how much wombats sleep. How are you?

Up All Night

It’s a terrible habit but a part of me really enjoys being up all night. Maybe that’s an inaccurate assessment of what happens because in actuality I do sleep off and on. However, for the majority of the night I am up doing “stuff.”

Stuff includes reading, watching television, messing around on the internet, drinking coffee, and sometimes even doing mindless housework tasks such as laundry.

Last night I attempted sleeping in bed like a normal person, I do this often. But as usual I was awakened around midnight. This time by a freakish nightmare that I do not care to recall. The downstairs beckoned to me. I love the comfort brought to me by turning on the lights, turning on the TV, making a pot of coffee, and hunkering down with a book.

I am currently reading Version Control by Dexter Palmer. I found this book by perusing the new book shelf at the library. I selected it because it was a science fiction novel set in the future and in general I enjoy these types of novels. I am enjoying the book more then I expected as it is really making me think about today’s society. It’s been awhile since I have read a book made me give any thought to how I live my life.

I am giving some consideration to reducing the amount of time I spend online. I have spent way too many vapid hours staring at a screen. I have already made some progress in this endeavor. For many years I visited a nameless chat room where it was advertised that one could receive support. It’s been obvious to me for a very long time that there was no support to be gleaned from most of the sort that visited the site, however, as you must know certain habits are  hard to break. I have decided to start my goal not to visit the chat room on a day to day basis. I hope that today is the first of many days in which I do not visit the chat room at all.

Okay so maybe I will still go online. I just think that I need to set some limits and have a daily routine where I spend less time on the computer. I am thinking this because I have recently gained a greater appreciation of Twitter. Especially due to finding my tribe on there #TheBloggessTribe.

This post kind of went random on me, sorry dear reader. I just really wanted to express myself tonight. I hope you are well. As for me, I am starting to feel better.

Sleep & Mood Log

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My therapist from talkspace.com asked me several times to keep a log of how many hours I sleep and my mood for each day. I’ve successfully done this since March 29th. The pattern I am seeing is that I sleep too much for a night or two and then the following night I hardly sleep at all. My mood over the last couple of weeks has mostly been negative. Descriptors I have used range from “no energy, neutral mood” to “sluggish” to some days where I say I am “feeling better.”  It appears that the less I sleep the better I feel.

What this tells me is that it is critical for me to maintain a sleep schedule where I sleep 6-8 hours a night. This is difficult for me because on the nights where I sleep 12+ hours there may actually have been an attempt at waking up earlier but it was promptly ignored.

I feel like I am repeating myself but here are some tips on getting better sleep

  • try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends
  • be smart about napping – my therapist recommends taking no longer then a 30 minute nap and if I must nap to do so before 4pm
  • control your exposure to light (circadian stuff)
  • avoid bright screens within 2 hours of your bed time (log off)
  • cut down on caffeine
  • avoid drinking too many liquids before bed
  • try some relaxation techniques

There are many more tips at the website linked above.

Do you have any tips for getting a regular amount of sleep?

To Work Or Not To Work

This is a tough question when you have a disability. The only disability I can say that I understand is having bipolar disorder. Sure sometimes I am stable and I can handle a full time job, but this is not always the case. Other times I am so affected by bipolar that I am down right strange and I make people uncomfortable.

I actually am on disability. I feel like they pay me not to make people uncomfortable. I also work 9 hours a week at the local library. I am allowed to do this and collect disability because the amount of money I make from the library is a pittance. I don’t mind. Kewpie lets me use it as fun money.

Sometimes I get it in my head that I want to go back to working full time and having the nice benefits like 401K. Then Kewpie reminds me that I am already basically retired. The truth is that I really enjoy having a lot of free time. It gives me time to do my hobbies like making collages, at least that’s what I am currently into. Who knows what I will be into a month from now.

It’s still a very important question. Work? Don’t work? Do I need to work in order to have meaning in my life. It’s nice working those hours at the library, after all I have a master’s degree in library and information science. However, it isn’t exactly a career there. I always figured I would end up with a nice career. I am 38, that seems awful young to stop working. Then again I have dreams of traveling in an RV half the year. That’s fodder for another post.

Have you ever had this kind of struggle?

Resistance

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Welcome to the Resistance

I felt inspired to write this post by a couple of things. Today I was reading Behind These Hazel Eye’s and she was talking about what it feels like to come back after losing 8 years to bipolar disorder. Yesterday I finished reading The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown the subtitle of this book is “Let Go Of Who You Think You’re Supposed To Be And Embrace Who You Are.” This book really touched me. I almost feel like the title isn’t strong enough.

What does this have to do with resistance? My favorite quote from the book:

“Revolution might sound a little dramatic, but in this world, choosing authenticity and worthiness is an absolute act of resistance. ”

When you come back to yourself after an episode being authentic is definitely a challenge. You may find yourself asking who is more me, the one who has bipolar or the one on medication being treated for it? Maybe there are some  people with mild forms of bipolar but that is not me. I feel most like myself when I am taking medications.

Lately though I feel a bit sedated. So I contacted my psychiatrist and asked if I could reduce one of my medications. He was fine with that. I have some irl friends who have bipolar disorder and lately they both have issues with their medication saying they want to reduce before talking to a doctor.

It could be that I am very lucky and I have the best psychiatrist; which I think is completely possible. However I think resistance doesn’t necessarily need to be with medications. Join your pdoc in the resistance and live authentically somehow.

Be your mad crazy self but be stable enough to enjoy it.

On Taking Your Meds

One of the most important things one can do to take control of their bipolar disorder is to take your medications as prescribed. I am reminded of the importance of this effort by another unnamed bipolar blog that I read regularly. With all of the downfalls that come from not taking your medications I don’t understand people who struggle with this concept. It is just so important. There is no base to work from if you don’t take your medications. I think it is the foundation of everything else when it comes to managing your bipolar disorder.

Of course I am very lucky when it comes to my psychiatrist. There are several medications that he has prescribed to me prn (as needed). For example, I take risperdal as needed for when I am suffering from mania. I decide when to start taking it, my psychiatrist tells me how much to take and eventually I decide when to stop taking it. I also take klonopin as needed for anxiety. A very small dose because my psychiatrist doesn’t trust me when it comes to anything that has even a slight indication for addiction. I usually take all of my prescribed amount at night to assist me with falling asleep. This med as a benzo can be very dangerous. My father in law is currently finding that even a small dose of a benzo of any kind causes him to go nuts. So tread with care.

I think something else that should be prescribed on a regular basis is a dog pile. This happens when you lure your dogs into a pile on the couch either next to you or on top of you. Proceed to relax for an indeterminate amount of time.

I guess in this post I should sate your curiosity and let you know exactly what medications I currently take. I am currently ramping up on buspar a medication for anxiety. I am currently taking 15mg a day and once I am done ramping up I will take 30mg a day (twice a day). I take 900mg extended release Lithium. 80mg of Geodon. 900mg of Trileptal. And 1.25 mg of Klonopin a day. All of these are taken around 9pm at night. I feel like I am forgetting something. Oh yeah 1.5 mg of Risperdal. This is a temporary medication for mania. I finally feel like I am calming down from a manic spell that lasted several months. The end result is a lot of debt. I did a lot of shopping over the last month especially.

I am so thankful to have lived through this manic spell without ending in the hospital or having a bad spell of depression. What a relief.  Like I said take your medications.