I’m on a roll today.
Funny listicle about 25 things only someone with bipolar would understand:
I’m on a roll today.
Funny listicle about 25 things only someone with bipolar would understand:
The FDA just approved a new bipolar and schizophrenia drug. This gives more options to sufferers. So that’s good news:
I’d like to check it since it has been a while.
The only news to report is my depression has been continuing. I’m in a transition in my therapy, which may have something to do with it. I left my old therapist months ago. She was capable and well-meaning, but did not have any expertise in bipolar. I felt our sessions were going nowhere.
I recently began working with another therapist, but due to work commitments, have not had a consistent schedule with her. I’m trying to settle into a regular routine with her. So far, my therapy has been ineffective due to this inconsistency. But she is a good therapist with experience with bipolar. So I am trying to be hopeful.
Another source of instability is the fact that I am still in between psychiatrists. My psychiatrist was excellent. But he left private practice. And I’ve been looking for a new one for months.
I tried a well-respected psychiatrist for a while. But it took ages to get an appointment with him. I had to see his RN first. Then I was told I could see him at a later date. But just before that later date, I received a call informing me that I would once again have to meet with an RN. So rescheduled for a month out.
Finally, I met with the his eminence in the flesh. And what a disappointment. The epitome of the disengaged, aloof psychiatrist that one finds sometimes in the field. The entire session last for no more than 5 minutes, which is remarkable giving that I was seeing him for the first time. (Short sessions are sometimes appropriate for follow-ups if there’s not much to discuss.)
He stared at his computer for the first few minutes. Then told me he was upping my medication. Almost no consultation. He asked me one or two questions. That’s it.
It was an enormous letdown.
So now I’ve located another shrink. I will see him in a month. He wasn’t available sooner, unfortunately. I need a change in my meds now though. So I will have to suffer for another month unfortunately. Not sure what I can do at this point.
I’ll update later.
FDA asked to consider adherence sensor on Abilify
Proteus Health, located in Redwood City CA, along with Tokyo based Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. have a new drug application that is ready for review by regulators determined by the FDA.
The new drug is embedded with an ingestible sensor. When the medication, and sensor, reach the stomach, it sends a signal to a patch the patient wears externally. The information can be sent to physicians or caregivers with consent.
The sensor has previously been approved in a placebo taken along with a medication.
The goal is to help with medication compliance. All well and good up to this point. But, what is the first drug they choose? Abilify, an atypical anti-psychotic. It isn’t always taken for psychosis. It can be used as an add-on for depression and other ways. But, it is also used to treat psychosis.
Some, not uncommon, delusions are that:
you have sensors embedded, that your medicine has been poisoned or tampered with or that people are tracking you. This is to be taken by consent, but personally, I think they chose a bad medication.
I don’t know what is wrong with injectable abilify? That would be my choice.
This post is about focusing on the present as best as one can.
One problem many people with depression and bipolar struggle with is hopelessness about the future. It can be irrational, but often attaches itself to real world events. It’s a kind of inflationary problem; it takes real world concerns and balloons them up to an absurd size.
One subject of my recent hopelessness–actually, one that I’ve had for going on 10 years now–is my work. In short, I hate my job. I don’t like to whine. I’m luck to have a job. Last year I lost my job and didn’t have steady work for almost a year. As the only income earner for my family, that was a difficult time.
But still, even while I appreciate my job, I still hate it. I feel that I made some important mistakes years ago by falling into my line of work. Trouble is that when you get on a particular career path, it is difficult to switch course. And since I’m still the only bread winner, it’s even more difficult.
So what should I try to remember? How does a depressed person keep a realistic, and not pessimistic, view of the future?
One important fact is that my wife will hopefully be getting a professional license soon and can go back to work after a long period as a homemaker. Of course, the job market is terrible and it will likely take her a while. But I trust her abilities and know she will be persistent. And we are looking for something for her in the interim.
Another fact that I try to remember is that I am a capable person. It’s so hard to believe this, though, deep down. One consequence of my depression and dissatisfaction with my job is that I feel that I’m incompetent. So I try to remember times when I excelled at my job. The flip side is that my bipolar affects my ability to do my work. I get depressed, distracted; I make stupid mistakes. It will be a challenge. There’s the “realistic” thinking. Not overly optimistic, not pessimistic.
So if I am capable, though, I may be able to make the transition to another job. I just have to be persistent. When my wife begins working, I can afford to look for something that pays less but that I enjoy.
It’s a struggle. That’s why I have to try to keep my focus on the present.
I volunteered at a National Alliance for Mental Illness state conference this morning. I greeted people and directed them towards registration until it slowed down. Then I listened to the keynote speaker. He wrote the course I took on disclosing mental illness. I would have liked to have talked to him but I didn’t get a chance.
They had a quiet room with coloring, painting, chairs, information. I went there and hung out. I answered some questions but mostly relaxed. Lunch was okay.
In the afternoon I went to a laughter yoga meeting, but I had to pee and I didn’t want to laugh with a full bladder, so I left. I should have gone back, though. Everyone came out saying it was fun.
Then I went to a schizophrenia Q&A. I asked the dr if it was for everyone. I didn’t want to be in a caregiver meeting. It was for anyone. He started talking a little about schizophrenia before opening up for questions. He said we could write them down.
I turned one in but he never got to it. I had asked that since I have only had rare psychotic symptoms since 2006, when can I breathe and not worry about relapsing. I went up to him afterwards and he said he read it. He said that there is no answer. To enjoy today. “Breathe everyday”
I want to say something good, even thought provoking.
The truth is that for a couple months I felt pretty good. A functioning college student. Focused, determined, ready to take on the world. My only issue was how I was rather plagued with anxiety and took benzos nearly daily (well, I still take klonopin daily, it really helps).
And then it started happening. At night time I’d slowly descend into feeling depressed. But it didn’t last long because I’d go to sleep. Well it is happening earlier and earlier.
Today I flat out woke up depressed. I don’t have any inspirational thing to say. I feel more like I’m reporting in.
I guess this is where therapy skills come into handy. I found the most useful way to handle most things- depression, wanting to self harm, etc.- is by distracting yourself. Keeping your mind occupied doesn’t give time to focus on the depression. So I’m going to go play some video games.
I will admit, that maybe I am depressed partially for a real reason. I disappointed myself this summer. I was going to volunteer, and immediately went to the meeting and received the paperwork and turned in my references. But then I lagged, I didn’t finish the paperwork and call in for my training. I didn’t do anything, I finally got my TB test (required) done so that’s a bonus. I just got distracted for a month, by someone who was unhealthy for me and took up so much of my time. I regret not getting the hours in but also because it was going to be a wonderful way to spend my time, actually helping people. The best part was that there was no minimum hours, no set hours, nothing. You come and go when you please. It is the best volunteer option you can have as a college student. And I haven’t even started. Why? Why??? You know, after I finish this, I am going to finish that paperwork. And I will call that phone number even if its not business hours maybe she will still pick up. I am going to do this.
But the other reason, a lesser one, is that I didn’t start exercising. I told myself I would, but getting sick at the very beginning of summer (excuses) didn’t help. I kept pushing it off, “well I’m still recovering from my sinus infection!” Well that ended over a month ago, what’s stopping me now? Nothing.
I’ve also been trying to gain weight. I never got it back from my manic episode over winter. I finally gained 3 pounds (which is a lot for me). But now I am worried because I just bought a swimsuit that is rather attractive but won’t fit if I gain weight. So now if I gain weight, which I need to do, I just lost money.
Ah, anyway, I am going to grab that volunteer paperwork, RIGHT NOW, and go fill it out.
I know that making progress towards volunteering will cheer me up. Even if I regret immensely not starting this sooner. At least my fall quarter has two online classes, so I have ample time to spend volunteering.
Also, note to self: Stop drinking alcohol. It doesn’t make the depression better, at all.
I learned just yesterday that one of my college housemates died last year. I remember “Richard” as an outgoing young anthropology major, with plenty of friends, and interesting stories of life among the Mbuti pygmies. A mutual friend and fellow housemate told me yesterday that he had died.
I Googled his name (with appropriate accompanying words to distinguish him from all the other men with the same name), and found his obituary, and some other things that people had written, before and after his death. There I found hints at what looked like an upper middle class childhood, note duly made of Richard’s Stanford degree, two books that he had written (I’m impressed, as I have written zero books, unless you count the novel in a drawer and the screenplay in a drawer), and stories of his woodsman skills and the meals he cooked for his friends.
I could see, perhaps, a few things lacking: the obituary listed no spouse or lover or children to mourn him, only parents and siblings and nephews and nieces. And one brother had died before him (ten years before him, of a heart attack, I found in another obituary helpfully supplied by Google). An article from a couple of years ago said that his small business was struggling a bit.
But nothing in these bits and pieces, or in my memories, prepared me for the closing paragraph of the warmest blog post of memories.
One summer day last year, Richard hung himself.
I realized I haven’t blogged in about a month. Where have I been?
I discovered an app called periscope. It lets you live stream and talk and others can type and chat. The few people who have came to my “scopes” are pretty shy, so I feel like I am talking to myself, but it is fun.
In the news:
There was a recent study on marijuana use and health
Teen marijuana use not linked to later depression, lung cancer, other health problems, study finds
Study contradicts some prior marijuana research
“Chronic marijuana use by teenage boys does not appear to be linked to later physical or mental health issues such as depression, psychotic symptoms or asthma, according to a new study.”
One of the researchers stated:
“We wanted to help inform the debate about legalization of marijuana, but it’s a very complicated issue and one study should not be taken in isolation,” Bechtold said.
MentalHealthJustice.net (has twitter and facebook pages) is collecting videos of people’s stories with mental illness.. They can be about 3-5 minutes
Janet Frame endured eight years as a mental patient before she went on to become the poet laureate of New Zealand. She was misdiagnosed. While she was incarcerated she underwent electro-convulsive therapy without anesthesia and was lined up for a lobotomy until her doctor learned that she had won a prestigious literary prize and took her off the list. This movie is the story of three periods in her life. Her time in a mental hospital is the second.
I would guess that social anxiety and, perhaps, depression were the demons that afflicted Frame. She would hide in corners. She failed at her work as a teacher. When two of her sisters died, she crashed into a frozen despair.
If Angel at My Table is accurate, Frame was most certainly not schizophrenic. An early scene in the second part of the film shows her riding to the hospital in a car with two women who are severely impaired by their illnesses. She stands out as unafflicted by whatever is troubling her fellow passengers. Things were done to her while she was in the hospital just because they were the latest treatment. Her mother desperately signed the papers for the lobotomy: if Frame had been trapped in a mindless system, we would have lost a great author. Fortunately, a doctor noticed in time and helped her win her release.