Monday, December 31, 2007

Weight Loss

Hey all - wondering if anyone has experienced this.

I've been on Lamictal for a few years, and have tried various other things with it. I haven't stayed on any of them, the return was not great enough to justify the costs. After a couple years of trying, the doc finally convinced me to try Lithium. We spent a lot of time discussing potential side effects, and among others I mentioned my concern about weight gain. He said average was about 20 pounds, but if I continued to work out I probably wouldn't experience that much gain.

It's only been 2 months, but this stuff is amazing. It's not as side-effect free as Lamictal, but it has tamed my predominantly manic side perfectly. I'm not tranquilized, I can think, I can work, I can write, I can work out. It's just incredible.

But - the reason for the post. I'm losing weight. 2 pounds in the last week, 5 pounds in the last month. Hooray! Right? Not so fast. I just came through the holidays eating like a horse. I've worked out only 3 times in the last 2 months, so I'm not exercising it off. I'm eating more than I have in a long time. But today I'm equal to the lowest weight I attained last summer after working out every day for 6 months. I'm not understanding this, and it has me a little nervous. I'm physically nervous, nervous tics, constantly shaking legs, hands on the verge of tremors, so forth. But I don't feel that nervousness in my head. I'm like a calm, placid, pond in my head.

Anyone ever experience this?

Friday, December 28, 2007

At A Support Meeting...

It goes along with the discussions we've been having lately, so I wanted to share.

Last night at a support group meeting, a father and his young adult son came. I didn't recognize them, it was their first meeting. The son had been in the hospital, was just diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and is currently in partial treatment. The father was doing everything he could do for his boy. The father was so hopeful that they'd found the right med combination, and his son would be cured. We find out the boy had been only a week on medication.

It's heartbreaking when you know they're going to eventually realize a week's worth of medication tells you nothing, that it may be several years before medication is correct. And that bipolar disorder is, for most of us, a life-long condition. A few tried to break it to them, but the father was so hopeful it just wasn't sinking in. I hope they continue to work with it, and that the boy doesn't give up hope. They were both so overwhelmed.

Colleges take hard line on psychological problems

Colleges take hard line on psychological problems --

Fallout from the mass shootings we've had recently, colleges are using mental health as a reason to deny access. I understand the fears, but this is a terrible injustice.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Blogger In Crisis

We have a blogger in crisis, Dreamwriter at Coming Out Of The Dark is really struggling right now. If you have a moment stop by and leave an encouraging word.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Cure?

A recent comment left by Gianna got me wondering. It's my personal opinion (for what it's worth) that bipolar disorder is a lifetime condition we're born with, and cannot be "cured". I feel that through therapy, or medication, or both, many can live a normal life, if that's our desire.

Interested in other's thoughts, as I do have an open mind on this issue. Agree? Disagree?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bipolar Disorder In The Workplace

First of a series:

Calling the pharmacy for a refill from work:

"Hello, I need a refill."

"Certainly. Can I have your name and date of birth?"
(I give name and DOB)
"I pulled you up in our system. Which prescription were you needing to refill?"

"I’m in a crowded workplace right now. I don’t need the Zolpidem, and I don’t need the Lamictal…"

"Do you need the Lithium?"

"Yes. Thank you very much."

I don’t hesitate to ask for Lamictal out loud, as that’s also used for epilepsy. Isn’t it a shame that I wouldn’t mind disclosing epilepsy if I had it, yet I don’t feel I can disclose bipolar disorder?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Omaha Shootings

By now most of you know about the shootings in my home town last week. At a mall where I hung out as a young kid, worked myself through college, and shopped as an adult. 2 miles away, and on the same road, as the historic Father Flanagan's Boys Town. Funny, things like this didn't happen in Father Flanagan's time, did they?

I'm a staunch 2nd Amendment supporter, but put Bill Clinton's assault weapon ban back in place. Cap magazine capacity at 10, or even better, at 7. Small capacity magazines would have made a difference in the Omaha shooting. It might not have prevented it, but it would have cut casualties.

If my old buddy Ted Nugent were here right now he'd be kicking my ass. But it's a different world today than it was 10 or 20 years ago.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Family's OK

For those concerned, we're all OK.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Change Is Coming

It's inevitable. With hypomania it always is, but this one worries me. I'm driving a car without brakes. Right now it's fun - windows down, warm fall day, music playing, smoking a good cigar. Enjoying myself. If I can keep the car at a reasonable speed, I can maneuver without brakes. Downshift, gently slide into a curb, there are ways to slow down without doing damage. But it's just a matter of time before the inevitable crash.

As if the feelings aren't enough, actions are speaking loudly. I'm obsessed with the website I'm building, I'm trying to write the occasional column for BipolarConnect. I'm trying not to ignore the family, but helping with my daughter's algebra homework is causing an upward slide towards the dreaded mania. Only for a short period, then I'm back to hypomania. Those damn slope equations, while easier for me now than they were 30 years ago are still not easy. Throw in a major stressor - we're short on money because of Black Friday Christmas shopping and school obligations that seem to hit all at once this time of year.

I'm trying to handle all my projects, handle the problems, and break in a new medication on an average of 4 hours of sleep a night. And I need a sleeping pill to even get those 4 hours. It's been this way for about 2 weeks, one day a week I get 6 to 7 hours, the rest I get 3 to 5. I'm full of energy, yet impaired. That impairment randomly sneaks into my head and Bam! I'm forced to take notice. Last night was one of those 7 hours of sleep nights, and I was a walking bundle of energy today. Even after that much sleep I unfortunately didn't take the opportunity to roll over and jump the wife, (morning is the best time, and really the ONLY time before the rest of the family gets up) as I was too obsessed with my work on the website. Obsessions are strong right now. With all that's going on in my head, the urge to self-medicate is also incredibly strong. I have quit drinking (for now), but would LOVE to get my hands on a joint. I know, I know, hold the lectures, I won't do it. My damn common sense is still hanging tough. Besides, I wouldn't begin to know where to find it these days. This desire. while tempting, will pass shortly as all other's do.

Sure as shit I'll be going down. I really and truly hope it's a mild slide that stops at normal. My new med regime might just temper things enough. I raised my Lamictal dosage to 200. I started Lithium, and just raised that dosage to 600. So far it's made me manic-leaning hypomanic. This mood might have come about even without the change in meds, or it might be exacerbated by the change. All I know is we have Christmas, New Year, and my annual hunting trip all within the next month. I desperately want to be good company for all these occasions.

I'm tightening the seat belt, this ride's going to get a bit bumpier.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

New Book Reviews

On, we have a few new book reviews.

First, Gianna reviews Grace Jackson's "Rethinking Psychiatric Drugs: A Guide for Informed Consent". I would recommend reading her review. IMO to be an informed "consumer", we need to know all sides of the issues surrounding psych medications.

Next, I review a book called "Finding Iris Chang", by Paula Kamen. A well written book, read the review here.

Finally, as if it needs a review is the classic "His Bright Light" by the famous writer Danielle Steel. It's the story of her son, Nick Traina, and the struggles he faced in the short time he spent among us. Extremely well written, it's a must read for all.

I'm just finishing "Manic" by Terri Cheney. This is an excellent book, watch for the review in the next day or two.

I'm looking for reviews of your favorite books, I'll post your review along with your name and a link to your site or blog. I'm also looking for ideas for a Christmas gift post I'm preparing for BipolarConnect. So jump in with your favorites.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Looking For Book Reviews

Hey All - for the LivingBipolar site, I'm looking for your book reviews. I know many fellow bloggers have written book reviews in the past, and I'm interested in using those reviews. Or if someone wants to write a review, I'd love to have it. In exchange I'll post a link to your site or blog, for example:

"Reviewed by Reviewer Name."

New books, old books, good books, bad books, positive, negative, I'm interested in any reviews. Long, short, it doesn't matter, as long as it's more than a sentence or two. If we get several reviews on a particular book, more the better. I'm in the process of writing up a several I've been sitting on for a while, so I'll be adding those shortly. I'd like the books page to be a good resource for people seeking answers.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Once a doctor and star athlete, now an unstable patient

Once a doctor and star athlete, now an unstable patient

What a disturbing, yet believable, story. I can so identify with this guy, that was my exact personality when I was younger. Had I not been married with a child on the way when I got my undergrad degree I'd have continued college for a masters, then PhD, then law degree, then... People argue that even when manic, we know the difference between right and wrong. I dispute that - mania, by my definition, is a loss of touch with reality. The level of psychosis can be minor, or in this case, almost total. With this kind of psychosis, how can anyone claim that anything close to a normal thought process is in place?

My heart goes out to everyone in this horrible scenario.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Lithium Update

I have taken 8 daily doses of Lithium so far, and it's been interesting. I'm agitated and wired. Not in a pleasant way, either. If I wasn't committed to staying straight, I'd be self medicating into oblivion right now.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Cabela's Donates Winter Clothing To Omaha Homeless Shelter

Cabela's Donates Winter Clothing To Omaha Homeless Shelter - Omaha-
This warms my heart. For those who may not know, Cabelas is the large mail order outfitter specializing in outdoors clothing and gear. They are based in Nebraska, so it's logical they would support a shelter in their state. Omaha is a city of about half a million, and like most cities that size there is a significant homeless problem. Winters are cold, frequently below zero, which makes this gift even more appreciated. I have heard they also donated enough food for the Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners at this shelter. And that is HUGE, they serve hundreds of homeless at this shelter, and that figure skyrockets at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I'm going to keep this in mind and give Cabelas as much of my Christmas budget as I can.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


I've been working on the new LivingBipolar site, and I'm considering adding a discussion forum, like a phpbb forum. I've run a forum in the past, and it's a lot of work. Rewarding, and a lot of fun, but time consuming. It takes daily effort, checking several times a day for appropriateness of posts and removal of spam.

Why am I bringing this up? If there is someone out there who has a burning desire to run and administer a forum, I'll consider adding one, and perhaps a chat room. I can't offer anything other than to increase your exposure and plug your blog or website. But if someone wants to build a community in this way, let me know.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Self Realization

First, I feel better than I have in the last few months. I am SO glad my SAD finally lifted.

I originally started this post with an apology to my blogging friends for not getting around to your blogs, not commenting, and not being a good friend. Then I stopped and realized it's who I am, that I'm not capable of being that kind of friend, and probably never will be. I can't take on other's problems when I can't handle my own. It's this way even with my wife, when she gets sick or depressed, I just can't handle it. To a lesser degree she's the same with me, when I've been in a bad way I've pushed her away in the past. She's gotten conditioned to rejection and nastiness. I'm a good-time friend, I'm a great motivator, I can make people feel welcome, I can make people feel good about themselves, I will try to remember your name and use it whenever I see you. I'm a lot of good things, but I'm not a hard-times friend. Not that I'm allowing myself to escape working on this part of my personality, but it's liberating to understand that this isn't a failure, it's the way I am.

That last paragraph didn't sound good. I want friends, I just can't be a good friend in every scenario. I read about people who get offended when their friends aren't supportive enough, or aren't there for them, or don't understand their disorder. That's asking a lot of a friend, in my opinion. I expect nothing from my friends that I can't provide. Honesty and basic integrity is all I seek in a friend. That and a decent taste in music, or let me pick the tunes when we're together...

Had a pdoc appointment yesterday, and he talked me into crossing a bridge I wasn't comfortable in crossing. After 2 years of him suggesting, I finally agreed to Lithium. He suggested 600 mg, I asked for half of that, and he agreed. He says there's a synergistic effect with Lamictal, he called it "Lamithium". I also finally admitted my role as a blogger, and writer for HealthCentral. I was worried he might think I was living my diagnosis, and to be honest I thought I might be. But after a few years I realize that's not the case, I'm living with it in the way that works for me.

I'm glad to have this outlet, whether or not I'm able to be a nurturing part of the community.

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Game Face

I am SO damned sick of fighting this disorder.

My medication dosage is not high enough to handle my symptoms, but if I go higher, I impact my ability to function at work. And I'm absolutely terrified of losing my income source, or of having it cut significantly.

Because of some personal stuff I went from hypomanic to depressed in a day. I know that can happen to anyone, but I can't concentrate on work, and will probably end up going home early. That's the kind of shit I (and maybe many of us) face: Under-medicated I'm not stable enough to be effective in my job, but more medication and I'm not mentally sharp enough to be effective in my job.

I know everyone has their cross to bear, but damn - I'm so frustrated right now, I'm not sure if I want to scream or cry. I'll do neither, of course, I'll suck it up, shove it back in my head, and do what needs to be done. I'm glad to have this outlet, the only person I can share this with is my wife, and she's over-burdened already.

Time to put the game face on and jump back into the mainstream.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Living Bipolar SIte

From depression to hypomania in a week? Welcome to my world. I've found myself smack-dab in the middle of a hypomania, and I'm enjoying it. But with the hypomania comes obsessions and ambitious projects. I've started to resurrect the project. I started by using Wordpress, and got that semi-functional. But Wordpress isn't as robust as I wanted, so I am in the process of building it in Joomla. Joomla is a Content Management system (CMS) that is very powerful, but has a steeper learning curve. I've used Joomla and Mambo for a few years on various sites, and I'm still trying to get the hang of it. That new site can be seen at

But anyway, that is my current obsession. So if it appears I'm ignoring this blog, well, right now I am. But I'll be back...

Friday, October 26, 2007

Horrifying Sight

How is it that a person can get SO physically sick, lose so much weight, and look absolutely terrible after only a few days of renewed alcohol / drug abuse? We're talking a handful of days! How can someone be SO healthy, SO happy, and be willing to proudly exclaim how good they feel, yet in a handful of days look like they're near death's door? It's a horrifying thing to witness. And the worst thing, they can't see it happening to themselves.

PLEASE reach out for help. Reach out to us, or to anyone else, but PLEASE know we're very worried.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Odds and Ends

Hey All!

Feeling a little better, the worst of the depression has lifted. I did find something that helped, the herbal supplement Ephedrene. It is legal if you can still find it. They are starting to prescribe stimulants such as Provigil or Modafinil to depression sufferers, and I thought maybe Ephedrene was worth a try. It didn't help my insomnia, but it did help my mood. I wouldn't begin to recommend this to just anyone, but it might be another tool in the toolbox.

I'm going to begin somewhat of a "rebranding". There's been a few things lately that have me convinced I need a more unified, less confusing identity. As many of you know, when I started writing at HealthCentral's BipolarConnect, the fine folks there thought it might be confusing if I used the name "Jon", as the noted bipolar advocate John McManamy is on their staff. They asked me to go by my initials GJ, and I agreed, as I really didn't think the HealthCentral thing would get as big as it has. But they've done some search engine magic, and now when you Google bipolar topics, the name GJ jumps right out. While I prefer "Jon", I can't avoid rebranding to GJ. So be watching for that as time moves along.

I picked up a domain name the other day that is just screaming for attention: It's such a fun sounding name I want to build some kind of a blog or site around that name. After I bought it, I discovered another blogger using "bipolarville" to describe her posts about bipolar disorder. If I do anything with the name, I'll certainly give her a heads-up.

I hope everyone is well, and further hope the SAD that is kicking so many asses is losing some steam.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Depression Hanging Tough

Damn depression is hanging in there. I've only worked out a few times in the last 2 months, and work is difficult. I have to kick this shit.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Right Brain or Left Brain

From The Herald Sun:

Which way is the dancer turning? Counter-clockwise or Clockwise? Leave a comment and let us know.

Counter-Clockwise = Left Brain:
-Uses logic
-Detail oriented
-Facts rule
-Words and language
-Present and past
-Math and science
-Can comprehend
-Order/pattern perception
-Knows object name
-Reality based
-Forms strategies

Clockwise = Right Brain:
-Uses feeling
-"Big picture" oriented
-Imagination rules
-Symbols and images
-Present and future
-Philosophy & religion
-Can "get it" (i.e. meaning)
-Spatial perception
-Knows object function
-Fantasy based
-Presents possibilities
-Risk taking

Once you get that initial answer, you can often change the direction by concentrating. The entire thing is pretty cool. Around the house last night we had 8 people (we rarely have less than 8 or 9 people around here on weekends.) Their answers are below:

Myself: Clockwise
Wife: Clockwise
20 YO Son: Counter
Son's GF: Counter
Kyle: Counter
Grandma: Counter
Oldest daughter: Clockwise
Youngest daughter: Counter.

Leave a comment with your perception.

Long-Term Prognosis

I'll be writing a complete post about this over at BipolarConnect.

When I was in my diagnostic phase, knowing I had bipolar disorder, but not having been formally diagnosed, I was comforted to read that medicated, the progress of the condition was halted. I wouldn't get better, but wouldn't get worse, either. And at that time, medication was a necessity. People who know me may not believe this, but things were terrible. My family was terrified of me, my coworkers were leery of my moods, my temper was out of control, and alcohol and substance abuse was little changed over the years. It was a toxic environment in our home, and something had to give.

I never allowed myself to get on a long laundry list of meds, I have 1 main medication, and a couple of others to take when necessary for mania or sleep. But the one thing they don't tell you is that things not only don't get better, they get worse over time. That stuff about stopping the progression of the disorder is bullshit. Day to day does improve, but there is a steady, noticeable, long-term slide. I haven't yet decided if it's med related, or just the natural progression of the disorder. I suspect some of both.

I know people (family) still don't believe my diagnosis, don't like to talk about it, and blame my changes on medication and family stresses. Let me tell you folks, this is the real deal. Without meds, as imperfect as they are, I likely would have killed someone, and it might have been me. The high-energy life of the party fun hypomanias I used to get are mostly gone, replaced by pure mania, often with psychosis. This stuff is dangerous. But anyway, I won't function at this level forever. It may be 1, 5, maybe 10 years, but at some point I'll be forced to take a lower level career position. Perhaps disability won't be far past that. My wife works in admin for an excellent small investment company with excellent management and a kick-ass track record. She'll have to take up the slack, and will pursue her securities licensing in the near future. With her personality she'll do well enough for both of us. People just love her, and she gathers friends like the pied piper.

Enough for now, this medication may finally allow me to sleep. It's 3:30, so it's about time...

2:30 AM

I tried to go to bed 4 hours ago, but no luck. I took a quarter of one of Kyle's Trazodone, and while pleasantly buzzed no sleep. Those are supposed to knock out anyone. I took 5 mg of Ambien with no effect, then another 5 mg. I hate to take more, so I may be blog surfing and posting all night.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

New Jersey psychiatric center deaf to patients' plight, suit says

Be warned, this is an anger trigger.

From Liz Spikol's blog:

New Jersey psychiatric center deaf to patients' plight, suit says

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Analysts Say Noven Will Not Give Up on Bipolar Disorder Drug Candidate

Ahead of the Bell: Noven

NEW YORK (Associated Press) - Analysts said Tuesday that Noven Pharmaceuticals Inc. is likely to give its bipolar disorder drug a second chance in a late-stage clinical trial, a day after word of poor results sent the stock plunging.

On Monday, Noven said tests showed its Lithium QD patch was not significantly more effective than a placebo. Shares sank 21.8 percent, to $13.05, reaching an annual low of $12.91 during the session.

Oppenheimer & Co. analyst Scott Henry reduced his target price to $18.50 per share from $20, but maintained a "Buy" rating on Noven stock. He said the company wants to begin a new late-stage trial after it meets with the Food and Drug Administration to discuss results of the most recent testing.

Henry said results from that trial could be available in nine months to a year.

Analyst David Steinberg of Deutsche Bank said the delay could be much longer, possibly more than 18 months, as Noven may attempt a larger trial or change the formulation of the drug to make it more effective. He kept a "Hold" rating on the stock, but cut his price target to $14 from $17.

Henry noted that the FDA is due to rule on another Noven drug, the bipolar disorder treatment Stavzor, in the next few weeks.

"Even though considered low risk, there are no guarantees that this product will gain approval," he said. He added that investors have become very pessimistic about Noven's pipeline, but their views could change if the company is able to report good news.

Is there any doubt, anywhere, as to the motives of large pharma? Of course they're entitled to make a profit. But these companies are being driven by shareholders who have no interest in anything but the return on their investment. They have no knowledge of the industry, the R&D process, FDA approvals, or the impact of their products on consumers. The bottom line is all that matters.

Fear Of Crime May Erode Physical And Mental Health

Fear of crime may erode physical and mental health | Health | Reuters

There's an easy solution to this, don't fear crime. And the best way to accomplish this mindset? Arm yourself.

Think I'm kidding? Well, only halfway...

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Quote For Today

With all the pain being felt by the bipolar disorder community right now, here is good advice:

"Get your beauty sleep, or things will get ugly."

Friday, October 05, 2007

A Thought For Today

"I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened."

--Mark Twain

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Bush Vetoes Child Health Plan

Bush Vetoes Child Health Plan - New York Times

But he seemed eager to avert a full-scale showdown over the difficult issue, offering that he is "more than willing" to negotiate with lawmakers "if they need a little more money in the bill to help us meet the objective of getting help for poor children."

" us meet the objective of getting help for poor children." The most significant poor children in the world were raised by George Bush Sr and Barbara Bush. Totally and completely mentally and morally bankrupt.

Abbey Road

Music can do a lot towards changing a mood. It can make us feel good, motivate us, even make us feel depressed. When things are at their worst for me, there is only one musical work that will do: The Beatles' Abbey Road.

Those younger than I will be rolling their eyes at this statement. But I would go so far as to say it's the greatest musical work in the last 100 years. The album as a whole is not completely perfect, there is a throwaway - Octopus's Garden is a complete throw-away. Maxwell's Silver Hammer is a classic Beatle's ditty, but doesn't belong on Abbey Road. And when I'm really needing the therapeutic value of the album I also omit the opener "Come Together". What remains is something that will soothe a raging mania, or lift the spirits when depressed.

Try it - put on the headphones, skip the tracks above, and tell me you don't feel better after listening to it.

Managing Bipolar Disorder - Psych Central

Managing Bipolar Disorder - Psych Central

This is a pretty good article that nailed my condition - mania being a mix of irritability, anger, and depression. It says euphoric mania is the exception, not the rule. I still get hypomanias, feel-good moods, but I've never considered these mania. Mania is something to be dreaded and feared.

It also says that 90 percent of marriages involving a partner with bipolar disorder end in divorce. That's a scary statistic. I take a lot of pride in staying married for 27 years, but I want to say - it hasn't always been easy. My wife is incredibly understanding of my condition.

The article also says that more than 40 percent of persons with bipolar disorder abuse alcohol or drugs. This is no surprise, in fact I personally think this figure is too low. It then gives a stat I've heard many times before, that 15 to 25 percent die by suicide, accident, or are killed in altercations triggered in a manic phase. I'm glad it includes people killed in altercations triggered by mania, but I'll take that a step further. I think the figure is even higher if you include mania-related accidents or other forms of death when in a manic phase. Mania is the real deal, and is SO DANGEROUS.

It also goes on to talk about supplements. If you want a great piece on supplements, read Giannakali's piece Supplements, Supplements, Supplements at Bipolar Blast.

Monday, October 01, 2007

The Stages of Bipolar Disorder

Hey all – looking for some input.

I’m looking for ideas for the stages of bipolar disorder. For example, we’ve all heard of the stages of grief – denial, acceptance, and so forth. How about for bipolar disorder? Apprehension, acceptance, excitement about better drugs, disdain for pharmaceutical companies, and so forth. These can be serious or humorous. It can be an entire list, or just one or 2 items.

If everyone could leave a comment with their idea(s) we’d have a great list. Even if you don’t think your idea is good, comment anyway as it may motivate others. Anonymous comments are absolutely welcome. If reading other comments triggers another thought, comment again with that thought.

I’m still depressed, but trying to keep my mind occupied and stimulated enough that I can function. If I can stay motivated or excited about a project, or even an article idea, it makes my depressions so much easier to handle.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Saturday Shorts

I wonder at times why I keep this blog, I haven't had the time to do it justice. I hope when my mind cycle changes, I'll be back posting more. I only have so many words in my head, and all of my bipolar disorder posting has been on the BipolarConnect site.

My mixed episode is mostly gone. My mania is fading, but my depression is hanging in there, although not as bad as before.

I had a scary episode the other night, an accidental almost-overdose of ambien. I was so manic I couldn't slow down my racing mind and sleep, so I took an ambien. One didn't work, so I took another. That didn't work, so... Before long I was WAY past impaired into comatose hallucinations. Very scary. The funny part, I KNOW better, but after that second ambien it didn't matter - my judgement was gone and all that mattered was sleep. I actually blogged while I was in that condition, I unpublished it and saved it as a draft the next morning. I may re-publish that one of these days, it's a disturbing testament to that mistake (and actually kind of humorous looking at it now).

The reason I was blogging the other night when I had the ambien issue was to say I have changed my blogroll service. I was using blogrolling, I am now using bloglines. Blogrolling was experiencing a lot of downtime and slow response. For those who are still maintaining their own link list, bloglines or blogrolling is SO much better. You can put a button on your browser toolbar and add a blog to your link list with a single click. One thing, though, Bloglines only supports blogs that have feeds. Blogger has feeds, but not everyone has them enabled. So if I can't access a feed, I can't link to your blog. My apologies to those impacted, it certainly wasn't by choice.

Since I've been using Bloglines, I realize that the blog feeds site I built and maintain isn't necessary at all. Bloglines does the same thing and so much more. For example, here are my feeds:
And those feeds pull into a simple link list (or lists) that I pull into my blog using a single line of code, which they provide. I haven't decided yet what I'm going to do with the site. I'm open to suggestions...

Kyle is hanging in there, but I think the blog world may be too intimidating. We'll see if he wants to continue.

I was watching Bassmasters, a fishing show on TV earlier today. I love watching fishing shows, I could have made it as a professional fisherman had life been different. No complaints, life's pretty darn good right now. But anyway... These fishermen are bringing in fish, and they're shouting...
"Oh yeah! A good one!" "Bring it home!" "Come to daddy!" "I like 'em big!" "Oh baby, you're a fighter!" "I love it!" "Ooh, she bit that worm so soft." "They want it fast today." "Stay down, don't jump!"
My wife stops, listens for a second, and says "Are you watching porn?"

Thanks to those who continue to check in regularly, and for those who read and comment on the BipolarConnect site.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Mixed Episode

How is it that you can be depressed, yet have a mind moving at the speed of light, and a body that is so full of nervous energy it can't stop moving? I hate these "mixed episodes".

Medicaid Changes Could Cripple Community Mental Health

Just received this email alert from the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law.

Comments Needed on Revised Medicaid Rules
Changes Could Cripple Community Mental Health

August 20, 2007--Changes in the rules proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) to govern Medicaid’s rehabilitation service category could restrict access to intensive community mental health services needed by children and adults with disabilities who rely on Medicaid for their healthcare. (See the Bazelon Center’s August 16th Information Alert.) The proposed regulations were published in the Federal Register on August 13, 2007 (Vol. 72, No. 155, 45201-45213).

As the single most significant source of financing for the public mental health system, Medicaid provides needed access to community-based care through the rehabilitative services option to help children and adults avoid institutionalization. The new rules could also have a profound effect on Medicaid services needed by other vulnerable populations, including people with physical and developmental disabilities.
Stakeholders’ Comments Can Make a Difference

If final regulations as later promulgated include many of the proposed changes, they will have a devastating affect on the availability of vital services, potentially crippling the community mental health service delivery system. A high volume of comments is often influential, so it is vital that CMS hear from large numbers of consumers, advocates, providers and other stakeholders about the threats posed by the proposed rules.
What You Can Do
Send your comments to CMS by the October 12, 2007 deadline. This is a critical opportunity to call upon CMS to make changes in a number of key areas and to influence the final rules. All public comments will be considered.

See sample comments and details on how to submit yours in the full text of this Action Alert at

Monday, September 17, 2007

Template Question

Hey All - I'm worried about this site loading slowly. I love the template, but it seems to be loading so slowly. Does it load slowly for others, compared with other blogs out there?

If It's Not Broken (Op Ed)

If it's not broken, - Viewpoint

Came across this, it's from an Illinois State University student newspaper. It rankled me. You would think college journalists would be a little less "simplistic". Someone who didn't give a shit had a deadline to meet.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

My Son's Bedroom

First of all, my family is not the neatest in the world. My kids could not keep a clean room if their life depended on it. My wife is oblivious to it, but it bothers me. In the past I spent a lot of time upset about messy rooms, and the house in general. No matter how mad I got, it just didn't make much difference. I guess if it's not a "united front" about something like that, the kids just aren't going to do it. Over time I realized that I could spend a lot of time getting upset at my family, having them upset at me, and making little difference in the messiness, or I could learn to live with it. So while it's not easy and I can't live with everything, I've learned to live with messiness, and I tend to overlook messy bedrooms. In a family of messy bedrooms, my 20 year old son has the messiest. It's truly awful, you walk in and kick a path open as you go. I just take a deep breath, count to 10, and walk past his door.

We'd been experiencing some outage on our cable internet lately, so they sent out a service tech to check our lines. We were chatting as he was working, he was a nice guy. He told me he thought he'd been to our house on a service call before. I didn't remember, but he kept talking saying he thought we were one of his first service calls over 3 years ago. He remembered because of the way they wired our house. All checked out OK, so he asked to see our cable modem. I gulped, because the modem is in my son's room. I told him I wasn't expecting this, that they were supposed to check outside lines only. He was insistent, so I told him the modem was in my son's room, and his room was not in the best condition. He laughed, and said he'd probably seen worse. So I opened the bedroom door, he looked in and said softly...

"Oh yeah - I remember this."

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Kyle's New Blog

Hey all - my son Kyle has started a blog.

Manic Repressive

He goes by the name "Stretch" and is starting by posting an autobiography he was assigned in a counseling session.

Stop by, leave him a comment, and let him feel the love of this community.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Question Of The Day

I've been thinking lately (very dangerous), and wondering if there are people, scenarios, or manifestations of bipolar disorder that are best left un-medicated?

Friday, September 07, 2007

Bush Negotiating With Big Pharma

From cartoon creator Mike Adams at

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

How Best to Treat Preschoolers With ADHD?

How Best to Treat Preschoolers With ADHD? The Harvard Mental Health Letter Discusses the Options

Preschoolers? 3 to 5 years old, being diagnosed with ADHD, and treated with Ritalin? How do they get an accurate diagnosis on a 3 year old? And is anyone else scared to death with the thought of prescribing psych medications to a 3 year old?

Ripped From The Headlines

Another visit to the wonderful world of psych headlines.

Pregnancy and Birth Spur Anxiety Dreams in Mom
What? Giving birth could be a cause of anxiety?

PETA Calls for Ban on Owning Animals, Psychiatric Intervention if Alleged Animal Abusers, Killers Are Convicted
Psychiatric intervention? PETA members are LONG overdue for their own "psychiatric intervention".

Children stressed about starting school
Ya think?

Tropical Depression Moving Away From Fla.
I would imagine moving from Florida to, say, North Dakota might cure "tropical depression". (Rimshot!)

Cannibal suspect in psychiatric care
"A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti."

Psychological Torture and the Bush Administration
Oh, this headline provides an endless source of material. Suffice it to say that the Bush administration is "psychological torture" to ALL of us.

And the award for the most inane headline of the day goes to...
Late-Night Teen Cell Phone Use a Threat to Sleep

Siamese Twins

From cartoon creator Mike Adams courtesy of

Monday, September 03, 2007

It Was The Mania Talking

Hey all, I feel bad for having made my last post. My manifestation of bipolar disorder is different than many, and maybe most others. I lean to the hypomanic and manic side. I often feel like I can do anything, and I'll tear your head off if you try and tell me differently. I can't, of course, and it's a symptom of my disorder that I feel I can.

So have some patience with my outbursts, for the past few months things have been somewhat rough. I try to post more, and end up offending people when I do.

Joey's Triumph Over Bipolar Disorder Is Remarkable: Psychiatrist

Joey's triumph over bipolar disorder is remarkable: psychiatrist

A little background here.

Andrew "Joey" Johns is a rugby legend in Australia, one of the best to ever play the game, and a national hero in that country. On a recent trip to Europe, they lost his luggage containing his medication, and he went 6 days without it. This, understandably, sent him into a mania, resulting in an alcohol binge, and arrest for drug possession.

But the reason for this post, is a quote by his psychiatrist:

Andrew Johns' psychiatrist says he has been astounded at his ability to perform while suffering bipolar disorder and taking drugs to treat the condition...

..."I think when the story comes out that Andrew did these things with the bipolar condition – was able to reach the height of sporting success and was able to do it on medication - I think that’s a very positive aspect" he said.

Now this pisses me off. I have NEVER felt there was something I couldn't do because of bipolar disorder. I watch for triggers and try to be cognizant of potential problems, but I have never felt limited by this condition. If it's important to me, I'll figure out a way to accomplish it. Period.


1. Do people out there feel limited by this condition?
2. If limited, is it a factor of the disorder itself? Or of the meds used to treat the disorder?
3. Is this post a function of my current hypomanic / potentially manic frame of mind? Will I feel the same way after I crash?

Friday, August 31, 2007

The Runner is Back

I've been under the weather recently, and fighting a depression since Kyle was released from the hospital. It sunk in that no matter how hard we try, we can't protect him forever. Fortunately, he came away from this experience far better prepared for life than I've ever seen him. I'm very proud of how he's responded to the crisis he faced.

The day after he was released he laced up his running shoes for the first time in years and ran 12 miles. He ran 2 full marathons when he was still in high school winning his age group in one of them. It is great to see him running again. Last night Kyle, my 12 year old daughter, and myself all ran 3 miles. Even though I'm fighting a sinus infection it felt great to run with my kids. The most enjoyable thing I've done in months.

It's good to have him home.

Schering-Plough Defends Suits Over Marketing of 'Off-Label' Drug Uses

Schering-Plough Defends Suits Over Marketing of 'Off-Label' Drug Uses

While this particular suit is not targeting psychiatric medications, their aggressive sales staff is offering cash kickbacks for off-label drug prescriptions. This has become an epidemic in the industry.

Why am I not surprised?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

New Orleans Mental Health Crisis

I really had no idea it was this bad...

New Orleans Suffers Crisis in Mental Health Care

It's a lengthy NPR audio piece, and prepare to be disturbed.

I should expect this by now, especially in post-Katrina New Orleans. But it's still enough to bring tears to your eyes.

New Orleans has gone from 240 mental health beds to 30. 240 beds was not enough pre-Katrina, as they were fully used and rarely had openings. Patients being brought in by emergency workers are met with open hostility by ER personnel, and are often turned away before being seen. One story involved being turned away by an angry doctor before even getting on the ramp at the ER.

This is a story that needs to be heard by all with even a passing interest in mental health issues.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Life Comes At You Fast...

I say this every few weeks, but I appreciate all the emails and messages. I am still here, but I'm just not able to write as much any more. Life has gotten hectic, time has disappeared, and stress is constant. I've been bordering on mania for quite a while now.

My son Kyle is going through an experience. It was a life-threatening, and we hope, life-change experience. I wrote about it here:
All of us are still dealing with the stress of this. I'll have more to report when we find out what the options are. Right now we really don't know how everything is going to shake out.

On the positive side, after over 7 years I finally quit my second job. For me, work has been a coping mechanism. If I'm working hard and moving fast, I'm not thinking too much, and not getting into trouble. It's always been one of the things that has kept me stable. I'm going to try this, we'll see how it works...

I hope all is well with everyone out there.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Life Sentence

I'm not usually a fan of this type of story, but this got to me. Well written, the pain and emotion came through. I had tears running down my cheeks.

Life Sentence

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Positive Place

I woke up this morning, still under the weather with a minor flu that's kept me down for a day and a half, but finally with some creativity and motivation. These days my cycling comes around to give me ideas and energy way too infrequently. I'm excited, and hope to get caught up on blog posts, BipolarConnect shareposts, and making the rounds of other's blogs. I may even get a chapter or two written.

I love it when this frame-of-mind rolls around.

8 Random Facts

I rarely do memes, but after being tagged by BamaGal, I couldn't say no.

8 Random Facts about me:

1. I have been on TV several times, most memorably serving as a guide for the Governor for a televised fishing competition.

2. I have never been arrested, an amazing fact given my past history of alcohol and substance abuse, and wild & crazy behavior.

3. I have hunted with a famous and controversial rock and roll musician who shall remain nameless.

4. I am in the process of writing 3 books, all of which are in various stages of progress.

5. One of my greatest pleasures in life is listening to good music. Out of the hundreds of shows I've seen, one of my all time favorite concerts was The Doobie Brothers, with opening act Bob Seger, in 1976. My younger brother gave me the tickets for my birthday, and I took him to the show. Seger hadn't exploded into stardom yet, and he kicked ass. The 'Doobs still had Jeff "Skunk" Baxter on guitar, one of the greatest guitar players ever, and they kicked ass. And - I saw the show straight. Quite an accomplishment given my personality back then.

6. It took me 5 years to graduate from college, the first few years being on and off academic probation. After year 3, with a GPA under 2.00, I decided it was time to get serious. I set a goal, and made it - graduating with a GPA of 3.001, one of the accomplishments in life I'm most proud of. I have since taken many classes, including the equivalent of an associates degree in programming, never getting a grade other than "A".

7. I used to drive a '72 Chrysler Imperial, the longest production car made at over 22 feet. I loved that car. Once I got it over 135 mph on a lonely interstate in Illinois while my wife slept sprawled out on the huge front seat beside me. Given the condition of the tires at that time, we're both lucky to be here today.

8. I used to own a retail store, with some of the most amazing and memorable customers you could ever imagine. They included:
- A scientist on a nobel prize winning project.
- A cold-blooded murderer.
- A lottery winner.
- An elderly couple who were never apart since she was a precocious young lady who won the heart of a priest who left the priesthood to marry her.
- A musician who played with and headed up bands backing virtually every major R&B and jazz musician since the fifties. He told some amazing stories.
- 2 people shot dead by police in separate incidents, one semi-deserved, the other a screw-up by a young officer that spawned a cover-up involving planted cocaine.
- Countless others, from gang-bangers to federal agents, Hells Angels to homeless people, professional athletes to politicians.

I won't tag anyone else to do this meme, but I couldn't let BamaGal down. And, I kind of enjoyed it.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Linux Experiment

A while back I picked up a Dell Workstation that wasn't working. Great system, P-4, fast, but I had to fix it. After it sat around for a year, I finally got motivated to fix it, loaded up an old copy of Windows 2000 I had laying around, and ended up with a cheap, but excellent quality system.

I started to get this idea that I'd like to play around with Linux, and this was a great opportunity to do that. For those who don't know, Linux is a free, open source, operating system. It's used instead of Windows. Where a full copy of Windows XP or Vista might cost $200, Linux is free. Of course, programs made for Windows won't always run on Linux, such as Internet Explorer, Microsoft Office, and so forth. But there are options - Firefox browser, Open Office, and others take their place, and are also free. And the best thing? It's not Microsoft.

If there is any interest in this subject at all (doubtful), leave a comment and I'll start listing some geeky details.

As I move forward with this I'll let you know how things are going in the great Linux experiment.

By the way: This post was made using my new Linux system - Linux Mantriva Gnome, Dell workstation, D-Link wireless PCI network card - I could go on...

Church response to the mentally ill

An excellent article I found via Liz Spikol's blog.

Church response to the mentally ill

By Peter Andres

Are people of faith with a mental illness different from those who have a physical illness? Much about mental illness still remains a mystery. That's one of the reasons people are tempted to spiritualize the problem. They hope that the person with mental illness would be able to gain spiritual strength and thus gain victory over the illness.

What remains hard for many to understand is that having a mental illness and being a strong person of faith is no different than having a serious physical illness and being a strong person of faith.

How can church leaders encourage support of people with a mental illness? What does a person with a mental illness need to help him or her feel accepted and part of the congregation? How does the Christian message and experience take on meaning under these circumstances? What exactly is mental illness, anyway?

Marja Bergen, in her book Riding the Roller Coaster (Northstone, 1999), describes her experiences living with bipolar disorder. She talks about the many important factors that helped make her life with this illness tolerable and manageable. Having a supportive husband, friends, and service systems were critical, but she also acknowledges the importance of a spiritual home.

Her church friends learned to understand her illness and provided spiritual nurture, especially during difficult times. She speaks about friendships which include a common belief as being the most valuable ones she'll have. But she also admits that she was fortunate in this regard.

Sadly, many people with mental illness who look for spiritual help during difficult times face ignorance, stigma, avoidance, and judgment. The spiritual counsel and prayer these people receive frankly do more harm than good.

Understanding mental illness, even from the professional, scientific perspective, is still very much a work in progress. Schizophrenia and its related disorders, bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression), major depression, panic and obsessive-compulsive disorders, are all considered mental illnesses. It is estimated that between 15 percent to 20 percent of North Americans will, at some time in their lives, experience a mental illness. Most of these will suffer debilitating depression.

Evidence suggests there are probably organic (biochemical) reasons for the illness, or psycho-social origins -- or a combination of the two. Treatments that deal with the symptoms include medications, psychotherapy or a blend of both.

What is clear to people working in the field is that the experience of the illness goes far beyond living with the symptoms. While a person who has a physical illness -- even cancer -- suffers discomfort and anxiety related to the illness, those who have a mental illness suffer from a constellation of additional issues. These all affect their ability to return to wellness. One of them is stigma, both internally and externally imposed. There's also the loss of self-worth and self-efficacy that might come with a loss of job, friends, marriage and the feelings of being separated from God.

How can the church assist someone in a situation as devastating as this?

1. Church leaders and church members need to know that a mental illness is not the same as a spiritual crisis. Nor is the absence of healing, especially after fervent prayer, a sign of judgment or lack of faith.

2. There should be no judgment about the use of mood altering medications. Medications are commonly needed to treat the bio-chemical causes for the disorder and radically help many keep their symptoms under control.

3. Quality of life for a person suffering from mental illness does not depend on a complete remission from the illness.

What church members need to know is that many experience a recovery which allows them to return to an active and fulfilling life -- but still continue to experience times that are difficult. Recovery from mental illness means: the return of a positive sense of self, usually through meaningful endeavour (work, vocation), a circle of meaningful relationships, a place to live that the person can call his or her own, and a spiritual life that feels a reconnection with God.

The recovering person can be experiencing personal brokenness and limitations, yet have valuable gifts to offer to the church community.

Peter Andres is a regional director for MCC Supportive Care Services, a non-profit charitable organization which supports people with disabilities -- including people with mental health issues. He can be contacted at

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Psych News Headlines

It's been a while since I've perused the world of Psych headlines, and I needed a good laugh today. So here we go...

Facial Expressions May Confuse

A new Northwestern University study of electrical activity in the brain supports this ibelief confirming that deciphering the facial expressions of a person who is trying to conceal fear or other emotions is tricky business.
Ah yes, a well funded study that confirms what every married man knows - when you think you've read her correctly, you're usually wrong.

Breast Implants and Suicide
A recent study suggests the risk of suicide is tripled for women who have undergone cosmetic breast implant surgery.
C'mon - is this trying to tell us that implants really aren't the key to true happiness?

A Mouth Full Of Stress
Experts in the field of periodontology have discovered a strong association between stress and poor oral health.
Smile, and show those pearly whites!

How Women Perceive Men
Do we REALLY want to know?

Hostility Puts Men's Hearts at Risk
Ten years of frequent hostility and depression may harm men's immune systems and put them at risk for heart disease, a U.S. study found.
So it's not a stereotype, the high-strung, hostile men really are at higher risk for heart attack? How much did this study cost?

Thursday, August 02, 2007

This Is A Health Central Top Site!

I'm stoked right now. I received a Top Site award from The Health Central Network. The Health Central Network is one of the world's premier health information web destinations. I've been writing for them for over a year, but had no clue this was coming, or that they even knew of my personal blog. From their site:

Bipolar Top Sites
Below are the web’s very best sites dedicated to bipolar disorder and depression as determined by our team of experts. These sites include small websites and individual blogs and were chosen based on their candid and informative content.  In giving these awards, we hope to recognize the individuals and organizations who share our vision in providing comprehensive, interactive and personal healthcare advice. would like to congratulate our 2007 winners and sincerely thank them for producing high-quality, influential sites in the Bipolar and Depression community!

The Trouble with Spikol
Liz Spikol, managing editor and columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, has translated her award-winning column into a blog humorously highlighting everything from struggling with mental illness to how to use a mop.

Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb posts fresh, interesting, and current issues and articles that impact the human psyche.  

McMan's Depression and Bipolar Web
Health Central expert John McManamy devotes McMan's Bipolar Web to helping intelligently manage depression and bipolar disorder.

Wing of Madness
A current and informative Web site and news blog on mental health topics by site creator and HealthCentral Depression Expert Deborah Gray.

Bipolar World
Providing a friendly, interactive environment for members to obtain information, news and support.

Depression Fallout
Anne Sheffield's wisdom, support and compassion helps spread her vision of knowledge as power.
Dedicated primarily to Bipolar II, provides, "quality education on topics where information on the Internet is scattered or non-existent".

Mood Garden
Secure, interactive community providing "Information, Support and Fun" 

Living with a Purple Dog
Patient Expert G.J. Gregory's site covers everything from living with bipolar disorder and raising a bipolar son to musing on current events, music, technology and pop culture.

Nassir Ghaemi
Psychiatrist and writer Nassir Ghaemi's blog is a mix of literary exerpts and current news commentaries written from a philosophical, psychiatric, and mental health perspective.

Slippery Slope

I know this isn’t uncommon, but unfortunately we often don’t pay attention until it happens in our backyard.

Omaha psychiatrist attacked at Lincoln Regional Center dies

Dr. Louis Martin spent the last 18 years examining the minds of the criminally insane.

Thursday, he died from the severe brain injuries that authorities say he suffered at the hands of one of those patients.

Dr. Y. Scott Moore, a fellow clinical director at the regional center, said Martin was tirelessly dedicated to his patients...

"He was very concerned for his patients," Moore said. "He leaned over backwards to make sure he had made an honest evaluation of a patient.

"He was extremely careful — and very empathetic with his patients. This was his life."

Ultimately, it was his death, too.

Eric F. Lewis, 35, had been charged with first-degree assault in the attack on Martin. Lewis, one of Martin's patients at the regional center, had made several vows that he would not be force-fed medication for paranoid schizophrenia.

After Martin testified at a hearing two weeks ago, a Douglas County district judge ordered that Lewis be forcibly medicated so he could regain his competency to stand trial on charges that he sexually assaulted two Omaha women.

Upon his return to the regional center, Lewis wrote an 11-page letter saying he wouldn't take his medicine.

The morning of July 22, a State Patrol investigator said, Lewis then piled his belongings at the front door — and ambushed Martin as he walked inside.

It was an attack that regional center officials say they couldn't have predicted or prevented — despite a history of threats and assaults by Lewis. That history included two assaults on patients at the regional center and a third assault in which he is alleged to have jumped and attacked a Douglas County inmate.

Society has the right to not fear an attack by a person with a history of schizophrenia, who has exhibited violent behavior in the past. But the person suffering from schizophrenia has the right not to be forced into a medicated state against his will. Where on this slippery slope do you draw the line? Or do you?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Immediate Problem Solving

I wonder if this is a bipolar thing.

When I’m problem solving, which is mainly what I do, I’m into it 100%. I focus on it, I live in it, I work it out, I do it right. The end result is correct, and it’s good. This isn’t process-driven stuff, it’s find-the-best-solution work. Find the most efficient code to make the program work. Or the query that loads the table in the shortest amount of time. That’s what I do, that’s what I enjoy, that’s what I’m good at.


Ask me a day later how I did something, or why I used a particular way of accomplishing my result and you’ll get a blank stare. I don’t have a clue. I don’t remember. It’s gone, the slate is clean, the mind has moved on, it’s ready to solve a new problem. I’ve always been this way, at least since my first real job in the eighties. It makes me look stupid when I can’t explain how or why I did something. I can point to the result and say "it’s right, isn’t it?"

Anyone else like this? I'm talking a completely clean slate after completing a creative task or problem?

Cannabis Use Increases Risk Of Psychotic Illness?

Cannabis use increases risk of psychotic illness - 27 July 2007 - New Scientist

I'm not sure what to think of this. My first thought was "Duh! - they smoke BECAUSE of the mental condition", but they cover this in the study. I guess I wouldn't be surprised if there was a worsening of a condition due to heavy marijuana usage. And if it was proven that heavy marijuana use actually CAUSED a mood disorder I wouldn't be too surprised. But there's too many axes to grind where illegal drug studies are concerned. Too much grant money to prove things one way or the other. But it does get a person thinking.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


You know, hypomania's a bitch. Yes, it feels good at times to be so full of energy, productive, and fun-loving. But much of the time it's pretty destructive. For example, I didn't sleep at all tonight. It's 3:00 AM, and I'm up. I have to take my family to the airport in an hour, they're taking a vacation without me, I can't get off work. But after going to bed early and trying to sleep for 2 hours, it was too late to take an Ambien, I was worried about waking up after that. So I'm up all night. On the positive side, I tagged all my blog posts back to the first of the year.

I wish there was a way to tame this without being risky to my career. I'd love to find a way to stay on an even keel, but I'm afraid that would impact my ability to work. The lamictal takes care of the lows pretty effectively, so I tolerate the highs and try to use it to my advantage.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Great News!

After years of struggling, jumping through hoops, waiting in lines, and dismal failures, my son Kyle got medication! My wife has been taking him through a series of assistance appointments for several years. You miss one appointment and you're back to square one. The process is so frustrating, and so intimidating, and so daunting, that he never was able to make it through. Finally today after having someone criticize Kyle for a paperwork mistake another aid worker made that would set them back several months, my wife broke down in tears. They finally saw the hell he'd been through in trying to get assistance. The person stepped up and went to bat for Kyle, and got him in for a psych eval and other med work that same day.

He just called me, and was excited. He felt really good about the appointment, and they prescribed him Lamictal and Seroquel! I never thought he'd be prescribed Lamictal through the public assistance process because of the cost. He knows how well it's working for me, and he's excited about the future.

I'm so happy for him, I'm almost in tears right now.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Bad Weekend Experience

Had a pretty bad experience over the weekend. Because my agreement with Health Central precludes me from double posting content, I'll leave a link:
Mania and Rage

The moment you think things are going well and you're in control, bipolar disorder can slap your ass right back down to the ground. The disorder likes to make it abundantly clear who is REALLY in charge. All we can do is try to keep our demons happy, so they don't take control.

Friday, July 13, 2007

What Kind of Soul Am I?

I hate these things, but after seeing this on half a dozen other blogs thought I'd take the test out of curiosity. I had no intention of publishing this, but the result was so interesting I couldn't resist.

This was me 10 years ago - pre-diagnosis and treatment. This test nailed it, right down to my wife's personality as a "Peacemaker". I really don't think this captures my true personality these days, my current hypomania has probably temporarily pushed me that direction again.

You Are a Hunter Soul

You are driven and ambitious - totally self motivated to succeed.
Actively working to achieve what you want, you are skillful in many areas.
You are a natural predator with strong instincts ... and more than a little demanding.
You are creative, energetic, and an extremely powerful force.

An outdoors person, you like animals and relate to them better than people.
You tend to have an explosive personality, but also a good sense of humor.
People sometimes see you as arrogant or a know it all.
You tend to be a bit of a loner, though you hate to be alone.

Souls you are most compatible with: Seeker Soul and Peacemaker Soul

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Night Owl Behavior Harmful to Preteens

Night Owl Behavior Harmful to Preteens - Psych Central News

An interesting article. I have 5 children, and have seen this behavior in some of them. Kyle was the worst about going to bed. When Kyle was a pre-teen my wife worked nights. I made sure I put him to bed every night, but when my wife got home at 2:00 AM, Kyle was waiting up for her, fully awake, every night. I don't know if this was a contributer to, or a result of, his bipolar disorder.

I now see this behavior in my oldest daughter, now 12. I don't think she has bipolar disorder, she's entirely different from Kyle at that age, but these sleep patterns still bother me.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Damn War

My 19 year old son’s best friend joined the Air Force right out of high school. He was promised a mechanic’s slot, which is his career goal. He made a choice between trade school and the service, feeling the education he got in the service would be superior to trade school. The sonsabitches yanked his mechanic job and made him an MP. He just got orders – while he can’t officially acknowledge it, he’ll be accompanying truck convoys from Kuwait to Iraq.


Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Personality Test

A company I interviewed with a week ago contacted me yesterday and asked me to take a personality profile test. What are you going to say? "Thanks for allowing me to take this next step!" These things are useless for me. My results change from day to day, and even from hour to hour. Could anyone with bipolar disorder take one of these consistently? Just once, wouldn't it be fun to ask which personality they want me to use?

Antidepressants Not A Suicide Risk?

Antidepressants Not A Suicide Risk - Psych Central News

We hear people scream about the dangers of SSRI's, then this. So which is it?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Question For Discussion

Do my peers with bipolar disorder intend to spend the rest of your lives on medication? Or do you live with hope that perhaps through a combination of self awareness, coping techniques, and therapy you might someday be able to live life drug free?

Monday, July 02, 2007

Great Week

The last week or so has been pretty decent. Not perfect, mind you, I've been bouncing around like that stereotypical yo yo. Yesterday's rant about pay-for-blogging illustrates the mania just under the surface. Which is funny, as my energy level is pretty low right now, so I would be expecting depression before mania. But they are more closely related, at least for me, than others would imagine.

Speaking about pay-for-blogging, I have decided to go a different route for my blog. Instead of ad words, or those services that you have to actually write about (Refinances - everyone approved!), I'm going to add one of those donate buttons. You know the ones, the "blogger beggar" buttons. Mine is going to be for a donation to "The Human Fund - Money For People". Watch for it.

Last week I went with Kyle to see a show, it was a father's day gift for me. We saw a band called "Indigenous" in a smaller club setting. This is a hard-rocking blues band, and these guys tore it up. The guitar player's name is Mato, and in this style of music there hasn't been a guitar player this good since Stevie Ray Vaughan. Mato is incredible. This ranked as one of the top five shows I've ever seen.

Tomorrow night my wife, Kyle, and I go to see Robert Randolph And The Family Band. If you have never seen these guys you owe it to yourself to see them at least once before you die. There has never been a more high-energy, harder playing, talented, and fun band. Ever. At any time. Bold talk? See them and find out.

For those in the US, have an enjoyable and safe Independance Day, and don't lose sight of the reason for the holiday.

Sunday, July 01, 2007


Sorry folks, I have retracted my last post about pay-for-blogging. Even though I promise I was not singling out any particular blog, I know people would take it that way. So if I've offended anyone, please know it was not directed at anyone in particular. Like so many things in life, we have different needs and objectives - what I get from my personal blog is not what someone else seeks from blogging.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Death Penalty for Schizophrenic Murderer Blocked

Death Penalty for Delusional Murderer Blocked - New York Times

HOUSTON, June 28 — Enforcing its edict against execution of the insane, a split United States Supreme Court today overturned the death sentence of a delusional Texas murderer who insisted he was being punished for preaching the gospel.

In a sharp rebuke to lower courts, the justices ruled 5 to 4 that the defendant, Scott Louis Panetti, was not shown to possess sufficient understanding of why he was to be put to death for gunning down his wife’s parents in 1992...

In a harsh dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas called the ruling "a half-baked holding that leaves the details of the insanity standard for the District Court to work out." He was joined in the minority by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, and Samuel A. Alito Jr...

In an interview with The New York Times last November, Mr. Panetti, clutching verses from scripture, declared, "The devil has been trying to rub me out to keep me from preaching." Until restrained by a guard, he started to strip off his prison uniform to show scars from burns he said were inflicted by demons and healed by President John F. Kennedy with coconut milk after the sinking of his torpedo boat in World War II.

Folks, this is scary. Even for Texas it's obvious this guy shouldn't be executed. Look at the vote - a 5 to 4 vote with the dissents coming entirely from the conservative side.

We often don't fully realize the long-term impact a president can have. The nominations of radically conservative justices almost allowed this man to die. It would have been a criminal act, and as Americans in our system we would all have been complicit in his death.

Get active. Be an advocate. Demand compassion and tolerance in our elected officials and their appointees. As individuals we CAN make a difference.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Right Stuff

I don't usually get political, but couldn't resist this. This next generation seems to have the "Right Stuff".

From the Omaha World Herald:

When a group of the country's brightest young people visited the White House this week, President Bush talked about how important it is to make hard choices, to step up and lead.

The young scholars couldn't have agreed more.

One stepped right up and handed the president a folded piece of paper.

It was a handwritten letter signed by 50 of the scholars, urging the president to stop human rights violations relating to detainees such as those held at Guantánamo Bay.

"If nothing else, it was an opportunity to show the president that we had taken to heart what he said about conviction and making the tough decisions," said one of the presidential scholars who signed the letter.

The handwritten letter said the students "believe we have a responsibility to voice our convictions."

"We do not want America to represent torture. We urge you to do all in your power to stop violations of the human rights of detainees, to cease illegal renditions, and to apply the Geneva Convention to all detainees, including those designated enemy combatants," the letter said.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


Was halfway watching the TV show "Without A Trace" tonight, and an ad came on about Bipolar Disorder. Mark Harmon is doing a public service announcement for and says it takes an average of 10 years to diagnosis bipolar disorder. He says that's 10 years of needless suffering.

Here's a link:

A tasteful ad, I was glad to see it.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Tuesday Shorts

This is a departure, I usually do Friday Shorts. But I didn’t have much to say Friday.

Yesterday was a difficult day. First, so much excitement Sunday night with the kids home for Father’s Day, I had a hard time falling asleep. Normally half an Ambien knocks me out. But last night I was up every 45 minutes, taking half an Ambien each time. I think it was after 2 when I took my last one, and 4 or so before I finally fell asleep. I slept through my workout, and at 7:00 AM when Karen finally woke me I was really dizzy. I stumbled off to work, and finally about lunch time I was doing a little better.

Then here at work we find out a coworker was killed in a water related accident over the weekend. She was the sweetest girl, between her and her husband they had several children. A very bad atmosphere around here. Isn’t it funny that even though I didn’t know her that well, I’m still affected by it. I can’t stop myself from imagining the fear that must have been felt by her and the pain of her family.

But a positive note – Kyle has moved back in with us! We were so worried about him where he was living. One of their roommates was violent, and their next door neighbor liked to shoot up his house with a gun. The neighbor OD’d the other day, but the roommate is still as violent as ever. I’m glad they’re out of that environment. Kyle now has computer access again at our house, so he will probably be reading this. Leave a comment and say hello to him!

Speaking of Kyle, he gave me a Father’s Day card that was the funniest thing I’ve seen in years. A very large man standing in sand, water behind him. He’s holding a huge fish. No caption on the front, but you open the card and it says…
“I was looking for an appropriately sentimental card, but kept coming back to the fat guy holding the big fish. Happy Fathers Day!”

I received a call this morning to set up an interview for a job I applied for last week. I’m a little surprised, the first interview is with the HR person and an executive VP. Granted, it’s a smaller organization, but they must really be motivated to bring in a VP on the initial interview. I’m going to need to swing by the Bipolar and Me blog for a refresher. Kansas Sunflower is a professional recruiter by trade. In amongst the other stuff on her blog, she has some great tips for job hunters.

Well, back to work. I’m going to have to really work at stability for the next few days. I’m out of my routine, I missed workouts the last 2 days, I’ve been sleeping very little, then the tragedy at work. This scenario has depression written all over it.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

This Isn't So Bad

When rapid cycling brings me back to this level, life is very good indeed.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Workout Music

This is an interactive post, so everyone get ready to jump in with a comment here.

I want great workout music. Songs that get you moving, that raise your heartrate, that will move you to run or bike that extra mile. And not just for workouts, music that will motivate us to cut grass, clean the house, keep us awake at work, and so forth. I want a variety of music, across all genres.

So lay a few of your favorites on me. Let's put together a playlist of workout music we can all draw on.

Here's my current workout playlist, it leans heavily to Americana. I need more variety:

Shame, Shame, Shame Aerosmith
Stop Messin Around Aerosmith
Dollar In My Pocket Big House
Whatever Happened To My ... Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Green Onions Buchanan, Roy
Supernova Buchanan, Roy
100 Flower Power Maximum Cracker
Get Off This Cracker
I Ride My Bike Cracker
Let's Go For A Ride Cracker
Movie Star Cracker
Highway Star Deep Purple
LA Woman Doors
Killing Floor Electric Flag
Soul Searchin' Electric Flag
Castanets Escovedo, Alejandro
Would I Lie To You Eurythmics
Gangsta Trippin Fatboy Slim
The Rockafeller Skank Fatboy Slim
Weapon of Choice Fatboy Slim
Pay the Alligator Flatlanders
Track 8 Ford, Robben
East to the West Franti, Michael & Spearhead
Hello Bonjour Franti, Michael & Spearhead
Yell Fire Franti, Michael & Spearhead
Feel Good Inc. Gorillaz
Midnight Train Guy, Buddy
Please Don't Drive Me Away Guy, Buddy
Circle Back Hiatt, John
Everybody Went Low Hiatt, John
How Bad's The Coffee? Hiatt, John
Rock Back Billy Hiatt, John
Slow Turning Hiatt, John
Something Wild Hiatt, John
Tennessee Plates Hiatt, John
Uncommon Connection Hiatt, John
Mony Mony Idol, Billy
Rebel Yell Idol, Billy
Begin To Wonder Indigenous
Blues This Morning Indigenous
Movin' On Indigenous
Shame Shame Shame Indigenous
You Turn My World Around Indigenous
Are You Gonna Be My Girl Jet
Take It Or Leave It Jet
Bawitdaba Kid Rock
Devil Without A Cause Kid Rock
Forever (Album Version) Kid Rock
Fuck Off Kid Rock
I'm A Dog Kid Rock
Somebody's Gotta Feel This Kid Rock
Hell At Home Landreth, Sonny
The Road We're On Landreth, Sonny
Feel Like I Do Lindell, Eric
Lazy Days Lindell, Eric
Battle Flags Lo Fidelity All Stars
Don't Worry Baby Los Lobos
Senorita Los Lonely Boys
Too Much Stuff (With Delbert McClinton & John Prine) Lovett, Lyle
Get Your Business Straight Magic Slim & The Teardrops
I'm A Bluesman Magic Slim & The Teardrops
Safe From Harm Massive Attack
Choctaw Bingo McMurtry, James
God Is A Real Estate Developer Michelle Shocked
Bleeding Heart Show New Pornographers
Sing Me Spanish Techno New Pornographers
Star Bodies New Pornographers
Twin Cinemas New Pornographers
Shake 'Em on Down North Mississippi Allstars
Can't Stop Ozomatli
Saturday Night Ozomatli
Crackity Jones Pixies
Tame Pixies
Good Times (3 Stroke) Randolph, Robert & The Family Band
I Need More Love Randolph, Robert & The Family Band
Squeeze Randolph, Robert & The Family Band
I'll Fly Away Randolph, Robert, North Mississippi Allstars, John Medeski
Preacher's Daughter Refreshments
The Girl Can't Help It Refreshments
She'll Be So Fine Roomful Of Blues
Filthy/Gorgeous Scissor Sisters
Music Is The Victim Scissor Sisters
Get out of Denver Seger, Bob
Crosstown Traffic (Feat. Robert Randolph) Soulive
Liquored Up And Lacquered Southern Culture on the Skids
The Great Atomic Power Southern Culture on the Skids
All The Time In The World Subdudes
Late At Night Subdudes
My Kickass Life SuperSuckers
The Evil Powers of Rock & Roll Supersuckers
Gin in the Morning Thackery, Jimmy
Detroit Iron Thackery, Jimmy & The Drivers
I'll Believe In You (Or I'll Be Leaving You Tonight) Tragically Hip
The Wherewithal Tragically Hip
Look at Little Sister Vaughan, Stevie Ray
Pride And joy Vaughan, Stevie Ray
Scuttle Buttin' Vaughan, Stevie Ray
The House Is Rockin' Vaughan, Stevie Ray
Baby Please Don't Go Wilder, Webb
Tough It Out Wilder, Webb
Divin' Duck Blues Winter, Johnny
Hustled Down in Texas Winter, Johnny
Rock Me Baby Winter, Johnny
Rollin' and Tumblin' Winter, Johnny
See See Baby Winter, Johnny
The Crawl Winter, Johnny
I Wish Wonder, Stevie
Me And My Bass Guitar Wooten, Victor
Disorder in the House Zevon, Warren
Long Time Coming Zutons


OK, I’ve never experienced anything like this. In the last 3 days I’ve been manic, depressed, and today I’m great. No depression, leaning slightly towards hypomania, but not significantly so. I just feel great. Refreshed, clear head, ready to take on the day.

I’m completely convinced this “yo-yo effect” is due to lowering the daily dosage of Lamictal, my primary maintenance med. About 2 weeks ago I called my pDoc worried about recent memory loss. He recommended lowering the dosage of Lamictal from 200 to 150 mg daily, which I’ve done.

Lamictal is so innocuous, it doesn’t have any kind of narcotic effect, doesn’t cause drowsiness, weight gain, or any side effects I’ve experienced. It works slowly, taking months to really make a noticeable impact to mood. If you don’t get the dreaded Lamictal rash, you won’t even know you’re taking it. But make a significant change in dosage and you’ll experience the deceptively powerful impact of this drug. It’s really pretty scary.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


This HAS to be the result of lowering my med dosage. I woke up this morning and could barely drag myself out of bed. I dragged myself to the gym in order to not impact my routine too much (routine = healthy, lack of routine = trouble), but could hardly do anything. It dawned on me that a depression was setting in.

Can you believe this? From true mania to depression in 2 days. Let's roll the dice and see what tomorrow brings. As fast as my moods have been changing I'll bet my next paycheck it's not depression. I've always cycled rapidly, but this is ridiculous.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Looking Up

The life of a rapid-cycler can be a godsend as often as it is a bitch. While things are not perfect, in fact not even good, they’re not half as bad as yesterday. I went home, applied for 2 new jobs online since my job is a source of anxiety lately, and was in bed by 10. This morning I began my normal routine again, and routine is a HUGE part of keeping me stable.

I’m wondering if part of yesterday’s huge spike was due to lowering my Lamictal dosage about 10 days ago. In order to see if it was a factor in recent memory loss I lowered dosage from 200 to 150 mg daily. This had to be a contributing factor.

In honor of the occasion I’ve changed yesterday’s “crash and burn Calvin” to today’s plain “manic Calvin”.

Thanks to all for your concern, emails, and comments.

Monday, June 04, 2007

True Mania

It’s here, and I’m scared. For me, a true mania is as bad as it gets. Thoughts racing, irritability and anxiety levels through the roof, the littlest thing has me wanting to put my fist through the monitor. I’m not suicidal, but for me nothing brings on self-harm ideation like mania. I have to figure out how to relax and get back into a safe routine. Right now I want to crawl into a bottle of Seroquel and stay there until my mind slows down to a semi-normal level.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Friday Shorts

I’ve had a rash of hits on the search string "Depaquel". Law and Order must have rerun the episode where they mention this fictional drug. Depaquel is not, to my knowledge, a legitimate medication. The writers most likely got the name from Depakote, and Seroquel, both medications used to treat bipolar disorder.

My current hypomania is hanging in there, and that’s a very good thing. SAD (seasonal affective disorder) could kick in at any time. Every summer depression rolls in and stays until fall. SAD normally impacts people in winter, but there is a small population that gets it in summer. It hasn’t always been this way for me, I’m writing a post for BipolarConnect about this. This yearly pattern is how I was eventually diagnosed. Every summer my wife talked me into seeing the doc about my depression. He always prescribed an anti-depressant, as I expected him to do, and after a few months I always got manic. I finally made the doc listen, and told him the antidepressants weren’t working for me the way that we expected them to work, and we needed to consider bipolar disorder. I knew I had it, but he couldn’t see how I could live into my forties without being diagnosed. But anyway, my next pdoc appointment is in early July, I hope the slide doesn’t start before then. I’m going to ask for an antidepressant, I know they can be taken when another bipolar medication is also being taken.

My last post was a music post, Emmylou Harris doing that haunting story "Red Dirt Girl". I hadn’t heard it for years, and when I heard it a few days ago it struck a chord and I shared it. Today I heard it again on A coincidence? Is a higher power trying to give me a message? Maybe I’m just being reminded to buy my tickets to a show she’s doing in my area later this summer…

Speaking of, their program director and on-air personality Laura Ellen died the other day. KPIG is a California radio station, and a long way from the heartland where I was born, raised, and continue to live. But Laura Ellen always took the time to answer my emails, and was genuinely interested in the shows we got in my area, the artists who played, and the quality of the performances. KPIG is one of the most unique radio stations in the world. They are a commercial station, but are independent, and play a wonderful variety of music ranging from hard rock to hayseed. Check them out for a delightful change-of-pace. When you do, remember Laura Ellen for making that musical treasure possible.

An email flash just came in:
I earn my living in the telemarketing industry, many of you know that and choose to be friends anyway. I’m not actually the person who calls, my accent is too Midwest for that. I work in IS, working on the technical side of the business. But we just received instructions to block all calls to Alabama on Monday, Jefferson Davis’ birthday. Evidently it’s a state holiday. Jefferson Davis was the only president the Confederacy had, from 1861 to 1865, during the civil war. He believed that corruption had destroyed the old Union and that the Confederacy had to be pure to survive. Can someone from south of the Mason-Dixon line convince me that this holiday doesn’t have racial overtones?

For those readers not living in the US, I apologize for all the US geographic references in this post.

I could ramble on forever, but that’s enough for today. Everyone have a great weekend, and let’s be careful out there!