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.