Bipolar and Pregnancy

I have had this idea for something to write for a long time.  But I’ve been dreading it.  It scares me to be so open and raw.  I’ve been trying to and learning to do so, but this particular topic is really hard for me to admit and to be open about.

I’m terrified of having a child, especially after my diagnosis.  Because there is a genetic component to bipolar, what kind of mother would I be to give my child the same kind of issues that I’ve dealt with my whole life?  How is that fair to them?  It’s already hard enough to be alive.  This would, or could, just make everything harder.

While it’s not as extreme, it kind of feels like someone with Huntington’s or some other disorder that is genetically inherited.  They struggle with knowing whether to have a child as well.  But for these disorders, or some of them, there are tests in vitro that can be taken.  They don’t know enough about the brain to be able to test for something like bipolar.  I have family history of mental disorders that I’m just really finding out about, so there is some kind of genetic issue going on with me.  Do I just ignore it all because of my deep and burning desire to be a mother?  Can I reconcile with the fact that I will know what I’m seeing if my child does show signs of bipolar?  Or will I overreact like I have with my step-kids and make a mountain out of a molehill?  So far, I’ve been able to notice issues with my step-kids before the doctors do, but that doesn’t mean I’m good or it’s safe for me to notice and point them out to their parents.  I could be wrong and start things that shouldn’t be there.

How does one reconcile the need to be a mom, since I was but three years old, with the desire and love for an unborn child to not hurt?  Because I already have extraordinary issues with my back, it’s already going to be very difficult for me to carry a child before and after birth.  That I can handle.  But what about my medication during the pregnancy?  I’ve already talked to my psychiatrist about it and she’s helped many bipolar women through pregnancy and had a healthy child after.  I know it’s possible.  But it’s also terrifying to be taking such powerful medicine when you’re not even supposed to have Tylenol or soft cheese during pregnancy.

Now family that is reading this.  This does not mean I will not have a baby, as you all know it’s my one goal in life.  I’m just voicing my fears.  This is all supposed to be coming up soon, so it has been on my mind a lot.  I have so much support and know I’ll be able to get through it.  It’s just terrifying.

 

 

(As an afterthought.  If you’ve noticed my writing has been shorter, I’m trying something out.  I was told that my writing is too extensive and people don’t have time to read the posts.  So, maybe if I write less but more often, I can reach more people.  I’ve just got to learn to be less verbose and more to the point)

Bipolar Medication

I joined two bipolar support groups on the ol’ Facebook recently.  I was kicked out for sharing information about my blog, in both groups.  How ironic is that?  But, while I was still in them, I noticed something that just got under my skin.  There was not much support other than asking for information on medicine.  That was the biggest question, over and over.  “What meds are you on, why those, what do they do for you, should I do this,” on and on and on.  It made me feel so lucky to have a personal pharmacist as well as two psychiatrists that are amazing (finally found them after much trial and error).  My personal pharmacist is invaluable to me in countless ways, but with my diagnosis, she just added another reason.

So, with this being said, I’m going to be all out there and talk about my medication for those people that are curious as to what has worked for me.  I’ve been through a bunch of changes, and these few finally have me relatively stable.  What did look like an earthquake seismogram now looks more like the aftershocks.  Calm with small blips every once in a while.  MUCH better than the hell my brain has gone through for years.

I am currently on Abilify 2mg, Cymbalta 60mg, Lamictal 200mg and then Zanaflex 4mg (for sleep) for my bipolar.  I have more medication as well, but those are all for my back and don’t really count for this information.  I have Propranolol (it’s a beta blocker) in case I’m feeling anxious and have the heart palpitations.  I haven’t used it in a long time though, I haven’t needed to (thank goodness!).  Now, I’ve been on a lot of other things, but they just didn’t work for me in the long term.  I remember the first few days after I got put on a mood stabilizer though.  It was as if the clouds and heavy wool blanket over my days and nights were suddenly lifted.  I could see the sun again.  I could see hope and love and gratitude.  It was unlike anything I’d ever experienced.  It didn’t last long, as that particular medicine (Seroquel) made me over sleep and eat like I was famished (I gained 20 lbs in about 2 weeks).  I will always remember how it felt to have those clouds lifted though.

I’ve tried so many medications throughout the years, when my doctors all just assumed I had anxiety and depression.  None of them worked of course, I needed a bit more umph.  And these mood stabilizers in this combination finally provide it.  I do still go up and down, but not NEAR what I was before.  It’s night and day.  I can smile and laugh and cry now.  I couldn’t do those things before.  I feel like a new child learning how to feel for the first time.  One of my psychiatrists after not seeing me in a while said it looked like I was just lighter and floating.  I feel that way now sometimes.  It’s scary and exciting all at once.

 

Bipolar is Hard

Guys.  Bipolar is hard.  It’s a lot easier now that I have a diagnosis and have been tracking everything.  But when my mood changes, I notice more of everything.  Everything matters now with how I take care of myself; I can see a huge change with small things like getting up on time and how that affects me.  A few weeks ago I was in a mixed episode, I’m sure.  This week I’m down.  Not as far down as I used to be, but I’m what I call “quiet.”  Which is often pensive and reflective.  I just woke up from a nightmare about my step-kids.  Nightmares always freak me out, as I usually do not dream.  Now I’ve got that on my mind and likely won’t be able to sleep the rest of the night.  And I struggle to sleep now without more on my mind.

Last week I was terrible about remembering to take my meds.  That REALLY caused a downswing and also made me not feel great.  Turns out SNRI’s really suck to stop taking for 2 days.  After talking to group, we found a way for me remember at a consistent time.  They’re right next to my bed and when I take out my retainer, I take my meds.  Much easier in general to be medication compliant.

Then why am I down?  I’m staying productive for the most part, which is a huge trigger for me.  I’m doing my one productive thing a day at least.  Still nothing.  Do I just wait it out?  How long until I go back up?  I know this is all much easier and won’t last as long as it would have been unmedicated.  But going through your first few swings after being much more stable is a bit disconcerting.  At least before my diagnosis, I knew when I went down, I was going WAY down for a long time.  Now it’s all unknown.

It also doesn’t help that I’ve been hyper-analzying my blog.  Seeing what happens if I don’t write but once a week.  Changing wording and format and titles to see what changes in patters of views.  All I can see is that when I post, I get about 20 people reading for 2 days, then it goes down to 3.  This has been hard for me to swallow.  I have a hard time separating myself from my writing, so I’ve been taking it personally and questioning myself.  Things are running through my head similar to “why even do this, am I helping anyone now?  Am I not good enough at writing?  Am I on the wrong topic, since I know no other bipolar people other than in group?  Should I not do this anymore?”  Yay for rumination!

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Intrusive Thoughts

Intrusive thoughts are something that I used to deal with extensively.  Mine would manifest mostly as a suicidal ideation.  I would constantly think about what would happen were I to drive off the road and no longer live.  I wouldn’t PLAN on driving off the road, nor did I have intentions of doing so.  I would think about the repercussions of it as well as what it would feel like.  This would happen a lot during this previous summer when I was on my way to or from work, as my drive is 45 minutes.  I didn’t plan on doing it, until I did do it.  My therapist suggested to me that my suicidal ideation (at least before it went away, as I no longer have this issue) may just be a form of intrusive thoughts that a lot of people have.  Intrusive thoughts are unwanted thoughts, images, or ideas that come across your mind and you can’t necessarily stop.  They may come out of nowhere or be a constant companion that doesn’t quite make sense.  Things like driving off the road or wanting to punch someone that isn’t even irritating you.  Dropping a plate you’re holding, putting your hand on a hot stove, jumping off of a bridge you’re walking across, hurting yourself etc.  There is a long range of intrusive thoughts that anyone and everyone can have.  Thankfully, it’s super common, so you don’t have to worry if you’re crazy (for this reason anyway).

They aren’t exactly easy to stop; I had to get diagnosed as bipolar and go through intensive therapy and medication changes for mine to stop, but it is possible to do.  While I do not have mine anymore, I am hypervigilant now while driving, so mine went the other way.  I’m not thinking of driving off the road anymore, I’m terrified of someone making me have a car wreck, so I’m very vigilant and anxious when driving, thinking someone will pull in front of me or something and cause me to crash.  Alas the pendulum swings.  I looked up some common intrusive thoughts, perhaps you may have some of these too.  There were quite a few that I had as well.  I’ll link the article, so you can see the full list as well.

  1. People are looking at you and laughing at you
  2. You are a burden on people
  3. Something bad is about to happen
  4. Hurting yourself or others
  5. Violent thoughts
  6. You don’t love your significant other
  7. Family would be better off without you
  8. Committing murder
  9. Contracting a disease
  10. You’re not good enough or thin enough
  11. You’re ugly and fat
  12. Jumping off a bridge or onto a subway rail
  13. That you have done something terribly wrong
  14. Things happening to those you love
  15. Nobody loves you

 

There are endless variations of these basic thoughts.  They are intrusive and so by nature they like to stick around and go around the hamster wheel in your mind.  The only way I’ve found to help me get over/through them is to ground myself.  I will also rub on my worry stones I have strategically placed in my car, beside my bed and in my purse.  In order to ground yourself, they taught us to pick one each of smell, sight, taste, sound and touch and apply it to yourself in that moment.  If you’re in the car in the rain, pick the smell of the rain, the view of the road, the sound of the radio, the feel of cold air running through your hair, the taste of the soda you have next to you.  Place yourself back into that exact moment.  Ground yourself to where you currently are as opposed to the “what if” thoughts that are going through your mind.  This technique I use quite frequently to get through panic as well as get rid of any nasty thoughts.  We practiced this in some of my first group therapy classes using our favorite senses as well.  That way, when we are in the throes of a panic attack, we can mentally picture our favorite senses and try and ground ourselves when we can’t focus on anything but the panic.
What intrusive thoughts do you have?  How do you get through them and get your mind back on track?

 

https://themighty.com/2017/02/intrusive-bad-violent-thoughts-ocd/

Seasons of Love

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?

In daylights, in sunsets
In midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles
In laughter, in strife

In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure a year in the life

How about love?
How about love?
How about love?
Measure in love
Seasons of love
Seasons of love

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Journeys to plan
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure the life
Of a woman or a man?

In truths that she learned
Or in times that he cried
In bridges he burned
Or the way that she died

It’s time now to sing out
Tho’ the story never ends
Let’s celebrate
Remember a year in the life of friends

Remember the love
Remember the love
Remember the love
Measure in love
Measure, measure your life in love

Seasons of love

This song has been going through my head all day, as it is New Year’s Day.  This song always makes me reflect on my year and what’s happened and how I would measure it.  It is from the Musical, RENT, which has been my favorite since I saw it with my aunts, mother and grandmother as a young teen.  I think this is a great way to reflect back on 2018 and see what a tough year it was, but also how much growth I’ve accomplished during that time.

The first six months of 2018 I barely remember.  I was just chugging along, going to my doctor’s appointments and trying to get a handle on my depression and anxiety.  I knew I was sick, but thought it was just that.  Smaller things.  I was spread too thin, working really hard at my job and doing well at it.  I worked my ass of on some projects that changed the way my team worked.  At home, I was trying my best to be the best wife I could while holding onto resentment and irritability at Connor.  I came home and napped for 2 hours every night and then on nights when Connor was out in the garage, I’d play Zelda and just escape for a few hours.  I wasn’t LIVING, but I was going through the motions.

Then my kitty got sick and almost died.  Then I started struggling at work.  Then the car ran through Connor’s business.  Then I had more issues with my step-kids.  It all came down at once.  My suicidal ideations became stronger and I just wanted to drive my car off the road.  Then I did and ended up in the psych ward thinking I’d driven myself off the road (turns out I didn’t).  Now, everything is different.  I have hope.  I have life.  I’m doing a lot better and I’m not just going through the motions.

I can stop my car on the side of the road and really enjoy a stunning sunset with the dark silhouettes of guardian trees.  Cups of coffee can be savored next to snoring dogs and purring cats.  Every inch is harder, but sharper and more beautiful when viewed through the rearview mirror.  There is more laughter.  More strife.  There is more love.  I’ve learned more truths in the last six months than most of my life.  I’ve burned the bridges of the dark thoughts I’d had before.  I can celebrate and love my life and my friends.  My life is full of love now.  There is hope.

Shoulds and Anxiety

 

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Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

Fair warning ahead.  This post will have a lot of “should” spoken throughout.  I know I’ll be “shoulding on myself” but it’s kind of the point of what’s going on.  I want to talk about the lack of motivation and how it contributes to my guilt issue.  There are a ton of things that anyone may think they should be doing.  How they should look, how they should eat, how they should feel, what they should do in certain situations.  On and on and on.  I don’t know how anyone would not feel like they should all over themselves.  However, I feel that some/most people may not have such an issue with the shoulds as those with depression (side note, my spellcheck hates shoulds).

When I’m in the throes of depression, or what I think I’m entering now, my mixed state, my motivation to do things goes close to zero.  My shoulds go off the charts.  Right now, I have about a month before I go back to work.  So I should be doing the rest of my list of things I wanted to get done around the house, because I won’t have the time or energy to do them.  Am I doing or starting any of them?  Nope.  Nada.  I should be though.  I know I just deep cleaned my house last week, but I should do a room a day in order to keep it this clean; nope, not happening.  I still have things on my last list I wanted to do, like clean my fridge and organize my utility closet.  Still dirty and a disaster.  It’s almost time to get the Christmas decorations down that I don’t even particularly care for generally, and I’m dreading it.  I should read the 8 books on my nightstand and can’t even get myself to do that, and I LOVE to read.  I should give my dogs a bath.  I should get a craft table downstairs.  I should learn more about my new craft toy so I can play with it.  I should finish decorating my step-daughter’s room.  On and on and on; you get the point.

My point is, that with all these things on my theoretical plate, I have even less motivation to do any of them.  I feel overwhelmed and that makes me shut down and not able to do any of it.  I could have done something small today as I had about an hour alone.  What did I do?  Color.  Maybe I needed it.  I have been really anxious recently, mostly about going to work and my lack of sleep.  How will I get up at 6am when I wake up at 2 every single day?  I’m not even going to get into all of my anxiety about going back to work, they are crushing me too.  I will have the day tomorrow to myself to get some things done, so I may do one.  I do have a rule that I have to do one productive thing a day.  Perhaps since my washer is still broken, I can put away the three clean baskets I do have ready and clean.  They’ve been sitting for weeks, perhaps it’s about time.  Maybe because I’ve got so little motivation I should pick something smaller and more digestible to do.  Pick a thing, any thing.  I’ve been crocheting random scarves with this pretty green wool yarn, but I have a billion scarves and have no need of it, so what’s the point?  To keep my hands going and moving to deal with being anxious, and not using my phone to do it.  Coping?

The other part I’m dealing with is clearly my mind is going at top speed.  You can tell if you look up at my shoulds.  There is so much there that is spiraling around and doesn’t stop.  It hasn’t been that way for a while.  It’s only done this for about 3 days, so I cannot really confirm I’m in a mixed state, but I’m assuming this is what it feels like.  I spent an hour when I woke up pretend shopping so that I don’t impulsively spend money on amazon.  I just shop and find things I want and add them to my cart.  I’ll then hit “save for later” or add to a shopping list.  That way I still FEEL like I’m shopping, but don’t spend my money.  I do that on a lot of websites, it’s the only way I could find to stop my random compulsive nighttime shopping.  And it’s worked for the most part.  There are a few things I messed up on, but that I decided I NEEDED to have.  And one of them, I had in my cart for a week.  I want a retractable baby gate at the top of my stairs.  My dogs have been good about not going downstairs if I’m not there with them, but if I go down, I can’t keep them upstairs.  Downstairs is where the good kitty surprises are as well as cat food and pieces of wood to chew up (which I still haven’t cleaned from the other day).

So with all of this swirling around in my head, how do I pick one out and do it, so I don’t go down into full depression?  When I’m in full depression I feel worthless when I don’t do anything, and that just triggers a whirlpool of worsening despair.  What am I going to do when I go back to work and don’t have the time nor energy to do any of this?  When I work, I get home and am just mentally exhausted and can only take care of the minimum of chores, like feed everyone, make dinner and clean up.  By then, it’s 8 pm and I can’t/won’t do any more.  Weekends are for adventures and seeing the kids.  I’ll have to continue to do the next right thing and just pick something and force myself to do it.  And hopefully I can get out of this mixed state somehow.  Though I don’t have any clue how or when that can happen.

Finding Boundaries

I have always prided myself on being nice.  Growing up, it was very much a learned thing.  My parents would always stress being generous to others, which I completely agree with and have tried to impart on my step-kids.  I remember being in third grade and there was one kid who had no friends and was picked on.  He was bigger and smelled; he was probably living in poverty and who knows what else.  I realized that Sam (I don’t know if that’s his real name) never had anyone to sit with, and in lines to lunch, nobody would stand close to him.  I recall talking to my mom about it and she told me to sit with him at lunch.  So I did.  I ate with him.  I don’t have any more memory of the situation other than this, but it did stick in my head.

Being nice has become such a huge part of who I am, it’s one of the three core things of myself that I hold on to.  No matter who it is, I will always look for a piece of good in them.  They could be the worst person in the world and I’d try to find something in them that I appreciated.  It’s part of who I am.  I will try my hardest to reach out and do what I can to help others in need.  Selflessness is something I strive for on a daily basis.  For example, today at group, someone had only 3 hours of sleep and was struggling to stay awake.  I went to the store and got him a RedBull so he could stay awake on the drive home.  I didn’t need to.  It was out of my way and took me some time and $6.  But it was worth it to me and I’m glad I did.  Small things like this are very important to me.  I love doing it, but sometimes it will cause an unusual issue.

Boundaries.  Personal boundaries are something I’ve struggled with my whole life because of my reach for selflessness.  For one, I don’t really know what mine are.  They are usually derived from a feeling of self-worth and the belief that you are worthy of time and respect and your own space.  I have not felt worthy of boundaries most of my life.  I honestly don’t even know what mine would look like.  There is one thing I know I will not accept in any way, shape, or form.  I will not tolerate being beaten or physically abused.  If I’m hit or anything in anger, I’m gone.  I don’t care what is going on or how much I’m/he’s in love.  It’s not acceptable to me.  That however, is all I know.  I don’t know how much of anything else is okay.  By my loved ones or from strangers.  I’ll take all I can, just swallowing my resentment of what I’m doing for others and not being thanked or even acknowledged.  Maybe that’s a boundary of mine?  I need to be acknowledged for going above and beyond and doing a lot of things?

For example, Christmas.  I got all of the presents for every family.  I got them all wrapped myself.  The decorations were all put out by me, including outside and three Christmas trees.  Ornaments for swaps were all picked out by me.  I organized which presents go to which house and how many presents for each child to each home.  I took care of making plans and confirming where we were going to be and when.  I spent two days cleaning my house because we were having visitors over.  I spent a lot of time and mental effort on this Christmas.  And I got no acknowledgement of it.  If there was any, it was just a quick “thanks” kind of thing.  Nothing of significance that I can remember.  So now, because I am thinking that’s a boundary, I have to do the next step.

The next step would be to be assertive and confront the person who violated your boundary.  Don’t worry about being nice or kind.  Assertiveness isn’t being angry or mean, it’s standing up for yourself in a calm manner.  Being honest and fair to them by telling them you are upset by something or that something is not okay.  This terrifies me, I can’t lie.  But, I’m going to do it right now.  I need to practice on smaller boundaries when I find them, so that if a large boundary is crossed (like telling me what to do or that I can’t do something), I am practiced and able to stand up for myself.

What are your boundaries?  Have you had to stand up for yourself when you didn’t feel comfortable doing so?  How did you get the courage to do it?

***Edit: so I did confront Connor about not being appreciated and he responded perfectly and is still saying how much he appreciates all I do every day. Good husband. 🙂

Warning: Whiny Post Ahead!

I came downstairs today not knowing what I wanted to write.  Or even if I DID want to write.  I just know I need to.  I think I am in a mixed state right now.  A mixed state is when you have elements of both hypomania and depression all at once.  My hypomania often comes out in irritability as well as starting things I don’t end up finishing.  I can’t sleep (well, I can’t sleep on my meds very long anyway, but it’s worsened by hypomania).  My depression is mostly just unbearable grey and uncaring and in general I don’t give a shit about anything.  I am not necessarily in pain or sadness, but I don’t care about anything.  I don’t want to do anything but sleep.  It’s utter and total disinterest and nothing is good or okay or beautiful anymore.  I don’t even want to play Zelda or cuddle with my animals.  And that’s unheard of.  I don’t want to talk to anyone, I will avoid texts and people.   Today I have group therapy at 2, and I’m convincing myself I HAVE to go, even though another part of me is trying to convince myself to call and not go.

Tdday body wants to go a million miles a minute, but I also don’t have the motivation or desire to do anything.  I’m down on myself right now for not wanting to do it, and I feel guilty for being lazy.  It’s 11:15 am.  I’ve been up since 9 am and all I’ve done is watch Outlander and some Harry Potter.  I am annoyed at everything, even my dogs.  I wouldn’t let Lulu use the stairs to the bed and cuddle today.  We cuddle every morning.

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I’m irritated at all the things in the house that are broken.  I’m annoyed that I have to clean up Christmas things, I’m frustrated that I sorted out all the presents from Christmas into the kid’s rooms, and yet I know they’ll sit there until I get angry and yell.  I’m heartbroken about something I can’t really talk about in a public place, I’m mad that it even happens.  I’m stuck on what to do about it (groupies, you’ll hear about it today I’m sure, if I can get myself to talk about it).  Right now, I’m highly annoyed that my dogs are downstairs with me and grabbed a piece of wood from the fireplace.  They are currently tearing it into bits and pieces on my clean carpet that I spent last Friday making sure was spotless for my two families coming over.

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Look at that face though!

I am pissed that I’m not smart enough to figure out how to fix my own washing machine that has a clogged filter (Oh, there goes my broken washer error-ing out again.).  So, I’m irritable to say the least.

My hypomania is telling me all the things that I should do right now.  It made me come down and write for one.  Then I want to clean my house (again).  Or should.  I should clean my fridge.  I need to organize my front closet.  I got a new Cricut (a fun cutting tool for crafting anything I ever want to) for Christmas and I want to learn how to do it.  My sister gave me two wonderful journals that have prompts on what to write about that I want to start, but lordie I don’t want to physically write.    I want to wash my new blue scalp in a shower, but no way do I want to shower when I’m also depressed.

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Look at all that blue!

My head is also telling me that I want to shop.  I don’t know with what money, but I want to get new things for my Cricut like iron on transfers and cardstock and all the things.  I need to pay off my hospital bills first before I blow money on fun things.  My impulsiveness got me to get a second piercing in my earlobe, which I’ve thought about doing since I was 18.  I just finally got the impulsiveness to actually DO it yesterday.

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Impulsive at it’s finest

I’m just going to stop here.  This quickly divulged from a therapy whine to a pathetic whine.  I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and enjoy your day.  Maybe when I wake up at 2 am tonight I’ll come down and write a legitimate post.  I just read an article about a study where they took a ton of people in MENSA and found that those with higher IQ’s are more likely to have a mood or other mental disorder.  I need to do a bit more research on the actual study though, not just the article about the published paper.

***I don’t even want to “advertise” this post on my social medias.  Let’s see how it does without it.  I feel like a twit for even publishing this in the first place.

Cognitive Impairments

I want to talk today about something I didn’t even really know was a part of bipolar until I read an article about it today (yes, I still constantly read about bipolar). I joined a Facebook group for those with bipolar, and it seems like there are the same 5 questions asked over and over in the 50k+ group.  One of the most prevalent questions have to do with medication.  Another asked about is always “is this a part of the illness as well?”  The symptom/side effect of bipolar I struggle with is the cognitive impairment.  These issues that come with bipolar is another super fun present, besides the mood swings.

There are a few ways these impairments can manifest.  One is often called “brain fog,” when you can’t pick the word you’re looking for.  You can SEE the thing you’re trying to name.  You can think of any other word, just not that one.  This is the most annoying one for me.  It feels like there is a huge comforter over my brain that the words can’t squeeze through.  They just aren’t accessible.  It drives me nuts sometimes, especially when I’m around people I don’t know.  I hate looking like an idiot, and it makes me feel like everyone thinks I am an idiot when I can’t think of the word chair.  Brain fog can also show as a slow or sluggish brain.  You usually have a certain speed that you think in or can recall information.  During brain fog, it drastically slows down.  You can’t access information or think.  The deepness of the fog (for me) depends on how down in depression I am.  When you’re manic (for bipolar 1) or hypomanic (bipolar 2), your brain speeds up and you can have a million different thoughts seemingly all at once.  Some people will say things they don’t mean.  Others will become angry and lash out at loved ones.  It’s nearly fun to have a brain that feels as speedy as Einstein (except the rage), but it is terrible and exhausting when you inevitably crash.

Memory lapses are also hugely common.  It becomes so hard to remember exact wording said during a conversation, or if you even HAD a conversation.  I find myself forgetting simple things like what I went into a room for, more commonly than I see others do.  Just today for example, my sister asked for a hair tie so I went upstairs to get it.  Somehow, I got distracted with something and completely forgot to get it.  Connor had to take out his hair tie and give it to her.  Brain fail.  When I woke up at 2am today, that was the first thing I thought of, as it just popped in my head.  Kind of like when I was a server and would wake up in the middle of the night remembering I was supposed to get table 3 a side of ranch.  It sucks.  I finally am so desperate to remember everything I have going on, I have two calendars.  I have a physical one hanging next to my refrigerator (which is color coded depending on type of appointment, of course) and then I put every single thing in my phone too.  Unless I forget one or the other, which has also happened.  I’ve also put the wrong time for a physical therapy appointment in my phone and showed up 30 minutes late.  I was so embarrassed.

It’s also hard for me to remember to do things.  I constantly have a running list of chores or things I want and need to do but will constantly forget things.  I have to make shopping lists now, or I’ll forget half of what I needed to get but come home with a million things I didn’t.  I’ll tell someone I’ll do something for them and then forget to do it until they remind me.  This happened a few times over the last couple of months.  For my HOA, I’m the vice president.  I told a board member I’d write an article for him and just couldn’t remember to do it.  Eventually I gave up and said to publish without me, I couldn’t get my brain to work.  Then, I told the president I’d do a review on something by Sunday, and Monday came around and I hadn’t done the whole thing.  I had to wake up early that day and make sure I got it done for her.  Thank goodness she reminded me.  Sometimes when I do remember to do something I said, I get really proud of myself, and that’s borderline pathetic.  But, what can ya do?  When you’re limited, you’ve gotta work around it.

There is a lot more that comes with the bipolar diagnosis than I initially expected or what shows up on WebMD.  I’m still learning every day what it means for me, and how to work around each thing.  Thank goodness for therapy helping me find out and thank goodness for support groups and the internet to show me more.  I’d otherwise just write it off that I’m losing my mind.  But not in the same way that I guess I already have!