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Thursday, June 28, 2012

ADHD and Bipolar

Over the last year I have heard a few accounts of Bipolar patients being treated with ADHD medications. Through my intense scouring of Bipolar research I learned the conditions are often co-morbid. I have a knowledgeable PhD Psychology friend to whom I posed the question, "how exactly do ADHD medications work?" After hearing his explanation (of which I am too lazy to write about. lol) I got the impression they may bolster racing thoughts.
I have a great relationship with my Psychiatrist so I discussed the possibility of using ADHD medication to help with my racing thoughts. Racing thoughts disrupt my life more than any other Bipolar symptom, aside from not sleeping. She had me fill out two questionnaires and......diagnosed me as ADHD! Haha. I was so surprised. I had misconceived notions as to what ADHD truly was. I always thought it manifested as the wild kid in class who couldn't hold still or the kid who couldn't concentrate and got bad grades. I always excelled at school and while I am energetic and chatty, I never thought it possible it could partially be related to ADHD. I am so often irked by the judgmental and biased view of Bipolar Disorder and yet I was completely     off base with my view of ADHD. 
Long story short, we began treating me for ADHD and the results have been AMAZING! My mood is exponentially better and my thoughts are more easily managed. I can concentrate on the important things and my paranoid, obsessive thoughts about things that may be irrational are kept at bay. Well, throughout the day anyway. I can tell when the medication wears off. I find it comparable to the "sun downing" in Alzheimer's patients. I am working with different strategies to combat my thoughts at night, but it is helpful to have my days enjoyed with a clear mind. My husband has noticed a huge difference and I find my family life more fulfilled. 
I am not saying everyone with Bipolar is ADHD, but I wish I had looked into it sooner. I have said it before and I will say it over and over again, I HATE TAKING MEDICINE! The possible side effects of long term use terrify me, That said, I am grateful to have control of my life. I have come to the conclusion I would rather have a fulfilled life and risk side effects than live in chaos. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Lovely Logics

I came across this on facebook and thought it was great for the racing bipolar mind. Easier said than done, but worth a try.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

I ran across this article and found it hopeful. Hopeful for those young little bodies in which lies so much stress and unrest. It is hard enough to be a bipolar adult. I can only imagine the frustration experienced by a child. I am grateful mental illness is being diagnosed and treated earlier and with more efficiency. As a bipolar parent, and understanding the genetic nature of the condition, I have to be aware of the possibility my children may be bipolar as well. If that ever becomes a reality articles such as this make me hopeful they will not be subject to judgement such as I have. Early onset juvenile bipolar disorder is fascinating to me so expect more posts in it's regard.

Saturday, March 31, 2012


The more I monitor my moods and circumstances, the more educated I become in all things ME. I learn my triggers, I learn my warning signs, and I learn patterns. One pattern to which I have recently become enlightened is that this time of year EVERY YEAR , I don't sleep.
It was a year ago, exactly, that I stopped sleeping altogether thus, landing myself in the psych ward to receive heavy meds. Apparently sleeping is important or something. I jest. Thinking back, I recall my psychologist frequently looking over notes and remarking the pattern. She attributed it to some underlying PTSD from events that occurred with the change of seasons..... While that is possible, I feel I have dealt with my "past" and now SOMETHING is causing my mood to alter this time of year.
I find it a fascinating cycle. I also find it extremely frustrating! While I don't always "feel" tired, I am noticing the side effects of not sleeping. I have given up asking for help due to problems  "related to bipolar". I figure nobody wants to watch your kids because you haven't slept for five days. lol They probably wouldn't realize I LITERALLY mean NO sleep for FIVE days! All moms are tired so why add to their work load. Anyway, I am doing fine in survival mode.
I will delve into the medical health system at a later time, but I will make mention of an important issue here as well. There are so few psychiatrists in Utah, one can expect to be on a waiting list for at least 4 to 6 months before being seen by someone new. Um, when someone is having a psychotic episode, shouldn't they be seen ASAP? That said, I fortunately was able to be seen and receive new medication this week and actually slept last night. WOO HOO! It is definitely cause for celebration. Moods are impossible to keep stable when one isn't sleeping. Even you "normal" folks know you can't function without sleep. I may "appear" to be functioning to the outside world but, in reality, I am walking a dangerously fine line. The longer I go without sleep, the more likely I am to become manic. And while mania can be fun for a always leads to trouble.
Now that I am out of the "danger zone" I feel confident I have averted a crisis. While the last few years have been a very real hell, I am grateful for all I have gone through in the sense that I now feel I am in control and NOT the bipolar. I am the one calling the shots. Sure, the bipolar may toss a few nights of not sleeping at me.....but now I know to counteract ASAP with some serious meds to get back on track. Suck it bipolar! I win this round.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Help Guide

In my opinion, the best way for me to manage my Bipolar Disorder is by constantly monitoring myself. This is made possible through education. I am always looking for respectable resources and when I find good ones I will share them. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bipolar in the media.

Is it just me, or is anyone else sick of the portrayal of mental illness in the media, especially television? Just because someone is bipolar doesn't mean they are going to become obsessed with someone, attempt to assume the identity of their lost spouse and attempt to murder them. Okay, so this is all from a few episodes of One Tree Hill. One of the characters stops taking her lithium and goes all ca-ra-zy!
 I know there are cases of mentally ill people going off their meds and "losing it". That said, why can't tv shows ever portray a mentally ill person triumphing over their illness and functioning like everyone else. I know the crazy schizophrenic makes for good TV but COME ON! The stigma is never going to go away if we keep scaring people into thinking mentally ill people are going to come after them in their sleep. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Growing through loss.

Eleven years ago I lost my mom to cancer. It was quick. It was a shock. It was completely unexpected. I was young at the time and couldn't foresee the effects of losing her would have on my life. Obviously I miss her. I miss that she was  not here to hold my babies when they were born. I miss that she is  not able to physically watch them grow. I miss that I cannot call on her for parenting advice.
That said, I feel like I appreciate her more now than I ever did before. We have no unresolved issues so I can focus on what strengths of hers I want to develop and pass on to my children. Ours was not a perfect relationship, as no relationship ever is. Now that I am an adult and mother myself I feel I understand my mother better than I did when I was young. I hate having to admit she was right about a lot of things. lol DANG IT! I thought I knew everything back then. I also know she was wrong about a lot of things as well. From our relationship I hope to glean insight into how to conduct my relationships with my own kids.
Looking back, I remember her grace. Even as she spent her last several days in the hospital, she never lost her selflessness and optimism. With everything I face, I try to do the same. With bipolar it is often easy to see the dark side. Finding light in darkness is daunting unless you are seeking the light. Darkness can be comfortable. You can hide in darkness. You don't have to let anyone see the real you in darkness. However, darkness is consuming. If you spend too much time in darkness you may never escape it's clutches.
When I find myself in that darkness I don't stay long. :) I am grateful for my three little rays of light that keep me hopeful for the future. Regardless of how things are in the world around me, I know those three faces love me and need me. Even as they grow and they hate me for being strict, I know one day they will thank me. I know this because I am grateful for my mom. I am sorry I never got to tell her that in person, but I think she know it now. She is probably in heaven, smiling and thinking, "I told you so."