Monday, August 13, 2007

Go Ask Alice

The Polar Bears are waxing the Moon
the little dog laughs and dishes the spoon
Alice followed the old stoner rabbit
into the twilight zone of the outer limits
and lost her mind to the others, Brother.
See you in another life! Hickory! Dickory! Lock!

Barbara Gavin-Lewellyn

Over at the Poll Vault at Delphi Forums Diane started a Poll asking the question, "Do you sometimes get so weird you even freak yourself out?" Here is my reply:

I'm Bi-Polar. Sometimes my medications aren't effective enough to control the mood swings and I swing into a manic high that gets a little too euphoric or maybe too paranoid. It depends on what is going on in my life. Whatever the case it is it's always interesting.

Occasionally I've even gotten close to psychosis. People in the throes of a mania often experience heightened sensabilities. Being touched may be unbearable to them. For me, my tinnitus (ringing in the ears) becomes so acute and the sounds I hear begin to sound like radio sports announcers just loud enough that I can hear them but not understand what they are saying so I begin to think maybe it's a radio or TV playing somewhere. Intellectually I know that it's not but the noise is just driving me so up the wall I want to find the source and turn it off. I constantly have to remind myself that it's the tinnitus not the TV or the radios in the apartment.

There was an interesting couple of days when I thought the noise was coming from the refrigerator. No amount of self talk could convince me it wasn't. I had to pull the refrigerator out and unplug it for a couple of hours to prove to myself that the damn refrigerator wasn't talking to me. Now that's effing freaky. Actually I also thought it might be running low on anti freeze or whatever it is they put in the pipes to make it work and was gurgling. It's a noisy refrigerator. At least that was how I justified unplugging it.

When things get that bad--usually when I haven't gotten enough sleep for a couple of days or more, I have an antipsychotic medication calkled Zyprexa I keep on hand to take that knocks me back on my butt and putts me to sleep for at least 10 hours. Then I wake up all better and back to normal. My tinnitus is back to a low hum again and I can ignore it. Sometimes I need to take the Zyprexa a couple of days in a row. If I ever have to go more than three days, I'll be on the phone to my psychiatrist because my meds will have stopped working and
I'm in deep doo doo.


Tuesday, August 7, 2007

It's a Lunar Eclipse of the Wolf

Polar bears are waxing the moon
as wolves run in howling packs
trailing Artemis across the starry starry sky
searching for Orion in a milky way
flooded by deceit and sibling horror
The lunacy of the night traps the lupine cries

Barbara Gavin-Lewellyn

Not only am I bi-polar, I have an auto-immune disorder that at one point in time was suspected to be Lupus. I was treated for Lupus for five years without favorable results, meaning a remission until I finally said "Hey you're giving me all these nasty drugs and they aren't working, don't you think we should try something different?

My Doctor who really is a decent sort really didn't have any idea what to do with me. I suggested perhaps I should have a consult with some experts elsewhere and he was amenable with that so I chose someplace in Chicago that was doing research on Lupus (Northwest University I think) but he didn't like the direction they were going or Mayo Clinic and he was fine with Mayo and gave me a referral there.

Lo and behold, Mayo didn't think I had Lupus at all and recommended that I wean myself off of all the medications I was on and see where the disease process took me. When I finally got all of those medications, I felt like a new woman. The supposed cure was worse than the supposed disease. That was the year my Grandson was born, six years ago. I kind of got allergic to experts and specialists after that.

Of course that didn't last long. My brief respite and felling of well being soon became a decline. I just spent 10 straight days cooped up in this apartment barely eating and mostly sleeping and reading or making occasional posts on my Blogs. It all started on the 17th of July with a case of chills and aches and pains and feeling of nausea trying to eat lunch. I had to leave and come home and go to bed. It wasn't a virus--it's hard to explain how I can tell the difference between a flare up of this disorder and a regular illness but I can. I try my best to stay out of bed and isolated because that really sucks but sometimes I just have to give in.

I cycle between sheer exhaustion and sleeping all the time to not being able to sleep because I'm in so much pain with swelling of my hands and feet and everything else I suppose. I get migraines and have a lot of pain in my back and hips. Of course when I am in all that pain and can't sleep, my tendency to get manic kicks in and whee there we go, off into the wild blue yonder.

It's a vicious cycle. When I'm in stuck in bed with no energy sleeping all the time with barely enough energy to make it to the bathroom, I get depressed easily. It's really important that I keep lots of reading material on hand so I can keep my mind occupied when I am awake so I don't dwell on being sick. TV just doesn't cut the mustard for me.

I recently bought some used videos that I have enjoyed in the past and a few that I haven't seen so maybe next time I can try those. I'm not much for movies either though. Not much for sitting still. Guess I'll need to have something to keep my hands occupied--knitting or crocheting. That might help. I need to have a plan of action.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Moon River, Wider Than a Mile

Moon River, wider than a mile,
I'm crossing you in style some day.
Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker,
wherever you're going I'm going your way.

Sara Brightman sung by Danny Williams

Gee, I think I've finally figured out how to post on this Blog! Now that I've got it all customizized and set up all pretty like. This is my fourth Blog. Here are the links to the rest of them:

Living in the edge of Madness is my Blog about Madison, Wisconsin. MadTown, USA

The Crones Daily Groan
is about my personal life. You know, about my kids and grand kids and hobbies. Just stuff I do in my everyday life.that doesn't quite fit into the Madison Blog.
If it Ain't One Thing It's Your Mother my therapy Blog that gets really really heavy.

I'm also posting over at Helium. I didn't know I had so much to say. I think I'm making up for lost time when I didn't write publicly.. I wish I could type faster and more accurately. I think what really got me going was that the local media in Madison started linking to "Living in the Edge of Madness" and suddenly I started believing that I was a real writer who had things to say that people might want to hear.

Polar Bears and the Moon. It's a funny combination don't you think? It came to me one night when I was watching a man who lives in the same building as I do pace back and forth in the courtyard a few nights before the Harvest Moon in 2004. In case you're not aware of it, the Harvest Moon is the second full moon in one month in the fall.

I didn't know him well at all but I had a strong suspiscion he was bi-polar because of the way he was pacing back and forth, back and forth. I later became acquainted with him and I was right, he is bi-polar.
Something about the way he walked back and forth, back and forth under that bright moon resonated with me. I was feeling pretty jittery myself that night. I sat down and started writing a poem about Polar Bears waxing the moon later that night..

That's how I deal with the early stages of mania. I write. Prolifically. When I'm going into a full blown mania I will write 20 hours a day and it's good stuff. The best stuff I have ever written has come from manic driven writing. The words flow like water from a fountain.

Other people go off into lunacy and write drivel that makes absolutely no sense but for me and a few other people I know, the higher we go into the phase of mania the more in touch with our talent for stringing words together we get and the wittier we become. Medicating that potential to be great authors away seems cruel but inevitably it is the wiser choice.

Someone in the throes of a mania is dangerous to themselves and others because their ability to make deciscions is severely impaired. They have extremely poor impulse control. It's as if they are operating on the level of a two year old: see it, want it, do it without thought for the consequences. They are happy as a lark one moment and irritable and irrational the next. Their ideas are grandiose and outrageous It is usually useless to try to reason with them because they are generally completely out of touch with reality.

Having been on both sides of the fence in dealing with Bi-Polar mood disorder I can tell you that if you're trying to deal with a manic Polar Bear it's better to just grin and bear it. And call their psychiatric doctor ASAP. The sooner you can get your manic Polar Bear medicated the better.