Letter to Myself

Deaf You –

I know things seem really difficult right now, but they won’t always be. You’re stronger than you think you are. You made it through losing someone July, and you can make it through this too.

Finding the right medication takes time. Time I know you don’t want to spend on it, but you have to. And it seems like you’re close to finding the right one now anyway. I believe that you’re close to settling on a medication. That this one you’re on now, Seroquel, may even be the one. The only issue for you right now is drowsiness, and people seem to be saying that that goes away. Or maybe you just need to adjust the time at which you take it.

School is a stress that I know you wish you could avoid, but if you want to get into your program by the fall, you have to keep pushing forward. It’s hard now, but it will all be worth it in the end.

Family drama will never be something that you can escape from. Especially with how close you are to your mom. I hope that doesn’t change for you. It’s a wonderful thing to have.

Personal struggles aren’t really something I can tell you will go away or not. Those are thing that are going to change all the time. But if you remember how much of a struggle it was back in July when you lost her, you’ll be able to push forward. She should be someone that, even though not part of your live anymore, still gives you strength through memories.

Sincerely,
Someone Close to You

Medication + New Fitness Band + Snow Days

So, yesterday I changed medication … yet again. Now I’m on Seroquel instead of Abilify. For those of you keeping track at home, the list looks like this so far:

  • Lexapro (10 & 20)
  • Welbutrin (150 & 300)
  • Lamictal (25 & 50)
  • Abilify (5 & 10 & 7.5)
  • Seroquel (50 last night & 100 tonight & 150 tomorrow night)

I can’t believe I’m on my 5th different medication. It’s a lot more if you look at dosages. See what’s in the parentheses above. It’s insane…

But last night I went out and got a new fitness band tracker thing. It’s the Perfect Fitness IQ Band. I thought it would be a lot more confusing than it actually is when I looked at the directions in the box. But now that I’ve got it cooperating with me, it’s not too bad. I’ve got it set at a goal of 10,00 steps per day. Today I’ve gone 5,107 steps so far. Most of that was two walks around the block through the snow with my mom. It got us out of the house and we were exercising. However pathetic it may have seemed.

The snow has been great reason to stay inside. It gave me time to devote to compiling a list of everyone who’s submitted to Stigma Fighters and put their names and post links into one huge Excel spreadsheet. There have been 246 entries so far. I can’t  believe there are that many. I have so many of them on Facebook too. It’s amazing what a community Sarah Fader has created for those of us living with mental illness.

It’s always a great day to be a part of

stigma fighters

Stigma – Acceptance – How Mental Illness Shows

I want to talk about mental illness acceptance and how it shows in different people.

It’s difficult, a struggle, to socialize, to accept if someone is mentally ill. They don’t understand. They don’t try to understand. That’s the reason people who are mentally ill keep it to themselves.

Depression – apathy, crying, anger
Bipolar Disorder – emotional ups and downs
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – flashbacks
Anxiety – inhibited (try but can’t)
Schizophrenia – fear
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – attention all over the place
Postpartum Depression – apathy, fear, anger, inhibition
Borderline Personality Disorder – anger

Stigma

There’s stigma no matter where you go. Stigma about anything and everything. But especially about mental illnesses.

A couple years ago I was diagnosed with a mental illness and I opened up about it in church. Four months ago that diagnosis changed. I didn’t open up about it until this past Sunday. I didn’t want to say anything about it when there were other college students around because I didn’t know how they would react. I didn’t know what they would say, or what kind of internal judgements that would pass about me.

I waited specifically until it was just me and my teachers. Because I didn’t feel as though they would judge me for it. And they didn’t. They thanked me for being honest. I was able to teach them something about my illness – the different kinds of bipolar disorder. It felt good. I told them about Stigma Fighters. I felt safe talking about it with them. They love me no matter what.

That’s the kind of environment I yearn for when it comes to talking about mental illness. I don’t want to be forced to be in an environment where people, or possibly even everyone, will judge me if I say that I have bipolar disorder type 2. I’m terrified of the things that will be said, and still thought. I don’t want to face that. So I’m hesitant to speak up in public about it.

Somehow speaking online is different. More people can see it, and they can anonymously comment and say horrible things. But I don’t have to let them see me react to them. So it’s easier. I’m more comfortable seeing the comments online because I can close the computer and walk away. They don’t have to be there staring me in the face.

Medications & Bipolar

Trying to maintain a good attitude about everything when I’m struggling to find the right medication for my bipolar disorder is difficult. It’s not easy day to day, when I feel like everything is going wrong, to keep a smile on and tell everyone that I’m doing well when all I want to do is crash to the ground.

I’m starting to do better with my meds, but I’m still dealing with side effects.

The last medication I tried, Lamictal (generic: Lamotrogine), wound up with me in the ER. I took it two years ago, so I’m not sure what changed in that time. But I immediately stopped taking the medication – per doctor instructions – and started taking the Abilify 5mg for a week and then upped to 10mg.

I want to be able to say that I’m doing good with it, but it makes me sleepy all the time and I get dizzy too. Not like massively affecting anything dizzy, but it still sucks. Although there are times where I can’t do much of anything because my dizziness is so bad. My focus isn’t here so I can’t always keep track of something as easily as I used to. There’s worse side effects that I could be dealing with, I know, but any side effect sucks to deal with.

I’m not giving up on this fight yet. I really want to because it’s just too much to handle sometimes. But I know that I have to push through the difficult times in order to find the good ones. I’ve got people standing behind me pushing me along when I want to give up, so I know I’ve got good people around me.

Self-Image

Things haven’t exactly been the greatest for me recently. But a friend of mine has been helping me emotionally. I didn’t ask him to, it’s just what he does. He always has been like that.

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Those are the same picture. The one on the left is taken with my phone camera. The one on the right is filtered (with Glow) using an app called NoCrop.

I never realized how I can feel about myself when I put on makeup until someone says something to me. It’s odd. I want to feel good about myself, but it’s almost like I just don’t know how.

I’ve had two people compliment my makeup today. The weirdest part is that I’m not wearing anything but lipstick. No blush, no eyeliner, no mascara, no eyeshadow. Nothing but lipstick. It almost makes me feel good about my face if multiple people think I’m wearing more than I actually am.

It makes me want to wear makeup more often. Not like, caking it on. But just enough that I feel like I’m wearing some and someone might notice.

Quotes

I found my inner bitch and I ran with her. (Courtney Love)

The advantage of the emotions is that they lead us astray. (Oscar Wilde)

The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four Americans is suffering from some form of mental illness. Think of your three best friends. If they’re okay, then it’s you. (Rita Mae Brown)

It’s not denial. I’m just selective about the reality I accept. (Bill Watterson)

For me, insanity is super sanity. The normal is psychotic. Normal  means lack of imagination, lack of creativity. (Jean Debuffet)

I prefer neurotic people. I like to hear the rumblings beneath the surface. (Stephen Sondheim)

When all else fails there’s always delusions. (Conan O’Brien)

We all live in a house on fire, no fire department to call; no way out, just the upstairs window to look out of while the fire burns the house down with us trapped, locked in it. (Tennessee Williams)

They say best men are molded out of faults, and, for the most, become much more the better for being a little bad. (William Shakespeare)

I cry a lot. My emotions are very close to my surface. I don’t want to hold anything in so it festers and turns into pus – a pustule of emotion that explodes into a festering cesspool of depression. (Nicholas Cage)

You’re nuts, but you’re welcome here. (Steve Martin)