6 – Mildly happy, content, no suicidal and/or homicidal ideations, little functioning problems
I'm going to try to keep this as short as I can because I have a lot to do and finally have the energy — and mental clarity! — to do it.
I woke up at 5 am yesterday due to a bad migraine. I didn't fall asleep until 2 am. I'd laid in bed from 10 pm-12 am hoping to fall asleep since my thoughts had begun to take a negative turn and I knew it was because of lack of sleep.
I was up for a total of 21 hours. Between the lack of sleep and the medication side effects, it was a combo for disaster. I tried to use Twitter and play Scrabble and Sudoku as distractions but my negative thoughts continued to invade my mind. Go ahead, call me crazy, but I believe in evil forces and Satan was attacking me hard.
I am okay right now. My mood is just fine, holding steady at a 6 right now. But I was bad — very bad last night.
And yes, I should be eating better.
— Philippians 4:6-7 —
Don't worry about anything. Pray and ask God for your needs and desires, thanking Him for everything He's already given to you, and God will provide you with assurance—a kind of heavenly, unfathomable assurance—that will protect your heart and mind from constant worry and anxiety.
While I know I shouldn't worry about anything, I still freak out over things and usually they're the littlest things. (See Don't Sweat the Small Stuff.) The verse encourages me to pray and beseech the Lord for help but I've got to admit, I often forget and try to do things on my own.
The verse encourages me to really talk to God—to make God real in my life as though He were standing face to face with me. Just like I would talk to my mom and go, "Hey, Mom, I'm a little short on cash. Can you help me out today?" Well, not that irreverent but that's the idea. If I have a good relationship with my mom, I wouldn't sit in my bedroom, fretting and worrying about whether I should ask her for money or not—especially if I know she has the money she can spare me.
God wants to hear me talk to Him. And instead of opening my big mouth to Him, I start complaining about my worries and fears to other people. Voicing my concerns isn't so much a problem as ignoring that God can handle it is. And God's word promises that if I give my burdens over to Him (with faith in Jesus Christ), He will provide me with comfort and reassurance that He's got everything under control.
As I am wont to say: It sounds nice in theory. Maybe I should try testing it.
Mood rating: 5.7
I’ve revised my mood rating system located in the left sidebar. After using it for a while, I’ve noticed that the scale needed a little tweaking. Here are the changes below:
0 – Severely depressed, suicidal and/or homicidal, immediate inpatient treatment necessary, inability to function (in daily activities)
1 – Severely depressed, somewhat suicidal and/or homicidal, monitoring necessary, inpatient treatment likely necessary, inability to function
2 – Severely depressed, passing suicidal and/or homicidal thoughts, monitoring recommended, inpatient treatment optional, great difficulty functioning
3 – Moderately depressed, passing suicidal and/or homicidal thoughts, monitoring optional, some difficulty functioning
4 – Mildly depressed, passing suicidal and/or homicidal thoughts, monitoring optional, low difficulty functioning
5 – Emotionally numb, in a state of existence, no suicidal and/or homicidal ideations, no monitoring necessary, some ability to function, borderline mood (potential for change to 4 or 6)
6 – Mildly happy, content, no suicidal and/or homicidal ideations, little functioning problems
7 – Moderately happy, upbeat, no functioning problems
8 – Moderately happy, optimistic, positive, no functioning problems
9 – Extremely happy, optimistic, cheerful, positive, “in a good mood,” “feel great,” no functioning problems
10 – Extremely happy, potentially manic, active, energetic, euphoric, ability to function may vary
I’m being hit by suicidal thoughts again. Hard.
I’m not going to the hospital but if these thoughts keep pummeling me, it’ll become a consideration again. I’m walking a fine line here because my husband’s family has had a suicide hit close to home earlier this year and they don’t need to experience another loss. I try to keep in mind how important I am to many people that I know: my husband, my in-laws, my mom (I’m her only child). I try to visualize the grief my mother would experience losing her only kid. It’s worked so far. I can only pray that it lasts.
In the meantime, I’ve had my husband hide my belts. I ended up in the hospital in October 2006 after my husband woke up just in time to find me kicking a chair away in an attempt to hang myself from an air vent.
After what now seems like a short reprieve, I constantly glance up at the ceiling air vent in our bedroom thinking about trying the hanging thing again. I’m sure I could find something else to use if I really wanted to but I’m trying not to dwell on the idea too much.
The lies that used to convince me to try killing myself, oh say, three years ago, don’t work as well anymore. I can fight off most of them:
Lie #1: Nobody cares about you.
Answer: I have a husband, a big family, and wonderful friends who love and care for me. I’d be missed.
Lie #2: You don’t make a difference in this world.
Answer: I have a 98-year-old grandmother who loves me to pieces, I have a mother who I bring so much joy to, I have a husband who tells me I’m the best thing that’s happened to him, and I have a mother-in-law who thinks that I’m so cool, she wants to spend time with me. I do make a difference.
Lie #3: You’re worthless.
Answer: My husband tells me all the time that I’m worth something to him and that he’d be lost without me. If only for him, I’m worthwhile.
So the “lies,” or challenges if you will, have changed. Here’s the new one:
Hmm. Good question.
Mood rating: 3
I’m having a terrible allergy reaction that’s last 2 days. I visited my physician who gave me a few 5-mg samples of an allergy medicine, Xyzal (levocetirizine). This is supposed to be an alternative to Allegra, Zyrtec, and OTC Benadryl. I took time in the middle of the workday for this impromptu appointment so when I got back to work, I immediately took the drug. Then, I began feeling incredibly drowsy. I decided to look up the side effects on the xyzal site and found:
Patients taking XYZAL should avoid operating machinery or driving a motor vehicle. … Take XYZAL at bedtime. Do not increase the dose due to increased risk of sleepiness.
Great. I wish my doctor had warned me of this before I popped one at 3:45 in the afternoon at work, 13 miles away from my home. Not only that, but after doing some more reading in the Prescribing Information, I found:
Besides these events reported under treatment with XYZAL, other potentially severe adverse events have been reported from the post-marketing experience with cetirizine. Since levocetirizine is the principal pharmacologically active component of cetirizine, one should take into account the fact that the following adverse events could also potentially occur under treatment with XYZAL: hallucinations, suicidal ideation, orofacial dyskinesia, severe hypotension, cholestasis, glomerulonephritis, and still birth.
A one-time dose probably won’t affect me negatively in the ways reported above but still — it’s an allergy drug. ALLERGY drug. All this crap comes from something that’s supposed to make you feel better? Sheesh. Glad I read it. I’ll be sure to avoid regular consumption Xyzal in the future.
So now it’s 4:50 pm and I can barely keep my head up but I figured I’d make this quick post to warn anyone with mental illness who:
a) takes Xyzal or
b) thinks that allergy drugs are free from side effects triggering mental illness.
Granted, the risk is low but it exists. It also sounds like it can impair renal and hepatic functions somehow. Watch out if you’ve got kidney problems.
When work is over, I’m going straight home and making a beeline for my bed.
Mood Rating: 4
When it comes to blogging about mental illness, that’s something that I don’t want my name connected with. Sure, I’d like stigma surrounding the illness to be reduced but it still exists and I don’t want it to affect my chances of working at a decent company that would hire me if not for my bipolar disorder and history of depression and suicide attempts. I think of some mental health bloggers — Liz Spikol especially comes to mind — who are brave enough to post their struggles
with their real names and pictures for everyone to know and see. And I’m jealous.
Jealous that while Liz still probably suffers from MH stigma from idiots, she has the opportunity to be hailed as a hero in the MH community. I completely admire Liz because she’s been able to talk about her experience having through
hell and back, especially on ECT. Her name out there raises awareness about theses issues and her presence in the MH community brings comfort to many people who are struggling with similar issues.
Then there’s me, having to adopt the name Marissa Miller in the hopes that no one finds out who I am. (My real name is so unique that if it was Googled, all of my articles would pop up on the first page.)
If you’ve started reading this blog recently, you haven’t read some of the 600 posts here. Many of them are pretty personal.
- Being Brave: “I have much to say / And there’s much I haven’t done / But what does it matter / When death’s got all the fun?”
- Identification: “Now, if I have enough fearlessness to face death, why can I not have enough fearlessness to face life?”
- Suicide and Baseball: “[T]he truth remains the same. Not just for me but for all suicidal people: We don’t really want to kill ourselves, we just want to end our pain.”
- You can do this: “I sat in my car this morning with the ignition turned on, ready to drive my car over the bridge into the Schuylkill River. I was ready to run home, make the stupid “goodbye world” post on this blog, text my husband “I love you. Goodbye” and then ram my car into a divider on I-76. It’s the worst suicidal thought I’ve had since I ended up in the hospital in October 2006.”
I wouldn’t hire me if I saw blog posts like that. Perhaps some people don’t get frustrated by the anonymity; I do. I don’t know if there will ever come a day when I can come clean about my identity and let the world know who this person is and what she really struggles with. God bless all of you who can put a real face to a name and still talk about deeply personal issues.
Current Mood Rating: 5.9
In all seriousness, I have wondered about the BPD diagnosis but in my mind, have somewhat fallen short. I don’t think my symptoms are strong enough to be plastered with a BPD label.
To conclude my several-post rambling, I should answer the question that I initially posed. Do I think bipolar disorder is overdiagnosed?
Many of my fellow bloggers will likely disagree with me. Zimmerman’s study at Rhode Island Hospital took into account whether those “diagnosed” with bipolar disorder had a family history of the diagnosis in the family. Maybe I’ve turned to the dark side. Just because I don’t have a family history of bipolar doesn’t mean that I can’t suffer
from the disorder. However, I have a family history of schizophrenia: one father and two aunts. Does this put me at a higher risk for schizophrenia? Definitely. Does this mean I could suffer from bp and have the schizo gene pass me by? You bet. I don’t think that I need a first-degree relative to suffer from bp to make me a classic diagnosis for bp.
For instance, when it comes to my physical appearance, I’m the only one on both sides of the family who suffers from severe eczema to the point where my dermatologist suggested a punch biopsy. Does that mean that I need to have a family history of eczema to obtain the malady? Not necessarily. Why is bipolar disorder any different?
I had a serious mixed-mood episode during the weekend. I remember wanting to buy brownie mix at 1 am and refusing to answer my
husband’s question, "What’s your mood rating at?" because I knew I’d
answer 10. But then my husband woke up in the middle of the night to find his cell phone charger cord wrapped around my neck as I tried to strangle myself. I vaguely remember it.
Abilify is starting to sound better. Abilify or brain fog on Lamictal? I can’t decide. Sometimes, I do wonder if he’d be better off without me. I often think I’d be better off without myself.
Current Mood Rating: 4.9
Nancie at More Than Conquerors has a great post up including a devotional that reflects on Jeremiah 17:17: "Do not be a terror to me; You are my hope in the day of doom." It really contradicts the notion that Christians are supposed to be bright, happy, sunshine, and flowers. Christians always seem to act like because they have "joy" in Christ, they are supposed to be happy-go-lucky and everything just works out for them.
How absolutely and utterly wrong.
The path of the Christian is not always bright with sunshine; he has his seasons of darkness and of storm.
Because I’m essentially faceless on this blog, I can be me–like it or not. I’m not your typical born-again Christian. I don’t act pretentious. If crap is going wrong in my life, I say it is and I won’t act like things are butterflies and sunshine. I cuss (sorry to those it offends!) at times when I’m angry or frustrated. This is me; I am a human with faith in Christ.
So I’m out to blast this notion of Christians always have the "joy of the Lord," meaning "I am so happy because Jesus saved me from my sins that I have to go around and smile all day." NO. "Joy of the Lord," I think, means quiet confidence in him. Knowing who he is and what he’s done for you and through all the trials of life, never letting go of that faith because you’re secure in his love for you.
No Christian has enjoyed perpetual prosperity; no believer can always keep his harp from the willows. Perhaps the Lord allotted you at first a smooth and unclouded path, because you were weak and timid. He tempered the wind to the shorn lamb, but now that you are stronger in the spiritual life, you must enter upon the riper and rougher experience of God’s full-grown children.
We need winds and tempests to exercise our faith, to tear off the rotten bough of self-dependence, and to root us more firmly in Christ.
The day of evil reveals to us the value of our glorious hope.
Boy, do I feel like winds and tempests are exercising my faith. And I’m not going to act like they’re not. Jesus showed the weak side of his humanity. I’m not sure why some Christians think they need to be "stronger" than Jesus.
/end ex-fundamentalist rant/
Current Mood Rating: 5.5