Ohhh these medications!!!!!

Ohhh these medications!!!!!

There are times in our lives when something that is good for us can piss us off. Well, I tend to go through periods of times when I am just angry that I have to take all of these pills. Can some of you relate with that? I suppose this feeling can happen to people with all kinds of ailments, but for me, it is because of mental illness that I take pills and there are days or weeks when it just irritates me that I have to take them.

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I have been taking medication for mental illness for over 25 years. In the beginning it was  “simple” antidepressant and anti anxiety meds. I didn’t like it then but I knew it helped. Just as I know what I take at this moment in my life helps now. But at times, I resent it…why do I have to take all of this to be “normal?” But I won’t quit taking them, I know better than that….I know that is not the path to take.

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If you have walked down a similar road as I have with Bipolar and Borderline Personality Disorder, you know that psychiatric med are almost a must. And it is hard to get the perfect pill or combination of pills to feel ok. Finding that combination can be challenging. Trying this med or that med, suffering the side effects, waiting the 6 weeks to see if it works, it is quite a journey, but eventually it does work. If you are newly diagnosed and reading this, please try  not to feel discouraged. Medication and mental health is a process and my advice is to have a physician that you trust and for you to RESEARCH the medications you are attempting so you can feel more empowered with knowledge of what is going into your body. You will figure it out, it just may take time.

So why am I resentful?  I guess it is just the feeling of being irritated that I am not normal without them. I hear the comment of “it’s like having diabetes – people need to take their medication to stay healthy just like you.” If you haven’t heard that comment before, you most likely will. Well, I don’t have diabetes! I don’t have other conditions that I have to take meds for and I AM thankful for that. But I think it’s because it’s my BRAIN and feeling like who I am is surrounded by a handful of pills everyday.

Does that make sense at all?

I suppose I am just wanting to get this off my chest for today, for this moment. I HIGHLY ENCOURAGE you to stay on the medications you are prescribed. I know I do even when I am feeling a bit perturbed by taking them. I know that stopping my meds could mean real disaster and most likely another trip to the psychiatric hospital. I don’t need that in my life. I am pleased to say that it has been at least 5 years since my last hospitalization. Hmmmmmm, I think these pills are doing the trick!!

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Do any you ever feel like I do? Does your frustration with your meds take front and center?  Again, if you are newly diagnosed PLEASE know that you will probably go through similar feelings about what you are taking, but also know HOW IMPORTANT it is for you, for your well-being to take the right medication for your medical condition.

I would love to hear your comments on this medication topic.

Take Care

Jenny

 

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unsplash-logoAndre Hunter – frustrated box photo

all other content pictures courtesy of www.pexels.com

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Love It! Need to Schedule it!

Love It! Need to Schedule it!

Hello Readers!!!

How awesome this is that I have started a blog! I have played around with the idea for several years, and now I have decided to have a go at it. I have written several blog posts and I am receiving some great comments and responses – hooray and thank you!!

I would like to continue to share my “Life in Moment” as well as offer suggestions for those of us living with mental illness and other lifestyle topics thrown it.  I hope you think this is as a good of an idea as I do!

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Since I have done a bit of research about blogging, I understand that I need to schedule my time for writing, and researching and deciding which routes I would like to go to promote my blog.  I don’t want to say it’s a lot of WORK, but it is interesting and something I want to continue to pursue.

I have decided that I would like to write 3 times a week. I think that will work well for me. I don’t want to get burnt out and for my mental health, I don’t want this blog to cause stress and anxiety which would defeat the purpose of my blog!

Soooooo….drumroll, please!!!! I will publishing blogs on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  I think that will work out well for you and for me. That’s the plan anyway. I may post some little mini blog or picture along the way, but these posting days I want to stick with.

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Now to you my readers, what type of topics would you like to read about? I really would love your input so I can make this writing adventure even better!

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How do you go about blogging? Do you have any “tricks of the trade”  you would like to share? Thank you sooo much!!

Take Care

Jenny

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Groceries and Self-Care

Groceries and Self-Care

Hello!  Do you love watching unboxing videos?  How about watching vloggers trying out the latest beauty products or tasty foods?  Do you enjoy reading reviews about a blogger’s favorite recipe that include pictures?  I can say YES to all of those!! I don’t know why it is; do I enjoy taking a peek into someone elses life? I think that may be part of it but there is this feeling that someone is letting us in that feels like a gift they are sharing with their readers/viewers.

I went grocery shopping yesterday.. I know the last time I shared my “food haul,” readers enjoyed seeing what my shopping day was like, so I thought I would do so again. I am so thankful to have my son help me. I am still having to use a scooter through the store, so having him follow me with a cart and loading and unloading the cart is soooo very helpful.

What did I get today?

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Shhhh..you don’t see t hose M&Ms do you? haha I have them in a drawer in my bedroom now for a little sweet treat that teenage boys can’t find!  We are all eating a lot of eggs and sandwiches recently thus the two 18 packs of eggs, lunchmeat, sliced cheese and pickles. The coffee was buy one get one free which is a deal! Probably not the best tasting roast, but when I add my vanilla creamer it all tastes good.

I have this ground sausage which along with the spinach I bought will be part of a recipe that I may try tonight or tomorrow:

 

 

BACON AND SPINACH PASTA WITH PARMESAN

Bacon and Spinach Pasta with Parmesan is a quick and flavorful weeknight dinner that only requires a few ingredients.

INGREDIENTS

  • 6oz bacon (1/2 12 oz. pkg)
  • 1small onion
  • 2cups chicken broth
  • 1/2lb pasta
  • 1/4lb 3-4 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/3cup grated Parmesan

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cut the bacon across the strips into one-inch pieces. Sauté the bacon in a large skillet until it is brown and crispy (no extra fat needed). Remove the browned bacon to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Carefully pour the fat off into a separate bowl, leaving about one tablespoon in the skillet.
  2. While the bacon cooks, dice the onion. Once the bacon is removed and the fat is drained from the skillet, add the diced onions and sauté until they are soft and transparent. Allow the moisture from the onions to dissolve some of the browned bits off of the bottom of the skillet.
  3. Add two cups of chicken broth to the skillet and dissolve off any remaining browned bits of bacon drippings from the bottom of the skillet.
  4. Finally, add the uncooked pasta to the skillet, place a lid on top, and let the skillet come to a boil over high heat. Once it reaches a boil, give it a quick stir, turn the heat down to low, and let simmer for 10 minutes with the lid in place. Give the skillet a stir to loosen the pasta from the bottom every few minutes or so, replacing the lid quickly each time. After 10 minutes the pasta should be tender and most of the broth absorbed. There should be a little bit of thick, saucy broth remaining in the bottom of the skillet.
  5. Add the fresh spinach to the skillet and stir until it has wilted into the pasta. Turn off the heat, add the cooked bacon back to the skillet, sprinkle the Parmesan over top, stir to combine, and then serve

Yum! Doesn’t that sound good and easy?  The recipe does call for bacon, but I found this sausage at the store on sale and decided to give it a try. Bacon can be so expensive these days. I think sausage is a good alternative – they are both pork, right?

What else did we buy?  I have not tried the Michael Angelo’s veggie lasagna before, but thepicture sure makes it look good. My son wants to cook stir fry in the next night or two so he went off to the produce section and made his picks. As you can see I have bagged spinach and awesome looking parmesan cheese for the recipe above. The steamed clams for $2.99? definitely an impulse buy so we shall see how they taste.  And I have become so enamored with almond milk! I love the taste and how low the calorie content. I’m trying to cut way back on my dairy, so drinking almond milk helps.

I mentioned self-care in my title. We all know that self care is important and those of us with mental illnesses it is even more critical. I have talked about self care in past blogs, but I wanted to share with you something  I buy myself every month. This may not be what we traditionally believe of as self care, but this little treat that comes in the mail makes me happy and that I am treating myself to a gift and products that I can use to care for myself.

Have you heard of an Ipsy glam bag?  If you enjoy skin care or beauty, then is is a great $10 a month to spend to treat yourself ($10 total including shipping). Every month a bright pink shiny delievery bag arrives in your mail box and in it a cute or stylish bag with a variety of 5 products related to skincare or beauty.  Here is what mine looked like this for January:

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I know this little Ipsy bag bay not be for everyone, but for me treating myself is important. When I my self esteem is faltering, or I just don’t feel that great, know that it is ok to have a little something sent TO me, FROM me, every month is a positive in managing my mental health.

I hope you have enjoyed today’s blog. It’s a little different from recent topics, but shaking up my blogs  at times is good for me, and I hope for you.

Take Care

Jenny

 

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Help! we all need somebody…

Help! we all need somebody…

Help, we all need somebody, not just anybody…..do these words sounds familiar?  If you were alive in the 1960’s and 1970’s you might easily remember songs by the Beatles. What an awesome group they were and to this day their music revolves around the world for so many to enjoy. If you haven’t heard of the Beatles, find some youTube videos and hear what you have been missing.

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Why, the Beatles? I don’t know except this song came into my mind and as I listened to the lyrics, I mean REALLY listened, I realized how  the words remind me how important it is for those of us living with mental illness to have our “Help” list. Whether we have it written down on a piece of paper or on our phone, or mentally remember it, it is so important to know who we can contact if we are going through rough times. If you haven’t listened to “Help” in a while, here are the lyrics and the youTube link is below:

(Help!) I need somebody
(Help!) Not just anybody
(Help!) You know I need someone
(Help!)

When I was younger so much younger than today
I never needed anybody’s help in any way
But now these days are gone, I’m not so self-assured
Now I find I’ve changed my mind and opened up the doors

Help me if you can, I’m feeling down
And I do appreciate you being ’round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won’t you please, please help me?

And now my life has changed in oh so many ways
My independence seems to vanish in the haze
But every now and then I feel so insecure
I know that I just need you like I’ve never done before

Help me if you can, I’m feeling down
And I do appreciate you being ’round

Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won’t you please, please help me?

 When I was younger, so much younger than today
I never needed anybody’s help in any way

But now these days are gone, I’m not so self-assured
Now I find I’ve changed my mind and opened up the doors

Help me if you can, I’m feeling down
And I do appreciate you being ’round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won’t you please, please help me?
Help me? Help me? Ooh

lyrics provided by www.genius.com

Don’t these words ring so very true to you? I know they do for me. How often have I needed help when I am feeling down? Goodness, I cannot even begin to count the times. And how about when my feeling of self-worth is so low that I cannot think straight? I recognize that older I get, the more help I may need; the more my bipolar and Borderline Personality Disorder diagnoses started to manifest themselves, the more I needed help finding the way to get me through a dark time. And ohhhh how I appreciate all the assistance I have been given over the years.

Do I have a list written down for me at this moment in my life? No, I don’t but I know who to call. I know that family, my therapist and a few friends know how hard I have worked to get to where I am today. I know if I need to I can pickup the phone, or write and email.

I strongly urge all of us to keep a “Help” list at all times. Keeping the list as a note in our phone will help reminding us WHO we can call rather than scrolling through a big list of contacts. Having the list written down by our bed is also a good reminder that there are people to reach out to even in the lastest hours when we thing we are all alone.

And PLEASE keep the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number close at hand 1-800-273-8255. Remember, you do not necessarily need to feel suicidal to call this number. It can be a great number to call if you are feeling lost, alone, or in the dark of night. Trust me, I have used this number many times over the years and have received a lot of comfort. AND, if you ever have a friend that you want to share the number with, you have it handy.

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I hope you enjoy the video below. The Beatles are definitely a group that made such a huge impact on music.  Their overnight popularity was beyond reason. And little did I know that their music would reflect on life for me today…in this moment.

Share your list ideas your best way of keeping your “go-to” folks’ phone numbers readily available to you.

Take Care

Jenny

Twinkle, twinkle little mindful star.

Twinkle, twinkle little mindful star.

I  am pretty sure we have all done this – taken a moment to look up to the sky on a clear night and look at the stars. Did you know that this activity is a great tool for practicing mindlfulness? It is also a great tool to settle your mind when you may be overly stressed.

I haven’t been out side much since my recent surgery. It’s wintertime so I don’t miss it a lot, but when I do go outside I realize how awesome the fresh air can be.; it smells so good and the sun on my skin is like a tonic.  Last night I was off to the store when I just decided to sit in my swing outside and enjoy the sky. I couldn’t believe how many stars I could see. Thousands and thousands as far as the eye could see. There was a very small moon which made the stars pop out even more.  I am very fortunate to live in a part of the country where I see stars – a LOT of them!!  Even when my daughter visits from a nearby city she comments about the sky at night. Beautiful is an understatement.

As I sat on the swing, I started to NOTICE. First thing I realized is how cold it was. Not like it has been in the east this winter, but cold enough for me to be a tad bit uncomfortable, yet still enjoyed the feeling on my face of brisk air with a slight breeze. I noticed the sky, boy did I notice the sky. The vastness made me feel so little, contemplating one star realizing that it was a sun so incredibly far away. I searched out a few constellations that I recognize, but don’t quite know by name (except for the big dipper, of course), and I mused about whether there was anyone looking down on me. I sometimes hunt down satellites that I see buzzing across the sky, but not this time… I was getting a bit to chilly.

The big dipper

While I only sat outside for a few minutes, it was a fantastic practice in mindfulness. It is wild how I can feel my mind calm, how my body relaxes and for that moment, I am beyond content.

Do you practice mindfulness or are you new to learning about it? It is not as hard as  you may think. It doesn’t have to be about meditation, it is basically a sense of “being in the moment.”  On the next clear night, go outside and look up. Find a star or a design of stars that you enjoy looking at and think of nothing else beyond those stars, beyond that beautiful sky. The fact that you are going outside will readjust your brain to a better place, and then take a moment with the stars. Try not to force anything in your mind. Just BE.

In the moment

Let me know if you practice mindfulness. Share your thoughts with me, I would love it!

Jenny

 

Anxiety, Panic and Vertigo

Anxiety, Panic and Vertigo

Hello! Thanks for stopping by. I want to say right off how much I appreciate my followers and readers. I enjoy writing my blogs, and it really means a lot to me that you continue to read. And to new readers, WELCOME! Enjoy today’s topic and check out some of my previous blogs.

It’s funny how my topics seem to just pop into my mind at times. Today, I was watching the news (oh dear, should I really do that?!?!), and was watching 3 people stand at a podium, 1 in the middle and 2 on either side. I immediately thought, “How can those people stand up there without anything to hold on to? Don’t they feel like they are going to topple over because they are dizzy?  I know I would!” I am always a bit envious of people who can stand up in front of people to speak, or literally, just to stand!

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Approximately 28 years ago (I am now 51), I was living as a single young woman, working as a secretary in a healthcare consortium and life was good, I lived on my own with my cats and all in all couldn’t complain about life. One day I was sitting at my desk when a HUGE bout of dizziness (vertigo) just bowled me over in my seat. I didn’t know what was happening and I felt terrible!! My coworkers had me lay down, got me some water and after about a half hour I felt fine. Little did I know this was the first noticeable onset symptom of mental illness. I had my brain scanned, visited various sorts of doctors with no luck. These episodes of vertigo would just hit me without notice and I couldn’t determine a pattern and it was very upsetting living with the unknown. It wasn’t until TWO years later that my brother’s girlfriend witnessed what was happening and she said it was a panic attack. WHAT? NO, that’s not me, I’m just dizzy!

Well, she was right!!

It took a couple of years trying to get better on my own (25 years ago you just didn’t talk about mental illness like you can now…We still live in stigma, but it’s getting better). Long story short I went to see a psychiatrist. Wow, I felt REALLY crazy!!! I didn’t like him at all but he prescribed me an antidepressant and anti-anxiety medication. Thankfully, it helped and the horrid feelings of vertigo and loss of self became a bit easier to live with.

My life and my mental illness have traveled quite the journey over these past 25 years. If you have lived with mental illness for a long period of time, you know that it can be a challenging journey. If you are newly diagnosed, you will learn your own journey and with the right kind of help, you WILL be able to manage.

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So, despite all of this, guess what? I STILL HAVE VERTIGO!!! I will not stand in front of a group of people, nor do I like even standing in say a small group of people. My mind gets a bit stressed and I feel like I could just teeter-totter with vertigo and fall on the ground.  I imagine this is a long term effect of my anxiety. I rarely have full-blown panic attacks anymore, but anxiety seems to live with me and reminds me from time to time that he can cause me real problems (anxiety has to be a “he” in my mind!!).

How does anxiety or panic manifest within you?  I would love to have you share some tips on you manage  your anxiety.

Take Care

Jenny

Indira Active

Borderline, the Chameleon, and Perception

Borderline, the Chameleon, and Perception

Borderline Personality Disorder is a condition which affects approximately 1.6% all the way up to 5.9% of the population (see NAMI). A person with BPD is characterized by  difficulties regulating emotion. This means that people who experience BPD feel emotions intensely and for extended periods of time, and it is harder for them to return to a stable baseline after an emotionally triggering event.

This difficulty can lead to impulsivity, poor self-image, stormy relationships and intense emotional responses to stressors. Struggling with self-regulation can also result in dangerous behaviors such as self-harm (e.g. cutting). (see NAMI)

BPD is very difficult to treat, let alone live with. I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder over 10 years ago (I am now 51), though I know that many of the traits were brewing in the background before I had a terrible turn of life with my mental health in my late 30s, early 40s. I am happy to say that with a lot of hard work and therapy I now am managing my BPD (along with bipolar). For those of you still struggling, know that there is help and there is hope.

For today, I want to write about the Chameleon Effect , BPD and my perception of life at the moment.

Mirroring, or the Chameleon Effect is a challenging aspect of BPD and you may not really be aware it is happening. Your changing colors to adapt to the situation or person may feel natural, but indeed, trying to learn to have your OWN place in YOUR world is so important to positive mental health.  In an excellent article by Sarah Myles, she describes this phenomenon:

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One of the biggest and most challenging aspects of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is often ‘The Chameleon Effect’ – or ‘mirroring’. This is the constant, unconscious change in the person’s ‘self’, as they struggle to fit in with their environment, or the people around them. It is, essentially, a fluctuating identity. It is the manifestation of a basic inability or difficulty in establishing a stable sense of self.

The presence of The Chameleon is often one of the main obstacles to effective initial treatment and diagnosis of BPD, as it affects the interaction between patient and doctor, and can mask the disorder itself. It also effects and masks the way in which BPD intersects with other disorders that may have developed in connection with it – creating a complex web of behaviours that can be hard to untangle. The irony is that, without diagnosis and treatment, most are unaware of The Chameleon, and it is only through awareness that The Chameleon can be managed.

Have I lived as a chameleon in my life? You bet you!!!  I remember having a good coworker and friend when I was young that before I knew it I wanted to dress similar to her and like similar things; I had a boy friend that smoked, and lived a life I many not typically want to live, when sure enough I picked up his lifestyle; I had a husband that I began to mirror more and more in my life including feelings about where we lived, things we did, thoughts on people and their outlooks that was somewhat degrading; I have been friends with a man for almost 8 years (previously romantic, now just friends) who absolutely cannot stand this area, and so lo an behold my view of where I live got worse and worse. These are just a few examples of the mirroring that I know have happened with me….my list could go on and on.

Is this anyone’s fault? Of course not!! And someone with BPD doesn’t just mirror negative, or positive, sometimes mirroring can have a positive effect.  What’s going on within us can’t be helped, until we learn to NOTICE! I actually didn’t even understand this symptom fully until the past couple of years. Looking back I saw how my chameleon was ever-present.

Now, I am single woman, my kids are either grown or pretty self-sufficient so I am having more and more time to BE. I went for a drive today with my son (I’m not totally independent yet due to my surgeries so I do need my awesome chauffeur). I was telling my son how much I really do

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My son…he is not a fan of pictures!

enjoy where we live. He was a bit confused since he says I have always hated it…but no…I don’t hate it. There is a beauty to where I live, the people I run into are kind, I am so close to the mountains that I hope to be able to walk the trails again. For this moment, my 3 kids live in the same town as I do, and my oldest daughter lives in a larger city less than an hour away that is up and coming, bustling with new life and I would even like to move there at some point.  So yes, I am finding my own perceptions of my life, where I live and what I do – for me.  I know that chameleon is always around and may come for a visit. And like I said, is it a bad visit? Not necessarily as long as we can NOTICE what we are feeling and if wer are content with our likes and dislikes…for the moment.

 

 

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Jenny

The Long, Dark Hallway

The Long, Dark Hallway

Oh my goodness, we all have been there – INSOMNIA!!!!  We can’t seem to get to sleep and it can be so unsettling. And then when we do finally fall asleep our mind is still wandering in the darkness of our dreams.

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That was me last night. I Could Not fall asleep. While living and managing my Bipolar and BPD diagnoses, I have a combination of medications that works for me. Trust me, it was no easy task to get that combo figured out (that’s another blot topic!), but it does work for me. I can take my meds at around 9:00 pm and by 10:00 pm I am asleep for the night, usually in a dreamless slumber. Recently, due to a couple of surgeries I have not had a good night’s sleep in almost 6 weeks. Trying to get comfortable, taking pain medication, I just never can sleep very well. Last night was different.

I took my meds as usual. 10:00pm I was still laying there with my eyes wide open and not tired at all!!!! I decided to do what I they say is bad – I looked at my phone, checking out the news, Instagram, what have you. That only lasted a few minutes and again I tried to sleep. Sheesh, what was the problem?  My mind was wandering all over the place which didn’t help things. Around midnight I finally was asleep.

My story doesn’t end there.

I don’t dream very much anymore, due to the meds. Sometimes it makes me sad because dreams can be so interesting. But last night a dark dreary dream snuck through my mind. I wish I could remember what was going on (or more likely, I’m glad I Didn’t remember) I do recollect walking, or rather dragging myself down this dark hallway….on and on and on…and on. It was quite terrifying I believe. I couldn’t keep going, but I knew I had to. After what felt like forever, a door opened to a bright light. I was so thankful, and then I heard, “Mom, MOM!”  It was my oldest son, he was waking me up from this terrible dream and I was so grateful. He kept asking me, “are you ok?”  I muttered that I was ok and I was sorry. I was pulling my brain from that fog of dream and sleep and darkness. He said not to be sorry, he was just worried about me. How sweet kids can be…18 year old young man that he is now.

I’m sure you have been in a similar dream state. It Sucks!!! I didn’t want to go back to sleep and end up down that hallway again. But eventually I did, and slept the rest of the night.

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We all need sleep, that is true. But if you have a mental illness, sleep is CRITICAL. Especially when moods are all jacked up like mine have been recently. We need our sleep to keep those brain waves functioning properly and to give our body and mind rest. Again, sleep for those of us with a mental illness is a MUST!!!

How do you handle insomnia? Share with me your hints for a good night’s sleep

“Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.”  ~Thomas Dekker

Jenny

Rapid Cycling: doesn’t get you in shape!!

Rapid Cycling: doesn’t get you in shape!!

Have you heard of rapid cycling ? I would like to say when Ihear that term that I think of  people in their “spinning classes” or the lovely lady on the new commercial that rides her indoor bike right at home (Peloton, isn’t it?). Unfortunately for those of us who live with mental illness, Bipolar in particular, rapid cycling is a demon that lays low in our brain until is sneaks out to say a not so pleasant “hello.”

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I thought I would share with you a portion of an article from the DBSAlliance. This organization is quite renowned in the research of Depression and Bipolar. Their articles are interesting and easy to read and you will be able to empower yourself with knowledge which is so important in managing your illness.

Click on this link for the complete article:

What is rapid cycling?

Rapid cycling is defined as four or more manic, hypomanic, or depressive episodes in any 12-month period. With rapid cycling, mood swings can quickly go from low to high and back again, and occur over periods of a few days and sometimes even hours. The person feels like he or she is on a roller coaster, with mood and energy changes that are out-of control and disabling. In some individuals, rapid cycling is characterized by severe irritability, anger, impulsivity, and uncontrollable outbursts. While the term “rapid cycling” may make it sound as if the episodes occur in regular cycles, episodes actually often follow a random pattern. Some patients with rapid cycling appear to experience true manic, mild manic, or depressive episodes that last only for a day. If there are four mood episodes within a month, it is called ultra-rapid cycling, and when several mood switches occur within a day, on several days during one week, it is called ultra-ultra-rapid, or ultradian cycling. Typically, however, someone who experiences such short mood swings has longer episodes as well. Some individuals experience rapid cycling at the beginning of their illness, but for the majority, rapid cycling begins gradually. Most individuals with bipolar disorder, in fact, experience shorter and more frequent episodes over time if their illness is not adequately treated. For most people, rapid cycling is a temporary occurrence. They may experience rapid cycling for a time, then return to a pattern of longer, less frequent episodes, or, in the best case, return to a stabilized mood with the help of treatment. A small number of individuals continue in a rapid cycling pattern indefinitely.

Yes, I can relate!!!

In the early years of my illness, I learned that I suffered from ultradian cycling. If I ever look back at my mood charts I used to keep I could see how erratic my moods were in any given day, even any given hour. My brain was sooooooo incredibly all over the place and I wished I could shake myself out of it (there were times I would literally hit my head with my hand trying to “come to”).  The more I learned about rapid cycling, the less severe my episodes were. I know medication and therapy helped as well.

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So why am I writing about this today? Well, I realize that I think I may be going through a dose of rapid cycling….not the fast highs and lows as before, but definitely something is up. For one, I can’t focus on ANYTHING!!!! I have started puzzles and stitchery and books and tv shows and on and on…. I am happy one morning when I wake up and just pissed off by night-time. I just can’t…I don’t know….stay level!  Can anyone feel this way? Of course!! It’s not something that only people with bipolar have, it is just much more pronounced and common with this mental illness. Also, I know that part of my up and down has to do with my physical heath and lack of mobility. I am not living my life as I normally do which can definitely make things a bit wonky. I can just “feel that feel” like the old days but you know what????

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I NOTICED IT!!! As soon as I realized what has been going on in my mind besides my physical health, I started to feel a little better. Does the rapid cycling immediately stop? Of course not, but I can work towards feeling better. I have to remember that this cycle WILL go away. I always think of how ocean waves hit the beach and then retreat, that my moods and cycles are similar. I have to be gentle with myself – that’s a tough one for me. I need to continue taking my medication as prescribed. I also know that if I feel I need to, I will visit or call my therapist.  I will be ok, I know I will…this is is mild if I think back to past years . I am thankful that I am so much healthier now.

Do you suffer from rapid cycling?  How do you work through these spells? I would love to know your ideas

Jenny

Do you hear what I hear??

Do you hear what I hear??

So I am sitting here at my computer (well a laptop that my work brought me), and realized that it doesn’t have MS Office on it. I started the download and oh my goodness I saw that this was going to take a long time!!!

Rather then jumping up and doing chores around the house (well, let’s be honest I can’t even jump or do much right now, but I did take down my Christmas decor), I decided to do an exercise in mindfulness. I used my sense of hearing and decided to work towards blocking out everything else except what I could hear. I did have to pause a couple of times to write out what I was hearing so I could share it with you, but as the time passed I focused more and more on my practice in mindfulness.

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I took time to NOTICE:

1. Little bubbles popping in soda can like little tiny fairies dancing inside.

2. The long sigh of my dog, as if he finally fell deep into sleep.

3. A car driving by – a bit too fast – more annoying than reminding me of anything special.

4. The tap tap on my keyboard as I write this so I don’t forget when I share you. For some reason I enjoy the sounds of a “clicky” keyboard; especially when I am typing with very quickly.

5.The computer makes a soft whirring sound, keeping technology doing what it’s supposed to do.

6. A small creak in the house followed by another and then another….it sounds like the house is trying to rest and cannot get comfortable. I know how that feels.

I come back later to write this and I realized as I engaged in this lesson my breathing became deeper and slower; my busy brain slowed down to just the task at hand….it was quite wonderful the calm I felt:

7.The crack of my shoulder – nothing painful, just a shoulder reminding me that yes, I am 51 years old.

8. A dog barking way off in the distance; I wonder what he is hearing?

9. A jetliner overhead – funny how loud it sounds when one is being mindful of only sounds.

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As I opened my eyes and began to bring the rest of my senses back to my Self, I noticed again, that I felt calmer and with introspection.  I looked at the computer and saw that my program was still installing, so here I am , writing my experience to share with you. I hope you all can take a time to practice Being within one sense (sight, hearing taste, touch, smell). Try to let that one sense be in charge and let the others slip away, if only for a moment. Notice how you feel. You may be surprised at the calming effect this practice can be.

Share with your mindfulness skill or questions. Let’s practice and share our ideas.

Jenny