Saturday, January 30, 2010


So I have to go through the process of another med. I call it a process because they always introduce a baby dose of a new med, then increase it slowly. Like, over months. It took about five months to realize the positive results I was getting with the addition of the lithium was limited to a month or so after each increase. It worked, and then said never mind.

Unfounded optimism, in my opinion, is more dangerous and unsettling than constant discouragement.

I really dislike the medication they're adding (and are going to gradually drop the lithium--it may hit a happy medium in there, we may take it away completely), and I honestly don't think I'll be on it for very long. The side effects just clash with the personality my bipolar has taken.

Regardless, I told the psych team I have no idea where to go from here, and they put me on Abilify. So I get to start all over again with a new drug. Yippee.

I really don't believe I'm going to ever get better. I will never regain the talent I once had, will probably never take renewed interest in everything I've quit, and will never be able to push out of this job and into one that actually pays all the bills. Oh, I wanted to believe it, but people like me should know better than to follow pipe dreams. Only leads to disappointment.

I go on, cause I have a gorgeous wife and adorable son, but they're really the only thing that alleviates the pain of...well, being me.

I'm going to stop the search for being happy for reasons independent of them. It's just too tiring, and I'm not really in the mood for more failure.

Monday, January 25, 2010


This one's a little long, but I promise you'll learn something.

Anyone that knows me knows that, in the initial consultation with the psychiatrist, being locked up was worst case scenario for me. Dad was locked up for three months, was released, and killed himself that weekend. The doctors were at fault. Period. They prescribe medicine differently now because there were so many instances like my Dad. So even though treatment today is exponentially better and safer than it was then, I had an understandable fear of being locked up.

I was fully prepared to fight, and was fully expecting to be killed. You fight hard enough and hurt security enough, they have to plunk you. Yes, I was out of my mind. But if I could unleash what I was trying to control--just pure rage--and get a nice, neat suicide out of it, all the better.

Again, I was out of my mind. That was then. This is now, and now is much different. For the most part.

The only thing that stopped me from acting on that impulse was my beloved and beautiful wife crying against the wall. I didn't want her to see it or--even worse--get hurt in the scuffle. And in that, though I was locked up, I had the briefest glimmer of hope. Something that was quite honestly an alien sensation at that time. It rarely visits now, in fact. And it is hope I'm afraid of.

Every subsequent visit, I was worried about being locked up again. I had periods of extreme aggression. I had periods of crippling depression. But I always told the truth, worked with the doctors, and they haven't locked me back up. So far, anyway.

But this time, I'm getting tired of thinking they can help me. And getting my hopes up. Because if you have bipolar, you're never cured and only marginally made better. They can treat it, but there is no cure.

So, after much input from me and the research I had done and what I was comfortable with, they added lithium to my lamotrigine (amazing drug, originally used for epilepsy--I'll get into drugs later) and quedapine (a sedative/mood stabilizer sold as Seroquel). A little bit of lithium at first, just like every other med. I really do respect and put a lot of trust in my psych team. They take what I say into consideration, but also don't let me dictate decisions just cause it's what I want. I am very fortunate to live within driving distance of The Cleveland Clinic. And Cedar Point.

And the stuff actually worked. I felt okay. Which is a big deal.

I went to Cedar Point with my adorable Lydia that month, constantly sneaking pinches and gropes on her curvy little self while in line for the roller coasters (which I usually do anyway), had lunch in the best-kept secret restaurant there, and had an amazing time. The crowds didn't bother me. I was slightly less inclined to kill the jackoffs eyeballing my baby girl. I had fun. And when it rained, I got cranky, because it could have put a damper on our plans. The rain subsided, we had more fun, and then ended the night in the wee hours at Steve's Hotdog Lunch, the little diner on the intro to the Drew Carey show. Their hot dogs actually suck, though.

Both of those things--having fun when I should and getting cranky when I should--were MAJOR deals. Not something even I can put into an illustration. Okay, yeah, there isn't anything I can't put into an illustration. It was like that feeling you get after a monster migraine has subsided. The pain being gone feels good, even though you're just back to being normal.

Then the bottom fell out.

I had a major depressive episode that lasted for a few weeks, then a dark manic (I don't get "happy" manic) phase for another few. So they upped me. Same thing. Worked, then bottom fell out.

So they upped me again. I'm very near the therapeutic dose now, but the bottom fell out. Again. I have been rapid-cycling and combination cycling (both depression and mania at one time) again. Now I feel a little more even because I've been taking the Seroquel as prescribed, earlier in the evening, and I've been sleeping. I'm a zombie until about 10 am, but I sleep.

But I only feel a little more even.

My next appointment, after two months, is Thursday. And I don't know where to go from where I'm at. They have one possible bump up in the lithium, but can I trust it? Do I try another new med that I could react very poorly to?

It is so FRUSTRATING! It seems like we're right on the doorstep. Right there. But every step leads to one more step. And I don't believe I'll ever reach the top.

So I'll just say the same thing I tell family and coworkers before an appointment, and see what happens:

"If you don't see me again, look for me on the news."

Monday, January 18, 2010


I'm sitting at my desk right now, eating Quaker instant grits. The butter flavor is terrible. Butter apparently means "salt, salt, SALT!".

Eh, whatever. I posted a rant on our writing blog HERE.

They make fun of me here at work because I eat grits and I'm part black. Not enough to get a scholarship, but you know, it's in there. My coworkers are racist, by the way.

The grits keep the nausea from the 5 bazillion pills I take in the morning down.

Haha, what perfect timing! My boss just stormed out of my office. Today is MLK day, and the jokes were flying last week. One driver made a comment on Friday about shooting "4 more this week so we can get the whole week off next year."

I lit him up. Lit. Him. Up. I'm about as un-PC as they come (I have nasty racial jokes for all races, including cracker), but he was serious, and overt racism makes me cranky.

So I informed him I'm part black, and he says he feels sorry for me. To which I respond that I don't have enough in me to get a scholarship, but enough to (have relations with) his white wife.

Seriously, y'all. You have no idea how much I usually avoid profanity and how much I hate the wife jokes. That and kids are about the only thing I leave alone when going back and forth with someone.

So the boss found the "4 more" comment hilarious and was e-mailing it all weekend. When I relayed the continued conversation just now, he became mildly agitated and left the office. Been gone about twenty minutes now.

Hehe. I'm probably in trouble, but these grits taste so good now. For some reason. Maybe because they're flavored so well with WIN.

Friday, January 15, 2010


Yes, all of the nonsense in that title will end up in an illustration. It is a very difficult thing to explain, this disease. Illustrations help, but they can't really pinpoint the feelings.

You can explain to someone what it feels like to ride a rollercoaster, but you can't actually convey how the fear of the climb up the first hill whips into elation when you come hurtling back down (hopefully still in the coaster car), or that lift and fall in your stomach. It just has to be experienced. I'm a coaster junkie, in case it wasn't clear. I live 45 minutes from Cedar Point. Haha! Your envy, though understandable, is not very attractive. All splayed out all over your face like that. Making you all redfaced and jealous. Hehe.

Likewise with describing the feeling of putting the sweetspot on the ball and launching it over the fence for a homerun. Or sex...I'm not. Not going beyond that. People who know me'n Lydia (and have read my romance) know I should stop now. But it's true. You cannot accurately convey the surge of endorphins or the...

The dirtiest part of that sentence was the ellipsis. I deleted about six lines there, so be thankful.

*Rambling ends and post begins here.

Anyway. Most of the actual feelings that bipolar induces are the same way. Though not to the same extent, people get depressed and can understand the sadness aspect of it. People get anxiety. People feel that certain situations are hopeless. People feel really happy and confident.

The best way I can explain people, and how we see them, is to reference "regular" depression. I've often said that there are times where I view the world through a museum case; the world has a literal glossy veneer over it, and people are just kind of moving around in it. That is largely controlled now by all the meds I'm on. But people still are kind of not real to me.

It's like when a relative dies. You're sad. You're numb. Angry. Hurt. The people you pass on the highway aren't real. You flow amongst the traffic, merging, keeping speed. You still have to drive, to function, but you don't notice individual cars or the people within. Even how they're driving.

Your coworkers aren't really there. The woman at the store. Friends who come by to visit--they're all kind of swallowed in this numbing sadness.

Sure you function and interact, but it's all perfunctory. People say things, you respond. Phone rings, you pick it up. Get hungry, you eat. But there's little emotion over that when hammered into a deep depression. If you can get into public to interact at all.

Conversely, being manic is like that last week of school. Or 30 minutes to getting off work for the weekend. You're nice to people you normally aren't, not much bothers you, and the pile of work can wait until Monday. Your responses are chipper and sarcastic, joking. Again, people aren't really distinct entities. More like objects and responses and conversations overshadowed by the happiness of going home.

Even now with the medications, I feel like one or the other--depending on my mood--about people nearly all the time. I'm pretty much devoid of anger or empathy or compassion or even recognition of the people around me, except family. And even they slip in and out of real.

We all feel like that from time to time, but my body won't let me feel otherwise.

Did any of that make sense?

Friday, January 1, 2010


Because I do. I hate folding panties. I mean, the satin ones slide, so it's hard to keep them at a crisp edge. The cotton ones have thicker seams, so it's impossible not to get some bunching somewhere (no pun intended). Thongs I just wrap around my hand and toss into the drawer (no pun intended). Boy shorts *pauses...pausing...still pausing...c'mon, appendix (that'll make sense later)...coherent again* are a little easier, but there is always that little section in the crotch that is a little longer that sticks out (no pun...wait, there's not really a pun there. Sorry).

While we're on the subject, Boy Shorts--yes, they should be capitalized, as they are that important--are just...ah, what's the word? AHSKLHADSLKFNAL;KFNWEK. That's what comes out of my mouth when Lydia wears them. Thongs are kind of stupid and I hate them, but Boy Shorts *pausing...* are just...

Okay, look. Forget all that thong crap. 80% of guys LOVES them some Boy Shorts. You see how I keep pausing? That's because Boy now...have that affect on men. I get lightheaded when even thinking of a pair, and having my wife's image in my head. Not even ncessarily her wearing them, just a pair of the stretchy blue or lacy little white ones, and her face (and the rest of her), and all coherent thought just heads south with the rush of blood. I'm not apologizing if you understood that.

In fact, that should be the new Tazer. Cops could just throw a pair of Boy Shorts on the ground and watch the fleeing vigilante pass out. They'd have to invent a spray the cops could take so they don't pass out, as well, but I don't think there is a natural antidote.

Imagine the implications in riot control.

You know how nobody knows what the heck the appendix does? It's an, "I saw boyshorts" pump that sends blood back up from the way it came. Without it, mankind would be permanently crippled. And then we'd be doomed, because all the women would get lost. Hehe, see what I did there? Women can't drive without men. Hehe, see? Yeah, okay not that funny.

By the way ladies, do NOT hold up a pair of Boy Shorts while shopping with your husband, place them across your waist and hips, and ask, "Whaddya' think?" There is absolutely NOTHING a guy can do in that instance. Even the "untuck-the-shirt-and-walk-slowly" technique is powerless against that. You have three options in that case: walk out as-is and get arrested, let him stand there biting his lip and leaning on the table, whimpering, for the next hour, or let him pick you up and sprint into the dressing room. I'm not apologizing if you understood any of that.

And this is the sternest warning I can give. Do not--I repeat DO NOT!--revel in his suffering, as his face goes from a stark white to a flushed red to a deep crimson, like a cuttlefish vibrating his colors, and think you can add to it by WIGGLING YOUR HIPS WHILE YOU'RE HOLDING THE BOYSHORTS AGAINST THEM! GAH!!! That is not funny, and will result in one thing: he will be Attila. You will be the corpulant Roman provinces. Right there in the middle of the department store. There will be no Aetius to save you.

It'll be worth getting arrested for, at least. If they can find a firehose with enough PSI to blast him off you. I'm not apologizing at all, because everyone understood that.

While we're (sort of) on the thong/Boy Shorts topic, one-piece > bikini. By a HUGE margin. Especially the scoop-neck blue and white patterned kind with the flirty little skirt on the bottom, where the backside just sticks out the slightest little bit, which Lydia hasn't worn in a while...

I mean, one pieces > bikinis. I count tankinis as one pieces. They come in BOY SHORTS!!!

*slam slam slam slam slam slams head into wall*

Geez. This is invariably leading my mind back to a corset trying on/dressing room incident. I will leave that story untold. Lydia would not enjoy me sharing it, and I would not enjoy sleeping on the couch. Or castration.

What was I talking about? Oh, yeah, folding panties. I dislike folding panties. I'm doing laundry, and there is a pile of panties. And just out of the dryer panties are pretty much useless. They're warm and all, but we use unscented detergent and fabric softener. So they smell like, like clean. And nothing else.

I'm not apologizing for that. You should know better than to read anything I write that has the word, "panties" in the title.

And they're not my panties, if you're thinking that. My wife's. I don't think they even make panties in my size. Oh, thinking of panties in my size, I hate folding sheets, especially the fitted ones.

(Admit it, all that vulgarity was nearly worth that last paragraph).