mixed, with no blessing

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i legitimately have no idea where to start or what to say or what the important bits are, anymore. im just going to ramble and see what floats to the top.

ill start with the obvious.  im in the middle of a (diagnosed) mixed episode. its been a month now. still going strong. things have been… unsettling.

my sister came down for a week because its her birthday, and this happened to coincide with my doctor cutting my wellbutrin dose in half (complicated story, simplified:  anti depressants bad. mood stabilizers good. lowered mood stabilizers, increased anti depressants, bad things happen. like mixed episodes that last for over a month).  This is a dramatic decrease, obviously, and because im me and im sensitive as fuck to medication, i obviously got some stupid withdrawal symptoms for a week. so the two combined and i stayed with my parents until they left today to drive amy back to new brunswick.

i never actually wrote about the trip to philly to see my brother here, and i still cant really, i mean i should, theres definitely stuff to say, and if i could string a coherent thought together i would, but basically my mixed episode started on the trip, manifested as intense anxiety and panic attacks with lots of mood shifts, i was a fucking wreck. my brother didnt know how to handle it. his family really didnt know how to handle it. i didnt know what to do. i avoided everyone a lot. i cried a lot. hysterically. hysterical is the word i would use to describe the experience.  i think joe and i got a lot closer? in the end? and i think he realized we dont actually know each other very well, considering we are siblings. it was interesting. and a mess.

things calmed down for the last few days of the trip (mood shifted up). then we got home and the mood went down but everything else stayed up up up. all the agitation. none of the sleep. all of the rapid thoughts. none of the happy.

ive been in some weird cluster of mismatched bipolar symptoms for a long time, but at any given time, what these mismatched symptoms are is a complete surprise to everyone, including me. so far the most noticeable have been extremely suicidal, extremely tired, very very very agitated, completely enraged, pumped full of adrenalin, spontaneous crying, hyper vigilance, and pressing thoughts. very few of the so called positive effects of mania.

but then.

then there are the concerning things.

yes, but definition, i guess i am implying that the previous symptoms do not merit ‘concerning’, in so much as, ‘part of being bipolar, sometimes’.

when we chopped the wellbutrin off at he knees, initially it had some very positive effects. the agitation definitely reduced. the thoughts slowed down a bit. i slept through the night for a couple days. then i slept all day, too. then i started getting sick every morning until my dose kicked in (because we cut my night dose). but like, overall good. thought that might be done.

but no.

ive been getting the scary symptoms again.

the ones ive only every gotten when extremely manic, or in a psychotic mixed state.

colors got super super bright for awhile. just like five hours here or there. only it wasnt with the exuberance that happens with mania. and then the worst symptom. the symptom i try to explain to people and they think im describing like an adhd symptom but i am really really really not.

all sounds become very very loud, and they all scramble together into a big lump. the volume doesnt bother me, like it doesnt hurt or anything, i just can. not. untangle. the. noise.

we were playing a board game and people were talking and the pieces were clicking and cards were being shuffled and the dog was sleeping and the fridge was humming and someone was talking on the street outside and amy was knitting and all the sounds all the sounds all the sounds. they get maxed out. everything at max volume and max intensity. with no ability to sort through them. like. all the sounds happen all the time, and everyone takes in all that info all the time, but our brains focus in on the bits that are important and ignore the rest, most of the time. thats why you dont usually hear yourself breathing, and how you can have conversations in coffee shops. and when i try to explain it people think im just constantly getting distracted by sounds we dont normally notice (like the fridge humming). but thats not it. its that all the sounds come in together, smooshed up, and i cant tell that that is the humming of the fridge or that that persons voice and the humming of the fridge arent the same noise.  i just. i cant explain it. but then there becomes this.. space. this layer of padding between me and all of my senses. i jut stop being able to take in any information or make sense of anything im hearing, and then seeing, and then sometimes i get extremely aware of all the sensations of my body that you dont normally notice (jeans on leg, pressure of chair, hair on arm, etc), and it all comes with an extreme sense of confusion and being overwhelmed. and then, its like my mind pops, a giant 404 error, and complete disassociation begins. but i wouldnt call it anxiety, while its happening (though definitely anxiety producing after the fact). and it can last hours and i cant make it stop. sometimes days. and all i can do is basically curling in a ball in the dark in as close to silence as i can manage and hope i can sleep until it goes away.

for me, everytime this has happened, ive been diagnosed as either being psychotic or having psychotic symptoms shortly after.

i dont know if thats happening. i dont know if like, the wellbutrin was pushing me in that direction but the sudden drop like staved it off and now im going to be fine.

i dont know whats coming.

i have never been in a position before to identify symptoms of psychosis. if you can identify them, is it really psychosis?

like i dont know how this works

i dont really consider psychosis and a standard part of my illness, but its not an unprecedented occurrence.

i dont know i dont know i dont know.

writing this is the longest ive been coherent and stable in ages.

im very tired now.

progress.

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my grad school interview is tomorrow.

im a little hesitant to write this because im in a generally positive frame of mind about it at the moment and dont want to make myself all nervous over analyzing shit.  so thats mostly all im going to say about that.  I didnt get the CIHR scholarship I applied for, which sucked, but honestly i was in a pretty bad state when i wrote that so i guess its not horribly surprising.  I did just find out I received a different scholarship for $10,000 (renewable) though, and given canadian tuition prices, that is quite a lot. so thats encouraging. im not sure if they give entrance/school specific scholarships out with acceptance or not. i also dont know if ive been accepted or not. hence the interview. ack.

in other news, i have officially decided to go visit joe on friday. happy, positive, non bipolar vibes please.

gratitude

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welp. theres two reasons i should be writing this; im going to start with the positive one.

its thanksgiving! and while this should be a day where we all recognize the horrendous actions of our ancestors and aid in creating a better society, lets be honest, that aint north america’s style, so I’m going to talk about things that are good and eating turkey.

last weekend we had friendsgiving, where all my non-blood famjam (ie the poop circle) came to my apartment and we had a potluck supper. IT WAS SO GOOD. i am unsure family thanksgiving can compete. Amber and Ian stayed here for a couple nights, which was awesome because I miss Amber SO. SOOOOO MUCH. and I hadnt seen Ian in months because he was stationed in BC for 8 months this year.

A lot of things have been going well lately. My grandmother has been losing her sight and we didnt think shed be able to read again, but her vision was mostly fixed this week. she is ecstatic. it is adorable. I made her supper tonight; we played cards and she kept showing me her completed crossword puzzles and the books shes reading. i like it. its nice to see her happy again.

Im planning a trip to see my brother in december, and flights strangely got $300 cheaper. whaaaaa.

Im still studying for the GREs, and while the word problem algebra questions may be kicking my ass, turns out i still remember geometry: cha ching.

I have had really good times with my family lately. Im terrified of moving away for multiple years to go to grad school. Im very thankful for the family I have been born into. I wish more people had relationships with their grandparents. i wish more people still got to see their siblings on a regular basis. i wish more people got to see their nieces and nephews grow up.

And then theres the bad reason for writing this.

Last Thursday we went to my parents for supper. my mom called me on my drive there to asked when id get there and there was something weird in her voice, but she said everything was fine. I may have spent the entire ride assuming my grandfather died (he is fine). we ate, the kids played. My sister had made an apple pie. we sat down for dessert, most of us with pie, my super healthy brother eating apples. then my Dad said “well, now that everyone’s sitting down..” and the world stopped a little.

My Dad’s cancer is back. It is worse. Radiation didnt work. It is possible he may just go back on hormone therapy, but it’s more likely he’ll need chemo.

So theres that.

Jeff stared at the table, handing Lucy more and more ice cream (that she’d never get to eat normally) as we asked questions. I slowly ate all my pie. Amy got all teary. Mom kept hugging us. Jeff got pie. We stress ate, as a family.

I am grateful that I am Canadian, and that this wont bankrupt us. I am grateful that my grandmother is turning 90 and is still mentally together and able to do crosswords. I am grateful my brother is willing to have me in his home whenever I want, so I can have a relationship with his kids. I am grateful for friends that move 1600 miles away, that I still talk to everyday. I am grateful that when my sister dropped me off, I wanted to tell my roommate that my dad was sick. I am grateful that my boss is my best friend. I am grateful to have friends who, without knowing why i was upset, called to take me out to supper.

Happy Thanksgiving, internet.