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Bipolar 1

Well, my diagnosis has changed. My therapist told me that I most likely have Bipolar 1, because the symptoms I described from last summer sounded like a manic, rather than hypomanic, episode. 

I’m a little nervous about this, as Bipolar 1 is sometimes thought to be more severe than Bipolar 2, and the manic episodes make me nervous, because the last one I had wasn’t fun but it only involved slight delusions, not full blown psychosis. I have concerns that it will progress. 

At least I’m on meds and relatively stable at the moment. 

I’ve been having some restlessness and racing thoughts, along with a bit more anxiety. My pdoc suggested lowering my Latuda as it could be causing those symptoms, so I may try lowering it again. I’m nervous because it’s been helpful to get me out of my depressive slump a bit, but maybe I only needed it upped for a little while. 

My focus has gone out the window completely. It takes me half an hour to write a forum post for school because my brain isn’t working. I’m not sure what’s causing it, but it’s really difficult since I’m taking 16 credits this semester. Hopefully during spring break next week I can get a little ahead to help out with it. 

That’s all the news for now. 

Sadness

I’m still doing better, but I’ve been overwhelmed with a sadness the past few days. Probably due to cutting my Latuda for a few days (something I couldn’t help). 

My pdoc agreed to up my Lamictal, so I’ll be taking 300mg total. I think that will continue to help. 

When I feel this sadness, I get scared. I’m always scared it won’t leave me alone. I don’t want to feel this way forever. I know I won’t, and having been happy recently helps, but every time I start to feel this way, I completely forget what happiness feels like. 

My therapist and I talked more about my tentative diagnosis. Bipolar ii is scary. Luckily, I don’t have psychosis or full blown mania, but depression is hard. I’m glad I haven’t been hospitalized and I hope I won’t ever have to be, now that I’m on medications. 

I’m just holding onto hope. I’ll feel better again soon. 

Brain Fog

Today in therapy I talked about my unofficial diagnosis (which continues to be affirmed) of bipolar ii. It definitely fits, and my therapist thinks so too. Maybe one of these days I’ll get around to writing what hypomania is like for me, but best to leave that alone right now. 

At this point, since upping both Latuda and Lamictal, I am in a super brain fog. I’ll stare at the computer trying to do school and I have to work in small bursts to get things done. It’s definitely taking a toll on my grades, but I should be able to manage. 

It’s still frustrating and I hope it lessens. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for the meds and that they help. I know I’ve been complaining about them not working, and now I’ve switched to complaining about side effects. The only reason I really worry is that I know I’ll be on meds for the rest of my life, so I want them to work for me. I’d like to have a career eventually and not be a total zombie. So I worry, but I’m sure it’ll wear off. 

My depression has lifted a lot. I scored a 17 out of 27 instead of a 24 like last week (on the depression score my therapist gives me), so that’s been nice. I feel like I can actually enjoy time with my family and friends again. 

Implementing a daily schedule has also been really helpful. I really do feel so much more functional. 

Better

Last night I stayed up till 11:00 with no anxiety! And I actually felt truly happy yesterday and today. It feels so good. I don’t know whether it will last, but I’m thankful for a bit of a reprieve. I only slept 8.5 hours (when I’ve been sleeping 10-12). 

I think part of it is that Saturday I switched to taking my meds in the morning. I think they’ve been wearing off by evening and that’s why they weren’t covering the anxiety. And I’m definitely feeling positive effects from the Lamictal/lamotrigine now. I’m going to ask my pdoc if we can add 100mg in the evening so that it covers the bit of anxiety I’ve been getting in the morning (due to meds wearing off I think), so well see what she thinks. 

I’ve also been more open about my bipolar, which has made me feel good. I’ve told my family and some friends. It’s helpful to be able to talk about it. 

I’m just nervous and hopeful that I’ll feel good again tonight and that it lasts throughout the week. 

Therapy

As many of you know, I’ve been doing DBT with my therapist. This week though, because I’ve been having such a hard time, she recommended I not work on any new skills and just take deep breaths and walk my dog every day. So these are my goals. I also have other things to do in a day, such as school, cleaning, cooking and maintaining my house, but that’s the plan right now. 

Also, since I’ve been sleeping over 12 hours per day, she recommended I make a daily schedule that includes waking up earlier. I have to say, the combination of waking up earlier and having a set schedule has done wonders over the past couple of days. I feel a lot less anxious (knock on wood), and it’s helped me to focus and accomplish all of my schoolwork. 

I’m still a mess, but I’m getting better. I’m also up to dose on my lamotrigine/Lamictal now, so we’ll see how that helps. I’m also going to check my blood sugar as I think I may be dealing with hypoglycemia (Zyprexa made me prediabetic), so we’ll see where that takes me. I originally had a Dr. appt planned to test that but then insurance got all wacky so now I’m just going to test at home and go to the Dr. later if needed. Although I need to set up with a primary care physician soon anyway. 

Insurance

So I had a bit of a scare yesterday. We just got new insurance through my husband’s job, which is good. But when I went to pick up my Latuda prescription it was over $1000! I was very confused as I thought my copay was 10%! Turns out, for all appts and prescriptions my copay is 10% AFTER we pay the $3000 deductible. I had no idea this was the case until I went to pick up the prescription. I’ve never had insurance like that before. 

After crying for an hour and thinking I was going to have to quit my meds cold turkey (DO NOT RECOMMEND!), my husband came up with a solution. It still sucks, but it’s better than the alternative. We’ll be opening a credit card that is interest free for 15 months, put the deductible on it and pay a few hundred dollars a month throughout the year. 

While this solution is still frustrating, it’s much better than quitting medications and therapy. It’s fair to say I had a bit of a mental breakdown at first. 

In the end, we’re lucky we can make it work. I sympathize with anyone dealing with the costs of a long term mental or physical illness. 

Distraction

As you know, if you read my last post, I haven’t been doing very well with DBT therapy. I’ve been putting it off because I’m scared. 

I’ve been trying to distract myself. I’ve started knitting, sewing and signed up to volunteer at an animal rescue. 

None of these things are bad, but my husband and I talked and I realized they’re all bandaid solutions. I’m looking for the next thing to make me happy. A quick fix. Something that will temporarily give me hope and a little joy. Nothing solves the problem though. That’s why I need to keep working on therapy. I need to find healthy ways to cope with my feelings. 

Medications are only going to get me so far. And hopefully they’ll continue to help more as I’m getting all the way up to dose. I have been doing better with the magnesium and upping my Latuda. I also think the lamotrigine has had a good effect as well. I’m thankful for all those little boosts, I don’t know how I’d be without those things. 

I’m still scared though. Every day is scary because I don’t know how to get through it. I’m scared every night that the anxiety is going to come back. I’m just trying to keep pushing through the fear and get to the next day. I just hope that this all evens out eventually. I hope that I won’t be so afraid.