First time for everything

Mood State- 8 Beginning of Mania

My hands are shaking, no time to think, I just act, 1,2,3,4,5, 1,2,3,4,5, call 911!  Hello? my friend just stopped breathing!  I could hear her gasp for air then silence.  You have to send EMS NOW!  My basic medical training kicked in and I started CPR.  Two police officers were the first to show up,  followed by EMS and the Fire department. As they flooded into her house Christina’s heart started and she began to breathe again.  Christina was annoyed, had no idea what happened and just wanted everybody out of her house but me.  She said they could take her vital signs but no hospital (and no health insurance).  It was not my choice but I would stay and look after her. We relaxed, watched movies and talked all night, she started to ask me questions about what happened. I explained there were paramedics in the house because she had stopped breathing. Her response blew me away – she said it was okay, it happens.  Say what!! No that does not just happen, not to a young, healthy, women. Unknown to me at the time was that she had a history of heart issues.  The next morning we decided to get breakfast, so we casually hop on her scooter to just go a few blocks to the supermarket. Everything was going great, wind in hair, laughs, then suddenly a car hit us from behind as we turned onto the street, and sped off.  We crashed!  I was lucky.  Witnesses said I jumped off the scooter like a ninja before it hit the ground, but Christan stayed on and hit the pavement.  I quickly got to her, and about six neighbors and a passing car all came running over to us. Christina slowly tried to get up, I gave her my hand to just sit up, and let me look at the injuries. They weren’t good, but she was conscious for now. She told everybody she was fine, and we got on the scooter and drove to her house where another friend was waiting. Given everything that had happened within the last twenty-four hours, we really wanted to take her to the Emergency Room but she refused.  I made a deal that if she was not better by 9pm I’m calling 911.  The next few hours gave me some time to process everything that had happened within the last two days and focusing my energy on her was the only way I knew how to cope at that very moment.

It is 9pm and Christina is complaining of her head hurting, Chest pain, and her lower back, than just than she lays back and doesn’t respond to me. I can not wait this out, she stopped breathing the other night. so I called 911, and told them “I have a young female, not really responsive, but conscious and breathing.” They ask, drugs, no, they ask me if sure? Yes, just hurry!

Remember this is my second night without good sleep, and constant worry, my mood is changing to fully manic and I knew if I didn’t get some quality sleep soon, it would end up with us both in an emergency. Paramedics, firemen, and police all show up, Christina finally came to, but was so confused, scared, and did not understand what happened, she thought she just took a nap. After some arguments, explaining and reassurance she agreed to go to the hospital to get checked out. Relief!! So I thought! That next moment she went crazy on the paramedics, they kept asking me what drugs she did. I said over and over she did not take drugs, and either do I. I said I swear this is not an overdose, they all didn’t believe me. Once at the hospital, the drug test came back a negative, and we both said duh! This isn’t an overdose. Christina was not having it with this nurse, named her big Bertha, and kept calling her that, big Bertha got upset and decided to call security on us, for laughing and joking. Just trying to keep my friend clam here! Laughter is the best medicine; I also did not get how I was the one in the room and had to take full responsibility for Christina’s life and safety that evening. I’m freaking. That’s a lot. So this security guard truly was no help, after assessing the situation, he just smiled, and gave a little laugh to both of us, because he knew it was ridiculous the nurse felt threatened for her safety with us. We’re both tiny women. We just wanted answers, which in the end, they failed to give us. So we head home, I do my best to stay awake, to keep her up for an hour then she can go to sleep. I am not sure how long I can stay up for but my adrenaline is flowing, so I knew I could not fall into a deep sleep. expect I did, and that is what worried me, but everything turned out great. It is crazy what our mind and body can handle during stressful situations.

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The Creativity Process

 

Taking time to be creative is so important to embrace when you are learning how to manage daily life with mental health issues.  Whether you have a Masters Degree in writing or Art or you just like to sit down and let the thoughts flow out, finding your inner voice and expressing it creatively is cathartic.   I love to paint and I love to write. The direction I go in depends on the mood of the moment (I am a rapid cycle Bipolar 1). That being said, as a result of many therapy sessions, I am getting better at being able to know where I am in the mood pyramid and plan my activities accordingly.  I also have an app on my phone that I use to take notice of my feelings and the little things that happen to me throughout the day. During the course of one day in Mania, I can experience a wide range of moods from so anxious that I am sick to my stomach too so productive I cannot keep up with my thoughts. Usually, long hours of sleep from twenty-four to forty-eight are required to reset the mood cycle. I use the emotions and feelings I have just experienced for insight into how I will express myself.  It all starts with a feeling that directs me toward writing or painting for a release.  Today I will express myself through writing and gather my thoughts and piece back information I am feeling or have felt. When I put the words on paper, they are mine and agree or disagree they are still mine. I find it empowering.

Mental Health Day’s

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I apologize for the lack of posts some weeks, it is not that I am not thinking or care about you all. It is my mental health calling and messing up my days when it was going all so great. One of the most frustrating traits of having bi-polar1. Some days I am so manic, I can not even try to put words together, let alone a thoughtful and educational post. Other days, I can’t get my mind to wake up enough to write, sleep is all my body craves and that is what I give it, along with my daily yoga. So in between these days I write, express myself and do my best to help myself and others.

The days I do post when manic, I apologize if my posts aren’t up to my own standard or aren’t always clear. My mind and raw emotions are at their finest.As I learn to handle my anxiety and bi-polar, I hope to be on a bi- weekly posting schedule. On these days I am reachable on Twitter at @bipolarbree1.

As I learn to handle my anxiety and bipolar, I hope to be on a bi- weekly posting schedule. All days I am reachable on Twitter at @bipolarbree1. Thank you for your understanding in advance.

 

 

The New Therapist​

Hi, I’m Bree, and traditional talk therapy is not my thing. I placed my bag down, and made myself comfortable, as my therapist said, “this isn’t therapy we are just going to talk.” If this isn’t therapy than what is it? I said nervously. I know you have been seeing our trauma therapist, and he has gotten you to release some of your pain and show any emotion. I am here for you, to talk, to help you make daily choices, and to improve your quality of life with Bi-polar. This therapy session was so different than any one I have been to. It was different in that she did not have to pray to get information out of me, I did not hold back, even the darkest, and most painful events. I just kind of trusted in her, and really opened up to accept help. We talked, laughed, and started to form a plan for me to start working on. As the session went on I really felt that I was the most open and honest I have ever been. Starting to form this new medical-professional relationship, was scary, but exciting. I even received her personal E-mail, If I never needed to talk, vent or just scream. I have never had any therapist, be that willing, and to go that extreme for me. I felt much more like a person, than just another appointment in their day. As the session came to an end, we invited my mom back, my mom is my best friend and biggest supporter through all of this. We told her our plan and just chatted. Leaving the office I felt relaxed, and a lot less anxious. I look forward to our next appointment. It has taken me about 5 years to find the right therapist, I always had to have some form of therapy weekly, but noting really worked, or clicked like I felt this appointment went today. So if you are struggling to find the right therapist do not stop looking, ask your primary doctors if there is somebody they could recommend, this is how I came across my therapist, and it is awesome that both doctors work in the same office, so there will be no mis information or delayed flies between them, which is a huge plus for me. Therapy does not have to be expensive, but make sure your doctor has had the right training in your area of help. For example, when I first came out to my family and moved back from NYC. I looked for a one who specializes in LBGT, Anxieties, PTSD and Addiction.

Finding out you have Bipolar​

The diagnosis of bipolar was some of the best news I have heard in a long time. It completely made sense to my recent actions and rapid changes in my mood. It was only when I started to get sober, while in rehab I noticed something with my moods. I would be so happy for a few days, then so depressed and just sleeping all day, which was not allowed so I would try to have my room mate look out for me, when counselors where around campus. I got caught about a week later for not socializing and just sleeping. I got caught many times after that, and it got to the point where my consular would knock on my room door, and just walk in just to make sure I wasn’t sleeping. Beyond annoyed, angry and not knowing what was going on with me, I exploded on my consular, who just kept telling me “I was an addict, that is why I was having these mood changes,” I knew that was completely wrong, and that comes to be proven correct by my amazing doctor. Dr. Matt.

Dr. Matt is unlike any medical doctor today, his unconventional medical training has led him to be the best of the best. He has obtained an undergrad in psychology and became a board certified medical psychology and psychopharmacology. Having him as my primary doctor is nothing short of a blessing and miracle.
It was appointment day, I was so nervous and shaking, I did not know what to expect, I really didn’t know what was going on with me mentally, but I was losing it, I wasn’t me anymore. Dr. Matt and I talked, I told him everything my alcohol use, my traumas, he met my mom and girlfriend. The family is very important when dealing with and recovering from a mental illness. After talking for while he decided to give me a personality test, this took about 90 mins and was about 300 questions long. I was skeptical about this test, what could it tell me that I haven’t already been told. A few days later the results were in Bi-polar type 1. Shocked, Happy, and relieve, I was on the way to getting better, but not before it gets worse, and depression kicks in. The next few months, were dark and strange, only having the energy to sleep, and sleep and sleep. Sleep seemed to be my safe place

The first thirty days of my diagnosis, and on my new medications, an anti- anxiety, depression, and a mood stabilizer, nothing short of crazy. I was not yet in tuned with my body, one manic day, I got the dumb idea to start drinking as I usually do then, All of a sudden  I wanted to go shopping, since I lived five mins from a great outlet mall. This time was different, I got arrested for shop lifting, and even ran from the cops, something I couldn’t ever think of doing today. Waiting for these medications to become built up in my system, was too long to keep me safe. I started to think being Bi-polar was going to lead me to a life of crime, something I was far from use too. As time went on, the medications started to work. My mind became clearer, and my heart didn’t crave as much thrill, positive or negative as it did before. I started to see the benefits of having bipolar, such as having endless creative energy.
To this day I have learned and practiced listening to my body, to know when I have had enough mentally and physically. To know when all I need to do is sleep, to understand when I can not handle being around other people, including my best friends, and parents.

To this day, I am seen by him monthly for medical check up’s and in depth, conversations talk about my moods and over all well being. He has put me in weekly therapy, and monthly trauma therapy. The main reason why I love having Dr. Matt is that he doesn’t believe in just trying all different medication combinations, constantly switching dosages, and so on. He believes in lifestyle changes, a schedule, art therapy and daily exercise.

For those with a mental illness, I can not stress enough how important it is to get help, in any form speak up, this is not something we can be silent about. Going to a weekly Bi polar group has also helped me greatly, it allows me to hear other peoples struggles, and learn from and support them. Take baby steps, face each challenge as it presents itself, and do not let feelings build up.

 

 

The Mental Health Tag.. About me Q&A

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This is a little fun Q&A to allow you to get to know me better,
Q) When were you diagnosed, and what lead up to it 

A) I was first diagnosed with General Anxiety disorder back in 2007, then things go more serious, in 2012-20-14. I started to self-medicate with alcohol and prescription drugs.  In 2016 I was hospitalized and put in rehab for alcoholism and or alcohol abuse. From rehab, I saw a trauma therapist and Board Certified Medical Psychologist Psychopharmacologist who diagnosed me with PTSD, and Bipolar1 disorder, along with   Anxiety, and OCD.

Q)  What Therapy and medications have you tried, and have any of them worked?
  A)  I have tried, and still attend many forms of therapy, including group, trauma, weekly therapy sessions. I am on an anti- psychotic antidepressant, both are working great, but only in conjunction with therapy, CBT, Trauma, and Rapid Resolution Therapy. RRT has worked the best for me, and I have seen the most progress with myself going for RRT.
Q)  Do my Family and Friends know about my mental illness and addictions.
 A) Of course, my family knows, mental illness cannot be fought alone, or talked about enough. My parents and longtime partner are both heavily involved with my well-being, I could not survive each day without them.
Q) Does it affect your daily life and work?
 A) My bipolar and anxiety disorder affect my life in ways I not have imagined but turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  I now focus my energy on my blog and my wellness.
Q) What makes me feel calm? 
 A) To feel calm I have always had this very soft object in my hand to play with, and take my attention away from the stressor.  I will be speaking about this in a post, and have it being offered to you all.
Q) What makes me smile?
 A)  There are so many things that make me smile, but one thing for sure to make me smile is my puppy Bailey and Dog Quincy.
Q) What advice could I give others suffering?
  A)  I would say speak up, this is not something we can be silent about, we already suffer enough because we have a disorder of our minds, that is not apparent on the outside, most of the time.
 Please Share, and Answer these questions yourself, then tag yourself. xoxo

Admission of Help

Asking for help can be one of the bravest and best things we can do to save our lives. The disease of addiction is not a solo problem, nor does it happen overnight. My unknown addiction started at a very young age when I was diagnosed with ADHD and put on Ritalin medication at age five.  Even at that young age, I realized how different the medication made me feel.  I liked this feeling better, it made me less sensitive to the world around me and I was able to make friends and be in social situations for a much longer time.  As I grew older, I started to understand how the medication actually worked.  By reducing sensory overload it allowed me to focus on just one or two tasks through to completion.  I fell in love with the feeling of not feeling in addition to being able to keep my weight under 100lbs and knowing I could achieve anything without being tired. This went on through my college years from 2009-2012.

 

THE CHANGE
The darkest memories I have of coming home were the many night’s iv spent in my room, with a bottle or two and some stimulants. These nights were dark, and long, filled with shame and frustration. it was just a few months after I came out to my family, that I was a lesbian, life was awkward, I needed mental peace, and out of this strong addition. So I got up the courage, to make a friend online and ask for help. I know asking a stranger, but it was the only way to get help, without being judged, or questioned. She was a guardian angel, I felt. So we arranged to meet at my house so she could get me these detox and withdrawal medication. The day she showed up at my house, I got so nervous, i had to tell my mom, about my addiction, and why I was getting medication from a stranger.  Fear and sadness were the only emotions in the room, I was looking down at the floor as tears flowed down my face. I was excited to kill this demon inside me. It took me about 4months to be completely okay without the drugs, but I was drinking massive amounts of red bull, just to feel ok, since the drugs were gone, and I was so happy to start to be free from the demon.

Telling my parents about my addiction, took more courage than coming out. I knew they would blame themselves, especially my mom. None of this was their fault, nor mine really. It got to the point where the only time I used the bathroom, was to do my drug of choice. I started to grow more ashamed with myself,  and was so broken, and confused on how to get unaddicted.  I was never told about the N/A program and kept it a secret that I had a problem, to this day I am 3+ years clean of perscription stimulants. I am ok with being over 100lbs,  but also it is my first time in my life that I am weighted every month, so my weight is closely monitored and each time I am not completely stressed out.