Hello, Darkness, My Old Friend

As winter progresses, I watch this long spell of nearly-normal fade in the rear view mirror.  It’s a horrible feeling, watching that image of the real me shrink and shrink as the bipolar hitchhiker takes over the wheel.  I can feel the Vyvanse losing its grip and rolling under the tires.  I worry that I’ve forgotten how to do this—how to manage a life instead of living it.

Hello DarknessAnd, of course, all that is a story.  I’ve promised to guard against telling stories.

So, let’s just say it’s an adjustment.

There is more depression and distorted thinking, more fibromyalgia pain and insomnia, more compulsive eating and anxiety.  But, the truth is we all expected this, even while we hoped Vyvanse could beat back winter (we being my therapist, nurse practitioner/med provider, and me).

Miracle enough that an amphetamine meant to curb my eating disorder also managed to smooth out my moods for six months.  I don’t want to get greedy.  Six months of feeling joy and gratitude for my life, of sitting in the driver’s seat, can’t be minimized.  Ever.

And all is not lost yet.

Vyvanse acted like a screen door, keeping the bipolarness on the front porch.  But as soon as the drug flushed out of my system each day, the rapid cycling and mixed states poked their heads in and wanted coffee.  They’re just pushier now.  And obviously, they’ve been lifting weights this summer.

I couldn’t tell if V was helping at all the past few weeks.  I just knew I was miserable the moment I woke up and couldn’t discern any difference throughout the day.  So, I started taking V as soon as I got out of bed.  Now, by the time I finish at the Y, I can feel a lift.  The depression is still there, but quiet and more polite.  Again, this seems huge.

I’m trying to use these moderate shifts of mood to prepare for the hairier, meaner moods that will crash through the door.  I got groceries this morning and made two quiches (one to freeze).  If this pattern holds, I’ll bake a chicken/wild rice dish tomorrow and stick it in the freezer, too.  I can’t cook when I’m brain sick, so doing this feels smart and kind.  I am nurturing and being nurtured—like being my own grandma.

This is all new territory.  Mental illness tries to keep me from seeing that.  It tells me all is lost and will forever be lost.  But, that’s just a story.

The truth is—

—I’m on an Adventure.

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19 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. David Kanigan
    Jan 16, 2016 @ 15:12:24

    And what a ride it is…

    Reply

  2. Val Boyko
    Jan 16, 2016 @ 15:17:36

    What a powerful cover song and video Sandy Sue. Embrace your inner grandma and all the love she has for you!

    Reply

  3. Littlesundog
    Jan 16, 2016 @ 17:05:11

    I love this; ” I am nurturing and being nurtured—like being my own grandma.” Your writing is lovely, even in the dark moments. You speak of struggles and thoughts that so many can’t or won’t talk about… or maybe do not know how to put into words. Your prose is eloquent, and clear. I hope that the coming days are brighter, and that those “hairier and meaner” moods never show up. 🙂

    Reply

    • Sandy Sue
      Jan 16, 2016 @ 19:10:34

      Thanks for all that, Lori. I never know if I make sense or not, then just post it anyway. It’s really nice to know that the gibberish in my head translates.

      Reply

  4. LindaNoel
    Jan 16, 2016 @ 17:39:10

    Oh my. All of this post is so helpful to me: did not know about the Vyvanse, in fact have purposely not looked at any of the eating disorder medication I’ve seen popping up in ads. And I noticed that voice that still pipes up (instead of yelling) shames me that I should not “need” it/more meds and “just” change on my own + my proneness to addiction are not helpful. BUT my therapist and regular doctor agree on the ADHD — they were right about the bipolar and what a relief that was. Still at T.O.P.S. — over a year now and little change..except, oh yeah No Ice Cream+cake/cookies/pie in a long time ! Hope I didn’t “jinx” myself mentioning it. :-} and am eating better — made a wonderful soup just now: ginger miso broth (Trader Joe’s) + coconut milk + green curry + Costco’s Power Greens & real mushrooms & carrots & tofu cubes. The Sound of Silence singing with those clips is soooo real. And the card ! Oh that is compelling…and beautiful!

    Reply

    • Sandy Sue
      Jan 16, 2016 @ 19:09:02

      As an amphetamine, Vyvanse is actually contra-indicated for bipolar disorder as it can push us into mania. But, I just don’t respond to medications according to “the book,” so —surprise— it worked for me. I always knew binge eating was psychologically tied to my BP, but now I see how it is tied physiologically as well. So weird how these things work.

      And your soup sounds de-lish.

      Reply

  5. bernecho
    Jan 17, 2016 @ 01:10:31

    Just keep that self love and nuturing going.

    Reply

  6. Elaine GREEN
    Jan 17, 2016 @ 18:06:52

    your ‘perspective’ is so amazing…. I walked with you and wondered if I could even survive the challenge.. and before the last word was read… you were heading out of the darkness and back into the light…. letting me know you were ‘safe’…. I Love you so much

    Reply

  7. Leslie
    Jan 18, 2016 @ 04:51:35

    I love this woman’s voice…what a powerful cover of this song. I couldn’t watch the video for long…too sad for me.

    It’s extremely good self care to set back food for when you know you won’t be able to deal. I have done the same thing and some days, it’s just a lifesaver.

    I got the coloring book you sent. Thank you so much! It’s exactly what I would have picked out for myself! 😘

    Reply

  8. pegoleg
    Jan 18, 2016 @ 13:22:50

    That video is so very sad, and the song is lovely.

    I’m sorry you’re cycling into bad times again. I love how aware of yourself you’ve become, and how you plan and arrange things to minimize the damage.

    Went for a check-up today for the first time in 4 years. Gained a lot of weight, most numbers that I don’t want up are up, and found out my Vitamin D count is one of the lowest my doctor has ever seen. She said one side affect can be depression – who knew? I’m getting started on my treat-this-body-better plan today, so here’s hoping.

    Reply

    • Sandy Sue
      Jan 18, 2016 @ 21:59:37

      Wow, what a wake-up call. Especially after you lost so much weight a while back. So, good on you for taking a deep breath and getting checked. D3 is supposed to help with the immune system (my NP suggested it to me, too), so hopefully a supplement will help with all kinds of things.

      Reply

  9. Robert@65
    Jan 19, 2016 @ 22:39:54

    I am stunned and I am ever so grateful to be a small part of your adventure and you of mine. Beautiful sharing from your heart a big old warm kind and practical grandma heart. And yes that video got to me too

    Reply

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