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Archive for February, 2007

Yesterday I had to email my psychiatrist to ask him to fax a prescription for Topamax to the drugstore for me. At the same time I had to let him know how I was doing now after having been on the Topamax for almost four weeks. I was afraid to tell him that I was happy, as I thought that that way I would jinx myself and that would lead to unhappiness. I was also afraid to say that I was not happy for the same reason. So, I ended up saying that I was neutral, in between moods, and that it could go either way, but probably wouldn’t. What I mean to say is, that given circumstances, I could be happy or sad, but the way things are now, I am just sort of in between. Which is not a bad place to be at, and I am not complaining about that at all. It mostly feels very peaceful. Sometimes I have momentary happiness and I want to kiss and hug the dog and sometimes I have momentary sadness and I worry about my daughter. Mostly I just live from moment to moment and I don’t look too far in to the future and I don’t spend too much time looking in to the past. People I do think about every day are my daughter and my son and my parents, but it is only my daughter’s life that I can have any sort of influence on now.

I have fallen in to a nice ritual. Because Eduard works so often at night, I allow myself to go to bed at nine pm. That’s when I start going to bed, i.o.w. take my medication, fix my bedtime snack, etc. Then I read for a while and I am asleep at about 9:45 pm. I sleep until about 6 am, get up and turn on the computer, make the coffee and light my first cigarette. Then I read the news on the BBC news website until I am saturated. Then I feed the cats and walk the dog. Take my medication again and my vitamins and write this blog on some days. On other days I just sit there for a while and drink orange juice and coffee. When my motor has been properly started, I clean up the house and after that, I watch dumb programs on TV until the dog has to be walked again and Eduard comes home at lunchtime. I try to read in the afternoon, but I still find that hard to do, unless it is non-fiction, like a book about bipolar disorder. Halfway through the afternoon, I start looking at the clock and I start counting how many hours there are left until I can go to sleep again. So at 3 pm, I say: Oh, only 6 more hours. That’s how much I look forward to going to bed. At 5:30 pm we eat dinner, at 6 pm we watch the news, at 6:30 Eduard goes to work again. I watch some interesting programs on TV, usually having to do with current issues and at 8 pm I make a new batch of cigarettes. At 8: 30 pm I say: Great, just 30 more minutes. And then, of I go. It is a very good ritual. It could be a bit more exciting, except that physically, I am always so tired and low on energy and I know that that is from the medication, but I may want to go and have my thyroid checked. Just to be sure.

More then anything the theme of the day is gratefulness for having a steady mood. No more of the turmoil of going up and down. And no need to drink! And the potential for happiness! I also have to remember that it is wintertime and that I am in hibernation mode, I should be perking up by springtime. My cats are in hibernation mode also, they do an awful lot of sleeping indoors.

Okay, I need to get going now. I have to vacuum again after having done so yesterday. The animals are dropping hair everywhere.

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Yesterday, I was having coffee with my sister and I finally told her that for a while there I had been abusing alcohol and she told me that she already knew about that. I asked her how she knew and she told me that my daughter had told her. She then told me, that once she knew, she had a dream in which she saw me stumbling down the street, falling down drunk, and that she tried to pick me up but couldn’t. This worried her so much that she called Eduard and he reassured her that he was dealing with the problem and that she shouldn’t worry about it. So, all of this was going on without me knowing about it, and I really feel bad for having worried my daughter and my sister so very much and I am also glad that I could tell her that that was behind me now. I explained to her how nice it had been for me to drink that much and how I had not suffered from hangovers, which would have made it worse and that I easily could have become hooked on it. So, probably, when I visited her under the influence of alcohol, she knew about it and I thought I was hiding it from her. I still feel like having a drink sometimes, but I try not to give in to it, although at times I really have a craving for one.

Had my mother lived, she would have been 80 years old today. I has almost been 18 years since she was killed. It is strange, but not a day goes by without me thinking about it. I have sorted it all out in my brain and the thoughts that I have are not traumatic anymore. I can even think of my father with a certain amount of compassion. I do think though, that it was one of the major triggers in me developing mental illness. I mean the potential was there and it reared its ugly head occasionally, but after that things became much more serious. Succeeding events then brought it out completely until it became full blown. It was such a traumatic event. Even the death of my son was not that traumatic, although it was equally sad. It was not crazy making.

For a long time in my life I thought God really didn’t like me very much and that he was constantly punishing me. The God idea I developed when I was a little kid and went to a Christian elementary school. Of course, I was very impressionable, and I could never shake of the idea that God was up there pulling the strings. So, my God was a real Old Testament God, full of wrath and anger and I was very unworthy. I had a lousy childhood, both my parents were psychologically deficient to put it mildly. They never should have gotten married and had children. When I was little I used to wish that I could travel back in time and prevent my parents from meeting each other.

I am glad now that I have my diagnosis and the proper medication to go with it and I bless every day that goes by that is normal and non-eventful. My problems now are of human proportions and mostly have to do with something not working right in my brain, which can mostly be taken care of with the proper dose of the right medication and the proper therapy. I don’t think that I would have gotten this kind of intensive care if I had stayed in the US. But then again, I had no choice here, having completely fallen to bits.

Since today is Saturday, Eduard has the whole day off, so that is nice. I am going to ask him to clean the toilet for me, as it requires some muscle power and maybe the bathroom sink.

Well kids, that’s all for now…

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There was a very interesting book at the library called the Care Book for Manic-Depressive People and it was written so well and gave lots of information. It assumed that you knew very little about the subject and then proceeded to explain everything to you. Like: Everything you ever wanted to know about Bipolar. Eduard read it also and he said that it had been very helpful to him. We then found a similar book at Bol.com and ordered that, so that we would always have one handy at home.

The last manic idea I had was last year. I became convinced that Catherine Zeeta-Jones would become my best friend if only she knew about my existence. She and I would become best friends and she would invite me to come and stay at her house in California. I looked up her address on the Internet and wrote her a letter. Now, I have never seen a movie with her in it and I am not a fan of hers and I hardly know what she looks like, so I have no idea why I became fixated on her. In my mind it was just very clear that she was waiting for me to give her a sign of life. It wasn’t until later that I realized that this was really a strange idea and that there had been something wrong with my thinking.

Another manic idea I had once was, that I became convinced that my psychiatrist was prescribing me fake pills, like placebos, and to proof that I was right, I proceeded to take them all at once, which ended up with me in the hospital having my stomach pumped. Not a good idea!

Once, when I was hypo-manic, I went to a lawyer, because I wanted to sue my psychiatrist for mal-practice. Luckily, the lawyer said that I didn’t have much of a chance and he convinced me not to do it. It wasn’t until much later that I realized that this in fact had been another one of my strange ideas. At the time these things seem very logical and sane to me and I can even convince other people that I am right. It isn’t until later that I realize the error of my ways and I become very embarrassed about it.

The thing is, that when you are hypo-manic, most people think you are just in a very good mood and unless they know better, they don’t always question what you do. That is why it is so important that Eduard read that book also. Now, when you are hypo-manic, you feel very good and you don’t want anybody to get in the way of you and the good feeling. So, you may not take kindly to any sort of interference, but it must be done anyway. Life changing decisions can be made while you are hypo-manic and some things can never be fixed.

I can look back on my life and see lots of depressive and hypo-manic states and I wonder how different my life could have been if I had known then what I know now. I always used to think that my depressions were a punishment from God for daring to be happy, and that when I was hypo-manic, that that was my true state of being and anything I did then was meant to be. Oh boy!

Speaking of something completely different…the pain in my stomach is almost completely gone. I don’t need to take the pills for the pain anymore. All in all it has lasted for almost 2 weeks, but it is slowly getting better. I have now lost a little more than 16 kilos. That is not as much as I had hoped for, but the gastric band will be filled up again next month and that should make a difference. I have stopped eating meat completely now, because it filled me up very quickly and made me extremely uncomfortable. If I ate meat, I couldn’t eat anything else like vegetables. I do like eating this way and I don’t miss eating meat that much.

Tomorrow I start on 100 mg Topamax and that should then be the right dose. I don’t think I need to go higher than that for now. I have been very lucky in that I have had no side effects except for a very dry mouth. Things have been slowly becoming okay since I have started on the Topamax, it seems to be working for me and there were no guarantees to start with. I really have to trust my psychiatrist on these things. It was the same when he added the Remeron to my Efexor. In the end that worked too. It gets messed up when I myself make a change in my medication, and I should know better by now, but you live and learn.

Right, time to get the show on the road…

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I went to the doctor on Tuesday and he thought I might have a virus in my stomach which is causing cramping so he gave me some medication for that. It is slowly getting better, and I hope it really is only a virus and not some complication with the gastric band. All I have is pain, no nausea or heartburn or anything like that. I didn’t do much as a result of that and just sort of hung out and watched TV. Yesterday I vacuumed and my stomach was none the worse for it. I thought it was going to cause me more pain, but it didn’t.

Yesterday I started on 75 mg Topamax. I still feel good and I am not afraid anymore that I am going to jinx myself. I think this time it is somewhat permanent, or as permanent as it can get. I don’t want to say yet that I am happy, but given certain circumstances, I could be, there is the potential anyway. I worry about my daughter and her happiness, and if I knew that she was happy, I would be happy too. You never stop being a mom, no matter how old your offspring gets.

I ordered and read a mildly interesting book called The Bipolar Balancing Act. I think it was a book with good intentions, but little substance and in the end it was not very helpful. So, I will go back to Bol.com and search some more for a better book. I get most of my wisdom from books, I am a firm believer in the written word. Luckily, I am able to differentiate between sense and nonsense and I always remain a critical reader. I also need to go to the library website and see what books they have on Bipolar Disorder. I may not have to buy one at all, of course.

I haven’t been drinking at all anymore, except for the three glasses of white wine I had for Eduard’s birthday. Sometimes I feel like having a screwdriver, but I always resist the temptation and I will save the craving for a special occasion. Because I can’t drink beer and red wine, I thought I could not drink any alcohol at all, so it came as a nice surprise that I could, and that I could handle it pretty well.

Yesterday, the weather was so beautiful that my sister and I sat outside in her garden in the sunshine without our jackets on. It is going to stay that way for a few more days. So far, we are having a very mild winter and that has been very pleasant. Of course, March and April can bring very unpredictable weather, so we are not out of the woods yet. We are very lucky compared to the people in the North Eastern USA where so much snow has fallen. I understand that they have real blizzards there.

Well, time to get the show on the road. Today is Saturday, tomorrow is carnival. Hurray!

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Since Saturday morning I have pain in the places where my gastric band and portal are. I woke up with it in the morning and last night the pain woke me up out of a sound sleep. I suppose I should worry about that. I think I will make an appointment with my GP, because an appointment with the surgeon takes 2 months to get. I don’t know why it suddenly has started to hurt, I haven’t done anything out of the ordinary, so it’s a mystery to me.

Yesterday I called my daughter and had a long conversation with her, but at one point she started to cry, because she is so lonely. That just about breaks my heart and I don’t know how to help her. She was planning on coming here during spring break, but after all the expenses for the new house, she doesn’t have the money and Eduard and I don’t have the money to send to her. Like I said, I don’t know how to help her and she is on her own with a small child and an evil ex-husband. She misses having her family close by and I can certainly sympathise with that. We all want her to come to the Netherlands, but that is easier said than done. I am going to call her again today and hope she is a little bit better.

I had a perfectly lazy day yesterday. It was very enjoyable, but today I have to fulfill my housewifely duties again. It just can’t be helped. Chores are so boring! Repetitive and boring! When I was growing up, we had to help my mother clean the house from top to bottom every Saturday. She was very strict about that. Cleaning the bathroom was my least favorite job, like getting the hair out of the shower drain, yuck! I actually did grow up to be a more than adequate housewife and always had a clean house. It’s only in this life that I don’t seem to have the control over it anymore. It just defeats me and I just don’t know how it gets so dirty all the time. I suspect little gnomes that come in during the night with little wheelbarrows of dirt and grease and cat and dog hair.

The Topamax is still doing its job as far as I can tell. I have no side effects, but then again, 50 mg isn’t that much yet. I am a bit unsettled about my mood and I am not sure which way it is going to go, but that may be due to circumstances. Like my daughter crying over the telephone. And having pains in my stomach. Those things just unnerve me. I want to keep holding on to the good mood, even when there is reason not to. I should give myself permission to feel bad about those things too. At the same time knowing that I can’t always fix things.

Oh well, the dog has been out for his walk and the cats have eaten. It rained just a little bit this morning, so we only got a little wet. I want to find the instruction booklet on how to deal with life now…

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Eduard’s Birthday

Well, Friday night has come and gone. We had people over for dinner and that went alright. I made my meatballs and Eduard took care off the curly cabbage and the potatoes. There was one vegetarian and we had a meat substitute for him. So, dinner was done by eight o’clock and I was looking forward to everyone going home again when more people started arriving. And then some more. I kept smiling and being friendly, all the while thinking: this is just too much. But Eduard was having a wonderful time and you could tell how very fond everybody was of him. So, for his sake I kept hanging in there. At 11:30 I took the dog out to escape just for a few minutes and at 12:15 everyone left. Eduard asked me how I had found the evening and I said that I had found it exhausting and he said that he couldn’t tell, because I was so upbeat and cheerful all the time. I don’t know why an evening like that is so exhausting to me. Nothing very special was expected of me, except to be kind and polite. It isn’t as if I am not a nice person. Anyway, like Eduard says, I only have to do this once a year and he appreciates my effort.

This morning we are going to my sister’s house for coffee and pie and I will give Eduard his presents there. He is getting a book (The Complete Molesworth) and a Bob Dylan CD. I had to search a bit for the book, but I finally found it a Bol.com when I looked under the ISBN number. I do enjoy giving Eduard presents and I had let on that I couldn’t find the book, so he will be surprised.

Yesterday was a nice and quiet day. I did have a lot off dishes from the night before, but after those were done I didn’t do much else. I briefly fell asleep on the sofa when Eduard went to the store and the library, but I always do a lot of that in the winter time. My daughter called and my aunt Elizabeth who is really more of a sister or a friend to me, so we had a nice little chat. My daughter is doing well, although her laptop crashed and she had to get a new hard drive. Lost some things in the process too.

I hear Eduard getting up, so I am going to stop now and kiss him a happy birthday. More later…

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Tonight we are having people over for dinner as a prelude to Eduard’s birthday which is Sunday. I am not in the right mood at all, as it means making myself and the apartment presentable and being kind and alert and witty. And I have to make my famous Dutch meatballs. I am just not in the mood and I feel like skipping the whole thing and taking the night off. Now, I know that sounds selfish, but that’s how I feel. I still have to vacuum the sofa which has cat hair all over it and it is such a frustrating job. And I don’t want to be on all night. All I want is peace and quiet. Now, Eduard will do most of the work, that’s the way he is, he is really fair that way. I just feel like my privacy is being invaded and that I have to be a certain way which I don’t want to be. I am probably making too big a deal out of this, but I have to vent this a bit somewhere. I used to like entertaining, I don’t know what happened to me. Why I have changed that way. I don’t really know the people that are coming over, that is part of the problem. And I have to make those darn meatballs, which Eduard has been bragging about.

Today I started on 50 mg Topamax after having been on 25 mg for one week. I don’t have any side effects so that is good. I think it is too early to tell if it is working and I don’t want to jinx myself. I switched moods too often to be suddenly certain now. I’ll just wait and see.

The cats and the dog are all sound asleep as if it is night time. Outside it is cold, but the snow that fell yesterday is all gone. I think the animals are hibernating. I am looking forward to the spring time, even if it means using my inhaler four times a day. I like it when the sun comes up early and goes down late.

I have nothing else to say, except that I am going to vacuum now…

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