i have measured out my life with coffee spoons;

Dear Internet,

Thank fuck for science.
The Wellbutrin is working and you have no idea how happy I am this cocktail (Lamictal 400mg, Wellbutrin 75mg, Risperidone 1mg) is finally giving my swiss cheese brain mental relief.
(I will refrain from giving the low down of my mental medical history suffice to say my usual 46 readers are pretty familiar with the origin. tl;dr if you’re new: I metabolize drugs quickly and always get the side-effects. The current cocktail is the first one years that is actually working for all the ailments.)
I started Wellbutrin two weeks ago, felt the good effects within four days (it usually metabolize is one to two weeks), had a few days of mania (which it’s known to cause), which tapered back down to the chill attitude I was experiencing before. The idea a drug can fix the feeling of awfulness about myself or the wanting to crawl into a hole to hide forever or any variant thereof is pure bliss.
It’s almost better than sex. At least maybe better than chocolate (it would be close).
The absolute concrete evidence, to me, it was working was checking out of Bath and Body Works recently, I didn’t slay the checkout girl about the email/phone number shenanigans they are forced to ask you. There may also have been some giggling during the discussion and a pep to my walk leaving the store.
Somewhere I wrote (where I have forgotten) this isn’t like mania happiness. I don’t feel compelled to BOUNCE OFF THE WALLS or feel overly hyper. I’m sleeping eight hours every night, which is a pretty sure sign it’s not mania. I just feel calm and not ever so angry. A tad cheerful now and then. Not only is it consistent but it’s stable.
There are a few other good effects other than the stabilization of the depression: My anxiety is not ramped up (which Wellbutrin is known to do); I am not as full of self-loathing or hatred for my appearance; I am setting very clear boundaries around people and things and keeping those lines well-defined.
Another sign that struck me things were getting better is that I’m not feeling as abrasive as I once have been. I mentioned to my shrink this week I am more thoughtful of what comes out of my mouth in what I’m saying and how I am saying it. I am not feeling so impulsive to say things that could be construed as being hateful or abrasive as I once did and if I am not sure how to not come off as a raving lunatic, I ask for help. I’m being more considerate towards other people rather than making myself the center of attention in discussions
Things feel easier now even though my life is always going to be a lot of hard work. I am always going to be working on keeping my brain healthy. I am aware this is not a one size fix all solution. I didn’t expect it to be but finally having feelings stabilized is brilliant.
This is exciting. I was thinking the other day how much of this I was feeling before Wellbutrin was added and to be honest, a lot of it was bubbling below the surface but the Wellbutrin is pushing it towards the sun. The meditation, the journaling, the yogaing, and all of the positive things I am doing to keep myself balanced and moving forward are beginning to come to fruition and as long as I keep doing the hard work, things will continue to unfold.
In drawing out how my life has been, I told my shrink, “I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;” because that is, right now, how my life is being sorted. I have this tick list of things that are continuing to move forward (smoke free: eight weeks, exercising: since mid-november;  silly pictures goal: six weeks; 248 consecutive days of mediation; seven weeks of gratitude lists) and as time passes, I add new things (tracking food to watch how I’m eating is now entering its third week), and those things also stick around. On one hand, I feel self-conscious because these items may seem silly but they are super important to me as I’ve barely been able to stick with anything over the years.
Plus I want my god-damed gold star sticker, so there’s that.
As I said the other day, I am going to bloom like a fucking flower.

What also has struck me in these last few weeks is the solidifying is my personality in the terms of who I am versus what people think I am. A few months ago I talked about the lack of self-image that is prevalent in borderlines. We take on someone else’s like and dislikes and make them our own. This is beyond being influenced by a friend or a lover, this cuts deep.
I also sad:

If you saw I was really a bookish, nerdish girl who would rather knit and read a book rather than get rowdy enough at a bar to get thrown out a bar (like I was at 21), you wouldn’t like me. No one liked me when I was a four eyed square in primary and middle school because I was different from everyone else (hoo boy, things changed when I grew breasts and got contacts), no one was going to like me now. Honestly? When I do show that side of myself, no one really expects it and think it’s some facade. What they can’t figure out is the opposite is true.
And the bitchy sarcastic cuntface continues to live supreme because that’s what people want, and I want them to like me, so it will remain so.

In the last couple of months, that particular flip has also switched. Somewhere along the way my subconscious decided it didn’t want to be a bitchy cuntface anymore (the sarcasm will always stay) and things got a lot easier. I could breathe more. I felt more at ease with myself and not so tired defending the gate of Lisa. The things I liked I’m enjoying with greater pleasure and intensity. The Wellbutrin is helping but it wasn’t just the drugs that is moving me forward, it’s the “…meditation, the journaling, the yogaing, and all of the positive things I am doing to keep myself balanced and moving forward are beginning to come to fruition and as long as I keep doing the hard work, things will continue to unfold.”
Yes, I just quoted myself with something I wrote earlier in this piece.
I also tend to say things like, “As we will forthwith be in Chicago this weekend, we shall start upon our return?” and “I have graphic novel versions of P+P and Emma but besoothe! There are more!”. Yeah, I sound like I drank the Engish major’s Kool-aid, but I’m reading Georgette Heyer at the moment along with Jane Austen pastiches, so we shant be surprised by the rearranging of my nouns, verbs, adjectives, and participles.
(And I freely admit to listening lately to nothing but soundtracks from Atonement, Pride and Prejudice (2005), and so on.)
Like so:

Thursday begins the fifth annual sojourn to C2E2. The bitchy coven of librarian’s contingent is small this year — as far as I know, only Kristin and I will representing. There is a librarian dinner on Friday night with some local crew but as for the core #cmmrb group, it’s going to be one sad year.
The trip this year is funded by airplane miles and crashing with friends at the hotel. I only had to come up for cash and Uber/Lyft, which I did and viola! A vacation of sorts in the frosty days of March. (It’s been in the high 60s / low 70s here in L-ville these last few weeks. My winter coat is getting its first airing this winter — in March.)
I’m excited. I’m always excited for C2E2 weekend. It’s fun, I get to see people I haven’t seen in ages, I get to see pop culture stars (not to humble brag, but Kristin and I had our pic taken with Jason Mamoa. In the same trip, Kristin, Beth, Ryan, and myself had our pic taken with Hayley Atwell.).I get to buy a tshirt and eat crappy conference food.
I get to not have to worry about jobs, money, and status of my health. I get to immerse myself in a world of my own making outside of all of those stresses.
(And the lemon will be in play.)
You can follow me along on IG if you so desire.

The weekly fanciful delights and gratitude lists will still be posting this weekend as I prepped them before I left. Keeping it real.

Today I had a bit of melancholy hovering around. I’m not sad, my heart doesn’t feel hurt, I don’t have Morrissey lyrics floating around in my brain, and I don’t feel that overwhelming sense of despair.
Wistful is perhaps a better word than melancholy. Let’s go with that.
Flying is always going to hint around to the past and the irregularity of the flying is enough to tear at the heart strings when it happens. It is especially poignant when I step off the plan and saunter through the terminal as no matter where that plane may land, I’m always going to be on the look out for a 6’7 mohawked fellow with a coffee in his hand, waiting for me.

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2013, 2003


Henry Fuseli - Hamlet and his father's Ghost (1780-1785). Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Henry Fuseli – Hamlet and his father’s Ghost (1780-1785). Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Dear Internet,
TheHusband and I were set to go up to Throbbing Cabin last night but opted to stay home to circumvent the potential traffic bomb of travelling on a holiday weekend. Our plan, then, was to leave this morning and stay at Throbbing Cabin for the rest of the weekend,  coming home on Monday morning.
This morning, however, had other ideas
When I woke up, I went into a massive panic attack where I refusing to not just not leave the house, but I was not going to leave our bed, or even get dressed or any thing resembling personal care. I became so agitated over the prospect of leaving, moving, interacting with people, I started to get into manic mind mode. TheHusband, who had been out walking the dog when the attack started, returned back to our bedroom to my meltdown.
When I saw him, I immediately burst into tears.
Needless to say, we’re not going anywhere this weekend.
TheHusband has learned to stop asking me what is setting off the panic attacks because I never know. Sometimes it’s mental, sometimes they are physical. Sometimes I can ward them off, and others, like today, I’m overwhelmed by their sheer control over me.
The attacks, or in this instance the need to shelter myself from the world, has become more intense over time. I often feel hyper sensitive to the outside world. People. Situations. In my head, when plotting a set of errands that require me to leave the house for long periods of time, I attempt to sort them to make them least painful and less having to interact with anyone. Sometimes, more often than not, I lie to get out of situations because the thought that I would need to be around other people, or more rightly in places that are not familiar, makes me anxious. My house is my touchstone and if I cannot have things set up the way I need them to be set up to function, then things start to break down.
While my depression in the past has been the cause for decrease in sexy times, the drugs have amplified sexy times, along with everything I have just explained. I’ve always had voracious attitude towards sex and with nearly a year on Lithium, it has dried up like an October leaf. I was telling a friend of mine recently, who was newly diagnosed as bipolar himself, I could have Alexander Skarsgard naked on a chaise reading a book in front of me, and I’d be, “Eh.” I don’t want to touch myself, let alone my own husband, and I could not even summon the desire for a naked Alexander Skarsgard. Or James McAvoy. Or any of my fictitious husbands.  I used to be the girl who wanted to have sex every where and with everything, and now I would just like to put the kettle on and have a good pot of tea.
And yes, I have a fairly healthy vibrator and dildo collection that is currently gathering dust. Which is a shame as some of them are expensive and were gifts.
At my last medicating appointment, Dr. H. was absolutely positive that by taking Klonopin at night would help some of my issues. The idea being if I take the drug at night, I will get a sound sleep. If I get a sound sleep, then I will feel rested in the morning and more at ease.
Except that didn’t work. After trying this for a week or two and still feeling exhausted and pent up, I told Dr. P. who suggested I take the Klonopin earlier in the evening, say 7PM instead of 10PM. The reason is that Klonopin releases slowly so if I’m taking it later in the evening, by time I wake up, I’m groggy because the drug is still working. Then I start amping up on caffeine to get over the hump and the cycle begins again.
Dr. H. gave me a prescription for Wellbutrin, and after several weeks of circling it like shark, I bit the bullet and got it filled. Numerous friends of mine with similar brain issues have all reported good things with Wellbutrin and as it was not a SSRI, I figured it was worth a shot.
The first few days of Wellbutrin,  I was downright cheery. I didn’t feel the energized pep that several friends reported, but I was honestly okay with all of that. By the end of the first week, the dark clouds started to form and for the entire second week, I was hell on wheels. It was not so bad that other people knew, or commented, but it was so bad that I picked up all the signs that this was not going to end well. My meltdown this morning was the final straw and I stopped taking the drug.
Some medicating therapists will have you push on through these periods because after the drug settles, it is smooth sailing. I can’t do this, emotionally, physically, mentally, or financially. My brain chemistry is such that what takes someone 21 days to metabolize a drug, it takes me 7. I may have a fight on my hands with Dr. H. this week because he’s going to report back to me my lithium levels are still in the therapeutic range and I’m going to tell him that regardless if they are, I need to get off that drug in a safe manner because I’m done with this experiment.
A year ago when I called Dr. P. to get my life on track, I was open to the idea of drug therapy because I wanted the pain to end. I wanted a way to chemically fix what was broken if talk therapy didn’t work enough. and to fix what behaviour modification could not fix. Dr. P. recommended Dr. H., who confirmed the existing diagnosis of ADHD, Bipolar I, Borderline Personality Disorder, with a top up of anxiety.
The idea was to get my mood stabilized with lithium, then start adding in the ADHD drugs to control that. Once we found the combination, everything would be grand!
Well, not so much.
Reading through some of those old entries, a lot of patterns begin to show. The drugs, mood/ADHD, are clearly not working. I can’t afford to emotionally keep putting my life into upheaval every time I go on something new to see if it works.
This nine month experiment, while peppered with good intentions, has crippled me more than I could ever imagine. Feeling myself hit the wall, time and time again, the disappointment I’ve laid on myself when something didn’t work, the guilt I built around me when I couldn’t complete a task, and the friendships I lost because I was not the person they thought I was.
The constant stress of wondering who I was going to be that day when I woke up, and how that affected work and personal relationships.
I’m done. I don’t want to be this girl anymore, who hides in her bedroom afraid of the world. I’m done not living a life because I feel too medically incapacitated to do so.
The new plan is to get weaned off of Lithium, and start a diet and exercise routine because literally, every book on bipolar talks about the lessening symptoms if you do these two things. Continue to see Dr. P. for talk therapy, once a week as current or more if he warrants it.
Anything has to be better then the now.
I want my life back and it looks like, I’m the one whose going to have to go get it.
Lisa (Day #36)

This day in Lisa-Universe in:

i wandered lonely as a cloud

Head and Brains
Satire on George IV in support of Queen Caroline, his estranged wife. Circa 1820. Courtesy of The Commons, Flickr.

Dear Internet,
If you have been paying close attention, and I know you have been, you would have noticed I missed a day this week —  Monday. As the bugs get worked out of this system of daily writing, I’m sure to miss a day or two and I am allowing myself to be okay with that. But don’t be terribly surprised to find back dated entries showing up in your RSS feeds to feed my OCD monster.
Last night we apparently got a storm that myself and the dog slept through but woke TheHusband. He closed most of the windows in the house to prevent the rain from coming in and my clue was the half-closed bedroom windows that something was amiss. It’s been a cool summer, almost too cool in fact, but the spurts of extreme warmth continue to tease us and the storm didn’t dissipate the burgeoning heat. I ran around most of today wearing a cardigan, which was making me feel like I was sweating my proverbial balls off. Why I didn’t take off the damn sweater when I was in the elements is beyond me.
Work today was slow and not much was done. There was a meeting for the new faculty evaluation program that is coming into place and to be honest, it feels like a lo tof busy work for not a lot of real pay off. Okay, that may be a stretch since the pay off is having a job, but a lot of the documenting, professional development, and the like seems to be rather useless. It’s hard to talk about this here for changes come swift through the halls of academia and I don’t want to take any chances. The process, I’ll document over at Tales of a Cunning Systems Librarian.
I cut out of work early and headed over to the GrandCon volunteer meet-up, which was scheduled for tonight at a local bookstore. The organizer was late (he thought it was 5:30, not 5:00 as he told everyone else) but in the interim, I met a few of the other volunteers and they invited me to play Love Letter which turned out to be quick fun.  Once the volunteer organizer showed up, the meeting was quick and there seems to be a lot to do in the next few months. I’m kind of excited about volunteering for this and if you’ve been following me around the social sphere for the last few years, my interest in comics and gaming has picked up considerably. I’m beginning to wonder if I should start putting together a comics resume of sorts because my activity is starting to increase significantly.
An interlude:

Wednesday night is Pub Trivia Night and myself, TheHusband and a few other friends play at a local bar every week. TheHusband and I have been absent the last few weeks as we’ve been up north, but the team has solidly rocked on without us. Tonight, however, we found out after we got to the spot our captains were unable to make it, so four us went for the glory and almost but not quite made it. I like our team and I like our event, but I’m not crazy about the location, the service of the staff, or even the food. TheHusband says he doesn’t care one way or another what we do, but I feel like we’re in a pickle.We’ll see how it is in a few weeks.
I’m thrilled to report that this is day 2 of not feeling like I’m going to keel over and sleep my way to Olympic Gold. It’s also day 2 of my period and day 2 that I went off the Metformin. What does this all mean? How are these related? I’m thrilled that I can get some semblance of focus and life back, but now I’m curious if I should start taking the Wellbutrin as directed by Dr. H. or not.  I’d discuss this with Dr. P., but he had to reschedule our appointment tomorrow for Monday so I’ll wait until I see him before making any big moves.
And the coolest part about today? Thorarinn Leifsson, the graphic novelist/illustrator I mentioned earlier this week, found my blog and the entry about him and offered to send me his work in English, in PDF. I was so beyond thrilled, I was high fiving a million angels.
Lisa (Day #13)

This day in Lisa-Universe in: 2012, 2012, 2010, 2010


If you see a red flag, run

Liberal Unionist poster, circa 1905-1910. Courtesy of The Commons, Flickr.
Dear Internet,
Dr. H. has become pushy, for him at least, on what drugs I am and am not taking. I should not fault him too much, because interaction could mean death. But he’s been pretty insistent my Metformin script is causing the havoc with me as of late, and I have to say, he may potentially have a point. I was pulled off of Metformin, after being on it for years, last winter when my GP and I were attempting to figure out if I was diabetic or not when I was going through all my ankle surgery woes. I use Metformin for my PCOD, but since it’s original intent is for pre-diabetics and diabetics not on insulin, it made sense to pull me off of it to make sure my blood work was not throwing up false negatives.
This, of course, all starts before Dr. H. and I start meeting and I’m off of Metformin for months. I think I finally went on it back in March when I got the all clear from the orthopedic surgeon on my ankle and my GP that I was not diabetic. Hurrah!  Shortly after I start taking Metformin again, it was around that time when the sleepiness and other bi-product of lithium would appear and then disappear a few days later.
Since my sleepiness has been ebbing and flowing the last few days, I decided to do an experiment of my own by taking myself off the Metformin and see what happens. Oddly the day I stop taking it is the day I start my period, and I hope ultimately this doesn’t end up as a choice: regular, pain free periods OR less crazy.
Dr. H. wants me to start Wellbutrin this week as he’s also pretty convinced this will save my soul, thus once I’ll get my prescription filled, the regime will be:

  • 500mg Lithium, 3x a day
  • 1 mg of Klonopin, night (during day as needed)
  • Wellbutrin, morning
  • Daily vitamin, morning
  • Glucosamine Chondroitin, morning
  • Metformin, morning (On hold)

I’m ending the Glucosamine Chondroitin as it doesn’t seem to do anything for me anymore. I need to do more research into the vitamin shenanigans before giving that up completely. I’d like to get myself off as many drugs as possible in the end. Too much evidence is showing me a healthy diet and serious exercise regime is much more therapeutic rather than dosing me up with chemicals. Except for Klonopin, as that is the savior to everything.
In so far as exercise, TheHusband and I walked two miles yesterday and today I  did entertain the idea of rowing, so there is that.
I’m not terribly sure if it is because I stopped the Metformin today OR if my period started, but what I do know my sleepiness is not as terrible as the day has progressed as it has been for the last few weeks. This morning I still had coffee and later, a 12 oz Red Bull, but I felt like I kept my shit together while I worked and I did drink a lot of water, which later supplemented with a bottle of coke. Maybe my caffeine intake is spiked and I need to adjust that more? I did stop drinking caffeine when I was on the legal meth for my ADHD and didn’t really miss it. I’ve also done routes of stopping caffeine after say noon to help me sleep better.
Right now this is not so much as planning as it is talking out loud to myself. Like I said, the boring bits of every day life but one I would like to track with gusto.
Dr. H’s idea behind the Klonopin is if I take it at night, every night, then a lot of the stress and other triggers that seem to randomly come and go will be squashed. If I can sleep a full night’s sleep, deeply, without fretting then I own’t be tired in the morning, and if I’m not tired then I’m not mainlining caffeine of of a hooker’s ass, and well, you get the picture. The number that is counting up after my name in all these recent posts is the number of nights I’ve taken Klonopin before bed, so that I could keep track in some form.
After a week of this inhaling of my wonder drug at night, and still feeling like death warmed over on a daily basis, Dr. P. suggested I take Klonopin earlier in the evening, say between 6-7PM so that the entire life of the drug would have cycled through before morning. The reason why this is important is because by taking it at my usual time (9-10PM or so), by the time I get up in the morning, the drug has such a long half-life, it would still be feeling the zombie effects come morning.
Makes a lot of sense.
Even with all of the Klonopin inhaling, I am still having panic attacks. Nothing to the extent like they used to be, but they are still there. One popped up an said hello today at around lunch time, so I popped half a Klonopin and did some breathing exercises to exorcise that demon. No one has time for that shit!
My social feeds have been abuzz about Night Vale, the podcast that is eating up the airwaves. Told in the format of community updates of the small desert town of Night Vale, it is the most delightful podcast. The show has been on for over a year now and one of the lovely things about finding out about something long after it has started is that you can gorge on the episodes. I would highly suggest you checking this out.
Finally, after weeks of trying to make this happen, TheHusband and I were able to make homemade pizza for dinner tonight and I did not die! As I’m allergic to cow milk and I can tolerate sheep and goat milk, how would I fare with buffalo milk? Namely, buffalo mozzarella?
Apparently, in all of Grand Rapids, the locations to get true buffalo mozzarella are minute. Once we found a place, I grabbed some gluten free crust for me and made a wheat based crust TheHusband. Below is the gluten free version.
The taste? Not bad. I like thin crusts so that worked out well, the cheese didn’t spread as much as I had hoped, but as we bought only a single container, we weren’t sure how much would last for pizza. TheHusband made the sauce, which was sweet just as I liked it. Overall, probably the best version of pizza I’ve had since being diagnosed with my allergy and the ability to at least get gooey cheese was orgasmic. We will be making this again.
Lisa (Day #13)

This day in Lisa-Universe in: 2012, 2012, 2003

song was unintentional, i swear!

Okay, question:
I am bipolar with a side dash of social anxiety disorder. I’ve been feeling pretty damn good for these last eight months and yah I’ve had my ‘days’ but not like it used to at all when I used to be crippled up in bed for days because I was so depressed or I was so manic that I’d stay up for days on end.
So my question is, should this not concern me that I’m bipolar? I’ve done the drug route (and have been on lithium, buspar, wellabutrin, celexa, and other half dozen I can’t remember) and all the shrinks have not worked (been seeing them since I was nine) and I guess I’m going the more au natural route but either I’m too strong willed or something because being bipolar is a major illness and yet I’m kinda like, totally nonchalat about it. In fact I’d say than othe the rare really blue day, I’ve been pretty even keel.
Questions? Ideas? Anything?

kava kava

Has anyone here tried kava kava for anxiety?
I’ve been on lithium, buspar, effexor, zoloft, paxil, prozac, serzone, klonopin, valium, wellabutrine and wellabutrin sr to name but a few and NONE worked (yes most are for anti-depressants than anxiety, I realise this).
I refuse to go back on prescription drugs … so any thoughts on kava kava?