Who’s The Culprit?


It’s been 2 weeks since I saw my doctor. I am trying to make it to the 1 month mark which is my next scheduled appointment. I am trying to beak a trend of seeing him every 2 weeks instead of waiting for my 1 month scheduled appointment. Things have not been so great. I have been going in early because things haven’t been right and I want it fixed like right now. The last time I saw my doctor I had a long list of concerns. By this time I’m sure he knew my favorite color and favorite food. As I whipped out my list and asked him if I could read them off he said sure. I was at my 3rd concern as he removed his glasses and started to clean them. The more he focused on getting that one spot clean on his glasses, it became apparent that he wasn’t focusing on me. As I continued to explain what was going on he placed his glasses back on and abruptly interrupted me. He then started to “educate” me on bipolar disorder. Explaining that bipolar disorder,schizophrenia, insomnia, and panic was all caused by anxiety. I could not get a word in and slipped my list back into my purse. He wrapped things up with saying that I’m not giving the new changes time to work. Although I agree that I need to be more patient with the new drug cocktail, I am not sold on the idea that ALL of the diseases are caused by anxiety. He did give me a sample of TMS which is performed in his office. TMS, or, transcranial magnetic stimulation, is supposed to be a game changer for those with depression and recently added, anxiety (look it up). He also claimed that he thinks he had found the “sweet spot” for sleep as well. TMS is basically a series of magnetic pulses, when placed on the correct location of the head, are supposed to stimulate and encourage healing of that location in the brain. Patients claim it has rid them of depression. Always up for new things, I agreed to try it. It was strange and uncomfortable at times but lasted only about 10 minutes. I can honestly say that I did feel pretty good after the treatment. I felt relaxed and wanted to get home so I could enjoy the feeling in my favorite lounge chair. That night I did sleep well and don’t remember waking up at all. By the end of the second day I was feeling like my old self again, miserable. The doctor said that TMS is a 6 week, 5 days a week treatment. According to the doctor, when treatment is completed, most patients need only minimal medications and the benefits can be life lasting with only  annual maintenance. Although excited that there might be an antidote for this disease I couldn’t help feeling like it seemed too good to be true. Over the last 2 weeks I have done a lot of self evaluation coupled with all the research I have done over the last almost 10 years. I already have a pretty good list for my next appointment. How is it that this disease, which has been identified as a chemical imbalance in the brain, be easily written off by anxiety instead? Have you ever seen a side by side picture of the brain showing a bipolar vs. healthy brain? I have and the distinction is clear. As my mom and I have looked back into my childhood the bipolar symptoms were clearly there. With no childhood trauma what was I to be anxious about? These symptoms carried on through my teenage years, my twenties, and now into my thirties. It was in my twenties that I had my “breakdown”. The symptoms were definitely worse before medication was involved. Even after that it has been a long and rocky road until recently. I am not bashing my doctor. I do feel he is educated and has my best interest at heart. He has done well by me and over the course of this last year has gotten me closer to what I feel is the best medication cocktail yet. In fact I thought we had it at one point. That was a good and short lived moment. Although just when I think we are minimizing the amount of meds. administered others are introduced. Like many people with this disease you know that your body gets immune to certain meds. and start to not work. Lucky to get a few months out of it before changes have to happen. I am often left frustrated and helpless with this cycle. Let’s not forget my poor body that has been through highs, lows, withdrawals and glimpses of wellbeing. After my own personal experiences and all the self education on this disease I really don’t think anxiety is the culprit. Now does my anxiety make a lot of matters worse? Sure, but I don’t think it’s the cause of the bipolar and other ailments. If my insurance covers this TMS treatment I will give it a try. What have I got to lose, right? My fear is that I will feel good and meds. will begin to be removed. Only to have to start all over again because the anxiety was treated and not the chemical imbalance. I really don’t want to be at square one again. As much as I respect my doctor he is not bipolar, schizophrenic, or deals with high functioning panic disorders himself. I know my body and can honestly separate the anxiety from everything else. Sure sometimes anxiety cohabitants with bipolar or any of the other disorders but they are separate monsters.

So I will wait to see my doctor 2 weeks from now and when I do see him I have some serious questions for him. After all I am ultimately in charge of my body and have to be my own advocate. I encourage all of you to trust your gut and question EVERYTHING. Seek out truth and do not put your life in someone’s hands simply because they wear a white coat. There are always choices and when able, make a patient, educated decision.

My prayer is that the Lord gives the doctor discernment and wisdom and that He helps me to seek truth to receive His promises to me.

 

Proverbs 17:24   Psalm 30:2

 

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Empty Days, God Filled Nights


My days are empty now. My kids went back to school yesterday. I hate to be alone. Alone with my thoughts. Alone with the demons that all too often like to visit. This is how I get into trouble. The house is too quiet. I miss those kids bad. I’m trying to look at this as “me” time, but it’s hard.

God is really dealing with me with some stuff right now. I always wake up at midnight for prayer time, but the last 2 nights, when I awoke, I had this hunger for God’s living word like never before. A thirst needing to be quenched. I visited Valley Bible Fellowship’s website to hear their head pastor, Pastor Ron Vietti, speak. The address is http://www.vbf.org He did a 2 week series about reframing life. I highly recommend you watch this. So good. Anyways, I don’t know why the Lord is firing me up, but He is.

I try to only write when I feel the Lord is leading me, so hopefully someone will watch the sermons and be forever changed as I have been.

Arizonians?


So here I am in Arizona and loving life. God has done some amazing things throughout this process. We have found some great churches….hoping to pin down a home church soon.

My anxiety level is at an all time low and overall I feel happier. I guess we are exactly where God wants us to be. I still have my struggles though. Just as I pushed my comfort zone last week I ended up with a panic attack. Monday morning I woke up severely depressed. Not sure what caused or triggered it or if there even was one. I just couldn’t make myself do anything, not even eat. This lasted for 2 days…..yuck! This morning I woke up feeling more like myself.

And yes, it’s hot here. But there is so much to do that is indoors, plus aquatic centers everywhere.

I am excited to see why the Lord choose Arizona and what He has in store for myself and my family.

A Season of Change


My life has just taken an unexpected turn! We just found out recently…very recently, that we are moving to Arizona! My husband got a great job. We will be leaving this morning to find a house there, we currently live in California. The house is all packed up and ready to go and the moving truck will be here next Monday! Guys, I’m freaking out! I’m so excited! This is proof that God does hear our cries and He answers. Not always in our timing or in our ways, but He answers. Arizona, in the past, was not my first choice as we discussed where we would live if we could move. But I have grown to love the idea of the place and have heard almost nothing but good things about it.

I have been so proud of myself over the last few days as I have dealt with all of this. Yes, I have had some panic attacks and I have to stop helping more then I like due to pain. Overall it’s been a success! I have complete peace about it and know, that I know, that I know that THIS is God’s plan…Amen!

Bipolar and Healing 2


So I’ve got bipolar disorder…so what! This new diagnosis of Fibromyalgia…I’m over it! Schizophrenia…hit the road! Lupus…go to Hell! Panic and anxiety.. find a new home! I’m tired of living plastered in labels. You know what? I’m perfect. Perfect in my creators eyes. Yeah I spent all day Monday crying, Tuesday depressed. But that’s okay. I’m me. I’m not pretending to be someone else. I may not be that organized or have the best memory. I may get tired easy and have to miss a lot of things. I can’t think straight,  I may be in pain most days and can ramble on for hours. But that’s okay, that’s me. I am done people pleasing. But most importantly I am done stressing about trying to be perfect or hiding behind a shell.

God knew where I would be today, in this very moment. He knows I’m strong through Him. And through His grace and mercy I WIll make it. There’s no crying in baseball, right?

 

Happy Anniversary, Me!


Sometimes I just don’t know what I’m doing. Am I moving forward or backwards. Am I breathing or is it just my imagination. I don’t know where I’m going and the road is thin. My head pounds and my feet beneath me hurt. I keep moving. Most times it’s a cycle. Feeling trapped in my own body. I get up for the day. I make it through the day and go to sleep. The pain I sometimes feel resonates through my body, always starting from my chest. A ball…..a big, black swirling ball, or so I imagine. It thrusts around  in my chest. I can feel the anxiety start to birth. The physical and emotional pain begins to swell. ” Is this real,” I ask myself. It always is. As a child I would pound my chest my fists to try to dull the anxiety and pain. This usually worked. Again, I didn’t know what or why I was doing it. I just wan’t it all to go away. Now I’m covered in labels. Sometimes not knowing can be freeing…knowledge isn’t always power. The pain I feel and then the pain I want to inflict to make the other pain go away has no schedule. It doesn’t care if I’m happy or sad, ready or not.

Other days I can be in a store or getting gas or you name it and the panic swoops in. First I begin to shake. Then the sweat begins to pour from every pore on my body…even my hair gets wet. Again, is this real? The road appears really thin now. My throat shuts off and my breathing becomes labored. My vision blurred and I have to go to the bathroom. Am I dying? Nope, just a panic attack.

And so as I try to make sense of it all and mulling through my days, I continue to fight the good fight.

It has been 1 year since I have caused self harm. I believe God has freed me from it. Not to say I don’t want to at times, but I just remind myself that my body is a living temple of God, filled with His spirit.

Fresh Hope


Last night I was blessed in attending a mood disorder group at our church called Fresh Hope. I usually don’t go out after 5 or 6 due to meds and the drowsiness it causes. Last night I fight compelled to attend with my husband. This group is for those who are mentally ill and their loved ones. So we dropped the kids off at children’s church and went. It was amazing! I am going through my study guides this morning as I was pretty medicated last night and wow! The Lord really spoke to me. I made new friends and now have something to look forward to weekly. We need more of this in the church.

God is good! He has provided me with an outlet to learn and grow in Him through my mental illness.