Manic Times

I recently stopped taking my mood stabilizer Topamax. Due to a problem with my insurance I couldn’t afford it for a week. During that time my morning crying and irritability seemed to disappear. When I worked the insurance problem and started taking it again the crying and anger came back.

I now feel better but I think I might be in Manic mode. I am more impulsive, my judgement isn’t exactly great, and I just want to run. I want to do things I never got to do and my mind races with ideas. The only thing stopping me is my health and money. I’m agitated and can’t sleep. I looked into flying to Florida for a Rock Festival by myself. I don’t know if this is good or bad. I have not been socially active in years. I’m always afraid my dad will get mad if I go out during the night. He thinks this is the only time people will drink. If I mention a concert or something similar he gets upset. I have stopped living so I don’t rock the boat with him. I have no friends left and my family doesn’t really like to spend time with me. I’m too sensitive and dramatic. They limit themselves to a quick text.

With my health problems and the future being unclear I don’t understand why I can’t take a trip or do something I used to love. There are always a hundred questions. No one thinks I can handle a social environment sober. After seven years of sobriety how am I to know if I stay home much of the time. I only leave the house for groceries. This isn’t living.

I also can’t trust myself to know if this is the Manic part of me or if I really do want to join the land of the living again.

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Retroperitoneal Fibrosis~ Diagnosis

Some of you may know that in July I went into life threatening Kidney Failure. I really didn’t have any unusual symptoms except for swollen feet. It’s a good thing something inside of me said “go to the ER”. I was close to death.

The Doctors put stents in to keep my ureters open so that urine wouldn’t build up in my kidneys. They knew the problem was with my ureters but they didn’t know what or why. I had several biopsies that showed irregularities but no reason for Kidney Failure. At the time the Doctors were concentrating on my bladder and not really on my kidneys.

They didn’t find out until December that my kidneys had been damaged beyond repair. The right on was only functioning at 19% and the left was working too hard to make up the difference.

I went to several specialists with no answers. They all agreed there was an obstruction that had to be taken care of they just didn’t know where or how. One Doctor wanted to put tubes in my back going to my kidneys. I was scared. When the Doctors tried to take out the stents I would start to go into kidney failure within 24 hours.

The last Doctor I went to is a Nephrologist. He didn’t seem to take my condition seriously because he works with dialysis patients daily. He did come up with Retroperitoneal Fibrosis.

This is an autoimmune disorder where abnormal fiber like tissue occurs behind the membrane that lines the cavity of the abdomen. The growth spreads to affect the ureters or a mass forms and presses on the ureters causing a blockage.

The symptoms for this are:

  • pain in the lower back
  • pain in the abdomen
  • weight loss
  • fevers
  • anemia
  • loss of appetite
  • constipation

Sounds like the side effects of most of my Bipolar meds. Topamax is known to cause kidney stones and may contribute to the Fibrosis. I’ve been on it at a high dose for years. No one said anything. They still didn’t say anything after I went into kidney failure. No one questioned my medications.

It’s difficult to get a biopsy for Retroperitoneal Fibrosis. Most masses are Benign but can become malignant. There really isn’t much of a cure for me at this point. I probably will have to have stents for the rest of my life. There were questionable findings in my biopsies but I guess not enough to consider cancer even though everything I read says you should undergo extensive cancer screening including an entire body PET scan.

The Nephrologist never called to tell me any of this. He just wrote up his notes and I read them in my file. I called twice to get answers and was never called back.

All of this has been frustrating. No one really wants to help because it’s rare and complicated. I’m tired of all the tests. I decided to take a break from Doctors for a month or two. I need to reconsider what I want to do and if I should consult different people in the medical field. I feel like crap but at least I have something that makes sense.

HAVE YOU EVER

Have you ever found yourself all dressed up with no place to go? Driving fast, listening to the songs of your youth (Skid Row Slave to The Grind) and thinking or wishing you could go back to that time. Not how you were then but how you are now. A prettier version of your former self some might say. And it hits you like a punch in the gut. You want a drink. You want to recapture some of that fun you think you had. Just one shot and you would be fine. The song playing (Wasted Time) wouldn’t be shredding your heart and tears wouldn’t be rolling down your face as you sing the words. The people that once knew you would be envious and you’d buy them a round.

They wouldn’t know that somewhere inside of you, you are dying piece by piece from the loneliness and fear of your demons. They wouldn’t know you spend seven days a week in your pajamas by yourself. They would only see what you let them. The shots would go down smoother as the night progresses. You wouldn’t be thinking of the shame that follows in the morning only of the fun you are having in the now.

I stay in my car and drive past the bar. It is not because I fear going in. It is because I fear never coming out. So I do as I am supposed to and head home. I feel numb but angry. I go inside to be questioned by my father about the groceries I didn’t buy. He’s angry because he knows the truth that I am manic and searching for something, anything that will make sense to me and comfort me. There isn’t anything. I didn’t “work a program” like others I know. Somehow this makes my accomplishment of sobriety less than theirs. It’s so easy to excuse someone’s behavior when you can say “but he/she is working the program, putting in an effort, all they have to succeed, so we’ll let it slide.” No one has ever let me slide or not be held accountable for my actions everyday for the last seven years. Because I didn’t work a program, become a friend of Bill’s, go to a church basement or a rehab. I did it on my own. Now I stay on my own.

The Cost of Neutering Your Pet

0225161545 (2)This isn’t one of my usual posts but I think it’s important. My dog Dutch needs to be neutered. It’s expensive to have a dog neutered so I looked up programs and services that help with the cost.

I’m on Disability and you can get a discount if you meet the criteria. The problem is even with the discount to have a male dog neutered is still around $175. Every site I went on preached about the overpopulation of dogs in shelters and how they have to be euthanized. The reason for the overabundance of animals is due to people not spaying or neutering their animals. So why do they charge so much? If it was a cat it would be $75. There are more programs for cats than dogs. Feral cats are a big problem everywhere. In my neighborhood alone we have about 5 that go between my house and the neighbor’s. This is due to the neighbor not spaying or neutering their pets. It’s a merry go round of animals over there. I’ve tried to get someone to look into their situation but nothing ever happened.

The other problem is you can’t just have your dog neutered. They have to make sure the animal has had all of it’s shots and if you can’t prove that it did they will give them anyway. This adds an additional $50 to the bill or more depending on what’s needed.

I was thinking of not giving Dutch his next rabies vaccination. Before anyone freaks out I’ll tell you why. Dutch is a Chihuahua/Dachsund mix. He’s small and never goes outside. If he does go outside he is being held by me or in a carrier. He doesn’t like the outdoors. He’s an odd duck. We don’t like to let any of the small dogs we have had outside without one of us standing right there with them. We have Cooper’s Hawks that circle over our house. One of these birds would grab a small dog in a blink of an eye. I’ve also been reading about the need for rabies vaccinations. Some states make you do them every 2-3 years. There are Veterinarians that disagree with this and think it actually does more harm than good. I live in a state where they want frequent vaccinations. The only way Dutch is getting rabies is if a rabid bat flew into the house and bit him. Unlikely.

So I have to find a way to get Dutch neutered at a reasonable rate without too much stress. He’s annoying my poor female Pomeranian to no end.

I’m watching him now. He’s playing with his new favorite toy. An empty, sealed small plastic milk carton. Even though he has a million expensive toys. It’s why I love him.

I Can’t Do This

It’s been such a long battle. A battle that for over 20 years I didn’t even know I was battling. I just thought I was weird, a loser, and no one liked me. When you spend most of your life thinking this way, you will believe it. For me it was also reinforced by other people I let into my life. That I take responsibility for.

How much of what goes on in my head, my thoughts and feelings, are due to Bipolar Disorder? How much is just me ganging up on myself? I just don’t know. My sister says I have control over it all. It’s in my brain, I can control it. So why don’t I ?

Why do I insist on punishing myself with horrendous memories that leave me wanting to be sick. Why do I let my mind think so badly of myself? Why don’t I just control it?

I’ve been told by professionals that I can’t. I’ve been told due to certain traumas it will be extremely hard if not impossible to overcome some things. Over 40% of people with Conversion Disorder like mine either do not recover or relapse within a year. Those are not great odds. The scan of my brain didn’t make things look hopeful either.

Yesterday I just wanted my sister, or to connect with someone in my family and they wouldn’t. My sister was busy with kid’s birthday parties and didn’t have time. Today she blamed me and gave suggestions for where I could interact with people and talk. None of these suggestions included spending time with me.

I think it’s easier if I don’t have a family anymore. If I forget they are there they can’t hurt me. The worse thing about Mental Illness is being ignored.  To keep thinking “I do not exist” is not good for me but it’s what I think everyday. I can try for a day or two to pretend I’m good but after that I crumble. I want to run away just to see if they notice. I want warm weather to help my bones and I can walk around in. I want to disappear.