Category Archives: lithium

Sanity Version 1.1

I just received a call back from Dr. K’s nurse, and my lithium levels are now at 0.6. Therapeutic range is between 0.5 and 1.3, so all seems good. I also had a basic metabolic panel done, and everything was normal in that regard. I can keep taking the medication, and I can stay sane. All is well.

Work is going alright. I’m now working afternoon and midnight shifts, for the most part. Many long and lonesome nights, but no big deal. I’m getting paid. I’ve been able to buy a new phone, take Briley out several times, and even give my roommate some extra cash when he needed it. No loans–I think loans are cruel–I’ve just given him the money. Feels good. I feel a little more financially established rather than only managing to scrape by.
I’m certain I wouldn’t have been able to hold a job without taking the lithium.

It’s now been a month and a half since I’ve heard any voices, or seen anything that wasn’t there. I haven’t hidden under the bar or the kitchen sink since before I went to the hospital. It was hard on my back anyway, being all contorted into a small space.
Before, life was like trying to watch a movie, in a theater full of talking, screaming, fighting people. All throwing popcorn and being generally unruly. Some of them did unspeakable things. I don’t miss them. Now it’s just me and this movie called life, in a nice, dark theater, all to myself. It’s peaceful. I’ve got plenty of soda and popcorn, with free refills. The attendants keep it fairly clean, though the arm rests are rather sticky. That’s alright. Nothing is ever perfect. I still have most of my old quirks, minus the insanity. I remain myself, and I’m okay with that too. Anything can be worked through so long as I have a solid foundation to stand on.

–Just Another Movie-goer

Leave a comment

Filed under lithium, mad ruminations, sanity

Phoenix

I know I haven’t written anything about my personal life in a while. I’m certain the lot of you don’t care, and I mean that in a nice way. Those little ‘life updates’ I write for myself, mainly. Not much has changed. Life is pretty fucking great for me. Lithium and I have become something like divine lovers; intertwined. It’s changed everything for me. Not only is my mood stable, but it’s settled in a happy place, and I’ve got my energy back as well. Getting shit done around the house, spending lots of quality time with Briley, not being an ass to my roommate anymore. I no longer feel defective. I’m actually considering getting a job, though I’m not sure what I’d enjoy doing. Certainly nothing in the food industry. It’s not more than a notion at the moment. I can get by on what money I have, although I can’t afford much more than the basics at the moment. Perhaps something will fall in my lap. Lots of great things have been popping up recently.

Briley and I have been discussing the topic of spirituality excessively. I really enjoy her ideas. I don’t believe in magic quite the same way she does, but I do believe in something. I’ve been lighting incense and candles daily on the little shrine she provided for me. I enjoy it. Even if it’s all a delusion, it gives me some sort of focus and trust in the world. That’s something I’ve been so devoid of for so long. I’m happy to have it.
I’m just happy. Not manic, not crazy, not overly deluded; just happy. Shit’s going well. So long as I can stay on this medication, which I must admit I cannot live without, I’ll be alright. I can handle anything that’s thrown at me. Hot potatoes, broken glass, flaming sticks, shot-puts, whatever. Nothing is as hot, sharp, or heavy as I made them out to be. Brain chemicals are the governors of our world and mine are nicely balanced. Finally.

I’ve risen from the fucking ashes. All the dross is burned away. Fuck yeah.

–Brain Chemicals

Leave a comment

Filed under bipolar, lithium, mad ruminations, phoenix, writing

I’m Worrying Again

Time for another morning ramble.

Some of you may or may not remember a post involving some suspicious abdominal pains and later, a doctor’s visit for some blood tests. The results showed that everything was fine, and the pains had stopped, and I was nearly given a chance to forget.

I’ve developed some new pains now. All of which I’ve never experienced before taking Lithium. I thought I had a hell of a backache yesterday, uncommon enough in itself, but as the day moved on I began to realize the pains were situated around the area of my kidneys. Fucking A! Don’t tell me my kidneys are being fucked up now. I have been sure to drink plenty of water since starting the medication. Not only can it dehydrate you but it is hard on the kidneys. I’ve been micturating every couple of hours. I guess drinking the water hasn’t been enough. Strangely enough the pains disappeared when I got some food in my stomach.

Once again, I’d like to reiterate that pains, for me, do not always mean something’s wrong. But it’s still severe enough that I’m worried about being able to continue the Lithium, yet again. I thought that was behind me.

On top of that, the area around my thyroid’s been bothering me. Imagine having a thumb shoved into the area below your adam’s apple with as much strength as a thumb can muster. Did I mention there’s also a golf-ball stuck in your throat?
It’s not constant and is most bothersome in the afternoon. Good thing here is, if my thyroid is having problems, many people on Lithium have been given a thyroid hormone on top of it, and been able to continue the treatment.

As far as symptoms go, besides the physical sensations I’ve not been showing any signs of thyroid or kidney problems.

I’m thinking about going back to the doctor to have my blood tested, again. I thought they had done a thorough thyroid, kidney, and liver check but upon getting online and checking the results for myself, I’ve realized all they ordered was a basic metabolic panel. Alone it can signify problems in most of those areas, but I would like some more specific tests.
If, once again, I’m told everything’s fine, then everything will be fine. Even if these pains continue, I can handle that. The pain isn’t really the problem here, it’s the worry that’s been accompanying it. I got a little snappy with my roommate last night. I must be a little on edge from all this. Of course I apologized and we’re good. He’s used to me being the occasional ass, although I’ve been a lot more tolerable on this new form of treatment. I don’t have to wake up in the morning pissed off about being alive anymore. Makes a big difference!
So many differences the new medication has made. I don’t know if I can survive without it. Not sure now if I’ll even survive with it, considering. Ugh. Tired of worrying! Helps to get it out. My favorite form of denial is to simply not think or talk about what bothers me. Bury that shit.

I’m not burying this.

I all the sudden care about my self and my body and my life.
All I can do now is make another doctor’s appointment and keep my fingers crossed.

If any of you believe in good vibes or good luck, you can go ahead and send that shit my way. I won’t turn any of it down.

–Worried me

Leave a comment

Filed under kidneys, lithium, mad ruminations, medication, thyroid, worry

Chilly Down Child — A Cautionary Tale

This is a story my roommate told me about the daughter of an old friend who took Lithium for Bipolar disorder. I’ve been thinking about it a lot. Now I share it with you all.

Nice and Blurry as we've  all come to expect.

Nice and Blurry as we’ve all come to expect.

A young girl, we’ll call her Sue, was always smart as a whip, but just a little crazy. If she had decided to run for president, we would all be digging our own bomb shelters. She lived with her parents and baby brother.
At the age of twelve she was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder and prescribed a relatively high dose of Lithium; to be taken four times a day at regular intervals. Her parents were sure to keep up with her medication schedule and often had to remind her to take the pills. The Lithium made her much more sane, but did nothing to curb her absent-mindedness.

Sue was regularly bestowed with the task of keeping an eye on her baby brother. One weekend, her mother was working and her father was outside, performing some maintenance on the family truck. She had been left alone indoors for most of the day, babysitting and doing god knows what else a prepubescent girl enjoys. At some point during the afternoon, Sue realized, she hadn’t had any of her medication.
“No problem,” she thought. “I can just take all four doses now and call it even.”

Bad idea. Before too long she began to feel funny. The feeling only intensified as the minutes rolled by. She had no choice but to go outside and tell her father what she had done.

Sue’s father must have been wise enough to know he was faced with a dire emergency. He immediately told her to get in the truck, and hollered at the neighbor–who was doing yardwork at the time–to come over and watch the baby while he drove Sue to the emergency room.

Too much, too little, too late. Sue died in the passenger seat of her father’s truck, long before they made it to the hospital. This young, smart girl, who could have been anything; who was finally leading a relatively normal life thanks to the new medicine, had everything stolen from her in less than an hour. Stolen by the same substance that held so much promise for a real future and a life of relative sanity, all because of one dumb moment.


So you see, this is why my Lithium bottle is marked CAUTION, and graffitied with liberal amounts of red sharpie. I have my own dumb moments, though I don’t believe I would have taken four doses at once. Right now I’m taking six different prescriptions, and I don’t want to confuse them.
When people tell me I’m paranoid about my medication, I tell them this story. So, so easy to cause serious harm and permanent damage. I would certainly rather die than have nervous system problems the rest of my life.
At least my blood levels were low, and this small amount is enough to make a difference. At least, in my case.

–J

Leave a comment

Filed under caution, lithium, story

The Results Are In

I just got a phone call from my primary care doc’s head nurse concerning the results of my blood test. To make a long story short, it’s all fucking great news.
Here are the details:

  • My lithium levels are actually still low. According to Wikipedia, therapeutic doses usually yield between 0.5 and 1.3 millimoles per liter. My results were 0.2. The nurse and I both agreed that as long as the three hundred milligram per day that I take is working, there is no need to up my dose, due to risk of toxicity and negative side effects.
  • As far as liver, kidney, and thyroid function goes, all results came back normal. Phew! That had been my main concern due to the unexplained liver pains I was having the same morning that blood was drawn.

This means I can keep taking the lithium. Good! I think if they had told me otherwise, I would have said fuck it, and gone out to buy myself a bottle of bourbon and a bag of weed. Just give the fuck up. Perhaps use that bourbon to down the whole fucking bottle for a quick death. Thank god, or my lucky numbers, or whatever it is out there. Or just plain old chemistry and biology. Thank you biology for being on my side today. I needed good news and I got it.

–J

Leave a comment

Filed under blood work, good news, lithium, results

Lucky Numbers can’t Lie . . . Right?

Well, good morning to you all. It’s been a chilly night. Some mornings I awaken and say, “I wonder how many followers I’ll be scaring off today?”

I slept like a fucking stone. Yesterday morning–after taking my actual prescribed dose of lithium which is twice what works well enough for me–I woke around four and the area around my liver was sore as all hell. It had the be the medication. I haven’t had a drink in years and even then, I’ve never had such pains before.
I didn’t let myself get too incredibly worried as I was going to the doctor to get my blood lithium levels checked later that morning. By the time I arrived the pains had stopped–thank god–but I let him know what had happened. On top of lithium levels I got my kidney, thyroid, and liver functions checked out. Now I’m just waiting on them to call me with my results.

Now I’m praying they don’t call me and say “Stop taking that Lithium! It’s destroying your body!”
This is the the singular medication that’s actually worked well for me. I’ve probably tried over twenty different kinds of anti-depressants and anti-psychotics in the past few years alone. I’m afraid that without this stuff I’ll be nothing more than that pitiful creature I was before. Melancholic at best. Fucking desperate and murderous more often than not. Hallucinations screaming in my ear. Vibrating my ear drum. Shooting down that labyrinthine tunnel in my head. Fuck!

I’m hopeful, though. Contrary as it may seem as far as hope goes, I’m sensitive in the area around my stomach. Back in the day when I would smoke weed like a motherfucker my goddamn spleen would hurt all the fucking time. No doctors believed me because, upon a physical exam and some blood work I’d be told that everything seems fine.
So, just because my shit hurts it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s been damaged. I must have super-sensitive nerves down there. Briley told me I have weakness in my solar plexus chakra. I never even told her about my past and present problems. That did catch me off guard a bit.

Another reason I have hope would be my lucky numbers. Or at least, my numbers. They’re 0, 1, 3, 7, and sometimes 9. They’re certainly not unlucky as I haven’t experienced anything awful where those numbers are involved–at least, nothing awful that didn’t turn out to be a blessing in disguise.
Yesterday while I was waiting in the exam room I was looking back over my discharge papers and noticed my bar-code number. (Yes, you get a fucking bar-code in that place now.)

ACC3071397

It was a pleasant detail I hadn’t noticed before.
And so I’ve decided I’m not going to worry unless a phone call happens to reveal that I should. I just hold a slight concern for now is all.

Briley is coming over today. Finally! I had to go all of yesterday without seeing her, though we did text back and forth like teenage girls. I’m a giddy teenage girl today.

— Giddy and Hopefully me

Leave a comment

Filed under briley, depression, hope, lithium, liver, lucky numbers, mad ruminations, medication, schizophrenia

O Green World

and The Lyrics to accompany:
(a bit convoluted and vague as is their typical style)

::

O green world,
Don’t desert me now
Bring me back to fallen town
Where someone is still alive

I hope for something new in this
When no one needs to haunt me and I’ll
Get out somewhere other than me before…

(than me before…)

O green world
Don’t deserve me now
I’m made of you and you of me
But where are we?
Oh no

Sells to lie
Phone with talk, you stars
Suppose you
Down when you’re in fast
Cause it seems so little to you

But now you’re in love, you know
You know, me too
You know, me too
I hope sex and drugs rust into my. . .
Feels holy
It feels holy
It feels like you’re with your father in the place you love…

140922_0011

Leave a comment

Filed under cats, gorillaz, house, lab tests, lithium, lyrics, music, nature, pictures, video

Who Cares Why?

140921_0002It’s possible I’m just typing this out of boredom. Move along if you so desire, but if I ever catch you back here again, I swear, you’ll wish you’d never returned. I can make people wish for things.

I’ll be going to see my primary care doc in the morning to get my blood lithium levels checked for the first time. I have an entire list of questions and concerns for him. It’s a good thing I’ve got the best doctor this side of the state. When the man walks in the exam room, he’ll look me in the eye and shake my hand. Then, unlike most doctors who’ll thumb through a chart and communicate in grunts and whistles, he sits down in a chair across from me and just listens. Every. Fucking. Time. Even if I’ve just got a head cold. Bad ass! Not the typical rushed feeling I would so often get with every other doctor on earth.

As far as my lithium dose goes, I’m only taking half of what the psychiatrist prescribed me right now. For a couple reasons. One: He told me to my face he was doubling my dose, but when I was discharged I realized he’d actually quadrupled it. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a mistake, but there’s still that nagging suspicion.
When it comes to lithium, the therapeutic and lethal dose are so close they may as well be fucking. Probably are. Which constitutes reason number two: plain old paranoia. If my blood work comes back and everything looks good, I’ll take the 600 milligrams per day that Mr. Psychiatrist put me on.

Considering all that, I thought it a decent idea that, for the first time today, I go ahead and take all 600 mg. Three hundred in the morning, same in the evening. That way we’ll know tomorrow where my blood level sits in relation to the dose the psychiatrist wanted me on.
So I took the second dose around seven. Felt that shit kick in. Now I’m more wide awake than I was when fresh out of bed this morning. Medication sure as hell isn’t going to knock me out tonight. Not yet anyway.
The thought of sleeping feels about as unnatural as the thought of laughing did to me only a week ago. I’ll be talking to the doctor about that too, although I don’t know what good it will do. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve had trouble sleeping for a few years and have tried damn near everything already to remedy the problem.

Just did a quick read back over that last paragraph and right at the end, I started feeling a little sleepy. Haha. I suppose I did take my bedtime nighty-night sweet-dream medications about half an hour ago.
Not to say that feeling sleepy means I’ll be able to fall asleep.

Time to start taking bets! Where’s my money going? No fucking clue! Are you crazy?! It’s much too late to be worrying about money. After all, I’m the bookie.

— A Dreamer

Leave a comment

Filed under insomnia, lithium, mad ruminations

Swoop

I never managed to send Briley that text.
Instead, she text me this morning.
She had read my blog. Saw how much I missed her. Was then aware that as bad as I just wanted to see her again, I was having trouble re-breaking the ice.
So she did it for me.
Beautiful girl.
She sent me an apology concerning the reason for our initial break up. Although it wasn’t her fault. It was mine.
I apologized too. Asked her if we could wipe the slate clean, forget about those previous worries that accompanied me like a heavy cloud. I don’t want her to have to watch what she says anymore.
I really am a different person since my little hospital visit. Since I got this Lithium in me, a relatively dangerous drug, I’ve still been me, but lighter. The doctor must have seen it fully necessary. I’m going with his judgement.
With all the risks and paranoia the Lithium has caused (oh god my hand is shaking! is it a bad reaction? even though my hands usually shake anyway) I have no desire to stop taking it. Ever. If there is even the slightest possibility, that for the rest of my years I could feel as normal as I have so recently . . . Well, I call that hope. My life has been too devoid of that notion. Optimism. And no point in even worrying about it.
I had complained in a post a month or so ago, about how I hated anti-depressants because they make me feel hollow. This is different. I feel whole versus that familiar cut-off feeling.

Excuse me, I’m rambling again.
Long story made short, I think Briley and I are going to work this out. I’m going to see her later today. Butterflies in my tummy. The good kind.
I’ve been so in love with her. Still am.

.

On a slightly different note, I’m still having trouble sleeping. One of the few residuals I still have to live with. Risperidone is supposed to knock you out. Yeah right!
My primary care doc, after trying damn near everything to help me sleep (even 800 mg Seroquel with no luck) tried me on 350 mg Soma, a pretty strong muscle relaxer. It helps more than other things but I have to take a few benadryl and melatonin on top of it.
Not even that’s been doing it for me. I’ll feel exhausted . . . like the moment I lie down I’m bound to pass the fuck out. Disappointment inevitably follows.
Tuesday night in the hospital I got about four hours. Preceding nights at home have wielded a lucky six hours tops. Yesterday evening it was really starting to catch up with me. Naturally I function best on nine or ten hours of sleep. Finally took two of the damn Soma last night and thank god, I finally got a good night’s sleep. About eleven hours, but I needed it.
The occasional night of sleeplessness is no big deal for me, it’s when the days start adding up that it becomes a real pain in the ass. Literally. Even my body gets sore. Worse, lack of sleep alone can cause psychosis even in the normally sane.

So I guess the point here is that, today is all good news. Got some sleep. Going to see the girl I love later.
Today ain’t bad at all.

— JT

Leave a comment

Filed under briley, hope, lithium, love, mad ruminations, medication, schizophrenia, writing

Diagnoses

140920_0000It’s always amusing to me the various diagnoses I receive for every different doctor or therapist I’ve had to see. I wouldn’t disagree with the notion of Bipolar Disorder with all my highs and lows, if it could be diagnosed alongside schizophrenia. Apparently that’s not possible. Psychotic symptoms present with bipolar are known as a schizoaffective disorder. Yeah, I guess I could accept that too. Then again, this doctor may have spent ten minutes with me. I know my mother had a severe case of schizophrenia, plain and fucking simple. The last therapist I saw on a regular basis diagnosed me as a schizophrenic as well.
So, I’m not entirely sure, and I’m not sure if I even care anymore.
Except when it comes to which tags I should be using on my blog posts.
As long as the medication I’m on is finally fucking working.
As far as post traumatic stress disorder goes, yeah, I’ve got no question concerning the validity of that diagnosis.

Who else thinks they know what I’ve got? Come on, throw some labels at me. I can take ’em.

Leave a comment

Filed under bipolar, diagnosis, lithium, mad ruminations, pictures, ptsd, schizophrenia, writing