Saturday, January 06, 2007

Still addicted to Lorezapam.. and other mumblings

My first post in many months.....

I started to break my addiction to Ativan(lorezapam), but that only lasted a few days. I whimped out.
I know I'm addicted, my wife knows I'm addicted and my pdoc knows I'm addicted. I keep telling myself that I need to get off this stuff, but I don't. It must be my "addictive personality".

Other than this little problem, I am still doing very well overall. Since December we've been working "normal" hours at work. However, in March or April it will back to long hours again(12hrs each day). Now that I'm afternoon shift, my mood patterns are pretty stable. I don't "feel" bipolar and that's a good thing.

My children were home for the holidays and we hosted dinners for Christmas and New Years for both sides of our family. Surprisingly, everything went great. My son that is in the Air Force took vacation time and was at home for eleven days. Since my children live 3 hrs and 12 hrs away, we usually are only able to see our Airman son about twice per year. But thanks to the internet, we can talk to each other everyday if we want. Trillian is a great chat program since it combines all the major chat programs into one interface. I don't have to have multiple programs to talk to my family members anywhere in the great USA.

My goals for this year: lose another 20 pounds(lost 25 pounds in 2006), go down south and visit my son's Air force base, blog here more often and break my addiction.

Happy New Year to all.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Memory loss

I've noticed over the last 6 months that my memory is terrible. I've also have been doing some technical studies related to my job. I'm having a very hard time grasping what I'm learning. Most of the time I don't even understand what I'm reading. I consider myself a relatively smart person who learns quickly, but that all has changed.
I get in the shower and I can't even remember if I just washed my hair, so I wash it again. My long term memory is not too bad, just my short term. I feel like I'm in the starting stages of senility.
I think this has to be drug related. I will discuss this with the pdoc on Monday. This is causing me a great concern.
I've been off Risperdal for at least 8 months, and just this week I started my detox from Lorezapam. I'm on 30% less ( 3mg >>2mg) of the Ativan/Lorezapam. Of course, I'm sleeping like crap and not getting a restfull sleep, but I expected that. Working 12hr days since March doesn't help. On the 3mg I was sleeping soundly. Now I wake up way too soon and go back to sleep and wake up again. Not very refreshing sleep.
With the change of the weather to the cold and dreary season, that has effected my mood also. I can even see it effecting those at work also. This can be expected. But its not good on my Bipolar.
I've been feeling really good for the longest time but now I feel myself slipping away. This is another concern that I will bring up with my pdoc.

As you notice with this blog, I haven't been posting for the longest time. Now that I'm having problem again- well here I am. Just like an unhappy customer writing a complaint letter, I am back to posting.

If I could just get my memory problem solved, that would make me happy. Right now it's dragging me down. Hopefully the pdoc can work on this in a non drug realted way. I'm so sick off taking drugs !

Have a great day!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Lorazepam Addiction...

Of course I've been taking Lorazepam for a long time. I'm taking 3 mg at night as a sleep aid. Now is seems that my addiction needs more. I'm starting to wake up sooner than I should.

My wife weaned herself off of Clonopin a few weeks ago and has been sleeping good ever since.

I'm not ready to beat this addicition as of yet. I'm going to wait until after our vacation next month and then start the slow process of detoxing.

I plan on following a typical detox regiment, by cutting the dosage a small percentage at a time, do that for a few weeks, then cut again, then repeat.

So for now, I'm supplementing my addiction with 1mg of clonopin. Clonopin works for 8 hrs verses the 4 hrs for Lorazepam ( Ativan). It really helps and I am sleeping soundly again.

I know it before you all say it- "don't take other peoples medications". I am very fimilar with all the drugs in our household. So I'm going to use whats avaiable for now. Gotta do whata gotta do .

Monday, July 03, 2006

Feeling Good

With the current drug regiment I'm on, I feel completely "normal".
That's why i haven't posted anything in quite awhile.
As long as the meds continue to work like they are I really have nothing else to report on this blog.
If anything changes I 'll be sure to post.
Other than that, I have nothing to say

Friday, May 19, 2006

The pdoc drugs

We'll I went to the pdoc over a week ago. There is really no reason for my wife or me to even be there anymore. We are very stable. Always have a good report from the pdoc. The ONLY reason we have to go is the "scam" that he can't issue us our prescriptions without a doctors visit every three months.
I got on him about the six week delay in not sending in the paperwork so that we could get our drugs for free since I lost my job and had no health insurance. We did get a two month supply of Lamictal for free. However the Risperdal drug paperwork came back from the drug company only a few eeeks before my new insurance came into effect. He didn't want to issue the drugs to me because he felt it would be fradulent due to the fact it was so close to my new coverage.
If they'd just had done the paperwork right away we could have had all our drugs for free and I wouldn't have had to pay for them out of pocket for three months.

I told him about my attempt to stop taking the Lorezapam (generic Ativan). I told him of the violent reaction I had. Couldn't sleep, very irritable, etc. He was a little upset that I tried that on my own. He said the only way you can get off the benzos is under doctor supervision over a six to eight week period. I know thats the truth !!

I'm working 10-14 hrs day in my new job right now. If anyone believes the economy is bad then you should work where I do. The is not enough days in the week to fill all the orders we have. This manufactoring sector is booming in our area. The company is properly managed and we are building a new prototype for customers nearly every week. What a differance between the job I lost and the one I have now.

Im so busy right now that I barely had time to even post this.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Makes you wonder

Ever since I was diagoised as being Bipolar, I have been prescribed Lorazepam (Ativan) for stress, but mainly to help me sleep. I only take it at bedtime (3mg) I was doing some random surfing tonight and came across this old article....

..."Golombok and her coworkers were unable to follow up with tests after drug termination. However, these findings of chronic brain dysfunction raise a serious concern about possible permanency. The investigators comment: "It is impossible to determine how long it is safe for a patient to continue to take benzodiazepines, or at what dose, before cognitive ability will begin to deteriorate. Nevertheless, it is clear from the inspection of our data that taking a low dose for a short time has little effect, while a high intake is almost always certainly harmful." (P. 371)
The test results indicate that "these patients are not functioning well in everyday life," while they remain unaware of their impairment: "This is in line with clinical evidence that patients who withdraw from their medication often report improved concentration and increased sensory appreciation and that only after withdrawal do they realize that they have been functioning below par.... It appears, therefore, that not only are long-term benzodiazepine users at risk of dependence, but that cognitive impairment also represents a very real hazard." (P. 373)
It cannot be overemphasized that brain-disabling treatments render patients less able to evaluate their own dysfunction. The Golombok study is exceedingly important from the viewpoint of the patient who wishes to avoid brain dysfunction and from the viewpoint of the ethical physician who wishes to avoid causing it in his or her patients.
If doctors wish to prescribe minor tranquilizers or if patients want to take them, it would be prudent to follow the advice of The New Harvard Guide to Psychiatry ( 1988): "The main usefulness of the antianxiety agents is in general medicine in the short-term treatment of relatively transient forms of anxiety, fear, and tension" (p. 524). "

I've been taking a benzo (Ativan) for two years now. It hasn't effected me one bit. At learsytn the ntrhats tyhf knogfy thshtjhsxn at least that I know of !!

Makes you kind of wonder (or paronoid)if that you really are able to your own best judge of things.

Go to the pdoc on 5/8. Let you know how it went.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Repost of my first blog here at bipolar 2

My blog is now nearly one year old so I thought I'd repost my very first entry of this blog that tells my story. As I look back on my blog, it's amazing how thing have changed for the BETTER in my life.

I don't really even have an major syptoms of being bipolar as I'm on the correct meds now. So now here's a relist of my first post for all you new visitors as that post is buried deep in the archives...

The Journey Began Here

I'm now 43 years old. I am Bipolar 2 (manic depressive). This blog page journeys my life history into the world of being bipolar.

As a teenager, I always knew there was something not quite right with me. At times I was shy, withdrawn, backwards. At other times I was outgoing, popular and thrill seeking. I would bounce back and forth between these two worlds. However most of the late teen years was spent in on again, off again deep depressions. At the time(late 1970's) I really didn't know about depression. This was even before Prozac hit the market.

The one bright spot in my late teen years was my girlfriend (later to become my wife). Problems was is that she had as many dark secrets in her life as I did. She suffered abuse by a relative among other thing. But we loved each other deeply and our similar problems brought us even closer together. We did all the things that teenage couples do and on the outside we each were very happy together. But inside we each had our own problems. We just buried them deep inside so as not to bring the other person down.

I experimented with drugs in high school. Mostly pot and acid. I loved getting high. It was a great escape from the pain in my life. I got high as often that my limited income would allow.
After High School, I went away to college. Not just any college, but one of the top ten party schools in the country !( Brutus is their mascot)
But this fun was short lived. I finished my freshman years with a solid "C" average. I don't know how I did it.
However, I couldn't afford to return to college. I had to give up my dream of that college degree. But at least I had "fun" while I was there.

Since I couldnt afford college, I figured I do the next best thing. I asked my girlfriend to marry me and she accepted. The joy had returned into our lives (for now)......................................

We were married for only 2 months when my wife became pregnant with our first child. We were thrilled, as we wanted to have children early so that we would still be "young" when they went out into the world on their own. What I found out at this time was that I was becoming more irritable and depressed inside. As both of my children(3yrs apart) grew up, I was pretty much a prick with them as they grew older. I didn't abuse them or anything like that but when the made childhood mistakes I treated them as they were adults and should have known better. Inspite of this both children grew up to be happy well adjusted adults, and we are a very close family.

When my children were about 4-5 years old, I started having physical problems. I developed irirtable bowel syndrome, digestive problems, and sleeping disorders. I then went to my family doctor for help. The doctors basically blamed my problems on diet and stress. I took the medicines they gave me and generally felt better. The problem was that in reality I was growing more and more depressed each month. I was in a funk. I guess I didn't really realize that I was suffering from depression.

On a follow up visit to my doctors some months later, I notice a poster hanging up on the doctors wall that asked if you had these certain symptoms. They were symptoms of depression. It was at this point that I realized what was going on with me. When the doctor came back into the room, I asked about the poster and said that it sounded just like what I had. The doctor asked a few more questions and agreed that I had depression. He prescribed me Prozac.

What a wonderful drug Prozac was. It made my moods better, I finally felt the best I had in years. The only problem was is that it quit working in about 6 months or so. I just experienced Prozac poop-out. I basicaslly deceided at that point that medicines were useless so I didn't pursue it any further with my doctors.

I was feeling ok for quite awhile after the Prozac incident anyway so I just went about my business. Of course in time I started feeling bad again. I dropped into a deep depression that hung over me like a rain cloud. I still went to work everyday and did my daily chores, but I was once again in my funk.I didn't realize it at the time but I was just about to begin a 20 yr journey that would ultimately lead me to where I am today.

After I started really feeling bad again, I went back to my doctor for help with my depression. What happened now was for the next 20 years is that I would be put on just about every antidepressant known to mankind. They all had the same effect: They'd work for a few months or so then quit working. I'd get frustrated and stop going to the doctor. Then I'd repeat the cycle- feel worse- goto the doctor- new pill- works awhile then quit working- quit taking drug all together- and repeat the entire process over again. Boy how 20 years of this process flew by!

About this time my father-in-law died. My wife took it really hard. Losing her father was the worst thing that has ever happened to her. She basically had a nervous breakdown. I had to put her in the pschy ward for a week.
She was diagnoised as having schizoaffective disorder. This explained alot of the things that my wife had going on in her mind all these years. I always suspected that she was schizo in many ways. Through her hospitalization she was helped with medications. We were fortunate enough to have the head of the pschy ward as her pschyiatrist.
Over time he has helped her through medications overcome her problems. Not that shes 100% but she is now doing great.

What happened to my wife was the best thing that also happened for me! After many visits with her pdoc, I finally built up enough courage to ask to be evaluated. We made an appointment for a evaluation. Boy, it sure was very detailed. Hundreds of questions,etc. The nurse was very good at her job also. Did a complete medical workup on me also. After all the evalations, I met with my wife's pdoc. He explained to me that what I had wrong with me was that I was BIPOLAR. Thats why the antidepressants didn't work. I also scored high for stress levels and for depression. He explained in detail what it meant to be bipolar. He gave me the scientific DSM-4 definitions and he also described in plain english what it meant. He told me that I wasn't Bipolar 1 but rather Bipolar 2. Bipolar 1 has more mania than Bipolar 2. But Bipolar 2 has more and darker depression. The information the pdoc gave to me was an exact definition of what I was going through. It was like a great burden had been lifted from my shoulders!

He explained that what I really needed was a mood stabilizer in addition to an antidepressant. He put me on Paxil and Lamictal. He also prescribed Risperdal for my mind and Ativan so that I could sleep better. Over the next 5-6 weeks I started feeling great again. It takes that long to get up to the full strength of the Lamictal. I also slept the best I ever had in the past 25 years.

I read everything I could on the internet about mental health and Bipolar. It seems that I'm a text book case. What a great relief to finally get the right diagnioses.They say it takes on average 11 years from the time you see a doctor until the time you get a correct diagniose of being Bipolar. In my case it was more like 20+ years.
Now that I'm on the meds I feel pretty good most of the time. I still have my ups and downs, but it is only temporary.

This blog will now keep you updated on how I am doing. At least you know my story. Now follow the rest of my journey.......

Saturday, March 18, 2006

My new job...

Its now been two weeks since I started my new job. Just got my first paycheck in three months.

I can't believe the differance between this factory and the last one I worked in. Its very clean and organized. This company makes nearly all their shipments ontime, which is a huge differance from my old job.

So far I'm basically in a confused state, learning a totally new process that I knew nothing about coming into it. Of course my main job is managing people (supervision) and these people don't behave any differant than the people at the other plant. People are pretty much the same no matter where you go.

The largest differance in the people is the fact that most of them barely speak english. Most are Croatian. I've already mananged to learn a few basic words from them. My feeling is that if they are in America, working for Americans, they are the ones that have to learn the langauge. The other thing I've noticed is they are hard working. They are not afraid of work, unlike the lazy Americans at my last job. They appreciate their job and are thankful to have it. They are paid very well for their efforts, as this is a union shop.

After about another month of training I will move to afternoon shift. After seven years of working midnights, maybe I will sleep alot better. This should help with any mania that I have. I look forward to the change.

It was kind of nice being out of work for three months. It was like a long vacation( a long boring one). But I am glad to get back to work and start a new chapter in my life.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Spitting nails angry !!!@#$%@

I called the pdoc to see if they processed my free meds forms. She said they were done but never sent out!!. There is an administration charge for filling them out and they needed to talk to me before sending them out.
I gave them the forms a month and 1/2 ago and their just now telling me this. I'm so mad I could... (don't even want to think about would I'd like to do).

So now I had to have them give me prescriptions that will carry us over for now. That all comes out of my pocket.

I'm so pissssssssssssssssed offfff right now I could scream !

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Where's my free prescriptions?

Towards the end of January, we ordered all of our drugs from the manufactures through their patient assistance programs. It's now been over one and a half months with no drugs or letters. I've been told it takes two months or longer to recieve them.

Even though I have a new job starting next week, I still won't have the group insurance plan in effect until May 1. I'm starting to get worried we will not see these free drugs and that I'll have to go to the pharmacy and pay full price for the drugs because we will run out of drugs before that.

If you've had any experience with patient assistance programs, please leave your experience in the comment section 0f this blog or email me

Currently the medicines my wife(schizoaffective disorder) and myself(Bipolar 2) are on is Risperdal, Lamictal, Lorazapam, Klonopin, Benztropine. I quit taking the Risperdal and have seen no ill effects from it. I haven't taken any Risperdal since I lost my job. I wanted to save my prescription for my wife to use in case we ran out of drugs or money.

My state has a "discount" drug card. I already have this plan in my possession. According to their website the Risperdal is $185/month and the Lamictal is $116/month at the DISCOUNTED prices. Multiply that by the two of us and thats $602/month just for those two drugs. The other drugs are alot cheaper than those. I do have a little bit of money in the bank to cover this if we have to but it would destroy us in the end. COME ON FREE DRUGS- WHERE ARE YOU???

Friday, February 24, 2006

Got a Job !!

I know I haven't updated for a long time but here goes...

After two and a half months of being unemployed and without insurance, I finally got a job. I actually got TWO jobs and an invite for a third interview for another job. It sure was nice to be in a position of power and be able to choose the right job. My new job pays me what I was making at my last job which is really good. I was afraid I would be taking a huge paycut when starting a new job. So now I'll be able to pay all my bills and stay on budget. Whats really nice is that with the generous severance pay I recieved when my old job cut me lose, i'll be able to pay off some loans. That will free up an additional $300 per month. Plus I paid $190 a month for insurance at my old job and now I only have to pay $9.00 per month for the new insurance. So basically I'll have almost $500 per month more in my pocket ! The new insurance pays 90/10 also. The only downside is they don't have a prescription drug card where you pay $15 or $30 per prescription. The new insurance pays 80% of the drug costs so I don't know what that will cost me out of pocket for our drugs.

I'm going to call the pharmacy to see what each of our drugs costs in the real world. I had also applied to all the drug companies patient assistance programs for free drugs, but one month has gone by and we haven't heard anything yet. I've been told it can take two months or so to receive them. If we do get the drugs for free, we will take full advantage of the program. Technically I wont have health insurance until May 1 anyway.

So after two months of hitting the streets looking for a job, I ended up finding my job right from the comfort of my own home- on the internet !. I found my new job on Isn't the internet great !. You wouldn't been able to say you found a job on the internet just five or ten years ago. I love technology !

Of course I have to go for a drug test. I know the lorazepam will show up on the drug screen so I'll have to make sure I tell them about it upfront so I don't fail the test. Other than that I'm ready to start work. I start on March 6th. So now I'm offically on VACATION since I no longer am actively seeking a job!!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Still unemployed...

As of today, I still don't have a job. I was a supervisor for 20 years but the problem is that new employers want a four year degree. That I don't have. I've also found out that I'm overqualified for other jobs. Employers must figured I earned way too much on my old job and don't want to hire me because of that.

All I need is a decent paying job with insurance. I have enough money left to keep us until the end of Febuary or the middle of March. At that point if I don't have a job paying close to what I was making before, we will lose our house and seven acres. Basically everything we worked hard to get. We built our new home three years ago and I don't really want to lose my "stuff". But I guess that is all it is- just "stuff". So if that happens there really isn't much we can do about it. We'll just move on.
Guess that life in the "rust belt"

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Wife lost her job !!

My wife came home from work last night and informed me that she has just been laid off.
Not only are the both of us out of a job, but now we have no health insurance at the end of the month.
I haven't a clue how a schizophrenic wife and a bipolar husband are supoose to pay for their drugs. Hopefully I can find another job with health insurance by the middle of Feburary when all our drugs will be gone.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Got insurance !!

Where my wife works they just offered all the employees health insurance. Its a pretty good plan at a reasonable rate. It's 80/20 of first $6,000 and it has the same drug prescription plan that I had at my job that I just lost. So at least we'll be able to afford all our prescription drugs !

I've been applying for jobs online at careerbuilder, monster and Doubt anything thing will become of those but you never know.

I'm also hitting the streets for the first time today. Going to put my application and resumes in a few places that will pay enough to support my present life style. I'm even going to apply at an employment agency.

I have to wait until the 15th of Dec. before I can apply for unemployment benefits. I'm also going to look into going to school since they pay for that also. I might consider going for a LPN degree. Always thought I would want to do that after I took care of my father-in-law while he was dying.

But life is full of changes and I get to experience it all first hand. Thank you to everyone that have left comments of encouragements the last few days.

I'll land on my feet. I always do.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Here's an update for you...!!!

Right at the end of my work shift today, I was informed that I no longer have a job ! Merry Christmas to me.

They have been getting rid of salary jobs left and right where I work. Seeing how I was the highest paid Supervisor there it was only a matter of time before my head went on the chopping block.

I've been waiting for it to happen for a long time. It really suks as I had 14years in there and life was good. Don't know what I gonna do now. I dont care about the new home we just built 3 years ago. I don't even really care that I'm out of a job and that I'll probably lose every material thing I have. Its all toys anyhow. I can live anywhere.
My greatest concern is being able to make sure my wife gets her meds and stays out of the hospital. I'll just quit taking mine altogether. I will learn to live without mine.

So when it comes to losing my job my only concern is my wife. Aint I just a great husband or what !!

Merry Christmas to me

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Back from San Anonio...

Well we're back from our big trip to San Anotnio, Texas. It was really exciting to see our son again. It's amazing to see the change bootcamp and the military life has made in my son's life. He's really enjoying it. He left from bootcamp right into tech school at Keesler AFB in Mississippi. He's proud to be part of the military and we're proud of him ( and our other son also)
It also brought to mind how much we took our children for granted when they were living at home. It's good to see that they have both grown up as responsible adults.
It was also kind of nice to have nearly the entire family share in my son's graduation. My oldest son, my sister, mother-in-law, my brother and sister-in-law(who live in Ft.Worth/Dallas) were all there to share in the experience. I don't get to see my brother more than a few times a year now that they are Texans.
We saw all the typical tourist traps while in San Antonio. The Alamo, the RiverWalk, the Mission Trail, the AF base and hundreds of stores and shops.The Riverfront mall was nice as far as malls go. I highly recommend eating at Boudro's on the Riverwalk. We had our Thanksgiving dinner together there. A little pricey but it really wasn't that bad considering it was a FOUR course meal.
This was also my wife and I first real airplane ride.All the talk of the busiest day of holiday travel was highly over-rated. We had absolutely no trouble getting in and out of the airports. And yes there was no problems getting all of our crazy meds through security.
We came home exhausted and we left over $1300 in San Antonio. Hope they appreciate it.My son gets to come home in a few weeks for Christmas !
Now that all the excitement is over, I've seemed to have fallen into a deep depression. I know its from being physically tired and I am presently working 12 hr days for the next week to fill in for the guys at work who are now taking their vacations.I wish I would of had a few more days of rest.
I really don't care about anything or anyone at the moment. I don't even care about my job. Good thing I'm a supervisor and don't really have to do any physical work. I can just hide in my office until I'm needed somewhere out on the plant floor.
Oh well, I'll get over it sooner or later. I always do. It was all I could do to type this blog today, but I had people emailing me and leaving post telling me to write an update. So here it is.

Have a great day anyway...

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The excitement builds ...

The time is nearly upon us. We fly out Wednesday morning @ 630am to go see our son in the Air Force in San Antonio, Texas. It's going to be a 13hr ordeal just to get there with the drive time to the airports and all the layover time.

We're really excited to find out where he'll be going for his tech school training and where he'll be permantly stationed.

Our son actually wrote us a letter, one full page, front and back on whats happening in boot camp. This kid has NEVER handwritten a letter of any kind. So it was kind of special to get that letter.

We've never flown before so we're pretty excited about that part of the trip also. The only real concern will be taking all of our meds with us. Wait untill the airline inspectors see all the pills we take in a five day period. We're hoping it doesn't cause any problems.It's really kind of embarrassing to even see a 5 day supply of pills altogether.

At least the weather is suppose to be great while we're down there. No rain in the forecast for those five days.

We plan on doing as much sightseeing as possible while we are there. My brother, who lives in Ft. Worth, is driving down to have Thanksgiving dinner with us and go to the graduation events. I haven't seen him in awhile so it will be good to see him and my sister-in-law.

On a side note- how bout them Ohio State Buckeyes !! Beat the team up north in their own house. Go Buks !! It's the greatest rivalry in ALL of college football. Don't even think about leaving me a comment that it isn't. I'll just tell you up front that you are wrong -LOL.

Just wish us luck, that a schizophrenic wife and a bipolar husband(me) make it through airport security alright with all our crazy meds (btw- thats a good website-

Talk to you all later after the trip...

Friday, November 11, 2005

Son got to call home !

Our son called home from bootcamp. This is the first we've heard from him since he left 32 days ago. He called in the morning but I was on the internet at the time and my callwave took the message. I was only online for 2 mins when he called. I was so angry that I was on the internet when he called that I could have put my fist through the wall. If I only hadn't been online I wouldnt have missed his call !

Boy was I angry at myself all day. I'm sure glad my wife was at work when this happened or she would have been really upset also.

When she came home from work tonight I told her what happened. She was more unhappy that she was at work when he called. I played the recording of his call and it sounded like everything was going well for him. His biggest complaint- he was bored with the daily routine of bootcamp.

About 5 mins after I played the recording, the phone rang. I picked it up and here it was my son on the phone. This time we were both there to hear it. What a joy. My wife picked up the other extension and we both got to talk to him for 5 mins. before they made him hang up.

He said he is excelling in all the physical requirements (pushups, running ,etc.)and about the only thing hes getting yelled at is about how he folds his shirts. ( We could never get him to make his bed when he lived at home ! )

Anyhoo, It was a joy to hear from him. We will be flying down to San Antonio for 5 days starting on the 23rd to see him graduate. We can't wait. We'll even be able to take him out on Thanksgiving day to eat a good meal. I already have the reservations to a restrurant on the River Walk. We are very excited to go down and see him.
Then hes off immediaitely to tech school and we don't when or where we'll be able to see him again.

My wife and I both went to the pdoc. We are doing so well that he doesn't want to see us for another three months. The only trouble I'm having is not getting a good night sleep at times. I him asked to try Lunesta or Ambien. He gave me samples for Lunesta. I took a dose the other day. Didn't do a thing for me. Stuff is junk !. Guess I'll just stay with the Ativan. I'll just take 3mg instead of 2mg when I need it.

41 days without smoking !

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Not sleeping and PVC's

The last week I haven't been getting my daily dose of restful sleep. I am constantly waking up throughout my sleep period. It's even worse on my days off as I then have to share the bed with my wife (I work midnights)

Now my PVC's (Premature Ventricular Contractions) are flaring up again. I havent been bothered by them in over 6-8 months. PVC's are nothing to be concerned over but it drives you nuts when your heart skips a beat ( actually beats too soon ). I just associate it with my lack of restful sleep. Guess I'm into a hypomania phase right now.

The wife and I are over the inital shock of our last child leaving home and it's actually kind of nice to have the entire house to ourselves. However we are still getting use to the quietness that comes with it.

31 DAYS WITHOUT A CIGARETTE !! (STILL ON THE PATCH)( I start step #2 - 14 mg on 10/31/05)

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Being an empty nester ...

It really stinks not having any children in the house for the first time in 24 years.
My son called home today for the first and only time hes allowed to while he's at boot camp. He called to give his mailing address. We tried to talk to him but the DI was in the background yelling at him to get off the phone. They were only allowed to say the mailing address and thats it. We tried to circumvent the process by asking him only yes or no questions but that didn't work either. Our one and only contact with him for the next 6.5 weeks lasted a total of 60 secs. Then he was gone.

Now that we are offical members of the Empty Nest Society(ENS) we are trying to find ways to fill the void in our lives. My wife has chosen to fill this void by talking to me. Not just normal conversational talk, but yaking to me constantly. Like when I'm watching my favorite shows on television. Tonight I missed the plot on CSI Miami because she was talking to me. I was trying to tune her out like I have for the past 25 years, but now my tuner doesn't work. Maybe my son took the batteries with him when he left. All I could hear was her yaking at me. I even asked her to stop. But she couldn't. We ended up laughing at each other about it. I'm going to have to find her a new hobby or I'll end up having to have real conversations with her !

I'm just as bad. I don't know what to do with myself either. I've cooked, cleaned, washed, mowed, burned the trash, took out the garbage, etc. I seem to have boundless energy. I told her I must be going into a bipolar mania phase. The only phase I'm going into is missing my son.

I hope belonging to the ENS isn't going to be painful for much longer. On the postive side, this has really brought my wife and I closer together. We seem to have a special bond- like train wreck survivors!

And for the record- I haven't smoked for 17 days in a row. I can actually breathe better now.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Son preparing to leave home...

My son leaves on 9/10/05 for the Airforce. The last few days we've only seen him for 1/2 days at a time. He's going through the process of saying goodbye to all his close friends. He's hanging out with them, going to movies with them and just visiting them at their homes. I believe he is preparing himself for his soon to be life changing experience. He will never be the same once he leaves for bootcamp.

Our grief as parents is starting to grow a little also as we prepare for the empty nest and our "baby' leaving home. I worried about my wife taking it too hard, but I think its me that will take it the hardest. In private I get all teary-eye just thinking about him leaving. Monday will come too soon.

But as parents we've been through this once before. We gave our oldest son the "leaving to go out into the world' talk. We plan on doing the same with this son also. I feel it gives closeure to this episode in our lives.

We are very excited for him. The world is a large place for a farm boy. Hopefully he will find the Airforce an exciting experience. He's already got the mindset of making it his lifelong career. How many of us at that age could say that. He's very intelligent book wise and we're sure he'll go far.

Now all we have to do is let go.

But thats the hard part isn't it.... I dread Monday but am excited at the same time...

Monday, October 03, 2005

I'm a Non -smoker ..

I can honestly say I feel as I'm a non smoker for the first time in my life. My mental toughness is there !! I keep telling myself I will not smoke. Its been four days now.

The Nicoderm CQ patches are working wonderfully. I have no physical craving for a cigarette. The only mental weakness I have is with doing the things I previously associated with smoking a cigarette.

Driving in the car is the worst. Also when I take the dog outside. It'll probably mess the dog up as she knew once I flicked the cherry of the cigarette it was time to go in. Now I just let her go out all by herself.

The biggest change right now is that I CONSIDER myself a NON-SMOKER and plan to be that way forever. The real test will be when I go back to work after my vacation is over. When I beat that first week back I'll know I've beat the mental aspect of quiting.

Wish me luck....

Thursday, September 22, 2005

eBay,Satellite Internet, and Smoking ...

Just started selling items for people on eBay again. I'm a trading assistant and at one time was an ebay Powerseller. Since summer is winding down, I now have time to start selling for others. It's amazing how many things I can sell once I announce I'm in business again. I have some big ticket items to sell for others this time so I should make some decent money for my time. eBay is really just a hobby for me, I don't overcharge for my services (which really means I don't make squat for the time I put into it)I really enjoy watching the items I list sell for lots of money.

Once of the things that really suk about being online is my internet connection. I live in a very rural area and my phone lines just plain suk . I'm lucky if I hook up to the net at a speed of more than 26k. What I wouldnt give for satelitte internet.

Now that brings up a good thing. I'm about to quit smoking again ( I know, you've already heard that before !) But this time I am serious. I'm getting more afraid of getting lung cancer. That should be a good enough reason to quit. But my wife sweetened the pot even more. As an added bonus of quiting, my wife said that if I can stay off the smokes forever, that after I've really quit for over 2 months that she will let me buy satelitte internet ! (its only $25 more a month than what I'm paying for dial-up). That really has got me excited. It really suks to surf the net at home or even think about downlaoding or uploading anything. At least the satellite connection will be super fast ! That will help me with my ebay selling, my home business site and even this stupid blog I have going here.
Now I'm really motivated to quit smoking for good. My quit date is now offically 9/30/05 . I start my 12 day vacation then. I will be away from others that smoke the entire time. We stopped at WalMart yesterday and I bought the nicotine patch program. I've also been taking Welbutrin for about 2 weeks in prepartion for the smoking cessation start date. My wife had a bottle of Welbutrin laying around that she used to take. I'm not on any antidepressant myself other than Lamicatal. I'm doing this without my pdocs knowledge. I'll mention to him when I see him in two months. However I dont think there is that many pills so it wont really matter. With the Welbutrin and the patch I should have a better than average chance of beating this nasty habit. I really BELIEVE I can do it this time.

I think even my wife believes I will quit this time also. I will NOT diappoint her for the 1000th time anymore. I WILL BE SMOKE FREE !! (I want satellite internet to go along with my satelite TV)

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Empty Nester...

In just 3 short weeks my wife and I will be experiencing the empty-nest syndrome. My son has joined the Airforce and will be leaving for bootcamp the second week of October. I can't believe we've gotten that "old" that fast (43).

It was really strange that we didnt have to buy school clothes and all the other stuff that goes with it. It's weird now to even see "Back to School" commercials on t.v.

Our oldest son left home over 4 years ago. Now the last of the two is ready to fly the coup.

It's really going to suck in a selfish way. Now I have to burn the trash, take out the garbage, feed the dog, do the dishes, etc. I think we need to adopt another teenager !

Hopefully he will be stationed somewhere within driving distance to us and not half way across the USA. We're excited for him and I think he's ready to start this new adventure.

I'm going to do what I've been promising to do all these years, when the last kid left- sit around the house all day in my underwear !! And we're going to find out if our kitchen table will hold us. And we're going to travel around a bit more as time allows. And we're going to Disney World (not reallly).

But probably we'll just sit around and cry and whine about how quiet the house is for the first time in 24 years. With our baby leaving I know its going to be emotional when we drop him off at the recruiters office and turn him over to the government. Hopefully we make it through that moment without embarrasing ourselves.

But in the mean time, I going to make him do all that stuff I'm going to be stuck with in 3 weeks !! My last bit of revenge.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Hypomania ...

For the last few days I been in a pretty severe case of hypomania. I've really been hyper, have not been sleeping as well and have been getting alot done around the house.

I just don't know what to do with myself. On the negative side, I'm smoking twice as much. Not good considering I'm still thinking about quiting.

It's been awhile since I've been like this so I'm not too concerned about it. Maybe I wont just sit around doing nothing like I usually do. I plan on using this boundless (but irritating)energy to my advantage.

Today I power sprayed the inside of the garage, the entire outside of the house and mowed the front yard. Thats a ton more work than I would have accomplished in any given day.

On Friday I have a dentist appointment. Not looking forward to that at all. I have to have an old filling drilled out and replaced. I've been able to "taste" my filling for quite awhile plus I can't chew down on that side of my jaw. Dr. says that saliva is getting into the filling and tooth and thus the taste in my mouth.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Admitting you need help...

From (one of my favorite Bipolar websites)

The toughest challenge on the road to recovery is probably the first - that of admitting you need help. If you’re depressed, the guilt that may be a part of your illness may tell you that you don’t want to burden your loved ones, or that you don’t have a real illness worthy of medical attention. If you're hypomanic, the problem lies in the rest of the world and not you, and in mania you are beyond reason.

Then there’s the old denial factor. Who, after all, wants to admit they’re crazy? Who wants to own up to the stigma and the shame? Typically, it is only when we run out of options (and excuses) that we seek help. The best authorities on this are my own readers:

“What caused me to seek help?” writes Bill. “Almost losing my job and my wife.”

For most people, their default first port of call is their primary care physician. By far more prescriptions for antidepressants are written by this branch of the medical profession than by psychiatrists, often to people who insist on going to specialists and get expert lab work done for every other aspect of their health. Unfortunately, in a routine physical exam there is no time for more than a few cursory questions.

A 2001 UCLA study found that only 19 percent of a sample of depressed or anxious people they surveyed received appropriate treatment from their primary care physician. By contrast, 90 percent of those who saw a mental health specialist got proper care.

Unfortunately, for suicidally-depressed patients and floridly manic or psychotic patients, one's first contact with a psychiatrist is usually via the emergency room and a locked ward. Don’t be frightened by the prospect of being a prisoner. In all US jurisdictions, there are strict limits on involuntary commitment (generally only if you pose a risk to yourself or others), and it’s frightening how fast you’re no longer considered a danger when your insurance runs out after two days.

Those with premium health coverage are often encouraged to remain as inpatients for 30 days before they, too, find themselves miraculously recovered and sent out the door.

Hospital day programs may take up the slack, but again patients receive a clean bill of health the day their insurance runs out. Thereafter, psychiatric and talking therapy treatment is on an outpatient basis - that is until the next life-threatening crisis occurs.

Those who suspect they may have a mental illness are encouraged to make an appointment with a psychiatrist or talking therapist. A psychiatrist is an MD who has completed a three or four-year psychiatric residency. Emphasis is on on-the-job training rather than a formal curriculum. A psychiatrist is qualified to practice medicine and is authorized to prescribe medications, but there is no separate license to practice psychiatry. Psychiatrists, like other medical doctors, are answerable to state licensing boards for ethical violations and bad medical practice, but in practice this tends to be the psychiatrist’s word against the patient’s.

Psychologists are PhDs or PsyDs who have completed six or seven years in a doctoral program, comprising both a formal curriculum and supervised clinical work. They specialize in any of the hundreds of forms of talking therapy and (except in the state of New Mexico and Louisiana after taking additional training) are not licensed to prescribe meds. Psychologists are licensed and disciplined by state boards.

Counselors, therapists, and specialized social workers are generally people with master’s degrees (MA, MS, or MSW) and two or more years of clinical experience. Licensing varies from state to state.

Some psychiatrists also do talking therapy, but even the most meds-oriented psychiatrist needs to be a skilled talker and listener, as his or her knowledge of your illness is only as good as what you tell him or her. Because neither depression nor bipolar disorder leave a readily identifiable biological marker that can be spotted in a lab test, blood sample, or brain scan, a psychiatrist is largely dependent on what you say. Under ideal conditions, an insightful practitioner can elicit all the necessary information from you to make a precise diagnosis and initiate the type of treatment most likely to work for you. But in practice, for patients with bipolar disorder, it takes many years and a succession of doctors to figure out what is wrong. The onus, then, is very much on you to get your story right, which is not always the easiest thing to do while in the throes of a killer depression or out-of-control mania.

I find myself suggesting to readers who have contacted me to put their concerns in writing before their initial or next visit, for, if nothing else, this is a good way to organize your thoughts. Think of those times you felt depressed and write down what it felt like. Did something bring it on - say a relationship breakup - or did it seem to occur out of the blue? Did you feel like you couldn’t go on living? Did you entertain thoughts of suicide? Did you feel like you couldn’t get out of bed? Or, just the opposite, maybe you couldn’t get to sleep. Are you eating more or less? Not feeling your usual self? What’s different? Are you doing a great acting job hiding your distress from your friends and family and colleagues, or do they think you’re acting a bit out of character, too? Are your work and family and personal relationships feeling the strain? Provide details. Are you less patient with people lately? Short-tempered, angry, aggressive? Or perhaps the very opposite, submissive, guilt-ridden, and ready to give up without a fight. How long has this been going on? Have you felt like this at other times in your life?

A good psychiatrist will be asking these questions, but you can save both of you a lot of time and effort if you have your answers ready. Your psychiatrist will also probe for personal and family history, looking for more clues. Now is hardly the time to talk at length about past trauma and abuse, as this may destabilize some patients at their most vulnerable. It is essential, however, to inform your psychiatrist whether you are a survivor of trauma or abuse, as this can have a bearing on your treatment. Later on, in talking therapy, you can try to resolve trauma and abuse issues.

You will also want to write down what it feels like to be normal. If normal for you is feeling constantly depressed, that’s a very good clue. Also try to recall what it’s like feeling happy. Some people may have felt a little too happy in the past, which may be the only way your psychiatrist may suspect you have bipolar disorder.

Many people suspect they have bipolar disorder long before they see a psychiatrist. But even people who merely think they have depression need to focus on all those times they didn't feel their normal selves or felt too much like their normal selves. You might want to go back over those times in your life you would rather forget - such as embarrassing yourself in public or attacking your spouse or walking off your job or getting arrested - or where you were unusually productive - working 20-hour days, cleaning the house in the middle of the night, writing a term paper in three hours - and try to remember what you were feeling during the time and the times that led up to these events. If you felt you were smarter than the rest of the world, describe it. If you were in a raging white heat, fill in the details.

Admitting that there may be something wrong with you is one of the most difficult tasks there is. Add to that fear and ignorance and stigma, and you begin to appreciate why so few people seek help or get a correct diagnosis.

When I ask psychiatrists what they find works best in treating patients, many reply establishing a trusting relationship with the patient. These are the psychiatrists I would hire.

Without this trust, those degrees on the wall aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. Your end of the bargain is to keep your psychiatrist fully informed and to stay on your meds and other treatments. His or her end of the bargain is to be there for you in a crisis day or night and work with you in getting well and staying well. If your meds aren’t working or you are experiencing bad side effects, you inform your psychiatrist rather than simply quit the drugs on your own. Together, the two of you can work on new doses and/or new meds. If he or she suggests adding a new med to your cocktail, by the same token, you should expect to be informed of the risks and side effects as well as the benefits. If you object to that med, he or she should respect your judgment. And on and on it goes, mutual trust and respect.

Sometimes, though, achieving a good working relationship may involve auditioning more than one psychiatrist. Writes Melissa:

"I went through 10 psychiatrists in one year until I found one able to call down to rock bottom and tell me the footholds up. That was luck. Otherwise I'd be sitting in front of television waiting for the next meal, the sound of doors locking behind me."

Misty, who replaced a psychiatrist she had a bad experience with another who was “who was very good, nice, knowledgeable, and didn't pry into things that weren't his business,” advises, “don't be afraid to fire a bad doc.” Amen to that.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

The Death Test...

I guess I'm to live to be 76 yrs old and die of cancer. At least thats what this online test says
Death Test

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Sex, Drugs and No Rock and Roll ...

The thing I hate the most about my med cocktail is the effect on the sexual part of my being. I believe it is the Risperdal that is the main culprit.

My mind is willing, but with the mutted BIG "O" it almost makes it a waste of time for me. But just being together with my wife is what counts I guess. I dont worry about the diminished "O" that much because the making love part is better than the actual act itself. The drugs dont effect the sensitivity of touch, smell or the emotion of two people sharing a private moment together behind closed doors.

We've discusses taking a drug holiday before to see what happens. I have no problem doing this myself but my wife needs her drug regiment with her schizophrenia. I'm afraid for her to go off her meds at all due the her recent hospitalization. So we won't go down that road.

So I guess in order to function properly in life we must have to sacrifice other things in our life. I just wish it wasn't sexual pleasure ! But we know that at this point its a problem that we dont need to get too upset about...

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Feeling so good that....

I've reached a point now in my treatment that I'm sure everyone in my situation has experienced... Do I really need to be on these drugs ?

I feel so good right now I am questioning the need to be on any drugs at all. Maybe I'm not even Bipolar. Maybe I was just going through a rough time in my life.

But in reality, I know it's the drugs that have gotten me to this point of feeling this good. I've done enough research to know that I would reach this point in my life. I also know it would be pure foolishness to stop my drug regiment.

It's funny that I've reached this point. I don't think there is an article about Bipolar on the internet that I haven't read. I believe I've read 25-50 blogs about Bipolar illness. All of them lead to the same conclusion... Meds do work, and don't stop taking them just because you feel good. I don't want to go back into a mania where I don't sleep or feel bad so I'll guess I'll do the smart thing and keeping swallowing all the pills...

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Mail Order Drugs...Risperdal Lamictal, Ativan, Klonopin, Cogentin

Today we received in the mail, my wife's and I prescription drugs for the next 3 months. It cost me $150. That is not bad considering the drugs cost over $750 in real cost. Once again- thank the Lord that I have good health insurance and a drug card.

When I opened the huge mailing bag, it made me sick to see all the drugs and bottles contained within. If I didn't, (and wife wife didn't) really need these drugs to live a functioning life, I would have thrown them all away. It just looked disgusting to see all those pills. I can't believe we have to take all those.
In the bag: Risperdal, Lamictal, Ativan, Klonopin,and Cogentin. All in large bottles, which is stupid as most only had 90 small pills in each. What a waste of plastic.

My wife and I are very med compliant, we take all our drugs are prescribed. The best thing is that they all work. I could probably quit mine and survive and just go back to not sleeping and being in a mania and depressive state. However my wife really needs hers and would once again end up in the hospital pschy ward without them.

I guess its health through pharmacology ! I have no problem with that. Other than the fact it cost me $50 per month for drugs.

To all of you who are on my case for starting smoking again- THANKS. Not only does my wife yell at me about smoking now I have "cyber wives" yelling at me. I hope to try to quit smoking again here in the very near future, maybe in the next week or two. We'll see how it goes.

Don't feel like writing...

I've worked 76 hrs of overtime in approx 2 weeks. I'm tired, my mind is mush. I haven't fallen into a hypomanic state, but rather a depression. I simply am just tired, so maybe its just not depression.

I don't feel like blogging at all right now, so I won't......