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Diagnosis Confirmed: Bipolar II

Well, at least my recent questions are answered: I am definitely bipolar. Lately I'd been wondering (and so had Shannon) whether I might be hypomanic, because it seemed like some of the symptoms might be present, but we weren't sure. I worried that I was prejudiced against identifying it, since I've been questioning the Bipolar II diagnosis for the past year or so, so I thought about it seriously, but I still just wasn't certain one way or the other.

Well, last night I slept 5 hours, woke up around 6:30 a.m., and immediately started writing lists of things to do, organizing art supplies, etc. I guess going off the lithium had an effect after all. It just took a while.

Now that I look back, especially at the past week or two, I see a lot of hypomanic symptoms (quotes are from Mayo Clinic, WebMD, and About.com):
  • "decreased need for sleep" (only 5 hours last night, and raring to go this morning)
  • "enhanced creative thinking and/or behaviors"
  • "expansive mood" / "abnormally elevated mood" / "euphoria"
  • "increase in goal-directed activity" (see list below of my current projects)
  • "inflated self-esteem"
  • "overexcited"
  • "restlessness"
  • million things to do (lists)
  • million simultaneous projects

Though it now seems obvious in retrospect, I think it was difficult to identify the hypomania largely due to the fact that I'm still having a lot of fatigue (presumably caused by the kidney disease and medications), so I'm all energetic and excited and active early in the day, then I get just absolutely exhausted later … but even when exhausted I keep working on my numerous simultaneous projects.

Here are my current projects (I think this is all of them, but I might be forgetting something):

Massive Reorganization


Reorganization Project 1: Office

A few days ago, I decided that I wanted to reorganize the books and art supplies in my office. I've been keeping "Books I Want to Read Soon" on a big bookcase right next to my desk since forever … but I can't really read much right now. So I had all these books right next to me all day every day, reminding me of the big reader I used to be and my current loss of that joy in my life. At the same time, my art supplies (which I was keeping in the closet in my office) kept overflowing onto the floor in the main part of the room, and I was having trouble finding things because they were all stacked on top of each other, so I had to dig through a gazillion things (especially magazines).

So I had this sudden revelation: I could switch them! I could take all the books off the bookcase next to my desk (except for two shelves of the stuff I would most like to read (and find most likely that I would be able to read), and put my art stuff there instead! I could organize things so that my magazines were divided into separate categories, I could have the binders for my current projects readily accessible, etc. Amazing! I'm currently more of an artist than a reader, and I could organize my workspace accordingly!

So I got started on it Thursday night, and I've been working on it ever since. It's involved a lot of sorting and carrying of books, purchasing of supplies to organize my art supplies properly (more about this later), and other organizational tasks. I hate being in the middle of a project -- I just want to get it done done done! -- and so I've been having trouble letting go. I keep just wanting to do this one more little thing … and then maybe this one, too … and maybe that one. Then I'll stop. Well, one more thing, then I'll stop. Well, wait …

Reorganization Project 2: Collage Papers

My most important collage supplies -- the clippings of papers and such that I will paste together when I make a collage -- had become terribly disorganized over the last couple years, so I decided that I needed to organize the images and words into categories such as these:
  • colors (blue, green, purple, red, black, yellow, pink, and multi-color)
  • concepts (here are some examples)
    • Comfort/Protection
    • Imagination (which includes the concepts of reading, writing, art, inspiration, dreams, magic, etc.)
    • "Emotionally Up"
    • "Emotionally Down"
    • Silly/Funny

Then I make a folder for each category, so that I can easily find what I need when I'm wanting to express something in particular.

I've been buying various supplies to make all this extensive organization possible: magazine boxes, file folders closed at bottom and both sides so that tiny pieces of paper (such as fortunes from fortune cookies) won't fall out, a box to hold the files, 3-hold-punched envelopes for organizing materials for each project into categories, etc. It's all starting to come together, but it's a huge project in and of itself.

And then there are the art projects (not the rational organizational stuff, but actual creative works of art I'm currently working on) ...

Multiple Concurrent Art Projects in Progress

  • Since I ruined a pair of pants by getting Mod Podge on them, I've been using fabric paint to create a customized work apron for myself at CWC. It's got (or will have) my name on it, crude paintings of some of my most-often used art supplies (Yes paste, Mod Podge, scissors, paint brush, etc.), hand-prints on the bottom part of the apron (where I will usually be wiping my hands), and some van-Gogh-Starry-Night-type stars and swirls here and there. It's partway done, but sitting at CWC, so I can't currently work on it, but it's sitting there waiting for me to do the next step. (I can only paint one layer at a time or the colors will get all mixed together.)
  • I've been recently working on finishing a small decoupaged box that I began before I got bronchitis at the end of October. Like the apron, it is sitting at CWC, waiting for me to do the next step. It's almost finished, though.
  • Okay, maybe this doesn't count as a true current creative project, but I decoupaged a mirror quite some time ago (maybe even year ago?), but I wasn't happy with a bit of it and planned to do more work on it, but now I've decided to call it done, and I need to hang it on the wall in the bedroom. This requires considerable physical effort, though (and possibly some 16" screws), so I've been putting it off. Maybe I'll ask Lisa to come and help, so she and Shannon can do it and I won't have to expend so much physical energy. I'd love to have it hung up after so long!
  • More Collage Books

    I'm working on more collage books, inspired by recent therapy issues. I've decided to call the first one, the collage book that was inspired by the kidney diagnosis, "THIS IS MY DIS EASE," but these are the ones I'm currently working on:
    • New Collage Books

      • THIS IS MY ANGER
      • THIS IS MY BODY
      • THIS IS MY DAD
      • THIS IS MY SELF
    • Tasks for Each Collage Book

      • going through magazines and cutting out relevant images and words
      • going through loose old photos and pulling out those that are relevant (then going through them again … and again … and again … pulling out more each time, because I forgot to look for x or y the previous time(s)
      • going through old scrapbooks, pulling out the photos that are relevant, and making color copies of them (to place back in the scrapbooks) so that I can use the original physical objects in my collages but still keep a copy of the content
      • going through old letters written by me or to me, pulling out the ones that are relevant, and Xeroxing them so I can use the original physical objects in my collages but still keep a copy of the content
      • going through old poems and such that I've written in the past and pulling out those that are relevant
      • going through old documents (such as my dad's enrollment form when he signed up for the Navy and his death certificate) and pulling out those that are relevant

      Of course, I'm doing these tasks simultaneously ... for all 4 books simultaneously. Piles upon piles upon piles as I sort and organize and re-sort and re-organize.

      So … yeah. Hypomanic. There's little doubt. But it feels so good!

      Hypomanic and it feels so good
      Hypomanic but I've understood
      It can lead to bad
      Hospitalizations I've had
      But I am so ecstatic
      'Cause I'm hypomanic, hey hey.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
webmacher
Sep. 29th, 2013 07:01 pm (UTC)
Hypomania does seem to have its upsides! But what is the plan?

kimberly_a
Sep. 29th, 2013 09:45 pm (UTC)
I've left a voicemail for the new psychiatrist, and we'll need to talk tomorrow. I predict that he will have me start tapering off the Zoloft (anti-depressant) *now*, rather than waiting until I see him on 10/16. Anti-depressants quite frequently send bipolar folks into mania/hypomania, so Zoloft is probably the culprit.

It looks to me like the lithium (mood stabilizer, i.e., keeps you from going manic) was helping to counteract the effects of the Zoloft, and when I abruptly went off the lithium, and then also went off the Seroquel (also a mood stabilizer), there wasn't enough to keep the Zoloft under control anymore.

We'd planned to get me off the Zoloft anyway ... we'll just probably do it sooner than planned.
irontongue
Sep. 29th, 2013 08:57 pm (UTC)
Do you currently have a psychiatrist / diagnostician whom you trust? If so, can you consult that person about this? You know yourself very well, but self-diagnosis has its risks.
kimberly_a
Sep. 29th, 2013 09:40 pm (UTC)
I like my new psychiatrist, and I left him a voicemail this morning. We had talked about the situation in advance, and knew that hypomania was a possibility if I *am* bipolar, because I went off of the lithium very quickly (after being on it for 10 years) and I'm currently taking an anti-depressant (Zoloft). Anti-depressants can send bipolar folk into hypomania, and I'm now taking less mood stabilizer to help counteract that effect now.

If I'm right about this, then things will probably be fine once we get me off the Zoloft. We just might have to start doing that *now*, instead of waiting until 2 1/2 weeks from now, which was the original plan.
irontongue
Oct. 1st, 2013 05:02 am (UTC)
Ah, you said lots today about the current plans. I'm glad you trust the new psychiatrist.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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