Oh No! (Almost)

This morning I awoke even more fuzzy in the brain than usual.  I think it’s because I actually slept all night last night, since the wind was not causing the loose piece of aluminum roofing to bang into the side of the building at unpredictable intervals, or to howl through the trees like a broomstick witches’ convention.

So when I remembered to take my morning meds (which is an unpredictable thing in itself), I picked up my med box which looks like this:

Imagewhich, as you can see, is clearly marked “morning” and “evening.”  OK, it’s a bit more complicated than that, but I use the top part for morning and the bottom part for evening, and that way I can have a two weeks’ supply of meds already prepared, and all I have to do is remember to take them.

So this morning I was quite proud of myself, as I headed for my med box, that I was remembering to take the morning ones, which always seems to be a challenge for me; perhaps it is because my brain is always still fuzzy from the evening sucker-punch dose that makes it possible for me to sleep.

Quite fortunately, I caught myself at the very last moment, about to take a dose of the evening cocktail!  What a disaster that would have been!  I would have slept all day, for certain, since the evening concoction contains a regular mickey of antipsychotics and benzodiazepines, with ten milligrams of zolpidem for good measure.  I usually augment that with a little bit of alcohol (don’t try this at home), which brings on a state of oblivion quite nicely.

The problem with this cocktail, even without the alcohol, is that it makes me ataxic (can’t walk).  If I have to get up to use the bathroom (in my present rustic hideaway, that means the pee jar), I have to hold onto things to keep from falling.  I have been known to have to crawl if nothing is available to hold onto.

So if I had accidentally gone ahead and taken my evening meds in the daytime, my day would have been for shit, and I would have had to cancel on taking care of my dad, which was the main plan for today.  And not only would I have missed out on my cherished visit with Dad, but it would have pissed off Mom, which is always a shrek.

But perhaps there is really a G-d.  I have been worrying about that lately, whether there is or is not; and it does bother me that here I have been trying my best to live a religious life, and more or less suddenly I am getting this attack of what seems to be atheism.

At the very moment that I realized my potentially disastrous mistake and drew back my hand as if the pill case had been red-hot, I considered once again whether there could be an element of divine intervention at work.  After considering this for about three milliseconds, I downed the morning dose of pills and went on preparing the stainless steel travel vessel of tea to take to drink at Dad’s, since they don’t have any decent tea there and I like my own.

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  1. Tablets. Over the past 2 years – since I started taking them -I describe 300mgs of Quetiapine and 100mgs of Lamotrigine as my 2 best friends. Slightly facetious, I know, but I credit them with an important role in my continued recovery. Not a single sick day since April 2011. But I have an ambiguos relationship with them, too. My Psych upped my dosages steeply when I was feeling grotty back in November/December, and that did the trick. Now I’m reducing them back down to my usual dose. They help – for sure – but I don’t want to take them,either, on some level.
    I’ve been known to forget my Lamotrigine in the mornings occaisionally, thanks to feeling ‘bleugh’ after having taken my Quetiapine too late at night. 11pm is too late if I want to be sensible before 9am the next morning.
    As for my Judaism- while I describe myself as a ‘practising Jew’ – belong to an orthodox shul,keep Shabbos (just about) etc, I often feel like ‘Elvis has left the building’,if you know what I mean. He had a go at creating this world, this moral universe, but it just didn’t catch on – and many,many years ago He went elsewhere….and like my relationship with my folks – I’m still trying to impress him.

    • Yikes! 300 of Quetiapine! I take 50 (at which my psychiatrist laughs, and says, “Crikey, just LICK the pill, will you?” Only he doesn’t really say “Crikey,” but he would if he knew it LOL) and it knocks me out so much that if I don’t take it by 9 pm I won’t make it out of bed till 10. Glad the meds have helped you so much. They help me too…it’s weird thinking that if I didn’t have these chemicals, I would be completely inoperable and most likely dead. Very interesting hearing your comments on Judaism. There are a lot of things I do because I would feel very bad not doing them–kashrut and Shabbos (except for writing sometimes, oh well) in particular. If I were a man, I would put on tefillin. When I’m in Israel I got to shul if I can manage it. If not, I just appreciate that it’s there. This past year I was unable to fast for Yom Kippur because of the lithium and malabsorption, and that felt really weird, and I did a lot of calling G-d to task about that. First of all I’m gluten intolerant, so no challah, which I miss horribly. Now no fasting, which some people might be glad about, but I used to get to such a state of dveikut when fasting, that now I just feel very deflated about it and cheated, to tell you the truth.

      Dear non-Jewish readers, I apologize for the Jewish jargon, just skip over it if you don’t mind. I know it’s rude and feel bad about it, but as you can see I did it anyway because explanations would take pages and pages.

  2. I love where this discussion is heading. Faith and bipolar is a huge topic. And I love your ‘attack of atheism’ I can just see Richard Dawkins jumping out of the bushes at me.

    • Well then: I would love to hear your thoughts on faith and bipolar. I am really at a crossroads and need all the help thinking about this that I can get. Anyone else is cordially invited to jump into this conversation too.

      • I love discussing these things, as long as everyone is kind, respectful, and loving. I’m going to have a hard time squeezing my thoughts in here though.
        My Background: I was raised going to church, in a semi-religious family. Stopped going when I was 10 (bipolar symptoms came started I was 11, and these kept me away from anyone spreading ‘hope’). I returned to a non-denominational church as adult, and decided to buy totally in before making a decision – I did this and then . . . decided it wasn’t for me – So Religion isn’t for me. I know that’s not what we are talking about. I just wanted you to know where I’m coming from.
        My Opinion: I believe that we are all connected. All religious texts that I’ve had the pleasure to read (and I have read a lot) all discuss the nature of ‘God’ being in all of us, so therefore if God permeates all, then we are connected, at least by that presence. I also believe that we cannot ever ‘not’ be connected – meaning that there is nothing I can do to totally cut myself of from you, or any other thing; the particles that make up my body once existed in stars, so if pieces of me could come from so far away, from so long ago, then it’s fair to say that all the particles in the universe are intertwined in some way. Energy even, in its travels through wavelengths, is continuous trough nature – there is no separation.
        So, I lean heavily on Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass when he talks about our ancestor’s ashes going to the earth, to feed worms that feed birds, that both enrich the soil which produces grass, that feeds the cow that I just ate, and will return to the earth in its time. That thing, or essence that transcends all of this is the soul, which is to say, GOD.
        There is a peace and beauty to this that I can’t deny. So do I have faith that is described in Hebrews 11:1? Kind of, but not really.
        I believe in right and wrong. I believe in peace (these things highly touted by Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Krishna, etc.). I believe that God is within us, and interconnecting everything.
        Too loose a definition?
        How to reconcile it with BP? Well, I also greatly believe in evolution and natural selection. Meaning that there are always going to be traits that unevenly distribute through a population, and for some people these traits do not stack up well in some areas (but usually they compensate in others), and therefore pathologies occur. This is how change can happen, otherwise we’d all be boring clones.
        I could keep going forever, but I think my major idea is out there.

  3. MAJOR fodder for discussion on many planes! I would be happy to see others jump in here. I could easily monopolize the comments but I’d really love to hear from some other perspectives, Dear Readers!

  4. Ah, faith and Bipolar. My husband is a devout atheist. I am Bipolar I. I would like to believe there is a grand plan, because if I don’t it will make me crazier. Still, I have been having fits of atheism for the last year or so. Especially when I watch the news. Since I live on a wider emotional spectrum than the ‘normals,’ how can I not question the existence of a ‘supreme being’ after seeing all manner of horrors that CNN alone feels entitled to air? In all seriousness, I’ve always believed that we Bipolars question more because we are just born outside of the box in the first place. Thoughts?

    • One of my psychiatrists is a very thoughtful Christian of the Orthodox sort of leaning, very philosophical, and he had a theory that King David (who wrote most of the Psalms) was bipolar, because in some of the Psalms David is leaping over the moon-crazy-ecstatic, and in others he is crying out in primal shrieking pain. Then I got more into reading Biblical texts in Hebrew and found out that David’s uncle Saul was even more crazy, having fits of melancholy for which the only relief was to listen to David play the harp, only to leap up and heave his spear at David (luckily David was quite nimble and managed to jump out of the way, leaving the spear quivering in the wall where he would have been). So there’s plenty of precedent for BP in the Bible. Now that doesn’t mean that just since I read the Bible in Hebrew, I automatically believe in G-d. I do look at the infinitesimally intricate workings of Creation and have a hard time believing that all of this could be random. On the other hand, there’s the horrible state of the world, both on and beyond CNN, and I really have a hard time with that, like you do. And on a personal level, although there are boilerplate Jewish mystical reasons proffered for what happens to me and others, at times it just feels like some kind of bad joke. I mean, look at the Holocaust. Look at Sudan! Syria, fer cryin’ out loud! Makes me feel like such a whiner.

      Yes, I very much agree with you that we EXCEPTIONAL PEOPLE are more open to questioning because we are exposed to more of what the Universe dishes out. That puts us in a constant state of Paradox, which I have a hunch underlies a lot of our states of disorientation and pain, not unlike King David who had the gift of prophecy, yet was torn to pieces by the pain that it caused him, both mentally and physically. Saul was also a great visionary, yet his fits of (obvious) mania eventually lead him to try to call up the prophet Samuel through a necromancer, which got him executed for his troubles. I am obviously fascinated by these examples of the border(line) between greatness and madness. And why are they in the Bible? So that we can look at them and go, Oh wow, it’s not just me who reached for the stars, grabbed a few of them, and fell off my throne. Maybe it’s worth climbing back up there, if I could only get a map. I can’t call myself a religious person anymore. I’m more in the state of just observing.

  5. Oh, and that’s one bad-ass pill box you’ve got there! 🙂


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