Friday, October 23, 2009

Needing Medication

Needing medication is not a bad thing.  Taking medication is not a weakness.  Actually, knowing when you need it and continuing to take it (even when you don't want to) is actually a strength.

Of course, if the medication is not helping you, or if it is causing side effects that are not acceptable, then continnuuing to seek treatment until you find that the right solution is also a strength.

I sometimes would justify not taking medication by remembering that time in my life when I was doing well without medication. I was proud that I wasn't needing any pills.

However, comparing a time in the past with the present is not an apt comparison because people change.  My brain, my life, my illness, have all changed, and it all continues to change.

Furthermore, I may remember that time in the past as a time during which I was doing well, but my memory is biased.  I was probably having some difficulties, but because I want to remember that good pill-free time, my memory is selective.  I can compare my current achievements to what I had achieved in my life at that point, and I can see that I've made great progress, so why would I want to go back in time, to an illusionary perfect pill-free past?  It probably didn't even exist, except for in my skewed memory.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

An Anxious Morning

Anxiety is a strange thing. When you haven't felt it in awhile, you tend to forget about it. Life is happy.  At least that's how it is for me.

After an episode of anxiety, normality can feel like bliss.

Yesterday, I woke up feeling like something was wrong.  I continued to feel anxious, for no reason at all.  It was hard to do work.  Time went by slower, because I just wasn't feeling right.  I kept looking at the clock. I just couldn't get into that moment of "flow" that I usually had.

Two things finally helped.  I talked to my love about how I was feeling.  That always helps.  It also reassured me that nothing really was wrong. That it was just an erroneous feeling.

I also finally took something. I have a variety of pills that I've gathered over time that help with anxiety: Magnesium, 5-HTP, Chlortab, SAM-E, and Phenibut were the choices I had. (All are supplements or over-the-counter.)  I chose 5-HTP.  I thought it would make me sleepy, but it didn't. It just relieved my anxiety.  What a relief, too!

It's interesting to note that anti-anxiety medications tend to work differently in the presence of anxiety (or not).
No Anxiety --> Take Pill --> Get Sleepy
Anxiety --> Take Pill --> Anxiety Goes Away
This is just an easy example to show that the result of the medication is dependent on the initial mindset.  Sure, sometimes anti-anxiety pills can make the anxiety go away and  cause sleepiness, but that depends a lot on the medication, strength and cause of the anxiety, and the person.

I am a believer in rotation of medicines, especially for anxiety.  Take the same thing every time and it may become less effective and you may need a higher dose of it.  However, this is not medical advise, just an opinion.  Stopping an anti-anxiety drug can actually cause the anxiety to come back even stronger than ever, so I don't recommend that either.  Always consult your doctor first.

The prescription medication for anxiety is usually a benzodiazepine, which is a type of medication. Examples are Klonopin and Xanax.  Anti-depressants are also sometimes prescribed.

Anxiety is a common symptom that people with Bipolar Disorder experience.  It's a difficult feeling... I hope that if you are having anxiety, that it goes away soon!  It's nice to be feeling normal!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Playing the Lottery

I bought a lottery ticket.  I didn't win this time, but maybe that isn't the point.

When I was a kid, I objected to my mom buying a lottery ticket. I told her that she was throwing her money away. The chances of winning were equal to the likelihood of getting hit by lightening, or something like that.

She told me that the money went to education.

That still didn't convince me.  But I was 13 and I think I was missing the point.

Buying a lottery ticket is an act that encourages me to dream.

I start thinking about potentially life-changing questions.

What does money mean to me?
What would I do if I won?
What would I change about my life?
What would I keep the same?
What are my dreams?
Do they all require money?
What can I do about it now, even if I don't win?

I think that life change starts with changing how you think.

I probably won't win the lottery, but it's sure fun to give it a try.  And to think about the possibility.

Even if it's not likely I'm going to win, I've had some very unlikely things happen to me.  Statistics may not always tell the whole story, anyway.  I'll keep dreaming, thinking, questioning, and changing my life.

Here's my favorite lottery commercial.

Friday, October 2, 2009

I did something different today...

I like to take walks.  There is another woman who also likes to walk in my neighborhood.  She is usually looking down at the ground.  Never smiling.  Doesn't say a word to me.

Today I said, "Hello."

She looked up and smiled.

I felt rewarded for my courage.  I'm usually shy, introverted.  I think it would be nice to change that.  I think this was a success.  Saying hello might seem like such a simple thing, but how often do we not do it, and why not?

It might just make someone smile.

Picture is from Flickr: