Astramillie’s Weblog

Just a girl who’s bipolar trying to figure out her world

Love Hate relationship with seroquel April 12, 2009

I’ve been reading a lot of negative blogs about Seroquel. Most I agree with to a point. Astrazeneca is a large pharm co. that worries primarily with the bottom line. Seroquel has some pretty evil side effects. I’ve put on weight and worse I’m now pre-diabetic. The diabetes link has been known about for years withfew warnings given to patients. Bad.
Here is why I stayed on it – it helped my mania better than any other med hands down. I only take it at night so the sedation meant I wasn’t taking sleeping pills.
Yes, I will be going off it if my diet change hasn’t affected my diabetic status. But, I wanted to give another perspective.


To be a spinster or not to be November 8, 2008

So, my birthday is around the corner.  39.  Once again the ugly head of spinsterhood is facing me.  Sort of.  I’ve been seeing someone for about 5 months, but we aren’t “exclusive.”  Or at least we weren’t.  At about month 3 I started freaking out about having someone in life in a perhaps permanent way.  I told him to date other women, that I couldn’t give him what he needed.  I was being brutally honest.  I cared about him but couldn’t do a lot of the things a girlfriend should do. 

My agoraphobia stops me from going out to eat, go to the movies, really any kind of “date” thing.  Let alone go to his house where his teenage kids were.  I could down any number of Klonopins and still feel the band around my chest and labored breathing.  There is a line from a song by the Magnetic Fields that sums me up – “I’m un-boyfriendable.”  I can’t handle variations in my routine and trying to fit another person into my life is incredibly disruptive. 

He was really persistant and a few weeks ago I gave in and started seeing him again on a more regular basis.  I was still insistant that he see other people though.  Then last week I took a big breath and actually spent the night at his house.  I survived.  But, it changed how I looked at our relationship.  The simple act of spending the night with him shifted my resolve.  I don’t want him to see other women now.  Damn it, I don’t want to be here.  It doesn’t seem fair to move the goal posts on him.  I don’t want to be possessive, nor do I want to be “girly.”  But these feelings are creeping in. 

My daily patterns can’t be set in stone when another person is involved.  That scares the Hell out of me.  I depend on routine to hold myself together.  Right now I’m free floating, when I’m with him I feel safe but on my own I’m petrified. 

It doesn’t help that I’m experiencing a low level depressive cycle right now.  I’m pretty sure it has to do with the change in weather.  I’m back to going to bed by 7pm and waking up at 2am.  Crap.  I haven’t been able to write, its a struggle to do my homework.  Luckily I see the P Doc on Monday.

I guess the bottom line is that I’m safer by myself with just the obligatory cats and dog.  But, is safer better?  Isn’t happiness more likely when you risk something?  He and I are supposed to be talking today, I guess I will see how he reacts to a change in the rules.  Where is the xanax patch when you need it?


Where I’ve been October 5, 2008

Filed under: Mental Health,mental illness,Uncategorized — astramillie @ 6:06 pm
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I haven’t written since before the hysterectomy.  I’ve been blocked.  The surgery went very well – the fibroid was honestly as big as a grapefruit.  Why do we always use fruit as our gauge?

I was getting fuzzy headed so the p. doc took me off Topomax.  The change is amazing, clear head, getting things done, and I have my short term memory back.  Yay!

Doing well this semester but I was reminded that I have a limited amount of RAM.  I was taking two classes and at the same time organizing Obama events.  Nothing was getting done well.  I was just spread to thin, I don’t have the capacity others have.  I can only concentrate on one big thing at a time.  Dropped one of the classes and gave up on my career as a campaign organizer.  Hopefully he wins without my daily help.

I even attempted a relationship – didn’t work.  I really am a spinster at heart.  I’m all for casual dating, but I don’t have it in me right now to put the proper work into a serious relationship.  But, that’s ok.  I have the dog, the two cats, and buddy the betta.  I also have a rat – but I’m looking for a new home for him, I can’t play with him like he deserves.  He’s going to live with a pre-teen boy, I hope. 

That’s all for now, just an update.  More to come…


Ahhh, meds that work! May 17, 2008

Filed under: Mental Health,mental illness — astramillie @ 9:54 am
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So, let’s get off the uterus subject.  After two months of utter hell, its over!  Ramping down my blessed seroquel (why oh why did it have to stop helping like it used to?) and starting the higher dosages of Abilify and Topomax was awful.  I was climb the walls, spend money like water, scrub the walls with an sos pad manic.  I couldn’t concentrate, couldn’t write, couldn’t even read a book.  And, I’m a two book a week reader.  Somehow I got through my semester with an A.  When I had a paper I just chunked it into little pieces.  Luckily, I was fascinated by the topic enough to get through it, and had a fantastic professor who understood my predicament.

I can read again!  Finish a complete thought, and look I’m writing!  It might not be great, but its something.  I see things clearly now and am looking for a money manager who can take my finances out of my mother’s hands and make it harder for me to get my hands on my funds in case I have a manic spending phase again.  Not a conservator, just a money manager/accountant type.  I found a group of lawyers who laid out a plan, but said they were too expensive for me and pledged to help me find someone.

Now I can deal with some family crap.  Can’t go into it here.  I made a promise to my family I wouldn’t post anything about them.  This leaves definite wholes in this blog, but a promise is a promise.

I’m working on post of a few parts about my manic trip from Sacramento to Maine.  Look for it!


Road from destruction (for best results, start with pt. 1) April 29, 2008

            Now, where have my parents been through all of this?  I’ve been in Sacramento; they now live in Eureka on the northern coast of California.  I’ll make calls to my dad to ask woodworking questions, emailing him pictures of things I want to make.  I have short calls to my mom and sister.  But, they know me and they are starting to realize that something is wrong.

            My birthday is November 20th, right near Thanksgiving.  My parents have decided to come get me and take me to Eureka.  My mom and sister come on my birthday and want to take me out to dinner.  When they get there, I’ve tried my best to make my apt look nice (impossible).  I tell them we need to get take out, I can’t do a restaurant.  I notice many shared looks between them.

            I bring the dog, leave the cat with enough food for a month not for the four days I’ll be gone.  I feel so guilty for leaving him by himself; there is no one I trust to check in on him.  He’ll be fine though.

            During my visit I realize it is actually an intervention.  They have made plans to move me to Eureka.  I can still go to school, since its online I could live in a tree as long as I can get a signal.  Mom is going to be my payee, take over my finances.  She will pay my rent and bills for me (from my money, this is no free ride).  My job is to pack up the apartment which includes getting rid of about half my stuff, and to go to the county clinic and get my meds and find out how to transfer my information to the new county.

            I kept expecting to get angry.  I never do.  I’m relieved.  This is what I wanted when I was in the hospital two years ago after the Geodon stroke.  I knew I was going to get sick, but was too proud to ask my parents for help.  Think of all the things I would have avoided – two black out car accidents, an evil boyfriend, pretending low lives were my friends, and leaving splatters of black paint on the kitchen floor from painting shelves that never quite stood up straight.

            After they drive me back to Sacramento I start to tell everyone I’m leaving.  They all pretend to care on a personal level.  Yeah, right.  The redecorating friend and I put my sofa and huge army surplus desk in two different alleys.  I start just handing things out.  I made a mistake on a couple of things, but most were things I’ve moved from place to place for 15 years and have never needed.

            All the while I’m trying to keep up with the Romance class.  I give up a week before it ended.  I talk to the Dean and it is decided that if I get a Psychiatrists letter I can get a medical withdrawal.  This brings up mom’s rule about meds.  I go to the country clinic, after a week’s wait I see their Dr. I have my meds and start taking them.  My brain slowly starts to come back to me.  Boy, when I start seeing what I have been doing with my life comes to me; I want to crawl under my bed.

            The day after Christmas my parents come with a U-haul.  My dad looks at my “shop” and shakes his head.  We can’t fit the workbench, but I find a friend to sell it to.  I end up selling most of the bigger items in Eureka because my dad has everything, and better versions in his shop.  I’ve made a beautiful Poplar coffee table with my dad, four full size bookshelves (that actually stand up straight and hold books), and a shelving system for the bathroom.  But, I’ll always look back on my kitchen wood shop with a smile.

            Once we find an apartment I can afford my little family settles in (the dog isn’t really supposed to be here, but the owner is 100 miles away) and I start to get used to quiet living.  I love it.  I’m 3 semesters from graduation with a healthy GPA.  I’m writing a lot.  I have plans.  I have an advisor at a university with an online option who is interested in my idea for a Doctoral dissertation.  I found a wonderful Psychiatrist.  He listens to me, he calls me on things. But if I say something isn’t working he’ll say let’s try something else.  If I say I was researching new meds and I liked what they said about this, he’ll look it up as well and give his opinion on whether or not I should try it

Its not all flowers and butterflies, but it’s a nice life.


Road to Destruction pt. 6

Filed under: Mental Health,mental illness — astramillie @ 12:50 pm
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So, yes I spent the summer using power tools I had no business using in the state I was in.  I’d be so manic I hadn’t slept in a day or so.  For some reason the old apartment building I lived in was sound proofed quite well (my apartment was sub-basement) and my upstairs neighbor could only hear the router (probably because its one of the loudest tools and my router table was right under her bed) and the table saw if the window was open.  So, I would be up at 2 am piddling around in my “shop” making coasters and planters.


            Then school started.  I was really looking forward to it.  I was taking two classes, against my better judgment.  I knew it would be better to start off with just one class, but once I make a plan there is no talking me out of it.  As the classes started I was excited, this is what I was talking about.  The two courses were Romantic Attraction and Close Relationships and Leadership: An Historical and Literary Study.  They seemed to be fascinating topics.

            Unfortunately, my brain was not working correctly.  Why should it?  I hadn’t given it a medication in a month or so.  I tried valiantly.  In each class we had weekly posts to the class online bulletin board.  The leadership class had a long paper due every two weeks.  It was the Romance class that kicked my butt.  Each week the professor gave us five to six questions to answer.  Doesn’t seem hard does it.  I received a C on my first assignment.  What?  I. DO. NOT. GET. Cs.  We each get an email from the Professor with a critique.  I did not come close to the amount of explanation he was expecting.  The next week I work on it for three days, turn in a 7 page paper.  A-.  This is what he expects every week.  There is no way I can handle the work of both of these classes.

            The leadership class is turning into a business class.  We’ve seen how well I do in that realm.  The date to drop with a refund is coming near; I need to make a decision.  I drop it.  It might have been wiser to drop the Romance class and its mountain of work, but at least the topic keeps me going.

            One fantastic byproduct of this school thing is I now have an excuse to tell the miscreants to go away “I’m doing homework, come back another day.”  Besides there really is nothing left to steal.  Someone even cleaned out my jewelry.  None of it worth much, except for my Sweet 16 pearls.  My new mantra: “its just stuff, its just stuff.”

            But, I’m getting weird.  I walk around the house talking to myself out loud.  I’ve always talked to the dog and cat, but this is different.  I’m explaining everything I’m doing.  “I’m going to get up of the couch and walk down the hall to go get a diet pepsi.  I am now walking down the hallway.”

            One of my few real friends comes over one day; He looks at my house and is amazed/disgusted.  This is a wonderful byproduct of the male gay friend.  He makes you almost fashionable.  He insists on cleaning and rearranging.  He’s a big guy and just takes charge.  I’m having a panic attack.  He’s touching my stuff.  I just follow him around talking under my breath.  He can hear me but doesn’t pay attention.  When we are done, its fantastic, a place for everything and you can see the carpet.  He starts in on a lighting scheme.  I tell him enough is enough; all I care about is my overhead lamp.  I give him a big hug and send him on his way.  Four hours with another person in the apartment is pushing it when it comes to my comfort zone.


Road to Destruction pt. 5

Filed under: Mental Health,mental illness — astramillie @ 12:48 pm
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            I’ve now hit rock bottom.  I have degenerates coming in and out of my apartment.  I have a boyfriend I don’t love.  I rarely have food in the house.  Not because I don’t have the money, but because it’s a production to get to the store.  Finding someone to take me, and they can’t be doing their shopping as well because I only have about a 10 minute window before I’m going to have an anxiety attack.  Also, I’m about 5 blocks from Target.  I can spend about 10 minutes there and still plunk down $100 in that time easily.  And that’s my high.


            I can’t pinpoint how it started my decision to start playing with wood. My dad is an expert woodworker, he makes gorgeous boxes, furniture, and he was making custom order stirrups for cowboys for awhile where he’d inlay their brand in the stirrup for them.  One day I woke up and said I want to make things!  I bought a wood working book and started looking for plans online.  I realized that I didn’t have any of the tools I needed.  Larry suggested going to some garage sales.  He did not understand my fear of the outside AT ALL. 


            One Saturday we get in his car, I’m in fetal position in my seat.  The first one we find actually has a box of saws.  Bingo!  He pays, I run back to the safety of the car.  We try a few others, but he is starting to realize how uncomfortable I am.


            Larry looks at some of the little projects I have chosen; I’m obsessed with the cutting board.  Most of all because I need a router.  He says I don’t, I can sand the sides.  I honestly don’t believe that’s true.  In one of my magazines I see an ad for a smaller router than usual – a palm router, coming out in a week.  I am buying that router.


            And, I do.  Not before I have set up an account on EBay and PayPal and an online bank (remember I’ve already had a normal checking account closed the previous summer).  I’m ready.  I’ve bought about 5 beginning woodworking books.  Subscribed to 4 woodworking magazines. 


            You may be asking yourself, this girl lives in an apartment where is she going to be doing this “so-called” woodworking?  Well, my kitchen has what I guess would be called a breakfast nook.  It’s huge.  Because Larry can’t say no to me, we go to Sears and but a very large work bench and a table saw. 


            Now that I have the basic set up, I sign on to eBay.  Search in the tools section.  OH MY GOD.  So many!  And wood as well!  Exotic wood that my dad loves.  I have bought the palm router and have been playing with it.  I have a skill saw.  I make my first project – the cutting board.  Boy was that fun.  I love the router.  I don’t really know how to make too much yet.  Its coming up to Mother’s day so I find some nice Maple cut it into squares on the table saw and route the sides into pretty shapes, presto!  Coasters!


            Father’s day, I bought a few pieces of Paduk.  I found instructions for a Boy Scout troop to make a hanging message pad holder.  I make about 5 practice ones, it takes some brain power to route the right sides of certain pieces.  I finally make the perfect one.  Dad loves it, but says – seems like a waste of a perfect piece of Paduk.


            There were of course other things going on at this time.  They were easy to ignore, because all I cared about was in my “shop.”  The reprobates were still coming around.  Because I was unmedicated I’d have manic periods and be up at 3 in the morning, so they would assume I’d want to purchase their product.  I’d tell them why would I pay for it when I get this feeling for free?  Of course in my case, I do pay for it with 2-3 days in bed.


            Then there was Larry.  I cringed when he touched me, let alone tried anything else.  I calculated I could put him off for about two weeks each month, then I had to give in.  I needed him though; he helped me financially when I made stupid manic purchases.  My mother was always lecturing me about how good he was to me.  But, she didn’t know the whole story.  I was now a sort of courtesan.  I felt like I was using him, leading him on.  I did not want to spend the rest of my life with him.  One morning we were talking on the phone before he went to work for some reason, I asked him if he could drop off some cigarettes on his way.  I had no idea what I was going to do when he got to my place.  None at all.  He gets there gives me the cigarettes and sits down.  Out of the blue I say “Larry, this isn’t working.  I love you, you know I do, just not in the same way you love me.”  Long pause.  He says “I know, I thought you could learn to love me.  Anyway, I knew how much you hated sleeping with me.”  Silence (I’m fuming).  “Well” he says “I guess there is nothing more to say, goodbye.”  He leaves the apartment.


            I’m furious because for a year he has known I’ve been doing something I’ve hated, but it’s made him feel good so he didn’t care.  But, then again I’ve taken his help for years.  Five minutes later he calls and says “I can’t believe you asked me to get you cigarettes on the way to your house to get broken up with.”  I tried to explain it hadn’t been my plan, but he’s hung up.


            OK back to eBay.  I needed a biscuit jointer, clamps, electric hand planer, 20 piece router bit set, oh and that complete set of screws and nails.  Oh, yeah I want that block of walnut, and the cherry.  And the router table for the full size router I just won.  (Getting the picture?)


            Now, once I got the laptop the internet opened up to me as it never had before.  I ordered every free sample I could get my hands on.  I was starting to feel like looking at MA programs again.  I had a plan.  I wanted to study something wide open – Liberal Arts.  So, I had been finding online programs all over the country and they were all sending me brochures.  Basically for the last year, maybe, maybe one day every other week I’d have a no mail day.  I went away for 5 days once, put my mail on hold.  When I came back they had to bring it to me in one of their baskets (which was full).  Point of that little story?  I knew the Postman’s route and exactly when he would get to my house.  When he would park, I’d run out of my house and ask him if there were any packages.  There usually were and he’d give them to me.  Yay!  Fed Ex, UPS, or even DHL, were trickier but I soon learned to know those drivers as well.  Then I get the notice – PayPal can no longer cover my purchases, my bank account is closed.  Damn.


            At least I had a fully stocked woodworking shop in my kitchen.  So far I had made, besides the aforementioned, two planter boxes, a paper towel holder, but most of my time was spent on a set of bookshelves I had seen in one of my magazines.  I made two sets before I was somewhat happy.  I’d still like another try.


            Was my life all woodworking?  No.  Like I mentioned I was looking for a MA program.  I found two that I liked, but one had already closed their acceptances.  I could try again in January, but even then they only took 12 people.  So I chose Texas Christian University.  There is a wide range of topics, and despite the name of the university, not conservative at all.  I was accepted and had two months to get my head together (as much as I could without any psych meds) and play with my toys.


Will this be possible?