Cyclothymia

My family doctor tried sending me to a psychiatrist at the beginning of the year (2016). The psychiatrist and I did not get along, but something useful came out of the appointment:  he diagnosed me with Cyclothymia.

Cyclothymia is part of the bipolar disorder family. It is marked by cycles between highs (hypomania) and lows (depressive episodes) with periods of stability intermixed. Borderline Personality Disorder and Cyclothymia are similar disorders, but can be comorbid.

The Psychiatrist and I did not get along because he spent the majority of our hour and a half long session telling me that Borderline Personality Disorder does not exist and that it was just a diagnosis created to ostracize women. I felt like he was taking away a vital piece of who I am by telling me that BPD was not real, so I shut down in our session, but I did take the diagnosis of Cyclothymia into consideration.

After weeks of research into the changes in diagnostic criteria between the DSM-IV-TR (2000) and the DSM-V (2013), the comorbidity of BPD and Cyclothymia, and a long discussion with my Therapist, I finally accepted the Cyclothymia/BPD diagnosis. The combined symptoms make a lot of sense when you look at the way I react to things.

My medication seems to be doing me a solid by maintaining my periods of stability. I still have short bursts of depression or hypomania, and I am still able to feel the urges of my BPD, but I am able to control my behaviour for the most part. I can rationally think out my actions when irrational brain wants to make silly choices and I was able to control myself when I did not get the promotion I wanted at work. In fact, I was able to think through all the reasons why not getting it was better for me instead of stewing on the idea of being passed over. I am quite proud of myself.

For the first time in the 20 years of my battle with mental health, I feel as though I have answers. They may not be the answers I wanted, but they are answers that I can work with and that is a huge step in my recovery.

Blithering Borderline

 

So much has happened since the last time I had a chance to sit down and write and, unfortunately, I do not feel as though my restlessness will allow me to get it all out in one shot. I am hoping bullet points will allow me to get out the topics and come back to them later when I feel some reprieve from the restlessness that is a side effect of my medication.

Things that have happened or that I need to write about:

  • Diagnosis of Cyclothymia
  • Found a job
  • Polyamory
    • Boyfriend
    • Paramour
  • Stability in my mental health
  • Changing medication
    • Restlessness
  • Moving!
  • Vegetarian
  • Tattoos
  • Anxiety
    • New Clinician

Pride

The Daily Post has a PDF eBook on their site that has 365 days of blogging prompts that I stumbled upon while browsing the internet for inspiration (it isn’t that I don’t have anything to write about; I have too much to get out right now). I figured I would give it a go. I know I will not be able to write a post every day for the next year, but I can use these writing prompts on nights like tonight when I cannot sleep and need something to relax my mind.

“When was the last time someone told you they were proud of you?”

I chuckled to myself when I read today’s prompt. Husband and I just completed the 5 Love Languages quiz to determine our love styles and I scored highest in Words of Affirmation and Quality Time styles of love.

I am still reading the book, so I cannot give you too much information about what this actually means, but I do know that it involves verbal validation from my partners. I constantly need people to affirm me and by doing so they validate me and my feelings.

I suppose this should not be surprising given my personality disorder, constant validation is kind of what make borderlines thrive, however I figured I was going to fall into the physical touch style. I really like snuggling.

To answer the prompt, recently husband told me he was proud of me for not becoming jealous when our roommate started dating someone. Roommate has been my constant companion since the middle of the summer when we asked her to move in with us. She has become my “best friend” and, in a way, my “Favourite Person” (a colloquial term for a person a Borderline imprints on). Husband and I were both concerned about my reaction to Roommate finding a new companion because it would be taking her time away from me. Instead of feeling jealousy or negativity at all, I have only felt compersion. Roommate has been referred to as my platonic girlfriend since she and I became this close, so the reaction is not much of a surprise.

I am as proud of me as Husband is. If I can be this happy for someone this important to me, it bodes well for my future relationships with other people and managing any jealousy I might feel in my polyamorous adventures.

Taking Care of Myself

This isn’t going to work for me…

If you have spent any amount of time on WordPress or Tumblr, you will find a plethora of posts about self-care. Some of these posts are good for people who are neurotypical, but for those of us who are neurodiverse these strategies do not always serve to help us.

 

Self-care for me is forcing myself to shower when I feel dirty but lack any mental energy to get off my computer. It is forcing breakfast down in the mornings or combating the painful urge to binge eat after 8pm (unless I am planning on being up late, which changes to no food after 11pm). Self-care is picking a room in your home and making sure you get it clean before you give up and start playing video games again.

Recently, I have had to take a major step towards taking care of myself and it is causing me a lot of anxiety. One of the major symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder is impulsivity – risky sexual behaviours, impulsive spending, binge eating, etc, and it is the one symptom that I don’t feel I have control over. I was told my prescription for Wellbutrin XL should help with my impulsive behaviour, however research indicates that it increases attention (self-awareness?) and does not affect impulsiveness.

In a moment of lucidity, I admitted to my husband that I needed help to control my impulsive behaviour. Over the weekend we had a discussion about my bad spending habits, and how little self-control I have when it comes to spending money. We agreed to pay off my Visa (which had a small balance on it), cancel the card, and he ordered me a second MasterCard on his account.

This could have been me…if I cared about fashion or looked as good as Isla Fisher. My bags are full of yarn, crochet hooks, knitting needles, and other various (random) craft supplies.

I am sure some of you are thinking that this was a silly choice, however if there is something I have proven over and over to my family and husband is that, when presented with supervision, I can be incredibly accountable. Husband is not going to babysit me, but the knowledge that I would need to explain any transactions on the credit card statement every month is going to serve the same purpose.

I did not think of the repercussions of this action would be as intense as they are. I feel this overwhelming sense of necessity to spend money that my husband and I do not have, and having no way of making these purchases triggers the anxiety and irrational thoughts. The emotional reaction has been uncomfortable to deal with but we made the best decision for my financial stability and recovery.  This is a good step toward healing.

I am hoping this discomfort will help me become more serious about my job search in the coming weeks. The economy makes it difficult to find a job and the more discouraged I become, the more comfortable I am being a Housewife for Husband and Roommate. Without an income, the allowance Husband and I get for our personal spending is going to remain small. If I want to make any purchases, I am going need to save up and really think about the difference between wants and needs and focus on finding a job that will help pay the bills so there is more money than month.

I am proud of myself for taking responsibility for my poor choices and behaviours. I am really looking forward to what the future holds for me and this journey of recovery.

A New Year

I am not a person that is big on making New Years Resolutions. I end up forgetting them and remembering half-way through the year that I broke a promise to myself. This year is a little different. I have decided that this is the year that I take big steps towards happiness. Last year was a big deal – 2015 was the year I found:

  • Medication that works with my brain
  • Self-acceptance
  • Self-awareness
  • An understanding of my behaviour
  • Self-love
  • True Love
  • Myself

Accomplishment wise, I married my best friend, I graduated university, and I made big choices to start fixing my health (both mental and physical).

2016 has really big shoes to fill. If I get my way, this year will be even better than last year.

My big goals for 2016 include making a bigger effort to blog more often (including my “food porn” and fiber artistry) and to become more physically active (once I get the okay from the doctor). My health has been all kinds of broken lately, and if I have the neurological symptoms under control, I will be able to take control of my body again.

I am looking forward to sharing this exciting year with you.

Blithering Borderline Married First Boyfriend!

August 31, 2015

Wedding Rings

Ceramic ring for First Boyfriend and white gold for me. My original ring was causing a severe reaction, so we had to buy me a new set. The white gold isn’t as unique as my original set, but it is just as beautiful. SHINY!

I promise to make a longer post about this, however, I need to wait until my brain can wrap around the idea of this.

My inner 17 year old is having a minor (major) freak out right now.

Dear Americanopants

I -really- need to get better at this letter writing business. The last five months have been a whirlwind of STUFF and it has finally slowed down. As of 4 pm August 19th, I am no longer a student (unless the school comes back and says I didn’t finish something). I am having an extremely difficult time coping with this loss of identity, but so much is happening this week that I should come out okay. For a while at least

First Boyfriend and I have started combining our finances and bills as of yesterday. We now have a joint credit card, and our insurance will be on the same account soon. Our motorbikes won’t  be until next year, but it is a start. We are going to the bank today to discuss our accounts and open me my own chequing account. We have had the joint account for the last few years to hide my inheritance from the Student Loan Sharks. If there was any substantial dollar value in my individual account, I wouldn’t qualify for loans. It is all good now that I am finished my degree. I get to be an adult again.

Dad told me that, because I am the first in my family to finish university, he is going to make my loan “disappear”. Attending this new university has been an eye-opener for the amount of privilege I have in life. I am a university graduate with no student debt, a house, a car that is paid for, and a bank account with at least four digits.

Privilege is a word that is getting thrown around a lot these days. Most online conversation is centered around privilege and feminism. There is  a group called the MRAs who like to show up at rape trials or consent rallies with signs that say things like “Rape Culture is a MYTH”. They argue that women have ALL the equality, and that they need to fight for men’s rights like custody and the ability to show emotions. Some of them call themselves meninists. Feminism is fighting for most of the things they are, but they are also fighting for a world where I don’t lose my job when two of my coworkers take advantage of me with drugs in my drink and then tell everyone at work that I was just “thirsty” and couldn’t handle the “regret”.

Sorry. That rant was probably unnecessary, but I can’t find a safe space on the interwebz. The world has changed so much since our 4am MSN chat dates and the old Runelords (I should see if that still exists…)

Wedding planning is going smoothly. I have only cried once because of the caterer so far. Our wedding is on August 31st at 10 am, and the reception will be November 14th. We were planning on being in Las Vegas this week anyway because of Graduation Adventuring, so instead of paying $2000 CND for a wedding in the mountains, we spent $300 to do it in Vegas.

We fly out on the 26th, stay in Vegas until the 2nd, fly to Phoenix, and fly home on the 10th. While we’re there, I am going to apply for jobs, and the day I get home, I am going to change my name. I never believed I would ever get married after the hell I went through with Lumberjack, but it just makes sense for First Boyfriend and me. It will make buying a house, getting benefits, and filing taxes easier.

My dress is black, 1950s style, knee length, and poofy with red crinoline. There is also an appropriate amount of cleavage showing, which is a bonus. Steve will be wearing a black on black suit with a cherry red tie to match my crinoline. We are going to look so cute.

Animal assisted therapy is an amazing thing. Are the dogs still there?  Are there any black labs? Will you get to train a dog?

My BPD is more of a “oh poo, irrational brain is dominant today. I should stay away from people I love” thing. There are triggers, but they aren’t always evident until it is too late. I can -usually- avoid them after the first time though.

I really hope you can find an accountability partner. They are really useful and hold you up when you feel weaker. I wonder if there is any kind of sponsorship program for this like there is in AA, CA, NA, EA, etc.? That would be hard to set up given the nature of the situation, but it could be a beneficial program. For some people, religion IS enough accountability, but I think it depends on your relationship with your religious symbol. I wonder if there are any psych studies on this…

50 Shades of Grey is a Twilight fanfic written by EL James. She changed the characters from vamps to humans, and gave them ridiculous personality traits. The book tries to represent BDSM, but ignores all the important rules. The way the guy treats the girl in the book is very similar to the way Lumberjack treated me, but everyone thinks it’s okay because he is rich, which makes his behaviour “romantic”. I wrote a paper on 50 Shades is Abuse on Twitter for my Sociology of Social Change class. I ended up getting a 95 on it.

Are you allowed to play D&D yet, or is it still a security risk?

My birthday was June 5th, and I got a tattoo that day to help me get through the icky stuff that normally comes around that time.

I will send you pictures once I am working and can afford to print them. One of my lizard, one of you and I, and one from my wedding.

Remember, I love jooooooooo!
-N

Ps. How was the visit with your mom and your aunt?
Pss. This was only 4 pages. What is wrong with me? ❤

Blithering about Growing Up

I finished school on Wednesday and I am having the hardest time dealing with the changes in my life. I started purging my school supplies and reorganizing my desk, and I became so overwhelmed that I had a minor anxiety attack; First Boyfriend had to come rescue me from our bedroom.

I don’t deal well with big changes in my life and this is a really big change.

Processing Changes in My Life

I am 22 days away from completing my Bachelor of Arts degree (so long as I pass both of the classes I am in) and I am 33 days away from becoming Mrs. First Boyfriend while I am on vacation in Las Vegas to celebrate the completion of school.

In three months, my resting heart rate has dropped from 85 to 72 bpm which is a result of both my mental health stabilizing and my commitment to fitness.  I have been working out with a trainer since the beginning of May and have lost 6 cm (2 inches) from around my waist so far. I don’t have confidence or self-love yet, but there are moments where I feel like I could be getting there.

I still need to work on my eating habits, but I must be doing something right. The biggest issue I have is the cravings for sugar that I get around 8 pm every night. I want to eat an entire bag of candy…and this craving becomes almost unbearable during menstruation. The research I am doing indicates this sugar craving is a symptom of my PCOS, which means I need to do some CBT to stop this behaviour before it becomes anymore of a habit. Diabetes runs rampant in my family and that is not something I want to contend with.

I have not had a significant anxiety attack in four months, and I haven’t seen my therapist in nearly two. I am worried that I am ripping the bandage off too soon, though I have been functioning at a really high level these days. Sometimes I think I should book an appointment to deal with the ever increasing threat of “adulthood” and the discomfort I feel when I think about not having homework, but my high level of self-awareness helps me monitor my overall mental health and allows me to recognize when I need to make an appointment. I want to see how well I can do on my own while I am feeling this stable.

feel different. I don’t feel like the person sitting in front of the keyboard is the same person who wrote about the conflict between her rational and irrational thought processes. I feel like rational mind is 99% in control, and that when the irrational mind takes over, the rational mind is still the thing that is controlling my executive functioning. I am able to say “I am having an episode, please bear with me”, and that is an awesome feeling.

Blithering Borderline is still my identity as much as being queer is, however my mental illness is not longer my definition. I am in control, and I am proud to embrace the person I am today…

Even with all my flaws.

Blithering About Food

I hate breakfast.

Oatmeal, cereal, eggs, etc. I do not like putting it anywhere near my mouth hole. I can occasionally stomach dry cereal as a snack, or eat breakfast for dinner, but trying to stomach food before noon is a painful experience.

Unfortunately for me (and my gag reflex), I am going to have to learn how to eat breakfast in the mornings. I have started working out with a personal trainer who is acting as both a physiotherapist and a nutritionist between sessions. I have to email her a list of all the foods I eat so she can go over my poor food choices and give me advice on how to make better ones.

One of the big things on her list is breakfast. Spinach shakes (yuck), oatmeal (yuck), scrambled eggs (double yuck), and other nutritious and (supposedly) delicious meals. The trainer also wants me to have a snack about 2-3 hours after eating breakfast…which means I will have eaten twice before noon. TWICE. These snacks include apples and sesame tahini, almonds, greek yogurt, a mini bag of popcorn, a “Skinny Cow” ice cream sandwich, or a cheese string. Other than the yogurt (as I am not a big fan of the consistency) and the ice cream sandwich, the snacks are fairly tolerable, but the problem is actually eating them.

I went to the local grocery store yesterday to do some shopping, which included the snack options above. For $100 CAD, I found 12 mini bags of popcorn, 10 Skinny Cow Ice Cream Sandwiches, $7.00 in bulk almonds, almond milk, a bag of sweet potatoes, five chicken breast, a bag of frozen veggies, lemon juice and lime juice, hummus, apples, 28 cheese strings, and eight individual sized greek yogurt containers. It does not sound like a lot of food, but it filled up my cupboards (and hopefully my stomach).

This morning I forced myself to eat breakfast. I made scrambled eggs mixed with hummus and cajun spice and “nice cream“, which smelled amazing and tasted pretty good. The eggs took a long time to settle in my stomach, however I think eating the nice cream after the eggs helped me keep the eggs down. I used frozen fruit and an overripe banana (instead of frozen banana and raw fruit) with some oats this morning. I used my little food processor, but I think it would be much better with an immersion blender.

For my snack, I will be having almonds before heading to the gym.

Lunch will be left over chicken and veggie stir fry done in a lemon juice, lime juice, garlic, and cayenne pepper sauce I whipped up last night.

I will be trying a mini bag of popcorn for my afternoon snack.

For dinner, I plan on making something using sweet potatoes, chicken, and brussel sprouts, but I haven’t worked that out yet.

If I get better at this blogging (read:  accountability) thing, I might write out the measurements and recipes I use alone with the pictures of how the meals turn out.

I am determined to lose the weight I have gained over the past few years. I might hate food, but my health depends on me making better/smarter choices about my body, which includes feeding it responsibly and not allowing myself to starve. I have been so focused on my recovery and mental wellness that I have forgotten about my body and I need to get back in shape in order to bridge the last gap in my mental health journey.

I need to look in the mirror and love myself instead of tearing myself apart.