You Call it Bipolar-I Call it MSD
We are heading back from Placerville, going right through the center of Sacratamato, as if we own the joint. On Friday, on our way to Ione, traffic heading north on the Five, was at a dead stop. Not so this morning. We even took advantage of the carpool lane on the way from Placerville to Sac.
All factors considered, the past five days have been an unqualified success, as far as getting out in the world, engaging in several intense social situations, and learning how to adapt to the uncertainties which comprise my illness. The success is two-fold, because two of the events took place in the Central Valley, necessitating a ten-hour round trip for each. The process of getting anywhere must always come under close scrutiny, because the logistics of being trapped inside a car are still very much a part of the big picture for me.
For the second trip over to Sac, yesterday morning, we had brought along an ice-chest, in which we put a nice deli-sandwich that Annie had put together for me; we bought chips, we had bananas, and we had containers of Bell Springs water. We left at nine in the morning for a five-hour drive, and had enough time to make a quick run past the site of the wedding, so that when the time arrived, it would be no problem. I took advantage of the time to squeeze in a nap. I went to sleep immediately, and that would be the end of the story, except that when Annie came to awake me, I was hard to bring to the surface.
That was a result of the Lorazepam. And here is the lesson that I have learned over the past five days: Mood spectrum disorder is its own beast, providing ample challenges. Anxiety is another entity, in and of itself. For me the two have always been inextricably braided together in three strands representing depression, hypomania and anxiety.
However, for some sufferers of mood spectrum disorder, anxiety is not a given. Sometimes it’s there and sometimes it’s not. Or sometimes reverberations from mood spectrum disorder create ripples of anxiety. For me the anxiety came first, in the form of a gradual build-up as a growing child, graduating to panic attack syndrome when I was ten. After ridding myself of this disorder in 2010, I figured I was good to go.
Now, I must learn to differentiate between anxiety and mood so that I can address the anxiety issue, before I focus on the my mood. I have found the Lorazepam to be very effective for three reasons: I am already familiar with it, having taken it for five years before getting therapy to get rid of panic attack syndrome; I was incorrectly given the instructions for its proper use, and therefore learned through experience how to better utilize it; finally, this medication allows me to focus, unencumbered by anxiety, on the state of my mood.
Having elaborated greatly on my newfound ability to sift through the various key components of my illness, to see how I am doing at any moment in time, I now find that this ability is further enhanced by being able to further delineate a sense of anxiety from the myriad of other possibilities. I call it baby steps. I thought about taking Lorazepam for the graduation on Friday, but in examining the state of my anxiety level, I found it minimal, so I decided not to. It was a good decision, and I enjoyed myself immensely, unbothered by anxiety.
In contrast, I chose to take one two-milligram Lorazepam pill a half-hour before I left the house yesterday morning, and another about eight hours later, prior to leaving for the wedding. They did the job effectively, in so far as anxiety was concerned, but left me just a fraction over-medicated. Annie said she saw me doze a couple of times, during one of several periods of general waiting around. I did well exchanging social pleasantries, although there were only a dozen or so people who I knew. Annie also had a hard time awakening me in the motel, when it was time to leave for the wedding.
Annie said that no one likely would have noticed my slightly sleepy look, and that I had done well in all the categories that counted. I am pleased with the outcome of this five-day period, including last Wednesday, when we went down to Ukiah to shop, and then came back to Bell Springs, to meet with Kati. My success is tangible evidence that for the moment, I can manage my illness without either atypical antipsychotic medication, or a mood-stabilizer, which has been my goal from the first day.
Baby steps, you know, become toddler steps, over time. Well, I have plenty of time, and I have a good coach. Thanks Annie.