So afraid

Hi Lori,

Pleased to hear your room-mate is not physically violent, although I’m sure the behaviour he does display must make you very anxious.

Yes, I was 6 months in the shelter…I was very depressed at the time and spent most days sitting in the communal lounge watching TV…it was better than I thought it would be and although most of the other ‘residents’ had alcohol or drug issues I got on with them well and never felt threatened by them. I was there over Christmas 2005 and believe it or not it was quite a nice time…us all celebrating Christmas together! I left there to go into ‘supported accommodation’ and that was terrible I had my own studio apartment and felt so isolated it was unbearable. It was women only and there was 15 studio apartments. There was a lot of trouble there…people banging on doors in the middle of the night and setting the fire alarm off so we all had to evacuate. It was a nightmare I use to spend all day at my mums and just try to sleep there on a night. My friend who I had not seen for 3 years got in touch via my mum and when she heard what was happening invited me to come and share her home with her. I am still very depressed though and at times find it hard here because I don’t have my own things around me. I lost all my things when I was homeless and with them I lost my identity…I don’t know how long it will take to feel like ‘me’ again.

I was on Lithium and my then pdoc (psychiatrist) changed it to another mood stabilizer (not sure which one) but I stopped taking it that’s when I went psychotic!

I use to take Zopiclone (a sleeping tablet) but they will no longer prescribe it due to it being addictive and also Diazepam, I felt better when I was on them but can no longer get them. I am still waiting to see my pdoc don’t know how long that will take…if I get back on lithium I will stop taking the zyprexa. We are lucky here all our meds are free if we are on social security benefits. I don’t know how you manage there!

I find it hard to motivate myself to get showered and I have to do that today because I am going to Ben and Emma’s tonight. Yes…it is nice to be close to Ben and he seems to understand more now…it was very hard at first though and I felt he blamed me for all that had happened…I still ‘blame’ myself!

It is good that you can access a social worker I think we need all the help we can get when we begin to re-build our lives. I know I will take any help and support I can get.

I woke up early this morning full of anxiety again…it is always worse in the mornings. Like I said though I go to bed early and therefore I wake early. I just make a cup of tea and come on the computer. Now I have you to write to and it makes me feel better also and I love reading what you have wrote. It is good to have an on-line friend who understands.

I find it hard to imagine the USA when you have distances of 3,000 miles to travel to see your parents the furthest distances between two places here in the UK is 875 miles.
Well, I better go and face the ‘dreaded shower’.

Take care, Lori

Anne x

Hi Lori,

It must be hard for you living with you room-mate when you are scared of him…does he get violent? You must be walking on eggshells at times. I understand your fear of a ‘shelter’, sometimes its better the devil you know.

I lived with a guy who was a drinker in 2005 I was not there for long but I got scared because he would get drunk and then talk to himself and talk quite aggressive he was also BP. I met him when I was living on the streets and he invited me back to his place. I did actually leave their and go to a night shelter it was full of drinkers and drug users but they were ok with me. I then went to a salvation army hostel and lived there for 6 months…I was so depressed. Is it a real possibility that you can live with your girlfriend in Colorado? that would be good for you.

I don’t think I want to live with a man again although I am really scared of living on my own.I don’t go out to meet anyone and I don’t try to make myself look attractive anymore so I don’t even meet anyone new.

When I went psychotic I also threw food around…I don’t know why and I wrote strange things that made no sense…I also thought I could ‘fix’ things and messed around with a central heating boiler that ended up ‘flooding’ the house.I was on Lithium for 6 years and was fine all the time I was on it very well balanced and I had no side effects…except I went toxic once…but that showed up on the blood test and caused no problems. I wish so much I had never come off it…I am sure it was because I was not taking lithium that I went psychotic. Once I get back on it I am staying on it for life!

The welfare people came yesterday and they are going to help me to find accommodation and set up all my utilities and get furniture etc. I still don’t want to move till the spring though…but I will be given a worker who will help me get things sorted out when I am ready. They also try to get you involved in social activities but I am not up to that yet so we will see.

Its cold and raining here its 8.30 am and still quite dark outside…I just nipped to the shop for some cigs…my lifeline at the moment.

The days feel so long nowadays and I keep telling myself I should be thankful I am no longer on the streets, but I feel so depressed it is painful.

I also get hot sweats and I am not sure if they are the menopause or depression. I was on HRT for a year but stopped taking it because it also put weight on…so does my zyprexa and effexor. I go to bed real early because all I want to do is ‘shut out’ my memories I am not really dealing with this depression very good at all.

I am going on Thursday night to move Emma’s belongings to Bens flat so will spend a few hours with them. It is so nice to see them together making plans and doing things young people do. Ben lived on his own for 4 years so I am delighted he met Emma. I lost contact with both my sons when I was homeless and its so good that Ben and I have a good relationship again.
Well Lori will close for now, you are in my thoughts.

Take care

Anne x

Hi Anne,

My room-mate never gets violent physically, but he does slam doors & talks to himself in angry ways, too. Then he paces or stands up while we’re watching a movie. Sometimes he peeps out the blinds of the front door & there’s no one out there to see. His house is in the country & there’s a mobile home across the street that is run down. His ex-wife lived there before they were married & she left because she couldn’t take it anymore either. He threw her clothes in the carport numerous times, too…& after awhile, you know you just don’t want to stay because you don’t trust that your belongings won’t get tossed out.

I think there is a social worker here, too that helps you get into a place, find furniture, helps you budget. I may look into that shortly because I will need all the help I can get to get re-established.

I’ve lived with my girlfriend before after a wrist slashing. I couldn’t stand it because she has 2 children & only one bathroom. I felt like she treated me as a child & she took my meds away & gave them to me in doses. She also had me going to a psychiatrist, a counselor, & a group meeting. I just felt like it was overkill. It was a difficult situation then & I think things have changed a bit now because her previous boyfriend, who’s BP, moved out. Too many BP’s in one place is not always easy. I think it might be a more positive set of circumstances for me than living with this alcoholic/BP man…but I think I have to wait until I have some money saved to move out of state. I still wonder if I should just stay here (not in this man’s house…I mean in Georgia.) It will be spring for me, too before I have 2 credit cards paid off completely.

I find I’m going to bed about midnight because I like some alone time after he leaves for work at 10. Then I’ve been staying in bed until noon or so the past few days. Not good. Part of me just doesn’t feel comfortable getting up in the morning because I don’t know how much he’s already been drinking.
He brought me a pack of cigarettes on his way home & they are my life blood, too!!! I don’t smoke inside here because his 2nd wife died of cancer & before she died she just smoked outside. I know it smells the place up, but when I get my own place, I won’t have to run outside like I’m doing illicit drugs!! It’s very sunny here today & pretty warm. It’s beautiful, actually! If this was closer into town I might take a walk. But out here it’s a sand/dirt road & from there it’s a paved highway & 5 miles just to the post office. No, when I went manic I did that trek may times & I had no purpose…nothing to get except “away!”

Also when I went manic my finances got so far out of control that I’m paying the price for it now. I make a budget for each month & I use every bit of it now to just keep the collectors from calling. I really need to work because this way it’ll take me a little over a year to pay the credit cards & that’s saying I don’t purchase anything else such as clothes for work or gas for the car. So my biggest challenge is deciding whether I should move into a low income apartment here & look for work or move back to Colorado & look for work. Either way, I would be hard-pressed to live with others because I find I need to set my own schedule & it’s just hard to do when there are other people who have their own schedules to consider.

I find it hard to socialize, too. I can’t develop a relationship while I’m here because it makes him angry (& jealous I believe.) But I think some of that may change if I’m able to move out & work. I just see feeling “right” again is going to take some time. In the meantime I am very depressed. I want to feel good about myself again, & that’s only going to happen if I leave here.

Hopefully next month will be the beginning of a wonderful & progressive year for us both! When do you get to see your PDOC again? If you go back on lithium will you still be on effexor & zyprexa? I’ve been on both of those before, too…but not for very long. I couldn’t afford the zyprexa without insurance & I think the effexor worked, but I was on one of those med changes every month or two. My PDOC won’t give me ativan or klonipin because they are so addictive, but I would have less anxiety with one of those for bedtime…I know that. (By the way…what does PDOC stand for? Psychiatrist?!) When you went toxic on lithium, was that from a build up in your system or from too high a dose? I’m supposed to take 900mg, but I only take 600mg. I get diarrhea or vomit if I haven’t had it (as in I’ve switched meds) & then I try to start up with it again. Now I’m sort of resigned to just taking it & dealing with the smaller side effects: Course, thin & brittle hair & sometimes shakes. & nausea. I worry about going manic while I’m here & mostly have decided not to change my meds anymore until I no longer live here. I think that’s because the stress of living here is partially the cause of my anxiety.

I envy you having Ben around! It’s always nice when your children don’t think the worst of you!! I’m sure Ben is a lot like my step-son, Cache. They both sound forgiving & tolerant!

When you went off lithium, was it to switch to another medication? I first switched to Neurontin & cymbalta, but went off both because I thought I could handle things on my own! Not now! I don’t like the thought of being depressed for the rest of my life like I am now, but I don’t feel manic at all & I think that’s the whole point of taking the lithium.

I can’t believe you lived in a shelter for 6 months! How did you find your current room-mate? (Then again…I can’t believe I’ve lived here for over a year & had 3 hospitalizations last May/June/July.) If all I do is get stable over the next few months I should be happy. It would come as a welcome change if the depression would lift.

Well, I do so enjoy our chats. Just knowing you has been a blessing, Anne. I believe it helps me not feel so alone in all of this. I wish you all the best in getting your meds straight (as I do me!)

Take care,

Hi emptysoul,

I read your post today in cp and i am so happy i am not alone, and at the same time sorry that others feels as i do. I too have a hard time facing the day, but don’t know why. My life has no hassles any more, and my relationship with hubby is good, so I really have no reason to feel this way. but if i don’t go to work, i want to stay in bed all day, and taking a shower is the last thing i want to do.

however, i also know once i take one, i feel better. i am also having problems in wanting to get in contact with my friends on my days off; as wells as family. i want to stay home and go no where. i don’t feel depressed, but i’m beginning to wonder of the Wellbutrin is doing what it is suppose to.Tuesday was the worse day i have had for a long time. i was irritable all day long! You’d think it was my monthly, but i have been over that for ten years. i think the bipolar was out of whack some how, because on wednesday i was fine, but today, thursday, my day off, and again i don’t want to do any thing but stay home. i did at 3:00 in the afternoon take a shower, and got on the puter. but that is another thing, i easily can spend on day on this talking in cp or other forums i’m in.

i know this isn’t healthy, but on the other hand, i’m not sure how to stop, and get myself motivated to get out among the “living.” I really have no desire to see anyone! this is so opposite of what i’ve been known to be. i’ve always enjoyed my friends, and somewhat my family. any way, i just wanted you to know you aren’t alone! lol

love, bip

Hi bip,

Yes I struggle to ‘bother’ with myself…showers etc…I always have when in a depression and so should be use to it by now. It is good that you work Bip and maybe on your days off you should not ‘beat yourself up’ and just allow yourself to be, be gentle with yourself. This disorder changes us and not wanting to be in contact with people is part of that. If you are not comfortable with the way you are maybe your meds need reviewing, I have been on so many different meds and think effexor is the best for my depression although I am also going back on lithium soon as I can…it makes me feel ‘balanced’.

Take care



Hi Lori,

It is uncanny how similar our experiences are and little wonder, after what we have been through, that anxiety is a problem for us both!

Got Emmas things moved…it is lovely to see them together they are so in love and full of plans for the future. It gives me a warm glow to know that Ben is so happy and contented. The guilt I have felt after what happened was unbearable, but now Ben is happy I don’t feel so bad. I was there at Ben and Emmas for a long time because after my mum died Ben found some old photo negatives in a tin and he is scanning them onto his computer…they are photos I have never seen and it was exciting to see what was there. It will take some time to get them all done but last night he scanned one that was of my mum when she was about 25 and one of my brother and myself when we were babies. Do you have any siblings Lori? I had a brother Ewan, who sadly took his own life in 1986 when he was 30…I still miss him very much!

I also understand what you mean about giving your ring away…in 1994 I was manic and took a taxi…I did not have the fare and so gave the taxi driver my 5 gold rings…I could not remember what taxi firm it was and never got them back. It is very strange what we do when we are unwell…after that I only wore silver. When I lost my home in 2003 all my jewellery went missing before I was evicted and I think the landlord took it. Ihad a beautiful silver charm bracelet that my mum bought me with 14 charms and I miss that the most…especially now mums gone…it would have been a keepsake. Some people say they are just material things but it is the memories that go with the material things that matter.

It will be strange to start again, because many of the things I had…pictures and ornaments I had aquired over the years and it will take time to replace them.

It will be good when you can drive again if you can get an appointment with the social worker…its a shame you cannot have a visit from them…but if your room-mate gets moody that will not help. Maybe it would be best if you stayed in Georgia for a year to get things settled and get use to living on your own and then moved back to Colorado…it is an hard decision for you but it sounds ‘daunting’ moving back to Colorado straight away if you don’t know where you will be living.

I have decided to give myself till spring here at my friends…give myself chance to get back on the lithium and get a car. Also, Ben and Emma are hoping to move out of their flat next year and rent an house in the same area. I said I may rent around that area and they were all for it…so it would be nice to live near them…we will see. They are both at University at the present Ben doing computer software and Emma training to be a teacher and like I said earlier they are full of love for each other and full of plans for their future.
I hate the anxiety I feel in a morning I also feel shaky and the thought of facing the day is overwhelming. I also just want to get back into bed…but days come and go.

Before all this happened I had a busy life and would spend days driving in my car to second hand shops looking for pictures and the like…I think you call them ‘thrift shops’ there…I use to feel so happy and would give anything to feel that way again. I am hoping the lithium will work in the same way it did last time and I can get back to living a life of my choice and not this disorders.

I se my CPN today and will find out if he has heard off the PDoc regarding my appointment and also if he has had a reply regarding my deposit, I hope I can get it back. UPDATE: got a phone call at 9 0 clok my CPN is sick so will not see him till next week…so I went back to bed at 10 and have just got up at 1.30 pretty low today.
You should have your blood tested asap it is very important that you do, so you can know if you are in the theraputic range and also that you are not going toxic.

Well Lori will close for now…you are in my thoughts and I hope for both of us that 2008 is the year we get back on track!

Take care

Anne x

Hi Anne,

I can’t believe how much alike we are! I was switched from lithium to neurontin for a mood stabilizer & went off that, ending up manic! So I guess it’s lithium or nothing at all because I have had worse side effects from Topamax, even though it helps you lose weight. The neurontin just made me sleepy all the time. I get my meds for free now, too because of the clinic I go to for mental health. If I use benedryl to help me sleep that costs $6 though. Before this clinic, I was paying $1 for a months supply of lithium & I think Cymbalta, the anti-depressant was $3. If I do pay for my meds, they are at a discount because of social security. I think in Colorado they are only discounted, not free. I had to pay $25 a session for counseling there, too. If I decide to move back there I will be sure to have a month’s supply of my meds!

What I meant about us being alike is not just what happened when we went off meds, but I have lost everything, too. I no longer have any jewelry, & I mean 2 wedding rings as well. I gave one away to a very young man & I don’t know why! I just put it in the ashtray of his truck. The other wedding band set I had only gotten last year & I vaguely remember stopping along some road when I was living in my car. It was dark & I had most of my clothes & things in there. I was throwing things out on the side of the road & the ring slipped off. I never even looked for it. Now I have no idea where that road even was! I have also lost all of my earrings. Basically all jewelry. I threw out some clothes & that just wasn’t very bright! I sometimes think that with as little remains, it will be easy to move to an apartment here, but I won’t have anything to get started with! Then on the other hand, I think well…as much as I’d hate to leave a couple of things behind, I could always just pack my car with my clothes & leave. Photos & a couple of other things would make a trip (if my car ever gets repaired & can make it back to Colorado!)

I can feel for you & not having your things around. I’m in the same predicament! The social worker I mentioned comes to the house as yours did. I just feel uncomfortable conducting any business like that here though because I feel I have to try to hide my plans for now. Maybe that doesn’t make any sense, but when I talk about moving my room-mate gets really mean. It’s already at a point where I wonder if he’s neglecting working on my car because he knows I will leave.

I wake up with bad anxiety too. I wake up fairly early, but try to stay in bed for hours because I know my room-mate is in the living room pounding beers & watching tv. He makes breakfast, & lately I just get tired of the same old breakfast, so I don’t eat it. Then he says he’s worried about me. (I’m worried about me, too! Worried that I can’t deal with him much longer!) If I’m on the computer, sometimes he creeps up behind me & he always gets so gushy & wants to hug me or hangs on me. If I start to avoid him, like I have been the past few days, he starts getting angrier. I know I need to get out of here, but I’m having a hard time deciding whether to live in this town or go back to Colorado. I’ve already mentioned my girlfriend, but I had problems with her before, too & I think it may be harder to move out on my own in Colorado. My step-son is only a remote possibility, too because he has limited space & shares that with his girlfriend. I have a previous male friend in Colorado, too…but that would have to be a living arrangement with “benefits.” & I’m just not in love with him. Maybe I should talk this over with the Social Worker (I’d like to schedule an appt. with her when I can drive again so I could go to her.) There is a lot of mental intimidation that goes on here & that can make me feel panicked & trapped. I just have to remember that things can get better when I’m able to leave.

My sleep patterns are just terrible! I wish I could get something for sleep besides the anti-depressant, Remeron. I wake up throughout the night & early in the morning. I lay in bed, sometimes 'till noon. The lithium makes me get up to pee of course!

I cut coffee out a few days because I thought that would help me sleep, but today I made some just because I missed t. Perhaps I could switch to tea as well! Now I just make my coffee, go out on the patio to smoke, & come back in to get on the computer. I cherish my messages from you & I play spider solitaire all day long. I also spend quite alot of time looking up medications & alternative mental health options. I’m not thrilled with the meds I’m on now. I can’t do anything about them though until I see my PDOC & I think that is on Jan.2. I’ve thought about switching my doctors again because I liked the previous one & she saw me every 3 weeks. Where I go now it is very hard to get an appt. with the psychiatrist, & I often feel like the counseling is just a matter of being somewhere on time. I have had to schedule all of those appts early in the morning so when the room-mate gets off work he can take me (before he starts drinking, because after that he has the sense not to drive anywhere.) So another reason I look forward to getting my driver’s license back & my car running is so that I can set my own appts (preferably in the afternoon!)

I sometimes wonder if I lived alone that maybe I would be more of a morning person. I know much of my morning anxiety comes from not knowing what kind of mood my room-mate will be in, but some of the other is just anxiety that I can’t pin-point (& yes, it feels physical…racing pulse & heart-beat.) Sometimes it just feels like I’m edgy & shaky & I wonder if it’s the lithium. I haven’t had my blood tested in several months, & as I’ve said I only take 600mg instead of the 900mg that’s prescribed. I would vomit & have diarrhea if it was at that higher dose. The doctor said I could do this for weight reasons, but I haven’t noticed much weight difference, just don’t feel as sickly at the lower dose.

I’m getting to where I sneak a bath at night after the room-mate goes to work! I don’t mind washing my hair during the day while he’s here, but I feel uncomfortable showering or bathing when he’s here. I try to put make-up on & put my hair back in a pony-tail if it’s not clean. These are not my usual grooming habits & I don’t like being this way. I have been this way before though when I’ve lived with another man & I was in the depressive phase of my illness. I would very much like to get back to feeling like myself again, too, Anne! I think it’s a balancing of our meds & living circumstances. When I’m asked if I think my living situation is unsafe, I say , “no…but unhealthy, yes!” I guess in the long run, it becomes the same thing.

I read what you wrote to the man who wants to leave his bipolar girlfriend & I have to say I agree with you. I may have that disorder, but I’m trying to give in to medication. My room-mate should try it, but that’ll never happen. In other words, I’ll take the advice you gave someone else & live this house as soon as I possibly can!

I suppose you’re all through with moving Ben & Emma now. You’re a good Mum & don’t ever doubt that. What has happened to us was only a little bit within our control. Now that we’ve seen the repercussions & can’t change them, we can at least make a commitment to stick with our meds!

I look forward to hearing from you. I don’t care what we talk about. I just like hearing from you. Starting over is difficult. Having someone who’s doing it too makes the journey a little easier.

Take Care!


Hi Ann,
I do think my meds needs to be reviewed, but there is no pdoc at the clinic right now; and I don’t have insurance so I can’t go else. But for some reason when I do have the opportunity, I make an appointment and then choose not to go. So what’s up with that??? (lol) Any way thank you for your reply.
Others have told me not to be so hard on myself, including my husband, but I am so different. Someone also told me as we get older, the bipolar tends to get worse, even with meds.
Take care,

Hi Weber,
I know you didn’t send me this message about lithium, but I thought I would respond, since you said they were trying you on Neurontin. I wish I could take lithium, but I can’t because of my kidney issue. But neurontin seems to really help stabilize the manics. but you do have to take it all the time, and it takes about 2-6 weeks to work; and then some feel different right away. It has a tendency to make some sleepy, but it can be the dose is too high. It is also good for chronic pain, like mine.

Firts to Bip…
I think I’ve been writing to you through your own mailbox, too! But I just want to respond about your comment on making appointments & not keeping them! I have a tendency to do that, too & if I weren’t in a position where I’m getting rides to & from the counselor’s…I would probably do that again because I don’t feel the counseling does as much for me as speaking with the Doctor. I had been seeing a doctor who prescribed my meds & counselled me as well. I think when I’m in the position to drive myself again I will go back to that doctor. I don’t want to leave the clinic just yet though because as I said, they can put me in touch with a social worker who will help me set up housing & maybe even job referrals. Sometimes it gets rather confusing & as there are only 2 doctors nearby these are my only options.
When I was on neurontin & didn’t feel anything but tired. I didn’t stick with it very long though & when I went off & ended up manic they put me back on lithium in the hospital. So here I am now feeling very unmanic (LOL!) but don’t feel tired or anything. Sometimes it feels like it’s burning a hole in my gut (but that’s about it.) I worry most about the long-term side-effects, but I feel pretty even…just depressed.
Well…time to email Anne too!
Take Care!

Hi Anne!

It’s almost 4 in the afternoon here & I’ve had about the same day as usual here…didn’t get to sleep until around 1:30 am & got up multiple times after 9 to use the bathroom but basically stayed in bed until noon. I thought I was going to be writing good news here, but there’s still a glitch! The room-mate fixed my car when he got home so it’s not making that terrible racket when you start it up, but I woke him up (passed out on the couch!) & asked him for the keys so I could test drive it. After telling me the keys were in a jacket pocket in his truck (which was locked) he finally mumbled that they were hanging by the back door. I started the car & NO LOUD NOISE!!! Bad news is that the battery light came on with the “check engine” light. I coudn’t keep the car running, as if the idle was set too low, but “grouchy” (I’ll use that because it’s better!) said it probably needs a new battery. Hmmm…just another expense that will have to go on a charge card. I hope that fixes it though because then I see my way to my own appt.s & hopefully a place of my own! (I think you’re right about trying to stay here for a bit, I mean in a place of my own. It just makes more sense than trying to go to Colorado before I really know where I’m going.)

Have you ever been on any other mood stabilizers before? Neurontin or lamictal or depakote? I think the lithium is okay for me too, but I was hoping to try the lamictal because Julianna, my son’s girlfriend, says it works wonders.

My son, Cache owns his own courrier business (delivers building supplies) & Julianna works PT at a new hospital as a receptionist in admitting. They seem to be doing alright, but I know they have a hard time without insurance & they struggle financially, too. I think if I were able to move close by them I would feel better about things. They seem very enthusiastic about my coming “home”, too…but I know that they are young & in love & wouldn’t need Mum around!

I have yet another friend who lives in Northern Colorado too. (Not far from my son.) She is on social security for her back problems & is on a wait list for her own place again. She has been living with her son, but his house is being repossessed & they are being forced to move.

Sometimes I wonder how we even make it! I’ve talked to her about living together & although she seemed okay with it at one point, I think she wasn’t to thrilled because she had just moved from her place in Wyoming that she shared with another friend. She was unhappy that the other lady didn’t help with rent & very little with food. So…I think it’s best to try to make it here for awhile. If it takes me a year to get on my feet, than by golly…that’s just what I’ll have to live with. I have to tell you I’m very anxious about working, & I’ll have to buy at least a few nicer business clothes that fit (unless I work in a convenience store or something.) Did I tell you they wanted me at a convenience store in the local town? I put in an application & they called back. I asked about the hours (which is mostly 3pm-11:30pm & once in awhile the overnight shift.) I said I’d get back to them & never did because I just thought it was pointless until Jan. when I can drive myself. (I don’t want to ask Grouchy for rides more than I have to!) I think they hire quite often, so I’m hoping to be able to work after January. That’s a stretch for me because I get so full of anxiety about being in the public again. If I can do it though I might be able to pay off my debts sooner & even get a newer car (which would make moving back to Colorado more feasible.) I have my hands full trying to think about money problems right now. I wouldn’t feel right going back to Colorado unless I had my debts substantially reduced.

I’m sorry your cpn cancelled. I don’t have another appt. with my counselor until Thursday (& they are set up every 2 weeks, early in the am so Grouchy can take me.) As I was saying to BIP, I don’t always make my appts, but I think I’d be happier back with the other doctor I had because she counseled, too. Just want to get some of the assistance for moving & maybe employment before I go back to the other doctor. I have a contract with this clinic until March 1st & I sort of feel that the counseling is more than I need (or want.) I would prefer to just be on medication management & I’m stable now, but still would like to try that lamictal because I’d really like to be able to come out of the funk I’ve been in. (And my room-mate says, “you should be happy about what you’ve got!” I think he says that because he takes it that I’m depressed because of him & that makes him angry.

I looked at my budget again & the soonest I can afford to move out is May. That’s when I will have 2 of the 4 credit cards paid off & then I will actually have a small amount left over for food & rent. If I go back to work, my social security will stop (after 6 months) so I’ll have to be able to continue working or it’s another wait to get that SS started back up. But if I do go to work, I may be able to move out sooner. It will be hard to motivate myself while I’m living here (I hope you understand that…I’ve already told you that part of the showering problem (or phobia!) I have is because of my room-mate. I’m not a lazy person by any means, but I feel actual fear about working again.

I think it would be wonderful for you to be close to Ben & Emma! The pictures that Ben scanned for you must have been something to cherish! I have lost so many photos, too (mostly because my ex-husband threw things out I think after I went manic in our own home.) I especially miss one of my son & myself when I saw him Feb '06. And I’ve lost (or had stolen from my car) a digital camera. I also gave a watch that was very dear to me to another patient in the hospital & he lost it. I don’t have any explanation for the bizarre behavior I’ve had & it makes me fearful that it could happen again. As Bip has said, this disorder tends to get worse as we age. I don’t know about that. I think for those of us who have been scared enough by our past manias we tend to be extremely med compliant!

I looked up the sleeping tablets that you took & here they are called, Lunesta. I suppose if I had them now it might make my depression worse because I would wake up feeling groggy as I did on Klonipin. Just wish there was something for this anxiety of ours!

I think it’s nice how you describe going to the “thrift stores.” They only have a couple here, but I think I will end up going to them when the time comes for furniture or kitchen goods. There’s the Salvation Army & one other place that sells used furniture (although I think it may mostly be baby items.) It’s been a couple of years since I felt okay, & then I was working a bit & my ex was in Iraq. I wasn’t on medication, & didn’t get manic until he came back home. I think the good Lord is trying to tell me something! #1) I need to stay on meds & #2) I should not live with a man!! (LOL!)

I’m just so happy we have bonded…you & I! Not only are our lives similar, but we will be preparing to go out on our own at about the same time! I think if I can spend a year in Georgia by myself, & will be more than ready to move back to Colorado though (as one Mum to another…I’ve got to be closer to someone who loves me in spite of it all!)

Don’t ever think these emails are redundant. In listening to your story it makes me feel more sane, too. You are sane right now, Anne! I know the funk of depression has us both down, but not once do I hear anything that sounds like our previous crazy manias.

Talk to you again (probably tomorrow!!!)


Oh Anne,
I sometimes have a hard time remember all that you wrote which is why this is being added on. I’m so very sorry that you lost your brother not long ago. Did he suffer from bi-polar disorder as well? No matter how hard I try to look into my heritage, I find no one who has bi-polar disorder. I have an aunt on my mother’s side who was hospitalized & my father said she was schizophrenic, but many years after I grew up I asked her about her hospitalization & she said she had a thyroid problem. Whether that was true or not, I guess I will never know because I’ve lost touch with her & no longer know where she is even living. I think my mother’s mum had some type of issues too because she was kind of a difficult woman…but she passed away (& had dimentia I think by the time she died.) I know of nothing else in my family tree (alcoholism in another of my mum’s sisters which might be indicative of depression…)but nothing that would help me find what worked for them. So I feel very alone & I sometimes get scared that I’ll end up in a nursing home or hospital situation well before I am an old (er) woman. I keep praying that my meds will continue to work, but I guess because it was so bad recently, I worry that it might happen again & it kind of makes me paranoid. (I try to stay on the positive side, but I have to admit my fears are what binds me to my past.)
I can somewhat feel how it must make your heart ache to lose your brother & then your mum. I only have one sister who is 4 years older than I & we just aren’t that close. She lives in the northern part of the US, in Michigan. I guess that is about 2,000 miles away. She has had a very storybook life & is happily married (for about 30 yrs.) She has a son, who is the same age as my step-son, but I’ve never even met him. Because of the great distances between myself & my children, parents, & sister…I feel sad that I can not visit them, but until I feel more stable, it would feel as if I wanted something from them…& at my age I feel as though I should be the giver, not the taker. I am closest to my step-son, more so than my daughter even, & that’s the main reason I would choose to move back to Colorado when I’m able to. It is much colder there than the south US, & I would never want to make that trip in the winter months, but I think to be near Cache again who certainly “gets” this disorder because his girlfriend has it too…that would just be the best thing for me to feel close to family again. And I would like some assistance in getting in to a new doctor. Julianna could probably help with that.
Here’s one for you! Is it hard for you to think about working again because of your smoking? Does that sound crazy?? I just know there is no smoking allowed in most businesses here & to step outside for one, well I don’t know that you get that many breaks! When I was a substitute teacher 2 years ago I had to wear a patch all day & I tore it off as soon as I got in my car after work! Such a silly topic, to be sure…but nicotene seems to be my friend & I’m not ready to quit! Be glad you can smoke indoors!! It gets mighty cold having to go outside. Once in awhile I bring the ashtray into the covered carport (it’s been made into a large room. Still no heat, but at least it’s not as bad as standing in the wind outside at night.)
Does the friend you stay with understand your disorder? I thank God we both have shelter & are not on the streets. I am thankful for what I am being given, even though it makes me feel very anxious because sometimes it feels like such a long ways to go still in getting things back on track & being self-sufficient.
Before I go on & on…I’ll close here for now & let you digest the last couple of emails!
Take care Anne,

Weber, just a thought, did you know that thyroid disease years ago, could have been bipolar illness. Bipolar illness some times can be masked as thyroid disease or vice versa. So your aunt very well could have been bipolar. Also, sometimes, when people years ago were difficult, they have found through studies now, that they could very well have been bipolar; but since bipolar wasn’t addressed then…manic/depressive was, but there were so many horror stories about what the treatment for manic/depressive was then, many just suffered and never brought it to the doctors attention; and there was such a stigma to having a mental illness; and shock therapy was a big thing thing, haldol (which is a gruesome drug) throazine (another gruesome drug) and mellaril (another gruesome drug) was used for manic depressive. So many families suffered in silence for fear of being made fun of, or an out cast to society. So it sounds like someone in your family more then likely had bipolar,
it’s just not put down in record. We don’t come by this illness on our own, it has to come down to us from someone.

Weber, Klonopin is a HEAVY drug, I can’t imagine Lunesta being that bad. I was on Klonopin, and I couldn’t function. I went off it; isn’t it funny how some works for some and not for others? but Klonopin is a serious drug; if you could get by with a lesser one, i’d try that. Lunesta is a fairly new one, and I don’t know much about it.

Hi again,

Neurontin is known for making people tired! but after you are on it, that pretty much goes away.
I just have one word of caution that I seem to be hearing, but may all wrong, and if so, ignore it.
It sounds like you are putting “all your hopes” on moving out, getting bills paid, car, etc to make your life better. You know these things do help, but that is just it they are “just things.” Our happiness and well being comes from “inside” no matter what situation we are in, or not it. Our happiness doesn’t come from “others” or from where we live. We can live in a cave, a shack, out in the middle of no where, and still feel a sense of happiness and well being, even with being bipolar. I know, I’ve been in all the above mentioned situations.

Medications certainly makes our lives better, and we can learn to be grateful for what we DO have! Once we find gratitude for what we do have in the present, then tomorrow doesn’t look so undaunting, and the future has a sliver of hope. But we need to that gratitude and joy of having what we have now! It may and is difficult at times, sometimes to find that gratitude. But when we compare it to WHERE WE WERE and WHERE WE COULD BE, it makes gratitude a whole lot easier to find.

Try going to Alanon now. They will pick you up! If you really want to go and get better. But you have to show a willingness to want to get better! Naranon works well as well. Any support group is better then none. You can go on the internet, if nothing else, go in the chatrooms for alanon, aa, naranon, or any of the support groups that will help you feel better. I used to go in the alanon chat rooms and the naranon chat rooms, also aa. (but then I’m a recoverying alcoholic too, so aa was a good for me as well as alanon). Also there is a group out ther called EA, and it is Emotions Anonymous, but good luck in finding one. It is even better then the above mentioned. but they are hard to find. you might be able to lfind one on the internet, i don’t know.
any way, weber, hang in there, light that switch, turn on the flashlight,

I just wanted to thank you for turning me on to a chat room for alanon! I believe they have an AA group here, which doesn’t apply to me because I’m not a recovering alcoholic. But that’s about it in the way of group meetings. Now, if you could give me the name of the site for alanon chats, that would be good, too.
I am extremely grateful for where I am, as opposed to where I’ve been or could be. If I seem to be lacking in gratitude at the moment it is because I’m dealing with the repercussions of my most recent manic episode. They are my difficulties, brought on by my illness. I’ve lit the switch, & turned on the flashlight…so to speak, in that I am truly doing the best job I can at the moment with limited resources. If I seem to be hanging my hopes on tomorrow (as far as getting my car back in working order & paying off some debt so that I can move out) it is because I feel my sense of self esteem will eventually peak out of hibernation that way. Much as you told the man who was considering leaving his BP girlfriend, I have to be preparing to leave the co-dependent relationship I am in.
At present I am not manic, by any means (other than a touch of insomnia that worries me somewhat.) I am still very anxious & depressed, & while some of that is my illness alone & a by-product of lithium, perhaps…I have to say I think 75% of it has alot to do with my set of living circumstances (an alcoholic/depressed/bi-polar person will have this effect on everyone around him!)
It is enough for me to be thankful that I have a warm bed to sleep in & cigarettes (!) & food right now. I am merely existing…but I have hopes of moving on WHEN that is feasible.
I feel gratitutde when I realize I am one step closer to rebalancing my life after disaster has hit! It will take some time to work on these problems, whether they are financial or emotional…& I feel a great deal of accomplishment each time I pay a bill or pay legal fees (those have been the most embarrassing & costly!)
For today I am happy that the sun was out & it was warm. That my room-mate was kind enough to buy cat food after work! (LOL!) It could be much worse…I know. (My mania has scared the daylights out of me!)
Anyway, I’ve actually been trying to sound hopeful about the future…not terribly negative about the present. Some days are better than others, & I think that’s true for everyone. I’ve also been going throughsome med changes & that’s not always fun! (LOL!)
So I’m sorry if it sounds as though I’m complaining…if I sound depressed, it’s because I am! (Pills don’t always help that!) I believe I was responding to Anne’s email of “soafraid.” Maybe you have to have been to the hell point of psychotic mania to feel that. I have!
Well, I’ll close for here. Let me know the chat place for alanon…maybe I should just look it up under that on the computer, huh?! (LOL!)
Thanks again! I’m hanging in there & you do the same!

Hi Weber,

If I have offended you by any means, I am truly sorry. I didn’t mean to sound as though I was putting you down. I haven’t been to the HELL you have been in the same situation, but believe me, I have been to HELL in a similar set of repercussions, but not the same avenue.

Yes, look up alanon on the computer, that actually should help. You know sitting here and telling you to do that, I’m not so sure I don’t need to sometimes.

I do understand about meds, as I have had a few changes myself. And yes it does mess you up for a while. It makes you feel very insecure. And no pills don’t always help that depression, esp. not right away. about 4-6 weeks, and then you are right, if your living situation isn’t what it should be, it will add to your depression whether you are bipolar or not. but in my experience, and being a recoverying alcholic, I know what has helped me in the last 10 years of my sobriety, and the depression. and the manics. The manics scared me more then the depression, even though I had tried suicide three times before being diagnosed. (my cat is watching the cursor on the screen as I type you this). I also had lived in a strange huge city, with no friens, no family, and no income for about two years before I met my husband I have now. The insecurities ofliving with an active addict is difficult to say the least. It aggravates the bipolar, but now sometimes, i have
to admit, because I have so good, i tend to forget where I have come from, until I start listening to you! and realizing how lucky and grateful I am today.

You have came a long ways, Weber, to even be dealing, and admitting your problems. so many stick their head in the sand and adct as though every thing is okay. you are depressed because you are not in denial, and that is to be commended.

i have to go to work, but i love you

Hi Bip & Anne,

Well, First for you, BIP…perhaps you will understand part of my dilemma! I often have to downsize what I write or read on the computer because the room-mate is very interested in what I do on the computer! (lol!) A bit too interested so that I lack some much needed privacy. Last night as I was looking on the alanon site he came into the office room & wanted to go get some Chinese food. Not to turn down an opportunity for a real meal (one that isn’t eggs, bacon, toast, grits…yuck!) I turned off the computer really quickly. I know I shouldn’t find myself being guilty about trying to deal with his alcoholism, but I do. I sort of feel as though it is his problem & as long as I have to live here, in a way it becomes mine…but I’m sort of trying to bide my time with it. He’s the one who will have to cross that bridge & I just try to keep to myself & stay out of his way. Don’t think too much about upsetting the apple cart because when that’s happened in the past it created even more problems for me. So when I feel alone enough to get on the site again…I will, but in the meantime…I’m pretty busy trying to rescue myself!

Anne, your brother sounds like he was a wonderful man. Full of energy, talent, & life! I’m sorry you lost him. I guess in a way it makes us want to pin our hopes on medicine, like lithium. I don’t feel suicidal now that I’m on lithium, so I know it has worked for me two-fold…keeping suicidal thoughts away & preventing that terrible psychotic mania. I still wonder about other medications for a mood stabilizer since I have gained alot of weight, but I go back & forth with changing it. When I tried the topamax for a week or so I lost weight very quickly, but I felt pretty nervous & “itchy”! My lips would get numb & I sort of had a tingling all over sensation. I had my anti-depressant switched at about the same time & I didn’t think I was sleeping all that well. Now I’m back on the same lithium & remeron & have probably gained the weight I lost right back! I will see the doctor in January & speak with her again about these meds. I really think I’m a little paranoid to go from the lithium to something else because I know it works. We shall see at the beginning of the year if I can tolerate something else.

You are very lucky to have money saved to move into your own place! I receive $550/mon. in disability, & $32/mon. in food stamps. If I didn’t have the bills I currently have, that would probably be enough to live on (in a rent-reduced apartment.) My goal is to pay off 2 credit cards & only have 2 left. With just minimum payment on my bills then they alone will be about $350/month. So I won’t have the luxury of not working. In a way I get excited about working again because I know it will make me feel good about paying off some off the bills that were accumulated because I was manic. Sort of like doing repair work for my own damages! I probably give myself a hard time because I wonder if I will be able to “get up & greet my day” & just make it there on time! It shouldn’t be so overwhelming, but it is. As I’ve said…I may need to work awhile before I can afford to move into a place of my own, & I sometimes wonder if I’ll be able to function like that, with this house as a base. I suppose I won’t know until I try it.

I am not prepared for Christmas. I haven’t heard from my daughter in 6 months or so. I have no extra money to send my son, which is usually the gift I had given him in the past, too. I sometimes think I should get the Christmas palm tree out of the laundry room (I actually got this tree & many ornaments from my divorce!) and set it up. But it would just be going through some motions & I don’t think I’d want to take it down & have to repack it. I sometimes think I may not even take many of my things with me when I leave. It will really depend on where I move to.

Did I ever ask you why you went off the lithium? I’ve done it before, because of side effects I thought I could make it without it. I’ve also done it when I was switched to a different mood stabilizer (which I tried to wean off of myself, too!) I’m not ever going to be in a place anymore where I think I can get by without a mood stabilizer. This last spring was too terrifying for me & I feel, as you say, the lithium at least makes me feel somewhat normal.

Smoking in the US has been banned from public places, even bar & grills, for a few years now. It is something I’ve adjusted to somewhat, but not being able to smoke in the home sure does have me perplexed! I suppose it has helped me not smoke as much, but there are those little things I miss…Like getting up in the morning & have a cup of coffee & a cigarette. Now I go outside as soon as I get out of bed (which is bothering me because it’s most times noon!) It’s 80 degrees here today, so it’s not so bad.

I did volunteer work when I lived in Colorado. It was “peer counseling.” It was a course to help others with mental illness at a place they used for “get together’s.” I hadn’t worked in a little over a year, & it was the start of getting back into the swing of things. After that I also found 2 other PT jobs, one as a receptionist at a funeral home, & one as an admin. asst. to my friend. I eventually was laid off of one (with my friend) & fired from the other. I don’t have a very strong work history, but then I wasn’t on any meds except klonipin for sleep. It will be such a challenge to get back into th work frame of mind! Plus…mornings are problematic for me (although that might not be so bad if I live alone.)

Let me know how the meeting goes with your counselor tomorrow! I have a counseling appt. on Thursday & suppose it will just be talking about my mediation. (Although the counselor can only relay things to the doctor & I won’t see the doctor until Jan.)

Take Care, & try to stay warm there! (I think I had a hot flash trying to put my makeup on today! I was sweating so bad & thought I’d pass out! So, while I don’t like extreme cold, at would be nice to get a little bit now & then.)


Hi Lori,

I don’t know if my brother was bipolar or not for sure but I think he was…I did not know what it was at that time and looking back I think some of his behaviour could well have been bipolar. He was a lovely person and played the drums in a band…he had loads of friends and was far more outgoing than me. I still miss him very much.

I know my maternal grandfather was bipolar so it must have come down from there. I hear your fears about ‘ending up’ in an hospital or nursing home…I share them…although, I think if we ‘stick’ on the meds we should be ok.

We both need to find an home…one where we feel safe and secure and know that we are functioning normally…that will help a great deal I believe. Once I get back on lithium I will never come off it again…I will go for regular blood checks…but no way will I come off it.

Well! its getting closer to Christmas and I have done no shopping…like I say I spend my days doing very little and will have to wait until I feel ‘up to’ shopping before I go. I don’t have much to buy just little bits and bobs for Ben and Emma…I will give them money for the main present and send some to my youngest son. My youngest son, Andrew rang me the other day and said he was ok…although Ben had told me he is having problems with his girlfriend and is talking about getting a place on his own. He never said anything to me about it and I think it is because he does not want to worry me.

Peanut, my puppy, continues to grow and he is a source of amusement and I am grateful to have him because I get ‘cuddles’ off him and he keeps me occupied.

It sounds terrible having to go outside for a cig. In the UK it is getting ridiculous where you can and cannot smoke…since July of this year there is no longer smoking allowed in pubs/bars and you often see people stood outside in the cold and rain having a cig! There are no ‘work places’ that you can smoke anymore here and I should imagine you will have difficulties there also, although you will get ‘breaks’ so should be able to manage.

I doubt I will ever do paid work again…I am on Disability for life…because of bipolar and also osteo-arthritis. I am in constant pain and have problems walking…so if I was to work it would be difficult for me and I think the pain would be too much. I will do voluntary work though because you can ‘pick’ the times you work.

It is very cold here now and the days are grey, which does not help with depression. I always feel much better in the spring. Which is why I will move in the spring…just need to find an house that I am happy with.

I never thought I would be in this position at this age and still struggle to come to terms with it. Like you said we should be sorted at this age…and I get so frustrated about it all.

I have heard off the welfare people and I will get support starting on the 10th of December, so hopefully I will be ‘supported’ in planing and working towards a move in the spring. I want to get back on lithium and ‘stable’ mentally before I do anything.

I am I suppose ‘lucky’ that I have been able to save up and so money is not a problem, in that I have enough to buy what I need to furnish an home…it is just the finding of a home in which I will feel ‘secure’. We had floods here during the summer and much of the private housing is still let to flood victims so there is not much to choose from. Hopefully, in a few months that will change and I can look around and find something suitable.

I am still worried about living alone and know in my old home that would not have been a problem…so I need to find somewhere that makes me feel like that.

After ‘living on the streets’ and living in a shelter you would think I would not be so ‘nervous’ about starting again…but I am and feel sure that my meds are not yet right…so I guess I am ‘pinning my hopes’ on lithium. I just know when I was on it before I felt ‘stable’ although circumstances were different then.

I also hope that I can when back on lithium come off the zyprexa and hopefully lose some weight…I want to go back to being slim!

Well! I will close for now Lori, you are in my thoughts.

Take care
Anne x

Hi Weber and Ann,

You know I read your email, and I have had problems with mornings, going to work too. So now, I work two days on swing, and two days in the mornings, but not until 10:00 am, and I would like to change those two days to swing as well. (I don’t go until 6:00 pm, and work until 3:00 am, closing, which is perfect for my crazy sleeping.) But I don’t think that is going to happen.

Also when I had to go back to work in "06, after being off a year, it was difficult at first. In fact I kept changing jobs, quitting most of them, until I found one I really liked, and the boss was agreeable to let me work part time at first. I still only work 32 hrs., and I work two days, then one off, then two swings. That helps so I’m not overwhelmed with the thought of a 5 day work week, from day one through to day 5. I’ll admit it isn’t a job I could actually live on, unless I lived in low income housing, but it is a job I enjoy doing. However, on my days off, I don’t want to see or talk to anyone other than my husband. I don’t know if it is the bipolar or the fact of seeing people, many people, all day.
I have been on Neurontin for a mood stablizer for several years now, and it doesn’t make me put on weight. I am now putting on weight because I can’t seem to stay out of sugar. (esp. chocolates, carmels, and the really rich sweets). Depakote is terrible for weight gain, so be careful of that one; however, it is a good mood stabilizer. I wish I could take Lithium, but can’t bkz I’m in chronic kidney failure with one kidney.

Just food for thought Weber, alanon is a way of rescuing yourself as well. But…do be careful! Esp. if he is looking over your shoulder. There were times when my husband was still using that I had the same problem. He would get mad at me if he seen I was doing naranon, thinking it was to try to make him quit. they don’t understand it isn’t, that it is for you, instead of trying to make them quit. Plus, their fear is if you get to thinking differently, you won’t be around any more. Even if your relationship isn’t a romantic one, he still may be so used to you being around, and it probably gives him a “shot in the arm” to think he is helping you, probably the one thing that is good in his life right now, that he doesn’t want things to change either. But please look into the site when it is safe. I would find times when it was safe for me. If nothing else, if you are in a chat room and he happens to show up, hit the minimize button, and it will go to the bottom of the screen, and he won’t see what you are doing, and if drunk enough won’t know what the bottom even says. but still be careful!!! I’ve been there too.

Why should you feel guilty for trying to deal with his alcoholism, when it does affect you, whether it is just a room mate situation or other? It is his problem, but for now it is yours too. You have learned dysfunctional ways of dealing with him; is all alanon does for us is reteach us functional ways of dealing with people. That may or may not have any thing to do with someone drinking. Oh! I had forgotten what I was going to say, lol. but now i forgot again, oh, because we are co-dependent, we ALWAYS feel guilty for trying to do something for ourselves. ALWAYS!!! My signature on the bottom says it all, “…needs it the most, and sometimes that means ourselves.”

Any way, you two, I love you both, and hang in there. This too shall pass!