What I’ve Done Recently

Hypomania, Self-Care, Success!

Frustrated, Defeated and Hypomanic

The weekend before last, I was frustrated, overwhelmed, feeling defeated, and mildly hypomanic.

I felt like a failure as a mother, for I hadn’t been able to get my son to take his high school equivalency exams. Told that I make it too easy for him to stay in his bedroom compounded my feeling of guilt.

How could I balance compassion for my son’s severe migraine pain and social anxiety with consequences that forced him to take more responsibility?

Repeated what I’ve told him before (without a hard date): He had to move forward – with school, with helping around the house, with addressing his anxiety, or with work – or he would have to move out.

Now that he’s a legal adult, we’re no longer legally obligated to house and feed him. We don’t intend to kick him out. But, he must move forward and take responsibility as an adult member of the household.

Provider Education, Take Two

The National Alliance on Mental Illness Orange County (NAMI OC) chapter asked me to retrain for the new two-day Provider Education curriculum.

I had served on the Provider Education team that first structured the five-week course content into a two-day format, and we had done it in two days numerous times.

Turns out the “new” curriculum varied very little from what we were teaching. By lunch on that Saturday, I lost my temper. I was insulted.

Explaining that I had a lot going on in my life (mother’s stroke, dad’s death, son’s anxiety), I left with the “new” two-day curriculum binder in hand.

Self-Care

After losing my temper at NAMI OC, I knew I needed a break to pull myself together and bring myself down from irritable hypomania before the International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF) Women’s Mental Health panel discussion on the following Tuesday.

How did I recover? I left. Booked myself into a hotel in La Jolla Sunday through Wednesday and relaxed. Not everyone can do this. I realize that. But, it’s cheaper than psychiatric hospitalization.

Women in Mental Health

On the International Bipolar Foundation’s Women’s Mental Health Panel, I represented the mature women living with bipolar. Mental health activist and actor, Claire Griffiths, represented the perspective of a teenager. Aubrey Good, the Social Media and Program Coordinator of IBPF, represented the young adult perspective.

I had a wonderful time meeting IBPF staff and volunteers and loved being a part of their panel discussion. I hope to do more public speaking events in the future.

Success!

When I returned home Wednesday, my son had showered, dressed, fed himself, and was ready to take his first high school equivalency test. He passed. I never doubted his ability to pass the test.

BIG DEAL: He overcame his anxiety and didn’t get a migraine. Two days later, he took the next test despite migraine symptoms. He took migraine and nausea medications and faced his fear. Again, he passed.

Two down. Two to go. Moving Forward.

Connecting with Online Friends in Real Life

This weekend, Sarah Fader came into town. She managed to connect with several mental health advocates and writers over the weekend.

Sunday, we met with:

I never would have tried to visit so many people in such a short time!

Mini-Family Reunion

Sunday night had the pleasure of meeting my uncle, two of my cousins, their spouses and kids in Anaheim. Family. Love. Great food. Fireworks in the sky. Thank you!

I CAN Do It

Lesson Learned: If I take care of myself, I can achieve more AND so can my son.

Irritable. Hypomanic. Parenting Fail.

Fighting Hypomania. Parenting Fail.

Fighting Hypomania

Irritable. Hypomanic. Overwhelmed?

Unfortunately, social stimulation triggers and worsens hypomanic symptoms in me.

Upcoming events that may overstimulate me:

Parenting Fail

Frustrated with my newly adult 18-year old son who struggles with social anxiety and migraines. Though highly intelligent, he has not completed high school, nor has he taken scheduled high school equivalency tests.

Anxiety. Migraines. Reschedule. Repeat.

Yesterday, he did not go to his scheduled cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) evaluation. The CBT psychologist told me that we must make structured household changes in which we design and implement consequences. As is, he lacks motivation to change.

Self Care

After drafting this post, I went to the pharmacy to fill my clonazepam prescription. I rarely take clonazepam, a benzodiazepine, for it’s a potentially addictive controlled substance. But, today I need it.

Treated myself to chicken enchiladas mole for lunch. I love Olamendi’s mole sauce. Chocolate and spices in the over 50-ingredient sauce help. Magic.

Now, I chill out.

Recovering

Time to relax, take a deep breath, calm mind & body. KittOMalley.com

Low Carb Low Fat Diet

Forbidden Foods

Saw my internist today. Here’s my new diet regimen to lower my triglycerides: 100 gram carbohydrates per day, 60 grams fat day, no more than 5 nuts (preferrably walnuts), no olive oil (save 1 tablespoon to pan fry), no coconut oil, no cheese, no red meat, no pasta, no rice, and no bread.

Wish me luck! I’ve already been using the LoseIt! app to track what I eat for weight loss along with fellow mental health blogger Dyane Harwood and my husband.


There’s a good reason doctors want to meet with you to discuss lab results. See, when you download them yourself, you may misread the results, like I did. I got all worried for nothing. My internist said that my liver panel was fine.

She suspected lab error for my high potassium level.

Often a report of high blood potassium isn’t true hyperkalemia. Instead, it may be caused by the rupture of blood cells in the blood sample during or shortly after the blood draw. The ruptured cells leak their potassium into the sample. This falsely raises the amount of potassium in the blood sample, even though the potassium level in your body is actually normal.

– Mayo Clinic

As my total protein, albumin, and globulin levels were all normal and my albumin/globulin ratio was just above normal, I have no reason for concern. I can keep taking divaproex sodium (Depakote) for bipolar disorder and atorvastatin (Lipitor) for high cholesterol.

The lab sent my internist the liver panel prescribed by my psychiatrist, not the metabolic panel she requested. She relied on my (exaggerated and anxious) self report of high triglycerides (and my charted clinical history of high triglycerides).

Unfortunately, I didn’t remember what the actual triglyceride number was. If I had read the results more closely, rather than catastrophizing, I would have noticed that my triglycerides are just above normal. (I faxed my internist the lab results once I got home.)

Anyway, as high triglycerides are bad news, she prescribed fenofibrate, a medication to lower my triglycerides, and a strict low fat low carb diet. Taking a medication is easy. Keeping to a highly restrictive diet is not.

Triglycerides are a type of fat found in your blood. Too much of this type of fat may raise the risk of coronary artery disease, especially in women.

MedlinePlus

Both my mother and my maternal grandmother suffered from strokes. My mother’s stroke resulted in vascular dementia and loss of language (severe damage to the left hemisphere of her brain).

My father now has a fatty liver and dementia, as a result of heavy alcohol consumption. Fatty liver can also be the result of high triglycerides. Got to take care of my heart and my liver. Got to take care of my body and my brain.