Monday, January 31, 2011

Is it really that hard? - Prescriptions

Disclaimer:  I stole the title for this post from my friend Megan who writes A Right Gapesnest (and does a wonderful job, too, by the way) and periodically has a "Is it really that hard?" post.

After being in the hospital a few weeks ago, I finally got all my meds more or less straightened out; I went from six different prescriptions prescribed by four different doctors to four prescriptions prescribed by one doctor.  Much improved.  However, when I went to get them filled Saturday, turns out the scripts were made out to "Amy King" rather than "Amy Krug."  I know I'm a new patient and all, but still.  A tad annoying.  The pharmacist told me he couldn't fill them without calling the doctor, and he wouldn't call the doctor until Monday morning.  Lovely.  Luckily, I had some leftovers of some of the meds from before my hospital stint, so I muddled through, but hopefully the doc and the pharmacy will work things out today.  Apparently we're supposed to have some sort of snow/ice storm tonight and tomorrow, so I need to be able to pick up these pills today.

On a knitting front, I just started this cute little set called "Sweet Pea," which is a baby bodysuit and hat.  We'll see how it turns out; I'm not so good at stuff that has to "fit."  I need some sort of tutorial on gauge, yarn types, and the like.  Oh well.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Hobo bag blues and the stomach flu

So last week I was going like gangbusters on my Noni hobo bag, until I realized I misread the pattern and was only decreasing by two stitches every three rounds instead of four. I did this for probably 60 rounds of the bag body. Talk about frustrating. I am eternally indebted to my mother, who actually went ahead and tore out the rounds for me and re-balled my yarn. I'm sure she did this because she loves me, but also because she knew how much money I spent on the kit and couldn't bear the thought of me not finishing it.

In addition to my knitting woes, the entire household came down with the stomach flu last week -- the two-year-old on Tuesday, the rest of us on Thursday. It was that awful stuff where you projectile vomit till you think you going to see your shoes coming out; at least it only lasted about 24 hours for all of us -- except me, of course, probably because of being pregnant and generally down in immunities.

My mood, knock on wood, is slowly improving. I think the medication changes made while I was at the hospital were a step in the right direction. I even managed to take the kids to story time today at the library, and that's the first time I've taken the kids out by myself in quite a while. I'm still not good, but I'm much better than I was, and any improvement is welcome.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Pregnant Bipolar Knitter is knitting again....

Well, I didn't post last week at all because...(deep breath)...I was in the hospital. Yep, finally bottomed out and ended up in the psych ward from Tuesday through Friday. The worst part? Well, there were a lot of bad parts, but maybe one of the worst is that I couldn't knit. I understand, of course -- needles, string, psych ward...don't really go together. But it was rough, since that's my form of therapy. I did a lot of drawing instead, the only catch being was that I couldn't use any writing instrument other than one of those little tiny pencils like they give you to keep score when you're playing mini golf. I went through five.

Anyway, I'll get to the whole sad story later, but for now, I'm glad to be home with my family and, yes, my knitting needles.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Why won't my brain shut up?

I will continue with my story, but I thought I'd save that for another day.

One of the brutalities of bipolar disorder (in case you didn't know) is that your brain never shuts up, unless you're heavily medicated -- and sometimes not even then. (In fact, if you don't know a lot about bipolar disorder, suspect you or a loved one has it, or just want to read up, here is the link to the information on bipolar disorder from the National Alliance on Mental Health.)

Lately this has been an issue for me, even though I am heavily medicated. In fact, a long time ago one of my coworkers told me that I "thought more than anyone she knew." Now, note, she didn't say I was "smarter than anyone she knew," just that I thought more than anyone she knew

These days, I just keep bouncing from idea to idea and can't seem to get a grip on one thought enough to evaluate it and act on it, or discard it as necessary. Then I sort of end up shutting down because there's too much going on up there to deal while I'm conscious, so I just go to sleep if I can. I think in some ways it's worse in pregnancy because, let's face it, just about all pregnant women have a lot on their minds and have at least some level of anxiety. In a way, that's why knitting helps, because at least it gives me something to concentrate on. I'm also trying to keep lists, which at least gives me the illusion of organization.

Oh, and my Noni hobo bag is coming along quite well -- though I've decided that in the future, no matter what, if I'm buying a hank of yarn (rather than a machine-spun package), I'm going to have someone ball it for me. I thought I was going to become homicidal trying to get my yarn into neat balls last night, because everything ended up in a tangled mess.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Let's start at the very, actually, a little before the beginning

Just to set the stage of who I am as "Pregnant Bipolar Knitter," I thought I'd give a brief history of my struggle with bipolar disorder and depression. If you have ever suffered from mental illness -- and, subsequently, suffered from trying to be diagnosed and treated for it -- you know that sometimes that story can fill a book. Or two.

So I'll just try to give a quick summary of my experience. I was working as a software engineer out of college starting in 1998, and in 2001, about the time I changed positions in the company I was working for, I started suffering from depression, anxiety, and gastro-intestinal problems (I'll spare you those details). I chalked most of my problems up to dislike of my job and my career path in general. To try to help my situation, I found a new, full-time job at a University (go Flyers!) as a web developer, which would allow me to work, tuition-free, on my Master's Degree in English Composition which is what I decided I wanted to do. I moved into my new job in 2002, but the depression and anxiety worsened, and I finally sought help from my general practitioner in 2003.

To make a long story a little bit shorter, my doctor tried a succession of drugs, including Paxil, Lexapro, and Wellbutrin. He also prescribed Klonopin for anxiety. He also referred me to a counselor who was, to put it mildly, a complete waste of time. After about six months of trying drugs, drugs not working, and counseling not working, he put me on Depakote in addition to the antidepressant I was already taking, under the suspicion I was suffering from bipolar disorder rather than unipolar depression.

The one good news was that my gastro-intestinal problems (which had been previously diagnosed as Irritable Bowel Syndrome) had cleared up. When I mentioned this to the doc, his response was, "Oh, I always thought you just had a nervous stomach."

Gee, that would have been nice to know before I went through countless -- ah, let's say, invasive -- exams, a colonoscopy, and various other imagining tests. Thus began my skepticism of the medical profession.

The Depakote and antidepressants helped my mood a little, but at this point, after about six months of "trial and error," I decided I needed to see a psychiatrist. After all, if you had a heart problem, you'd see a cardiologist, right? I figured the same logic applied.

The decision to see a psychologist seemed like the best idea at the time...alas, I was wrong. But I'll save the next part of the story for another post; I've rambled on too much already.

Knitting update:

Since I am "Pregnant Bipolar Knitter," here's my current knitting news: I just got in the mail a kit I ordered to make the beautiful Noni Nomad Hobo Bag from Dream Weaver Yarns.

I think Noni has some of the most beautiful felted bag patterns out there; I have a few patterns but I haven't made any yet. Even though I stayed up way too late last night, I went ahead and got my hobo bag started...can't wait till it's finished, felted, and ready to stuff with all the junk I usually cram in my purse.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

This Blog is for you...

Well, okay, it's for me, too, but I'm starting it with the intention of bringing together a very underserved population of women: pregnant women with mental illness. Through this online journal, I want to tell my (unfortunately) ongoing story of battling mental illness (specifically bipolar disorder) while pregnant, and hopefully give some comfort, hope, and maybe suggestions to people in similar situations.

My goal is not necessarily to whine and bitch about my experiences- - though I can't promise that there won't be at least some of that from time to time. Rather, I believe that I am not alone in what I have been going through with this, my third pregnancy. My bipolar disorder, specifically bipolar depression, aggression, agitation, and irritation, is all but running my life right now and making it hard to function on a "normal" level, which primarily means taking care of my other two children (aged 4 and 2). Hopefully, this blog will give me a positive focus that I can control- -because let's face it, when you're pregnant, most of your life seems out of control, regardless if you have a history of mental illness or not. And hopefully, someone out there will connect with my story and feel a little less alone, and a little more hopeful.

In my next post I'll start to tell my story. In the meantime, I'll be knitting, which is one of the few things keeping me from teetering over the brink of sanity.