Bipolar Chronicles – This Really Happened: Trust Your Body & Other Lies People Tell Me.

One of the things I’m always hearing from David is that I have to listen to my body. My body is like a friend or a family member that you love and you would never in a million years wish anything but the best for but you have to take everything that it tells you with a grain of salt. Being Bipolar means that my body is constantly sending misinformation and for the most part I never know what is reliable and what is complete crap. It’s gotten so bad that I often ignore hunger, peeing, and I sleep when I don’t need to. Why? Because this body gained me 80lbs in three months telling me I was hungry when it wasn’t. It convinced me for about 30 years that in the face of anxiety, that I had to pee when I didn’t have to. And since my natural Bipolar state is mania or hypomania and sleep trouble and insomnia are my main buddies–I stopped fighting sleep.

This all sounds silly to most people, I’m sure. You have to consider that your body isn’t normally telling you that your mood is fluctuating as often as my body does, nor is it constantly being battered by crippling anxiety that prevents you from doing most normal activities and you don’t have medications with a vast array of side effects bombarding you at any given time. My mind and body long ago stopped working in harmony and became combatants. The synapses that fire sending messages at one moment saying, “You are in a quiet space, you have your best friend, Bunny and you feel good” could very well flip on me five minutes later to say, “You are going deaf, Bunny is going to die soon. The neighbors know you are home alone, you are in danger.” Nothing has to happen, it’s just my mind telling me something has changed and my body will react from that change in information in any number of ways. Sometimes I will hide and other times I will try to rationalize. Denial is a good friend. Crying is also another pal. And then there is reading and writing. Probably the safest of the newer forms of stress relief. Older forms of stress reliefs were gruesome at best, but that is another story.

That isn’t where I am going with this post. Just before Valentine’s Day–today is 03/02/2014, I got the flu–for the second time this year. Yeah, you suckers are all underachievers. Because I am Bipolar I am never sure that when I get sick, and something is lasting for more than a week or so, if it is a lingering illness or if I’ve become depressed and hit a low cycle and I need my meds adjusted. I wanted to be armed when I went to my psychiatrist, he’s a great guy and really competent doctor. I’ve had doctor’s in the past that never discussed my health or medication options before, there is a story here and I will tell it some other time. Dr. Golden is incredibly patient about talking about how the meds affect different parts of the brain and what sort of side effects I might experience; percentages of those affected by those side effects as well. So I wanted to have blood tests done so I could go to him and say, “My thyroid level is good, my blood count isn’t showing low vitamin D or anemia.” But none of my tests came back good despite having just had good test results in December.

First of all, from being on Lithium for a few years I developed hypothyroidism back in 2010. I’ve been taking medication for it since that time and it’s been managed ever since. I had my gallbladder out in December, 2012, which really sucked. In February, 2013 I had a blood test that showed some abnormal liver enzyme readings. They did hep tests and those came back negative so they just let it go.

Since psych meds are very hard on the body you get frequent blood tests to make sure that you aren’t having any liver or kidney problems. I also have to watch that tricksome thyroid. It wasn’t until after I switched doctors and I had my physical that I noticed that one level had steadily been going up all year long, my Alkaline Phosphatase. It’s a liver enzyme and mine was  128 out of the hospital after I had my gallbladder removed, the normal range is 38-126. Through out the year it kept climbing. I mentioned it when I saw my GP and when she looked at it she became–well she became alarmed. I had been complaining about tenderness in my abdomen and the fact that she saw my last test result showed my Alk Phos level at 146, this concerned her. She put in a med order for me to get an emergency abdomen ultrasound and the blood work. And I have to laugh because she said to me, “I don’t want you to worry, I have put this abdominal ultrasound order through as EMERGENCY. You need to go ASAP. But please do not get alarmed, this is just procedure. We will see the blood work results before we do anything further and go from there. Please don’t upset yourself, but go to Urgent Care immediately if there is any pain or discomfort from that upper right abdominal area.” Sometimes you have to laugh or you will cry.

So my blood work came back not good. My thyroid is bad. My liver enzymes are bad, although I am not positive for hepatitis. She does worry that from the sensitivity and pain that I am having I might have some enlarging of the liver. It could be some blockage of bile ducts from the gall bladder surgery. Because of my severe social anxiety and the fact that I never leave the house, going to the doctor’s office has made me more sick than I was before I went. The cough is back with a vengeance. My sinuses are clogged, I have an earache, my nose is runny. I’m tired as eff–but that can be my thyroid, my liver, the flu, a virus, depression or all those things put together and my body just being racked with a blend of not goodness.

If there is any goodness coming out of this all… I can no longer taste the vile cough medicine I am taking. Cat crap on a cracker was that stuff awful when my nose was clear and I could taste it. So being congested has a silver lining. David has been reading to me while I lay all sleepy in bed. I’ve finally got a few reviews written, although I’ve only written them, they aren’t proofed or anything. And being sick has left me with lot’s of time to book crawl Amazon–more of a problem than a good thing really, but that’s another story.