Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired

Strategies and alternatives for coping with fibromyalgia, bipolar disorder and other chronic illnesses

Oooops, I Screwed Up, AGAIN

Posted by wendyburnett on April 15, 2010

Dammit, I KNOW better than to do this . . . But, being the stubborn bitch I am, I manage to do it to myself whenever I stop paying attention, and let myself forget that just because I usually keep my bipolar very well controlled doesn’t mean I can’t trigger it.

Work scheduled me for more hours than usual this week, and it’s been really busy, so I ended up staying 90 minutes late two nights this week. That cuts WAAAAAY into the time I have for the stuff I need to do at home, so I’ve been staying up late to get everything done. BAD idea! Very, very, VERY bad idea.

Last night I got about 6 hours, and the night before I only got 3 (not entirely my fault, I woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep.) Anyway, when hubby got up to get ready for work, I nearly drove him nuts talking “at” him. This is NOT a good sign . . . Talking like that is always the first sign that I’m starting a manic or hypomanic episode, so it’s time to take steps. (Thank goodness I’ve learned to recognize when I’m trying to cycle so I can head it off, or at least minimize the effects.)

As soon as I realized what was happening, I recruited the hubby to help me make sure I go to bed at a decent hour for our schedule. He’s got a note to start bugging me around midnight so that I can get all of the “pre-bed” necessities taken care of and get to bed by 1 or 2 (am). That way I can be sure to have a full 8 hours available for sleeping, even if I have trouble dozing off. The next step is a nice cup of a calming herbal tea (catnip, yum) to moderate the mood, and removing the debit card from the wallet so I can’t get carried away with it tonight at work. (I’ll also be limiting my coffee intake and removing cinnamon, nutmeg, and licorice from my diet, since those all have antidepressant effects. I’ll be using lavender essential oil for any sinus issues, since decongestants and antihistamines can also “encourage” mania; plus, lavender is calming, so it will help moderate my mood.)

Even worse, lack of sleep increases my pain levels, while mania/hypomania reduce my natural options for pain relief. Ordinarily, pain would mean ginger tea, but ginger is energizing, and I don’t need that. That limits my pre-work pain relief options to ibuprophen, tylenol, turmeric, and a topical cream; since I don’t have time to mix an aromatherapy option and the herbal option could make me too sleepy in combination with the catnip. (It’s definitely on the “menu” for when I get home though, along with mixing up a pain-relieving oil blend to use until things settle down.) I’ll also be adding even more onions and garlic to my diet, since those have an anti-inflammatory effect.

I think I’ve pretty much done all I can for right now, since I have to get out of here and head to work, but I’ll be thinking about what else I can do to manage the situation when I get home. Wish me luck . . .

NOTE: Nothing in this post is intended as medical advice. Before trying anything I’ve mentioned, you should consult your healthcare provider and research to make sure that there are no dangerous interactions with medications you take. These are all simply things I’ve found that help ME, and you should never experiment without serious research into possible negative effects.

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2 Responses to “Oooops, I Screwed Up, AGAIN”

  1. Cynthia H said

    Wendy, hooray for you! You may have lost focus temporarily, but were wise enough to regain it before bouncing into an “episode”.

    Paying attention, knowing your limits and triggers, and working towards balance are key in dealing with any chronic illness – but we’re all capable of forgetting, overlooking or pushing those limits. It can be so tempting and so easy to do, especially when we have a day or two of feeling (for us) good.

    I think that you are amazingly well attuned to yourself, your body and your needs – and I love that you are so proactive!

    • Thanks Cynthia –

      When you deal with multiple illnesses, it’s so easy to get focused on the one that’s causing you the most problems. That’s never good, because it distracts you from keeping track of where you are with the other stuff, which can lead to accidentally triggering something you really don’t want to have to deal with. I think the secret is in being able to recognize the signs of trouble early enough to minimize problems, and learning about ways to do that BEFORE you need them. (Planning ahead is VERY important when dealing with ANY chronic illness. The boy scouts have the right idea – Be Prepared.)

      For example: I’m going to the Renaissance Festival Saturday, and I know it’s going to put a major strain on my body, so I’ve already planned how I’m going to manage that. I requested Sunday off so that I can rest; I’ve got a couple of big batches of herbal teas made, jarred and in the refrigerator so all I have to do when I need them is pop a cup in the microwave and add a bit of honey; I picked up a new bag of epsom salt last week so that I can soak out any muscle soreness; bought one of the family size frozen lasagnas, frozen garlic bread and a bag of premade salad for dinner that night; and made sure that hubby has work clothes ready for Sunday so I don’t have to fool with last-minute laundry. There are a couple of things on the agenda for tomorrow, and Saturday, all I’ll have to do is get dressed and go. (Of course, knowing how men are, hubby will manage to throw at least one monkey wrench into the works . . .)

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