TRIGGER ALERT: If you are suicidal, have attempted suicide or have known someone who has made an attempt or been successful, you may not wish to continue reading this post.  This post contains material that may be considered graphic about my own recent suicide attempt.

I just woke up from yet another night of disastrous sleep.  Tears flowing from my eyes.  They still are flowing.  I probably had more nightmares but I can’t remember them.  I won’t even delve further into my emotional state…wait.  LOOK OUT!

Perhaps this post may become a bit more clear as my morning moves on.  I’ll start drinking my tea, my Concerta will kick in but I wanted to start it right now.  Right in the moment.  Right when I felt the feelings.  The immediacy was that important and for now, this is just a free flow blog post (with maybe some Google references?) I’ll probably have to edit it, though.  No, I will.  I just made an edit.  Regardless, I’m still going to let it pour out of me.

I am experiencing Survivor Guilt for recently attempting suicide.  I never, never, never, ever, ever, ever thought I would seriously make an attempt again.  The possibility was always there, of course.  I’d be surprised to find anyone with a psych diagnosis who has not pondered suicide.  I mean, there are loads of stats out there.  Although, I think the stats “lie” in terms of people thinking about it.  The problem exists with self-reporting (possibly?) because suicide is still far too taboo an issue.

Enter my Survivor Guilt.

I’ve tried to commit suicide before twice in my life.  Both were pretty bogus and ridiculous attempts but that doesn’t matter.  The actions were what counted.  Those were done in 1999.  The first time I actually thought about committing suicide was when I was 13.  I was very close to trying but “guilt” held me back.

In 1999? There was no “guilt.”  No one gave a shit about me.  Who the hell would care if I died? Whether that was true or not, I did not know at the time.  I still do not know to this day.  It was a long time ago.  There were few to depend upon.  Just as today. But during that time, my life was also full of many, unsavoury characters.  Some of them may have cheered if I offed myself!

Further, I took a sort of “life moves on” attitude.  Even if anyone cared, they’d get over it soon enough.  People die all the time! So you grieve, for as long as it takes, but then you just get on with it.  Get back to your life.

Hmmm…  Well, what’s that all about? Me never having to grieve anyone? Me not giving a shit about myself so thinking why should anyone else–just like more of the above? Me not even caring about the people that would still be living their lives away after I was dead and gone? Was I so consumed with me? Only me? I’m not like that.

There are so many angles you can debate until you die of your own natural death, and one of them is that people who commit suicide are selfish.  I don’t believe that one.  It’s usually pulled out by the folks that are still alive after the person died.  Anger is one part of their grief, so that’s where that comment can be said.

Enter my Survivor Guilt…sorry.  My current Survivor Guilt doesn’t seem to want to come out of the shadows and enter the real world.  Just like me.  In fact, we’re just one neat ugly little package right now.  I know before in this post I said I’d probably get into some more detail about what happened.  However, when I woke up and from some events last night, I felt writing this was more important.

What is Survivor Guilt? Unfortunately, for a long time it got tangled up like versions of PTSD.  You had to survive something catastrophic to end up dealing with the guilt of surviving the event.  Not true.  Pretty much anything that would apply to you as traumatic fits the bill.  Still, a lot of examples out there still use catastrophes.  Drive the point home so people can “get it?” So essentially, in its most basic form, it is dealing with the “guilt” of surviving a traumatic event.

However, it’s more complicated, there are many more layers and it’s multi-faceted.  It doesn’t just affect one person.  It’s not just affecting me.  Nonetheless, I’ll try to stick to just my situation.  Which is still complicated, has a lot of layers and is multi-faceted.

On my side, I’m guilty as all hell.  I feel like I’ve fucked up massively for not being able to fight off being suicidal.  I’ve done it so many times for so long.  Do the math.  1999 to 2011.  That’s 12 years.  That’s a long time.  A lot of people who have failed suicide attempts feel guilty because they didn’t succeed. I feel guilty for even trying to succeed!!!

Even though my mental state being whatever it was, no matter how many people may accept that, it is not acceptable to me!!! I feel guilty because what I have done is and was wrong. Taboo or not taboo, that is irrelevant.  What I did was completely destructive. And as a result, I let myself down, I wasn’t strong enough and I failed.

I think that’s enough? Also, I know I have been given a lot of support.  I am still being given it and I am extremely grateful for that.  But you know what? And please take no offense.  It actually adds to my Survivor Guilt! But this is important.  I want everyone reading to know that I am talking about my feelings here.  They have absolutely NOTHING to do with YOUR actions or words! Please understand that!

Why do I feel more Survivor Guilt? This may not sound much like I “survived” but it does have to do with all of the above.

Now that it’s over, it is not over.  I suppose when all was said and done, when I was safely back at home, I knew there would be repercussions.  I would have caused people some pain.  I already was “remorseful” and “felt bad.”  But I had no clue what I had really done.  The damage and destruction and pain that resulted from my actions.

I still haven’t told some people in my life, but I know I have damn near taken things to a breaking point in at least one area, with one person! If it wasn’t enough that I felt I let myself down, I let them down! That disgusts me even more! There is no way to even begin to tell you how much! It is someone I treasure and love dearly and if this relationship…

So, now we’ve got two people dealing with Survivor Guilt bouncing off each other.  Bear in mind, none of this is that other person’s fault.  Of course it’s not! I now feel utterly and completely responsible for their pain. Of course I do! If I hadn’t done what I did, they wouldn’t be in that pain!!!

I need a break from writing this.  I need some tea.  Christ, it’s 1200 words long.

Maybe this is enough.  Yes, lots of bold, screamy, letters and words.  My own “catastrophe.”  Even if no one really “gets it.”

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  1. Hi patientanonymous, I see you’re back to comment on one of your own posts, again. You’re spending a lot of time talking to yourself these days.

    Nah, I’m not so much. I just wanted to say I did a real “whammy” on everyone regarding my Survivor Guilt.

    I said I was so grateful for everyone’s support and yet it still contributed to it. There’s another nice example of how brutal Survivor Guilt can be (as if this entire post wasn’t bad enough!) It can make you sound like a total Passive-aggressive bitch (or bastard.)

    Two more VERY important problems for me with what I wrote. For some, an overwhelming sense of responsibility can exacerbate Survivor Guilt. That would be me. Also, if you’re going through Survivor Guilt, you can tend to minimize the importance of the event. I did that as I placated all of you. Oh, thanks so much…I’m so grateful, but really…

    So I did all of you a tremendous disservice. More than.

    I’m very sorry for that.

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  2. Splinteredones

    Ur decision to continue on or not is totally up to you honey. Others will react as we will, but that is not ur fault. I have been teetering on suicide mysrlf for my entire life. I’m not sure why i am still here actually. In any event, guilt gets you nowhere. Try to put ur energy into feeling better and recover from this. Ur not responsible fir the emotions of others. I’m sorry uve been in such a hard place honey. May ypu find peace soonest. Namaste _/|\_

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  3. Hi PA,
    I’m relatively new to your blog (have commented a few times and lurked on and off for a long time), but I can definitely to the specific guilt you suffer when suriviving a suicide attempt, or in my case just suicidal threats. I was told, when I told random strangers that I was suicidal in a breakdown in 2007, that I was making them responsible for me. This was true of course, but it made me feel even worse and like I should just have committed suicide entirely. I was also told the “suicidal people are selfish” nonsense by my parents (who came to the hospital where I was admitted to tell the doctor that I’d done everything for attention). Even now, 3 1/4 years later, I feel guilty about what I did in 2007. It is in some ways comparable to the guilt about the physical and emotional hurting I got as a child, but in other ways, it’s not comparable.

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  4. PA,
    I can so relate to the things you said, especially bolded ones. Don’t have much to say except the old age saying: time heals wounds but they sure as hell will be sore for a while.

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  5. Hi Splinteredones. Thank you.

    I understand what you mean by teetering on suicide for your entire life. I really do. There have been times when I have been basically stable and still suicidal! I have never been able to figure those times out!

    Maybe it has something to do with it all starting from such a young age. My memory is obliterated from the PTSD so I may have even been suicidal before that! Merlin #1 and I (before I stopped seeing him) also entertained a childhood Bipolar diagnosis, too.

    Good god, my head! What a kid! Seriously! Wee PA was an Aspie and had ADD. Depressed like you wouldn’t believe! Went through so much trauma she can’t remember damn near any of her life–some even into her adult years! Maybe was Bipolar and spazzy there, as well. Let’s toss in a bit of anorectic shit for “good measure.” Although, that began in her teens.

    I can also relate in other ways of how or why on earth I am still here. That has to do with my Bipolar madness when it was uncontrolled. Wow, you get a bunch of us in a room together and you wouldn’t believe the stories we’d tell you! So, how did I survive a lot of that?

    I know guilt doesn’t get you anywhere. I say it to everyone. I even say it to myself. Words vs. Feelings? It’s just that this business is truly horrendous and over the top!

    It’s just so hard as I’ve always said “I’m not going anywhere.” And this time? I feel like I broke my word. I never break my word/s (Do I? No?) No. I don’t think so. So this is just awful.

    But thanks again, hon. Hopefully everything will ease up all the way around.

    Hi Astrid. Thanks for coming out more here. That means a lot to me. Like I said in the comment to “myself” and everyone else. Everyone around here does mean a lot.

    It also helps that you can understand some of what I’m saying? Man, I really puked out a lot of intense stuff in this post. However, my blog can be pretty raw at times and is always honest.

    Your comment back to me is pretty raw and honest, and I really respect that. You’re saying something that I did not want to say! To hell with the Survivor Guilt! Now I really want to die!

    Although, that’s so screwed up, right? It’s just you do feel more awful!

    You’ve just gotten through an attempt or ideation or whatever, you’re still reeling, everyone else is, too. It really does feel like it was worse than before because now you’re not the only one that was going fucking nuts! If it was only you (again) you’d have a damn chance at getting a grip, but now it just seems more unmanageable!

    I never got told I was selfish. Before, I just got silence. And the odd hug. Oh, and attention seeking? That is just…don’t get me started.

    3 1/4 years later? I’m sorry. Let’s hope that guilt eases up for you, too. It definitely sounds like it’s time.

    As above, my memory and trauma? The memories may be pretty much locked up tight (for now?) but the guilt certainly shows itself. It follows me everywhere I go.

    Thanks again to you, too.

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  6. Hi bipolarmaniac. Good to see you and welcome.

    It’s alright if you don’t have much to say. You did say that you can relate and that helps a lot.

    Thank you.

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  7. Hey, sorry it took me so long to respond, it took me a bit to get myself to read your post. *hug* I really need to mail this letter tommorow, even if it is just pointless babble. Let me know if I can help or something, ok? *hug*

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  8. Hi Canageek. It’s alright. Don’t worry about the time. Thanks and *hugs back*

    I’ll still look forward to your letter. I don’t care what you write. Well, I DO care. You know what I mean. Maybe after this one, I might even mail you back. Now that sure would be something, wouldn’t it?

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  9. Hey, you have written me twice before! Also you could mail me pictograms if you don’t want to write. ;)

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  10. Hi Canageek. Yes, I did manage to achieve success a couple of times, there. I guess that’s not too bad. A pictogram? That sounds like way too much work, though.

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  11. Kevin

    Hi PA – I just discovered your blog (while you were in the ICU) and am really happy to find you out, alive, and still fighting, repercussions or no.

    I have to second what Astrid said – some of the guilt you describe is exactly what I felt following a suicide I *didn’t* attempt. In a brief moment of lucidity during the worst depressed episode I’ve had over 20 years of fighting this, I told two close “if there’s anything I can do, ANYTHING, please let me know…” friends that my mind was seriously made up, that I was genuinely afraid, that I needed help. In the end, they weren’t prepared to help a crazy person and made it known afterward how inconsiderate and selfish I was for putting them in that position. Those relationships are now pretty much gone, and my suicide safety net with them.

    I’m not going to try to talk you out of your feelings of guilt, even a very logical argument sure as hell wouldn’t work on me. I’ll just say that I found a lot of things of value to me in reading your past posts and that I truly hope you keep your chin up.

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  12. Hi Kevin. Nice to meet you and welcome. Oh, god. You found me when I was in the ICU and started following me then. Now, more support from you, too. I’m starting to get pretty overwhelmed by all of this. Thank you so much.

    I’m so, so sorry you had to go through that. This is such painful stuff we’re all talking about. If it isn’t enough that we feel so isolated and need support when we’re not in crisis, to have to reach the points when we really lose it, end up there, and then lose your/our “safety net/s” as you say. Awful.

    It’s awful all the way around. Not just for us “crazies.” Even if our safety nets are crazies, too. It doesn’t matter. Support is still support, and we need it wherever we can get it.

    I can understand it from the other side, though. I’ve been pushed by someone as well who has forced me to change things in a relationship. There were other reasons, too. This friend of mine became abusive at a point, so that just added to it all. However, he feels he didn’t do anything wrong! Well, maybe a little.

    I think things make situations so much different if you can work through the issues. The pain, the fear, the guilt and its partner shame. When you honestly try to make amends with people who still care. I truly believe things can be set right again. Even if the situation is so goddamn ugly. If the people actually don’t care do walk away? Unbelievably painful. I still have no answers for that one. Maybe nothing. You have no choice in the matter.

    Although, in just thinking now, as trite as it sounds (and I can’t stand platitudes!) But it’s okay to say them. Really folks, it is. When you’re mentally ill, you definitely find out who your friends are (or any other people in your life’s relationships.) If they ultimately don’t care, they will (eventually) walk away, you can’t control it, and it’s still unbelievably painful. And, as above, nothing you can do?

    Your last paragraph is spot on. As a matter of fact, I had a realization a while ago that you “shouldn’t” say “shouldn’t” to anyone in terms of how they are feeling. We actually need to feel whatever it is, in order to get through whatever is going on in or lives. Even if that’s unbelievably painful, too.

    If we don’t, if we just try to ignore it all and deny those feelings, they’ll resurface at some point. Then? You thought you were in trouble before?

    Hell, I’ve done it all my life. I’m still hostage to my own behaviour at times, there, but I try and stop it as best I can–before things get too out of control. I don’t always know if I’m that successful, however.

    Your comment about logic hits home with me, as well. Boy, do I use logic to try and get myself out of issues, emotional situations, the whole lot. That doesn’t always work so well, either. Definitely not when things are REALLY intense. No, that’s when you just have to let things flow.

    Thank you as well about my posts, and the compliments for them. That really means a lot to me, too.

    Take care and come back whenever you’d like.
    PA

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  13. Kevin

    Hi PA.

    Using logic to deal with mood and emotional issues?… having bipolar with Asperger’s can be really futile sometimes!

    I agree with what you say about not being able to control how your friends interact with you during the bad times. These days I’m flat out honest and open w/ any partners or very close friends who want to help about things. I realize it looks like I’m normal to them, I’m a successful professor, but I’m a complete trainwreck. But still they never quite understand until they see me at my worst. And it’s not their fault when they can’t handle it. I just don’t want it to be mine either.

    I’m crossing that bridge now with a relatively new partner. She knows, she’s seen the bottles of lithium, etc. She had a bipolar mother and claims to understand (but the Aspie thing is new to her). Just how much do you tell someone you truly care for, how much do you let them into your messed-up world, when you suspect you’re a ticking timebomb?

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  14. Hi Kevin. Good to see you back. I didn’t know you were an Aspie, too.

    Yes, it is a bit of a futile, dualistic standpoint, huh? However, I wonder what (or which one) tips the balance or wins the race? Maybe it depends upon what’s happening at the time, and where your head is.

    I am honest just as you. I never used to be but now I realize it’s sort of a “cut to the chase” thing. Let’s get down to business and avoid the disappointment later. However, I have been disappointed later, but it’s still the tactic I use. Also, after so long, I just don’t have the time or the patience to piss about. If nothing more, I find it frustrating.

    I understand about the seeming “normalcy.” We do that so well, don’t we? It’s a survival tactic.

    I’ve realized now that I haven’t merely compensated. I’ve overcompensated! NTs may only understand when they do see us fall apart. I think others who are diagnosed with whatever would be more understanding. At least I would hope so!

    Granted, I don’t like to make sweeping assumptions or statements. There are a lot of NTs who are very understanding. I have met some. There are a lot of people with diagnoses who may not be so understanding. I have seen that, too!

    I do agree, about fault, as well. Realistically, it’s nobody’s “fault.” It just feels like it, and that’s what messes things up. That’s another thing that needs to be worked through, if it’s possible (as I said in my last comment.)

    Good questions in your last paragraph. I guess I can only say that it depends upon you, the other person, the relationship and how you are relating to each other. If that makes any sense? It’s different for everyone in those respects, don’t you think?

    Also, you mentioned that you felt like you were a ticking time bomb. Do you really feel that way now or is it a potential feeling? Like it’s always a possibility? Which it sort of is for all of us!

    Maybe slow and easy is the way. Which kind of may fit with a lot of other things (non-mental) in relationships. Although, don’t take my word for it! Disastrous relationship history!

    I still stand firmly by being honest and right up front about it all. That’s just me. I won’t hit people over the head with a sledgehammer but I will tell them exactly what they’re getting. Hey, this is PA. Be forewarned!

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  15. Kevin

    Yeah, total Aspie here. Awkward in most social situations, insensitive boyfriend/husband, fixated on process, and magically calmed by cow-squeezing machines or sadistic individuals. Been that way forever, recently diagnosed, LOL.

    I’m really lucky in terms of the “normalcy” thing. When I’m hypomanic at work, I’m on, the best there is (and it’s not a delusion!). I just crash really badly afterwards. The accomplished part is only because I’m fortunate to have a profession where it doesn’t matter if you vanish for a couple of weeks, so long as long as you’re willing to do all-nighters a bunch too at other times. LOL, it’s the Aspie bit that makes faking “normal” difficult. How can I overcompensate for that?!? Memorize and practice 20 different responses to “Hello, how are you?”?

    Ticking time bomb? Me? Right now? I *am* a ticking time bomb, been that way the last 8 months. Up. Down. Up. Down. Changing by the day, by the hour, I never know where I’m headed. Have needed to call on my now defunct support system a couple of times lately. In general, when I’m “stable”? I’m still a ticking time bomb, the clock just counts slower, it’s not predictably-regular but for the last 20 years I’ve been able to count on it.

    We’ll see how things go with my partner. I pre-ignored your advice to go slow and easy, however, it’s anything but. She’s great, but as we both know only time will tell what’ll happen when things get tough. Hopefully it’ll involve a cow-squeezing machine.

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  16. Hey Kevin. You crack me up. Nothing beats good ol’ Aspie humour (unless we miss our own cues?) I knew for ages as well but didn’t get a diagnosis until my adult years (recently) just as you.

    I used to be so wicked at work when in my (hypo)manic phases. It was unreal. Ditto uni. even though Loser PA never even managed to get her undergrad! I went too spazzy with every attempt. *frowns and sighs*

    Now, depression is more my problem, however, I’m pretty stable (barring these latest disgusting details.)

    When you talk about the time bomb thing and your moods being all over and moving so fast, I’m thinking of Ultradian Cycling. I’m an Ultradian Cycler if you didn’t know. Of course I can’t diagnose you but still maybe worth talking about. Are you on any meds?

    As far as the overcompensation thing and being an Aspie, most people could take a look at me and think I’m too “High Functioning.” Well, hello overcompensation. I’m (or was as now I don’t give a shit?) a very good actor.

    I was picked on and bullied so brutally! It really WAS the only way to survive! Then, I just kept up the behaviour–actually, I didn’t. Rather, it became ingrained. I did it basically without thinking at all. It was like I somehow “lost” my Aspie identity, or part, or whatever.

    Hey, don’t worry about not taking my advice re: “slow” in a relationship. Like I said, disastrous history. I was being more of a parrot. Just writing how things perhaps “should” be? I’m totally impulsive in relationships! Slow? Oh, dear. Slow and Relationship do not fit together in the same sentence for me.

    Also, I know I’m only virtual and maybe far away from you but feel free to contact me if you feel in trouble. What with the safety net/s being kinda tenuous? I’ll do my best? I can also try and squeeze you tight as a cow, as tiny as I am (it’s okay, I TOTALLY get and love whole thing.) I even have weighted gear.

    Hugs,
    PA

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  17. Kevin

    Hey PA,

    Thank you for your offer of help, I do appreciate it. I think the gf is my first line of help at the moment; I’m just really scared of effing things up with her! I will take you up as far as talking about stuff, as really nobody else can understand.

    Being “normal” – I was always lucky. I started crashing badly in my first year of college. But I studied biology which is all memorization, and I have a (very) short-term photographic memory. So I managed to somehow pull through despite my craziness. And in subsequent years, grad school, running a lab, my good moments have always been enough to make up for my many, many unexplained disappearances.

    I’ve been completely oblivious to my “issues” over the years. It took my (ex) wife and two other friends in the education business to point out that I was likely an Aspie. When I finally read what it was all about, it explained everything. My affinity to being weighted down or confined had until then always been a bizarre mystery to me. BTW, it was your description of that (+ bipolar) that led me here! What is “weighted gear”?

    Bipolar, again I’ve been oblivious until about a year ago. I’ve always just been in denial, or thought I got depressed once in a while. Depression *is* my issue – if only I could stay hypomanic! I am a geneticist, I study diseases that run in families. But it took my rather randomly reading a book by Kay Jamison to make me realize that it’s been running (undiagnosed) in my *own* family. 3/4 kids in my family w/ suicide attempts. Unmistakable symptoms for all of us. So I’ve been through several antidepressants (they by and large make me seriously suicidal) and am now on lithium alone. Not sure it’s working, but I’m being patient and suspect I’ll be on something else in combination soon. It’s a process, I can stick it out and slowly work my way through things. I feel okay w/ my Dr. Merlin #3 at the moment. He doesn’t tell me to *increase* my dosage of a drug that makes me suicidal like my Dr. Merlin #2.

    And – you can call yourself “only virtual”, but I simply don’t see things that way. “Virtual” to me somehow implies to me that you’re not real. I’m fairly certain that you might be?

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  18. Hi Kevin. I just remembered. Before I begin, I love your email address. It’s exactly what I’ve done all my life! In so many places. I can’t remember for sure about email but loads of others. Another thing we have in common?

    Oh, I completely understand that your partner would be your first line of support. She’s right there with you physically. That only makes sense. However, I still wanted to make the offer. Like I said before, support is so hard to get, so when we can get it, it’s really important.

    Interesting how you managed to cling to the “normalcy.” Although I can’t stand the word “normal.” Just what the hell is normal? We can’t help using certain words of the English language to try and describe things as best we can, though, right?

    I think there are so many other people out there that have managed to cling to it, as well. I do believe it is a survival tactic.

    Perhaps a ridiculous and even inappropriate analogy, but a Darwinian perspective of the mentally ill? Actually, that is ridiculous and inappropriate. Darwin was more about evolution and not so much “survival tactics.” It wasn’t a “fight.” Sorry, not awake yet. Irrespective of me trying to sound all hoity-toity, the fact remains the same: we all had to do it.

    Apart from the frivolity of an email address, more in common! Granted, not in the same ways, of course. I was so oblivious in a lot of ways, years ago.

    Regarding the Bipolar and Depression, I lived in a complete (hypo)manic state for around seven years. I look back and think how on earth was that even possible! But it was. I was just on fire! Remember when I mentioned uni? This is a good one.

    I went to a couple of my final exams, totally pissed drunk (for one of them I had to ask the group I was out with if any of them had a pen!) One of the exams kept my mark the same and another actually boosted it! Can you believe?

    Then, I crashed. I had no clue what was going on until a friend who had Depression and ADD told me. He said get to a shrink! However, I was misdiagnosed with Depression for years. Huge problem. When taking ADs, I totally go nuts. I’m one of those Bipolar types. Sounds like you, too.

    Aspie? Since I had overcompensated I had no clue, either. But then little “clues” started to pop out when I was with a son of some friends. He and I were kind of similar! He was fairly young and diagnosed Autistic, but his parents worked so hard with him and weren’t assholes about his diagnosis. He did function well. He liked Aspie PA a lot!

    Then the reading, the jokes, then, the “Who am I kidding?” in my head. Finally, let’s just get this diagnosed along with everything else.

    The weighted gear reference? I need to make a post about that. Should I keep you and everyone else in suspense? More inkbaiting?

    Lithium, huh? Well, we’re all different. I don’t know how long you’ve been on it. I’ve never taken it as I always wanted to avoid the Salts. Christ. Look what the Depakene did to me! Then again…Depakene could be a wonderful drug for others.

    I don’t know how long it would generally take Lithium to kick in, either. I suppose it would all be relative like everything else–including dosages. Regardless, if it’s not working after a fair amount of time, I would talk to your doc about it. A titration might be helpful or trying something else.

    I just took a quick peek (but Dr. PA is not a real Dr.!) and it looks like maintenance should be around 900mg to 1200mg per day in divided dosages (for most people.)

    Any psych med contraindications are the ACs Phenytoin and Carbamazepine. I never tried the former, but the latter didn’t work. I love my ACs Topamax and Lamictal, though!

    A geneticist? Ah, a geek after my own heart? And true, I am real. At least I think so.

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  19. Kevin

    Heya Dr. PA,

    I’m just starting the bipolar drugs, statistically and considering my symptoms, lithium is probably the most likely to help, so that’s where I’m at. 900 mg. Getting levels rechecked as well as thyroid checked on Tues. In all likelihood, will get lamictal or something else I can’t remember added next visit unless things change drastically. Am happy w/ my current Dr. – no pharma reps visiting and leaving samples, which is always a big red flag!

    Yes, I’m a geneticist and a pretty big geek. Used to even study schizophrenia briefly. Incredible, really, I look at diagrams (pedigrees) of diseased families all the time, but I simply never could view my own family that way, including myself, even when it was blatantly obvious.

    BTW, trust me, “survival tactics” fit into Darwin’s theory big-time. We all have them and need them.

    Partners and first lines of defense… I think what I was saying is that I’m terrified of putting that on my new partner. She’s simply amazing, and I’m afraid that in making her the first line I’m going to end up losing her. I sometimes wonder if it wouldn’t just be better for me to disappear from her view and reappear when I’m not incoherent. Does that make sense? I don’t want to do irreparable harm to this person or my relationship, but I feel I’m likely to do so…

    Ahh, uni bipolar stories. I once stopped attending organic chemistry altogether (in retrospect during a massive bipolar crash). Then forgot I was taking it completely. I ran into someone from class (fortunately the day of the withdrawl deadline): “hey, haven’t seen you in class in a long time.”. Like a really bad dream!

    Weighted gear – you have me so curious. “Gear” sound so, umm, interesting… Bring it on, curious bipolar Aspies want to know, linkbaiting or no!

    Like

  20. Butterflywings

    Oh PA. I can see why you feel the way you do, and a lot of it is so familiar to me, but…don’t feel guilty. You were, are, ill. That’s not your fault.

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  21. Hi Kevin. Dr. PA here. *laughing*

    It’s good to hear that they’re staying on top of monitoring all of the stuff that needs to be checked. With Lithium, that’s a biggie. You should do it with the others like Depakene/Depakote (that really are the same) but definitely the Lith.

    Dr. PA is also very pleased that you are getting your Thyroid checked! So many people (doctors included!) don’t have a clue it should be done with even a hint of Depression. Probably anything else as Depression is part and parcel of practically any diagnosis, as well.

    Dr. PA is further pleased about Lamictal as an adjunct! It’s been great for me after it was added to my cocktail.

    I was a bit of an anomaly in that I remained on Topamax for several years as monotherapy. The majority of people tend to need another AC (or AD if that works?) as Topamax hits basically your temporal lobe. Due to the specificity, it may feel like a miracle for some and a dead end for others. But then again, “dead end” should really only occur after titrations, perhaps? If one felt at least something, then time for an adjunct.

    For me? Uber-miracle because for those years, all I took. And just tangentially, since it did nail my temporal lobe, I’ve had a never-ending curiosity about the relationship between epilepsy and Bipolar. Both are treated with ACs. I won’t get into the more murky waters of ACs and migraines, but suffice it to say, prophylactics. Oh, the fun of my comorbidities.

    I might disappoint you here (unless your doc has told you?) but I think every one on the planet sees Pharma Reps. A lot of them actually hate it, though.

    I will say that there is at least one good thing out of it, however. Free samples. They can be handed out to people who may have no drug plans, have no money etc… or even just for a “test drive.” When I had benefits and Dr. Asshole would give me samples, I told him to stop and give them to the people who really needed them!

    Blinded by your own work to your own family. Well, I could never be blinded to my own! What a mess! Also, I was thinking about my Darwinian comment and, yes, it might fit. I think I just got balled up in the semantics of it all.

    “Pedigrees.” Yes. Genetics has always fascinated me. Although, I remember in school since the courses were first year, I only got up to the Punnet Square. *rolls eyes*

    Although, I DEMANDED DNA testing from non-bio dad when I found out he wasn’t my birth father. Looking at the one print out they gave me is kind of neat! I did try and research what the specific codons/loci represented, but I couldn’t figure out what was what! You could probably tell me!

    What you’re saying about your new partner makes sense to me. You’re afraid of losing her and if you think about it, what did you say earlier? You have lost others when you’ve needed them as your support system.

    Your partner is new, it’s a different kind of relationship (I’m guessing as I think the others were friends?) so the emotional investment may be different. Again, I’m kind of guessing all over as I don’t know the situation.

    Since I’m guessing, too, I still don’t know what to say. We spoke about honesty and being up front. She also has a mother with Bipolar, so you would think she’d be understanding? Bloody fear regarding relationships! I can’t stand it!

    However, I’m such a strong believer that if anything is going to be accomplished in a relationship, or if it’s going to work at all, there has to be open communication. It might be even worse if you don’t share your fears, and she ends up having to deal with a situation that sort of “surprises” her. What do you think?

    That’s a good uni story. Severe memory loss? Huh?

    The weighted stuff requires a photo and sometimes I just can’t be arsed to take them. Also, it’s going to be a tripod/timer deal as I’m going to be in it.

    I’m assuming we’ll talk soon? Take care,
    PA (or Dr. PA.)

    Hi Butterflywings. Thank you. I am trying to work on it all. Things easing up with time? Damn platitude! Kidding.

    Seriously, though, everything does get better with time.

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  22. This is one of those moments when I really find myself at loss for words and with many conflicting emotions.

    Been thinking and feeling things since yesterday evening when I find out you had done this.

    I remember writing to you about this very topic months ago, remember..?

    *sigh*

    Anyway, all I can say is…Thank God you did not succeed.

    :'(

    Like

  23. Hi Maria. It’s alright if you can’t find words to say things. It is a topic that is difficult and I think can produce a lot of conflicting emotions. Definitely. Certainly got me all balled up!

    Yes, I think I remember. Memory. God, it’s kind of screwed.

    Sad face in your comment. I know. Making everyone sad.

    I’m sad too. At the moment? Wasn’t going to respond to folks due to present situation but? I don’t know. What I write and my comments may just sound a bit strange and perhaps difficult to interpret.

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