Can’t Sleep

It’s hot in our house.  We had the air conditioner replaced last fall (ok, our landlord had it replaced) but as the temps are rising here in New Orleans, the air conditioner is not keeping up with the temp we set.  I am annoyed.  I like my house to be frigid when it’s time to sleep – better sleeping weather, I say!  I prefer winter, when we don’t turn on the heater and throw an extra blanket on the bed.  I digress.

The temperature is not the only reason I cannot sleep.  I visited with my psychiatrist last week and told him about me being sleepy during the day time and not being able to sleep at night time.  The day time sleepiness, he couldn’t quite explain other than not getting enough sleep at night.  The night time awake schedule was more up his alley.  My mind races at night.  I think about all the things that were said to me during the day and all the things that were left unsaid.  I explained this to my doctor and he said I am experiencing some anxiety.  It was such a simple explanation and I didn’t really realize that I have been seriously dealing with anxiety for a while now.  I have a medicine I take for anxiety PRN (or as needed) and I try and take it sparingly because I don’t want to build up a tolerance or an addiction.  My doctor doesn’t want that either and prescribes me 2 months worth of pills for 3 months of not seeing him.  In an extreme situation, I could contact the pharmacy and get them to contact him for another prescription, but I don’t want to be THAT patient, so I choose what I take when it’s extreme.

Except, I can’t sleep at night.  My mind is racing.  So, my doctor prescribed me sleeping pills.  The first night they worked kind of okay, but ever since then they have done nothing.  I do believe they keep me asleep during the night (as I would wake multiple times during my sleep), but I am frustrated because I want them to knock me the fuck out.  I don’t think that is how those drugs were designed to work.  I’m not taking Ambien because I was too scared that I would get in the car and drive and not remember it, but given how I have reacted to this particular medication, I say bring on the Ambien.  I’m very frustrated.  I just want to sleep and not fall asleep at work in the mornings.

I actually kind of fell asleep at work during a phone conference meeting and my boss noticed.  I was so embarrassed and he made a note of talking to me about it.  It opened up a whole can of worms, at least in my mind, and I told him my doctor (he doesn’t know what kind of doctor) prescribed me sleeping pills.  It’s not helping.  So, I don’t know if I should continue taking the pills with the hopes that they will help, or give up on them.  I’m not one for taking a pill just because your doctor said you could.  I take pills because my doctor says I have to.  There is a big difference in that.

Also, I’m working in construction as a project manager.  Ok, there, I said it.  I am the only girl/woman/female working in a giant group of men.  They are crass and outspoken and like to tease me.  I should take it as a compliment that they are paying attention to me but my bipolar brain reads into it sometimes like they are frustrated with my existence.

I do like a couple of guys that surround me.  They are always very enthusiastic and call me by my name.  I am still learning their names, but the security guard is my favorite.  He tells me he is looking out for me.  Perhaps he is worried about my safety with all these men, or he is just really nice.  I don’t know but I enjoy our conversations.  He’s a joy.

Ok, I’m going to try to go to sleep now.  I just thought while I was up, I would clue you in on what is currently going on in my world.  I hope you all are happy and safe and well.  I’m trying very hard not to screw up this job.  I appreciate all the well wishes.  xo

My Brain Right Now

So, I’ve been working at my new job for a little over a month now.  It is really great – I’m the only girl amongst a slew of burly men, and I must say they don’t hold back with the curse words and dynamic personalities.  It’s interesting and I’m learning something new every day.

We have money in the bank and my husband seems less stressed.  We are even able to treat ourselves to a nice evening out each week.  But, we are still frugal.  I think all those times of us planning our menu around what’s on sale at the grocery store and living on pasta and beans has taught us how to pinch our pennies.  I have started trying new recipes out again, which is nice.  The rut we were in with our menu had become old and boring.

Because of this positive change, I have been riding a bit of a manic high.  I call it manic, but maybe I’m just happy.  I don’t want to trust it because I know that eventually, I’ll start feeling low.  But that brings me to the question: is being happy the same as being mildly manic?  I feel like my emotions are defined (by others) as either manic or depressive, so I find myself using those terms to describe how I’m feeling.  It is simply the aftermath of being diagnosed with bipolar disorder.  I am not rapid-cycling and my meds are good.  I am religious about taking them because the alternative is crazy scary, literally.  I walk the line, as it were.

I have an appointment in the morning with my psychiatrist so he can check in with me and see that my meds are still working.  I really like him – he listens to me and actually has a conversation about what has been going on in my life.  I’ve had other psychiatrists who spend 5 minutes with me simply to write in their prescription pads.  I’m very lucky to have the doctor I have in my corner.

I think in the morning I am going to discuss with him what it means to be happy and what it means to be manic.  I am not reading into things like the radio or seeing patterns in the cars, which is so very positive that I can’t express it in words.  Point one for being happy.  I find myself speaking rapidly and excitedly at work, simply because I haven’t had this kind of professional interaction in 3+ years.  I think I’d give a point to both mania and happiness.  But, I’m having trouble sleeping sometimes.  It’s like I can’t shut off my brain at night time to go to sleep – hence why I am up writing at 10:45 at night.  I have to be up for work at 5.  Score one for the Mania.

I have a hard time staying awake at work in the mornings.  One of my medications has to be taken in the morning and has been known to cause drowsiness.  I didn’t really experience this when I wasn’t working, but I am wondering if this is factoring into why I’m having a hard time staying awake.  I was at a meeting this week and I seriously fell asleep.  My boss asked me if I was okay afterward.  I gave the excuse that I didn’t sleep well and hadn’t had enough coffee.  But, this is a problem.  It’s EVERY day!  Another topic I shall discuss with my p-doc at our appointment tomorrow.

So, is it mania or am I just happy?  I hope it’s that I’m happy because I don’t want any of my meds changed.  He’s not quick to do that, but you never know.  All I know is that I’m pleased to have a job and excited to have a place to go each day.  That is a huge improvement from where I started with this whole journey.

I still have much to learn about my condition.  I can research all I want, but those are just studies about different people with the same disorder.  Applicable, yes, at times.  But does it always apply?  I don’t think so.  Everyone is different and every experience is unique – regardless if you suffer or not.

What I’m afraid of is the low that is on the horizon.  I can’t be this up forever.  The newness will wear off and I’ll become a little complacent, a little slower, a little less dynamic.  Sad, on all counts.  I can’t let this happen, but sometimes it is inevitable.  So, here’s to wishing I stay on the happiness trail and the sadness trail stays in the distance.  A girl can dream, right?