Mixed Nuts

Dear Loyal Readers: (All 47 of you. Three new followers. I’m so popular.)

I saw my psychiatrist. He spent 50 very thorough minutes with me. We reviewed all my blood work, which course proved I’m a specimen (speciwoman for those feminists) of excellent health. Thyroid panel, vitamin panel, and hormone panel all within acceptable ranges, which made me cry again. Why? Because you cannot objectively measure crazy in 2019.

Don’t get me wrong. The negative results still provide an answer: “It’s all in my head.” However, there’s something comforting in being able to “see” your sickness. In a previous post, I spoke about wishing for a “legitimate” illness, something scientifically proven and not deemed true subjectively from a list of symptoms. For some reason, that is more acceptable, more real, for me.

Having an episode in June does not follow my regular pattern. So what do I mean by pattern of bipolar? For this metaphor, I’ll flashback to how the doctor described bipolar to my family and a very drugged Jen 13 years ago. Remember the special lined paper you used in elementary school when you learned to write the alphabet? Each row had a solid blue line on top, a dotted line in the middle, and another solid blue line on the bottom.

The top line symbolizes hypomania, the dotted line “normal,” and the bottom line super sadness. Most people’s mood (or unbroken pencil line, keeping with the metaphor) rises and falls through out the year gently above and below the dotted line. A large portion of the time, I do, too.

However, during hypomania, the pencil line touches the top line, and for mania it rises above the top line. The higher the rise, the more symptoms of mania and the harder the fall to “normalcy” or even some times to depression. For depression, the pencil line touches to the bottom line. Suicidal ideations surpass the bottom line, and for suicide the pencil line falls off the bottom of the paper. I guess you could say bipolar people color outside the lines. When the pencil line goes outside the solid blue lines, it’s called an episode.

Each person is different, but I tend to rise and fall outside the lines around the change of seasons. Hence, by May and June, I’m usually back to fluctuating above and below the dotted line. This episode is not only out of season, but it’s out of characteristic. I kept saying to my family and friends, “This one is weird. I feel differently. I don’t understand.”

The psychiatrist claims I’m experiencing what is called a “mixed” episode. Long ago when life was simpler, my mental illness was called manic depressive. As time progressed, bipolar disease or disorder was coined perhaps to make the illness more socially acceptable and not so “crazy” sounding. That’s my uneducated, unresearched opinion. (I prefer disorder. Sounds less contagious.) Eventually bipolar morphed into two types, BP 1 and BP 2, and there more than two kinds of episodes.

From the little research I’ve done thus far, a mixed episode is when the two extremes, mania and depression, overlap each other with one playing a more dominant roll over the other. So how do I explain that in terms of my blue lines and pencil line? I have no clue. Send me a comment if you have ideas.

What I do know is I have added a medication and need to rest. I’m relieved I have an answer, but the solution and resolution will take time. In the next two weeks, I will get sicker or stay the same or get better. Let’s hope the latter prevails.

I’m the meantime, I’ll have a mixed drink and a handful of mixed nuts to go with my mixed episode. If I can’t beat, I’ll just enjoy it.

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11 thoughts on “Mixed Nuts

  1. Jen, My mother was diagnosed as schizophrenic back in the day, an even more terrifying term than bipolar. I read your posts with fascination, I’m hoping I am able to get some insight into her tragic mind that I never really got to know since she died when I was 22. And up until I was about the age of 20, I had no compassion, no interest nor any desire to know more about her and her life. What I witnessed with my own two eyes was more than enough for my young self. Thank you for being so open. I can only say that at first blush, it appears you’re managing much better than she did and I’m rooting for you!

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    1. Alana,

      Thank you for your kind words. I’m sorry you witnessed your mother suffer while you were young. I am lucky to family and friends who love me and root for whatever Jen is present in the moment. Times have changed. Mental illness is get attention, but it’s far from understood. However, I have it and don’t understand it. Lol. I write in an effort to understand myself and help others to understand. Keep reading. I hope to post a funny one tomorrow. Laughter helps me.

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  2. No theory or insight from me. Just an I love you and I really enjoy reading your blog. You really are a fantastic writer. Keep writing… I look forward you your next post. Cheers.

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    1. Thank you for your support and kindness. Tomorrow’s post should be a good laugh. Thanks for loving on my therapy pets.

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  3. I wish I beat Candice to the post- I love YOU- solid line, dotted line, above the line or below- we are here and we are rooting for you!

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    1. Thank you! Much appreciate

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  4. I am in awe of your courage Jen!! I love you, mixed nuts, mixed drinks , coloring outside the lines and all!!! Continue to take care of YOU!

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    1. I can’t wait until we bitchateers get together and laughter like crazy again. Thank you for your support, kindness, and understanding.

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  5. Nancy Odorizzi June 6, 2019 — 3:31 pm

    So wish I could transport myself to your living room and give you a big, long hug. I so admire your strength in coping with this disorder. Keep writing, keep smiling, and keep your friends and loved ones close. Please let us know if you make it North this summer. Would love to see you. Love, Aunt Nancy

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  6. You know those paint books for little kids where you just use water to create the colors rather than using actual paint or crayons? Maybe the lines on the paper you describe could be made from the same process: solid blue on top, immutably fixed dashes in the middle, and yellow on the bottom. For the mixed episodes you describe, the blue line and yellow line could create different shades of green when they overlap — except there would have to be water involved:-). That’s the only thing I can think of, Jen, and it’s not much help, lol. Keep writing. It’s good for you and good for your readers. Your voice rings true and clear. We need to listen and learn.

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    1. Wow! That is awesome imagery and totally makes sense. My daughter loves those coloring books, too. Thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful and encouraging response.

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