BeBipolar.com

A Mental Health Professional Living With Bipolar Disorder

Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 2)

Its been a while

Wow, yeah so its been a while.  Since this blog is basically my cognitive way of trepanation, ridding myself of mind demons, its nice to be back.  I finished my Masters program so now I have more letters after my name.  This also means that a person with a severe mental illness can do whatever the fuck he or she puts their mind too.

Im still on seroquel and lamictal but I’ve bumped the lamictal up from 100mg to 300mg.  Im beginning to think that my body notices the difference and overcompensates by being more manic.  I have not spoken with my psychiatrist about this as this has been my first increase in the meds.

Life stressors are down but not anywhere being gone.  Stressors are usually a trigger for those of us with bipolar disorder.  This is also the case for “neurotypicals” (yeah you get a label too) but we tend to spiral uncontrollably unless medication and coping skills are on point.    Thats it for now, I’ve gotta go see a client and make suggestions on how they should live their life. Totally kidding…..kind of.

 

How has Bipolar Disorder effected me as a person?

Bipolar disorder has effected me as a person in so many ways that it has shaped who I am as a person. It effects how I make decisions, how I perceive situations, and how I view life itself. My entire life has been effected by an inability to fall asleep, a terrible insomnia. This single symptom of bipolar disorder has had a huge impact on how functional I am in a day. This lack of sleep can make me more likely to be emotional, impulsive, irritated, manic, or depressed.

Bipolar disorder has effected me as a person because I have made many decisions whether small or large based on impulsivity and a desire for something wonderful or seemingly fulfilling. There are not many things I would take back in life because I have lived a fun life and have so many stories to tell about my life’s adventures. I have made many decisions because they seem fun and like a lot of work and I am a person who can put in the time and effort to achieve my goals. I tend to do whatever it takes to reach my goals. I have an extremely persevering attitude and this is due to many factors such as how I was raised, genetics, and also in part due to my bipolar disorder.

I have had many impulsive moments in my life and many of those things turned out well, but there have been some disasters. Regardless I have learned from every decision in my life and it is my optimistic viewpoint on life that keeps me satisfied with living this way. Even though I have learned from mistakes, I haven’t always been successful in not repeating some of them. Its sort of a risk vs reward type thing, I am okay with taking risks in order to have a reward. For instance I am willing to struggle financially for a decade if it means attaining my master’s degree. I am willing to take risks in starting a business if it may mean that I get to reach more clients and change more lives. I have a new saying of “taking calculated risks” and this serves me much more than my purely impulsive nature when I was younger.

When I read the question “how does Bipolar disorder effect you as a person” my first thought was “Every way I can think of”. but then again I have been in a manic episode for a few months now.

How Bipolar Disorder Effects my Relationship

my significant other and I are reading the book “Loving Someone With Bipolar Disorder” and it has journaling exercises in each chapter.  We have just barely begun reading up to chapter three and are doing the journaling exercises separately, and will soon do some of them together.   I’ve added a link to amazon above because I recommend reading this book as I found it helpful instantly as soon as I read the first paragraph.  I decided to blog about  how Bipolar disorder has effected my relationship.

Within months of us becoming a couple the future of our relationship was questionable due to the fact that I have acted hurtfully in part due to symptoms of my bipolar disorder.  I have lashed out in a way that has caused me to lose the trust of my fiancé and my own self.  In an angry rage I flipped over an outdoor fire pit in our backyard and said hurtful things.  At this point we are both unsure if I am going to lash out again. I have been manic for months now (and increasing my dose of medications) and I am sometimes unable to respond to simple requests, questions, or comments in a rational way.  I am snappy and impulsive and seemingly unpredictable.  I am constantly trying to avoid triggers and when they set off trying to hold my tongue or my body language every moment of the day whether I am at work, the gym, on the road, or at home.

I have had days of depression where I reach out and when I feel as if she is not being caring and supportive enough I lash out and say punishing things make her feel guilty and inadequate.  Sometimes my view of caring and supportive are unrealistic and/or difficult to fulfill.  If I am going through an episode of depression I can be bedridden for hours and just want her to lay with me.  The reality is that she can’t always take hours of her day to lay with me as she has other important things to do such as homework.

It is difficult at many times when I am manic and I feel a sensory overload, a sense of crawling out of my skin.  The most easily accessed reprieve is to be touched, hugged, and basically loved on.  This is difficult when I am manic, its 3:00 and want my significant other to rub my back until I fall asleep.  Its the only way I can fall asleep quickly, but is a daunting task for her.  It is VERY difficult to ask someone to join in my suffering.  It also feels selfish to ask her to be attentive during times that are super inconvenient.

During an episode of mania, which can last for weeks and months, simple tasks such as grocery shopping or running errands can be daunting.  All of the sudden, seemingly out of nowhere I will begin to shut down and light hurts my eyes, my body starts to shake, sound pierces my ears, and i am instantly overwhelmed with racing thoughts that have no real content.  If my significant other asks a simple question I am unable to process it slow enough to comprehend and I have several answers but none of them come out of my mouth and I feel confused and extremely irritated by my thoughts and bodily sensation.  My emotions become completely out of whack and my internal processing of emotions is grossly out of proportion to the situation.  Recently I walked out of the grocery store because I was too overwhelmed with hearing conversations of other people and processing their emotions on their faces and trying to pay attention to my significant other while trying to pick out food and finding the best deals and I became so overwhelmed with a simple question I had to walk away without even being able to fully explain why.  Nothing would come out of my mouth, nor did I trust my words and actions to be socially acceptable.  I was not fit for human consumption and had to be alone, regardless of her confusion of what was happening.  I would rather her be confused and even have her feelings hurt than me having another episode in the grocery store.  Is this fair to ask? The answer is that either one is shitty, its a dilemma and I am literally sick in the head and trying to do my best with a shitty circumstance.  I am not trusting of myself with my most current manic episode and need to “abort the mission”  even if it is seemingly a simple task.

There is also self doubt about being in a relationship at all.  I go through times where I feel like to most people if they knew how sick I was that my good qualities wouldn’t be worth it to them.  If on our first few dates I could show her a crystal ball of all the terrible shit she’ll go through with me I doubt anyone would ever say “yeah sign me up for that”.  I have a lot of talents and a fun personality and I strive relentlessly for my goals, but sometimes this stuff seems like it is outweighed by the symptoms of my bipolar, and remnant bits of physical abuse when I was a child and abandonment when I was in my young teenaged year.  I can only be enjoyed so much when I am depressed or manic.  My fun and outgoing personality is non existent when I am completely silent and catatonic and unable to move or speak.  At times that I have been single I have thought that I should not go into a long term relationship for the rest of my life because no one would want to share my disorder with me.  No one, if they really knew all the bad stuff that was going to come with me would actually love me forever.

 

Thomas

Walking On Egg Shells

 

I have heard in certain times in my life that people feel like they are walking on egg shells with me.  I totally understand this and I could see them feeling that way.  I try to imagine what it must be like to deal with someone who has bipolar and then I realize that oh yea, I am a mental health professional and I deal with people of all types of mental illness.  When I am in work mode I am very keen on peoples feelings and I tend to try to see and feel things the way they do.  I can very quickly and easily put myself into a mind state that my client or their family is in but then also have enough space from them and their problems that I can see a solution and walk them through the steps to get there.  I have the ability to be very sensitive and keen empathy as well as a full understanding of intense emotions, this among other things is why I chose my career path.

If I had a loved one who was in distress because they have debilitating anxiety and I spent all day with them, all week, all month, or even years most people would feel like they don’t want to trigger that persons anxiety.  To me this is easy, it comes second nature to me to to be caring and gentle but also assertive and realistic.  I am also not afraid to let that person go through the anxiety and be strong for them when they are weak and looking to me for help, guidance and reassurance.  I can tell what their triggers for anxiety are and I chose when and when not to support letting them face it and when to make things a little easier on them.

There are two important facts that I have realized as a person with chronic mental illness and as a professional in the mental health field.  To me every disorder has a conducive and helpful way to deal with it, there is always a person or group of people who are super helpful and healing.  It is always possible to be helpful and loving.  I also know that not every person is willing to be supportive, tolerant, and healing with a person with mental or physical illness.

I am still working through this “walking on eggshells” thing,  I feel like it is kind of unfair, at least maybe the way I am thinking about it.  That statement feels like it is the reaction of the person or people around the bipolar individual.  the people around that person could in fact be fully supportive, caring, healing, understanding etc.  But when they are frustrated, what comes out is “I feel like I am walking on eggshells with you”.  What about, “I see that you are feeling irritable, excited, or depressed what can I do to be supportive”.  This statement feels a lot less punishing and makes me, or probably any person feel a little more understood or as if the other person is trying to understand.

Now, people might be thinking, “but why do I have to deal with the other persons symptoms”.  The simple answer is you don’t have to be supportive, you don’t have to be there.  Another thought for people around the bipolar individual is “but that person is always having symptoms and its frustrating to me”. Absolutely, of course its frustrating, it wouldn’t be an illness or a disorder if it didn’t come with disorderly stuff.   Number one, imagine if you had to be that person.  Number two, you don’t have to be the one to stand by that person, its your choice.  Number three, there are ways to learn how to cope and be a supportive to a person with mental illness (classes, degrees, experience,books, youtube, bebipolar.com etc.), and  you could be making their symptoms worse by not being informed and supportive (which may mean more supportive than you think you are now).  Imagine yourself as the saddest you’ve every been and then realize that your loved one may be feeling that way today, and confused as to why they feel that way.  Imagine yourself as being  angry as you’ve ever bee,  know that your loved one may be feeling like that on a daily basis for months on end and hates waking up in the morning to be tortured by their own mind.  Imagine that you just drank a pot of coffee and are near having a panic attack because of how much energy you have and your thoughts are racing so fast that you are confused, delirious and irritable.  That may be how your loved one feels and you may not know how long they’ve been feeling that way.  If you think you’re walking on egg shells, at least you can walk away from it whenever you want.  At least you get to rest your head on your pillow and fall asleep.  At least you get to know what you’re frustrated by.  Its not just your brain going haywire, you have a reason and a solution!  Bipolar individuals don’t get to walk away from any of this.  Instead we have to take our medication, see our therapist, practice self care, and stay away from as many goddamn triggers as possible…..because we are in fact, the ones walking on bombshells.

I have experienced this with almost everyone who has ever been close to me.  I have done years of therapy and continue to work on my interpersonal relationship communication style.  I still can’t seem to get it right and still can’t seem to make people around me comfortable all of the time (and when my symptoms are bad, its most of the time).  So my heart goes out to everyone who is suffering from bipolar and their loved ones such as parents, siblings, and significant others.  Lord knows Im not even sure I would chose a relationship with myself, its gotta be tiring and it makes me feel guilty for being who I am.  This is why I am in therapy, on medication, in a club that supports my recovery, in the program of Alcoholics anonymous, have a sponsor as well as self serving extensive training and education in mental health….I want to feel okay with being bipolar.

 

Thomas

Mania and Irritability

Never before have I really thought about, been fully mindful of how debilitating the irritability symptom is during a manic episode.  Let me first explain that a manic episode sounds like it is a quick episode but it can last for weeks and months!  Now I’ll explain how something such as irritability can be debilitating.  Imagine feeling as if every task you do is supposed to be done when you have barely begun the task.  Your mind races so fast through all of the steps to complete the task that in your cognition you are already done, yet in reality you have to deal with the reality that your body has to actually go through the motions.  Once you have come to terms with this fact, your body is so amped up that its nearly shaking and you want to rush through all of the motions.  If anything small and simple gets in my way or slows me down even the slightest bit I become so frustrated that I am nearly brought to tears.  My limbic system (brains emotional control center) responds as if something detrimental has just occurred and it truly feels like the end of the world.  Knowing this  reaction is completely out of context my adult mind does everything in its power to calm myself so I do not appear on the outside how my limbic system is acting on the inside.
I have worked with many patients and clients who i have seen this same sort of reaction that I can tell is Neurological.  I am a behavior therapist so I know the difference between a behavior that is learned and what is seemingly a neurological reaction.  I have seen clients who are children having a tantrum that is so out of proportion and although many times the function of the tantrum is for attention, or access to a preferred item or escape from a non-proffered activity I can tell that sometimes it is almost out of their control and they are just having a reaction to the amount of chemicals in their brain.
Of course there are many factors such as not enough sleep, too much caffeine, life stressors etc., but the bipolar brain during manic episode is one that can be very hyperreactive, and sometimes it is completely debilitating.  Sometimes I do not even know what to do with myself, like overactivity seems overwhelming but I have a pressure to get it all done.  I want to climb in a hole in the ground but then I know that once in the hole my mind will not even let me rest, or be at peace so it just takes over.
Something that has been suggested to bipolar individuals is mindfulness exercises such as taking deep breaths and realizing the state of mind that you are in and waiting for it to pass.  The thing about this for me is that while I do benefit from deep breaths and mindfulness is that when a state of mind and body such as mania lasts for months this feels unrealistic and unhelpful.  Daily meditation and exercise helps, but this too can seem overwhelming activities when my manic mind thinks about every step involved from beginning to end in vivid detail and then I have to realize that Im not walking out of the gym, rather I have not even gotten my keys to walk out my front door.  Im super frustrated and I hope this lamictal kicks in and does something good for this current manic episode.  But I have to wait an entire month before I am at a therapeutic dose while I slowly increase my dose 25 mg at a time, so for now I have to just wait and see if in a few weeks Lamictal will do me any good at all.  I just need some sort of relief.
Thomas

Reaching out, not lashing out

So as we know being bipolar is very difficult.  There are ups and downs and also the in-betweens that are confusing and dull.  Because being bipolar is difficult should we allow it to effect the people around us in a hurtful way?  No, the answer is plain and simple.  We are not allowed to blame being bipolar on our actions and how we effect other people.  We have to own our struggle but we can also reach out and help others to understand and sometimes, tolerate us.
With that said we are in fact living lives that have different challenges than 97.4% of other people in America.  Yes, 2.6% of Americans are diagnosed bipolar.  We have to wake up everyday and wonder if our body is going to make it difficult to find joy.  We have to wake up and wonder if our brain chemistry is going to make it seemingly impossible to feel calm and easy going.  Then when we figure out what our body wants to do that day, we have to cope the entire rest of the day with what our body is doing.  We have to wrap our mind around the way our brain is firing and we have to own it.  Then at the end of the day we have to figure out how to fall asleep if we are manic, or how we are going to look forward to the next day if we are depressed.
We are not allowed to hurt the people around us just because we feel shitty, but we can however ask for help.  It is important to have people in our life who understand that we are Bipolar, but we are also our own person.  Educate your friends and family if they are willing.  If they are not willing, there is only so much support they can provide, and thats just how it is.
If I am hypomanic it lasts at least 4 days and if I am manic it lasts at least 7 days (these are the diagnostic criteria, which I fit just perfectly) and it can last for weeks and months.  Does this mean that because I am full of energy and irritability that I can lash out at people? Not at all.  I would never have friends or relationships.  Well that has personally been difficult for me.  For myself I have personally not been able to see past my manic energy to make time for other people because I have to obsessively work on projects or I am irritable and want nothing to do with people.  It is easy for me to make friends because I am very outgoing and energetic but it is difficult for me to maintain friendships when I feel like my projects are all important, everyone else gets tossed to the side.  Ive lost a lot of really cool people this way.  A way that I like to cope with this is to just make the phone call or text someone and let them know how I am doing.  I let my significant other half know that i am feeling manic and that what that means for me.  For example I may feel really good and into a project or I might be irritable and need some space.
If I am depressed, It is difficult to pick up the phone to call someone.  Nobody is around because sometimes when I have been manic I avoided them.  When I am depressed I need to reach out for help, and I feel like I would be a bourdon so it feels like there is nobody there.  I have put myself in a better position by joining a club where they keep me accountable and I have to show up to be a member of a club that I am proud to be a part of.   This has been helpful for me and my struggle to stay connected with a group of supportive people.
Regardless of how we are feeling, we need to reach out to people and stay connected in some way.  This has always been a struggle for me, but it is of upmost importance.
There have been many times in my life where I have been irritable, so many that I can’t even begin to count.  It feels as if any sound or comment or voice is nails on a chalk board.  I feel more sensitive to light and I tend to wear sunglasses even sometimes indoors.  It makes me feel a little more connected to myself and dulls the overwhelming brightness around me.  I can compare it to how it probably feels to have a bad headache or a migraine except instead of wanting to just lay in bed with my eyes closed as I would with a bad headache I want to conquer the world, or set myself on a task to spend hours on until I reach its completion.  In this manic mode I  have built entire motorcycle engines, cars, a tiny house, detailing my vehicle, rearanging my toolbox, built a chicken coop, paintings, leather crafts…and the list goes on.  But If someone were to stop me from completing my task I feel like a huge wrench gets thrown at me and I get very angry and have tended to lash out.  I have made it a point in my life to not do this, but it is never not a struggle for me.  Something I have had some success with is to tell people that I need space for a few minutes and then I will talk to them.  While I take those few minutes I am preparing myself for the conversation and taking deep breaths so that I can listen and be responsive in the most pleasant way that I can.  This is something that needs constant practice.
Thomas

GeneSight Testing

Recently I decided to switch my psychiatrist from a wonderful person who has been my psychiatrist since I was sixteen years old to a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner because the Nurse Practitioner takes my specific health insurance.  I have been paying out of pocket and cannot afford the $150 per session.  I was skeptical about seeing a new professional but finances have forced me this way.  When I went in for my first appointment last week my new Psych NP said that my insurance covers a thing called GeneSight testing.  She explained that GeneSight testing requires a swab on the inside of my mouth and then she sends that sample into the lab.  within 10 days we will get a list of medications and how my genes respond to these medications.  We will determine the best medication for my symptoms of Bipolar disorder based on my own genes!  I thought this was pretty cool.  In fact I got a little teary eyed from relief that there is some scientific backing to all of this medication as it pertains to me personally.  Typically the way a psychiatrist administers medication to a person with a psychiatric illness is literally by trial and error based on scientific studies.  The problem I have always had with this is that the studies were not done on me so how can I be sure that the medication is the best for ME.  I am very interested to see what the results are.  I will of course report them here on my blog.
I am going to further explain my experience of how psychiatric medications are administered through the use of a metaphor.  Imagine working on a car and knowing that it has problem symptoms but because you don’t have it hooked up to a data collecting machine like a DYNA which reads misfires, horsepower, torque etc.  So you really have to guess what is wrong and how to fix it.  would you expect your mechanic to pour some liquid into the engine and tell you that he/she thinks this may solve the issue?  Even though pouring this liquid into most cars usually fixes this type of car trouble, it may not fix yours but are you okay if they pour it in anyway? you may get some terrible things happening with your car, side effects can be damaging but can I pour it in anyway? You would probably walk out and want your money back or you would feel really uncomfortable watching your mechanic pour this liquid into your car’s engine.  This is how psychiatry typically works.  You are given a medication and told to come back and report how you feel after the medication sets in.  If you come back and all is good then you stay on that dose.  If you come back and you have terrible side effects they will typically change the medication.  If you come back and things aren’t the best but the side effects are tolerable they will increase or decrease your dose on the same medication.  Does this sound scientific or scary?
You can imagine my relief when the Psych NP told me there is a scientific way to figure out the best medication for my Bipolar disorder symptoms.  It was partially relief that I may find a medication that does not have the side effects that I experience on a daily basis, and partially that I may find a medication that gives me a relief from the Mania and the depression and the fear of not knowing what each day is going to feel like.
Thomas

What Mania feels like for me currently

I can speak only so much for my current manic episode because I am currently on 12.5 mg of seroquel which is a super low dose.  Due to the fact that I am taking seroquel I am not feeling all of the effects of my body trying to be in “manic mode”, but because I am on a low dose of meds I still feel plenty of the the symptoms of mania.  As usual it is difficult to fall asleep.  It is also very difficult to have a sense of peace and well being.  I generally feel as though I HAVE to do something and that standing at rest is not an option.  Even when the activity that I am doing is supposed to be stationary I do not feel at ease.  For example, I will avoid eating a meal because it forces me to sit down and I feel as if I cannot sit still so I will make protein and oatmeal shakes blended in the blender and gulp them down in a single gulp and quickly move on to whatever activity I have myself set on.  This week I have been working with wood building things for my chickens such as a new coop and mechanical feeder, and I am sewing a flannel shirt, and I made my friend a multi-level planter box.  Ive been happy with my new job and will soon resume studying for my comprehensive test for my Masters degree.  There are a lot of fun things going on in my life such as planning for my wedding and looking at buying land a few hours away to build a cabin on and have our wedding ceremony.  In the back of my mind I have fear that in the fall/winter my energy will go away and I my mind will have bouts of becoming a barren wasteland of nothingness.  I know that I have to talk to my therapist about preparing for my seasonal depression but right now I am having too much fun with my energy.  The down side of this manic episode is that I feel irritable which makes me very unpleasant at multiple times throughout the day.  I feel unpredictable and sometimes my responses come out from my mouth that I am even shocked by.  Like I’ll say something and feel surprised even by myself that I sounded so harsh.  I also feel like I am ten steps ahead of people in my personal life and at work and I get impatient in conversations feeling like Ive completed the conversation in my head but the other person is still talking.  By the end of the day my mind is not tired but I am tired of my mind and I just want everything to slow down.  So I take my low dose of seroquel and quiet my thoughts and get a gnarly case of the munchies as a side effect and eventually fall asleep.
Thomas

To Be Bipolar

Someone recently asked me, “what is it like to be bipolar?”  I told them that it is experiencing the highs and the lows, and trying to find a middle ground.  So what is a high and what is a low, and how do I find a middle ground.  A high is mania and what that looks like for me is a decreased ability to fall asleep at night because my mind is racing and during the day I want to do all of the things that I have going on in my head.  For example, recently I have been manic so I took apart my Harley Davidson and painted it, changed the fluids, and tended to anything mechanical that needed to be fixed and put it all together again in about two days.  The next day I crafted a leather pouch from leather scraps, worked on sewing a flannel shirt from scratch, and a few days later I built a custom coffin bookshelf for our bedroom.  I also fit in tending to my chickens, going to the gym and going to work.  I have been thinking about why I like to produce things when Im manic and have come up with a reason for it being that when I am depressed it helps to know that there is a better side to being bipolar.  Having hard evidence of when life feels good is helpful to stay optimistic at a time when the word optimism and feelings attached to it seem far removed from my thought process.  When I have been depressed in the past I have held on to the fact that I have done amazing things in my life and it gives me a sense that this too shall pass and I can feel great, which is better than just hoping that I will feel better.
Thomas

What Was Like For Me As A Child, Trying To Sleep During Manic Episodes

Nearly every night of my childhood was a restless fantasy world inside my mind.  It took me a long time to fall asleep.  My parents were great and they kept my bedtime pretty consistent.  They had no way to know or help what happened after they put me to bed.  Racing thought after racing thought in an infinite sequence.  It is like watching television in my mind but the only thing that is playing are many short commercials that eventually repeated over and over.  I would  fantasize about normal kid stuff like being a ninja, or a football player, or build my future dream house room by room, conversations at school, previous friends, or think about playing with my dog, and think about my grandparents, wondering where our next move was going be (my dad was a Marine).
This sounds like a very typical, normal child’s mind right? Well, for me each thought went into extreme detail and would cycle through different topics very rapidly.  The thoughts were always coated with a very heavy emotional state and I would sort of obsess about each topic.  I felt overwhelmed.  I would pray and ask God to help me sleep, I would try to count sheep, and I would sing nursery rhymes in my head to bring me back to a sense of simplicity and innocence from these sometimes scary and overwhelming thoughts.
With a bedtime of about 7:30-8:00 I wouldn’t typically fall asleep until between 2:00 and 3:00am.  Once I fell asleep I sometimes had what are called night terrors, and I would cry out loud in my sleep.  Children with Bipolar disorder are particularly prone to night terrors because of our extremely low threshold for arousal (easily sad, happy, angry, reactive).  Studies have shown that night terrors usually occur in between sleep stages in and out of REM sleep.  Studies have also shown that children who actually dream during these night terrors recall some sort of predator in human or animal form.  I recall my recurring dream of an animal chasing me, for about two years.   I can still recall the very last time I had this dream, I yelled at the animal and told it to stop.  I never had the dream again.  My parents asked me on occasion if I remember what happened the night before,   I usually did.
On some nights I would go into my parents room and stand at the foot of their bed as if to feel a sense of calm from them because they were sleeping and I wanted to be too.  They would sometimes wake up and as anyone could imagine they were startled to see me standing in there room.  They were very soothing but couldn’t really save me from my own brain chemistry.
Now as an adult I take medication at night so I do not have to deal with trying to sleep with racing thoughts.  Its one of the most frustrating things about bipolar disorder.   Sometimes on the weekend  I just roll with it and craft things with leather, draw in a notebook, or write music with my guitar until Im ready to take the meds and sleep.  The feeling  of comfort and restfulness that most people get does not come to my brain naturally.  I cannot recall the last time I have felt a cozy relaxing feeling right before falling asleep.   Now it is just a forced uncomfortable drugged feeling from medication.
If your child/teenager has trouble falling asleep, it could be due to increased activity in the brain due to a manic episode from bipolar disorder.  See my other Blogs for the diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorder and symptoms.
Thomas
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