Goin’ Back Up after The Dreads Arrive


This morning I’m writing old-school style, with a pen and a college-ruled notebook.  It’s foreign to write this way, which feels bittersweet.  I’ve become so used to using my laptop for writing that I haven’t used a pen in ages.   I’ve only touched a pen or pencil to jot down birthday card greetings, return addresses on bills (alas, I don’t have those nifty address labels!) and grocery lists.

I’m not handwriting today for its romantic element.  To my intense frustration, I’ve been blocked from using our shared computers, but I don’t feel up to making a fuss over it.  I want this morning to be as calm as possible because I woke up in a big ‘ol funk.  At 5:00 a.m. the precocious Lucy, now a thirteen-week-old bundle of energy, woke me up, raring to go on a puppy ultra-marathon.  My husband Craig also rose early and he made enough noise in leaving our room that I couldn’t get back to sleep.  

While hiding my head in my pillow, a heavy-duty case of what I call The Dreads fell upon me.

The Dreads are a first-cousin of depression and, like The Black Dog, consist of mental and physical fatigue, plus a looming dread of the day to come.  As I sat there in bed I was too wiped out to get up to start the day.  Ironically, when I’ve been hit with The Dreads,  once I’ve gotten out of bed and had my first cup of coffee, The Dreads slowly but surely vanish like a vampire caught in daylight.  That’s the difference between depression and The Dreads – a couple hours. But they still suck.

When I finally crawled out of bed at 7:00 a.m., I remembered I had cut down my Seroquel the night before.  I went from 100mg to 50 mg.  As I hadn’t had The Dreads hit me this intensely for a while, I wondered if there could be any connection between the medication drop and my distressing mental state.   

Of course it could just be a coincidence or my paranoia about how this med reduction affected me, or it could be both things!  But just in case it really is the Seroquel reduction, I’m going to resume my 100mg of Seroquel tonight and remain at that amount for the rest of the summer.

I’ve already found out that ever since my kids got out of school, our days have been too unstructured for my mental well-being.  I think I need a more regular daily schedule in order for me to feel confident about changing my medication dosage.  In any case, I can definitely live with my Seroquel-related grogginess for the next two months.  

My friend Becca Moore, the author and founder of the new website the Bipolar Parenting Project, wrote a great post on routine in her Psych Central Bipolar Parenting column.  Here’s the link:  


Maybe if I improve other habits that mess up my energy level, such as my sugar-infused diet, that could help with the grogginess.  Also, if I attempt to go to sleep and wake up at regular times like I did when the girls were in school, that would help with kicking The Dreads’ butt and with my grogginess too.

When the girls’ school closed for summer break, I stopped using my Sunbox therapeutic bright light every morning, which I did for a minimum of a half hour.  I didn’t think the light was making a significant difference in terms of keeping the nasty Dreads away, but maybe it has helped me more than I thought.  I’m going to make a point of using my Sunbox on a daily basis once again.  It’s really easy to do this as I can write, surf the net or read in front of it.  And, of course, eat while using it.  (Hopefully not too much double chocolate Talenti gelato!!)

On the brighter side, it helps me to notice that I’ve improved on my “all or nothing thinking” that I’ve done for so long.  In the past, I would have felt that I failed my one-day-long Seroquel taper.  I would have thought horrible things such as “You f*cking loser!” and “You’ll never be able to lower your Seroquel!”  Now, I think differently, and my self-flagellation is thankfully gone.  I’m able to think about all of this more rationally, and I’ll look to the fall as a better time to try again.  That’s pretty cool!

I can’t expect every day to be sunshine and rainbows.  (Can I?)  Well, I know a couple people who actually do feel strongly that way, and I admire them for their attitude, but I’m not there yet.  

In the meantime, I’m going to carry on with my self-care routine the rest of this afternoon. That consists of working out, paying attention to my kids and husband, and trying my best not to eat too much ice cream.  (It’s sooooo good this time of year, though.)

I’ll take Lucy for a stroll on our “Death Road” in which I pray she doesn’t have diarrhea like she did yesterday.  (Oh yes, I practice the fine art of T.M.I.)  I’m so glad The Dreads disappeared because after suffering with bipolar depression, any glimpse of those awful feelings is scary as hell.  

I’ll be around here in Blogville this Friday, and I’ll let you know how my Seroquel increase goes.

Wishing you sunshine, rainbows, gelato ( if you like it) and most importantly, not a whisper of The Dreads EVER! :))






20 thoughts on “Goin’ Back Up after The Dreads Arrive

  1. The dreads! Thanks for giving me a term for that awful feeling! Lately I have been waking up with it more often than not. And like you said it goes away after I get up. Interesting that you experience too. Interesting but unfortunate. 😦

    • Wow – it helps me to know that *you* of all kindred spirits goes through the same shit that I do, although I wish with all my heart that you didn’t suffer with this too.

      We take different meds from one another, no? (I think you already know that I’m on lithium, the MAOI Parnate & Seroquel) These dreads are getting pretty old. Please let me know if you come across anything that helps you out with them. And thanks for your comment & for the retweet – you rock as usual! :))))

  2. I am so glad that you can make a plan to try to lower a med at the “right” time…..i.e. not with all the summer/kid hoopla. If you do decide to try again with Seroquel I so strongly recommend a compounding pharmacy so you don’t have to cut the dose in half. And the not beating yourself up is so crucial. It is hard to keep ourselves from going to negativism, seeing the failures–it is actually a victory in my book that you see that monkeying with Seroquel might not be in your best interest right now. The Dreads is definitely a good phrase for it, glad it can go away for you as the morning moves along–that is a victory too!

    • Sara! I shall call you “Secret Sara” here – thank you SO MUCH for commenting – it was a thrill to see you stopped by.

      I love your comment & your suggestion to try a compounding pharmacy is a good one. I find that thinking out of the box (in a relatively conservative fashion) is always welcome when it comes to bipolar disorder.

      Today I saw a photo that said : “There is no box.” !!!????

      Anyhoo, I’m giving myself an A+ for not being super-negative or for looping every moment about this Seroquel tapering experiment not working out. I shall “quell” my own fears, ha ha ha! Get it? Quell=Quel? Okay, I’ll cool it.

      I’m daunted by the The Dreads dilemma, but maybe I can shift that pattern sooner rather than later or never. I see Dr. D. tomorrow and I will use my thirty minutes to work on it. He may surprise me with an “out of the box” suggestion – he did with the MAOI, and you know how well that ultimately worked out?;)

      LOVE YOU!
      your one and only

  3. I pray you pass through the “dreads” relatively unscathed.

    By the way, I read an article recently that writing with pen and paper actually opens up part of your brain that typing doesn’t. It may be good for mental health to do at least occasionally. Something to think about.

    • Thanks so much for your prayers, Tony! Tomorrow I’ll post part two of “The Dreads” because I discussed them with my wonderful psychiatrist today (who is a practicing Christian) and he had some valuable insights that inspired me to write more about the subject.

      I’m glad to hear that using the pen & paper opens up a different part of the brain. I had to tough it out again last night with the pen & notebook, and knowing that fact will make the next time I handwrite more gratifying! Once again, many thanks! be well!

  4. I can also relate to “The Dreads”, unfortunately! Love the term you came up with.

    • I wish you didn’t know what I was talking about, dear Barb!!! I love the term too – please check back to see the Friday, June 27th post, as I discuss them once again with more perspective and hopefully a bit of useful advice. ;))) I have some cute pictures too!

  5. Thanks! 🙂 If I find anything that eases “the dreads,” I will definitely let you know.

  6. Summer can be challenging. Pray you come up with a good routine with her girls, Seroquel dosage that works for you, and give light box therapy a try again even though it’s summer. I could see how you might need the light box when you live among redwoods. They are magical (especially fairy rings), but don’t let a lot of light in.

    • Thank you, my wonderful friend, for your comment. I’m already craving school to start again!!! (I know you understand how I feel on that one.) I’m using my Sunbox as I write this, for there isn’t that much light coming in through our redwoods – you are absolutely right. They are magical and we even have a fairy ring right in front of our house! I’m hoping for a breakthrough over the next few days & I’m writing about this more in Friday’s post because The Dreads are one tough nut to crack. I looooathe them! xoxox

      • Best luck with Seroquel and light dosing. Consider heading to the beach (or at least into a sunny spot). Think, where would a cat sun itself around here? The redwoods though beautiful and magical keep you in the shade when the Dreads demand more sun. Best of luck battling them.

  7. The dreads. What a fantastic name for it! It’s harder than super glue to break out of for me, but I also start feeling better if I can just get up and start living. Glad to see I’m not the only one.. but at the same time, this is nothing I would wish on anyone.

    • Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! I’ll be posting a bit more about the loathsome Dreads tomorrow, as today I discussed them with my psychiatrist and he had some helpful insights. HIs thoughts may help both of us!

      I’m so sorry you suffer with them too – they suck *SO* bad, and like you, I wouldn’t wish them on anyone. So don’t forget you are *not* alone with this, and I hope we both beat them this summer STAT!

      Take care,
      Dyane 🙂

  8. Dyane, the one thing that you pointed out is something you should focus on: There is a difference between depression and the Dreads.
    Of the two, having the dreads is the better option! (Even though it still sucks.)

    But, try to look on the bright side, they are gone in a few hours!

    I’d have given anything when I was depressed to feel better in a few hours. FYI.

    • You are totally on it, Lorraine!!! I agree that focusing on the fact that the dreads go away is awesome compared to their taking up a permanent residence.

      Thanks for comin’ on by – I *know* how busy you are and I’m looking forward to reading your blog post today about blog awards, as I have mixed feelings about them now. (What a great topic to write about, and I know your post will rock it! 😉

      take care!

  9. Sorry for reading it late but I can totally understand what you mean by the dreads and yes they are awful, although not as bad as depression. I hope you do get into a routine schedule as this seems important. Praying for u all the way..muuuaahhh

    • Oh Zeph, you never have to apologize to me for reading things late!!! I’m the same way these days….I figure better late than never, right? I’m getting a little better but it’s still hard. Thank you so much for your prayers – they are extra-special to me! Sending you all my love!!!!

  10. Pingback: A Bipolar Break, the Dreads, Injustice, Redemption, and Microscopic Analysis: Mental Health Monday | A Way With Words

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