Back to Reality & Exercising for Bipolar Disorder

Dearest Bloggers, 

I’m back and I’m ready to dive into your blogs one again.  In the meantime, I wrote the following post last Monday while we were still in snowy Tahoe, waaaaaay back in the year 2014  – I hope you like it!  Happy Belated New Year! love, Dyane

Wintry Musings

 Happy New Year, everyone! I’m still stuck in the old year as I write this in the “Munchkin House” on a sunny, cold Monday morning.

 This is the view outside my window:DSCN0174It’s the Alpine Valley, California mountainside – Squaw Valley is just over the ridge…I’ve gazed at this view in the spring, summer and fall, and I love having seen it in all four seasons:

 

Last month while speaking with one of my favorite bloggers, my friend Kitt O’Malley. (www.kittomalley.com) I whined about how I wished there was a live support group in my area for those with mood disorders. I was in a unusually dejected state. I had just found out that one of my closest friends “Karen” was moving several hundred miles away from our town. While I knew we’d stay in touch, I still felt a void over her leaving.

Kitt reminded me that I do have a support group in front of my very eyes: the blogosphere! I didn’t need to pressure myself to create another support group. As some of you know, I’ve formed several mood disorder support groups over the years. Nothing “took” long-term as I relapsed with bipolar depression every time and the groups fizzled out. I realized Kitt was totally right in recognizing our virtual community of support, and that was more than enough for me for now. I’m incredibly grateful for her friendship and for your support.

I’ve written before about the affinity I feel with many of you, i.e. the diverse, amazing bloggers I follow regularly! I only know some of you by aliases, but ironically I feel closer to you than I do to a few of my relatives!

I’ve focused on subscribing to blogs written by those living with bipolar disorder. I also read a few about anxiety, and derealization/depersonalization. According to some well-meaning friends, my selecting mostly bipolar-related blogs implies that I’m “obsessive” about bipolar and that “I identify too much with the illness”. I disagree. I read some blogs that focus on recovery with bipolar as the primary theme, but every blog I follow helps me in one way or another.  The bottom line is that I’ve found my tribe, and I don’t associate an unhealthy obsession with this virtual network.

Speaking of networks…

It has been almost a whopping two weeks that I’ve been off Facebook, Twitter and the WordPress Reader.  While my Facebook and Twitter networks are filled with great people, I find them to be different experiences compared to following your blogs.  Blogs allow me glimpses into your souls.  It’s a more satisfying experience to read a post compared to a status update or tweet. Moreover, many of my Facebook and Twitter contacts don’t have bipolar disorder, and they can’t understand my challenges in living with it. That might explain while I was able to easily detach from Facebook and Twitter during this trip. I was very, VERY surprised to find that I didn’t miss Facebook and Twitter for the most part, because I’ve been heavily addicted to these forms of social media. Conversely, I have missed my daily hour of reading blogs on my WordPress Reader!  (You know that already!)  Sure, I have books to read and I love books, but I like to have my cake and eat it too. I want books and blogs!  😉

Where am I going with all this? I don’t know – I’m just blogsick, I guess!

Meanwhile, I’ve gone on daily thirty-minute walks in the Tahoe snow; today it was 16 degrees. (!!!!) I could have stayed indoors in front of a cozy fire, but I pushed myself to get outside because the psychiatrist Dr. Mohammad Alsuwaidan’s asserts that those thirty minutes of vigorous exercise a day will keep bipolar depression at bay.  

I’ve re-posted Dr. Alsuwaidan’s suggestions and link for those of you who didn’t see it in my last post.

It is beautiful to walk in the snow, but I prefer my elliptical and blasting the Pandora channel during my workout.

So by the time you read this message, we’ll be headed back home to my glorious internet connection. I look forward to catching up with your lives via the blogosphere, and as we start 2015 together I hope with all my heart that this is the bet year yet for each of us!!!

Love,

Dyane

———————————————————————————————–

DYANE’S EXERCISE FOR BIPOLAR DISORDER RESOURCES

A powerful tool that’s helping prevent the onset of my bipolar depression is following the guidelines of my exercise hero, the psychiatrist Dr. Mohammad Alsuwaidan

For specific details about what to do and why to do it, please read Dr. Alsuwaidan’s brief blog article at – it will take you less than five minutes:

http://kuwaitmood.com/exercise-mood-part-iii-from-science-to-action/

I don’t want to sound like a cult member, but this brilliant psychiatrist’s advice, which he follows himself, can change your life for the better!   

I can’t help but lovingly encourage you to start doing 30 minutes a day of exercise, especially if you have bipolar disorder, per Dr. Alsuwaidan’s guidelines, i.e. vigorous, enough to make you break a sweat and not be able to carry on conversations with others. Is this easy?  No.  

Annoyed walk

Annoyed during my walk – I had just fallen on ice…

Is it worth the trouble? YES!!!!

If your depression is so bad that the very idea of exercise makes you want to hurl, please put this info. in the back of your head for when you start feeling a little better.   If you can try 5 “Alsuwaidan-style” minutes (again, please read Dr. Alsuwaidan’s blog post first about what to do/how to work out) and build up from five minutes to thirty minutes, I’ll send you a little surprise!

I beseech you to visit this link below to listen to Dr. Mohammad Alsuwaidan’s International Society for Bipolar Disorders-sponsored webinar. This is what profoundly affected me in terms of why I should exercise for bipolar.  It’s about eating chocolate to lose weight and gain muscle – just kidding!  I can’t stand listening to webinars, but this one is worth it! The second half is especially convincing as to why you should aim to work out for your mood – listen for his section about exercise as a “panacea” for bipolar disorder.   It’s fascinating, and convincing as hell!

“Exercise for the Neurological Treatment of Mood Disorders” webinar

http://www.isbd.org/education/webinar-series

Lastly, if you haven’t had a chance to read my December International Bipolar Foundation blog post about my different take on exercise and my professional fitness background you can find it here:

 http://www.ibpf.org/blog/different-take-exercise-and-why-i-want-you-join-me

Then and Now: Thank you MAOI’s & Lithium!

3 bunnies

 Sunday morning smiles

 

I’ve had a lazy, Indian Summer-soaked weekend.  As much as I love the springtime, this is my favorite season of the year, bar none. (Plus Halloween is my favorite day of the year!)  

This morning I reflected upon how different my “lazy weekend” was than my lazy weekends of a couple years ago…

In 2012 and part of 2013, “lazy” was my doing virtually nothing during the weekends.  I stayed in bed or on the couch much of the day, feeling depressed, lethargic and hopeless.  There were also my intermittent crying jags during which I unsuccessfully tried to hide from my children.

In contrast, my current “lazy weekend” included:  

Doing laundry, dishes, straightening up the uber-messy house, completing homework with Rilla, cleaning up poop (Lucy most likely ate chicken poo), working out twice, surfing the internet, & watching an illuminating documentary called “Fed Up”.  It’s a film that was suggested by the blogger Bipolar on Fire.  “Fed Up” is so freaky and mind-bending but I’m glad I watched it!

 

41Q2hiuZPSL._PI_PJStripe-HD-Only-500px,TopLeft,0,0_AA160_

 

There’s more: I read some of the works of two New Zealand authors: a memoir “All That Glitters” by the Auckland fashion designer/depression advocate Denise L’Estrange-Corbet, and the “The Nutters Club: Helping Nutters from the Inside Out” by Mike King, a comedian/host of the hit radio show “The Nutters Club” with psychiatrist David Codyre.

51IqGpLpTUL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_51SOYCrHYyL._AA160_

At Avi’s request, we went on a family picnic at the park, and last but not least, I watched the season finale of the highly intellectual TLC reality show“Long Island Medium”!

I swear, each time I watch it I feel my I.Q. rise a few points! 😉

images

So what, Dyane?, you may be thinking.  

You might also wonder,

Frankly, I don’t care about your laundry list of tasks – they are kind of boring.  And you are not the intellectual you claim to be when you reveal you’re a fan of TLC reality shows like “Long Island Medium” – aren’t you a college graduate, or so you say? 

This all may be true, although the books and documentary film I mention are worth checking out, as well as Bipolar On Fire’s blog, which is one of my favorites.  Before I forget to mention it, her blog is:

http://bipolaronfire.com

I must also state that “Long Island Medium” is worth a look if you’re interested in psychic mediums and if you want to be entertained and inspired. 

But back to ultimate point of this post – I wouldn’t be doing ANYTHING unless I had my medications at the ready, namely my MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) called Parnate, (generic name: tranylcypromine – say that ten times fast!) and lithium.  

I’ve written about these meds before, but I’m bringing them up again for any new readers and because I enjoy expressing how I continue to feel grateful for them.  

The combination of the MAOI & lithium made it possible for me to not merely get out of bed each day, but to function and experience joy again.

I had no idea that MAOI’s have been prescribed for treatment-resistant bipolar depression for literally decades (i.e. since the 1950’s I believe) until 2013, when my most recent psychiatrist brought them up.  I found it mind-boggling that no other doctor thought to even mention them as a possibility since I was a textbook case of being med-resistant (I tried well over 20 drugs ) plus two rounds of ECT.

Duh!

When my psychiatrist suggested I try an MAOI in the fall of 2013, I did a little research on my own. I located two studies done in the 1970’s that would make ANY person with treatment-resistant bipolar depression rob a pharmacy if she had to in order to give an MAOI combined with lithium a try. (If an MAOI is combined with lithium, the two study findings indicated that the lifting of the bipolar depression is much more likely to happen.)  

While I’m by no means “cured” of bipolar disorder, and I have a long way to go in terms of my recovery, you can see how I’m still light years ahead of where I used to be.  Anxiety, and depersonalization/derealization continue to haunt me on a regular basis.  I’m working on all of this stuff with my counselor and on my own, and this work (yes, it’s work) is a full-time job unto itself that unfortunately few people understand.

After an intense Mental Health/Bipolar Awareness week, I celebrate my pills, the teeny tablets I once demonized until I relapsed without their help.  I’m grateful to these remarkable medications for helping me get my life back, and giving me hope again.  I’m on a quest to inform others who have been medication-resistant like me about MAOI’s if they haven’t tried them yet. They don’t work for everyone by any means, but you never know unless you a) know about their existence in the first place and b) give them a try.

Have a good week, dear readers!

Dyane

 

 P.S. I have a small favor to ask each of you!   I’ve been honored with a nomination by the

bestselling author Wendy K. Williamson (“I’m Not Crazy Just Bipolar”, & “Two Bipolar Chicks Guide to Survival”)

for the WEGO Health Activist “Best in Show” Blog Award.  I need your endorsements to win!  

Just visit the below link, select the purple tab that says “Endorse Dyane Leshin-Harwood”

and go from there – it takes only 15 seconds to endorse me.  Thank you so much!

https://awards.wegohealth.com/nominees/4811