Tired, Puppy Runs & Sleep Deprivation




It has been a week of disjointed sleep due to sick children, a sick husband, and a sick puppy! ūüė¶ Yes, even our four-month-old American Collie Lucy was struck by illness after eating a bowl of cat food. ¬†I can’t believe that even though I’ve cared for two other dogs, I was ignorant of¬†the dangers of cat food upon dogs’ digestive systems!

Lucy’s malady was my bad. Yesterday I picked up Avonlea at her friend’s house and I brought along Lucy for the ride. ¬†We were invited into the friend’s house for a moment, and I was oblivious to a large bowl of cat food ¬†in the kitchen by the entrance. ¬†Needless to say, Lucy ate that rich cat food in a heartbeat. ¬†The poor pup woke up around 2:00 a.m. and had explosive diarrhea covering almost¬†a third of the bedroom floor and spattering the side of a wall! ¬†(At least it was a wooden floor and not shag carpet!) ¬†It was truly a grisly sight, and the stench could raise the dead. ¬†My first thought was “How could something so foul emanate from something so incredibly cute, sweet and fluffy?”

To my complete frustration, after cleaning up the mess and returning¬†to a very poor quality of sleep, I woke up an hour later. ¬†I got up due to my daughter’s coughing spell, and so I rose out of ¬†bed to¬†dose her with cough medicine. ¬†At 3:30 a.m.¬†I drifted into another one of those semi-asleep states that are not refreshing.

These dilemmas I describe are nothing close to crisis-type situations. I thank God for that, since I’ve been through so¬†many emergencies I should be some kind of honorary E.M.T. ¬†The reality of my life is that my kids and husband had run-of-the-mill colds and Lucy ate the wrong thing. ¬†They didn’t have eyeball-devouring amoebas.

Even so, whenever I lose a lot of sleep I freak out.  I worry that my sleep deprivation could trigger mania, since sleep loss has been the reason for my past manias.  Most memorably, sleep deprivation due to labor resulted in my becoming manic and my being diagnosed with postpartum bipolar one disorder.

Because of my susceptibility to sleep deprivation-induced mania, I was tempted to take extra Seroquel. ¬†I’ve only done that once in the past eleven months I’ve taken it. ¬†As alluring as a bigger dose sounded, I desisted. ¬†The way I see it, I’m already putting my body through enough stress as it is with my heavy-duty meds. ¬†A bigger dose of Seroquel would only serve to create more grogginess the next day. ¬†I made sure to work out on my elliptical for forty-five minutes , as cardio exercise always helps me sleep better. ¬† I even ate less sugar than usual, as we were out of my beloved Haagen Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s.

Yeah, I’m tired. ¬†At least tomorrow’s another day, and I’m hoping to be less tired. ¬†My fingers and toes crossed that I won’t feel so zombie-esque. ¬†While I had high hopes to write a “good” blog post today, an exciting topic didn’t come to mind, but it still feels nice to write instead of cleaning up puppy diarrhea.

It’s gratifying to know that even if I publish something I’m not thrilled with, I’ll still reach you. I have a feeling you’ll give me a “pass” this time around. ¬†Since I’m constantly impressed, entertained and inspired by what pops up in my WordPress Reader, sometimes I feel those posts are a hard act to follow. ¬†It’s okay, I can shove my petty¬†insecurities¬†aside, and in any case, I’m not going to lose sleep over¬†that!

And now, as my special treat of the day, I’m going to go browse through my Reader ¬†as I relax and prepare for a good night’s sleep. ¬†Your blogs¬†never cease to amaze me, and I love reading each post. ¬†Thanks for giving me something to look forward to after a tedious day of squabbling children, a puppy with Vesuvius-like bowels, and a sick, crabby partner.

T.G.I.F. (hope yours is great) and have a wonderful weekend!

I’ll be back next Monday. ¬†In the meantime, take good care and thanks for reading.



Photo on 2014-07-06 at 16.18 #4




TMI & UTI’s & 7 Cups of Tea!


Happy Freaky Friday everyone!

Did you watch¬†Black¬†Box¬†last night? ¬†I recorded it and plan to watch it over the weekend. ¬†Stay tuned for my humble opinion. Today I planned to be the day that I don’t write a meandering, 1200+ word blog post. ¬†I thought I’d l write 100-200 words and let my readers’ eyeballs and cerebellums relax a bit! ¬†Unfortunately I didn’t meet that goal just yet. ¬†Please bear with me.



Yesterday, when I started writing this, I was under the weather – at least not mentally, but physically. ¬†I woke up at 3:00 a.m. due to my six-year-old daughter screaming at the top of her lungs from a nightmare. ¬†Poor thing – she crawled into bed with us, shaking like a leaf. ¬†I couldn’t get back to sleep afterwards, which is always frightening and frustrating since if when I experience sleep deprivation that can trigger bipolar mania.

When I crawled out of bed at 6:00 a.m., I suspected I had a urinary tract infection. ¬†I won’t go into detail. ¬†If you’ve experienced the pain of a U.T.I. you will know exactly how I felt. ¬†My husband left¬†for work at a job site two hours away. ¬†I worried that I’d have to bow out of my obligations for the day and make my girls miss yet more school. ¬†This was one of those times I wish I had a family member living close by who could rescue me.

Then, a miracle happened.  My pain and fear completely lifted and I was able to function once more.  I got the girls ready for school, I drove them in bumper-to-bumper traffic to their classes, and then I headed for the closest CVS to buy a U.T.I. pain medication and some cranberry juice.

I’ve rhapsodized¬†throughout this blog about how much I love my M.A.O.I. bipolar medication Parnate (tranylcypromine), which lifted my severe depression last fall. ¬† As wonderful as this medication is, Parnate does have its drawbacks such as food and alcohol restrictions and some medication contraindications.

Before I purchased the U.T.I. pain reliever AZO, I had to make absolutely sure that it would be okay to combine it with Parnate. ¬†Again, angels were smiling down upon me because the pharmacist told me it would be fine to take AZO. ¬†I also bought a¬†U.T.I. home testing kit, which was very convenient as it will indicate if I do indeed have the infection. ¬†(I didn’t even know these test kits were now available – it’s cool to see new items like this on the market.)

I didn’t plan on writing about my U.T.I. because I know it doesn’t make for exciting reading. ¬†But in contrast to that snoozy topic I discovered something I want to share with you that¬†is exciting and I hope you’ll agree.

It’s a website called¬†http://www.7cupsoftea.com/



Here’s the nutshell description:

7 Cups of Tea is an on-demand emotional health and well-being service. Our bridging technology anonymously & securely connects real people to real listeners in one-on-one chat sessions or phone calls.

Anyone who wants to talk about whatever is on their mind can quickly reach out to a trained, compassionate listener through our network. We have hundreds of listeners who come from all walks of life and have diverse experiences.

People connect with listeners on 7 Cups of Tea for all kinds of reasons, from big existential thoughts to small, day-to-day things that we all experience. Unlike talking to family or friends, a 7 Cups of Tea listener doesn’t judge or try to solve problems and say what to do. Our listeners just listen. They understand. They give you the space you need to help you clear your head.

The 7¬†Cups of Tea¬†website has much more relevant, fascinating information and I strongly encourage you to visit it and read the FAQ page. ¬†I had no idea this free internet service existed until last night. ¬†I was on Twitter participating in a “BraveChat” evening chat group. ¬†BraveChat is connected with the “This Is My Brave” project. One of the other participants, “Manic Medic” (an¬†EMT and mental health blogger)¬†mentioned 7 Cups of Tea as a helpful resource.

The categories that the listeners specialize in include anxiety, depression, bullying, eating disorders, managing emotions, panic attacks, surviving breakups, traumatic experiences and workplace stress. The ¬†listeners are available to talk to teens or adults.¬†I emailed the founder of 7 Cups, Glen Moriarty, to see if any of the listeners have a background in bipolar, because when I did a general search on his site, nothing came up. He replied to me that their search function is really slow and it’s not working the way it should; they do have some listeners with a background in bipolar, but he’d have to get back to me with the specifics, which I’ll share here in a later post.

I love love love my therapist, but she doesn’t have severe anxiety like I do. ¬†(Thank God!) ¬†It might be helpful to talk to a “trained listener” who¬†can discuss the anxiety from a different perspective. ¬†In any case,¬†I think this is a wonderful-sounding resource, and I love simply knowing it exists. ¬†If you decide to try it out, please let me know what your experience is like. ¬†And on that note, I wish you all a wonderful weekend!!!



The founder of¬†7 Cups of Tea “Glen”¬†explains where the site name comes from:

“7 Cups of Tea is actually the name of a famous Chinese poem. The suggestion is that each cup provides a different level of healing. It‚Äôs important that our community feels that 7 Cups of Tea is a place where you can sit down and have several cups of tea with a friend. It isn‚Äôt just a one-time meeting. You can touch base as much as you like.”


7 Cups of Tea, by Lu Tong (795 – 835 CE)
The first cup kisses away my thirst,
and my loneliness is quelled by the second.
The third gives insight worthy of ancient scrolls,
and the fourth exiles my troubles.
My body becomes lighter with the fifth,
and the sixth sends word from immortals.
But the seventh‚ÄĒoh the seventh cup‚ÄĒ
if I drink you, a wind will hurry my wings
toward the sacred island.
Translated by Christopher Nelson 

Sleep that knits up the raveled sleeve of care – gimme some!

imgresI’ve always loved the very sound of the famous Shakespearean line from Macbeth:

“Sleep that knits up the raveled sleeve of care.”

Although I have a degree in English literature and I read Macbeth, that was over twenty years ago, so I’ve forgotten most of the play, but not that line. ¬†“No Fear Shakespeare.com” and “italki.com” explained the full meaning of the words very well:

“Here Shakespeare means that sleep ‘knits up’ or secures what has become confused or tangled in our lives. (something that is raveled is tangled confused or knotted) Sleep brings loose ends together. It lets things settle down and smooths out what was giving us problems before we went to sleep.”

Oh wow, I’d kill for sleep like that. ¬†My sleep has been much better since I started taking Seroquel at bedtime, but I often have what I call “Seroquel dreams” which are bizarre, slightly disturbing dreams.

I’m writing this post on my forty-fourth birthday. ¬†I hoped that I’d wake up this morning after a decent’s night sleep, without too many freaky Seroquel dreams. ¬†I was crossing fingers and toes that I’d leap out of bed refreshed and ready to start the day with a nice, sparkly attitude.

Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, and as a result I’m a bit of a zombie.

Our two little girls like to take turns hopping into our bed at ungodly hours. ¬†Time and time again, we lecture them about this, and explain how important it is for Mommy and Daddy to get enough sleep. ¬†They promise us they’ll stop their interruptions, but their promises are made in vain. ¬†We can’t lock them out of our room because our room is connected to theirs and there is no lock. ¬†(Even if we had a lock, it wouldn’t solve the problem.)¬†¬†When we insist that one or the other girl returns to her own bed, ear-splitting cries ensue and all in all, it’s not a pretty scenario.

It’s not a hopeless situation. ¬†I know they will stop when they turn eighteen.

Meanwhile, besides the girls’ nighttime unpleasantries , my digestive system had unpleasantries of its own. ¬†I had an upset tummy right before bedtime. ¬†Without going into too much detail, I’ll just say that I mussed up our bed at 2:00 a.m. Yes, me, not either of my children.

T.M.I.  Sorry.  Please forgive me.  (Can I blame my oversharing on my lack of sleep?)

Waking up at 2:00 a.m. scares me, because I know if I don’t go back to sleep, a bipolar mood swing could be triggered. ¬†Like many people with bipolar disorder, I am incredibly sensitive to sleep loss. ¬†I remember back in the early 1980’s my Dad, who also had bipolar, was prescribed sleep deprivation by his U.C.L.A. psychiatrist. ¬†The doctors advised him to use sleep deprivation to lift his depression. ¬†I don’t recall if sleep deprivation worked for Dad, but I know it would be absolutely disastrous for me.

Sleep deprivation actually triggered my bipolar mania. ¬†In 2007, after I went into labor at 9:00 p.m., I didn’t sleep, and I became hypomanic. ¬†Ultimately I became full-blown manic. ¬†I experienced hypergraphia as well. ¬†(Hypergraphia is compulsive writing triggered by changes in brain chemistry. ¬†I’ve blogged about hypergraphia here: https://dyaneharwood.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/writerly-ramblings-and-hypergraphia-part-1/)

So, at 2:00 a.m. after cleaning up my mess, I was wide awake and I didn’t foresee sleep in my future anytime soon. ¬†After hemming and hawing, I decided to take another 100 mg dose of Seroquel. ¬†I thought that the extra amount would do the trick, although I was hesitant to pop the pill because I didn’t want to be super-groggy the next day.

It didn’t work.

I believe my insomnia culprit was a seemingly innocent cup of extra-strong Columbian coffee that I had a few hours after breakfast. ¬†I grind our coffee beans daily, and yesterday I used a lot more than usual. ¬†Not the smartest move. ¬†I used the usual amount today and I’m hoping tonight is better on all counts. ¬†I think I’ll sleep better as long as I don’t eat all of my velvety chocolate birthday cake and get high on sugar!

Thanks for reading, and please comment about what helps you sleep.

Sweet dreams!