Physical Ailments and Bipolar

Infections are bad enough on their own. The coughing, the constant nose-blowing, the congestion, and the all-around fog just make a terrible day. Add a mental illness to the mix and, it's a whole 'nother thing.

Yesterday was a terrible day.

Infections are bad enough on their own. Add a mental illness to the mix and, it's a whole 'nother thing.

The main culprit was staphylococcus bacteria which after causing my youngest to sleep and whine for a day or two, proceeded to wipe me out with chest congestion and migraines. Then, being in constant pain coupled with not being physically able to keep up with any kind of routine, made some of my more recently conquered dissociative habits seem dangerously reasonable. I could see a figure or dialogue beginning to form in my mind as a distraction from the pain.

I was aware of the transition quickly and was able to avoid the loss of hours and days that would have been normal not long ago. The best coping mechanisms for this kind of situation for me right now have been television, artwork, and sleep. I keep a purse full of a variety of markers with me most of the time for this reason.

Illness also disrupts my medicine schedule. Since one of the medications I take daily -- either the SSRI or quetiapine, I forget which -- bothers my stomach usually, I never take my prescriptions without eating. With the nausea and vomiting I had yesterday, I did not want to take something else that would irritate my stomach further. And that sense of I-don't-want-to only gets worse, and more reasons get added easily.

In the throws of an infection I lose all motivation to handle the most basic necessities such as eating.

Self-care is difficult anyway; illness makes it impossible. In the throws of an infection I lose all motivation to handle the most basic necessities such as eating. I often become significantly dehydrated. That combined with the lack of calories (and medication) takes such symptoms as dizziness and headaches from mild to severe.

I was also very fearful yesterday. That's just unusual. You can't really know how you'll emotionally react while sick. Your norm, which you depend on, kind of ceases for the time. So yesterday, I was worried about sounds on the road and second-guessing the doctor and nurses and anxious about going out and worried I'd end up in a ditch somewhere. It was weird.

As an aside, the above problem reminded me of a time I was prescribed something for asthma that caused vivid, bizarre nightmares. I wish I could remember the name of that drug; I would not want to take that again.

Keeping track helps me predict and prepare for mood changes; without it, they come essentially at random. And you never know when something else will come alongside and throw you well off-course.

I'm well-medicated today. Antibiotics and steroids and antipsychotics and whatnot have my mind back to clear.


I have been really behind on my self-care stuff recently, even prior to being sick. I haven't been keeping track of my mood changes as I should. This has lead to a few pretty difficult days in the past couple of months. Overall things have been good, but I've got to do better. Keeping track helps me predict and prepare for mood changes; without it, they come essentially at random. And you never know when something else, a bacterial infection, menstruation, a snow storm, will come alongside and throw you well off-course.

Menstruation should not be in that list, but right now it is. I am going to complete my mood forms tonight. Now, in fact.