Sunday, March 31, 2013

When the Depression Arrives

Well, it happened today...within minutes I was happy/content and then the depression arrived. I became irritable, went into a rage towards the husband (he deserved it) and have spent the afternoon after taking a nap crying. Not a full out boo hoo crying, but a steady stream of tears for no apparent reason. I warned my friends on Facebook and Twitter to expect me to possibly drop off the social networks at some point. I went off line last year for 6 months before slowly coming back on board.

The depression hits and my already low self-esteem plummets and I feel useless and like a waste of a human being. This is my life with bipolar disorder. When I was first diagnosed I could go years without a severe depression...sure, there were minor ones which were easily controlled, but as I get older the symptoms worsen, the depressions more severe and I have to enjoy the hypomanias when they do come.

I'm going to try to increase my activty level more, get more sunlight, I'll be starting back on my anti-depessant tonight (was off due to hypomania which can be triggered or worsened by anti-depressants) and will be following up with my psychiatrist and therapist on Thursday. It's bad when even my "feel good" movie...a movie I've watched over 200 times...Pitch Perfect doesn't even cheer me up. I usually still laugh at that movie even after seeing it so many times.

So, if I don't blog much or if you don't see me in Facebook or Twitter, I may just be lurking or I may not be logging on at all. But just in case, I want to wish you all well...especially those new friends who have discussed their own bipolar struggles with me

Friday, March 29, 2013

Fear: Obstacle Course Races...Me? Really?

I blogged back in February about finishing the Spartan Sprint in Arizona. How hard it was, how much I hurt for most of the next week, yet guess what I'm doing? Next weekend I have the Super Spartan in Nevada, a 7-8 mile obstacle course with 20+ obstacles. Then at the beginning of May I have to Military Spartan Sprint in Colorado...about 3.5 miles with about 15 obstacles, but the  majority of these obstacles are designed by U.S. Special Forces!! I can only imagine what they have in mind. At the end of June I have the Spartan Beast, a race at 12-13 miles and 25+ obstacles. I'm volunteering for 2 days at the Colorado race so that I can get a free entry to both the Super and Beast.
But that's not all! I just registered for the Tough Mudder in Tahoe at the end of September. Now this one I know involves electrocution, an ice bath of huge magnitude, jumping off a 15-20 foot high (perfectly good) platform into what I hope is a deep enough man made pool of muddy water. Joy. Now, did I happen to mention that I have a little bit of a fear of heights and a strong underlying phobia of deep water and drowning? I don't know where the height thing came from, but when I was about 5 years old I almost drowned, or at least perceived it as such, during a private swim lesson. I continued to take swimming lessons throughout my childhood and actually did learn to swim but I still don't feel extremely comfortable in water where I can't touch the bottom. I've been taking lessons from a friend for the past few weeks and have gotten most of my form down but my flutter kicks are extremely weak. I can't even get the full length of the pool using a kickboard. It's so frustrating!
Anyway, I digress. I had never considered doing obstacle course races (OCRs). My son had mentioned that one of his good college friends was trying to get a team together for Arizona but was having a difficult time getting people to join. At some point she just stopped trying. So I got in touch with her, a young, local friend of mine and my son and we formed a small team for the race "Team Endorphin." I did the race and finished in what I thought was a terrible time, but I found out just a week or two ago that there were girls much younger than me at the same race that took over four hours to finish the course. That made me feel a bit better considering that I finished in under 3 hours.                                        


 My friend mentioned the Trifecta medal, for doing one race of each of the first three levels like I have planned, within one calendar year, so being the bling addict that I am I decided to go for the Trifecta and thus all the Spartan races. The Military Spartan Sprint has it's own separate medal with a barbed wire look to it that I had to have it so I'm doing that as well. The things I do for the bling!! lol!
Am I afraid of these races...more than you will ever know. Why do I insist on doing them? Well, my life has been fairly safe except for the multiple times that I have tried to take it myself. I feel like I've lost the adventurer that was me in my youth. Maybe it was getting married so young (had just turned 19) or having kids so early (when I was barely 21) or maybe it was because I was constantly in school working on multiple degrees and then working full time. I don't know what happened, but I don't have the spontaneity that used to define me. So now, just 6 months from my 49th birthday I'm doing things that I "shoulda, coulda" done when I was in my 20's and early 30's except for the fact that these types of races didn't exist as far as I know. I can't say that I'll be the oldest ones out there, but I'll definitely feel that way when the fit 20 and 30 year olds go flying by me finishing in times that I could only dream of. I'm stepping out of my comfort zone and approaching life with the following mantra:

Product Review: SparkleSkirts SparkleTech Skorts

I don't run in shorts usually. I don't like them because I can hardly find any with a long enough inseam that prevents riding up of the legs leading to uncomfortable chafing. Nor do I like them because all the ones that I have tried have a tendency to bunch up in front and ride up so that I'm constantly pulling the legs down while I run. Another reason is because I suffer from Asian Butt Syndrome (ABS) a situation in which most Asians find themselves sorely lacking in the "baby got back" department.

My fix to this situation is to wear skorts, for those not in the know these are skirts with shorts built in underneath. Prior to finding SparkleSkirts and their SparkleTech skorts I used to prefer Brooks skorts. The silicone dots around the bottom of the legs to keep the shorts from riding up. But SparkleTech skorts just stay down of their own accord. No more pulling and tugging at the legs, in fact you have a 100% guarantee that will not hike up on the legs.  And with an inseam of 6" these are the perfect length to prevent chafing for those of us who still have to work on that inner thigh area. These are the only skorts that I'll wear for races now. I still occasionally wear my other skirts while training but the SparkleSkirts are always at races whenever skirts are appropriate. Here are a few samples of the skorts:

The top "Minnie" skirt has been replaced with a brighter red and smaller dots,
 the middle is "Disco" and has some sparkle to it but no too much and
the bottom is a slim cut skirt "Fantasy." With the slim skirts occasionally
 the shorts may be longer than the skirt but you can adjust the shorts
to go higher and still not have problems with riding up!
This is a side view of the shorts underneath.
Inseam of 6" and can be worn with the pocket in back if needed.
One of the key points is the pockets in these skorts. There are a total of 3 pockets with the first being in the waistband with an approximate zipper length of 5 1/2 inches, however the pocket extends from side seam to side seam at a total length of about 12" on a large skirt. You also have two additional pockets on the side of each let measuring approximately 5" x 5". This is big enough to carry a Samsung Note II fauxcell (cell/tablet combo) which is roughly 6" x 5.5". The snugness of the pockets will keep just about anything securely in place. Depending on the design on the skort you can even turn the skort around and wear the pocket in the back if you prefer it that way! I have gone from using a hydration belt to only carrying a hand held bottle and everything else fits in my skort pockets for half marathons.

Waistband zipper.
Left side of waistband pocket.
Right side of waistband pocket.
Measurement of the size pockets.

The material is wicking and there are two different cuts...the original full skirt and a slim cut. My preference is the slim cut but most of the skorts I have are the full cut. There are a variety of colors and prints to choose from. Like the name suggests a lot of these are sparkly with sequins or textured fabric. A lot of the colors work well for or are specifially made for runDisney races.

I believe in this product so much that I own 10 skorts plus a pair of their MuddBuster capris which I'll talk about sometime later. So, if you have some free time and haven't been to their website before be sure to stop at SparkleSkirt. Take a look at their full inventory including cover skirts (SparkleSkirts), shorts (no skirt), Commando skirts (SparkleTech skirts without shorts) and theire MuddBuster capris and shorts (made specifically for mud runs/obstacle courses). They also have accessories like arm sleeves and headbands available.

Disclaimer: I have received no restitution for this post. I simply love theses SparkleTech skirts. I love them so much that I try to work for them at Disney races that I attend. The company owners, Leah and Tom, are usually at all the Disney expos and Virginia Beach Shamrock Marathon.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Motivation...I got it back!!

Wednesday I found out that I had gotten a guaranteed entry into the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) through Team Red, White & Blue and the Allied Forces Foundation. I can't tell you how happy I was to get this news. I didn't have to go through the stress of the MCM especially considering the IT problems they had during registration. You see, MCM had been on my race radar almost since I started running. Because I am a disabled vet, I love to participate in races with a military theme and you can't get much more military than the Marines! Sorry, Air Force...I still love you but...
Back in 2011 my motivator was to complete my first half marathon at TinkerBell Half Marathon. After that I was aiming to reach the highest level in the Half Fanatics, but became seriously ill with a bipolar flare up of my depressive symptoms in late spring 2012. In recent months since my bipolar disorder has been somewhat stable, I just haven't had the drive to run or train in any way. Things seemed to take a 180° turn after I got accepted into the program. All of a sudden I wanted to run again. I wanted to train. I wanted to get deeply into CrossFit. I want to fix the flat on my bike so I can start riding everywhere in town when I can instead of driving. I want to be ready for this race.

I have multiple races coming up from half marathons, obstacle/mud races, 5Ks and fun runs before this race even happens in October. I will most likely be going home to California in June to do either the Wipro San Francisco Marathon or Tracy's Fat Ass Marathon so I can see some running friends I have from Disney races and to mark California off my states for when I join the Marathon Maniacs. Doing the race in June would qualify me for the Maniacs after my full marathon in Alaska in August.

While I have the drive specifically for MCM training it's definitely going to step up my game for all the races coming before it. Heck, hopefully I'll even start the Spartan races and Tough Mudder with a great attitude of believing that I'll kick ass instead of being a nervous wreck. So I have the Marine Corps Marathon as my motivation...What is your motivation?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Marine Corps Marathon, Here I Come!!

Team Red, White and Blue
I got into the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM)!! I didn't even have to wait to do registration with the masses at 10am MDT/12 noon EDT. I just happened to be emailing the New Mexico/Albuquerque chapter leader of Team Red, White and Blue and he just happened to know about a program working with Team RWB/Wounded Warriors/NATO that would get me a guaranteed entry. This was at about 7:30 or so last night. Final emails went out to the national headquarters for Team RWB and I heard back at about 7:30am today that I was in! While I do not know all the details yet (I'll just do whatever they want me to do, short of stripping to my skivvies) because I owe it to them and because I am proud to be a vet representing Team RWB.

I didn't find out about the program until early yesterday evening. There was a flurry of emails and a touch of serendipity to find out about the program because my only real question was if he knew of any other Team RWB members from NM who were planning to do MCM. Then he came up with this pleasant bombshell.

MCM has been on my radar since I started running. I plan to do all official races for any of the services that I can find. I couldn't do the Air Force Marathon this year, but it's on my list for 2014. I don't think I've been this happy about getting into a race since I signed up for my first half marathon in 2012 or my first full marathon at Bataan.

I'll be wearing the eagle proudly at MCM. It's our turn as veterans, as civilians, as people who care what happens to our troops to support them in any way possible even if it's as simple as running a race. Go out there be proud of our active duty folks and veterans. I'm one of them and my husband is one as well...we both wear the Eagle proudly!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

What's on your Bucket List?

I don't have a bucket list per se. I keep thinking of things that I want to do but I rarely write them down and just decide to do things kinda on a whim. But I did post a Facebook status today that asked friends what were the top 10 things on their bucket that have already been done or not. Here's mine:
  • Half Marathon 
  • Full Marathon
  • Spartan Trifecta - 1 race down, 2 to go
  • Tough Mudder
  • Half marathon/full marathon in 7-10 days in each of AK and HI
  • Go to Australia
  • Visit England again - Lived there for almost 4 years
  • See the son get married
  • Sprint trialthon
  • Duathlon
I'd actually have to add an 11th one in there...and that's to do a Ragnar Run.

So, what are the top 10 things you want to get done? Include them whether or not you've actually done them yet. I promise, I won't hold you to your list! :D

Running: Love or Mental Illness Recovery?

Today I'm going to talk a little about two things that hugely impact my life other than family. When I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder II back in 1997 I did all the reading that I could to learn about the disorder. Part of what I had learned was that exercise helps to lessen the effects of particularly the depression but could also help control the hypomania. Unfortunately, I was working full-time as a new RN, attending a bachelors degree in nursing completion program, went straight into graduate school full time for my masters degree, raising two kids who were 12 and 11 (older than I remembered them being now that I think about it), playing the taxi driving mom, attending all the school functions for the kids while the husband was spending a lot of time deployed to the desert.

There were times in the past 15+ years that I tried and even at times accomplished exercise goals mainly to lose weight that I had gained over the years of different psychotropic medications, many of which have weight gain as an adverse effect. For instance, the first time that I was on lithium I literally gained 40+ pounds in 2 months! Try to get that weight off when the medications makes it near impossible!

My biggest successes came in 2003 when I did the original PX90 program at home. I managed to lose about 20-30 pounds from the 160+ pounds that I was carrying. On a 5'3.5" frame that doesn't look too good., in fact the husband used to say I looked like the little round spaceman character on one of the old Saturday morning cartoons in that I was round with stubby little legs and arms sticking out. He wasn't trying to be mean, it was in fun but he was stating the truth. I had never been that heavy in my life. Even at 9 months pregnant I topped of at only 134 pounds!

From 1988 I was in nursing school for almost 10 years straight working on an associate in vocational nursing, then completing my second associate degree in registered nursing, directly into a Bachelor of Nursing completion program and finally a masters degree program. You can just imagine the weight I gained during that time studying all the time, not getting enough/any exercise...I finally reached a max weight of 172 pounds! Now, let me tell you, I was not a happy camper with the weight gain, but I also had no energy to do something about except for the off and exercise I mentioned in the previous paragraph. Actually, back in December 1991 through December 1992 I did spend the whole year in the gym working out a couple of hours a day in addition to working 12 hour shifts 5-6 days a week, raising the kids alone because the hubs was in Korea for a remote year long assignment and going to school full time. Studying and whatnot was done either at work or while the kids were at school after I got home from the gym. Needless to say, that was probably almost a year of hypomania and sleeping 2-3 hours during the day that got me through...I really don't know how I did it. I only remember a couple of minor depressions during that time but nothing major.

Anyway after years of no exercise, in 2011 I got tired of being sick, depressed and worn out. I knew my weight had a lot to do with it...not in the sense of a bad self-image, but just the stress of it all. I was just starting to come down from nearly 2 years straight of a major depression. The only stability I had between 2009 and 2011 was a period between August and December 2010 when another really nice hyomania occurred. I was so productive then! I felt like the old me...then I crashed again the following early spring. I eventually was let go of my teaching contract at the local university and applied for 100% VA disability benefits since my diagnosis was my 70% disability for the past 10 years or so since it originated/was misdiagnosed when I left the USAF in 1986.

That summer, in a fit of a mild hypomania, I got sick and tired of being sick and tired from the extra weight and the recent depression which I still was not totally over. In an effort to incorporate exercise into my mental health regimen and lose some weight, I joined the local Y. I started in some group exercise classes like boot camps, core classes, Hip Hop Hustle, Zumba and others. Zumba was my favorite and within 6 months I was a licensed instructor although I never actually taught. I lost about 20 pounds doing Zumba bringing me down into the 150-140 pound range, but I had a lot more to go with a goal weight of 125 pounds.

I also took up walking and eventually started doing run/walk intervals after joining the Leukemia & Lymphoma's Team in Training to run what what supposed to be a "bucket list" half marathon, the Inaugural TinkerBell Half Marathon (13.1 miles)  at Disneyland. Then it happened. I started having excruciating pain in my hips, primarily the left side which at time impeded my walking. I got that checked out and was told that I have a pelvic bone that has too much rotation and that it wouldn't fuse together until in my 50-60's. All the pivoting in Zumba had contributed to the issue causing my pelvis to lock down in un-natural positions. I spent nearly 10 weeks in physical therapy had to stop training for my race and cross training instead. I had fallen in love with ruuning...something strange considering that I avoided running at all costs for most of my life. Finally 2 weeks prior to my race I was released from PT and allowed to start training again. Thankfully the cross training kept my cardio up but I had to start almost from scratch to build up my mileage two weeks. It wasn't easy but I finished my first half marathon in less than 3 hours which was my goal time.

Since then, I've sadly given up Zumba because my hips just can't handle all the pivoting and such. I've completed 23 official half marathons, 1 full marathon and several 5K or 10K fun runs/races. I can't imagine my life without running now. Even when I'm not training like I should be. I had another suicidal depressive episode from March 2012 through January 2013. After months of inactivity from the depression I began racing slowly (I'm not fast at all) and went to run a double (a half marathon on Saturday and Sunday of one weekend) in Nevada and Utah just because I needed a change even though I hadn't trained at all and the depression was causing some issues between the husband and I. I just needed some me time and that meant running. Those races were terrible but I was finally out and about some other runners and even saw a few running friends at the race in Nevada. Because I had performed so poorly, I took off the next month and a half and as the depression continued to resolve I ran another race in Kansas. Again it wasn't pretty but I finished. I've never failed to finish a race...ever...although I have DNS'd -Did Not Start- 8 or 9 races last year due to the severity of the depression.


This year, actually from mid-December 2012 until now I've been blessed with relative stability. I have felt better about my races although my times are still 20 minutes-1houf and 10 minutes off my previous half marathons. I just need to get out there and train (easier said than done most days). I even completed my first hiking marathon (26.2 miles) just a couple of weeks ago.

While running is not a "cure" for my bipolar disorder it definitely helps with the endorphins (the feel good chemical, a natural opioid formed by the body) to help lift/stabilize the moods. I still try to remember to take my medications which I'm not always successful at but if I find myself sitting on my rear for long periods of this past winter I notice that my moods are much more inconsistent. Running and exercise definitely helps with mental illness; studies have proven that exercise in general can help those with mental illness feel better and recover faster from exacerbations. However, these actions in and of themselves cannot be considered a "cure."

For me, it's not only the mental health benefits of running/exercise but it's also a love of the sport and most of the people that I come across during my running adventures. This year I have 11 half marathons, 6 full marathons, at least 4 obstacle course races (Spartan Race, Tough Mudder as well as some smaller ones) and several small 5K and 10K races. Truthfully there's no telling where I'd be without my running. Possibly hospitalized again after another suicide attempt, dead or just turning into a female version of Jabba the Hutt just doing nothing.

So, yes I see running in both ways: a sport and as a form of mental health recovery.

If you have a mental health diagnosis what do you do to get those endorphins going? If you're simply a runner, why do you run?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Medication? Who me?

Lithium Capsules...truly a lifesaver for me.
Yeah, I'm still on my bipolar thought process roll. It doesn't usually last so long, but here we go again.

I am a terrible patient/former RN when it comes to my own medication compliance/adherence (adherence is the new "feel good" terminology since it doesn't make a accusation regarding the patient). I am one of those nurses who unfortunately lives by the "Do as I say, not as I do" motto. I've been on and off meds for my bipolar disorder since 1997. When I'm on the, most of the time I'm pretty stable or "normal" by some people's definition. Like I've said before I don't believe in "normal" anymore, I much more prefer "stable."

Anyway, there are times that I stop my meds on my own...and I mean abruptly stop them, something that should not be done with psychotropic meds...just because I'm feeling really good AKA in a hypomanic episode. I don't recommend stopping meds without talking to your psychiatrist, but if you do do so taper them down over a couple of weeks do not ever just suddenly stop them! Like I said I really recommend talking to your doc first...I'm a little dangerous because I have that extra knowledge that lay people don't typically have. During these episodes I really feel more like my old self than ever...except that I tend to overspend, have issues with lack of sleep or not sleeping at all, racing thoughts, etc. but I've never gone into a full blown manic episode that becomes possibly life threatening because there's a lot more risk taking involved. It's not uncommon for those with bipolar disorder to think that they feel good so they don't need their meds when the reverse is actually true. Mood stabilizers will help quell down the overly active/risk taking behaviors and in extreme cases an anti-psychotic may be needed in addition to the mood stabilizers to maintain the moods in check. Typically both these medications will be taken long term.

For depression of course antidepressants are prescribed. The problem is that antidepressants can actually trigger a  hypomania or mania. So it's not uncommon (or it shouldn't be) to only use antidepressants for short term...what I mean by that it 6-12 months. Please remember I was studying and two semesters shy (2 clinical courses and 2 theoretical courses from graduating as a prepared Pysch/Mental Health advance practice nurse or qualified to certify as a PMH-NP) of graduating so that's where a lot of my statements are built educational background. After the prescribed use a trial off the antidepressant should be attempted and if all goes well the patient may be taken off the med...if it doesn't go well they stay on or maybe try a different one.

I digress, so on those occasions when I do stop my meds it can just be a few days simply because I forgot, or weeks & months (I've been off my meds for about a month and a half and just restarted taking them yesterday) simply because I feel "good" and I've even gone years off of them always crashing big time into a long lasting, severe and even suicidal depression. It's stupid. I was an RN for 22+ years, I taught psych/mental health nursing for 4 years and I've been diagnosed for 15+ years. You'd think I'd have my head all together and a grasp on this, but no.

So right now in Spring through the Summer this is when I can almost guarantee that I'll drop into a severe depression. I'm actually surprised that it hasn't happened considering how long I've been off my meds, but it's enough to scare me into starting them up again. To help with this I have a 7 day pill box to set up all my twice daily meds...OK, I have it somewhere but I can't find it but that's what I usually use to keep my meds straight. I've also downloaded an app called MyMedSchedule that has charts you can print out to track your meds and mobile apps for iPhone and Android that can be set up to send you email and SMS reminders to take your meds at whatever setting you determine. Once I got this set up correctly I started getting my if only they could send reminders to Twitter/Facebook since I'm always on those and sometimes allow my phone and tablet to die and forget to recharge them.  However, the email can also be seen on your regular email long as you check it regularly or have some sort of pop-up set up for the message when it comes in. Hopefully this will be something hat really helps with my med adherence.

Yes, this is in face my actual printable med schedule/checklist from MyMedSchedule
The printable medication schedule from MyMedSchedule
I've got one and a half days of medication on board and because I am familiar with the intricacies of these meds I know which ones that I can return to a full dose and those which I need to taper up to my normal does over several days. Depending on your meds never go straight back to the dose you were on unless you talk to you psychiatrist!! It can be dangerous to do so...and please don't decide that you're going to catch up on several days of medications all in one go. I know a lady who ended up and the mental health unit with me during my first psych hospitalization because she took  a week's plus of medications when she expected her husband to come back from a business trip!!

So to anyone out there who maybe having to deal with medication adherence issues whether it be psychotripic meds or regular medical medications take a look at MyMedSchedule. It may be of assistance. Good luck to us all!

UPDATE 3/25/13 at 11:55am;
I'm gonna try something a little different in addition to a hard copy checklist. If you look on the right hand sidebar you'll see a new page "Medication Accountability Checklist." this is the same info as on the checklist above but available online. Some people may wonder why I am so public about my meds, it's because I choose to do so. I'm not violating anyone else's HIPPA rights. I choose to try this and see how it goes. Let's see if I can remember to update it daily!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

My Openness About Having Bipolar Disorder

I seem to be on a bipolar roll regarding my thinking process lately. Been getting on/off my soapbox in my status updates on Facebook, re-posting mental health tweets on know, that kind of thing. Anyway, I think some people wonder why I am so open about my illness so I'll take a short bit to discuss that.

If you read my "About Me" section on the sidebar it tells much of the story. I have attempted suicide multiple times since my diagnosis beginning in about 1997. Truthfully, I'm into the double digits now with my last attempt probably in the early 2000's but with plenty of suicidal thinking since then. If you notice, my side bar is full of two subject...suicide prevention and running. Unfortunately for me and the family, my diagnosis happened when the kids were young...about 8-9 years old. Each of them found me at least once after a suicide attempt so there's a lot of resentment from them on that. I was only actually hospitalized once for an overdose of a whole large bottle of a pain/sleep aid plus some other assorted meds. The rest of the time I was found quickly and had induced vomiting soon enough that very little entered my system. The husband has had to deal with the illness sometimes being "my rock" of foundation and other times having to deal with his own issues leaving me as the caregiver.

I've never been shy about discussing my diagnosis whether at work/public/teaching/online, especially when I'm in a relatively "stable" or hypomanic frame of mind. Heck, I even taught psych/mental health nursing for four years explaining to students that I did in fact have a mental illness and my goal was not only to teach them content but also to help them get over the stigma/fear of the mentally ill. To me it's just my small gift to help educate people regarding mental illness and the stigma associated with it. I hope that in my lifetime that the stigma will dissolve but I have my doubts since the media, although some more positive portrayals have occurred in the last decade, still points towards mental illness being the cause of a majority of violent offenses even when there is no concrete proof that the culprit has a mental illness. Sometimes even families of these people don't help because of the "Well, he/she's acted like they had mental problems because..." types of statements.

This is a recent status update that I posted on my Facebook account in response to this image:

"Too true! Get educated about mental's not all it's exploited to be in the media!! There are plenty of everyday persons who have had successful careers, famous artists/authors/actors and people we don't know about publicly that have been diagnosed with some kind of mental illness. 
The mentally ill are NOT people to be afraid of...we are simply people with an illness originating in our brain through chemical imbalance, bad circuitry in the electrical impulses of the brain, traumatic brain injury amongst other causes.
We are simply people with an illness just like any other physical ailment. I am NOT my disorder. I am NOT bipolar...I HAVE bipolar disorder.
For more info visit some of these links:
National Alliance on Mental Illness:
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance:
National Institute of Mental Health:
Stand Up for Mental Health: : http//
These are just a few of the places to go to learn about the realities of mental illness, the harm that stigma causes for those with mental illness and general information about different mental illnesses.
*Stepping off my know that this is a topic close to my heart!*"
So like I said! Get me and mental health organizations to educate the general public that the mentally ill are not to be feared.. We are just people with an illness, much like many other people who are out there in the world with some type of physical illness. That is all.

Mood Confusion

I'm not sure what's going on mood-wise for me right now. Typically with my bipolar disorder, I'd be heading into a pretty dark place this time of year, but I'm feeling pretty good right now. Maybe a little too good. It's odd for me to have a hypomanic phase without a preceding depressive phase, but I'm noticing less sleep (typically 3 hours or less for most nights of the last 2+ weeks), a little more of the obsessive thinking happening and just a bit more energy than usual. Oh, and my typical lack of medication regimen adherence that's pretty common when I do start feeling a bit hypomanic.

Right now because I am feeling this way I"m going to start up my meds again tomorrow (someone please hold me to it) slowly tapering up the meds that I know I can't just jump back on at full dose. Hopefully I'll have my blood levels back where they need to be within 2 weeks. I'm telling you...a little too much knowledge can be dangerous (in reference to my psych nursing background). I'm also going to start myself on a 2 week course of Xanax at bedtime to try to get back into a regular sleep cycle. This sleeping for 2-3 hours, then napping 2-3 hours during the day isn't cutting it. I really need to get back on a day/night sleeping schedule.

I just hope that I'm not setting myself up for a self-fulfilling prophecy in that because I'm "missing" my depressive state that I trigger in some way that depression to come on sooner than later. Oh geez, did that make sense? It's late, I'm tired and I just took 1.5mg of Xanax to go to sleep to. Ugh.  Anyway, this is just not what I expected to be happening around this time...typically late Feb to mid-March I'll at least have a mild depression, but none so far. Again...I hope I'm not jinxing myself.

I dunno. Just a bit confused. Gonna give the meds about 20 minutes to kick in then it's bedtime and hopefully I won't wake up until close to 11am or noon. So, wish me luck in getting back into the medication and "normal" (whatever you feel is normal...I don't know what that is anymore) or at the least a "stable" frame of mind. G'nite!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Race Recap: The Color Run 5K - Lubbock, TX

Race Date: Saturday, March 23, 2013
Race Location: Lubbock, TX

Wow! This was the first race, or rather fun run, that was within a decent driving distance from home. After a rough night with allergies and only a little over 2 hours of sleep I was up and at 'em getting ready to do a nearly 2 hour drive to Lubbock to get to The Color Run 5K which was an inaugural event for the area. The hubs and two local running/racing friends joined us for the trip which began at 5am MDT since we were losing an hour driving across the state line into Texas.
Race outfit, but I decided to wear the official
The Color Run 5K t-shirt on top of the tank.
We were on the road pretty much on time and a little worried about the weather since we had been getting wind advisories for a few days. As luck would have it the weather was perfect, just a tad chilly early on, and winds were pretty minimal for the area. We arrived in Lubbock to a line of traffic trying to get into the parking lot, so I followed my GPS instructions and we ended up parking on the street not too far from the parking lot where we'd have ended up parking anyway...without having to wait in line!

We made our way to the race area which was probably a good half mile walk. Packet pick up was way too easy in that there was absolutely no waiting line at all. We all had our packets in less than 5 minutes! We all changed into our shirts, some went to use the port-a-pots which had absolutely no lines at any of them and then we made our way to the start.

Pre-run: Jeff (my SRPIC), Teresa (my local running/racing friend), me and the hubs, Troy.
Walgreen's provided bottles of water at the start, but oddly enough there were no trash cans anywhere near the starting line so you can imagine the collection of bottles and other trash that began accumulating along the fence line. As the weather warmed up I discarded an old throwaway sweatshirt and gloves that I had brought to get read for the run to start. I was kind of disappointed the the energy level wasn't higher than it was, but as with any race/run it's what you make of it. Maybe it was just because I'm used to larger races now but whatever. My friend, Jeff and I danced around to the music, we all jumped for the freebies that were being thrown or shot out of an air cannon and basically just enjoyed ourselves as much as we wanted until the start at 9am.
The "corrals" to the rear of us...
We ended up being the 3rd or 4th wave out...
Color runners heading to the starting area...
The run was in an area park with the course consisting of nearly constant rolling hills. Teresa took the lead and was off (she's finished the Bataan Memorial Death March in 4th place in her division before and has finished a full before I even finished a half that started an hour later!) while Jeff and I took middle ground. The hubs started falling back so I told Jeff to go ahead and I waited to run/walk with the hubs. He then started having some issues with his shins and told me to to ahead so I reluctantly headed out at a comfortable pace interspersed with my intervals...usually consisting of walking up the hills and through the color stations. As I made my way through the different color stations I made sure to get up close and personal to the volunteers for a good dousing while raising my hands above my head to ensure good coverage.

I finished...having no idea of time or anything because I hadn't bothered to check the time when we started or when I finished...and waited for the hubs at the finish line. He came in a little bit after me and was fairly well covered in paint.

Photo of the yellow station through a Ziplock bag
used to protect my phone.
Waiting for the old man who thought I had a bloody nose
because I was sweating and had red paint on my face.
Post modern Color Run abstract.
Jeff and I post race.
Certainly an entertaining part (taken through a Ziplock bag)...
getting excess paint blown off with leaf blowers.
We met up with Teresa at our designated meeting place while Jeff met with some of his younger friends for a bit. Just as a note, there were supposed to be about 7K runners...when we left at 10:50am local time, they were just releasing the last of the runners to start! We headed down to the Festival area to take part in one of the color throws and then met back up with Jeff to head out for lunch at Texas Roadhouse. Unfortunately my phone's battery died during the run...stupid GPS eating the not any pics of the food. I had a great ribeye and baby back ribs combo with loaded mashed potatoes, buttered corn, 4 hot/fresh rolls and most of a plate of potato skins. I did end up taking the ribs and most of the sides home as leftover though...but the rib eye was done in a flash! We then stopped at Cake Cupcake Shop and I got a Snickerdoodle cupcake (courtesy of Teresa) which was delish! So not a good thing that I know where a good cupcake shop is now in both Amarillo and Lubbock!! Oy vey!

The weather for the race an the early part of our trip home was great. We left Jeff in Lubbock (on purpose) since he was going to stay with friends to go party like any normal 20 year old would do. The nearly 2 hour drive home looked mostly like this with strong winds...
Gotta thank a former student, Staci for this photo!
We did make it home safe although I had to have the hubs take over the driving about 30 miles from home since I was getting drowsy from only 2 hours of sleep the previous night.

UPDATE @ 11:06pm: 
Just a note...the powdered paint managed to get through my tutu and capris to my legs and through two shirts to my skin. I don't recommend holding your arms up as you go through the paint stations...I was able to scrub away most of the color except for some reason the paint in my underams (of all places) is really not coming off well. I'll have blue armpits for a few days! LOL!

What I liked about this race:
The fact that it wasn't a race, just a fun run. Haven't done one in a long while and the pressure of time was not a factor. Plus, it was just plain fun!! How often prior to this race had I been able to let loose and get crap thrown, sprayed or wiped all over me?? Not often enough!! lol!

What I didn't like about this race:

Would I be a wimp if I complained about the hills? lol! Ya'll know how much I dislike hills!! LOL!

Would I do this race again?
Definitely. Actually planning to do The Color Run in Amarillo in June and the Color Me Rad 5K in Lubbock in October. I so need to do more relaxing short runs just for fun!

Friday, March 22, 2013

runDisney Dopey Challenge is Official

This post is in follow up to yesterday's post about one of the very recent runDisney rumors...the Dopey Challenge.
Is Dopey the only one nutty enough to do this Challenge?
Or are you too?!
I just woke up from a 3+ hour nap (haven't slept more than 3 hours the past 2 nights) to find out that runDisney had made an official news announcement at 3pm EST. Yes, the Challenge is ON! It will involve the Family 5K, the new Minnie Mouse 10K, the WDW Half Marathon and the WDW Full Marathon. Participants who finish at the races in the allotted time will receive a total of 6 for each of the races, Goofy Challenge and Dopey Challenge. So much for what I predicted about the medal situation!

Registration opens on Tuesday, April 9th at noon EST. You must register for the Dopey Challenge specifically to get the Dopey Challenge medal.

Register at:

runDisney Event page for the WDW Marathon/Goofy/Dumbo Weekend:

Disney Parks Blog Post about the Dopey Challenge:

runDisney YouTube video about the Dopey Challenge (also on the Disney Parks blog post):

I'm just making a wild guess that this will sell out within days if not hours!! Just like the Dumbo Double Dare in Disneyland, that was a lot of "D's"!! lol!

Now we just have to see if the Disneyland - Paris rumor is true as well...