Bipolar Depression Episode

I just went through a very serious episode of bipolar depression that could have easily cost me my life. I was experiencing suicidal depression and went four nights in a row to the Providence Psych ER. The fourth night, they got a court order and forced me to go to API (Alaska Psychiatric Institute). I spent two days there, and came home yesterday morning. I am still experiencing some depression and paranoia, but I am feeling much better now than I was. I would like to share the Facebook posts that I and others made concerning this issue, beginning on October 13, 2014. This all started about two months ago when I had to stop taking my Geodon because of unacceptable cardiac side effects. I spiraled up into mania but it didn’t seem to cause me too many issues other than poor sleep quality. But then, my moods shifted into irrational fear and paranoia and then… the plunge straight down into the deepest, darkest, most hellish abyss of bipolar suicidal depression.

I went to the NAMI meeting yesterday. I was SO mentally ill and so miserable. I hadn’t had good sleep in a very long time and other things had my stress levels THROUGH THE ROOF. I was filled with FEAR and PARANOIA. I fell apart in the middle of the meeting and ended up crying in front of everybody. I NEVER cry in front of other people. But I guess a NAMI meeting is a good place to fall apart, lol… a friend drove me to the hospital. I cried in her car and I cried at the hospital too in the ER.

I am MUCH better now, after about 15 hours of so of deep sleep at the hospital. They gave me safe drugs to make it happen.

I am home and I am safe and I am okay.

I’m very sorry about my behavior here the past couple of months or so. I have not been well, and yesterday it was really bad. I’m so thankful that good mental health care is so readily available here in Anchorage!

I was manic as hell, what, yesterday? Two days ago? I can’t remember anymore. I was manic for a couple of months with various symptoms going on. While I was at the hospital, I told the nurse that I wanted to go to sleep and I didn’t care if I ever woke up again. She told me that that indicated that I was suicidal. I can’t write about this without crying. I am spiraling down, and I cannot handle another severe depression. That would land me in API (Alaska Psychiatric Institute) and that place is an absolute hellhole. It sucks, but if I end up there, and this one particular nurse/whatever is there, I’m going to kick his ass if he says so much as a word me. I still remember his behavior toward me in 2011 and if I hadn’t just had back surgery months before, I would have decked him hard then. I avoided a fight then because of my back issues, but I wouldn’t do so now. I’m not normally a violent person at all. Hell, I haven’t raised a hand to hurt anyone since the last Jr. High schoolyard fight I was involved in. But this guy seriously deserved to have his ass kicked, and I’m still mad about it 3-1/2 years later if I happen to think about it. But I am mentally ill right now. Everything I feel, I feel INTENSELY.

I don’t really want to die, but it would not bother me if I just never woke up again. The battle than never ends with bipolar disorder would be over.

I am paranoid as hell about posting this.

I see my doctor tomorrow morning at 9:30 am. She may want to hospitalize me. That would mean API, and I would say HELL NO. I am open to trying new medicine, though…

Shelley>Jeff Reid
October 13 at 12:34pm ·
Hi, folks. I’m an online friend of Jeff. If any of you are local in Anchorage please get in touch. I am concerned for his safety at the moment. Thanks.

On way to the hospital. Be in contact when I can. Shelley please let ex- c ( folks know I am okay. Sorry to tag you for that. Thanks.

They will take my phone away from me. I am in good hands. I will be okay.

Feeling much calmer and less upset and suicidal. Being taken care of well here at the hospital.

I am still very depressed this morning but not suicidal. A close friend of mine from the Ex-C forums called the Anchorage police after I posted there last night about killing myself this morning. My mom is my biggest supporter but I don’t feel like talking to her or much of anybody right now. My friend Monica called me last night, but honestly I was so ill and so out of it I don’t remember much of what we talked about. But she cares, and I know a lot of other people here do too. Thanks.

The hospital gave me good care. I am going to the NAMI meeting today at 1:00 pm.

If I kill myself, I will hurt a lot of people — family, friends in real life, Facebook and of course on the Ex-C forums. Help me to not do that. Please. I want so bad for the pain to stop… I want to die so the pain will STOP!

I feel so bad. So depressed. Like feeling good again would take a monumental effort, and I just don’t know if I can do it again. Everyone is telling me to go to the hospital. But I don’t want to go to API. I want to go to sleep forever. I don’t care if I never wake up again. I hope i don’t. I’m TIRED. I’m tired of fighting for what almost everyone else takes for granted. I don’t mean that they way it probably sounds. I’m just tired of fighting to feel good. I have been manic since I stopped taking the Geodon and now I am deeply depressed and suicidal. Numb then angry then depressed and suicidal. But never good. I never feel good. I am so tired. I have been fighting for 30+ years and I am worn out. I am crying and I just want it to be OVER…

I want to die and not know or feel or have to deal with anything ever again. I want so bad to wait until tomorrow morning and run the car in the closed garage and just get it over with. I am so tired of fighting. Maybe the hospital can help. I just don’t know. But API might be better than being dead? I am going to get dressed and drive myself to Providence Psych ER now. I will end up in API. A choice between being dead and hurting a lot of people who care about me or spending time in hellhole where I won’t get much if any help. Hell of choice, but people seem to want me to live… even though I don’t want to anymore…

I’m on my way to the hospital now.

Zander>Jeff Reid
October 15 at 1:58pm ·
Thinking about you Jeff. Hope you’re ok.

Mike>Jeff Reid
October 16 at 3:36am ·
Heya, Jeff. Just checking in. I hope you got the help you needed.

Beth>Jeff Reid
October 16 at 11:55am ·
Spoke with Jeff late yesterday. He is doing well, in a good facility, and hopes to go to his Anchorage home tomorrow sometime. He knows you guys are worried and asked me to post to his board letting you know he is OK and on his way to health.
I personally want to thank all of you for your positive thoughts and caring. You are a blessing to him and I am grateful. Beth, Jeff’s mother

I am alive and feeling MUCH better. Just got home from the hospital a while ago. Visited with my father for a few minutes and loved on the cats.

API actually helped me — a lot! It is not the hellhole now that it was back in 2011. Lots of staffing and policy changes for the better.

Four trips to the Providence Psych ER, and on the fourth night they got a court order to force me to go to API. I objected to the entire thing at the time and they knew I was unhappy about it (I’m not shy about letting people know when I’m pissed off, lol) but now I realize I am alive because they forced me to go to API.

I am on Zyprexa again at the moment and it works but… it makes me gain weight, makes me hungry all the time, and it gives me insane sugar cravings. So… we will have to find something else for the long-term. I usually do well without meds if I eat healthy and get a lot of exercise. But sometimes, meds are necessary.

I was manic for quite a while, though it didn’t cause me issues really except for sleep quality. Then the irrational fear and paranoia started, then severe mania that felt AWESOME, but then… the plunge down into the deepest, darkest, most hellish abyss of bipolar suicidal depression. Worst episode since 2011.

I am very happy that I survived once again and I am still here.

Thanks so much for the love and the caring and concern. I am okay.

Looks like I lost one FB friend, probably due to my very public bipolar depressive crisis. Some people can’t handle mental illness, and I totally understand that. I haven’t figured out who it was yet, but I hope it wasn’t someone I will miss too much. I can’t help being mentally ill and I don’t apologize for being public about it. It MUST be talked about if the stigma associated with it is ever going to go away. It’s hard to explain to people who haven’t experienced it what mental illness is like — the incredible highs and the hellish lows that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy for even one second.

Whoever it was that decided not to be a part of my online life anymore, I wish them well…

Getting caught up with my online world, AC/DC is blasting through my Bose headphones, and life is good again.

Just FYI — the last week or so is a blur. I was severely depressed and don’t remember too many specifics. Just hellish depression and awesome friends calling me (I remember the calls but not the conversations) and being here for me on Facebook. Thanks, so much!

Nothing like getting out of the hospital to find your car windshield iced over hard and… no ice scraper or other winter gear in the car.

It was 31 degrees outside and the car cranked like it was as unhappy as I was about the ice and cold. But, the heater is awesome and had things warmed up quickly. That damn ice was no match for the heater.

The roads are not icy yet, but will be soon. Gotta get the winter tires put on very soon…

It’s awesome that I’m feeling well enough to complain about normal stuff like… slow drivers!

On the way home from the hospital (a long drive across town), I got caught behind a slow-moving truck and then two other slow cars. The speed limit on Tudor is 45 mph, not 20 mph, dammit! MOVE, or GET THE HELL OUT OF MY WAY!!!

On the other hand though, after it snows and the roads are icy, I will be the slow one everyone will be cursing and passing, lol…

Been spending time over on the Ex-C forums and became aware that I am not the only bipolar person having issues right now. I have a friend there who cycles in and out of fanatical religious belief the way I used to. But this friend tends to have delusions about being a prophet like the biblical (and mythical) Abraham or Moses… I really feel for my friend and posted a response urging him to see his doctor and not abuse his medications, as others have as well.

I have weathered a serious bipolar event or two without cycling into religion and believing the ridiculous again, so hopefully trips into religious belief are thankfully over for me. I am wishing the same for my friend…

I am still honestly feeling some depression, but nothing like what it was. I know there is hope and I am feeling very grateful to still be alive.

Can’t wait to be posting again about being at much more fun places than mental hospitals. Hopefully tomorrow afternoon, after the NAMI meeting, I can head out to the Dimond Mall or to The Pack Rat Antiques or Bosco’s Comics. The usual fun hangouts around town…

This is definitely TMI I’m sure but… with all that has gone on the last several days, I have been wearing the same pair of underwear…

Question for my health coaching friends, and anyone else who cares to offer an opinion.

I spent a year working hard to get certified as a health coach at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I’m proud and happy that I stuck with school for that long and got the certificate.

But… I have bipolar disorder, which is a serious illness to have to deal with. Usually, I am okay though I have sleep issues and trouble focusing and concentrating. But sometimes, as just happened, I get hit with a very serious bipolar depression that requires hospitalization and that renders me unable to function. All I can think about when I am in that condition is how much I want to die so the pain will stop.

Right now, I really don’t have a practice. No clients yet. But what will I do when I do have clients and a business to run and I get hit with the inevitable serious bipolar episode? How am I going to explain being mentally ill and having to be in the hospital when I am supposed to be promoting healthy eating and healthy lifestyle changes? I’m supposed to be the healthy one who is encouraging others to get healthier and I’m getting paid to do it, yet I have a mental illness that occasionally puts me in the hospital? How is that going to work?

I can’t always predict when a serious episode is going to occur. I have been feeling basically okay since May of 2011, and for a couple of years I have been singing the praises of chia seeds. I really thought they had cured my bipolar depression and I would never have to deal with being that depressed again. Now it’s clear, obviously not… I was just lucky for three years. Who knows if the chia seeds were really making a difference or not?

I’m really questioning whether I can do a health coaching business when I have a mental illness that sometimes incapacitates me. I’m also still depressed right now (just not nearly as badly) and I’m questioning myself. My own health is a mess right now. My diet sucks and I am way out of shape and significantly overweight. Back in 2012 before Zyprexa, I was in size 34 jeans and I was working out a lot. Now I am in size 40 jeans and I am so out of shape that a 30 minute Les Mills Combat workout (mixed martial arts) is a challenge. And it used to be easy…

I’m still feeling depression and paranoia, so maybe this is just unwarranted fear showing up from still being ill, though better. Thoughts? Thanks.

Looking forward to the NAMI meeting this morning, and then visiting some fun places around town this afternoon. Yeah, college football is on TV, but I would rather spend the day out around town having some fun time.

Went to Bosco’s Comics and found something really cool — a Star Trek/Starfleet captain’s uniform shirt. It’s an XL so it should fit but we shall see. Might have to drop a few pounds first. Can’t be Captain Fatty, lol… but anyway, woohoo!! Something fun after the bipolar hell I just went through.


My Thoughts on Suicide…

I posted this to Facebook a while ago and I’d like to share it here too…

A couple of days ago I posted my thoughts about Robin William’s tragic death from suicide, and I shared a lot about my life dealing with bipolar disorder. I’m still thinking about it because Robin’s death really hit home hard with me. I have been that depressed and in that much pain myself several times, I am a survivor of several suicide attempts.

This is not going to be a pleasant post to read. It’s about suicide, and that is a subject that is terribly difficult to deal with, and most people would rather not think about it or talk about it. I’ll understand if you don’t care to read beyond this point. But like depression and mental illness, suicide MUST be talked about and brought out into the open so that people who are suffering emotional agony beyond the comprehension of most people can get the understanding and help that they need. There is nothing worse than losing someone to suicide and being left with incredible grief and the agony of wondering what you might could have said or done that could have saved a life. That’s what Robin William’s family and friends are going through right now.It’s the agony that so many people who are not so wealthy or famous go through when they lose someone to suicide. But you don’t hear about them so much…

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in February of 1998, at the age of 32. That year was a living hell beyond belief. I was miserable, deeply depressed, and in and out of the hospital several times. I was on a drug called Depakote for the bipolar disorder. It can work great if taken as prescribed, but at high doses it is very toxic to the liver and is usually fatal. I overdosed on it twice, and each time I came very close to death. If I had taken just a few more pills either time, I would not be here to talk about it.

In 2001, I tried to commit suicide again. I ran the car in the garage and somehow ended up at UTMB in Galveston, TX instead of being dead.

In May of 2011, I got hit with the worst episode of bipolar depression I had experienced in several years. I tried to commit suicide again with the car in the garage, but after about 15 minutes, I realized that I didn’t really want to die. I just wanted the unbearable, agonizing emotional pain to STOP. I drove myself to Providence Hospital in Anchorage, and ended up spending a week there in the mental health unit. They helped me so much, and I will forever be so grateful to them! I was still depressed when I got out, but I was much better and no longer suicidal.

Right before I went into the hospital in 2011, I posted this thread to an internet forum I still frequently visit. I read back through that thread this morning and cried. I remember how deeply depressed I was. I remembered how much agony I was in. I remembered how badly I wanted help but at the same time how badly I wanted to die so the pain would STOP.

I’m still amazed at the outpouring of love and support I received from my friends there a little over three years ago. Some of those people haven’t been on that forum for quite a while. People come and go on forums all the time. But their love and their caring still mean a great deal to me. This is not a forum I would normally ask my Christian friends to visit. It’s not a religion-friendly site, at all. Some of the things said my religious friends will find offensive and I apologize for that, but please read it anyway. If you want to understand ME and you want to understand the agony of suicidal depression, read it. It’s six pages long and will take a few minutes, but you will learn so much and be so amazed too at the love and support that I received. Those people helped me pull through an awful time in my life, and I am still happy to call many of them my friends.

I wish Robin Williams could have found the love and support that he needed when he was hurting so deeply and so badly. We lost a very talented and funny man to a terrible disease.

I’m sorry if this post makes my friends uncomfortable, but it’s got to be talked about. Not just on Facebook, but everywhere, among average people and among the mental health professionals who can save the lives of those who so desperately need them and their help.

I am happy and I am healthy now. I love my life and I love living it. But I know just how incredibly fortunate I am to still be here…

My Thoughts on Robin William’s Death

I posted this to Facebook, but would like to share it here as well. I hope it helps someone in need. If you are suffering from depression, there is help available! The national suicide hotline number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Please seek help if you need it. There is no shame in depression, and it can be treated and recovery is possible!

I have always been very open and honest about my struggles with mental illness. I have never hidden the fact that I have bipolar disorder. My feeling is that the more mental illness is talked about and brought out into the open, the less stigma there will be because of it. I started having symptoms of mental illness after I had a serious seizure when I was ten years old. That was in 1976. The best anti-seizure medicine they had at the time was phenobarbital, and I was on it for six years. My mother’s opinion is that they took me off of it too quickly because I went straight for the alcohol, and so began many years of serious substance abuse. I was seriously bipolar by the time I was in high school, and most nights I was so manic I would have to drink myself to sleep. I would either hit the liquor cabinet, trying to be careful not to wake my mother up, or I would sneak out of the house late at night to go buy beer at a couple of convenience stores nearby that I knew would sell it to me, underage though I was. Back in those days there were not such strict laws for selling alcohol to minors like there are today. It was easy to get if you knew where to go… Anyway, school was not easy for me. I had few friends and I endured a lot of hell for being different. I know now that I was different because I was mentally ill. We all know how cruel kids can be if you don’t fit in… high school was a living hell except for band, a few true friends who accepted me as I was, and cool teachers who liked and cared about me. I have never had the opportunity to go to a high school reunion and I’m not sure I want to. It’s been thirty years, and most of those people back when we were in school wanted nothing to do with me. I participated in band and had great fun doing it, but I was left out of all the stuff the cool kids got to do. I never went to a beach party or hung out with friends at Dunbar Park (they were drinking or doing drugs anyway, so it’s just as well that I wasn’t there… I did plenty of that on my own or with the friends I did have…) or anything else the “normal” kids got to do. I didn’t even know most of this stuff went on until years later…

Anyway… while most of my peers were going to school and building their adult lives and careers, I was absolutely miserable with then undiagnosed bipolar disorder. I dealt with it either with extreme religious belief or with severe substance abuse. I spent many years trying to get through school and failing because I was so mentally ill and usually too drunk or too stoned to learn anything. I spent many years working many dead-end, low-wage jobs, barely managing to scrape by. I never had any extra money and at Christmas, my mother would loan me about $20 so I could go buy some cheap books and cassette tapes to give as gifts. There were many times that I would have been homeless on the streets of Houston, TX if my mother had not helped me out financially. She didn’t like doing it, but she loves me unconditionally and was always there for me.

I’m sharing all of this because of Robin William’s tragic death from suicide. He had money and fame and the adoration of millions, but none of that protects you from the ravages of mental illness. I know what it’s like to suffer from DEEP depression and to have no quality of life whatsoever. I can remember back around 2001, I was so miserable and so depressed that I slept almost all the time. Being awake HURT! My idea of getting out of the house was to go visit the apartment office and visit with the leasing agents. They knew that I was deeply troubled and they cared enough about me to try to help. But most of the time I was in my apartment asleep or wishing that I was asleep or wishing that I was dead so I didn’t have to hurt so bad. Sleep was the only escape I had from the unbearable pain of severe bipolar depression.

I have a great life now in Alaska and my mental health is so good now that I can’t tell most of the time that I even have bipolar disorder. I have finally completed school and I am looking forward to a rewarding career as a health coach. I get the incredible privilege of helping others live healthier and more fulfilling lives! I am looking forward to helping others who suffer from mental illness recover so that they too can truly enjoy living. I know what it is like for life to be a living hell of depression and failure after failure and having no money and feeling no hope that life can ever feel like it is worth living. I KNOW that I can help people who are suffering from mental illness feel better. I also know that many of them will not be able to pay me. But it’s not about the money. It’s about compassion and understanding and empathy and helping because now I can do it and I WANT to do it. If I can recover from years of severe mental illness, I know that I can help others to do the same. Just the other day at the NAMI meeting a woman shared how miserable and frequently suicidal she was. She has had struggles similar to my own. I reached out to her and offered to help and so far I have not heard from her, but at least I tried.

I understand why Robin Williams committed suicide. I understand the unbearable pain that deep depression must have been causing him. Money and fame and the adoration of millions cease to matter when life is nothing but unbearable pain. I wish he had not chosen such a tragic way to end his suffering and I wish he could have been helped. But I understand, and I’ll always remember him fondly as the hilarious Mork from Ork on the old “Mork & Mindy” TV show…

My life has been very different from that of most of my peers. It has not been “normal” by any means. But I’m not ashamed of it at all. Mental illness is not something to be ashamed of. The mentally ill should not have to endure the additional suffering that stigma causes on top of what they already suffer from their illness. The mentally ill deserve compassion, empathy, understanding, and all the help that they can get from those who care about them…