Recently I have been reading some different blogs. I started out in the blog-world reading some eating disorder-recovery blogs, which I still find very inspiring. This inevitably led to some food blogs. Let it be known that I don’t really like food blogs. Whenever I see food pictures on someone’s site, I just scroll through them and get to the “good stuff” – I prefer reading about their lives.

As you may or may not know, I have both an eating disorder and bipolar disorder, a challenging combination that I haven’t seen in many other people I have met or read about. So these are co-morbid disorders. To me, it makes total sense why I have both – one feeds off the other and it goes around in a circle. I also have a pretty severe anxiety disorder that fuels, and is the original cause of, my eating disorder.

I have been reading some blogs written by other people that struggle with bipolar disorder lately and it has gotten me thinking.

I think this co-morbidity presents a major problem for me in medication. This is hard for my mother and a lot of professionals and other people to understand…any medication that isn’t weight neutral isn’t an option for me. This is not just because I don’t want to gain weight (which I don’t). It’s because they won’t work. This is why: the weight gain exacerbates my eating disorder behaviors and thoughts to the point where it makes me so depressed in itself that taking that medication just isn’t worth it in ANY way. Part of my big guilt post yesterday was that I am not going to feel guilty about this anymore.

As I said, I like the medication I am taking right now. It is as good as it’s going to get (with the exception that I may try one more option for anxiety – the real thorn in my side), BECAUSE I have to walk this careful line between balancing these two disorders. Tip the balance on one, and it just crashes into the other. Only I know how this works, and it’s hard to explain. I am trying so hard to normalize my routine to keep this balance and to keep everything more stable.

I have obviously sunk into this depression again. It really sucks and I had trouble getting out of bed today. I have been trying to decide what caused it. It started about a month ago. Yes, I haven’t been doing great for the past year, but I was doing a little better for a while and now I have sunk down again. What caused it is kind of important to figure out how to remedy it. It’s also kind of not important because there are a lot of general things that I can do to help it.

What causes it IS important because I have to realize there ARE both situational factors causing it AND biochemical factors.

Situationally – I miss my boyfriend, I feel worthless for not working hard on something or having a job, I am in a lot of debt, and…I am physically limited by my nerve disorder. This is the biggest one because exercise/activity/movement is literally one of the things I enjoy the most in life. Many times, this is the only time I feel happy and OKAY – when I am moving.

[Wow, ‘situationally’ IS a word; I just looked it up 🙂 ]

These things suck. What can I do to help them?

  1. Radical acceptance: This problem is here. I cannot move as much as I want to. Looking at the positive, I can still swim, and with my barefoot walking, I am able to go on more mini-walks than any time before in the last year.

My boyfriend is not here right now, but he is moving back to Colorado when he gets home and we will get married then and be together. That is only 6 months away.

I do not have a job and I have to live with my parents. I am in lots of debt. The only way to fix this is to work hard at studying for the PCAT. And to volunteer a lot. Also, to try to get out of the house more to study and maybe get a second volunteer job.

2. So the second thing I can do is ABC – Accumulate Positives, Build Mastery, Cope Ahead. DO my routine; get out of the house more to study and get a second volunteer job out of the house. Study hard for the PCAT so I feel confident, like I am working on something, and to set up my future so things DO change.

Biochemically, my brain is f*%#’ed up. I also have some other body issues that aren’t really situational – fibromyalgia, nerve disorder, RLS, stomach issues. What can I do about THAT?

  1. Take my Lamictal. Increase to 150mg/day like I talked about with the doctor yesterday…this will hopefully help my depression AND my nerve pain (I really like this drug because it is a mood stabilizer, helps with nerve pain, AND helps my restless legs syndrome). Take my tramadol for the RLS too.
  2. Explore more options for anxiety, including BuSpar and herbal remedies. I used to take Valerian root and it really helped me sleep. Why don’t I try that again? I can also try St. John’s wort since I am not on an SSRI anymore and I take such a tiny dose of Tramadol.
  3. Acupuncture – I have an appointment next week for pain and anxiety issues.
  4. Normalize my routine. Force myself to do the same thing everyday – get up at the same time, swim, clean and dog rescue stuff, go to the nearest Starbucks and study to get out in the afternoon, come home and do computer work and mini-walks, allow for an evening relaxation time, go to bed at the same time every day. I was doing so good at that for awhile and it helped so much. It is so hard to get this started, but once I do, I am just going to keep plugging along and remember I have to do it, radically accept that it really isn’t a choice.
  5. Keep avoiding dairy and gluten.  I have to do this too. Radically accept that this isn’t really a choice either – I have these intolerances and avoiding them helps my stomach problems so much, which are a trigger for soooo many things.
  6. Keep my head above water. Eat in the way that feels good and natural to me. Keep using lots of DBT skills to cope.

Okay now I am going to go to the natural grocery store close by (Vitamin Cottage) and get some of these herbal things. Then I miiiight go bike for a wimpy 10 minutes at the gym, or just go on another walk when I get back. 🙂

Think how powerful you will feel coping positively.

“The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won’t.”  ~Henry Ward Beecher

“When the world says, ‘Give up,’
Hope whispers, ‘Try it one more time.’ ”
~Author Unknown

I love that one! 🙂

Random questions: What’s a quote that inspires you right now? See above for me.

Is there anything to you are struggling to accept right now? How can you talk yourself through it and radically accept it? What do you need to say to yourself to bring yourself that peace?




8 thoughts on “Co-Morbidity

  1. I really hope you find a way to get through all of this. I know from experience depression and anxiety are powerful forces that can consume a life. I 100% recommend visiting blogs that provide supportive, loving messages and that you feel good reading. Hugs.

  2. The last time I was in the psych unit I came to know a woman quite well who had both an eating and Bipolar disorder. It was quite a struggle for her. I pray you do well.

  3. You have so much on your plate! I really hope that things get better for you soon. I wish I had better advice to give you but I really can’t begin to relate to what you are going through.

    As another commenter said, stay strong!

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