BP Naturally

My Drug-Free Journey of Managing Bipolar Disorder

BP Tracking Chart


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Back on the Wagon

I fell off for a while, as is typical with us BP people, lol. Ive reinitiated several times but haven’t gotten back to the blog. So I’m back! Just day two… But I owe it to you all (and myself and my family) to stay on track and work toward some results. So here’s a shot of my tracking chart. Added a few more supplements to my regimen. Comment if you have any questions. 🙂

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Bipolar Mood & Health Management Chart

Bipolar Health & Mood Management Tracking Chart

Bipolar Health & Mood Management Tracking Chart

Well, those who know me, know I make dry-erase charts as a profession. I had been planning a chart especially for mood management for a long time and now that I’m finally taking my treatment more seriously, I finally got around to it and I must say, the results are pretty awesome! I asked around in various BP Support Groups and dug around on the web for ideas and inspiration and this is the final products. I should probably create and instruction/suggested use sheet and I will when I get around to it, but in the meantime, I’ll explain each section here and you can print it out if you’d like.

I am making the chart available as a PDF free of charge (probably for a limited time)  and for those who want it already printed and laminated professionally with dry-erase marker included, it will be available in my Etsy Shop for $14.99 + shipping. Its the only product of its kind in my shop (I primarily make and  sell children’s educational products, lol) and as far as Ive seen, the only product of its kind available, so I hope it will help lots of you get your lives in order and on-track!

How it Works:

Section: Supplements, Vitamins, Medications & Dietary Requirements
Use the Medium Green Squares at the top of each column (in the “Items” row) to write down the name of your medication, vitamin, etc.
Use the Light Green Squares below those to record the Recommend Dosage & Frequency
Each column has 5 sections that can be used as individual dosage markers (up to 5 doses per day) and can be checked off as you take each dose, or you can use the space to record side effects (nausea), timing (taken late), effectiveness (less depression) or length of time taking (4 days), etc. Whatever fit your needs best.

Section: Water Intake
Use the light blue square (in the “dosage” row) to record how much water you need to drink per day (lets say 80 ounces)
Use the alternating white and blue squares to record separate instances of water intake, i.e. you could say “16oz, “8oz,” etc. OR if you have a set amount that you drink in (say a 16oz water bottle) you can just check off each time you finish one bottle. I included water intake because dehydration has a very powerful effect on mood stability. Read my other posts on water intake and the water intake challenge.

Section: Meals
There’s a lot of room for flexibility here, so be creative. I included this area because I very often forget to eat and I know others complain about overeating when depressed, so use it in the way that works best for you. In my case, I use the “dosage” square to write a letter above each little column below, so I have “B” for breakfast, then “S” for snack, “L” for Lunch and so on. Then I simply check off whether I had that meal today. Very simple. For others you could write in a calorie count to maintain, then record the calories for each meal, or even use the 2 orange columns to record things you want to avoid (caffeine, sugar, etc) and the white columns for your regular meals or things you want to eat more of  (lets say veggies, whole grains and protein) and just record how many servings you had each day.

Sleep, Exercise & Misc. Tracking
Use the Sleep rows to record the # hours and quality of sleep each day, the Exercise rows to record the # minutes exercising and the quality/rigorousness of the exercise each day, and the blank areas are to customize a tracking element that’s important to your treatment plan. For example,  personally, 
Im using that  as an “outdoors” tracker, meaning how often I get out of the house and get fresh air/sun, its a real challenge for me… and hopefully Ill be able to see how it relates to my moods. But I figured not everyone has that problem, so you could use it for “socializing,” “journal writing,” “relaxation time,” “prayers/religious devotion,” etc Whatever is important for you personally. 

Mood Tracking
Use this area to track your moods throughout the day/each weekIm a rapid cycler and my moods can change drastically within a single day/week, I havent found any charts that allow you to track varying moods through out the day, so I figured “morning, afternoon, evening” ought to be sufficient for rapid cyclers like me, and you can easily look and notice patterns [like Im always manic at night, etc] and hopefully make lifestyle/nutritional/med changes to normalize a bit. So the “M, A, E” stands for Morning, afternoon and evening, and the squares get progressively darker as the day progresses. There is a little key, which you may or may not need, that I’m using allowing me to record whether the mood occurred naturally, was triggered by an event (like an argument) or by my environment (like the kids are home and being wild or I went to a party, etc). You can also use the key to add in whether youre experiencing irritability or anxiety along with the mood. The color chart portion allows you to mark where you fall on the depression/mania scale… that’s pretty self-explanatory… however, if you are feeling a sense of numbness/apathy, you may want to create a special symbol for that and mark that in the green “normal” row, as there’s no special area for a lack of emotion/feeling.

The nice thing about this chart is that its flexible… you can place your mark in between moods if your not quite feeling it at the level described and when you step back and look at the end of the week, you’ll see if any pattern emerge.

So I think that’s about it. Let me know if you have any questions. Hope that helps! 

Available for PURCHASE here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/153285627/mood-health-management-tracking-chart

PDF Available for FREE Download Here: BP-Tracking-Chart (Note: This is designed to fit on 11×17″ Tabloid/Ledger Sized Paper, ideally you would have it printed and laminated so that it can be used as a dry-erase chart)


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Pyroluria Testing & Other Tests

My Pyrolles Testing Results

My Pyrroles Testing Results

When I went into the Riordan Clinic for my first appointment, I had already planned to get the basic Pyrroles Testing. When you go in for an appointment the test is only $45 (rather than $79 via mail), so it was pretty much a no brainer, and to me, a great place to start. After my initial exam I was walked to the lab and took a simple urine test. A week later I received the above results via mail, the letter attached to the result explains that I may not understand the results totally, but the doctor prescribed 2 supplements and said we’ll go over what the results mean in more detail at the next appointment.  So, as it is, all I can tell you is I got the test, my pyrroles count appears a bit high, and as a result my doctor prescribed some supplements to help. If you dont know what pyrroluria is or why Im getting this testing, here’s my first post about it with a lot more detail on how it works + links and resources with more info about it:  https://bpnaturally.wordpress.com/2012/09/09/method-pyrroles-testing/

The supplements Ive added to my regimen are:

Zinc Picolinate – 30mg 2x/day
Vitamin B6 (P5P) – 50mg 2x/day

Today is my first day starting them and it will take several weeks to see results, so we’ll see how it goes (God-willing)!

Now for the other tests…

When I went in for my first appointment, my doctor recommended the following tests:

ASI-Adrenal Stress Index – Riordan: $160
Complete Metabolic Profile – Riordan: $46, Atlas MD: $4.50
CBC-Complete Blood Count – Riordan: $39, Atlas MD $2.00
6 Hour Post DMSA (Heavy Metal Challenge) – Riordan $126 (I requested this myself, concerned about the high number of mercury fillings I have)
Thyroid Profile (TSH, FT3, FT4, RT3) – Riordan: $341 total, Atlas MD: $3 each
Vitamin D – Riordan: $108, Atlas MD $25

I know what you’re thinking what is Atlas MD and why are the Riordan Lab Tests so expensive? Well, the Riordan prices are the retail industry standard. Atlas MD is a concierge medical service I recently signed up with (I’ll be posting about that awesomeness in another post soon) and part of the benefits of the program/membership ($50/month) is that I get labs at wholesale prices (what the doctors pay). So, yes, your doctor is charging you an arm and a leg for those labs and its robbery!  So I bet you can guess which office I got most my labs done at, lol. I’ll actually be getting those results today for my first full appointment at Atlas, so Ill be sure and post the results 😉 Who’s excited?


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POEM: Mid-air

Mid-air
For SDW

I can’t sleep
when I think of the distance between us

How we tossle about
without the force of skin to propel
And I long for the miles to shrink
For the moments to become completely visceral
Instead of the constant static
of your voice across time

I rather my blood be beneath your nails
Rather your teeth tear against my skin

Anything but my too many words
that awkward pause–

Your silence.

And I imagine that you would love me more
If we could hold one another
Hope my hands would still swell up with passion
Hope I wouldn’t fall deaf to the drone of you
Know that all my foolish mistakes would be caught mid-air
Before they ever found their way
To your listening heart.


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Challenge #1: Increased Water Intake

INCREASED WATER INTAKE

So let’s begin the challenges and begin simply. I do not expect this to have a huge effect on my BPD symptoms, but several studies have shown that dehydration does, in fact, have a significant effect on mood, not just in BP patients, but in all people, and especially in women. Since I know I am dehydrated most days and I do suffer headaches, poor concentration, kidney pain and am prone to UTIs, I figure this is a good place to begin. My goal is to drink 50% my body weight in water (in ounces) per day. So, since I weigh 120-125 lbs, I plan to drink 60+ ounces of water each day, insha’Allah (God willing). I have done some research both online and in books about the effects of dehydration on BP and have drawn my parameters from this research. I’ll list resources at the end.
So, who is going to take the water challenge with me? 

PARAMETERS:

  • I will drink approximately 60+ ounces of water per day.
  • Our water, in Wichita, is not fluoridated, so I may be drinking tap water, though, when possible (and preferably) I will try to drink as much spring water as possible.
  • I will drink at least 16oz 30-60 minutes before I eat each morning.
  • I will avoid caffeinated drinks (though not quit completely, that’s a whole other challenge, lol) as they are known to dehydrate tissues, which is counter-productive.
  • I will add 1/4 – 1/2 of the juice of a lemon to my morning water and drink it warm. (This aids in digestion, adds vitamin c, and helps level out the pH… all indicated in several studies to aid in BP symptoms, amongst other things). I may add pure, raw, organic honey… hey, I don’t know how much I’m gonna like the taste of this stuff, lol.
  • I will avoid drinking water during meals (which impedes digestion) and will, instead, try to drink it throughout the day.
  • I will keep track of my approximate daily water intake and differences in physical and psychological symptoms throughout this challenge.
  • I will continue this challenge for a minimum of four (4) weeks and will make adjustments, as necessary, along the way.
  • If I notice improvements in my health/symptoms, I will continue this program as I add in additional challenges to find the combination of adjustments to aid in the management of my BP symptoms.
  • The challenge begins tomorrow morning. September 18, 2012.
Pretty easy, right? I often go days without drinking water, it’s awful. So this is a big deal for me. And the headaches and depression are always quick to follow. When that happens, I usually drink coffee in order to curb the headache and lift the depression which further exacerbates the dehydration. Vicious cycle. So, here’s to a step in the right direction. CHEERS!

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POEM: My Heart Hurts More Because the Pain is Familiar

My Heart Hurts More…

My heart hurts more
Because the pain is familiar
I’ve known what its like
To quell the noisy dream
To leave it to collect dust
To whisper and whither
To think of it only
as a memory

And I’ve given up love
For the sake of devotion
Heard my heart sigh
In misery
My heart hurts more
Because the pain is familiar
I’ve known what its like
To quell the quiet dream

So I fight with a fury
The heart will remember
It does not yield twice
So easily
Its not to say my love
Does not also hold you dearly
But devotion to you
Won’t be the death of me.


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POEM: Weary (freewrite)

Totally random freewrite written in September 2011. Do not expect genius or epiphany….

Weary

1.
Ive grown weary
of the in-and-out pressures
of this life

The day-in, day-out
rock-and-roll
of my emotions
my perceptions
my mind

Tired of questioning
everything
every thought
every implication
every action

doubtful of who or what I am
or why
or when it will all change
or if
and if not

…well then what?

Mania has become dulled by chaos
useless brilliance
unfocus
anger
irritability
acid wash behind the skin of my eyes

(I want to paint
its been so long)

I think of a day beyond today
and Im certain its madness
I’ll never make it
to retirement

And my children will gradually bury me

And every thought that is: I am
my person
my being
all of it
Ive been convinced

is now an illness,
a glitch
in the matrix
an inconsistency

Dont confuse hallucination with
negative self-talk
it says
negative self-what?

I am not hallucinating.
Nor do I think I’m on a Mission from God

a challenge perhaps
whose path is winding
always winding

but Lord, Im tired

What will come of it
What will come of me

2.
Passion has run out of me
like blood
like the sputtering of an empty tank

wheezing out
or being ripped

and everything is
dull dull dull
and infuriating

not a mood
but a state of mind
that permeates
everything

pervades every fleeting joy
digs and digs
and grinds against my better
less realistic sensibilities

love love love
and faith
and laughter
and children
the blandness of it all

paint
paint
paint
i keep chanting
but i know that urge
that dies at the end of
an empty brush

whats the point
not poetic
no
but honest
so here i am
again
always
never leaving
just the ebb and flow of
the same mind

utterly bored with it all
but committed
and determined

passionless
but determined
and hurting
and hating
and wringing my proverbial hands
without doubt
no
rather anxiety
that its all as it should be
and i am not

i am not
even waiting.