Porch Talk

Just sitting outside in the backyard on the first evening of fall, listening to a Mockingbird sing up a storm. Someone is mowing their grass off in the distance. The dishes are done and the kitchen is all cleaned up. I love that sense of satisfaction as you hang the dish towel up and everything is in its place.

I told you earlier it’s been a stressful summer. I’ll just get right to it. Bossman was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder with Catatonia this summer. It kind of knocked the stuffing out of me. We’ve dealt with depression for years. On and off medication for it. Once there was even a diagnosis of paranoid personality disorder. I kept asking if they didn’t think he was Bipolar, but they kept saying no. Over the last two years there’s been some different behavior and depression. There seems to be a doctor shortage in this area, but we finally found a good one last spring and she said, “you know he’s Bipolar.” Hallelujah! And then she left the practice. As the summer approached depression set in like never before, this time it was different. He was walking like an old man. He stopped going anywhere. He would sit for hours with his arms crossed and his eyes closed. He would seldom blink. When he made himself go out he was so anxious and fearful. His lip started twitching. The diarrhea was still a problem. He said there’s something wrong with me, I think I’m going crazy.

We stopped fooling around with local doctors and got an appointment with a wonderful doctor 40 minutes away in Johnson City. After talking to us and watching Bossman like a hawk for 30 minutes he said you have Bipolar with Catatonia and it’s a very serious disorder. He spoke of hospitalization and electric shock treatments as possibilities if we couldn’t get it under control with medicine. The jerky walking, the twitching, sitting perfectly still for hours were all from the Catatonia. His movements were all jerky, he felt like he was vibrating when he touched me. He had such foggy thinking that he couldn’t even do small projects or odd jobs around the house. We were terrified and numb.

After frequent visits to the doc and meds added and doses adjusted things seem to be getting back to normal. The diarrhea is completely gone, anxiety levels are manageable, we’re out and doing things again. Sometimes there still some foggy thinking, and stressful situations bring on big-time anxiety and some mental confusion. But the jerkiness is dissipating and I don’t feel the vibration anymore. So we’re hopeful that like the doctor said, with the right medication and learning to manage stress, he should be able to enjoy the rest of his life.

I’ve been reading up and watching videos about bipolar and catatonia and making a list of questions for next visit with the doctor. Not really sure what our expectations should be. Why the sudden change in behavior and the severity of symptoms? Doc said two things probably brought this to a head, major changes in a short period our life, retirement, moving to a new location, family deaths. All these things tend to bring on ‘episodes’ as they call them in Bipolar. And Bossman’s age. As we get older he said it seems to get worse. We have to see a neurologist now as people with Catatonia have a tendency to get Parkinson’s and the doc wants another pair of eyes on Bossman.

Read about Bipolar Disorder.

Catatonia is a psychomotor disorder. It affects a person’s ability to move in a normal way.   It can become so severe that a person can’t move at all or even swallow. Right now it seems that Bossman’s is mild, but it is enough that it disrupts his our life enormously. Reading up on Parkinson’s, Catatonia is a big symptom of it too. It’s scary stuff! And Bossman retired early to enjoy life 😦  We’re hopeful the doctor is right and we can get this under control with treatment. It just really makes me angry that all the years of doctoring with ‘specialists’ and no one diagnosed him correctly. All these years of difficulty could have been avoided to some extent.

Monday: I started writing this Saturday night. Wasn’t sure if I wanted to post it. Couldn’t make up my mind how much I wanted to share. Bipolar is so common and I’m sure lots of people struggle with it in silence as they don’t want anyone to know they have ‘mental illness’. It is isolating, I can definitely attest to that!  We need to talk about it, there should be no shame involved. It doesn’t affect just the person who has it, but the whole family. Everyone’s life is changed because of it. Do you know someone who suffers from this? I’m here to talk anytime!

Maybe now that I’ve got this off my chest I can start posting regular again. The Grandkids were here this summer and we did take a trip to Maine late August so I have things to talk about. I haven’t been reading as much and just don’t seem to care to review what I have read. Everything seems kind of flat. But it will pass, I’m sure.

If any of you live in North or South Carolina I hope you weren’t affected by that horrific flooding! I just can’t imagine what living through that would be like!  My brother-in-law lives in Raleigh, they were spared by the storm moving a little bit more south. We got about 1-2 inches of rain in a day from it, but no winds. The grass was getting pretty brown so it was a good thing really. It was a nice steady rain that soaked in.

I just finished reading Living Life Backwards: How Ecclesiastes Teaches Us to Live in Light of the End. It is by Dr. David Gibson a Scottish pastor of a church in Aberdeen. It was very good. Ecclesiastes is a difficult book to make heads or tails of and one not often preached from in church! Good advice and can revolutionize how you live life! Reading The Camomile Lawn now and really enjoying it.

I was awake at 4AM this morning and couldn’t go back to sleep! We had a lovely sunrise though and I was glad to have gotten the chance to see it! I better go get some coffee in me though I feel the tired coming on now!

Thanks for stopping over! See you later.

9 thoughts on “Porch Talk

  1. Peggy…it was brave of you to share and I am thankful that you did. I pray that you both can get back to what might be a new normal for you. You are brave and strong and might take a lead role in his care. Take care. I will pray for you.


  2. Peggy, I’m sorry that your husband has been suffering from this disorder and also sorry that you didn’t get a more timely diagnosis. I’ll be keeping both of you in my prayers. Take care of yourself as well. And enjoy more sunrises and sunsets. Praying for peace for you and your dear man.


  3. I had wondered why you hadn’t posted anything about your trip to Maine. I know how much you love it there. I’m sorry to hear what you and Bossman have been going through, but I’m happy that you’re on your way to a solution of sorts. I think it’s good to share these things. You feel less alone and it’s reassuring to know you’re not the only ones dealing with things like this.


  4. I am glad you posted about your husband’s problems with depression. It is good to share. The story of different doctors and different diagnoses is scary. It is hard to imagine how life changes can make such a difference but I have heard that before. Your husband is lucky to be with you and have your support. I can understand why it has affected your reading and reviewing. Most of your energy is going towards care of both of you. Take care of yourself too.


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