Saturday, November 23, 2013


I've been having a hard time with my current episode. Too much crying followed by anger. Yesterday's therapy session helped. Adding some more Seroquel has helped. Anyway, I wrote this the other day and I don't think I posted it here. I'm working on about six other poems. Maybe I'll feel better soon and then I can finish them.

"The Pea"

'tis but a feeling.
Small, yet smoldering.
Like a demon waiting it's turn.
It waits like a cancer.
Small as a pea and as large as a whale.
Waiting, waiting for it's turn.

Slicing through sanity.
Its made it before.
Playing its own tune and dancing with screaming intensity
with no end in sight. It almost won. So close.

Condemned to the depths it waits.
It wait its turn.
Just a pea.
I can feel the pea. I know it's there,
and it terrifies me.

- Christopher Sharits 2013

Monday, November 11, 2013

Weight loss update

I have a family photo that had to be taken after I left the hospital in February 2013 when I had already lost about 20 pounds and my face was huge, really huge, compared to this one that was taken about 15 pounds ago. I like this weight loss. 

Yes, I had the Lap-band, but also managed to gain about 20 pounds over my surgery date. I rarely feel the lap-band. Only if I drink something cold too soon after I've eaten. 

What I did learn is to eat better, exercise, and eat much smaller portions. You really can live comfortably with much much smaller portions never missing a meal. Now I'm just consistent and content with losing eight to ten pounds a month. It's easy to get carried away. Yes, I eat anything, just much less. Keeps the cravings away. I do take monster vitamins and concentrate on proteins, but my doctor says my monthly blood work is better than ever.

Heaviest weight ever 456 (November 2007. Weight at surgery 412 (August 2011). Weight after I totally screwed up with lap-band 429 (mid-January 2013). Weight today 306 (November 2013). Goal 190 (March 2015 or sooner).



The damp leaves,
ever so cold, ever so silent.
I walk through the darkness,
I pass the faceless lovers.
I find my dark corner.
My calm content corner.
Like a razor,
madness slices in.
I stand aside, but I am trapped.
The dark cold unforgiving
silence screams.

- Christopher Sharits

Expression of frustration

I think my last painting was in 2011. The urge is back. The waves of noise seems to have brought me to a new sense of the need to express myself. Perhaps people don't understand me, but I'm sure my family does not. I come away from the weekend feeling very isolated. The silence in my head is deafening.

The more I wrote, the more I erase.
Sometimes I tire of the facade.
Every time I start to believe,
the darkness returns,
Why does life mess with me?
I'm solid, I'm strong,
I'm weak, I'm torn.
I can't be me. I'm scared of me.
Not for you, but for me.

written today.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My history with bipolar disorder... the short answer

I figured I would just post this answer to a friends question "Did you feel bipolar symptoms as a teenager. I tried to keep it short, but anyone who knows my writing, it is impossible for me to answer anything short. I spent enough time on this answer and I had a list of things left to do today, so here you go...

It's fine Paula. While most of the bipolars I know hide their disorder, I am happy to be open and "out." I think I can help people better this way. In regards to your question, I am going to write a detailed post on my blog today , But I will give you the short answer here. As if I'm capable of writing short answers... 

In high school I became very hyper active. I did AP classes, worked on the newspaper as the photographer, Sounds of BC, choir, acting, musicals, and I worked 20 hours a week as a restaurant manager and I had Cheri. I don't remember sleeping, but all that wasn't really a sign. I should have been more aware of my mental health since my grandmother, one of her siblings and my uncle had already committed bipolar driven suicides, but I didn't. 

After HS graduation I started working as a forklift driver and in the following eight years had worked my way up to General Operations Manager of a large network of Oakland warehouses. I had my ups and downs, but nothing major. Thought about suicide a bit more often than one should, but I never attempted. 

Around my mid 20's I started telling Cheri I was wired wrong. It felt chemical, but I didn't understand it. It was just a feeling. A few years later, my dad committed suicide. I still didn't get it. 

I went back to finish my undergraduate and graduated sum cum laude. Flew threw my first grad school (DU) and became the CEO of a small tech start up. I was already having alarming symptoms, but I masked it by diving into school and working like a mad beast. In 2001, I lost the company and I was hospitalized in a mental ward for the "first" time, of several to come later, for bipolar disorder. In 2005, I decided I needed a masters in education and instructional design so I did... easily. 

It had been rough since 2001. I worked for maybe 10 companies in seven years. Never again in management. In 2008, I was committed to the mental again for an extended amount of time after a major "major" bipolar/psychotic episode and I haven't been the same since. In some ways I am broken. In other ways I am not. I'm a good husband and a great dad and I am still intelligent, but I have hard mornings and some good afternoons. If I keep myself real busy and take all my meds I can run on auto-pilot. By the time Cheri comes home from work I am usually off the ceiling or I take a time out and just watch tv. 

That's as short as I can possibly get. My advise... read my autobiography when I'm done with it.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Day after Synvisc One injection

Yesterday I went to the orthopedic surgeon and received the Synvisc One injection. The gel like substance temporarily replaces or helps the remaining cartilage protect bone on bone arthritis.  

As I lay there on the table he told me it would sting a little. I thought he was talking about some kind of numbing agent. No, I didn't look up to see what he was doing until he started to inject this rather large and long needle into my knee. It felt as if he went all the way in between the bones of my knee and injected fluid. It hurt like hell. I guess if he would have said, "this is going to hurt like hell," I might have flinched or something.

Instead I took the pain and he popped out the needle in a few seconds and said, "There we go. We're done." "What?," I replied. The procedure was done. He told me I could walk on it, but no exertion until maybe Thursday afternoon at the earliest. I was planning on going to the gym on Friday afternoon to take this new gel for a spin.

Yesterday I walked to the car okay and drove myself to CarToys to pick up a new blue tooth and I could barely get out of my car by the time I reached my house. I iced it and just took it easy. Like I had a choice. Today I am walking on it with soreness, but not crippling pain. I can even go up the stairs okay, but coming down hurts like I'm stretching my ligaments to the brink. I'll take it easy for the rest of the day and I imagine if the percentage of pain goes down respectively than I'll feel pretty good tomorrow and ready to roll by Friday.

We'll see.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Waking up in a Anxious State of Mind

Last night I felt bad; anxious, nervous, depressed and antsy. I couldn't sick still and my mind was wondering around racing beyond control. I wanted to climb out of my own skin. I woke up the same way.

I have no reason. Finances are fine. Could always be better, but whose couldn't? It was not a worry. My relationships, particularly with my wife and family, couldn't be better.

I am concerned about my sister taking my wheel chair bound mother to NYC. However, if they can handle the big city then they can handle anything. I admire my sister's balls. I wouldn't do it.

I am worried about US economic shutdown and looming default, but I have written to my US Representatives and Senators. I can't do anything rational about it.

I am a mere observer watching things I can't change. I hate being out of control, but these things should not make me wake up the same way I felt last night.

I don't like to take Seroquel in the morning because it makes me sleepy, but it also makes my brain slow down. It is a powerful mood stabilizer. I have that feeling. The feeling that leads me to the mental wing. I haven't felt it so strong since this past winter, but I feel it today. Yes, I need Seroquel. Damn.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Synvisc One- Knee repair injections

My doctor is John Davis III, MD at Orthopedic Physicians in Littleton, Colorado. If this works, he is brilliant. If it doesn't than my ligaments really do need surgical repair. He took x-rays and they clearly show my knees without any more cartilage. They are literally bone on bone. If this works on the left knee, I'll get it done on the right knee.

On Tuesday morning, October 15th, I will have an injection (actually I think its three injections on the same day) into the joint of my left knee. They just use local anesthetic. It should give me a cushion much like cartilage for about six months.

I have bone on bone arthritis. It hurts when I get up and it hurts all day long unless I really exert myself for about fifteen hard minutes hiking or jogging on the tread mill for about a 1/4 mile. I think that by then my adrenaline takes over and masks 90% of the pain.

I know swimming and bike riding provides better protection of the knees, but I can't stop hiking. I live in Colorado for goodness sake. The nearest serious and beautiful mountain trails are about ten minutes from my house. I like the treadmill because the it doesn't hurt my butt (from the bike seats) and I can enjoy the satisfaction of jogging faster each time. I can't wait to get back on the tread mill after Thursday October 17th. I've never jogged at 308 or less pounds before. It should be a lot of fun.

So the product that I am having injected in my knee is called "Synvisc One." Straight from the brochure:
"Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis and one of the most common causes of knee pain. In the U.S. alone, more than 10 million people are estimated to have OA in one or both knees.
In a knee with OA, the fluid that cushions and lubricates the joint (called synovial fluid) can break down and lose its ability to cushion your knee. The cartilage protecting the ends of the bones can also deteriorate, in some cases causing bone to rub against bone. OA is usually associated with pain, stiffness and more limited range of movement."

The are three stages... mild, moderate and severe. I my case it is severe and even walking up and down stairs cause great pain that can't be moderated with any pain killer I have found.
You can try medications if your only mildly or even moderate, but I am not. The other options are Viscosupplements, Steroid injections, or Surgery. I still pick the Synvisc One option.

We'll see how it works. I have low expectations, but my friends who have also had it say that is feels like a miracle as soon as they finish the injections. You have to take it easy for 48 hours and then you should be good to go. I can't wait to get back into the gym and up on the hard to extreme mountain trails!

Friday, October 11, 2013

My struggle with obesity today

Hello. Thanks for dropping by. This could be a very good day as I have a "second opinion" mechanic coming by to check on my son's car. I think it needs a new head gasket and some coolant tube exchange work. We'll see. Fingers and wallet crossed.

As anyone know if they have checked my progress site, I had a bad 2012 as far as great weight loss followed by horrible weight gain. I fell into a deep depression and life's stresses went through the roof and I gained massive weight, but, no excuses, I screwed up big time.

However; I lost a lot of weight when I was in the hospital and then the nursing home in January 2013 and since then I have held steady and have lost 8 to 10 pounds consistently per month. Today I scaled in at 309.6. I can't even remember when I was this weight before. Considering I started the year at 400++, I feel pretty good.

And I have been able to withstand another major depression and some current mania. Considering that it is only the 11th of October and my weight is starting to shed once again, it is completely possible that I could hit 299 by the end of the month.

But, I would still be happy if I hit 299 or less by the end of November. At the beginning of March I told myself that this was the year I was going leave the 300's behind. And now I'm looking right down the barrel of 280 to 285 by New Year's. I could actually reach 270 by my birthday on March 19. That would be the best present ever!

One side note: If you goggle massive weight loss photo's it pretty disgusting. Maybe it's my age or maybe it's the slower consistent weight loss, but my extra skin doesn't even look that nasty. My skin seems to be keeping up with my weight loss. A little flabby under the arms, but I think I can compensate for that in the gym. On Tuesday I get the knee injections that should hold back my arthritis for six months. In that time I can hike and run all I want. I don't think I'll have much of this loose skin thing.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

US National Mental Health Awareness week.

This is a good time to reflect on mental health awareness week. Practically no one knows about the awareness week so I posted the crap out of it on FB. See 

I demand presents! 

Seriously, people should know that one in four people suffer from some kind of mental illness whether it's depression to schizophrenia; whether its professionally treated, or God forbid, not professionally managed.

The only way I really survive is with a sense of humor. I am, as you can read a few posts ago, very well medicated. I can't feel the medications, except for seroquel. It makes me dizzy or sleepy. I can't or shouldn't take it when I'm going to drive somewhere. I always drive okay, primarily because I don't drink and drive and avoid any distracting activities. 

A police officer wouldn't know the difference in my driving under the influence of seroquel, but I wonder if my timing is just a bit off. Like if someone makes an irrational stop right in front of me. I have had rabbits and other animals run out in front of me and I've never even ran over the remains of an animal, but I still can feel dizzy, so I don't drive on seroquel. The rest of my meds do say "can make you dizzy," but they don't. I'm probably just used to them. 

If I did get into a crash and I maybe acted a little off, I wonder how they could tell if I had just taken a seroquel unless I told them. I have so many drugs in my system I doubt a blood test would be useful anyway. I just have to rely on my better judgement. I have my wife or one of my sons drive me around when I do feel dizzy or sleepy. I think driving sleepy is one of the worst things you can do. It should be up there with driving drunk (well probably not that extreme), texting (also that extreme), and eating which I find distracting. I have been known to eat while driving, but I think I'll stop doing that.

Well, there's one thing. Mentally ill, depressed, bipolar... ect... shouldn't drive if they don't feel perfectly aware. I know that's not what they mean by "Awareness Week," but it does make me think.

What does it feel like to be lumped into the category or stigma of being mentally ill. It took me a long time to come to grips with the connection between being bipolar and being mentally ill. That's why I really prefer that people refer to or think that bipolar disorder is really manic depressive illness. 

Some mental illnesses like depression can be treated and forgotten. Some people are chronically or clinically depressed which is something else all together. One shouldn't lump behavioral illnesses with chemical illnesses like manic depressive illness (Bipolar) or schizophrenia. 

You hear a lot about mental illness on the news, almost always, say 95% of the time in a negative way. For instance, the guy who opened fire on the audience of the movie theater, coincidentally about fifteen miles from where I live and on the same night that I was watching a movie myself across town from this deadly massacre. It could have been my theater. My movie. I just got lucky I guess. They said he was "mentally ill." Of course he was. More recently, the poor woman who ran the police on a short car chase in Washington, DC. They said she was suffering from mental illness and had stopped taking her medication. How about the guy who poured gas all over himself on the National Mall also in Washington D.C.. Of course they were mentally ill, but I hate when they just say the words "Mentally ill." That could mean anything, but no one ever follows up the story with the facts.

We know, without a doubt, that someone that stops taking the kind of meds that I am on, will become delusional and dangerous to themselves or others. 

The most important things that Mental Health Awareness Week can do is end the stigma and open the healing or management and help people realize that the mentally ill need help from their families and friends. I have a very strong circle of family, friends, therapists, and psychiatrists who watch me all the time. They keep track of any irrational thing I do. They make sure I'm safe. I feel aware and safe today.    

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Quick description of what they do during a 72-hour suicide watch

The very first time I was placed on a 72-hour hold (Spring and Summer 2001) they took my shoes and gave me soft slippers. They took my belt and my wife returned with some sweat pants and they took the drawstring. No strings of any kind. I was allowed to check out my electric razor for 15 minutes. My door, if I even had one, was kept open at all times and they checked on me every 15 minutes. I think they let me out once I was on lithium and I ended up going to two other facilities that summer on suicide watches while they tried to boost my medications up until they were efficient. Collectively I spent around three weeks in three different mental health facilities that summer.

When I entered the protective mental health wing of Porter hospital in Englewood, Colorado in January 2008, I had all of those stringy things removed and they had someone in my room to watch me at all times. It's hard to sleep with someone a few yards from you reading a book. I was in a psychotic/bipolar episode and a danger to myself. That suicide watch continued for about a week and then they let me sleep with my door open and someone checking on me every 15 minutes. When I came back to reality they kept me on the protective wing until a bed was available on the regular watch wing. I was moved to my new room and given my laced tennis shoes the very last day of my inpatient care. You can't believe how nice it feels to have tied shoes. This particular facility is on one floor so I hadn't walked on stairs for a month. It took me at least two weeks to get used to our stairs at home. It was a three story home so that was a big deal.

I continued outpatient care for about three weeks when they decided I was okay. Outpatient care takes about four or five hours a day, but you do get to go home and sleep in your own bed. Oh man, nothing, even the shoes feels as good as your own bed. And, of course, being back with my family was awesome.

I would have gone back into the mental health wing in January of 2013 except I was on IV's with an infection that made it into my blood stream in the regular hospital so they just keep someone outside of your door. But, you do get to close your door when you're in the regular hospital. That was another month wasted.

Current medication list

I am currently on bariatric vitamins and b-12 injections and...

Weight loss progress

I'm a very impatient person to a fault. I'm also a competitive person to a fault. So, it's very hard to resist the urge to lose weight like crazy. I mean starve myself into skinny jeans, but that is exactly what got me to this point.

This time I have been diligent about losing weight slowly but surely. While I was in the nursing home in January I am pretty sure they initially scaled me in at 429 and then 421. I must have weighed more when I was admitted into the hospital at the beginning of January, but I don't know.

Whatever the case was, I didn't eat anything except for fruit. I wasn't trying to starve myself, I was just that sick and the food tasted horrible. In mid-February my scale, which only goes to 400, finally started to show my weight. 399 and then 390 by the end of the month. I took that start and became determined to lose no more and no less than 10 pounds per month. There have been a couple of months that I think I only lost 8 pounds.

Nonetheless, I scaled in a 312.4 this morning. I don't have any cravings and I feel as if I can make my big goal of 299 or less by the middle of November at the absolute latest. That would be one and a half months earlier than my annual goal.  

Friday, October 4, 2013

Protest, scream, demand an end to this pointless SHUTDOWN

I've lit up my facebook page enough to light a fire, but I need to vent here. Honestly, I don't know if the Affordable Healthcare laws will work. I've been arguing and debating that it will work, but that's primarily because no one else will. We hear from the fading Tea Party on television every night, but we don't hear enough from reasonable compassionate adults from either party so i scream from every online mountain top I can. If I knew of a protest, I would be first in line.

The experiment already began. The conservative Republican's had 42, now 43 chances to repeal "Obama Care" and failed. But, now it's here. Previously uninsured professionals and regular citizens alike are signing up in droves. They're crashing websites because of the volume of people rushing to buy this new alternative healthcare. You can't take away what people already have. Your best bet is to get back to legislating and try to work on the fiscal responsibilities and repercussions. Fine tune it. Fine tune everything. Balance the budget through responsible efficient budget cuts. Do all of those things, but stop the shutdown. Avoid the October 17th default. The game has ended. Get off the field and play another day.

In case this is the first time you have found my blog, let me give you a quick recap of my personal relationship to this US Government Shutdown. Before my dad, the filmmaker, professor and artist Paul J. Sharits, committed suicide in 1993 I had only worked at two companies in ten years. My resume was stellar. I had been promoted throughout the years from forklift driver to General Manager of Operations, third in line to the crown, of a rapidly expanding company. It was already large when I got there, but it started exploding with growth after I took my first position as a warehouse manager with them. Ten years of near perfect employment history.

After my dad died I went back to college and graduated sum cum laude with nearly perfect grades. I slid through my first graduate program and then I started to lose the rapidly emerging company that I led and co-founded. The pressure sparked my first near death manic depressive episode. I was hospitalized into three different mental facilities that summer. I worked at perhaps ten different auto dealerships and other non-related jobs and I earned my master's in education and instructional design in 2005. By July 2007 I was too worn out and sick to continue so I left the workforce intending on returning when I felt better. By November 2007 I was hospitalized for everything from mono to leukemia.

In January 2008 I went psychotic and had another major bipolar episode and spent the entire month of January in a protective mental health facility while they tried to pull me back into reality. My wires got crossed. We lost everything. Our beautiful dream house.. We were at the mercy of our families. They came through and held us together. They gave us shelter.

If you hired me from 2001 to 2007 you would have probably gotten a stellar ambitious employee. You would relax and feel good. Then I might call in sick a few days. I didn't have a cold. I was really unable to leave my room, my house, because of the sudden rush of depression. Then maybe I would come back. I would start arguing or ignoring the staff creating some hard feelings. The situation would spread until I became a liability; not the charmed one you thought you hired. I might become so manic that I might try to take over the company. No one could possibly be as good or as smart as me. Then I might have miss a month or more while I spent some time in the "hospital." Then I would need to work half days because I needed to attend outpatient therapy classes. You fire me. It's inevitable.

Being manic depressive or bipolar doesn't diminish my intellectual abilities, it just makes me impossible to work for or with. So all of my psychiatrists, therapists, state appointed psychiatrist, and a State appointed Judge agrees that I could no longer be in the workforce. At one time I was a great businessman and student and now I stood before the court with head down low and my stomach even lower as I said, "Thank you your Honor."

How did this happen? I don't know. But my grandmother, one of her siblings, my uncle and my dad all committed suicide before their 51st birthday. I turn 49 in March. I feel the illness getting worse. I do have the best possible medical and mental healthcare that money can buy and I still fluctuate, but not as badly as I would if I were off medication.

Manic depression illness is not behavioral; it's chemical and it will never go away. We might create better medications, but we will never "find a cure" or pray it away. Its insulting to even say that.  

So the social security mental health disability was approved or "awarded" in writing on July 17, 2013. I was supposed to get an award letter telling me how much disability money I would get each month in 60 days or less. 60 days passed and I called. They said they were working on it and I still haven't received that letter. Once I get the letter it can be 30 to 60 days before the benefits start to kick in.

Now, with the shutdown, my application or award, whatever you want to call it, is sitting quietly on somebodies desk gathering dust while the shutdown continues. If you figure out how hard it is to catch up with backlogged work, one can figure that for every day furloughed there will be one week to get caught up. So far my award has been backed up over a month and counting.

I really don't care what side you're on; I want the shutdown to stop. Get Americans back to work. Don't even come close to defaulting the country for the first time in our history.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

I need a break

I have written through some parts of the book that really deserve and require elaboration. For instance, the profound affect of my Uncle's suicide in 1980 and, of course, my father's suicide in 1993.

In 1993 I tried to be strong for my family and suppressed my confusion and grief. It resulted in a huge weight gain for me and possibly the emergence of my own manic-depressive actions and behaviors. I really should have gone into counseling right then and there. I definitely should have been seeing a psychiatrist. I had plenty of baggage to work through and my mind was stressing out.

In 2001 I had a major bipolar episode. I don't think "major" is strong enough. I almost took my own life describes it a bit better. I had to be institutionalized three times in 2001 describes it better.

I've easily written past those times by ignoring the details. Most of the book, more than 3/4's, is about my life and education about bipolar disorder since I collapsed in 2001. But, now I have to go back and detail my dad's suicide and my... 2001. It's too painful right now and I need a break. Today, tomorrow, maybe next week. I don't know. Maybe little bits at a time, but I will write it. I need to write it.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The United States Federal Shut Down is KILLING ME!

Okay. I only have about ten minutes or so to vent. I HATE THIS FEDERAL SHUT DOWN!

This is my situation as you may know if you follow my blog regularly. Uhg. I've re-written this stupid post three times.

The short version: I'm smart. Before 2001 I had maybe three different employers, each of which I was either upper management or the CEO. I was an extremely successful businessman since I was 19. I graduated college Sum Cum Laude (nearly straight A's). I won fellowships and scholarships both of my master's programs. I couldn't afford my PhD program.  

I had my first major bipolar episode(s) in 2001 when I tanked my dot com company. Since 2001 I've barely held non-supervisory positions in maybe ten companies. In 2007 I had to leave my last job. In 2008 I had my worst bipolar/psychotic episode and I haven't been able to hold a paying job since.

I won my mental health social security disability claim on July 17, 2013. Many psychiatrists, including State psychiatrists and therapists and the judge agreed that I am no longer able to hold any job. I have also had five bipolar related suicides in my family, so everyone, including the judge just wants me to take care of myself.

I was supposed to receive my disability award letter 60 days after the court award and I have still not received it so I am not collecting social security and I won't until 30 to 60 days after I receive my award letter. Everyday the gov't is shut down equates to a week of backlog.  

Don't get me wrong. Filing for disability was the worst day of my life. I had to recognize that I couldn't work anymore. It was hard. Very hard. BUT, I'm writing books now in hopes of pulling myself out of disability, but, in the mean time, I NEED THE GOV'T TO GET BACK TO WORK!


Monday, September 30, 2013


I have been using a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) devise when I sleep since about 2001 or 2002. I wear a clear mask that blows a steady stream of air over my nose. I only breathe through my nose when sleeping. I guess that's a trained ability. Besides, if you breathe through your mouth it makes a silly sound and it's nearly impossible to keep the stream through your mouth. I have seen first hand a mask that covers both your mouth and nose, but I don't have the slightest idea how that helps.

I know that the stream of air keeps you nose passage open and helps you not snore. Its used for a condition or effect called sleep apnea which simply means your not getting enough oxygen when your sleeping. It's primarily used by obese people, but I used to snore when I was thin too, so I think anyone could benefit from using one. I started using mine after an all night sleep study at a local hospital.

An oxygen tube can be connected to the devise, but I just use regular air. A better explanation of the whole deal can be found at

Anyway, my point is that I always sleep with my mask. I take naps with it and I travel with it UNLESS I fall asleep on the couch watching television. I'm the type of person that has to be moving all the time. If you slow me down and make me sit, outside of driving or in class, I fall asleep. I fall asleep at the movies all the time unless I have some cold tea or a water bottle to sip on.

I just fell asleep on the couch watching World War Z. It's not the movie. I love the movie, but the couch is super comfortable and I was watching the movie for the second time. I watched it last night On Demand (pay per view). It was worth watching again. The rental lasts two days. Anyway, I woke up with the worst frick'n headache.

Last January when I was in the hospital they recorded my oxygen at a level in the 90's when I used the CPAP, but in the low 80's when I went without which I guess can be dangerous to your overall health.

So now I have a headache and I'll have to take some acetaminophen. With my bad liver I am allowed to take acetaminophen every once in a while, but only two tablets twice a day if I have too. I know two tablets will take care of this stupid headache today. AND, then I'll finish watching the movie... without falling asleep.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Feeling better

The seroquel worked and I felt better by the evening. I was still happy to go to sleep and leave yesterday away. I feel okay so far this morning.

My weight was from 429 or 421 in the Western Hills nursing home in January 2013. I'm not positive since I was still coming out of a psychotic state and I don't know if I read the chart right. The beginning on January, when I entered Swedish Hospital, I could have been as much as 10 pounds heavier.

In 2012 I had completely given up, having gone from 335 slowly to 350 and then I gave up and stopped weighing myself and started eating like a regular person. My metabolism can't handle that.

I didn't eat anything while I was in Swedish for 2 1/2 weeks with what started as a severe case of cellutitus and then the infection reached my blood stream which can easily have fatal results. I hated the food in the nursing home and I only really ate fruit for 1 1/2 weeks. By the time I got out of the nursing home I probably weighed somewhere around 404 or so. My home scale only goes up to 400. It kept showing an error until one day in February. I was 390 by the end of February. I wasn't going to lose this chance to kick off a diet to help my body in about a dozen different ways. I became devoted to making my self healthier for good.

I've lost between 8 and 10 pounds a month consistently. That per month goal has given me the chance to eat whatever I wanted occasionally, but only a little bit. Most of the time I just concentrated on high protein foods and never anything after 6pm. At some points in each month I would stabilize or gain a few pounds, but then I would pull it out by the end of the month.

This morning I weighed in at 312.4. I have two days until the first of October. It is possible for me to lose 2 more pounds by then and start the month at 310. That would put me at 10 short pounds to my first awesome goal. I'll be leaving the 300's behind two months early. Yup. I feel pretty good this morning.  

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Having a panic attack

I thought it might be good or terribly stupid to write while I'm headed into a panic attack. This won't take long. I feel weird. I can't explain it, but I'll try. Everything around me is going okay, but I feel like I need to run. No where in particular, just run. I feel like I need to be out of my own skin. I may have to call my psychiatrist, but I know she'll tell me to take an extra dose of seroquel so I will on my own. Maybe I need to sleep this off. My chest is tight and my breathing is short. I'm bouncing off the walls. I have to go.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Updated Bariatric Progress Log

Just a quick note. I painfully updated my Bariatric weight gain/loss Progress Log at

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Found a new Bariatric Vitamin !!!

I should probably start with a slight revision to my previous post. I could just go in and edit it, but it's important enough to post here. In January 2013, when I was in the hospital for a very bad case of cellutisus (skin infection) I lost track of time. My wife tends to give me information bits at a time in case I can't handle the truth. I hate that, but she's kind of right. I do flip out when I learn about something I don't remember. This is one of those times. I guess the reason that I lost track of time while I was in the hospital for two and a half weeks is because I went psychotic. Not bad psychotic. I just lost touch with reality for a couple of weeks. I do remember all of the time spent at the nursing home, so  I must have been better by then. Opps.

My big news for all bariatric patients is that I finally found a new supplement to replace the Optisource who changed their formula or taste into butt. Twinlab makes a series of supplements for us that tastes great. The big chewable multi-vitamin pill tastes like berry sweet tarts! I found them at Spouts Market (formally called Sunflower Market) . Great stuff. They have a full line of bariatric vitamins and supplements.

An important part of weight loss is obviously exercise. Of course exercise burns calories, but not as many as you would think. Losing weight is still about good calories being used or burned in greater relation to those required to maintain or gain weight. Basically, you have to eat less and exercise because it helps you burn fat not muscle. For a long time I have had problems with my left knee. I run on the treadmill and hike on a regular basis and my knee would be on fire and I couldn't maintain my regiment. I went to a respected orthopedic surgeon expecting to have my MCL worked on. Instead he took x-rays of my knees and showed me something interesting. I have stage 3 out of 4 bone on bone arthritis. I have the same contact on both knees, but only the left one hurts now. He told me the right would eventually start hurting as well. The long term solution is a knee replacement, but I have to lose about a hundred more pounds to be eligible. The short term solution is to get a single injection of Synvisc one Hylan G-F 20 directly into my knee. He said it creates a temporary barrier between bones. It should last six months. Some of my friends have told me it can last much longer and you can always have another injection. You have to be tender on your knee for 48 hours, but after that you can do whatever you want to. SIX MONTHS WITHOUT PAIN! I'm in! Now I'm just waiting for my insurance to approve it which they most likely will. If I had only known earlier. So much pain could have been avoided. Anyway, with my new reduced weight my running and hiking are much easier aside from the knee pain. I'll really be able to hit the gym soon. Sooooo happy! I'll let you know how it works.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Weight loss

Hello folks,

In 2012 I watched my weight slowly go from say 330 to 350 to 360 and then I stopped weighing myself. I knew I had completely sabotaged my lapband surgery which is proof positive that the surgery isn't the magical solution that many believe it is. It's easy to stretch out the upper pouch to the point where you can almost eat as normal people.

I'm not sure how much weight I was when I first entered the hospital for a severe case of cellutisis on my left leg on January 4th, 2013. I imagine that it was somewhere around 430. I lost lots of weight for those first two and a half weeks because I was too sick to eat and the food tasted bland and just yucky. When I went into the nursing home I seem to remember 429 being entered on my chart. I do remember being told that I was somewhere around 421.

Once I got home in February my scale showed an "error" because it only went up to 400. After a week or so I finally got it to work and I was just under 400. Today I scaled out at 321. It's unbelievable but I have for the last several months been aiming for 10 pounds per month. I've been close to that each month, but I think it's been more like 8 pounds per month. By the end of this month I should hit 310 because my body took some time to get used to being around 320 to 325 pounds. That usually makes it easier to drop some quick weight.

I know that the "rules" say that you should only eat three meals a day of no more than a 1/4 cup, but I don't really pay attention to that. I don't exclude anything because I don't want get cravings. I do eat ice cream and a few bites of an Arby's beef and cheddar. I eat pretty much anything, but I don't eat more than maybe a 1/2 to 3/4 cups of food. My best loss days are when I don't snack and I have discipline at dinner time and after dinner. I think you lose the most weight while you sleep.

I have also resumed my weekend mountain hikes and I have also restarted my tri-weekly gym workout. It's important, but not really because you lose a lot of weight working out. I does make you feel stronger and more limber, but losing weight is more of a calorie in and calorie out. Sure you burn some calories working out, but eating less burns more calories. Especially if you eat less at lunch and dinner. You can completely sabotage your good discipline from the day if you eat a late fatty dinner of more than 1/2 cup. If you eat right at bed time or if you get up for a snack, you will gain weight.

I don't really follow those strict rules of high protein of 1/4 cup only three times a day because I am still losing 8 to 10 pounds a day without any cravings at all. Oh yeah, drinking hard liquor and beer completely messes up your weight and messes up my liver. Do I ever drink? Yeah, sometimes if I'm watching football with my brother or something, but I milk one beer during the whole game. I never have more than one drink every week. Most of the time I do not have any. Those become my good weeks. This week will be a good week. I imagine I will hit about 317 this week.

I will easily scale out below 300 by Thanksgiving. That will be a cool day. One note about my bipolar mood swings. The mornings have gotten better, but I have to take a seroquel in the afternoon otherwise my mind races too fast and I become combative. In all I would say that I am doing okay.    

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Bipolar moods swings

I continue to believe that most people don't understand. Sure, everyone has ups and downs, but it is the extremes that endanger bipolars. It's like you're out of control of your own mind. My biggest problem regardless of which swing I am in is racing thoughts. Not regular multilevel thinking, but thoughts that nearly scream in your head. They totally exhaust me. Especially when my moods swing within one day. I just want some quiet so I can think clearly. It usually takes extra doses of Seroquel and that makes me sleepy. Sometimes that's good, but if I have tasks to complete that day it is discouraging.

Their are exterior triggers... sometimes. I was trying to remember my hospital stay for cellutitus infection in January. I can remember a bit, but there are huge holes in my memory until I was transferred to the nursing home. My wife told me I went into full psychosis. Damn, I thought I was past that. The last time I went into full psychosis was in January 2008. It took them over three weeks to bring me out. I can remember the waking nightmares. It was truly scary. I don't remember this past January. Maybe that's good.

I have been having waking hallucinations that are usually quick and I have to scratch my head to remember how real they seemed. I had an incident where a child ran in front of my car. I stepped on the brakes before I realized it was not real. My psychiatrist is beginning to wonder if I should be driving. Maybe I made a medication error. Maybe I just need to concentrate on being in the moment. Maybe my mind was elsewhere. I don't know. My PCP thinks they may just be momentary peripheral vision which he considers normal. I'd like to believe that prognosis.

All that being said, I feel generally okay. I have it find more to do in the mornings. My mornings seem to be the hardest. By the afternoon I'm usually writing which forces my mind to go into a different world, a different sphere of reality. I really think the depression of the Winter and all of the physical and family trouble is behind me. I wish I was manic as long as I was depressed, but it doesn't seem to be. I'm not necessarily depressed, thanks to the increased and new meds, but I am diffidently not hypo-manic. Maybe for a few hours of the day. I can say that the new Trileptal has helped stabilize me to a point, but it also puts a weird taste in my mouth.

The bariatric vitamin of choice was Opti-sourse, but they changed their recipe and now they taste just as gross as the others. I'm trying to mix them in orange juice or keep a chaser very close by. I'll admit to not taking them as often as I am supposed to. This may hurt me in the short term because I am continuing to lose weight at the rate of 8 to 10 pounds per month. I haven't been particularly good in the last week and it has resulted in a September first weigh in of 322 instead of my goal of 320. Two pounds isn't much so I can't whip myself too hard.

I guess that's it. Finances are stable for once this year, but that may be short term as my cars all seem to be taking a crap all at once. Oh well, that's life.      

Monday, August 19, 2013

I cried

As I was wrapping up my chapters about my life before my first major episode in 2001, I was reminded of some serious lack of judgments I had before my dad committed suicide. I self medicated way too much before Greg was born and I did things like bringing home a new sports car without telling Cheri. At the time she had an older used car. There was more, but I'm not willing to share them.

Later on, just before Greg, I decided it would be a good idea to supplement our income by modeling. I took expensive classes, paid for a new portfolio, literally starved myself and bought many new clothes that I never even wore. Of course we couldn't afford any of this. I was doing well at modeling, but I quickly found out that male models don't really make money and agencies treated you like a piece of meat. The real bad thing is that I did all of this when I was having great success as a graveyard warehouse manager. I already had a good job.

I was super hyper-sexual. My moods were everywhere. Even through I knew my grandmother and uncle had committed suicide while in a bipolar depressive dip. Even though my dad had told me he was on and off lithium and was a raging alcoholic, hyper-sexual, bad with money, occasionally seeing a psychiatrist, and a huge drug user. And yet they were all brilliant. I didn't make the connections.

I didn't know anything about manic-depressive disorder. If we had had the Internet or if I had a clue, I would have realized that I was bipolar to an extent that I don't know how my wife put up with me. I would have divorced me. I also would have committed suicide when I was in my early 20's. I wanted to. Cheri was my rock, but she was scared. Scared of what I would do next. Scared when we had children. Just scared. I didn't know.

All of it didn't register until I started writing this book; my autobiography. My conversations with Cheri, a book I'm reading, and writing my book all worked together to blow me out this weekend. I followed backwards in time and saw myself for the first time. I saw the truth. I'm still looking back and I am ashamed. I could be massively successful at work and school, but I was a mess on the inside. The more I remember, the more I cry. Cheri won't tell me more. She says maybe a little bit at a time. I should have known. I should have known.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Writing second book

Hello. I know I said I would write more often and I will. It's just that now it takes away from writing my second book which is an autobiography. I was awarded Social Security Disability for my bipolar disorder in July and I want to run through my life before my first major bipolar episode in 2001. I had all the bipolar symptoms before that breakdown, but I didn't recognize them as symptoms. I certainly didn't see a therapist or psychologist before then, but I did feel that something was wrong with me. I was smart enough and figured it was just something else. my example of manic depressive disorder was my dad and he was an alcoholic.

While I occasionally self-medicate to escape the feelings of the disorder I am not an alcoholic nor a regular user of illicit drugs. I do take hand fulls of prescription drugs each day to keep me from going up too far and down to the point of suicidal tenancies. I should correct that. This winter I was suicidal and very depressed. I feel better now, but I do have the feeling of a manic episode coming on. I am properly taken care of and I still feel these things. I can't seem to control them. I can only imagine how hard it would be without care. I'm sure... positive that I would have killed myself by now. The disorder is progressive and it frankly scares me.

I am receiving disability because I told the straight up truth to my therapist, psychologist, the State of Colorado appointed psychologist, someone who reviewed my case from the State, the vocational adviser in the court room, my  lawyers, and the Judge. They all came to the same conclusion. Even though I am medicated and controlled I am not able to work with people in general. If I am manic I will argue and fight with anyone. If I am depressed and you are able to get me out of my room, I feel trapped and I want to run. In those cases I also feel the need to protect myself behind my intellect and I am always ready for a show down. I seem to maintain these urges at home with my family to a point, but definitely not at work. I guess that's why I went thorough seven or eight jobs in six years. I even took a year long break in there. I was fired several times. I was hospitalized for both physical reasons and mental breakdowns several times from July 2007 to now. When I get really bad like I did this winter, my wife and psychologist both choose putting me into a sleepy existence instead of a mental ward. I just slept through my suicidal thoughts and added more medication to moderate my panic attacks. I still get them and that makes me sad, but I'm feeling better. Diving my nose into the new book helps.    

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Still losing weight and not satisfied.

I'm on track to hitting 330 by the end of the month. I began the month at 340. My goal for the month was ten pounds. While having hit my goal I still feel like I should be losing weight faster. I'm impatient. I want to be not fat. I don't want to be "the big guy." I certainly don't want strangers to tell me "lose weight man." That really happened a few months ago in the grocery store. He left so fast I did have time to tell him I was losing weight, but he wouldn't have "heard" me anyway. 

In August my goal is 320. Hard to believe having come from 400 plus maybe 30 pounds at the beginning of the year. I didn't even register on my scale that maxed out at 400 until February at some point. Other than fitting into cars and clothes better, I still feel impatient. It is that impatience that works against me. I will succeed at kicking 300's soon enough. Ten pounds a month. Just ten pounds a month. 

People that haven't seen me for a while say I am shrinking like crazy, but I don't see it. I suppose if I could see myself in the mirror at my old weight to my new weight I would get it. I should probably take more pictures, but there in nothing I hate more than pictures. It's embarrassing. 

I'm about to go to my 30th class reunion. People will just see me as fat. They won't see the struggle. The weight I've lost. They will just compare me to the 18 year old thin guy. The guy I want so badly to be. It's embarrassing. I almost didn't want to go because I am embarrassed. Oh well, I have to over that and face the fact that people will see what they want to see. My good friends will see that I am still me. At least I hope so. I'll let you know. The reunion is August 10th. One day before my 29th anniversary to Cheri. That should be what people see. Two people still madly in love with each other.   

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Bipolar Social Security Disability

It's been a long time. Sorry. I took time to concentrate on my book "Night in Positano" which I self published, but now I am going to re-write the second half because it sucks. My weight had gone up because I slowly started gaining weight and then I gave up and ballooned to possibly 429 pounds. Total failure, however, I was in the hospital for the month of January 2013 and I lost 20 pounds to 25 pounds because the food tasted bad because of the IV antibiotics and the food generally sucked anyway. In February I finally fell down to under 400 because my scale only goes to 400. Nonetheless, I lost an additional 10 pounds that month and I have basically been losing 10 to 13 pounds per month since then and I am now 333. I have it under control and I have learned my lesson. I fully anticipate continued average 10 pounds loss per month. I keep this up to date now that I don't feel like a failure.

My real reason for today's post is a favorable decision on my Bipolar Social Security Disability claim. I had initially placed a claim about two years ago because I had failed to hold gainful employment since July 2007. I didn't know you could get disability for mental disorders. Once I received a negative result I hired an attorney to help me with my appeal. That was about a year ago. Today the judge examined all of my evidence from my work history, education level, and notes and forms from my psychiatrists and therapists and the state assigned psychiatrists. I went with my lawyer and answered all of his questions about the evidence in short clear sentences. I had many different employers since 1998 to 2007 where I had either jumped ship to greener pastures or I quit before getting fired. In some cases I was fired. Apparently I do not take corrections and directions well and, when manic, I am difficult to work with and when I am depressed I simply don't want to work. My education level is eight years of upper education with one and 3/4 masters. The notes from the psychiatrists and therapists over the last few years clearly state that while I am intelligent, I am impossible to work for or with or any other capacity with others. Basically, I don't play fair in the sand box. Normally judges can take from a week to two months to make their decision, but, thanks to a good lawyer and mountains of evidence, the judge rendered in my favor on the spot. We all dropped our jaws and thanked the judge quietly and left the hearing room. My lawyer was quite happy as were my wife and I.

In a few months or less my disability payments will start and then I will receive a lump sum less my lawyer fee including one year (max) of back payments since my initial filing of the first request. This will help me get out of debt and consider different forms of Medicare. I think this will have a profound effect on my student loans, but I have yet to find out. It has been a long process and we are not quite there, but the light is near.