Ischl Torte Cookies (Ischelské dortíčky)

Ischl torte cookies finishedCzech Christmas Cookie #1

These sandwich cookies are a buttery, chocolaty, nutty delight with a delicious jelly/preserves and rum-hazelnut filling. They are almost like a mini fancy torte. The original recipe was created in 1849 in the spa town of Bad Ischl in Austria (near the current Czech border) as a treat for the Emperor Franz Joseph I of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. If using Czech/Slovak flour, go by all ingredient amounts in grams and the Celsius oven temperature. Otherwise, use the American measurements. Continue reading

Time to lower my cholesterol again!

Cholesterol info chart1About nine years ago, I reached my heaviest weight ever. It happened so quickly! I blamed a combination of the depression I had experienced that year, and the weight unfriendly medications I was taking. In addition, being overweight was not exactly rare in my family.

My depression, at that time, was so stubborn that I was urged to get a series of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) treatments. The treatments actually did alleviate my depression, but then the doctors put me back on the same weight unfriendly and ineffective mix I was on before the ECT. The depression came back. I was also told that I was pre-diabetic, had high cholesterol, and very high triglycerides. Really, enough was enough! I luckily had a major medication overhaul and my general practitioner (GP) was giving me lectures about my diet and lack of exercise. Continue reading

A bipolar disorder irritability story. Not even a severe one. Won’t even go there!

Anger sign

I thought I was doing fairly well today, mood-wise, until I went to the grocery store. Well, maybe I started to get unwell towards the end of my conversation with my sister. She didn’t say anything to trigger it. I totally brought it on myself. I was not angry at her at all, but more fuming about other people (politicians, certain organizations, etc.). Then I asked my brother to come over for dinner tomorrow, in exchange for some handyman advice. He accepted, so then I realized I needed some groceries in order to make him a nice meal. So I set out for the grocery store. Then the “irritability” started to balloon. Continue reading

Cars, racing with blinders on, and staring forward looking at virtual nothing

Walk down road
I remember many years of journeys without a car. Of course they started in early childhood, and continued when I went to a small private school in an rural environment. In the beginning of my time there, I waited for a van transport home each afternoon. Then I decided to just walk home, instead. It was a four mile walk. I either felt one with nature and carefully observed my surroundings, or was creating stories in my head. My own stories. Sometimes people I knew spotted me and gave me a ride part of the way, but that was only occasionally.

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Is it a bipolar mixed episode, ultra rapid cycling, or just “mood lability”?

mixed episode face

Putting a label on what’s happening to one’s mood can sometimes be difficult for people with bipolar disorder (BP). Having visited bipolar online forums for years, I encountered the questions in the title quite often. I know what is written in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – Fifth Edition (DSM-5) and highly-regarded textbooks on the disorder, but that hasn’t always cleared up my occasional confusion, either. Some questions have been mostly answered, but others not fully. Truth is, answers can vary by mental health expert. Even the teams of doctors and consultants working on the DSM debated on some of its contents. Regardless, I hope some of what’s in this post is interesting food for thought. Continue reading

So extremely bad…that it’s amazing!!!

Angry chicken

So my husband and I went to Lowe’s today to look for a new faucet to go with the new counter top we’ll have installed next week. I knew we’d end up leaving there with more than we could carry. I know my people! So, I volunteered to get a cart, leaving hubby to enter the store on his own. When I returned to him, I saw him standing with a young female clerk, both laughing hysterically. I said “What on earth did you say to this young lady?!?!” Continue reading

Interesting similarities/links between bipolar disorder & other conditions

I’ve done a bit of research in the past about dissociative symptoms, migraines, bipolar disorder, seizure disorders and pseudo seizures, and even fibromyalgia. There are an uncanny number of  similarities/links between them in some peoples’ experiences. Some (not all necessarily common to all) are as follows: Continue reading

Revisiting a place from childhood with the mind of an experienced adult

weeping willow
A healthy weeping willow standing tall on a green

I woke up at about 5 am this morning feeling very well. Unlike usual Saturdays, I prepared breakfast early at 6:30 am. Luckily my hubby didn’t mind. Then after a bit of cuddling, I took a long and thorough shower and did lots of other beauty-related self care in preparation for my 30th high school reunion today. Whoa! How time flies! Continue reading

Disabling Aspects of Bipolar Disorder – Energy levels, moods, and/or cognitive issues

Energy levels and more

One of the more disabling aspects of bipolar disorder, for me, is fluctuating energy levels. I’ve learned that this is a key aspect of my disorder and is often (not always) at the root of many of my symptoms. However, I don’t believe it is as simple as that for many of us, unless one has an extremely “classic” form of bipolar disorder, which seems less common that once thought.

In an article on MentalHelp.net, energy levels in bipolar disorder are emphasized. It’s a fairly simple explanation, in terms of causation of various mood symptoms, though I see it as a starting point in understanding the complexity of how bipolar disorder affects many sufferers. It reads: Continue reading