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Re: Why lowering cortisol is not always good cybercafe

Posted by BarbaraCat on October 23, 2003, at 12:21:09

In reply to Re: Why lowering cortisol is not always good, posted by cybercafe on October 23, 2003, at 5:44:06

Hi Cyber.
> what is sleep apnea like? does it make it hard to concentrate during the day? i wonder how close it matches ADD

***I have a type called obstructive sleep apnea which means there's something that doesn't let the air in and/or out adequately. In my case it looks like a narrow esophageal opening and when I relax during sleep the muscle tone relaxes and narrows it further. I could attribute it partly to the 30 lbs I've gained over the past 4 years but my father also had it bad and woke himself up with snoring every few hours. Sometimes I think it was the main sustainer of his extreme mood disorder.

So the main thing is that whatever the reason, the air flow stops long enough to send the body into understandable alarm and wakeup. Mostly you're not aware of waking but sometimes you definitely are and have a rotten night. My sleep lab study showed I was waking up 10-12 times an hour never fully reaching stage IV sleep. That's where all the good stuff happens in sleep, like muscle repair and deep rest. That's when the pituitary makes Human Growth Hormone without which the HPA-axis malfunctions.

It feels like what you'd expect to feel like after only a few hours sleep night after bloody night. As far as ADD, when I'm really tired from a string of bad nights I'm inattentive and unfocussed and have alot of ADD-like symptoms. But I'm not ADD, just tired, and when I'm sleeping well those symptoms go away - for the most part ;-)

So what to do about it - not much out there. I had a CPAP machine where you put on this plug ugly mask that that forces air into the nose, sounds like Darth Vadar and looks like that Hannibal Lecter mask thingy. It works well in theory but in application it was hideous. I had to take a benzo just to fight off the claustrophobia and panic attacks, and kept ripping it off sometime during the night anyway. Plus my husband said it really didn't contribute to romantic notions to look over and see Hannibal Lecter in bed with him.

The only other things I can think of is continuing to lose weight and taking up singing again cause singing helps with breathing support, and windpipe and larynx flexibility and tone. The usual suspects for breath exercises like yoga other forms of diaphramatic breathing training don't work very well because they don't address the obstruction. I frequently feel my esophagus spasm and close down during the day until I become aware of it. I have to think it has something to do with a general stress response and vice verse.
> are there any sleep meds that don't cause tolerance ... trazodone maybe?

***Trazodone is a good one and I wish I could use it. I was on it for years first for depression and then mainly as a sleeper and it didn't cause tolerance. But I hated how I felt in the morning. It's hard to get out of bed in the best of circumstances but I felt like I'd been hit by a hammer for the first hour after waking - a strong histamine effect. It took a long time to wake up and I felt slowed down in general. This went on for years until the dragginess got to be too much of a drag. But if you can overcome the hangover it's very effective and has the added serotonin benefit.

I take melatonin and tryptophan. I like tryp because it's a serotonin precursor and it seems to help the muscle cramping at night. But it's always a struggle to get to sleep and stay asleep no matter what and lately I've had to resort to Ambien again. This too shall pass and I think that as my exercise regiment gets going again I'll regulate naturally.

Do you have sleep problems? It seems that most bipolars do at some point in the cycle and I doubt they all have sleep apnea. But then again, who knows? As you might imagine, anything that interferes with sleep is going to cause major problems, and sleep apnea is more prevalent than most people imagine.
> >
> yeah i've had the high tech burnout too.... i think high tech jobs are especially bad .... at least when it comes to needing major concentration, focus, output

***Yeah. I enjoyed the work but hated the corporate politics and insane demands and timelines. Are you working in high tech now?
> i thought lithium was no good for mixed states? that's great if it's working for you

***I don't think it works for mixed states by itself but I don't think its destabilizing either. By itself I was still getting very depressed but they weren't mixed state nightmares. I need the lithium/lamictal combo. It must be working since I haven't had a mixed state episode since getting on that combo last year.
> i am taking an antipsychotic (abilify) and they (zyprexa as well) work much better than depakote ever did
***Do these APs have mood stabilizer properties? I tried Zyprexa for a time but hated the effects. But I can see how taking an antipsychotic is a good idea during mixed states. Don't know about you, but mine were psychotic for sure. I lived inside a Vicent van Gogh painting. An bad acid trip that goes on and on and on... Are these the only meds you're taking for BP or otherwise?
... assuming that being depressed without any mania is a good thing

***No fair having none of the good bipolar stuff! One of the many reasons I've opted for a subtherapeutic dose of lithium is that I need to skate around the rim of hypomania every now and then. Have you ever tried lamictal for the depression? Sorry if you've answered all these questions before. I don't have a steeltrap memory these days.
>how important it was for me to get out there and do stuff i thought was impossible instead of sitting at home and writing on psychobabble all day ...... ug......

***Yeah, sitting in front of the tube is addicting and depleting. I can't tell you how many wasted hours, days, I spent playing solitaire. What kinds of impossible things were you able to do again? Don't you find that getting started is the hard part but it rolls along much easier once you're into it?
> any vegetables i can get vitamin B from naturally?

***Yeah, a good healthy diet, but it won't provide the therapeutic amounts you need. As far as vitamin supplements, I'm moving away from taking the fractionalized 'active ingredients' pills and more towards whole food derived supplements that have the whole spectrum. Garden of Life is a brand I respect. They're at but you can get their products at iHerb for alot less. Another good brand is Metagenics.
> ah but i'm bipolar and i have low cortisol :)

***How did you find out about your cortisol levels? One thing I'm convinced of is the need to get to sleep before cortisol levels start rising again. For me, that's no later than 11. But do I do it? Nooooo. I'm just hitting my stride around 11pm.
***So, what is your bipolar like? Do you feel your treatment is effective? Do you know what contributes to an episode and what helps? - BCat




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