Category Archives: Uncategorized

Big wave, little wave

*trigger warning* This post contains mentions of suicide.

Greetings  blogosphere and interwebs in general. I’ve delayed writing a bit because you see, a lot can happen in a year. Also because bipolar folk are notoriously unreliable when we hit an episode. It’s really not our fault.

As for me, I won’t share all the details because it will be much too long and I don’t think it will necessarily be helpful to anyone. So just in short, in the past roughly 10 months, I did a stint in clinic because I was suicidal, then thought I was fine. Then, mostly unbeknown to myself, depression became a mixed episode and my life and my brain became all kinds of fucked-up (I will gladly share details if someone wants to PM me), then I did actually try to commit suicide, failed/was stopped, spent 5 days in ICU, went through the aftermath with the people in my life (this was by far worse than anything else). If you want to kill yourself you better make damn sure you die. That being said, now I’m kinda glad I didn’t. Most of the time.

Anyway, then my life fell apart. I had to take unpaid leave from work and left the city to stay with my parents in my home town and receive intense therapy. My doc also put me, and here is the important part of the post, Lithium. It took some time and a whole lot of blood tests to get the dose right, but it pulled me out of my very deep hole. I won’t lie, Lithium has its stigma for a reason and its side effects are horrendous. Apart from the common shakes and dry mouth, there is hair loss, stomach cramps, vertigo, unbearable thirst, acne, possibility of kidney and thyroid problems and probably some others. But how does it look on a practical level? It means if I don’t carry water with me all the time, I get incredibly agitated from thirst. I can’t apply eyeliner or do any detailed kind of work with my hands. My writing is even worse than it was. Some days my stomach cramps so much or I get such bad vertigo that I have to lie down. No matter what I do, my skin looks terrible. But to me the worse is probably the hair loss. I have thick and long hair and it’s EVERYWHERE. I shed worse than my cats and it frustrates me to no end. These side effects make me feel very sorry for myself.

So why take it if it’s so horrible? Because the 1 pro far outweighs the many cons: It keeps me from wanting to kill myself. It’s as simple as that, and the no. 1 reasons doctors prescribe Lithium despite its side effects. I’m still not on ‘normal’ between hypomanic and depressed, but I’ve only have little waves, not big waves. And this has been with a whole bunch of crap happening in between. I quit my job, left the city to move back home, had to find my own place, my father passed away and I’m starting my own business. It hasn’t always been easy, and there has been plenty of days spent in bed or in front of the TV, but I’m managing.

While most of this is largely thanks to Lithium, I am also on Wellbutrin, Venlor and a very small dose of Seroquel. I’ve also basically stopped drinking and have a good exercise routine. I’m not under big city stress (like traffic), and I am not in an extremely deadline driven industry. I try to at least do one big task/errand a day. All these things help too. I still need to get into a better routine and do something about my diet (currently I have only bread, cheese and a bunch of sauces in my fridge).

I curse the fact that I have to live with these side-effects every single day. I get very angry that people don’t see it and therefore don’t know what I’m going through. I feel embarrassed when someone sees my food fall off my fork because my tremour is so bad. But then I get over it and remember where I could have been. How I almost drowned in the storm of my own mind. And I ride my little waves, that no one even sees, like a pro.

 

*If you or someone you know need support, please call the suicide prevention hotline in your area immediately, or reach out to someone you trust. Threats of suicide should ALWAYS be take seriously.*

Update on mental health resources

I have finally taken the time to update the resource page. When it comes to researching my illness, I have become quite fanatic about gathering all the information I can get my hands on. I receive various newsletters from different sites weekly, google any questions I might have, and subscribe to online and print magazines. When it comes to bipolar specifically and mental health in general, I’ve become an expert with way more than a layman’s knowledge. I think that learning absolutely all you can about your illness is essential. Firstly, it will make you feel less isolated and alone. Secondly, it will make it easier for you to explain to the people in your life what you are going through, and you will know where to refer them when you can’t explain it yourself. It makes it so much easier to create awareness and being up to date with the latest research and medical advancements make for educated decisions and conversations when it comes to discussing medication and different forms of therapy.

Take some time to browse the resource section of this blog, and please leave resource that you’ve found helpful in the comments so that I can add them.

Picture the sun

After a year I think I am ready and in the mood (ha) this blog up again. Maybe for no other reason than that I need to. I need to write about my experiences and about what is going on in my head. I need to not care what people think when they read it, and focus on the good it can do myself and potentially other. An I miss writing, to be honest. Even if the only thing I’m writing about is myself and my mental illness.

But before I launch into what you’ve missed over the past year, here is the tattoo that I finally got that was originally inspired by when I started this this blog and chose it’s title. Isn’t it the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?!tattoo

Admitting when you need help

Earlier this week I went to see a new psychiatrist. Naturally I was sceptical but it didn’t take her long to win my trust. Her assessment of me was very thorough, she is open to new treatment options and seems to care (or at least pretends convincingly that she does). Her suggestion was that I go to a clinic to receive in-patient treatment while we adjust medication and to give me some space to just be without having to manage myself in the world, as this is more exhausting than most people would think. I agreed and will be going in next week.

Some people I have spoken to seem to confuse the reason I’m going, as I am not suicidally depressed or running around hypomanic off my rocker. They think I’m going in for a little rest, or a nice vacation funded by medical aid. While that is true, I will be doing a lot of resting and sleeping and switching off from society, that’s not the whole point. The reason I’m going is exactly because I am not suicidally depressed or hypomanic. Not yet, at least. Or rather, not at the moment. The reason I agreed to in-patient treatment is because I want to PREVENT things going too far.

For the first time since I was diagnose I’m actually pre-empting this thing. I can do that now, because I am more self-aware than I use to be. I can recognise a crisis creeping closer before it actually bitch slaps me through the face. I might be feeling fine right now. Right now going to a hospital and putting my life on hold feels like such a silly idea. I clearly don’t need it. But the reality is that I don’t know how I’m going to feel tomorrow. Or this evening for that matter. It’s become clear to me that I probably have some rapid cycling going on and that is part of what I want to figure out while I’m in the clinic. I can have my meds adjusted without having to worry about whether or not I’ll be able to make it through a day at work. I can talk to a psychologist every day if I want to. I can get focussed treatment and don’t have to drag it out for months.

It doesn’t mean that it’s not scary. And I think that’s what people who think I’m going on vacation don’t understand. There will be intense group therapy, one on one therapy, new drug regimes, routine, all in a foreign environment where I will likely be sharing a room with strangers who snore. But it’s not my first rodeo, so I know I’ll be fine.

I’ve taken the first steps; admitting I need help and accepting it. It can only get better from here.

Trigger on trigger on trigger

Today I had the pleasant experience of being broken up with. The relationship was still fairly new, but I was very much smitten. My spirit feels crushed. Two weeks ago I cut my father out of my life,  and in August my grandfather,  who was my father in many ways, passed away. All of this during the peak season in my industry where my workload has doubled and while navigating med changes. Is it any wonder that I have become a bit unhinged?

Often I don’t know what triggers my mood changes, and often it can be the smallest things, like a friend making a bad joke.  Sometimes it is huge life events that just keep piling up. And what people don’t understand is that, when you have a mood disorder, your feelings are so much more intense than other people’s emotions. I was feeling very rattled and sad earlier,  bawling my eyes out, and now I feel ridiculously calm. I have recently upped my geodon and lamotragine. I don’t know if my responses are within the ‘normal’ range. What I do know is that my coping mechanisms are not very healthy, and I also don’t want to change them. Because I am a sucker for the punishment. Lashing out and becoming self destructive is actually enjoyable to me. What is up with that masochism?

At the moment I crave just existing.  I would go so far as to say that I wish I could just be hospitalised. But life can’t stop when you’re the only one taking care of yourself.  What I do know is that I am one of the strongest people I know, by the grace of God alone. I often wonder what the straw that finally breaks this camel’s back will be.

The main reason I haven’t completely self-destructed is because I wanted to make this new relationship work. Now that’s gone. I’m standing in the edge now. I am tired of balancing. There is nothing at the bottom to break my fall.

Fact vs feeling – what do YOU want to know about Bipolar Disorder

I’ve been meaning to get this blog up and running again. I’ve gone through a pretty terrible month of ups and downs. I have always been concerned about turning this blog into a personal rant. I don’t want to go on and on about my personal life and my issues all the times. I’ve wanted this blog to be informative and helpful. A place where you can find the answers for your questions from a real person. I want to interact with readers and, most of all, HELP. Because by helping others I also help myself.

So my question is really, what would you like to read here. When you google Bipolar disorder, what is it that you just can’t seem to find? Personal accounts? A space to ask questions? Different perspectives? Insights about the latest research?

I really want to start writing again, but at the moment I feel like I’m lost at see. And writing about my feelings all the time is not helpful, especially to myself, as I get lost in the dark spiral of my depressive thoughts.

I would like to hear from everyone about everything! I challenge you, what do YOU want.

Why this blog has gone quiet

I really wish that I hadn’t lost my enthusiasm for writing this blog (A bipolar thing perhaps? Starting things and not finishing them?). Mainly I think the reason I have stopped writing is that finally my Bipolar Disorder is not the central focus of my life anymore. I am well, and pretty much stable, and have been for a while now. I went through a bit of a euphoric hypomanic thing recently, but kept it mostly under control through exercise. I’m not big on being active, so I was very pleasantly surprised to feel in my own body that exercise does help you get rid of all that extra energy. I did overdo it a bit, but I could have been overdoing something worse so it’s all good. Now I’m back on track, being a normal, boring, stable person.

Because Bipolar Disorder has not been a central focus in my life and I haven’t had to think about it every day, I have cut my contact with anything related to it. I’m not writing about it, reading about it, talking about it or attending support groups about it. For now I feel that that is the best thing for me. I see my doctor once a month, take my meds every day and have really gotten into a healthy lifestyle, exercising regularly and eating healthily. I even quit smoking (most of the time)! I also don’t like sharing details of my life just for the sake of it. I want to share things that will be meaningful to other people, or that will create awareness. Things of interest, instead of just talking about myself. So until I learn something significant from an experience, or have  word burning inside me, or come across some really interesting and valuable information, I’ll be quiet for now.

Jagged little pill: has the recovery narrative gone too far?

Putting into words what so many of us seem to have on our minds.

purplepersuasion

I feel that in writing this post, which has been brewing for a long time, I am saying something that some might see as controversial. So let me start by making something clear. This post is not intended to criticise the work of the big charities – I am a proud member of Mind and Rethink Mental Illness and have undertaken both paid and voluntary work for both organisations. I have also volunteered for Time to Change and made a TTC pledge at last year’s Mind Media Awards. A huge amount of good work is being done on a daily basis to challenge public perceptions of mental health and to normalise discussions of the topic. Time to Change is entirely right to highlight just how peculiar it is that mental health stigma continues to loom so large given that a quarter of the population is thought experience some form of…

View original post 1,074 more words

Enter depression

I always try to keep this blog inspirational and informative. I also try to keep it real and authentic.  Unfortunately due to the nature of the beast, it’s not always possible to be inspirational and authentic, because sometimes, if I authentically expose myself, I will be anything but inspiring. I don’t want to plant seeds in others with my own suicidal fantasies, darkness, obsessive thoughts, irritation and loss of will to even move. But how can I give a true insight into the illness if I leave those parts of my experience out?

I had a few crappy experiences this week. Nothing major or life impairing or anything, but stressful. And stress = trigger = depression/hypomania/dysphoria. I have been successfully avoiding stress for a while now and have therefore been mostly okay, but as today went by my depression has gotten increasingly worse. There’s a chance that I might sleep it off and be okay tomorrow,  but there’s also a chance that it will get worse. I have no idea how I’m going to drag myself to work tomorrow. I’m trying to distract myself from the pain I’m feeling but not succeeding,  and also indulging, which just makes me feel guilty. I have never attempted suicide and I’m fairly certain that I never will, but sometimes my mind can’t help toying with the idea.

Whether it’s a “24 hour bug” or something that’s going tp drag itself out, I don’t know. I can only hope for the former. Even in the best place of stability and tranquillity, something small can upset the balance and bring you back to square one. Such is bipolar.