Escapism

I spent the afternoon at friends watching a really good movie this afternoon (“Now you see me”) and I must say I was able to forget all my problems for a while. I think I need to find a way to escape my reality more. I’ll check out Netflix.

By newpaz

“Just a diagnosis”

So I have bipolar, it’s just a diagnosis. Only this illness has got me sectioned three times now. That’s pretty scary. 

After the first section, which really was two but I count it as one as I feel I was discharged too early the first time, with only 24 hours’ worth of medication and no way to get anymore as I was then literally homeless in Canada, my husband having washed his hands off me, I was in a bit of a daze, under shock and moved back to the UK to start my life again. I didn’t think much about what had happened, I was just eager to rebuild my life the best I could.

After the second sectioning last August, I was still on a high when I was discharged and picked life up where I had left it and all was going well.

Since the third one in February, everything has changed. Suddenly, I “crashed” from the high, got my insight back and realised what had been happening. I had lost the plot. So badly I was put in a mental health place and now I am left to deal with the damage, signed off work, no money coming in and not able to drive.

So yes, maybe Bipolar is just a diagnosis but it has broken my life so badly in the past 6 months that right now, it feels beyond repairs.

I found out yesterday that some of the medications I am taking can make you suicidal. Great.

I will carry on getting through each day the best I can, until my life either gets better or I can take it no more. That is all I can do.

Pondering on depression

Last time I suffered depression, when I moved back from Canada after my husband and I split, I had a job to go to every day and a dog to walk. I had a mate who would call for me every day too with his dog and we would walk the dogs together. I’d spend all weekends alone though with my dog, staring at my four walls.

I have since lost my dog, currently not working, have no driving licence, have suffered two manic episodes which ended in psychosis and was hospitalised twice for those in the past 6 months. Safe to say this depression will be harder to cope with than my previous one. Although this time, I have asked for meds much earlier than I did last time. I am still waiting for them to work, although I am unsure what they will do, plus I was told last time I took them they can bring on manic episodes too so to be careful with them.

My depressions seem different to those I hear or read about. I am still able to get out of bed and clean. I also try and get myself out of the house when I get the opportunity. I don’t spend all day sleeping, although I wish I did, but It’s the utter despair in my mind stops me sleeping all day. Maybe it’s not depression, maybe I am just really really down? The dark thoughts that enter my mind on occasions though tell me it’s something more…

Why Suicide?

Interesting article about suicide.

bipolarblogging

According to some statistics, people with Bipolar disease are 60% more likely to attempt suicide than the general population.   And they are much more likely to have multiple attempts.   And of those who do try, approximately 30% of them will eventually be successful.

Bipolar Disorder has the highest mortality rate of all the other mental illnesses combined.

So why is that?

In my opinion, there are a number of reasons as to why this is. Nothing scientific or heavily researched, just my own views formed from a lifetime of observation and experience. I think one of these reasons is the severity of the illness. Bipolar disorder can be a life consuming condition. The depressive episodes can render one completely incapacitated; unable to work, keep up with daily responsibilities, or even care for themselves. Manic episodes can create extreme financial hardship, loss of jobs, and serious legal trouble. And that is…

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By newpaz

Support, what support?

“Hang in there”, “You’ll pull through”, “be positive”, these are words I have heard often recently. I know people mean well of course, if only they knew what was going on in my mind.

Hanging I am, desperately trying to return to work, despite not having a driving licence, scared of returning after a 3 months long absence and whether I can still do the job I loved. But there seems to be a conspiracy against it. Today, I chased my psychiatrist’s office again to find out whether the report that says I am fit to return to work has been signed only to be told that it hadn’t. Oh he was so encouraging when I saw him on the 22 April, telling me “yep, you are fit to return to work, everything will be fine as long as you take your meds.”

Well, I am taking my meds, I am certainly not manic anymore, I have crashed and now suffering from what I can only assume is situational depression, for which I am taking medication too but waiting for the pills to work, and no sign of when I will go back to work yet.

I am not really sure how I am expected to keep it together under the circumstances really.

I received a text from a friend yesterday asking me how I was doing, I said I was feeling pretty low, she asked if I had spoken to someone about it, concerned things were getting worse for me. I sent her a long text explaining there was no-one to talk to about it. She went silent and I haven’t heard from her since.

Everyday “normal” people aren’t mental health experts, they can’t be expected to know what to do to help. Gee, even the experts can’t even help you! When I was in hospital, I got no therapy or emotional help, all the nurses would do was baby sit us until the meds had worked and we were good enough to be sent back out in the big wide world. Sometimes though, I wish I was back there, being looked after, having my meals cooked for me and no responsibility. My life as I know it would be fucked of course, but hey, isn’t it already?

I am not feeling suicidal today for some reason, just emotionally numb going through the motion, what else can I do?

Thought just now, I am kinda glad I am single, the strain this would put on a relationship would be unbearable…

All getting too much

This morning I woke up to find my latch on the kitchen window broken. It snapped so it’s not repairable. Yet another thing to add to the list of things going wrong in my life. I don’t know what to do about it, it would no doubt cost a lot of money to sort out, money I haven’t got.

So I had a bath to try and chill. What am I going to do? If suicide is not an option, what are my other options? Sell the house I guess and move back to France, where I am from. My dad mentioned when I visited in April that he and my mum, now divorced, would help my return if I ever decided to go back.

I have lived in the UK some 24 years now, longer than I have lived in France. The thought of moving back fills me with anxiety, as my life is now firmly in the UK. But the simple truth is I just cannot cope here anymore.

Yes there has been some happy moments in the past 3 years since being back from Canada, but most were alcohol driven and the rest were what I now know to be manic episodes so now I am on medication, they won’t happen anymore.

The idea of selling my house also fills me with dread. I don’t know I can cope with the process which is quite stressful on its own.

This month I gave myself to be back on some kind of track isn’t looking too good.

This morning I deactivated my facebook account, I had re-enabled it on the 1st January after a 6 week break and enjoyed being back on at the start, especially when I became manic again, but lately it has depressed me more and more. Every time I logged on, I have felt more down, seeing other people’s happy lives, and yes I know not everyone is as happy as they make out to be on there but at least they can give the impression they are, I can’t even do that. I felt it best to close the account.

My world is getting smaller and smaller. I just cannot see a way out of the tunnel. I really don’t.

Am I deluded?

Back in February, I suffered a manic episode which ended in a psychosis for which I was sectioned.

I was hospitalised for 6 weeks and discharged quite unexpectedly when I had to have overnight leave to see to my sick cat (who has since sadly died). They authorised the overnight leave when I was already home trying to catch him and asked me to come in for my morning weekly review meeting the following day, this is when I got discharged. I was really not expecting it and was pleased to leave the premises as soon as possible. I now wish I had stayed as a voluntary patient.

Since being discharged, nothing has gone right for me. I had hoped to be back at work quite quickly and this hasn’t happened, because the work doctor decided I wasn’t ready. He was right, I hadn’t been taking medication as I was in denial of my diagnosis and I was still manic. His decision however put me in a very low mood which turned into depression.

On 22 April, I saw my psychiatrist who said I was ready to go back to work. Two weeks on I still spend my days at home, bored, lonely and anxious to be back at work. Now unpaid apart from the Statutory Sick Pay, a small fraction of my salary. I have been on SSP for over two months now, except they used it to go towards the overpayment they made by mistake in March. I was only entitled to 20 days sick pay as I hadn’t worked there a full year.

I am scared, so scared, about my financial situation and how far back this manic episode has put me, let alone the emotional trauma of being diagnosed with a serious mental health issue, one for which I will need to be medicated for the rest of my life, and even then sometimes medication will no longer work.

However, feeling this low, I gave myself a deadline for my life to be back on track before I review the situation. A month. Enough time to hopefully be back at work and have my driving licence back.

Today, I spoke to someone at an AA meeting who happened to have bipolar too. She said it took her 5 years to get her life back on track since her manic episode which ended in a suicide attempt. 5 years!! And even then listening to her, her future isn’t rosy.

If my life isn’t back on some kind of track soon, I will need some serious proof that life is worth living before I carry on living it. Seriously.

 

Sleep issue

After three manic episodes which I believe were triggered by a lack of sleep, I had made sure I got plenty of sleep since accepting my diagnosis.

Last night wasn’t a good night, I tossed and turned for what seemed like hours and I must eventually have fallen asleep as I woke up this morning with the usual anxious thoughts going round in my head – this time the anxiety was around, what if the drugs don’t help? what if I carry on having manic episodes, let alone depressive ones, despite taking medication?

There’s been a change of medication lately and I have now dropped the Olanzapine I was taking for mood stabilisers. My care co-ordinator suggested the change, saying Olanzapine wasn’t a good medication to be on, especially if there is a history of diabetes in the family, which there is in my case.

I am feeling slightly anxious how the new meds will work as I have taken Olanzapine on and off for three years. I know it also has helped me sleep too. What if the new meds don’t work the same, worst still, don’t work at all?

Yep, the morning anxiety is alive and well. I hope last night’s sleep issue is just a one off.

 

“Normal” day

After my initial anxiety issue this morning, I spent most of the day just chatting with my lodger in the backyard. If the weather is nice, it seems to be what I do these days, with one lodger or the other.

Chatting is good, although invariably the conversation turns to mental health at some point and eventually, I feel uncomfortable to remind myself of what I have done when in manic/psychosis mode. I really was that crazy. Me, who has never suffered anything like this before three years ago. It scares me to think my mind can disconnect and malfunction that much.

Late afternoon, I was invited to a BBQ. At first the thought got me anxious, I thought there would be lots of people and I don’t do lots of people these days. I always used to be quite confident and outgoing, especially after a few drinks, now I like to hide. My lodger recommended I took an anti anxiety tablet she had been prescribed, so I took half of one after ascertaining they wouldn’t interfere with my current medication. It helped me relax. I then found out the BBQ would be only four people, so I was happy to go.

See the problem is I don’t do large gathering, but particularly when there’s drinking involved. I don’t drink much these days out of choice. And finding myself with people who are getting drunk is not my idea of fun. I would like to say it was fun to be out, and it beat staying home doing nothing, but it was still a strain. I hate feeling like this, it’s like I am forever convalescing. 

But I went, spent most of it cooking the food truth be told, something I always enjoyed doing before, had a good chat or two and left when alcohol started to flow too much to retreat to the safety of my own home.

Hopefully, that means I don’t need to add social anxiety to my mental health issues.

Oh, and I found out today, by looking at the report the work doctor did a few weeks ago that I come under the Disability Act now…

Morning anxiety

Doomed if I do doomed if I don’t.

I started to get ready as soon as I woke up and then finding myself ready with nothing to do was hard to bear. So I started to lay in bed for a while instead but then thoughts come and go in my head, as I am going over my situation.

I wake up feeling extremely anxious, so anxious even I get sick first thing in the morning. My new lodger witnessed this this morning and said I needed to tell the doctor. But what for? More medication? Surely the medication isn’t going to chase away the thoughts that go round in my head? 

What thoughts? Well let’s see, this morning I was looking back at my life and realised that I have never done well when I have lived alone. I had a long period of being single in my late 20s and I remember drinking every night, and smoking quite a lot of weed. When I see pictures of my flat at the time, it’s a wreck, there’s mess everywhere.

And so my thoughts this morning were what if I just can’t live alone, what if I cannot cope alone? 

My lodger said she was glad I didn’t live alone at the moment as she dreaded to think how I would be feeling. She also said she felt when I am back at work and I have my licence back I will be in a better place. I hope so.

Nearly three years ago, when I moved back to the UK from Canada after my husband and I split, I lived alone. And I experienced depression, for the first time in my life. I was no longer drinking or smoking pot so my crutches were gone and I went down a spiral.

Three years on, I am still without crutches and still unable to cope properly. Now I have a new diagnostic to contend with too. Having Bipolar.

It sounds like a big deal and I need to talk about it to someone in the know. My current care co-ordinator is on holidays at the moment and so I have asked to see a different one. I need to know how bad this thing is, whether medication will make it all better.

I texted my old boss still working in the department yesterday to tell him the news. His text back was very nice, quite compassionate. It scared me a bit. It sounded like bipolar is a big deal. He talked about knowing your triggers. I don’t know what triggers are so I went on the net and searched for triggers for bipolar. Well, seems every life changing event is a trigger, divorce, death, birth, job loss, etc. 

I now know for sure my split with my husband was what brought on my first manic episode. What brought on the other two though I am unsure, I know shortly before both the American guy and I broke up. Guess I’d better stay away from relationships then if breakups are going to affect me this way. In any case, who wants a bipolar partner? 

What kind of life am I going to have? I know anxiety is fear of the unknown. And I shouldn’t look at the future, just take each day at the time at the moment. Please tell that to my mind first thing in the morning when I wake up and look at my new reality.