Onwards and upwards, downwards or circle…repeat, repeat. Instability is a horrible place to be. More often than not I can be found curled up in depression wishing the world would go away and take me with it. Everything is an effort. Trying to get out of bed is an effort, eating healthy food is an effort, maintaining “happy face” for my family and friends is an effort. All I want to do is cuddle up to my pillow and imagine I’m floating on a soft, fluffy cloud. I guess at least that part is positive — clouds are nice.
Recently I’ve had a few episodes of hypomania, always preceded by madly doing housework in the middle of the night and followed by the usual racing thoughts, fast and risky driving, agitation, starting many things I don’t finish and becoming argumentative. Mania can suck but hypomania often feels good because I’m doing something and I’m usually aware of it. During the latest episode I managed to get rid of 10 boxes of books that were cluttering my shelves, although afterwards I thought my culling had probably gone too far. The unfortunate result of hypomania (or mania) is that I crash into a deeper depression immediately afterwards.
No medication has been working for me. I say “for me” because that’s how psychotropic drugs are — what doesn’t work for me may work for you and vice versa. I’m not recommending nor condemning any medication. We all have to work with our psychiatrists to find the combination that keeps us stable over the long term.
The latest drug to be added to my medication cocktail is Saphris. I started off on 5mg and after a couple of months it seems reasonably promising. I hate the taste and numb mouth but those are small issues. My problem with it started when I went up to 10mg. I began sleepwalking, something I’ve never done in my life! I didn’t wake up until I crashed into furniture or doorways (I’m obviously not very good at sleepwalking or I’d go around obstacles haha). There’s other stuff too but not for this blog. My sleep was disturbed each night and it was worrying that I found myself outside on a few occasions. My psych took me back down to 5mg and I stopped sleepwalking.
Recently my psych invited my husband in for a talk. The invitation has been extended before but my husband has always refused to go. This time he came in with me and my psych explained various aspects of bipolar and the treatment I’m on. I thought it would’ve been helpful (I live in hope) but it’s made no difference to the way we interact or the way he sees my mental illness. He still thinks I have far more choices about living with bipolar than I do when majorly depressed, hypomanic or manic. Sometimes all seems pretty normal; average; stable, but then the wheels fall off and bipolar has you in it’s grip again. We’ve all felt that — right? None of us enjoy it and God only knows we wish it were different.
My psych is away for 6 weeks, a combination of conference and holiday. He’d hoped that I’d see my GP while he’s away as she has been involved in my treatment, but wouldn’t you know it she’s away for 6 weeks too! So he referred me to a psychotherapist who works in the same rooms. I’ve seen him twice now and he’s very nice. But he doesn’t know me so he’s going right back to onset of bipolar symptoms and, more upsetting, a long period of abuse. Although it’s upsetting it’s made it clear to me that something I thought I’d shut the door on is still very active. Somethings in my younger life I have managed to say “ok that’s finished now” but this one is still firing arrows into my chest and making my guts churn. I’m glad we are talking about this stuff and that I’m getting a different approach because maybe then I can finally find a way to move forward.
Finally words from a slack blogger!
Not only has typing been impossible but the ability to write by hand seems to have deserted me too. Usually I keep a journal, write point-form notes for discussion during therapy, write letters to penfriends and take part in a global postcard exchange via the web site Postcrossing. I have always enjoyed collecting journals and fountain pens and have taken great pleasure from the possibilities presented by each new page.
Where has this gone?
Partly it is a physical disability because my hands shake from the meds I take. I have been dropping things and stumbling too. My psych thinks Lamictal is the cause and my dosage has been decreased. However there seems to be a cognitive element too and I’m struggling with thought processes. Nevertheless I’m here and trying to throw a few words together in the hope that they make sense!
Another reason that I’ve not written over recent months is that I’ve read in other blogs/articles that people writing anecdotes about their illness are contributing to misinformation because what they say is not backed up by the presentation of available research. It’s hard to argue with that. I certainly write about my own experiences rather than presenting references to scientific studies, however I believe there is a place for both and that it can be a bit precious to claim that journal type blogs have no value whatsoever. I read personal blogs to feel connected with other people who have bipolar and how it affects their lives. If I read something about a medication with which people have had personal experience I may go looking for the scientific information afterwards. I’d like to think that visitors here do the same thing and I don’t expect anyone to just accept the experiences I’ve had and apply them to their own. I admit to being put off with the attitude I’ve come across but then I credit people who read blogs about bipolar with the intelligence to work out if the blog is worth reading or not.
I remind everyone that I’m not a scientist, psychiatrist, doctor or psychiatric nurse. I’m just an average person with bipolar.
There’s been a long delay in my blogging again, mainly caused by the swinging of moods, a merry-go-round of meds and the general see-sawing of life. As you can see I’m in the kiddies’ playground at the moment — some fun, some falling over in tears and a lot of stupid immaturity (at 55!). Read More »
Recently I’ve been switching between lows and highs within the one day. I’ve had Mixed State episodes a number of times where I can be hypomanic yet crying but this time I’m ultradian cycling. Ultradian cycling is where you experience multiple mood swings in one day. It is not officially recognised in the DSM-IV yet most psychiatrists acknowledge that it exists. In my case I’ve been depressed on waking, hypomanic by lunchtime, depressed in the afternoon and hypomanic again late at night. It is exhausting and it is interfering with my life so much. Read More »
I’ve been living recently with both depression and panic attacks but they’re not my friends, they’re my enemies. I have to fight them in order to function and gain some sort of normality in my life. The depression has been with me for a long time now, apart from one recent episode of full-on mania and time spent in a horrible mixed state, and it is proving to be hard to shift my mood. Because of this my psych has put me back on a low dose of Zoloft (sertraline). I feel slightly better after having taken it for a week and I’m hoping the improvement continues.
As for the panic attacks, Read More »
The week from hell!
My psych decided to risk the fact that Valdoxan might flip me into mania and gave me a sample pack to take for a week. He did a lot of further research before taking this step and, based on all the literature plus information from the pharmaceutical company, came to the conclusion that the risk of switching was minimal. I was happy to give it a go because it seemed like the pharmaceutical lifeline I’ve been looking for, so I grabbed the sample pack like my life depended on it and hoped, really hoped that it would kick me out of depression into the realms of normality again. Read More »
My psych has researched the possibility of prescribing Valdoxan, including speaking to the drug company. It seems that, like other medications, it could well make me switch into mania. How annoying and disappointing. However, he wants a second opinion and I’m seeing a colleague of his at the end of August. I really do not want to take anything that will bring on mania, particularly after my recent experience of being scheduled during an episode of mania. Don’t ever want to go through that again!! Read More »
I’m frustrated, really bloody frustrated!
Firstly because I’ve been horribly depressed since my flying-so-high-I’m-fantastic mania. Damn medication is not working and I’m so sick of trying to drag myself out of bed each day just to do nothing because my motivation level is at zero. My concentration is crap and my memory is stuffed; all I want to do is cry and hide away. I’m on auto-pilot when I have to do anything and my smiley face facade is in place so that I don’t drag others down. Feeling useless, hopeless and helpless. Whinge, whinge, moan, moan.
My second reason for being frustrated and even more depressed is that I weighed-in with my GP this morning (after a cry because she asked me how I am) and I have put on two kilos in two weeks :( I had been losing a steady two kilos at each weigh-in which was great after the massive weight gain on the evil (to me) Zyprexa but my psych re-prescibed Zyprexa after my manic episode and my fat cells obviously love the stuff. What a vicious circle I’m stuck in.
I can’t write more today. I know I should be exercising but I’m going to crawl back into bed and close my eyes to the despair I’m feeling. Psych appointment tomorrow.
There is a new poem on poetry two