Today I had my first post-manic, post-scheduling session with my psychiatrist. I was very apprehensive as my behaviour last week had been so bad and I really thought he might say that it would be better if he referred me to someone else. I’m also terribly depressed after my experience at the hospital and also because I’ve “crashed” badly after being so manic.
My crazy week got worse, much worse.
Yesterday I became severely hypomanic again just before another appointment with my psych. I could feel it coming on when I woke up and it gradually got worse. Sitting in the waiting room I was aware that the hypo was quickly becoming full-on. I was very agitated yet happy and I kept seeing spiders running under the chairs, which I found funny, as you do, but I still had a sense of being able to stay in control. Wrong!
OMG, what a week! I went into a really bad mixed affective state! Crazy, crazy, crazy bipolar woman.
One the first day I was flying high as a kite, the bouncing off the walls experience of hypomania. I remember that everything was hilariously funny and I was laughing at things that were probably only mildly amusing, if that. I was alone too, so no one was triggering my hilarity. I laughed until I was breathless and nearly vomiting. Next I was rushing around the house doing seven things at once (achieving nothing in the chaos) and swearing my head off. I’ve got nothing against swearing but I was spewing out vile phrases I’d never normally use and loudly expressing socially unacceptable views that I don’t even hold! I know what I was saying because while in this state (like something out of “The Exorcist”) I obviously thought it was very clever to write down all my thoughts … ?? … what, for the novel lurking inside me? Yeah right, some bestseller that would be full of my incoherent, psychotic, totally out of touch with reality, evil expulsions.
So, the Rapture is now meant to happen in October! Was May 21 the pre-Rapture then? Whatever … I think I might be going down to the other place anyway. Sometimes I think I’m already halfway there, especially when I’m stuck inside my head. The inside of my head is a dark and messy place.
I shouldn’t be verbalising (writing) my feelings at all really. I feel like I have no right to feel so depressed. We have a family member who is gravely ill and in comparison my stupid bipolar is nothing. Yet I have no control over the course this illness takes except for that offered by the medications. I’m sure other BP people will understand what I mean when I say that you can acknowledge the plight of others, have empathy for others and wish you could do something to help, but you still can’t stop the BP from being there. It infiltrates everything.
I’m still here struggling through the miasma that is BP, taking one step at a time and trying not to get lost in the fog. At least I wasn’t left behind by the predicted Rapture! I have no illusions that, had it happened, I would not have soared heaven-ward but rather have been left to languish until October. I would have chosen to stay earth-bound with my dogs anyway.
Prior to going to hospital recently I was started on Lithium again for the third time in my history of med taking. Previously the side-effects have been intolerable with chronic nausea, some vomiting, diarrhoea and generally feeling crap. In hospital I told my treating psychiatrist I was having these symptoms and he suggested waiting longer to see is they disappeared. They didn’t so when I got out of hospital and saw my regular Pdoc he made the decision to take me off lithium to see what happened. The symptoms went away but the depression deepened. He still wants to use lithium as it is considered by many to be the “Gold Standard” treatment for bipolar, so he has now started me again on a very low, non-therapeutic dose to see if my body can adapt.
I’m currently feeling very socially inept and had to miss a party on the weekend because there was no way I could cope with a room full of strangers and just the party atmosphere sends me into sensory overload. We are also reaping the “benefits” of my pre-Christmas hypomanic/mixed state when I spent a lot of money on Christmas presents and things for myself that I neither want nor need. One of the downsides to mania/hypomania can be increasing debt.
On top of being depressed and spending much time in bed in either exhaustion or a state of anxiety, I’m also giving up smoking and trying to lose weight. The quitting smoking is going well. I started again in the Mental Health Unit (yes, strangely enough they allow smoking) so it shouldn’t be too much of a problem to stay off the cigs. Dieting is not too hard at the moment either as I’m feeling so sick and have no appetite. I’ve currently lost 9kgs in less than a month.
To all bipolar folk, hang in there as it has to get better.
I finally had to give in and go to hospital. I stayed for three weeks, although longer was advised by the psychiatrist allocated to me in there. I couldn’t have my own psychiatrist as he doesn’t have visiting rights at any psych hospital. He used to but found the hours were too long … and they are, the psychs in there were seeing patients at nine o’clock at night after spending a day seeing their private patients. However, I did get leave each week to go see my own psych.
The format of the hospital stay was as usual: Be kept safe, see the psychiatrist twice weekly, have meds tweaked and changed, get sleep, do meditation, talk to the nurses, attend groups with psychologists. I settle in quite quickly these days but after three weeks I want to be home with my husband and the dogs.
I never find the groups helpful. I don’t find Cognitive Behavioural Therapy meets my needs. I did what I was supposed to do and made myself take part but it meant nothing to me. Having someone who doesn’t know me question my diagnosis of bipolar is hardly useful. I felt like saying “OK well go talk to the three psychiatrists I’ve seen who have given that diagnosis”. I find that psychologists want to reduce everything to behaviour that can be changed and while I agree that some behaviour can be changed, other behaviour needs medication.
I left after three weeks partly because I couldn’t stand that attitude anymore.
A few days after getting home I started to have some weird symptoms. I was slurring my speech, stumbling and bumping into things, not able to write or type, feeling dizzy, had tremors and after one go I realised I couldn’t drive. I got a lift to my psychiatrist and he put me through a few tests then diagnosed cerebellar syndrome brought on by a new medication added to my “cocktail”, Zeldox. It obviously didn’t suit me although I know others who have done very well on the medication. He took me off it straight away and after three missed doses I was back to normal physical function.
At the moment I’m taking Epilim, Lamictal, Lithium and Benztrop PRN
I’m not feeling well and don’t know if I have a virus or side-effects to the lithium. All I want to do is stay at home and not have to go anywhere or socialise.
What a crap month December was.
First was the stress of my husband’s heart surgery. This went well although he was not the greatest patient. I have such admiration for nursing staff who have to deal with argumentative people who are in a morphine haze.
Next came a big change in my mood. Instead of being permanently low, I started to wind up to elevated states only to crash back down again into the depths of despair. The agitation and anxiety were at an all time high as well. This has been happening for three weeks, A lovely mixed affective state, whoopee! It is horrible and I’d rather be depressed than go though this,
The Pdoc wanted me in hospital for Christmas. I said, “you have to be joking, I’ve committments that I can’t avoid”. The compromise is that he is ringing me every second day. He still keeps mentioning that I’d be better off in hospital to have them titrate the meds but I’m avoiding going. Even tonight when he rang he said I should go to hospital if I feel worse but he’ll ring me in the morning.
I’m feeling so bad because I was already entering a mixed state (brought on by Effexor according to my psychiatrist) and then the GP gave me prednisone for some nasty insect bites. That threw me well and truly into la-la land.
The result is that I have been taken off all antidepessants because of their paradoxical effect. A couple of other meds have been ceased too so basically I’m taking Epilim, Zyprexa, and Rivotril and Serenace PRN
Meanwhile I feel like shit. My sleep is so bad that I’m just able to grab a couple of hours here and there. Oh and I have the lovely Restless Legs thing going on and my lymphoedema is swelling up again despite my stockings.
If 2011 isn’t any better, well …
I’ve been unable to find time to update because of my husband having major open heart surgery (aortic valve replacement). It was a very anxious time for both of us. He is now recovering well, much faster than I expected, but is starting to get bored at home all the time!
Meanwhile, I don’t know if I can describe what is happening with me. While D was in hospital I saw my stand-in pdoc as my usual one was away. He’s a nice guy and we get on well but the appointments are really only stop-gap ones with little covered. The past couple of weeks I’ve been seeing my usual pdoc and have had my meds “tweaked” each week as he tries to reduce the number of types of meds I’m taking while increasing the major ones.
I’m still not feeling good and I’m undecided what path to take to rectify that. During the past few sessions I’ve had the impression that my pdoc doesn’t really want me as a patient anymore. He seems more distant and just keeps repeating the same things to me. His advice is that I have to put all my troublesome feelings and emotions in a box, compartmentalise them, and basically ignore them. His message seems to be that I am more or less a miserable sod who also gets periods of depression and mania. The depression and mania should be under control by the meds so I need to consider all the other feelings as “normal” for me and accept them so that they don’t continue to overwhelm me with overlearned behaviour.
I’m finding this very hard to do.
I’m feeling paralysed; unable to function. If all the horrible emotions and thoughts I have are “just me” then where does that leave me? Is there any point in continuing therapy? Now I start to feel something and have to try to block it and put it back in the box. Because of this I am feeling disconnected with everything and often numb. I’m having great difficulty going anywhere because I’m having anxiety attacks and need to leave quickly and get home. At home all I want to do is sleep so that I don’t have to struggle with the emotions that I’m meant to be ignoring. I don’t know what to do and I feel like I have lost my one stable and safe place … my therapy session.
My gut feeling at the moment is to stop therapy as I feel like I’ve overstayed somewhere. Along with that I’d like to stop taking all my meds because I don’t want to see another pdoc for prescriptions and med checks. Also, if I’m just a miserable person what difference does it make if I still have depression or go into mania?
To make matters worse it is nearly December and I hate December. I hate hot weather, especially as my compression stockings and my meds make me sweat a lot and feel the heat more. I don’t like Christmas and dislike shopping in crowds for Christmas presents (there will be a lot of online shopping this year). I don’t like shopping centres at the best of times but December is the worst time.
What a non-positive post this has been! That is how I feel — not positive about anything :(