rapid cycling

The Hospital Chronicles – Part 1

I am not a Specialized Psychiatrist

I am suicidal but I don’t want to die. Quite the opposite. I want to live a full and productive life. So I was admitted into a psychiatric hospital for a week. I’ve had my medication adjusted, an addition to my diagnosis and received some invaluable therapy. This is a documentation of all that I learned.

I look back on the past 12 months since my last hospitalisation and reaslise all I’ve been doing is a stop-drop-and-roll from one crisis to the next with no real stability inbetween. If its not triggers, then its been life events that have embedded me in the rolling cycles of bipolar. From hypomania into the trenches of suicidal ideation, depression, insomnia, agitation. Roaming through a cluttered mind of twisted paths that lead no where. Circling and recycling the symptoms until I feel like I’m going insane.

My doc wanted me in hospital in March, then September, and then in early December. Each time I refused. I’m hard-headed. I want to do things myself. I don’t like asking for help. In my head I think its weak, but in my heart I know its needed; that asking for help is actually a brave step. Eventually I got to a point where I was just too tired. Too tired to try anymore strategies, skill sets, motivation, coaching, rewarding, routine, writing notes, keeping reminders, setting timers. Tired of forcing myself through life. So I made the decision to phone my doc and hand the control over to him. I had to accept that he’s the professional, not me. And I needed professional help.

I always like to think I know my own mind and body, so I know what’s best for me. But sometimes I don’t. Especially when I’m unstable. If I had listened to my doc in March, and not tried to micro-manage my health, perhaps I would not have spent such a long time suffering. I’ve lost a lot of time in the name of stubbornness, don’t make the same mistake as me.

 

 

 

 

 

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Now this, is unstable

Since seeing my doc last week, I’ve been living high on the promise of ‘normal’ and a bright future. For once, I had a good, successful weekend. I was content. I began a bit of DIY. As much as sciatica would permit me. I even finally returned to my routine of cooking some precooked meals on Sunday. I haven’t done this since August. I’ve had insomnia/disturbed sleep for the past week. I stopped counting the hours I have slept days ago. But still, I was doing good. Today, also good. Engaging with people at work, telling jokes. But somewhere between 4.30pm and 5pm, the drive home, something changed and I felt the familiar weight of depression sink down on me. A simple thought triggered it. There was no fact to this thought. I acknowledge it is an assumption about my future. But I had it and the result was clear. But this is the alarming thing about the extremes of bipolar. I didn’t just stop at depression and dwell there. I high-dived from ‘good’ straight through depression and crash-landed into suicidal thoughts. I locked my front door and followed my familiar pattern (excluding last week), I went straight to bed. There are tv shows I enjoy and since enjoyment is vital, I set my alarm for 8pm. It was a struggled to get up. I struggled to eat something. Normally when I’m depressed I comfort eat. Before last week, though, I’ve been too depressed to eat. So its back. The loose-a-lot diet of depression. But weight loss is weight loss so who am I to complain. I just can’t believe how quick the change was. I mean, I do believe it because sometimes its exactly how it happens. But mostly its a slow decline. As much as I wanted to believe the whole ‘normal’ schpeel, I just don’t. I’m limited, I’m disabled, I’m deficient. I don’t believe I have much of a future. I’m sad beyond words. I’m tired. Moan, moan, self pity, moan. Let’s adopt some distraction *sigh*

The difference one day makes

On Monday my fascination with stop motion video was all consuming. I barely managed to get my work finished for all the you tube videos, websites and scrawled notes I was collecting for my storyboard. The fact I didn’t actually have a storyboard or a subject in mind was a minor detail.

My mind screamed as it took flight in all angles of progression with new ideas bursting to the surface. I WAS a stop motion video. I had BECOME a stop motion video. My projects were going to be born from brilliance. I could barely contain myself for the workday to be over so my new venture could begin.

Let’s add some perspective and step back one day.

On Sunday I wanted to kill myself. I planned. I wrote something brief. Life was, and still is, unmanageable. I would have taken the step had I not been so afraid. Afraid that the follow-through would not be completely successful, or that it would be unthinkably painful. The fears we all have while chasing the desire for death. So I packed the thought away for another rainy day. I cried like a Justin Timberlake song…. cry me a river and then went in search of my Big Girl Panties. But they were in the wash. Typical. Story of my life!

So there you have it. The splendor that is Rapid Cycling. It’s exhausting trying to keep up.

My heartfelt thanks

heartfelt-thanks

Thank you everyone for reading my last 2 posts and giving me your feedback. Your comments and perspectives are much appreciated. I have no means of replying in good time because I still have no internet at home and there’s only so much blogging I can sneak through at work, especially stuff I want to be thoughtful with – like responding to your comments.

The pain from sciatica has rendered me almost immobile – its been 4 weeks now. My movements are limited to – how far do I have to drive? How far do I have to walk from the car to the shop, how long do I have to stand in the queue and, will I make it back to the car to make the drive and another short walk home? I would say its a real pain in the ass, but its more of a pain in the bum cheek…. and leg….. and calf…. and….. actually its not really funny.

Having no internet has left me loads of time to write. But its kinda rude to keep posting about myself with no reciprocation to yourselves. So, this was a very long way of saying thank you for taking the time to offer your views and personal experiences relative to my previous posts. My friends, you have been extremely helpful, encouraging and have given me pause for thought…..

For those who feel like reading more, my hypomania lasted all of about 6 hours *shrug* that’s rapid-cycling for you, I guess. And as with Bipolar II, I’m back in depression with suicidal ideation. Obviously telling you means I won’t do it. I haven’t let my doc know. Don’t see the point because I’ve run out of money and time off work. Ahhhh, the life of a bipolar. I am fucking exhausted.

Thanks for reading and I hope to be up and running as soon as sciatica allows me to.

I put the Rrrrrrr in ‘rapid cycling’

I’m giving birth to mania. I can feel it simmering beneath the surface. The key lies in the internal mind chatter. More and more chatter squirreling like mice in the attic of my brain. I can’t think straight for all the talking to myself. My lips move and perhaps, unaware, I whisper a few words of the dialogue between myself and I. You’ll catch me in an absorbed moment rolling my eyes or shaking my head; animated, some would think inebriated, deeply entwined in my own personal conversation and consternation of a slightly hypomanic mind.

Thoughts rolling thick and fast, I turn in one spot because I’m pulled this way and that between one suggestion and another, one thought, a new idea, a reminder, an alternative, questions and wonderings all in the space of one second. Or I can’t sit still, bouncing from room to room, forgetting then remembering, thoughts scrambled and unruly – don’t forget to fax the medical aid a copy of your text before the prescription then send …… a jumble of nonsense *rolls eyes, shakes head*

On and on it goes until I have to yelling out STOP! For the love of god just stop! Go have a cigarette, clear your mind, figure out a plan.

*has cigarette*

*has another cigarette ‘cos contemplating important universal stuff*

*has an idea*

*grabs laptop*

*goes to bed at 2am with craft glue stuck in her hair* ……I know! WTF!…. *rolls eyes, shakes head*

Change is a strange creature in the life of a rapid cycling bipolar. Tuesday morning I set a date for my suicide, but I had the courage to change my mind, and here I am two days later with a hypomanic-induced spring in my step. Change is consistent. Change is reliable. And when it comes, it changes everything.

No, Bipolar, I said no!

*trigger warning – suicidal ideation, but it has a happy-ish ending*

I’m rapid cycling at a fast pace. Over the weekend I was in good spirits and had plenty of rest to ease the sciatica pain. Then came Tuesday when I made another nose dive into suicidal ideation again.

My boss had pointed out a mistake I’d made. My kind of mistakes cost the company BIG money and I’m well aware of how much my bad memory and confusion is affecting my work. But so far I haven’t made any irreversible errors. But this time I have, and combined with Thursday’s diagnosis of ‘decline in cognitive ability’, I felt worthless, incapable and frightened for my future. I decided then and there I was going to kill myself that night.

I went to the bathroom and cried. I cried because I’ve lost the ability to do my job seamlessly. A job I’ve been doing for years. A repetitive job that I used to know how to do with my eyes closed. But I can’t anymore because I can’t remember, from one click of the mouse to the next, how to do my job.

And then I cried because I didn’t want to live anymore. It’s too tiring – the stress, the struggle. Fear, uncertainty. It’s a scary place to be when you’ve set a date, time and method. Its desolate. I cried most of the day. When I got home I lay on my bed looking out the window at the bright blue sky and thought – I’ll never see a blue sky again.

My mind began to wander – I’ll never see my home renovations to fruition, or a yellow daisy, an ant carrying a crumb of bread, another sunrise. I’ll never feel warm, soft beach sand under my feet. I’ll never get to enjoy a crescent-shaped moon, or a chocolate milkshake; music, stroking a cat’s silky fur, or playing fetch with a dog. No more swimming in the sea, diving under the foamy waves. Never again the warmth of a hug, a laugh with a friend, the smell of vanilla incense, freshly shampooed hair, a roasting chicken, sea breezes, or a man’s cologne. No pizza. Ever. I’ll never write another word or take another photo; never cook, eat, clean, iron, smoke a cigarette or have sex. Ever again.

And so I changed my mind. And as if to confirm my choice, the very next day I read this post by fellow blogger, Scott Williams – clinical therapist, life learner, storyteller. You must follow, he’s a gem of insight.

There is so much more I want out of life than the misery I live in at this present moment. I always try to tell myself – nothing ever stays the same, change is one of the constants in life. I’m not going to let bipolar be a thief in the night and steal my life. I’m going to keep grinding through this episode, with one eye on the crescent moon, sipping on a chocolate milkshake and laughing with a friend.

A diagnosis of psychosis – Part I

Bits ‘n Pieces in the eye of a storm

Because my divorce was finalised late last year, I expected this year to be wonderfully light and fun and easy. But it hasn’t been. It’s been a confusing year. It’s been a hairy, smelly armpit of a year.

I could feel there was something off, but couldn’t put my finger on it. I tried to be the amazing-finally-free single woman – living it up, kicking ass and taking names. But I wasn’t. So with sheer force of will, I launched myself out into the real world….. with disappointing results. I dated, with disasterous results.

 

source: c4.staticflickr.com

source: c4.staticflickr.com

 

I cycled so quickly I was mistaken for a tropical storm and the World Meteorological Organization named me “Bits and Pieces”. Up, down, inside out and back to front, I was hauling ass all over the mood chart. Comfort eating grew out of control and out of my budget. And I grew out of my waistline. If I wasn’t sleeping endlessly, I was trapped in insomnia for weeks at a time. I couldn’t focus – reading/writing was impossible. I became more withdrawn… if that was even possible. Something was not right – I was supposed to be happy and carefree goddamnit.

I had been keeping a very simple weekly journal of symptoms and triggers for my new psychiastrst. To give him an idea of the pulse of my bipolar. It was after reading this, that he dropped the bombshell. I have early stage symptoms/early onset psychosis. At that point I stopped digesting what he said. I couldn’t hear him over the screaming in my head “NOOOOOOoooooooooo”. He became a man with a moving, silent mouth.

 

 

I wrestle with the fact that my bipolar disporder is degenerating. I wonder what my fate will be? Will my life run parallel to that of my mother’s? In her 40’s, psychotic, institutionalised and dead by her own hand at 49 years old – at 43 I’ve not much further to go. So I’ve decided not to look ahead, but to live only in the present. Don’t get me wrong, I’m freaking out on the inside, but I’m putting my head down and my shoulder into it – to live only one day at a time.