Tag Archives: bipolar disorder

16:47 – My Crazy Bipolar Life – 4 years on

15 Dec

On the 13th of December it was 4 years exactly since I wrote my very first blog post. To be honest I didn’t think it would last for four weeks let alone 4 years! I just sat and read my very first blog post and thought I’d make this one about some of the things that have changed since that first post.

In my first post I wrote about being in a very dark place and in the posts that followed it I was having a lot of suicidal thoughts and self harming regularly. In fact that continued for quite some time and then almost a year later I was detained under the mental health act for the first time. Shortly followed by a second time just two months later.

The only good thing from when I wrote that first blog post in December 2009 (through to mid 2011) was that I felt like I finally had a good support team around me. I worked closely with a social worker and to this day she remains the person who I consider to have helped me the most. However I no longer work with her and doubt I ever will again but despite that she still means a lot to me.

I also had a psychologist that I saw regularly but as I wrote recently I stopped seeing her due to her going on maternity leave and she is about to go on maternity leave again so she is also out of the picture now.

When I first started writing this blog I was seeing a very camp male GP who amused me but wasn’t great at dealing with mental health issues, but then a lovely female GP started soon after I started this blog and I still see her usually once a month to get my prescriptions now that I’m trusted with a full month of medication at a time instead of weekly ones like I used to get. Lovely GP has been and continues to be a good support person for me even if she can only give me 10 minutes at a time.

My psychiatrist I had for several years has since retired and I don’t get on so great with my current one. I didn’t get on particularly well with the last one either but I guess because I saw so much of him I kinda got used to his way of working. Maybe over time I’ll get used to this one as well.

Since I stopped working with the lovely social worker I’ve had three cpn’s. They have all been crap and I don’t feel as though I’ve achieved anything at all with their help. I currently see the cpn that was the 2nd one I saw as after the 3rd one left the 2nd one came back again. As you will know if you read regularly I avoid my appointments with her as much as possible as her way of working I just don’t find helpful at all.

So now I’ve talked about the ways in which my care team have changed over the last four years I guess I should mention how *I* have changed. There have been some positive changes. I am nearing the end of my 2nd year of my part time home based uni course although this really means I’m coming towards the end of 1st year as I do it part time. It’s been extremely difficult at times as my concentration levels have been very poor a lot of the time and I’ve had many moments where I’ve wanted to drop out but I’m glad I haven’t. I just need to get through 5 more months then I will have completed all six year one modules.

There are two other good things. One being that my travelling has gotten slightly better. I still deal with agoraphobia and crazy debilitating levels of anxiety but I have managed to add one new place to travel to over the last year and whilst I still can’t travel anywhere busy or go on a motorway or to a shopping centre for example, I am still pleased with myself for conquering one new place ūüôā

The other good thing is that I haven’t been an inpatient in the psychiatric hospital since January 2012 so almost two years now. My frequency of self harming has also lessened however when I do mess up and do it I find now I can’t stop myself at a superficial level of damage and have to keep going until I’ve done the most damage possible. I have self harmed on and off since I was 13 years old and I’m now 32 so it’s been a very long time but it’s only really been over the past 4 years that it’s been so severe.

So yeah, a lot has changed since that first blog post and it’s been a long journey to get to where I am today. Between 2009 to 2013 I have been sectioned 3 times,  one 72 hour one and two 28 day ones. I’ve attempted to take my own life a number of times. I’ve self harmed to the point of needing numerous stitches a lot of times too. I continue to grieve for my little boy who was premature and stillborn in 2007 and have no idea if I’ll ever fully recover from that traumatic and hugely painful event. I have messed around with substances over the past few years and reached such a severe level of suicidal depression I even chose to try heroin to see if it would either kill me or numb me… I didn’t really care which but at least I dragged myself out of that very dark place and went to see lovely GP for help before it spiralled into an addiction or got out of control.

There have been a lot of dark places where I never thought I’d see the light again, another being when I was classed as being in psychosis when I was hearing voices and being controlled by them for which I went into the psych hospital a few more times but voluntarily so they didn’t need to detain/section me again.

And where am I now? In my new little house with all the opportunities for a fresh start and a blank canvas. I think I will be happy here in the long run but it’s still early days and not familiar enough to me yet to be completely free of anxiety and paranoia. But I hope that will change. I can recognise that I have made some achievements or positive changes in the last 4 years and people do comment on how much better I seem nowadays. But I’m not sure I fully believe that, it feels more like I’ve just got better at hiding it all from everyone as I do still have many a moment when I completely break down and feel as though I’m losing the plot. I do still self harm I just don’t talk about it so much unless I’ve ended up at A&E and post about my experience of how I was treated by the doc/nurses.

One other pretty traumatic thing I am trying to deal with is the sexual abuse I suffered as a child and the incident when I was spiked and assaulted with a drug called PCP in august 2012. Since that happened I’ve been working with a wonderful lady from the rape crisis charity and she has been an amazing support over the past year. I haven’t seen her or cpn#2 for a number of weeks now due to all the stress of moving house but I am glad I do have lovely support worker to help me make sense of things. As for cpn#2 I guess I’ll probably just continue as I am, missing a load of appointments then turn up for one here or there then skip a load again. I guess deep down I’m probably hoping she’ll say we don’t have a productive working relationship and pass me on to someone else.

Wow this was only supposed to be a short post but even though I’ve had to use my phone to type it all out I’ve rambled on for ages! My aims for the foreseeable future? Just to get through the xmas and new year period in one piece with no hospital admissions and no self harming and no crazy beliefs around the time of my little boys anniversary in February that I have to off myself to be with him again.

I’m far from being cured or able to function fully like other working members of society, my moods continue to go up and down and all over the place but there have been some small changes. And I guess that’s all any of us can do… take each day as baby steps to try and make really small changes whilst dealing with all our inner mental health battles and head crazies along the way.

It will be interesting to see where I’m at in another years time when my little blog turns five. Will I be the same? Will I be off benefits and working and living a more normal life? Will I be worse and back in hospital, hurting myself and believing all sorts of craziness? The answer is that nobody knows… I certainly don’t… All we can do is wait and see.

Thanks to all of you who have offered words of support, words of wisdom and just offered virtual hugs over the past 4 years… it has meant more to me than you’ll ever know… xxx

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19:53 – A good day ’til the voices fucked it all up

5 Mar

[edited to add – sorry this post goes on forever, rambles, is all mixed up and probably makes very little sense so I apologise in advance]

This afternoon I met up with lovely social worker and we went for a bite to eat and to have a chat. Whilst I was standing outside waiting for her to pick me up a guy walked past me and the way he looked at me made me feel so uncomfortable. He was pretty much looking me right in the eye from across the street and kept on staring as he reached the other side of the road. While he stopped to let a car past he started looking at me up and down in what felt like a really leering sort of way. Initially it gave me the creeps but a few seconds later as he was crossing the road and about to walk right past me I saw these violent images quickly play out in my head of me pushing him right into a moving car.

Anyway, a few minutes later lovely social worker arrived and it was nice to see her again but from the moment of that guy staring at me my head started playing funny buggers which made me feel like I couldn’t talk properly about stuff. It’s hard to explain, I would start up sentences and find it hard to say anything that actually had any proper meaning to it, like when you go to say something that has a point to it but I’d never get to the point because as soon as I’d start talking ‘they’ would start as well. I felt very anxious when I got in her car (I really don’t know why) but I was trying not to show it and tried to relax. But ‘they’ didn’t want me to relax and during the ten or fifteen minutes it took to get to the cafe I kept hearing instructions to do bad things inside the car. I couldn’t tell lovely social worker this because she’d probably have kicked me out her car and made me walk, but the stuff I was hearing was bad, really quite disturbing, for example when she was on the faster bit of road they were telling me to open the door and throw myself out because I couldn’t be trusted not to say too much to her. So yeah, that was pretty unpleasant however since I got home ‘they’ have actually been happy with me for not revealing too much today.

So we got to the cafe and it was full of people, not one single table free so we had to sit outside. But while we were in the queue the anxiety began creeping in, there were too many people and it was making me feel not good at all, especially not when all I could hear was one direct instruction that I had not to let any of these strangers look me in the eye. I went outside and got a table and once out in the fresh air the anxiety did begin to calm a little.

I didn’t want to risk talking about the content of the chitter chatter and I have been really good and not written on here for a few days and actually really tried my best not to mention to anyone or anywhere what ‘they’ want me to do next. So we chatted about more general things and I told lovely social worker the bits of my uni course I’m struggling to get my head around and she did try to explain what some of the bits meant but my head was like mush and unable to fully concentrate, as is the norm for me at the moment.

In the car on the way back we stopped for a moment so I could get out and have a cigarette. I remember telling her that I feel like I have no sense of belonging at the moment, like everyone I know is either married or has kids. At the age of 31 I feel like they are all in some club that I am not a part of. And all these mental health symptoms and diagnoses and medications make me part of another world but I don’t want to connect with other people in that world in ‘real life’ – I prefer to not go to support groups because I know that any time I am in the psychiatric hospital it drives me mad being around so many other mentalists. Don’t get me wrong I love the online friends I have met through blogging and almost all of them are fellow mentalists but I’ve always had this thing about wanting to surround myself with what I perceived to be the norm but by doing that it only makes things even harder because they don’t understand what it’s like to live a life with mental health problems.

I think that is probably where the desires to find a faith have recently stemmed from – a desire to be amongst people who I can connect with and have something in common with. Where I could sit in an environment and feel as though I belong. Because I don’t feel as though I belong here on Earth with this as my life, I am always aware of being different from everyone else. Do I want to be the same as the people I think of as normal? In a lot of ways yes. But I can’t help but feel like I have too many issues to ever be ‘normal’ again.

Most of my life I have felt different from everyone else probably because by the time of reaching my teens I had already been abused for a number of years, starting self harming and had no fears of walking into an adult world and start smoking and drinking and experimenting with drugs. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with being 14 and having sex with my first proper boyfriend because I’d known for years what intercourse felt like. And I thought it was expected of me, afterall it was what ‘good girls’ did to make guys happy wasn’t it?

I’ve always been different in one way or another from those around me and the one and only time I felt ‘normal’ was when I was around 24 and I had lost a hell of a lot of weight, I was slim and felt pretty. For the first time in my life I could walk into a clothes shop and know I could wear the fitted clothes and pretty dresses. And then just to add the cherry to the top of the cake I also had a man who loved me. I worked full time and earned my money every month, then soon after I was pregnant, then engaged and planning a wedding. And before it all fell apart that was normal, that was the first and only time in my life where I felt like I was the same as all of my friends. Perhaps it was a little bit too good as it was also during this period that I had a (undiagnosed at the time) manic episode.

Like all good things that have happened in my life that normality soon fell apart and I became the girl who lost her baby and had to bury her son, then I got fat again, I lost all my confidence when I became the girl whose “fianc√©¬†cheated on her but like an idiot she’s taken him back” … only to be cheated on by him again. I felt like everyone was laughing at me and my agoraphobia got worse and worse. My depression that I’d struggled with for a little while in my very early 20’s came back with a vengeance, I was barely functioning and the last thing that detached me from the world of normal people was losing my job because my attendance had become so awful.

And from there that was it, I was catapulted into this world of mental ill health. Thoughts plagued with ideas of suicide, of self destruction and self loathing. I felt disgusting and grew to hate myself a little more day by day. Less than a year after my Bipolar Disorder diagnosis I began to hear voices, I became paranoid, I was suicidal and scarring my body a little more with every day that went by. Soon followed my first experience of being detained and shortly after that I was detained again and then had several more suicide attempts and some voluntary admissions to the psychiatric hospital. Everything was too chaotic to ever do any proper work with the psychologist and lovely social worker just rolled with the crises.

The last time I was in the psychiatric hospital I hated the feeling of being trapped so much that I think I managed to develop a bit of a phobia about it and to be honest I think that’s what has kept me out of that place, because whenever I think about it I think of the nurses who don’t give a shit… the boredom of every minute feeling like an hour… the days that pass so slowly… the place where there is absolutely nothing to do other than walking in and out of the smoking area and chain smoking 40 cigarettes a day… slowly driving yourself more and more mental. And for just over a year now I have managed to stay at home, no more hospital admissions but feeling completely alien from all the seemingly normal people around me every single day.

That brings me back to where I was before I went off on that little ramble – having a sense of belonging or a sense of ‘fitting in’. The whole finding a faith thing may have started with the chitter chatter telling me I had to ‘bare my soul and declare my sins’ when Charlie dog was so ill and them instructing me to pray repeatedly in order for Charlie to get better, but now it’s become about more than that. It’s become a search for me to find somewhere that I do fit in and am accepted for just being me. But you see that is impossible, to say I want to feel accepted for just being me when I am unable to accept who I am myself. If I can’t accept me then how can I expect anyone else to? I can’t.

[Sorry this post seems to have gone off at a bit of a tangent – I’ve completely forgotten what the point of this entire post was…]

Anyway…. back to today and seeing lovely social worker… on the drive back home I said something about the chitter chatter and she asked me was it definitely voices and not just my thoughts getting out of control? I couldn’t really explain myself properly to her but did say I know the male voice is definitely a voice because my thoughts are in ‘my’ voice if that makes sense, a female tone like how I talk… not an angry male tone… like the way any of us hear our own thoughts in our head. But the way that I really know what is chitter chatter voices and what is my own crazy thoughts is I try and talk inside my head/think thoughts in my head whilst the chitter chatter is talking and if it stops then I know it’s my thoughts because I can’t talk about two different things at the exact same time. Does that make sense? Like if it was actually my thoughts and not a voice then I wouldn’t be able to have two completely different thoughts at the exact same moment running parallel. That’s the best I can explain it.

So lovely social worker dropped me back home and literally just as I was stepping out of the car I looked at her to say bye and even though I saw her mouth form the shape of the word ‘bye’ what I heard was something different and something I don’t want to write here. Then since I got back in the house I’ve had the TV on and every so often I don’t hear a sentence the person on TV says, I hear the chitter chatter say a random line instead. I know it was the chitter chatter talking over her and that she didn’t really say anything bad but over the past few hours that I’ve been home all I keep hearing is that it would make her happy if she never had to see me again. And it gets louder and faster and it’s trying so very hard to make me believe it is telling me the truth, that I’ve not to refer to her as lovely social worker because she secretly hates me and it’s all spiralling out of control round and round inside my head. Then not only am I being told she hates me but people on the TV hate me too. I argue back if she hates me then why didn’t I pick up on it until the very last second when I was getting out the car, surely I would have picked up on it from the moment I first got in the car?…

I tell the chitter chatter that it is talking shit to me and I won’t believe what they are saying, but for some reason they won’t back down which is crappy because she is a lovely social worker even though I don’t see much of her these days. I don’t want to think she has feelings of hate towards me, that genuinely upsets me and while my head is so confused the only thing I know for sure is that the only hate that is truly real is mine towards the voices for fucking my head up so much. I don’t know how much longer I can realistically live this way… being controlled by something I can’t even see… that I can only hear… why does it terrify me so much to go against what they tell me to do? Why am I so scared of, what is at the end of the day, just a bunch of sounds? Why are they so convincing and believable that the consequences of ignoring or disobeying them feel too much to bear?

Sorry I know half of the stuff I’ve wrote probably doesn’t make a great deal of sense and I really didn’t mean to ramble on for this long, I guess I had a lot of stuff to get off my chest. I feel like such an awful person for even giving these horrible voices a second thought, but they are so real that no matter what I do I just can’t hide from them…at all…ever. And maybe that’s what I need to accept – that they are here to stay and always will be. It’s pretty clear that realistically there is only one way left to get rid of them now.

20:18 – New Year’s Eve: All Alone & Extremely Low

31 Dec

It’s New Year’s Eve again, the last day of another long and challenging year, one which started on a bad note in January and is ending on a bad note as well. I have a feeling this may turn into a long ramble, I’ve got a lot of things to say in my last blog post of 2012.

So usually we go out on New Year’s Eve but this year my best friend is just going to a house party at another friend’s house (to which I was invited but politely declined) and so I am all on my own. It doesn’t have to be this way, I have just been on Facebook and had a couple of people ask me if I was going out tonight, if I really wanted to I could text another girl I’m friendly with and make arrangements to go out with her… but I know I will end up staying in all alone all night. Miserable and depressed. Still struggling to come to terms with the stupidity I referred to in my last post (and no, I still can’t write about it either)…

This might be a silly thing to say but I feel really let down by the CMHT (Community Mental Health Team) – they knew that Christmas was one of the hardest days of the year for me to get through, new CPN had said we would have an appointment on Christmas Eve and then a following one New Year’s Eve (today) so I had support right before what can be very triggering days for me. But we didn’t even get the appointment the week before Christmas Eve because I got a phone call to say new CPN was off sick but someone would be in touch. That was on the Monday and by the Friday nobody had got in touch. Christmas eve came and went with no appointment… no support. Then I got a letter on Saturday morning from new CPN offering me a next appointment with her on the 7th of January. So that is going to be exactly 4 weeks since I last had any support when I next see her. And the reason I said this all may sound silly is because obviously if I need help I have to ask for it, but new CPN knew, she fucking knew how much I struggle to cope at this time of year and whilst she couldn’t avoid being ill she was obviously back in the CMHT building at some point to type up the letter for the appointment for the 7th of Jan. So when she was writing that letter she knew I was sitting with no support, would it have been that much trouble to have maybe given me a little phone call and just told me she was back and sending me a new appointment out and maybe have asked if I was coping OK. But like I say… I guess if I want to try and get any sort of support I am supposed to phone and tell them so it must be silly that I’m sitting here feeling forgotten about and completely alone with my string of crazy thoughts.

Tomorrow (New Year’s Day) I will again be alone all day. My Mum is working late, my best friend is going to her parents for the day, so it will just be me, myself and I, probably sitting here feeling equally as alone in 24 hours time as what I do right now. It would appear that this makes me feel rather sad as I’m struggling to see out of the little pool of tears that are gathering up in my eyes.

Tomorrow a new year begins where I am still in the mindset of wanting to hurt myself, where every day I still feel like I’m stuck in this pressure cooker and with each day that passes where I don’t act on the thoughts I don’t feel proud of myself or like I have achieved anything… Instead I know that when that time comes where the lid blows off the pressure cooker it is going to result in some real damage to myself. I am so scared of that moment coming because I will be completely out of control and yet at the same time I wish it would just hurry up and hit me, make me do it and make it be over with.

My best friend asked me a couple of days ago if I was proud of myself for not “being in that place” of self harming and hospital admissions for so long. I couldn’t explain to her that she couldn’t be more wrong, I might not have acted on the thoughts, but the walls around me are crumbling and starting to fall and the more they fall the more exposed and alone I am as I hide behind them. I hate to say it and for a number of months now I’ve tried to avoid saying it, but I am well and truly in the the throes of Bipolar depression right now. And I feel exhausted from the minute I open my eyes to the minute I go to sleep, the smallest of tasks seem enormous, nothing feels as though it really has a point to it. I am about to enter a new year in pretty much the same place I was a year ago I’m just doing much much better at hiding it from people. I feel as though I can’t admit how low my mood is when people (my parents) have gone out of their way to try and make my flat look like a home again and this just proves how much of a bad person I am because they did all that for me and the whole time when they genuinely believed I was happier it was all fake smiles deep down. They think I’m coping better and after all they have done for me it’s my job to make sure they continue to think that.

If I’m honest with myself this episode of depression really kicked off just before my birthday, so around mid October. It’s been slowly getting worse and worse as the weeks have gone by. That is the really horrible part about mood disorders and similar conditions, the length of the depressive (or manic) episodes seem to go on forever. If I look at my calender it tells me I’ve been in this current depressive episode for about ten or eleven weeks now, almost three months of feeling like shit every time I wake up and realise I’m still here. And usually when a couple of months have passed of feeling so low a “crisis” would have happened by now. I’ve experienced every single one of my early warning signs as detailed in my crisis plan and yet somehow I’ve avoided the crisis being seen by other people (mainly by hiding away as much as possible). It’s like a silent crisis that is killing me on the inside, I know it’s there but nobody else does and what really worries me now is that if there is no admission from me that things are very bad or no actions by me to show things are really bad then the actual crisis part will go by unnoticed… and that means entering that place again that is past the point of a “crisis” and a whole new level of despair that is a truly terrifying place to experience.

Just like last ‘new year’ and the one before that and before that I enter a new year still mental, still single, still fat and disgusting and deserving of badness. I enter another year and know it’s a matter of weeks until my little angel’s 6th anniversary in Heaven. They said it got “easier with time”… they really need to think of a more honest expression because that one is a massive lie. It hurts more and more with every day, every week, every month and every year that passes.

What is it that keeps us going when inside our heads we are hearing (for the millionth time) that this is the way life is always going to be, when something in our mind is shouting at us that nothing is ever going to change, that this is the future and this is the place we are going to be stuck in forever? What keeps us going? And even if we act on it and make an attempt to end our lives, many of us get help (even if it really is at the very last second)… something inside us gets scared – for me it is usually the fear of what the process of death will actually be like, the fear of the unknown – and the sad reality for me and I’m sure for many others is that even though every day of being alive hurts like hell it is a hell we have become so overly familiar with that we almost know it inside out. Plus it is a hell that people around us generally witness and as a result of that they try and offer us messages of hope, promises that things won’t always be this way, anything they can say to make us hang on for another day (week, month, year). And so, with each “crisis” I have had, people have become aware of it and let me break down into little bits and then they help me put the bits back together again and give me a final push back onto my feet until the next crisis happens.

But ultimately what happens is you end up feeling as though you are living for those people who say they have “faith in you” who “believe in you” who “promise” that “things are going to get better”¬†that maybe just trying¬†“one more medication”¬†or¬†“a different type of therapy”¬†will finally give me permanent freedom from all of this.¬†And right now, I very much feel as though I’m living for others, I know I have passed the point of believing there is any point in living for me (ungrateful stupid bitch that I am), I don’t even know if you could class this as ‘living’… it feels much more like I’m just functioning on some sort of auto-pilot and trapped in my own never ending version of Groundhog Day.

The thing is that when I have experienced extreme low’s before I have acted upon them a few times. I know what will happen now if I shovel a few handfuls of tablets down my throat just to ‘make it all stop’ and I know what will happen if I take enough tablets to kill me. And I remember how terrifying it was in that moment where I wanted my life to be over so very badly, where I could not handle another day of being alive, where I completely lost control and swallowed a ridiculous number of tablets. And I remember that moment soon after where I felt extremely physically unwell, very dizzy, nauseas, holding onto the walls to keep me upright and just knowing that if I let myself lay down and close my eyes then there would be a very good chance I wouldn’t wake back up. And that actually scared the hell out of me that time as I frantically hit 999 and begged for an ambulance and cried to the operator that I was getting dizzier and dizzier but couldn’t sit down because I knew that would be it, game over. So I slumped against the wall trying to stay with the woman on the phone, praying that the main door buzzer would start beeping any second so I could let them in and then stop fighting and just let my body do what it had to do. Pretty much everything from then through to the next day passed in a blur but I will never ever forget that moment of lying in A&E and hearing the male nurse shouting that my blood pressure was crashing, hearing the numbers and thinking ‘I might actually die here’ and suddenly being terrified that they wouldn’t be able to save me because it’s such a small hospital here. I truly truly thought that night was going to be my last, when you hear nurses and doctors all panicking and losing their cool around you it is a very scary experience.

So what is the point to all this rambling? I think it was my own way of trying to make sense of why I’m still here. My way of frantically trying to remind myself that there is at least one place that’s scarier than here and that’s lying in A&E having knuckles pressed hard against your collar bone as they shout at you to open your eyes and you actually can’t or when you hear them talking about needing a helicopter to get me to the main hospital asap or hearing the numbers of your blood pressure and knowing those numbers are way too low… knowing that you are now totally dependent on these people saving your life, that very same life that you so desperately wanted to end.

Having bipolar disorder has taken me to some crazy places within my own mind. The mood cycles and their unpredictability of when they will come and how long they will last for are crippling at times, but after the disaster has always come a little hint of stability if even only for a couple of weeks before a new ‘episode’ starts and you go through the whole cycle again. This time I genuinely am trying to avert disaster and find absolutely anything at all to cling onto, anything that will help this to pass and allow me to feel like I’m coping for a little while longer. Because as scary as this is the thought of lying back in that A&E department relying on people to save you or waking up to find myself in the psychiatric hospital again or even just the feeling of being a little bit judged by turning up needing sewn back together after cutting too deeply are all even more scary tonight than just sticking with the familiarity of this current episode, my ongoing version of mental hell.