So much has happened and changed since I started keeping this blog. That includes my understanding and acceptance of myself and my illness.

In October I was admitted into a psychiatric hospital having a psychotic and manic episode. I was discharged after a week and a medication change. A few days later I was readmitted to hospital after expressing suicidal intentions and still psychotic. Again I was discharged after about a week. A few days after that in a psychotic state I took a massive medication overdose and was on a medical ward for a couple of days before being readmitted, again, to a psychiatric ward. This time, in and out of hospital, meant I missed a lot of university time and had to be signed off sick. I have been told I can return and restart my 2nd year in September 2014, if and when I’m well. As time goes on, I lose hope that I will ever be well enough to return to university. My dream of being a nurse is creeping further and further away from me.

Now:

I am depressed. There is no 2 ways about it. I am utterly and completely depressed. Doctors would class it as a severe depressive episode. I would class it as a never-ending darkness that consumes everything and is sucking my very soul out of my body. I feel hopelessness, despair and desperation. But tomato/tomato.

A few months ago I was so elated and psychotic I was hospitalized. Whilst in hospital they stopped the medication I had been on for almost 3 years (at various doses) completely and put me on new medication (Depakote). The medication was supposed to bring me down to a normal mood/energy level and stabilize my levels-stop me swinging from severe depression to mania/extreme elation. At the same time, I needed medication to help control the psychotic symptoms I was experiencing. To some extent the medication (Quetiapine) worked. It brought me out of mania. Initially, I entered what is known as a mixed state, where I had the energy of mania with the mood of depression. I became so unwell, I attempted to kill myself. Clearly I failed, but I was not far off. 

Eventually my mood/energy levels stabilized. However they  have stabilized on the lower side of “normal”. I have therefore been depressed since Christmas with the very occasional hint of getting better. Herein lies my problem.I cannot get well and stay well. The medication I’m on may well be stabilizing my mood/energy levels but not to a livable level. Maybe I would be worse without them but I doubt it. I actually crave the mania. Anything to lift me out of this depression. The odd day I feel well, I think “Perhaps this time I’ll stay well.” But it never happens. If I’m lucky, a few days pass, then my mood crashes again. I am losing hope that I will ever get well and stay well. I’m filling with despair and desperation. Each time the depression kicks me down again I get a bit lower and now I am at the point where I’m questioning whether it’s worth the fight to keep going. Let’s clarify here- I am NOT suicidal. Not yet at least. But I am at the stage where when I go to bed at night, I hope I don’t wake up. I’m struggling with urges to self harm as well which are old coping mechanisms. These partner up with my self-esteem and body image.

For years,I hated my body. I was bullied at school for my big nose and I hate seeing pictures of myself from the side, but I had come to accept it. I hate my breasts, as I know many women do, because they don’t match the perfect image we see in the media everyday. But again, I had come to accept them, albeit with buying very specific style bras etc. The other thing I’ve always struggled with was my weight. I’ve often been medically overweight but I enjoyed food too much to care. I’ve done diets and healthy eating over the years but I always ended up back at the same weight. I came to accept that maybe that was the weight I was supposed to be. I was happy in my body and my mental health seemed to be manageable. 

As my mental health has deteriorated over the last year, so has my body image and its related self-esteem. One of the downsides to my medication is it can cause weight gain. I’m not sure how it works but significant weight gain is a huge problem. I know for me it doesn’t help that it makes me hungry ALL the time. I get obsessive thoughts about food and crave foods. Cravings that keep me awake at night. Until recently I was able to keep the problem in check and learned to ignore the hunger pains and cravings. But in the last 3 months I still managed to put on 6kg.

A couple of weeks ago, I was preparing to meet up for a girls night in the pub. I went to put on my “going-out” jeans and I couldn’t get into them. With a giant slap in the proverbial face, I realised how bad my weight gain must be. I looked in the mirror and burst into tears. I was no longer overweight and comfortable. I was an obese/fat hideous walrus of a person.I weighed myself and confirmed I was now medically obese. The next evening my partner and I were at the pub (I only drink diet coke/Pepsi) and he took a picture of me from the side and posted it on Facebook. I was horrified. Loads of people “liked” the picture but all I saw was my huge, fat arms and my giant nose. 

I had to start dieting immediaitely. Suddenly all food became evil. I need to eat less than normal people would need to lose weight because of the medication. I want to exercise, but I have no energy or motivation, again thanks to the medication. I hope if I lose some weight by dieting first, maybe the energy for exercise will come when I’m lugging less weight around. I am hungry all the time and think about it the majority of the time. I dread eating and can’t help think that every mouthful is going to add to my weight not help me lose it. I feel guilty for even eating, especially if I actually enjoy the taste of it. I am on a medication which doesn’t seem to help my moods or energy and it makes me fat at the same time.

So here I am, depressed, fat and feeling like my dreams and hopes are slipping away from me. I can’t help wondering why I’m bothering to keep fighting. I’m hoping my psychiatrist changes my medication. Something needs to change because I can’t carry on with the life I’m currently existing.

My psychiatrist recognised how distressed I was on Tuesday (19th November) and promptly increased my doses (300mg Quetiapine up to 600mg and 1000mg Depakote upto 1500mg, plus PRN of <100mg Quetiapine and <10mg diazepam) as long as my boyfriend was holding on to them. I admitted to feeling suicidal because everything was like a spiraling vortex in my head. I could not cope with it anymore. I saw him again Thursday (21st November) having slept through most of Wednesday, thanks to the sedation of the increased medication. At both appointments he mentioned the possibility of going into hospital.

Today I feel much calmer, but the thought of suicide never leaves me. I cannot cut myself, as I have a residual fear that there is a parasite inside me…destroying me and trying to control me both physically and by putting thoughts in my head. If I was to cut myself it would allow the parasite to escape-and maybe hurt someone else. I need to trap it in my body as I die.

My thoughts have slowed down, but they are repetitive and intrusive. Some of them are very odd. I take 100mg of Quetiapine every couple of hours at the moment to deal with it. I feel so drowsy and sedated all the time but it is a case of the lesser of two evils.

Any longer than an hour or two apart and I start to see things move and/or shoot past me. I see, hear and feel things that have meanings. For example I notice the way a sign post causes a particular (and apparently significant) shadow. Or the company logo on a van. Or how certain songs are played on the radio. Something in me tells me that these things are important. As if there is a hidden message in them. If it is a message it begs the questions of who, what, how, and why?

Rational me tries to point out that there is no message, but I cannot believe rational me. I am terrified that if I do not work out the message, then maybe something awful will happen. I cannot solve the message if I struggle to see/hear/feel it. The Quetiapine muffles my ability to stay awake let alone think. But it also helps me to stay calm and feel slightly less suicidal.

I desperately want to believe it is all in my head. But I just cannot force myself to. I feel constantly on edge as a result.

Between medication and my mind running wild, like a stampeding elephant, I am struggling with basic life skills. If I am not going out, I stay in my pyjamas. If I need to go out, it is what ever is at hand. Yet even putting my clothes on has proven difficult, for example forgetting to put my bra on before my top and jumper.

The biggest one is I keep forgetting to eat or drink. With taking so much medication, I am drinking enough as I wash the tablets down, when my boyfriend reminds me to take my medication. I normally love my food, but I am struggling with my appetite. It gets to 7pm and I realise I haven’t eaten anything, all day, but only because my stomach hurts. I know I’m hungry and I know to change this, I need to eat. But that is as far as my train of thought manages. Food names become just words, words with no meaning. I end up snacking on bits and bobs or my boyfriend has to chose.

My life is a “choice” of (quasi-) “paranoid delusions” or “incomprehensible sedation.” Even writing my blog takes forever, as I desperately try to keep my eyes open or keep going when my mind keeps switching. It’s like someone channel hopping through television or radio stations. They hear snippets from here and there and just as they focus on a particular channel someone changes it again. It makes it difficult to write, think or even talk coherently when you forget words and what you’re saying in the middle of every sentence. For some reason, my memory is awful. I can barely remember what has been (or is being) seen, said or done from one minute to the next, nevermind worrying about tomorrow. Therefore, talk of the future, or hope, is difficult and pointless.

I feel like I’m on the edge of wanting to die. If it happened, I would welcome it. At the moment I won’t act on it. But the feelings and urges are getting stronger. There’s only so long anything will last against a bombardment.

I don’t feel safe.

Whereas I am still unnerved by the Being/Force etc potentially being real and in my house, I’m also anxious It’s inside me. Either way I’m worried that I won’t be able to control it and somehow I end up hurting/killing myself.

On Sunday (17th November), I made a sudden decision at about 12noon to go visit my parents. They live about 127 miles south of us. On a good day, it takes about 2 and a half hours.

We left at about 1.30pm and arrived after 5pm after driving through several Oxfordshire villages. I found the journey incredibly stressful and found myself getting increasingly angry with my boyfriend.

Arriving at my parents house was great. I was so excited about seeing them and meeting their new dogs (Two 4 year old Jack Russells from the Dogs Trust, Will and Scruff). I had an appetite (which was lucky, as dad had cooked a roast dinner) and felt calm and relaxed for the first time in weeks, or is it months? I hit it off with Will instantly.

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Will

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Scruff

Within a couple of hours I was curled up with Will, on the sofa, feeling calm and half asleep. As the evening got later the anxiety and agitation kicked in. I took some medication and got a relatively early night.

As usual my medication made it almost impossible to wake properly, on the Monday, for several hours. I was aware that my boyfriend had got up early (as always) and he’d been replaced by the dogs. It was a comforting feeling, waking up with the dogs curled up with me. Scruff at my feet and Will in my arms.

I spent a couple of more hours chatting with my mum and snuggling with Will. The whole time I kept thinking: “If I didn’t have my babies (my guinea pigs and rabbits) at home, I would just walk away from my life. Maybe stay with my parents a few days, then go wherever/anywhere-no plans.

But I do have my babies, so that’s not an option. I had to go back.
I’d felt a calmness being at my parents. Being at my parents, doesn’t feel like being home, so it’s not that. Maybe having the dogs helped. I don’t know.

I walked the dogs, with my mum. It was nice. Until we bumped into a family friend who none of us had seen for a while. She, of course, wanted to know how everyone was and what we were all doing. I told her I was a student nurse and left it at that. I didn’t want to talk to her about what had been happening. It’d been nice just being me, without my emotional baggage.

Not thinking about anything,

least of all the fact I was off work/university due to illness.

My parents live in a “grapevine” village. My business would soon be everyone else’s business, despite not living there myself for 12 years. In one short period of time, a woman I hadn’t seen for a few years had destroyed my calmness and reminded me of my reality.

I’d felt calmness whilst there because there was nothing of my reality there.

When it was time to return home, I felt sadness and dread. In the short time I’d been at my parents (less than 24hours) my mind had quietened down. It wasn’t silent but it was slower. I couldn’t keep thoughts in my head, they were still racing, but there was less of them.

As we were driving home, my agitation started to become more prominent and my irritability and anger were very much present. But I still felt calmer. I was feeling it more as a depression than a mania. I don’t even know what the difference was anymore between the “dysphoric mania” and “agitated depression” or even mania, if there even is a difference.

All I know is, I have days when I feel amazing and like I can do anything-these last a few days (This is when I spend money and take on ridiculous projects, feel immortal etc). Then I start to get irritable with people for lagging behind or not understanding me or what I want. If people work against me I get irritable and angry (especially if they tell me to slow down or take medication). Then I get fed up. With everything and everybody (I become hateful and hostile). I have all the energy but none of the drive. That’s when I get agitated. I have to do something or I’ll explode, but nothing interests me and I get bored and frustrated very quickly ( I become easily tearful and suicidal).

The last month or so has seen me cycling this path, over and over.

The last 2 days its been less intense. Still there but more bearable. I have achieved this by taking most my PRN as I go to bed and sleeping most the day. As it all leaves my system, by the evening, I have been struggling more than ever with the frustration, depression, fed up and agitation-suicidal. I am living life by being medicated/drugged up/sedated.

This isn’t an ideal way to live.

I’m seeing my psychiatrist tomorrow (Tuesday 19th November.) I’m hoping he can help me. I’m hoping he’s not going to betray me. I’m hoping he doesn’t work for Them. Otherwise, it’s just me, my boyfriend and my friends. I can’t be their burden anymore than I already have been.

I think that’s why I felt calm at my parents-I felt safe. I know they a) wouldn’t and b) couldn’t betray me.

I feel safe in saying:

I have the BEST friends in the world.

I know everyone thinks their friends are better than other peoples, but to me they really are amazing people.

No matter what I have been like (and I have been horrendously and erratically unstable), they have stuck by me.

They have been there, waiting patiently and been there when I needed them. I hope they know I would do the same for them. I have tried to be there for them as much as possible and everyday I feel the guilt of not being the friend I should have been.

Despite having their own things going on (and some of them really have suffered), they have travelled the 54 mile round trip to visit me (or even bring me home) when I was in hospital. They have phoned me, messaged me, offered help and support at every point. Even given me decrepit Wispa bars that peak the attention of the drug dogs.

When I first started getting unwell, they made notes and recorded lectures. They spoke to tutors on my behalf. They reassured me, that they wouldn’t turn their backs on me. They haven’t avoided me.

They kept their promise, and truly have been great friends

.

I will always be grateful for you guys. You are amazing. Thank you!

For the friends who couldn’t be there in person, but accepted me for who I am , even with my bipolar and those who have read my blog, those who have read and researched about bipolar and other mental illness, those who have asked questions. Thank you!

For those who have left comments on my blog, facebook, the numerous inbox messages, tweeps, tweets and retweets and all my new followers. Again, Thank you for the support you have all shown.

I am blessed to have met (or at least made contact with) some amazing and beautiful people.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I woke up feeling a lot better yesterday, but still felt some input from the Crisis Team would help. All the energy inside was starting to feel like positive energy again. I needed to go out. I felt like a caged animal. Pacing, unable to leave the house until I’d spoken to them. I wasn’t suicidal but I was still manic enough to be erratic. Apparently.

I didn’t realise how impatient I was being. My boyfriend had to point out that, although I was in a positive mood, I was still so irritable and had no tolerance. I knew I’d be ok as soon as I was out of the house doing something.

My appointment with the Crisis Team was at 2.30pm. I spent the morning doing washing and getting ready to go out. At about 2pm I missed a call from them. But they left a message saying they were running half an hour late. I was irritated but, I appreciated that these things happen. I tried to sit still and wait it out. I did some colouring in. As 3pm approached I started pacing by the front door. I looked out the window a few times. Nothing. Time was passing by and there was no sign of the Crisis Team. I was getting increasingly frustrated, but kept trying to give them the benfit of the doubt. Luckily for them, I wasn’t in a suicidal crisis, relying on them to help get me through the day.

At 4pm, I was getting angry. I’d wasted a day cooped up indoors for no reason. My boyfriend phoned the Crisis Team office (I don’t struggle with phone calls, but I’ll cover that some other time). They didn’t know what was going on. They said they’d phone us back. I tried to find things to do. I vacuumed the living room. Still nothing. Eventually we get a call from them.

Apparently, they’d pressed our intercom (we live in a 3 flat building, we’re the top floor (#B) the flats are #, #A and #B, only the latter two are listed on the intercom since # has a separate entrance.) Initially, no-one answered the intercom. Eventually, someone in that flat answered and opened the communal door. The Team had been to our flat before so presumably climbed the stairs to our flat and knocked on the door.
As we most certainly weren’t the ones who let them into the building, if they were allowed into the building-they were pressing the wrong intercom button. There’s only two to choose from!!

If they knocked when they said they did, they must have tapped gently whilst I was looking out of the window, or I would have seen them through the door window. They certainly didn’t knock very loudly or for very long. Plus, this was the first time they didn’t make contact by phone.
On previous occasions and even to say they were running late they had phoned. But, the one occasion it might have been more appropriate they didn’t. It then seems strange that when we try to find out why they haven’t made an appearance, nobody is able to find out an answer until over 2 hours AFTER the event.

If nothing else it doesn’t sound like staff safety is taken too seriously.

It all seems suspicious to me. They said they’d come and see me on Friday instead. I have no interest in seeing them now. I don’t trust them and I don’t need them. However, my boyfriend wants to speak to them about me and the missed appointment (for his own piece of mind!)

Once we’d established that the day had been wasted and I’d been cooped up for no reason, we got out the house. I didn’t care where we went. We went to the pub and had a couple of drinks. At about 6pm, we checked the time but it felt it should have been nearer 10pm. I couldn’t go home. I had so much energy I thought I might explode. Despite my anger and mistrust towards the crisis team, I felt happy. Maybe elated. “Everything is shinier when you’re happy” I tweeted. I felt excitable, but lack of funds limited me to a few options.

The one thing I wanted, more than anything was to see my friends.

I’d seen them briefly on Bonfire Night and I needed that bad memory replaced. I Facebooked and texted a couple of them. I was invited round. We drove the 7 miles to see them. Only 2 of them were home, but it was amazing to see them. We sat and chatted for a couple of hours.

I’d missed them so much.

Eventually though I had to leave. I knew they were still very much my friends, despite everything that has happened.

I felt like I could walk on air, nevermind water. Food was beckoning, but at 11pm on a weeknight, apparently its not that easy to find food. We ended up going to a take-away we hadn’t been to in years in an area we used to live in. The take-away staff remembered us. I’m still not sure if that’s a good thing or not. I didn’t care. The food was good and I felt care free and invincible. When we got home, I didn’t feel ready for bed. I didn’t want to waste time sleeping. I was wide awake. So we watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I love that film.

Afterwards, I still wanted to stay awake, so we watched The Hunger Games, however I got restless and couldn’t sit still. At 4.30am all I could think about was having a tuna mayonnaise sandwich. The thought became so intrusive I couldn’t ignore it any more, so just before 5am I had a sandwich. Eventually at 5am my boyfriend suggested I took medication. He pointed out, that without it I would be awake all day as well and likely end up psychotic again. I took the medication and went to bed.

I then “wasted” the day in bed asleep and/or drowsy. I was so groggy from the medication. My mind and thoughts were racing but I felt frustrated because although my mind was wide awake my body didn’t respond. I was in a medicine induced cage. As the medication wore off I began to feel free. Happy, and free, but I was good and deliberately didn’t go out. I stayed in and had a relaxing bath instead, although I will confess, I did sing- a lot. I took my PRN medication. It would be so easy to let the elation take over. But I sort of know I’m on a precipice of mania again. I was never really off the precipice. I feel invincible and I’m forcing myself into bed before 2am.

I just dont want to stop feeling like this. Like everything sparkles in the light. As if it’s Christmas Eve and I’m 8 years old. I feel amazing.

But there are those who are jealous, or just don’t like it. They’re the ones you have to watch, but maybe that is just paranoia. Is it still paranoia, if everything points to it? If theres evidence? If it’s justified?

It doesn’t matter. They can’t stop me feeling this happiness. I’m invincible.

The last 24 hours have seen hell. Two manic presentaton battling in my head. I’ve had elation and tearfulness, suicidal and want to give up. I had a sleep crash of 14 hours. Following the sleep, I now feel I don’t need sleep at all again.

I thought having had a sleep crash I was starting to climb again I could feel the elation building. But no. I’m soon in tears, realising that any elation is still part of the mania and therefore no better. I can remember clearly how this went last time.

I’m terrified of what my brain is doing.

Its working at a million thoughts a second. I just pray IT can’t get into my head. I’m already considering ways to make all this stop, to slow my brain. I can’t let that “Thing” in.
But I can already hear his thoughts, but now they’re more audible, almost a growl.

I can hear him in my head already.

I thought he’d gone, but he is still there. I just need to keep him out of me, but to do that I need to understand him better…and defend myself from him. Otherwise he will destroy me. Why me? How does he get in? What does he get in return? The name Getrellion keeps coming up in those telepathic thoughts. Is it him? If not why do I need to know the name.? I am scared of where he may lead me. I try to convince myself that its not real.

ITS IN MY HEAD!

And yet I cannot forget or ignore the feeling-he is very real and now he has a voice. He is working with the Forces that control Destiny and have been all along. It’s all connected. From, being attacked, no support, not being believed, getting well but with obstacles like homelessness. Even getting into university was rings of fire and spiked hurdles. I was known for being so unlucky.

My name is on the system which controls me

…the only instruction appears to be “make life as hard, devastating and painful for this woman as possible.”

I’m sure there is plenty like me on the system…with no idea how or why they ended up there. With every step I make towards achieving what I wanted, the Force has manipulated the situation. I don’t know why I’m special, but I’m worth something to them. They keep trying to destroy my life and those around me. Want to be a top viola player-Nope, Want kids-Nope, Want a stable, safe job-Nope. Homeless 3 times, jobs vs health-Nope, Nurse training, Nope.

Whatever I do, I am trapped, he feeds me his terror through thoughts and occasional voices (like I’m overhearing his voice talk to something/someone in a room downstairs. He’s getting more aggressive. Oddly enough all the Force are tech savvy and know of everything I write , but see it as people won’t listen…not until they see evidence what shows the most extreme rebellion, will they infere. Thankfully Getrellion is not tech savvy and seems (appears) to be clueless to what I know and writing. I hope one day I’ll get the answer I wanted?

I cannot let the monster (and I think its him that’s been sneeking around like a cat) win. He is getting agressive with his language yet its his use of words that make him less respected.

I had worked out a plan.

All I needed to do was get through the weekend, and then Monday (today) was to be my last day.

I have used PRN and tried my best to keep busy. My only concern was that my boyfriend would blame himself. I felt relieved when he showed me cold and unloving contempt on Sunday morning. He’d been put in a position of responsibility he didn’t want.

No matter how hard we tried, we weren’t understanding each other.

It all came to a head last night (Sunday). We actually spoke properly for the 1st time in months.

All these years, he’d never understood my Bipolar. He hadn’t seen a need to know about it. All he needed to know was what to do and when. If taking extra medication or “thinking positively” didn’t work, what was the problem. He had no idea about mixed episodes or that they even existed, despite it being my most common presentation.

I realised our relationship was on very dodgy ground. If I hadn’t had made plans to end my life, I was prepared to end the relationship.

I could take the burden off of him.

He would be better off without me, in so many ways. I don’t make him happy anymore. I have tried over the months to get him to really consider whether he loved me or not. He always went with the easier option in the discussions. Only now, it meant, he was stuck with me, whilst I was unwell. I knew that any plan I had made would need to be put on hold for a day or two, at least.Otherwise, he’ll  blame himself. So, for now, I have to get through the days.

I am constantly sedated at the moment so when I woke up earlier, I was surprised to have visitors. My boyfriend had called my CMHT who had arranged for the Crisis team to come out and see me. Plans are being made with the crisis team to hopefully end this horrific episode. It takes some of the burden and responsibility off of my boyfriend, which will give him a break. I feel so guilty because he feels, he can’t go to college whilst I’m ill.

He’s missing out because of me-again.

I keep hoping my newer medication (Depakote) will start working soon, because if it doesn’t, my plan is fairly simple to get up and running.

I’m trying to keep busy (but not too busy, because, that feeds the frustration and psychosis) or when I can (and with the help of medication) I’m trying to sleep through it all.

If I can’t limit the frustration and irritability soon, I will lose the people I care about most. It is better that I remove myself from the picture before I ruin the picture forever.

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