0

A perfect reminder

Today I got time out the house as my family were nearby, so I went out for a few hours with them.

As our puppy is poorly, my partner stayed home with her.

The entire day everything I did was either connected to my partner (“aw, Gog would have loved this…”) or I was talking about him, constantly. Our lives are so entwined and we’re so in love that I feel hollow spending time without him, and I actually can’t wait to get back to him.

It was a fun day seeing my family; the day was tinged with sadness and I felt like I could cry at the drop of a hat, but that’s usual for a depressive episode…but I just couldn’t wait to get back to Gog.

I bought him some stuff to make up for his lack of a day trip, and it’s so nice to be back with him!

A lot of people say they can’t imagine spending every hour of every day with their partner, but it’s never been difficult for us at all…I know we do have the odd hour apart, for example when Gog walks one of the dogs or pops to the shops, but we can easily spend all day together.

Today reminded me that I love Gog SO DAMN MUCH.

He means the absolute world to me, and without him nothing matters. All I need in life is him. Today was a perfect reminder of how wonderful he is, and how much I adore him.

4

I’m a fucking idiot

**trigs for suicide and overdose stuff**

Whenever I’m having a hard time, it feels like my brain’s solution to make things better is to make everything worse…

It’s been like this for as long as I can remember – when I was at Primary school I remember (accidentally) banging my head and going to the dinner lady in tears, who sent me away because there was no mark…I then decided to bang my head repeatedly until it was bleeding, and go back and insist my head hurt.

When my parents used to yell about how lazy and disgusting I was, I would cut the word ‘ugly’ onto my arm so I could never forget what I was.

Any times I’m badly psychotic and having warped thoughts, or if we’ve just found out we have no money because I spent it all whilst manic, my brain leaps to suicide as a solution to all problems.

I am a fucking moron.

Yesterday was a really tough day – I mean I’m in a low episode, so of course every day’s a slog, but yesterday was really bad.

The icing on the cake was when our puppy flipped out in her crate after she’d been doing so well with crate training, and I fell off the deep end.

I became somewhat hysterical, I was full of panic and rage, and I lost touch with reality…my brain was also speeding at 100mph even though I’m nowhere near manic.

I ended up overdosing when my partner took our puppy to the toilet, and because I knew I didn’t have long I was chugging whatever I could…it was by no means a suicide attempt, more an ‘I need to cope somehow I feel absolutely terrible, quick overdose!’

My brain thought it would be a really good idea.

I didn’t take enough that we thought I needed hospital, but I’m annoyed because I haven’t had a substantial overdose in years…it’s something I’ve been trying so hard to avoid and I’ve done everything I can not to do it.

When I feel that intensely bad, and especially when I’ve lost touch with reality, I don’t have any coping mechanisms.

Listening to music, reading, walking, colouring and playing video games are all fine when I feel ‘pretty bad but not terrible’…but when I’m at my worst, they don’t touch the sides. In fact a lot of them make me feel angrier or lonelier.

And that’s when I struggle.

I struggle not to swallow pills, or self-harm, or break my wrist…and the worst thing is, if I fight off the urges and manage not to follow any of them, I know I’ll end up feeling suicidal and battling a suicide attempt instead. So I just don’t know what to do.

My damn brain 😦

First of all it fucks things up with these stupid mood swings, and then it fucks me up by insisting that in order to make this situation better, all I need to do is make it worse….

*sigh*

2

Tired

My sleep has finally caught up with my collapsing mood.

I’d been sleeping no more than five hours a night, then the past two night I’ve had over 11 hours sleep each night. It always shocks me how quickly that can happen.

I could have slept all day today.

I went to bed at 10pm, woke up after 9am and had to force my eyes open and get Gog to help get me out of bed, otherwise I knew I really would go back to sleep and sleep all day.

Everything about me is tired. My eyes are tired and heavy, I’m tired of life and these fucking mood swings, even my bones feel tired.

I have no patience and find myself digging my nails into my skin every time I snap at my partner or the pups, because I HATE when I do that.

I hate myself. I hate myself. I hate myself.

I’m tired of this.

0

Cheer me up puppy!

I’ve crashed, my mania’s gone 😦

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.

My energy’s gone, my buzz for life has gone…crippling anxiety has returned, sadness has descended, and I know it’s only going to get worse.

Fuuuuuuuuck.

I am scared and I am sad and I am scared about how sad I am going to get in the upcoming weeks.

We found a puppy just over a week ago, tied to a tree and abandoned in the middle of nowhere. She is a sweetheart. I am trying to take her for walks and cuddle her a lot, in the hope she will help force my mood upwards…

0

And depression follows mania

Gog here.

The worst thing about Anon having bipolar is that every single time she feels something, we both zero in on it and are terrified it means the opposite episode is approaching.

Now let me make something clear, this IS NOT like when Anon’s parents immediately ask “are you manic?” whenever she cuts her hair or buys something, oh no.

We worry when we notice such a symptom / emotion, as nine times out of ten, we are right.

Because Anon is never stable, this means she bounces immediately from one episode to a next…depressed,manic,depressed, hypomanic,depressed,manic,depressed, hypomanic,depressed…etc etc…

These episodes last anywhere from 2 weeks to 6+ months, the average is probably 1 month for a manic episode and 1-3 month for a depressive. She goes straight from being manic to depressed, straight from being depressed to manic, it is NEVER ENDING.

Can you imagine? I live with her and I can’t imagine how difficult, how scary, that must be.

Anyway, today Anon had a moment where her thoughts and feelings were low. She zeroed in on it, I zeroed in on it, and we were both scared.

I reassured her. We will cope with whatever happens, it might not be a low episode, you might just be tired because you haven’t been sleeping etc etc…

But as the day’s progressed, that depressive episode is certainly incoming.

Both episodes are devastating, in different ways. Manic episodes mean no sleep, lots of activity, wild ideas, anger, and trying to talk Anon out of spending £1000’s, moving house etc.

Depressive episodes mean sleeping 16 hours a day, struggling to find the energy to brush her teeth, crying, lashing out, and the almost inevitable suicidal feelings.

Neither of these mood episodes are easy, but we have to live with them, because we don’t get anything else.

I really wish people could understand quite how devastating an illness bipolar can be

That is why we started this blog – it’s all well and good people can have high functioning bipolar and live successful lives, but it is not fair to think everyone with bipolar can live like that.

As ever it would be nice if we had medical support now, and Anon had medication to help stabilise her or medication could be added to try prevent this low episode…but thanks to the good ol’ NHS this isn’t a possibility.

We’ll keep living, we’ll keep loving each other. We can get through this together.

2

Mania & sleep

Gog here.

Still we trudge through Anon’s manic episode. It’s become our nightly ritual that I sit with her and help her understand how manic she is – according to her she’s stable, not manic, and if I didn’t insist she would mark that down on her mood chart.

Considering we want to use this chart as a reference, and as evidence to various professionals in the future, it’s important it’s accurate.

Every night we sit down and Anon begins to fill the chart in, and I have to gently disagree and say “let’s think over today, do you remember how you haven’t been able to sit still at all? And you’ve had to keep moving? Maybe we should lower that point…”

I’ll point out her different scores (particularly the sleep, ability to sit still and concentrate, and racing thoughts) and guide her to the understanding that her mania rating needs to be more than 5/10 – suicidal is 0, extremely manic is 10, stable is 5.

I could just let her fill it in herself and edit it later, but I think trying to help her understand and recognise she is manic is better.

Her sleep has been abysmal since 4th May now. The night before last we decided she should take 2.5mg of Valium, as she wanted to get some sleep (oh how she HATES not being able to sleep at night!) and I wanted to prevent the mania from climbing. That night she had 10 hours sleep, today she got 9.5, including 7 hours overnight and several naps.

Here’s the past week in sleep:

6 hours broken sleep
5 hours (including a nap)
6 hours broken sleep
5 hours broken sleep
4 hours broken sleep
10 hours good sleep (Valium)
9.5 hours, mix of broken and good sleep (including naps)

To say this has been going on so long now, and she usually sleeps 9-10 hours a night, she must have one hell of a deficit…

She’s asked for another 2.5mg of Valium again tonight. I know she isn’t currently prescribed it and no Doctor would be happy we were using it like this, but she needs to sleep, and if the NHS won’t offer us any help I don’t know what else we can do.

I’ve noticed after a decent night’s sleep the mania seems less intense…she’s slightly more able to sit and focus on activities, and she seems happier instead of exploding with energy or rage.

Aside from sleep we’re still doing pretty good; Anon is handling this manic episode like a champ and trying hard. I just want to try prevent it climbing higher.

Nobody from the NHS has been in touch. We have received no help since we started fighting for it in November 2015, and we still haven’t heard from the place that the GP said would get in touch asap – we were told that on April 7th.

I don’t really mind because I think the reason Anon is doing so well is that we aren’t pushing for help and dealing with stressful appointments…I just think the NHS is absolutely disgusting when it comes to mental health.

0

banging my head on a wall

When I’m manic like this I struggle in lots of ways.

Something I find hardest is the boredom. If I’m not doing something that is either very active or very involving, I am battling boredom. The instant I stop doing something, I am struck with the most intense boredom.

Now this isn’t just normal boredom. It’s I can’t think or move or talk or be happy boredom. It’s hard to explain quite how horrible this is or how excruciatingly mentally painful it is.

It’s horrible.

And when you couple it with racing thoughts, thoughts whirring around your head so fast you can’t understand any of them so you just sit and you just stare at a wall and you’re bored bored BORED…it’s awful. I don’t think I can explain it right, I think it needs a different word to boredom because it’s…more.

Anyway. I’m struggling to sleep a lot again. Lucky if I’m getting six hours a night, which is actually a lot when I’m this manic…Gog says I am quite very manic. I think I’m more hypomanic.

I was rageous for a week right up to a few days ago. Everything pissed me off and I kept trying to break up with Gog because I thought our relationship sucked and we hated each other and blah blah blah…we’ve been together almost 7 years and we adore each other, so that was fun thinking.

Today we’ve had a great, if active, day. Feel sorry for Gog, he hasn’t stopped once…he’ll be ready for bed soon and I’ll be just there, awake, staring at the ceiling bored whilst thoughts bounce around like pinballs in my head.

2

Slowing down with mania

Gog here again. I seem to write a lot when Anon isn’t doing so well. Helps me feel like I’m pulling my weight with this blog.

Anon’s thoughts are speeding today which ironically often makes her much slower at talking and typing. It can take several hours to write a blog, if she’s able to concentrate long enough to write one at all.

Sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it, mania slowing her down.

But because Anon’s head is racing so fast she can’t pluck the words out as they rush past, and she can’t focus on conversing – she once described it by saying “imagine you have a bowl of earthworms, all wriggling about and identical. You are looking for one specific earthworm, and you only have a short time to find it…it’s impossible!”

She quite often talks in analogies when she is ill, it makes it easier for her. Maybe it’s the writer in her. Some of these analogies are hilarious, some are amazingly clever.

One time she said her brain is like a sponge saturated with water because of all the racing thoughts and hallucinations, and trying to concentrate on the TV or what people are saying is impossible because she can’t soak up anymore information…I love her analogies, they’re clever and they help me to get a glimpse into how she is doing too.

Anyway today at points she has really really struggled to talk – earlier today it took her several minutes to manage to form one sentence, but she did it. “You know I……read…that……when – no, with….Mini Lops…” etc.

THIS IS YET ANOTHER WAY SHE STRUGGLES TO COMMUNICATE WITH PEOPLE.

Yet the benefits system says she “just” talks fast?? She’s manic right now, so in the best place she ever is for talking with others as long as her psychosis isn’t too bad, but she couldn’t talk to anyone right now.

Thoughts keep getting stolen from her head which unnerves her too. Halfway through a sentence she will stop talking and the entire sentence, topic, whatever, has just completely vanished. She thinks her thoughts have been stolen from her head, and then worries that if people can take her thoughts they can insert their thoughts into her head too.

Nevertheless we’re in a much better place than we usually are, we just need to stop this mania from rising any higher.

0

Listen: it’s mania

Gog here.

It can be so hard to get the person with Bipolar disorder to understand that they’re manic.

I’ve found that with Anon, if I point out why I think she’s sliding into a depressive episode, she can recognise the symptoms pretty easily and admit she’s falling.

When she’s in a really intense manic episode, the worst of the worst, I can get her to recognise symptoms even if I can’t get her to understand she’s extremely ill…it’s kinda hard to ignore the fact that you’re sleeping less than two hours a night, I guess.

Hypomania or lower on the mania front is harder for me to explain to her.

When she’s hypomanic it honestly is easy to mistake her for just being a happy / energetic person. It really is. It’s only the persistence of the mood and when I’m falling asleep trying to keep up with her that I know for sure.

Milder mania, I can tell she is unwell, but she really can’t.

Her sleep is reduced but not drastically (down from 10 hours a night to 7), she is on the go all day, she is impulsive, extremely irritable, she wants me to be on fast speed like she is, and she will spend more money – but usually on things that she does want, or is interested in. It’s not like when she’s sky high and will buy absolutely anything.

At the moment Anon is on the upper end of hypomania.

Reduced sleep, terribly energetic, spending, active, irritable, productive, creative…tiring!!

The other tricky thing is that going out too many days in a row often triggers a manic episode in Anon, or worsens one she’s already in. I don’t mean going out and partying all night, I mean literally any time she leaves the house it pushes her towards mania…shopping, doctors appointments, visiting family, anything.

When she’s manic I try to limit her to two dog walks a day, and nothing else. We’ll go out and do things twice a week, but I try and encourage her to stay as calm and chilled as possible.

Of course this is really difficult when a person is manic, because all they want to do is go out. All. the. time!

I am a carer; it is my job to care for Anon.

A lot of people do not understand this, my dad asked just the other day “you not thinking about getting a job, then?” They don’t understand: I have a job. My job is to keep Anon safe, happy, and as mentally well as possible.

It’s a full-time job and I throw my all into it; I love Anon, she loves me, and to say how ill she is we do well. Even hypomanic, which is her least severe mood episode, I have to be there.

I have to persuade Anon to stay in, and keep her entertained without letting her be too active / stimulating. I have to watch her, prevent her from buying things online, remind her to eat, try help her sleep, try prevent the mania from climbing.

All the while I have to try keep up with her and match my sleep to hers’.

I love her so much. Bipolar is such a fucking ball-ache.

 

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Up or down? Low or high?

Gog here.

For all the world it feels like Anon has to be having a mixed episode…either that or she really, really doesn’t have Bipolar disorder anymore.

She’s switching so quickly, especially a few days ago; for hours she would be hypomanic. She was energetic, active, she would sing, laugh, train the dogs, work on them with all sorts…and then she would be low. Maybe not truly, seriously depressed; but certainly angry and with some sadness, triggered by all sorts.

The lower spurts don’t last too long, rarely more than an hour, and as I said it’s usually anger over actual despair…we’re so confused by her moods at the moment.

Her psychosis is back with a bang.

Looking back at her mood chart we had over a week where she rated her psychosis 2/10 or less – several days were even a 0! That hasn’t happened in close to a year now 🙂

Then the stupid guy tried to talk to her on the phone, and since then her psychosis has been really bad…her paranoia seems worse out of everything, and brings with it a lot of racing thoughts and, of course, intense anxiety.

That’s another thing, are her racing thoughts caused by the paranoia or mania? Or is the paranoia caused by mania, or is the mania caused by the paranoia? It’s all very confusing…

Basically, we’ve been struggling.

We took everything right back to basics – if Anon had any doubts about leaving the house, she had to stay home. No walking the dogs, no trips to the supermarket, no appts, no socialising, nothing.

The result? The last few days her mood has been noticeably more manic than low-manic-low-manic-low.

Her daily physical pain (which is a huge issue when her mood isn’t good, and something NO professionals take seriously) has gone from being between 8 and 9 out of 10, to firstly a 1 and then 0’s 🙂

Today she surprised me by turning up on a dog walk (bit of a shock and slightly concerning, but it was nice!) and she’s also done some training with our dogs we’ve wanted to do for months but never got round to.

Hopefully we can keep this manic episode fairly manic, fairly predictable, in the hypo stage rather than full blown mania…

And we’ll the stress as low as possible.