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manic

I. CAN’T. SIT. STILL.

This has come out the blue I ahven’t been manic in so damn long and yep the last few months have been really stressful and this week has been really really stressful, but really, I haven’t been manic 8in so long so what the hell?!

This week one of our dogs was killed which was awful obviously. Yesterday I took my assistanc dog in training to a puppy obedience class, our first time, went with my partner of course…first time I’ve been actually outr in public in nmonths and months, and I guess that combined with grievbeing = manic me.

My partner’s podcasting and there has never been anything as hard as trying to hold rthis energy in

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Everyone with Bipolar can work

Apparently I filled in a survey about Bipolar disorder at the end of 2014.

I don’t remember the survey or what it was for, but it’s somehow tied into the NHS.

Yesterday I got an email with some follow-up questions; they asked me to rate some questions according to how important I thought they were.

Filling the survey out I got more and more depressed and angry at how they were marketing Bipolar – I wish there had been a comment box at the end of every question so I could have added my thoughts.

The entire thing was geared towards people thinking that you can recover from Bipolar, it is the person who has Bipolar’s job to manage themselves and their symptoms, and people with Bipolar can lead ‘normal’ lives with jobs etc.

One question asked how important I thought it was that the Bipolar person be “trained” to manage their recovery using the following methods:

diet, exercise, sleep, yoga, meditation, rest, routine, sunlight, change of job, avoiding alcohol and recreational drugs

Uhuh, yep. Because if I eat right, exercise, sleep well (in a mood episode? How can I magic myself into that?!), meditate, rest, have a routine, sit in the sun, manage a job (HA!) and don’t drink or do drugs…I’ll be fine, all my symptoms will disappear!

As someone who has Bipolar, I am so tired of constantly having this belief that I can and should be working shoved down my throat.

Almost every book on Bipolar I’ve read talks about the fact I should definitely be well enough to work. Websites list staggering percentages of people with Bipolar who are symptom-less and work a gazillion hours every day.

Everything is pushed towards making sure the Bipolar person *knows* that recovery is possible and they can and must work.

Work is good for them, work needs to be what they do, if they aren’t working they are lazy…blah blah blah, it’s all bullshit.

Fact of the matter is Bipolar is a lifelong illness, and those with severe Bipolar probably can’t work. Isn’t it obvious that those who have no stable episodes obviously can’t hold down a job? Or those who have tried a dozen plus medications, and none of them have helped long-term, are going to lose their job when depression or mania hits?

I’m tired of this illness not being taken seriously.

When I read things or am told about how well people with Bipolar do, or the fact I should be able to work, it literally never helps…it makes me sad and lonely, because if everyone else is fine why am I so fucked?

It also makes me anxious because if most people with Bipolar hold down impressive jobs, that’s gonna mean even more pressure on me to get working before I’m anywhere near ready. The rest of the world already sees me as a lazy, scrounging shit muncher and it’s not pleasant.

Although my last social worker and I ended on bad terms, the one thing I really appreciated was her ‘get back to work plan’ (I asked about getting a job whilst hypomanic).

She said I’d need to be stable for around two years before I should think about getting a ‘proper’ job

After 6 months stable I should start attending a group one day a week and slowly build it up to several days a week; after another 6 months stable I can start volunteering once a week and slowly build it up; after another six months I can get a part-time job one day a week, and then after a further six months I can think about building up days or getting a few days of a full-time job.

That’s what we should be telling people who have a long history of severe Bipolar disorder.

There shouldn’t be a rush to get people working; their health should come before this need to get them in a job. We need to admit that some people with Bipolar might never be able to work, whereas for others it might be a breeze.

Bipolar is an illness where each case is individual.

I also found these questions from the survey laughable.

What are the most effective ways to train and support a person with bipolar so they are motivated and able to manage the condition themselves?

How am I supposed to manage my Bipolar? I do what I can, yet everyday is hell.

I try to eat healthy, I take vitamins, I get 1-5 hours exercise every day, I listen to my body, we monitor my symptoms, I colour, I read, I handle my pets, I take on my pets’ responsibilities when I am able, I don’t drink, I don’t do drugs…yet I haven’t had a stable day for years, and I experience psychosis every day.

Sometimes an illness is too much – would you expect someone with a serious physical illness to manage it themselves?

M4: What can we learn about managing bipolar from the people who are managing the condition well?

As I said earlier: Bipolar is different for every individual.

Even if you take someone with the same type of Bipolar…one person with Bipolar 1 might experience one episode every few years, whereas someone else might have rapid cycling Bipolar and switch every month or so. There are huge variations in people who rapid cycle; some of them have stable episodes between being ill, others have none.

Nobody is the same.

One person might be virtually symptom-less, yet if you had them tell someone who is very ill what they are doing to manage (exercising, eating vegetables, charting symptoms) the ill person might already be doing it and more.

Bipolar isn’t predictable, and it’s very unique to each person suffering from it.

I think Bipolar is one of the most misunderstood illnesses. There are very few people who actually understand its’ patterns – people think it’s a laughable illness (“I mean, everyone’s happy and sad at some point aren’t they, and that’s all Bipolar is!!”) or something to joke about (“the weather is so Bipolar!”) or they think it’s not that serious.
It’s about time professionals started taking this illness seriously and actually trying to help those who have it, instead of expecting the ill person to do it all themselves…
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Migraines + headaches

Ugh.

So when I was having really bad psychosis outside of a mood episode, it obviously caused me A LOT of anxiety, and this caused numerous headaches just from stress. Then factor in that the constant adrenaline meant I became light sensitive, and using a lamp indoors or walking outdoors on a normal, not sunny day, also caused headaches…and it wasn’t a good time 😛

Since going manic around three weeks ago, I have had no headaches.

My anxiety has almost all gone, even though I’m still hallucinating, because I feel confident and good and happy.

But now the lack of sleep is starting to affect me :/

For the past three weeks I have been getting anywhere between 3 and 8 hours sleep, averaging I’d guess about 5 hours a night. I normally sleep for 9-10 hours a night, so after 3 weeks I’m running on one hell of a deficit now!

I started off for the first week getting around 6-7 hours sleep, for the second I had 3-5 hours sleep, and for the third I have a couple of nights with 2-4 hours sleep and then seem to get a nice night’s sleep lasting 7-8 hours.

Today it caused a tired headache, migraine, whatever it was. I started off fine and then out of nowhere got hit with a crippling headache. We came home, I took some Codeine & Ibuprofen, managed to sleep for four hours, and when I woke up I just had a niggling headache and felt nauseous.

Thankfully in the hour I’ve been awake that has faded too.

Ever since I started having psychosis outside of mania (used to be the only time I’d have psychosis) I’ve really noticed the toll it takes on my body…

I was having lots of headaches, usually one a day, and at least one migraine a week. My back hurt and my neck was extremely sore. No matter how I sat, slept or held myself, it hurt, and then my neck pain would inevitably lead to a headache!

Nothing has changed since then but, up to today, I’ve had no pain in mania.

The body is a strange thing…

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Mania’s not always fun

I’ve only been manic 17 days so far, it could last a lot longer, but I am *so* done with it…

The lack of sleep is becoming an issue.

My partner is missing sleep, because he is my carer and has to be awake to make sure I don’t spend all our money (why yes, I am an impulsive dick, thank you!), but the lack of sleep and being constantly on the go means he gets tired by about 7pm in the evening.

I get really frustrated because I don’t ever want to go to bed, and if he’s having a cat nap I have to agree to stay still and do one thing (ie. listen to five songs on the Ipon whilst colouring and he should be awake by the time they are finished) and it’s so hard for me…Gog has a really hard time reminding me and getting me to understand that he is not manic, he gets tired – it is ME who is having unusual amounts of energy, not him who is unusually sleepy!

I told someone else recently, I suck at empathy when I’m manic >__<

I had a really crap night’s sleep last night, about four hours and I haven’t slept properly for several weeks now, and I don’t understand it…yesterday was my most un-manic day in 17 days, so why have I woken so zingy and manicky today?!

I rated yesterday a 6 for my mood (0 = suicidal, 10 = manic & psychotic), a 7 for feeling calm & relaxed, and a 7 for being able to sit still. These are significantly calmer than all the other 12 days on my mood chart.

Seventeen days where the most I have slept is seven hours, and I usually fall in around 4-5.5 hours. I am going to have missed out on so much sleep and be so exhausted by the time this ends, and it infuriates me!

I’ve also spent way, way, waaaaaay too much money 😦

I’ve managed to blow several hundred pounds, and we only just built our funds back up after having nothing. FUCK.

Even my partner having our bank cards doesn’t help because I find things to buy online when he is out the room or napping…I’m so certain it’s a good idea and I NEED to spend money – I really wish the automatic saving of details on sites such as amazon and ebay didn’t mean I could buy things so easily, I never used to know how to do it…

My partner is gently trying to get me to agree to have the sites blocked on both my laptop and the PC, so I can’t buy things as only he knows how to block / unblock them, but I love looking for stuff that interest me. Finding cool dog toys or training tools on amazon / ebay is one of the few things I can focus on, it’d suck if it had to go because I’m an impulsive idiot…

I just want to start an anti-psychotic that could a) get rid of my psychosis, and b) help me calm down and reduce my mania…please NHS help me for fuck sake!!

I can’t believe the nearest GP appt I could get was the 11th March – and that was booked over a week ago. I’m sat here, skin twitching with agitation, and I could cry with the frustration of it all *sigh*

People think mania must be so enjoyable…news flash: it’s not!

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Mohican

After he got over the shock of me cutting all my hair off, Gog helped me fix it.

When I’m manic I don’t think, I act on impulse. I also don’t give a shit how well I do whatever I impulsively do haha. Act first, think later.

This meant my mohican had bald patches, it was wonky…it was terrible, but I obviously loved it because yay mania!

My partner bought some strimmers in and fixed it up, shaving the hair shorter to fade the patches.

I love Gog so much ❤

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You know you’re manic when…

 

  1. You can clearly see your sleep diminishing every night, until you’re sleeping less than a 1/3 of what you usually do
  2. You really want to do something (read a dog training book, play a video game, colour) but can’ t because you can’t concentrate or sit still enough – those things aren’t ACTIVE enough for you!
  3. You go from blogging / posting on the internet once every few days to several times a day
  4. You trawl the internet for something, ANYTHING, that will hold your attention (eg. I just discovered Pinterest today…nothing better than being able to search for pics of absolutely anything and be able to actively scroll through them all!)
  5. You are so irritable it scares you. A lot. But whatever annoyed you is forgotten about within seconds.
  6. You decide to bring home yet another pet, and although you know s/he will be looked after for life, loved, and live in the lap of luxury…you are aware the reason you want her so-so-so-so-so much is because your mood is elevated (I had previously promised to wait a few months before bringing this pet home)
  7. You just. can’t. stop! You’ve  moved furniture, tidied, walked the dogs, cleaned & fed the pets, been shopping, tidied more etc etc
  8. You cut all your hair off and given yourself a mohican. Yep, just happened. Ooops.
  9. Your partner is having to take several hours nap a day purely because he can’t keep up with you and your energy
  10. You’ve been physically on the go for 14 hours, have barely sat down, but do you need sleep? HELL NO, NOT FOR HOURS!
  11. When you fill in your mood chart you can clearly see that, in almost every way, your mood is climbing higher & higher…and it makes you smile, because you haven’t felt this good in over a year 😀
  12. Writing this blog is sapping too much concentration and you need to get up and go, so you end it even though there are lots more points you could write…

Woohoo, mania!

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Everything is NOT always fine!

Today I want to discuss how a wide variety of people seem to often assume that mood episodes are getting better, when they are not. The amount of people who end conversations with us concluding, “well at least it’s getting a bit easier now!” is astounding.

Now the people making these statements come from all walks of life. We have had mental health professionals, family and friends all decide that our lives are improving steadily. There are many problems that can arise from this.

You could say that these comments are trying to see the brighter side of life and are just trying to be positive. Unfortunately this can have an adverse effect on some people suffering from Bipolar (or, I imagine, pretty much any mental health issue). It often feels like everybody is trying to belittle our problems. When barely coping with life the last thing you need is a constant barrage of happiness and lies. This also causes many people we know to think we spend all our lives “chilling out” and have a much easier life than them, as we don’t work. This is pretty ludicrous and extremely aggravating.

Another potentially damaging consequence of people assuming moods are improving comes solely from the professional side of things. To put it simply when doctors, nurses and social workers speculate that everything is getting better, they are going to offer less support as they don’t think you need it. I have witnessed so many appointments ending with advice along the lines of “Well then, keep doing what you’re doing and hopefully things with continue to get better” when Anon has spent the last 3 months depressed, and still feels incredibly low and suicidal.

As a carer it’s important to try to get across the misery of the current situation. I personally struggle with this on a regular basis as complaining and moaning about life is not in my nature. I can clearly explain how Anon and I are managing, but if I don’t act and sound like I’m ready to give up then 9 times out of 10 we won’t get the support we need.

My advice to carers and sufferers alike is: never be afraid to sound miserable. The alternative can be much more damaging both socially and medically.