2

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

Advertisements
1

When everything goes wrong…

…take Valium!!

This week has been rough as hell.

For a while we have been trying our hardest to work with the rescue puppy that we found tied to a tree over a month ago. We have overcome a lot with her…she started off terrified of the world, and now she is confident with almost everything.

We trained her sit, touch, leave it, lie down, paw, and her name / recall. We taught her to be calm with body handling, and to wait patiently with food. We socialised her with as much as possible. We paid for vet treatment (from the usual puppy costs to medication for her neck and —>), we took her to the vets when it was thought she had broken her leg, we fed her high quality food and treated a UTI.

Throughout all this we were crate training her, and the further in we got, the more signs of separation anxiety we were met with…it wasn’t until the past week we began filming her every time we left, and neither of us were prepared for how panicked she was when left alone.

She loved her crate when we were home, but when we left she lost it completely…frozen Kongs, pigs ears, and calming music did nothing. She *screamed* the entire time, and was panting, lip licking, and just entirely stressed.

To make this shorter, earlier this week we took her to a training facility connected to the rescue we’ve volunteered at since I was 19, and met with a trainer for hours.

The end result was she has extreme separation anxiety, most likely because before being dumped she had only every lived with dogs, and had little human interaction. We found at the facility that she can be left with no issues as long as there is another dog she can physically sleep with (her head has to be on the other dog’s back).

We can’t offer that, we can’t take things slower and not leave her alone…so we had to hand her over to foster. She’s doing well, and is in a home with another young dog, a Collie cross.

That was extremely, extremely stressful and very hard to deal with.

Throughout all that my relationship seriously deteriorated with Gog (all my fault, not his at all) and I was ready to break up with him. I tried to, several times. Lots of arguments on my part, hurtful things said, and tears.

My mood was in the pits and I was actively suicidal, and everything had just gone to shit.

At the end of last week I began sleeping a lot less (from 10 hours to 5 hours) and went manic, but not in any way nice mania, mania filled with psychosis and terror. Constant anxiety.

By yesterday that had eased somewhat, my mood was more low than manic, then today I happened to go on facebook and saw post after post about how the UK was ruined after leaving the EU, disabled people and benefits would be fucked etc.

I had a huge panic attack.

I couldn’t breathe, my heart was racing, and I was crying. I curled into a ball and just shuddered with terror.

Gog came in about 20 minutes later (he’d been asleep in the other room) and I couldn’t even talk to him because I was so scared. I managed to ask for a Valium, and I took 5mg…that’s a lot for me, 2.5mg is usually more than enough.

Twenty minutes later I was lost to the world, but feeling MUCH better.

I couldn’t really talk or focus on anything haha, but I was way calmer. The panic was gone, and that’s all I cared about. The calmness lasted most the day; I took 2.5mg a while back because I was getting anxious again, and today has gone far better than how it started.

My parents are coming up tonight, and I feel anxious about seeing them. For no real reason, just because it’s hard to put on a happy face and act normal when you feel like crap and are very anxious.

Long post, sorry for the ramble.

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.