3

How much louder can I ask for help??

Gog here.

For several months Anon’s overall anxiety levels have been high, but worse is that about 4-5 days a week, she has the highest level of panic I have ever seen.

A lot of times she can’t even talk. She is overflowing with anxiety, is absolutely panicked and doesn’t know why, and if the slightest thing goes wrong (eg. she can’t find something she wants) she bursts into tears. When you’re already trying to cope with so much, it only takes one thing to push you over the edge.

Today she was so overwhelmed with panic that she was curled on the footstool with her arms over her head, just trying to survive minute by minute. It is excruciating to watch.

Anon cried at me today that she needs help, but we can’t get it as she is too ill to make it to any appointments, and the NHS are unwilling to help us overcome that – they have said no to home visits, email contact and video calls.

We can’t live like this.

Today I phoned our GP surgery and asked for an urgent telephone appointment, where the Doctor would talk with me. I’m getting a call back in a few hours, which is weird as normally they try make us wait 5+ days.

I’m nervous about this phone call. Firstly because the last time I had a telephone appointment, the Doctor was absolutely disgusting as he couldn’t talk with Anon. And also because if something goes wrong with this call, it will break Anon.

My hope with this phone call is that we will have an understanding and sympathetic GP.

I will spell it out: Anon is too panicked, anxious and scared to physically get to an appointment. This is our problem!!

Not only is she terrified of appointments after abhorrent treatment, but her terror is so bad she can rarely leave the house now, and certainly can’t cope with busy places (this is why dog walks are usually safe: Anon is with a dog (which almost always helps her), she’s in the countryside, there’s lots of open space and very few people).

Obviously we can’t get treatment until Anon’s panic has been reduced. I would like Anon to start on an anti-anxiety drug (such as an SSRI or Tricyclic antidepressant) to see if we can reduce her anxiety, and see how she is then. It’s my hope that we can then get further help and attend appointments.

Not too hard to understand, I hope.

I imagine they will bring up the point that Anon has been diagnosed with bipolar, and so a anti-depressant could trigger mania in her.

My response will be: At this point mania would be far easier to manage than this constant fear and psychosis. With mania Anon gains confidence and motivation, and in general low-down appointments are a breeze.

Secondly only one antidepressant has ever made Anon manic, and it wasn’t an SSRI.

Also we are not sure how much the diagnosis of bipolar really suits Anon anymore. She no longer has clear or long-lasting mood episodes (rather it seems she’s just constantly fucked mood-wise…) and she has constant psychosis. Not exactly bipolar.

Finally, if you’re not willing to prescribe something to help her panic…what do you suggest then?! Because all I’ve been advised so far is “just bring her to the appointment”, and that really isn’t happening.

The other thing I’m concerned about is that he won’t be willing to prescribe anything without seeing Anon at an appointment. I’d basically be replying that if he wants to see her he will have to do a home visit, and he’ll have to do it soon because we can’t cope.

**edit**

Whilst reading about anti-anxiety medication I ended up discovering ‘panic disorder’, which was something neither of us had heard of before.

I’d always thought panic attacks were short in duration and usually involved hysterical crying / hyperventilation, but according to the NHS site with panic attacks…

“You may experience an overwhelming sense of fear, apprehension and anxiety. As well as these feelings, you may also have physical symptoms such as:

  • nausea
  • sweating
  • trembling
  • a sensation that your heart is beating irregularly”

Hmm, that’s a lot of Anon right there…

I hope this phone call goes well, and I’m almost 100% certain it won’t 😦

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.

2

Stuck stuck stuck

Gog phoned up Mind and Bipolar UK today, to ask for absolutely any ideas on how we can move forward in getting help…neither had any suggestions.

Mind was the most helpful surprisingly (in fact Bipolar UK kinda sucked, which shocked us because they’re normally *really* helpful). Mind told us to ring a different local branch of social services, and said they can send out one of their trained volunteers to offer support, as a kind of in-between step, a kind of practice appt.

I’ve had Valium a few times today, whenever my panic’s been suffocating. I can feel the fear bubbling beneath, but it’s not overwhelming when I’ve had a Valium, and I can let my mind rest and concentrate on other things. I’ve been colouring again.

I’ve had some wildly low moments today. I’ve had some incredibly angry and frustrated moments, and I’ve felt lonely and hopeless all day.

I feel stuck, and like my Bipolar has bested me once and for all. I’m ready to give up. Really, I just want all this fear and pain to stop.

I don’t know where we go from here, because I can’t get help, I can’t go to appts…I have a panic attack whenever I talk about them with my partner.

fucking hate Bipolar.

1

Panic and Valium

The past few days I’ve been taking Valium as needed.

I have Valium left over from when I was really psychotic, and all the crap GP we saw wanted to do was dope me out of my eyeballs…the first few days I took the dose he prescribed, and I was so zombied out I couldn’t move or talk.

We lowered the dose ourselves, so we have a lot left over.

I’ve been feeling so terrified these past few days that I’ve been taking 2.5mg of Valium whenever I need to, and it’s been immensely helpful. It winds the panic down to anxiety, which I can cope with.

This morning I’m so scared, for no apparent reason. I’m trembling, I feel sick, my heart is racing, and my palms are sweating. I feel on the verge of a panic attack.

I think what’s triggered this immense terror is that we’ve said we’re going to call the charity Bipolar UK today, and even though that shouldn’t be scary at all…apparently it is.

My mood is still extremely low. My psychosis has been worse than usual for a week or so now, so I guess the increase in anxiety could be linked to that too. I feel drained and scrambled.

I just raged at my partner because he talked about him ‘trying to keep me safe’, and I asked him if he realised how fucking cruel he was being. Yes, he’s trying to keep me physically safe, but he’s not lifting a fucking finger to try and help me mentally.

It’s TORTURE being unable to end this misery. I told him he’s like a zoo ‘rescuing’ an endangered animal, then letting it live for years in a tiny concrete enclosure. Sure it’s physically safe, but mentally it would have been better off dead.

It’s all well and good keeping me safe, but I also need help to fix my mental state. I CAN’T LIVE LIKE THIS.

Time to take half a Valium…

0

Panicking

Panicking, don’t know why. I think because I’ve talked a lot about MH appts today and I really do think after all the trauma of those last appts, I’m damaged. I get so anxious.

Even thinking about those last appts has me panicked, trembling and nauseous. When my partner tries to talk about going to an appt in the future, I have a panic attack.

I’m sat here with my heart racing, head hurting; can’t think or sit still or concentrate. Don’t know how I’m supposed to deal with this.

I’ve been chatting to my parents and my partner, playing with my pets, for 45 minutes now and I’m freaking out worse than ever.

My partner gave me half a Valium (we still have some left over from the disastrous GP appt months ago), I really hope it will help calm me.

My mood is so extremely low. Tired of this struggle.

0

From 0 to 100

Gog here

Such small things trigger such severe mood episodes.

We’d been doing well for two, maybe even three weeks. Anon wasn’t stable, but she was doing great. Days were enjoyable and Anon was trying hard to avoid stress and cope with symptoms.

Then I tried to sort out some benefit information, and as ever they asked to speak to Anon on the phone.

Now even though I am her registered carer, and Anon’s illness means she can’t talk on the phone, AND I am on the records, they insist they go through security questions with Anon before they will talk to me about anything.

The security questions vary in length; the shortest is just getting Anon to give her name, date of birth, and agree that I can talk for her…if they make it longer for no apparent reason they try get her to talk to them about why I’m phoning, too.

Because Anon’s anxiety, paranoia and psychosis has gotten so bad this past year, I no longer try and pressure her to talk on the phone – it doesn’t help.

A few days ago I made the huge mistake of saying “they want to talk to you for security checks…?” and it completely broke her. She completely shut down and sat staring at nothing, crying. This is what no professional or assessor can ever understand; if Anon struggles with something (even if to them it is insignificant) it is enough to cause an episode.

This is why saying she “just” needs to do it doesn’t help, at all.

Since Tuesday her mood has been much worse. She’s still trying hard, but the stress certainly has triggered an episode.

Today we walked to a nearby supermarket to pick up a handful of items. I asked Anon how she was doing and she was low, anxious and very paranoid.

As soon as we entered the supermarket she began to panic; too much stimulation, too bright, too many people etc. Within two minutes of entering Anon had to leave. She sat outside whilst I grabbed a few things.

By the time we got home ten minutes later Anon was really, really struggling.

She took 5mg of Valium, and the great thing about this med is that it works insanely quickly – within 20 minutes she was far less anxious, and after an hour or so she fell asleep and had three hours rest.

When she woke up she was still struggling, bouncing from coping well to being surprisingly angry (Valium side-effect, we did notice it last time?) and feeling like she’s about to burst  into tears.

She’s just taken 2.5mg of Valium to see if it can soothe her and help her sleep, as we haven’t been to bed yet and it’s 5.30am.

If anybody is wondering, she was prescribed these Valium a while back, and told to take such a high dose by an idiotic Doctor that we have a lot left over. I have no problem with Anon taking meds we have in the house if she needs to, at a low dose especially.

It’s not like the NHS  are helping her.

We’ve been waiting 21 days now for the service to get back in touch after the emergency GP appointment

0

Well , it’s mania

Yesterday’s post was titled ‘Please tell me this isn’t mania…’ – I think you know where this is going.

Gog here!

Anon’s mania has been magnificently worse than yesterday. In 12 hours the difference in intensity was astounding.

We’ve only been noticing this mania brewing for four days at most, including today, and the initial signals were very easy to miss…Anon’s mood wasn’t in the pits and she wasn’t trembling with anxiety – hey that must mean she’s going manic!

God Bipolar sucks.

Yesterday we gave her a Valium, which did nothing other than make her seriously angry, antsy and feel like she was crawling out of her skin. It was horrible.

This morning her mania was already much worse: racing thoughts, inability to sit still, talking about nonsense, laughing all the time, impulsive ideas; the list goes on. And she had less sleep…she slept less than seven hours last night and usually needs around 10 hours sleep.

Early afternoon we agreed to give her 5mg of Abilify (a med she hasn’t taken for a long time due to akathisia as a side effect, but it’s the only anti-psychotic we have in the house that worked to some extent).

The med made her feel weird. Sleepy, stuffy headed and slow. She had a couple hours nap and was still groggy when she woke up. Tomorrow we will give her another 5mg, but later in the day / an hour or so before bed.

We need the NHS to offer us that appointment with a psychiatrist.

Nobody will prescribe anti-psychotic or mood stabilising medication until she has been seen by a psychiatrist, but they aren’t rushing her to see one. Neither of us can live this way. I hope she adjusts to the Abilify and it can help curb the mania AND psychotic symptoms a little…I just hope we have enough in the house to last us :/