Saturday, 22 June 2019

" How am I gonna be an optimist about this? "

Some times it's a test, sometimes a breakthrough.

I've been trying so hard to put a lid on all things dark after being advised to quit therapy.

I've been trying.

Then there was the other night.

We're chipper, having fun and in the mood to dance as we walk along wharf street.

Out of nowhere, there is a loud bang, brakes, chaos.

We see this lad stand up off his bike, counting his blessings that he is still alive but swiftly noticing that his bicycle did not survive the hit.

I froze as my friend went to chat to the said lad but then followed behind blindly wondering who seemed more shaken at this point.

I knew the nightmares would come back so I delayed the inevitable by asking my friend and partner (at different times haha) to sleep in my bed alongside me.

Then there was last night.

Cue nightmares.



BUT

As much as I woke in a cold sweat and tears, I tried to focus on why this would be triggering me right now and what I could gain from it.

When I was around 10 or 11 years old I was involved in a bus accident. I came out unscathed but sadly I can't say the same for everyone and the whole experience has weighed heavy on my soul for years. Often in the night, I'll hear his scream, the crash, the chaos. I'll see his face. I'll wonder if he ever got to tell his loved ones how important they were.

Now, here's the kicker that I'm just beginning to see.

This is around the time my perspective grew smaller, darker.

They put me into therapy and counseling. I figured out what to say to appease them pretty early on and it didn't take too long to duck out 'cured'. I was just happy to spend more time with my mum, glad to be away from the school bullies and pleased at indulging on a cheeky wee MacDonalds bacon roll weekly.

I never got much from the therapy, in fact, right then and there was when I told myself something crucial in my eternal downfall.

IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT.

YOU DESERVE TO FEEL THIS WAY.

I believed that my actions, even if minuscule, could have changed that mans fate.

And off I went into the night with this false belief.

Every time there was a trauma I knocked it up to being my own fault and I slowly pushed my mind into a living hell.

The universe wanted me to hurt, and I, in turn, was giving myself reason to hurt, or so I thought.

Maybe I'm not supposed to be living in past memories, in past pain. Maybe it's time to overcome all these traumas and stop living them again and again.

For the first time, I'm seeing what I'm allowing this ball of past emotion do to me and I'm not letting it continue.

Some things are sent to test you right?

Well lets dance psyche, lets dance.. . one breakthrough at a time haha

I hope you are well.

Love xo






Friday, 17 May 2019

Check in time, I think so!

It has been a while. . .

I think a wee update is in order, don't you?

Things have been pretty up and down since I last checked in on my 'Rabbit Holes' post.

It didn't make sense for me to continue working full time, and unfortunately, it was not feasible to work part-time in my existing role. For the good of the company, I decided to hand in my notice and let them find someone who could be more reliable long term.




I'm not sure when these episodes are going to kick in but I definitely should not be exacerbating the symptoms with unnecessary stress.

I felt so bad about leaving my job. I was plagued with feelings of guilt and self-doubt, but somewhere I knew I was making the right decision.

I don't know what this means for my discharge. Things were going so well and I took on too much, sending myself backward. It's been a rough couple of months, sure, but hopefully, I can work toward discharge again in the near future.

It was a bit of a struggle but I managed to muddle through to the end of my bookkeeping course and since then things have slowed down, not that my mind has gotten the memo.




I have increased therapy sessions and joined a CBT for depression class through the local mental health recovery program. I have been walking more, going to Qi Gong, the odd hot tub and just generally taking it a little easier than the past few months.

We are tackling some pretty heavy things in therapy right now and it's sending me a little bit loopy. I've just noticed that a couple of days running up to my therapy sessions my sleep starts dwindling. Post sessions I have been feeling completely run down and have frequent symptoms of a kidney infection. This is something my doctor thinks is interstitial cystitis, a sensitization syndrome which, funnily enough, is impacted by mental health, PTSD and stressors.

Dr. Boston agreed today that I am rapid cycling, a more frequent episodic state of bipolar, due to the PTSD and memories we are uncovering in therapy. I go from feeling down to bouncing right back up, hypomanic up, and then of course, down again. 

There's no middle ground in a mixed or rapid cycling episode.

This is something I spoke with my psychology professor at length about just a few years ago. It's like my mind tries to fight the depression with a boost, but then you're flying too high and inevitably, comes the crash and again, depression, boost, crash. It's a vicious fight to see what mood will win, and even though you would think that that is the main makeup of bipolar, there is usually a baseline to return to in between episodes.  It doesn't feel like that right now, or if there is, it is fleeting. Id' say I'm averaging about 1-2 days baseline a week and the rest is either hyper or exhausted.

Another thing that my psychiatrist pointed out is that I am becoming dissociated. 

Oh man.



After seeing the psychiatrist today we've decided I need to stop therapy for the time being and increase my meds a little. I am not ready to relive past traumas and my body and mind are quite prominently telling me that. PTSD is the root of this all and until the new medication has a better effect, I cannot be dabbling with my moods and emotions.

It'll get better, little steps are good, its just not the right time yet.

On a brighter note, I GO HOME TO SCOTLAND IN 8 WEEKS TIME!! I am soooo excited.
I feel that the time I get to spend with family and friends will rekindle my fire and get me going again.

Anyhoozles, I hope you are doing well!

I am taking myself outside to the sunshine, I hope you like the pretty pictures of flowers I took on my walk recently.

Love ya xo






Thursday, 16 May 2019

It's not all black & white.


I have this habit of going all in or all out.

It's a common error in thinking.

Looking back over the years that tends to be my go to.

Mmmm. .

In the past few months with everything going on, my mind has taken a step backward and I have moved back into this black & white way of thinking. 

Before psychosis I was quite the negative thinker, I was suspicious and always premeditating the worst of a situation.

Psychosis opened my eyes to a more positive way of thinking, yes I was completely out of touch with reality, but I was aware that everything was connected and a positive influence made for a positive outlook and in turn, a happier life.





I slowly incorporated a more balanced approach in my mind. Things CAN be grey, colourful even.

Somewhere amidst this depression, the negative thoughts have crept back in. I find myself expecting the worst from situations, jumping to the last possible conclusion as opposed to the sprinkle of magic my eyes once saw.

I don't know where it is coming from and it's pissing me off.

OK, it's not all despair. Calm down, Natalie. It gets better.

Extra therapy and CBT classes are going a long way in correcting these errors but as with everything it's going to take some time to get back to an even keel.

It's just making for a bit of an emotional rollercoaster.

It's literally grey matter. .  HAHA, I made a funny. . It helps regulate emotion? No? 

K, FINE.

I'm getting there.

Love xo



Thursday, 25 April 2019

Don't listen where it's not needed.

I was talking with my psychotherapist the other day and he pointed something out that we often don't realize. . .

There is a difference between conscience and self-critic.






That voice we hear within ourselves is often questioning our thoughts and actions, but what is it actually saying?

Sometimes we affect our conscience. Maybe we went against our values, or for me, it's often when I don't contribute to the greater good, when I become the negative thinker in a situation. My conscience gets rattled and I feel guilty. Maybe it's something bigger playing on your conscience, you were mean, you broke a law. . And sometimes you should feel guilty if you have done wrong. It's not always black and white of course, but we all know when we are doing something we shouldn't

Now, on the other hand, when it comes to everyday guilt, hell I think it's overrated. We hold ourselves to such high standards that we feel guilty for almost anything these days. Well, I do at least. Have to cancel a meeting with friends to look after me; riddled with guilt. Didn't eat healthy enough for the week; you suck.

But do we need to feel guilty about everything?

Sometimes that voice is our self-critic. The voice that gives you shit for things not going the way you planned. The voice that holds you accountable to the highest of expectations.

You know what? 

FUCK that voice.

Constructive criticism is welcomed but negative criticism is toxic. 

That inner critic can run rings around you, but hold yourself accountable for the way you listen to it, the way you react to it. 

Sometimes it's overpowering and sends you into destruction, I am highly aware of that. I've spent the majority of my life fighting with that, but it can't be a fight, its got to be a knockout. A win of epic proportions, and that win? YOU of course. You can overpower that stupid little critic. 

Look at how far you've come. Look at how much you have achieved. Look at the love you have surrounding you.

YOU are better than some lingering feeling of doubt, hopelessness and low self-worth.

Filter out what is helping you and what is hindering you. Just like you would a rotten apple in the bushel. Don't consume it, get rid of it. 

Ahhhh, I needed that.

Writing is so cathartic, even if it is just to rant and reinforce my thoughts.

Anyhooooo.

Love ya <3

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Rabbit Holes.


I fell down the hole. 


I was on top of the world and I thought it couldn’t happen, then BAM. 

I should have seen it coming.

I should have seen the warning signs. The losing interest in normal activities, poor cleanliness around the home and personal hygiene, not eating, not sleeping, overthinking, crying. . Ok, yeah I definitely should have seen it coming. It was a slow play.  Around 4 weeks to get to breaking point I’d say. Last time this happened I took myself to the hospital to avoid the spiral. This time I wasn’t as panicked.

Sure, I closed up for a while and didn’t want to talk about it, mostly because I didn’t want to admit that I wasn’t doing well. I’ve come so far in 2 years, I didn’t want to go backward.

The panic attacks and nightmares started up a few weeks ago. 

I should have seen it coming. 

I thought back on the last 6 weeks and watched my self-care fade away.

I should have seen it coming.

I’ve been so tired in this new full-time position. I genuinely thought I could handle it, but in hindsight maybe I can’t. I can do the job no question but I can't work 45+ hours. I often found I never had the time to do anything for me. No reading, photography, writing, walking. Over the weeks' everything else seemed to break down. I was coming home stressed, and this is my bad, but I wasn’t communicating it enough. I know my team would have worked hard to help me but I was still coming to grips with the early warning signs. I didn’t want to believe that hole was lingering.

It all became too much and the self-doubts start creeping in. You’re a loser, you can’t handle a full-time job, pathetic, absolutely useless, you don’t deserve the opportunity, you don’t deserve the balance. Cue more panic attacks.

That’s when the tears started. I cried at conversations, songs, tv shows, movies, memories. I cried in front of people and I cried when I was alone. I fell asleep crying and I woke up crying. My emotions were so fired up.

When I was alone my thoughts moved with speed but I didn’t want to talk to anyone. 2 zopiclone and 2 Ativan and still nothing. Thoughts, thoughts, thoughts.

My thoughts were racing around my head, not giving me peace, freedom or even sleep. It was a prison of worthlessness. 

Ahhhhhh

Can’t handle it.

Why can’t I handle it? Other people can handle it just fine? What’s wrong with you? Smarten up.



I took a few days off of work to try and get back on track. I spoke with my doctor and my psychotherapist. I increased my meds and slowed down my lifestyle

Steve stepped in and brought out my crisis management plan. 

Step 1: Use the chart and be transparent about what stage you are in.

Mmmm depression you say?

Sadly, according to the charts, the solution was the hospital. I wasn’t going to let that happen. 

IT DOES GET BETTER.

Baby steps. Thursday I brushed my teeth. Friday I had a shower. Saturday I washed my hair. 

It took so much out of me just accomplishing those small tasks. I felt so slow moving and exhausted but I felt accomplished and that’s important.

I read through some old blog posts and journals. I can do this. I’ve been here before, choose how you want to deal with it.

I started taking my emergency medication Serequol. I’m not pleased to be turning to this medication but I know it impacts. Last time I was on it my emotions quite swiftly turned off. Yeah, it was no way to live back then but for a couple of days that was the respite I needed.

I’ve tried to challenge my thoughts and overcome them with positive self-talk. 
I HAVE to take control.

Maybe the reality is I can’t do the things I have done pre-diagnosis, pre psychosis. Over the years and without medication, mania drove me to set high standards but that’s no way of life. Mania might be fun but the short ferry ride to psychosis and the come down is not worth it. For me, medication is key to keeping that side of bipolar locked away.

It’s very clear to me though that I don’t yet have enough clarity and or balls to recognize and handle my depressive episodes as well as I could.

Yeah, I have caught the last few before they ran away with me but fuck! I can be getting there earlier right? 

I really need to work on this. I will manage this. 

Future goals.

For now, I’m going to read some Eckhart Tolle and book a massage. 

I’m hoping I can rest and clear my head enough to actually be functional at work by Monday but I think I need to reduce my hours moving forward. 

I need to look out for me.

Take good care of yourself, friends, YOU are important <3