Thursday, 28 December 2017

Happiest of holidays.



The holiday season can be a hard time for anyone, but with a mental illness this time can seem lonely, gloomy and depressing. I hope you are doing ok. I'm here if you want someone to chat to.

Having just returned from a trip to mexico, I am feeling refreshed and ready to take on 2018. Not only will it be a new year but I will also be turning the big 30. Exciting times.

Mexico was so much fun. I went with my friend and her brother from Saskatoon. I hadn't seen her in over 3 years so this was as good a time as any to catch up. We spent lazy days by the pool and at the beach, took a 3 hour hike through the beaches of Boca to Las Animas and even released some baby sea turtles back to their ocean home.

I highly recommend mexico!

Here are my fave snaps.

Love xo






Friday, 1 December 2017

Today is the day.

So here we are, 12 months on and still no episodes or negative signs of this illness.

I want to pinch myself.

It is the day of days. My anniversary of stability. My change.

To mark this special day, I joined the movement.

Like an author, the semi colon marks the continuation of my life; my story.

Life goes on, before and after bipolar . This is my mark, this is part of me and always will be.

This is my journey to write.



Love xo

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Yet another good time. .

Well hello there!

How is one doing?

I am still doing awesome sauce. Shock horror.

I'm just back from a wonderful trip to the beautiful Whistler, BC. Some much needed R&R at the hands of the Fairmont chateau. Cocktails, plenty grub, massages & bubble tubs! My fave was a trip to the Bearfoot Bistro, we ate a 6 course meal, wine and cocktails. Got to explore 20,000+ bottle wine cellar, followed by the Kettle one ice vodka tasting room, one of the coldest in North America. We had planned on going dog sledding but the weather put paid to that. Instead, we ended up on the mountain watching the world cup bob sledding & skeleton races, how cool?! We met some wonderful people on our trip and generally made great use of time off.

In 6 short days I am jetting off to Mexico for even more relaxation times. Beach bums & cocktails all around!

I am so excited for the semester to begin in January. I have been craving routine of late. My schedule is quite light, I only have 2 full days of classes and a 5 day week to myself. Well to work, but it sounds better if I say its for myself haha Eeeeeh school times. I am looking forward to my intro to mental health class, aswell as my  personal health, wellness and potential class. And of course a side of writing, with writing for the arts class.

What else is new... I'm not quite sure...

Love xo





Thursday, 16 November 2017

Ladies and gentlemen, we have an imposter. .

No seriously. What is going on. We're on month 11 now and still no negative signs of this illness, it's amazing.

I have been having way too much fun this year and actually enjoying it. Bipolar who?

It's so weird, but the mood has remained in tact. Through back to back events or even a 35 hour journey home from Scotland. Mood. Stable.

I am so freaking happy. In a short time here, it will be one full year without an episode. 1 full year.

I never knew this was possible.

But anyway, calm it Janet.

I just got back from a trip to Scotland. I was home for a wedding, as one of my favourite wee besties was tying the knot. It was an absolutely glorious day, and I managed to give a speech without vomiting, score!

Me and mumma got in a week to spain with my aunt and uncle. So much fun. I love my family so much. I opened up and shared about this illness, they were so understanding and comforting. It really is great to have such a solid support network.

I caught up with just about everyone I'd hoped to see. I was even thrown a surprise 30th birthday lunch.

Awww I do have the best friends and family. I am truly spoiled with love.

Here are some of my fave snaps. .

Love xo







Sunday, 1 October 2017

Self harm, why?

Self harm, for most, might seem like an extreme path. You might find it nauseating, stomach curling and just plain uncalled for.

For me it has been an escape route. A fight for control.

I first turned to self harm when I was 15.



I remember the day vividly. I got home from work, the sun was bouncing through my bedroom window. I was meeting a friend later and I was quite excited. The memories of the previous nights disco dancing were still fresh on my mind. I called him from outside the club. I thought he too might be out chasing the night.

Back to that day, the bedroom.

The phone rang and I took the call.

I couldn't believe what I was hearing.

He's dead.

Bobby is dead.


Bobby was a friend of mine. We had romantic feelings for each other but I was taking my time. Just the other day he was on the phone asking me over to his house for dinner with his family. I was scared of things moving too fast, so I made an excuse.

The caller continued telling me the reality that hovered over that day.

I had a glass candle holder. It generally sat looking out the window but through the course of the conversation I found it grasped in my hand. My grip growing tighter.

I could see the blood trickling down my hand but I felt nothing.

That's where it began.

When the pain set in I wasn't in control. When the pain from the glass set in, I was.

And it continued. Every time I found myself loosing control of my emotions I turned to self harm. Glass, razors, keys, paper.. anything that would bring the release, the comfort.

I wore long sleeve shirts and lied about falling into stock cages at work.

I hid it well but they found out eventually.

I'm not proud of my coping mechanisms but they were exactly that, they helped me cope. I can only hope I never go back to that place. If self harm is the pit stop before a suicide attempt, then I'll take that pit stop. Regaining control, or what it felt like at the time, gave me enough space to not want to proceed to a suicide attempt.

If you are struggling with self harm please reach out. Talk to anyone, talk to me. There are better ways of coping.

love xo

Friday, 18 August 2017

A gratitude for life.

I have this notion lately to be extremely grateful for everything, but mostly I am extremely grateful to be alive. It might sound a bit over the top, but things get rocky fast and I often find myself wanting to escape. Having this new energy and happiness inside of me begs the question, why did I ever feel that worthless? Why did I want out?

Understandably the worst episodes of this illness mean I am left in a hole of self doubt and hopelessness. Sheer helplessness. The light goes out and I loose my footing fast. Some days I can't imagine living one more moment.



And then there's today.

I am so beautifully indulged in gratefulness.

I have a life worth living. I am a happy, comfortable and more importantly, stable being.

I can choose to listen to my dark thoughts or I can push through that void into something brighter.

I can take hold of my direction and try for something bigger.

I can.

I am.

I live.

I hope you feel the same. Remember, it does get better.

Love xo

Friday, 4 August 2017

Withdrawal from Seroquel, the unfurling tornado.

This is a tough one to write about. Please heed the trigger warning. I write this story because being bipolar, as you may well know, is not a fairy tale. Sometimes things get extremely dark, this is one of these instances. This might make you wriggle in your seat but I want to be truly honest with myself, and you.



About a year and a half ago I was on a high dose of seroquel. A very high dose. It took some time, but I eventually realised it wasn't working for me. I had turned into a zombie. I would over sleep and bring little conversation or interaction to the table. It wasn't a nice time at all.

I spoke to my doctor, who agreed it was time to cut the dosage. He offered me a stay in a psych ward, with the idea that the transition was safely monitored. I declined. Mostly because I'm a stubborn bitch, but also because I completely under estimated the withdrawal.

It began with a weird feeling throughout my body. I was restless, and although I cant put it into words, I was just "off". My mind began playing tricks on me and paranoia was high. 

I tried to shrug it off.

I felt completely alone, tormented and worthless.

The scary part was, I had entered into a mixed state. This is when you are both manic and depressed. The most dangerous part about this state is that you can be depressed enough to want to hurt yourself and manic enough to actually pursue that.

So it starts. . . my friends were having a little night out. I thought of no better way to cheer myself up. Be around those you love. I didn't count on the effect that alcohol would have on my then state of mind. Something that is now duly noted in my crisis management plan, and something I now strictly live by. No alcohol when slightly depressed or manic. 

I got myself dressed up, looked at that useless piece of shit I saw stare back at me in the mirror and went into the night.

The first thing that sticks out for me is that when we got to the bar, a friend, unknowing to the rest of us, had invited some guys out. Not guys we knew. 

Alone again.

I went to the bathroom and cried for ten minutes. Touched up my face and went back to the table.

This is when the host (I forgot to mention it was a music bingo championship game), asked my other friend to sit in the winners circle. Taking her away from our table, to a table half way across the room from ours. 

Alone again.

Tears again.

By this point the alcohol has set in. I was firmly set to self destruct. My retorts were curt. My attitude was stinking.

For some reason or another, we decided to pick up more alcohol upon leaving the bar. The cashier knew something was wrong and declined the sale. I burst into hysterical tears. Now the anger was on. I walked down the street shouting and swearing. Not like you'd imagine. I was cussing myself. Telling myself over and over how useless and worthless I was. I was so angry at myself for feeling this vulnerable and unsteady. The police soon intervened. I quickly apologized and assured them that I was okay. My friends also stood up for me, even through their bewilderment. 

I got home and went back to that unrelenting mirror. How could you be this person. Why are you like this. What is wrong with you. Go die.

I waited until my friends were occupied with something else. I grabbed my shoes and I fled the apartment.

I needed to clear my head. That was, until I saw the water.

I saw myself slowly being swept away by the waves. The water crushing my soul down, releasing its existence. I moved closer and closer.

That's when I heard a voice. A light flashed in front of me. Someone was calling me. It took a few minutes to realise what was going on, but when I did, I moved close to the voice and felt myself regaining a grasp on reality. Some men in a boat had saw me. By the tone in their voice they didn't like what they saw. I feel too worthless to acknowledge others worry but I try my best to partake in conversation. After what felt like a long time, I had satisfied them enough in my state of mind for them to let me on my way. After exchanging numbers I was promised that they would check in on me tomorrow.

I do the walk of absolute shame home, although it doesn't feel like shame. I don't feel guilty about wanting to escape but I still do very much want to escape.

When I get home I reach for a baby wipe to remove the nights flaws. That's when I see it. The razor, glistening back at me, signaling freedom. I lay down on the bathroom floor and with every deep breath I make a mark. The blood leaves my body but the pain is nothing like what I already feel. This time however, I'm in control.The tears are rolling down my face, splashing onto the open wounds. I genuinely don't know where to go from here. My entire world is broken and I can't see a better life for myself. It always ends up back here. Why. The worthlessness, helplessness, self loathing and intentions of ending my own life. My best friend opens the door and picks me up off the ground. She holds me so close that I wander what I've ever done to deserve such love. She puts me to bed and cleans up the tainted memories of the night before.

I need help. I am not coping..

Back to the psych ward we go. This time however I feel the medication change had a big role to play. The professionals agreed. I hadn't dug myself as deep a hole in almost 4 years.

Horrifying enough, this was the wake up call I needed.

I urge anyone changing doses to do so under professional care. If they offer a stay in a psych ward, chances are you probably need it.Take all the advice until you can't take any more. Listen to yourself, to your body and most of all never give up. It does get better,  I promise you that. There is a place filled with light and happiness. It might take a journey to get there but it will be worth it in the end. There is nothing more powerful than the power of YOU.

Thank you for reading my story.

Love xo

Monday, 31 July 2017

Seroquel


Oh seroquel. Where to begin. We have had our trials.

I was put on this medication, slowly to begin with, but it fast became my main drug. I was on an extremely high dose. So much so I couldn't see that the medication was blinding me. I had little to no input to conversation, spent a lot of time staring into space and was just generally unresponsive as a human being. It took a visit from my mum to fully realise the negative impact this drug was having on me. That's when we decided to come off of seroquel. Bad move on my part. The withdrawal was incredible and I entered into a dangerous mixed state of being depressed enough to want to escape, yet manic enough to take action on it. It was a terrifying time. The story will continue on my next blog post. . . These days I take 50mg and an extra couple of tabs when I am feeling extremely anxious.

Seroquel, also known as quetiapine, is another anti-psychotic drug (my fave!).  It is approved to fight both the highs and lows of bipolar disorder. It helps with hallucinations but also calms nerves and provides clarity. It does have a sedative effect and from my experience, can make one quite drowsy.

Seroquel may also be known to cause:

* Constipation

* Upset stomach

* Blurred vision

* Dry mouth

* Weight gain

** Please keep in mind that all medication should be okayed by your health care practitioner. Side effects experienced will be different for each person and what is expressed above is from my own personal experience.


Sunday, 23 July 2017

My Crisis Management Plan




Behold, the crisis management plan. As mentioned before I work on a few handy scales, this being one of them. As you can see it is divided up into mania on the left and depression on the right. The first page lists symptoms and the second, care strategies. Both of which work on a colour coded severity scale. 

Both symptoms and care strategies have been thought out very carefully. This chart has been tweaked more times than (insert famous drug addicts name). I'm pretty sure it encompasses everything that I have experienced, and all that I know to help those experiences for the better.





This thing has been an absolute god send. I gave a copy to all of my close friends and family. It has allowed them to understand the illness and their role also. I suggest that everyone dealing with bipolar has one of these, and really takes heed when symptoms start to move into different levels.

Love xo

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

"I'm just trying to seize the moment. Trying to love the little things, even if they're hard to love. "

Too busy having fun.

Like really. 

I have been far too busy having fun to even remember that I have this illness. . .well, that's not completely true. On occasion my anxiety has come to surface, I shall explain further.



So lets recap. Summer began with a bang. I left the school semester with B's all around. Not so bad for a lass who dropped out last semester due to extreme panic attacks. We kicked off the summer shenanigans with a Vancouver trip to see one of my much loved Scottish bands, Biffy Clyro (Mon the Biff!). We continued with the Victoria Highland Games. A weekend that never fails to be an absolute beaut. I hung out with old friends, made new friends AND got some square sausage. Imagine my delight when they say they sell it by the slab!!



Then it was Tall Tree music festival in Port Renfrew. What a weekend. We could not have asked for better weather, the sun was a shining. So much amazing music and the people, the people rocked. Now here's where my anxiety kicked in. We ended up surrounded by wonderful people at our campsite. So much so, we created a little family and spent lots of time together. (Before I start the chat here, can we just reflect on a previous posted goal "socialize at every opportunity"). The first day I felt ok, I had a mini panic attack but nothing to alert the doc to. The second night our circle grew even wider and I started to feel overwhelmed. I know I was fairly quiet, and that was a new experience for festival Nat. I waited it out and pushed myself to talk to people more, eventually feeling safe once again. I don't meet a lot of new folk these days and I think it was just a tad out of my comfort zone. Again it was nothing big in the grand scheme of things but definitely something I wanted to mention. Hey, I managed through, and I have so many life long relationships because of it. What a great bunch - I love you Tall Tree 2017.



Next up on the agenda. . . MUMMA BEAR! 2 weeks filled with good quality mum time. We had such a laugh and got up to all sorts of fun; Canada day, pride, shopping, afternoon tea, mani pedi's, massages and even a 2 day trip to Seattle. Chipotle Mmmm. It was so great to have her here once again. Plus she literally comes with a suitcase full of Natalie treats. I am so spoiled, with love and candy! I had some trouble though. This time with exhaustion. From the beginning of tall tree, until the end of mums trip, was 3 whole weeks. Keep in mind I was still working in between. Every day was an activity of some kind. Again, I was overwhelmed. Toward the end of mums trip I became quiet again, withdrawn if but slightly. Nonetheless I had an amazing time, and I can only hope that mum did too.

The entire summer so far has been absolutely cracking! I'm not worried about my minor hiccups because really,  its been 7 months and that's all i've seen. Both are completely validated by the situation. Anyone would feel overwhelmed given the circumstances. And more over, I coped really well. The outcome has been a lot more horrifying in the past.

I don't know who this new person is, but I quite like her.

I really hope you've been doing well too, Love xo

Friday, 9 June 2017

Lithium



The king of all bipolar meds. This is where the change all began, for me - and where the blog name came from haha. This guy has been around the psychiatric field for over 60 years and is still widely used to treat manic symptoms of bipolar disorder. Although a great deal is still unknown about its mood balancing capabilities, we do know that it is a salt of carbonate and that it has well known positive effects on mood stabilization. The one kicker with this med is that it is also lethal, the wrong dose can in fact kill you or send you into a coma like Miss Kay Redfield Jamison.

For me, when starting this med a few things happened. First my mania seemed to stabilize, which was good. Then I noticed the negative. I began having tremors, my hands would shake uncontrollably to the point where I wouldn't go for coffee with friends or wear eye makeup. My skin started to break out as if I were a teenager and the thirst, by golly gosh, the thirst was uncontrollable. Still is in fact. At night I can scarf down 6+ pints of water. The other bothersome side effects are now long gone, but the thirst remains.

Lithium may also be known to cause:

* Dizziness & Drowsiness

* Weight gain

* Increased thirst

* Increased urination

* Tremors

* Tiredness

* Diarrhea

* Joint swelling

* Vision Changes


** Please keep in mind that all medication should be okayed by your health care practitioner. Side effects experienced will be different for each person and what is expressed above is from my own personal experience.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Bipolar & Anger



Bipolar is a soup of emotions. One that was very prominent for me, at least in the early stages, was anger. Obsessive thinking and irritability carefully fueled my need for rage. I cant quite decipher if it was purely the illness that allowed anger to foster, but what I do know is that it caused a road block for many a relationship. One minute I would be fine, the next I felt I was battling all my demons at once. Something would be said or done and I would completely flip, recalling past memories and experiences. It was as if I was living through it once again and I would go off the rails, overwhelmed by my thoughts and emotions. In other instances I merely didn't have a strategy in place to understand, let alone manage my emotions and they bubbled over the top as they were scorched.

I am not proud of who I was when the angry demon raised its head. I am not proud of the relationships I failed or the bitter taste that lingered in my mouth afterwards. I am not proud of acting out and taking little to no responsibility for my words and actions. I am however, making a change.

I don't want to be known as the moody one any longer, the one who is constantly on the defensive.

Now I pick my battles wisely. I can manage my emotions a whole lot better than pre diagnosis Natalie. I know how to think things through and react suitably.

I have this vivid memory of my first ever trip to Australia, I was 17. Someone said something I was uncomfortable with and instead of calmly assessing my emotions and reacting in a sensible, constructive manner, I screamed out loud grabbed the nearest object (which happened to be a glass wine bottle), and smashed it off the wall. I continued to rant and rave, taking a stick of chalk and writing curse words on the black board. Like? Seriously? Is that how to deal? I highly fucking doubt it.

But that was me in a nutshell. I blasted around like a tornado any time I felt out of my depth or agitated. I never once took into account who I was hurting or the damage I was causing, all I felt was negative emotion.

I write this not as a warning to others but as an insight. I never knew why I acted that way and I was often riddled with guilt in the aftermath. Mostly however, it was too late to rebuild those relationships and looking back I was always the one at fault. With the information I have now I can see that these so called "temper tantrums" came out of very heightened hypomanic or depressive episodes. They were, so to speak, my coping mechanism.

I have also been known, in the midst of a hypomanic or manic episode, to go off on a tangent via email. Bad move. Mark Zuckerberg has received one, among many a friend, foe and landlord haha

Sometimes I honestly cant help myself. My emotions feel so extreme, I feel like I am about to burst if I don't take action. . . That was too much present tense for my liking - I used to. Now, perhaps with the help of medication, my emotions don't run quite as wild as they once did.

Now I'm not that angry.

Love xo

Saturday, 6 May 2017

And now. . It's time to plan for a future that I know I have.




Since I have been in a good place for quite some time now, 5 months to be exact. I have come to realize that my future is possible and holds many opportunities. For the longest time I couldn't see past the moment. I got stuck on things too easily; a look, a comment, a fleeting sign. Post diagnosis and medication, I couldn't see past a few months, always premeditating my downturn. All of a sudden its like a light going on in my head, I DO have a future to plan for and this is where it starts. Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself, then again, maybe I'm right on track.

Lets set some bloody goals!

Goals


Self Care:
                  Biweekly psychotherapist appointments.
                  Three monthly psychiatrist appointments. (Can I just mention that this is a big time achieved goal for me, there was a time when I HAD to see my psychiatrist at least once a week, I was a walking mess.)
                  Develop a regular sleep/ wake routine
                  Encourage a healthy diet
                  Exercise regularly
                  Relaxation; yoga, , massage, a night on the sofa, hot tub. . etc

Education & Work:
                  Continue with Psychology & Writing degree
                  Continue with part time hospitality job
                  Embark on a part time bookkeeping certificate
                  Explore bookkeeping career options and potentially change paths
               
Leisure:    
                  Read one new book per month
                  Write at least one new post per month
                  Travel to a new destination at least once per year
                  Socialize at every opportunity
                  Create something


Again, its such a nice feeling to WANT to plan for my future. In light of many a depressive episode this feels like a whole new sense of purpose.

I think these are some legit, achievable goals. I am excited and looking forward to getting to work - As they say, dreams don't work unless you do!
             
Love xo


Sunday, 16 April 2017

If I'm having a bad day. . here's what NOT to say to me.



It can be challenging when talking to someone experiencing a bad episode of depression. It can be even more challenging when you say the wrong thing!


Here's what NOT to say to me when I am feeling down.


  • Cheer up
Seriously, cheer up? Depression isn't a chalk board you can wipe off when you've made a mistake. If I'm feeling down, the one thing I would love to do is "cheer up", I don't need a reminder of how hard this is to do.

  • It isn't that bad
I'm fully aware that things can be better, I however, cannot see a way out of this darkness, so you telling me it isn't that bad is like a bug on the fucking windscreen.

  • You take everything so personally
Yes, yes I do. Why? Because of my illness my self esteem is shot to shit. My psychotic tendencies mean I take everything and over think it, and I will most probably take ALL of your comments to heart.

  • Calm down
Calm? Calm? I work on a mood scale of one to ten and if you say calm one more time I'm gonna hit a twelve. My emotions are unregulated, calm is a state I wish to be in. Please stop telling me what to do.

  • Snap out of it
My whole world is tumbling down and you think I can just 'Snap' out of it. No. No, that's not quite possible. There  are a million ways this could end in my head and 'Snapping' out of it is not one.


Here's what you could say. . . .

  • No matter what happens, I will be there for you.
  • I love you and I care for your well-being, please call me if you need help with anything.
  • I'm sorry that you feel so down right now.
  • I am hear to listen, please tell me what's going on for you.
  • You mean a lot to me, if there is anything I can do to help please let me know.

For me, what's even better than words, is someone taking the time to break through the depression. To literally grab me out of the house and take me on a car ride, for ice cream, a blank stare at the ocean, a chat, anything. I might not be all that responsive or have much to say, but just the act of ignoring my 'No I'm not coming out to play, I'm gonna lay in my bed all day', and pushing me to do anything other than agonize over my blue feels, really goes a long way.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, my good friend mania cannot be reasoned with. Anything and everything you say will either be shrugged off, or looked into deeply in a bid to find some form of hidden meaning. So as far as I'm concerned, there is no right or wrong thing to say in the heights of a manic episode.

Love xo


Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Guess what?! ** Does a little dance **

Hurrah! Hurrah!

Guys.
Guys.

I am like a frantic little child right now, but I have good cause.

I HAVE BEEN EPISODE FREE SINCE 2016!!



How freaking amaze balls is that. I can't believe it myself. I checked the calendar just the other day and I was reminded of just how good my good mood has been. It's gonna be 4 full months at the beginning of April.

Now this is an entirely new feeling to me. If I were to be completely honest, I would say life hasn't been this smooth a sail since I was in my early teens. That's almost 15 years to put it into perspective.

I spent my first couple of happy months worried about what I thought was an inevitable spiral. I've just gotten to thinking. . what if that doesn't even happen? What if this is it. What if I now have the medication schedule and care strategies in place that keep me on a steady playing field. What if. Eeeeeehhh I'm so back flipping, forward flipping excited.

Home life has been good, work life has been good, school life has been good, relationships have been good, overall health has been good. The only thing I'm really missing out on, (according to the handy Crestbd Quality of life tool) is my spiritual side of life. . and there is a very big, psychosis ridden reason for that, but hey, life is my freaking oyster. Maybe now is the time for my spirituality to blossom, who knows.

Anyhoozle. I'm gonna bring my excitement down to a 9 and write a paper for school, I mostly just wanted to share.

Love xo

Sunday, 12 March 2017

My return to higher education


I'll be damned if I ever thought I would be doing this again. It's a big change. School eh?

At the beginning of last year I made a conscious decision to return to higher education. Part of my decision was to take up a Psychology course at Uvic, in a bid to learn more about my mind, it's workings, and of course disorders. It is allowing me to read further into my illness and hopefully with time, I will find better ways of managing it.

I never imagined at 28, after 12 years in one industry, that I'd be taking a step back from what I've known for so long and diving head first into something new.

Mostly it's great for me. I get to learn new things every day, how can that be bad? The structure and routine is very calming. I also have a new sense of purpose, which is nice. Uvic has a plethora of mental health resources and I feel extremely supported in all that I do.

There are however, flaws to my new plan. I never thought I'd feel so old, so young. I try to get past it but it plays on my mind. Another thing is the class sizes. They can be intense with 200-300 people per lecture. I think I have it down pat though; arrive early, get the exit seat at the back of the room and keep my head down. On the odd occasion I'll have a panic attack. On a bad occasion I'll have 4.

In terms of having a mental illness, all of the above can be challenging. I struggle with memory and concentration, partly down to the illness but honestly I think the other part is due to medication. There was a time when my meds were being tweaked every other week and I found it extremely hard to deal with school. Anxiety levels can go through the roof for anyone at exam time, even more so for myself. I can't say this enough, but it really is all about balance.

I chose to drop out half way through last semester, mostly because the panic attacks were getting way out of hand. That seems to have subsided for now and I am rocking out A's in my most recent midterms. I can only hope it continues.

I still often think I am dreaming. It's such an exciting change.

Recently I added English into my curriculum, with the hopes that I can continue writing. . and who knows, maybe even someday become a great writer.

I don't know where this course will take me but right now I only see good things.

Love xo

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Something else to deal with

In recent months, myself and my psychiatrist have been talking about my long battle with panic attacks. After educating myself through university and CBT classes, it seems that not only do I have bipolar disorder, but I also have a panic disorder.



Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder. It is different from 'anxiety disorder', in that it is not a persistent anxious feeling but instead bouts of intense panic. These panics come and go, and can happen at any time. After a panic attack, I spend a long time worrying about the next one and can sometimes go to extremes to avoid a situation or stimulus, knowing that I will escape an attack because of it.

Initially these attacks felt like they started from my toes, soon consuming my entire body and most usually ending in a dry heave or vomit.

Recently I feel these attacks starting within my mind. I'm not sure if it is because I am more aware of them and potentially more conscious of how they play out. Either way, they end the same. Cold sweaty palms, body trembles, tight chest and then vomit.

It is very common for psychological disorders to go hand in hand with one another. Comorbidity. I just can't believe it has taken so long to realise that they are two separate things. I always presumed my panic attacks were part of the bipolar. An interesting detail however is that my manic and hypomanic episodes completely counteract the symptoms of the panic disorder.

 I NEVER panic when I am manic.
 Peculiar.

Although I wasn't entirely happy about another diagnoses, the label is allowing me to look at the illness categorically and find ways to manage it.

 I hope that with further coaching I can combat this thing completely. It seems possible and I am excited. My thinking is that if I fully deal with one of these illnesses it will partially alleviate the other.

Love xo

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Missed Meds; The Come Down of a Lifetime

I've noticed something, and it's not a good something.

Sometimes - not often - but sometimes, I miss my meds. It really can't be helped on occasion. Well actually, it most probably can. I now carry a little box of 1 nights worth of medication on me, just incase. On these sporadic occasions, I start to feel a change within my body. A come down of all come downs. First it starts with a cold, hollow feeling throughout my bones, followed by shakes, cold sweats and dry heaves. I see start to see things out of the corner of my eye that aren't there, shapes and lights. My head has a slight buzzing inside of it. I feel utterly ghastly.

I mentioned to my room mate the last time this happened, that I felt like I was coming down off of hard drugs. Her retort was that I was, and true that. When I miss my meds, I am coming down off of hard drugs and my body doesn't know which way is up in these instances.

I guess the moral of the story here is not to miss my meds.




It got me thinking, what if I was in a position where I couldn't access my meds, such as financial restraints, travelling etc etc What in craps name would I do.

Given that I have been doing extremely well for the past 6 weeks, I couldn't imagine running sans meds at all. In fact a this point I am so proud and happy with my p.doc, he really has gotten the right combo. Finally, eventually. After a few years of trying and retrying, dosage change after dosage change, I am here and I'm all the better for it.

In my last post I mentioned that I was doing 'just OK'. On reflection, I am doing fantastically well. I have gotten over the fear of my good mood snapping. If it happens, it happens right? What will be, will be and all that. For now I am riding out the good vibes and enjoying it as much as I can.

What's more, I gone got myself my first freaking A at university. That proves to me alone that I am doing more than 'just OK'. I've got my head in the game and there's no stopping me this semester!

Well... That's me for now.

Love xo

Thursday, 26 January 2017

All has been quiet.


And it has.
I'm sorry.



I don't know why this is. Well actually, I know that I struggle with writing when I am doing "OK". I get trapped in my own self defeat and doubt, the fear that no one wants to read what I have written. That no ones cares for the shit I am putting out. I do write, but it goes no further than a word document. I want to write more, but I struggle with creative thoughts. I'm stuck.

I should be happy that I am doing OK, but instead my anxious mind is in torment. Premeditating my downfall. The time when I go back to that depression, or instead, hit up some mania. Its coming, I can feel it. I just don't know when and it scares me. So much so, that I actually think I would be happier sitting at a moderately depressed place. I would gladly dabble in some hypomania.

I know I'm not making much sense. I don't particularly want to be back there, but 'normal' is so strange to me, so far away from my own normal.

Anyhooozles. . I am actually doing ok. I have been on such a high since mid December. Well, since mum came to visit. Then the festivities, the new year, starting back school, my birthday. It has all been a whirlwind. Again, a whirlwind that I am terrified of coming down from. Where does it end?

It's not like I have been super happy the whole time. Saying goodbye to mumma after a short visit was gut wrenching. I miss her so much. It has however made me realize that I have to start coping better on my own. Not relying on my mum, my friends, my room mates. Finding a way to be happy han solo, then everything else is just a bonus right?

I used to be that person. I was captain independent. I always had been. I was raised that way. Sadly in the past few years I lost the ability to function on my own. It makes me sad.

Hopefully I can change my ways before they change me.

Hopefully things won't continue to stay quiet.

Love xo