LIVING WITH BIPOLAR

The current state of my bipolar is... Changeable...always

I was diagnosed with bipolar when I was twenty five, three years after the rapes and beatings stopped. When the abuse ended I got a job. Found a man. Purchased a house.. All the usual things.. Then..

 

It just all came crashing down. Looking back at my earlier life.. Teens.. During which I took A LOT of ANY drug I could lay my hands on.. I realise I was attempting to self medicate extreme depression or agitation. Almost always.

This may sound odd but I honestly believed it was just that I was rubbish at coping.

I thought everyone felt like me and I was just really bad at dealing with it.

But the abuse aggravated it. Made those mood swings worse. One month I would be manic the next suicidal.

I went to the doctors and said "something is wrong, I want to die"

i don't think he took me all that seriously. He gave me a prescription for antidepressants. 

the very next day I returned, its worth bearing in mind that I had not yet taken the antidepressants.

I was bouncing off the walls. Almost literally. Grinning like an idiot. The doctor took one look at me and said "I think you have bipolar disorder, Im referring you to the psych unit". Thus began the medications. I hate those. I will talk about them in another post or ten because you almost need a phd just to keep up with my prescription! 

I lost my job. I lost my house. I lost my partner. I was not in a terrible state at this point, it was simply that as soon as they knew my diagnosis they started detatching from me. Looking for a way to get rid of the inconvenience of my illness.

 

Fast foward to me at close to fourty. I am weaning off of my medications as I have been stable for years. I have disposed of six stone of unwanted fat which I gained as a result of taking a delightful drug called seroquel.

 

slight complication

 

I developed Psoriatic Arthropathy. Now, I have a mood disorder which causes insomnia, anxiety, mania, depression and agitation. Add shedloads of constant pain to the mix and you get depression. Currently I feel lousy. Every part of me hurts and I am having to make a concerted effort to demonstrate any form of enthusiasm or joy. I feel like rubbish. But I won't be beaten. I refuse. I have plans.

 

 

What happens when we mix some bipolar with a little arthritis and fibromyalgia?

Cold weather affects my mental health!

We are in the middle of a cold damp spell in the uk right now.

and my goodness it totalled me, my.joints puffed right up and boy they hurt like crazy!

this is affecting my bipolar, the pain is making my mood plummet and the codeine I take for pain is maki ng me depressed. Great. Im trailing meloxicam for a while to see if it helps and it is but my blood pressure is rising on it.!!

curses!

There appears to be little to nothing I can currently do about this perfect storm of symptoms and ... Storms

Weaning

Weaning...

I've been pretty stable for two years (having escaped my abusers) and have only had one episode (which weirdly was triggered by nicotine patches) so I am weaning off of the majority of my bipolar medicines. Currently Im weaning off of Depakote. 

I was taking 1500mg a day of depakote. Now I take 500mg. 

Every time I step down the dose I feel weird and ill and like I have flu. Then I kind of get mentally "wobbly" for a few weeks. Im weaning off very very slowly to avoid overstressing my body and mind. I don't want to make myself ill.

I want to make it very clear that this is condoned by and supervised by my psych. I am not doing it of my own accord. Never tinker with bipolar meds on your own!!

There is something I want to try and do that means certain medicines I am taking which could be toxic or are known to be must be stopped . Not all of my medicines. Just the particularly nasty ones.

My sex drive is better! Depakote really put paid to that. Can't wait to stop it totally but also scared. Stepping down the dose makes me feel awful for a few weeks. Stopping it..oh dear. I think I will just shiver and sweat in bed.

ugh.

 

Meditation is my friend

What is bad for Bipolar management?

I found it really helpful when learning how to manage my bipolar to keep a diary and then after a few months read back and try to work out what triggers symptoms.

Making a list of your "triggers" will help you predict and manage the beginning of episodes and get help quickly before everything spirals out of control.

Your list of episode triggers might be different from mine but in order to give a little inspiration and maybe get your started here is mine!

Bipolar Triggers List

Major life events (bereavement, divorce, moving house etc)

Drugs (inc legal ones! caffine, alcohol, cannabis etc)

Conflict 

Stress 

Lack of sleep/broken sleep

Excess/too little activity

Positive stress (promotion, getting engaged or married)

Pregnancy hormones/PMT

 

There are even more things but they are kind of unique to me. These were some of my more general ones.

This list will be useful to you as in the future when these events happen you will know your risk is higher than it normally is and you will be able to employ countermeasures. I will talk about this in a future post.