So there I was, happily plodding on, content may even have been a word that would have described me, and then it came at me again.
I feel like an utter fool. While I was blogging away about how much better I was and how thoughts of suicide are far from my mind, a storm of the sad sort was brewing.
It started yesterday, slowly at first, just waves of discontent, despite nothing around me having visibly changed. I did my best to ignore it, after all it was my birthday, and who wants to be miserable then?
Then today it hit me, came crashing down like a badly tuned drum kit. I have been trying to fight it all day but there were moments when I would find myself staring into space or stopping at the top of the stairs unable to go down for longer than I would care to admit.
The truth of the matter is that I feel ugly, useless and utterly hopeless and it feels as though there is nothing I can do to change the way that I feel or the way that I am. Come Saturday there is to be a celebration of my birthday but at the moment all I can think is what is there to celebrate?
I’m nearly 30-years-old and I still can’t get a handle on my own mental health. It has eaten away at large chunks of my adult life, and when I’ve been ill I have been mean, obnoxious and utterly foolish, to name but a few.
Perhaps tomorrow I will feel differently, perhaps tomorrow I’ll be able to respond more positively to my mother when she talks about the importance of loving life, but for the moment I feel sad, fed up and utterly alone with what I fear is fast becoming yet another period of depression.
As I near my 29th birthday, I find myself feeling rather reflective. Over the last ten years I have tried to kill myself four times and although it may be stating the obvious, if I had managed to do so, I wouldn’t be sat here today, writing this and telling this tale.
In the past I have always believed that I would never live long enough to get married, have children or even grow grey. I believed that I would take my own life, that ill health or the natural process of growing older would ever have the chance to take away my last breath.
Now though I am not so sure. As I approach the day on which I celebrate my birth, I find myself thinking, albeit rather morbidly, about death. In the past, assuming I would die young, I have always spoken to the boy about how my funeral would be. I have chosen songs, hymns and even prayers that I felt I would like had I been alive to see it.
Sitting here now, I realise that maybe the time where my life would end after a rash swallowing of pills and the downing of any alcohol available may have come to an end. It has been more than a year since I have fully succumbed to the depths of depression and although there has been blips, isn’t there always, I’ve never quite given up as before.
A couple of weeks ago after a difficult week I found myself however back in that place. I found myself pressing the sleeping pills out of the packet one by one and preparing to down them all. Unlike in the past however, there was something that stopped me seeing it through. I called my mother in tears and I called the boy and before I had a chance to think about it further my brother was at the door ready to take over the situation that risked rolling out of control.
The difference is these days, apart from freaking out about wrinkles and worrying about not being able to wear nineties fashion, I don’t mind the passage of time so much. I look forward now to friend’s birthday parties, to becoming a God mother and one day even maybe a mother.
I may still have bipolar, I may still have blips, but I am loving life again and because of this I have no more time to devote to wondering whether my mourners will wear black or brights.
The signal goes out, the train doors close, I try to force myself to get up, to get off the train but I can’t and before I know it, within the blink of an eye, I’m gone and he’s still there.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. A desperate goodbye, a half hearted wave and a choked back tear. I was meant to be, well, normal. Able to say goodbye without succumbing to utter and complete sadness.
It started this morning when I woke up. It was there in the background as I tried to shake it off with a shower, it was there, lurking at the back of my mind and now, well now it’s here.
The depression has returned and as always I am failing to understand where or why it has come from.
As the day goes on it gets worse. I try to distract myself by immersing my mind in a show, in a drama that is not my own, but it doesn’t work. I keep thinking about what a dreadful person I am, how ugly, how much of a failure.
I read a magazine, again in search of escape and distraction, but it only serves to remind me of how disgusting I am and just how fat I feel.
The day gets worse and by the afternoon I find myself staring into space ruminating on everything that’s wrong. I feel unable to think of anything that’s right in my life and the dark thoughts start cascading into my cranium, filling me with nothing but desires for an end and for escape.
I want to run away but I don’t know where to go. I end up sobbing in desperation in the arms of the boy who struggles to understand what’s wrong but who knows enough of this illness now not to ask.
I crave sleep and after what feels like forever I drift off away from the tears only to wake shortly after gripped by anxiety. The thought of my train home is not something I can handle and the tears come again. I feel sick at the thought of it and don’t know how I’ll be able to travel in this state.
But we go to the station and I get on the train and i get home and now i sit here alone, and so miserable I could cry. And I do.
I like to think that things are stable nowadays and that there will be no more dark days or manic highs. I like to think that nobody else will have to suffer the worry and upset of what goes on when I go into a high, I like to think that I will make no more attempts on my own life and that life will be full of blooms and full of roses. I worry though because the stability is fading and the worry is starting again and I fear that I feel the high start to take flight once more.
It starts with the sleep. Already I have more energy, so much more that even when I go to bed late I find myself waking way before I should, already tuned for the day.
The spending has started to increase. All my plans of saving for a holiday went out the window the other day when I walked into Monsoon in my lunch break and bought clothes that I do not need. And I can take them back I know but it’s not just that. It’s what I bought and the strange reasons I bought it. In my mind one top I bought was to be my dinner party hostess top. Now this is odd because nearly one year on and I’m yet to hold a dinner party in my new home.
The talking is another thing that worries me and that I know worries others as well. I get carried away and say stupid things. I prattle on at the boy who I fear has had enough of listening to me getting all enthusiastic about a tin of paint.
What I’m getting at here is that I do not feel well anymore and it’s terrifying because it has been so long since this has happened. I thought that lithium suited me, that it would be a miracle drug but my expectations were so high that I forgot to listen to warnings that there would still be mood fluctuation. I’m paranoid and I worry about everything and it is so exhausting.
I feel lost and I feel alone, and I have no idea of how to stop the high that feels like a racing heat in my head.
After speaking to friends, family and the boy I have made a decision about the shoe project. I had wanted to start it up again and with all the energy I had just a few weeks ago it may well have been possible.
The truth of it is however that at the moment my mood is still fluctuating and although there are more good days than bad I worry that any added pressure might lead to another episode.
It is with this in mind that I have decided to put the shoe project on hold for now. It may be that I am able to pick it up again next year or maybe think of something more simple in the meanwhile. Whatever I do I know that at the moment it’s just not the right time.
I could look at this as a failure and in many ways it is but I also see it as being more about me learning to manage my illness. Bipolar is I think a complicated illness and there is still a lot I need to learn about how to live with it without letting it become all there is about me.
I still want to keep blogging but the posts for the time being will be missing pictures of me showing off shoes. I hope dear reader you can understand.
I awoke moments ago feeling sick and just oh so sad. I feel over-medicated and frustrated that I can feel the depression creeping in again.
There are now three different mood stabilisers that I have to take every day. As well as the lithium, there is the aripiprizole and a relatively new addition to the mix, lamotrigine.
I look back to last year when I spent six wonderful weeks drug free and find myself wondering about chucking all the pills away. I remember however what happened after the six weeks – the suicidal thoughts, the coming of the crisis team and the tears which I thought would never end.
The truth of the matter is that I am sick of being bipolar. I have gone from not even knowing what it is or how to spell it to being it. Nearly two years after a full diagnosis I worry I am no wiser about how to handle it or no more at peace with having it.
I want to go back to being me but I no longer even know what that is. I think of the endless examples of odd behaviour and foolish acts and I cringe at what I was but find myself not wanting to be this.
In the past my strategy for dealing with a low was quite simple. Take the drugs, take to bed and take comfort in the fantasy world of the morbid Harry Potter and his long-suffering pals.
By the time I noticed the low I was usually so far gone that I didn’t have the energy to fight it by any other means than sheer escapism. I think that even if I had had the energy to fight I had no idea of how.
Although my most recent depression rendered me a mere ghost of myself for seven weeks, it was only for seven weeks. In the past I have lost months of my life to this damned illness and to think that maybe this time it was what I did that helped the medication along gives me great hope because it means that maybe I can manage it.
Maybe it means that I won’t always succumb to the dark clouds and maybe I do now understand what my dad was talking about all those years and all those lows ago when he said, “Darling you have to fight it. You have to because every day that you don’t is a day that you’ve lost.”
I don’t want to lose any more days.
When I first got ill, a long time ago, I never really knew that there was anyone who could help. Typically I would shy away from the world, hide in bed and hope and pray that the world would end. These were the days before I’d even started to consider suicide an option and as such the end of existence seemed the only real possible way for there to be an end in sight to my darkest of days.
Today is a real case in point that when you are down you do not have to suffer alone. The last few days have been tough and I nearly missed my appointment with the CPN at lunchtime because I was back to thinking there was nothing at all to be done for me.
In the end I forced myself to go and it was well worth it. In some ways we both concluded my latest glum glum could simply be a case of post-holiday blues and spending too much time alone with my thoughts.
To deal with it rather than hiding away I am going to try taking positive forward steps. For a start I am going to come off that which I cannot pronounce. It’s a mood stabiliser but it is making me too dopey at night and sometimes in the morning too and beside it’s not much fun taking a drug one cannot pronounce.
The second thing I will be doing is trying to be nicer to myself. Rather than berating myself for being consistently crap I am going to instead try to do the things that I enjoy. I am going to try taking up hockey, get my nails done and try to start exercising again.
I feel that the try word is important here as I find that sometimes putting any pressure on oneself can lead to the dreaded fail. Failure is like fuel to fire for someone in the middle of a depression.
Although today has been another down day I feel that I have dodged a bullet thanks to the help and advice of the CPN. It just goes to show that if you an summon the strength to ask for help there is always someone there ready and waiting to give it to you. All you must do is ask.
I am finding things tough at the moment. I am tearful and cry at everything from Come Dine With Me, don’t ask, to One Born Every Minute. I am seeing my CPN tomorrow and in many ways the visit feels long overdue. I do not know why I am feeling so down. Things are good, they really are but here I am sad and blue not really knowing what to do.
A visit to the CPN always helps because I get a chance to offload and work out a plan for how I’m going to deal with life generally. At the moment things are tricky because the boy is not here and my parents are in Ireland so I have far too much time alone with my thoughts.
The one thing that really sticks out is the moment is my lack of a regular photographer. When I did the 365 Dresses project my mum and the boy were regular snappers and it became part of the fun of the blog and made sure that even when I was down I still had to make the effort to smile. The boy is always full of advice about how smiling, even when you don’t feel like it, is great as it releases endorphins.
When he tells me this when all I want to do is run away and cry .I want to yell at him but I’m usually just to low to summon the strength to do so.
Today saw good progress in terms of footwear. Four days in I have mastered the art of these heels and no longer waddle but stride on my way to the office. Although I am getting the hang of the courts I could have hugged the estate agent when he offered me a lift to the second viewing. As soon as I got home I slipped my purple tights into my silky red slip on shoes and heard my toes breathe a sigh of relief.
The photos will be taken tomorrow as I am too low and too tired to put on a show, even in front of a mirror.
Despite having a lovely day with my brother and sister I am very aware that the beginnings of another depression are creeping up on me. As always I find myself trying to work out why it has come back. I am a dreadful scientist and although the Docs have told me time and time again that it has as much to do with a ‘chemical reaction in my brain due to a biological malfunction’ or some such thing I still look outward for the cause.
Perhaps I have been having too much fun of late, or maybe it is this cold that I can’t shake or the fact that I feel rather under pressure. I don’t know what it is but I find myself tearful and full of self loathing. My figure feels too full and my eyes too prone to water and generally it just kind of sucks.
I am trying to subscribe to the American way of being and think positive but it is hard and I am scared. My last high which started in October was pretty severe and according to my medical history and the famous law of what goes up must come down I cannot help but worry that this next low will be colossal.
The reason I acknowledge it here and now is that I do not want people to get the wrong idea about the nature of my illness. For those of you who are new to the blog I must admit that the lows can be quite significant and at times crippling to everything I do including friendships, work and life generally.
I am doing as far as I can see everything right. I am taking my tablets, getting plenty of sleep and seeing friends and family as often as I can. As well as having a new project to put my energy into I have even taken to eating healthily and having herbal teas, health supplements and warm baths. My only remaining vice, well more or less, is my temporary nicotine addiction and that will pass as it always does.
Fingers crossed I am just worrying without cause and tomorrow will be a brighter day. The shoes have helped in that those I have been wearing for the main part of the day are bright but comfortable without resorting to sweaty Ugg inspired slippers. I spent the most part of the day with my big sis who bought me them and according to her partner they were seen a few months ago on Dragons Den. Wearing them made a walk to the shops a hell of a lot easier but the outfit demanded heels and so they came out to play too although in the mood I’m in today the lower of the two seemed more appropriate.
Look out tomorrow for pictures of the pairs.