I want you back…

Dear life,

I miss you! I miss the silliness, the spontaneity, the laughter, the joy in the existence, the wonder and beauty of the smallest things. Please come back to me.

Sincerely,

Me

xxx

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Striking a balance…

I have reached the conclusion that mood stabilisers and anti-psychotics are not for me.

Over the years, my consultants have always been amazed at how sensitive I am to medication (I am often floored by a mere paediatric dose) There is a good chance that this could be ASD-related as apparently that’s pretty common too…

Several months ago my anxiety was so high that I had stumbled over into mania – my mind was working at a million miles an hour and I was taking stress after stress in my stride while everyone around my questioned, “How is she still smiling?” At that point, Quetiapine was a God-send. It took the edge of my vibrating thoughts which made my head hum in the middle of the night. That excess energy finally mellowed and I’d find my self enveloped in a cloudy loveliness each night as I’d drag myself sleepily up the stairs to bed.

The mania passed and I stopped the quetiapine. It had served its purpose.

Fast-forward to now. The midst of a cloudy, Black depression. The will to live has gone. I simply wish to cease existing.

Every winter this happens. Every year a little worse that the year before. Sadly the experience doesn’t seem to help, only suck me lower in the knowledge that this dark fucker ain’t leaving me alone any winter soon…

My consultant tells me I need more than just an antidepressant. That someone with Type 1 Bipolar needs a cocktail of meds in order to contain the evil motherfucker. I agree, in theory. Yet in reality, not so much.

For the past couple of weeks I have taken my quetiapine as instructed, just before bed and have fallen into a restful slumber. However, every morning I wake with a tight chest, fear of leaving the house and unable to think my way through the simplest of tasks.

The other night, I forgot to take it. It triggered hypomania which although feeling fabulous, is no way to combat the fucker. It was clear that I needed to sleep but I feared that lovely ‘alive’ buzzy feeling would be replaced with the black fog the moment I took the quetiapine again.

And so I skipped the dose again and replaced with a pill from my emergency stash of Lorazepam. I fell asleep and the edge was taken off my hypomania buzz and I woke in the morning feeling brighter than I had in days.

So now I ponder, is the quetiapine making my anxiety worse? Is a medication which was so helpful at knocking mania out of the park last year, the cause behind my worsening depression and anxiety?

I hate meddling with my medication and doses but here an ‘emergency’ appointment can take a month or so to get. I don’t have weeks to waste before seeing someone again.

Is it just coincidence? I have started keeping a diary stating what I have taken each night and the state I wake in each morning. Hopefully a pattern will begin to emerge and I can get back to living sometime soon.

Fuck this illness.

Skipped

Fuck this disorder. I don’t know whether I’m coming or going! Last night I forgot to take my quetiapine dose. I didn’t sleep a wink. I literally tossed and turned all night. I figured there was no point taking it in the middle of the night as I needed to be up early with the kiddo.

This morning the tightness in my chest isn’t there and I don’t feel quite so massively overwhelmed as I have recently. But why? Is it the missed dose or has the lack of sleep merely triggered a little hypomania?

Fuck sake! 😩

Blank.

It’s not enough that a bipolar episode can rob you of your joy, spirit and humour. This alone makes functioning hard enough but at times the little bastard destroys cognitive functioning too.

I have been unable to work for weeks. Just the thought of getting out my laptop, firing it up and cracking on with the numerous tasks necessary in order to be prepared to teach, draws a great big, fat blank.

It is as though my brain has been replaced with a dark fog that prevents me from recalling, processing and initiating any form of function above the bare basics.

Someone whose brain usually runs at a hundred miles an hour, multi-tasking and working 4 jobs is currently ticking along like an old clock submerged in treacle.

My doctor just told me I need to “Rush more slowly at getting better!”

Ugh, but life doesn’t stop when I do. I accept that I’m ill and cannot fulfil my responsibilities at the moment but I also fear the fallout and having to pick up the pieces when I am able to return to life.

Ugh.

Whipped

The man walks with purpose to the small round table and tucks his gangly frame into the bistro chair.

He places a large milky drink down onto the sticky table top, having swooped in before the lacklustre barista could spray and wipe between customers.

The large chunky trademark Starbucks mug is heaped with cream piled high and swirled with caramel drizzle. What sits beneath? Who knows? Caramel latte? Double espresso cappuccino? Chai latte with a twist.

The cup contents is irrelevant. The action is happening up top.

The man, who looks like a discount store version of a weathered Ryan Reynolds, pushes up his sleeves with purpose. His black work sweater baring a company brand. His black trousers and work boots clean and non-descript.

He reaches to the left of his cup and picks up the clear cellophane package of chewy caramel waffles. With a swift movement the package is ripped in two, its contents released.

He snatches up the waffle and bends it precisely in two, the baked treat splitting with a soft sound. He looks at it with satisfaction and spoons it into the plume of cream before popping it into his mouth with satisfaction.

With practised dexterity, each of the caramel waffles are bent, halved and used to swoop the cream from receptacle to his serious, thin-lipped mouth. It is a fine art. Each of the 3 caramel waffles are broken and shared into the exact amount required to remove all traces of cream from the top of this mystery beverage. Not a pillow is wasted, nor spilled; each near-miss expertly manoeuvred until the pillowy cream peaks are sat safely atop their waffley rafts.

He takes a large gulp from his beverage, looking blankly ahead of him, oblivious to the small toddler gazing at him from his mother’s shoulders. He pays no attention to the middle-aged couple who are dressed way younger than their years and watching something on their phones with the volume turned up high enough for the entire coffee shop to hear. They are old enough to know better but laugh obliviously and keep their heads together as the tinny sound irritates fellow caffeine consumers.

But not him.

He doesn’t even notice the fat and fluffy flakes of snow that patter against the window pane to his immediate right. This weather so unusual, yet worth none of his attention in comparison to this blissful beverage retreat.

In 4 large gulps he has drained his pristine cup, the entire process taking just 9 minutes.

He clutches at the mermaid-emblazoned napkin, wipes at his clean-shaven mouth, dabbing at his lips before scrunching it into a tight ball and slam-dunking it into the now empty mug.

With a scrape of metal on tile, it is over. The floppy-haired weekend staff member lopes over, plonking the still-warm cup and cellophane noisily into his clearing tray, giving the table a swift once-over as it awaits its next eager occupant.

Overwhelmed

So here we are again. The January blackness has wrapped its arms around me like an old, trusted friend.

But this is a friend I don’t want. I don’t need this kind of company – it’s vastness looming above me, hands on my shoulders, relentless pressure as I sink, sink, sink.

Like a broken record, the seasons turn and here the needle slips, knocking me off course and off my feet, scrambling to find my footing as life keeps happening and I frantically scurry to catch up and maintain a better grip this time.

I feel like such a cliche. “Here she goes again…” my colleagues roll their eyes and mutter that, “we’re all stressed.”

I hate it. I hate that this fucking blackness follows me around like a curse that can’t be shifted. In the good months, I embrace my disorder, see it almost as a blessing as it allows me to view things in a different way.

What a fucking idiot. This is no blessing. Bipolar disorder is a bitch and I want it gone. I know that I am lucky and have a good life but this leech sucks the joy from me, leaving me with just a shell and longing to just close my eyes and make it all just…

stop.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

…Until it isn’t.

I absolutely love Christmas! The tradition, the cosiness, the festivity.

And then bam it’s gone; it’s the 26th and it’s all downhill from there.

I literally despise this time of year. I have not left the house since the festivities ended. I am blank and grey and empty.

It is the one time of year that I look forward to so much – the anticipation, the preparation which never quite goes to plan.

The 25th is always such a huge anti-climax but the 24th? Oh the 24th is a magical time because there’s still the hope of something wonderful!

Is it any wonder that the festive period begins shortly after Halloween these days? The world can be a stressful and dark place – we live at a pace that many are not cut out for. No wonder we embrace the magic of Christmas way ahead of the day. We look forward to the season of tradition and goodwill. A time of joy and laughter spent with our nearest and dearest.

Yet we know the truth. We know that our lives aren’t like that of a TV commercial or magazine shoot, yet still we hope, we dream that maybe, just maybe…

And in a flash it’s over. The endless bleak months of winter lay ahead with nothing to look forward to, other than the hope of a rare snow-day.

Will 2018 be a repeat of all that have come before? Or will 2018 be the year I’ve been waiting for?