Back on the air!

Hello everyone,

Well its been almost two years and three months since I’ve posted anything. OMG!

Last time around I was under heavy stress with a failed summer romance and study.

Now I have neither on my plate and for the last two years, I have been keeping to myself and living in a bubble.

That is both good and bad.

Good for the fact that I don’t have much stress in my life (money matters aside), and my Bipolar has thanked me for the lack of stress. My medication regime is settled and I am sleeping and eating well. I’m not exercising as much though and for this I have payed in the weight department. Fair to say I could drop 15-20kgs at a minimum.

The bad side is that I am terribly unfulfilled. My life is lacking purpose and direction and I am becoming increasingly restless due to the fact. I have a volunteer role moderating a chat room that I’ve been doing for almost 15 months now. This fills in a few hours in the afternoon, however there is still a void. An area of my life I would like to change.

I have also had multiple failed attempts to quit smoking. Due to a lack of money, I am forced to go without, however when I do receive my pension, my first purchase is a pack of cigarettes and I feel genuine guilt about that.

Perhaps I might use the re ignition of this blog to try and drum up some support to quit and stay that way.

Perhaps.

As far as being fulfilled goes, there are a couple of ideas I have been floating around in my head. One is start my own forum board with an emphasis on mental health, covering areas such as Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar, Schizophrenia, Borderline Personality Disorder and Eating disorders just to name a few. The idea is to build a community where people with a mental illness can come together and forge friendships to make the day to day grind a little more bearable. An extension to this would be the integration of a few moderated chat rooms to help build and maintain the community. I know these aren’t exactly original ideas, however I am yet to find a forum board that has flash based chat software integrated to it.

To achieve this, I would need to raise some funds and I am still working on ideas to raise the necessary funds for this to work, and how much exactly would need to be raised.

So that just about does it for now. It’s nice to be blogging again and I would sincerely appreciate some feedback on all matters mentioned above.

Peace to you all!

Alone again. Naturally.

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It happened and I could see it coming. The person I had started seeing in January ended it on Friday. I’m in a world of pain at the moment, numbed only by the Seroquel I am taking as a PRN during the day. My head is fuzzy and I have this sick feeling in my stomach.

Bipolar has robbed me of yet another opportunity. I am at the end of my rope. I simply do not know what to do right now. My confidence is zero. I am depressed and all I want to do is sleep.

I am trying to keep my anxiety under control and Seroquel is helping with this, but I am very sad and completely demoralized.

I don’t want this blog to be an ongoing sob story, but I don’t know what else to write. I am still suicidal with my thinking. I just feel like I’m out of options. I have crumbled under the pressure of trying to study. I’ll be lucky if I survive the semester without failing both subjects. My psychiatrist is helping me with this and I have now registered with the university’s disability service. Either way, it doesn’t look like I will be returning to study anytime soon. I was also aiming to engage with a Disability Employment service in the near future, however I don’t have any confidence to pursue this avenue right now.

I just want some peace. This illness is consuming me in a way where I feel like I’m drowning and there is nobody to help pull me up. My next appointment with my psychiatrist is on Thursday. At least there’s that. For now I am just trying to survive each day without things escalating in intensity. My life feels so meaningless at the moment. I’m hanging on for dear life, hoping that I can come through this. I need to find the strength to feel better about myself and life in general again.

Right now, I’m flat and defeated.

In a Dark Place – Trigger Warning

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I need to write. I need to get it all out because right now I’m not in a good place. In fact, I am in a very dark place and I feel sick to my stomach over it. I’m anxious, depressed and suicidal. My symptoms are really serving it up at the moment and I do not know what to do. I’ve thought about calling a crisis team or presenting myself to an emergency department, but I do not want to end up in hospital. All I can see is dark times ahead. No light whatsoever. All I want to do is sleep. The intensity of what I am feeling right now is oh so painful. I’ve all but lost my battle with trying to keep up with my studies. My new relationship is also on shaky ground. A few weeks ago I was absolutely fine. I was happy and focused and optimistic. Someone had come into my life and I felt ‘blessed’. Why do these symptoms come from almost nowhere and wreak so much havoc? Bipolar has already cost me so much in terms of lost livelihood, time lost due to episodes, and time lost due to trying to find the right medication combination. When I came off Pristiq just prior to Christmas, it was as if a minor miracle had happened. My sleep pattern went from abnormal to normal almost overnight. My energy was good and best of all, my anxiety had all but disappeared. So all was going really well for a little while there. I thought I had come out of an abyss and things were finally start to turn in the right direction. That was until a couple of weeks ago when my anxiety returned with vengeance. I was throwing up and when there was nothing more to come up, I would dry reach. After a week of this, I was completely exhausted. On Thursday I spent the entire day in bed with no energy and no motivation. I got to speak to my psychiatrist on Friday and he advised me to increase my overnight Seroquel to 100mg or even 200mg if that didn’t do the trick. So my anxiety subsided from Thurday when I resorted to taking Seroquel as a PRN. Today, despite having taken 100mg on Friday night and 200mg on Saturday night, I am a mix of anxious, bombed from the Seroquel and suicidal with my thinking. Seriously, how much can one person take?

I am reaching out to the blogosphere for support. I am not active on any psych forums at the moment so I am reluctant to post my concerns there. 

In my heart of hearts I know that I am not up to academic study. I’ve tried but I am not enjoying it and I am not coping with the workload. I simply cannot see myself being in it for the long haul. Stress has been the trigger of this latest episode and I know that being Bipolar, stress is something to be avoided or minimized. I don’t have anything to prove. I would like to do something with my life that is Bipolar friendly but I have no idea what that is as yet. Assuming I drop my uni course, it is something I will need to put some work into. Having suicidal thoughts because I feel hopeless and inadequate in the wake of having Bipolar is why I am writing this post. I don’t want to die and I shouldn’t have to feel like this. I thought doing two subjects was a safe call, but even with that workload, I am still struggling.

In regards to the person that I have recently started seeing, I am fearful that I will lose her because of my illness and this has my heart in a million pieces at the moment. I really like this person. She is understanding of the fact that I am Bipolar and isn’t bothered that I am not well off financially. She reassures me that she likes me for who I am. But the state I was in yesterday did freak her out and made her uncomfortable. She had come to stay with me for the weekend, however ended up leaving yesterday afternoon which made me feel 10 x worse. This type of scenario is exactly what scares me most. It is not my intention to make anybody uncomfortable because of my symptoms. I hate feeling this unwell and it’s during times like this that I question what’s actually worth it when it comes to stress and Bipolar. I want to do something with my life but it has to fit within the limits that Bipolar sets. I wish life didn’t have to be like this and I want so much more, but the reality is that I suffer from a chronic mood disorder and there are limitations that come with that.

I feel a little better for typing out my thoughts. It’s better than having them swirl around in my head and consume me 24/7.

Thanks for reading if you have made it this far. I really do need your support right now.

This is a great advertisement that helps reduce the stigma of having a mental illness. It would be great to see a campaign like this go to air in Australia.

Bipolar, Employed & STILL Lost

I wish there were commercials like this everywhere! If there were commercials like this in the U.S., I think people wouldn’t have a problem talking about it. Can you imagine having a mental illness and you can go out with your friends and discuss it openly, freely. The worst part about the stigma is that I have to pretend to be someone when I’m not. I have to pretend to be happy and fun, when all I want to do it cry and hide. This is the beginning of a movement, to let people know its okay to have this or that. It’s okay. Pass this along! Thanks Depressed Pessimist.

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Blog for Mental Health 2013

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I pledge my commitment to the Blog For Mental Health 2013 Project.  I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others.  By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health.  I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.

I am linking this pledge back to A Canvas Of The Minds for giving me the inspiration to get on board with this wonderful initiative.

I was diagnosed with Bipolar in 2006 at age 29. This came after years of knowing something was not right despite only being treated for Depression. It took a major manic episode and five weeks of hospitalization to receive a diagnosis. I continue to struggle with this disorder and some days are more difficult than others. I have just commenced a Bachelor of Psychology as I continue to try and rise up against this illness. I have been on Disability since mid 2011 and would one day like to be able to re-enter the workforce in some capacity. For now I am comfortable (albeit barely) with my studies, however would like to be well enough to take on some part-time work, hopefully in a community based role assisting people with disabilities. Bipolar can be a cruel and isolating existence, however I do take comfort in knowing that I am not alone and there are wonderful people out there who are fighting the same battles and doing well under less than ideal circumstances.

Blogging has given me a voice about my illness and I am grateful for the people that I connect with and able to touch through my writing. It is my hope that I can ride through the symptoms and episodes and try to help others along the way.

By taking this pledge I am committing to the fight to raise awareness for those affected by mental illness. I hope to reach more people and spread the word as my blog continues to evolve. I am also advocating for people with mental illness and their carers as part of this pledge.

In pledging five other bloggers, I would like to pay particular attention to the following bloggers:

Am I Nuts?

Bipolar 2 Dad

Weathering The Storm: Overcoming Bipolar Disorder

…on becoming a counsellor

and last but definitely not least:

All that I am, all that I ever was…Hope to see you back soon Addy!

I look forward to continuing to share my experiences as well as my ups and downs. On a personal note, I am at the closing stages of the semester with my studies. This blog will continue to remain quiet over the coming weeks, however, when I have a chance to breathe again, I look forward to posting an update on everything that’s been happening at Bipolar Beach.

Sending lots of love and support to everyone involved with this Blog and the readers who randomly stop by.

Be well and stay safe!

New Year – New Challenges

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I’m anxious and have been for a few days now. Six days into the new year and already I find myself overwhelmed. I am scared about what may come and what I need to to do keep myself afloat. The objective is not just to survive, it is to try and thrive and ultimately move forward. There is no room for another relapse – an extended period of time where I can only take on very little and walk alongside the edge of a cliff – metaphorically speaking – in fear of falling off and sustaining semi or permanent damage. The questions that surround certain challenges are becoming muddled in my mind. Will I have to find somewhere else to live? (my lease is about to expire and I have no word as to whether it will be extended as yet). Will I make it through my studies? (I have commence a BA in Psychology and doing two subjects per semester. It will be during late 2015 when I complete my studies, at that pace and I will be 38 by then. The age factor doesn’t overly bother me though). Will I have enough money to survive? (I am on Disability and the little savings I do have is slowly starting to dwindle). In identifying a need to go back to work which has potential benefits aside from money such as self esteem and a sense of contribution, will I be able to absorb the stress and anxiety that Bipolar can serve up. Life is full of stress but those of us who fall in the hyper-sensitive category can receive a BIG “Fuck You!” from Bipolar, when this stress becomes even remotely toxic? This is what I am most anxious about. Buckling under the stress and experiencing a relapse. My history is riddled with these events and after my last breakdown in early 2011, I swore never to go down that path again. And yet, here I am at the beginning of 2013, inviting stress back into my life with the risk of it all becoming too much again. Study aside, given that my motivation is mostly financial, it is a ‘suck it up and see’ scenario, however I do need to be mindful of the things that may put me in troubled waters and potentially cause another relapse.

I mentioned the financial motivation that is driving me at the present time. The much bigger driving force is the opportunity to have a better life despite having a chronic mood disorder. We all want a better life. There is no doubt about that. The sacrifices we must make in order to further this pursuit need to be weighed and measured. I found out during 2012 that despite all that’s happened with bipolar and the stop-start nature that makes up most of my adult life thus far, 35 years of age is far too early in the piece to throw in the towel and say “I’m done!”. Time out is fine, whether that equals weeks, months or even years, despite the pain and heartache these disruptions in life can yield. I have heard that the severity of these breakdowns get worse as we age. Physiologically that may be the case, however there is wisdom acquired that in my opinion, leaves you in a much better place to handle future challenges. The lessons that we must learn to gain this wisdom are harsh, no question there. But you do learn more about yourself and depending on what stage of life you are at, whether you’re in early or middle adulthood, you learn and come to know what works and what doesn’t work for you. That’s the most important thing. Especially when life is further complicated by mental illness. Knowing what your limits are and carrying yourself with these limits in mind. But is there scope to push the boundaries and challenge oneself to rise above the adversity of having a mental illness? Absolutely! However in doing so, especially with something as complex as a mood disorder, past trial and error needs to be taken into consideration.

Ignore excess stress at your peril.

I have recently met somebody who I really like and these feelings go both ways. If you have read any of my previous posts, you will have a gotten a sense of how lonely and isolated I have been in the past twelve months. I am agnostic at best, but I prayed for someone to come into my life and my prayers have now been answered. But this is no walk into the sunset and roll the credits type of scenario. It’s scary, but it beats feeling completely alone. There is someone out there that likes me just the way I am and cares about me – and vice versa. There is no facade and everything has been put on the table including Bipolar. I am scared though that I will eventually stuff it all up. This is another reason why my illness cannot majorly interfere, however, open communication will be crucial with the realization that ongoing symptoms are a reality.

So here we are. A new year is barely under way and already there are challenges that await. My life is different. My mindset is different. Yet there is an underlying fear and lack of confidence that positive change may not be sustainable. I like the term ‘it’s a marathon – not a sprint’. Despite the fear, despite the anxiety, each day needs to be a small step in the right direction. There needs to be time for rest and time to switch off with the knowledge and faith that things are moving forward at a comfortable pace.

2013: What will the new year bring?

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So another year comes to a close. Goodbye and good riddance I say. I think it’s only natural to be reflective at this time of year. Reflective of the things that have caused pain, brought pleasure, achievements, losses, tragedies and new arrivals.

But just because the clock turns midnight and signals the beginning of a new year, it doesn’t mean that some magic spell has been cast and everything we wish for and desire will miraculously come to fruition. At least not straight away. Having said that, there is no harm in hoping and there is no harm in feeling a sense of optimism that despite what may have occurred during the previous year, things can and will improve throughout the new year.

My 2012 In Review:

2012 is ending in similar fashion to the way it began. Despite the fact that I am still alone, this year I am feeling slightly better about that compared to this time last year. Maybe it’s because I have found somewhat of a happy-medium when it comes to my medications. In early January I was absolutely fed up with feeling anxious and depressed most of the time. I was sick of functioning poorly and I desperately wanted things to change before they got out of control again. If you you would’ve told me that it would take most of the year to find the right combination, the likely reply you would’ve got from me, would be “Fuck that!”. I know full well that in reality it can take people much longer to get their med combo right, but seriously – one year? Mostly dedicated to trying to handle unwanted side effects, becoming depressed to the point where suicidal ideation intrudes my thinking. No thank you! But you know what, I have survived and I’m grateful that I did. I have come out of the darkness and into the light once again and believe me when I say that I am in no hurry to go back there anytime soon.

A small point on Suicide. In previous posts I have stated that I do not believe in Suicide, but that’s not to say that I haven’t thought about it. There have been times where these type of thoughts have gotten so intense, to the point where I think there is no other option and it ends up absolutely scaring the crap out of me. It is NOT how I want my life to end and no matter how dark things may get, there are always avenues to get past these uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. I am yet to call a crisis line or check into an emergency department, however I have made use of online resources such as mental health forums to seek out support and understanding. Taking anti-anxiety medication or simply sleeping it off has also been enough to lift that sort of intensity. But enough about that.

Despite having a lonely and isolated year, I have persevered and would like to think I have come out on top despite the ugly circumstances of having my Bipolar run rampant and making life almost unbearable at times. I think a small turning point came when I started this blog. Having an outlet to express myself and talk about how Bipolar affects me has been a positive experience. Receiving likes, comments and knowing that your voice actually reaches somebody has been very rewarding. Equally, reading and commenting on other blogs has also been a rewarding experience. There are some amazing people and stories out there and the blogosphere is a wonderful opportunity for people to be heard and connect. It doesn’t matter if your post is 200 or 1200 words in length, everything is valid and has a place.

The other positive which came later in the year was returning back to university study. Having a sense of purpose once again has done wonders for my mental health. Naturally there is some stress with studying and there is also some self doubt as to whether I can actually complete my Bachelors, but I am taking it one semester at a time. The end goal is firmly in mind, but I cannot afford to look too far ahead. I think I am on the right path and I believe in being an advocate for those who suffer from a mental illness. I believe that is my purpose in life. There was a brief time when I was a psych nurse where despite the stress of being in such a role, I had a sense of purpose and fulfillment I had never felt before. I was devastated when I became unwell again and had to give this up, but the issues that surrounded this time make sense with the benefit of hindsight. I only wish that I had handled things a lot better and didn’t find myself in a situation where I had to start from zero once again. They say that everything happens for a reason and I am now at the stage where I have made peace with the past and happy to look forward to the future.

And that’s where this time of year provides something unique, unlike any other time of the year. There is a chance to start over with a clean sleight. A chance to bury what’s happened in the past. A chance to feel positive about the future once again.

I am grateful to have a roof over my head and I am grateful for the people I have in my life. I don’t have many friends, but I know that the people in my life care about me. I care about them too. This includes the people I have come to know online through this blog and via forums.

The voids in my life are something that I need not rush or try to force any change. It will all happen in good time. This is my path in life and whilst it’s far from how I would like things to be, that’s not to say it is too late for things like falling in love again and starting a family. If there is one thing I do know, nothing matters unless there are people to share things with. It has taken extended periods of loneliness and isolation to realize this. You can have the best job in the world and yet feel completely empty when there is nobody to come home to. You can have all the peace and quiet you want, yet the silence becomes deafening and you wish someone was there. It’s no fun going through life alone and everybody needs someone. As much as they may not like to admit it.

So what will 2013 bring?

Oh who the bloody hell knows? And don’t even get me started on new years resolutions. Stop smoking, eat less crap, go to the gym. Blah Blah Blah!

This time if year is stressful enough, without the added pressure of trying to completely change into something I am not and subsequently spending January and February feeling like shit because I haven’t been able to live up to these expectations. Not for me sorry!

What I do vow is to keep things simple and try to find a balance between normal stress (which is part of anybody’s life) and toxic stress that could cause a relapse. I am intent on not going through another winter depression where I hide from the world, am highly anxious and hate myself for it.

I will continue to focus on my studies without being daunted by the big picture. I will invest time into building friendships without feeling the need to have a hundred friends. I will try and give more to the ones that I care about.

I am also keen to return to work in some capacity. Ideally in the field of mental health. I may go back to nursing, but there are a few hurdles I need to jump through to get my registration back. I hope this exercise isn’t too stressful in itself.

When it comes to finding a partner and falling in love again, I am not putting any pressure on myself there either. Establishing a foundation based on friendship, mutual respect and trust is more important than diving in dumb and blind. It is a process that needs to happen naturally and cannot be forced.

Again, it’s nice to be reflective at this time of year and sort through the things that you do and do not want for the new year. The reality is that we will wake up on the first day of the year, exactly the same person we were on the last day of the year. Change should be gradual and realistic but there is nothing wrong with following your heart in order to find what you most desire.

As you reflect on another year passed, whether it was good, bad or indifferent, stay true to yourself in your desires and expectations for 2013. Make sure you’re not someone who is burnt out within the first three months of the year. It is of course a marathon – not a sprint!

Most importantly: Have yourself a good one and I wish everyone a Happy and Safe New Year!

*Thank you for supporting this blog over the past few months and I look forward to more sharing and connecting with fellow bloggers during 2013*

The cricket world today lost a much loved Character. RIP Tony Grieg. Australian summers of cricket will never be the same again.

Journalism Portfolio

English cricketing legend and inaugural member of Channel Nine’s cricket coverage Tony Greig has passed away today aged 66.

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By bipolarbeach Posted in Sport

Christmas: The Aftermath

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OMG! What a head fuck! Christmas has come and gone and unfortunately it wasn’t pretty. Anxiety surrounds the prospect of New Years Eve still to come, but compared to this time last week, I think I’m doing a little better – if only just.

In the week leading up to Christmas, I was busy with writing assignments for University. I had made the conscious decision a few weeks earlier that I would not let the occasion get the better of me – as per my last post before Christmas. I thought I was prepared but I couldn’t have been more wrong.

As a reward for getting my assignments out of the way, I took myself out to see a game of 20/20 Cricket. (Being summer in Australia and thus being Cricket season, its one thing to do if you like sport – especially Cricket) – Anyway…

From the moment I got into town (which is about a 90 minute drive from where I live), I felt like rubbish. I felt so out of place which is a bit unusual as I love going to watch live sport. The game itself was enjoyable but by the time I got home I was exhausted.

I’ve seen a pattern developing recently whereby whenever I go out and do something, I am completely wiped out the following day.

With Christmas only three days away, I found myself sinking again and everything went completely off track. Plans I had for Christmas night went out the window and I decided to just stay away for the sake of myself and everybody else. I didn’t want to subject anybody to any negativity, plain and simple.

On Christmas Eve I decided to cook so I wouldn’t have to worry about cooking on Christmas Day. There was no roast, no turkey, no ham. Just a Greek lasagne dish called Pastitsio. Along with some prawns and plum pudding with custard, that was Christmas lunch/dinner. I was actually doing well on Christmas Eve after falling in a heap over the previous two days. I had coffee with my next door neighbor. She gave me a card and a movie voucher which was really thoughtful and nice. I have since invited her to see Les Miserables with me over the next couple of weeks.

That night, in a highly emotional state, I watched a Christmas movie called ‘Noel‘ and I was in tears most of the way through. I was desperate not to completely breakdown so I let the tears run down my face, but I avoided any full blown crying. On Christmas morning, I had a modest sleep in and felt okay.

For about an hour and then it all went to shit.

My friend who I was supposed to go and see on Christmas night, send me a text message wishing me a Merry Christmas and informed me that his in-laws were not going to be there as originally planned. He said if that changed anything for me, then I should reconsider going there. Initially I completely ruled it out and sent though a reply saying so. Then guilt hit me like a tonne of bricks and I changed my mind. I sent through a text asking him what time he would be home, but unfortunately (and therefore typically if you ask me), I never got a reply. By 8pm that night, having felt like shit for much of the day, I sent a text to him saying “Thanks for making a difficult day even more difficult”. By the next day he sent me reply saying he was sorry for not replying sooner, but that he also didn’t appreciate ‘the dig’. He knew full well I was struggling with the whole occasion, but in typical fashion, his ego was far more important than any pain I was going through. An attempt to clear the air on my part two days ago had all but ended our friendship. He said he was too busy to call me and I called him an Asshole in reply. His response:

“Wow you have really lost the plot. I don’t know why I bother. Enjoy your self absorbed life”

BAM!

Didn’t I feel like a worthless piece of shit after getting that. Add that to the list of things NOT to say to somebody with a mental illness – regardless of whether it’s Christmas or any other time of year. One thing I do know about myself is that I am not self absorbed. People with any form of narcissism really get up my nose, however…

Bipolar IS selfish by nature, but that doesn’t make us selfish people, self involved, self absorbed  or whatever. I know full well what my flaws/personality deficiencies are, whether they are linked to Bipolar or just naturally make up the person that I am. We are all the same in that regard. This is where tolerance, understanding and empathy come into play. Especially at this time of year where there are triggers for some at almost every turn.

To say that I am hurt over a sense of abandonment at this time of year, (particularly when you tell somebody you are struggling, only to fall on deaf ears) is a quiet understatement. Simple words which promote empathy would be a nice start. My friend is obviously far too busy to even make a small amount of time to come and visit me. To see him, I basically have to go to his place 9.5 times out of 10. One way traffic in a friendship/relationship is also one of my pet hates. Okay, I live one hour away, but is a one hour drive really that hard?

The other frustration when it comes to my illness is that he has no real understanding of it. He cares, but he doesn’t get it. The reason why there is a high emphasis on this person is because he is my only support. I have recently met somebody who does understand my illness and isn’t judgmental about it. I really hope that a friendship can blossom as a result, but it’s too early to tell. I’m not one to try and force anything. You simply cannot control other people and that’s reality. A fair one too I might add.

Which brings me back to my friend of 20 plus years.

Yes he doesn’t get my illness. He knows that I have Bipolar amongst other issues, but I don’t think he can really handle these facts. When I’m good, things are fine. We get along great. When I get depressed, I normally shield him from it to protect both parties. I am able to suffer in silence (most of the time), without having to deal with the guilt or humiliation of having symptoms and episodes (mostly depressive ones), exposed to others. Then there are his friends and this is the reason why I cant even go over there on New Years Eve – as much as I would like to under normal circumstances. Similar to Christmas night, it would be nice to not have to subject myself to self imposed isolation. His friends know that I have a mental illness. Unfortunately, they do treat me differently because of this. Therefore I am not comfortable being in that social circle and besides, they are his friends, not mine. I have tried to accept his friends as my own, but the bottom line is that they are just as ignorant as he is and all of it makes me very uncomfortable.

So my plan for new years eve is to simply make it through the day. Hopefully my symptoms won’t be a major factor. Like Christmas night, I will most likely double up on my medications and get an early night. I’ll also have to negotiate new years day, but hopefully by the 2nd of January (which I now have plans with my new found friend), I will be back to normal, having survived the stress of the holiday period, and can then focus on the challenges that await for 2013.

As per my pre-Christmas post, wherever you are and whatever you are doing, I sincerely hope you have a good one. If you are struggling, do reach out to someone that you trust. Hopefully you won’t get burnt in a similar way to what I did this Christmas. Above all, remember that you are not alone, even if you feel that you are. Despite our best intentions and efforts, this is a difficult time of year for so many of us and therefore it is not to be underestimated.

Do what you have to do to get through and survive, but please be sensible and safe in the process.

Sending lots of love, warmth and empathy to everybody – especially to those who understand and appreciate the meaning of this post.