Alone again. Naturally.

tw-sign6

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.

New Year – New Challenges

challenge-sign-by-scottchan-freedigital

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.

Breaking News: I’m totally fucked up!

This year has been a revelation and here it is in a nutshell: I’m fucked up and basically beyond repair!  “Join the queue” I might hear you say.

It hasn’t been the darkest year, but it definitely rates in the top 5. The saving grace as far as 2012 goes, is that I have my own place. The positive here is that there is less pressure as far as managing symptoms are concerned. I feel as if my dignity is preserved. I can move freely without the fear of disturbing anybody else. The solitude is comforting. On the flip side, it is also painfully isolating. Given a choice however, right now, I’ll take the solitude.

Having this time and space has provided an opportunity to reflect. For the first time since my diagnosis in 2006, I have been able to look back on the past six years and analyze thing that have happened post-diagnosis. I have also been able to compare things on a pre and post diagnosis level.

Too much time to think? Absolutely. But reflection is a necessary part of moving forward in my opinion. What has worked? What hasn’t? How much responsibility falls into the Bipolar category? How much responsibility fall’s on my own shoulders? What sort of say does my personality have?

All of these variables add up to the overall picture and when all has been laid out to bear, I simply do not like what I see.

For now, the cue is in the proverbial rack. The “Closed for Business” sign is up. I am tired. Making an effort seems frivolous. The four walls will keep me safe and the rest of the world can leave me the fuck alone.

This high level of fragility is frightening. Fear is a dominating force. Aside from daily band-aid fixes such as distraction, nothing can take this pain away. Nothing can repair the damage that has been done. Go for a walk – Check. See a therapist – Check. Trust in God – Check. Despite my best efforts, I feel lonely and empty.

Some days it feels like all there is to do, is to wait until I die. All things considered, I’ve had a reasonably good life, been on some adventures, met people from different walks of life and had a taste of the ‘good life’. I’ve lived. There is little more to do.

But hang on for just one minute – I’m only 35! Surely, there is more to do.

What about traveling overseas. Falling in love again. Having a child. Well, as much as I would love to indulge these ideas, the reality is that I have an illness. It’s not just the fact that I have Bipolar. My psychiatrist recently confirmed that I have complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I suspected as much. From childhood, to adolescence, to early adulthood, through to being a mature adult (whatever that means), the sum of all of the above is that I’m completely fucked up and in my heart of hearts, this situation is beyond repair.

There is one major goal that keeps me going. Getting a bachelor’s degree. After all that’s happened in my life, it pisses me off that this is on my ‘to do’ list when everyone around me is getting married, buying a house and having kids. As far as I’m concerned, this should have been done 10-15  years ago. But no use in dwelling in what should have been. Instead, I will accept things just the way they are. I might be fucked up, but that doesn’t mean I’m not prepared to have another roll of the dice.  I’ll finish this post by using my favorite line of all time:

It is what is!

Until next time,

Peace!

PS. Please feel free to leave a comment. I have been thrilled to see some views and receive some likes. I would be very humbled to receive your comments and feedback.

Meds Suck!

I have spent a fair chunk of this year trying to get my medication cocktail right. It’s been draining to say the least.

Added to the mix was the recent diagnosis of ADHD. I have also been slowly tapering off an anti-depressant.

The end result, as things presently stand, is that my day consists of two very different halves. One is waking from a deep sleep which can last from 10-12 hours. The other is one of calm and focus thanks to the ADD medication. It’s weird territory to be in. On one hand I can barely drag myself out of bed because of residual effects from last night’s medications. On the other hand, I resent going to bed because of the sheer dread of the repeating cycle.

Throw in the odd panic attack (mainly when I first wake up), feeling restless and/or racing thoughts (mainly during the evening), life with Bipolar is far from convenient.

I dread to think that if I was still employed, how could I possibly survive in the long term. I think the medications work, but they are not practical in terms of supporting a “normal” existence. There is a deep resentment that this illness has robbed me of so much and continues to do so.

Most of the things that I crave seem out of reach. Sustaining employment, having a relationship, raising a child, attending social gatherings (social anxiety is a separate issue and probably deserves it’s own post, so I’ll just leave that one there for now). Limiting stress is a big part of the Bipolar equation. Unfortunately for me, this results in complete avoidance. I only go out when I have to. I dare not look for work for the fear of a repeated episode. I dare not seek a relationship as I barely have anything to offer, both financially and physically. I get overwhelmed interacting with groups of people. The end result is isolation and as painful as that may be, it’s better than putting myself and others through any unnecessary grief.

Medications are both friend and enemy. I’m not quite sure which one outweighs the other.

Until next time,

Peace!