I’m ridiculously over sensitive. Which, in turn, makes me completely unreasonable. I feel that every single person should consider my feelings ALL THE TIME. Not only is that totally unrealistic, it’s unbelievably self involved.
Don’t talk to me about your good day. I don’t want to see your scan photo. Why would you invite me somewhere so public? Don’t call me on the phone. Don’t expect me to drive to you. How dare channel 4 air One Born Every Minute?
The following topics are off limits and must not be discussed under any circumstances:
Due to this absurd level of sensitivity, it’s easier for me to just not go out or communicate with people. It only takes one comment, one text, one image, one tweet, just one little thing that pulls in my stomach somewhere, and I completely unravel.
The trigger goes, and there I am. Paranoid, full of hate, feeling excluded, anxious, jealous, angry, worrying, over analysing, reliving…
What I’d ideally like to do when this occurs, is live in a bubble, with no other living being, until I’m ready to emerge. Everything outside this bleak caccoon should just freeze, as it is. No one else can have a life, or be happy, or be friends with each other. There will be no laughter, because I’m miserable and that’s all that matters.
It’s easy to forget someone that isolates themselves. There’s only so many times you can invite them to things and not get replies to your text messages before you give up. No one really knows what to say, there’s not anything they can do to make you snap out of it. And I do get that, when I’ve got the head space to be rational.
It’s hard feeling this way, acknowledging you’re an asshole, when you know that somewhere inside you is the decent person you used to be. Someone that put others first, liked doing favours, embraced all people. But at the moment, I’m this self centred, paranoid, bitter old shrew, offended by everything and analysing all.
Today could be the last day I’m living a life without Lithium. Feeling apprehensive. I’ve never been a huge fan of popping pills, and now my life has become a whirl of anti depressants and anti anxiety medication and mood stabilisers. My ECG was fine, so if my blood test results are good then I’ll be starting a Lithium trial.
The thought of regular appointments and blood tests is overwhelming. I’ll have to arrange childcare and get myself there. But I guess I’ll have to make it up as I go along.
I hope to be as honest as I can in this journal. Side effects, changes in mood, the impact it has on my life.
See you on the other side.
I start 400mg of Lithium tonight. Thing I’m most worried about? My hands shaking so much that I can’t crochet. I despair at myself sometimes. I’m feeling really agitated today, nobody likes change!
At this point, if they offered me a brain transplant I’d go for it so this is nothing.
It’s funny, now I can say I’ve got bipolar disorder, I somehow feel less of a fraud. Which is wrong. That’s society looking upon depression with a ‘pull yourself together’ attitude.
This one small daily pill feels enormous to me. It really could change my life.
Nothing to report really. No side effects that I’ve noticed, so for now the crochet is safe.
I’ve filled out my ‘Lithium Alert Card’, the ultimate accessory, so now I can really show off my status as a fully fledged nutter.
I’ve never had a condition like this before, with a record book and blood tests and wallet warnings. I’m going to get one of those über trendy pill organisers too, to complete the look. If I’m gonna do this, I may as well go all out.
Still crazy. Mouth tastes like shit.
One week in and a few of the side effects are arriving. My mouth still tastes pretty rancid in the evenings (I hope I don’t have breath to match!) and I’ve noticed my hands being less steady. My fingers like to hit all kinds of letters on the keypad (thanks predictive text – I owe you one) and I no longer get the perfect roll on my cigarettes.
Im also exhausted a lot. I’ve always been a lazy arse anyway, but I could genuinely nod off at any moment, up until about 3pm.
I’ve been a lot more tearful. Whether that’s the lithium or not, I don’t know, but it seems weeks since I last cried. I’ve felt a lot of sadness, sadness about things that I can’t change, things that happened a long time ago. I’m hoping an improvement in my mental health will enable me to ‘let go’.
Blood results were normal. Perhaps a little disturbing, but I was almost hoping I’d have done some irreversible damage to my kidneys and could just die. Ah well. Dose to be increased to 600mg. I can cope with the side effects of dry, foul tasting mouth, shakes and fatigue as long as this shit makes me better. Just got to keep hanging on in there. It ain’t fucking easy.
Taking a drug like Lithium is totally alien to me. It’s the same shit they put into batteries. How freaky is that? I’m ingesting battery filler. I’ve never taken such a ‘hardcore’ medication before. I’ve probably only had antibiotics a handful of times in my life. I used Domperidone long term, but barely noticed I was taking it, besides the lactation. I’ve never suffered from side effects when previously taking anything. This is something else.
The increased thirst is fine; I don’t drink enough usually. And the temperatures at the moment is probably something to do with that anyway. But the fatigue is awful. Being mentally unwell is exhausting anyway, the over analysing, the sobbing. At the moment the days seem far too long, every hour drags by. I’m so tired, I’m willing it to be bedtime by lunchtime. The shakes are becoming an issue. I somehow managed to shatter the handle of a fork by dropping it and walking down steps makes my legs quiver.
The various professionals I’ve been seeing, from the crisis and community mental health teams, are starting to play with the idea that this may not be bipolar disorder type 2, perhaps it’s a personality disorder instead. If this is the case then the lithium will probably go. I don’t know what this is, I just need it gone.
Play dates and arts and crafts and bed time stories and dancing in the sunshine. Bollocks. I call bullshit. Whoever told you it’s like that is lying to you. It’s about 5% that. The other 95% is just sheer hard work. Some days the only thing that keeps me going is the knowledge that children die if you don’t look after them.
You don’t even get piss breaks. They’ll whine and throw themselves onto the floor until you give in and take them with you, just to make the noise stop. You’ll never keep an outfit clean all day again. Your favourite things will probably be the ones that get stains on. You may as well never buy anything new again. Fuck it, just wear pajamas.
If you thought you were tired after a long day at work, think again. You have no concept of the meaning of the word tired until you have kids. Exhausted, drained, fatigued, call it what you will, it will make you want to curl up in a ball and cry. Going to work is the only escape from the actual work. No paid job can be this tough, it’d be inhumane.
All those happy memes spouting tripe about it ‘totally being worth it’, ‘the most precious gift’ and children being ‘my reason for living’ make me queasy. It’s relentless nagging and overwhelming responsibility. I just need to find the perfect photo to fit the caption.
Children drain your bank balance, your health, your mental state. They ruin your home, your sanity, your dignity. My advice? Don’t bother.
If only the world operated on a no holds barred honesty policy, I think it would be a better place. I don’t mean an aggressive ‘well, I tell it like it is to their face’ kinda attitude (that seems to be thrown around like its something to be proud of at the moment), but the kind of quiet, at peace honesty that just means that people are open and everyone knows where they stand.
There’d be no awkward feelings, everyone would embrace differences. There’d be comfort in knowing that someone out there felt just like you do. There’d be no taboo subjects, no embarrassment or shame. Diversity would be normality, ‘problems’ would be easily solved with shared knowledge, there’d be a much greater sense of community. Nothing would be swept under the carpet. Subjects like mental health wouldn’t be frowned upon, no one would feel isolated.
So why aren’t we all honest? I often feel like an oddity. When playing a team building game with colleagues, we were asked to cross the line if there were things about us that no one knew. I stayed where I was. I was the only one. I could not think of a single thing that I would not be prepared to share. Anything people don’t know is simply because the topic hasn’t come up in conversation.
Am I unwise to share so much of myself? Am I leaving myself vulnerable, open to criticism and judgement? And if I am, so what? I’m always open to feedback, willing to learn and grow. Maybe if more of society was honest with each other, there would be no place for negative remarks. There might be more room for empathy and compassion.
I hope that sharing my experiences of depression and anxiety is doing something towards breaking down the barriers around mental health issues. It’s widely reported that 1 in 3 of us will suffer at some juncture in our lives. If it’s so common, why isn’t it an every day, almost mundane conversation? Discussed at the pub, on the bus, over coffee and cake? Why do sufferers feel isolated, embarrassed, ashamed of their dark thoughts? I don’t want my daughter growing up in a society where anything that makes you who you are should be suppressed for fear of judgement, whether that’s any mental health issue she may struggle with, her sexuality, her career choice, her religious beliefs. Maybe its time we were all a little more up front and honest with each other.
As many, many generations of know-it-all mothers have said before me: Honesty is the best policy.