Just a short blog to put down in words how hard it is when what I might refer to as ‘Early Warning Signs’ or difficult feelings/symptoms hit me out of the blue.
Today I had to stay in my car and was unable to drive off as totally overcome by emotion, just cried for no apparent reason and this was hugely unsettling. When I am depressed this is sometimes expected but when I am feeling quite well it hits me hard and seems to knock me for six.
Earlier today I also had a mild panic attack which I could probably put down to having 3 meetings in a row at work and feeling under pressure (or thinking I was under pressure) but I wasn’t expecting it.
Subsequently I now feel very fragile, like I am walking a tightrope and not sure whether I might fall off or not. I am sure this is just a small wobble but what I do know tonight and trying to hang on to is that I am feeling positive enough to have quite a bit of hope which is good.
So for the rest of this Mental Health Awareness week (#MHAW15) and in the weeks to come (as awareness us good all the time!) I am hoping that I can continue to raise awareness, have positive conversations and not experience too many more days like today!
Not a question I often ask myself and probably not one I should be spending time thinking about when I am not in a great place. However my head is playing tricks with me, putting the worst case scenario at the forefront of my mind and maybe writing this will help in some way.
Tonight I am truly frustrated. I had been seeing a tiny bit of hope and glimmer of light in the darkness. Things were difficult but I had been getting slightly better nights, hadn’t had so many desperate thoughts and was able to enjoy more than I had done in a while. I wasn’t as hopelessly terrified as I had been either.
This seemed very short lived as my panic attacks have increased and I have taken what seems the compulsory 3 steps backwards after 2 going in the right direction.
Thoughts keep coming to the forefront of my mind where I find myself never getting any rest from the illness, not having the long periods of wellness that I have been used to and the possibility that maybe someday I will have to contend with continuous symptoms of some degree without any rest or wellness. This is absolutely terrifying me and whilst it is probably not productive to be thinking of this right now I have always tried to be realistic and so feel I need to think things through.
I worry that I will have to rely more on people and I find this hard as feel a burden as it is. I like to be able to help others and get concerned that this won’t be possible in the future.
I currently manage to work full time, I enjoy working and don’t want to have to give up and with that comes the prospect of having to take more medication – regular medication is something I don’t use due to the fact I want to continue to work. I have such poor tolerance to medication and bad side effects that it makes it impossible for me to work and take it. Therefore I use meds only when absolutely necessary and am lucky enough to have reasonable adjustments in place to manage this when it occurs.
I know that at the moment I am coping as well as I can do and I hope that the CMHT referral might give me an opportunity to discuss these fears. I am trying to hold on to the moment right now, keep as positive as I can and not look too far ahead – if only my head would try and remember that too!
I haven’t blogged for absolutely ages but I have had the most amazing month! Firstly I am well! Really well – no depression, no hypomania just steady … calm and well! Not only that I have coped with being ridiculously busy, quite a bit of stress (good stress!) and the odd panic attack in a way that I haven’t coped before.
As some of you may know I am a Christian and very involved with my local Church. I first went along when I was not even a year old and 34 years later it still plays a huge and wonderful part in my life. I am now an Elder and run the Messy Church with my sister in law amongst other things. I was married in the Church 5 years ago which was the happiest day of my life and the church has journeyed with me and supported me during every stage of my life and especially through my bipolar diagnosis and traumatic life events. This amazing fellowship and congregation of inspirational, devoted friends has just celebrated its 75th anniversary and boy have we celebrated! It has been wonderful to remember the laughter, some tears and worship that has taken place within the Church and been lovely to celebrate with the local community and members past and present. As the Church looks forward to the next 25 years or even 75 years I am also able to look forward knowing that I have the most amazing support network in place starting with my husband, family and friends and am so lucky to have the Church as a constant support as they also learn more about mental illness and as the stigma and barriers surrounding his sometimes difficult topic are broken down by friendship, fellowship and prayer.
Last weekend after the Church’s celebrations were over I joined with 47 others to celebrate the 50th Wedding Anniversary of a very special couple. Carole and Mike welcomed me into their home, family and friendship groups nearly 15 years ago after Carole was my tutor at college when I returned to re-take my a’levels at the age of 19. This followed my first hospital admission and I was so unwell. After supporting me at college Carole and I became friends and she has been there through so many difficult times and spent many hours in accident and emergency and psychiatric hospitals with me as well as providing me with somewhere to live at times. As I have slowly journeyed through recovery and got better at managing my episodes Carole has been there and helped me learn so much about myself and my illness and had been a major player in helping me get to where I am today. Last weekend 48 of us celebrated at Butlins and I am immensely proud of Carole and Mike, and their love for each other and for their family and friends is an inspiration.
The message from this blog for me is a reminder of the wonderful support I have, the people I have rooting for me and the fact that at the moment I am doing well and that taking a day at a time is the way forward for me. I am well at the moment and yes I am terrified of getting ill but I need to live in the now and I am going to try so hard to do this.
Massive thanks to all my family, friends and Church fellowship – love you all.