Bipolar Disorder as a Medical Condition…not just headspace based!!

ImageI have just managed to avoid a manic episode for the second month in a row.. My appendix got infected, and because of my hypomania, I was in agony all over my body without reprieve of rest nor sleep. 

Then being told that nothing was wrong with me, I assumed my pain etc was due to mental health and going on a new medication. Now after spending a week being filled with three different IV antibiotics, and trapped by protocol was not able to up my dose of Seroquel, which I really needed to double.. And although I requested psych consult three days on multiple occasions, it was only when I started to really lose it that I was heard, and seen.

the team were my knights in shining armour.. Preventing any more deprivation in my regimine. I must remember to make a hypomania treatment protocol for myself.. I’m mind mapping it after I finish my rant here!

i just had to share that Bipolar Disorder may be classified as a mental illness, however this is not the full story! It is a Medical Condition, which can literally kill, by putting your physical body on constant Red Alert Battlestations!! Starvation, malnutrition; sleep deprivation, misfire of the temperature and elimination of waste systems.. Inadequate management presents more than a (just) mental health and suicide or self harm risk of injury or death… Yet some medical practitioners seem to treat this diorder as either hypochondria, or secondary to primarily physical illnesses.

survivors of bipolar, we battle every day until we can’t fight anymore.. Then we rest, depressed, trying to recharge for the next battle… All the while, berating ourselves for being inadequate or lazy or..(insert negative refrain here!!)

so really, try and be understanding with yoursel and cultivate self kindness at every opportunity! To survive this Bipolar Disorder we need every coping mechanism we can develop.


Help is Always At Hand

I’ve been thinking today about how much help I’ve had raising my kids. So much! I’m not one of those people who cope brilliantly most of the time , in fact, I would estimate that at least fifty percent of the time I have needed a little, or a lot, of help.

This will be the first birthday party I have organised in four years, and my younger sister has been there on all that time, baking and decorating and inviting and making games and drinks and food. She has got kids of her own, two beautiful kids, and two jobs… But she never complains. Complaining is all I do sometimes!

My youngest sister , who just had another baby, bringing her total to three great kids, well she and her husband look after my teenaged son. He has lived with them since he was about six. They have had him since they got married.

Then there’s my other half, Danial , who had to quit his job when I had our daughter. From day dot he has had to take on a job not many men are brave enough to do, bringing up a baby. And he cares for me, doing the things I can’t do for myself.

But it makes me see how much more dependent on them I am than I’d like to be. I think I grew up a fairly independent person, and I like to be able to do things for myself and learn new things. Well the bipolar pretty much took care of me. Smacked me down so far that I’m a completely different person. I don’t know how much of what I learn I will be able to remember. Once I have my manic episodes, a lot of hard earned knowledge usually goes flying like a brick fireplace out of a third storey window. It’s not pretty , ill tell you. I get tied up on words, I know what I’m thinking but it doesn’t come out of my mouth, or ill blend words, or say ” cucumber you can cook” when I mean zucchini. And these effects can last for a while after the episodes as well. Sometimes I feel really retarded. And stupid. And useless.

But this is what I have to learn to deal with. And I’ve got so many great people around me who cope with it too. I have to remember when I feel alone and sad, that I’m really held in a complex net of people and resources. I just have to be brave and ask for the help I need.

Do you have people supporting you ? You may not need as much help as I do, but everybody needs somebody once in a while!

Reach out, chances are, there’s already someone out there reaching out to you.

Have a good, well supported day!

Another Inspiring Day

I’d better not try having too many in a row or I might trip my brain’s Imminent Success Warning System.. You know, that part of your psyche that’s all shy and undeserving.. That uncanny knack my sense of self-sabotage has about pulling the rug out when I’m going hell for leather.

I’ve learned that its best to employ a little self-trickery here… Just pretend you know you’ll eventually give up, fail or be humiliated.. That its not really a big deal anyway and don’t get too excited! Here comes the hard part of this maneouvre, applying sustained effort and interest to produce a viable result while you’re pretending you won’t amount to much.

Sound tricky? The plus sides and minuses of possessing a unique set of mental health issues! Hah!

So I’ve gotten two interested venues, one promoter, and two sponsorships, plus a meeting with Council.. Not bad for a few inspired days of sustained effort, huh!

Hope everyone else has achieved some goals today too! See you tomorrow.

Poem- “Re-ponderance”

Inner secrets-
Outer demons,
Wear ’em on your sleeve
Like bracelets…

Little bears &
Hearts & lipsticks,
Lucky charms you once adored.

More than trinkets bright and bold,
Reflecting on the memories they hold-
Good times and hard times,
Nightmare scenes,
Expansive dreams,
This life unfolds on centre stage
Pretence, suspense, small silver chains.

Allowing the obvious to permeate my ignorance,
All my less than brilliant choices,
Percolating in my mind.
What this brew will boil down to
I can’t say for sure,
But common sense informs me
Ill be better than before.

If what I’ve sown in sadness
One day blooms into a rose,
I’m sure ill grab mine by the thorns
Cause that’s how my life goes.
So many opportunities
Became my biggest dives,
“Try then try again”
The adage wisely spouts
But what about when trying
Brings you to your shattered knees?
I’m sure that old guy didn’t suffer
From bipolar bouts.

I’m watching now, as midnight nears,
Will my resolve withstand more tears?
I’d hoped these would be useful months,
To learn, create, to grow and hope..

Here’s me,
For once, just me,
Not my disease…

Is it too grand a wish I’ve made
That ill stay well enough to smile
For just another while?

I suppose I’ll find out soon enough.
Wish me luck.

A comment on the state of mental health care

What do you think of the state of mental health care in your area?

In Australia, we have access to public hospital mental health acute services, but jack all case management to prevent major episodes of illness. I get Medicare so I don’t have to pay for my psychiatrist visits, but I prefer my gp as he spends more time with me. My psych has to look at his notes during session to remember my name, he asks me what medication I’m on, when I asked him for help with a persistent depression he asked me what I thought was causing it, my transport is broken, I said, he said.. Well then you should get it fixed and you will be all better.

More patients need to become psychiatrists. There is more value in peer support and self help than in professional visits. We all need to stick together and bring light to the subject… Don’t be afraid to talk about your mental health, if we are brave in this way we can help alleviate the stigma attached to being mentally ill. I think that considering the mortality rate of bipolar, we should be given every aid in coming to grips with it. Do not let the doctors fob you off, if you are not getting help from your particular psych, switch. Unfortunately, there are only three choices for me and I’m on my third. And if I had health insurance it would only mean private hospital cover and no other benefits than I have already. Therefore, I believe strong strides in self- management and developing peer support networks is the new way we must pave to survive.

I would love to hear others’ opinions. How do you cope with mental health issues? What can be done to strengthen peer support networks and aid us in living productive, enjoyable lives?

Be well, live long and prosper.

The Most Critical Audience

Sometimes when I sit back and view my work at a later date I still love it as much as I did while it was in progress, but that is a rarity in my mind.

My mood has a lot to do with the quality of my work, and my motivation to complete a project is variable. I have been finishing a lot of things lately.. I am feeling wonderful, and my pain level is lower, or maybe just easier to deal with now. I’ve run into a block with this preparations for my daughters birthday, things have become a chore because I must do them