Fighting the Monster Within

Just another bipolar blog

Seroquel crushed

To escape these disheveled thoughts
My shifty language
My runaway tongue and battles fought

My run away brain

I crush your hard pink corpse
I break you in two then grind away
The sound of the chemicals such a sweet decay
Like a lullaby
My bedtime story
The flakes of pink are scattered throughout the coarse white powder
Beckoning me to sing louder

(If I could rest naturally would I still take this?
Am I dependent on this for the rest of my life?
It hardly matters to think of the future)

Now it’s time for me to drink my seroquel tea and wait for my eyelids to get heavy
The rooms become less visible
My walk/Unsteady
Words slurred
Thank god
For the lifting of the facade

Living with an invisible illness

Living with bipolar disorder or depression or any mental disorder can be very isolating. There aren’t many who can see what you are going through. Some of us have scars and tics we try to hide. I decided to make a list of the subtle signs of a sufferer based on my own experience and people I know.

My top 50 subtle signs of mental illness sufferers

1. They may not look you in the eye

2. Their handshake may be weak and possibly they are trembling in social situations like a party, family reunion, or even work

3. They are unable to stop fidgeting with their hands or hold onto phones as a lifeline

4. Some have self-soothing techniques like humming, chewing on nails, counting in their head, or reciting the alphabet or song

5. Sometimes they are using the bathroom what seems like all the time. What you don’t see is it’s for self-harm, escape, some are taking pills in private, eating in private, using laxatives, checking weight, throwing up, crying

6. Maybe they are not wearing a swimsuit or covering up their thighs, breasts, or arms when weather makes their outfit seem impractical. This could be they are hiding scars

7. Maybe they have a cat scratch… again

8. Sometimes they have to avoid alcohol because of medication interactions

9. Sometimes they may overindulge in alcohol

10. May be too nervous or embarrassed to eat in public

11. When they go for a “drive” they are really going to binge eat on fast food

12. They have burns that don’t look accidental

13. They have a first aid kit in their purse or prescribed pill bottles

14. They are sweating when it isn’t hot

15. Constantly sucking abdomen in in an attempt to look skinnier

16. They could be discreetly pulling their hair or pinching themselves

17. Wearing bulky clothing like hoodies and layers to disguise rapid weight loss or weight gain

18. Dark circles underneath eyes from insomnia

19. Avoiding calls and text messages

20. Grinding teeth

21. Clenching jaw

22. Yawning a lot (side effect of antidepressant and antipsychotics)

23. Excessive saliva as a side effect of meds

24. Dry mouth from meds so they may be drinking constantly

25. Are online late hours of the night

26. Ultra sensitive to light and noises

27. Suddenly burn easily in the sun. Photosensitivity is another side effect of medications

28. They are not laughing at jokes about eating disorders, mental illnesses, straight jackets, or simple statements like “ugh I want to die after this week of work!”

29. They may be upset over arguments that crazy people use guns and THAT is the problem behind gun violence in America

30. They have a sudden disinterest in their favourite hobbies

31. At ease talking about death

32. May snap inappropriately for what seems no reason at all then feel ashamed

33. Their cheeks and ears are flushed and hot

34. Feet sweat from nerves and they are reluctant to take shoes off in case they smell

35. Seem noticeably happier and energetic when spring or summer begins

36. Is noticeably more tired and pessimistic during winter and days with gloomy weather

37. Are deeply affected by current events

38. Recheck locks on doors and windows

39. Have diarrhoea (either medication side effect or IBS)

40. Have to have several different sounds and technologies on to concentrate

41. Wear headphones or ear plugs to sound out the world

42. Throws away memorabilia that they used to treasure

43. Fixates on childhood memories and seems nostalgic to be free of responsibility

44. Mentions they feel heavy pressure on their chest like a weight

45. Have nightmares and night terrors or may begin sleepwalking

46. Suddenly change grooming or hygiene habits

47. Be an aggressive driver

48. Does not let go of the oh shit handle when a passenger in a car

49. Has clenched fists and breathes rapidly during flights

50. Talks in third person or past tense

End of November blues

I feel sad. Need to cry. I am afraid to or else my parents will judge me. I don’t want them to know I am feeling depression coming back again. I haven’t changed meds and I am getting their company and going to America soon to visit family so if it doesn’t make sense to me…

I feel ambushed. Like the villian in the house. People tiptoing around me and whispering. My dad always looks at me now when I am not the perfect wife and mother like I am my mom or Erika. He thinks I’m over the top. High strung. Too emotional and sensitive. Too demanding of Josh.  Mainly.  That’s what is eating at me right now.  I am feeling worthless. I am worthless really. I don’t keep the house tidy or the laundry or our room as clean as they should be when I have time as a stay at home mom. I should give Josh time to  himself and let him be when he gets home from work. I never cook anymore especially for when Josh is hungry after his ride. He hardly ever gets a chance to shower before I’m begging for help with the dishes so I can cook or holding Autumn because she is driving me crazy.

I hate having outbursts around my parents. Makes me so embarassed. I feel so guilty and afraid they will never want to stay with us again or visit.

I hate myself. Like I have no self control. Always relying on Josh doing things for me. I have always felt like Josh comes first to my family and Josh’s.  Then came the baby and of course she deserves to be first but there is no room for me. There is no room for me. Nothing I do is right. I don’t belong in my own home. I can’t stop thinking about ways. I will never be fixed. I am broken. Where is the beauty in a vase that’s been broken and glued back together? How many people keep a puzzle with a missing piece? What good is a bandaid for a gaping wound?

Will I ever be the person I want to be? Who others need me to be? The woman he fell in love with? It would be so easy. I would never have to hurt or stress or disappoint or anger anyone ever again. I would become as distant a memory as the crumbling graves we saw today in a run down graveyard.

Attachment parenting and bipolar

I never read any parenting books before the birth of my daughter. The first book was Dr. Sears The Fussy Baby around 3 months after she was born because I was feeling frustrated at how difficult I thought she was to take care of. I was already doing the “attachment” style parenting without realizing it. Breastfeeding on demand with no bottles, cosleeping, spending plenty of time skin to skin, and responding to her ques seemed the natural thing to do. I was very motivated after reading the book and having confirmation that I was doing the right thing and felt ready to “baby-wear.”

This actually made a world of difference and freed up my arms. She loved nothing better than to be curled up against my chest hearing my heartbeat and having the food source so close. When she began crawling she didn’t want to be held as much so I just went with my instincts and let her have as much (supervised) time on the floor as she wanted. Then I’d hold her if she wanted to be held. If I made this sound like a cake walk then I have to tell you it wasn’t/isn’t. There should be a book about being a mother with bipolar disorder and how damn hard attachment/gentle parenting styles can be.

image

To begin with, I had to find a psychiatrist to help me prepare for the worst case scenario (postpartum psychosis) while pregnant. I had to discuss medications after the birth and which ones to start the last trimester since I had been unmedicated for the pregnancy. Once it was agreed that I would use Seroquel nightly after the birth I had to choose which mum and bub mental health facility I liked most in case I would be needing it. In addition to the medication I had my placenta encapsulated within 48 hours after the birth to help me with the drop in hormones and my mood. I thought I was quite prepared for the worst since breastfeeding in itself supposedly gives you a natural dose of oxytocin. I wasn’t.

image

I love gentle parenting but I just want to say it is hard. God damn fucking teeth-grinding, hair-pulling, exploding-head hard; when you have bipolar disorder regardless if medicated or not. And I want other mums out there to know that you need to do what is best for you as baby feeds off your emotions and even sucks the cortisol and stress hormones from the milk that is supposed to be this holy liquid gold for babies!

image

I’ll tell you what…I have had to put her in a safe place and let her cry it out for twenty minutes to take a shower and get dressed. I’ve even taken a shower where I shave my overgrown leg hair and it makes her cry a little more. Some people would say any crying or letting go of baby while crying is bad. And I do agree in part. But my mental health and physical health need to have priority or else I can’t be the gentle and patient mother I try to be.

image

So please don’t be so hard on yourself new mums out there if you’re reading this. Ignore naysayers and just do what is best for you and your family.

Autumn will be one year old already next month and I still apply a gentle approach to parenting and breastfeed and babywear. She is not traumatized from the times I’ve had to step away and take a breather (or Valium) and is an energetic, happy, healthy baby. She’s already taking her first steps!

image

Breastfeeding a pirahna

I’ve discovered a new trigger for myself. It triggers me to feel rage. I want to scream at the top of my lungs and run away. While I had to relearn to breastfeed Autumn with her new teeth and teach her how to properly latch again I was going off the handle. I was ashamed of myself. I have these high expectations of myself as a mother and one of them being not losing my cool and screaming like a psycho when Autumn accidentally or intentionally chomped on my nipples!

image

For about a week I was a complete mess and so frustrated I couldn’t find the right position or way to get her to stop hurting me. I cried a lot. Screamed a lot. Had to walk out of the room and basically hand over the bub to Josh. I had a 24/7 hotline that is free in Australia and run by volunteer breastfeeding mums that I called a few times just mainly for reassurance that breastfeeding was best and to keep up the good work.

I eventually figured out how to breastfeed a pirahna without malice or pain or tears (on either of our part.)

How bout it? Are there any other breastfeeding mums who have felt the same way?

image

Hypomania after taking geodon

Trigger alert*******

I have been very bad and haven’t kept my blog up to date. Then again I think most of these bipolar blogs are unpredictable! OK so I have been through a whirlwind of crazy the last few months. I have a hard time remembering dates and how long some episodes lasted but let me begin with Geodon (aka Zeldox in AU.)

I believe at this point three months or so ago I was taking vitamins and fish oil pills, lamotrigine, and Seroquel (12.5mg) as needed for insomnia. I was sick of feeling depressed and told my psych I need to try a new med because lamotrigine by itself was not fixing my depression and rapidly changing mood swings and irritability. After 7 days of taking Geodon I was feeling no depression. I was active, energetic, happy. Too happy. I forgot to eat and I stayed up at night to work on little projects or cleaning or writing up a storm. I took up sewing! I have always hated sewing. In a 48 hour time span I had slept probably 3-4 hours. I was taking Seroquel but it wasn’t working and I had to struggle to sleep because every part of my body was screaming at me to rest. My head was hot and heavy, eyelids burning, thoughts racing and body completely spent. I was convinced (and still am) that Geodon caused the hypomanic episode.

Once I quit it I returned to my normal depressed and irritable moody self. I was feeling very low because the medication lamotrigine worked so well for me before pregnancy and now I feel it is nothing but a sugar pill I take twice a day.

I didn’t want to talk to Sally my psychiatrist because I felt she never had any good ideas for a new med to try to lift my depression without going too high. I believe I lied to her and just said I was fine for now but realized I now needed Seroquel nightly to fall asleep since no sleep is one of my known triggers. I felt so depressed that I needed to take this tranquilizer every day and it makes me very uncoordinated and difficult to care for Autumn at night.

I began having more and more suicidal fantasies/daydreams and discussed with Josh the different ways I’ve considered doing it. I talked about it a lot but assured him I never would do it. I only thought about it a lot. I have a vivid imagination and tried to think about what my body would look like when Josh or whoever discovered the corpse. I decided the creek was out.

I didn’t want Josh’s last memory of me to be bloated and blue and covered in algae and slime. I could find some way to surprise him by hanging myself in the garage so t when he drove in he’d see me that way. But that was just too cruel.

I really didn’t want him to have to do any clean up so knives and other pointy things were out of the question. I decided at one point taking all of my prescriptions and then tying a bag over my head for good measure. But then I imagined what if I puked it all up or something nasty like that. Nope that wouldn’t do.

And so for about a month this went on and I did my best to track my moods on the calendar with smiley or sad faces. I needed to see if there was some kind of pattern to my mood swings and if I could prevent them somehow.

After two months of looking at it I had days in a row where I would wake up happy, be sobbing by noon, planning suicide by 2pm, yelling at Josh via text at 4pm, and by bedtime be either happy or sad. There was absolutely no pattern. And it was getting worse! I couldn’t control it and it was exhausting me physically. This is when I went back to Sally tail between legs and asked her to prescribe me anything she wanted.  I wouldn’t google anything about the drug . I would just take it and hope for the best.

Unfinished suicide daydream (fantasy)

**Trigger alert

Blood dripping on the cool white tile. The grout grooves filled up like tiny canals of it. I imagine someone having to scrub hard, they may gag or lament at the work they had to do. I hope they get paid fair wages. I’m laughing at the absurdity of my thoughts with my back slumped against the kitchen cupboards. The knife I used fell somewhere…

My vision is becoming hazy. Is it the 2 months worth of prescription drugs I took? At least they helped give me the courage I’ve always lacked. Thought they’d help with the pain–I’ve never felt such burning. My veins on fire, inside flesh open to the world. I can’t look at my cuts as strange as it is, it grosses me out.

I made as many as I could before dropping the knife. I figured it would be enough. The back of the right knee was the worst but I knew it would be an easy out. Only ended up with two cuts but don’t remember the other now. It should be enough.

Iceberg

In a world of grey
I live in black and white
Where there are emotions
I live in extremes
Between sadness and grief
There is no time to be normal
Up.down. no inbetween
I have only two settings
On. Off.
They can’t understand
I can’t control reactions, reflexes,
My brain’s response to everything
Over the top
Completely detached, dead
I live here
My bipolar
If I am an iceberg
She is the deep cold root underneath
She holds me steady in
An endless ocean
Where others pass by in boats
Airplanes
The animals come and go
I am here
The iceberg
I move steadily underneath
The watchful moon,
Slowly melt with each sunrise I observe while she
Keeps me going
I dream of the
Deep blackness where my heart begins.
Unimaginable coldness
But there is beauty
In the blue ice
I am terrified of
This thing, keeping me up
At night
I am struggling
And she is winning
I feel an overwhelming Terror take over me as I see this iceberg as it truly is
Temporary, unyielding
But decaying, always changing
I can’t drown
When I am the ocean
Detached, isolated
Lost, ice doesn’t last long
Alone.

I would be the mother

Who makes pancakes in the morning
Walking hand in hand, take you to your first day at school
I’ll hug you when you bump and scrape your knee
Comfort you when you fall from a bike or tree
I’ll teach you the ABCs and how to count
Teach you right from wrong
You’ll sleepily come into our bed at night
Slipping so perfectly in between us
We really don’t mind
Your first memories will be of me
Happy together
Loving your father, loving you
Laughing
Snuggling together on the couch
No “mummy’s sick today”
Never closing you off
We’re best friends and closer than most
Your dad will show you things like CPU, RAM, and how computers work
I’ll show you how to explore your creative side
I’ll read you all my favorite books and
Encourage you to dream
You’ll never worry about me
You’ll never ask yourself what you did wrong
Or how to fix me
The only tears you’ll see from mum
Are tears of joy when you say you love me
Tears of pride when you walk to your diploma
Tears of nostalgia when you drive away
Moving on as a young woman in the world
A woman I’ll have watched grow from a fiesty toddler to
Caring girl to
Confident adult
I’ll be the mother you someday strive to be
The grandmother your children can’t wait to see
traditions wil be handed down
My memory will live on in you
There will be no anger when I’m gone
I’ll rest beside your father long,
Long after our hair grew white
Our bones creaky, skin saggy, wrinkles deep
We will have to leave you as is only right
And the love that built this family we’ll forever keep

Stuck in suburbia

***trigger alert

I remember getting lost once in an endless neighborhood of cookie cutter houses
all the same
Now I live in one of those places
I hated
But I’m here
I did it
I’ve been some place else
Traveled to the other side of the world
To live (to die)
We said we’d make it here or someplace far
We’d scuba dive the Reef, swim with sharks
Travel the country by road
Unlimited time to explore together
We traveled so far
No family
No friends
I’m on the other side of the world now
And I haven’t left suburbia
I’m one of those wives you dread coming home to
The one disheveled mom other children make fun of
I’m stuck in a cookie cutter house
I look out the windows
Hoping to see I’ve made it somewhere else
Someday I’ll get out
I’ll leave in a neat, cookie-cutter like way 
There will be no mess
I’ll do it outside
Then everyone will see what I felt inside