Sunday, August 25, 2013

Dating... Yikes.

Confession. I'm horrible at this dating thing. I don't even think I like it but then again, who does? I also think I'm a crappy date. Let me explain: I'll "ace" the first date like it's some kind of test but then after the second one the guys just seem to dwindle away. Usually because they're so "busy" or just "not ready to date right now" since they've just come out of a relationship. No. I think the problem lies with yours truly. And I don't really know why. I'm not clingy, not obsessive, not materialistic and I don't expect the guy to pay. I would actually prefer to go dutch to be completely honest. Something about not wanting to owe him anything. Yes, I have issues.. But, and this is a major but, I think I'm easy. If I really like someone I might sleep with them on the second date and I'm not afraid of kissing. I know I'm giving the milk away for free but am I not allowed to have some fun if he's not looking for anything else anyway?

The guys I've dated are really smooth talkers even though I tell them I see through their bullshit. Somehow, I keep falling for it time after time. I do, however, have standards and don't take crap that compromises me in any way, shape or form. And I only give a guy a chance so many times. I'm not afraid of deleting their numbers and telling them straight if they're being asshats. It's the ones that are nice but players that always get me. 

And in the back of my mind I'm also always thinking about how to potentially tell a new boyfriend about my illness. Tricky. Very tricky indeed. The boyfriends that I've had (and there hasn't been many) have been fine with it and have always said they could never tell and somehow they've ended up being more messed up than me. Huff. Someone please save me from these wounded birds. I'm not looking to save anyone, just as little as I'm looking for anyone to save me. I can manage just fine on my own, thank you. 

Thank you for reading. Means the world. I'll blog more soon.

- P <3

What being Bipolar means in my case {and everyone's story is different}

The general population's idea of what it means to be Bipolar is of someone with extreme mood swings - someone going from happy-go-lucky to bitchy to depressed. That might be the case for a select few but if so then those traits were already a part of their personality to begin with. The illness has nothing to do with being mean to other people as I know it's so easy for people to throw out "Oh, she's just so Bipolar today" if someone they know is having an off day or PMS'ing. I've never in my life been purposely mean to anyone or been bitchy on purpose due to or (or excluding) my illness. I always try to treat people the way I'd want someone to treat me BUT unfortunately for my mom, if I am PMS'ing, she's the one who gets in the crossfire when I do get cranky. I'm by no means perfect. No excuses but she's my mom and she has no problem telling me my period is due soon either.. 

The way my illness has burrowed its symptoms into my brain is that I can feel normal one day (and by normal I mean I feel that I have a bright future ahead and that everything is fine) and the next day I can feel like life isn't worth living anymore. It can then shift again the following day. Usually for me to get into a deep depressive state there's a gradual descent into the darkness. This can be anything from a few days to a week. And when I am in that dark place it can take me a very long time to get out of it. I am, however, a master of disguise and if you were to meet me on one of my dark days you wouldn't think anything different of me. I don't let the world know what's happening within me. Some people do and good for them. I don't. I can't. I'm terribly at explaining myself in person (it's easier to write my feelings down) so if I were to say something people would just probably think I was moaning or being a baby. The only person I can really be honest with is my GP because he's the source of my medication so I need to be - for both our sakes.

Another symptom that I have, which is noticeable if you really know me, is the hypomania. When the hypomania hits (and it doesn't fairly often anymore) then I'm like an OCD caffeine-doped robot obsessed with perfection. I'll also have severe insomnia and but my mood or effectiveness won't be affected. 

After the hypomania is over though I'll crash into a depression which is usually deep. Thankfully, I don't become hypomanic that often anymore. The crashes are horrible to live through. It's like my body just goes into hibernation and I don't function anymore. And it's not like I'm cute as a bear cub either, more like I look like I belong at the local dive-bar with a shot of JD eternally being poured in front of me.. Oh joy.

As always, thank you for reading. I'll blog more soon.

- P <3 

Friday, August 23, 2013

The year I partied like a madman

Any journal of medicine regarding Bipolar disorder will tell you that people diagnosed with Bipolar disorder are more likely to have addictive personalities, abuse alcohol and drugs and be hyper sexual. The year before being diagnosed I had a year of excessive partying fuelled with alcohol, sex and an outrageous amount of money being spent. I spent my hard earned money like it was my last day on earth and I was happy to be alive. A lot of it was spent on the alcohol I was consuming while taking Sertraline, which by the way, was a terrible idea as my body still hadn't gotten used to the medication and so the alcohol stayed in my system for much longer than a person not on the medication. I can today safely enjoy a cocktail without getting drunk but back then just one drink would have me buzzed and ready to go. Along with being in college and the drinking culture that's prevalent there you can imagine how easily things got out of hand. Throw in a few bad seeds in my group of friends and you've got a recipe for a disaster. I've been on so many binges I can't count them and blacked out a few times. Almost got arrested once too for drunk and disorderly conduct.. Not something to be proud of. And the sex. I had my first kiss the same night I lost my virginity at 21. Yes, 21. Luckily it was with a friend of mine so it was a good experience and I have no regrets.

But imagine that 21 year old on medication, drunk, chemically unstable and at the wrong place at the wrong time. Needless to say my number is high but I've always been safe and never gotten any diseases. Nor have I been pregnant although I've had a few scares. Thank God my stupidity never reached a higher level. My point is, sex was never something I truly enjoyed. It was just a need mixed with reckless behavior caused by my illness. I could have sex without any feelings involved whatsoever. That's why one night stands suited me perfectly: no strings and no one got hurt. Hypersexuality is not something that is often spoken about. It's something dirty, something people tend to be ashamed of. I did too until I realized it was a part of the disease not a part of who I am as a person. My behavior has changed with medication, a change of scenery, different friends and better self confidence. 

Still to this day I struggle a bit with intimacy. Sex still doesn't mean much to me. Cuddling on the other hand does. I think that's far more intimate than taking my clothes off will ever be.

Thank you for reading. Will blog more soon.

- P <3 

A will you say?

So, I know this sounds terribly morbid but because of all my depressive thoughts lately I've decided to write a will. This is just to make sure my animals are cared for in the case I were to die. I started thinking about it after the recent suicides in the media and I didn't want my loved ones stuck with the burden of caring for my dogs if they weren't able too. I therefore contacted two of my closest friends. One lives here and the other, my best friend, lives in Washington and asked them if they would be willing to adopt them in case I ever died before my dogs. They were both concerned by my question (understandably) but they were both more than willing to take a dog each. Now, you're probably thinking I've got some grand plan to off myself. No. I just need reassurance that my dogs will be taken care of should I ever feel so low, like I have many times before, that I might have suicidal thoughts. I'm not saying I would do anything to harm myself but the thought that I wouldn't leave them without anyone to care for them is very reassuring to me.

Obviously, as one can tell, this isn't the normal thoughts that run though one's brain on a daily basis but in my Bipolar brain it is. At least it has been lately. That's why I needed to get the matter sorted and get some peace. My dogs love my friends and they love them so I know everything would be okay in the end. And for those of you thinking suicide is a selfish act. Depression is a very lonely thing and unless you've been through it, please don't judge me.

Thank you for reading. Will post again soon.

- <3

So it begins...

Welcome to my blog :) 

I've wanted to write one for a really long time but have never really had the courage to do so before. I'm at a stage in my life where things are very stagnant and I need to relieve some pressure and stress that I'm feeling and I think this might be a good outlet for me to do so. Hopefully it might also be of some interest to those of you (if anyone does!) reading this. If I can share some insight into my experience with mental illness, as taboo and stigmatised as it might be, then I'd consider myself blessed.

I first got diagnosed with depression and anxiety at college many years ago while studying in Washington State. It happened my first semester as a freshman not long after Spring Break. I absolutely loved school and was making new friends but was still struggling with the anxiety I'd had my entire life and I therefore decided to go and speak to the school psychologist. We had a few chats about my history and I was quickly diagnosed with depression and anxiety and sent off to see the resident Psychiatrist who put me on Sertraline. I still continued to see the psychologist for another year or so every single week being closely monitored as well as seeing the Psychiatrist every four weeks for a chat about the dosage on the medication. 

After about a year or so, as a junior, noticing that my depression hadn't shifted much and my mood swings would alternate quite rapidly (I could be fine one week and depressed and bedridden the other) the doctors decided to put me on a higher dose of Sertraline. This is what ultimately triggered my Bipolar to appear in full force according to my psychiatrist. A few months after that my self harming and suicidal thoughts had started to worsen to the point at which they had never been before. I had always had suicidal thoughts but thoughts of self harm were for "other people" not sane people like myself... During a period of two weeks I ended up beating my forearms so hard they bruised, I would pinch so hard I'd bleed internally and I started cutting myself. I remember consciously going to Wahlgreens and buying razors, bandages, antiseptic wipes and ice packs.  I remember being excited about it too. Like I was shopping for a new dress or some new shoes... The sickest thing is that I would take photos of what I had done to later look at. The pain felt like such a relief and looking at the photos made me feel powerful. My dogs make me feel good these days. Animals are amazing companions. They give us unconditional love and devotion and they expect nothing in return.

I did, however, realize that what I was doing was wrong and after those two weeks and went to my psychologist, told her everything and was promptly diagnosed with Bipolar disorder. I was in denial and scared because in my mind the next step for me would be to slip into Schizophrenia. Especially when she kept asking if I heard voices. The answer to that was then and is still to this day no. I cannot imagine the pain someone with Schizophrenia goes through on a daily basis. And I think I have it tough sometimes..  Anyway, I was told to see my psychiatrist who prescribed me with several different anti-psychotics before we found the one that worked for me, Topiramate. Now, Topiramate or Topamax is an anti-convulsant drug used for people who suffer from seizures and is also used for migraines but it is starting to be fairly commonly used as an anti-psychotic. I started out a low dose and increased my dosage. Over the years I've adjusted the dosage several times. 

Now, at age 25, I'm on 250mg of Topiramate a day as well as 150mg of Sertraline. Being on medication doesn't mean that my life is normal and that everything is okay 100% of the time but it does mean that I feel balanced for a lot of the time, however, I still have my depressive states or my hypomanic phases even on the medication which can feel quite baffling sometimes. The environment I'm in and stress-factors also trigger a phase. I recently had a really bad spell where I wanted to cut. I haven't had one of those in years and that was me on the medications. I spoke to my GP about it but he didn't think there was reason enough to alter the medication and he was right. The feeling passed after a week or so but it can be quite scary when you're in it. I've had quite a few bad spells lately and actually lost my job because of it so feeling like a failure and knowing you're got fired for being ill is not a good feeling. I'll explain more in a later post. It's a long story.

I've been very lucky to have such a supportive team of medical professionals around me. I know some people don't feel like their doctors understand them and that can certainly slow down the healing process. I feel especially thankful since I don't have such good support at home. My mom is very New Age and doesn't believe in medications. She'd rather I exercise the brain well.. Thank you, mother. Well, it's my life and I chose to take my medications and live. I can't please everyone anyway not even if I tried.

Thank you for reading. I'll blog more soon.

-P <3