I just checked myself in a few hours ago and now I want to run through the iron gates and never come back.

I cannot deal with my thinking, my needs, my wants, my moods.

Is this a magic spell?

Get me in here

Get me out of here

My patience is nonexistent and my insight is blurred with my tears.

End this torment for I am at the end of my rope

This song is on a loop and it won’t stop

TBC

Choosing to live with the side effects of psychotropics – a life changing decision…

I saw my psychiatrist yesterday.

I told her about my “attacks” and she explained.

She told me that hormonal changes in female bipolar patients tend to send them over the moon sometimes. So what I am going through is not surprising. It is not a hormonal problem per se, it is just a confirmation that I have a mood disorder.

I asked if there is any biomarker that would tell us if I need a hormonal treatment to fix my mood. She said that there is currently no information on this. Surprise? Not really. So the only marker hormones wise is that of the thyroid gland functions. My numbers are not perfect, but not alarmingly different to cause such an imbalance.

My session was important despite the “negative” results. I now know that I need to make a big decision.

My doctor asked me about whether stopping lithium was due to hypomania and I said it was not. I would do this over and over again. The changes, the personality changes that most psychotropics cause me are just unbearable- to me. Again, this is such a personal matter that it would be straight stupid to advise anyone to quit or not. I am not preaching anything. I am just sharing my own journey, which might or might not be similar to yours. What is sure though, you might have gone through similarly difficult choices to make.

We agreed that my life as it is now is not fulfilling. The unpredictability of my attacks renders my illness a disability to me and to those around me. We are unable to plan anything. I struggle to be an adult, an independent person who requires little or no maintenance. I struggle to be there for my children as a full time mother. Career? What is that sir! Sometimes having a shower is already a challenge to me.

Having said that, my worst fear is hurting those around me. Till when can they deal with my unpredictability.

Till when will my husband take days off work, or leave the house with a feeling of apprehension not knowing if he will find me home when he gets back.

Till when will I have my father leave everything and stick around to be here just in case I cannot deal with the children. Till when will he hop on and off plans to come to an emergency situation beyond his or my comprehension? Till when?

So fact one; we know this cannot go on.

Fact two; there is no clear solution.

My dear doctor whom I respect so much suggested that I add a new psychotropic to my daily dose of Prozac.

Psychotropic drugs are medications that affect your central nervous system, changing how your brain processes information, such as altering your mood, thoughts, perceptions, emotions, and behaviors. Most psychotropic drugs are prescribed by your therapist or health care provider to treat a diagnosed mental illness, such as bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder.

https://www.verywellmind.com/psychotropic-drugs-425321

You see I don’t have a conscientious objection against drugs. No, I don’t. The thing is with most drugs I feel alienated, weird… I twitch, I get nightmares, I get lethargy, restlessness, anxiety, and sometimes I even have suicidal thoughts that unfortunately led me to the emergency room more than once.

She said the new drug- Abilify– could help regulate my mood. The idea is to take it at 5mg – a super low dose – to keep my curves from skyrocketing or dropping at the speed of light. Sounds good yes. I would have to wait a few months to monitor the effect of Abilify on my mood and on my menstrual cycle.

Will it work? We have a fifty percent chance it does. Ok, side effects? For starters, it is prescribed to children. How bad could it be?

Then Surprise surprise, they said when they put it in the market that it does not make you gain weight. Oups! Mistake, she said it does in many patients and my readings confirmed a nice 10 to 20 kilograms of extra weight per year. Maybe at different dosages, but still. I won’t be able to tie my own shoelaces by 2020.

Ok. What else? Oh it varies greatly she said from one person to another. Reading suggests that the worst is in the beginning; like vomiting and the like. That does not scare me. What really scared me is that patients on this drug would complain of very low energy and of restlessness or need to move.

According to the official site of the drug,

ABILIFY may cause movements that you cannot control in your face, tongue, or other body parts. Tardive dyskinesia may not go away, even if you stop receiving ABILIFY. Tardive dyskinesia may also start after you stop receiving ABILIFY.

https://www.abilify.com/important-safety-information.aspx

They might get also compulsive behaviors such as gambling and binge eating, cholesterol and anxiety.

How are you supposed to fight depression with all this extra weight and without any energy, with twitches and compulsive behavior? Don’t tell me stop searching the Internet. I did differ from a wide spectrum of side effects before. They are as real as it gets.

Her idea is that my Prozac would have a counter the side effects of Abilify and things would balance out. Perhaps…

So my dilemma is simply the following:

Should I risk living with these unpredictable cycles and watch myself and my family losing our minds slowly; or should I take the drugs and lose myself little by little and become a deaf note floating around in a soundless world?

Can you relate? Did you go through the same? Can you throw me a bone here? What did you do? What would you do?

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to kno
w the difference.

TBC

If I were

If I were at the hospital

I would wear my pyjamas all day

I would say good morning to everyone

I would wake up on time

I would have breakfast at the communal table

I would go for a smoke when the nurses say so

I would wear a nicotine patch To get me through the day, and I would be allergic to it

I would use the communal shower and dry up with a bed sheet; I would find hair everywhere and stay with my slippers on

I would wait for the doctor to pass by and say the daily bla-bla-bla;

I would play Sudoku- pen and paper sir not online

I would stare at my family’s portrait hung on the window and imagine them touching my face

I would move my chair around to be in the sun, seeking emotions and failing to find none

I would be disconnected; off the grid and not feel guilty about it

I would pretend it is doing me good to be here

I would take my blood pressure and temperature every day

I would talk to others about side effects of this or that

I would fancy getting better

I would know it is good for me, it has to be; it better be

I would feel guilty about the kids, my husband, my father; my kids, my husband, my husband, my husband, my father, my father, my father, my father….but my kids…

I would wait for 2pm when visits start, no no tears this time

I would wait for 7pm when I can call the kids and ask them to sing me a song, sometimes they would

I would give them imaginary baths and diners

I would blow imaginary kisses and I would make belief that I am tucking them to bed

I would kiss my husband good night and say a silent prayer, god let tomorrow be normal – one more day

I would beg for the drugs to black me out at 8pm

Dinner would be sprouts and more sprouts. Some borrowed olive oil here and some salt

The other day I took the kids bowling and felt so self accomplished just as if I landed on the freakin moon

I am sitting by the louvre sipping my Bloody Mary with tears

People are standing up here and there trying to get a perfect picture

They bend and jump into strange angles to look like the pyramid is on the palm of their hand

It is all make belief, looking for the perfect moment

A tour guide has an umbrella up for everyone to follow her

Where else would they go I wonder? Isn’t this the perfect moment? To follow someone without thinking? Tick this box and that one. Been there, done that…

We talk and talk and talk and talk

We shut up and up and up and up

We should know better

I am writing compulsively, but you don’t have to read me

It is building up

I know myself, I wish I didn’t

Solve it; for you god brought me here in the first place

No shame; maybe some

No regrets; just a few

Oblivion where are you?

TBC

Solace, where are you?

I would like to shed my skin like a snake…

I would like to change colors like a chameleon…

I know that personal growth is not always linear.

I know also that sometimes you keep on suffering until you learn the lesson.

Things are more bearable during the day. Yet, when the sun sets, and as the sky becomes darker, there is little left to be done. The few chores of the day end one by one.

I sneak back to my corner in bed. I hold my phone and do nonsense. Minute after minute, tic toc. It is past midnight already. I count the hours I have left in bed, and dread facing the next morning. I will myself to sleep but know to well that this is not how it works.

Someone else got into the control center in my head and took over. I am equally lost between trying to fight and surrendering. They are the same.

I’d do anything if I could. Like walking on shifting sand I lie on this side then on that side seeking comfort.

I finally fall asleep but my dreams are no solace. Of course they are vivid. I stopped trying to know what is true and what is not. They are as real as it gets, and also as fake as it gets.

I usually fixate on things in my dreams. Small details, they keep on coming back. I wake up without any memory of what happened. Just a feeling of weirdness and abnormality. Too much brain activity or too little. All the same.

I find small feet cuddling next to mine. They are seeking comfort and safety in me. In me…

I wake up to the sound of the alarm and hit snooze. I wish I could escape from the responsibility of being me.

I wish I could let go.

I worry about my family and how they will react – again. Pity, love, empathy, boredom, anger, what again will they feel.

I can see my temporary paralysis turning beautifully into a handicap. Will I need to be taken care of again? Till when I wonder… Will I ever be an adult?

I don’t know what to do with every single second of my day. I listen to this song then forward to another. I watch this show and then another. I go out for a smoke then decide it is too cold. I want cookies and cheese at the same time. What the hell is going on.

You know I wish I had a timeshare at a mental clinic. How cool would that be? Hello yes, this is client 44087. I am calling for room 13. Yes, is it time already. Is it empty today? Sure, like last time yes. I would like to start with the locked up package first. And I insist, don’t let me out even if I beg you too. That’s it then. See you later. Oh yes, I know the drill. No sharp objects of belts. Thank you.

Perfect customer service.

A few weeks after, my skin would have shed. Yes I am a reptile after all. Why? Oh am also a chameleon and I change colors all the time. Only difference is this is not for adaptation like reptiles. It is a malfunction, a mutation if you prefer.

At the end of the day, survival is for the fittest…

TBC

The tunnel at the end of the light

I wake up and find out that the life I thought I had is slipping through my fingers.

I look at myself in the mirror and I don’t see me. My son tells me what is wrong with your eyes? He is three.

Where is my silent mantra? Where is my magical oxygen?

Like a broken record, or a bad movie that always has a sequel…

I am just a

Racing heartbeat

Cold limb

Thought with echo

Foggy brain

Shallow breath

Flushed face

Spent energy

Headache

Backache

Fear

Silent scream…

I ask myself. Are you coming back? Are you already here?

I can’t be. You left me, remember? You almost promised not to show up again…

Why is it always payback time? Didn’t you take enough through out the years?

I have nothing more to give or to give up. I surrendered everything. You took it all away.

I am hesitant again…

I am dizzy again…

I am in bed again…

One of us has to leave and it cannot be me. I told you this before. I cannot go, it has to be you.

These cycles are endless. They tell you there is light at the end of the tunnel. Sure thing. Can’t argue with that. But they fail to mention that there is another bloody tunnel right after the light.

TBC

The monster and I

Anger is a monster whose main duty is to scare you…

It comes at night, when everything and everyone is quite…

It has big claws and red eyes, it wants you to look at it, so that you tremble and fall…

At this point you would expect that the story would turn around, and the monster will be chased far far away…

No, my monster, my anger eats me up and makes me eat up and we struggle every night. No one wins, well it mostly wins with me taking my sleeping pill that sometimes only works for a few hours. I wake up, and it is still there with red eyes staring into mine challenging me to go into battle. I know I will lose sooner or later.

So far I have kept my promise of not harming myself. But the struggle with the anger monster keeps me alive but am dead really. Nothing matters anymore. I want to eternally sleep and I have to keep my eyes opened – reminds me of a scene where Donald Duck sticks up matches in his eyes not to fall asleep.

So till when will this battle go on, and what will happen when I have no more hunger to eat to keep my eyes opened? What kind of anger will I come up with? Will it be against me? I sorely hope so. And how strong will it be, crescendo or a volcano? Will I harm myself? Will I feel this tearing up between my promise and the fantasy of death? What is this spectrum of mood disorders and where do I stand? Am I evolving forward towards a more developed syndrome? I cannot honestly answer the latest question with anything but yes.

I passed through a hell of a night, but I kept alive. The fridge and I talked together like good old best friends. You see it helps me fight the monster. I looked at myself in the mirror while passing from one room to another. I saw my reflection: I was the monster. My eyes were shot red, my hair all over the place, my skin grey…

Yet I was alive. But this is a small fake victory – for am not alive no more than the monster is real.

I am an insane mother and this monster cannot hurt my little ones. I will not allow it, alive or dead….

I know how to fake it with my children. I only do not know how much longer I will be able to do this…

But I will do it till there is nothing left of me – or in this state (a lot) if you get what I mean.

I make no sense at all, even those around me find me nonsensical. I am one day seeking hospitalization, the second minute am cracking my head against the wall to get out.

I am scared from the monster, for that monster is nothing but my own mind….

TBC

The hefty price of mental illness

The mind is a labyrinth… A planet that hasn’t been discovered, a room in the dark that you think you know…. The mind, who can claim they understand it? Like going through a new city without a GPS; without speaking its language… The mind is the unknown… what makes us tick? Why me and not you get affected by this and not that?

We have theories. Oh this we have. We have got books and essays, experiments and graphs, longitudinal studies, coefficients, variables, control groups, placebos… We have got neuro-imaging, DNA markers, studies on indigenous people…

But the truth is scientists are only tiptoeing, trying to read this overwhelmingly complex cartography with very limited tools and a heck of variables that are almost infinite.

Zoom in now into you, into the individual. How many zillion variables are there that make you unique? Genes, social upbringing , education, health, and god knows what…

You feel unwell, gather up your courage and seek help. You go to whom you think she or he holds the answer to your despair. You wish for a magical cure, you surely aren’t the only one who feels this way. There must be others who got better, others who were saved. Why can’t you be one of them. But this is the road less travelled my friend.

Your symptoms are interwoven like a beautiful carpet. You recall some, but forget others. You think that talking about this particular subject is important, while it is not really why you are suffering. You are unwell, you cannot focus, you sleep too much or too little. You overeat or starve, you cry or sit like a stone for hours. You hurt yourself, or even others. You still believe somehow that it will pass.

You want to escape but where do you go and leave your mind behind? You dwell on death, on freedom. Stop this pain. Please stop it. I am too weak to end my life, to tired to explain myself. I have lost my patience, I have lost my compass. Nothing feels the same, life became like and old broken TV set. Things are all grey, nothing interests you. Where are those dreams? When you don’t have a favorite color, movie, song, book, meal, place, activity, hobby… When you think you could do anything or be anyone and find that you have absolutely neither interest nor knowledge of what you could be… When you become wart in a beautiful face, a fly in the perfect meal… You seek help.

They drug you up. Three days one pill in the morning, up it to two on the fourth and wait for another three days. Now it is ok. You won’t feel anything but worse. Throw up, yes but preferably not your meds. Cannot get up in the morning? Was it your vivid dreams or your nightmares? Want to stay in bed? Read a book? Oh yes the letters jump off the page? Then try to relax? Now time to increase again your meds. Awful headaches? Is your heart jumping from your chest? Are you staring without blinking? Oh maybe take this other drug to reduce the side effects. Now be patient, you are a patient after all.

People find you even weirder than before? You are not crying now. You are not arguing. You are not laughing. You are doing nothing. A fast train you boarded but there are no windows. You lost track of time, of space, of meaning. At least you knew that you are unwell before. Now you won’t know wether or not you exist.

Oh sorry, wrong treatment. That is fine, what were the stats again on getting the right diagnosis from the first round? No idea. So off you go.

Remember all those amazing side effects you just barely survived? Now it is time to get the withdrawal effects. How long? Oh why do you assume they will know the answer to this question? More nightmares, dreams they call vivid but that are worse than reality, vomiting, dizziness, aches everywhere, now you have cholesterol too, didn’t we tell you to stop eating like a pig? Now what is it you are saying? Electricity in your mouth? Are you sure? Humm, we heard of brain zaps… Well you see they are like this screeching sound just like chalk on a blackboard; a diamond ring on a window, a train that comes to a halt with this sound that makes your cells shrink…

Ok put this all aside. How are we doing with the new meds? Off you go, half a pill for three days, plus one week of 25 mg of this other one, if anxious up to 3 pills of that. Yes? Ok now some more? But be careful, this new drug is the golden cure. Are you itching? Sure? Cause you can die from a skin condition if you increase too quickly. Why a skin disease that could get me blind if my troubles are in my soul. Now, now.. don’t be a spoiled brat.

What till when? Is there like a threshold? A danger zone? Oh how can we know that? We are not sorcerers. Yes yes, you will get your feelings back. When? A month or two? What to do when you are suicidal? Don’t dwell, is it not written that some drugs make you suicidal although you are taking them because you are suicidal?

Just wait and see. Oh look. There there, you got back your focus and your personality is surfacing again. Shit! Isn’t this what you wanted? No actually this is what brought me to you in the first place. My problems have quadrupled, I don’t know what to say. Got to deal with my original burdens, my withdrawal effects, the side effects and above all life that happens in between.

Are you doing your breathing exercises? Are you drinking your herbal tea? Hot showers? Relaxation files and brainwaves? Humm. The daily walks too? Well then things should be in order. Be patient my patient, or get the courage to end it all up somewhere far away where no one will see how ugly you will look when you are finally dead… They forgot they gave you the weapon you were looking for all along…

TBC?

When good things are stressful

Inside this bubble of depression, inside this cloud of anxiety, with all decisions even the smallest ones seeming like an insurmountable mountain, I cannot deal with good or bad news…

When going on a trip to a beautiful place fills me with dread as if I am to jump off a cliff, I wonder how I will ever get back to myself…

Life is the sum of all the details. When the details are dreadful what do you do with your life?

I don’t want to end anything but my depression. I want to look forward to things, I want to stop fearing social situations. I want to stop wearing my facial mask when I meet people trying hard to say I am normal – whatever that means…

All I want is to be left alone. I don’t want any responsibility. I don’t want any tasks. I often even don’t want to talk when I am talked to…

Everything shall pass. Those are symptoms. Put them in a box says my beautiful therapist. I will try dear, though I cannot find the difference between my symptoms and everything else…

TBC