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

On hormones and bipolar disorder

Like a silent mantra I tell myself I am better. I tend not to think of the future in any upsetting way. I try to remember to breath and sense the air filling up my lungs, releasing magical oxygen that fights any little stress bubble there might be.

I focus on what is, what I have now, the moment. I don’t think in terms of ambitions or dreams or hopes. I make to do lists. Simple ones of course. I try to remain connected. I pick up my phone; actually I call my friends.

I am present with my children. I plan activities for them, and actively participate. I think about my whole family and remember how much they mean to me everyday. I enjoy my husband and always know that I am very lucky to be in love and to be loved by this amazing person.

Silently, like clouds gathering midday, I feel a change is coming. It is from within. I can tell that colors are not as vivid as they were a few moments ago. I repeat the mantra with hope knowing that everything shall pass. I resist seeing the faded colors and try to see them as bright as they were moments ago.

It works sometimes. The sky might meanwhile clear up, and things get back as sharp as they were. Sometimes it doesn’t though. The clouds keep on gathering and it gets darker. I remember to breath and try to send my magical oxygen around to stop these sad bubbles from forming. Sometimes it works…

When it doesn’t, I take my time. Nothing is eternal I repeat. Though I know that being active helps a lot in fighting depression, I give myself a break. I do as much as my body and my mind allow me. I don’t surrender. If a burst of energy comes, I get up and act.

Yet I also switch to energy saving mode. The mode I know best. It is what made me survive so far. I could stay still for hours, and sleep the day away. It upsets me because I feel I should know better. I remember the routine I need to follow everyday and stick to a minimum.

Like an hourglass, I feel precious particles are slipping away. Is it time passing that bothers me? Is it my lethargy building up? Is it my fear of what might be if this doesn’t change fast?

Yet, I try not to complicate things. Or do I not?

My psychiatrist told me that I should observe my cycle as it might be affecting my mood. I have been doing that and she is actually right. I had always thought of PMS as a mild passing condition that deserves no more attention than some chocolate and a hot water bottle.

I was wrong. My hormonal changes affect me big time. I don’t even know if that is PMS. I have noticed for a few cycles the following pattern. I would have a few days with a lot of energy and a decreased need for sleep. Then this would be followed by low energy and too much sleep. Mood wise, I would be up then totally down.

But now I know that these are the effects of my hormones. These almost drove me to suicide a few months ago. I had no idea they could be that powerful.

Come to think about it, it is not that strange. Hormones change us from children to adults. Without them we would not be able to reproduce, the human race as we know it would simply end. We wouldn’t even know if we are hungry or cold…

I decided to read a bit more on the subject to see if my theory is right. I remember clearly that before my illness I had suffered from severe bleeding for a few months – on and off; more on really. After a hormonal treatment, bleeding ceased and depression came in full blown.

After a basic search, that is what I found out. Hormones happen to be essential for transmitting chemical messages throughout the body. They circulate in our blood, going from one place to another. Like neurotransmitters – those chemical particles responsible for sending messages to and from our brain – hormones work closely with the hypothalamus a gland that is extremely important to our survival.

This little guy is a very powerful component of our brain. It works on so many functions but mostly its main job is to help the body achieve homeostasis- a balance where things are healthy and coordinated.

Guess what! The hypothalamus is big time related to Bodily Rhythms, and those are super responsible for setting off a bipolar episode. Our sleep cycle for one affects our mood and can be a major source of stress. Also what I learned is that the hypothalamus (with the help of hormones and neurotransmitters as well as the immune system) creates what is called Seasonal Rhythms; our reaction to the amount of daylight in each season. Many complain of having worsened depression symptoms as fall approaches; and many feel better for no logical reason as day becomes longer in spring and summer.

Both Social and Bodily Rhythms create for each individual what is called Social Rhythms. These are our routines that we build starting first thing in the morning, till we fall asleep at night. It also includes our interaction with people. How well we function socially that is.

So bipolarity is super complex. What sets off one episode varies greatly from one person to another. Biology plays a major part in all this and it is good to know that. If I could only talk to my hypothalamus; I would say Your Highness; would you be so kind to give me a break?

If only I could see my hypothalamus and all the little complex connections it receives and sends all day long, maybe I could find the faulty one and fix it.

I feel like my hypothalamus is a bomb and I need a squad to deactivate it. Pull the wrong fuse and Bam! Yes I heard this noise a time too many.

Perhaps I am not responsible for the dysfunction in my brain. I am responsible for how I choose to react to that dysfunction.

I called my psychiatrist today to make an appointment.

I will end my post with my favorite prayer; the serenity prayer.

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

Bless

TBC

Talking out loud about your mental illness

A few weeks ago my daughter overheard a conversation about my blog. She wanted to know what a blog was, so I walked her through that. Then she wanted to know about my own blog.

“What do you write about Mama?”

It then hit me. My blog is public.

One day she might read it. I am not sure I am ready for this now. So, future me will deal with that.

With children, the rule of thumb is to answer “difficult” questions with as little information as possible. One question at a time. No need to draw a detailed account I thought, just the basics to answer to her curiosity.

So I told her my blog is about my experience. I started writing I said when I fell sick last year. I write about health, my health.

So she asked me again, like what? Then I said I write about mental health. I didn’t think she will understand. But she did. I was swept off my feet with what she said later. A lot of explaining has been done to her by my husband I thought. What a good job he had done.

She told me, oh so you write about how you feel so others who have the same problem know? I said yes, she kept on talking. So when you share your story they can know what worked and what did not? Yes love I said. That is great Mama, this is much better than just writing I take this medication and that medication. When you write how you feel it will be more useful for others.

I felt I was talking to a friend not my 9 year old daughter. She got it without lots of words. She sensed it. Those youtube DIY videos she loves to watch must have taught her something after all!

Yesterday, as I was checking my email, I found a message from someone who prefers to stay anonymous. He told me that he suffered from anxiety, panic attacks and depression in the past and that he read the blog. He raised a few important points on his experience that are common to mine.

He told me I am brave to talk about such a personal problem in the open. He said that for him and for many, it is not that easy to open up. I reflected on that and remembered the talk with my daughter. As I wrote back to him, it struck me that this is not courage at all. It is survival.

I didn’t do this blog for anything other than a deep need to be heard. I wanted to know if there was someone somewhere going through the same and feeling despair.

It happens that yes, I am not alone. You are not alone. We are all together in this. It does not matter what country you are from, what age you are, whether you are single or not, atheist or not, poor or not.

I discovered that I am read in so many different places like Greece, Austria, India, Australia, Egypt, Spain, France and many more.

This means that we all have our moments of doubts, we all go through tough moments, or witness loved ones goin through them.

When life is unbearable as my friend said in his message, the last thing you want is someone who doesn’t know what it is to feel despair to tell you what to do. Come on, it cannot be that bad they would say. You have a lot of good things in your life despite (…). Think about people who lost everything. You are much better than that. Pull yourself up. Go for a walk, watch a movie or come out with us this weekend.

Not very helpful unfortunately. The mind of the depressed doesn’t work that way. Words of actions are the last thing we want to hear. We know it looks like everything is ok with our lives, that maybe our feelings are not justified. Yes that is part of why we feel so low. Sometimes we don’t even have a good reason whatsoever to feel depressed. It does not help. Depression defies logic. It is not maths. I wish…

So back to my first story.

No, I am not worried that one day my children will read this blog. Actually, when they are old enough and god knows when this will be, I will be happy to share with them what I went through. Ideally they will know that yes we can dive as low as it gets. We could recover, or find a balance, or worst of all we might linger on in despair. It is normal.

They might then look at others differently. They would perhaps judge less. They might offer the right soothing words to someone one day. They will understand that we are made of flesh and blood and that it is not shameful to be sick.

Don’t worry; you are not alone.

Bless

TBC

Recharging

I was reluctant to fly back home. I was worried about meeting family and friends.

I didn’t want to have to deal with pity. I didn’t want to answer questions. I didn’t want to remember who I was before I got sick, or know who I am now.

It was not easy in the beginning. I broke down because I was so ashamed of what had become. It was a feeling beyond me. I felt my failure and forgot all the progress I had made.

I was so tempted to end it all. I held on to the thought of how I would disappoint my loved ones if I do.

I shrank into a ball in bed, fighting my demons. My family and friends would come in one at a time to try and talk to me. I didn’t have words to say. I wanted to shut off the world. I hid behind my blankets to avoid seeing them- seeing me like this.

I asked for medication, I couldn’t do without. I got some tranquilizers, a benzodiazepine. I popped a few – nothing dangerous. I had to numb the pain. I wanted to get out on the other side – the good side.

I asked for an antidepressant. I am away from my doctor and didn’t want to call her. No energy to explain anything to anyone. I decided to take Prozac 20 mg as a preventive dose for further attacks. Just the thought of another one was enough to kill me.

As these things take time, not surprisingly I got another attack a week or so after. A few days before, I had started to feel the ups of hypomania; rapid thoughts, loss of sleep, increased self confidence. It was mild and honestly I enjoyed it. What a nice break from depression… but I worried about the crash after. The higher you go, the lower you will get.

One day shortly after I felt paralyzed when sitting on a small cliff by the beach a few meters away from my family.

I was trying to relax. It hit me as I was looking at the waves and the horizon. I was in harmony with the scenery and little by little I had to lie down. I could not sit anymore. So I did, and thought I should relax some more. A horrible fear of falling hit me. I couldn’t stand up, I couldn’t move a muscle, I couldn’t talk. I waited for it to pass, I do not know for how long.

My daughter saw me as she was swimming and I managed to wave to her. I asked her when she came up to tell my husband to come to me. He shielded me as I crawled away from the cliff when everything was swirling around me. I don’t know why this happened. I just hope it will be my last attack.

I will check in with my doctor once I am back about the drugs am taking.

Yet, despite all this, I am proud of this trip. I am proud I was able to break this wall of fear and to accept love and empathy.

I am proud of being loved and cared for. I am proud of receiving all these hugs and all this care. I still feel vulnerable and worry of breaking- of course there is no magic cure. But somehow I know the worst is over.

There are residues for sure. Yet for those who might have similar stories, reach out, find those who care for you. You might not want to, you might fear what they will say, you might worry about how they will see you… Don’t.

As much as mental illness is mysterious, as much as love is.

Love has a healing power, especially when it is unconditional. Don’t worry about facing the world. I was swept off my feet with care – literally. I had forgotten the power of living “in” a society versus the isolation I face when in Paris.

As much as I didn’t want to go on holidays because when depressed you couldn’t care less, as much as I knew I had to. I wanted to do that for my husband and for my children. They got so worn out that past year with so much pressure- mostly from me.

I put one foot in front of the other and did it. I was challenged to sit by the beach! Imagine that… I was challenged to see my children have ice cream! It was difficult to let go and enjoy islands and beaches and hotels and swimming pools… yes believe me when down no one cares about all that.

Yet magically the change of scenery worked. One at a time like a flower opening its petals, the family started to relax. It was probably contagious. I started to enjoy things instead of being lethargic. It took time, but it happened.

I cannot stress enough the importance of holidays. Needless to say it can be as simple as going to the park and enjoying the view, no need to travel miles to do that. I will personally try and keep this concept of having a break in our family routine. I urge you to do the same.

I will check in more frequently, and I will try to talk about this journey of mine, which I hope will end in recovery.

TBC

Bless

On shame

Raw

That is how you feel after one of them attacks

Raw

Like the flesh of your wounds that you cannot hide from yourself

Raw

As shame invades your soul trying to find even seeds of regret

Raw

Emotion and thought entangled in a web like a knot I cannot undo

Raw

I wish I can curl up and wait till the storm is over

Raw

I know that this is a dream for I am the storm

On being human – a month afterwards

Dear all, thank you for checking in. It has been over a month now that I have quit all psychotropic drugs.

I hate putting pictures of myself online. I need to do this. Here is me: one in ER while on a cocktail of drugs and one DRUG-FREE on a night out (with my husband cropped out of the selfie for his privacy)…

A picture worth a 1000 words
Midst depression & suicide, hooked up to machines at ER
A “person” taking a selfie...
Listening to Jazz with my husband – DRUG FREE

They scare you…

This is a rather long entry. I will be telling you about how the experience has been. I will also tell you at the end my two cents on my last psychiatric appointment. I will also refer to what I do to be able to manage my withdrawal after almost a couple of year on heavy drugs.

They sacre you…

Ever since this experiment spectrum of emotions, thoughts and physical sensations have been revealed to me ever since.

I am partially proud and relieved. I have this sensation of being in charge of who I am and once again responsible for my decisions and thoughts.

It is not an easy journey. A layer of artificial pain has been lifted away quite dramatically from my being. I discovered the traces of other pain beneath. It was thrilling to regain emotional and bodily sensations again. It is spectacular to be human and mostly to feel like one.

I find myself unable/unwilling to think or plan ahead. I try to live a minute at a time and not to complicate anything. Although I can achieve a wider range of feeling, I prefer to dwell on the surface.

They scare you…

I am prudent. I once read that bipolar patients are always waking on eggshells. I think it is also true for those who suffer from recurrent depression. I worry about the consequences of my feelings and try now to stay at the surface. I think that this is more than anything, a survival mechanism.

Bad dreams have been happening. They are too vivid for my liking. They are probably the most vivid I have had to memory. Why are they so scary? Because they are not based on fantasy. They surprise me as logical, and this is why all the while during the nightmares I think that I am actually loving those moments.

Tears are close by. Menial tasks requiring mental skills are tough for me. I need to concentrate with all my mind. Adios to multitasking. One thing at a time.

My weight is soaring. As big as a whale; as if I have eaten every problem I have ever thought about.

Together with my limited mental capacity, I feel short of who I am.

They scare you…

My 38th birthday is around the corner. I am worried about the forties, worried of turning 41 – the age at which my mother died.

I think of her a lot lately, with more understanding. Though my turmoil was partially due to my childhood with her and to her sudden death, my illness has taught me to see our relationship differently.

I understand her now more than ever. I feel for her suffering and instability. I cherish her ability to have taken care of me to her best; with her limited means. I don’t blame her anymore. I couldn’t have done better myself.

I hope for the years to come to be able to see my illness as tough-love; as a blessing in disguise.


They scare you…

A disturbing fact though remains.

I had gone to my latest appointment with my psychiatrist 10 days after quitting. She was of course against it. She said quitting suddenly has severe consequences. Depression of course was a runner up. I was also told that lithium won’t probably work again should I need it. Rebound is possible, no one knows when, how or for how long. It would be very dark I was warned.

Perhaps I could live with all that. Nothing she said was new until she told me something quite harsh.

They scare you…

Knowing that I write about mental illness, she told me that I should put a warning when speaking about going cold turkey. She said: ” Mothers who kill their children and then commit suicide do that because of depression”.

They scare you…

She left the sentence hanging in mid air; either to refer to potential readers who can harm themselves by listening to me. She could have also meant me; I was left to choose.

Besides being deeply offended and utterly shocked, I felt a lot of self doubt that I now regret. I dwell on this almost daily.

I say with utmost confidence – something I generally strongly lack – They scare you…

Bullshit; No one can pretend to know you better than yourself.

Bullshit; Stop stigmatizing mental health patients; you of all people should know how to weigh your words.

Bullshit; No! Our loved ones; for that fact my children are a red line that no one is allowed to cross.

Bullshit; no! Crying, anxiety attacks, binge eating/ drinking, nightmares, dark thoughts, are and were never ever directed to anyone else.

BULLSHIT!!! STOP!! I will not let your narrow single sided knowledge of an incredibly complex topic such as the human mind dictate how I should live my life.

I tell you my dear reader. I warn you like she asked me to do not to quit cold turkey. But I add to that; this road is not to be travelled unless under certain circumstances that are very complex.

You and you alone can decide how to live and what to do with your life. You alone will know when or when not to quit. You alone know down deep inside your motives for such a decision. And most important of all, you alone know if you are god forbid dangerous to yourself or worse to others.

Whatever you do, do not quit believing in yourself medication-free. Yet better, do not quit the hope for one second of being illness-free.

Without any conspiracy theories, let us not have the world of pharmaceutical companies tell us how to live or love our children!!

I do not deny that yes unfortunately such miseries do happen. Yet, millions of millions live and die without committing any of such acts and hopefully you and I are no different.

Should you decide to cut off or quit. I urge you besides doing it at the right time and weighing the benefits and the doubts as well as the consequences, TAKE SUPPLEMENTS.

I have a routine filled with micronutrients, vitamin D, omega 3, probiotics, and amino acids. I also use essential oils for withdrawal pains such as headache, back ache and insomnia. They help me a lot. All this is due to my dear husband. He has done incredible research on the topic and I do take all my supplements religiously. On most nights I sleep, and on most days I go out of the house.

Please I’d urge and beg you, if you are reading this before you go to your first doctor’s appointment because you are suffering, considering an alternative route. Do your own research, ask a loved one to do it for you. Just don’t start with antidepressants, mood regulators and benzodiazepines. You might just need iron and vitamin B complex instead. So take charge and do your homework. There is an alternative route – less travelled nowadays yes but real all the same.

No one will care when you have a zillion side effect but you.

I will be writing another follow up to let you know how things are progressing. Feel free to comment or ask questions…

Go sacre them with your humanity…

TBC

The experiment – on being human…

I have to document what I am going through. It is equally possible that I have done the boldest or the stupidest decision. I quit three medications cold turkey. Prozac 20 mg, lithium 600 mg and Temesta 1 mg.

I did this without the knowledge of my psychiatrist; I even postponed my appointment with her not to get influenced.

I know what science says. Don’t quit cold turkey whatever you do. I know. Not to brag, but I quit before for other reasons, other drugs that were extremely addictive and I survived. Yes I almost died, but it was totally worth it.

Question now is how long will this honeymoon phase last before withdrawal kicks in? What is the difference between withdrawal and the side effects that I am going through? The big question is, why should I keep on taking drugs that do not alleviate my pain and give me a bundle of other things to suffer from? The question is, when do you say enough? When do I say I know my body and I know how it functions best?

Illusion or reality. What am I expecting now? A miracle? No, I so do not believe in those. I am just humbly aiming to get back to my initial problems; to my initial depression before psychiatry got involved.

I am a good patient. I am quite reasonable. Yet, and I repeat, why take drugs that make me sick?

I refused to draw a comparison between cancer and mental illnesses because I thought they were very distinct. I was wrong. I thought more research went into cancer: true. I thought cancer is a more pressing predicament. Yet, cancer patients sometimes reject treatment. Families of deceased cancer patients often swear the medication is the reason behind the death of their loved ones and not the illness. Patients who go through one cycle of treatment and sometimes do not accept another one. Yes, they would rather die; or live?

This leads me to my main two points here. One as a patient I have a choice. Two, quality of life is more important than life. Why else would euthanasia be legalized?

All I know is that part of my remaining brain is telling me I have to listen to myself. I prefer my own illness to that one artificially induced and resulting in neurological and neuro-chemical imbalances in my body.

I simply want to know why I am crying when I do. I want to stop twitching. I want to look in the mirror and see me; the fat or the ugly. It will be me and not some alien inhabiting my body and taking random decisions on my behalf.

Risk is part of life. We all make equally good and bad decisions. Only time will tell. The worse that could happen is returning to the status quo. At least then I would know my human limitations and will stop complaining. Wouldn’t you try if you were me?

TBC

The concept of time and depression

Yet another day unfolding, yet another 24 hours to kill. I wonder why we have to kill time when time sometimes kills us.

I used to break the day into sections; before, during and after my kids’ school. Now for a couple of days it is a continuum. I am not only fighting my illness, my side effects, but time.

Till when will this be? Till when shall I sit and watch life go by? Please do not tell me it shall pass.

You know when you are in love and talk to someone who has never experienced it? This exactly the same, they would understand you more on a “theoretical” level than on a real one.

I would do just fine if I was certain that this would end. You see I don’t mind being incapacitated by my condition- I want only to know if it my prognosis.

I lost trust in medication as much as I lost trust in doctors.

My best solution is to wait for these two weeks to be over. I just need the drugs to work – if they do. I will go back to bed now. At least I forced myself to change and to have a shower.

TBC

A call for help…. I can’t beat Sunday

I thought with the new treatment I am following, that I will manage my feelings better on weekends.

It is unfortunate that nothing makes the weekend tolerable. Not my best friends coming for a surprise visit, not me going on a weekend with my family, not me getting help with another nanny specially for that, nothing works.

Please someone tell me if they feel the same like me. It is driving me insane and I have lost all ability to make myself feel better.

5 Ways to make your bipolar day pass without biting your nails

Today I am writing about one easy technique to shift your mind from facing racing thoughts, of even black ones. This worked well for me yesterday, and maybe it would work for you too.

Basically, I put my nice pjs (the ones that look like a training suit) and my nice coat on and hit the road. I had company, which had was great, but I could have done it alone to. So why is this would be good for you?

1- makes you get out of bed: Yet you do not need to take off your pjs if you planned it well the night before – don’t over do it. Getting out, I think is an essential tool for healing. First of all, you have to think about stupid things like crossing the street. You also despite your illness and foggy mind, start noticing people: a pair of purple shoes, a child with a dinosaur helmet, a woman with a chapka on her head…. (probably me)

Chapka hat, why not?

2- It gets your find an aim: I think a major problem I have is finding goals- no matter how small or useless – to fill up my day. I wake up and if you’d see my expression it is somewhere between a story dog and a toddler learning to walk. Well, I look weird and feel even stranger. I have say at least 12 hours to fill before the blissful sleeping pill is taken. So going out with your phone to find pictures that relate to your “illness” is great! It makes you feel important, like you are some artist on a mission for a new project they are taking on.

Bipolar is everywhere - credit of thought to dear father Ahmed Loutfy

3-It diverts your attention: Not to be confused with the previous point. When you focus on something, usually your brain forgets what it was thinking about the second before. I make this assumption even if your brain is completely coucou like mine. I have a rule of thumb, if it happens once, it can happen again. Guess what, while taking meaningless pictures across Paris with my father, I forgot being bipolar by totally being bipolar. Tricky right? I mean the importance of your state of mind is shifted to what your current state of mind can do. Hope you get it better now.

Nothing is perfect

4-You start taking hold of your destiny: Yes you are still crazy and your mood shifts from one minute to the other – I wonder how you are actually reading me now. Anyway, when you walk, you have to choose which way to go. You can keep going straight, yes true- but it is still a choice. Medication, psychotherapy sessions, visits to your psychiatric, you will do all this but with little to say. Taking this precious iPhone (fine you can take your Samsung either but not sure it would work as well) makes you the captain of the ship. The ship my friend is you.

Do you really want eggs?

5- Might be a useful exit in social situation: If you ever find yourself in a situation where you have to answer the famous “So, what do you do?” Or “What is your passion”? There, in their faces, you got your pictures, you are an artist. It is actually a bit more complex that this. I think taking pictures helps you shape your identity. Now, I would like to find one bipolar pal who doesn’t need this.

Define your identity by trying out things

Waiting for Monday

It is inexplicable what bipolar means. It sounds simple enough; one day up one day down. Yet, this dam type II has most of the time down periods.

I noticed it is mostly Sundays that I don’t tolerate. I think I never liked Sunday. When I went to school, I had Friday and Sunday off, so I always looked forward to Thursday. Till now, it is my favorite day. Sunday reminds me of regressing to routine, of boredom, of loneliness, of responsibility…

I decided to press the panic button today and went to the emergency day center CAC. I couldn’t open my eyes this morning without crying. I cried when I saw the bed empty, when I heard the sound of my husband talking to the kids. I cried to the sound of TV in the background. I cried because my children were beautiful. I got dressed, i even put on make up to look normal for them. I am sick of them seeing their mother crying and shattered in a million pieces.

I fought the feeling and went to make their favorite breakfast. Fuffy eggs. Everyone ate, tears came down even more because they ate. It was going up, the feeling was growing… The void, the meaninglessness of my life, my love to them..

Today my feelings are like a song, With a beat, with percutions in the background and a soft singer whose voice breaks through your heart with its depth, its high notes travelling through your veins.

I do not know what to expect from myself, from CAC, or from today. I am in terrible pain.

I see other people in the clinic, some gazing with their eyeballs made of glass. It scares me, I was like this once and I do not want this to repeat itself. But I like to talk to other patients. Their pains and stories make mine legit.

I feel nauseous, not from the stomach. I feel I want to throw my “guts” out. I wish one could throw up their mind and feel this amazing void afterwards.

The psychiatric nurse and I spoke and we decided I should not be sedated. I have to have feelings, but they hurt. It is like a fresh wound on which you throw alcohol and scream each time – perpetually…

We will see what will happen. At least Sunday will be over soon and Monday will come. It will be grey yes, it will be freezing, but it will be Monday. My roller coaster ride will slow down, and there will will be at the dawn of a new day.

I know it hurts to be here. But I kept my promise and pressed the panic button. I want my family to know that I love them more than anything and despite everything. I just wish they have the patience to wait for me, for this darkness has to cease. They say there is light at the end of the tunnel. If one saw it, I can too.

Not religious, but praying to see this light for more than one day, i saw it for the most for one week…

May you never experience my pain.

See you Monday

TBC

Leaving the clinic today

Well, I’m quite excited about today. You see, today I leave behind 41 long days of hospitalization. I have been waiting for this day for so long, it seems almost a dream come true.

Yet, I am afraid or rather apprehensive that today I leave the cocoon and safety of the hospital. I know I want nothing more than being with my family, with my husband, with my beautiful children, my ever so giving father and my loving mother in law.

My apprehension comes more from expectations outside. I need to get back to my role as a mother. My children miss me, but I miss them even more. I know that my husband is waiting for me patiently. I also know that my immediate family would like to have the house come back to normal, this was mainly my duty – I am a stay at home mother…

I also know that everyone understands my condition. They understand that now I am in a state of convalescence.

So since the last few entries that I posted on the blog, I like to leave you with some tips and tricks which I hope might be useful should you find yourself in a similar situation.

Here it goes…

Don’t get too comfortable in your hospital stay: I think from my experience you have to know that everything is temporary. Getting used to the safety of the clinic is not something that you should really get used to. What I mean is you always have to know that there is a real world waiting for you outside. This real world is where you will spend the rest of your days. Please know that no matter how long the hospitalization is you will eventually get around and you have to be ready. This is basically a primary psychological preparation.

Prepare your exit so that it easiest for everyone: Knowing that you’re not going to be at your full capacity once you are out makes expectations more real. You will need help. I am speaking as a mother of two beautiful children who require plenty of energy; energy that I do not have right now. Even if your budget is limited try to find help through family, maybe hiring a cleaner or a nanny, or maybe even relying on some good friends. Basic tasks could be haunting In the beginning, and I am certain that people around would be willing to land you a hand.

Continue seeing your therapists and psychiatrist: I cannot stress the importance of this. Professional support outside of the safety of the clinic is essential for your well-being. You will adjust your medication according to the development of your case. You also should make sure that your therapist is there for you, ensuring that you are on the road to healing.

Don’t pretend to be stronger than who you really are: We get carried away, thinking that we are better, thinking there could be no harm in taking more tasks than we should. Remember, one step at a time. Do not take more on your plate. You have a long way to heal even if it doesn’t look it to others.

If you are a parenttalk to your children love them though as a mom or dad you might not have your full energy yet: You would be amazed at what can children understand. Just by maybe saying that mom or dad are yes at home, they will help little by little and take care of you slowly but surely. Ask for their patience, more important and more efficient than melt downs. I cannot stress enough the importance of one day at a time.

Routine is your best friend: My doctors told me to try and keep a routine even though it could be difficult at the beginning. For example try to wake up early and have breakfast every day at the same time. Maybe we can go to the market, pick up the stuff that you would be eating the same day. I personally find that my muscles have weakened so much over the past months. Morning walks will keep you sane and will get you into an exercise routine slowly but surely.

You need to rest: Again my doctors told me that I need to rest everyday. Even talking too much can drain you. He recommended naps but not more than 45 minutes a day.

Be patient: Rome was not built in a day. Stay in tune with your body and don’t over do it. Little by little you will find your old self emerging; or better still your improved self coming to surprise you.

Take supplements: read about taking supplements because this is very important for your overall health. Read about the importance of vitamin D, magnesium, omega-3 as well as a variety of other vitamins and minerals, they can benefit your wellbeing more than you can imagine.

Congratulate yourself: Yes, you made it! Give yourself a big pat on the back. Be grateful you made it. They wouldn’t have let you out if you were not ready. And remember, you did most of the work! Be proud for your achievements: )

TBC