So I went all the way to London. I am from Egypt you see, I had to pay good money for a visa, and lots more for accommodation and living expenses. One hefty sterling pound costs 23 Egyptian pounds. You get the picture.
Any-who. We travelled, out of pocket. We did everything by the book. We stayed in the nicer areas. By we I mean my husband and I, and later my sweet father. We ate out, he took me shopping. He transferred money to me weekly even though he was already paying for most of the stuff.
He isn’t a millionaire. He isn’t a business man. He is just a loving father.
Twenty five days we stayed in London. Day in day out. My husband visited every single second he had. He took me out even to the west end.
I cried in their arms and laughed some more.
I was not prepared however for what the doctor told me one fine morning.
He told me Nour you have to go home. I didn’t comprehend. What home? Like the place we are renting out here in London? No? Home as in Cairo? As in the Middle East, pyramids and all? Why!! I am following your words by the book. Doctor Zamar your words are my command like literally.
Why summon me and tell me this?
It figures the bloody Prozac is giving me horrible withdrawal symptoms. He can’t treat me with them taking place. It is nothing personal he said but rTMS won’t be efficient. Nothing would work.
His plan was to fly me home and give me back Prozac and instead of weaning me off cold turkey; to tapper it off gradually.
Trivia: do you know that they don’t sell Prozac in smaller doses than 20 mg in many countries?
Guys, people of the pharmaceutical world stop lobbying against recreational drugs and kindly start putting your **it together with psychotropics.
An Arabic word comes to mind to describe the situation “Haram”; it roughly translates to “god forbidden”.
God forbids this bullshit companies are selling to us the millions of us this shit as pain relief…
God forbids you to prescribe us shit that will literally make us want to end our lives
God forbids you from making zillions hurting us and also making us dependent on you with every cell of our body.
We don’t need strong will to quit the poison you are selling us, we need a miracle.
I was willing to undergo Electric Chock Therapy ECT- which would basically erase what is left of my poor memory- just to get rid of the effect of the antidepressant in my body. That my friend is like asking me to deep fry my hand to get rid of a mole. It is that illogical. But I was willing to; cross my heart. Doctor bless him said it would be useless.
So now after quitting dear Prozac – the sweet antidepressant that is almost given over the counter – and I swear to god given to “normal” people who just want to lose weight; I am back to square one. I am taking it again. And will reduce the dose every 10 days.
I can’t give you more feedback about my new treatment as it came to a halt.
But for the love of god, for the love of Jesus, of Moses, Mohamed, and Buddha; NEVER take antidepressants if you might be suffering from a mood spectrum disorder.
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.
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.”
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 know the difference.
I want to take a pair of scissors and chop my hair off
I want to break both legs
I want to cut my face with a knife
I want to slice my wrists and watch blood oozing out of my veins
I want to live on the street
I want to never speak again
I want to never feel again
I want to never see again or hear again
I took the drugs today. Don’t know why or how many… probably lithium 250*3, Prozac 20*3 and a couple Temesta 1.
I had gotten so angry before it. Not mad angry but scary angry; where nothing matters anymore. I have been there and it is not pretty. I am getting numb now. Getting slower. My nerve endings are not painful anymore. My upper back has stopped wanting to detach itself from the rest of my body. I am mellow. I am high and low and I will hit the ground faster than I know it.
I couldn’t succumb to what I wanted to do. Is this safer? No. Is this what I want? No. Did I lose yet another month or two trying to be a good girl responsible for her body and mind? Yes. Do I gain points in this game or does my score go back to zero each time? What now? A life of broken promises and misery all around to which am the catalyst always. If I could just be on an island free to live or not as I please. Would it change anything?
The worst feelings I have are about those around me. The destruction I create in their eyes. I don’t want to talk to them or look at them. I don’t want them to see me. I should be locked up alone like a crazy relative in the attic. In a bare room with a small window. I wouldn’t be let out because I lost my confidence and words remain words. What is a promise? Why is it so important?
I want to see my children grow from far away. No need to get them messed up with me. I will tarnish their childhood with worry, fear, and dread. Their small hands come to me to cuddle and my skin burns. Their kisses burn my face. I know I shouldn’t have been their mother. It burns and I feel I am contagious. What did they do to get me? How could I have predicted my state now 10 years ago? I love them too much to hurt them. I hurt them just by being a mass in a bed that moves right to left all day. I hurt them when they cannot play because Mama is in pain. They cannot go out band cause Mama is having a bad day. They cannot have friends over because Mama needs silence. They know I am sick and they ask me what hurts. They bring me dolipran and ask me if I want coffee. They tuck me in. The small one tucks me in ans shuts the door behind him… How long will I be able to lie?
I want to get my father only on the phone. I don’t think I can even handle this. I don’t want him to see me a bag of bones. I am his life and that is the problem. What kind of life is that? Tormenting my old man is what I do.
My husband, I don’t know what I want for him. I want him to go on and not stop because of his handicapped wife who should be locked in the attic. I want him to forget me and that is the toughest of all. I want him to forget 19 years of mostly joy and a year of mostly hell. I want to erase his memory of me and maybe remove all love and pity from his heart. If he forgets whom I was before maybe he will let go easier…
I want him to stop believing it will pass. I want him to stop hoping it will not be like this tomorrow. There is no more older me, a me of those were the days: she is gone. He says: She is getting used to new drugs, she reached the therapeutic level of the drug to work, she is having side effects from the drugs, she is in withdrawal, she is …. she is…she is done habibi that is what she is. The one you loved dearly is not me and I am not her. All what we had has been taken away with my illness. We got robbed 20 years and only you have at least a couple more 20 years to live. Don’t live in hell.
I want it to stop being about me.
Is this too much to ask? I want him to go to work. I want him to travel for work. I want him to do his job as he should. I want him to have friends and hobbies. I want him to have fun. He cannot with me around. How can I disappear? I want him to plan his life like anyone should be. I want him to stop walking on eggshells all the time. I want him to stop detonating my bombs right and left… I want him to live and embody life for our children. He can do it.
The nausea is kicking in now. My body is very heavy. I have a few hundred steps to take back home. It is sunny. I had coffee. People are in summer dresses. The street is buzzing. Kids in strollers and people on bikes. Motos ans buses make the most noise and it is annoying. The world is not stopping…
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)…
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…
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?
A cycle. A few good days. No warning. Dreadfully bad ones to follow. Endless hours spent sleeping. A few many tears of what was and what has become. A glimpse of reality through the eyes of those around me. A warning. This must end.
If nothing is better so why keep trying the same old? A revelation against the common wisdom or foolishness of the others. I will stop the drugs. No way back. If I am to suffer let it all be mine. I don’t want no more appointments, no more needles, no more a pill before or after. No more shakes. No more tears of fear. No more pity.
The worse has been seen. Nothing can top it up. What is it am trying to numb? It is not gone. I feel my pain as much as an amputee feels her gone leg. Let me be me. Let me look in the mirror and despite of what I will see, I would at least claim it to be mine.
Let me sleep it through and when it is over, maybe life will resume…
I didn’t write earlier for many reasons. Initially, I was denied technology for the first 10 days of my hospitalization at the closed-up ward.
They took everything. I was allowed my bed and a few magazines. My luggage was searched. Chargers and electronics were sent home. Glass was separated from plastic. Belts were taken away from clothes. Everything else went into either a small closet to which the nurses held the key, or to the nurses’ office, access to which was upon their discretion. My cigarettes and lighter were locked up too. I got about 3 to 4 smoking breaks; always accompanied.
Interaction was limited. The idea was to spend time to heal without any distractions. Noises were rare – except for the TV that was on low volume. I remember watching Forest Gump while sitting (luckily) on one of the three recliners. Lights were dimmed.
I had visits from my family daily. I was eventually allowed to go down to the yard and cafeteria with them. I would have coffee and sometimes a kinder bueno. I slept 12 hours and ate together with the other five patients at the common table. My diet was mostly derived from the cabbage family. I think this was the cook’s punishment for vegetarians. I surely don’t have vitamin K1 deficiency.
We traded food as we complained about it. It was the highlight of our day. We also shared two bathrooms and a shower. They gave me a bedsheet instead of a towel. Sometimes people forgot to flush. I had to return my shampoo as soon as I finished. At night they sometimes did random searches of the rooms. They would put things back in the closet or their office. This period always reminded me of the Jungle Book song “The Bear Necessities”…
I had daily visits from either one of the doctors or the intern. They would ask all sorts of questions initially to establish my story, my case. It was intense in the beginning then it became more of a routine. I was weaned off my long list of drugs and little by little I had 3 instead of 8.
Without a mobile, we had access to a phone line from 2 to 8 pm. It was religious for me to call home at 7. I would then speak to the children. I would beg the little one to sing me a song.
I began to cry after a few days. I missed my kids and although I could see my eldest in the garden, it was very impersonal and cold. My problem was my youngest. I was dying to hold him. He had never been away from me all that time and I had plenty of time on my hands. I obsessed about seeing him. I dreamt of him, heard him calling my name. I held his tiny blue car I had taken with me to the hospital. I looked at his picture most of the time. I was itching inside to see him.
Doctors had mercy eventually and I was moved to the open section. It basically meant that I could soon have the right to go out for a few hours. I was in a triple room though, I had absolutely no privacy. At the time it didn’t matter because all I cared about was holding my children tight.
My phone was given back to me but I could neither connect to social media, nor write. My stay at the closed ward influenced me to a degree I cannot explain. I thought it shall pass. I thought I will eventually answer calls or at least reply to messages. I am still in my bubble. This is where I feel safe. I still have dinner at 6 PM.
Eventually I was let out. I was on Prozac and lithium. After a few painful blood tests done by intern nurses, the doctors agreed that it is time to move to the real world. I could manage my nausea then. I hadn’t talked about this side effect to anyone. I feared they would change drugs again. I had had a few “mock” stays at home for 48 hours, and as these went well, they had no reason not to let me out.
I was extremely happy. Cured I thought. I was on a cloud. I savored my sheets, my coffee, my family. I felt liberated and free from the weight of all the previous drugs that left me with countless side effects.
I was managing my own medication. No suicidal thoughts. I could get dressed and go out for dinner. I didn’t fall asleep by the time the starter arrived. I did not snore or have awful nightmares. I didn’t wake up at 3 am to empty the fridge.
Yet, I could not write. It drove me crazy. It was as though my mind was emptied – literally. This caused me great pain. Little by little the cloud of happiness was disappearing. Gravity hit in fast and I was left with my initial illness of 2 years ago that hadn’t been treated till now. I felt all the personality changes that follow taking so much drugs. I look at the mirror and wonder who is looking back at me. I barely recognize myself, although I guess we keep the same values.
What keeps me afloat is my family. I cannot break my husband’s heart by falling again. I cannot imagine not seeing my baby boy. It is unthinkable to put my daughter through this one more time. And I honestly don’t know if my father can survive one more of my attacks.
You get the general feeling. I am scared. I also tremble. It is from the lithium. My hands are shaky and my face twitches sometimes.
I look like all color has been taken away from me. My world is black and white. I laugh sometimes, but it is momentarily. The thing I love doing the most is staying in bed alone, but my doctor says I shouldn’t.
My main concern is that this illness has taken over my brain, my life. It is the first thing I think of in the morning and the last thing I have on my mind at night.
I sleep poorly and have had some ugly panic attacks. My husband sits me through them and holds my hand to help me breath. He tries everything from rubbing my feet to aromatherapy. It eventually passes and leaves me incredibly tired as if I ran a marathon.
Now, I have to start therapy but I don’t feel like talking to a stranger. It has been three weeks since I had to take an appointment. I am scared of the slightest changes. When will I say I am me again? Oh dear, do I really want that?
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
First cigarette in the morning, first cup of coffee, first intake of treatment….
Nicotine enters my body, giving caffeine a high five. #Lamictal, #Seresta and co are going down slowly in their longer journey to the stomach and then up to the brain… They are looking in disdain towards the other chemicals well knowing their superior effects on my poor soul.
This is how every morning begins. A chemical reaction to racing thoughts where survival is the prime goal. I once heard that if you survive anything for 10 seconds, you can repeat and thus anything is surmounted with this simple trick to the brain.
A while ago, I could not understand a mother who burnt all her bridges. Then, one day it hit me that she is sick; as sick as a dog actually. Running away, pushing those around you to hate you is a strong weapon. It could be manipulative to know how far they will go for you when you start pushing the limits. Sadly, other times it could mean that you cannot stand that their presence enforces you to make choices…You cannot take all the stimuli they emit and you feel overwhelmed by their reactions. They have the right to be sick of you… Point à la ligne.
Now I have to take a decision, should I make a choice or not. Bipolar and a Gemini it hurts to make choices. I see things in shades of gray and also in an absolute black and white. My worst enemy is here and I am scared…. What are those mood stabilizers? Why aren’t they working ? Ten seconds at a time…
So dear friends, a post that it slightly out of date. Yet it took me a wile to have the courage to write it all down at one go. Now I am at the luxurious clinic. Hell in candy shape… what I would do to be in the arms of my children…
I had one of the worst experiences in my life. In the beginning of my stay, my psychiatrist gave me my first permission to go out – accompanied – for a couple of hours. I was euphoric. I was going to see my family, my kids… I would smell their hair, touch their faces, kiss their fingers… I was going to get hugged and I was going to listen to them saying Mama in the real Live version and not on FaceTime.
I would have slept if I could, by the entrance of the reception all dressed up waiting for them to arrive. Instead I forced myself to sleep. I got up, showered, dressed, put on make up, brushed up my hair… I waited. Lunch tray came, I said no sorry I will eat with my family.
Comes 2 pm I was by the door waiting for them. I can see my little ones holding hands… My babies, here they are. I held them tighter than I ever had. They were here finally in my arms. I imagined that moment and it was never as good as reality. We went through what the asylum requires: some admin stuff to make sure who signs me off and takes responsibility to brings me back.
We walked out, hand in hand all the way to the restaurant. Nothing better than an Italian place, loud and large enough to accommodate my big family. I did not want to sit next to my small baby. He is not even 2 and a half yet. I thought it would be better to have my eldest next to me, and my baby in front on a high chair.
I couldn’t look at them. My tears were flowing so fast. Everyone was trying hard to make fun of the situation, to make it lighter. I had my panic attack starting nicely. Not long before desert arrived, I texted my husband saying it was time to hit the road before I get a full fledged episode. He told my father to start taking me back. The problem was that my baby had fallen asleep on his highchair. It could have been an ideal moment to leave. I kissed my eldest goodbye, tears flowing and breath starting to get out of control. As I grabbed my coat, I made noise…
My baby woke up while I was going down the stairs. Screaming he was, mama, mama. I could not look back, I was almost paralyzed. God knows how I went out of the restaurant. My legs felt like noodles. I was mot going to tolerate them seeing me in this state. I held tight to my dad, breathing I don’t know how and crying my eyes out.
We miraculously reached the clinic. I went to my room and sat on my knees while wailing. To cut the story short, the nurse came in, so did the doctor on duty. They forced me up the bed. They were not nice. They wanted to contain this escalating meltdown by discouraging me to continue having a panic attack. They give me something to feel calmer. I held my head close to my knees and cried so much that I felt empty.
So now, from my horrible experience I want to share with you what you should and shouldn’t do when as a bipolar you need to get too see your children for the first time after your hospitalization:
– Do not see them in a different habitat: Big mistake. I highly recommend that you do not spend your first visit – or any visit- if you have small toddlers in a place they do not know. Why am I here? Where is this? Why is Mama here? Why does she leave me here? I did not know the exact questions that go through their little minds. Please do not choose if possible a strange place.
– Do not go while they are sleeping: It was tempting yes, leave without disrupting my toddler’s sleep. Big mistake. You need to say goodbye. I always say goodbye even if the children do not like it. You are not playing peekaboo. By 2 years of age, they know that people do not disappear out of the face of earth. It is a betrayal, that you should try hard to avoid if possible.
– Let them drop you off: If you are seeing them outside and close to the clinic, let them drop you off, just like they picked you up. It makes more sense to leave their parent in a place that is half familiar, or at least where they know their parent is staying at the moment.
– Clearly discuss your “in case” medication: I had and I have an extra dose of anxiolytics in case I need one for anxiousness or else. But the mistake that day was the timing and the dosage. I took it too late and too little. I had to have more, and to put it under my tongue to make it act faster. It would have avoided this emotional flooding as well as my panic attack.