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.

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

Back from hell – for me not to ever forget what life means

I had no idea or no intention to write again. I though that’s it… The end.

Life decided differently, and now am alive. I had almost died 6 days ago. I overdosed again, but this time for a different reason.

Sunday it was, I knew there would be one pharmacy only opened. I went in and asked for 2 packs of paracetamol and one of aspirin.

I headed along Rue de Seine all the way to the river. I had even bought a large bottle of water at the pharmacy. What were they thinking I don’t know!

Glam, I was looking at the river and sipping one by one my pills. Families passing by, a child on his scooter, a group of American tourists on bikes. One pack gone, then I opened the second. I had managed to take 20 pills of paracetamol 1g each, and this is when I discovered that the aspirin needed to be dissolved in water.

Headed back towards the back streets of the 6th arrondissement, and found a nice coffee shop. I ordered their largest coffee and a glass of water. Little by little I had 18 pills of aspirin 350mg each.

It was 10:30 in the morning. I ordered a cab and decided to go to the psychiatric emergency center by my house CAC*. I had called my parents by then and they were waiting for me. Soon the ambulance came and I was taken to the reanimation room. My temperature was high.

CAC Entrance Paris 6

Tbey started inserting canulas and tubes all over me. I had one placed inside my nose and this was the worst part of the whole experience. They filled it with charcoal to make the paracetamol effect go away. They told us I would stay at least 5 days at the hospital.

I threw my guts out. It must have been that which saved my liver, or maybe it was God. I’d rather say the latter. I have to confess that I was scared. At some point I felt that was it. They then said that my blood results were good and that I could go home. A miracle by all means.

At Necker reanimation center

I wish the story ends here. It just begins. My husband had to take me to the famous psychiatric hospital of St. Anne. I had to have a psychiatric evaluation by a third party different from my own psychiatrist or that of the CAC.

Well, four hours later into the waiting room, we were finally able to sign the most importantly binding paper of my life. It said that I can get out of the hospital against all medical opinion and under my own responsibility. My husband of course had to sign it as well. We had talked hard and long about the danger of such an act. It basically meant that he will be psychologically guilty should I decide to be in danger to myself or others. That night I promised him that this will never happen again. I would never forget the look in his eyes..

The deal may sound naive. Yet we have a good system in place to avoid further crises. The CAC is my panic button. I will tell my family immediately that my rage is coming up and I would immediately go there. At the center they talk to you, they give you medication, well they do what it takes to stop you before committing the act. I also have biweekly meetings with the team to discuss any important developments.

Lesson learnt the hard way. Life is precious. By doing this I was not only hurting myself, but my whole family; my husband, my children and my father. Do not commit the act. Talk to someone first, try it. Maybe it works, maybe it saves your life and makes you grateful for what you have never lost…

Tips and tricks for those in Paris

*CAC Garenciere: A centre for psychiatric emergency. These centers around Paris are places made to welcome and orient or even be a place of hospitalization for a short period of time.

Gaining weight being Bipolar II due to Effexor

So honestly I have no aim here but telling the truth, which sometimes hurts. I hate this topic, but here I go.

My height is 165 cm. I Weighed at the start of my antidepressant treatment – my wrong antidepressant treatment Effexor (Venlafaxine) – 58 kilograms. Now, this was the era of sleeping 18 hour straight and walking like a zombie for the rest of the day.

Fast forward a few months and weight gain started, slowly but surely. I reached 61, then 62, and then summer holidays were here. Regiment was honestly pizzas and limoncello, pina colada and so on. I reached 64. Still I was ok.

Now my dear dear doctor who wrongly prescribed Effexor was telling me: “Come on, control yourself”. I told him, there is nothing else I am trying to do but this. He didn’t really care, or maybe he wasn’t able to believe me. Anyway, last time I had seen him, I had reached 68, he had inevitably increased my dose to 225 mg per day – said to be the highest dosage for outpatients.

I completely and solely relate my binge eating and my bulimic tendencies to bloody Effexor. According to Mentalhalthdaily Effexor can not only increase your appetite to eating more carbs, it also plays with your fat storage, does hormonal and metabolic changes and guess what ? Bloody Effexor improves your taste buds also plays a major role in shooting up your eating in social situations.

Of course individual differences play a role and so does the interaction with other drugs, your dosage and time span and so forth. They need to get their back covered if you know what I mean.

But this brings we to weaning off this horribly addictive drug. It takes forever. When I used to read accounts of people suffering months after quitting and saying that their metabolic rate got screwed up, I thought they were exaggerating. Bit by bit I found myself in this dilemma.

Now I am taking other drugs (of course) to remedy this metamorphosis. I take Revia and Baclofene but with so far very little if no result.

Apparently I have to resort to psychotherapy to overcome my newly acquired eating disorder.

I will keep on writing to give tips and tricks about how to get out of this situation when you cannot take Prozac and co, quite known to induce mania and mixed episodes in bipolarity.

TBC

Dealing with suicidal thoughts when you have Bipolar II

suicide

ˈs(j)uːɪsʌɪd/

noun

plural noun: suicides

1 1.
the action of killing oneself intentionally.”he committed suicide at the age of forty”

2 synonyms:

3 self-destruction, taking one’s own life, self-murder, self-slaughter, felo de se; Moreself-immolation;
historicalsuttee;
historicalhara-kiri, seppuku;
informaltopping oneself, ending it all
“she committed suicide”


Definition of suicide

a : the act or an instance of taking one’s own life voluntarily and intentionally

2: one that commits or attempts suicide


So I am admitting: I am suicidal. I have suicidal thoughts that lead me nowhere. I cannot commit the act for so many reasons. The most obvious is my family. I cannot do this to them… I just cannot imagine their distress, sadness, and feelings of betrayal.

Secondly, maybe not secondly but anyway, I cannot commit suicide because I have no access to any of my favorite tools- Benzo* meds. I am hospitalized and thus I am only allowed one dose at a time; always checking that I actually swallow everything they give me.

Thirdly, down deep inside, I feel like a coward wanting the easy way out. But honestly I sometimes I do not even see the “difficult” way out.

Good news now I have quit Seresta, “used for the treatment of anxiety and insomnia and in the control of symptoms of alcohol withdrawal”, a Benzo but that for me does absolutely nothing. From reading about it, I think it does not work for me because it is an intermediate acting Benzo which supposedly should’ve decreased my anxiety. It works on GABA receptors – which basically makes your brain less anxious. I talked to several patients here with me and many said even at high dosage, it is quite useless…

But of course, this antianxiolytic has to be replaced by something else, otherwise I will have horrible withdrawal effects: the last thing I need. So now I am on Valium, which honestly decreases my anxiety levels and reminds me of my favorite Benzo Lexomil. I cannot take my fav because I overdosed on it. So now this Valium (Diazepam if you are keen to know the real name for it) is great as it is a long acting Benzo, which is similar to Lixomil. This means less anxiety and more muscle relaxation.

*Benzodiazepines: are a class of psychoactive drugs whose core chemical structure is the fusion of a benzene ring and a diazepine ring. [They] enhance the effect of the neurotransmittergamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) at the GABAA receptor, resulting in sedative, hypnotic (sleep-inducing), anxiolytic (anti-anxiety), anticonvulsant, and muscle relaxant properties

Continue reading “Dealing with suicidal thoughts when you have Bipolar II”

Overdose…

To get to talk about this O.D. experience, there are many things that I have to share with you.

Please know that my short memory – is very foggy due to the meds that I am taking – and also because am highly sedated.

So they thought I overdosed. I did. Unfortunately, it didn’t have the effect I fantasized about. I wanted to sleep, like sleeping beauty, but I wasn’t waiting for anyone to wake me up. I wanted to just drift away; away from those thoughts haunting me.

The ambulance people came. They wanted to take me out of my own bed, away from my children. To no avail I cried and shouted “Help! Help!” I still ended in the van. They’ve some things to me that I cannot remember and they probably shouldn’t have done. Blood tests, ECG, and what have you….

They don’t understand.

I am a prisoner of my own mind. Did I read this somewhere? Did I coin this phrase? You can reuse it, if it is mine. There is no way out of my mind if I am not on high dose meds. I tried and I failed and failed to try.

Anyway, long story short it has been 16 days or so that am away from home. About 11 days in a mental health crisis center (CAC in French). So there they get you once you are discharged from the emergency room. Get there by ambulance of course. I was given stuff to put a horse to sleep. Couldn’t read, couldn’t talk, couldn’t eat, I honestly couldn’t do anything much.

I was allowed a few visits. Short or long, they were never enough. The resident recently graduated psychiatrist was a pain in the neck. She didn’t allow me to see my family as much as I should or needed.

I went home by taking a permission. I took more pills there, but nothing works. Nothing works. The pain is the same. The days are sluggish and the nights are long.

At some point I was let out of CAC. Yes, I was hospitalized without my approval. Then now I am here. I have my room, my toilet and shower – though they take the hose everyday thinking I would hang myself – don’t know how and too messy and has no glamour.

I am as sick as a dog. My meds are changing. They are reducing the dosages. So naturally I am gaining consciousness. This is bad. Because it means I will get closer to my pain again.

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?

Getting out of the closet

Getting out of the closet would make you think of sexual orientation. But many others have gotten out. Today, I will write about why I decided to link my blog to Instagram and Facebook.

I have been writing for a while now. I am documenting my journey fighting mental illness as a person, a woman, and as a mother. It has been rough mostly, but it taught me a lot. You might be surprised by some of the topics or posts that will be shared. The main purpose of this blog is to promote awareness of mental illness. I want to also tackle a broken system, where mentally ill people are seen as helpless beings with no choice of treatment or quality of life.

Although I am supposedly a clinical psychologist, please do not take this blog as as a place for “medical” advise. It is just a safe heaven for broken hearts. I hope that in our unity we will be able to free ourselves from the burden of depression, bipolarity, eating disorders, addiction, or else.

Thank you for respecting other points of views, and thank you for trying to understand what the other is saying. We shall not blame each other or use inappropriate words. We are builders – it is enough to fight our inner battle; we do not need a wall to fight on to.

Bless