When the dream catcher fails to catch all your dreams

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.

TBC

Raw on hypomania

3:15 Am, four Xanax later, one hour on SoundCloud, about 15 cigarettes, two herbal teas, some half pack of almond thins, an Instagram and a blog post published, and as sleepless as a toddler who just won’t nap.

I wake up nightly between 2 and 4 AM. It is a killer, but it is the period I feel the most creative- unstable but creative.

I can almost smell coffee, its rich and dark brewing aroma inviting me to take a cup. Just a sip. I can also see this gin tonic fresh and calling my name. I don’t want to eat, I want to binge drink! Isn’t that a word ? It is now.

I cannot have coffee or gin as a matter of fact. Doctor’s orders. No stimulation. None. No sports. Mot even hot yogaZ Not that I was your athlete or alcoholic. But still, breaking a sweat, sipping a nice drink…

If I had hold of a car now, if I knew how to drive on the “wrong side of the road” here in London, I would have gone for a cruise. The type of ride you have when you are what 19? Windows rolled down, music loud, singing along, no care in this world.

But am in my pjs, sneaking out in the cold to smoke yo my cigarette with my yogi tea and slippers with my toes freezing like a good girl.

No make up tonight. No tight dress and high heels; first no freakin tight dress would fit now and no heels in the suitcase.

But what is a woman without day dreaming? I have lipstick. I can do lipstick at 3 am or full make up if I want to.

But now the ride is coming to an end. SoundCloud is asking me “how deep is your love?” And am like you have no idea how deep is my love. My eyes are opened and I have devotion and it is bigger than the ocean.

I am making sense, don’t give me this look. Am in Ibiza but in primrose hill and that is totally fine.

Am managing my hypomania which was just suicidal ideation about 5 hours ago. Screw that, I want to be by the beach. Close my eyes, walk on the sand. I am in control of my emotions or not. I can run or swear. Heart rate is my affair. I stimulate and get stimulated as much as I need or wish or both.

Honestly. This is my first hypomanic post. Raw, unedited by my subconscious who wants me to look wise and smart. I just want to party… was it all a dream ? Back to my herbal tea

Please no excuses

Live whitest you can

TBC

Part one: On Guidelines for treating mixed episodes and rapid cycling in bipolar disorder – Beacons Of Hope: Thyroid hormone replacement and rTMS treatment.

My problem with my illness is not my illness per se, it has always been how the medical community thus far dealt with me as a series of isolated symptoms; instead of seeing me as a whole person.

Things have been moving on though. Let me tell you my story with this new treatment am on.

But before that, we have to talk diagnosis. We have to talk guidelines. We have to talk knowledge.

Looking back, the past three weeks seem like months.

My beloved husband researched and researched my condition over and over again. He wouldn’t surrender or admit that I won’t get better. He believed that there is a way out and that I could be cured. At least he told me “let’s have the honor of trying”, bless his pure heart.

Less than three weeks ago I was self admitted to another mental health hospital. I left the very same day. Surprise! Though practically no one understood, everyone accepted, believing I had some internal compass that points to truth. In fact, I was too restless for a single room and too “aware” to stay in a ward.

In a parallel world my husband had found a doctor in London at the London Psychiatry Centre who had very convincing arguments saying that he could treat my condition. In fact he already successfully helped hundreds like me. This brilliant man is called Doctor Andy Zamar. His attitude, bedside manners, and ultimate responsiveness to his patients make him deserve my deepest respect regardless of the outcome of my ongoing treatment. He doesn’t believe in the status quo and he bothers to read what

have written before him.

We first had a FaceTime consultation during which he made me read some research he had gathered regarding bipolar disorder. Specifically, he wanted me to read in black and white as he said how wrong it is to take antidepressants when one has a mood disorder. He made me read out loud the Maudsley Prescribing Guidelines in Psychiatry for those suffering of rapid cycling. It said loud and clear to “withdraw antidepressants in all patients”.

That my friend is an interesting finding. I have been given antidepressants by the medical community that treated me in the past three years. In 2017 Effexor led me to the emergency room trying to quit it as it was impossibly painful to deal with its withdrawal symptoms. Mind you it was done under medical supervision. But that is another story.

Later on in 2018 I began self medication when I quit lithium by myself – which interestingly I discovered does not work on its own in my particular case as per the guidelines. It has also lots of side effects I could not deal with. So I self medicated and started Prozac 20 mg for 7 months. I did that because I thought it would be a safety net that won’t let me fall into deep depression.

I was wrong, I couldn’t have done myself more harm unknowingly. I did rise into hypomania which inevitably led me to deep depression. When I went to see doctors just before meeting Dr Zamar, they advised and prescribed an increase in Prozac to 40 mg and this is when hell broke loose.

Doctor Zamar diagnosed me then with ultra rapid cycling bipolar disorder otherwise unclassified. I had hypomania turbo charged, as he explained with depressive content. Talk about suicidal thoughts!

Again I read during our call what described my state. Doctor Zamar was not reinventing the wheel. The paper is called Melancholia Agitata and Mixed Depression [Koukopoulos et al. Acta Psychiatr Scand 2007: 116 (Suppl. 433): 50-57. The paper is more that 10 years old!!

So on page 52 here is the “clinical picture of agitated depression” – it was describing me in a nutshell …

Melancholia Agitata and Mixed Depression
Melancholia Agitata and Mixed Depression p.52

So people someone was saying why I was committing suicide in ink…

Check this out

Melancholia Agitata and Mixed Depression
Melancholia Agitata and Mixed Depression p 53.

The last time Doctor Zamar prescribed antidepressants was in 2004. Say what you may. But isn’t it a million percent better to be safe than sorry?

This is a heavy post I know.

My final words are those of hope. Now that we know what not to do, the action he proposed is derived from new research based on thyroid replacement therapy and rTMS.

The treatment combo am doing is that I take on one side Olanzapine known as Zyprexa which is an atypical antipsychotic that is supposed to calm my hypomania.

Secondly I do rTMS or Repetitive Transcranial MagneticStimulation; a treatment that not only has enormous success rates for treating depression but it is virtually side effect free.

Last but not least, Doctor Zamar is using Precision Medecine Nd treating me as a person. We do weekly ECGs and blood tests. He takes my side effects seriously and he doesn’t brush them under the table. He listens. Mind you this post could sound like praise to him, which it is. But listen my friend, it is to everyone of us working with people. Stop being an ear and nose doctor and look at true bloody person you are treating.

At this clinic they do take swabs to send for genetic testing to stop wasting your time. As their website says there is no “one size fits all”. Genetic makeup therefore is very important in deciding treatment, knowing what works and what won’t and also knowing what would be tolerated. In psychiatry this saves light years.

I will be staying explaining in my following post the thyroid replacement therapy.Meanwhile I urge you to read this beautiful hopeful article published on their blog: Bipolar News – Millions could benefit from bipolar breakthrough #worldfirst

TBC

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

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

Is this a magic spell?

Get me in here

Get me out of here

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

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

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

TBC

You must know

Know that I love you since before I was born

Know that I loved you since before you were born

Know that you are my every reason for being

Know that I want to leave to set you free

I try and I fail and I try again and I fail and fall harder

Maybe this time it will work

In the world of rapid cycling

Hello everyone. Bla bla bla yes I haven’t written for a while, miss you, etc.

You know it is not me who is inconsiderate or rude: am rapid cycling.

Say what? Say one day am high as a kite (a small kite since am bipolar 2), and the next am digging a tunnel to the the after life (does that even make any sense?)

You get the picture. Am a yo-yo, I am a roller coaster, a bullet train with bad breaks.

I enjoy my ups and do accomplish a lot; especially if you count shopping as an accomplishment. I spend hours without eating (big high five since I tend to feed like a newborn every 2 hours). I even live on 5 hours of sleep and I am Eeyore on any other day.

Woke up at 6 am today (weekend here on my side of the world) and hoped into my trainers and on to the kettle and to my smokes.

Am sociable, am pretty, am smart and talkative. I love it.

I wrote this down to me Nour. Yes to me, for in a few hours I will feel like dirt is better than me. I will feel empty and useless and I will become a burden. I will get back to staring at the ceiling and doing nothing but dealing with suicidal ideation.

Today however I will kiss my kids, a lot and lots more. I will go for a long walk like the book says. I will have lunch with my beautiful loving family and I will dress to impress. I will put on my make up and my new earrings. I will take a selfie or two and hashtag them to mentalhealthawareness.

Meanwhile my rapid cycling friend; I freakin feel you. You are my hero.

Remember, for every down there is an up coming and heck yes we shall ride the wave and rise to the moon.

Bless

TBC

If I were

If I were at the hospital

I would wear my pyjamas all day

I would say good morning to everyone

I would wake up on time

I would have breakfast at the communal table

I would go for a smoke when the nurses say so

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

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

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

I would play Sudoku- pen and paper sir not online

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

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

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

I would pretend it is doing me good to be here

I would take my blood pressure and temperature every day

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

I would fancy getting better

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

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

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

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

I would give them imaginary baths and diners

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is all make belief, looking for the perfect moment

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

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

We talk and talk and talk and talk

We shut up and up and up and up

We should know better

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

It is building up

I know myself, I wish I didn’t

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

No shame; maybe some

No regrets; just a few

Oblivion where are you?

TBC

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

Dark thoughts

They sneak in they crawl under my skin

Never invited they come in

I wish I knew when to expect them

They twist and divide themselves into thousand particles

They make me think of the worst possible outcome

I close my eyes and push them back

As I do they get stronger and louder

I keep this fight till my voice is gone

Do something they command to end it

I am voiceless, paralyzed with nothing but fear

I am invaded, occupied by the worst enemy

Oh dark thoughts why do you come back, didn’t we agree I can’t?

I wish to obey but strength I have not

I wish to disobey but fear I cannot

Leave me alone I silently scream

Too late they laugh you are not you anymore

My only consolation is maybe then I would be left alone

Maybe then no more tears will be shed

Perhaps everything will settle into place

No more screaming no more guilt no more pain

It would be the gift of life to everyone

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

Failed experiment – on being human


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…

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…

TBC