It’s been mentioned before I’m Bipolar. I’m not afraid to admit I’m bipolar, most people who know me guess there is something wrong anyway and I’m accepting enough to joke about it. I have a mental health condition not a sticker across my head which says, “Discriminate at will.”
Besides, I have something most of you don’t have- Moments of pure happiness and it doesn’t matter what happens in that time because nothing will get me down. Yeah I have super powers and that isn’t a delusion. Also I have the understanding on how bad people can feel. So, yes I am bipolar but I have the power of empathy without even walking out the front door.
Right as I am currently in a Manic state this could seem like a puzzle, I could start off with one sentence and end up talking about something completely different, honestly in real life I can hold two conversations at once. It’s like these pictures you see associated with ADHD.
So, for the past year-ish- I have actually not really been taking medication, it wasn’t that they didn’t prescribe me any, it is just I didn’t take them because of the way they made me feel. I got diagnosed with Bipolar disorder around 2 years ago, I’ve been tried on two anti-psychotic medications. There have been a few hellish moments, when it was first discovered that I wasn’t taking my meds things blew up, but to be honest even if I had been taking my tablets things still would have gotten that bad because of the situation I had gotten into.
I’ve learned that if I tell people who know I’m bipolar, I’m not taking the medication things actually stop for a moment. The most common reaction was one which related to, “Can you cope?” This concern suddenly comes out, the thing is though most of the time I was ok, I actually knew when to take my medication, ok it was only about once every 2-3 weeks but that was my way of coping.
I’m not sure if people have this overwhelming concern that if you are Bipolar and off medication, that you are going to suddenly decide to commit suicide or in a sudden aggressive manic state you’re going to go on a killing spree. I tried explain to people I do know my own warning signs. The treatment plan for bipolar people is to recognise these, “Relapse signs.” I had spent numerous years before my diagnosis with bipolar, I hadn’t and still haven’t once tried to commit suicide and I’m not the type of person who will go on a murder spree- to be honest I hadn’t even gotten a detention in high school, so unless bipolar is something that only progresses to it’s full symptoms once a psychiatrist says the words, I think I’d be in a prison or at least have some warning or dead if I were to do those things.
The medication is there for the patient as well as the people around them. It seems mean, well I don’t read minds but I’m pretty sure most people would feel better- possibly even safer- if they knew that part of me was under control. There are a lot of treatment options. I got told yesterday that my bipolar is, “Complicated,” (Most bipolar people have a normal state in between mania and depressed states, mine progresses too quickly so I don’t really have that normal state- hence the psychiatric team really needed me back on medication) But that’s why medication which should have worked after I was diagnosed didn’t really work. So, the mission is to- again- find some medication that will make me feel better/not zombified and I will be willing to take and so people will feel safer as there is one less weird complicated bipolar girl out on the streets of Gotham!!!… Oh wait wrong town.
Before finally getting diagnosed, I actually had two other forms of treatment. Anti-depressants and counselling.
Now, because I was about 16, they put my mood swings down to normal adolescent things- never knew normal 16 year olds felt suicidal that much but hey, I ended up in counselling for low self-esteem issues and anger management issues.
One of the traits that often come with the Manic side of bipolar is, high self esteem and image, sometimes people start to believe they can do anything- one of the common things with me is that I say I want to do something I know I can’t, I often say when I’m in a manic state, I want to go swimming, now anyone who knows me will know I cannot swim and also I am terrified of deep water… Now, can you imagine what happens when you put some one in a manic state in low self-esteem counselling, where they tell you all your good traits etc?
I got it at the wrong time, in my manic state I saw myself even better- only making jokes about how something could harm my self esteem, so something like a bad grade was just a joke.
With me, the counselling isn’t something that transferred onto all my moods, when it came to the lows, I regretted feeling and seeing myself that way, meaning I felt worse. Plus add on all the stresses of A-level exams and crap happening in home life… Truthfully, I can’t hide my hatred when counselling gets suggested to me, the place I got sent to (a small council thing) knocked down a lot of walls in my mind and the only reason I actually got discharged from the place was because I was going into a high state and they saw I was happy.
Another form of treatment that I had before the diagnosis, was something that shouldn’t have happened. I got put on Anti-Depressants. Short story, The time I was on them I was in a manic state. You shouldn’t put a bipolar person on anti-depressants with out something to bring the other side down. I remember dancing through Debenhams when I was on them…. To be honest, not much has changed only now when in a manic state I’m more likely to be singing Judy Garland songs or dancing to a song in Singin in the Rain.
I was diagnosed with Bipolar when Eastenders first started to run the Bipolar story line- I don’t watch Eastenders, I just know they are running that story line again this time with the correct information. But when I was diagnosed about 95% of patients thinking they were Bipolar were going by what Eastenders was telling them, so most of them didn’t have Bipolar Disorder. Lucky me again, I found myself in a minority.
First official medication I got put on was Olanzapine, I got put in hospital for a week with this one!
Second one Quetiapine, I stopped taking this one because I found I worked better without it- But fun fact about Quetiapine, in the side effects list apparently one of the possible side effects is, “Unexpected death.” At university I was a zombie Year One thanks to the Olanzapine, A semi-Zombie year 2 thanks to the Quetiapine and then all of a sudden my grades shot up and I was actually there for year 3 when I stopped taking the medication- only taking it when I felt like I needed it. Both, these medications have heavy sedatives in them, I don’t remember much on the Olanzapine but I do have a record for sleeping over 16 hours one day on the Quetiapine and even when I was awake I wasn’t fully there… I usually only get 4 hours sleep on a good day without medication and can work most of that.
Yesterday, I was put on a new medication. Sodium Valproate. It’s a twice a day thing but so far me and it are not on good terms. Yesterday I was in a depressed mood, I ended up calling the Crisis Team (people who are there when patients get really bad) but around 20 hours later, my mood suddenly did a 180 and thanks to the meds as well I feel sick. Fun fact about these meds, it’s expected you will feel like you will be sick for the first few days on these tablets but if you actually throw up you need to go to hospital because these tablets can mess up your liver and send you into liver failure!
You need to love the medication people sometimes. Anyone else see the irony in the fact this medication is for people with mood problems possibly with anxiety to stop these symptoms but the tablets are also giving us symptoms of something that could probably kill us? Sort of like, “Oh this will get rid off all my troubles, I feel sick, but they said if I throw up it could be a sign of liver failure! I thought these tablets were going to get rid of this panic, not kill me! IT’S A CONSPIRACY!”…. And here’s me making up more conspiracies about the medication industry, if anyone wants to hear my conspiracy theory on asthma just ask.
Along with medication I also have to see a CPN (Community Psychiatric Nurse) regularly (once every one or two weeks) she comes out and just gives me someone to talk to and also if things need seeing to she will highlight them in the meetings they have. So, just incase anyone thinks mental health patients are uncontrollable or are suicides waiting to happen, there are people there to stop it getting that far. There are various charities or even official NHS numbers people can call.