So I haven’t written for ages because I’ve been too unwell. In September a series of crummy events occurred one after the other – because apparently like buses this stuff seems to come all at once. My grandad passed away, an ex got in touch, two friends became very unwell and my relationship ended. Each of these had the potential to be a trigger in itself but together became unmanageable and despite my best efforts I went downhill.
Initially my psychiatrist thought it was acute stress but three months in and we were pondering the possibility of a relapse. Normally a low lasts a couple of weeks as my Bipolar is characterised by mania so two months in and I was getting kind of fed up. I was suicidal a lot of the time, self-harming daily and drinking too much. Luckily for me my mum intervened and I moved in with her into her ‘client room’ – I knew I’d been there a while when we started calling it ‘Hannah’s room’ and my sister innocently asked me if I was ever going home. When my mum did a food shop two weeks in and came home with some gluten free bits and pieces for me I wanted to cry, it was lovely but it was also a sign I was staying put for a while.
For the past 3 months I’ve pretty much lived on a diet of Frasier, chocolate and lounge wear (read trackies and my sister’s t shirts). Ive been using my mental health team again who have been fantastic but it’s also felt like an enormous setback; I’d only been discharged a few months ago and I already needed to bring in the big guns again. It’s been a while since I was this unwell and I have finally returned to my flat and to myself a little, so here’s what I have learnt:
1. Once you’re in the system accessing support quickly is a hell of a lot easier
2. My mum has been fantastic, it’s hard for a mum to hear she needs to hide the knives or deal with the aftermath of self-harm but she’s been amazing
3. I sought help far earlier than I usually would have, I recognised my warning signs and this prevented me from being hospitalised.
4. My medication was adjusted very quickly which gave me hope and reassurance
5. My friends were wonderful and it reminded me how lucky I am to have people around me who make such an effort when I am not in a position to reciprocate
1. It was exceptionally frustrating to have my anxiety and mood prevent me from doing things I knew would help in the long run such as coffees with friends or volunteering
2. Trying to sort prescriptions has been a nightmare, prescriptions often get reduced when youre at risk of overdose so trying to get hold of new scripts every 3 days has been a struggle when i cant get off the sofa
3. Recovery is a long process and I have noticed people are unsure how to respond during this phase where I am functioning but not 100% myself
4. Sleep is non-existent unless I medicate heavily which causes night sweats and nightmares. It’s not glamourous and nor is my face at the moment, apparently beauty sleep is a thing
All in all it’s been very rubbish and I’m still struggling to find a balance between getting on with things and not pushing myself too hard. My anxiety is still bad but my application for a new anti-psychotic has just been approved, its newness makes me feel wary and also like a celebrity (I have since started this medication and am constantly puking, making me feel less like a celebrity and just a bit more disgusting). In the meantime I would like to take a moment to thank all of my friends and family for their patience, love and ongoing support, particularly when it doesn’t feel reciprocated.