I’m down to 150mg Quetiapine! This is how it went…

Pills150mg Quetiapine (aka Seroquel) per night

Do you see that? One-hundred and fifty milligrams. It’s taken me three years to get here. In case you don’t remember, here’s a brief recap of my journey:

2011

I started at 400mg with a whole host of uncomfortable symptoms, like having my heart beat so loudly half an hour after taking the drug I thought I might have a heart attack (and no, it wasn’t a panic attack), and involuntary muscle spasms and twitches throughout my body that promoted concern of Tardive Dyskinesia. Needless to say, my psychiatrists were supportive of reducing my medication. I ended the year at 300mg.

2012

Twenty-twelve started with a bang. I reduced my medication to 275mg and came off my contraceptive pill – this was a big mistake. As soon as I did that my mood was all over the place. I started rapid cycling, got that under control by going back on the pill and upping back up to 300mg of Quetiapine, and then had a hypomanic episode that ended with a brief depression. Then I found out my partner had cheated on me and all hell broke loose. The rest of the year was basically jumping from one panic attack to another, intermingled with severe anxiety and Misery. Sigh. I ended year on 200mg Quetipine.

2013

The anxiety continued until about mid-year when I was too physically ill to sustain that level of intensity. I was worn out. Quit life and lay in bed for about six months, because I was really, really ill (physically). I was probably depressed but not in a “bipolar” kind of way. In a “my life is shit” kind of way. Later in the year I started on steroids and a miracle happened, I started to get better (oh so slowly). I even felt happiness with increasing frequency. Boy that felt weird.

2014 So Far…

Has been fabulous, in comparison to how bad things were during the previous two years. I’m still not right physically but I’m getting better all the time and I feel happy more often than I feel miserable. I’m on a health kick too. Eating a wholefood, vegetarian diet, learning how to do mindfulness, walking and doing yoga most days. Finally, recovery seems possible, even if it’s only a blip on the horizon. And, I’m now on 150mg. Getting here was easier than I thought. I’ve had no obvious side effects from the reduction and my mood and energy levels increase the further I go down. I’m so close to 100, so close to finally getting off this drug and seeing if I can stay off it. Woohoo!

If you could sum up the last three years in a few words, what would you say?

P.S I still only go down in 6.25mg increments once or twice a week. Plus, my writing will be remaining sporadic, I’m working on a new project 🙂

Time flies when you’re living life

It’s been a while since my last post, and really I don’t have much in the way of things to say right now. That’s a good thing, by the way. For the first time in months, I have been too busy to write as opposed too sick – and that is something I am pleased about.

Based on the polls from last time, I will be posing on Wednesday’s, and will aim for every fortnight. Thank you so much for voting and for your feedback. I’ll definitely be attempting to cover the areas most popular areas!

Timeflies

You can make this beautiful clock. Click the photo to find out how 🙂

For the time being, posting frequently is tough for me. I’m trying to rebuild my life, trying to come back from wherever I have been for the past year or so. It’s surprisingly difficult, even when you’re health improves, to actually re-engage in life. Taking on responsibilities, going back to work and trying to still fit in all the home-grown rehabilitation I do has been a challenge. It’s not easy going from being unable to do much, to being able to actually live life again. Even though it’s different, slower, slowed down, I’m not resentful of that fact. I’m grateful that finally I am here. Finally I can do more than just lie in bed and be a burden on myself and everyone else. But even so, I’m finding it stressful to have to do things again. It’s hard to juggle the every day aspects of life with a chronic illness. I’m sure that’s something any of you who have a chronic illness (physical or mental) can relate to. It’s not stressful because I have to do things. It’s stressful because I haven’t been doing them, and I’m trying to balance my health problems with my desire to live the fullest life possible. So far it’s going well. But I have noticed stress builiding up and it’s an uncomfortable feeling. Stress comes with its own set of problems too: it triggers both bipolar episodes and Lupus. So in addition to being stressed, I’m finding myself worried about being stressed and the impact that will have on my health.

If you’ve had time out from life for a while, how did you re-engage in life again? Do you have any strategies or tips for managing the stress associated with re-entering the world of the living?

6 things you need to know if you want to die

I get a lot of hits from people who google “help me kill myself”. I find this a little upsetting, because I can see exactly how many people find me through that phrase and for each and every one who visits with that in mind, I’m sorry.

If you’re feeling like killing yourself, there’s often not a lot that can be said to help you change your mind. But I hope you’ll take a moment to read what I’ve got to say, and perhaps follow my advice because there’s a few things you need to know.

To my faithful readers, please share in the comments your stories to provide hope for those who feel there is none. Particularly, I think it would be helpful to include things that have helped you when you have been in crisis.

Suicide

1)    You’re not alone

Did you know that most people will have thoughts of suicide at some point in their lives? It doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with you (although it might be symptomatic of a mental health condition). It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or that you’re not worthy. It means you’re human. And it means that you’re in a situation that you want out of.

2)    Suicide is a form of avoidance

Human beings love good feelings like love, joy, enthusiasm and motivation. We also love having good thoughts like “I’m so happy” or “What an awesome day”. But we hate feeling bad. We hate boredom, anger, sadness. We hate it when we experience bad thoughts in our heads.

If you’re feeling like killing yourself, it’s most likely because you’re in an awful situation that you want out of. And that’s okay, I mean, who wouldn’t want to get away from feeling terrible? The only issue is, when you’re thinking about ending your life you’re experiencing extremes of thought and feeling, and no one makes decent decisions when they’re under that amount of pressure.

3)   This is not the best time to make a decision

Often people who are wanting to commit suicide are experiencing extremes of thought and emotion and are overwhelmed. This makes it difficult to see clearly due to narrowed thinking. When our thinking narrows, we cannot fully evaluate situations and make decisions clearly. That’s not your fault, that’s just the way it is. It’s not a good idea to make a life ending decision in the midst of a personal crisis. 

So what do you do about it?

4)    Wait it out. Things will change.

The only thing certain in life is that things will change. I’ve wanted to end it all too, and at the time I thought it was the right decision, that I would never feel any different. I was so certain of it. But I was so wrong.

One day – it could be moments from now, or a day, or a week – killing yourself won’t seem like a good idea. And even if it’s for a moment, take a second to appreciate that this moment may be a moment of clarity in an otherwise turbulent existence. I can guarantee you that things will change in time, and I encourage you to mark it on a calendar or in your diary (electronic or paper) when you find you don’t want to do it, even if you only doubt it for a second.

5)    Think about someone you love and someone who loves you

When I’ve felt like killing myself I always thought about my Mum. Imaging what this act would do to her always made me feel so guilty that I would never take it any further.

If you think that no one will care, that is just a sign that you are not thinking clearly and it’s not a good time to make any decisions.

When it comes to suicide people always care. Even if you think they don’t. Even if you think there’s no one out there who loves you or cares about you, there is. It might be your parents, a friend, a lover, or even an acquaintance. But when someone attempts or completes a suicide there is always at least one person (usually more) who says “I wish I could have done something”.

6)    Talk to someone you trust

People do want to help you. All you have to do is ask. Find a trusted friend, family member, a doctor, or other health professional and share your thoughts with them. If you’re feeling like no one cares about you, this is a great way to find out that they do. Other people have an amazing way of seeing the way out of horrible situations even when we can’t.

You can also call a suicide hotline. There are thousands of people who work suicide hotlines because they care about you and your future. Even if they don’t know you, they care enough to hope that you will call in your time of need and that they can help you through.

USA Hotlines:         1-800-Suicide or 1-800-273-TALK

UK Hotlines:            Call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90

Australia:                Call Lifeline on 13 11 14

New Zealand:          Call Lifeline on 0800 543 354

If you are in immediate danger of harming yourself please phone the emergency number in your country.