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?

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Medication Frustration

“I’m thinking of beginning the reduction again”.

“I think stay with 200mg for the time being, because you are so physically unwell, it just doesn’t seem a good time”. That’s my therapist’s very reasonable advice.

I swallow it and we move on. But I’m frwhite-pills-and-bottle-220ustrated. I don’t want to just stay here for the time being, because how long is that? The time being could be 3 months, or 6 months, or 2 years or more. I could be unwell for the rest of my life (not likely but not impossible). There might never be a good time to do this. By the time I feel well enough, I might be 30 years old and just starting my career. In three years, I could be dead. Again, not that likely, but definitely not impossible. But I suppose if I meet an untimely fate it won’t matter whether I was on Quetiapine or not. It won’t make the obituary anyway.

Bipolar Disorder is definitely a challenge, anyone who has it will agree. Some people say it’s the worst thing that happened to them, and I don’t doubt that for a second. But this autoimmune extravaganza is the worst thing that’s ever happened to me. In my journal I wrote:

Every day is a burden. A heavy weight on my shoulders, even if it’s just the fact I need to wash my hair. I’m so tired of being tired. I’m so sick of waking up in the morning and being exhausted and having to get up anyway and thinking “oh it’s yet another day of the same old shit”. I’m so tired of going to bed at night not wanting to go to sleep because then I will have to wake up to yet another day with little improvement and little to look forward to.

Every day is the same. I wake up with a brief moment of respite and I think “today will be better” and then I get up. I eat. I rest. I do my walk. I do my stretching. Then I rest some more. I barely do anything in between. I might read, or watch TV. Maybe a few hours for my job. I’ve barely been writing because the fatigue drains me of creativity. I want to write but I don’t do it. Because I feel so tired. Because I have no motivation. Because I can’t think of anything to say or do and when I do it never seems to come out right. And now the pain, the pain is back and it reaches into every corner of my body and it aches, all over, everywhere. Until just being is uncomfortable. Even when I’m more accepting of this never-ending situation, it’s still like ground hog day. The same routine beckons me. The same uncomfortable body and the same four walls surround me.

I don’t feel like myself. I feel nothing like myself physically. Mentally, I feel like my depressed self, my angry self, my bitter and twisted self. My mind doesn’t feel normal. It doesn’t feel like my own. It just feels like it isn’t even there. My body feels like a prison. Like a dark, sealed coffin that I’m trying to get out of, and I’m banging on the lid and trying to break out or get someone to hear me. But no one does. There is no one to help, no one to get me out of here. No one is coming. And I’m so weak I can’t get out of it, I can’t lift the lid and live my life. There is nothing anyone seems to be able to do. And it’s frustrating because all I want is something to make me feel better, to get me out of here so I can get away from this body and the pain and the weakness and the overwhelming tiredness that dogs me every single day.  – 26 July 2013

It sounds like depression, but it isn’t. This is the reality of debilitating fatigue. This is the reality of Lupus. My mood changes as my physical health does. On days like today, my health improves a bit and I feel happier. I can talk, I can smile, I can laugh. I find myself questioning whether it could be hypomania because I am so unaccustomed to feeling anything but fatigued.

I’m so frustrated because I want to find a drug for this disease that will bring me back to life. A drug that will make me well, so I can go back to being a relatively normal person who works from 8.30am-5pm and complains when the printer at work runs out of ink. I want to be able to walk for more than 15 minutes. I want to do a full length yoga class. I want to run. Hell, I want to stay out all night with my friends and get drunk and be normal. Totally, completely normal.

I’m frustrated because I want off this Quetiapine. Because I worry that it triggered off this autoimmune nightmare. Because I want to have a baby one day, no matter how impossible that seems right now, and I can’t be on Quetiapine when I do it. Because I want to see if I can cope without psychiatric medication. I want to know if it’s possible. I want to know who I am, what I really look and feel like, without drugs to cloud that vision.

But it’s on hold. On hold, on hold, on hold. On hold in 2012 because I stupidly stopped my contraceptive pill and became hypomanic and then because I was so physically unwell. And then because I found out the Olympian cheated on me and I was beside myself with grief. Now because I’m more physically unwell than I ever have been in my life and being this unwell is a risk factor for depression. Not for mania though. I couldn’t possibly become manic. I’m far too exhausted for that.

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.