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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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. 

 

Reducing Quetiapine: Slow and Steady Wins the Race

I started The Bipolar Project with the intention of tracking my reduction of Quetiapine Fumarate (aka Seroquel). Since reducing the drug in 2011 there have been various issues that have prevented me from reducing at a steady rate throughout the past two years. In fact, in 2012 I didn’t reduce it at all.  Some of these issues have been Bipolar related but most have been completely unrelated circumstances that impacted on my emotional health, left me stressed out and miserable and my life just a little too chaotic to embark on a medication free life.

Slow and steady

If you’ve been with me from the start, I was initially on 400mg. I managed to reduce that by 125mg throughout 2011. When I stopped my contraceptive pill and my mood went haywire, I upped it back to 300mg and left it there for over a year. I started reducing again about four months ago and am now down to 206.25mg nightly. This quick reduction had minimal effect on my mood (apart from taking me a bit longer to fall asleep and feeling a little more tired the next day).  When I reduced it a couple of nights ago I noticed I was a little more irritable for two days afterward.

When I first started I had a number of rules: no alcohol, regular sleep pattern, exercise vigorously and regularly, only reduce by 6.25mg at a time. At the time, exercise was a major mood stabiliser for me and I noticed resistance exercise, like lifting weights, was better for my mood than just cardio.

Now, I’m too unwell to do vigorous exercise and resistance exercises are pretty much out of the question. Surprisingly, that doesn’t seem to have negatively impacted on my mood during the reduction. But I’m still exercising (I walk and do yoga pretty much every day – less than 30 minutes all up), but not the way I used to (spin classes, weights, long horse riding sessions, full length yoga classes).

There haven’t been as many positive effects this time around but these are probably being masked by my poor physical health. I’m so fatigued all the time that if being on less Quetiapine is making me less tired and improving my concentration, then I just don’t notice it.

I’ve slowed down the reduction again because I noticed I was getting pretty emotional, probably because I was extremely anxious and moderately depressed. Again, these seem like pretty normal responses given the events of the past year but ultimately, if my mood is unstable, it doesn’t matter what’s causing it – the reduction must be slowed down. Within the next week or so I plan to bring it down to 200mg and leave it there for a few weeks.

If you’re on psychiatric medications and have tried reducing or stopping your drug, what have you experienced?