on being bipolar
Type II bipolar was the diagnosis made in 2002 but the main issue for the last decade has been severe clinical depression 😦
Different methods of pain relief have been tried including the self-medication of alcohol but a six a day Tennent’s habit does not work and is injurious to both mental and physical health. Not to mention financial; there were dark days when I went without tobacco because of the buy-more-booze compulsion.
AA and NA and the twelve steps helped a good deal with facing up to and coming to terms with the consequences of drunken/stoned unmanageability. But not the core depression so then a journey through prescription drugs: all the time the psychiatrist was concerned about the wrong or too high dose of an anti-depressant might make me manic. Fluoxetine(commonly known as Prozac) had no discernible effect. Carbamazepine gave me almost instant double vision. Psychiatrist also keen o prescribing an anti-psychotic but I really did not like lithium or any of the other mood stabilisers on offer. Clearly if my mood was all over the place (it was not – this was prophylactic to stop me being hypo) this might have been a necessary evil. My mood was level but unfortunately measuring between 2 and 3 on the 0-10 scale. Used Seroquel for a while as a mono-therapy i.e. to ameliorate depression and as an anti-psychotic. That worked although I slept much and gained 3 stone (19 Kg, 42 lb). Stayed on that for a while then the psychiatrist suggested Venlafaxine. I do not know how or when it happened but the fog started lifting December 2011. Not just lifted, just wasn’t there any more. I enjoyed Christmas and even managed to send cards to the A-list and buy presents for my nearest and dearest. Started the New Year waking up every morning with a smile on my face. At the beginning I was fearful that the fog would return but, fingers and paws crossed so far so good. Day at a time and all that…
Now May 2012 and still progressing without any form of medication. A curious but not unwelcome side effect of the new regime is that my metabolism has returned from wherever it has been for the last many years.
So how am I managing bipolar?
- Sleep trying to is, like trying to relax, futile so I sleep when I need to rather than according to any pre-determined timetable: recent experience is that four hours of genuine sleep is far more refreshing, physically and mentally, than that imposed by convention
- Food I am literally what I eat (just like everyone else) so back to cooking and eating properly when hungry. No more supermarket shopping, just basic ingredients from mostly very local suppliers
- Drugs None, prescribed or street, although I will admit to the continuing addictions to caffeine and tobacco
- Exercise invisible but omnipresent big black dog has gone wherever, replaced by real little black furry who just likes going out and about so now walking at least five miles most days
- People This interweb stuff has been my virtual lifeline: now discovering that real people good for health and sanity. One qualification though – I need to be cautious about with whom I spend any time . Life really is too short for liars, fakers and fakirs so best avoided else therein lies the route (back) to insanity.