The Joys of Backwards Recovery

I haven't written for a while because it has been VERY difficult for me to know what to write. If I had written anything it would have looked something like this:

  • Ooohhh... I am feeling a bit better....
  • Oh no I'm not. ....
  • Oh yes I am ....
  • Oh no I am definitely NOT!
  • Well... perhaps I am ....
  • Hmm... not really ...
  • Actually, I think I am moving in the right direction ...
  • You know what: I feel worse than I did two weeks ago ...
  • Wait a minute .... things may be improving after all...

You get the idea.

I have been dancing the old Bi-Polar Shuffle: one step forward, two steps back, one step to the left, one step to the right, ending up with 'where the hell am I ???'

I managed to stay on 700mg Tegretol (Carbamazepine) for a whole week. It nearly killed me physically but my brain loved it. No more suicidal obsession. On 600mg, I feel much more comfortable physically and my brain hasn't gone berserk again. GREAT news! 

The hardest thing now is that my energy level fluctuates wildly, and in a 'pain in the butt' sort of way. This is what I mean:

  • My sleep clock is totally out of synch with the northern hemisphere. I wish I could afford to move to Australia for a while just to see what happens. My brain is asleep during the day even if I manage to be awake and move around like a zombie. It is fully awake at night (but, aside from the occasional itching extravaganza, I am not agitated which is a HUGE blessing). My day starts at 5pm so it is quasi non-existent. Thank God British Summer Time starts next week because I will feel like I have had more of a day by the time the moon appears. My day ends at around 4am - there's not much physical stuff you can do at night, unless you wish to be shot by your spouse and/or your neighbours, so I don't have much time to get things done around the house or take long walks.
  • When I manage to have some day-time energy it suddenly disappears like a puff of smoke. I start doing something and suddenly have to abandon it - just like that. This includes things like having a shower or washing my hair. Try abandoning your showering and/or hair washing in the middle of it and you will see that it is impractical and extremely inconvenient! As a result, I get nervous about starting things and this doesn't help me build a sense of confidence and achievement.

I guess I am in Transitional Recovery. In other words, patience is the order of the day, and of the week, and of the month. I just hope it won't be the order of the year. I have been through that before and I do not have a burning desire to go through it again - not that there's much I can do about it one way or the other...

In Bi-Polar Land Recovery is a bad-tempered beast. The moment you move forward, it bites you in the backside and pulls you backwards. When you turned to face it, it it spits in your eye. If we could see it, I guess it would look like a tiger crossed with a lama wrapped in the temperament of a particularly irritable camel. Not my idea of the sort of animal anybody would want to live with ...  :D

Just good to hear from you

Just good to hear from you and I truly hope you can tame that  'bad-tempered beast' .  What a battle but you are winning. xx 

Thank you Anonymous

Thank you for your encouragement - I hope you are keeping bucketfuls of it for yourself too :0)

Gabrielle xx

I hear ya

I understand the one step forward two steps back.  That is what I have been doing as well.  Like you I have been going back and forth.  I often times wonder how to deal with it all.  I sleep at night, but can't do much during the day due to being so tired.  Today I did a few things and for some reason my husband looked at me and smiled.  I asked what was wrong and he said nothing.  But then I said what do I look tired and he responded with yes, even with make up on you still look tired.  It is hard to think that it is ever going to get better, but I just keep hoping that it will.  I at least was able to laugh at myself and what my husband said.  I am glad that you posted something and I do hope that things get better for you as well.

Thank you Anonymous 'I Hear Ya'

I hear you too. I sounds like you have your own battle on your hands AND it also sounds like you too have a good man on your side.

Hope is esential and yet so painful, is it not ?.....

Bucketfuls of blessings and encouragement to you both.

Gabrielle xx

Protect your backside

Dear Gabrielle, Sending platinum-plated armour for your backside, so it can't get  a grip any more. "Protect your backside and no more backslide!" Maybe your son can do something with those lyrics? Lots of love, Carole

bi-polar and seroquel

Just found your blog looking up side effects etc of Seroquel. Your words make me feel much happier, altho of course I am not happy! I am a nurse working in E.D. in a large public hospital here in Australia. Just started in January. I had such a bad shift a few nights ago that I phoned in sick for the next day and I have 2 days off. All I do when I am home is SLEEP!!! I am going to see my doc hopefully this week to try to end the Seroquel (or my life), I am also on Luvox. Like you, I am awake most nights, and either have to cope at work on an a.m. shift or worse, go to sleep about 5 am. then need to be up again by 11.00 am to start an afternoon shift at 1 pm. I am caring for people with problems physical and emotional. Sometimes I feel like screaming at them that they are probably not as bad as I am. Truly, yesterday I think my blood pressure was thru the roof, too scared to measure it, took extra bp pills. So scared i am going to have a stroke...just don't want to go to this job, but after studying for 2 years and struggling on casual nursing shifts, I know it is probably counter productive to quit my job. Don't know what to do. Friends say "do what is right for you", but quitting and having lots of bills to pay does not seem like a sensible decision. Just took me 5 minutes to search in my mind for the word decision. I am back off to bed, even tho it is lovely and sunny and warm on this Sunday afternoon. I am almost of the verge of giving up entirely, or quitting my job, or cleaning and clutter clearing my polar here I come again. Your sentence regarding feeling better, feeling worse, did strike a cord, I have read and read about bipolar but never thought of it as affecting me day to day, this has helped and thanks for a wonderful blog. x Vicki



Thank you Vicki

My goodness! First, let me say this: I cannot think of anything WORSE than suffering from bipolar disorder in a medical environment. It sounds a contradictory thing to say but so many people in your situation have described the hell they live AND work in that I feel compelled to make that statement.

I cannot offer any medical advice (unfortunately) but I can send you bucketfuls of love, understanding and encouragement. So few people understand the meaning of the medical description of bipolar disorder: "..... unusual fluctuations in energy ....".  Unusual fluctuations sounds so mild, so bland. Yet, that's a bit like saying that Pompei was a town with an unusual mud problem!

It's all in the AMPLITUDE. No energy at all feels - and to all extents and purposes IS - like a breathing death. All organs functioning except the brain.

Before you give up on all your hard work (and even your life), all I will venture to say medically is that it sounds like your antidepressant Fluvoxamine (Luvox) isn't helping. It may be a good idea to see your doctor and try another one.  It might take a couple of tries before you find one that works for you. Mine is Citalopram and it works for me and for my son too. Mood stabilisers are great but in my experience they are not sufficient without a good antidepressant. By 'good', I mean one that works for YOU.

Also, you might like to try Carbamazepine (Tegretol) rather than Seroquel. It is an old fashioned mood stabiliser the brain seems to like. It can be a bit 'heavy' on the rest of your system (my father has taken it for years without any problems but it does make me feel physically unwell at too high doses).

To say that I wish you all the very best is a massive understatement.

I wish you WELL Vicki 0) xxx

PS:  As you have no doubt gathered, bipolar disorder has been and still is a 'member' of our family. My grandmother, her brother, my father, his sister, me, and sadly my son too. When I catch myself worrying about my grandchildren I hang on to this thought: should either of them have this ghastly condition they could not be in a family that understands them more and is is best placed to support them :0)

The Joys of Backwards Recovery

Hi Gabrielle,

I'm so glad you're feeling so much better now.

I have some exciting news to share with you about  my mental health recovery memoir ... ME & HER:A Memoir of Madness.

I'm emailing my urgent request to you, please say YES!!,


Karen :)

Thank you Karen

We've been in touch already :0) xx

the two step dance

hey Gabrielle

I must say your blog brought a smile to my face as i read the dialogue... it mirrored my own inner dialogue at times..

I am in the throes of depression at the moment so a smile was a welcome addition to my rather limited range of emotions...

you are welcome to come and live in the antipodes... but it is coming into winter here... though queensland is warmer than down south...

I also smiled at the use of the word recovery... i am afraid that if this is as good as it gets then i want out... i have no quality of life as i knew it... more drugs, more weight gained, i have to close my eyes just to contain the pain... the mental anguish... this is not recovery ... this is coping with the bare minimum... this is barely coping... and no end in sight...

sorry to be a downer but i do not believe in recovery...

take care

rgds cate

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