Those Nights I Don’t Want to be Alone

mental health

Usually, I am someone who really enjoys the peace and quiet of living alone. Of course there are times when I get lonely and miss the hustle and bustle of my family home consisting of my grandparents, mum and me as well as our many pets. But ever since moving out and living alone, I absolutely love having my own space. It means that I can wander round in my scruffs with my hair scraped back without make up or fear for destroying the sanity of any poor house mates. I can sing along to the soundtrack of my emo teenage years without fearing judgement from family members. But, and perhaps most enjoyably, I can stroll around my house naked. I love that clothes are optional – and although I can’t afford to put my heating on, and so clothes are well advised in my house, there is definitely a certain freedom in knowing that I don’t have to be wearing them. But I digress…

Unsurprisingly, this post is not going to be about my new and exciting voyage into the world of naturism, it’s a tad darker unfortunately. Depression is a bitch and although I seem to have the “smile and wave like everything is fine” in public thing down, when I am behind closed doors it is a little different. Unfortunately for me, tonight is one of those nights. If you yourself suffer with depression then I am sure you understand what “those nights” means, and am truly sorry you are able to empathise with me here. But if do, you know the nights that I am talking about.

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These are the nights where you come home and lock your door with the days fake smile still on your face as you lock up behind you. Staring at your key in the lock for a few minutes in silence, without moving, you finally break. Nights where you end up on the kitchen floor, sobbing, and I really do mean properly sobbing. Incomprehensible noises and attempts at words in regards to what has gone wrong. About everything that is currently going wrong, or could do in the future. You gasp for breath and try and clutch at what remains of your sanity as you weep for what is wrong with you, the world and everything around you.

You cry for everything that you just can’t deal with and panic at the sheer volume of that list. You feel like a failure. Like you make life worse for other people and start to question your own worth and reasons for existence. What if I wasn’t here? Who would actually miss me? I’d probably make a lot of people happier if I were just not around to complicate their lives any further right? These thoughts become louder and more dominant the more you try to drown them out until you are forced to cope with them the only way you know how.

This situation ends in one of two ways: you finally give into the almost instinctive urge to cause pain to remove pain. You feel disappointed in yourself for falling back into old habits, old coping mechanisms that you know deep down you can no longer allow yourself to rely on. As the blood and tears run your breathing slows and your hysteria begins to lessen – you have simply exhausted yourself with such emotion. Or, you take deep, exhausted, shuddering breaths as you silently cry yourself to sleep, where the nightmares and flashbacks can take a hold once more.

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The next day you awaken to a pillow stained with blood and tears. You wake in a cold sweat with a sore neck and a throbbing headache and are just searching for a way to make it stop. But you have to go to work/school/whatever, you know that you can’t. You’re tired, but not sleepy, you’re just tired of pretending and exhausted from promising that you’re “okay, honestly” when inside you’re slowly dying. So you get up, you get washed and dressed before standing in front of the mirror. You practice your fake smile one last time to attempt to convice yourself that you’re happy. It doesn’t work, but you walk out that door wearing it anyway where the world is none the wiser.

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I hope none of you understood the little detour my mind just took as that would mean you feel or have felt how this feels and I don’t want that. I’m struggling tonight, again, and so thought I’d try and write something to give myself a chance of understanding myself. I’m not sure I do, but here goes. Hope you’re well. All my love. x

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Thoughts from the Edge of Mania…

mental health

As most of you will know if you follow this blog regularly, I suffer with bipolar type two and all of the joys that come alongside this wondrous condition (!) The majority of the time when I tell people that I have bipolar, their instant reaction is to talk about how wonderful mania must be, and quite understandably, I have to try very hard to bite my tongue. No part of this condition is “fun” or “easy”, and if I had to choose a state to remain in forever, it would honestly be depression.

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I know that sounds ridiculous to most people, why would I want to be depressed? Of course nobody wants to be, but if the situation called for me to choose then I would. Mania is horrible. It isn’t just bouncing around on a cloud, happy and excited for everything that will come at you that day. Most of the time when I am manic I am certainly not in a happy mood. Mania means that you feel everything far too intensely. Thoughts are coming at you at a hundred miles an hour so that you are thinking everything and nothing at the same time without having the brain power to focus in on one particular thought.

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I feel creative, like I want to do all these wonderful things, and obviously creating content for my YouTube channel and blog is high up on this list. However, I have all these thoughts and ideas for what I could do, but no focus to actually follow through with them. I either sit staring at a blank page or (as I am doing now) sit and furiously vent at my laptop typing at a hundred miles an hour with no concept of whether any of this crap makes sense – I do apologise if not!

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Currently, I am not happy. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not especially unhappy (for once!), however this lack of specific emotion is certainly not giving me a drive for any of this pent up…something. I don’t know, honestly, there is no word for what is going on inside my head, I just know that whatever it is I need to get it out!

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So far tonight I have tried to watch six movies but lost interest in every one thanks to my concentration being all but none existent when I am like this. I have tried to read several times as this can sometimes quieten my thoughts, but I haven’t managed to get past five pages without my eyes wandering off to something more interesting, or being consumed by a new and exciting “none thought”.

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I even tried to go for a walk, which in itself is very unusual for me as I don’t normally move unless there is either food or imminent death involved, but I just ended up staring at a teenager in the distance who was repeatedly kicking a can and thinking to myself “if he carries on I’m taking his bastard foot”! So before I caused any actual bodily harm, I took myself back inside.

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Currently? I am sat on my bed with my duvet scrunched at my feet. I have my hair tied straight back because if it’s in my face then I won’t stop playing with it, mainly giving myself a hair moustache and thinking I’m hilarious… It’s a good job I live alone really isn’t it? I thought that I would give myself the opportunity to write something, anything! And although I have a book full of blog and video ideas downstairs, I knew damn well that I wouldn’t be able to focus enough to do them justice. I’ve worked hard on creating the plans for those projects and I don’t want to ruin them by writing some drivel like this instead!

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This post has taken me forty five minutes to complete, and it is currently 649 words long. I typed so much more….oh so much more! But even in this state of idiocy and manic thought jumping, I still have a little bit of pride left which insists I at least proof read it once before posting. Trust me, an awful lot has been cut from this, I hope that enough of this makes sense. As I say, if it doesn’t I apologise, but I want to post things that I have written during the various stages of my bipolar, whether that be hypomania or depression, as it think that it is important to give an honest representation of the condition and how it isn’t as easy to deal with as some might think. I can’t just pop a pill and be okay. They help me to cope, but there is no cure for this kind of screwed up unfortunately. I hope you’ve had a good day, and to future (and more calm and normal Emmie) I sincerely hope you are not cringing too much reading this and that it makes sense to you – but I insist that you do not delete it!

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“People With a Mental Illness Can’t Have Kids!”? My Reaction!

mental health

If you are a more regular follower of this blog, then you will know that I suffer with bipolar disorder and PTSD and the anxiety that comes alongside these conditions. Ever since I was little, I have always wanted to have my own children. Don’t get me wrong, I am 23 currently and so I would like to give it a little while until I hear the pitter download-6patter of my very own little monsters– at least until I can get my own life together! But regardless, I would like it to be soon. I have encountered many positive attitudes surrounding the topic of myself and children don’t get me wrong, most in fact – but there are always the odd few arse holes!

“People with mental illnesses should not be trusted with children, and certainly shouldn’t be allowed to have their own!” Sadly, I have heard this comment on more than one occasion, in 2016 you would hope that people’s attitudes have moved on a little further than this, however unfortunately not everyone is that kind or well adjusted. I am the first to admit that yes, my moods go up and down – but that hurts nobody else but me. I refuse to let my mental illness stop me from doing anything, and if I want to do something then I am damn well going to achieve my dreams.

I don’t intend to have children until I find the man that I love with all of my heart, a man that I would trust with my life. A man that I know will support and love me no matter what my mood is – we would support each other and support our child in the same way. My bipolar does not make me a bad person or a bad parent as it doesn’t affect me in the slightest. 1 in 4 people will experience a mental illness at some point in their life and my child will not only mnhave a much better understanding of these conditions, but they will also have a much greater compassion and ability to help others who are suffering.

And if they themselves suffer with a mental health condition then I will be able to properly support them and to help them through the process to recovery. My children will have the full support, knowledge and understand that I myself have built up over the years battling with my condition to help them to never feel inadequate or unacceptable. My children will always know how much I love them, and my bipolar will never stop me from showing my affection and supporting their dreams.

I may have bipolar but my condition is not all that I am – I have bipolar, I’m not just bipolar. I’m Emmie, I am 23, I am a vegetarian, I have an unhealthy obsession with unicorns and glitter and finally, I suffer with bipolar disorder – but every day I am winning the battle with my condition. I know that I will make a fantastic Mum one day and so to all those shitty people? All I can say is just piss off!

*New Video* 9 Things That People with a Mental Illness want their Bosses to Know

mental health

Working when you have a mental health condition can seem like a daunting task however it doesn’t have to be so tough. Check out my latest video below where I list the 9 things that would really help of all employers knew about mental illness. Also…that freeze frame though hahaha XD

 

The Side Effects of Lamotrigine

mental health

I have now been on Lamotrigine for just over 2 years to treat my Bipolar disorder (type 2) after previously being on Citalopram for depression. Lamotrigine is an anti convulsant that is also used to treat bipolar in some cases. I was unsure as to what medication would be best for me following my bipolar diagnosis as a lot of the solutions terrified me. Back when I was the ill-informed youngster that I was when I first heard about it, Lithium scared the living hell out of me! All I had heard were the horror stories, and I am ashamed to say that I heard what I wanted to hear in that sense. I am certainly a lot more open to trying Lithium nowadays.

When taking Lamotrigine, it is important to have regular blood tests as it is possible that it can cause organ damage (quite why that didn’t scare me as much as Lithium I will never know, I mean really!?) I recently wrote a blog post about the side effects of my anxiety medication and so I thought I would write do the same for my more long term medication. I find it very useful to read other people’s blogs about their experiences with certain mental health medication as I find it a good way to judge which is the right choice for me. So, here are my top 3 side effects from taking Lamotrigine.

  1. Insomnia!
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    I have always struggled with my sleep however before taking Lamotrigine it used to come in stages. Since taking this medication I struggle to fall asleep most nights, but when I do fall asleep then it is for the rest of the night and I do actually manage to sleep well. I love my sleep too much to accept this so I have spoken to my doctor about this side effect, however I am still rather unsure about the alternatives to this medication. We are still looking for an alternative that might not have this affect, or an accompanying medication that would help me to sleep.
  2. Joint pain!
    I have been extremely achy since taking Lamotrigine which has been unfortunate however it is not to the extent that I am stopped from going through my daily activities. I have good and bad days, some worse than others, however my Mum suffers from Fibromyalgia and so I have seen what it is like to really be in pain and so that kind of makes me suck it up and try and get over a few minor aches and pains. However, it is very important to keep a record of all of the side effects that you experience with a new mental health medication so that you can discuss these with your doctor so that you can make sure that you find the perfect treatment plan to suit you and your individual needs.
  3. Back pain!
    Since I have been taking this medication I seem to have had a near constant pain in my back. Although a part of this could be put down to me being overweight, I didn’t used to experience it nearly as often. Before, I would only ever experience back pain if I had been on my feet all day or wearing heels for a long period of time. But

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    now, it is almost all the time! I have kind of got used to it to be honest, but I do enjoy a good massage every now and then when I can justify the expense. Although the beauty therapists are always surprised by how much tension I hold in my back considering I am only 23!

Generally, this medication has worked really well for me and has certainly taken the edge off my low points when it comes to my mood. I had reached a point where I was worried about the risk to my own safety before taking this medication as my depressive periods were dangerously severe. However now, although I do still experience low points, they are a lot easier to deal with and help to make it much less of a struggle to cope with the day to day life. I feel much more in control with my bipolar depression and I am proud to say that I have been free from self harm for 5 months.

The Side Effects of Sertraline

mental health

I recently started taking Sertraline for my anxiety and PTSD as it was becoming very difficult to deal with and making it very tough to cope with daily life. Sertraline is an SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) which affects unbalanced chemicals in the brain to help to even things out a little bit. Side effects have never really bothered me when it comes to my mental health medication, as I have always preferred these side effects to the alternative of my mental health taking a running jump off of the deep end!

However, with this in mind, I do still think that it is important to take note of the side effects that you are experiencing with your new mental health medication. This means that you can discuss these with your doctor, as there might be an alternative out there that is better for you with less side effects – so…yay! Also, it means that you can keep track of the problems you might experience so that you don’t feel like you’re dying when it’s just your meds which is always good right?

I find it useful to be able to read other people’s experiences with medication that I have been put on so that I can see what to expect! So here is a list of the top 5 side effects that I have been feeling.

  1. Serious nausea and vomiting!11419280_476400059173976_1211147788_n
    I was told to expect some nausea which, as those who are also on mental health medication will know, is exceptionally common when it comes to these kinds of drugs. However, I have never experienced it to the extent I did with Sertraline! I would literally have to run to the toilet (regardless of where I was…work/town/even driving!) to be sick. There was a constant feeling of sickness and regular vomiting when I first started the medication, it was horrible and took a lot of determination to continue with it. However, over time this eased off, and although it hasn’t completely disappeared it is now a lot milder and I can cope with it.
  2. Feeling unsteady and weak!
    Since I have been on this medication I have felt very unsteady. Again, this symptom seemed to die off (or at least lessen) as time went on and is one of the ones that I don’t really mind. While I was a teenager I was anaemic and so I am familiar with the feeling of dizziness and feeling very unsteady. It’s not too bad, it’s just something that I am having to train myself to expect again.

  3. The inevitable confusion that comes with all mental health medication!
    Any mental health medication that I have been on seems to come with some kind of confusion. Just a general feeling in myself where I feel like I am working a lot slower than I usually do. Everything seems to take a lot more effort and concentration, and I don’t feel like I’ve done it as good as I can by the end anyway. Thanks to my addiction to perfection and never allowing myself to accept anything less, this side effect makes my life bloody miserable! I have to go through on average four or five attempts at something that I am making/writing when I am feeling like this as I don’t feel like it will be good enough if I don’t. I don’t see it as a choice, it is just something that I have to do – which really isn’t a healthy outlook is it?
  4. Insomnia!
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    Now I have never slept well and so it can be difficult for me to monitor the effect that medication is having on my sleep patterns however, when I started taking Sertraline, things got noticeably worse. Usually, I would just not be able to fall asleep and would just lie there and get increasingly annoyed at myself. However, after I started with this new medication I began to fall asleep just fine. It soon became clear that I had a new problem. That I would now wake up during the night. Like, a lot. On average – around 12 times a night – I love my sleep far too much to accept this as a side effect that I am okay with. This was the first thing to be discussed with my doctor. Thankfully, things are better now as we changed my dose.

  5. Stomach pains and diarrhoea!
    Again, thankfully this one really only lasted for a few months before it slowed down, but my God it was painful! My stomach would suddenly just cramp up to the point I literally had to sit or I’d fall down. I assumed that this might be like period pains, but holy hell it was so much worse! All of the pain killers and walking around town with my pink unicorn hot water bottle helped. A lot. Unicorns fix everything.