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About this blog

Welcome to follow my bipolar ups and downs. It's hell of a rollercoaster ride!

 

Entries in this blog

 

Adults self-harm too

Hear me out, I want to talk about something important. Adults self-harm too. I know it because I am a 34-year-old woman, married and a mother of three and I cut and abuse prescription medicines and other medicines.  Self-harm is not just teenagers' previlege. It's not just childish attention seeking. People cut for various reasons. Sure some are doing it for attention but also to relieve anxiety, feeling of control, punish themselves or maybe they are hearing voices that tell to do so.  For me cutting is a symptom of my manic-depressive illness. I am doing it because my brain constantly challenges me to do that. I don't hear voices, it's my own mind that makes me hurt myself. My brain is telling me to cut myself and I rarely can resist because my illness is in a very bad place right now.  I am at home this weekend. I came on Friday and will go back to ward Sunday evening. Weekend has been very good except for constant battle against my brain. I am proud of myself that I haven't taken any extra pills. Cutting however has been an issue this weekend. I had promised myself that I would never cut my wrists or arms. This weekend it happened. I cut my wrist. And I cut deeper than before. I know I will have to tell this to a nurse and doctor. And I am so stressed out my family members to see what I have done. They wouldn't understand. To be honest, I am not sure how I will convince the doctor that my brain is making me do this.  I am also having suicidal thoughts. Self-harm is different and is not related to suicidal thoughts. Just like self-harm thoughts my brain is feeding me ideas of k i l l i n g myself. I know both thoughts will fade away when I get better.  If you are self-harming, seek for help. I would also like to hear from you if you find any of this familiar. 

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Someday I'll be Saturday night - ward day 10

I'll be allright. Yes, I believe in that.  Things have gotten much better for me during couple of days. I've been very active. I socialize with other patients, go out for walks and take part in groups. Of course it wouldn't necessary apply at home but at least I am doing things to improve my health here in the hospital. I haven't been to home yet but I am going home on weekend. Maybe stay one night.  A strange thing happened to me. I haven't been able to listen to music in so long  but now I've made progress and found music very important again.  I'm listening to my favorite artist, Bon Jovi. It got me through rough years or my youth so it means so much to me.  I haven't been able to cry in months or even years because I've felt so empty. So this thing happened to me that listening to BJ made me cry. And I cried and cried and cried. I got connected to that person I used to be. It was like I was 18 all over again. I felt so lost, helpless, sad and angry.  I believe this is significant progress. Something that was locked finally opened.    "Hey, man I'm alive I'm takin' each day and night at a time
I'm feelin' like a Monday but someday I'll be Saturday night" by Bon Jovi

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Life in a psychiatric hospital

This is my fifth day in a hospital. I thought of writing you guys what it's like to be here. I am writing from North of Europe so my experience may be somewhat different from yours.  I am having lot of trouble concentrating so let's see how I work this out.  A typical day starts at 730am with a breakfast and distribution of morning meds. Nurses will wake you up and ensure you have some breakfast.  After the breakfast and meds everybody gather in a common room for a morning info. A nurse tells about today's program and deal with a different topics like anxiety, feelings, sleep etc.  Before a lunch you can participate in groups. There's different groups available from Monday to Friday. I haven't taken part in any yet but I have signed up for one group next week. It's for parents who have a mental illness. I think it deals with how to tell children about a mental illness.  Lunch is served at 1130am. Food here is pretty good. At 130pm is coffee time. Coffee is not that good here but I get used to it. Coffee is very important for finns and I think we consume more coffee than any other nation. Or that's what I have read.  Days go by quite slowly here. Meals are  highlight of the day and set the pace of the day. There are some activities available like books, magazines, a computer, a tv, puzzles and of course socializing with other patients. Dinner is served at 430pm. This is not a closed ward so you can go outside for a walk, run errands, meet family and friends or visit home. You have to talk with your nurse if you want to go somewhere. I am not allowed to visit home this week because I am suicidal but I'll go tomorrow to my parents with my family. I think my sister is coming too with her family. I will be away for three hours and get back by six o'clock when I have to take meds.  There is a nurse for every patient morning shift and evening shift. Nurses usually come to talk once during the shift but they are available if you need to talk more. There's three nurses on my team but I also meet other nurses than those three who are responsible of my treatment.  A supper and evening meds are served at 730pm. Patients take care of serving it. Every room has a kitchen shift when they are responsible of serving the supper and cleaning up. It's part of the treatment.  Some patients watch tv in the evening, some patients prefere staying in their rooms. I usually stay in my room. I talk with other patients when eating but I don't socialize much except with my roommate. My roommate doesn't spend much time in our room so I get to be here alone.  My mood has been quite good here. I mostly feel safe and relieved here. My concentration and capacity are weak so I don't do much. I lie in my bed and message with friends and family. Or try to write on different forums like this.  That is pretty much a typical day in a psychiatric ward. I hope I was able to give you a glimpse of my days. I will add some photos too.     

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Back to ward

I am back at the hospital. It was sooner and easier than I expected. Cutting and pill popping were about to get out of hands so I had to do something. I called my doctor and told her I need to be hospitalized. I am Lucky to have her as my doctor. She took care of everything so now I am safe and relieved.  I will write more later. I just wanted to tell you guys that I am now where I am supposed to be right now. 

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The appointment

She was allright. The doctor, I mean. I met her for the first time and she totally heard and read me. I wish to stay with her. My doctors have been coming and going after every appointment.  My thoughts are all over the place right now. The appointment raised so many questions and thoughts. The outcome was slightly different than expected. Good I guess however.  We talked about ect, medication, hospital and sick leave.  I was thinking of asking for two or three months sick leave but the doctor thought I need to take a real time-out. So, I got six months of more sick leave. I don't know what to think. I had already planned in my head how things would play out for me. This changes everything.  The doctor suggested I should be back in a hospital. I was expecting it and hoping for that but I can't make that decision alone. This affects the whole family and I feel like I have to discuss with my husband and kids before making up my mind. The doctor will call me again next week about the decision. I really don't know what to do.  If I go back to the ward I will get ect and new meds faster. The situation is that bad no changes on medication can be done without a safe environment. So either I wait and suffer or I go to hospital and leave my husband to take care of everything alone. I am afraid if I agree going to the hospital they will keep me weeks there.  So lot of thinking needs to be done. Maybe making a list of cons and pros or just trusting my instinct. The doctor gave me time till Wednesday.   

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What happened to my October goals?

Do you remember me setting some goals for October? Well, me either until I came across with them today when reading some old posts and thinking of my blog's future.  Let's have a look at them right here and now.      1. I will only work three days a week as I have agreed on. I won't take extra hours, I won't stay late, I will prioritize healt over work. I did pretty good sticking with my shifts and not taking any extra hours. Well, part-time working only worked for me about three weeks until I was back on sick leave.  2. I will write my blogs part-time, posting less, two or three times a week. I wrote much less and without purpose. Actually I only wrote diary posts instead of any real blog posts. Simply because I was not up to it.  3. I will read at least five books. Reading helps to restore concentration. I didn't read a single book. Concentration - zero level.  4. I will actively search for means to manage and reduce my anxiety, other than drugs. Well, we all remember what happened with my drug using...  5. I will go outdoors more. Yeah right...  6. I will eat healthy and at least four times a day. I didn't eat at all so my body was dehydrated that led to lithium toxicacy.  7. I will see friends as often as I can. I had no interest in seeing anybody.  8. I will learn to love myself again and let go of anger and shame. This I can proudly tell I nailed it. I am pretty good terms with myself even if I am not doing good.  9. I'll stay with my meds and avoid excessive drinking. I have stayed with my meds and haven't enjoyed alcohol at all.  10. I will overcome my fears and spend time in my back yard even if I got hundred panic attacks. Well, this didn't played out so well.    Okay, what do you think? I think I was quite optimistic and didn't see what was coming towards me. I am going to share some new goals and hopes I have for this year. 

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January 22

This needs to end.  I mean this situation that is going on with me. This depression. I need an ending. I can't go on like this. My family can't go on like this.  A school nurse called me today to pick up my kid in the middle of the school day. She wasn't feeling allright. Two hours later her teacher emailed me about her recent mood swings. She is seven years old. She should be happy and carefree. The teacher wrote that my kid fights with her friends, refuses to participate, is either apathetic or overly enthusiastic and happy.  Sounds a bit too familiar...  She is reacting to my situation. I will talk with her later and email to her teacher but talking won't resolve this. I need to get better. I need to get off the bed. I need to be me and not a slave to my illness.  I am counting hours to a doctor's appointment. It's on Friday. I've been struggling and waiting for weeks. I need that ECT. It's the only treatment that has an immediate effect. Medication is important too but I need results now.  I've already taken blood tests and EKG. Everything was okay so no physical obstacles for ECT. It's now up to my psychiatrist. I need to convince her I need that ECT. My family needs that ECT.  I recieved ECT ten times on December. It helped a great deal. It helped with depression and anxiety and even took away hypomanic symptoms. I felt so much better during the treatment and a week after. I know the results won't last long. Depression came back as soon as ECT ended. Now, weeks after, anxiety and delusions are coming back. I've also had few hypomanic days. So I know it won't help long but I need couple of good weeks to get started with recovery process.  My sick leave is also coming to and end. I thought of asking three more months. That should cover recovery unless I can't fight off depression or will face a manic or mixed episode. I put all my hope in ECT. If I won't get the treatment, I don't know what to do. 

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January 18

I am sharing a photo today. I am not expecting 'likes' or comments. If I wanted those I would have shared the photo on Fb or Instagram. But I didn't.  The reason I wanted to share my picture is that it made me think a lot today about how we control what kind of a picture we want to give other people about our lives.  You know I haven't been well for a long time. Yesterday was a disaster but today is better. I believe that how you start your day will determine the rest of your day. I should use that more only if I had strenght to do so.  Anyways, I forced myself to do something I haven't done much lately - to take care of myself. I washed my face, brushed my hair and put on make-up to feel pretty. From the outside I turned to a different person. That got me thinking how deceiving the looks can be. I mean would you have guessed the girl in the picture wrote a s*icide letter yesterday? Would you believe she has scars of selfharm all over her body? That she couldn't get off the bed yesterday and hasn't brushed her teeth for three days?  If I posted the picture in social media I wouldn't use hastags like #depression #mentalillness #bipolar or #selfharm. No, I would use hastags like #happy #friday #finnishgirl and no-one would ever know the truth. I am grateful for all those people who has courage to work for mental illness awareness. I am not brave. I share pretty picture and fool everybody. That's what I do.  You can't make assumptions by how a person looks like. We all wear masks and decide how much we show. Some are braver than others. Someone who looks nice outside could be struggling everyday for her/his life.  How much do you reveal? 

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January 12

My life is ugly. Cooking a dinner was my only achievement today. That was too almost an impossible task. Just like getting off a bed. I sat there on a stool in front of a stove because I was simply too weak to stand.  While I sat there and waited the dinner cooking I explored a fridge door. Lots of hideous souvenir magnets: New York, Barcelona, Washington DC, London, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Alanya and a Cruise liner to Stockholm. Most of them feel like forever ago and most of them are. Was that really my life back then? How different things are now.  The hideous souvenir magnets are holding lot of papers. The papers of my chaotic life. My life truly is in chaos right now. Three schedules of all my kids, some dental papers, kids' appointments, an old family photo and some coupons. All my life there pinned on the fridge door, past and now. Happy moments and chaos.  I stir my cooking and study my left palm. I find some deep lines. I remember they all have a name but the only one I can recall is Life Line. I'm not sure which one is the Life Line. Well, it doesn't really matter, does it? I grasp a knife from a dishwasher. The knife is shiny and quite new. Also sharp. I've hold a knife before like this. Wanting and thirsting. I press the tip of the knife on my left palm and make a cut, a new Life Line. There is so little life in me righ now, I need another Life Line. I don't actually believe in that sh*t. I just wanted to feel a steel blade cut my skin. Simply as that.  I watch the blood. It's magnetic. The cut is more like a scratch. It won't leave a scar. It will heal quickly like it never was there. The kids are behind a wall in a living room. My husband is behind other wall in a shower. I sit on the stool in a messy kitchen string the food and looking at my new Life Line. Nothing moves inside me. I don't feel. This is my life today.   

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January 11

Things haven't improved for me during the last couple of days. I spend most of my day in bed. I get up in the morning and go back to bed as soon as the kids have left for school. I stay in bed all day except when I get up to make dinner.  The weather has been amazing but I don't go out. Kids have been asking me to take them skating or skiing but I have no energy. It's so pretty outside and I love winter and snow but I am missing all winter fun. Maybe I feel better next month.  My doctor called me today. I met my therapy contact yesterday and she asked the doctor to call me. The doctor wasn't willing to make any changes to my medication but we talked about ECT. We decided to continue ect. I am very happy with that because it really did help me, it just ended too soon. I am hopeful now that things will get better for me and this year will be succesful for me in many ways.   

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January 5

By far 2019 has treated me just like the last year. It hasn't been an easy start for this new year. I've got lots of hope but not many expectations.  Today is a lot easier. I am able to write. I have been able to achieve quite many things actually. Small things maybe for someone else but for me going to a mall with the family is a huge deal. Or getting off the bed is really something.  I haven't been able to do anything lately. I sleep around the clock and won't get up. I just lie there. I am physically so exhausted that I can't stand or walk. Anxiety is killin me. My heart is hurting. It's bleeding.  I pop pills too much. I can't stand the reality. I want to sleep so I won't feel. I've taken pretty much all drugs I could find at home. It's getting out of hands again.  I met a nurse earlier this week. She thought that I should be back at the ward. I know that's the only safe place for me right now but I don't want to go back just yet. I can still manage somehow at home. I have to. I need to be at home for my husband and kids. Though I am no use here.  I have a doctor's appointment in three weeks but I am not sure if I can make it so long. I need something stronger for anxiety. I would probably use any drug wrong right now but I just can't deal with this. I'm afraid if I go to an emergency room they'll send me for a psychiatric evaluation and that's a ticket back to psych ward.  I am not living, I am barely surviving. 

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December 31

Happy New Year's Eve everybody!    This is the day to look back and reflect how succesful this year was. What did you learn and what did you experience in 2018?  Mine was hard. Probably the hardest year this far. Despite all struggle, lots of good things happened as well. Let's have a look at my illness first and then all the good stuff.  Those of you that don't know, let me remind you I suffer from bipolar disorder, also known as manic depressive.  I suffered from a mixed episode from January to June. That was horrible and it consumed all my strenght. Having everything at the same time - depression, mania and anxiety is just horrible. It led to crushing and severe depression. I spent a week in a hospital until it turned into mania. Mania lasted about three weeks until I crushed again. I tried to return back to work part-time but I lasted only few weeks before I was hospitalized again. I spent six weeks in hospital where ECT was started. It helped me big time and I returned to home before Christmas.  In total 2018 included one mixed episode, one mania, two severe depression, two long sick leaves and two periods at psych ward.  What about all the good stuff? 2018 was also about good stuff. In January I travelled to London with a friend. That was a great trip. In June I was surprised by my husband. He took me to United States. We visited Las Vegas, New York and Washington DC. That was an amazing surprise. In September I travelled to Western Finland with a friend. We went to hiking in a National Park. That was cool. Also in September I made a trip to Estonia with a friend and kids. That was nice. 2018 also included many other smaller trips with the kids.  Despite of all the trips made and my illness giving me hard time, 2018 was all about learning and growing. 2018 taught me a lot about my illness. I became better terms and acceptance with it. I finally shared my secrets with family and friends. I am not ashamed of my illness anymore. It's part of me and sometimes it gives me hard time. Then I have to focus on getting better and trusting my family to live their everyday life normally.    How was your 2018?  

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December 29

Hello dear readers,  Long time no write.  I've been at home few weeks now. The ward is over and ECT is over. I was total six weeks in the hospital. Christmas with all loved ones was the best. The family is happy but I'm still struggling.  ECT helped me big time. It helped with depression and especially with anxiety that has been killin me. I breathe more freely and I am not obsessed with people following or watching me.  I haven't got hypomania after the ward. That is a big relief. Anyone struggling with manic depressive illness knows what I mean. Having only depression is so much easier.  I'm not done with depression but it's not that severe anymore. I feel pretty good everyday but at some point I lost it and it turns into depressive and self-destructive thoughts. Especially self-harm is a problem. I'm not cutting anymore but I am a pill-popper. I take extra pills everyday to make it through the day. Anything that has a sedative effect on me goes. I take the pills because I am angry. I am angry at life. I am angry at my family. I am angry at this illness.   

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December 11 (ward day 39)

Yes, I am still at the ward.  I've recieved ECT seven times and still three more left. I am hopefull of going home before Christmas. 

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November 29 (ward day 27)

It's been almost four weeks and I am not doing any better. I am feeling slightly suicidal today. I've recieved ECT twice and tomorrow again. I need it to work. My husband can't handle everything alone. 

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November 23 (ward day whatever)

Has it been three weeks, eh? Who cares anymore.  It's been a good day after, well, not so good day. Yesterday was pretty rough. All I could think of was go onto tracks and get hit by a train. Train - easy access and doesn't fail you.  Today I found some meaning in life so I decided to live. At least this one day. See if tomorrow will be different.  ECT hasn't started yet. Maybe Monday they said. Maybe. I am little nervous about anesthesia and had the first nightmare last night. On the other hand, if things don't go right that's just a favor for me. An easy way out. They will be giving me the treatment 6 to 12 times, three times a week. That's a lot of anesthesia. Well it's light and very short but anyway it's making me nervous.  Have a great weekend, I try, too, to stay alive. 

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November 20 (ward day 18)

My depression has become worse which you probably have guessed because of fewer diary posts.  The meds are no use but fortunately ECT starts on Friday or Monday. I am very releaved with this decision. ECT gives me little hope I need right now. I am basically totally hopeless and suicide thoughts have occupied my mind whether I like it or not. Also my dreams are all about death.  So that's the latest news. The ward continues... 

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November 16

I am at home today. Came in the morning and will go back to hospital by 7 pm. I don't feel good. I am a wreck. Half alive, half dead. Totally hopeless. I just can't see things change for better.  Life is random and pointless. It's just bad luck and against odds to be born to this world. There is no purpose. No greater good. Just space that is at the same time empty and everything. Without purpose. As pointless as life. Our life is as meaningful as an ant's life. We keep going on for something we don't even understand. Our time here is limited. When the human race  becomes extinct life goes on somewhere else in the space. Nobody will remember us. We'll just disappear. Just like that our life becomes pointless. Like it never existed.   EDIT: I am not doing any better than two weeks ago. At the hospital I can't really tell the difference but now at home I see the reality. Still a prescription meds abuser. Still weak and indifferent towards life. I hope my head clears before going back to ward.  EDIT2: Wow, some serious thinking above. Quite limited and black and white views. I am ashamed of how weak I was today though I had the nerve to tell my nurse I took meds. Today was a total failure.

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November 14 (ward day 12)

It's been a couple of rough days. I didn't return to any messages or couldn't write yesterday. I have mostly been really depressed. No hypomania since last week. For me depression is not sadness or really low mood. It's indifference towards life and lack of functional capacity. Sometimes anxiety and negative thoughts like worthless, guilt and shame. When it gets really bad I can't move or talk. Day before I sat in my bed and stared a wall for hours. I was there but I was absent. Today is too early to tell but I believe today will be hard too. I walked to a department store nearby and bought some wool yesterday. I decided to start knitting socks. It started okay but now I am struggling with giving up. My mind instantly turned against itself when I purchased the wool. Telling me things like "don't bother trying", "you never gonna success", "why did you even buy wool", "you are not good enough". I am too exhaused to write more. I will edit and report if anything comes up.

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November 11 (ward day 9)

It's Father's Day here in Finland. I visited home, my parents' and my own. I thought it would be hard but didn't expect it to be this hard. It was nice to see everybody. My family, my parents and my sister's family. I really stepped up my game, chose nice clothes and brushed my hair and, of course, prepared emotionally.  I was all good spirit, chatty, smiley and whatever people expect me to be. About half an hour I talked, listened, paid attention, and joked with my sister's husband (that's our thing) untill I was totally exhausted. The kids were like always. They seemed to overcome the absence of their mother and accepted the current situation. They didn't even notice me. They were attracted by their 2-year-old cousin. Everything was so normal. Everything went on like always except for my life that is on pause. I had a brief moment to spend at home. Half an hour to be exact before we had to take my daughter to her gymnastics practise. The team is rehearsing for a Christmas show. I felt overwhelmed at home. I cried and I cried more when my husband took me back to hospital after dropping off our daughter.  Everything felt so unfamiliar yet everything was the same. The house was the same, the kids were the same, things waiting to get done at home were the same. World outside the hospital looked so different though. I didn't recognize it. It was scary, cold (not just literally) and unreal. It was like I was watching the world spinning and life happening from some different reality. I felt I didn't belong there.  Now back at hospital I feel tired but safe. Being here feels safe. This hospital and this ward protect me from outside world. It came pretty clear to me that this is where I need to be right now. I am not ready to go back to my old life.

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November 10 (ward day 8)

I am calm. Maybe little sleepy. It took a lot of drugs to calm me down yesterday and make me sleep. Even strong sleeping pill didn't stop me. But eventually I fell asleep and had pretty decent night sleep. The ward is quiet in the weekend. Half of the patients have gone to home for the weekend. They'll be back on Sunday evening. I get to go home tomorrow for few hours. Tomorrow is Father's Day here. We are gathering to celebrate it at my parents house. My sister and her family will come too and my brother will be there too. Should be nice. I think I will be either tired or hypomanic after seeing the family. It's good nurses don't let me go home for more than few hours. It's reasonable. I think I'll try and stay in my room today. Trying to avoid anything that could trigger hypomania. Though I think it's pure chemistry now. No triggers. I think it's either this minimun medication I am on now or antidepressant that can cause mania with bipolar disorder patients. I'll have an doctor's appointment on Tuesday, maybe figure out then what is the next step we take with medication. This is all for now. I edit and report any significant changes of my mood. Wish you all nice and relaxing weekend.   EDIT: 2 pm anxiety. I am afraid of hypomania. I have laid low today. EDIT2: 5 15pm still calm. Good. EDIT3: 8 50pm slightly hypomanic. Feeling super. Not many physical symptoms. Dangerous.

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November 9 (ward day 7)

I was slightly hypomanic yesterday, had to take some sedatives. I slept well however with an assistance of drugs. I am calm today thanks to good night sleep.  I am kind of inbetween moods. Not really sure what comes next, depressed or hypomanic mood. Or maybe anger. I don't want to do anything. I open some messages but I don't want to answer. I try to sleep but I don't want to take a nap. I don't know what I want to do. Probably nothing. Maybe I just lie here and do nothing. Everything disgust me. People, food, medication, this ward, this day, this time, myself. I can't focus. I can't read a magazine, watch tv or listen to music. Too much stimulus. Can't do it. Just can't.   EDIT: current state at 8 30pm HYPOMANIC. Note to self: Do not open your mouth when hypomanic. Go hide. Shut up. And be good.  

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November 8 (ward day 6)

I'm loving this new layout!   Today is no different from other days. Fever, blood tests, EKG. Also have thyroid insufficiency. Great. I am too restless to report more. EDIT: feeling a bit hypomanic. Fever and hypo, interesting combination. EDIT2: still restless after taking some meds. Family visited, I couldn't stay still. EDIT3: definitely hypomanic. Sleeping pills and anti-psycotics for the night. I need good sleep.

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November 7 (ward day 5)

This treatment hasn't been anything I expected. The main reason is that the treatment has been all physical. So many problems have occured, dehydration, toxicity, fever, blood tests and did I mentioned a thyroid?  I meet doctor and nurses daily but we only talk about things I mentioned above. Other patients talk about depression or anxiety with their nurses, I talk about how much I drank water, are my legs and arms shaky today or do I have fever. I am afraid this is not helping my mental health but I have to feel lucky. If I didn't come to ER last week, I would be in a much more worse situation. I would have poisoned myself with lithium.   

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