So Oprah said ….

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Will the act of changing something in your life engender a change in your being?

Do we need to know where we want to go before we make changes to get there?

These kind of quotes really do speak to me on a general level, but when I start to dissect them, I tie myself in knots. I tend to think if I could just ‘make a change’ to the way I exist at the moment then the person I am would begin to change.

Ripples on a pond.

I just don’t have the energy to make that first dip.

Not 24 Hours from Tulsa

I have been awake for about 36 hours straight.

I was awake and crying all night. Mindlessly clicking on the laptop.

Some nights my brain chemistry just rebels against my meds and refuses to respond as it should – by sleeping.

At least that’s what I thought.

Turns out Phil, who is usually so reliable, forgot to give me my evening meds.

No quetiapine.

No sleep.

I sit here now, waiting for today’s meds to kick in and give me just a little relaxation and a  little relief.

But I am shaky and nervous.

I hate that at 47 I can’t be trusted with my own meds. That I don’t realise when I haven’t taken them and can’t remember if I did.

I want to scratch away my anxiety. Not the usual tiny repetitive scratches that gradually remove the top few layers of skin in one little spot. No, I want great raking movements. Top to toe.

Making my whole body sing with relief.

I hate the ways my body smells.

I want to shower, but if I do and then I eat, I will smell wrong again and need another shower.

So I wait.

Feeling more and more irrational.

Knowing that today , I am not ‘normal’. Hating myself for my inability to stop acting this way.

Soon, they will bring me some food. Then I can get ready to sleep.

Maybe take some zopiclone.

Maybe a diazepam.

Yes, definitely diazepam.

Without it, this skin won’t scratch itself off.

Manic

When I was a teenager I remember a school trip where I felt really happy and confident. I was joking around, really enjoying myself. Maybe I was a bit too loud, but no more than lots of other kids. At the end of this most wonderful day (did I mention the hot summer sun, the lazy insects), the teacher pulled me to one side and told me he had seen a ‘different side’ of me today. Yes, I thought, grinning to myself, she was brill and bright and bubbly.

‘I really didn’t like it. It really isn’t like you and I don’t want to see this behaviour again’.

My new-found fantastic self curled up in shame. I had not become some sort of witty extrovert. I had merely been playing the fool like all the ‘stupid’ kids did. That was me and my new found confidence stomped on, once and for all.

In retrospect, it was so out of character that I often wonder if this was my first ‘manic’ episode.

But god, I love manic me. She is so much fun.She is the one who got single me out of the house and procured me so many one-night-stands.  She got me a job, took me to work and made me feel like I could take on the world (or just the senior staff).

Yet every time she came out to play, there was a ‘friend’ tutting about how ‘this is so unlike you’. But, actually if you think about it, it WAS like me. Just a part of me who didn’t appear very often. Or was really discouraged from making appearances whether I could control it or not. I spent years worrying if I had said or done the wrong thing when I was out with company, just in case she had made an appearance without me noticing. My husband could never understand my anxiety AFTER a parents evening when I asked over and over if I had embarrassed him or the children

Like many cyclothymics, I am dysthymia dominated. So more likely to be depressed than manic.

Not clinically, dramatically depressed.

Not big fancy depressive episodes.

Just constant.

Chronic.

Down.

All

the

time.

Which is maybe why my ‘ups’ are so obvious.

Recently, we were in the car and a dog in the neighbouring car started barking at us. Well whats a manic cyclothymic to do?

I barked right back.

Joyful high-pitched yapping.

Without any thought of where I was or who I was with.

My husband and daughter froze. Husband slightly more used to dealing with the unexpected but still finding this a new one, even for me.

Daughter, slightly more protected from some of my behaviours, but still obviously perturbed:  ‘Muuum….?’

And there I was back at school, feeling embarrassed and ashamed and back to hiding fun me. Manic me, having just come up for air, quickly pushed back below. Taking a really conscious effort, but subdued never the less.

God I miss her sometimes. I wish I could be her all the time. She stays for such a short time.

But … dysthymia

oops I missed them again!

Last night was a drug- fuelled doozy – diazepam, zopiclone, 200mg quitiapine and still I kept waking up in pain.

Morning comes and I greet the day feeling jittery and scared. That terrible, pit of the stomach, fear that just makes you hold onto yourself tighter and tighter until the trembling stops. But the trembling doesn’t stop.

And then comes THE question … ‘what’s wrong?’

And I sit and sob and cry and snot and try to stop and blub and all that I have been holding in escapes. All the fear and uncertainty , the fear of being afraid,  the uncertainty about it  ever stopping.

My head hurts. My shirt is wet and ‘no, I don’t know what brought this on.’

We have lived together long enough for he who thinks logically and manages my condition much better than me, to usually have an idea at this point.

Tablets.

He has forgotten to give them to me this morning.

I hate that he has to manage my meds (like I have some sort of chronic illness or something) but this happens much more regularly if I am in charge. Also he has to hide the bad boys in constant far of me deciding that today is one day too long for me to be on the planet.

So an astonishing four hours after I usually take them, I am a trembling wreck in the corner.

That is how long it takes for withdrawal to kick in from 225mg slow release venlafaxine people.

Half an hour later and I am my normal, drug- addled calm person.

Is this what I would be without my meds?

Or is it just magnified by the withdrawal process?

I am seriously not ready to find out yet.

A day in the life of this cyclothymic.

Managed to drag my sorry arse out of bed for a shower and a couple of weetabix.

Then grocery shopping.

Forgot I needed a radiator key. Patently, couldn’t wait, so HAD to go to the DIY store.

Got home. Bled the bedroom radiator. Then, obviously had to bleed ALL the radiators.

Felt an overwhelming compulsion to start making new cushion covers.

Couldn’t find my sewing stuff, so emptied all the cupboards. Had to get the stepladder out. Not anywhere inside the house.

Spent 20 minutes in the rain, checking outside. Finally Phil reminded me we had moved stuff into a new box.

Found the new box. Cut out appliques for new cushions. Contemplated getting sewing machine out but decided to leave that for another day.

Worked on my journal.

Yoghurt for lunch (yes it’s still only lunchtime).

Collapsed, exhausted on the sofa (if I don’t get stuff done by lunchtime I run out of energy).

But ….cushion covers not finished; blog was started, need to finish it; ironing to do; knitting projects on the back burner need completing; still hungry but can’t be bothered to make food; journal still not ‘right’.

Began to feel twitchy.

Overwhelmed.

Lost.

Started to cry.

Then the eternal question from Phil:

‘What’s wrong?’

As if I know the answer. As if, did I know the answer, I wouldn’t do something to change my behaviour.

And off to bed I go, to chill (without diazepam, for a change). Another afternoon alone, trying to avoid thinking.

This was an up and active morning.

Some days I just sit under a duvet downstairs with the puppies waiting for bedtime to come round.

Thinking of a reason to still be here. Something to keep me going for another 24 hours.

Hence puppies.

Why o why?

This is the excerpt for your very first post.

Reading and ‘researching’ the other day, I came across cyclothymiabites.wordpress.com. She lamented a lack of information, guidance, camaraderie, whatever  for ‘sufferers’ of cyclothymia.

I’ll come back to ‘suffering’, or otherwise, later, but as I read through her blog I realised that I was her. She was me. Also that it might help to write my way through my condition.

I am currently on the BUJO bandwagon (give me a bandwagon and I’m there -pinterest is, so, so sadly, my second home! – too many commas? I’m never sure) but I don’t seem to be able to write reams of stuff in my pretty notebook. I get scribbly and frantic and my hand can’t keep up with my brain, or my mumbling.

Untidy handwriting DOES matter, okay. It just does.

So, because wordpress suggested I tell people (readers?) why I  am starting this blog. And because I always do as I am told, hence my state of mental (again more of that later) here I am.

Being me.

Blithering my way through this until I find my ‘authentic voice’.

God – are those quote marks annoying you as much as me? I just really need you to get the irony, sarcasm, whatever, that I feel towards so much of the jargon that swirls around me at the moment.

And, again, wait until I start on my journey through the NHS. I will probably wear my ‘ button out. Yes you all know what I mean. Anybody else who is ‘mentalnotmental’ will understand where I am coming from.

Hey, I might even be able to start my own bandwagon, prescription meds, tissues, tea and biscuits supplied. You have to bring your own self-medications because you know how varied and wonderful they can be.

Knitting anybody?

Alcohol?

Pets?

Sex?

And on that note of impulse control, or not, I will down my carbamazepine, zopiclone and quetiapine and stagger off to bed.

Sweet, foggy, uninterrupted dreams everyone.