Category Archives: Mixed Episodes

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You can now order greetings cards, postcards and prints of my artwork on Red Bubble:

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A month or two ago I was riding a hypomanic wave and created a few new pieces of art work which you can see in the gallery below or on Red Bubble. Needless to say I crashed straight after to a mixed episode and have been irritable and agitated and obsessing ever since. But starting to feel a bit calmer and more positive, so hopefully I’m on the up!

Hope you like my art work, I’m chuffed to bits with it, because last year I couldn’t get started on anything due to my perfectionism (which I’m still working on!). I feel I’m starting to take control of life again.

Related Posts

Perfectionism Part 2: Excuse Me- Where Has My Life Gone?

A Crafty Step Forward

More Illustration

You Are Amazing!

Thought Addiction: The Ego vs The True Self.

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From Over-Excitement to a Blubbering Wreck!

Last night I was at the cinema watching Breaking Dawn: Part Two. At some totally random point in the film I burst into tears and started having a proper cry. Thank fudge for the noise and the darkness or it would have been majorly embarrassing!

I don’t really know what set me off initially, but I started thinking about how I used to be- before my first major depression and the bipolar diagnosis and just ended up blubbing away. Think it was mainly when I started to think about how easily I used to be able to sit and draw for hours and be totally immersed in it. Now, this wonderful creative, flowy-feeling totally illudes me. I can’t sit down for 5 minutes without getting antsy and needing a distraction. I guess I was grieving for it a bit.

In true Bipolar form, this was a major difference to my over-excitement in the morning when I found out ex- Royal Ballet Ballerina, Darcey Bussell, is coming to Norwich to do a talk and book-signing. I’ve followed her career over the last 20 years and am so excited to be able to see her. I got a bit overwhelmed by the excitement. I did totally over-react!

I’m thinking this is a wake up call for me to find my balance again- maybe go back to basics with a schedule for meals/exercise/fresh air/leisure: get a bit of structure back in. Things have been a bit chaotic recently- more in terms of sleep, meals and too much internet!!

Would love to know:

1. If any other Bipolar readers get majorly excited about anything- so much so that it takes over you completely? I probably wont sleep the night before and after the event because I’ll be so excited. It’s uncomfortable and feels out of control- like I need to burst because there’s so much energy building up inside me. I’m like a little child at Christmas on speed! Is this a “Bipolar” thing?

2. Does anyone else struggle with something they used to be able to do, before Bipolar kicked in?

Photo Credit: Danilo Rizzuti vua freedigitalphotos.net

 

 

Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety & Panic Attacks

For the last 7-10 days I’ve been having a bit of a weird mood episode: anxiety, panic attacks, racing thoughts, indecisiveness, restlessness, inability to relax, general muscle tension and disturbed sleep.

Last week I thought it was depression, now I’m veering towards thinking it’s a mixed state. My thoughts aren’t along the severely depressed line, though I would definitely say they’re more negative than usual.

The most debilitating symptom at the moment has been the panic attacks, and yesterday for the first time ever, I had one at home. I usually have them when I’m out in the city or in my previous jobs, so this was a bit of a surprise!

I’m also getting agoraphobia symptoms: anxiety/panic when further away from home/on my own/in crowded places. The anxiety and panic are mild when I’m well, but increase in severity with the presence of a bipolar episode to the point of disrupting regular activities. The following is a very interesting article about Bipolar Disorder and it’s relationship with anxiety. It discusses whether or not it is a symptom of Bipolar or a Separate Condition:

Anxiety and Bipolar Disorder (PsychEducation.org)

 

Other Articles I’ve Found Useful

Very informative website exclusively about Bipolar Mixed States

Anxiety in Depression & Bipolar Disorder: From McMan’s Depression & Bipolar Web

A bit more dry & intellectual, but still interesting: Comorbidity in Bipolar Disorder from Psychiatric Times

Interesting blog post on My Bipolar Bubble: Separation Anxiety and Bipolar Disorder in Children 

 

Photo Credit: freedigitalphotos.net

Work Issues

Song of the Day: Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana.

Photo Credit: jpellgen available under a  Creative Commons Licence.

I haven’t written for ages because I’m in denial about stuff that’s going on at work and trying to ignore it in the hope it’ll go away. Writing will make me face up to it all!

Over the last couple of months I’ve been experiencing mixed symptoms- high energy, excessive flirting, needing to be at way more social events, crying easily, angry and irritable, needing to be centre of attention, obsessive thoughts. Could be the switch from hypomania to dysphoric hypomania?? Who knows!

Anyway, during this time my boss left for a new job- she has always been really great about my mood swings and very supportive. However, our new manager is not. I don’t want to elaborate at this time. My anger is fizzing and bubbling below the service and ready to errupt and I’m finding it increasingly difficult to hang on to civilised behaviour. I feel like a pitbull forced to be on a lead all my life and am now being confronted with a pack of snarling opponents. I’m ready to strike!!

Having mulled it over for the last month I’ve decided the best thing to do is to find another job. This is a huge risk to me, as changing jobs in the past has usually led to panic attacks and worsening Bipolar symptoms. As far as hours, convenience and job role go, my current position is ideal. However, the relationship with this person is extremely stressful and kind of cancels out all these other factors.

At work I’ve had increased interpersonal sensitivity and emotional reactivity, but at home I’ve really struggled to process the intensity of the feelings that are rapidly surfacing. I’m so stressed! I’m really angry with the other person, but also with myself for reacting so badly and giving her what she ultimately wants; I feel exceptionally guilty for being angry (I was brought up to believe being angry is the root of all evil); I feel angry that this has happened when everything seemed to be going so well; I’m so worried about changing jobs; I’m scared and intimidated about going in to work now- I dread it. It’s all really getting on top of me and I don’t really know how to process all these feelings. I think there’s a link back to my first few school years when I was bullied, so a bit of trauma is thrown in the mix too.

My main coping mechanism has been eating- stuffing the feelings down with sugar, getting that lovely numbed-out feeling when overloaded. I look forward to the next packet of biscuits or chocolate bar- the pleasure makes me forget about the pain of the unprocessed emotions. But this can’t go on. I’ve put on another half stone which I can in no way afford to do. The eating has to stop and the painful emotions dealt with. I just have absolutely no clue how to go about dealing with them.

On the plus side, had a great long weekend last week and went to see Rihanna at the O2 with Chris- fantastic and VERY raunchy!!

Giving in to Bipolar: Mixed Episode

Hi everyone,

I’m afraid I’m not well at the moment so might not be posting for a few days.

I feel absolutely shitty (sorry for language)- think it’s a mixed episode. I can hardly walk, I have absolutely no physical energy, but brain is just so full of anxiety, mainly about work at the moment. I’m having horrible repetitive thoughts about things- mainly paranoia that everyone hates me and that I’m doing a rubbish job- which realistically I know I’m not. I’m absolutely convinced people are bitching about me behind my back and that everyone’s out to get me. I’m even feeling distrustful of Chris which has never happened before. I feel really REALLY alone.

I feel so isolated because nobody understands and when I tell people how I feel they just say I’m overreacting and that I shouldn’t be so sensitive- that’s really the worst thing you could say to someone with bipolar. I also feel as if any tiny little thing is gonna make me blow up into a huge rage. I feel like a volcano bubbling with energy, just waiting for someone to say something that causes me to errupt.

I feel SO anxious and scared. I feel like something terrible is going to happen. I just want someone to be with me right now, who totally understands where I’m coming from and who can reassure me that I will feel better soon, that I will lose the extra weight I’ve gained, that no I don’t look like a total ugly heifer and that I am beautiful, that I am lovely and loveable, that what I’m feeling isn’t real and just because I feel bad, doesn’t mean that I AM bad.

I want someone to rescue me from the pain, just like in a fairytale- take me away from it all to a place where everything is peaceful and where we can live happily every after. I want to feel like me again, not a twisted, sick version of me who can only see everything around me as twisted and ugly and totally threatening. I just want someone to hold me and tell me they love me despite all this bipolar crap.

I think the only thing I can do right now is give in to Bipolar and relax into it. The more I force myself to climb out of it, the more tangled I become in it’s thorny branches. Maybe if I just relax and accept that right now is how I’m feeling. It’s not the end of the world that I feel so shitty, it’s unpleasant, it’s bloody more than unpleasant, but it will pass.

Remember the good times:

Me & Chris sitting outside the pub by the river chatting and laughing.

Me & Chris walking Cassie on the beach.

Christmasses with family.

Center Parcs & the spa!

The most beautiful music in the world- Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Beethoven, Mahler, Barry, Nyman, Grieg, Einaudi- I salute you.

The most beautiful dancers and choreography in the world: MacMillan, Petipa, Cojocaru, Cuthbertson, Watson, Bussell, Nunez.

The best movies in the world: Dances with Wolves, Gladiator, Pan’s Labyrinth, Lord of the Rings, so many…

The most beautiful places that I’ve seen: Center Parcs, the caves in Cornwall, Scottish Highlands, rivers and waterfalls in Wales, the sea around Majorca.

There are so many reasons to live and so many more things I want to see. Things will get better. I’ll just give in to being Bipolar for a few days and let Chris take over the household stuff for the weekend. I’m officially resting.

Just when you thought you were safe….PSYCHOMOTOR RETARDATION RETURNS!

Song of the Day: Bloodstream by Stateless (Love it, love it, LOVE IT!!)

(Photo Credit: ndboy available under a Creative Commons Licence).

Just when you thought you were safe..and bipolar had retreated…it rears it big, fat, ugly head again. Grrrrrrrr.

Mood swinging all over the shop at the moment! But mainly irritable and emotional in general- lots of eyes welling up and crying: about good things as well as bad things!! Had ANOTHER cry at work today, first day back after nearly a week off. I feel like such a wuss! Feel emotionally drained now though.

Walking to the bus stop from work was so difficult. The psychomotor retardation has got it’s claws on me again- my legs felt all achy and weak, as if I’d got really bad flu. I had to walk at old-lady speed. It’s so strange this symptom. I get it during bad depressive episodes, but it seems to have started coming on very suddenly after, well, what I’ll politely call “emotional upsets”- if you catch my drift?! It will then last a day or two. Maybe it’s just that I’ve burned myself out from all my manic speediness and I’m crashing. My body wants me to rest- STUFF THAT!! I want to go out and shop, have a drink with friends at Costa, buy stuff, go to the cinema, buy stuff, go out for dinner, see my friends in the pub and flirt outrageously, go shopping, buy stuff, get drunk……Please body work, I need to buy some more stuff! Don’t want to take Olanzapine- want to have fun, not sleep!

Guess this is a prime example of a mixed episode!

Mixed Episodes

Song of the Day: Kiss With a Fist by Florence & the Machine.

(Photo Credit: Tim Geers available under a Creative Commons Licence).

I have been experiencing a mixed episode over the last two weeks following a month-long period of hypomania. Olanzapine has been added to my current cocktail of prescription drugs, although I am reluctant to take it as it pretty much knocks me out for the day.

Mixed episodes are curious affairs and inadequately defined by the DSM IV in my opinion: criteria for both a manic and major depressive episode must have been met for at least one week. But what does this really look like in terms of real life? Thought this might be an ideal time to relay how I’ve been feeling over the last couple of weeks:

 

Irritability (unfortunately my partner seems to bare the brunt of this)

Anger and Hostility: feel like I’m looking for a fight, which is extremely out of character for me.

Anxiety: this seems to cluster around health and social issues

Rapid thoughts: ruminating , repetitive and obsessive- seem to be about social encounters more than anything.

Tired, but wired: can be extremely tired, other times really revved up, restless, can’t relax.

Unable to concentrate.

Dislike of self, fault-finding, blaming, criticizing, guilt etc.

 

I’ve been signed off work for a week as I’ve been getting upset easily and the anxiety has been getting worse. In the past I’ve felt guilty for spending time off work, but right now I actually feel really grateful and relieved to have the chance to regain my balance.

So what has caused the recent mood episode which began with hypomania about six weeks ago? My thoughts:

 

Primary Trigger: shorter days, decrease in daylight hours- this is becoming a regular trigger.

Result: Hypomania

 

Things I’ve done that have exacerbated symptoms (not purposefully- I was pretty unaware of how bad things had really gotten, mainly in the last week or so):

– Over-involved in other peoples lives and problems.

– Not looking after myself, diet & exercise.

– Too many social events involving drinking, loud music, crowds etc.

– Blaming my relationship which has caused things to worsen with me and Chris.

– Too much internet, get more addicted.

– Watching too much 9/11 coverage- always upsets me loads, but for some reason I feel compelled to watch it- bit dodgy really.

 

Secondary triggers: Major changes at work. Tension in relationship. Finances.

Result: Mixed Episode. Didn’t catch the hypomania early enough.

 

Things I can do to help myself now:

– Healthy, balanced diet. (Boring)

– Exercise. (Boring) Continue dog walks- increase length from 30 minutes to 45-60 minutes. Yoga in 10 minute stints.

– Do the things I love: writing, reading, drawing, piano, flute, singing. (Fun!)

– Let go of self-blame, guilt and anger using meditation and affirmations (see below).

 

Affirmations

I love and approve of myself just as I am.

I forgive myself the past.

I’m always doing the best I can.

I release the part of me which needs to criticize myself and others.

I allow myself to have fun.