March 24, 2012

I had a rough time of it last weekend. I worked myself up into a completely paranoid mess. Boyfriend had gone back ‘oop north to visit his parents and I became convinced it was just a reason to leave me. Every time my phone beeped, I thought it would be an email or text telling me he didn’t want to be with me and wasn’t coming back. I was in a horrible state. For the first time in I don’t know how long I had to drug myself to sleep as I couldn’t think of another way to keep me safe. The urge to self harm or worse were overwhelming and I honestly couldn’t see it getting better.

You know what though? He did come back and he does still love me. I was being paranoid and it wasn’t necessary. While I’m frustrated that it took so little to bring those thoughts back to the fore, I’m proud and rather surprised that it faded away so easily and I returned to an even keel. I am making amazing progress and having a setback has actually made that clearer. I am not normal and I never will be but I don’t want to be. If I can be quirky in a positive way, a sort of good crazy then I’ll be so happy.

I was talking to my therapist, and realised that for the first time in I don’t know how long, I feel settled. Prior to moving here, I’d lived in five cities in as many years and before that it was three years in different uni digs. That’s a lot of upheaval even though I thought I was doing it for all the right reasons.  I know I’ve only been here for a year as well but I can see me staying, I don’t need to move to chase whatever it was I thought I needed. I’m making friends through my stitching group, friends who I don’t have a history with and that’s a fresh start. I don’t need to constantly apologise for twatish behaviour in the past and I don’t need to worry about conflicts of interest and emotions with my ex. I still need my longterm friends, the people who saw me through so much but it’s good to have people local I can meet up with for drinks or a chat. Finally, there’s my fledgling business. Having the opportunities and control it brings. Doing something purely for me not because I feel it’s what I should be doing or what I think other people want me to do. Settled, it feels good.

I had a rough time of it last weekend. I worked myself up into a completely paranoid mess. Boyfriend had gone back ‘oop north to visit his parents and I became convinced it was just a reason to leave me. Every time my phone beeped, I thought it would be an email or text telling me he didn’t want to be with me and wasn’t coming back. I was in a horrible state. For the f


Right to die?

March 13, 2012

There’s been a lot in the news recently about whether people should have the right to die when they choose. The news stories always focus on people with incurable illnesses, locked in syndrome, degenerative multiple sclerosis. I’m very much pro-choice, people should be allowed to do what they want within reason, it’s their life. Something happened on Twitter last night though that really made me question the extent to which this applies to mental health. Should someone who is acutely suicidal just be allowed to get on with it or should we (both personally and as society as a whole) intervene?

Rather than get into big sweeping generalisations, I’m going to talk about my own experiences. I’ve been that acutely suicidal person with an absolute desire to end it. I tried and it’s only through intervention from friends and the medical profession that I didn’t succeed. At the time I resented it hugely. I thought dying was the only option I could face and I couldn’t understand why people wouldn’t let me go for my own sake.

Now I see things somewhat differently. While I am not entirely jubilant at life all of the time, I am at least interested in seeing how it pans out. If I’d been allowed to do what I thought I wanted, I’d never have met my boyfriend, got a puppy, had the chance to start my own business. I look back and I’m grateful that people intervened when they did, they gave things a chance to change.

I’m not saying that things will change for every suicidal person with a mental health condition. However, bad brain chemistry, call it what you will, does make you see things in a distorted manner. This can make you feel and think things are one way when that isn’t entirely the case. How do you determine when a decision is what someone really wants or if what they want can be changed with the correct help and treatment?

I don’t know the answer. I’m just glad that people did intervene and give me the opportunity to get to where I am today.

Doing all the right things

March 4, 2012

TRIGGERS for weight and food discussion.

As I mentioned a while back, I have put on shed loads of weight since starting antipsychotics, particularly quetiapine. This means I now weigh 15 stone, 150% of what I weighed when I was healthy. When I realised I had a third of my weight to lose, I realised some drastic action was necessary so since January, I’ve been working really hard towards losing some of it.

Six days a week, I do an hour of exercise on my Wii. I know that doesn’t sound overly impressive but it leaves me sweaty and exhausted. It involves lots of squats, lunges, running, jumping and general stupidity. I walk the dog for at least half an hour, usually double that. I’ve really worked on my diet, I have one sandwich at lunch instead of two on brown bread with no spread and a low fat filling. I have a healthyish dinner which I eat off a side plate rather than having a full portion. If I crave chocolate, I go for a small piece of high cocoa black chocolate rather than a whole packet of Smarties or Buttons. I’ve cut right back on my drinking, at the moment I drink less than once a week and when I do, it’s less than I would have done before. The only thing I still do which is a bit naughty, is have a slice of homemade cake or a biscuit after dinner.

I’ve kept this up for two months now and the result? Nothing. In all that time, I’ve lost 2kg and that’s it. It’s pathetic. I’m trying to pretend it doesn’t matter, I am getting fitter and I am sleeping less so I’m getting some results but not where I really want them. I almost feel like giving up, I’m giving it my all and I’m getting nothing back.

The last time I put on a lot of weight was when I was taking Carbamazepine as a mood stabiliser. My weight ballooned, although nothing like to the extent it has now. My efforts in getting fit that time coincided with a medication change and the weight just fell off. Within 6 months I was healthier and skinnier than I’d been for years with half the effort I’m putting in now.

It seems the problem is the quetiapine, not only has it caused all the weight gain but it’s clinging to every pound and refusing to relinquish them. The obvious solution would be to give it up or try something different but I’m doing so well right now. I feel reasonably stable and most of the time I’m even happy. I’d be a fool to risk that. Last time I stopped my antipsychotics, I retreated back to a trembling, paranoid mess who was unable to leave the house because everyone was watching and judging me. I can’t go back to that.

There’s not a right answer to this. It seems I’m either stable and fat or skinny and mad. I just wanted a whinge really.