This piece is taken from my diary, when I had just moved back to Canterbury (where I am now) from my parents’ and finally got the help I needed from my old psychiatrist, while I had been begging for help all summer from another (useless) mental health team…
Reading back another diary entry I wrote a few months ago, I realise how much things have changed since then. Although I am still consistently rapid cycling, I am finally getting the help I have asked for and needed for so long. It actually feels like some sort of a miracle to be writing this as I honestly didn’t believe I would survive the summer (quite literally).
I never did get any help from the people where I was staying before, where the severe episodes began in the summer. I felt so lost and helpless and I had no faith that things would ever change. Due to a string of random and unexpected events I wound up living back here, in the city where I went to university, with a boyfriend I never anticipated would become such a large part of my life.
I have been living back here for three months now and unfortunately I cannot tell you that my terrible changes in mood have improved, in fact they have probably become worse. It is like I am two different people; one moment I am bouncy and happy and somewhat annoying with my hyperactivity and constant drive, while the next I am saying that I hate the world and everyone in it- myself more than anyone- and thinking of ways to hurt myself badly or end my life. I change so quickly that people around me can’t tell which bits are me and which are the illness (I don’t know myself a lot of the time).
Although my moods are not changing quite as quickly as in my last episode, the changes are still extreme and confusing for both myself and others. This last week I have experienced more depression than hypomania/mania which is unusual for me but I have been physically ill which does seem to at least put a dampener on my moods.
Anyway, the most promising and important part is this:
After one crazy night outside of reality (described in my blog post ‘Looking Back: A Bad Episode), I contacted my old mental health team. At first I was annoyed that I didn’t even receive a phone call from my CPN having told the receptionist the nature of my problems. However a week later I was given an appointment with my original psychiatrist who diagnosed me many years ago and helped me through so much when I lived here before.
After my experiences back at my parents’ (with the local mental health team there) I cannot begin to tell you what a relief it was to see him again. I will never take for granted or under appreciate a decent psychiatrist again. I had pinned so many hopes on that appointment due to my desperate state and I worried that I would only be let down, after all bipolar is no exact science and no medical professional owns a magic wand. But he listened, he empathized and he did not judge me. He took action; this I had been waiting for a very long time.
The plan now is to switch quetiapine for olanzipine (staying also with lithium and an increased dose of lamotrigine). I have been on the maximum dose of quetiapine for quite some time now but it has stopped having any effect on my sleeping pattern and it is clearly not helping with my rapid cycling moods. Apparently olanzipine is better for rapid cycling and- having been on it before- I remember that it is a strong sedative so perhaps I will someday be able to sleep again (it has now been 5 days since I got any sleep). I took zopiclone (a strong sleeping pill) with the quetiapine (which is also heavily sedating) in the last fortnight for around ten days which did do the trick but we all know you can’t take that forever.
I had not planned on writing this much but I’ve had so much going on in both my outside life and inside my head that I’ve not known who to talk to about it all, I worry that I drive the few people in my life I have close to me totally mad.