Please be aware that this blog discusses suicide. If you find that at all distressing, please do not read on.
Now the obligatory warning is over with, let’s just get started with making it clear that I am not at all unsafe at this moment. These are just my thoughts, and thoughts are just that. They are not predictive of my future.
This blog is a bit of a moan to be honest and fulfils a need for me to get things out of my head so please be warned. Just after Christmas, I was in that place of considering suicide. Not because it was the worst ever depressive episode, it certainly wasn’t and it turned out to be one of the shortest I’ve known. In fact, it just switched to what the medical professionals call ‘hypomania.’ And just like the last bout, the episode of hypomania was very short – just over 2 & ½ weeks. I’m currently left feeling ashamed, battered and dealing with the chaos of which even such a short bout has brought about.
Tomorrow I see my GP. When he saw me 2 weeks ago he was under no doubt that at that time I was hypomanic. I must have been an absolute f*ckwit. This is what hypomania does. It screws up your finances, your studying, your normal plans, potentially your work (more on that to follow but for now let’s just say I was very fortunate in how my work supported me), makes you act like an idiot when you feel amazing, and leaves you dazed on the other side of it, wondering what to do. It tricks you into thinking that it’s great and exciting and productive but to be honest is as equally destructive as being low.
In the past 13 months, I have had 4 episodes of ‘hypomania’ – 6 weeks, 4 weeks, 2 & ½ weeks, and the recent one of just over 2 & ½ weeks. I’ve also had 2 low episodes, one of which of just over 2 months in the summer and was definitely what I would consider depression, and the recent 5 week period was certainly near enough to that depth. I’m reeling. It feels as though I have virtually no time bobbing along in the middle. I’m tired of having to deal with the aftermath of the various moods. Yes, I’ve recovered from BPD but I’m still left with this mood disorder.
For those of you who are really unwell, you’re probably wondering what I’m complaining about and even for me the thought of such a cycle just a few years ago would have seemed inviting. Perhaps I’m expecting too much and to a degree, I suppose I am and need to put on the old acceptance hat and practise my mindfulness a little more diligently to keep me in the present. But I’m human and I’m feeling weary. Just like before Christmas, the thoughts of suicide aren’t some dramatic, impulsive gesture. They’re me considering whether this is a life I want to live. Do I want to be constantly dealing with my mood?
It confuses me because as well as having these thoughts of planning out a carefully thought through suicide, I find other aspects of my life exciting. I love my job and it’s turned out better than I could have hoped. In fact, on Wednesday morning I was feeling so overtired and fed up and being there really helped me (as well as hopefully, clients with whom I had contact).I’ve also recently mended bridges with a sister to whom I was very close before the BPD that was destroying my life at the time became too much for her to witness, and that makes me so incredibly happy. I’m enjoying experiencing various aspects of life again. A life without the self-harm and hospitalisations.
So why these thoughts? A massive part of it will be overtiredness – being at work wipes me out but in conjunction with not really having stopped much and done loads whilst hypomanic, it’s been multiplied to whatever the highest and most ridiculous nth degree you can have. Also, the sensible part of me tells me I need to look into medication. I’m so fortunate to have found meds that work. You’re probably saying “Huh, what? Did I just read the above paragraphs?” But yes, the 2 do stand side by side. The Lamotrigine I started in 2012 has really cushioned my lows. Yes, I’ve had a few episodes of depression/lows but they have been nowhere near as damaging on life function and have been for much shorter periods. I take a weeny dose of Trazodone at night, which helps me sleep. I know the Sertraline I take will work if I become depressed. The thing is though, I’ve been holding onto a weeny dose of it (50mg). I know that ADs can cause people with a diagnosis of Bipolar to be more unstable and I’m wondering whether I should take that leap of faith and stop it as the professionals have wanted for quite some time (under medical supervision). Then a tiny voice yells at me that I don’t want to plummet. Maybe that tiny weeny amount is helping you stop dipping into the depths of hell. I have a consultant psychiatrist appointment in a few weeks and so I’ll probably talk to him about it.
There’s more confusion in my head though. Maybe it’s the meds that are causing me to be like this. Maybe I’d be better without them. Maybe it isn’t even the mood disorder, maybe I still actually have BPD. In fact, part of my reluctance to verbalise my feelings around suicidal thoughts is that professionals (or dare I even say, friends) will assume it’s a BPD thing – that hasn’t been my experience in recent times but the fear after being treated like crap all these years is still there. I also don’t want them panicking and overreacting. So, what instead? I write them here instead. I splurge on the paper. I acknowledge the thoughts and feelings but put them out there so they aren’t something that I am secretly nurturing. They are just thoughts. Thoughts I’m likely to have time and again. I can use mindfulness to sit with what’s here in the present, not entangle nor embrace. Watch them come and go. Not allow them to instil fear. They are afterall, just thoughts.