Category Archives: My treatments

Health Update

Fantasy Fairy

Hey world, how are you all? I have so missed you and your blogs.

Well, I came out of hospital like I said on the last post which was my birthday. I was relieved to be back home with my Sakura and my birds, Pippa and BJ.

I was allowed home on the condition I have maintenance ECT’s once  a week. So I go into hospital every Wednesday, have the ECT on Thursday morning and come home mid-morning. At first I wanted the Doctor to stop them as I had enough, but the truth is I think I need to keep up with them. Why you say? Okay, I’ll tell you! Lol

You see when you have Bipolar, life can be darn right tricky and at times you can be fooled into thinking everything is okay… When really, it’s not. Admitting you have a problem isn’t an easy task, actually far from it. Someone like me, who likes to smile and joke around, finds it difficult to come out and say “I need help”. I tend to keep it hidden deep inside me and it takes all my strength to hold on and not let the negative thoughts take over my head.

I love everyone around me and I have a great support network of people who love me,  but when you’re sliding into the darkness you try hard to not take them with you. In saying that, those around me want me to offload the burden onto them as they feel it will make life easier for me. As mush as I would love to do that, I still haven’t found the courage or the strength to reach out for help and take them into my darkness. There are times when I am alone and cry and ask God if he is real, please save me and let me have peace in my mind just like everyone else. I’m not religious as many of you know, but I’m a good person and feel if he is real he just might answer my prayer and one day make me free from this illness.

When I go into hospital my heart goes out to so many of the people there. We all take life and our health for granted, but what happens when our mental health goes haywire and we are left with this burden of trying to work out what life is all about and where we fit in the big picture of it all! I have a great life, filled with great friends and family, yet when darkness knocks at my door? I can try to ignore it but in the end I’m forced to answer it because the bell won’t stop ringing. So I let it in and then I’m forced to work it all out. Now at first it ignores me and stays swarming all around me, engulfing me in its darkness. But I want – and need – to live, so I have to look deep inside my soul to find the courage and strength to beat the darkness.

I stay away from dark coloured clothes as my Doctor says this is a good thing to do. I love black so I force myself into brighter colours when darkness looks like it could win. Some days it’s all so hard and I just want to sit down and say, No More! If it wasn’t for all the people I love so much I really would just give in. But NO!! I won’t and can’t let those that have loved me so dearly in life feel punished by my death. When we die a part of everyone that has loved us die as well, and that’s not fair.

There are many parts to Paula, and even though she fights the darkness, from time to time another part of her pushes her to keep going because happiness is there and soon it will engulf me and not the darkness. I will be free and happy and this is what keeps me going.

I appreciate every single one of you that has sent me well wishes, and your strength gives me courage to keep going. I am more than someone with Bipolar, I’m a mother to 2 beautiful sons (22 and 30) I’m a sister to 4 brothers and 1 sister, I’m an Aunt to 15 children, Mother Cat to my gorgeous Sakura and my 2 birds 🙂 I’m a friend to many beautiful and wonderful people. And I’m a girlfriend to an amazingly beautiful  man who has stuck by my side through all this ugliness that took over my body and tried to claim my soul. It’s all of these reasons that I’m fighting so hard to keep on track. And I will succeed for I can’t have these people’s lives ruined because I wasn’t strong enough to fight the battle with in.

I felt as if I should share this side of me. This is a blog about Depression, right? I am making myself be honest about my thoughts and feelings, baring myself to you. No one likes talking about Depression, but it’s real and it’s engulfing and terribly ugly. Breathing is like hyperventilating and you wonder how you’ll get that next breath out. It’s cruel and lonely no matter how many people are on your side you feel alone.

To anyone out there suffering in silence, I embrace you and urge you to tell someone, don’t be alone and fight the battle with no one on your side. Reach out to anyone that you trust and ask for help. You’re not crazy because your suffering with Depression – or any other mental disorder… You have just hit a bump in this things we call life. Don’t isolate yourself for you are a wonderful human being that deserves to be here as much as anyone else. Saying you need help is not a weakness, it shows great courage. Don’t give in, for you are worth the fight. I may not know you but I know your pain and feel your sadness. Tomorrow really is another day, so hold on and reach out for help. You’re beautiful and I know that there must be people around you who would support you and be at your side in a flash if they knew that they could lose you. Be strong, and hold on to whatever makes you happy.

Before I go, I just wanted to tell you all that I miss reading all of your blogs. Please forgive me if I don’t get around to answering or reading all your posts. I will do my best, but like I said it’s not a great time for me so I can only do so much right now. I really wanted to just touch base with you all and let you know where my health is at. I will give it my best shot to check out as many blogs as I can. But I’m not sure how far I’ll get. Much love to you all and I’m so grateful to all of you that have stuck by me during this dark time in my life.

Many hugs to you all, Paula xxxxxx

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Feeling Better

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Hey guys, hows things?

Well I have had 7 ECT’s  (electro convulsive therapy) and am still in Perth Clinic.

I have 1 more ECT left which will be tomorrow, Wednesday the 19th March… MY BIRTHDAY!!

Not my favourite way to spend my birthday but I am becoming happy cheery me once again. I have cried so much I scared myself – I didn’t think that could be possible, but I did!  Perth Clinic really is a terrific psychiatric hospital. It’s like being in a 5 star hotel – even the food is restaurant quality. The staff are all personable and approachable. It feels as if you are being counselled by a friend, that’s how beautifully trained they are.  In fact, one of the nurses asked me if I have a blog, which of course I told her I do. She told me she reads this here blog and so to her I would like to say, HELLO!! Lol. You have given me some great training exercises. On top of all that, you have been so friendly and helpful and I thank you for the support and friendship you showed me during a really hard time of my life.

I am feeling better. One day at a time, but things are improving. There are a number of people that have provided unending support during these past few dark weeks, and I would like to take a few moments to acknowledge them…

A big thank you to my boyfriend. He could have left me during this hard time in my life, but he didn’t, he’s stayed by my side and for that I can truly say, I LOVE YOU! Before I felt alone for whatever the reason, but I no longer feel alone, I feel your presence. Thank you for loving me and staying by my side, I will never forget it. Your love will not be wasted on me as I love you more than words can say.

And my son, my beautiful handsome son, who has been by my side every single night. He’s a killer ladies, but I’m not allowed to show a photo of him. Lol His name is Kieran and I adore him and love him for the unconditional love he has shown me while I have been in hospital. He has been my pillar of strength and I will never forget the support he has provided. I really don’t think I would have made it if it wasn’t for him. And my sister, my gorgeous sister, I love you and thank you for your love and support in this last few weeks. This is not easy for my family to have gone through and for all their love and support I thank them immensely. They have been by my side all the way and I am so very grateful.

I am able to publish this post tonight but am unlikely to be able to respond to comments until after I am released tomorrow. On my birthday!

I have spend time at home over the last weekend. You are allowed home on weekends but this was the first time I had done so – I was too sick over the weekends before. You’re allowed home till 9pm each day on the weekend, and Kieran was lovely in assisting me in getting there and back. It felt good to be back in my home, and it was especially wonderful to spend time with my beloved Sakura.

So life will soon be back to normal for Paula. So to all of you and all of your well wishes??? I love you and embrace you for the love and support that you showed me during a very difficult time in my life.  To anyone else that is still suffering? I hug you and say be kind to yourself, one day at a time. Be kind to yourself and know we are all here for you.

Much love to you all,

hugs and much much love, Paula xxxxxx

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Getting Help

depression

Hello my lovely bloggers,

Yep, I’ve been away from my blog way too much lately and was hoping to be back blogging this week.

Well, I am back – but not in a way I thought I would be. I went to see my psychiatrist today and we made the decision to admit me into hospital tomorrow morning (being yesterday, now). It’s not where I want to be but I have to be honest to my readers and to myself. And the truth is I just can’t make it alone right now. I kind of need a breather from life and need to get my head back down to earth and out of the hell it’s taking me into. I adore my sons, family, friends and the blogging community and this is the right course of action for me to be healthy. I’ve said it many times before that Bipolar is a tricky thing to live with, and sometimes there are things inside me that even I don’t understand why I’m feeling a certain way… I just am! There is a lot happening in my personal life and I suppose this doesn’t help the situation. I know life isn’t easy and there will always be good and bad days but this is different, this is the the time when you go “barleese! I can’t do this alone anymore I need help!”.  My doctor will play around with my medications to try and balance life out for me and I’m hopeful this will be just a few days.

Suicide is not the answer or an option so therefore I’m being responsible and getting the help I need. Perth Clinic is a lovely private psychiatric hospital and I’m fortunate that my ex-husband is still covering my health care otherwise the alternative would have been horrific for me. Our public psych hospital is definately not for the faint hearted.

Anyway, I shall be back as soon as life and Paula become one again. I urge anyone suffering in silence to seek professional help. It’s not a sign of weakness it’s a sign of courage to keep fighting the battle of the darkness to once again see and love the light.

To anyone suffering with deep Depression? Know that it is real and it DOES EXIST no matter what anyone tells you!! Seek help, reach out, shout, hell scream if you have to until someone listens to how your feeling. It’s real, it’s painful, it’s crushing, it’s lonely and believe me it’s like living in a hell. But don’t ever let it beat you!! Don’t say you don’t want to wake up tomorrow. Say you need to wake up tomorrow but need someone to stay close by you till tomorrow comes…  you can make it but not alone and not in silence! I urge you to just reach out.

Don’t isolate yourself it’s the worst thing to do. Just hang on until tomorrow and then try again. Trust me the people that truly love you will never give up on you or leave you alone if they know what’s really going on in that mind of yours. DON’T SUFFER IN SILENCE.

And most of all?  know that you are loved by more people than you would ever know or realise. Get through today and see what tomorrow brings, it’s not easy but you can do it. Take care of you and know that there are people out here that care for you and haven’t even met you, but they know and understand your pain!

Many hugs to you all, Paula xxxx

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3 years ago on this day.

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It was 3 years ago today that I attempted suicide.

I didn’t write about it last year as it still felt very real to me. Now 3 years on, and a lot of heartache and therapy, I can now let it go. Peace and forgiveness are now in my heart and I no longer need to be scared of this day.

It’s my nephews birthday today and it was this day that I felt was the last day to say goodbye to my whole family. The day felt long as I didn’t want to leave any of them as I knew in my mind what I was about to do. Inside my heart was broken and the bleeding of tears on the inside where too much for me to bare. I smiled laughed and joked with all of them. When I left I hugged them all and didn’t want to let them go. Part of me wanted to cry out beg them, plead for them to help me as I could slowly feel myself dying on the inside. But, I couldn’t do it.

The family the universe gave me are the best anyone could ask for. But, I lacked the courage to tell them I needed help and I didn’t think I could be saved anyway. So, when I closed my eyes that night and felt the tears streaming down my face, I thought of how much I loved my family and the pain I was about to put  my 2 adult sons through. My beautiful boys. “What have I done?” is all I could think of before I closed my eyes and went to sleep.

I opened my eyes on the 24th August saw a drip in my arm and thought I saw an angel. It was, it was my sister and she was crying. I told her I saw an angel and someone died. She cried and said, “you nearly died, why didn’t you talk to me because I love you and would have been so lost without you. You are my best friend and I love you so much”. She held my hand and we just cried. I spent one month in a psychiatric hospital, had 15 ECT’s to the brain. Slowly, through therapy, I decided I wanted to live. I just had to learn how to live without pain. They taught me to love me and learn to forgive those that had hurt me. I can’t help but have tears as I write this, but I need to let it out and say goodbye to this day. I no longer want it to have power over me as I want to live and I want others that feel like I did, to know that tomorrow really is another day.

Close your eyes and try to find peace within yourself and try again tomorrow. Never give up on you. Ask for help, plead, cry out… Whatever you have to do! But DON’T suffer in silence, because no one can hear your pain. Open your heart and let them in. If you die? So does a part of everyone that ever loved you.

So, tomorrow when I wake I will be in my bed and feel happy about where I am in my life right now. Peace is something we all have to find within ourselves and I think I’m almost there. We all need to keep moving forward and try not to look back.

My family hasn’t celebrated my nephews birthday since. I want this to change and hopefully we all celebrate it next year and every year thereafter.

I’m sorry if this post is a little draining, but I’ve said it and now its done and over.

So I say goodbye to this day, and I look forward to this day next year. Tomorrow really is another day… an even more beautiful one than today.

I love this song and it’s so appropriate right now

Have a great weekend, everyone!!

Love and hugs to you all. Paula xxxx

* this post was intended to post last night but there was a technical glitch.

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Decreasing medication

Okay it may not seem the smart thing to do, but each person to their own!

I’m in a good place mentally and I feel now is the time to give it a go…

You see my weight gain has been driving me crazy, and I know I’m not alone out there! So, what to do? Yes I go up and yes I go down… even whilst taking medication. Does it make bi-polar symptoms less intense?  Sure! But at what cost?

NIGHTMARES, WEIGHT GAIN, CRAVINGS, SLEEPING TOO LONG, OR NOT LONG ENOUGH?  FORGETFULNESS, LIGHT-HEADEDNESS, VAGUENESS, LACK OF SEX DRIVE (yep! not much happening there), I FEEL DISTANT… I could go on and on, and on…………..

Being mentally healthy is at the forefront of all my decisions, for myself and for my family. But then, I have been through a great deal in my life  without being medicated, and somehow always made it through.

So, over a 2 week period, I weened myself off the Lithium. My psychiatrist appointment is in 2 weeks, so I shall inform him then. He’s actually very good and isn’t one of these doctors that lectures you about staying on your meds forever and ever…. Staying mentally healthy isn’t just about medication!

If I feel I’m getting too high or too low and can’t control it, then I’ll re-think the Lithium.

Now, Seroquel:

Seroquel is a great med for me. Yes, it has its disadvantages but unfortunately I need a least one med to keep me balanced. BUT it’s time  Seroquel  takes a little backseat as well. I have now decreased it to 200mg at night. Not much at all.

How am I feeling? Not brilliant but not bad… My bloating is going down and my weight is no longer increasing. In 2 weeks I’ve gone from 60 kilos to 58 kilos. Who Cares? I do! Does it make me feel mentally happier? Hell Yes!

What some doctors and heath professionals seem to forget is that whilst all the meds are there to keep you mentally healthy, they underestimate the mental stress that weight gain causes. It plays Hell with your mind.

Looking our best is a major part of how we feel about ourselves. That’s not vanity, it’s pride.

So I wait and monitor myself. Eat well, stay focused, stay positive, go for walks, and don’t beat myself up about everything… Not everyday is going to be a happy day. Life’s full of ups and downs, even for the mentally healthy. Don’t let anxiety rear its ugly head. Breathe…

Don’t take life too seriously and stay happy and healthy. (Healthy body… healthy mind.)

I’ve decreased my meds before and have been successful. My older post on medication will show you how many meds I once took.

I shall be Victorious!!!!!!

Sorry I couldn’t help myself I’ve just finished watching the 1st and 2nd season of Spartacus… If you love blood and gore you will love this series. Sorry, not that into girly movies:)

PLEASE NOTE – NO ONE SHOULD STOP THEIR MEDICATION WITHOUT PROFESSIONAL GUIDANCE. THESE ARE JUST MY EXPERIENCES AND I ENCOURAGE EDUCATED ACTIONS.

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Lithium

Lithium Medication Mind

Lithium.  I had no idea how my body would react to this drug, or how I would react mentally.

I was unsure if it would make me drowsy  and come with unwanted side effects. Well, I’m really pleased as I don’t seem to have anything that drastic happening. It’s early days but I can already feel my mood has lifted. I don’t feel like I’m all over the place for no reason. Not really sure what happened to me; one minute I was happy, next I was wanting it to all end again.

It was hard to admit to myself and to my wonderful doctor that I was everywhere yet nowhere. Each day it was getting harder and harder to appear like everything in my world (mind) was okay. I’ve said so many times that sleep was my only escape. Which it still is! What I mean by that is that it’s my only escape from my own racing mind. Peace in my head is so limited and at times it overwhelms me and I just want it all to end.

Thankfully, my doctor saw through the facade and put me on the Lithium. It’s actually working – it has already made me feel better, and I’m not having my brain go at 100 miles an hour. I’m no longer feeling like I want to cry one minute and laugh the next:) Weird, but it’s the only way I can explain how I was feeling.

The only thing I’m not wanting to happen is the weight gain I’ve read about, or the under active thyroid.

Fingers crossed it all works out.

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Medication

Medications

They look so harmless – yet they can help or harm depending on so many different things

I had taken sleeping pills for most of my adult life, but I hadn’t taken any other prescription medications for depression etc.

After 6 months of therapy I was diagnosed with Bi-Polar 2 disorder; Anxiety and Mood Disorder (academic reviews of this disorder can be found here), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder.

Wow, try taking that all in. I thought to myself “god, I’m officially crazy”. I always knew I was different, but not that different.  🙂

These were some of the medications I was put on:

  • Valpro 500mg     ( One tablet twice a day )
  • Faverin (and the Wiki link for it’s USA name) 100mg     ( One tablet at night )
  • Efexor-XR 75mg     ( One capsule in the morning)
  • Efexor-XR  150mg     (One capsule daily )
  • Stilnox CR     ( One tablet at night)
  • Zyprexa 5mg     ( One tablet at night )
  • Zeldox 80mg     (One tablet twice a day )
  • Seroquel 100mg     ( 2 tablets at night)
  • Endep 10mg     ( One tablet at night)

Please remember that i am simply sharing my experiences. You MUST NOT deal with any of these drugs unless you are seeing your doctor to make sure that everything is in accordance with the medication’s impacts and side-effects as they relate to your specific condition.

I realise now that it can take your Doctor some time before they find the right dosages, and meds that best suit you. So I had to be patient, and wait to see what worked best for me. Although, at the time I felt like I was going crazy, just from all the medication I was given.

Still I was recovering from a nervous breakdown and had to wait till I got healthy again in my mind and body, until I could once again start  making descisions for myself.

I had to trust that they had my best interest at heart.

But as I started to get better ,I struggled with the fact that I had made it  to 42 years of age without medication, so why now am I not coping and needing to take it? My doctor had repeatedly told me that I had climbed mountains in my lifetime and had made it to the top, and that I can do it again. I don’t think he even realised how important or strong those words were to  me during those healing days.

He was right – I was going to find that inner strength again no matter how long it took me. I decided that there was no way I’m going to take all this medication every single day, for the rest of my life.

One night whilst taking medication for : Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, I found myself stuck in my kitchen  polishing my bench tops with 5 different tea-towels. No matter what, the bench still wasn’t shiny enough for me, I was bending down looking sideways for any streaks I may have left. I felt like I was going crazy, and was about to break down crying.  I knew I was obsessing, but I just couldn’t stop myself. That was when I knew I had to get back to that place I went to for all those years, that had some how,  helped me with that Obsessive side. Its not that I hadn’t obsessed in the past,because I had! It’s just that I had better control over it. So I thought, hang on, you’re on meds and you are still obsessing. Why is that?! – something has to change. I slowly kept decreasing the meds I was on,until I finally  got down to just the Seroquel. I suffered many headaches and did lots of crying, but it was all worth it.When I told my psychiatrist he was a bit reluctant to praise me, as he didn’t want me to relapse. Truth be known, nor did I, but I was going to give it a damned good shot. So I agreed to stay on the Seroquel  as I knew it helped my mind stay calm and not be all over the place.

The only medication I take now is  the Seroquel, which  is a great medication. It helps put me to sleep, and stops thoughts from racing so fast through my head. The only thing that bothers me taking Seroquel is the cravings I get during the night.I actually wake up and go to the fridge and seek out sweet things. Shocking for the waist line 🙂 I’ve gone from 54kilo’s to 58 kilo’s, in the last few months. My doctor has suggested I try eat carrots every time I get the urge to binge eat. Well, I tried that, but my will power sucks! I have hired an exercise bike, with the hope that it will keep control of my weight ( fingers crossed).

It’s the  only side affect that bothers me, so I’m continuing with the medication.

Everyone is different, and we  take  medications for different reason., It’s  WHAT WORKED FOR ME! Playing around with your Meds can be dangerous and shouldn’t really be done without your doctors guidance.

Not been medicated for most of my life  was the reason I refused to start now. In saying that though, I had to admit defeat when it came to the Seroque, because  I had never known a peace inside my head like that, until i started taking it. If you have Bi-Polar you would know what I’m talking about. When I’m happy,I’m ecstatic, when I’m down, I’m really down. It’s like been on a roller coaster ride, but one you can’t get off.

No one wants to become a victim to the drug companies!  So, if you can reduce the amount you are on, and still be well, isn’t that what we are all looking for? It’s not that I’m against medication because I’m not. But if you can decrease the amount you take and still be well, then that’s a beautiful thing.

Remember to stay under the guidance of your doctor, and good luck with finding what best suits you.

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