Last night, like so many recently, I felt a bit off. A bit ‘blah’. A little low.
I am both doing well and struggling. Typing this, I am crying. Yet, today was good. I felt good. I took in the autumn colours, the view of the city as I walked to uni. I sat with a group of girls I like and am getting to know at lunch, did a little work, cooked a nice dinner, caught up with one of my favourite TV shows. I am doing well in that I am ‘functioning’. I am doing all the right things- talking to people and going out and going to class and concentrating enough to do my work and having early nights and taking my damn meds. I am ticking all the boxes. Work/life balance is in check.
Yet when my GP told me on Monday he still didn’t have my notes from my home Community Mental Health Team (and therefore still couldn’t refer me to them), I teared up. And when he asked me how I was, I burst into tears.
Somewhere along the way, sometime since moving and starting uni and all the excitement of freshers and starting my nursing course, things have started to unravel.
I am not sleeping well- lots of waking up and restlessness and tossing and turning and then spending the entirety of the weekend in bed and the entirety of my time between lectures napping. There is a pain in my jaw and I am waking in the night because I am clenching and grinding my teeth so much. The headaches are back and the obsessive compulsive traits are creeping back in and the head tapping is increasing in frequency and I am getting intrusive thoughts again. The olanzapine that was prescribed to stop all that has made me so ravenously hungry and put on so much weight that I am *this close* to just stopping it altogether because it is getting me the fuck down. My hands are getting dry again, my bowels are all askew, my stomach in bits and I am crying more. As always, it is the physical symptoms that have sounded warning bells.
So I start to cry and the GP says we need to ‘keep an eye on this’, that getting my notes from home and getting a CMHT transfer/referral put through is a ‘matter of urgency’. And I nod and sniffle and blow my nose and leave, and an hour and a half later he rings me back and has worked magic and he has my notes from home! And he’s referred me to the CMHT! And I feel a sudden huge relief. And I realise just how much I have been hanging on by a thread, just how desperate I am to Talk To Someone- despite how ‘well’ things are going.
I think I’m just feeling lonely. Like so many students are probably feeling- homesick and friendandfamily-sick. I’m finding it really hard to be away from my mum and sisters and friends and my old jobs and home. It’s knowing I can’t just hop on a train or a bus and go home for the weekend- I’m stuck here til I fly home for christmas. I am struggling greatly with not having my CPN or therapist or psych and having no one to offload to. But I don’t necessarily want to go home- I’m still having a good time and enjoying meeting new people and the challenges of my course. I’m just a lil lonely. So really, I hope this feeling won’t last, that the things that made me burst into tears in front of my GP are normal and fixable and that They Will Pass.
But I’m scared fucking shitless too. I am scared because some of the things, some of the things I’m experiencing remind me a little of depression. I feel a bit low within myself, I am anxious and paranoid and unmotivated and some days (most days, really) I am waking up and just want to stay in bed. I am isolating myself a little- choosing to ‘work’ instead of socialising with my flatmates, or leaving nights out early or skipping them altogether. I am comfort eating, my self esteem has lowered, I sometimes feel guilty and worthless. I am doing that negative self talk thing again.
I am so, so, so desperately hoping this will pass, that this isn’t the thing I have been fearing since I found out I was bipolar. I am trying to stay positive- reminding myself that I have just undergone a Big Change, that I am bound to be feeling overwhelmed, and like I said, the loneliness and homesickness are both common and will pass.
But I am also mindful of the fact that I feel guilty for feeling this way, that as much as I am scared of a depressive episode, I feel ashamed about having a depressive episode. People were so positive about the lithium, they were all so sure that it would Work, that it was my Miracle. They all told me I was ‘responding well’ and that in those who initially respond well to it, it tends to stay that way. I was told that so many bipolars are able to lead stable, fulfilling lives, episode free for years. No one really took the time to discuss what might happen if that wasn’t the case. So I am afraid. I feel like I am not allowed to get sad again, that expectations are high and I will be letting people down. And rationally, I know that’s not true, that it’s an illness that cycles from one extreme to the next, that the medication is to help stop that or alleviate the intensity of it- but it can’t cure it. But it’s still hard. Hard to think rationally when it feels like the big black wave is edging closer.
But we shall see. Hopefully things will stop unravelling. Hopefully I can ravel myself back up.