Bipolar Affective Disorder · Inpatient Treatment · Mania

Turbulence

I’ve been in hospital now for just over four weeks. Today we finally talked about extended leave and discharge, which will hopefully be next week.

The past four weeks have been a bit nightmarish.

I describe coming down from (hypo)mania as a plane coming in to land. When it swings from one side to the other before it hits the ground. When I come down, I swing from high to low, the swings lasting a few days at a time, or maybe I’ll experience both ends of the spectrum at the same time- bawling my eyes out while laughing and joking with staff. Over time, the swings spread out and the highs and lows get less intense as my mood heads towards normal and the plane finally lands.

This time, it’s taken a lot longer than any time before. I’ve had lots of different nurses speculate different things, with some (and the consultant) thinking that the few down days I had over the weekend and at the start of the week meant they might have overshot the mark and I was in a mild depressive episode. But then yesterday was buzzy and jiggy and fast and that made me think maybe another nurse had been right- that the plane hasn’t quite landed just yet.

Who knows. Who cares, really, what’s going on. The thing is, it’s going on and it’s doing my head in. I just want to be still, settled, ‘on an even keel’.

And I feel so trapped with it all too. Last night the jiggyness and buzzyness made me feel like I wanted it again. I had a glimpse of the way I feel when I’m high, and I wanted it back. Despite the fact I was jigging. Despite the fact alldayallday the worms had been eating my brain. I didn’t want to take my meds, to have to dampen the feeling. But I also couldn’t stand the idea of continuing to feel like this for a damn second longer.

Yesterday the aripiprazole was swapped for quetiapine to see if that would help me sleep (so far, little has). Half an hour and a paper cup full of tea later, and calm had descended. My legs stopped jigging (mostly) and my thoughts slowed down and I slept! But this morning, today, I am drowsy and drugged up. I feel like I’m in a thick fog. A medication fog. And it is the medication fog that started this whole escapade in the first place. The olanzapine made me feel this way, and I stopped it as a result.

So these are my options: I take drugs that make me feel like a chemical version of me and give me side effects that made it hard to function, or I don’t take drugs, and have mood episodes that made it hard to function.

Trapped. 

And the goddamn turbulence still hasn’t stopped and I am scared that it never ever will. I am told that it has to. That all highs must come crashing down: they can’t be sustained.

So far leave has been hard- every day in general has been hard. I am still plagued with restlessness, a horrible feeling of not knowing what to do with myself, poor concentration, mental exhaustion, overwhelming anxiety. And that makes it difficult to pass the time. I find myself waiting for each day to just end.

I am trying to be busy. Trying to go out on leave and DO things or go to occupational therapy or for walks around the grounds but it is H A R D when all the time I just feel niggly. Like there is a tangle in my brain and it won’t go the fuck away.

And all I want to do, is scream.

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