No Two People Have the Same Experience
No one will have the same mood pattern, symptoms, seasonal changes, triggers, life stresses, medication regime, support network and therapy.
The bipolar classifications help categorize us for clinical purposes, but I see each person with bipolar as a complete individual, as we all are, and all treatment should reflect this.
My Most Recent Episode
Today I write from a small communal lounge. I am allowed my laptop intermittently because it helps to distract me and I couldn’t give up my writing because I love it. The opportunity to reach others through my mental health experiences is probably the most important thing in my life and it brings me great self-worth that I can raise awareness and shift attitudes to help people understand.
The tea trolley has just been brought in but I’m going to give myself ten more minutes of writing before grabbing a hot drink. The door is open slightly to the small garden and I’m thinking of taking my drink out there. It’s quiet today. Most people are out on leave or have visitors. One of my best friends is coming soon and I’m looking forward to a big hug.
I was admitted to a local psychiatric unit two days ago.
I have fought poor health since February and unfortunately doctor’s prescribed antibiotics that had a serious detrimental impact on my bipolar medication. After general hospital admissions and a final diagnosis of serotonin syndrome (poisoning the nervous system with too high levels of serotonin – the happy chemical) I am going through the withdrawal effects, which seems to have potentially triggered a bipolar episode.
Serotonin syndrome gives you nasty mental and physical symptoms including tremors, seizures, confusion, heart palpitations, headaches and psychotic symptoms. It is rare and often undetected by those other than psychiatrists. I unfortunately had to go through the same in 2008 after a medication mix up and it was traumatic. This time the word ‘testing’ was blown out of the water and I often felt as though I was gripping on for dear life.
With the general hospital being very out of depth, I was cared for by the community psychiatric crisis team at home and the syndrome symptoms subsided. But that little voice that sits deep within you that screams at you to hold on, keep on and remind you why you are here was gone.
I searched for it. I’ve always been positive and my writing brand is ‘hope and inspiration.’ But the hole got deeper and every time it sunk, it sunk again more aggressively. It was becoming harder to control and I couldn’t spot the signs when the dips were coming on.
I cried and repeated my distress to all the health professionals and my family and I phoned a fantastic UK helpline ‘The Samaritans,’ sometimes twice a day, just to hear a calming, kind voice that listened.
In a short space of time agitation reared its ugly head and at one point I found myself pacing around my front room for 45 minutes, scratching at myself, squeezing pillows to relieve the pressure and feeling urges to do strange things. Although I was in distress I knew at every point it was the illness. I know myself well. How could I intentionally do this to my body?