I cried but stayed calm and the crisis team came out to prescribe sedative medication. It was at this point I declared I had been self-harming every time I was distressed. I described it as a pressure within me I couldn’t face without some sort of release and it was the only thing that helped.
The community psychiatry home support increased, the suicidal drops worsened and the impulsive agitation became more frequent. It was time to admit that my family and friends couldn’t help anymore.
I needed professional help. I needed admittance to a psychiatric hospital.
My normal moments are filled with writing, socializing with wonderful people with a range of diagnoses and dealing with their daily battles. The hospital is different to when I was admitted back in 2013 and we have more chill out rooms with a lovely bunch of nurses.
I am recognizing the signs of my ‘episodes’ and getting straight to the nurses for medication, which is helping me avoid the ‘peaks’ of distress.
I have a big consultation coming up with psychiatrists where they are finally reviewing all my medication. I am hoping the side effects are few as I’ve had many experiences with itchy skin, headaches, emotional disconnection, oversleeping, agitation and aggression. I think anyone with a bipolar diagnosis on medication would agree with this!
I promised myself I would always stay hopeful with my writing so I thought I’d end on this. I have been searching for a little voice to spur me on, give me hope and when I ask myself for help I’ve been waiting for an answer.
The answer is this: I’m still here. And I will be OK.
I think I’ve been looking too inwards for that little voice. My hope comes from my body riding the episodes naturally. I have introduced safe self-harm strategies and with the nurses support I am working through the difficult times. My body is responding and fighting each episode.
The key is recognizing it’s the illness, it’s not me and it will pass. When I ask for help there may not be a little voice, but the world is screaming it to me. Look at the writing I’m proud of, my wonderful friends, beautiful niece, ambition to succeed, being independent, being obsessed with fashion and laughing! The joys of breaking silence with a funny joke – particularly in a psychiatric hospital – can bring a smile, join a community and create an understanding that things will be OK.
And they will be.
I understand my personal case is quite extreme but if this is just ‘up and down’ then I ask a person to walk in my shoes for a day. Or anyone else’s who has to cope with bipolar. I am a good person and a hard worker but this happened to me. This illness is not selective and it isn’t my fault but it does bring its continual challenges, often unknown to most.
I will say this. Always stay hopeful. One nurse said to me today, “You will make that crossover to hope,” and she’s right. I have because I’ve reminded myself of my self-worth and value as a person.
I hope others feel the same and less of us are undermined as simply being ‘up and down.’