My mood was getting better, then my youngest daughter went back to her dad’s for a week yesterday. Since then my mood has dipped yet again. I went for a run first thing with the dog, and managed 5.5 miles – the furthest I’ve run for months.

I decided to start some DIY when I got back to keep myself occupied so I didn’t ruminate too much. Everything was a disaster. After my shower this morning I noticed the silicon sealant needed replacing around the bath. So I went to the DIY shop and got all the stuff. Then when I removed the old sealant I noticed one of the tiles was loose, so what should have been a simple job has turned out to be far from simple.

So, I gave up with the bathroom and decided to paint the banister. I started painting and did quite a lot of painting until I finally decided the paint was totally the wrong shade of white. So, now I need to get more paint tomorrow which is nearer to the right colour, otherwise I’ll have to paint all of the woodwork in the house.

This afternoon I received an email from the pensions people – on a Sunday – to say that I hadn’t sent them a form PD1. I know I did send the form – more than 2 months ago. I’ve sent them two of the damn things, one in April and one in June.

After all of my DIY exploits going badly wrong, and the email about the CETV, I ended up sobbing my heart out – it was surprisingly cathartic.

I feel quite calm right now, calmer than I have felt all day.

A long day but a good one

I’ve realised that I can do more to pull myself out of this depression. With previous episodes one technique I have tried is sleep deprivation. I don’t mean going without sleep completely – even though this has been proven to lift bipolar depression (at least short term) – but rather to reduce the amount of time in bed and increase the time in daylight to correct my circadian rhythm. I found this article about it this morning.

So, this morning I woke up at 6.30 am and instead of lying dozing like I have done recently I got up and opened the curtains straight away. Then I got dressed and went straight out for a dog walk. It may be coincidence but my mood has been much better today than it has been for weeks. I’m tired now, as I’ve been awake for 15 hours, but I’m not so tired that I need my bed yet.

I have kept very busy today. I went to Sainsbury’s this morning, then to the DIY shop to get paint and brushes for a job I’m planning to do next week when my daughter’s at her dad’s. I also went to the GP surgery to request my next prescription for Lamotrigine.

When I got back home I discovered a letter from my solicitor about the financial settlement for the divorce with a very lengthy form to fill in. I still haven’t got my CETV (Certificate of Estimated Transfer Value) for my pension, but I spent 6 hours filling in the form, printing out 12 months of bank statements etc. When I’d finished with all of it I took it to the solicitor’s office personally rather than posting it. My solicitor advised me to cooperate with the financial statement – I don’t think I could have been any more cooperative really since I’ve sent all the information back within 7 hours of receiving the request.

It’s a relief – even printing all of the bank statements was a huge job on its own.

I had a sudden memory of something about my ex-husband this morning that I’d forgotten about. I remember dreading my younger daughters going to stay with their big sister over the past few years in the summer holidays as it meant I was alone with my husband each time for a few days. The horrible feeling of dread came over me as I recalled the memory. It helped remind me of why I have left.

The court date for the decree nisi is set for 15th August – I smiled when I read that bit in the solicitor’s letter. I feel as though the horrible limbo that I’ve been existing in for the past few months will finally end.

It’s been a good day today. I’m not out of the woods yet, but I’m on the right path to find the way out.

An unexpected day

I woke again today with no desire to get out of bed, but I eventually got up, at 8.30am and went for a run/walk (mostly walk) with my daughter and the dog.

I spent the rest of the day mainly reading and did some DIY CBT from a book called Mind Over Mood that I’ve had since I had puerperal psychosis 14 years ago. It was good to read over the stuff in there and remind myself of CBT techniques – I did a few of the exercises. It had dawned on me earlier this week that I was avoiding walking down certain roads near me because I have moved round the corner from my husband’s 4 friends. It’s almost like I’d identified a danger zone that I was avoiding in case I bumped into any of them. In fact I’ve started deliberately making myself walk that way on dog walks etc over the past few days and I have the Kenny Loggins song playing in my head when I do ‘I went through the danger zone’! I guess it’s what psychologists would call “flooding” – a technique used to treat phobias. I’m trying to convince myself that I don’t care what version of events my ex has told his friends – I know I have nothing to be ashamed of – and they have no idea what went on in our marriage.

Then this evening we went for tea at my mum’s – myself and 2 of my daughters. It was an eventful evening – while we there one of her bathroom pipes spontaneously burst and there was a massive flood into the kitchen ceiling. I took control of the situation and called an emergency plumber and went about dealing with the flood in the kitchen. My mum is 85 and lives by herself. She was so glad that I was there because she just froze when the water started coming through the ceiling and didn’t know what to do. It boosted my confidence dealing with the situation. My daughter says the universe sends situations when they’re needed – maybe she’s right 🙂

Tomorrow’s another day

Today wasn’t great. I woke up feeling rubbish and really struggled to get out of bed. I went on a dog walk, had breakfast and then forced myself to go to the gym. I stayed there for over an hour just to kill time.

I got home and the postman had been. There was something in the post from work that I needed for my accountant for my tax return, so I decided to send that off – my tax stuff is something I’d been wanting to sort out since April, but I’d needed this particular document. I should have felt a sense of achievement in finally sorting it, but I just felt flat.

One of my friends texted whilst I was dealing with the stuff from the accountant – she said she was going to see a mutual friend this afternoon who’s had a hip replacement and has had a setback. I jumped at the chance to get out of the house. Days seem very long when you’re depressed.

It struck me how similar my plight is to my friend who’s had the hip op. He’s confined to his house and is bored, lonely, frustrated and desperate to get back to normal. I can relate to that.

My youngest daughter arrived at tea time which lifted my mood. We watched a film together. In my depressed state I’m already thinking of the fact that she’s only here temporarily and she’ll soon be going back to her dad’s – the house she thinks of as home because that’s where she grew up. She was tearful when she got here today and we hugged and she told me how hard it was to keep going between me and her dad. How will we ever adjust and get used to it?

Oh well. Tomorrow is another day. Let’s see what it brings.

Pleased with myself

This morning I woke feeling terrible as I had an appointment booked with my therapist/counsellor at 11am and I really didn’t want to go.

I dragged myself out of bed at 8am and took the dog for a walk and then didn’t know what to do with myself while I waited for the time to leave for the appointment. I felt so low and hopeless.

However, I did go to the appointment. I’d been dreading talking through everything with my therapist. I’ve been trying not to cry all week and I knew I’d cry. When I got there I felt awful but as we talked I felt my mood lift – like a cloud dispersing.

Straight after the appointment I decided to make the most of the change in mood, so I went for a swim. On the way back I dropped in at the clinic near my house and booked in with a physio for next week – I need to get my leg sorted so I can run again. I miss running so much. At the moment I can run a short distance about once a week, but right now the back of my knee is sore. I need it fixing.

Taking advantage of my lifted mood this afternoon I helped my daughter move into her new flat. I came home and made myself a nice tea.

I’m currently watching a movie on Netflix.

I never expected today to turn out so well. I woke up feeling so awful. It just goes to show that even if I wake up feeling totally crap the day can still turn out well.

Another day another diagnosis

I went to see the Psychiatrist today and after 14 years of living with Bipolar I he tells me I’ve got Bipolar II. Personally I don’t think I’m either – looking at the DSM criteria I’m in between the two. I have had 5 episodes of depression and in between I’ve possibly been hypomanic at times, but mostly euthymic (normal). I’ve had one episode of full blown mania that came on 10 days after starting Sertraline. I have also had at least 2 very short episodes of probable mania triggered by lack of sleep fixed by taking sufficient Olanzapine to correct my sleep pattern.

Anyway, the Psych wasn’t happy about me being on Fluoxetine, so I’m stopping that, I’m also weaning off Depakote. I’m continuing Olanzapine and starting Lamotrigine. Ho hum.

I’m not bothered about stopping Fluoxetine – my mood is very reactive, making me think I might even be experiencing a mixed episode, so antidepressants are risky. I’ll stick with Olanzapine for now.

Where does my marriage figure in all of this? Inevitably I’m questioning my experience of the past 23 years. Did the emotional abuse I experienced cause the Bipolar? It may have contributed, but I reckon I must have been predisposed to experiencing the drastic mood swings of Bipolar, and my latest episode was fairly predictable to have happened due to all the stress.

Did my Bipolar cause all the problems in our marriage? Was it all my fault? Did I leave because I was hypomanic? No, definitely not. I’d been thinking of leaving for years.

My husband and I both had psychological issues which we brought into the marriage. He blamed my mental health for everything that went wrong and had no insight into his own problems (and still doesn’t).

He had no trust for me or respect.

I think in truth our problems were caused by our incompatibility and there’s no point in me accepting all the responsibility for the death of our marriage. Neither is there any point in me thinking that going back to him will fix me.

I had 4 episodes of depression whilst I was with him and got myself better every time.

A better day

I kept myself busy today.

If I was my normal self today’s activities would have been easy, but in my depressed state everything required extra effort.

I dragged myself out of bed at 8am after lying listening to the radio for an hour – I was actively listening though and not dozing too much.

Then I dragged myself on a 20 minute dog walk and even went swimming before I had breakfast. I’m well proud of myself for that achievement – I swam my usual 50 lengths and even enjoyed it.

Then I walked to Costa to meet friends for coffee – a 15 minute walk each way. Some other friends came round to see me this afternoon.

By 6pm I was exhausted but still had to cook tea for one of my daughters who came round to check up on me, to have tea with me and watch some Netflix.

It’s been a good day.

It was hard to keep going but I’ve done it.

Onwards and upwards and all that.

Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

Keeping on keeping on

As another day draws to a close, it has been another day of swimming through treacle.

Again, my mood has now lifted slightly because it’s evening – although it’s a pleasant relief from the constant negativity, it also gives me a false sense of hope that I’ll wake up feeling normal tomorrow. There’s very little chance of that just yet.

I’ve got a cancellation appointment with a psychiatrist on Thursday so at least I’ll get my meds reviewed.

God I hate depression. I’ve withdrawn from everything. I’m finding it hard to leave the house. I’m pleased with myself that I managed a 5k run with the dog this evening though. Weirdly, even when I’m overcome with paranoia and agoraphobia I can still manage to go for a run – I think it’s because when you’re out running even if you see someone you know who might normally try to speak to you, if you’re running they usually just shout ‘hi’ or wave – you don’t have to stop and speak to people.

I managed to phone the pensions people again this afternoon for the 6th time to try and chase up my CETV (Certificate of Estimated Transfer Value) which is needed for the divorce settlement. I’ve been waiting for it for >3 months now. I’m sure the feeling of being in limbo caused by the divorce has been the main trigger for my depression – as well as the aftermath of leaving my husband and the realisation of just what I had put up with for too many years, also the loneliness and the changes in my job.

Nothing has been consistent or constant in my life for more than 6 months.

But when you’re at the bottom of the well, the only way is up. I will climb out again

one step at a time.

The black dog returned

I haven’t written anything for quite a while. The reason is that I’ve become depressed again. It’s the 5th time in 22 years.

One of the last things my Psychiatrist said to me before he took early retirement 8 years ago was to avoid stress. Well, I guess over the past 6 months I have just loaded on the stress – left my husband, bought a house, went through major changes at work. In that time I lost my routine and any sense of stability I had.

My mood has been continually up and down for months and from everything I’ve read and all the other divorced friends I’ve spoken to that’s completely normal, but just at the moment there’s a lot more down than up. And when you’ve got a bipolar brain the mood swings are exaggerated.

I went away last week with my 2 younger daughters – I managed to pull myself out of the worst depths of the depression in that week by being with them 24 hours a day, walking miles and swimming every day.

But now I’m home reality has kicked back in and I realised this morning that I don’t have the confidence to return to work next week. I couldn’t find the energy to walk half a mile up the road to go swimming, even going to the shop was hard – and that’s even nearer.

So, I’ve been to the doctor and got myself on Prozac again (I’ve had it

twice before – it worked the first time, but not the second). I’ve had several SSRIs over the years. I was on mirtazapine the week before last but that made me feel dreadful. I stopped it after 7 days.

I’ve got proper bipolar depression with diurnal mood variation – I feel better this evening which is why I’m managing to write this.

I know what to do to fight it – been there, done that, got several T shirts. I have to remember that negative thoughts are just thoughts, I need stimulation – as much as possible, routine, good food and activity. I have therefore borrowed the dog even though it’s not my week to have him. I’m signed off work for 4 weeks.

I will get through this.