Arrgghhh

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 🙂

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.

Up and down

I feel so peculiar this week. My thoughts are screaming inside my head – ruminations going round and round and getting nowhere. I go from feeling hopeful and excited for my future to feeling hopeless. Most of the time I’m just about managing to keep my head above water so I don’t drown.

My youngest daughter is with her dad this week and I’m missing her like crazy.

But I’ve got lots of stuff planned with my new friends on Thursday and my 20 year old daughter is coming to see me on Wednesday.

I’ve spoken to so many women who tell me it’s normal to feel like this and that it gets better with time.

I’m just impatient. I want to feel better.

I got a letter from my divorce solicitor yesterday that made me upset – she’s sent me a letter to chase up where I’m up to with my cash equivalent transfer value statement for my pension. The pension people have told me it’ll be about another 2 weeks before I get it. I don’t want to reply to my solicitor just to tell her that I haven’t got anything for her yet because she’ll charge me just under 20 quid for the privilege of replying to her. I wonder how it feels to exploit other people’s misery for money.

I feel like I’m in limbo. I can’t move on with my life. Every so often I fantasise about dating but if I do I’ll have to keep it secret from my kids and my ex – if he found out he’d see it as the ultimate proof of what he’d always suspected me of. I’m not sure my kids are ready for anyone new in their lives, especially my youngest. I’m not sure I’m ready.

I don’t feel I can get involved with anyone else yet. I still feel loyalty towards my ex – why? I have no idea. I owe him nothing. I told my therapist last week that I feel like when I left him six months ago, after 24hrs or so it felt like I’d left a hostage situation. I feel like I should have been welcomed by friends and family with a blanket placed round my shoulders. But no-one knew what I’d been through – I’d hidden it so well for so many years. Let’s face it, I’d even hidden it from myself. No wonder it’s taking me so long to unravel it all.

Leaving Facebook behind

I’ve been looking at Facebook less and less over the past few months. I’ve taken to referring to it as Fakebook – because that is precisely what it is.

People were genuinely shocked when they found out I’d left my husband, because in the fake reality of Facebook everything in the garden was rosy, ours appeared to be a perfect marriage – all those selfies of us out and about doing stuff, all the family photos, anniversaries, birthdays. It was all bullshit. None of it was the true version of my shitty life – just the glossy version I chose to share. I’ve just deleted Facebook from my phone – I needed space to update my apps.

I wonder if I’ll miss it.