Mixed Episode

I think I am having a mixed episode, my mood graph seems to be mapping a steady high-low-combo,, and I’m all messed up, full of energy, no energy at the same time. The worst thing is this need to do something but an inability to focus, or even decide what I want to do, I’m just wasting time and unable to distract myself from all the THOUGHTS whirling round, good and bad. It’s slightly easier to deal with when I’m on my own – I can pace up and down, dance, fidget, these things I am able to do – but when Husband is home he expects me to focus my attention and achieve things, which sometimes is just not always possible.

I’m on my third notebook now, I’m slowly saving the world but I need to build things now, which is also something I can’t do when Husband is here because he doesn’t believe I’m saving the world. Messages are coming clearer through through the TV.

The Voices are saying to hurry up, “you’re running out of time”, save the world or reset – be reborn. Reset back to when it was safe, when I was safe, before They knew about me and knew I was chosen. How far back is that? I can’t say for sure, could it be before the Voices came, it could be, but there is no evidence to say when it will be, I don’t know when I was chosen, but I think, I feel, it might be early 2012.

I can’t go on like this.

Husband wants me to go and see the GP but I’m not sure what the point is – Husband wants my olanzapine increased, but I don’t see the point in that either. I’m sure the GP will be happy to increase the medication, maybe he’ll let me go back on antidepressants too, because then I won’t sleep even my current couple of hours, so I would get even more done (although given my concentration).

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How to deal with mania RIGHT NOW

When I’ve looked around, at books and on the internet, I haven’t found anything particularly useful for dealing with mania and hypomania RIGHT NOW (except this). There is a lot on spotting early warning signs, lots about making sure you sleep well, keep a routine, and eat properly, but nothing about what you yourself can do if you’re already past that point. The articles point you in the direction of doctors, therapists, and whatnot, but what if you’re on a bus somewhere and you need to calm down, stop talking to everyone around you, and sit still (or at least still-ish).

There’s nothing you can do to stop the mania in an instant, but I thought there might be techniques around that at least allow you to get home without getting sectioned. Or techniques you can use that get you through until you can talk to mental health professional.

Paced Breathing

Now Matters Now have a series of short videos on dealing with suicidal thoughts and anxiety, one of which is paced breathing. I’ve found this technique really useful to slow myself down physically, although it can take quite a lot of concentration to do more than a few breaths.

But a few breaths is enough! It acts as a sort of reset button, so whilst your physical agitation is likely to start up again any second now, it gives you just a short break. It takes so practice, but it’s well worth it.

I found paced breathing much easier when using the app they recommended in one of the videos (Tactical Breather for Android). The addition of a graphic really helped me to visualise the breathing.

Make Lists

I have a list of short, achievable tasks stuck to my wall for when I have no concentration but I need to do something. Think about what you could reasonably achieve right now. Some suggestions:

  • tidy a small area of one room
  • do a small bit of weeding in your garden
  • paint a 10×10 cm square of paper
  • colour in one page of a colouring book
  • put together a playlist

Exercise

Subtly.

Office exercises can be really quiet and strangers wouldn’t necessarily see anything you’re doing as more than a stretch. If you have the option to stand up there are some different exercises you could do. Just make sure not to overdo it – this is just a way to fulfil the need to move without other people noticing. Keep drinking water.

Use ADHD Techniques

Sometimes techniques for managing ADHD can be useful for dealing with some of the symptoms of mania.

In one technique, you direct your verbosity towards questioning your own actions. For example if you are pacing restlessly around your house, you would ask yourself “why am I pacing around? It’s because I’m agitated, I can’t sit still. So what should I do to stop pacing around? Maybe I could do some exercise.” This questioning of your actions forces you to slow down physically which can in turn slow down your thinking. Similarly, deliberately slowing down your speech can help to slow your thinking.

People with ADHD find making a plan for the day (or the next hour or two) helpful, and this goal-orientated approach can mean that some important tasks are actually achieved, for example at 12:30 pm I am going to make a sandwich and eat all of it. This is especially good if you have trouble remembering to eat and drink.

Break things down into short, achievable tasks. When it comes to complex things like cooking dinner, I find it impossible to work out the order of events, ingredients, and the like. Things get burnt a lot. If I can write down all the ingredients, and get the exact method down on paper then things get burnt less. Obviously making the least is a feat in itself.

Write

There is often, for me at least, a need to write and write. There are lots of ways I can deal with this and actually it’s quite a good technique because it keeps me relatively still and unobtrusive. I usually start out trying to write what I’m feeling and end up just writing out rhyming couplets over and over. You can also just write out the text from any book or website, just to feel the ink go on the paper. Some people do the same but with typing.

Dealing with Psychotic Symptoms

You can also write to help deal with psychotic symptoms – if you hear voices, writing down what they say can be a really useful way of acknowledging them without alerting other people.

If you really need to talk to your voices and you’re in public, put your phone on silent and pretend someone has rung you. That way you can say what you want and people won’t think anything more of it than they would if anyone else was on the phone.

If you’re agitated, use the paced breathing technique as above.

 

 

Obviously none of these things will ever cure mania, but they might just help you get through the next minute or hour until you can see a mental health professional, or talk to someone. Follow your crisis plan (if you have one).

As always, if you feel like you want to hurt yourself of others, go straight to A&E. Disclaimer over.

Rapid Cycling

When I was at university, yeaaaars ago now, I would cycling up and down pretty much daily, which was horrible and I hated it, but as I got older my mood episodes swung towards longer and more pronounced… things, which whilst also horrible, at least I could plan around them, and it also meant that I got long periods of stability in between. So now I’ve just switched from quitealotofquetiapine to alittleolanzapine and it’s not doing its job – I’m up to my ears in voices (pun intended, or whatever it is), my mood has switched three times in the last three weeks and a do.not.like it. I saw my GP today as an aside since my blood test results came back and I’m anaemic (10, but the worst it’s ever been is 8 – I work on “can I get up the stairs without getting out of breath?” if yes, I’m not that anaemic, and as I can I thought I was probably okay, but apparently this is an ineffective scoring method probably because I’ve got so used to it. Maybe running will be easier now, I always struggled with my respiratory system giving out before my muscles) and whilst he was concerned about mood (and some other things I may have talked about but I don’t want to if I haven’t already, here anyway – just don’t want it where They (you know who I mean) can get hold of it) he just didn’t have the time to go into it properly. He’s an amazing GP, but I can see the NHS stifling him.

The olanzapine isn’t doing its job, and there’s no one to call to help – I think I’ve talked before about the lack of accessible services in my area, I’m on meds, I should be well, so I don’t get any help. I do wonder if they’d change their minds if they actually talked to me though. I’m appalled by the lack of care I’ve received – some stats: I haven’t seen a psychiatrist (outside of the hospital admission in November 2013) since February 2013; I haven’t seen a mental health professional at all since August 2014 (ish, I can’t be arsed with looking things up), and god knows I’ve NEEDED to! I’ve seriously considered making a complaint, perhaps via PALS, but to be perfectly honest I’m not sure it would achieve anything other than get me blacklisted by the CMHT, and they’re really nice people besides, they just have limited resources.

I’m looking at other options for getting help – private is too expensive, although my parents have said they could pay for 3 or so sessions to get my medication sorted, but that won’t help with things like applying for benefits/jobs and other services the CMHT have (or at least used to have). The wonderful Sean has pointed me in the direction of Together UK, which looks like it could be useful. It’s hard though, I really don’t have the brain functionality to sort this out right now and Husband and my family all have too much on their plates, I can’t ask more of them and Husband (although he feels like a dick doing it) really doesn’t like me when I’m manic (and of course I don’t blame him, I’m horrendous) I don’t want this! The Voices aren’t helping with the whole thing, I’m trying to pretend I don’t hear them but I don’t know how well it’s working. Maybe people have noticed.