Category Archives: Cyclothymia/Bi-Polar Disorder Help

My old website helped a lot of people, I’m hoping this new site with its widgets and clicky things will help many more in the future. I’ll be adding stuff I’ve had waiting, and stuff that’s still bursting to get out my brain.

Acting the Goat – because everyone likes goats – esp. mentally ill (vid)

I’m posting this because it makes me smile. Jane and I had a lovely time acting the goat.

We were just randomly driving about. We found a slow worm here too but didn’t get it on video, it was a bit like Jane’s snake “Snakey” but different and sort of not a snake at all. I think I might get some goats when I grow up, they are quite peculiar and charming.

Feeling Mentally Unstable? – Nature Helps

So I was on my way back from another emotionally draining psychiatristric appointment today and I decided to go for a short walk with Sassy dog who had been itching to get out of the car. I live in the beautiful New Forest, and she’d had her head out the window taking in the fresh air, looking for rabbits with her ears flapping about and her eyes streaming (no doubt imagining she was wingsuiting or tracking – she does enjoy watching the videos with me sometimes).

I stopped at one of the car parks, slightly alarmed at how many cars were there because I wanted to be on my own to reflect on my currently unstable mental state. But I needn’t have worried, the cars and vans were full of people on their lunch breaks sitting reading papers, gorging junk food and bitching about their workmates. I picked up a handful of the horse treats I’d bought from the farmers shop and put them in my pocket.

A broken silver birch, but sadly no fly agaric
One day, out looking for fly agaric (because Jane had never seen one) I came across this broken silver birch.

A few minutes later and Sassy was off running after the grey thing I saw bolting into the undergrowth, I knew she wouldn’t catch it she is a useless hunter (I’m happy about that). It was very wet, flooded after the heavy rain and I had to pick my route carefully because I was wearing inappropriate footwear. I noticed all the strange funghi sprouting out of the ground, and the flowers. Stopping to look around I saw a massive buzzard step from a dead tree and soar away to another tree, only to be pestered by crows who chased it away out of sight.

Moving on I met some wild ponies, standing around looking a bit miserable. I approached one and tried to get close to it, remembering not to stare at it too much. An outstretched arm offered a treat which it took and munched away with it’s mouth and lips doing that funny snorty thing. Most of it’s teeth were missing. More ponies became interested and slightly less wary, some were pregnant, more treats were dispensed, some refused my offer but took them when I threw them on the ground. I nodded then left them to reconsider whether all humans are bad. I heard a strange noise and looked up into the sun, the clouds had broken and I regretted forgetting my camera, three swans flew directly over me then landed in the temporary lake that had formed. Fully grown trees where they shouldn’t be, surrounded by water, it was quite breathtaking.

After just ten minutes I returned to the car; the people had probably read a few pages of their shitty newspapers full of miserable lies and sensationalism, learning nothing useful, achieving nothing, experiencing nothing.

I felt quite refreshed, partial sanity and a sense of well-being had temporarily been restored. For being kind and opening my soul I was rewarded with my first ever brief glimpse of an otter whilst driving over “the otter bridge”. There is a world out there people, get out of your cars. You might get your feet wet or get a bit chilly, but I promise you’ll feel better afterwards. x

Mental Health Problems – Suicidal Ideation – Don’t commit suicide, live your life.

Cyclothymia is a member of the bi-polar spectrum. There is a high incidence of suicide amongst those with Bi-polar disorder, I think I read somewhere that it was one in ten or something.  I would never do it but I have a full understanding of how, certainly in the past,

self portrait - 1986-11_2
self portrait – 1986-11_2

before being medicated, this was a real possibility.  Just don’t do it, things can always change.  In the past, with cyclothymia I’d get suicidal ideations, where for no reason I just think about ending my life.  It was very strange but not unheard of, especially when going onto new medication. Best just to get up and do something a bit different and take your mind off it, or call someone but don’t alarm them unnecessarily!

Here’s a link to an article on attempted suicide written by Natasha Tracey, who is bipolar. Follow her great blog, she’s on facebook too. Natasha Tracey – the bipolar burble blog

I certainly was having a lot of thoughts about suicide when I took these photo’s, and part of the reason I took it was to eliminate any doubts about whether it had been an accident or suicide.

suicidal ideation
self portrait – suicidal ideation, always remember things will get better.

I wanted to show the viewer, after my death, that I was quite calm and ready to take the decision without being drunk and not on the spur of the moment.  Not very nice I know, but thankfully my circumstances changed, my mood phase shifted, and it never happened so all’s well that ends well.

Death is all around us, we just don’t see it. We fear it (although what we are really fearing is a painful death I believe), we are saddened by it when we lose a loved one or when we hear of someone dying in an accident.

Personally what I think is really sad is people doing nothing about getting fat, knowing nothing about how their body is fuelled (cut down on the carbs/sugar); People who drink and abuse their bodies with Class A drugs – to “escape” (escape what?) – If it’s something from the past, then it’s not now, try and live in the present; people too concerned with “stuff”.

self portrait - 1986-11_1
self portrait – 1986-11_1

Try and regularly do something that makes you experience real fear, fear that you have to try and take control of, that will make you feel more alive.

Most people have no idea what their bodies are capable of, and do nothing to stimulate the natural feel good drugs that can’t be banned. We do not have all the time in the world, and as individuals we really are specks of dust in time and space. Why doesn’t everyone want to fly a wingsuit, anyone can do it, you just need a bit of money and a bit of time, not a new carpet, car, sofa or whatever. It’s stormy out, I might go and climb a tree today. (and indeed I did –  a beech tree)

“Denial and Normalization” – Cyclothymic bi-polar disorder

who decides what is normal
I’m not odd, it’s you that’s odd.

Denial

Denial can last years, and manifests itself in many ways, for me it was:

  • “There is nothing wrong with me it must be a mistake”.
  • “I’m not prepared to accept this because if I do I am stigmatized and ruined”.
  • “This is too serious to deal with so I’m just going to carry on as if nothing happened, lardy dar more tea vicar”.
  • “Not me, it only happens to druggies and homeless people”.
  • “I mean, it’s not as if I’m walking about with my underwear on my head and pencils up my nostrils”.

etc, etc, etc,.

These things ran round my head causing confusion and conflict like nothing before until eventually, I had to accept that I had all the symptoms and past history of a condition labelled cyclothymia, I was correctly diagnosed and the condition was affecting my life in a negative manner. I started coming to terms with my diagnosis and began the process of getting help from my doctor, a psychiatrist and a mental health care co-ordinator. These people were a tremendous help, and I am not in any way belittling them with my following observations, this is just how I see things, and it might fly in the face of “normality” to a degree, which is something I don’t have a problem with.

Normalization

The “professionals” have a duty to help you as a member of society. They also have a duty to protect society, a duty that involves attempting to “normalise” you if you have ticks in the wrong boxes.

The use of prescription drugs to induce mental states that are compatible with societies expectations is well and truly established, and this is where YOU need to take control of YOUR life, and not be bullied into trying to be something you are never going to be. Being diagnosed with Cyclothymia or any type of Bi-Polar disorder does not make you a violent person.  SO YOU DON’T NEED NORMALIZING.  Know about the pills you are on, know what aspects of your illness you want to try to get control of better, and if you aren’t harming anyone you don’t need to be sedated do you?

The stigma surrounding mental health issues means that for the rest of my life, when I mention to anyone that I have mental health problems (and those are the words I have to use or they will think I’m being evasive), I immediately cause a state of alarm. Perhaps I’m a bit paranoid, but the way I see it is this,.. I am clearly expected to address this state of alarm, and until I do, it is assumed that I am a psychopathic axe wielding homicidal maniac.

The people that everyone would refer to as lunatics are as far away from those with bi-polar or cyclothymia as they are from any other “normal” member of society. The expression “ignorance breeds contempt” is very much true when it comes to mental health matters, and until you prove otherwise, you are sometimes going to be labelled in an uncomplimentary manner by ignorant and narrow minded people. However I am glad to say that these people are becoming rarer.

Here’s a link to someone who explains things better than me,  Natasha Tracy Bipolar Expert   How to Accept Having Bipolar Disorder

An introduction to my mental illness

Cyclothymic Depression
Cyclothymic Depression age 17

I am diagnosed with Bi-polar disorder (Manic-depression) and/or Cyclothymic disorder, Agoraphobia with panic attacks and Generalised Anxiety Disorder.  I have to take mood stabilising drugs.  Because these things come in phases sometimes I function on all cylinders and can get stuff done, but this never really lasts long for me.  I just try and make the most of the good days and try to force myself to do things.

I mildly disapprove of the words “suffer from” or “mental health problem”. How the mind works is still mostly a mystery to modern science. It is my belief that my brain chemicals are different that’s all, just like people who are epileptic have a chemical imbalance.

You wouldn’t think there was anything “abnormal” about me if you met me. That said, without purposefully trying to be contradictory, I also freely acknowledge that sometimes I may well be “not normal”. I get easily confused or anxious for no particular reason, or am unable to make even simple decisions without things going round and round in my head.  I am sometimes easily and suddenly irritated and can’t cope unless things go exactly to plan, other times I am completely flexible and chilled and nothing ruffles me, I can flip between these states throughout a day.  Sometimes I can’t go to the shops because it makes me nervous and distressed so I run out of coffee, and food.  It would be safe to say that I am somewhat dysfunctional and probably a bit irrational and/or downright peculiar at times. I often need to just be on my own, some days I literally just stare at the wall, feeling quiet and pensive but not necessarily depressed. Sometimes I have no motivation, can’t get out of bed don’t eat properly or tidy up and have erratic sleep patterns; Other times I’m a fireball of enthusiasm and inspiration, full of ideas and can achieve any goal I set myself (and I have achieved quite a lot despite my predicament).  Other times I am just “normal” like everyone else.  These conflicting mood states cause my friends and family to despair at how I’m not doing really well with a good career etc, normally because they see I may have talents, but don’t see the other side when I can’t function – I just go off the radar a bit then.  This is just the way I am and I have finally accepted that. From day to day I’m someone who most find polite, chatty, understanding, honest, compassionate, mildly interesting, etc, etc, long list of words that don’t include Lunatic, Nutter, Psycho, Wierdo, etc,. etc,. I know I’m a decent man, I like who I am, and so does everyone who knows me.

Here is a link to my old cyclothymia case file/website help page thingy, some bits of which I have not added to this new website yet.  It is intended to be of help to anyone diagnosed as cyclothymic or bi-polar and for their family and friends.   My Cyclothymia and Bi-Polar help page