What to expect when reading bi-polar wife

Thoughts and feelings of living with bi-polar as a wife, mother, and person in the world.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

My emotional barometre and the lack of verbal sieve

Something I have learned about my illness is that my mood fluctuates more often and to a greater degree than most. Sometimes it's quite manageable but when I am more manic or depressed is resonates more furiously and with less control. This can sometimes be seen in my outward behaviour, but more often than not, it's all going inside my little inner universe of chaos, and I am working tirelessly to respond appropriately when actually I want to smash up everything in site or run around yelling expletives.

Image result for what do you call a semi circle shaped  dial with a scale on it
Imagine your moods on this scale. Most people range somewhere between 20 and 20 with the odd spike here and there. I am constantly fluctuating between -50 and +50. The plus side of this is that I feel everything. I have a response to all situations, am sensitive and empathetic and almost vibrate with realness. However, it also means that I don't always deal with challenging stuff very well. Most people find anger, conflict and hatred unpalatable. They have uncomfortable feelings towards those situations but manage to plough through with some semblance of order and direction. It happens, it passes and they move on. For me it takes a concerted effort to engage, process and travel through those experiences. The indicator spike will be wildly flailing backwards and forwards on the dial. And the mood variance and intensity can trigger a depressive episode or a manic phase. It's all a very fine balance. I have learned that some situations are better to avoid for me or it can have dire consequences. Not for you, but for my head. Lithium helps to "Damp down" the extremes without stopping me being a zombie of no thought or feeling at all.

Emotional self care for me relates largely to being selective about who I spend my time with, choosing my battles very carefully, accepting my difference within an environment that doesn't always suit me and asking for help to deal with stuff that I know will cause me damage. Toxic people are a no go area. I also try and improve my resilience in safer scenarios. Practice makes improvement, not perfect!

Image result for sieve

So the verbal sieve. My verbal sieve does not always work when required. I am, as a rule, a pretty honest person. Not blunt, but I will tell you how I feel or what I think if it's appropriate. I wouldn't massage the truth to make you feel better. I'd call it as I saw it and help you do it differently if that was what you wanted. But sometimes, without announcement, the sieve of appropriateness goes on a lunch break without my knowledge. Stuff comes out of my mouth from my brain without a check point station and even I am surprised by the outcome. It's like somebody else said it out loud.  Now I still don't know if this is to do with a mildly dysfunctional brain or if it happens to normal folk. However, when it happens in company, I am always a little worried as firstly it's a shock to me, but also a shock to the company I am with. Then I also worry if they are going to be offended and tell me off. It's all a bit risky. Let me give you an example. Standing on the touchline with football parents at school. It's very cold and the morning had a hard frost. We're discussing illness in winter, noro virus and the like. My friends says, "But isn't the cold meant to kill off stuff like colds and virus'", to which I respond,  "yes, and old people." Now this is actually a statement of fact, not intended to be malicious in any way. It happens so fast, we're not sure I actually said it. The look of horror, quickly turns to hilarity and statements of, "Dear god you're awful!" I don't want old people to be alone, ill or at risk of death. But this weird nugget has just escaped anyway. Like the time I said with rather too much volume, "Gosh his face looks just like a walnut." The list is endless.

I suppose it is all a part of my multi faceted personality. Thankfully noone as yet has punched me in the face for it. I'd be interested to see how many other people are blessed with this foiball. Answers on a postcard please!

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Attempting recovery

I've not blogged for a few weeks as I have been attempting a personal recovery revolution. Turns out mental health services are so ridiculously stretched that unless I am trying to end my life, the wait for help is 2 years. I threw a minor tantrum at my mental health service, the first of my entire secondary care career, which has resulted in a few sessions of schema work/domain work being offered (To help challenge blueprint behaviours entrenched from early life) and an agreement that I should go on the waiting list for psychotherapy.

I discussed this with my GP, who, after also throwing a minor tantrum about the NHS and mental heath care himself, signed me off work for another 3 months to pursue self-help courses at recovery college. These will be anxiety management, the role of comedy in recovery and somantics. I'll be less stressed telling jokes about suicide in a flexible muscle stance!

I have also had the joy of my ESA being suspended this week. They won't pay you if your sick note doesn't arrive either in advance of the end of your last one, or the day after. You cannot get a sick note from a GP in advance. Also, post to the DWP takes 3 weeks to get to the right department. I ended up cashing in Ian's 2p jar to pay for parking, driving on fumes to Leicester, sat in the jobcentre plus office for 90 minutes, and got is scanned and sent via email encryption. They grilled me about my identity, why my kids weren't on the system, am I a single parent and why am I not receiving any other benefits, why didn't I get my note in on time and no I cannot tell you why your capability assessment information hasn't yet been processed... since August. I will take a plastic bag to sit on next time. The place is filthy.  I then had to come home and wait for a phone call to clarify my identity again, and discuss whether or not to "Unsuspend" my claim and pay me. They decided YES, but it could take 24 hours. The mind boggles. They have shame and degradation down to a fine art.

I also got a tax bill. Apparently at some point, I earned a fraction over the limit of the basic earnings, therefor, I needed to be taxed on any other income, in this instance, ESA. Yes, taxed on my benefits. So I have to pay £328 in April.

I'm sorry your brain is experiencing technical problems. Please allow us to shaft you in as many ways as possible to help you reach the suicidal rock bottom required for treatment, at which point we might assist you.

So here are my achievements for the month of November and early December :
Not killing anyone in a government office or health profession
Cleaning the fridge
Washing the car by hand and cleaning out the inside
Perfecting cookie making
Not using the C word half as much as I would really like to
Being really pushy with services - so not me!
Attending recovery college and planning new courses
Surviving an argument with Ian - think it's about the 3rd one we've had in 17 years!
Still parenting with compassion when the kids are like Regan from the exorcist
Attempting to live the spiritual life in pretty challenging scenarios

It's not strictly rock 'n' roll but it's a damn site better than being bullied by the Vicar from hell or feeling that I cannot carry on living. Actually, I'm a very lucky girl.