Tag Archives: BP2

My New Meditation Crutch, The Surprise Attack Of Psycho Girlfriend Syndrome.

Yesterday I was told that I need to treat myself like a car that can only take the best premium petrol, other cars can run smoothly on any fuel, yet if I don’t take particular care with what I put into my ‘car’ it won’t be running smoothly anymore. My psychologist used that metaphor, she is right, after all the festivities from Christmas, New Year, Australia Day and successive family birthdays, my body has been given foods that haven’t made me feel good. Alcohol and less time for stress relieving exercise have also played a role in my current emotional levels, the alcohol was in moderation and the exercising was down to 2days a week instead of my 4-5days. I guess it still mattered. My body and mind is tired, filled with lethargy and a bloated feeling of disgust. I forgot that my psychologist can actually have good insights sometimes. I didn’t realise that things that didn’t matter before like overindulgence and laziness actually had larger implications for my ability to maintain emotional stability.

Emotional stability is the hardest thing to maintain in my life at the moment, it’s a never ending battle; the slightest change in the breeze can change the emotional tide. I’ve been dating this guy for a few months now; I had actually forgotten what it meant to be in a relationship. It’s hard, it’s harder still to try and play it cool, failing to hide the constant anxiety over the things that he has reassured me about numerous times before. Avoiding the easy clingy nature that can develop, I don’t text often in general and I only make plans to see him a few times a week. I still feel like I’ve gone a tad ca-razy though, insecurities and tears coming all too easily. I’ve been meditating like crazy, trying to relax, searching for a mental balance. The meditating keeps me relaxed for a few hours, but after those hours its back to the same battle to reach a rational mentality – when he hasn’t spoken to you in six hours, realising that this doesn’t mean that he isn’t interested in you anymore – he works 15hr days – it’s hard to regain a rational front seat again, but it does eventually kick in.

My life has been filled with an incredible series of emotional and mental extremes, with beautiful thunderstorms and stunning sunrises. Meditating is all well and good, but it can’t be the crutch to get you through each day. I need to change the way I see things not just relieve my anxiety. Controlling my emotional triggers should be my main goal; everything else would eventually fall in line after that. I’m still constantly surprised that being in a relationship can change you into a sensitive over-reactive emotional mess. Cheers Bipolar, thanks for making life more difficult, again.

On a plus side – I baked brownies today, exercised and meditated twice today (argh what a lame crutch). Happy Monday all.

psycHOTic is a thing right?….

Best meditation apps I use:
– Stop, Breathe & Think (best one)
– Guided Meditation
– Citadel

I also like relaxing to Buddha radio on my phone.

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Looking Back On My New Year’s Eve, Stupid Decisions & Stability.

The art of self-sabotage.

Just an indulgent repeat of my New Year’s Eve night, these thoughts are getting tedious, drinking is definitely not my friend. Trying to make these experiences ‘life lessons’. 

I had a few drinks; my head was swimming; swimming deep, trapped in the thoughts of the past. My present life is going extremely well, but it always seems that my past plays on my mind, slowly taking away from the joys of the present. I wonder if you can start to forget these thoughts, put them behind you, hoping for a fresh start. I know I’m stable, yet there are always these particular thoughts, amplified by a glass or two of wine. The alcohol brings the past back into clarity, who I use to be and what I use to do to myself. Binge drinker, depressed, self –harm, binge eating to combat depression, attachment issues, suicidal tendencies, un-empathetic, fitness junkie, food restriction and control freak. I think about all of this, I have time off from work and no university at the moment, I feel completely useless and unproductive, spending my days doing nothing. I know I’m stable, but this uselessness isn’t helping me. In the early hours of New Year’s day, as I slowly walked home through the worst parts of town, I knew I was out to hurt myself, I knew full well that it was dangerous to walk here. I stopped on the rickety bridge that was above the overpass, I didn’t move from that spot, wondering what my body would look like if it had fallen and hit the rocks below.

Drinking that night and being on medication wasn’t in my best interest, it was self-destructive. I type these thoughts so that I can put them behind me, hoping they won’t come to haunt me later. I pushed myself away from the bridge, the indulgent distraction led me into a drunken group of men that had been kicked out of a pub, I heard their catcalls, but I wasn’t bothered, I don’t think I cared. Their jeers continued for a while, I kept walking, not enticing them. In the morning the only thought I had about the night was the fact that my heels had allowed me to walk the 6km home without any bother. I didn’t regret the night, the adrenalin I got from my potentially dark walk home served to reinforce the negativity that I had been searching for. My friends said goodbye to me that night, asking where my cab was, telling them it was coming and that they should go back inside, I started my walk, thinking that I needed to clear my head, but there wasn’t anything to clear, just an angry voice inside that was egging me on just to see what would happen, there wasn’t any weighing up of risks, I just walked.

New Research On The Aetiology Of Bipolar Disorder.

John D. Pettigrew and Steven M. Miller argue that the underlying pathophysiology for Bipolar Disorder remains elusive, the disorder being strongly heritable but acknowledging that genetics are complicated. Pettigrew and Miller use the term inter-hemispheric switching which looks at trait-dependent biological markers associated with bipolar disorder. Proposing that bipolar disorder is the product of genetic propensity of slow inter-hemispheric switching mechanisms which can become ‘stuck’ in one particular state. Pettigrew and Miller state that slower switches are more ‘sticky’ in contrast to faster switches, hypothesising that the clinical manifestations of bipolar disorder can possibly be explained by hemispheric activation, which could be caught on the right (depression) or the left (mania). The research is based on rates of perceptual alteration in binocular rivalries that appears to be slower in bipolar disorder subjects who are in euthymic states in contrast to the normal controls.

portable_mood_by_alephunky-d5c536zThe research data showed that bipolar disorder patients clustered on the tail end of the distribution indicating a slower alternation rate. The Rivalry Alternation Rates: Bipolar Affective Disorder (n = 18) vs  Non-Clinical Controls (n = 49). Subsequently the euthymic state of the bipolar subjects at the time of testing suggests that slower rivalry rates can be a trait marker for bipolar disorder. Limitations of this study are related to subjects that have unipolar depression who demonstrated slower rivalry rates, although these subjects were to a lesser extent in contrast to bipolar subjects. The model of “bipolar disorder slow switches are ‘sticky’ switches because the intrinsic channel abnormalities that cause the slow oscillation rate also make the switch more likely to be held down in one state by external synaptic inputs”. A neuronal sensitivity with bipolar disorder argues that it would “lead to increased hemispheric output (in response to a stressor) and might therefore increase the likelihood that the switch will be held down (‘stuck’) on the side favouring that hemisphere”.

Pettigrew and Miller propose that the data suggests that bipolar patients have an increased ‘stickiness’ due to reduced intrinsic currents and greater extrinsic synaptic inputs from stressors, resulting in the patients being ‘stuck’ in a depressive or manic episode as a consequence of a stressor. The research proposes that the wide variety of data is indicative of hemispheric asymmetries of mood and mood disorders. Overall the results of the tests in inter-hemispheric switching might also be applicable to understanding the physiological rhythms of mood, cognitive style and other aspects of human brain function. Pettigrew and Miller outline that there have been reports that creativity is enhanced in subjects with mood disorders and also their relatives in contrast to the general population.  The controversial reports of increased creativity raise the potential for an understanding of the consequences associated with slower inter-hemispheric switching and the rhythms of cognitive style that could reveal neural mechanisms of human creativity.

Please note: this is not an academic essay merely a series of different research I found interesting.

Related/interesting sources:

Altshuler, L., Suppes, T., Black, D., Nolen, W., Leverich, G., Keck, P., Frye, M., Kupka, R., McElroy, S., Grunze, H., Kitchen, C. and Post, R. (2006). Lower Switch Rate in Depressed Patients With Bipolar II Than Bipolar I Disorder Treated Adjunctively With Second-Generation Antidepressants. AJP, 163(2), pp.313-315.

Bost-Baxter, E. (2013). ECT in Bipolar Disorder: Incidence of Switch from Depression to Hypomania or Mania. Journal of Depression & Anxiety, 01(05).

Bottlender, R., Sato, T., Kleindienst, N., Strauß, A. and Möller, H. (2004). Mixed depressive features predict maniform switch during treatment of depression in bipolar I disorder. Journal of Affective Disorders, 78(2), pp.149-152.

Buckley, P. (2012). The Neurobiology of the Switch Process in Bipolar Disorder: A Review. Yearbook of Psychiatry and Applied Mental Health, 2012, pp.388-392.

Calabrese, J. (2001). Drug-induced switch rates and their impact in bipolar disorder. European Neuropsychopharmacology, 11, pp.S95-S96.

Goldberg, J. (2010). Substance Abuse and Switch From Depression to Mania in Bipolar Disorder. AJP, 167(7), pp.868-869.

Kauer-Sant’Anna, M. and Yatham, L. (2007). Comment on “antidepressant treatment-emergent switch in bipolar disorder: a prospective case-control study of outcome”. Rev. Bras. Psiquiatr., 29(1), pp.86-87.

Koszewska, I. (1995). P-2-65 Pharmacotherapy in depression during switch from depression to mania in patients with bipolar affective disorder (BD). European Neuropsychopharmacology, 5(3), p.296.

Niitsu, T., Fabbri, C. and Serretti, A. (2014). P.2.d.031 Predictors for manic switch at depressive episodes in bipolar disorder: the Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder. European Neuropsychopharmacology, 24, pp.S431-S432.

Pettigrew, J. and Miller, S. (1998). A ‘sticky’ interhemispheric switch in bipolar disorder?. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 265(1411), pp.2141-2148.

Alice & Her Attempt At Leaving Wonderland.

It’s been cold in your shadow, my shadow. Never having sunshine on my face, your face. I have always been content to let you shine, to let me shine. I always walked a step behind myself. I was the one with all the strength, a beautiful face without a name for so long, a beautiful smile that hid the pain.

Having an epiphany when two facets of yourself become one, the one the world knows and the quiet self-conscious one inside, the one who stared out of the windows of life, not participating, merely watching and wondering why I couldn’t be both.

(Featured image: Girl walking up hill – by me 🙂 )

My new thoughts consist of pretending that I’m the normal person in the crowd, my boyfriend has found out the truth though, he has seen my scars, he holds me, asking me if I’m alright. The quick answer of “yes” always ready. Last night I told him I was fine, that I was bipolar and that it doesn’t affect me. These are the nice lies that I also tell to myself. He tells me that my scars and disorder hasn’t pushed him away, but I always wonder. It’s nice to know that someone doesn’t see me for my scars. My quick smiles use to hide the sadness in my eyes, but now they are simply smiles. I won’t cut tonight, in my mind that chapter is slowly getting closed.

I don’t need the balance that I found in the blade and the simple ritualistic movements. The never-ending perplexity of non-suicidal self-injury. My happiness and depression making me question what really separates the genius from the madman? New ideas and thought processes are created by people living on the edge instead of the norm. I’m stumped that Bipolar Disorder keeps on getting referred to as a ‘beast of an illness’, it is what it is, you make the most of it, the negatives are only what you make of them. Someone once told me that I’m a ‘beautiful tragedy’, it made me completely disheartened, this happened even before my diagnosis, this was an asterism (a manner of deriding another), these conflicting words made me realise that the only real tragedy was them and their ignorant concept of beauty. At that point in life I was incapable of helping or ‘fixing’ myself, yet people asked me to fix their problems…ironic.

There wasn’t any room left for tears. I’m not that person anymore, thankfully. It’s become silly and trivial, I’m 22 and bored with the useless criticisms from myself and others, life is simply too short. Feeling ‘happiness’ has allowed me to no longer feel like the abandoned shipwreck, finding deep inside a small seed of happiness that I could allow to grow. There seems to be constantly different peaks in my life where at times I feel like I’m running an emergency room without morphine. I’m actually happier than I’ve been in over a year, I’m slowly replacing all my excessive black clothing with the colours that I had squashed to the back of my wardrobe, with the purpose of never finding them or needing them again. People start to get in a cycle where they stop believing in the possibility of being happy because the darkness becomes so consuming and comforting. wonderland_by_lacza-d4x7o6f

The Blame Game: Antidepressants Cause Bipolar Disorder?!

Previously the older anti-depressants were notorious for triggering or precipitating (hypo)manic episodes in Bipolar patients, newer antidepressants such as SSRIs, bupropion and venlafaxine, do not appear as likely to precipitate mania. Both the mood stabilisers lamotrigine (Lamictal) and Topiramate (Topamax) don’t carry a risk of inducing mania.  In the DSM-IV and DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) stipulates that diagnosing a person with Bipolar Disorder has to fit these criteria:

Criteria F: The episode is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance (e.g. a drug of abuse, a medication, other treatment).
Note: A full hypomanic episode that emerges during antidepressant treatment (e.g. medication, electroconvulsive therapy) but persists at a fully syndromal level beyond the physiological effect of that treatment is sufficient evidence of a hypomanic episode diagnosis(My note: most* antidepressants other than Prozac are out of your system in a week). However, caution is indicated so that one or two symptoms (particularly in creased irritability, edginess, or agitation following antidepressant use) are not taken as sufficient for diagnosis of a hypomanic episode, not necessarily indicative of a bipolar diathesis.

Very sneaky phrasing of words.

It has been asserted that antidepressants can act as triggers for (hypo)manic episodes in people who have a higher likelihood of Bipolar Disorder (depression, history & environmental factors etc.). It has been argued that having a (hypo)manic reaction to an antidepressant is not necessarily a symptom of Bipolar Disorder, arguing it’s a manic reaction to the antidepressant. This form of argument can only be assessed by being aware of what antidepressant you’re taking, newer antidepressants have very little chance of inducing mania (rare side effect : <0.1% chance mostly). I had initially blamed the antidepressant for causing my ‘bipolar symptoms’, this has now been changed, I was on Mirtazapine (given to me because of a family history of Bipolar I – this antidepressant had the <0.1% chance of inducing hypomania, agitation, aggression, risk taking, confidence, confusion and insomnia. All of which I experienced long after the antidepressant had left my system).

Symptoms of (hypo)mania need to persist after the life of the antidepressant: A manic reaction to antidepressants is not a symptom of bipolar, it’s a manic reaction to antidepressants. Therefore people who have a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder who have a manic reaction to anti-depressants, doesn’t consequently mean that it’s Bipolar Disorder.  Symptoms of bipolar (hypo)mania are sometimes about being more irritable, edge and agitated, but these symptoms don’t mean it’s bipolar, they are generally symptoms of the antidepressant or its withdrawal. Sometimes it’s about surviving psychiatry. A test study about the activation of (hypo)mania states that it occurred approximately 0.2% (3/1299 patients) of Remeron-treated patients in US studies. Although the incidence of mania/hypomania was very low during treatment with mirtazapine, it should be used carefully in patients with a history of mania/hypomania.

The following symptoms, anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania, and mania, have been reported in people treated with (older)antidepressants for major depressive disorder. Before being prescribed antidepressants your doctor should be aware of your medical history or family history of psychiatric disorders (e.g., bipolar/manic-depressive disorder), history or family history of suicide attempts. To be diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder the new DSM-V has included the criteria that the person has to not only have the presence of elated or irritable mood but also the association of these symptoms with increased energy/activity.

Personal analysis: I’m not sure if I had suffered from hypomania before, every summer I would work out excessively and sleep little, this was only for the past 2years, but after Remeron (Mirtazapine) everything changed. My research was carried out on the premise of proving my psychiatrist wrong in my diagnosis. I had slowly put together my argument until I had looked up my antidepressant and the time it takes to leave my body. I now have to acknowledge that I no longer have an argument; my hypomania lasted well after the antidepressant had left my system and later returned when my mood stabiliser dose was reduced so that I could change medications. If anyone else has doubts about their diagnosis it is well worth the research into the causation of your (hypo)manic episode, if it was from an antidepressant find out how long your episode lasted and the time is takes for the antidepressant to leave your body.

Blame_by_umbra_rockchick

To make up for this realization is the knowledge that I had an awesome day in Luna Park at Sydney, here is some snaps 🙂

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An Attempt At Being Truthful About Suicide & Media Correlations.

I would think about suicide often, with a morbidly intense curiosity, never with the ability to carry out any plans. I couldn’t stop myself from thinking about the day after the act, thinking of what I would be doing. My misconceptions of death were my driving interest, pivotal to understanding the finality associated with death which I clearly didn’t comprehend. I started to think of suicide at 7 years old, not in any strong capacity, a more unhealthy preoccupation about something I didn’t understand. Death scared me, the thoughts kept me up late at night; I would always think “what if I wasn’t around? Would things be better? Would I be better off?”.

A child is given the simple idea that when people die they go to ‘sleep’, they look asleep and as far as their parents are concerned the pets went to ‘sleep’ when they were put down. Early on we are given these ideas, fragmented concepts that hide actual truths. All through my school life my preoccupation was present, not always in the forefront of my thoughts, but always present none the less. In my mind I doubt I would ever have the nerve to carry out the act, the thought of blood stilling or hearts stopping makes me recoil away, intentional death becomes a monstrous act. It’s a monstrous act because most intentional acts of death are forms of violence and anger, sometimes premeditated or acts of manslaughter. Society negates death in such a light that even for ethical reasons it will always be frowned upon.

I write this after successfully drinking a bottle of red wine and finding out that a work colleague had opening tried to commit suicide on numerous occasions, publicised in our local paper about the realness of teen suicide and awareness. It made me wonder if I was just like her, except I wasn’t, I might be more sadistic and morbid, but I had no intentions, my suicide ponderings were not only during depression but also during times of great happiness in my life. I start to question why a person who is happy actually contemplates suicide on a regular basis. No person can adequately contrast their personal experiences or their inner turmoils, each individual is innately different with how they interpret and experience life as a whole. I start to wonder if this is a normal state for people or am I outside the norm without realising it, can it simply be that the norm is whatever a person wants to make it, what is normal for one person isn’t always normal for another.

I’m starting to question my own mental health awareness advocacy, I want people to be aware, but what they do with that information is entirely up to the person. It’s strange that I actually frowned the whole time of was reading my colleagues article, whose work pretence was good I will admit, but does admitting mental illness to a wider audience actually help yourself or is it merely about raising a generalised awareness to a public that is generally overwhelmed with other stimuli offered by media that dominates their thoughts? My pretence is focused more internally, I prefer to write, be anonymous, protecting myself, protecting my family from the hurt if they knew the truths from my writings. Putting an article in the local newspaper is following a new trend to make mental illness a ‘trending’ topic, highlighting its need for change and help.

the_suicide_by_navidoutlaw-d3ao76hI see the publications as sometimes detrimental, people start to only see the negatives associated with mental illness, the overloading of negatives creating the stigma that so many people in the mental health awareness advocacy are trying to remove. The publications are trying to make the public more aware, but they are failing to educate to a higher extent, the public doesn’t understand mental illness to any great degree, they see and read its consequences and why it’s an issue, but they fail to understand why some people suffer from mental illness and why others do not. They can even read the symptoms that people suffer, but that doesn’t make the content relatable. Yes this is a depressing post, but it allows me to vent the rage about mental illness and media, in its own way it’s a form of censorship. Only those who experience mental illness can help others, public media doesn’t always have to be the way to achieve this, often categorising and pigeon-holing mental illness creating misconceptions. End rant. Thankyou wine for allowing me to write tonight.