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Forums / Staying well / This bipolar life

Topic: This bipolar life

  1. white knight
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    30 June 2016 in reply to Missing user

    Hi Sherie

    You have a good memory

    For those unaware we travelled with long time friends to Rambo outback Qld where I had a cracked drawbar on our homebuilt caravan. Our friends had a small bus and appeared OK about the 3 hour delay but unbeknown to us the male held a grudge. From then on each time we drove from a location he'd steam ahead. This puzzled us.

    Outside Katherine they went ahead at can area where there was no mobile range. We broke down. We were delayed a week in hot weather waiting for repairs. We finally caught up with them in Broome and I questioned him why we were abandoned in the outback. He revealed he was angry over our drawbar breaking.

    Funny enough, at Barkley Homestead on the Qld/NT border his bus needed repairs and had he needed a 7 hour return journey to Tenney Ck I told him I'd take him. I fixed his bus.

    We left them in Broome. We haven't seen them since. My wife's 20 year friendship with his wife is likely finished.

    We've moved on but it hurt and that one week in Katherine was a mental challenge. It tested me.

    We have our foxy Miss Rosie with us. She warns us of animals ahead. We built a seat between us so she sits high. With a harness if course. We don't go anywhere without her. She's brought us so much joy.

    I have depression dysthymia (constant low mood depression) and bipolar type 2. The bipolar ups and downs have been getting progressively worse. Its hard in my wife who incidentally has depression also.

    We've found that both of us can snap at the other more often than other couples. We hence need to apologise more often. Overall it works but its sad knowing you've upset you partner with outbursts that you don't intend.

    This whole struggle can drag you down resulting in low self esteem. Its a "flip flop" life. When you feel good you dont think you'll ever feel bad again, then it comes out if the blue...wham.

    This also happens with friendships. They, unlike my loving wife, get tired if the apologies. So sometimes I just offer an olive branch by opening up conversations. At the time when I'm annoyed I can severe friendships then full of regret. This can happen on forums to. For me its as heartbreaking as it us for the other person.

    I wish I was stable but my wife always tells me I'm much more easier to live with since 2009 when I started on mood stabilisers.

    That's a positive. The other positive is my handsomeness....lol

    3 people found this helpful
  2. Airies
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    22 July 2016 in reply to Kazzl

    Kazzl,

    love your descriptions and this thread. Type 1 bipolar here. Years ago diagnosed with ADHD and depression. Received cousellng and meds.20 odd years of highs and lows followed. Totally irrational behaviour at times, doing everything at 100 miles an hour. Our world is completely different to normal people. The past year has been challenging to say the least.

    Psych admissions , various meds, ECT treatment, hospital admissions for physical ailments , some really dark dark places, nightmares and hellish experiences. Im still here thanks to good fortune, luck, supportive family, meds are working and shining a light in a different direction in a dark room.its only in the past fortnight that I'm managing to sleep through for the first time in a year.Any minor dip for me can be drastic. I don't make too many plans. I try and get through each day.its getting a bit easier, I accept I'm different, life will be full of ups and downs. I'm learning to do moderate for the first time in my life and will be doing DBT in the near future.Its great to find others here:)

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  3. Airies
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    23 July 2016 in reply to Kazzl

    Hi Kazzl,

    probably a dumb question how did you find the support group in Canberra?

    Find journaling my thoughts in a mood diary beneficial. Weeks in a elevated state , increased anxiety and irratibili try , requiring 12-15 sleep, teeth grinding after months of being in a scary scary place.im doing ok at the moment, being kind to yourself, accepting my mistakes and laughing at myself. I liken it to a big balloon full of wind and the air and preassure slowly releasing. It's 12:07 a.m here. This is the latest I've stayed up in a year.

    Another positive step. One day at a time.

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  4. Kazzl
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    23 July 2016 in reply to Airies

    Hi Igbran - thanks for posting here mate, I really appreciate it. Yes we are different ... I'm still learning, but I can see the differences so clearly now that I realise not everyone thinks and feels or reacts like me or does what I do. Don't know how I could have been so unaware for so long. Sigh.

    I'm learning to stop making plans (or at least so many big ones) and to try and make my world 'smaller' if you know what I mean. Focus more on the here and now. Moderate is a good word.

    I'm really glad to hear your sleeping through. It's a great healer sleep, and in my case devastating if I don't get enough.

    I'm finding my mood diary useful too - I'm still rapid cycling while the medication kicks in, so it's useful to track the cycles.

    Re the support group, I just googled bipolar support group Canberra and found it. I hope there's one in your area - I have found it really helpful, especially to be with people you don't have to try and explain it to.

    Cheers Igbran - hope to chat again soon.

    Kaz

  5. white knight
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    24 July 2016 in reply to Kazzl

    Hi again everyone

    I also don't make solid plans. Eg we are nearly finished our caravanning around oz. If we book into a caravan park we do so only on a daily basis. That way we can pull up stumps anytime and go without losing money.... Feeling guilty.

    If we have say 4 appointments in a week like Dr, birthday party, car service etc....I feel overloaded.

    I'm in a car club. One day many of us were asked to leaf a drive. This entailed organising it then being the lead car for the run to a destination. Sounds easy. Nope, the recipe fir disaster.

    If I arrive with one car missing I'd hypo ventilate... Well nearly. Fall into worry. I'd be a mess.

    I should have known....told the club organisor and was met with disrespect.

    One fb friend once called me "fickle". She was correct. This is how some bp people are....certainly not boring.

    Very unpredictable though. Even the sufferer can't know how they will feel in a few hours time.

    Tony WK

    Tony WK

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  6. IJG
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    24 July 2016 in reply to white knight

    Just wanted to stop by and say hi.

    My wife suffers from bipolar and I've been doing a lot of reading in trying to understand the illness. I do go from being the most amazing husband in the world to the worst husband in the world with her illness.

    It's sad to see but I do everything I can to let her know I'm there for her and would do anything for her and not let this illness destroy us.

    Unfortunately her kids have placed an enormous amount of stress on her and this has caused her to leave me which has been devastating. This has sent me into a deep depression, anxiety attacks and suicidal thoughts.

    I want to follow this thread and get some feedback from people with bp. Is her illness going to keep her away from me because of the stress put on by her children or will she finally see what has happened and try to make a mends?

    Its been very interesting reading how everyone with bp copes differently. I wish my wife would not have given up on me being by her side.

  7. white knight
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    24 July 2016 in reply to IJG

    Hi ijg

    Thanks fir your input

    I have two comments based on assumption only.

    Firstly I don't believe actions like leaving ones partner would be done often based on the illness alone. Bp highs and lies are like normal peoples ups and downs but much more steep a curve and more often.

    Secondly, step parent situations although very common now, are often complex stressful lifestyles. I was step dad to 3, children in two different relationships. I left believing its a tough gig.

    Summing up, I believe bp and other mental illnesses although having a devastating effect on a relationship, would not cause the demise of a marriage alone. It likely has other issues as a core if the problem.

    Her children causing her stress us for her to sort out. In my experience, parents usually won't combat it. They won't insist their kids consider her health for example. This stress she has isn't fair but shell tolerate it because she knows no other way.

    Finally, your health is now number one. You must distance yourself from issues you have no control over. Be realistic. Continue treatment for your problems and limit scenario's because "what if's" are great for feeding anxiety and depression.

    Charity begins at home and home is where people love you

    My view

    Tony WK

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  8. Kazzl
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    25 July 2016 in reply to white knight

    Hi IJG, I'm sorry to hear this has happened! And well done to you for trying to learn and understand your wife's condition.

    Whether and how much her illness has contributed to the breakup might depend on a few things. Do you know if she is type 1 or type 2? Type 1 is far more severe - can cause delusions, loss of touch with reality, seeing things (and situations) that are not there. Type 2 is milder and these things generally don't happen.

    Also, is your wife medicated or receiving treatment? And, when the breakup happened was she depressed? Sometimes in a deep depression we can convince ourselves that people would be better off without us.

    I agree with Tony that you need to look a bit deeper and not just at the illness, but in saying that I know it does affect how we think.

    My advice would be to just let her know you're still there for her and that you are trying to understand. And learn as much as you can - there are many resources on the internet, just read as much as you can. For info from someone who lives with bipolar, google Natasha Tracy, Bipolar Burble she's an excellent blogger and mental health advocate in the US - best info I've found from a lived experience perspective.

    Tony is right that you must take care of yourself. See your doctor, talk to people who understand (including us). You can also call the BB helpline on 1300 22 4636.

    Best wishes to you mate and thanks for joining us here.

    Kaz

  9. IJG
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    25 July 2016 in reply to Kazzl

    Thank you Tony and Kaz for your reply.

    Kaz I believe she is type 1. She has been very depressed lately from the added stress about missing out on her kids weddings.

    She has only started treatment in the last month but we are only starting to understand the illness and that she needs medication not only for her highs but also for her lows.

    She did mention that the medication was starting to work on her highs as she has been on that medication longer but not her lows.

    The problem now is I cannot contact her because of her restraining order which kills me.

    She always tried to tell me I'm better off without her and I always tried to let her know that I would be worse off without her and I'm right. I'm a complete mess and can't function properly.

    Tony, I'm not blaming just the illness. Her kids have placed so much stress on her and she knows that because we have spoken about it. She just gets to these points that she doesn't see any better at what devastation she causes when she is like this. She always tried to convince me she was bad and no good for me. She is an amazing woman and i love her deadly. I just can't tell her that anymore till she makes contact with me. She is worth all the pain and suffering because i know who she is when she is normal.

    Thanks.

  10. white knight
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    25 July 2016 in reply to IJG

    Hi ijg

    Oh, bipolar 1 ...much more severe. Sorry I assumed bipolar 2.

    Yes that restraining order would be hard to handle. You need to convince yourself that what is out of your control is just that. Nothing you can do.

    As a therapist reminded me once, "you can't save the world"

    Its tough. Time is an incredible healer.

    Tony WK

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  11. Airies
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    28 July 2016 in reply to Kazzl

    Thanks for getting back to me Kazzl,

    been reflecting on the year just gone and where I'm at now. I've made progress and the time between my visits to my mental health nurse are filled with more and more normality.im bring kind to myself and along the way learning much about what makes me tick. God it's only taken 53 years but I'm still learning.Stopped logging via my mood diary. 99% of the time I'm hyper.. Maybe 90%. I'm realising the corolation between fresh air, excercise, sound sleep , diet to a degree which is not to good at the moment but I can pencil plans in my head in the not to distant future.Tony you are right time is an incredible healer. It's only now that I'm a semblance of my normal self. I'm now easing off my Prns meds, I accept the health issues Namelly weight gain as a side effect of the meds , but that's something I can work on.Its taken numerous hospital admissions, lots of couselling , a few close calls, luck,a loving wife and children, being here, my little dog and the resilience that we can muster time and time again when the chips are down. I was in a dark, dangerous place for a long time. A lot of it has been forgotten. I guess thats our bodies/brains protective mechanisms. I'm not out of the woods yet. I don't think I will ever be but I know I've got various treatment options and supports when and if the going gets tough.i don't think I will be around in my 80s but then again I might surprise myself. I have found out who my friends are. I only had a couple to begin with and have distanced myself from those who I just don't need in my life. I'm not as sensitive as I once was to criticism and I know I will be a work in progress until the day I cark it. It's only now that I'm beginning to sleep through. I don't have as many work nightmares anymore, the uniform and service awards are locked away. I knew I suffered from depression, diagnosed with ADHD years ago and medicated for...I once went to buy some shoes and come back with a car but being diagnosed with Bipolar type 1 and borderline personality disorder and reading up as much as my tiny head can digest is of benefit. Posting here and spending many an hour here reading of our continuing struggles here has been beneficial.im not one for social media but this is different. It's been one hell of a year, one hell of a learning curb but as long as I'm a better person, within myself, a better husband and father well what can I say. Its worth soldiering on. Hugs alround -hope I help:)

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  12. Airies
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    28 July 2016 in reply to white knight

    Very unpredictable though. Even the sufferer can't know how they will feel in a few hours time.

    Tony one can say life with us is never dull.I shouldn't make light of the effects it has on those around us. I hate the mood shifts, the way I can snap but hopefully in time with reprogramming the brain I can change. It's all baby steps. I can change for the better, it's a matter of wanting too, being well enough to do so, accepting that there will be some rough days but also sunny days ahead.i bet your mini foxy keeps you amused.My little boy is spoilt rotten but also one of the best medicines around.Looking forward to SpringSummer and long long walks along the beach

    cheers Len

  13. Airies
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    28 July 2016 in reply to white knight

    A therapist not too long ago said to me

    I wish I could wave a magic wand and fix you but I can't. That was when I was at my lowest point. I also had a psych nurse saying that I was extremely selfish for the thoughts I was having. It was a kick in the guts at one of my low points , in hospital at the time ,totally unprofessional on her part. Needless to say I reacted to this and received an apology from the head of the psych hospital shortly after.

  14. Kazzl
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    29 July 2016 in reply to Airies

    Hiya Len, thank you so much for your posts! It is so helpful to read other people's experiences!

    You have certainly been through the mill, but you seem to be finding a level of acceptance, that's what I felt reading your first post. That really helped me - I am getting there (also 53!) well at least I'm working on it - a work in progress as you say.

    I think my medication is finally kicking in and I'm feeling more stable than I have in quite a while. But I can't take that for granted. I find having to be constantly aware of what's going on in my head and how I'm reacting and behaving with people is exhausting. It's like since becoming aware of having bipolar I've become constantly self-censuring. Everytime I express an opinion or do something, I have to monitor whether I'm going too far - too angry or critical, or too high and over the top. While it means I'm 'managing' my disorder I guess, it also means I've lost that blissful ignorance and spontenaiety. Oh well, that's the way of it eh?

    I'm really glad you've found posting here helpful - you are certainly helping others too by doing so. Cheers mate.

    Kaz

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  15. Airies
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    29 July 2016 in reply to Kazzl

    Hi Kaz,

    1963 was a good year then.can relate perfectly to you in all facets.Will look up for local bipolar support group. Am on the waiting list for DBT which from what I can gather runs for 1-2 years. I was diagnosed with Bipolar late last year and another Psych has diagnosed Borderline Personality Disorder. I too have lost that blissful ignorance and spontenaiety. Constantly guarded and checking what I do.

    ive had a good run lately but after a week of relative inactivity I can feel my anxiety: frustration levels slowly building up again.The weather certainly isn't helping at the moment. Winter is the pits at times.At times I need to rest and not do a thing.After months of being totally self absorbed, the Days are getting easier.Am finding any dip in mood has a dramatic effect on me.Feeling tense and sore, hopefully a very early night will be of benefit.Im on anti psychotics and antidepressants and my mental health nurse suggested mood stabilisers might be of benefit. I really don't want to take any more tablets if I can. Canberra is a lovelly place but you can have the bitter winter cold. Visitd years ago when my brother was based there.Hope you having a good one

    cheers Len

  16. white knight
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    29 July 2016 in reply to Airies

    Hi kaz

    I too scrutinize what I say. I feel freakish but I know I'm not. Foot in mouth is common among ADHD sufferers. Interesting.

    Igbran, I've been on mood stabilisers for six years 800mg. But was moody, tried 1200, still moody, over time went down to 400....wow, what a huge positive difference.

    Not suggesting advice on dosage but giving you an example that too much meds can be counter productive. It has to be in the ball park.

    The best judge, my wife. Her comment "I've got my husband back"

    Tony WK

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  17. Kazzl
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    2 August 2016 in reply to white knight

    This bipolar life is giving me a hard time at the moment. After more than a week of feeling stable, normal even, I've sunk again. No obvious reason. I'm fighting the urge to give up everything (except work, no choice there) and hide. I feel like I want to make my world really small. If I had a choice I wouldn't leave the house.

    Anyone else get that?

    Kaz

  18. Missing user
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    2 August 2016 in reply to Kazzl

    I'm sorry to hear that Kaz. Be strong, as I know you are, and you will pull through this latest hard patch. It sounds as though your periods of 'stability' are increasing, so thats a good thing. My thoughts are with you.

    Much love to you, and a comforting hug as well.

    Sherie xx

  19. white knight
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    2 August 2016 in reply to Missing user

    Hi kaz,

    I'm wondering why you desire to reduce your world, for I have the same feelings.

    To describe mine, its like I'm on a battlefield and everyone but those close to me or trustworthy, is charging at me, towards my fort. Then as they advance over the wall I retreat to the next barricade to fight again. Constantly threatened and its exhausting. I this k it'd linked to low self esteem from questioning ourselves.

    While on our recent trip, we had a fire going. A couple arrived and, as is common, they automatically joined us. The man went to collect wood while the lady brought cake out.

    This is common as is the waving to each other as caravanners pass each other.

    But initially I didn't want such contact. I don't trust others now as I did years ago. It went through my head...is he a racist (turned out he was against indigenous), nasty, ex criminal, not tolerant of mental issues in others. What if I get moody?

    And her, will she be judgemental, domineering like my mother.?

    this thinking is ongoing even though I got along with them

    They asked to exchange phone numbers. We both avoided it.

    I think you are seeking your new safety zone. If you are like me and regularly feel potential threats wondering if its for the same reasons...eg bipolar.

    Tony WK

  20. Kazzl
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    2 August 2016 in reply to Missing user

    Hi Sherie, you are such a sweetheart. Thank you hun. It's a long process, starting treatment, getting the treatment right, understanding it all. I know you understand that. xx I'll come good again.

    Tony, when I'm down I think I want my world small so I don't have to deal with people or be a certain way. Of course I could cancel everything, make my world small, but I know as soon as I'm 'up' again I'll want to be involved in absolutely everything. That's the way of it.

    Len - I'm interested to hear more about DBT if there's anything you can share. Did your psych suggest it? What do you think it will be like?

    Cheers everyone

    Kaz

  21. geoff
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    3 August 2016 in reply to Kazzl
    dear Kaz, I'm so sorry that now you are struggling with this terrible illness once again, it's prolific and you never know when you are going to hit a low,and when it happens it's too late to even try and stop it, which I don't know whether this could even happen, so it's another wave no different than when you were trying to give up the grog, but ones an addiction and the other is an illness, two which are completely different, but not when it distrupts your life.
    You know what bipolar does to you so try and keep an even keel when you are having a downer.
    My thoughts are with you. L Geoff. x
  22. Kazzl
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    3 August 2016 in reply to geoff

    Thank you Geoff, you're wonderful.

    xx

  23. Shelll
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    3 August 2016 in reply to Kazzl

    Dearest Kaz

    I am not sure what to say, but I am just leaving a hug here for you.💟

    Love

    Shell xx

  24. Airies
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    3 August 2016 in reply to Kazzl

    Hi Kaz,

    hope things are on the improve... Hugs from me to you. Re DBT my psych who was treating me last year recommended DBT. I was very unwell at the time and my wife seems to think I had the initial assessment and possibly started the course but I have no recollection and a bit confused in that regard. The psych I'm seeing now recommended it and referred me to a private clinic. I received a phone call yesterday and have an 2 hour assessment next week, do an orientation in early September and commence the folowing week in a group session and also have 1 on 1 for a while as well. It seems pretty full on but I will be wiser come next week with a bit of info.... Lost my self in the garden today for a number of hours which was a

    great escape. My wife wasn't feeling well the other day and I felt completely useless in my inability to help her. With that I felt myself going downhill and thought S**t , here we go again. Being feeling ok and then wham I felt like crap.Being bipolar is a battle.Have to keep fighting it every day and never give in.

    Kaz you are an inspiration,

    thinking of you Len

  25. Airies
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    6 August 2016 in reply to white knight

    Tony and Kaz

    can relate in our desire/ need to reduce our world. For every action there's a reaction .Today we dropped off our son for an overseas trip. Having to wake up early and drive in the dark resulted in me pulling over and him driving. I could feel my anxiety, feeling different and mood change in the ensuing hours. I've spent the next 8 hours in bed asleep. It's a bummer not being able to cope with everyday situations. I've made progress, great inroads given I was bed bound not so long and unable to do the most basic things. Today made me realise that I can only do so much, very little at times, given the stress and crappy existence once I overstep the mark even a little bit.At times I am so zoned out, immersed in my thoughts and oblivious to what's going on, conversations around me as a coping mechanism.if it wasn't for my wife leading the way today I wouldn't have made it to the airport, found departure lounge , remembered where the car was and made the return journey home.Its small steps but it's only been through reducing my world and tentative steps to return, often throut with anxiety, constant thoughts/battles with oneself that I'm able to get through each so called challenge. What is so easy for some is so hard for others.

    Cheers Len

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  26. Kazzl
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    6 August 2016 in reply to Airies

    Hi Len - aaahhh, sorry you had such a bad experience driving to the airport mate. That must have been upsetting. And I sure understand the need to sleep afterwards. That's my best treatment after an upsetting and exhausting experience.

    Here's to a better day tomorrow - I hope you can spend it in your garden or somewhere else where you're peaceful and comfortable.

    Sometimes small steps are all we can take Len - but we take them and we keep taking them and that's the main thing.

    Very best to you - talk soon eh?

    Kaz

  27. Airies
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    8 August 2016 in reply to Kazzl

    Hi Kazz,

    Just had 14 hours sleep. Must have needed it. Just back from seeing my mental health nurse.shes off on an overseas holiday so gave her a hug and wished her the best and to pass on thanks to her and rest of the team...

    thanks is hardly enough but as they said it's a rarity to hear it. This time last year I was at my worst , in a psych hospital and at my wits end. I've come a long way. Will ever be out of the woods ....noo I don't think so...Buts its empowering with knowledge, time, acceptance that I'm in a better place..hope you too are n a better place... Have my DBT assessment in a few days so another box ticked..

  28. white knight
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    8 August 2016 in reply to Airies

    Hi Len,

    So know that feeling if a full bucket that runneth over so much easier than those with half empty one.

    The metaphor below puts it in perspective I think. Google

    Topic: depression, a ship on the high seas- beyondblue

    Being semi mentally crippled is a big let down seeing as most of us in a younger life were do much more capable. We have to accept s mind that is restrictive and had an occasional mirage....ever felt really good as you did when younger as if you can conquer the world only for depression to near disable you the next day?

    Sadly those around ud cannot fathom the seriousness of the loss if ability.

    Not being capable if juggling more than one thing at a time has resulted in my raising my voice "you know I can't take on two tasks at once, how many times do I have to tell you"?

    Of course its unfair to expect change from others. So answer us to use a notepad to write it down...after all I have to own my own issues.

    I hope you improve Len

    Tony WK

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  29. Kazzl
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    9 August 2016 in reply to Airies

    Hiya Len and Tony

    Len I think you have raised a really important point - sometimes when we're not feeling good it's hard to remember that we're in a better place than we used to be. Looking back to worse times can be reassuring.

    Thanks mate, yes I am in a better place too. I'm super busy at work at the moment and a bit stressed but I'm coping and while I am very tired, I'm OK, and really pleased about that.

    I'm really interested to know more about the DBT - hope you'll let us know how it goes.

    Tony - my notebook and I are inseparable (I just have to remember to write things in it LOL). I am very fortunate to have a young offsider at work (who knows about my condition) who gently reminds me of things. She's a treasure who, without any judgement, totally accepts that my memory is rubbish and I need some help. I think young people are more accepting of mental health issues than our generation, bless 'em.

    Have a good day guys.

    Kaz

    1 person found this helpful
  30. Airies
    Airies avatar
    1066 posts
    10 August 2016 in reply to Kazzl

    Good on you Kaz,

    sounds like you are kicking a few goals.Well done. I resigned from my work last year tho the wheels fell off a few years before that.I won't be returning to the workforce again.

    Must be cold in Canberra at the moment. It's wet and windy here n coastal Victoria. Is it just me ... This has been the worst Winter in a long time. This time last year I was too ill to notice and Psch hospital was very well heated.

    Have my assessment tomorrow for Dbt so will be wiser...2 hours all up so I think I will be a bit mentally shagged at the end.

    Last 3 days a bit of a dip n mood resulting in the need to go to bed at 7 each night and sleeping 12-14 hours and diminishing desire to do things.Gritting my teeth and feeling tense.. This rollercoaster is a pain in the ass.Anyway

    it could be far worse have a good one Kaz and it's great you have a supportive workmate who is so understanding. A rarity in this day and age but so nice tosee

    cheers Len

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