The Way We Think About Bipolar is Broken…

‘Oh my god you’ve got bipolar disorder…does that mean you want to punch people all the time?’

Funnily enough, no, no it doesn’t.

(Although maybe a little flick of your nose right now for such a silly comment!!!!)

You may be surprised to hear, that isn’t actually a one-off reaction that I’ve had to me telling someone I’ve got bipolar. In fact, it’s quite often the norm.

Thanks to the media, television and films trying to make bipolar disorder more VISUALLY exciting for the audiences, ‘real-life’ bipolar sufferers now have the added task of explaining to people that bipolar is actually ‘not like the films’ and the majority of us don’t actually respond with violence.

‘Silver Linings Playbook’ for example, is a really lovely film and portrays bipolar disorder fairly well. But again, the parking lot fighting scene is just a little bit far-fetched in showing what bipolar can actually be like.

Such is when reporting incidents on the news.

‘This person suffers from a mental illness and should not be approached’…yes, understandably a person who has just committed a dangerous act may not be approached, for anyone’s safety. But, please, stop saying this in the same sentence as ‘mental illness’.

Just because a person suffers from a mental illness does not mean they are unapproachable!! The dangerous act may make them unapproachable, but most certainly not the mental illness.

We are very approachable people, funnily enough, we are the same as anybody else.

WE ARE STILL HUMAN BEINGS!

And the world wonders why there is still such a stigma around mental health?!

I do believe that bipolar disorder is very misunderstood, but I think that is because people just don’t know enough about it.

And yes, it’s great that it gets coverage in the media, films and television. I do believe more people need to know about bipolar disorder and the effect it has on people’s and their families lives.

But please, don’t dramatise it to make better entertainment.

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Living with bipolar disorder is not entertaining. It is hard work. It is hard work every single day. It’s a mental battle every single day, and it can be tiring, and we can want to give up sometimes…but we’re all fighting it, and we’re all getting through, and we’re all managing to live our lives how we can.

Because that’s what we do! And hey, we do it with a smile…not a punch!

.xo

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20 Months Later…

…I’m still here and I’m still fighting, as always! So much has gone on since the last time I blogged here, but I finally feel ready to blog again!

So, in the last 20 months (I think I’d already moved the last time I blogged) I have got settled in my new city, with the love of my life and best friend (the main reason I moved) and we have started our lives together. And what an exciting time we’ve had!

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They say, ‘when you know, you know’, and with him…I know! Come on now, I wouldn’t have moved nearly 350 miles if I didn’t know…I’ve always known it was him.

Anyway, as well as life, my bipolar has been a constant, it always will be. But I’m pushing through it as always, and learning to live my new life with it…a life away from my old hometown and away from huge family. My partner though, he’s saved me, I tell him this all the time, because if it wasn’t for him (as well as my closest family members), I don’t know where I’d be.

He makes me strong every single day, makes me laugh and smile, picks me up when I’m down, brings me down if I’m away in the clouds…just generally makes life amazing for me.

So, one of the main reasons I wanted to blog again was because I’ve been reading a few books that were written by bloggers, and they were just ‘normal’ authors, great writing and had me chuckling the whole way through. And it got me thinking, ‘I want to blog again, I loved it!’ Getting things out of my head and typing it out was always so helpful to me, plus I always had such a great response from my posts, which was an amazing feeling knowing I could help people out there.

But another reason…I’m going to be a Mummy!

Yes, I know i won’t have loads of free time to blog now, so you might ask, ‘why blog now?!”, but I want to blog about what my pregnancy journey has been like, and what motherhood is like, with bipolar disorder.

I want to prove that just because i have Bipolar Disorder, this doesn’t mean I can’t be a bloody good Mum! And that’s my aim, to shower my little one with so much love, have the best, strongest family life…and to be the best Mummy I can be!

So here it is, the beginning of MosesMUMbles’ (see what I did there?!) new chapter…Baby, Bipolar and Me.

Thank you for reading.

.xo

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Alcohol Free – The Why?

To be told as a 24 year old you can never drink alcohol again is a pretty big shock to the system, but in November 2015, that’s exactly what I was told by my psychiatrist.
As most people my age, I did enjoy going out with the girls on the weekends; getting dressed up and having a few glasses of wine and a dance about. It’s only when I look back now that I realise how dangerous alcohol really was for me…and how good it is for me to have it out of my life for good.
I still remember when my doctor told me I couldn’t drink anymore, ‘That’s it Laura. Never again.’ he said, ‘No more alcohol. Not even a toast on your graduation, and especially not your wedding day; because ultimately, it could kill you.’ And you know what, as grave as it sounds, that was the top and bottom of it, it could.
I didn’t have a drinking problem, far from it. Yes I liked to go out with the girls, and at one point in my life I probably went out a little too often. But I had curbed that habit. The ‘right now’, I went out maybe once a month, I had changed so much in my life, going out every so often was the little bit of ‘normal’ I still had that my bipolar hadn’t gotten a hold of and made me change yet.
But alcohol changed me. It sent me on such a high, making me so hyper, running about like a daft’un to a point people thought I was on more than just alcohol. Which might have been fine, to me. But it wasn’t fair on my friends who had to keep an eye on me to check where I was running about to. They’re nights out aren’t for babysitting Laura…
And then came the days after the night before’s, and that’s when it got dangerous for me…because what goes up, must come down. And didn’t I half come down. I didn’t get hangovers as such, but alcohol used to send me into a depressive state the next few days after a night out that it could very often spiral out of control. Many a times I often ended up, unfortunately, in a dangerous situation, simply because of a depressive that (I now see) could have triggered originally by the on set of alcohol.
This of course didn’t happen every time I drank, and not even necessarily after a particular heavy drinking session. There was no pattern to it. Which is why I never picked it up sooner. My parents and wider family did try to ask me to stop drinking many a time, but I always just laughed it off. It wasn’t until the reality check from my psychiatrist of the danger of what the alcohol was doing to me and my bipolar; making me more impulsive and triggering me, often in dangerous ways, that I realised that I had to listen, if I wanted to live.
I left that doctors room and I cried my eyes out.
Never again is an awfully long time.
But I knew I had to do it. It was as simple as that. I didn’t think it was going to be easy, but I’m a pretty determined person when I put my mind to it, so I knew I’d give it a pretty good go.
13 months later and not a single drop of alcohol has touched my lips since. It’s been surprisingly easier than I expected. I still go on nights out, I’ve been on a family holiday and brought my best friend along and we stayed out and danced all night. It’s just been another lifestyle change I’ve had to get used to with my bipolar disorder; like taking medication every day, for example.
I’ve honestly never felt better since eliminating alcohol. I don’t lose days and days after a night out. My anxiety is barely there. I don’t embarrass myself on nights out anymore. I save myself a lot of money from not drinking!
Yes, a lot of people pull their faces when I tell them I don’t drink, but I can cope with that for how much better I feel in myself!
If anyone is thinking of trying go to sober for a little while, I highly recommend it, its been amazing for me. My next blog post I’m going to write about how I’ve managed to do it for the last 13 months, and hopefully that will be able to give you all some pointers, should you want them!
Thank you for reading, I know it’s been a bit of a heavy one, but I just wanted to share with you the story behind why I don’t drink anymore!
.xo

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Convince Your Mind…Then You’re Free To Do Anything!

Hello everyone, I hope you enjoyed my last post and it wasn’t too much for anyone. I know it was a little bit graphic, but I really just wanted to get my point across about the importance of taking medication regularly and how under no circumstances should you just stop, unless under medical supervision.

Anyway, this next post I promise is going to be a little brighter. Although it is pretty long!

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They say that ‘your body can stand almost anything. It’s your mind that you have to convince’ and I believe that to be so true. Mind set is so important. If you can get yourself in the right one, then I really think that anything is achievable; with some training, good nutrition and a smile on your face, of course!

A couple of months ago I was feeling spontaneous at 5.30am on the Stairmaster and decided that now I was finished my degree I was ready to do my first event of the year. My Dad and I usually do the Kielder 10k, but have always fancied doing the RunBikeRun, but it’s always sold out. This year I received an email 3 weeks before the event weekend to let me know that there were still spaces available. I felt like this was a ‘sign’ that Dad and I had to do something big this year, I’m graduating and he is 50…so I signed us up there and then!

I don’t think it really dawned on me until after I had signed us up just how tough this event was going to be. It was a 7 mile run, into a 15 mile bike ride, straight into another run of 4 miles all around the perimeter of Kielder Water which is all up and down hills! Not one to shy away from things, I found a 4-week duathlon plan, adapted it to the days I had left and just got on with it!

A few people I used to run with had told me how difficult the transition of getting from the bike and starting to run again. So, that’s what I worked on first. Having such an intense training plan was hard work, but in my head I knew it was only 3 weeks…21 little days before I could take part in my first competititive event of the year; and I knew how much I loved crossing the starting line with my favourite running partner – my Dad. And that’s what kept me going.

People often ask me what keeps me motivated, and I think that would be a good blog post for me to write about, if anyone would be interested in it anyway? Maybe you could comment on here? Or message me on Instagram? (lauramoses_sw) – I’, onpen to any other suggestions too!

Anyway, the 3 weeks of hard work passed and I kept chipping away, slowly getting more and more nervous, at the same time as getting more excited. This was the first race I had taken part in since the Leeds Abbey Dash in November 2015.

The day came and it was finally time to travel to Kielder and compete. The caravan was packed (we were spending the weekend as a family there too), the bikes were ready – baring in mind I have no idea how to change a puncture, GOOD ONE MOSES! – but hey, at least I had a packet of Jaffa Cakes in my rucksack!

That starting line was probably the scariest starting line of all the starts I’ve ever stood on. I finally realised how far I had to travel…how long I’d be moving for. I think my Dad suddenly realise how scared I was. For the first time in my life I THINK I was speechless. Maybe not completely, but my ‘normal’ rate of speech definitely slowed down. But I got a Daddy cuddle and a pep-talk (my favourites) and that’s when I knew ‘Laura, you can do this. You’ve got about 3 and a half – 4 hours of work to do here. That’s ALL.’ And I knew I was doing it.

No matter what.

Then the race started. And that’s when I started doing the maths. I’d already broken the race down into 3 (the run, the bike and the run) and I then broke the first run down again into manageable chunks in my head. And I kept doing this until I got to each point. Then it was time to get on the bike, ALREADY?! The bike was the most challenging part of me. I’m in no ways a cyclist. And this was some of the most uphill cycling I’d ever seen! But, I kept my head in it…and I DID IT!

 

Then it was the dreaded transition. But I’d practised it, so I kept a smile on my face and just got on with it. And it was surprisingly OK. And now I was on the home straight…4 more miles.

 

The last few miles were actually the same route as the 10k, which I had done previously, so I knew what I was in for. This settled me into more of a rythym and that was me set for the last 4 miles. I knew what I was doing. I knew I COULD do it more to the point. I was going to see my Mam and Dad soon. And I was going to make them so proud!!

The next thing I knew I was there, and I could see my Mam and Dad and I literally dancing (I actually got a shout out by the announcer when he said my name and number for the best finish and shorts haha) and I could just here my Mam and Dad cheering and clapping. I had the biggest smile on my face and I felt amazing.

I’D DONE IT! 26.2 miles of running cycling…DONE…in 3:25:29!

 

That was something I just never thought would be possible for me. But I’d TOLD myself I COULD do it. I broken it down into manageable chunks, I didn’t put myself under too much pressure, I kept a smile on my face and most of all…I ENJOYED IT!

Your body is amazing, and so is your mind. Embrace them.

.xo

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What Really Put Me In Hospital.

As you all know, I disappeared for a little while in January/February time, as I got taken into hospital for a couple of weeks due to a reaction to my bipolar medication. I’ve wanted to write a post about this experience for a while now (of what I can remember of it), to really emphasise the dangers of true effects of suddenly coming off medication.

I’ve been on and off anti-depressants/medication since I was 14, and always been told never to stop taking it suddenly, because of how dangerous it can be, but I’ve never really believed the doctors if I’m honest. How can it be ‘dangerous’?! Well I experienced first-hand just how dangerous it could be earlier this year.

This particular bipolar medication was third different type (I think) and seemed to be ‘my’ medication. I was responding really well to it; no horrendous side effects, I was sleeping well (unlike the last type that was making me sleep 18hrs a day), no ridiculous weight-gain or painful water retention like the last lot and I was just generally coping with life a lot better.

Then one morning, I woke up with a really itchy rash all over my right arm and wrist. Completely fine, right? Normally, yes. Except for some reason I wasn’t just seeing a rash, I was seeing ants crawling all over my arms and eating my skin! My Mam got straight on the phone to my psychiatrist to let him know I was hallucinating and he brought me in for an emergency appointment. The usual questions; had I been drinking, had I taken anything etc. To which my answers were obviously no. I got given some cream to take the itch away and my Mam asked to keep an eye on me for the next 24hrs. The rash got progressively worse, as did the hallucinations. My psychiatrist saw me again the next day and realised I was having an allergic reaction to my bipolar medication.

He made the decision that I would have to come off my current medication straight away, something you’re obviously not supposed to do, but my current situation itself was very dangerous. He would then start introducing a new bipolar medication straight away. He warned me that this would be like an addict coming off drugs and I would go through withdrawals and I was in for a very tough time the next 30 days were going to be horrendous for me.

He explained that this was going to send me into the 3 states of bipolar over the next 30 days; manic, mixed and depressive and that there was nothing I could do but ride it out. He also explained to me that the hallucinations would get a whole lot worse before they got better.

He wasn’t wrong either. The hallucinations got SO much worse. The next two weeks saw my bedroom furniture barricaded against my windows for various reasons, me being stuck in the garage because my legs had LITERALLY turned to jelly and I couldn’t move, as well as me sending my Mam out for cakes because I was convinced Princess Kate was coming for tea.

I was waking up at about 4am every day, turning my speakers on full blast and running in my Mam and Dad’s room to perform karaoke for them, usually something from a film or I seemed to develop a wicked Tina Turner impersonation. I was then colouring in for about 16hrs of the day, in between running about because I was bursting with energy.

After those 10 days, the panic attacks were added as well for the next days as my mood started to drop.

Then, the depressive state came, and that’s when it got really dangerous for me. And that’s when unfortunately I had to ask my psychiatrist to see about getting a bed for me on a psychiatric ward, as I wasn’t able to keep myself safe, with just how intense both the hallucinations and the depressive state of the bipolar had become because of the stopping of the medication, and because the new medication wasn’t in my system yet.

I waited 3 days for a bed, but there was none. It actually got to a point where they were going to send me to London to a hospital they were that desperate to get me a bed. Luckily, just as I was about to pack, a bed became available just out of area in Durham, and I was put in Lanchester Road Hospital for 9 days, until I was stable and strong again.

My psychiatrist was spot on, as usual, and once those 30 days were up, I felt pretty much myself again, or thereabouts, until my new medication had settled. My new medication isn’t as good as my old medication, it has some rubbish little side effects unfortunately, but I have learned to live with them. Because really what’s a couple of little side effects for a healthy, long life managing my bipolar and borderline personality disorder?

So yes, back to where I started. All of this happened because of a CONTROLLED sudden stop in medication, and it was one of the scariest times of my life. But I have still managed to take a lesson from it; I will never just stop taking my medication because ‘I feel better’, because look what it can do!

What I am trying to say is, if you’re on medication, and feel like you don’t need it anymore, please go and speak to your doctor before stopping it. Your doctor will advise you on the best way to come off it and/or reduce it!!

Thank you for reading!

.xo

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Whilst We’re On With The Good News…

Hello again!

I hope you all enjoyed reading my last post, albeit I’ve had a good 8 months break in between posts…promise that won’t happen again, HA!

So whilst I’m on a bit of a high with all of my good news, I thought I’d tell you about something else that happened to me in the last 8 months whilst I’ve been extremely quiet on the blog.

As you know, I was introduced to the most amazing psychiatrist last year that just ‘got me’; who helped me, listened to me and completely understood me. Well after I was discharged from hospital, and my medication was sorted, I was also deemed ‘well enough to be discharged from my psychiatrist, and just work with my counsellor. STEP 1…COMPLETE!

I then worked with my counsellor for a few more months, on a fortnightly basis, whilst working through my dissertation and getting settled into my new job. Having her there through this time really helped; I had an outlet, as well an extra part of a routine to make sure I stuck to from week-to-week (this may seem strange to people, but having an appointment I knew I had to stick to really helped me to keep pushing from day-to-day and get me to the next week).

Eventually it got to a point where my counsellor and I felt like we had covered everything we needed to, I was stronger than ever and it had gotten to a point where we felt like it was time I should try going it alone. She felt I was strong enough to be discharged from the mental health services…completely. This didn’t happen straight away, she needed to speak to my psychiatrist to discuss whether he was happy with my progress, and I went away to have a think about it by myself too.

I had one final meeting with my counsellor two weeks later, where she had drafted a potential discharge notice for us to go through. Reading through it, it was amazing to see how far I had come in the months I had been under her care; I hadn’t quite realised how much we had covered, or just how poorly I had been at some points. I felt so proud of myself reading it. It made me realise how well I can notice my triggers now, and how well I can handle them, as well as how open I am with my illness now and when I’m struggling (something I never was before).

STEP 2…COMPLETE!

Looking back at just how far I’ve come in the last year or so, I really can’t believe it. I truly feel amazed with myself, I know I’ve fought every single day to become the girl I am today; and I’m still fighting every single day. But I also feel completely blessed; because I know I couldn’t have done it without the amazing support network I have around me either. Their continuous love, cuddles and support get me through every single day.

And hopefully, it’s all onwards and upwards for us all now.

.xo

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I’m Still Here Guys!

Hello Hello Hello!

So I am very aware that my last post was way back when in February!! And I’m so sorry, but I’ve just been so absolutely chocker block that I had to take a break from writing to just get ‘on’.

As you know, I was in hospital in January (of which I do want to write some posts about my experience eventually) but finally I managed to get myself ‘well’ again and get on track with my university work and dissertation. I also managed to get myself a full-time job during this time, of which I started in May. I was still completing my dissertation during this time, which meant my time was very full for a few months…

I was getting up at 4.45am to get to the gym before work, then working 9am-5.30pm, then going to the library until about 9.30pm and then back to the gym for 30mins to do a tiny bit of cardio to clear my head before heading home to meal prep, shower and head to bed before doing it all again the next day. I was spending most of my weekends in the library as well. Although I tried to make sure I had a few hours to myself with family/friends on a Saturday or Sunday to go for a nice walk and coffee. This was extremely intense for me, and could have been really dangerous for me in the past, but as I now know my triggers, and kept a strict routine, healthy eating plan and kept exercise within my daily routine also, I managed to keep myself well throughout. (And only a couple of outbursts of tears) Something that took myself and all of my loved ones completely by surprise I think!

Anyway, by August, I was completely shattered (still smiling and pushing through) and finally ready to hand in my dissertation! AND I DID IT!

I actually did it!! After everything that’s happened in the last 3 years I actually managed to see something through to the end?! UNHEARD OF!!

Not only that…but I’m actually graduating with a 2.1 in Business with English in December!! I never ever thought I was good enough to get a grade like this, but to get this grade after everything that went on in my 2nd and 3rd years has actually blown my mind!!

Now that my crazy busy 18hr days are over, I thought I would relax a little bit more but it seems that my timetable is just as busy! My new routine is brand new and I am absolutely loving it, full of new and exciting projects (again, of which I am hoping to write some blog posts about in the very near future) and I am the most comfortable and happy I have been in a very long time!

I’m so excited to get back into blog writing again now I have a ‘little’ bit of time to myself, and I hope you will all enjoy reading them!

.xo

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