My ex-open boyfriend met me when I was in a manic episode. I was so full of life, energy, humour and love when I was with him. The electricity was turned on and I couldn’t turn it off. Then when I was back at university and I got depressed and talked to him on the phone he was confused. He thought that this was my permanent state, that he knew who I was. But he couldn’t be more wrong. My state of mind had changed and he didn’t like what he saw. He wanted me to be constantly happy, elated. joyful. It is funny how people who don’t know you well can think your manic self is your true self and then they don’t want to be around you when you are low.
At the beginning of my journey towards better mental health I was hoping that on the right medication I would be rid of my highs and lows and that I could stop self harming forever. Now that I have been living with mental health problems for a couple of years I don’t think this is the case. Even with all of my medications I still get bipolar symptoms but the fact is these symptoms are often much less extreme than before or I have dealt ways to deal with my symptoms.
Recently I have tried to reduce my self harm by exercising a lot more. It has partly helped as I have self harmed less but I don’t see how I could ever completely stop scratching as it’s always there when I need a coping mechanism to cope with my agitation most likely caused by my traumatised mind. But I am going to keep on swimming and see if I can reduce self harm by doing that.
The other day I decided I didn’t need to go to the day hospital or have one on one therapy for the moment. I didn’t make those decisions without reason; I have gotten to the point where I no longer have anything to discuss in therapy and I personally think that too much therapy is unhealthy as you start going over things again and again or you constantly ask the question ‘how was your week?’.
It wasn’t just me who thinks I don’t need therapy as I discussed this in my second last group in front of my psychologist and she also thinks I don’t need therapy.
I am going to continue to take my medications every day as prescribed and see my psychiatrist in March with my dad. I am also going to continue to not drink, limit my caffeine, get exercise and eat healthily.
I had some periods of mild low at the weekend but I didn’t get suicidal or despairing and I had absolutely no trouble getting out of bed so that is an improvement on my last low.
Last week I posted that I had been self harming again. I have good news; I haven’t made myself bleed and properly self harmed for about three or four days. I feel less disassociated and less in my own world.
Now I know I need to take it further and completely stop even starting to scratch myself before I stop myself; cold turkey it is for me.
Yesterday I almost didn’t take my bipolar meds because I didn’t feel like it but I am proud of myself as without having anyone else tell me I came to the conclusion that I take them for a reason and I need to take them. Suffice to say I took the meds.
So in general I feel pretty well at the moment as I’ve practically stopped self harming and my bipolar is fairly stable. I no longer feel like the noticeably manic person on another level which I feel like when I’m unstable!
Another great thing about tonight is that I made a decision about my life and said no and expressed what I want and what is good for me. I decided I just want to volunteer once a week rather than twice as I have Spanish and French classes, Spanish reading and therapy and I want more time for French readings.
I feel free after sharing my poems earlier, great about the fact I have been getting nearer to how I used to be before bipolar and self harm and more confident in myself that I managed to assert myself.
I’m going to post some old poems about my feelings many months ago to finally get everything out of my system so I feel refreshed and ready to move on.
I haven’t spoke completely honestly about my rape on here because I’ve wanted to think I am better and stronger than I am. The truth is that although I am making a lot of progress in my recovery there are still days sometimes when I feel the great weight of the pain from rape stopping me from moving forward with my life. On these days I often find myself writing letters to the rapist or myself or writing down my feelings about the rape.
In all honesty, I struggled to face the third month anniversary because it was a reminder for me that I had actually been raped and I couldn’t bear to face this fact.
So yes, I am strong and I am refusing to let this defeat me but there are some days when I struggle and that’s understandable given what I’ve been through and as it’s only been almost four months now.
I could have gone back to university anyway even though I couldn’t concentrate and had suicidal thoughts but instead I decided to go home and take a leave of absence. A leave of absence means that you are taking time out from university or school but you aren’t dropping out.
I think sometimes it’s just not possible to continuing on studying if you are very ill or have personal circumstances. I felt that if I had gone back to uni that year I might have eventually ended up dead if the suicidal thoughts had continued.
There is no doubt that I found taking a leave of absence to be very hard. At times I felt like a failure for not doing what I was supposed to be doing which was completing my degree. I also missed my friends as most of my friends were at my university or universities far away.
I don’t regret my decision at all. It was necessary for me to take time out to get better so that I could flourish even more at my studies when I went back. The leave of absence gave me time to try lots of different medications and therapy to see what could make me better. Resting and only doing low stress volunteer work was very good for my health. I think I needed months of rest so that I could recover.
Overall, I don’t think I would have been able to get better without taking a leave of absence.