Living a mixed affective episode and sodium valproate

So over the past month or so I have been in the throws of a mixed affective episode which has been extremely unpleasant. I have been violently swinging from the depths of depression to something not far off mania and I have been trying really hard to get on with life.

My care plan (that I hate having) is based around the sensible theory that comtinuing with my work and the rest of my life is best for my mental health in the long run. The last time I was in hospital was in March and although there are three times when I could have easily been put back there since then, my social worker and I are working on staying out as much as possible which involves the cooperation of my boyfriend who locks away my medication and other sharp implements while I am unwell and also monitors me on a daily basis. I don’t envy him really but he is good about it and I trust he has my best intentions at heart (bless). I also have to continue to work on my PhD as much as possible and just generally keep going. This is really tricky as although everyone knows I am bipolar I still feel that they wouldn’t want to be burdened with the knowledge that I am hearing voices telling me to kill myself, so I try and keep a brave face on and get by the best I can.

The only thing is that my contact with the mental health services is vastly increased and I am seeing my psychiatrist and social worker on a weekly basis (which is alot for an NHS psychiatrist). So many appointments really get in the way of life but better that than the alternative I suppose.

So I have had my lithium carbonate put up which has had the unfortunate side effect of giving me a tremor in my hands. Its actually quite bad and I’m having trouble sending a text on my phone because my fingers don’t go where I tell them to. I also have a bad case of vertigo which is really unpleasant. This could either be the lithium or a viral infection, but whatever the cause, it’s not pleasant.

I will also be going on Sodium Valproate to try and add to the regulation of my mood but I can’t have that until I sort out my contraception situation as it can cause birth defects which is not ideal (lithium can do this too by the way). I don’t know whether going on another mood stabilizer is a good idea but I have rapid cycling which is notoriously resistant to treatment and to be honest right now I’m feeling a little desperate. I just want this to stop. I haven’t been stable in my mood for such a long time and am right at the end of my tether to tell you the honest truth. Anything that can help me right now is a blessing.

Anyway, I thought I’d share some rather old lyrics with you from a song that means an awful lot to me when I’m feeling fragile:

Summer stretching on the grass
Summer dresses pass
In the shade of the willow tree
Creeps are crawling over me
Over me and over you
Stuck together with gods glue
It’s gonna’ get stickier, too
It’s been a long, hot summer
Lets get undercover
Don’t try to hard to think, don’t think at all

I’m not the only one,
Staring at the sun.
Afraid of what you’d find
If you took a look inside
I’m not just deaf and dumb
Staring at the sun
Not the only one
Who’s happy to go blind

There’s an insect in your ear
If you scratch it won’t disappear
It’s gonna itch and burn and sting
You want to see what the scratching brings
Waves that leave me out of reach
Breaking on your back like a beach
Will we ever live in peace?

‘Cause those that can’t do
Often have to
And those that can’t do
Often have to preach

To the ones
Staring at the sun
Afraid of what you’d find
If you took a look inside
Not just deaf and dumb
I’m staring at the sun
I’m not the only one
Who’d rather go blind

Intransigence is all around
Military still in town
Armour plated suits and ties
Daddy just won’t say goodbye
Referee won’t blow the whistle
God is good but will He listen
I’m nearly great
But there’s something missing

I left it in the duty free yeah
But you never really belonged to me

You’re not the only one
Staring at the sun
Afraid of what you’d find
You step back inside
Not sucking on my thumb
I’m staring at the sun
I’m not the only one
Who’s happy to go blind