Enough of us both

TW: suicidal thoughts and planning

On Monday afternoon I sat in a glass-walled consulting room with my Consultant psychiatrist. Out in the waiting room I had felt so weary, sick to the back teeth of coming to this building over and over again; in about three months’ time I will have been attending that same clinic for four years. I thought back to my first appointment. I remembered how confident Dr X had seemed about stabilising me on the right drug and getting me back to my job as quickly as possible. I wondered how many more months or years I would carry on coming here in the hopes of that elusive stability.

I started to cry as soon as Dr X asked how I was doing. The last time we met I’d been so well, better in fact that in years, all thanks to the cocktail of meds we’d arrived at with the help of the National Affective Disorders Service. I knew it was ridiculous, but I felt that by going into a tailspin I had somehow let him down. As I explained how I had lost my cherished equilibrium and had a sudden, very deep mood drop I sobbed, covering my face or my eyes with my hands. I couldn’t look at him. I said that I felt I had got sucked into yet another bipolar loop and I simply couldn’t cope with that. I sobbed from behind my hands that not only had I reanimated my suicide plan from the autumn – which had turned out to be dormant, and not at all extinct – I had gone further, writing lists and calculating budgets to try to make things to pan out the way I wanted to.

Dr X, as he always does, said he was very sorry to hear that (can you tell that even though I think he’s great and by far the best psychiatrist I’ve ever had, I have appointment fatigue?).  He told me, as of course I knew he would, that he was confident we could get me out of this blip and back to better functioning. I thought, but could not say, that this repeated dance of ours was part of the problem. Dr X asked what I wanted to do. Did I need more support? He could make a referral to the Home Treatment Team. I groaned and pressed my palms into my eyes. No. I did not want to be referred to HTT. Although I had come to know the team well and found them hugely supportive, after spending half of 2014 under their care I just couldn’t face going back. I was beginning to feel like a HTT revolving door case, with no hope of ever getting out of services. So we compromised. We would up the lamotrigine and I would come back in two weeks to report on progress. I would ask Tom to manage my meds again. If within that time I decided I wanted HTT, or if Tom was concerned, we should contact Dr X immediately. If at the end of the fortnight I was no better I should reevaluate my options.

Since then I have felt confused, anxious, miserable, detached, terrified, exhausted, guilty (sometimes all at once) and above all despondent about my life and its limitations. I am back in a place where I can see into my future of relapse after relapse, no matter how well I do in between, and as before I feel I do not want this life. It is not tenable going forward. I often tell people that I wouldn’t want my bipolar taken away, because it and I grew up together, and it is true; I have no idea who I would be without it. So it’s not simply that I want rid of my bipolar. I have had enough of us both.

Right now I am juggling four quite compartmentalised parts of my brain. There’s the ordinary bit, the bit that thinks according to accepted logic. The bit that can say, well, I was in remission for some years before and it’s true I was doing well lately. Dr X is right, Tom is right, if I’m patient with the dose increase it could lead to me catching another break. The good times are worth the difficult times.

The anxious part works to a differently logic. It reacts to a drop in mood with sheer panic, with desperation, with a belief that it always, always comes down to this and there is no hope, that I am a terrified hamster running round and round in the same wheel. So of course there is only one answer to that, and that is to exit the wheel.. The anxious part would kind of like HTT involvement, because they are familiar, because I want an NHS comfort blanket, but fears that nothing will help and that referral back to them emphasises the fact that things will never get better.

Then there’s the sneaky suicidal part, which I’ve written about here. I’ve been experiencing a lot of dissociation this week. Not just feeling spaced out and floaty, but seeming to lose chunks of time, finding I have done things I don’t really remember. The dissociation is closely connected to the sneakiness. My guess is that this is the only way my poorly brain can cope with my situation – by opting out. This part of me is almost like sleepwalking or autopilot, more like an app running in the background that a series of conscious thoughts. In the supermarket buying soup, that part of me clocks helpful items and squirrels the prices of them away for later use. It begins to attach tremendous importance to certain, potentially useful, objects around the house. It notes that although Tom has taken away almost all of my drugs, I have ways of getting others. But it does all this well behind the logic and the panic.

The last section is simultaneously critical and fearful. It worries that there is nothing wrong me, that I am a fool and a fraud to even be thinking of Home Treatment, that all this suicide planning is not a response to distress or history but some form of attention seeking (even though I am extremely resistant to telling and never ever disclose the details to anyone who could help). It thinks that despite a Consultant psychiatrist being worried at me people might laugh at my minuscule problems.

I don’t really know how to re-integrate my mind. I suppose I’m waiting for conventional logic, perhaps helped by the med increase, to take over. A good friend said to me recently that she was worried the dissociation puts me at risk of sleepwalking into harming myself. Part of me doesn’t want that, wants to live, only I am so weary of everything that I can’t be bothered to nurture that desire. I literally don’t know what to do with myself.

About purplepersuasion

40 something service user, activist, writer and mother living with bipolar disorder. Proud winner of the Mark Hanson Prize for Digital Media at the Mind Media Awards #VMGMindAwards
This entry was posted in Bipolar, Mental health services, Suicidal thought, Suicide and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Enough of us both

  1. seperate the bi-polar u and the old real self .enjoy those thoughts of fun and try to live maybe similar to then.i at this time dont even wana talk on my self on every thing about me is to much.i belong legaly to government.but if u dont think u dont worie……….that always work

    • Well, like I say, I don’t have a separate “old” or “real” self from a “before”. I have had BP since I was 11 years old, which is exactly why I say we can’t actually be separated. I appreciate it’s maybe different for those with adult onset, but I barely have any memories before BP, let alone any sense of self/personality. That’s precisely the problem I was trying to convey here.

      • acually im bi-polar and allready a sphsycalogical behavior disorder by13 a possible which came tru is parinoid scitzo disorder so at 18 added a buncha shit and suicide dont work i cant die…so now the crazy drugs they put me on is growing to battle the side effects and my wheight double cusa seraquil and nothin works xpt benzos.i am also now a epileptic, so im fully dissabled and it started as a joke it pays rent and meds. but we all have diff. situation and lives.so peace to mother earth for u i light sage.this means a great and put redbfick dust it door entrence from outside instability in nature.peace

  2. What I do when I get to feeling like you do is think of all the people who deal with horrid stuff everyday. Much, much worse than me. The child who is being abused beyond repair. The person who no fault of their own has lost the ability to walk due to a car accident. The child born with MS or some other horrible life robbing disease. The soldier who had to do horrible things in war and now cannot live with what he’s done.

    I know how you feel having 3 hospitalizations in only 5 years. Having to change doctors 3 times because I had to move across country to escape an unbearably stressful living situation. I get fed up top the teeth and have danced with the suicide demon but when I see my gorgeous great nephew smile and giggle or my great niece learning to ride horseback….the struggle is worth seeing these things.

    Hang in there sweetie. This too shall pass.

    • war is about killing and no 1 is innocent. so dont talk on it being horrible to kill its a gift.some that cant kill the seed ,cant kill a bomb holdig hore…they are like most other europians without u.s china or turkey they couldnt even git it right.and all mex. shall die.and then whiteynext. LONG LIVE NATIVE AMERICA.there is still time for rebreading a tru savage.me and i boil baby mex.and microwavewhites

      • compasion from fakes makes me suicidal just to get off on lack of blood.lol see im funny 2 i have p.t.s.d and she set me off and every neighber i have thats a spick has no papers.just METH@SHITTY WEED AND THEY CUT IT WIT BATH SALTS.sorry x-addict and MeTHplus mexies. now all the ganstas  cant get decent coke. they started and its not real    ice    its pv2p2.im no coke head but meth is alot worse coke got me off 6-7 year meth using up 2 a 8 ball a dayof meth.coke never called me back.i usually just use it to party wit the FEMALES or godesses if u please.i might be harsh but i as u also have to undestand am schitzted still from life….lmfao….i though can be a nice man.

  3. Kiera Naylor says:

    I don’t have bipolar, but I can empathise with you. I have anxiety/ depression, and today’s the second day in a row I’ve had off work. It feels like no matter what I try or what happens nothing ever *really* changes or gets better, and I’m stuck on the same never ending loop. It just feels like I can’t function like adult humans are supposed to.

    So – *jedi hugs* if you want them.

    • i feel u i have to take huge 19-22 pills 3-4 times a day .and still its a combat zone AT WAL MART.im basicly stuck in house on cocktail goin on 10 years.been a fuk up whole life.or did it my way i lived 10-20 without any fear.now i feel like i need bullet proof vest and my gun just to leave house.i dont understand

  4. Fiona says:

    I have had a blip myself and am off work with mania. I can’t be referred to my local psychiatrist because he is my colleague. I could get an out of area appointment but I can’t drive and the person I would see would be much less experienced than me as a psychiatrist. I am living for small pleasures day to day and I think I will recover. That’s what keeps the suicdal thoughts at bay but I have had to cancel bigger joys like visiting my Uncle in the Lake District. I find your bloggs so honest and inpiring. Please hang on in there. You have been well and you will be again.

  5. sue says:

    Do hope you manage to hang on- even in your darkest moments I think you mean a lot to many. My partner could not escape from despair and opted out- I understand her choice but remain sad for all she has missed.

  6. Jeez, I’m in a very similar situation right now. I do hope that the med increase helps you to stabilise somewhat and perhaps assist you in rationalising what’s going on at the moment. Sometimes that hope is all we have, albeit in small amounts.

  7. Katie says:


    I really appreciate your honest reflections. Finding your blog was a bonus as I came to adapt having been diagnosed with Bi-Polar.

    The way of describing your 4 types of thought has rung a chord. I don’t think I have them quite as strong as you but certain elements of all go on in my mind. Your post has made me recognise them.

    I really hope you find a way through your current low.


  8. Harv says:

    Was really struck by what you said at the top about being in a loop. I’m a depression sufferer – I still think I might potentially by BP but my psychiatrist doesn’t think so – and I find myself doing well, thinking I’ve recovered and then something drags me back down again. I really admire your openness as well as the way you capture those feelings of appointment fatigue,

  9. Sara says:

    I also worry about being thought a fraud. Is my depression real or even a problem when I am so much more creative on my “up” days? My manager talks about not knowing whether she is talking to the “real me” or not and talks about me getting back to normal. I asked her last week – what if this is normal? What if this is how I am now and forever? I then feel guilty for thinking like that but I am tired of trying to get back to other idea of normality I.e. Off the pills and “the way you were”. I know now that I have had depression all my life even if I have only taken medication for four periods, including currently. It is part of me.
    the day that Robin Williams died I got a text from my sister in law. She said,” I thought I should remind you how much you are loved”. I.e. I am loved the way I am, not the way I was. I hang onto that in my depression battles. Can you hang onto that – no matter “who” you are.

  10. James says:

    Just one brief comment. Feeling that you have let the Dr down by not being well is NOT ridiculous – it is actually a well-known phenomenon.

  11. im glad to have this sites RIGHT FOR FREEDOM OF SPEACH.alot of people edit my RANTSat time and sorrow and self pitty-hatered of self and others.its my response mekanizm. response at the voices that nobody else supposedly hears.or see.

  12. Tim Wade says:

    I am blessed to have found your blog. I relate to many of the things you mention in this post. I too have been bipolar since childhood. Introspection has led me to conclude that I have had it since birth, although I was not diagnosed until I was nearly 42 years old. I too take Lamotrigine, along with Abilify to help with the mania. One thing that I do not see in you that I see in myself is a line of demarcation whereby you can point and say this is the old me, and this is the new me on medication. Maybe I just haven’t read enough of your work to know this about you. For me, though, there is a line that I can clearly see that differentiates the stable me enough from the me with all the bipolar crap. So, when I have bad days, which do creep in from time to time, I know what is crap and needs to be either ignored, or dealt with. These relapses also come up when I forget to take my meds. This happened last year when I started a new job and lost my normal routine. I went off the deep end for a few weeks and felt like my old bipolar self all over again. Anyway, great work. You’re providing a much needed service. You deserve all your success and so much more.

    • I do and I don’t have an “old” me. I’ve had BP symptoms since I was 11 BUT then I had an amazing an unprecedented eight years of remission. Boy, do I feel like I am paying for it now though 😦 As you can imagine I can’t help wanting to get back to how I was in that gap, even though it’s probably unrealistic as before then (I was 28) I’d pretty much and an episode a year. It was so nice to be free of it all…

  13. Pingback: Where the damage is done | purplepersuasion

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