Overcoming anxiety

I have never been someone who has overcome anxiety. Anxiety plagued me during my university days to the point of not being able to attend half of my lectures. I did not push through it. I caved and let the anxiety consume me.

Thanks to a medication I was put on my anxiety was no more (pregabalin). I have been on this medication for around four years now and it has worked wonders so far.

However recently, since coming back down to reality after my latest manic episode, I have been plagued with anxiety yet again.

Recently I am learning to push through my anxiety. I mean, it is all in my head, right? At least, that is what I tell myself, even when it is very physical. Anxiety can get physical.

I feel proud to say that two days in a row I have overcome my anxiety. It is still very present, however I pushed through it. For me this is a start. I got myself to the gym and I got myself to a university open day for my masters. Small but very real victories!

There is one thing I like about mania

I usually want to be myself when manic – the natural me without medication. The thought racing, impulsive, grandiose girl that I tend to love. Why do I love her? Because she has confidence.

Confidence is something I tend to lack when stable. It was not until I first experienced mania at the age of around 21 that I felt confidence and I cannot tell you how good it felt. Not only did I feel on top of the world, but I felt confident in my appearance, I felt confident when I spoke, and I felt confident in who I was as a person.

During my last hospital admission, while working with my named nurse, we both discovered that I personally chase the highs of mania because it makes me feel confident. I do not like who I am when I am stable – I do not dwell on it, usually, but when the low self esteem hits me, it hits me hard.

Right now I feel more stable than I have ever felt. However after looking in the mirror to put makeup on and get dressed, I have realised that I am no longer confident, which I was confident a month ago while manic.

This triggers a thought process of ‘should I come off my medication?’ So here I am, debating if I should or should not come off my depo injection which is due tomorrow. I have been in this place so many times before, with this desire to feel even half as confident as I do while manic.

I will not come off my medication, but I hope I have learnt something this time round – the reason why I come off my antipsychotic. The reason why I chase the highs of mania, even though being manic is a dangerous and humiliating way to be sometimes because of the things I tend to do and experience.

More importantly, I hope I have learnt that coming off my medication to feel more superior than other people is not the solution. Just for the confidence boost.

I think maybe the solution is therapy to work on my self esteem.

Self harm scars are permanent

I wish there was something I could do. Some way to go back in time and tell myself what I know now, how I feel, the regret I have.

I started self harming when I was around 19 years old. I had an eating disorder at the time and would cut my thighs because I thought they were fat. When my eating disorder left me, so did my need to self harm. My scars faded.

Fast forward two or three years and I am diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I started self harming again while I was stoned. I cut my thigh and painted the walls with blood because I was delusional at the time and under the influence of weed.

This started the self harming patterns I seem to be stuck in while manic or depressed. I would cut to relieve the agitation I felt when manic. I would cut when low in mood as I thought it would help me. It never did help me, so I would cut even more, thinking that the next cut would help. This is how I have made a massacre of my arm and thighs.

The truth is though, it does not help me. Cutting has never helped me. It has only left me with way more than a handful of scars that, now that I am stable, I regret I created.

I do not know how to find peace with what I have done to my body. I look at my thighs and they are clustered with scars. My arms look like they have been butchered.

While these scars might fade, I hope that in time I find peace and accept my body how it is, with the flaws that I have created. However for now I fear judging eyes as my thighs and one arm is covered in pink scar tissue.

Hypersexuality is a thing of the past

We have all heard of hypersexuality. Unfortunately for me I have experienced it numerous times. When I am manic I become hypersexual and hypersexuality is a dangerous place for me to be.

I have made many mistakes due to hypersexuality. From snogging strangers or friends, to sleeping with them and even simply flashing them.

I do regret it to this day, the sex I have had, the way I behaved, the situations I got myself in. If there was a rewind button I would definitely hit it.

However when I am stable I am a completely different person sexually. While I am bisexual when manic, I am more asexual when I am stable. I still get horny, however I do not want sex, with anyone.

I believe my hypersexuality has ruined sex for me. I disgust myself because of my decisions when manic to the point of hating the idea of sex. To say sex repulses me when I am stable would be an understatement.

Alcohol could be my downfall

I cannot for the life of me figure out if alcohol is where I went wrong. Maybe I have figured it out already but I do not want to admit to it. Maybe it was just a coincidence, but I may never know.

Before being admitted to hospital I was drinking heavily one week prior. I am not much of a drinker, but where alcohol is concerned, something always goes wrong.

My nan had recently passed away and I was using alcohol (and weed) as a coping mechanism. I was drinking and then taking overdoses once I had drank. I would never (or so I think) have taken that overdose if I was not drunk.

Fast forward to a few hours after discharge from hospital and I am thinking to myself ‘maybe a prosecco would be rewarding right now’. A part of me knows this could be a bad idea.

However I do not feel depressed and I do not feel manic. So would alcohol in moderation be such a bad idea?

Hospital has been crazy

I do not want to get ahead of myself because I am currently waiting for a doctor to take me off my section 3 before I can go home, but I should be going home today.

Hospital has been crazy. More specifically I have been crazy. I went in depressed after taking two overdoses in a week, only to end up manic and bouncing off the walls, going awol, refusing medication, and ending up being sent to a picu.

I am happy to put this chapter of my life in the past and move forward. I already have a plan of what is to come next.

First, I get myself back to the gym. Then I start up volunteering in mental health. Then I have a complete career switch up and become and support worker in mental health. I hope that in future I can go back to University and do a masters in mental health nursing (if possible). I have high hopes for my future and only I can make these things happen.

The days drag by

It has been two months since I have been made inpatient in hospital. I am now under section three of the mental health act.

The mania seems to be under control with the help of medication, specifically risperidone, an old school anti psychotic.

I barely remember my manic days.

I am currently on a picu (psychiatric intensive care unit) and hoping to be transferred back to an acute ward at any point next week. I feel like I am getting my hopes up too high as I have been told I need to be here for a couple more weeks.

It is a nightmare and I am living in hell.