Archive for the ‘bipolar disorder’ Category

How many times have you heard people say “if only I could go back”? Sure thing I’d reply, but only if I knew then what I know now!

I’ve started bumping into people who I haven’t seen for around four years now. They never fail to comment on how well I am looking.

I smile to myself because they knew me back when I was stuffed with prescription drugs and hiding away from the world. There was rarely a smile and I spent most of my time wishing I wasn’t where I was,  in my head or listening to podcasts on bipolar disorder and depression to keep me company.

Bipolar Nation was my lifesaver. Without Captain Joe’s podcasts I don’t know where I’d be.  It seemed as if he was the only one who understood my suffering. His humour and voice were a great comfort to me for two years while I was being treated for bipolar disorder.

(To listen to Captain Joe’s podcasts click HERE).

I used my Ipod to disconnect from the world around me, to cope with my emotional pain and suffering.

Most of my suffering was the result of the side effects of the drugs I was being prescribed.  You see I wasn’t bipolar at all but I made myself fit that label (that’s another story!).

The side effects of antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, antidepressants and benzodiazepines all rolled into one took a toll on my body and I believe they took a toll on my mind too.

I was even prescribed Artane, a drug used to stop the tremors in Parkinson’s Disease sufferers.  Fancy that, a drug to stop the side effects of another drug!

Never do I forget where I’ve been. I am grateful for where I am today but I feel somewhat sad that I don’t have the desire like others to want to go back to my early years.

It is sad that the fond childhood memories I do have do not outshine the negative ones.  The fond memories are not enough to make me wish I could go back in time.

I am so grateful to be where I am today. My past will never leave me but my present and future can only get better.

I give thanks to 12 Step Programs for my new way of living.  They have taught me new problem solving skills which I have been able to share with fellow sufferers of mental illness.

It is my belief that mental illness stems from dysfunction.  What I mean by that is as children we mimic the coping mechanisms of our caregivers.  When our caregivers have unhealthy/dysfunctional coping strategies, we as children learn to manage our difficulties in the same or similar way.  Our parents are our Gods, we trust them and trust that they know best and will tell us the truth and we model our lives on those of our caregivers.

We bring our learned unhealthy coping mechanisms into adulthood. By now they are comfortable and they are all we’ve ever known.

Learning to reverse our old belief systems, our old coping mechanisms and to do things differently and functionally is a long hard journey.

There is only one way to travel a long hard journey and that is forward because like I always say, I’d never go back!


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I recently responded to a request for experience strength and hope in dealing with toxic families who have mental illnesses and possible personality disorders. This is what I said:
“I have a fair bit of experience with mental illness as it runs in my family of origin (depression, anxiety, bipolar, schizophrenia) plus I have depression and anxiety & mild agoraphobia and was wrongly treated for bipolar disorder for 2 years and my partner has depression and mild anxiety.
I also run a mental illness support group.
Firstly I don’t know how your husband’s family of origin act (if it is manipulative or aggressive for example) but I have found that dealing with people who are manipulative/aggressive,  I need to stay away for my own mental wellbeing. I have dealt with around 4-5 people in 2 years with Borderline Personality Disorder and I swore never to do it again for they have issues with anger and I would often be the butt of it. To me, those types of behaviours can be destructive to my mental wellbeing and I choose to distance myself from people who have personality disorders, especially ones who have not done D.B.T to help them control their emotions.
On the other hand depression, anxiety, agoraphobia and bipolar sufferers are somewhat “normal” and I find it easier to converse with them possibly because I understand how they feel and I can often make allowances for their behaviours if I know they are acting out of character.
My grandmother has schizophrenia and when she is not herself I feed sad for her and my mother helps her to ensure she gets the right medication to make her well again as the effects of her illness are apparent to my mother and her sisters and they accept it as part of life.
My counsellor on the other hand told me stay away from mentally ill people because they can “zap” me of my energy and serenity and are very needy however if I wanted to continue with the support group then I would need to learn to distance myself or not absorb the negative energy mentally ill people can give off. I chose the latter and being a “fixer”, it is very hard not to want to “fix” everyone who is sick and close myself off to their internal pain.
I do have a friend who is very negative when she emails me (she has bad depression/PTSD) and through this Program I learnt to stand back and let her go her on own journey for I was unable to convince her that I had already been there and done that and it became very frustrating for me. Now if she asks me questions I give her honest answers but I let her travel her own mental illness path. I also talk positive to her (and quite often repeat program talk to her) for I feel that is the best way I can keep encouraging her to move forward.
I have learnt that a lot of mental illness sufferers have their illness because of difficult experiences in their childhood and a lot sufferers would benefit greatly from 12 Step Programs. I don’t think it’s their fault (for it’s not mine that I was brought up in an alcoholic home) but understanding where it stems from helps me feel compassion for people who are in the same boat as me.”

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As I suffer from generalised anxiety disorder and various OCD symptoms such as the need to have things orderly, clean and perfect, I was wondering whether love and sex addiction is classed a form of OCD.

Some experts believe that sexual addiction is literally an addiction, directly analogous to alcohol and drug addictions. Other experts believe that sexual addiction is actually a form of obsessive compulsive disorder and refer to it as sexual compulsivity.

The American Psychiatric Association has proposed that out-of-control sexual appetites be included as a diagnosis in the next edition of the psychiatrists’ bible, the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,” to be published in 2013.

I located a very helpful article outlining the difference between sexual thoughts and compulsions being an addiction or an obsessive compulsive disorder. It is of course only one person’s view on the subject.

Here’s an extract of the article which summarises the outcome:

It cannot be overemphasized that the sexual obsessions in OCD are the opposite of the usual sexual daydream or fantasy. Normal sexual fantasies are enjoyable and generally harmless. They may consist of wishes or memories of past sexual experiences. However, the sexual ideation in OCD is unpleasant and distressing. The individual with OCD does not want the thought to become real. The idea of acting out the obsession fills the OCD victim with dread. Sexual obsessions in OCD rarely produce sexual arousal because anxiety and arousal cannot occupy the same space. As a result, OCD usually decreases sex drive. OCD sexual obsessions result in guilt, shame, and interfere with ocial functioning or work. Source:

Love Addiction

While I am unable to speak for the sex addict, to my knowledge and experience, love addicts (who can also act out sexually) do not have decreased sexual desire when in the midst of their fantasy or addiction nor do their experiences feel unpleasant or distressing.

I am lead to believe that love addiction stems from unmet childhood needs.  For example, codependent mum is too busy with alcoholic dad to worry about children therefore children use fantasy as a way to meet their unmet needs and as escapism from a difficult family environment.

There are various types of love addicts, here’s a link to help you figure out which one you might be: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_addiction

Healing from Sex/Love Addiction

Start by getting a good counsellor who is familiar with sex and love addiction and get involved in a 12 Step Program such as SLAA (Sex & Love Addicts Anonymous), SAnon (for love addicts and partners of sex addicts) or SA (Sex Addicts Anonymous) – for the sex addict). You will find the links to these Programs on my home page.  All three Programs have online support forums if you are unable to attend a face to face meeting.

Try reading as much material as you can about your addiction/s. Facing Love Addiction by Pia Mellody is a book that is highly regarded in the industry as are books on sex and love addiction by Patrick Carnes. Literature by both authors can be purchased from Amazon.com.

I tried for years to figure out what my problem was and I even sought help from the psychiatric industry for my thoughts, only to be medicated with antipsychotics for them and diagnosed with bipolar disorder (I believe my experience is very common).

It took me until I was 38 to realise that my fantasies were not a normal part of life. They used to (and still can) cause me the deepest depression and despair to the point where I wanted to self harm.

Early this year I accompanied my partner to a face to face SLAA meeting where I heard members speak about their experiences with sex and love addiction. Their stories hit me hard but also gave me great relief. They were talking about my life, I was one of them!  Finally I had found an answer to my problem. I was not alone.  My recovery journey began.

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Glimpses – is a compilation of uncensored real life experiences with mental illness
Nicci continues to put together a manuscript of personal experiences with mental illness for free distribution to Carers, Consumers, Educators and Clinicians, in hope of increasing awareness and reducing stigma surrounding mental illness and it would benefit greatly from your story. Most contributors indicate it was a very therapeutic exercise writing about their experiences with mental illness.
Glimpses is a free updated version and is distributed electronically quarterly (if new stories have been received). Several Universities use this manuscript as a course resource, it is posted on websites nationally and internationally. So only submit your story if you are happy for it to be distributed and forwarded freely.
Nicci  invites you to submit your Consumer or Carer story on your personal experiences with: – Anxiety Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, PTSD, Bipolar, Schizophrenia, Anorexia, Post Natal Depression, any other MI. She would especially like some stories from people in their late teens and early 20’s.
The average length of stories so far are 6 to 15 pages. However there are some that are 3-4 pages, minimum accepted (narrow margins, size 12 Arial font, single spacing).
People have told of the lead up to diagnosis, dealing with MH services, medication issues, identifying triggers, working towards recovery and coping strategies. What and how much you want to share is up to you. Use your whole name, first name or a pseudonym, the choice is yours; but please know that your story, however you present it, could make a difference in how the world sees us. See below for contact details.
Glimpses & Minds Unleashed are distributed free of charge and encouraged to be printed, forwarded, added to websites, used as a training resource, as long as excerpts and content of the stories are not changed. If you are not happy for this to happen, your submission cannot be included.
To go on the mailing list or submit your story email: forwalls@xi.com.au

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What’s the point of writing a Blog if I can’t talk about the “hard stuff”? Should I gloss my posts over so they don’t trigger people? Yes, maybe a little but there’s no point in hiding the truth from the world because the world won’t understand where it went wrong if people like me fudge the facts. That’s my theory anyway.

So, I’ve felt like garbage the last couple of days.

My PMS has been up the wall for the last three or so months. I’ve had an internal scan but as usual it showed nothing so I’m going to try some natural progesterone cream.

I’ve read a book called “Natural Progesterone, the World’s Best Kept Secret” by Jenny Birdsey and was absolutely gobsmacked at the list of symptoms a woman can go through that relate to a lack of progesterone.

I would never have thought that my mouth ulcers, itchy eyes, constipation, suicidal ideations, night sweats, confusion, memory loss, cold hands and feet and aching bones can be related to a lack of progesterone!

I’ve had bad memory since December 2008 when I was taken off antipsychotics due to a misdiagnosis of bipolar disorder. When my period decides to pay me a visit (which is every fortnight now) my memory gets even worse not to mention the other side effects that come with the lead up to it. I really only get a few normal days before the symptoms start all over again.

It’s been a ghastly experience to say the least but back to the blog topic “suicidal ideations”.

While I was taking various antipsychotics (not all at one time) between 2006 and 2008, I continued to have suicidal ideations but when I look back now, they were worse than ever. It is my belief that the ideations were worsened by the antipsychotic use but proving that is like finding a needle in a hay stack!

During my treatment was overdosing on high doses of valium, Panadol or antidepressants every fortnight and my moods were definitely not stable.

Once I came off the antipsychotics and mood stabilizers and was re-diagnosed with depression and anxiety, I never overdosed again. For the first six months after the re-diagnosis I never felt suicidal and only twice in 2009 did I have ideations.

This year I’ve had them maybe three times. Once earlier on in the year and one last week and one this weekend. The first two were not acted on, the third was.

Unbeknown to anyone, I took 70mg of benzos yesterday. 70mg is not much but before I took them I wanted to take whatever I could stuff down my throat to end the pain. Nothing could make me see sense, I was so depressed I wanted “out”. Everyone was better off without me.

As usual, when the time comes to swallow, a small voice inside me says “you don’t really want to do that, just take a few to knock you out and see how you feel in the morning” so that’s what I did. I woofed down my pills but it didn’t really have much of an effect because most likely my body is so used to previous valium overdoses that 70mg of benzos was not much competition for it.

I paid for it this morning though. I could not focus on my work, I could not retain a lot of information and I looked like sh*t!

The sooner I get this progesterone cream the better and I hope to God it bloody well works because I’m tired of depression being present in my life and I certainly don’t want suicidal ideations anymore.

I’m off to hunt down some chocolate 🙂

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The trouble with mental illness and medications is it’s so difficult to figure out whether what you are going through is because of your illness or your medication/s!

I call it the chicken or the egg scenario.

For instance, am I numb from post traumatic stress disorder OR from too much Efexor?

Am I tired because I’ve got depression or because I’m taking Efexor or Zeldox or whatever it might be?

Can I not sleep because I have work on my mind or is it my depression keeping me awake? but wait, perhaps it’s the PMS causing the interrupted sleep?

Am I hyperactive because I drank half a bottle of Coke today or because I’m getting a little bit hypomanic? But wait….I don’t have bipolar disorder so it must be the Coke?

A new invention to detect the type of mental illness suffered is under trial in Australia in the form of an ear probe. I say – PLEASE put it in my ear and tell me what I’ve got!

A lot of people with mental illness over analyse from what I’ve seen. Maybe that’s what I’m doing? I don’t think so. Is there a rule that says I’m not allowed to think about things? I’m not obsessing about it but merely writing about it and sharing my thoughts.

I’m off to eat some food as I should be feeling hungry right now but I’m not. Must be because of my depression or the medication supressing my appetite or simply because I ate lunch an hour later than normal! Might be the weather too….. 😀

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I forgot to mention in my post below about coming off Zeldox and experiencing anger.

The anger started pretty much as soon as the drug was out of my system. I must say I had never experienced this type of anger before in my life.  I would virtually “explode” if someone upset me, I would scream at the top of my lungs and I did not give a hoot who heard me, I would throw things and smash things, my partner was stunned to say the least. I would roar and get out of control and my face would pulsate and distort.

I would say my anger issues continued for about 4 months. I knew I had a problem with anger when I hit a stranger in the street for bumping into me. I punched him in the arm because he did not say sorry.

I pushed infront of people in the street, I snapped at people when they were slow or in my way, I targeted those who I saw as vulnerable people as I figured I would be able to get away with  my bad attitude. I also gave shop assistants a very hard time by giving them what I saw as deserved lessons in customer service skills. Often in full public view and earshot too. I did not care who was around me or what they heard when I expressed my anger in public.

I can not say how my anger issues subsided. I do recall though feeling some relief after joining Alanon (I am a child of an alcoholic) and releasing the burden of carrying other people’s problems on my shoulders gave me some relief. Letting people own their own issues and me taking ownership of mine was a great help to me.

I have noticed that I still do have a little explode button though. When pushed enough it will activate all by itself and leave me with no control over what I say or do. Something I guess in time I will have to combat.


  1. A Worker’s Antipsychotic
  2. Zeldox – Users’ Experiences
  3. Zeldox – After Effects
  4. WOW – I hate this drug

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