anxiety

Discontinuing Antidepressants (Bipolar Disorder 2): Day 2

bipolar owl meme

Bipolar Owl

I was going to write some kind of formal journal for this process, but I don’t think I would be inspired everyday to keep up with it. So, I’m just going to write about this when I feel like it. I will probably compile into some kind of more impressive article sometime in the future. Anyway, so:

I have diagnosed Bipolar Disorder (Type 2) and Generalised Anxiety Disorder. It is my opinion, however, that the anxiety disorder has passed and was more a symptom or consequence of when the Bipolar had a stronger hold on me, back in the day, when I was first diagnosed and such.

This diagnosis is what propelled me further into my spiritual journey and thus I now have many new thoughts and beliefs about Bipolar Disorder/other mental illnesses, their cause and how best to treat them.
Regardless of that, I am not in disagreement with my diagnosis or ‘one of those people’ who think that modern medicine and pharmaceutical treatments do not have their place in certain circumstances when it comes to health and well-being. It’s more like – I appreciate them and support their use for short periods of time, but I know them not to be the cure now (for anything). If I had not gotten onto medication at that time in my life, simply put, I would have died. I would have killed myself if that chemical balance was not treated and levelled via the prescribed medicines.

bipolar owl meme dsm

Bipolar Owl

Since being diagnosed when I was 19, (I am 23 now, by the way) I have been on an SNRI called Cymbalta (Duloxetine HCI) and Lamictal (Lamotrogine). Cymbalta treats my depression and anxiety, the Lamotrogine is used as a mood stabiliser – it manages the hypomanic symptoms/episodes, or ‘the highs’ that come with bipolar disorder (Lamotrogine is actually an anti-epileptic but is used by a lot of doctors for managing bipolar disorder type 2 as well).

The prescription was for 120mg of Cymbalta (2 60mg tablets, 1 in the morning and 1 at night) and 400mg of Lamotrogine (2 200mg tablets, 1 in the morning and 1 at night).

Two years ago I reduced the Cymbalta to just 60mg.

Last year I reduced the Lamotrogine to 300mg.

It is only in this year that the lowering of the dosages have been implemented with the intention of actually removing the medication. At first I just wanted to lower them to reduce the amount and strength of the annoying side effects that these medications cause.

This year I reduced the Cymbalta to 30mg and I reduced the Lamotrogine to 200mg.

As of two days ago, I am now taking the 30mg of Cymbalta every second day, with the intention of stopping completely in a few weeks. My doctor said that if I am managing at 30mg it’s a good sign because apparently it is not usually a prescribed amount at all because it’s so low, and is only used when people are just starting or are coming off of Cymbalta.

The Lamotrogine is sticking around for now. We will see how we go. But I am already noticing the effects of lowering the Cymbalta to this degree, which are as follows:

– Irritability/easily irritated. Irritability is a lesser known symptom of bipolar disorder – it comes under the umbrella of the hypomanic symptoms. I would not say that I am or have been feeling hypomanic properly, just the irritability part. Also, I got my period last night, so the usual affect on mood that PMS can have probably played a role in this as well.

– Increased sensitivity to emotional music, film scenes etc. This began with the 30mg even before this ‘only taking it every second day’ thing. It’s nothing drastic. It’s just a stronger swell of emotion. I find this particularly interesting because maybe it means that the medicine was suppressing not just intense depressive emotional responses, but also normal, natural ones too. Not cool, medicine, not cool.

– I am starting to see more non-physical activity e.g. energy moving through the air, faeries floating around, auras etc. As explained in this blog post, when it comes to my ability to literally see psychic stimuli with my physical eyes, as opposed to using my inner, third eye, I am still a learner.

– Yesterday I was very dizzy for about half an hour or so (had a nap after that so who knows, it may have continued if I’d stayed awake), but I am pretty sure that was mostly due to the crazy solar flares going on at the moment (far out they are intense!), but we’ll add it to the list just in case. (I am very sensitive to strong solar flare activity. See this cool website for more info about that: http://www.carliniinstitute.com/solar_flare_symptoms)

– Aaand today I have a headache. But I could just have a headache.

Conclusion – Today’s Mental Health Thought:

“I have to say that knowing how to really feel my true emotions and allowing them, identifying the thoughts that caused my emotions and allowing them, has saved me and will continue to save me. Healing those thoughts and replacing them with more positive thoughts, in that moment, that’s the cure. Now, breathe and repeat this in the next moment as well, and the next, and the next, and the next…. That’s the cure.”

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Helping Others in the Midst of ‘The Machine’

I have been dreading going to these Centrelink (Australian government department responsible for offering financial support, help getting work and probably a bunch of other things I’m not aware of) ‘work skills’ workshops that are mandatory to attend if you want to continue receiving financial benefit.sepia human spirit photo

The concept of attending these gave me so much anxiety in previous months that I couldn’t bring myself to go and thus stopped getting my much needed fortnightly payment. Fortunately, I was then able to get a medical certificate that allowed me exemption from participating in these workshops for the following month. But after that month, I was supposed to have my shit together and therefore be capable of going (I must highlight the fact that when I get anxious, it’s not just a bit, it’s always a lot. I was diagnosed with ‘Generalised Anxiety Disorder’ a few years ago).

And it sounds so silly but the anxiety surrounding this is a deeper issue that is not immediately apparent upon superficial observation… For me, it was about feeling like I’m being forced to become a ‘cog in the machine’ that is society and the government etc. plus deep seated authority issues that I have had since school – another place where I felt forced to do things I didn’t want to do. And the whole thing with all that is probably something about it threatening my sense of individuality and that it promotes a feeling of powerlessness, due to the feeling of being controlled by others and what others say I have to do.

Anyway.

So last week, I finally went to one of these workshop things. Before I went, I was dreading it but had come to terms with the fact that I did have to go and so started thinking of ways that I might be able to survive it. I thought to myself, ‘maybe it won’t be that bad’, ‘maybe I’ll meet someone who loves Doctor Who or someone who is into spirituality or metaphysics I.e. maybe I’ll make a great friend’, ‘maybe the information presented will actually benefit me in some way’.

Well, I would never have guessed how it turned out.

There was only 2 other ‘students’ and the trainer and I in attendance, so there was a lot of time to get off topic. We were doing this (lame) thing where you ‘get to know each other’ – the aim being to prove that you will find you do have things in common with the people you end up being around in the workplace, and in society in general, even if it doesn’t initially seem like it…or something like that.

It was going okay. The other two people were very talkative and just asked like, ‘do you like music? okay we have that in common /writes it down. do you like blank? okay, yes, /writes it down.’ and so on. The trainer was making some suggestions too and she asked if people like reading and what kind of things do we like to read… Well, I was asked directly so I said, “I just read a lot of non fiction about metaphysics and spirituality, mostly.” And the trainer looked surprised and was like, “Oh wow. That’s so interesting, I really like crystal healing and stuff like that…”
Soon after, “do we all like animals?” “yes”, then went off topic talking about our pets. The trainer and I got into a funny conversation about our cats and weird stuff they do.
At another point we were asked about ultimate career aspirations. I said that I want to finish my book on metaphysics/bipolar/my life and become known enough to make money from spiritual writing, blogging and energy healing to just do that stuff full time. Then the trainer asked me about how energy healing works. I explained about how I do it and what the aura is etc.

From all that, somewhere in there, topical conversation drifted to the concept of consciousness and god. Oh, that’s right, I think the trainer said that she believes in karma in the traditional, Buddhist view (it sounded like). So then we talked about consciousness more and I spoke about how I communicate with animals. The trainer then told me that she felt like she could actually talk to her cats, and kept saying, “I know I sound crazy but -” I was like, amazed, and so glad I was there to tell her, “You are not crazy.”

She then told me (well, everyone) a story about how her previous cat asked her a question one day: The cat: “If I go, how should I go?” (as in die, like what would be the least upsetting way)
Trainer: “Oh, probably getting hit by a car or something. Something quick.”
And then apparently a few days later, the cat got hit by a car. Now the trainer was tearing up at this point and expressing how she felt guilt relative to that conversation, and like it was somehow her fault that the cat had died. I told her that, no, this is not the case. The cat was clearly planning to leave regardless. I also told her that she may have a natural gift for animal communication and should look into it. She clearly got that message correct.
And I also told her that she could hire a professional animal communicator to have a conversation with her deceased cat and that it might be comforting for her.

cat joe

My cat, Joe, who died. A beautiful soul.

She kept saying how grateful she was to hear that and that she would research it all when she got home. I also gave her a link to my site so she could order energy healing if she wished, as she had expressed interest in ordering some in the earlier conversation.

A very similar thing happened in 2012 when I was interviewing for a job at a call centre. I was discussing my past education, on that list being the course I did in Animal Communication. The interviewer asked me what that was so I explained. She started talking about animals, how much she loves them and feels a strong connection to them. I shared some stories about my cats and that I too (obviously) have a very strong connection with them. She then went into talking about when she got her dog euthanised. She was expressing extreme guilt for doing it because she now wonders if it was not the right thing to do. She started tearing up. I explained that the animal always knows, or the higher self at least always knows, and that we all do the best we can from the perspective we are in that moment. Her love for her pet was clear and that her dog’s journey had simply run it’s course. She was crying at this point. I told her that there are plenty of animal communicators that will speak to her pet for her and that doing some research into it might be a good idea also.

The point is, that I went to this ‘work skills’ thing with a bit more of an open mind and attitude, and turns out someone there really needed me to be there, to say that to her. I was able to help someone in a profound way. And it was just amazing. It is miraculous, these sorts of meant-to-be interactions…they happen in the most surprising ways.

People think they are so alone in their experiences when they’re just not.

You are not alone.

You are not crazy.

You are not responsible for the death of your pet.

Animals are conscious creators just like us, they are often infinitely wiser than a lot of humans I’ve met and are much more connected to their greater soul-self. So, when an animal leaves, you can trust that some part of them knew and they knew that it was right.

P.S. Hank is a conscious creator. Vote for Hank 🙂
cat senate

Remaining in ‘The Now’

I am sitting here in a state of anxiety. I’m worried about a lot of things. Mostly money. But today, I decided to do what I sometimes do when I remember to: be in the moment. Which is always said by ‘spiritual people’ and is always easier said than done.

Here is what I do:

When I start worrying about something and experiencing anxiety (note: anxiety is a feeling of insecurity about the future), I say to myself, “I will worry about that later” thereby still allowing the emotion, but promoting a better feeling in this moment via following this with, “Right now, what am I doing? I’m sitting here. Typing.” I then look at my fingers on the keyboard, I feel the plastic-y yet soft feeling of it against my fingertips. I listen to the sounds that I can hear, too. I hear the tapping of my fingers on the keyboard…I’ve always loved that sound. I hear birds whistling outside through the open window. I appreciate their song (did you know that animals communicate mostly via telepathy, they only make noise out of primitive instinct or for the joy of the song). I then ask myself, “What would I like to do, or think about right now?” in this moment, the answer is, “I’d like to continue typing and enjoying this music. Right now, that’s all I’m doing. I can worry in the next moment, if I want to.” and I may add, “I will worry about the next moment, in the next moment.” And as said next moment comes around, I repeat this process. “What am I doing right now? Would I like to do something else?”.

And I do put in effort to be honest with myself. I ask myself, “What would I really like to be doing. (in case thoughts about what I think I ‘should’ be doing invade, e.g. “look harder for a job! edit resume! (exclamation point to exemplify the feeling of panic behind those thoughts)’.  Or,  I might insert a feeling of guilt over the top of me doing this process, because I think I ‘should’ be doing the aforementioned things.)
Or, if I would like to go into the emotion and query the deeper reason behind these anxious feelings, I would ask myself, “What am I really worrying about? What am I really afraid of?” In this case the topic of concern is money and future bills to pay, so the answer is, “I’m worried I’ll have to ask my parents for money again and they might not have it and (I think, or they may think that) I’m just this terrible leech and they will look down on me and feel that I don’t care.” then I ask myself, “What can I do to resolve this concern?” And right now, I think the answer/s would be, “I will just be honest. They will listen. They know I am not these things I fear I will come across as – apathetic or heartless.”
Then, as we all often do, I envision this scenario (usually involuntarily, y’know how that happens in your head, thinking about all the conversations that could happen, but in this case, I take control of how it goes):

Here I go.
What I will say to Mum/Dad:
“I know that it might seem that I don’t care and that I am careless with money but I am really trying to improve. I really appreciate everything you do for me and how much you care about me. I am always coping as best I can in each moment, as we all are (I really believe in the sentence I heard a while back, “People do the best they can, with the perspective they hold and the knowledge they have, at the time.” All people are good inside. Sometimes it’s just buried, and often they don’t even know it).
If this is too much to ask, I am prepared to look at other avenues. I’m not sure what yet but I will look into it as best I can. At this point, all I can do is ask for help and assure you that I realise the toll it takes on you and that I care and I love you.”

And, by doing and saying all of this, I am thereby alleviating my own anxiety (adding a big, deep breath here) by knowing that they are likely to understand and that I did do the best I could, with the perspective and the experience that I have at this time. And I take pride in that, I do. I acknowledge and appreciate that aspect of me that is honourable in this, in my honesty.
I spoke my truth. I excavated all this shit for the benefit of those that I ask a lot of.
And, (taking another deep breath here), I know that this too shall pass.

Now, as I glance out the window at the sun and the leaves on the trees, bathed in the light…I’m asking myself, “What do I want to do now?”. The answer is: “I want to insert a picture into this entry, finish it up. Then I will probably go get dressed and drive into town (involuntarily envisioning myself driving down the road with the window open and the light and air on my face. It feels nice).”

But when I stand up and walk into my room to finish getting dressed, I will ask myself all of these same questions again. “How do I feel about what I’m doing now?”, “Do I still want to go into town?” And if the answer is “No”, that’s okay. I’ll ask myself these same questions again in the next few moments, and maybe the answer will change to “yes”, and maybe it won’t, and that’s okay because I am doing the best with what I have and the perspective that I hold at this time, and that is enough (deep breath here).

I hope that sharing this helps some people who may be reading this. : ) I love you all.

lao tzu peace