To Be Normal

My posting schedule has become rather erratic over the last few weeks. It is mainly due to my reduced Epival dosage that I wrote about recently. It’s been about a month and a half since the reduction and I feel that.. hopefully.. I am finally starting to balance out.

I think that I may have said that I was returning to normal in my last post, but there were many hard times that occurred between that post on April 23rd until today. I even came to the edge of psychosis the other day and nearly had to admit myself to CAMH in the middle of the night. It’s been a difficult few weeks.

I normally would have immediately upped my medication when faced with these issues, as has been the advice of my GP and psychiatrist, but I have been waiting to see if I was accepted into the rTMS study. They don’t allow for a medication increase within 4 weeks of the beginning of the study so that they can ensure that any improvements are because of the rTMS vs medication.

I found out on Monday that I have been accepted into the study. I have gotten no word yet as to when I will be receiving my first treatment, but I can only assume that the process will move quickly from this point forward.

Evidence suggests that if I am going to get any benefit from treatment, it will take 2 solid weeks of sessions before I see any gains. I am confident that I will be able to maintain my sanity until the beginning of treatment and then make it 2 weeks in. If at that point I find that I am still struggling, I may have to pull out of the study and up my medication.

I would hate to have to take that step. It has been my goal for many years to lower, or perhaps even eliminate my medications and so I will do everything I can to at least stay at my current dosage.

Mindfulness has been extremely helpful. So have my weekly meetings with my social worker, Melinda. She is a mindfulness facilitator and we discuss whatever troubles I have been having during the week and then how I could address those problems with mindfulness before we practicing together for about 10 – 20 mins.

It seems amazing that I still have so many questions about my practice each week. There are so many layers to understanding mindfulness and how the practice can address different types of problems. In the end, it is all fairly simplistic, but it helps to have her around to guide my practice.

Now that I have made the commitment to go on a lower dose of medication for at least the next month or so and begin rTMS treatments, I have made the decision to dedicate myself more completely to mindfulness. It has proven to be an essential tool that bridges the gaps left by my reduced dosage.

I have a number of books that I am preparing to read and that I will review on the blog once I’ve completed them. Some are specific to bipolar and mindfulness and so I expect them to be very helpful to me.

I look forward to sharing my experiences with rTMS with you. I am preparing for the worst, but expecting the best. This could completely change my life or it could have zero effect whatsoever.

I know many of you can relate to how I am feeling right now.

To be at the beginning of a new treatment that has the potential to completely change your way of life. There is no magic pill or super cure. This I know in spades. But it could be the start of a new way of life. One that I have been praying for for the past decade.

Wish me luck!

 

Slowly Coming Back

I missed Friday’s post. I apologize.

Ever since my mood stabilizer (Epival) was reduced to 1000mg from 1250mg, I have experienced no fewer than 2 manic episodes over the past 4 weeks. Keeping up with normal activities has become increasingly difficult, sleep has been impossible without the help of sleep aids (which I am certain that I am quickly developing a dependency on), and I have been steadily irritated beyond belief.

I would say that things, with the exception of my sleep difficulties, have started to mellow over the past three or four days and I am slowly getting back in the habit of my “normal life”. Whatever that means.

Days are still spent largely in bed, doing nothing.. except the occasional blog for She Zine and here at Tickety Blog.

I have a number of things planned for the coming weeks, including a visit to the YMCA with a group from the Gerstein Centre’s F.R.E.S.H. Program and some grocery store trips to outfit our refrigerator and pantry for my new diet.

I attempted to discuss my new way of eating, which is only mildly different from my current way of eating, on my She Zine blog and I was accused of fat shaming and promoting “diet culture”.

In fairness, I could see what she was talking about, but I don’t think most people can truly understand how difficult it is to maintain body positivity until they have gained 60lbs in 4 months due to a prescribed antipsychotic.

In the future, I will have to watch my language and ensure that my messaging is not offending people. At least people are reading.. right!?

Once I begin this new way of eating and my exercise regimen, I will begin blogging about it here. As I am sure you all know, diet and exercise are key factors in maintaining good mental health.

For future reference, I am vegan and starting from zero when it comes to fitness, so the information that you will be receiving here will be meat-free and starting from scratch on the exercise front.

I hope you all stay tuned!!

 

Lost

You may have noticed that I have been away from the blog for a short time. While I have been away, I have been recycling posts from tickety blog and reposting them on my other site, She Zine Mag.

There may come a time in the future when I integrate these two blogs completed and shift all of my attention over to She Zine, as I have found it increasingly difficult to manage multiple projects at once.

Read more

What Happened To My Social Life?

When I was a teenager, I was like a lot of teenagers. I used to go out every night. I had a lot of friends. I whenever I was not out with my friends, I could be found talking on the phone until my ear was hot and sweaty.

This continued well into my twenties as I discovered the bar scene, eventually becoming a bartender who would work all night at some of the busiest bars in town and then go out until 6 or 7 in the morning with all of my other bartender friends. Read more

Physical Activity, Creativity & Mental Wellness

I don’t go out very much. I think it is mostly because I am sober these days and I have never got the hang of what sober people do in their spare time. I have plans to make some changes to my life this spring/summer and hopefully find myself outside and enjoying my days more fully for a change.

For anyone living with mental illness, you will know that you can’t just think about doing something. You have to make a plan, perhaps find an accountability partner, and take the necessary steps to bring your plans to life. Read more

10 Signs That A Loved One May Be Experiencing Depression

Much of the attention that I have gotten from this site is actually from family members of individuals who are facing mental illness vs actual sufferers. For that reason, I thought that I would write an article that illustrates some of the signs that a loved one may be experiencing depression.

Of course, signs aren’t limited to those listed here, so you must always be careful that you aren’t jumping the gun when it comes to judgement of a loved one’s behaviours. Read more