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  • Mrs Chakotay 7:07 pm on August 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , bipolar, , , flashbacks, , memories, , ,   

    Time and Again 

    Quick Summary of the Episode

    As Voyager starts to make its way through the Delta Quadrant on its way home to the Alpha Quadrant, they pass a planet which has been decimated by a polaric energy disaster. When the away team go to investigate, Janeway and Paris are pulled back in time to just before the disaster – the explosion had shattered time and space into fractures.

    Unable to get back, Janeway and Paris attempt to investigate the cause of the detonation, but (to cut the story short), it transpires that it is Voyager’s own rescue attempt that causes the disaster, and when Janeway acts to counter their beam cutting into the past, the disaster is averted, and the whole incident never happened. We are returned to Voyager before they find the planet, and since it is a pre-warp civilisation, they just move on by without visiting.

    Notes

    This is the first time we learn about Kes’ special mental abilities – when the civilisation is destroyed, Kes sees the explosion happening.

    I really love these time travel episodes, there are so many wild possibilities! I just love time travel!

    In My Life

    I have been physically out of fundamentalism for six years but it is only this year that I have started facing up to what that means, working through it, ‘deconstructing’.

    Recently I have started to be flooded with flashbacks and memories of my years growing up in the church in the 70s and 80s.

    The name of this episode always makes me think of Cyndi Lauper’s song ‘Time after Time”, which in turn makes me think of being a teenager in the 80s, in a world of conflicts between what I was seeing at school, in the news, and in ‘real life’ as compared with the worldview inside the bubble of the strict Baptist, evangelical church we were attending at the time.

    Now, when I say “attending”, it wasn’t just once on a Sunday. It was 3 times on a Sunday (10.30 morning service, 3 pm Sunday school and 6.30 pm evening service), Bible studies on Wednesday evenings, and ‘Youth Group’ on Fridays, constant dinners and visits with other members – rarely a day would go by without some kind of contact or another. We had effectively exchanged one cult for another.

    I regularly search for friends I had in these churches, but their names have zero hits on internet searches. It’s as if they have fallen off the edge of reality, as though I conjured them up out of my imagination. What happened to them? It always amazes me slightly when I search for the churches that there are no hits describing them as horrible, damaging cults. Did nobody experience them in the same way I did?

    I’ve already mentioned my friend who was being abused by the Sunday School Superintendent. But I wanted to share another incident that really affected me at the time and which I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.

    One of the older girls got pregnant. It was never discussed openly, only whispered about in quiet corners. This was not long before my mother got ill with her Bipolar, so I don’t know how this affected the church but I do know the girl in question was forced to give up her baby for adoption. I often wondered whether she was given the choice of adoption or marriage. I suspect that she was never even given a choice. I don’t know how this affected her, I only know how it would have affected me. I was and still am heartbroken for her.

    I can’t really put into words exactly how evangelical thinking is so toxic – so many other writers are doing so ably elsewhere.

    “It seems I’ve found myself on the voyage of the damned.” – the Doctor

    What really beats me is how, having got out of it almost completely when my mum got ill, I put myself under the same teaching again later on.

    I wonder now, what our lives might have been like if we had never got involved with evangelical fundamentalism? What if, when my parents met the American missionaries, they just said “no thanks, we’re happy where we are”? We wouldn’t have moved on to another toxic church, I wouldn’t have put myself under such toxic teaching again as a young mother.

    I am sure that my mother always had bipolar, as she had a breakdown before I was born, but she was stable for most of my childhood. I wonder, though, if she would not have got so ill if she hadn’t been triggered over and over by the toxicity of the church?

    But ultimately, it’s probably not very helpful to go over the ‘what if’s’. Sadly we can’t go back and undo what we did and what was done to us. I just need to know how and where we go on from here.

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  • Mrs Chakotay 2:08 pm on June 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 5htp, , bipolar, citalopram, , , side-effects   

    Citalopram – adverse reaction 

    I haven’t posted recently, on any of my blogs, because I have really not been well (mostly physically, but that has an impact on mental health too of course).

    I always seem to be worse in the summer for some reason, and even though (thank God!) I’m not suffering from hayfever to anything like the extent I usually do, I really feel knocked out and completely zapped of energy, more confused and disorganised than normal and really just struggling to drag myself through each day.

    I wanted to write a quick post though to mention that I had had a very bad reaction indeed to Citalopram.

    I have struggled with depression, which I have really had incessantly since childhood (and I suspect it is largely due to the head injury I had aged 12 when I was knocked off my push bike in a hit and run ‘accident’ in 1983).

    I liken my depression to a mild, grey cloud that never goes away. Most of the time, I just live with it. No amount of positive thinking, yoga or mindfulness takes the cloud away, but it’s manageable, I have more or less got used to it.

    My GP gave me citalopram for depression and anxiety and I tried it because I thought it was worth a try.

    However…

    I was only on 10 mg of citalopram for about 5 days, and almost immediately, my little grey cloud went from a mild, manageable thing to a horrible big, thick, dark, heavy cloud that seemed to engulf me. I woke up feeling suicidal the first morning after I started taking it, and every day afterwards. When I stopped taking it, it took more than 10 days to come out of the thick dark cloud, and to be honest – more than 2 weeks later, I have a niggling feeling that the world would be a better if I wasn’t here. That’s not me. I don’t normally feel like that. (I do regularly feel despair, and I often feel that it’s not worth carrying on, but it’s more a feeling of laying down and waiting for death rather than actively trying to end it all. The citalopram reaction was more of the latter.)

    I wasn’t imagining it. It was palpable.

    Additionally, during the days that I was on citalopram, I had a greatly reduced ability to urinate. It just so happened that I needed to do a 24 hour urine sample during that week. It’s the second or third time I’ve had to do it this year, because I’m currently being tested for Cushing’s and/ or other pituitary gland disorders. Usually, I do so much I can’t fit the whole 24 hours in the pot, which takes 1200 ml. (The previous time, I only fit 18 hours in). This time, in the whole 24 hours, I managed 200 ml. I have no doubt whatsoever that citalopram was to blame.

    I made a point of not reading the paper insert before I tried citalopram, not wanting to give my suggestible brain ideas! But of course afterwards I checked and both suicidal ideation and inability to urinate were listed in the potention serious side effects.

    The reaction was so severe, it has made me wary of trying any other kind of pharmaceutical solution for anxiety or depression. It’s not the first time I have reacted poorly to anti-depressants, but this was by far the worst.

    I’m not a person who would advise other people to not take the meds they need. Far from it. I know that meds help a lot of people, and you can only tell if they’ll work for you by trying them.

    But for me (perhaps because there is Bipolar in the family, or for some other reason) I don’t seem to suit pharmaceutical meds. I think I need to start looking to food, herbs and natural solutions.

    5htp has worked for me somewhat with no side effects. Not spectacular, but seems to ‘take the edge off’ without doing any harm.

    St Johns Wort did not work for me, in fact it sent me completely loopy. But for others, I know this is a good natural solution that works.

    People are different. I know plenty of people who swear by their anti-depressants and others who are equally opposed to them. I even know one lady who controls her Bipolar using homeopathy.

    Each to their own!

    What works for you?

    Are there any natural solutions you recommend?

    Or do anti-depressants work really well for you?

     

     
    • BipolarOnFire 2:35 pm on June 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Abilify has been miraculous for me. I also take Wellbutrin.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Admin 4:06 pm on June 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        That’s really great @BipolaronFire! Did you find you had to try a few before you found the right one for you or was it good first try?

        Liked by 1 person

        • BipolarOnFire 7:43 pm on June 21, 2017 Permalink

          I tried fifty million things before Abilify. Abilify has worked the best for me for mood stabilization.

          Like

  • Mrs Chakotay 2:32 pm on April 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , bipolar, , , , , ,   

    Here we go again 

    Mum was with us for 6 months while I attempted to function as her carer. For various reasons, it did not work out, and we took her home again in March and have arranged for professional carers to be on hand to look after her. My caring duties have not completely finished, but I now have a buffer of 250 miles or so between us, which really is much better for my own mental health (and hers, it would appear, although there are issues with her not taking her meds for bipolar which I can’t control from a distance and that is a frustration and a worry).

    I expected that, when the stress of looking after mum was lifted, that I would get well again quite quickly but in fact the opposite has happened and I have retreated and isolated myself again with agoraphobia.

    My physical health is quite bad at the moment, but issues have arisen (conversations on twitter and with my eldest child, mainly) which have make me realise that in fact my physical ill health may in fact be due to early childhood and repeated trauma.

    The ACE score is a study which looks at Adverse Childhood Experiences, and uses it to predict a number of outcomes related to physical and mental health in adulthood. Out of a possible total of 10, I score 4 on the ACE quiz, and my resilience score is low (3 out of 14) when it should be high.

    I am going to come back and look at this in detail, but it is such a hard subject to look at, I don’t really know where to begin. I feel as though I am having to force myself to open a Pandora’s Box of evil that I thought was long dead and buried.

    In the first instance, though, I am told that the way back to health and wholeness (other than the standard pharmaceutical and CBT) is:

    1) Talk about it.

    2) Write about it,

    3) Talk to other survivors and finally

    4) physical exercise.

    Due to the agoraphobia, physical exercise outdoors is not an option right now, it’s just too overwhelming, so I have brought the running machine in from the garage, and it’s set up in the bedroom, so I’m heading there next. I am annoyed with myself that I’m missing the beautiful sunshine and blue skies of spring in Cornwall, but it can’t be helped at this stage.

    Also I have made an appointment to see my GP in two weeks to discuss the possibility that all my mental and physical illness is actually manifestations of Complex PTSD.

    Just to clarify, the trauma that I received was not physical or sexual, but mental, emotional and spiritual in nature (church abuse amongst other things). I mention that, because for years I didn’t see it as abuse even though I knew I had been traumatised. What I hadn’t seen at all until this week was that I had unknowingly perpetrated some of the same kinds of abuse I had received on my eldest child. I can’t tell you how deeply I regret that.

    Next time I will talk about the symptoms of Complex PTSD. I have given myself license to use that term although at first it felt a little bit wrong (because I associated the term with other types of abuse that are more serious and more damaging) but I think it fits, and in the absence of another term.

    I don’t know who might be reading this, but if you have recovered or are recovering from mental/ emotional/ spiritual abuse and have Complex PTSD, I would be interested to hear from you. I can’t give any advice other than what helps me, and perhaps that can be another topic for another post.

    Bye for now.

     
  • Mrs Chakotay 4:40 pm on November 24, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , bipolar, , , , , , , , ,   

    First Sunday of Advent 

    advent1

    Psalms: Psalm 122
    OT: Isaiah 2:1-5
    Gospel: Matthew 24:36-44
    Epistles: Romans 13:11-14

    The Psalm for today was 122, “I was glad when they said to me, let us go to the house of the Lord.”

    I was unable to go to church this Sunday because, in addition to my own health issues, I am now looking after my mother who suffers from bipolar disorder.

    My mother always becomes anxious, tearful, angry as Sunday rolls around. Having grown up in what was effectively a very abusive religious home, she is deeply conflicted about church. She wants to be there, she yearns for community, but it is tainted by the memory of forced religion.

    I, meanwhile, would love to be there but my health more often than not prevents me, and I am constantly angry at the way the church neglects us, rejects us, forgets us.

    I saw this poem on a facebook group and decided to share it because the words are so close to my own heart.

    How baffling you are, oh Church,
    and yet how I love you!
    How you have made me suffer,
    and yet how much I owe you!
    I would like to see you destroyed,
    and yet I need your presence.
    You have given me so much scandal
    and yet you have made me understand what sanctity is.
    I have seen nothing in the world
    more devoted to obscurity, more compromised, more false,
    and yet I have touched nothing
    more pure, more generous, more beautiful.
    How often I have wanted to shut the doors of my soul in your face,
    and how often I have prayed to die in the safety of your arms.
    No, I cannot free myself from you,
    because I am you, though not completely.
    And besides, where would I go?
    Would I establish another?
    I would not be able to establish it without the same faults,
    for they are the same faults I carry in me.
    And if I did establish another,
    it would be my Church, not the Church of Christ.
    And I am old enough to know
    that I am no better than anyone else.

    – by Carlo Carretto, from The God Who Comes

     
  • Mrs Chakotay 2:15 pm on November 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bipolar, BPD, , , , , lithium, , ,   

    Sudden Changes 

    mh-carers-fine

    I thought I would post an up-date, as it has been a while and a lot of things have changed.

    It became apparent that it would have been impossible to leave my mum on her own – we had done everything we could to try to get NHS carers, but no help was forthcoming, so she agreed to come back to Cornwall with me.

    The timing could not have been worse, as we were just about to move house. My brother organised a caravan for her to stay in to avoid the chaos, but as it turned out she hated it and it was just one more thing for us to deal with, so she came back to the house and lived with the chaos.

    We started to move house two weeks later (and we’ve done that gradually – paying for an extra month of rent was cheaper than getting removals, but it has meant doing everything ourselves which has been pretty awful), so it has been differing levels of chaos over the last month. It won’t be over and done with until the end of this month.

    So now, I am a ‘carer’. In a way it’s my worst nightmare come true, but it hasn’t been as awful as I expected because on the whole, mum has been much better – happier and healthier with us than she was at home. The doctors here have been much more responsive to dealing with mum’s physical health issues than her (apparently incompetent) doctors back home. It turned out that mum’s lithium levels were almost toxically high and so they reduced it and a lot of the symptoms (diarrhoea every day, which mum thought was IBS, amongst others) have lifted which has made a huge difference to quality of life. My only criticism is that the GP made an ‘urgent’ referral to the Psych Team, and we’ve heard nothing from them more than two weeks later.

    For myself though, I thought I was fine at the beginning – my ME/ Fibro seemed to be in remission after a pregnancy earlier on in the year, but over the last few weeks I was beginning to feel signs that the Fibro was coming back. I didn’t want to believe it so I tried to ignore it, stupidly, and now I feel completely burnt out.

    There are lots of things that have made everything more challenging – my  mum is a completely different character to me. Whereas I am perfectly happy to stay indoors, mum is a real ‘going-out girl’. She would like to go out every day, and wants me to organise groups and dinners and day centres. I’m finding it a challenge to find things for her, but hopefully that can be sorted in due course. But in addition, mum hates going in the car, and since we’ve moved out of town, now we’re about ten miles from everywhere. That can’t be helped unfortunately.

    So I’m just having to deal with it, and get over my natural tendency to agoraphobia. I’ve been pretty brave myself as well, going out to support groups and the like. Next time I’ll post some info on some nice places we’ve been instead of doctors and mental health centres!

    I found the picture above when I googled ‘mental health carers’, and felt that it was exactly how I felt as a sudden carer. Hopefully it will get better (although mum doesn’t really want to be here, she forgets very quickly how unhappy she was alone, and wants to go home every day), and I plan to make sure I plug into support groups and resources for carers.

     
  • Mrs Chakotay 11:26 am on October 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bipolar, , , ,   

    Karma 

    Just a quick note to let you know we have moved (or rather are in the process of moving, since we haven’t let the old place go yet, to make moving gradually possible – not the way ‘normal’ people move, I know, but it seems to be the way we do it!)

    We have no phone or broadband at the new place for the time being (other than a very patch connection to BT’s openzone hotspots or whatever they’re called. Better than nothing, for sure but frustratingly slow and requiring fresh logins every 5 minutes.

    I am, I have to say, unspeakably happy to be away from the previous place. We’re in a bungalow now which is just wonderful. It needs lots of work, but it’s actually ours – we finally own our own home again, against all the odds. (If I have enough signal to upload photos I will).

    As chance would have it, the week before we were set to move, my mum – who has bipolar disorder – had a crisis which meant I needed to stay and look after her, and when it became clear that she couldn’t look after herself (possibly due to dementia creeping in there too), I brought her home with me and she moved with us. Terrible timing, but since the bungalow is big and we had a ‘spare’ bedroom, it’s all working out (as well as any story including bipolar can).

    From everything I can gather, although the local Psych team were trying to do what they could, it appears that mum’s GP was completely incompetent, so I’m hoping that we can get her a little bit more stable and happier with a bit of TLC from my great new doctor’s practice, and although she is very uncertain about the whole idea of moving, managed to persuade her to register here as a permanent resident so at least then the GP can do some proper investigations.

    And, fortunately again, I seem to be quite well right now. Preganancy may have put my ME into remission, so I hope it will stay this way. I had a bunch of unsolicited emails this week reminding me that I should have been 21 weeks’ pregnant this week, but I’m not allowing myself to slip back down into grief and misery. I really don’t have time.

     
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