Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Where is TheBipolarKid?


It's been a while since I've felt able to write. I've had an awful lot going on!  I'm not sure yet what this blog will cover but I'm sure it will  figure itself out. 

The biggest problem I've had since my last blog is the breakdown and eventual end of my relationship with Mr Aussie. You may remember I've mentioned him a few times. 

It's somewhat difficult to pin down the reasoning for the end of the relationship but I'd say my main motivation for ending it was maintaining what shred of sanity I have left! 

I loved Mr Aussie. I'm pretty sure I still do but there are so many things going on in my life right now and I'm unable to reconcile any of them! It has been incredibly difficult to accept the relationship is over. In fairness, it's been over for some time before I actually finally walked away. Will it stay over? I couldn't say right now but I need to find myself and that is going to take some time. More recently, he threatened to take his own life and selfish though it may sound, I'm not equipped to deal with that.

My mum has been sick since October or thereabouts. She had a really bad cough that she didn't seek medical attention for and it just got worse. She eventually went to the doctors and they gave her antibiotics and ordered a chest x-ray. When the results of said x-ray came back, there was a "shadow on her lung". A CT scan was subsequently ordered. I've never been particularly close with my mum but since moving away from home some 9 years ago I've found myself to be entirely in edge whenever something goes bad at home. When she told me about the x-ray, my mind went to the only conclusion it could at that moment - cancer. I got myself very worked up about it. The stress it caused me resulted in me taking a leave from my studies. This, in turn  made me incredibly depressed given that I only had one semester left to complete. However, not only was it for the best for my wellbeing, it would also, hopefully, give me the chance to re-take the earlier semester as well as I know I didn't do as well as I ought to have. As well as leaving university, I have managed to lose all of my friends! 

My mum went for her CT scan after what seemed like an endless wait and the. There was more waiting for the results. They were inconclusive and an endoscopy was ordered. More waiting ensued. Once she got her appointment for the endoscopy, we had to wait yet again for those results.  Frustratingly, the endoscopy results didn't show anything and the doctor ordered her yet another course of antibiotics. Taking the total to 5 I believe. When she went to her latest appointment, she mentioned to the doctor about the swelling in her legs. You see, some time last year, my mum broke her knee very badly. Her legs were so swollen it was almost impossible to distinguish between her thighs and her ankles based on size! The doctor said that swollen legs "may indicate a heart issue". However, they didn't seem to actually address this! I'm at the point at the moment where I want to switch off from this whole issue for a while. That may seem really selfish but on the grand scheme if things, my mums problems were/are the least of my worries and if the doctors ruled out cancer then theoretically, there's still life in the old dog! 

The next issue I have spent a lot of time dealing with lately is the issue of a close friend's health anxiety. 

Now, given my experience in the field of psychology and my own experiences of mental health issues, I was almost immediately convinced that my friend had HA. When she had her baby, she suffered from post natal depression. Since I hadn't been around at the time of the baby's birth, I wasn't aware that there were some rather serious medical issues in the last few months of the pregnancy as well as during the actual birth. 

When I got round to meeting my friend's baby, she was a few weeks old at least. The instant I saw my friend, I knew something was amiss. Despite her pride in her creation, the sparkle had gone from her beautiful blue eyes. Instead, a dullness had taken up residence. I observed her behaviour for a while and concluded that she was suffering post natal depression. When I mentioned this to her, she instantly became defensive, angry and upset. If I remember correctly, her words to me were; "have you seen my beautiful baby? What the fuck could I possibly have to be depressed about?!" Of course, this was a rather irrational, response but only because of her lack of knowledge and understanding. I left it at that. 

Some one year later, my friend came to me and asked if I recalled telling her she had suffered PND. Of course I remembered. She then said "I think you might be right" and proceeded to give me a run down. She had become very tearful, after baby went to sleep, my friend would sit and cry. When she was around her boyfriend, she would become irritable and snappy for "stupid reasons". She also felt lonely and isolated. My friend had also moved away from her family village and even out of the home city she grew up in. Leaving behind friends and family. She moved to a new city where she knew almost nobody. She didn't have a particularly good relationship with 'mother-in-law' and felt she couldn't turn to her for help and instead came to me. I have to say, I am incredibly proud that she was able to do that as we all know very well it's not only difficult to admit there is an issue, it's also excruciating to talk to someone about it.

I listened to what she had to say and offered my advice as a close friend, childcare worker, psychology student and fellow mental health sufferer. I told her to go to the doctors. Seeking help is probably the next greatest issue for anyone with a mental health condition. My friend rationalised that if she sought help for PND she would have her child taken away. A possibly irrational thought but not entirely illogical. Needless to say, no help was sought. 

More recently, my friend has been coming to me for advice on various ailments. Stomach pains, a possible lump "down there", trouble going to the bathroom, back ache and a number of other maladies. The first issue was the lump. I remember my own experience of such a thing a few years back. I found a pea sized lump in my lady parts and instantly assumed the worst. This was not an illogical leap really, there is female cancer in both my parents' families. For weeks I would check this lump, convinced it was getting bigger and harder but I avoided going to the doctors. Eventually, it got to a point where my boyfriend at the time ordered me to make a doctor's appointment. I called my GP practice the next day and unsurprisingly was told I would have to wait. Three weeks! Of course, that was painful! 4/5 days before the actual appointment I eventually went to a walk-in clinic. I had to wait quite some time as there were many people using this service. When my name was eventually called, I felt sick to my stomach! To make things worse, the doctor I was seeing was male! I described my issue to him. I was under the impression that he would want to take a look. I tensed up at the thought. However, after a few seconds (that felt like hours) of chin scratching, doc told me it was "probably nothing but if it gets worse, go to A&E! Well, this instantly put me on edge. It took me enough time to work up the courage to speak to my GP let alone wander into a hospital (something I loathe by the way) and tell them about a lump I had on my lady parts!

I kept my appointment with the GP and pretty much counted the hours until it was go time. To my relief, the doctor was female. I described the issue as well as my fears and family history. The doctor the examined me and informed me that there was simply a cyst down there and prescribed me some antibiotics which I was to take the following day. Miraculously, (or not), the following morning the lump had completely disappeared! I know it was definitely there as the doctor felt it. I called up the GP practice slightly concerned and explained to her what had happened and she in formed me that "sometimes cysts just disappear". I was both surprised and relieved. Not only had the lump gone, I had no reason to take the antibiotics!

I digress! Back to my friend, she described the lump to me as best she could and I told her it sounds either similar to what I had or possibly an infected follicle/ingrown hair. I told her to make an appointment with her GP. In the meantime, I told her to hold a hot cloth to the area as if it was a pore it should help open it up and then if she was to take a bath, she may be able to wash away whatever was causing the problem. After her bath, she informed me that the the lump was now really red and the top was a bit yellowish. These things pointed to infected follicle or an ingrown hair. I advised her to re-apply the hot towel in the hopes of bringing the swelling to a head and safely draw out whatever was contained therein! Some time later she told me that she had been picking and squeezing at this thing and suddenly some "yellow stuff came out". I reaffirmed my original though of ingrown hair or infected follicle. I tried to reassure her of this. Unfortunately, my friend was held too tight in the grip of her health anxiety demons and was now convinced that she may have poisoned herself.

Now, any ordinary person might get a little fed up here of a friend "overreacting" to what is "obviously" not a big deal. However, I'm more than aware that in mental health, there is no such thing as an overreaction and nothing is ever obvious. Since this first issue, my friend has frequently come to me with issues. It's so difficult to try and talk a person through a mental health issue when they don't really understand it. I've spent a little time doing research and helping my friend to understand the illness she has. It seems we are making reasonable progress. She is seemingly happy to accept the things I am telling her. She has been reading material I have provided her and will hopefully soon embark on a CBT course. I also had her watch an episode of House M.D. in order that she see health anxiety played out. For those interested in seeing the episode, it's season 4, episode 18 - Airborne. 

Also recently, I lost my job! It's been really difficult for me because the one thing that keeps me going is my work!!

So yeah, these are the things I've been dealing with recently which is why I haven't been blogging. 

With some amount of luck, things will change, even a little, some time soon and things will get a little better!

I feel like there should be more here but I'm not really up to writing!!

In the meantime, as ever, I am looking to feature true life stories of my readers as well as web sites and/or forums that you find useful! Drop me a line if you have anything to share!

Keep Smiling :): 

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