The mixed state.
Posted by bipolarsoulblog
14th May 2016

The mind is an incredible, intricate, beautiful being. Our entire lives centre around our passions, ambitions and memories. The mind nurtures these feelings intently, forever growing and expanding with life experience, making connections and broadening our horizons. Yet, lamentably, with great power comes great fragility. The mind is a vulnerable, unique, unpredictable being. So what happens when you lose control of it? This is where I have struggled the most. I have always been a great believer in mind over matter. Unfortunately, regardless of how much you push, you simply cannot 'think yourself' better, it doesn't work that way with mental illness. These are proven chemical imbalances, and they require treatment. Due to the idiosyncratic nature of the mind, I am discovering that treatment is not a simple process when it comes to mental health. Yet when the world becomes uninviting, its colours no longer vivid, it is unquestionably time to start that journey towards help and recovery.

Last week I visited the psychiatrist and I received my formal diagnosis; Bipolar II. Surprisingly, an unexpected feeling of relief washed over me. There were no tears, no shocks, just answers, reasons. I had in fact experienced a hypomanic episode a few weeks ago, and the doctor determined I am currently in what is referred to as a mixed state. This means I'm exhibiting signs of both depression and mania simultaneously. This may explain why I currently can't decide between following a 'Yoga for Beginners' video on Youtube followed by a healthy breakfast, or hiding on the settee watching American Horror Story for the umpteenth time whilst eating chocolate buttons. At this moment in time I'm still on no medication having stopped Sertraline so abruptly. The lack of medication does send me in to a brief panic sporadically, and I'm quite surprised that it seems to be common practice for patients to be left for weeks in limbo between a change in diagnosis and starting new medication. I'm booked in for an ECG, CT scan and blood tests later in the week before I can start any mood stabilizers. I'm feeling pretty exhausted physically, but concurrently during the day I feel unable to find a relaxed rhythm within myself. My mind is not flowing in calm waves, but pulsing and spiking endlessly. It's as though I do not have enough brain power to think everything that I want to think, I need additional brains to process all of my thoughts. The heavy knot in my stomach is undeniably still present, a little reminder that I haven't slipped the grasp of depression quite yet.

After spending so long in a stoic, deep depression previously, struggling to feel anything, this continuous up and down is a strange experience. My memory and concentration are suffering slightly as a result; this blog, for instance, has taken way longer than it should have to write. I'm distracted by the urge to write of beautiful night skies filled with the brightest galaxies, the darkest storms sending waves crashing to the shores and peaceful lakes set in secluded forests. I want to tell stories of my daughter and I searching rock pools and caves for sea life and treasures, of finding a tranquil nook and getting lost in one of Dahls' books together. This blog is feeding my desire to write, but I'm determined not to lose sight of my reasoning behind it; raising awareness and being loud and honest enough to make a dent, no matter how small, in the stigma surrounding mental illness.

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