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My belly button the size of the moon

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by Rikkezen » Thu Feb 16, 2017 2:00 pm

Hi everyone

It's been three weeks since I got accepted as a member, but honestly my mind seems to blank when I try to introduce you to my life as a bipolar. Some part of me want to write the full story in vivid details, and another part of me doesn't want to reveal what has become my still ongoing education in the school of life. Well, I've decided to try introducing myself - in short at first.

I'm Rikke, 24 yo and from Denmark. I apologize if my english skills sucks - please ignore my bad spelling and grammar mistakes. Or make me aware of it - I might learn something along the way.

I got diagnosed with bipolar disorder October last year. I've been struggling with moderate to severe depressions since my early teens (13 yo when the first one hit). I've experiences several episodes of hypomania, but didn't realise this until recently. My biggest challenge right now is to accept my diagnosis and move on to a point where this disease doesn't get to define me and who I am as a person. I want to believe I'm so much more than my mood swings, but right now my belly button is the size of the moon. My mom always says that when you have to figure out what you are feeling, just look inside your belly button. But she also says that too much picking in your belly button just makes you see nothing but dirt. I don't know if this even makes sense. But I think I'm at that place where I constantly "pick my bellybutton". What am I feeling now? Am I depressed? Restless? Hypersexual? Annoyed? What do I really feel?
So I'm standing here with the moon in my belly - but it's an eclipse. Pitch black. I know it's there, but the sun has to shine for me to get a grasp of it, to truly realise what's inside me. The sun isn't shining right now. I guess that's my description of depression. The lack of sun - the lack of light. I'm not hopeless, but carrying the moon in your stomach is exhausting.

This wasn't even an introduction. But at least I burst the bubble and got started.

Thank you for accepting me as member. I look forward to share both ups and downs with you. To get comforted and to comfort you. To get to know some of you guys and learn strategies to cope with this illness.

Guess that's it for now.

//Rikke (if you wonder how to pronounce my name when reading, just think "Ricky/Rikki")
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by Spm24 » Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:43 pm

Rikkezen,

Nice to meet you. I hope you find it comfortable here. Share what and when your happy.

The normal questions. Do you see a psychiatrist (pdoc). A therapist (tdoc). Are you taking medication?

Now the fun stuff. I like the title of your post. As to your English it is very good, better than some of us who have spoken and wrote it for many years... Grammar mmmm yours is good mine can be atrocious at times.

I like the way you put things. You mother's saying is so profound. A very unique way of looking at things. But a good way of looking at things.
If you feel like it is an eclipse always think of this. A total Eclipse of the sun only last for a short time. We all see the sun after awhile.. it only lasts so long. So keep looking for the light in the darkness.... It sounds like your eclipse is not to dark.

Remember you don't have to carry the moon by yourself.. people here will try to belong on carry it till it goes back into orbit....
Snowflakes gently floating from the sky just dusting the ground. Then it picks up bigger fatter flakes cascading from space at a faster rate. From a dusting to a trace. Then the deluge comes. Oh what joy. Watching everything slow to a crawl, then a stop. Step outside and even with things moving it is quiet. It is a giant muffler the earth is wearing. Causing everything to be muted.To be calm.By me
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by Pancake » Thu Feb 16, 2017 6:27 pm

Welcome Rikki. I can even pronounce your name in Dutch ;) :lol:

Except I don't roll R's very well.

Nice to have you here.
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by AvantGarde » Fri Feb 17, 2017 1:23 am

Hey Rikke welcome :D Belly button hum? That's awesome, love the metaphore.

Sorry you're low though, it will pass!

Make yourself at home
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by Rikkezen » Fri Feb 17, 2017 2:38 pm

Thank you for the welcome!
I'm happy you understood my metaphor.

To answer your questions Spm24:
I'm currently seeing a pdoc and in April I've been given the opportunity to see a tdoc as well. I've been on antidepressants in 10 years. First SSRI but after two years I was given SNRI instead. Since October when they discovered I'm really bipolar, I've been increased in my SNRI (effexor, venlafaxin), started on a mood-stabiliser (lamotrigin), an anti-psychotic (quitiapin/seroquel) and at last an antidepressant named Valdoxan. It's supposed to help balance my melatonin balance. I'm not nearly as depressed anymore as my cocktail of medication is beginning to work. My biggest problem is my quality of sleep, but we are working on it, and my psychiatrist won't give up until we find the right solution. I'm currently trying my fifth drug to help me sleep.
I don't know if you recognise the types of medications. I reckon it's different in the states? :-)
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by Spm24 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 2:53 pm

Rikkezen,

I recognize lamotrigine and Seroquel. I take the first and tried the second one but it made me very tired...

Glad your seeing a tdoc in a few months, they help deal with things and put them in perspective.

I looked up the others. I have not tried them but I am sure others here will have some input on those.

Sorry your sleep is suffering. But it is good that your pdoc is not giving up looking for something that works for you.

Sometimes it takes a big cocktail to make it work. Me personally I have a three med cocktail.
Snowflakes gently floating from the sky just dusting the ground. Then it picks up bigger fatter flakes cascading from space at a faster rate. From a dusting to a trace. Then the deluge comes. Oh what joy. Watching everything slow to a crawl, then a stop. Step outside and even with things moving it is quiet. It is a giant muffler the earth is wearing. Causing everything to be muted.To be calm.By me
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by Rose » Sat Feb 25, 2017 5:05 am

Hi Rikki.

Your description of your bellybutton - that it is the size of the moon - is very on point. It describes what it feels like. it is one of the steps of getting to know your body. Don't be afraid of your feelings. They're yours, and yours alone. You own them, you can accept them, and you can choose how to face them. Only, it's scary enough to see them. Feeling them on the surface is the most horrible sensation one might have ever felt. To see beyond them, the underlying feelings: have the willpower and courage to breathe in every piece of anxiety that exists in your entire body. Do that until it slowly fades down. It might take 10, 20, 40 minutes. Examine everything thats happening in your body. How it feels, where it's strongest, how big it is, what color it has, how hard/soft it is, etc.

When you're describing feelings, you use the words depressed, Restless, Hypersexual, and Annoyed. I would not call these feelings. Restless might be the effects of angst. Annoyed might be a result of sorrow. You might bear a sorrow. Facing some kind of person, issue, or situation, you may lead protecting oneself. What needs protecting? What emotions is behind it? It might be sorrow, it might be something else. But the annoyance is a result or an outer expression of something else.

It seems to me like you're hiding from yourself. Running from the real you because you can't accept yourself, love yourself, and because you're afraid of who you are. You won't even let yourself see who you are.

Don't be afraid. You can't change it. You can only allow it and accept it. What you can then change is how to separate your feelings from your thoughts and learn how to not lie to yourself in every situation.

I know it's hard. On the darkest of days you might only have the strength to keep yourself alive. But on some days that is enough. On those days you should be proud of doing just that.
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by AvantGarde » Sat Feb 25, 2017 5:22 am

Hey Rose, welcome to the forum.

I will have to disagree there, there are bipological causes for those feelings, not psychological ones. One might say they are connected, but the biology is the causation. They are symptoms of bipolar, and not easily resolved by taking control over our bodies, as you described, or even by giving them psychological causes. It's just not the case.

Why not make an introduction to yourself on the forum, for us to know a bit more about yourself?
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by Mocha » Sat Feb 25, 2017 9:52 am

Rose.....I'm replying to your first post on this thread.....

We DO NOT do therapy on this site, and we're not about to start now. We certainly don't analyze our members.

You were way out of line, and it was rather presumptuous of you to try to analyze Rikki, to think you knew what she was truly feeling or why.

To be honest, if my own therapist started talking to me like that, he wouldn't be my therapist much longer, not to mention a perfect stranger on some online forum.

I don't know who you are or what you do for a living, but I think maybe this isn't the site for you.

Good luck.
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by Mocha » Sat Feb 25, 2017 11:41 am

Rikki........I'm sorry your thread went so far OT......I hope you'll come back and continue your bellybutton discussion....... :)

How are you doing?
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by Rikkezen » Tue Feb 28, 2017 1:29 am

Rose:

In september last year I would have agreed with your analysis/interpretation. Before I got the right diagnosis, I suffered from what my tdoc, my psysician and myself thought was recurring depressions on an yearly basis. I worked with myself through therapy almost a decade - and eventually my tdoc gave up. She couldn't understand why I would feel the ways I did even though we had worked with/through all my "issues" several times. I started concealing my feelings from her and lying. To this day she still thinks that we parted on good terms, but that wasn't the case.

I know i skipped a step when i described my feelings in my original post: I know that these states aren't feelings, but it's what I fear my feelings are a sign of. I still have to learn how til separate normal states from bipolar symptoms. I guess that's a life time lesson but on some level I look forward to this! When I got my diagnosis in October last year I cried. Not because I was severely depressed (and I really was on the brink of choosing death), but because of relief!!! The sun was shining in my belly button that day, because all of my confusing feelings weren't wrong - they were a sign of an illness. It's not me! I don't hold on to these feelings and states because I like suffering (I've been told this) but because there's a biological reason!!!

I'm not a freak, I'm not a lost cause. I'm ill! I know this is a disappointment for the average person, but for the first time I felt that it all made sense. There's a reason. It's not me! (sorry for the repetitions - this is just something I really feel like emphasizing).

Yeah, I still have sorrows, grief and outside reasons for some of my feelings - but for several years now my feelings and my life conditions don't agree with each other. They don't correlate and this has been a constant burden to (for?) me. Why can't I feel normal? My life is good - I have all I need, people I love - and yet, I feel like my life isn't worth living or the opposite that I'm the king of the world and I don't need anyone.
Need I repeat that it all makes sense now?

I don't hide from my self - far from it. I've worked so much with my self that my nearest friends often express a sense of awe: "wow, you really know yourself well!". And I really do, and my diagnosis gives me an opportunity to get to know myself even better and see myself in a different and meaningful light. Does this even make sense?

I still have a long way to go regarding accepting that I have to struggle with this the rest of my life. But I don't hide!

Rose, I did have to process your post though. For a day I struggled with what you wrote: how it might be me closing my eyes and not doing enough to separate my feelings from my thoughts. On some level I want to thank you - your words made me think, and reach the feeling of relief once more: I can't cure this with will power or an effort to connect every feeling with an outlying reason.

I hope you would refrain from analyzing others without knowing them, and this is said from the kindest place.

Avantgarde:
Thank you for emphasizing the biologically founded nature of being bipolar! It was needed! It helped me reach the above written.

Mocha:
Thank you for sticking up for me!
I'm back and currently reading hither and thither around the forum and getting more enlightened and educated each day. To see others describe EXACTLY what I'm feeling .. I can't even describe the feeling. The thought of me making it all up in my head, that it's all been my fantasy has vanished. There's a reason!

I'm doing better, I think. I'm not as depressed (even though it still varies), but my sleep is still far from satisfying. I feel like I'm in limbo. But I do learn something - the tiniest things - about myself each day and I process my past. So much makes sense now! So, it's mixed I guess. I'm going to see my pdoc on friday. I'm kinda nervous: it probably means another round of medication adjustment and the following symptoms. But it means that I'm getting closer to a treatment - I have to hold on to that.

Wow, this is a long post. Sorry ;)
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by AvantGarde » Tue Feb 28, 2017 1:37 am

No problem, Rikke. :D

Great post by the way :D
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by Mocha » Mon Mar 06, 2017 11:25 am

Rikkezen wrote:
Mocha:
Thank you for sticking up for me!

No problem, Rikki......I always stick up for our members, you never have to worry about that........We run a safe board for everyone, always have....... :)

I'm back and currently reading hither and thither around the forum and getting more enlightened and educated each day. To see others describe EXACTLY what I'm feeling .. I can't even describe the feeling. The thought of me making it all up in my head, that it's all been my fantasy has vanished. There's a reason!

I'm glad to hear you're continuing to read the forum, and learning you're not the only one who feels the way you do, that you're not making it up in your head...far from it.......Now I hope you'll continue to post......We like your posts btw...... :)

I'm doing better, I think. I'm not as depressed (even though it still varies), but my sleep is still far from satisfying. I feel like I'm in limbo. But I do learn something - the tiniest things - about myself each day and I process my past. So much makes sense now! So, it's mixed I guess. I'm going to see my pdoc on friday. I'm kinda nervous: it probably means another round of medication adjustment and the following symptoms. But it means that I'm getting closer to a treatment - I have to hold on to that.

How did your pdoc appt go on Friday? Any news re: meds? I know it can be nerveracking, but like you said it means you're getting closer to the treatment that works for you.

Oh yeah, one more thing........When I got my dx, I was thrilled also! It was a relief to know what was going on me after years of being ms dx'd.

Wow, this is a long post. Sorry ;)

No worries on the long post........We're known for that around here....:lol:
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by Rikkezen » Wed Mar 08, 2017 2:33 pm

Mocha wrote:How did your pdoc appt go on Friday? Any news re: meds? I know it can be nerveracking, but like you said it means you're getting closer to the treatment that works for you.


Considerate of you to ask! I honestly don't know how to respond - I guess I'm still processing what was said and done. My pdoc was very worried when she heard that my sleep still hasn't improved. When she saw my mood-registration-chart (don't know if you guys know this or what it's called) and asked me about each day, I startede crying uncontrollably. She suggested that we once again change my meds. So as of now my dosis of SNRI (antidepressant) has decreased and I'm currently slowly increasing dosis of an TCA. And then the conversation took a turn I hadn't even dreamt about: she suggested that it would be an option to admit in the hospital. She wanted to admit me immediately but we ended up agreeing to give the new meds a chance.

I've had a hard time processing it all. Has it really come to this? I'm clearly depressed but I'm not suicidal. And in Denmark only the worst cases are offered hospital care. My anxiety kicks in and all the unknown things about it triggers panic attacks. But now several days later I have come to realize that I promised myself to do everything my doctor told me would be best. Even when she suggested meds I had tried before - I did it, to show her that I want to get better. So now I have to keep my promise, I guess. I need help and my parents aren't capable of helping me more than they do. And God knows they have their own struggles.

So, now I'm rambling again. I really wish I had some positive to write for once. I try to remain positive - to see the silver lining. It's there if I look hard enough.
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by Spm24 » Wed Mar 08, 2017 3:03 pm

Rikkezen,

The positive is that you and your pdoc are exploring all avenues to help you get better. Your correct, the silver lining is there we just have to look for it. Some have to look harder than others.

It is good to keep your promises. Especially when it comes to your well being...If it is best in the future to go into the hospital there is no shame in it. It is just another way of getting better....
Snowflakes gently floating from the sky just dusting the ground. Then it picks up bigger fatter flakes cascading from space at a faster rate. From a dusting to a trace. Then the deluge comes. Oh what joy. Watching everything slow to a crawl, then a stop. Step outside and even with things moving it is quiet. It is a giant muffler the earth is wearing. Causing everything to be muted.To be calm.By me
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by AvantGarde » Wed Mar 08, 2017 10:34 pm

I agree with Shawn, Rikke.
And even when we try our best we still need the comfortable idea that someone is looking after us. There's no shame in that.

Hope the new meds work. What are them? You didn't say.
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by Rikkezen » Tue Mar 14, 2017 3:52 am

Thank you for the comforting words!
I've been processing the whole hospital thingy and your opinions really did help me looking at it with different eyes.
My new meds have had an effect on my sleep. I feel like my sleep is improved in quality but I do still wake up 4-5 times. But it's better than 10-12 times during 8 hours. My mood hasn't improved for the better though. I am still fighting a daily battle against my thoughts.

To answer your question AvantGarde: my new meds are called Anafranil (clomipramin). My venlafaxin has been reduced from 300 to 150 mg (300 before), and seroquel from 100 to 75 mg (still in process, slowly). I talked to a nurse yesterday and she's optimistic: we will find the right combination of meds. She recommended hospital as well. I've decided to get admitted 22nd this month - if the meds still don't work.
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by AvantGarde » Tue Mar 14, 2017 4:02 am

I see. Sometimes the lower the meds are, the better they work. Happens to me. With my antipsychotic, a lower dose helped more than the highest dose. With the benefit of less side effects too... We all react differently to meds.

How about therapy? I forget if you're in therapy or not.

Hope it isn't necessary for you to be admitted. Hopefully you'll climb out of that hole, you seem more optimistic now :)
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by Spm24 » Tue Mar 14, 2017 7:14 am

Rikkezen,

Good that you have a plan in the worst case scenario. Hope it does not come to it. Maybe the med change will help...
Snowflakes gently floating from the sky just dusting the ground. Then it picks up bigger fatter flakes cascading from space at a faster rate. From a dusting to a trace. Then the deluge comes. Oh what joy. Watching everything slow to a crawl, then a stop. Step outside and even with things moving it is quiet. It is a giant muffler the earth is wearing. Causing everything to be muted.To be calm.By me
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by Rikkezen » Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:34 am

To answer your question AvantGarde I am currently not seeing a tdoc, but I do have an appointment 4th April. I really look forward to therapy. Hospitalisation isn't really my cup of tea and I guess I'm just living hour to hour these days. The pdocs here haven't reinvented the wheel. Even though the nurses report that I'm constantly abrubted in my sleep (partly because that's how it is and partly because they wake me when come in), they decided to ....
*drumrol*.... Increase seroquel yet again. So after decreasing a month because it makes me feel very uncomfortable waking up at night with a half sedated brain and the other half on weed telling me to eat, eat, eat, and yet both parts manage to the same old depressive thoughts. I'm.... I don't know what I am. I could cry my eyes out all the time, I feel like my head is on the verge of exploding and splashing a black, icky mass of thoughts out on the ground. And at the same time og wish I didn't have a heart - The pain, the constant struggle. I just wanna go home to my parents. Right now I just want a hug and someone to tell me it's okay to cry (in the psychiatric ward there apparently aren't any justifiable reasons to cry, I was told. "Stop crying. There's nothing to cry about. Are you suicidal? No? Then stop crying, there really isn't anything to cry about." These aren't even my thoughts but the actual words of the nurse who found me in a puddle of tears and snot on the floor of my room last night.)

I'm not optimistic. I just wanna go home to my mommy. 24 yo femling like a 4 yo and 400 yo at the same time.
Tomorrow has to be better.
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by AvantGarde » Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:51 am

Oh man Rikke, I'm so sorry. Stupid nurse, you can cry all you want, your moods don't exist to make her little bubble happy. What a bitch!

Hopefully you'll get out soon enough..

It's okay to want your mommy right now, we've all been there.

A big, big hug
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