It's been a while since my last blog post, and not without reason. My last post was in June, when I was gradually increasing my dosage of lithium while following a treatment program for anxiety. However, instead of becoming more stable, I was rapidly becoming more depressed, as well as experiencing severe side effects on lithium. My father in law dying in Februari and my grandfather unexpectedly dying in March sure as hell didn't help. The depression got so bad in a short time that by the end of June I had two options left: check myself into a treatment facility, or check into an outpatient treatment facility five days a week. Since my boyfriend, my cats and my apartment are my few sources of constant happiness, I opted for the latter. I spent three months going to group therapy five days a week. Apart from that, my lithium was discontinued and I started on quetiapine and citalopram. Which is in a big part to blame for my lack of activity here: it completely knocked me out. I spent a little over two months in bed, sleeping most of the time and lazily staring at the ceiling and eating while I was awake. This made me gain a lot of weight (18 kilos) and did not really help with the depressed feeling. To be honest, I wasn't really feeling depressed anymore, but I didn't really feel anything else either. I went back to drinking alcohol, because being under the influence at least allowed me to feel happy again. It's not recommended with my meds, but I gladly accepted the added risk if it meant being able to talk with my boyfriend and have happy feelings. It took me well over two months to get used to quetiapine, and then the tiredness slowly decreased and I started feeling like me again. And, not without importance, I can take care of my personal hygiene and I am enjoying things again. Picked up a new videogame and became completely engrossed. Spending a lot of time in the kitchen with my boyfriend. Of course, I have a nagging worry that I might be becoming manic, but as of now I'm just the same bubbly happy person that I used to be before I got sick.
My anxiety is slowly subsiding as well, so I can go grocery shopping by foot and I can travel by public transport again.
It wasn't all great though. While I was finishing up my treatment program, my manager at work told me that the end of my contract was coming up and they weren't sure if they wanted to employ me for another year due to my long periods of absenteeism. Aside from that, my boyfriend had quit his job in May to focus on starting a new business, which made me the sole breadwinner. This obviously caused me a great deal of stress, so I frantically started looking for a new full time job, even though I was nowhere ready to work 40+ hours a week. Luckily in the end my manager decided that while I had been absent a lot, everyone was really content about the quality of my work and my motivation to keep going, so I got a year long extension on my contract as well as a new team to work with so I can broaden my horizons instead of getting bored doing the same thing over and over again.
Today I met my new manager and my new team. My manager is a very friendly and approachable woman. I was open with her about my bipolar disorder, and her solution is to get together every month for a cup of coffee to see if things are still going well and if not, to see how she can facilitate my return to full time employment. And the cherry on top is that after a lot of worrying, I told my mom about my bipolar disorder diagnosis today and she was completely relaxed about it and said that it does explain a lot. I had expected a lot of drama, but got the opposite.
I even went to a concert with my dad last friday and even though it lasted for two hours and we were in the front seat of a very full theater, I did not experience anxiety. A win in my book!
To summarize, after a really tough year with lots of ups and downs, my life seems to be taking a turn for the better and I am feeling optimistic about the future again. Hope it sticks this time!
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