Friday, June 29, 2007

Where do you go for advice?

Dear friend,
Do you know how to care for a maidenhair fern? Mine has been struggling for months. I don't know what to do to help.
Where do I go for advice when I don't have the answer myself? Where do you? I was up at 5am after 5 hours sleep. This is fine if I didn't also have days when I need 15 hours. I saw the psychiatrist yesterday and he wants me on another medication. He's wanted me on this medication for a long time now. The medication I'm on radically changed my personality and creativity in particular. I couldn't do gardening, cook, do my craft, etc and for someone creative it was soul destroying. I am now changed in a good way without the aggression, overspending, irrational thoughts, antisocial behaviour, etc but I'm changed. My creativity is back too. I guess I don't want more change in me good or bad. Medication that changes the sense of who I am is still spooky for me even when it's beneficial.
At the moment I've said I want to see if I can change my sleeping patterns myself. I'm not at the hard part yet of long sleeping nights and needing to get up at 8.30.
What would be your advice?
Lots of love from Susan in Australia
PS I'm making a commitment to write to you evryday unless I'm sick or the computer is

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Begin it

Dear friend,
Goethe wrote...."Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it. Action has magic, grace, and power in it"
I used to have this written on my wall in my old house. When I was really ill I decided it would be a nice idea if I did lots of writing on the walls. I actually liked it but nowadays I write nice words on cards and put pictures and collages with it and put those around the house instead. I'm a lot more conservative nowadays because of medication and also age I'd say. I found what Goethe wrote really inspiring and have begun many things in my life. I'm sure Goethe wrote something about perserverance because that is the issue after starting a new sleep routine!!!
I survived day one and didn't have a nap and went to bed tired but not sleepy at 11 and probably fell asleep before 12. Woke at 7. Question is do I get up or go back to sleep and wait for the alarm? I decided to get up if I've had 6 or more hours sleep and see how that goes.
Have you started anything new lately? Are you perservering?
Lots of love from Susan in Australia

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Happy returns

Dear friend,
Day one!!!!!! I finally fell asleep about 4am and woke up at 7am. I got a bit confused but told myself to go to sleep until 8.30. In the future if I have had a good sleep I will get up when I wake naturally otherwise with the alarm.
OK so I'm up having had cold water, eaten toothpaste!!!!!! as suggested by a couple of wake up early experts!!!, washed my face, changed and made a little collage, coffee and written down my dream. Had a great dream about doing some special meditation work at an ashram. It was a really positive, encouraging dream. A few days ago I was having some prophetic and very positive dreams.....I hope it is all fortuitous of my new sleep hygiene.
Silly me was wondering how I was going to come up with a nice picture everyday. I have lots of flower photos and they will do quite nicely if I haven't done a collage or other art work.
My main aim today will be surviving on only a few hours of sleep and being forced awake. At the moment I am running on enthusiastic adrenalin and am well aware there are going to be flat days where I won't even remember to do this blog.
Wish me luck and a few prayers please from you if you are prayerful.
I am so hoping that this works and I can make further positive changes to my moods. At the moment I am feeling too positive and enthusiastic. If you suffer bipolar you will understand the too positive. If not trust me we can get way off the track with our enthusiasm and with what appear like great ideas at the time. I am being very, very mindful of all of this.
The euphoria will wear off soon enough. Meanwhile I am very impressed I at least started day one with success. Well done Suse.
Lots of love from Susan in Australia


Dear friends....I know there are a few of you out there so this is for you as well as me!!!!

It's 2.30 in the morning and my mind is going all over the place. Regular readers will know about my chronic sleeping problems. I went to the Sleep clinic and the doctor asked me lots of questions and said I would have to come in to the clinic overnight to be tested for organic problems. I freaked out saying I didn't want to do that unless absolutely necessary. I would be up all night on adrenalin and anxiety. The doctor then suggested seeing the sleep psychologist in 2 months time. Only problem is that I have hit the wall in terms of wanting to do something about my sleeping problem now and not in another 2 months. I came home and looked up lots more about bipolar and sleep disorders and a lot of the articles suggest getting a good routine with sleeping. I read an article about a guy who suggests going to bed when you are tired and getting up at the same time each morning and hopefully getting tired at a similar time each night as a result of getting up early in the morning. I honestly have never tried in the past 10 years forcing myself to get up at say 8.30 every morning and going to bed when I'm tired at night. I usually go to bed around 11 - 11.30 and lie awake for as long as it takes to fall asleep. Last night it took 3 hours. I realise being on the computer isn't a good idea. Most articles recommend reading until you get tired and preferably not reading in bed.
I know how hard it is to wake up in the morning unless I just let myself wake up naturally. I have shifted the alarm to the other side of the room. I will drink some water when I awake and come into the study to write my blog and do emails. I already know it will be hell to do......absolute hell. It reminds me of the days going to work and having to get up. I just want to give it one more try for at least 2 months until I go to the sleep psychologist. I want to see if it is possible to change my sleep habits and get it more regular. I have a strong suspicion that the sleep problem is strongly linked to my moods and that it will be as impossible to change my sleeping patterns as it is to change my moods. There is no way I can make myself be upbeat and manic or down and depressed by my will power. It is mostly out of my control and I can make small changes but mostly my moods have a will of their own. I went to work for 20 years and mostly got up with the alarm and managed. In the final years before losing my job my sleeping got worse and worse and I had to ring work and say I couldn't go in because I just couldn't get awake and stay awake. Once I left work I was sleeping up to 20 hours a day and my sleeping went totally out of control. Over the past 10 years I have slowly gained some control where I am able to be awake in the afternoons and evenings most days. Mornings are the problem and nights like tonight when I can't sleep because I'm too speedy and I have slept too long in the mornings.
I wish I could read more about other mates who have bipolar but I only get to see a small amount of writing from them. It's like me here now not many people are going to read this or find it useful. It's a shame because there would be so many of my bipolar mates going through exactly what I am tonight. Some will be even worse because they have to try and go to work in the morning or they are in a full blown manic phase. I haven't been really manic for a long time now and that is a blessing.
I'll try and go to sleep now. I'll write again in the morning. Instead of doing my journal writing in the morning I'll do this blog instead. I'm aiming to write tomorrow and I'd love to say I'll write each day for the next 2 months to keep me motivated but I am not feeling so positive. Cutting my hours of sleep back to 8-9 hours when I can sleep 9 - 15 is asking for trouble. I just want to give it a go then at least I know I gave it my best shot.
Lots of love from Susan in Australia

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Challenging time

I want to delete this blog and not do it anymore because once again I've gone from good times and achievements back into being overwhelmed and confused. I like the blog when I feel I am making improvements but when the troubled times come I don't like the blog. My mood is still quite positive but I'm back into sleeping up to 15 hours a day and mentally being unable to sequence my thoughts. A lot of people would say no big deal and it is a fair comment. In my head though it feels like life is out of control. When I get like this I leave lots of tasks uncompleted and so the house becomes quite messy and chaotic. I can see that I need to tidy up and have learnt that I need to do one small task at a time but knowing it and doing it are two different things. If i start one task I get convinced I should be doing something else and it is hard to stay focussed on what I am doing. In the old days I use to refer to these times as being in the eye of a storm as in a cyclone where the centre is really calm and the surroundings are out of control. i feel strangely calm but also distressed......who could figure that out.
I have had to cancel a few activities with friends and the groups I belong to. I get disappointed at doing this but know this is the ebb and flow of my mental illness. I am hoping that the sleep clinic can sort something out with my sleeping and hopefully improve some of my mental problems.
I had to go to the dentist for a check up and clean and I was hyper sensitive as usual but even worse today because of how I am feeling. I found all the instruments and noise very distressing and the dentist had to give up and do the cleaning by hand. I try to behave myself but I get very distressed. he is a very good dentist and is always supportive and encouraging to me.
time to write a list of tasks to do and see if I can do a few of them from start to finish.
My heart goes out to those who have mental illness particularly those who can't manage to run their own home and are homeless. i am forever grateful that I can keep bill paying and most of my life skills up and running. I have to remind myself that I cope very well and that my misperceptions are because of my mental illness. I am not out of control even though my mind is telling me I am!!!
Mum is cooking tea tonight and I am grateful for all the meals she cooks for me. It really helps for times like now.
I am glad I have this silly little blog to chat on. In some strange way it helps and it helps even more when someone who reads it says it helps them,
Lots of love from Susan in Australia

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Great progress

Great progress with my getting out and about and taking on challenges. I went away overnight with my mother for her 80th birthday. We stayed at a motel near my brother's and we had a fabulous weekend full of scenic drives, shopping, yummy meals including a high tea at a beautiful country mansion overlooking a lake. I met all the challenges of new places and unexpected happenings. Of course I was in the company of family but a few months ago I would have found the weekend away all too hard. My little outings to date have stood me in good stead.
There are plans for more overnight stays with my mother who enjoys traveling and also for me to try an overnight on my own.
All in all a great few days in my adventures.
I am also doing outings with my friends to various places to get my confidence up with dealing with various things.
I hope it is OK to say I am really proud of myself. At the beginning of this blog I could hardly manage to get to the cinema and back home.
Lots of love from Susan in Australia

Thursday, June 7, 2007

A new view on life

It never ceases to amaze me that some things in life take ages to figure out. I love windows with no curtains overlooking gardens and I have a lovely room in my home that has such a view. It never occured to me to put a chair in front of the window to relax and enjoy the view.....that is until last night at midnight. I was up at 6am and in the chair by dawn and it is fantastic. The number of birds that fly by are amazing. All the seagulls go past in huge flocks traveling between the beach and inland. I love being able to see my little courtyard. I've shared the good news with my mum already by phone and told a few friends in emails. I am so pleased I thought I'd put it on my blog.
I realise a lot of people have extraordinary views and I used to have an amazing large garden but my new little view means the world to me.....guess you can tell!!!!
It reminds me of the time I discovered a short cut down the beach so I can go everyday instead of the long way once a week.
As an artist I am always looking for new possibilities but some things take time and when they are discovered mean all the more because of it.
What a happy beginning to the day.
Lots of love from Susan in Australia

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Lots of success

I did it ...I went into the city by train and went to the State library and did a guided tour of the library and exhibitions. There is a huge change in relation to my ability to filter information. I find my surroundings in strange places less chaotic and less threatening. i am able to make sense of things. I sat in the train and wasn't overwhelmed by the people around me. I sat and knitted the way I did in the old days. It was comforting having something familiar with me to do. I collected some brochures of other places I can go in the future. I am not sure how often to challenge myself to keep the momentum going. I am so glad I can write and say that I met the challenge.
I saw the psychiatrist on Friday and he is impressed that my moods have been stable now for 11 weeks or more. He is also paying attention to the fact that I am taking the omega 3's and they seem to be making a huge improvement. I got a referral to the sleep disorder clinic and will make an appointment next week. i think it is worth pursueing answers as to why I may be having my erratic sleeping problems. Hopefully something can be done about it. The psychiatrist doesn't know what the problem is nor do other doctors. Mostly I find it hard waking in the morning and getting enough mental sense to be able to get up and begin he day. I am aware that I need to get up and get breakfast etc but the brain just can't connect the thought to action. Quite bizarre. If the phone rings or someone comes to the door I am immediately alert and able to take action. I have asked my mum to phone me each morning but I just went back to bed again and slept not being able to keep myself awake. I will be so interested to know if something can be done. I sure hope so as I would love to be able to travel away for a number of days as my confidence improves.
Lots of love from Susan in Australia