Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Dear friend,
I went to the psychiatrist with my mum and brother. It's a sobering experience having one's psychiatrist and family explain how unwell I can get. As much as I have improved by getting on medication and having an excellent psychiatrist I am unlikely ever to be a fully well person.
Bipolar for me is an illness that has to be managed rather than cured.
The next 2 weeks I start the new medication but with no major changes expected until I'm on a higher dose. I hope I don't lose my early mornings flooded with ideas and the thrill of life's possibilities.
Lots of love from Susan in Australia

Sunday, July 29, 2007

New drugs

Dear friend,
I'm off to the psychiatrist today and I'm going to need to start taking a new mood stabiliser. My mood swings have been getting increasingly extreme and I've been finding it difficult to contain my thoughts and behaviour. I have been pushing myself to achieve things with my cooking, traveling and socialising and am finding it hard to assimilate all the information. My sleeping pattern has been swinging dramatically with my mood swings. The psychiatrist has wanted me on the new medication for months. I tried it for a month but then decided I would be OK without it. The mood stabiliser I started taking a few years ago completely changed my extroverted, outgoing, chatty, creative personality into and introverted, shy, quiet, uncreative person. Mind altering drugs can be scary. Part of me is scared about this new drug.
I'm glad you are keeping me company in the coming months.
Lots of love from Susan in Australia

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Dear friend,
I can tell by some of my emails and phone messages that once again I've been on a I can't cope downer. I always am sorry I've been so outspoken and dramatic. I understand absolutely why many people consider me and others with bipolar as being melodramatic . Every shift in our emotions is so momentous, so all encompassing and so often seems so absolute. Life seems so out of control and yet to an observer it's not. My mind hardly remembers the coping strategies I've thought of to get me through another downer. I'm always surprised by the next happy up and cannot understand why hours or days ago I was overwhelmed by anxiety over the simplest of life tasks.
I understand if others see me as self centred and egocentric because my moods and mental breakdowns consume so much of my time and energy to piece together a reality able to be endured or lived. When I'm on an up I'm totally consumed by spiralling thoughts and ideas and experience and cannot comprehend why everyone else isn't along for the ride.
Two days ago I was in my downtime and was supposed to be packed and ready to go away overnight to spend two days with a friend not far from where I live. Doing the simplest things in a downer is hard but I went...yes.... I went... One step at a time and the adrenalin kicked in and my mood shifted and I had a fabulous two days away. As much as I'm pleased I' m already into being consumed I'll never survive another time away and the up and down thinking spirals again.
Small successes can be such wonderful things. Such a small success to go away overnight and yet for me it's like Mt Everest and back.
My thoughts are with everyone with bipolar who are in a downtime who got from morning to night. However melodramatic and petty you appear to outsiders I understand your struggles, your endurance, and your relief at reaching the end of another day.
I hope you learnt something today to help you tomorrow.
As for you dear friend I don't need to ask if you endure too.
Lots of love from Susan in Austalia

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Depend on

Dear friend,
Who do you depend on to help you through the difficult times? Do you play with the kids, phone a friend, visit your parents? Do you pray?
Lots of love from Susan in Australia

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Dear friend,
I've crashed again. Needing massive amounts of sleep and feeling fatigued and disorientated when awake. When I do get up I need to cancel activities I've planned and rearrange the priorities like bill paying. This has happened for over 10 years and I'm still not good at living with the roller coaster. I am so grateful that I don't work and have to disrupt other people.
I'll try and keep in contact but this blog will probably slip down the priority list.
Lots of love from Susan in Australia

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Sleep issue again

Dear friend,
Not well this morning. Woke with the alarm and quite disorientated and just went back to bed and lay down and I went back to sleep for 2 hours. My main concern is I've organized to stay at a motel and visit a friend next week and I don't know how I will manage. Do I dare go and hope I'll be alert. How do I work in with my friend.
I am looking forward to seeing the sleep psychologist. I hope he can sort something out.
It's challenging involving friends with one's illness?
Do you have a chronic illness? How do you involve your friends?
Lots of love from Susan in Australia

Monday, July 16, 2007

Talking too much

Dear friend,
I went to a new age discussion last night in a small group. The leader was excellent with a lot to say. Problem is very few of the others said anything except me. I talked too much. I love participating in small group discussions but why is it that many people just sit and listen. What happens if everyone sits and listens...there is no discussion just a leader doing all the talking. I understand a lot of people are shy. Last night I should have shut up more. They are having the group again but I won't go as I'd like to hear from others rather than just the leader and I doing all the talking.
Are you a shy person or do you do a lot of talking?
Lots of love from Susan in Australia
PS Sleeping problem - woke at 4 and 6am and got up with alarm at 8 am but tired feeling. I hope I can keep it up.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


Dear friend,
Woke at 6 am but went back to sleep until the alarm at 8. I felt groggy and light headed. I had an easy 16 days and now comes the harder times. Now would be when I sleep 10 - 15 hours.
The hardest thing I have done in life is to give up smoking. I kept trying and failing so many times and gave up for a time and then tried again. I finally succeeded.
There are many things in life that are hard and it takes courage and perserverance to succeed.
What's hard in your life? Do you perservere or give up with hard challenges?
Lots of love from Susan in Australia

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Dear friend,
Having written about habits and routines I feel it's important to have creative times as well. When I came out of hospital and onto new medication for my mental illness my creativity disappeared except in my writing. I couldn't garden, cook or do any of my art or craft work. It was devestating. It has slowly come back and I have relearnt many activities that I now enjoy with abandon. I try and balance my routines. socialising, going out and about with my creative pursuits. Anyone with CFS will tell you how challenging it is to get the balance of energy output right but I think balancing activities is a challenge for everyone.
What are you creative with? Have you ever lost your creativity?
Lots of love from Susan in Australia
PS Couldn't get up at 6am when I woke. I was quite tired and disorientated and finally got up at 8.30. I was really anxious because it reminded me of my old sleeping habits

Friday, July 13, 2007


Dear friend,
Day 17 of getting up early. I am still waking up at 6 am before the alarm. I have never woken at 6 am in my life. It's fascinating thinking that new habits and routines are being created. Most of us have habits and routines we do on a daily, seasonal or yearly basis. With bipolar and CFS it was difficult to create habits as there were so many changes in the past. Nowadays I am much more habitual through hard work and faithfulness. I find the routines calming and nurturing.
Do you have habits and routines? How do they make you feel?
Lots of love from Susan in Australia

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Dear friend,
Having rapid cycling bipolar over the years and unmedicated has meant I have been very extreme in my moods. Either I'd be up and zippy and full of ideas or down, depressed and often suicidal. My eating habits, my lifestyle. my behaviour towards others would be one extreme or another.
Even on medication there is a noticeable change. Over the past few years I have been learning about moderation and how to smooth out my extremes. Habits and routines are amazing things to create a sense of order, familiarity and consistancy.
Now that I have been getting up early I have time to get even more things in order like getting the dishes done each day and the bedspread on the bed.
Are you moderate or extreme? Do you have routines and habits?
Lots of love from Susan in Australia

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Chaos and sequencing

Dear friend,
Yesterdays entry has gone missing!
I'm not sure if sequencing is a problem with other people with bipolar but it is with me.
As I often have so many thoughts in my head it is difficult to put them in order. This is the case with activities. If I have to do something that requires making order out of chaos I find it extremely difficult. If I have to do the washing it is quite straightforward taking things out of laundry basket into the machine but taking them out I have to hang things in a specific order on the line otherwise I get confused. Dishes are extemely difficult as they are all over the place and I can't figure out the order to wash them in. When I dry them and I see the huge pile and I have to concentrate carefully on taking one item at a time to dry. I can drive known places easily, vacuuming is hard because I can't figure out where I've vacuumed and where I haven't and I have to try and be very systematic.
Do you have problems sequencing? What activities are hard...and easy?
Lots of love from Susan in Australia
PS I have been getting up before the alarm for over a fortnight now. Awesome change.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Life's challenge

Dear friend,
I really like to believe that when people meet me they are touched by my kindness and sincerity.
I work hard at life and although I live a very privileged life in relation to people of the world I find life very challenging. When I was very sick with bipolar mostly I wished I was dead. I found most of of life quite intolerabe - it seemed such a struggle with the way my mind worked and I didn't understand people or life.
Nowadays I understand the adventure of life and the challenge of it. I have created a very pleasant and enjoyable life for myself and haven't suffered deep depression for quite some years now.
The hardest thing about mental illness is trying to use a brain that isn't working properly to do things. I am learning lots of detours.
Do you find life a challenge? Do you find life easy? Do you love life?
Lots of love from Susan in Australia

Monday, July 9, 2007


For most of my adult life I have been quite an unreliable person due to my moods. It never occurred to me until now having ever changing moods affects everything I do even now. Most of my friends and family can predict with reasonable certainty what they'll do. With me if would depend if I'm up and zippy, full of energy and enthusiastic or down, introverted and depressed. I would often get distracted and be late or not turn up at all. My CFS has made my unreliability even worse.
Nowadays with my medication and better life management I am much more reliable, routine and predicatable. It is a calmer way to live. I am hoping to get my sleeping better so I"m even more reliable. It's a nice feeling.
Are you reliable?
Lots of love from Susan in Australia

Sunday, July 8, 2007


Dear friend,
Day 12 of getting up early. Slept 8 hours today which is terrific. It's still early days.
I don't make promises to myself about anything because I hate breaking promises. I get really disappointed with other people who promise to do something and don't. I make goals and intentions in my life but never promises.
I wonder who disappointed me in the past to make me so extreme about it.
Do you make promises to yourself and / or others? Do you fulfill them or do you disappoint?
PS I'm off shopping with my mum today. I've been enjoying these new shopping outings and I'm getting better at negotiating all the different stimuli. I have to be careful with my spending because I can over buy.

Saturday, July 7, 2007


Dear friend,
When my mum dies she says she would like to be remembered as a kind person. She is very kind to me and others.
I am many things but I hope I am kind. It is a gentle word but still has strength in it. I am most definitely kind to animals because they are so vulnerable. I like being kind to people because it usually touches their heart. Kindness is rather like smiling - if you give a smile away the person usually smiles back. Treat a person with kindness and they are softened, humanised and often made kind even for a moment. In recent years I have learnt to be kind to myself. I hope I am seen as a kind person,
Are you kind? Do people treat you with kindness? Are you kind to yourself?
Lots of love from Susan in Australia
PS Iwent on an adventure yesterday and visited an art shop and two galleries. I am making huge strides with my confidence in new places.

Friday, July 6, 2007


Dear friend,
As I am sleeping less I have lots of time to do my artwork. It fascinates me with what I am inspired to do. I believe I am connected to / part of the Divine and that's where the ideas come from.
In my day to day life ideas just come for me to do things, go places. contact people.
It is part of my fascination to journal - watching the ideas unfold.
Life inspires life. Everything around me inspires me to be better, to aim for my goals, to achieve.
What inspires you? Where do you get your ideas from of what to be and do in your life?
Lots of love from Susan in Australia

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Every day matters

**********A decorated bull clip!!!! for my loose leaf journal*********

Dear friend,
I belong to a yahoo group .... Every Day Matters which is for people who love drawing and painting and celebrating every day life.
Having suffered severe fatigue to the point of sleeping all day and only getting to the toilet and for some water I have learnt to celebrate every small achievement in my life on a daily basis. Only these past few weeks have I started closing my curtains at night and putting my bedspread on the bed in the the mornings. In the past these jobs like many others took too much energy. I've had to make serious choices on what really matters to me each day and i celebrate it.
What matters to you in your daily life? Do you have energy to do everything you want to do? How do you decide what's important?
Lots of love from Susan in Australia

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Get the life you love

5 hours sleep - day 8
One thing I've learnt about life is you can't always get what you want ...sounds like a song!!! Seriously, when my life threw me the challenge of bipolar I thought how do I ever love my life if I sufferer so much depression. I learnt the serenity prayer very early on -

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference"

Many people around the world work the 12 step program (Alcoholics Anonymous etc.) and share my love of the prayer so I'm among friends,
The life I have today is the best I've ever known because each day I learn to live by the serenity prayer.
Do you love your life? Why? Why not? What changes? What stays the same?
Lots of love from Susan in Australia

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


*********************** Flowers from my old garden ***********************

Dear friend,
As I've been sleeping less - today it has been 4 hours, I have so much more time to do things. I have been doing things like sorting out the papers and rubbish in my purse and bags, tidying bookshelves and organizing my files.
Being a cataloging librarian I love organizatiion with a passion but rarely have time to be super organized because I love doing so many activities. I am one of those people who likes things in their specific positions with some intensional changes, My wardrobe, pantry and linen cupboard all have their familiar places for things. My mum is the same.
Are you a neatness person or chaotic and messy? How do you organize the things in your life?
Lots of love from Susan in Australia


Monday, July 2, 2007


Dear friend,
I'm still in my wake at 6 mode but stayed in bed until 8. I'm still not sure whether to aim at 8 hours or to get up when I am awake. Any advice?
I have a bad cold and I was raised with a mum who did lots of nice things when you are sick. Yesterday I settled into the midday movie, had a lovely afternoon tea using honey and sesame seeds and carrots. I cooked a yummo steamed fish and vegetables. Generally had a relaxing, play day at home. I'm planning the same today along with a short walk.
How do you treat yourself when you are sick with flu or cold?
Lots of love from Susan in Australia

Sunday, July 1, 2007


Dear friend,
Sorry I missed a day...I'm sick with a cold and I was away for the weekend minus a computer.
A huge achievement for me being away for the second weekend in a month, It is rather overwhelming with all the different sights and experiences and lack of familiarity and routine but I had a great time.
It's great to make goals and achieving them. I want to get overseas so first step is at least a night away from home ...so far so good.
What goals do you have?
What steps are you taking to achieve them?
Lots of love from Susan in Australia