(updated 25th May 2008)

I’m a a 26 year old guy from England. I’ve been diagnosed with bipolar disorder (type II) and also have a circadian rhythm sleep disorder which hasn’t been diagnosed yet (possibly this is non-24-hour sleep-wake syndrome). I’ve self-injured for the last decade. I have lots and lots of scars.

I started this blog back in December 2006, after I went crazy. I turned up at casualty (North Americans! This is the UK equivalent to your ‘E.R.’) with some not-very-serious cuts. I was signed off work at the end of December and haven’t been back since. For the first year, the mental health services pretty much sucked. Things are lots better now, and I have a psychiatrist, am taking medication and have been in therapy for a while.

If you’re interested, the medications I’ve been on so far have been:

Prozac (fluoxetine) – Back when I was 18. Took it for a year. Made me feel very speedy for the first few weeks. Side effects included mild nausea and the frustrating inability to reach orgasm that all SSRI’s seem to induce. It didn’t actually seem to help very much.

Temazepam – For sleep and anxiety. I was initially prescribed a pitiful handful of these while I was waiting to see the first psychiatrist. I shamelessly abused them. I was prescribed them again by my current psychiatrist (in a more sensible quantity) to treat my sleep problems. I didn’t abuse them this time, but after a couple of weeks they seemed to lose all effect.

Zoloft (sertraline) – My first recent SSRI. I took it for a week. Horrible gastro-intestinal side effects. Horrible cognitive side effects. Horrible all round, really. Turned me into a gibbering, shaking wreck.

Celexa (citalopram) – My second SSRI. This was somewhat less awful than sertraline, but it induced rapid cycling, throwing me violently from euphoria to deep depression every few days, usually accompanied by self-harm. I was only on it for six weeks or so.

Valium (diazepem) – Intended to help with the ‘anxiety’ caused by the citalopram. Unfortunately, I ended up washing my last few down with several cans of beer, then slicing through my wrist, severing the palmaris longus tendon. I went to hospital the next day, got it repaired and spent the next month with a huge bandage on my wrist.

Seroquel (quetiapine) – Prescribed by my current psychiatrist after I was diagnosed with bipolar. I took it for a few months. It had some really weird side effects and initally caused massive sedation. It didn’t seem to do much for my mood and screwed up my sleep.

Lamictal (lamotrigine) – This is my current medication. As of writing, I’ve just moved up to 50mg (on the long climb to 200mg). I haven’t noticed any side effects at this dosage.

I also mention some friends and other people from time to time, though I’ve changed the names. The principal cast of characters are:

Rob: A close friend. I met him at university.
Julie: One of Rob’s closest friends. I went out with her for a couple of months a few years ago. It didn’t work out.
Rebecca: My most recent ex. We broke up nearly two years ago.

Mostly this blog is just me wittering on about myself in that self-obsessed way that bloggers have. Sometimes I write about things that aren’t me. I’m not particularly concerned with de-stigmatising mental illness (whatever that really means), nor educating anyone about it. I write this blog because it’s helpful (maybe even therapeutic), I have lots of free time, and I get to communicate with the interesting people who comment.

32 Comments Add your own

  • 1. feartheseeds  |  March 6, 2007 at 12:05 pm

    This might be worth adding to your blogroll. PJB’s a recovering cutter as well. She’s very funny in a weird childlike sweet kind of offbeat worth reading kind of way. I was a burner. My youngest sister’s a recovering cutter. I think I may have been an unintentional cutter… anyway. ExChimp, PJB. PJB, ExChimp. Hey, check it out, you’re both British. Why is it every blog I read sounds like John Lennon?


  • 2. experimental chimp  |  March 6, 2007 at 12:46 pm

    You’ve just got to imagine all the people as working class heroes. I’ve added her to my friend surfer (which WordPress mysteriously seem to have changed to the much less friendly-sounding ‘blog surfer’). People tend to hang around in my friend surfer for a while until I wonder why I haven’t added them to my blogroll.

  • 3. feartheseeds  |  July 2, 2007 at 2:46 am

    Happy Canada Day… Whoo Hoo… Parrrrrtay.

  • 4. experimental chimp  |  July 2, 2007 at 4:55 pm

    Dream of Canadification…

  • 5. beinghannah  |  July 8, 2007 at 10:58 am

    Hi there, I live in Dublin and i suffer from Depression too, but dont lose hope, i could write a book about all the Meds and Psychiatrists ive been on. I have tried everything , some things worked some didnt, so if your interested in chatting about what i think helps, email me. viking_bright@yahoo.com

    It took me from my 30’s to now to feel a bit better, not saying that everyones the same, but I feel there are lots of ways to short circuit the long depression times. Books helped me and Music too, by the way i like your quotes, What did you study in University, your bright and young, i studied Psycology and English. Hannah

  • 6. L.J.  |  July 16, 2007 at 12:40 am

    It looks like it DID eat your comment. I think it’s doing that a lot, actually. The problem is, when I go to Akismet spam it just says that it’s blocked x-amount of spam messages and won’t let me actually look at any of them. Any suggestions?


  • 7. aikaterine  |  August 1, 2007 at 4:04 am

    I did now know where to post this. But I finally got through the paper you posted and I am very impressed. She offers a fairly good solution to the problems with rights talk, at least for me. Not sure if that is what she intended to do.

    In any case, thanks.

  • 8. aikaterine  |  August 5, 2007 at 1:53 pm

    I want…

  • 9. aikaterine  |  August 5, 2007 at 1:54 pm

    to rule…

  • 10. aikaterine  |  August 5, 2007 at 1:54 pm


  • 11. aikaterine  |  August 5, 2007 at 1:55 pm

    nav bar…

    haha, I did it….

    all aikaterine all the time

  • 12. experimental chimp  |  August 5, 2007 at 2:22 pm

    Yeah, for all of an hour and a half…

  • 13. aikaterine  |  August 5, 2007 at 2:25 pm

    It’s all about quality babe… I rocked your little blog world for the hour and a half that I was in control.

  • 14. feartheseeds  |  August 6, 2007 at 4:05 am

    Hey, how come this blog is all sticky and musty… oh.

  • 15. aikaterine  |  August 6, 2007 at 2:17 pm

    ew, fts you are yucky

  • 16. Alison  |  October 30, 2007 at 4:46 pm

    Citalopram did the same to me…. as did several other AD’s!

  • 17. Izzy  |  November 18, 2007 at 7:33 pm

    Perhaps I’m better off with ecitalopram. It seems to have been stripped of the tendon-slicing isomer. 😉

  • 18. experimental chimp  |  November 18, 2007 at 8:11 pm

    Izzy: I just don’t tolerate SSRI’s well, so pretty much any of them send me insane (though prozac was OK when I was 18). My brain’s weird, so you probably won’t be affected in that way. Just make sure your doctor actually listens to any severe side effects you get.

  • 19. anauistis  |  January 12, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    Hiya! I found your blog from links on another one. I’m Bipolar and a self-harmer and have found the NHS to be absolutely useless! They try their best but I’m no better than I was years ago. Anyway, hope you don’t mind if I read a bit more of your blog.
    Ana xx

  • 20. auralay  |  July 2, 2008 at 5:07 am

    Ah. Someone else who shares the undiagnosed sleeping issues.
    Care to commiserate?

  • 21. Gabriel...  |  July 9, 2008 at 2:53 am

    Operation Maple Chimp is back on… expect something next week.

  • 22. martin  |  August 19, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    Thnaks very much for the stuff on Serenity (thats how I came to your site). I am glad I did – I know you are writing for yourself but it is good to read too!
    Best wishes

  • 23. Pole to Polar: The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive  |  September 30, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    You are not on my blogroll and I have no idea why. Adding you now.

  • 24. Gabriel...  |  September 30, 2008 at 9:55 pm

    …did you ever get the products I sent? Is there a need for a third operation?

  • 25. experimental chimp  |  October 1, 2008 at 1:22 am

    Pole to Polar: Thanks!

    Gabriel: Unfortunately no. I’m seriously starting to suspect that the postal workers are stealing it. Thanks for trying, though, You don’t have to send anything else – I’m kind of feeling guilty on behalf of the British Post Office.

  • 26. Gabriel...  |  October 1, 2008 at 2:57 am

    There’s generally a three strike rule with stuff like this so… I’ll send you a photo of me handing the package to the postal person. It’ll give me a reason to get outside.

  • 27. Gabriel...  |  December 24, 2008 at 9:04 am

    Merry Christmas James.

  • 28. piri  |  August 21, 2009 at 5:19 am

    Hi James

    Hmmm you say you want to de-stigmatise mental illness, thats great. I just got diagnosed bi polar last year and now realise I have had this condition all my life. How i got passed all the experts in white coats is perhaps chance. I didnt admit myself to hospital i just realised something was going on and a doctor put me on the right track and i took it from there – GOOGL-ING is such a great tool. Now reflecting on things I am glad I wasnt diagnosed early on in my life, because i may have ended up with a stigmatised outlook and perhaps an otherwise outcome (scary). Of course i now realise there are a bunch of people out there that i can now recognise who are also in the same boat as me and they too are unaware of it – my partner included 🙂 . Annie Lennox banged it on the head and said she felt the whole world were absolutely bonkers but just somehow knowing that made everything quite understandable – i agree.

    While my self destructive separation and alienation of partner friends family and work peers work, home and assets did nothing to inspire me – I can now say after recovering within a short time, without drugs, by self education, and re-assessment of my behaviour and with the help of multiple literature on same, it has been very empowering and uplifting for me.

    My now perspective is that its all about protocols of reason-ability, good intent and demeanor. I have had that naturally about me and done really well in life. I think if anything its now just a case of “awareness” that i can get too emotional and i can get too headstrong – but keeping level and positive is the thing to maintain – i couldnt see what my partner could see, and they couldnt see what i could see – we did try to be UNDERSTANDING – We probably can see better what we seemed to miss within the relationship especially now that we are out of it. Great thing hindsight. And it now makes perfect sense. Ive read everything from Jung to Freud and Rhine to Griffin.

    The whole spectrum picture prompts a thought or two of my own about what its all about now. I like the new trend of trying to harness this energy we bi polar and autistic people have – “a mental wellness”. “Illness” seems so much like an expectancy principle so you would be stuffed from the beginning. My behavior as a renegade teen age destruction machine is quite forgivable in the end – and i can see that while i am not a teenager anymore (though i have the energy of one) i can forgive myself this emotional outburst gone wrong – and …… move on.

    You dont sound cripple yourself James, if you can wip up a website, maintain it and keep us all interested – i think you are doing a far sight better than some people i know with bi polar – its bloody marvelous actually. I sense you have a dark aspect about you that girls may not swarm to – but i am sure you will figure that stuff out when you are ready.

  • 29. Rumblefish74  |  October 14, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    Lots of cool stuff here. Things I relate to. Shame you don´t speak portuguese, you could read my blog. I´m on bupropion, but drugs are still tempting. Piri´s made some wise remarks, don´t you think?

  • 30. Ron Stickney  |  January 18, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    Where I can i secure this Serenity or Litium Orotate? Please let me know where I can buy it. Thanks.

  • 31. Gillman Ken  |  August 2, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    Hello James, I am pleased to see some rational and critical analysis. A search for Li seems to turn up a lot of poor information, so your readers may wish to be aware of the info on my website.

  • 32. candimalburg  |  December 9, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    Hi, are you still on the lamictal? Has it helped any with the visual snow?

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