(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.