Swings and Roundabouts

Dear Reader,

Since I started writing here, I have spent a lot of time reading, researching and learning about mental health, its effects and causes. As well as the different types of disorders that can develop.

In the last week I have been a very different person, and my research has made me realise that I really need to talk to my doctor about my theories. Because who knows me better than me? I need a confirmation, or I need the doctor to refute my idea and send me on my way.

Panic attacks are not new to me. Last year there was a point in late September – October where I was having more than one panic attack a day. I wasn’t hyperventilating, I was feeling sick and faint. But I soon be able to convince myself It was a panic attack and I was able to bypass those attacks soon after they started. This was great, my panic attacks started to decrease. I have never really understood what bought the attacks on. I can’t think of any negative thoughts that preceded them. Although sometimes they happened if I wasn’t working at a speed I felt adequate.

So the panic attacks pretty much stopped and I was pretty happy with that. But then last week I ran a bath, I got in and laid back, I closed my eyes. One part of my brain was telling me to take a nap, the other part was telling me I was going to die. Suddenly I had the most intense panic attack I have had in a very long time. I no longer felt safe. I had to get out of the bath. I had to go to bed. It was the only place I felt ok.

It was weird to have a panic attack that intense. I usually feel unwell. But this made me feel so intensely uncomfortable that I didn’t know how to react. I was really caught off guard by this. It was horrible. I realised it was a panic attack fairly quickly and I kept telling myself what it was but it didn’t work, the feelings just got more intense until I had got out of the bath. And then I was ok again, but I did not forget how I felt because it was truly horrible.

It wasn’t until a few weeks later that I woke up for the first time mid panic attack. Just like bath time I instantly felt uncomfortable, I felt like I didn’t want to be alone. I was really worried about something. But I was only awake for a little while before I feel asleep. When I woke up the next morning and realised what had happened, I was pretty horrified. But, then a few days later it happened again, I woke up shaking and feeling like something wasn’t right, but again I fell asleep shortly after. Then a few days later, my alarm woke me and I was shaking uncontrollably. Although I snapped out of it pretty quickly it terrified me. And then just a few days ago I woke up again, at 3AM shaking and panicking.

Although I go to sleep almost as quickly as I have woken up and acknowledged the attack It’s still horrible for that small amount of time and then the next day when I think back its even scarier. I’m sure it sounds silly for me to worry about a couple of intense panic attacks whilst I sleep, but they are scaring me because they haven’t happened before. I don’t think my doctors would take this seriously, and of all the things I have told people, this is the thing that I think people are going to pass off and just think I’m exaggerating. But, whether they last a minute or 20 minutes, this panic attacks are terrible.

But that’s not all that’s been happening, now I’m also having these incredibly annoying mood swings, i’ve been having mood swings for a while, and if I am honest, I have thought about the chances that I could have some form of Bi polar for a while now.

I have two types of mood swings, mood swings that happen really fast. I can be irritatingly happy for an hour and the next hour be beyond depressed. And more intense mood swings that last longer.

For a long time I have had problems with over sleeping. I go to bed at 11pm and I wake up at 10-11am and even when I woke up at that time I am still exhausted. But for the last week I have woken up at 8am and I am wide awake, I don’t feel tired or down. I want to get out of bed, I want to write, I want to work, this week I have had to work 2 of the 6 days, on both of those days I wrote ideas for pieces to write, planned a second writing project, cleaned the house, vacuumed, sorted old clothes. I have been so productive its honestly quite scary. I have not had any motivation to clean for a long time. I struggle to tidy a meter square area next to my bed normally. Yesterday I wrote 1300 words in less than an hour! I am not used to this level of motivation.

Next week I am meeting some friends for a friend’s birthday and then I am planning to meet other friends after, I am actually planning to socialise! And I haven’t been guilt tripped or forced. What is happening to me?

Although I am having weird rapid mood swings recently, just today I went from ok, to uncontrollably angry, to being kind of sad to being happy again, to being angry, to being sad, to being alright. Although these are not as intense as this happy mood swing, that’s motivating me to keep writing and start new projects etc.

But I am worried. Because I am expecting a huge fall in my mood any time now and I am terrified.

I did do something stupid though, I know it’s bad to self diagnose, but, of the tests I managed to read (because my concentration span is currently that of a gnat) I scored highly on the possibility of having Bi Polar. I’m going to make an appointment on Monday with my doctor for later in the week. I want to wait and see what happens because I have no idea what my doctor is going to do when I tell them what I think. Especially because I have decided to see a different doctor this time and not my usual doctor. Or maybe I should see my usual doctor? I don’t know!

As Always,

The Elephant in the Room

7 thoughts on “Swings and Roundabouts

  1. From what I remember, you don’t want to go to a psychiatrist. In my humble opinion I think MD’s can only go so far. The trajectory is different. If what you want is pumpkin pie you won’t get the same results substituting zucchini for pumpkin. My gentle encouragement would be to go for it. If the bipolar is there then a diagnosis is affirming what you already feel and the right action plan can then be made.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Although sometimes they happened if I wasn’t working at a speed I felt adequate.”

    I have been disabled for about 10 years, unable to work, and yet I still have nightmares about being at work and not being able to keep up with the work load. I see myself working harder and harder, and yet nothing gets done. Sometimes, I think it would almost be better if I had dreams about being naked at work… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a very good example of how much of our mental and emotional illnesses are also driven by what our bodies seem to want to do, either just for the hell of it or due to being triggered. On some level, I appreciate that some of it is just our body being what it wants to be. Even though I no longer think that medication is necessarily the best solution, it still seems more manageable to me somehow that it is not just me being crazy. Probably that isn’t very consoling for you since the attacks are happening so intensely and frequently. It just sucks to feel that way so much of the time. Anyway, maybe you really are bi-polar and if so, maybe you really need to medicate properly. I know two people who have bi-polar and neither of them can function without proper medication. One of them got completely lost for years in the depressive part of it and the other got completely taken over by the manic part of it–to the point that he lost his job, his house, his marriage, and his “clean” record.

    Just do whatever you think comes next, Elephant. It’s all kind of a gamble anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello… Thank you for your bravery and honesty in writing this post. I would highly suggest you consult with a functional medicine doctor and or naturopathic doctor to have your various blood levels examined. A regular MD or psychiatrist may just prescribe meds, which of course does not get to the root of the issue. My hunch is that this has something to do with your hormones, thyroid, endocrine system and/or adrenal glands.
    Please take a good look at the foods you are eating, consider an elimination diet along with a food journal that charts your mood with each food and this will also provide critical information. It is important to note that food creates mood and you may have unknown food allergies that are causing your hormones, thus brain to go haywire. Many people, including doctors are unaware that foods can cause mental health issues, anxiety, depression, hallucinations, brain fog, including psychosis. Also consider getting your DNA tested for MTHFR polymorphism. It is important to remember that panic attacks can occur with the slightest bit of woory, fright, etc. Before you go to sleep at night, everyday upon awakening recite some very peaceful and calming phrases… I am safe, I am loved, I am peaceful, I am loved! Hope this helps… Sending everlasting health and wellness, Dr. Dee 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

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