Self Awareness

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Whenever I have the opportunity to spend time with people who operate in the 'real' world, I have noticed that I always feel a strange mix of emotions afterwards. Following yesterday's BBQ organised by my hubby's work colleagues (a splendid bunch of people) today is no exception.

Here is my attempt at identifying those various emotions so that I am not left 'holding' a slightly painful and nauseating brew inside myself.  I feel:

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When we think 'Bi-Polar Disorder sufferers' we usually think of ourselves, those of us who Live in Bi-Polar Land (whether it is in the Mountains of BPD I or the High Plateaux of BPD II). We must never forget that our family (and close friends) suffer our illness too.

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We speak, and we speak some more. Some of us even listen. We use English to communicate so it is reasonable to assume that we understand each other. In 'normal' circumstances we don't anyway but Bi-Polar Land goes one step further: it turns some part of what we say into a foreign language that requires translation.

Here are some of the most common examples:

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As I was sitting in bed, waiting for my brain and my body to get used to the higher dose of medication my psychiatrist and I agreed I should go on, a thought struck me. I am pretty sure it's not brilliant nor is it original but it fills a gap for me in the way I think of my Bi-Polar Disorder (BPD II).

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It is now two months since I started my new medication (Carbamazepine - aka Tegretol). In a bid to find some sort of bearable balance, I have played with increased dosages and decreased dosages. I have taken the medication in higher dose in the evening and lower dose in the morning. I have stopped taking it altogether in the morning and taken the whole daily dose at night. I am so all over the place that I am not even sure whether I am going up and down any more!

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Struggling as I am currently with recovering some sort of physical balance whilst playing with various dosages of my medication (Carbamazepine, aka Tegretol) something suddenly occurred to me: was I ill or was I sick? And if I could answer that question, what was the difference between illness and sickness?

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I have just returned from what SHOULD have been a two week holiday in France visiting my elderly parents. It turned out to be a three week stay with ten days of illness in the middle. What happened?

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I am used to taking to myself - in fact I have elevated it to an art form. I wrote a whole book based on that premise and very useful too it was in my recovery. Conversations with Batty is an exercise in unbridled self-talk and, much to my surprise, I found there was a lot of wisdom locked in that internal dialogue.

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I recently stopped my evening medication because it was playing havoc with my gut - of all things. That plus the violent headaches, the awful nightmares (sorry 'vivid dreams') and the massive weight gain that moved me up the list of candidates for hip and knee replacement.

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For a few days now I have had the feeling that my brain is swimming inside my head, as if my head was suddenly huge and there was too much room inside for my brain to 'fit' properly. I jokingly refer to this swimming sensation as Cerebral Aquatics!

Although it does not hurt, it is both unpleasant and unsettling:

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