These last few months have been incredibly rough on me and my family. It all started last August, when I came home from a visit to Edinburgh and suddenly (like a switch flipped), my meds stopped working, and I couldn’t sleep.
I’m bipolar, and take quite strong medication to balance out my mood – Seroquel’s most common side effect is twofold. One, when they’re working, they make people sleepy – it’s a sort of antihiystamine style effect that my psych and mental health nurse told me would always happen. The second is that withdrawl. For me that means temperatures, the shakes, vomiting and inability to sleep. It takes about four days if I go from 300mg to nil, and normally I try to cut it down by half every four days until I’m taking powdered pieces. Even then, that first day after is always horrible.
As I couldn’t sleep, I eventually talked to my doc, who tried the usual treatments to help me – first was diazepam, then some other sleeping meds. And they helped, in a way. Come September, and the kids being back in school, I was constantly unable to sleep until I was the only person in the house that day, and even then, broken sleep was about my lot. At that point, I was referred back to the team that looked after me when we first moved to Gloucester – I spent four weeks after we bought our house so depressed that I had a nurse out seeing me every day.
They put me on lithium, which, by the middle of October was causing me to throw up and only manage clear food. Lithium stopped, and we went to Wales for a five days or so, while some quite serious liver tests were hanging over me. David and I spent a lot of time exploring castles, with me sleeping an awful lot, enjoying hot tubs and amazing views of some desolate but beautiful beaches. We visited Portmerion, Caernafon, Conwy (which I was excited about because of the entry in World War Z by the artist, who talked about Conwy as one of the safest places in the UK during the zombie plague. If you’ve never read the book, I can’t recommend it enough), Cricketth. We were based at a place called Trefor, a beautiful mining village beneath a now closed granite mine that looked a bit like Helm’s Deep from where we were standing. I loved it so much I want to go back.
But, when we got back from the holiday, I realised something. I was throwing up and my meds weren’t working. I was vomiting back food I’d ate over 12 hours before, which isn’t normal. I was basically puking back meds and going through withdrawl from my Seroquel.
I asked my doc and they referred me for stomach tests. I’ve been in the ER five times now with it, but finally, I’m mostly settled. I can manage with taking antisickness only at night, and I’m now mostly off my pain meds. I’m also being a lot more careful about what I’m eating – sometimes I can’t eat every day, but that’s ok, I drink plenty of water etc.
Where this basically left me though was dreamless sleep, a struggle for my Nanowrimo (I didn’t write Ar Y Traeth (on the beach) but I did find my way back to loving my writing projects) and I’ve finally been tested for a lot of the things they thought I might have. I’ve had the all clear for lots of scary things.
The thing is though, I’m so behind right now. I’ve got lots of work that I need to finish up, and I’ve got lots of projects I want to move forward with. Catching up isn’t easy when you’ve got a todo list that carries from week to week when you’re sick. But I’m slowly finding my way through it.
And finally — I’ll talk about it more in the next few days, but I’ve got an amazing roadmap for the next 12 months of promotion that I wanted to share with everyone.
It’s ABSOLUTELY FREE if you sign up for my newsletter, including as much as I can explain on getting some extra traction on all of the major platforms, as well as introducing a couple of new ones.