Backpacking and Bipolar II. Taking Manic Depression on tour.
I wanted to write this post but I wasn’t going to do it until I read something I re-blogged earlier this morning. Check out the story from my latest follower below. Rowan Galahadria – Profoundly sorry for your loss.
I recently visited an aboriginal settlement called Hope Vale. I met a new friend the week before, then went to spend a fortnight with her at the mission. One week before I met her I had begun taking the SSRI Seroquel. I took 50mg/day. This is a subclinical dose that will not have any antidepressant effects but would hopefully show evidence of any negative side effects. At the time I thought that I was dealing with Clinical Depression rather than Bipolar. This medication is fine for the former, but for Bipolar people there is a chance that it can sling you into a serious depression.
…The more you know.
The first week I spent with my new friend saw me slide gradually for about a day, then drastically every day on from that. I couldn’t engage in the activities I was supposed to be part of, I simply hid in bed, not really daring to leave it for fear that anything or anybody that came across me would be too much for me to handle.
Suicidal thoughts began only two or three days into the three weeks. Padestrian and casual thoughts. I just developed a heightened awareness of suicide as an option, although not an ideal one. Regardless – The thought was there. A small, niggling reminder every so often that I had a decisive means of stopping feeling bad at my fingertips. I would idly notice objects around me and other methods of suicide.
By the end of the third week I had spent almost all of my time in bed unless accompanied by my friend and my depression had gradually whittled away all of my options for dealing with my situation appart from suicide and homelessness.
I felt as though I couldn’t return to England
I felt as though I couldn’t return to my friends on the tablelands
I felt as though I couldn’t stay in hopevale
In short I was rapidly running out of ideas. My mental self-talk was completely poisonous at this point and it took my Tablelander friend sending a strongly worded e-mail to snap me out of it and at least get me moving. I returned to Cairns to meet him, fully expecting to have an argument and to collect my things and leave. I had become convinced that, in my absense, my friends would realise that they don’t actually want me to stay with them and that they would be glad to see the back of me.
There are a few things I’d like to say about suicidal thoughts.
You are not the original author of these thoughts. They aren’t yours. They should be acknowledged to be wholly symptoms of mental illness; Of your brain malfunctioning. The negative thought generator going haywire in your mind loves suicidal thoughts. They make depression’s work exponentially easier the longer they are allowed to play out.
Even at their inception as a casual thought – Suicidal thoughts are a trauma in and of themselves. Should these thoughts be given free rein in your mind they will act as a violent stressor and, eventually, they will reach a deafening pitch that you cannot ignore. Almost no-one actually wants to kill themselves, to stop existing, it is not a thought that a rational mind would produce. Even knowing that you don’t want to kill yourself – you MUST still take these thoughts seriously and as a sign that you need to be hypervigilant in monitoring yourself.
Suicidal thoughts, for me, reach a critical point very early where they have enough momentum to become self-propelled, snowballing misery missiles, wreaking havoc on my state of mind. As soon as suicidal thoughts begin, they must be challenged and exposed for the wrong-thinking that they are. If this is something you cannot do alone (As I didn’t) then you HAVE TO make contact with one of your support network who has experience of suicidal thoughts and mental illness. Simply put – These thoughts can become a self fulfilling prophecy if you are complacent.
When suicidal thoughts first begin you have a chance to nip them in the bud. Believe me when I say that, other than intervention from a third party, this is your only chance to avert disaster. You must find a way of stopping and avoiding these thoughts.
No one can read your mind and very few people are experienced enough to see depression hanging from you. You have to seek and demand assistance with suicidal thoughts. This search for help must be overt and obvious. These thoughts make you progressively easier and easier overwhelmed.
If you’re having these thoughts or you suspect someone is, please have them make contact with someone from the list below. These are contacts for the U.K and for Australia.
Samaritans UK & ROI
Contact by: Face to Face – Phone – Letter: – E-mail:
Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 90 90 (UK – local rate)
Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 91 92 (UK minicom)
Hotline: 1850 60 90 90 (ROI – local rate)
Hotline: 1850 60 90 91 (ROI minicom)
E-mail Helpline: firstname.lastname@example.org
24 Hour service:
Sincerely wishing you all the best.