I didn’t have to wait long at all after I last posted for further symptoms to develop. Manic symptoms. Neurological symptoms. Some might argue with the ‘neurological’ description for a mental illness. But when you develop the short-term memory of an advanced stage Alzheimer’s patient, the attention span of a toddler, and irritability so pathological it hurts (feels like you’ve been coated in oil, rolled in sand, rubbed down with a towel, and then someone sprays lemon juice all over you.) virtually overnight, it feels neurological.
Then there’s racing thoughts, pressured speech, and losing all concept of time. There are reasons for coincidences and reality starts to tilt on its side. Not psychosis yet, but it’s only a hop skip and a couple more nights of no sleep away. Pathological insomnia is another symptom. You lose all ability to sleep, and the less you sleep the worse the symptoms, the closer to psychosis you get. When I say loss of ability to sleep, I don’t mean regular insomnia. I mean being medicated to the absolute hilt with sedating antipsychotics, sedating anti-depressants, and sleeping tablets (enough to render someone healthy comatose for a couple of days) falling asleep ok, but being awake again with all of the above manic symptoms after an hour or two of sleep. You go to sleep at ten or eleven pm and your next day begins a couple of hours later, when you feel as though you have the energy to fly to the sun. You get up at four am, and blast loud music through your headphones while you walk and run for hours.
These symptoms are not compatible with life outside of hospital. So I am grateful we can afford the private health insurance, which allows me to stay in hospital in a room of my own. My regime of medications is a house of cards. We have to decide which one to wriggle to improve stability, whilst simultaneously risking a collapse. A moderate increase in my Lithium dose based on low serum Lithium levels last week has only improved the manic symptoms marginally (hence my ability to write this post – albeit with more effort than it usually takes). So, we’re going to push the Lithium dose beyond maximum recommended in the short term. Hopefully that helps. Risks are thyroid compromise, kidney damage, tremors, amongst other things. As with all things medical any treatment decisions have to be based on risk vs benefit.
Hopefully what has gone up, will not come crashing down.
Only time will tell.