My last post was September 2017. A lot can happen from one post to another. A collection of insignificant things can pile one on top of the other and then you suddenly find a bit of a burden is weighing you down.
The trip overseas is absolutely ancient history now. I had plans of writing about it in segments. Outlining a few days at a time. Talking about what I had seen, experienced and felt about where I was during those days. The first post was kind of easy enough. But after that I really had no inclination whatsoever to add to it.
Essentially the trip was a disaster. In fact, it has put me off travel for a long time. My niece and I had a couple of major fall outs. First time in our entire lives. They say that travel can make or break a relationship and this trip certainly put things on shaky ground. In fact, it is only a couple of days ago that I apologised for being difficult to travel with. Not that I was a complete shit but I was highly stressed which then flowed like sewage into my head space. The long haul flight was extremely hard on my mental health due to the shift in when medication had to be taken. My sleep pattern was blown apart and for someone with Bipolar that is just about the worst thing to happen. I had a relapse which saw my anxiety levels skyrocket making it hard for me to function however I still had to do things that were way out of my comfort zone, including getting on the London Tube to make my way to Heathrow and then catch a plane to Berlin. Plenty of people do these things every single day of their lives but when you have Bipolar it makes everything more challenging and when you have a relapse it is just fucked really.
I have had Bipolar for a while, so I am able to manage a problem such as this quite well, however it does mean that the joy is sucked out of the days until I get to a more stable place. It brings forth cognitive problems that are quite stressful and requires a lot of focus on my part to ensure I stay okay because the last thing I wanted was to lose it when I am a zillion miles away from home and on my own.
If all that was not bad enough, on day four of the trip and having just arrived from London to Berlin, I noticed that I had a bit of a sore throat which is not uncommon when coming off a long haul flight. Over the next couple of days I felt progressively unwell and developed a higher than normal temperature. Then one morning I woke up and was barely able to move. Aching joints, fever, severe headache and the start of a chest cold. I willed myself to get out of bed as there was no way I was going to allow being sick to dictate what I was going to do on my short, yet expensive holiday. In hindsight I am unsure that was a good idea as the cold developed into something that was almost, but not quite, the flu. Getting around was just a monumental effort. I was dosed up on all sorts of medication which allowed me to get from place to place. Travelling in London via the Tube was gross as it was crowded, sweaty and hot. I should really apologise to everyone I came in contact with as they may well have picked up my terrible virus. Still, in a big city there are plenty of chances to pick up something unpleasant.
I was so unwell at one point that I would cough at night until I vomited. There was a concern that I would not make the flight home and the fever I had stayed constant. There were moments that I felt very sorry for myself. For most of the trip I kept a good facade and was amiable, if a bit whiney anxious, and kept myself in a steady frame of mind.
Added to this I had issues with my hip. The one that I had injured at CrossFit a couple of months earlier. The pain was pretty bad and I had to take anti inflammatories quite a lot as all the walking around, going up and down stairs and standing in art galleries put a great strain on the hip.
All in all, I felt pretty pathetic. By the time I got home after a couple of weeks away I was worn out, sick and mentally fragile. I ended up on antibiotics for two weeks and it took a while for me to stabilise.
About two months after I got back from the trip I had to have arthroscopic surgery on my right hip to debride a torn labrum. It took two weeks before I was able to go back to work. My time at CrossFit was pretty much over for an indefinite period of time. My exercise regime went from ‘go hard or go home’ to ‘go nowhere and stay home’. This in turn had an impact on my mental health and with the combination of a long haul flight, being sick, having surgery and no exercise to speak of I fell into a fairly significant bout of clinical depression.
I did not go on anti depressants straight away due to the risk of having a manic episode. Anti depressants are known to cause mania in people with Bipolar and it has happened to me in the past. But it got to the point where I could hardly function properly. I would cry waking up, cry during the day, cry at night. My anxiety levels were so severe that at one point I had to wear a heart monitor to make sure it was not my heart causing the chest pain. In the end, at the beginning of December, I started on a very low dose of anti depressants. I am still on them and there is not a single day that I don’t wake up and feel thankful for prescription meds. I feel really okay now and that is an understatement.
As for the hip, it is getting better. I can go to the gym but it will take ages to get back to some kind of normal. The good thing is that I now no longer find myself in the position to attempt to fit ten hours of exercise into my week. I just do my rehab stuff, go to the gym when I feel like it, go for a walk or do nothing. It is very enjoyable. Good things often come out of bad.
Oh, and my brother and I had a fall out. That is a story in itself. He did not spend Christmas with us. He sent me the most poisonous text the day prior to Christmas. I have no plans in the forseeable future to actively pursue any sort of reconciliation.
It all sounds a bit dramatic but it was just kind of shitty.