The Power of Hypnosis – and how it plays a huge part in my recovery.

 

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I remember the first time one of my therapists in my early days of my recovery, gave me a disk to use for my homework to tide me over until we were to meet again during the following weeks appointment. The disk contained a series of hypnosis tracks, which were bestowed on me to encourage this phenomenon they called ‘mindfulness’.

My first thought?

What a load of bullshit.

There I was truly believing this guy was trying to pawn me off with some notion that deep breathing exercises can promote spiritual awareness and other flibbergabber, and in all it’s mighty enforce it’s healing powers, click it’s fairy dust fingers and fix me on the spot.

There was no quick fix for me, I was fully aware of this, which probably lead to me dismissing the hypnotherapy and meditation so instantaneously. I was too far-past-fucked-up for any alternate therapies to turn me in to the normal human being I was striving to be. But desperate as I was, I half heartedly gave it a go.

The first time I tried and tested this unusual exercise, I found myself laid on my bed, earphones in and compact disk whizzing away in my walkman, chuckling away at the guy on the tape’s creepy ass voice which was no relaxing than a failed attempt to be seductively chatted up by some drunken Smooth-Steve in a jazz bar.

 

‘Now close your eyes, and take a deeeeeepppp breattthhhhh in….’

 

How on earth was I supposed to relax when I had the feeling that someone was going to jump out at me and startle me in my trance? There was something so unnatural about lying there with my eyes closed without the intention of taking a nap, and even more uncomfortable with my earphones blocking the sound and therefore my awareness of my actual surroundings.

Despite my ignorance, I kept at it, and with a bit of practice managed to see past the giggle fits and the nonsensical nature of it. By habit, it became a valued piece of my nightly routine, and one that I comforted for when the day had ended.

A few years ago, I had long gotten over the CD and it was a forgotten practice, along with my CBT training and group therapy. At this point in my life, I had just been struck down with my Bipolar diagnosis alongside a very difficult split with my Daughter’s Father. I had lost my home and my sanity along with it, and I felt like my life had struck head first in to a brick wall; an obstacle I could not forsee any possibility of getting over. In a desperate attempt to grasp on to something to steady myself in that crazy time, I turned again to hypnosis. I found a hypnotist and life coach – Joseph Clough – downloaded his podcasts and away I tried to plod on with my days. I listened day and night, his voice was the only soothing sound which cradled my mind to sleep in the evenings, and the voice that pulled me out of my bed when the sun and my responsibilities rose up to start the day the next morning.

It was a difficult time, one that is hard to remember even a couple of years down the line, but those podcasts saved me. They were the motivator that adjusted my mind to start thinking anew – eventually leading to all the possibilities which were open to me – the opportunities I decided to take which lead to this point in my life today.

Joseph Clough’s work was to become friend to me for the next couple of months, as I carried on with his words of wisdom whilst pulling myself upright and slowly stitching my life back together.

As people with Bipolar disorder and other mental health issues probably know, insomnia can be an issue that marks a huge impact on our lives. Whilst the newly prescribed Quetiapine; the antipsychotic that was knocking me out cold when I first began to take it; was enough to settle me in to slumber in the evenings, the effect eventually wore off. I found myself tossing and turning a frustrated insomniac, relentlessly fighting for at least an hour or two before I was to face the day that was approaching. I turned again to hypnosis.

This time, I found an app of sleep hypnosis tracks by Darren Marks, and found my usual busy chatty mind drifting away to the sound of his powerful words in no time. Sleep that was once a battle, was now something that came automatically to me, and my listenings of sleep hypnosis tracks has chisled it’s permanent mark in to my nightly routine.

I have practiced the art of hypnosis every single evening for almost three years now, and it has never failed me. Whether it presents it’s purpose to reset my system after a long hard day, or to take a few quiet moments with the Headspace app in the middle of my lunch break at work  – it is one of the little luxuries I am sure to indulge in without fail; and thus, has aided a great deal towards my long term recovery.

You can find some of my top hypnosis artists and tracks in the links below.

 

Darren Marks: http://www.learnoutloud.com/Results/Author/Darren-Marks/19978

Joseph Clough: http://podbay.fm/show/369607516

Headspace: https://www.headspace.com

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The psych medication change – here come the unwanted side effects!

Writing has always soothed me in times of distress.

 

With long term psychiatric conditions, there is always the risk of your medication taking you along for a bumpy ride, particularly during med changes. This one for me is tuning out to be a miniature hell.

The switch from quetiapine to abilify ended up going in the wrong direction; So back on the quetiapine I went (only 25mg, but the abilify made me unable to switch off at night – when I say unable – I mean two hours of disturbed ‘sleep’) and I broke down the abilify to one every other day; as well as not sleeping, my irritability levels were through the roof.

If you can call it irritability at all, there must be some label for what I have been constantly feeling (I have been using the work ‘antsy” a lot)…

Imagine that feeling you get when someone scraped their nails down a blackboard. That horrible and unbearable energy which makes you clench your jaw. It’s like someone scraped their nails and then paused time – I am carrying around my antsy in my body all day with me.

I am drowsy, yet I cannot bare to sit still and have the constant pressure from my brain to move around to escape from it.

I am paranoid again. To say they are antipsychotics they are not doing a very good job at the moment, and with paranoia comes anxiety.

 

I am very tempted to just sack the new meds off all together, Lord help me.

Insomnia.

So my body is now acting like ;

1. It hasn’t only had 3 hours of broken sleep the night before.

2. It’s not recovering from a hellish stomach virus that suddenly struck over the weekend.

3. It hasn’t been dosed up with sleeping pills and co-codemol for the last 24 hours – (Note to self: Stop self-medicating).

…what gives?

I laid awake all last night wondering if I was going to be tired in the morning and planning a spontaneous trip to France. As soon as my bank balance is out of the minus zone and the two phone bill debts are paid off i’m off out of here for a weekend, it’s long overdue.

But nope, I wasn’t tired today, just hungry. No need for the usual nap. Tried to chill out with a bath, sleeping pills and getting my head down early tonight but nope, it just resulted in me messing about, making pizza, eating pizza and writing posts. And now it’s coming on 11pm and the probability of another restless night like last night is increasing by the hour.

So what is this? I tracked my mood at about a 5 today, everything was fine, nothing overexciting but not in a low mood either. But I somehow have unlimited energy and i’m shying away from even wanting to go to sleep. Is this a result of the Sertraline that i’m on? It is a Bipolar thing? I’ve had this before countless times over the past – am I just noticing it more on an account of the mess that has been this year?

Am I overthinking things?

Probably, yes. And this could be the way it is for the time being, watching and tracking my every symptom, digging myself deeper in to the Bipolar cave until I just don’t have a clue if I’m heading left or right anymore.

As much as I feel like I don’t need sleep right now (or ever again! – Oh look, Superwoman is back!), I’m still in my right mind enough to know that I genuinely value any sleep that I get these days (be that 3 hours a night or 16 hours per day), and this slow recovery process means that I need to do everything I can to respect the doctors orders and get back in to a healthy rest routine.

I hope these sleeping tablets kick in soon. I remember the sedative effects they had on my body last night, how I was laid in the dark whilst the valerian took over… but somehow my mind was over active and the hallucinations started up again (i’m getting one or two mild ones per day now, if any) and started to become quite vivid. So me and my mind amused ourselves with the strange lights and entertaining shadows dancing around the room for a good part of an hour.

Sometimes I feel like the less sleep I get, the more I can take on the world – whereas the more I have a full night and nap during the day the less I seem to be able to function during the day. What if this is the way my body is supposed to run?

It’s a funny little world.

Modification.

After a battle of conflict in my mind this morning about whether to cancel the doctors appointment I had forgotten about (“I’m feeling great, who needs a doctor anyway!” – one of those again), I dragged my arse to the GP.

I told her I was feeling well, no need for sleeping up to 16 hours a day anymore, productive and very satisfied with life. And then I had to be honest.

“I’m too high at night times to settle down to sleep.”

When the energy levels go up, apparently its a concern for worry against the Bipolar clan… she cut my medication dose!

Due to the bad summer depressions I got put on 50mg Sertraline in an attempt to lift my spirits a bit (update – Fluoxetine had me preaching to God, Celexa sent me bat shit crazy). The assessment psych explained to me that 50mg was more of a ‘tester’ dose – most people with unipolar depression have their dose increased when it takes effect. GP told me today that SSRI’s can be a real problem with people who are as sensitive to them as I am, she looked to see if there was such thing as a 25mg but 50 is the lowest dose they produce. So we are going to try one on, one off.

My first thoughts –

1. I’m really enjoying my little high, it feels good to finally feel again.

2. Why the hell am I on medication anyway when I feel absolutely fine?

… and then I snapped out of the naivity and sternly told myself that i’m feeling fine because i’m having my brain chemistry manipulated.

As good as I feel, maybe its wise I listen to her on this one. The hallucinations have started up again and I can feel a little paranoia creeping in. Coffee is affecting me wayyy more than it should be as well, and i’m getting my obsession with horror films back again.

Breathe Megan, take a step back before it gets uncontrollable again.

The last time I felt this ‘up’ I went for the knife and the pills and had another blackout. My psych is doing a home visit on Sunday i’m going to have to request for him to keep an eye out on me.

It’s incredible how much insight this blogging malarkey gives you, what a perfect way to gather my messy mind.