Antipsychotic, Bipolar, Christmas, Depression, Family, Marriage, Medication, Mood Stabiliser, Relationships, Treatment

Holiday Blues

Christmas Eve was a success. Christmas Day… not so much. I woke up at around 7 am with less than 3 hours sleep. I had a migraine from the heat and the extreme lack of sleep. The migraine was coming from just above my left eye (there are still faint remnants of that migraine as I type this post) and it felt as if my eye was going to pop out of my head. I tried medication, I tried eating, I even tried ice treatment. The ice numbed the pain a bit but I couldn’t get rid of the nausea. Here I am lying in bed with my family due to come over in less than an hour for Christmas Day lunch.

Christmas Day lunch was really important to me. I wanted more than anything to spend time with my family. It was the first Christmas that Rob and I were hosting and it was our first Christmas as husband and wife. I wanted everything to go well and so far nothing was working out. Rob had to take over the kitchen duties and finish setting up for me. I felt so useless. As my family came through the door I got out of bed and tried to sit with them. The migraine wasn’t so bad but the nausea was killing me. I couldn’t smell the food or even their perfume without feeling sick. Back to bed I went.

I lay in bed sobbing. I have not cried that much in a long time. I thought of my family sitting together celebrating Christmas and I was in bed by myself. I tried my best to go out into the dining room but I couldn’t sit up for more than 5 minutes. I don’t know how long I was in my room for but one of my brothers woke me to say goodbye and reminded me to open the Christmas present from he and his girlfriend.

I went out to the living room to open the gift. It was a beautifully framed photo of me and my siblings when we were all children at Easter ironically. The gift sent me into another crying spell, it was the most thoughtful present I have ever received. I cried and cried for the rest of the day. I cried over so many things. I was racked with guilt. Guilt for not being able to finish the cooking, for leaving Rob to do all the hosting on his own and most of all for not being able to spend time with my family.

Rob stayed in bed with me while I cried and tried not to be sick. He was trying to reassure me that my family understood that I was sick, that he wasn’t left alone with all the cooking and the cleaning because my siblings helped him. He reminded me that even though this year may have been bittersweet and we had gone through a lot, next year was going to be better. He talked to me and tried to soothe my weeping. Then he asked me if I took my medication… whoops! I told him that I missed three doses of lithium (mood stabiliser) and several doses of seroquel (antipsychotic).

Anyone who takes regular medication knows that you need to take it consistently for it to work well. Anyone who takes medication for mood disorders or psychosis should know that any skipping of doses can lead to a spike or drop in your mood. Skipping my medication yesterday and the day before was one of the worst things I could have done.  I was thrown into a depressive episode yesterday. The fact that I was feeling guilty and lonely was amplified by my forgetfulness to take my medication.

In the lead up to Christmas I have seen so many articles directed at those who suffer from mental illness about how they need to take extra care of themselves during the holiday season. I never clicked on them because I didn’t think it applied to me. Well clearly it does. I can get just as distracted or forgetful as anyone else and am not immune from the Christmas Chaos. The past few days have taught me more than ever that strict adherence to my medication is absolutely vital. I don’t remember being on medication for Christmas before but I know this won’t be the last Christmas that I will be.

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