I think this is the latest I’ve posted a monthly recap, but as I get into everything that happened in July, I think you’ll understand why I’ve spent most of August in a state of exhaustion.
But let’s start with the easy stuff first!
New Hair – The Red Era
You might remember I’ve been living my ginger dreams this past year, but in July we really kicked it up a notch!
Photos don’t actually show just how bright this orange was. It’s faded now of course, but at one point it genuinely looked like someone had coloured in my hair with a highlighter!
It’s now a much more natural ginger again, but it was so so fun being a walking, talking beacon for a few weeks.
I’m not sure what’s next for my hair (other than my ongoing plan to keep growing it long) but you can be dang sure you’ll hear all about it.
The Cold Snap
August is traditionally the coldest month of the year here, and this year was no exception.
We’ve had some absolutely vicious frosts that made for some absolutely stunning photos.
I don’t think I’ll ever take a cooler photo (pun fully intended) than the first one. I snapped a piece of ice off the frozen-over bird bath and somehow managed to create a landscape scene out of the ice shard.
It’s got mountains, trees, a lake. A frozen wonderland!
A Cottage Green Door
We finally got our side door replaced!
While I do love the vintage look of the original doors, I didn’t love the gaps, draughts and the nagging fear that it was about to fall off its hinges (also it wouldn’t lock anymore #fear).
I’ve also started the process of getting all the windows replaced as well. They’ll also be the same cottage green, double glazed with aluminium security doors (much more bushfire proof than the wire/fibreglass ones that melt).
July was Jack’s last month living with us for awhile (he’s moved back to Melbs for work).
We travelled across the state border to Mount Gambier to have lunch and watch Thor 4.
It was a delightful day and a lovely send off for Jack!
What I’ve Been Watching:
My very good friend Kirby and I have been re-watching an old BBC mystery series called Jonathan Creek.
Kirby introduced this show to me when we were in high school (probably around 14 years old, I reckon) and it’s a staple of ours.
Jonathan designs magic tricks and investigates unsolvable crimes & mysteries. It’s truly an exercise in lateral thinking, and so fun!
Bilv and I have also been watching the new series (and re-watching the older series) of What We Do In The Shadows!
Vampires, monsters, comedy, romance and more queer characters than you can shake a stick at – it’s not surprising it’s one of my favourite shows.
As mentioned earlier, we went to the cinema to watch Thor 4: Love and Thunder!
It was super enjoyable. I think I just love everything Taika Waititi is involved in, at this point.
The H3 Podcast is my comfort show at the moment. They have a number of different shows on YouTube, but Off The Rails is my favourite.
Ethan and the crew discuss all sorts of topics; from news to influencer drama, politics & interviews as well as skits and vlogs.
The Bipolar Diagnosis
We’re getting into the nitty gritty of the month now.
I was pretty unwell for the majority of July.
For over half the month, I was in hypo-manic episode; similar to mania but with just a touch more insight & awareness. I retroactively realised I’ve had episodes like this before, but this was the absolute worst one.
I spent all my money. All my savings just gone to online shopping, clothes, food, trinket. Anything I saw I bought, basically.
I started to go on massive walks into the woods, deliberately getting myself lost in the national park close to sunset.
I was sleeping 2-3 hours a night (even with sleep aids) but still thrumming with energy during the day.
Everything just felt incredibly fast. Everything was hilarious and bright and novel. Colours felt more vibrant than they had ever been before, I was utterly enthralled by the most simple of things; like dust caught in a sunbeam.
And then I started hallucinating. Dark shadows and tendrils in the corner of my vision. Was everything hilarious? Or was it actually incredibly irritating? Nothing was interesting enough as my mood kept going up & up & up and my behaviour became more and more reckless.
After 10 consecutive days of this, eventually I crashed.
I spent days in bed, with small pockets of hypomania. I’ve been suicidal on and off for the past month. Even now, as I write this my mood has still not returned to what I would consider normal for me.
I had just enough insight to realise I had to tell someone what was happening, and so I told my therapist. She felt it was either triggered by my ADHD, or Bipolar II and immediately contacted my psychiatrist, who I had an appointment with 24 hours later.
At that appointment, I took him through everything I’d been experiencing over the last 2 weeks. He asked me if I had ever experienced anything like this before and I told him I had. So far I’ve been able to pin down 3 previous hypomanic episodes, though none of them as bad a this most recent one.
I asked him if it was possible it was just the ADHD swinging wildly out of control, as I knew there’s a venn diagram of ADHD & Bipolar symptoms and my Anxiety had dramatically decreased since starting medication back in April (anxiety can be a protective factor and impact the intensity of ADHD symptoms).
My psychiatrist explained that given everything I had explained, plus the severity and the length of the episode, it was Bipolar II. He also said my medication might have actually contributed to the episode, especially since this is the first time I’ve successfully been on antidepressants.
I’ve been on mood stabilisers for 3 weeks at the time of publishing this post. They take about 2 months to really start to have an effect, so I’ve still been very up and down.
My psychiatrist said something along the lines of:
You cannot self-manage Bipolar, it’s not something that gets better on its own. So the fact that you’ve been able to maintain long term relationships, create & run a business, complete a university degree & buy a house all while managing complex health issues without any medication until this year is something to be proud of.My psychiatrist during my assessment for Bipolar II
Maybe one day I’ll be able to feel proud of that. Right now I just feel empty. I feel like everything I know about myself needs to be reexamined. It’s thrown my entire identity into question.
I’m just trying to take it one day at a time, though as one might expect some days are easier than others.
I’m also lucky and extremely grateful to have such an excellent support system around me, particularly my housemates who have lived through two of my hypomanic episodes, many of my depressive episodes & the most unpredictable mood swings you could imagine. The patience, empathy & compassion they’ve shown me is a debt I’ll never be able to repay.
Bottomline: I know it won’t feel like this forever. I know one day I’ll look forward to things again. The false enthusiasm and fake excitement will be real soon enough. I’m safe & even though I’m not okay right now, I will be.
All that’s left to do is continue onward and upwards (though not too up, please and thank you).
🍄 🐾 🌙 🍃 🪐 🌈