A bit of light relief – my cricket pictures from this year – with my cousin Martin and old school friend Mike

My recent mental health and relapse signature

This is a difficult post to write. From 18 October to 15 November I was hospitalised with a flare up of my long-diagnosed bipolar mood disorder (or something similar – perhaps post-traumatic stress disorder this time). I am open about it in my work life and personal life so I thought I would share as much as possible in hope that it will be useful for me in preventative terms, and perhaps even to somebody else with less experience suffering something similar.

Thankfully, I only really suffer from the manic side of manic depression; I’m not depressive – I’m essentially a happy bunny. It does mean I can tend to ‘chase the high’ – such as recently having lunch solo at The Ivy. Delicious but…

Here is some work I did with the psychologist (thanks, Gina) at Priory Woodbourne as I was recovering:

Relapse signature – some psychological work done in Priory Woodbourne, Edgbaston, Birmingham 

12 November 2019

Triggers to experiencing deterioration in mental health, leading to hospitalisation:

  • Third year finals at university – 1995
  • Difficult marriage and unemployment – 2008-9
  • Son’s disclosure of treatment by mother / application to family court to be the main carer

Time from experiencing a significant life stressor to admission to hospital: 3-4 weeks

Early warning signs: Early warning signs are any notable changes in behaviour from my typical presentation that generally precipitate periods of mental health deterioration. It can be helpful to be mindful of these and share them with my friends, family and work colleagues as they can support me to maintain good mental health. 

Early warning signsTypical presentation when wellPresentation when mental health deteriorates
Insomnia8 hours per night3-4 hours per night
ExcitableTypically patient, level headed and socially aware of othersTalking over people, gabbling (going off topic / talking for extended periods of time)
Overanalysing problems and concernsDeals with problems in a logical, systemic mannerFixating on problems, ruminating , forward thinking  to future problems outside of my control
ConcentrationAvid readerNo books, newspapers only
Self-careEnjoys long walks, hot baths, listening to musicWalk to and from work only, shower only, no baths, continue to listen to music / music taste doesn’t change much
Use of social mediaDoes not typically use social media – use is limited to posts about attending gigs and recently photos of my son, George2-3 posts a week – random posts with flighty ideas

Future significant life stressors: the length of time the family court process will take in relation to George’s care, the potential outcome of the court process and the high legal costs.

Prevention: I intend to return to work two weeks following my release from hospital with a phased return. I intend to develop the relaxation techniques I have learned in hospital (mindfulness, relaxation, yoga). I am aware that these are skills that can be developed effectively over time – 20-30 minutes per day. I intend to inform my support network (and wider) of my relapse signature as above; I will ask them to notify me immediately when they notice any changes in my presentation. At this point I will attend an emergency GP appointment. 

Support network: work colleagues, friends, mother and sister.

Frank Turner, Manchester Opera House, tonight – 26 November 2019

Looking forward to this gig as I have a front row of stalls ticket and it is acoustic – both solo and with the Sleeping Souls. The only pity is that it clashed with Primal Scream at the Albert Hall. Tour set lists look good – a mix of classics, old and new material from the No Man’s Land album. Set list.fm. Frank Turner’s website. Twitter: @frankturner.