When faced with my demons I clothe them and feed them…

How To Love Yourself

It’s the relationship with oneself that is paramount. You have to have one, and it has to be in decent shape. Otherwise it’s damn hard to relate to anyone else.

Today I have made a trifle, or at least I am in the process of making one. I have also bathed and washed my hair and got dressed in clean clothes. I had a text therapy session. I made breakfast, which was home made spelt bread with smashed avocado.  Later on I had some leftover takeaway Thai noodles with tofu and veggies. I spoke briefly with my housemate. I brushed my teeth.

So well done for all of that Louise. Well done for all of that. Well done for recovering your appetite and well done for making the bread the other day when your carer was here. Well done for all the times you have done laundry and hung it up to dry while wanting to die.

Well done for trying to make plans with people for the weekend while wanting to die. It doesn’t matter that none of them wanted to meet you. The point is, at least you tried.

And well done, Louise, for attempting to do voluntary work while wanting to die. Well done for putting yourself in a safe place (the Recovery College) and just sitting there for many hours to assuage the gnawing fear of solitude. Well done for all the small things you did for yourself while feeling subterranean.

I love you Louise. You are at heart a good person who does her best. You get out to give yourself sunlight, fresh air and exercise despite the anxiety of seeing people together and being alone and despite wanting to die. The fact that you’ve been indoors for three days straight doesn’t matter, you have your reasons for that (to see what it’s like and because the weather is lousy).

The wrong things you have done in your life, which are many, were largely done while you were out of your mind, and even though you are accountable for them you are not fully responsible for them unless you are also responsible for having bipolar disorder, which is doubtful. A lot of the transgressions were ones of neglect rather than flat-out abuse. Your son is paying the price not just for your deficiencies but because of society’s, your mother’s, the Children and Families Social Service and the haphazard way the cards of Life fell. And most importantly of all, his own. Only he can decide to change and start shaping up or getting himself the help he needs. The only way is up, for J.

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I was just scrolling back to 2016 to see what the pattern of depression, stability and mania looked like. It seems that there were over three months of depression followed by about five or six of stability, followed by another manic high of about four months. So really, there was more stability than I had previously thought. And no mania lasting as long as that of 2015 which endured for eight months.

I hate to say this but regrettably I miss the mania. I miss how self-sufficient and strong I feel. Confident and fearless with others. But when I pause for a minute I know that stability is vastly preferable. It isn’t like being on drugs, no. But it’s when I truly feel recovered. And my finances recover. Everything recovers.

Well back to the present though. I am addicted to…texting. I know it sounds dumb, like a 13 year old girl. I know all that stuff about how real life friends are more valuable and I certainly do need more of those. I’m starting from close to zero. But I had a very special chat today that was better than therapy for letting me talk about the nature of my psychosis. The guy was so interested it really drew me out. He asked all the right probing questions.

I felt such relief from the appalling self-blame and rumination on the ruins of my life. That I just couldn’t seem to free myself from, I was caught in the net, helpless as a fish. I thought it might be temporary and dependent on access to my phone and it might be. I don’t know yet. But I like to think I am preparing to come out of this depressive phase.

I was due to visit my one close friend (yes, it’s come to that, sadly) today and had been absolutely dreading this long Bank Holiday weekend. But she then had family coming unexpectedly so that was off, another acquaintance cried off my offer to go for coffee, I’ve been dropped by another who I hoped was becoming a friend. It seemed like I was being universally shunned and it hurt like Hell.

The thing is, it’s only when I’m depressed that I so crave company because to be left alone is the enemy. I am the worst company for myself imaginable. Not that I am much better for anyone else. That’s probably why I was dropped I don’t know.

I have been so desperate for company that when a message comes up from the phone company I am heartened by the sound of the text tone. I am glad to see the Pest Control worker (yes, we had a mouse problem which they failed to solve and the mouse seemed to disappear by itself). I am glad for the ring of the phone even when it turns out to be someone from India. I am grateful to talk EVEN TO AN AUTOMATED MESSAGE on the phone. THAT’S how desperate and lonely this condition leaves me folks.

And one friend (he’ll know who he is in the unlikely event he reads this) has not been back to me via email and I think it’s because he’s had it up to here with my mania and inappropriateness alternating with my needy and abject depressive phases. I also asked him for money when I was broke because of S, which was unforgivable.

Not to mention my ex Richard completely ostracising me and refusing to even speak on the phone.

That’s a lot of shunning you must admit folks. A LOOOT of shunning. No wonder I am so keen to speak to my text pals acquired from reddit. And they shut down the subreddit Sanctioned Suicide which was quite a blow for many people undoubtedly.

Well my doctor has to bear some of the responsibility for discharging me from the service on a regime of precisely no meds whatsoever. That’s akin to sending a child from a tricycle to ride a proper bike with no stabilisers and no one to hold them up. I should never have been left with no meds, that’s ridiculous. If anything I should be on a depot injection to ensure I don’t stop taking the damn things while manic ever again.

Yeah it’s lonely both at the top and the bottom folks, and I should know.

 

The Comedown

Here we are depressed. Abject. Desperate. In despair. Full of regret. Ashamed. Guilty. Subhuman. Worthless. Here we are.

Yes it’s like coming down from MDMA only much worse and protracted over a period of about three months. I’m not out of the woods yet, but seeing some glimmers of light, hence this post.

Because if I don’t blog it, I won’t remember it, simple as.

This blog is invaluable to me as a catalogue of my moods. Unfortunately I am not able to report them dispassionately like some other bloggers, and bipolar podcasters that I am aware of (see: The Bipolar Family Podcast). Instead I just go into them, I am there, and I blog from there. That’s why you see so many music videos on this blog. But luckily it’s still easy enough to read what’s actually written and this blog does go back about ten years after all.

It’s important when I am piecing together the recent past that I can see where I was mentally at that time. And it’s darn obvious how often I have been manic.

Well praise the Lord I am not now.

I’ve had little to no appetite for food for the past two and a half months. I’ve slept fine, more than normal actually. I’ve taken my meds religiously. Risperidone 4mg, Lamotrigine 150mg (at present, will rise to 200mg ultimately) and an antidepressant called duloxetine which does seem to have helped a bit, especially with the debilitating anxiety.

It’s been utter Hell, just like the episode of Spring 2016. I seemed to skip serious depression in 2017.

I’ve been getting out most days, largely to the Clarendon Recovery College which has proved itself to be a godsend at times when I would otherwise have been rudderless, cut adrift and drowning in utter isolation. Classes and groups. I have now started therapy back with Barry at the Psychosis Therapy Project. Have reconnected with one old friend who has been stalwart and very caring. Also found myself a carer/befriender who I pay to keep an eye on me for an hour twice a week. She encourages me and gives me moral support to do a few things around the house and cook the occasional meal.

My son is not doing too well either according to my mum. The magnitude of his problems is borne in on me very starkly when I am in depression mode. He is still self-incarcerating in one small room most of the time. Obviously that’s not healthy. And obviously I feel responsible to a degree. But life must go on, I have to care for myself first and foremost or I am no use to him or anyone else.

It’s my birthday on Thursday. I’m going to be 56. Old enough to know better, older but not necessarily wiser. In fact what they say about bipolar worsening with age has been amply proven to be true in my case. I’m the local crazy lady. I have been going around like a ghost with downcast eyes, hardly able to look anyone in the face in case they notice something is decidedly wrong.

But like I say. Life calls and when you try to be deaf it shouts, and screams at you to get your head out of your ass and be here now.

Sweet Sweet Home

Hey peeps.

Well I’m back home, by some miracle. Was released long before I expected to be from St Ann’s hospital. Guessing that the influx of new and quite disturbed patients had something to do with it. I was high on the list of ‘patients who don’t really need this’.

Truthfully the place itself made me feel quite ill. It really did.

Can’t describe how grateful and thankful I am to be back in my own little nest. Sometimes it feels like a ship on the high seas, sometimes like a stable for horses. But it’s all mine. I dreamed of these early mornings. Why did I wake up so early here when in the hospital I stayed asleep far longer? Self-preservation maybe? The mornings are just an inconvenience there, like pretty much everything else. You even have to beg the nurses for hot water to make a foul plastic cup of instant coffee.

Here they are my sacred time. Thank you oh thank you oh thank you psych gods!

In terms of my mental state, well I can see that some of my behaviour over the end of last year could be interpreted as ‘high’ though not really manic as such. The sheer volume of posts on facebook for instance, and the slightly portentous tone of some of them. I was just a little too ‘into’ my grind!

Quite often the mental health services see me as ‘vulnerable’, which I fuckin’ hate. I feel it gives me no credit for my ability to self-preserve and the fact that I am far from self-neglectful, cooking beautiful meals for myself, bathing every day and wearing clean clothes and generally steering clear of trouble. Though trouble still finds me it has to be said (witness Solly).

But ohmigosh I had just been freed from Mile End hospital after only two weeks(so much nicer in every way than St Ann’s, but STILL the last place I wanted to be), I have to question why this happened. I was two and a half weeks on the ward at St Ann’s, despite being served with a Section Three.

Then again it has given me time to reflect on the Solly situation and come up with the conclusion that I should steer clear of him. His nasty side which I’ve seen nuff times, plus the financial drain.

Well on the agenda for these first days back is yet another phone call to the council regarding the water leak. Buy a few groceries. Pick up communication with my mum, and through her, with my son.

Please Be Prepared To Account

Being prepared isn’t no Boy Scout ting.

Everyone who comes here should be prepared to account for their own misdeeds, actions, whatever you wanna call them.

Because the fact is, many of us are actually HARDWIRED to commit ‘misdeeds’.

I don’t want no more victim-blaming for Christmas.

I don’t want no more psychological projection for Christmas.

I don’t want no more faux naivete for Christmas. Unless you wanna dig yourself further into a ditch – ‘fosse’ in French.

If you are convinced of your innocence you are probably dead wrong.

Accept you yourself are mind-controlled before you start accusing others of doing it.

Accept that you are a paranoid fuck before you start inventing ‘conspiracies’ that have no real existence.

Do not pour scorn on what others genuinely see.

Do not begin any debate with the words ‘you are dead wrong’. Be prepared to LISTEN before ‘speaking’.

Allow PAUSE between ‘speeches’ in any genuine dialogue.

Maybe do what my son and I do. Take time to SIGH.

No more polarised discussions for Christmas.

A big thumbs down to nonsense, unless it is entertaining.

And remember. We know the truth. About you. About me. And about everything else.

I’m Fine Now Though

It was all over very quickly.

Now I don’t ‘tell stories’ for anyone’s benefit but my own.

Because yall hear what you want to hear.

And I get bored.

And Now The Withdrawal Fun

Coming off a high dose of risperidone I was given for two weeks in the hospital while not even faintly psychotic. Observed so far: intense fatigue and muscle weakness, lack of focus and concentration, nausea and vomiting, slurred speech, loss of appetite and seriously picky eating, insomnia, tardive dyskinesia.

Thanks again o great and mighty psych gods!