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

Archive for June, 2011

Happy Though Hot

Art Mixed Media was a lot of fun again this morning. One of the cool things about it is that you can’t really go too badly wrong with it, collage can consist of many different layers, so if you f*** it up you can always add more, paint over it, sandpaper it down etc and the piece can really grow organically, it’s not for the super-controlling though cos you often don’t know how it will end up looking, all you will know is whether you like your work or not.

It’s the perfect class for a bit of therapeutic activity, almost like being in a nursery for adults: pretty much all the materials are laid on and you just get to play to your heart’s content.

This has got to be the hottest day of the year so far, 32 degrees C was forecast. It’s sweltering but now the sun has gone in and it’s looking like the sky might sweat a few drops.

I’m back at the homestead with M, intermittently enjoying the garden. We’re getting on very well at the moment on the whole. Still codependent I guess. And still crazy …. after all these years. We’ve taken to early morning walks which is a healthy development, good for both of us.

I can reliably report to you that this morning at about five the weather was balmy, dewy and soft as velvet, with a gorgeous sunrise. The roads are your own, way less people to get in your way, early mornings have got to be the best kept secret there is, in fact it might be some sort of conspiracy I wouldn’t wonder, cause if everyone did it it would rather defeat the object…

I don’t feel a lot like socialising on the whole at the moment. Too much anxiety over my son with a corresponding labile mood, quite often feeling spaced out and dreamy makes it hard to commit myself to arrangements for tea etc.

I fought shy of a full on relationship for years because of some bad experiences in my early twenties, not to mention a difficult upbringing with two parents locked into open warfare much of the time. I pretty much deliberately chose someone who wasn’t quite available or quite committed. Now I’ve gone the other way. I chose someone who wasn’t married but free and single. Someone who doesn’t s*** his pants when the word commitment is mentioned but quite often brings up the topic himself.

It’s a big deal folks, I can’t pretend it isn’t. Sorry if I’m a bore about M. I think it’s for real, six months in. He stuck with me through mania and that’s about as tough a test as any relationship can endure…

And I’m not the kind of woman who lives happily on her own.

So far so narcissistic folks. Lots love Zoe XXX

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Sons and Lovers

Hi again. My son is in school today (praise the Lord!) after a rather strange misunderstanding whereby the staff at the Home thought he had left the building with another young person and was staying out all night. Turns out he was in his bed the whole time.

I feel strangely lighter this morning. Grateful and happy that I’ve got M. For all his faults he actually wants to be my partner on a full time basis. Maybe it will work, only time will tell.

Psychs etc don’t tend to argue with people’s delusions, I think it’s not thought to be good form as they may just become alienated and even more entrenched in their ideas.

I on the other hand have been arguing a little with M’s delusions. His hellfire and damnation religious views and belief in his specialness in the eyes of God etc really grate on me badly at times. I’m not his psych or mental health professional, I actually have to live with his beliefs every day, and that isn’t easy but I was drawn to him as toward some kind of kindred spirit because I had similar delusions myself when I was manic.

But that’s far from being all there is. He’s complex and interesting. He’s had an interesting life (to me anyway) and tells me lots of stories about it.

I don’t tell so many stories. I am the quieter one, who holds so much inside. Sometimes he says I am in denial of how things really are. What happened to me etc. I think he may well have a point. I can’t come to terms with harsh facts very well. It’s like it’s easier to invent my own reality and then go and get lost in it for months on end. With consequences that are not hard to predict.

I’m making vegan sushi. Haven’t attempted that for a while. Hope I can get it to hold together nice and tight, even tho’ I’m using brown sushi rice.

I’ve started sketching M. He makes a great model. Also yesterday was my first class in Art Mixed Media…using all kinds of other materials to put together collages and such like. I managed it, though I nearly chickened out of going.  I knew one of the other students already so that was reassuring. No one was particularly scary.

And next week I have put myself down to work two days at the local day centre, cooking veggie meals for about twenty. I want and need my bank balance to start looking a bit healthier, I just hope it won’t be too stressful. I’ve done it before but I’m don’t feel quite as strong as I did then.

Lots love, Zoe XXX

Rainy Sunday

Hi folks. M is cooking Caribbean style lunch. We’ve been to the Farmer’s Market in the rain. I’m up and down as usual but reasonably calm. The dreamlike quality of my existence continues and in some ways that may be the anxious mind’s self-protective mechanism. Neither M nor I can stomach too much reality.

I’m due to see my son this afternoon. Last two times I’ve been to see him he’s been unwilling to talk but he suggested today. I’ve just got to keep putting myself there physically for him to know I’m here for him, regardless of where he’s at.

We bought him a rather swish mobile phone. Hope he likes it.

Better go and do some cleaning I guess. Love XXX

Short Term Fixes

Hiya. Just making the most of a smallish window of feeling ‘kind of OK’ to give you a quick update on my doings, such as they are.

My doings are a bit of a sore point at the moment because there aren’t enough of them. Quite simply, I want to be busy but I can’t always follow through with the commitments that I’ve made because of the still treacherous mood swings, so I am wary of taking on anything much at all.

Some days I just want to cling to M like a duckling follows its ‘mother’ around.

I’ve been so lost, so confused, so very afraid folks, these last months.

The anxiety over my son has been torturous at times. Which can’t help him one jot, so I have to try and detach in a healthy way as the books on codependency would have it.

The denial of his (and my) problems that led me to detach in an UNhealthy way (you can probably discern this in the entries I wrote while manic, certainly I managed to stir at least a couple of people’s ire) is a thing of the past and in its place guilt, unworthy feelings, total loss of confidence and a feeling of utter despair and hopelessness for much of the time.

Why is it so hard to attain the ‘happy medium’ for very long? Well that’s the six  million dollar question which docs wish they could figure out not to mention many talented able and inventive manic depressives.

Sometimes I gotta say it, the bipolar thing feels like a really poor joke at my expense. It’s cruel, it’s harsh, it causes intense suffering and what purpose can it possibly serve?

Let’s hear it for my care coordinator W who is one of the very best in the business. Earlier in the year it seemed I might lose him to another ‘team’, to be replaced by God knows who. I’ve been lucky with CC’s in recent years, very lucky, and having a good relationship with them can certainly improve one’s overall quality of life.

We’re keeping fingers crossed that W will be moved back to his original team: he recognises how useful it is for both clients and professional to have continuity for as long as possible.

Was telling him today over coffee that I am having to come face to face with my own inner addict. Though I never pursued drug taking as a lifestyle as such I have more than dabbled in hard and ‘soft’ drugs in my life. Now I find myself in a close relationship with an ex addict whose behaviour is still that of an addict in many ways, and sadly, the lifestyle that we lead has seemed familiar and comfortable to me, and all too easy to adopt.

Having said that we don’t drink at all or take illegal drugs. We smoke roll ups, drink coffee, eat and indulge in other couple-y activities which I don’t want to mention. I have come comparatively late in life to the beauty of the short term fix.

Having indicated the many things I’m NOT doing I will at least reiterate the ones I am. I am reading quite a lot (books, newspaper, internet), shopping, cooking, texting friends, keeping myself clean and reasonably tidy, washing clothes, Dual Recovery meetings, a little bit of drawing, a little more of writing, seeing my son about twice a week, meeting my care coordinator. The house is fairly clean. M and I go to bed early and wake up early.

One thing I’ve not been doing is much praying. I am too angry to beseech anyone for help.

Lots love X

A Couple-y Sunday

Hello folks. Lots of lovely comments from you my darlings, that means such a lot when I haven’t been around for weeks and finally managed to squeeze a post out. People can be so kind and caring even when they don’t really know you.

We’ve just been to the Farmer’s Market and got our veggies for the week, fresh and local produce. Bunched carrots, gorgeous new potatoes with plenty of muck on them, broccoli, spring onions, broad beans.

M had an idea for the two of us to have our own stall there selling vegan Caribbean cooking. He makes a wicked dish of ackee (a kind of Caribbean fruit that is usually paired with saltfish) fried in a kind of scramble with peppers, onions and mushrooms. I make a mean vegan banana cake. But we have to shell out for a table and a canopy plus paying forty or so pound a day rent of the space in the market. If our finances were in better shape I wouldn’t be hesitating but the car is an ongoing expense that we share and we’re both skint.

M gives me a lot of love, attention and affection. While I was high I thought the sun shone out of his behind. When I was low I feared that we had no future together. But now I’m nicely grounded and stable I feel guardedly optimistic about our relationship. There’s a certain compatibility there. We are both benefiting from our arrangement (gosh, that sounds a bit utilitarian).

M has a child like quality which I find terribly disarming and sweet and it makes me long to protect him. I think he also has a similar view of me. He’s very loyal, has moods but they never last very long. We both go the extra mile for each other because neither of us is a walk in the park and I think we’re just both grateful to have someone who will stick by us no matter what.

This is how well I now am. I bought the Saturday Guardian yesterday and was even reading the news section quite avidly. Then I found a brownie recipe in the magazine and made some delicious squidgy brownies…good old Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. One of the secrets to yummy brownies is not to over-mix the batter apparently, just gently fold the flour and cocoa powder into the sugar and (in my case) vegan ‘egg’. They are really more a fudgey sweetmeat than a cake.

Take care all. Lots love, Zoe XXX

Still here…

Hi folks. I’m back. I know some of you have been concerned at my absence, guessing (correctly) that I was not in a good space. One particular friend was quite alarmed. He commented that where was the old clever Zoe or words to that effect.

Where indeed. My whole life really seemed to take a dive this year on the back of last year and the bullying issue which culminated in the loss of two valued people from my life. Although one forgave and forgot the other is still estranged and that is sad but possibly inevitable as we had drifted apart and I was in denial of our differences for a few years.

I’m out of the worst of the depression now, but there is still plenty to feel bad about.

But what depression does teach you is to be grateful for every little tiny crumb of comfort and the sheer relief when it does finally lift and you feel remotely human again.

The depression makes me feel ‘special’ in a whole new way, just as the mania did. This time it makes me feel that everyone is better than me.

Scaling down my expectations this time is a subterranean exercise. I must be grateful for things that had never crossed my mind before. That I can still think at all. That I can sometimes join in a group conversation or have others value my company. That I can still shop, cook, clean, take a daily bath and look vaguely normal.

M is still about, and has been effectively living with me though he still goes home in the morning. He lacks a good education and has other disadvantages compared to me, but yet we have more in common than anyone would think.

This time around I went for someone who mirrored back to me my own ‘illness’.

There are advantages and disadvantages to this arrangement. He puts up with more than a better functioning person might. But predictably we also bring each other down at times. He can get quite jealous and paranoid and have some extraordinary ideas about what I get up to when he isn’t here. But I haven’t seen the worst of his anger in some time now. I am wary of it and absent myself at times quite deliberately, and he tries to spare me by ‘doing a geographical’ himself when the dark mood is on him.

I am aware of the anger and rage that is fuelling my own dark moods. Life does seem like a cruel joke. ‘Consensual reality’ is something I dread facing when I wake each morning. The blessed oblivion of sleep I look forward to and savour every night.

I see my son quite often now, but he is in the grip of a large dose of teenage hormones and classic angst and rebellion. He can’t flee the children’s home so he fights it, in the person of the staff there, and all the rules and restrictions. He has discovered rebellion after many years when he was more rule-conscious than most adults. Can’t think where he got that trait.

I am too angry and resentful to pray, and part of me thinks becoming too religious is just a part of my illness and something to be avoided. I see what it does to M and that can be salutary at times.

A sense of unreality and depersonalisation, basically feeling spaced out and semi detached from myself, others and life in general, has dogged me since around the time I started on my new drug regime (a depot injection of Risperidone). At times it is helpful…when I am prevented from the extremes of anxiety over my son, etc. Other times it is scary and unpleasant, and I despair of ever feeling normal again.

My half century is lurking around the next corner, ready to pounce. I lack much of the will to live right now, but I certainly don’t have the will to die. Life limps on. Waiting. Trying to write and draw.

Love to all of you who are kind enough to read and even sometimes to care. Thank you. X