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

Archive for August, 2012

Blessed

Hi peeps. Feeling a little sleepy lately. Basically I had a kind of episode. I was buzzing a fair bit. Difficulty in sleeping. Heavily engaging with the Suicide Project (I wrote about 450 posts and comments in the space of a few weeks).

When I say a kind of episode tho’, it was nothing like as bad as any previous episode of psychosis. And at risk of being sickeningly repetitive, it’s all down to the ‘love of a good man’. He looks after me 24/7. Feeds and waters me (well I do some of that too), keeps the house clean (having higher standards than me in that respect), shops for food etc, mows the lawn, drives me around in the car, motivates me to do the things I need to (like exercise) and so on and so forth.

In other words he is what I always knew I needed. A real-life carer.

And he’s been virtually living at my house lately. We’re basically married in everything but name. His companionship and affection is worth the world to me. It’s a bit of a Cinderella story as I said somewhere else. Not as in material ‘rags to riches’ of course, in fact as previously remarked, I’m a bit less well off since he’s been around. But well, whether people want to ‘get’ this or not, having that special person in my life is something which I would defy anyone to put a price on. Anyone who thinks it’s worth giving it up in order to have more financial security, has never been manically depressed or anywhere near it.

Hey Zoe, why so defensive? Well you wouldn’t believe how difficult it is to get the message across to my mother that a) I have a serious and seriously devastating mental illness and b)M keeps me well and stable. The fact that anyone else has an opinion about the rightness or otherwise of us being together is largely due to my own complaining about him right here on this blog and in real life! So I have no one but myself to blame for that!

Anyway after that episode of ‘mania’ which wasn’t (but would have been if it weren’t for M), I now have an episode of ‘depression’ which is also pitifully mild compared to what’s gone on in the past. And best of all, I have hope folks. God has been good to me.

What does any of the above say about the nature of manic depressive illness? Well to me it says, this is a condition which can be very much affected by environmental factors, including the emotional environment as it were. I feel secure, happy, content and blessed. I am no longer driven to roam the streets, in fact I am content to stay home most of the time (as is he). Even my groups, meetings, counselling and therapy, I almost feel as if I could take or leave. They often don’t seem worth the stress of travel and going outside my comfort zone for.

OK of course one must venture out now and again, in fact it’s good to get out at least once a day for exercise and fresh air. But by God the world and all its supposed glories has little appeal, when I’ve got my very own homegrown miracle unfolding right here and now.

Things always change and evolve in my life. My relationship with M has definitely moved on from the stormy times. We’re solid now. He’s far less stressed and doesn’t ‘act out’ with shouting and other anti social behaviour nearly as much. If I’m happy he’s happy and vice versa. And we are.

I’m a bit like a teenager. Defiant and rebellious in love. Kirsty MacColl wrote a song (when she was pretty young I think) called ‘They don’t know about us’. It went

‘You’ve been around for such a long time now/Maybe I could leave you but I don’t know how/And why should I feel lonely every night/If I can be with you, you know you make it right/And I don’t listen to the guys who say/You’re bad for me, and I should turn you away/Cause they don’t know about us/They’ve never heard of love.

‘I get a feeling when I look at you/Wherever you go now, I wanna be there too/I tell the others not to bother me/Cause when they look at you they don’t see what I see/And I don’t listen to their wasted lines/Got my eyes wide open and I see the signs/That they don’t know about us/They’ve never heard of love.

I know more than anyone wants to give me credit for. Let them talk cause I’m no longer listening…They’re probably only jealous in any case. Who wouldn’t be?

I’m being such a teenager I’ll probably break out in pimples next…and it would probably serve me right, eh folks?

Lots love, Zoe xxx

Hope for the Suicidal

The Love of a Good Man

August 16th, 2012 by louise50

I’m a 50 year old, post menopausal woman with Bipolar disorder who’s been on disability for twenty  years. My partner has a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia, is an ex-crack user and spent ten years of his life in a forensic mental health ward because of a street robbery he took part in when he was on crack. He remains on a Home Office Section of the Mental Health Act even now, which means he HAS to comply with treatment and consult his ‘team’ if he wants to go abroad etc. He did the whole rehab thing in a day programme while he was still in the hospital. That properly set him on the road to recovery from his serious drug addiction issues.

I’ve known M for about seventeen years. I first met him in a hospital ward, back in the days of mixed wards (they’re all single sex now). I was pregnant with my son at the time, though I was still unaware of it (most other people knew!)

We ran across each other from time to time over the next fifteen years. He was going out with an acquaintance of mine and had a child with her. Then they broke up. He would disappear off the scene for long periods. Then we’d run into each other again and I would flirt with him a bit and he would turn on the charm. Either that or he genuinely liked me. I didn’t, on paper, have much to offer any guy, but then again, he wasn’t the world’s most eligible bachelor either. In and out of hospital. A heavy crack user. Criminal record. Etc. We  spent two weeks hanging together at my house and running after crack at one stage. I noticed even with all his addiction that he was easy to be around. We were good friends but nothing more. I felt somehow safe. Ironic in the circumstances.

Then I met him again. He took me to his art studio and showed me his artwork. He talked about rehab and recovery. He was out of hospital now and living in a supported house. He came on to me a little bit, but I was still wary. We swopped phone numbers though, and I went away thinking I had witnessed a true story of redemption.

Then I got a phone call from him asking me to loan him a tenner. I remember arguing with him at some length about why he was asking me, etc. This from someone who has frequently given away large sums of money to ‘n’er do wells’, when I’ve been psychotic. I remember telling him ‘You’re asking the wrong person, M’.

The next day for some reason I had a mini moodswing. It isn’t the first time I’ve had a temporary ‘high’, a little blip, that has resulted in life-changing circumstances. The first time it happened, my son was conceived. This time my temporary high persuaded me that I should go round and see M and give him what he’d asked for.

When I arrived at his place I was immediately impressed by how palatial the house was. A million and a half pounds worth, and in one of my favourite areas, Palmer’s Green. Next thing that struck me was that M had a very attractive young blonde girlfriend. As we were only friends, that wasn’t a biggie for me. But that, together with the beautiful house with a gorgeous garden where the three of us sat out and smoked, kind of impressed me. I started noticing M’s possibilities a bit more.

When I handed him the tenner he said ‘Oh, give me twenty Zoe’ and I immediately did. That’s classic M, and classic Zoe. He’s a piss-taker as we say in England, and I have a soft spot for people who push their luck! A few days later he called me to meet up with me at Finsbury Park for him to give me my money back, which he duly did. He was down in the mouth because he’d just discovered that his young blonde girlfriend had cheated on him!

That visit, and the paying back of the money planted a definite seed in my mind that M was way more eligible now than he’d been ‘back in the day’ when we were chasing crack together. He had a wild, untamed quality, and also has dashing, handsome dark looks. He’s mixed race, half Jamaican, is tall and elegant looking and very charming. You could tell he looked after himself, unlike so many guys with mental health problems, who tend to self-neglect to some degree.

A couple of months later I was becoming psychotic, having faced bullying in a workplace, the loss of a best female friend in extremely upsetting circumstances, and the end of a 12-year relationship with my ex. All that stress had to find an outlet somehow, and I ‘escaped’ into my alternative reality.

When my other friends were largely leaving me to get on with it, I called M. He came running. We hung out. Met in a cafe every day. It was just after Christmas and there was snow on the ground. M feels the cold A LOT and I remember one time he didn’t come to meet me because it was ‘too cold’ out. We’d chill at my place playing music. Getting to know each other. I just loved the fact that I had someone to spend time with when I wasn’t altogether in my right mind and had been rejected by certain others as being ‘too ill’. We remained friends at first, both feeling comfortable in the other’s company, then intimacy followed and we fell in love.

The rest is history. We’re still happy 20 months later. What looked ‘a bit shit’ on paper has turned out to be wonderful beyond all my imaginings. He now lives with me effectively, though he still has his own place to go back to. He does almost everything around the house, he also cooks, drives me around, is redecorating my house, lavishes affection on me, mows the lawn, digs the garden, you name it! In return I help to subsidise his marijuana smoking. Well, no one’s perfect! He’s a kind of Rasta with dreadlocks and a love of Roots Reggae, but his taste in music is very eclectic. He’s introduced me to so much.

Why am I posting a love story on a suicide website I hear you ask? Well some might say it’s too ‘random’, but I think it’s justified because it is a story of hope and recovery from suicidal depression. I’ve found true love comparatively late in life, and it was a helluva long wait, but to young people on this site (almost everyone’s young compared to me!) I would just say if you don’t hang around you may never get a chance to meet the soulmate who really puts the ‘living’ back into your life. And just to add – it may not be the person who you’re expecting!

Love you guys. Zoe x

Sleep Deprivation from the Meds

Hi folks. I’m up at 11.00 pm on my computer, having already slept for four hours from 6pm onwards. What’s going on? Well, it’s the Lamotrigine that I went on a couple of months ago. As I recall it did this to me last time. Obviously it stimulates my system. It’s a mood stabiliser that’s supposed to be good for depression. Well, I do feel pretty good. But the loss of sleep is becoming inconvenient, and is, of course, a bit of a dangerous game when you’re bipolar…

Ironic that. A mood stabiliser is causing me to sleep 5 hours a night, tops, and to wake up several times in the night, feeling ready to get up.

Yesterday in my therapy group I was almost falling asleep. I explained to them that it wasn’t boredom, but sleep deprivation.

More later folks. I’m not that inspired right now. Zx

Domestic Bliss Part 50

Hi Peeps. I’m quite happy not to have any meetings to attend today. I can stay home with The Baby and Jeremy Kyle, sort of a menage a trois. The Baby even tolerates my ‘cheating’ and sometimes joins me in watching Saint Jeremy.

The Suicide Project goes a bit quiet (I won’t say ‘dead’, lol) around now so I’m over here boring you lot instead!

Just think how much comedy mileage I could get out of suicide and general death jokes! I love ‘graveyard’ and ‘gallows’ humour, it’s my favourite kind, because I’ve been to the ‘dark side’ myself I guess…

Do you think there’s a Hell gentle reader? she asks, all naive and callow.

Cause I’ve thought, for some time now, that Hell is right here on Earth.

That said, so is Heaven. As John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ asks us to contemplate.

And what I have right here in my house with M is something approaching the divine state. He’s such an absolute love. His appetite for cuddles is prodigious, even greater than mine. He’s practical, and trust me dear reader, I need someone practical. I’ve already enthused at considerable length about all the things he does for me.

But I know some of my posts here have slagged him off, and you could be forgiven Peeps, for being a little confused by the seemingly on-off on-off nature of our relationship.

Well, it’s taken time to mature, but it feels like we’re really getting there nowadays. Have you heard that expression used to describe the evolution of groups? ‘Forming, storming, norming and performing’. That kinda describes me and M. We’ve been through the ‘storming’ phase, oh my God have we! We’re now in the ‘norming’ stage and actually beginning to ‘perform’. As a kind of double act, bit codependent maybe, but more than anything we’re both starting to realise that we need each other, that neither of us is going anywhere else, and this is really ‘last chance saloon’ in any case. We might as well stick with each other and try to make it work…

There are no words adequate to describe how much this means to me and most of the time I don’t even think about it, cause thinking too much about happiness is apt to ruin it.

But I am happy Peeps, make no mistake about that. I’m loved by a man with a true heart notwithstanding all his faults and flaws.

Despite the fact fthat his marijuana smoking is all but bankrupting us…sigh! But at least we’ll be together in our penury. Don’t talk to me about ‘being financially exploited’ unless  you yourself have trodden the thorny path of being all alone with a serious mental illness. Even without the illness it would be lonely, but at least you might find compensations in a vocational job of some sort, and you would be able to go out on dates etc to try and find a partner. That stuff is not really open to me. I’m too marginalised and stigmatised by the illness, and no, that ISN’T just my perception, it’s a reality. I don’t particularly like rejection, so I won’t put myself in the position of inviting it.

It’s a tiny little bit of a Cinderella story. Tho’ I’m more likely to go from riches to rags in my version of the story!

Gentle reader, I haven’t married him yet and I don’t know if I ever will. Not sure I care either…To quote Saint Joni Mitchell on the Blue album (I beatify people by the way, like a sort of pretend Pope!) ‘We don’t need no piece of paper from the City Hall/ Keeping us tied and true’.

More later. Lots love, Zoe xxx

Paint it White

He now announces he’s going to start the (much needed) redecorating of the house tomorrow! He’s been revving up to do this for some time. I’m the one who was reluctant, cos I hate the thought of the mess and disruption.

But then again folks, I love to watch my man work. I really do. And if that makes me sexist, I could give a f***!

The council promised me £375 if I got it done and they come round to inspect it, about a year ago. I’m worried I’ve waited too long, and the offer might not be open anymore. But what the hell, I’ve got the money to do it, at least for the moment. Why not take the plunge since I’ve got a willing worker in house.

Slept slightly better last night than of late, but still woke up at 3am. I’m definitely buzzing, and I have to say I put it down (ironically) to the new mood stabiliser I’m on, lamotrigine (Lamictal). It, in combination with the antidepressant Citalopram, did this to me last time I tried it. But I have to say it makes me feel fantastic… Provided I can keep my high spirits within certain parameters, it should be OK. If things deteriorate further I will go see my psych and get his advice on whether I should stop the antidepressant, or the Lamictal, or even both…

So my Baby and I are off to B and Q (DIY store) to buy a longish list of necessary equipment to start the job tomorrow.

What fun.

Lots love, Zxxx

Counselling and Romance

Hahaha (nervous laughter). Today I had my first session with the counsellor who reported me about the Suicide Project t’ing that I described in my last post. Well. It could have been a lot worse, though it was never going to be a comfortable session, especially as she isn’t one for brushing uncomfortable things under the carpet. I can’t help warming to her, despite this unfortunate incident. She’s young, optimistic and sparky. You can be upfront with her. She at no point murmured in ‘concerned’ tones, ‘I see you’re very angry’!! Nothing could be calculated to make me angrier than that. And in any case, she could see I wasn’t. Just a bit peed off.

The most she would say is ‘it was inappropriate’. When I observed that ‘inappropriateness’ is in the eye of the beholder, she didn’t even disagree. There didn’t seem to be any real suggestion that I had consciously or unconsciously wanted to encourage my son to commit suicide. I gave her the story I’d written (of how my son J came to be) to which I posted the link in my email to J (which he of course, never received).

Bottom line is this. The social workers can’t, any more, stop me seeing my son or stop him from seeing me. He’s 16 now. So I very much doubt whether this incident will have any serious repercussions for him or me. That’s why I wasn’t angry, just a bit peed off, and left wondering whether I actually wanted to continue with counselling. After today’s frank and open discussion I think on balance that I will. The worst thing about the counselling is that I have to travel (on two buses, one from the ghastly Wood Green) to a particularly unpleasant area of Tottenham. But today my Baby gave me a lift.

Not content with that, he insisted on picking me up after counselling despite my protest, and we drove to the Whittington Hospital for an abdominal scan my GP referred me for, after I had a bloated, sore stomach for five days. The medic who did the scan found ‘lots of little gallstones’ (yuck!) but not much else of concern.

We picked up a sandwich and tea at the Archway Caf and then we drove up to our favourite Trent Park. It was such a beautiful summer’s day today, not too hot, a refreshing breeze but plenty of warm sunshine. M and I found our usual spot and sat by the lake for about an hour, chatting and chewing the fat. Then we walked back to the car. He cooked this evening. His usual speciality of rice and peas, braised veggies (done in his own unique way) and potatoes, and some fried plantain. I have to admit to being bored rigid of rice and peas (which he makes pretty much daily). But hey I should be grateful someone else cooked, right?

He also did a lot of very focused and energetic cleaning this morning. The house is immaculate.

C’mon folks, is he not just a tiny little bit of a star?

I don’t mention all the love, affection and cuddles he lavishes on me. The way he tucks me in when I’m taking a nap and calls me his baby. Brings me coffee in the morning. His sweetness and the things he says. His vulnerability and neediness (he needs plenty reassuring hugs and cuddles!) I have never felt so loved, needed and appreciated, gentle reader.

Hope you’re not reaching for the sick bowl. I’ll leave it right there. A slightly embarrassed

Zoe x

Not Guilty as Charged

If my counsellor and her supervisor had been less closed-minded they might have allowed themselves to recognise that The Suicide Project makes me feel much less suicidal and that I am actually using it as a source of knowledge and understanding of my 16 year old, reclusive son.

I explained in a previous post that they jumped to conclusions when I told them I had sent my son a link to another of my posts on The Suicide Project. The post discussed the circumstances by which he came into this world, and also of his early life. I thought it might provide him some elucidation.

As it turned out he never received the email in any case as his email account is no longer operative. But if he had done, I would have stood by my decision to post him the link.

The counsellor and supervisor contacted Social Services to express a concern that I had posted a link to a suicide website to my son. I now think this was quite a hysterical reaction based on prejudice and ignorance. They both had a look at The Suicide Project and the supervisor pronounced it ‘disturbing’.

Bollocks. And a senior counsellor should be ashamed of such a reaction. Uninformed, and full of assumptions.

So, the subtext runs, I posted my son this link to encourage him to commit suicide. He spent years in care, I have a mental health diagnosis, ergo, I want my son dead!

Well, at times I could have strangled him with my bare hands, I’ll admit. But there’s a big gap between thoughts and actions. Well duh!

Yet again it’s the ‘I’m surrounded by idiots’ phenomenon. Yeah I know that makes me look like a dick. But really!

So in my humble opinion – I’m not guilty as charged, and I’ve already had two young people reply to my post on The Suicide Project with helpful and reassuring advice. Just what I needed to hear! This phenomenon (of isolating in a bedroom) is not as unusual these days as I feared previously.

What do you think folks? C’mon someone…comment!

Lots love, Zx